Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Food, glorious food

Although I have been knitting some, I haven't done much, what with the craziness in lab and all. Also, it continues to be that expanse of turquoise stockinette. Not so interesting. (And, speaking of lab craziness, the second antibody in nonspecific too! I am definitely not publishing...)

But. But. I have been making fun food. Not every night (sometimes I eat cheese and bread and a pear for dinner...shhhh), but some nights. A friend had a pumpkin themed party Friday night. A couple of months ago, B's mother gave me a pumpkin cake pan. You know, where one half is the top of a pumpkin and one half is the bottom and then you put them together? So, clearly, I had to make a pumpkin cake. Since the pan is so deep, I had to bake it longer than the recipe called for, and next time I'll dye the cream cheese frosting in the middle brown to better match the cake, but other than that it turned out well.

In other fun food news, B's dad bought us a pasta making class. There really is nothing like fresh pasta. Although some of the people in the class were a little grating (that's what you get for taking a weekday morning cooking class at an upscale mall....draw your own conclusions), the pasta was awesome. We made goat cheese tortellini, pumpkin ravioli, and tarragon fettuccine. And we ate it all for lunch. Of course, now I want a pasta machine, but if I actually had one I'd never use it. Besides, we did alright without one later that night. The chef/teacher sent B and I home with the extra dough. I'm not sure if he picked us because he liked us or because he was taking pity on the students. Either way, we practiced hand rolling and slicing fettuccine last night. B made sauce with tomatoes and herbs from our garden (and wine and veggie meatballs from Trader Joe's). It was delicious. Of course, now my last six meals have gone like this: bagel, pasta, pasta, bagel, pasta, Halloween candy. Hmmm... I think it's time for a salad.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sunnier side

Thanks for the comments. They helped.

I'm feeling better. First, I felt worse. I actually ran into the guy in charge of my lab at the airport as he was returning and I was leaving. I'd emailed him some microscope pictures, and he confirmed that I had cause for concern. What a way to start a weekend.

Luckily, I had Marie to look forward to. Marie is my cousin. Our mothers are identical twins. Seeing as our fathers are very different physically, we don't look that much alike, but we're very, very much alike in habits and interests in kind of bizarre ways. After not seeing each other for years, we discovered a year and a half ago that we have almost identical default dance moves. We're attracted to similar traits in people, and offended by similar traits as well. We are both very much like our mothers and becoming more so each year. Anyway, it's always a blast to see her.

This time, it was an extra-blast for two reasons.
1) Marie is performing in a burlesque troupe, and I got to see her show. Pretty great stuff. Some of the numbers by the other women there was a lot of creativity and humor on that stage.
2) Marie is getting married in 4.5 months. I met her fiance, Heidi, this trip, and she is awesome. Very supportive of Marie. And....I get to be the maid of honor! Woo! (Pending approval of my request for the day of the wedding off from whatever rotation I'm on.) I'm excited. and not just because my dress will be turquoise.

Anyway, it was just what I needed to kick me out of the grumpiness I was in. And today, I talked to my lab people, and things are maybe looking a tiny bit less awful. We're ordering a new antibody overnight, and I'm going to try to crank out what I can in the next two weeks. This means I'll be crazy busy, but I have a small, tiny, eensy amount of hope for some sort of data. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

So much self-pity

This is going to be a depressing, basic science entry. Y'all can stop reading right now.

My research block (which ends in two weeks), has been focused on evaluating medroxyprogesterone acetate's effects on glucocorticoid receptors (GR) in bone cells. To do this, I've been running a lot of different tests with an antibody to GR. Things were kind of starting to work. I was excited. I had some pretty pictures that could possibly add up to "data." And then we realized that this GR antibody might be (euphemism) "nonspecific." Which in science talk means "crap." Which means that ALL of my results could very well be garbage. I kind of think that's the case. There are still a few last-ditch things I'm going to try in the next two weeks, but it's a stretch.

I've been working so hard. So hard. So many long days of lab protocols only to watch them fail. Or think they worked only to discover now that the data might not count. Lots of my colleagues have been doing chart reviews or working on analyzing preexisting data sets and, well, not working so hard. But they will have data and probably publish. I will not. This makes me feel bitter and sad and defeatist. And while I know that I'm still a really strong OB/GYN applicant, part of me is already waving goodbye to a shot at, you know, Hopkins or Brigham or Northwestern.

Maybe a miracle will happen. But I doubt it.

At least I'm off to D.C. this weekend, where I will do my best to forget that there ever was such a thing as a glucocorticoid receptor. I will meet my cousin's fiance and watch my cousin dance and eat good food and play with new kitties. And knit on the plane.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The television entry

I've been watching a lot of crap television lately. I justify this by saying that I'm on my research block and therefore essentially on vacation. Of course, I justify the tv I watch during hospital blocks by saying that I'm uber-stressed and thus deserve this fluff. Here are some of my recent favorite moments in crap tv:

1 - When Victoria, a Yale student, was kicked off of America's Next Top Model. See, Victoria auditioned for ANTM on a dare, and it was clear from the start that she was too smart to be there and she wasn't going to play Tyra's silly games. When she was eliminated, instead of crying, she shrugged her shoulders and immediately took off her stiletto sandals. Ha! Take that, modeling empire! No more high heels!

