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!

Saturday 6/16-Sunday 6/17

Saturday was a busy day, full of lots of stuff to do.

I woke up and did some laundry, then I headed over to Cody’s house.  We swam in his pool and hung out for a while; it was a really nice day.  We also went to two graduation parties: one for Cody’s cousin’s girlfriend and one for Cody’s friend from football.  Then we went to our friend Steve’s (Woody’s) Eagle Scout court of honor, which was a really nice ceremony.  Cody and I are very proud of Woody and his accomplishment!  I got a chance to see a lot of old friends and people I haven’t seen in a while, which was really nice.  But what really touched my heart was seeing and talking with a little girl that I knew from the summer enrichment program when I first started, about 5 years ago–and she still remembered me!  After Woody’s party, Cody and I went to the drive-ins.  We saw two relatively funny movies and had a great time.

Sunday was a day to relax.  I gave Bruce the candy I bought him for father’s day and we went over to Bruce’s parent’s house for Bruce’s father’s birthday (and father’s day too).  It was nice seeing everyone, especially their cat, Boots 🙂

He’s almost as cute as my Daisy 🙂

I called my dad and wished him a happy father’s day and then Bruce, Joel, my mom and I went out for dinner.  Then later I went over to Cody’s house to get my car keys (I had left them in his car the night before).  And that about wrapped up a great weekend 🙂

Friday 6/15

This morning I woke up in my bed at home but I thought I was at school.  I was disoriented for a bit, and then I woke up some more and figured it out.  It’s nice being home for a while.

After I woke up I went to Cody’s house for a while, and then we went to a ceremony for his Latin class and Gloversville Latin Alumni.  It was nice seeing everyone still in high school, and Cody won a really nice award.

Here’s Mr. G giving Cody his award. Congrats Co!

I was really glad I got to go back to the high school because I got to see my two favorite teachers, Alison Siragusa and Kate Brown.  It was really nice talking to my old science teachers.

After the awards ceremony I went to my grandma’s house and took her on some errands, and then we went to Burger King (again) for dinner.  I still haven’t ordered that bacon sundae!

Later, I went home and my mom and I decided to visit my cousin Amy and her 10-month old daughter, Khloe.  We had a lot of fun playing with Khloe, even though she was a bit cranky at first.  She had a giraffe stuffed animal and I taught her to kiss it on the nose.  Khloe is so adorable!

So cute!

And that about wraps up my day.  Cody is at his track banquet, so I have myself a date with some peanut butter pandemonium ice cream! Thanks for reading!

Thursday 6/14

Today I did a lot of reading background literature.  I read a lot of journal articles, especially ones about autism and the BTBR mice. Cody was in town applying for a job at the track, so I had lunch at Burger King with him.

When we were ordering our food, the person at the register asked us if we wanted to try a new bacon sundae.  Yes, you read that right….BACON. Ew.  Who would want to eat bacon on a sundae?  Not me, that’s for sure.  Cody brought me back to Skidmore, where I met with Bernie.

We checked the running wheels and made sure none of the mice escaped and whatnot.  Then I asked him questions about what I had read and we discussed it.  After our meeting, I headed back to my room to pack for the weekend.

Once I had packed, I had dinner with Cody that I snuck out of the dining hall for him (Shhhhh!).  Then we headed home, to the GHS Scholarship night, where graduating seniors receive the scholarships they have won.  Cody made out well–he received a lot of scholarships.  I’m so proud of him!

Later that night I came home and spent some time with my mom, and then hung out at Cody’s house for a while.  His house still has no internet, which is why I’m writing Thursday’s post on Friday.  And now I’ll write Friday’s post! 🙂

Wednesday 6/13

Well, today was quite a boring day.  I went to the lab right before lunch to make sure none of the mice escaped (they didn’t).  Then I had lunch, went back to my room, and relaxed, watched tv, and read some journal articles.  That was about it.  No excitement like yesterday.  Pretty smooth sailing.  The only thing that happened was that Cody’s internet went out and my phone has barely any minutes left due to the two hour phone call with hp, so I barely got to talk to him.  But tomorrow is a new day! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday 6/12

Today was one heck of an exciting day, despite the weather.

Top 3 most exciting things:

1) Finally putting the lead mice in the running wheels!

2) Chasing down 3 (yes, 3) escaped mice

3) My first mouse bite


Now here’s a play-by play of today’s events:

I woke up at about 5 in the morning to the sound of Daisy knocking some unknown object over in my room.  After chasing her out, I settled back to sleep.  There’s nothing like a 5 AM wakeup call by your cat to make you ready to go back to school.  Then I woke up at a normal time to make the drive back to Saratoga.  The drive took longer than expected because I spent at least half of the way here stuck behind a Taurus that went 10 miles under the speed limit the whole way.  But nevertheless, I arrived back at Skidmore at about 10:30 and immediately made my way to the lab to start preparing the running wheel cages for their new owners.

I filled up all the water bottles and bedding trays, and then started screwing on the magnet switches.  I also checked the computer to see how the BTBR mice were doing.  Then I went back to my room and changed my clothes because it was starting to get cold out.  Then I went to “Journal Club”, a meeting of some of the summer research students and their professors.  We were supposed to read an article relevent to someone’s research, and then the students gave a presentation on it and answered questions.  Since I had only gotten the article an hour before the meeting, I didn’t get a chance to read it, but the talk was really interesting.  Plus there was free pizza 🙂

After the meeting, I went back to the lab and finished screwing in the magnets and tested out the wheels to make sure they were running smoothly.  Then I had to make tags for all the 32 mice, as well as choose which cage they came from and decide how to most evenly distribute them.   That took a while, but once it was done I was ready to put the mice in the wheels.  That was the fun part.

