Monday, November 02, 2009

For your entertainment, a smattering of photos from the past two months. Canoeing, wedding partying, Eugene-ing.

Fall 2009

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Pork snouts, lamb necks, turban squashes

I don't have quite enough energy right now to do a mega-post about the fantastic past 2 months of my life (I took the MCAT, spent a week in Maine, got married, traversed the Boundary Waters with my family, and started a Master's program. And my sister got married!) In short, it was perfect - couldn't have been better.

Instead, a few notes from the kitchen. I found both liverwurst and braunschweiger at SaveMart the other day. They don't carry this stuff at Safeway, so I was excited to find it and bought both kinds. (Turns out braunschweiger is a particular kind of liverwurst - usually smoked.) I remember having it on sandwiches at the cabin when I was a kid; I don't know why my mom stopped buying it. Maybe I was the only one who liked it? We opened up the liverwurst today. The first four ingredients listed are pork liver, pork, pork snouts, bacon. It's good, but not as good as I remember. Maybe the braunschweiger is where it's at.

Dinner deliberations tonight revolved around how to use the slices of lamb neck that Scott brought home from the Meat Lab on Thursday. We found this recipe for braising them. So far, they smell delicious. And I think there will be a lot of good grease left over for our eggs tomorrow morning.

...unless I decide to make squash waffles for breakfast. Our oven is full of roasting vegetables right now: beets, beet greens, onions and a turban squash (see photo below). I'm thinking we should set aside some squash and use it in this waffle recipe. We got a really neat waffle iron/griddle as a wedding gift. (You can flip the plates over - one side is flat, for pancakes and eggs, and the other side is notched for waffles. Smart design!) We've made pancakes on it, but no waffles so far. 4 October '09 might just be the day...

Crazy, huh?


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tonight's dinner

Tonight's dinner was part funny and part delicious, so I figured I'd better post it. I made a sort of vegan turducken. Acorn squash stuffed with bell pepper stuffed with tomato stuffed with olives. (Too bad we didn't have pimento-stuffed olives!) Topped it all with olive oil and salt and pepper. Not astoundingly tasty, but a fun way to eat one's veggies!

We also had mini squids from the Sacramento farmer's market - sauteed in a little oil, salted at the table. And we had a classic caprese salad - tomatoes (from our garden!!), spinach, basil, mozzarella, olive oil, salt, pepper. So wonderful. And served using the salad tongs Scott brought me from Uganda.

Hey, Mark Bittman just posted about squid! We'll have to try breading ours next time...

Also, I forgot to mention our dessert: peach blueberry basil ginger pie. There's a little bit of grated apple in there (I heard it helps with texture) and some ground black pepper I added while the basil & ginger were cooking in their sugar solution. Inspired by Mark Bittman's "Foolproof Pie" post. I even have some heavy cream we can whip up to put on top. Yum!

Friday, July 31, 2009

July Recap

I've neglected this blog for over a month, but I am happy to report that I have just emerged from the other side of organic chemistry alive and kicking! I took the final yesterday morning at 9am - that means I'm done with the o-chem sequence, and done with all of my pre-med coursework! I still have lots of pre-med WORK to do, but it feels really good to have the coursework behind me - that was a big barrier for me for many years.

A recap of the past month.
1st weekend in July: Potlatch, a big huge fun tournament outside of Seattle. I got to play with Paul & Amy and a bunch of other friends from DC, and with Scott and Kristen (a Davis teammate). I was injured so didn't play much until Sunday, but I did get to dress up in a banana costume and dance around as the official team mascot! (We were Team Chiquita.)
(More pictures here.)

2nd weekend in July: Our friend Nathan from DC was in town, so we got to hang out with him. We also played in a 1-day tournament in Sacramento. The team was put together in celebration of 4 people's birthdays (including Kristen), and the requested that we all wear pink, and that the men wear dresses or skirts. Lots of silliness ensued, as well as some well-played ultimate - we won the tournament!

3rd weekend in July: A sad one. My maternal grandmother died somewhat unexpectedly, so I went home to Minnesota for her funeral. A very teary weekend, but it was wonderful to be among such a big, strong family (Grandma had 6 children, 18 grandchildren and many many nieces and nephews) and to see the outpouring of support from the community - tables piled with food, the church decked out with flowers. Lots more to say... but this isn't the space for it.

