Monday, July 28, 2008

Random loose ends and progress report!

Oh, I forgot to include one of the awesome activities of my last day in Santa Barbara -- I ate at In-n-Out Burger! I hadn't been to one since we lived in Las Vegas in '00 and it tasted just as good as I remembered. My fave is the hamburger, animal style. I had to take a pic of the awesomely simple menu.

I love that they have, like, four things and then a secret menu for mixin' it up. And they make all their french fries from scratch -- we watched them putting potatoes in a little fry-making contraption which is totally low tech and very cool. Yay, In-n-Out Burger!

Okay, moving on to the handwork front, which is the main purpose of this post. While I was in Missouri, I kept finding clearance yarn. It was tragic. So tragic, in fact, that I had to buy a whole bunch of it and cart it home in my luggage. It was no small feat getting it to fit. And to think of how much ridiculously marked-down yarn I wanted to buy! I settled on this:

That includes four $.50 Red Heart skeins, four $.99 Baby Bee skeins, some clearance sugar n' cream twist, 40% off sugar n' cream ginormous balls, half-price Tofutsies in a discontinued colorway, and a $2 ball of mystery wool that I thought was pretty cool. The Austermann Step sock yarn I actually paid full price for. So this got crammed into my already overladen luggage and thus my stash is enhanced! Yay, bargains!

So, in order to get crackin' on some of this new yarn, I'd better get bustin' on some of my current WIP's, no? No worries, I have been. The second Primavera is coming along nicely:

I've also made significant headway on the Ripple afghan which started as a gift, then it was going to be for me, but now has gone back to being a gift:

My advice about ripple afghans? Weave in the ends as you go. I'm cursing myself roundly for leaving myself such a ginormous task for the end. It's not going to be pretty.

I'm off this evening to see Casablanca, which (can you believe it??) I've never seen. There's a restaurant down by the river that is showing it tonight on their patio. It's going to be a nice evening; it should be a very good time!

Oh, and I saw the X-Files movie. It wasn't good. But David and Gillian were, and it was very 'shippy, and I liked it. I'm eager for it to come out on DVD so I can watch it over and over so I can analyze the hell out of it. I can't do that in the theater. Yes, yes, that whole Phile Dork thing was spot on. ;p


Friday, July 25, 2008

Leaving Santa Barbara

...which doesn't sound as cool as Leaving Las Vegas, but does not have the concomitant angst, either, so it's all good. I've taken a few days getting settled back at home before taking up blogging again, but I really am trying to get back on an at least semi-weekly blogging schedule. As always, we'll see.

Saturday was the last day of the workshop so that evening a bunch of us took a long walk on the beach during which time I took tons more pictures of the ocean, which look remarkably like the pictures of the ocean that I have already posted, so I won't bore you. Suffice it to say it was gorgeous! We walked up to a bar on a pier and had a farewell beer together.

I don't know why it came out all wonky like that. I am not a picture-taking goddess.

On Sunday, my flight did not leave until almost 10 pm, so I had the day to myself to walk around Santa Barbara. Before I struck out on my own, Becca, Kasper and I investigated the largest Moreton Bay Fig tree in North America. That's what those cool trees on campus were! (Yes, Adam, it's a type of Banyan!)

Then I started strolling down State Street, the main drag of the town. I went to the Art Museum (Sunday is free day!!).

They were featuring a great exhibition of Hollywood photography from the first half of the 20th century. Some of those old photos are just amazing. Current photography doesn't seen to hold a candle to it. Alas, I could not take photos inside the museum.

I found a cute little plaza-like area -- an alley with shopfronts more-like. It's called La Arcada and it's cute as a button.

There is some great public art:

And part of it was apparently once a church:

After walking some more, I treated myself to a wonderful last meal on the west coast. I found a charming Danish bistro/bakery called Andersen's. I mean, c'mon, they had a harpist!!

The special that day was crab cakes benedict. I said, "Yes!" Oh, and they had Chimay!!

And it came with a "surprise" dessert! This was the surprise. Yummy!!!

