Sunday, July 31, 2011


I sped my way through the first two books in the series, then started the third, Specials, with some expectations.  I'll preface that I loved the first two books (see my brief reviews of Uglies and Pretties), and again warn you to proceed with caution if you haven't read them.

After the first several chapters of Specials I was surprised by the direction the book was taking and throughout the book was waiting for something that never really happened. I felt cheated, and frustrated. I had come to expect a certain set of reactions and interaction with the main character, Tally, that I don't think ever materialized and left me wanting something more from the book. Furthermore, about three-quarters through the book my little bubble of hope for Tally's future was popped, causing me to stay up way too late to finishing the book (instead of just the chapter).

I decided to wait a few days to write my reactions to the book because I thought some perspective would help, and it has. I think I understand, now, why the author, Scott Westerfeld, chose to change Tally's personality and makeup, but, it doesn't mean I agree with it. I would argue that the world could have come to a very similar situation at the end of the book while maintaining some of the hope that I soaked up in the first two books. Maybe that's what makes it such an appealing ending for so many people, that bad things happen, and keep happening, and Tally survives it all, even as she is forever changed by it.

Maybe it is because I'm now a parent, or maybe it is because I'm a hopeless romantic and too optimistic for my own good, but I wanted life to turn out differently for Tally. I wanted her to find love and happiness. Instead she found purpose. Perhaps that is better, but it left me feeling conflicted about this book and unsure of whether to read the fourth novel, Extras. Of course, I'm halfway through Extras now, so look for my thoughts on that to come.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

1.5 pounds in two weeks!

Before I get back to science, however, I was just reminded that I told you all I was on a mission to make it back to my pre-baby weight. It's been two-weeks since I weighed myself, and I was a little nervous with the cold we all had, and the amazingly delicious ice cream sandwich  I devoured, that I would be the same, or maybe working in the reverse direction, but it turns out that all the walking is doing some good!

After dragging my mostly-recovered body to the gym today for some stationary biking (while reading the fourth book in the Uglies series, Extras), and abs/stretching, I decided to hike back to the women's changing room and check my weight. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I'm still on track, down to 153lbs. Yay!

What makes me the most happy about this is that it is almost entirely due to the lifestyle change here in Berkeley. We walk nearly everywhere (we use the car maybe once a week to go to laundry and head to Target/Best Buy), which means we are guaranteed at least 2-3miles a day just getting to work and daycare, more if we get ambitious for going out for lunch or dinner. And that doesn't include walking the dogs. Choosing to live so close to campus and town has virtually eliminated the desire to drive anywhere.

I am not counting calories, just making sure we have an abundance of fresh fruits, veggies, and nuts at home, a scarcity of unhealthy options, and doing my best to choose healthy meals when we go out. Really, I don't even think about it much anymore because the greasy, fatty foods don't even look appetizing anymore (another win!).

It doesn't hurt that I like to read through Obesity Panacea on occasion to keep me informed and motivated.

Apology for the science blogging lag

I've been neglecting my science blogging lately. Mostly this is because the time I have left to blog is stolen from other obligations. A rough approximation of my priority list, at any given moment is:

1. baby
2. husband
3. dogs
4. research
5. fellowship activities
6. food
7. exercise
8. reading
9. sleep
10. blogging

There may be some wiggle-room on the list, but this is generally how I'd like to prioritize things. Sleep moved a little further up the list last week when we all shared a cold that baby girl brought home from daycare. And, although I try to cook, these days it is just about all I can do to try and make sure we have fresh fruits and veggies in the house.

Furthermore, I feel obligated to spend a reasonable amount of time on any science-related posts because I want to make it accessible to anyone who might happen my this blog (welcome!!). So, I  end up neglecting the science blogging.

I did want to write, though to say that I've really been enjoying my time back in lab, researching. I am finishing up the last project from my thesis work and, although I'm a little behind, I'm really making some great progress. Part of what is holding me up is that I have thought of a few new things to add. So, what am I working on? I think I'll write another post on that!


The second book in the Uglies trilogy, Pretties, is as captivating as the first. If you haven't read the series, or the first book, please know that this review, while vague, will give away parts of the first book (find my first review here), so proceed with caution.

