Wednesday, January 31, 2007

commitments and timing

So, the PhD is going okay. Not fabulous, but okay. I'm not completely fucking it up as I used to (at least I don't think I am). I'm pretty focused and I have plans. But turns out some of those plans may not work out. My plan was to make it home by July, to write the thesis etc. Thing is, the supervisor doesn't agree with me. He thinks more like the end of the year to start writing full time, ie my lab work will continue for the majority of this year. The thought of spending another 3-4 months in Canberra, away from the boy, makes me very sad and frustrated. We will have then been apart for the best part of 4 years. 4 years is a very long time.

The other problem with this is the following: I said to a dear friend that I would go to a swing dancing event in Perth in April. But at the moment, if all my experiments go well, I'll be working very hard in April. Like 2X a day, every day (7/week) in the lab, regardless of weekends and the like. I had promised previously to travel to this event. But circumstances, both timing and financial had prevented me. Now the finances will be fine (my insurance payout is going to be significant), but the timing couldn't be worse. I feel awful. I really don't want to disappoint a good friend, but my thesis and my chances of getting home by July have to come first. Fingers crossed they'll understand. Even better if I could actually afford the time off because the flies are going faster than expected. I don't know, stuff sucks sometimes and it's hard to sort it all out.

Apart from the depressing idea of being stuck in the 'berra for another few months, things are going well here. Boot camp is hard, but fun. Pole dancing started last night. One housemate is planning on moving out, and while that sucks in one respect, at least with such a tight rental market we are likely to get a decent replacement. We can finally afford to be choosy. Previously, it's been a matter of desperation. We've done okay out of the current one, but the one before that sucked the big one.

Anywho, I should get back to the thesis and the planning. No time to waste for me, if I'm ever to make it back to Melbourne.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tikka learns about walking

My mate BT is a legend. The man has not only tripled his wage in the last year, go you go thing go! But he has also the most patient soul I know. Seriously, he's so patient. Last night he and JJF came by with Bailey, the blackberry dog. They were out on a walk, and decided to ask if I wanted to come with. Unfortunately, Tikka's lead was in LJS's car, and she was out. I found some rope though, so it was used to keep Bailey in check, she already knows how not to pull. Tikka, on Bailey's lead, was a pulling maniac and BT took over. He managed to get that dog to actually walk alongside him for a little bit. Amazing! She usually needs her gentle leader to get her to stick to a decent speed. The trick, and here's where the patience comes in, was this: everytime she pulled, he'd stop, and make her sit next to him. At first she was only going a couple of steps and then pulling like a crazy dog. But after a little while she managed up to about 6 steps or so. Still not great, but a great improvement.
This morning, I took the Tikka dog out for a traning walk. We managed about 10 metres at one stage of walking alongside me without pulling. I think if I keep this up, she'll never need her gentle leader again. We'll probably go walking with the boys tonight, but I think I'll use the gentle leader. She might actually get some decent walking in then, rather than just around the block.
Enough of dogs though, I have news. I have written an outline for my introduction to my thesis. It's a brief document that outlines the topics I'll cover and the order I'll do it in. All I need now is approval from the supervisors and some help getting it just right and I can start writing the bastard. I've been doing a lot of reading recently, and it's been making me ask a whole bunch of questions, which in turn leads to more reading and more questions. I've got a lot to learn about my gene/protein, it's structure and all about pleckstrin homology domains. Wish me luck! I'm hoping that by next week I'll be actually composing the thing.
Other thesis related news, I have transformants. Perhaps only one, but if the insertion is on the X or II then I'm sorted. For all the non-geneticists out there, sorry, nerd speak there and now too. I'm using yellow+ as the selectable marker, rather than white+ and I'm finding it interesting to pick the transformants. I have one definite, I thought I had a white- fly on my pad, rather than a yellow- white- transformant that was a little bit dark. I wondered how the little fucker had got into the vial, until I realised he must be a transformant. Whee! A boy too, which makes it easier.
Best be off, I have to get up ridiculously early tomorrow, I'm starting boot camp with a mate from work. I have to get from Belconnen to Narrabundah by 6am. Guess who's getting up at 5am for the possible 30 mins scoot south? ME!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I can't stop sleeping in!

