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It was a great weekend, folks!

I spent my birthday being lazy, having lots of fun with lots of friends, and not doing any work-related activities!

On Saturday, I stayed in my pajamas until 5pm. Whee! I mostly spent the day talking to all the people who called, reading, or playing computer games. I also laughed a LOT with/at Amelia, while trying to give her boy advice.

I had meant to go on a bike ride, but in the end, I just had too much fun sitting in the back yard, talking with my mom, my sister, Amelia, Dave, John’s mom/grandma, and all sorts of other people.

Plus, it was kinda nice to be able to sit and play computer games for awhile. I’m not a huge computer game fan, and I only play a very restricted number of them. I don’t even play that often, but every once in awhile, it’s fun to sit and just mindlessly play. Plus, most of my games are for PC, and so I can’t play when John’s on the computer. He’s got a PC for gaming, and I’ve got a Mac for work, so sometimes there are conflicts.

Plus, the talking with Amelia was really nice. For my birthday, she gave me a bento box for my bike, and we apologized and said we’re all okay and everything. Yay! Plus, she’s having some boy issues that were really funny, and I was trying to help her out without laughing at her too much.

For dinner, I met up with her, John, and some other classmate/friends for dinner, including Rhiannon and Sam, at a local fish restaurant. It wasn’t quite as tasty as I’d remembered, but we had lots of fun. I was kinda worried, since a labmate/classmate who’s extremely uptight and rigid (for example: she won’t talk to people who are drinking, and has been known to just turn and walk away in the middle of the conversation when she realizes you’re holding a beer) had said she might come, but she stood us up (gee darn!) so we were able to be fairly liberal and fun in our conversation. Another friend, the Albanian, also had some girl issues, so we traded stories and gave advice. And hey, calories don’t count on your birthday, right?

Sunday was less lazy–I went for a bike ride–but I also spent most of the day just lazing around. The bike ride was out west and north to a brand new route, and I got kind of lost in among some residential areas, but had a great ride. Then I spent the afternoon being lazy again, mostly playing the same computer game.

For dinner, John and I went to a local BBQ joint with all our scuba friends. It was hilarious! We had a ton of fun, and a friend had a great idea to bring a small memory book and have everyone write in it. I think that’s a great idea! And now I have a record of all the people that were there. Someone even brought me pink sparkly antenna on a headband that I got to wear around the restaurant for the evening. And, just when I thought I’d managed to get through three dinners with no one singing, James F got the restaurant to bring me peach cobbler and sing. It was great!

And to top it all off, I got notified today that I was selected to give a talk/poster at the international conference for my virus. Awesome! Terrifying!

Happy birthday to me!


Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me-ee!
Happy birthday to me!

Since I couldn’t let myself be mad at Amelia over all this, I took out a lot of anger on my bike recently, mostly in the form of not riding it at all.

John kept pointing out that, as I’d made the monetary investment and enjoyed the sport, this was stupid.

In the end, he ended up buying a bike so I would have company to ride with. He now has a nicer bike than I have. Grrr.

The night we bought his bike, we went for a short, fast ride, about 13 miles in just under an hour. I took him up one of the hills on one of my routes, but didn’t make him go up the big hill on the way back. He really enjoyed it, and I was excited that I again had someone to share biking with.

The problem is, his schedule doesn’t allow for lots of bike rides. If it’s a beautiful afternoon, I can leave lab early, go on a ride, then go back to work if I need to. I can also have a weekend off if I need to, although I tend to go into lab for a bit each day. He, however, works set hours, and two weekends a month.

So we went on the one ride. Then, he worked a bunch of weekdays, and on his weekend off last weekend, we were in Monterey scuba diving. And he didn’t have any weekdays off that coincided with times I could leave early.

At least, until today. The plan was for me to leave lab around 4:00pm, race home, and we’d be off.

Then Amelia wanted me to help hang fliers for a departmental get-together, which I did, and then we went to get coffee and sat around talking. I figured a bit of friendship repair was a good reason for a shorter bike ride.

I finally made it home around 5:40, and we were off by 6:00pm. I had a new route from a local bike shop, but the map didn’t give any indication of elevation changes. It was part of one of my hill routes backwards, and then off into the Great Unknown. I (stupidly) figured that if it didn’t have an elevation change map like the other routes, then there must not be much elevation change.

