About Me

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I like running and science and I have no idea what I'm doing with my life. So I'm writing a blog or something.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

TOP TEN: things I won't miss after leaving Texas

10. So much roadkill (call me soft, but dead animals make me sad)

9. no horizon (I live in the woods; all I see are trees and no rocks and no open spaces!)

8. being alone (when not at work)

7. never seeing anyone my own age (seriously, the high schoolers bagging my groceries at Kroger are probably the closest to my age/stage in life)

6. Confederate flags (you know, not that I'd buy something from the back of your van, but the giant, fleece confederate flag sure ain't making me pull over and peruse what you've got to sell)

5. Country music and mariachi music (is it too much to ask for a good Top-40 radio station? or an 8os station? There is one decent station, but they play the same dozen songs on loop. Or the other that thinks "Gloria" by Laura Branigan is one of the BEST SONGS EVER)

4. only 5 TV stations (I don't normally watch tons of TV, but I get bored here! and I can't stream my shows online because we're limited with the internet)

3. Related to #4: local commercials (look, I like Academy, but you need to get a less obnoxious jingle. Oh, and Fox 4, the only reason you are "The one station I watch!" is because for a while you were the only station I got. Plus you have Glee.)

2. the huge commitment I have to make to go to the grocery store (or anywhere really... half an hour minimum drive- the closest establishment is a 20 minute drive and it's the ever-so-sketchy "Friendly Tavern")

And the number one thing I won't miss when I get home to California:

1. not being environmentally friendly (first off, recycling certain things is impossible; figuring out what to do with the 3 boxes of glass bottles in our kitchen is becoming the bane of my existence. Secondly, I optimistically brought a bike; I really hate how much gas I buy here. Thirdly, there is trash everywhere! I've given up picking up trash when I'm hiking or whatever because I will never make a dent unless I devote my entire weekend to it- and I already have to devote a whole day to go grocery shopping...)

Seriously though, I did like it here overall. Maybe I'll write a post about that later.


I live near the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. Being somewhere with so many birds and so many different kinds too, makes me wish I was better at identifying them. Mostly their songs though, since living in a thicket means I hear them more than see them. Like when I hiked the Birdwatcher's Trail... it should really be the Birdlistener's Trail with a Really Pretty View of the River at the End

I saw another cardinal today. Every time I see them I get excited because we don't have them back home. But they've got to be pretty common, right? I mean, they're the mascot for numerous sports teams and schools and they're all over holiday decorations and they're just plain classic looking. The red sticks out a lot in all the green and brown of the woods. And I've tried to get a picture, but they always fly off into the thicket.

Also, there are a lot of vultures here. Pretty big ones. And it's probably related to the excessive amount of roadkill around these parts.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy November!

Fun fact: Beaumont (about a 40 minute drive southeast of where I live, also where I do my grocery shopping) has the 4th largest port in the United States, even beating out its twin city which has the word "port" in it's name (Port Arthur). Now I don't know about you, but I had never even heard of Beaumont until I got this internship, but apparently it's kind of a big deal in the shipping world.

For the first time in, well, possibly ever, I did not dress up on Halloween or eat copious amount of candy (though I did make halloween themed funfetti cupcakes of which I probably ate too many of yesterday). What I did do was go to the beach with the only one of my housemates who was around and played in the waves and scared seagulls, sand pipers, and pelicans. It was sunny and warm and amazing out, and I had been cooped up inside sick for half the week. People kept mentioning that the Gulf of Mexico is not technically an ocean, and while I admit it's not exactly the mighty Pacific, but it's a large body of salt water very connected to the ocean, and I got my sea breeze and sea birds and looked at shells and walked in sand and got hit by a wave and saw a big shrimp boat so I'm not complaining. Plus, it was the end of October and I was in shorts and a t-shirt playing in the waves on a beach. Life doesn't get much better than that.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Go Giants!

This post isn't about the Giants at all, but I'm watching them play the Rangers as I type this. I'm probably one of the few people in this state rooting for the Giants. Anyway, onto my post.

I realized the other day that I'm now doing two things I've always said I'd avoid: work in a cubicle and drive to work. Yet I don't mind either here. Except I do hate how often I have to fill up. And I'm not always in my cubicle- yesterday I got to collect mussels! We found pistolgrips, fatmuckets, heelsplitters, bankclimbers, three-horn wartybacks and all sorts of other intriguingly named mussels (well, technically just the shells of these mollusks). We also found a jackass (the animal)` tied to the middle of a road. It was a strange sight.

I also got to do some geology! Kind of, anyway. I was going to tell 50 highschoolers the geologic history of the area (the broad area that is, in the park here, the only geology is soils). So I made a pretty handout and read about the geology of the Gulf Coast and it was fun, and then I woke up this morning feeling like crap and slept all day instead.

Oh, and because I haven't mentioned this many times in many other venues, I ran (and I actually ran the whole way) a marathon! I've run a mile and a half since, and it was the most painful mile and a half ever. But I got jewelry from a fireman in a tuxedo and a hot pink shirt to prove I ran 26.2 miles in San Francisco. I know I'm still recovering, but I am getting a little antsy not doing anything active.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


First I thought I'd share a couple of pictures from the trip over:

A crow at the Petrified Forest National Park in

Looking out the back window in New Mexico

My mom's and my shadows at Cadillac Ranch in Armarillo, TX
Really cool trilobite fossil!

And now some pictures from Big Thicket where I'm living!


I got to go on a boat in a bayou!

Sunset driving home

These spiders are HUGE and like to build their thick webs across paths... which of course I run into all the time. Let me tell you, it's creepy to all of the sudden have this guy and a bunch of its strong web in your face.

