All posts by Adrienne

A full update on my dad

I thought I’d write up a full update on what’s been going on with dad this week (for those of you who don’t know, Robert Cadman is my dad, Jonell Cadman is my mom. I’ve been asked that this week, you see. Just to keep things clear).

Anyhow, dad came down with a virus last week–the normal “hey it’s fall!” virus you get, with the dry cough and the general malaise that goes with it. He, as all in our family tend to do, kept on working though the sickness, and mom doped him up with lots of herbs. Strangely the herbs didn’t work as quickly as normal, and they had to turn to Tussin to stop the cough so dad could sleep. At some point dad had a bad pain in his back (around his kidney area) and mom took him to the emergency clinic. They diagnosed a pulled muscle from stifling the cough and sent him home.

Over the weekend, dad got worse, and was having a hard time breathing. He also had some pain in his chest and whatnot, so he had to sleep in his recliner on Saturday night. On Sunday things got even worse, and dad ended up collapsing and passing out at home. Mom called an ambulance, and the paramedics could not get his blood pressure up. It was around 80/40 (I’m pretty sure that’s what mom told me, anyhow–it was an upsetting phone call for all involved).

I talked to mom as she was watching dad be taken from the ambulance into the emergency room. She was her usual controlled self in these situations, and asked me to make sure everyone knew what was happening. The emergency room worked to get dad’s blood pressure back up, and then they admitted him to the ICU (or Critical Care Unit, as it’s called at St. Jude’s).

Once in the CCU, the staff had to do an emergency procedure at 4 am to bust open clots that had lodged in his heart and lungs.They wanted to treat things medically rather than surgically. Apparently he had been throwing clots from behind his knee and they finally came to rest two places you really don’t want clots to be. He was on blood thinners and super high oxygen because his breathing was erratic. At this point he was too weak to talk or move on his own. That was a very, very scary night. I think we came very close to losing him.

The next day he was a bit better, and was able to eat some breakfast. That made the nurse very happy. The doctors informed mom that dad had been close to organ failure–his kidneys were shutting down, his pancreas wasn’t working, and his system in general was going all to hell. They had dialysis on stand by, but were hoping to treat things medically. Sometime on Monday his kidneys began to function again, and the doctors were pleased. They were supporting his system with a turbo drip of things, including insulin, and dad was sleeping a lot. By Monday evening they had removed the oxygen mask and had him on a nasal cannula. That was some good news. Mom was sent home by a very concerned nurse to get some much needed rest.

On Tuesday morning I got a text from mom saying they were moving dad out of the CCU. YAAAAY! His system was coming back, there was no evidence of clots in his heart, and he was able to sit up with some assistance. He also ate a big dinner, which made the nurses very happy. They had him on 5% oxygen, and tests were looking normal. Mom and dad spent the day dozing as the hospital waited for another room to open up. Mom has gotten very good at sleeping in the rocking chair by the hospital bed.

Mom called me on Tuesday evening (my time) for an update, and she sounded exhausted. She said that she slept a lot, but it wasn’t a restorative sleep. Then I got to talk to my daddy! He sounded just like dad for the first 30 seconds, which made me cry (again. There’s been lots of crying these past few days), and he even joked about his hospital vacation. Food just shows up! He doesn’t even have to move on his own! Everyone should do this! After a minute or so he went down hill, and he got so winded he couldn’t speak anymore. He told me to study hard and had to get off the phone. It was wonderful to hear him talk, but worrisome that he couldn’t breath well afterward.

Mom said that was much better than he’s been able to do, so he’s recovering. They moved him to a new room late last night, and he is resting well. Mom told me that he loves the outpouring of support and good wishes, but he can’t speak to anyone yet, so cards are much appreciated.

I want to thank everyone for keeping us in their thoughts. It’s been a very rough few days, and it’s not quite over yet. I tried to keep everyone informed about his status, so if you know someone who wants to know what is going on, just point them to this note. The doctors are talking to mom about what needs to be done when dad goes home, and those are the best words in the world. I’ve already sent a thank you note to the doctors and nurses who saved his life on Sunday, and I’ll be donating to their foundation probably forever.

Please keep thinking of mom and dad–they are really going to need you over the next few weeks. If you’d like to send a card or wishes to dad in the hospital, he’s at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton:

St. Jude Medical Center
101 E. Valencia Mesa Dr.
Fullerton, CA 92835
(714) 871-3280

If you want to contact mom or send wishes to the house instead, you can send them to:

Bob and Jonell Cadman
763 Stephens Ave
Fullerton, CA 92833

I also want to make sure mom is taken care of. She’s spent days at the hospital, and is being plagued by the allergy inducing winds to boot. Will someone please make sure she’s eating? And has food in the house? She gets weekly deliveries at home from Schwann’s (, so I might send her some pre-made meals from there. If you need her cell phone, send me a message and I’ll get it to you. She doesn’t have her phone on in the hospital, though, and she’s so tired when she gets home at night that she’s unable to make many phone calls.

Well, that’s what’s happening now. I’ll update this as I get more information. Once again, thank you all for all of your thoughts and prayers. Someone hug my dad for me, since I can’t be there to do it myself.

Update: My sister Erin just saw mom and the doctors are now saying dad may be home this weekend. Hazaah! Best news yet. Mom should be home napping soon. Maybe she’ll get some well-deserved rest.



Once Upon a Time, There Was a Girl….

So once again, despite the sleeping pills and the amitriptyline and an active day, my phantom uterus has decided I don’t need to sleep. Sounds like a good time for story telling, huh?

My endometriosis returned in June, 2008…a scant 6 months after extensive laparoscopic surgery to correct the problem. New town, new state, new doctor, more treatments. We started with birth control pills–many women find relief when on these, and my early 20’s were cramp free due to the miracle of ortho tri-cyclen. After three months of trials, the pills just weren’t cutting it, so I went on an implant birth control. The doctor said that it would take a few months for the implant to start working, and prescribed me morphine for the days when my endo flared up so badly I couldn’t walk.
Things were going ok…I would go to the doctor regularly to get a new shot, I was only out of commission a few days a month, and I was hoping things would improve substantially as soon as my body got used to the new treatment. That didn’t work out so well.

