Thursday, May 31, 2012

Necklace Length Chart

It's always hard to buy a necklace that you can't try on (whether in store (hijabi issue) or online).  It's even harder to try and figure out where it will sit on your chest, based on a given length.  I know I've always had a really hard time with this.   I'll grab a tape measure and try to figure out where a 24" necklace will sit, but it's never accurate.

My parents were traveling a few years back and I asked them to bring me back a white gold chain for a charm that I had (the original chain broke).  I knew where the old chain used to sit, but I couldn't remember what length.  So I used a tape measure to figure out where I wanted it to be.  When they brought the chain back from their trip, it wasn't what I wanted.  Had I had a chart like this, it would have been so helpful.  This picture does wonders for necklace shopping.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Grading Papers

As finals week approaches, papers start to pile up and more and more complaints start to pour in from students.  I have, thankfully, a much smaller class than before, but the grading is never any easier, even with less students.

I have 20 lab reports to grade by Monday.  Doesn't sound too bad right...20, easy number to get through.  But not when every report is written as though they are in 1st grade.  Where do these people learn to write, or not learn to write for that matter.  I can't believe how bad some of these reports are.  They make no sense, have spelling errors (hello, microsoft word has spell check moron), have no sense of flow or organization and some students have never heard of a comma.  These students are seniors in science and some day will be doctors, scientists, businessman.  Is this the future of our society? Individuals that can't write to save their life?  How did they get into college? I can understand the international students having problems, but some of these kids speak fluent English and still have problems.  What's their excuse?

So, because this is their first report, I have to give ALL THE FEEDBACK I CAN, which means I sit here and basically re-write their sentences for them to show them what it should be.  So instead of it being a quick read through, I am sitting here writing 20 reports.  Oh the joys of teaching.  It is times like this that makes me hate my job (well, that and research failure).


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DIY Necklace Organizer

I have been on the lookout for a great way to organize my jewelry, especially my necklaces.  I used to have them in a few boxes in the closet and every time I wanted to get one, I'd have to rummage through my boxes to find the right one.  I would eventually get too lazy and just pick the top necklace from the first box and completely forget what other pieces I had.  I eventually purchased a larger jewelry box to put everything I had in one place, but it was still hard to see all the necklaces at once.

I am not the kind of person to display my jewelry.  For one, I don't have the space (small apartment remember), and I also don't like people seeing what I have.  I feel jewelry is best kept secret.  I remember my grandmother always kept her jewelry put away in their original boxes, in a safe place in her house.  She only kept a few pieces that she wore all the time out on her dresser.  She told me that jewelry will last longer and stay cleaner (especially costume jewelry) if you kept it away from the elements, such as the sun and air.  So, another reason why I like to keep my jewelry hidden away.

So, I had to come up with a way to organize my necklaces so that they were both protected and I could see all that I had (making life easier when I come to find the right piece).

 I had an large, long card box that seemed to be the right fit to display all the necklaces and was also thin enough that it could be slid under my dresser away from sight.  Of course, the top cover has writing all over it (which I hate), but the inside is just perfect.  When I get around to it, i'll have to decoupage the box to make it more fitting as a jewelry box.

  I bought some white cotton filler from JoAnn Fabrics (the kind you find in gift boxes).  I needed something to help hold the necklaces in place and to also remove some depth from the box. 

I cut them to size...

 Now to fill!

Now I can see everything all at once and I know what I have. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pure Barre Update

Day 26 of Pure Barre has passed and I'm feeling great!  Well that's not entirely true...haha.  Pure Barre is amazing, and I am slowly starting to see a difference in my legs, back and butt.  They are more toned and the hubby says thinner, although I don't see the thinner part just yet (I swear, he sees things that I never see...don't know what's up with that).  I do however have lots more energy, I can keep up with the exercises more easily (although they are still really hard) and I also feel a lot stronger overall.  I am also a lot closer to doing the splits than I ever have.  I have moments where I LOVE the class and moments where I HATE it...but I know its helping me and I know if I stick with it I will see the change I want to see.  I don't have any pain in my surgery areas (shoulder, feet) and my back also feels stronger post injury, so overall, this has been a really good thing.  I still hate the skinny, toned people that come into the class...God...why can't you go find somewhere else to be with all your free, rich time...geez.  I also really hate it when the occasional guy walks into the studio.  Really...go pump some weights at 24 hours and leave the hip tucking and thigh pumping for the women, geez!  I'm already self-conscious as it is...I don't need a guy with roaming eyes in the room to make it even more uncomfortable.

However,  my clothes still fit the same, and I am still frustrated that I haven't lost any weight (0 lbs) but I think a lot of that is my own fault. The stomach area is getting there at a much sloooooower rate too and its driving me nuts.  I don't know if this is normal, or if I am really doing something wrong.  Maybe it really takes a while to lose weight when you're starting to build muscle?  I don't know...but I do know I hate it.  I've also been too busy to really focus on eating well and cooking good meals and that might also be another factor. I get home so late and I'm so dead that all I want is to do is eat something quickly and crash on the couch. I haven't been eating chips, rice or any major junk food, but I eat a lot of bread.  I just get to darn hungry I can't think or function and bread is the only thing I want. I also haven't been putting in any cardio time.  Maybe that's another factor.  I don't know...but I am sticking with this and hoping I start to see a drastic change soon.  I think next month I'll sign up at a studio closer to home (not 20 min away), although I hate to change instructors since I have gotten used to them and the people and I'm starting to get more comfortable with my surroundings.

This Saturday I have signed up for a seat intensive 75 minute class (I had to pay an extra $30). I am looking forward to it, but I know it's going to be challenging.

