Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Headin' to Houston

I'll be going to Houston in a couple weeks for a conference.

Anyone in the area who wants to meet up?

Anyone have any suggestions for what to see and do while there? I probably won't have a ton of free time, but I hope to have some!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Last Room

The only room we haven't touched in our house since we moved in almost two years ago was the main bathroom. The light blue colour was not our favourite, but we could live with it (unlike every other room in the house - does everyone remember that kitchen??).

But, DH wanted a project to work on, and so he decided to patch up the walls, trim, and ceiling, and paint it the same colour as our powder room. It took about a week, but we're very happy with the results!

Before: the powder blue colour, which was also on the ceiling, of course.

After 1: About the same view as above (the real colour is not this yellow).

After 2: A different angle. We LOVED these towels and clock we found at HomeSense, and the photos in the frame are of Evan in the tub (DH's idea, which is super cute).

PS: Just a reminder that our radio show is debuting tonight on astronomy.fm at 10pm Eastern! They will also replay it at various times throughout Feb. 28th (2am, 6am, 10am, 2pm, and 6pm -- all Eastern time).

Friday, February 24, 2012

"That's So Gay"

I'm so sick and tired of people using "gay" as an insult. I don't get it...it's 2012 people, how in the world are we still selecting out portions of our population to discriminate against?

I see and hear it on Facebook statuses, in comics, in pretty much every TV show, in the hallways at the university, even from students in grades 5 or 6 at the schools I go to...everywhere, actually.

It's so common that people don't really think what they're saying is incredibly insulting and insensitive, as they would if they were being racist or sexist (though, we all know those are still issues as well).

Here's a newsflash to all the lame-asses that still think it's funny: this shit is not acceptable. Don't say something or someone is gay, or a faggot, or a homo as an insult. It's considered hate speech. Stop it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review: Keeping Faith

My second book of the year was Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult. This book is one of Picoult's earlier works, and I'll completely admit that the subject matter didn't really grab me (which is why I've read many other of her books before this one).

The basic story is this: in the midst of a marriage falling apart, the daughter in the story (Faith) starts talking to God, develops stigmata, and performs miraculous healings. In true Picoult fashion the story winds up in a dramatic court-room scene, where the parents battle for the custody of their child.

Even though the subject matter was unfamiliar and uncomfortable for me, the story wound around it was fast-paced and riveting. I felt very sympathetic toward the mother in the story (Mariah), and could feel her pain and frustration throughout the story.

The love story between Mariah and Ian (a host of an antirevival TV show) was a bit far fetched and unbelievable, and really unnecessary to the story. The beginning of the book also dragged a bit, and it took me a while to get into it. But, once I got about half-way through, I was invested in the characters and the story, and I found it difficult to put down.

I give this book a 4/5.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Family Day

Today is Family Day in Ontario (and a few other provinces, but not all) - so of course we're heading to the horse races!

DH has been wanting to go for a long time (he used to go with his buddies a lot in his bachelor days), so when I saw the raceway was having a free event for families today, I figured we have to check it out.

There will be lots of (free!) stuff for kids, like balloon animals, face painting, a colouring station, and horses of course. It will be fun to see the horse races too (I assume?).

Hope your day off (if you get one) is full of family and fun!

Friday, February 17, 2012


Never in a million years would I have ever thought I'd be a producer and co-host of a radio show...but in 10 days that will be a reality!

A few weeks back, a post-doc I work with came to me with an idea for a radio show. He had been involved with one at York University (York Universe, on the astronomy.fm internet radio station), but now that he was here at Western, and since we have the largest planetary science group in Canada, he thought it would be fun to start our own show.

So, starting on February 27th, each Monday night at 10pm (Eastern) - directly following York Universe - we will run a 30-minute pre-taped interview show called Western Worlds. Each show will consist of a 20-minute interview with a scientist, engineer, researcher, or educator who is involved in the planetary science community. Following the interview, there will be a 10-minute round-table discussion with 3-4 of our volunteer co-hosts. We'll also do specials from time to time, when there is something particularly interesting going on in the community (like when the Mars Science Laboratory lands in August, for example).

My favorite part is that I get to bring in the education and outreach perspective to the interviews and round table discussion, which is a much different perspective than everyone else involved in the program.

I hope you tune in!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Baking for Evan

Ever since Evan started sitting up, he likes being in the kitchen with me as I cook or bake. He's fascinated by the process and the final products (this bodes well for our dream of him becoming a world-renowned chef).

It's to the point these days where he gets upset if I'm in the kitchen and he's not...or if something is in the oven and he wants to see the final product NOW.

I think this will be a lesson in patience...

Fig. 1: Waiting patiently.

