Rising from the ashes of the fires of life

Fustrated and Confused

I’m really wondering if I selected the right job.  The past 3 months have been in okay, not too bad, I’ve mostly enjoyed it. But the past two weeks. Wow. Seeing sides to my PI that I’m going to have to really work on to not stress out.

I’m a lab technician, but really I’m a lab manager (not being paid as a lab manager).  I assisted my previous labs lab manager, I know a thing or two about how things work.  My boss is really pushy though for me to try to rush things that can’t be rushed and do things a certain way when it’s just making more work for me and others.  I’m trying to get quotes for some small pieces of equipment.  We’ve had one quote for nearly two weeks and they keeps waffling about what they wants to do.  Suddenly, they want me to contact three other companies for quotes for similar items.  Fine, that’s easy, I’ll do a search on their sites send them item numbers and ask for pricing in an email.  No. For whatever reason they don’t want me to search for the items.  Instead, call the company and tell them what we want and ask for pricing.  Let them do the search and send us items.  I can understand some about making them do the search for us, but in the past they usually try to sell us an expensive (discounted still) product over one that would be more affordable, but they don’t want me spending time on it. Okay, I guess.  But calling. . . yeah. . . did that and two out of the three told me that I would need to either email my sales rep or submit a form on their website.  They don’t do it over the phone.

Since I submitted the requests, each rep has touched base with me, but only one has sent me a quote for products.  Hopefully, tonight the other two will send me quotes and we can order things tomorrow.  I feel annoyed though, siting on one companies quote for two weeks and then rushing to get three other quotes in two days.  I could have spread this work out instead of cramming and rushing it at one time.

Another issue I’m having is that with things I am new to my boss expects me to learn how to handle things after the first explanation/try, or dealing with ‘problems’ I have no idea are even problems.  We have baby fish on our large system now.  If they die the soon turn black and sit on the bottom of the tank.  It feels like these things turn black rather quickly.  I check tanks and I may see some questionable fish sitting on the bottom of the tank.  It responds slowly to my administrations, so it’s still alive, but I think it dies shortly after and then tuns black.  If this happens and my boss finds them I get scolded.  I’m worried that I’m taking out babies too soon, not fully dead yet, maybe they would recover…  I don’t know, I feel like I’m a small child doing something wrong.

Something similar happened today.  I noted that something was off measurement wise, but after an hour it was acting normally and I stopped watching it. Two hours later my boss comes in and sees the note and scolds me for not monitoring it for the extra two hours between.  About how they should have been notified about this, even though it wasn’t an emergency and I’m not suppose to contact them unless it’s an emergency, yeah, they stumbled over that part themselves. I’m really confused on what is an emergency, a phone call emergency, an email emergency, low priory, fyi events.  It seems to change weekly.  And with the item today, I spent 6 hours checking every hour to be sure everything was stable, it dropped again, but recovered again, and appears to be linked to the fish feedings.  It had been a slight change and they wanted it closely monitored.  Then, at the end of it said that the fluctuation was normal.  If it was normal why was I wasting my time monitoring rather doing other work, and why were they freaking out about it.

So frustrated and confused.  I’m barely being paid well, as salary, and I slightly miss working at Macy’s.  At least there I knew what was important and not, and how I could contact someone if I did have a problem.

The Blue Fish Socks

Since I cast off my Polly Jean socks I had to cast on a new one.  But for once, I am repeating a pattern.  I’ve started a second pair of Pomatomus.  My first pair can be found here on Ravelry. If I remember correctly a couple of friends dyed the yarn for me for my birthday.  The yarn reminded me of a mermaid some how (I think purples for mermaids…)  I’ve been wanting to do a pair again for a while and since Knit Picks has come out with their bright line of sock yarn, I’ve finally found the yarn I wanted to use to accent this pattern.


I’m about half way done with the third repeat of the cuff.  During the first repeat I remembered that I did not like the look of my yarn-overs.  Ravelry is great for finding helpful notes and hints about improving patterns.  Several other knitters used make-one and knit front and back to avoid holes.  You can see the difference in the second repeat of the pattern.  I haven’t decided yet if I want to do the yarn-overs during the first repeat of the second sock, or find some way to neatly close the holes on the second sock.

Been a while since I’ve had a FO

These were cast on during this year’s New Year celebration (rather I just staying up late knitting).  I do wish I was faster when it came to knitting.  I feel kind of sad that it takes me nearly 3 months to finish a pair of sock when I have so many socks under my belt.

The pattern is Poly Jean, I thought it was a very well written pattern.  It features twisted stitches and lace to make a leaf motifs. I really like the toe design that lets the pattern continue and has a nice mirrored effect.





Babies on the System

Another step up in getting our fish room going.


Fry are on the main system in the section we have designated for fry and juveniles.  These 8 tanks have about 400 fry in them.  As they get bigger they will be distributed into more tanks.  On average the tanks that size will hold 18 adult fish max. Right now they don’t take up any room we have 30-60 fry in each, depending on how many were born at one time.


As you can see the fry are very small.  We have a fish food that is very fine that we can feed them. The goal is to have them on a self-sustaining culture with rotifers, once we get a healthy culture of those going.  They can’t eat the juvi or adult food as the pellets are too big for their baby jaws.

My boss is out today getting more fish for the system from their old lab.  There are going to be new babies to add to these guys and some adults that will go onto our quarantine system.  Some huge growth this week onto our new system!

