Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hello Again

I haven't written anything on here for several months now...I have been pretty busy. In July I finally defended my dissertation and am now officially Dr. Parker!! It was all very anticlimactic though. When you work towards a goal for 11 years, the final step isn't really all that exciting. I have heard a quote, probably more than a few, that say something about the fact that it isn't the destination that matters, it is the getting there. One great thing about finishing this whole thing though is the gigantic salary increase I will get, but most of it will be going directly to student loans, so even that isn't that great. I am still very happy to be finished and look forward to my future as a college professor.

We just started classes on Monday and I had to prep three lectures this evening. I didn't end up taking too long on them and had some extra time...that is why I am writing this blog. I have one supplement study currently going. It is a supplement called phosphatidylserine (say that three time fast, if you can even say it once). It is supposed to improve mood, cognitive function, and reduce the cortisol response to stress. I will be testing 15 males for this study. They have to take the supplement and a placebo, each for two weeks, then do a really difficult leg workout and have their blood drawn a total of 13 times. They are also doing a mood state questionnaire and a cognitive function test called a serial subtraction test, where they have to subtract the number 7 from a random 4 digit number over and over again for two minutes. I hope the results show something remotely interesting. I am also planning on handing out a running injury survey to the participants in the Palo Duro Trail Run to see how training on trails vs. roads vs. treadmills might affect the frequency of running injuries.

Speaking of the PDTR, I have been ramping up the training some in the last couple of weeks. I hope to get up to running at least 20 miles prior to the big race on October 17th. I am really looking forward to that race because Marie, my brother, my sister, and my sister-in-law will all be running it with me and my mom and step-dad will come up as well. It will be really nice to have the whole family up hear in the panhandle for a visit.

I have been reading quite a bit this summer. I just finished a couple of books (A Walk Across America and The Abstract Wild) and I am almost finished with a third (Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy). One of McCarthy's best books in my opinion, The Road, has been made into a movie and will be released some time in October. I am really looking forward to that movie. He has already had two other books made into movies, All the Pretty Horses and No Country for Old Men. I read a couple other books earlier in the summer, but I have forgotten which ones now. I am also reading a book about that movie Alive that is a true story about a Uruguayan rugby team that has a plane crash in the Andes. I am actually going to be a "expert" on cold weather and altitude physiology for a question and answer deal that Amarillo College is having with the author. AC is encouraging all of their freshmen to read the book and then listen to the author speak about his experience. That should be a fun experience.

I haven't really gotten too many opportunities to do outside stuff this summer. I have been really itching to go up to the mountains in new mexico for a camping trip, but we just haven't committed to making the trip yet. While we were visiting SA my brother, Matthew, and nephew Tyler did a nice little 5 mile canoe/kayak trip down a portion of the San Marcos. The water was beautiful, but we only caught one fish. It was a whopper of a sunfish weighing in at about 3 ounces. We kept it anyway and Matt and I fried it up in some butter and ate it. I also got to go hunting on my good friend Josh's Dad's ranch in Pleasonton with Matt and my step-dad Marcus. They both missed some long shots at feral hogs, but I was able to get a fallow doe. Josh's dad has high fenced his entire 1600 acre ranch and stocked the place with fallow, axis, white tail, and blackbuck antelope. The ranch is absolutely gorgeous. All three of us split up the meat and we have enjoyed quite a few venison dinners. I am also in the process of tanning the deer's hide. Fallow deer have reddish fur with white spots and look quite amazing. The hide is pretty much done, I just have to rub it down with some oil and work the leather to soften it up, then I will have a nice deer fur rug or wall hanging...Matthew has already laid claim to it. This is my first ever hide to tan, but I dried several snake skins as a kid and have also dried a squirrel skin once. I really enjoy practicing some of the dying arts that our ancestors relied on just 100-150 years ago.

I had a nice summer garden this year. We have had an abundance of cucumbers and I have made 6 quarts of pickles. We are all sick of eating sauteed zucchini and yellow squash and zucchini bread. I also got a decent tomato crop, most of which I ate right of the plant. I had a bumper crop of jalapeno peppers, most of which I have given away or had to throw away because I just can't eat too many of them. This fall I plan on planting some lettuce, beets, carrots, and radishes. Hopefully we will have some nice salads before this fall's first frost.

I am sure that is all much more info that anyone has ever wanted to read about another person's summer, but I had a lot to catch up on. I hope to have some more outdoor essays written in the near future.

Enjoy your fall!


Laura said...

Congrats Dr. Parker!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading it! -Lisa

Tiffany said...

I would like to be one of your test subjects. I need more of all those things.

Your garden sounds AWESOME. Much better than we did.

Congrats on the Ph.D. Many blessings and good luck with your semester.