Monday, August 25, 2008

Tagged by Brekke

Better late than never! So, my darling friend Brekke tagged me on her blog to take photos of your house "at the moment." It has taken me about a month to do this (sorry) and I do have to say that I did "doctor" one photo of our main living area showing it being clean, as we are going to be moving soon I wanted to have something to remember it for posterity.

Our bathroom

The closet and my shoes neatly organized- as you can see, we don't have much storage room so it is full to the brim
Kitchen sink- really clean since we don't cook much (thanks Google!) and have an automatic dishwasher- my one request to William that we have in our place.
Fridge- outside (not too much) and inside (not too much- primarily just our different beverages- soda for me and milk/water for William
We do not have our own laundry room- its down the hall- nor kids so no photos of them.

This is my "favorite" room- the one where I spend the majority of the time. Obviously, we live in a studio so my couch office with our laptops is the main focus of this photo.
We have a huge studio (600 sq ft) and it will be shrinking down to 500 sq feet in a week because they raised our rent here by $200 plus utilities and renters insurance for $50,000. Even if everything in our apartment burned up, we have no where near $50,000 worth of stuff. Thus, we are moving on to a different place, but a few positives are that it is even closer to Google (only 3 minute commute instead of 7 minute), right across the street from the grocery store so that we can get DVD play rentals (the RedBox knock off), it has a workout room so that I can use the elliptical, and a pool. Plus, it is still on the 1st floor so that we don't have to lug all of our stuff up and down stairs. However, we do have to move which is a pain but at least we don't have to drive a huge beast truck from UT to CA . . . just about 5 miles round trip. Much much less stress.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Great minds think alike

So, I mentioned several months ago that I had entered the Jelly Belly Dream Bean contest. I didn't reveal my flavor choice but you will be sad to know that it wasn't selected as one of the 5 finalists. BUT, it was actual a more permanent flavor! I suggested cake batter to be the new bean months ago and it turns out that they have actually produced one in their Cold Stone series. So in a way, my idea was good, but they had already capitalized upon it. That being said, I don't think that the beans that are being voted upon now are actually any that I would want to eat. But to each their own and I am happy that my bean is actually in production . . . though not to my credit. At least I was on the right track!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another Year

