Sunday, February 26, 2012

Recipes for those recovering from the Norovirus

Banana Fresco
Peel one banana and slice in half. Eat one half. If you can manage, eat the other. If not, stare at it dismally.

Cereal from a Box
Pour one half cup cereal into a bowl. Eat at room temperature. *Note: this recipe is for those in advanced recovery only.

Sunshine and Water
Sip a cup of water with two drops of lemon juice. Lay on the floor, preferably in the sun, and mentally beg your stomach to behave.

Simethicone Medley
In between trekking to the bathroom, combine
1 Imodium pill
1 Gas-Ex strip
1tsp Pepto Bismol
You may want to compliment this with Sunshine and Water (see recipe above)

Chocolate Chip cookies
2c flour
1 tsp salt
1tsp baking soda
1/2c sugar
3/4c brown sugar
2 sticks butter, softened
12oz chocolate chips
2 eggs
Combine dry ingredients and add wet ingredients. Drop dough from tablespoons and bake at 375 on ungreased cookie sheet for 20 min or until golden brown.
*Note: you are not allowed to eat this while recovering from Norovirus

Monday, February 20, 2012

Problems encountered at work vs staying home sick

Work problem: Trying to figure out if your outgroup is closely related enough to discern phylogenetic relationships among very close relatives
Sick problem: Higher brain functions have failed to the point where you cannot distinguish soap from gel hand sanitizer

Work problem: Your document didn't print correctly, forcing you to walk all the way down the hall to the dept office and back, twice
Sick problem: Stumbling to the bathroom twice in one day seems like an Olympic feat

Work problem: At the end of the day, you realize the outfit you're wearing makes you look a little husky
Sick problem: At the end of the day, you're so dehydrated and your stomach is so empty that if your friend ho saw you they'd think you've suddenly become anorexic

Work problem: Undergrads interrupting you while you're trying to conduct an analysis
Sick problem: Unfed cat interrupting you while you're trying to nap

Work problem: Hair constantly falls in eyes
Sick problem: Hair smells like vomit

Work problem: Only getting up from your chair once an hour can leave you feeling achy
Sick problem: Only getting up from your couch once a day can leave you permanently contorted like a human Gumby

Work problem: Rationing funds from a single internal grant to cover six projects
Sick problem: Rationing 1 box of tissues so they'll last for the next six days

This post is dedicated to everyone who has the norovirus right now :p

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Yesterday, my friends, February 14th, was Valentine's Day. I had the best one I've had in years.

I won't deny that this is unrelated to the fact that there was very little male-related interactions during my day, but I think it was more than that.  It's about expectations.  Even when I experienced Valentine's Days while in a happy relationship, there was always some kind of stress.  Much of this was related to the pressure of expectations.  I hoped that each romantic interaction would match and surpass those in the past.  This puts a lot of pressure on the relationship (and, admittedly, the guy).  And that's not even mentioning the absurdly bad Valentine's Days I've had- including the one where my boyfriend didn't get me so much as a card, but created a petition that one of his high school friends start a unicorn farm or something and got SIXTY people to sign it.  (I don't know where I find these guys.)

Anyway, getting back to my main point, this year I had very few expectations.  I made plans to have dinner with a friend and have a low-key night.  I was able to get a lot of work done because I wasn't distracted by the anticipation of an eventful evening.  This put me in a pretty good mood for dinner.  Plus, the restaurant wasn't one where couples were going to celebrate by any means, so at dinner the service was fast and the food was great.  I had a good time and was able to relax.  Then after dinner I watched 2 episodes of Battlestar Galactica and did extra knee exercises and stretches, so that I was limber and relaxed when I went to bed.

Hm. Maybe being single ain't so bad.  And while I look forward to being in a relationship at some point, I think that it's an important lesson that keeping expectations low (when appropriate) helps to avoid drama and prevent disappointment.

Also, today I sliced open my finger with a sliver of dried agar.  But I guess that's karma. :D

Monday, February 6, 2012

A little advice drawn from life experience

10. Don't believe the innocent kitty face that says, "Of COURSE you can rub my belly!"

9. Don't take your favorite library book for granted. Appreciate it, because some day, someone might steal it.

8. Don't try to be cool.

7. Don't try to be so uncool that you're cool.

6. Don't fill up on bread- unless it's really good bread.

5. Don't ever trust a guy who kisses you before he asks you out.

4. Don't go to a fall concert without checking to see if it's an open-air stadium. (We were totally making fun of the people wearing their Northface jackets in the parking lot.  ...oops.)

3. Never pull a chair out for someone and not push it in. It's funny in Bugs Bunny but not real life.

2. Don't ever ever ever EVER use nasal saline in your contact case because you've run out of contact solution. THEY'RE NOT THE SAME THING!!!

1. Don't expect life to go smoothly, or how you expect it to. And don't judge how it went until you have the full picture. :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fulfilling emptiness

I can't remember the last time I felt this good.

I'm busy. The lab is going full throttle. I'm serving as a teaching assistant and have class again. My students are back and working hard already (in fact, some of them came back early and spent unpaid hours in the lab for zero course credit. If there were an NSF fund for most dedicated students, we would get it). I have two new students in the lab and everyone is learning new techniques which is a lot of work but will result in a maelstrom of research the likes of which our lab has not seen for many years.