Turns out, the Great Unknown just goes up and up and up and up. It started out slowly at first, gradually building, until we got to a road so full of switchbacks and constant ups that even though I kept trying to convince myself that the top was just around the next bend, I stopped believing it after awhile.

Sad to say, I had to get off my bike and walk. I had no breath and no energy to move my legs. John made it to the top, but we’ll see if he can walk tomorrow.

Then it was down down down the other side so fast that I actually felt unsafe.

The rest of the ride, however, was beautiful. It mostly went through palatial residential areas and rolling hills, with a couple of nature preserves thrown in. We saw lots of deer, and a hawk came to roost just above us on some electrical wires at one point. We made it home just before dark, and probably should have set off sooner or cut the ride shorter, but as it was a new route, I wasn’t sure how to do that.

I really liked the ride, and now that I’ve done the whole thing, I think I’ve figured out a round-about way to avoid the big hill and still do the rest. I enjoyed myself, and enjoyed doing it with Husband. I’m also insanely proud of him for making it up that hill, and glad that my hate-affair with my bike seems to be over.

My new goal? Make it up that hill. Someday. I’ll get there, eventually. I promise!


Because in doing so this morning, I managed to tweak something in my right shoulder blade that suddenly inflicted great pain whenever I moved. No idea what it was, since I blow-dry my hair almost every morning.

But now I can’t move my head to the right, and I can’t lift my right arm very high.

John tried to massage it out, to little success. He ended up feeding me the rest of my coffee, since I couldn’t lift the mug, and there was NO WAY I was going to work without my coffee.

Now the pain is making bench work today fuuuuuun.

How many ibuprofen can you take in one go? Is 14 too many?

Things may be looking up with Amelia.

She blogged today about being grounded from her bike by the doctor, as she’s sick. I didn’t want to touch the bike issue with the proverbial ten foot pole, but I sent her a “sorry you’re feeling bad, hope you get well soon” email. (Which yes, admits that I’m reading her blog for info about her, but what else was I to do?)

Shortly after, while I was away from my desk, she called. No message, no nothing.

I quietly freaked out as to what to do, but eventually got an email from her, to which I replied. Almost immediately, I got a call back, which I picked up, after panicking for about two rings.

We mostly talked about work, and a bit about the new guy in her life. She asked me how life was, so told her a bit about work, and that we’d been scuba diving all weekend.

We didn’t touch on the subject of what happened. Again, I’m chicken, apparently. But at least we had a conversation. There were a few awkward pauses when the current topic dwindled into silence and I wasn’t sure what to move on to, but not nearly as bad as lunch last week.

Also, she’s cancelled her date to come to my birthday, which I feel good about, but also bad about. But hey, she’s coming, and we’re rebuilding.

I think for now the best thing for me to do is just make contact every so often, like I did today, but not push things and let her take her own pace. And then, maybe when we’re more secure and back on our feet, so to speak, try to talk about what happened.

In other news, not much is happening. A friend’s birthday is today, and I’m home alone for the evening while John works late closing shop, so I’m planning on making scotcharoos as a birthday gift and some baking therapy.

Also, there are 4, count ’em 4, birthday celebrations for me in the works: one tomorrow night with lab friends, one Friday in lab for all lab people, one Saturday night with my school friends, and one Sunday night with my diving friends. Wheee! I’ll probably feel fat after all that restaurant food and cake, but hey, it’s time for some fun. Each birthday only comes around once!

I also talked to my parents tonight, which is usually good for a mood lifter. I’m really looking forward to seeing them and Amy in a couple weeks at Amy’s graduation. I get along with my family better with 1800 miles between us, but it does mean I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like. My mom keeps saying that when they retire, they’ll move near us and babysit for us like her parents did, but she also says they’re going to retire to Wyoming or Montana. Frankly, I have ZERO intention of every living in either state, or anywhere that it snows on a regular basis, so there may be some conflicts there.

Ah well, off to make scotcharoos. Yum! Takes me back to my high school cross country days, when we’d have team Spaghetti dinners before meets, with tons of spaghetti, carrots, garlic bread and scotcharoos. It’s probably a wonder we could move the next day at all!

