Wednesday, November 26, 2008

random things

erik has developed a strange new habit. when i went to pick him up last friday, i heard one of the teachers yelling at him while i was getting his things together and signing him out. i looked over to see him trying to climb on the back of this little girl, anastasia. now i use the description "little" rather loosely here. while she is indeed much smaller than me, she's nearly a head taller than the other kids in erik's class, and built like a tank. and she's about a month younger than erik. well, it turns out erik had been trying to "ride" her all day. i have no idea where this came from, but apparently he would push her to the ground and then climb on her back. she is definitely stronger than him and could have probably pushed him off, but she just kind of yelled at him instead. the poor girl ... i hope repressed memories of this don't torment her one day! later that evening, erik was trying to "ride" our kitty xena too:IMG_6902
he seemed to forget about it over the weekend and the past couple of days, so hopefully he's through this phase. it'll be interesting to hear if he behaved himself at school today.

monday was my 7th wedding anniversary. peter and i both find it impossible to believe we've been married that long. it's felt like 3 minutes ... under water! but all kidding aside, i used to wonder how people like my grandparents could be married to each other for over 50 years. i know 7 is just a drop in the bucket, but the years really do fly by. erik will be two in a couple of months, and it feels like only yesterday that i was knocking stuff over on my lab bench with my big pregnant belly. to celebrate our anniversary, we decided to go out for dinner at penn brewery. we had some really good german food and beer, and erik was pretty well behaved, so we had a nice time. we also got dessert to take home from the cheesecake factory, which was of course delicious!

i have been fighting off a nasty cold for about a week now, and monday night was by far the worst of it. it's always so much worse at night. i hardly slept and was absolutely miserable by the morning. i stayed home and tried to get some rest. peter was very thoughtful and kept erik busy for most of the day. he even took him to get a haircut. i will be sure to post some pictures soon. we went out in the afternoon and bought a humidifier for our bedroom which will hopefully help me to feel better. it seemed to do pretty well last night, and i'm feeling much better today after a pretty decent night's sleep.

tomorrow is thanksgiving, and peter just found out that he doesn't have to work in the morning so we'll get to spend the whole day together. yay! we'll be heading up to evans city for a traditional turkey day feast. we're bringing libations and dessert. we got a nice sampler case of beers from penn brewery and a 1.5L bottle of some kind of red wine i hadn't heard of, but it's from chile and was recommended by a nice lady at the shop while i was perusing the wines and looking rather confused. i hope it's tasty!

and of course friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. for some reason i am actually thinking of going out at 5am before peter leaves for work in search of bargains, but i am sure that reason will prevail and i will be snug and warm in my bed for as long as erik will allow. i have no idea what we're going to do for christmas presents this year. as is the case for many people i'm sure, we're on a very tight budget these days and don't have a fortune to spend on presents. but at the same time, we want to get something nice for the people we love. it's always a challenge. we'll think of something.

to anyone who happens to be reading this, happy thanksgiving! if you are traveling, be safe and sane and have a wonderful trip. enjoy the time with your family, your friends, or yourself!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

falling way behind

it's been a long time since i last wrote my blog. 10 days, actually. i have many excuses, but why bother? here's what's been going on in my life.

last monday i went down to the nih in bethesda, maryland to take a four day flow cytometry class. i had mixed feelings about going to begin with, but was really apprehensive about going when i found out i'd be going with my boss's wife who is an assistant professor at the university. firstly, i had never been away from erik overnight before, and was really sad about leaving him for nearly five whole days. secondly, i barely knew the woman with whom i would be traveling and i had no idea what it would be like spending that much time (including sharing a hotel room) with her. there were a whole slew of other reasons, but i don't even remember at this point. it's in the past, and it all turned out just fine. peter and erik missed me (i think!), but they did just fine. my mom helped out A LOT by picking erik up from daycare on wednesday and thursday and making sure both my guys had a decent meal and some company on those two evenings. as for me, well, i got by. it wasn't the best week of my life, but i did learn a decent amount while i was there and made it home safe and sound, and early enough to pick up erik from school on friday afternoon (in the snow!).

the first two nights we stayed at the travel lodge in silver spring, md and actually had our own rooms. the motel was pretty icky, smelled nasty, and was COLD, but it was only two nights. on tuesday evening, i walked down to a movie theater in downtown silver spring and saw 'zack and miri make a porno.' i almost never get to the movies and i thoroughly enjoyed it. there were only 4 other people in the theater with me and we were all laughing out asses off. the humor was very crude and juvenile ... just the way i like it! :D when i got back to my room, i was bored and took some pictures of my eye:

eye spy

the flow cytometry class was just ok. it was taught by people who were predominantly immunologists, so it seemed mostly geared towards applications that i wasn't going to be using. but i did learn something, and i got out of town for the week. the coolest part was that the class took place in a very old building that was once a cloister for a group of nuns that were self sufficient and lived completely secluded from the outside world. the building was really cool, and the grounds were beautiful.

