Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Essentials for Lab

What any graduate student needs to survive in lab:

1. A good watch with a timer.

2. iPod

3. Lots of caffeine--coffee, coffee beans, soda, whatever.

4. Chocolate

5. Microwave, refrigerator, and lots of food

6. Coffee shop within walking late

7. Pizza that delivers...late...right to your door

8. Apartment close by

9. A quiet, secret place with a comfortable sofa for naps (libraries are good).

10. Lab bench and desk out of ear shot of the P.I.'s office. ;)

11. Personal lab monkey

12. Bartender

13. Laptop with ethernet connection and DVD drive

14. Gameboy

15. Cell phone with excellent reception

16. Toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash

17. Very understanding labmates

18. Chef and personal assistant

19. Blow-up, life-size rhinocerous toy

20. Personal trainer and gym

Life-lessons I learned from Mom

Sometimes I guess Mom is right:

1. When in doubt, buy both
(but don't be afraid to take one back later)

2. Nothing in life is free
(even if it seems like it is on the surface)

3. Always find a good lab partner
(Okay, I learned this one in college)

4. Get lots of sleep, eat your veggies, wash your hands (a lot)

5. It's okay to be a little overly obsessive-compulsive. It's organization.

6. Have fun and get dirty!
(You can always Spray 'N Wash it)

7. You don't have to clean your plate if you're full.
(even if you paid for it--that's what doggie bags are for)

8. Invest in a good hair dresser that clearly understands what you want.
("it will grow back" is not an excuse)

9. Take a regular afternoon nap, and drink a cup of chamomile tea after dinner.

10. You can do anything you want if you set your mind to it.

Feisty Babs, Possessive Oscar, Sweet, Little Taz, and Klutzy, Concussion Rachel

Things have been so weird lately. My dad has been in town to help get the house ready to sell but he's been so busy, I've barely seen him. Babs is better but she has a little infection and has to get 15 more days of antibiotics. Poor Babs. Oscar is "claiming" me b/c he gets to sleep by the bed at night. He peed on my pajamas last night and then "herded" me when I got out of bed to try and prevent me from leaving the bed. I guess it's kind of cute in a way. Babs is back and at 'em. She bit Oscar through the fence last night. Argh. Taz is as cute as ever. He jumped up on the sofa to sleep with my dad. I think he thought it was Jason. We all miss him. Well, maybe not Babs and Oscar, but Taz and I do.
The day before last, I bumped my head on the wall pretty hard and felt very dazed and confused afterwards. Less than 24 hours later, at a follow-up appointment for Babs at the vet's, I almost passed out and threw up for no reason at all. I have no idea what happened. It came on so quickly too. The doctor just said to pay attention to it. To what? I guess she thinks I might have a mild concussion. Go me. I'm awesome.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Settling In

The new apartment is awesome. I've been shopping and trying to decorate, giving it an "urban" look since it's a loft. I will post pics soon. The shower curtain is black and white dots. I am covering the walls with posters, cool postcards, wrapping paper (black and white diamonds to match the shower curtain in the bathroom), and my own personal artwork. It's very fun. I also have a very cute rubber duckie with a hat on top of the wall (they don't go all the way to the ceiling) by the entrance to the bedroom. It's lots of fun.
Babs has been feeling very good. She woke me up this morning playing with her toys and decided to explore the living room this morning. She's actually been kind of feisty. She's eating well and hates her medicine. I have a special shirt I wear when I give it to her b/c she wipes it all over me. She's a silly girl. All her wounds are clean, and she's leaving her stitches alone. I'm so glad. Next challenge? Giving all the buns a nail clip. Ugh. I guess I'm in for some bites of my own.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Poor Babs

Babs is going to be okay but she's pretty beat up. Poor baby girl. She had to have emergency surgery at the vet's yesterday. She was under anesthesia and was at the hospital for 5 hours. Taz kept her company and took care of her. She has stitches everywhere--5 or 6 places all over her body, including her throat and genitals. She's on painkillers, antibiotics, probiotics--you name it. She seems much better today--a little sore--but that's understandable. I'm giving her a lot of attention--she seems to like that. She's got a quiet, private, soft spot in the bedroom to rest. I feel terrible for trying to put them together prematurely. I can't wait to go home and check on her.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

News Flash

It's been awhile b/c it's been a whirlwind around here. Let me get you caught up to date:

1. Jason is all moved into our San Diego apartment. San Diego is awesome. Our apartment is awesome. I can't believe how much crap we have.

2. I'm all moved into my new loft apartment with the bunnies. It's also awesome. I'm tired and sore from all the moves.

3. Cassidy was adopted!!! The day I gave her back, her old foster mom called and said she wanted to adopt her. They had moved into a new house and repainted and were waiting for that to be completed. Funny how things work out.

4. Oscar and Babs got into a pretty bad fight last night (our first night in the new apartment). Babs is at the vet right now under anesthesia getting stitched up. Poor babydoll.

