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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Channeling my inner Julia Child

I think if I didn't become a research scientist I would have become a chef... maybe even a pastry chef.

Like science there is so much order to cooking, steps and reactions many with a series of chemical reactions (think Alton Brown).

Food is love too and it is nuturing... that appeals to me. I think thats why even though I am a research scientist, I also enjoy mentoring and teaching.

Recently, I made friends with a choir member at my church that is a pastry chef... sigh I want to be her sometimes BUT she has to be up at 3:30am! EEEPP! Academic folk like me like our mornings! Ha ha!

I watch Top Chef and other reality cooking shows and in a lot of ways I could see myself doing it.

I am not saying I regret my choices because I love my field/farm research and cooking for friends and family.

Today, I had my grandparents, mom and sisters/bro-in law over for Christmas and it was so nice to take time to bake my very first fruit tart... not a masterpiece but a good first start :)

It is probably better I am not a chef.. .I would be like a million pounds!

For now, I will just enjoy cooking many healthy dishes a few indulgent ones :)

Julie and Julia has inspired me though... I could have done that, it would have been so fun to be Julie and of course Julia!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A look back at this year

I keep meaning to update my blog but as any academic knows Thanksgiving to finals is a total blur!

Prompted by reading my sister's blog today I feel reflective and wanted to share.

This Christmas was different for me, I knew it would be and I sort of dreaded it. I felt like in the weeks leading up to it I was 'going through the motions'.

I donated gifts, served in soup kitchens, sang in our church's Christmas concert, while enjoyable and fulfilling in many ways I just didn't "feel" inspired.

But, sitting in church last week (I have been sitting alone because Josh has been helping in the tech booth), I was moved to tears. Its as if God was touching my heart and making me remember the reason for this holiday season.

See, I was wrapped up in my own thoughts especially dwelling on how much I still miss my Nonna and how Christmas eve just wouldn't be the same. But, after that Sunday I was able to feel like it was time to do new things and take a more optimistic approach.

So, school winded down pretty smoothly despite the moments of shear panick that I would NEVER get it all done in time. And the house was decorated and cheerful and even when it came to wrapping gifts which I usually HATE. I started thinking about how giving gifts is WAY better than getting them. I love the look on my family and friends faces when they open a gift I picked just for them!

So Christmas Eve came, J and I spent the day getting stuff wrapped, spending time together and having a quiet dinner at home. I made Nonna's meatballs and it 'almost' felt like she was there but I can't say I didn't miss her terribly. Yet, I know she would never want me to be so sad and miss her. But even still I do!

I was also nervous Christmas day would be too frantic and yet it too went so smoothly. Breakfast at my sister's cute new apartment, brunch and my MILs and dinner at FILs.

Every year I am overwhelmed with the generosity of our families. The honestly do too much for us and I just can't believe it some times.

So, despite my concerns about the start of this holiday season being a sad one, I was pleasently surprised.

Today, J and I had fun putting together the new Wii (woo hoo fit for 2010 here I come!) and the blueRay player... who knew I would like 'toys' but I do!

I am looking at 2010 in a hopeful way. Though 2009 was an important and good year in many ways it is filled with sadness and a sense of loss too.

Losing my Nonna and my great uncle makes me think of all the other members of my family that I care so much about and never want to lose.

I also feel a sense of loss due to my surgery. It may have some long lasting implecations and some other health stuff that I am not too crazy about. But it is a new year and hopefully I will be able to make it a healthy one!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What I am thankful for

Wow, here we are again starting a new holiday season. I must admit I am somewhat in denial that we are here again!

It has been a surprisingly tough year for me, with the loss of my nonna and uncle Fred. My surgery and resulting health issues and my PhD./research schedule is getting more hectic and stressful.

So the good news?
-Josh and I are about to head into our 3rd year of marriage,
-We have an awesome family and friends
-We have a new roof and painted house!
-I have an amazing household of pets :) but I would adopt more if we could
-We have become part of a wonderful church and small group friends
-I am starting a new chapter in my life and I am going to get healthier!
-My research is coming along... at least for now!

So, despite some struggles, I am glad about where I am in my life. I accept the challenges and appreciate my family and friends more than ever!

I miss my nonna everyday and though this time of year is bittersweet, the last time I saw her healthy was Christmas eve. I miss seeing her for Thanksgiving and I know that this holiday season will feel more bittersweet without her.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Why do I cook?

I never quite understood the saying 'Food is love'. Obviously, I know that growing up my family showed they cared for me by sharing a meal and cooking our favorite treats!

Now, I can see how cooking for others really has become a way for me to show love to others. Others may think I go overboard when they come to our house for dinner, I can't help it! I love to bake, try new recipes and make old favorites!

Tonight I am making butternut squash soup (thanks to my sisters's yummy recipe), zucchini, ham and monterey jack cheese quiche and pumpkin pie. Tomorrow night, our graduate student friends are coming over for dinner to appreciate our squash harvest. One of our friends is make a butternut squash and goat cheese pizza :)

Off to make an apple pie for Bible study Tuesday night!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Is the graduate school experience a good indicator of life in academia?

I feel like its not. As I sit here at my desk prioritizing my work load and feeling like I am not accomplishing anything! I feel like graduate school is an exercise in perservearence.

Lately, I haven't felt productive despite being busy or all that enlightened despite being able to teach lab/lecture.

Time is passing, yes but sometimes I feel stuck in the vaccumm of grad school life. Where it is easy to come in everyday and yet accomplish very little.

I am not saying I am a slacker by any means but I feel like the days are filled up with meetings, class obligations and TA grading etc. how can I ever have time to focus on my research?

When I was teaching I found the balance of research/teaching a challenge and always felt busy BUT I was in control of my schedule.

When I am a TA all that goes out the window and thus I am feeling frustrated!

I hope that after I finish my PhD. I will still be able to feel productive and be able to accomplish my work without feeling like I am losing control of the day!

Gah, it can be so frustrating!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I want to be a farmer

This week I spent a total of 12 hours taking students on field trips this week. I am a TA for two classes and we went to the UNH organic dairy and to Wentworth GH and Butternut Farm.

I have been to all of these places several times in the past but I felt a sense of renewal after these visits. Sure, I love to see students get excited about the baby calves and marvel at the expanse of plants under glass and enjoy the warm sunshine while touring a beautiful apple orchard.

