Fluorophores and molecular masses. Real life experiences in the lab.

Above is a picture of a seahorse plate, it had been left on the bench for a couple of weeks. The pretty colours must be from the fluorescent probes. The reason the middle wells are darker is that the outer ones dried first, meaning the inner ones has fluorophores leeching into them for longer. Or they are like that because it looks pretty.

Today I wrote some chemical masses on my glove. I went to write them down in my labbook to find the numbers gone… I had not changed gloves. It was strange but I didn’t think anything more of it until three hours later at home in the bath I realised I’d written on my hand not my glove! Phew! No psychosis here.

Home dramas – I wish my life was more  like this:

cute huh?

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Continuing forhead woes

Dear acne-infested forhead,
I shall henceforth endeavour to:

-Resist the urge to pick at all lumps and bumps with my nails (and certainly not repeatedly until I’m bleeding…)
-Honour my thirst by drinking water as well as coffee (not instead..)
-Stop rubbing my face dry on towels of questionable sterility
-avoid over-exfoliation
-Keep stress levels to a minimum
-Get better quality sleep

So you’d better sod off or I’m pulling out the oral antibiotic arsenal. Mmmk?

That is all.

In which Casper and I tackle a traffic cone

Another sunny Sunday afternoon. Another country meander with my (slightly de-muddified) equine friends.

Casper was visibly pleased that he was getting a full body massage and having his mud face mask removed! He was also pleased to find his bridle deficient in flash, and this all summed up to mean he wouldn’t be left behind like last weekend! He’s such a dear, honestly. While we waited for my friend to mount Melly, I checked out if I thought Casper was trained to the respond to a one rein stop, now as far as I can tell from YouTube, he responded like a pro :-B then I thought I’d push my like and ask for a turn on the quarters…we did a semicircle (or close enough) then I tried the other direction…but…no dice….but he is always a bit iffy bending or turning right. Anyway hackwards we went. Passing the usual dog  walkers, cyclist etc, squelching inelegantly through the January mud. Casper quite likes to pretend to be exotic animals….we play giraffes when putting on das  bridle, and we play elephants when out riding, following Mel and trying his best to stay behind her..that’s antisocial to say the least so I asked him  to catch up . He begrudging agreed and all was well until we met a traffic cone. Melly, of course,  gave it as wide a berth as possible, and I figured Casper could choose how he wanted to circumvent it. But. To my dismay he just walked over it,  passing it between both front and back legs and only brushing it with his belly, leaving it standing just as it was!  I almost wet myself laughing and Casper clearly didn’t get the joke, I mean, I didn’t ASK him to avoid it so he just carried on. As his rider I showed no fear of the traffic cone and therefore he trusted me!

Such a funny boy 🙂 but we love him.

When we got back, Mel was turned out into the field while Casper had his feet dealt with. But. Melly decided obviously he was getting some treats that she wasn’t and came galloping through into the stable area! She then proceeded to check his breath for mint or carrot, then clung to him, making untacking a challenge, so i took him in his stable (narrowly avoiding a two-horses-and -a-human-in-one-stable party! He was kind of content having his feet cleaned and painted (what with the hay net and second grooming) but he was cross to be put back into the stable and secured into his pjs while his friend was still out running on the grass! He called her, but by then she must have been able to smell the tar and decided she was better off where she was! Post meal (and post human cup of hot beverage time) Casper looked so cute staring over his stable door that I figured I would chance some photos, but alas, the mere sight of a phone near his head made him pull the most awful faces! Standing as if hypnotised by the inside of his stable. Even polos could not enduce cute face for long enough for a snap! So the above photo is from a few weeks ago.

I am the contact lens optician’s dream…and other unnecessary information

I got a new phone. It does all kind of weird camera Things! Above is a photo taken from under a duvet…

Proof, as if I needed it, that I’m not unhealthily skinny any more.