I've been trying for the last week to get up early. By early I mean somewhere between 6.30am and 7.15am. I have lab work to do and it's been ridiculously hot, so riding early in the morning is preferrable. But can I get myself out of bed before 8am? Nope. I've tried and I've tried, but it just won't work. I blame the hot weather we've been having. It's been over 30 for over a week, every single day. It was 40 one day last week, and no cool change with a lovely storm to get rid of the blistering heat. It sucks! The website is giving me no joy either. All the temperatures for the next 4 days are above 35 and then above 30 for the next 3 after that. We're supposed to have a storm this afternoon, there are thunderstorm warnings a-go-go. But the chance of rain is only listed as 40%. Looks to me as though it'll be bone dry all day, bloody hot, and then it won't even rain. I can't sleep properly with all this darned heat. BUH!

Okay, I think I've bitched enough about the weather. Onto other things, like what else I've been up to. I went and saw my 'independent medical expert' yesterday afternoon, as part of my insurance claim. It felt like a pretty futile effort. I know that I'm better and he pretty much confirmed that. He was partly deaf, reasonably condescending, and not very chirpy. It was great fun to have to ride in 37 degree heat to get out there. But at least it's done now. Apparently, it's the last thing I have to do before the solicitor gets the final offer from the insurance company. I'm hoping for it to be resolved very soon. I needs to buy myself a laptop, and the cash from this claim should cover it.

Hmmm, what else is news? The Bree dog is moving out. I don't know this officially, as the owner of Bree (SKW) hasn't said anything to me. But I know from a mutual aquaintance that she's going up to Brisvegas next week. I'm not sure that I will miss the Bree dog too much. She's very cute, but can be a little overwhelming at times. She likes jumping up and sticking her nose on you. I was at home working on the thesis last week and I got up to go to the toilet. Bree was on the floor in the living room, where I had been working. I went to the toilet and as I emerged from the bathroom, Bree was sitting outside, waiting for me. It can be just a little full on. Labradors are just a little too enthusiastic at times. But I know that her owner SKW is going to miss her.

My exercise and eating regime continues with great success. I am (when conscious) much more energetic that usual and I don't get major lulls in my energy levels. This eating six times a day thing is good for that. Usually after lunch I'd be lethargic and useless for at least an hour. These days, no problemo! I'm also craving healthy food, even on my 'day off'. Eating well, by which I mean lots of fruit and veg, really is good for you. Who knew? (probably everyone really)

Tonight I'll be going out dancing. I'm going to Balboa class first and then there is a social dance. I plan on taking a large bottle of water with me and a towel, as I can see myself getting very sweaty. Another disadvantage to all this stupid hot weather. Grrr!

Best be off, my timer is about to beep at me and I need to go fix some embryos.

Friday, January 12, 2007

bloody hot

It is bloody hot in Canberra today! The top temperature was 40.5, it's still 39. I had plans to be at the gym today, doing the whole cardio thing. But it's so freaking hot! I think I'd melt. But I might go, later on tonight, after it cools down. Seems to be a theme with me this week. Tuesday and yesterday had me at the gym at about 8.30pm. It was so busy earlier in the evening, I really couldn't get anything useful done. It was pretty good going later, but meant I had to make sure I made myself go. It would have been so easy to stay at home and sleep or watch crappy TV.
Today has been a day of finding out about PH domains. That stands for pleckstrin homology domains. They bind phosphinositides, and help localise proteins to the membrane of the cells. Apparently though, they also help the DH (Dbl homology) domain do it's thing, catalysing the exchange of GDP to GTP on a GTPase. Exciting huh? Go science go! It's very very nerdy, but very very important that I know those things. No doubt I'll get around to reading those papers properly soon, but for now I think I'm going to scoot my way home, eat some dinner and then eventually make my way to the gym. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

why living in canberra sucks

The boy had a migraine on Friday. He was so bad, he ended up in hospital. He was so bad they thought he had meningitis. He had a lumbar puncture, morphine, spent 11 hours in hospital. He was still feeling shitty today. He went to the doctor. The doctor was so worried about him, they sent him to the hospital in a taxi, with a cab charge. He's there now, doped up to the eyeballs on drugs. The lumbar puncture they gave him didn't seal up again properly and it was making him feel nauseous and dizzy. They are doing something tomorrow to fix him up and he should be able to go home. I hate living so far away from him. Not that I could have done much more than his housemate, Val, has done. He took the boy to the hospital on Friday and picked him up again. He's going to pick him up tomorrow. But I just wish I was there. I'm a little bit over the whole 'long distance relationship'. I'm also a bit over share house living, but that's another story.
Living in Canberra sucks.