Okay, on we go. Our heroine, Tally, wakes up as a pretty, with a pretty-body and, more importantly, a pretty-mind. This book centers around finding a cure for pretty-mindedness, and we follow Tally who, try as she might, manages to find herself in amidst a slew of unintended (and somewhat awful) consequences. But, throughout the book she is true to herself, and, as readers, we know that she is doing her best, even if other characters might not be able to see past her mistakes.

 Pretties is written with the same pace and optimism of Uglies, and I couldn't wait to get to the final book in the trilogy, Specials.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Among the books a friend lent me was the first in the Uglies triology. I sped through the first book, and was so excited after finishing it, that the next day we went around to the used bookstores in town until I got the rest of the trilogy and the follow up book. But I'll not get ahead of myself.

I think the first book, Uglies, is fantastic. I couldn't put it down. It is hard to describe without giving too much away, but I'll do my best. The story is set somewhere in the future where our own time is a distant, but not forgotten past. Someone is born as a littlie (which my mind always wants to read as "little"), then turn into an "ugly" as they hit puberty, where they stay until their sixteenth birthday when they have the operation to turn "pretty". We follow Tally, a soon-to-be sixteen-year-old, who can't wait to be a pretty, when it all goes wrong. She is an endearing protagonist. Tally isn't perfect, and through her mistakes we learn that the operation to turn everyone pretty, and level the playing field (so we don't judge people based on their looks), has far-reaching, and unexpected consequences. I like the way the author, Scott Westerfeld, describes the future. I can picture the world he has created, and also can imagine how the characters view our own time. The novel is fast-paced, intriguing and left me salivating for the next book.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

iPad2 gut reaction

So, I've only had my iPad2 for a few days, and I have to say, it's really cool. I expected to be underwhelmed, but when I hold it, I feel excited, giddy, like I'm really in the future. I would probably feel this way with any tablet, not just the iPad2, but that's what I have, so that's what I'm going to gush about.

For some reason it gives such a different feeling that when I had my iPhone. It is more substantial, but also small and convenient. The apps are really what make it so awesome. That I can read a book, listen to my music, peruse blogs, type emails, take hand-written notes, even work on documents, so easily, in such a compact, but viewable screen, is just mind-blowing. It is so portable, great battery life, and just fun.

Of course there are features I wish it had - most striking is how terrible the camera is (which is surprising given at how awesome the iPhone4 camera is). The video is okay quality, though, just bad for still shots. But, we'll save that discussion for another day.

For now, I'm just going to enjoy it's awesomeness vaginalness.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Skeletons in my closet

There isn't a dedicated nursing/pumping room in my building, but I was lucky enough to run into a woman who said I could use her storage closet. It is keycard access, which limits the likelihood I'll get walked in on, has some desk space, a sink, a window, àand a bunch of neat anatomy props!! Below are my new skeleton buddies:

The space is actually much nicer than the basement room, two buildings over that I used at Penn State, and doubly fast (because of the same building and because I can leave my equipment in the room). Yay!!

What I like most about finding this room is the lack of red tape. There is paperwork and signatures to a get access to a room at PSU, but here the access to the official pumping/nursing rooms was very easy, and they encouraged me to ask my department for a closer space. I don't need the room all the time, just once or twice a day for 15-20 min., so this actually helps the university by not holding up a room all day for sparse use. I wish all employers could be this practical.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Summer's Eve Fail

I should state, in full disclosure, that I think Summer's Eve products, and douching in general, are designed to prey upon womens' feelings of insecurity "down there", which are often played up in sexist jokes. Also, if you only have time to view one video, please watch the one at the end of this post.

So, how did I feel when a friend asked me about the Colbert parody of a Summer's Eve ad? Confused at first, because I hadn't seen the ads. Then, defensive, disgusted and horrified... with Summer's Eve.

You can see both (although not safe for work) here:

I think Colbert's satire regarding the Summer's Eve ads is hilarious. His parody commercial... eh, it's alright. It is raunchy, but so is the Summer's Eve ad.

I have to agree with the commentary that, "or some viewers the clips are managing to hit that magical advertising sweetspot of being both sexist and racist". However, I can sympathize with the plight of S.E. when they assert they are trying to combat the stigma still associated with lady part, for example that theg the word "vagina" is still not allowed on some stations.

Maybe, instead of getting the word "vagina" into common usage by referring to it as dirty and gross, in need of cleaning, we could do something like this:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vigilante justice will kill innocent people

I don't watch tv, and didn't get wrapped up in the Casey Anthony case, but I did hear the reaction. A lot of people are sure that this woman purposefully killed her daughter, and they want blood. 