And scotcharoos are definitely a tasty, tasty treat!


Adapted from a recipe from

1C light corn syrup
1C white sugar
1 1/2C peanut butter
6C rice crispys
1 bag butterscotch chips
1 bag semisweet chocolate chips (regular chocolate chips are okay, but kind of overpoweringly sweet!)

1. Grease (pereferably with butter) a 9×13 baking pan. If you don’t, you’ll be sorry–these things are stickystickysticky!

2. Mix corn syrup, sugar and peanut butter together in a pot over medium heat, stirring until melted. Bring just to a boil (watch out for burning!), and then remove from heat and quickly stir in rice crispys. This may work better by transferring the peanut butter mixture to a big bowl containing the rice crispys, or using an oversized pan on the stove.

3. Pour/scoop/transfer the rice crispy-peanut butter mixture to the greased pan. Push it into place with a spoon or your hands. It should be cool enough to touch at this point. It helps if you grease your hands or the spoon with a little bit of cooking spray.

4. Melt over low heat the butterscotch chips and the chocolate chips until just barely melted. Be careful not to burn them! Spread over the tops of the cereal-peanut butter mix and let cool.

There is, right now, a pair of mallards walking down my sidewalk. I saw them on my way into the parking area. How cute! A duck couple out for an afternoon stroll. This made me smile.

We spent the weekend in Monterey, working with the staff, namely Greg, James F and Ben, to teach an Open Water scuba class. It was chilly, but great fun, and I saw all sorts of cool things, including a Hermissenda, a San Diego Dorid and a Sea Lemon (all nudibranchs, or shell-less snails), a huge flounder/halibut-type fish, and a WHALE!! That was about the coolest part. It broke the surface out in the bay while we were wading in from our first dive on Sunday. Very neat.

I also got partially caught up on sleep by taking a nap in the hotel on Saturday, and sleeping 12 HOURS last night. I’m feeling much more well rested now that I was on Friday.

Also, I’m in a much better frame of mind. There are still issues that are weighty, such as the traumas of last week and the issues with Amelia, but I’ve decided that I need to move on from the first and put it in perspective, and the second is up to her to resolve and let me know when she wants to be friends again. In the mean time, I’m moving on with life, as *I* wasn’t the one who ceased communicationg six weeks ago now. Moving on. Right.

In other news, I’m officially getting a dry suit for diving, which will be great, given that the water temperature this weekend was 51F. COLD!! It doesn’t help that I’ve lost enough weight that my wetsuit now fits like a loose glove, not a snug glove. This is good, I keep reminding myself. It does mean lots of new expenses, like a new tropical wetsuit, a drysuit (which I was already going to get, I suppose), and almost an entire new wardrobe, since I no longer fit into a lot of my clothes. Or I do, but theyr’e baggy and not flattering. Yea, and yet…yikes!

And officially, John’s mom is meeting us in LA for Amy’s college graduation, and giving us her car to replace mine. Yea again! Especially since I don’t really think I trust my car much these days. We’ve got to figure out what to do with it, since I feel bad selling it to someone or giving it to charity. And this also means she’s officially visiting for a week, with John’s youngest brother and grandmother. I do not deal particularly well with the mother or brother, to be frank. I plan on spending a lot of time at work while they’re here. Last time they visited, I spent a lot of time with Amelia, but I’m guessing that may not be the case this time. Moving on, I promise!

So yes, the weekend did great things to restore my equilibrium in life, and I’m feeling pretty good. Hope you all are too!

The car, while not dead, is on it’s very last legs.

It’s got a radiator leak and a clutch fluid leak, to team up with the oil leaks that I already knew about.

It should last me the three weeks that it needs to before my new car arrives.

Cross your fingers!

I am *not* a morning person. So getting up two hours early yesterday and one hour early today wasn’t fun. And tomorrow? It’s 4am for wakey-wakey. THAT’S FOUR AND A HALF HOURS BEFORE I NORMALLY GET UP!!!

So what am I doing right now?

Theoretically napping betwen my 18 hour and 24 hour time points.