Checking out the newest bit of land the Preserve acquired. We saw some turtles here.

This is more or less what my commute looks like.

These cypress knees are about 7 feet tall!

Basically, it's really, really pretty here and I feel so lucky I get to live in the middle of it. There are deer and hogs and squirrels and a number of birds all around the house, not to mention all the insects and pretty butterflies and snakes and lizards. It cooled off a lot in the past week so it's not as humid, but warm enough that sitting outside is really pleasant.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ben Franklin, a Broken Car, and Glee

Fun Fact: Benjamin Franklin is the reason there's a ton of Chinese Tallow (aka one of the worst invasive plants ever) here!

Because I still don't have an official email, I can't log into the database to do my job so I basically read papers all day. They range from really interesting (e.g. applying Aldo Leopold's land ethic to Big Thicket) to a masters thesis that I couldn't tell you what it was about becuase the author did not know how to write for science.

In other news, my truck broke so I've had to bum rides off my housemates all week which means I have yet to find a post office meaning my dad's birthday card will be late and the postcards I wrote will be old news. Oh well. Fingers crossed, I can get the truck after work today. (It's my lunch break as I type this)

Much to the chagrin of my (all male) housemates, I watch Glee. Lucky for me we get one channel, so they can't try to change the channel. And lucky for them they always have copious amounts of beer on hand. And I'm now occaisionally called Princess. The hydrologist (who is hilarious, by the way) half-jokingly told two of my housemates I should be treated like a princess, and that's what happened.

I should get back to work. Back to the fascinating repot on water quality I was reading before lunch.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Work, Humidity, and Bigfoot

After the first week, I think I’m going to really like working here. I haven’t really started my project for the internship since I don’t have security clearance yet, but I got to tag along with the chief of interpretation a couple times (which included a boat ride!), going to Lafayette, LA for a talk on wetlands and climate change (and getting some tasty cajun food to boot), and do lots of reading (from safety information, the oil and gas program management plan and environmental impact statement- a huge book I peruse when there’s nothing else I have to do, to the long and boring computer safety training required by the Department of the Interior).

Everyone I’ve met has been great, even if a little crazy. Crazy in a good way of course. And the guys I’m living with continue to be very nice and helpful. On Saturday, I decided to check out the visitors’ center and go on a little hike before doing some food shopping (I’m making pizza today!). I also tried to do a long run, but kind of failed because the heat and humidity is just brutal for working out (it's no wonder they consider a broken AC an emergency). I also haven’t put in as much mileage as I usually do before my super long runs, so I may also just not have been physically prepared for it. Since one of my housemates visits his girlfriend every weekend and the other two work, I’ll probably be spending a lot of time alone, but that’s ok. Hopefully I can make some progress on finding a grad school to apply to and learning ukulele and catching up on some reading. Since I can’t stream video, and the only channel we get is Fox, I won’t be watching too much TV, though we do have a small selection of DVDs here. Friday night was fun though, two of my housemates, a girl they work with, and I went out to eat and a sports bar and grill with an awesome beer selection.

I'm glad I'm enjoying it here because it makes missing Williams-Mystic Alumni Weekend not quite so bad. Yesterday while I was at the grocery store, my F07 classmates called me and I talked to most of them which was awesome even if I could only here about half of what they were saying. It was a nice surprise, but also reminded me how much I miss them all.

One amusing thing about the park, is that Bigfoot “researchers” believe Bigfoot is in the park and attempt to do “research” here. Apparently they got a research permit in the past, and I found a folder in a flash drive of papers I was sorting filled with proposals for research in the park which were amusing to read.

Also, there are Sonics and Baptist Churches EVERYWHERE. Like seriously every corner kind of everywhere.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


My parents were kind enough to lend me a car for the internship as I was told I would need to drive from my lodging to the park headquarters. Unfortunately that car was stick shift which, until last week, I couldn’t drive. So a week ago, my mom and I loaded up our little blue truck and left Davis, destination: Texas. It took 5 days. Highlights include:

Day 1: “A little bit of Sweden in the desert”- not exactly in the desert, and there was more authentic Mexican restaurants than Swedish ones.

Day 2: Flagstaff! I got to see my aunt, uncle, and cousin! and I ran up a mountain!

Day 3: Added another state to my list: New Mexico. We arrived around 8 to notice everyone in the city was out and about and all heading in the same direction. So we followed, of course. Turns out it was the kick off of a festival where they burned an effigy. Fireworks and everything.

Day 4: A dinosaur museum! And into Texas! Cadillac Ranch = pretty neat.

Day 5: Some art museums in Fort Worth. I’m not a big art museum person, but I got to see a Michelangelo and some crazy modern art, so I’m glad my mom had us go.

Day 6: I met my boss at the headquarters and we followed her of into the middle of nowhere to where I’d be living. I have a half an hour commute, mostly on dirt roads to get to my home, which has no address and is actually in the preserve.

As for the house, I living in the woods with 3 guys, which is not as sketchy as it sounds. I get my own room and bathroom after all. My housemates are all older than me and one is a biologist and two are in law enforcement at the park. Two of them will run too, meaning I won’t have to run alone! Well, for the first mile and a half or so- I go a little further than them on account of that marathon I need to be ready for.

So far so good though. Every one has been so nice and helpful and they all love the outdoors and National Parks (I mean, it is the NPS), so I think I'll fit in fine.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Yes, I moved to Texas. Temporarily. I got an internship through the Geological Society of America working at the Big Thicket National Preserve in southeastern Texas for three months. I guess I accepted the position for three main reasons:

1. I’ve never been to Texas

2. It’s a job!

3. I can’t dogsit forever and am not quite ready to go back to school.

So here I am. And here’s a blog about it.