Four Years Ago Today…

On this day four years ago, a childhood classmate and I decided to catch up.

We went to Pho (my favorite meal, btw) then proceeded to play a couple rounds of putt-putt golf which I completely dominated. While driving to the course, I said, “This is what you have to deal with as one of my friends” which apparently was not the right thing to say (little did I know we weren’t just hanging out).

The evening ended with me sitting in front of his computer listening to the “music” of MC Frontalot. He’s not bad per se, but it’s nothing I would ever listen to on my free will. But he did grab my hand and peck me goodnight.

3.75 years ago, I started calling him boyfriend.

Two years ago, we closed the gap after being long distance for two years.

And today is our 4 year anniversary.

 

To James,

This past year was probably the hardest year thus far. We faced loss, frustration, and sleepless nights. In spite of everything, you’ve managed to keep straight A’s in your classes and work two jobs while still finding time to relax with me.

And on top of that, you’re there to listen to me rant about my day or lend a ear so I can practice for big presentations. You’re there to take care of the cats when I work late and when I’m not feeling well. Basically, when I’m down and out you’re up at ’em.

As Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Thank you for making me a better person and challenging me to grow. As we’re approaching the final stretch of our student lives, I’m so excited to see what we’re going to accomplish in the future.

I love you to the moon and back. Cheers to heading toward our 5 year anniversary. 🙂

-Sabrina

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I know this photo is almost two years old, but it’s still one of my favorites.

 

 

 

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2-0-1-8 is Gonna Be Grrrreat

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope that the Holidays were relaxing and enjoyable. I myself did not escape the cold. It was cold, but at least the sun was out to give the illusion of warmth.

This year my Mom gave me Costco gift cards for Christmas and last week James and I went to Costco for the first time in awhile (I haven’t been to Costco for two years until now) and let me tell you, Costco is a wonderland. We were both wide-eyed and amazed constantly showing things to one another that we wanted to buy as we went through the store. Almost every time something got put in the cart one of us would comment, “we’re gonna be good on [insert item here] for a while now” or “there’s so many in here!” or “what a good deal!” And that’s when I realized how easy it is to spend $100 at Costco, but it was worth it.

I also learned that it’s really easy to spend $100 on Amazon too. lol Again, totally worth it when I bought icing tips (for baking), makeup, and skin care while James upgraded a few parts of his computer.

I guess the bummer of the holiday this year was that I really wanted was an essential oil diffuser, but found out it’s unsafe for cats, so I got yet another bath and body works candle. Just out of curiosity, does anyone actually buy lotions/body wash/bath goos from that place anymore? Because the only thing I’ve bought from there for the past four years are candles. They should call themselves “candles r us”.

Looking back, I didn’t make resolutions for 2017. This was probably because I caught a cold on New Year’s Eve and couldn’t be bothered to think of anything. But this year I’m healthy and whole so here are my goals for the year:

  1. Read for pleasure before going to bed. Even if I’m really tired and I only get a paragraph before falling asleep. The whole, “I don’t have time to read for fun anymore” isn’t an excuse anymore.
  2. Reconnect with people. I admit, last year I hermit-ted in lab that I lost touch with some people that I used to be really close to. I want to reach out to those people again because they’re important to who I am now.

Now that I’ve announced it, I’m counting on y’all to hold me accountable this year! 🙂

See you soon!

-Sabrina

 

 

 

 

 

 

How is it almost November?

“Time will pass, will you?”

In an effort to get myself out of the mental valley I’m currently in, I decided to write a little. It seemed like the better option when compared to 1) staring at the ink marks on my pinky from writing with a pen that exploded or 2) staring at the blisters I got from sticking my hand in the -80C freezer repeatedly without a second barrier.

Frankly, the last couple of months are sorta blurred in my memory. Without going into too much detail, it’s been rough two months for a lot of people around here. There have been times where I literally couldn’t do anything (as opposed to feeling like not doing anything) because I couldn’t focus. For example, doing cell culture at most takes me a couple hours normally, but in the time frame I’m talking about it was taking me twice as long because I would just catch myself just staring into oblivion.

