Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mt. Baldy

Yesterday, I climbed to the top of Mount Baldy.  The hike contained a 4,000 ft elevation with a total trek of about 8.5 miles.  I knew that the hike would be tough, but I had no idea what I was actually in for until I was about 9,000 feet above sea level.  I cannot explain how hard this hike was, but it was an amazing experience.  There were some parts of the hike, when I was climbing over rocks, that I felt like I was in the Parent Trap.  It was so much fun!  Too bad the whole hike was not like that; I would have appreciated climbing over rocks or walking on a flat surface.

Here are some pictures from the top of the mountain.

It was surprisingly windy near and at the top of the mountain.  It made the trek getting to and from the very top harder than if there was no wind.

I am thankful that the trek down from the mountain was easier than the trek up.  I was able to appreciate more of the views as I did not have to concentrate as much on where I was going.

The hike took a total of about 8.5 hours, and about 35,000 steps.  As a "reward" we went out for Handel's ice cream.  I got a milkshake: chocolate malt w/ caramel.

I definitely feel the effects on my body today, even after having slept for 13 hours.  It is difficult to sit down and stand up, but once I am walking I am fine.  Hopefully I won't be as, or more, sore tomorrow.

"The greatest feeling of accomplishment for me is the fact that I was an athlete who was somewhat disabled." -Bill Toomey

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Quiet, yet busy

The last two days have been quiet, yet busy.  I understand that this is a paradox, yet it is true.  I have read three books cover to cover, enjoying the amount of time I got to spend pleasing myself.  I feel much more relaxed, not that I was ever stressed. 

I started my Sunday in the village, picking up some fresh produce from the farmers market before heading to Starbucks to work on my thesis.  An hour and a half after arriving at Starbucks, I had a complete draft of my introduction.  At the moment, I am working on edits and small additions before my advisor may view it.

I then sat by the pool, unfortunately leaving my favorite (and only) pair of sunglasses behind.  Kate Spade.  Needless to say, when I returned a few hours later they were gone.  This bit of news has been pretty upsetting; I still remember the day that my mother gave them to me in August of 2012.  For the moment, I am sunglass-less.  When I return home this weekend, I will pick up a pair of cheap ones from the stash in my drawer while I search for another perfect pair.

I do not have much of an update on lab, except that I LOVE WORKING IT.  I was nervous that this fellowship would not live up to my expectations, and I would have to figure out a new career path. Thankfully, the fellowship has not only affirmed my love of research and being in a lab, but strengthened my desire to earn my Ph.D. in Biology.

As it is late, I will skip talking about all of the yummy food I have eaten (turkey meatballs and matzo balls) and say goodnight.

"The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams"- Oprah Winfrey

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy 1st Day of Summer

Today is June 21st.  That can only mean one thing: it's the first day of summer!

I have had a fantastic few days, and am choosing to dedicate this blog post to friends and food!

As many of you may know, my lab mates and I go to Starbucks during lunch on Thursday to chat with the cute Barista. This Thursday, I had a presentation for work (and it went EXTREMELY well) and we went a half hour later than usual.  Unfortunately, our cute Barista was not there.  We felt gypped. Moreover, the Batista who took my order spelled my name wrong.  Overall, we had a very unsatisfying Starbucks trip.

My labs faculty advisor is AMAZING.  On Friday, my lab mates and I were going to hang out and watch a movie after work.  Our advisor decided to give us all similar amounts of work in the lab so that we could leave early, giving us more time to bond.  We were very appreciative, and decided to take her out to lunch.  We ate at Pizza N' Such.  The pizza is amazing.  Per usual, I ate a few slices of meatball pizza!  

After work, we went to the Ontario Mall.  We walked into Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and they had MINION MARSHMALLOWS and MINION APPLES!  In addition, we found a minion shirt!!!!  I went ballistic.  If you couldn't tell, I currently have an obsession with Minions!

