Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Currently {December}

Reading: I started my annual reading of Rosamunde Pilcher's Winter Solstice. I never get tired of reading it!  

Watching: I watched the first episode of The Great Holiday Baking Show,

and while Mary Berry is still awesome, I agree with most of the reviews: it's a poor quality rehash of the original. It feels like they just grabbed 6 random people off the street and asked:

  • Have you ever baked a cake or cookies from scratch?
  • Can you turn on an oven?
  • Can you leave for England tomorrow?

Knitting:  A doll sweater and hat for my niece for Christmas. And a hat for a family member. After I finish those, I plan to make my niece another Tulip Sweater. She is 9 so this will likely be her last one. 

Anticipating:  Lots of family and holiday fun! My parents are coming in for the weekend to attend our Christmas musical. Then just a few days later we'll hit the road to visit my father-in-law for a few days, then on to visit my parents, my sister and her family.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

Joining Carole for Ten on Tuesday: 10 Best Things I Did in November

1. Celebrated my birthday with my husband
2. Had 3 fabulous Thanksgiving dinners - one at work, one we ate out and one I cooked.
3. Started de-cluttering our house. I filled 9 trash bags (tall kitchen sized)!
4. Got a head start on the holidays: Christmas photos cards were ordered, letter was written, labels are printed so we are ready to sign then assemble.
5. Rehearsed for our choir presentation with my husband.
6. Knitted a cute doll sweater for my niece for Christmas.
7. Blogged every day in  November
8. Read a couple of really good books - The Lake House and At The Water's Edge.
9. Did the majority of my Christmas shopping online
10. Made a plan/list for December to make sure I get everything done, which will hopefully help reduce the level of holiday stress.

Monday, November 30, 2015

NaBloPoMo #30: What a Ride!

First for NaBloPoMo: I managed to blog every day and while some days I struggled with what to write about or only posted a photo, I enjoyed exploring my creative side. While I doubt I'll keep blogging every day, I am going to try and do so on a more regular basis. I enjoy having a record to look back on of the events in my life and things I've made.

Second for the UNC Football Team: Back on September 3rd,  they lost to USC and were unranked. They have since reeled off 11 straight wins (the last against our in-state rivals), are ranked #8, have the opportunity to play the nation's #1 team in the ACC championship game next week, and a possible prestigious bowl game still on the horizon. Usually at this time of year, fans are more excited about basketball, than football, so what a ride it's been!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

NaBloPoMo #29: Two More Weeks

We sang the first song from our choir musical at church this morning and other than a young man nearly passing out (he made the mistake of locking his knees) it went well. Thankfully, we have several doctors and nurses in our congregation who kindly rushed out to make sure he was ok.

Friday, November 27, 2015

NaBloPoMo #27: Friday Links

*Friday links are a selection of some of my favorite posts, recipes, articles, and photos from this week.

  • Yesterday we had Thanksgiving dinner at the Washington Duke Inn (our annual tradition) and as usual it was amazing. Here are a few photos:

View as we walked down the hall to the banquet room:

Line to get it in - it moved quickly.

Yummy food:


Standing near the pie table:

  • Yesterday afternoon we watched the Carolina Panthers beat the Dallas Cowboys, so the hype surrounding their undefeated season continues.  Here is a funny video of the quarterback Cam Newton mic'ed up.
  • My husband read this entire book yesterday! I got it from the library and was 3/4 through it, when he borrowed it. Since it read it so quickly, I didn't mind.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

NaBloPoMo #26: Giving Thanks

For the many blessings in my life.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

NaBloPoMo #25: Expertise

From today's writing prompt: Do you think it's better to be a recognized expert for one thing, or known to be really good at lots of things?

I think it's better to be really good at lots of things. I'm good at my job, but I'm also good at quilting and knitting, which makes for a more varied and interesting life.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NaBloPoMo #24: Thankful

Joining Carole for Ten on Tuesday: 10 Things are you thankful for Right Now

1. Physical Therapy - I injured my back ~10 years ago taking care of a horse and for the most part it's ok but every now and then I feel a twinge and I can't stand for long periods of time. I've seen 3 different PTs about it and the exercises they said to "fix it" work but it never completely goes away. My friend started seeing a PT and she said his approach is not like any PT she's ever seen before.

I figured it was worth a shot so I saw him last week. He said the muscles involved have been sort of "frozen" so he's giving me exercises to strengthen the area. He uses his phone to video me doing the exercises as he explained them then emailed them to me which was SO helpful. He also constantly asks "where are you feeling this" to make sure I'm working the correct muscles. Fascinating!

2. Church Choir - We're down to two more rehearsals until our performance. Cue panic!

3. Family - I'm blessed with a wonderful family. Loving parents, my sister and her husband and my niece who is 9 and keeps us all on our toes, and my sweet husband.

4. Coffee - enough said.

5. My devices - being married to an Apple Geek has increased my number of Apple devices.  How did I live without them before he came along? The phrase a luxury becomes a necessity comes to mind.

6. The library - despite missing my bookmobile, I am thankful I access to a very good library.

7. My job - I love what I do and that's a blessing.

8. The first frost - I know it means winter is coming but I do love the early morning light of winter.

9. Food - so much great food this time of year! Every year I bring a cornbread casserole to our annual work party and every year my boss raves about it so I've started making an extra batch for him to take home and share with his family.

