In which I went to Boston and turned 30

Last fall I was one of two residents who were chosen to represent our pediatric dental department at the International Association of Dental Research conference in Boston. The next few times this conference meets it’ll be in LA, South Korea and San Francisco – not sure how I got lucky enough to go to the city who is having聽snowiest winter on record!

Seattle is currently in full on spring right now

Seattle is currently in full on spring right now

As the dates worked out – I had to take the Red-Eye flight on our anniversary (3 years! how did it go by so quickly?!) and left Seattle springtime for this:

That is the Charles River - frozen.

That is the Charles River – frozen.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting a lot out of this conference – I had presentations Wednesday morning (an hour after landing from the Red-Eye) and a presentation on Saturday (two hours before leaving to catch a flight home on my birthday), but not much else lined up. I brough extra work to catch up on and something I never bring to a conference – running clothes in anticipation of going to the gym. HAHAHAHAHA. None of that happened. I was busy every day from early in the morning to late at night finding symposia, attending lectures, and 聽meeting up with old friends. So much for getting caught up.

The conference was in the same place whee the AAPD meeting was last year so I knew where everything was and it also meant that I had pretty much exhausted the must-do touristy things in the area. That didn’t stop me from heading up to the North End for Italian food with another grad student the first evening though:

I ordered the lobster special - was not disappointed!

I ordered the lobster special – was not disappointed!

Cheers to good food and grad student therapy sessions

Cheers to good food and grad student therapy sessions

I don’t have many other fun pictures – because what else do you expect from a research meeting? I did have the chance to catch up with Kevin Ricker, my classmate from UNC and the only one still hanging out with me in residency since his is a three-year program as well:

Always good to catch up

Always good to catch up

The largest component of a research meeting is聽the poster presentations. To give you some scale, here is one half of one of the two halls that were going on a given day:

IMG_4431_2

And there were two halls filled with posters. Each day was a new session with new posters – and there were three days of those. Goodness! It was a little crazy. You’re required to stand in front of your poster for an hour or so at a given time on the given day of your presentation in case someone wanted to come ask you questions about your research – otherwise people were free to browse them at will.

My advisor and I in front of my poster

My advisor and I in front of my poster

Karin, my co-resident who presented a poster as well, and I

Karin, my co-resident who presented a poster as well, and I

You’re assigned your poster time and unfortunately mine was on the 14th, my birthday.

Don't all the cool kids celebrate turning 30 at a dental research poster session?

Don’t all the cool kids celebrate turning 30 at a dental research poster session?

Despite spending most of the day on the east coast, the plane ride back to Seattle meant that I got an extra three hours of birthday in the air. I ordered wine accordingly. Arriving at 11:00pm meant that I was in no mood to go out, but my dear friends offered to host a birthday brunch the next day – my favorite kind of party 馃檪

Mike made these awesome authentic Belgian pancakes with apples and bacon - so delicious!

Mike made these awesome authentic Belgian pancakes with apples and bacon – so delicious!

Great friends!

Great friends!

11051979_10153142144640941_873648002393776177_n

Beautiful cheese tray

The only thing that could’ve made the party more perfect is if I didn’t have a final the next day – oh grad school! You’re so close to being done!

Since I’ve posted about my 30th here, I might as well post Jeff’s pictures too since I’m catching up on things. I threw him a surprise party at the Moon Temple (before it closed 馃槮 ) back in December with a bunch of our good friends:

IMG_4117

Pecan pie - his favorite

Pecan pie – his favorite

Tim McGraw, as he always so good at doing, summed it up best in his聽song:

I think I’ll take a moment celebrate my age
End of an era and the turning of a page
Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here
Lord have mercy on my next thirty years

In my next thirty years I’m gonna have some fun
Try to forget about all the crazy things I’ve done
Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears
And I’ll do it better in my next thirty years

My next thirty years I’m gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I’m doin’ here in my next thirty years

For my next thirty years I’m gonna watch my weight
Eat a few more salads and not stay up so late
Drink a little lemonade and not so many beers
Maybe I’ll remember my next thirty years

My next thirty years will be the best years of my life
Raise a little family and hang out with my wife
Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear
Make up for lost time here in my next thirty years
In my next thirty years

The only line I take issue with is to “try to forget about all the crazy things I’ve done” – those crazy things have been some of my favorite memories or best lessons. It’s been a humbling, intense, amazing three decades for which I am immensely聽grateful;聽I’m excited to see where we go from here.