In January of 2009, the endometriosis moved from my uterus to my ovaries. Ovaries are sensitive beasts, as anyone with an ovarian cyst can attest. The endo began to cause a squeezing sensation, almost a pulse, that would knock the wind out of me and make me nauseous. Gentlemen…you know when you get kicked in the nuts, and you bend over all winded and sweating and gagging, then curl up on the ground until the pain goes away? Well, ovaries are derived from the same tissue, with the same nerve endings, and the same capacity for pain. Imagine someone squeezing your balls harder and harder all day, every day. Then imagine going to work.

The doctor prescribed more morphine and vicodin for the bad days. I took it. Things held stable until March, when my ovaries attached to my ureters (for those who haven’t taken an anatomy class lately, that’s the tubes between the kidneys and the bladder). They just bent inward and attached. Awesome. The doctor upped my dose of pain killers.

Then my small and large intestines got in on the act, and attached to the ovary/ureter love fest that was going on in my abdomen. This meant that every time I had something to eat, my intestines would contract, tearing at the ovarian mess. I can’t even describe…I would sit at my desk and cry. I’d hit the wall. I’ll throw up in the trash can. I’d shake and sweat as blood drained from my face until it was over. Then I’d get up and go to work.

I tried special diets; I tried vitamins; I tried herbs; I tried massage; I tried music therapy; I tried it all. The doctor gave me more pain meds. By April, I was up to 6 prescriptions, and could barely get out of bed in the morning. Walking was a chore. I couldn’t even contemplate going horseback riding when we went to Virginia, and had to skip out on sight seeing because moving my legs hurt too much. Dean had to get me a wheel chair in the airport on the way home.

We went to the doctor as soon as we got back, and were told the next treatment would take a few days to get approved by our insurance. I was going to go on lupron, which would shut down my ovaries and shrink the endo. We wait 5 days. Dean calls. The treatment hasn’t been approved yet. Things get worse. Dean calls 24 hours later. The nurse is very sympathetic but nothing has changed. She prescribes yet another pain pill. I’m taking so many pills at this point that I can barely walk on my own. I’m not allowed to drive or operate heavy machinery. I can’t remember the last time I was allowed to handle a sharp object. We go back in to the doctor the next day, and this time I go in without any pain meds in my system. I almost didn’t make the walk from the car to the office. The doctor found me curled up and crying on the exam table, and the nurse had to walk me through deep breathing exercises so the doctor could examine me. They made me lie there until the worst of the pain subsided a bit, and by that time I was begging for another surgery.

They took out my uterus a week later. You know what sucks? Filling out advanced directives. Every time I have an operation they make me fill these out. Along with my wishes-should-I-become-a-vegetable, I also write a list of things for Dean…things I usually do for us so he won’t be too lost if I go. This time I also wrote him a letter. I was really scared for this operation…much worse than the last few. I just couldn’t go under thinking that I would never get to say things to him, so I wrote him a letter that he’d find with my advanced directives. That part made me cry.

The surgery went fine. Things were all gummed up, but they made it out ok. My recovery room was in the maternity ward–good thing I was on morphine. I watched new mothers carry new babies up and down the hall all night. That’ll stick with me, I think.

Now I’m getting better, slowly but surely. I get tired a lot, and this whole surgical menopause thing came close to killing me (or making me kill other people), but that’s just physical. The mental part is what’s bad now, and that’s really the point of writing this, you know?

Because you see, I’m now the girl-who-couldn’t-get-pregnant. I’m that one friend that tried for years and then had to have her uterus taken out. I’m that friend of a friend who gets stories told about her to sympathetic ladies and they all shake their fertile heads and say “Aw! Poor thing!”

Lately I’ve been getting emails. Some woman will have trouble getting pregnant, and she’ll drop me a note. “How do you do it? How do you deal with this? Isn’t it hard? What do I do? I need help!” So I write back. I pour my heart out into every email. I tell her what will happen. I tell her how I deal. I tell her what I cry about. Three months later she sends me a happy note saying she’s pregnant. Then I get an email from her friend, who just can’t seem to conceive. So I do it again, because that’s who I am. I’m the girl-who-couldn’t-get-pregnant.

Now don’t get me wrong–I love helping people, and I especially love sharing my experiences with people who need some support from someone who’s been there (and goodness knows, I’ve been there). Honestly, what is the good of going through something like this if I can’t share it with someone I love? When my family comes to me especially, those who share the same genes and have a very real possibility of sharing these problems, I’ll relive the whole thing, top to bottom, beginning to end, just to maybe help them out a little. At the very least I’ll know what they are going through! The problem I have is when some acquaintance reads these blogs and contacts me 10 days after she started trying.

The other day I was talking to some friends, and mentioned that my favorite sound ever is the sound of cicadas. She replied with “you like it even better than baby giggles?” That gave me pause. I naturally quickly replied “yep” and changed the subject, but it affected me. What am I missing out on? How am I going to relate to women my own age? Or really women in general? I won’t have those same experiences; I won’t place importance on physical and mental achievements of my offspring.
With this in the forefront of my mind, I went and checked my Facebook friend feed, and found that overwhelmingly the ladies of my age group were all posting about their children. This is what I found:

“Enjoyed margaritas and a movie…yes, the baby was asleep”
“I wonder how a ten year old can literally RIP his sandals to shreds through normal daily wear”
“My boy is determined to master his tricycle! On, off, on, off… now if he could just get the hang of this pedaling thing!”
“Thinking about my friend who is having her baby twins today….”
“ I think it’s a story time day.”
“My baby is being so brave on her 1st day of gymnastics! So proud!”
“Did not win mom of the year today, but I did manage to fix the garbage disposal…”
“I have a new baby girl. 8lbs 5oz, 20″, 3:34am on 6/15”
“Being tested by my son at the park.”
“ 1 more week of getting kids to school. :)”
“Nothing like dreaming about my daughter not feeling good to wake up 20 minutes later to find she threw up all over her bed :-(“
“ So excited to take my son camping in a few days and DONE with school!! YAAAYYY!!”
“My girl is graduating from preschool tomorrow!!!”