10. Sleep - the older I get the harder it is to sleep some nights, especially during the busy holiday season, so I am thankful for medications that help when I need it.

Monday, November 23, 2015

NaBloPoMo #23: Perseverance

From an earlier prompt: What is the hardest part of a big project: getting the energy to begin, finding the time to work on it, or feeling down that it's over?

The hardest thing for me is getting a new project started. In science, sometimes this involves learning new techniques and sometimes it takes a while to quit researching the best way to do something and just try something! If it fails, you try something else.

A recent example: I was trying a new technique called CRISPR where you knock out a gene permanently and I used a product that turned the cells green (called green fluorescent protein, which was really cool) but ultimately it didn't work. 

I went and talked to a faculty member in our department about how he did it and I used his system and I have gotten it to work 3 times now. 

This figure shows that the protein I was trying to get rid of is gone in my two cell lines (B9 and C8) but is still there in our parental/control sample. We also checked for another protein which should be present in all 3 cell lines and it was.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

NaBloPoMo #22: Birthday Brunch

A wonderful day with great food, beautiful fall colors, and the company of my sweet husband. We didn't get a photo together but he was there :)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

NaBloPoMo #21: Potpourri

As the holidays approach, it feels hard to get settled since the thoughts of all the things I need to do keep running around in my brain.
Here are some random thoughts that have been running around my head today:
Baking: I'm making cornbread fritter casserole for a work party next week. I need to figure out if should make it the night before or get up early the day of the party.
Cooking: We go out to eat for Thanksgiving day, but I do like to cook a small turkey breast and a few sides for my husband and I to munch on during the rest of the weekend. I'm also making some treats as gifts so need to get those made too.
Work: I need to get all of my experiments to a stopping point before the break. I have a rough idea, but sometimes cells don't always do what you think they will do and adjustments may be needed.
Birthday: My birthday is tomorrow and since it's so close to Thanksgiving (some years it's the same day) it's hard to decide where or how to celebrate. I finally decided Sunday brunch at the Washington Duke Inn would be fun and something we've not done before.
Knitting: I need to work on a Christmas gift, seam a sweater and would like to work on my shawl.
Reading: I just finished a really good book so it's been hard for me to switch gears, but I did start this one today. Interesting they both have to do with water!

Christmas cards: We need to get our photo cards ordered so we worked on those this morning.

Friday, November 20, 2015

NaBloPoMo #20: Friday links

*Friday links are a selection of some of my favorite posts, recipes, articles, and photos from this past week.

My mom sent me this photo of her backyard and I love the late fall/early winter feel of it.

It's been a long week so I am ready for a relaxing weekend.  My husband was in NYC for one night for work, but that turned into two nights thanks to weather delays at LaGuardia. Thankfully he made it out on an albeit painfully early flight today.

This incredibly moving article about overcoming adversity definitively puts things in perspective.

Before he made it home, my husband spent 7 hours at the airport, so here is an article about things to do when stranded at an airport.

Sadly, a much loved pet in our family passed away this week. Here is an article about dealing with the loss of a pet.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

NaBloPoMo #19: Dream Big

From today's writing prompt: where would you want to retire if money wasn't an issue?

Living in the central part of NC, we're about equidistant to the mountains and the beach. Since I love visiting both, I'd have a house at each so I could enjoy the best of both words. I'd live in the mountains during the summer and fall and at the beach during the winter and spring.

(Oak Island, NC)

(Blue Ridge Parkway, near Asheville, NC)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

NaBloPoMo #18: Yarn Along

Joining Ginny in posting about two of my favorite things -  reading and knitting.

I just started the first book in a trilogy (the other two aren't out yet) and it's really good! The character and setting remind me quite a bit of Louse Penny. It's set in the countryside near Montreal and the main character, a retired police detective, is called out of retirement to investigate the murders of two Surete du Quebec officers at a remote farmhouse the day after a massive blizzard. But there are no tracks in the snow leading either to the house or away. So what happened?

In addition to some Christmas knitting (which I can't show), I am working on my latest shawl. I really like how the stripes are coming out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

NaBloPoMo #17: Ten on Tuesday

Joining Carole for Ten on Tuesday: 10 Places You Hang Out

1. My recliner - my husband calls it my command center. It's where I sit and read, knit, watch tv etc.

2. My bed - it's hard to see but off to the left is a TV in our closet. I like to curl up on my side and watch it before I go to sleep. My husband calls it "sideways TV".

3. My desk at work

4. My church

5. The pool - most Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at noon until ~1:15 this is where you'll find me, in the second lane from the right. I am a part of a masters team (

6. The gym - Tuesday and Thursday and sometimes Friday mornings I do strength training

7. The library - I used to use the bookmobile (which I loved!) but sadly the bookmobile died so until they replaced it, the wonderful librarian kept it going first using a library van then her own car. She retired in late August just as the new bookmobile finally came in, but the current administration didn't see our stop as a priority (well duh, with no bookmobile for nearly 3 years the number of patrons using it declined) so it's been eliminated. I love to read so I use the branch closest to our house, but I still miss my wonderful bookmobile librarian.

8. Choir loft - I joined our church choir this year (my husband was already in it) and we our getting ready for our Christmas musical on Dec 13th. We are singing the entire musical from memory (the words will be on the screen) but even so I am starting to get a bit nervous.

9. Walking trails near our house

10. the internet, specifically Ravelry