I go to take a random labcoat..out of curiosity check the size (written on the pocket) male, middle aged colleague says
“YOU’LL never fit into THAT! you aren’t much smaller than me!

Proof that I don’t care that much…I wore it, it fitted ok but I’d usually go for S just for some extra arm length. This guy never saw me uber skinny and not eating, so he’s always seen me as healthy and normal, which, I suppose, is a win. I whinged to other lab members about his rudeness rather than getting upset.


I have, however gained a couple of pounds (as per dietetic instruction) and feel pretty physically awesome. I also bought a fleece for horse riding which only fitted in XS so up yours rude colleague, just because he looked entirely ridiculous in an XS labcoat!

As you can see I’m not procrastinating, oh no, not one bit. Well, maaaaybe I spent ten mins this morning listening to clips from ren and stimpy….

On a different topic alltogether, I went back to the optician re: contact lenses only to find the regular lady was away and I saw a crazy Russian lady instead. I explained on the phone to the annoying guy there, that I needed to get some more contacts so that the optician can check my vision with them in…so he tells me i need to pay them £35…erm….no…I need contact lenses first, Im not paying for aftercare when I have no product..

anywhoos I’m not sure if that lady believed my tale of this phone conversation, but regardless she examined my eyes – fluorescein and light and all that, then, to my dismay, she turned my lower eyelid inside out! I did the only sane thing anyone could do, which was jump back and ask what the heck she thought she was doing! she rolled here eyes in her mind and proceeded slightly against my will, to turn both eyelids inside out to look at them :(. We discussed my options – so, I want contacts, but I don’t want to have to wash them and re-use due to laziness / fear of contamination, I want my astigmatism corrected – so it has to be daily toric ones. Except, I want to be able to wear them for over 12 hours if necessary . Fine, what about high oxygen permeable Clariti? oh no, I can’t have those because I can’t get them out of my eyes, they get stuck….have I tried swiping downwards? eeeeew, no! that’s gross…yuck, I’m not doing that (I see, of course….) oh did I mention that my eyes are very dry so I can only have very moist lenses or I’ll be scratching my eyes out with rubbing? What about Accuvue moist daily? I don’t like them because they swim around my eyes and I can only wear them for 12 hours. As was iterated several times during this 15 mind appointment, I am indeed the contact lens optician’s dream!! We’ll see what they can come up with for me – like a magical spell that makes me see properly without having to do anything to my eyes, or that requires keeping my glasses on my face rather than on top of my head!

btw. two days later I have developed some kind of blister type cyst effort on the inner lower lid….if she infected my eye I’m not gonna be best pleased. coincidence? or conspiracy?

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Pony control issues :/


How fun was Sunday? Im not sure…I mean, my friend asked me to exercise her pony for her which should have been fine, but madam was in a bit of a frisky mood and doesn’t trust me on the best of days! As my friend couldn’t ride due to headache / lack of balance that meant that Casper, who I usually ride, had to stay on his oan back at the field. Neither of them were happy about this. Melly was calling for him for half a mile! Only stopping when I distracted her with some serpentines! She’s very well schooled and only needs very light aids. We meandered along in the bitter cold trotting here and there and fitting in a bit of rudimentary schooling in a nice flat grassy expanse. On the way back, however, two horses appeared up ahead of us. Much excitement, let me tell you! Now Mel being an alpha mare decided it was unacceptable for her to be behind those horses and she NEEDED to catch up…ok this wasn’t such a problem until they started trotting…we were on a narrow gravel track flanked by ditches and madam rather thought it would be fun to stick her head up so I couldn’t stop her and just canter along the gravel…now thats not a smart move…so I tried my best to pull her up but in response to shake off my contact she shook her head and stepped onto the edge of the ditch…
Oh my.
My biggest fear of hacking is landing up in a ditch with a horse on top of me…thankfully we centred the path again and in desperation I called to the riders ahead asking if they could walk please…they stopped, blockaded the path and I presently hopped off mellys back much preferring the safety of ground underneath me! After my friend caught up we waited for those horses to be swallowed by the hedges then I hopped back on board and road the little tinker home! Im kind of proud I got back on and although a better plan might have been to turn her around and trot the other way, my instinct said ‘you aren’t in control here’ so I took my window of opportunity and Mel was immediately subdued and presently munched on grass! Little terror! I literally got back on the horse, how about that!