We, as a nation, need to take a collective breath, and calm down. Killing anyone isn't going to make this little girl come back. We, thankfully, don't live in an "eye for an eye" justice system. Justice isn't black and white, and although she isn't always blind, I like to think that in the US, we do still presume people are innocent until proven guilty by a jury of peers. In this, as in all high-profile cases, the public has come to their own conclusions. If I had been following it more closely, I probably would have a more biased opinion also, it's human nature to draw conclusions. 

However, the knee-jerk reaction to the innocent (of murder) charges against Casey Anthony are too severe, and won't save children. See "Why 'Caylee's Law' is a Bad Idea".  And, as is clear in both links, may serve to further harm families. 

That being said, as a parent, and a sentient human being, the thought of anything happening to a child, especially my child, sends chills down my spine, and turns on my defensive mode. I want to do everything to protect her, and I'm also terrified, every day, of her accidental death. I want to do everything to keep her safe, healthy and happy, but I don't think arbitrary rules are going to help me towards that goal. Further, people attempting to take the law into their own hands is certainly not going to help, and will likely just cause further heartbreak.

So please, try to separate your anger and frustration at the Casey Anthony case, from your desire to protect children.

Instead, let's try to think of productive ways to make life better for our children. Here's a few off the top of my head:

- Increase the availability of mental health care, especially for parents of young children (who might be particularly stressed, sleep-deprived, and may not know that there is help).

- Get to know your neighbors, be friendly, offer help with what you can, or just a smile.

- Take the time to get to know your co-workers (as much as is appropriate for your profession). Simply having an outlet might be a lifeline for someone.

- In general, try to be patient, and try, hard as it might be, to understand how difficult it can be to ask for help. Think of ways to facilitate a warm, cooperative environment. 

Monday, July 25, 2011


My iPhone was lost/stolen last week. We know someone saw our pleas to return it and ignored them, so it doesn't look like it will be finding its way home. Sad.

This weekend we picked up an inexpensive go-phone for me to use to get ahold of people, and I decided to get an iPad (which I've been hesitating getting because I had the iPhone). Now that I don't have it, the redundancy doesn't exist.

Other than the fact that the camera on the iPad2 is much worse than the iPhone4 camera (what's up with that, Apple?), I don't have any complaints. Also, I really love the Logitech keyboard/case I got to go with it. I still have a lot of experimenting to do with it, but it is nice to have a mobile way to connect again. Also, since I generally used my iPhone when Scott was driving, this will be even nicer.

I've got to go run and get Claire from daycare, but I'll post more about my experience with the iPad, in case any of you are contemplating getting one. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Things that freak me out: Episode 1

When people CGI babies doing things they normally shouldn't. The most recent example I saw of this was from Gerber:

(sends a shiver down my spine and gives me icky feelings... ehi-ewww)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Repost: The Nightmare in Norway

I don't know what to say about this, other than my frustration that it has happened. Here's a blog about it, The Nightmare in Norway, and a link to the BBC news article.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Misplaced hatred for Planned Parenthood

A facebook acquaintance of mine posted this link that because Pepsi uses HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney) cells to test its additives (rather than testing on live humans), and because they donate to Planned Parenthood, they should be boycotted.

First, there is misunderstanding about HEK-293 cells, that they do not necessarily come from aborted fetuses, as much as the Anti-Choicers would have you believe. Further, I think Planned Parenthood has gotten a bad rap in the past several years. I am assuming the negative feelings towards PP result from their link to abortions, not because they assist with contraception, but those make up only 3% of their total services (and are being more strictly limited by the day). The majority of PP services (97%), and foundation instituted by Margaret Sanger, lies with presenting options for preventing conception in the first place, allowing women (and men) to rely on more than luck to prevent pregnancy.