4th weekend in July: Kristen threw me a surprise bachelorette party! Scott purported to take me on a date to Bistro 33, but in fact delivered me into the hands of my ultimate teammates - all gussied up and ready for a night on the town. After dinner and girly cocktails, they gave me a list of tasks I had to complete before the night was over. A daunting list, not suitable for publication here, but I'm happy to report that I finished it. One of the items was to beat a man in a push-up contest, which I did by resorting to clapping push-ups. Cheating? All's fair when you're wearing a 5'-long pink sparkly veil, I say. Another item was to find a guy to do push-ups with me on top of him, but I decided it would be better to reverse things.
I had a great time.

And speaking of bachelorettes...
1. Nia is marrying Mark tomorrow in San Francisco! I'm really excited to go celebrate with them.
2. My sister is now engaged to Ugur! A very unexpected and wonderful announcement. I'll see the two of them in just over a month (when we're all in Minnesota for my wedding), and I'm pretty impatient!

Speaking of my wedding...
All the planning is going really well. Still plenty of odds and ends to do, but I rest assured that everything will be wonderful. Scott and I have the first draft of our vows written, and a good idea of the shape of the rest of the ceremony. RSVPs are trickling in. Menus are mostly set.

Speaking of menus...
We've had some good cooking adventures lately! We bought a big chunk of skate (sort of like a stingray) at the farmer's market last weekend. Scott cooked it up, but it turns out that it doesn't taste very good on its own. It sort of tastes like something that eats dirt (which it might, I'm not sure.) We finished our portions but were not looking forward to downing the leftovers. Happily, Scott transformed them into a tasty "thai coconut skate bisque" with enough curry & vegetable flavors to mask the skatiness of the skate. The texture became stringy, very much like crab. Fun!
Also, we've been going on lots of picnics lately. My cousins gave Scott and I a picnic basket as a wedding shower gift, and picnicing has become my new favorite date-night activity. The most beautiful picnic food I've made so far is marbled hard-boiled eggs.

Speaking of eggs...
Just because I'm done with o-chem, doesn't mean I'm done being an egghead for the summer. I'm taking the MCAT on August 21, so I'll be cramming for that for the next 3 weeks. Uf da. Not particularly excited about the studying or the test taking, but I really can't complain - I'm having a darn good summer so far.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

At long last, Art Experiment II!

My sister sent me a sequel art experiment way back in March, and it's been sitting on my desk ever since, waiting to adorn a pair of awfully boring closet doors. Tonight, at last, it sprang into being! I didn't think it was going to be so similar to the first one. I guess that's just how my mind works.

Here's the first one again...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Successful arrival in MN

Studied hard on Monday and Tuesday, took my two finals on Wednesday, packed, played ultimate, slept a little, and then took off for Minnesota! I arrived on Thursday afternoon and went straight to a pedicure appointment with my mom and her sister Kathy. I got magenta, to match my dress. Hung out Chez Aunt Kathy for a few hours before heading over to Aunt Mary's house for my wedding shower. It was wonderful - my aunts did a beautiful job - and it was great to see everyone - Abby & Alissa, Eli, Lisa and Anna, Mary Ellen, Sarah, Eva. Big thanks to everyone - I had such a good time!

Lisa & I:

Aunt Mary Alice (my godmother), Eva & Mary Ellen (Mom's cousins), Aunt Kathy (Mom's sister):

Me, my two fabulous Bundt pans, Abby and Alissa!

Mom, Aunt Mary, me, Aunt Kathy:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Photos from the past week (hiking & quilting)

We'd planned on doing some hiking in the Sierras over Memorial Day weekend (just Sunday - Monday), but arrived to find that it was still too snowy. Even the road to the campground we wanted to stay at was impassable. We hiked across a little snow to get to the top of a ridge, and then hiked to the top of a different hill where there was a fire watchtower.

We drove into the foothills and found a great campsite on a lake. We ate some chocolate-covered coffee beans and then set off on a hike around the lake. No trail, just scrambling over boulders and picking our way along tree roots. It was warm enough for me to take a dip! (Only the dogs joined me though, none of my human companions.)

Lentils, TVP, coconut milk and veggies for dinner - yum.

We took a 6.8 mile hike along the South Yuba River on Monday. I was diappointed that so much of the trail was so high above the river, but it was definitely nice to be out. We got to have lunch on the beach, so I got to take another swim. The water was cold (as cold as Lake Superior), so I didn't stay in long.

Yay Memorial Day!

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent studying for an orgo test that turned out to be not as hard as I had anticipated. Spent Wednesday afternoon giving my apartment a much-needed cleaning, then went out and played ultimate.

