Showing posts from June, 2015

Back in business

Well, friends, my family has departed. It was a good visit, and I learned that I like Oregon so much better when the people I love are in it. A week of traveling with family was a good chance to rediscover all that is good about this state - the landscapes, the rivers, the wineries, the mountains, the small towns, the lakes, the valleys. I'm actually proud of how well I know my way around here. Now that I've cleaned my apartment and drunk the last Diet Pepsi in my fridge (Mom's go-to beverage), I'm back to sciencing. I started yesterday by catching up with my labmate, Caitlin, and touching base with my adviser. Apparently, while I was busy galavanting around the state with relatives, Caitlin managed to fix two old pieces of equipment just by reading the manual. Score two for her. We actually spent a good part of the day yesterday packing up boxes of lab equipment to ship to the U.S. east coast. Our adviser, Craig, has a research cruise coming up next week, and a num

A family visit: Part 2

Showing Grandpa and Fran an ascidian at OIMB. Photo by Angela Meyer. Grandpa and I at OIMB. Photo by Angela Meyer. Grandpa and Mom at Simpson Reef, outside Charleston, Oregon. Photo by Frances Brock. The interior of the historic Egyptian Theater in downtown Coos Bay. The theater was built in 1925 and was under restoration when I first moved to Coos Bay in 2012. Restoration is now complete and the theater is open again, so we stopped in for a tour.  The original organ pipes from the 1920s are still in use at the Egyptian Theater in downtown Coos Bay. Photo by Angela Meyer. The entrance to the Egyptian Theater says "Through these doors pass the most wonderful people." Grandpa and Fran at Seven Devils Brewery, downtown Coos Bay. Photo by Angela Meyer. Crater Lake Wizard Island, in Crater Lake Mom and I at Crater Lake

My mother's eyes

It's not a current photo, but believe it or not, the image at right is my favorite picture of my mom and me. We took that selfie in Chicago in 2010. My mom and I both love musical theater, so while I was still living in Michigan, we made several short trips to Chicago to see Broadway musicals performed by traveling theater groups. On this particular trip, it was Billy Elliot, but we've also seen Cats and Wicked together. I love this photo so much because it captures a spontaneous and joyful moment with my mom. We had just arrived in Chicago and were heading out to dinner when we discovered it was raining. Pouring. Buckets. Cats and dogs. A deluge. We debated for a long time whether we should take a cab or brave the torrential rain, but in the end, we decided to be hardcore. We donned our rain coats and documented the moment with a photo. You know, in case we didn't survive. I showed this picture to a friend in college, and her immediate reaction was to say that my mom an

A family visit

Several months ago, my mom approached me about scheduling a visit in June. She wanted to show my grandpa, her dad, the state of Oregon. He had never been to Oregon before, and it made most sense for him to see it before I graduated. We seized the moment, scheduled flights, and now they're here! Grandpa brought his dear friend and companion, Fran, so the four of us met in Portland last Friday and are seeing all the Oregon highlights together. Check it out! Mt. Hood, as seen from the OHSU campus, in downtown Portland Mt. St. Helens, as seen from the campus of OHSU, in downtown Portland Grandpa and Fran in downtown Portland. Photo by Angela Meyer. Oregon's state capitol building in Salem Mom, Grandpa, and I at Oregon's state capitol. Photo by Frances Brock. A sidewalk tile outside Oregon's state capitol building  Elk, seen feeding along Highway 38, outside Reedsport, Oregon Grandpa, Fran, and I with the elk. Photo by Angela Me

Before they left

When I first arrived in Coos Bay three years ago, I was given a strange piece of advice. Don't get close to anyone, they told me, because as soon as you do, they'll move away. Learn to let go of friends, they told me, because nobody sticks around Coos Bay for long. You will begin to measure time in goodbye parties. The population of this town actually has a high turnover rate, mostly as a result of the jobs that are available. Coast Guard non-rates move in, do their duty for 2-3 years, get the training they need for a more advanced position, and move out. Wildlife observers and state park employees work on a seasonal basis. The local newspaper and television station are both staffed by recent college graduates who move away as soon as they get a better job elsewhere. Even the graduate students stick around for 5 years at the most. A good portion of the town turns over every few years, and at times, it can feel downright tumultuous. Sunset over the hazy Pacific, 14 June 20