Sometimes, I find I spend so much time in the lab and classroom I forget how much I LOVE to work on the farm. As all the crops for my research have been harvested and my garden is 'put to bed' for the winter. I already miss the farm. It has only been a couple of weeks and I am in withdrawal!

So what's next? Maybe someday we will be able to move to a farm. I would love to have fruit trees, fields for growing vegetables a little farm stand.. maybe a dairy cow (Jerseys are the best ;)

A girl can dream can't she?

I hope some how that my academic knowledge and my passion for farming will help me help others, hopefully in the mission field. I have been meditating on this verse Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. —Matthew 5:16. I hope God can use me!

Monday, October 5, 2009

This sums it up...from Joel Osteen

See how the farmer waits expectantly for the precious harvest from the land."(James 5:7, AMP)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria

Too often people passively sit around waiting for their dreams to come true. As time goes by they begin to think things will never change for them, and the longer the wait, the more frustrated they feel. It's important to keep moving toward your dreams in faith and hope. Expecting God's best and making preparations to succeed will help you stay in faith during times of waiting. "Joel," you might ask, "How do I do that?" Have expectant faith. Start talking and acting like your dreams are going to happen. People may think that sounds strange, but don't let it bother you. God has given you a dream, and you may see things they don't see. As you settle it in your heart and mind that God is faithful, you'll get excited about His promises for you.
If you feel like you're in a holding pattern, don't get discouraged; God is working on your behalf. Put your trust in Him. Start making preparations for the dreams God has planned for you so you will be ready when they arrive. Take your faith to a higher level — go from believing to expecting — and God will bring you the desires of your heart at just the right time.

Love this perspective because every once in a while I forget that I need to have expectant faith and trust God knows the desire of my heart and in His time, it will come. Like this PhD. thing, He will give me the endurance to get through it!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Essay for The Well

I was asked to write a piece about balancing my academic life as a scientist with my faith.... here goes:

Crouched down in the middle of a winter squash field, I am greeted by the hum of pollen-laden bumble bees and chirping of crickets. It is one of those hazy summer mornings where the air just hangs as if suspended. Most of my graduate student cohort is still in bed, yet I am out in the field starting my day among the dew soaked squash plants.

As a PhD. student, I am ready to leave the hustle and bustle of another busy semester to find quiet solace in the fields of the research farm. It is not easy finding a way to disconnect from the hectic pace of academic life where emails are always filling up my inbox and deadlines are ever looming. How can I make time for my relationship with God when all of these work priorities are vying for my time and attention? Where is the balance?

As a scientist, I feel fortunate to find evidence of God’s handiwork throughout my research. How can I ignore it when I am sowing the seeds in the field and watch the thick green stems and leaves pop up out of the ground? Or when I open each squash fruit to find deep orange fruit flesh not only meant to be beautiful but nutritious? When I harvest seeds from these fruits and begin to plant for the following season, I see vividly how God thought of every thing. Even packaging!

During the summer, I conduct field research on winter squash which involves some breeding work. This is when I feel most connected to my area of research and yet I am filled with awe. There is a short window of time each day where pollination is possible. Each morning, as I search among the mass of vines and leaves looking for the next flower to pollinate, I feel like a bee. I marvel every time as I follow a flower bud from its formation onward to bloom.

This process is time consuming, tedious, and strenuous. It is a task that requires patience and persistence. I look forward to this time in the field every summer, but not without some trepidation. I know it is going to be hard work, but when I get out into the field, time just seems to fly by.

It is impossible for me to not see God’s hand in the natural beauty of the land. His hand in all of this work, the way the pollen sheds early in the morning before the flowers wilt under the powerful rays of the sun. To smell the earth, a mix of decomposing plant matter and worm castings. To hear the birds calling and the dragonflies whizzing around over head. Sure, to those who do not have the extra dimension of faith, all of these creations could easily be overlooked or even ignored. Yet, to someone with faith it is simultaneously a source of awe and a reminder of God’s dominion and plan.

As an educator in the natural sciences, one of my greatest joys is sharing my passion for creation to the students that attend my lecture or labs. In the secular university setting, I may not be able to attribute all of these amazing creations to the Maker but I can at least draw awareness often with great enthusiasm, while digging through the soil strata or observing tiny root hairs on sweet potatoes.

I even find myself doing this with friends, on walks through the woods or even at the dinner table. Some are believers and others not, but the message of the wonder and beauty of the natural world is universal. I challenge you to take the extra time in your day to observe the budding of the trees in the spring, the smell of dew on a summer morning, the colorful display of turning leaves and even the silence that follows freshly fallen snow. How can God’s presence not be evident in all of these events?

Its true, the life of an academic researcher is full of hustle and bustle leaving little room for spare time. Yet, I am often reminded of His presence when I take this time to observe God’s creation. It might be just a glance out my office window to see the Canadian geese migrating south or smell of wet leaves after a rain shower as I walk across campus.

It might seem contradictory to many of my non-believer cohort that I can integrate my faith with my work as a scientist. At the start of my academic career I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a Christian college which gave me a strong foundation in my faith and helped me to integrate science with faith. Since then, I have attended two other secular universities. It was during that time I learned the value of finding a faith community wherever I may be at the time. These communities have strengthened me when I felt alone not only as a Christian in a non-Christian environment but as believer who was pursuing a degree in the field of science.

Finding a church, joining Bible study and choir keep me connected to a faith community and supports me outside of my academic life, where I may be the only believer in my department. I am thankful to my college mentor’s advice that said to always look for a faith community wherever I am. She said “get connected through Intervarsity or through a local church and do it right away!” Wise advice and I share that advice with my students now.

I realize that being an academic research isn’t for everyone. The work can be repetitive and many graduate students are easily turned off doing this kind of work. I relish this time to take in the beauty of God’s creation where I can so clearly see his hand at work. I am reminded of Genesis 1:11 each time I watch the seeds I have sown emerge from the ground and the vines stretch out across the field each season. I look forward to walking up and down each row pollinating and spending quiet time with God each morning. To me, those without a reverence for God’s creation are missing an extra dimension that is so calming and a source of meaning for mundane tasks that lead to a body of work that can be used in His service.

We are not all meant to be field research scientists but we can all look for God’s hand in the world He created for us. We can take time to observe nature as God’s creation and give Him the glory.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of Autumn

How did we get here so fast? It has been a while since wrote a garden update:

The garden did well despite the season of rain we had! I got summer squash, swiss chard, green beans, eggplant, peppers, artichokes and some pumpkins.

