Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Three Cheers for Positive Results

Living where I do in this fertile, temperate valley has its benefits compared with life in Graduate School land. There it would still be winter for at least another month, if not two. Here, I have spring flowers blooming (yeah for positive results!). Sure, they are only the early arrival crocuses; but, they are the harbingers of what will come: tulips, daffodils, lilies, phlox, azalea, lavendar, snapdragons, gladiolus, hyacinth, and others growing in my yard whose names I have forgotten or never knew.

Two autumns ago I indulged a little girl who stopped by my office trying to raise money for her school by buying flower bulbs. All the risk factors were there: adorable kid, raising money for one of the poorer schools in town, flowers, and the icing on the cake - she asked me about what I teach and upon finding out told me what she had just learned about the same subject in her after school camp and then gave me a charming little demo. Even though I didn't know whether I would still be in this house/yard long enough to reap the rewards of the purchase, it all added up to too irresistible of a combination to say no.

I remember digging hole after hole to plant the new bulbs. I also dug up, divided the rootballs, and transplanted some outhouse lilies to a different location where they would be less obvious. They are thriving now and have multiplied thanks to the root ball division. The whole process was a back-breaking, finger-numbing, pain-in-the-butt event, but I really enjoyed the welcome break from grading papers and reading academic articles.

It was my first time planting bulbs. That spring, only one of the daffodils came up, two crocuses, and three oddball dark pink puffballs, a relative of onions. I was disappointed that all 40-50 of the new bulbs didn't produce flowers, but then I learned it often takes more than one season for bulbs to produce flowers.

Today I finished up the re-analysis of dissertation results that my advisor suggested I do and am pleased to report that nothing really changed. I don't know what that says about the robustness of all these tests, but I did find out that you can test hypotheses two different ways and still get virtually the same results. I really freaked out (and that's putting it mildly) when I found out I had done the analyses incorrectly. I was so worrried that all of my beautiful results would change to complete mud and that my discussion and conclusions would be pretty darm near inconclusive. However - three full days worth of significance testing in SPSS turned out only a few minor changes and my effect sizes generally increased which is great. I am thrilled about still having positive dissertation results (second cheer for positive results!!).

I celebrated by weeding with Newfers out in the backyard. She was thrilled herself and zig-zagged all over the yard at high speed. I could tell she would have loved to run around more, but I had to keep her reigned in after she elected to run off to check out the front yard on her own.

After getting her settled inside, I went back out to plant seeds - a FNU-LNU thing I call the "dollar plant" and some catalpa tree seeds I collected from seed pods I dried inside over the winter. I also checked on the seedlings I transplanted earlier. The transplants are doing okay. If it continues to be spring-like, I will transplant the rest of the babies. In a few months my garden should be hopping with another species of lavendar and more varieties of snapdragon, not to mention foxglove - if I can get those seeds to germinate.

Speaking of babies, I found out today my sis and I have the same due date, which I find absolutely hilarious given that she is having a baby and I'm having a dissertation. Either way, it'll be a PHD, pretty hard day, all around. She wants me to be present for the birth, so if that's going to happen I have to finish before she does. The race is on baby sis!

I also finally got a BFP on my OPK test. Hallaleulla or however that is spelled - my ovaries still work! (and that makes the third and final cheer for positive results!!!)


Rose Connors said...

What an uplifting post! Hooray for the OPK and hoping for more positives in a few weeks.

Chase said...

Hurray...and BTW..."they" say that first babies are usually late...so that might buy you more time for disserting...(surely that is a verb!).

"They" were right in my case...TWO WEEKS right.

And...if that other positve happens I guess I know what we are doing for Christmas this year!