That’s all from one day. Tie that to the endless (and I mean endless) photos of kids and parents and milestones, and my Facebook page is just one big mommy party. It’s a little confusing, I guess. I mean, how am I going to relate with these women ever again? I know they have lives outside their kids, and I know many of them work, but kids are really the center of any conversation when talking to any procreating woman, ever. The common ground is getting smaller and smaller.

I got my first publication last year–huge deal. I’ve been working towards it for years and years and years, and it was amazing. The problem was, few of my friends and family were as excited as I. You know what was exciting? Baby showers. Our new house. Which room in the new house we’re going to set aside for the nursery. It’s like I’m moving further and further away from a life I wanted while watching other people live it.

Yes, yes. I know. “Being a mom isn’t all joy and laughter” “you can still be a mother if you want” “We have problems too, and envy your freedom.” I’ve heard all the consoling phrases before. I know a mom isn’t all fun–but would you give it up? For anything? I know I can adopt, but we decided not to. I’m sure you envy my freedom–but would you really give it up? For anything? It’s a melancholy, lonely feeling not being able to participate in a major life phase. And I didn’t have a choice about it. I didn’t get to say “I don’t want kids” and then surround myself with people who were of the same mind. Nope. I tried. We tried. Now we’re the ones who couldn’t get pregnant, surrounded by the ones who could. I will forever be watching families grow from the outside, smiling at the stories, cooing over the pictures, and listening to the mothers complain. But I won’t really be a part of it, you see. I don’t fit in any more with the mommies, and I don’t fit in with the career driven women. What do I do now?

But I can’t really tell anyone this, now can I. Everyone has advice, or words of encouragement, or some tale that’s supposed to make me feel better. I know it’s all because they love me and want to help, but I’m ambivalent about this whole situation. When someone tries to make me feel better about the situation, all it does is pick at a wound in ways you could never understand.
Of course, if I say that out loud, then people stop talking about anything child related all together. I hate walking into a room of women as it suddenly goes silent. The walking-on-egg-shells-around-Adie game isn’t any better than the picking-at-the-wound game. I hate that light, feigned casual tone family members use when telling me someone is pregnant. I hate the side long glances when someone mentions a baby shower. I hate the pitiful smiles and slow head shakes when all-things-family are brought up. And the worst part is I don’t know what will fix it. I can’t tell anyone what to do or what not to do, because it will all be wrong. I’m an unintentional outcast among those I love and cherish the most, and no one can do anything about it.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say with all this. I’m told I need to tell people straight out what I need because they can’t read my mind, and if I don’t do that then I have no right to be upset. But I don’t know what I need in this case. I don’t know what I want or wish or dream about or anything. I know I’m beginning to resent advice from people who aren’t in my exact situation. No, you can’t know what this is like if you have kids. No, you can’t know what this is like if you chose not to have kids. No, you don’t know what this is like. I barely know what this is like. Have you ever had your entire future erased? All the plans you made, all the things you hoped for, changed? Have you ever watched everyone else get to do the one thing you want?

Kids are a huge part of your life, good or bad, right or wrong, accident or on purpose. So much of this life is spent talking about the wonder and joy of kids. How many times have you heard someone say the greatest thing you could do is mother a child? How many motivational posters are out there encouraging you to mentor a child, teach a child, love a child because children are the greatest gift? Has a mother ever once been faulted for putting her child first? Ever? So this is how I grew up. This is what I based my life upon. This is who my female mentors were, because this is such a big, big part of being female. The biological imperative. Now that all of that is gone, it’s like I’ve been set adrift with no anchor, no map. Who am I supposed to look up to now? Who do I relate to? To whom can I turn?
I guess I make my own way. I’ll do what I can to keep everyone from feeling uncomfortable around me. Thank goodness I have Dean. He’s been the one constant that I can cling to through this whole thing–the one person who knows exactly what to say and what not to say. The one man in the world who I think can survive this with me. He and I will make our own way. He and I will figure out what the hell we’re supposed to do now. He and I. So I’m not all alone, after all. What a good word for him? Life vest? Anchor in a storm? No…something more. Something much, much more.

So no, baby giggles are not my favorite sound. I wanted them to be, but I couldn’t have that. If anyone asks, cicadas and thunderstorms make me smile, Dean is my everything, and I’m no longer the one-who-couldn’t-get pregnant. When I figure out what I am…when WE figure out what we are, we’ll let you all know.

If Mom Tells You What to Eat, You Probably Won't Get Fat

So, I guess there were some  articles published a while back that suggested that if mothers controlled what their kids ate, the kids got fat later in life. Um, what?

This new study says that those articles were a bit off–instead they took a mother’s response to her child’s weight gain (more control over what that child ate) and looked at it as the cause, not the effect of weight gain.

So, according to scientists, if mothers make their kids eat healthy, the kids won’t be fat. You mean to tell me that kids will only eat junk food if left to their own devices?!? That’s crazy talk! I’m left to my own devices all the time, and I totally eat healthy! Of course, I have a closet full of cookies, but that doesn’t count as eating. That’s snacking!


If You Lay Down and Cry You Get Tears In Your Ears

So it’s 11:54 pm on Sunday, May 10, 2009. It’s the last 6 minutes of mother’s day. It really was a great day, you know? I emailed students, I did a small organizational project I’ve wanted to do, and I spent all day with Dean. It was generally nice.

I called my mom, of course, and Dean called his, and we talked about presents and celebrations and all the goodness of the day. Every site I went to had a “happy mother’s day!” banner, adorned by flowers and cute insects; facebook had more baby pictures than ads; even gossip sites had features on famous mothers and children. I enjoyed reading it, I swear. That is, until I read that one blog about famous mothers’ favorite lines in childrens’ books.

Books are my escape. There are so many worlds to explore, characters to love and hate and fear and cherish. It what I do when I’m happiest; it’s what I do when I’m down. It’s where I go.

