Birthdays, Anniversaries, and other fun

This pinecone and its friends are the reason why I have crazy allergies right now… but I still like this pic. :)

My apologies for the short post but this week is crazy for me. I’ve got to squish 5 days worth of labwork into 3 because then Cobalt and I are heading to see his family for his mom’s 60th bday! Yay! Happy birthday to my MIL!

In other news, this weekend was nice. Cobalt and I made ricotta pancakes on Saturday. They were fluffy and delicious. See the pic below for tastiness (yeah yeah… they look like “normal” pancakes but they are way fluffier and tastier than them). We also tended to our little garden (the plantys are getting so big!!!), invented our own version of lavender lemonade (yummmmm), and went out for some tasty Italian food on Saturday night with some friends.

Tasty pancake… why did we eat all of them?! :(
These mixed peppers are probably ecstatic that it’s finally decided to be over 90 degrees here. The rest of us are not so sure we like it…

On Sunday, Cobalt and I, along with some other graduate students, took some of the students in the summer program I work for on a hike near Boulder. It is really fun to take people who don’t know the area at all on a hike because they are so excited to see everything – reminds what a cool place we live in. After the hike, we took our exhausted students out to lunch at The Buff, another staple of Boulder (hint: it was on Man Vs. Food). In the evening I went swimming with two of my friends from my grad program (we all started grad school together many many years ago… craziness) and we practiced some French. It was quite a lovely way to end the weekend.

Speaking of French, look forward to more France posts coming your way next week! Something you will definitely see next week: why Cobalt and I now have a fondness for Starbucks (hint: it’s not because of their coffee or any of their products)!

Did you guys have great weekends?! Tell me about them. I know some of my friends celebrated their 1 year wedding anniversaries.. Hooray! Congrats! Also, let me know if you’ve thought of anything you’re dying to know about France, or my current life in Boulder, whatever. Finally, don’t forget to wish my MIL a happy bday! :)

pH and Dallas Day 2

Some Dallas “wildlife”

I totally meant to write my second Dallas post for you guys this week but life went crazy in grad school. One of my labmates defended his thesis yesterday. This means he has his PhD now! And that I am now the senior grad student (not counting our MD/PhD student) in the lab… craziness… Because the defense is probably the most important part of actually getting a PhD (even more so than walking at graduation), my boss came all the way back from her sabbatical in France for his defense. This whole week reminded me of the two skills I think are the most important to learn in grad school: 1) that it is good to learn how to be independent, in control of your project, and manage your time well because after all, the whole point of getting your PhD is to learn how to answer a complex question that no one has ever asked before and 2) while skill 1) is important, it is also necessary to learn how to be flexible with your time because sometimes your cells don’t want to grow, the microscope is on the fritz, or your boss shows up from France after not seeing you for 3 months and wants to meet with you… at some point…

I had all these experiments or ideas of experiments planned this week and they mostly still happened except not exactly in the planned order. In addition, this was an epic week for defenses (my lab mate and one of my other friends here are now PhDs!) so after crazy days of trying to fit everything experimenty in and having exciting conversations with my boss, there was a lot of celebrating going on… I also had a random soccer game on Wednesday (they are usually on Sundays)… Whew… I am so excited for the weekend…

Anyway, as promised:

Dallas Day 2

After all the epic driving going on on Day 1, there was much sleeping in the morning of Day 2. Poor Jem still had to go to work so A, Cobalt, and I slept in and then got up to explore our surroundings a little. We took a leisurely stroll to this restaurant called the Dream Café and had amazing breakfast (it was lunch time though). I got these super fluffy amazing ricotta pancakes. I am not normally a huge pancake fan but I was really craving them and these hit the spot perfectly. Mmmmm… I want more! After our tasty breakfast, we wandered around downtown Dallas taking in the sights. It was pleasantly warm and there was so much neat stuff to see! I longed for my fatty DSLR camera instead of my little iPhone camera… Regardless, here are some pictures of our outing…

A and a dog she found…
A bird pretending not to watch us eat our delicious breakfast
Cobalt “walking on water”
Potassium and A being normal (that means weird)


In the evening, Cobalt and I drove to see some of his family members that live nearby. I pretty much instantly bonded with all of them and it turned out to be a really nice evening. We celebrated their youngest daughter’s birthday with pizza, wings, and deliciousssssss homemade cupcakes and I felt so special to be included. :)

Next week – Fun times at the Fort Worth Zoo and Fort Worth in general. For now it’s your turn. Tell me about your work – are there skills that you have had to develop to do your job better? Tell me about food – do you enjoy eating breakfast? What is your absolute favorite breakfast food (I love eggs, hash browns and some variety of meat but I don’t often order it because I eat it too fast to enjoy it… :p)? Any fun plans for the weekend? Any requests for animals next week?

