Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Up in the air

I'm off! Back to the motherland, back to native soil. Ten days of love, hugs, giggles, and warmth; just what the doctor ordered. After that, I'll return to sweet Seattle with renewed powers and reinforced motivation. Bye for now!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


When I found this scarf on sale a couple of weeks ago I didn't look too closely on the pattern; I just liked the colors and the softness of the fabric. Unfolding it some days later, I discovered what I had bought.

Resistance is futile; assimilation is inevitable.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hanging on the telephone

It's not all work and no play these days; there is time for fun as well. When my friend and Fred Hutch colleague Kiran was looking for participants to form a FHCRC volunteer group for KUOW's fall pledge drive, I saw an opportunity to do some good while adding to my collection of odd American experiences, and signed up. We did a 4-hour shift on Thursday night, answering phones, recording donor information, and gossiping away between calls. Lots of good laughs!

Kiran and Reed, and our wicked old-school phones.

KUOW is a public radio station whose mission is "to create and serve an informed public, one challenged and invigorated by an understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures". More than 89 percent of their revenue comes from individual and business support, while the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the University of Washington provide 9 percent. Twice a year they arrange major pledge drives to fund their operation.

If you missed the drive but want to support KUOW, you can make your pledge here. Thanks for supporting public radio!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Busy busy busy

Whoa, things are really stacking up because of my upcoming trip to Sweden... At FHCRC, September and October have been super busy because the PIs are frenetically working on grant renewals and need to complete their reports with fresh data, ideally proving the hypotheses that were stated in the original applications. Consequently, we are working day and night trying to produce graphs, images, and results to fill in the blanks. It's fun, because we are really making progress in some of the projects, but it's also exhausting. I'm hoping that the pace will slow down somewhat in November when the grants are submitted, but past experiences tell me that once the pace is set, it rarely decelerates... We'll see what happens this time.

Off work, I have been struggling with finding a formal (floor-length) dress for the Conferment of Doctoral Degrees that I'm attending in Gothenburg on October 25. It's the University’s largest ceremonial occasion, when new doctors from the previous academic year, jubilee doctors and honorary doctors receive their insignia as confirmation of their position at the University. Because of my move to Seattle last year I was able to postpone my attendance, but now it's finally time. However, finding a proper dress turned out to be more of a challenge than I had expected, as pretty much all the places I looked had plenty of gorgeous gowns - but not in my size! I ended up ordering one online yesterday, so now I'm keeping my fingers crossed for it to fit properly and look good irl.

On top of that, I'm trying to schedule my days in Sweden so as to see as many friends and loved ones as possible during my brief stay, as well as schedule meetings with interesting people in Seattle to try and figure out what I want to do with my life and my career after my second year as a Walker fellow is up.

What do I want to do? Which direction should I go? What is the best way of getting there?

No more thinking tonight; my brain needs a break.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

American beauty

Last week was rough. I was confronted with bad news and disappointments, professionally and personally. No fun. Lots of negative feelings flowing left and right. The weekend, however; now that's a different story.

My colleague Mark and his wife Lettie hosted a harvest festival on their farm in Stanwood, raising money for charity. The setting was as American as it can possibly get: a country band playing in the decorated barn, surrounded by hay bales and pumpkins. Plaid shirts and cowboy hats everywhere; hot dogs and corn on the cob. White fences and pickup trucks; pecan pie and hot spiced cider. It was completely different from everything I have experienced so far during my first year here, and I truly enjoyed getting a glimpse of it.

I spent the night in the guest cottage, sleeping like a baby in the countryside stillness, and after a lovely breakfast Mark took me for a ride through Stanwood to Camano Island, telling me all about the farms and fields we were passing. The day was crisp and sunny; fall at its best.

As usual, my photos convey nothing but a fragment of the beauty, but I hey I'm trying, ok? Ok.

What can you say, but thank you? Thank you very, very much.