How is it Friday already??? 

This has been one of those weeks that I just couldn't wait to get through, but at the same time, went waaaaaaaay to fast given the amount of work I was hoping to get done. Ugh.

Can we also just pause and wonder what the HELL happened to September, too???  Siiiigh....

There isn't really anything exciting to report - just working like crazy!  I'm aiming to submit a paper by the end of the month so that has been a priority for sure.  But so has getting some experiments up and running.  The membrane modeling work is also a priority.  Basically everything is a priority... which makes it all incredibly overwhelming.

But!  Win for the day: I successfully built a roxithromycin molecule in MOE - correct chiralities and everything!!!
Picture
Roxithromycin molecule (made using MOE)
...what do you mean you don't understand why that's exciting?

Ok, back to work!!  Just a few more hours and then I can celebrate this beautiful, autumn weather by snuggling up with a movie and some knitting! :)
 
 
Well... it's been over a year since I posted last - I'm the worst.  Needless to say, things got a little crazy and out of control.  A LOT happened...

So, maybe I'll just try and sum it up with some quick bullet points and snapshots...
  • I discovered a new love for West Coast Swing - JP, Katie, and I went up to Vermont last September on a whim for the social dance at the 2013 Vermont Swing Championships.  We were completely wow'd, a little over whelmed, but overall had an AMAZING time.
  • I continued horseback riding for the Fall semester - even broke out Mom's old saddle! :)  (The Spring got a little too crazy though, so I took a break until after the semester ended...)

  • Krista came to visit in October and we had a girls weekend while the boys went off for James' bachelor party.  We took Lucas apple and pumpkin picking!
  • Ballroom had a full-fledged Halloween costume party! 
  • I presented a poster at the AVS conference in Long Beach, California in October.  I ended up being able to fly out there a few days early and spend some time with Aunt Carol and Uncle John - it was great to visit them and to have them come out to the conference with me! :)
  • The family at Thanksgiving!
  • Also in November, we had a Bachelorette party for Adrienne - we had a great time playing Bachelorette Bingo!
  • Here are some quick pictures of JP and Lucas playing some video games together - because cute.
  • And then, of course, James and Adrienne's wedding! :)
  • Christmas was great - Dad got me a couple of snowball guns that we couldn't wait to try out!  And I made beard hats for the boys! :)
  • For New Year's, I drove to Cleveland to visit Krista!!!!  We got SO much snow while I was there!  But we had a great time - we went to the botanical gardens, the art museum, a little shopping, some snowy walks, and a lot of time snuggling up with knitting and some Downton Abbey.
  • Matt and I hadn't really been able to dance together much this year - we competed at Tufts in December and that was pretty much it, unfortunately.  (And lets not even talk about the fact that I danced even though I had pink eye, a fever, and just generally felt pretty miserable... hence the decision to only do Smooth...)  But I DID go to Columbia's competition with the rest of the team and TBA'd with Steve - we had a blast!  And did really well in Rhythm! :)  (And thank you to Eric for the great photos!!)
  • But Matt and I FINALLY were able to dance at the RPI competition!  JP and I danced a 3-person Cha Cha with Rozalyn - toooooooo cute.  And I was able to wear a bunch of new dresses!  I'm completely in love with the green one.  

