On being wrong…

I am wrong. A lot. I am ready to admit it.

Case in point, this past week, my husband and son decided to take some time and enjoy our summer.  On Tuesday, we decided to go to the Milwaukee Zoo. Because I am a bit of a crazy perfectionist (who may or may not be a tad obsessive), it’s possible that I may have slightly over prepared for this relaxing activity. I printed coupons, maps, and details instructions on how to get to the zoo. I had prepared an itinerary that included train rides, the antique carousel, seeing all the animals, attending the seal show, and of course an amazing picnic lunch. I packed water bottles, sun block, mosquito repellent, and extra socks.  We were going to have a fantastic day.

Forty-five minutes into the trip, I realized that I forgot the backpack containing all of those amenities, including directions on the kitchen table.  I was (extremely) mad at myself, but I knew that I remembered the directions exactly.  Being the somewhat controlling driver, I navigated the way I was SURE was the right way, even as my husband pointed to the sign that said “Milwaukee County Zoo” as it was flying by.   He may have politely suggested that I missed the exit. I may have ignored him. 

I knew I remembered the number of the exit and it was not that one. I was right. He was wrong. I was sure of it. (Insert exasperated sigh here.) Continue reading “On being wrong…”

Introducing the new Promega.com

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011. Today there is palpable excitement in the air.  It’s 6:20am and other than the web team, the Promega campus is quietly slumbering.  It’s a sunny, crisp spring day; a day for blossoms and new beginnings.

Fuel for the day.

My friends and colleagues are slowly rolling into work, bringing enough food to feed a small army.   The table in the middle of our floor is filled with donuts, egg casseroles, potato dishes, fruit salad, coffee cake, and 6 lbs of bacon.  This is not a day to diet.

Today, we are rolling out the brand new Promega.com.  It is the end of an 18-month project and the beginning of a new digital platform for our company.  This project, for me personally, has been an epic journey.   There are many metaphors that have passed through my head to describe the process:  having a baby, finishing graduate school (although at times high school was a more appropriate analogy), planning a wedding and getting married….whatever the comparison, it is a major milestone. Continue reading “Introducing the new Promega.com”

Summer Programs at the BTCI

One of the best parts of working for Promega is exposure to some of the amazing science related programs that are happening in our community.  Promega is a Program Partner with the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute, also located in Fitchburg, WI.    There are quite a few summer programs that I thought were worth highlighting. This summer the BTCI, along with the African American Ethnic Academy, is hosting “A Celebration of Life: Healthy Planet”, a summer program for upper elementary and middle school students.  The primary goal of the partnership between the BTCI and the Academy is to support African American students’ interest in the life sciences and provide them with the tools for success in school.

For some of the older students, high school seniors and undergraduates have the opportunity to participate in the week long “Forensic DNA Analysis” course, which offers great hands-on lab experience processing human samples for forensic DNA analysis.  Instead of spending the summer watching CSI on the couch, students can spend it in a lab working with real DNA.  How cool is that?

I wish that I had participated in programs like these when I was younger.  Little did I know that I would be working for a life sciences company when I grew up!  I feel that those of us here in Madison are supremely fortunate to have these opportunities available for our younger students as well as those of us who are, ahem, older.

For more information about the BTCI, check out their website.

Do you know of any other amazing science programs for students this summer?  If so, post them here!

Big Hairy Nylons Help Save the Ocean

The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is on my mind.  For over 3 weeks, an estimated 200,000 gallons of oil are leaking into the water.  Daily.  I think of the fish, the fowl, the fishermen, and how tragic this is for our eco-system.  There are over 400 wildlife species being threatened by this disaster, including whales, tuna, shrimp, birds, and even land animals.

picture of hair booms
Nylon Hair Booms: Photo courtesy of www.matteroftrust.org

As of the writing of this blog, there is still oil tumbling into the ocean.  Scientists and concerned citizens have been offering solutions to the problem, ranging from non-functional to somewhat helpful. Even as the leakage still exists, many people are focusing on how to clean up the mess left behind.  This solution is one of my favorites.

