clevermynnie: (see us waving)
This weekend was the first weekend I had been at home in a month, and as a result it was NUTS with things going on.

It started off amazing, getting together with friends for drinks after work on Friday and then going with my improv troupe to do karaoke. Not everyone was completely comfortable with the idea of karaoke, but everyone got so into it; we started with all group songs, then duets, then solos, and I got to go out with Oh Darling which is one of my absolute favorites songs to belt out melodramatically. And then after singing for three hours, we went to a loud pub and shouted over background noise for three hours, so it was extremely fun even though my voice was a bit messed up on Saturday.

And actually, Ben had tons of plans for us on Saturday: brewing, having friends over, going to a barbecue with his coworkers and then a screening of Macbeth. I was initially kind of zonked, but managed to pull through the day, and had fun seeing everyone. The Macbeth screening was cool; it was a simulcast of a production at this festival in Manchester, starring Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston, and it was just so well done.

On Sunday I managed to squeeze in a short run before heading to brunch, tea, and then an improv jam for Dublin area improvisers. These were all pretty good though in general on Sunday I just felt low-energy, so actually the best part was probably after the improv jam, heading to my friend Nancy's house to help her re-dye her hair purple, watch Father Ted, and mess around on an accordion.
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
Having spent the last week in the Bay Area, I am now in transit passing through Phoenix, which means I actually have time to write!

I had wondered if it was going to be weird returning to the Bay Area for the first time in 4 years, mainly because of the bizarro past-life vibe that Los Alamos still gives me. But actually, it was just lovely to be in San Francisco again. This is a great time of year to be there, what with the greenery and the clear air and the temperate weather and the way that everything goes into bloom. I had a nice dinner with [livejournal.com profile] mr_ron and his girlfriend, spent the weekend in Napa with [livejournal.com profile] chih and everyone, got to have banh mi with Jessica and meet her boyfriend, and saw my undergraduate mentor and catch up. It was really enjoyable, with jaunts to Berkeley and through Chinatown and up Coit Tower. I loved being back in Berkeley; it was comforting and great, not quite like home, but like an old friend you're really fond of. And it was fun taking around some of the people I work with in Ireland, and eating more than my share of Mexican food and sushi (and, intriguingly, the sushirrito).

I do notice variations, though, in the rapport that I have with various old friends. When you've had a lot of life events pass there's a sort of disconnect that starts happening, and I could feel that with some of the people I saw, where we're all in very different places now and it's noticeable even if it's still good to get together. Though in some ways maybe that's nicer than going back to someplace you're still disentangling yourself from (Philly, I'm looking at you) and navigating that whole experience. A lot of things have happened since I lived in the Bay Area and saw many of these people, but mostly life has gone in a positive direction and that's comforting.

I didn't have time to see everyone in the area that I would have liked, since I was in SF for work and had a pretty packed schedule. Nor did I get to revisit every old haunt! But what's most important is that I had Cheeseboard Pizza... and in a weird turn of events, meet the son of the woman who wrote the Cheeseboard cookbook. Would I consider moving back to the Bay Area? I certainly would, though not for awhile yet.

And now I am going to San Antonio to see Jeanine and her family, run my trail 50k, and hopefully track down some sopapillas. Hopefully good news to follow.
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
Even though there was a lot more stuff to work through on our Philly trip than I would have hoped, there were some highlights.

*Seeing my old labmates was really nice, and old coworkers, and it was especially awesome to talk to people who had graduated after I left and hear about how well they were doing.
*My uncle and aunt in New Jersey are really fun to talk music with.
*My in-laws in Lancaster are really fun to talk literature with.
*I love going to spin with my stepmother-in-law! I hadn't done it since just after my defense, but I didn't really even think about that, I just enjoyed how tough it was.
*Also I kind of love driving in the US. It is so easy and enjoyable compared to driving here.
*The bat mitzvah which occasioned our visit was also pretty cool. I had not been to such a thing before, and they had the family members do readings including me, and that was nice.
*Relaxing with SW:TOR at our friends' house the last evening of our trip was also really laidback and enjoyable.
*And finally my friend Rose had a gorgeous scarf which she brought back for me from Pakistan. One of the best matches for my eyes of any piece of clothing ever!

scarf from rose
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
You know, I think I finally feel socially integrated into Dublin. Close friends, less close friends, people to call last-minute, weekend catsitters, workmates to grab lunch with, a decent knowledge of what stuff is like and who would be into which thing... and it only took what, 17 months? I think that may be slightly faster than Philly was, actually, though the circumstances are somewhat different.

