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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

My parents arrive today, signalling the beginning of the holidays for us. This means much needed time off from work, and also time off from the blog. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and happy 2012 to everyone! See you in the new year!

Fig. 1: Evan's Christmas photo shoot (credit: daycare staff).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December Scientiae - Ulimate Goals

The last Scientiae of the year asked bloggers to write about their ultimate career goal, what they want to achieve and/or be known for in years to come. We had as many variations of this answer as we did bloggers!


Brigindo, from Dirt and Rocks, wasn’t sure about goals and dreams when the call for post went out. But, after some thought, she realized it might be a good exercise to go through. She questions whether she wants to stay in academia and/or in SouthLife, and what that would mean for her and b. Even though she has no specific plans, it’s “…an exciting place to be.”


Cindy, at Dipper Ranch, beautifully writes in her email: “My ultimate goal in becoming an ecologist has evolved from dreamy days filled with long walks on beaches, in forests, and across fields of wildflowers to learning and sharing how our local ecological systems work. Discovering the subtle plant/animal interactions of The Coyote Brush Highway may have been just a simple act, but it was exciting to me and satisfying to share its mysteries with others. On a day-to-day basis, this is what being an ecologist means most to me.” Read her post about the Coyote Brush Highway, complete with gorgeous photos.


Patchi, at My Middle Years, cannot ever remember having big ambitions or lofty goals…which turns out to be her goal after all: being a part of a larger puzzle.


Barefoot Doctoral is in this science game for the fun (yes, you read that right!)…when it comes right down to it, what more would you want than doing something you love and being a great role model for students?


Over at The Tightrope, Dr. O struggles with the idea of the ultimate goal --- what goal is big enough to be the ultimate, but is also attainable? After thinking about her own life and a life of a friend who recently passed, she realizes her ultimate goal is to always find joy in all aspects in her life. She says of her goal, “Right now, this is the best I’ve got.” I, for one, think it’s a goal we should all aspire too!


JaneB at Now, what was I doing? went into science because she wanted “…to be Dr. Spock, not Captain Kirk or Dr. McCoy.” And not just because Spock was smart, but because of he was awful with people…and it was OKAY that he was awful with people. I love the idea of teenage JaneB fantasizing about “finding new life forms” instead of some stupid boy (don’t we all wish we spent our teenage years doing something more useful?). There are a lot more wonderful qualities that JaneB has learned from Spock, and I think it would be a wonderful world with more Spock-like people the way she has described it!


Melissa, at Confused at a Higher Level, writes about some very excellent lessons she has learned in the past year. Among them is to be true to yourself and your goals. You will be a much happier, and authentic, person if you choose your career goals based on what you love and not on what you think will make you successful.


And me? Perhaps the loftiest goal of all: I just want the whole world to stop confusing “astrology” with “astronomy”.


Thank you for everyone who contributed to this carnival!

Monday, December 19, 2011

14 Months

Here's what has happened in the last month in Evan-land:

- Not walking unassisted yet, but getting more and more confident while cruising.

- He said "Hi" for the first time at the end of November. He says Mama and Dada/Daddy more and more (and uses the words in context more and more), and says "No" too. He has a lot of sounds for specific things. He tends to say "ma-moo" for more and "moo-moo" for his soother.

- He can copy our sounds. If he points to me and says "dada", I point to myself and say "mama", and then he'll say "mama". If I point to a tree and say "tree", he says "tee" (though he hasn't used that word on his own yet).

- He is a climber! He can climb up on to all our living room furniture, and likes climbing to the top/back of the couch. He can also get back down from our furniture, and can get down the stairs.

- He definitely has better spatial awareness. If something rolls under the couch, he will get down on his belly to look for it.

- He has pretty good memory - yesterday he threw his soother into the corner, and 20 minutes later he went to that corner to get it.

- Speaking of throwing - boy, does this kid LOVE to throw things. And bang things.

- We're teaching him to be gentle with touching - especially when touching people or animals. He's doing pretty well!

- The daycare had a Christmas concert last week, and Evan was one of the angels. It may have been the cutest frickin' thing I've ever seen.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Ultimate Goal

December's Scientiae will be hosted by yours truly. I asked bloggers:

"What is your ultimate career goal? Do you want to win the Nobel Prize? Cure cancer? Build a better mouse trap? What is it that you want to be remembered for career-wise?"
This past summer, I attended (and help organize) a conference on science education at the post-secondary level. The banquet had Adam Bly, founder and CEO of SEED Media Group, as the guest speaker (if you ever get the chance to hear him speak, DO IT!). His entire talk was inspiring - it was almost like a religious experience for me. He makes his living being a big thinker and to get others to think big too. The part that hit me the most was when he challenged delegates to re-imagine their approach to science literacy:

“What if our goal was not the training of thousands of scientists, but rather the education of seven billion scientifically literate citizens?"

This summarizes my ultimate career goal to a "T". When it comes right down to it, many outreach programs are all about recruitment. I get it - we want the "best and brightest" to study in our research area, to continue to grad school, and eventually become scientists or professors.

But, in my mind, this is not what's important. Why should we focus on such a small number of people? For example, there are only about 300 professional astronomers in Canada of a population of 34.7 million. That's 0.00086% of the population. That's not what you'd call a large reach.

To me, science education and outreach is all about creating a scientifically literate society. All 34.7 million in Canada, and all 7 billion (and counting) in the world. I want everyone on this planet to be able to read a news story about "proof" against evolution or global warming and be critical. I want every patient to not take whatever their doctor says as the end-all-and-be-all advice for their health decisions. Hell, I want people to stop using "astrology" when they mean "astronomy".

Is this goal too lofty for one person? Most definitely. Is it something I'm passionate enough to dedicate my (work) life too, to try and change the world one person at a time? Absolutely.

I'm not the type to have "causes". I don't get riled up about politics or religion. In fact, I'm one of those people who can see many sides to many issues, and generally accept the viewpoint of others. But, when it comes to the understanding of science - especially when public opinion matters more and more and when governments are making decisions on what science to fund and what to cut - the level of scientific literacy has to be raised in our world.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

O Christmas Tree!

No matter what kind of mood I'm in, decorating the Christmas tree gets me into the Christmas spirit. It was always a big deal in my house growing up - I fondly remember my Dad swearing as he put the lights up, having to follow the decorating rules (no hanging ornaments on the lights, never put two ornaments on the same branch, try to put the glass ones in front of lights), hanging the stockings, drinking hot chocolate, and snacking on treats and nuts.

In our apartment years, only fake trees were allowed. We did have one, and we did decorated it, but it just didn't have the same feeling. It probably didn't help that we weren't at home for Christmas, so we didn't get to enjoy it for very long. For the past two years, we have been able to get a real tree, and it's so much better. As much of a mess they make, the experience of going out and picking one makes it worth while (and the smell too!).

