Me & You & The Washing Machine

It was L's birthday over the weekend and she threw a BBQ-costume party. After food and charades, we strolled to the playground around the corner. How ridiculous we must have looked to be marching down the neighborhood, dressed up for no apparent reason as the runaway bride, paper bag princess, a life guard, a pirate, cupid and an 80's chick.

 I missed all the Tight and Bright parties last year, so I decided to hunt for as many 'tnb' things as possible so I would be prepared this year. This costume party was my first 'test drive' as an 80's chick.

Swing! We were so surprised to learn that Tibs doesn't know how to maneuver a swing. It was cute to watch her boyfriend teach her.

Bustin' out all the dance moves. By that I mean, attempting to do the splits. It's been a goal of mine to do the splits (comfortably) again and I'm getting closer by the day.

But to top it all off, we spent a lot of time talking and playing with the kids there (adorable by all accounts).

I'll try to work on a video and post it here. I have a few video and photo projects that I need to handle first. The costume birthday party was a success! I got bitten a dozen times by mosquitoes and now my legs look messed it was worth it.


narwhals & bifurcations

Consider this an homage to Joy Cho of Oh Joy! . She has an amazing design and food blog that I frequent often. There are regular posts where she draws attention to the similarity in design of two mutually exclusive items and they're titled "This and That".

Well here's my version of Joy's "This and That" but with a nerd-tastic twist.

Narwhal & Bifurcation

Speaking of narwhals, I'm about to release a new 'series' of posts called "addictions". I'm a collector of sorts and I'm very particular about my things. The posts will be about my attraction to various things. For example: narwhals. You'll see what I mean later ;) 

I don't exactly know how I became a fan of narwhals. I suppose it's their connection to the mythical unicorn that draws me to them. I adore all things equine and that, sadly, includes unicorns and by association--narwhals. But it's not until my Chaos Theory enthusiast/friend who introduced me to this famous bifurcation graph that I realized that I started to see narwhals in very unlikely things. Hence my geek version of "This and That".


Once a Runner

J recommended "Once a Runner" by John L. Parker Jr. for me as a source of inspiration. I'm not a runner by default and I used to loathe the thought of running for 15 minutes straight. But I have to say that it does wonders for my overall well-being and your progress is palpable. Can't say I love running but I'm certainly disliking it less and less.

Snippet from the book:

"There must be some mistake,"Cassidy said. "I have not yet attained that sense of euphoria commonly reported by runners."
"You are speaking no doubt of the fabled 'third wind.'"
"I'm not sure. I haven't read Runner's World lately so I don't know what they are calling it this month."

Praise for the book by Benjamin Cheever, author of Strides

"Part training manual, part religious tract, part love story, and all about running, Once a Runner is so inspiring it could be banned as a performance-enhancing drug."

Exactly what I needed...


Catch the Wind

Just got home from Kamloops and went windsurfing the morning after with Nicky & friends. Did a 2-hour introductory lesson with Windsure on Jericho Beach.

Jericho Beach with instructor Melissa [via kampiscines]

Wetsuits, check. [via kampiscines]

I wouldn't really consider what I did today windsurfing. There's a lot of awkward falling into the water but eventually we got the hang of it. I'll call it an accomplishment anyways. I forsee more windsurfing to come.


The Days Just Keep Getting Better...

Lucky number 33 :)

Vancity Allie is one of my favourite Vancouver blogs. She'll occasionally have contests for the sweetest and raddest things. This time she had a draw for a $50 certificate at West Restaurant, the West cookbook and Blue Water Cafe cookbook. And I won it!

Much thanks to Allie and Shelley McArthur, Communications Director of Top Table Restaurants! I'm so excited to try the dishes you suggested.


Radio Interview

Justin, myself and a couple of the students were interviewed by Shelley from CBC Radio today. Less than half way through the interview I remembered why I loved doing this camp, why I got involved and why I did it in the first place.

