..or, how I learned to fight

So I'm way late to the party, but:

Which Avatar: the Last Airbender Nation do you best fit into?
Your Result: The Air Nomads

Congratulations! You are a native of the Air Nomads! The Air Nomads pride themselves on being unconventional, bold, and spontaneous. Their utmost goal is to be free and not tied down, confined, or obligated in life. Their inclination is to do as they wish when they wish. The want to enjoy and live for today and be impulsive. They have good senses of humor and live lives detached from the rest of the world. They are often active just to be active and often do what they feel the urge to do. They strive to experience excitement, to be seen by others as being free to act as free spirits. They want to be and are often exciting, optimistic, cheerful, light-hearted, and full of fun.

At their best they are amusing, animated, charming, cheerful, entertaining, enthusiastic, expressive, friendly, funny, generous, gregarious, imaginative, innovative, inspiring, motivating, optimistic, refreshing, risk-taking, spirited, spontaneous, urbane, witty, and worldly. At their worst they can be brassy, careless, cynical, egotistical, exaggerating, flighty, forgetful, haphazard, impetuous, impulsive, inconsistent, naive, narcissistic, reckless, repetitious, restless, scatterbrained, show-offs, superficial, talkative, undisciplined, unpredictable, and unreliable.

The Water Tribe
The Fire Nation
The Earth Kingdom
Which Avatar: the Last Airbender Nation do you best fit into?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I should be making a giant post about how crazy November is for me right now. Instead, you get Avatar, which is really better for all of us. Back to studying for my comprehensive exams (in less than a week!!!) and writing a bunch of papers/grants/etc.

(I would rather be re-watching Avatar!)

Blue Moon
As my journal continues to exist in a tattered state of benign neglect, I feel as though I should blow off the metaphorical dust and update once in a blue moon.

So....I exist! Starting the second year of my Masters program and am well in stead to graduate this spring, barring any complications. Scheduling my comps for November and "working" on thesis draft #2, after getting back my bleeding first draft this week. Red ink is a good thing. Working as a research assistant and taking classes. Singing in three choirs in my copious free time (har har). Living with the Boyfriend, happily at that! That basically covers the nitty gritty day-to-day grind. But this summer! Was busy!

I spent much of the summer traveling - 2 weeks in Wyoming, visiting Yellowstone and presenting research at a mammalogy conference, which was good times. Saw lots of bears and wolves and moose and elk and even a weasel! Spent much of the rest of the summer tromping around fields in search of ticks, since I'm now working on modeling tick-borne diseases in the area, which is actually really interesting and fun science! My boss and freaking awesome, and I am developing an appreciation (not yet affection) for the evil little parasites :) BUT the time that was not spend doing field work or presenting at conferences was spent in SOUTH AFRICA! (Pictures on Facebook!)

Africa was Amazing. So many elephants! SO MANY BIRDS. I am now an official bird geek, with books and binocs and everything. Oh, sweet nerdery. I was at a conference bringing together mathematicians and conservation biologists to discuss how best to use models in conservation biology, which was challenging and interesting and I got to meet so many cool people! And (best of all?) it was all expenses paid. For three weeks! I pet a cheetah and a baby rhino and was attacked by a vulture and got thiiiis close to wild elephants and am now pursuing really cool international collaborations with adorable Tunisian mathematicians. In summary: Africa, I love you, and will be coming back ASAP.

And that was my summer! And this was an update. I miss you all - how are you? Tell me about your lives.

"There's a stat for that!"
Classes for this semester all look exciting! Here's the lineup:

Population Genetics
Faith and Conservation Ecology
Jazz Choir
Concert Choir

Research is in all caps mostly because I have to get up at 6 tomorrow morning (5 hours, crap...) to go out into the field, trap some mammals and measure some pine trees. The good news is that I should gather most of my thesis data this semester, which means the next year will just be writing, analyzing and re-writing. Thus begins my thrust to get out with an MS in two years!

Also, I am so ENTHUSED to take a grad level Biometry class. This is SO NEEDED. And the professor looks great! And we're using Zar, so no new textbook is needed :) Remember Zar, Beloit bio majors?? Wheee stats.

On top of this will be managing the animal research lab at ODU. Yes, managing. OMG bureaucracy. Beaurocracy and hamsters. And rabbits. SO MANY RABBITS.

Bed, then field research!

How is everyone?
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Countdown to 2010
This means we only have two year left until the apocalypse, right? Let's make 'em count, people!

I was at brunch today for 11 hours. A post-holiday brunch with friends turned into savoring eggs, bacon, waffles and mimosas well past lunchtime. Which turned into lively discussions until dinnertime. Which turned into pizza and red wine and a movie until 10 at night! I love days like today.

End of Year MemeCollapse )

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday! I miss you all.
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Adult moment
As a relatively recent college grad (although, technically I'm a grad student, I suppose...) I'm still pretty new to the whole "being a responsible adult" thing. And therefore I occasionally have moments where I go, "Yeah! Look how grown-up that was!" and pat myself on the back. Paying bills on time is nice and all, but really it's the simple things like having a glass or two of wine with dinner that make me smile.

Ha! I can have a glass of wine with my dinner in my home! I'm a grown-up!

Have any of you had any "adult moments" recently? I realize there are those of you who have either recently gotten married or had babies in the last week. That totally counts.

Cock-eyed optimism
I feel like everything I've been posting lately is perky and happy. I guess I've been pretty good lately! Maybe I need some angst and drama to balance it out?


Good things lately!

- Dinners. This is surprising, because I can't cook worth a damn. But my roommate can! And we have a really awesome grocery store just around the corner that has specials where they sell whole roasted chickens for $3. Tonight: Roasted chicken, delicious homemade Mexican coleslaw, roasted sweet potatoes in butter drizzled with agave nectar (OMG), cheap white wine and some homemade coconut-chocolate chip brownies. Oh, yeah.