I didn't spray and we got plectosporium and black rot... boo and lots of bugs. So next year I will have to suck it up and spray at least a few times.

It has been precious to see Ladybug and Liam. They have learned that they can harvest their own tomatoes if they just sneak in and grab them. It was the funniest thing I have seen in a while! Fine with me, there were plenty!

I love fall, at leas the start of autumn because it is time to harvest and enjoy the long warm days and golden sunshine!

I love harvesting my winter squash and sweet potatoes for my research. Any chance to be at the farms is spent cherishing the warmth, the sweet honey crisp apples and the blue sky.

My mom always said she didn't like fall because it remind her that the plants are dying and its the end of the season. Though this may be true, I look at how amazing it is God created this system as a way for each season to build.

There is a season for everything! Yes, I get depressed when the leaves turn brown and drop in November but them there is the excitement of the first snow fall to look forward to! Oh how I missed than when I was in FL..... didn't feel like Christmas even with the decorated palm trees!

Happy first day of autumn!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Another semester begins: What do I do all day you ask?

Its not your fault if you don't understand what a grad students life is like...... truthfully it changes daily and thats kind of what makes it fun.

Do not be mistaken: REAL WORK GET DONE!

So many of my family friends don't really get what I do all day, is it school work? Work work? Part time or Full time? Do I get summers off? Do I pay for school? How can we afford it?

Well here it is in a nutshell to dispell all myths and rumors (at least I will try):
1. Research Project- Ever evolving research that sometimes takes up ones entire life at times and at other times ebbs and flows. My research is based on growing vegetables in the field thus, it is dependant on the season. I also do lab work in the off season. So there is work to do year round! Most projects are like this with 1 or 2 parts of the year being the busiest!
2. Classes- Typically classes for a phd are taken in the first 2 years, not as many are taken each semester b/c there has to be time to do research and TA. I took all of my classes and then took my oral/written exams to prove competency. Now I just sit in on classes if I feel like it
3. TA- This is how I get paid, I am paid 9 mos. of the year to TA- basically help the faculty member, attend class, instruct lab periods, grade papers, give exams etc. supposed to be 20 hrs. but way more than that in reality
4. Schedule- It varies here and there but most of the time I work 9 hr days, come home and then do work after dinner almost every day and on the weekends
5. $$- I don't make a lot but that is the price I pay for being in school. I do get paid in the summer and work f/t then not on a TA but get a fellowship or paid by my advisor to do my work- its usually about the same pay as what I get in the school year.
6. Weekends- Spent doing work on the research, reading and checking email- bad its hard to unplug!
7. Finishing- Million dollar question! I hope this spring but it all depends on how the research goes and how fast I can synthesize my work into one document!

This is typically how it goes for me as a grad student. It changed when I was teaching full time. :)

8. Life after this- Get my Phd. and teach/research for the rest of my life :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saying goodbye

My great uncle Fred passed away this week, I just saw that side of my family a few weeks ago at my grandparent's 60th Anniversary party (yea 60 years imagine that!). My memories of Fred are from Christmas eve parties when I was kid and his gentle manner. He was always smiling and had a ready to laugh. He and my aunt were a good balance and they had 4 kids that though they were older than me, we always got along.

When I heard of his passing, I ran right out to get a condolensces card for my aunt. I wasn't sure I was going to make the service. Just picking out the card brought me back to sad feelings I had about losing my Nonna. That loss still feels so fresh in my heart. I actually teared up in the card aisle.

I did go up to the service for Fred a few days later, the church was beautiful and much of my family was gathered. I was struck by the finality of seeing the casket at the alter and the flag folded up next it to acknowledge service to our country.

As I am sitting there dwelling on the loss of Fred and the loss the family is feeling I found myself reflecting on my Nonna. The hymns were different and yet the sentiment was the same. It really struck me when the minister actually acknowledged that times like this can cause us to mourn again for the losses we have felt previous to the one we are acknowledging now.

So true for me.

After the service we gathered for a reception and I caught up with family. The mood was pretty light, there were kids running around and that always lightens things. Even Fred's son said Fred would have wanted us to 'get on with it' and enjoy the day.

Even at his grave, it was hard not to enjoy the surroundings, the ocean nearby and 100 year old trees dotting the massive cemetery. The minister also acknowledged that though we think of cemetaries as a place that represents death, it in many ways is full of life. It was not hard to see all of the trees, the flowers, the grass and folks walking threw on their lunch hour.

Still, it was somber for us as we laid Fred to rest. The military was there and taps was played. There wasn't a dry eye. For Fred, for our country as we are at war and my thoughts about my own grandpa. He served too and I shudder thinking about the day we will have to say goodbye to him.

It is never easy to let a loved one go. God reminded me though that even though in our hearts we grieve for those we feel we lose in this life to death, if they knew Him we will be reunited one day. We can't understand God's timing and why He decides to call one of His own home. We can only feel comforted that God has a plan for Fred, for me and for you, if we are faithful it will be revealed to us. Realizing this helped me not miss Nonna as much and deal with the loss of uncle Fred.

Aftwards it was so nice to get to spend time with family I don't see that often. I also got some quality time with my mom. It isn't often we get time together without other family or Josh and sometimes its nice. We ended up going shopping after (of course). Felt good, but bittersweet. It made me miss the times we got to spend shopping and hanging out in years past. She really is the best shopper! Sorry to anyone else but I would pick her as my shopping buddy hands down!

However, I don't shop with her often because I always spend too much!

Rest in Peace Fred, you will be missed but not forgotten.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Alittle perspective and a laugh go a long way

So sometimes even when you really want something if it isn't in God's plan for me just yet it won't happen. I get that. I think in my mind I get it even if my heart doesn't.

Phillipians 4:6 says "Do not be axious about anything, but everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God"

I was reminded of that today when they read this verse on Air1 radio FM a station a work friend turned me onto in the fall. It was as if God heard my silent prayers and this is the verse I was meant to hear today. It was amazing to hear those words and know that God cares for me, every little thing I do from brushing my teeth to figuring out what carotenoids are in my squash samples. He wants to hear all about my struggles and He is concerned with all my thoughts and wishes. It is comforting.

