27 and a PhD

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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Fitness, the elephant in my room (or my belly)

I guess like most people everywhere, one of my new year’s resolutions is to lose the bulge, get fit and look awesome once and for all. But this year this has a special meaning. I’m getting married next year and I want to look (and feel) awesome on the special day. I want Mr 30 and a PhD to look at me and see the same girl he asked to be his girlfriend 7 years ago. I want my dress to fit (a dress I already bought and I’m not planning on altering it much, ie. letting out), I want to not have a belly that makes me look preggers ( I wore a dress for my interview back in December and one of my dear friends from back in the day commented that she was so happy I was pregnant … FML).

I hadn’t realized how fat I’ve gotten in the last 6 years until my friend made that comment, and I realized that no compression garment could hide the bulge. I’m tired of feeling tired, of the jiggly this and that, or wearing compression garments and of course, of the double chin.

I want to do something, but gosh darnit, it is so damn tough to get out of bed and to eat right. Ever since taking the job in NYC I’ve been fighting money problems, and part of making sure that there’s something in my stomach while the debts get paid is to get as much food for as little as possible. Fast food has become a staple of my diet (or lack of it) and although I don’t drink coffee, the daily shot of caffeine courtesy of my regular Coke or Pepsi is something I look forward to help combat the post-lunch slump.

I do get to walk quite a bit in NYC and I adore it. Now that I have my feet in better shape thanks to the custom orthotics my podiatrist made, walking is a lot easier. But that’s about it. I’m eating worse, and with this winter weather in full swing, I don’t like walking outside. I do my bit of walking to the bus in the morning and to work and from work to the subway station, but that’s the extent of my walking. Paying for a gym is out of the question, and living with multiple people who like to cook food I hate (yuck, seafood) makes it harder to eat at home.

I know. Excuse after excuse after excuse.

With my upcoming move in a month I’m looking forward to the new job and especially the benefits. As a student, and later a postdoc, I had access to pretty darn good gym facilities, a pool, and running/walking areas. There were also lots of chances for intramural this and that. I’m not such a huge team player, so I prefer to mind my own business and get on an elliptical, which helps my knees, and burn 300 calories.

I’m surprisingly looking forward to having access to a gym once again (especially one for employees, not crowded by valley girls in skimpy clothes), and heck! even paying for it so I can battle the bulge. I’m not getting younger, and should hon and I decide to conceive, I want to have a healthy weight before we have a baby (though as I’ve mentioned before, we would  be cool with adopting).

I don’t cook meat at home (though I’m open to the option of hon making burgers this summer at the grilling area near our future home). And watching The Biggest Loser the other day (I know, shallow of me, but hey, I get inspired by the show) I realized that I’m not a vegetarian so much as a carbotarian. While you’ll never see me doing the Atkins diet, it’s time I reign in my non-stop consumption of empty calories and carbs. I’m looking forward to making tons of veggie-filled soups, including my new fave lentil and my trusty hot and sour soup with tofu. I’m looking forward to making spring rolls at home once again and definitely eating lots of fruits and veggies. That has me excited. And I definitely want to create a schedule where I incorporate physical activity and strength training (who knew that wedding dresses are SO heavy!).

Let see how I stick to this. I’m currently at 195lbs, jumping all the way to 200lbs before my period. I’m tired of being a size 14 and the XXL tops, the granny undies and the 40D cups. I’m tired of the pain on my knees and perhaps losing the weight will help with my flat feet. I’m tired of being tired and I want to look beautiful on my wedding day and feel totally hot on my wedding night. I won’t turn my blog on a weight-management journal, but I do hope to chronicle my weight loss, perhaps posting a photo of when I finally fit on my wedding dress (because damn it, I’m fitting on that bitch!).

Let see how this goes. As soon as I get my hands on a measuring tape I’ll post my current digits along with those of my wedding dress. Here’s to being below 170lbs before Spring 2014 and fitting on my beautiful wedding dress!

