Thursday, May 31, 2007

East Coast Adventure

We leave tomorrow for our trip up and down the East Coast before the Bubs moves me into my "dorm" at the NIH for 2 months. I am frantically trying to finish up things here, pack, and see all my friends before I go. I feel like I am going to camp or something! Dorm living here I come!

Our roadtrip, as of now, includes driving like crazy to get to Cape Cod, spending the weekend there with our friends, and then making our way back down the coast, ending up in DC by Friday. We haven't been north of Virginia yet, so this is all new territory for us. Any suggestions?


This last weekend was fantastic. We hung around Chapel Hill, played with our friends, and ate tons of summer fruit. Unfortunately, my camera is kind of on the fritz (new one on its way, hooray!) but I did grab a couple photos to share with you.

I was still a bit under the weather, so slept in a lot on Saturday. Luckily Trent has a new hobby that is right outside my window, the lathe! Here he is in action, turning a bowl.

He is getting pretty darn good at it and goes with our landlord once a month to a meeting of all "'lathe-ers" in the area. Fun times. Also check out my happy tomato plant!

Saturday night I helped organize my first ever bachelor-ette party. I think by nature they are bizarre, but we had a pretty good time cruising the town and making our friend Sarah do silly things. I don't think I have the right personality to throw a really "good" one.. But I do know a lot more after that trial run!

Sunday was a lot of lounging by pools, playing volleyball, eating good food, and being lazy. Quite fun. I also got to do a lot of gardening.. Check out my happy window box herb garden!

So yummy, and so handy, since the window is in the kitchen! I think my gardenia is finally going to bloom.. probably while I am gone, but still.. exciting!

Monday we went to a cookout (not a bbq, because we are in the South) with some bio friends and sat out and enjoyed the lovely evening temperature, Trent's awesome quinoa and edamame salad, and lots of lightening bugs.

It was a lazy and lovely weekend!!

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Whoops. Sorry for the lack of posts. Lemme catch up real quick. Top 10 List:

1. I picked a lab. It was the lab I originally was set on. I am so happy and know that it will be a great fit for me.

2. So yes, I completely panicked. I should have talked to the PI first about my concerns that my topic wasn't going to be the focus of his lab. Or realized that my topic has been his life's work and he is one of the top scientists in this field. Ooops.

3. But I think it was a good thing that I did panic. Because it gave me an opportunity to go talk to other professors all over campus. And I learned that PI's love to talk about their work, and love to collaborate. Due to my panic week, I have one definite committee member in the BioPhysics department and a definite collaborator in Neuroscience. Yay for cross-disciplinary biological research!!

4. During my panic week, I worked out like a mad woman. And may have given myself an ulcer or just pulled an ab muscle. Either way, quite uncomfortable. I also gave myself an ear infection from swimming so much. Awesome.

5. I am leaving for DC very soon. Which is insane! But I finally got my housing assignment and have my own room right on the NIH campus for two months. Luckily I don't start at the lab until June 11th, so I have some time to go on vacation!

6. Luckily Trent's job is really flexible right now, so he can take a week off to go on vacation with me. And we just heard that our dear family friends in Cape Cod can host us for a weekend. I haven't seen them since I was little, but I have such wonderful memories of their adorable guest house and amazing hospitality. I am thrilled!!

7. Although DC will be a great experience, I am kinda bummed about leaving Chapel Hill for the summer. I have some awesome friends here, and I am finally getting better at our weekly volleyball games! And we have discovered all the great rock climbing, cycling, mt. biking, and great summer music and restauranting. Good thing I have like... 4 more summers to enjoy it. Ahhh.

8. I am seriously brooding for a dog.

9. I found the back porch has way more sun than the front and have actually managed to grow a cute little herb garden and some jungle-esque tomato plants.

10. I got a great new summer dress at Nordstrom's with a $20 rebate. And then I got that summer dress I was in love with, on sale at And they are all I have been wearing. I love this warm weather!

