Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!

Work has just been ridiculous lately. I've been effectively working full time hours to try and help the lab stay on track with all of the sample submissions since our supervisor left for a new job at the end of June. We FINALLY hired someone who started at the beginning of September to be our boss but training her has been a trick and a half.

Because this blog is public I really don't want to go into a lot of detail, but it is very frustrating on a professional level to have to train your boss in microbiological basics. And in Excel. And how to save. And the rules of how to name the files so everyone knows where and what everything is.

I've also been adding new skills to my repertoire including taking point on running a proficiency test that is required for the company to maintain certain certifications. We passed. Oh yeah, I'm amazing.

I started my October birthday month shenanigans on September 30 when I volunteered for the Metropark Express. Remember, going to ride in it, but I knew Gwyn and I would not be fit and that wasn't fair to either of us. So I volunteered to be the timer and that was plenty enjoyable! Not necessarily stress free, but it's a fun kind of stress when you're juggling riders coming in and riders going out. It's something I'm good at.

The start in the fog.

Kaylee and I decorated our mini pumpkins that we grew ourselves

On October 6 the Kindergarten and First grade classes all went to the zoo. I took the day off and chaperoned because why the fuck not? I was in charge of Kaylee and one other little girl from her class, A. We had a blast together.

On Saturday we finally relented and let Kaylee set up my old tent in the back yard. She was ADAMANT that she was going to sleep in it that night.

It provided great entertainment for both kids!

We went to the Enchanted Woodland at Seven Ponds Nature Center. In retrospect I picked too late of a time slot (reservation only) but both kids had fun, even if they were ready to crash by the end of the night.

Meeting the coyote

True to her word, Kaylee went to sleep in the tent all by herself. But then we had a tornado warning for the county and we grabbed her and brought her back inside for safety. She never woke up through the whole relocation. Thankfully she understood when she woke up in her bed the next morning and we explained what had happened.

That led to her saying we had a tomato warning. :'D

Hazel being mischevous at my work. I had to work both Saturday and Sunday. But I didn't let it stop me from my plans!

I wore Kaylee out.

I had the Hunter Pace on Sunday (I opted to skip the Hunter Trials on October 1st and go get hay instead since my wasp problem was finally cleaned out).  This upcoming weekend I'm going camping with Gwyn. I'll ride unoffically and volunteer for the endurance ride. I can't wait!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Florida and Disney - Image Heavy

My parents have a timeshare in the Orlando area and this year I opted to join them in Florida with the girls. Kaylee is coming into the perfect age for Disney and for her fifth birthday we splurged on a VERY nice Princess Dinner at Cinderella's Castle on the Magic Kingdom property. It was a big splurge and I didn't do much for her birthday gifts as that was the big thing. It was worth it, IMO.

Monday, July 24, 2017

15 months: Phrases Hazel Knows

Thank you (take ooo)
Here you go
tickle tickle (teek-oh!)
Let it go (sung, to the song from Frozen)
No (shaking her head)
Kaylee (kay-ee)
up/down (updown)
outside (ousside)
all done (all dow)
cheese (cheee)
cracker/cookie/food (cookie?)
nursing (sign for milk)
kitty (kiki, dit-ee)
Horse/giraffe/donkey (growling, grrrrraaaah)
Good girl
Good boy

Her comprehension is far greater. We can ask her questions and get answers, or ask her to do a task and she will correctly do it (go get your shoes! let's go get water! lay down for a diaper change, please!)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Kaylee is 5!

A happiest birthday to my adventurous princess doctor astronaut paleontologist. May her curiousity and drive to discover never wane.

She is an absolute shining star in my life and I love her to bits, even during the challenging moments. It's hard to imagine life without her now.

When she gets upset with us, she's ready to go live on her own, or so she tells me quite forcefully.

She loves her dresses and will do anything in them. She has 'dancing shoes' as well, though right now I think they're sitting in the sandbox serving as sand buckets...

She's always been fascinated by nature but our house now has only fostered that more. She's not scared by most things. She wants to touch them and she respects the animals we live with, like our resident snakes, frogs and birds. 

She's a free spirit to be sure, and will watch Transformers while dressed as a Princess. She has little use for stereotypes.

We let her stay up to watch fireworks on Saturday. Our neighbor puts on a show every year and our deck is prime viewing. 

She's a good big sister.

Until she isn't.  😅😄😄😄 In this case, she had been pulling Hazel in the dump truck... then dumped her sister out. 

We'll have her party on Saturday, but today we celebrated with just the four of us. Balloons and a mini cake and card for her. 

So tiny. Much squish.

Happy Day of Your Birth, precious one. Take over the world.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


I know it's been a while since I posted. But just wait...

Content Note: Images of my body, bruises from the crash, vehicle damage

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Test Protocol for Legionella: Science Sunday

At our lab we are certified for two different methods for identifying and quantifying Legionella in samples. One is the general CDC method and the other is a method that is WAY more involved and only required by the State of New York.  Why the state of New York has to be extra special is beyond me, but we have been audited by them and found to do everything properly so we can do New York samples.

