Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hooray for:

Hooray for:

1. Trent rocking his final this morning and being done with super hard Biostatistics class.

2. Ben and Stacey making their way to North Carolina, although their flight did get delayed. We can't wait to see them.

3. Fancy heirloom tomato plants from lab mate Harmony.

4. Getting lots of science done today.

5. Finally shipping Rob's birthday present (one month late!). April was not my most "with it" month, I apologize.

Linda is Awesome

Check out our amazing friend Linda's Etsy shop. She collected lots of old magazines, scrap fabric and other "rescues" from folks and turned it into functional goodies. Such a clever gal.

Perhaps tags could be utilized on favors at this wedding shindig?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wedding Inspiration

Loving this inspiration board from Snippet and Ink today:

Where can I have a giant picnic in a park for my wedding?

Just curious. Of course, with mariachis and tamales.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


"At such a difficult moment, there are those who say we cannot afford to invest in science, that support for research is somehow a luxury at moments defined by necessities," Obama said.
"I fundamentally disagree."

And I love you for this, sensible, wonderful, Mr. President.

Lifelong Student

I biked to the community pool last night, and met up with Trent after his evening crew practice. We wanted to get one last big swim workout in before the race this weekend. Our timing was tight, so we decided to just swim straight for 45 minutes to get the most out of our time. And to mimic the race.

But, this is so boring. We stopped occasionally to chat or adjust goggles, but after a while it became very peaceful and meditative. I tried to remember the plots of the last few "30 Rock" episodes, listed the 50 states a couple times, and then decided to count for a thousand meters using each lap as a year of my life. Which is 40 laps, but I got to use those last ones to "plan ahead."

Except for the early ones, and one year when I was 23, my entire life can be recalled based on what "year" I was in school. Not saying this is a bad thing, pretty happy with my life, but interesting. What will I do in a couple years when I am not in school any more?!

Speaking of school years, yesterday was the last day of school. Robert Earl Keen, shirtless boys in khaki shorts and Sperry's drinking PBR in cozies, huge waterslide. Southern campus celebration in full swing!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekend Recap

Weekend was fabulous, not quite as much working out, but a lot more napping under the mulberry tree. Highlights included;

1. Discovering a little oasis on our long run and playing with Sadie in a creek.

2. Library book, quilt, ice tea.

3. How much better our yard looks with a freshly mowed lawn and trimmed hedges.

4. Dinner out in Raleigh, meeting new folks, and celebrating Corienne's birthday.

5. A super super clean house.

6. An impromptu al fresco dinner party, Trent grilled fish and chicken, I made all sorts of taco fillings and we built a table on the lawn (need lawn furniture!). Stephen and Amanda, Corienne and Adam, and Adam's old roommate Rebecca joined us. So much food, grilled peppers, guacamole, it was all delicious and fun to eat on the lawn with no mosquitos (yet!). Sadie and Jerz played like mad and we had homemade mango icecream for dessert.

7. Trent got me a lovely blue LeCruset 5qt pot. I've wanted one of these for ages. I am excited to try my sourdough no knead bread without the fear of heating our non-stick to 500 degrees.

8. I found my orals reward purse. At TJ Maxx. Huzzah. It is so "Jean," it is ridiculous. I will take pics.

Sitting in a dark room now, which seems sacreligious since it is gorgeous outside, but I am actually getting nice looking data (seems like it has been forever). I keep exclaiming quasi-blasphemous phrases, it is that exciting. I am such a nerd. Hooray for data. Happy Monday.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I am very much looking forward to my first "free" weekend at home. It helps that the weather is ridiculously terrific. Here's what I am planning:

1. Horseback riding with Ashley tonight. Love that it stays light late enough that we can go at 6 and still have a couple good hours.

2. Long run tomorrow morning, early. It is supposed to get hot tomorrow.

3. Farmers market and breakfast with friends at Weaver St.

4. Home to mow the lawn, weed the garden, do lots of laundry and hang it on the line, get the house ready for our visitors next week (yay!!).

5. Make sandwiches with homemade sourdough bread, basil from the garden, and local cheese. Drink sunbrewed iced tea. Nap in the shade with Sadie.

