Tuesday, December 29, 2009

True Compass

Over Christmas break, I have been reading True Compass: A Memoir by Ted Kennedy. I am not a reader of biographies, but after Kennedy passed away, I watched a few of the shows that were dedicated to the life of him and his brothers. I was intrigued. After waiting patiently for my turn to check out the library book, I got it just in time to read it over the break.
It is FANTASTIC. I've always heard about the tragedy that surrounded the Kennedy family, but to read Ted's feelings during it all made me feel like I was there. A family of 9 children - 2 died in plane crashes, 2 were assassinated, one was mentally challenged and doctors convinced the Kennedy's a lobotomy would help her - leaving only 4 to properly grow old together.
Ted's stories about campaigning for his brother Jack for the 1960 presidential election were great. My favorite was Ted going to a rodeo and convincing the crowd to vote for his brother by staying on a bareback bucking horse for 6 seconds. Reading about the assassination of Jack made me cry. Lyndon Johnson's efforts to pass the Civil Rights Act for which Jack had laid the foundation was amazing to read about, almost made me feel like I was there. It amazes me that it was only passed in 1964 and changed the US so much that we are now living in a different country. A better country. There were so many other bills passed that were part of the Civil Rights Act that I didn't even realize were necessary. States used to be able to charge a poll tax, making people pay to cast a vote, preventing the poor (and often minorities) from bothering to voice their opinion on who they wanted to represent them. Ted spearheaded the passing of that law, preventing states from making people pay to vote. The stories of Ted and Bobby working together in the senate, representing Massachusetts and New York, respectively, were wonderful stories that showed how much fun the two of them had while expressing their LOVE of their country. When Bobby decided to run for president, two major parts of his campaign were ending the war in Vietnam and Civil Rights. Bobby was in Indianapolis the night that Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated. He was speaking to a group of minorities and his advisors told him to not announce the Dr. King had been murdered. Bobby did not agree and told the group the horrendous news. He then championed them to rise above violence and bring about civil rights through peace. Riots broke out all over the country that night, but not Indianapolis. Bobby's assassination two months later really tore Ted apart, making him retreat into his work.
Following the Civil Rights battles of the 1960's, Ted's major cause was healthcare. It is a shame that he is not still alive to see the efforts being made to pass healthcare reform, but he knew that Obama was going to make every effort possible to make it happen.
I loved this book. I recommend.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Big News!

This is my 150th blog post, and I'm going to use it to announce that I am 12 weeks pregnant! My first trimester is almost over, and it's been pretty easy so far. I have certainly had symptoms of pregnancy, but not as bad as I've heard. I've been nauseous at times, but there has been no vomiting, so I am a happy girl. My due date is July 4 (maybe we should name the baby Yankee Doodle :) ?) And we are not going to find out the sex of the baby. I want it to be a surprise! Of course, the betting (with no money) has begun on if we're having a boy or a girl. I just want a healthy baby, boy or girl doesn't matter to me! My sis-in-law Rachel wants me to have a boy because we can get all the hand me downs from my nephew, but she wants me to have a girl because she wants to buy lots of super cute girl things! Adam is starting to think about how we should decorate the baby's room, but I'm just thinking about what I should eat next! We are super excited and I am just working on taking care of myself!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

compliments from students

I have been teaching at a small school for 8 weeks now. I am teaching Clinical Chemistry to medical lab tech majors, a lot of which has turned out to be anatomy (and I've never taken anatomy). It is a challenge, but I am learning lots while I go along. And my students like me! How do I know? Below are some quotes direct from their mouths
  1. "That makes sense. Why couldn't YOU have been our teacher for [insert course name here]?" They have said this for more than one course. They actually say this a LOT.
  2. "I've been taught PCR before, but that was the first time I understood it."

Alright, I'm out. But those two really make me feel good. Especially the PCR one. I know that PCR is tough, and I worry that I will talk over their heads. But for PCR, I didn't! I'm really enjoying teaching, I really think I'm getting the hang of it, and on Thursday I get to talk about Amino Acids and Proteins (my favorite!).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

long time no blog

I has been quite a while since I blogged something. Anything. I've been super busy with my postdoc and being adjunct faculty and applying for jobs. Lots of jobs. I had an interview yesterday. It went well (or at least I thought it did), but I haven't heard anything yet and he made it sound like he was going to call me last night if he wanted to schedule a second interview. So now I'm hopeful my phone will ring while constantly checking my email to see if he's sent me a rejection email. I keep going over the interview in my head wondering what I might have said that would make him not want to hire me and I cannot think of anything. Granted, the other people he interviewed may be just a better fit for the position. But I would be great! Sigh. Maybe he'll still call me. No news is good news, right?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

my wedding flowers

So, I had an awesome experience planning my wedding. The entire process was super fast and easy (especially considering I only planned it in 5 months), but I am super proud of my flowers. So much so, that even more than two months after the fact, I'm still excited about it and am now finally blogging about it.
I arranged all the flowers myself, and ordered the flowers from SunKing Wholesale Flowers. I ordered 250 assorted white roses for $169. Yes, that works out to about $0.67/rose. Yes, that is an incredible deal and too good for me to pass up. The flowers were delivered on Wednesday for our wedding on Saturday. I put the flowers in three buckets of water and stored them in my parents air conditioned bedroom (which is the coldest air conditioned room in the universe, I swear).
On Thursday evening, my mom and I dethorned the roses (just used a pair of scissors and chopped off the sharp tips of the thorns) and removed most of the leaves.
On Friday morning I arranged my bouquet and bridesmaids bouquets. I just made circles around a center rose, for the bridesmaids bouquets I made two circles around the center rose and three circles for my own bouquet. I wrapped a rubber band around the stems at the base of the flowers, trimmed the stems so that they were all the same length, and wrapped the bottom of the stems with another rubber band. I then wrapped the stems with white ribbon, securing the beginning of the ribbon with the top rubber band and the bottom with a white headed pin.
Photo by Fetcho. Just to add to my secret to saving money, something I had forgotten about but it so obvious in this photo is my hair clip - which is an antique brooch I bought on ebay and used fishing line to attach it to a small comb. Total $12. :)

My mom collected small vases at garage and rummage sales all summer long (she spent less than $30 on all these vases, some more than others, some matched and some didn't), and I had 30 vases to use for centerpieces. Since I ordered SO many roses, I was able to add three roses per vase.
Our ceremony and reception were in the same room, so all the centerpieces were on a single table during the ceremony and my wonderful family placed the flowers on the tables after the caterer arranged the tables for the reception.
This is the table of flowers before the reception (photo by Fetcho):
I also lucked out with our caterer, Classic Cafe, Inc. The food was absolutely fantastic and they were by far the best price I've ever seen for a caterer.

I am still so excited to be married, and I had so much fun planning and making things myself and just being a DIY bride (and I miss being excited about getting those amazing deals and ideas). Now, I just need to get my act together and work on thank you notes!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Free food

I have worked with a couple of undergraduate students this summer. Often, in graduate school and now in my postdoc, there will be vendor shows or other occasions that provide free food. As a graduate student, I learned very quickly not to turn down free food (well, I still wouldn't eat meat, but...). There was a vendor show with free food over the summer and I brought over these undergrads to get the free food. Well, it turned out the free food was cake and donuts. These undergrads did not partake in the free food because they wanted to eat good lunch food. I realized two things: 1. These boys do not understand free food. 2. Mommy and Daddy always gave them money so all food for them is free. And, one of these undergrads eats more food than I think I've ever seen anyone eat in my life. He's 6'6" and I don't think he's even 200 pounds. He's a rail and he eats two meals every time he eats. I really couldn't believe it when he didn't take free dessert. I ate a free donut, and it was my lunch that day. Why am I telling this story? Because, once again, Jorge Cham hit the nail on the head with today's comic from PhD Comics:

Monday, August 17, 2009

monday afternoon hilarity

i am having a major case of the mondays. i am disgruntled about the lab, about the people, and about the fact that way too much equipment was broken while i was gone. and that people don't bother to tell me. so, this may give some explaination why i was so entertained by the following:

i was searching different companies for kits to do baculovirus expression of protein (which i have never done before). companies always include a picture of the product to help sell said product - this works for shoes, this works for biotechnology. imagine my surprise when a kit for expressing protein with baculovirus was accompanied by this:

Apparently, blue feet with French manicured nails are the key to successful baculovirus transfection. what a bummer, my feet aren't blue, and not that talented.

