Sunday: Visiting with Family
On Sunday, we went to the best church service at Oak Hill. I'll talk more about that, perhaps tomorrow. It was good and I wanted to write up notes - I've just been swamped. In the afternoon of Sunday, I planned to write, but I took a nap instead. I was SO tired from the shopping trip of the previous day and just in general. I slept 2-3 hours. It felt so good to take a nap and not feel guilty. I like to take a nap on Sundays if I can get away with it.
Family Visiting and Random Family Facts - Things I Was Thinking About on Sunday
In the evening, Aunt Susan and Uncle John came over with our cousins - from oldest to youngest - Matt (age ~23), Brooke (age ~21), Ben (~age 17/18) and Harrison (age 13). James and I only have five cousins. Aunt Susan is the only family we have here in GA. The others are in FL. And our other cousin is Uncle Reinhart's son Ryan, whom we never see, in Tampa, FL. He's about Ben's age. *sudden epiphany* Whoa. I can't *believe* he's that old! I haven't seen or talked to Uncle Reinhart in about six years, since our wedding. My mom had a disagreement with him. She talked to him for the first time I can remember in all that time (though maybe that's not true) this Sunday. Dad's two sisters and brothers are not married. Pray the Lord brings our family back together. I've been praying this for some time.
Harrison has become remarkably talkative and a very interesting person. He's interested in science and talked to me about his science project. He wants to go to state "like I did." I think he'd make a great scientist some day. He did an experiment with mice! Pretty high tech, I thought, though hard to get past the judges - they look really hard on those projects with live animals. So much red tape. I never got to know him as well as the others. I look forward to seeing what he gets up to! He's really good with animals. He was chasing down all the cats, to pet them, while everyone talked.
Brooke was always a super shy person and I only started talking to her in her teen years. We would play with Matt and Ben as kids for ages and ages doing all kinds of stuff. James hangs out with Matt all the time these days.
Brooke and I talk about biochemistry and science these days whenever she visits. She goes to UGA, majoring in biochemistry. However, she has gotten out of balance right now and broke herself by trying to take four core science classes at the same time end of her sophomore year - orgo, bio, physics and something else. She got A's in two and did not do well in the other two. That is just not possible to do as a sophomore. But no one told her this. I couldn't have pulled that load either as a sophomore. I took orgo, bio, econ and poli sci at the same time at Oxford as a sophomore and THAT nearly killed me. After that, I was more careful, never taking more than two science classes at once. After my junior year, something happened to me, my mind expanded, and I could suddenly take 3 science classes at the same time and work 40 hours. But even then, I didn't get all A's. It's hard to do.
She is incredibly perfectionistic, incredibly smart and has incredibly low self-confidence and self-esteem. She reminds me of me, in that sense. I think it would be awesome if she could be more surrounded with science mentors. UGA doesn't really have those. It just doesn't. I think it wastes good students, in part.
She's taking a semester off to rest and refocus. I am going to try to bring her up to Emory to the lab when I join and show her around and have her work with me three days a week and help her gain some confidence in herself. She wasn't sure she was capable of lab work, but she really wants to do it. I told her, if I'm going to be training a highschooler, I can train her. Training a highschooler made her raise an eyebrow and be like - what??? Hey! That's right. Come to lab, come to lab, I told her. I can train you. It'll be fun!
She loves neurology and the neurosciences. She thinks she'd like to do research. She says she stays up reading research articles about neurology stuff until 5 a.m. for fun. I feel very protective of Brooke and anyone I'm worried about, that needs nurturing. Brooke could do great things! I'm going to be praying very much for her to recover and the Lord to lead her. He can use even this stress for good. He used my stressful times. He can use hers too. She just needs to get back on her feet. We'll see how she feels in February. I'll keep tabs on her and see what happens. Lord willing, I can convince her to come down and work with me. Taking on Brooke and having a high schooler is my limit. I won't look for anyone else to take on, unless Brooke doesn't end up coming and someone else turns up who wants to do research.
Saturday: Finishing Christmas Shopping
James showed me how I could get free Amazon Prime shipping by attaching my account to dad's account and do all my shopping online! I was SO thankful to him. So, that's essentially what I did. But I did have to pick up one thing. I ended up getting John the new Xbox console. I asked James and his brother Matt their opinions. It's pretty much the most expensive thing I've ever bought with my own money. There aren't that many games out for it now. But, I figure, it's kind of a future investment thing. And anything to help John relax - I will spend an exorbitant amount of money on. I had to go to Lenox to pick it up - I reserved one online - that was completely insane - I told myself how insane I was as I was driving there. I cannot remember the last time I've been to Lenox Mall. Maybe never. Being in Atlanta by myself makes me really nervous. But the Lord was good to me and protected me, helped me find parking spaces and everything worked out. Shhh. Don't tell John! His brother Matt annoyed me a little by sending John a text and saying, "John, you better get your wife a good gift. I know things."
