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I had my day all planned, and theoretically was going to be able to leave right after a meeting with my boss. I was going to go run an errand or two, then go to the gym.

Things never go as planned, do they? Especially in the life of a scientist. Especially one who is cloning.

*insert heavy sigh here*

But!

The good thing was, when I went to go move my car around 7:15 or so, who should I run into by Sydney!

She was also leaving work, and gave me a ride. We chatted and caught up–she’s been on three vacations lately, to Florida, New York and Puerto Rico, and has been pulling a lot of shifts at the hospital in-between to make up for it. So she’d kind of disappeared off the face of the earth.

Of course, we’re about to leave and disappear for awhile, but it was still nice.

And we’re definitely getting together when we’re all back in town.

So, things at work ended up working (just taking 3-4 extra hours), and I unexpectedly ran into a friend! Not a bad outcome, I’d say.

Hope you all enjoy your Labor Day weekend!!

Fun thing one: Birthdays!

We’re entering that time of year when the birthdays pile up. Greg was a week ago, Rae and Cara were this past weekend, and upcoming over the next two-three months are Amy, Ella (who will go from my favorite 1-year old to my favorite 2-year old!), Nate, Shelly, John and all sorts of other people.

Makes sense when you think about it–9 months after Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day!!

We had dinner at Greg’s sister’s house for his birthday last Monday night.

Saturday was Rae’s party, with a private catered chef and vodka infusions and everything. Super classy, and tons of fun, though it always reminds me when we hang out with her and Aaron about things like that that John and I are definitely in a lower tax bracket. Still, nice to enjoy it for an evening, and mixed berry vodka infusion is amazingly good!

Cara’s party was Sunday, with sushi followed by seeing a local cover band at a local bar. The two guys in the bad were really good, and really funny. They’ll be playing at James and Cara’s wedding, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them again. Not quite in the same league as Rae’s party, but Cara’s was very familiar and fun.

Now I’m trying to come up with some fun things to send Amy for her birthday this Friday, other than what she’s asked for. It’s always nice to have some surprises, don’t you think? Any ideas on small, light weight stuff that a person living on their own for the first time could use?

Fun thing two: Vacations!

Man, tons of people are taking vacations at this time of year. Elizabeth and Matt went off on their honeymoon (well, yes, more than a vacation, but still), and Sydney and her boy went to New York and Puerto Rico–I didn’t even get to see her in between her trips, but I’m hoping to catch up with her before we leave soon! James and Cara were up in the Pacific Northwest, and Nate and Shelly are about to head off to Greece.

And where are John and I going? Well, two weeks from Thursday, we leave for 2-3 weeks involving sun, sand, and diving. Here’s a hint: We’re not going to Australia, but we’ll have two 24-hour layovers in Brisbane on the way there and back. Any suggestions for places to eat, things to do, sights to see?

From there we’re off to Papua New Guinea–the last frontier in diving, theoretically. Everyone we’ve ever talked to has said it’s the best diving we’ll ever do. We’ll be at a very remote resort for a handful of days, then 11 days on a luxurious live aboard, diving to our heart’s content. At the resort, we’ll have access to the world’s best “muck diving”–diving to see all the little creatures that live in the silt at the bottom–plus skull caves, amazing hikes, and all sorts of cool birds and animals and fish. My goals, above water, to see a bird of paradise and an echidna–my dad has never even met anyone who’s seen a PNG echidna, so I want to try!

It should be an amazing vacation, full of as much relaxation or as much go-go-go diving as we want it to be. I can’t wait, and there’s still more than two weeks to go!!

Oh well, I’ve got some birthdays between now and then to tide me over. 🙂

I know I haven’t been posting much, and sort of trivial things, but it’s because I’ve been figuring out how to deal with what I’ve been feeling–I figured working through it in my head was a lot better than rambling on forever here.

Also, I’ve been working on a paper a lot lately, so I’ve kind of not felt like writing anything else.

So, the truth is, I felt for awhile there like I was two people, one very happy and one not so happy.

I was given some advice awhile back–that I could choose to dwell and be unhappy and let things get to me, or I could move on and get over them and be happy with the way things were. Difficult advice to follow, to be sure, but I decided it was worth a shot.

So that is what I’ve been working on for the last month. I’ve really begun to feel like I can just be happy with myself and my life and my family and my friends and everything recently. But I also felt like if I tried to blog about it before I was ready, it’d come out all negative, which would defeat the purpose.