In other news, I saw something cute yesterday: pH (which is a measure of how many hydrogen ions are in something)=2/3 PhD… so I guess I’m pH right now…

“Spring” Break?

Gustav wonders why we aren’t still skiing because he wants to make it all the way to the Flatirons you can see behind the hill we are on…

It’s spring break here in Colorado. Unfortunately for grad students like me who are done with our classwork, spring break doesn’t really mean much except that there are less undergrads everywhere. We still have to go to lab and we still can’t park on campus because spring break doesn’t count as a holiday for the crazy parking police. Booo…

Even with that said, my spring break has been pretty exciting so far. First my mom came to visit this weekend! We had so much fun even though it snowed almost a foot (yeah Colorado doesn’t really get the whole “spring” concept). Below is a list of fun activities that my mom and I did together:

  1. We went out to lunch at this fancy French restaurant in Boulder. We pretended we were in Paris and babbled a little bit in French while eating our super fantastic meals… mmmmm
  2. We made homemade rosemary crackers from scratch… Oh man they were so easy to make and so delicious. I wish I could post some for you guys to try on here…
  3. We watched the crazy snowy USA vs Costa Rica game (which happened in Commerce City, CO… not too far from here) on Spanish television and screamed GOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL along with the newscasters. I also babbled along with them in Spanish whenever I was happy that I knew a word or phrase.
  4. We made delicious shrimp tacos for dinner for Cobalt since he had to work late.
  5. We braved the crazy snowy streets to go run some errands and get tasty breakfast at Mom’s favorite breakfast restaurant here: The Buff (it’s on Man vs. Food – the Boulder edition if you want to learn about it).
  6. We had a party for the 50th anniversary of The Birds because it was mostly filmed about a 30 min drive from my hometown/where Cobalt and I stayed on our minimoon and because my mom had never seen it. I always get super homesick when I watch it so it was nice to watch it with my mom…
  7. I worked on trying to make alligator earrings in a similar style to my shark earrings
  8. We planted the seeds for Cobalt’s and my summer garden. Obviously they won’t be heading outside for a while…

    Yay! Mini plant greenhouse!
  9. Did I forget anything Mom?

After my mom left, I took advantage of the crazy snow everywhere and went cross country skiing around the hill by my house. No one else was out so it was a peaceful adventure through the fluffy snow for me and my sharks (Gustav is featured in the picture on top).

And now for the reason why I didn’t write on Thursday last week – I’ve been working extra hard in lab (except for when my mom was here) so that I can take some time off to actually have a spring break. Cobalt, our friend A, and I are road trippin’ to Dallas to see our friend Jem later this week! So exciting (so excited about WARMTH too…)! So I might not write this Thursday either… Or maybe I’ll make Jem cowrite a post with me (you were warned Jem… ;)). Jem and I have already planned to work on our street photography techniques as she shows us Dallas. Also, maybe Jem and I can finalllllly get our Etsy store up and running! So much excitement!

Now it’s your turn. What kinds of things do you do with your family when you visit them or they visit you? Is it spring there yet? What is your ideal spring break activity? Do you want that tasty cracker recipe? Have you been to Dallas? If so what do you think of it?

Fun with Air Swimmers!

Whew! Back from vacation! Cobalt and I had an epic time visiting both our families and having double Christmases (note: double Christmas was really awesome – it was great to see both of our families and share Christmas traditions with both of them – minus all the traveling involved to make it happen)! We also had a little party at our house in Colorado for New Years. It was so good to see some of our friends that we don’t usually see for that too. Yay holidays!

Anyway, Cobalt and I brought an Air Swimmer shark for our niece and nephew when we went to visit his family. We had a lot of fun setting it up for them, especially as the Air Swimmer shark also turned out to be HUGE, probably about the size of our niece. In fact, she had trouble holding onto him by herself. Also, the instructions warned us that the Air Swimmer had not been tested to fly above 4000 ft above sea level and we were higher than 7000 feet! But in the end, we got him properly set up and he actually flew pretty well. The kids and I took him down to the basement of Cobalt’s mom’s house so we could play with him. Here are some pictures from the fun!

