A realization.

Sorry guy’s My brain has been mulling this and the paper really needs to come together before I can insert fiction in it.

Once I get part one done (weeds and seeds oh my!) approved, we’ll see where this goes.




How to Write a Literature Review, Chapter 1; PART Four of Many

Chapter One: What is a weed?

Dr. Aysel Sycamore looked out at her still gathering undergraduate Integrated Pest Management class.  It was the third week of class, she was still matching faces to names. The ones that drew her eyes first were the marching band and flag corps that came straight from rehearsal. There was a group of students from the civic engineering program, right smack in the t-zone for them every time. There were a few that had been in her summer session, the ones that would never missed office hours,  those that were excelling, as well as the ones that were struggling. There were a few that Kali, her TA, told her to watch.

The bell rang and a few stragglers got to their seats, the chattering died down.  She cleared her throat, and began her lecture.

“What is a weed?”

A  girl in the back raised her hand.

“Yes, go ahead Merriam.”

“In this context it’s a noun. As in a plant that is unwelcome and causes to damage to useful plants.”

Aysel nodded at the girl. “Precise as always Ms.Webster.”  

A male voice somewhere in the middle of the hall with a sarcastic tone budged in before Merriam could speak again. “Marijuana!” Half the class started roaring with laughter whole the others glared where they thought the voice had come from.  There was always one of those in all of her classes since she had began teaching.

She spotted him. “Yes Mr. Reid, in some places cannabis is considered a weed, however that is out of the purview of this class. Also, I did warn over disruptions to the lecture, it’s in the syllabus. I want five definitions of the vocabulary terms from your reading assignment. It will reflect on your grade.”

She looked out at the rest of her class. “Five points extra credit if you wish to do this as well.”

“Now Mr. Reid, may I continue my lecture?”  The pale faced freshman nodded ever so slowly and Aysel came back to her lecture. Going to the digital projector, she takes out a pen and began making a concept map.

figure1“Ok good. This is a very good start. However we’re missing a few things. Cultural control for instance.  A big part of cultural control leads us to your assignment, also connected to stolons and seeds (and tubers).”

“What I am speaking here of is the weed seedbank”

She looked out at her class, looking for understanding. She only found a few, and nodded to herself. The bell rang and she looked up at the clock. Lost track of time again.  “Right. That said, I want a five paragraph essay on what the seed bank is for next Friday. Don’t forget, extra credit on terms from our concept map, up to five points, due this Wednesday”

Aysel exhaled as the last of the class filed out, and spoke to a few of the students looking for clarification on the lecture. They were on the first unit of the class, and she wasn’t sure what to expect on this one, it was her first time teaching this class. Dr. Fowler had retired after one last go around in the summer, and she had shadowed him on it.

She could do this, she knew she could. She wanted to be a better professor than some poor examples she had, as far as being a woman in a man’s field.  “Field. Heh. I’m going to go to pun hell for that.”

She packed up her bag and slid her phone out of her pocket. Three messages. Anita confirming plans for lunch the next day. Vet confirming head to tail examination for her rabbit. A third one, number unknown. She frowned, no transcript. She was about to listen to the message but it charmed a text message instead.

“hi!” She smiled, their customary greeting, and replied. “hi.”

“What would you like for dinner?” Aysel tended to forget to eat, thus Lee had decided to make sure she did.

“Tuna melts.”

“Hmm, beef is on sale.”

“Ok… goulash?”

“Can do!”

“Okies, love you.”

“Love you too.”

She smiled and then looked back down at the missed call. Unknown. Probably a scam, it was hard to know, usually they were cloning other people’s numbers.

She hit the button to listen and started walking again. The phone emitted this ear rupturing noise that was half ancient dialup connection noise, half that obelisk at the start of “2001, A Space Odyssey.” She dropped her phone with surprise, and watched in terror as it somehow missed the giant puddle between herself and the parking garage. Exhale. Fish phone from shrubbery. Inhale. Think of attached Knights who say “Ni” associated with shrubberies. Enter giggle fit. Inhale.. INHALE!

She peered around to see if anyone had noticed, then grabbed the phone AGAIN and then worked on traversing the flooded lot. It wasn’t this bad usually, but the lot just had issues of being secondary containment. She almost set herself in another giggle fit remembering the time that  she and her work friend Jane had made a sign for a similar parking lot that read: Lake Parkinglot, No Wake.