Its crazy to think that I have aged yet another year and to put it into even crazier perspective, I am going to my 10 year high school reunion this weekend. The official day was yesterday and I just felt so overwhelmed with LOVE from so many dear friends. I received an amazing number of phone calls, cards, emails, and facebook messages from so many that I admire- thank-you not just for the birthday wishes, but for your continuing love, support, and friendship throughout the years. That means more to me than you will ever know. That being said, I always have to express gratitude to the woman who brought me into the world and with whom I share the celebration with. I am truly honored to have the same birthday as this incredible woman. That and it ensures that I never miss her birthday :-) This year, William took me out this past weekend up to SF to see "The Drowsy Chaperone," a broadway musical that is on tour in our area. It wasn't playing on Monday night so we went on Thursday- it was HILARIOUS. My family are HUGE musical fans and so I had a great appreciation for their parody and ability to poke fun at the genre, yet put on a professional show. William thought it was funny as well- we actually want to go again to catch/remember all of the items that are going on. Afterwards, we went to In and Out burger to get something to eat since it was fairly late and to our surprise EVERYONE was there. We had a 15 minute wait for our food since there were so many people, even at 11 pm. I guess it is like the Dee's/Denny's of California. On Saturday, we went to the Oakland temple and then, being such creatures of habit, went to our favorite Texas Roadhouse. We LOVE this restaurant and order the same thing every time- we share a full rack of ribs, have 4 rolls each, William eats a caesar salad, and I the loaded sweet potatoe. This Saturday, the food was spot on and everything was just super tasty. I highly recommend it and so its probably a good thing that it is about 40 minutes away so that we don't head there too often. Then, on Monday my actual birthday, I went to our nearby Cold Stone for my FREE birthday ice cream! I recommend that everyone sign up for this program because who can deny FREE ice cream! Of course, I got my all time favorite cake batter and cookie dough and look at what a generous amount I got. Then, William came home at 6:30 (which is quite early for him) so that we could celebrate together. He took me to Maggiano's Italian restaurant down at Santana Row, this gorgeous high end outdoor shopping area that it so charming. I am also part of their birthday club so I got a FREE dessert of CREME BRULEE. It was the largest creme brulee I've seen filling a little skillet with a lot of carmelized goodness going on. I usually like a deeper amount of creme but it was super delicious and the perfect light way to end the meal. We split their yummy Maggiano's salad that I love with proscuttio, red onion, blue cheese and their house dressing. But, this put us so full that we weren't able to finish our entrees. I ADORE their gnocci and William got a chicken rigatoni, carmelized onion, mushroom, and marsala sauce. I warned him that their portions are HUGE but he wanted to get the large for his dish and it was definitely more than he was expecting. I think there is enough left for 2 more meals, which is good since I am leaving. All in all, it was a fabulous birthday but mainly due to all of the wonderful thoughts and well-wishes I received from so many. THANK-YOU!!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Oh Boston- this place will forever have a special place in my heart. It is a big city with a small town feel and it is so quirky that I absolutely love it. It was hard for me to leave after 5 years as there are still so many things I wasn't able to do- such as John Adams House, The Mount of Edith Wharton, and Newport mansions. I was hoping to at least visit the Adams House and try one of the famous sticky buns from Flour bakery that I saw on the Food Network; however, there was just way too much sociology for that to happen. I arrived in Boston on Tuesday morning and spent the day reading articles to prepare for the US/UK Med Soc conference. I went to the welcome reception and dinner that night and was so happy that I have my colleague Miranda to come with me to meet the big whigs. On Wednesday, the conference went from 9 to 6 pm and so I spent the day talking about gender and health, having shop talk, and listening to great plenary speakers. Thursday morning I presented about quality of life and HRT at 8:30 am and so I missed some of the 1st conference. But, I was happy that there were several in the audience besides just the presenters for being the 1st session of the 1st day. Then, it was back to the US/UK conference to finish up and then I headed back to SSSP to attend the business meeting. Friday morning I didn't have anything but I had sessions in the afternoon and the Brandeis sociology reception that evening. Saturday I had several sessions I attended, the medical sociology council, and a med soc graduate student get-together that I organized. We had about 12 people there (5 were Brandeis affiliated- thanks to my peeps for supporting me!) which was a little smaller than I had anticipated but meant that everyone had a chance to talk. Sunday was literally conference stuff all day with sessions, my roundtable presentation about risk scares and antidepressant suicidality in youth which I was shocked had about 6 additional people attending who were not presenters (usually there are just the presenters for roundtables since they are so informal), the medical sociology section, and awardee dinner. Monday morning I had a session about how to publish a book in sociology as that is a future dream of mine (a fascinating talk and I am so happy that attended because there are things that are SO DIFFERENT from just submitting journal articles). Finally, I was the book raffle helper for the med soc business meeting. There is such an interesting experience because it is a fundraiser for the section so you buy a raffle ticket for $5 to have a chance to choose from 3 med soc books. However, most of the senior faculty buy multiple tickets (since they are more established) but then they do not want the books and give the opportunity to choose to graduate students. Well, there were not very many graduate students at the meeting since it was on the very last day at such a late hour and so they couldn't get anyone to take some (I took my 3) that they just left them out there for anyone to take. It was definitely one of the most unexciting raffles that I've seen- at least I got a few good ones.

Anyways, my point in explaining all of this was this was primarily my only time to sightsee around Boston was Monday later afternoon/evening. My dad and sister Sarah arrived that morning and we ended up doing my dad's favortie activity- walking around the city. We walked from Back Bay down to the North End and then back along the Esplanade to our hotel. And the weather was perfect for it- not too hot, slight breeze. And I was COMPLETELY SHOCKED to see just how much they had progressed with the Emerald Necklace in just one year. When I lived in Boston, the Big Dig had torn up the area between Fanuiel Hall and the North End. But now, it is SO BEAUTIFUL with fountains, seating areas, and much needed green space.

Some kids enjoying being pushed up by the fountains
The fountains and the city at night
And in those green spaces, they pay equal attention to both owners and pets
Check out these cool lounge chairs by the aquarium wharf- the shape is just really interesting
We LOVED walking along the Esplanade and actually sat for awhile to rest our tired feet and we we throughly entertained. We saw a sailboat completely tip over while still at the dock when 1 man got on. It was hilarious- and part of the boat broke. Fortunately, after some finagiling they were finally able to get out onto the Charles. There were also a few windsurfers who were also having "issues" including falling in several times. Aren't we so mean to just sit and watch them and laugh.
All in all, this was the perfect way to see all of the highlights of this great city. As much as I love Boston, I definitely LOVE William more and was so happy to return home to him. I am very lucky that I was at a point in my grad school that I could leave and be with him in Cali.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Beantown Bites

I have to say that I LOVE the food in Beantown. I truly think that they have some of the best in the world so I was delighted to be able to hit some of my favorites and catch up with some good friends at the same time.