5. I'm getting caught up and organized so I can get back into a steady routine with a lab focus and a good, healthy dose of exercise (which I've missed out on these past few weeks). It's been so hard with everything going on but I'm looking forward to a little upcoming sanity.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Quote of the Day

Grandma: How was school?
Napoleon Dynamite: The worst day of my life, what do you think?

from Napoleon Dynamite

Cassidy's story

I've been fostering Cassidy for a few months, and she's lived with the House Rabbit Society for a year-and-a-half. She's a wonderful bunny, who, for some reason, has been overlooked--maybe because she's not tiny, and she's not a baby, and she's a plain, brown color. But her personality will delight any family. She LOVES attention and is not afraid of anything. She purrs and purrs when I scratch her ears and runs love-circles around my feet when I come near. She gets very jealous when I give attention to other bunnies. She's very smart and figures things out quickly. She's very playful and active, but still likes to nap in the afternoons. She lays on the tiles in the bathroom when it's hot out to cool off. She's a cutie-pie. She's good with her litterbox, and she loves her hay. She probably would not do well with other bunnies because she likes to be the #1 top bunny. However, I think she would probably do fine with other cats or small dogs since she's not afraid of anything. I have to give her back to the main foster home after next week, and I hate doing this because she's going to feel like I've abandoned her. Bunnies who are given back often get depressed and lethargic. I hate doing this. I can't adopt her--I have 3 already!!! I wish I could...Anyway, if you know anyone that would love a bunny and be a good home for a happy bunny, please tell them about Cassidy. She deserves a wonderful forever-home...and she can't wait until she gets there.

Adopt Cassidy!

Bunny of the Month: CassidyPosted by Picasa

It's scary to think of all of our stuff on some lonesome freeway in the middle of nowhere right now. That's where our stuff is. In transit from here to there. (St. Louis to San Diego). My world is upside-down.  Posted by Picasa


A coworker comes over to me today and starts up a conversation. He looks over at me and then exclaims, "What's that on your back?!"

I look at him with skepticism. "Yeah, right. I'm not falling for that," I reply.
"No, I'm serious."
"No you're not. You're just being stupid."
"Would you just let me take a look?"
"No." I glance down. "Oh, it's just my tatoo."
"No, it's not. Below that. It looks like a melanoma!" I look down and notice the purple splotchy bruise on my lower back, near my hip. I blush.
"That's not a melanoma. That's a hicky."

We all had a good laugh. Thanks, Jason. It's like I'm in high school or something.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Taz loves Oscar! Aren't they cute? Posted by Picasa


Moving day is done! I can't believe it. I feel like a huge load has been lifted (literally, I guess). I had some great friends from lab come over on Saturday and load the 26 ft. trailer. We packed it to the brim. I can't believe we got it all done. The house is clean and spartan. Realtors are looking at it this week. We're living off of the few pieces of furniture going to my sister's apartment in Davis in September for right now. By then, I'll be in a new, furnished apartment across the street from lab. It's all working out as planned. I'm trying to work really hard in lab this week and get back into my exercise routine (which has fallen by the wayside). In addition, I'm trying to spend time with Jason since he's done with work, and this is his last week ever in St. Louis. My mom keeps calling to see if we're okay like I'm going to crack any minute. For those of you taking bets on when I'm going to have a breakdown, I have a warning---I'm on antidepressants. You'd be better off taking bets on Jason first (poor guy).

Quote of the Day

"It's kind of awesome."
--Geico commercial

Friday, August 05, 2005

Look at the praying mantis I found crawling up the window of lab (8th floor)! It looks like Godzilla's invading the city or something. Awesome. Posted by Picasa

This is the picture on my calendar for August. Posted by Picasa


Do you believe in signs? I do. I've been thinking about George a lot lately. I keep finding peppermints. Mon made the very insightful comment that maybe they are little gifts from George. Ever since I've been looking at it that way, I've been taking great comfort in those peppermints. I've even been saving them. Jason thought that was a really neat perspective as well.
I was discussing this idea with Jason, and we were talking about George. I was thinking about how he always liked to lick my hands. He'd lick anybody's hands but I was the only one who let him because he'd slobber all over you. I didn't care. I thought it was cute. If I folded my arms so he couldn't reach my hands, he'd begin licking my arms, and then he'd move to my face, slobbering on me like a dog. I'd break out in hives on my cheeks. I guess I'm allergic to horse saliva. I still didn't care. I wasn't going to put a stop to George's kisses. Sometimes, he'd get frustrated when I'd fold my arms and hide my hands and he's dig his nose into the crook of my elbow and fling my arms apart with his giant head. I couldn't get away with anything with him.
While I was thinking about this, Jason noticed our calendar was still stuck on July. He got up to turn it to August. It's a photo calendar I made as a Christmas present. Every month is a different photo from our collection. July was a picture of the Mayan Riveria I had taken on our honeymoon. He flipped the page to August. A large portrait of George looked back at us. I had forgotten that I had chosen George to model for August.
Is this a sign? I'm going to believe it is. I take great comfort in knowing George is still out there, happy, and that he still loves me.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Look what I got in the mail yesterday! I didn't even know I had won my age group! This definitely cheered me up.  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The curse of the lingering peppermints

