Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tuesday is Knitalong day

For sockapalooza. I have the yarn and a pattern but I foolishly left my flash drive at home and can't upload the pix, yet. If I get inspired, I may go home in the middle of the day and get it and come back to upload pix. Otherwise, I'll edit this post tomorrow to add them. You may ask why I'm posting now if I'm thinking I'm going to edit it later. Well, I'm worried my sock sister may be getting concerned since I haven't said anything about sockapalooza except that I joined. So, here is an update.

The sock pattern I've chosen is from Sensational Knitted Socks. I'm knitting the green fair isle sock on the front cover, but I'm using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in a pastel colorway and a purple washable wool as the base color. This will be my second attempt at fair isle and I'm a little nervous about it because I pulled the floats too tight on my first attempt and it didn't look very good. Ah well, you live, you learn, you loosen up.

To help out with my fair isle knitting, I'm buying one of these jobbies. I tried doing the two-fisted technique, knitting continental in one hand and English with the other hand, but I hated knitting English. Therefore, I'm going to try the strand separator, holding both strands in the left hand and see how that goes.

So, that's all the further I've gotten with the sock pal socks. Stay tuned for future developments.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


I am sorry I haven't been blogging, but personal tragedy has reared it's ugly head and I was too sad to post about it until now. If it were much later in the year, this post might be named T is for Tea (but it's not, I know, I'm supposed to be doing D, and I will, I swear, but I have to cry about this first). I will save the particulars for that post, but I just wanted to let you know that I am something of a tea freak drinker.

So, imagine how I felt when I came home from the knitting guild meeting Tuesday evening and walked into the kitchen to get the scissors and found this:

In my horror, I screamed. And then, I turned, and my eyes fell on this:

I then screamed even louder. From the living room, my husband (who was home during the horrific incident) shouted, "The teapots had a fight!" To which I responded, "How could you let me just walk into the kitchen without telling me?!?!?!?"

What is responsible for this carnage, you ask? Well, in the words of my husband:

"I was rearranging things on the top of the refrigerator when the [small white teapot with cup] jumped off the fridge and attacked the other one. I tried to stop it, but I was too late."

Yes folks, it was a battle to the death. I had never realized that the white teapot harbored such ill-will towards the black teapot (which is actually a clay tea kettle). I feel like a bad teapot guardian, as though I might have prevented this terrible tragedy. If only I had paid more attention to the little white teapot and maybe gotten it into therapy, this horrible murder/potticide might have been avoided. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20 and I shouldn't blame myself, but I still feel slightly guilty.

Now, it is a measure of how much I like tea that there are three other teapots in the apartment (don't worry, I have instituted teapot counseling and am watching them closely as I know potticide can be something of an epidemic). But, the white teapot was the smallest one--just a two-cup pot, and came with it's own cup that it sat atop ("But the cup's okay," my husband assured me, "it's just that the handle was broken off"), and therefore perfect for brewing a little chamomille tea before bed. I can hold off finding a new one, and give myself time to grieve. But, the tea kettle, I can't go without that for very long (although my husband never did understand why I needed one when we had a microwave and could heat single cups of tea in there). Roommie says I should buy a ridiculously expensive one and dare hubby to comment on it, but I really loved that clay one, so I may get another just like it. (Btw, I'm saving the bamboo handle so I can knit a little bag and use that as the handle, thus memorializing the kettle--I haven't figured out what to do to memorialize the white one).

So, such is the state of affairs in our household. However, there was a ray of light recently. Here is a pic of Roommie just moments before he went out the door to get that thing on his arm removed (which he had suffered through having for several weeks due to having minor surgery on his arm):

P.S. It's a good thing I proofread my posts. I had composed this in html, and during the proofreading realized I had accidently switched the pic of Roommie with the 2nd murder/potticide pic. Go back and read the post imagining the two pix switched. That was the best giggle I had all day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


I just realized there seems to be three of my red scarf posts on my blog. Not sure how that happened???? I'm trying to delete them, but Blogger doesn't seem to be getting the message.

Happy Valentine's Day!

With Valentine's Day being on the exceedingly inconvenient day of Tuesday, and because DH has a proposal due on the 16th, we are putting off our celebration until the weekend. The good news is, we'll be able to buy Valentine's boxes of Godiva chocolates cheap. The bad news is I'm going to have to cook dinner tonight because we won't be going out. Oh well.

But, I figured it was okay to celebrate V-day on the blog so here's a pic of me and my Valentine:
I figured I'd put in our Christmas pic since we never did end up sending it around to people. This was taken on Christmas Eve, just after we had decorated the tree and it took us 4 attempts to take a picture using the timer that had both of us and the tree in it.

In other news, the Red Scarves should have been received by their recipients by today. There is a report about it here. I looked through the photo gallery and I think I may have seen one of my scarves
. I'm about 90% sure it's my scarf. Even if it's not, I still like to think it's my scarf. :)

Edit: Apparently I made a boo-boo in downloading that image of my scarf--I wasn't supposed to do that! So, I have deleted the image. But the link is still there and you can go puruse the pix and see if you can identify my scarf. It's the multicolor one. Sorry about that!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Red Scarves

As promised, here are the pix of the scarves for the Red Scarf Project.

Cabled Scarf

This scarf was a lot of fun to make and I managed to finish it without getting bored with the pattern. I can see a lot more cabled projects in my future (but first I need to learn how to cable without a cable needle, because I want to be one of the cool kids). It ended up being 11 inches wide and about 7 feet long. This is a picture of it while it's blocking. The pattern is out of a Vogue Knitting Scarf book. The yarn is Caron One Pound acrylic. Super-ultra machine washable. :)

Multicolored scarf

This is the second scarf I whipped up real quick when I finished the cabled scarf before the deadline. It's two skeins of Patons Melody, a bulky weight yarn, one skein red, and one skein rainbow colors. Basically, I just knit garter stitch alternating the two yarns at will until I ran out of one of them. This one was probably about 6 feet long.

