It is absolutely spring around here. Bright green new leaves, luscious dogwood blossoms, and my tulips will be fully bloomed by this weekend. Wearing my crisp new JCrew blouse and bright purple flats. Listening to Vampire Weekend (it is the anthem of this University, I swear).
I love spring.
Hoping to make a big batch of these sandwiches to take over to Steph and Linda's annual wine tasting party this Saturday! Grilled asparagus and goat cheese?!? Perfection!
The day before I flew out to California, we were lucky enough to be invited to our friend Erik's surprise birthday party that his wife put together. It was out at the Rock Quarry Farm, a charming B&B right outside of Chapel Hill. Unfortunately, it was a bit drizzly, but we had a lovely afternoon under the tent, eating delicious bbq, playing with tons of two year olds, and toasting our dear friend!
Erik is a plastic surgeon, and one of our newly formed "tri-team." His assistant is a wonderful baker, and made a delicious cake for the shindig. He credits his triathlon training for being able to blow out all 40 candles.
Our gang! Trent, Paul, Erik's assistant's husband, Sheila, me, Amanda, Baby Alexander, and Stephen. Amanda and I took turns snuggling with the little fella all afternoon. He was a champ!
His wife hired the Big Fat Gap band, local bluegrass legends. The bass player did all the bbq cooking and helps run the farm as well! They were impressive.
But not as impressive as this act! Trent and I wrote Erik a song (to the tune of "On the Road Again"). I wrote the lyrics and Trent figured out the chords and we put it all together about 1 day before the party. But we had a blast. I can't sing, and we had no idea what we were doing, but it was charming and sweet and so much fun. Hooray for being broke and creative!
And doesn't that look on Trent's face make your heart go pitter-patter? No? Just me? Okay.
Our audience, including the birthday boy in his birthday hat. We were expecting about 10 people, and were shocked to see the big crowd. But it was so much fun.
Erik's son Hayden maybe wasn't so impressed though. Isn't he a cutie!
All in all a lovely day spent with good friends. The rest of the pictures can be seen here.
While not away from "school" this spring break, I certainly took the opportunity to learn tons of new things and have many many first. Lemme break it down for you.
Saturday: First time rowing a real scull. Awesome, and terrifying. I did a great job for about 30 minutes, until I got cocky and flipped over (a first!). I perched on the hull while Trent and Thomas drove the launch out to pick me up. Definitely fun, but quite chilly.
Saturday, later: First time coxing! I changed in to a hodgepodge of rowing clothes I found in the car and boat house and was relaxing in the sun when I got called into action by the amazing faculty adviser Bob. Not a person you want to let down! I ended up coxing a four, and despite my struggles with the new nomenclature, I had a blast. And no crashes! Thank goodness for a very kind and patient group of rowers. Home to our "almost no longer embarrassing haircut" dog and her roommate for the weekend, Mr. Jerz. We found them snuggling on his bed. Our girl is all grown up. Trent took me out to dinner at Whole Foods for a thank you and we watched a bit of the basketball game out before getting too exhausted and heading home.
Sunday: First time finishing a patio! Gorgeous. Mostly Trent, but I carried heavy stones when required. Also went to brunch with a former lab mate and had an awesome picnic outing with 5 couples and 4 little ones. Lovely weather and good fun.
Monday: First meeting with my new female science mentor. Trent's new boss is an amazing female scientist (neurobiology/psychology) who has done it all, family, awesome career, dean of the graduate school. I met with her for an hour and discussed it all. It was SO refreshing and the start of what I hope will be a lovely friendship/mentorship.
Tuesday: First interview at a bike store! I am picking up some hours at a local bike shop on the weekends to help supplement our income (especially when Trent starts graduate school!). It is about two blocks from our house, owned by a microbiology professor and her partner, very laid back and fun. And I got the job. Hooray. Celebrated by first art class! Amanda and I headed to Toots & Magoo to learn how to make block print art. We carved our linoleum and pressed, and they are adorable. Pictures to come soon.
Wednesday: First time volunteering at the public health clinic. Carrboro has a free clinic every Wednesday night that is completely staffed by volunteers and students. Usually it is super competitive to work there, but since it was spring break, they were desperate. Trent has been doing public health advising there for a year (talking about self-exams, eating right, exercising) and I took vitals (height, weight, blood pressure, temperature, history and primary concerns). I was super nervous at first, but had a great time and it was fantastic to get to talk to and help so many people. Also sad about how many people need health insurance and were not going to doctors for terrifying things. Lots of hand washing!
Thursday: First time coxing an 8! After getting home, exhausted from the clinic, Trent found out that they were short a coxswain and he would have to do it if no one volunteered. Since I am the expert now... I was in! Totally terrifying. I was in charge of the varsity lightweight eight, and we were doing mock 2k races in Jordan Lake!! It was very early in the morning and super foggy, I am steering this giant boat, trying not to run into the four other boats while going incredibly fast. It was such an adrenaline rush. It was even a shore launch, so I got carried into the boat by my stroke. I felt like a real coxswain! I got the hang of it pretty quick, and had a great stroke who was SUPER helpful, and we ended up winning all the races. I got really into it, yelling out encouragments and such. I am still too nice, I kept saying good job and all this things that I later learned coxswains never say. Oh well. Adrenaline still coursing through my veins, Trent dropped me off at lab. Long day of work, finished by my first real hours of work at the bike store. I learned all about our bike brands (mostly Masi, Marin, and Surly) all about e-bikes (electric assist) and cargo bikes. The theme of the store is definitely incorporating cycling into your life as a legitimate transportation option, not really a super techie, high end, competition store. I had my first customer (helped replace a broken chain) and did my first store closing. Learning new things!
Friday: So far, nothing new. Which is kind of a relief! Got all my flies and cells into new homes so they will be happy while I am in California. It is a drizzly, but warm, day. Reminds me of Costa Rica. Trying to wrap up as much as I can before the trip, tomorrow is Trent's teams first real race, a St. Patrick's Day brunch at Deirdre's house and a surprise birthday party. Then Sunday, I am heading to California. Can't wait.
I need this dress. Seriously. I would probably wear it every other day. Every day if we are lucky...
I really need to learn how to sew. Since I am a brooooke grad student. And the proud owner of two tons of Pennsylvania slate to that is becoming our new patio. Which kinda trumps any dress purchases for a while.
Many pics of our latest weekend project to come...