Now, though, I think I’m ready to go back to writing. And definitely ready to go back to being happy and self-confident and self-loving!

So here are some of the happy moments in the last month or so:

I got to help with an Advanced scuba class awhile back that Sydney took, and it was great to work with our staff and her. Plus, we had some cool dives. On our night dive, an otter came and hunted by the light of our lights. Sydney also found an octopus, which I’m hoping the otter did NOT find! I also saw my first eel, a monkey-faced eel, down in Carmel on the boat dive, which was pretty cool.

I threw myself a kick-ass enchilada birthday party, somewhat delayed to make room for the advanced class, and the weekend Sydney had her birthday party, and stuff going on at John’s work. We heated our little apartment up to toasty levels with three burners and the stove going, but it was an awesome evening.

I did a big presentation for my department, and it went well. I made it through the talk, answered all the questions fully (I hope), and was told afterwards by people that it was clear and concise and I did a good job.

I got to spend part of the past weekend with the lovely Julie and her adorable girl Ella, and even got a smile and a hug from her by the end of the day. (Specifically Ella, but Julie did smile and hug me, too!) There’s nothing quite like a baby’s smile to make all right with the world. Plus, it was great to hang out with Julie and her family! Now to just wait for the third member of her family to come visit…

And last, there’s a hummingbird nest in the bushes by our front door. The poor thing keeps dive bombing us whenever we come or go, and if we had another door, we’d use it. But in the meantime, it’s pretty cool to watch her, and I can’t wait for little hummingbird babies!

See, now how can life be dark and dreary when I’ve got all that going on?

Life has been scattered lately. So has my brain.

We’re making massaman curry chicken for dinner. I’m super excited. And hungry.

Easter was lovely. Good time with family, and lovely to see my grandparents doing well. Of course, after the left, things got even livelier–liar’s dice and lots of wine were involved. Lovely.

Not so lovely: I’ve been wondering if things don’t work for me in experiments because they just don’t, or because I’m not good at this whole science thing. Other people can make similar experiments work, so I’m starting to feel it’s just me. And I already feel like I suck at science, so this isn’t helping.

On a positive note, though, I got dismissed from being on a jury last week because the case involved disputed scientific evidence of the sort that I am familiar with. Neither the defense nor the prosecution wanted me. I’m guessing one side thought I’d agree with the evidence, and the other side thought I’d agree with the dispute. So apparently this science thing is somewhat worth it. And thankfully I won’t miss two weeks of work!

We went “fun diving” this past weekend with James, Cara and Sydney. We saw a thornback ray. The conditions weren’t great, but the ray was awesome. Plus hanging out with the three of them was awesome.

We’ve got a scuba class next week, and I’m super excited. Sydney is taking it, and I think I’m going to be allowed to carry gear, and hence be a useful member of the staff, so it should be awesome. And if involves boat dives! Whee!

I’ve managed to get rid of most of the tension and pain in my shoulders and back. Now I’m just working on making my muscles strong enough to do normal everyday things.

For the first time in about three months, I don’t have a doctor appointment tomorrow morning. So excited. And starting next week, I only have two a week instead of three!

I’m allowed to bike again, and Elizabeth and I went out this past weekend. It was freakishly hot, but well worth it. We got in a good 15-20 miles, and had a blast. There are plans for a repeat this coming weekend!

My mom, too, is doing really well. No further complications from surgery, energy recovering, doing well. We keep getting favorable reports from John’s mom, which are much appreciated. And I get to see my mom with my own eyes in just over a month. Sweet!

On the flip side, John’s grandmother went into the hospital with lung problems again recently. It didn’t look good, to the point where we were ready to pick up and fly home, but thankfully she too is recovering and back at home.

I still miss my bunny, but it’s getting easier every day. I’m starting to even think of doing something with his cage. John has vetoed that “something” being filling it with a new bunny. Bah. Though I really appreciate all the condolences.

Randomness of the brain: Sometimes helpful. Sometimes not.

Well, the secret was. As in, it no longer is. Those of us who knew/know are a strange mixture of heartbroken and angry, but the people it most directly impacts seem to be coping well. With the way things have fallen out, I think that’s all I’m going to say. Sorry.

