Friday, October 30, 2009

Bio Bev Rookies

I posted a few weeks ago about the Friday night tradition of drinks in the Evolutionary Biology department lounge. I said I’d update about what was discussed, but haven’t posted yet.

Last week, things were very quiet. There were only a few people, all of whom were first year students. We groused about the one girl in the program that no one gets along with and there was definitely a conversation about tiger testicles (I wasn’t listening closely enough, so I can’t give you any more details).

This week there was a conversation about what you wanted to be when you grew up (best answer: Velociraptor). Another discussion of what to name your children (best answer: Velo Ci Raptor). And someone loaded the room’s dishwasher with the wrong kind of soap, creating a nice sudsy background for the evening. When I saw the suds, I called it a “rookie mistake.” Two other people said the exact same thing about the situation later that night.

Apparently, it’s a common rookie mistake.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Animals!

So I’ve seen more animals. Brian and I have seen a set of three deer all around Northwoods. They’ve been by the dumpster, grazing on the sidewalk by the engineering buildings, and right outside our door one day when Brian left for class. We had disagreed about the size of the fawns, but didn’t put it together that there were actually TWO families of three deer running around.

Until I was driving up to our apartment and found them all together. I got excited, I pulled out my camera, and I took pictures.

Unfortunately, all six would not pose together

On the way to photograph the deer, I also finally got a picture of one of our woodchuck friends

He’s a little camera shy

The most exciting encounter, once again, is the overly friendly squirrel

We encountered OFS on Sunday and on Tuesday this week. On Sunday, we were leaving our apartment to run some errands. Just as we got out the door, OFS peered around the corner of our building, in a very stalker-ish fashion. Once again OFS approached us, and the faster we ran away, the faster he followed.

We got to the car and locked ourselves in. But where was OFS? We’re too kind hearted to want to run him over, but we couldn’t find him. Then we rolled down the window.


He was right next to the car! And when I stuck my hand out to take a picture, he came closer. We tried throwing food in the opposite direction, but he was only interested in us. The noise of the car horn eventually frightened him off, but we felt it was a near miss.

Today, I got home from the grocery store and had both hands full of groceries. As I approached my door, I realized that OFS was between me and the apartment, and he wanted love. He wanted contact. I dumped half my groceries on the picnic table, skirted the squirrel and bolted for the apartment. I barely missed contact with the squirrel and had to wait until he went away to get the rest of my groceries.

And my neighbors who we don’t like (who I just gave a candle to), were watching and laughing the whole time. Dang.

Would you light my candle?

On Friday, we came home from a quiet Bio Bev to find that all of North Campus (including our apartment) was without power.

Luckily, I am always prepared.

There’s a rechargeable flashlight plugged in right next to the front door, as well as a slew of matches and candles tucked away in the closet. We were ready to sit out the night.

But, we had noticed on the way in that our neighbors (the awkward ones who stare at us and have a loud child) did not appear to have any sort of illumination. I decided to extend the neighborly olive branch and went next door to offer a spare candle. Mom and son were delighted to have some sort of light in the house and accepted it gleefully.

Hopefully this is the start of a more pleasant neighbor relationship.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

When Animals Attack

I saw a movie once where a character kept getting attacked by animals (like chipmunks and other non aggressive animals) because he was out of balance with nature, or something like that.

My subconscious must be out of balance because I often have dreams of animals attacking me. Opossums, rats, dogs, giraffes, elephants and most recently a goat.

When I write it, it sounds hilarious. But I’ve woken up screaming, shivering and freaked out!

I gotta get back in balance.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Table for Four

I recently watched an episode of the fantastic How I Met Your Mother that posited the theory that couples need other couples to spend time with. In the way that sitcoms do, it compared a couple on their own to a pair of couples double dating to a single person envying people in relationships.

This was one I could relate to. Ever since Brian and I have been dating, I have the need for the Couples Night. Four people going out to dinner, watching a movie or playing board games sounds like the best evening ever to me. Spending time with other people is fun, but you know it would be more fun if it was couples (even when it sometimes isn’t).

I’m sure there’s some sort of anthropological explanation—that group living benefited all, and that groups of couples provided no competition for mates etc. But I know that I have been craving a couple to spend time with since we moved to Michigan.

I’ve been hoping to make friends with a couple from Brian’s program. They’ve been dating as long as we have, they’re just as serious and they’re both students, so we understand their schedule. The hard part has been broaching the prospect of the four of us doing things on our own, without other people there.