Monday, August 10, 2009

9 days

Well, we've been married for 9 days! We had a wonderful time in San Francisco, very busy but wonderful. We were ready to leave but also were enjoying ourselves so much that we didn't want to leave. We took a boat ride around the bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge, around Alcatraz and back (free with our CityPass). We walked around Aquarium by the Bay and Adam got to touch a few stingrays and baby sharks (free with our CityPass). We went to Muir Woods to see the redwoods (my new favorite smell) and then three wineries (Jacuzzi, Cline, and Homewood) with Extranomical Adventures. We went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA - free with CityPass) where they had a special exhibit comparing the paintings of Georgia O'Keefe and photographs of Ansel Adams that was fantastic (not free, but only $5 each). We went to the de Young Museum (free with CityPass) and saw a special King Tut exhibit ($15 each - too much in my opinion). We went to the California Academy of Sciences (free with CityPass) where they have a fantastic exhibit on evolution in modern times about the evolution that Darwin discovered on the Galapagos islands, as well as the evolution that has occured on Madagascar. How Survival of the Fittest is displayed so well on the different islands - 7 different finches that have evolved to have beaks specifically for eating certain foods whether it be seeds or worms, etc. It was very great. And, of course, we HAD to go to Haight-Ashbury and 710 Ashbury where the Grateful Dead lived in 1966-67. The CityPass was fantastic not only because of the museums we got into for free but because we were able to ride all the public transportation for free, including the cable cars.
And I was going to upload a few pictures but the site wasn't working. Grumble.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Adam's funny wedding dream

Adam had a very funny wedding dream last night (which is so much better than the awful wedding dream I had that someone stole my wedding dress and someone else tried to convince me to wear an orange one).

In Adam's dream, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson impersonators crashed our wedding, and the Owen Wilson impersonator was a shark wearing a blonde wig with a deviated septum.

When Adam told me I laughed so hard I cried. It kinda makes me want someone in a landshark costume to crash our wedding.

3 days!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hilarious, Amazing Wedding Processional

I will not be doing this, but this is freaking AWESOME!

Friday, July 17, 2009

friends are the BEST

I miss my old lab. I miss the people I worked with, I miss my boss, and I miss my project. I am going to visit them tonight for a night of ridiculous before I go visit my family tomorrow for a day of fun in the sun (or as much sun as we can get - it's supposed to be cold). It is amazing how good those kids that I worked with make me feel! They are so excited to see me, and every time I talk to them they tell me they miss me. We've been emailing back and forth and the new Mrs AL uses so many exclamation points and lots of YAYs in each email (she is quite a bit like me in how she expresses her excitement). She really just makes me so glad I met such great people, and it's hard to find people you like that much, especially at work.

I'll also say that putting together a list of friends to invite to the wedding is tough. I would like to invite every friend I've ever known, even though we haven't been in touch for a while. I'm fortunate enough that some friends I was unable to put on my list are coming as other friend's date, so I will still get to share our special day with them. But, the neat thing about making the guest list, is the realization that we get to claim so many wonderful people as our friends. Making the guest list really made me feel so blessed to have so many great friends. And when they are so excited to see me, it makes me feel even more blessed!

2 weeks and 1 day until I'm Mrs. S. H-M, PhD... so so many years in the making!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


It's been 10 years since I graduated from high school. A LOT has changed in the past ten years, a lot has stayed the same. Luckily I'm still a redhead (though these gosh darn white hairs keep poking up out of nowhere, jerks) and I've actually learned how to manage my hair much better than I did back then, and it's long again (too long... sis-in-law will be chopping it back to grazing my shoulders on Aug 2). I'm glad I chopped my hair off right before junior year of high school, it gave me confidence that I never had before that. And I have been able to keep that confidence and run with it. I finally finished school, just 6 months shy of our reunion, but I am a Dr now (even if it's only a Dr of Philosophy, I'm still a doctor!). Having not stopped going to school since HS graduation (and I still feel like I'm in school, even though I'm not taking classes-I don't have a real job yet). I have always been on the fence about whether or not I would attend the reunion (depending on whether or not I was actually done with school, cause I did not want to entertain the line of "you're STILL in school?" questions), but now I cannot go (San Francisco will be on my mind, or maybe something else honeymoon related). I am slightly disappointed, but, at the same time, facebook has provided me with being able to find out what people are doing now, so I don't need to go! I miss some of my friends from high school and wish we'd stayed in touch better. But I would rather have a mini-reunion of those wonderful people who helped make those awkward years go faster.
What else amazes me is how little I remember about what happened in high school. A close friend once told me your brain starts leaking when you're 25. When she told me that I was not yet 25 and convinced it happened before 25. Now that I'm beyond 25, I cannot pinpoint when my brain began leaking, but it sure does drip a lot. Info just falls into the abyss and even when I'm reminded of events later, I still don't remember when those things happened.

And the little 20 yr old boy that is following me around trying to learn biochemistry and confusing everything I say said "Whoa" when I told him my 10 yr reunion was this year. Cruising for a bruisin, he is.

Friday, July 10, 2009

public v. scientists

The bloggers over at The Intersection, who have just announced they've moved their blog, Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, have just released a new book called Unscientific America.  It is about the "two cultures" that exist, scientists and the public, and what has cause this disconnect between the two. I have not yet read the book, but I plan on it (as soon as I get my rear in gear and open an account at the library).  They blog often about their book and I feel like I have learned a lot since starting to read their blog.  But, just released (amazingly good timing for Mooney and Kirshenbaum), is a study by The Pew Research Center, in conjunction with the American Association for the Advancement of Science,  in which they polled the public and scientists and compared their answers of the same questions. Now, this article is rather long, and does get confusing at times (there are a LOT of percentages), but the main message is very clear: the public and scientists view the world and the sciences very differently.  One question that displayed a huge difference was the comparison with science in the US vs. the rest of the world.  49% of scientists say that US scientific advancements are the best in the world (which I tend to agree, but it is stiff competition) while only 17% of the public says that the US is the best in science.  Combine the 'best in the world' category with 'above average' and 94% of scientists polled have put the US scientific advancments in the top tiers while only 75% of the public has done so.  This then makes me wonder, what is the public using to come to this conclusion? And what can be done to better inform the public of how awesome science and scientists in this country are? Rhetorical questions that I cannot answer but I really would like to be able to because answering these questions could be the first step in solving the problem.

I was entertained by the GQ ad posing rock stars with scientists, but that ad did nothing for informing the public about what scientists actually do (not to mention the lack of scientific diversity was extremely disappointing).  The campaign is to convince the next generation to go into science, but the ad is more focused on the rock stars instead of the scientists.  Maybe future ads will focus on what the incredible research is. If they weren't planning on it, maybe they should reconsider. 

I went to visit Adam's work this week and one of his coworkers asked what I do. I responded, "I work in the med school in a lab." One of Adam's other coworkers chimed in, "She's trying to cure cancer, no joke." It was really neat for me to have someone else brag about what I do, I know I don't.  I recently heard that only one in ten people knows a scientist. I find this sad, but I'm glad I can be a scientist for people to know. 

P.S. My attack dog is on a mission to kill the fly in our house - she's such a good girl, and absolutely hilarious.
P.P.S. you can always tell when I'm working on writing a paper cause I tend to blog instead.  :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Y-O-U-R means your!

Tonight one of my favorite episodes of Friends was on TBS, "The One with the Jellyfish."  The reason it is one of my favorite episodes is because, towards the end, Ross screams at Rachel, "Y-O-U-apostrophe-R-E means 'you are', Y-O-U-R means your!" I come across this mistake WAY too often and it always makes me want to yell that exact thing! 

The fight between Ross and Rachel starts at about 6:10 minutes, and my favorite part is at about 6:55 minutes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I have been a very bad blogger lately. No reason, other than I have been doing other things:
  1. Wedding planning! We're getting down to the home stretch 1 month and 1 week to go! I have made boutonnieres for the boys (which I want to post to show off what cool things I did, but haven't taken photos yet). I am working on programs, not completely sure how I want them to be yet - or how I want to arrange them - or what to include on them. I am also thinking about what other paper things I need to make for the big day.  And I need to get yummies to put in the favor boxes. And I need to order the flowers - not a big deal, but I do need to order them, I love being low maintenance in that I just want white roses and I can order them from an online wholesaler for very cheap (works out to $0.67/rose). The only reason bridezilla is now present in my mind is because our "photographer" just informed us that his nice camera is broken and his plan was to take our wedding photos on a crappy digital camera. I would like to shove that camera to where the sun doesn't shine - or at least smack him over the head with it. But, I've asked someone with a fancy camera to save the day but if he cannot, I will try to see if I can rent a good camera for our "photographer" to use (and I will put "photographer" in quotes to describe him from now on because he no longer deserves the title of photographer).  I'm also working on making a few other things, but they are top secret!  Dress fitting was this morning - only a bustle and steaming and I won't get my dress back until 1 week 1 day before the wedding. Makes me a bit nervous, but, as the seamstress put it, less time for the dress to get wrinkled that way! 
  2. I am working on a fellowship application. Luckily it's only 5 pages + 2 pages for figures and not including references.  Spitting out a 5 page paper is a piece of cake, but being succinct and still getting the point across is difficult.  I also need to write something about being committed to cancer research for the rest of my career (which I think every biochemist wants to be committed to cancer research, research just doesn't always go in that direction - when I started my PhD I was doing cancer research, at the end it was HIV drugs and laminopathies).  And I have to finish it by mid-July to give time for boss to review because it's due August 12 and I will be on honeymoon until August 10. And my boss will be in China from July 30-August 12 (so perfect).
  3. I'm on the lookout for stories about animals kissing and other displays of affection. Also to be found by mid-July. If anyone knows of any cutsie animal PDA stories, I would love to hear them!
  4. Trying to think about honeymoon plans... anyone with must do ideas for San Francisco, I am all ears!
  5. Can I just say that 2009 is like the best year ever! With graduation and our house and our wedding, I may be a little bit crazy lumping it all in one 8 month period, but it really has just made this year incredible. Love it!

