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!