The closest to Normal (Illinois) that I've ever been.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


My PI was awarded a ISU Distinguished Professorship. It was a lovely ceremony with lots of nostalgia and cricket sex. Perhaps he should wear the giant medal everywhere to protect him from vampires, stray bullets and administrators. Here's the link to the student newspaper. Note the use of "Evolutionay"--it occurs to me that more biological discourse should be done in the traditional scientific language of pig latin--Iologybay Ulesray!

incriminating picture of Saki as a grad student

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


The kids have never been to a family Thanksgiving. Now that we are a mere 12-hour drive from Baltimore, we thought that we should give the road trip a try. So, all of us (including Argos) drove east for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Caught in the act.

It has been over 10 years since I've been in Baltimore to see the trees change color. I can't believe that I forgot how devastatingly beautiful it is!

Argos loved running up and down the hills in the woods behind my grandparents' house. He was great on the road--barely a peep for the whole 12 hours. I was extremely relieved that Argos was mannered and calm at my grandparents' house. Also, despite his irrational fear of going to the bathroom in a strange place (his record is holding it all in for 36 hours), he used the yard like a normal dog.

Joseph reading with Grandma Martha (no make-up on yet).

We had Thanksgiving dinner at Aunt Cynthia and Uncle Ron's place. The food and conversation were wonderful.

Joseph's favorite part of Ron and Cynthia's place is the multi-tiered fish tank.

Grandpa and Aron.

After dinner, rather than getting sleepy, the kids got a little punch drunk and started getting rowdy with Rich.

Sam reading aloud.

Joseph as a tiger cub in his den.

Sam wrestling with Brianna.

After Thanksgiving, we went over to Uncle Mark and Aunt Jo Ellen's place. All of the kids had a great time playing together.

The kids have never seen my grandparents' boat The Martita, so we helped Grandpa and Mark take down the boat for the season.

The kids on the boat pretending that they were on a boat.

Some old sea salts.

Argos had a doggy playdate with his cousin Dugan. They both had a good wrestle and ran until they were worn out.

The drive home was uneventful. The kids were bored, but Joseph got a little journaling done.

After we got back, Joseph's teacher had the class draw their Thanksgiving vacation. Apparently, the only part that Joseph could remember was the gas station bathroom stops.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fat lip and Fall concert

Joseph building a soothing blue refuge for Heatblast. For some reason, this reminded me of a bowerbird.

So why don't more people enjoy taking the time to make floor angels in the kitchen? When Joseph was finished, the back of his fleece pajamas was delicately interwoven with dog hair and crumbs. The floor, however, was visibly cleaner.

Joseph drawing something with lots of explosions.

Yesterday, Joseph was playing a game on the swings with some friends, and ended up with a bruise on his forehead and a grotesquely swelled upper lip. There was apparently a lot of bleeding. This morning, Danny got him ready for school. When I took his coat off at school, I realized that it was caked with dried blood--it looked like he had been SLAUGHTERING SHEEP in it. I had to clean the coat in the school bathroom.
Recently, Joseph has gotten addicted to this computer game in which he helps Rabbit (from Winnie the Pooh) bake cakes and cookies. At first, this inspired Joseph to help me bake. He was full of arguments about how I was using too much or too little of various ingredients according to Rabbit's recipes. However, yesterday he passed up an opportunity to bake real cookies with me so that he could bake virtual cookies with Rabbit. Last night the cord that plugs the computer into the wall mysteriously disappeared...

Joseph with a fat lip baking real and virtual cookies.

Sam has been preparing for his Fall concert at school. Doesn't he look nice? Here he is demoing his lovely singing voice.

The third grade Fall concert. Sam is line leader, so he is at the bottom left.

Argos enjoying snuggling up to the repulsive rental carpet.

Today I came home to find that my house had been transformed into the Starship Enterprise.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Ken Fedorka came to give a seminar at ISU. He gave a good talk about sexual conflict. I ate a lot of excellent free meals and drank WAY too much. It was really great to have someone to hang out with. Now he's gone. (Sigh.)
Apparently, now that Ken is faculty with grad students of his own, he has developed a sense of dignity, and removed from the web his high school prom pictures. (Picture if you will: powder blue tux and mullet.) So, in order to keep him humble, I will post these pictures from Evolution in Ft. Collins.


Last week the Mythbusters came to ISU. Mythbusters is arguably Sam and Joseph's favorite show. (Joseph is conflicted whether he favors Mythbusters or Dirty Jobs .) I think that Mythbusters is a great show--it is really the only show on television that breaks down the scientific process in a way that has dramatic appeal (explosions, robots, gore, etc). The premise of the show is to scientifically test the validity of common myths ranging from whether toast always lands butter side down to whether cell phones actually interfere with airplane navigation systems. The ISU newspaper reported that undisclosed team members of Mythbusters would appear. Sam was hoping for Grant Imahara , because he is the builder of Sam's favorite battlebot, however, it was Tory and Kari. At least 200 people showed up, and a good time was had by all. Sam's favorite part was a showing of Tory's screen test in which he tested the myth that women do not fart.

Grant, Kari and Tory

Grant and Deadblow

Friday, November 2, 2007

Random Halloween pictures

Here are Sam and Joseph about to go Trick-or-Treating. I didn't think to buy costume make-up, but as we were getting ready for Trick-or-Treating, Sam asked about it. I am quite smug that I was able to do Sam's make-up out of things from my own make-up box. The pale skin is my palest blemish concealer, the widow's peak is copper smudgeable eyeliner, the eyebrows and undereye rings are eyeshadow from my "smokey-eye" kit, and the blood is lip pencil. The orange fangs or "thangs" as Joseph calls them, are not actually part of the Oscar the Grouch costume. However, I don't recall that we ever saw Oscar's teeth on Sesame Street, so who am I to say that he wasn't a vampire.

Joseph on Halloween parade at the Mulberry school

Halloween party at the Mulberry school

Halloween get-together at our place. I made a big punch bowl of Spellbinder , which was green, but quite good

Costume idea for next year? Jeff as a nested ANOVA