In addition, many donors (e.g. Bill and Melinda Gates, and maybe even Pepsi) put stipulations on their donations that the money cannot be used to fund abortions:​ki/Planned_Parenthood

Finally, a lot of people don't realize that PP is the primary care facility (women's health) for many women living in rural areas who do not have the insurance or the means to drive long distances for other care. Until we have universal healthcare, PP is often the only healthcare women in rural areas have access to: http://www.plannedparentho​​nesota-NDakota-SDakota/7_P​PMNS_09RuralWomensHealth-1​.pdf

But, when it really comes down to it, I think Americans should limit their soda intake altogether, so maybe there's something positive to come from this misinformation?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Small and mighty

They may be small, but I do feel much safer at home with our two dogs (Chihuahua and Chihuahua-Rat Terrier). I now feel justified in this feeling after seeing one little guy (Paco) chase off two robbers. Such a brave little dog. I'm certain Aro would defend us till his last bark. Chip, hopefully, would follow suit.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Music

It's Monday, and I'm getting back into the research groove. There is something kind of motivating about being my own boss (a different kind of stress from having to get things done on someone else's timeline). I am so excited to finish this last project that I worked on it this weekend, and am still a little behind on my own personal schedule. So, while I get back to work, here is some french music from the Soul Man for your Monday listening pleasure:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fever 1793

I started and finished Fever 1793 this weekend. We had dinner with friends last weekend and they loaned us a bag of books. I had to finish the one I was reading at the time (Tamim Ansary's memoir), but after that, I was ready to dive right in. The first book I chose to dive into is this one, Fever 1793. It is a historical fiction, based in Philadelphia in 1793. Without giving too much away, it is the story of living through a yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793 as told through the eyes of a teenage girl, Matilda Cook. Mattie, as she is called, begins the book as a generic girl just entering her teens, tired of chores, arguing with her mom, and with a crush on a boy down the street. She lives with her mother and grandfather (who is a Revolutionary War veteran, but so full of life, I wish I could meet him!). Then the fever begins. It is a quick read that takes us through the three terrible months of yellow fever, hysteria, starvation, the loss of neighborly kindness, and back. There is one moment that shocked me to reality, showcasing how fragile life can be, but I don't want to spoil it for you. I especially liked the appendix that gives a little more history, and clarifies how much the story is intertwined with real history. Amazon recommends this book for ages 12 and older, but I would encourage anyone looking for an accessible historical fiction (my favorite way to learn history) to pick it up.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

West of Kabul, East of New York

I just finished reading West of Kabul, East of New York (and realized looking at Amazon that I waaay overpaid for it at a local used bookstore). Well, maybe I didn't overpay, since I was supporting a local business, and reducing waste by reading a used book instead of purchasing a new one. But, that is not what I really intended to write about. What I wanted to say was that the really catching part of this book was its normalcy. The author, Tamim Ansary, is my dad's age (with kids my age). He has an Afghan father and American mother. He lived in Afghanastan his childhood then moved to the US. He is likeable, a good story-teller, and so honest about his gut reactions to different experiences that it feels real, like he's talking to you, rather than writing down stories for a book. He is American. But he is also Afghani. He discusses some of the tribulations of his dual-selfness, which makes one pause to think of the plight of all American immigrants. In the end, there is no pity about his situation, only an increased understanding for the divide many people feel when they leave their home country for the US. He doesn't seem to exaggerate or over-inflate the severity of his stories, which makes some of his tales that much scarier. How real they are. He brings home a taste of the trials going on in Afghanistan and makes me want to learn more. However, unlike other memoirs about the modern Middle East (e.g., Lipstick Jihad, and Reading Lolita in Tehran), his is a masculine view of the world, and consequently there are fewer rocking moments. I think that men around the world are, arguably, on more equal footing than women around the world. But, in a way, this lack of shock over unfair treatment allows the reader to have more perspective on the entire situation, seeing the forrest instead of the trees (although the trees are still important).

I would recommend it.

Half a pound!

Not quite my goal, but then, I'm not really trying very hard. I lost half a pound from last Saturday, and happy to report that other than walking 2 miles a day, and going to the gym, I don't really feel like I've been depriving myself. I think a lot of it has to do with making new routines the norm. We have gradually been shifting to more and more fresh fruits and veggies. Granted, with us both working full-time, and taking care of a baby and two dogs, we don't always make it, but we try, and I really miss them when we go a day without a bunch of greens (and purples, reds, oranges, yellows and blues).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Getting back in shape

The UC Berkeley gym offers one month free membership to postdocs. I am now taking advantage of that one month. I went on Friday, Sunday and today, and it feels so, so good to be sweating again. We do walk here, much more that State College, which I'm sure will have an effect in the long run, but it doesn't quite fulfill the need to push oneself. That being said, I can't wait to go to a class or two because I always work harder when I'm in a class with others, than just on a machine, or running by myself.

