Thursday, November 30, 2006

I'm frantically busy today with my last lab session to teach this semester, crazy scary meetings with my NIH (funding) advisors, and class. But I just had to brag. My babies have legs!! The lab I am in uses these crazy Costa Rican frogs to study, and we've been trying to raise some from tadpoles. It was going really bad, but finally today we have a couple with little legs sprouting out. Yay!!

Oh, and my data looks beautiful, everything worked out great on the big insitu hybridization. Now lots of time on the microscope and computer to see if there is any "statistical signifigance" to any of it.

Wish me luck on my busy day, and come dancing tonight to celebrate the ending of my birthday week!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanks goodness for C14, or I'd never date...

Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and I share a birthday!!

This is right up there with sharing one with James Taylor or something. Perhaps even better.

And here is my horoscope for the coming year, compliments of my mom.

"Spirit and energy merge this year, making it hard to deny you what you want. Cruise into this birthday year knowing that you are about to enter a new 11 year luck cycle."

Hopefully this Ph.D. won't take 11 years, but I'll take all the good luck I can get.

Thanks to everyone who made my birthday wonderful, and anyone who is interested in some 80's dance party, we're heading to Lucy's this Thursday to celebrate being alive in the 80's!!

I'm 24!!!



I love birthdays. I love any excuse to feel just a little more fabulous.

And I get my data today from my huge experiment, so hopefully, since it is my birthday, it will all be fabulous as well.

I am so thankful of all my awesome new friends here in NC, the fact that I am living my dream of becoming a scientist, that I have such an amazing family who supports me, that I have wonderful old friends who know me better than I know myself and who will always be a huge part of my life, and for my amazing boyfriend who makes everyday truly lovely.

Who needs presents or cake??

(Alas, I have no cute pictures to post of myself, unlike someone I know... This is just some random kid)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wow.. morning television! That and a couple cups of coffee from our new Boden french press makes me so excited about PBS's "It's a Big Big World." Apparently it is hosted by this big sloth named Snook, who kinda sounds like Matt Costa, and a whole bunch of other animals, including Bob the anteater, Bernadette the quetzal, and Ozo a crazy Japanese baboon thing. They spend a lot of time investigating footprints and having leaf tea parties. And Snook sings. And eats a lot. I love it.

It is pouring rain and about 40 degrees outside. Not cool, man, not cool. NPR used the phrase "nor-easter" which amazes me. Luckily, today is a holiday (namely lots of cleaning and prepping for tomorrow), but yesterday I somehow reasoned that it would be better to walk home rather than ride my bike and my cheap Old Navy khakis were drenched. I also decided not to wear a rain coat. Lovely. I hit the tub as soon as I got home. So yes, I realize a little better planning/deductive reasoning could help me out, but I prefer to just shop my way out of this situation.

1. Rain boots. I immediately bought these when I got home. I finally found nice, tall, boots and don't want to wear those out in this mess, but all my other shoes are ballet flats or such other inappropriate footwear.

2. I have a great Marmot Precip (which no, I did not bring yesterday), but I was curious about other rain coat options. I think this one is fabulous. Albeit extreme. With Socks!!

3. My comfort is definitely worth $999. Right? You can't really argue with the "warmest garment on planet earth" claim to fame. I think I actually tried this on one time in SF.

Any other suggestions? Otherwise, I am inspired to stay in the tiny cottage and write the next great American novel about ferns. And drink lots of tea.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

More birthday loot!

Trent was away in Indiana at Purdue University last week for a weeklong business trip. He found lots of awesome old books about biology and engineering. We have tons of bookshelves in our living room and all these old gems are going to look great in our house. Also they are quite fun to read. This text on "How to Know the Ferns" is my favorite. There is tons of Thoreau quotes about ferns! Which are very fun to read out loud dramatically while Trent makes dinner. Heheh.. Thanks Bubs!

Last night my birthday box arrived from SLO. Yay. Although they were under strict orders not to get me anything due to their amazing generosity during our road trip across the nation, and in helping us get our little cottage set up. But I was thrilled to see the packaging demanding to be opened upon arrival. Inside were these nifty matching aprons, perfect for our hosting duties this coming Thanksgiving! They even match our cottage! Thanks!!

Oh, and sorry I missed your call mom. I got a flu shot yesterday, so was feeling a bit fragile. So we had soup and both went to bed at 8 or so. It was lovely.

Monday, November 20, 2006

DC Weekend Trip!

Here are pictures from our lovely weekend in DC. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and it was great to see Trent's old friend from college, who he rowed with for years and rode bikes to Colorado with. He is working at the NIH, so it was fun to hear all the news of my future place of internship. We spent all Saturday cruising around DC, seeing all the famous sites and taking lots of pictures. It was especially poignant being there on Veteran's Day. We had lunch at the Holocaust Memorial museum and spent some time looking at Smithsonian museums. Finally exhausted we headed back to Silver Spring, went to see Borat in Bethesda, and then took the metro out to Georgetown to have dinner at a tavern where JFK and Jackie got engaged. Then we went to Dupont Circle and met up with some of Brett's NIH buddies and enjoyed a beer with all the young professionals at Madame's Organ. Totally beat, we returned home to Silver Springs.