Learning to improve my blog and science

I’m getting better at taking videos through the microscope with my iPhone. However, I was having issues with focusing on specific areas, like focusing on one specific fish.  I was able to get some decent video of developing beating hearts in an embryo and in a hatched baby fish that had not yet inflated it’s swim bladder (they mostly stay still that then). But there was so much white background.  I tried to find some computer software that would let me crop the white areas out, but everything costs money I don’t have.  I did find an app on iPhone that would crop my videos the way I wanted and let me send it to myself through email, or several other ways.

So now I have two examples showing the two chamber heart of a developing zebrafish. Nothing to do with my work since my lab will be focusing on the fishes brains and neurobiology.


Pathfinder Trilogy

I didn’t feel well for most of the day.  Migraine and nauseous, it was miserable.  I slept in past lunch.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to go into work to check on the fish.  I really hope that I don’t wake up like that again.

Once the pain in my head receded I was able to finish the book I’ve been reading, and I began the pathfinderbooknext book, the last book of the trilogy.  I’ve been working on reading the Pathfinder series, by Orson Scott Card.

The first book was kind of slow in the beginning, but the second half really pulled me in.  So did the second book.  It’s been a long while since I’ve read a book so quickly.  My only complaint was how abruptly the second book ended.  I thought I was missing pages.  Currently the third book hasn’t sucked me in the way the second did.


For me this has been a pretty unique story.  I don’t read as much as I would like to, I just don’t often find things I actually like.  This one I found in the young adult section.  Like Ender’s Game the heros are mostly teens/young adults.  I thought the characters in both books were well developed. And except for the … physics…maybe, of how the powers of the character’s work it’s a fun idea to follow.

The main character, Rigg, can see the paths of every living person and creature that every set foot on the planet Garden, a planet that was settled by humans from Earth.  Only, when the spaceship jumped through space to arrive at Garden, it jumped <i>backwards</i> through time 11,900 some years.  The calendar of Garden also counts down, rather than up, counting down to the time that the original spaceship made the jump through space. Rigg’s friend, Umbo, and his sister, Param, also have special abilities.  Together they go on adventures exploring the different lands of Garden, learning what they can about the world and the world of the people who settled it.

But they are in a race against time, sort of, to learn everything they can.  In three years, from the end of the second book, and the start of the second, they only have 3 years to prepare for the foreseen destruction of Garden. In 2 years, Visitors from Earth arrive to see how the original settlement has taken root.  What they don’t know is what happens when the Visitors arrive and what causes the humans from Earth to send a second wave of ships called the Destroyers, who as the name implies, destroys the planet of Garden.

I’m hoping the third book, picks back up, it starting kind of slow, but it feels like its trying to recap a few things.  But I am really interested to find out how everything resolves.

They are growing

One of the undergrads showed me how take pictures of our embryos through the microscope.  It is very tricky with the iPhone because the auto-focus wants to focus on the microscope’s eye-piece instead of the view through the lens.  It also picks up the light awkwardly, but it does the job for sharing.

Embryo_2 These eggs are about 24 hours old.

I should have taken another photo when I looked at them today.  They were about 48 hours today.  Their eyes are more define and they have a lot of pigment cells.  I’ll try to take a photo to share with the next batch of breeders I do.

Something that I can’t share through photos is the beating heart.  I can’t recall when they start beating, but it is very visible.  I really enjoy seeing the fish develop.

Start of new life, fish life

Yesterday I was taught how to select pairs of fish for breeding, and this morning how to set the setting to get them to breed. Over all 3 pairs of fish laid about 200 eggs. Only 122 of them were viable embryos, though.

I got to set up 7 pairs on my own today and tomorrow I will set up their breeding and embryo collection. I’m very excited with what I’m learning to do.


One of three sets of fertilized eggs


One of seven pairs




I wish I had more to write about.  Life isn’t that eventful sadly.  My lab fish are still alive even though we had some issues with the dosing of the tanks and worry about the pH and conductivity of the tanks getting too high.  Slowly things are coming together.  Tomorrow we are getting another undergrad who was hired so they can be here for morning feedings and I don’t have to do that everyday on my own.  Especially once we start doing research work.  Tomorrow, the PI is going to show myself and most of the undergrads how to set up breeding chambers.  PI isn’t sure if we will actually have a successful breeding, the females may not be back into a biological groove for breeding yet, but it’s worth a shot for the learning experience of setting it up and trying to get things started. I’m excited to learn things like this.  The breeding tanks are more hands off than when we start working directly with the embryos, but I am looking forward to learning something new now that we have fish.


Zebrafish with a mutation the produces spots instead of stripes

The making of new sites

Last week I was put to the task of making a website for my new job.  My boss had suggested google sites so I started there, expanding my search to other website makers.  I didn’t have the best of luck in my search, and it sounded like my boss really wanted to use the google sites for the design, so I began the process of making a site with that software.  We bought a domain name and set things up on the google sites.  However, my boss received an email about a 30-day trial with google apps.  We were both confused about this trial because no where on the sign-up was there anything about a trial.  But to use sites with a domain name, apparently you have to sign up for Google Apps, which is way out of our price range.  So, I’m on the search again.  But in the mean time I’m making up some of my own sites and blogs to try to get a feel for how they work.

I’ve started this WordPress page, I’m not sure how it will be used yet though.

I’m also working on this personal site. It was made with Google Sites, however, it is through my email and directly connected to the Google Sites web site. My boss had wanted to have her own domain name tied to her site, so probably not what we were looking for for the work page.  I have more plans my Google site.  I plan to use it as a journal type site for work and fun stuff.  There are pages for my knitting projects and a space for my drawings.  Just fun stuff I hope.