Monday, February 22, 2010


Or close enough. This weekend was delicious. I spent about 80% of it outside, which is my favorite.

Highlights included:

1. Very lovely, lazy Friday night. Chinese take out, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, snuggling on the sofa. Good way to end a roller coaster week!

2. Up early to join the crew team for their "Triathlon." The events were a 4k erg test, two laps around campus (probably 5k total), and a lap and a half of running up and down the stairs of the football stadium. Fun to hang out with his great kids, fun to see them trying so hard and beating lots of the varsity rowers. Except for one overzealous freshman who clocked his head dashing out of the room and I had to do a little emergency first aid (man, head wounds bleed like crazy!). Trent and I were a team, he did the rowing part, I ran and did one lap of stadiums and then he finished the last half.. catching tons of rowers. Mean, I know, but fun. I haven't run stairs in ages, I am SORE!

3. Trent loads up with Adam and Thomas, and the start the drive up to Ohio to buy three boats from Murietta University. Which is amazingly only 6 hours away. I am still boggled by East Coast geography.

4. Home to shower and meet up with Amanda for an amazing brunch sitting in the sun. A little shopping around Carrboro before we decide that we are more Marshall's girls, so off we go. A new wallet (hooray, mine was dying!), new running socks, cheap sunglasses, and a springy tank top. I've decided it is definitely spring all the way.

5. Back home, and then realized it is just too nice of a day. Meet up with Amanda for a long, mellow, run in the forest. Finally. It had been too muddy in there to enjoy, and it was great to be back. Sadie loved it.

6. Definitely exhausted, I crash on the sofa and watch Olympics. Fortunately, Stephen and Amanda invite me over for a delicious curry dinner. Fun to catch up with another friend who is home from her Americorps experience teaching at a very poor school in Baltimore. Lots of discussion and a lovely glass of wine.

7. Finally to sleep! As best I can without Trent around. He gets home around 2 am, boats successfully brought home.

8. Was supposed to run with Paul at 8am, but fortunately he called to delay. Delicious sleep in, lots of coffee and egg tacos. Finally rallied to start working in the yard. Lots of trees trimmed back, hedges trimmed, garden beds mulched. I am so excited about getting the garden going soon. Dug out the perimeter of our new patio, Trent put in the wood forms and poured concrete on one edge. We will finish it with slate pavers. Should be great.

9. Paul shows up around 2:30 and we head out for the run. I am thoroughly exhausted, but still feels great to get out in the forest and enjoy the sunshine. Ran into lots of friends, which was a blast. Sadie was looking very hot and kept jumping in creeks and puddles.. so when we got home it was time for a haircut. It took FOREVER and may be the worst job we've ever done. I want to post pictures, but might give her a day to adjust or PETA might be after us.

10. Bath for Sadie, showers for everyone. Baked potatoes drowned in chili and cheese for dinner. Lots of Olympics and studying and an early night to bed! Fantastic weekend.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


You know what makes hours in the cell culture hood more exciting...


Why did I not think of this ages ago...



Yesterday was a doozy...

Lab meeting was good, but I think I overwhelmed people with new data (which was equal parts awesome that I was that productive and sad that people are so used to seeing old data over and over and apparently don't pay that good of attention to me). Long talk afterward with the Boss.. All is good, but it was exhausting!

Lovely little lunch break with Trent, unfortunately he just had to listen to me kvetch.

Making travel plans for my trip to California in March. Thrilled to see family and friends, not thrilled about my darling friend going through such an ordeal. She is one brave trooper and I am so proud of her and happy I get to be there to support her.

Quick run home in the freeeeezing weather. I think I ran about 6 minute miles, I was so frozen. Change and back to campus for the memorial. It was beautiful, and so heartbreakingly sad. Lots of good things to think about and wonderful memories to share with her family and friends.

Picked Trent up from crew, home to try to recreate the famous salad. Almost as good as my teen-hood/Tyler's but I think drowning it in ranch dressing is key. And we had none!

Lots of Olympics, a comfy down blanket, and a big beer... and I was out.

Up early to lift with the crew team, motivated to be productive and happy and make today awesome. Absolutely dreaming of spring and dogwoods blooming.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Off to donate blood. My awesome O positive off to do some good.

I lifted weights this morning. I have a hypothesis this will help.

But we'll see...

Donate if you can!

You get to eat Skittles. Or at least that motivation works for me :)

Weekend recap...

Stellar. Just awesome. Including:

1. Fantastic dinner party at Boss's house. I love mingling with faculty and recruiting students. Can I just apply for a dean-ship and skip the whole professor track thing? A little too much wine, but sometimes the best conversations I have with my boss are due to this.. and this Friday was no exception. Left his house around 10 to find a light dusting of snow. What is with this winter? Debating about going out, but as soon as I got home I crashed and was asleep in 10 minutes.