Reading a list of beloved lines from beloved books…my books, my havens, my happy places…and having them tied to happy moments with children broke me tonight.

The thing is, I will never, ever have a mother’s day. I will never have toddlers bringing me weeds in a boquet which I’ll proudly display on the table. I’ll never have surly teenagers reluctantly bring me breakfast in bed. I’ll never have a 20-something call me late in the evening pretending he hadn’t forgoten the date. I’ve seen it happen–I’ve even been on the kid side of that equation. I heard a thousand stories today, each sweeter than the last. My “I played video games and cleaned out the freezer!” story just doesn’t hold a candle.

There is no I-had-my-uterus-and-overies-taken-at-32-so-I-will-never-have-children-of-my-own day. If someone makes one, I hope it’s in August. I don’t have anything else to celebrate in August.


So, video games can ruin relationships? Wait, what?

Brigham Young University scientists have finally studied the obvious: people who play lots of video games don’t tend to have good interpersonal relationships. Really? This needed investigation? Have they ever tried having a relationship with someone who is addicted to a video game? I’m pretty sure there’s countless people out there who will happily lend antidotal evidence to this study.


Happy New Year! Time to look back on what we’ve accomplished.

Happy new year! It’s that time again–I’ve been asked by anyone and everyone what my resolutions for the year are, what I’m going to change, what are my plans. The thing is, I gave up making resolutions forever ago. I guess I figured that if I wanted to change something so badly, I may as well start the moment I thought of it, rather than wait for an arbitrary day (and invariably make it worse dreading the day I was to start). So instead of making resolutions, I take the new year as a time to reflect on my life goals, and see what I’ve accomplished. (Oh, and print out awesome pictures of my friends and family from the year to decorate my office :).

Back in 1996 I started a life goals list–a list that I update whenever I come up with a new goal, and a list that I go over every year to see what I’ve done. I never remove a goal, even if plans change. I like knowing what I once wanted; it keeps me in touch with my past. So, without further adeu, here is my newly updated goal list!

Adrienne’s Life Goals (List started December, 1996 and updated each year since then) I’ve bolded the ones that I accomplished since I last updated the list in 2006.

