Monday, October 18, 2010

- Misuse of the Transitive Property

If a = b: Last week in the throes of writing 10 pages in one day for my dissertation I decided that I didn't have a good enough reference and that I needed this book from the library.  Sometimes this happens while writing.  You have a stack of 100 papers but none of them says just what you need it to say, so you start looking for something better.  And in my search I found a book that seemed really promising.  This book was recommended as an awesome source - it had a whole chapter on the subject I was looking into and a "million" references at the end to help me further.  So I went to the library to get said book.

And that book let me down.  That "chapter" was 8 pages.  Those "million" references were actually only 40.  But you better believe I cited it anyway, because I went to the library for that book, and I don't go to the library for just any book.  I mean, I walked there.  I went up to the 9th floor to find it.  I looked at it, I checked it out and then I carried that massively heavy (1108 pages ya'll) thing home.

Anyways, while I was there I pulled some other books and then went to find a desk to sort through everything.  Who knew that the 9th floor of the library was such an awesome place to be at 2pm?  There was only one free desk available and as I sat down I looked up and saw this:
Let me just say that being disappointed by a book on Food Enzymology did NOT make me truly happy.  Writing this message probably didn't make the author "truly happy" either.  What would make me truly happy?

And b=c: Yesterday I was babysitting and we decided to play some Mariokart on the Wii.  After successfully beating my 13 year old opponent, she went off to ripstick around the pool table and I decided to finally try out Mario World Galaxy, which they have but never play.

Let's just say that it was everything I thought it would be and then more.  I am totally in that new stage of video game smitten-ness.  That place where you randomly remember the level you were on and you can't wait to play again and see what the next level is like - I was THIS close to getting that 3rd star!  That place where you're spending a lot of time thinking about that game and how fun it is...and how much I want the Wii that Target is currently running "the lowest price of the season" on.

Then a=c: It would make me "truly happy" to have a Wii right now.

Friday, October 15, 2010

- Music to My Ears

On Wednesday I got my hair cut.  It's not one of those hair cuts anyone notices because it basically looks the same.  But I notice because I feel that my hair is much more amazing now.  She took about 2 inches off the length, cut a bunch of layers in and thinned it out A TON.  I mean seriously there was hair flying everywhere.  The best part - it dries faster, curls better, and I haven't had a rats nest since she did it.

Anyways, that's all really boring stuff.

What I really want to talk about is how funny women are about their hairdressers.  I myself have had two that I ever cared about and kept around for any length of time.

The first was Cindy McGarrah at Bangz salon (oh the irony since that used to be my highschool nickname based on a bad bangs hairstyling choice that I made before Cindy was ever in the picture).  Cindy was the one that got me to embrace my curls (my hair didn't go curly until 8th grade) and really taught me how to style them - and how best to cut my hair for them.  I learned a lot from Cindy and she did my hair through my Senior year of Undergrad.  Which means, every time I needed a haircut I drove home to Wilmington and had it done.  After 4 years of that I felt it might be time to find someone local, especially since it was clear that Raleigh had become my home.  Poor Cindy never got a phone call explaining "it's not you it's me - we had some great times together" - I just never booked another appointment.

The reason I could let Cindy go so easily was because I already had someone else lined up.  Jaclyn had amazing hair, and Matt's cousin Jodie did it so I decided that I trusted her enough based on what I'd seen of her work.  I made that first appointment and have never looked back.  I remember loving Cindy, but when I look back at some of my pictures from that time I don't always like what I see.  But with Jodie, if everything else in the picture is wrong - I'll still like my hair.  She just gets me, and my hair.  I carry her business cards in my wallet and tell anyone who needs a hair cut - call her, you won't regret it.  And they don't - I've seriously sent her like 10-15 referrals and they all go back to her unless they've moved away.

This past Wednesday was no exception, I love my hair.  But lately I've started to wonder about the person who will come after Jodie.  Moving to Minneapolis doesn't make it very practical to come home when I need a haircut - but I'm not ready to let her go.  Then I realized since I just got my hair done, I'll be ready around January for another so I can see her before I go.  Then I was saying "well I'll be back in March and May" and Jodie said something magical "Let me know when you're coming and we'll schedule whatever time we need to get your hair done".  People, she's a keeper.

With a move to a big city coming up fast and so many unknowns lurking in the future, it gives me great piece of mind to at least know that I don't have to worry about my hair.

Now I just need to find a place to live, which means I have to figure out what neighborhood I like and how long I want my commute to be, find a vet and groomer for Emma, find my favorite bar/restaurant/brunch place, figure out what kind of car I want to get, meet awesome people and make new friends, especially one that likes to dog sit, find my way to all of the best shopping, and kick ass at my new job...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

- Time is a Fickle Friend

2AM (Friday night): 2 whole days left.  That's what I thought when I went to bed. Two whole days in and around Davis together.

9AM: I guess we have to get up.  Man I'm tired.  The sun streams in the windows.

10AM: Okay I have to get ready.  A 12 year old kid in the neighborhood is playing the piano - it is seriously beautiful.

11AM: We unpack the car.  I am ridiculously hungry.

