Thursday, September 28, 2006

Old Friends Revisited, Part II

Remember Angelina Fettuccine? Well, she's my other "old friend revisited" that I promised my readers. Out of the blue when I was in Minneapolis, I got an email from her titled "Surprise! It's me!" I was shocked. And delighted. She said she had first contacted my dad looking for me and he gave her my email address.

The internet is a wonderful thing. If she would have called me up, I would have been at a total loss for words. Instead, after quickly acknowledging her email and telling her of my recent nuptials, I took a couple days to work on getting her updated. I spent a couple minutes a day here and there thinking of things I wanted to tell her.

She is still living in New Mexico with her husband. She works for the same large financial firm that my dad does, she has two dogs and no kids yet. She said when she does, she wants them to grow up with a best friend just like me *sniffle*.

After we got caught up, the reminiscing started. We are still exchanging emails frequently, renewing our friendship- a task made remarkably simple in the information age. In our adolescence I always felt like I was the one working just a little bit harder. I am pleasantly surprsed at the promptness and fervor of her communication. I send her a message, and hear back within the hour. I am the one to often wait until the next day to resume the discussion. I like this change in her, and see how badly she wants to rekindle our bond and how deeply she finally values what we shared growing up. I am a realist. I know that it may die off, we may again get busy with our lives. But this time I feel more confident that if we drift apart, we will find our way back.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


To everyone who said the Twins:

  • should pack up and go home when it was only May

  • could never pass the World Champ White Sox

  • aren't for real

  • were done when Liriano got hurt

  • were done when Radke got hurt

  • don't have enough power

  • don't have starting pitching

  • wouldn't make it down the stretch

I say:


Monday, September 25, 2006

Married Life Part II

Before I actually get into what married life is like so far (sorry, anonymous blog buddy, I'm getting there I promise!) I want to address a question Jackie posed on the first part of my married life discussion.

So was this planned or was it a spur of the moment type thing???

The short answer is: sortof. The long answer follows.

Waaaaaay back in December, Dean approached me with what he called "a plan". He suggested we fly to Vegas and get married sometime within a year. That would give him time to save up for a ring and for a trip and it would be romantic. At first I was unsure. Ever since moving to Florida I had wanted to get married on the beach. The reality of beach weddings though is that if you want them on private property they are quite expensive. If you are content getting married on a public beach there will be fat ladies in bikinis in your wedding photos. Florida has problems with red tide, the weather can be unpredictable and an expensive white dress will end up salty and dirty. I loved the idea of a beach wedding but I realized the logistics were too much for me. So after some debate I shrugged and said, "Okay, let's do it."

We managed to keep it completely secret for a few months. As time went by I felt more convinced that this was the way to go. I wasn't sure my extended family would fly down to Florida for a wedding and I sure as hell wasn't going to try to plan one from 1600 miles away. At the time he suggested it we didn't have a lot of money, I didn't have my felowship, Dean had just started his job and we were in transition. I knew my parents would help us financially with a wedding but I didn't know how much. I felt my mom out about wedding stuff and she jokingly offered me a large sum of money to elope so she wouldn't have to deal with wedding stuff. Good enough for me.

Dean's original idea was romantic. Once every few nights we'd cuddle up on the couch and talk about "the plan" mostly void of any details except running away and getting hitched. He didn't want anyone to know. He wanted to call our parents from Vegas and shock them, imagining sheer delight at acquiring instant in-laws.

I agreed- I thought this would be great. And then I got greedy. Spring was coming, we were making grown up money. I waited 6 long years for an engagement ring and I could taste it. Dean wanted to get both the engagement ring and the bands at once right before we left. I wanted it now. I pled my case. I deserved to be a fiance. What would people think if I got my ring so close to being in Vegas? Would they think I got a cheap knock-off in such a gaudy city? This wouldn't do. The money was just sitting there, taunting me. So like any good boyfriend, Dean relented and I got my ring.

I never anticipated the firestorm of questions. Did we have any plans? A date? Before graduation or after? Honestly, I didn't think anyone would care so much. I'd been in a long-term relationship and I thought people would yawn and say, "well it's about time."

We had to rethink this. We had to negotiate our plans a little so that we weren't lying to people. Our parents would need to know. After the parents could know, there was the issue of having a party or something in which case more people would have to know. We ended up in a compromise where our parents and a couple of friends knew. My mom discreetly planned a party and told people only a couple weeks in advance and most of my friends, lab mates and you guys were still in the dark , not to mention the people in the periphery of my life.

