Friday, April 27, 2007

moral superiority feels awesome

I don't like to complain.. and this week has been awesome, so I really shouldn't.. but I just have to share this ridiculousness that is occurring right now.

Last night's crafting evening was super fun, but due to the fact that the newbie invites didn't come at the last minute it turned into a small, very close, group of female scientists drinking lots of wine. Which pretty much means you revert to seventh graders. So much fun. Pictures to come. But, my head.. not so happy today.

Nevertheless, being the dedicated scientist I am, I am here today, chugging along. I just got back from a fantastic talk by a woman scientist who I want to be someday, and we are about to go get some greasy pizza which is the ultimate hangover remedy. So what could I complain about?

Well.. Mr. Meanie Post-Doc. Sorry. He sits directly in front of me but we are separated by a partition. He is really smart, but a royal pain sometimes. Like right now. NPR is on. I believe HE turned it on. And yes, it is a pledge drive. Which, yes, is annoying after a while. But every single time it goes on a pledge break, he pitches a huge fit. "Oh here they go, demanding our money. What greedy bastards." Etc, etc, etc. For the entire length of the pledge break. Only to be repeated next break. Awesome. In my mind, two options:

1. Turn it off. Unfortunately my lowly rotation student status prevents me from touching.. anything, otherwise I would.

2. Pledge. Then you can sit, like me, which a smug smile and sense of superiority.

Oh well, off to get pizza and out of this angry atmosphere!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Yes, I still dress like a highschooler...

Enough food. On to clothes!! I went to my favorite AE a couple weeks ago and was thrilled because of :

This shirt.

These shorts.

Pretty much what I am going to be wearing the entire summer.

American Eagle = Awesome.

spring desserts

Tonight I am hosting our revived "Stitch and Bitch" get together. I am SO jazzed about this gathering, I've been cleaning house and finding tons of yummy recipes to try out. I decided to make these cookie sandwiches compliments of Martha. I made the cookies last night and they came out really well and I think the sorbet in between will be perfect in for crafting and drinking wine this warm evening. I will try to take pictures of mine to see how they measured up.

(Is it a little creepy that the ummm.. icon next to the web address (there must be a fancy techie word for that) for is a little tiny Martha. She is watching you!!)

Yummers Breakfast Option

Breakfast, as you have all heard before, is very important to me. I feel it can make or break a day, especially when lunch can easily get shoved aside for more important things like experiments and talks. And after my branching out a while back, I have been experimenting more with breakfast.

Yesterday I picked up these blueberry frozen waffles from Kashi and tried them out this morning. I never was a fan of frozen waffles, though I remember Emily loved her Eggo's, but I was pleasantly surprised with these. They were really easy, got nice and crunchy in the toaster oven, were divine with a little peanut butter on top, and I haven't been dying of hunger yet. So yay!! Check 'em out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Health Nut

I really like to eat healthy. As Emily can attest, most dinners we make involve brown rice, broccoli or some leafy green, and salmon. Luckily I like how healthy food tastes, and with the exception of an occasional Cheezit willpower crisis, we find it easy to eat very well. It may help that we get a bizillion magazines right now (apparently you get a few trial months free everytime you sign up for a race.. which happens to be about every three months...) which are all focused on being healthy and exercising and such. Ones like Men's Health, Triathlon, Women's Health, Real Simple.. you know the type. These magazines are quite inspirational, but they also tend to stress me out and make me feel like I am not eating enough fiber/antioxidants/lycopene/whatever the hot topic is that month. But I was impressed by something I found in Men's Health.


I am totally sold on this grain. It is usually sold in bulk bins (a good sign the hippies love it), and it is like rice, but WAY better for you. It is a complete protein (like meat) with tons of fiber and antioxidants. You cook it just like rice and can eat it as a pasta, as a rice, as oatmeal.. whatever.

I kept rambling on and on about it so finally we picked some up at Whole Foods this weekend. Then on Monday we played sand volleyball with some friends. Which was really, really, fun, but my sticks of arms were SO banged up afterwards, I just curled into a fetal position on the sofa that evening. Trent cooked up the quinoa with some onion and garlic, added okra and halved cherry tomatoes, and lots of spices and such and we had the yummiest (and healthiest) jambalaya-esquet meal that evening. It has a great flavor and you really get full from it. I am so sold! I can't wait to get some more and try out lots of different recipes. Or let Trent try lots of recipes, more probably.

happy wednesday.

