Look At Me Still Talking When There's Science To Do

If I keep thinking of words, I will keep writing them down

And what’s with those titles? That’s the nonsensiest part, practically.

I’m hemming and hawing about whether or not to write in my blog again. To help me decide I just re-read/re-skimmed this entire blog in backwards order.


Really, it’s like all I ever write is nonsense. I’m flabbergasted. And I write so much! How I expect people to read it all is unfathomable. I guess maybe that’s a reason not to start writing again. There’s also the fact that I am slightly uncomfortable with some of the things that I’ve posted. You know, professionalism and whatnot. Then we have the problem that if I start writing in the blog I really should keep doing it with some frequency, and I already have too many things to do this summer.

But on the other hand I could make at least one of my Aunts Jan very happy. And my mom, also. I like those guys; they’re good people.

I don’t know who that all-caps question is addressed to. I’m not planning on advertising this post. This post existing doesn’t mean that I’ve decided whether or not to write more. It is just for hemming and hawing.

Some people may be reading anyway, however, because of the wonders of the internet. If you’re reading this don’t tell anyone it’s here; it’s a secret. Maybe I should make this entire blog a secret and start over. In the name of professionalism.

Hem. Haw.


I’m going to have to get a new computer.

I keep remembering things I’ve forgotten.

Today was just okay.

I am sharp as a sharp thing.

Atqasuk is sometimes crazy. Yesterday Jeremy and I had an SOS-scrub-pad battle. We stuck toothpicks into avocado pits.

Atqasuk is sometimes windy. On Monday when I woke up, the bed (you know, the one inside the house) was SHAKING. SHAKING.

Atqasuk is sometimes sleepy. Today we hiked maybe ten miles, for sure over five hours. I pounded at least 150 wooden stakes into tundra until I hit permafrost.

Atqasuk is sometimes creative. Several yesterdays ago we made a bowl out of the shells of pistachios, and we frequently cook dinner without having the right ingredients.

Atqasuk is sometimes buggy. Old news. I don’t even care anymore.

Atqasuk is sometimes forgetful. I can’t remember any of the things that I was going to blog about yesterday but that I didn’t blog about yesterday, because yesterday was too too crazy. Maybe I’m getting dumber. That would explain why, yesterday, I drove the ATV into the creek . SuperDoug and his Iron Gatorpony had to rescue us.

Too bad he can’t rescue our minds.


All I can think about during the last part of the walk out of the field is doing a triple jump and flying like Mario to the truck. I totally do it all the time (in dreams) but without a wing cap, because I don’t wear hats.

In Barrow we walk for about twenty minutes to get to the site, and again to get back to the truck. The hardest part of the walk is the last four minutes, when you’re so so so close but you have to keep walking- and you have too many coats on and you’re thinking about Mario and one of your feet is wet because your boot leaks. Oh yes.

What a laugh I just had when I read my last post from a couple weeks ago! No snow here. It is as hot as I ever care for it to be, the sun has been shining (literally) for days, and the mosquitoes are out (at about 1/10 of their Atqasuk intensity).

Rob and I have finished 75 of 98 plots. We are champions, but nothing worth mentioning compared to the Jenny-Jeremy team. Rob knows his place. Don’t worry about him.

Baby Stella seems to be a champion, too. I have yet to see her in action, but word on the street is that she can point-frame with the best of them (which, of course, is exactly what she’s doing).

A fifth point-framer joined the ranks today. For the past week our PolarTREC teacher has been here. Keri is a Spanish/special ed teacher in the Bronx- but right now she’s part researcher, and she’s learning and writing about what we do. She said that her job is to make us look good… so check out her blog and see if she’s succeeding…!

Have fun struggling!


Today is my first day of point framing with out Point Frame Master Jeremy!

We’re struggling already. We can’t get the data books to print properly. We can’t remember how to identify mosses.

Jeremy is in Atqasuk. He says we’ll be fine. He says “Oh, you think you don’t know them, but you do.” He also says, in his blog, that I gave him tips about how to press plants. This is a filthy lie, I didn’t help him at all. How could I? I failed Systematic Botany, after all.* All I said was, “yeah, just press them.” So don’t trust Jeremy, he’s a liar!

Jeremy and Kelsey may be struggling, too. Probably not with point framing, but maybe with a bear. BASC just told us that there is a grizzly wandering around the Atqasuk area, and they hope that our friends aren’t dead.

*Not really. I got a B.

I need to stop hitting on the plants so much.

Today my mind wouldn’t stop saying “Yanni: Live at the Acropolis” even though I haven’t any good reason to be thinking about “Yanni: Live at the Acropolis”– or any bad reason, either. So now I am listening to “Yanni: Live at the Acropolis,” because my mind is reasonable and it sends me messages from time to time.

Yanni: Live at the Acropolis.

Speaking of crazy random mind messages, today was growth measures day. On growth measures days our minds tend to come up with bunches of random messages, many of them hostile and directed at the plants. The measurer, in today’s case, Rob, will usually be conducting a running dialogue while the measuring is going on, partially for the benefit of the recorder (me me me), partially for the benefit of the plants (who are trying their darnedest to deceive us) and partially for the measurer’s own benefit (lest he go crazy- though it would be hard to tell).

“You dirty pirate!” was directed at a Poa individual.

“Dirty pirate is the word of the day. Write that down,” was directed at me; I complied.

“Lcon– NO! Larc! Bad boy!” was directed to Robert himself. I think?

I said as little as possible, usually only opening my mouth to tell Rob he was wrong (“No, Parc 4 can’t be 2.4, it was 3.1 two weeks ago!” “There’s no such thing as Alat 7!” “You don’t need to measure total plot unless there are inflorescences!”). I was busy mostly with willing my fingers to work. Today was cold and today was snowy.

I have quite a collection of gloves that I carry around in my backpack. Some are better suited to writing, some are better suited to covering hands that are carrying stuff… though none are perfectly suited to do what I need them to do. Some are printed with a camouflage pattern because I got them at Cabela’s,  and are ill suited to being found again after they are dropped in the tundra. Which some of them were, during the last field days in Atqasuk in 2008- days that Jeremy and I remain quite proud of.

Speaking of proud, of all the things I brought back from Atqasuk (mosquito bites, dirty coats, butt bruises, splinters) I am proudest of finding and bringing back one of those lost gloves from 2008. We happened upon it at a spot that is certainly further south than the place it was lost as we came back in from point framing one day.  It looks kind of sad, but it was happy to see us.

We want very much to find the other one.

Like a barbarian princess

One of my American Lit professors said “People don’t hate poetry, they only say that because they don’t get it and they aren’t good at it.”

She was looking RIGHT AT ME. Maybe because I had just said that I don’t like poetry.

I proved her wrong by getting an A in her class and an A on the poetry analysis assignments and an A on every test. I even got an A for ROBERT FROST, who is WAY TOO CLEVER for anyone but American Lit profs to understand.

I proved her wrong again today, by writing a poem in honor of Kelsey’s birthday. Sometimes we call her Stella, because it is her middle name.

Hierochloe alpina
Arctagrostis latifolia
Polygonum bistorta
Potentilla hyparctica
Yellow Marsh Saxifrage

Betula nana
(Is a little HOBO)
Ranunculus nivalis
Trisetum spicatum
Hylocomnium splendens
Dupontia fisheri
Andromeda polifolia
Yes, yes indeed–

Stelllaria laeta
Thamnnolia subuliformis
Eriophorum vaginatum
Luzula arctica
Ledum palustre