All in all we started with a plan and like most plans, things didn't go exactly the way we wanted. I joke that this is what happens when a boy plans your wedding. We reached a point where we decided to just go with it, let whatever happens happen and don't be disappointed with detours because no matter how much time, money and effort you put in it, things will never be perfect. I still love that it was Dean's idea. That we did it privately, low pressure, low cost. We spent a little extra money on my engagement ring and wedding band because I will enjoy them the rest of my life. Like I mentioned before, we have money waiting for us when we want to buy a house. We spent time with family with absolutely no stress. I'm so happy it's obscene. More later. And if you are sick of this lovey dovey crap, too bad. I'm a newlywed.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Old Friends Revisited, Part I

A theme of late on this blog is what to do about friends who simply don’t hold up their end of the relationship, drift away, or show themselves to be something different from what you believed. What do you do? Try to help? Try to mend? Try to let go? Give them time and space and hope they will find their way back? Of course all of these things are heavily dependent upon circumstance, but my readers have generally expressed their spectrum of opinions, all for which I am grateful.

I named this post “Old Friends Revisited, Part I” because I actually have two stories that fall under this heading, but I’ll save one for a little later (thus the Part I. Genius, right Scott? *wink*).

This particular post concerns a friend whose situation I first introduced recently here. Truthfully, readers, I wasn’t content with the advice any of you had for me. Again, it is based on circumstance. You all had insightful things to say but none of them felt right for me and my situation. And even writing the letter didn’t quite satisfy me the way I believed it would.

A few days before we left for Las Vegas, I heard a rumor circulating around the department that the friend in the aforementioned post had taken a job teaching high school in Vegas. This left me in an odd situation. Should I make one last ditch effort to see what the hell he was thinking? To make sure he’s alright and not bipolar? Or worse, suicidal? And at what point do I weigh the notion that Dean and I are “eloping”?

I talked it over with Dean and he (being a much more forgiving soul than I), really felt that we would regret not at least making an attempt to see our friend. And if we were ignored or rejected, we could feel confident in washing our hands of him. So I sent him a lukewarm email telling him that I heard he lived in Vegas now, and that if this is true and would like to meet with Dean and I to respond. If not, I would respect his decision and leave him alone.

I heard back almost immediately and he seemed relieved that someone was reaching out to him. He called me (from his new, undisclosed number) shortly after to make sure I had gotten his response and to set up a time and place to meet. He and his current FOM (flavor of the month, a different issue entirely) ended up picking us up from the airport and we stayed up late at the hotel bar catching up. I did get a chance to gently voice the opinion that I and the majority of my friends and co-workers have (to one extent or another). And was ultimately unsatisfied with his answers. Basically, I am thinking he himself doesn’t really have answers. He knows people are hurt and disappointed not so much in his decision to teach at the high school level despite earning his Ph.D. but at the way he left things. Of course from a professional standpoint people are disappointed in his decision, but it boils down to following your heart. There are two well-defined sides to that coin. What upset me most was a general lack of remorse. He was still flippant about blowing town, and shrugged it off with an insincere ‘sorry’. I stressed that the people he spent all his waking hours with in the lab were just as qualified to offer life advice to him as the people he actually went to. Is there such a thing as listening to too many points of view? Maybe when none of them are what you really want to hear. And what he really wanted to hear was, “Go, teach high school,” and “You’re making the right decision.” I don’t necessarily think anyone of us would have said that.

In the end I am convinced that our friend is happy for the time being, until he gets restless again. Until there is something else that floats his boat. The sharp edge of my hurt is softening into more of an indifference. He is contacting people all of a sudden, sending more personal emails (the phone number for some reason is still undisclosed) and people are thanking me for sending him the signal that it isn’t too late for him to make amends with some of us. In sum, the right opportunity presented itself. I still have not let him off the hook, but maybe I’ve helped some other people deal with the question of what to do about this wayward friend.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Go White Sox?

Even though it's against everything I've been taught as a Twins fan, I am rooting for the White Sox to win tonight. That's what September will do to you. If the White Sox AND the Twins win the Twins will be in first place in the division for the first time all season. They will have come all the way back from being 12 games out- virtually unheard of. Morneau (Baby Harmon) went 5 for 5 last night; Hunter AND Barlett went over the Green Monster. Garza had his best outing yet. All this after every reporter said the Twins were done after losing Liriano. My boys just keep finding ways to win.