I feel a sense of relief just knowing that and peace that whatever happens next will be His will not mine. I think in this society we tend to be very driven go-getters i.e. control freaks. Thats me when it comes to most things. Of course God wants us to be motivated and seek out opportunities but He wants us to consult him rather than choosing our own will which may not be the best path. So, in my prayers lately I have been asking for guidance and peace even if I don't understand why some things have happened the way they have.


On a side note I have been soaking in the summer sun while doing pollinations for my advisor and working in the field on my own squash research. It has been really nice to get outside and do what I love despite getting there at 6:30am! I came across this cartoon and it made me laugh because I call myself the busy bee when I do my pollinations!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Remember when you were a kid and December 1st hit and you started the Advent calendar and couldn't WAIT for Christmas? The days just inched by until finally it was Christmas Eve and suddenly you know you will wake up and its Christmas?

Gah, thats how I feel right now. I need patience and God is teaching me this, a lesson I need to re-learn.

Today I was talking to my sister and I wasn't sure she would understand how I feel and actually found she really did. I think I need to lean on my sisters a bit more. Thanks sis!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Adventures in Camping

This was my first time camping with Josh and I have to admit I was nervous. Not because I didn't think that we would have fun but because Josh was packing. He took the day off to pack the car while I worked a 12h day just to find out that I would need to come in early the next morning to finish up leaving him to do most of the packing.

I bought all the groceries on Monday night in a huge thunder and lightning storm and rushed all the cold groceries in and left the packaged stuff in the car. Of course it wasn't until we were 1/2h away from the campground we realized that neither of us had packed the cold cuts.

We get to the campground and lo and behold there is the bag of cold cuts... ooops! Not to mention we were late getting to the campground but it was such a beautiful day it didn't matter!

Josh's dad met us at the site and helped us set up. It was so fun getting set up and ready to camp!

We had a wonderful week and it was so restful and relaxing! I felt like Josh and I were on our honeymoon again it was so fun and we laughted our head off the whole time!

Things I have learned about camping:

1. Bring lots of ice and make sure that all the cold food is in the cooler!

2. Tarps are your friend even if it doesn't seem like its going to rain

3. There is no such thing as not enough books or marshmallows!

4. Josh loves any reason to use a blow torch to start a fire LOL!

5. Paddle boats look fun but they are a work out... we could have walked faster!

6. I am not as scared of sleeping in a tent as I thought I would be it was cozy

7. We definetly need to bring the dogs next time

8. I need to bring something to pee in when I wake in the middle of the night because the bathroom was a haul!

9. Despite my protests, bringing a fan (we had water and electricity at the site) was the best thing we brought, kept our tent cool

10. 6 days is not long enough, wish we had a month!

I can't believe how much I love camping and how much fun we had as a couple! Definetly one of the highlights of the summer!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Things I have noticed since I got married

In the last few months I have been getting up later and later while Josh has been getting up earlier and earlier. I thought maybe I was falling into the academic late to work rut.

Well today I had to be at work as early as possible for an experiment so I was up at 5am and out the door at 6:30, didn't feel hard at all. The difference? Josh is on vacation this week and he was snooring away.

Weird? Well I used to be a morning person but not necessarily a friendly one, ask my former roomies :) Now I think it is helpful not to bicker whenever possible so Josh getting up early is good and I wish we could get up together but I just don't think we can and not argue! LOL. We both rush around in the morning and have the dogs and lunches and all that. It is just easier to get up a bit... or lately alot later than him. I keep saying I will use that time to work out but haven't really done that yet!

The problem I have had with coming in early is that no matter how early I come in I can never leave 'early' or like after 8-9hrs. Sometimes I convince myself if I go in early I can come home early. And I FAIL miserably everytime! Today is such a day. I go in early and it is 5:15 and I have to be here for another 1hr. for an experiment.

What happens more often is that I am ready to get going when my latecoming colleagues show up and want to talk etc. So I try to alternate and that is exhausting. I just need a schedule! Plus I pack the same lunch most days and the early days I am starving and the late to come in days I don't eat as much. Like today I could eat shoe leather if I had any!

Oh well, one more day of this and I am going camping. Should be an adventure:read:unpleasant!
Josh is really pumped and I am happy to unplug literally but I am not sure if camping will be relaxing for me. The bugs, bathrooms, no showers, cooking a meal on a fire.... hmmmmm. We shall see! I am sure there will be stories from this!!

Happy Vacation to me!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I ate my first cucumber from our garden today! It was alittle spiny, short and squat but it was really crunchy! It has been so dreary today but that cheered me up! I saw alot of green tomatoes, tiny summer squashes, and a pumpkin!

Looking at my window sill as I washed tonights' dishes I looked at the basil I planted just after Nonna passed away. Kind of a tribute. They weren't growing vigorously likely because they were slightly neglected, but they have been getting watered more frequently so they are growing.
It made me think of her. Her eyes would light up when she would talk about the smell and taste of Genovese basil. She has been on my mind lately. I went down to Gloucester and couldn't even drive past her house because the thought of it just made me cry. She was such a wonderful woman. I feel like words can't accurately describe how wise, sweet, genuine, kind, generous and special she was. I can't stand talking about her in the past tense. I just wish she was still with us.
My sister had a dream about her this week and just reading her blog made me miss her so much, tears come to my eyes just thinking about it. There is still a dull ache in my heart for her and the loss I feel over her.
It is comforting to see my little basil plants grow. It reminds me that life goes on in everyway. But I will be forever changed by her and all that she was to me.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer nights

Warm summer nights with the windows open and a light breeze flowing through the house is one of my most favorite parts about summer. It really feels like summer now, the flowers are blooming, the vegetables in the garden are forming and the grass is growing! I even saw a baby pumpkin forming!

I am hoping the my field research will go well. Been thinking about my squash plants and hope that they grow well so I can get some good data! My lab research is going better. I have been working on a new method and I think it will be better than the ones out there. Maybe it will become a methods paper. Still feels weird that I can start publishing soon.

Sometimes I wish people that weren't in academia understood just what I do. To clarify, I work year round. I work in the field, the lab, am done taking classes, teach undergrad classes and am starting to write my dissertation. I was talking to my dad the other day because I feeling bad about working so many hours and not making much as far as a salary. He actually had a refreshing perspective 'hey you are getting paid to go to school, what is better than that?!' Well, it is a good deal when you think of it that way. But I have to say it is a ego reducer when I am almost 30 and make a TA salary. Oh well, not for much longer!