- My apartment. I know a lot of people that could live in a shoebox and be perfectly happy (more power to them!), but it's actually really important to me to have a nice environment to come home to. It's been mentioned before, but the values of a nice neighborhood, trees, crickets lulling you to sleep at night, and a space that you really feel comfortable and content in can not be overstated.

- My classes! I have been enjoying every class I'm taking, all without too much worry about homework. I only really have 2 classes that assign homework (and only one that has deadline), so basically I get to participate in interesting discussions and read relevant papers. Good stuff.

- Thesis. Nothing to really say here yet, but I have some really cool ideas percolating. Let's just say if all goes well I'ma Rachel Carson out on all ya'lls asses! *snap*

-The beach. I don't go as much as I should, but once a week is my goal. Hopefully weather permitting there will be beach time this weekend! I loveloveLOVE warm ocean water and active surf.

-Thrifting! I found thrift store mecca. Seriously, I found a street that has three (count them, three!) big giant thrift store on it. I treated myself to a major shopping spree this weekend and purchased: 2 incredibly cute dresses, 1 pair sexy high heeled boots, 1 bomber jacket, 6 adorable tops, 1 pair of awesome jeans that fit really well, 1 jean pencil skirt, 1 belt, 2 drinking glasses and 1 shell-shaped soap holder. Total cost? $32.

-Project Runway, Bones, and Top Chef. New seasons of all of the above. Nuff' said.

-I caught 27 assorted voles, mice, and cotton rats this morning. Rodenty goodness.

Lists seem like good ways to organize thoughts, I guess! I hope everybody's not totally sick of hearing things that make me happy. There's everyday crap to navigate through, of course, but overall I can't really complain. So...I won't.

I hope you're all well! What's making your lives a little brighter?

Schedule for this semester!
After fighting uphill battles for weeks trying to force my way into closed classes (as my roommate put it, tilting windmills), I finally have a kick-ASS schedule for my first semester of grad school. Behold!

Conservation Biology (5 credits)
Mammalogy (3 credits)
Marine Biological Invasions (1 credit)
Responsible Conduct of Research (1 credit, and hey it's a required course)
Concert Choir (1 credit, but doesn't really count since it's technically an undergrad class)
Jazz Choir (1 credit, see above)

This plus working 20+ hours a week in the Animal Care Facility and starting research for my own thesis (and maybe some side projects as well...) should make for a VERY busy first semester! Oh, not to mention all the field work I've been doing catching small mammals and rattlesnakes (not at the same time unless you count the gray squirrel food bolus one of the snakes just ate...)!

Holy crap how did it get to be midnight?! Damn you, Siren call of Top Chef! My picks for final three: Kevin, Jennifer, and one of the two brothers.

Next up: pet the cat, check email, shower, bed!

EDIT: Also, when auditioning for Choir today (which went perfectly, literally) I sat in a pile of money (metaphorically). The choir conductor basically said, hey, you're good! How much are they paying you to be here? Oh, hey, here have this LARGE PILE OF MONEY I have hanging around to cover the costs of choir and then some.

Me: Yes, please?

I win at today.

Looks like I get to get up early tomorrow and go catch me some wild canebrake rattlesnakes! Gonna go catch 'em and replace the batteries in their radio transmitters. I've been warned that the field site is a swampy mosquito infested mess.


Break it down now: a life update
Operation Grad School: so far so good!

School: I'll be starting classes on September 1st, and I should be taking some pretty fabulous ones this semester. The nice thing about grad classes is you only have to take things that are relevant! Although apparently 10 hours of class/week is a full load now? I guess I'll have to take the ol' advisor's advice on that one, because 15 feels more reasonable to me... (Bad! bad overachieving Robyn! Don't fail out of grad school in the first semester!)

Living situation: I have a fabulous apartment! Come visit me in it! Seriously, I'm in a glorious 1930's brick building on the very top floor in a spacious apartment filled with sunlight. It's in a historic neighborhood within easy walking distance of the organicy restaurants, independent movie theatre, and trendy shopping area. Add a very cool roommate (TV producer, has worked for Nat Geo, very chic, and enjoys baking) with two affectionate cats and a private bathroom (oh, sweet privacy). You know when you walk into a space and just sigh with the relief of being there? That's home right now. Delicious.

Job: Working in the animal care facility! This means I get 61% of my tuition waived and a generous stipend to take care of fluffy bunnies, mice, and the occasional snake. The boss is very sweet and is right there with my on my scheme to enrich the environment of every captive animal ever, and my co-workers are all awesome. Update: mice are cute.

There is salsa dancing three nights a week within walking distance of my place. My roommate has introduced me to a very interesting bunch of people, most of whom dance and all of whom get together Sunday nights for themed potlucks while watching "True Blood" on HBO. And I'm excited to start classes and even more excited to start researching! My baby (read: 20 year old) sister is coming to visit me next weekend, which will be great. I'm within a 20 minute drive of gorgeous white sand beaches where (I shit you not) actual wild dolphins can be viewed.

I think I made a pretty good choice with this whole grad school thing. Dolphins, snakes, bunnies, and soon to be meadow voles! Also hush puppies, sweet tea, and mild, mild winters. Now, I just need everyone reading this to arrange to come and visit sometime in the next two years!

How're ya'll?

Guess I'm moving to Virginia tomorrow! Everybody keep their fingers crossed that I don't die while moving all my crap up five flights of stairs. Hoo boy. I start work Tuesday!

In other news, paragliding is awesome and I need to find a place to do more of it in Virginia. Any suggestions?

That's pretty much all for now. Hope all is well with all you guys! Once I get settled, please do come visit me :)


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