Its getting cold, that means more time spent inside. We got the Christmas Tree up, then Corvin decided to decorate himself.
Then the fun began…
Corvin and I got in a few unicycle rides this month.
And also of interest, there was a surprise meeting series called the “Blueprint Series” started at work. They put signs up around office to announce it but would not tell us what it was. So I took a photo of one of the signs and started making my own rival signs, placing them up in the office. A few co-workers got in on it with me and we made our own fake posters…
Holidays are what you make of them. We were all busy, so we decided to have our family Thanksgiving late. We all met at Henry and Carol’s house. The plan was an evening to eat and hang out. Of course, its a tradition that we play board games.
I learned something interesting today. There is something called “Internet Points”. The idea of Internet Points is that a particular website that you may visit offers points or reputation for contributions that you make from the site. Some of the points are in form of praise for the actual contribution. Many have points that are given from other users of the same site that agree or disagree with your contribution. You can see a person’s points for a site and get a feel if they are a regular contributor and if the community values their contributions. These points can be hard to come by on some sites. But more importantly, they provide no actual value in a person’s regular life…
Why an I talking about Internet Points on a Thanksgiving post? Because I began to better understand them today. I wanted to play the games with the family, but Mark, Brian and Kelly’s youngest, wanted to play with me. I sat out while the others played games. During the games, scores were kept. As the scores were closer together, the competition got a bit heated at times. We’re family fighting over fake points for games.
It seems that the origin of points goes back way before the Internet for people to just find more value in their activities. Why play a game if you don’t know who the winner is and by how much.
Whether any of that makes sense or not, I got some real quality time with my nephew. I think I got the most points today 🙂
After visiting Don Robinson park with Danelle, I wanted to go back and hike the other trail. With this destination in mind, I told Corvin that today’s driving lesson would be driving to Don Robinson to hike. He was up for the adventure and we set out. The weather was supposed to turn to rain, causing us to focus on getting there to hike before the rain came. There were a few small showers on the drive out, but we thought it best to press our luck.
Once there, we set out on the long trail to hike.
It started to rain on our hike. Instead of turning back, we jogged on the flat parts to get through the trail faster. We didn’t melt or get very wet. And we hiked the whole trail. I do expect to go back and hike it again to see it at a more leisurely pace!
Corvin signed up for the Webster/Kirkwood Turkey Trot this year. Most of his cross country team was participating in the race. I woke up early with him on Thanksgiving and drove down to the start of the race. We got there early expecting parking to be tight, but 45 minutes early means great parking.
It also meant that we helped some of the setup to make ourselves useful.
Eventually the team got there and they warmed up as a group.
When the run officially started, the plan was for the whole WG cross country to bunch up at the start and get out. Most of the team did that, but Corvin suffers from “Nice Guy” syndrome. That means that he was farther in the back cause he didn’t want to be in other people’s way.
Corvin came through the starting gate about 6 minutes after the starting gun went off. Lucky for him, the race timing system starts the individual’s time when they pass through the timing chute. While he ran a decent race, Corvin figures he could have shaved at least a minute off his time. Except that because he waited so long to start, he had many people blocking his way and he had lots of runners slowing him down as he worked around him.
He can complain all he wants, but here is a screen shot of his finishing time, not too bad!
After we went home and he cleaned up, we went to a brunch hosted by one of the XC team members. It was crazy crowded due to the size of the team.
Later still in the day, I took Corvin and Sonora to the Webster/Kirkwood football game while Danelle was out collecting more samples for her work. It was a long day, but focused around family!
Re-posted from Danelle’s Science Blog. I’ve added some extra photos at the bottom.
Since my research is on winter use of road salt, much of my field work has been completed in the winter. I’ve spent days climbing down storm drains to learn about municipal salt use. This year, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I spent the day in the field with Cathleen Yung (an undergraduate student who has been helping me in the lab) and my helpful husband Hogan. We visited Sugar Creek in order to hunt for a large number of a single species of flathead mayfly for a toxicity study that I would be conducting over the following two weeks.
Cathleen transfers mayflies into a clean container while I look for more mayflies under the rocks. Photo by Hogan Haake.
Normally, I wouldn’t consider field work before Thanksgiving to be winter field work, but when we arrived at the site, the water temperature was only 3 degrees C and there were small patches of ice along some of the stream banks. We proceeded to spend about 7 hours in the chill water (with waders on), picking up many small rocks (and several not-so-small rocks) with our bare hands in order to look for our mayfly friends. While slow and tedious, this hand collecting method is the most effective for gathering wild specimens without causing injuries to the delicate critters – as long as you can still feel your fingers.
By the end of the day, we had collected over 450 mayflies. As someone who is working to preserve aquatic life, there is a part of me that regrets taking so many animals from the stream. Fortunately, I know that this stream is supporting a very large and healthy population of this species. Within the 120-meter segment of stream where we sampled, we left large patches of habitat undisturbed and did not take the smaller individuals. In addition, there were many other patches of prime habitat both upstream and downstream of the area where we collected. I share these bits of information because I want to make it clear that, as a responsible scientist, I consider the environmental costs and potential long-term effects of any collection efforts that I undertake.
Flat head mayflies are abundant in this stretch of stream.
Before I close out this post, I need to express my gratitude to my two amazing helpers. Hogan and Cathleen not only helped get the job done, they were cheerful and enthusiastic about it! I could not have asked for better help in less-than-comfortable conditions!