Tuesday, March 30, 2004

If My Lab Notebook And Journal Were Combined

Mon. 3-29 - Changed Human Brain Endothelial Cell (HBMEC) coverslips to minimal media. Handed on to Aline for PI treatment. Will stain with H2DCFDA for confocal imaging on 3-31.

Plated 24-well plate, with coverslips, of HT22 cells for Tat/Meth treatment and H2DCFDA stain.

Plated new 24-well plate (no coverslips) of HBMEC for Monica's repeat of Methamphetemine toxicity study. Will supervise treatment on 3-30.

Passed Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC). Split one flask into three.

Drove to PetSmart. Purchased new litter tray (with odor-absorbing cover), litter-catching mat, rubber tray to go under water dish, and 8lb of IAMS light hairball control formula.

Took 52-E to 805-S to 163-S to Friar's Road. Visited The Container Store to purchase plastic shoeboxes, cedar blocks for clothes storage, a large container for cat food, and a pan-lid rack for the kitchen. Also obtained an acid-free archival quality box. Box will be used to store wedding dress, which is to be picked up sometime before 4-2.

Returned home, met with building manager to establish protocol for our early vacation of premesis, and transferring apartment to two post doctoral students from London.

Dinner was made by Matt, the popular combination of Trader Joe's Marinara, Hunt's Tomato Sauce, 95% lean ground beef, and various spices, poured over al dente pasta.

Tues. 3-30 - Blocked PGP test blots for 1hr @ room temp in 5% non-fat milk solution. Washed 4 times in PBS-T. Put in primary Ab solution at the following concentrations: 1:250, 1:500, 1:1000, 1:2500. Incubated overnight in cold room.

Walked to bank, withdrew $20 for gas money.

Returned to lab to eat lunch.

Wrote rather silly and rambling blog entry, in the process of which remembering what I have left to do today...followed by publishing and getting on with the day's work.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Mole Update

The delayed closing of escrow wasn't the only thing causing me to freak out on Monday, I also had my stitches removed. I expected it to hurt a lot more than it did, based on my experience with the stitches in my scalp from last year's mole. Gah, I really hope this mole-removal thing doesn't become a springtime routine for me. Anyway, I was anticipating brief but significant pain, combined with the general freakiness of my face being messed with, plus the background worry of what the biopsy results would be.

Turns out it isn't melanoma (entire family breaths a sigh of relief), but a less malignant form of abnormality called Spitz Nevus. So it's a mixed bag, hooray for absence of melanoma, but since the cells were still abnormal, I have to have the margin excised. Which means more of my face being removed. A very melodramatic way of saying that they'll take out a slim oval surrounding the original excision site, leaving me with a line about twice as long as the one I have now.

I was not happy about this news at all. The wound on my face still looked pretty swollen at this point, and the indents left by the sutures were still very evident, all I could think of was walking around for the rest of my life with a highly visible zipper-like scar in the middle of my face. As if I don't have enough appearance issues already. My one big self reasurring point has always been that even if by body is ungainly, at least my face is ok, sometimes even more than ok, sometimes beautiful.

I have no way of knowing how much I was channeling all the surrounding tension into the issue of further surgery, probably quite a lot, but I cried most of the way home, and the only reason I didn't continue to cry much at home is that Matt calmed me down and made me feel better.

Tuesday, Mum called me in the middle of the day to say hi. It turns out Dad had called to update her when he got my email saying the mole wasn't cancerous, but they still wanted to remove the margin. It meant a lot to me that from that minimal information she knew it was worth calling to see if I was ok. She has a couple of small scars, one from a broken nose, one from thyroid surgery (on her neck), so I know she understands the worry of being marked.