*~*Sorry to anonymous blog buddy's girlfriend K who is a Red Sox fan. You guys have had you requisite World Series win for the next 86 years.*~*

Monday, September 18, 2006

Married Life Part I

I’m back! And I’m married!

Dean and I flew to Las Vegas last Friday night and were married Saturday afternoon in the Bel Amour Chapel on the strip. We enjoyed cocktails at the Wynn and then had a steak dinner at Excalibur hotel (where we stayed). We spent the weekend walking around Vegas, gambling a little, drinking a lot, seeing the hotels and enjoying our status as newlyweds.

Monday night we flew to Minneapolis to visit our families. We spent time bonding with our in-laws. It’s not like we didn’t know each other for six and a half years, but somehow things are different, more concrete, when you get married. We went to two Twins games, visited some of our old haunts at the University of Minnesota, savored the beautiful early autumn weather.

Friday evening my parents threw us a kickass wedding reception at Famous Dave’s. In attendance were my extended family and Dean’s immediate family. They rented a back room that could be closed off and had about 5 or 6 tables. There was an open tab so everyone got their fill of cocktails, wine and beer. The wait staff brought out for each table a garbage can lid full of ribs, chicken, brisket and pulled pork as well as fries, coleslaw, beans, corn and muffins. It was the best wedding dinner I’ve ever had! My stepdad designed a wedding cake for us that had a girl and a boy under a palm tree with flamingos in the background. It tasted pretty good too! We had the Twins game silently on the TV and in the main restaurant there was live blues music. Quite honestly, it was nothing like I’d imagined it would be when I was a little girl. But as a grown woman I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It was absolutely perfect. And the money my parents would have spent on a lavish traditional wedding it sitting safely for us when we buy a house. Really, how many weddings have you been to where you have fantastic barbeque and live blues music? (Pictures of all this will come eventually once my mom gets the films developed and sends me the copies.)

Saturday afternoon, Dean’s parents threw us a picnic-style party at their home with homemade pulled-pork sandwiches, calico beans, potato salad, other traditional picnic sides and a buffet of delectable desserts made by my master-baker mother in-law. I ate on and off all day and well into the evening. Dean’s extended family was there so I could see exactly what I married into as well as many neighborhood friends from their close-knit community. My parents came too and my 10 year old step sister insisted on playing poker with Dean’s 17 year old brother and his friends! Dean and she played the same hand and he helped her with strategy. I can’t wait to see the pictures.

I think I will leave it at that for now, even though I have much more to say. I’ll post more pictures when I get some. Thank you all my friends in the blogosphere for stopping by and leaving well wishes for my new husband and I.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

We Went to Vegas...

And we got married!!!

More later,


Mr. and Mrs. H

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Baseball Baseball Baseball

I apologize, dear readers, for being somewhat absent. I have been in a baseball haze where my thoughts have centered around the batting title, Cy Young award, and the pennant race. I have tried to refrain from intaking too much alcohol, and I did well until Monday when Dean and I went to the game with friends of ours from college who doubled as designated drivers.

Over the weekend we watched the Twins flounder against the Yankees. And I got violent feelings towards Derek Jeter with his smugness and his fake comaraderie with Joe Mauer, both competing for the batting title. I think since Baby Jesus has been in a serious slump, he has since relinquished the lead. But I've been too discouraged to check for sure.

Saturday Dean and I went to the Rays game to get the Dewayne Staats/Joe Magrane dual bobblehead. They are the FSN announcers for the Rays and the bobblehead has them both seated at a desk. And they talk! It's very neat but the kitties are scared of it. We ate at the posh stadium restaurant out in left field and returned to our seats just in time to see the FIRST TRIPLE PLAY EVER TURNED AT TROPICANA FIELD. It was very cool. It was only the second in Rays history and the first 2-6-2 triple play in MLB history. After half the game Dean and got bored so we wandered around the stadium. We discovered a free game room we hadn't seen before that had several couches and video game systems. While all the kids were taking turns and crowding around the PS2 and XBox systems, Dean and I had an absolute blast playing RBI baseball on an old Nintendo. We felt ancient and the the kids couldn't understand what we could possibly find amusing about the poor graphics and players they had never heard of. Oh well.

