Friday, March 25, 2016

I'm back...hopefully....maybe...kind of


I can not believe it's been since August since I've put anything on here. It's been... well it's been. I've had some personal things to work out internally and didn't want to cloud my personal "happy" space with it. Honestly, I had a lot of anger, frustration, jealousy, and depression I needed to work out with out it coming across here and potentially hurting others. Plus last semester was a bitch. I had a wetlands class where we had a field trip each month to a different wetland. It was super cool, but super time consuming. Even more time consuming was my habitat class. I had to put together a plant collection of at least 80 plants correctly identified, nicely pressed, correctly labeled and with a write up of how to manage for/against the plant, where it can be found, and it's wildlife uses. I started collecting plants here and there in April of last year and I was still scrounging for plants come fall. Granted, I was one of the first finished with mine (I'm freakishly OCD when it comes to my school work), but it SEEMED like I was down to the wire. 

So, what else has been going on since August? Let's see, I went to a conference in Baton Rouge in November and presented, we went home for Christmas, my Crimson Tide won the National Championship, went to a conference in San Antonio and presented, my drinking buddy and his wife had their miracle baby (Hallelujah!), I finished my proposal and have it sent to the graduate school, and I've also submitted my graduation audit request. The end is nigh!! 

Right now I'm working on writing my thesis. So far I think it is going better than I anticipated. I started writing last Tuesday the 15th and it is now Friday the 10 days and I have 3 intros minus the "what I did in this study" paragraphs for my first chapter intro, methods for 2 chapters done, results for 1 chapter done, and I started on the discussion for chapter that I've finished the results part on. On that chapter I have just the discussion, abstract, and any tables I might want to add left to do. Maybe a day and a half to 2 days left. 

To take my mind off of school for a while and to socialize more, I have become more active in the LARP group Buddy has been involved with for the last year and a half. I've really enjoyed it. I haven't started swinging foam yet, but I'm sure with the tensions of writing this damn thesis I will soon. I've really just enjoyed taking photos (it's really good practice in taking action shots), doing arty stuffs, and hanging out with some like-minded people. I've even been belted! 

If I've said this once, I've said it a million times, but I'm going to TRY to do better with this blog with writing more often and opening up some more with some real life shit. I'm really anxious about doing this though,  because you never know how the written word could be interpreted by another person. I've got issues enough that I don't need any drama. 

I'll leave you for now with some favorite pictures I've taken since August, you know - three whole seasons ago. Until next time, blessed be.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

I'm not dead!!

I've been meaning to blog again for the last 2 months, but it always seems like either something came up, we were going somewhere, or I was just too damn tired to do so.

So - quick recap of the last few months:

The last time I blogged I was optimistic about the rain finally quitting and me finishing my last season of field work. Well, it didn't really happen that way. The day after that blog post I woke up an hour before my alarms to thunder. Another 2-3 inches fell and there was absolutely nothing I could do. My tech needed to pay bills and such on the first, so we went home for a long 5 day weekend to let everything dry. The pitfalls that were in the ground already would just have to be reset when we got back.

You know it's bad when this is how the guys who check on the local oil and gas rigs have to get to their work sites.
After our 5 day weekend we went back balls to the wall. Some of the roads were not as dry as I would have hoped, but we were able to get 3 surveys in a day and all of the pitfalls and fogging completed. There was a mix up at the hotel with our room and we went back for one last weekend to come back and finish three more days of surveys. However, my tech had a major family emergency and was not able to come back with me after the weekend. Buddy didn't want me to go out alone, (I really didn't want to either) but I really needed someone who knew their bird calls or could navigate for me. With such short notice I didn't think I would be able to find anyone. Buddy went with me one day and found out how difficult these stands are to navigate. I went by myself the next day and other than getting turned around in one stand, I was fine. However, tropical storm Bill was on my tail and we had to leave out that day. So, more rain.

Once again, I gave the ground some time to dry and then headed back to the motel by myself. I left early on Father's Day so I could get there and do some surveys before the motel opened. When I got near my sites all I could see in the younger stands was water. There was so much more rain than the weather people had forecasted. I made several attempts to get to stands that desperately needed more surveys, but ended up turning around because I didn't trust the roads. I headed to the two stands I knew I should be able to get to because they are very well maintained. As I pulled on the road a salt water tanker was coming from the other direction, so I pulled over what I thought was a little bit. Nope. Into the mud I went and there was no backing or pulling forward out of it.

The tanker guy stopped, but didn't have a chain. I tried my roadside assistance with my insurance company. A cop had pulled someone over on the main road so I walked out there to talk to the cop but left my cards in the truck. While walking back to the truck to get my cards the cop left, so I had to recall roadside assistance who couldn't help because I was more than 30 feet from a "well used road". I called tow trucks who couldn't help because they only took cash. I finally found one tow guy (who was a douche the first time I talked to him) who would take me to an ATM so I could get him the cash (SFA would reimburse me for the tow so I wasn't too worried about it). After I hung up with the tow guy, a fella that runs the salt water tankers came by, told me to call the tow and cancel, and that he would run up the road, borrow a chain and pull me out. Thank the heavens for country folk!!

I finished the remainder of my surveys alone (with no more rain!), didn't get stuck again, and I have
now finished my insect identification portion and my data entry. Now I'm organizing the data getting it ready for analysis and come Monday I'll be doing my first edit on my proposal. After tropical storm Bill, it rained maybe twice a week for a few more weeks and now it has only rained once since July started! We have had the hottest temperatures ever this year and with a car with no AC it's insane.

Since I've been back I restarted C25K. It's been so hot and humid though I basically did week 1 until I didn't feel like I was going to die. Yesterday was the first day of week 2 and the humidity was so awful outside I couldn't finish all the prompts. I've met some new friends (Hi Ben and Kasy) though Buddy and his roleplaying groups and Kasy runs with me every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. At first I didn't think I would like it. Running by myself affords me the quiet to pay attention to my breathing and pace. However, it's nice to have that accountability. I have to get up and go because Kasy will be there and I don't want to let her down. It's also nice to talk with someone who shares interests with you outside of your work. I think Luna likes it too cause I'm less of a hard ass.

Since mine and Buddy's birthdays are two weeks apart, we usually do something together for our birthdays. In the last 8 years it hasn't been anything other than dinner since we are poor, but this year I had extra money saved cause I thought I would have to take 6 hours this summer when I only needed 3. So we splurged ALOT and went to Dallas for a day. We rented a car because it's hot as hell, tried out some Dallas barbeque (still not as good as barbeque back home), toured the Perot museum of natural history, Pioneer Park, Dealy Plaza, and finally went to Midieval Times!! It was soo much fun! Very crowded, but fun.
 The week after out birthday extravaganza I went to Norman, Oklahoma for the American and Cooper Ornithological Societies conference. I gave the first presentation for my project. There were so many presentations and biological studies that the first few days felt a little over my head and made me feel a little out of place. Yet my presentation went really well, got a few more ideas on my research,I met a few new people, marked some birds on my life list, and had a great time.  

So, what now? Business as usual I guess. My 33rd birthday is this coming Thursday, classes start at the end of the month, and the Society of American Forester's conference is in November in Baton Rouge. Once again I'm going to attempt to do better at this. I have lots of ideas in my head on what to write and I would like to get it out here and share.

Until next time, blessed be.