Tag Archives: Yale

Lab Mice

lifemousies3We understand that animal research is necessary to the advancement of scientific and medical knowledge. We support it and we have participated in it; however, we cannot help but feel sorry for the innocent creatures who unknowingly give their bodies and lives to educating and helping others. After working in Vaccarino Lab at the Yale Child Study Center for three years of college and the summer afterwards, Kathy longed to save a couple of the many mice who are born, raised, altered, and potentially sacrificed for research. When she left Yale, her labmate kindly offered two young mice to share her home in New York City.

The mice are unnamed and are only referred to as Mr. Mousie and Mr. Mousie, even though they are both female. One of the most pleasurable aspects of raising mice is simply observing them. Their play and their interactions are hugely entertaining. At the beginning, the only way to tell them apart was by a clipped ear on one mouse. This mouse is now clearly the dominant mouse – she takes the food from the other’s hands and is much larger.

lifemousies2Our mice eat fortified pellet food with occasional supplemental treats like fresh vegetables, unsalted sunflower seeds, and oatmeal (they love oatmeal!). We clean out their bedding of shaved wood about once a week. When their cage is cleaned, we place them in a warm washcloth and rub gently to clean them (though this is really not necessary as they groom themselves). Afterwards, they run around our apartment in a hamster ball.

We also routinely change the objects and toys in the cage. After all, Kathy’s project was about the beneficial effects of environmental enrichment. These mice get lots of exercise doing “monkey bars” on the cage and on their running wheel. Their toys include a hanging bell (intended for birds), tree branches, plastic tunnels, egg cartons, and toilet paper rolls. Kathy’s coworkers at Pediatric Ophthalmic Consultants have been wonderful at saving potential supplies! The compressed cardboard that comes in toner boxes is especially fun for our mice. Of course, all recycled toys are ink-free.

lifemousies1Surprisingly, our mice are very clean. They often groom each other and they usually even have a “pee corner” (too much information?). They do not smell though their not smelling obviously hinges upon the frequency that we clean the cage. They are not loud, as long as we oil their running wheel. They are great pets. Mr. Mousie and Mr. Mousie are now loved parts of our family, and we are thrilled to have their company. Mice are wonderful pets and we hope you consider raising a couple of your own. The pleasure we get from caring for and watching these two mice grow reminds us of the many creatures who have contributed to the discovery of medical knowledge. Even though we support the use of animals for research, we also have a great respect for all little lives that are involved.

In memoriam: Our beloved mice both passed away peacefully in their very old age. They are safely buried at the East River Espanade in Manhattan, New York City and rest eternally in peace. In the future, we hope to raise more rescued lab mice as a thank-you to the many who have donated their lives to science.


In 2006, Kathy met Bonfietti-Csvihinka family during Chinese Adopt-a-Sibling Program at Yale (CASPY). The family had two daughters who were adopted from Vietnam and Kathy – a Vietnamese person herself – volunteered to be Lia’s big sib. Jean, Gina, Lia, and Jaden expressed to her the need for more Vietnamese resources in the Greater New Haven community so that the girls and other individuals like them, would have an access point to realizing their biological heritage.

In the fall of 2007, Kathy founded A Learning & Interactive Vietnamese Experience (ALIVE) at Yale University to meet these needs. Jean deserves credit for the wonderful acronym of the organization, which described perfectly the sentiment we wished to convey. Gina was critical in participant recruitment and the planning for the group. Lia and Jaden contributed their unconditional support and enthusiasm.

alivesilasEvery month during the academic year, ALIVE hosted two monthly programs. These activities are free and open to adults and children in the community. The Culture Days Program has hosted events such as celebrations of Tet (Lunar New Year), lion dances, and performances by artists from Vietnam. Other activities also include making goi cuon (Vietnamese summer rolls), learning Vietnamese Christmas carols, storytelling, and a number of arts and crafts projects. The Language Lessons Program is designed for individuals of all Vietnamese language proficiencies. ALIVE’s mission in this sub-program is to teach applicable language skills.

ALIVE became a central aspect of Kathy’s Yale experience. The people she met became her friends, mentors, inspirations, and parents at our home away from home.

ALIVE continues to serve the Greater New Haven community. Please visit the ALIVE website for more information about the program and what great things they are up to today.

About us

Welcome to Our Website!

We are Kathy May and Silas, a couple of normal folk temporarily located in Boston. We hand-coded our individual personal websites since our college years, but decided to combine them as www.kathymayandsilas.com in 2008. In 2016, our website underwent a major overhaul to what you see today! In addition to amateur web design, we also share a number of other hobbies and interests, including but not limited to photography, electronics, arts and crafts, exploring, volunteerism, healthcare, and experiencing new things in general! Most of all, we enjoy doing these things together!

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