I don't know how long it usually takes to go through the mourning process. I'm still heavily mourning for George. It comes and goes in spurts. I'll be doing fine and going through my crazy life, and then all of a sudden, I'll be grief-stricken like he died yesterday. That's how I feel lately. Bad timing, huh?
Maybe it happens when I feel overwhelmed b/c I can't keep it all in anymore. Maybe my depression about other things spurns out my grief for George. I don't know. All I know is that I've been having the dreams again. Every night. He's still alive (and suffering), and I've been leaving his care up to someone else and ignoring him. Then, I'll remember and go to him. That's when I realize it's time to put him down. I put him down but it doesn't work and he's still alive and in more pain. I don't know why I'm having these dreams. I know I put him down for the right reasons. I know George understands and may even be grateful. I know I shouldn't feel guilty, and that it's normal to feel some guilt. But for some reason, what I know, what I feel, and what I dream are all very different things.
I miss him so much. I just wish I could see him again. Sometimes, I just wish I could cry. And cry and cry and get it all out. But when I want to cry, I can't. And when I can cry, I don't want to b/c the timing is all wrong, and I hold back. I want to cry for George, for Jason leaving, for my frustrations about lab, for all the changes in my life.
I keep finding peppermints. I hate mints. I've never liked them. But I particularly hate them now. I used to save them for George. They were his favorite. He would practically molest me when he saw I had some for him. I'd turn my back to him so I could unwrap the candy. Meanwhile, he's snake his long neck around me and push his muzzle into my side, tickling me. Finally, I'd get the sticky, striped candy unwrapped and hold it in the open palm of my hand. He'd scoop it up into his mouth quickly, but gently--he'd never use his teeth. He'd crunch contentedly with his eyes half-closed--the look I get when I suck on a good piece of Godiva chocolate. His breath would be minty afterwards, which always would make me chuckle, as if he'd brushed his teeth for a hot date. I could teach him tricks with the peppermints too. He'd do anything for a mint. If you asked him a "Yes" question like, "Do you love your mommy?", he's nod his head up and down (he wasn't as good as responding to "No" questions). He would also bow for a mint by bending all the way down to his knee on one front leg and tucking his head underneath. Precious.
I keep finding mints stuffed at the back of my drawer or melted at the bottom of my backpack. Lost, lone mints that had been saved for George. Now, these mints have no purpse but sore reminders of what I've lost, like an infected, irritated papercut you keep rubbing. At the Chase theater, where Jason and I go for movies, they hand out Tootsie Rolls and peppermints after a show. I used to always grab a mint for George. I love Tootsie Rolls, but I'd always pass one up gladly to get a free mint just to watch George's antics over the anticipation of a mint. Now, I instinctively reach for the mint, stop, remind myself, and go for the Tootsie Roll.

pool on timing of my nervous breakdown

There's a running pool in lab on when I'll have a nervous breakdown. After weeks of build-up to the party, the party itself turned out to be anti-climatic. Oh, well. I'm trying to get beyond it. You can drag a horse to water.... At least I have a cute little inflatable swimming pool to lounge in now. At least I got to wear a cute outfit and dress up. And the food, drink, and spinning disco ball was awesome, even if no one would dance and everyone left early.
My sister and I had such a blast. It's so neat to spend time with her and have fun as young adults. I loved going shopping with her and going to the Chocolate Bar. She did an aweseme job hanging the balloons for the party. I miss her a lot. I hope she comes and visits me in San Diego.
After she left on Sunday, everything kind of hit me at once. I felt so depressed. I was so tired from lack of sleep. And overwhelmed. I missed my sister and was still kind of bummed about the party. I realized that we were moving in a week. And that Jason would be leaving. My world was spinning.
I've been pretty freaked out since then. I'm finally caught up on sleep so I'm a little more rational (the Lexapro helps too). But I keep screwing up in lab, and I have so much to do that I don't see how it's possible to be done in December. I'm supposed to set a date for the defense this month, but I'm supposed to submit a manuscript first, and I'm still waiting for adipocytes to differentiate, and I'm dependent on this other stupid asshole grad student that my PI decided to put on this project to do the experiments that the paper is waiting for. Every time I express my interest in getting it done quickly, he gives me the run-around and doesn't seem to care or understand my situation. So I'm left wringing my hands. Plus, my other project I'm working on is very exciting but is too big for one person (good and bad, I suppose). And, on top of it all, I keep screwing up!
I can't believe we're packing up the house this weekend. I feel so anxious. I just want to go home and pack. But lab is so busy! I'm freaking out. I'm totally out of my routine after my sister's visit, and that just makes me feel worse. So exercise hasn't happened, and that makes me feel like crap.
Everything is happening too fast. I knew all this was coming so it's not a surprise. What is a surprise is how it hit me all at once. I think I'll feel a lot better after I get into action and start packing up the house and feel more in control. I crave control. I have none right now. I know it's normal to feel the way I do given my situation, and I take comfort in the fact that if I didn't freak out now, I'd store it up and break-down later. In other words, it's okay to be depressed and anxious. But it's not easy.