Thursday, April 30, 2009

My throat's sore from talking

So I'm just going to do a picture post. Enjoy!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Really, guys?

Kent has an interesting history that includes the Ohio four of 1970, as well as heavy partying, liberal views, and a diverse student body, in color, culture, and ideology. Most of us are proud to go to a school with an active Socialist group, PRIDE! Kent, Black United Students, Arab group, as well as College Libertarians, Republicans, and ROTC. We may disagree here in Kent, but we get along and (generally) respect other people's views. That goes for the city and the university. No one's proud of the incident that marked May 4th, 1970, but we are proud that the whole incident started out with people standing up for what they believe in. Yes, it turned ugly, and there are ideas as to why that happened, but I'm not going to get into finger pointing right now. If you read some of what I have to say in other places, you probably can deduce where I stand on the matter of May 4th.

This weekend, Kent had another brouhaha involving students and uniformed individuals. Over a block party. A freaking end of school year block party. I have some issues with this turn of events. Like wanting to brain the parties involved.

Lately, there's been lots of moaning on the campus about the economy. Understandably so. It's the idiocy behind the whining, and the hypocrisy that baffle me. One page will have students worrying about financial aid and how their going to pay for school, the next has the latest greatest new techno toy. One page with complaints about how the university wastes money left and right, the next about exactly how to exploit your food plan to the greatest advantage before the end of the year.

So now, almost forty years after May 4th, and just a few days from its remembrance, you spoiled brats decide to throw a party (by the way, school's not over yet, genius- still two weeks plus exams) and don't know when to stop. The police get there, you start fires. Riot gear and SWAT teams arrive, you throw street signs into the fire. At what point did it maybe occur to you that you're just being ignorant and childish? Oh, that's right, it didn't or else you would have stopped the wanton destruction. All this over a stupid party. You'd think we were becoming Ohio State University or something.

You want so badly to celebrate not having classes? Fine- drop out. You hate the way the school schedules classes, making you take thing unrelated to your career goals? Fine, leave. Maybe, if learning is such a bane on your existence, you should do everyone a favor and go get a job at McDonald's. If you hate something so much, then stop doing it. Maybe then the college could offer better scholarships to those who want to be here and are benefiting from their time at KSU. How's that for a financial aid package?

What hurts me the most is the change. When did students stop giving a shit about the world around them and only care about their own Id? To this degree? I'm off to find something fun for next weekend on the weekly volunteering email blast- ta!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Names changed to protect the innocent

For those of you that know me, you know I've had some stresses lately that have been putting a cramp in my style. Things not going the way I had planned. Small disappointments, and lots of them. Nothing disastrous, but annoying, and eventually those little annoyances become like piranhas and slowly nibble you to death. Death by nibbling is not fun, by any means.

To try and alleviate this nibbling, nagging feeling I went for a walk today. I'm out of town, trying to make this into an adventure so I'm doing what I can to keep busy. I headed out about 6 AM or so, went to the park I had my eye on, and started hiking. It was a smallish park (or so I thought), maps available, multiple trails with fun names like Overlook Pass, and Waterfall Loop. Having this odd obsession with water that I do, I headed for the waterfall one. I figured I'd go, get some pictures, have some fun, do a little birding, and start my day out right. I've been needing a day that starts out right.

And at first it did. But then, as is wont to happen with my adventures, a shiny object crossed my path, and I set off after it. I'm not bright, I can deal with that. You can too, apparently, or you wouldn't be reading. Unless you just like laughing at this life I call mine. The shiny object, if you were wondering, was a summer tanager. I hadn't seen one in the wild before, but I'm 95% sure that's what it was.

Well, before I knew it, I was in sight of not a single trail, and surrounded by fairly steep ravines and headwater streams. Not steep if you're prepared for them, I'm sure, but at 7 AM in mules and lounge clothes, carrying a camera and binoculars among other things, they looked steep. Not a person in sight. Not a single sound of a car. Nothing remotely trail looking. Hmm. So I kept walking. It's an urban park, I couldn't really get lost, right?