However, I did not actually buy Minion items, or chocolate, from Rocky Mountain.  Instead I went to See's Candy.  If you have ever eaten a See's chocolate, then I know you will understand why.  Their chocolates contain a truffle-like mixture in the center to create a perfect taste.  Add in the sprinkles that they put on top of the Mocha and Chocolate Bordeaux, and it is divine.

For dinner last night, we went to Chipotle.  It was pretty good, but a little spicy for me.  I ordered my bowl with the corn salsa, and I find that there is an extra kick in the salsa that I do not enjoy.  That being said, it was nice to eat Mexican food, as I have not had it in months.  We took our food to go, and ate it outside in the village while listening to Dogs (a band) play cover songs.  We saw our lab advisor, and it was great to see her having so much fun!

This morning, my lab mates and I decided to go on a hike to a small peak called Potato Mountain.  To prepare for this semi-gruesome hike, I made chocolate chip pancakes with extra chocolate chips.  This definitely helped us prepare for the 1.7 mile trek to the saddle.  The hike is mostly uphill with very few patches of shade.  When we found shade, we took a break to drink some water and catch our breaths.  I became tired pretty fast, not used to the 1,000-foot elevation climb.  Once we made it to the saddle, we decided not to continue to the peak due to our fear of bees.  The next portion of the hike, which is about a half mile, contained a bee farm.  However, the views were spectacular from where we stood.

I found this hike to be pretty hard, and on Friday Keck Science is going to climb to the top of Mount Baldy.  That consists of a 4,000-foot elevation gain in approximately 7 miles.  Needless to say, I am worried about that hike.  However, I am still going to go because it will be an amazing experience and will definitely teach me my physical limits (which I am hoping allow me to climb to the top).  Don't worry about me however, as I am going to pack loads of water, food, and sunscreen. :)

After we descended Potato Mountain, it was around noon: lunch time!  One of my lab mates decided to teach us how to make wontons!  It is pretty simple:
-wonton wrappers
-soy sauce
-chicken broth

1. Mix soy sauce, pork, and water together.  I unfortunately don't have quantities for you, but you can always season it to taste!  Make sure you add plenty of water though, as the pork will become dry(er) during the cooking process.
2. Take a wrapper, and put some pork in the middle of the wrapper.  Dab one corner of the inner wrapper with water, and fold over.  Then dab the outer portion of a different corner, and fold over so that they look similar to below.  
       *You can fold the wrapper however you would like as long as the pork does not look like it is not going to fall out
3. Place in a pot of boiling water.  When they begin to float, you can transfer it to a pot with warm chicken broth.

In addition, I decided to bake cookies this afternoon.  I made peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars with Speculos cookie butter.

-1/2 cup unsalted butter
-3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
-1 egg
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1 1/2- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
-1/4 cup Speculos Cookie Butter from Trader Joes (optional; may be substituted with Nutella)

-Blend butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla together until smooth.
-Add baking soda, salt, and flour in small increments beating well after each addition.
-Add Speculos Cookie Butter, mixing so it is lightly distributed throughout the dough but not fully mixed in.
-Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
-Add chocolate chips and mix by hand (at this point, I over mixed the Cookie Butter in to the dough and decided to garnish the top of the cookie bars by melting peanut butter and drizzling lightly over the top.  Another good option is to put the chocolate chips on top of the cookie bars).
-Place into a cake pan.
-Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 30-40 minutes.  I baked it until the edges looked crispy and had a darker brown color.

If you would like to make cookies, then roll the dough into balls, and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Using a fork, press down on the balls to create a crisscross pattern and bake for about 7-10 minutes.

*Recipe adapted from jamieanne.

"Laughter is brightest where food is the best." -Irish Proverb

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tyrannosaurus Rex

I am sorry I have not had time to write a blog post recently.  I have been REALLY busy.  Yesterday, I finished my third box of tips!  There are three different tip sizes depending on the amount of liquid you need; I have now finished one of each size.  

