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.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday fave....Cincinnati zoo!

I like to think that we all have an inner child that enjoys the simple things in life.  My inner child LOVES animals and visiting the zoo.  The Cincinnati Zoo is by far one of the best zoos I've been to.  Throughout the zoo are plants that constitute the botanical garden.  

The zoo has encounter events for many of the animals, a special festival of lights during the holidays, and a 4D theater.  They are also very active in educating people about animal welfare and conservation!

The Children's Hospital is really close, so when I had a membership I would walk down the street and have lunch at the zoo on nice days.  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Scientists Anonymous....

Lately I've felt like I need a 12 step program to help me deal with scientific research.

So, I'm going to start SA, scientists anonymous.  I'll begin.....

Hi, my name is Mary and I'm a science addict. I'm addicted with to doing experiments and I'm hopeful that every time I perform a new experiment it will work, and I will get that euphoric feeling of accomplishment.  I like to do experiments in the lab and try to show that our complicated body is simple and define a linear pathway.

The first step is admitting I have a problem and I'm powerless over the addiction.  Clearly, I'm delusional since our bodies are designed/have evolved in a manner that is far more complex then a linear pathway regulating each cell function.

Here are the 12 steps adapted for scientific anonymous....
  • Step 1 - Admit we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable
  • Step 2 - Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity (Usually your advisor)
  • Step 3 - Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of your advisor  
  • Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, you have at least 5 years of soul searching while completing your dissertation
  • Step 5 - Admitted to your fellow labmates and yourself the exact nature of our wrongs
  • Step 6 - It's time to have your qualifier and to have your committee remove all these defects of character
  • Step 7 - Humbly asked your committee to remove our shortcomings and make you a PhD candidate, or permission to graduate
  • Step 8 - Made a list of all experiments you have failed at, and become willing to make amends with the fact that about a year or more of research is unusable.  
  • Step 9 - Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others (apply this to reviewer's comments for grants/papers)
  • Step 10 - Continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it, or you may never graduate.
  • Step 11 - Seek  through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our Advisor, praying only for knowledge of Advisor's will for us and the power to carry that out
  • Step 12 - Have a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, becoming cynical usually works, try to carry this message to other addicts/graduate students, and to practice these principles in all our affairs
Science is like yoda.  You can't get a straight answer and usually a question is answered with another question.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Autumn relaxation...

Last Friday marked the official first day of fall!!! Which I celebrated by having two pumpkin spice lattes during the week leading up to the first day of fall.

Since last week the fall weather has been in full swing.   This past weekend was just Phil and I, as Jonah was toiling away writing a grant.  We took full advantage of the change in season.  I had a bit of research to do, then we cleaned the apartment, walked, and took two naps.  We also watched 1/2 of the first season of dollhouse and a bit of Dexter.  We became couch potatoes.  The image below is what a professional dog couch potato looks like.  He wrapped himself in his blanket and created his own pillow from the blanket.....seriously a pro.

We continued our adventure on Sunday with a nice morning run, I love heading out early on a fall morning.  We spent more time lounging and had a dog park adventure, where Phil ran through the mud and played like a puppy.  However, it only took about 30 minutes before we sat down beside me huffing and puffing.

We're trying to get caught up on seasons 4 and 5 of dexter before the new season starts this Sunday.  Guess we'll just have to be couch potatoes a few more times this week.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday fave....places to run hills

This week marks week #2 of marathon training for the disney world marathon in January.  Luckily, I have a decent running base and the first three weeks aren't much different than my current running regime.
To train for my third marathon, I'm following a new intermediate training program from marathon training academy.  This week I was supposed to run hills.  My first impulse was "blah hills!", but as I thought about it more I realized that nearly every route that I take involves hills.  

Although Cincy is in the midwest, we're located close enough to the Appalachian mountains to have hills, and I mean serious hills in some parts of town.  I generally run through hyde park and mt. lookout which have their distinct hills, but by far the best hills I've encountered for running are in the cincinnati parks.  If you have hill training to do I would head to Eden Park or Ault Park.  

This week I didn't make it to the park to run hills, but instead took on the hills around mt. lookout which were still pretty killer.  During the week I like to keep score of me vs. the big hill of the running route.  Some weeks end up with a tie  (I win if I don't walk and the hill wins if I have to walk a bit), and other times I'm victorious.  This week was a success and so far I have a 2-0 record that I plan to keep a hold of while doing my long run tomorrow.  

I haven't attempted hill repeats, but I'm going to keep hill training in my running plan (I can't really avoid it).  A little fine tuning of hill training may be just what I need to add a little speed and take a little time off during the flat disney marathon.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Brat, Beer, and Fish? All part of a great weekend adventure...

This weekend we went to Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.  The first thing we did upon arrival was to grab a beer and a brat. 

Then we headed over to the event tent to watch the defending champion, Joey Chestnut, attempt to eat as many brats as possible in 10 minutes.  Last year he was able to take down 42 brats (without buns).  
George Wendt who played Norm on Cheers joined the eating festivities.  
Check out the video of the 1st and second place finishers in this year's brat eating competition!
Of course Joey successfully took the title again this year with 35 brats.  
Oktoberfest is always a fun weekend here in Cincy, and we were able to meet up with friends and enjoy lots and lots of food (roasted almonds, pretzels, more brats, and beer).

How do you follow-up Oktoberfest Zinzinnati?  Well, spending the day at the Newport Aquarium and at the levee definitely nearly as fun.  