Friday: Isolating product from ligand reaction!! EXCITING!
Intro: Solvent smell and Jumping Contest
Really Strong Solvent Smell in Stairwell
So, on Friday, after I spent time with the Lord, I finished the intro chapter in the Inorganic book. The elevators were REALLY slow, so I went up the stairs to the 7th floor. O.o Unfortunately, there was solvent smell in the stairwell SO strong it was absolutely choking! It was really quite amazing. Maybe it was from the vent stuff they are doing. I had to stop at each floor on the way up, leave the stairwell, gasp, and hold my breath as I went up the next flight.
Salaita Lab Jumping Contest
Just after Marika came up, I went down to the 5th floor to wash out my coffee cup and discovered that Salaita lab members were involved in a jumping contest! Weiwei, Kevin and Yang were duking it out, seeing who could jump leap the farthest across the floor from a point near the offices. Yvonne was judging. It was hysterical! I dearly wished I'd had my phone on me at the time. I would have taken a video. I learned that Weiwei is secretly A FROG! I've never seen anyone jump that far! I think Yang won in the end. Kevin said it was because he had aerodynamic pants on. Then, they went back to work, as if nothing amiss had been happening. I was thoroughly amused.
The Ligand Reaction
Looking at the Reaction and Thinking about How to Separate It
FIRST, we looked at it. The reaction had been peacefully going on overnight and looked like a nice milky color. We needed to get the solvent off and precipitate the product. There was the usually way Marika did this and another way she thought of. All the impurities are water soluble. So, we needed to do a phase separation.
The first way we could do that was by adding water to it as is, with the solvent in there, shaking it up, decanting the water layer several times and adding fresh to get out impurities, then rotovapping the solvent off and getting product. Marika thought of a second way. She said, why don't we just rotovap it first and then wash the residue? It should perhaps be simpler. I decided we should go for the second method and see what happened; so, we tried it.
Rotovapping the Reaction
So, we rotovapped it, to get off the solvent. The rotovap attaches to the flask and spins it in a warm water bath, while a vacuum sucks it, to lower the air pressure inside, causing the solvent to boil and evaporate faster. Marika explained this process to me in detail - I'm glad she did - I'd forgotten some of it. I cannot remember if I ever used a rotovap or not - I think I did once - in orgo lab, maybe four years ago.
Interestingly, the rotovap coils were blue. I asked why this was and Marika said she didn't know. And she stared at them. And she almost got into an OCD fit about it, but decided, it wasn't worth getting upset about and forced herself to ignore it for now.
Unfortunately, it didn't get rid of all the liquid. The stuff inside remained this syrupy yellow and no product precipitated (see below). We decided to add water to it to do a phase transfer separation and keep washing it - so our method ended out being a hybrid of the two we had talked about.
We added water to it and product precipitated right out! It was not soluble in water - just the impurities were. We stirred it for a while and Marika poked at it to break up chunks. We shook it some and kept changing the water out, to purify it. We wanted to break up the chunks to that all of it would get exposed to water. The more we washed it, the whiter it got. The product was supposed to be white, not yellow.
After that, we vacuum filtered it with a buchner funnel. I remember the good old days of using those in orgo lab. After I poured all the product onto the filter, I washed it LOTS more, poking it carefully, to poke every single chunk I could find until they were mostly gone (see below).
Then, I carefully poured the filtered product into a 250 ml flask for weighing. We thought at first it might overfill it but nope! It was JUST perfect!! There is me pouring it, below. Marika took pictures. Doesn't it look JUST like a little potion or something? Or alchemical magic dust? *squeals with delight*!! Look how much there IS!! ISN'T THAT THE COOLEST THING YOU EVER DID SEE??? SO cool. SO COOL, I tell you!
Marika exclaimed several times, throughout this entire process, about how amazed she was at how well this reaction had worked - it looked GREAT - she kept saying - wow! - look how much there was! And it was SO pure! She hoped that we got 100% yield, or 99% and could tell Dr. Scarborough, "Yup, Jessica got 99% yield on her first reaction..."