2. Up early for cleaning extravaganza. So much vacuuming (under the sofa with a furry dog is a terrifying scene), cleaning all the windows, scrubbing the kitchen floor (lots of muddy paw prints). It was very satisfying.

3. Had to head to campus to present a poster to the recruits. Was NOT looking forward to this, but it ended up being really fun and motivating to hear the students be excited about my work. Seems like a nice group of kids, hopefully we get a lot here this fall.

4. Home for a quick change before meeting up with the running group. My Boss, Tri Prof, Paul and I met up for a 6 mile run. Sadie was thrilled to have a herd. Chilly, but I felt great and had a blast.

5. Back home, to continue the cleaning extravaganza. So much laundry. I love it.

6. Out to the Station to meet up with our most hipster-tastic friends to watch the UNC vs. NC State basketball game. UNC has been pretty terrible this year, but we managed to win finally! Hooray. Off to dinner at Tyler's where I had this salad that reminds me of my high school dates with April at this awesomely cheezy 1950's diner downtown(that I am forgetting the name of....). We'd both get the same salad and now I am officially obsessed that I found it here.

7. Over to Weaver Street for hot chocolate (it was SO cold) and then heading to campus to see The Shipment. Fun to see a play.. but not our favorite. A lot of berating about racism.

8. Post-show, we were ready for some rowdiness. Over to the undergrad crew house!! We spent the rest of the night with them, bar hopping, crowded underground dives, alumni rowers visiting for the weekend. It was kinda a blast. Such nice guys, and one crew girlfriend who really likes me... which is awesome.

9. Finally home, late night. But not too late for a frozen pizza and 30 Rock re-runs. We truly had the whole gamut of events on Saturday night!

10. Up to breakfast in bed from Trent, along with some sweet homemade valentines. Love it. We took Sadie on long hike in the forest. I found all sorts of fern allies to bring home and Sadie loved playing on the frozen puddles.

11. I headed out for grocery shopping and quick stop by lab while Trent got on the bike trainer. Home to do some more cleaning (the fridge is spotless) before we switched and I got on the trainer. Thank goodness a friend gave us the entire first two seasons of Dexter... I can spin forever if watching tv! Trent replaced the window above the kitchen sink (5 windows down, 6 more, plus the big one, to go!). I made all sorts of food for the upcoming week. Showers and an amazing nap.

12. Up to get fancy and head to Durham for dinner. We went to Dos Perros and it was FABULOUS. Legitimate Mexican food. We felt like we were back in Isla de Mujeres where we got engaged. We split a guava martini that was amazing, guacamole and ridiculously good empanadas for starters, and then Trent had cabrito (goat) and I had this amazing mole amarillo with maza dumplings and tons of veggies. They were out of the chocolate pot de creme dessert, but that was probably for the best.

Home to a clean house, lots of good food for the week, a full tummy, and a heart overflowing with love. Not too shabby.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Weekend

Here are my weekend plans:

1. Hosting a dinner party at my boss's house tonight for incoming recruits. Always fun times.

2. Making these carrot cake whoopie pies. Gracious...

3. Making lots of gorgeous figures of my data for lab meeting on Wednesday, and not procrastinating until Tuesday night.

4. Spending more time with my favorite newborn, Alexander. He is absolutely precious, and such a mellow baby. Nothing makes the world more lovely than holding a new friend. We brought over a big LeCru of my mom's world famous chicken soup last night and I fell in love. Troubles!

5. Clean house. Yuck. Laundry, kitchen, the works. I am in the mood for a scrub session.

6. Lovely Valentine's dinner out with the husband at a fantastic, authentic, Mexican restaurant in Durham we've been dying to try. I need some mole and nopales!

7. Hopefully some long runs/bike rides. I need to get ready for my upcoming half-Ironman!!

Emotional week, doing better. Thanks for all your kind words. Focusing on the positive and counting my blessings. We are all so fortunate!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I am fairly aware that my post yesterday sounded a bit snotty/hooray for me. I think I am just dealing with my occasional sadness/frustration with graduate school life and the sad passing of a former graduate school friend.

I didn't know her well, but I was friends with her boyfriend and she was incredibly spirited and lively. She also was sick (Crohen's) and spent a lot of frustrating time in the hospital with that.

But in addition, she was SO stressed with graduate school. She kept a blog that, in retrospect, spent a lot of time discussing her lack of sleep, anxiety with exams and papers, and general hard time with life. Graduate school is hard. You are constantly told you are not doing enough/good enough/hard working enough.