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Resolutions 2013

Seeing as I did pretty good (IMO) with last year’s resolutions here’s a list, in no particular order, of this year’s resolutions:

  1. Get new tires for the car that (thankfully) I didn’t sell and will need at new job city.
  2. In addition, get the title of my car from new job city as soon as I can (ie. within 30 days of moving) and not delay it like I did in NYC (still waiting on the stupid title, oh how I dislike NYC’s bureaucracy).
  3. Pay off credit card #3 (the one with the lowest balance, which is still pretty high, IMO) while saving money for the wedding (and perhaps the honeymoon, though for now we’re not counting on having a honeymoon immediately after the wedding).
  4. Marry Mr 30 and a PhD in City Hall before we embark on our new adventure in new job city.
  5. Leave everything I need to in order at my current place of employment so my labbies feel a bit relieved that I didn’t leave them hanging.
  6. Take advantage of the free public transportation initiative that new job institution offers; hopefully I’ll save some money by not filling up my tank as often, keeping the environment cleaner, and of course, avoiding cursing others as if I still lived in NYC.
  7. Attend a conference, workshop or some such networking thingie outside of new job city.
  8. Get my tubes checked. Once and for all. I hate having painful periods. Grrrrrr
  9. Lose 20 pounds, no more, no less, so I can fit in my wedding dress.
  10. Cook at home as often as possible. I’d lost some weight in my previous apartment and with me previous roommate, who was never there. At the new place I have more roommates, and they’re almost always there. I hate not having a kitchen for myself.
  11. Appear in a paper coming out of the new lab.
  12. Prove that my new lab is essential for the institution and hopefully score a tech, even if it’s just part time. I know I’m going to be a busy bee.
  13. Start saving for a DSLR or a Macbook Pro (I know, with the wedding and the kicking a debt in the groin it seems almost impossible, but even if it’s just 300$, I want that money put away for just that purpose).

What are your resolutions?

Guest Blogger – Mr 30 and a PhD shares his POV of our engagement

It fills me with great joy to have my loving honey tell his side of the story (and the back story which I always find even more irresistible than the engagement!) of our engagement. I thank you my love for agreeing to write this and have everyone read it, and I’m excited to have you as my partner and life-long companion. Te amo ❤

Honey’s side of the story:

For seven years we endured the dreaded routine questions: “So, when are you guys finally getting married?” and “When are you going to have kids?” There was always that emphasis on “finally”, as if life has no meaning without the piece of paper from the church or the state or without any offspring. Many times I told the Doc that we should just live together forever without getting married just to spite people. She would agree with me openly, but I always suspected that, privately, she did not like that idea.

The truth of the matter is that I never really planned on going through with my “fuck-the-people” idea. I mean, yes, I certainly wanted to spite people, but not at our own expense. The Doc and I had had conversations about our future and our relationship and we always knew that marriage was in our horizon. However, we were not going to follow other people’s timetables. We would do it when we thought it appropriate.

I started thinking seriously about marriage when I finished writing my dissertation. The Doc and I have had to put our life together on hold so many times because of graduate school and work. If you’ve been following the Doc’s blog, you know by now how many times we’ve had to do the long-distance routine. But, at last, I had no other responsibilities, no other obligations. There were no dissertations, or postdocs, or bosses to keep us apart anymore. We could finally plan to move to the same place, permanently, and think about our little family unit (the Doc, the Kitteh and meh) in the long term. In March or April of 2012, then, I began contemplating the possibility of submitting an official proposal of matrimony for the Doc’s peer-review.

Before moving on to the story of the actual proposal (which is probably more like a “behind-the-scenes”), I would like to clarify something the Doc wrote in her account. She wrote, and I quote: “but he also said that although we’re in a relationship of equals, he still wanted to do the proposal the ‘right way’”. No, I NEVER said that (note from the Doc: oh yes he did, and I have the DMs to prove it). I never explicitly or implicitly expressed my approval for traditional gender roles that mandate that the man has to propose marriage. Never. I would’ve reviewed favourably any marriage application she submitted my way. However, as progressive as the Doc is, she does come from a rather conservative background. She has certain conservative hangups that I try to respect because we all have some of those. After all, we’re born and bred into these puritanical societies and though we try to evolve and swim against the current, certain things just stick with us. So what I said was that I would respect this particular expectation of hers and I would be the one who proposed. Okay, now I feel better.