I’m not sure that I really need to keep it a secret here, except for two things. One, I said I would keep it a secret at the time, and now the conditions aren’t something that I would want bandied about if they were about me. And two, I wasn’t sure how much of a secret it would be here. Yes, I realize posting things on the internet isn’t really good at “secret keeping”, but I wasn’t sure who, if anyone, that I knew in person would be reading this.

After all, when I posted about my mom’s surgery, I hadn’t told many people and intended to keep it that way. Cara and James F. knew, as they were there on Friday when I found out that the surgery was moved. Sydney knew, and was very helpful, both as a friend and medically. She even didn’t describe anesthesia to me as “dangling someone on the brink of death” until after the surgeries were over! And finally, Nate and Shelly knew, as I had dinner with them that Wednesday night and was finally ready to talk about it, having heard that my mom was out of surgery and doing okay.

But I told no one else, save you guys, mostly because I didn’t want people asking me about it when I had no answers, especially during the 12 hours of waiting. And frankly, it was rather personal, both for my mom and for me, and I didn’t feel like sharing it with anyone more than my close friends and you guys, who have been great for moral support. And I wrote about it here because I needed to write about it.

So I was a bit taken back to have a classmate ask about it awhile later. Not upset, but surprised. I mean, I’m sure my lab mates figure out something was up when I jumped every time my phone rang, or when I was Skyping with my mom and she was clearly in a hospital gown in a hospital bed, and we were talking about all sorts of hospital-related things. Nonetheless, it was a bit startling to have someone else bring it up in conversation first. Not something I really expected, to be sure, when I was just trying to grab a beer and make my way over to my friends at happy hour. The sentiment was appreciated, and it was long enough over that I was willing to talk about it, but still.

So I think I’m just going to respect the privacy of my friends. I’m sorry to lead you all on. Any spare thoughts for comfort, health and happiness you could send out would be appreciated, though.

The best thing to do with a long, hard, painful day?

(Note to self: Never do that much work in the containment hood after physical therapy!)

Sandwich it between a girl’s night out and a great day.

Wednesday night I went out with Cara for mexican food and drinks and some girl time, which we’d both been lacking lately, and it was just a lot of fun.

Then, today, I got good news from the chiropractor–when I first came to see her, she described the muscles in my neck as “solid”, meaning there was no suppleness or give, and she couldn’t feel my joints because of the tenseness. Today, she said there were tense areas, but the muscle is supple again–it gives, and she can feel joints. Thus, I’m getting better, at least in the sore back/neck area. Whee!

The other fun stuff is coffee with Sydney, who’s done with clinics early today, followed by basketball watching. Then I’m off to dog sit for the evening and weekend. This is the same dog we sat for last Thanksgiving, and I think it’ll be a fun, relaxing weekend.

Plus, it’s only the second full weekend John’s had off this year (and it’ll be at least May before he gets another one, given the April schedule), so we’re going to make the most of it. He has a job, so I’m not complaining too much, but geez, it’s nice to see my husband sometimes, you know?

The plan was to dive, but I think instead we’re just going to be lazy–do a bit of dog walking, a bit of gardening, a bit of house rearranging, and a bit of nothing. Okay, let’s be frank, he’ll be doing the gardening and house stuff, and I’ll be helping as best I can, but still.

All in all, a good set of days. It’s always good to balance the lows with the highs.

Hope your weekend is fabulous!

Arizona went 19 and 13 this year, and 9 and 9 in the Pac-10. They had some quality wins, but a number of not-so-quality losses, too.

Common consensus was that they needed to go far in the Pac-10 Tourney to make it into the NCAA Tourney this year.

They lost their first game.

So when Sydney schedule her house warming party for today, Sunday, from 3-8pm, I figured I’d have something to do to keep my mind far away from the Selection Show.

So we went, we drank, we ate, we played games, we talked, we laughed. We had a great time, and met some really fun people, as well as reconnected with some others. We met Sydney’s new boyfriend, admired her new place, and talked about exploring her new town. We left behind some cake and pasta salad but came home with some tri-tip and some brownies. It was a lovely afternoon.

Upon arriving home, we lounged on the couch for awhile. We did the dishes from the afternoon of cooking some stuff to take to the party. We laughed at the cat when he put his head in my water glass and then got it stuck momentarily. We talked about the upcoming week, with me reminding him to remind me of my doctor’s appointments and him reminding me of his days off.

It wasn’t until John idly flipped back to the TV and Sports Center came on that I thought to check.

