Fourth of July Photo Contest Winners

Hey all! It’s been a long time since I posted again and I apologize about that. I know I sound like a broken record here but seriously, this trying to graduate thing is ridiculous! -_-

Anyway, let’s talk about America! Today’s post comes from the 4th of July when Cobalt and I asked our friends to text us a picture of something “American.” We got a lot of fun pictures – so many in fact that we are only posting the winners this year. Thank you so much for sending us pictures everyone! Also, if you didn’t send us a picture/didn’t win – don’t worry – there’s always next year! :)

Let’s get started:

Grand Prize

Cobalt and I really liked the composition of this pic. Artfully done. :)

Second Place

We loved this picture – so cute and also awesome! :D

Third Place

This is a pic of a bunch of Americans celebrating the 4th of July in South Korea where they are teaching English!

Yay! Congratulations to our winners!

What are you guys up to? Did you do anything sweet for the 4th of July? Cobalt and I ate a lot… Now that July is also half over, how has your July been? Anyone going on awesome vacations? I’ve been working and trying not to kill the microscope out of rage (it keeps breaking!)…

Congratulations K!

This picture was taken at the hospital this morning during K’s final round of treatment!

A few months ago, my friend K was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It was really upsetting because 1) he is very young and 2) he and my friend J were planning on getting married 2 months after the diagnosis! Luckily he caught the cancer early so it’s fairly treatable at that stage. K underwent surgery and then had a crazy round of chemo involving 3 cycles of three week intervals – the first week was always the worst followed by two less intense weeks (luckily for J and K, their wedding fell on one of the less intense weeks so K still felt okay for that!). After the first cycle, K’s tumor marker dropped ridiculously low (to the baseline level!) and then it has continued to stay below the baseline level throughout his treatment! I am writing this post today, on K’s last day of the entire chemo treatment, to say congratulations to K for getting through all of this! You rule, K! And I hope that this is the end! No more cancer! Stay away!

Plus I am super excited that J and K finally get to experience being happy newlyweds without pesky chemo treatments getting in the way and making K feel sick! Time to plan that honeymoon, guys! :)

In other news I slipped on ice when I was biking to work this morning. My knees took the majority of the fall but I also bumped my head. Luckily I was wearing a helmet! So now this post is double a reminder to take care of yourself (both staying healthy and checking for various cancers you might be susceptible to as well as wearing a helmet when you are biking/riding your motorcycle/doing other helmety activities)!

What’s new with you guys? Tell me everything!

Found photos and other stories

What I like about this one is that there is all that gray on the bottom. Why didn’t they crop most of it out?! Also, what do you think this girl is thinking about?

Hello all! I hope you are well! I am realizing that apparently Cobalt and I have a lot of traditions in October and by missing so much due to traveling, there is a lot of catching up to do with what little is left in this month!

This weekend we were busy getting Halloween costumes put together, picking out pumpkins, and buying candy for trick or treaters (which we will actually just be leaving in a bowl on our front porch as we’ve got ourselves a rehearsal dinner to go to on Halloween – J and K are getting married on Friday!!!!! Yes, in case you’re wondering, we will be dressed up in costumes – for the rehearsal dinner, not for the wedding obviously…).

This weekend we also went out to brunch with friends and then headed to pretty much the biggest antique mall I have ever seen. I am pretty sure you can get lost in there. Actually definitely sure because upon entering, Cobalt, J, and I immediately lost The Chocolate Pudding and The Millionaire Space Accountant! Moving on – the antique mall was really fun! So much stuff to look at/be sad about not being able to afford…. My favorite part was this whole corner of abandoned photographs and postcards from around the world. I love abandoned photographs especially because I feel that each one tells a story and I, having just stumbled across it, have no idea what it is! It brings out my creative side because I am intently gazing about how the photo was taken – the lighting, the clothing, the poses – but I am also looking at the expression on the people’s faces to try to guess what they were thinking about! So fun! Anyway, shown above and below are some of my favorites from this particular expedition.