Thus ended my trip to Santa Barbara. Then I flew all night (with two layovers!) and it sucked and I came home and my luggage didn't make it, but luckily it came late Monday night and I slept all day and then I went back to work on Tuesday. All that is not nearly so blog-able. Plus, I was tired and cranky the whole time. You don't want to hear about that.

So now I'm getting back into the groove and there will be knitting/crochet content again soon! Plus, stash enhancement! w00t!!! Now you'll come back, I know it! ;)


Friday, July 18, 2008

Great pink flowers and a great white whale

A couple of us took a slightly different route back from lunch yesterday and came upon some gigantic flowers. They were so cool.

Sujal and I had to pose with them. For scale.

Last night we all went into Santa Barbara and had dinner on Stearn's Wharf at the Moby Dick restaurant. I had seafood linguine with shrimp and scallops and it was perfectly fine, but not particularly outstanding. The view was quite nice (I got to sit right by the window):

And the company was terrific:

It was a great time and it was so nice that the organizers included this in the plan.

In more annoying news, for no apparent reason my feet swelled up today. Like, a lot. So right now I need to raise them for the rest of the night. Hope they go down. G'night!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

This is not unexpected

Your result for The X Files Dork Test...

Phile Dork

You love The X Files. And you know your shit. And you are obsessed. But not scarily so. You still have a firm grasp on reality. Or maybe you just started watching the show too late or stopped watching too soon to know all of the answers. Either way your knowledge is still impressive and you are a true Phile. Message me, we should talk.

Take The X Files Dork Test at HelloQuizzy


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More conference. And a sock picture.

Even with all the science, beachy-ness and gluttony, I have found some time to sit on the patio and knit. In fact, Sock went with me to the lookout and we had this cute portrait taken:

And though I said I wouldn't just post picture after picture of the ocean, I'm going to post more pictures of the ocean. Turns out, the beach gets cooler the farther you go. There are these cool rocky island-y things that I really want to climb and get all "Rocky at the top of the stairs" on:

That will have to go on my "to do" list. They look really awesome at dawn:

This is one of my favorite pictures of the beach so far. I just really like the reflections:

Okay, that's all the ocean for today. On to the lab!

We are primarily spending time in two buildings. The main Life Sciences building is where we have our lectures:

In California, apparently the buildings don't need a lot of actual walls. In this building, all the hallways are open to the outside. If this building were in Milwaukee, we would have to scoop snow out of the hallways.

I'm standing in the hallway here. See the restrooms on the right, there? Past that is the hallway to the labs, offices and conference rooms. No door. I'm such a midwesterner. I think this is weird as hell.

We spend most of our time in the lab. Since there are 22 of us, we are in one of the instructional labs rather than the research facilities. Again, no actual hallways. Each classroom door opens right to the outside. It reminds me a of a motor lodge.

Inside, though, it looks just like any other lab:

This is the bench where I work:

I tried to take a stealth picture of Kaspar, but the flash made it more of a picture of a vortex. And here I thought it would turn out all artsy.

There likely won't be a post tomorrow because we're going into town for a big dinner after we finish in the lab. Don't worry, I'll take pictures.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day two, with short sentences

This is my roommate at the conference, Sujal.

Last night, Sujal and I walked along the beach to the south, for a change. It is more interesting than the beach to the north. It contains a little shack.

Also, a makeshift wooden cross.

There is a little cave-like area in the cliff. Sujal cannot climb it, but decides to look victorious anyway.

Unfortunately, there was also a dead seal on the beach. It did not smell good. We were very sad.

Not surprisingly, this did nothing to dampen our appetites.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Conference, day 1

This conference is going to rock.

First off, UC-Santa Barbara is a beautiful campus located, as I mentioned yesterday, right on the ocean. Secondly, Drs. Orias and Coyne, who are bigwigs in my field and who organized this conference, are totally awesome. Third, the other 21 attendees are terrific and we're having a great time running around the lab like undergrads who don't know what they're doing. Even those who are long-time faculty researchers. Actually, especially them. It's amazing how different the most basic things are from one lab to another. But we're having a great time. Fourth, they never quit feeding us. It's pretty amazing, yet almost ridiculous. And delicious. I took a picture of my supper last night.