I do remember one day in August where I went to my advisor in the early afternoon asking to be excused for the rest of the day because I couldn’t focus anymore. On any normal day that explanation warrants a, “Quit being lazy and get back to work!” response. But instead I got a, “take care of yourself” and was allowed to go home. So yeah…it was that bad.

Course not being 100% hasn’t gone without any consequences. My work is backed up about two months which strongly correlates with the two months of semi-in-capacitance. I would say r^2 = 0.79 (close, but not quite directly correlated).

Do you ever have that feeling where you know you have so much to do that you’re struggling just getting started? That’s me right now.

Another thing I’ve learned being in grad school is the work distribution can rapidly fluctuate. There are days where I’m so busy that I just crash when I get home and then there are days where I sit at my desk and day dream about being home. lol. I try to be the most efficient with my time at work by planning. However, something will always come up. But you gotta at least try to plan ahead.

Otherwise, things are pretty chill here. That and the weather is cooler here too. hehehe I’m sorry I couldn’t help myself with the lame joke. I read the extended forecast and saw snow in it. Frankly, I was like “NOOOOOOOO! Not yet! Stay away.” I mean I’m still recovering from last winter which was unusually brutal (according to the natives here).

Below is a picture of me on top of Mt. Spokane (the last hike of summer).  Unfortunately, the state of Washington was on fire at the time so you really can’t see much of the scenery (but I did find Huckleberries.) 😀 So I did do something these last few months productive even if it may not feel like it.

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Speaking of productivity, I know I really should be doing other things besides this right now, so I’ll leave ya here. I’ll write a little more next post….when I’m in San Diego again!

-Sabrina

 

Summer Update

Well long time no see. Goodness it seems like one moment it was May and I was getting excited for summer. Then I blinked and now August is approaching. Guess I should inform y’all of what I’ve been up to these past few months.

First of all, I’ve got a bit of a bronze moment going on because I actually went outside this summer for more than a few minutes. I bought a Discover pass when I renewed my plate tabs. Essentially a Discover pass is like a season pass for the state parks here in WA. So if the pass costs me $30 and the regular entrance fee (without pass) is $10, that means I have to go to at least 3 parks to pay off the pass. I’m pleased to announce I have gone to 2 parks as of the end of July–I only need one more before May 2018 before I feel less guilty about my purchase.

The first one I went to was Little Spokane River. To me it seems like that area is great for kayakers/canoes and perhaps not the best for hikers. For one, half the trail is by the river with wonderful scenery and views, but then the other half is in this un-shaded no man’s land with nothing other than dirt and bugs. Would not recommend for hiking.

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Completed 50% of the Little Spokane River loop

Then I went to Riverside State Park and that one was spectacular! Although the hike was not very long (2 mi loop), there are many offshoots to go off and look around. Not to mention the rollin’ river was b-e-au-tiful. 5/5 would recommend, but if being around a ton of families is not your thing then perhaps not.

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Hanging out on the river side (hehe, get it? I’m at Riverside state park)

Course summer would not be “complete” without a trip to Couer d’ Alene. Fun fact: the first time I swam in a lake was three years ago in Couer d’ Alene. The first time I swam there I said, “Look at me! I’m actually in a lake!” So naturally I announce that, “I’m in the lake” every time from then on. On my most recent visit James and I split a gooey which is essentially one big ice cream sundae. I proceeded to get a sugar rush and crash a couple hours later.

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Before the sugar rush.

And finally I got to see the fam-bam in June as “bonus” visit (usually I make it back once/year) but alas I was in CO once more to celebrate my cuzzo’s wedding (if you’re reading this, congratulations again). Although it was a short visit (3 days), it was still really nice to see everyone again. I even saw some family that I haven’t seen in years, and it turns out I’m the only one whose out of state. I still get those a proud moments when I realize I’m a lone ranger because it took some nerve to leave my comfort zone and it’s nice to be reminded of my bravery every once in awhile.

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Reception at the Boulder Museum of Modern Art. My outfit matches the paintings. 😀

In regards to work, well I can see the light now, but I’m not at the end of the tunnel yet…if that analogy makes sense. There are still a couple experimental problems I need to sort through and there are no set dates, but now I have to think about life after graduation (gasp).

A simple chart of my education thus far:

elementary school ⇒ middle school ⇒ high school diploma ⇒ BAs (at CU) ⇒ PhD (at WSU).

