Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hola Espana!!!

As some of you may already know, I will be going to Madrid this summer :)! I'll be going with a friend from home and it should be amazing! There have been talks of adding on a side trip to Lisbon, Portugal as well and I've been thinking about maybe hitting up some of Spain's other great cities- like Barcelona. But for now, Madrid is definitely happening. And I'm so SO SO EXCITED. I've decided to open up a "Help Lenzie have fun in Spain" fund. Tips on where to go, advice, cash money- all are accepted :) haha.
That is the most exciting thing happening in my life right now. The rest of the post will be playing catch up. Because, AGAIN, I've gotten behind in the posting.
Lab work has kept me busy. I've got three experiments running simultaneously, a first year report that I've barely touched, and an abstract to write that I haven't worked on at all. I'll probably start the abstract today, but I'm having trouble with direction. Especially since I've never written an abstract before... That being said, I'm excited to get the abstract submitted so that I can make a poster for the conference I'll be attending in October. Its the Society for Neuroscience conference, held in New Orleans this year (!) and its one of the biggest global gatherings of neuroscientists. Can you say networking??? I sure can. This is why its so imporant to get the abstract in- so I can make a poster and (hopefully) impress all of the fancy pants neuroscientists who will be there.
One of the three experiments I've been working on is the new electron microscope experiment. And I wish I could go into more details than that because I'm really excited about it. BUT- what I'm not enjoying is the tired eyes and headaches that follow multiple hour long sessions of microscope use. Last week I pummeled my eyes on Thursday and Friday. I'm going to have to start spreading out my TEM times because I'll otherwise ruin my eyes. And that sounds no bueno to me.
Besides being busy (and stressed) with the mountains of work piling up around me, I've been keeping a healthy social life and keeping up with the excercise! Still on track to hitting my goal weight by my birthday which I'm really happy about. Its especially easier now that the gym is back to its normal opening hours and the classes are all running as usual. I tried a new class yesterday- hooping. As in hula hooping. As in I've officially given you permission to make fun of me (or take the mick, as the Brits would say). It was definitely not a good enough work out to be worth doing again, but it was fun to try something new. Although I now have a FAT bruise on my hip and its quite painful. I was looking at it earlier today in the office and a post doc walked by. ...I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm being abused. Shouldn't be a problem unless my PI starts asking why I have bruises on my body haha.
Last week was the first week back after the break. And I happily filled up my calendar with seeing my friends again. Between reuniting with friends, going out to pubs with friends, watching football (soccer), and celebrating birthdays, I kept my week packed. And its been fun :). Work all day, then gym/socialize/both at night- its my favorite kind of day. Well, I prefer when I can just gym/socialize all day. But I do enjoy the work I do, even if it doesn't always come across that way.
This weekend I was actually good about cooking for the week. I often slack off and then regret it during the week. But it has really helped. Not only do I have lunches prepared, but I'm realizing that its WAY better for me to come home and eat something straight away. I usually screw around, not wanting to cook myself anything. And then I get hungrier and hungrier until I eventually cave in and make something quick. But when I get home and already have something good to eat, I eat and am way more productive for the rest of the night. I usually even feel like cooking once I've eaten and regained energy. Weird how laziness is the worst option for me....
Anyway, I hope that will suffice for my lack of posting.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

