19 April 2006

We mailed our invitations off yesterday. Yippee! The theme of the evening became "too late now . . ." as we remembered inconsistencies and changes we'd meant to make after inserts were already printed and envelopes were sealed.

The theme of my yoga class last week was giving up and letting go. I'm going to need constant reminders to do both until June 10th has finally past and Mac and I are well into our cross-country, U-Haul-Honeymoon adventure.

18 April 2006

"Entropy isn't what it used to be."
-A bumper sticker in Woods Hole.

If I find this uncommonly funny is it a sign that I'm truly a science geek at heart and should stick it out?

Fabulous seminar today by Peter Groffman. Unassumingly titled, "Nitrogen fluxes in urban watershed ecosystems." An extremely relevent melding of bio-geo-socio-chemistry. It's the socio part that I haven't given sufficient thought to. I've never been much interested in restoration or urban ecology: most people don't get into ecology dreaming of working in drainage ditches in Baltimore. Nevertheless, the field continues to progress towards greater inclusion of humans within ecosystem dynamics rather than as outside perturbing forces (where the most straighford solution to stopping ecosystem disturbance is to remove the humans.) I respect the "science for science's sake" people, but I know that I am not one of them. The urban systems that most people in the field categorically disdain are perhaps the most important to be working on: upwards of 20% of the Eastern half of the US is dominated by urban and suburban ecosystems. These systems (according to Groffman) also show remarkable similarity, since humans tend to be drawn to similar habitats: a little open lawn space, a few trees and parks, some hard paved surfaces, and buildings.

I'm drawn to the likes of William Cronon and Michael Pollen: they address some of the same environmental issues from a social/economic/historical perspective. I'll have to give a lot more thought to bringing more of their ideas into my science. This might even be a good time to transition into range science (though I have my hesitations: knowing all to well what most old ranchers think of Eastern educated academic women). But a fresh, social perspective on science might bring me back around to referring to myself as an ecologist, rather an in-limbo, peace-corps-recruiter-nagging, wedding-planning woman.

Should I be angry with Groffman for wooing me back to the career I so desperately want to give up on?

11 April 2006

Every Tuesday at lunch there are seminars which all scientific staff of The Ecosystems Center are tacitly expected to attend. I abscond most weeks: I have a wedding to plan, a cross-country move to attend to, and a job to find. Sometimes I get drawn in by titles though, like today: "Panning for gold in a diamond mine: Tales from an ancient eocene maar lake." Sounds great! But alas such titles are merely ruses, used to draw people into auditoriums and then confound (under the guise of impressing) and bore them with incomprehensible science. I actually didn't go this week, so perhaps the speaker was dynamic and relevant and comprehensible and did tell marvelous tales from the ancient world. Sadly, that's not what scientists get paid to do. Which makes me surer than ever that I'm in the wrong profession.

07 April 2006

It's been much harder than I expected to make a part time job for myself as a writer/student. Things come up and press in on unstructured time. Like taxes... which I spent all morning doing. It's also been hard to not spend more unpaid time at my "real" job.

My goal has been to spend one day a week catching up on all the things English majors learned that I didn't and one day a week writing. The latter goal was confounded when Eli November's diaphanous existence and my hard drive crashed last month. I also lost all of the notes I'd taken on Steven King's On Writing. I've decided this isn't much of a loss: if you take advice from a pulp horror novelist you'll write like a pulp horror novelist. Not a genre I particularly enjoy or admire, and so Eli and I are much better off without it. And probablly that much the better for the fresh start.

I've struggled with my studying and writing, but have been entirely successful in reading more. I've read more fiction in the last four months than in the past four years. Making reading a priority has been one of the best changes I've made in my life.

Since I need more structure in my writing life at present I'm applying to do a post-baccalaureate minor in writing at Oregon State University. Corvallis is the West coast version of Ithaca: the best of all worlds (minus sun, which I'll steal from North Dakota).

To lunch...