We weighed it on the larger scale, to get an eyeball estimate of how much product there was and it was 40g OVERweight. We suspected 40g of water. So, Marika hooked it up to a vaccuum pump overnight, explaining to me how it worked, to dry it and get all the water to evaporate. We might REALLY have close to 100% yield!! *eeeeeeeee!!* SO EXCITING!! There's no doubt in my mind, the whole time we were purifying this, I was thoroughly enjoying every moment of it, meticulously poking at it and filtering it, and thinking - yup, the Lord really blessed THIS reaction, obviously. I can't believe it. I can't believe it! I haven't done any orgo in SO long - I just had SUCH a good time doing EVERYthing.
Marika thinks it might have gone so amazingly, because we forgot to add in as much base. I was rechecking the calculations and found an error. Marika could have added more base, but she decided to let the ligand act as the rest of the base instead. It seems to have worked REALLY well doing that.
FIN: End of the Day
I might have found out why Marika is so good at explaining things in a non-threatening way. When she was first rotating, some people made fun of her for asking questions and/or made her feel stupid, but others, she discovered, were really helpful, and around them, she learned so much faster. Eventually, she realized that if she "failed" at something - it wasn't because it was a trait of hers that she wasn't good at it - she could learn and get better, and she got more confidence in herself.
Knowing how it felt to be told you were stupid for asking questions, she determined never to do that to other people. She said everyone coming in doesn't know anything - but half of them *pretend* they do, so they won't look stupid. Admitting ignorance is the first step to learning; so she said, she had no problems with me not knowing stuff - nobody did coming in, she said, and she loved my questions. I felt so much better about everything talking to her.
Thursday: 1st Scarborough experiment, ligand synthesis!
Update - Conticello Proposal (~2:45 pm): Awesome! Proposal doesn't need very many changes. Dr. Conticello liked it and said I should add how I was going to verify the identity of the Cas9. Good point! So I added that. Went to look for him and he was actually in his office! Just wanted to see if he had philosophical proposal advice and see how he was doing. He looked so out of it yesterday. I was really worried. But, he said he was better - had been exhausted, writing some papers, but he was done. We talked about proposals and things for a while, I asked some questions, and felt much better. I told him I really liked the proposal he and Dr. Lynn wrote and thought it was well-written - he said - really? We wrote that in 10-days under extreme duress! O.o Wow - cool - if that's the case, I wonder what a more polished proposal looks like! He said they didn't have to start from scratch on it though. I'm just about to turn mine in. [!!!]
Update - Reading BEGINS!! Now the moment I've been waiting for - inorganic reading!! Marika is a late riser. She works from ~1pm - 1 am. That means I can read in the mornings!! Victor is reading my proposal, per my request. He seems a smart person. I want to get as many people to read it and give me feedback as possible, so that I can improve it. If I really want to do it, it better be good.
From front page: Update: Doing better - working on proposal after busy morning; so peaceful and quiet up here! John is busy. Work is less terrible today. Ate lunch w/ Hyun Min. False fire alarm so far. FYI, for now, since things are slower, will be adding updates throughout the day to weekly posts (rather than front page). [...] Turned in final Conticello proposal - READING INORGANIC AND PAPERS - AHHHH!! YESSSS!!
Ligand Reaction with Marika! First - I learned Marika is a master of mentorship and making the ignorant at home
She came in around 2:30 p.m. and talked to Dr. Scarborough for quite a while. It sounded fascinating and mysterious. Then, she talked to me about her catalyst for almost two hours. Fortunately, she's in a "lazy" mood right now and it's Christmas break, so hopefully, she's not bothered as much by explaining so much to me. When I suggested this to her she laughed and said it was no trouble at all. But really - it dawned on me - this is the perfect time for me to come here and bother her!
Unfortunately, when talking to me, it's as if she's talking to a kid, because I know NOTHING about inorganic chemistry, except stuff from orgo and gen chem. And yet, somehow, she answers the stupidest questions in the WORLD - I mean - truly stupid, even for me - as if, they aren't stupid at all, and she won't seem the least bit concerned about my ignorance, but will explain everything, with passion, excitedly, as if opening a new world to someone - which she kind of is. She doesn't find my over enthusiasm about simple things naive and she completely doesn't mind how unknowledgeable I am. And she constantly shows respect to the biological side of things, and treats me like I'm valuable and knowledgeable, just not in her field. I cannot get over this. She's amazing. I love her to death. :) I want to be JUST like her! I had SUCH a good time talking! I always liked Marika before, but I had no idea how good she was at teaching things! I've known her since February when we talked at the visitation dinner. :D
She made lots of allusions and hilarious comments about metals and things, dramatizing what they did. She described oxygens taking electrons from metals - and I asked - "And the metals don't mind?" Which she thought was hilarious and sparked Act II to the drama of her story. Essentially she said - YES! That's what we want to find out: Do they mind? Or don't they? How stable are they? She showed me the P450 cycle which I recognized from bioorganic and was explaining why the Fe(V) is technically incorrect - Dr. Weinert showed us this in class - and I was like - OH! OH! It's really Fe(IV) with a radical! And she was like YES! But she explained to me what that MEANT, because I didn't know. And it all made SENSE. HA. The ligand was donating an electron in addition to the metal. I didn't get that before. *grins excitedly* I learned a lot today.
