Friday, March 15, 2013

Dreidel Dog

Three months ago today, Husband and I woke up early on a Saturday morning, trekked an hour and a half into the suburbs, and came home with our new best friend, a 4.5 year old rottweiler/border collie mix.

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As a lifelong cat person, I really had no idea what to expect from a dog.  I’ve definitely been put to the test as a dog owner in the past 12 weeks – trips to and from the vet, ultrasounds, x-rays, more doggie vomit than I ever envisioned having to clean up in my life – but we think (knock on wood!) we’re finally getting her digestive issues sorted out and are heading in the right direction.

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As an adult shelter dog, she certainly has a few behavioral issues we’re working on (namely, serious food aggression and an extreme dislike of strangers looking her in the eye) and we haven’t figured out all her littler quirks (it’s hard to figure out what sets her off when she immediately flips between growling and snarling to jumping in your lap to lick your face), but after a mere three months, she’s already a member of the family.  I can’t believe someone gave her up and dumped her off at a rescue ranch, but I’m so happy they did, and the timing was right that she could come home with us. 

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Dreidel Dog has pretty much violated all the rules I set out for her – no sleeping on the living room couch (see above: but who could resist a black and white polka dotted dog on a black and white herringbone couch?), no licking my face (we’re still working on not doing this, but she gets in a good lick once in a while), and no climbing on the bed – while she still hasn’t tried to sleep in the bed, this weekend she figured out how to throw her paws around me and pull herself up into our bed in the morning.  Today, to thank me for providing her with a loving home, food, and very expensive veterinary care, she tried to use my face to haul her 70-pound self  up into bed, leaving me with a nice scratch below my eye, on my eyelid, and a black eye.  Thanks, dog.

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It’s a good thing you’re so cute.

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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Hockey Pool: Week 5

If you know me, you know I love fantasy football.   So when I was invited to participate in my first-ever fantasy hockey league this year, I happily jumped right on board.   Everyone takes turns ‘hosting’ the weekly updates, so this week was my turn.  Ironically, Week 5 is the week I forgot to make my picks (thanks, bronchitis, for leaving me on my death bed and unwilling to turn on a computer!) and has been my worst week thus far.  Womp, womp.

Without further ado, here are the standings as of week 5:

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Thanks to a combination of great picks by Mod Scientist and non-picks by me, Mod Scientist has taken over the lead in a tight race between Mod Scientist, Lavaland, and myself.  At the other end of things, Gregg Stanwood, Gen Repair, and Bam294 are, well, clearly not hockey fans.

Previous Recaps:
Week 1: CathVWXYNot
Week 2: CathVWXYNot
Week 3: Beth Snow
Week 4: Gerty-Z

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

I am thankful that I finally, finally finished my Ph.D.  For a long time, I honestly thought I would never graduate – like when my boss repeatedly told me that I would have to first have to determine the structure of our 76 kDa protein using NMR before I would be allowed to defend.

I am thankful that even though my degree took years longer than it should, and I was put in a lot of unfair situations, I ended up with a wide, somewhat uncommon, skill set which made me competitive when applying for postdoc positions.  I was able to choose between several excellent laboratories to continue my training.

I am thankful that I believed in myself enough to choose what was, undoubtedly, the most challenging and difficult of my postdoc options.  I have jumped from cancer biology to biophysics and while I still feel a little over my head in my new lab, my skills as a scientist are growing by leaps and bounds, and I know I will mature as a scientist more in this lab than any of my other options.

I am thankful that I am able to live with my husband, at least until he moves in June for his fellowship.  After 4 years apart, it’s nice to get to have a “normal” marriage for 10 months, before we go back to long-distance.

Most of all, I am thankful that after less than 4 months, I have settled into my new city so well that it already feels like I’ve lived here forever.  My life is so full with friends, social activities, hobbies, and work I am happy to take home with me at the end of the day, that I no longer have the time or interest in sitting home and blogging. 

And for that, I make no apologies.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

30 By 30: Monument Walk

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After 11 years in D.C., it was really, truly hard to say goodbye.  I know I will still continue to see my amazing friends, and I hope they will all come to visit here for weekends (one already has!), but it will never be the same as meeting up after work for happy hour or kickball or trivia nights.  While we certainly added to the group over the years, my core group of D.C. friends were all from undergrad, so for my going away festivities, I decided to go back to our undergrad roots with a drunken midnight monument walk. 

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Midnight monument walks are certainly up there on the list of things I will miss the most about D.C. 

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Sober, there is an unbelievable sense of peace and awe walking around the empty monuments lit up at night.  I remember freshman year, wandering down to the Lincoln Memorial shortly following September 11th with a new group of friends and lying down on the floor, reading the Emancipation Proclamation, etched in giant marble letters, out loud to each other.  My senior year, struggling with the decision of where to go to grad school, my best friend suggested an after-dark monument walk to just chat about pros and cons while we strolled through the city. 

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Drunken, that sense of peace and awe is still present… with a little bit of laughing and inappropriateness on the side.  As undergrads, it was an inexpensive source of entertainment (and perfect for underage participants) – pack up a portable beverage of choice (traditionally a 20 oz bottle of diet coke, half he diet coke poured out and filled with rum) and set off for an evening of mischief.  Sometimes, it would be a big group and we’d sit along the tidal basin and laugh for hours; other times, only two or three of us, and we’d talk about big life experiences and our goals for the future.  Either way, I’d always return home in the wee hours of the morning wondering what I did to deserve such amazing friends.

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I didn’t take too many pictures at my farewell monument walk, mostly because my dSLR has a sensor broken beyond repair leaving me with just a point and shoot, and after buying a house, there is no money in the “camera replacement” fund… but thankfully, memories last a lifetime, and I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to some of the very best friends I will ever have.

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30 by 30: Buy a House

Number One on my 30 by 30 list was to buy a house, and I am delighted to report that it was also the first thing I could successfully check off the list.

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We moved through the process extremely quickly given the short timeframe between deciding where I was moving for a postdoc and the date by which I needed to start.  My mother was a pretty big Negative Nancy about the whole situation – convinced we wouldn’t find a house on our short time frame, that there was no possible way we would actually close on the day we were supposed to close, that we were na├»ve for setting up our furniture delivery and movers in the days immediately following closing (since there was no way we were going to close on time).  Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

The first time meeting our wonderful realtor and discussing what we wanted in a house was June 16th and we looked at a few options.  We returned to the city to look at houses again on June 27th, placed an offer on June 28th, and went through the offer, counter offer, counter-counter offer process and signed the paperwork on June 29th.  By July 31st, we were movin’ on it.

I love our house and still can’t get over how huge it is!  Easing back into living together after so many years of long-distance marriage is certainly a whole lot easier when you have four entire floors (plus a roof deck) instead of being squished into 600 square feet like our last apartment together.  Our neighborhood seems great so far, and I can still walk to work (albeit a bit more of a trek than my walk to work in DC). 

I’m a bit overwhelmed with unpacking and getting settled into my new postdoc lab (I really have no idea what I’m doing and it’s incredibly frustrating), so the rest of my 30 by 30 list is falling by the wayside… but I am so, so ecstatic to have actually been able to check this one off the list!

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(I don’t think I will ever tire of the view from our roof deck!)