“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!

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. :(

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…

Mr. and Mrs…. ????

Let’s do a scandalous post today….

Let’s talk about last names.

I know I know… I can hear everyone get all awkward… or maybe that’s just me being awkward. Maybe everyone else is totally cool with it. If so, can you help me?

So the last name thing is a hot spot for me and I’ve blatantly shrugged it off over the past few weeks and months promising to deal with it later. Well, last weekend we had our last premarital counseling session with one of our officiants and we were working on planning the ceremony. He asked if we had thought about how we want to be introduced at the end of the ceremony (you know, after “You may kiss the bride,” there’s that part where you are announced as “for the first time ever…”). What’ll it be? Mr. and Mrs. [insert Cobalt’s last name here]? Cobalt [Cobalt’s last name] and Potassium [my last name]? Just Cobalt and Potassium, for the first time ever as husband and wife? The short answer is I don’t know.

For the entirety of my life, I always assumed that I would change my name to be my husband’s last name and become “Mrs. Whatever” because that is what you do. Then I even started joking about it and I was like Hey! My last name is cool! If he has a boring last name, then he should change his last name to match my awesome name… but then when it actually happened and I actually got engaged and actually had to think about changing my last name… it broke my heart. I have been Potassium [last name] for so long that it is part of my identity! Some of my nicknames even are based on that last name. It seemed like changing my name would be like changing my identity. Like lopping off my connection with my family and my past life and joining Cobalt’s family. I mean, I want to be a part of Cobalt’s family but not at the risk of completely losing my connection with my own. I know that is not what is going on here but it still seems weird to me that the girl is expected to do that but the guy doesn’t do anything like that for her family. I don’t know. These are the things that I think about.

So I’ve compiled a list of my feelings on this issue.
Reasons why Potassium doesn’t want to change her name

  • Read the above paragraph for all the emotional reasons Potassium is attached to her name: family, identity, etc.
  • I’ve published a paper in the scientific world with this name. And if you look up my last name in a certain scientific database, this paper along with papers published by my uncle and my grandfather pop up as well… Which is kind of cool. A nerdy family legacy if you will… Okay that is sort of a family issue but the real point here is that if I publish any other papers under any other name, then this one paper will be lost in a search for me and so people won’t have my complete paper publishing record… It’s a complicated science thing…
  • It’s a pain in the butt/very expensive to change your name!!!!! I don’t really think anyone LIKES going to the DMV so why would I purposely give myself a reason to have to go back there?

Reasons why Potassium does want to change her name

  • I still do kind of want to be Mrs. [Cobalt’s last name] because marriage is a joining of families and because it makes everything all tidy with kids and mail and checks and bills etc. Plus my mom didn’t change her last name and it made me feel like she didn’t want to be part of the family or something (it sounds stupid but it was kind of weird for me…)
  • I can keep my scientific name my maiden name so my papers could still be published under that name even if I legally had a new name.

I am sure there are plenty of other reasons to go in both categories but there are a few. Let’s discuss!

In other news, it is really exciting to get our RSVP postcards back in the mail every day.

In other other news, we are having problems coming up with the fortune for the inside of our fortune cookies. Any suggestions? Someone suggested that we put “lucky numbers” on the back that are 8, 4, and 12 (wedding date… hahaha) but what about the actual fortune? We have thought of jokes, trivia about the two of us, cute “ice breaker” questions like “When did you first meet Potassium/Cobalt?” and nothing has really stuck. Thoughts about those?

Okay… Here is your mission for today:

  1. What are your feelings about name changing?
  2. Be excited about RSVP postcards (and send yours in if you have one but otherwise just be excited)!!!
  3. Fortune ideas?

One more thing – the picture! It’s the cake for the bride and groom at the wedding Cobalt and I went to last weekend (hopefully a post about that coming soon!). Adorable, right? I love it. The groom’s mom made it too. Nice work!

Mountain towns are fun…

Oh the joys of living in a mountain town… This morning, as I cruised along my new (mostly downhill) route to lab, I noticed these signs on cones in the middle of the bike path reading “MOUNTAIN LION PRESENCE IN THIS AREA CONFIRMED. BE ALERT!”

Be alert?! That’s it?! If I see a mountain lion on my way home, should I just nod and be like “Hey Mountain lion! Please don’t eat me but I’m aware of your presence!”? Hrmmmm… maybe I should take the long way home….

In other non big scary cat related news, I repotted my baby lemon cucumber and tomato plants last night! They are growing so happily. I hope they weren’t too traumatized by the move to bigger pots. They will thank me when they realize their roots have so much extra dirt to crawl through… Pictures hopefully next week…

In OTHER non plant or cat news, my sister’s birthday was this week! This message is as belated as my present to her is (hopefully you get it today, wee!) so I hope both find her well. Happy belated birthday! :D Here is a picture of me, Gustav, and my sister in CA last time we were both home…

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today’s my dad’s birthday! Yay! Happy birthday Dad! Sorry I can’t be there to celebrate it with you in person but I love you and I hope you have an amazing day…
Today’s picture is a picture of my parents from last Christmas. You can see my Dad’s rocking his epic winter bear beard in this pic. Also you can see that I was playing with bokeh at the same time by turning all the lights on the tree into stars. :)

In other news, Cobalt and I planted the first few plants for our garden yesterday. I have been staring at the pots ever since waiting for the plants to sprout. I knowwwww they don’t sprout overnight but I still have the little kid in me who is so excited that she wants to watch the plants sprout right now!. Do you guys have gardens? Have you planted anything for them yet? Do you prefer flower gardens, vegetable gardens, or both?

Boy Scouts and Tire swings: Part 2

Today’s post is about my soon to be niece A. She’s a crazy one so my pictures hopefully can capture that.

Cobalt and I got in Thursday night so we could get up early on Friday and see A sing in her school’s choir concert at… 8:45 am! Anyway, it was very enjoyable and we got to see A dance!
After school, she and I went to the park. Shown here is A on the tire swing. Somehow the tire swing turned into a spa (don’t ask, I am not sure how we got there now…) so here in this picture she is sporting my sunglasses and showing off her “new” fingernail polish… Hahaha…

What else happened?! Cobalt had to dig her bike out of the ice so she and C could go bike around the neighborhood (it was awesomely warm this weekend… though not warm enough to melt the ice around A’s bike without some coaxing from Cobalt). We also got to do some drawing. A and I switched off – we each drew a picture and then the other one colored it. I don’t have pictures of our finished drawings for you so I will just post a picture of the new animal I invented: the horse shark – which is a combination of our favorite animals. :)

So now a note for A – A you are super smart and really sweet. I love running around and being silly with you. I am so excited to be part of your family. :)

Boy Scouts and Tire swings: Part 1

This weekend, Cobalt and I got to spend a lot time with his/my soon to be niece and nephew so in honor of that, today and tomorrow will be dedicated to them! We’ll start with C because he is the oldest (had to pick some order so sorry A, you have to wait to tomorrow…)

Anyway, this weekend C and I got to spend some time tossing around a football and playing Skylanders (it looks pretty cool! I kind of want it…). Then we got to see him cross over from cub scouts to boy scouts! Yay C! So proud of you! :) This top picture is a pic of him still as a cub scout.
Then we came home and drew pictures. Here is a picture of the pac shark he drew for me (sorry… it’s a funky cell phone pic):

Finally, a little note for C – C, you are an awesome kid. You are super creative and an amazing artist. I love playing video games and drawing with you. I am so excited to be part of your family. :)