It was a great discussion and I had lots of fun listening and asking the very dumbest questions, and not feeling badly about it at all, which has never happened to me before, that I can recall.
The Ligand Reaction! And What TsCl Smells Like
But anyway, Marika helped me do a HUGE reaction with tosyl chloride (TsCl) today!!! FINALLY!!! After hearing about tosyl chloride for ... five years ... in orgo, I finally get to see what some looks like and use it in a REAL reaction!! I always thought TsCl was nifty.
I LEARNED TODAY: That TsCl smells like must and looks like snow. Snowflakes! Yes. It's very pretty. It also burns my eyes like CRAP. We measured out 100 g of it. YEUUUSSSS. I felt so maniacal, like I was taking over the world, in my mind. Like a MAD SCIENTIST OF PUUUUURRREEEE EVIL! Ok, maybe not quite - but it WAS SO fun! Then, we got to add the other ingredients in a nitrogen environment and are letting it react overnight.
I did have to escape the lab momentarily, because something was burning the crap out of my eyes. It wasn't bothering Marika. I think I figured out it must have been the TsCl. It was smelling really musty in there after we measured it. But I wore gloves! And lab coat! And goggles! So we *were* being perfectly professional and safe.
I enjoyed walking around the lab and looking at all the stuff I'd never seen before and observing how different Marika's bench draws look from the one's I'm used to using. Fascinating. It's like an alien world up here. But she's right, the chemistry are really much more related than any of the disciplines like to admit. It's fascinating! I read ~10 pages of the Intro section of the inorganic book and I think I understand *what* inorganic is a little better. And Marika's discussion helped A LOT! I can't WAIT to do the workup tomorrow! We just gather the product of the reaction and make it into a solid!
I thought it was hilarious when Marika opened the cabinet of chemicals and said if I was ever having a bad day - just smell the vanillin! It smells exactly like vanilla - what do you know! It's basically vanilla flavoring.
Funny things about inorganic and reflections on chemistry
It's also scary about how much people STILL don't know about chemistry! I'm used to thinking of chemistry as "that stuff we already know" - but it's not true! When you get to inorganic and Pchem, I feel like, they are the ones more than anyone that are constantly trying to figure out how exactly atoms react with other atoms. People are still observing things - AND THEN - trying to figure out how on earth they did that. I think that's fascinating ... and also SCARY! What are we missing that we simply just don't know, I wonder??
Home: John is better, Oma is here, watched a movie!
We watched Despicable Me 2 tonight, which was quite hilarious, actually. I enjoyed it! I really enjoyed the first one. When I got home, Oma was here! James picked her up for the airport. She's staying a while but I don't know how long. It was nice to see her. I didn't visit long tonight though. I wanted to be with John.
We still don't know what we'll do about the car, but John's going to take his up to work and confirm whether or not it's totaled. Maybe he'll get lucky and they won't total it, but talking to the shop people, he said he doubts it.
That's ALL for now! Bummers. I was going to add the rest of the stuff about the week, which isn't long, but the movie took time (good movie) and I'm exhausted and I'd rather sleep. Did NOT sleep well last night and got up really early. More pictures of interesting reaction tomorrow I'm sure!! :D AND I CAN READ STUFF!!! Wow, I thought earlier today: this must be what it's like to be a THIRD YEAR! *swoons, dies and goes to heaven* I can't wait!