A and Finn watching Cobalt blow up the Air Swimmer…

A and the Air Swimmer downstairs…

C and the Air Swimmer. He was really great at maneuvering the Air Swimmer. We decided that all those video games make for good practice for making Air Swimmers swim!

The kids stole my camera when I was playing with the Air Swimmer so there’s me!

We loved this… When you are done playing with the Air Swimmer, you can dock him to the remote control so he doesn’t fly away (by the way, in the FAQ on the Air Swimmers website, it says to not play with your Air Swimmer outside because it will fly away and you will be sad… we liked that part too!).

Anyway, this guy was REALLY fun to play with! I highly recommend getting one for you or for a kid in your life. :):)

How were the holidays for you? Any awesome presents? Talk to me! I’ve missed you guys!

That awkward moment

when you realize you can’t be two places at once.

Let’s start up the Wedding Wednesday posts again! First of all, I think we are supposedly going to get our professional wedding pictures soon (finalllllly) and second of all, there is stuff that I never finished talking about.

So let’s start. We’re married now (yaaaaay!) and the holidays are quickly approaching… What are we going to do about Christmas? For those of you who don’t know, Christmas is a big deal to both of our families. However, Cobalt’s immediate family is in NM and my immediate family is in CA. Every year before this year, Cobalt has gone to NM and I have gone to CA for at least Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so this year marks the first year we will be together on the actual Christmas holiday. The problem is… which family do we spend the holiday with? We already decided that we want to try to see both families during the Christmas season but of course only one family can see us for the actual holiday. Cobalt and I have been stressing out over this issue… mmmm since we got married… because we know that at least one family is going to be sad and one of us will be sad because we won’t be spending Christmas proper all together. That said, we love both of our families a lot so Christmas is still going to be special… just… different. However, it’s time to stop freaking out about it and actually buy tickets because holy crap they are getting really expensive.

Now it’s your turn. Any advice for the newlyweds? What did you do your first Christmas together?

Picture: One of the many crochet sharks I made, “Licky shark,” licking an ornament on my family’s Christmas tree last year. I took this picture when I was playing with the out of focus light so you can see that the reflection on Licky shark’s eye (and all the other out of focus light) is in the shape of a star. I like it…

Sisters in Seattle!

This weekend, I got to fly to Seattle for SACNAS, a conference for minority students in science/math/engineering/etc. I know I have many friends in Seattle so before you get mad at me for not telling you I would be up there, know that I spent the majority of my time in Seattle recruiting students to come to grad school at CU and talking to potential future employers. I did get to spend a lot of time with my sister who was also at the conference with her grad school. It was a ton of fun to wander around the conference with her. We got stuffed stem cells from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center booth, caught up on our lives (the last time we saw each other was for my wedding), and kind of freaked people out. “Uh… Are you guys… related?” Ahahahaha… My first day in Seattle, we headed to the aquarium before going to the conference. I loved the Seattle Aquarium when I was in Washington for undergrad so it was nice going back. We learned a lot of neat facts about fish and marine mammals.
Here are some pictures from our day at the aquarium (taken with my iPhone because I didn’t feel like flying with my DSLR):

The octopus was lurking in the corner of its tank…

We really liked this fish!

There’s a cuddlefish hiding in this picture…

Sisters in Seattle! Look at the sweet skull hat she found for me! :)

Picture at the top – Mt. Rainier, which is the 14’er that looms over Seattle, and the mountains to the south of it. I took that picture from the plane.

It was so nice being back in Washington after so long. I love that state. Seattle is probably one of my favorite cities in the US. Plus I got to see my sister, which was awesome. Booo… I hate that we live so far apart… :(

What did you guys do this weekend? What is your favorite city in the US? Have you been to Seattle (next time I go, I promise I will go for a longer time and I will actually let people know so we can hang out!)? Do you live far away from your family? How do you handle that? It makes me sad. :(

The calm before the storm

M, me, Cobalt, and my wee at the beach. I think I look weird taking the picture… At least you can see the tail shadow cast by my raptor hoodie… Yesssssss… :)

Last Wedding Wednesday ever (at least prewedding…)! Craziness!

Things are looking good. This past weekend, Cobalt and I got everything that needed be printed at Kinko’s (table seating assignments, etc) ready and then on Monday, we printed everything out AND ran our epic shopping trips to Costco, Target, etc. We paid the caterer her final check so we have now officially paid everything off. We are pretty much ready to sit back and watch everything just fall into place now… Yay! Let’s go!