Friday, June 12, 2009

want to post something...

I want to post something, but I'm not sure what to say!

I've been in wedding planning mania mode and I don't want to be the type of girl that can talk about nothing but her wedding (though it is so much fun for me!). Everything's about ready, I need to order the beer and the guy at the liquor store is on vacation. I've been really crazy about looking at DIY blogs and such, getting ideas, and trying them out to only be disappointed that they don't look nearly as cool as on the blog. My most recent escapade was making tissue paper flowers - I don't know if I made it too small or just suck, but I'm not a fan (the original can be found at http://www.i-do-it-yourself.com/2009/04/diy-tissue-paper-carnations/). I was hoping to use these to decorate the stairs of the history center. I have toole to drape along the railing but am not sure what to use to secure the toole to the railing. So, I'm still looking since my tissue paper carnations suck.
I'm super psyched about our honeymoon - there's going to be a Georgia O'Keefe / Ansel Adams exhibit at the SF Museum of Modern Art (www.sfmoma.org) while we're there that I cannot wait to see! I've been letting my hair grow out for the wedding and it's driving me bonkers! It gets caught on all my bags when i put them on my shoulder - I'm not used to hair being pulled out of my head every time I use a purse! I will be begging my sister-in-law to chop it off on August 2! I cannot have my hair drive me bonkers all over San Fran!

Other than that, work is okay. I'm still frustrated, I don't think it will change. I have gotten more used to some things and other things are driving me more crazy. My boss still doesn't listen. The most recent moment in which I decided he's out of his mind was when he wasted $50 because he could admit that I was right but couldn't admit that he was wrong. I convinced him that ordering something other than what he wanted was better, but then he just ordered both. It's very unlike my old boss, who would NEVER waste money - not even $2, and had no problem getting input from the graduate students on what to order. We're the ones who do the experiments, shouldn't we get the materials that make the experiments easier??

The wonderful Dr. Isis has a super interesting post up right now about scientists and rockstars. GQ recently did an ad for Geoffrey Beane suits of scientists posing with rock stars (the Rock SOS campaign is for Geoffrey Beane to donate and increase funding and awareness for medical research, which I am totally behind, you can go to http://www.rockstarsofscience.org/ to sign the petition). There has been much speculation in the blogosphere about what wrong with the ad - specifically that the scientists are all white males - but Dr. Isis finally weighed in her opinion and, while I agreed with others, I think Dr. Isis really hit the nail on the head (http://scienceblogs.com/isisthescientist/2009/06/how_gq_got_it_all_backwards.php). The pictures are of scientists worshiping the rockstars instead of the rockstars worshiping the scientists. Or, maybe worshiping is the wrong word, how about rock stars recognizing the awesomeness that is contained within the scientists??

For not knowing what to say, I sure did babble on for a while!

Friday, May 22, 2009

rescue ranger!

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a line of turtles sunning themselves beside the pond behind my house. I love the amount of wildlife I get to witness around the pond, but it is mostly birds (mainly ducks, geese (blech), and heron). So to see at least 20 turtles sitting by the pond was a very exciting moment.

This morning on my way to work, there was a turtle in the middle of the busy road leading to my neighborhood! I had to pull over to rescue the poor turtle before he got run over. He was very close to the yellow line in the middle of the road hiding in his shell, as I ran up he was sticking his little head out but stuck it back in as I got closer. I picked him up and moved him to the grass, petted him on the back of his shell, gave him a little talking to about not going in the street, and went on my merry way. I hope that turtle stays out of the street from now on!

This is not the first time I've been on a turtle rescue mission either. When I was much younger, my mom rescued a turtle in a parking lot by putting him in a box and then we drove him over to the river by our house. My brother was totally freaked out by the turtle (I think he was 6 or 7 and I was 9 or 10) and he wouldn't ride in the backseat with the turtle. That turtle was even bigger than the one I rescued today, and the one I rescued today was pretty big!

I did my good deed for the day, can I go home now? No? Get back to work? EH.

Monday, May 18, 2009

random people

Adam always has the strangest interactions with people. I don't know why random people seem to seek Adam out and then be weird around him, but they do. Yesterday, Adam and I were at dinner for a little date night and Adam had on a Yankees hat (boo, I do not like). These random woman poked him in the back and started giving him the business because she wants the Twins to beat the Yankees. I couldn't hear anything she said, and Adam was just trying to get her to go away. Once she finally did go away, Adam tells me, "She scared the crap outta me when she poked me, I almost punched her in the head."

Seriously, random people, leave the big guy alone. He may be a big teddy bear, but he can turn on you in an instant, especially when you poke him!

On another note, we got Adam's wedding band yesterday. We went to dinner from the jewelry store and didn't want to leave the ring in the car, so he wore it to dinner. Seeing his ring on his hand was such a neat feeling for me, one I wasn't really expecting, but it really made me smile. 75 days! (No, I am not really counting down the days, theknot.com is, the last time I looked it was in the 80s and I don't remember what exactly)

Friday, May 15, 2009

escapades at the service center

This morning I did my duty to maintain my car and brought it in to the car dealer for an oil change. This was my first time to bring it in since moving and I am slightly peeved. I was apparently totally spoiled at school, where the dealer service department 1. mailed me coupons every few months to take money off my oil change and 2. stamped a card so that for every 4 oil changes I got one free. And, not only did they mail me coupons, they would provide me with a coupon if I forgot to bring it. Pretty much, I got at least 10% off any service they performed on my car. This morning, I had them change the oil and deal with the squeaky brake problem I've been having for years but has gotten worse in the past couple of months (when I let up on the brake it would squeak, and not all the time, just often enough that it was annoying, and it was not scary because the brakes themselves worked fine). That was over $80. No coupons. WTF. And they do not stamp a card for buy 4 get 1 oil changes. Both places are owned by the same guy! And the card from the dealer at school even says on it that it is accepted at all dealerships. What a lie. Just because it is a big city, apparently they don't believe in coupons, they don't offer deals, and they charge more for each oil change! And they don't offer coupons for the random other services either. If I don't start to get coupons in the mail now that they have my address, I'm going somewhere else. At least for oil changes. I went into a non-dealer to have them fix my air conditioner once (a national chain) and they informed me that the problem was with my computer and it would be over $800 to fix. I walked right out the door and went to the dealer. They fixed my AC for $150 and I have gone nowhere but the dealer ever since. I know they over charge, but they fix the right things. Now that I don't get free oil changes, I might just have to go somewhere else!

Now, I'm not going to rant about the dealer anymore... but I will add one little thing about the guy sitting next to me in the waiting room. 1. Don't call someone and talk as loud as you can so that no one can hear the TV, even if you are speaking in a language no one can understand. It is rude, if you must call people, go to another room, or at least talk quietly. 2. Bringing a book to read is a great way to pass the time while waiting. Humming while reading, not a good way to pass the time.