Last year, Evan (being two months old) slept right through the decorating. This year, we were hoping we could do it with him. But, by the time we got the tree set up and had dinner, he was overly tired. So, he went to bed with the naked tree up in the living room (to which he said "Ooooo!!!" loudly when DH brought it into the house) and woke up to it decorated. I think this actually worked in our favor, because he hasn't yet figured out that the ornaments can come off. He's very interested in the tree, and gets really excited when we turn the lights on, but all he does is stares and points at different ornaments. That's fine by me! Perhaps next year he can help.

Fig. 1: Naked tree.

Fig. 2: DH's favorite ornament - a glass blow fish.

Fig. 3: My favorite, an old school plane.

Fig. 4: For Cath - the shooting star (came included with a Smirnoff bottle).

Fig. 5: The finished product.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Disappointment

One annoying thing about blogging under my real name and sharing my posts to Facebook is that there are things I cannot write about without catching shit from someone.

There are some things going on right now that are making me very frustrated and disappointed. They are hard for me to deal with, because there is a possibility of confrontation, which (if you're a long-time reader of my blog) is very scary for me. But, if I don't do something about these things soon, I will continue to be taken advantage of.

Being an adult sucks sometimes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Done Lists?

Most of us keep to-do lists - some are more extensive than others. My work to-do list permanently sits on my desktop and is usually about 5-6 pages long. I have it split up into multiple categories, including materials to buy, general tasks, meetings, reports, website updates, grant applications, current large-scale events, current activities in development, activity/program ideas, conferences, recruitment events, and questions and updates for bosses and other meetings.

When I'm done with something, I delete it. I'm starting to think that isn't such a great idea. At least for the big things.

Lately I've been thinking about creating a "done" list. This wouldn't include every little mundane thing I've done, but it would basically be a list of accomplishments...the things I've brought to this position that weren't there before. These would be the things that I could bring up if I needed to write a report about what we've done differently this year, or if I had to justify my existence - or at least the existence of my position.

So, I started a Word file with a bullet list. It's alright, but doesn't seem good enough for some reason. I'm looking for a better way to log this information.

Does anyone else keep a list like this? If so, how do you do it?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Conferences

When I was in graduate school, I wanted to go to TONS of conferences, and went to 2, maybe 3 (if I was lucky), per year. And, honestly, it was a lot more about where the conference was and who (of my friends) were going to be there than the content.

Now? I'd be happy to keep it to 1-2 per year. I just don't want to be away from home for any extended period of time. Plus, I'm not going there to party (on the contrary - I get excited about being able to sleep without interruption!), so to make it worth it, a conference needs to have a lot of applicable sessions and/or opportunities to network with other education & outreach people.

The problem is, now that I'm working in an interdisciplinary research area, there are many more conferences to choose from, and many more where having a presence is important (though perhaps not the most useful for me personally). Luckily, we have graduate students and a couple faculty members that are happy to present posters at conferences they are attended for scientific purposes, but I need to put in my time too.

I'm trying to decide whether I should pick 2-3 conferences and go the same ones each year to build up a network (seeing the same people, etc.), or to choose 1-2 constants but change up the other(s) to meet new people. I know I have some time, but I do think I need to set the precedent this year so there are no surprises or unrealistic expectations in the future.

How many conferences do you attend per year? Do you go to the same conferences every year, or try to change it up? How do you decide which conferences to attend?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Is it the 21st yet?

Because I'm really looking forward to some time off, and that's the day my parents arrive for the holidays. It will be so nice to see them, and I think Evan will really love having them around.

Random tangentially-related news: I hear we might have a green Christmas this year. As much as that would be weird, I don't think I would be saddened by it. Though, I wouldn't mind some snow, as long as it came on Christmas Eve and melted by Boxing Day.

I'm in a grumpy mood today, can you tell? It might be due to the fact that Evan was pretty sick yesterday, and either crying in his crib or asleep but thrashing around in our bed last night. I'm one tired mom-apotamus.

Friday, December 2, 2011

TED

I'm addicted to TED talks recently. Every day they post a new video, and every day my mind is blown. How many amazing people are there out there, anyway?

Recent favorites include:

A talk using dancers instead of PowerPoint

A woman who lost both her legs becomes a professional snowboarder

How to defend ourselves against asteroids

If you don't watch TED talks, I highly suggest you follow them on Facebook or Twitter, and try to watch daily. All the talks are short (usually under 20 minutes) - perfect for while you're eating lunch at your desk - but amazingly inspiring.

It might be one of my new life goals to give a TED talk...or maybe just to even see one.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Something Blue: A Book Review

I love reading "girlie novels" every once in a while. It's like cleansing my pallet between heavier subjects. And, really, who doesn't love some fun reading sometimes?

My most recent "chick lit" novel was Something Blue by Emily Giffin. This is complimentary book to her Something Borrowed. The story picked up where the first left off, but was told from the perspective of the antagonist, Darcy.

Something Borrowed was about how the protagonist, Rachel (the good girl), ended up stealing Darcy's fiance (Dex)...all while Darcy was cheating on Dex with his friend Marcus. Something Blue picked up at the very last scene of the first book, where Darcy finds out about Rachel and Dex, and tells them that she is pregnant with Marcus's baby.

We are all supposed to hate Darcy, because she is self-centered, materialistic, and completely bases any judgement of others on looks, what they wear, and how much money is in their bank account. It works. I hated her in the first book, and I was a bit wary of reading the second because I didn't really want to hear her story.

Of course, in Something Blue, Darcy goes through some trials and tribulations, moves to another country to start over, and in the process becomes a completely different woman and meets the man of her dreams (who was right under her nose the whole time). Believable? Hell, no! Enjoyable to read? Yes! I was addicted to this book and read it in just a few evenings.

For what it is - a light, fun, heart-warming read - I give this book a 4/5.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Hi"

Last night, during bath time, Evan looked at me, waved, and said "hi". Twice.

It actually took a while for me to clue into what happened. Then, of course, I tried to get him to do it again to no avail. That is, until DH and I were getting him into his PJs, and he did it again. I asked DH "did you see that?". He said he did and it was quite obvious that's what Evan said AND meant, since he looked right at me, waved his hand, and said "hi".

Now that I've had more time to digest it, I'm realizing what an amazing moment that was. That was the first time in Evan's life that he communicated with us using English language in context (he's been saying Dada and Mama for a month or so, but most of the time it's not to either of us, so that doesn't really count). I'm sure his brain has been working on this for a long time, and it just finally all came together last night. He will now never forget how to wave and say "hi".

This is both a huge milestone and a turning point. He has started to communicate with us in a way we can understand, and his vocabulary will just get bigger and bigger. The beauty of the brain makes me want to cry sometimes!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Room: A Book Review

Room by Emma Donoghue was our most recent book club choice. This is a story told from the perspective of a five-year-old boy, Jack, who only knows an 11x11-foot room. It's his entire world. That is, until his Mom tells him the truth about the "Outside".

**Spoiler alert**

About a quarter of the way through, I was starting to get a bit tired of things. There isn't a lot to do in such a small space, and it was getting annoyingly repetitive. But, then the pace of the book changed quite rapidly when the mom started talking about trying to escape. At that point, I figured the rest of the book would be about that. So, imagine my surprise when they escaped about half-way through the book!

