... or so a few old friends who found me on Facebook asked? I shall attempt to summarize...
(I wrote this up, yeesh, back in November, and then was too lazy or shy to actually post it...I've been reminded that I did, though...)
Graduated from Humboldt State University in June of '87, but actually finished classes in December '86. In between, I worked two stints as a foreign fisheries observer (this was when the US still allowed foreign vessels to fish in our waters), first for a month on a Japanese Longline vessel fishing for cod in the Bering Sea, then for two months on a Polish factory trawler fishing for hake (whiting) off Oregon and Washington. Following that (and working temp jobs in between), I applied to grad school at CSULB, was accepted and spent my first year studying marine biology at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia as an exchange student. That was wonderful and I have always, always, wanted to go back.
When I returned to the States, I visited the CSULB campus fully intending to continue grad school (as I'd always been told I'd never get a job in marine biology without a graduate degree). However, that day they were having a job fair on campus and I began talking with a guy who worked for the California Dept.of Fish & Game, who needed a scientific aide. I had bills to pay, so I filled out an application and got the job. Scientific aide jobs are temporary, and only supposed to last for nine months; however, they found other stuff for me to do during the three months I was supposed to be off. I did that for about three years, then took a short break for about 8 months and worked again as a fisheries observer, only this time in New England on much smaller gill net boats. I lived on my own in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, living for the first time somewhere it snowed in the winter and also experienced my first hurricane (both were fairly mild, although it was a bit nerve wracking being out at sea in a small boat, the nets clogged with dogfish, about 12 hours before the storm made landfall-I finally gave up on the sampling I was supposed to be doing and helped them pull dogfish out of the net - that fishery is not doing too well nowadays).
I visited home over the holidays that year, and at the same time, interviewed for a permanent position with the Department. They hired me and I've pretty much been here ever since. I've spent most of my time on a project monitoring commercial fisheries for what's called Coastal Pelagic Species - that is, small schooling species like sardines, mackerel and squid, that are caught by purse seine vessels. Our main focus is collecting biological data about them for use in biomass assessments, i.e. how much fish is actually out there, so we can tell the fishermen how much of it they can catch without overfishing and leaving enough for the other wildlife that needs it. I also ran a shark tagging program for awhile; however, the powers that be cut funding for it about eight years ago. About a year ago, I got a promotion and now I serve on a interagency team with other West Coast federal and state biologists managing the fisheries of Highly Migratory Species - those are the big fish like tuna, swordfish and sharks. I don't get to actually see the critters I work with much anymore, but I get to contribute to their still being around for future generations. I did get to go out on a two week federal shark tagging cruise last year, which was wonderful.
On the personal side, after putting him off for a very long time (he was very persistant), I wound up marrying the chef who worked next door in the UC Chancellor's Office (you can read more about that here, if you want
). We've been together for 13 years now. My mom passed away in 1994, and following that, my father asked us to move in with him - he's never lived alone in his entire life. He's 83 now, so we're sort of his default caretakers - not that he needs much,he's in good shape. As a friend tells me, I'm the only person he knows who still has the same phone number she had in high school.
We have three kids - Angus, who's 10 and loves Ancient Egypt and drawing comic books; Gareth, who turned 9 on Halloween and is interested military history (Granpa got him into that - they like to watch the History Channel together) and an aspiring pilot; and Avalon, who turned 7 in August, is a very girly girl (unlike her mother), but nevertheless likes bugs, reptiles and gets dirty regularly. John decided to be a stay-at-home dad for them and does a lot of woodworking on the side as well. I can't believe so much time has gone by, that they've gotten so big, and I've gotten so gray - not that I mind, I sort of have racing stripes. I'm now closer to 50 than 40, but I still like alternative rock and science fiction, although I've gotten into anime a lot lately, and I'm as weird as I always was.
And what have you been doing for the last 20 years?