When the Doc and I first started going out together, I told her that there were two things I didn’t give as gifts: clothing or jewelery. There were two main reasons behind this decision: 1) I have no money to buy jewelery and 2) clothing and jewelry are very personal things that put pressure on the person who receives them. I don’t mean pressure as in commitment, but as in “when-are-you-going-to-wear-that-beautiful-fake-leather-jacket-with-the-oversized-clowns-and-the-matching-neon-aluminum-earrings-I-bought-you” kind of pressure. I’ve wavered a little bit on this throughout our seven year relationship. Every now and then I get her a pair of earrings from a trip or a shirt from a store she really loves. But they’re usually small items that I’m positive she’ll like and on the off-chance she doesn’t, I didn’t spend my life savings on it. Nonetheless, this time was different. I had to get her something she would like. I would feel terrible if she forced herself to put on an engagement ring she hated just because it was special to me. There was no other way around it: she had to be involved in the process.

I would have preferred to be able to hit a home run on my own. I would love to tell you that I absolutely picked the perfect engagement ring without any word from the Doc at all: I surprised her, she fainted and when she woke up she screamed: “HE WENT TO JARED!” But, no, alas, that’s not how it happened (and for the record, even with an unlimited budget I would have never gone to Jared). I had started to save some websites she had sent me with rings she liked (she did this sometimes out of the blue – *hint hint*). But instead of saving these websites on a social bookmarking site like Delicious or Evernote, I relied on the lazy Firefox Bookmarks. This was a fatal mistake. My computer died in August and took with it all my bookmarks. I was back to square one. I didn’t have any of the rings she liked and I wasn’t sure I could recognize them. So I had to nudge her to send me more. After 7 years of never getting her any real jewelery, I could think of no way to do this without arousing her suspicions. So, instead of fighting it and trying to surprise her, I went the opposite way: drown her in so many rings, she wouldn’t have any idea which one she was getting. I started asking her for rings, I sent her rings, I sent her catalogs, I sent her stores from ETSY; I just had an avalanche of rings everywhere.

Of course, she got suspicious. She would ask why the sudden interest and I lied saying that since I finally had a little bit of money (I started teaching my first master’s course in the fall), I wanted to get her a nice present. It’s not a great excuse, I know. But you can’t really fool the Doc. She watches crime shows 24/7. She is incredibly observant. She’s almost psychic! The ONLY way to fool her is to not say a single word. The best gifts I’ve given her have been like that: total silence up until the moment where I deliver. That wasn’t an option this time.

So after sifting through hundreds of rings, I finally found one that complied with all of our criteria (both hers and mine): it was a beautiful hand-crafted ring with no conflict stones, no gaudy jewels and would not force either of us into debt. Once I made up my mind, I tried to buy the ring as soon as possible. Alas, it was a little bit more complicated than that. As soon as I clicked “check out” on the website, I was told by a very polite announcement that the seller did not ship to my “backwater piece of shit country” (I may be paraphrasing a little bit). So, even though I was a bit indignant at the fact that the seller did not ship to my country, I still wanted that particular ring. I knew the Doc would love it. I emailed the seller and explained my predicament. The seller turned out to be a very nice woman who was open to changing her shipping options. This, of course, made me feel better about supporting a business that did not want to ship to my country in the first place. She was very helpful and polite. Finally, I had the ring.

But then there was another problem. Where to do this? I wanted a place that was private but not deserted. I live in a very dangerous country and I did not want to become a headline on the local newspaper. I knew I didn’t want to do it in a restaurant, because restaurants are crowded and noisy and cliched. So, I thought about many different places, but even though I had a few finalists, none of them seemed to really grab me. One day, out of the blue, I started thinking about the most breathtaking views in my town. I live in a coastal town, so there are bound to be some pretty sights. But I could not think of one that met my criteria. However, in a moment of divine inspiration, I remembered this beautiful little chapel on top of a mountain that overlooks the entire coastal area. Of course! How could I forget! This is the best view here.

I was a little skeptical about proposing in church ground because the Doc and I have our reservations about our religion at the moment. Nonetheless, I owed it to both of us to go and at least check it out and see if the place was, in fact, a good spot for a marriage proposal. I decided to go there at around 5 pm a few days before the Doc was set to arrive. When I got there, I immediately knew this would be the spot. I don’t mind telling you, I got very emotional at that point. I didn’t cry, but a sense of peace and happiness came over me. I knew I had found the place. (BTW, I forgot to mention that when I received the ring in the mail and saw it for the first time, I did cry. I was overjoyed, because I knew she would love it).