And then, there it was. Arizona. A 12-seed.

I don’t know by what grace they got in, but they did.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, come Friday, we’re dancing!

No jinxing things, okay?

So, what else to mention…

Well, I’m still working on writing my paper, which is great fun, let me tell you! Despite not providing too many comments on my writing, my boss commented to me on Wednesday that if I’ve got a committee meeting coming up, I should try to have a final draft of my paper by this weekend. Yeeeaaahhh. I’m working on it. And progressing, theoretically.

Hrm, fun things to talk about…

Oh, my shoulder/neck is getting better! I was pain-free for nearly a week leading up to my appointment a week ago, then made the faulty decision to do some cardio kickboxing with minimal punching moves on Monday. And then proceeded to have mild neck pain for the rest of the week. Apparently there’s a difference between feeling fine and being fine!

And here I was, about to make diving plans with Sydney and whoever else was interested. D’oh! Maybe I can convince people to carry my gear into the water for me, so I don’t have to carry the weight.

But at my last doctor’s appointment on Friday, she said that despite the pain, I was less tense, or whatever she’s feeling in my back/neck/shoulder, than I had been, so things are progressing towards being okay despite my bad decision.

And John has been absolutely wonderful. He told me I was going to my club meeting Wednesday night, despite whether I wanted to or not. It was actually a great decision, and I met someone who might help me with finding a job in the next year or so, as well as someone who had some good information on finding a new place to live! Productive night! Then I went to dinner with Nate and Shelly and Rae and Aaron, who were great and distracting company.

Then, Thursday, John took me to see the Sharks game. Just so I wouldn’t be sitting at home worrying. Lovely boy, eh? The Sharks won, which was also good. And I reconnected with three old friends over the course of the day.

And yesterday, when a headache came out of nowhere and blindsided me, probably a result of the stress and worry of the week, he made me a lovely dinner and helped me relax.

Now I’m sitting at home, on the couch, drinking coffee and watching the Sharks game and theoretically working on my paper. Clearly that’s going well, as I’m writing this and not it! But I’m feeling good, and things (all of them) are well. That’s what counts, right?

Plus, I think there’s a chocolate banana cake recipe calling my name. Anyone want to come by for a taste???

I’ve spent a ton of time lately working on a manuscript to give my boss, and the more time I spend working on it, the less time I want to spend sitting around writing other things. So, not so many posts lately.

But now I’m just sitting in front of the computer exporting image files to TIFF files, individually, one at a freaking time, in 5 different color combos, and I’m about to go mad from boredom. I’m really hoping the time this is taking is because John’s old computer is so slow, and thus it’ll be faster if I can find a computer at work, but it may just be the program.

One hour and 47 images down, millions of both to go.

So what have I been up to?

1. We went out and bought a couple hundred dollars worth of school supplies for the school in Fiji–it’s amazing just how much you can get for so little. Now, of course we have the problem of shipping this stuff there. That might actually cost more than the supplies themselves, but it’s a price we all (the people from the trip) are glad to pay. I just feel bad that it took us so long to go and do this!

2. I’ve screwed up my neck/shoulder/side muscles through some random combination of work and diving. The extent apparently has to do with my body trying to compensate for, say, my neck muscle being sore, and thus holding my shoulder funny, thereby injuring it as well. I am not amused. The chiropractor thinks she can help, but if not, I’m off to physical therapy. Grouch. That said, I’d like to be able to dive and bike again soon, so I’m doing what I can. Frankly, there are days when I’d like to take a deep breathe (or sneeze or yawn or whatnot) without intense side pain as if from a stitch. Grouch.

3. We’re going to visit my grandparents this weekend. They’ve been moved down to California, although they would probably term it “they’ve moved to California.” They haven’t done so well this past year, and fall (the month, although it did involve some falls) was hard on them. I couldn’t go help out, as I felt like I’d already taken off so much time to be with my mom, but now I can go and see them and take care of them whenever. Or just visit them. They’ve moved down here to be close to two children and their families instead of just one. Maybe this means my parents will come visit more? I hope!

4. Speaking of which, my mom Facebook’d me. I was amused. And yes, I accepted. I’ve always approached that site with the theory that, if I didn’t want my parents/boss to see it, it wouldn’t be on there. So why not? I’m wondering a bit about my sister, though.