She snorted to herself, “Dr. Sycamore, stop being so good at amusing yourself, people are going to start noticing.”  Then reached the garage elevator, punched in her floor and looked back at her phone. The message was gone. Huh. No time to wonder though, she had errands, and she needed to start now, or be late for Lee’s special recipe goulash. The secret ingredient was cheese. Mmm.


Prologue: How to get to the point where you end up needing to write a literature review. PART Three, of Many

So things were moving on splendidly in the academic sphere.  On the professional sphere, my company is a daughter company of a sister company that just recently merged with another big industrial company.

Things get lost in the shuffle. Project idea two was one of them.

My in-laws have a seed dealing friend that had an oddity coming up with his customers. Soybeans were yellowing in different places in their, and other producer’s fields. It had been really obvious when you were looking down at the field, but in the field not so much, very subtle.  So I got some funds for soil testing and collect soy samples for the next year’s harvest.

Communication and resources killed it. You have to be very tenacious with your growers. With everything happening with work and school, I just couldn’t stay on top of it all. In addition, my only help was the in-laws, and it would never have been up to standards as far as a quality experiment went.  I was way out of my league. Plus there non-grower problems.

I had been told that “nothing” had been done to the fields I’d be looking at.  Nothing means incorporating chicken manure into the ground. (Apparently the field they did this to did better, but I’d never be able to know if it was the manure or the tilling.) Nothing also meant side dressing N. I’ll learn the lingo sometime. 

I’d never be able to discern a true cause, because of this and some other disorganisation.

It would have not been practical to have gone to check every week. It’s a three hour drive from home to the in laws and then another drive to the fields. Even if I had better means, the whole thing just would have never worked.

Honestly though, someone had repeated to me that a theory was the snow drifts on top of the fields. This could have caused compaction. So the health of the plants could have very well been hardpans.

So Project number two took one to the heart.

Didn’t take enough for project idea three either. My  advisor suggested I go back to the Co-Op/farm center, and suggest that I could take a few of the customer’s nutrition suggestions based on soil testing and the two recommendation schools.   Then write up what would have been more expensive and then comparing the effectiveness. Co-Op employees also need to be kept on top of if you’re not a customer. Plus, the merger ran me out of resources to make the correct introductions.

Why this way?  Because I have been putting this thing off since May (it is now October), and it means a big change in my life. It’s scary. Chris has been trying to help, but just last week I realized what I needed to do. Which is because I got an email about NaNoWrMo, and it stuck in the back of my brain a little. Before just out of the blue I found myself writing this prologue.  Halfway through this and I realized… why not just write a novel… and frame my lit review around it.

This might crash and burn, but I need to give it a shot.  I asked on Facebook what my genre should be. I asked my lab tech what genre it should be. And then the biggest “light bulb” came to my brain.  Time Travel… this is time travel.

And now we are here.  Welcome to the actual start of the story.

Prologue: How to get to the point where you end up needing to write a literature review. PART Two, of Many

I owe a lot of my entry level class professors. I was afraid that my first class with stats was going to be as bad as the undergrad course that I somehow walked around. But as a first class, it made me feel that these things were real and I can overcome the obstacles I put around myself  knowing that it was inevitable that I would somehow mess things up. But AGRON 113 put me in a whole new level of regrowing self confidence. I could remember how it felt to be successful at something. That I found a new way to learn, and that class put me back in the zone. Especially working with fellow students in blackboard (btw, I wish we had canvas before my last semester, canvas is just so nice.)  


Over that summer I took 501, which feels like a breeze went through in my memory. But the really thing that stood out was going to orientation in Ames. I got to meet my favorite advisor in person. It felt really good. It was a good glance into what he program was with the 592 students there, and getting into their heads about the program. Campus is beautiful, maybe better than UNL. Oh and.. Don’t tell Herbie and Lil’ Red that I cheated on them with Cy. I think that joke is getting worn out more and more each time  tell it. I just need to stop. (But hey, if I end up with a job through K-State when all of this is over, Don’t tell Cy about Willie) One last thing I remember about the staff at Agronomy Hall is that they are very helpful and kind. I bought an agronomy t-shirt, and then got lost in the building and promptly lost it. But no fear, they gave me a new one on the spot. Much love to the department, may I always remember your dedication to the students.


