Friday, November 27, 2015

Birthday Adventures!

Well, a lot has happened since my last post! I wish I had more time to recount it, but life always keeps me on my toes.

I am very excited to say that the tiny tomato plants in my garden the last post grew quite tall and I got to eat delicious grape tomatoes all summer! I was so proud :)  The red pepper plant I planted at the same time (in may/june) didn't grow for months, then all of the sudden (in October), grew taller, and got peppers on it! Right now (yes, right now, in NOVEMBER!) I'm waiting to see what will happen. Will they completely mature and i will get bell peppers in December? Or will they just hang out on my plant for another 2 months and then call it quits?  We shall see. . . And it is almost time to plant more rainbow chard!! Even my small endeavors in gardening are exciting to me, especially when I can grow something in the middle of winter!

I was able to back to Iowa this summer to attend the wedding of my dear friend Melissa. It was so wonderful to be there for so many reasons. It meant seeing God's faithfulness in Melissa's life to bring her a husband, something we have prayed about for probably as long as we have known each other. And it was wonderful because I got to see all my friends again, one of which I haven't seen for years because she has been living in Australia, and it was such a surprise to see her! The occasion was a grand reunion of M 'n M ladies from back in the day. :)

Also, at the end of the summer, I took a fantastic vacation with one of my favorite travel buddies, my brother. We took our second trip to Europe, visiting 4 countries on the continent this time. The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany, visiting friends and one of our cousins and his family along the way. I have grand plans of putting some of that on here. . . I really will try, but I won't promise anything!

I suppose one other way I spend a lot of time these days is hanging out with my new(ish) boyfriend, Anthony :). You may have seen some evidence of this on facebook, but we are enjoying eating at lots of fun restaurants, getting me caught up on some good tv shows (like The Flash!) and movies I have long been missing, and just doing life while getting to know each other. And of course, having a great birthday adventure! I didn't mis-title the post!

Anthony decided that since I have never been to the Magical Kingdom on either coast, that he would take me on my first trip to Disneyland for my birthday. It was great! Better than I expected, although I'm not so sure I knew what I really expected! :)

It is Disney's 60th Diamond Celebration or something, so the castle has these pretty "diamonds" draped all over, if you can see them in the pictures. It was rather pretty at night, especially. Additionally, we were lucky to go right after Halloween, so everything had been decorated for Christmas! And they change the Haunted Mansion to a Night Before Christmas theme, which was pretty neat. We got to watch Fantasmic, the evening show, which was pretty incredible. We did have to watch the fireworks from farther away from the castle. But they were still great. They have these ones, that look like shooting stars. So beautiful.

One of the things I really liked about it was all the little details, such as having a jazz band playing on the patio we ate at in the New Orleans area! And, we had the most fantastic pumpkin cheesecake there! The rides we were able to get on were really fun, even though we didn't ride any crazy awesome rollercoasters like I got to at Six Flags two years ago :) I particularly enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean and Thunder Mountain. And we missed some things (like Space Mountain!) so really, we kinda need to go back. . . :)

Well, that's all for now. Until next time!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Some random weekend things

Since it has again been a bit since I posted last, I thought I'd just give a quick look at a few things I've been up to since March.

First, bacon gruyere and green onion scones with Vickie. Shaped like dinosaurs.
Why?? Because I love scones, Vickie loves dinosaurs, and we BOTH LOVE bacon! Why else?

One Saturday Vickie and I made these delicious scones, and we think it is the first time this particular scone may have ever been made in dinosaur form. :)  I highly recommend them, in whatever shape, and you can find the recipe at!

Then for Easter, my friend Gretchen hosted a Ukrainian Easter egg making party! You literally make designs on the eggs with a thin pen-like instrument using melted wax and then dye the egg sequentially in light to dark colors (with more design application with wax in between each dye) and end up with such beautiful creations you never thought possible from your own hands! So much fun!

Then i went camping with my GCF friends at Agua Caliente, the hot springs in the Anzo Borrego Desert. It was really a fantastic adventure. Some hiking, some hot spring pool time, some hanging out around the fire, even some Julian apple pie on the way home! It was beautiful in the desert, greener than expected this spring, although quite hot! And it was a great time hanging out with friends.