Where “⇒” indicates “straight to.”

The main conclusion from my chart is that I didn’t take any breaks from school since elementary school. Think about it. I have been a student for a majority of my life. #datstudentlyfetho

Sooner than later, I will not be a student anymore. I will have to…

ENTER THE REAL WORLD!

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Remember this show? It was terrible.

I mean, besides lifeguarding I worked in lab doing research. For the last few years, I’ve been able to set my own schedule which includes coming and going as I please so long as the work gets finished. Sooner or later I will be held more accountable for my whereabouts.

So what’s next you may ask? Either become a grant-writing-stone-hearted principal investigator who lurks over their staff and quietly asks them, “what are you doing?”, or the professor that looks like they could be your classmate until they get to the podium and hands out a pop quiz. lol.

Frankly, I’m still not sure because I think I could excel either way (except I will need to work on the mental toughness because I haven’t handled rejection very well in the past). But I do know that I can’t confide in school anymore to delay my entry into the real world. lol.

I think that’s it for my summer report. I hope you guys are having a wonderful summer. As for me, I need a real vacation here soon! So please send an escape squad to the 4th floor of the Pharmaceutical building at WSU Spokane to bust me outta here. Thank you. ^_^

-Sabrina

 

Aren’t ya forgetin’ somthin’?

No, I haven’t lost my purse or my keys. In fact, I’ve never lost my purse or keys.

But I am guilty of being forgetful.

Last year I forgot my Mom’s birthday. This year I was dangerously close to forgetting my Dad’s birthday. If it wasn’t for my Mom giving me a heads up I would have forgotten about it completely.

The only date I didn’t miss is my sister’s birthday. I think it’s because she mentioned it several times leading up to it. But that’s the thing right? As kids, birthdays are pretty big deals. But as adults, sometimes we can dismiss our birthdays as being just another day, so we don’t mention it.

I feel awful. For one, these are people that I REALLY care about. And two, I love giving gifts! I’m like Lesile Knope in that I love giving well-thought personal gifts, and it can get out of hand and over the top sometimes. I get excited watching the recipient open my gift. It gives me great joy. But I can’t be happy if I don’t give any gifts because I forgot! 😦

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Honestly, I’m not this forgetful on important dates in my life. I think I just got swept up in studying that everything kinda took a backseat to it.

So as of now, I programmed every important day into my work calendar, and I’ve set a notification to go off a week before the event., and it doesn’t delete off my calendar once completed so it should be there forever. Let’s see how this will work…

Anyways,25

I turned 25 on Thursday. Now I can rent a car without that pesky minor tax! Woohoo!

To celebrate, I made a honey cake with citrus frosting. It took me waaaay longer to make than I anticipated but it was FANTASTIC! Every component worked so well with each other. Honestly, I’m pretty impressed with myself. lol.

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Honey cake with butter citrus frosting topped with candied oranges made by me.

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I’m so happy you guys are a part of my life.

Until next time, stay classy and sassy.

-Sabrina

Weekends

In the three years as a PhD student, I’ve learned to cherish the weekend.

I mean, as a undergrad I had so much stuff going on because of all the classes I was taking that I granted myself only Friday and Sunday nights as time off.

Now I’m like, “if I can manage not to go into lab this weekend, I will work as late as need be.” (But I’m not opposed to going in for a hour or so if needed.)

Why do I have this mentality? Because being a PhD student is a whirlwind experience that no one warned me about (what’s up with that, man?)

In a matter of hours, I go from :f52b1f7205a680513f0c907fd7f4a675

to being:

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 where everything is not awesome.

The only trigger I have identified linked to my mood swings are my experiments.

When my experiments succeed, I’m on top of the world and when they fail it feels like my experiment hit the back of my knees and I land on the floor dumbfounded.

Could it be that I care a little too much? Possibly. Is it the weekly progress reports that makes everyone feel the need to produce usable data all the time? Again, it’s a possibility.

However, I know that carrying around those lingering responsibilities around all the time doesn’t do me any good.

And so, my weekends are spent:

  • Waking up at 9
  • Going to the gym
  • Cleaning the bathroom
  • Doing all the laundry
  • Grooming the cats
  • Watching Netflix
  • and doing a little baking.