On Thursday and Friday, I made a quilt for Lindsay's baby! Pure coincidence that it matches the lilies so nicely.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Uganda update

I got to talk to Scott this morning! It was a really terrible connection, though, and we couldn't understand a lot of what the other person was saying. Still, it was great to hear his voice. We've been chatting online quite a bit, which helps a lot. He says the people he's working with are wonderful, and yesterday he got to go out and test his survey questions - apparently they learned a ton from visiting just three families, which was good since the supervisor he was with has malaria and the medication he was on meant he wasn't feeling very well. Tomorrow he's off to a field day, where farmers and agricultural extention agents get together to share knowledge. These events don't happen very often, so he feels pretty lucky that one's happening while he's there.

(Scott - I hope this is mostly accurate... you can post corrections in the comments section!)

Aside: In Scott's absence, I've learned just how much I depend on him to do dishes. I don't mind cooking OR cleaning up afterwards, but it's such a chore to have to do both!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bachelorette Days

Lots going on, mostly good!

Last Friday, Kelly hosted a bachelorette party for Katie and I. The drink of the night was the O Fizz (O because it was in Oprah's magazine), which went down very easy. We played one silly bachelorette game and ate Myra's beautiful strawberry rhubarb pie and then went out dancing! Excellent night - many thanks to the hostess!

On Saturday, Scott left for his bachelor camping trip, and I left for a birthday party on a ranch. The trip out was longer than expected (because at 5am that morning, a FedEx truck carrying a load of fertilizer had overturned and exploded... amazing to see the charred asphalt and the skeleton of the truck, and even more amazing that the driver wasn't injured! Anyways, the highway was down to one lane... long drive). So the first thing we did upon arrival was jump into the swimming pond. We didn't really leave the vicinity for the rest of the weekend. We played croquet, and then jumped in the pond, and then got a tour of the ranch, and then jumped in the pond, and then grilled dinner, and then jumped in the pond. When it got dark, we had a pond-side fire complete with s'mores, and then we went to sleep there. I jumped in the pond before breakfast on Sunday morning. Many, many thanks to Tyler for hosting!

Robert, having artfully caught a disc, jumps into the pond:

In one of the barns:

Scott left for Uganda first thing on Monday morning. I dropped him off at the train station at 5:30 am and tried not to mope too much the rest of the day. I'm pretty sure this is the longest I've ever lived alone, and it felt really empty around here at first. Fortunately, I've got lots of stuff to keep me busy and happy:

1. Lots of friends, and plenty of "call me if you get lonely and want to hang out" invitations. (I get to have dinner with Lindsay & Nathan on Friday!)

2. MCAT studying. I'm going to take the sucker in August, so I'm trying to get myself to study for a few hours each day. Good thing the book starts with physics - I always like doing physics problems.

3. CrossFit. As the "fitness coordinator" for Night Train this year, it's my job to get my teammates in shape for the ultimate season. Now that there's a CrossFit gym in Davis (hooray!), I figured it would be cool to organize a group to train there together. And it turns out my teammates think it would be cool too! We'll start up next week, and it looks like we'll have about 10 people. I'm super psyched - this is going to be fun.

4. Scott's good-bye gifts. They include coconut sorbet and dark chocolate. But I think my favorite item is the bouquet of lilies. They were mostly closed up when he gave them to me, but every day a few more burst open - they're bright pink and glamorous and they smell amazing. Lilies are my favorite flowers, and these are some of the nicest I've ever seen.

5. Good food. I bought quail eggs from the meat lab last week, because they were out of chicken eggs. Quail eggs are adorable. They're kind of a pain to crack, and they don't taste any different than chicken eggs, but once you get them fried up and served on toast, there's nothing cuter. My favorite snack (and dessert) these days is homemade yogurt + homemade rhubarb sauce + granola. Now that yogurt is so cheap to make, I feel like I don't have to ration my consumption. The rhubarb sauce includes bluberries, ginger and a little sugar and lemon juice, and I bet it would taste good over coconut sorbet.

6. Tickets to Seattle. Potlatch, one of the biggest, coolest ultimate tournaments in the world, is just six weeks away, and last night I bought Scott's and my plane tickets!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Odds & Ends

I finally found a yogurt recipe that works! Heat your milk to 180-190F, let it cool to 115-120F, stir in some yogurt, wrap everything up in a towel to insulate it, and let it sit for a few hours. (The recipe says 4 hours should do it, but I let mine go all night.) It's tasty and definitely cheaper than store-bought. Next time, I'm going to strain it (so that it gets even thicker) and use the protein-rich whey to make bread.

