I feel like there's SO much to tell you, but in reality, I haven't done that much this past week and a half. I'm mostly excited about all the fun things I will soon be doing, but I'll get to that in a moment...
Last week, I took a Red Cross Life Saving class. So now, if any of you happen to faint, choke, or have a heart attack while I'm around, I am certified to save your life. But please, try to refrain if possible. Its a lot different practicing CPR on ResusiAnne than on a real person.
Friday was Veteran's Day (although they call it Armistice Day here); it also was 11/11/11. I hope you all made the most of the numerically magical day! But back to the remembrance aspect- over here, they wear red poppies on their lapels as a sign of respect for fallen soldiers. It was really something to see. There was also a two minute, country-wide moment of silence. Veteran's Day actually means something here; the respect is still alive. In the States, Veteran's Day means you don't have to go into work/school. Not really the same AT ALL. So, I suggest we start a movement in America. Let's bring back the poppies. Let's actually show respect to the people who fight for our continued freedom. I don't care if you are an extremely reactionary or radical individual, or anywhere in between those two on the political spectrum. I don't care if you disagree with war. But let's show a little respect for those who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Let's bring back the poppies.
On Sunday, I finally meandered around Brighton on my own. With no plan besides exploring, I jumped on the train and took off to the city. I now feel relatively confident in my lay of the land (the city really isn't very big...). While I was looking around, I became nostalgic for Santa Cruz. Brighton reminds me of Santa Cruz SO much. The general feel is the same. A smaller town, by the ocean, with a liberal feel. The pier even is similar to the Boardwalk- dirty, a little sleazy, but perfectly good fun. Little alleyways are covered in murals painted by locals and you can see rainbows, "sustainable", and "organic" everywhere. Love it.
My research seems to be taking the tiniest of baby steps, but its finally stepping in the right direction. I've been training with the electron microscope, which will let me look at amyloid fibers and take pictures of them. This is mostly important for seeing their aggregation. Now, if that jargon was a little over your head, no worries. The electron microscope lets me take pictures of SUPER small things. And this is an important tool for my research. I'm still waiting to get training on how to handle the proteins I'll be working with. That's the one thing holding me back from starting molecular and behavioral experiments. But... hopefully I'll get that training soon. I'm still reading literature. I've got a pretty nice stack of notes growing.
I FINALLY signed up for the gym this week! I had been putting it off, partially due to laziness, partially due to other excuses such as- I was jogging on the trails but now its too muddy to, I was looking for a gym with a pool, etc. However, I finally bit the bullet and paid for a year membership. And I'm SO happy I did. The facilities are good enough, but the real winner is that they offer weekly drop in classes. This week I took a Boxercise class (cardio boxing- epic) and Core by 4 (a WAY too easy pilates class). I'm still hurting from my Monday Boxercise class, so I've decided to stick to my own cardio and weights for the rest of the week. And I wasn't impressed with Core by 4 at all. Simple pilates isn't my thing; the pilates class I took in Santa Cruz left me with an ab burn, which is what I was looking for here, but didn't get. I have a huge list of all the other classes I want to take and I'll keep you updated on those. But anyone who is looking for fun exercise should take a cardio boxing class. I'll definitely slip that into my weekly work out routine.
As most of you know, I spend far too much of my time looking at recipes. I'm a food blog junkie and often get an itch to write a quick blog about the food I've cooked for dinner, but I've refrained thus far. BUT- I need to share two recipes with you. First gumbo! Not my first gumbo attempt, but a realllllly delicious recipe. Also, I hate making roux, so this probably won't be made again anytime soon. Second cauliflower soup! Healthy and so so so so good. I highly recommend both recipes. So go off and cook, my fellow foodies!
It all seems like joy and smiles over here, which for the most part it is, until I get a monthly email that knocks me down a bit. I got the monthly email yesterday. SallieMae's "friendly reminder" that my loan is incurring interest. My soul cries a little as I quietly say good bye to my left kidney (which I'll obviously have to sell to pay off my student debts), but then I remember than I'm in England, doing my PhD in something I love, and will be traveling to the Netherlands soon, and my soul brightens right back up.
Which brings me to my current excitement- TRAVEL! It will be happening SOON :D! I'll be going into London this Sunday to look at all the Christmas stuff. And I can't wait. In England, they can actually put up decorations, lights, and ice rinks without someone with opposing views getting their panties in a wad. So I'll be frollicking around Hyde Park and Oxford Circle looking at the Christmas lights and I might even attempt my first ever ice skate at the rink by the London Eye. My next fit of travel comes with Dawn and Megan (friends from UCSC) who will be visiting after Thanksgiving. I will definitely be spending time with them in Brighton and London. I MIGHT be doing a weekend trip into Dublin, Ireland with them as well. That's not for certain, so I don't want to get too excited about that just yet. THEN the big adventure right before I go home for Christmas- I'll be going to the Netherlands aka Holland aka EPIC. I'm going with Caitlin and will be meeting up with my friend Jeff (from UCSC) who's studying abroad this semester. Dawn and Megan will also be in the Netherlands for one of the days. Its going to be amazing and I can't wait!!!!!
In between these amazing traveling adventures lies Thanksgiving. I will be celebrating with friends here and will update you on what I'm making/ how it goes when I've planned a bit more. Then, that night, I will be skyping with the family while they are celebrating Thanksgiving. It'll be a good day- a celebration with friends and food, and then with family. I'd like to say in advance- thank you to the turkey who will be giving its life for me to stuff my face.
The post is now coming to an end. I've run out of things to say and I've spent far too much lab time writing this post (...oops haha). I took advantage of the fact that the majority of the Neuroscience community is in Washington DC at the Society For Neuroscience convention and so the office is quiet and lonely. But now, I must bid you adieu. Please note though- You can follow my blog! This means that you will get automatic updates whenever I post something new. Its a good idea, better then just randomly checking to see if there's a new post or waiting for word of mouth to spread to you.