Every student is different. Every year, every class, every location has a different vibe and energy to it. When I was younger, I was lucky enough to be stuck in classes full of enthusiastic nerds such as myself. I loved it. It's not every day now that I find teens struck by awe of the fact that bacteria can indeed take DNA from their external environment and use it. If I was told that at their age, I would have been floored. In fact, I would spend hours just pondering the possibilities and smiling at the fact that it's even possible. I still lie in repose on the grass some days and just smile at the small but incredible things organisms are capable of.

Maybe I'm just weird.

Friday, July 23

Kamloops was an amazing camp. They certainly have a different quality to them than the Vancouver camp. Both were great in their own right :) I gotta say Kamloops was much more fun and easy-going.

In any case, I can't wait to get home today so I can get up nice and early for windsurfing tomorrow. After windsurfing I'll either be at the beach enjoying the fireworks or at the Pit Pub at UBC chillin' out to the smooth beats of our DJ friend, Greg.



Currently in the 'Loops for a work trip and I'm staying at the Conference Centre at the TRU campus. Being here is more than just spreading the good of word of science and genetics, it's more than planting seeds of interest into the minds of the young and the bright, it's more than just work--it's a vacation for me (well, sort of).

To be quite honest, there isn't much to do here but that's exactly why I like it. It's my time to be healthy, sleep early and take care of myself. This is especially doable since my coworker/room mate happens to be a captain of a triathlon team and he's super enthusiastic about leading a healthy lifestyle.

Yet the first night we arrived, I met a guy in the commons kitchen and he asked for my number. I brushed him off for the next couple of days and then finally I agreed to come out for an hour or two. We chatted a little bit and he seemed pretty bummed that we'll probably never see each other again. I'm not really phased. I'm still hung up on a guy I met a few months ago and will probably never see again. I guess it's only fair...

But I digress, I have an amazing view of the river and the valleys from my room. I love waking up in the morning to streaming rays of light coming through the window.

Justin and I make gourmet dinners for cheap. We did a cedar plank salmon on the outdoor patio BBQ at TRU. Amazing, n'cest pas?

One of my favourite experiments that we do with the students is bacterial transformation. I think it has the ability to teach them a few important concepts about experimental design and offer insight into what microbi research is like. Maybe I'm extrapolating this idea too much but it's what I would have fantasized about in Grade 10 during a class like this (honest to goodness).

I've also started to run outside in Kamloops. The hilly terrain is much more difficult but it feels good. Justin took me to the tracks at the stadium. It was amazing. The view of the football players were great, oh and so was the vista ;) He told me to take off my shoes and run on the grass, saying "It's so liberating. This is my Wreck Beach." I'd have to agree. I ran a couple of laps and walked every surface at the stadium barefoot just to feel the difference in texture beneath my feet. It was insanely liberating.


Road Trip

I'll be taking another road trip to Kamloops tomorrow for work. I'm totally stoked to be in the lab at TRU with all these bright and eager little minds! However, as usual, I have a lot to do the day before I take off.  Also it'll be a good opportunity to focus on myself all week.

I also have this intense craving for Lee's Donuts. I don't even like donuts but these are delicious--way better than Krispy Kremes.

Hopefully the weather holds so I can throw a wicked BBQ some time soon. I've already written a 'menu'.


The Planets Have Aligned

The planets have aligned and Vancouver is now blessed with still, hot, humid, gorgeous weather all week long.

* I acknowledge that blogging about the weather is beyond lame, but if you’re in Vancouver you know how major this is.
(via vanmega).


It's All Gonna Break

Man, busy just doesn't even begin to describe it. Or maybe I'm just completely burnt out. I love my job. It's fun, educational (both for me and the students), experimental, full of opportunities and indescribably rewarding. 

Justin & science camper.

Daisy, Daisy, He loves me, He loves me not;

Enjoy the sun & hopefully the waves, this week.