12:30PM: We head downtown and end up at Village Pizza and order something amazing with creme fraiche, proscuitto and potatoes.  We have all weekend left together.

1:30PM: Walking around downtown Davis remembering places and watching Kirk take it all in.

2PM: On campus.  At RMI walking around the gardens.  I've been in the building before but it's locked so we can't go in - this is where Kirk will go to school for at least the next two years.

3PM: We're back at the house about to go to Ikea because everyone should go there when they move somewhere new.  He tells me he wishes I were happier because it's obvious that I'm a little in my head about saying goodbye.  It's hard to feel happy when there's a gigantic black cloud over what's happening.  This whole adventure will be over soon.

4PM: We lay on a really comfy bed at Ikea and look up at a pendant light that I immediately put on my wish list.  I have flashbacks to 500 days of Summer.  That movie is a sucker punch.

5:30PM Saturday: I put Kirk's family pictures into the frames that he bought at Ikea and hand them to him to put on his dresser.  I am clearly missing from this "picture" and he says so.  I still have over 24 hours left with him.

7PM: JJ's friends start arriving.  We stop unpacking and meet everyone with white wine.  I change into a dress.  I pretend that I am not worried about anything.

8PM: We are at Sophia's ordering curry.  I'm drinking sangria.  This is our last night together.  

10PM: I am tipsy as we walk to Little Prague and make an unsavory joke about Asians.  We sit in a group and talk.  I start to yawn.  I want to just spend time with him and yet I don't want to be un-social.

12AM: This is the last time I will sleep in the nook.

8:30AM: The tables have turned - Kirk wakes up and is immediately hit with the fact that this is our last day.  We sleep on and off for a little longer.  This is our last day together.

12PM: After showers and lounging we eat leftover thai on the patio.  The weather is gorgeous.  I want to stay right here forever.

2PM: We head back to campus and spend two hours walking around everywhere.  We look for "free" bikes.  I find a lime on the ground and realize that there are lime trees in planters by the entrance to a building.  I still have 8 hours left with him.

4PM: We eat frozen yogurt at a place near the farmer's market.  It is amazing.  We head back to campus and find our way back to where we parked.

5PM: He unpacks and hangs stuff on the wall.  I start to pack my bag.  We still have 5 hours together.

6PM: We head to dinner.  We don't realize how fast it will be and at the end have too much time to kill before I need to be at the airport.  We decide to go to Sacramento and drive around and explore.

8PM: We walk around the capital building.  We find orange trees and Kirk cuts his finger trying to climb one.  I have a band-aid in my bag.  It's windy and we are cold and ready to get back in the car.  Gloria, the navigation lady, tells us how to get to the airport.  2 hours is still a lot of time.

9:30PM: We are at the airport and I can't get out of the car.  I leave tear stains on his tee shirt.  Then we walk in.  I check my bag.  We stare at the escalator up to security.  A million times today I have thought about changing my flight, but here I am.  Leaving.

And so ended my trip across the country.  It was not a happy ending because saying goodbye is painful when the future is so uncertain.  At the beginning of our trip I couldn't believe how much time we would spend together - 9 days seemed like an eternity.  We had never spent that long together uninterrupted.  But before I knew it, it was halfway over.  Days were ticking away.  Then hours.  I have recalled that last night several times - when I looked back from the top of the escalator and waved one last time. When I looked back from the security checkpoint and saw him as he walked out the door.  That was the last time I saw him in person.  When I put my sunglasses on, at night, inside an airport, to try and hide some of the tears that were falling.

I landed in Raleigh 4 times this summer.  September was the only time that I was completely unhappy to be "home".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

- A Month Later

A month ago yesterday we were here: 
In Grand Teton National Park.  Spotting our 4th rainbow as we drove out.
In Jackson, Wyoming.  Spotting our first elk horn arch.  Where I was pulled for going 66 in a 55 but only got a warning. Then we were outside of Afton, Wyoming witnessing the "running of the sheep".
We were here for about 15 minutes:
Then back here: 
Then we went here for a little bit:
But then back here:
And finally we stayed here:
I knew we were finally there for good because it looked different.  It's funny how every state is pretty distinctive in appearance.  There's a reason the license plate has red rocks on it.  
We stopped in Salt Lake City and had a really yummy lunch and a beer sampler that was mostly not great, save the stout and krystalweizen - which made for a laughy elevator ride back to our car. We saw the Salt Lake.
The sun set on us in Nevada.
By the time we hit traffic in Reno we just wanted to be in Davis.  We went through a USDA checkpoint where they ask if you're bringing in any foreign plants or animals. We weren't.  I slept through the drive down the mountain from Tahoe which was one of the most fun drives according to Kirk. Then we were outside of Sacramento.  And driving by campus.  In Davis.  On his street.  "Home".

A month ago yesterday I walked into a house fully aware that this was where Kirk was going to live.  All the way across the country from where I lived.  Once we were there, it was all I could do to watch the last little bit of time we had together slip away...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

- Yellowstone

To put it mildly, the day that Kirk and I spent in Yellowstone was one of the best days of my life.  I mean before you go somewhere like Yellowstone, you know it's going to be epic.  But that never prepares you for how you're going to feel during the experience - the raw sense of wonder that places like that exist, and that you're lucky enough to see them.

