Monthly Archives: October 2011

Anniversary Tradition- the first 3 years…

A few weeks ago I wrote about my third wedding anniversary here.  Well, we have a little anniversary tradition that we’ve been repeating for the past three years since Mac and I were married.

This is the wedding photo that hangs on the wall in our living room-


We were married in the Catskills and this photo was taken in the field on my family’s property there.  The Catskills, that cabin, that place is very special to us.  It’s my favorite place in the world.  I spent my summers there as a kid- I wrote a little about what it means to me in this post.  It’s where Mac met my parents for the first time, where we were married, where we told my parents we were expecting Mabel, and where we continue to make memories.  It was a fitting place to be married.

Since our wedding, we’ve made a point of going back each year to the same spot in the field where we posed on our wedding day and taking another portrait.

This is us, in the same spot, on our first wedding anniversary, I’m 6 months pregnant with Mabel:


Here we are on our second anniversary, Mable is 8 months old:



This year, we kept the tradition going for our third anniversary, Mabel is now 21 months:



Mabel’s first year, we were really good about having her picture taken regularly.  I took my own photos of her every month (you can see them here) as well as taking her for formal portraits at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.  However, once she passed that 12 month mark, we got lazy.

We probably have pictures of her every month in her second year as well, but having a family portrait taken will be something really nice to look back on.  We had a formal portrait done at a portrait studio last year for our Christmas card, and we’d like to do it again this year.

However, there’s something really special about seeing the progression over the years as our family grows.  I know I will enjoy looking back at these and seeing what Mac and I share, the family we build.

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Filed under Mabel, Mother, Wife

My kind of Hymn

Something appropriate for a Sunday…

A few weeks ago, dear friends honored Mac and I by choosing us to be their son’s godparents.  While at the service, a congregation of the United Church of Christ, the hymn, Praise to the Living God was sung.  As a scientist, I was particularly enjoyed the second verse.

Praise to the Living God

Praise to the living God, the God of Love and light,
Whose word brought forth the myriad suns and set the worlds in flight;
Whose infinite design, which we but dimly see,
Pervades all nature, making all a cosmic unity.

Praise to the living God, from whom all things derive,
Whose Spirit formed upon this sphere the first faint seeds of life;
Who caused them to evolve, unwitting toward God’s goal,
Till humankind stood on the earth, as living, thinking souls.

Praise to the living God, who knows our joy and pain,
Who shares with us our common life, the sacred and profane.
God toils where ‘er we toil, in home and mart and mill;
And deep within the human heart God leads us forward still.

Praise to the living God, around, within, above,
Beyond the grasp of human mind, but whom we know as Love.
In these tumultuous days, so full of hope and strife,
May we bear witness to the way, O source and goal of life.

Sung TO Diademata (eg Crown him with many crowns).

You can hear it here.


Filed under Scientist

Makeup makes you competent?

The other day, The Times ran an article, “Up the Career Ladder, Lipstick In Hand,” about this study in PLoS ONE on how makeup changes people’s perceptions of a woman’s competence.

I was really surprised by the results.

From the abstract:

“In two studies, we asked viewers to rate the same female faces with or without color cosmetics, and we varied the style of makeup from minimal (natural), to moderate (professional), to dramatic (glamorous)…The results suggest that cosmetics can create supernormal facial stimuli, and that one way they may do so is by exaggerating cues to sexual dimorphism. Our results provide evidence that judgments of facial trustworthiness and attractiveness are at least partially separable, that beauty has a significant positive effect on judgment of competence…”  Source: Etcoff, et. al. PLoS ONE 2011.

Here’s an image from the first figure of the paper:

Models without makeup and with styles of makeup from minimal (natural), to moderate (professional), to dramatic (glamorous). Source: Etcoff et. al. PLoS ONE 2011

In my workplace- a biotech company- I would say that most of the women I encounter are either without makeup or with ‘natural’ makeup at most.  If someone shows up at work with ‘professional’ or ‘glamorous’ makeup on, it would prompt questions about what the occasion was that had them so done up.

I myself wear ‘natural’ makeup pretty much everyday, and definitely every work day.  I used to wear no makeup at all, but in grad school, thanks to lack of sleep, and perhaps age, it got to the point that I was always looking tired.  Some concealer, nude shadow, and mascara go a long way to hiding my lack of sleep.  I wear it not to look more competent, but to feel more comfortable, hoping that I don’t look as exhausted as I feel.

I was surprised that beauty in this study correlated with competence.  I wonder if competence really encompassed what the subjects were perceiving.