I really like living in new places, but the social acclimatization always takes longer than I want it to. But yay, I made it there eventually. :)
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
My staycation ended up being very nice! Ben didn't have the whole time off, so it ended up being a mix of me having time to do whatever and us hanging out. Plus we went to some holiday parties, had Christmas dinner with friends, had people over to brew, celebrated a friend's birthday, and went to a New Year's tea party, so even though we weren't off visiting everyone we were quite social. For Christmas I got Ben this molecular gastronomy cocktail kit, with alginate and all sorts of weird additives to spherify mojitos or whatever you can think up. And he got me one of the expansions for Dominion which was really fun. I suppose even our gifts were staycation themed!

We cooked a bit but not a ton, so for Christmas dinner we just brought a plum pudding and mulled wine (using [livejournal.com profile] marrog's brilliant recipe). And for the tea party I had my first foray into making gluten and dairy free cakes, basically modified mini-Linzertortes with jam and icing that turned out surprisingly well. Oh, and we actually did a bit of beer bottling (generally unnecessary since we have small kegs) so that we can enter one of our beers in a homebrewing competition that's in March! Who knows how it will do, but that should be interesting.

And I did a lot of running, weights, and piano over the break which was pretty great, in addition to playing SW:TOR with friends and starting Skyrim. I am starting to feel a bit restless, travel-wise, but we have a lot of stuff coming up already so I don't think that'll last much longer. I laughed at xkcd's take on New Year's resolutions, but I am feeling like life is moving forward in a lot of good ways, and I know both what I want to do and how to do it. I'm happy to be here and to have so many opportunities for growth and connection.
clevermynnie: (smile)
Friday after work we drove down to Clonakilty with some friends, partly so three of us could do some of the Clonakilty races (the half-marathon for me), and partly to spend a weekend down in west Cork which is a very lovely place. The weather's pretty variable there any time of year, and I was telling myself that even if it rained nonstop we only had to be outside for a couple of hours and be toasty indoors in the gorgeous house we rented the rest of the time. But we lucked out and it was just gorgeous all weekend! Here's the view from where we stayed:

clonakilty view


The race itself was not the best organized I've done, but I was pretty low-key about the whole thing and didn't really have specific goals other than 'run a bit'. And the scenery was great! We started at the Inchydoney beach and then went along the coast for a bit before going out through some rolling hills, greenery, and finally back over a huge hill at mile 10 and back in along the coast. The times the race posted don't match what I timed on my watch (or what many others timed), but in any case I didn't PR but was 1-3 minutes off the PR I had at Clontarf in July, depending on whose watch you trust. It's cool to know that's a pace I can reliably hold for a half, and is also 0-2 minutes under my Dublin Marathon first half split. But it was also awesome having people at the finish line cheering for me, and also getting to hear about everyone else's good races (a half PR and a really nice first 10k) at the finish!

We also had a pretty nice time out that evening, going to a very traditional pub and then a pretty amazing seafood restaurant. And after dinner we went to a local's pub that, shockingly, had a back room with a pool tables and a piano! So I lost at pool but at least I didn't miss any days of piano, and in fact made a heroic effort to bang some Debussy and Chopin out of an untuned piano with 1/3 keys broken. If that doesn't count I don't know what does.
clevermynnie: (Default)
On Thursday we had a lot of people over for a big Thanksgiving, and only yesterday did we finally finish cleaning everything up. I'm really glad that we got the stuff to be able to have more people over, though, because it was really fun and opens up some possibilities for the future.

And, dinner was great! I haven't been eating meat for a month (aside from fish) and was worried about how that would feel at a big turkey-oriented holiday. I mean, Ben and I used to go make pescetarian Thanksgiving feasts for his family back when we both lived in California, but we'd also do turkey another time so it wasn't exactly deprivation. But it turns out that when nearly all the side dishes available are vegetarian, it doesn't feel like much of a change at all not to be eating meat. I was a little sad not to be trying the deep-fried turkey, which was impressive to watch cooking, but I was reliably informed that I wasn't missing much. Sadly, the leftover situation ended up being less enjoyable for me: I had one meal's worth of vegetarian leftovers and then everything else was turkey, gravy, and non-veg stuffing. We had only put aside a small amount of the stuffing to keep vegetarian, and if we had it to do over we'd make less stuffing and split veg/non-veg more evenly. So Ben was eating leftovers all weekend and I ended up having to cook for myself (not trivial given our slow cleaning process).