Then I moved (again). To a new apartment closer to work and church (although I will miss Vickie's house in North Park, except the part where Peepers (the cat) wakes me up with his meow, lol). I'm mostly settled in now, but still have to hang stuff on the walls. I have a little more room than I did in my last apartment, so all those of you who have waiting to come visit (or wanting to visit again), now's the time! And the most exciting part is that the porch area is quite large has a little garden plot! I got some plants in (mostly tomoatoes), and am excited about continuing my attempts at gardening that I started at Vickie's.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Colors of California!

I've had the fun of going on two hiking adventures thus far this year here in California! Both leave me in awe of the beauty that can be found here, and I'm so grateful to have had the chance to see them both!

La Jolla Shores Caves
Somewhere between La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove are something like 7 caves. One thing I have yet to do is go on a kayak tour to explore these, but in January, there was the luck of an extremely low tide (on MLK day! what luck a holiday!), which meant that you could hike out over the rocks usually covered by water and reach the first two of the caves by dry foot, not by the usual seafaring methods. My friend Jennifer had organized a lab hike trip, and myself and another non-lab friend joined up for the adventure. And oh, was it beautiful. Well, I'll be honest, some of those places that are usually covered were bare rocks that weren't all that pretty, but lots of it was. Beautiful purple rocks, little colorful pools (like these to the left), green sea grass stuff covering rocks . . . pretty cool. Some of the rocks were slippery, so it could be a bit treacherous, but it was worth it.

Our cave destination can be seen in the above photo just left and just below of center. Cave number one (left) wasn't very deep, but it was pretty tall. And skinny, but wider than a person. You could walk inside it easily enough. And very colorful as you can see!

This picture below is the cliff wall just to the right of this first cave, and looking around the corner, from the pathway we had to come to get here.  I really just love the colors!

Below is  a picture of cave number 2. It was not just at the cliffs edge like cave number 1. It was quite a climb up those rocks to get there. And although that opening looks small, it wasn't really. You probably can't see it, but there is a person crouched inside the opening, and the opening is probably 4x the size of the crouched person. Inside the cave, we could stand up quite nicely. And it went back further than I expected! There was  a little stream flowing from the wall, but unfortunately it was too dark to get any good pictures of the inside. the cave had 2 openings though, the dry one we could climb up the rocks to get into, and this second one, which you can see opened up into some water.  That was as far as we could go, but it was pretty cool nonetheless.  someday, I gotta do the kayak version! I'm taking volunteers to go along. . . 

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

The second hike was north of LA at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. I went here with another post-doc from my lab, Chen-Chen, and her husband and their friend. It was quite a drive, we got up pretty early on a Saturday to get there at a decent time, but it was well worth an early morning, and a drive!

The California Poppy, our state flower. I have also learned that this flower is what gives our state the nickname "The Golden State". And other wildflowers abound as well, especially yellow and purple flowers, which made for an incredible sight!  We started getting excited and pulling off the road to take pictures before we made it to the reserve! Like kids in a candy store. . .

Along part of the hike, the poppies that were in bloom seemed to be growing right next to the path, just for us! It was cool to walk along next to the flowers of this bright and brilliant of color!

My friend Chen-Chen said there is an old Chinese poem that speaks of horses that work in the flower fields, that even their feet smell of the fragrance of the flowers, and this is what it reminded her of.

I also enjoyed seeing the flowers from a distance. They seem to grow in patches, swaths of color erupting from the green hillside, painting the landscape.

I don't know if you can see in the last one, yellow, orange, purple, and the greyish-green of the other desert plants all in one place.  It was so beautiful, I think pictures or my description can't do it justice!

Here are just a few of the varieties of flowers we saw! there were several kinds of yellow and some white flowers too! And then there was this really cool thing we'd notice every now and then, which was a couple yellow poppies growing amidst all the orange one. and we wouldn't have been a good bunch of scientists if we hadn't learned why! :)     apparently, these poppies have 2 color genes, yellow and orange. And the orange pigment molecules are dominant, making the flowers appear orange, but they shrink when dry or at certain pH's and then the yellow color then shows through. So cool, right?

Also, I think we visited at the beginning of the season. It supposedly gets better during March and April! I just can't imagine! There are pics online from others, if you want to imagine with me! I really had no idea the desert was capable of such a wonderful, colorful display!  I have a lot to learn.

Anyway, these are my colorful adventures!