This weekend, we invited over ½ the couple (she was out of town, but he didn’t have any plans). I suddenly reverted to the teenage girl who almost exploded when calling a boy from her parents’ basement. I had to rehearse what I was going to say first, and then run it all past my best friend (in this case, Brian). When I got the nerve to make the call, I told Brian that I hoped it would go to voice mail, saving me the need for direct interaction. And so it did. When he called back, I made Brian answer the phone. And I did a happy dance.

Hopefully this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Biology, beer, and ?

Every Friday, Brian’s department holds “Bio Bev.” One of the first year students (Brian this semester) brings in a case or two of beer and members of the department “donate” to the funds for future beer, and everyone sits around the department lounge sharing drinks and ideas. The original intent was to have conversations about biology or ecology or genetics. Last week topics included: bombing the moon, Obama’s Nobel prize and the historical subjugation of women. This week, there were two dogs and two babies present among the scientists. Topics included Roller Derby and YouTube. I’m excited for next week.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Everybody's workin' for the...

It’s been quite the weekend. I set up a phone conversation with a possible employer, had a friend over for dinner (friend!), went to church and went apple picking. I was hoping to have great stories about the apple picking, but it turned out to be a big bust.

Luckily, church can provide blog fodder. I’ve been going to the local Unitarian Church, and they like to have a few minutes at the beginning of the service for the congregation to “greet each other.” This mostly consists of exchanging names and a handshake, and then moving on to the next person. Little conversation, but I’m not sure what I’d talk to folks about anyway. The last two weeks, the minister has been encouraging the congregation to find other ways of greeting, given the fact that it’s cold and flu season. Some members ignore this and continue to shake hands or hug, but others take the message to heart. There’s an older woman who I usually sit behind who has my particular interest. She’s in her 70s and appears to have had a stroke that paralyzed the right side of her face at some point. She likes to greet those around her (and around meaning the nearest 20 people) by bumping fists.

Today, she and I exchanged our first fist bump. It was a thrill.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

When you’re up, you’re up; and when you’re down, you’re down….

Here’s a low and a high for the last two days

The low:
On Wednesday I fell down 5 stairs in the apartment while Brian was on campus. When I got up, both my knees and my wrist hurt, and my butt was one big bruise. At first, I couldn’t put any weight on my leg, so I was really nervous. I tried calling Brian, my mom, my sister and a friend from Madison for some knee-care advice. No one answered. I told a friend that I was concerned that I could die in the apartment and be eaten by cats. She said it was unlikely, given that I did not have a cat.

The high:
I have a good lead on a job. My potential boss is hoping to be able to hire me right off with out having to post the job to the general public. It sounds like exciting work, and although the commute might be long, it will be worth the drive!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Say that again?

Since we made the decision to move to Michigan, I’ve applied for 30-35 jobs. And even for the jobs that I’ve kept careful track of, its hard to remember everything.

The other day I received a call from “The Ginsberg Center” asking me to set up an interview. I was excited for the interview, but had no idea whatsoever the job could possibly be. After hanging up the phone, I frantically searched for the job description. Finally, I figured out that it was one of the top four jobs that I would like the most.

Fingers crossed!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our interesting apartment

Our apartment has gotten interesting again.

We had received a message from the main office that our cable was changing over to HD, and that if we didn’t have an HDTV we should pick up our free digital converter. So I walked over to the main office and instead of being given a converter, I was put on a list and upon arriving home, found that the cable had been canceled.

We had also received a message that our apartment building would not have water Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday from 7am to 7pm. We assumed that when the water was on, we’d be able to shower, so it seemed a minor inconvenience. Except we didn’t have hot water or enough water pressure once the water was back on.

I also asked the main office about our heat. So far, we have been unable to find a thermostat in our apartment, and last night the temperature was supposed to get down to freezing. I was informed that our building has a central heating system, so once the maintenance department turns on the heat, it’s just on. I asked when “on” would happen, since its getting a bit chilly in the apartment. I was told that it usually would have been turned on, but since there are “problems with the water,” we would have no heat until the “problem” was resolved.

And our on going problem of having no internet or 3-prong outlets on the second floor means that we still have internet and extension cords running up the stairs.

As Brian summed it up: “No heat, no water, no cable and messed up electricity.”

Michigan is an interesting place.