Sunday, November 28, 2010

How to ID an Ecologist: A Dichotomous Key

(I got this from my friend Matt and it made me laugh!)

Yes, Ecologists. It’s sometimes tricky to distinguish an ecologist
from your typical human on the street. So, in the following, I relate
to you how to ”key out” this magnificent creature in your day-to-day
people watching. I’m sure, once you identify your very first
ecologist, you will become as interested in the sport as I have been
these past months.

1. Is the animal male or female? If male, proceed to #2. If female,
proceed to # 3.

2. Does the animal exhibit bushy beard growth and/or have clumps of
mud in their hair (may also include ears)? If yes- proceed to #3 If
no- you have not found an ecologist.

3. Does the animal have a permanent sunglasses tan and more than one
pair of rubber boots (varying heights – knee, hip, chest-wader- and
brands -xtratuf, generic Walmart, Cabelas-)? If yes, then proceed to
#4, if no, then you have not found an ecologist.

4. ***very important hint here*** Does the animal drink solely out
of metal water bottles while outside and glass jam jars in the office?
If yes, proceed to #5. If no, you have not found an ecologist.

5. If observing a group of possible ecologists, do 75+% of them own a
flock of clover-fed, organic for-eggs and for-meat chickens and/or
maintain large tracts of organic vegetable garden? If true, then
proceed to #7. If unsure, proceed to #6. If no, you have not found

6. Do any of the possible ecologists participate in inter-office
e-mail discussions about making a personnel-driven compost system with
lunch cast-offs, implementing more comprehensive recycling at
department functions, or where to buy a potted plant birthday gift
that was 1)grown locally and 2)not invasive to the region? If yes,
then continue to #7. If no, then…probably not.

7. If you find yourself, when in their presence, increasingly
admiring their love of the world we’ve been given, commitment to
leaving it better than they found it, and joyful outlook and
whole-hearted embrace of life…then you have found an ecologist.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Unexpectedly Insightful

This TEDx video was really great.
At one point, the speaker says the following, and I totally feel like this...

"What I'm doing is fulfilling your expectations of how I should live my life. I feel that expectation and so I accommodate it and I'm living my life according to what you expect me to do."

So how do I break free from this? I feel like I'm stuck here, fulfilling other people's expectations.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ready for Winter!

Hooray for new winter boots!!! The lighting in these pictures make them look more green than they really are..
But, they're from a Canadian company and we'll see how they hold up to a Maine winter.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This is totally me!

I saw this comic in another grad student's cubicle and it's totally me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Today my green tea bag told me:

To learn, read.
To know, write.
To master, teach.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rediscovering that Proust was a Neuroscientist

It was over a year ago I believe that my mom recommended a book to me called "Proust Was a Neuroscientist". I was immediately intrigued by the book and its exploration of 19th century creatives as individuals who discovered truths about the human brain that neuroscience is now only rediscovering. Nonfiction however, sometimes has a tough time holding my attention and although I started the book, I never finished it. As these things always go, I was working on school stuff at the local coffee/burrito/hangout and sitting next to me on the bookshelf was the book. It's funny how things surface and resurface in life. So, inspired again, and feeling more ready to really read it at this point in my life, I bought it (and at $6 it was a bargain).

I told you all that to share with you a passage from the Prelude to the book. It's about art and science, two very important topics/concepts to me and things I continually strive to integrate.
Here it is:

"Unfortunately, our current culture subscribes to a very narrow definition of truth. If something can't be quantified or calculated, then it can't be true. Because this strict scientific approach has explained so much, we assume that it can explain everything. But every method, even the experimental method, has limits. Take the human mind. Scientists describe our brain in terms of its physical details; they say we are nothing but a loom of electrical cells and synaptic spaces. What science forgets is that this isn't how we experience the world. (We feel like the ghost, not like the machine.) It is ironic but true: the one reality science cannot reduce is the only reality we will ever know. This is why we need art. By expressing our actual experience, the artist reminds us that our science is incomplete, that no map of matter will ever explain the immateriality of our consciousness.

The moral of this book is that we are made of art and science. We are such stuff as dreams are made on, but we are also just stuff. We now know enough about the brain to realize that its mystery will always remain. Like a work of art, we exceed our materials. Science needs art to frame the mystery, but art needs science so that not everything is a mystery. Neither truth alone is our solution, for our reality exists in plural."