Things were going pretty smoothly until about the third mouse, which did not like going into it’s new home very much, and CHOMP! it promptly bit me on the thumb.  It didn’t hurt much, but it was a bit of a surprise and it did draw blood.  The next surprise was the hyperactivity of the female Balb mice.  Mice are nocturnal, so it should have been the middle of the night for these little critters, and they should have been fast asleep.  Key word “should”.  The mice were jumping around like popcorn in their little cage, and when I opened it up, one of the four just popped right out! I quickly went to shut the door and chased it into the corner, catching it by the tail and placing it into it’s new cage.  I vowed to be more careful, but out of 36 cages, more were bound to escape.  For one escapee, I even had to have Bernie come help me to catch it.  Luckily we got it, and only one more got out after that, and it was easily caught.

That just about ended the excitement for the day.  I did a few more small tasks and then talked with Bernie about the week’s plans.  But running around after mice like a cat was enough excitement for the week! Daisy probably would have enjoyed that job.  Now the rest of the week should be pretty straightforward, I just have to catch up on the literature.  I’ll write to you tomorrow!


Monday 6/11

Sorry I didnt post more over the weekend, I was super busy! On Saturday Cody and I went to a really great barbecue place for ribs (Cody’s favorite) and then we went to his Latin teacher’s house for a little get-together. It was really nice! Then Sunday I just got to relax, which was nice too.

Today was an amazing day though; I got a lot done.  I went into the lab today on a mission: to wash all the rest of the rat cages.  After all, there were only 24 left…..

I ended up finishing up by 2:30, so I decided I would take a trip home, since I missed my family and Reggie invited Cody and I to go fencing with him.  So I packed up some clothes and drove off to Gloversville.  I visited with my grandma for a bit and then I came home to see my Daisy Doodle (oh, and my mom and Bruce too).


My mom made a delicious dinner for Bruce, Cody and I, and then it was off to fencing! It was so much fun!!! Even though we got hot and sweaty, I learned a lot and I wish I was home more so I could go more often.


After fencing, we all went to McDonald’s and I got a milkshake. All in all of was a great day!  It makes up for the drive I’ll have to take tomorrow morning.  Thanks for reading!

Friday 6/8

Today I was expecting to wash a lot of rat cages, but I got a break!  Hooray for Fridays!

Turns out another person working in the lab needed to use the washroom, so I only had time to clean one rat cage.  Then Bernie told me to just use the rest of today to read some journal articles.  I couldn’t argue with that!  So I figured I would make the most of this beautiful day by reading outside.  I grabbed a blanket, some Snapple Apple, water, chocolate covered pretzels, dried cranberries, sunscreen, a notebook, and a smattering of journal articles to read and headed over to the pond.  I set up camp and got to reading.

What a beautiful setting to get some work done in!

Unfortunately it started sprinkling a little so I went back inside.  But at least it gave me some time to write this post!  It looks like it will blow over soon so hopefully I’ll go back outside while I wait for Cody to get here.

Tonight Cody and I are going to a movie/concert sponsored by Saratoga Arts.  They will be showing the film “Johnny Cash: At Folsom Prison” and then a Johnny Cash tribute artist will perform.  It sounds like it will be a great time for Johnny Cash fans like Cody and I!

I can’t wait for tonight!

It turns out, as my mom pointed out, I will be honoring the “man in black” by wearing my new dress.  I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and post them tomorrow.  I’m so glad that Saratoga Springs has so many great shows and performances to go to this summer, it’s a great place to be!

Until Cody gets here, I’ve got to get back to reading some journal articles (and listening to Johnny Cash on my iPod!).  Maybe I’ll go back outside as it looks like the rain has passed.  Thanks for reading!

Thursday 6/7

I woke up this morning to the sound of a fire alarm.  I momentarily freaked out a bit and almost got up, only to realize that it was in another building.  The construction that they’re doing on Starbuck Center is making some fire alarms go off every five minutes.  It’s so annoying.  After a fragmented sleepy morning, I finally got up and started to order articles on the interlibrary loan.  After a few short troubles, I finally got all the articles I want to read.

Once that was done, I decided that today would be errand day.  Last night I put my dvd drive into my computer and fixed it (Yay!!).  So today I had to return the old one via FedEx.  I went to FedEx and bought tickets for a show that Cody and I are seeing tomorrow night as part of ArtsFest Weekend (More details on that later).  Then I had to start on the most dreaded thing ever….cleaning more rat cages.

I went into the lab and checked the food and water of the lead mice.  Once that was all filled up, I looked at the progress of the wheel runners.  One wheel was not recording any data, and I eventually had to fiddle around with it a bit to fix it.  But it’s all better now.  Then I had to face the inevitable…..I started to clean the rat cages.  I cleaned a full rack, and then I had enough.  I can’t wait to do the same tomorrow.

After all that smelly work, I decided to reward myself.  I took a relaxing trip to the mall, in which I ended up buying a dress for my date with Cody tomorrow night on a whim.

Here it is! I’m so excited for our date tomorrow!

So that was my day!  Thanks for reading!!