The walking kept getting harder, more slipping, more landing in creeks, less time spent on pictures. Less, not none, mind you- I still got some great shots. The option of going down anymore decreased as I got closer to the river that the creeks were feeding into. The option of going up did not look any easier. It finally came to a point where I slung the camera on my back and shut it off so I could concentrate on climbing. About four hours after I went in, I came out of the park. With the help of a couple of kind police officers and after a few calls. Aside from some bumps, bruises, dirty clothes and a few minor scrapes, I came out undamaged. It was not my proudest moment.

However, I learned a lot of little lessons, and was reminded of some I already knew. First, as much as I love the detail, sometimes you have to step back and look at the bigger picture. One can make serious progress that way. And motion is not always appropriate, sometimes life requires stillness and thoughtfulness. Following that, forward motion does not always get you closer to your goal. For those times, you may need a little backwards or lateral motion. Sometimes you have to put away the things that are dear to you in order to protect them. It would be nice if we could share our lives fully with what we love, but it's not always practical or in anyone's best interest. Finally, there comes a time when you're falling and you just need to give in, sit down, and enjoy the trip down. Of course there's also the observation that sometimes the best time spent has nothing to do with what you thought it did, but that's one that I know very well and could never forget.

Hope your weekend has been wanderful as well!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again!!!

And by "in the saddle" I mean sitting at *my* computer! Effing Windows needed reloaded. But at least everything is now cleaned, screened, and preened- good as new. Now to install my buttloads of software.

And silly me forgot to post that on Thursday. I've been busy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Well, I could officially scream right now. It's been since Tuesday that my computer has been in the shop. And I'm sick of sharing Dwight's computer. There. I've said it. I don't like to share with my husband. I want *my* computer with *my* favorites and *my* files and *my* data. Just so I don't sound like a completely petulant child, I have revisions to my prospectus due ASAP. Hard to do revisions when I don't have my statistics package and data. The technician "thinks" it might be the cooling system. That was Thursday AM. No updates since, and no updates that I haven't called to beg for. Blah.

On the positive side, we went to the zoo today! Cleveland Metropark Zoo. Not my favorite, but I did get some good shots (I think). A whole carpet of trout lilies on the big hill. Magnolias were about spent. Starlings are back in town in a big way. I want to mist net a schload of starlings, stupid trash birds. They make me want to swerve the car. I dragged out the 35 mm camera for the first in a long time. Turns out my telephoto lens and my digital SLR don't play well together, and I really wanted some telephoto shots of the animals. I had almost forgotten the zen of 35 mm. Watching. Waiting. Checking the lighting. Rechecking the light. Checking different angles. And then finally shooting the perfect shot. And the anticipation of seeing the final product. It encourages thoughtful living and patience, in my opinion. Not all about instant gratification and disposable drive space like digital. I also happen to think that 35 mm still gives a better quality picture- the analog versus digital debate. Then again, I'm also a vinyl (records, not pants) girl. Don't worry, I promise as soon as I have my computer back you can see pictures. Until then, live a little more thoughtfully and delay your gratification. :-)

Yesterday was a great day too. Ken and I went to Munroe Falls Metropark on an adventure. More great shots from there- Indian springs, rue anemone, turtles (and turtle sex!), fish, a wood pecker, tons of chipmunks, and more spring beauty. Add to that Soil and Water Conservation trees coning in (pawpaw, raspberry, cranberry, and elderberry), a new edge to the ax, and the John Gorka/Susan Werner concert, waking up to a surprise note from an absent friend, and it was damn near perfection this weekend.

But wait, you say, the weekend's not even over! I know, and I still have more fun planned for tomorrow. Dwight will be stuck at the library reading and I will be finishing up cleaning (spring cleaning in warm weather- I love it!), working out at Lavendar Lane where we have a CSA share for this year, and a special grocery trip to Mustard Seed Market. I should probably also do this month's frog call survey and start getting stuff around for the field season. I'm going to need lots of wood and some assembly before Rana clamitans start seriously calling.

Really, the only downer is watching Kung-Fu Panda for approximately the 80 millionth time as we speak. Not exagerating at all.

Oh, and I almost forgot! I'm currently taking recommendations for a telephoto lens that fits a Canon Rebel EOS digital. Any suggestions? I like 100-300, so something in that range. Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I think it's officially here. Frogs are calling, birds are singing, flowers are blooming, the garden is planted, and the rabbits in the front yard are going crazy. It all has one reason- life. Sex. Procreation. The strongest, basest, and most beautiful reason for anything in the whole wide world.