1. Rollerblade in every major city in the world (Don’t know if I want to do this one any more or not. I’m really not all that into rollerblading. Biking might be a more feasible option).
2. Win a Nobel Prize
3. Study insects in the Australian Canopy (I used to get a magazine as a kid that advertised scientist-led trips in the back. One was a trip to the Australian Rainforest where you’d get to help survey the insects. They said you’d probably find several new species. I have to get there).
4. Become fluent in Spanish (took it in high school, remember little)
5. Be written about in some major tabloid
6. Make a major discovery in cancer research
7. Breed some sort of animal (I finished this one in 1998–I bred crane flies, beetles, crickets, and whatever else my boss brought in for a year)
8. Get married and raise a family (Part one–done 9/3/00! Part two–um, read my other blogs. I’m thinking of redefining “family” in my head.)
9. Get a PhD in Entomology (Getting close now!)
10. Make a major entomological discovery (I’m really not sure what counts as “major.” I guess I’ll figure that out as I go along)
11. Become a college professor
12. Ear $20,000 a year with my harp (selling it doesn’t count)
13. Read the entire works of Shakespeare (did I mention I’m really into Shakespeare?)
14. Learn to ride a bike well (I’ve decided the tandem doesn’t count, but is a hell of a lot less scary than riding alone)
15. Study insects in Madagascar (the first day of my high school freshman geography class the teacher gave us the coordinates for Madagascar. I’ve wanted to go ever since)
16. Visit Kangaroo Island
17. Become the president of something major
18. Be able to give my Alma Mater something big, and have something on campus named after me
19. Rollerblade 10 miles (so, I didn’t have a bike as a kid. I taught myself to rollerblade instead. Don’t do it so much anymore, but for awhile there it was my only means of transportation)
20. Become fluent in sign language
21. Take a major biking or blading trip
22. Become very physically fit
23. Graduate from any higher education institution with a 3.0 or higher (I only got a 2.5 in undergraduate school…but I did have a 3.2 in my major courses. That counts, right? Finished my Master’s with a 3.46, currently have a 4.0)
24. Work at the Smithsonian
25. Lear how to spell “Smithsonian” (Done! 1996. Have I mentioned I’m dyslexic? Oh, man, in 5th grade we had spelling tests every week, and my teacher made anyone who failed go to detention after school on Fridays and copy the dictionary. I got through “C” by the end of the year. She was nice enough not to make me go right before Christmas break and the last week of school. After my year she stopped using that as a punishment for bad spelling. I am a liberator of 5th graders!)
26. Live to be 100 (This one will take me awhile)
27. Own a motorcycle (Done! 1999. It got stolen, but who’s counting?)
28. Fall in love (Done! Valentine’s Day, 1997. Can you guess who?)
29. Write a book (I’m writing a lab book now, so maybe this will be done by next year)
30. Visit Canada (Done! 2005. Our anniversary. We took a ferry from Washington)
31. Take a cruise
32. Become the best in Entomology
33. Be rich enough to buy my parents a cabin or car (Part of this list was written when I was a starving student. I mean, really starving…like ducking the landlord, saving up for Taco Bell starving. I lived on popcorn and oatmeal for most of a year. I was super thin)
34. Own a home in Australia
35. Travel the world
36. Own a large house with my husband (I also wrote a good portion of this list right when I met Dean, so “husband” and “love” are mentioned a bunch) (Done! 7/2008:  4 bedrooms is large, right?)
37. Have a large wedding (Done! 9/3/00)
38. Tour Iceland
39. Visit Greenland (Notice I don’t want to tour Greenland)
40. Know a song on the harp by every major composer (As soon as I define what a “major” composer is, I’ll get started on this one)
41. Meet someone famous (so, who’s gonna be famous so I can check this off? I’ve met a bunch of famous forensic entomologists, but I’m not counting them for some reason.)
42. Begin an Art, science and cultural center
43. Weigh 120-135 as long as it’s healthy (it stopped being healthy a while ago–right around the infertility time)
44. Create a cross stitch tapestry (Working on it!)
45. Learn to draw (Done! Spring 2000. I’m no Ivan, but it’s good enough for government work)
46. Learn to tango (Done! Summer 2000. I hated it)
47. Get a degree in something totally unrelated (Done! June, 2007. I have a degree in Emergency Prehospital Care. If you’re dying, call me! I’ll tell you to go to the hospital)
48. Own a company (I’ve owned small things, but I’m not counting this until it becomes profitable)
49. Maintain a very large garden
50. Arrange a musical festival
51. Go on an African safari
52. Be someone’s inspiration
53. Stay in the best hotels in the world
54. Backpack across America
55. Sponsor a Shakespeare festival
56. Throw at least 1 major formal party
57. Tour England
58. Visit every major museum in the world
59. Love wine (Done! I have no idea when this happened exactly….)
60. Become adept at herbal studies
61. Study at least 3 religions other than Methodist (Done! Mormonism, Judaism and Jehovah’s Witness. I ended up with a boyfriend in each religion, which really made the study easy. Mormons wear sacred underwear. Don’t tell them you know!)
62. Watch or be in every Shakespeare play
63. Organize 5 missions (So I grew up in a Methodist church, and Methodists are really into volunteering. All through high school I went on youth missions organized by the church–I’ve been to Mexico 12 or 13 times to work on churches and houses, I went to Yuma, Arizona several times and worked on the Indian reservation there, and I helped organize a huge mission to Alaska, but I couldn’t go. This is the one thing I miss about not going to church anymore. My old church went to Mississippi last spring to rebuild houses destroyed in hurricane Katrina. I wish I could’ve gone)
64. Study scarab beetles (they’re shiny!)
65. Visit Egypt
66. Never have to worry about money (once again, I was a starving student at this point….)
67. Become adept at rock climbing
68. Visit every state in the union (I’m working on it!)
69. Visit Easter Island
70. Perform in a large theater (Done! Christmas 1997 and 1998. I was part of a Christmas show playing in LA. I played the harp–3500 seats in that theater)
71. Visit Morocco (Ah…here comes my travel list….)
72. Visit Sri Lanka
73. Visit the Philippines (Earl? When we going?)
74. Visit Norway
75. Study cancer (When I add to my list each year, I sometimes don’t go back and review everything first, so there are a few duplicates. Apparently I really want to do these things)
76. Visit France
77. Visit the Eiffel Tower (just in case I was gonna miss it while in France….)
78. Visit the Statue of Liberty again (I saw it when my class went there in Jr. High, but I was a bit boy crazy and didn’t really care about the big green woman)
79. Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa
80. Stay in a small Russian town
81. Go to a health spa (Done! I now do this as regularly as possible)
82. Win a major contest
83. Become a photographer (I don’t think I have much of an eye, but I can try)
84. Visit Dublin
85. Become monetarily comfortable (still hungry!)
86. Own a store
87. Learn to fence (Done! 2004. Hated it!)
88. Learn a martial arts (Done! 2004, black belt in kenjo ki karate–better known as kickboxing)
89. Visit a homeless family
90. Learn massage
91. Write a major research paper (Done! June 2007. It’s going to publication this year W00t!!)
92. Work in a vineyard (Done! Spring 1997, Cal Poly SLO. 1 year. It was fun)
93. Witness a controlled burn (Done! Summer 1998. We had to do several controlled burns in the orchard that summer)
94. Save an insect species
95. Discover an insect species (I like me some insect species)
96. Biologically solve a pest problem (I haven’t decided if I want to do this on a grand scale or not…if not, then done! I’ll leave it unmarked for now, though)
97. Read Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Hans Christian Andersen series, The Metamorphasis, The Fountainhead, It, The Lord of the Rings, and a book by Chaucer. (Some of these are done. The hardest so far is The Lord of the Rings. How do people get through this?!?)
98. Fall asleep in a hammock overlooking a beautiful beach and sea under a full moon (Aw! Aren’t I romantic?)
99. Learn to horseback (Done! Did you know that Dean’s grandfather raises horses?)
100. Take a trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
101. Be interviewed by the press (Done! 2005 FFAS conference. CNN interviewed me about entomology)
102. Go to England to see the Shakespeare Festival
103. Help to solve a crime (Done! I’m a forensic entomologist!)
104. Learn to belly dance (I keep meaning to do this one. Someone help!)
105. Discover the purpose of an insect and use those facts to save it from extinction