The second half was all about how they dealt with being in the real world - from the mother's depression and fears, to Jack missing things about Room (after all, it was all he ever knew). One of the most frustrating scenes in the book was when Jack went to the mall with his uncle, aunt, and cousin. It really put it into perspective what kinds of things Jack would just not understand, such as paying for things.

Even though I thought the middle of the book should have really been the end, it was kind of like finding out what happened AFTER. I can't count the number of times I've read a book and wished I could find out what happened. This was a fun treat to actually find out!

I give this book a 4/5.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Date Night!

Monday night, DH and I had our first date night since Evan was born (over a year ago). We went to an annual dinner that DH's work hosts for a rather prestigious award in his general field of research.

It was not a typical date night, but it was wonderful none-the-less. One of the staff members at Evan's daycare volunteered to babysit him, so she took him directly home with her. It was strange having both of us at home and not having him at our feet, reaching up to be picked up or crawl-running around the house.

We got to the venue of the dinner, ran into some of DH's co-workers, and got a glass of wine. We ate hors d'oeuvres and chatted about our day and the people he knew there. We went into the beautifully decorated dining room and ate a four-course meal over a span of almost three hours.

The highlight of the evening was listening to Michael J. Fox speak about his childhood, his acting career, and his fight with Parkinson's. It was funny, touching and inspirational.

At about 9:30, we headed out and picked up Evan (who did really well and was sleeping like an angel). It was a great night, and we can't wait to do it again!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Discipline for a 1-Year-Old?

Evan is doing things that we'd rather him not do, like pulling my hair, rocking the TV stand, and putting things down the heating vents, among others.

I know he's too young for time-outs (though we do put him in his playpen for a while if he's really getting into things) or any real sort of discipline, and that's not really what we want to do at this stage anyway. We'd rather be able to teach him that certain behaviors are unacceptable.

We do tell him "No, Evan" firmly, but he just looks at us, smiles, then goes back to doing what he was doing. Distraction tends to work most of the time, but sometimes we're not able to for some reason or another.

So, any other tips from the peanut gallery? Anything that really worked for you with kids of this age? Anything that really didn't?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

13 Months

Feel free to ignore these monthly posts - they're more for my record!

Evan is 1 year, 1 month old today! What has he been up too?

- At his last appointment (12.5 months), he was 21 lbs 9 oz (35th percentile - up 1o percentile points from last time), and 80.5 cm tall (92 percentile). Tall and lean still.

- He has six teeth now (four on top, two on the bottom)

- He's been down to one nap for about a month now.

- He goes to sleep for the night usually around 7:30pm and wakes up between 6-7am.

- He's completely off of formula. The transition to whole milk was very smooth. He's also down to 4 bottles a day, and we're working on transitioning to sippy cups (he takes water from a sippy cup).

- He is very good at cruising now (walking around furniture, etc.)

- He is starting to stand on his own. He'll pull himself up to standing on something, then slowly let go and stand there for a few seconds. He finds this very exciting (so do we though!).

- He LOVES to point at things.

- He's very into reading lately. He will bring us books and give them to us to read. His favorite right now is Brown Bear, Brown Bear. He will search through his pile of books for it and bring it over to us. If we don't start reading it, he gets very annoyed!

- He can definitely understand what we're saying to him and can follow directions. I can ask him to go get me something and bring it back, or to get me a different book to read, and he will.

- He sticks his tongue out when he's concentrating. It's so cute!

- He loves eating whole versions of food instead of cut up pieces. This is especially true for fruit like apples and pears. If we cut them up, he throws them on the ground.

- His favorite toys are the shape sorters, blocks, and Lego. Oh, and the cat beds :P

- He has formed a special bond with one of the ladies in his daycare room: she rushes to greet him in the mornings, and they call her his surrogate mom!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rippers

A couple days ago, a new local baseball team unveiled their name and logo:

Fig. 1: The London Rippers logo (London Community News).

That's right. They're called the London Rippers and the logo is a creepy looking guy in a top hat and black cloak. Their tag line? "Lurking in Labatt Park* this spring".

Now, that in general probably wouldn't garner much support. I mean, who gives props to a serial killer? But what has enraged the public even more is the timing: this month is Women Abuse Awareness and Prevention month in the province of Ontario, and there have been many highly publicized events for it in our city.

The Rippers organization is defending their choice, saying that "rip" is a common term used in baseball (as in hitting a baseball so hard to rip the cover off). They even have a video on their Facebook page, telling the story of Diamond Jack (the mascot):
"...Diamond Jack, a frustrated hockey player who found he could “rip” the cover off baseballs. Despite his talent, teams grew weary of the expense of replacing balls so Diamond Jack decided to form his own team in London, Ontario." (London Free Press).
It should be noted that, in the video, it tells of how Diamond Jack would sneak into the stadiums at night to practice his hitting (um, of baseballs), and ends with him promising to give opponents a "great scare" as he erupts in evil laughter (CBC).

Some supporters say the name is right in line with teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Nashville Predators. I don't know...are those on the same level?

In any case...if you saw JACK + TOP HAT + BLACK COAT + LONDON + RIPPER anywhere, what would that add up to in your mind?

What do you think? Is the name/logo/tag line offensive, or are people overreacting?

*The local baseball stadium

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DH is a Unicorn

Cloud, over at Wandering Scientist, wrote yesterday about how a woman can in fact be a feminist and be married with children. She writes about how she is married to a mythical creature, a unicorn (men who take on equal workloads at home), and goes on to list how her and her husband separate their home duties. I think it's a great post and, from the comments, there are a lot of good unicorns out there.

DH is a unicorn. Here's how our duties play out, in no particular order:

- We both work full-time. DH typically works 8:30-5pm, while I do 9-4:30pm. He makes more money. Again, like Cloud said, this really has no impact on how our household duties are split (especially since, in our case, we share our finances).

- I cook dinner 95% of the time. DH cleans the kitchen 95% of the time. I love cooking dinner so this works out for me. I probably come ahead in this deal because it's not like he loves cleaning.

- We are pretty even on the diaper changes and bottle feeding.

- DH does the vast majority of the yard work.

- Last year, DH did the vast majority of the snow removal, since someone had to stay inside the house with Evan. Not sure how this will play out this year, since the snow will have to be removed before we both leave for work in the morning, so Evan will still be in the house.

- I take care of all the bills and finances.

- I act as PR for our household. This includes calling people, extending and accepting invitations, sending out birthday and Christmas cards, making appointments, etc..

- DH drops Evan off at daycare, I pick him up.

- DH takes out the garbage (including putting it and the recycling out on the sidewalk each week for pick-up) and scoops the cat box.

- I put together the grocery list and plan our meals each week.

- I do the laundry.

- We have a cleaning service that comes every two weeks. This is an amazing way to buy some free time (another great post by Cloud) and we don't have to fight about who had to clean the toilets.

