Saturday, November 28, 2009

Soaked would be an understatement

My dog is really smart. And I'm not just saying that. She knows how to get out of every fence ever made, knows where the secret stash of food is hidden and will judge you if you eat them without sharing with her, and knows that the bathroom either means bath time for her or you. If it is for you she will help you lick the lotion off of your legs and make sure that you are clean enough by her standards, but if it means bath time for her she does everything in her power to get away.

So today was judgement day for my dog, see if Layla is good she gets to go to the park, have her leash taken off and she gets to just run. Her job, that she has been officially promoted to including taking secret dog oaths known only to her, is to rid the park of all the squatters. The squirrels, the geese, and even the occasional small child. She lives for this job and takes it very seriously. She checks every tree for squirrels, and is especially fond of the really fat ones. Her new found love though are the geese. When she sees a flock of them she is gone. Her ears pressed back, legs flying full force until she rounds them up and out into the river. They are not allowed in her park.

Getting the geese to the river however is never enough. She personally escorts them into the river, until she realizes she doesn't like swimming. So she goes chest deep into the cold river to keep playing with the geese until her attention is drawn by more geese still in the park, or a squirrel in a tree.

So after three days of endless walks with this dog and many dips into the river in pursuit of the fat geese she stinks. Absolutely stinks. It is a mixture of dog sweat, thanksgiving leftovers, putrid river stench and goose poop. The obvious choice is for her to take a bath. So today was the day.

I pulled her into the bathroom, tempting her with her favorite treat of toothpaste. By the time she realized where she was, I had the door closed and the water running. She gracefully hopped into the tub, deceivingly submissive, convincing me that this job would be easy. The water started, the shampoo was on and as I let go of her collar to fill up the pitcher she made a run for it. She jumped out of the tub, skidded across the floor and started scratching at the door for a savior. None came, but she wasn't going back in so easily. I imagine fighting with her would be the same as with a three-year old who doesn't want to take a bath either.

After a long epic drawn out battle, the dog is clean, the bathroom is dripping and I'm covered in dog shampoo and soaked from head to toe.

I'm not sure who won this battle, but I'm pretty sure the dog is determined to win the war because she is currently rolling in the dirt out back.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


She stood as if in a dream. Present, but not quite able to take everything in. Her small broken frame was made even more miniscule by the fact that she was flanked by her one remaining son, who stood over 6 foot 5 and her husband who was passed years ago in the height department, but could still hold his own. She gracefully hugged well-wishers and thanked everyone for coming. When it was finally my turn, I stooped down to her height and grasped her tight, enfolding her little frame. She held me for a long time before whispered a few gentle words in my ear.

She whispered, "Never doubt that you are loved. Always know how loved you truly are by all."

The tears rimmed my eyes as I turned away. As I walked around the corner I knew, she had a new mission. In her grief she stood strong and sent the message she knows everyone must hear. It didn't matter that some manner of those words would be whispered into every young person's ear that morning. The power came from the fact that it was a message she longed to tell her son, but instead had to tell everyone else's sons and daughters. A message that she had sent him so many times in so many ways, yet could no longer whisper those most important words in his ear.

So fellow interwebbers. In this time of thanksgiving and blessing, know that you are loved. Each and every one of you. You are loved by all, and especially by me.

Enjoy your family, hug them close and tell them how much they really mean to you. Love on each other and be with one another, because the days are fleeting and you might miss an opportunity to let some one else know how much they mean to you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

physics and turkeys

I've tried sitting down to write three different times. I wrote about how i'm obsessed with turkeys and how the sketches of turkeys running away from their impending doom are splattered all over my class notes. I wrote about how the bags under my eyes are so big that they could hold all of a shop-a-holic's black friday finds. I wrote about a comment from a friend about how she was flabbergasted that someone as good at physics as I was could have such a tormented heart (her words, not mine). Despite all these, I just couldn't get out what I was feeling.

Unsettled is probably the best word for it. Anxious and a little worried. I've avoided certain people for quite a while now and I am going to be forced to see them face to face when we are most vulnerable. And the worst part is that we will be forced to go through the healing process together over the loss of a young friend.

I don't think I'm ready for that. I'm not the same person and I don't know if they are willing to see that, and that is not okay with me.

Is that selfish to be thinking of myself during this time? Probably, but I don't think I'm emotionally stable enough for tomorrow. I mean physics can only take my tormented heart so far....

Friday, November 20, 2009

This little heathen went to market....

Oh God of Science who presides over all scientists

How powerful and mighty you are.

May your experiments succeed and your hypothesis be proven

In vitro and in vivo.

Fill us this day with endorphins and adrenaline.