Recently, I have been working on recombining my mutant DNA into a plasmid that contains GFP.  GFP stands for green fluorescent protein; it is a tag that you put on one side of the DNA so that you can track it in the cell.

The image above is an outline of what I am trying to accomplish next in lab.  I have already amplified my H3 gene, and completed the reaction that places it into the pENTR vector.  The next step is to create mutant DNA.  This process is called mutagenesis, and is accomplished by using primers that contain the mutant DNA sequence, and is able to bind to the wild-type DNA.  The primer is able to bind to the wild-type DNA due to a complementary sequence.  The DNA sequence contains four base pairs: A, T, C, and G.  Base pair A will bind to T, and C will bind to G.  After the primer is created, using the original sequence and the mutant bases, it binds to the wild-type DNA, and an enzyme will copy the rest of the sequence (the sequence not contained within the primer).  This process creates a plasmid that contains the mutant DNA.  I have created one of my mutant sequences, and I am waiting for my other mutant to be sequenced (this will allow me to determine that the mutation was properly incorporated into the DNA).  Next, I want to recombine the mutant DNA into a plasmid containing GFP.  The red mark is the GFP tag, and the green mark contains DNA that is called the "death gene".  This means that if the mutant DNA is not inserted into the plasmid in place of the green gene, the cell with the green gene will die.  I am currently having problems with this step, and I am unsure why.  To determine if the mutant DNA is inserted, we run a gel (figure explanation below).  My two outcomes have been undigested DNA and DNA with no plasmid insert, meaning it contained the death gene and should have died.  I am currently trying to redo this experiment.

The laboratory I work in houses two different professors, and although we have been working side by side for two weeks, we have not officially met.  Thankfully, that changed last night when we had lab bonding.  We hiked a small part of Mt. Baldy to a river.  Currently, there is a drought in southern California and the river was nearly dry.  It was a great way to get to know each other.

Living on my own has been a great experience, and has taught me to become more independent, especially when it comes to food.  Today, I had a lot of great foods.  This morning, I decided to make chocolate pudding.  I decided to experiment a little, and added 2.5 instead of 2 cups of milk.  The taste was so rich; I cherished it for most of the afternoon, eating small bites as I wrote another paragraph of my Thesis.  In addition, I went to My Delight Cupcakery and ate a Chocolate Caramel Cookie Crunch Cupcake (that's 5 C's for you! One for each of the colleges).  It contained caramel ice cream in the center of a chocolate cupcake, chocolate mousse, and was edged with Oreo and toffee.  It was heavenly :)  If you have never been and live in the area, I suggest you go IMMEDIATELY!  I have not found another bakery that makes a better, or even equal, cupcake.  They are never dry, and are made to perfection.

However, I still had not eaten dinner and wanted some protein.  The last food item I ate today were the best meatballs in the world: My Dad's!  I promise that you have never had a meatball better than this one.  It is phenomenal!  It is very time consuming to make (sorry Dad), however I believe it is worth all that time solely due to the flavors, texture, and taste. Nom nom nom.  If you thought that the cupcake sounded like the best food item of the day, you may in fact be wrong.  This meatball MIGHT out due the cupcake, but not by a lot!

"A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others." --Ayn Rand

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fault in Our Stars

I officially have an update for you on my microscopy experiment!  Today I fixed my cells onto slides, and while finding and focusing in on cells for TWO HOURS was very difficult, I have my results!  It worked :)  My cells grew as expected.  My Professor was happy with my results, and I believe I have a few paper worthy pictures.  (You know, a picture is worth a thousand words!  In science, that is true.  When you write a paper, you want to be able to analyze the picture from the legend, and not by reading the whole results section).

I finished my second tip box today.  Am I real scientist yet?  It's fun to finish a box of tips; it makes me feel important and knowledgeable.  I understand that may not make complete sense, but in my mind it does because I am trying to further science, a person's life, my career, and knowledge in general.