2 - When Justin on Ugly Betty was trying to learn to play basketball. It was actually a really sweet moment, but the background music to the montage of Justin's failed attempts to make a shot was hilarious. Specifically, it was "Get Your Head in the Game" from High School Musical. An appropriate song lyrically, sure, but dude. High School Musical? As a soundtrack for something other than...High School Musical? Seriously?

3 - When Alex had to decompress the kid with hydrocephalus on Grey's Anatomy. By putting a needle through his skull. Or, more specifically, through his skull behind his eyeball. By moving the eyeball out of the way...with a tongue depressor!!! Okay, I know that orbits are not actually sterile, but could we just pretend they are and maybe displace them with something more appropriate than a dirty wooden stick?

4 - When Zaphod getting his game back was the main plot for Meerkat Manor. Okay, I only just started Meerkat Manor. It's clearly a very well done show, and who doesn't love meerkats? But something about it screams, "Hi! I'm home at 11 on a Friday night watching Animal Planet! Sweet!" Anyway, I just found this whole "rogue male" subplot kind of funny. That's all.

I could go on, but then we'd eventually end up discussing Beauty and the Geek, and that would just be embarrassing, what with my identification with the girl geek and all. Sigh...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Yay, marathon!

B finished the Portland marathon this morning with a time of 3:27:49. Yay! I am proud.

Here he is a few days ago with Biscuit. Awww.... She's proud too.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Up and awake

So, first, my life. Then, a meme.

Research goes on. It's possible I'll get done in plenty of time. It's possible that it will all blow up in my face. I'll let you know in a month. The important thing is that in a month I have to be done so I will be. This lack of structure, lack of accomplishment, lack of meaning is really getting to me. Luckily, I'm exercising a little more, so that's helping to compensate the ennui and the crazy that research seems to engender in me. I don't know why, it just does.

Also, B is gone for a week. He's in Portland, running the marathon on Sunday. I'm proud of him, but I'm lonely. It doesn't help that two other friends are also basically unavailable this weekend. I'm planning on getting a lot of writing done (the research kind, not the fun kind) and watching Freedom Writers and knitting. It won't be awful, but I can imagine better weekends.

Okay, meme. Normally, I don't do memes, but this one is kind of interesting, albeit long. My friend Christina did it on her blog, and I liked seeing what she liked and didn't like, so maybe someone will like seeing what I like? Or maybe you'll all skip over it. That's fine too.

"What follows is a list of the top 150 titles marked "Unread" on LibraryThing, with the number of books so marked in parentheses. I have made bold things I've read, italicized the ones I've started but didn't finish, and colored red the ones I couldn't stand and green the ones I loved. Feel free to play, too!" -Christina

I deleted the ones I haven't read because the list was too long. Go to Christina's blog for the whole list if you care to.

Madame Bovary (83)
The Odyssey (83)
Pride and prejudice (83)
A tale of two cities (80)
Jane Eyre (80)
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies (79)
The time traveler's wife (73)
The Iliad (73)
Emma (73)
The Blind Assassin (73)
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius (67)
Atlas shrugged (67)
Memoirs of a Geisha (66)
Middlesex (66)
The Canterbury tales (64)
Brave new world (61)
The Fountainhead (61)
A clockwork orange (59)
The poisonwood Bible : a novel (57)
1984 (57)
Sense and sensibility (55)
The picture of Dorian Gray (55)
One flew over the cuckoo's nest (54)
Oliver Twist (54)
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time (52)
The god of small things (51)
The unbearable lightness of being (49)
Beloved : a novel (49)
Slaughterhouse-five (49)
The scarlet letter (48)
Oryx and Crake : a novel (47)
The catcher in the rye (46)
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of… (45)
The Aeneid (45)
In cold blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its … (44)
The bell jar (43)
Beowulf : a new verse translation (43)
The plague (43)
The handmaid's tale (42)
Little Women (41)
A brief history of time : from the big bang to black holes (41)
The chronicles of Narnia (40)
Possession : a romance (40)
Fast food nation : the dark side of the all-American meal (40)
Alias Grace (39)
The great Gatsby (39)
To kill a mockingbird (39)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Gla… (39)
The alchemist (39)
Candide, or, Optimism (39)
Snow falling on cedars (39)
Midnight in the garden of good and evil : a Savannah story (39)
The lovely bones : a novel (38)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (38)

I don't dislike very many of those books, but I also haven't read many good works of fiction recently. I like Anita Shreve, but her books leave me too depressed. Does anyone have any great suggestions?