I really thought this summer was going to be tough because I wouldn't like doing lab work, but actually it is getting to be pretty interesting and fun!

I am starting to feel better overall, more optimistic about the future and my incisions are healing. I even feel motivated to start exercising more. Feels good, starting slow but I know it is worth it. Not only for weight loss but it also relieves my stress, lowers HDL and increases oxygen. All good things.

Right now though, I am content to eat my fruit salad and feel the breeze float through the house :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wide open spaces

Whenever I hear that song by the Dixie Chicks it reminds me of the feelings I had when I just graduated college and was starting a new life in FL for grad school.

Everytime I hear it now it makes me feel nostalgic for the the time when I felt optimistic and had so much to look forward to. Obviously, grad school and living that far from home was a challenge for me but this song became sort of my battle cry.

I feel like I changed alot through the experience of living on my own and in a new place. I grew and succeeded. And since graduating 4 years ago, I have taken on more challenges. Teaching at the college level in 2 colleges. Starting a PhD. and making it through qualifiers! Getting married, buying a house, and adopting not one but two dogs!

Though I have accomplished alot since that song was my battle cry, I feel like the challenges since then pale in comparison to packing up 2 suitcases and moving to FL by myself and living/going to school for 3 years on my own. Kind of makes me miss it but at the same time glad it is over.

Now I wouldn't say life is easier but it feels less exciting to a degree, more predictable. I guess thats a good thing. Life in flux is fun for a while but also very stressful. I think I feel now that I need a new challenge. It might seem like I have enough challenge in my life finishing my PhD. etc. but I think many 'balls in the air' and 'wide open spaces'.

I have started to feel much more like myself. I saw my doctor yesterday and after crying on the way there expecting bad news. She was optimistic and comforting and lot nicer than I thought she would be. The stitches are gone and I already feel better. So come what may but I feel much more optimistic and ready for a new day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Just one of those days

So I made it through a long first week back to work. Still struggling with my HPLC method but making progress. I would much rather be out in the field with my squash but they are so pitifully behind. Guess thats ok, since I am too! I will get out there soon enough and take pix!

Today I had a hard time handling my emotions. The reality of this surgery is setting in, I lost my fallopian tube. What does that mean really? I have learned google is NOT my friend. I have read all kinds of dissapointing things about what this means for the future i.e. having kids.

I keep wishing it was my appendix or gallbladder.... that would have been FINE. I am not going to say 'Why me?' though because even though I don't know why, I do know God has a plan for me.

Right now, discerning it is a bit hard. I feel like I need some perspective but I just don't have it yet. I of all people have wanted to have kids since I started babysitting at 15! I am almost 30 and for most they either have had kids or are happy to wait.

Me? I had been content with everything in my life (still am for the most part) but this has really thrown me for a loop. I am anxiously awaiting my follow up doctor's apt. on Monday and hope that the OB/gyn can alleviate some of my concern.

So right now I would describe my mood as apprehensive and a bit anxious. I have never had a time in my life where something has weighed so heavily on my mind. It is like every quiet moment I have I find myself dwelling. That is NOT me and it is certainly NOT what I think God would want me to do, it saps my energy and limits my efforts. I have been praying for comfort and peace and I know it will come.

Meanwhile, I am actually glad to sink into work and the regular pace of my life because it feels normal. Even though it is 7pm on a Friday night and Josh is still not home from work, I don't mind. I just took the pups for a little walk (thats all I can do right now) and am listening to the cars race around the track at the speedway. The windows are open, the sun is shining and there is a breeze. It is a really nice end to a hectic week.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Growing as a scientist

This week has been a bit rough with transitioning back to work, with having to be back on a schedule, letting folks know what happened to me and dealing with my research.

I walked into my lab on Monday morning and my advisor's first words were "were you on vacation last week?" Me: "no I was out recovering" Him:"oh really? what happened?!" He didn't get my email or my phone calls so I tried to let him know but apparently he wasn't worried that I dissappeared for a week! I guess I feel relieved that I can go away for a week and he doesn't worry.

I filled my grad friends in on what happened and the ordeal. I really tried just to tell the ladies but some of the guys overheard... thankfully they aren't squeamish!

One of the biggest challenges I have had so far this week other than my research is finding clothes that are comfortable... wish I could wear a mumu or drawstring pants to work!

As far as my research, I am slogging through it. I am sort of stuck working out an HPLC method that isn't quite working. I am trying to work with 2 methods to see which one will work better for me. But this week I find I keep making little mistakes. Maybe its my concentration and that I am distracted and still don't feel 100%.

I am also feeling bummed about all this is really not good for my field research. My cucurbits are just sitting there in the field! My garden is also not doing exceptionally well but I have more hope for it than my field stuff. I at least see tomatoes!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sun =therapy

So, after week or more of being cooped up at home recovering I got a break from the monotony of rain and found that sun, in addition to feeling better really lifts the spirits!

After not getting to go to Friday night's cookout, I at least got to Gloucester to visit the In-laws and my sisters. It was a very relaxing and good day. We brought the fur kids, which is always fun. They have a blast and it seems to brighten everyone's mood. I think they are really going to miss us this week when both Josh and I go back to work. Wish I could take them with me, they would have a blast at the farm.

We always joke that our Ladybug is alot like my mil's dog Rosie and in alot of ways she is but last night she proved she has at least one character distinction. She doesn't mind fireworks. I knew that UNH was having fireworks last night so on the way back from g-town we stopped at UNH for the fireworks. I forgot how much I love them. Reminds me of the many times I would ooh and aww at them with my mom at Stage fort park. It was a pleasant surprise to get to see them and I realized that Josh and I have never watched fireworks together. How can that be?! We have been together for 6 years! Ha. It was fun picking out the ones I like and hear his commentary on the ones he liked. Really fun experience!

Today, I had planned to go to my sister's cookout. No dice. I do have to admit I am still recovering and yet I am trying to push myself so I can feel 'back to normal'. I am still experiencing some pain 2 of my incisions, some stomach issues and fatigue but otherwise ok. I did find out there wasn't any evidence of cancer cells in my tube so that was good. I really didn't think there would be though.

