31 December 2008


Yeah, yeah. New Year, time for resolutions. Blah blah blah. I've never really been one for resolutions - I'm much more likely to stick to an unofficial resolution than an official "woohoo it's a new calendar year and everyone else is making resolutions" type of resolution.

But this year I have something I need to get done. So I guess it can be a resolution. Sure. We'll call it that.

My resolution: to finish this blasted thesis.

That's it. That's my main goal for 2009. Go me.

Epic holiday drive

We're back from our holiday journey to the frozen north. It was fun to see family, but I am so glad to be off the roads.

Day 1 of our adventure: part of I-84 was closed. We decided to backtrack when the FedEx trucks were turning around. Lost a couple hours, but made it around the blocked area. Tried to help a guy get back on the road (too stuck - trooper called a tow truck). At least we got some snow-driving karma points. Drove on nasty, icy crap roads but made it to Boise.

Day 2: driving through Eastern Oregon. Hit a shady slippery patch on a downhill slope and spun/slid off the road. Used those karma points. Some nice guys stopped and helped us dig a path back to the road, one using a cooler lid as a shovel. Made it back on the road, and the rest of the drive to SE WA was relatively uneventful.

Time with my paternal grandparents: they loved seeing Doodle. She played, jumped, danced, and made great-grandma's antique glass reindeer nurse ("have mama milk" she said) on the mama reindeer. So cute.

Drive to my mom's: horrid. We left Xmas Eve, around 8:45pm. Slid off the road once, similar scenario to previous time. Got back on road easily. Now out of karma points. Kept driving in slick conditions. Nearly got runover by a speeding minivan, narrowly missing being rear ended by moving into the left lane. Pulled over at rest stop, chained up. Did you know that you can only go ~25 MPH with chains? And that, in doing so, it takes AN HOUR to go frickin' 25 miles?!?! Egad, that took forever. Rolled into Spo-town very late, where there was lots and lots AND LOTS of snow. Drove slowly through town, made it to mom's house by 3:45 am. Merry Christma...zzzzzz.

Christmas day: my sis flew in, only a few hours delayed. Hung out, played, had fun. Got a kick ass knitted purse from my sissy complete with snazzy quarter buttons. I *heart* it. That and my new tiger box (oh, don't worry...I'll post pics) made for a quirky, eclectic MamaBee Christmas. Doodle loved her photo book, J got his very first climbing nut... it was good. Ate lots of turkey, gravy and rice dressing. Yum.

Day after Xmas: Obligatory visit to maternal Grandma, where she gave Doodle a window-clingy stuffed animal with a tag identifying it's production date as 1990. Do other peoples' grandparents keep stuff like this around for 18 years? Followed this visit with a trip to the climbing gym. Doodle played on crashpads with Uncle T while J belayed my mom and sissy. Fun times had by all... though I do miss being able to climb with everyone. Maybe next year.

Following day: dug out the house. Massive roofalanches (snow falling off steep metal roof in large sheets) resulted in some damage to deck railing. J and my bro T dug out the deck while my mom got the snowplow stuck and unstuck plowing the driveway. Yes, my mom has to plow her driveway. Ugh. The snow was ridiculous. I dug out the mailbox area while Doodle was napping. At least we got to enjoy the hot tub.

The next day we were back on the road, this time via MT and ID. One good mountain pass and one nasty pass, plus a bunch further into Montana. Managed to psych myself out with dark and blowing snow while driving, so we stopped short of Butte for the night. Kept driving the next morning and it was pretty good. A stretch of road to Butte was slick, and just past the MT-ID border it turned to nasty blowing ugly snow. Gross. Made it past that, and the rest of the way home was great. We got home at a reasonable hour. No more snow driving karma points acquired nor required. Now completely sick of winter driving. Is it spring yet?

We were glad to spend time with family, introducing Doodle to my Uncles and hanging out with my loved ones. Hopefully, though, that'll be our last major winter trek driving all the way up north. Next time we have the holidays up there, we're flying.

Happy New Year, everyone!

20 December 2008

Happy holidays!

We're gearing up for holiday celebrations up north this year. Presents are wrapped (mostly), the house will be clean (eventually), and snow is falling (hopefully only a little for the drive).

Here's wishing you and yours a happy, festive holiday season full of love and joy.

Mama Bee, J and Doodle.

18 December 2008

Crazy chicken lady

I worry that these stints of chicken-sitting for J's advisor are going to turn me, slowly but surely, into a crazy chicken lady. That I'll wake up at age 63 with 20+ chickens, all named. That this urge I have to pick them up and pet their fluffy feathers while they make tentative "brrruuuuuck" sounds is not normal. Is it?

