Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Go Sox!

I just have to say I'm so stinking excited for the Sox Twins game tonight. This determines who wins the division, and thus, who goes to the playoffs. It's at home so I think there's a good chance we could clinch it! Unfortunately, we don't get the tv station that covers the game, so... I'll try and listen online to Chicago's 670AM the Score radio station. I'll be cheering!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Bachelorette Life

Well, I have just returned from my first of six trips to the airport I will make in the coming 7 days. Sean has his first three interviews for medical school this week! Today, Sean is flying to Nashville to interview at Vanderbilt. He'll return tomorrow night, fly again mid-Thursday for Baylor, return mid-Saturday.... and then fly out AGAIN Sunday morning for U of Chicago and come back into my arms the following night.

I already miss him so so so so much. This ought to feel like cake, seeing as I didn't have him around for a solid two years. But lo and behold, I want him here, to hold me, to smile at my quirks, to make me constantly laugh. But I'm also super excited for him to have these opportunities and to show these schools how great he'd be. He's such a great person, I know he'll do a fantastic job whilst interviewing. And I'll do a great job fretting and watching sappy romantic movies :)

Good luck sweetheart! You'll knock them out of the park!
Sean fashioning the "interview suit" we recently purchased. Oh my, someone come fan me, please.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Body Worlds

Since Sean and I love cool stuff, we decided to go do something cool: we visited the Body Worlds exhibit (hosted by The Leonardo- is that a cool name or what?). Have you heard of this traveling exhibit? It's neat, it has all sorts of different body parts/systems plastinated so it's perfectly preserved and in it's natural shape.
Sean drove us safely and awesome-lookingly up to Salt Lake. What a stud!

Nervous or excited? You decide.

Sean has ambitions of one day being the featured cadaver on the big sign. One day. He has potential, don't you think?

My three favorite things were thus:

1) They somehow were able to preserve all the blood vessels and remove all the other parts. It was so intricate, sometimes the circulation was so dense that it just looked like fuz. They did this with a bunch of organs, a few animals, and the neatest was a head. You could see the layer of vessels for the skin and then within there was the vessels devoted to the brain. It was so neat, you could tell where the gyri were from the gaps in the dense vessels. I love the brain.

2) There was also a display of the brain and some peripheral nerves. I loved it because it looked so simple. And neurons are so NOT simple. They do such complicated, delicately balanced things. But they look like meaty string. Do I sound like a dork? Probably. Man, I love the nervous system.

3) Belly buttons. Really. Every full body displayed had a different button: some tiny, some like a trumpet mouthpiece, all different. I love belly buttons.

I was nervous about going because I thought seeing all the blood stuff might make me woozy. Or faint. It's been known to happen. Maybe I'll tell you about it some time. It involves... blood and fainting. But there wasn't any actual blood at all at the exhibit, just the stuff that contains it. I think it's flowing blood that gets to me.

Afterward, we tried out a bakery I've been eyeing for a while, Paradise Bakery and Cafe. Boy I'm glad we did! Super yummy! I had a chicken walnut sandwich on Molasses Bread. And it came with an ooey gooey cookie! I officially recommend it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Eight Things of Happiness

1. Dinner- We've had a GREAT run of yummy meals. First up was marinated steak- not the top quality cut or fancy sauce, but it tasted like heaven. Heaven in my mouth. Then we made my favorite Dittalini/Bacon dish that's so easy (though that's how I'd describe most of my recipes...) and absolutely mouth-watering. That one's more like Celestial Kingdom. In my mouth. Today Sean made us some De-Lectible stir fry. I could taste the love. Spicy love.

2. Puzzles- Sean and I finished one! We had it out on our table for about a week, available as a pleseant diversion from real life. Why is it so satisfying to find just the right piece? Or to complete the whole water section. Or discover the last edge? I don't know. But it's SO satisfying.

3. Cookies- I made some. I'd been mentally obsessed (is there any other kind of obsessed?) with the idea of making cookies for the last few days and finally told sean, "WE HAVE TO GO BY CHOCOLATE CHIPS RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW!" And we did. I love cookies. They're little sugar disks of joy. Just look at those puppies, can't you feel the sugar rush. I can. Or maybe its the four cookies I just ate.
4. Buffers- I'm almost embarrassed by this one but hey, it made me happy, who are you to judge? I'd bought one of those nail buffer things a while ago, and woah, did you know they actually work? Shiny nails sans polish! Amazing! But the buffer (you call it a buffer, right?) I bought was the retagularish kind that had a nail file on two sides and whilst buffing, I'd always slip and end up scratching the very nail I was trying to smooth! Poor, poor planning. So I bought a new buffer. WITHOUT a nail file attached. Now I have shiny AND unscratched nails. Too perfect!

