Tuesday, November 27, 2007

25 Reasons why my 25th Birthday was great

1. I woke up next to the man I love.

2. Who made me a big bowl of oatmeal with lots of yummy dried fruit and maple syrup in it.

3. I rode my bike to work, wearing my favorite green J.Crew cashmere sweater.

4. It was a quintessential fall day.

5. I saw "I'm Not There," the Bob Dylan biopic on Saturday after freezing at the UNC vs. Duke football game and going to a restaurant to watch the rest of it with my awesome bio ladies. Good movie, great company. Afterwards we came back to the cottage and played a mean round of scrabble. Oh and UNC totally beat "Dook" in overtime. Go Heels!

6. Deirdre, Steph, and I went to sushi for lunch. So yummy.

7. I love my job, I get to be creative everyday and never feel stifled.

8. I came to work to find a bunch of balloons and a festive poster. And my boss brought a cake, and a co-worker brought cupcakes, and everyone sang to me. Awww.

9. Deirdre bought me a coconut latte when I crashed from all the sugar. And few things make me happier than a coconut latte.

10. I left work with an organized desk and bench, happy flies, and lots of experiments in the works.

11. I came home to find a big box of goodies from my parents, including a gorgeous silver necklace from Greece (you guys know me!!), lots of Christmas goodies including our family's traditional poppers, and lots of yummy treats from Trader Joe's.

12. Our Trader Joe's should open any day. They are stocking the shelves! We are so excited.

13. The heater guy may have actually fixed our heater... keep your fingers crossed.

14. Trent's mom sent me a cute beaded clutch, some great lotion and lip balm, and coupons to local restaurants we've been to cheap to go try out. We are going to have some excellent dinners ahead of us. Thank you!

15. Trent's grandmother send me adorable pictures of Trent as a child that made me want to have a baby. He was adorable.

16. However, we are meeting with a mortgage broker at the credit union to discuss the possibility of buying house.. so I can have a dog instead of a baby. Probably a better idea right now.

17. I heard from just about everyone wishing me a happy birthday. Nice to be remembered.

18. Darling April called to send me best wishes and asked me to be a bridesmaid for her upcoming July 5th wedding in SLO. I am SO excited, they are having it at an apple orchard in See Canyon, having it catered by F.McClintocks's, a local bbq restaurant, and I get to help pick the pink bridesmaid dresses. It is going to be a wonderful day, and I am so honored to be a part of it with her.

19. I am going to run in the Boston Marathon!!

20. I am getting my Ph.D!!

21. My family is happy and healthy and everyone is doing well.

22. My sweetie gets home any minute from his crew practice, and we are meeting up with friends for dinner and an unveiling of a new beer.

23. I am going dancing with a bunch of friends on Thursday and will be acting anything but 25 years old. I love to dance!

24. Deirdre is having a "Hills Holiday Party" this weekend. Trent and I are going as Whitney and that trainer dude she went on a date with. Good times. I am excited about all the upcoming holiday parties, decorating our house with lots of lights, getting a tree, and baking lots of cookies and such.

25. I am loved.

Happy birthday to me and thanks to everyone who helped make it so special. It has been a great quarter century, looking forward to a few more lovely ones.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Pictures!

Trent and his 20 lb bird. Gorgeous. And delicious, after being brined with all sorts of great herbs and a bottle of reisling.

The calm before the storm.

The dinner begins. Steph is very excited about all this, as you can see.

Our desk converted into the buffet. Look at all that good food. Everyone did a great job of bringing something, everything was delicious.

Linda, Deirdre, and Anne loading up.

Folks getting seated. I didn't do assigned seating this year, and I felt the it helped keep everything casual and easy. We are all friends, and the conversation was great.

And unlike last year, we can all fit into one camera frame. Cute!

My turn in the photo, thanks Kate!

We retired to the drawing room for port in my adorable port glasses, Irish coffees thanks to Deirdre, lots of wine, and great conversations. We also enjoyed pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie, and cheddar apple pie. Yum.

Bio-homie Adam and awesome neighbor David joined us for the after dinner aperitifs.

Linda enjoys the comfy chair, Roman Holiday plays on repeat for the 3rd time, and Steph keeps the wine and conversation flowing.

I believe in this photo we were discussing whether it is feasible to run across the Atlantic Ocean in an inflatable hamster ball. Cutting social commentary, you see.

So I decide to help myself to some more wine. A lot more wine!

We had a great evening, talking the night away, decimating the leftovers a few hours later, starting a fire in the firepit, and generally being goofy. It is hard to be away for the holidays, I missed my family terribly, but it is nice to know I have a family of friends who will celebrate with me. I am very thankful for that.

Fully recovered and cleaned up the next day. Enjoying the rest of my secret family recipe pumpkin pie.