- We both do bath time with Evan.

- We both put Evan to bed at night (we both lie down with him in our bed until he falls asleep, then we move him to his crib). I actually really love this time, and I think DH does too.

- If Evan wakes up at night, we try to alternate who soothes him.

- If Evan is sick, he wants his Daddy, and DH is much better at dealing with vomit (I have a bit of a phobia about it). I generally administer the medicine (but DH has to "secure" Evan), and am on clean-up duty.

- If Evan needs to stay home from daycare, we try to split it as fairly as possible - sometimes we'll alternate days, other times one might take the morning shift while the other gets the afternoon. Thankfully, both our schedules are fairly flexible.

- I keep track of things we'd like to buy, DH keeps track of projects around the house.

That's all I can think of. I think we split things relatively equally, but it's not like we have a spread sheet that records who does what and when. We just fell into these roles and it's working for us at the moment.

I'll ask the same question as Cloud did at the end of her post: am I oppressed and just don't see it? Am I really married to a unicorn? What's it like in your house?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ahh...

...it's so nice to come home! I don't go away often these days, but when I do I miss home much more than I used too. I just love the happiness, comfort, and sheer peace I feel when I walk through that door.

When I got home on Saturday afternoon from the STAO conference, Evan was sitting on his big car. He saw me, got so excited he started bouncing up and down and giggling, and threw his arms into the air to reach up for me to pick him up. How could I not love coming home to that?

That night, we took Evan to his first ever Santa Claus parade (a bit early in the year, right? Apparently, they moved the date because people were complaining of the snow and cold in previous years. Um, yeah, that's what Christmas season is like in Canada!). He was enthralled with the floats, cars, and bands. He didn't really get what all the fuss was about when Santa passed by, but I'm guessing he'll figure it out next year.

It's good to be home.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Conferencing

Today I head to my first conference since 1) becoming a mother, and 2) starting my new job. It's a conference for K-12 teachers, and we will be hosting an information booth about our education and outreach programs, as well as hosting a workshop about one of our activities.

I'm excited! I really enjoy interacting with teachers, especially the gung-ho ones who want to try new things in their classrooms (who this conference is designed for). I'm also excited to find out what other places are doing in terms of outreach and finding resources for our own activities.

In addition to the job-side excitement, there is also some on the personal side: tonight I will get a whole hotel room all to myself. I will have all evening, from about 5pm onward, to do whatever I please. I have brought knitting, my Kindle, and my swimsuit. There's no telling what tonight may hold (though I have a feeling there will be some serious vegging and/or sleeping).

Tomorrow and Friday night I will be sharing the room, but it's not like I have to worry about changing someone's diaper, giving them a bath without them crying, or trying to get them to sleep before 8pm. At least I hope not. It will be glorious.

Of course, I'll probably miss Evan and DH terribly by the second day, but I plan to squash those feelings as much as possible so I can enjoy my "me" time.

If you're going to be at the STAO conference, email me!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Apple Pie

Contrary to what my blog title suggests, I have never baked an apple pie. Shocking, I know. I'm honestly not a huge fan. There are many other cakes, pies, and other deserts that I'd rather have.

However, one of my fall bucket list items was to bake my first ever apple pie, so that's what I did on Sunday afternoon. I used a recipe called Best Apple Pie Ever from the The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook, and it did not disappoint.

Fig. 1: Don't judge this apple pie by the way it looks...trust me, it was amazing.

I often find apple pie too sweet, so using Granny Smith apples kept that at bay. I'm very happy with the result, and might do it again sometime!

As for the rest of the bucket list, we've done the family portraits, had an awesome Thanksgiving dinner (which DH made this year), celebrated Evan's birthday with a cake and small party, dressed up Evan for Halloween and attended a local street party/parade, went to a pumpkin patch, have taken walks, and played in the leaves. I'm not sure if DH and I will be able to take a day or two off together, and I have not cast-on for a sweater for Evan.

How is your fall going?

Friday, November 4, 2011

December Scientiae - Call for Posts

Here we go - the last Scientiae of the year! This quarter's theme is:

The Ultimate Goal

Sometimes we lose track of why we got into science. But, at some point, I'm sure we all had grandiose dreams of all the things we were going to accomplish as scientists. Sure, those goals may have changed as we evolved from naive and idealistic undergraduate students to where we are now, but surely there's some big idea that's pushing us, even in the distant background.

So, what is your ultimate career goal? Do you want to win the Nobel Prize? Cure cancer? Build a better mouse trap? What is it that you want to be remembered for career-wise?

Feel free to submit variations on the theme or anything else you find appropriate. Please e-mail a permalink to your submission to scientiaecarnival [at] gmail [dt] com by 5pm Eastern Time on December 15th, so the carnival can be posted in time for the holidays!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Reverse Sexism

Is it sexist to have a women's only college or university?

Is there such a thing as reverse sexism?

Discuss.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

On the weekend, we took Evan to a local Halloween street party and parade (our community is awesome, and often has street parties and such throughout the year). Even though the parade didn't start until 6:30pm (which is late when dinner is usually at 6pm and Evan goes to bed around 7pm), Evan did really well and seemed to enjoy it. He especially loves people watching, so put people in weird costumes and it's even better!

Fig.1: Evan in his tiger costume. Not really sure what to make of it yet.

Fig. 2: Slightly tired, waiting for the parade to start.

Fig. 3: Smiles finally!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Isaac's a Boob

I got my cat, Isaac, when I moved to Winnipeg for my masters at the very end of 2002.

Fig. 1: Isaac.

We have been through a lot together: moving five times (once to another city), driving half-way across the country, two cats (a male cat, Claude, who died a few years ago, and now a female cat, Isabella), and of course the addition of a husband and baby. I love him. He's my cuddle buddy, and he still sleeps with me every night. I've often told DH that if I had to choose between him and Isaac, Isaac would win because we've been together longer (DH does not find this particularly funny, but I think I'm being cute).

But, recently I sometimes want to drop-kick the damn cat across the room.

He has this incredibly annoying habit of doing this howling/meowing thing just as Evan is nodding off for the night at about 7pm. Then, he does the same damn thing when DH and I go to bed a few hours later and are just starting to fall asleep.

I don't know why he does it, but I do know how to shut him up: I have to practically mail him a written invitation to get into bed with us. I can't just call him once. Nope. I have to call him 3-4 times before he comes upstairs. Then, once he's in the vicinity of our bedroom, I have to tap the bed. He'll come closer, but will sit beside the bed, waiting for me to make room beside me and tap the bed while saying "come on, Isaac". Finally, after this 5-minute dance, he'll come on to the bed and lie down.

Sometimes that's it for the night. Sometimes it's not --- he'll jump down five minutes later to go check something out and then the whole process starts again.

Isaac, I love you buddy, but SHUT THE HELL UP, ALREADY!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

W(ish)W - Evan's Birthday

Fig. 1: First thing on his birthday-day (he's much more awake than either I or DH).