At Jo's yesterday I realized just how pasty my legs were so I sat out side in my little adirondack chair and soaked in some rays. It felt nice. I usually hate it but it felt nice today. Got a bit of a burn though.. ooops

Progress report on the garden:
Green tomatoes aplenty! Everything looks chlorotic... gave them liquid fertilizer today. Everything is growing though! More pix to follow!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Not what I wanted

Wow, I am realizing more and more how much of an indecisive person I am. I think it is because I tend to be a people pleaser. Last night we were invited to my dad's 4th of July cookout, parade, fireworks. When he invited me earlier in the week, I was optimistically thinking I would be up for it.

Friday came and I was still feeling sore and tired. I kept pep talking myself I would go, got dressed and sank into the couch, not wanting to move. Had a small meltdown with sis on the phone because I couldn't bring myself to say I wouldn't go. Why do we do that to ourselves? I feel like I never want to let anyone down even if it means pushing myself out the door even if I really don't feel well.

So what happened? I decided not to go in the end. I was almost asleep by 7:30 so I was greatful to be home. But, I hate to feel like I am missing out. I really like parties and going out but it is getting harder to go because of the fact most things I want to do with family are out of state. I guess thats the sacrifice I make for living here.

Anyway, not to go on and on. I am feeling better overall and the sun is shining. I need to start trying to be less of a people pleaser and try to enjoy life more.

Happy 4th of July, it is Independence Day after all!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Smells that bring back memories

Right now sauce is simmering on the stove and it smells like Nonna's kitchen in here. Josh wanted to make sauce (dad's recipe) while we are vacation aka staycation. He is actually cooking so yay!

When we first started cooking it I started to get teary because the smell just reminded me so much of Nonna's kitchen. I still miss her everyday. But now, I feel a bit closer to her.

I know she wouldn't want me to sit around and be sad for her but every so often the sadness wipes over me.

My dad came over today to check on me and brought Virgilios and now I have some yummy rolls. Yea I am Italian!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lesson in Patience

So I am a get up and go girl. I know this. So being held back by this surgery has really been bumming be out. I feel so unproductive. Sleep, eat a bit, shift from the bed to couch and repeat. Not really what I had in mind for the better part of last week and this one.

As I reflected on it today I realized that everytime I get into a groove of what I call 'super planning' i.e. scheduling vacation, my work, my future job, family. God has a way of stopping me in my tracks and reminding me just how NOT in control I am.

In a way its comforting because I know God's plan is way better for me than the one I am trying to come up with. At the same time it reminds me that I need to stop trying to over plan and ask Him for more guidance and yes, be more PATIENT.

Such a hard thing for me. Just like I can't change the fact that it has rained more days in June than not, I can only work to find the silver lining. Ok, the weather isn't awesome but that means I don't have to water the garden as much. And since the weather is cruddy I don't feel compelled to over do it working outside while I recover.

One of the things about being slowed down from this surgery, it has helped me re-focus. I have been going at maximum speed in my life for the last 2 years with teaching and working on my PhD. I haven't had any me time. Its time to change that.

Things I want to change:
I want to find a new church.
I want to exercise more... even train for a 5k. Yes, sisters are starting to inspire me.
I want to take a pastry/cake decorating class or cooking or something (wouldn't it be fun if I could teach cooking classes someday?)

The other thing about spending time recovering is learning how capable my husband is of taking care of me. Not that I have doubted it. I think we have both realized this week all that it takes to keep the house going and how much of team we actually are. I am feeling a bit better and hope to be up an about really soon. But in the mean time I can cherish the extra hubby/puppy time I am getting.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Life paused this week

Ok so I am an optomist. Tuesday night when I came home with pain in my right side I talked myself into thinking it was just a cramp and it would go away. But it did not go away and Josh took me to the ER based on the doctor's advice. I felt every bump and dip in the road. We made it and I was still convinced that I was over reacting but wanted to rule out appendicitis.

The ER doc, gave me the option of a CT scan with alot of radiation or go home and see if it gets worse. What did I do? I went home because the doctor said he felt like it wasn't something major like appendicitis or a torsion.

But abour 6am the next morning I knew this pain was not going away. We got back to the ER and I went right in. I am usually not someone to take pain medication but after an hour I was in great pain. They prepped me for a CT scan which felt like an eternity and as the hours passed I kept needing more medication. I just wanted to climb out of my body at this point.

I had been thinking that it was my appendix and was prepared for that. Then they told me it was a cyst and it needed to come out. I thought to myself, oh a cyst? Thats all? It will go away, I don't need surgery for that! But I decided to have the surgery. I was terrified, but felt better that maybe after that I would not be in pain any longer.

Turns out I had an ovarian torsion. They repaired my ovary and I will be ok. They don't know why it happened yet. I go back in 2 weeks to find out.

I stayed O.N. in the hospital and came home yesterday. Feels good to be home but I am in more pain than I would like. I am not going to complain though because it could have been alot worse.

I am just so thankful that Josh was so calm and that he took such good care of me. I knew he was the ONE a long time ago when I was really sick in FL and he just happened to be with me visiting. He was so calm and collected and took great care of me then. I am so used to taking care of myself that it was hard for me to let him take care of me. He has been awesome though and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Also, my family really came to my side. My dad showe dup just at the right time and my sisters helped me get home and brought me awesome snacks. Man, those organic animal crackers and toast were just what I needed.

The last few days have felt like the longest days of my life. I know that everything happens for a reason and I know God watched over me during the whole ordeal. I am relieved it is over but am still filled with questions as to why it happened. I am trying not to think about it for now and just get better.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Doesn't feel much like a PhD. candidate

So its summer... and I get alittle down time usually. Not this summer where I am trying to trouble shoot a new HPLC method so I can finish up my research. It makes me laugh though at how many people think that I must have nothing to do in the summer so I must be off. Ha!

Sometimes I wonder how I will ever get through my program and get a job! Sometimes it seems insermountable. Just the other day my husband was talking about me and tenure= job security for life. Kind of comforting and scary all at the same time.

I know I can write, conduct research and teach but put it all together into a faculty appointment and you have one stressed PhD.!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Learned something new on Father's Day

Today, we spent the day with my father-in-law and sister-in-law. It was a really fun day despite the dreary day. We had a cookout and I even made baseball themed cupcakes because we got Josh's dad Red Sox tix. It was a nice day.

It wasn't how I pictured it though, my dad wasn't there. We had been planning this for weeks: a joint Father's Day cookout for both dads. Unfortunately, because of an unfortunate circumstance my dad didn't come. We kind of fought about it all week and I didn't like it at all. I wanted to cheer him up and do something with all the family as we are all feeling the loss of Nonna. My dad and I have had these fights in the past and its Nonna that would mediate and try to get us to talk. It had been a few days and we hadn't resolved the argument.