And we went house hunting!! We had kind of given up the idea of buying but found this little gem/fixer-upper in a great part of town. We are going to meet with the mortgage folks to see if it is feasible, but we loved it because it was structurally sound, in a great location, but definitely has a lot of fixing up/beautification that can be done that may improve the value substantially. We'll see, I will keep you posted.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy News!

April and I at my birthday at Davis, I love this picture.

I have to say congratulations to my dear, amazing, lifelong friend April on the news of her recent engagement. I have known April since elementary school and our lives were intertwined all through our days at UCD. There wasn't a problem a long walk with our dogs on the beach couldn't solve. I am so happy for her and her awesome new career as a teacher in San Diego and her fabulous man Vic. A romantic proposal at the beach, adorable, just like them!!

April and me, same apartment, her birthday! I made cupcakes with her name spelled out in our quintessential birthday pear jelly beans.

Love you April!

(emily, do you recognize that orchid?! this was right after my tonsillectomy!)

Monday, November 12, 2007

I am part Kenyan.. you know

So yes.. I had an awesome weekend. Check out the results! Long story short.. it was awesome.

Okay, nevermind. Here is the long story.

We left here with three other folks, one exercise bio masters student and two sophomores. We headed straight to the Outer Banks and arrived at Matt's grandparents house which they built years ago. Cute and quaint, quite unlike the typical huge Banks house. I cooked up some spaghetti for the gang as we chatted and explored the house.

Slept in the next morning and had some cranberry orange bread and cheerios for breakfast. We headed down to the Expo to pick up our race packets and get acquainted with the course. We wanted to get lunch and ended up going to the same Nags Head Grill that I went to with my family in the spring. Delicious, again!

Back to the house after a few stops, as the weather got worse and worse. We watched a disappointing Carolina vs. NC State football game and then a couple more cars full of runners arrived. Only me and one other guy were running the full marathon, but it was cool to see people who were new to running trying their hand at a long race.

Matt's grandfather made up a big batch of delicious homemade marinara sauce for our pre-race meal, but some heart pains caused a scary trip to the ER. Luckily he is fine, but we enjoyed our pasta without his company. Trent and I went on a walk on the beach, gorgeous stormy evening, and then off to bed early!

Up at 5:45 to start eating and planning. It was brisk but not cold, but I always like to be warm when running so I had all my best duds on. Trent was a FANTASTIC organizer/driver/coach. He made sure I ate and drank enough, got me there on time, and gave me a great last minute pep talk. Then, before I knew it.. we were off!!

I was hoping to run well, but a couple weeks before I realized it was a bit ambitious to try to qualify. People train for lifetimes to qualify for Boston. I had a lot of school and other things going on. I just wanted to have a good race, not injure myself and hopefully beat my last time of 3:54. But then.. I felt good. I felt strong. I felt fast. I had to work to stay slow.

It was a beautiful course, along the bay side, on a bike path through a fancy neighborhood. The whole city was apparently out cheering and giving us food and water. It was amazing. Here are a couple pics of me and my posse I ran with for most of the time. I especially like the tie-dyed dude!

I am not going to say it was all a cake-walk. This is around mile 18. Mile 18 is no fun regardless. But I was keeping a great pace and Trent was super helpful speeding around on his bike, getting me more Gu's and keeping me company. He couldn't ride the entire time, as a few miles were off road, but knowing he would show up unexpectedly made the race fly by. Relatively.

Around mile 20, I got an awesome runners high. However, around mile 22, Trent had to leave me and I had to deal with the only "hill" of the course. It was actually just a bridge over the bay onto the island of Manteo, but it felt like climbing Everest. It took a lot of determination to keep going, but I had a new motivation. It was looking like I might qualify! I spent too much of the race pushing myself to give up 4 miles from the end because I was a bit tired. I pushed on. It was no fun, to be honest. I didn't think the end was ever going to arrive. I don't actually remember the last two or so miles. But apparently I was moving quite fast and passed a couple girls. I remember a nice lady telling me.. just a quarter mile, and I knew I could do it. I finished at 3:31! And I was one happy, emotional, exhausted, camper.

Here I am getting my timing chip taken off. I was too tired to lean over and help her. But look at that happy face. SO HAPPY!

It was a great race, I qualified for Boston, I was the first female finisher in my age group and the 10th female overall. Like 10th behind the Kenyans. It was amazing. And a huge thanks to my awesome Trent, the best support and coach and boyfriend I could ask for. He would have been proud of me regardless, but knowing how excited he would be if I qualified made me want to do my best.

We left, although I should have stayed and got my award on the podium, but I had no idea I did so well. Back to the house to clean and pack up, then into the car. It was rough sitting for 4 hours after running for nearly 4, and we had to make a few stops so we could stretch our legs, but everyone had a great time and we made it back. I am on a steady supply of Advil and walking like an 80 year old, but no serious injuries. Just lots of rest and relaxation ahead for me!

Friday, November 09, 2007

wish me luck!