And connect our presynaptic neurons as we connect our postsynaptic neurons

and lead us not into contamination, but deliver us from failed experiments

for thine is the work over time and success forever


-Yes this could be seen as a little blasphemous, but how else was I going to stay busy in the last ten minutes before my presentation? Every scientists needs a little help now and then. Props if you get the equation reference and I guess a cite to the Lord's Prayer should be given...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

are you sick of this story yet?

The old lamp post caused my body to cast its long lean shadow against the sidewalk as I walked through the crisp cool night in the direction of home. It was early enough that the wind had died down and the moon shown as strong as it ever would tonight. Despite the calm and quiet, my mind roared. It was screaming about the week, a failed P Chem test, assignments that were due, people I needed to see, food I hadn't eaten, drama that shouldn't involve me, and things that needed to be taken care of. As my boots plodded down each familiar cement square I tried to remember the feeling of the Portuguese wind.

The wind that brought a refreshing, uplifting magical feeling every time it blew past and ruffled my dress. But I couldn't. I couldn't remember the smells that floated on the breeze that would lead me on adventures in search of their origin. Or the promise it carried. Or how it seemed lighter because it had been warmed by the sun. Or its salty aftertaste that was like a calling card for the beach.

I could only remember the frigid Jewell wind that bites into your soul and holds on with an iron grip. The kind that takes your breath away and forces you to hunker down to hold onto what little body heat you have.

This is how I view these two places. One warm and full of adventure and free, the other bitter cold and constraining.

I have never felt the urge so strong to run from here. I thought it was bad when I first got back from Portugal, but it's consuming my life. I'm exhausted from the fight it takes to keep my feet on the ground. I'm ready to jump ship and get the hell out of here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Stream of consciousness

I drove home yesterday and almost didn't remember the way. Driving always renews the writer in me. I have time to just think and digest. I come up with great things I want to write about and write entire stories in my head, but then when it comes time to actually write them down I only remember parts of them, and they are not nearly as good as what I remember them to be. These are the tidbits that I remember. Maybe one of these days I'll sit down and finish writing the entire stories, but for now these few disconnected lines will just have to keep you occupied...

I dreamed about saving a seagull last night. I had to use a bucket because no one wanted me to touch him. After saving him from the water and getting him upright in the bucket he told me I did a lousy job....

When i think about all the funerals I have attended, I always associate them with some sensory memory in cars. A conversation, a smell, even seeing something that doesn't belong. I'm not sure I even remember the funeral, just the memories in the car. The new car smell mixed with leather reminds me of my grandfather's funeral, and a dark lonely drive with one lone set of brake lights miles ahead of you reminds me of my grandmother's....

He wants to live his life like a country song, full of crazy abandon, gravel roads, and home-cooking...

It's hard to change first impressions. There are times though when I'm interacting with someone and my eyes are opened to what they really look like. Or what they really stand for. Usually it results in me staring at them, overwhelmed and awestruck by the connections my brain just made. This happened recently when my Professor was talking about poop....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Scientist

I used to start these blogs with lyrics from songs.

At the beginning is was just the songs that were stuck in my head, or the ones that I woke up singing, but then a metamorphous began. They began to be little messages that I would send out to people who probably would never get them. They would never understand that they were written for them, but that was half of the point.

After awhile they turned into messages to just one person. Lyrics that reminded me of that person, or made me think of a certain shared memory, or even the ones that declared my love for them.

So the other day I stumbled across an Portuguese friend's blog. His latest post was one that was following in my message-in-a-blog style. And I'm pretty sure it was meant for me. I mean there was no missing it.

Here's his post...

Nobody said it was easy
It's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start

So at this point I didn't think anything of it. It wasn't until I heard the song on the radio later that I discovered it's meaning. The lyrics are from the chorus of a song by Coldplay called The Scientist. If that isn't a coded message, I don't know what is....

Monday, November 2, 2009


I went to talk to my advisor, so that he could remove the registration restriction so that I could enroll for classes in two days. Better late than never, I guess. And really after seven semesters I've got this whole routine down.
While I was standing in his office, I was pacing back and forth and surveying the collections of goodies that every quality science lover has. He had every shape and size of glassware; beakers bigger than my head, flasks full of fluorescent glass bulbs, even itty-bitty glassware that looked like it served no purpose. He had shelves full of books covering his favorite science topics, for a little light reading in his free time. But his most prized possession was a collection of flies that had been pinned and labeled in a fold-down glass box. I normally just glance over the flies because they kind of make me sick, but today I was enticed. I looked over the little ones, the ones that shone green, even the big ones with round fat bellies.
I've been presented with a fork in the road. One is wide-open and free, but requires cutting a few heartstrings. The other has the outcome similar to the flies in the glass box. Both are exhilarating for obviously different reasons. Somedays I'm ready to veer left and be wild and free. Other days I'm confident in my choice to go right.

But what is the right choice? And what will I choose when the decision absolutely has to be made...

See, I'm just not sure if i want to be pinned down yet.