As you can see, things have been crazy these past few weeks, but it has all sorted out and ended up even better than I had expected. I can't even tell you how helpful the Bubs has been in this emotional rollercoaster of a time. He cooks me yummy dinners, tells me to go running when I am just sitting around the house fretting, takes me on fancy dates to celebrate, and lets me sleep for 20 hours straight, as I just did, without worrying. He would leave me snacks and cute pictures on my nightstand to fortify me during my hibernation. Feeling much better after that little nap.

I am going to be a lot better about blogging, I have a ton of cool stuff going on right now and need to keep you all updated! Next up, DC and beyond!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Restaurant Tag!

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Todd (Louisville, Kentucky, United States)
miss kendra (los angeles, california, u.s.a)
Jiggs Casey (Berkeley, CA, USA! USA! USA!)
Tits McGee (New England, USA)
Kat (Ontario, Canada)
Cheezy (London, England)
tafka PP (Jerusalem, Israel)
Liza ("Northern" Israel)
Beth (Dublin, Ireland)
Emily (San Francisco, CA, USA)
Jean (Chapel Hill, NC, USA)

We are relative newcomers to the East coast but have definitely enjoyed getting to know our fabulous city's yummy food. Our favorites so far:

1. Weaver Street. So yes, it is technically a grocery store, but they also have amazingly good food. All very organic and yummy. But its true charm is the seating.. outside at picnic tables or on the lawn. Great for watching adorable babies and puppies on a Saturday morning, completely acceptable to go covered in mud on the way home from mt. biking, or a great date night to sit outside on a warm evening with a bottle of wine and some delicious cheese.

2. Aki Hana. There are so many transplants from all over the nation that luckily Chapel Hill has some awesome sushi. Pretty reasonable prices and a sea weed salad that is worth the often lengthy line.

3. Carrburrito. We were pretty sure we were giving up good Mexican food upon our move. However, Carrburrito saved the day. Awesome fish burritos!

4. Mama Dip's. Although we were worried about missing out on our favorite California cuisine, we were lucky to get to experience real southern cuisine. This is the best we've found.. sooo good.

5. Carolina Brewery. There is no better place to enjoy a local brew, eat a big juicy burger, and scream hysterically at the huge TV when the 'Heels are playing.

This is what we've got so far.. maybe we will stumble upon a new favorite soon. Lots to explore. Especially when I am up at the NIH in Bethesda. I am looking forward to some great Ethiopian food!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Weekend Review

Sorry about that cryptic last post. I was sad and feeling a little sat upon, but in reality things are that bad.

Long story short... I had a PI/lab I fell for completely. And I am still offered a position there, but after he already took one first year student with great enthusiasm, I realized that the tide of his lab is changing and I really wanted to work with his lab a few years ago. I don't want to be a straggler, hanging on to this project when no one else is interested in it. It was a rough wake up call, but probably good that it happened now and not a couple years into it. I am still talking with him and will vent all my concerns on Thursday and see if he completely disagrees with my interpretation of his lab.

Also, got an offer from the PI am working with now, which is great, but I am concerned that my heart isn't really into his science and there are a couple of great girls who really want to be in his lab.. so I need to think long and hard about that.

In the mean time, I am trying to put together an awesome rotation report, am meeting with some professors in other departments whose work I loved and lectures I enjoyed in my cell biology class.

Not the end of the world, as you can see, but it was still hard to not be picked first and to lose that "PI on a Podium" I tend to get.

Friday we rode bikes to a happy hour at a bar and to a graduate student's defense party. It was really fun, and quite an adventure riding bikes around in the dark, but my heart wasn't into it.

