29 December 2008

Some Christmas in Cali Highlights

As most of you know, I'm in California (Burbank and Llano, specifically) for the Christmas/New Years season. Rosalie is working a lot, so I've got a lot of down time, which I am wasting beautifully. Some interesting happenings and observations:

LA is glorified, when actually all it is is a bunch of fancy chain stores and malls

I got beer spilled on me at Christmas dinner... I hate that smell :P

I walked around Burbank all day by myself, and discovered I really am a people person

People do say Merry Christmas more than they say Happy Holiday

Never use airport internet

I played Rock Band for the first time. I'm bad at it, but it's quite entertaining at least.

As much as I don't want next semester to start, and don't want to take five labs, and don't want to have another dtr... I'm really excited about the new year and Spring '09!


Got my grades, and surprise (no, really, I am surprised!):
Physiology: A-
Invert. Zoo.: A
Seminar: A
Conditioning: S
Dance: S

Booyah, I'm a satisfactory dancer :P
And thank God, I passed physiology with a good grade. Look out anatomy!

26 December 2008

This made me happy (yay xkcd!)

Finals, booyah

So it seems I never have time to blog when I want to, and instead obsess over school... hmm, such is life. Anywho. It was an interesting finals/dead week. I wonder why God decides to let the major things happen at the times we're so stressed out. Perhaps to make us realize there are things more important than school?

I dunno.

Either way, in the past month I've become good friends with a 'friend' I've known for a good year and a half. Funny how that happens. Not funny, however, is the fact that we only have a semester left and then are going to opposite ends of the world for grad school... why? I wish I knew...

In other news: this is the first semester when I really don't know what grades I'm going to get. Despite the panic I display, I'm actually fairly calm about this. Maybe it's senioritius, maybe I'm distracted, maybe I'm chilling out... who knows. But 5 lab semester, here I come! Prepare to have your butt kicked by one determined little girl.

09 November 2008

Perfect Sunday

It's foggy today
Shrouds of mist
Hovering over houses
A college town
So strangely still
Noises and voices muffled

Reading Isaiah, realizing
That God is really God
He is the only Rock
I know not any other
Praying in the quiet

Walks in the enchanted fog
Gnomes are watching
From great tree stumps
Weepuls riding quail
Twisted trees are still

Wet branches tickle the air
Wet leaves and mud
At the edge of the hill
Pullman is gone
The universe is whizzing by
Shrouded in the fog

I never thought the universe would be so loud

05 November 2008


I've been e-mailing a professor at University of Otago for quite awhile now, and hadn't heard back from him for over a month. I kinda forgot/gave up recently... ok, yesterday actually, and today God gave me a little tap on the shoulder and said "Hey, I've got plans for you, don't forget that so fast, you silly girl."

Well, not in so many words, but I did get an e-mail from the professor today that said, among other things, that I seem like a strong candidate, and he would be interested in supervising me. Also, by 2010 he will still be doing work on the kakapo and kea, and would not rule out work on the kiwi "if the right candidate and project came along."

Definitely need to keep praying about this one :)

Since no one reads this blog anyway....

So, chickens. I like chickens. And farm stores. And wool gloves. And the smell of hay. And woolly cows. And horses with big hairy feet. And horses with small hooves. Ok, horses in general. And Carhart hats. In other words: I should have been born on a farm. Oh, and emus!

Anyway, that said I went to a wonderful farm store in Lewiston today and have decided that unlike most people of my age and gender and status in life, I love feed stores a million times more than I like malls. I think I want to move to the country someday soon... and so Em begins to dream, and if you read this... props?


Once I graduate with my bachelor's degree I want to work in research for at least a semester and a summer to see how I like it, and what kind I like. After this I would fly to New Zealand (Dunedin, University of Otago) where I would get my master's degree with a focus on the conservation of endangered island birds. Hopefully the kakapo, kea, or kiwi :) Depending on how much I like the country, how the US is doing, who I meet, job options, etc. I may stay in NZ or come back to the US.

Either way, I will spend my days traveling and doing research (hopefully with the IUCN or through another conservation union or university), writing and publishing papers, maybe writing some other books too, being the best witness I can be to fellow biologists, and probably not have very many pets during this time.