I went to a great tapas restaurant with my fellow qualitative research support group buddies Laura and Donna where EVERY dish we got was phenomenal, with the exception of the flan. It was ok, but I'm just not a fan of flan in general cuz it tastes to eggy and I have only had it like once that I loved. We stayed there talking and laughing for several hours- so much so that my advisor and his friends came after us and left before us. Laura just graduated this year and so she is the inspiration for Donna and I. We will both be motivating each other along for next May.

Thursday evening, I went with my dear friends whom I consider to be family, Bounhome and Olay. They are some of the kindest people I have ever met. Olay made Bounhome and I these beautiful matching amber necklaces- she could defintely sell these but just gives them to friends.
My favorite Thai place in Boston used to be Brown Sugar Cafe, but I now have a new one on the corner of Allston st and harvard st in Allston. Sadly, I can't remember the name but it was so great- unique flavors and fresh tastes. Look at these beautiful women with even more beautiful spirits.
And for dessert, we headed downtown to the North End for a little Mikes Pastries. Yum- cannolli and lobster tails (pictured below)
The big dig (installing underground freeways) had been going on for 20 years and since I have been in Boston, the former green spaces of park called the Emerald Necklace have been underconstruction. What a difference a year can make- they have finally finished the parks and look how beautiful with the fountains, tables to sit and converse, and just nature.
We were together for over 5 hours (poor Olay's husband kept calling) but it truly was just such a fun evening.

On Friday, I got together with my dear friend Carolina who took me to a fabulous Indian restaurant where we had amazing Tikka Masala- some of the best I've had. And for old times sake, we went and had some cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory. The vanilla bean still remains my fave.

Saturday was NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOES with Leah and Heather, my old visiting teachers. This has been "our place" and so I was excited to go there. As you may remember, earlier William and I were DEVASTATED because they got rid of our favorite steak and cheese pizza. Well, Heather told me that she went a month ago and asked them to custom make it AND THEY DID! Naturally, I was just ecstatic at the prospect and so I requested it. Unfortunately, the chef was new and didn't know what I was talking about and brought me this
The original steak and cheese had a creamy garlic sauce and this was just marinara. Still good, but just not out-of-this world as I still ate it
It was better that they didn't have it so that William wouldn't have been mad at me. But, I did have the bread and oil/cheese without red pepper and then we split the Peanut Butter Thing, a great ice cream treat. We were shocked that for a Saturday night, we had no wait . . . but then had to wait on our waiter. Oh well- at least we had more than enough to catch up about.

Sunday I had lunch with some of my current and former Brandeis sociology colleagues at Cheesecake Factory. Its funny when you see people everyday and talk only for a few minutes just how close you can get. I have definitely missed our casual conversations not just about "shop talk" but also about life so it was great to be with them again- Sarafina, Allison, and Erin
Our other friend Ken was there too but had to leave before the photo for his presentation.

And I was able to attend the medical sociology awards dinner that night at Legal Seafoods so that I could have some of their 7 time presidential inaguration clam chowder, the boston baked scrod (which was INCREDIBLE), and key lime pie (also so good). It was great because I was able to converse with some of the rock stars of medical sociology on a more intimate level.

On Monday, my dad and sister arrived and so we went to our favorite GIACOMO's- we were there 15 minutes before it opened and there already was a huge line. Fortunately, we were the VERY LAST table to fill up the tiny restaurant so that we didn't have to wait any longer. My sister Sarah and I shared the pumpkin tortellini and the lobster and shrimp fusilli with Giacamo's sauce. And you had better believe that we scraped our plates clean. And of course we got cannoli's from Mikes for later.

Given a very hectic conference schedule (a full week of 3 different sociology conferences, 2 presentations, and med soc committee meetings), I was lucky that I was able to fit in a few good restaurants and friends but I am so SAD that there are so many that I wasn't able to see everyone that I wanted to. It just means that I will have to make another trip :-)

Fun, Friends, and Fisherman's Wharf

My friend Megan whom I met back in Boston through my friend Jamie, came to SF for the weekend and William and I were thrilled to be able to meet her up in the city. Megan truly has such an infectious laugh and a great sense of humor so it truly was one of the weekends in which we never stopped laughing. The only people who were "crabby" was the seafood

We spent the day walking up and down and up and down the wharf. And we did walk out over this pier- we think it is so dangerous due to all of the seagull droppings.
And here is one of the many gulls perched on one foot
However, it give such great views of the golden gate
Aw- the two redheads- and don't you love her new Marc Jacobs sunglasses! (Mine are just cheap ones but they do the job)
Little did we know (well, Megan knew) that the festival of sails was going on at the wharf. For this festival, they had team pairs make their own boats to race. Here were the two groups that actually completed the boats. The far one in blue is made out of cloth that they water proofed while the other is just wood.