Presentation done, flies tucked away for the weekend, car loaded to the gills with folks from our triathlon team and tons and tons of Gu...

It is race time!!

Off to run in the OBX Marathon on Sunday. Wish me luck. I am running from Kitty Hawk to Manteo.. which looks like a far ways on this map. We are staying with a friend at his beach house in Duck which should be awesome. And hopefully the race goes well, I am trained and healthy, so I will give it my best. Perhaps a sub 3:40 so I can go to Boston this spring?? We'll see...

Have a great weekeend!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

happy day!

Good news! Today I found out I have been accepted on a very prestigious training grant through our university!

I am so excited. The money is about the same, except with specific allocations for research equipment and travel and conference fees, but more importantly, it looks SO awesome on my resume. I can get my own funding. People believe in me. I have no idea why, but they do!

Hooray. This is huge! Trent and I went to dinner to celebrate, now back to work on my presentation on Friday, trying not to freeze in our chilly cottage.

Maybe I can do something about this discouraging graph I came across while reading AAAS. So darn sad.

Monday, November 05, 2007

lovely little dresses

I am loving the November JCrew catalogue. Maybe more than any other. I love the Scottish theme, the beautiful Isle of Skye backgrounds, and all the fabulous dresses with sweaters and bright shoes (my new favorite thing ever). But I can't really justify buying a bright beautiful dress..


Emily, how'd you like this guy? Pockets! And polka-dots! Perhaps the brown and cream one?

Or any of these:
Camilla, Ella, or Solid Silk Taffeta Ballarina! Nothing says bridesmaid like some taffeta.

Just a suggestion ;)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Productive Weekend!!

Introducing my friend Chester to Emily while hiking in Point Reyes!

Usually I turn into a pretty darn useless pile of goo when Trent is out of town. But I was determined this weekend, while he was off coaching his crew kids at a race in Tennessee, that I would not let this happen.

And I am pleased to report.. Success! I definitely did miss him, but oh goodness, did I get a lot done. All thanks to a trusty list, written in bright red Sharpie, which is oh-so satisfying to cross off. Por ejemplo:

1. Oil change/get gas. Done. Although I was panicking that a family of chipmunks had taken up residence in my car hood. I feared I was baking Mama Chip the entire way to the shop, but they assured me that no one had taken residence.

2. Write letters. Love it, so fun to catch up with old friends and family by snail mail.

3. Send planning Thanksgiving email. Should be another epic event, but perhaps a few less people than last year.. just for our sanity!

4. Work on painting. Huge 1.5'x 8' panel I am painting for over our bed, as a pseudo-headboard. I have it primed and ready to go, still have to do the actually art part.. but I have a good idea of what I am going for.

5. Brunch at Deirdre's house. It was awesome. Tons of good food, including my cranberry orange bread and a great reason to try out my new "dress straight out of the JCrew catalogue" outfit. Dress, sweater, ribbon belt, bright heels.

6. Make earrings. My latest hobby, so fun and cheap!

7. Pay rent, car insurance, AAA membership, etc. Not so fun, but done!

8. Email pictures from California trip. Finally. I am so bad at doing this.

9. Fix red bike. Trent is not the only bike mechanic in the house.

10. Finish paper review. Not quite done.. pretty hard to actually criticize people's hard work. But good practice and hope I impress the boss.

11. Plan journal club presentation. My first of my official lab process. Here we go!

12. Send back shoes and send Emily's birthday box. So late, so sorry Emily!!

All done, feel quite successful! Also did a bit of running, although next weekend is the marathon, so I am on my taper. Had an EXCELLENT night out with Deirdre, dinner at her house, then off to see Scissors for Lefty! They were fantastic. And we got to hang out "backstage" with them afterwards. Left halfway through Juliette and the Licks, although she was pretty awesome, and went to a fancy SF-style bar for hibiscus petal and lemongrass cocktails. Delicious. I am lucky to have a friend like Deirdre!! Otherwise, cleaned house (man, I love this vacuum), made cranberry orange bread for the neighbors, such and such.

But man, I am SO excited to pick up my sweetie in a little bit and hear all about his awesome crew racing weekend.

Hope you had great weekends as well!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Halloween!

This holiday totally snuck up on me, after the awesome trip to California and all the ten-thousand things that have kept me insanely busy. But I do love this day, and we managed to throw together some pretty sweet last minute costumes and had a great evening hanging with our awesome new neighbor, going to a professor's annual Halloween party with all our Bio Homies and then doing the obligatory cruise down Franklin Street. It was a madhouse, as usual, but everyone seemed to have gone all out on the costumes and good cheer.. which I love.

Hope you all had wonderful Halloweens as well!!

This picture was taken by our computer! Craziness. Get it, Major Nelson and the Jeanie? From "I Dream of Jeanie." Surprisingly, after almost 25 years with this name.. this is my first time dressing up like one!!

Happy Halloween Everyone!