Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Some updates:

Life interrupts blogging I am realizing. Sorry! Some updates:

1. I passed my written qualifying exams. Hooray! I was pretty confident about passing, but it is great to actually know. Now on to bigger and better things. Like my oral qualifying exams!!

2. Happy birthday to my sweetest boy. You are my sunshine and my best friend. I love you!

3. Everyone please take a minute and write to Mayor Jerry Sanders applauding his decision to support legalized same sex marriages. His address is Mayor Jerry Sanders, 11th Floor, 202 C Street, San Diego, CA 92101. Thank you.

4. My race is this weekend! I am so excited. I finally feel fast in the pool, my running is awesome, and well.. I can manage on the bike. Especially because I get to race on Trent's awesome speed machine! Expect some great pictures. And wish me luck beating the professor I have been training with.. it is really my main goal.

5. I have somehow decided to do a mountain bike race on Sunday. The cycling team desperately needs a girl to ride. I am telling myself all I need to do is finish.. but I am sure my competitive instinct will kick in, if I am not totally exhausted from Saturday's race!

6. The T-ster and I have an epic shopping trip planned post-mountain bike race. I am pretty darn excited for the fall weather.

7. I love.. hosting dinner parties, hosting cookouts, embracing living in the South and calling barbeques "cookouts," our darling Dyson vacuum, parents in all shapes and forms, the recent weather that has felt like southern California, catching up with old friends, my PI, the awesome Chapel Hill library, this watch, Carolina Football, being a crew coach's girlfriend, meeting my sweet boy on campus for lunch, being on about 12 different academic committees, doing my own research project (finally!), my new favorite restaurant The Spotted Dog, and our weekly brunches with the gang at Weaver Street.

We are happy folks, hope you all are too!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Crazy Week!

I am currently curled up on the sofa, listening to the rain pour outside and eating a bowl of berries in my favorite J.Crew sweats, while Trent works away at the computer. I couldn't be more content. What a week!! Let me clarify;

1. Monday I got climbing certified, Tuesday we got CPR certified, Wednesday was First Aid certification, Thursday was Trent's first day of work, and a huge day at work for me, plus Trent's first meeting the Red Cross, while I had a meeting with the Cell and Molecular Training program I am on, and a meeting with the UNC Triathlon team. So Friday.. it just feels good to be home. We didn't get home before 8 or 9pm any day this week!

2. So, we took all the CPR and First Aid courses for a number of reasons. Trent was required as he is the new rowing coach. The tri team needed someone to be certified, so I was in. Plus, let's face it.. we are kind of accident prone. I really don't handle emergency situations that well, so I figured the training would help. And Trent is getting involved with working with the Red Cross, and it is required for that.

3. Trent loves his new job. The hours are great, he is meeting tons of important professors and contacts, he works in a gorgeous university building right on the main street, and they really seem to appreciate him. He just started Thursday but is already eager to do his best job for them and looking forward to all the events. I couldn't be happier for him.

4. He is such a natural coach. I got to see him around some of his crew team kids and they all adore him. I can't wait to see them race someday soon!

5. I had a huge breakthrough at work. I joined the lab filling the position of a woman who had just left. And while the project was pretty cool, my heart started leaning towards a different question. But I felt too young and new in the lab to demand a change of projects. So I just printed out a few papers on the new topic and resigned myself to keep chugging along on the old. Until lab meeting. A shy, but incredibly hard working, Japanese senior graduate student just made some amazing progress. He worked practically all this time here on a certain assay, and thanks to his dedication, and some great contacts my boss has, we are on the brink of something huge. But this guy is dying to leave. He already had a job in Japan! So guess who gets the project?!? And guess what the topic is?? The papers I had printed out! Too complicated to get into now, but I am basically finding a link that determines the final control on cell cycle checkpoints. And the great news is.. there are only about 40 of these possible "links." And after a ton of searching the literature and some awesome bioinformatics, I think I have saved myself about a year of slogging through experiments and feel confident about a few select candidates. I am sure it won't be as easy as it appears now.. but I am SO jazzed about this new project, I am ready for a few defeats. And yes, I will finish up what I am currently working on.. even though it is SO last year :)

6. Enough of that. So it is raining. Which is SO exciting. It hasn't rained for almost two months. Which is utterly unheard of in the South. This is some very welcome rain. Although it brought some very unwelcome tornado warnings and got me kicked out off the indoor pool this afternoon due to lightning. That was a scary bike ride home!!

7. More Trent stuff, sorry. So we just got the new iMac, which we adore, but we also got the fancy dancy Adobe design software too. I was a little skeptical at first, but somehow Trent has hooked up with a guy trying to get a certain high end car company to sponsor his "Trent just told me I can't say the name" cycling team. And Trent is doing their proposal media! He is working like crazy on it, but doing some beautiful stuff. And apparently it is quite hush hush, I just had to delete a couple sentences on his request. Big times! His volunteer work with the Red Cross is also centered around doing media and marketing, which could lead into a full time position, especially once he gets his masters of public health, which he can do with this job. The pieces are coming together!

