About Me...

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Cincinnati, OH, United States
I'm a scientist , yogi, book worm, scifi junk, and I'm a little obsessed with my pup. My life is full of discovery both in the lab and out of the lab. This blog is my place to share my experiences as a person trying to stay happy and healthy in this crazy world.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The inner life of a cell...

I wanted to share this video with everyone.  
I think it's a wonderful depiction of what is going on inside a cell. 
You really feel for the kinesin that is carrying the giant vacuole along the microtubule. 
p.s. Make sure you listen to the music that is with the video, it adds to the drama!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Louisville minimarathon recap...

This past weekend I ventured to Louisville, KY to run the Kentucky Derby Festival minimarathon.  I ran with my bff Morgan.  After very little sleep on Friday night we pried our eyelids open at 3:45 a.m. to head to downtown Louisville and get on a bus to the starting line.  By the starting line there was the longest line I have ever seen for the port-a-potties.  The race sold out so there were approximately 15,000 people there, and the start was a sea of runners/walkers.  This was a challenging race since it was raining for the first 3/4 of the race, then the sun came out and it was super humid.  Overall, it was fun and we survived to the finish.  As you can see in our photo we wore super stylish rain ponchos!  I felt like the hulk when I ripped it off around mile 2.  After partially recovering following the race we headed to dinner at 5 guys, which is now going to be one of my favorite burger places.  Although the rain had subsided near the end of the race, it started again in the evening.  This time it came in the form of a thunderstorm with a short interlude of sun creating an AWESOME double rainbow!  To end out exciting day we went to watch Morgan's husband play with Alice Blue Gown.  They are local Louisville band that totally rocked My Bar!  It was so refreshing being able to catch up with such a great friend and be able to meet new people!  What a great weekend!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday Philip!!!...

Today is Philip's 4th birthday!  He got to go to The Pet Spot for doggie day care yesterday and play his little heart out.  He also gets to play with a special dog friend tonight, Jax, and have a bday treat.  I know it may seem cheesy to celebrate a dog's birthday, but sometimes you just have to celebrate the little things!  So, happy birthday Philip and thanks for adding excitement to my daily life!

Earth Day Celebration in the Lab recap...

                                                             Happy Rainbow Cake!
Yesterday was Earth Day and we celebrated in our lab!  Our awesome lab manager made this fun rainbow cake with delicious buttercream icing!  I have to say it made the day, and smelled amazing.  In addition to fun cake we also planted some herbs and flowers.  This has become our yearly Earth Day celebration....snacks and planting something.  
We recycled pipette tip boxes with holes drilled in the bottom as planters.  
We now will have a nice lab herb garden with basil, lavender, and rosemary.  Also, we'll have bachelor's buttons and marigolds!  Just a fun time in the lab!  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day eve and some random thoughts...

Happy Earth Day eve.  Every earth day I think about what I can do to reduce my overall waste and imprint upon the world negatively.  So, here's what I've done this past year to celebrate the earth.

  • Recycle (most of the time since my apt complex does not have a recycling bin and I have to take it somewhere else)
  • Walk/ride my bike when going to a place relatively close to where I live
  • Use reusable bags at the grocery
  • Try to use electricity in my apt by unplugging unused appliances and turning off lights when I'm not in the room.  
  • Reusing plastic bags that I have from getting fruits and veggies
  • When I can afford it I purchase organic produce and milk.  
  • Grow an indoor herb garden...so it's very locally produced!
So, those are a few little things that I do.  Hope you are doing things to help the Earth as well!

Here are some random thought and things from the first half of this week that I wanted to share....

On my run this morning I saw a raccoon crossing the street, using the cross walk.  I presume he was on his way to the Buskin bakery in hyde park which smells amazing while they are baking cookies!!

On our walk one day this week Philip and I saw a deer standing on the railroad tracks beside a super busy street across the street from my favorite thai/sushi place....The Green Papaya.  Maybe the deer was having a sushi craving.

The wild life in the Cincy is out and about in the city!

Also, I finally watched Inglorious Bastards this weekend.  It was a totally Tarantino-tastic movie with a bit of gruesomeness, comedy, and overall interesting story.  I was hesitant to want it at first, however, the movie exceeded my expectations.  It was also great to see BJ Novak (Ryan on The Office) in a supporting role.

That's all from me for now.  Hope you enjoy the randomness! :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Last run...

Sunday was my last run in my old running shoes.  I was trying to hold off, but alas my shin splints were telling me otherwise.  Getting a new pair of running shoes is always bittersweet.  Although, I only run in them for about 5 months a pretty strong bond is formed.  A pair of running shoes are usually the only one with you in the morning on your run, and they are there during those grueling long runs.  They are abused with rain, mud, whatever happens to be on the sidewalk, and sweat.