Fig. 2: Opening presents!

Fig. 3: Birthday Jell-O (he had cake at daycare, so we didn't want him to have that twice in one day).

Fig. 4: Singing "Happy Birthday" to the little man at his second birthday celebration.

Fig. 5: Eating cake :)

Fig. 6: Actually kept the hat on long enough for me to get a cute-ish photo of him. Happy birthday, little man!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Space Exploration: Yay or Nay?

Last week, I did an outreach activity with a class of grade 5-8 gifted students. These events typically go like this: the first day the students learn about impact craters, how they are formed, etc.. They then learn about dependent/independent variables and are given a demonstration of a cratering experiment (dropping balls into a bin of flour). We tell them how they can design their own experiments (choosing to change one independent variable, keeping all others constant, they can measure a change in one dependent variable). The second day, they design and run their experiments. The final day, we come back to the classroom to find out what they did, what issues they had, etc., and then do a show-and-tell with impact rocks and meteorites.

This class, however, took things in a completely different direction. Apparently, during the second day, they began to talk about whether funding for space exploration should be continued. They got so wrapped up in this discussion that the teacher wanted them to act out a debate with us (the "experts") there to add information as necessary.

So, on the third day, we ran this debate. Each student decided how they felt about the subject and were congregated by groups around tables (yes to human and robotic space exploration, yes to only robotic missions, no to everything, and undecided). Each group then got about 5 minutes to talk amongst themselves to decide which points they wanted to present during the debate. Then, one person from each group got about 1-2 minutes to list their points. After each group went, the debate began!

It was really interesting hearing their opinions (and what those opinions were based on), and how passionate they were about them. We tried our best to stay out of it, but we did interject facts if someone was way off (for example, gas on Jupiter is NOT the same gas we put in our cars). Many people actually changed their minds, so changed tables during the process.

During the debate, we took notes, so at the end we addressed a few points that were brought up a lot. For example, many talked about the economics of spending so much money on space exploration, so we let them know that NASA gets less than 1% of the American budget (we tried not to imply whether that is too much or too little).

At the end, there were still two students decidedly in the "we should NOT explore space" category --- that is, until we brought up the fact that the iPod one of the girls was taking notes on wouldn't be here if it wasn't for missions to space. Same with GPS, satellite TV, and cell phones (here's an awesome site about spin-off technology). They moved over to another group pretty quick after that!

Even though the students need to work on their fact checking and debate skills, it was really rewarding to be a part of something like that. I feel good about the future of our world with these kids in it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Categorize

A post over at FeMOMhist got me thinking if my blog fits nicely into one category or the other. Or, even better, what kind of blog do my readers view it as?

So, here's a poll (if you answer other, please expand in the comments):

How would you categorize this blog?
Science
Motherhood/Parenthood
Alternative Science Career
Other category (please comment)
Doesn't fit in to a category
pollcode.com free polls

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

One Year

One year ago today, our little man decided to surprise us and arrive five weeks early.

Fig. 1: Evan, about 2 hours old.

It sure has been quite the year - from the rough start at the NICU and another hospital stay a month later, to our first Christmas as a family, to DH going back to work and me figuring out how to be a stay-at-home mom, to finally welcoming in spring, enjoying summer with our little man, and finally to me going back to work and Evan starting daycare. It's definitely been a wild, and fast, ride!

I have loved seeing how Evan has developed into a little boy. He has changed from an orange-tinged sack of potatoes, to a little boy who loves to explore, laugh, and play. In between, he has gone through all sorts of stages - when all he would do was eat and sleep, to being a fairly difficult baby in his 2nd to 4th months, to becoming a generally happy kid.

Fig. 2: This smile is pretty much plastered on his face most of the time these days.

It's been amazing to watch him learn. It's crazy to think about all the things he can do now: rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, cruising, babbling, smiling, laughing, clapping, pointing, waving, playing, climbing, eating (oh, the eating!)...and a zillion other things.

I think watching him learn will continue to be my favorite thing of all. I am completely in awe how he can pick something up and figure it out. How he can learn so quickly, and how his sense of curiosity leads him to learn even more. One of my biggest wishes is that he never loses that curiosity.



So, my little man, my cute-apotamus, my E-dawg, my Evan...Happy 1st Birthday to you! I'm sure the next year will bring even more amazing things!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Book Review: House Rules

My 11th book of the year was House Rules by Jodi Picoult. I'm a fan of her books, and this one did not disappoint. It's about an 18 year-old boy (Jacob) with Asperger's Syndrome. He has a fascination with forensic science, and because of this he gets in the middle of a murder case and becomes the prime suspect.

I do not know a lot about Asperger's, but it seemed like Picoult portrayed it very well in this book. It was frustrating to read from the mother's (Emma) point of view, learning all she has to deal with and how she had to give up her whole life. But, you could also feel the love she has for her son, and how she wouldn't want him any other way. It was also interesting reading from Jacob's perspective, and I would be interested to know how accurate his portrayal is.

The plot was typical Picoult, with twists, gasp-able moments, and big court scenes. Typically good, I might add.

There were a couple things that did rub me the wrong way though:
1. The whole story wouldn't have ever developed if there was a bit of simple communication from another character - nicoleandmaggie wrote about this kind of thing just a few days ago.
2. The "connection" between vaccinations and autism was mentioned a few times, and that made my head hurt and skin crawl.

I'm giving this book a 4/5.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Nice" Drivers

Drivers that stop following basic traffic rules just to be "nice" drive me up the frickin' wall.

This includes drivers who:
- "wave" you through a 4-way stop, even though it's clearly their turn
- stop in the middle of a busy 4-lane road to let a pedestrian cross the street, and it's not even a cross-walk (and the other lanes of traffic are still moving)
- similar to the previous, stop to let another driver go through an intersection, even though there are other lanes of traffic still moving, so the car being "let through" can't get through at all

I get people are just trying to be nice, but for the love of God, it just screws everyone up! Just follow the damn rules of the road and everything will flow much smoother.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Daycare Art

One of the cutest things about daycare is the little art projects they do. Here are a few of our favorites so far:

Fig. 1: Marble art. They put a bunch of marbles in paint, and the kids pick them out and rub/roll/etc. them on the paper.

Fig. 2: A butterfly made from Evan's hand and foot prints.

Fig. 3: What Thanksgiving would be complete without a hand-turkey?

They also have little parties at the centre. In August, they had a Teddy Bear Picnic, where all the kids brought their favorite teddy bear to daycare. In the afternoon, they all went outside and had a picnic with their teddy bears. How cute is that?
Fig. 4: Evan's first certificate.

This month, they had a Thanksgiving dinner last Friday, and they'll be having a Halloween party on the 31st - I'm sure the photos from that day will be awesome.