And so I can have a productive week at work knowing my apartment is in the state I want it to be when I return home, dog-tired, either happy with the day or saddened by my experiment.

So that’s how I spend my weekends and I’m not ashamed by it.

I hope you guys enjoy your weekend whatever that may entail. 🙂

Catch cha on the flip side.

-Sabrina

p.s. Another mood swing trigger is when I check my March Madness bracket. So far I lost the entire East bracket, but my West bracket is still enact. GO ZAGS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Feeling It

Spongebob Squarepants is one of my favorite cartoons ever. I like to make references to it on a regular basis. One of my favorite episodes is when Mr. Krabs goes through a mid-life crisis. He decides to hang out with Spongebob and Patrick thinking that’ll make him feel youthful again.

Mr. Krabs mentions that he’s not, “feeling it” and so Spongebob and Patrick try to help him. They end up doing a ton of activities that Spongebob and Patrick find fun and ask Mr. Krabs if it’s making him feel any younger.

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I like asking people, “are you feeling it now, Mr. Krabs?” or simply “are you feeling it Mr. Krabs?” because I find it funny.  And if you ask me if I’m feeling it, I respond with, “I am/not feeling it, Mr. Krabs”

Frankly speaking I was not feeling it this week, Mr. Krabs.

Signs that I’m not feeling it:

  • Hard to get out of bed.
  • A lot of internal sighing.
  • Bothered by people.
  • And just generally kind of angry.

I could tell I wasn’t feeling it at work by how often I visited my collection of funny/cute animal pictures stored on my computer (mostly cat photos).

I think part of it is the weather. I’m done with winter. Particularly I’m done with the snow. I remember complaining about the weather last year where it snowed an inch almost everyday. This winter it was more of an all at once snow. Like it’ll be really bad for a couple days, then things to go back to normal again.

Today is one of the first days where the sun was out for the entire day. I know my CO pals are like, “Who cares, dude? The sun is always out.” Hear me out, I’m in the Pacific Northwest where it is indeed cloudier.

I’m not gonna lie, I was super excited to see the rays of light. It was almost an angelic moment. Kind of like when Spongebob descended from the ceiling of the Krusty Krab. Haha!

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The sun is out, halleujah!

I don’t think I’ve had Spring fever this badly ever.

And so my friends who also have terrible spring fever that’s effecting your mood, HANG IN THERE! There’s only 18 more days until March. WoooooOOOOooooo! In the meantime, keep popping those vitamin D supplements and eat an cutie (clementine) ever so often.

-Sabrina

Jan. 2017

I know I’m a little late, but happy new year!

I spent the holidays back home with the family. There’s something about stepping away from your work to reset your perspective, and there’s something about being with your family that’s recharging. I mean, I hadn’t been back in CO in over a year before leaving for break…so it was a welcomed change. But just to clarify, I did go other places in 2016 like San Diego and Seattle, so don’t think that I was literally stuck in lab.

And of course, I forced my dad and lil’ sis to take our annual skiing photo.

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“You are clearly related; the bottom halves of your faces are extremely similar.”-James

While I was doing some “facebook stalking,” I noticed a TON of new year themed posts. In a majority of the posts, people reflected on things they did in 2016. Particularly landmark events like a vacation, a new home, or a meaningful relationship which was usually accompanied by a collage of photos highlighting such events. After reflection, there is a statement of welcoming the new year generally in a optimistic tone. (There is no doubt I’m a scientist after writing that analysis.)

 

Frankly, I didn’t make a post like that because I was embarrassed. I asked myself, “what would I write? What would I say?” I found myself comparing my experiences with others as if my accomplishments aren’t as spectacular. They’re not as marvelous as someone’s dream vacation.

Let me tell you about a conversation that shaped how I viewed myself in 2016. It was with a lab colleague, about 6pm-ish after a loooooong day doing animal work. Here how it went:

“Anyone can own a house and start a family, but can everyone be a Phd?”

Me: “…uh I guess not.”

