Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Beltaine begins at sunset tonight. The start of least if you ask the majority of pagans. We think spring starts in the first week of February, (known as Imbolc, folks) so we don't exactly agree with the modern delineations. I prefer a system that gives equal weight to each season, instead of making spring and autumn short inbetweeny seasons. The transitions are the exciting parts, spring and fall are about change, summer and winter are the ones they change between.

I'm not pretending to pass on the recieved wisdom and set rules of paganism here; this is just my outlook on it, and I happen to be a pagan of sorts. A pagan that is currently debating the practicality of wearing a long skirt and frilly shirt to work in a lab tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

I have no idea why I'm so tired recently, but I'm not worried about it because it isn't a wiped-out unwell kind of tired, it's just a nap time... feeling. The easiest answer is I'm recovering lost sleep from the past stressful months (or maybe even year), which is probably true, I'm also getting more exercise from parking off-campus. I've already cut the walk from 15-20 minutes to more like 10 after a two weeks of striding up the hill. Sure, I huff and puff and get all pink and frazzled looking, but as soon as I reach my car (or work, depending on which direction) my breath is back, the heavy breathing merely seems to be maintaining my speed, not a sign I'm about to collapse and asphyxiate. My calf muscles usually feel like rocks at the end of the day now, until I give them some serious stretching.

So far my only real problem with this new work place is the absence of a communal coffee machine. Funny how you don't realise a dependency until you are deprived. I'm taking steps to rectify this problem though, I've ordered an espresso machine, which will be here in about a month because it's one of the rare items that takes 2 weeks to ship from [>]. I know I could have just gone to Target and bought a coffee machine for $25, but I'm not a filter-drip coffee drinker by choice. I like the full flavour that comes through with my french press, but the kettle takes quarter of an hour to boil (yes, I've been timing it) and that's too long for morning coffee! Then I found an espresso machine for $50, a space-age one at that, and my dreadful coffee-dilemma was solved.

Shallow though this all seems, I'm putting it up because it's fun having my biggest problem this week being whether to buy a filter drip machine or an espresso machine. Not to mention my excitement at an impending new toy.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Inventory for the morning.
Managed to haul self out of bed, despite the recent relocation of the gravity well from the futon to the mattress.
Emptied the neverending bowl of cereal (it stayed crunchy too!) and realised that I'm far too used to slurp-and-run breakfasts.
Made it back to my apartment without falling alseep on my feet.
Made coffee. (Precioussssssssss cofffeeeeeeee)
Made pastry.
Pastry is now chilling in the fridge, while I am about to go for the fastest shower in history and pray there's a parking spot within half a mile of work by the time I get there.


(that's what the pastry's for, in case anyone was wondering why it featured in my morning routine)

Saturday, April 19, 2003


*click click click*


I have a bike, as my pathetic sound effects are attempting to convey.

My sweetie bought me a bike so we can go cycling together. Enforced exercise, hooray!

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Wow, speaking of being put through the is an anniversary. Seven years ago today...

My final trip to the animal facility passed without significant occurence yesterday. The mice are still there, and nobody seems to have shuffled them about into the wrong cages or any other disasterous little error. I felt absolutely no twinges of nostalgia at the idea that this was the last time I'd be in that room mixing and matching breeding pairs, and trying to read the numbers on their earrings without getting bitten.

So now I'm sitting about procrastinating in my apartment. I haven't built the excell file for Vin yet, I originally put it off because I thought I had to do it on a mac for him to be able to read it, now I'm just plain procrastinating. Taking advantage of the fact that I dont' have to be in at work this morning, only the place where I used to work, where they can hardly yell at me for being late when I'm coming in to finish a proceedure for them as a courtesy.

I am procrastinating by updating my quicken file, subscribing to Norton Antivirus, and attempting to cancel my unused AOL subscripiton before they start charging me for it. They do not make it easy to cancel, that's for sure. I have run around circular chains of links looking for a section along the lines of "cancel my subscription" and there wasn't even a hint of it. As though they want you to forget it's an option. Other ISPs do not exist, they are merely figments of your imagination... I finally resorted to live online help. Who gave me a phone number, which connected me to a woman who spouted out the script she had been given as fast as humanly possible without regard for diction, inflection or intelligebility. I think I have cancelled my subscription, but after asking her to repeat herself four or five times, and requesting that she speak more slowly each time I asked for a repeat, I just took my confirmaiton number and ran.

On the home's been a wierd couple of days. It's hard to really explain how, because it was so internal and so close to the core that words don't work very well. We've both been having a bit of a rocky path recently, and I forgot that. I forgot that it's both of us, not just me, that's been through the wringer. Of course that's why we work so well together.

I'm so used to being the only sensitive person in a relationship, to being trampled and taken for granted and whined at for not fulfilling expectations, I need to remind myself again and again that this man is different, he isn't going to treat me like that. I had realised that part fairly early on, what I failed to note was that this also means he can get hurt by me more easily than the other oafs. So now I've pulled my head out of my ass maybe we can continue with the upward path we were on before.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

So far so good
On my first day they had me "training" a high school student who's in for four days this week. In about two weeks I will be training a new guy who's coming in to one of the other labs in our group. This new guy was the other candidate for my job, hopefully he won't have a problem with being trained by the woman who beat him to that position, especially since they liked him so much they called him back for an alternative position.