I'd be lying or delusional to say I didn't feel that pull myself. I'm not old, even if my students sometimes make me feel I am. I still have plenty of life in me, both my own and new life. But I don't want any more kids. I love Ken to pieces, but I can barely handle him some days.

I've never been a sports gal or a kid person. More like a spectator in both arenas. I'll try my damnedest, work hard, play hard, enjoy the ride, then go back to my life on Monday. That's what I do. That's what I love. I could never parent multiple kids, I could never play real ball, but dang I love helping out those that enjoy the things I can only watch. It's a calling. It's how I have chosen to respond to that spring time urge to procreate.

That and embracing my other creative powers. I make things, and ultimately, that's the greatest gift any person can share with the world. Arts. Crafts. Food. Household goods. Clothes. Plants. Ideas. Writings. People. Lives. Friends. Love. I make all these things. I'm not trying to brag. In fact, I know I'm not that good at any of these things. But I try. And the things I make are mine. Without me, they wouldn't exist. No one can take that fact, no one can deny it. To deny my part in what I create is to deny my creation's existence.

And that is what I hope everyone realizes- the same fact is true for every creation. Whatever you make, whatever you add to the world, is a part of you, and is your gift to the world. My challenge to you, reader, whoever you are out there, is to create one thing today. Add one piece to the world. Make your mark, and leave the world forever changed. See how you feel. See what you can do. And then share it.

Peace out, and blessings be upon you.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Gah, I love technology, don't you?

Being totally and amazing sarcastic here. Today is one of those days I could kill my computer if it were alive. Wasted all damned day trying to get it to work. Why would anyone design an anti-virus program to act like a virus? Well, the one I added this weekend did just that. Locking up the computer, constantly screaming about updates, generally hijacking my mental well-being. Until I finally just started the thing up in "Last known good settings" mode. But at least it appears to be working now. If I start stuttering on here, or typing in tongues, blame technology.

And I have a bit of a confession. I feel like a fraud calling myself a wanderer these days. We broke down and bought a Garmin GPS unit. We've had a GPS unit forever, but it was one of the early ones, no fancy talking lady, just a research tool used for marking field sites and getting sizes and distances. Well, after a wrong turn (or a few) on the way to the museum a couple weeks ago, and a map to the head, it was time to make the plunge. So I found a really good deal on Ebay, and now it's here and in the car. Can I still really be a wanderer when I have a GPS unit that talks to me? Really? Maybe I'll just have to walk more often.

Something to brighten the day. A dirt smiley that we found at the park on Sunday! No manipulation necessary!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This is harder than it looks

Really, blogging is. I swear. Either I have nothing at all interesting to talk about, or no time to write about it.

Yesterday was egg hunt day in Kent. These are a couple of the more colorful eggs we found.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I missed a day! How did you guys let me do that? Well, yesterday wasn't that exciting anyway, so you didn't miss much.

Today, however, was more than enough excitement on the home front. Car style excitement. Excitement I could do without. Freida has an appointment tomorrow at eight, to check out the transmission, alternator, and computer. Oh joy. Ironic, isn't it? Just last week it was other people's car crap that threw me into a knipshin fit. Maybe I should have done more? So, sorry Sabrina, clicks are being repurposed into a Save Freida Fund. At least Dwight already had the day off and I don't have any big plans for tomorrow. Just take boy to school, drop off Freida, shop for Easter stuff, and work from home. The Easter stuff is because of a friend's jerk-wad ex whose been draining her of every last cent. Like when we did Adopt a family for Christmas, only for a friend. It'll be more fun this way, and I get to know who I'm helping. Shhh, can you keep a secret? :-)

In the positive column, it was another field trip day fish seining. The weather was much better- about mid-40's. Sunny, calm, and melt water had passed through. We caught some great fish, and I saw the first wild flower bloom of the season, a spring beauty. I'll have pictures later. I also got some non-wild flowers from a secret someone, maybe an admirer? Nah, I don't get admirers. Too sour for that. ;-)

Unfortunately, we missed swim due to the car issues, but we'll go this weekend I bet. I'll fill in more later, and add some photos. Now it's time for a little guy to go to bed.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kissy Kissy, Fishy-Fishy!