Sorry if this post has been too sappy or bragging, but I am just really happy right now with our situation. Having him so engaged and happy with his work/crew team/ volunteering/training, allows me to focus on my science/training without feeling guilty about being away from home. And I have a triathlon coming up the last weekend in September, and the marathon in November, plus all this awesome science to do.. so there is going to be a lot of work going on. But if you love it, it stops seeming like work. Crazy!

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Stylish Scientist: Aversion to Pants

I really don't like wearing pants. Pretty much in general. But I am almost, almost, sick of wearing shorts. I can't believe I am actually excited for cooler temperatures, but this summer has been extra nuts and I am ready for some sweater action. So, I like sweaters, but I don't like pants...

Of course, J.Crew has me covered. I wish I meant this literally, but alas.. no.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Weekend Round Up

We had a crazy week of tons of workouts and work for me, and tons of workouts for Trent and his crew team. It was Trent's last full week at his old job, I made some progress on my experiments, and enjoyed some lovely late afternoon bike rides. The weekend felt short but we definitely got a lot of fun stuff done.

Friday night was the first "First Friday Biology Happy Hour" of the new school year. I remember going to my first one last year SO well, so I was quite jazzed for this. However, apparently we were a MUCH cooler first year class.. only ONE new first year came. She is pretty awesome though, especially because she is rotating in MY lab. Holla! We still had a great time, enjoy some pictures!

Nathan and Jessica

Kim and the adorable new post-doc

Stylish Bio Ladies

Trent didn't have practice on Saturday (since he is technically the Assistant coach, and had been at EVERY practice that week.. he took the day off) and we went on an awesome, intense, mountain bike ride with the UNC Bike Team. There were 4 girls and 6 guys, and everyone was really good. I was out of practice, too much road riding lately, but it came back quickly. I love how much concentration mountain biking takes, and the comradary is excellent. Beautiful weather, great to meet some new friends!

Afterwards we went to Foster's Market (my first time at this famous spot) for delicious sandwiches. I thought my dirt "tan" legs were awesome, perhaps Trent was not so impressed.

I went to lab and Trent started lathing when we got home. While sorting flies, my throat got super sore.. not so good. Especially since bio friend Deirdre has been sick for a week. I immediately went home, drank tons of cranberry juice, and went to bed. We ordered lots of chinese take-out, including the cure all wonton soup and watched The Lives of Others. Nice mellow evening.

Woke up today feeling much better, I think we dodged the bullet. We did a bit of cleaning, and then went NUTS cleaning. We finally explored our attic!! This is monumental. We both have been afraid of it. Embarrassing, I know. But today we were brave and went up there. And it is AWESOME! So much storage. We put a ton of projects Trent is working on, but need time to age, boxes from our new computer, and other storage related stuff. It was monumental. And motivational. We cleaned like mad, then went and bought new sheets, new underbed storage boxes (since there are no longer drawer building materials under our bed), and then...

WE BOUGHT A DYSON VACUUM! (haley is excited about this at least...)

We are thrilled. It is the most epic vacuum ever. Really. I know, a vacuum, really? But yes.. it is awesome. Especially at the phenomenal deal we got it at. We got a returned, old version, for a steal.

This vacuum is AMAZING. We got it set up in no time and probably could have left it sitting in one place on the carpet for 5 minutes without it slowing down on all the dirt it was picking up. We have an old house, with some real old carpet.. but this thing is amazing. We pretty much spent the rest of the day taking turns vacuuming, under every piece of furniture, organizing closets and washing lots of clothes. We have lots of hobbies, but now, everything seems to have its place. And I am thrilled. Trent bbq'ed while I ran to lab to tend to my demanding flies, and we enjoyed dinner and our super clean floors. You can vacuum everything!!

Hope you guys had a great weekend of getting a fresh start, just like we did!

Friday, September 07, 2007


How adorable are these salt and pepper shakers?!? So adorable.. that's how.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New York Style

During our one day amazing trip to New York City, we came across Fishs Eddy. I loved it! Such adorable dishes and gifts. And a real local business. Quite charming.

I especially like the green stripe set and the
Central Park design.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Weekend Update

We had a great long weekend. Lots of training for upcoming races and plenty of cultural events. Trent got a new job which is just perfect for him right now, I have fallen in love with a dog who could be ours (sorry Penney, you will always be my number one), and we saw giant hippie puppets!