The weather was a little worse on Sunday, but luckily we got to have brunch at THE dim sum restaurant. His uncle and aunt were in town receiving awards for teaching and it was great to catch up. We ate ourselves silly and headed home. Stopped by Ikea on the drive home and made it home around 6. Lovely weekend getaway!!


This weekend we had a bit of a scare. Or at least I did. After using our awesome blender to grind some coffee (really, it is an amazing blender) Trent was cleaning it up before stashing it away. While talking to his buddy Jarrett on the phone. He ended up cutting his finger kinda bad on a sharp edge on the bottom, but nothing too serious. I made him come to the bathroom and was cleaning it up with hydrogen peroxide and discussing bandaid options when he started to black out. Luckily I caught him but couldn't hold him upright and he fell back into the tub. I don't deal well with these situations and immediately began panicking and yelling at him. He was breathing fine but I couldn't wake him so I ran and got the phone. As soon as I left, he perked up and got out of the tub, wondering why I was running around the house screaming. I was thrilled to have him awake, but as soon as I got back into the bedroom he konked out again and I pushed him down onto the bed and called 911. I don't mess around with this stuff! Screaming at the 911 lady, she managed to calm me down and Trent came around. Still I insisted on a medic coming out. It was scary stuff. He laid down on the floor and started to get his color back, just as friend Dierdre showed up to make desserts for that evening's dinner party. Poor thing stumbled into quite a situation with me still in panic mode. The medic showed up and made sure everything was fine, but recommended that we go to the ER anyways. I drove, still screaming, to the ER, battling the traffic from the UNC vs. NC State game (A HUGE deal, but we won!!) that was just getting out. The hospital was great and took our case seriously. He had a tetnus shot, an EKG, and a CAT scan to rule out any possible heart or neuro reasons. We settled on a serious vasovagal response, but I was glad they did all the extra precautions. Now we have proof he is a completely healthy fella. We were there for quite a while, and I was competely exhausted afterwards. The rest of the weekend, I couldn't let him out of my sight for worry. But he is fine, the cut is healing well and we realized how important it is to know medical histories and closest hospitals and such. Though I hope we don't need to know that for a looooong time!

can't wait for the feast!

I am so excited about the impending Thanksgiving feast. We are going to have 11 people total and tons of food. On our drive back from Washington DC (I need to post those pictures, we had a blast!) we stopped by Ikea and I got tons of fall colored candles and other decorations. Yesterday we hit up the grocery stores and Pier One for some last minute fixings. School is pretty chill this week, my insitu hybridization is still "hybridizing" in the fridge, I am not teaching this week and my favorite prof is lecturing. So I am pretty much only going to be thinking about THANKSGIVING!!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Happy weekend everyone. I, for one, am gonna get out my best blue sneaks like this fella. Ciao!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Science: There's an endocrine disrupter in my soap!

According to new research recently published in Aquatic Toxicology on September 29th, the bacteria agent triclosan, widely used in soaps and toothpastes for its ability to kill bacteria has been found to modulate thyroid hormone-associated gene expression and disrupt postembryonic anuran development in both frogs and humans! And Trent didn't believe me that frogs had physiological or biomedical implications for humans.

According to this article, although sewage plants remove most of the triclosan washed down the drain, the chemical still winds up in detectable amounts downstream where my poor Tungara frogs reside.

Side effects? "The triclosan effects included significant weight loss and accelerated hind-limb development. Helbing and co-workers also detected elevated activity in the brain of genes linked with uncontrolled cell growth, and decreased gene activity in the tail fin."

While I know many of you would appreciate the weight loss, I'm sure you wouldn't enjoy accelerated hind-limb development, or uncontrolled cell growth and decreased gene activity in the tail fin!

So help me save my slimey friends by avoiding products containing triclosan, which can be found here per my friends at the NIH.

Science: The Banana is Proof of Intelligent Design

While I won't dive too far into the realm of politics, I'm perfectly willing to take this one head on: "Bananas, An Atheist's "Nightmare."

First, watch this video.

Spoiler: Man claims that the banana proves that God exists and that he designed bananas, thus disproving the Theory of Evolution. Why? Because of course the banana fits perfectly in a human hand, has a non-slip outter surface, comes with an easy open tab much like a soda can, peals easily of biodegradable wrapper, has a ripeness indicator of yellow and fits perfectly into the mouth. And YES, HE'S SERIOUS about his claims that this single fruitedly proves Intelligent Design.

This reminds me of the other yellow PROOF for intelligent design which was so kindly bestowed to Trent and myself during a dinner cruiser in the San Francisco bay where a friendly couple, equipped with a trifold brochure, proceeded to tell us why the Giraffe (conveniently yellow when ripe) is proof of intelligent design because it is an engineering quandary.

Need I even say a single word... Well, us non-believers must be doomed and the Dolphin just discovered with legs must have been "designed" only to throw off Evolutionists into THINKING they have some reason to go on in this world, however fabulously created.