Then the magic really happened. AGRON 502. Two things. I went to every office hours  season that I could my first year. Within those office hours I really fell even more in love with soil science, and how great that professor was. Also, I met my best friend from grad school and the agronomy program. I owe a lot of debt to her as we helped each other through every class that we were taking at the same time. I’d read her drafts, she’d read mine, we’d sit and talk through homework problems, (on messenger). Every time we were in the same discussion group, we rocked it. I think between our advisor, the instructors of 513 and 502, and her, I felt success again as I hadn’t academically for a long time. Just cranked out those A’s and B’s, and it felt right and good.


So that brings us to Creative Component project one. At the time I thought I had support from work to make my experiment work.  It was going to be fabulous. I wanted to look at the effect of cobalt had on rhizobium, and also how it was supported by molybdenum. This idea came about because a new product that I helped switch from a nitrate potassium source to an acetate one. It was a starter that has all the bells and whistles from previous profitable formulations, and I wanted to know how the cobalt work for the rhizobium . The simplest/most complicated way I can say it is “plant hemoglobin”, even though that is a misrepresentation of the interactions. I did a lot of paper research for it, and I might be confusing a few things. There just wasn’t anything out there much for studies on it and functions of it. I think some of the most of the research I was doing on that was from the 1960’s, or was coming from south america, written in spanish. And yet that spanish major from undergrad was very valuable… and google translator.. Lots and lots of google translator.


So then, when I lost the two fields I’d be experimenting on, due to work, I never did get those farmers to help me out with it. I was up at Practicum in 2016, and finally met my major professor in person. We had one last shot for trying to do the experiment without help from my company, and I had no takers. I found little glints of hope with a friend and sometimes random strangers, but when it came to needing to get the experiment going, it totally fell through.  


RIP project numero uno.

How to Write a Literature Review or Becoming an Expert on Weed Seed Banks. A Creative Component by Leah N. Dodendorf: Part one of many

Prologue: How to get to the point where you end up needing to write a literature review.

Step One:

Find a really neat MS in Agronomy program designed for full time working distance students in early late 2012. Write a query to the program and find yourself be encouraged by a very neat person who is all about helping students get successful and to where they are meant to be. Make a plan with the guidance of that special person, and begin working on pre-reqs to get into the program. So then you register for a stats class by your own pace from your alta mater, then wait until the last minute to try to get going on it, and somehow successfully get through it and an intro to crop production at the same time. Get encouraged to get third reference to write her letter, and get accepted into the program. Take the last two needed pre-reqs, in the meantime discovering a love of soil science.

Register for your first graduate level class…. statistics.

Parkinglot Panic

OK, shortly ago I found myself looking at this post from a gal that lives close to the inlaws.


So let’s break it down…


“As I was at Shopko”

Hey I like Shopko.


“(…)An old man was checking out before us, struggled to get hs card to work and rummaged his pockets for change.”

Soooo what does this have to do with anything?. Shopko Homestore is a blessing, can old people not get to shop there? Also, have you ever had problems with your cards at all?


“As I leave the store I saw a pea green station wagon”

Right, because  bad guys buy ugly ass cars from the beginning of time that would be immediately recognizable on a police alert.


“(…)I feel unease I start walk faster…”

You have unease… go back into the store! Get someone to walk you out!


“(…)they turn south  around the building as if they were going to be leaving.”

Uhm.. they were probably leaving? You probably didn’t notice them outside of the ugly car.


“(…)I decide not  to even buckle Parker…”

Not buckle in the kidlet?!?1!… if you are that afraid of these people, again go into the store. The kid was probably in more danger of that than the evil pea colored vehicle.


“(…) Saw the old guy  that was inside sitting in the back with. (…)”

He checked out before you, obviously he was leaving with his ride, and headed out to them, so they started leaving,


“(…)I got in started car and instantly took off they pulled right up to the side of my car by the driver side.”

Turning left perhaps?


“I did contact authorities was informed I AM NOT THE ONLY THAT HAS REPORTED THIS and they are doing what they can to STOP IT. PLEASE SHARE and BE SAFE and WATCH YOUR SURROUNDINGS.”

They probably told you this to calm you down. Here’s the thing, there is nothing here that should be scary. You made it scary in your head and panicked. Plus, if you felt unease, you go back inside the store. Then a few minutes later the ugly is gone, not waiting to steal your baby.

My point here is kids, while there’s a ton of morally corrupt people out there, these people probably were just doing their thing. You have to not jump at shadows. Boy who cried wolf anyone?