I am hoping to put in 30-45 min of cardio today. I am also trying to cut back on the bread (aaaahhh!) and eat more salad.  Sigh...I hate this...why can't it just come off fast and NOW!  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tupperware Organization

I am always on the look out for a way to organize all the tupperware lids that I have. This idea is just it! CD holders turned into tupperware lid organizers...BRILLIANT! Now to find a drawer thats wide enough to hold the lids AND the dishes!  Bigger house please!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Solar Eclipse

Today we went to view the solar eclipse at my school's observatory.  I didn't expect to see so many people there, but of course, it was packed.  They were selling solar viewing glasses for $2, but by the time we got there, they were sold out.  Many volunteers had also brought their own telescopes and were allowing people to take a look, so we stood in line to try to get a glimpse.  It was sunny when we got to the top of the hill where the observatory is located, but after about 15 minutes, the clouds started to show up, partially obscuring the solar eclipse.

Of course, as you know, you should never look at a solar eclipse with the naked eye, even with sunglasses, or even dare to point your camera at it as it can burn the camera sensor (or something on those lines).  But, as we are human, who listens.  Everyone was aiming their cameras at the sun, children were starting with squinted eyes and yours truly would take quick looks when the clouds would roll ein (of course now I have a headache, bravo genius!).

It was a lot of fun though and people were so friendly and nice.  They shared their solar glasses and some even emailed me some pictures from their phone (as my camera battery eventually died...go figure!).

All in all, an exciting and interesting experience (minus the headache, yes I know mother!).

 The telescope inside the observatory wasn't turned on.  

 Someone using the "pinhole" method to see the shadow of the sun.

 When the clouds rolled in, the eclipse was more easily visible with the naked eye and so everyone was cheering and all the cameras were aimed at the sky to try to catch a picture of the moment.  Of course, looking at a solar eclipse behind clouds is not any safer.

  Projection of the sun onto a poster board for all to see.  

My photo of the solar eclipse behind the solar viewing glasses.

Photo a very nice lady sent me from her iphone, post dead camera.  Really cool!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A day in the micro lab

While my students were slaving away, I tried to inconspicuously snap pictures of them (mwahahaha).  A few asked what I was doing and if I was going to make the pictures my facebook profile.  Seriously? How nerdy do you think I am?

They are a really great bunch this quarter though and although I have a few that just rub me the wrong way (there are always a few) it is a much more relaxed environment.  I think this has to do with the fact that all of my students are seniors, graduating this quarter, so they are much more mature, respectful and independent.  I have also learned to relax more and careless about things that go wrong or those few annoying students.  I get on my soap box every now and then, but I have learned to really control my anger, and always smile when students come to ask me questions, even if you want to bash their heads in the wall after I've repeated myself a million times.  And I have 25 less students than last quarter, so its much more manageable.  I also have less to grade, THANK GOD!  Speaking of grading, I have 20 lab reports to grade this!

 My handwriting always looks weird on the board.  I haven't mastered the "write in a straight line" yet.

Sterilizing the loop used to streak a plate.

Bacteria in slants!  You don't want to know where those bacteria were taken from, trust me!

The one annoying thing about this class is that the professor stops by every lab to check in.  I have stopped caring after a while and actually look forward to it because the students will leave me alone and ask all their questions from him.  They think I know everything, yet little do they know, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.  I'm a biochemist, not a microbiologist.  Geez!

 Antibiotic resistant test.  This is what a "kirby bauer" plate looks like.  The white "pellets" are antibiotic wafers and the clear circles/zones are regions where the bacteria died.  The larger the zone of inhibition, the less resistant the bacteria.  

This has been an enjoyable class...I've also learned a lot from it, although I don't admit that to the students ;)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my bestest friend and husband.  

Cake was made by my mother-in-law! It was really really gooooooood.  I HAD 5 PIECES! 

Pure Barre help!!

Gac Filipaj

Gac Filipaj (who is now 52) came to the US in 1992 as a refugee from the former Yugoslavia.  For the past 12 years, he worked as a "heavy cleaner" janitor at Columbia University emptying trash bins and cleaning toilets.  During his time there, he spent the days working till 11pm and the rest of the night studying.  After 12 years he finally earned a bachelors degree in Classics.  He didn't speak a word of English when he came here, but got a job at Columbia to get a tuition break so he could take English proficiency classes.  In 2000 he enrolled in the School of General studies and passed the rigorous courses needed to get a degree in Classics.

What an amazing and inspirational story!  If you stick your mind to it, you can achieve anything!

    Look at that smile! I would be proud too!! :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Animals in the Womb

This is amazing.  I'm not sure how "real" these pictures are, or how they were able to get such clear images, but they are awesome nonetheless.




Monday, May 14, 2012

Places to Visit, Places to See

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Here are a few places I think would be great to see, money and time permitting.   

Hang En, a cave tunneled out by the Rao Thuong River in Vietnam
Photograph by Carsten Peter

Train tunnel of trees, aka Tunnel of Love in Kleven, Ukraine 
Photograph by Oleg Gordienko

Pamukkale Travertine Pools in Turkey 

Skye Island, Scotland 
Photograph by Damian Shields

The Great Wall of China

Tomb of Shi Huangdi, Xi'an China


Benteng Chittorgarh, India

Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve, Texas

Underside of  Glacier, Skafetafeli, Iceland

Inhabited Island of Aogashima

Marble Caves, Patagonia, Chile

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada

The Swiss Alps

Ancient Mayan Ruins, Chichen Itza, Mexico

The Great Pyramids, Giza, Egypt


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