We were able to experience penguin palooza.....lots of new penguins and a cute show.  Highlights of the aquarium: Otters!!!  They were out playing, a tortoise that was trying to climb over rocks and fell and wash stuck on it's back...I know a bit sad, but still pretty funny.  All these adventures and I was still able to teach middle school students a bit about embryology and do a little experimenting in the lab.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Favorite...the bonbonerie

 This Friday as the weather turns more towards the chilly side, (Today the high in Cincy is 63F, very fall and I love every minute of it) I'm thinking of snuggling in with a warm cup of coffee or tea and a yummy baked treat.  Although I'm usually fairly health conscious there are a few instances when you throw all will power and caloric concern out the window.  One of those circumstances is when you get pastries or baked goods from the bonbonerie!

The bonbonerie is a small local bakery in O'Bryonville of Cincinnati, OH.  It's a very small shop and it feels very homey.  They also have a tea room for afternoon tea and the china is elegant, but mismatched creating a quirky feel.  Recently, the bonbonerie cafe opened for a quick coffee and danish and it's just as cute as the tea room.

For our wedding earlier this year we got both our cake (dark chocolate with raspberry filling and white chocolate icing) and cupcakes (basic chocolate and vanilla) from the bonbonerie, pictured to the left.  Delish!  I'm looking forward to eating the top tier of our cake on our first anniversary, there's no way that being in a freezer can take away from the awesome taste!

On another note, Oktoberfest is in Cincinnati (Zinzinnati, in german) and we are going to partake in the festivities.  Hope you have something planned to enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This race made me feel both rugged and like a maniac....

This past weekend we ventured to southern Indiana (Paoli Peaks) for a 5K filled with obstacles (I mentioned it in my previous post), The Rugged Maniac!  We got up early to drive from central Kentucky to our race site, and arrived in time to check out the first wave of runners in the first wave.   To our delight we saw a team of mimes competing.  

Our starting time rolled around and our team (the Bushwackers) were out of the gates, and the race began with a steep down hill, then up hill, and TONS of obstacles.  I'm proud to say that I made it over the first 4 ft wall by myself, and had help over the other three.  

During one of the final obstacles I dove into the water/mud and scraped my leg on a rock (see above), but didn't really notice until later since we were surviving on adrenaline like maniacs.  After the race I started to notice the scrapes and bruises which enhanced  the feeling of ruggedness.   

The rugged maniac was a great physical challenge, and I hope our team comes back next year to take on the course.  What other races are on the docket?  The Tap n Run 4k (running with beer stations, a different kind of physical challenge) in October, 1/2 marathon in November, and a full marathon in January.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Favorite...Lululemon

Lululemon athletica sells amazing active clothing, specifically focused on running and yoga.  Not only are all of my fave versatile active wear garments from here, but the company embodies a culture that cultivates an active lifestyle and personal growth through self reflection and goal setting.

I attended the goal setting session several months ago at our hyde park showroom (soon to be full store), and was blown away at the method they use to set goals.  As an avid goal setter, I thought I knew what I was doing, but the small changes to goal setting I learned at this session have made a huge impact on how I create and manage my goals.

As an example, instead of phrasing your goal as something you would like to do "I would like to run a marathon" set the goal as if you have already performed the challenge and add specifics to the event to make it more tangible.  "I ran the disney marathon in January 2012" The other point they made, which I loved, was to make your goals positive.  Instead of saying "I won't buy conventionally grown produce" make it a positive statement "I buy only organically grown produce"  I've returned to the short and long term goals I set on that evening many times since.

From cute active clothes, to goal setting, to community involvement, and free running group and yoga Lululemon is by far one of my favorite stores.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lexington Labor Day adventures in review.

I look forward to the small break provided by Labor Day every year, for many reasons.  First, it's my mom's birthday :).  The three day weekend is a small refresher after the hectic summer.  We spent this labor day is Lexington where were attended the fest-of-ales, rested by the pool, had our ever important fantasy football draft (Yes, I drafted Drew Brees in the first round...like every year!), and enjoyed some down time.
The boys are prepared with the Fest-of-Ales Tickets.  We're prepared for 20 fine brew samples.  

A HOT evening with awesome friends.  

Fantasy football draft....it's a very serious event. 
Pool time.

Pool time with my fave floppy hat to protect myself from a the sun.  
First bag of autumn mix of the fall!  Delish! I look forward to this every year. 

This year's autumn mix was tested by Philip, he enjoyed it. 

Whether it's the rainy, grey weather or the yearning for another day of relaxation, I'm experiencing some lack of motivation this week.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still getting stuff done but it's like pulling teeth.  I need to find that motivation before the weekend when we head to Paoli Peaks, IN for the rugged maniac race (3.1 miles with 14 obstacles and a fire jump).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Favorite....Fro Yo!

The dog days of summer are made all the more enjoyable by a cool cup of frozen yogurt.  In Ohio we have a tangy fro yo place called yagoot.  The best part....it has live active bacteria, which will help those who are lactose intolerant (like myself) digest this yummy frozen treat.

Yagoot is similar to Pink Berry (mostly on the west coast), but the color scheme is yellow and green.  They always have strawberry and original but also have seasonal flavors.  My fave is mango flavor with mochi.  mmm...I may have to get fro yo at some point today.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Is it fall yet?

It's EPIC!
As soon as September rolls around I long for fall.  I love the smells, sounds of crunching leaves, and the slight bite in the cool morning air.  I know we're still a few weeks away from the official start of fall, but the weather last week was causing me to flirt with the idea of fall earlier than usual.  Alas, this weekend is back to the dog days of summer.  Oh well, I can still dream.

I ended August running 102 miles and I feel prepared to really jump into half-marathon/marathon training in the wonderful running weather this fall!

Just a random thought, as I was leaving work this week I passed the sign pictured here.  I had recently listened to the Cutting the Cable Podcast's review of bill and ted's excellent adventure, so this sign made me giggle.