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:

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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!

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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:

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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.

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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

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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!

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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

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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

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Love y’all even more 馃榾

In which we pop some bubbly

Happy December everyone! Welcome to the month of many of our family birthdays, finals, and Christmas! Time to reflect on what an incredible year 2012 was for us and look forward to what 2013 has in store!

We ushered in this month of joy and celebration with a rainy Saturday night at home, catching up on DVR’d shows, designing our first married Christmas cards and lolling about. Perfection 馃檪 To top it off we took the words of Hester Browne literally:

“You should always keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes the special occasion is that you’ve got a bottle of champagne in the fridge.”

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