Hopefully that gets you thinking. Perhaps I'll find another good artistic outlet soon...but for now, back to science.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tromping Through the Maine North Woods

I spent this weekend hiking around the woods and streams and lakes of the middle of nowhere Northern Maine. It was actually pretty fun, despite the fact that my lab group partners and I had to FIND let alone sample 4 streams in 3 days. On the drive there we saw a MOOSE and I was sooo excited!!! (But then later when we were bushwacking our way around this pond we saw moose tracks and I was like, AH! I hope we don't see a moose! :D
Despite all the copious amounts of hiking and carrying sampling gear all over the place, it was beautiful up there and all the leaves were turning breath-taking colors. It was also really quite, which is hard to find.
Sadly, it rained on and off and was overcast both nights so no stargazing....
But, here are some pictures. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Whatever Helps You Get It Up"

That's one of the things I overheard yesterday during my kayak roll clinic with the MaineBound Adventure Center folks.

But, innuendos aside, I am SOOOOO excited that after only about an hour and a half I finally learned how to roll a whitewater kayak! This has been something I've wanted to be able to do for so long and it's just an awesome feeling to be able to finally do it!!!!
Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of video, so you'll have to take my word for it, but overall I had a really fun time, met some cool new people and go really exhausted. :D
That's all for now folks!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mimicing is a form of Compliment

Lesson #1-Tea Parties

And NO I'm not talking about the political "tea party", which is definitely NOT as cool as a real tea party. maybe I don't exactly fit my own trend lines...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Economist I Can Relate To!

Soup x Soup x Biscuits x Friends = 1st Dinner Party in Maine

Tonight I'm having some new friends over for dinner and I'm so excited!
I'm making 2 kinds of soup (Spicy Peanut and Creamy Potato Leek), biscuits, and possibly an apple dessert!
Here are some pictures of my table. I'll post more after the food's done!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Living in a strange small town

I've driven past these places a few times now, but today I noticed something particularly intriguing.
I don't have pictures but I'll try to paint the picture for you.

An archery store that has in the front window display a stuffed bear holding a hunting bow riding an inflatable triceratops, surrounded by other inflatable dinosaurs. This store is across the street from a store called Gary's Discount Store, which sells....I don't know what. Rumor has it you can get bed frames there. Both are down the street from Tim's Little Big Store, which is apparently the place to get the cheapest beer.

That's all for now.
Next time I'll try highlight some of the more exciting, but in a good way things :D

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Apples and an Answer

So, I don't have any pictures yet, but I bought a bunch of really yummy, crisp, tart apples from the farmers market and I'm planning on making some sort of apple dessert soon!

As for an answer, I was in my Advanced Conservation Biology grad class yesterday and our classroom has a bunch of stuffed deer/bison/elk heads, etc (which are slightly creepy), BUT, it also has a bunch of other random biology specimens and a bunch of them were LICHENS! and one of the forest/alpine ones looked just like the fluffy stuff I saw on my hike. This means my mom was right!

That's all for now...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quiche and a Question

MMmmm! I made quiche last night for dinner and it was sooooo good. I think quiche might be right up there with ice cream and cream cheese for why I don't think I'll ever be vegan.

Also, I went on a bike then hike adventure with a new friend today and when we were hiking we came upon a big patch of this mossy stuff. I'm not sure what it is, but it was pretty stiff, not at all the soft fluffy greenish snow that it looks like from a distance. Any ideas on what it could be?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

the little things

i was grocery shopping last night, just browsing and wandering and i found this. i really loved the color and texture of it. i didn't buy it because i wanted to smell it first...

Friday, September 3, 2010


I was out early this morning with the lab technician from my research lab, helping him do some lake sampling and we saw LOONS! It's the first time I've seen any since I've been here. I would have liked to take a picture, but I didn't have my camera with me in the boat...maybe next time.
(I kind of felt like I was on Golden Pond) :D

Thursday, September 2, 2010

In Which Katie Encounters a School of Fish (up close and personal)

It has been blazing hot the past couple of days in Maine, which is really unusual for this time of year. Today it was ~89F with a heat index of much higher.
So, because none of the houses or buildings up here have A/C, I decided to go for a little swim.