I love this one of a woman and (I’m assuming) her plant. Also, this one has a date on the back (1925) and a note in German that The Chocolate Pudding and The Millionaire Space Accountant spent 5 min or so trying to decipher. So much fun!
So I found this one really creepy with everyone’s faces overexposed like that. The back of the photo had no explanation – just an address in Lincoln, IL. Any possible explanation? :)

On the to do list for this week:

  • multiple experiments (although nothing seems to want to work for me right now) because I have to give a presentation on my research in two weeks
  • making a blueberry cheesecake (it’s a slow process with all the experiments and life – good thing each step in the cheesecake making process requires substantial cooling/sitting/whatever time)
  • celebrating J and K!
  • carving pumpkins
  • voting (election day is next week, folks!)
  • maybe sleeping? Who knows…

What are you guys up to this week? Are you baking anything epic? Which is your favorite of the found photographs up there? Tell me all!

Challenge Course!

One of my favorite parts about grad school is that I get to be part of the SMART program every summer. The SMART program hosts 20-30 undergraduate interns in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) areas to come work on our campus for 10 weeks. Basically, each student gets to have an individual project in a lab in order to get a taste of what a life in science/grad school is like. They also have a ton of fun weekend/evening activities to get a taste of what life in Colorado is like too. So it’s kind of awesome.

It’s kind of awesome for us grad mentors too because our job includes: mentoring the students in different scientific techniques as well as science writing (they have to write a proposal, a paper, give a presentation and a poster), being a resource about what grad school/a science career is like, being the people students come to (generally I think we are more approachable then the heads of the program) when there is a problem in the lab or with their roommates/etc so that we can help them/find someone else to help them, and… hanging out with them. Yeah… our job “requires” us to go eat some lunches and dinners with them and then take them around Colorado! It’s kind of awesome. I love my job in the summer. And I love the SMART students. They are always super fun and excited and really smart (I guess that’s why it’s called the SMART program… ;))

This picture is from a challenge course I did with the SMART students last weekend. It was a lot of fun and we got to spend some time getting to know each other and doing crazy activities together. In this picture, another one of the grad mentors, M, and I climbed up this huge ladder (called the giant’s ladder). It was the scariest of everything we did that day for me so I can’t believe we actually made it to the top. I was so proud of myself.

Anyway, this is by far one of the coolest parts about being a grad student for me (yeah sure, being able to set your own hours, looking at coolness under fancy microscopes, and being at the forefront of research in your field are pretty cool too but I absolutely love helping these students get excited about their science/passions). It reminds me that there is a bigger picture out there and makes me feel whole.

What is your favorite part about your job? Or, if you hate your job, what is your least favorite part about your job? What is something you are passionate about? Let’s discuss!

Weather Report: ????

I usually check the weather on every day before I go wherever I am planning on going. Yesterday when I got up and checked the weather before my soccer game (first outdoor game of the year woooooooo!), I saw the following weather report. If you are thinking that this looks like a decent report of the weather, make sure you take a look at the current wind listed…

I am sure this was a random mistake on’s part because when I reloaded the page a few minutes later it was fixed. But it still made me laugh and made me think of how appropriate the report was for the month of March in Boulder. You see, we don’t really get one of those “normal” springs where it gradually gets warmer in March and then the “April showers bring May flowers…” No, Boulder basically has a split personality for this whole part of the year which makes the weather almost completely unpredictable (hence “wind: ??? calm??? Maybe?!?!?”). So yes, one day it will be absolutely gorgeous and a nice 66 degrees outside and the next day it will snow 2 feet (or rain/snow, or drizzle, or just be freakin’ COLD for no reason, etc) and then the next day the sun will come back out, the temperature will go back up, and it will be like that day in the middle never existed.