Today I'm a lot less worried, the swelling has gone, and the stitch marks too, and all that's left is a red line about half an inch long. No zipper, no big pucker marks. If the result of the margin removal looks like this, only longer, I can cope. My dermatologist is clearly capable of lining up the edges properly when stitching up a hole. I'm not ecstatic about the prospect of a further piece of my cheek being removed of course, or about another week of looking after sutures followed by however long it takes to heal fully after the sutures are taken out. At least I feel fairly confident I'm not going to become an investor in copious amounts of cover-up, just a more regular sunscreen wearer.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Escrow Limbo

No luck on the obtaining of keys, we're waiting on the Veteran's Affairs appraiser, he has to go and appraise our condo before the VA will fully approve the loan. Four other units in the same development have already been approved by the VA, so we're not worried about being refused, just waiting for the wheels of that government agency to catch up with the lender and escrow company.

I spent most of Monday freaking out about all of our neatly laid plans being messed up. No moving out by the end of the month, no being moved before our anniversary, no camping trip and Handfasting site-scouting. Then I realized that it's only a week's delay and spent Tuesday morning rescheduling like a crazed secretary. Our neatly schemed move will still happen as we mapped it out, with box-moving and the arrival of the fridge through the week followed by the big stuff on Saturday, only it'll be the next Saturday. My previously arranged beauty appointment to de-stress after the move will now be a de-stress in preparation for the move. The camping trip is the only real casualty, and we'll make that up as soon as possible.

Yesterday the estimate was that the appraisal was going to happen on Friday, which means the report wouldn't be submitted till Monday or Tuesday, leading to keys being handed over exactly a week late on Tuesday or Wednesday...But he might just possibly do the inspection on Thursday. If he does, and if he submits his paperwork that day, not Friday, we could maybe have the keys this week.

We're not counting on it.

If we get the keys this weekend it will be a bonus chance to move some boxes in, we're not going to be waiting on edge to see if we can do the big move after all, we're on edge enough as it is.

So much for the keys, clicker, storage shed, fridge, new furniture and all that rot. To compensate for life's failure to deliver those wants, the fates gave me an ego boost in the form of a size 12, timeless little black dress that fits perfectly and makes me want to wear it with bare legs and strappy sandals. Not the LBD I linked to earlier, an even more classic one in linen, with no convenient web photo. You'll just have to take my word for it's fabulousness.

So instead of taking my Friday public holiday to move boxes from North Park to El Cajon, I'm taking my Friday public holiday and getting a one hour facial, followed by having my hair lowlighted brown. After a quick visit to the lab (because there is no such thing as a full day off unless you're going out of town), I shall don the timeless little black size twelve dress that fits me perfectly, put on makeup and strappy red heels, ignore the fact that I do not posses a Coach handbag and meet my sweetie for dinner to celebrate our second anniversary early and congratulate ourselves on almost being on the real estate ladder.

Poor Matt, being confronted with a new hair colour and a new dress to notice, all in one date.

Monday, March 22, 2004

There's No Place Like Home

I want the keys to our new condo.

I want the keys, my own gate clicker and a storage shed, already leased and in our posession.

I want the keys, gate clicker, storage shed, us to be moved in, the fridge to be already delivered and installed (and full), a lazy susan installed in the corner cabinet of the kitchen, a dark hardwood bar/display cabinet for the dining area, a big chunky coffee table and an air filter to capture the flying cat fur.

I want the keys, gate clicker, storage, fridge, lazy susan, new furniture, air filter, a timeless little black dress[>] that fits me perfectly, a coach purse[>] with the little daisy tag on it, a pair of heels [>] I will love forever, and a dinner date with my sweetie on which to wear aforementioned dress and shoes, carry said purse, and spend an evening being grownups celebrating two years together.

But I'd settle for the keys to our new condo.

Friday, March 19, 2004

There is an additional factor to me being in organizational overdrive, complete with the usual accompanying feelings of sleep deprivation and overcaffienation. This additional factor is sorting out someone to take over our current lease. I have agreement from a pair of post-docs from London that they will take the apartment starting the first week in April, but I also know they haven't bought their tickets from the UK yet, and probably won't arrive until the middle of April.

So now it's a question of them faxing me signed leases, and wiring me the 1st month's rent and security deposit. If they don't take over the apartment, we're responsible for rent until someone else rents it. That's $1100 a month extra that we just don't have. I don't think it will fall through, but it's something very serious that I'll feel a lot better about once it's signed, sealed and delivered.