6. Swimming at the fancy new community pool. The Half Ironman is next weekend. I am so unprepared it isn't even funny. Perhaps one crazy weekend of working out will suffice. Righhhhht.

7. Head to Raleigh to celebrate Corienne's birthday Saturday night.

8. Bringing back Sunday morning group mountain bike rides. Hopefully also bringing back post-ride breakfasts. I am thinking Johnny's for crepes and coffee.

9. More cleaning/yard working/crafting. Working on a few embroidery gifts for folks.

10. Sunday night yoga and hopefully bbq with Stephen and Amanda.

Hope you all have wonderful weekends ahead as well. Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happiness is a sunny afternoon

It is absolutely gorgeous here right now. Sorry... just have to share. The air smells like wisteria and gardenias, the new leaves are a brilliant shade of green, it is 78 degrees. Sadie and I are gonna go lounge on the lawn and probably bbq when Trent gets home from practice.

Sorry.. I just had to share my joy. I love Carrboro.

My Day Job

I went to a fantastic talk today from a cancer biologist from UCSF. He was working on looking at fundamental biological processes, and how these canonical systems get mis-regulated and cause cancer, and what we could possibly do to fix those mis-regulations. It was so impressive to see crazy tumor responses depending on slight variations in levels of molecules we all have in every cell and rely on to stay alive. There was SO much promise, and yet so so many obstacles in everything he proposed.

This comic from PhD Comic really gets the message across.

Cancer is a ridiculous disease to work on. It isn't one disease. It is so many variations and combinations that one single "cure" isn't feasible. But what we can do is understand what makes us work and what tends to go wrong and then work to try to fix it. Or at least catch those changes when they first occur, and not when they manifest as terrible tumors.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wedding Wednesday

Oh ya.. I have that little nuptial event on the horizon, don't I? I am so excited for it, but completely at a loss as to what "wedding planning" means. Fortunately, I have Emily on the job and she is doing a terrific job. Here's what is on my list:

1. Location and Date! Still "to be decided." I know, I know. But we are heading home at the end of May and hopefully will get everything booked and decided. I need to do a lot of organizing and internet-ing before our trip.

2. I am wearing THE family dress for the ceremony. It is too drop dead gorgeous and full of family history to not. And it fits like perfect, so yay. Need to find a fun "second dress" still.

3. Flowers. Whatever is gorgeous and fun at the SF Flower Mart the week before. I am hoping for bright dalias and rannunculus and the like. Need to find mason jars or other cheap vases, hopefully on Craigslist. I am thinking of doing my own bouquets. Terrible idea? Flowers are so pretty on their own.. throw some together with a ribbon and even better, right? I made my prom date's bouteneir in high school.. is that too ambitious though?

4. Catering. Still have high hopes for Picante's, the mexican restaurant in Berkeley. Will meet with them and try it out when we are home for the visit.

5. Music. Hopefully some harp by Trent's mom and/or aunt and managing of the dancing tunes by Trent's friend Ken who is an excellent dj. I am still on the lookout for a mariachi trio, if the budget allows I think that would be fantastic.

6. Officiant/vows. We will be writing our own vows, but are considering having a Unitarian officiant. We both spent time in the Unitarian church when we were growing up, and have gone here a few times. And there must be some terrific ones in the Bay Area. I guess I will just do some internet research?

7. Decorations. I will be spending some time in the Mission when I am in the city, looking for papeles picados and other festive touches. I am thinking of making some tissue paper pom-poms or flowers in addition.

8. Hair and make up. No idea. Probably just do ourselves. And by ourselves, I mean my highly talented friends and family.

9. Invites. Emily is doing wonderful things with design and creation of the invites with a Gooco printer. Need some dates and locations before she can finalize anything though.

10. What else? I am sure there are a million things. First, where and when!!

Happy Birthday April!

Today is my darling April's birthday! It was so much fun being in her fabulous wedding last summer and I miss her so. But she is leading a ridiculously cool life in San Diego, teaching fancy children and decorating her new home with her hubby Vic. And I know our paths will cross again soon. And there will probably be lots of dog walking involved.

Happy Birthday to AP!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trent's Success

While I was learning life lessons in Cape Cod, Trent was down in Tennessee with his rowers. They had a great weekend and he is back in love with coaching. We'll see what next year holds...