The next step was figuring out how to propose. I wanted to do something that was representative of me and, at the same time, allowed me to convey to the Doc everything I wanted to tell her. So I decided to make her a video card. I had done this early on in our relationship and never again. But I thought it was appropriate this time around because 1) I’m a media professor, and 2) there were many things I wanted to say and I wanted to make sure I got to say them. I wrote and created a video called: “7 years, 7 reasons” and in it I detailed the 7 top reasons for us to get married (although I never once mentioned the word ‘marriage’ in the video because I wanted to ask her that myself). After creating the video, I put it on my Nook to show it to her while we were there in the most beautiful place in our neck of the woods.

There were some other details that needed planning, but they’re not really interesting and I’ve dragged on long enough so I will just mention them. I tried to plan a very nice evening that would follow the proposal, but everything I could think of was almost impossible to do in this part of the country. So, I had to make do with what we have.

I had told the Doc to set December the 26th aside because I wanted us to go on a date. It had been two months since we last saw each other, so I wanted to take her out for a proper date; a night just for the two of us. In case you’re wondering, I didn’t choose the 26th because of any particular significance. The Doc arrived here on the 25 and I wanted to give her a little space before taking her out, but I also wanted to give her the beautiful ring as quickly as possible. I was dying to see her reaction.

When the 26th finally came, I prayed to the gods to hold off on the rain. I live in a very, very rainy place and it always comes down in the worst possible moments. The gods heard me (for the most part). When I went to pick her up at her house, the clouds were dark and they had begun to cry a little bit. I was worried that the rain would mess up our moment, but my mother had told me: “Don’t worry. It will be very special regardless. All you need is the Doc, you and the words. Everything else is a bonus”. I tried to not worry about it, but I am always a panicky mess.

When we got there, the droplets of water were the least of our concerns. One of the nuns in charge of the chapel told us that they were closing the gate. I was flabbergasted. I had done a dry run at around the same time and I had seen no one trying to close the gate. It wasn’t even an actual closing time. It wasn’t 5:30 or 6:00, it was 5:42 or some such nonsense. So I put my best puppy eyes and told her that we wanted to visit the chapel briefly, that the Doc had flown in from another country and she was counting on it. And the nun took pity on me and told me that she would close up and to just tell her when we were done so she could open the gate. It turned out to be even better, because we were the only ones in the mount. We sat by a bench behind the little chapel that overlooked all the trees, the sky, the coastline and everything else that God had given us that day. I showed her the video while I held her close and while the sky spit at us a little bit. When the video finished, I tried to speak. The tears began streaming down my face, and my voice began trembling. I never thought this moment would overwhelm me so much. But there I was, staring at my partner for the last seven years and giving her a pretty, small box that had a ring we both picked out (even if she didn’t know which one she was getting). Through my tears, I asked her if she wanted to form a family with me, a question I now feel wasn’t appropriate because she is already family. But, nonetheless, she understood. Like so many times before, she understood.

After she put on the ring and kissed me, we went off to start the rest of our date; to commemorate the night we told each other “You’re the only one I want.”

So my lovelies, there you have it … the story of hon’s marriage proposal (with some juicy behind the scenes details on how it all went down). I thank Mr. Honey for agreeing to share his side of the story. We’ll keep you posted on the wedding preparations and hopefully a picture or two (not showing faces of course) will be shared when the moment comes.

Our proposal story – from my POV

Now that y’all know that honey proposed and I got a new job and we’re finally able to move in together and start a new life, I want to share the story of hon’s proposal. At least from my point of view.

Back in the summer, and out of the blue, honey started talking about jewelry. For years I’d been sending him ideas of the kind of rings I liked, usually with sapphires and in a white metal, anything from sterling silver to platinum or titanium. But I like lots of things, lots of styles and materials, so I wasn’t really attached to one particular ring. It sort of surprised me that hon started asking about jewelry and I was silently hoping that this would be it.

It is no secret that I’d been hopeful for a while. I guess when the clock ticked into the second year of our relationship I was hoping he’d propose. At least that’s what Glamour magazine said he should be doing. As it’s been chronicled in this blog, we’ve moved a shit ton of times. Just 1.5 years ago I finally landed a non-TT job with benefits, doing something I like. But he was still a student and once he finished, he struggled to find a job in this crappy economy. I’d envisioned started the job search once again, to move home, especially after he got an adjunct position. But then the call from my past happened, and it changed everything.