Earlier today my River Ecology class when out to the Stillwater River to collect aquatic macroinvertebrates, and it was a lot of fun, but it also introduced me to a really cool place on a nearby river. There were TONS of rocks everywhere (because the river was so low, because it hasn't rained here in a while). And if you don't already know, I LOVE rocks, especially ones like these, because they were so smooth and rounded and big and small and just perfect for stacking.... I'll have to take pictures, it's hard to describe how beautiful this place is, it's so different from how rivers in Ohio look.

Anyway, so, after my bike ride home from campus after lab, I decided to go over and have a swim in the river. It was wonderful. I felt like a combination of Pocahontas and a river nymph, because it was so rocky and there were little pools and riffles and big rocky outcroppings with secret pools. Needless to say, it was cool and refreshing and I was exploring around, which I love to do. I found a good spot that was deep enough to relax in and was doing just that when I looked down and found a 5-6inch fish looking at me. I then realized that there were several other of the same kind of fish also looking at me. For some reason my first thought was that they were a school of piranhas! (Must have had something to do with having Sheldon, our piranha around in our house last year) I soon realized that piranhas are not native to Maine and that they were of course some other kind of fish, which was true because they didn't have teeth, just regular open fish suction mouths. Following the whole Pocahontas theme, I kept very still and just watched them back, I was hoping to touch one or something, but eventually a really brave one, who had become intrigued with my shoe (Keen's are pretty cool) decided to get closer. He tried to nibble at my shoe a few times and then lost interest. It was really cool and crazy. They all sort of realized that I wasn't terribly interesting or threatening so they kept watching for a while but then swam off. I decided that I probably couldn't top that so I got out, stacked a few rocks (because I couldn't resist, they were so perfect for it), tried to balance a few rocks on end, like the amazing rock balancing/stacking guy in Vancouver (who is amazing and probably who I want to be like when I get older) and then came home for dinner.

All in all, a pretty darn good day.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Katie Becomes a Teacher!

So I've added another hat to my growing collection of professions. Yesterday was my first day as a TA for intro Biology lab. I teach 3 sections of about 18 students, and I think it's actually going to be kind of fun. I don't really have to lecture at all, because the students are responsible for preparing ahead of time and doing the opening lecture at the beginning of every class. Here are a few pictures of me in one of the labs.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mmmm! Falafel!

Yum! I decided last night to make falafel pita wraps with sauted onions and peppers, home-grown tomatoes and freshly made cucumber-dill sauce with home-grown cucumbers!!! It was sooo delicious that I just had to take pictures. OH! and I made sweet potato fries. (And here's a picture of my roommates adorable goofy dog named Mercury, he's and Akita)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Cube!

This is my new graduate TA/Research cube. I have two neighbors (I'm the last one by the window), and I've decorated it to make it feel more like me!

Monday, August 23, 2010

License Plates I Saw On My Roadtrip!

California, New Mexico, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Arkansas, Wisconsin

Canada: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

New Metroparks Outdoor Rec Video!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Mary Tyler Moore Makes it to Maine!

So, my mom kept telling me that I was like Mary Tyler Moore (a tv show from the 70s) because I set out on my own on a big adventure just like she did (watch a clip of it on youtube if you like).
Anyway, here are the last of the pictures from the trip. Next I'll put some on of my new house!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More Travelin' Photos

(I forgot to take pictures at the place I stayed in Ithaca...too much fun I guess)
(Also, these are chronological from bottom to top)


So far the adventure has been going pretty well. I've had fun visiting everyone along the way. And really appreciated all of their hospitality.
I'm keeping a running count of all the different state license plates I've seen. I'll post that when I finally get to my new house.
Also, one of the craziest things was that I saw ~16 cars on the MassPike alone with either kayaks or a canoe on top!!! I also saw lots of people with bikes, and roof racks. I hope this continues into Maine.
Anyway, here are some pics:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Stop in the Country

So I've arrived at the first stop along my journey and I've been enjoying the fresh air and refreshing pool!
Here are some photos:

The Start of Another Grand Adventure

Hopefully I'll be able to keep everyone updated along my journey to Maine, and when I get there.
I'll definitely miss my homes of Cincinnati and Dayton. I met so many wonderful people in both places and made so many good memories.
Be sure to visit Maine while I'm there, and who knows...maybe I'll move back to Dayton some day... :D

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Spinning wheels...

well, if I ever get to Maine, I'll be sure to send pictures...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Roadtrip Countdown

Get ready Maine, because here I come!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010