Friday 6/29

This morning I woke up and was so relieved as I had stayed up late working on my poster and I was finally done!  I packed up my stuff to go home for the weekend and then I went to the dining hall to eat.  Soon afterwards I headed off to the lab, where Bernie and I went over my final poster and tweaked it a little.  And shortly after I left and arrived home!

It was nice to see my cat daisy and my family.  We had some yummy pizza for dinner and Cody came over too.  Then Cody and I picked up our friends Nik and Rose to go to the movies.  It was Rose’s last night in gloversville because she is moving away. I’ll miss her!

We saw the movie “Ted” and I thought it was horrible.

It had its funny moments but as a whole it was not good at all.  Cody, on the other hand, loved it. Of course.

But regardless of the movie quality we had a nice night out and it was nice to see Rose one last time.  We went home and then got all ready to go to New York City!!! Yay!!


Thursday 6/28

This morning I had to go to the summer research halfway point meeting with all the students doing summer research.  I had to get up really early (for me) and take a shower and get ready and stuff beforehand.  And when I got there I found there were scones and coffee and such.  We mixed ourselves up and I purposely sat at a table where I didn’t know a single person.  We all got to talking and everyone had some really interesting research.  Our table had a really diverse subject matter–every kind of research from microfluidics to math modeling to tapestry weaving.  I ended up making a friend from my table, a senior named Jen, and I sat with her and her research partner at lunch.  They were both really nice and friendly.

After lunch I headed back to the lab to show Bernie all the hard work I did on my poster.  He gave me a few suggestions but overall thought it was very good.  I still have a lot of work to do though! I hope to finish it by tomorrow.  Bernie showed me how to create a composite actogram so I could show the average activity for a specific group.  I made those and then printed them out. Bernie had to meet with another professor so I decided that I would work outside.  I grabbed my computer and sat in an adirondack chair next to the library.


When I got too hot I went inside and worked some more.  I took a break to have a popsicle too!

So by the time I wrote this post, I have my poster almost finished.  I just have to finish writing my discussion/conclusion and I’m golden.  It was so much work but definitely worth it. Now I’m just excited for the weekend!!!!

Wednesday 6/27

The first exciting thing to happen today was journal club.  I didn’t my hands on the article until 10 minutes before it started so I didn’t get a chance to read more than the abstract, but I learned a lot from the presentation.  The paper and the presentation discussed the use of zebrafish as model organisms to study fetal alcohol syndrome and the effects of ethanol on the development of zebrafish.  It was really interesting, plus we got to have journal club in a room I never knew existed filled with cages and tanks containing fish, birds, and lizards.

After journal club ended I went to the lab and discussed a bunch of stuff with Bernie.  Turns out next week we are getting a new student researcher for the rest of the summer and I get to teach her about circadian rhythms and stuff.  And furthermore, it turns out I already know her.  Her name is Nicole and she was in my freshman seminar.  That’s pretty fun news.

To familiarize her with circadian rhythms, we may have a little fun with actiwatches, little wristband “watches” that you wear to find out your own circadian rhythm.  I’m so excited at the prospect of creating my very own actogram!!! I’m such a nerd.

I haven’t seen them yet, but I think these are the actiwatches!

After I met with Bernie I decided to get started with my poster for the BTBR mice, considering all the data is already analyzed.  I am wayyy to ambitious though, I got on a roll and I’ve been working on it for at least 6 or 7 hours.  I have the intro planned out, and the methods and results nearly done already. I’m so tired, and I have a busy day tomorrow.  Sorry for the shortness of this post, but it’s time for bed.  Goodnight!

Tuesday 6/26

Today was a pretty normal day, despite the far from normal weather.  It was chilly out today, at least compared with the weather we have been used to having.  I woke up in time for breakfast, which I guess was a bit unusual, but that’s about it.

After breakfast I went to the lab and started analyzing the data.  I analyzed the lead LD data and the BTBR DD data.  It ended up taking pretty much all day.  I took breaks for lunch and dinner, and I eventually finished it all.  All the actograms were printed and the statistics were analyzed.  We decided to put the BTBRs in LL, so technically I won’t be completely done with that experiment for at least another 10 days.

So for the rest of the week I’ll just be working on posters and such.  And trying to find a quiet place to work on campus.  There are a bunch of kids on campus for a variety of camps hosted on campus.  So hopefully I will be able to work somewhere that isn’t my room or the lab without a lot of noise and distraction.  That’s all for today, thanks for reading!

Monday 6/25

This morning I got up and thought everything would go smoothly.  I planned to get back to Skidmore around 1.  Of course I should know that my plans never work out.

I did some laundry right when I woke up, but then Cody came over and I couldn’t help but just relax with him.  Cody made me some really delicious french toast, and I folded laundry.  Then it started to look nasty outside.  Mother nature did not want me to get back to school on time.  My mom wanted me to wait until the storm passed until I left, so it looked like I would be stuck home for a while.  Cody had to go home unexpectedly and I was left to pack up my stuff.  Once I was ready to leave, I realized I couldn’t do so.