In any case, after a week with a big dinner party and a lot of work for a meeting, it was nice to have a low-key weekend with some gaming and a run, and a Glee binge because I just can't stay away, to just have time to relax.

costumes

Nov. 8th, 2012 11:22 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
I never managed to get a good full-length photo of my Halloween costume, which I used several times and am convinced was the greatest ever. But here is the top part of it. I went as Beryl Markham and Ben was a flight mechanic from the same era. I have to admit I kind of want more excuses to wear costumes now.

halloween costumes
clevermynnie: (Default)
So many things have been happening that it is easier to recount them in bullet form! Highlights include:

*Lovely geek wedding of Dublin people who I wish we saw more of
*Lots of SW:TOR and D&D which is awesome, especially since WoW kept revoking my expansion purchase
*Running recovery and marathon prep for the Dublin Marathon next Monday going well
*Finding new tasty Indian and Spanish restaurants around town
*Stopped eating meat (aside from fish), and am pretty happy about it
*Totally loved the books Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis, and Embassytown by China Mieville
*Fun science outreach project at work bearing some fruit

I actually have pictures for the last one; a photo of Ben watching a video I did about my research that's currently up in a science museum, and a photo of me talking about this poster I did in conjunction with a graphic designer who made it beautiful. Science outreach is really fun!

outreach video

outreach poster
clevermynnie: (Default)
So many things have been happening that it is easier to recount them in bullet form! Highlights include:

*Lovely geek wedding of Dublin people who I wish we saw more of
*Lots of SW:TOR and D&D which is awesome, especially since WoW kept revoking my expansion purchase
*Running recovery and marathon prep for the Dublin Marathon next Monday going well
*Finding new tasty Indian and Spanish restaurants around town
*Stopped eating meat (aside from fish), and am pretty happy about it
*Totally loved the books Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis, and Embassytown by China Mieville
*Fun science outreach project at work bearing some fruit

I actually have pictures for the last one; a photo of Ben watching a video I did about my research that's currently up in a science museum, and a photo of me talking about this poster I did in conjunction with a graphic designer who made it beautiful. Science outreach is really fun!

outreach video

outreach poster
clevermynnie: (Default)
I went out to Dundee this past weekend to write things and generally hang out with [livejournal.com profile] erindubitably and [livejournal.com profile] marrog. It was really fun!

Writing-wise, I edited three science blog posts I'd been sitting on for awhile, and put together another from scratch. And I wrote a long essay I'd been doing in fits and starts, and put together a draft for something I'd been wanting to say about women in science and the pipeline. Plus, we did some funny writing prompts which led me to get a short piece off for the inconsistent fiction trade I have going with [livejournal.com profile] aphorisic. So, very productive, and I got to eat tasty food and hang out with friends!

Of course, I got sick on the way back and am now sitting at home with a cold. I did notice last week that the lymph glands in my throat were a little tender, and apparently my long run Friday was the last straw for my immune system. I think if I have to ramp down my running a bit this week that'll be okay; I was planning to do another high-mileage week but my race is in less than three weeks now, so I can just make it a longer taper. At least I didn't get sick before getting to Dundee!
clevermynnie: (Default)
I went out to Dundee this past weekend to write things and generally hang out with [livejournal.com profile] erindubitably and [livejournal.com profile] marrog. It was really fun!

Writing-wise, I edited three science blog posts I'd been sitting on for awhile, and put together another from scratch. And I wrote a long essay I'd been doing in fits and starts, and put together a draft for something I'd been wanting to say about women in science and the pipeline. Plus, we did some funny writing prompts which led me to get a short piece off for the inconsistent fiction trade I have going with [livejournal.com profile] aphorisic. So, very productive, and I got to eat tasty food and hang out with friends!

Of course, I got sick on the way back and am now sitting at home with a cold. I did notice last week that the lymph glands in my throat were a little tender, and apparently my long run Friday was the last straw for my immune system. I think if I have to ramp down my running a bit this week that'll be okay; I was planning to do another high-mileage week but my race is in less than three weeks now, so I can just make it a longer taper. At least I didn't get sick before getting to Dundee!

quiet

Jun. 5th, 2012 03:06 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
It has to be some kind of deep irony that, just as I get a copy of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, we have a solid week of social activities in almost all of our free time. We had friends from Philadelphia visit, and took them up to Howth for hiking and picnicking even though the weather was bad. And we went for drinks with some new people, had Ben's coworkers over to brew a brett wheat beer, and have even more stuff coming up this week. It's exciting! It's just also draining. And so far that is one thing I am really enjoying about Quiet, how well it makes the distinction between introverts and misanthropes. Introverts have friends too! And I'm realizing now that most of the time someone (including me) said, "I'm not really an introvert, I'm very outgoing and talkative with people I know, I'm just quieter in large groups or with strangers until I get comfortable," part of what they were saying is "I'm an introvert but I want you to know I'm not a misanthrope." Plus it covers lots of research, has a lot of interesting ideas regarding workspaces and living, and is overall very validating as a discussion that doesn't pathologize shyness or the propensity to think carefully about things. There are benefits to introversion, just as there are benefits to extroversion, and it's helpful to identify your own preferences and then work with them to get where you want to go. I also like the many facets of the introvert/extrovert spectrum that the book covers (and I'm not actually introverted on all of them!).