Saturday was pretty rainy and stormy. Many these Southern storms are incredible!! I still get way freaked out by how close the lightening sounds! During a dry bit, I went on a new friend date with a friend's wife to lunch and to the local wine store for wine tasting. Moped around the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday I was done moping and ready to get something done. Unfortunately it was Sunday so nobody was responding to emails, but I tend to deal with being stressed out by exercising, so we went on a long bike ride (absolutely gorgeous, so green and pleasant after the rain) and then a long run in the evening. Luckily by box of Ryka clothes came from generous sister Emily, so I had plenty of workout gear. Awesome stuff, I love the shoes!! I worked hard on my powerpoint presentation and am ready for this week and all it's tough decisions. Or so I hope!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I used to ride horseback when I was growing up. I used to be pretty good at it actually. But as soon as I got too confident, I would get tossed. And it would hurt. Mostly it would hurt my pride. But I would brush myself off, cry a few tears, and get back on.

I didn't know that I could get tossed professionally. But maybe I was too confident. So I need to cry a little bit, brush myself off, and get back to it. This is a long road ahead of me... I need to make sure that these next few decisions I make are the correct, if not fun to make, ones.

Luckily I still have lots of decisions I get to make, a wonderful, supportive man to say the sweetest things, and a drive that just won't quit. I will be just fine.

Happy Mother's Day

Although Emily already did a fabulous tribute to our mom on her blog, I just wanted to say a few things about my amazing mother. I definitely see the effects of genetics between us...

1. I can see myself having a "uniform" someday. And I am okay with it.

2. I understand the restorative powers of long walks.

3. I, too, love crazy dogs.

4. One of my greatest pleasures is finding out stranger's life stories. Especially when out to dinner or on public transportation.

5. I find weeding cathartic.

6. I love a fresh tomato on a piece of wheat bread with a bit of onion salt.

7. The backroads and local diners are the best way to travel. Especially because of item #4.

I only hope I can someday be as generous in time and energy, as kind in spirit, as loyal to friends, as devoted to my family, and as successful in my career as she is. She has set the bar incredibly high and is the greatest role model I could ask for.

Thank you Mom.. for everything you have given me.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Slacker Post...

I was going to do a big, detailed, post about climbing a couple weekends back. But, it is already 2 weeks afterwards, and I just want to share the pictures and get it done. In brief, Trent and I, as well as first year bio grad Buddy and his girlfriend Jenny, drove up to Pilot Mountain where we met up with Chad, who works at Syngenta (the company Trent used to do potato PR for) and his wife Jeana. All in all, it was fantastic. The whole mountain was covered in great climbing spots that were easily accessible from the top (so you could set an anchor) and then either rappel or just walk around to the bottom (yes please!). It was Chad and Jeana's first time climbing and I think they are hooked. It was my first time in quite a while, but I actually had a great time. It was nice to be outside the whole day and hanging out with new friends.

Enjoy the pictures here. Also included in this album are pictures from pictures from the "crafting evening." In recap, everyone showed up, the boys all walked down to Franklin St to go to the bars, all the girls ate amazingly good food, drank too much wine and turned from highly motivated and well educated scientists into giggling and absurd seventh graders. Awesome times. Look how great my Martha sorbet cookies turned out. They were perfect for the warm evening!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Triathlon Camp

What a crazy weekend. It was pretty awesome. I have to get to school, crazy week ahead, but wanted to sneak in a quick update.

We left Friday midday and drove down to White Lake, near Fayetteville, with the Subaru all loaded with gear. We had decided to stay with the team in their "cabin" but weren't sure what that entailed. I scoffed at Trent when he decided to bring sleeping bags, and we had tons of pasta to cook. We arrived around 3 at.. camp. Seriously. The camp you went to as a child. Apparently the FFA started in North Carolina, and this was their campgrounds. Old rickity cabins with bunk beds and big meeting halls. I felt like I should be drinking bug juice and singing campfire songs. But it was great, we were staying right in the middle of the race, surrounded by other triathletes, no need to worry about missing any parts of the race. It was a great bonding experience with our UNC tri team. Check out the pictures here.