Please, friends. Let me know if I need a chicken intervention before it's too late and our kitchen is all done up in chicken motif.

17 December 2008

Twelve days of Christmas

As I sit holed up at J's advisor's house working on my thesis, I realize I'm not in a very Christmas-y mood. I've been thinking nonstop about flowers, bees and pollination, all of which are great but not really wintery, Yule-type subjects. We're past Doodle's birthday, and in the homestretch to Christmas. I need to get in the mood!

John Denver and the Muppets to the rescue!

Ever since I can remember, John Denver and the Muppets has been a Christmas staple. My mom plays the record every year (I have it on cd, but she sticks with the vintage crackles of vinyl) before Christmas. Nothing gets me more in the holiday spirit than this album. (I should add that I'd never seen video of John Denver and the Muppets singing Christmas songs until now - YouTube is awesome.)

Hope you enjoy this little slice of Christmas-y fun. If you need me, I'll be humming the JD&Muppets version of Jingle Bell Rock while writing about bees and flowers and such.

16 December 2008

Sleeping alone

Four hours of sleep, now back to the writing. Funny, I sleep much better with a toddler and lover to snuggle with - last night I slept like crap without them.

No word yet on how the night went for them. Hopefully it wasn't too late of a bedtime.

15 December 2008

One down!

I just emailed a good, solid draft of a major thesis chapter to my advisor. I feel good about it. One more data chapter to go, plus intro and summary chapters.

I'll wait until I hear back from The Advisor before declaring victory, but I'm on my way and much closer than I was.

(In other news, J and Doodle are having their first night without me since Doodle's birth. Hopefully they can get some sleep tonight.)

14 December 2008

Fun at the (advisor's) Cabin

View of the winter wonderland outside J's advisor's cabin.

I love these two.

X-Files nerd from way back, as shown through PlayDoh.

"Enough with the pictures, Mom!" (cute sweater by Doodle's Knitty Grandma)

birthday girl

She's saying how old she is here.

Yummy carrot birthday cake, plus wings? The perfect birthday combination.

Final exam answers

Last week I graded the essay questions on the HumanPhys finals. I found a couple of responses really funny, and wanted to share.

A prompt looking for the answers of "prostate gland" and "trans-urethral resection of the prostate" got this response from one student (note the term for removal):
"Prostate gland produces much seminal fluid & the removal of it is called prosthesis."
Oh. So when someone tells me about their grandma's prosthesis... whoa. Never mind.

A question about the most effective form of male contraception (answer: vasectomy) got these responses from students:
"Castration by removing the testicles is most effective."
Well, yes, but there are less drastic measures.


"The _most_ effective contraception is Abstinence from intercourse. This is done by never engaging the male reproductive system in any way."
In any way? At all? What does it really mean to "engage" the reproductive system anyhow?

Next semester I'm back to GenBio, so I'm sure to have some fun anecdotes to share from my young, naïve, unhappy-to-be-there students in the months to come.

13 December 2008

BDay celebrations

We had a great, fun-filled Doodle's Second Birthday today.

We awoke to snow, and lots of it. We are chicken-sitting for J's advisor up at The Cabin north of town and kinda in the boonies. It's peaceful, quiet, and gorgeous. Oh, and it gets a lot more snow than down further in the valley. So we played inside this morning, enjoying Doodle's new tea set and play food. Then we packed up and rolled into town where we did some mad-dash cleaning and decorating before The Party. Streamers and balloons were deployed, and the house was looking downright birthdayish (it's important with a December birthday to make sure this special day doesn't get lost in the pre-Xmas stuff. Daktari, the holder of the SoIL December Birthdays Suck party taught me this.).

Friends big and small arrived bearing gifts of music, books and eggnog (homemade!). I have a new-found appreciation for eggnog. Mmmm, fatty goodness! We ate burgers and cake, played with balloons and tea sets, and chatted. We ate too much, drank too much eggnog, and partied until the toddlers were exhausted. It was great.

Post-party we piled up the dishes, grabbed fresh clothes, and hit the road back out to The Cabin. The storm was letting up but we wanted to hit the snowy roads in daylight in case we needed to chain up to get to The Cabin. Main Street was icy and very slow, and Doodle was asleep before we even made it out of town - guess we really wore her out with The Party. Some sliding at a couple of stoplights plus a slower-than-usual drive, but we made it out to the cabin just fine. The snow was deep on the driveway but Elmo the Jeep just plugged along and made it up with no problems. Later one of the Advisor's neighbors came by to plow the driveway with his tractor. Very nice.