Sunday, March 1, 2015


First post for 2015!

I guess I should start by recapping the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015- my trip home for the holidays!

It was actually a really great trip, full of family and friends, more than I ever imagined! I calculated that I spent around 17 hours in a car, to and from Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. Wouldn't be a good trip home unless I went everywhere in the area I could!

Kansas was full of family - aunts, cousins, grandma, - and full of good food, games, and a good time. A new game we learned with our cousins was called Ticket to Ride. It was a good one! And of course played the card game uno with grandma :) As always, it was a great time there with family.

This year, I really didn't spend much time in Nebraska City, as compared to years before. So sadly, I missed seeing some of my friends there that it would have been great to see, so I'm sorry to all of those that I missed! I know that one reason I didn't spend as much time there was because grandpa wasn't there this year. For the past two years, I wanted to see him as much as possible while I was home, but this is the first Christmas he isn't there. And I do see my parents places other than our house. :)

But I did get to see many friends from Iowa!  Just another reminder of how blessed I am by all the friends I made in grad school. We all met in Des Moines over about 2 days, anyone who could come for part or all of it. I think over those 2 days I got to see 11 friends and an adorable baby. The great part about it was that while many are still in the area, the gatherings included me (from the west coast) and two friends who are now in the east, so it was really special that we could all be there together! Thank you all so much for making the trip to Des Moines come and see me! And even more than that, 1 more Iowa friend drove all the way to Nebraska to see me! It was such a blessing to see these friends this Christmas and New Years!

Also, I got to see many friends in Omaha, also a blessing! Another New Year's eve with Nick, Katie and Jon, my first cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee with Sara and the kiddos (nothing to write home about, haha - the coffee I mean), and a chance to see Danielle too. And playing so much Pandemic!

That's about all I can remember at this late date, although there are always more people and great experiences to include :). A blog post never quite can do justice how good it is to be home, surrounded by friends and family.

Friday, January 2, 2015


Here it is! Ashley's blot debut!

Like I've said before, Ashley is the friend who convinced me to start this blog, so it is fun to put her on the blog! Yay!!

Ashley and her husband Matt came to San Diego for a conference (for Matt - and vacation for Ashley!) earlier this year! It was so great to see them both! We hung out with Tomomi too, a good Iowa reunion. Here we are with the statue outside the restaurant we all met at for dinner in the Gaslamp one night. 

And Tomomi and I also got another chance to hang out with Ashley, taking her to (surprise surprise) Birdrock Coffee!!  We also got to look around La Jolla Cove that day too and see the seals!

Thanks for coming to visit us in SD! And thanks for sending the pics!
Come back soon :)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Throwback to February Post

Ok, so here this is, even though it was the beginning of the year, just because I already had it written!

After journeying with me halfway across the country for the 4 or 5 days it took us to drive out here when I moved to California, Christy didn’t get to spend much time here. But now she has made it back to San Diego, this time in an airplane! So since she was with me for almost 24 in California the first time, I think this counts as a return visit. Yay! Just one with more time in California and less time everywhere else!

We tried to have all sorts of fun in San Diego this go around.  (Although how could we beat multiple state geocashing, Mike the Headless chicken, and adventures with the Becky head?) Well, we gave it our best go. We did some whale watching, at which we also saw a very large band of sea lions all swimming and diving, presumably trying to catch fish. The marine life folks on the boat said they had never seen something like this before.


We explored the beach at Coronado Island, which I really like. There were a ton of shells washed up on the shore in one area, including many sand dollars! This is the first time I’ve ever seen a live sand dollar, so that was pretty exciting. Here are a couple, with a coin next to them for purpose of showing the various sizes. 

 Here's Christy and I hanging out on some rocks on Imperial Beach (at Coronado).

Christy and Ethan and I also had a fun time exploring Balboa park, seeing cool buildings and interesting plants, holding some birds and feeding some ducks a dog biscuit. Which they seemed to enjoy quite a bit.  

 We also explored the cove, and a new cute dessert shop, and ate some great fish tacos, all in La Jolla. And drank lots of coffee. Of course we went to Birdrock Coffee. Its pretty much a must!

It was great to have Christy in San Diego and I can't wait until she comes back!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

At long last?

Uh, this is kind of awkward. That first post after you haven't posted in a really long time. And I already felt awkward enough about not having posted, but now people are commenting too . . .