Today I am wearing bright yellow corduroy shorts, a long white tank, a navy blue cable knit sweater from J.Crew, and Reef flip flops. I may look like some oversized pre-schooler, but I am so happy and comfortable. Which makes me realize that science, and it's complete lack of dress code, is the perfect career for me.

I am in a good mood in general, my experiments are treating me right, this is the last week of class, I am recovered from donating blood, the weather is gorgeous, and I just ate my favorite salad that has MorningStar Farms chik patties, chickpeas, and organic cheddar cheese. Oh and my bossman just left for the week. Funny how that can make everything just so much better...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

All I want it is a desk somewhere...

With my third rotation settling in, I have realized something. I am dying to join a lab. Mainly for.. a desk. I want my own desk! I love being organized at work and have been having a rough time with all this moving around. I immediately rearrange whatever bench I am assigned to and make it completely mine, but I have had a much more difficult time getting settled at a desk, and I am learning how important it is to have a well organized and useful desk for reading and planning, as it is having an organized bench for actually experimenting.

As part of my spring cleaning, I have been organizing all my papers and getting things arranged into binders. I just can't wait until I have my very own space to keep it all at work! Here are some options I am thinking of:

1. A calender. I've learned that science involves a ton of planning, around experiments, travel, grants, and flies hatching. This will be indispensable.

2. Lots of storage for lots of papers. I hate seeing desks that are just piles of papers with no organization. I like hanging file folders for "classic" papers that you will always need, but I think these would be great for the current papers you are reading for journal clubs or future manuscripts!

3. I definitely want to personalize my desk, but with lots of class. I think small details like a pretty pencil jar, this poster that makes me think of the Bubs, and a little bonsai or something would add personality without clutter. Oh, and of course my mantra from Jay-Z.."This ain't no tall order, this is nothing to me. Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week." Gotta keep my optimism!

4. A drawer for all the things you need, like hair ties, Excedrin, stamps, tea, chapstick, granola bars, etc. I know this sounds so lame to all you desk bound workers, but I would LOVE to have a drawer like this.

5. Is this chair too nuts? I am not quite sure. Which probably means I am nuts.

Just a little while longer and my dream of desk bliss will be a reality. Any one have good recommendations for a first real desk?

Doing my part

Today I rounded up a few fabulous bio ladies and we all went to donate blood. I like knowing I am contributing in some small part to help people who's situations are far worse than mine. Our world is too often filled with completely unexpected tragedies that are so impossible to prepare for, but hopefully my little red blood cells can patch someone up.

I do have incredibly low blood pressure however, and went through my traditional, "whoops, gonna pass out," at the very end, but the Red Cross staff did an excellent job of giving me juice and keeping me laughing and the crisis was avoided. I know everyone has plenty of reasons not to donate, but there are so many more reasons to. Go to the Red Cross website to find a blood donation drive near you and do your part.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I want to go outside...

It is a gorgeous day outside. I am sitting in a sweltering hot, completely dark room taking pictures of fruit fly ovaries on a bizillion dollar confocal microscope. They look awesome, but man.. it is not so fun to be a scientist at this moment.

This is like a picture I would take.. but mine are 5 colors and fantastically more awesome.

Spring Training

There was a great sentiment expressed during the "News from Lake Wobegone" on "A Prairie Home Companion." It was something about how nice the first few weeks of summer are because people are still really excited about sitting outside. And as I sat on my front porch, reading a science article, drinking iced tea, and listening to Garrison, it perfectly described our weekend.

It was the first weekend that really felt like summer, about 80 degrees and just gorgeous. And thanks to our crazy training schedule for our upcoming triathlons, we got to be out enjoying it. Main highlights of the weekend :

Trent's awesome idea to bring a bottle of wine to Weaver Street and buy some fancy cheese and crackers for our Friday dinner date. Sitting out that evening was a perfect way to unwind.

I joined some older bio grad ladies for a fundraiser 5K on Saturday morning, and came away with second place and lots of gift certificate goodies. That was awesome! It made me realize that my training is paying off.

Saturday afternoon, we went to a fabulous bbq/tennis party. Really yummy food and excellent coaching by Steph. It will be fun to play at night with the bright lights this summer.

Our weekend-ly mountain bike ride was amazing. As always. And newbie biker Deirdre was a total trooper.

Lots of swimming and cycling on the trainer, in between all this. One tired Jean and Trent by the end of this crazy weekend. But we hunkered down with some excellent pasta with lots of vegie goodies from Whole Foods, and Casino Royale last night, which was quite recuperative.