Have I mentioned how much we love this daycare? It was really tough for the first week or so (on me), but we are so happy that we went this route. Evan absolutely adores it, and really likes the staff and the other kids. They do all sorts of fun things - art, parties, and the older kids go on field trips a couple times per month. Their menu is way better than anything I eat during the week (seriously - it's a bit sad). All the older kids apparently just love Evan - he gets kisses when he arrives in the morning, and they play with him during outdoor time. So sweet :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Not As Planned

Here is how this weekend was supposed to go: On Saturday, I had to organize two outreach events (one from 1-4pm, another from 5-9pm). DH was excited to have one-on-one time with Evan, and would come to both events so I could see them. Sunday we would make our turkey dinner for Thanksgiving, watch football (obviously kicking ass in our pool), and enjoy the day. Monday we would take a family outing to a local farm with apple picking, a pumpkin patch, and all things Fall.

Here is how it really went:

Saturday started out fine enough, with DH getting groceries and me spending time with Evan. About ten minutes before I had to leave for my first event, DH got very VERY ill. I had no idea what to do. I knew how awful it would be for him to have to look after Evan while sick, but I couldn't back out of the events. DH assured me they'd be fine, so off I went.

The first event at the Children's Museum went okay - not great, but about 50 people came by. I checked in with DH - he wondered if I could come home at some point, as he was not feeling any better. So, after setting up the second event, I came home to a very sick DH lying on the couch with a very upset Evan bawling his eyes out in DH's face. I scooped Evan up, cuddled, played, changed diaper, fed, and put to bed. DH and I decide to move the turkey dinner to Monday, since we weren't sure how he'd be feeling on Sunday.

I went back to the second event, which also wasn't super great -- again only about 50 people showed up. We all blamed the low turnouts on it being Thanksgiving weekend, and a gorgeous one weather-wise at that. I get home, and DH is feeling good enough to eat something. Hmm...12 hour bug of some sort?

Sunday morning I woke up at 6:30am and couldn't get back to sleep. Evan woke up at about 7am, so I fed him and played with him, letting DH sleep in and recover a bit from the day before. By about 9am I was exhausted, so DH took Evan for a long walk and I went back to bed for two hours. That afternoon, we just relaxed around the house, watching football (doing very shitty with our picks), and hanging out in the yard. By 8pm I started feeling nauseous, so went to bed.

That whole night I fluctuated between feeling nauseous and having a panic attack - heart racing, shortness of breath, etc. - about feeling nauseous (I practically have a phobia of vomiting). I "slept" for 12 hours, and felt awful when I finally got out of bed, and felt awful pretty much all day. DH was a trooper, taking care of Evan, and even cooking up the whole turkey dinner while both Evan and I were napping. By the time dinner was ready, I felt like I could kind of eat something, so we both had a bit of Thanksgiving dinner in front of the TV.

Plus, we only got 5 points --- 5!! out of 13!! --- in the football pool this week. We couldn't do worse than that if we tried!

Not exactly what you would call a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend - the last long weekend of the year.

Friday, October 7, 2011

InOMN

Just a heads -up, in case you're interested, tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 8th) is International Observe the Moon Night!

This event was started by NASA and a few other partners three years ago (I believe), with just a few events. Last year, there were 502 events in 53 countries, and they're hoping for more this year!

Take a look at the website to see if there is an event in your area. Also, if you're an artistic type, they are having an art contest! There are 10 categories, from poetry to graphic novels, and everything in between. They will be taking entries until November 5th.

We will be hosting an event at the local observatory - should be a fun one (and it also means the end to a very long and busy week for myself, so YAY!).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Blargh.

I'm sick. Again.

DH came down with a flu/cold over the weekend. I figured, since I have had it twice already this season, that maybe I've worked up an immunity.

Nope.

Yesterday, while doing an outreach event in the morning, I started to feel worse and worse. By the time we got back to the university, I felt like death. I went home, took my temperature (102.2F), and went to sleep. I slept until 6am, when E-dawg thought it was a good time to wake up.

Still feeling horrible, I had to call a teacher this morning to cancel an all-day outreach event. On top of being sick, I now feel guilty about making them come up with a lesson plan 20 minutes before classes start. At least we are able to reschedule.


WW Photo

Monday, October 3, 2011

Homemaking: A Lost Art?

The other day, I was telling DH that I wish I had some of my mother's skills when it came to sewing, baking, getting stains out, and the like. For example, it kind of pains me that we have to take our pants to be hemmed, when I'm sure that's something I could easily do if I had a sewing machine and a quick lesson.

We talked about how our mothers would sew us clothes or Halloween costumes, or bake things for bake sales, or were able to get stains out of anything like magic (for what it's worth, I will note here that both our mothers worked out of the home). Our grandmothers were even more skillful in these areas. For some reason, though, these skills did not seem to be passed down to the our generation.

I know many people do some of these things as hobbies these days (sewing, baking, knitting, cooking, etc.), but is true homemaking, where most women have this skill-set, a lost art? And if so, then why?

DH and I came to three conclusions: 1) money, 2) time, and 3) availability. Our generation is willing to pay more for something if it will save us time, and often it is cheaper to buy something pre-made than to make something yourself. These things are also more readily available than in the past.

As an example, on the weekend I paid $20 for a Halloween costume for Evan. That expense is much less than buying a sewing machine and fabric, plus the time it would take to learn how to sew. Even if I did know how to sew and owned a sewing machine, I doubt I would be able to make such an adorable costume for a similar cost.

There are other things I do though: I cook dinner pretty much every night (and good dinners too, if I do say so myself), I bake (but only every so often), and I knit (definitely as a hobby though - something I do when we're watching TV or something).

What do you think? Are these kinds of skills getting lost? Why or why not? Which skills do you have already? Which do you which you had more of?

Friday, September 30, 2011

"Fun"draising

Apparently, fundraising for school activities begins before your child is 1 these days. Yes, this week, we received a catelogue for Tupperware in order to sell to our family and friends.

Luckily, they have said (numerous times) that we are by no means obligated to do any fundraising, but it has still given us a glimpse into our future: where we will not only obligated, but required to fundraise, volunteer our time, or have to cut a cheque to cover the difference between some pre-defined minimum amount and what we actually can sell.

In elementary school, I remember being sent home with catelogues for various fundraising opportunities. There were book sales, Christmas decorations/wrapping paper, and bake sales. In high school, it got slightly more serious with Entertainment books (very large coupon books that were $40 each), and having to staff Bingo's.

My parents didn't buy into the idea where they had to hit up their family, friends, and co-workers to raise money for a program or school. They would typically buy a couple of items, and that was that (DH's family was the same). I sure the heck didn't have the personality to do it either. I didn't mind the Bingo model though, since we were merely working as staff for a service that was already being offered. We weren't putting people out by doing it. I think DH and I will have a similar mentality toward these types of things.

As for the Tupperware fundraiser: apparently the daycare only receives 10-40% of the sale, depending on the items. So, we're just going to make a straight-up donation. They get 100% of the cash and we don't have solicit our family and friends. I figure it's a win-win.

What kind of fundraising did you do in school? What did your parents do about it?