One thing that is getting me through this week, though, is knowing that this weekend I will get plenty of time to myself. I'm taking the train up to Northern Ireland Friday evening, running the Mourne Ultra Saturday, and coming back Sunday morning. I'm going alone and don't know anyone else running, so I'll bring a lot of podcasts for the race and reading for the time alone at the B&B. I am really excited about this race, especially now that I have realized I will almost certainly be able to do my longest run ever in a race, even if I miss a time cutoff and don't finish the full race. That's because the first cutoff, for the marathon, is 6.5 hours, way longer than even my trickiest trail marathon. After that I have 3 hours to do another 13 miles, which under normal circumstances would be easy but I may be slowing down a lot by then... missing that cutoff would still give me 39 miles run in a race, though. And that's really the make or break point, because after that cutoff you get 3 hours to go another 9 miles, then you're just covering the last 3 miles to the finish. If I could make that second cutoff I would have a really good chance of finishing, but if not it should still be a great experience, and great practice so that someday I could actually finish a 50-mile race. Which is something I really want.

I do feel as prepared as I can be without having done a race of this length before, though. The 50k last month was good practice for going through the food/drink/sunscreen/layers dance that is required for longer runs, and after having those salt issues I figured out where to get electrolyte tablets here which ought to help a lot. Plus I'll be doing this with my Camelbak instead of the smaller waist hydration pack I used at the 50k, and honestly I prefer the Camelbak. And I am just super excited about the course, from Rostrevor to Newcastle and back, which should be so lovely. Hopefully the weather cooperates!
clevermynnie: (i carry your heart)
Last night we popped over to Edinburgh to attend wedding festivities for [livejournal.com profile] erindubitably and [livejournal.com profile] marrog, which was a lot of fun! I still find it slightly weird that we can go to another country on a weekday evening and be back for work the next day, but the flight to Edinburgh is less than an hour and the flight times worked just perfectly for us. We arrived there, bought some nice Scotch for Ben (who had been regretting not buying a Campbeltown Scotch he had sampled a few months back), and got to the hotel at just about the right time. A lot of fun ensued, including more people dancing in kilts than I have ever seen before, the only time Ben has ever been handed a bag of haggis at a wedding, and probably the most enjoyable dance music selection I have experienced at a wedding. (I exclude the music at my own wedding from this comparison, if only because I can't be expected to fairly judge.) I wasn't sure how many people we'd know, besides Mo and Erin who would be quite busy, but it turns out that if you just keep visiting people you do get to know some of their local friends. It also turns out that when you are enjoying dancing a lot, the effect of the alcohol you had beforehand is rather amplified. I will definitely remember this.

I like seeing all the different ways that people celebrate at weddings: what family members say, how everyone interacts, what things the couple chooses to emphasize or not, and the general individuality of the event (which includes what concessions were or weren't made for family members, how much the wedding is about the couple and how much it is about their social network). And of course it is always cheering to see people who are great together.

hectic

Jun. 3rd, 2010 06:08 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
After a weekend of trying to get out of the house to avoid feeling sorry for myself, all of a sudden things picked up and have been crazy. The main reason for this is that this weekend is my guild meetup, which I'm very excited about! Two of my guildies are showing up in a few hours, and tomorrow we will drive to NYC to pick up my guildmaster and then to Buffalo for Niagara Falls and various shenanigans. I am excited and nervous, for a lot of reasons. So I have had to pack for the trip, and also clean the house for having guests, and somehow I felt like I should make a lot of food... I made grapefruit granitas, sourdough bread, and iced tea for people, and then rode the kitchen preparing wave to make chicken stock and reduce some balsamic vinegar as well, and of course prepare food for myself to eat. I still have to go get some beer to bring (in addition to some of our homebrews), I needed to copy our house key and get it to our friend who will feed the cats, oh and I had a guitar lesson and a softball game this week as well. And there is a softball game tonight too! On top of which I have been working and working to finish this paper I've been writing for work, which feels SO CLOSE but still needs some cuts.