Ohhhhh Boulder…

Is it spring-like where you are yet? Are your springs as two sided as ours? I know we technically have 8 days until spring starts according to the calendar but no one seems to have told our weather that…

In sickness and in health

Short post today because Cobalt and I both have tragic death colds of death (finally getting better but still…). Boooo… Anyway, in case you didn’t guess already, today’s Wedding Wednesday post is about vows. So really, the post looks like this: What do you think? Writing your own vows or using traditional ones?
I am kind of of the mind set that Cobalt and I are anything but traditional and since nothing else about our wedding (what we’ve planned so far) is going to be very traditional, maybe writing our own vows would be more of our style. I like the freedom that it gives you – being able to say things and make promises about things that actually matter in your relationship and being able to add in little inside jokes that gives your relationship a sense of mystery and wonder that I think is my favorite part of any wedding. On the other hand, I am kind of nervous about writing my own vows. I am such a perfectionist, how can I make sure what I say to Cobalt expresses exactly how I feel?!
What do you guys think? What have you done? Is it worth it to write your own?

Picture: another engagement picture by Holly Carlyle.

Chickens and other words…

So there has been a lot of talk about most commonly used words recently. I am mostly referring to That Nolen Chick’s blog where she held a contest for people to guess how often words like “very,” “totally,” and “marvelous” appeared in her manuscript. Got me thinking about the words I use the most. I am sure the winners are the word “like” (trying to work on reducing the frequency of that one) and then a bunch of random noises that I don’t know how to type but sound kind of like this: “prggggggggg” (also spelled “grbbbbbbbb”) and “qwraaaahhhhh.” You understand? Yeah… I didn’t think so… Sorry about that.
But then I thought some more and realized that I say the word “chicken” more than I believe is necessary for someone who lives in a town where there aren’t very many chickens around (ask Cobalt if you don’t believe me). Curious…
Do you guys have a random favorite word?

About the pic – it’s from a short story by Clio Chiang called “This Time” in a collection of graphic short stories called “Flight Volume 2.” Apparently someone else says “chicken” a lot too…

In other news: SNOW DAY. First snow day where I am actually in Boulder AND I don’t have experiments running that require me to go into lab anyway. Look forward to some fun snowy pictures next week…

On Differences

I have always been something of a “freak.” Seriously. I named my car Remora (it’s the suckerfish that lives on sharks). I love sharks (and most sea creatures actually) with pretty much an undying passion – I want to throw a stuffed shark instead of a bouquet at our wedding. I don’t really care about the things I think a lot of people care about. In short, sometimes I feel like I am doing the opposite of what everyone else seems to be doing.
So then it’s funny how much of my life I have spent trying to fit in. I don’t want to be put in someone’s “weird” category where they judge me for being different. I just want to be me, Potassium! But you know how it is, you categorize people: There’s that weird girl that I don’t quite get. There’s that guy who seems like he’s sooooo full of himself. There are those people who do (whatever) when I think they should be doing (this other thing). I think it’s natural in a way. But I also worry that sometimes it prevents us from really just embracing people as they are.

I think there’s a fine line between respecting people’s differences and using differences to isolate people. I’d rather use differences as a jumping off point for getting to know people instead of as a label and a reason to stay away. It’s hard but maybe it’s something good to strive for.

About the picture. It’s from a graphic novel called “Bayou Vol. 1” by Jeremy Love which has great art even though I don’t like the story. I thought the picture was fitting for today’s post though…

Haven’t you ever wanted to hug a narwhal?

All right friends, Let’s try this again. I haven’t posted on here in what seems like millennia… Not really sure why. I guess life taking over…
Well let’s go! Yay! Today is a free day and in celebration of it, I am going to advertise some super cute/HUGE stuffed animals, like this guy up there. The website is! Anyway, this website/super fat stuffed animals have been pretty popular with my friends recently (one even suggested that Cobalt and I have fat stuffed animals as our table centerpieces for our wedding reception). I thought I would share one of my favorite fat stuffed animal websites so you all can witness the cuteness. The narwhal is my favorite. How about you guys?