Ten things I learned this past Halloween

Halloween is over, but writing about it is not. And because I love lists (you sick of lists yet guys?), here’s a super short post about ten glorious things Halloween taught me this year.

[ONE] Just because I’m a grad student doesn’t mean I don’t know how to have fun (and how to play a mean game of slap cap… or vortex… or whatever the hell you young people call it).

[TWO] I may still know to have fun… but it must all be done before my bedtime. Which is pretty much no later than 11:30pm (but really more like 9:30 pm).

[THREE] Sexy Halloween costumes? HELL NO. I’m rocking onesies for the rest of my halloweens.

 Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 9.41.31 PM IMG_5307

[FOUR] Pumpkin carving is just as fun as it was when I was three. But now my clumsy self has to handle the knives (and Mike will probably never let me carve a pumpkin ever again). And by making it all the way to pumpkin seed roasting… I think that makes me a real adult.

[FIVE] Mike is the Halloween Scrooge. Next year, he gets to rock a matching onesie as punishment.

[SIX] No one is safe from Halloween mayhem. Exhibit 1: Mike’s parked car being pummeled by another parked car which was run into by a supposedly malfunctioning car which had already run into a building and another car in our parking lot on Halloween afternoon.


Poor Mike’s car (on the left)

[SEVEN] Being warm is so much better than looking cool–Dear Mom: I forgive you (and thank you) for all the years you made me wear turtle necks under my costumes.

[EIGHT] Did I mention that onesies are everything? Yeah, onesies are everything.

[NINE] Hocus Pocus is [still] king.

[TEN] Being in charge of the halloween candy is hard. I have no self control.


I’ve never had any self control #teambabychubs

The king of the seasons: Fall A-Z

Now that the autumnal equinox has finally passed, I can officially declare it the start of my favorite season of the year: Fall! And while I really wanted to write a super insightful blog this week about “On being the slowest hiker” or “The beer of my adopted homeland (aka Wisconsin),” I just couldn’t resist making another fun list. I made it a little harder on myself this time by forcing myself to populate the whole alphabet (definitely semi-cheated on X and Z) with all the fun things about fall.

A — Apples, apple pies, apple cider. And Aaron Rodgers.

B — Boots. All the boots.

C — Color change. So many reds, oranges and yellows.

D — Dead things. (Like leaves and trees… and zombies and vampires)

E — Excellent eating: apples, pies, pumpkin things, tailgating food… seriously all the things.

F — Football. But mostly just Wisconsin Football (because all the other teams just don’t matter): Packers and Badgers.

G — GOURDS! Love me some decorative gourds.

H — Halloween. Haunted houses. Haunted hay-rides. And HOCUS POCUS.

I — Indian Summer.

J — Jack-O-Lanterns. Because pumpkin carving parties aren’t just for children.


jack-o-lanterns… Kenya style–fyi the right one says is giardia (photocred: GOBY)

K — Kit-Kats. So many leftover halloween candy kit-kats. (Sorry kids, they’re mine).

L — Leaves. Leaf piles. (Jumping in leaf piles. Racking leaf piles.)

M — Maple flavored things.

N — [No-shave] November.

O — Orchard adventures.

P — Pumpkin. Seriously, all the pumpkin flavored things.

Q — Quilts! Warm, cozy, glorious quilts.

R — Running. It’s just so much better in the fall.

S — Sweaters, scarves, and [thick] socks.

T — Thanksgiving. Turkey. Eat all the things.

charlie brown thanksgiving

U — Ugg boots. So ugly, but just oh so comfy.

V — Vote. (seriously, please vote.)

W — Weather. Not too cold. Not too hot.

X — Xenial season (i.e. the season of giving thanks)

Y — Yamitty yams.

Z — Zealous feasting.

…I’ll be the only geologist in the geology building rocking leggings, a blanket scarf and ugg boots while carrying at venti pumpkin spiced latte. #noshame

Things you should know before befriending a geologist

Us geologists are a special breed. We definitely aren’t like everyone else. So, if you’re thinking about befriending a geologist, there’s probably a few things you should know:

You can’t take us anywhere. Well, you can, but you’ve been forewarned… Geologists are distracted by everything. And when I say everything, I mean rocks. Rocks are everywhere. And we’re very good at finding them. And spending forever looking at them. And talking about them. And boring you with all the details about them. And debating with ourselves and each other about them. So like I said, you can’t take us anywhere.