At least my car is happy now... despite my crazy morning.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

falling down gracefully

This morning there was a segment on falling on Good Morning America. I tried to really pay attention because I fall A LOT. Apparently, there is a lab at Univ of Ill-Chicago that studies the motion and force when people are falling (whether slipping on grease or tripping over a bar). They strap people up to a harness and guide them across a room that may or may not have a falling obstacle. I though they would tell us on GMA how to fall gracefully, or at least how to limit the number of times we fall or lessen the consequences. Either I missed it, or they ended the story saying if you want find out how to fall gracefully you have to go to UofI-Chicago and have them teach you. I think they need to include a hole in the ground as an instigator of the falling - that's usually what I fall in. A hole in the grass, a hole in the street, I usually seem to find them and fall down. Not to mention my lovely graceful moment of ice skating retardedness, which I am still paying for 1.5 years later and my ankle will probably never be the same. It's still swollen and still hurts at times. AH, do I have skills. My most recent fall? Right off the treadmill I bought at a garage sale for $30. It was moving across the floor and I realized I was getting pretty close to the TV. I turned around to see if I really was moving toward the TV and somehow I fell off. I had a 2lb weight in my hand. I landed on the weight and now I have a weight shaped bruise on the side of my leg. Now that it doesn't hurt so much I am not quite so embarrassed to tell the world about my falling skills. I have decided that my bones must be super strong because with all this falling, I've never broken a bone. I've stretched every possble ligament and tendon in my ankle, but the bones stayed intact. I'm still not sure how that happened. I guess it's a good thing I drank so much milk when I was small - I think that I had at least a glass of milk with every meal.

So I've rambled on, and at the end, I still don't know what the best way to fall is and I don't know how to prevent myself from falling so much.

Monday, May 4, 2009

where I am and where I wish I was

I am at work. Where I wish I was is at The Dead preparty across the street from Rosemont Horizon (that isn't called that anymore, but it will always be that to me) where they have a display of artwork by members of The Dead, including Jerry's. And after looking at all that artwork, I would be getting ready to go into the Dead concert and dance my socks off to some awesome tunes. Alas, I am at work, checking my email constantly hoping to hear back from the headhunter woman about what the company thinks of my resume. Something that probably won't happen today. But I still cannot seem to stop checking my email. AH, do I wish I was going to the Dead show tonight, even though Jerry's not there. I've heard some of the live shows on Sirius, and Warren Haynes is doing a great job as lead guitarist and singing many of Jerry's songs. He's not Jerry, but he's doing really great considering what he has to live up to.

AND, I booked our honeymoon! San Francisco watch out, we're coming for 6 days! Better be prepared to hook me up with some delicious WINE! And, if you really knew how to make me happy, you would have Grateful Dead music playing at some point during the week... whether it be a cover band or a side project by a member of the band, I would greatly appreciate it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Ramble on Rose

So, this morning on my way to work, they played "Ramble on Rose" on the Grateful Dead channel. This is my FAVORITE GD song (for now, at least) and they don't play it nearly often enough. Not only was it Ramble on Rose though, it was a FANTASTIC version (8.7.82, two days before my 1st birthday). The guitar solo was particularly incredible (and I'll say again, I MISS JERRY). Well, I knew today was going to be a good day because that was just too perfect of a start to my day for it to not be good.

Ramble on Rose in Copenhagen 72 - not the amazing version of this morning, but it is great.

ANYWAY, I was working up data (which took about 5 hours today, totally awesome). The lab phone rang and I answered it. I'm glad I did because it was a job headhunter calling for me. I had to call her back not in the lab since she interviewed me. We talked for about 15 minutes about what I have done in my career (which isn't much) and what the company is looking for in a medical writer. A medical writer is not something I really considered doing, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't consider it, and I do think I'm qualified for it (I certainly am a bit nuts about proofreading, as I've mentioned before). And whether or not they hire me, that was such an awesome ego boost that they called me! I am not sure how they know about me, but I am really pumped that I was appealing enough to call, however they found me. But now I am waiting for this woman to email me her contact info so that I can email her my resume. And I'm starting to worry that she spelled my name wrong in my email address and that I'm not going to hear from her ever. Such an awesome awesome day. Ramble on Rose!

Monday, April 27, 2009

weekend shenanigans

Adam and I had one of the most productive weekends of housework since moving into our wonderful house. I am feeling so good about us! We stained the deck on Saturday, a job that took about 5 hours and included a trip to the store to buy more stain. My neighbors informed me 3 times that I needed sunscreen. I had already applied sunscreen twice. And with skin like mine, I don't mess around - it was Aveeno SPF 45. But my skin was very very red while I was in the sun. The amazing thing is that once I was out of the sun, I went back to being pale me. YAY Aveeno SPF 45, and thank you, despite looking like a lobster in the sun, I am not a lobster! I don't think my neighbors believed me that I had on sunscreen, but oh well. I'm Irish and a redhead, therefore, the sun and my skin do not get along.

I digress... we also purchased lots of outdoor goodies from friends that are moving and so yesterday Adam had a great time mowing the lawn, weed wacking around the fence etc, sprinkling the lawn, and cooking on the grill. While he was doing all this, I was cleaning our bedroom. Something I have avoided since moving in and still had boxes to unpack. But, now that the bedroom is almost clean (just a couple of boxes left), I can set up the treadmill I bought at a garage sale for $30 this weekend! That's right, a $30 treadmill. I've been hoping that I would find one for years, and once I completely forgot, there it was! The display saying how fast you're going etc doesn't work, but it was a $30 treadmill, I can handle the display not working.

The only thing I have left to do outside is plant the grape tomato, zucchini, and yellow bell pepper plants I bought. I went to Lowe's, and they are now selling their plants in a peatpot. A biodegradeable pot that you just plant into the ground. That way you don't have to worry about shocking the plant with the transfer out of the plastic, plus it is so much better for the environment not having that plastic waste! Yay Lowe's! I have never had a garden before, so I'm just going to start out with these three plants and see how I do. Hopefully I do not kill them, because we will save lots o money not having to buy these veggies!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

wedding shoes

So, I have now purchased two pairs of possible wedding shoes. And because I am a fabulous shopper, I have only spent $40 on these two pairs of shoes. Drumroll please......

From Payless Shoe Source, Predictions Hutton in Silver, $19.99

And from dsw.com, Caparros Kacey in Ivory Silk, $44.45 and after lots o coupons, $20.

Since my matron of honor is Kacey, the Kacey shoes have a lot more cool points, and I had to buy them since they actually spelled Kacey correctly (instead of Casey or Kasey boo). I think that the Kacey shoes are my wedding shoes. What do you guys think?? The other bit of info is that the Kacey shoes are taller, making my wedding dress drag on the ground less, but making my feet hurt more (possibly) unless cheap payless shoes are what make my feet hurt more.
Thoughts??? Please leave comments!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

spunky wants to express herself

My mommy and daddy had some strange men deliver a new fluffy thing that they sleep on. My mommy and daddy will not let me up there. It's a LOT taller and it's really hard for me to get up there, but they used to just pick me up and I could sleep curled up next to them. I love sleeping curled up next to them and now they won't let me in! I am not sure what this means, but it cannot be good. Yesterday I got in the bed to warm it up in case they wanted to get in and mommy yelled at me to get down. Daddy bought me this big pillow that they keep telling me is my bed, but it's not nearly as comfy at theirs. This morning, after mommy got up, I tried to take a running jump into the bed with daddy so that he wasn't sleeping alone, but instead of getting into the bed I ran smack into the side. Daddy started yelling and I had to shake it off. I do not like this new arrangement and it doesn't seem as though they are going to let me up there with them anymore. I'm very sad about this and I suppose I will just have to climb all over them anytime they are on the couch or floor. I need my snuggle time!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

to help old friends

The lab computer and I are NOT getting along today. So while the computer thinks about what it has done to ruin my day (and increase my need for a drink when I get home), I am going to blog about what a great week it has been on the collaboration front.

People come in and out of our lives every day. We often wish some would stay around longer, but regardless, we try to stay in touch. It is not often easy (though facebook makes staying in touch a little easier, as long as people actually use facebook), but at least keep email addresses around. Check in on how people are doing once in a while. And, when it comes to science, don't ever hesitate to ask for help. Old colleagues of mine have been EXTREMELY helpful this week. I am trying to start up a new project in my lab and I have called and emailed quite a few people asking for advice and protocols. Even free stuff (thanks to a certain someone who shall remain nameless working at a certain company that will also remain nameless)! Let me just say, I wish it was that easy to get free shoes!

So, a piece of advice: stay in touch with your old friends. And if they need help, give it. Someday you might need some in return. And since I've been doing so much taking this week: Does anyone need my help with anything??? I'm feeling a little selfish and would like to pay it forward. Maybe that's why the computer is being such a giant booger, because I haven't paid anything forward for all the help I have received... does anyone need anything??? :)

how scientists make it though the day

Ah BioRad, thank you for this little gem (and thanks to Dr. Isis for bringing this video to my attention):


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

wedding websites!

I bought a Brides Magazine (I had a coupon, otherwise I would not have spend $6 on a magazine) and they had a list of 75 websites that are a help for wedding planning. Well, I am going to say those websites that have helped me bunches:

1. www.theknot.com
With the extensive photos from actual weddings and articles about just about everthing you could wonder about, the knot is a HUGE help. I have gotten lots of ideas (or vetoed a lot of ideas) from the wedding photos and the DIY section.