I remember a particular day last August where he sent me a link to an online catalog where his mom purchases jewelry. The rings were not only affordable, but different, with lots of different colours, shapes and stones. He’d picked out a ring with a green stone which I liked, but wasn’t crazy about. I was afraid the band would be too thick and one thing I’m particular about is thin bands, that I’m very picky about.

Throughout the next few months we looked at more rings and I sent him a gazillion links. I only grew suspicious that something might happen soon-ish after he started insisting that I point out a ring I truly, madly loved. I asked him why to which he replied that we’d been together for 7 years and now that he was finally working he wanted to give me a nice piece of jewelry to celebrate his new job. I left it at that, thinking that he would be a bit more secretive when it came time to propose. The other thing was that we’d talked about wearing engagement rings, he thinks it’s a bit silly that women get to wear jewelry that essentially signifies that we’re in lay-away while men wear nothing until the wedding occurs (hooray honey)!.

The week before Christmas I semi-jokingly proposed and he said yes (and I told Twitter about it, check this Storify), but he also said that although we’re in a relationship of equals, he still wanted to do the proposal the “right way” and propose with ring and all respecting my wishes for a ring, even if I didn’t get him one (which I didn’t because I had no idea he was proposing the day after Xmas). I left it at that and thought he’d do it soon-ish, but who knew, really. He did tell me to not plan anything for the evening of the 26th as he wanted to take me on a date, given that we hadn’t seen each other since September!!! I sort of suspected that something was going to happen, but I put it aside, thinking that I was over-analyzing stuff and I didn’t want to get my hopes high and then be sorely disappointed.

On the afternoon of the 26th, I prettied up a bit and hon picked me up at my parent’s house. We started the date by going to small chapel in my hometown with some of the best views in town. The afternoon was cloudy, but you could still get some awesome views. The chapel was about to close for evening prayers and after pleading our way, we were let in. We walked up to a bench and sat down. There, honey took out his tablet and started a video chronicling some of our favourite times from the last 7 years. That’s where I got a little suspicious. The video had our favourite song, which will be the same one we use for our first dance! The video had lots of pictures and loving things from our trips together, our accomplishments individually and as a couple. It was amazing.

After, he started talking about us and how special our relationship is, and then he got teary eyed (I didn’t because a) I was in disbelief, and b) I was trying to comfort him) and explained that he’d like to start a family with me. It was so very special, his words so meaningful. After he handed me a beautiful box, and inside was a little brown stain bag. In it was the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen. I put it on my finger and said yes, and we immediately hugged. It was truly everything I wished for and more. We were alone near the chapel, the weather was good, it didn’t rain, there was a light breeze and there was so much love.

After we walked back to the car and then the usual drama of choosing where to eat ensued. I zeroed in on a place we’d been with his parents years ago … in fact, on the night I told him I loved him for the very first time. We had a wonderful dinner and conversation, but before we called his parents, who were in the whole thing and they proceeded to congratulate us. After dinner we headed to the neighbouring town, where honey grew up and went to school and looked at the Christmas lights there. It was magical. Then we headed home to tell my parents. They were excited, my dad more than my mom at first; after my mom shared how my dad proposed and a few days later we looked at their wedding album.

All in all it was an awesome afternoon and night. I’m terribly excited to get to spend my days with honey (soon enough) and that kitty, him and I get to be a family once more. We’ll do a city hall wedding in NYC followed by a religious ceremony and reception at home. Thanks for all the well wishes.

Next week, I hope to feature honey’s side of the story! Stay tuned!!

Changes, so many changes

When I moved to NYC almost two years ago, I knew that my position wouldn’t be a forever-type thing. I wanted, I needed to have some security, to get out of the training loop. I wanted to have benefits, to have a job that involved doing science, training, sample prep, and of course, learning new skills to add to my repertoire.

I knew the position would only be a temporary fix to my situation at the time (frustrated with academia, hated my postdoc, etc). I also knew, or at least expected, that the separation from honey would be a temporary one, especially while he finished his PhD. He’d be looking for work, hopefully in NYC or nearby, and we’d reunite after a while.