So it was kind of fun and educational ish but I got cold and a bit scared! Another plus was that Mel’s saddles slips sideways very easily, what with being, erm, rotund, so I was quite surprised to find myself perfectly balanced after all that excitement! Yay balance! And my friend watching us charge off, wondering why I didn’t just turn her around…I was so embarassed!

Casper was glad to see us come back and I fed them quartered apples which they thought were delicious.

And we all lived to tell the tale!

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Flickers, some dreams, some abstract phrases

You know those days when you feel unshakably dead inside?
That happened.

For sometime allegedly trying not to procrastinate, im doing a lot of not getting up when the damned alarm goes.

For someone so used to hearing about precisely how they are a disappointment and failure each day I was still stung by the accusation that I am the laziest person SO has ever met.

For a lazy person I did a lot of housework today.

For a publicly visible blogger I talk one hell of a lot about yours truly.

As you can see, words are not flowing in a particularly lyrical or informative way. But if I don’t vent some simmering thoughts then I’ll only get depressed and migrainous.

I wanted to write about bike reflectors and angles of diffraction, or about my new cute fleece (meant fir horse riding), or the status of scientific publishing, or my thoughts on China meiville, or about an ancient craft project. But I don’t much feel like it today. So I’ll just write about my dreams.

I dreamt that I was single, younger, back when I lived in Suffolk, that I had been out drinking with friends but only had one alcoholic drink then switched to juice while all others continued on their tipple of choice, cos I was driving. We pootled back to my grans house for late night chatting but I started to feel very awkward and had to go sit on my own. I was pondering the chances of hooking up with one of those guys but figured I hadn’t drunk enough to have the confidence to try and approach them. Gran made some snacks for us all and encouraged me to go and socialise…but I asked her if she had any TiaMaria..I was in luck and poured myself a glass. I then went to see the others, some of whom had left, and struck a conversation up. I had a charged eye contact moment with that guy (honestly this was no-one I have ever seen or met in real life) when gran announced kicking out time, and I asked if they could all camp out in the garage? We went to the garage and I said to them to be careful of snakes. Just at that instant a snake darted for me, I tried to jump but to no avail, it bit me on the arse and to my horror, would not release it’s fangs. Don’t ask me why I was wearing a dress and no knickers…it was a dream…so, I mean, this whole situation was crippling painful and humiliating….we noticed some police officers next door and I hobbled over snake and all to ask for advice. She identified the beast and as I stood there the snake decided it was bored and dropped to the ground. I was told I probably didn’t need to go to a and e but hypochondriac as I am (a fricken weird snake bit my ass…) I realized my quandary: all my friends were over the limit and as of that TiaMaria, so probably was I..I was trying to work out what to do when someone prodded me in the other butt-cheek…except, that was real life…it was SO’s fun way of waking me up…good job he didn’t get the other side or honestly, I probably would have screamed out!