Motivation is one of the reasons I'm considering participating in the Redwoods marathon (well, in the 10k or half marathon). I know I don't have the time/energy/will to train for the full marathon, but will, at the least, participate in the 10k, and am very tempted to try the half marathon (because, well, why not?). The only thing is that we'll have to find childcare because Scott is planning to run the half-marathon as well.

Well, dang it. I just read through the website, and although I had been led to believe there was a 10k option, there is not. Just 5k, half- and full-marathon. Hmm... so do I wimp out and go with the 5k, or push myself and do the half-marathon? I've survived a 10k, so it's possible I could survive the half-marathon as well. Looks like I'd better start training!

Oh, and as to the title, I haven't done any formal exercise, other than walking, and playing with the baby and dogs, since she was born (six months! eek!!). I thought I'd share my goals, and struggles, in hopes of motivating me.  I was probably the fittest I've ever been when we got pregnant (138lbs, 10k, weight-lifting), and although I exercised throughout the pregnancy, I still gained 44lbs (182lbs the day before she was born). I'm down to 155, but really need to work on endurance, strength and flexibility. We'd like to have more children, and I want to make sure I'm as healthy for them as I was for our first! So, for a healthy weight-loss goal of 1lb per week, that gives me 17 weeks to reach my pre-baby weight. That puts me around November 7th (ish). So, let's assume I'll have a couple of off-weeks, and make it my goal to be down to my pre-baby weight by her first birthday - December 22nd! Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dinner party

Made by my friend, Sagan's disciple. This cracked me up, but perhaps your sense of humor is more well developed than mine. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Press Release

I'm happy to report that our second paper was picked up by a few places (although I don't know if anyone has contacted about an interview because I'm not in the same lab anymore).

I think the press release does a pretty good job of explaining most things, but I'd like to take a blog post or two to explain some of the details of the project (like how, exactly, do we measure these things?!). Today is my first day of work here at UC Berkeley, so I'll hold off on the detailed post for another week probably.

Because javelinas are funny to me

Some life lessons come at unexpected times, like when you're naked and surrounded by javelinas.

An interesting review of the current Republican candidates for president

I don't have time to blog, but I wanted to share this (and a few other things you'll see):

In GOP presidential field, only three are for real.

Just say Takei

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I almost forgot about the delicious chicken I made for our dinner tonight. Whole Foods had their free range, happy chickens on a one-day sale for .89 cents a pound! So, I baked this guy (or gal), stuffed with kale and leeks, for dinner tonight. Yum!!


In other news, we were very late walking home from the grocery store tonight because we walked past a lady whose cart was stuck. As it turns out, the carts at Whole Foods Mart in Berkeley have some sort of sensor (allegedly) that prevents one wheel from turning if it is taken too far out of the parking lot. This woman was elderly and looked like she could use a hand. Her back looked to be a little malformed, as if she could be a foot taller if she could stand up strait, but she was thin, walked slowly with a cane, and had excellent hearing. She told me her name was June, and she had moved to Berkeley 60 years ago from China, when she was 31. Yep, this lady was 91 years old!

She lived a few blocks from the store and usually took a taxi, but thought she would try walking today. My guess is that she got tired walking there and figured she could use the cart to help her get home, but, not having needed it before, didn't know that the cart wheel locked up, which left her stuck at the edge of the parking lot, where we met her. She asked if we could help her move the cart, and after some effort (and a guy telling us about the locking wheel), we offered to carry her groceries home for her. Okay, I offered to carry her groceries home for her while my dear sweet husband (with our baby girl strapped to his chest) sighed and wondered what kind of trouble his wife was getting us into now.

It took about 30-40 minutes for us to walk the three blocks to her house. She used her cane, but also held onto the stroller and took a few breaks along the way. I learned that June moved here 60 years ago after she found out her husband was having an affair (which she said made her angry, then corrected herself to say that she was upset by it). She taught Mandarin Chinese to some Americans in China and they helped her immigrate to the US with her son. She has one son, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, who all live in Palo Alto, but she loves Berkeley. She loves that it is an educated town. She's taken so many classes at the adult college that they won't give her any more scholarships for the elderly.  So, instead she learns by listening to the radio and reading, when she can. June also told us that her son and daughter-in-law have been trying to get her to move in with them, and she is now planning to do that soon.

I was amazed at her clarity of thought, her wit, and her friendliness. I was also very impressed by her mobility, especially for being 91 years old!! I do hope that I see June again, in this life, but if not, she made one Saturday afternoon brighter for me. Thank you, June. :)

Saturday night changes...