Hope you all had fabulous weekends as well. This week is our last week of coursework for the semester, I can't believe how quickly it went. Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Trent and I just got back from a dinner/study date and lo and behold... we had electricity!! We weren't sure at first because all the cottages were still dark, because our neighbors moved out practically but we were hit with a wave of warmth since the thermostat was turned up when the storm hit a few days ago.

So long story short.. a bunch of rain on Sunday plus crazy winds on Monday knocked down a bunch of trees. So everyone was out of power. Then Tuesday, most of the town had power again, and today.. I think our four cottages and a couple gorgeous mansions were the only ones without power. But the gorgeous mansions all rented generators.. so we were the only ones. It was so interesting.. being without power. The first night we had a huge feast of scrambled eggs with all sorts of interesting leftovers. The "Mile Monday" crew (some first year biologists who run through the forest with us) took lots of perishables into their freezers generously. Poor Trent finally got his fabulous new lathe and we all helped him set it up but he didn't get to try it out because of the power situation. We went to Borders bookstore so I could get some studying in.

Tuesday, it was a bit more painful. We realized quickly that our water heater was powered by electricity and I took a frightfully cold shower in the morning. I relished in the plentiful hot water at the shower after our swim workout. Luckily, awesome friend Deirdre invited us over for dinner and the use of her laundry (we had washed, but not dried a load before the power kicked out.. ew). At home, we lit lots of candles and walked around wearing headlamps. As Trent reminded me, we often pay money to go camping, so...

Today.. it was all just getting a little ridiculous. Especially because everyone in the town had power but us! Everyone was very generous about offering us hot showers and warm meals, we definitely have some awesome friends. It was kind of peaceful though.. living so simply and realizing how when it is so quiet you can really hear the birds sing and you spend more time sitting out on the front porch. I had my hip hop dance class after work and Trent went on a run. We decided to go out to dinner and somewhere for me to study. And then, amazingly, our little cottage was all warmed up and raring to go when we got home. I am thrilled to have life back to normal, but do have to say I kind of miss the peaceful calm. But I won't miss having to shower at the gym!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Cute Sneaks!

How cute are these sneaks? Another perk of working in a lab, comfy shoes! And a pleasant green and white color, no? Although I really like the tan and aqua ones.. and people might not think I am so insane.

These would be great with a denim skirt or skinny jeans. Hmm, adorable.

Match much?

About halfway through the day, I realized I was wearing this. Which isn't a bad outfit, but man.. could I have been matching any more? Oh wait, yes. I am also wearing white and green under-roos. Awesome. I must have been on autopilot this morning. I am gonna be white and green girl! (Remember pink and black girl from Davis, Haley?)

How cute is my little shuffle though? And such a lifesaver during my long hours dissecting fruit fly ovaries today!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Yummy and easy appetizer recipe

We had a lovely Easter dinner at our friends Jarrett and Sarah. They made tons of great food, we dyed eggs, and had a fabulous time. I wanted to share a great recipe from Martha Stewart magazine that I made as an appetizer:

1. Roll out frozen puff pastry dough, to about 14 inches by 10 inches, or whatever fits on your cookie sheet. Fold over to make a ridge around the edge. Brush with a beaten egg with a bit of water and sprinkle generously with shredded Parmesan cheese. Put wax paper and on a baking sheet, in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.

2. Cut up about three large leeks, mainly using the more tender inner portions. I sliced them into half inch by four inch pieces, and tried to get a nice variety of colors. Saute in some butter until tender, adding fresh, finely chopped, thyme towards the end. Let cool in the fridge until room temperature.

3. Bake pastry at 375 for about 15 minutes. Take out pastry and press flat with a spatula when it is golden. Arrange the leeks on the pastry in rows. Sprinkle with chopped kalamata olives and some extra Parmesan cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes.

4. Remove and randomly scatter a few pieces of brie, thinly sliced. These will melt a bit. Let cool on a rack and cut up with a pizza cutter into yummy and easy appetizers!