Discovered Website:

Wondering how to pair that cute new pencil skirt with that pair of knee high brown boots you just purchased? Or do you just want to show off the outfit you put together in J. Crew style? let's you do that and more. Browse user uploaded photos of outfits and upload your own. If you like what someone's wearing, ask them where they got it!

My two cents: while the cute outfits are few and far between, maybe with a photo populating from, the site could become just a little more hip.

Weekend Adventure: Maryland here we come!

Pictured here is the Smithsonian Castle Building where we had tentatively planned to have Brunch with Trent's Uncle and Aunt this Sunday, before they found out they no longer serve lunch.

This Friday we depart on a short 5 hour drive to Maryland to see friends, family and sights. We will be staying with Trent's college rowing buddy Brett, and seeing his Aunt and Uncle, who will be in town receiving a National award for teaching.

While we may not be able to dine at the Smithsonian, it sounds like the fam has some nice lunch ideas in mind and perhaps we'll still get to check out the museum, as it is totally and completely free - how wonderful for a budding yet poor little scientist.

Giving Back: Pledging NPR

Well folks, they've done it or he has rather. Steve Inskeep of NPR's Morning Addition convinced me on Friday to contribute to the NPR pledge drive. Of course there is no organization I'd rather contribute my hard earned money to than NPR, who has stuck by me through countless hours in the lab, and as a much welcomed alternative to TV.

How did he get me you ask? Well, not only did he say that I would be entered into a drawing with little competition for a vacation, but a nice NPR hoody and subscription to Business Week for Trent. While we didn't win that drawing, I am proud to be a supporter of NPR, a superior form of news, knowledge and entertainment.

Outstanding Citizen: Go Vote!

This past Saturday Trent and I rode our bikes over to Morehead Planetarium, our local precint and voted. While back home in California you have a majority Democratic state, our vote will actually make a difference here in North Carolina.
While we are nesseled in our liberal and progressive bubble of Chapel Hill and many parts of Orange and Wake counties, there are parts of North Carolina that are more conservative.

And while I'm not about to get political on my blog, here is some good reading:

The Year Was 2008: Calendars

Many of you know the famous potato calendar Trent works on every year and all the hard work that goes into each and every one. But to be honest, they're not the most stylish works due to his client's focus.

Here's a cute one I found over per Outblush which I think would look much more fitting on our walls.

And to be a little more ecoconcious, try using the calendar as wrapping paper when your done with a month!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Science: Two Highschool Students Find Key to Global Warming?

Not quite, but a step in the right direction.

Two highschool students claim to have found a way "to produce more biodiesel fuel while consuming fewer organic resources."

According to the budding scientists, "It [algae] grows very rapidly, and it grows in environments that won't support other food stocks so space wouldn't be taken up that could be used for growing food."

Algae, doing their part to combat global warming. Oh, and of course what is the most common form of algae transportation? Why the nitrogen cycle of course! Let's just hope they don't ride while being chloro-plastered.

A Graduate Student Thanksgiving: What to cook?

This will be Trent and my first Thanksgiving away from home. And while we have plenty of friends to celebrate with, we need to narrow down what to cook! We have two confirmed friends joining us with the possibility of around four more. Sadly, we've already had to turn down three very generous invitations for other dinners from Trent's boss, a friend from back home and mom's college roommate in lieu of hosting our own fabulous feast. Now what to cook:
          • The Staples
            • Turkey
            • Pearl Onions
            • Mashed potatoes
            • Sweet potato pie
            • Stuffing
            • Gravy
What do you suggest to add, and do you have a favorite recipe to share?

Weekend Roundup

A photo is worth a thousand words, or in my case my ENTIRE WEEKEND.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

More pictures!

Some pictures from Halloween. I know there have only been pictures lately, my blog is more like shutterfly or something. Oh well, enjoy!

One of our professors had a really fun party. Here is Matt, friend and my TA, in his clever Mr. Potato Head costume. Trent was jealous.

I love carving pumpkins. Here I am celebrating with my buddies. No trick or treaters, or none before we left to Kelly's before we got ready, but since we were so close to the Franklin Street festivities I am sure some folks got to appreciate them. Franklin Street was pretty fun. We drove to our house after the prof's party and then walked along Franklin. The whole thing had a very SLO Farmer's Market feel, not too crowded but lots of folks. Apparently there were over 50,000 people, which is amazing. Some great costumes and no real drama. Sore feet the next day though!

Dierdre, Kelly and I went as Stepford Wives. Tons of makeup, lots of pearls, teased hair, cute dresses and adorable aprons we found at a vintage shop for $3 each. It was fun and easy. Apparently I thought we were posing in this picture, turns out we weren't. Oh man, it was a fun evening but I am too old to be getting to bed that late. Felt like an undergraduate!! But it is nice having our cottage so close to the action, a lot people crashed here after all the walking about.

Anyways, I will try to post about something other than pictures soon. Hope you all had a great Halloween. I am off to teach my kiddies how to purify an over-expressed recombinant protein! Should be interesting.