Sunday Afternoon

Strolled around the Steveston Farmer's Market again with Nicole. It was an overcast but warm afternoon. I absolutely adore farmer's markets.

Hungry Cat usually carries my card, cash and most importantly my camera but that means his whiskers get a little mangled. Well anyways, Nicole promised to bring Lego Chef everywhere so we introduced our two sidekicks.

Hungry Cat finds Lego Chef very delicious.

At the local toy store. This is for Rae's obsession with moose.

Bought this adorable ring from the market.

Hungry Cat peaks out of my vintage Dior bag.

I have difficulty concentrating on work at home so I went to Calhoun's at 10 pm (free parking after 10). Then I received this text from my mother.
"Time to come home. It is dark. Beware of vampires n werewolves. Real werewolves do not hv abs. Mom" 
Thanks mom. It's good to know that I will never fall for a real werewolf then...


A Recent Re-Evaluation of My Life

This is going to be a very personal post...

A close friend of mine had recently moved away and he was my shoulder, my comfort and someone who would listen intently. I hadn't really felt lonely until a few days ago. Generally I was pretty happy until I made the 180 degree flip.

Maybe it's the fluctuating thyroid hormones after my radiation treatment a couple of weeks ago that's throwing me off (my doctor warned me about this). Maybe it's the stress of my job. The big day comes tomorrow. Perhaps I'm just short on rest and food.

Or I'm just yearning for another relationship. In any case, I'm in a pretty foul mood come night time. I've been unreasonably upset, crossing my arms, pouting and whining.


Despite my personal experience with mental illnesses and working with Stand Up for Mental Health, I still feel the stigma of mental health affect me. What's worse is that I'm not only unable to admit it to my peers that there may be something wrong, I'm afraid to admit it to myself.

A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression. There, I said it. It's not easy to admit it to anyone let alone announce it publicly on the internet. I'm afraid of what people would think of me given the stigma surrounding the issue.

During my days of depression, I heard a lot of "Just get over it," and "It'll blow over. You're just going through a tough time." I thought I wasn't strong enough. I thought I wasn't trying hard enough.  I went through a long period of lows and I just couldn't shake it. It held me in a state of paralysis and sadness every moment of the day. Some of my friends were there when I had major mental breakdowns. Some of my friends saw nothing but my fake smiles.

It took the help of health care professionals, medication and cognitive therapy to carry me out of this rut. Since then I had been acutely aware of my emotions and thoughts.

But I've been extremely happy lately. I'm generally in a good mood. Then in a moment I would do a complete changeover into a brooding 12-year-old because of a small issue. This is not a good sign. Again, I'm not sure what the root of it is but I guess I won't be taking any chances. Depression was devastating and I refuse to go through it again.

One of the best skill that I had gained from cognitive therapy was the increased sensitivity to my emotions and thoughts. I'm aware of unusual mood swings that differ from your day-to-day changes in moods. There's an alarm that sounds when I have perpetuating negative thoughts that come out of nowhere. If I allow these to continue, I could be triggering a relapse into depression. I've been warned that it's more likely to reoccur after the first time and that it'll likely be worse. I can't imagine a life worse than what I had gone through.. especially with increased responsibility, the need for independence and other compounding personal issues.

I really hope that I'm able to find a solution soon.


The Underwear Affair Fundraiser

I didn't raise as much as I had hoped but it was a fun night nonetheless. The BC Cancer Foundation had generously organized this fundraiser at Doolin's Irish Pub. The place was really fun and sweet. We all had a hell of a good time and even got free cover for the Cellar below! Some runners even stripped down to the underwear to raise money for the cause.

So after a good conversation, beer & burger we went downstairs to the Cellar for a night of dancing.

Did I mention that I got caught in a bidding war (only because my friend handed my a 10 bill) for this man, Clifford, at the fundraiser's auction? Good times.

Alright, I better get ready for another night downtown. Have a safe night everyone! Happy Canada Day