Speaking of bread, I have a loaf of whole wheat beer bread in the oven right now. We bought some "barley wine style" beer that was a little too sweet for our palattes, but I'm guessing it will be fantastic in bread. (In the recipe above, I delete the sugar and add random spices. Black pepper and rosemary tonight.)

Other stuff...
This weekend was the Whole Earth Festival at UC Davis, which means a whole bunch of hippies come and hang out. There are a bunch of booths selling arts and crafts, good vegetarian food, and six different stages offering all kinds of music and perfomances. It's a wonderful atmosphere - peace, love, sustainability, sunshine. Some highlights:
1. Scott and I talked to a potter from Eugene, OR who's going to make our wedding dinnerware for us! His work is gorgeous, and we're really excited. (We tried shopping for dinnerware at the big box stores, and it was completely boring and uninspiring. Not sure what we'll do for flatware... let me know if you have suggestions.)
2. This morning we got to watch the UCD gamelan orchestra perform. It's this neat music from West Java, and the entire orchestra (various gongs and xylophone sorts of things) is created as a set, and tuned to the rest of the orchestra. (You can't take a gong from my set and play it with your set, because it would be completely out of tune.) I had no idea UCD had an orchestra! Neat to see it live.
3. Last night, we saw LYNX & Janover, who do hip-hop music with lots of odd bits - turns out Janover is an excellent hammered dulcimer plaer, and it turns out that hammered dulcimer sounds really cool in hip-hop!

Scott and I finally planted our garden yesterday morning. Corn, beans and squash (planted all together), 10 tomato plants, 2 eggplants, 2 peppers, 1 strawberry, some basil, some potatoes (they were sprouting under our sink, so we threw them in the ground to see what happens), some carrots and some flowers. Our little patio herb garden is starting to show some signs of life, but I think it needs a bunch of compost and more sun. If we can get a few flowers or a little basil out there, it will be worth it.

Scott bought his ticket to Uganda - he's leaving in a week and will be gone for about a month. I'll finish the quarter, spend a week in MN and thencome back and start summer session in that time. Hopefully that will be enough stuff to keep me from pining too much.

A CrossFit gym just opened in Davis, and I went to my first class last week. It's totally addictive, and I can't wait to go back!

That's enough for now. The bread is starting to smell good...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Scott's 10,000th birthday celebration (+ some aftermath)

We hosted a birthday potluck for Scott on Saturday. He turned 32, which is an okay age, but it gets more exciting when you remember that 32 = 2x2x2x2x2 = 2^5, which is 10,000 in binary. I bought him a binary clock, and I told people to dress in black and white, or to bring black and white food. (You know, binary... a dichotomous system... black and white... it sort of makes sense, right?)

It was a very good opportunity for me to try out a "zebra cake" recipe I'd discovered. Here it is before going into the oven...
...and here they are on the cooling rack - still looking nice and stripe-y!

The true test, of course, is what the inside looks like. Success!

OK, I lied. The true test is how it tastes, and on that front I was disappointed. The chocolate layers weren't all that interesting, and the whole thing was too dense. (Maybe because I ran out of oil and had to fill in with some yogurt? Or maybe because I didn't measure my ingredients very well?) In any case, it was fun to look at, and Ivona brought some tiramisu, and Mel brought brownies, so we were well taken care of in the dessert department.

I also made 4 loaves of Mark Bittman's flatbread (easy and tasty), some hummus and some beet-ginger-cream cheese-yogurt puree - a recipe I made up a few weeks ago and love because it's bright pink and gingery.

All in all, a good party - fun mix of guests, good food, good cheer!

The aftermath came on Sunday night, when Scott and I got sick with a stomach bug. A few of our guests were struck by a similar fate, so we assume something nasty transpired at the potluck. (Apologies to our sick friends.) After a sleepless Sunday night, we were exhausted and dehydrated on Monday, so we laid very, very low. Poor Scott had it much worse than me. I managed to go to lecture and lab, but besides that we napped and sipped Gatorade. Tuesday was better - on to solid foods, cramming for an o-chem midterm even my daily ration of push-ups and pull-ups. My stomach is much less gurgly today, but I bet half of that is due to the fact that my midterm is over (took it at 1pm today), so there's no chemistry-related queasiness left.