The art of detachment

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." - Proverbs 31:25 This sentence appeared in my brain this morning and hung there like a picture on a wall. A fixture. A permanent installation in the gallery of my conscious mind that I could gaze at whenever I wanted. I enjoyed it. I was on my way to OIMB's Boathouse Auditorium, about a 10-minute walk down the street from the main part of the campus. If anyone asked, I would use the excuse of a pleasant morning stroll, but really, I just had to move. I was more than a bit excited, and sitting still at my desk just wasn't going to cut it. The wind chilled my arms and had its way with my hair, but being surrounded by that kind of energy somehow helped the energy inside me to dissipate. You see, I had just arrived at the lab and checked my e-mail. It doesn't sound like a particularly exciting activity, but I had been waiting on several critical messages. One quick scan of my inbox re

The view out my window: Part 2

South Slough Estuary, seen from Charleston, OR Coos Bay during a calm early-morning low tide View of the coastal mountain range from highway 42 The Umpqua River, seen from Scottsburg Park, along highway 38 McCullough Bridge, North Bend, OR

As good as it gets

If I could pick a musical quote to open this post, it would be "Daniel" by The Bee Eaters. It's a sprightly C-Major blend of fiddle, cello, mandolin, and hammered dulcimer. It's bright, exuberant, chord-pickin' folk, and it's exactly what my weekend sounded like. I spent it in the Corvallis area, at the home of my dear friends, the Hansens, Sephra and Lee. The Hansens used to live near Coos Bay, and we met at church. Every few weeks, they would invite me over to have dinner and hang out on the beach. I taught their daughter violin, and they took care of my car while I was in Norway. There are a lot of parallels between the Hansen family and mine. Both Lee and my dad are engineers. The Hansens lived in Michigan for 6 years, just a 2-hour drive from where I grew up. Their kids are 5 years apart in age; my brother and I are 5 years apart. We share a love for Arnold Palmers, barbecues, and movie nights. We're the same in countless details - down to the fac

Don't waste it

Like bronze bells being hit with a soft mallet, my alarm rang me to consciousness. 5:30 am. Rolling over, I was pleasantly surprised to find the sun already streaming through my blinds. It was bound to be a good day. I drove to the lab in leggings and a fleece, then pulled on rain pants and thick socks at my desk. Hair up. Boots on. Show time. Healthy sea stars, Pisaster ochraceus The morning's mission was a survey of Pisaster ochraceus , the ochre sea star, to assess the extent and severity of sea star wasting syndrome in Coos Bay. Not familiar with sea star wasting? It's a terrible disease, whereby sea stars suffer lesions, deteriorate, lose their arms, and disintegrate into a pile of goo. In the past few years, it's run rampant along the North American west coast. Check it out in more detail  here  and here . A wasting sea star. In the words of my high school biology teacher, the immortal Lee James Koski, "That's a bad day in the hood." The sad

In the Coos: Part 2

Now for part 2 of my Oregon-y weekend! Just one Oregon-esque experience would not constitute a weekend of Oregon-ness, my friends; nay, two are required! And ah, what different experiences they were. Saturday evening, I sped home from the lab, changed my clothes, and headed out to the Seven Devils Brewery, just a few blocks from my house. Seven Devils is owned by an OIMB alumna, and it's become the officially unofficial hang-out for Coos Bay's young, educated faction. I got dinner with two friends, one of whom I hadn't seen in a shamefully long time, and then walked with them to the evening's main event. What is this main event, you ask? For what purpose had I broken speed limits, broken bread, and donned an extra-special outfit? Ah, dear friends, it was none other than a community contra dance! (What the heck is a contra dance?) Swing your neighbor! Photo by Laurel Hiebert. Well, I'm glad you asked! Contra dancing is the grandfather of square dancing, a

In the Coos

Is it possible for one weekend in Oregon to be more Oregon-y than another? Because if it is, I'm pretty sure I just had the most Oregon weekend known to man. OIMBers quietly meditating. It started at the lab. Each year, OIMB grad students have the opportunity to plan a weekend workshop or short course on a topic we find interesting, and this year, we invited UO administrator and professor Lisa Freinkel to lead us in a workshop on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. I had zero experience with mindfulness practice prior to the workshop, so it was a learning experience for me. We did a lot of meditating. We practiced focusing on our breath or the sound of the waves outside to clear our minds. We laid on the floor and mentally scanned our bodies for any points of pain or tension. We ate breakfast together in silence. Though mindfulness has strong ties to Buddhism, it started as a therapeutic technique in hospitals and doesn't necessitate a Buddhist practice. One of the exer

The view out my window

"Sometimes you just have to take your hand off the throttle (hand, not foot - this is a plane, cars are boring), and just enjoy the view out the window. Just enjoy the view, because if you keep pushing too hard, one day you will look up and realize it was all just a blur." - Andrew Sweetman Cape Arago's north cove, just outside Charleston, Oregon Sea lions at Cape Arago's north cove Simpson Reef, just outside Charleston, Oregon The rugged Oregon coast