Once my wandering days are over (ha!) I hope to settle down either in a smallish community, or on the outskirts of a city and work at a university or zoo/wildlife park. I guess the good thing about conservation research is that as long as people care it will always be going on, so finding a job in it shouldn't be too difficult. And with research, you can do it forever (unlike heavy lifting :P)

I admit fully that I am a home-body so I will definitly settle down. But this home will be wonderful! Small house, one story with a loft... and a swing inside. But a big yard and barn where I can keep my scottish highlander, shire horse, innumerable chickens, ducks (add a pond to the list), cats, emu, and donkey. The sun conure will stay in the greenhouse/porch of my house. The cats will be indoor/outdoor because as much as I hate the hunting part, it's wrong to keep a cat cooped up all the time (but I love it when they sleep on you).

Yeah, and ya know, I wouldn't mind doing most of this with a wonderful, Christian, animal/biology loving, (tall), man. But that's something I have decided is a bit more difficult to think about than animals and research, things so straightforward, so unlikely to mess with your emotions. Not to say I'm cynical, I'm a hopeless romantic at heart. But I'm leaving this one up to God to suprise me with.

That said, I get the feeling my Lord is planning a lot of surprises for this type A control freak, and I'm looking forward to see what his mind, in its infinite wisdom and love, has in store for me.

I have no idea how I got here by starting with chickens, but hey :)

20 August 2008

Struck by Thunder

It was a dark and stormy night... no, really, it was. Actually, it began as a hot and sunny day which was clouded over with dust and smoke from the harvesting of the Palouse fields. But then the clouds' positive and negative charges decided to argue, or maybe Zeus just got mad, or something like that and in came the massive billowing gray storm clouds. The lightning began soon after, which Janna, Liz, Phil, and I watched from the windows as it streaked and branched through the evening's dark gray skies. And then came my slightly eccentric idea to go up to Thompson lawn to get a better view.

After a bit of a detour through the XA house to pick up a few more crazy and willing participants for our expedition, Brian and Snook joined us. We were able to lay out on the thick green lawn for about 5 minutes of crackling lightning and thunderous thunder before the rain began. We sat there and got wet for all of a minute until it began to rain in earnest and Snook casually mentioned we could go into Carpenter. That did it, and thus began the pell mell beeline for dryness, with Brian snapping pictures the whole way.

We ended up on the 4th floor (after a damp elevator ride) and watched some more lightning. It all became a bit confusing after this and in conclusion we were joined by Mr. Phil Aasen hanging from a tree...

Because it was a slightly warm pouring rain a dance party soon ensued out in the lawn. Janna concluded that the hokie pokie induced the best lightning of the slightly purple sort, so of course we hokie pokied in the rain. I mean really? Why not? And to add to the 'why not' part, the sprinklers came on so we ran through them and got even wetter. I must say, dancing through sprinklers and throwing water from your hair at screaming friends in the pouring rain in the dark of night to the sound of thunder overhead. The semester couldn't have started off any better than that.

20 July 2008


That's such a good word, ya know... but anyway, said epiphany occurred on a day of loneliness and depression whose cause still remains elusive. I was praying that God would take this miserable feeling away because I wanted to feel joyful again, and close to my Lord. But amidst the crying and pleading I found James 1:2-4 and Romans 5:3-5

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

Now, I know these verses, have memorized these verses, and they are some of my favorites, but on this night I realized something. We fall into trials for a reason, and just begging God to take these trials away is not to our benefit. If he takes them away immediately, we'll be happy and thankful... and then like the Israelites before us, we'll forget and fall into the trials again. Believe me, I've done it :P

Happiness, and even the joy of the Lord, are not dependent on what we're going through in life, but how we handle being inside these problems. I was depressed and wanted it gone, but when I realized that I was supposed to find joy within this pit something changed. Even though I hate feeling miserable, if I can make myself remember that God does everything for a reason, I can be joyful in my misery, knowing that it will make me stronger... weird, I know, but it works... somehow.

I'm sure you all realized this long ago, but I hadn't.

07 July 2008

All Creatures of Our God and King by St. Francis of Assisi

Part 1: Em's Favorite Hymns of All Time

Because lyrics, especially hymn lyrics, no matter how beautiful and profound they may be, are so unappreciated these days.