But when I woke up that morning I wasn't as filled with wonder as I was pure and utter exhaustion.  Having got in so late the night before, Kirk and I couldn't think of dragging ourselves out of bed until 9:30, and I felt like a zombie for a good hour.  But when a place like Yellowstone is on the agenda you find that no matter how much your instinct is to get back in bed, you pull on clothes and fix your bangs and eat a bagel with cream cheese.

Somewhere in all the madness of the citation and road closures of the night before, Kirk had mentioned that he would really very much appreciate it if he didn't have to drive at all while we were at Yellowstone.  So I drove us out of Colter Bay and up the road to Yellowstone where we decided our first stop would be Old Faithful.

And here's where our luck bounced back from the night before.  We parked at the Old Faithful visitor center and as we were walking up there were all of these people gathered outside and I had two predominant thoughts: 1. "I did not wear nearly enough clothes to be warm" because it was literally freezing up there and 2. "That's not Old Faithful right there is it?" And Kirk says "Oh WOW there it is" and I say "No way that's not it, it's not big enough" and he's like "It has to be it" and then it spouted off much higher and I realized that all of these people wouldn't be standing around to watch some minor little baby geyser go so I was like "You're right, that's totally it".
If there was any remaining doubt, there's a sign.
Hitting Old Faithful at just the right time started our day off on exactly the right foot.  We checked out the Visitor Center which was really helpful in figuring out exactly what stops we wanted to make for the rest of the day and picked up some post cards in the gift shop...which reminds me: Where are those post cards?  I should probably find them...

Shortly past Old Faithful we stopped to see Grand Prismatic Spring.  This is something I was way excited about because it is supposed to be this kind of gorgeous complete with a rainbow of colors.  But right about then was when the rain moved in and with the temps in the high 30's what we saw looked mostly like this:
Sadness.  But we did manage to see the turquoise pool which was one or all of the next three hot springs (I can't remember and we didn't take a picture with the sign in it)
The point is, the color is kind of amazing.  I'm pretty sure it was at this point that Kirk did something you are not supposed to do and touched the hot springs.  I believe his comment was "Oh wow, that's hot".  So have no fear, as respectable food scientists we have confirmed that the temperature of hot springs in Yellowstone, is indeed hot.  Now after walking around and seeing all of these hot springs I realized something:  I was freezing and wet.  So while Kirk drove us to the Painted Pots (the one time I let him drive) I had a wardrobe change into 2 pairs of my beloved leggings and cranked up the seat warmers.  Seriously, those are one of my favorite inventions and a necessity in my next car.

Things had been kind of tame in the lower part of Yellowstone, but as we headed north to Mammoth Hot Springs that all started to change.  We spotted our first wildlife for the day: a bison (or buffalo?), our first rainbow, and the blue sky finally started to peek out...
Mammoth was awesome, but because the hot spring activity changes throughout the year all of the terraces were dry, except one.
Then we stopped at the Petrified Tree and were headed to Tower Falls when we found this little pull off that we decided to stop at because it looked like there would be a pretty good view.
I'd say that view was "okay".  We finally felt like that was pretty enough to take a picture in front of, so this is the first picture of us in Yellowstone.  Notice that I had also started wearing Kirk's winter jacket and toboggan because ya'll, it was seriously chilly!  Thank goodness we had so many clothes in the car at our disposal.
When we were headed back to the car a chimpunk ran underneath and we had to chase him out.  Kirk tried to take pictures of him, but he was wily and we missed him. At this point we realized that we were ahead of the weather by just a little bit.  Every time we would stop somewhere it would start out with partly cloudy skies and then by the end it would have gotten cloudy and started sprinkling.  This time the sun was still shining as it started to rain and while we were getting into the car I said, somewhere there's a rainbow.  And there was.  One of the best kinds where you can see ALL of it.
Next up we stopped at Tower falls which was really pretty because I mean who doesn't love a good waterfall?  Since we were trying to fit everything in before dark we sped off to the Canyon, where we were utterly blown away by the views of the lower falls.
Thrilled that we still had some daylight left we raced to our last stop, but slowed down to look at an elk grazing near the side of the road and an entire herd of buffalo in a dried out riverbed.  When we got to the Mud Volcano area even though it was nearly dark we decided to walk the 2/3 mile trail and see the last little bit we could see.  This was one of my favorite moments of the day, not because of the trail - which wasn't that exciting, save for this hot spring called Dragon's mouth that actually sounded like it was roaring and the Mud Volcano - but because there we were in this famous place that had been packed with tourists and yet at this point it was just the two of us.

After that we had about an hour and a half to drive back to Colter Bay and the whole time that we were in Yellowstone it snowed on us, so we really felt like we had seen it all that day.  By the time we got back we had come full circle and were both completely exhausted again.

One last day of driving separated us from California - we felt like we were so close but had no idea it would take so long to get out of Wyoming.

A detailed map of Yellowstone.