Today, I would like to thank my Professor for trusting me in the lab and letting me carry out my experiment on my own, without help. In addition, it was great to hear how proud of me she was for jumping in today and helping my peer problem-solve and determine if the sequence of her DNA was correct.  To reiterate an earlier blog post, science is all about teamwork and collaboration!  

Tonight, I would really like to talk about the movie Fault in Our Stars.  I saw this movie this evening with my lovely roommate, and it has left me with a variety of feelings.  The movie was great.  I thought it was well down and not solely about children who had cancer or the journey that they went through.  A connection was made between the actors and the audience.  There were gasps, awes, tears, and clapping at the end of the movie.  There was a deeper meaning that can be applied to any person's life. Life is short, but moreover life is what you make of it.  YOU choose what you do with your life, not anybody else.  In the end, you choose whom you impact, and how you impact them.  The movie contains these two teenagers, who have cancer, and went on a journey to Amsterdam to find out the end of a novel an author had written.  However, the author was rude, and after inviting them over to talk, refused.  You make up your own story; the same can be applied to a novel.  While some novels are significant, they are not meant to contain closure.  As one of the main characters thought about the end of their life, he/she did not feel as though he/she has left an impact on the world.  The impact was defined as being famous and well known.  However, the other main character made the point that he/she has made an impact, an impact on his/ her family and friends.

Will we ever gain closure in life?  Will we ever be completely content with the impact that we have made on the world?  Only you can answer this question, and I think they are important questions.  My take is that it all depends on who you are, and at what point you are in life.  I am not sure I will ever be completely content with the impact that I have made on the world; I have huge plans, and I also need to realize they may not be achievable.  I most likely will not be person to "cure" Tetralogy of Fallot, but more importantly, I have made an impact on thousands of people already.  All of the people I have talked to at AHA Gala's.  My commercial when I was ~8 years old.  Raising money.  My friends.  My family.  I share my story of who I am and already I have made a large impact on the world.  For me, maybe it won't be enough, not yet at least.  I am only 21 years old.  However, if I spend my life trying to "cure" Tetralogy of Fallot and help other children and fail, I will still have made my mark on this world trying.  That is what is important.  I may not become famous, however I will have benefitted the world, even if I "fail" because a "failure" in science isn't just a "fail" but an incorrect hypothesis/ experiment.  It opens a new door, to a new hypothesis, a new experiment.  I have just taken a small, inadvertent message from the movie tonight and applied it to my life.

Instead of ending my blog with a quote from somebody else, I am going to quote myself:

Life is what you make of it, live your life to the fullest, and be who you want to be.  Don't be anybody but yourself.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Because I'm Happy!

What is there about today that is not great? I mean, besides that fact that my GRE homework was a bit difficult tonight.  I started my day by making a mess on my mirror with my mouse (to make my hair curly today).  It looked cool though, so I really didn't care.  Especially, because it was easy to cleanup.

It was a slow day in lab, as my Tetrahymena cells did not reproduce as fast as usual; unlike humans, a new generation can be born every 2-2.5 hours.  Due to their stubbornness, my microscopy experiment has been put off another day!  To try and make my cells happier, iron was added to their growth media.  Fingers crossed that this new set of cells I am trying to grow reproduce!   Unfortunately, I don't have any results that I can share with you today in terms of experiments.  I completed 1 digest, which ate up my parental (normal) DNA leaving only my mutated DNA, and transformed two reactions (the digest and the one with a GFP tag so that it will fluorescence in the cell) into cells that can be grown in E. Coli!  I would be more than happy to explain this to you sometime, but I believe most of you will just get bored if I try and write it all out here.  I also, finally, got to set up my control reaction.  This reaction will make my findings stronger, and more believable.  My control is the normal DNA sequence that is found in the cell, without any induced mutations.

I had a major break-through today with my understanding of the key papers for my thesis.  I still have plenty of papers to read, but I now understand differentiation in terms of DNA (compact and non-compact) and not solely in terms of stem cells (which differentiates into many different types of cells that can make up an organism).  My newfound understanding of the papers will take me a long way in the thesis, and real, world.