It's Saturday night. Baby girl is asleep. Scott is writing a paper, and I am starting to work my way through Population Genetics by Matthew Hamilton. I think we are nerds, officially.

I took a course on population genetics several years ago, but was a little overwhelmed by it. The book was dense and concise, to a fault, for a learner like me who thrives on reading and working through multiple examples. So, I'm hoping that this new (to me) book, will be a better aid at helping me truly grasp the concepts.

If you have any suggestions for other good books on population genetics (or websites), I'm all ears!!

Friday, July 1, 2011


We have internet at home again! Yay!! I didn't think I would miss it so much. It isn't terrible to have to go to campus or a coffee shop to use it, but nearly impossible when you have a squirmy baby with you. So, I either have to hope she goes to sleep when we're out, or wait until Scott comes home and I can run down to the coffee shop a couple blocks over.

But, no more, because we have internet at home! So, please forgive the list of seemingly unrelated thoughts that I'll put down here.

Today was my first day of work, officially. I got my Cal ID card, and then spent the rest of the day running errands. I've been attending lab meetings and Miller Institute functions since we first arrived in May, so I don't mind not getting too much work done today.

Baby girl starts daycare next week, which I've been trying to mentally prepare myself for, but really can't think about without tearing up.

I've also really been missing State College (or, more accurately, the people in State College) lately. Well, I think I'm actually missing both, the people and the town. I don't want to get all sappy, so I'll just leave it at that right now.

I am excited to get to start going to the gym again - I think that will really help with my energy levels (which could be waning due to lack of aerobic exercise, or also because I haven't gotten a full night's rest in over six months).

Also, our little girl has two, count 'em two, teeth! I didn't think her toothless grin could get any cuter, but it really has been amplified by her two tiny bottom teeth poking out.

Yesterday we (my graduate advisor and I) submitted our review of male mutation bias. I'm nervous to see how it does through review, but I'm optimistic. That leaves just one more paper (a research paper about pseudogenes on the Y chromosome) that I need to: A) finish the research for; and B) write up and submit. Thankfully the writing should be nearly done, but for a variety of reasons, I think there is a lot more research to do, starting from the beginning.

Somehow I managed to find the time to devour a book, Bonobo handshake, which I would recommend. I thought it was charming and inviting, but left me wanting to know much more about the bonobos, about the Congo, and about the research. But, I think it would be very enjoyable for someone whose life-interests are a little more removed from those things than mine are.

I got the book from the University Press Book Store - a small store near campus, and affiliated with the sweet coffee shop/restaurant next door (although I forget the name right now). I like the ambiance at both places, and the food at the restaurant is reasonable and delicious!

Our car puttered out yesterday. I'm not sure the problem, but we are going to investigate tonight. I am guessing the battery is dead/dying, but Scott thinks we might be out of oil. I'll update you on the prognosis, but the good news is that we live at a very central location so it is easy to walk or take public transportation anywhere we need to go. We are less than a mile from three grocery stores, Claire's new pediatrician (which I'll take her to as soon as her insurance card arrives - another story), the hospital, our offices on campus, and a host of restaurants and neat little stores. Yes, I know you want to come visit - please do!! We'd love to see you!

We kenneled the dogs for the first time this last weekend and other than Chip having a sour stomach, both survived in tact. We are still working with Aro (pronounced R.O., short for R.O.U.S), on his separation anxiety and stranger anxiety, and anxiety in general, but he is doing so much better than a year ago. I am nearly finished reading a book our neighbor lent me, Animals in Translation, by Temple Grandin. Temple is an autistic woman who now does research, and is particularly interested in the similarities between how animals and autistic people perceive the world.

So far I like it (I am three-quarters of the way through the book), but I feel like she makes a lot of generalizations about "normal" people that may not always be accurate. I think, like the spectrum of autism, there is a spectrum among "normal" people, but for the most part, I understand her points. Similar to how statistics don't matter to the individual, there are many exceptions to both classifications (autistic and normal).

Well, since baby girl is still napping, I think I'm going to take advantage of this time to try and finish Animals in Translation. I picked up two new (to me) books yesterday at the used book store, which I'm hoping to motor through soon. It isn't so easy with the baby, but not having a television helps make time for reading. Lately, though, when I have down time, napping sounds like more fun.