Enjoy! Sorry about the picture, my flash has died on me. But I wanted to share a bit!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Gone Fishin'

It had been one of those weeks. Mean bosses, tight deadlines, an amazing abundance of pollen, and we were frazzled. Although we did have a lovely visit by my cousin Heidi on a night so perfect that no one could resist Chapel Hill (so it isn't our fault if she moves here, right?). But by Thursday we were done. So we went on an impromptu camping vacation. Luckily, the flies were not having enough babies, and Trent had a floating holiday to use up, so we decided to go here for the weekend. And Trent decided he was going to teach me how to fish. Because it was warm, we had lots of cheap beer leftover from our BBQ, and why not? So Thursday night we headed to our local sporting goods store and bought a cheap rod and I got to pick out pretty, sparkly, bait. We were going to head out that evening, but were too beat and decided to spend the night here and get a early start in the morning.

The campground was about 2 hours away, more west than we have been since the drive across. We had an easy drive and arrived and got set up at our cute little campsite. We LOVE to camp. And we are awesome at. I love how quite it is, how there are so few distractions and all the fun hiking and such. This camp ground was a bit odd.. no fires and no beer. Whoops. Oh well. I am sure that is just Dr. Pepper in T's can.

We tried to go fishing in the middle of the day, but nothing was biting, so we went out to lunch in the little town of Troutman (no kidding) and bought some wormies for bait. Once back, we decided to go on a hike to pass some time, and I got to be a huge plant bio nerd. I found a species of fern ally that I have never seen! I think it might be.. Selaginella flabellata.
And I am sure you are all as excited about this as I am.. Anyways, it was a lovely walk.

Then it was time for some real fishing. I was determined to learn and Trent is an excellent teacher. He used to go to Fish Camp!! Trent would set up the worm and line, I was too chicken, and we waited and waited. I read magazines for a bit. The weather was starting to get a big chilly, but then yay, Trent got one. A bluegill sunfish, we think.

He was a champ at it, but it made me more determined. But shortly soon after, I got one. Except mine was way smaller and uglier, and I was hysterically afraid of it. My one prior fishing incident had scarred me, I think.

Right about then, the park ranger arrived. He laughed at my little fish, and threw him back in to the lake. Which was fine with me. Although, we had planned on making dinner from our catches. After a bit of a snafu (always keep your fishing license ON your person) and meeting some of the craziest local law enforcement, and with the weather turning even chillier, we decided to let our first fish go and call it a day. We had escaped our sentence, so the little guy deserved to as well. Annie's organic mac and cheese it was!

The weather just got colder and colder (in like a lion, I suppose) and we spent a chilly night in the tent. In the morning, hanging out in the cold had lost its appeal so we quickly packed up and headed home. With a quick stop at Macy's to get some new eyeshadow and the Clinique gift, as well as a cute spring top, and a trip to Trent's mecca, Woodworkers Supply of NC, where we thought about accessories for his new lathe.

So it was a quick trip, but an excellent getaway. We feel refreshed and glad to have hot water. I am enjoying watching my mated pair of cardinal's feed each other and chasing away the squirrel who has figured out how to open the bird seed bin. And best of all, we only used two worms out of the bunch, so the rest (about 18 big ones!) get to have a go at my Carolina Clay! I know my Mom will approve. Tomorrow we are going to Easter dinner with our first year biology posse. Hope you are all having a rejuvenating weekend, whatever you do!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pretty boring post, actually...

There are some aspects of my life that are staunchly defined. I have definite "creature of habit" tendencies about certain things. Namely.. food. There are some foods that I enjoy a certain way, have for decades, and really.. don't want to mess with them. Other foods, I love changing up and trying new things, but some.. just don't mess with. This is difficult at times, since the Bub's favorite style of cooking is finding the 10 most random things in the cabinet and pulling off a fantastic meal. But I can't really complain about that, can I.

One of my set meals is breakfast. I really enjoy a bowl of Cheerios and a big glass of cold milk with Carnation Instant Breakfast. I add the milk at the last possible moment to the Cheerios and try to eat them as quickly as possible so they don't get soggy. (wow, this is a really exciting post, eh?) It just makes me happy, and I know that if I am too busy to eat for the rest of the day, at least I started things off right.

Today, however, there was trouble in paradise. After our utterly fantastic bbq last night (post and pics to come), I was a bit tired this morning. Going through my normal routine, I scooped my Instant Breakfast.. directly on to the Cheerios. Now.. this would totally warrant me tossing them (I am bad, I know), but trying to learn from Trent's open mindedness, I poured the milk right on. And result... awesome. And quick! It is the best of both breakfasts in one!

So moral of the story.. try something new! You may just like it! But do not be ashamed of your requisite traditions.. if it makes you happy, go for it.