Monday the Twins started their series agauinst the Rays. It was a pitchers dual that never should have happened. Boof looked great (he had lots of fans since he is from St. Petersburg) but our offense should not have struggled against the Rays. Our two runs came from a Rondell White homer. Go figure. At least we won. Like I mentioned above, our two friends who got married last summer and moved to Orlando drove over to go to the game with us and we had a fun time reminiscing about the good old days.

Yesterday evening we returned to the stadium to watch Johan Santana pitch. He was filthy. He pitched 8 shutout innings striking out 12. He made the batters look absolutely ridiculous. We happened to sit in the middle of the Venzuelan Santana fanclub. It was fantastic. They were waving flags and going beserk when he struck anyone out. I felt sort of bad that most of the crowd was Twins fans coming out to see Santana pitch. Normally when the Twins come to St. Petersburg it is much earlier in the season and much more laid back so that Dean and I either root for the Rays our keep our emotions in check. Not so last night. We hollared and jeered when Gardy got tossed and were on our feet when Mauer finally got a double. Sorry Rays, nothing personal, just pennant race baseball.

We won't be making the hour trek to see Silva pitch tonight. I think I have to return to my career and get some reading done. Not to mention save my energy for the rest of the home stretch.

Friday, September 01, 2006

My Bad Attitude

I have a bad attitude today. Dear readers, aren't you happy I've chosen to vent to you?

Classes started this week. This time a year ago I was taking what I thought to be my last two classes. No more homework, exams, projects. All research all the time. With the NSF fellowhsip I am required to take four additional classes, two for two semesters. I've been cranky about it, but I haven't really expressed my crankiness because I know it will be received with, "Yeah, but you're making way more money than the rest of us. Suck it up." They have a point. And I should see it as "free education" since my tuition is waivered on top of it.

The classes are supposed to be not very difficult because they are mainly to promote an interdisciplanry way of thinking. I'm supposed to come out of them knowing how to speak with engineers, biologists, chemists, doctors, etc. You may be thinking, "You're all scientists, you all speak the same language, namely 'geek'!" You'd be amazed at how different dealing with these people can be. Even talking to physicists that have a different focus than I can be difficult. We are much past the age of the great physicists where you can contribute to quantum mechanics and relativity in the same lifetime.

However, the next generation of technology will have to incorporate all the natural sciences. Drug therapy researchers are turning to the nanotechnology researchers for more efficient, localized treatments and engineers are building sensors which use complimentary DNA strands to encode information. Society will reap the benefits of scientists using the best of all worlds to make better products. This sounds marvelous! But in practice it's terribly frustrating.

My first class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is called Chemical/Biological Sensors and Micofabrication. It is taught by the engineering department. I think it will ultimately be interesting if I can get over all the acronyms- MEMS, LOC, GMS*- I need a key just to keep all this straight. Plus it doesn't help that the teaching assisstant gave a lecture yesterday in wish he singled me out saying, "You're a physicist, right? Tell us what a Schottky barrier is." That simply won't do.

My class today was a nightmare. It meets Fridays, 9-12 which I'm afraid is just going to ruin all anticipation of Fridays in general. It is a class from the business department called Strategic Market Assessment for New Technologies. Cool, right? I have no f-ing clue what this means!! I sat through this course for three hours this morning and I have no more idea now than I did at 8:55 a.m. what the class is about, why I am taking it or what I'm even supposed to be doing. It is mostly business students so I was the only one not dressed in a suit (knit shirt, jeans and sandals, thank you). I thought I would look like a complete idiot raising my hand to ask, "What, exactly is strategic market assessment?" I know I'm supposed to put together by semester's end some sort of portfolio in which I assess something. I think. Most of today was spent listening to people from local businesses describe their products which I can't discuss because I had to sign a scary confidentiality agreement.

The only thing that makes these classes remotely tolerable is the fact that my grades in them won't matter. In October I will be doing my Ph.D. candidacy in which I gather together my committee and give them an oral presentation of my completed research and my proposed research for the rest of my time here. They look at that along with my Master's thesis, my grades and my publications and then sign off on whether or not I should be granted my Ph.D. under the condition I finish the research I propose. Luckily, the sheet of paper will be signed months before grades are due for this semester.

*MicroElectroMechnical Systems, Lab-On-a-Chip, Generic Microfluidic System