All creatures of our God and King,
lift up your voices, let us sing:
Alleluia, alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beams,
thou silver moon that gently gleams,

O praise him, O praise him,
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
ye clouds that sail in heaven along,
O praise him, Alleluia!
Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice,
ye lights of evening, find a voice

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
make music for thy Lord to hear,
Alleluia, alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
that givest man both warmth and light

Dear mother earth, who day by day
unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise him, Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
let them his glory also show

And all ye men of tender heart,
forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
praise God and on him cast your care

And thou, most kind and gentle death,
waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise him, Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
and Christ our Lord the way hath trod

Let all things their Creator bless,
and worship him in humbleness,
O praise him, Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
and praise the Spirit, Three in One

05 July 2008

Starlight Starbright

The next day after a long evening of singing class at AVC we stopped at El Pollo Loco (they should have those in Washington) and then headed home… to bed… or so I thought. When we all got out of the car the sky was spectacular. On a spur of the moment idea Rosalie and I gathered star maps, binoculars, and a flashlight. Pillows and sleeping bags were thrown in the back of the Pink Phantom (Nissan pickup truck) and we drove down to the aqueduct at 12:30 at night. We set up our ‘beds’ and lay in the pickup bed and watched the stars for an hour or so until we fell asleep.

The Milky Way arched over our heads, showing the dome of the sky. The big dipper lay to the north and because the sky was so clear and dark I was finally able to find the little dipper, the North Star, and the entire Draco constellation. Sadly, the light pollution from Palmdale and Lancaster obscured Bootes, but Cassiopeia was clear and bright. Right above me was Cygnus and Lyra, and to the east was what (after some debate) we decided was Pegasus. To the south was a very bright star which we discovered through the binoculars was Jupiter, and we were even able to see 4 of its moons! But the most beautiful things of all were the shooting stars. Total I saw 10 of them, which more than made up for the meteor shower a few months ago, when I saw no meteors.

Now I know most people I know have great epiphanies and such while looking at the stars, but the only thing I thought of was that God knows all those stars by name, and that line from Matthew West, “I love you more than sun and the stars that I taught how to shine, you are mine, and you shine for me too.” It was an amazing thought though, because I have never seen the stars so clearly with the naked eye, and through the binoculars I could see twice as many. That’s a lot of names… I wonder what God calls them all?

Traversing the Mojave

Joshua Tree National Park houses some of the most ancient Joshua trees in the world. As a type of yucca and a resident of the Mojave Desert these trees only grow between a quarter inch and four inches a year, depending on its age and the weather. They require 320 days of frost free days, which severely limits their range. So because this remarkable tree is unique of course I had to hug one. The one we picked out was the biggest one we saw in the park, and based on growth rates was approximately 900 years old!!

Our first stop in J. Tree was the split rock

Under whose shade (on the other side) we avoided the 105 degree weather to eat lunch. And I know we all have strange bathroom stories, but I believe this one takes the cake. At least it gives a whole new meaning to the term Honeybucket.

See those dark spots? Those are honey bees. Swarms of honey bees. The first three bathrooms we stopped at all looked like this. Honey bees may be disappearing everywhere else, but they are alive and well in J Tree.

Oh, and Joshua Tree also has some remarkably marvelous rocks for climbing, jutting out of the landscape in great jumbled piles. It’s like God’s gravel truck drove around in random patterns dumping piles of granite and sandstone-like rock. Or, as Rosalie, Eugene, Phillip and I decided: they were like enormous piles of fossilized horse and bird poop.

The years of erosion have created remarkable patterns and textures on the rocks, making them easy to climb and grip with bare hands and feet. There were even a few rocks that had eroded into hand holds like you see on artificial climbing walls. Like the beautiful fifty or so foot rock that had hand holds all the way to the top. So cool! But, word of warning, the eroded granite has lots of tiny sharp edges, leading to a few nice scrapes, cuts, and a sliced open middle finger. Yeah… never fold your other fingers back and suck the blood out of your middle finger, you will realize after a moment that you are flipping off all your friends.