And, they're off! And as you can see, the cloth boat sunk when they both got in. The wood boat had to do one at a time to support its weight, but at least it floated. It was truly so hilarious to watch this as the cloth boat people basically swam while dragging it in an attempt to win
After lots of walking, it was perfect to refuel at Boudin for some clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls. Megan is hilarious because she asked for it "to go" which meant that they kept the chowder and bread separate so that it wouldn't get soggy but when we finally ate it, she just kept her chowder in a little cup and left the bread bowl for later- it just looked so funny
We went to their pier where we were fortunate that we just had flip flops on or else we might not have been allowed to enter
William and I have been loving landscape photography lately from Peter Lik to a new find, Rodney Lough Jr. A BYU grad, he takes beautiful photos in an old school style- this is the actual camera that he uses
Can you even imagine hauling that thing around- it reminded me so much of Ansel Adams. Now, just to have the money to purchase some of these ones . . .

Sadly, the sealions at Pier 39 were pretty silent and basically beached
So, we headed to where the real action is . . . Ghiradelli Square!!! And of course we each got our own sundae's
And here's all that was left
As the sun went down, besides appreciating the gorgeous skyline and colors
we met up with Megan's friend, and now our friend Riley (whom we sadly got no photos of) where more laughter and walking around ensued. Riley totally scared us by ridding right up to us on his longboard while it was dark. We all had a fun time watching all of the unique street performers. The spray paint picture artists are all the same- they put on this techno music while they do their art and then ask for "donations" to purchase the prints. However, our favorite performer this time was the fire guy. Yup, he played with fire just like the guys in Hawaii (which is supposedly where he learned). He was a lot of talk and prep but was definitely worth the wait
Megan and Riley are both from Canada and so they met up with another one of their friends whose place they were staying at. She only stayed for a few minutes since she has a little toddler, but we later saw her while walking by McDonalds as she flags us down by just yelling out "My husband needed a Big Mac". It was so unexpected that we could not stop laughing about it. We then spent like an hour and a half talking and laughing at Mickey D's (and we did make some purchases). Megs, you are always welcome here in the bay area, especially since you work for the airlines and fly for free :-)

Kids in a Candy Store

That's how I would describe our taking the Elders in our ward to dinner at Google. They truly LOVED every moment of it. I also learned something new- there actually is a "Google Road"- I thought William was making it up but there is an actual street sign for it, just goes to show me that I should always believe the Googler. William insisted that we take them on pasta night- Wednesday- because that is our favorite night. They custom make your OWN individual pasta with all the toppings you could want (I usually get baby shrimp and bacon) and then a choice of sauce (I usually get alfredo). They also loved the little baby ben and jerry's ice cream cups (they had two). And they kept getting blown away as we took them around the campus.

Elder Christensen was in pure hea-ven with the massage chair- see the little drool coming out :-)
Elder Potter couldn't believe the snack center that you can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
And William enjoying some of his favorite wafers while casually lounging on the video game console (its quite the life isn't it)
Yeah, Google truly is an amazing place to work, but the real reason they have all these incentives is to make you want to stay at work all the time. And here are some of the real "workers"- the Google servers. Here is a sample display of one- just look at all the wires- that's a lot to try to test if something goes wrong
We were truly so happy to take them here because they have been such amazing Elders who truly have worked exceptionally hard and contributed so much to our ward. We will be missing them in a few weeks when they go home but excited for their lives ahead

Monday, August 11, 2008

Try, Try Again

The old adage goes "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." I have made yet another attempt for submitting my own sole authored journal publication. I tried this last year, only to have been rejected from a different journal. It has taken me this long to distance myself enough from my own writings to be able to realize, with the help and revised framework from my adviser, that I need to try again even though I was rejected. I actually feel that the conceptualization of the paper is much better- I was never fully satisfied with it, but now, I feel that it "fits". After following all of the crazy submission guidelines (with the specific details for bibliography, references, quotations, etc), I just sent off my article for consideration with another journal. Hopefully, I will have better success. If not, I will just try another journal because I truly feel that there is a point to be told from this research. Yikes! Now the 3 month waiting period . . . .