2. www.weddingwire.com
This site has a (free) seating program. The one in Brides Magazine was not free. Free is good. I'm not sure yet if I am going to have assigned seating, but I can work on how I would like the tables set up and where the different special tables will be (DJ, cake, gift, guestbook, etc). And if I decide to assign seats, it'll be a piece of cake!

3. www.weddingchannel.com
They have a wedding music search. Type in an artist and it gives you a list of good wedding songs by that artist. They even have categories of when to play the songs (first dance, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc).

4. www.weddingmapper.com
With this site you can make a map with little icons for the hotel, ceremony site, reception site, etc. You tell the site addresses and it pulls them up in google maps. You then get to assign icons to the different locations. Center the map however you want, hit the 'print screen' button on your keyboard, paste into word or powerpoint, crop out what's not your map, and voila! you have a perfect map for including in your invitations!

5. www.travelzoo.com
We haven't yet figured out our honeymoon, but this website emails me every week the top 20 deals. Oh the possibilities!

and even though it's not a website, I have gotten really lucky by getting a little lost in Walmart (I am happy to say that I enter Walmart so often (rarely) that I get lost every time). I found clearance invitations and favor boxes that will probably end up saving me at least $100, if not more. I hate Walmart, but I could not pass up that deal! They required some dressing up and buying ribbon, but even still shopping at Walmart is saving me at least $100.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

adam's newest wedding dream

Adam had another wedding dream last night...

Somehow my dad got The Dead to play at our wedding. Following the ceremony, my dad was selling tickets at the History Center to the Dead show inside. My brother was selling magnets. My mom was selling oat patties.

I think I have created a monster by introducing Adam to Dark Star Orchestra. I LOVE IT!

Monday, April 6, 2009

the magical powers of coffee

I love coffee. My mornings with coffeemate are the greatest. Unfortunately, this morning is not great because it is April and it is snowing. Snowing. BOO.

I think I am hoping that by drinking coffee it will make the snow disappear. A hope that caused me to drink my coffee a little too fast and I missed my mouth. I now have a dribble of coffee down my shirt.

This is why I drink coffee first, get dressed later.

Friday, April 3, 2009

weddings - PhD Comics style

So, I am spinning cells down and perusing the phdcomics website in order to pass the time. Low and behold, there was a wedding in phdcomics a couple of months ago, and considering my current state, I find these comics hilarious:

PhD Comics 1.30.2009
Now, we luckily are not going to have to serve ramen at the wedding, but this is hilarious just the same.

PhD Comics 2.9.2009
Ah, how your advisor becomes attached in a way that we all hope never happens...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

adam's wedding dreams

Two mornings in a row, Adam has woken up to inform me that he had a ridiculous dream about the wedding.

The first: We were getting married in one of the operating rooms at the hospital at which he works.

The second: We had karaoke at the reception and my dad was trying to sing 'Jump, Jump' by KrisKros.

Both of which will never happen, but I find them absolutely hilarious!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

wedding shoe shopping!

So, I am thinking that I will probably wear silver shoes for my wedding (I would never wear a white shoe again). I have actually found some cute shoes at Payless (for $18), but I am still looking for something that I might like better. For $18, I would not feel guilty if I do find something I like better. SO, my online shoe search extravaganza has me really looking at everything but silver shoes.
Carlos Santana Pounce Printed Satin Peep Toe Pumps $49.99 at smartbargains.com. How awesome are these shoes!? They're like tie-dye, but WAY better!

Zinc Cliff Suede Studded Wedge Sandal 39.99 at smartbargains.com. I am salivating over those colored striped heels!

Martinez Valero Willow Printed Satin Slingback $79.99 at smartbargains.com.

The only problem with all of these shoes is that I would break my neck trying to wear them. Or wish my neck was broken so that my feet wouldn't hurt anymore. I need to focus on wedding shoes that I can wear instead of these super colorful beauties that I cannot wear. Sigh...

the planning continues...

Now that we have a location and caterer for the wedding, I need to focus on all the little things that I am planning on doing. Luckily I have so many friends who have already gotten married that can give me good ideas!! And by going to walmart to look for something else, I just happened to find a clearance section and got a GREAT deal on invitations and favor boxes. Unfortunately I need a lot of ribbon. And I have been to three walmarts and purchased all they had in the colors and type that I want. And that's not much. I need quite a bit more, but the walmarts I've been to only have 1 or 2 of each kind/color and I need more!! I suppose I can just keep visiting walmarts and everytime I drive by one I will just have to go in. So pathetic. I tried to find the ribbon on walmarts website and the ribbon company website with no luck. Oh well... I have a month. I can find everything in a month (I hope!).

I also found out about this great website, www.weddingmapper.com, where you basically use google maps and then add little icons to the map for the different locations (a bed for the hotel, a bride and groom for the ceremony, a dinner plate for the rehersal dinner, an airplane for the airport). It's totally cute and great for making maps to insert in the invitations! Although, I just realized I didn't say which direction was north, and I've already printed everything...

The main thing I'm avoiding is addressing the envelopes. I just know I'm going to screw it up.

But once all the invitations are done, then I can work on making the favor boxes and silk flower boutinierres. And possibly silk flower corsages too. Then the bridesmaids and I will be the only ones with real flowers, but we're probably the only ones that care... we know boys won't even notice they're wearing flowers. That is, until the flower pin pokes them!

Everything is happening super fast and easily, and I'm waiting for something bad to happen. Maybe the only bad thing will be Beth getting caught trying to sneak down into the jail at the History Center to break the dummy out of jail. :) Cause I know she cannot resist at least trying...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Plagarism in Science (in general)

Recently, my PI was given a paper to review from a Journal that shall remain nameless. Not an American journal. Lots of non-American Journals are top notch and publish awesome work.

This paper for review is loaded with typos and the sentence structure makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I understand that the English language is difficult and mistakes will be made, especially when trying to write science English, it's even more tough just because writing science is that much more tough. Usually I can decipher what someone is trying to write even if the sentence is awkward. This paper for review I could not figure out. The sentences made absolutely no sense and I could not figure out anything to make them make sense. I reread and reread and it was much more FUBAR than awkward. I discussed this is a colleague. He looked it over. Some of the sentences were really not too bad, I was just missing them through all the muck. Well, my colleague thought it was strange that there were good sentences in the muck and so he googled the good sentences. Lo and behold: the good sentences were copied word for word from other papers.

Now, as I said before, the English language is tough. I get that. This is why everyone needs to have a native English speaker at their disposal to proofread (anyone want to hire me to proofread?!?!). Reviewers that see lots of typos will just think you are sloppy and that your research must therefore also be sloppy. Not a good way to get your paper accepted. But to plagarize in the land of google, you're out of your darn mind. Period. You can type whole sentences into google and it will find them. I'm really astounded that this author thought that no one would figure out that he plagarized. The data is therefore perceived by the reviewer as completely unreliable.

The moral of my story: Google is the tool that people will use to find out if one plagarized. Google will give the plagarist away. Don't plagarize. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread.

Friday, March 20, 2009

science nerd or social butterfly?

So, my old lab was a rare bird of friendliness and talkativeness. We laughed (loudly at times), we played music (which induced dancing at times), and it was fun to go to work. Mostly, it was fun because we made it fun. I believe that Mary Poppins had it right when she said that in every chore there is to be done, there is an element of fun. And SNAP! the job's a game! That's how we rolled in my old lab (for the most part). My new lab, there is no laughing, no talking, no music. I was shhhhed for laughing in another person's lab earlier this week (by my labmate, not a person in the other lab). Have I entered a realm of science in which I cannot laugh?? Because I LOVE TO LAUGH (another Mary Poppins song, what is happening to me), and I refuse to stop. How in the world do I get past the shhhers of the universe so that I can be myself??

Have I entered the wrong profession just because I am too social for other scientists to handle? Because if they cannot handle my laughing, maybe they should join in, they'd feel better.

I met a man with a wooden leg named Smith. Oh really, what was the name of his other leg?


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

wedding planning

After 9 years, Adam and I are finally getting married. We've bought a house together, probably we should tie the knot too. This is not exactly a shotgun wedding, and there are no buns in any one's oven, but it is being planned rather quickly.

We will be getting married at the FW History Center. It was originally a courthouse and was built in the 1890s. It is this awesome old building and our reception will be in the original courtroom - which is a giant room is 30-40 ft high celings and windows all the way up the wall. I am so excited about the place! I have a dress and 3 of 4 bridesmaids have dresses, the tuxedos have been picked out, and I cannot believe things are coming together so quickly! We have someone to marry us, we are meeting with our probably caterer this weekend, and if the liquor store reception booker man would call me back I could order the booze!