Now, I have issues making things bigger in my head than they are, so I totally understand.  But you need to take a breath and not panic. If you panic like you did here you it could actually cause a problem. Too blind seeing the non badguy and then the actual badguy gets your chickens.

It’s awesome to be aware of your surroundings, but do not ever get panicked like you did here.

The church attendance question…

This weekend a friend asked a question based on a statistic that she had heard, that only 20% of the USA regularly go to church.

She wanted our take on why this was.  So I’m going to write about it because some of the people truly pissed me off.  And even though I will be quitting facebook here sooner here than there, it’s probably still best to not leave my reponses there.

First before I say anything else, I could only find that stat on wikipedia, there was a bit about a survey that found that 50% of the country said they had deep faith/relationship with god. So. Those values could have come out of nowhere. Or maybe they are part true. Who really knows, or cares atm. Not me anyway.

Initial question popped up: 20% of what? The population of the USA? Twenty percent of the  Christians of the USA? Is that counting mosque and temple? Other gatherings that celebrate god? Get back to me on that “what” yeah?


Why I don’t go to church on a regular basis? I’m barely ever in town for it, even if I am, I’ve probably got Chris with me. There is no steady basis of accommodations for deaf and hard of hearing people in Fairbury. If we were in a bigger community, like when we finally get settled in Kansas City, we’d find all sorts of churches and other spiritual gatherings and find the one that matches us. As it is, I was raised Catholic and Chris was raised protestant. If and when we find said church, I’ll be converting because I’m not going to make Chris run the gauntlet of taking catechism. You can hate me for that later. Of the churches I tried to attend before starting to date Chris, the lutheran church in town had an awesome choir and I participated with them. Then School and no time to hit practice on wednesday night, and when I couldn’t be there practicing, it felt wrong to try to be up there and not know the music. As is with a lot of things here in Fairbury, there seems to be a disconnect from myself and the women my age. I get along quite well with the little old ladies, but I always felt I didn’t belong with others. Not that they aren’t nice or anything, just unwelcome. Happened with Art Guild too.  Not that other members of the congregation didn’t try to be welcoming. So yeah, that. I’m welcome to try other churches, but I don’t have the energy to try again.

One thing right now I need to say. My faith is deeply personal and I consider this being nobody’s business than my own.

So. Here it goes.

“Because we don’t drag them in kicking and screaming as kids to teach them. And it’s “cool” to be anti-religion.”

My friend noted on this one that mayhap it was because they were brought kicking and screaming as kids.

I think she’s hit it on the head. I replied that if someone is brought in kicking and screaming, who’s doing the bringing is doing it wrong. My friend is a perfect example of doing it the right way, she has noted that her oldest is perhaps a better reminder of listening at church than herself, and is an example to be set.

My reaaaal problem here is that “It’s “cool” to be anti-religion.”


What do you mean by it being “cool”? I have never once thought it was cool to be anti-religion, and I don’t think I know anyone really is in a way that it is cool. I may be anti-organized religion given the state of the catholic church and really all people in prestigious and trusted positions in the world really. Just in the media you see examples of it. How many times has this sort of thing been on Law and Order SVU? Multiply that to a hellalot of other shows and it probably doesn’t begin to become ok. Look at that in our entertainment, if it happens there, the sky’s the limit on how often it actually happens.

We seem to be just fine with religion being an excuse to kill, but…seriously? We’ve got this great big problem in the middle east with three major religions that share the same holy places. The difference is that they worship differently than each other. Also that whole thing in christians damning each other for the same thing?

I have an example here. I know a woman that’s husband was put in the home because she could no longer help care for himself and his flavor of dementia. She cheated on him. She is one of those people who has “holier-than-thou” down to a tee.

So maybe it is cool to be “anti-religion” when you talk about things that can be justified by religion.

“Sad, isn’t it. They could care less..” “Sports take over our Sundays, so parents are okay with that. It really is sad. I’m not saying that sitting in church every Sunday makes you a better person, but you certainly learn a lot.”

Uh.  Who could care less? The 80 percent of the population of the United States that doesn’t go to church regularly? (if that’s the real statistic). That’s a dangerous accusation. Maybe they care and can’t. Maybe they get chased out or felt alienated. Maybe it’s just not right for them. Maybe they have to work on Saturdays or Sundays, how many times have YOU gone out for a meal on the weekend after your church service?. And with the sports on Sundays, who made that call?The reason sports happen on the weekends is we made it that way. The whole country.   You can’t say that a big percentage of the population doesn’t care, and since you think this, maybe that’s why they couldn’t care less, because we allowed it to be that way.