However, this was not even the best part of my day.  For those of you who read my blog last thursday (or talked to me..?) you know that the Starbucks Barista from last week was really nice, and flirty.  Well, one of my lab mates and I went to Starbucks again today.  Guess what?  He recognized me, and we struck up a conversation that may have lasted two minutes.  It was great :)  For those of you who are curious, it is just some innocent flirtation that will not go anywhere, and I am perfectly okay with that.  I enjoyed my Java Chip Frappuccino today, and was very energized for the last leg of the afternoon!

I've been pretty hungry all day today, so it should come to you as no surprise that I made another zoku pop today.  I did not take a picture, however it is safe to presume that I made another milk n'oreo popsicle.  For dinner, I went for comfort food that was easy to make.  I made annie's white cheddar organic mac and cheese with chicken and spinach sausage.  It was very enjoyable to eat on the couch watching tv on my computer.

Here's to a happy day, and an even better Friday the 13th.

Things to look forward to in the coming weeks:
-a climb to the top of Mt. Baldy
-a trip to NorCal
-laser tag with my friends and professors

Thank you for all of the support from my friends, and especially my family, as I take this journey.

"The only thing that will make you happy is being happy with who you are, and not who people think you are."--Goldie Hawn


$1.25.  That is how much my ice cream cost today at Handel's.  There were so many good sounding flavors to choose from.  This place, though in a strip mall, reminds me of some place I used to go to in NJ with my family: MAGIC FOUNTAIN.  There are four windows that you can order at, with a few tables to eat at outside.  I got chocolate brownie!  It was great to eat homemade ice cream; I can't remember the last time I went to a stand-alone ice cream place like this.

To time warp back to a great beginning of my day:  I had a great start, sitting at the kitchen table this morning with a nice cup of coffee, in conjunction with completing part of my GRE homework.  I complimented my cup of coffee with a BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS! Eggo waffles and eggs.

This start was a stray from the start of my usual day: a workout/run.  My lab advisor, as we discussed working out on Monday, said that having that release of energy would make you more calm and collected in the lab.  To motivate us to work out (of course, I guess we as a lab approved of this), we have a calendar where we write if we worked out or not.  If we don't work out on a certain day, our professor will write slacker in red pen.  Some people may see it as mean, and I could agree with that, but I am choosing to look at it as being fun, and my motivation.  Today, we decided to work out after work as a lab group (just us students).  I think this could be a great way to get to know each other more, and spend time together outside of work-life.

Being in lab today taught me a lot.  While my big microscopy experiment did not work, I started over determining what needed to be changed based on the today's results.  The problem was that the background was not black, but a similar hue to our cell color under UV light.  This did not allow for us to properly see our nuclei.  However, experiments wouldn't be experiments if everything went right the first time! (idea/quote courtesy of my mom.)  What I have learned is that you need a lot of patience to be in a lab.  You need to be even-headed, and not blame the failed experiments on the protocol or yourself.  A large portion of being in a research lab is trouble-shooting.  If you enjoy puzzles, then you will probably enjoy being in lab.  Personally, I do not like puzzles, and tend to give up on them.  However, I truly enjoy trouble-shooting in the lab.  I am intrigued by what could have gone wrong; there are endless possibilities, and determining how the problem can be fixed.  As I am new to lab, I still have a lot to learn (I probably trust protocols too much still at this point, especially because everything worked on the first try during the school year).  Today, it was determined that the experiment did not work, most likely, due to excess primary, and potentially secondary, antibodies.  Hopefully, adding less antibodies will give a clearer view of my cells under the microscope!  I will try and update you all by the end of the week (I know you are just dying to know, like I am!)