Actually laying on the couch listening to music and poking around on the internet. Sending out invitations to my birthday parties for next weekend–all three of them! One for Scuba friends, one for class friends, and one for work friends. I learned from experience (i.e. John’s birthday party) that the various “groups” I’m part of don’t mix well. Ah well, more parties for me! Sweet!

(Change of gears, be warned!)

So, like I said, poking around on the internet. I keep checking the news pages about every 2 minutes, both hoping for and afraid of more news of the Virginia Tech tragedy. Although, I must confess that earlier this week, when the morning news spent 20 minutes covering what was unfolding at VT, and then 3 minutes covering the fact that 170 people had been killed in Baghdad, plus another 193 injured, I was so mad at the priorities of people.

In part, how can we care so much about the 32 people who died so tragically (and it’s not that we shouldn’t), but not care nearly as much about people who die every day in Baghdad and around the country? It frustrates me. John pointed out that people’s emotional involvement tends to be inversely proportional to the number of people killed. I think it’s a coping mechanism. I also think it’s not necessarily true.

I will admit that I cried several mornings this week while watching the VT news coverage, in part because college memories aren’t so distant for me, and thus I could relate, and also in part because Amy is still in college, and it terrifies me that she might not be safe. But I also don’t think you can prepare yourself or prevent these sorts of random acts of violence. They will happen regardless of how prepared or paranoid you are, so you have to go on living life and not get caught up in ‘what ifs’. I will also admit, though, that I have cried over deaths in Iraq and other war zones, as well.

Anyways, an example in point, although there are extenuating circumstances for me, was the tsunami that killed 200,000+ in Indonesia. One of my cousins died in a car accident just four days before it happened, and the grief I felt for him got mixed up with the grief I felt over the tragedy of all the lost lives, and I lost so many tears for everyone that I felt physically sick over it all. John actually banned me from the radio, newspaper, internet and TV to prevent me from learning any more news, as I just couldn’t handle it any longer. I’m still not sure the two incidents will ever be separated for me.

I’m still checking the news and reading stories about this week, but I’m also trying to move beyond it. As I said before, I send my thoughts and prayers to the victims, their families and their friends, and I mourn for the senselessness of this tragedy. But I also think that this is the sort of incident, while altogether too frequent, judging by Columbine and other school tragedies that have been referenced, that isn’t the sort of thing any person can prepare against, and thus we have to move beyond it and not let it’s blackness sink in. We have to hold onto the memories of those we lost, but not the memories of the helplessness and hatred.

I know I’m rambling–lack of sleep does that–but I sometimes need to put these thoughts out into the void so they’re not chasing around inside my head.

What with the Amelia fiasco and the tragedy at VT, plus the stress of work and whatnot, I’ve regressed into an Angry Music Phase. And as I don’t have a radio in the car, that’s not much fun.

There’s scuba diving this weekend, which will be fun, and the surroundings of good friends and good times should help this anger/emptiness/contemplativeness I’m feeling, some of which is trying to drag me back into the place I was during Christmas of 2004.

I pray for my cousin and for the people at Virginia Tech, but I also need to look forward and move on. We all do, or the people who commit these senseless acts of violence will have served the point that they set out to prove.

It turns out Amelia cancelled her date for my birthday. Which on one hand is awesome, and I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and maybe this means things will work out, but on the other hand makes me insanely worried that now she’s going to blame me for the lack of a date next weekend.

So I’ve spent all day feeling mixed about that. Plus, I got into work at 7am to set up some experiments. I am not a morning person. And while those were running, I had to take my car to the shop because (a) it nearly overheated last night on the way to Dive Club, and (b) it doesn’t want to shift any longer, and first gear is only a distant memory. That’s NOT a fun way to drive. No word yet on how much this will cost me.

Also, set up a bunch of slides to stain today, and left out one of the antibodies. Go me! So that obviously worked well.

It’s 6pm, and guess what I’m doing? Sitting down to lunch. That’s right, LUNCH. 6pm. You heard me. And I just burned my tongue on the leftover pasta I brought.

The good news? In about 20 minutes I can go start the last two hours of my long experiment, then drive south to pick up John from work (had to take him in this morning since my car was obviously going into the shop), and then finally go home and sleep.

Stupid pasta. I blame it all on the ravioli.


April 2007
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