I never promised to be good at this (see first post, lol), and I've partially written at least 2 posts since the last one, just never finished them and never posted them.

So it took me awhile to figure out how to proceed. So here's what I came up with. I thought I would give a quick list (actually its not so quick) of all the things that have been going on, for those of you who are trying to keep up. Some were the usual kind of stuff I generally post, like friends visiting, ect. Some is really real life stuff, the kind that has been hard and sad and isn't the most fun to write about. But since it is called “Adventures and Real Life”, and since I mostly post stuff that is more adventurey, I'll tell you the real life stuff too.

So here it all is. In some semi-kind of order, but not exactly. Sorry for how long this is. I guess a lot happens in a year.

In February my friend Christy, who first debuted on the blog on the move to California, came to visit. It was awesome to have her back. I pretty much wrote a whole post about this, and I think I'll just post it next, kinda like those throwback thursday things that happen on facebook. :)

Then in March my friend Jennifer followed for her second visit to San Diego, which was great. Always glad to have people back!

My grandfather, whom I was close to and had lived near to for 4 years of my grad school career, passed away in April. This was hard. I was very grateful to be able to go home for the funeral. It was a good time of remembering him and spending time with family.

In May, my friend Ashley, (who is the one who got me to start this blog) came with her husband and I got to hang out with them and Tomomi, so that was cool. I was so looking forward to posting about that since she was the blog instigator, but I didn't get to it, and I think she still has the picture of us all! Hey Ash – if you are reading this, if you send me the pic of us all outside the Mexican restaurant, I will put it up!

A couple from church that I was good friends with (the ones I went to Six Flags with), moved to the east coast. I miss them.

I had the pleasure of being in the wedding of two other friends from the UCSD Graduate Christian Fellowship. It was great to celebrate with them. But then they moved to the east coast too.

My parents came to visit at the beginnig of July. We had a great time! Some highlights were touring the Taylor guitar factory and trying to watch the San Deigo fireworks. . .

In July, I moved out of my apartment and in with Vickie, a gal from church. I'm renting the spare bedroom in her adorable house in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego. She has a cat, Peepers, and an adorable new black lab puppy, Ninja. They keep us both on our toes. And give me plenty of amusing stories to tell people at work! But now I do have a 30min freeway commute to work. Which has been different but is working out okay. (got rear-ended on the on ramp the second week of it all though. could have been much worse)

Oh, but before I moved in with Vickie, I was “in transition” between places for 2 weeks. So I had fun living with Cynthia, my friend from lab, and her absolutely adorable kitties, Jorge and Marcus. (they are the best kitties ever! Don't tell Marcus, but Jorge is my favorite) :)

My friend Erin also came for her second visit to San Diego. We had some fun despite my getting sick. She is the first visiting friend to see the new place!

My (now no longer) boyfriend got a faculty position, also on the east coast. (notice any patterns here?). He moved in August. Sadly, we broke up some weeks following the move. Still hurts, not gonna lie. But I guess that's what these things tend to do. Hurt for a while. I'm hoping the "and then get better" part is not far off. Feels like it is taking its sweet time.

Sometime earlier this in the year, maybe March, I added in a new project at work. Although interesting, the nature of it was for me very exhausting. I have great respect for all the scientists who do this type of cell project, but after feeling very mentally and emotionally exhausted from the nature of the project mixed with everything else going on in my life at the time, I took a break from the project in September. Don't know if I will rejoin it again or not. . . I sure feel better without it. And its not like I don't have other things to do.

I got some much needed rest and relief from these exhausting and sad parts of life in September by going to visit my friend Cari and her family in Colorado. I hadn't seen them since I stayed with them on my drive out to California, so it was great to catch up with them and all the changes in their life. Nothing to make you feel better than an a good friend you've known for a long time!

I had another birthday. Cynthia made pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting (both things I love!). And my housemate took me to see Wicked, which I have never seen before! It was really cool, I had a great time!

Now its almost Thanksgiving, and then almost Christmas! I'm looking forward to going home at the end of the year.

So that's pretty much it. I'm sure I could have elaborated more on everything, but maybe just putting it all out there and then moving on with present life (except for maybe a throwback post or some pictures) seems like a good way to go. Until next time, which I hope won't be that long again!