If you're a parent, how often does this happen, anyway? What do you do?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Downsized

When I started my new job in June, our Centre was given an office that I would share with the other new staff member. Though it is an interior office, it is still rather nice. It's on an inside corner, so we have windows on two sides. It's rather large, and can easily fit our two desks and all the outreach supplies.

But, when we moved in, we were told it was only temporary - like most other space allocations at the university. Space is a premium around here. Especially good space.

So, last Friday afternoon we were told that we will be moving (okay, it was more like "get the hell out of that office ASAP!!") to a new office the following Monday. The office is about half the size of our previous office, and is in the basement. Not only are we being downsized, but we're being downgraded.

It kind of sucks, but that's the way it goes at our university (I assume this is a regular occurrence at most universities though). Plus, we're only allowed to stay in this office for six months. So, more than likely, we'll be moving again soon.

The Dean has promised to have a permanent space set up for us before that happens, so hopefully that's the case and we can finally get settled (and put our office number on our brochures, business cards, and website).

What are the issues with space at your place of work?



WW Photo



Monday, September 26, 2011

Style Update - Five Months Later

Back in April, I revamped my professional style with the help of a wardrobe consultant, Sue. So, how are things going?

I love most of the clothes I bought (there were two pieces that I was having issues with, but I'm slowly incorporating them more often), and feel good every morning when I get dressed for work. The outfits we came up with in the initial wardrobing session took me easily through the summer months. I added a couple pieces (such as those awesome shoes I was drooling over in my shoe post), but generally kept to the outfits we came up with.

Fig. 1: Shoes I was drooling over are now mine! All mine!!

Sue and I met again recently, and "shopped my closet" to come up with a few ready-for-fall looks without having to buy anything new. It's amazing how adding a cardigan or a scarf can change the look and feel of an outfit.

Of course, now that fall is here and...ugh, I hate to say it...winter is on its way, I'm working on buying a few pieces to flush out my wardrobe for the colder months. I bought a gorgeous pair of black riding boots, three new scarves (I love scarves - I have 11 of them now), a black long-sleeve t-shirt for layering, opaque tights (black and brown), a purple cascading cardigan, a purple and black dress, and some new gold jewelery. There are a few more things I need, and Sue and I will be shopping for them in October.

Fig. 2: Black riding boots from Town Shoes.

At work, I have had mostly positive comments about the way I look. I often get compliments on my jewelry and my snakeskin pumps. I have had a couple people say things like "why are you so dressed up?" or "Ugh, I can't stand to wear dressy clothes", but those type of comments actually make me feel like I'm dressing right (for me), if that makes sense (because so many people dress so far down). I also notice people who dress well and make mental notes of pieces that catch my eye.

I am still so thrilled I started this whole process! I'm feeling more confident in coming up with my own outfits and being able to pick pieces out that will work with my wardrobe and convey what I want them to, but it's so nice having Sue to bounce ideas off of or just get some guidance with choices or help finding things (like black pants - why is it so hard??).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Daycare Policy

Note: This posts contains talk of baby bodily functions. Proceed with caution.

Evan has been cycling through having a cold and having a stomach bug for the past three weeks. With the stomach bug comes vomiting (V) and diarrhea (Big D). I kind of have a phobia when it comes to V in that I refuse to do it at all costs, and I freak out a bit when I see/hear someone doing it. So, dealing with that has not been fun...but I'm actually getting used to it already. The Big D is not as bad to deal with, unless it's of the explosive variety and we have to change his clothes (or clean the carpet :P).

When Evan has the stomach bug, even though he's having the rare V and some Big D, he's generally fine otherwise. He plays, crawls around, talks, and is his usual happy self. Apparently, though, this does not matter when it comes to daycare.

You see, Evan's daycare has a policy of 2x V or Big D in a day and you have to go home. I find this a bit ridiculous, especially for 2x Big D. I could see sending him home if he has V, Big D, and a fever, and just all-round sick. But, to have to go home because of two bouts of only Big D (which has happened at least twice in the past two weeks)? On top of that, he's not allowed to go back to daycare until 24 hours after his last bout of Big D. I've read that it could take weeks for a baby to get over a stomach bug, and will have Big D throughout this time. WEEKS.

It's a bit frustrating to have to stay home because he has a couple bouts of Big D in one day and is otherwise totally fine, especially when I'm sure there will be a lot of other times he will be truly sick and need to be home.

Is this kind of policy normal? Any tips on how to...ummm...."bind" Evan up (he refuses Pedialyte)?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Not There Anymore

So, apparently I'm not 22 anymore. I'm not sure when this happened but, according to the calendar, it was about 10 years ago.

Last week, I had a photo taken for a staff/faculty event that is being held today. They put up photos of all the new people, as a way to introduce them. The photographer sent me the photo and, although it's nice, I couldn't help thinking that I looked old. Or at least older than I feel.

It's funny, I still feel like I look the same as I did 10 years ago. But, comparing this new photo to others over the years, there is definitely a difference. I have wrinkles around my eyes and mouth, and my skin is not nearly as "glowing" as it used to be.

You hear about this aging thing, but you just assume it won't happen to you.



Submitted to the 3rd quarter Scientiae, hosted by Patchi at My Middle Years.

Monday, September 19, 2011

11 Months

Only one more month until Evan is a year? NUTS!

- He now always crawls on his hands and knees and is super fast.

- He loves climbing the stairs. One day, without ever climbing a single stair before, he went almost all the way up the staircase.

- Currently, he has three teeth coming in: the two top front teeth, and a lower front one. They're all through the gums now, which I assume is the most painful part. I'm guessing he'll find eating a lot easier now!

- This has been a bad month for him being sick. First, he had a cold, which turned into croup. Then he had a stomach bug. Now he has a runny nose and cough again. I haven't fared much better, catching the cold, getting a brutal soar throat, and getting a double ear infection.

- All of the babies he was with at daycare during the summer moved up to the next room. We were wondering if it would bother him, but apparently not. It's nice that he's with other babies of the same mobility ability (crawling, not walking), and it sounds like he has a new girlfriend already!

- He is such a quiet observer when we're out and about or with people he's not familiar with. Only when he's comfortable with someone, his true personality comes out: He can be such a ham, giving smiles, talking, and flirting.

- He had his first haircut!

- He got to meet his cousin and aunt this month! It was so cute watching the two babies together.


Happy 11 months, little man!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Open Letter

Dear "VIPs",

Using condescending language toward staff, or out-right ignoring them will not gain you respect or friends that could be useful down the road.

That is all.

Sincerely,
Lowly Staff Member

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sick...again

Please tell me that this won't last forever. Every time Evan gets sick, I do too. So, I end up missing work or working from home when he's sick and then again when I'm sick three days later.

Evan isn't sick right now*, but he is not feeling well due to at least three teeth coming in. He has, shall we say, loose stools. If he has two in one day at daycare, we have to pick him up. He can't go back until he's had a normal movement (I'm trying my best not to use gross words!).

It's kind of frustrating and there's a part of me that resents having to put my life on hold to have to be at home. There's a part of me that feels guilty for feeling that way, and another part that feels guilty for having to stay home YET AGAIN.