We collect all the rocks. Okay, so not all the rocks… but definitely MOST of the rocks. When we hike, our packs are heavier coming down than they were going up. When we move, we have boxes of just rocks–so beware of agreeing to help a geologist move… we’ll probably make you carry all the heavy stuff. Every space we can claim as our own is filled with our rocks. Our kitchens, our living rooms, our bedrooms, our offices, and yes likely even our bathrooms play home to at least one of our magnificent rock finds.


Mike (still) rock hunting on the final day of our trek in Nepal

We will make you hike with us. And it won’t be just any kind of hike, it’ll be a geologist hike, which means we’ll make you stop every five seconds to look at rocks or we’ll race you to death up the mountain. We also have perfected the art of hiking in torrential downpour, or damning heat, or snowstorms, or up (and down) scree… and it won’t stop us from babbling away about the rocks or yes, even taking notes on our glorious homemade map boards. And if you dare ask us a question about geology, you’ll have opened a whole rabbit hole of topics that you probably will wish you hadn’t.

We make lame geology jokes. And like them. And think you like them too. Are you cummingtonite? That’s a gneiss schist. Rocks rock… you get the picture. We may roll our eyes when someone resorts the geology pun game, but deep down it makes all warm and fuzzy inside.

We like adult beverages. A lot. It hasn’t been a successful day in the field without some sort of liquid wonder. Beer is a major staple of our diet. We don’t go anywhere without a beer plan. And when we go to Utah, we make sure to stop in Colorado… or Wyoming to get the good beer before we go back to 3.2 land. And yes, some of us are fancier than others, so wine is the adult beverage of choice. However, don’t ever ask a group of geologist to agree on the best kind of liquor because consensus you won’t find (my vote is still gin guys).


We love to talk geology. Seriously. If you ask us a question, we won’t stop talking about it. And we LOVE when people ask us questions… because it lets us show all you “normal” people just how wonderfully smart and insightful we are. But when you bring us concrete and ask us to identify the rock, you should probably cross your fingers that our rock hammer isn’t within reach.

We love to hate bad geology movies. The Core. Dante’s Peak. Journey to the Center of the Earth. San Andreas. We love to hate them all. And we’ll probably make you watch them. And make you listen to us grumble about how horribly inaccurate they are. And we’ll definitely try to teach you everything the right way (whether you asked for it or not).

Field season is our happiest time of the year. Camping, getting dirty, rock hunting, mapping, researching, [working hard and playing hard]… we love all these things. Field season is the time of the year when we get to do all these glorious things. But sorry, we can’t invite you. It’s an exclusive club kind of thing. And for those of us whose fieldwork is a one-time deal or whose fieldwork has already been completed, we just hope and pray that one of our rock loving friends will let us tag along on their own field adventures.

We ALWAYS remember that one time at field camp. You know that time? We have absolutely no shame constantly reminding all you normal folk just how awesome our field camp/field trip/field season experience was. And when our field groups reunite, SO MANY INSIDE JOKES.

And last but not least… We will try to convert you. 

The to-do list of a new graduate student


This week’s Wednesday post-day is short and sweet. No quirky intro; just a list of things I’ve been mentally adding to my own to-do list and things others around me have been adding to their own.

  • Read. All. The. Things.
  • Make friends (with people, not lab equipment).
  • Impress your advisor.
  • Find your advisor if he/she is or has gone missing.
  • Start all the glorious research.
  • Hunt down all the advice (like learning where the free pizza is or how not to throw your computer out the window trying to use an online textbook).
  • Find your office.
  • Set-up your office.
  • (And if you’re feeling fancy) Get a name-tag for your office.
  • Don’t get lost.
  • Be a cool TA. Not be an awful TA. Just get your students to turn in their assignments.
  • Add “cheers” to the end of all your mass class emails (because you’re a classy individual).
  • Take all the cool classes you couldn’t as an undergrad.
  • Take less classes than you did as an undergrad.
  • Find the BEST coffee.
  • Find the nearest coffee.
  • Sniff out the free food.
  • Go to the free food.
  • Find the beer. And the bars. (Especially the Wisconsin bars).
  • Learn all the matlab.
  • Get all your keys.
  • Don’t lose your keys.
  • Write a clever blog about how super well-rounded you are (or just ramble on about silly things forever and ever).
  • Mingle with the cooler, more experienced grad students.
  • Find non-geologists to bug sometimes.
  • Exercise… ? Or just learn to bike to class without dying.
  • Attend all the colloquiums.
  • Go outside. Sometimes.
  • Have fun. Don’t cry.