I'm taking care of my body. I've been seeing two physical therapists from the same practice for about two months now; one primarily for help with strengthening and one for foot dynamics. I've been pretty good about my exercises and even wear sneakers to work (ahem sometimes) so that I can use my orthotics. I'm eating enough and working out regularly and as a result my body actually feels good instead of achy and stiff all day. I know I have an old soul but that doesn't mean my body needs to feel like it and finally that's true.

I have things to look forward to. I'm not sure if it's my new-found confidence, sense of peace, or having proved myself worthy to be in my program, but I'm finally starting to look forward to presentations and leadership activities more than dread them. I asked my boss if I could give a lecture in his class to practice my presentation skills, and he was more then delighted to say yes (mostly because that means he won't have to lecture that day lol). He also asked me to do a short presentation on my research to accompany a lecture he was invited to do for a colleague's class, which is an honor because essentially it's saying that he trusts me to not embarrass him in front of one of his peers. And my stint in Germany, which I've been talking about with my adviser and dreading for years, now seems pretty freakin cool, even if I can't speak a lick of German despite a dozen classes and two hours of crappy CDs borrowed from the library. I'm even starting to consider teaching as a career, which I had never even considered before, because I'm enjoying it a lot more and it would be a heck of a lot less lonely than working for the government, stashed away with a bunch of other narrowly-focused nerds in a remote facility.

I'm empty. Almost ever since I can remember, i have been obsessed with something. A show, a movie, a book or, in my adult life, a relationship/boy. I'm not saying that I was a stalker or an evangelist or anything, but there was always that topic, in the back of my mind, ready to be taken out and stroked if I needed reassuring or to fixate on if things seemed too good to be true and my happiness needed to be taken down a notch. During this winter break, I had taken it upon myself to make sure that an ex was in good condition after a medical procedure. I was unable to fully release his fate from my hands and acknowledge it as anyone's responsibility but my own. In the following twisted turn of resulting events, I was presented with an extremely disrespectful attitude and words. And as I alluded to in a previous entry, where I had previously grown silent in the belief that it would show maturity, this time I fought back and made a clear stand against such treatment. The next day, I felt as free as I ever have. This was the first time in years that I had thrown away civilities and countered an ex's words with the cold, hurtful truth. It was wonderful. It had nothing to do with winning or losing, whichever I did. It has everything to do with releasing myself from the tyranny of the question, "What if I do something I regret?" That's what all of these constant worries and treasure-hoarding of good memories was about. mentally fixating on someone I did not want to lose on the chance that I would not find someone better or that this person would change and turn out to be the ultimate prize himself. Silliness.

I can't remember the last time I didn't have some persistent worry or have to safeguard some undeserving prized memory. I'm able to live fully in the moment, with oh so many few expectations and emotional dedications. Since I started dating, in college, I don't think I've ever come across this peace of mind; each relationship overlapped with the vivid memory (and usually the hurt) of the last. Now I look to no one for reassurance that this time will not be like the last, I stand tall and don't look back and see any mistakes. I am pleasantly detached from those who have hurt me; though I may still pray for them and have pity, I do not instate myself as the only one who can help. I can get along without them, and they can get along without me.

Campaign platform

Three reasons why I should be elected Assistant to the Regional Manager of the Universe

1. One of the most prevalent problems in American society today is obesity. However, nearly every known person ever born loves to ice skate. Why then, aren't more Americans (and human beings in general) maintaining their health through ice skating? The problem, clearly, is that people are afraid of contracting a foot fungus from rented skates. I will move to support laws holding ice skating rinks responsible for the physical and psychological trauma resulting from their negligence.  institutions will be held responsible for paying for damages to skaters caused by fungus-related illnesses, including DNA testing to confirm that the fungus originated from improperly sterilized footwear.

2. By request of Rosie, my associate, I propose to ban all moving electronics. This includes, but is not limited to the iRobot vacuum, oscillating fans, motorized Christmas displays, electronic trains, and any other objects which might startle any alert or sensitive individual whose bloodline has been pruned over millions of years to produce the most fierce hunter to ever have lived (her words, not mine). It is crucial that we ban and dismember all such threatening man-made contraptions, and as a precaution we should hesitantly bat them with our paw from a safe distance, just to be sure.

3. Mandatory Ice Cream Wednesdays (MICW). Dependent upon the success of the first aim, Americans will be able to safely intake a few extra calories. In light of the high rate of depression in adults, I believe that instituting mandatory frozen dairy consumption in the middle of the week could make one of the most positive  impacts on society since the introduction of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movies. In addition, there are few things as wholesome as eating hand-made ice cream from a sugar cone (the way ice cream was  MEANT to be eaten) and this will be an excellent way to combat the indecent reputation that Wednesday has recently acquired as "hump" day.  I believe that MICW will increase overall happiness and self-esteem; as my close friend Katelyn was fond of saying, "They're not love handles if nobody loves you," but how could you NOT love someone supplying you with frozen goodness? Thus, all Americans will again appreciate themselves in a healthy way, and lead better, happier, more quality lives.

Thank you, and God bless America.