It is getting late here, and I need to get to bed! Until next time :)

"Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success." -- Napoleon Hill

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

That Research Life


So much has happened over the past two days.  Yesterday was a quiet day in the lab; I did no lab work while waiting for primers to arrive and my cell cultures to grow.  However, I wrote a lot of my thesis: 2.5 pages worth!  I was trying to figure out what I was missing, as I have 6 pages of background, and need 10-12.  I figured it out, with help from the rest of my lab!  Teamwork is great.

Today was a busy day.  I isolated my plasmid containing a luminescent tag to detect travel of the protein within the cells.  For my other project (where I needed to grow cell cultures),  I fixed my slides with cells to determine protein modification.  I added different concentrations of drug inhibitors to my cell cultures to determine if there was a difference in protein modification, and hence cell growth as the protein modification I am trying to study has a direct affect on whether or not a cell duplicates.  It appears to have worked (inhibiting cell growth), but I will need to spend some time at the microscope tomorrow.  

I have had such a great time in the lab for the past week.  In fact, I finished my tip box today, which was very exciting.  :)  It is a sign that a lot of work has been accomplished so far.  I can't wait to finish some more.

My roommate and I were feeling lazy today, and decided to treat ourselves to a night out!  We went to Noodle Work Jr.  I ordered Pad See Ew, which I have never had before.  It was very good, containing a great flavor and texture.  I didn't enjoy the Chinese broccoli very much, but thats okay because I enjoyed everything else!  I have enough leftovers, that I think I will eat it for lunch tomorrow (or Thursday).

If you have been following my "late-night" snack, you know I really like to make popsicles.  I made another Zoku pop last night!  The milk and oreo popsicles are by far the best.  If anybody has suggestions on other good popsicles, then please let me know!

I just came back form the market, per being on my own and still wanting to eat.  I bought some of the necessary supplies, such as bread, chicken and eggs, but I am really excited to say I bought something new for breakfast: Eggo mini waffles!!!!!!! Leggo my eggo.

Off to complete an hour of GRE test prep.  Have a great evening everyone :)

"Unity is strength…when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved." -Mattie Stepanek

Monday, June 9, 2014

Short and Sweet


I hope everyone had a great weekend; I know I sure did.  I am not sure what to write, as some of the weekend details appear to have escaped me.  Saturday morning, I got up bright and early to attend 7:30 am spin class with my father.  It was unbelievably tiring, however I felt great all day.  In fact, I got to have chocolate chip PANCAKES for lunch.  They were amazing, however they were no where near as amazing as the See's chocolates I devoured over the last 24 hours.  I ate the Mocha, Bordeaux, and Butterscotch milk chocolates.  I wish I could eat See's chocolates everyday :)

One of the best parts of going home is being able to see and play with my puppy.  While she is currently 6 years old, she will always be a puppy (or really my mothers' puppy).  She was unbelievably excited to see me.  I enjoyed playing ball (or fetch) with her, and continuing our nightly routine of playing with Fido.  Fido is a stuffed monkey that we use to play tug-go (and like every other dog, she sometimes enjoys humping him as well).

Unfortunately, I also had to complete some work this weekend.  I completed a few hours of GRE practice, had GRE tutoring, and even better, finished another 3 paragraphs of my Thesis.

Back at school, my roommate and I made a stir-fry for dinner: ground chicken, zucchini, carrots, and peas.  My roommate made a soy sauce that contained brown sugar and ginger.  We ate it over rice, and was definitely a make-again dish.

Part of eating healthy for me is eating more vegetables; I am glad that I have decided to expand the foods that I eat- mainly veggies.  However, I am definitely in the mood for a home-made dessert right now.  The real question is cake or scones?

The answer: chocolate chip scones courtesy of a mix from Trader Joe's.  I decided to make min-scones instead, and will bring them in to share with my lab mates tomorrow.  I would really like to have more interaction with the lab group that I share lab with; I think this will be a nice start.  Anyhow, I tried them tonight, and they were pretty good!  They aren't made from scratch, but I am excited to eat them all week.

Have a great week everybody!

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." --Leo Buscaglia

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Happy National Donut Day!!