106. Write out the entire rocky scrip, block it and use it to get a show started (This is half done–I have the script.)
107. Plan an orchard
108. Read the Bible (This may end up harder than finishing Lord of the Rings)
109. Read the Book of Mormon (And this will be harder than the Bible)
110. Read the entire works of Edgar Allen Poe
111. Build my own harp (You can get kits for not that much and build your own lap harp. Want!)
112. Visit all the National Parks
113. Live in France
114. Design and build a custom lab for my work (Kinda done! I designed the lab I’ll be working in this spring. Does that count? If so, Done!)
115. Have a maid or cleaning service (I don’t do windows! Or any other cleaning, for that matter)
116. Visit all the amusement parks in the U.S.
117. Design a set (Done! Fall 1997. I designed the sets for a performance of Hamlet)
118. Be a main part in a show
119. Picnic on top of a mountain (Wouldn’t this be fun? Hint!)
120. Ride the trolly in San Francisco (Done! Summer 1998)
121. Try Sushi (Done! And I never looked back)
122. See 100 Rocky Horror Picture Shows (I’m at 41)
123. Plan a very romantic trip somewhere and take it with someone I love (Done! We went to Costa Rica for our honeymoon)
124. Help someone in need (I don’t think I’ll ever mark this one off, no matter how many times I do it)
125. Buy my own car (We’ve been given our last several, so I haven’t really had the chance yet. Not that I’m complaining…we’ll happily take anyone’s car off their hands! It’s what we do!)
126. Visit Alaska
127. Be loved by someone I’m not related to (Done!)
128. Don’t die lonely
129. Retire
130. Fall asleep in someone’s arms (Done!)
131. Have my own CD
132. Pass Music Theory 1 (Done! I got a B! Stupid class)
133. Figure out how to raise Jerusalem Crickets (Done! Those bastards are a pain in the ass to raise. And they bite super hard!)
134. Finance my education (Done! That was hard, and now I’m in debt forever, but done!)
135. Create a large folder of research on raising insects
136. Have something published (Done! July 2008, my very first article. Ask me and I’ll let you read it!)
138. Turn my car into a work of art (Done! You should have seen it….)
139. Get an A in Beekeeping (Done! Easiest A ever. I like bees)
140. Manage my own beehive (Just might happen soon…I have plans)
141. Have a webpage (Done! Ah, remember the early days of the web when webpages were novel and only geeks had them?)
142. Get into grad school (Done! For years and years!)
143. Learn to sew (Done! July 2008. I learned, now I just have to get good at it)
144. Finish the Chaos book (It’s a book about Chaos theory. I really only started reading it because I was dating this super cute math major who told me it was good. It’s sitting on the shelf with a 10 year old bookmark in it. I’ll get back to it eventually. I’ll probably have to start from the beginning, though. That’s gonna suck)
145. Create at least one of my clothing designs (So I took this design class for my minor–I had to design clothes. I based all of them on insects)
146. Get an award from a scientific association
147. Get certified in some aspect of entomology
148. Present an original paper at a scientific meeting (Done! June 2008. Presented “Seasonal Distribution and Abundance of Forensically Important Flies in Santa Clara County. It was well received)
149. Get my masters (Done! June 2007)
150. Save 1 million dollars
151. Buy a house (Done! July 2008, and it’s beautiful. Come and visit! We have cookies)
152. Visit every state in the nation (See what I mean about duplicates?)
153. Start a consulting business (Plans, again. Plans.)
154. Read every book in the library (Wanna watch? Or help? Join me!)
155. Visit every country in the world
156. Learn to ride a motorcycle (Yep, this is gonna be done this year. Someone teach me, please!)
157. Climb a mountain
158. Start a journal (Done! 2006. I now have blogs instead)
159. Volunteer somewhere
160. Write a book (I must really want to write that damn book!)
161. Be on tv
163. Create an intricate treasure hunt
164. See a musical on Broadway
165. Be self employed with an actual income
166. Own a cabin
167. Plant 100 trees
168. Read 1000 books
169. See an iceberg
170. Get rid of that dead place inside of me (Done! 2007 or 2008. Ask me about it sometime, if you really want to know)
171. Ride a snowmobile
172. Take a speed reading course (I gotta get through a lot of books, you see….)
173. Learn to surf
174. Walk across a swingy suspension bridge
175. Arrange a harp song
176. Learn Latin
177. Visit Walden pond (Then talk about it all snooty like)
178. Create a hedge maze (How cool is my house gonna be?!?)
179. Be a groomsman (You see, I’ve been every part of a wedding–Bride, bridesmaid, acolyte, harpist, flower girl, officiant, guest on the bride’s side, guest on the groom’s side, but I’ve never been a groomsman. That would complete my takeover of all things wedding!)
180. Have a grand library (With a fireplace and leather chairs and a secret door) (I’m so close!)
181. Have a cabin on a lake
182. Take a gondola ride (Hey! Another great date idea!)
183. Hold a hawk
184. Rehabilitate a wild animal
185. Fire a sniper rifle
186. Fire an automatic weapon
187. Fly first class across the ocean
188. Go hot air ballooning
189. Stay on a houseboat
190. Go hang gliding (But not by myself–with a trained professional so I won’t die. I want to live to be 100, remember?)
191. Do that thing with the parachute hanging off a boat (Doesn’t that sound like fun!?!)
192. visit the Bermuda Triangle (And not get lost)
193. Put $500 a month in my IRA (Up to $350 a month, as of now. See…I’m well on my way to saving 1 million!)
194. Go see the Ice Hotel (I love the Discovery Channel)
195. See Grand Central Station
196. Drive across America, coast to coast
197. Climb the highest mountain in California
198. Renovate a house
199. Cross the Panama Canal
200. Finish the world’s largest crossword puzzle (Don’t really know if I want to do this one any more, but there you are)
201. Go a month without TV (Done! 2008. I was super busy, and TV is the first to go)
202. Buy some aboriginal art in Australia (I blame Chris and Yanira for this–stupid HDTV showing Australia and stuff!)
203. Be married for 60 years (at least!)
204. Make a quilt
205. Go white water rafting
206. Own a sports car (A green RX-7)
207. Buy a house in Costa Rica (Love it there!)
208. Bike 1000 miles in a year
209. Create the perfect, craveable Thanksgiving dinner (I think I’m close! I shall see)
210. Ride the orient express
211. Stay in a haunted hotel
212. Be under 30% body fat
213. Be nominated for a teaching award (Done! Fall, 2008, distinguished teaching award at Texas A&M)
214. Visit the poles (The South and North poles you dirty minded people!)
215. Go sailing
216. Go on an Alaskan cruise
217. Attend a movie premiere
218. Spend over 2 weeks at a nice hotel just enjoying the grounds (I got this idea from reading The Shining. Maybe that’s where I got the haunted hotel idea, too)
219. Attend the Rockettes Christmas Show (I hear this is great!)
220. Celebrate Day of the Dead in Mexico (you know, after they figure out all the drug killings and kidnappings. Still wanna live to 100)
221. Adopt a toddler or baby (Decided this year we will not adopt. Gonna leave this one on the list just to remember, though)
222. Visit the Louvre (I wonder if that’s even close to how it’s spelled)
223. Kiss Dean in Paris
224. Do a food tour of the USA: Pizza in Chicago, Blue Crabs in Maryland, Cheese Steak in Philly, and a bunch of other stuff I haven’t come up with yet)
225. Learn how to write my name in Japanese
226. Celebrate Christmas in New York and London
227. Air Boat the Everglades
228. Pay off my student loans ($32,000 and counting….)
229. Become known for great Thanksgivings
230. Have an art show (Maggot art, baby!)
231. Live in the mountains
232. Take a trip in a motor home
233. See the great barrier reef (But there’s no need to scuba dive…I’m morally against going anywhere I have to take my own oxygen. We need it to survive, people!)
234. Create a secret garden (I love that book! And play! And movie!)
235.Drink mint julep in the French Quarter
236.Enter a cooking contest
237. Have a pool
238. Put all my photos/mementos in scrapbooks (Working on it! It’s very well organized at the moment)
239. See all the movies on AFI’s top 100 list (30 down, 70 to go)
240. Visit Alcatraz
241. Try real absinthe (Done! 2007. It tastes like licorice, and has no hallucinogenic effects)
242. volunteer at a homeless shelter or food bank
243. Look good in a 2 piece
244. Have $100,000 in my IRA
245. Paint a really big painting
246. Get certified with a handgun
247.Ride all the rollercoasters in the US (30 down, 602 to go!)
248. Work at Quantico
249. Get 5 articles published
250. Go back to London, at least once
251. Have a real office that I don’t have to move out of every semester
252. Pass my quals (really nervous about these)
253. Write my lab manual
254. Own some art by someone famous
255. Become a consultant (a final duplicate!)

