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04 October 2005
Personal history meme

I've accepted Nuthatch's challenge to continue her personal history meme. I enjoyed reading the her meme and the responses from the other recently-tagged bloggers - Trix, Pamela, Deb, Karen, Clare, Mike, etc. It appears I've been among the slowest responders. Thanks Nuthatch for the excuse to reminisce.

Arlo, 198710 years ago: Hmm... 1995. I had recently quit my first stint as a PhD student and had started a job at a small agricultural engineering firm in town. I was underpaid, underemployed, underappreciated and unchallenged, but it would improve a lot over the next 5 or 6 years. B and I had not yet moved to our current, more rural home; we still lived in our very well-built house in the city with a teeny tiny yard. At that point, we also lived with my old dog Arlo (9 years old then), a new young dog Keen and 2 cats, Razz and Jessie (about 9 and 3 years old respectively).

B with a nice Montana cutthroat trout5 years ago: 2000. I was nearing the end of my previous 'corporate' job. I was lucky enough to get paid to visit potato farms in Europe a couple of times per year and I got to work in the UP (Michigan's Upper Penninsula) and northern lower penninsula each fall during September and early October. In fact, I was in the UP on 9/11. I really really miss those lengthy annual visits up there. The trees are at peak color, the skies are typically clear blue and beautiful and my job required me to spend each day on a different farm getting dirty, following the potato harvesting and storage-filling equipment around. Sun, soil and no complaints. I'd occasionally have a little time to sneak off to a trout stream in the evening as a bonus. In the fall of 2000, B and I had been in our current 5-acre rural home for about 3 years. We were still adjusting to the place; we built a garage, established gardens, planted trees. Arlo was well into his declining years - still perfectly lucid and fairly energetic but thin and frail and weaker than his younger self. Keen was retired from agility training and competition due to arthritis. We had added Casper to our cat herd - he had grown into a rotund, affectionate, puppydog-like adult cat who favored me over B. Our lives changed a bit when we took our first flyfishing trip to western Montana in September of 2000. This is now a regularly planned trip for us. We've been out there for a week in September 3 times now. We both miss it painfully on the off years.

Razz at 191 year ago: Now, well-adjusted to my new university job, I still spent the fall with my boots in the soil, harvesting potatoes, corn, sampling soil and planting cover crops. Now it is research plots though, no longer whole farm-scale work. And I had returned to grad student status, though in a slightly different field this time - agronomy and soil science rather than animal agriculture. Finding time to make progress on a degree around a more-than-full-time job is not easy. I'm fine with working hard, but I am no longer willing to completely sacrifice my home and family life for grad school the way I was in my previous stint. B and I feel our rural home fits like a well-worn hat. We're constantly amazed at how much larger and more mature our trees are than when we moved here in 1997. We have learned the habits of our local gangs of deer, turkeys, bluebirds and other flora and fauna. By this time, Arlo, Keen and Jessie are resting in graves in the back yard. Razz had turned 18 and still strong as ever (she's 19 now and still ticking...). Two more cats - Tux and Marabou - had joined our animal family.

Yesterday: Sort of a typical work day. Got up early to help a student get a seed-germination experiment started, then off to lab meeting at 8:00. Then back to the seed-germination thing for the rest of the morning. I got my own field experiment planted in the afternoon, finally. Brief meetings, emails, sorting out plans for the rest of our field work week, yada yada. Then home to my family and a big pile of housework. Fun evening phone call with my Chicago sister.

5 songs I know all the words to:
Like Pamela my song lyric memory is somewhat context-dependent. My brain stores lots of lyrics but the card catalog is not very handy. I do know these however:

  • Blackberry Blossom
  • Ashokan Farewell
  • 8th of January
  • Arkansas Traveler
  • Gold Rush

5 snacks:

  • Coca Cola
  • potato chips
  • popcorn
  • potato chips
  • Coca Cola

5 things I’d do with $100 million:

  • quit my job and buy a house in the UP or Maine or western Montana or somewhere in Canada
  • finish my PhD faster
  • start my own agriculture/ecology research and education center or fund an existing good one
  • buy my very own politician(s)
  • give it to folks who need some

5 places I’d run away to:

  • the UP
  • I'd go fishing in Alaska, New Zealand, Chile, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and New Brunswick and anywhere else with beautiful trout and salmon water

5 things I’d never wear:

  • a nun habit
  • eye shadow
  • a boat-necked, poofy-sleeved pink frilly blouse with high-waisted acid-washed jean shorts (I received this exact ensemble as a birthday gift once...)
  • a sweatshirt with embroidered Scottie dogs or this
  • an 'I love George Bush' t-shirt

5 favorite TV shows:

  • We've become big fans of many of the HBO series like Six Feet Under, Carnivale, Deadwood, etc.
  • Also smart, funny, sarcastic shows like Northern Exposure, The Simpsons, Malcolm in the Middle, Gilmore Girls etc.
  • The back yard
  • the cats

5 greatest joys:

  • a witty joke
  • B and our pets
  • my 6 siblings and their families
  • my friends and my soccer team
  • leisurely fishing a beautiful trout stream on a gorgeous day

5 favorite toys:

  • the remote
  • iPod
  • digital camera
  • blogger
  • My 11'3" 6 wt and 8'6" 3 wt fly rods

People I’m tagging:

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