“Exactly”

That’s all it took to realize my life in itself as a student is one of a kind, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

So without further delay,

Although I experienced growing pains, betrayal, grief, and loss in 2016, I had wonderful moments too. In 2016, I…

  • Passed my Preliminary Exams! I’m a Phd Candidate now.
  • Published my first rheumatology article.
  • Got a pay raise (I tithe 11% more now).
  • Moved into an apartment with an additional bedroom and a garage…
  • …because mein Shatz moved in with me. ❤
  • Learned several lab techniques like
    • Myography
    • Laser Capture Microdissection
    • and FACS
  • Got a gym membership and used it
  • Mentored an undergrad.
  • Got food poisoning.
  • Helped my lil’ sis pass English every Sunday.
  • and built a cat tree for Cinnamon.

And many other things that would overdo it.

I’m very excited for what 2017 has in store for me. It will probably include mentoring another undergrad, a car tuneup, and more skin care.

Be blessed, stay warm, and I’ll see you again soon!

-Sabrina

p.s. I also discovered the show Bob’s Burgers this year. I particularly like the episode where Tina tries to uncover the mole leaking out cookie orders. You know the Troop 257 chant? I think we should do something similar when we say 2017. Like, “pft-pft-pft-2-1-7!”

 

Dark Lipstick

Around the end of this summer, my YouTube binges included makeup tutorials. I saw a lot of dark lipsticks…like dark reds, blues, and purples. I really liked how they looked and I wanted them. So I went out and bought a smashbox matte lipstick in the shade Plum Role. But it was still summer…so I held off wearing it until the weather changed and it was more “acceptable” to be wearing dark shades.

The first time I wore it out all day was when I went to Seattle for the weekend. I justified it by 1) the weather and 2) no one would know that I usually don’t wear this color so it’s all good.

The second time I wore it was on another weekend where I was running errands and had there was a small probability of me running into anyone I knew.

Then came, literally, the perfect day to wear it except that it was on a weekday. I was kinda nervous to come to lab with dark lips. I was afraid of what people would say, but I did it. My friends liked the shade saying it made my skin tone look really good and that it looked cool.

After that, I bought another dark shade. This time it was a dark purple/blue and my first ever liquid lip shade: Jeffery Star liquid lip in the shade abused. Now that was crazy for me because it was outside my usual shade of lipsticks being in the pink and red family.

So I debuted it for Halloween again justifying wearing it by the holiday. Nothing happened.

A couple of weeks ago, I realized I cared too much about what people would think or say about my lipstick color for that day. But it doesn’t matter what they think. What matters is how it makes me feel. That’s really what makeup is about in the end for regular everyday people–it’s all about you. So one day I said, “eff it” and I wore the dark blue shade for the second time on the day before Thanksgiving. Why? Cause I wanted to.

That day just so happened to be the first time ever my boss/PI has ever seen me in a dark lipstick. You know what he said? He smiled, pointed to my lips, and said, “your lips match your sweater. Very cool.” And that was it! He didn’t say anything else to me about it. He just asked about my family and to incorporate the revisions to my manuscript.

And now I feel more empowered to wear the shades I want to.

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Shade: Abused. Jeffree Star Cosmetics

 

Featured Image: Taken by the Public Market on West Side (Seattle). Why this photo? I don’t know! 😀

TTYL!

-Sabrina

Monday

Happy Monday!

As you probably saw in the news, a typhoon off the coast of Japan made landfall in the Pacific Northwest this weekend bringing tons of rain and wind.To all my friends near the coast, I hope you guys are safe and sound. ^_^

Fortunately, I’m in the inland NW in-between the Cascades and the Rocky Mountains, so all I really saw was some wind Friday and a ton of rain Saturday afternoon. However, the energy company as well as Comcast sent out notifications that the power might be knocked out in our area and to prepare.

Despite advisory warnings, life still goes on. Friday afternoon I got my tires rotated and balanced. Saturday afternoon I got my hair cut. Just a clean up: 2 inches of the bottom, re-layered, and a bang trim. Because of the timing and length, I’ll be good for the holidays.

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Fresh faced and ready for seminar at the end of the month.

And in other news (which I already shared on Facebook) if you search, “S Fechtner 2016” PubMed my article pops up! Wooooooooooooo! My second one will be submitted later this month. 🙂 Also later this month is my annual college wide seminar about my research.

That is all for now, ttyl!

-Sabrina