Well, that’s it for now. Several done these past two years, which rules, and several new goals added. What are your goals? Happy new year!

All-you-can-eat may just cause obesity

Where do the grants for this come from? It has been recently reported that people who eat out often, especially at buffets or in cafeterias, and then don’t get enough exercise get fat.

The findings revealed that respondents who ate out often, especially at buffets, cafeterias and fast food restaurants, were more likely to be obese.



Kid's meals unhealthy. Wait, what?

So, just in case you thought the mini cheeseburger, small fries and a coke (with a toy!) constituted health food for your little one, scientists have decided to set you straight:

Only 3 percent of kids’ meals served at fast-food restaurants met federal dietary guidelines in the first study to examine the nutrient quality of such meals in a major U.S. metropolitan market.

Crazy talk!


Email Forward Question Answers

I have several friends who have not yet grown out of the email forward stage, and I’m conintually getting these questionarre type things (much like the ones that were so popular for a while on MySpace), and since I have a moral obligation to stop retarded email forwards at all costs, I’ve decided to post my answers here and simply send them the link. I will do my part to better this world! As I get more questions, I’ll put more answers.

Forward #1:

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends . Okay, here’s what you’re supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!!

Just copy (not forward) this entire email and paste into a new e-mail that you can send. Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person that sent it to you……Tis the Season to be NICE!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper, although my aunt just taught me to sew cloth bags. One of these days I’ll make a bunch of those.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real, totally.

3. When do you put up the tree? The day after Thanksgiving is Christmas Tree day!

4. When do you take the tree down? New Year’s day. Last year’s tree shouldn’t be up during this year–that’s just rude to this year’s tree!

5. Do you like eggnog? Meh. People keep telling me that’s just because I haven’t had good eggnog. I suppose then they should be giving me the good stuff, now shouldn’t they?
6. Favorite gift received as a child? That’s really hard to say. I got a pet tarantula one year, which ruled; I also got a brown pound puppy at one point, a huge bunch of glow in the dark stars (ruled!), a home planetarium thingy, a chemistry set, and a microscope (and the microscope had a projector on it so I could show my parents things for HOURS!). Recently, I got the very first Newberry Award Winning book. Woooo!
7. Hardest person to buy for? Hmmm…it changes every year. It matters if I happen across the perfect gift or not.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Once again, it matters if I happen across the perfect gift or not.

9. Do you have a nativity scene ? Nah. My mom collects them, so she has more than enough for everyone else in the family.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards ? Mail. I LOVE LOVE LOVE getting mail (it’s like a mini surprise Christmas every day! Except Sundays. Sundays kinda suck like that), so I insist on sending out physical cards so I can give that happy to other people, too.

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Um, can’t really think of one. I love presents, so anything in a festive box rules.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It’s a tie between White Christmas and A Christmas Story.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas ? January. Sometimes before. I have a closet of gifts that I collect throughout the year. I usually am done by October.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present ? Yep. Just because it wasn’t perfect for me (or I already had one) doesn’t mean it won’t be perfect for someone else. I highly encourage present recycling.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Finnan haddie!!! Best food in existence–smoked white fish drenched in butter and served with little potatoes and fresh fruit. I dream about it all year.

16. Lights on the tree? Oh, a rediculous amount of lights. I’ve found that an overly-lighted tree is an amazing site to behold.

17. Favorite Christmas song ? The Christmas Song

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel. 🙁

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen, but do you recall, the most famous reindeer of all?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I haven’t found the perfect thing, so nothing at the moment.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas pajamas get opened on Christmas Eve, and then the rest of the presents on Christmas morning. That has to be the greatest day EVER!

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? All the manufactured stress that my mom inflicts. That’s why I hate traveling.

23 Favorite for Christmas dinner ? Cold Finnan Haddie.

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? Oh, I’ve got a list!

Forward #2
Here is a fun and quick way to stay in touch.  Let’s see how many I get back…

A) Four places that I go to over and over

1)  The Lab
2) Home
3) Square 1
4) The Fox

B)  Four people who e-mail me (regularly):

1) Mom
2) Dean
3) Jeff
4) Facebook

C) Four of my favorite places to eat:

1) Square 1
2) A really good sushi joint
3) Home
4) In N Out

D) Four places I would rather be right now:

1)  at home
2) at Disneyland
3)at a bookstore
4)at a good friend’s house

E) Four TV shows I watch:

2) Anything Reality
3) 90210
4)Countdown with Keith Olbermann

Forward #3:

A getting to know you questionnaire

…but are ya brave enough to answer the questions?

1. Tell me something obvious about you: I have strawberry blonde hair

2. Tell me something about you that many don’t know: I’m deathly afraid of making phone calls, but I force myself to on a regular basis.