Looking forward to two more recovery days, and then we're off to Ashland, Oregon for an ultimate tournament!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday afternoon in my backyard

The herbs we planted last weekend are starting to sprout! Kids are running around in swimsuits (except for one girl who's running around in a fairy costume). They're laying out beach towels, leaping off the picnic table and playing with a gigantic beach ball that's connected to the hose and sprays water out. (It looks pretty fun!) Summer is definitely around the quarter.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Meanwhile, back in Davis...

I'm a good three weeks into spring quarter now, and so far it's promising to be much more relaxed than winter quarter. I'm taking just two classes instead of four: biochemistry and organic chemistry. As the names indicate, there's a lot of overlap between the two classes, which I really like. Biochem, which is in the biology department, starts at the cellular level and breaks things down into their chemical components. O. chem (chem department) does exactly the opposite. They're both upper level classes, which means less busy work and more engaged classmates. Good stuff.

More Academics
I finally found out that I've officially been accepted into UC Davis's Nutritional Biology Master's program! I'll start in the fall, and I'll get to do research on the genetics of obesity. This program has a great reputation, and I'm sure I'm going to learn a lot. I can't wait!

Fun Classes
1. I'm taking a beginning stained glass class at the Craft Center. I've been interested in learning how to make stained glass pieces since I got into quilting and started thinking about how neat some of the quilt patterns would look in glass. I've only had one class so far, so not much to show for it, but I'll post project pictures along the way!

2. Scott and I signed up for an AcroYoga class through the Experimental College. Last week (our first class), we learned how to do "folded leaf" and a few variations, like this one:

The class is held outdoors, on a lawn in the Arboretum. It's really nice to practice yoga outside.

Coaching is over for now, and playing is just starting up!

This weekend I coached the UCD women's B team at Sectionals, and it was an honor. Despite starting off with a small roster that grew ever smaller over the weekend (1 concussion, 1 case of heat exhaustion, 1 case of heat exhaustion + flu-like virus complete with a fever), the Pleides played with great physical and mental intensity all weekend. They were still running strong through the last point of the last game on Sunday, with high spirits. It was obvious to everyone how hard they've worked this year. Bravi Pleides!

My team isn't practicing yet, but we're getting together once a week to scrimmage, and we're starting to get in shape after the winter hibernation. I get to be the team's "Fitness Coordinator" this season, which means coming up with workouts for people to do outside of practice. A new role, and one that I'm pretty excited about.

Last weekend, Scott's department held the first ever "Epsilon Ball" - an econ term morphed into a silly semi-formal. We got dressed up, slightly liquored up, and danced the night away. And, like any good semi-formal, there were posed photos in front of a cheesy backdrop.

The spring break quartet: Kelly (pretending to climb), Flynn (belaying), me (in awe of Kelly's awesomeness?) and Scott (conquering viking)

Scott and I were inspired to do push-ups:

Lisa definitely gets the prize for best dress.

Nathan and Lindsay get cutest couple.

Scott gets best necktie. He was wearing a cool wooden one he inherited from his grandfather.

Fools Fest 2009

I got back from spring break camping, spent a few days doing all those life chores that got pushed aside during the end of winter quarter, and then started spring quarter on Monday! By Thursday night I was off again, this time to the East Coast for a fantastic tournament in Fredericksburg, VA: Fools Fest.

"It is currently the longest consectutive running tournament in Ultimate (30 years and still going strong) and plays host to roughly 1,000 players and spectators each year."
I got to hang out with tons of friends from DC and from college.

Here's my team, the Wellesley Whiptails:

We are talented in many ways.

Fools is great because there's competitive ultimate and tons of spirit. For example, here's someone dressed up as a Campbell's soup can. I think she's wearing pink bunny ears too.

There's a beer garden, where someone convinced me to take a shot of honey - straight from the bear.

Not recommended.

Overly-dramatic defense:

Jess kindly helped out with my daily dose of push-ups.

We didn't win any games, but I'm definitely glad I went - that many fantastic people concentrated in one place at one time is not to be missed!

(And, just for fun, here's one from Fool's Fest 2006!)

Spring break recap

Man, last time I blogged here was during finals week of winter quarter, which feels like about a million years ago now. Here are some updates!

First things first - finals went just fine, and on Saturday night I finally got to celebrate my birthday with a romantic dinner out with Scott. On Sunday, we left for our spring break camping trip!

Flynn and Kelly (above) very generously let Scott and I glom on to their trip, and they made excellent traveling companions! We had the most gourmet meals in the entire campground, and they were good at the alphabet game ("OK, let's do insects this time! Ant, butterfly, cockroach...")

