Saturday, May 14, 2011

Preparing the Experiment

The measure I use for how significant an event or person is in my life is it's appearance in my sleep. For example, when winter begins to approach, I suddenly develop these dreams of speeding down a mountain, carving and flying through the snow. Floating on top of white with the tips of my skis. Those are nice dreams.

Last night, I dreamed that I had hundreds of these clear plastic containers. Everywhere I looked, there were these ominous... plastic... containers. And I had to sort them so that each container had the right contents - the right lake water and sediment and the correct volume of nutrient, phosphorus or nitrogen, added. A herculean task which exhausted me in the dream as much as it had during the actual day of planning for this experiment. Not the most pleasant of dreams.

It looks so innocent, but don't be tricked.
This little cup has become the current
bane of my existence.

The trouble with field work is the uncertainty of every decision. This exact set up has never been done before so there is no procedure sheet in a lab manual that I can just follow and be happy with. That, and I really don't know what I'm doing. I can try to plan for the things that I need, but I am in so far over my head (ha, water joke when I'm doing limnology - study of lakes... haha. K, not so funny) in this field. Especially the chemistry. It's been a while since I took chem, and I've never had to actually apply any of it so it never really stuck. And that is where this experiment is coming up against a wall. The pressure to get this planned fast is pushing from behind and I know on the other side of the wall, there is the lake and the tundra, but the chemistry has firmly built itself, cinder block by cinder block, in front of me.

So there's that hurdle. Then there's the whole bit about having to make sure that I have everything I need for the next 3 months.

Oddly enough, this is following pretty closely to the to do list of my first post. That's good, right?


  1. I'm incredibly confident that even though it seems to be a situation that will be difficult to maneuver through at first, you are going to do great! From the limited time we've spent rock climbing, I've noticed how observant you are and how quickly you think on your feet. Amazing superwoman like qualities that will get you past many hurdles. All the best =)

  2. Thanks, Anum! With all the uncertainty about this project and getting up there and the planning... That was really nice to hear! Hopefully, those qualities won't abandon me when a polar is only meters away!