SSNB Red Scarfers

And these are the scarves knit by the Southside Stitch 'n Bitch group, modeled by their creators. I am the one second from the right in this picture. We didn't have time to pose creatively because our beautiful and talented delivery woman had to leave 2 minutes ago.

I'm looking forward to next year's project for the Orphan Foundation of America, whatever it may be. I'm thinking probably not red scarves again because then the kids who are still in the program will end up with two red scarves....

Sunday, February 12, 2006

C is for.....

Cell Biology

As the photo boldly proclaims, I took this picture. What the hell is this picture you ask? These are yeast cells magnified 100 times. I work with yeast. Unlike people, it's a lot easier to grow large numbers of yeast and you don't feel bad when you kill them. The glowing dots are structures within the cell that I have made glow under UV light by adding a fluorescent protein.

This picture took 1.5 years of my life to get.

And people wonder why it takes so long to develop a new drug.....

So, cell biology. It's the subject I'm getting my PhD in. Ironically, it also happens to be the worst grade I got in college in any class (a C- ; don't even get me started on multiple choice questions that have five blanks in them that's only worth one point total). You may be wondering how cell biology came to be my subject of choice. Well, that's something of a long story. As a kid, I had been interested in physical sciences until I crashed headlong into physics. After that, I decided I would be a chemist. I most certainly was NOT going to be a biologist. I really and truly hated my life sciences class in 7th grade. We had to go out and collect leaves and bugs and things and properly label them for a class project. You had to get a minimum number of points and the kind of thing you brought in was worth a certain number of points. A live animal was worth more than, say, a leaf from a tree. Now, I was never one to like reptiles and amphibians and bugs and those are the things that are easiest to catch. I had to find and identify an obscene number of leaves to get the requisite number of points. We also had to dissect animals. At the beginning of the school year, we got a Big Bag o' Preserved Animals. I don't know where these things came from, but I tell you if I ever run into a grasshopper that large in the wild, I'm turning tail and running away fast. The smell of the clam dissection made me so ill I refused to even try mussels or clams for years afterward. Nope. Not going to be a biologist.

Then, in 10th grade biology, we studied genetics. Just your basic population genetics, but it was enough to get me interested. You mean you could be a biologist and not touch icky things? Bonus! So, when I went to college, I came in Undeclared because I couldn't decide between majoring in biology or chemistry. And I never did decide between the two. BU came up with a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major that very year (great! I can do both biology and chemistry). So, that's what I majored in and that's when I took cell biology for the first time and I learned to hate multiple-choice exams with the red-hot fury of a thousand suns. I almost changed my major to chemistry after that year, since I seemed to be doing better in my chemistry classes (where they did not have multiple choice exams, btw). But I stuck it out and the next year, I was thrown into a Molecular Biology class with graduate students (I was a junior at this point). Essay exams. I got an A-. (And if not for the bad grade in cell and the one in genetics--which had the same kind of exams--I would've graduated magna cum laude, but as it was, I missed it by 0.01 points. Grrrrrrr)

When I graduated college, I couldn't decide what the hell I wanted to do, so I worked as a research tech for awhile and eventually decided to go to graduate school. I had applied to a cluster of departments that included a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology dept. and a Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology dept. I entered in BMB, but quickly found out that the department should have been named Biochemistry and Biophysics and high-tailed it out of there (I'm so bad at physics, I married my physics tutor so he could take care of any physics I might encounter in the future). So, I ended up in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. Then, I ended up joining a lab that studied cell biology and my fate was sealed. For good or ill, I am a cell biologist.

I really do like it--there are so many fascinating things going on in the cells of every living thing. Structures are made and destroyed. Cells reproduce themselves and program themselves to suicide. They have their own waste disposal system, postal service, power plant, and library. And all of those processes are so incredibly complicated, it boggles the mind.*

Mostly, though, when I finally get my PhD, I want to teach cell biology, not research it. The life of a research scientist is stressful and not the kind of life I want to live. The life of a teacher is also stressful, but I believe that I will love it enough to put up with the bullsh*t, unlike with research.

So there you have it. Cell Biology. Sounds a lot friendlier than Molecular Genetics, doesn't it? People still look scared when I tell them, though. I've tried to find a way to break it to them gently, but no luck so far.

*And, as I typed that last sentence, I realized that I had inadvertantly just written a line than is often used to justify the idea of Intelligent Design. And, lest anyone read my blog and think that a scientist has just agreed with them about ID, I want to state very, very clearly that I do not agree with the idea of ID in any way, shape or form. In fact, I believe it is horrible science at best and a fraud and a ploy to try to get schools to teach about creationism at worst. This is not any kind of statement about my religious beliefs or lack thereof. Science and religion are separate disciplines that employ radically different ways of exploring the natural world. You are free to disagree with me, and if it offends you in some way, then you are free to stop reading my blog.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I'm back

Well-rested, feeling recharged, and on the verge of being overwhelmed again. But, that's the way life is around here!

I got the name and info on my sock pal for:

This is my first sock exchange and my first internet exchange and I'm very excited about it!

So, now I just need to choose the yarn and pattern and get started!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Well, I tried

I was going to upload the red scarf pix today, but my connection is abominably (sp?) slow. Therefore, you'll just have to wait until I get back from sunny Arizona!