I waited 3 1/2 years for this

•February 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Julia called me “mommy” tonight.

She was supplementally NG tube-fed from 10 months on to about 2 years old, and it affected her eating.  She developed an oral aversion, and because of that she didn’t formulate sounds like a kid would normally progress with them.  She’s been calling me “ney” (like the end of court-NEY) for so long.  Tonight she just broke out and started calling me Mommy – perfect pronunciation, and I just started bawling.  Most moms get to hear that within the first year – I’ve been waiting for 3.5.  What a beautiful, sweet word that is, Mommy.


My most recent list of grad. schools to apply to…

•February 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It’ll probably change again before apps are due in the fall, but here’s my current list:

1.  University of Wisconsin-Madison – Neuroimmunology in primates

2. University of Maryland-College Park, NACS Program – Behavioral Biology

3. American University – Neuropharmacology

4. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill – Behavioral Neuroscience

5. Howard University – Behavioral Pharmacology

6. Johns Hopkins University – Behavioral Pharmacology

7. University of California-Davis – Neuropharmacology

8. George Mason University – Biopsychology

9. Emory University – Neuropharmacology in primates

10. University of California-Los Angeles – Neuropharmacology

11. Oregon Health and Science University – Neuropharmacology in primates

An argument over great apes

•February 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Oh yeah.  Not even a week into the semester.  I sure am making friends fast.

So, the original post that I was responding to was asserting that the great apes don’t have a hippocampus minor, so therefore humans should not be classified as great apes because humans do have this part of the brain.  Because we’re in, you know, school, I thought participating in discussion when someone argues a fact that is wrong was a good thing.

My reply to the assertion that apes don’t have a hippocampus minor:

Your assertion that apes don’t have a “hippocampus minor” (known as calcar avis in modern science) is wrong.  They also have a hippocampus.  The human brain is not unique to the ape brain, there is just a difference in brain mass, which leads to different functioning of different parts of the brain.  Richard Owen was a giant anti-evolutionist, and proposed that apes didn’t have the hippocampus minor without any scientific evidence to back it up.  When Thomas Huxley proved that apes did in fact have this, he ruined Owen’s credibility, because Owen purposefully left out the fact that he had evidence to the contrary, from anatomists who’d published papers dissecting a chimpanzee brain (you have to remember that anything resembling modern anatomy’s roots were in the 1600’s, so in the 1800’s when Owen and Dawkins were around was uncovering some significant things about the body).

Another student, we’ll call her Ms. X, replied to my above post:


Why are you in this class?

It appears that you already know quite a bit about Apes. So much so that you can tell another student when they are incorrect.

Are you an anthropology major? How many years have you studied this subject?

Your knowledge seems vast and will probably be helpful to the class.

Ms. X

Could I leave that be and not reply?  No, no I could not.

I don’t think there’s a need to be rude.  I was only telling the student that she was wrong because she was; what should I have said instead?  If I’m in the wrong about something that I’m asserting, I’d want to know as well, so feel free to correct me if I post something that is incorrect throughout the remainder of the class.

I’m not an anthropology major, I’m a psych major, bio minor, and am involved in animal research relating to neuroscience; currently I work with baboons.  I’m not sure how it’s relevant, but since you asked, I took this class because I’m fascinated by evolution, and I wanted to learn more about the great apes – a population that isn’t really touched upon in any other class at UMUC.  I might know a lot about the brain, but I don’t know much about great apes.

If you have a problem that is personal, I’d appreciate it if you addressed it through an e-mail instead of posting it in the class forum.


To which Ms. X replied:

I don’t know what the problem is, but you might want to calm down and bring it back a few.

I was not being rude. I only asked why you were taking the class and noted that you seem to have enough knowledge to correct the student.

Speaking of being rude, you could have said that he/she was incorrect or that you disagreed with them, not that they were “wrong”. I’ve never seen any professor put it that way when a student is incorrect in their response.

I don’t have anything personal for or against you; I don’t know you to do either. I only made an observation.

Your reply was uncalled for, immature and over the top. I’ll refrain from replying to you from now one.

Ms. X

And my most recent response:

I wasn’t aware there was a problem, and I didn’t think my response to you was over the top or rude.  I’m sorry if it came across that way; I was simply addressing your response and questions to me.  The tone in your original post came across as rude to me – I’m not sure what my reasoning for taking this class had to do with anything, nor what my major was.  I also didn’t think that saying someone was wrong was rude; if I said that 2 + 2 = 5, would you say to me “I think maybe I have a different opinion on what the sum is, I think I disagree” or would you tell me that I was wrong?  I would be telling me that I was wrong.

Generally in life, you can’t tailor how you interact with people based on what they may or may not take offense to – I think you’re arguing with me over semantics; you find one way of presenting evidence more desirable than another, but how can I take account for how any of the 50+ people in this class might like evidence presented?  For the record, this is my 5th semester taking online classes, and I’ve honestly never had a problem with another classmate over semantics in a posting.  We’re taking an online course, which means you might read a post that feels like a certain tone when you read it, and is the complete opposite tone of what the original poster was trying to get across.  At the very least, you should give the benefit of the doubt to the poster before you post something based on how you interpreted a response.