So, to say good bye to my old friends I usually plan a special final run.  Sunday was my tapering long-ish run before the Louisville minimarathon next Saturday.  Luckily, the weather in Cincinnati was wonderful so I laced up my sneakers and headed out to the hills of Ault Park.  I typically don't run to Ault Park, rather I drive there and go onto the trails.  However, in honor of the last run I decided to take on the hills leading up Ault Park.  I have to admit, that I thought I was in pretty good shape from running hills in Hyde Park.  Boy was I wrong.  I didn't have to walk up any hills (yay!!But I did feel like it several times),  however, this run felt harder than the 12 miler from last weekend.  Needless to say, this was a great way to say good bye to these shoes for running.  They will now be retired to cross-training shoes/walking the dog shoes.

So, on this Monday morning it's time to start a new journey with a new pair of shoes.  I have to admit that I love the new shoe smell.  So good bye old shoe friend and hello new pair!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Here's what I'm grateful for today:  

  • I felt good on my run this morning
  • Beautiful weather
  • I was able to accomplish things in the lab today
  • new sprouts in my garden
  • the beauty of little white falling flowers from trees making it look like it was snowing but 80F and sunny outside. (it was wonderful!)
  • my fiance, just chatting with him

I think it's important to recognize the simple things that you are grateful for daily.  I've been trying to journal most days of the week about things that day I'm grateful for....from simple things such as my health and the weather to relationships.  I have to admit that this is helping me see the positive things daily.  

Life and all the negative things that are repeated and broadcast over the television or internet can really bring people down.  We aren't meant to live in solitude, but in our world.  Not only live in the world, but be a part of it.  

Observing and appreciating everything around me makes me feel connected, and has a wonderful uplifting effect.  

What are you grateful for today?  

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When things in the lab go wrong.......in a fun way

I found these pics on my computer, and I had almost forgotten that this happened.  So here's the story.... 
One day shortly after our laboratory moved from the old research building into the new shiny building an accident occurred!  

To sterilize things they are put into an autoclave, which uses both heat and pressure.  When you are putting things in to be sterilized they are usually placed into a plastic nalgene tray.  Well in our new lab area the autoclave apparently functions at a 
much higher temperature than the old one, and it melts things that should be safe.....like the nalgene pan that was melted and shown in the these pics.  The tech in the lab beside ours literally screamed when she found it! (hilarious)  It melted through the rack in the autoclave and as the plastic cooled it took on this cook mushroom-ish shape on one side and a checker pattern on the other.  It's interesting how science so closely resembles art.  

Other things that have been melted in the autoclave.... 1.5 mL tubes, canisters, and a carboy that holds like 10 Liters of fluid.  Anyway, just wanted to share our random/accidental lab art with everyone!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday adventure with Philip...

On Monday evening I came home to a beautiful weather and a hyper puppy dog.  Although he is nearly 4 years old (his birthday is April 23), he has hardly slowed down.  So, we loaded up in the car and went to Ault Park! Philip loves being in nature and exploring, that's the hound dog part of his mutt-ness.  

We hiked the tree trail and around the park before watching the sunset.  I have to admit that this was a greatly relaxing evening, especially after coming home to the dog mania.  You can tell that during our hike Philip was interested in EVERYTHING from rocks to plants to logs.  

He ate numerous unidentifiable objects.  Luckily, they had not effect on him.  He might be small but he's tough.  So tough that I still have to use the gentle leader or he almost pulls my arm off when he tries to chase a squirrel.  (Those darn squirrels just seem to torment him.)  Unfortunately, we didn't meet other fun animals except a few other dogs.  Maybe next time. 

All the trees had blossomed and everything was bright green...

Ault Park has a great view! This is the area we watched the sunset.  

So, that was our great adventure to start out the week.  Philip and I were worn out after our hike and lounged the rest of the evening!  We are planning on exploring more of Mt. Airy park as well this year.  Last year we stuck to the same couple trails....it's time to expand and explore.  Little adventures help make the week less monotonous and exciting.  I find that if I don't TRY to do something different, I will inevitably have roughly the same schedule daily.  And, I'll do the same thing everyday.  I'm sure Philip doesn't appreciate the same walk through daily, but he does like that the Valet at The Red has dog treats! Anyway, here's to exploring and adventure.    

Update on my garden.......the first sprouts came up this morning.  They are lettuce sprouts.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the tomatoes will grow.  

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Plant a seed and watch it grow...