5. LOST- We've hooked Sean's brother, Kyle, on the most spectular television show anyone has ever seen, possibly, ever. And since Kyle is currently living in Provo, we have him over a couple times a week to catch him up on episodes. Should I feel bad for owning seasons 1-3? I almost do. Almost. But good news: I'm thoroughly enjoying rewatching them. Which means, good investment! (side note-- I think I've had a different dessert every time Kyle has come over. I think that's a bad sign...)

6. Relief Society lessons- I gave my second relief society lesson, the topic of which was revelation. I think it went so much better than my first lesson. Firstly because I've got a little more experience, and secondly, way more friendly topic. My very first lesson happened to be about dealing with death. Talk about intimidating. The problem, I think, was that in order for people to feel comfortable discussing their experiences, they needed to feel very safe and completely at ease. But I was a new teacher, adjusting to a new calling, without having had past lessons to establish a safe evironment within my own lessons. They'd really need to trust me to share such emotional stories and I hadn't had the chance to earn their trust yet. So it was mostly me talking and sharing quotes and asking questions that a few people would mercifully answer after some awful stretch of silence. This time, I had tons to thought questions and knew exactly where to lead from point to point and everyone was vocal. I loved it, I felt great about it. Happy me.

7. Organization- After living with a messy coffee table for a year, I decided I couldn't take it anymore. It's not the whole table that's messy, it's the shelf underneath the top surface. It was full of pens and papers and wii remotes, etc. So we bought baskets. Now it at least has the appearance or orderliness. Except for that pile of papers in the middle. But it's not visible normally, so there.

8. The Office- STARTS TOMORROW!!! AHH!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

First Three Weeks

Sean and I have saddled our school bags for the last year of our term at BYU. It's been a pretty fun first few weeks. I'm only in two classes that anyone would actually consider real classes. One is called "How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper," a title stolen from our text book. Creative. It's really nice though, truly funny teacher who has a ton of experience, a text that's really clear cut and succinct, and no tests. We don't even have to write a paper, which seems counterintuitive but I won't complain.

My other class is Biophysics, which focuses on ion channels**(see below for details). The best thing about this class is I take it with Sean! It's been a long while since we had a class together and it's wonderful.

I also have a weekly seminar where guest lecturers tell us about their research, and the rest of my credits are made up of research. The problem is, I've lost all my motivation. As a Masters student, I have to have a project to work on that I eventually write a thesis. And my project keeps getting changed because all the past work has poor results. So I'm supposed to be doing all this background reading on my new project and it's hard to sink my teeth into it. And my head professor has never really thoroughly explained to me what we'll be doing so I've felt a little lost. But I just was given an "official" title yesterday: Effects of ethanol and anesthetics on behavior and GABA neuron responses in Cx36 knock-out mice. How 'bout that? Sounds pretty good. Maybe that'll give me the push I need to get working hard.

I've also been assigned a new job as a teaching assistant for Neuro480. Last year, I TAed for a lab class, which meant my job requirements consisted of assisting during the lab itself and doing a little outside prep work. That prep work involved maybe 4 or 5 hours of slicing some rat brains onto slides at the beginning of the semester. But Neuro480 is a different ballgame. Every week and a half or so, one lecture is devoted to reading literature articles from scientific journals. The students get three or four articles focused on a topic and be prepared to be called upon during the literature lecture to explain a figure, theory, etc. My job is to hold review sessions beforehand to help them be prepared. So I have to know the articles inside and out, too. Some of the articles are the same from when I took the class, some are new, which means I spend a lot of time sifting through all the details.

But it's actually been really fun holding these reviews and helping out the students. There's something really gratifying about preparing really thoroughly and being able to explain hard concepts. And figuring out how to explain something five different ways because different people need explanations from different angles. And helping someone to understand the implications of certain results. It's just really fun. I had one review session that lasted over two hours- my throat was sure dry by the end but I had really enjoyed myself. Maybe one day I could teach. I think it'd be pretty satisfying.