I had left my wallet with Cody the day before, and I needed it back before I could go to Skidmore because it had my SkidCard in it, my key to my dormroom.  So I was delayed yet again because I had to make a trip up to Bleeker to get my wallet.

Eventually, I finally got to Skidmore.  I went straight to the lab and started analyzing the data for the lead mice’s LD cycle.  Luckily, the computer we use to collect data has a backup power supply, because there was a scheduled maintenance power outage.  The Dana Science Center has a backup generator too, so at least I was able to work on the computers during it.  After I had completed the long and boring process of converting 32 files, Bernie and I realized that we accidentally cut off a day’s worth of data.  What does that mean? It means I had to do it all over again.  What a pain in the butt that was.

Tomorrow morning I am going to finish analyzing all the data.  Wish me luck!

Graduation Weekend (6/22-6/24)

This was just about the busiest weekend ever.

Friday afternoon I drove home for the weekend.  When I got home, I hung out with Cody and some of his friends for a while, and then when my mom got out of work I went home to spend some time with her.  Later I invited my friend Mary Grace over and we had a lot of fun catching up.  We ordered pizza and Cody met up with us for dinner.  After I brought Mary Grace home, I went to Cody’s house and we watched The Best of Chris Farley.  Good thing Cody’s graduating high school so he doesn’t have to end up living in a van down by the river.

You’re gonna be doing a lot of doobie rolling when you’re living in a van down by the river!

Then Saturday was Cody’s Graduation!  I am so proud of Cody and all he has accomplished.  He graduated first in his class, was president of his class all four years, and won the Principal’s award, one of GHS’s highest honors.  Cody’s valedictorian speech was great, even though he didn’t mention me in it enough (or at all 😛 ).

I’m so proud of him!

After graduation I went out to lunch with Cody’s family and then we took a break before we headed off to Cody’s friend Zach’s graduation party.  We had a long ride ahead of us (3 hours there and back) but Cody and I enjoyed ourselves in the car singing our heads off, making jokes about town names we passed along the way, and talking a lot.  We had a lot of fun at the party too.  There was great food and we really enjoyed ourselves.

On Sunday our day was even crazier.  We had four graduation parties to go to.  We went to Cody’s teammate Matt’s party first, then headed over to our friend Stephanie’s party.  It was nice seeing people at both parties that I haven’t seen in a while.  We had to stop back up at Cody’s house and then we went to our friend Armondo’s party, where a lot of Cody’s friends were found lurking about…

Lastly, we went to our friend Courtney’s party at the lake.  We had a lot of fun even though we got there as the party was winding down.  We hung out on the beach and everyone had a lot of fun.  Plus we buried Angela.

I ended up having an amazing weekend home, and I didn’t want to leave.  But alas, I arrived safely at Skidmore on Monday afternoon.  But more on that later…

Thursday 6/21

This morning I finally got up early enough for breakfast in d-hall!  Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything especially good, so I grabbed a muffin and headed back to my room to read some journal articles.

When lunchtime came along, I went to d-hall and luckily they had my favorite chicken quesadillas. Yum!  After lunch I went straight to the lab and checked on the mice, re-ran some more statistics, and talked with Bernie.  We decided to breed more BTBR mice for the school year, so we paired up males and females in new cages and got them all set up.

After that, Cody arrived on campus and I went to meet him.  He was hungry so we went to the Spa to get him a sandwich and I got to introduce him to some of the people I work with for work study during the school year.  Then we went back to my room and tried to keep cool while we waited to meet Cody’s sister at the mall.

Cody’s sister Nicki and I went around shopping for a dress for her to wear to Cody’s graduation.  Eventually she found a really cute dress and we had a lot of fun shopping around and looking at clothes.  But I don’t think Cody enjoyed it too much…  It’s okay though, he found a Buddy Holly CD and a movie to buy, so it wasn’t a total waste for him.  Plus, we all kept cool.

After we came back from the mall, Cody and I went to Dairy Haus, an ice cream shop right aroud the corner from Skidmore.  It was the first time I had ever been there but I was really impressed.  I got a cone of homemade chocolate almond ice cream and it was absolutely delicious.  It was just what I needed on such a hot day.

Melty, but delicious.

Tomorrow I’m headed back home for Cody’s graduation, so I might not be able to keep up my posts, but thanks for reading!

Wednesday 6/20

This morning I used every internal excuse in the book to keep me in my room all morning, because it was HOT!  I mean, it was hot in my room, but it was at least 15 degrees warmer and sunny outside.  So I became a shut-in for the morning so I wouldn’t want to die of heat at the end of the day.  I read and found journal articles, cleaned my room, and did pretty much anything productive I could think of that I could do inside.  When I finally did venture outside for need of nourishment, I walked out the door and the heat hit me like a wave.  I got lunch and then headed over to the lab.