Now Doodle is playing with her new Playdoh, cookie cutters and rolling pin on the floor while J and I relax. We'll probably read a bunch of books, play tea party and go to bed early. Definitely a great way to celebrate the two year anniversary of Doodle's birth.

Tomorrow: sledding on the hill behind The Cabin, the first use of skis and snowshoes this season, and maybe an epic snowman. We shall see.

12 December 2008

Two years ago...

...I was immensely pregnant. I had taken my only final exam the day before. My mom and brother were coming to town in anticipation of The Birth. We figured they would be here for a while, killing time and watching me for any indication of an emerging baby.

Two years ago today J and I went to SLC to pick up my mom and brother, then ran a bunch of errands while in the big city. We returned to Logan around 6pm, made dinner, played with our snake, I made my birth necklace and we went to bed around 11:30pm.

A couple hours later I was in labor.

Tomorrow Miss Doodle turns two years old. Man, what a ride it has been.

11 December 2008


It is important to remember: You must have something to start with before you can improve on it.

This is a reminder to myself as I continue choreographing my first all-by-myself choreographed duet, and as I start the Great Thesis-Writing Spree of '08.

08 December 2008

Pumpkin pie

Last night we were puttering around after watching a cheesy movie (the Great Race, in case you're wondering). We asked Doodle what she wanted to do. She replied, "pie!" We asked what kind, and she replied, "punkupunkum" which we interpreted to mean pumpkin. J and I both agreed that a pie sounded delicious, so we dashed to the kitchen and started throwing things together. Twenty minutes later we had a fully-assembled pie. Hooray for teamwork! Pie completed (and a couple slices eaten) before bedtime. We rock.

The pie was delicious. So why do I feel bad that, as of noon today, the pie is gone?

02 December 2008

Photos from turkey day

Or rather, photos of Doodle on turkey day. Her Granddad takes a lot of photos and these are some of my faves.

Making cute faces at Granddad.

Playing with Hailey the dog.

Cuddling with Granddad.

Making silly faces with Uncle G.

Gently adoring her little cousin...

...well, mostly gently.

Being tossed by Uncle G.

Learning the freedom a doggy door allows.

Photos from Joshua Tree

A Joshua Tree after the rains. The whole desert was so vibrant with color that morning.

Leave it to Doodle to find a desert puddle to splash in.

Doodle was thrilled with this sunset, and kept talking about the pink sky.

My loves, hanging out on the rocks.

01 December 2008

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

We're back. The trip went well. We're tired, the house is a mess and none of us are ready to get back to the grind...but we're here at least.

We made home (finally) at ~8:30 last night. We had initially planned on returning Saturday but the temptation of a Chinese dinner cooked by J's dad was too much, so we stayed in SoCal until Saturday morning. We then drove approx. half way to Cedar Pockets campground in the Virgin River area to camp, finishing our drive on Sunday with another six hours on the road plus stops for food (and REI).

Things I learned on this trip:
  • I really dislike smoke-filled casinos in Nevada.
  • I still have no urge to try my hand at gambling.
  • Doodle loves hot tubs, and really has fun with the family members playing therein.
  • It's bad to wake the napping toddler to try and take wedding family photos.
  • Doodle is still wary of family members who do not consider her personal space.
  • Joshua trees are really dang cool.
  • The desert smells amazing during and after a rain.
  • Doodle loves climbing on rocks.
  • Doodle gets really excited about things like birds, lichens and puddles. Yay!
  • It takes Doodle a much shorter time to warm up to people than it used to. I like this.
  • Doodle loves Grandma S's cookies, and will pitch royal fits in attempts to get them.
  • It's really fun to go to the big Asian Supermarket. It was a cultural experience.
  • Jack fruit are really big and pretty expensive, and I have no idea what they taste like (seen at the above market).
  • Doodle loves babies, and really enjoyed hugging and interacting with her little cousin.
  • Doodle can cut a tooth (a canine at that!) without being overwhelmingly fussy for days on end!
  • If you promise a toddler a burger and she rejects any offer of said burger in the restaurant, be prepared for a royal hissy fit when you get back to the car and there is no burger in sight.
  • An iPod with videos is a must-have for long drives with a toddler.
  • I enjoy traveling with my family, but home is nice too.
Photos will follow when I manage to find the camera and the time.