Taking a break. Roaming the garden with my camera and the AWB (who, just this morning, had her anal glands expressed and her nails 'done', and is smelling like cucumber).
Still reviewing grants. Freaked while I'm reviewing grants because I'm not working on the one I'm writing; freaked while I'm writing my grant because I'm not working on the ones that I need to review.
A good potential postdoctoral candidate contacted me today, in response to the advertised position. Very promising. I'm optimistic. The lab seems to think the person looks good as well. Even more promising.
Roses are everywhere. Fall-blooming salvias are beginning to show a little color; I'm impatient for their display, they are my favorite. Cabbages and brocolli and collards and lettuces and onions and garlic still not planted - the beds still need to be prepared. Yes, I'm behind on life.
The stupid, stupid, stupid, STUPID coral mucus DNA will not amplify. Something is inhibiting the PCR amplification...so that we can't run the sample on the functional gene array to get data for the proposal that is due in 12 days. %#^*@
Today I was talking with some people, and we decided that being on a grant review panel is like having to read War and Peace (in the original russian) three times, and writing a review of every 50-75 pages. %#^*@
I read somewhere (don't remember where) that when you purchase your Chinese Pitasche (Pistacia chinensis) that you should do it in the fall, when you can see it's fall color - supposedly there is significant variation in the color, ranging from yellow to a spectacular red. Hmmmm...when I read the Southern Living article years ago and they suggested it was the best tree for autumn color in the humid south, they didn't mention that little fact. I now have a beautiful young tree that turns a non-descript yellow in the fall. Right now, looking up through the canopy, it's still a nice healthy green. Nice tree though - just purchase it in the fall, okay? %#^*@
Fortunately though, my musk rose is covered in buds again...and is performing it's own private celebration of the arrival of autumn and cooler weather and a compassionate tropical storm season. But then, it's just a rose - and doesn't have to read War and Peace or amplify DNA or purchase trees at the appropriate season.
Yes, there's been another sighting of the Ancient Wonder Beagle, sound asleep in her harsh environs. Can you imagine...wandering the wilds of Palau, and running across something like this? Scary indeed.
Okay, so that doesn't make much sense. But I'm taking a brief respite from reading a grant about the diversity of a certain fungal order in Palau. Spotting the AWB in the wild is one of my favorite distractions.
Read a grant. Read another grant. Yep, you guessed it, read yet another grant. Work on writing a grant...add a few sentences to the section on zooxanthellae as coral symbionts. Delete a few other sentences. Decide you don't know nearly enough to write what you're writing, so go back to Web of Science and do a literature search. Save the useful pdfs, and take them home to read later.
Read yet another grant. They're all beginning to blend together - yours, mine, theirs. Gripe on the phone with a friend about how swamped you are. Yes, you're a virtual blackwater swamp - free of mosquitos and filled with lots of eyes glowing in the darkness. All eyes quietly asking "are you done with those grants yet?"
Go back to the first grant of the day, and take some notes. Remember something that you don't want to forget about the grant you're writing - go and add it to the current draft. E-mail your coral colleague in Puerto Rico back because you're still undecided about what coral species to focus the proposal on - what are his thoughts?
Stop for a minute, walk out onto the deck, and ponder how in the hell you're going to get everything done.
But in the garden, the tea olive (Osmanthus fragrans) is in bloom. Tonight, walking out on the deck, I could smell the familiar and wonderful fragrance - screaming that summer is finally over, to come back outside, to spend a little time sitting on the teak folding chair at the small table and smell ME. Shortly after moving to Charleston, during one of my first evening walks downtown - I smelled the most incredible fragrance that I didn't recognize - and soon thereafter I discovered that it was tea olive. Often more shrub-like - the one that I smelled for the first time looked more like a small evergreen tree (not shrub-like at all) - and so I purchased a small one (about 1' tall). Now, 12 years later, it's about 15' tall and tree-like. Birds nest in it each spring, and when it's in bloom, my garden is filled with it's wonderful fragrance.
Take a few deep breaths. Go back inside. Print out the next grant to review.
Open Reading Frame left a comment here that Spousal Unit has requested a pic of my tombstones - so how could I resist such an appropriate late September request? And how could I resist a request from someone with such a wonderful collection of Halloween links on her website? I need to spend sometime there, for sure. Anyway - this request was the perfect excuse to move more than a few feet from my computer and grant hell and wander the garden with my camera...
I got these tombstones as a birthday gift from Jeff a few years ago - and for the first two years I kept them up on my deck (my house is on stilts) and when people that didn't know me came up on the deck (like the furnace repair guy) I'd get pretty strange looks. Last spring I finally moved then down to this location - along a partial fence in the middle of some bamboo...all they need is some subtle candle light, and a short walk through the bamboo is transformed into...