nih cloisters
nih cloisters
nih cloisters

on wednesday night we moved to the hyatt in bethesda which was gorgeous and paradise compared to the travel lodge. it smelled good, the beds were comfortable, and the bathroom was great with lots of marble and nice shampoo. i spent a lot of time walking around in the cold in bethesda which was actually really pretty. i tried to turn in early, but was thwarted by my roomie who came in late and had lots of work to do and suffers from insomnia. so be it. i tried coffee in the morning to help wake up, but it just made me feel jittery and weird. i won't be drinking coffee again anytime soon.

the best part of my trip by far was thursday night. my brother scott and his friend rebecca met me at my hotel and took me into d.c. for the evening. we had a really yummy dinner and spent a lot of time walking around and seeing some of the monuments and memorials. i'm sure they could have thought of 100 things that they would rather do, but since i so rarely go down there, it was really awesome for me and i had so much fun. rebecca is SUPER COOL and we had a great time goofing around and being generally silly. i hope we can hang out again sometime soon! scott explained string theory to us, but we didn't find a situation in which we could apply our new knowledge. maybe next time.

scott and i with the washington monument in the background:

scott and rebecca:

some photos of the washington monument:
IMG_6803washington monumentIMG_6798

my favorite part was seeing the wwII memorial which i hadn't seen before:
ww II memorial
fountain at ww II memorial

we stopped for drinks at a really cool bar:
bottles and bottles

and took the metro back to bethesda:
metro station
metro stationme on the metro
scott and rebecca on the metro

while i was in maryland, i found out that i won 2nd place in a photo contest called snapshot 250, a project by the art institute of pittsburgh for pittsburgh's 250th anniversary. i heard about it many months ago and submitted a few photos, not realizing that it was a contest. i just wanted the opportunity to share my experience with other pittsburghers. 250 photos were selected for an installation at the steel plaza T station downtown, and at least four of mine are on display there. i was out of town for the unveiling on thursday, but i went down to check it out today and snapped some photos of my photos. they contacted me to let me know that one of the photos i posted won second place. i was super excited! then they asked for my address to send me my prize and it was $200! i am so surprised and grateful that my art made such an impression and will be on display in the coming months for many to see. pittsburgh is truly a unique place to live, and 2008 has been especially amazing for all of the activities scheduled for its 250th birthday celebration! here are some pictures of the snapshot 250 installation:

i'm such a dork!

and last but not least, i PASSED THE WRITTEN PART OF MY COMPS!!! i found out on friday evening when i got home from maryland and it is a HUGE relief! my oral exam will be coming up in the next few weeks, so i best start preparing for it. hell yeah!

as for this week, tomorrow is my 7th wedding anniversary! we don't really have anything planned, but will probably go out and have a nice dinner together at a fairly kid-friendly place since erik will be coming with us. we're planning on going to a hockey game soon as our present to each other once we find a good game and get tickets. i am also looking forward to spending thanksgiving with my family. my mom, peter, erik, and i will be going to my brother adam's house for the holiday. it should be a lot of fun! we always have a good time with them!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

my comprehensive exam committee

these three men will decide whether my written proposal will be accepted or rejected. if accepted, they will have the opportunity to grill me for two hours and decide whether i have passed or failed my comps. not a herpesvirologist among them. i don't know if that's a good or bad thing! i have a lot of studying to do! i wonder if they take bribes ... :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

a couple pictures

we did get to go to the park a couple times last week before it got really cold. last friday we went and erik and i were wearing t shirts it was so warm! here's some pictures not from that day, but from last monday.

erik on the merry-go-round:
erik on the merry-go-round
erik on the merry-go-round

erik on the slide:
erik at the playgrounderik at the playground

it was already starting to get dark, but the foliage was pretty

getting back to life

it was both a relief and the beginning of a whole new type of stress when i handed my comprehensive exam proposal on monday. if i pass, oh shit! i have to be ready for my oral exam in a couple weeks. if i fail, oh shit! i only have one more chance at this. i keep going from thinking there's no way i can fail to there's no way i can pass. but that part at least is out of my hands so that's somewhat of a relief.

i haven't been taking many photos lately because life has been very busy all of the sudden. i actually have been missing it a lot, but it's not as easy now with the weather getting cold. i need to find something interesting that i can photograph in my house. hmmm ...

Sunday, November 9, 2008


argh! i broke a friggin porcelain crown today. i blame it on all this stress grinding i've been doing lately. one more thing to worry about ...

Monday, November 3, 2008

again with the foliage


foliage mosaic

i made this mosaic of my favorite foliage pictures using fd's flickr toys, a very cool site that i highly recommend.

foliage montage

more on halloween

erik had an absolute blast trick or treating!
we weren't sure how he'd like it, but he was a natural. i think that the practice he had earlier in the day (they took the kids trick or treating to local businesses while he was at daycare) made it a lot easier. at the first house he went to (nebby debbie, as we call her), he played shy and hid behind my legs. i probably would have hidden from nebby debbie too if i could have! after that, he would march right up to the door (or let me carry him up the steep stairs to the porch), say "trickertreat!" and either hold out his pumpkin or grab candy from the basket.
most people were nice and didn't get upset when he grabbed two or three handfuls. there were so few trick or treaters out that i'm sure most people had leftover candy. we did - yum yum! he held on tight to his pumpkin the whole time and especially liked getting to eat some candy when we got home. i think it may have been the first time we actually let him eat candy! he really liked the sugary candy, but the chocolate, not so much. he'll learn!