Next weekend will be only slightly more relaxed, but it looks like I have a friend from out of town visiting, a musical to go to that we know someone performing in, the trail half that I signed up for, and a cookout for PGWISE. Oh, and three days after that Jeanine and her baby are coming to visit for a week. So things will continue to be crazy, but in a fun way.
clevermynnie: (Default)
When I worked at LBL, I had some really fun officemates and some of their friends who I hung out with a lot, who had a mailing list and events and called it the BFC. In fact, when I left Berkeley they gave me a goodbye card which I have on my desk at home. The main reason I went to Zurich was to see them again, since most of them were European students and post-docs who eventually returned to various parts of Europe. I had fondue with them and saw how cute, if expensive, Zurich is. I took pictures!

zurich pictures )


We also drove to Luzern, a town nearby that has a very old wooden bridge (which has burned down at least once) and views of the Alps if it's clear... which of course it wasn't. But we still had some tasty Flemish food, walked around and chatted and saw more of Switzerland.

luzern photos )


We also hiked up a huge hill, Uetliberg, which overlooks Zurich. At the top there is a tower which gives great views, sometimes of the Alps... but yeah, it was too hazy. :) Still a fun hike, and afterwards we went to the Spr√ľngli chocolate store to have hot chocolate and desserts. It was really nice to catch up with everyone and see what people are up to, and then we went our separate ways; I went with Joao to Geneva, which was supposed to be the last short leg of my trip (which as we know was extended). It being extended means I took a lot of pictures, which means there will have to be a final installment of photos soon.

zurich 9

zurich 10

switzerland driving
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
After leaving Edinburgh, I flew to Munich and took the suburban trains out to Tutzing, which is on the Starnberger See, the second largest lake in Germany.  I was presenting a poster at this conference about nanocrystals, and I went alone without anyone else from my group. I had a few goals for the conference: get some ideas and useful information for my own research, practice networking and meeting potential post-doc advisors, and publicize my research. I was a bit nervous about some aspects of the conference, for example how easily I would be able to chat with other people, whether I would be able to work in handing out business cards, whether I'd be able to follow all the talks, if anyone would ask difficult questions about my poster, that sort of thing. Also, before going, my advisor had pointed out that a big shot in our field, whose work was dealt with and reframed a bit in our paper last year, would be giving an invited talk. She told me to talk to him, to ask him if he knew about our paper, and to give him a copy if he didn't; I found these instructions to be really intimidating and was dreading either trying to do them or shirking good advice.

But it turned out that the conference went amazingly well. I went to every single talk, because it was so hard to predict from the abstracts which would be interesting or not, and I got a lot out of everything. There were some electronic device talks that I liked, since that's what I do, but also lots of interesting work on chemical synthesis and biological applications. The conference was very focused but that meant that almost everything was interesting and relevant to me. Also, since all the meals were provided close by, it was easy to meet other attendees at meals and talk to people doing a variety of things. There was a bit of segregation between students and PIs, but I still managed to talk to interesting PIs as well. The environment was very rich and inspiring, and really made me excited about work again.

tutzing 1

more tutzing photos )

The poster sessions were also the best poster sessions that I have been to, with lots of people asking questions and lots of good discussion. And the only poster sessions I have seen with so much free beer. I talked to a lot of people about my poster, and handed out copies of the poster and the paper it was based off of, and wrote down the best questions. No one asked anything difficult, which was a relief. And what I didn't know during the session is that the conference organizers were actually judging the posters. So at the conference banquet the last evening, they gave out five poster awards selected from over 80 posters, and I got one! I was very, very pleased about it. Especially because I felt a little guilty about getting to go to Europe just to give a poster, even though obviously my advisor could have said no if she thought it was unreasonable, and she wanted someone to be spreading our work within the research community. And the poster award was something nice I could bring back and show her, which is cool. It was very gratifying!

The conference was technically in a castle, but it was not a particularly impressive castle, basically just a compound of moderately nice buildings. Though the lake view was nice, and the Alps were nearby if not visible most days (this was a theme for the rest of the trip). We also had an excursion to a castle more in the Alps, Schloss Linderhof, which was gorgeous inside (where pictures were forbidden) and fairly nice outside if rainy. That's where the banquet was, which had a lot of Bavarian food and traditional lederhosen-clad musicians. Everything in general felt very congenial and enjoyable, although they packed the talks and sessions so tightly that there was not much free time. I took a lot of notes in my program so that I could remember everything I wanted to look up, discuss with people here, things like that.

linderhof photos )

When the conference ended I took the train back up to Munich to see my friends Max and Wenjing, a couple that I met when I worked at LBL in Berkeley. I spent an evening having dinner with them and catching up, which was great because at that point my brain felt really overloaded from everything at the conference. The following day, I took the train to Zurich for the big meetup of my LBL friends in Europe, and I'll cover that in another entry I think.

munich photos )

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