Today is back-and-forth day, as is tomorrow. I'm going in to the Whittier this afternoon to start a column running, then tomorrow morning to collect the product. Which means a final trip to the mousies today, and I will hand my badge over to Vin, along with the notebook this afternoon.

I'm still boggled by the suggestion I train someone after being at the new lab for a couple of weeks! It is a new feeling to be presented with a challenge that will stretch me, but is do-able. It was begining to feel as though all the challenging things expected of me were of the variety that would require me to sprout super-powers and psychic abilities instantaineously.

Friday, April 11, 2003

My last official day, and I don't want it to start yet. I think I'm afraid of the transition period, worrying about how much I'm going to be expected to continue to do at the Whittier while trying to make an excellent first impression at the new lab.

It's a new experience for me, becasue it's only my last day, not the last day of school before the summer holidays, the farewell concert at St Margaret's, exhibition day at The Edinburgh Academy, hoards of people saying so long, see you later, have a nice life, keep in touch, nice knowing you...just me, drifting off into the ether. Rather like my graduation ceremony at King's, I barely spoke to anyone, exchanged no hugs or telephone numbers, just stood there in my gown hoping nobody who knew me would notice the "3rd class honours" next to my name, wishing for the day to be over.

I know it will be a damp squib, because I will have to come back to finish up, at the very least to run the last netrin purification. I wonder if Vincenzo will realise that the sudden disorganisation is an indicator of how much I have been doing here, or just assign it to sabotage on the part of the one who left.

The sooner I get started the sooner I'll be done. The more I achive today the less I will have left over to complete in drips and dribbles over the next couple of weeks, interfering with my new position.

Monday, April 07, 2003

A Year And A Day
It's hard to decide if it feels longer or shorter, but it's just a year and a day. For a year and a day now I have had him in my life, it started [>] slowly, or seemed to. But from the moment I sat down in the fold-down theatre seat accross from him in the cafe, from the moment I took his hand in greeting and noticed the shape, the warmth of his skin, noticed the pair of celtic rings... From that moment my life was changed, though I didn't know it yet, and it has been changing for the better ever since.

Every day now, every single day I have love, so passionate it takes my breath away, and yet so constant and true that it has become a treasured habit. I wake up to a kiss, sleepy hugs in passing while we stagger into our work clothes, a quick breakfast and we're off to our respective destinations. For the rest of the day I smile remembering his sleepy face, the flop of flaxen hair that refuses to stay completely behind his ear, his cold feet seeking out my own for morning warmth.

After work we sink into the gravity well hidden in his futon, rest our heads together and realise that the gravity well must be escaped if we are ever to have dinner. This usually requires teamwork.

I could go on, listing detail after detail that makes him, that makes us so wonderful to me. It all flattens like toothpaste when translated into words. So I will stick with this choice selection: thank you for being part of my life, for making this past year full of growth and love, stick around and who know's what we'll manage together!

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

So it's real, I am in my last two weeks at the Whittier. Actually, my last full day will be April 11th, so I'm in my last 10 days....and counting.

Only I'm not really counting down, not as I have for so many landmarks, because it's so close I know it'll be upon me before I know it. Even then it won't be a definitive end point, there will be some remaining tasks in the month or so after I officially leave. I know I will have to come back in a couple of times to finish the last purification, and I know there will be some drama from Vin about the mice and how I should be training Giuseppe to handle them. Frankly, I'm not qualified to train anyone to care for a colony, all I can do is hand him an up-to-date excell file with their ages and genotypes, and send him off to do the classes, not forgetting to emphasize to him not to be afraid to ask Vin, because Vin is the big boss and he knows lots about mice. Supposedly.

The important thing is that this place is no longer my future. I no longer have to wonder "is this all I will ever amount to?" because I know that at the very least I amount to a succesful candidate for a challenging job in neuropathology, and someone who looks pretty good for a cell culture maintenence post in a gastroimmunology lab (yes, I was offered the other job too, I got to turn down a job and hand in my notice on the same day). Added to that I have been told across the board "You should plan on graduate studies, even if it's just an MSc, it would be a waste not to". Not by my Loving Parents, or my Devoted Partner, who's role it is to encourage and flatter me, but by my interviewer (and now soon-to-be-boss), by a coworker who has just been accepted into a highly competative Pharmacy school, and by the supervisor I'm leaving somewhat in the lurch with my resignation.

I was unhappy, and I looked for alternatives, I took the initiative and wrote my damn resume afresh, sent it out there, and I was rewarded with a new job, one that appeals to me in ways it never could have if I had fallen into it right out of university. My frustrated spinning at the Whittier has taught me to value straightforwardness, organisation and research-driven passion for work. All of a sudden I'm getting excited by papers on demyelinating leukoencephalopathy, and looking forward to working wiht endothelial cells, because they're much easier to work with than those pesky primary cell cultures we've been trying to use here. Not to mention not requiring isolation from primary tissue before they can be used...

I was also highly amused by a molecular biology in-joke [>] , and tried to share it with Matt, who had never heard of real-time PCR. I got a very blank look in return. He liked the picture of the enzyme vending machine though. You know you're a geek when the best joke of your day sounds like a bunch of gobbldygook to anyone outside your line of work.

Ladies and Gentlemen, hold on to your hats, I might be turning into a scientist after all.