The fact that was presented was wrong – apes do have hippocampus minors.  The entire point of going to school is to learn, to converse with people in your class, to learn different perspectives and maybe change your own views based on things you learn.  I’m merely participating in this process.  If you don’t want to interact with me this semester, that’s fine.  I’m just not sure why you’re taking a back-and-forth to that level.


Oh yeah, random survey

•February 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Here you go mummies (and mummies to be) – a different kind of survey for a change – it’s all about your first born! Just copy and paste it in a new note for yourself!

Let’s see how much you remember!
1. WAS YOUR FIRST BORN A PLANNED PREGNANCY? No, not at all!  We had just moved to Anchorage in November, and I found out we were pregnant in late February ’05


3. WHAT WERE YOUR REACTIONS? “Oh fuck” I think was an approximate of what I said

4. HOW DID YOUR FAMILY REACT? Upset at first, but my dad was really excited, and mostly everyone warmed up by the time I was in maternity clothes


6. HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE PREGNANT? Pregnancy test…I missed my period and I was never late.  Went to the clinic doc at UAA and the doc said “OH yeah you’re pregnant”

7. WHO DID YOU TELL FIRST?  Dmitry was there when I took the home pregnancy test, and then we called my mom
8. DID YOU WANT TO FIND OUT THE SEX?  Yeah…I have no patience

9. DUE DATE? October 16, 2005


11. WHAT DID YOU CRAVE? Ice water with lemon and a straw  lol  Couldn’t stand chicken or pasta sauce

12. WHO/WHAT IRRITATED YOU THE MOST?   Anyone who tried to touch my belly irritated me!

14. DID YOU WISH YOU HAD THE OPPOSITE SEX OF WHAT YOU WERE GETTING? I honestly thought it was a boy, my MIL was convinced it was a boy from some amazing Russian techniques she knew (wedding ring on string over belly?  yes, very accurate).  I was petrified to find out I was having a girl, I’m not really into girly things, I had no idea what I’d do with her!


16. DID YOU HAVE A BABY SHOWER?   Yes, I had one over the internet!  We were in CA, all of our friends/family were in NJ

17. WAS IT A SURPRISE OR DID YOU KNOW? I knew…they’d been sending gifts for weeks to our house

18. DID YOU HAVE ANY COMPLICATIONS DURING YOUR PREGNANCY?  I started going into preterm labor around 30 weeks, I was in the hospital a couple of times and was released after getting some shot that stopped the contrax.  As it was, she was born at 35 weeks, 5 weeks early.

19. WHERE DID YOU GIVE BIRTH?   Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP) – I loved that hospital, but not my OB!

20. HOW MANY HOURS WERE YOU IN LABOR?   less than 12…went into labor after 2pm on the 21st of September ’05, was admitted to the hospital around 10pm on the same time; got an epidural around midnight of the 22nd, and she was born around 1:44am on the 22nd.

21. WHO DROVE YOU TO THE HOSPITAL?  Dmitry, with our neighbor in the backseat, he was timing contrax for us

22. WHO WATCHED YOU GIVE BIRTH?   Just Dmitry, the doc, and the nurses

23. WAS IT NATURAL OR C-SECTION?   Mostly natural – had an epidural about an hour before she started crowning

24. DID YOU TAKE MEDICINE TO EASE THE PAIN?   I had an epidural towards the end…if I’d known it’d be that quick, I would have stuck it out without the medicine!

27. HOW MUCH DID YOUR CHILD WEIGH?   She was only 4lbs 14oz

28. WHEN WAS YOUR CHILD ACTUALLY BORN?   September 22, 2005

Did I really do it?

•January 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Did I really manage to cut down my grad. school list?  Oh I did.  Check it out (not in any order):

– U of Wisconsin Madison

– U of Maryland College Park

– American U

– U of Maryland Baltimore County

– U of North Carolina Chapel Hill

– Howard University

– Johns Hopkins

– Tufts U

– George Mason

– Emory U

– Boston U

I am debating about applying to either a masters in general psych. or the PhD in cognitive psych at Catholic U in DC.  I want to do masters b/c it’s a back-up, but I really don’t want to do a masters program…so is it worth it?

Don’t bide your time, because it is almost over…

•December 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I really honestly wish I was done with my graduate applications, and I haven’t even started them yet.  It’s so stressful – I’m doing everything that I should be doing, but even that might not be enough.  There are always external circumstances that could make or break my application – maybe I give a bad interview, or maybe something in my personal statement strikes a potential mentor in a bad way.  I’m still not able to cut down my list to below 20 – 15 is my objective.  I might just cut out the NYC schools.  I’m not sure how I’d be able to live on my own in the city.  That sucks, though, b/c NYC is one of the two schools that have opportunities to work with primates.  The majority of the schools I’m applying to are in Boston and DC/MD, with a few in Colorado and one in Wisconsin.  There are schools in Georgia, as well, but I’m not sure that’s an area that I want to move to.

I seriously hate change

•December 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment

My good friend is moving tomorrow, and I really hate change.  It’s going to be totally different around here without her – so Holly, if you’re reading this, we’ll totally set up the futon for you!  Don’t leave me  😦