This one makes me the most angry of all of them:

“Their excuse is they are too busy or have a lot of stuff to do! If they put God first there are no excuses!”

Lady. Who the hell are you to say who is and isn’t putting god first? And you say that they say they are busy and what not. What makes them busy? That’s not a reason for you to think people don’t go to church for. It’s an excuse, not the real why. There are so many other responses a person could give for not going to church. Some of them are pretty bold faced in previous parts in this line of  the discussion on Facebook. It comes back to feeling being judged, and major sins in the realms of accessibility.  None of this is any business of yours, it is God’s. Sit down and shut up.

And if you didn’t read all of this..

Tl;dr: People are afraid of being judged by other people who do go regularly, and some really are being judged. Nothing scares off a person to a thing like telling them they are going to hell for not going to it.

Use your words… (repost from FB 6/21/18)

Kind of something that’s on my mind right now, I’m not sure where I’m going with it but here goes.

I think that the wish I have for this world right now is for people to not get so angry when someone has an opinion that is in disagreement with another’s.

Think of how many of our deepest problems would go away if we could only do that and just sit and talk about our opinions.

One abrahamic god, three major religions that only disagree in how to worship him.

Pro-choice not the same as pro-abortion.

Women’s health care rights as actual rights.

Climate change not being a matter of political debate, also other sciences.

The line between morality and politics.

If we put away the anger and just talk about it, think of how many problems we could solve. So how do you do something about all the crap going on in this country?


Have a discussion.

Realize there are not good and bad things, there are just things.

We live in a world where “christians” think other “christians” are going to hell for how they worship, how does that even make sense?

We need to stop this now.

We can quibble from the beginning of time to the end, but that’s not going to change the fact that recent events have caused an even worse place for human trafficking to take place. Thats what I really care about when it comes to this awful thing. They are children, and many of them are now missing because of this. Not that it wasn’t a problem before this kerfuffle, but it has become worse. This is why I am concerned about this, not that the parents have broken laws… that the children being seperated is making them vulnerable to the worst of all things in the world.

So let’s stop fighting and start talking. I know peace is a pipe dream, but maybe we can find glimmers of it in the calm words we can share about these problems.

Return to the Blog

I’m going to try something different and sort of new, but actually old. I’m going to try to journal again. It’s possible this will end up being better for me than Facebook or Twitter, or all those social media sites. This will be a slow process.

‘What has triggered this?’ you might ask. And I would tell you that social media is making me crave attention and then look for approval from my peers, friends, coworkers etc.

It feels wrong.

Don’t get me wrong. Facebook is great for keeping up with friends and their lives. To a point.  The original trigger that has me thinking on this, is that twitter no longer posts its stuff onto my facebook account. This was the main way I was using FB. Very rarely am I talking to friends of ages old. Instead I was making jokes or posted things that amused me that could maybe amuse you. Thing is, I don’t want to be that. When I started using FB it was for classes. Best way to get a group together. Now. Now I don’t know. But. FB, its part attention seeking, part nostalgia, part news posts, family things. If the 50 or 60 people I’ve got on facebook actually cared, they would go email or call, or text, or anything right?

That’s the tragedy. I miss my friends. My best friend from elementary school is here, and we’ve liked each other’s posts now and again, but when was the last we saw each other in real life?

Like maybe fifteen years ago? I don’t know about her life in the slightest, and having her on facebook doesn’t really equivocate that. Same goes for my middle and highschool best friend. Of all of my friends ever I want to catch up with it would be her. Or my college best friend who is in California.

Problem becomes I get worn away by the silence. I have messaged. I have texted. I have thought about calling. It hurts like a bitch. It makes me feel like maybe I was wrong about our friendships. Did I lose someone that tried to contact me but didn’t get back? I hope not. I don’t think I have. Maybe its time to stop.  I feel like I should stop looking back of those times so often before melancholy sets in.

So if I did that to you, I’m sorry. It’s like losing a person you cared for a long time and a disconnect hes occurred. I’m going to try to let go again. Its fine. I’ll be ok. I just miss you all. Whoever the heck my audience is here. It’s fine. I’m mostly writing for myself. It’s cathartic. So that is that.. I’ll be starting to write each night, you know instead of one more episode of whatever the heck I’m watching on fate netflix. (Right After I spend an hour or more on my master’s program.) I believe I’ll get through this. I just miss my friends.