We have to find the joy in it. And remind ourselves constantly. Sorry if it comes off sounding self-serving.

Here is her obituary from a local paper.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Can't complain...

My life is pretty fantastic, despite my best efforts to complain. Example: Yesterday.

1. Science, science, science... all day. Design experiments, do experiments, analyze experiments. No one tells you what to do or when to do it. Just curiosity for motivation.

2. Neat science talk. Turns out she was a post-doc in the same lab The Tri Prof did his grad work. Nice to see a young female scientist really making it work. And pretty pictures of holometric centoromeres in C. elegans. Trust me.

3. Back to lab to discuss the talk with the Boss. One of my favorite things to do.

4. Trent shows up after crew team yoga with dinner. And a delightful lemon curd cupcake for dessert. Fantastic.

5. We walk across campus to the Student Union and listen to a talk on race/society from Elon Smith from This Week in Blackness and Christian Lander from Stuff White People Like. Interesting combination, and quite funny at times.

6. Walk downtown (quick stop at Trent's office to get an umbrella!) and meet up with Tri Prof and the speaker, as well as a couple other UNC faculty and friends at the Crunkleton, our friend/ex-neighbor Gary's new bar. A few delightful Rob Roy's and lots of fun conversation. Great to hear stories of surviving bizarre lab situations.

7. Quick walk home and into bed. Not a bad situation!

(for those concerned: Trent stopped by home and let Sadie out and fed her before coming to lab.. just fyi)

Things I must keep in mind:
1. I love science. And I am pretty good at it. I have the potential to take this far.
2. Having a partner who supports my ambition is a ridiculously amazing thing. Dinners in lab, schmoozing with scientists, listening to me when I wake up with a science nightmare (bizarre, but happening recently). I am so lucky.
3. Life is good. Or as good as you let it be.

Moss Milkshake!

Remember the beer/moss smoothie experiment of last spring?

It never really worked, but it seems like we were on to something.

MOSS MILKSHAKE! How awesome is this?

Except the minimum order is a case. That's a whole lotta moss...

Anyone want to split one?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

oh gracious...

This thing could be trouble..

I wish!! Much better than freezing rain outside.


I have a date with the cell culture hood that should last for at least an hour. It is very cold in that room. I have been wearing my green monkey fleece jacket all day already, not looking forward to being even chillier.

I really want to go to yoga with the crew team at 4:30, but there is an interesting talk at 4 that I should really go to.

I took a million pictures of the transcription levels of different E2f1 constructs in fly embryos this morning, but can't spend any more time analyzing them.

What do I do?

Figure out Photo Booth on my lap top and weird out our lab tech (aka ONLY OTHER PERSON HERE!) by taking pictures of my new hair cut.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Just right...

Sometimes you need tiny adorable Japanese puppets playing the ukelele to brighten your day.

Thank goodness for YouTube and CuteOverload.

Weekend Recap

Whew. I was happy to have last week over. Too much stress about things that were beyond my control.. as well as wrapping up my chapter and last minute fights with Word and Photoshop to make everything look just perfect.

Luckily, Trent and the other coaches swooped by and picked me up from lab on Friday night. It was a cold rainy night and we immediately went to Med Deli for delicious dinner. I finally had my appetite back after being sick for ages and Med Deli hit the spot. Did a fun phone interview with a freelance writer who heard about our wedding and wanted details/quotes.

Home and immediately to bed to catch up on 30 Rock (the night-eating had us cracking up), Fringe (we love this bizarre science-y show), and The Office. To sleep.

Up early Saturday and determined to run. It had been ages, with the snow and sickness, since I could run outside. Unfortunately, a small hand/washing knives injury + my over anxiety about Trent hurting himself = me not leaving until about 10:30am. Just when the snow was starting. Not willing to be deterred, I parked Trent on the sofa with strict rules not to get up for any reason (he was fine, I am just overly cautious) , bundled up and hit the road. Quick 4 miles, a stop at home to drop oft the exhausted pup and add some more warm layers, and then another 4 miles even quicker this time. Very, very, satisfying.

Home to shower and lunch, before heading out to pick up our framed art and new windows. Always working on the house. Did some errands before heading to get my hair cut at my favorite place. I started going there when they had "Apprentice Specials." There was a new girl and she needed practice people, really. But she was always so careful and precise, and really nice, that I decided when she became "legit," I'd still support her. My loyalty paid off, she hooked me up with a fantastic deal (and a great hair cut.. there is some bang action!).