I am having a hard time finding the perfect invitation. And the perfect shoe. Both of which are, I think, going to be fun shopping for. But the invitation I need to shop for and find soon... and I keep having days like today, it's almost midnight and I'm still in the lab. I cannot shop for invitations or shoes in the lab. I can poke around on the internet, but I need to see things in person to make a decision. Since I want to print my own invitations, I have been on the look out for invitation kits. The Flower Factory had a kit that I liked, but they only had one and I need two! Of course. They had a kit that they had lots of and I did NOT like it. Sigh... I've heard of a few other places that are good and I will have to check them out... if the lab doesn't eat me alive.

never judge a book by it's cover?

How about by it's title?

Yesterday I was looking around the grocery store books because they were all 40% off. I know, books at a grocery store are very limited, but 6 years of working in a library means I gravitate to the books, especially when they're all 40% off. Now, I didn't purchase anything, but I had a good laugh. Have you looked at the titles of Harlequin romance novels lately??? Because they are HILARIOUS. I don't read romance novels, and those titles gave me one more reason why I don't. Lots of titles about defiant virgins and rich men. And one of the titles was so long that I couldn't read the whole thing... I got bored half way through the title and had to move on. And you know these titles were accompanied by a lovely cartoon...

I realize that Harlequin has been around for a long time, and those titles just make me think they're out of ideas of what to call their books...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


the importance of grammar...

I feel like everywhere I go, everything I read, there are typos EVERYWHERE. I cannot correct everyone. I cannot even correct most typos I see. It is making me crazy. Really and truly, it hurts my eyes. When I see typos on facebook (ie: what does they have in common, your awesome, their you go etc), I want to scream, but I ignore. But when I'm given a paper to review that has been submitted for publication that is covered in typos, I want to offer my services for a hefty fee. The person I am considering to cater my wedding has a website covered in typos. I'm really considering offering my proofreading services for a discount on food. Not that they would do it, but their website is driving me nuts! And their typos are super easily fixed because it's mostly just mispellings. Hopefully their typo problem has nothing to do with how good they make food! I may be losing my mind, but typos, whether they be spelling or grammar, pop off the page and hurt my eyes.

I actually think I am beginning to enjoy proofreading. If anyone out there needs some fresh eyes on something they've written, send it my way! I am constantly searching for typos without even trying! I wonder if someone will hire me to search for typos. I could totally do it! And if anyone doesn't know what is wrong with my examples above, please ask, I would love to let you know and prevent a few grammatical errors from entering the universe!
Alright, I'm crazy, but I'm okay with it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Now, I am super excited to have a job. In this crappy economy everyone is struggling, even PhDs. But I am feeling suffocated by a-holes.
I found out yesterday that a postdoc that has been in the lab for over two years cannot purify protein and that the female graduate student in the lab has to purify it for him. For the research that we are doing, we CANNOT do anything without pure protein. Period. So, he could not do anything without this graduate student starting everything for him. To me, that is 1. very shady and 2. bullsh*t. It takes days to purify, and this poor graduate student spends days getting protein to give away, bull. The other thing about this postdoc, which makes this whole someone else purifying his protein thing even stranger, is that whenever anyone needs anything and he has it made, his response is "you can use it, if you trust it." Now, I think this is extremely strange in the simple fact that he wouldn't make the wrong thing and sabotage his own experiments. But it also makes me realize that he doesn't trust anyone else. YET he uses purified protein made by someone else. Granted, it's easy to determine its good protein because it wouldn't have any activity if it was bad, but what the heck. "if you trust it" is this postdoc's favorite phrase and it is annoying and rude. Maybe it is his way of preventing anyone else from using his stuff. It's still so strange.

And today, another crappy group meeting. But this time I got yelled at. Not really really yelled at, but yelled at enough to make me want to slug my boss. He does not listen to a word I say and then yells at me. And then I repeat myself and he says "whatever". His favorite f-ing word is "whatever".

I am being suffocated by a-holes that go around saying "if you trust it" and "whatever" with intermittent smoker's coughs and throat clears that make me sick to my stomach.

And, being the only American, and an American that pays attention to typos and grammatical errors, I am being tortured constantly. Do I correct my boss? Do I let it go?? Most of the time when I do correct him, he just says okay, but he even combats my corrections. I went to a Catholic elementary school, they start pounding grammar in immediately, I know what I'm talking about. ROAR!

I need a drink...

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I just received a phone call in the lab for Dr. 'my last name'

I had to think about who that was....

Me! :) haha

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

blog much?

i have been at my postdoc for a month.
i miss not having to ask questions about everything. i miss being the one people ask questions of. though, the rotato in my new lab asks me lots of questions. it helps.

here's a question story scenario. two of my new lab members are Chinese. one is very new to the US and his English is a little shakey, but he's learning. last week I went to lunch with the two of them (which is just upstairs when I bring food). when talking to me at the table, every word is in English. But random other Chinese people walk by and then they all start talking in Chinese. I do not understand and I am completely ruded out of the table. This has happened twice now, and I just get up and leave when I'm done eating. And I try to eat faster so that I can get up and get out of there. Is it okay that I just leave?? Should I say something about how annoying it is for a conversation to happen with me in the conversation circle that i cannot understand?? Or should I just stop going to lunch with them?? The new postdoc isn't going to get better with his English if he doesn't practice. And who better to practice with than a Chinese girl with good English and an American girl who only speaks English.

I am also not feeling as chippy and cheerful as I was in grad school (which may just be the biggest oxymoron ever). We cannot listen to music in the lab (torture) and everyone is really quiet (odd). I feel like I must be quiet too, but I am not very good at it. So, I break the silence, but I feel like I'm imposing on everyone. This is just not normal to me. The headphones come out a lot, which I found helpful forcing me to focus in my old lab. But still being in the question asking phase, I need to have my ears and I need everyone else to have their ears. Sigh...

Adam and I are really getting cracking with the wedding planning. I think we've found a place, we really need to find a caterer. Though I'm wondering about just getting GIANT subs from Subway... Anyway, I will be letting everyone know soon about the date, hopefully in the next week.
The dates we're looking at are 5 months away. theknot.com makes me feel like imploding with their list of things that should have been done by now. or maybe exploding, we'll have to see...

Monday, February 23, 2009

HeLa cells and HPV

Science researchers are always exposing themselves to certain risks. It is important to recognize these risks and be safe so as to not contaminate themselves. Having started a new job, I have been attending many different safety training sessions so that I know how to behave myself. Most things are a repeat of what I was told in grad school. But I did learn something new today.

HeLa cells are a VERY commonly used cell line in cancer research. They are cervical cancer cells that were harvested from Henrietta Lack (hence HeLa) around 50 years ago. Cervical cancer was the cause of her death, but her cells have been used ever since. Her cervical cancer was the result of HPV, and these HeLa cells being used in many research labs still contain a large part of the HPV genome. I never considered getting the HPV vaccine, until now. I do not currently work with HeLa cells, but that does not mean that I won't in the future.

I will also add that I think this giant push for every teenage girl to get the HPV vaccine is insane. No one knows what the long term effects of the vaccine will be. Not to mention all the drama that exists around vaccines (autism) and whether or not they are good. I think that it is extremely important for babies, children, adults to be vaccinated, but I also think that a line needs to be drawn. There is a vaccine for chicken pox. Yes, chicken pox made for an uncomfortable week, but it is a week that everyone had to go through. If autism is really caused by vaccines, why why why risk children with a chicken pox vaccine?? I can understand adults who never had chicken pox lining up for a chicken pox vaccine, I would if I didn't get to experience the fun in fourth grade. Adults get it worse. Kids can handle it!

This was my HeLa cells public service announcement. I'm sorry it turned into a little bit of a rant about vaccines...

Friday, February 20, 2009

yay concert!

tomorrow adam and i are going to the dark star orchestra concert. i am super super super excited. there was an article in 'indianapolis weekly' about it, and they linked this video (it's old, since they say jerry died 8 years ago, and jerry died 14 years ago, but it's still a great video):

and a video of dso (box of rain into liberty):

box of rain is the last song jerry played. phil lesh (bassist) wrote it when his dad was dying.

someone recently asked me why i like the dead so much. my first answer was that my dad trained me to love it by playing it so much. but really and truly, the vibes that grow out of the music just pull me in. and if you cannot feel the vibes, i cannot explain the dead. you either feel is or you don't, and most people don't.
if you love the dead, you feel it. with every note. jerry was incredible. the beautiful sounds he could make come out of a guitar were amazing and he did it with only 9 fingers. man, do i miss jerry. chills and goosebumps all the time because of the music he could make come out of a guitar. love love love.

and dso does a pretty good job recreating the vibes.