This is a Central Stone Roller. Campostoma anomalum, to be exact. We caught this little guy at Jenning's Wood today. And by "we" I mean my class. Me, Justin and Mark (the other teaching assistant and the instructor) and 14 undergraduate students. My vertebrate Zoology class for this term. Great kids, one of the best classes I've had the luck of teaching. Hard-working, willing to go the extra mile, and always up for a little fun.

Unfortunately for this poor boy, they're not so great at animal handling. He was crushed by a student. Oops. "He won't stop wriggling! How can I identify it when he's wiggling?! Oh, now he stopped!" Yep, they usually stop wiggling when you squeeze the puddin' out of them, hon. And by "pudding" I mean intestinal tract, as in "prolapsed intestinal tract." Not the way I want to go, I can tell you that much. Well, the student felt horrible, and learned her lesson about fish handling, but it didn't help the fish much. Maybe cleared some stupid fish genes out of the, um, pool (damn punny phrases), I can at least hope. Try to find some good in everything, right?

Other than dead fish, the day went really well. Seining in 35 degree weather wasn't nearly as bad as they thought it would be, we got to see some great species including greenside darters and silver-jaw minnows, and my personal favorite the Central Mottled Sculpin. A big one. But not predation, like the Thursday class got to see a couple weeks ago. Skunk cabbage and ramps were out in full force, I think I'm going to take Ken ramp collecting this weekend just because I haven't had fresh in, oh, about a year. The poor trout lilies were also out pretty well, but not holding up to the snow that great. It's supposed to warm up again by Thursday, so I'm hopeful that they'll make it. This will be the year we take Ken out on a wildflower walk, garlic mustard pulls, and morel hunting, whether he likes it or not. He loves the outdoors, so he'll probably like all that stuff too.

I finally had the garden tilled, and plan on putting seeds in towards the end of this week or this weekend. For once, my procrastination paid off- I know of at least one over-achiever friend who's garden was already in and is now in peril. Am I a horrible person for laughing while seedlings are dying?

In other news, we started up another round of swim classes. Mr. Nathan will not be teaching the pre-schoolers this time, but I'm sure that has nothing to do with Ken and his craziness. Right? Ms. Olivia seems nice as well, so it's all good. And, yes there are other kids in his class, even though the picture doesn't show them. He spends a reasonable amount of time wandering around the pool, usually to the chorus of "Kenny, come back here!" from Ms. Olivia. He hasn't led any insurrections at swim class yet, though, which is more than I can say for daycare. The staff at the Rec were kind enough to peruse all my photos before we left today and erase all pictures with children other than Ken in them. It's good to know that they're so interested and protective of my child's safety, in this age when child pornography and whatnot are *so* rampant. I know the guy meant well, but it was a tad over-kill in my opinion. And not very thorough, I just noticed a non-Ken face-side in this shot anyway. C'est la vie.

The boy has been demanding a trip to the chocolate and ice cream store ever since we went to Dietsch's last week. I think I'll have to cave and go to Malley's with him while we're visiting Rocky River this weekend. Grandma Ruth has plans for another grand Easter dinner. Maybe she'd like some fresh ramps to go with it? I could show up with a wild dish (all wild edible plants) and see what happens.

Monday, April 6, 2009


It hasn't stopped all night. Since the moment I picked Ken up from daycare, probably until he falls asleep tonight. He hasn't shut up. And from what Ms. Pam his teacher said, it was like that all day too. To add to the fun, almost none of it makes sense.

"Kenny spiiiiiiiiiiiiiiders. Kenny spiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiders. Kenny spiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiders."

Is followed by

"Cars and trucks and trucks and cars and cars and trucks and trucks and cars AND AIRPLANES!!!!"

Turns into

"Now it's dark outside. Now it's light outside. Now it's dark outside. Now it's dark outside."


"E-N-N-Y for Kenny. E-N-N-Y for Kenny. E-N-N-Y for Kenny. There's my letters!" as he points to random words on a page.

This is the sound of loosing your mind. Or the sound of parenthood. They might be the same thing. I'm getting more thoroughly convinced that they are.