Recycled nylons and hair.

Continue reading “Big Hairy Nylons Help Save the Ocean”

Organ Donation: A Tribute to a Hero

I didn’t want to write this blog. I am sad, angry, tired, confused, and not in the mood to write. I wanted to ask someone to cover for me. But I have a story to tell, and it’s an important story.

Sarah and John dancing

This week, my brother and sister-in-law lost one of their best friends. Her name is Sarah, and she suffered cardiac and respiratory arrest on Friday. Their grief is unknowable, unmanageable, and raw. I knew Sarah, having met her many times. I laughed with her, danced with her, rocked out to my brother’s band with her, and watched her be a best friend to my little brother.

Sarah has a family and group of friends that are in shock at her passing. Words do not express the feelings of grief.

But because of Sarah, on Wednesday, something miraculous happened for someone else. Continue reading “Organ Donation: A Tribute to a Hero”

Obstinately Overprotecting Odin

I woke up this morning and worried about my 2 year-old son, Odin.  Is he eating enough leafy greens?  Is he socializing well with others? Is this demanding and snarky attitude he is newly exhibiting a permanent part of his personality? Will ramming his head into the table while playing soccer in the house prevent him from going to the Ivy League school of his choice?

My son, in the ONLY car he will ever drive, in Westgate Mall.

It’s normal for parents to worry about their kids, but after reading an article entitled “Mom and Dad, stop stifling me –it’s damaging my brain” by Wendy Zukerman on the NewScientist.com website, I am rethinking my hovercraft tendencies.  My overprotective inclinations may be more than just irritating and neurotic.  Is it possible that I may be damaging my little shortie’s brain? Continue reading “Obstinately Overprotecting Odin”

Gold Medal Awarded to Promega Employee (for the Silly Olympics)

So tonight is the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.  I can hardly wait for them to begin. The excitement of the crowd, the camaraderie of the athletes, the unending coverage on NBC.  I am continually inspired by the stories of perseverance and dedication.  I yearn to be a person who looks pain and fear in the face and says “Bring it ON!” like the competitors do each year. My favorite competitor, Lindsey Vonn, is currently injured and healing herself with cheese.  I’m not making this up. What is there not to love?

I used to have great aspirations about being an Olympian. Unfortunately, I have no athletic skill to speak of.  I have tried snowboarding (face-planting), downhill skiing (leg-breaking), ice skating (ankle-straining), and luge.  I’m actually quite good at the luge,  but that’s another story. I will admit that the photo on this page is not me, but rather Alex Gough of Canada. I’m usually too fast for people to snap good photos.

World Cup Luge

However, my greatest victory is my Gold Medal in the Silly Olympics. Every year, when I was young, my parents used to host the Silly Olympics at our house.  Inspired by a rather famous Monty Python sketch of the same name, my Mom, bless her heart, wanted me to feel like I was good at something.

Our competitions centered around the wheelbarrow races, the egg in the spoon race (note: works better with hard boiled eggs), the silly animal walk competition, and as a clever parenting tool, the veggie eating contest. It was great fun, we giggled until we couldn’t stand it any more, and the prize was a large gold medal on a red, white, and blue ribbon. Later on in life, I learned that it was actually an “honorable mention” bowling award my Mom won in 1974. But to me, it was the best prize ever.

So good luck Olympians. And Lindsey, if the cheese doesn’t work, you can always come to my house for the Stinky Cheese game of the 2010 Silly Olympics. But you really don’t stand a chance to beat this Gold Medal winner!

Top 10 Websites of 2009 (9 According to Me and 1 According to You)

Part of my job is to understand what is happening in the constantly changing world of the Internet.  I spend more time online per week than most people spend working, sleeping, and having fun put together.  And while this is NOT always a good thing, there are several reasons why I love the World Wide Web.  Aside from constantly changing content, new ideas popping up faster than I could ever hope to find them, and the connection of people from different backgrounds, there are several websites that make me really happy. Continue reading “Top 10 Websites of 2009 (9 According to Me and 1 According to You)”