I know for me, make-up doesn’t scream competence- perhaps ‘put together,’ as in a woman who has time to spend time on her appearance before coming to work.  Maybe ‘well-rested,’ as in a woman who wasn’t up all night with a cranky toddler.  Perhaps even ‘lucky,’ as in a woman who is naturally pretty.

Do you think makeup changes how competent the women in the image appear?  Do you wear makeup to work?  If so, what category do you fall into- natural, moderate, or dramatic?  Why do you wear it- to appear more competent?


Filed under Scientist

Apple Picking

A couple of weeks ago we went apple picking.

The weather was perfect- in the upper 60s, sunny, blue skies.  We were joined by my cousins E and K, as well as E’s husband and son.  They took the train up to Westechester and we drove all the way up Dutchess county to visit Fishkill Farms.  While there were orchards we could have gone to closer by, many of them are overrun with people driving up from Manhattan and aren’t very nice.

So, while Fishkill Farms was more of trip, it was not very crowded, there were no gridlocked parking lots, they don’t charge an admission fee (you just pay for what you pick), and all the fruit is organic.

They actually have you drive your car right out into the orchard- which was great since we were traveling with a toddler and 9 month old, so we could leave diaper bags and other accoutrements in the car and still have them handy.  When you pull up, they give you a bag and a map, telling you what’s in season and where it’s planted, then you drive right out.  Since some of the varieties were pretty spread out, we did move the car once to cover the distance.

Mabel was enthralled with the “baby apples” (you can see her clutching one above) and our bag wound up with about half a dozen teeny, tiny apples.

The other thing that was nice, was that because it wasn’t crowded and the orchards are nice and spread out, we could bring the dog!  Some of the time we kept her on the leash (when we were near the driveway or other groups were nearby) and other times she could just run around and enjoy the open space.

I can’t even recall all the varieties of apples they have, but we picked some of every variety that was in season.  We didn’t keep track, so every apple we eat is a surprise- and all are yummy.

After picking our apples, we headed back to the barn/shop area.  There was a musician/storyteller that Mabel enjoyed.  So, while we snacked on REALLY good apple cider doughnuts with cinnamon and sugar, Mabel danced, and clapped along.  That is, until she saw the BOUNCE HOUSE!  I was a little ticked that it was $3 for 5 minutes, but Mabel was really excited and the $3 was worth not having her upset.  However, she didn’t really respect the 5 min time limit and Mac actually had to crawl in and retrieve her while a line of eager kids waited their turn!

They also had a tractor ride (also have to pay extra for that), which we skipped because everyone was hungry.

We definitely plan to go back again.  Fishkill Farms was really nice.  They had CLEAN porta-potties throughout the property with hand-washing stations stocked with actual soap and running water.  The grounds were well-maintained.  We didn’t spot any poison-ivy or ticks.  There were no crowds, no rushing.  The staff we encountered were friendly and helpful.  The apples were very good.  While I was a little irked that the bounce house and hayride were extra- I think that’s the tradeoff for not paying an admission fee to get in.  All around it was a great experience and we’re looking forward to going back.

If you are thinking of visiting Fishkill Farms, I would advise going earlier in the season.  They do a good job of keeping their Fac*book page updated with what varieties are picked-out, and which are still available.  When we went, which was the second weekend of their Fall season, McIntosh apples were already getting a little picked-out.

What I would do different next time-check if it’s cheaper by the bag or by the pound.  Fishkill Farms gives a ‘discount’ on the apples for a full bag- $20 for the whole bag.  Afterwards, we realized that it probably would have been cheaper to pay by the pound- I don’t think our full bag was really a savings at $20.

The other thing I would do differently would be to bring a picnic lunch.  While they do have a grill area selling burgers and such, we all wanted something more substantial and sit down.  I think we would have stayed longer listening to the music, shopping in the store, and taking the hayride if we hadn’t been so hungry!  The grounds are lovely for spreading out a blanket, and they also have picnic tables.  So next time I think we’ll bring lunch, supplement it with items from the grill and from the store (hello apple cider doughnuts!), and stay longer enjoying the orchards.

It was so lovely to spend the day with my family.  Growing up I was close with my cousins- always getting together for a holiday or someone’s communion/confirmation/graduation.  So far I think my cousins and I are doing a great job of recreating/maintaining that closeness for our kids and it gives me the warm fuzzies.  We always have a great time when we get together and I think it will get even more fun as the kids get bigger.


Filed under Mabel, Mother, Uncategorized, Wife