Advertisements

In which there are Christmas Cards

Jeff is always amused by how much I love civic things. I’ve never been called, but I’d probably enjoy jury duty. I love voting (especially when you get to go to a booth, not the mail in stuff they have here in Washington. More convenient, sure, but you lose that feeling of purpose and pride after you’ve completed your small role in the democratic process. I know it’s a flawed system sometimes, but I’m for the ballot box over guns anytime).

Checking the mail is one of my favorite parts of the day, especially now that holiday cards are rolling in. Last year was our first married Christmas, so we were able to use a nice professional wedding photo which made things easy. But how do you top that without going out to get nice pictures taken? It doesn’t help that all the sample cards on shutterfly.com, tinyprints.com, etc have such nice photogenic families that my few good photos of Jeff and I didn’t quite fit their formats. So this year, I made our own:

I started off by designing the card, front and back separately in Pages (the Mac equivalent of MS Word).

I started off by designing the card, front and back separately in Pages (the Mac equivalent of MS Word).

Then I had Kinko's print the front on matte photo paper and the backs onto the heaviest card stock they had.

Then I had Kinko’s print the front on matte photo paper and the backs onto the heaviest card stock they had.

Lots of cutting.

Some cutting.

And more cutting

And more cutting

Printing two cards to one piece of paper saved a ton of money. Each card would eventually be 5x8, which is larger than the postcard standard of 4x6 so I didn't get the reduced postage. Oh well.

Printing two cards to one piece of paper saved a ton of money. Each card would eventually be 5×8, which is larger than the postcard standard of 4×6 so I didn’t get the reduced postage. Oh well.

Then I transported myself back to kindergarten and rubber cemented the fronts and backs together.

Then I transported myself back to kindergarten and rubber cemented the fronts and backs together.

Then I had to handwrite out address on all of them because I forgot to include that.. whoops. I also trimmed up the edges once more to make them flush.

Then I had to handwrite our address on all of them because I forgot to include that.. whoops. I also trimmed up the edges once more to make them flush.

And voila! Ready to send at the post office.

And voila! Ready to send at the post office. All this cost about a third of what it did to order the same amount of cards for my mom (even with the cyber Monday discounts).

Some from us up here in Seattle, Merry Christmas! 聽

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 11.52.45 AM

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 11.52.56 AM

Fun fact: My dear mother saw Three Dog Night at a company event back in the 80’s. I’ve always loved their Joy to the World song and thought it should be included along with all the other Christmas favorites. And today is her birthday – Happy Birthday to the most lovely and wonderful mom in the entire world! I love you!

At the Bele Chere festival in Asheville, NC - 2011

At the Bele Chere festival in Asheville, NC – 2011

In which my grandmother turned 90 and we celebrated!

DSC_0169

My dear sweet grandmother turned 90 this past week and the whole clan descended on Nashville to celebrate! My mother is one of five kids and I myself am one of 13 first cousins and it was a joy for us all to be able to be there! In addition we had second cousins, aunts and uncles, and nieces and nephews from as far away as California all come in to wish her a very happy birthday. It was also the first time Jeff and I’d been back to Tennessee and seen my family since moving out here – what a fun, sweet reunion!

13 cousins

13 cousins

Playing cards - hand & foot, a version of Canasta

Playing cards – hand & foot, a version of Canasta

I took over biscuit making while my sister made the gravy.

I took over biscuit making while my sister made the gravy.

Biscuits in the oven, gonna watch 'em rise..

Biscuits in the oven, gonna watch ’em rise..

Hanging out with sweet Sam

Hanging out with sweet Sam

DSC_0189

Our little family

My sweet mom and sister

My sweet mom and sister

The grandparents, 90 and almost 93 and married for almost 62 years

The grandparents, 90 and almost 93 and married for almost 62 years

Graham being willing with little Sutton

Graham being silly with little Sutton

Jeff playing with the little Bailey/Reese cousins

Jeff playing with the little Bailey/Reese cousins

IMG_8271

Love y’all even more 馃榾

In which we have some celebrations!