              (All of these photos are thanks to Jay Zhang, Chris Shake, or Eric Lam!)
Picture
My absolute favorite... THANK YOU JAY!!!! <3
  • I suppose the next big milestone was USA Dance Nationals!  It was really overwhelming but Matt and I danced our hearts out and did pretty well for our first time out there. :)  We got 7th in the Adult Champion Nine Dance!  We also danced the Adult Pre-Champion and Champion Rhythm and Smooth events (I honestly don't remember what we got in any of those four... haha I told you - I'm the worst...)
  • So I suppose there is one MAJOR detail I have neglected to include, thus far... Sometime in February, I decided to audition for the musical.  Crazy right?!  The show was Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - if anyone was going to be Marilyn, I just knew it had to be me.  PLUS Jen was going to be the choreographer - how fun!!  So I went to the auditions, nervously forced my way though a song (When You're Good to Mama, from Chicago - obvi.), read my monologue, and then rocked the little piece of choreography for the dance audition.  I found myself with a callback for Lorelei, Dorothy, and Gloria - crazy!!  Long story short, I found myself as Lorelei... :)  Nothing says "stressful" like having your very first theater experience be the leading character...  But I more than survived - and while I had a few jitters opening night, by the end of the third scene I was completely comfortable and loving performing!  All in all, amazing.  I would pretty much do anything to put on that blonde wig and belt out Diamonds one more time!!!
  • JP did the trifecta for his birthday - QUITE an afternoon/evening/night! 
  • At the end of May, JP and I headed up for a long weekend in Montreal to go to the Canadian Swing Championships.  The whole thing was SUPER fun - it was mostly Lindy Hop (and also Blues, Rockabilly Jive, and Balboa) but there was some West Coast, too!  We got to watch some amazing dancing and were bummed that we didn't plan on staying for the full competition weekend.  We ended up going into Montreal for the second half of the weekend (dancing was actually in Sherbrooke) and then JP stayed for the American Helicopter Society conference for the rest of the week with his lab group, while I went home early.  This was definitely the spark of West Coast fever. :)
  • I PASSED MY CANDIDACY EXAM!!!!! Thank God.
  • JP, Katie, Susan, Steve, Emily, and I all met up in NJ for the Liberty Swing weekend at the end of June - amazing.  SO many workshops and SO much dancing!!!  Amazing - I can't wait for next year!
Picture
(Photo from Steve's camera)
  • I also used this summer to unleash a little bit more of my creative side - with painting!!  Definitely something new for me, but I'm loving it.  Don't get too excited - I've only done three Painting at the Pub nights, but Kristen makes the whole thing really easy-going and it's super relaxing!  I can't wait for the next one! :)   June was "Fireflies in the Moonlight," July was "Aloha Summer," and August was "Under the Sea" - which Mom even came out and did with me!
  • Another cuteness interlude - Lucas just HAD to help JP with his guitar.  #adorable.
  • Mom, Dad, and I took a mini-vacation in mid-August to go up to Lake Placid for the weekend.  It was perfect - although I forgot how chilly August actually is up there!  (Our first stop was to the Gap outlet to stock up on cute sweaters and scarves).  We also went for a trail ride at the Olympic cross-country facility and had a nice time exploring Mirror Lake and the downtown area!  Overall, very relaxing.
I ended my summer with a trip down to Maryland for Labor Day weekend - I went to visit JP, who has an internship down there for the Fall semester.  I didn't take many pictures, but I was able to get a few from our trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore!  We also went out West Coast Swing dancing Friday and Monday nights, had crab cakes in Annapolis Saturday night, and then had a pretty relaxing day on Sunday (grocery shopping, brunch, some pool time, went to the movies to see Guardians of the Galaxy, experimented with pumpkin tomato sauce and tortellini for dinner...).  All in all, a pretty great weekend :)
Whew!  I think that just about sums it up?  Maybe I'll be able to stay more on top of this from now on... Or maybe not...  I'll certainly try though!!!

 
 
Seriously??  How did we get to this already??

It's hard to believe that the summer is over already, the campus is full of undergrads again, and the calendar is already packed...  

It's a little overwhelming sometimes to think about this as being my ninth year at RPI, but it's also kind of rewarding to look back at all of the experiences and everything i've done!  

And the major upside?  THIS IS THE LAST YEAR!

Probably.... Hopefully?
Picture
(http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?n=1555)
Ok, well... the PLAN is for it to be the last year!  And I'm going to do whatever possible to stick to it!  As wonderful as it has all been, I'm definitely ready for the next chapter and the next round of adventures...

So the game plan from here?  Work like CRAZY (while still maintaining dance and horseback riding to prevent burn-out).
Picture
(http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1611)
And then I will still be TA-ing again (Strength of Materials, of course!  Fifth semester in a row, woot!) so I'm sure that will keep me pretty busy, too. 

Although, with the first day of classes under our belt, I'm already dreading this scene:
Picture
(http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1598)
And I still can't believe my summer is over already!!!! I wasn't done with it yet!  

I actually do have a few posts I need to get up though... A few craft projects that need to be documented and a few stories that could probably use telling.  But I must confess - I spent 5 days in Cape Cod (WOOO!!!) and ended up not taking a single photo (ugh.....)  Please don't hate me?  I'm kicking myself enough already!  
Ok, back to work.  More to come soon!  (As soon as possible, anyway!)  
 
 
(Actually written on November 11, 2013. In true grad student style, my life got away from me and I am VERY behind in writing this...)
I can hardly believe my little Rozalyn is three already!! She's getting to be such a big girl... :)

Her birthday gifts have turned into one of my favorite annual crafting adventures, for sure.  This year?  I think I might have just outdone myself.   (A.k.a.?  What the HECK am I going to do next year????)

With a little inspiration from my own childhood, I decided what this girl needed most was a good fort!  Something that will last her for years and can supplement hours and hours of make-believe.  

I knew I wanted it to be sturdy and easy to take down and set up again - that way it could be used outside, inside, brought to Mimi's (Grandma's), etc.  I settled on PVC and canvas and after a little Google search, I came up with this for inspiration!  (In general, I used her instructions really more as just guidelines and kind of made it all up as I went along... perhaps I will have to come up with my own tutorial at some point...)

Ryan was in town the weekend I was set to make it so the two of us made a trip to Lowe's and then set into putting the pieces together!  

Long story short?  The final product:
Yeahhhhhh.... I'm pretty much in love with it... :) 

JP, Luc, Ryan, and I also tested it out briefly.  (For those who were wondering - four adults can comfortably watch TV from it.)  I wanted to cover the entire thing in polka-dots but the boys convinced me that she would have fun making "cave paintings" on the walls so I settled for leaving them blank - who doesn't love a little fingerpaint??