In the following post, I actually am doing both methods simultaneously because one client is from not New York, and one client is from New York. Many of the steps are similar. Here we go!

Here is nearly everything I need to test for both methods of Legionella. From left to right:  vacuum pump, 100ml sterilized tips, pipetter, erlenmeyer flask with rubber fitting, vortexer, sharpie, chlorine test strips, samples, skinny tubes, glass tubes, black agar plates, blue large tubes, Page's Saline, saline, NY acid, Legionella acid, cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Legionella pneumoniae, sterile water, 2um disposable filters.
Not pictured: 1 ml glass pipettes, pipette bulb, forceps, ethanol, lighter

First step, required for NY, optional for CDC.  Test the chlorine content of the water.

Good result! You can proceed with testing of the sample.


Add sodium thiosulfate until result is good. In this case it was 100 ml of sample, so I added 100 ul at a time.

Fill large tubes with 10 ml of saline (Pages for NY, general for CDC)

Filter 100 ml of sample.

Dip the forceps into ethanol and SET THEM ON FIRE! (to sterilize) Once cool, use the forceps to transfer the filter paper to the blue eppendorf tubes.

VORTEX!  Just... generally for CDC, for 2 VERY LONG MINUTES for NY.


Forceps and ethanol

For NY, you have to run positive and negative controls. Using the McFarland standards, you can guesstimate your concentration of bacteria in liquid by comparing the cloudiness.  Pseudomonas is the negative control, Legionella is duh, the positive.

To save time, vortex multiple tubes at once and cut vortexing time in half!

CDC:  Use bi plates with two similar agars on each side. Pipette 0.1 ml onto each side.

Spread that sample around. You can use the same spread from side 1 to 2, but not 2 to 1 and obviously not from one sample to the next.

NY samples go on a single type of agar (Side 2 but poured onto a whole plate). You plate 0.5 ml and spread.

Not pictured:  Each method has an acid treatment stage. This is pretty neat. The acid will kill amoebas that can hide Legionella. Yay! CDC has a 15 minute acid treatment.  NY has a 5 minute acid treatment in a different acid.

NY also has a 30 minute 50deg C heat treatment.

Each treatment also gets plated onto it's own plate.

In the end, CDC method uses 4 plates (regular and 3 acid) per sample, NY uses 3 plates per sample (regular, heat, acid) plus the controls.

All of those plates go into anaerobic jars.  You light the candle and tighten the lid, the candle burns all the oxygen. Those jars get incubated for 5 days (CDC) or up to 10 days (NY) at 35 deg C.

How we identify legionella coming up next!


A picture of the product my company manufactures. It's a two sided dip stick. You dip it in a limited volume of water and bacteria or fungi stick to the agar. You can enumerate how much bacteria is in your volume of water.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Kid Pic Spam plus other stuff

An addendum to my previous post about Thinx, I'm also planning to try sea sponge tampons to see if they're more comfortable for riding (and pair with the thinx)  compared to my cup or disposable tampons.  The sponges are reusable for 3-6 months so you're still spending less and the product is somewhat renewable.

Anyway, I'll have the sponges in time for my next cycle, so I'll update then with how it all goes.

Hazel is making significant developmental progress. She can now easily crawl with her belly off the ground, is cruising around the house like a pro (when they walk but always hang on to stuff for balance) and has taken a single solo step on a few occassions.

She gets super  excited when she sees me pull out my carrier and loves being worn while I do stuff outside or go to the store. In general, she loves being the center of attention. Her favorite thing to say right now is Dada!  Which of course makes Eric very happy. I'm still getting her to work on Mama.

She loves Gwyn, Saffron and the cats and will screech excitedly/chase them.

She loves sitting in the high chair up above everyone. I think she likes watching them all.

Thinking about walking

We had a bout of sickness and she was diagnosed with RSV and had to have some breathing treatments. She's all better now though!

Sick baby passed out in the car. 

Using her toy to walk.

Two bottom teeth!

We did her 9 month photos a few days late.

Kaylee of course always wants to be in the pictures too.

Fun with colors at my job

The iridescent colors separate, it's really neat.

Kaylee insisted on riding in the snow.

Hazel is the center of attention while Kaylee is in gymnastics.

Kaylee is doing really well for her age group and she enjoys her once a week activity.

Eric is encumbered.

Side carred crib is also for cats!

A frequent sight.

Kisses for the kitty.

Sunrise on wednesday, my super busy day

I toured a school that I want Kaylee to attend for Kindergarten. It's a charter school that only accepts 40 students. Open enrollment ends Friday. This is the upper school (2nd through 8th grade)


Lower school (K-1)

Lower school recess. They are outside every day, regardless of weather.

Happy upside down baby.

Poking at Eric's moles.