All Weekend and No Internet Makes Lenzie a Sad Girl

Might a make a slight adjustment to that statement- All (6-day long, due to the Easter holiday, and thus no IT to fix the issue) Weekend. That's a long time to go without internet. A long, boring, and forced-productivity weekend. That being said, the forced-productivity worked in my favor and I am now WAY less stressed about my first year report. And as this week slips away, I'm certain the feeling of security will flee. BUT- I'm going to relish feeling on top of my work for as long as it'll last.
This past week has been a strange one- the 6 day closure period really threw me off as far as work goes and the majority of my friends have left to go home, while the remaining are panic-writing essays. And then there's me. Hmmmm. Besides just this past week, the whole month has been "off"- no farmer's market on Tuesdays, limited gym opening times and classes, empty campus. I'm ready for life to go back to normal now please!
This past week was the Brighton and Hove Food Festival. And.... I didn't take advantage at all. I'm sure if Jenna were here, I would've done something for it every day! The one Food Festival event I did go to was the Big Sussex Market. And it was amazing. A HUGE gathering of food stalls, outside in the sunshine. Amazing and delicious!!! I also picked up some great pantry items- A whiskey/mustard salad dressing, garlic and tomato Indian chutney, and fresh baked bread. The bread has been devoured by now, mostly because I gave up bread for Lent and DESTROYED the loaf within a few days of being able to eat bread again. I still have a ton of epic sandwich stuff and some great homemade tapenade leftover, but I'm not so sure that buying bread is the best idea haha. ...Maybe I'll stick with wraps....
Speaking of Lent, lets talk Easter. I gave up bread, peanut butter, and cereal for Lent. I like the personal challenge that Lent offers and since I was developing some seriously bad habits with those three items, I decided to remove them from my diet for awhile. And honestly, it was quite easy. I had one moment of weakness with the bread, but I'm not too upset with myself over that- I didn't have food for lunch and the only place open on campus was Falmer Bar. That day, their gas supply was gone, so all they could offer were cold sandwiches. Oh, might I mention that I got into work at 9 that day and was going straight to the gym at 6 pm for an hour of brutal exercise? Yeah, I needed to eat. Plus, that sandwich was amazing. So, meh. We all have our moments haha. I still haven't bought cereal or peanut butter and am going to try and keep bread out of my place. I'll break down and buy peanut butter, but until I can get my hands on American peanut butter, I'm not too bothered to go out and get it right away. Or, as the Brits say, "I can't be arsed". (Love it)
Easter turned out to be a really nice day, although I was bummed that I couldn't skype with the family because of the lack of internet. But I was able to go to brunch with a few friends who crawled out of their essay-writing caves for some great food. AND I spent part of my Easter evening looking at baby cows. What's better than cute baby animals, really? Well, maybe chocolate. But I didn't have chocolate, so baby cows were the next best (accessible) thing. Now that I've gone off on a tangent, let's go back to brunch- we went to Sam's of Brighton. Which happened to be on my Brighton bucket list! I asked for a side of bacon with my breakfast (which I would NEVER do in the States, but since the bacon here is just about the most delicious thing ever, it had to be done) and the waitress said "Where are you from?". I said "America" and she said "You're from California, aren't you?". She was from Cali too, but I think it's pretty amazing that she knew I was Californian because of my side order of bacon. And by amazing, I mean that I'm also slightly distressed that I'm fitting an American stereotype. Although, since she was Californian too, maybe it was just some California bond... I'll go with that...
Work has been weird. I feel like I've stayed home to work on my writing for a long time now... but I'm looking back at last week and I really only took last Friday off (and this Monday and Tuesday). So I guess I've actually done a lot of work... simply because I worked on Thursday and that was during the closure period. I'll be moving into my new TEM experiment and starting on my molecular stuff! I also have my first year report due in May and an abstract to write for the Society for Neuroscience conference that's also due in May. My moments of panic-writing will be right around my birthday- awesomeeeeeeeee. I also took a class on the statistics program that we use... and I'm still terrible at it. I spent a good portion of last Thursday trying to figure it out. And couldn't. Why why why do I fail so terribly with technology?
Finally, I've been able to cross off two more bucket list items- To try Marwoods and Talk of Tea (both cafes). Both are great, but Talk of Tea has the best scones I've ever eaten. Ever. So depending on if I'm in the mood for coffee or tea (or scones), I'll make an appropriate decision. Some of you might be wondering why all of my bucket list items are centered around food. And to that, I say- do you know me at all? But really, even in Santa Cruz I had a lot of cafes on my list. This is simply because I like trying new places, and if I can find a place where I can also study- bonus.
I'll get some pictures up once I've gotten them from friends :)