The escrow paperwork is signed, sealed and delivered. However, there is now a problem with the mortgage paperwork. They got some of the assets and liabilities listed in the wrong columns, and since Matt not only has to sign the list, but a paper swearing all financial information to be complete and correct...He couldn't sign everything. This stuff needs to be completed and handed in either to the bank, or the escrow company, in time for them to complete all the processing by the close of business on Monday. Of course, if it isn't complete by then it's only a delay, not a disaster, but if there's too much of a delay, I won't be able to get the fridge delivered on Thursday, and we'll be fridgeless until the next Thursday.

In short, there are far too many things up in the air, many of them entangled in lovely complex little cascades of cause and effect with each other.

No wonder I'm having trouble getting to sleep.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

It Never Rains But It Pours

The past three days have been rather eventful. On Monday I had a mole removed from my face, temporarily replaced with a charming pair of sutures, and hopefully in the long term only replaced with a faint scar. Tuesday, I had an appointment lined up for a facial, to treat myself before the move...In light of Monday's minor surgery I changed the facial to having my eyebrows shaped. Matt preferred them before. I'm still undecided.

This morning I had my annual eye exam, complete with the scary eyedrops that make everyone look like a dope fiend for the rest of the day by dilating the pupils. The eye doctor was impressed by how healed-looking my stitches look after only 48 hours. I hope this bodes well for minimal scarring.

I'm thinking of getting my hair dyed brown. No particular reason other than I think it would look nice.

Added into the mix is the fact that to close escrow on Tuesday next week, we actually need to have all of the paperwork signed and at the escrow office next Monday, or to be really sure, this Friday. Day after tomorrow in other words. We only got the forms from the mortgage company this morning, and some of the escrow paperwork remains to be deciphered. Even if Matt signs them all and they're mailed tomorrow, we're cutting it a bit close. This will probably mean me acting as courier, rather than trusting the local mail service to deliver it all in a day. The realities of "we're buying a condo" and "we're moving in less than a week" still have not sunk in enough for it to be exciting. I think I'm more in organizing mode, and I'll be excited once we're unpacking. Or maybe I'll be excited when I'm waiting, in our new condo, for the fridge to be delivered. Fridge ownership is an easier concept to grasp than home ownership it seems.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I haven't babbled about the kitties much recently, they're still ridiculously cute, and getting more friendly too. Marble now seeks out lap time, complete with purring and kneeding of the paws, though she only gets snuggly in the bedroom or study, in the living room she sits off to one side and stares at us. This morning she was under the covers down by my feet, and I was petting her with my toes, mostly on her tummy. Every other cat I've owned would have responded to this by fighting with my feet, both because of tummy contact and the whole feisty under-the blankets thing. Marble stretched and started to purr, then used my ankle as a pillow. She also does this adorable flirty thing where she'll reach her tufty little paws up onto the arm of the futon or comfy chair while looking at you, and then squeak a little comedy meow for emphasis.

Talli has developed an addiction to greek yoghurt, so have Matt and I, but we don't end up with a face covered in yoghurt after cleaning out a bowl. We should probably train him to use a spoon, but it's far too amusing to see him with yoghurt all over his eyebrows. He's also an utter love bug, just like his sister. He's not the only cat I've known who likes to be carried about so that he can get a good view of the world without exerting himself, but he is the only cat I've known who actively likes to be hugged. If he's sitting in my lap he won't settle down until he has an arm draped accross him. He'll keep trampling in a circle and leaning up against my stomach until I give him a hug and leave my arm wrapped around him. He's got me well trained. He's also trained Matt to pick him up and carry him about the apartment tucked under one arm.

Yes I did say he's trained Matt. Cats are good at that sort of thing.

I'm looking forward to see what zooming pattern they adopt in our condo, they won't have such a long hallway to bound along, but they will have full carpet for better traction. They were getting pretty good at leaping from rug to rug to avoid the hardwood floor scrabbling, or launching themselves off the sides of walls and furniture when there wasn't a rug nearby.