Last night’s memorable dream involved a visit to the Norfolk show…but things were weird. We looking around a few stalls then SO found a toy stall with a game where in the first level you had to feed a doll with beer and it would say rude things, the next stage was to put the dolls man-parts in ones mouth….now the sight of SO being utterly amused and the horrific possibility that someone could buy such a thing for a child by mistake was enough to make me leave the stand. I wandered the nearby places for over an hour waiting for him to emerge. When he didn’t, I went looking for him and found him passed out on the sofa of that toy place. The lady behind the counter told me he’d bought some drugs from her to try, that he’d be fine. I roused him to find someone totally and comprehensively off their face. I demanded info on what he had taken but she only had a name. I had trouble trying to get him up and walking but he was a total liability and talking absolute (although at times hilarious) nonsense. Walking to the bus I got pickpocketed but caught them…I got everything except phone and wallet back (typical) so where did I drop them? Had to return to the toy stall where it turned out an ex of SO had been asking after him and wanted to know how much money he’d spent there (yeah I’d like to know that too bitch) oblivious to all tangeable events SO failed to notice when his ex decided to attack me…I’m not quite sure how this all ended but I do know that SO was unacceptably unmanageable being so high, and I kept on thinking, oh crap…I’m gonna have to drive us home….

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The queen of procrastination no longer?


I am exceptionally skilled at procrastination. I excel at locating a bucket of sand in which to dunk my head. My task avoidance record is in the world-rankings. I have, for example, an exemplary record when it comes to prioritising reading a novel over doing the washing up. I could happily research for hours about folklore or horsecare and yet manage not to pay the gas bill. I often consider sleep a priority over all else (work included) and have become unreliable and overwhelmed by the ever-growing list of undone difficult, urgent or important tasks abounding while I am staring into the ether postulating about reflection or dreams (see below)…and so I to.d myself over 30 but seemingly incapable of sending birthday cards, finishing work projects or even keeping in contact with friends and family.

The net result of my extreme avoidance and exuberant procrastination was: guilt, fear, powerlessness, depression, anxiety, paranoia… All those saturating things that I’m trying to shake from the web of my existence…and me just feeding the fire with every lie-in, every unresolved email and all the rest. I was so utterly engulfed by this tide before the xmas holiday, that I got repeatedly sick and achieved essentially nothing.

I do not want to live like that any more. I dont know if it’s the new year of trying to build confidence actually having effect…the looking for positive instead of fixation on negatives, but I am now trying very hard to do things as soon as I think of them. Cursed as I am with le memory de goldfishe, what hope do I have otherwise? This is working out well so far. I have done several boring but necessary things in the lab that I was trying to avoid (and would eventually have to do them in a rushed panic), im planning out my days carefully, and I’m keeping my calm.

With uncharacteristic tranquility I float around the lab, busying myself and taking care to tidy up afterwards. It feels pretty good. Im relaxed and able to think straight and although I am not working at full speed, I am making less mistakes and keeping better records!

Something upsetting happens, I try to let it wash over me. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people..so let’s see how long it lasts!

As for dreams…I dreamt that the boiler broke. I mean to say that I whole to subzero flat, ice on the windows and clearly no hot water or heating. Logic said…that’s not possible you live in a block of flats and considering it was 20 degrees when I went to bed it would have to be -50 or something outside….but regardless I investigated…the boiler had two error codes. E128 and e137. I hAbe no idea if that has any real life meaning but the boiler temp read 0C yet instead of turning the beast off I figured I would heat up the room using an electric heater to defrost the boiler, then try to get it going…dream fingers cannot type so google couldn’t help me much. Eventually the room got to 10C, boiler reset and started to work! Yay! All I could think was…im going to be late for work…why? Um. Cos my alarm had already been snoozer several times (real life) yet I was determined to revisit the dream and find out what happened!

“I get so upset,

Just hold me,

Don’t let me


What’s important,

What’s important.”

~So Long, Ida

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What’s so amazing about really deep thoughts?


Thoughts blossom like catkins on a willow.
Feathery and fragile they unfurl,
Tested by the wind
And nuzzled by bees.

Word strings just hanging by a thread.
Fearless and freely thrust into the light,
Just glad to be alive
And waiting for a mind to kiss.

Have you ever had blossoming tea? I highly recommend it. It tastes amazing partly due to their handcrafted nature and partly because of the beautiful and magical experience of watching am underwater flower bloom with flavour. This tea is something faeries would drink, so it’s definitely good enough for me. 🙂

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