Today, he called. Not to fight but to hear my side and try to resolve our differences. It was so unlike how it usually goes. He really wanted to get together so we found another time to celebrate Father's Day. It was a tuning point for us and I am sad we weren't together but glad we got a bit closer.

I also reflected on family and how I feel the great loss of my grandmother, I think about the possibility of new life. Who knows maybe in a few years Josh and I will be celebrating him as a father on Father's day. For now, he just gets puppy kisses and love from his 'fur kids'

Happy Father's Day

PS Here is a shot of our garden... its growing!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Garden update

So all the plants are in, even swiss chard and basil for my Nonna. I have really been missing her lately and gardening has made me feel closer to her.

I actually made swiss chard today, one of my work friends gave me some from her garden. It was just like Nonna's. I haven't eaten swiss chard since I got the flu and threw it up (it was the last dinner I had before I got sick).... much better this time!

The garden is pretty much done except it needs a gate before the critters arrive! All this rain is NOT good though, hopefully it brightens up and warms up!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Vegetable garden is almost done!

If you are following along in my vegetable garden adventure I thought it is time to update!

The fence is up, the seeds/seedlings are in except for the pumpkins and the lime has been spread.

I am concerned about some of the seeds coming up but I think they will shortly... hey I am a seed physiologist by training so with any luck!

I have been thinking alot about what I want to do with my life after getting my PhD. It really could go in any direction.

Today, I was thinking if a tenure-track apt. doesn't become available near to my grad date I might start a CSA... what do you think?

I have always wanted to call my farm Butternut Farm but there is this namesake already in NH, and it is a great farm you should go!

I would call it Buttercup farm or J&J family farm maybe. I would love running a CSA and educating the public about food, health, growing and producing food!

I am off to go water the artichokes!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Planting with purpose

Following my announcement that I had loss Nonna, I was overwhelmed with support from family and friends, some that knew and some that did not. It was such a nice feeling. I was absolutely dreading Friday, the day of her services, I was asked to do a scripture reading and read part of the eulogy, taken from mine and my sister's blogs.

The wake was harder than I thought, seeing her lying there, but comforting at the same time because I got to say goodbye. She was buried in the dress she wore at my wedding which was special and all the cards and letters she had recieved were in her casket.

The service itself was just beautiful, with all the hymns she loved and the priest had many comforting and wonderful things to say. I cried, but everyone cried and some I think just cried with me and that was comfort. I got through my readings and eulogy and felt that I had honored her in the best way I could. My mother in law, sister and friend came which was touching too. Way to be there for me.

At the burial Josh had a great idea, we noticed that there were many folks out that day planting flowers, watering and carrying for the other plots, I imagine for Memorial Day. He said we should plant some basil by her headstone. I am going to do that for sure!

I felt drained and sad from the days events and thought sleeping on it would help. In fact not, I feel worse today. I guess the services really made it all real and now I am trying to get through the day by just thinking about good memories and realizing that she would not want me to be sad forever.

So today, I carried on painting the house. Not as fun as I had hoped because my dad should have been up this weekend. Ah well, I know he will come when he is ready.

I also started planting in the vegetable garden. I need some lime but other than that the beds are there and the plants I started with my class that I taught were ready.

So, I have 8 10ftx3ft beds. I planted 1 bed of eggplant 'Caliope', peppers 'Hungarian wax', 2 beds of Tomatoes, 'Big boy', 'Yellow pear', 'San Marzano' and 'Baby grape', 1 bed of yellow squash, zucchini, pumpkin' Connecticut', and spaghetti squash. Around the perimeter I put in zinnias, sunflowers and morning glories.

On the outside of the fence will be more pumpkins. I haven't found a good place for the basil or sweet peas I have germinated on the window sill but I am sure I will find room!

I feel like this garden will be a memorial to my Nonna who also loved gardening and I will always have her in my heart and feel close to her when I am gardening.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Nonna

Its been a long battle but this morning my Nonna passed away. Though I have had a couple of weeks to come to terms with the notion that she may pass it didn't quite feel real.

I had a very special bond with Nonna from the beginning, she was always 'my nonna'. She was loving, full of wisdom, insightfullness, generous, funny and kind. Being her first grandchildren and triplets we got alot of her attention. She spent alot of time babysitting us and making Sunday dinner. She shared alot of her rich Sicilian Italian heritage with us and I always felt very connected to her and that culture because of her.

My sister spent some time today reminiscing about the things she remembers best about Nonna and special times with her. I wanted to add some of my own. So here are mine.....

As kids we would dress in my aunt's bridesmaid outfits and parade around the table at Nonna's and she would sing 'Here comes the bride' and she would say someday you will 'go married' .

We would spend Sunday afternoons playing at her house while my mom and dad went out and I remember she would give us some money to go across the street to Ed mini-mart to by hostess cupcakes or slush puppies... we felt like we were getting away with something!

We would sleep over at Nonna's and stay upstairs with my aunt... I always seemed to be the bravest and stay the whole night and in the morning I would help roll out meatballs and watch Nonna cook them out on the deck... she made cooking meatballs look so easy.

Speaking of food there was never a lack of really good food whenever I came over, it could be lasanga, spethini, cream puffs or just cantelope and it would be good. No body except maybe Carmela could cook like her. Her pizza, soup, stuffed shrimp and clams, turkey and stuffing, fish, lasanga, meatballs and spethini were my all time favorites. She loved with food, and even if you were not hungry you ate because it made her happy. I love with food too and I know its because of her.....

One of my all time favorites was her little meatball soup that she would make only for me and my sisters, any time we asked. As kids she would cool each brown wooden bowl (they reminded me of the top of an acorn) of soup outside so it wouldn't be too hot. She inspired us to try anything and everything. We loved 'yucky celery' or finocio (fresh anise), and it was sweet and licorice-y. I am too young but I have seen pictures of us eating pasta with squid in front of an awed visiting Italian set of relatives :)

In the more recent years we haven't gotten to have as many Nonna dinners because I have moved around. But just recently she had Carmela make a second set of spethini because we missed them the last time she made them. Carmela pulled them out of the freezer just for us. She also saved me the special small lentils that make her lentil soup special. Sometimes I would bring her fresh vegetables after she was done with her garden, her face when I brought her fresh favas was priceless.