Monday, February 16, 2009

newness of things

This is the beginning of my third week as a post doc. On Friday I FINALLY got my email address and am therefore able to log into the lab computers. Tomorrow I will go to a meeting to help me pick out my benefits (yay health insurance). Things are finally beginning to come together.
But, as I work to get all my paperwork taken care of, I also have lots of learning to do in the lab. Everyone has been super duper nice and helpful. I am doing lots of things I've never done before, using equipment I've never used before, and all around I think I am going to become that much more marketable when I'm done here. The interesting (irritating) thing is that all of our notebooks are on computer. The boss and other labmates can look at everyone elses notebook at any time. While, in my old lab, anyone could look at my notebook at any time, I generally knew that they were. Now, the boss rearranges our notebooks, because he can, them being on the computer. Then he converts them to pdf. He even accidentally deleted some of my notebook things. And he told me I was doing it wrong, to look at everyone else's to find out the best way to set up my enotebook. This is trying my patience. I know I will have to suck it up and get used to it. This is how my new boss operates. It is so so so different than it was before, and this is probably good for me. It's really really really going to take some getting used to though. And I so miss writing in a notebook, I like my handwriting and enjoy writing. And using colorful pens. It would make me cringe whenever my phd advisor would write in my notebook, but at least she couldn't more the pages around, give them a new title, and put them in an entirely different folder.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

80s movie madness

Circuit City's going out of business sale is getting close to the end, and now all movies are 40% off. Adam and I went a little bit nuts yesterday, but we got 7 movies for $40... a really good deal if you ask me. And I got two of my favorite 80s movies that I am a little amazed I never bought before, but am so so so glad that I did.

"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"

"Working Girl"

If anyone wants to come over for an 80s movie night, I totally don't blame you! I'm looking forward to watching these movies whenever I want!! And they were only $4 each!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

email please

I have been a postdoc for a week. I still do not have a logon for the computer system/email. EVERYTHING in the lab is on computer, including my notebook. So, in order for me to do anything, I have to ask labmates to logon to computers. Without a login, I cannot use the internet on my laptop if I bring my laptop into the lab. For some reason, this lack of a login also prevents me from getting my packet from human resources to pick out my benefits package (which I have to sign up for 30 days following getting hired or I do not get to have health insurance) and it prevents me from being able to get a ID badge. I'm completely confused as to why this whole series of events was not set in motion sometime in the 4 months since I accepted the position. Or 2 months ago when they did the background check. I am completely confused as to why this wasn't taken care of before my first day of work and I am totally annoyed that nothing has been taken care of a week later. They didn't even have my employee ID number on my first day. Luckily I got a number on my second day, because without that number I wouldn't have been able to get a parking pass. I am totally annoyed and there is nothing I can do. I go and ask the secretary every day for an update, and I think I am just annoying the crap out of her.
I like to be in control. I am currently feeling completely out of control. I do not know how to regain control except to wait. I do not like to wait, especially when it comes to picking out insurance. I need control!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


My Uncle Chico travels for work, and is going to be in town tomorrow.. so he is going to come by to see our house! I'm super excited to have a visitor! And my Uncle Chico gives the best hugs ever! yay for Uncle Chico hugs!!
Adam is making a gut out of balloons and just popped the small intestine. Scared the crap out of Spunky too. He is teaching a surg tech class tomorrow on laproscopic surgeries. He's so fabulous!

Monday, February 2, 2009

i love my nephew

my mom told me a fantastic story about my little nephew tonight. that 19 month old bundle of cuteness knows me! i don't get to see him nearly as often as i like, and he seems to like my dog more than me, but his mom had a picture of my family and she asked him who aunt sarah was, and he point at me and SAID MY NAME! I so so so wish I could have been there to see that!! And I really think that might be the best thing that's happened in the past few weeks... and so so many awesome things have happened!!

he is so so so gosh darn cute. the last time I saw him was Christmas time, and I had my camera out to take his picture if he did anything cute. and oh did he ever:

eli up close and personal. not because i got close to him, but because he saw the camera and wanted to be as close to it as possible, apparently.

as if finally being a phd and finally starting to work on something new wasn't awesome enough...

first postdoc day!

Today was my first day as a postdoc. The first day at any job requires much paperwork and tours and what not, so it wasn't a lot of researching today. A lot of reading... falling asleep at my new desk.. seminar.. falling asleep in seminar... The seminar was pretty interesting, though I missed the beginning so I was a bit confused. And my new PI gave me a grant proposal to read/proofread that's due this week. Super cool that he is already wanting to try out my proofreading skills (or what I hope are skills). I'm hoping to get enough preliminary data to apply for a postdoc fellowship in April, but that doesn't give me a whole lot of time to get this data! Alright, back to reading!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

snap cup!

I am watching Legally Blonde 2. This movie is ridiculous, but it does make an interesting point. Elle introduces the snap cup to her coworkers. Everyone writes down a compliment about one of their coworkers and puts it in the snap cup to read aloud. So, writing it down and then reading it out loud is a bit silly, but the idea of complimenting coworkers is so good. Can you imagine how much better a working environment might be if everyone tried to compliment each other every day?? I know that there are days when everyone just seems really annoying and it feels impossible to think nice thoughts, but they might not be so annoying if you do recognize a good quality. In fact, recognition of good qualities in others might make every day better.
I'm really thinking out loud about how I should be. I'm starting a new job tomorrow, I need to be on my best behavior! And I need to think good thoughts about everyone. And maybe it will be contagious and then people will think good thoughts about other people too!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Must see movies

I love movies. Love love love. And I enjoy watching the ones I really like again and again.

Whenever I meet someone who has never seen my favorites, I want to have an immediate movie night. So, I'm just going to say these are my favorites and absolute must-sees.

  1. Breakfast at Tiffany's (Audrey Hepburn is so classic, and I love Moon River)
  2. Funny Face (Audrey Hepburn is so fabulous)
  3. When Harry Met Sally (Meg Ryan's fantastic way to order food is hilarious every time. Low maintenance vs. High maintenance??)
  4. Buffy The Vampire Slayer (so so corny, and yet..)
  5. Sleepless in Seattle (love love..)
  6. The Princess Bride (my name is inigo montoya...)
  7. Notting Hill (love love...)
  8. Cats and Dogs (maybe I think this is great because it stars a beagle... but he's so cute!)
  9. Tommy Boy (it makes me miss Chris Farley every time, but so so funny)
  10. School of Rock (it's kind of dorky, but it's great, and so many people need rock schooled and can sort of get it from this movie)
  11. Forrest Gump (it's a great movie, and a history lesson for those crazies who aren't into the 60s and 70s and should at least know a little bit about the time and protests of the war.. plus the music is FANTASTIC)
  12. Working Girl (the outfits are so incredible everyone should watch it, and a bonus: the story is good too)
  13. The Big Lebowski (you will laugh your head off. just be forewarned, the f-bomb is way overused in this movie. and this movie will make you want to drink white russians)
  14. The Lord of the Rings.
  15. Runaway Bride (just to see someone in the movies obsessed with Jerry and the Dead, so fabulous)

Alright, I think I should stop at 15. Go see them!! They are fabulous!!

Friday, January 30, 2009


After a very very very very long day, I am done with graduate school. Lots of running around, printing my thesis, getting signatures, plus having my boss take the lab out for lunch (yummy indian food!), I am exhausted.

I spent the night at a friend's house last night so I did not have to drive back and forth and waste all that time. I had a ridiculous dream last night:
My friend's fiance came in to ask if I wanted to sleep another 30 min. I didn't respond, I didn't feel like it I suppose, so he took that as a yes and left. What felt like a half an hour later, I woke up to look at the time. Literally. It was 1:30 in the morning.

I think I'm losing it. Or I was. I'm done, I've found it, and I'm not going to lose it anymore.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

through the eyes of my cousin..

With the fancy facebook messaging that is now available, I talk to my much younger cousin much more often than I ever used to. He is a freshman in undergrad and I think enjoys making me feel old. During my stressful period of finishing experiments and writing he posed the question of me: "How many credit hours do you have?" Well, my initial guess was 400. I don't really know, because I don't remember how many credit hours I had when I graduated from undergrad, and I only have 20 credit hours of classes in grad school but a ton of research hours. Well, his most recent question of me: "How long was your thesis?" At the time, it was at 150 pages, I have a few things to add, it will be longer when I deposit on Friday, but I think when I told him 150 pages he might have fallen out of his chair. I realize I have been a bit crazy to have gone to school for so long, and we'll have to see if it actually pays off and I end up doing a job I love, but cousin's questions really make me laugh.