Sunday was mostly a packing, traveling and setting-up-camp day. We arrived in Big Basin in the afternoon and parked our stuff at a campsite, but we still had time for a short hike through the redwoods before it got dark out. It felt so nice to be out in the woods.

Monday we went on a longer hike (12 miles?) and saw some really gorgeous waterfalls. Our guidebook said it's one of the nicest hikes in the Bay Area, and we were not disappointed. We were even inspired to do push-ups at Berry Falls.

Tuesday we got to go see the Ano Nuevo elephant seals in the morning. The breeding season is over, so the males were gone, but we did see some young pups ("weaners") learning to swim in a little tidal river, and we saw some adult females up on the beach molting.

We learned that elephant seals' closest relatives are grizzly bears.  Here are the two skulls (bear on the left, seal on the right... I think).

Ano Nuevo happens to straddle a fault line between two major plates (North American and Pacific).  Scott generously held the two plates together so that we could safely cross.

In the afternoon, we went to Castle Rock, a park very close to Big Basin, and did a little bit of bouldering.

Wednesday we went back to Castle Rock and set up top ropes for some longer climbs.  There's an observation deck conveniently located at the top of a waterfall, so the climber could just rapelle to the bottom and then climb up right next to the water.  Here's Flynn belaying Kelly:

We bouldered some more, found a sombrero and got a little bit lost.

Thursday was another beautiful long-ish hike. Flynn had to leave to go to a wedding, so she dropped us off at the beach on her way out and we hiked back to Big Basin HQ (where Kelly's car was parked). We saw tons of wildflowers and wildlife (salamanders, lizards, banana slugs, birds).

Good weather, good food, and I couldn't have asked for nicer traveling companions!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What I really want for my birthday... a parallel universe, so that I have time to go out for romantic dinners with Scott. We got some "treat yourself to something nice" cash for Valentine's Day and still haven't had an unscheduled night to go out for dinner together!

If you get me a parallel universe, I'd also use it for frisbee tournaments... especially ones with Scott (but I'd let you be on my team too!). (Scott got to play today, but I had to stay home and do homework. The weekend of Fool's Fest, there are at least three teams that I'd like to play with... one in DC with Wellesley alums, one in CA with Scott & Night Train, and another one in CA with fun ladies.)

I'd probably use it for cooking desserts too, which I'd be happy to share with anyone who chipped in for said parallel universe. Seems like a win-win situation, right?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happi Pi Day!

I'm off to a one-day tournament today! I'm excited to see my Night Train teammates again, and I'm excited to get outside and run around a bunch. And I'm excited that I get to wear my Pi jersey! (I used to play for a frisbee team called Pi.)

Last week was good and busy. I spent Wednesday through Friday being recruited by the Nutrition Department. Nothing is 100% settled yet, so I'm hesitant to say too much about it, but I'm pretty sure that I'll be starting as a Master's student next fall! I'm glad I got to attend recruitment - it clarified my thinking about what I want to get out of this program, and I got to meet some very nice faculty members and students. Plus they took us out to dinner at Bistro 33, which is one of my favorite places in Davis. (Not as romantic without Scott there, but still nice!)

Last week was made even busier because it was the last week of the quarter. Despite a full two days of homework last weekend, and being diligent about getting HW done during gaps in my schedule this week, I'm still feeling behind and a little stressed for finals.

Fortunately, they're spaced out well:
Monday - last day of class
Tuesday - studystudystudy
Wednesday - general chem final
Thursday (my birthday!) - bio final
Friday - organic chemistry final
Saturday (6-8pm) - genetics final

I'm glad I've only got one final per day, but I'm pretty impatient for 8pm next Saturday to roll around! On Sunday, we'll be heading south on a camping trip. One day at a time... it will be over before I know it, right? In any case, I'm celebrating Pi Day by thinking about coursework as little as possible and about flying discs as much as possible. 3.14159...!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Quick update

1. The Saab saga continues! The bracket that holds the alternator in place had cracked, and a replacement was not to be found in the junkyard, so John had to special order it. Hopefully we'll get our car back today or tomorrow!

2. We spent last weekend in Santa Cruz with Nina, Sibley, Nate, Jess and other cool people. It was pretty dry on Saturday, so we got to take a nice walk on the beach and climb up to the treehouse. But Sunday was very wet and windy - too stormy to go through with the bonfire as planned. Plan B, B for Boardgames, was an excellent alternative. Settlers of Catan, Mafia, Munchkin, good stuff. And plenty of good food and wine to boot!