A recap;

Our awesome concert Friday night. We took off right after work and after a quick dinner at Taco Bell (Which I was so excited about, Chapel Hill doesn't have one, and we used to go ALL the time in CA), we made it to the venue around 6pm. We snagged a great spot for our blanket and enjoyed beautiful location, right on a lake. I especially enjoyed all the fantastic people watching. We definitely weren't in Chapel Hill anymore. And Southerners have some crazy ideas about what to wear to a concert. Good times. Ozomatli was awesome, people seemed crazy about Slightly Stoopid although we were a bit less impressed, but G. Love and the Special Sauce was SO fantastic. We had a great time.

Our feet-sies and the venue.

Before the show started.

During the show. As you can tell, I was very excited about the whole thing.

Saturday, Trent got up early to go coach crew and I puttered around the house. I made yummy omelettes for breakfast (Thanks Dad.. I still make them exactly like you taught me.. golden brown!). Trent got to lathing and I hit the road for a long run. I did 8 miles in an hour.. go me! Got home and bio friend Buddy came over for a chat and to drop off his student ID for Trent. We munched on fresh mango.. yummers. I made a quick dash to the library to stock up on good books to read, while Trent took a nap.

We needed Buddy's ID so Trent could get into the season opening Carolina vs. James Madison University football game. I love being in a college town. Especially one that is so proud of its university. The place was PACKED, and we aren't even that good at football. We sat up above the crazy student section, but were surrounded by these "good old Southern boy" coaches who knew all the players and statistics and definitely improved our appreciation of the game. And we won 37-7!! I don't think JMU is in our division, but it still was a great boost for our team after a pretty pathetic season last year, and a great bode of confidence for our new coach. Go Heels!!

The Marching Tar Heels

We are practically bleeding Carolina Blue, no?

Sunday, we got some much needed sleep. It was a gorgeous, cool, day, perfect for our bike ride. We did about 20 miles and were impressed as always with the huge turnout of folks riding. Definitely a bicycling community. Nice ride, I need to start doing a lot more of those before my upcoming race.

Then we headed for a little retail therapy. First, lunch where Trent had to show me some epic nachos he had previously enjoyed at the Carolina Ale House. They were pretty impressive.

He was thrilled. And yes, that is cottage cheese on them. We are a long way from California...

Completely stuffed, we cruised over to Sam's Club (yes, we are broke students) for some bulk essentials, when all the sudden Trent wandered over and told me they had Joe's Jeans. I thought he was kidding.. but no. For $70!!! This sounds silly to most folks, except maybe Emily, but I was excited enough that I was willing to try them on in the Furniture aisle (luckily I had a skirt on) and came home with some brand new awesome jeans. So exciting. Anyone need a new pair? Just let me know!

Got home, tried to go swimming, but the pool was closed. Darn. Went on a quick run instead, about 5 miles. Tired legs!!

Deirdre came over around 6:30 and we headed to the little theater in the forest by our house to see "A Shoe for Your Foot" put on by the PuppetHand Puppet Intervention. Super hippie, but really fun. I went last year by myself and wanted to share it with friends this year. We had a delicious picnic and boo'ed and cheered with the packed crowd. Very fun times.

We got home and I read while Trent studied PhotoShop and DreamWeaver. Exciting news!! He got a new job!! A full time, full benefits, awesome University job. He is the Assistant Program Coordinator for the honors program. Basically, he coordinates scholarships, does public relations and marketing, and gets to interact with students. Which is perfect. And it is only 30 hours a week, quite flexible, which will be great for his coaching gig. And, even better, he gets to take one free course from the University each semester. He already has it planned out. He wants to start taking coursework towards his master's of public health, and is planning on volunteering with the Red Cross. Really great news.

This morning was pretty slow, went on another long run, this time 7 miles in about an hour. We made yummy smoothies in our awesome blender and then headed out to do a little "house-perusing." Not "hunting" by any means.. just seeing what is out there that we could afford. I think since Chapel Hill is a temporary location we are probably just going to rent. But we are thinking of moving into something bigger, especially with Trent's growing wood turning company and the arrival of Bijou, a dog Buddy is fostering who I have completely fallen in love with. We went to visit with her today.. and I am so mad I didn't take pictures. She is beautiful, and a total sweetheart. I just hope Buddy doesn't mind fostering her for a little while longer.. we aren't ready to leave the cottage immediately.

Did a little grocery shopping at Weaver Street before coming home and going to the pool. Did about 1600 meters, but I was pretty spent from all the activities. Came home and Trent lathed while I made a huge pot of spaghetti, which hit the spot. Off to bed.

It was a great weekend, I forced myself not to go into work and to enjoy my weekend. I am really proud of us, trying all the different opportunities Chapel Hill has to offer. We won't stay here, for many reasons, once I graduate, but I think we will always remember our time here fondly, and I am really happy that we ventured out and tried something new. Hope you all had a lovely weekend, especially the folks in SLO. Sorry this was SO long!!