Dash home to quickly change and meet up with Stephen and Amanda for our night out. Trent got us tickets to see Ira Glass speak on campus, and it was absolutely delightful. He was charming, hilarious, inspirational... it was fantastic. We took a chilly walk over to a new Irish pub on Franklin Street for some Guinness nightcaps and entertainment via a group of post wedding reception revelers.

Up Sunday for a nice and easy 4 mile recovery run and a much sunnier day. So sunny, we decided to replace one of the windows in the kitchen (slowly but surely we will fix them all). Still freezing cold, so maybe not a great idea, but it looks fantastic now. Lots of cooking for the week, fighting with conforming my figures into the appropriate dpi and such (thank goodness for Trent!), and cleaning house. We cooked up a huge batch of kale chips (gracious, they are good) and went over to some undergrad crew boys house to watch the Super Bowl. Surprisingly, they all loved the kale chips (although crew boys are like vacuum cleaners when it comes to food). We had a great time hanging out with the kiddos and then home to bed.

Here's hoping this week is much more mellow. I have to present at lab meeting next week so I am trying to finish up lots of experiments. Dealing with some sad news about a girl I knew in an affiliated graduate program who committed suicide this weekend. So sad. We have to find the joy in our lives, no one will find it for us.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


We finally got a bunch of prints framed (Thanks to an awesome wedding gift certificate from Lobo!) and most of our wedding pictures up as well. But I am always on the hunt for ways to make art on our own (especially since we are on our "saving our nickles and dimes in anticipation for Trent going back to school" financial plan.)

Stumbled across this.. kinda loving it. And super simple. What good quotes do you recommend?

Be sure to keep up with all of Trent's posts on Re-Nest and Unpluggd!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Our Next Project...

Feeling antsy and day dreaming about the future when this grad school business is done with.

Not that I am in a hurry, I just love day dreaming about the future.

Things are quite lovely where they are right now.


One major day dream is fixing up an old Airstream and spending a good chunk of time exploring the country, skiing in the winter, surfing in the spring, cycling trips in the fall.. all that good stuff.

So I may have emailed a craigslist posting about this beauty.

For $3000, she'd be all ours. Investors are welcome :) A 27' 1972 Airstream Argosy. Adorable. Even more adorable when we trick it out with Ikea furnishings, bamboo floors, homemade curtains and a sweet new coat of glossy paint.

Hey I can dream!


Planning our spring concert schedule today. Thank goodness for Cat's Cradle... we get some ridiculously good music in an awesome little venue just down the road from us!

Especially looking forward to State Radio. We've been fans for years, and they are only getting better. Check out this most recent music video. It makes me deliriously happy.

Skateboards, horses, children... just awesome.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Logical train of thought...

Thinking today about Vancouver (Olympics/skiing/possible living location) and Groundhog's Day (man, how I am hoping for an early spring!) and the natural combination lead to me thinking about...


Man, I love marmots. I think they are my favorite small mammal. And that is saying a lot. Cuz I love me some small mammals. Here are some adorable Etsy finds that celebrate my favorite rodent.

Noble marmot artwork to celebrate the mighty creatures.

Get your baby into the marmot spirit with this adorable pillow in the nursery!

Cute t-shirt in a most Jean-tastic color.

Awesome marmot/nerdy Valentine!

If you were a hoary marmot... I would whistle as you walked by.

Monday, February 01, 2010


Whew, where did January go? Too much science, too long of a cold... it was a blur. Here are a few highlights:

1. Throwing Sheila an awesome baby shower with Becca. I had such a blast. I need to post tons of pictures, I went all out crafting, gaming, and baking. We had a wonderful time.

2. The Symposium was a success. All the amazing scientists had a great time, I was re-inspired about the joys of being a scientist.. it was fantastic. And.. my tenure as CMB president is over. Hooray!

3. Sending very happy birthday wishes to my darling Haley. Sounds like she had a fantastic day.

I wish I was still in Hawaii... especially today!!

4. Welcome to the world Baby Dayton. Alexander Niklas Dayton arrived early on January 28th, but was a happy, healthy boy. Parents are thrilled. Such a cutie!!

5. Very happy one year anniversary wishes to our favorite Frazongs. Our lives are so much more fun with you around. Especially since you go on long snowy walks to lab with us. Here's one of my favorite pics from their wedding, January 31st of last year!


6. A lovely night out to see Mama Mia with the Frazongs. Cheezy song and dance.. just my thing!

7. Lots and lots of snow. We got about 7 inches (just a guestimate, but was a lot!) over the weekend. We were home bodies all weekend, watching lots of movies, doing lots of arts and crafts, and lots of long walks with Sadie who ADORES the snow.

Nearly recovered from this terrible cold, science is going well, writing a chapter about a method we established that should be submitted this week. Here's to February!