I'll let Sean make up his own post telling you from his perspective about the start of his senior year, if he so desires. I have a feeling chances aren't so high for that, though :) We can always hope!

**To briefly explain what in the world ion channels are, our neurons (nervous system cells) have a certain balance of ions (charged particles) on its inside and outside. The way neurons pass along a signal is to propogate voltage down through themselves, which they do by changing the ion balance. Thus they use ion channels to send ions out or in through the neuron's membrane. Um, does that make sense?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So, our car got towed.

It happened last Saturday and I'm still coming to terms with it. And it was for a dumb reason but I don't know what to do about it. We had parked by the Cinemark Dollar Theater- for those of you who are familiar with it, you know that stretch of curb in the back that's continuous with the parking lot, behind that line of other buildings? We parked there, right behind a red zone. I'm acutally very paranoid about parking in the wrong places and checked all around to make sure there were no signs that said it was illegal to park there. I spotted none. But there was one, in the red zone itself, on the other side of where we parked. I hadn't even thought to check there because it's a red zone- a red zone sign's going to tell you that you can't park at a red zone, right? Not this one, it stated that no "non-stall" parking was allowed. Blast!

It's funny, we had so many chances to NOT see the movie: the showing we wanted to attend was sold out, we decided not to go to the other dollar theater but buy tickets for a later showing at the one we were already at, then at the later showing, the fuse kept bursting but finally worked. It was my punishment for going to a movie instead of finishing up my church lesson. Pricey punishment.

I want to be mad at someone but I don't know who. Whoever decided to put that sign in the stupid red zone. But who's that? Sigh.

Friday, September 12, 2008

5 Years

We've been celebrating a bunch of "firsts" anniversaries, recently. It was five years ago last week that Sean and I first met. I was sitting alone at a cafeteria table when Sean sat by me and we had our first little chat. Blooming love. We celebrated that anniversary by going out for dinner, walking the mall, and seeing a dollar movie. As Sean put it, it was "in memory of the things we always do!"
We were cute little spring chickens back then. That's such a weird expression, "spring chickens."

Two days ago was our fifth anniversary of our first hand hold. It was so sweet- we were sitting, both hands on our legs, when Sean did a "pinky test" to make sure I wouldn't recoil in disgust from his touch. Hee, that was far from my reaction. Look how young we are. The good ol' dorms, twas they that brought us together.
Today is the anniversary of our first kiss. How tender
This was actually right before Sean went off on his mission. He was already set apart so he couldn't touch girls beyond a handshake. Including me. Ugh, it was awful.
It's funny thinking back on these times, because we didn't know how things would end up and how things would work out after Sean's mission. It sure worked out great!
On a totally different note, while looking at old pictures, I came across this one of Pogo all cozied up in my bed.


Friday, September 5, 2008

Fruit Flies

It's always nice to return home to your own home and bed after a long vacation. But when we returned, we had some unexpected visitors: spiders and fruit flies. Ugh, is there anything worse than the shock of discovering an eight-legged fiend on your shower curtain? Or the incessant annoyance of a fruit fly circling your head? Sean even discovered a spider on his arm while on the phone with me. Boy did he flip out!

I think we've mostly gotten rid of our arachnid problem but the flies just won't go away. And they just gave me a reason to deepen my hatred of them. One little bugger landed on the bathroom mirrors and I automatically tried to slap it to death. But something strange happened. Something small and somewhat white fell from underneath my hand.

I instantly knew what it was. I'm not sure I've ever made quite this gasp of horror and shock. I looked at my left hand and, yes, one of the diamonds from my engagement ring had popped out.

Sean came running in confused. He's quite an expert at all my gasps (spider finding, forgetting something, injury, etc.). This one was new. And when I told him, I think he might have made the same gasp. We started hunting. Wouldn't you guess where it ended up? On the sink drain. When we moved in, there wasn't a stopper so we bought a mess cover thing. I think if we had a regular stopper, the diamond would be lost! But as it was, it got caught in between the drain and the cover. Man, were we ever careful retrieving that puppy. (Please don't judge my sink, that's as clean as it'll get, dang it)

So my diamond is saved. But I'm still mad at the fruit flies.