Spring is such a happy time to celebrate! Not only did we have a wonderful first anniversary:

DSC_0038

Last minute self portrait on our anniversary

We got to celebrate one engagement:

That's a big diamond there Ashley!

That’s a big diamond there Ashley!

Congrats Symon :D

Congrats Symon 馃榾

And then another engagement:

photo 3

So happy for you, Eric and Rusty!

photo 2

No engagement party is complete without some shuffleboard – at the Brave Horse Tavern.

So happy for you, Eric and Rusty!

For the record since Jeff and I got married half of our wedding party has gotten married or engaged this year!

Bri and I celebrated that we babysat Kat and Matt’s two adorable children and everyone survived unscathed:

photo 4 copy

This is the beach in Seattle. It’s sunny for about two hours a year.

I also moved decidedly into my late twenties:

photo 2 copy 2

Birthday dinner of champagne, truffles, brie, marmalade and crackers - yum!

Birthday dinner of champagne, truffles, brie, marmalade and crackers – yum!

photo 4 copy 2

Thanks for my cupcakes at work, co-ressies!

Thanks for my cupcakes at work, co-ressies!

And I also celebrated the end of the winter quarter and our elective Wednesday night class with Jim, Glenn and Bri by eating large amounts of Mongolian barbecue:聽famdin

Looking forward to Spring and our upcoming trips to Pittsburgh and Nashville!

In which Jeff has a birthday

Merry (almost) Christmas!!

We’re celebrating with our friends and family from afar this year since I’m on call over the holidays. Unfortunately this also meant being on call on Jeff’s birthday yesterday, but fortunately after a very busy Saturday in the ED, the pager gods gave us reprieve enough to celebrate.

We started the day off with cupcakes from the nearby聽Trophy Cupcakes – so delicious! They remind us of the cupcakes from Sugarland in Chapel Hill that we had for our wedding. There were too many choices, but I finally settled on the buy two, get two special of chocolate peanut butter, brandy eggnog, salted caramel and red velvet. They even gave me a complimentary candle for the birthday boy:

photo 4

Brandy eggnog

Then brunch over at The Elysian at his request:

Screen Shot 2012-12-23 at 1.49.15 PM

Birthday mimosa

After a nice lazy day of watching Christmas movies we headed out to dinner, but not before checking Seattle Children’s ED board to make sure no dental emergencies were on their way in:

Screen Shot 2012-12-24 at 12.58.53 PM
All clear!

For his birthday I’d been planning on taking him to the Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard, a restaurant I ran across while reading an article on the revival of heirloom oysters. They’re open daily after 4p and they don’t take reservations, and I naively thought arriving at 4:13p would be okay. Silly me. We were told to go have a drink and come back in an hour so we trudged down the street to wait out the rain and oyster line at the Ballard Loft.

The wait turned out to be totally worth it. We sat at the bar and had some of the best food we’ve eaten in Seattle to date.

photo 5

It’s a cozy place, not somewhere you’d try to eat with more than four people together. The staff was so knowledgable about exactly where the food came from on their daily changing menu that it reminded us of a Portlandia episode.

photo 6

We splurged on two dozen oysters (four of each kind), steak tartar, bread and butter, yarmuth nonna cheese聽with prune jelly and fried brussels sprouts.

photo 2

oyster varieties of the evening

And then we indulged in another dozen of our favorites: the Barron Points, Hamahamas, and the Malaspinas. Ahh, to paraphrase a Travel + Leisure article: Those evocative names, derived from actual locales:聽Pemaquid! Skookum! Tatamagouche!聽…does any food pack such a powerful sense of place?

photo 3

These west coast varieties are distinctly different from the oysters we’ve slurped on in New Jersey and North Carolina; stronger in flavor and less subtle, they pack a powerful aromatic punch. So, so delicious.

photo 1

Jeff declared it a great birthday and a perfect way to become 28. I’d like to thank the children of the greater Seattle area for behaving themselves and not injuring any teeth so we could celebrate.

photo 8

Happy birthday love! Here’s to many more!