I leafed through the statistics that we had prepared the day before and started analyzing them, looking for significant data.  Then I went over what I had found with Bernie, and we realized that we needed to check to see if any of the wheels had been double counting so the data would be more accurate.  After some fiddling around in the dark room, we realized that some were, and one was even triple counting.  So that meant we had to edit all the data and re-run all the statistics.  But once that was done, we were done for the day.  I headed back to my room and waited for Cody, who was in Saratoga for the day for a job interview.

Cody and I hung out in my room for a bit (in the cool) until we were hungry for dinner.  We went to Friday’s and had a really yummy meal and a fun time.  After dinner, Cody had to go home and I watched tv for a while and just relaxed after a long day.  And that’s about it, thanks for reading!

Tuesday 6/19

This morning Cody called me to wake me up and I helped him pick which classes he wants to take next semester.  He has a phone meeting with his summer advisor tomorrow to finalize his class decisions.  I know he’ll pick some great classes, you can’t go wrong at Skidmore.  Then I went to the financial aid office to check some forms, and then it was off to the lab.

I sat at the computer and started to type my data into SAS when Denise McQuade, my bio lab instructor, came up to me and said hi.  She asked me if I wanted to help her with some new mice that she just received from SUNY Albany.  Of course I said yes, I love Denise and I didn’t feel like typing in a bunch of numbers.  So I helped her unload her new shipment of mutated mice.  The containers they were shipped in were so hard to open!  We put them in new cages and gave them food and water.  And then just as we were finished, Abby came into the lab.  I was 10 minutes late to journal club!

Luckily I didn’t miss anything.  I grabbed a slice of pizza and mingled for a while, and then the group that was presenting started.  They talked about morphometrics and using procrustes analysis-a process in which pictures or models of skulls are scaled to the same size and specific points are compared to see how different they are to show evolution.  It was really interesting and I really liked the math behind it, although the actual student researchers didn’t seem to.  After the meeting, Abby talked to me about possibly doing my own presentation in the future.  Maybe in a few weeks I’ll be writing about that 🙂

When I got back from journal club I went to go finish typing everything into SAS, but somehow the computer I needed to use got shut down.  I was so upset because I never saved my work, so I had to start all over again.  I went to restart the computer but when I tried to log in, the password that is written on the computer tower didn’t work.  I couldn’t figure it out, and Aaron couldn’t figure it out, and eventually the computer locked us out because we put in the wrong password so many times.  So I waited around for Bernie, did some literature searches, and checked on the mice for a while, but Bernie was nowhere to be found.  So I emailed him and went back to my room and waited for him to email me back.

Finally he did and I came back to the lab, he figured out the computer, and I typed in all the data.  We ran lots of statistical tests on the data, and we looked at the actograms that I had printed out yesterday.  We saw a lot of variance in the data so we tried to run more tests in order to find a quantitative way to measure that.  In the process we found that a program that we normally use to find the Qr’s of the data has a lot of “fun” features, including a circadian rhythm diagnostic health questionnaire, a computer synthesized symphony, and an interactive pronounciation guide to circadian rhythm terms.  Bernie and I got a kick out of it.

Once we were done with everything we needed to do today, we realized that it was almost 8:30!  I missed dinner so I decided to go to Chipotle and get a burrito that was roughly the size of my head. Talk about procrustes analysis!

And that just about ended my day.  Now I’m just skyping with Cody (whose internet is fixed) until bedtime.  Thanks for reading!

Monday 6/18

This morning when I woke up, Cody came over to eat breakfast with me for our 1.5 year anniversary.  I can’t believe how the time has flown! Cody had to leave pretty quickly though to volunteer at Kingsborough’s field day so I did some laundry and packed up my stuff to come back to Skidmore.  Then Cody came back to my house to have lunch with me before I left.

I arrived at Skidmore and went straight to the lab to check on my mice.  In the second room, one mouse had escaped (a Balb of course) and it was sitting right under it’s cage.  Luckily I was able to snatch it up quickly and put it back in it’s cage.  After I checked on everything I brought my stuff back into my room to kill some time until I could meet with Bernie.  Once I came back to the lab, Bernie showed me the programs we use to analyze the running wheel data and how to use them.

After a lot of time, I created files for every mouse, printed actograms for the LD data, and calculated a lot of other values, which I wrote down and started to enter into a SAS, a statistical analysis program.  That’s four different computer programs that I learned to use (and did use) in one day.  AND I analyzed data for 29 mice.  That’s 29 data files.  Which means a heck of a lot of work.  But I’m a quick learner, so it was a piece of cake once I got the hang of things.  This research thing is a lot of fun.  Tomorrow I’ll get to see my first results! Yay!