Did you get your free donut today?  If not, what are you waiting for?  Krispy Kreme is giving out FREE donuts.  

Naturally, on my way home from my research fellowship today I stopped at the Krispy Kreme closest to my house.  I had to wait 10 minutes for a donut, but if you have ever had a Krispy Kreme donut before you know it is well worth the wait. (Did you know I used to dislike Krispy Kreme?  Crazy, right!) The hot light was even on (aka you watch the donuts cook).  If you know me, you know that I love chocolate, sprinkles, and, of course, sugar.  So I got a chocolate covered donut with sprinkles.  Usually, I like chocolate sprinkles, but on a donut it's rainbow sprinkles all the way!

Fact: Did you know that sprinkles are called Jimmies on the East Coast, and that they only truly refer to the CHOCOLATE ones?

Sorry, I forgot to take a photo before I took a bite…or maybe I just couldn't wait to eat this donut.  I can't actually tell you the last time I had a donut (it has been a few months); I forgot how good they were.  This donut was worth every bite.

On the way of thesis progress, I wrote three more paragraphs this afternoon.  Every paragraph is a milestone, though there is still a lot of editing to do.  I am not completely happy with the sentence arrangement yet, but I have time to think about the structure.

Last, I had a FABULOUS dinner tonight my parents at the club.  I, of course, ordered my dinner without vegetables: salmon and squash risotto.  As I am a very picky eater, I was asked what veggies I do like: sweet potatoes, potatoes, zucchini, squash, corn, and peas.  I CANNOT stand mushrooms; I will not eat them under any circumstances (the veggie usually served with this dish).  The chef made peas in a pod (my first time eating a pea pod, minus the pod), corn, and half a sweet potato.  I ate the whole plate.  Hats off to the chef tonight.

I laughed so hard tonight I almost cried; this spew of laughter came about while I was trying to finish my main course.  It is very nice to have such a close relationship with my parents.  I always appreciate it when they tell me, like tonight, that they are proud of me.  It is great to know that they support me while I follow my dreams.  I couldn't have asked for better parents.  The laughter stems from the close relationship we have formed and our openness with each other.  Laughter, in my world, is contagious.  My mother watched my dad and I keel over in laughter (I say something funny, my dad laughs non-stop, and then I laugh).  Nights where you can laugh this hard are always great, no matter what.

The last course: dessert.  I have only had bread pudding in the dinning hall at school before.  My father was slightly appalled, therefore I got to taste my first real bread pudding tonight in a caramel bourbon sauce.  It was laced with cinnamon, a bit of nutmeg, and chocolate.  I died and went to heaven.

"Family is not an important thing.  It's everything."-- Michael J. Fox

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Day Full of Mistakes. Or Not.


So today was a big day, starting at 11:20 last night when my lab partner was double checking the primers we had recently ordered and realized that they were WRONG!  Of course, at this point we started to freak out, and I was already well on my way to sleep (guess that shows me for checking my messages).  What was great though, was that the professor was APPRECIATIVE because we didn't carry out the experiment and realize the error later.  She didn't even care that we had ordered the wrong primer sequence, and was impressed that we cared enough to review our next steps the night before.  Of course, my partner and I would have been grateful to have known that last night. We felt so bad!  However, all turned out well with that.

On the other hand, I had really weird results in lab today…we cut up sections of DNA from colonies that we grew overnight, and ran a gel to determine if we inserted our correct DNA sequence.  Well, two of the DNA colonies didn't get digested, and three had no DNA inserted.  Apparently, that is extremely abnormal because if there is no DNA insertion the cells are supposed to die…that didn't appear to happen leaving me with one potential colony.  Things like this teach you patience.  You have to remain level headed in science, and determine what the source of the problem was.  It is not necessarily about you doing something wrong, and being blamed, but what could have gone wrong in the experiment.  I really enjoy that about science.  It is so nice that its a troubleshooting field.  That being said, you still want the best and most accurate results possible.  We'll find out in about a week if the DNA insertion work, cross your fingers for me!