I loved going to Fiesta and watching the parade with all the family and celebrating with lasanga, actually for me the best part was during the parade and the Italian band would stop and play for us and I can still hear her singing along.

It didn't matter how far away I moved, I always felt close to her and everytime I would see her it was as if time had not passed, we could just pick up where we left off. I loved surprising her by stopping by and just peaking around the corner and seeing her sitting in her chair and her face just perk right up. I would ask her how she was doing and sometimes it was good, when it wasn't she would say 'half and half'.

I felt like she could just read me before I said anything, happy, sad, nervous, stressed she just knew. I loved hearing her stories about times past, she was a great story teller.

She was there for me through all my broken hearts and tears. She celebrated when Josh and I decided to get married, when I told her we were getting married she said 'He is a good boy' and when we realized they had the same birthday she said 'I always liked that boy'.

Nonna was one of my biggest champions, she always stuck up for me even if I deserved to get in trouble. She supported all my dreams... even when I told her I wanted to be a trash collector when I grew up... don't ask me why I had this fleeting dream. Maybe it was because the trash guy would smile at us when we were at her house....

I cherish all my memories and happy times with my Nonna. I consider the last almost 30 years to be a gift from God. She almost died before I was born. She lived to see us reach many milestones including graduating from high school, college and getting married. I am so glad we got to spend so many years together, she helped raise me, shape me and make me who I am today.

Though I am sad that she has left us, I know that there is a little bit of her in me. I can look back and savor the memories and know that one day I will be able to see her again. When she was in the hospital waiting for surgery she made me kiss her on the lips and she squeezed my hand and said she loved me. I love you too Nonna and I am sorry I didn't get to say that to you one more time but I know you know it. I love you my little nonna and you will always be in my heart. So when I say good bye Friday, its just for now....

Monday, May 11, 2009

8 yards of loam

So I ordered a second load of composted loam for this weekend and of course it came on Thursday in the RAIN and it sat there in a pile until I had time to spread it which wasn't until Sunday. Which as you know we got like 3 inches of rain on Saturday night. Figures.

So I spread mud and it took me 3.5 hrs. to do it 1 wheelbarrow at a time. I made a 25x30 square area look flat and smooth! Starting to look like a real garden. I need a bit more loam so I could built up the beds.

Now I am left with a sore back but my garden is almost there! I started some morning glories and other seeds so its on its way!

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I credit my Nonna for my love of culinary vegetables and herbs, especially basil and 'fuzzy zucchini' as I called it. I remember her tiny downtown backyard being transformed into a vegetable garden with trellises, swiss chard, tomatoes and even a pear tree.

After a while my family stopped doing the garden for her over the last few years and I promised myself I would do it someday for her. The closest I got was making her a window box with her favorite herbs, flat leaf parsley and genovese basil for her birthday in the spring. It seemed like a good compromise, she could go out on her porch and pick what she needed rather than going down the stairs to the backyard.

This Christmas, I gave her tiny little terra cotta pots with basil and parsley so she could start them in the winter, rather than waiting for me to do it in the spring. I think she appreciated the gesture and knew she would grow them herself.

This spring, I planned to do her window box again or even do some tomatoes and italian zucchini in her garden. Sadly, she is not well and may not be with us for much longer.

My nonna is a special lady and I feel so sad that I may not get to tell her how much I love her just one more time. I am thinking about her all the time and now as the summer is inching closer I plan to plant basil for my nonna.

Its funny how vegetables and food for that matter can become a common thread between generations. My nonna and I are very close regardless of the fact that we like to grow vegetables but I am realizing more and more how my profession is something that most can relate to. I cherish the time with my nonna and am grateful for the time she spent with me that inspired to enter this field.

I love you my little nonna....

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What a beautiful spring day

As a New Englander, I feel it is my right to complain about the weather/climate from time to time. I find myself bringing it up on occassion with neighbors, friends and co-workers and we all commiserate. Over the years I have come to expect spring to be a wash, filled with cool rainy, dreary sunless days from the melting of snow in March until Memorial Day. I have to say that this year I am pleasantly surprised, things started warming up mid March for a change and it has been very dry... almost too dry (but I am not complaining yet)

This stretch of warm, sunny dry weather has helped us get ahead in the yard for once. The yard is raked, bushes pruned, flower garden weeded, iris and dahlias planted and the narcissus and azaleas are blooming! We even took down 3 trees in preparation for a new vegetable garden out friend.

We lost 3 trees in the ice storm so it seemed like the right time to thin some trees and start a vegetable garden. Right now the yard looks a bit bare but much has changed as of today.

Since the ice storm we have had an unsightly pile of tree debris piled high and we added to it in March when we cleared for the vegetable garden. Today, Josh and my FIL rented a chipper and together we chipped the entire what felt like record time 9-noon and we were done. I am so thankful that I have a wonderfully ambitious husband and a FIL who gives generously of his weekend time to help us improve our home.

After we chipped we... actually Josh and FIL removed 3 like 300lb stones from the soon to be vegetable garden, while I weeded out the area of dandilions and lily of the valley. There is a 6 yard pile of loam waiting for me to spread it. Just felt like a monumental task... so I am saving it for tomorrow. The picture with the shed is the site of our soon-to-be vegetable garden and the other picture is of the same spot last spring with the trees.

Tonight, I will dream and drool over seed catalogues and make my plans for the garden. I have promised myself that I will grow whatever FIL likes for vegetables as some small way to thank him!

All I can say is that I am thankful for spring and the time to enjoy the season which always feels too short!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Long awaited update

So fast forward to spring and the huge relief that is I passed my written/oral exams yippeeee! I have a technician working with me to help me crank out samples so things are just rolling along. We work together on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have to say, I look forward to these days first because I can work on my research and make progress and second because I appreciate the help and company. I have decided I am NOT a work alone, independant all the time research scientist. I am definetly a social being and I enjoy the interaction!
I have been teaching alot this semester but fortunately the semester so it is coming to an end in just 5 short weeks! Though it is bitter sweet, I am craving a break big time!
On a personal note, my grandmother has suffered a stroke and I saw her tonight. It was so hard to see her sedated and restrained. Just lying there and there wasn't a thing I could do. Broke my heart and made me realize that no matter how important my work seems at the time I have to find a better family/work/ life balance.... that is my new goal!