Thursday picture gallery: John's car and ligand reaction
Wednesday: Lynn lab presentation; John in a wreck
Status: Please pray for my Lynn lab presentation. I'm not that incredibly thrilled about it and am feeling really "blah." At this point, I'm kind of tired and feeling like "whatever" in spite of the fact that, I don't think I deserve to feel that way, considering how much less stress and work being here at Emory is than I ever had at UGA. I'm so much better off than in the past. So much to be thankful for, I cannot even express it. I think I'll feel better after it's over though. Greg just said, what's with the HUGE sigh I just sighed? People tend to say I sigh a lot. I don't even realize that I'm doing it. Dr. Saadein said this about me. Kevin used to. It's just a thing. Eventually, people ignore it. >.> I doubt it means anything. Just I'm kind of stressed. But he's giving me coffee he made! How nice. :)
Kind of stressed, but things will get better
Lynn presentation: went well!
The presentation went remarkably well. I think it helped that I'd been reading and digesting the papers for at least a whole week, prior to the talk, so a lot of the facts were already in my mind. I was not quite as nervous as during the Salaita presentation, but still really nervous. I talked really slowly. I managed to say lots of good facts. I think the Lord took over, like I asked. Everyone said I didn't sound nervous. I'm very glad about that. Anil gave me a few pointers afterwards. This is good. I can keep improving I hope.
Tolu presented after me. Dr. Lynn wasn't able to make it, because his wife had surgery and her hospital stay became longer than expected. That's a really good reason not to be there - I'm so glad he stayed with her instead. I was less stressed wtihout him there watching anyhow; so it's all good.
Talked to Lisa about the peptide nanotubes. She was telling me about times that I could do more experiments. I was amused that she seems to assume I will do more, though I'm in the Scarborough lab. I don't mind. I'm interested in the system. I do really want to focus on Scarborough now though. I know she wants me to join. Rolando knows where my loyalty lies. I thought he'd spread it to everyone else but to my surprise, he hasn't. I haven't had the heart to tell Lisa I'm not going to the Lynn lab. I hope Dr. Lynn isn't too disappointed when it falls out that way.
Hearing about John being in a wreck
I had turned off my phone, because I didn't want to be distracted while presenting and turned it back on near the end of Tolu's talk. I was disturbed to find urgent messages from John. Called him and he said he got into a wreck. He's ok. He was rear-ended by a guy going 30-40 mph like what happened to me, except the person who hit him was a sedan, so it didn't roll up his trunk, like mine. His bumper absorbed it. However, the bumper is now hanging off and it shifted the trunk. He's concerned that since his Avalon is a '97 it may be totaled. He was understandably shaken and upset. He said he had a horrible day at work anyway. I decided to postpone my experiment with Marika and just go home and comfort him.
Unfortunately, Anil wanted to talk after the group meeting though, to the presenters - Tolu and I - as Dr. Lynn usually would have. Usually, I would have welcomed this, but not this time. I was desperate to leave and see John. Thus, I was kind of short and argumentative. I worry I might have offended him. Finally, I just couldn't take it any more and told them John was in a wreck and I had to go, and he agreed and we left. He had great advice though, and comments. I just found it difficult to care about the experiments at that point.
I pretty much fell apart into a nervous wreck on the way home. I think it's a stress release mechanism - something more or less necessary for me. I just prayed a lot for John and poured out my heart to the Lord - whenever I do this, He always gives me peace and strengthens me. It's what we're supposed to do. (I Peter 5:5-6; Ps. 62:8). I just felt completely pulled apart, messed up and out of sorts, from John being in the wreck and really upset, the presentation after-stress and everything. And I felt as if I didn't deserve to be upset, because other people have way worse problems. Mine aren't really that serious, but I get stressed as if they were. I feel a little bit better now.
I just can't stand John's job. I'm feeling very, very much like I hate it, at present. He rarely has good days. He typically comes home tense, stressed and unhappy. The last month has been worse than usual. Maybe it's because of the holidays. I hate watching him suffer and be stressed. There's nothing worse to me in the world. All I want to do is make him feel better, but I can't always and don't know how. He says I help. But, he's still so stressed all the time. It's killing me slowly. Please pray for John. I hate his job. He needs a better one. He needs help not being stressed.
The car doesn't matter though
I don't really care about the car - that was a miracle car anyway - the Lord gave it to us and He allowed it to be taken. It's ok. He'll supply us again. We got that car when John's old one died, for $3k used - it was exactly the paycheck I made during the SURE program - perfect amount. It was amazing he was able to get it for that cheap anyways. It's lasted a long time. Pray the Lord supplies us a car for him. I don't have any room to take in any more stress, thinking about that, and neither does John, so I'm just counting on the Lord to take care of it through us somehow. He always takes care of us. For now, he's going to use mine and I'll use my mom's. My parents happen to have an excess of cars at present, since dad got the electric one last year.