Amongst the rocks we found a shady spot with a tunnel that led down through the jumble of rocks. It was hard for Henrietta and her short little legs to maneuver down through, but a leap into Rosalie’s arms worked out pretty well. On the way down, through and out we found two colossal rocks nearly touching, but held apart by a tiny rock, no larger than my fist. I dubbed it Atlas

And then came the Cholla Gardens. There were randomly scattered Jumping Cholla cacti all throughout the park, but suddenly there were thousands. And then after about a mile, they were back to only a scattered few. Beautiful; and although it was a look-don’t-touch situation Rosalie thought I should hug one.

After the Cholla was the Ocotillo grove where we watched the sunset over Joshua Tree. Because there were no clouds it wasn’t very spectacular, but this is my favorite sunset shot. And on the way home it stayed in the 100s until 10:30 at night.

28 June 2008

When guineas fly...

I don't know why, but instead of saying 'when pigs fly' I've decided that I would much rather say 'when guinea pigs fly', it just sounds better to me. So, based on this I decided to create flying guineas. It took awhile, but here is the result:

23 June 2008

A walk in Llano

Every morning and every evening, Wolfsbane, Henrietta, and Sarah get a walk, so I went along and took pretty pictures :)

These signs make me laugh

Sunset with the L.A. aqueduct in the foreground

22 June 2008


We are the bored, and have decided to see how the Chinese zodiac years match up with us:

Rosalie is a yang earth dragon, which means she is: powerful, militaristic, prideful, prudent, stable, reliable, hardworking, very energetic, seeks to conquer, tenacious, governed by service and duty to others, magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self assured, proud, zealous, passionate, can be arrogant, tyrannical, violent, and demanding.

Emily is a yin fire rabbit, which means I'm: dramatic, humanitarian, adventurous, restless, competitive, strong, single minded, love to laugh, gracious, kind, sensitive, soft spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, astute, compassionate, can be moody and superficial. (we laughed long and loud that one characteristic is 'seeks sensitivity in a lover')

Irony at it's finest... and then Rosalie went off on all the power signs and who connects to who and how they work together and Eugene was a yin metal sheep and Alana was a yin wood ox... seriously, who comes up with these things? But moral of the story:

Together Rosalie and I are yin and yang!

Who would have thought :P

California thus far

It all began on June 18th at 1:35 pm when I arrived in Ontario, CA and Miss Rosalie Staley picked me up at the airport. She decided that we should head off on an adventure before we went back to her house... it turned out to be longer and more complicated than I thought it would. At first we went to El Pollo Loco for lunch (most tasty, I would recommend it) and then headed towards and past Los Angeles. Soooo many nice cars: Lexus, BMW, Jaguars, Mercedes, Bentley, and a Ferrari (but that Ferrari is a whole 'nother story). We ended up at the beach in Santa Monica, where it was almost 90 degrees, way too many pretty buildings and insane gas prices (4.83 a gallon for regular). After walking down to the beach and passing a few good looking surfer dudes we traversed the hot sand and were swamped by a few too many waves. The sea foam was amazing, I've never seen it so white before. And although the ocean was beautiful, the smog in the sky made the whole picture a little less surreal.

Oh yes, and there were seagulls, and I got to see a Heermann's gull, which was a life lister for me :)

And then we got back on the road, intending to go up the coast, but then appeared the sign Right Turn Only, so... we went south and headed for Beverly Hills. I experienced LA traffic at it's finest, as it took us 7 minutes to go a 1/2 mile on the 405 (yes, and I discovered Californians say 'the' before the street number!) So Rosalie and I then became tourists and explored Beverly Hills and Hollywood using the method of:
"Right or left?"
"Um, left!"
"Dang, there's a car behind us!"
"Go right, go right!"
To sum it up we saw gorgeous multi-million dollar cars and homes, lots of famous streets and buildings, and after an hour of very narrow winding streets and many false or inconvenient sitings we found the Hollywood sign! It said don't park, but ya know... it was dark and we had to be perfectly still to take a good picture...

Amongst all those winding roads I found my Ferrari! I promise, it has the logo on the back of the cover.

And then we drove to Llano, CA and I finally met the Staley family. I like them :)

Summer time and thus begins the blog

Well, it's official, Emily (Em or Emmy or Emi) now has a blog. And would you like to know the profound reason behind it? Well... because I thought Brian's was cool, and although I may never be as cool as Brian or post as good of pictures, this should still be kinda fun. And now I shall be ridiculous (as normal) and post a separate blog for today.