Well, I'm just a little ol' ball of tears today. I was doing okay until we were all finishing up, and Pat, who is on vacation this coming week, gave me a hug. Then I started losing it. I was trying to keep it together, but then I looked up and my pal Jimi looked all sad, so I went over and gave him a hug. He was sitting down, so it was easier! I cried all the way home, dammit. I've got till the end of the week to go, so I'd better get a grip. I don't know what the heck is the matter with me. I guess when you work with people for 10 years, they get to be like part of your family.
I took my camera today, so I'll share a few pictures with you. There will be more (not just of the lab and my coworkers--I want to see if I can get a good picture of our pet tapeworm, and maybe the botfly larvae, which also has a neat, icky story--you can hardly wait, can you?!), but I wanted to be sure to take my camera today, because I only see Jim on the weekends.
Here's my pal Jillian, sitting at the anaerobic chamber. Doesn't she have a nice smile? She's the one who just told us that she is expecting, and I'm sure you can see the happy glow about her. Wait...that's just the lights from the chamber. But she is an exceptionally happy and fun person under most circumstances! She was a student a few years ago, and I got to help train her both as a student and as a new tech. She's an excellent microbiologist, and I'll take just a tiny bit of credit for that, because it's mostly just because she's smart, conscientious, and a quick learner!
Jillian also is the one who started our book club, which has proven to be really interesting. We've read some books that I've really enjoyed, and would never have read otherwise, so I'm looking forward to several more years of going through the list of 100! Not to mention meeting up with them once a month to discuss the book...among other things.
Here is Pat, who was kind enough to pose nicely for a picture, after initially walking away from me as I tried to get a picture of her! Pat joined our lab shortly after I did, and has lots of experience. She's also lived in various places, such as Dallas, Arizona, and San Francisco, so she always has information about other areas. It's fun to talk to her about San Francisco, one of my favorite cities. You can also see a bit of our work areas behind her--my usual spot is at the chair and computer just behind her. If you look closely, you can see my little foot rest beneath my chair. I have to sit up so high that I need a foot rest. Ha!
Pat and I also talk a lot about politics. She is very well-informed, and I'd say that we tend to be fairly close in our philosophies: fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.
Here is Pam, who really doesn't like to have her picture taken. Too bad! Pam has been here for 30+ years, and she has been my friend through some rough times, and I hope she feels I've been hers through some of her rough times. Pam is one of the most outspoken people I've ever met, and I think I've learned from her to speak up, not just for myself, but for what is right and ethical in the lab. We've been laughing lately, because it seems like we're on some kind of weird similar wavelength, where we even finish each other's sentences. I've also learned that while Pam has a tough attitude on the outside, she's a softie on the inside. I don't think I'm spilling any beans here...we all know it. The jig is up, Pam!
This is Alissa, AKA the Egg Lady (they have chickens, and have brought us all dozens and dozens of fresh eggs). Alissa started shortly after I did, and I helped with her training, too. She loves Microbiology, and we've often talked about how we both knew right away that Micro was what we wanted to do. She's also had some entertaining stories over the years, whether about family, friends, dogs, or the huge spiders in their house in the country! (She says that when she was sweeping the kitchen floor one time, a big spider came out of the register and started attacking the broom...and I believe her. We grow 'em big out in the boondocks.) Alissa and I worked a lot of evening shifts together, and those were some interesting times....
Here is Eugene, he of the beautiful accent. (He speaks...oh, a mere 5 or 6 languages.) Eugene is from Rwanda, and while he has experienced things that we can't even begin to imagine, he remains one of the kindest, most optimistic, and upbeat individuals I've ever met. He also came through our lab as a student, and I was his instructor a few times. I remember one day when he totally comprehended what we were talking about, and he said, "I'm learning! I'm really learning!" It's moments like those that make everything worth it.
Eugene is such a peach--seeing his smile in the morning makes ME smile. We also laugh about how he's so hardcore when it comes to his motorcycle. He rides that baby when it's in the 40's around here. Yikes!
Finally (at least for today), here's my buddy Jim, AKA Jimi (as in Hendrix). He also started a little after I did, and I helped in Jim's training, too. We started off with Molecular testing. For whatever reasons, we hit it off immediately. Maybe it was our mutual love of music. He's a musician (a guitarist) and a fan, and I'm just a fan. Or maybe it was our mutual love of sports. We were both in a fantasy basketball league for a while! (If I recall, he and Rob totally kicked my ass.) Or maybe it was just our similar, twisted senses of humor. Whatever! Jim can always make me smile, and we always end up laughing our asses off about something.
At the end of the summer, Jim will be taking my place on day shift (he works evenings now). I fully expect an opportunity for an occasional get-together, whether here at Nutwood, or meeting up somewhere after he gets off work. Sometimes you meet people who you know will be your friend for life...that's how I feel about Jim.
As for our warped senses of humor, Jim said he'd like to have a picture of the two of us, so Eugene took this one. I believe I've mentioned that Jim is a big guy. Eugene started turning the camera lengthwise so that he could get all of us in, and I said to not worry about it...Eugene said, "It will only be from here [points to his waist] up!" I said that was okay. We just totally cracked up when we looked at this picture. Jim said, "It's like I'm standing there with my son!" Yeah, except Nathan is taller than I am! Ha!
More to come. In the meantime, I hope my eyes aren't all puffy tomorrow, and I'm glad I don't wear mascara.