Things got a little interesting on Monday when one of the groomsmen found out that he was actually flying to CA on Tuesday instead of today (we actually can’t decide if he chose the wrong day or if the airline totally just screwed him over) but everything seems to have worked out great! We picked him up Tuesday morning and then he and Cobalt ran errands while my mom, my sister (who came in Monday night! Yay!), and I went out and did girly things, like playing with makeup and shopping for jewelry. Then Cobalt, M (groomsman), wee (sis), and I took off for the beach to relax a little.

It was amazing out there. I am always in awe of the ocean whenever I see it (living in a landlocked state has totally intensified this feeling) but today just seemed perfect. The weather was perfect (not too hot, not too cold), there were seals and pelicans out playing around in the water for us to see (see below), and it was just a nice calm before the storm hanging out there with Cobalt and two people who are also very important to me.

Look at that pelican! Flapping away…
Dive pelican, dive! You should have seen them! They were dive bombing the ocean and as soon as one pelican found something, all these ducks, other pelicans, and seals would show up to try to grab it…

I’m signing off for a while. Friends and family are coming in today (safe travels everyone!), the bachelorette/bachelor parties are tomorrow, craziness Friday, and then WE GET MARRIED on SATURDAY!!!! Maybe I will be back next Wednesday for a wedding recap? Maybe the Wednesday after that… Only time will tell…

Epic Weekend!

Wow… Cobalt and I had a great weekend! We drove to see his family for the fourth of July and decided to spend the rest of the weekend frolicking with his family, catching up with some of our friends we haven’t seen in a while (we hadn’t seen some of them in almost 4 years!), […]

Pre-evacuation and what followed

Picture: Flagstaff fire on Thursday. If you look closely you can see the spot fires which are what remained of that giant smoke plume I posted on Wednesday…

I thought I would write a post about the pre evacuation we had last week now that everything has calmed down (a little… wedding in a month! Tons to do for lab and wedding and etc!! Also, remind me to post about what I have been up to in lab lately… I think it gives good insight into why I have been so insane lately…). Anyway… yes. We got pre evacuated last week. This means that we had to have everything ready to go in case the Flagstaff Fire decided to head down the mountain and into the town. At any point, we could get the reverse 911 call and be asked to leave our house.

I have never had this experience before though Cobalt unfortunately has… in fact, his house or a house he has lived at (i.e. his mom’s house) has been in a pre evacuation zone three times and has actually had to evacuate twice due to forest fires. We have already decided that while living in the mountains is pretty, we are done.

So, anyway, when we got the pre evacuation notice on Tuesday afternoon last week, we went upstairs to start packing and I found I had a bit of a dilemma. I’ve lived in four different states and have moved almost every year since I was 18, so I am really good at packing everything to move to a new house. I am also pretty good at packing things for trips. However, packing to evacuate is a different thing all together. It’s kind of like packing for a trip except that you also have to pack everything that is emotionally important to you (like a keepsake or something) and everything that is necessary for life (like your renter’s insurance policy which will pay for you to get new stuff if your apartment burns down). So in that way, it is sort of like packing to move your house… except you can’t pack EVERYTHING. The other awkward thing was that we have started to get some really nice gifts for our wedding and we have been collecting things we want to bring to CA for the wedding too. So allllll of that had to get packed too. We could barely navigate through the living room to get to the kitchen when it was all over…

Unfortunately for Cobalt and me, we actually ended up having to pack both for evacuation as well as for a trip because his grandpa died on Tuesday (in addition to the fire starting on Tuesday… Tuesday was not a good day…) so we had to pack to go to the funeral on Friday. There was a lot of just throwing random things in suitcases for the pre evacuation and throwing random outfits into a suit bag for the trip. That was all in the living room too.

Let’s fastforward to Wednesday, when we were still under pre evacuation notice and we had to get ready to fly out for the funeral on Thursday. This is when we decided we should probably move the pre evacuation stuff somewhere safe just in case we got evacuated while we were gone. We loaded up my car with all of the stuff deemed important for evacuation and drove to a friend’s house just east of the pre evacuation line. They put it all in their garage and we headed home to discover that the pre evacuation notice had just gotten lifted! We headed back to their garage and grabbed our stuff, which remained in the living room until we got back from the funeral on Saturday… the upstairs is still a mess though because both of us have been too tired/busy to unpack anything…

The Flagstaff fire is now almost 90% contained (as of Sunday afternoon, when I wrote this) but Colorado is still pretty much on fire. We have had our fireworks canceled this year and anyone found in possession of fireworks could get charged with arson… :-/ The worst of the fires is in Colorado springs; the Waldo Canyon fire has been by far the most devastating fire I have seen in a long time… :( So sad… Keep praying/hoping/etc for rain!