3. I had a biology midterm on Wednesday, so spent most of Monday and Tuesday cramming for it. I think it went well.

4. As soon as I got out of my midterm, I gave my long-neglected bike some much-deserved love. I cleaned and oiled the chain, and I polished up the gears. I tried using dental floss, but it wasn't strong enough, so I ended up using a bamboo skewer to pick away all the layers of crud. (I really wish I had a set of dental tools!) It rides like a dream now.

5. I finally used up the last of our 14-pound turkey - the one that Scott bought right after Thanksgiving for $5 and the remains of which have been lingering in our freezer. I made a beautiful turkey wild rice hotdish with it.

6. Scott and I are going climbing tonight, and will probably have a date night tomorrow night, but the weekend will be full of writing for him and midterm studying for me. Pretty crazy how quickly the quarter is going by.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I got to ride in a tow truck today!

The Saab saga continues... I was on my way to visit my hospice patient this morning - driving instead of biking, since I had my violin along and was planning to play for her. I noticed the radio acting funny - it got very quiet and then turned off by itself. Then my turn signal stopped blinking. And then the whole car started sounding weak. I decided I'd head back home and save my visit for another day, but at the very next intersection, while I was waiting in the left turn lane, the old panzer died. A very good samaritan let me borrow his phone to call Scott (I'd forgotten mine, of course), and he helped me push it to a curb. Scott called a tow truck to take the Saab to our trusty mechanic John. John looked a little nervous when he saw it come in - he had just installed a new clutch, so he was relieved when I told him the clutch was fine and it was probably the alternator.

Monday, February 09, 2009


I had a lovely, relaxing weekend. Watched Battlestar Galactica on Saturday night with friends. Dim sum in Sacramento on Sunday, and dinner and games at Brian & Marion's house on Sunday night. Played some pickup on Saturday morning, took a nice afternoon nap on Sunday. But I'm tired today! I went home at 1pm and took a solid nap, despite the jackhammers working right outside my window! Glad I live close enough so that I can go home between classes and nap.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

25 Things About Me

(This is a Facebook chain letter.)

1. I really like being 27 years old, because it’s three cubed. Being 29 will be nice too, since it’s the first of a pair of twin primes. I’m not so psyched about turning 28. This year Scott will turn 32, which is very cool – it’s two to the 5th, so when you write it in binary it’s 10,000. I can’t wait til I turn 10,000!
2. I’ve wanted to be a doctor most of my life but didn’t pursue it until I turned 27 that I realized: if I don’t at least try to go to medical school, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.
3. I can clap with one hand.
4. There are three pink things I like. First, pink painted fingernails (mine, in particular). Second, my hot pink shoes from Payless with big pink flowers on the toes. Third, beets, and the way they turn everything they come into contact with magenta… including my pee.
5. I have a terrible memory for faces. I’m pretty good with names.
6. I’m proud of these three things. First, the blue quilt with yellow stars I sewed for myself in high school. Second, the marathon I ran in 4 hours and 20 minutes. Third, the fact that I can do an honest-to-goodness pull-up (2 or 3 in a row on a good day!).
7. One of the most important things I learned at Wellesley is how many ways there are to be a woman.
8. The best part of my day is dinner with Scott. Nearly every night, we cook dinner together, from scratch, and sit down at the dining room table to eat together. We light a candle and pour wine. Scott made time for this ritual all year last year, when he was horrifically busy studying for prelims, and all this winter, when my weird schedule means that most nights I get home from lab or practice after 9pm.
9. I like to pick music that goes with whatever we’re having for dinner. For instance, Bach cantatas go with a frittata.
10. The second best part of my day is my morning ritual – drinking espresso (with frothed milk!) out of Turkish tea glasses with Scott.
11. I’ll wear my grandmother’s wedding dress when I get married next fall! My mom and aunt also wore it, so I’ll be its fourth bride.
12. The thing I miss most about Duluth, besides my family, is Lake Superior.
13. I don’t own a Bundt pan, even though they were invented in Minnesota, and I’m a fan of all things Minnesotan.
14. The thing I miss most about Rome is the pizza. Pizza is my favorite food, and I feel like an 8-year-old when I say that, but it’s completely true.
15. I miss my friends from DC so much, I can’t remember what else I miss!
16. The thing I love most about Davis, besides the people, is the produce.
17. When I go to the gym, I feel great disdain for the people on the treadmills and elliptical trainers and moderate disdain for those on the weight machines. I believe that CrossFit workouts are the absolute best and try not to be too evangelical about it.
18. I’ve dreamt I was dead several times, and I’ve dreamt about our dead pets.
19. I wish I didn’t drool so much when I sleep.
20. I like going to the dentist, because I get such rave reviews of my oral hygiene. I floss at least six days a week. And it doesn’t hurt having overactive salivary glands.
21. I’ve only ever dated ultimate Frisbee players.
22. Someday I’ll layout.
23. Scott is turning me into a lover of board games. Right now Race for the Galaxy is our favorite. But I’m still not so sure about Settlers of Catan.
24. We don’t own a TV, and I don’t miss it, but Scott and I do watch Battlestar Galactica every week at a friend’s house.
25. I keep a ten-year journal. I’m five years into it, so on any given day, I can tell you exactly what I was doing on that day in any year going back to 2004.