And, as you can see, it breaks down to be a nice little bundle!
Rozalyn's teepee was a HUGE hit with everyone at the party, too!  I managed to get a few pictures of her and I playing in it.  :)  (Someone gave her a doctor's kit so she was very excited to give me a check-up in her new "office".)


P.S. Rozalyn also had a clown at her birthday party.  Daisy had some interesting new "magic words" for us - including, "hocus pocus, chicken bones choke us" - ummmm... boy, have things changed since I was a kid!
 
 
Picture
(From: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1597)
Well.... time to start writing I suppose! 
 
 
I don't know if it's because it's summertime, or if it's all this rain, if I'm just tired and overwhelmed... All I know is, I'm suffering from severe lack of motivation :(

While I'm procrastinating for one more night, I thought I might share one of my favorite Ph.D.-related antics...

(The following images/text is all taken from: http://matt.might.net/articles/phd-school-in-pictures/)

The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D...

Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:
By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little:
By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more:
With a bachelor's degree, you gain a specialty:
A master's degree deepens that specialty:
Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:
Once you're at the boundary, you focus:
You push at the boundary for a few years:
Until one day, the boundary gives way:
And, that dent you've made is called a Ph.D.:
Of course, the world looks different to you now:
So, don't forget the bigger picture:
Keep pushing.

Pretty good, eh?  I'm not sure if it's encouraging or discouraging, to be honest... Probably a little of both?  It's a little discouraging to know that there's a pretty good chance I won't make a giant impact on the overall knowledge of the human race.  But at the same time, it will be just as big for anyone else looking at it from my perspective - in my field and specialty.  And if the Mouse and the Lion (you know... the one who pulled the thorn from his paw) taught us anything, it's that something very small can actually have a huge impact on the chain of events that follow.  So that's a little encouraging, after all!  Not to mention, it's nice to know that no matter what, I can't let my Ph.D. be my entire world - there is so much more beyond that, too.

Um... I mean... NO WAY Dr. Advisors and Funding Agencies!!! RESEARCH IS LIFE!!!!!

(Whew... that was a close one.... ok, back to work....)
 
 
There's nothing like a new pair of rain boots to add something bright and cheery to another rainy summer day! :)
 
 
This past weekend was graduation weekend!  Not for me... but for Krista and a bunch of other friends!  So still exciting... :)

it was cold an rainy (like the whole rest of the week, am I right??) and so graduation was moved inside.  The last time this is the first indoor RPI graduation since Mom's infamous 2002 oops-it-snowed-3-inches graduation!  Katie and I ended up finding Kaleigh and watching the ceremony via video screen in the ECAV gym.  

BUT!  Before that, we snapped a few photos of the girls while they were waiting outside under the tents:
Picture
Krista and I
Picture
Sunny, Katie, Krista, Alyssa, Emily, Meredith, Qin, and Sidney!
Picture
Iota Photo! (Krista, Alyssa, Emily, and Tiffany)
Picture
Katie and Krista
Picture
Me with Krista and Alyssa!
Picture
Sunny, Kenzie, Krista, Alyssa, Qin, and Tiffany
Picture
Katie, Kenzie, Alyssa, and Candy!
Picture
Candy and I
Picture
Katie and I
I couldn't get my camera ready fast enough but luckily Katie was!  She snapped this photo Krista getting her diplomas! Well... a photo of the screen portraying the video... same difference!! 
Congratulations again to all of the wonderful graduates!!! xoxo
 
 
On Tuesday we had a little group get together and head up to Circle B Ranch in the Adirondacks for a trail ride!

It was a bunch of fun!! (Complete with an post-ride ice cream stop, of course...)  :)
Picture
(Photo from Susan's camera!)
So the back row is JP, Trick, Tyler, Katie, Shannon, Luc, and Steve, and then the four girls in the front would be me, Krista, Susan, and Yaroslava! 

Best part of the day?  My horse was named Forest!  (He's in the one in the middle...)  When I take lessons back at school (well... technically East Greenbush) I also ride a horse named Forest!  Crazy... My Forest is white with gray spots though... this Forest had honey highlights in his brown maine...)
 
 
The Friday before Mother's Day, Luc and I decided to take a mini-adventure into Albany to check out the tulips in Washington Park!  (We ended up going before the official kick-off of the Tulip Festival, but with the looming crowds and possibility of rain the next day?  Playing hooky on a Friday afternoon seemed like a better plan...) :)

We took a bunch of photos of the tulips, made it rain pink petals from some of the flowering trees (um FUN!) and then decided to continue our wandering down at the Plaza.  We checked out the reflecting pool, peeked in the windows of the museum, and then walked the entire length of the Convention Center Concourse!  (And almost had to walk it again when we couldn't figure out how to get back to the ground level... but luckily we found and elevator that spit us out in the Egg!  Even if it was a creepy elevator...) 

Anyways!

Here are some photos :)