Trent's race was Saturday, as was most of our cabin. So everyone was up at 4 am to start eating and drinking. He was doing a half iron man (2km swim, 56mile bike ride, 13mile run) so eating properly was critical. The lake was about 20 meters away from our cabin and he was the last wave to start (since he raced as a novice) so I got lots of great pictures. He was blazing fast on the swim and headed out on the bike no problem. It was perfect weather, a bit overcast and not too hot, but no rain. During the bike, the girlfriends and others left behind showered in the cold camp showers and hung out and and read. He rolled in, feeling great still, and headed out on the run. Which was the killer part. The first 2/3rds were great but I think all the mileage finally caught up with him and the last few miles were a bit rough. But he was a great sport and finished in under 6 hours! Crazy. He ended up taking 3rd place in his division! Great job Bubs.

He was beat but managed to eat the red beans and rice, potato chips and other snacks for the racers. He stood in the lake to cool his hot muscles. We rested up and everyone hobbled around congratulating each other. Later that evening we went out to a Mexican restaurant in the tiny town (not what NC is best for) with our big group and came back to our bunk beds and crashed. Fun to hang out with a bunch of folks with the same motivations. There were about 6 undergraduates, some fun freshman, and then lots of alumni and graduate students. Lots of scientists which was fun for me.

My race started later, so we woke up at 6am the next day. I hadn't raced in a while, and I, unfortunately, have a pretty bad competitive streak. I got all nervous and then realized how silly it was. I am a graduate student, and have been busier than I have ever been. And there were some INTENSE people there, spending all their time and money on this crazy sport. It was great to have a different mindset for the race. I was the 5th wave and all my time in the pool paid off!! I was actually keeping up, and crazily enough, passing people on the swim. The water was much choppier than the previous day, but I think all my days playing around in the ocean prevented any panic that struck some other swimmers in my group. My race was 750m swim, 14mile bike, 5k run. I was really happy with the swim, even passing some men in the wave ahead of me. Then on to the bike, my weakest section. Luckily the roads were really flat and my legs felt great and with Trent's strategy to not go too fast in the beginning, I had a great ride. I averaged 17.6 or more miles per hour. Heck ya! I even managed to do the fancy dismount I learned at UCD. The run is my favorite and it was nice to just be competing with myself. I blazed through the 5k in about 23 minutes and crossed the finish line in about 1 hour, 30 minutes. Had I been racing in the 20-24 category, I would have placed second!! But I got bumped up into the way more competitive 25-29 category and didn't place (I am 24, but this race has rules that use your age at the end of the year). But I could not be happier with the race regardless. It was great to feel so fit and capable. We ate a lot, said our goodbyes and exchanged info with our new friends, and headed out around 11 am. We were supposed to go meet up with some bio grad students who were out at a park, bbq-ing and swimming, but it got canceled due to the cooler weather, so we got to just come home, unload the car, eat lots of mac and cheese, take hot showers, and watch old Star Trek episodes. Perfect!!

Back to work this week. I had a great meeting with my probable future PI on Friday but need to finish up this last rotation and meet with this current PI this week. It is utter madness with everyone trying to find their spot, but I am feeling very happy with my choice and my chances of getting it. Trent had a crazy week last week with tons of interviews and job offers. He has decided to not take a marketing agency job that was offered and I just dropped him off at a temp job at the Alumni Center on campus that could become a permanent position if he likes it. Exciting times!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I was feeling kinda down today. Big race this weekend, and not feeling ready for it. Big presentation due for rotations, and not feeling ready for it. Kinda gray outside. You know that kind of day.

Thanks goodness for CuteOverload. One look at this guy and I am feeling a hundred times better. And I got to go to cheap sushi with Bubs for lunch because he has two interviews today. Time to buck up and get 'er done! This little fella would like that, I can tell.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Craft Night Idea

I saw this via Outblush and thought it was an awesome solution to the key rack dilemna we have been facing. But then I thought.. it would be an even better craft night project!! A small piece of plywood, some screw in hooks, lots of craft paint, and a handy boyfriend to hang it up for you.

If only our craft nights were actually productive instead of gossip/wine drinking sessions. Maybe next time!

I really need to post pictures of climbing from this weekend and of craft night. I have just been swamped with classes and rotations ending very soon. But they will be up soon!