The Moe's guy was sweet. I got John his usual order. I go there so much, they know me. They told me once when I came at closing and worried I wouldn't get in in time, that if they saw me standing outside, looking forlorn, they'd open for me really quickly and make me food. I thought that was super nice of them to say. The Moe's guy noticed I was upset, I guess, and only charged me for two tacos, and talked to me more than usual. That was nice of him. I worry a lot about us spending too much on fast food. I stress a lot about spending money in general. I dislike it. I don't want to be wasteful. I also really want to cook more for John. I hate eating out. I eat mom's food still, since she cooks, but John's a picky eater. I can make mostly only what my mom makes. But John doesn't often know what he wants to eat and it tends to change from day-to-day. I think, I'll have to one of these days, pull out all the stops and FIND recipes he likes. I'm sure they must exist. I've been thinking about this a lot.
But it's all good
I feel as if this post is kind of really stressed sounding - sorry - ha - earlier in the week I was euphoric. I wondered how I could be so happy yesterday and so messed up today - but weird flips seem to be the norm for me. Tonight was the first time I really had time to write too.
So much cool stuff to tell that will get told! Probably this weekend.
I really can't wait to update about the meetings with Dr. Lynn, Dr. Scarborough, other things, Scarborough lab meeting and some really cool answers to prayer - the Lord has been answering prayers all over the place. The Lynn experiments working out was a sheer miracle. That didn't have to happen. All these bad things happening to John, maybe is spiritual warfare, I'm not sure. It distresses me that I always pray for him not to be stressed but he always is. I'm sure the Lord has a purpose in it. When I was at UGA, I was pretty much always stressed, but the Lord had a purpose for that, I found out later. It's very obvious to me that the Lord is moving around me, shielding and protecting me. I know people are praying for me. I appreciate every one of your prayers! They make such a difference. I'm incredibly blessed. I know He'll take care of all this other stuff.
Prayer requests for Scarborough lab experiments - of course!
Do me a favor, and pray that the experiments with Marika in the Scarborough lab go well. She's not feeling well - got the Emory colds going around - and more than anything, I'm desperate not to waste this break and really dig into things. I REALLY want to work hard for Scarborough, because he's super nice to me, even though he knows I'm joining the Salaita lab. I'm going to put all my energy into it. I feel so much freer and less stressed in his lab, since he doesn't have any designs on me. He asked me when I talked to him - so, was it Lynn or Salaita? I said, oh, Salaita, of course! I hadn't expected to be so sure, before I came to Emory, but weird things happened to me and it just fell out that way. I just know! That's basically what I said. Dr. Scarborough understands. He's so nice. I've told him before that the Lord directed me there. He doesn't find this terribly weird. He knows the Lord and we've talked about Him, church and things before. I think working in his lab will be fascinating and looks like so much fun! I am SOO excited about doing something completely new and/or similar to organic.
Since I don't know any inorganic, I feel like a dead weight to the lab, but Marika was super nice to me tonight and said that she thought I had a lot to offer, with a different perspective, and it would be great experience for me later. I'm so glad she feels that way. I definitely think it will be good experience for me. I just really want to be useful and a blessing to Dr. Scarborough, somehow, in spite of the fact that I don't know anything. That's what I'm praying will happen. The Lord told me to go here. He's got a reason for me being here. I know He's up to something and I can't wait to find out what!
FIN for now
I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow. I get too worked up sometimes. When I'm feeling better, can think straight and am in the proper "excited mood" like I was M - Tu, I'll tell you guys about all the SUPER COOL stuff that has happened so far!! I also have lots of pictures to post. I think we'll have a lot of fun this Christmas.
Last prayer request: Pray John and I can give our stress to the Lord, let Him handle things and spend time together. Don't forget to pray for John! I'm better, kind of, but he's still mostly a nervous wreck right now, about work and the car. Sadly, John wasn't able to get our anniversary off, because lots of people are taking it off, even though he applied a month in advance. And he works the next Saturday. I'm thinking about us taking a week off in January though and going somewhere nice. That would be super cool. His work is only letting people take vacation in the next year starting Jan. 1st and John says it might have to be in February. I'm sure it'll work out. I'll save up a paycheck for something - I've my eye on the cabin in the mountains we went to on our honeymoon - that would be amazing!! Pray that happens.