His "four" won and got a sweet trophy. Go Heels!


Pics from Carrboro

A few random pictures from the past weeks.

Homemade chicken soup from a roast chicken, homemade sourdough bread from scratch, and delish pesto-garlic spread. Yay self-sufficient dinner!

Our tulips on Easter. They were just perfect.

My little garden starting out. Lettuce, lots of basil and dill, and mint taking over the place.

Trent watering the happy azaleas.

More tulips in front of our fence. They knew exactly when I needed some cheering up before the oral exams.

Farmers market in full swing. I like how we caught the dude in this picture mid-contemplation about all the baby plant options. It was tough to pick.

The trusty bike helped us get our goodies home.

Starting baby tomato plants and sourdough starter enjoying some sun.

My post orals presents from Trent, a sweet note and delicious ginger chocolate. I've been consuming SO much ginger recently. We went out to dinner the next night with Stephen and Amanda to Acme.. so so good.

My manicure and coconut latte.. just had to prove to Haley I took her advice to the letter.

My sweet Sadie enjoys having me back on earth after all that studying madness.

I had a weekend that can only be described with the "cheesiest" of adjectives. I flew to Boston on Friday morning and took the bus to Hyannis, to be met by my dear friend Norma Simon.

She has lived on the Cape for 40 years, and knows and loves this part of the world. She has been a special part of my family's history and knew me since I was a child, but this was our first real "grown up" time together.

Recently, her beloved husband passed away. They were an amazing pair, so in love and so adventurous. It was my first visit to their house since he passed, but he is still so much a part of that home. Trent and I visited a couple summers ago, and they had such wonderful discussions about all their hobbies and crafts they shared interest in.

I stayed in the main house, which is filled with treasures. So much art, history, and family. I was looking forward to an escape and a time to recover from my orals, but it was so much more than just a relaxing weekend. It was a game changer, honestly.

Downtown Wellfleet. This is an old Masonic building. I learned so much about New England history, geography, ecology, everything!

My guide/instructor. She was amazing in so many ways. And hard to keep up with!

Wellfleet harbor where they have a boat. This town is too amazing to describe, it is like being in a Hopper painting. And yes, I learned about him there.

We had all sorts of adventures and outings, but the best part was the conversation. At every meal and at every opportunity we talked. Nearly 40 years separate us, but we had conversations about everything, love and relationships, parents and children, politics and government, history, pop culture, my family, her family, death and dying. Everything. And as friends. It was an indescribable joy.

Luckily the weather was terrific, and we had most of our meals out on the screened in porch.

The amazing view from a friend's house. Cape Cod has such interesting ecology!

She taught me how to collect mussels! You go out when the tide is low, rack up big clumps of gorgeous bivalves and pick which ones you want for dinner. And leave the rest. We collected a big bucket full.

Rinsing dinner. This woman is 81 years old. It was remarkable.

The mussels just grow on the bottom of the bay like this. I was blown away. Unfortunately, immediately after we collected and distributed our jewels to friends, we heard about a red algae bloom that raised toxicity levels in blue mussels only. Norma called around and verified. Bummer. But we went out for Thai food instead, and got mussels from Prince Edward Island for dinner the next night. Delicious.

I had lots of walks and runs on this gorgeous beach. Lots of thinking and reflecting on all our conversations. I do my best thinking on the beach!

Just gorgeous. I couldn't have asked for better weather. I left Sunday afternoon and Trent picked me up from the airport that evening. I know it sounds cheesy, but this weekend has changed my perspective and I cannot begin to explain it. I learned so much about my family, about myself, and about life and love. It was nearest to talking to your future self I've ever experienced. I am so fortunate to have had this opportunity.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's over, I am done, and I am officially a Ph.D. candidate. Hooray.

It was pretty brutal, almost 3 hours of direct questioning about everything from small details to the fundamental premise of my research proposal. I know I did a good job, but it is hard not to feel a little beat down after having to defend yourself so intensely for 3 hours.

But it is done, in the past. Lots of experiments ahead and I am very much looking forward to getting back to the bench and back to real life.

Plus a mani/pedi and a coconut latte on the way home having me feeling much better.

I am exhausted, off to veg for bit. Thanks for all your support these past few weeks!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Just a few more days. I know I can do it. It will be fine. I should stop panicking.