Ok, yesterday my enter key wasn't working very well. Today, my space bar isn't working very well. What theheck isgoingon?? See! I didn't fixit! So strange...

Monday, January 26, 2009

PhD, three days in.

Friday was wonderful, Saturday was great. Sunday, I had the stomach flu. I couldn't eat anything all day. By the end of the day I was so weak and dehydrated I could barely stand up. I was able to eat a few pieces of toast and drank some 7up. When I woke up I was no longer the very weak person that fell asleep the night before, but my stomach is still killing me. And Spunky had another seizure this morning. I need to work on my thesis corrections and add a couple appendices and I am feeling like total CRAP. It's funny how you stress yourself out enough that as soon as the stress is over your body turns into a giant ball of germs and illness. I need to go back to school this week in order to meet with my boss and deposit my thesis, plus clean out my desk and bench, pass on all my stuff, etc etc. Hopefully I'll feel better soon.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

it's official!

My defense is over and I am officially a PhD! My presentation was a bit short, only 25 min, even though i had 45 slides (apparently 1 minute per slide went way out the window), and the defense part was done in 30 min. And we have a lab tradition that we shoot a champagne cork down the hallway, and mine went farther than anybody!!! So awesome! Then lots of partying and I'm not too hungover today. It was a great great day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

PhD Day!

PhD Day is finally here. And while I should be practicing my talk at this moment, instead I am writing this little note.

My stomach is all tied up in knots and I've been awake for three hours already today. More coffee anyone??

I cannot believe today is finally here, it was not too long ago it felt like this day would never come, and now it is here!

so, to help with the calming of my nerves, i visited a shoe i am in absolute love with (if only it wasn't so tall and i wouldn't break my ankle attempting to walk while rocking these beauties)

Naughty Monkey Side Swiped in purple $35.10 at 6pm.com. oh they are so so pretty...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

my PhD practice

I practiced my defense today. I flew through that bad boy like it was going out of style. The speed demon speak was OUT OF CONTROL. I have to spend the next two days practicing SLOOOOWWWWWWW speak. While cleaning my entire house. I almost wrote apartment. That's funny, I don't live in an apartment anymore. I live in a house! That we bought! That I love! And provides much more to clean! And I really need to unpack the linen closet in order to find all my blankets, cause I'm not sure where they all are at the moment...

Slow speak, slow speak, slow speak..........

and, a shoe:

Chinese Laundry Trenton in Dark Teal, $35.10 at 6pm.com

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

a new puppy??

Adam and I have been puppy sitting for the past few days for a hilarious beagle whose tounge is so long it does not fit in his mouth. Spunky and Riley have been playing like little monsters and snuggling like monsters. Our mortgage person is super involved at the humane society and I happened to mention to her at our closing that we were interested in possibly getting another beagle (or beagle mix). Well, she has been emailing me about a darling little beagle mix who is so freaking cute and now I am having a hard time deciding if I want to see her. I know if I go to see her I will want her. Adam wants me to really think about it before I just say let's get another dog, but gosh she is too cute. She's about 4-5 months old, so we would have to house break her (ick) and deal with puppy teething/chewing issues, which isn't something I wanted to have to deal with, but she is so so cute!

Monday, January 19, 2009

4 days to PhD day

I am attempting to finish up my seminar presentation for my defense... it's not too bad, and I need to start practicing. I'm trying to stick to the new rule I've learned recently 6x6x1: 6 lines per slide, 6 words per line, 1 minute per slide. Which means I need 45 slides. And I have lots of pictures, so not worrying too much about overwhelming people with words. And first and foremost, I have to convince everyone why they should care. I'm feeling somewhat nervous about the defense part, but I know what I've done and what I haven't, and why I haven't been able to do things that I really wanted to. Sometimes, things just don't work out as well as I hoped.

I will say that as I've written my thesis, I really feel like I am leaving the lab (and the person taking over my project) with an awesome start to answering lots of questions. I almost wish I could stick around to work on these things (haha). There's just a lot of questions that I've realized I'm closer to finding the answer to than I originally thought. I have always loved my project, and now that I'm coming to the end of it and handing it over to someone else, I might just love it even more.

And, I'm half-watching the inaguration eve stuff (I cannot believe tomorrow is finally here and we will finally have a new president, long overdue). This inauguration eve stuff looks like new year's eve stuff! people outside bundled up in the freezing cold, screaming with excitement, it looks like new years eve, which i suppose inaguration day is like a new 4-years eve. anyway, it's awesome.
and now that we can finally say bye bye to GWB, I will just say what I've been thinking for months: I have been wanting to sing "He's Gone" by the Grateful Dead on GWB's last day in office. I'll post it one day early:

Rat in a drain ditch
Caught on a limb
I know better but you know him
Like I told ya
What I said
Steal your face right off your head
Now he's gone
Now he's gone
gone he's gone
he's gone
like a steam locomotive
rolling down the track
he's gone
nothing's gonna bring him back
he's gone

Thank goodness. Bye GWB, Nothing's gonna bring you back.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Seven Days to PhD Day

I was going though data tonight trying to find the best pictures to include in my thesis (that is due tomorrow) and I realized I never did a very important experiment. So, at 9:oo tonight, I began said experiment. Then realized I didn't do another very important and somewhat related experiment. And started that one at 11:00. The 9:00 one will be done soon. The 11:00 one I will be working on all night long. Luckily there are wait periods (like right now) so that I can continue writing. What I should be writing, not this silliness. But I needed to just say out loud: ONE MORE WEEK!

And, as I have learned from Dr. Isis, I am going to end this post with an Open Letter:

An Open Letter to the Janitor:

Dear Janitor,

If I am wearing gloves, frantically adding lots of liquids to tubes, doing many things that require much focus, do not try to talk to me. I am busy. I cannot give you any attention, much less the undivided attention that you require because you have a very thick accent. I do not need to hear about how big your ass is or how much you hate the weather because it makes a mess on your floors. My thesis is due tomorrow and I'm not going to sleep tonight. Maybe on your planet that means you should bother me, but on my planet that means go away. I have to get back to work. And if you don't get out of my way I will trample you.

Thank you,

Seeree PhD in one week.

Eight days to PhD Day

I'm losing my mind. I am in the middle of doing ten things at once and keep forgetting to finish them. I keep losing things. I look for things, cannot find them, and they are right in front of my face. A boy who works down the hall told me that most PhD's he knows are completely scatterbrained, so therefore my transformation is almost complete. That made me feel a little better. But if I lose one more thing, I just might have to scream.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Somehow, mid-experiment, I forgot about it. I'm a little bit peeved with myself, so I am taking a break and drinking coffee. Apparently my brain stopped functioning earlier and needs a pick me up. yum. so, I found a shoe, another much needed pick me up.

Shakeup by Steve Madden $59.99 at stevemadden.com

Friday, January 9, 2009

recommendations from seeree

anyone who knows me, knows i have lots of skin problems. dry skin, ecsema, basal cell carcinoma, sun burn, etc etc etc. And it's only going to get worse. And so, with winter weather torturing so many of us, here is a list of my favorite lotions:
1. Cerave. Available in a lotion or cream, and is supposed to have healing ability as well as moisturizing. It has no scent and helps when it seems as though nothing else will. This was recommended to me by my dermatologist for my ecsema issues (to use something besides a steroid that thins my already sensitive skin).
2. Burt's Bees Thorougly Therapeutic Honey and Grapeseed Oil Hand Creme. Your skin will suck this up like a marathon runner sucks up water. And then everyone will ask "What smells like apple pie??" There's nothing wrong with lotion that smells like baked goods.
3. Olay Quench. It's fabulous, and I've seen it recommended on TV shows too.
4. Aveeno. Everything by Aveeno is great. I really just recommend all their lotions (not their face wash, it didn't do what I needed, but lotions they know).

Like my mother before me, I must try all lotions to deal with all these skin issues, and therefore, I can be your guinea pig.

Monday, January 5, 2009

moving and shopping

We have moved! We no longer live in college town of rednecks! We now live in big happening city with more stuff to do than I ever could imagine. Which includes LOTs of shopping. Which Adam and I did yesterday. For HOURS. $400 later, we had a new entertainment center, a huge shelving unit for cds dvds etc, fabulous curtains for the living room, an area rugs, and random necessities for the bathrooms, kitchen, etc. I have to say we did some fabulous shopping and got a LOT of stuff for that $400.

I wish Mary Poppins could teach me how to snap my fingers and put my stuff away! And make my thesis format itself!

Back to work!