Tuesday: First Scarborough lab meeting
Update: AHHHH!!! SO EXCITING CHEMISTRY AHHH!!! I'm going to explode if I don't post something soon. GRR presentation. *headdesk* *dancedancedance* New chemistries to try! New rxns! New cool things! I feel like I'll be dancing around hallways for a long time!! SO much to tell! Most of it is me effusing excitement. I'm sure it's raising eyebrows, b/c it's not much to get excited about (I get to make ligands with tosyl chloride!!!) But I'm SO excited!! AND I'M SO EXCITED AND HAPPY!!! I don't care who notices. FREE time!! Reading!! Cool orgo-like reactions!! Something new to try!! Being back in Atwood!! Interesting catalyst!! Colors!! I feel so FREE! I'm so easily pleased, it's terrible. >.> *shuffleshuffle* <.< I told Marika, I will be her perfect little minion for her. And do LOTS of CHEMISTRY - LOTS!! And she said great! And she explained the ligand making experiment and it made SENSE! Amazingly. And I get to set it up tomorrow night, after presentation, to isolate on Th!! HA HA!! Gettin' started already - OH OH yeeeahhhhHHHH! Goin' be SO awesome!! We're going to DO STUFFFF!
(And I'll totally fix this by tomorrow night and make my page pretty again, don't worry. >.> <.< he he he he he he :D *poofs*)
Monday: Bioorganic final; talking to Dr. Lynn about data, talking to Dr. Scarborough and other interesting things.
Short Update (~2:20 pm): Bioorganic Final is OVER
And, shock of shocks, I think it went decently well. Other people seemed to think it went pretty badly. But honestly, anything compared to the last test is better. I finished the entire thing this time. And I put an answer for everything. Dr. Weinert was true to her word and kept it (mostly) the same length. There was one question I didn't know part of the mechanism, but I wrote everything else for it. On the whole, I feel pretty good about it. The Lord really did help me with my studying a LOT, even though, I didn't study as much as I wanted. Now, I'm going to go eat chocolate. And lunch. I was more scared of that final than I am of the end of rotation presentation for the Lynn lab. Presentation - PFFFTTT. Dr. Weinert's final - now THAT'S scary! I think Dr. Weinert will be nice to us. It was a good test. She made most of the questions stand alone this time, which helped a lot. And the last one was fun - draw our favorite mechanism and explain why. I drew a flavin one - the one described as having "weird chemistry." It's a perfect example of 1e- and 2e- chemistry in the same mix.
Scheduling is Nuts
The scheduling for the appts is all messed up - alas, alas - Dr. Scarborough was very nice when I told him this morning though. When ISN'T he really nice? Currently, they are still messed up. I asked Dr. Scarborough to tentatively re-schedule at 4 p.m. and he agreed, but Dr. Lynn also wanted to reschedule then. *headdesk* Oh well. I'm sure it'll work out in the wash.
Seems I'm Doing a Nice Mix of Chemistries
I just realized talking to classmate after test, that I am doing a nice mix of chemistries. I rotated through two biomolecular chem division labs. I TAed organic I and took bioorganic (if that still counts as organic-ish) and now I'm rotating through an inorganic lab. Nice mix. Yes. I like this.
But What's Behind Door Number Three?
NOW, what I'm really interested in is what will happen in the Scarborough lab? What is behind door number 3? This is what it looks like to me:
Finishing the Things That Happened Monday and Tuesday
Monday: Talking to Dr. Scarborough
Dr. Scarborough and I went over the project that he wanted me to work on - helping Marika characterize her catalyst, trying different metals in it, to see how they would affect the catalyst's activity. Sadly, that's all I can say, because he's patenting the work. He gave me his proposal to read and I asked a lot of questions - it looked pretty interesting. So far, I've read about two pages of it, about 10-11 more to go.
He asked me if I wanted to join Lynn or Salaita lab - I said Salaita for certain - nothing had changed - and he said, he didn't think it would, but he had to ask. I found out his lab meetings are on Tuesday nights too at 7:30 p.m. - very sad - can't go to Salaita lab meetings then - but I can visit for the first 20 min and then go to the Scarborough meetings. They also have three subgroup meetings on Tuesday in his office - so it seems on Tuesday - Dr. Scarborough is in meetings all day. I'm going to the 1 p.m. one. I couldn't this particular week, because I was finishing the Lynn report.
Dr. Scarborough is amusing. He has a gigantic 5 liter (or is it gallon?) tea maker thing that looks like a gigantic trophy. He loves tea more than most people I know. Dr. Weinert also loves tea. He claims his loose leaf tea is better. I have to try it to see if it's true. I've threatened to try it many times, but not carried it out yet - I will - it's only a matter of time. I also love tea - just not quite as obsessively. I enjoy seeing what quirks people are obsessed about - everyone has some - it makes people more interesting to me.
