My Thankful List :)

22 11 2012

On this wonderful holiday, full of stuffing my face with turkey and pumpkin pie (oh, how I love you, pumpkin pie), I thought I would take a second to reflect over my last year and tell you all about what I’m really thankful for.

The beginning of the hike down Heartbreak Hill (B. Blaud)

 

Last year, on Thanksgiving, around this time of 11:14am, I was preparing to go out in the field on San Nicolas Island.  We were headed to Site 8, which involves a 2-mile hike to get to our chosen tide pool.  The hike to the site isn’t so bad, all down hill and passed hauled out California sea lions and elephant seals, a bit brutal on the knees but nothing to stress about.  The run itself went smoothly, which was a blessing following the devastating failure the day before.  The sperm-sized particles were clogging the tube and not flowing consistently, so we tried removing the drip trap and connecting the tube directly to the bag the night before.  It worked, and I had my second complete, successful run.

 

After the run was completed, all the samples collected and everything packed back into my backpack, we took turns carrying the burden back up the hill.  The first 1 ½ mile back isn’t back, but the last ½ mile involves a 600-foot climb, which is, in a word, BRUTAL!  To save my pride, I insist on looking for whales in the ocean every 100-feet or so (ok, sometimes every 50-feet.  Don’t judge!).

 

E.O.D.B. (B. Blaud)

Once we reach the top of the mountain, we celebrate our success and survival summiting Heartbreak Hill (as the hill was christened decades ago) with an End Of the Day Beer (EODB), kept chilled in a cooler of ice.  Nothing tastes as sweet as a cold beer at the end of a long day of fieldwork and good hike.  When we get back to Nick Town, I cleaned off my equipment and stored my samples for safe travel back to Seattle while the rest of the team started on dinner, and what a dinner it was! Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, green bean casserole, warm rolls, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and lots of wine.  Yum!!!

 

 

Mike Kenner’s improvised turkey baster (B. Blaud)

This trip and the following trips were great opportunities following the loss of funding.  March and April were spent measuring particles in my numerous water samples and analyzing the results.  During the summer though, I hit a bit of a slump.  I was no longer doing fieldwork, all my samples were processed and analyzed, and my future fieldtrips were months away.  I became unmotivated and uninspired.  I was still faced with the same lack of funding, so circumstances looked pretty bleak.  Everything always works out though, and I know this!  I just had to hold on, keep working and doing my best, but sometimes, you lose sight.  To promote my project and let you all know what I’ve been up to, I started this blog.  In writing about what got me into researching abalone and what an amazing species they are, I started to get excited again.  I fell in love with my research all over again.  I describe this in my interview with Anthony in his Notebook.

 

 

SciFund – Black Abalone Dating Service

At a conference at the end of September, when discussing the situation I was in with a fellow researcher, they suggested I try crowfunding on RocketHub.  It was less than a week later that I received an email from SAFS about fundraising through SciFund, which is promoted on RocketHub.  Everything is worth a try, so I went for it.  This bring us up to present, Thanksgiving Day of 2012, and my thankful list:

 

Mainly, I’m thankful for my friends and family, who have unconditionally supported me.  You have cheered my successes; been my shoulder to cry on; offered advice, ideas, and support; read my writings and drafts; and most importantly, are there.

I’m thankful for all my fuelers generous support.  On RocketHub, I have raised $1,150 and am at 46% of my goal with 22 days left.  I’m confident and optimistic that we will get there!

I am in awe of the wonderful opportunity I have to work with an incredibly species in a truly relevant field of conservation biology and ecology.  I’m doing what I love, and someday (hopefully sooner rather than later) will have a piece of paper that says all of you must call me Master.  That’s what a Master’s degree means, right?

I should also mention that I’m thankful for this blog, for reminding me what I do and why, and why I love it.  Sometimes, we just need to be reminded.  It’s actually been a busy month so far with my project and the fundraising; so much so that I have struggled keeping up with my promised 3 posts a week, but will work on it and do better!

 

So in closing, I wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving!  May you all eat too much and spend it in wonderful company!

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