And for a picture of the day-

Kenny and his friend Nikko, the way Kenny used to enjoy being carried. Nikko is Kenny's little teeny tiny baby friend. He was a gift from Grandma Sue for his birthday. Nikko may be little, but he's responsible for big things. He's made from organic cotton and wool, fairly made by indigenous women in Peru, and fairly traded by Nova Naturals in the US. Proof that good things come in small packages. Like Ken. Because as much as I might kivetch about him, I can't imagine my world without him. He's made me a better person, and encourages me to make the world a better place. Even if he's slowly (quickly?) driving me batty. I like batty. Life is more fun this way.
Where on Earth did the little ush in this picture go and when did my baby get so big???

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Doctor Who-Venture

Today was a geek day. We pretended to be Doctor Who on two different adventures, to the park and to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

The park is an old dam on the Cuyahoga river and has these gates at the top of the stairs leading down from street level that look vaguely similar to call boxes. Ken had dubbed them Doctor Who houses a while back on a drive past. Doctor Who house is his name for the Tardis of Doctor Who BBC fame. So we took the "Tardis" and found a whole new world, an alternate universe not unlike our own. :-) The trip involved some eye covering, whooshing noises, pressing imaginary buttons, and spinning around until we almost fell down the stairs. Almost, but not quite.

Then a while later, after some rain clouds started gathering, we went to CMNH and visited the planetarium. The poor curator that did the night sky show and taught us all about the stars probably thought we were from the assylum or something, calling him Doctor and using lots of sonic screwdrivers.
(Left) The Doctor Who house in Kent.

(Right) We think this is a giant microscope. Or a Ken shrinker. But we couldn't figure out how it works. Dwight posited that it may be an old die press, but Ken and I over-ruled him.

Ken showing off his Doctor Who sonic screwdriver.

Off in the distance, you can see the train heading our way on the other side of the river. Underneath the river runs an aquatic train that services the Atlanteans. Or maybe the Gungans. We couldn't find the entrance to the underwater train platform that we were obviously standing on top of, or else we would have gotten tickets to find out.

The little Wanderer, quite full of the wonderment we found today!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Adventures in Wanderland

Well, I'm back from a slightly short of transcendental trip to the other side of the state. I was going back to my hometown and close towns for a mix a business and pleasure. I had a bunch of errands to run, people to see, and shopping to do so I started out early. Really early. Like 6 AM early. I could have been on the road sooner, but I waited for Dwight to wake up so I could say goodbye. The morning was gray, rainy, and a bit foggy so probably better that I started out later, anyway.

In a way, my timing was perfect because arriving where I did when I did was one of the things that made this trip so important. Not so much the planned parts, more the unplanned parts. Not to be misinterpreted, the planned parts were great fun, and helped me a lot, but the unplanned parts were the most meaningful by far.

First surprise was a fellow wanderer near the highway. Adam was going to Medina from Kent, and since that's on the way for me (mostly) I took him. He's a nice guy, just unlucky lately. Lost his job, car's not working, and needed to be in Medina for a job interview on Monday. Has a girlfriend, but she's pregnant and having trouble finding a job even though she's a Master's in education and has her teaching certificate.

In Medina, I picked up Phil, heading toward Ashland. He's working his way out to Chicago, but had to pick up some stuff at a friend's house along the way. Started in Philadelphia, two weeks ago.

Stephanie was in Ashland, just going over to Bucyrus. She was leaving her husband and going to live with her sister. They had been a one car family, and it was his car, so it stayed with him.

So what was the big deal about these people and how did they change my outlook so much?

Well, for the past few months, I've told myself I can't trust anyone after what happened. If I could trust someone as much as I had for the past year, and gotten hurt so badly, imagine what just a regular friend or neighbor could manage to do to my emotional state. For my own sake, I had to put up a wall.

But what does a wall do? It keeps dangerous things out, but any danger that is already in with you is trapped inside too. And it doesn't let any good, wholesome things in either. If you're familiar with a closed system, eventually the resources run out and the waste products build up, and that spells disaster. Stagnation. Fouling. Death.

Still don't get the connection?