Friday, January 23, 2009

We're in!

We moved into our new apartment yesterday! There's a lot of unpacking left to do, but things are not in total disarray, and it definitely feels good to have all the heavy lifting out of the way.

If anyone (in Davis) has a microwave they're not using, let us know! We need one...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Year of the Camel!

It's awful - the times when I have the most to write about, I also have the least amount of time to write about it! Here's a recap of the last month.

December 11 - I made Christmas presents for my family the night before I left for Minnesota! Of course I couldn't blog about it until everyone had received their gifts, and I had the worst time keeping them a secret. I used an antique fabric stamp that I bought in Turkey and printed t-shirts and scarves with it.

Later December: I had a wonderful, cozy, snowy vacation in Duluth. The worst part was not the -10°F weather; it was not having Margaret there. I kept waiting for her to arrive, but alas she spent Christmas in Colorado this year - it would have been too short a trip to be worth it. I did get to visit Alissa and her family at their beautiful cabin, just south of Duluth. It was a treat, even before her mom sent us home with a loaf of cardamom bread!

December 24-25: Wonderful family feasts on both days. The Christmas Eve service was beautiful - really fantastic music. My grandma was down from Baudette to spend the holiday with us, and my mom's sister and her family came up from the Cities on Christmas day.

Grandma, Mom, Fred, Dad and the Turkey
Andrew, Peter and Benjamin on the couch, the rest of the family in the kitchen.
Late December: Scott and I flew to L.A. on the 27th, and spent the week with his family. We started off in the desert - hikes through Joshua Tree National Park and dinner at a very posh country club with friends of theirs (we drove to dinner in their Rolls Royce!). We had a big family dinner, with Michael's family (Michael is Julie's fiance) and with my Aunt Barbara. Scott and I spent a night and a day with Aunt B, which was great - I don't get to see her nearly often enough, especially now that we live in the same state! Julie and I went shopping for bridesmaids dresses at vintages places (Scott and Michael and Becky gamely came along). I bought a really cute one for Margaret to wear, and Julie found some good options. I'm jealous she gets to shop at these places whenever she wants!

Sporting our CamelWear at Joshua Tree!
Video from the car window

New Year's Eve: A quiet evening with the McNivens. We got to watch a DVD of Scott's grandparents talking about their childhoods and the war years (including how they met). The movie was about 10 years old, and it was wonderful to "meet" Scott's grandpa, who passed away a few years ago.

January 1: We got back to Davis and had a few days to get our lives in order (laundry! bills!) before heading to San Francisco for the weekend. Scott attended an economics conference, and I got to hang out with my friends Mavis and Maya. We drank tea, visited the De Young museum, and then drank more tea. Scott says he had fun at the conference, but I think I got the better end of the deal.

January 5: Classes started, which was just as stressful for me as it was at the beginning of fall quarter. Since I'm taking classes as an extension student, I can't pre-register and have to just show up and hope there's space in the class for me. Happily, I got into all four classes that I wanted to take: easy bio (intro) and hard bio (genetics), easy chem (intro) and hard chem (organic). My schedule is a little crazy, but I'm so thankful that I can take all of these classes.

January 9: We flew to Austin for Sarah and Keith's wedding! It was a great weekend, filled with lots of friends (Scott's high school buddies) and amazing food and beer (much of it homemade by the couple and their families) and a great dance. I spent lots of time working on my M.S. application essays, but at least I had partners in crime - Jess was writing her M.B.A. application essays, and Scott was writing proposals. I submitted my application on Monday when we got back. Yay! Now I just have to wait and see if they'll take me...

This week: Tonight is the 5th Annual Minnesota Party, and on Thursday we're moving into our new apartment!