The Perks of Being a Docent

April 16, 2012 at 11:38 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )


(noun) –

  1. A person who acts as a guide, typically on a voluntary basis, in a museum, art gallery, or zoo.
  2. (in certain universities and colleges) A member of the teaching staff immediately below professorial rank.

There are perks to being a museum geek!  Last week was the annual Member’s Night at The Field Museum, which is when all of the collections that are normally locked behind closed doors are opened to the general public for our inspection and awe.  I’m not technically a member anymore but since I’m a docent I get most of the same privileges and I’m not complaining.  99% percent of the items that the Field has acquired are in their collections, which is a mind-boggling figure when you think about it.  However there’s only so much space to put things on display so to the basement the rest goes.  The Member’s Night was on both Thursday and Friday and Thursday I spend hanging out at my specialty, the Maori Meeting House.  It was pretty quiet as most people wanted to see the special collections and not an exhibit that’s on permanent display, but I did have a few groups wander through and at least one family who made a special trip just to see the Meeting House.  Of course they loved it, and me as well.

I would not eat this even if I were a carnivore.

I was planning on checking out some of the behind-the-scenes stuff myself on my way out but got sidetracked talking to two women who work in the ECCodepartment, which is made up of scientists who study and research specific areas in efforts to conserve them for the future.  It’s a really interesting process and there’s actually a brand new exhibit at the museum highlighting all of their work.  I got so caught up in discussing the cultural and socio-economic aspects of small Peruvian villages that I lost track of time and wasn’t able to explore anything else.  But I made up for it on Friday!

To be completely honest, the place was packed and as such, Scott and I probably spent more time standing in line than anything else.  It was still really cool though and one room we visited had artifacts such as marble baths and totem poles that went back to 586 AD.  Another room had millions of snakes in jars (no, not alive) and one python head that was roughly the size of a large grapefruit.  Freaky.  Then we got to go to a different room where I touched a dead shark’s head, took a supremely cheesy photo that is now my Facebook picture and learn all about coelacanths while looking at a specimen.  I was also able to procure extra tickets for a friend of mine and his ladyfriend and they seemed to have a pretty good time as well.  We got to see a little more before they closed the doors and we hung around as late as we could.  Not your typical Friday night but very well spent, nonetheless.  I’m already looking forward to next year!

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The Importance of Reading Labels

April 13, 2011 at 9:43 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Welcome to the inside of my head last night during the break in my 3 hour-long class.  As a preface, you should know that my professor (who’s British) usually brings us in a snack for the break and last night it was bagels and cream cheese.

Mmm bagels.  It’s been a while since I’ve had a bagel.  I should get some the next time I go shopping OH and I need toilet paper.  REMEMBER TOILET PAPER.  Ok grab that bagel and what’s this?  Two types of cream cheese?  What decadence.  I guess I’ll go with the strawberry so I can get my daily allowance of fruit.  Maybe if I use enough it’ll count for two days.  Yeah, that works.  Mmm that bagel really looks good.  Time to devour it but must still pay attention to the conversation I’m having with the girl next to me.  Aim for the mouth and…wait.  What the #*%@?  What’s that smoky flavor?  Is that BACON?  Who the %^&# would put BACON in CREAM CHEESE?  Am I crazy?  Don’t spit it on the table don’t spit it on the table don’t spit it on the table.  Oh wow that’s gross.  Try not to look so appalled.  Excuse me from this conversation I have to know what just happened in my mouth.  Get up.  Read label.  Stuff I understand, stuff I don’t understand….and SALMON??!?!!  Why does this flavor even exist?  Who in their right mind…oh yeah.  She’s British.  This must seem like lox or whatever the hell that is for her.  Oh cream cheese on a cracker I need to get this taste out of my mouth.  Good thing I have water at my desk.  Ugh but that bagel is still sitting there too.  I can’t throw away a perfectly good bagel right in front of the teacher…and now I’m back in elementary school.  Awesome.  Okay just cover it up with a napkin…there.  But I can still smell it.  And now I think it’s watching me…

I think it’s best if I stopped there.

Never Again.

No matter how smooth I thought I was, the girl sitting next to me knew something was up.  I convinced her to try the aforementioned bagel and the look of disgust on her face was enough to make me laugh out loud and temporarily forget the awful fishy taste in my mouth.  I really try not to freak out when I ingest bits of meat (and this was a minuscule bite) and I also know that it probably happens more often than I’m even aware of but that taste.  So.  Bad.  However I will admit that my lesson has been learned and I’ll be reading labels more carefully from this day forward.

Though it might be a while before I can have another bagel.

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Friday Randomness

January 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

I seem to be all over the place today and my post is going to follow suit.  To begin with, I have updates.  My mom recently started reading this little ol’ thing (Hi Mom!) and that led me to go back and re-read every post thus far to ensure there’s nothing completely inappropriate for my parental unit.  I didn’t find much to be worried about (luckily my mom and I have a pretty open relationship) and I enjoyed reading about my past few months.  I also realized that I’ve written about a few things that deserve an update.

Remember the upside-down goldfish from the NYE party that I was so concerned about?  I thought it might have fish bladder issues and wondered about contacting its owner.  Well, a friend of mine went to a party this week at the apartment where the misdirected fish lives (swims?) and she sent me a text to let me know that he is now swimming right-side up.  All is right in his world, and so all is right in mine.

Also, I mentioned last week that a coworker of mine has a lot of family in Haiti whom she had not heard a thing from.  I am thrilled to announce that she ended up hearing from just about everyone she’s connected to, and while there are injuries and substantial property loss, most of them are fine.  On a slightly related note, my company decided to donate $5,000 to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, which makes me happy.  They are also encouraging all employees to send in a check, which they will match.  That also makes me happy

I love sharing good news.

To switch gears, I have a funny anecdote to share.  Yesterday was the 5th birthday of my cousin’s daughter.  I’m close with all of my family and think of my cousins as extended siblings, so I view this adorable little girl as my niece (especially since it will likely be a cold day in hell before I ever get an ACTUAL niece).  Anyway, my cousin had a little family get together at her house for the birthday girl, and of course most people showed up bearing gifts.  After the present opening, I received a text from my sister that informed me that my grandparents had bought “The Break-Up” for the 5-year-old in question.  In case you’re not familiar with the flick (I happened to catch most of it in the common room in a hostel in South Africa, of all places…gotta love hostels where you can’t change the channel), here’s its cover:

Yup those are two grown ups, in bed together, clear as day.  Apparently my grandmother thought that this was appropriate to go with the books, clothes and toys she got for her 5-year-old great-grandchild.  My sister got a kick out of it and I have to admit, so did I.  Oh, Mema.

I had another random story to share but it appears that I am running out of time.  My weekend is finally within reach and I have mere minutes until I am released from the shackles of my desk.  My internet finally started working again last night so if I’m feeling productive I may post over the weekend, but don’t hold your breath.  I have a mountain of laundry that needs my attention, grocery shopping to do, a couple of great friends to visit with and wine to drink.  Happy Weekend!

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