5. We have back-to-back-to-back-to-back scuba classes starting tonight. I didn’t go down to help, but I might get in the pool if I can weasel permission from the doctors. This schedule is going to take the combined work of our entire staff. Le sigh.

6. We had brunch a week or so ago with Elizabeth and Mark, and found an awesome crepe place to add to our list of enjoyable restaurants. Plus, it was just a lot of fun.

7. On the opposite side of the spectrum, James M wanted to get together for dinner Tuesday night. When he was late, I texted. And apparently woke him up. Frankly, we were okay with being stood up. Less awkwardness, as he still hadn’t quite caught on to the fact that most of us are incredibly fed up with him and his lack of help to our scuba staff. Especially with the upcoming classes…

8. My goal for 2009 was to declutter my life. Not so much a New Year’s resolution, which is made to be broken, but a plan to feel better about living in a small apartment with a lot of stuff meant decreasing the amount of stuff. To that end, we took 7 bags of stuff to the Goodwill last Saturday. And that was only one room’s worth!

9. John finally, finally, has a full weekend off this coming weekend. First since December. He still has a job, so I’m not complaining, and I understand that his schedule is wacky because his boss is rearranging the whole schedule to maximize the full-timers, thus (a) protecting them and (b) minimizing the amount of time he has to pay his part-timers. This sucks for them, but not much I can do about it. That said, the lack of weekends off together combined with the number of late nights he’s working isn’t fun.

10. Sydney and I haven’t gotten together much recently, what with her crazy shifts around the holidays, my trip home, and now her trip to Thailand. But she’s home and we’re having dinner Monday! Woot!

Okay, ten seems like a good number. It seems like all I’ve been doing lately is working, going to the doctor, or going out to eat. I’m sure there’s more to my life than that, but maybe not.

Oh, yes, there was the massive Target run and clearing them out of all conceivable school supplies. Fun!

Anyways, John’s almost home and the San Jose Sharks are playing, as are the Stanford boys’ basketball team, so I think it’s officially time to call it a day and shut down the image analysis. Gee, darn!

Does it weird anyone else out when street lights right above/in front of them go out? Because it does me.

It also doesn’t make me too happy when I arrive at work 2 hours early, but leave more or less at the same time. On the bright side, I suppose I could have left two hours later.

Two of my samples have switched identities. This throws everything up in the air.

We’re having gyros for dinner. With french fries. From the diner down the street. No dishes to do. Huzzah!

I’m so looking forward to having Thursday (mostly) and Friday (mostly) and Saturday and Sunday off. I need a break.

Basketball tomorrow night despite the freakishly long day. I’m going to try to get Sydney in on John’s ID. We’ll see how well that works. If not, she and I will find something else fun to do.

I love the days when John remembers to turn the porch light on for me. So comforting.

I just performed my last secretarial duty for a local club. Well, okay, I’ve got to run by the bank (ok, twice), and co-sign some more checks, and help with the holiday party… Damn. I thought I was done.

Why do cats prefer to lay on things other than carpet? Shoes, paper, random boxes, the mail. Wouldn’t the carpet itself be more comfortable? Or the couch? With the blankets?

Elizabeth and Mark are lovely people. They’ve offered to look in on the rabbit while we dog sit down south. Of course, it would help if I had a key to give them… Damn.

Why do I always wind up with holes in the front of my shirt, about where a belt buckle would be? That is, if I wore a belt. I can’t explain them and I don’t like them.

Homemade french bread is the best thing ever. And coincidentally, just about the only thing to eat in our house. Sadly, we’re now out of bread flour.

Dammit, that’s why I was thinking we should drive to get dinner and go get Mexican. Tasty, plus we could stop at Safeway on the way home and buy essentials like milk and cereal and food in general.

I’ve been using the word “damn” a lot. Hrm. This doesn’t bode well.

There are only two more Wednesdays in my Freakishly Long Gigantic Experiment. Oh, and the prep day Tuesdays, the follow-up day Thursdays, and the final analysis days of Monday and Tuesday.

Soon, ten weeks of the past year of my life will be wrapped up in 3 excel graphs and some pictures. One fifth of my year. I’m not sure if that’s comforting or depressing. Either way I should get a paper out of it. I hope.

We got new phones. The texting sucks. I’m giving mine about a week longer to make me happy, then taking it back and trading it in.

Is 8:30pm too early for bed??

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