Parents: how did you deal with these feelings of resentment/guilt (if you had/have them)?



WW Photo

Fig. 1: Evan gets his first haircut!

*Scratch that - it seems he has a stomach bug. Fun.

Monday, September 12, 2011

News Flash: Catholics Learn Science!

Today I have a meeting with a few teachers from the local Catholic school board to chat about doing some workshops with their students on impact cratering. In the past two weeks, when I've told people about this meeting, I've been surprised by some of the responses:

"That should be interesting" with a bit of a scoff.

"What are you even going to teach them?"

"How is that going to work?"

"Oh, good luck with that."

Each time I heard a comment like this, I was taken aback. Really? Is it that weird to think that science is being taught in our Catholic schools? Do people really have such an issue with religion and science being taught in the same building, that someone who believes in one can't learn about the other?

It boggles my mind that many people cannot fathom believing in both religion and science. I, myself, am not particularly religious (though I do believe there is some sort of higher being out there); however, I know many scientists that are very religious. In fact, a good friend of mine (who is Mormon) said she loves to study astronomy because she feels that's where science and religion intersect. I also know many people who attended Catholic school and/or teach in a Catholic school. And guess what? They also - gasp! - learn and teach science.

There is always a lot of complaining in the science world about religious "fanatics" having little to no understanding of the creation and evolution of our universe, or of evolution, or climate change, but the intolerance is a two-way street: The number of times I've heard someone assume that someone who is religious could not be a scientist is too many to count. These belief systems are not mutually exclusive, and there are many people who have the ability to meld the two.

I'm very excited to work with the Catholic school board, and I know they're excited about our programs. If we can help break this stereotype along the way, it's another bonus of the work I get to do.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fall Bucket List

At the beginning of the summer, I wrote down a bucket list of things I wanted us to do. How did we do?

- Go to a London Major's game as a family
- Go to Storybook Gardens
- Go to Pioneer Village
- Visit the community pool at least a couple of times
- Head to the beach in Port Stanley at least once
- Go to the Toronto Zoo
- Go strawberry picking
- Take in a Bluejays game
- Go to the Fanshawe Lake Conservation Area
- Visit Sarnia for lunch
- Celebrate Canada Day in Toronto
- Go hiking
- Go to the summer festivals
- See a London FC game
- Have the ILs visit
- Fly kites
- Picnics in the park
- set up the kiddie pool in the backyard
- Have lots of BBQs

Hmmm...we didn't do as well as I had hoped. Some of the things we realized just weren't suitable for Evan (Jay's game would have been way too much, he's not old enough for Storybook Gardens). Some things I'm not particularly sad about (strawberry picking, hiking). Somethings were totally doable, and I wish we had done them (fly kites, go to the community pool -- I'm really bummed about not doing that one).

Of course, we ended up doing lots of other stuff that wasn't on this list. So, overall, I think we had a good summer and enjoyed ourselves.

Now that Fall is upon us, how about a new bucket list?

- Get family photos taken
- Cook an awesome Thanksgiving dinner
- Celebrate Evan's first birthday (with at least a cake!)
- Dress up Evan for Halloween and go to some sort of an event
- Go to a pumpkin patch
- Go to parks/playgrounds
- Play in the leaves
- Take numerous walks in our lovely neighborhood
- Bake an apple pie
- Take a day or two off with DH
- Knit a sweater for Evan

Any must-dos for your Fall?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Things Change Quickly

As I mentioned in my last post, Evan had croup last week. It was pretty rough for him, and he was pretty lethargic and downright pathetic at some points. But, he rallied back and was in tip-top shape to meet his Aunt and cousin on the weekend.

We all had a good visit (despite my being brutally sick, and DH starting to come down with it too). During the weekend, though, I noticed something in Evan had changed. He had always had a lot of energy, but it seemed like he was making up for lost time when he was sick. He was all over the place, constantly getting into everything. We have about 100 photos, and he's on the move in all of them.

Not only that, but he's playing different too - there's a lot more banging, throwing, and crashing things. It was like that before, but not like this.

Then, this evening, I hear DH say "Oh my God - have you seen where he is?". I thought he was just playing in the front entrance area. Nope. He had climbed half way up the stairs. He hasn't ever climbed a single stair before today. Now he's climbed several. In a row. In a very short period of time.

Definitely time to get another baby gate (right now, we only have one for the top of the stairs to the basement) - the last thing I need is him climbing up and then tumbling all the way back down!

I'm starting to come to another conclusion: Evan is definitely moving toward little boy-dom!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bullets

- Evan had/has croup, and has been pretty miserable all week. It's been tough for him to sleep because he gets all congested when he lies down, and the hacking cough keeps him up as well. Needless to say, Mom and Dad haven't been sleeping well either.

- Yesterday, I started feeling really sick too. Now I have a brutally sore throat. Can adults get croup? Or is it just a bad cough/sore throat for us?

- Evan is FINALLY crawling on his hands and knees consistently. I guess he's figured out that it's more efficient than the army/spiderman crawl.

- My job is FINALLY official!! I had been working as a post-doc since June, waiting for HR to post the job, go through the interview process, and get an offer. The contract was signed yesterday, so HORRAY!

- DH's sister and her daughter (who is 1.5 months younger than Evan) are coming to visit for the weekend! We are very excited to meet our little niece, and I'm sure we'll be taking 100s of photos of the babies together.

Happy long weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday With Words

I've decided that I'm going to post on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week. Because of this, I want to make the most of my posts, so more often than not, I will now have a Wednesday post with words. Those of you who like my Wordless Wednesday posts, have no fear, I will still post a WW picture. There just might be some words that may or may not be related!



The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: A Book Review

This is the second of two books chosen for our book club's summer reading. And, no offense to the lovely lady that picked it, but it sucked (I'm not that sorry, since I have a feeling she feels the same way).

I cannot believe this book won the Pulitzer frickin' Prize. Seriously?

Not only was it an incredibly boring story, but the writing was annoying in that I had no idea who was telling the story at any given time. The worst part, though, was the 5-10 Spanish phrases that were in the text on each page.

Now, before you start telling me that it's part of the culture of the book, and I should broaden my horizons, blah, blah, blah - I don't care that there was Spanish in the book. What I do care about is a) I felt like I missed the punch line to pretty much everything in the book, and b) it was really distracting and took away from the story (which sucked anyway). Yes, I suppose I could have had a translator open while I read the book, but having to do that 5-10 times per page would have been just a tiny bit tedious. Why couldn't Junot Diaz put the English phrase in brackets or as a footnote? I mean, shit, he LOVES footnotes.

I HATED the footnotes. The longest footnotes in history, I dare say. I stopped reading them after the first chapter, because I just didn't give a shit.

It sucked. Period. I give it a 0.5/5, because I'm sure there was some sort of redeeming moment in it. Somewhere. I don't remember, but I have to believe it.

(And yes, this book was the reason for my last post).



WW Photo