3. What is your biggest fear? Just giving up because I’m afraid; not doing everything I can to get what I want.

4. Do you normally go the safe route or take the short cut? Depends. I like short cuts, but sometimes the safe route is best.

5. Name one thing you want that you can’t buy with money. The career I want.

6. What is your most treasured possession? My harp.

7. What is the one thing you hate most about yourself that you do often? I get sloppy with my stuff, and make a mess (just like mom!)

8. Tell me something sexually about you that I don’t know. I like B&D (can you guess if I’m a top or a bottom?)

9. Tell me something sexually about you that everyone knows: I really, really like sex.

10. What is your favorite lie to tell? Sorry I missed your call! My phone was in the car.
11. Name something you’ve done once that you can’t wait to do again: Gone to London
12. Are you the jealous type? I can be, it depends on my mood.

13. What is the one person, place or thing you can’t say no to? Disneyland.

14. What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you? Bought me a harp.

15. If you could do something crazy right now, what would it be? Walk right out of my parent’s house and never come back.

16. When was the last time you cried? A week or so ago.

17. When was the last time you felt so good that nothing else mattered? Last week, when it snowed.

18. Do you feel comfortable in public with no shirt on? Matters the circumstances.

19. Name something embarrassing you did while being drunk. I do so many embarrassing things while NOT drunk, the drunken me is down right polite.

20. If you answered this questionaire, who else would you like to see answer it? I don’t really care.
21. If you lied on any of the questions, which ones and why? None

Foward #4

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?

Hot chocolate, with Godiva white and dark chocolate liquor, vanilla, marshmallows, cinnamon, orange liquor, and a candy cane.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

Wrapped of course! One of the best parts of Christmas is seeing a wrapped gift with your name on it, and not being able to open it until Christmas morning.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

Colored. I love the sparkles!

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

No, but only because I don’t know where to get it easily. I’d love to have it everywhere. So much kissing!

5. When do you put your decorations up?

Day after Thanksgiving.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Finnan Haddie.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?

Waiting breathlessly in the bedroom doorway until 8 am, because we weren’t allowed out until then.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

Don’t really remember.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

Christmas pajamas.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

I start by wrapping the trunk with lights, then I wrap each branch with lights, then I put the shiny Christmas balls inside the tree so they reflect the lights, then I put the fun Christmas ornaments on the outside of the tree.

11. Snow: love it or hate it?

Love it! I don’t get to see it all that often, is why.

12. Can you ice skate?

Yes. It’s like slippery roller blading.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

I haven’t had all my Christmases yet, so how am I to know what my favorite gift is?

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?

Sitting in front of the Christmas tree with friends and family and just relaxing. It makes my tummy happy.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Pumpkin pie

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Sitting in front of the Christmas tree.

17. What tops your tree?


18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?

Giving. I love the hunt for the perfect gift, then watching someone I love open it. It makes me so very happy!

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

A Christmas Song and Silver Bells

20. Candy canes:

Love them, but they always taste best fresh off the Christmas tree.

21. Favorite Christmas movie?

A Christmas Story and White christmas

22. What do you leave for Santa?


Forward #5

1. Do you love Christmas, or just pretend to? I absolutely, totally, and completely love it, more than any other time of year.
2. Now that you know better, what do you say to sweet little kids who look at you with their wide, expectant eyes and ask you if Santa Claus is real? I say “of course!”
3. There will, at some point within the next six weeks, be an item in the news about a council or other government body “banning” some traditional Christmas item such as a nativity play, overtly religious carol or a dogmatic clergyman for suggesting that Christmas is a Christian festival, since this might cause offence to people who aren’t Christians. Do you care? Nope.
4. Would you work on Christmas day for double pay? No way.
5. What’s so special about turkeys? Aren’t they just fat, tasteless chickens? Have you had my turkey? (That’s what she said!)
6. Has the mere fact that the goose is getting fat ever specifically led you to put a penny in the hat of an old man? Nope. Do that all year anyhow.
7. Is anything more sinister than a merry gentleman at rest? Yes. An angry mother when you have to work during Christmas vacation.
8. (Brits) Do you feel incomplete if you don’t watch or listen to the Queen on Christmas Day? Not Brit.
9. (Americans) Do you feel incomplete without the Queen to give you your annual dose of platitudinous moral and spiritual guidance? (Ooo, vocabulary’s coming back, must be the rump steak I had for breakfast). Nope.
10. “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas”. But since the life expectancy of the dog is 12 – 18 years, unless you’re buying a dog for your Granddad (and don’t do that, he wants socks) this almost certainly is not the case. Who can we sue for deceiving us? PETA
11. In Australia, Christmas is in summer. Should this be allowed? Why not?
12. Will you be going to church on Christmas Day voluntarily? Nope.
13. Will you be doing anything on Christmas Day voluntarily? Eat and open presents.
14. It’s Boxing Day, 3pm. You’re in the lounge with your Grandma. Everyone else is washing up, or drunk. Are you old enough now to pretend to be asleep so you don’t have to listen to her blab on and on about how all she got for Christmas when she was your age was an orange and a punch in the face? Yes. And I’m probably drunk.
15. “Christmas has become too commercialised”. At what point was it just commercialised enough? I love Christmas just the way it is.
16. Given absolute power over an entire nation, how would you have Christmas celebrated? With friends and family, and no one telling me that I’m doing it wrong, or someone else is doing it wrong.

Head Banging Raises Risk for Head and Neck Injury. And for Stupid Science.

Apparently wildly swinging your head to a fast beat can cause injury. Who knew? (You know, other than all the head bangers in the world who wake up with a sore neck the next day. Other than them). Apparently scientists felt the need to take some money and study this:

The researchers attended hard rock and heavy metal concerts including Motörhead, Ozzy Osbourne and Skid Row, and identified that the up-down style was the most common head banging technique. They constructed a theoretical head banging model of this popular style to examine the effect the range of head and neck motion has on injury severity. A focus group of ten musicians was used to calculate the average tempo of their favourite head banging songs.

The authors found that there is an increasing risk of neck injury beginning at tempos of 130 beats per minute related to the range of motion in the head banging style.

Oh, the humanity.