Project Healthy

I want to tell you a story, most of you will have heard it from me over the holidays. It's a little funny and a little annoying. It kinda links into project healthy, but not really. I'd planned to attempt the project healthy before Xmas, and before this incident. I was just waiting for Xmas to be over and all that jazz to be over, so I could get myself into a healthy routine, with exercise and everything. So here's my story:

Just before Xmas, I was feeling a little dizzy. I went to the doctor to have myself checked out. Make sure I didn't have an ear infection or something similar. So, the doctor, after telling me that my symptoms were pretty vague, checked out my general wellbeing.
She measured my blood pressure, a little high at either 132/90 or 125/85. She checked my temperature, normal. She tested my balance, good. She measured my height, and my weight, and looked at her chart. There I was, smack bang in the middle of the healthy weight range. Huzzah! She turns to me as we are walking back to the chairs and and says "hmmm, that's interesting. You must have small bones, because you look a little bit overweight"
WHAT THE FUCK?! What part of, demonstrably in the healthy weight range, did you not see, you psycho bitch? What possible motive could this woman have to tell another woman, who wasn't overweight, that she LOOKED overweight? I am still a little pissed off with this woman, and I'm just trying to decide what to do about it. She suggested I come back in a few weeks and get my blood pressure checked again, to make sure it wasn't artificially high for some reason. She also suggested I get the same person to measure it, her, because it can be a little variable with different operators. Question is, do I want to go back to that nasty woman? And if I do, do I mention the fact that it was totally inappropriate for her to say that to me?

Anyway, before she had been so mean to me, I had intended to start a bit of a health kick. I go to the gym regularly, and I try, most of the time, to eat well. But I never seem to be able to run any faster/further or get the gym thing going long enough without a break to get really strong. So, I decided to put myself on a health kick. And drag my parents along with me. So, here for the record, are my goals for the next three months:

-go to the gym 3X/week
-be able to do the splits!
-increase my upper body strength so my pole dancing is better
-get some definition in my muscles
-reduce my fat % (so you can see my defined muscles)
-be able to walk up Black Mountain via the more difficult path, without stopping

If, in three months, I'm getting somewhere near those goals, I'll be pretty happy. It does, however, mean making time for exercise and not making excuses not to go. It means eating well, more often than not. But having goals I think will help keep me on track. And knowing that my parents are trying to get healthier too helps. It shouldn't be too hard for them, if they can give up dessert, and fish and chips for a while, they'll be halfway to their goals. Add a bit of exercise, and they're sorted. One of the dogs, Mac, needs to lose some weight too. About 3-4kgs off his 13.8kg frame. I'm sure they can help each other beat the bulge. But this blog isn't about them, so I'll leave it there.

So, I'm less than a week into my health kick and it's going pretty well. I can't really be arsed to go to the gym today, although it is gym day. But I'm going to go and make the most of it. My food has been healthy and tasty and you'll all be pleased to know that I'm not starving myself. I'm eating 6 times a day and all of it is fresh and chock full of veges and the like. I'm even getting the hang of drinking lots of water. The only problem there is how much you end up needing to pee. Tell me it gets better as your body gets used to it? I will no doubt, occasionally, update you on progress. The splits are still a long way away, but I reckon I'll get there in the end. If only my hip flexors weren't so tight!

Right, enough procrastination, the fly room and the gym awaits. I've spent most of today at home, reading papers and thinking about my thesis/experiments I've yet to do. It's time to get some fly pushing in and some weight lifting going. Grrr!

Friday, January 05, 2007


So, I've returned to the nation's capital. My flies are going great guns and I'm probably starting on my introduction today. But I just feel bleh. Today I would much rather just lie on the couch all day watching crappy infomercial television and then tidy my room. But, I'm at work, trying to psych myself up for the day ahead. I'm not sure if my new year's flatness is due to returning to Canberra/leaving Melbourne, or whether it's a general life grump I've got going on. It could just be PMS. Let's hope for that and move on.

When I'm feeling less flat, dejected and grumpy, I'll tell you about Xmas and New Year's and all that jazz. Right now, the fly room awaits and my iPod will be with me. I do not need to interact with people today.