Sunday, January 30, 2011

Research Update: 01.31.2011

The research is going well.  I'm pointing wasps like a mad scientist.  I'm getting my committee stuff together.  I'm planning on going to the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference (MEEC) in April and the ESA (Ecological Society of America) Conference in August.  I'm not presenting anything at MEEC, it's an observational trip.

My good friend Sarah has been helping with the beat net samples, she's got three left to go.  Everything is sorted to order, and counted.  We've got some interesting results (if just a preliminary glimpse of the future.)  Soon I'll teach her how to point so she can help  me with the pan trap samples.  Once the wasps from the pan trap samples are pinned and  pointed it will be identified, to morphospecies, and counted.  Hopefully we'll get some interesting results.

There has been some discussion of additional sampling--to be decided on at the committee meeting, hopefully.

I'm planning on getting my GIS certification -- should help me get a job if I decide to go that route.

It's looking like graduation will be in May 2011 (not December.)  If everything goes according to plan.

I need a car.

Monday, January 24, 2011

finding elegance: micro

an entire world
             and grows
                   and fights without conciousness,
 each moment,
         each motion a response to instinct,
                                                     programming alone

eat. grow. divide.
eat. grow. divide.

where competition abounds, with enemies swarming all around
                                            and change a constant, chaotic force.

survive. survive. survive. 
survive. survive. survive. 

where in mere days,
                      sometimes hours,
one species becomes two, and so on.

eat. grow. divide.
eat. grow. divide.

where chemistry reigns supreme,
          and physics underlies all forms,
                            in motion, structure,
                                                 sometime random and spasmotic,
                                                 often smooth and elegant.

all contained in a drop of pond water.


Sometimes my days are full of studying, figures, memorization and I forget to look for the beauty in everything.  Sometimes the beauty comes screaming from the pages of my textbook and I sit up and gaze around in wonder at this world.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Growing Up Freeman: Summer

I recall lazy summer afternoons lying in the grass, watching the sky change from blue to pink to a darker blue and waiting for the lightning bugs to come out. Sometimes, just as it was getting to be time for bed a summer thunderstorm would roll in over the horizon and we would sit, the five of us, on the front porch and watch it coming. Counting the seconds between the loud thunderclap and the distant flash of lightning, calm and happy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tumultuous Tuesday: Relations 101

Relationships are hard.

There's been so much anxiety around the idea of me moving back home.  I don't want to upset things.  I don't want to ruin the relationships I have with my family.  Things are better now than they have ever been.  It's tempting to just find my own place, keep things the way they are with my family and continue burying myself in debt.

Instead of doing that, I'm going to do it the hard way.  I'm going to suck up my pride, ask for help, and try to make it work.

My parents don't really understand how important it is for me to get my doctorate degree.  My dad thinks that a job should just be something you do to earn as much money as possible with the least effort, so that you can afford to do the things you LIKE to do.  Maybe its sophomoric of me, but I don't see it that way.

My brother is an extraordinarily talented musician.  He plays his guitar, sings, and writes music as a way of life.  Its as if music, to him, is air.  When he's not making music he might as well stop breathing.

This, my parents do understand.  Maybe its easier.  They support him entirely -- emotionally and in many ways financially, because they understand my brother's relationship with music.

Now, I'm the same way about ecology.  I see it everywhere I go.  Every choice I make has some link to ecology, every time it rains in the city I start thinking water quality, every time I eat out I wonder where my food came from -- I live, breathe, and sleep SCIENCE.

But I guess that's harder to understand for some people.

Now, I have two options.

One. Go straight to a doctorate program and start working on what will become my life's work.


Two. Instead of jumping straight into a doctorate program I'll take some time off, work, pay off some of my massive debt.  Who knows, maybe I'll find the job of my dreams. . .  or at least something that I don't hate with every fiber of my being.  That's more likely.  Get a job, pay the bills, re-stabilize life, and then, once things are settled a bit, think about going back to school.

Such tough decisions.

Hopefully things will work out.

Dad also says - if you want to make God laugh, show him your plans.

But I don't really believe in God.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Growing Up Freeman: Beginnings

I am the daughter of a lawyer and a teacher. If anything, that's where I can begin.

Daddy grew up somewhere between his father's deep baptist Tennessee farmland and his mother's inner city Cleveland, Ohio. His life, from what bits I've come by, was never easy. Mama was from Cleveland too-- the eleventh child of a poor Catholic family that had their beliefs, if nothing else. Her family lived in the apartment above her Grandfather's grocery store.

They first met in Cleveland. She was eight, he was nine, and he had sic'd his dog on her. Later on they shared the same circle of friends, and though I'm not sure the version I've heard is entirely true, they ended up together in the end regardless.

I came along as the first lovechild of theirs, added to their shared brood of one son and one daughter. I was the law school baby. And when I came on a sunny June day they took me home, set me on the picnic table in the back yard and wondered what to do next. While they were pondering away, I had plans brewing. By the time I was one year old I had earned myself a reputation-- I would only sleep outside in the cool night air and I would eat anything I could get my hands on.
A year later I was joined by my younger sister, Krista. I let her know who was boss the very first day, sinking my three or four new teeth into her newborn arm. The competition has never ended. Kyle arrived, after much anticipation, in the fourth year of my life. They are now the most important people in my life.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tumultuous Tuesday: Responsibility 101

Hello, world.  

I've lived independently now for two years.  Sure, I'm broke, stressed, and exhausted all the time, I don't have a car, so I walk or bus everywhere, I eat Ramen Noodles WAY too often because I can't really afford to eat anything else;  But it's worth it, right?

I've learned a few things along the way, of course, time management, money management, vast appreciation for friends and family -- and I'm grateful for all those things.  

But here's the thing:  I need and WANT a car.  I want to finish my master's degree and hope to complete a doctorate program out of state, eventually.   

I can't afford a car, or parking at my apartment building, or meat for that matter.  

Why?  A few reasons.  I'm paying rent through the nose so I can live close to school/work.  (I'm on campus pretty much 16 hours a day.)   But mostly I'm paying of the disastrously poor decision making fiasco of (and following) Australia 2008 -- which, while fantastically fun, was a stupid, stupid thing to do, and resulted in the maxing out of several (that's right, SEVERAL) credit cards.  

I've grown up a good bit.  

But -- if I'm going to accomplish my goals in a reasonable time, I could use a little help.  

That's right folks.  

I'm moving back home with my parents

AND my sister, 
AND my brother.  

My family is kind of incredible, and I'm extraordinarily lucky to have them.  

It'll be a hell of a ride. 

The MOVE will happen sometime before February 28th. 

Anyway, Tuesdays will now feature "Tumultuous Tuesday":  The process of moving back in, and later life with my parents.  

Future posts will detail: (1) future goals (2) any anticipated issues I'll need to get over (3) packing (4) the move (5) life with the 'Rents.  

I'm also going to be writing about what it was to grow up in this incredible, fantastic, family.  Probably on Wednesdays. 

We''ll see how that goes.