Adding into the equation is a good friend that I met up with later yesterday. She offered me something that I thought I had been wanting desperately. But after she offered (and lots of thinking on an unfamiliar couch while I couldn't sleep), I realized that what she had offered to me was not what I was after. What she had offered me was merely a symbol of what I truly wanted, and Adam, Phil and Stephanie gave me what I was really craving- trust.

These three had trusted me, when they had no reason to, and I had trusted them when I had no reason either. They were stuck out in the rain and chill, hoping for someone to lend a hand. I was with my son, the reason I get out of bed each day (and the reason I want to crawl back in by noon some days, but that's another issue), looking for the better side of human nature. They sought help, but gave more than I could have ever imagined.

The fact of the matter is that humans do whatever they do, without much real reason. It's like chaos, every decision going one way or another, just because that's the way the cards fall. Yes, there are plenty of factors that can weigh into any given decision or action, but when push comes to shove our decisions are random. We're too illogical for it to be any other way.

We can't control our own actions, and we for d$mn sure can't control anyone else's, so the options are trust people to take the higher ground and believe in the positive side of human nature, or keep your guard up, believe the worst, and wait to whither and die for lack of vital nutrients- humanity and love.

The stores were running low, the wastes were building up, and I had realized that this was not a war that could be won. So I've decided to tear down the walls. Maybe I'll get hurt in the process, maybe the occasional maurauder will ransack the village, but I can trade for what I need, I can expand my own horizons, and I can have access to everything I need but can't make myself. It's the way I used to be, the way I want to be, and the way that makes sense. Who knows, maybe I'll even make friends with former enemies this way. But I can't go against my own human nature, and I can't shut myself in anymore.

Thanks to everyone that aided in this little discovery, you know who you are even if I don't mention you by name. And to those that would try to attack me still- go to h%ll. With the walls down, I can go mano y mano and you're gonna loose, either by my hand or by one of the many friends that I'm allowing over to my side and with whom I'm forming and renewing alliances.

And that was my big adventure for Friday. Hope you can realize some great truth that enriches your life as well, and I hope you can do it without the pain that it took me. Blessed be!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Well, I decided to join the cool kids club.

This is my first attempt at blogging. There's your warning out of the way- if you enjoy well-written, thoughtful, articulate or interesting reading, back away from the computer now. If you know me, you have an idea what you're in for, and probably never even bothered to check this out.

This blog is most likely going to be non-sensical, odd, possibly too analytical, and hanging together by tangential threads only. Like me!

If you want some thing to laugh at and make you feel that you're a normal human being, no matter what your friends say, you've found the perfect spot.

A little bit of an introduction.

My name is Lisa Regula Meyer. I'm a graduate student at Kent State University, working on my PhD in Ecology. I'm in my third year, passed candidacy exams last December, and defending my prospectus this summer, hopefully May-ish.

I'm also a wife, mama, gestational surrogate, small business owner, certified lab animal technician (in a former life, but I've kept the certification), activist, small time philanthropist, land lord, daughter, sister, in-law, and volunteer. In no particular order, and the order changes on any given day. I've been kicked, beaten down, thrown aside, and run over with a steam roller, but quite frankly I just don't have the f*cking intelligence to stay down.

Oh, and I curse. A lot. I promise to try and tone it down here, but I do ardently believe that there is a time and place for swear words, and when I find one, I use them. It's cathartic.

My three biggest passions are family, ecology, and human rights. Family doesn't just mean mine- yours too. I happen to think that families are the heart and soul of the human race, and they deserve more protection than nations, corporations, or ideologies. And I do what I can to help that along, in lots of different ways.

I happen to be an ecologist by trade and training, and working on certification this year. Ecology isn't a hindrance to economy- the ecology is the building block of any economy. You can't ruin the ecology of a given place and not expect the economy to follow. Unfortunately, I think we're learning that right now, or at least that we as a nation should be learning that. I'm afraid we might sleep through the wake up call on that lecture and miss it, though. But hopeful I'm wrong.

Human rights is the last of my big topics, again not in any particular order. Without human rights, we're not human. That means recognizing and extending. If we don't recognize basic human rights to all people, then we're no better than dogs. And that would be insulting the dogs. All people have human rights, we only loose them by not seeing that others share them too.