It was awesome. We get three meals a day in the awesome dining commons (waaaay better than dorm food of yore), plus they give us morning snack and afternoon snacks in the lab. Thursday they're taking us out to dinner at a nice restaurant in town. Crazy. But awesome. I guess we need a lot of good food so we learn up all this stuff real good. :)

So after supper last night I walked all around campus and pretty much wore myself out (I'd been up for 20 hours). I saw these awesome trees, but I don't know what kind they are.

They have these big lesion-looking things on their trunks that are pretty bizarre.

I know nothing about trees, but these are pretty cool.

Then I had to go view the ocean from the top of the cliffs that I saw from the bottom earlier. You can see more of Santa Barbara off in the distance there.

I don't know what we'll do this evening, but it may involve more beach walking. I promise not to just post picture after picture of the ocean. However, I do not promise not to post more pictures of food. Tee hee.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wet and salty

I got checked into my dorm room for the Tetrahymena Forward Genetics conference that I'm attending this week. I don't have anywhere to be until dinner, so I took off for the beach. It's like right there. In fact, if I stand in one spot and face east, you can see the building I'm staying in...

...and if I face west from that same spot, you get this:


So, I walked about 200 yards (because the path is very winding) and spent an hour strolling in the surf, picking up shells, and getting wet and salty.

There are cool cliffs:

And even a heron in the pool outside the window:

I hope the conference is good, because it'll be hard not to skip out and enjoy more of this!!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Have sock will travel

This will be short and sweet so I can go spend quality time with my sweet hubby on our last night together.

I have a sock:

It is the Primavera sock pattern by natalja executed in Berocco Comfort Sock in some kinda bluish shade and contains my first ever short row heel. Notice I'm showing you the good side. The other side is somewhat... lacier. Yes, I'm going to call it a lovely lace feature and leave it at that. I've started the second and hopefully will get to work on it some this week.

And I will travel. Tomorrow I leave MO and my boy (boo hoo!!!) and fly back to Beer Town. After a couple of hours with my gal pals, I go home, repack, print my conference packet, visit Benny, and go to sleep. Because, the shuttle to take me to the airport for my 7-hour, three flight jaunt to Santa Barbara for a week-long genetics conference comes to pick me up at 4 a.m. Argh.

So off with me. More cuddling must be done! G'night!


Monday, July 07, 2008

Crappy bloggers, unite!

I should really start some sort of union for bloggers of low update number. It's gotten ridiculous, I know. Now, rejoice in my excuses!

1) I wrote my qualifying exam, which was a big 'ol thesis proposal, and had to defend it to my committee. I was successful! I won't tell you about it because, frankly, I know you don't really care. It's okay, though! My committee barely cares! I'll just entice you with the title:
Endoreduplication in Tetrahymena thermophila: A model of the endocycle?

Oh. I know. It's just that good.

2) Two days after I passed quals, I hopped on a plane and took off to KC then traveled to Maryville. I spent some time with my great-niece and great-nephews.

Athena and I are being models:

George joined us for one shot:

Athena took a picture of me -- she's pretty good for 4 1/2, no?

Zane and Aiden wanted to be crazy (though Zane looks pretty bored by all the craziness, it was his idea):

Then the boys dug a hole. This is the aftermath:

So I had some great family time. I also got to see my sister, aunt, and nieces, but I guess they didn't really score photos. That's the way it goes when there are kids around to steal the show!

Then I went to my ::shudder:: 20 year high school reunion! It was a really great time and amazing to see so many people I hadn't seen for years! Everyone looked amazing. For the most part, the years have been extremely kind to us. Only about a third of our class showed up, though, which was sad. But I think we made a rather attractive little bunch:

So after a few days in the 'Ville, I grabbed a ride down to Columbia, MO, to...

... SEE MY BOY!!!!! (who I have not seen since Thanksgiving!!)

Aren't we cute?

So I'm here, with him, until Saturday. Then I go back to Milwaukee, repack luggage, and take off on Sunday for UC-Santa Barbara for a week-long Tetrahymena forward genetics mini-course. Whirlwind, I tell you.

So, I haven't been blogging. Sorry 'bout that. But I've got a crazy-cute boy here to love.

Sorry, but you lose. ;)