Oh man.

This will be so nice to be done with.

Trent says it is good I care so much, means I am dedicated and want to do a good job.

I am just excited to stop having crazy dreams about my science and committee.

I did make some terrific sourdough bread this morning.. so there is always a back up career for me.

Oh man, oh man..

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Feels good to be a winner...

Ty Lawson is my hero.

Go Heels! 2009 NCAA National Champions!! The game was terrific, not too thrilling, but such a solid performance. It was great to see them all playing so well, especially all these seniors who stuck around after last years disappointing final four loss to Kansas.

The whole town was abuzz yesterday. It was kind of rainy but didn't prevent folks from camping out in front of Top of the Hill to get the best seats. Our building was pretty quiet, most people left in the early afternoon to claim a good viewing spot. I left around 5 and was checking out places when I saw Deirdre and a couple other folks in line at Milltown. The doors opened at 5:30, so it was perfect. We got a table outside and started waiting! More and more folks showed up, we ended up being about 12 total but we rotated in and out. Trent came from practice, I went home to let the dog out and get a coat, it was pretty mellow.

And then it was game time!! I guess it would have been more exciting if the game was close, but there was no question that we deserved to be the national champions. They kept the pace fast and played hard but fair. Everyone was great, but the seniors who could have easily left last year for the NBA, played the best. And even our second string got to play for the last few minutes. Terrific. I loved seeing all the celebrations at the end, Tyler Hansborough crying nearly had the whole place in tears. They wanted this SO much.

The bar got pretty rowdy, lots of high fives and cheering. We immediately joined the trek down to Franklin and Columbia. They had the streets closed off, everyone was running and hugging and celebrating. We made it all the way to the thick of it.. and soaked it all in. No climbing up street poles or jumping over fires for us though.

Saw lots of friends and then made our way back home. Got to the house around 1am. Exhausting, but so much fun. Deirdre and I had breakfast on Franklin St this morning and everyone is wearing Carolina Blue and thrilled. And luckily, the partying on Franklin St didn't get too out of hand, I didn't see too much damage.

Check out this time lapse video to get a feel for the immediacy, and immensity of this celebration! GO HEELS! It will be fun to see where they get drafted in the NBA after that terrific season. And we have a few good freshman.. so maybe in a couple years we can do this again!

Monday, April 06, 2009


Fabulous weekend. Worked hard on Saturday with breaks for trips to farmers market, working in the garden, and long runs with Sadie. Watched the phenomenal final four game at Blaire and Kyle's house, with my date Amanda. Luckily Trent got back from a terrific race just in time to watch the final minutes and accompany us on our walk home.

I decided to take a break on Sunday. Trent and I went on a 2.5 hour road bike ride (we are remembering we have that half Ironman in a few weeks!!) complete with a ice cream stop at Maple View. The ginger flavor was amazing. Got home just in time to head to my bread class. I learned the science of kneading, the proper oven technique, and made a beautiful baguette. And left with my very own Weaver St sourdough starter. I am so jazzed to try to make my own. We grilled steaks and tossed around the football in our yard, it was a terrific warm spring evening. Lots of rain overnight to water my babies (cucumber, tomato, lettuce, basil, and rainbow chard).

Trying to get back into work mode today, but having a hard time getting motivated. I am burnt out! And SO SO SO excited for tonight's game! We will be heading downtown, but if it gets too crowded we may retreat to mellow Carrboro to enjoy the show. They have been SO good lately.. it would be amazing to be a part of such a moment. Fingers crossed.

One week from today I will be done!! And sleeping. Yay. I am sick of these crazy science/oral exam panic dreams. And ready to start planning this wedding!!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Part One: Done

I just dropped off my 26 page (5 pages of references!) beast of a proposal to my committee members. A fair proportion of them are going on spring break with their kids next week, my boss and another committee member are in Germany, another one just married someone in China apparently...

I guess it will be good that I am not the only thing on their minds.

Huge relief to have it turned in.. huge panic about the actually exam now. Had a nice chat with the only female scientist on my committee, who I adore and she 50% relieved my anxiety, 50% stressed me out more than I can believe.

Trent is up in Ohio with his team.. I am off to study for a few hours. Happy Friday!