Picture: Cobalt’s grandpa teaching him about picture frames in his frame shop.

A word about the funeral… It was really sad (obviously) but also awesome to hear all these people honoring Cobalt’s grandpa’s life. He was such a good man… We will all really miss him. :( It was really nice to be surrounded by Cobalt’s extended family, even though it was for a sad occasion. I just loved how good it felt to be there surrounded by such a loving group of people…

I am so excited to be officially a part of this family in almost a month!

Have you ever had a week where you were just deluged by craziness? What happened? How did you deal with it?

Next up… more craziness! Our prom wedding shower! I need to acquire the pictures between now and Wednesday…

Dress Fabric update (and a day in the city)!

Hey everyone!
Wow… it’s been so long since I updated. Boooo grad school making me do stuff all the time. It’s not like you’re my job or anything… Anyway. Craziness has semi subsided so you get a post today! And it’s a fun one with LOTS of pictures! :)

Also, today is Cobalt’s birthday! Yay! Happy birthday Cobalt! I’m sorry grad school has made a bad fiancee out of me this week but I promise I will make it up to you tomorrow on your fancy birthday outing that I have planned! :D But that’s a secret (for now) so let’s talk about something else…

So last weekend, my mom and I went to go get fabric to make my wedding dress! When you want good fabric for something fancy like a wedding dress and you live in California, there is one really good place to go and that is Britex Fabrics in San Francisco!! So that’s where we went. Since neither my mom nor I really enjoy driving in the city, we decided to make a day out of it and take the San Francisco ferry into the city. It was really fun. Some pictures:

Here is a pic of Mom and me on the boat, ready to go!

Scrarmpl the shark got to come too but after this whole fiasco of him getting on the other side of the railing in an attempt to reach the water, he had to spend most of the boat journey in my purse…

The Golden Gate bridge was being shy/mysterious and decided to hide behind a cloud of fog…

San Francisco!!! So pretty. I like that I got the sail boat in the pic too..

It was windy on the boat… :-/

Anyway, then we got off the boat and walked to downtown San Francisco where Britex lives. It was a beautiful day in the city, perfect for walking around and hanging out with your mom. Britex had a HUUUUGE variety of fabrics in all sorts of colors and patterns. I was drooling as soon as we got inside. Anyway, we found a bunch of really nice silk satin fabrics in all sorts of colors. I actually found the perfect blue I wanted for my dress but when Mom and I put it up to my skin, we realized that perhaps light blue is not a very good color for me. She said I looked all ashy but I thought I just looked yellow. SO I gave up on the plan for a light blue dress and decided I would rather have a color that would make me look pretty instead of a color that I personally like but that makes me look weird on my wedding day. We found this amazing silk satin instead that looks really good with my skin color and it was sooooo soft. I can’t WAIT to have an entire dress made out of it. So exciting. Sorry though, we weren’t allowed to take pictures in the fabric store AND I can’t have pictures on here anyway because Cobalt reads this blog… So you all will just have to wait for that.
Anyway, we went upstairs (Britex has FIVE FLOORS of fabric, people… :):):)) and found some really nice fabric for my mom’s MOtB dress too. I also got some French netting and a comb for my veil/hairpiece thing. I loved chatting with the French netting ladies because they were so excited for me and we talked a lot about how to arrange the netting to make it be the perfect veil/hairpiece. They were very knowledgable and funny. :) So yeah. A good experience overall! And a great day. I love San Francisco. I feel bad though because being there reminded me of how much less I like Denver, CO… Sorry Colorado…
Here are some more pictures:

Beautiful day in a beautiful city. Look at those trees and the buildings and the sky! <3

Saw this guy at the grocery store at home… Totally made me want to buy those nectarines… Haha, such a sucker for shark things.

Cute bunny in Colorado… See, there are things I like about Colorado!

Anyway, that concludes my post for the day. I hope you guys are doing swimmingly! I am off to have lunch with Cobalt for his birthday!!!!! But while I do that, you should tell me some things… Like… what is your favorite city in the whole world? I think it’s a tie between San Francisco and Seattle for me. But there are so many places I haven’t been to yet! Also, I am always talking about sharks in here so what is your favorite animal?
Have a good weekend! :)