My lab mates and I decided to go to Starbucks today.  My God, there was an amazing guy who took our order.  He asked how to spell our names, and when we said most people don't care, he said "I'm not just anyone".  Not only that, he asked how our day was, said he hoped it got BETTER, and was all-around nice.  He was smooth and flirty--a great combo, not to mention that he wasn't bad looking either! Moreover, he held the door open for us on our way out.  It is not everyday that you meet a true gentleman (which is unfortunate), and a genuinely happy barista.  That sparked the beginning of a great afternoon (I mean, who doesn't love a Java Chip Frappucino!).  When we got back, and told our professor about our experience, she said felt obliged as our mentor (although it was only supposed to be in sciences and she didn't expect to be giving guy advice) to tell us that he was FLIRTING with us!  hahaha.  Needless to say, we can't wait to go back next week and see if he is working.

Well, I just finished dinner and it is 9 o'clock.  Needless to say, I made an appetizer.  Again, I tried the sweet potato fries.  I made them thicker this time, and turned down the oven by like 100 degrees.  I didn't burn them, and they were almost perfect.  I really should just learn how to cook them properly…My apartment mate and I had a few guests over, and we made pizza!! It was a lot of fun, and really yummy!  Garlic and herb crust, tomatoes (meh), spinach (meh), garlic chicken sausage (yum), and zucchini!  Definitely a make again.  We had a great experience trying to roll the dough out, because we have no flour or the like in our apartment (except for funfetti cake mix and we thought that was just way too weird to put on pizza) so it stuck to our hands!  We manages though, and made two lovely pizzas (which I forgot to take a photo of in my hungry stupor).  But here is what some of the slices looked like!

Almost the perfect dinner, it was just missing dessert!! Maybe later, you never know.  I do have a few cake mixes to make!

To end my blog I have a quote that I think sums up my experience in lab today pretty well:

"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything.  I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes." --John Wooden

Hello: Lab, Food, and the Like. My First Four Days.


I have decided to start a blog about my summer.  I feel like I need to cherish these moments that I have: my first experience in lab-full time, my first time living on my own, studying for the GRE's, and perhaps most importantly writing my senior thesis and my summer going into senior year.  Life is starting to become a bit hectic, but it is exciting.  I learn something new everyday. 

First, I would like to apologize for any grammatical errors that may occur in any of my blogs, and the lack of structure that is more than likely to occur.  I can be a bit of a scatter-brain in my writing.  

Second, I think everyone that reads my blog will realize, probably pretty fast, that I am a big science-nerd.  I am a molecular biologist, and my project this summer is to study the regulation of histone H3 clipping in Tetrahymena.  I even took a nerdy picture today when cells grew on my agar plates from yesterday. 

See, a nerd.  Moreover, I became very excited when I found the PERFECT paper to support my thesis background.  When your lab is the first lab to study something new, there are no papers that fully support any of the research you are doing.  That can be tricky, especially when applying for grants.  I started to write my senior thesis tonight.  I have what I believe to be one full paragraph, and one paragraph that is 90% complete.  That is only 1 page of 12 for my intro…and I thought I was doing well! haha.  However, it is interesting enough to me that I don't care.

It is now Wednesday, and I moved into the apartment on Sunday.  I have cooked two dinners for myself.  The first one, not so successful seeing as the sweet potato fries burned.  However, the chicken was really good, and moist.

However, I had a lot more luck with my second dish!  I made pasta in the microwave (who knew!) and created a stir-fry with zucchini, chicken, peas, and of course, tomato sauce.

My newest obsession has been the Zoku popsicle maker.  I have made a different popsicle every night, but I am only going to share my favorite one here: peanut butter oreo n' milk.  It was so simple, and can be my "guilty" pleasure whenever I want! 

Sorry if there was not enough content in the post, or if it was too long, I am off to bed now.  I have a very busy day in the lab tomorrow! Wish me luck :P