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The Ups and The Downs

July 7, 2011

This is going to be a quick post because I am pressed for time with far too much work to do. Let me begin with the 4th of July in Lander. It is unlike anything you get anywhere, I am quite sure. Explosions started at roughly 9:30 AM on July 4th, and literally did not stop (and I mean did not stop) until 12:30 AM July 5th. This is both and Up and a Down for me. I love fireworks and the build-up of excitement for nightfall so we can set them off; however, this experience made me kind of hate fireworks a little. I walked to the Lander City Park to take part in the 4th BBQ, and it was truly a death defying half mile walk. There were 5 and 6 year old children, completely unattended, shooting off fireworks in all directions. I had to duck and dodge firework shrapnel multiple times. Just the surrounding sounds were terrifying and honestly sounded like a set on a war movie. There were the multi-shot fireworks that sounded like machine guns, and then the HUGE BOOMS which resembled landmines or exploding shells. I let out more than one scream of surprise. By about 3pm, I had it with fireworks, put headphones in, and tried to ignore my massive headache and the massive unending explosions the rest of the day…it was not easy. At about 10pm I decided to look out the window, and I am glad I did. I saw gorgeous aerial shots that lit up the sky in an array of colors.

The day after the fourth of July, my subjects came out of the mountains bringing with them the heart rate monitors I had them wear as well as urine samples from the doubly labeled water portion of this study. I went over to meet the course to collect all those things, and everyone was very happy to be back, get a shower, and get some real food. It was actually very nice to see them all…until one of the subjects came up to me and told me she lost her heart rate monitor in the mountains. I was stunned at first and did not quite comprehend what she was saying. I asked if she meant she lost it in her backpack and it may take her a while to dig it out. No…she lost it…in the middle of nowhere. AHHHH!!!! Not only was that $500 worth of equipment, but a loss of data, and a loss of one of only 3 female subjects on the semester. This was quite the disaster on many levels. The rest of the heart rate monitors appeared to have collected good data with the exception of one that did seem to pick up anything at all. That afternoon, I collected resting metabolic rates from 12 people, during which the computer system crashed three times and the building lost power. This was not a good day.

However, yesterday, yesterday went much better. I had to do treadmill tests on 12 subjects, and they all went extremely well without the slightest problem. I also got my phone working again which was a huge relief. I had been without a phone for almost a week due to sim card exhaustion which I did not even know existed. Apparently, sim cards can only register 9000 networks, my sim card reached that number last week rendering my phone useless until Tmobile could send me a new one. It was a long 14 hour day, but the work got done and it got done well.

Today, was a tiring but very good day. My new advisor found some money to buy a new heart rate monitor for me which is absolutely amazing and wonderfully supportive of him. Other than that, the day was filled with entering all the data of the past two days and beginning prep for the next month. I leave for Devil’s Tower on Sunday and will be there for a week. I head back to Lander for two days, and then go to City of Rocks, ID for a week and a half. I will be doing the heart rate monitor and doubly labeled water collections at both places. I also get to try out my new tent! Once I get back from City of Rocks, I hit the home stretch for the first half of this research project which will end with a little vacation back to St. Louis followed by a road trip back to Wyoming with Aaron!!! That is the prize upon which I keep my eye. Anyway, for now, I must get back to work prepping for the upcoming trips and upcoming data collection. I promise to have lots of fun pictures from my mini tour of the West. I miss everyone so very much and I hope you are all well.

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