Hon was struggling for a few months to try to find work. He lived with his parents in the meantime, as my salary could not sustain the two of us. We went back to the long distance thing, with him doing most of the traveling to NYC. We’ve had a fantastic time in this city. This city is amazing. I’ve met some super fantastic folks, I’ve made contacts that I never even dreamed would be possible. I’ve met some of my favourite scientists, connected with emerging ones, in general, I’ve had a grand ole time.

I hadn’t been looking for work, or at least actively, since joining my current lab. Since I did such a short postdoc (in my opinion), only 1.9 years, I was afraid of doing a bunch of short stints at a couple of places, and creating the impression that I couldn’t hold on to something for a while, and improve my publication profile, network, present, etc.

Back in October I was contacted by a somewhat new hire at one of my previous places of training. I know this PI because they started in this place just as I was finishing. This PI’s postdoc lab is rather famous in my field, and has been very prolific in method-development. In addition, this lab has had a shit ton of trainees, some of which I’ve gotten to work with or meet since moving to NYC.

People at this previous place of training have been searching high and low for someone to be a manager of a lab in one of my disciplines of training. There have been some major changes (faculty-wise) and some of the people in power know of me and my work.

A couple of weeks ago I flew in for an interview, not sure of what to expect. I hadn’t seen these people since I left for my current job and I wasn’t sure how I’d fit in (if at all). Granted, I was trained at some point of my career there and people know the calibre of work I did. I was sure that all I’d get would be a free trip to say hello and goodbye and that’d be the end of it. I was oh-so wrong.

A few days ago I got semi-official confirmation that the position has been opened … for me. In essence I was asked to name everything I needed In order to leave NYC and join them. Yup. I’m still trying to pick my jaw off the floor.

I’m switching jobs once again. I’m going back and (hopefully) getting a do-over of some of the things I didn’t get to do, or did wrong. Hon will be relocating also, which means I get to have my cake and eat it too! Yeah, pinch me. I’m still trying to understand how the heck did this happen.

This new job has the potential for incredible amounts of growth. I’d be heading a lab I worked in, not as a PI, but as a bona fide manager. I’d be training people, creating protocols, collecting data, interacting with PI’s, postdocs and students of all levels. There would be no middle man like there is now. I’d basically become the female version of my current immediate supervisor, a person I adore beyond measure.

Yeah. I’m still freaking out. I can’t begin to wrap my head around the whole thing. I’ll be leaving NYC. That saddens me terribly. But what I earn now is not enough to live with hon, let alone cover the debt I have. I’d be getting access to the same level of benefits I currently have, along with more responsibility. I’d have access to a kick ass library, to decent sports teams, good food, and a whole new wave of talent.

I’m both excited and terrified. I’m excited about the possibility of working once again with people I know, but in a new aspect of my career. This is not a soft money position and I’m thrilled that the school/department/faculty kept me in mind when the whole change in faculty/department structure happened.

I also have some worries. I’d be the only woman in the lab, in a conservative environment where most of the faculty are white bearded dudes. And while I’ve been trained well in the science and in some admin stuff, I have no idea how to confront white bearded dudes, should they get out of line. I’m half their age at best … this shit is crazy.

I’ve certainly changed a bit from my old days there, so I don’t know how my “new” personality will mesh. I’m worried about that too. I’m worried about how I’ll be able to head the lab and move things along to show that the lab is self-sustaining and that we can bring more staff to help me. I’m worried about the pace of things, and about meeting the expectations. I don’t want to let anyone down. And of course, my imposter syndrome is acting up.

I’m happy about the change though (well, except the part about leaving NYC), about living with honey and being able to afford a place where we’re each others’ only roommate, of continuing our own little family, mamma, dadda and kitty. I’m happy to be able to drive places once again. I won’t miss living with total strangers (thankfully all of them have been sane!), the noises of the street, the crazy, stinky people during rush hour. NYC has been a tremendous adventure, but it’s my time to go.

We’ll see how things happen. But rest assured, I’ll keep writing about life in school, and life as a staff scientist, now loaded with moar responsibiliteez. Omai. I hope the new job, and the new me will still shed some light on the post-academic life. I hope y’all hang in there while I figure out my new roles, as a wife and lab manager.

Oh!? Did I mention that honey proposed and that we’ll be getting married in NYC before the move? Yeah …. totally. But that’s for another post, hehehe

Much love from my family to yours and a very merry 2013.