Today, since it's spring and beautiful weather, I'm planting my city version of a garden.  Living in a small apartment in central Cincinnati with no balcony limits my possibilities for a garden.  I like to think that nothing is impossible.  Last year I set out to turn my thumbs green.  I started with growing chives, sweet basil, and rosemary in my kitchen window.  Although the rosemary ended up not doing  so well, the chives and sweet basil are STILL alive and I use them regularly when I'm cooking-they are pictured on the left, and on the right you will see up close Lenny the Lawn Gnome who keeps the chives company.  .  (These hearty little plants even survived a 10 day vacation with no watering and a white fly infestation!)

This year I'm taking on the challenge of growing vegetables/fruit.  I'm going to try to grow tomatoes and mixed greens lettuce.  I've included some images of planting adventure, and my mini garden in the window.

My tools for the day's adventure.  

Here are a few of my pots ready to be put into a window in the apt.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will grow. 
These are the pots that I planted and will stay in the kitchen window with the pots from last year.  

In case you were wondering  how I got rid of the white fly infestation.  Well, after extensive searching online for natural ways to get rid of them I found a very simple solution.  Mix a small amount of dish soap with water in a spray bottle and spray this on the plant every 2 days.  The flies grow on the leaves so make sure you get the underneath of the leafy plants as well.  

Here's to a great growing season!  

P.S. The tulips all over town are blossoming and they are beautiful!  It makes it rather hard to be frustrated when I go outside and see all the vibrantly colorful flowers

Friday, April 9, 2010

In theory, this should be simple...

In theory, this should be simple……  I think or say this phrase often especially in the laboratory.  The theories of molecular biology are relatively straightforward, however, implementing them are never as easy.  For the last several weeks I've been struggling with experiments that are typically simple and work the first time I try them.  Furthermore, I've done this technique numerous times.  This week has been defeating and I've found myself doubting my scientific abilities.  Struggling times have a way of making me introspective.  So, this week has been a test of one of my New Year's resolutions.  Here is the resolution: To bring more balance to my life, and reduce stress!  

I have a tendency to 'freak out" and get really stressed.  Lab experiments highly contribute to this feeling.  I've realized that this state of mine effects my whole life, so I want to try to calm my racing/crazy mind.  (As a side note: in Yoga this is called the monkey mind, a racing mind that is everywhere. The funny thing is, when I heard about this I pictured a monkey running around in my head causing havoc, which is sort of what it feels like sometimes :) ) I've been trying to implement things that will help with my "monkey mind" and help me obtain a calm mind. 
Reading books that encourage introspection/thought provoking topics
Try to be less reactionary to things going on around me (this one is a huge struggle)

Journaling has been an outlet for venting as well as organizing my thoughts.  Knowing I have a place to put my frustrations has helped a little, but sometimes I struggle with what to start writing.  I've just started the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  I'm still not very far into the book, but I love how it seems like her daily passages are speaking directly to me.  So, what have I learned thus far in journey to calm myself/my mind and find more happiness in my life.
what exactly  is important to me…
don't try to do everything at once, you can't do your best work that way....
SLOW DOWN….even when there is pressure to get more and more completed

I'm still a work in progress, and this week was a huge struggle, but sharing my experiences are cathartic for me and possibly others. 

P.S. My frustrations all culminated to a small accident in the kitchen last night.  I made organic brown rice crisps and i was cutting them when then knife slipped and I nearly took off the tips of 2 of my fingers.  Thank you universe for telling me to slow down.  

"Perhaps if one really knew when one was happy one would know the things that are necessary for one's life" -Joanne Field

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Coffee cup

Whether you enjoy coffee or tea you can't deny that sitting down with a cup of your favorite hot beverage is cathartic; especially when you can sit and catch up with a friend.  The latte in the image is from my favorite coffee shop in all of Cincinnati....the Coffee Emporium!  (If you haven't been there I highly recommend it, obviously) Here are my favorite things about coffee and tea:
    • Holding a hot cup in my hands before the first drink, and taking several deep breathes.  
    • The beauty of a latte in a mug from a coffee shop, latte art is an art I will never be able to master at home.
    • Ability to bring people together for a short time.  
    • Options,  there are so many types of teas and coffee it boggles the mind.  
    • Caffeine, sometimes
I start my day with a cup of coffee and have a cup of tea in the afternoon.  These are two of the best parts of my day.  I think that making small things in your life a ritual gives them and your life more significance.  So, start your day with a ritual whether it's a cup o' joe, tea, or a smoothie.  

First blog post!

Well, I'm creating a blog.... this should be a great adventure.  There is no rhyme or reason to posts, only snippets from my day to day life learning about myself and the world.