Now I must stop extolling the virtues of the fabulous furballs and go learn a new fluorescent staining protocol.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Yesterday we met at Costco and ordered a refrigerator. I used the massive $7 cash back rebate from my Amex card to chip a tiny bit off the price, the free shipping rebate will help too. When it arrives after it's "4-6 week" journey through rebate limbo.

And Now For Something Completely Different

"I imagine insanity tastes like lemon drops."

"Lemon drops with chilli sauce: that's more insane."

"Different types of insanity would taste different, for some reason I want to say that my ex's brain would be more like rancid guacamole. Largely because of the wierd grey colour avocados go when they go bad."

"My brain is like watermelon: tasty, yet mainly made of water. And you have to spit the seeds out."

What does your brain taste like?

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Now we have (finally) got the mortgage details from the lender, the condo thing is starting to feel a lot more real. I've thought of beginning the process of notifying the phone company, credit cards, bank etc. about the address change, as well as ordering a refrigerator in time to have it delivered in that first week...But without anything solid from the lender it felt that taking those steps would be premature.

Perhaps now I will finally start filling some of the boxes I've taken home for the move, and go down to the Core Facility to beg some more conveniently sized ones. I've found that the standard 18" cube of the Invitrogen boxes are perfect for hauling books and other worldly possessions. Nobody watching us move could be in any doubt that at least one person in our household works in a lab. Fortunately not too many of our boxes have biohazard symbols on them to frighten the general populous with.

Monday, March 01, 2004

We are in escrow!

Well, technically, Matt is in escrow, and I'm standing next to him holding on to the paperwork. We were told that we could close escrow as soon as March 18th, but are going to ask for a week after that. At this point the exact closing date only depends on when the lender can get us funded. Considering she still hasn't sent Matt the details of the two loans he gets to choose between...I have some doubt that we're really going to know the closing date until it actually happens.

Either way, it's time to start hoarding delivery boxes from work and packing up the things we don't need on a daily basis. Because it's going to be in the next month that we get the keys and start moving. This will really and truly be the last move for years. That way we'll return our average to one move a year or less, not four in one 12-month period.
I'm looking forward to having a bit more room. A place to have my sewing machine set up and my few craft supplies somewhat organized, not just part of the heap of boxes of things we have nowhere to store properly. Having counter space in the kitchen again, a coffee table in the living room and a real dining area for our personalized table and chairs. Two closets plus a linen cupboard, a dishwasher, space for a second dresser in the bedroom. A dresser of my own and being able to get out of the bed on my side will make it feel like a palatal bedroom. No more trampling poor Matt on my way to the bathroom.

The study will no longer contain the dining room table acting as a desk, and the bedside cabinets acting as printer stand and office-supply holders. Cooking will no longer require having an assistant to stand and hold things for me because there's nowhere to put them down momentarily while I stir!

However, I will miss waking up and seeing the dark wooden beams of the ceiling. I will miss coming home and looking up and knowing that the shack-like structure on top of that building is our little cottage apartment, secluded by it's height, with a view from the eastern mountains all the way around to the sunset. I doubt we'll ever live in a place with a 360 degree view again, though we may well have an equally nice outdoor space as the deck.

It's hard to say why we love this teeny apartment so much, in describing it it sounds poky and inconveniently crowded once all of our crap is in there. I suppose it's one of those place that you just have to see to understand it. Something about the combination of wooden floors and ceilings, the warm beige on the walls, the one corner of the hallway that's been painted burnt orange, the runner on the stairs with little llamas and northwestern doo-dads on it. The unused and unusable private elevator adds a touch of mystery, though I never let myself think too hard about my sister's conclusion that it must be haunted.

It's warm and welcoming, people have been happy there and the walls reflect that. It's the first place Matt and I felt homey in, our first apartment together was plagued by an alley full of screaming brats and even more screaming rap music, it never felt like a sanctuary. I hope the new place will be peaceful enough to feel like a sanctuary, being able to paint the walls will make it easier to personalize, we just have to hope for a minimum of the screaming brat/obnoxious rap music.