Fig. 2: Mom, are they done yet?

I can't wait until he's old enough to help!

Monday, February 13, 2012

3rd Afghan Section

I completed the third section of my afghan last night...a whole three days ahead of schedule! And by complete, I mean sewn together (the ends are not woven in -- I'm hoping I can convince my mom to do that again either during a summer visit or at Christmas :D).

There are 21 pieces in each section, and each piece takes about an hour for me to knit. I'm finding it's the perfect thing to do in front of the TV in the evening. Having a schedule that's about twice as many days as there are pieces allows me to not stress about it (because that's not what this whole knitting thing is all about) and to do other things like read.

It's a nice feeling to be on track with this goal!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Desire?

Before we had Evan, we had this seemingly huge desire to have a child. We planned for months when we would even start trying for a baby. We bought books, talked to new parents, had his nursery done months before his arrival, and did everything we could to be prepared to become parents.

We always thought we'd have two kids, but neither of us feel an overwhelming desire to have another like we did with Evan. In fact, we're starting to come to the conclusion that we just might not ever feel that way, and maybe that's not what we should base our decision on.

So, I come to you, my wonderful readers. For those of you who have more than one child, did you have the same type of desire as you did for the first? Or was it more of an intellectual decision?

Did you have the same desire for a second child as you did with your first?
Other (explain in the comments)
pollcode.com free polls

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dr. Susan Niebur

On Tuesday, February 6th, Dr. Susan Niebur passed away after a long fight with breast cancer. For those of you in the astronomy and/or planetary science community, you will most likely recognize her name from the Women in Planetary Science blog. For those in the mom-blogosphere, her blog Toddler Planet was also well-known.

Susan had a distinct ability to get women to pull together and rise up against sexism in the academic world. She started the 51 Women of Planetary Science, to show that there are indeed a great number of women doing amazing research in the area. I was very lucky and honored to be one of those interviewed.

Susan touched thousands of women through her work in astrophysics, as a mother, and through her battle with cancer. She leaves behind her loving husband and two young sons.

We thank you, Susan, for your tireless dedication to the equality of women in the sciences, and may you rest in peace. You will be greatly missed.

Monday, February 6, 2012

SuperBowls of Yore

Since we started dating, DH and I have made a tradition out of SuperBowl Sunday. We plan our menu weeks in advance, spend the whole day in our sweats sitting on the couch, and watch hours of pre-game wonderfulness before the game itself. It's a whole day of laziness, and we look forward to it every year.

Things are a bit different now though. Evan usually takes a 1.5-2 hour nap and then goes to bed at 7pm --- which would give us a nice opportunity to watch our favorite pre-game program, Road to the SuperBowl, and then be able to watch most of the game in peace.

Apparently, Evan had other plans. He took a 50 minute nap, was a crank-osaurus from about 4-6:30pm. We tried to put him to bed then, since he seemed tired, but he would just not go down. So, we missed pretty much the whole first half. He finally went down at about 8:15pm. At least we got to watch most of the last half.

Sometimes, all I want is one afternoon/evening to sit on my ass, eat a crap-load of junk food and watch TV. Is that so much to ask?

Friday, February 3, 2012


We got word on Wednesday that the centre our daycare is a part of will be shutting its doors. The centre is to help young women who are dealing with teen pregnancy and motherhood. It gives them a place to live, learn how to be mothers, and still go to school. Many of them are there by court order, so leaving means their children will be taken away.

All of the teen mothers have their children attend the associated daycare, but the daycare also has a lot of "community" families (like us). The daycare itself has been doing very well financially, but because the centre shares one budget and the other programs do not bring in any money, they (The Salvation Army) are shutting the whole thing down after being open for 57 years.

Obviously, this is devastating to the teen mothers. Where will they go? What will they do? Will they have to give up their babies? I can't even think about it without tearing up.

More selfishly, we, the other parents, and the staff are heartbroken that the daycare is closing. We - and more importantly, Evan - love this daycare, and the staff is amazing. After touring a number of daycares, this one was our favorite for Evan by far. We don't want to have to start looking for another daycare, because we know there isn't one that's a better fit for us.

From what I've heard the past couple of days, the other families feel the same way. It sounds like people really want to figure out a way to keep the daycare going somehow, or to at least keep our "family" of staff, kids, and family members together.

We don't have a lot of details at this point - a closing date hasn't been chosen, we don't know what they plan to do with the building, etc.. The staff is having another meeting with the "higher ups" next week to find out more. I have suggested that all the staff and parents meet after that to chat with each other about what to do next (even if it's just sharing individual plans).

I wish were millionaires so we could just fund the opening of a new daycare. This just plain sucks.