Tuesday: First Scarborough Lab Meeting
They had some safety inspectors come inspect, who complained about some things and Dr. Scarborough outlined what they were and passed around a sheet. One of them was that all the beakers and flasks had to be labeled with the full chemical names of what they had in them instead of just structures - which everyone found amusing - because the metal complexes they use have names that could cover bottles and wrap around them multiple times. It's impossible to do this. Dr. Scarborough said he would talk to them about this requirement.
It was someone's birthday in the lab, so they performed their ritual, which was to sing "Happy Birthday" very low and fast, almost like a buzz, and slap the table loudly afterward, which was pretty thunderous. I laughed.
Christian Wallen gave the safety minute - each week someone gives a 5 minute report on a different chemical that they use and what's dangerous about it, what it's used for and how to use it safely. Christian presented on hydrazine, which I knew of from the Wolf-Kishner reaction. Apparently, it's very, very toxic. I had no idea! How interesting. It's also potentially explosive. I asked what it would take to make it explode. I forget what the answer was to that. I liked the concept of a safety minute.
Greg gave the presentation for the week, talking about the catalysts he was working on and their background - he talked - REALLY - fast. He said later that he thought maybe he talked too long. I told him that if he had tried to talk any faster, he would have sounded like a mouse. I understood a little bit of it and wrote down general terms and ideas to look up later. This is also where he described the reaction that didn't work as giving him tungsten dust and purple goo. And he had one reaction give him a blue solid and then turn purple overnight and he didn't know why. They talked about that. Then lab meeting abruptly ended.
You know, the Scarborough lab meeting doesn't have food! This is unfortunate. Marika says if it was her turn to bring food she was sure she'd bring food no one else would like. But what's wrong with pizza? Some people noticed my pizza boxes in the corner and were looking at them as if they wished they had pizza. I told them they could eat the rest, because I was full, but no one took me up on that. Maybe next lab meeting, I'll bring pizza. Someone needs to feed the poor hungry lab peoples.
Tuesday: Epiphany I had After Lab Meeting About an Answered Prayer I Had Prayed for Marika
I recall eating lunch with her this past summer BEFORE that catalyst had worked, sometime in May or June. She was telling me how she enjoyed doing exploratory research best, but Dr. Scarborough was always telling her to try this reaction. If it worked, it would be a big deal, she said, but it would never work. It was such a pain and a waste of time and completely annoying to work on. She wished he would let her be and work on what she liked. But, he was into publishing things, and she supposed that was important.
I prayed at the time, that Marika's important reaction that Dr. Scarborough was telling her to do would work perfectly (I had no idea what it was) - and that she would get an amazing publication - and that she would not be upset or annoyed at Dr. Scarborough, but would appreciate and respect him more and have a good working relationship with him. It grieved me to hear her being annoyed with him.
And the Lord did exactly what I asked, I realized. I only prayed that 2-3 times! Then forgot about it. But her reaction worked! And she was shocked. And after lab meeting, we were discussing that, her, me and Dr. Scarborough in the elevator. She said - yes - when that happened - and the reaction worked - she had had this epiphany that she should *listen* to Dr. Scarborough, because there was a reason he had a pH.D. and he was actually really smart. Ever since then, her attitude toward him completely changed. And Dr. Scarborough was beaming and looked so happy. And I was SO happy! The Lord answered my prayer!!
And I left going home that day thinking - WHOA - how COOL is that?? Now I get to help her on her cool thing! Sweetness. I told Marika, I'll try to be her very best little minion that I can.
Monday: Talking to Dr. Lynn
I do not know if I was supposed to tell Dr. Lynn I was not joining the lab or not. Lisa wanted to bring it up and say I should join, I could tell, but I kind of dodged the subject. The project is pretty cool and I learned a lot that I needed to learn - not least of which is how Dr. Lynn thinks. If I hadn't rotated with him, I think I'd be terrified of him a lot worse. But the Salaita lab projects are so much more interesting to me - and for so many other reasons beyond reckoning, I am tied to the Salaita lab.
I often wonder, how things must look to other people. They don't know what I do. To them, my decisions must look completely ordinary and dispassionate. HA! [...] Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I laugh at this. It's completely the reverse. I don't think anything in my life will ever be ordinary again (which I rejoice in) and I am passionate about everything. Joining the Salaita lab is almost the most impassioned, certain, decisive and logical decision I've ever made. Who knew those things could go together.