Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sick and grumpy

It's only Wednesday and I'm already sick of this week.

The sun may be shining and the flowers erupting in colorful explosions right and left, but instead of prancing around outdoors with happy feet and bouncy legs I'm spending my hours with clogged-up sinuses in front of a computer screen, frantically working on things I thought I wouldn't have to worry about for a few weeks.

Sure, I take breaks—lovely little breaks for futile attempts to rid my nose of blood, goo, and the occasional pieces of brain matter.

I'm tired, stressed out, disillusioned, disappointed, and generally disgruntled.

However, I'm not broken. Give me a few days and I'll be back in business—my usual cheery self (hah!). Until then:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The April issue

My favorite Science Spotlight story this month describes a study that aimed to increase the influenza vaccination compliance of healthcare staff at a large cancer care center (guess which one). Two approaches were explored; one incentive-based ($$$) and one penalty-based (we're going to make it very, very cumbersome to decline the flu shot—why not just go ahead and accept it?). Not surprisingly, folks don't like having to do extra work. Read it! It's a fun study.

For flu shot compliance, stick beats carrot

The next one is exciting in a different way; more biology, more hi-tech futuristic stem cell awesomeness. Intimidating? Perhaps, but give it a try!

A vascular niche for boosted blood stem cell production

Feel free to bombard me with questions about my Science Spotlight articles—I'm writing them, in part, for you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Keep 'em coming

My heroes—keep sending them my way, please! Tonight I'm off to McCaw Hall to fill my head with the delicate sounds of Damien Rice. Oh, joy! Oh, blessedness!

Never heard of the guy? You poor thing. He sounds something like this:

9 Crimes

Precious velvet to my ears.

Monday, April 20, 2015

GIF it!

Sorry, I can't resist blogging about Gäddan taking pictures of me instagramming. How many levels of meta?

(Photos by Gäddan, obviously.)

Sunday, April 19, 2015


My weekend: kicking back, easing off, taking a breather. All good things.

Neil Gaiman on Friday was great—that man is a storyteller, if I ever heard one. During his two-hour performance at the HUB he answered questions, told tales, and read a couple of pieces from his latest book ”Trigger Warning” (which I couldn't resist acquiring a signed copy of). He also shared some of his favorite anecdotes about his long-time friend Terry Pratchett, another old favorite of mine who sadly passed away about a month ago.

A quite terrible photo of Gaiman, reading from the not-at-all terrible ”Good Omens”, which he and Pratchett wrote together, many years ago. (I may have to re-read it soon.)

Hello. You will be loved.

Saturday started with brunch and catching-up with Amanda and little Aiden. We stuffed ourselves with scrumptious scrambles and walked off the satiety on a sunlit stroll around Green Lake, chitting and chatting about this and that. After waiving goodbye to her and Aiden I did a few chores and spent the rest of the day reading, snacking, and watching movies on my laptop. No complaints.

Sunday was basically more of the same; great weather, relaxing activitites—crossing of a few to-dos, but without stress.

A great weekend, with lots of time for recharging the batteries before taking on next week's challenges.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

High-quality low-key end-of-the-week fun

This week I'm scrambling to finalize a manuscript for submission to European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (shout-out to whoever came up with their concise title!), but I still want to give an update regarding my weekend activities with Gäddan.

In short: we had food and drinks, and then more food and drinks. Then we had a few snacks before getting food and drinks. Then we had drinks. Add about two units of coffee in between every meal, and repeat.

I don't see any reasons for complaints, do you? Good times.

Okay, so we did a couple of other things too, but nothing was really scheduled—we just played it by ear and did whatever felt right at the moment. On Friday, Gäddan spent a good chunk of time at MOHAI while I was working, and then he walked over to me for a quick tour of the Hutch followed by beer hour with my colleagues. The evening was spent on Capitol Hill, with dinner and margaritas at Barrio, and then more drinks and chit-chat with Kiran and friends at Bait Shop.

Saturday started with a good-sized breakfast at Blue Star Cafe & Pub in Wallingford, then a stroll on 45th towards University District.

Pancakes and cappuccino!

Yes, that's a cappuccino. With a straw. Oh come on, this is America—don't act so surprised! Let it go, ok?

We checked out the pretty UW campus and then took the bus downtown to Pike Place Market, where one of us got a souvenir street sign saying "Pike Pl" (you can never guess who, or why!). Then stuff just kind of happened; we made an impromptu decision to go to Bainbridge Island and hopped on a boat. The winds were a little chilly, but the sun was shining and the snow-clad mountains of the Olympic Range showed off their impressive beauty on our way across the Sound. Lunch consisted of tiny cups of soup and generous chunks of delicious pie at the lovely Blackbird Bakery. Before leaving the island we popped in to Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, whose exhibitions perhaps were a little less outstanding, but definitely worth a quick visit (especially seeing as admission was free).

Back on the mainland we strolled around in the Pioneer Square area, ending up at Seattle Central Library. The Central Library is a really cool building, but even though I've attended a couple of seminars there, I haven't really explored it. Until now, that is—we went up all the escalators, checked out the viewpoints, and admired the extremely clever design. Conclusion: I really need to spend more time there! The neat thing about our library stop was that we managed to time it perfectly; the rain started pouring down a few minutes after we walked in, but the sun incidentally came back out a few minutes before we were leaving. The evening was spent at Cafe Mox in Ballard, eating, drinking, chatting, and playing Gloom with my librarian friend David (another David, not the Tico). Such a great day! Spontaneous, laid-back and simply super fun.

Sunday started in Fremont, with sturdy breakfast scrambles at good ol' Roxy's Diner and then browsing through the Sunday market and some of the local shops. After putting up with my ravings about the divine cappuccinos at Milstead & Co., Gäddan finally got to try one and seemed to agree that they are pretty darn good. A walk to Gas Works Park and some house boat-watching concluded the Fremont tour, and we took a little break for some packing and resting before heading off to Ballard for a proper send-off.

As it happens, Seattle Restaurant Week started this weekend, and we met up with a few friends for (surprise, surprise) dinner and drinks at Percy's & Co., which is a place I've wanted to check out since we found out that it was listed among "The 30 Hottest Cocktail Bars in America Right Now" on Eater. Fantastic kale salad, eclectic cocktails, and yummy peanut butter mousse provided a great backdrop to our laughs and general gossip.

A collection of healthy treats:

Awakened One (lemongrass-infused vodka, lillet blanc, fresh pineapple juice, lime, ginger, and cilantro); peanut butter mousse with chocolate ganache and graham cracker crust; coconut cream pie and cherry pie; banana-oatmeal waffle.

It was so much fun having Gäddan over, sharing laughs and conversations with my friends and colleagues. Together, we explored a whole bunch of new sights and locations, which just happens to be my favorite weekend activity. Thanks for dropping by, dear friend! I won't fit in my jeans for a week or two, but it was totally worth it.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Incoming: Esox lucius*

It's been a while since I had a Swedish visitor, but it's finally time again. Seattle, meet Gäddan - Gäddan, meet Seattle. I hope you'll like each other!

Oh, and Seattle - it would be really awesome if you could do that weather thing you usually do when I have people over. You know, the whole spoiling us with sun and warmth and pretending like it never rains here. That would really be super sweet. (Really, really super Mega sweet!)

I'm sure we'll have a blast, however; rain or shine. Updates to come!

*Gädda = northern pike (Esox lucius). It makes total sense, I promise.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Technicolor Sunday

Guess what? I've checked off another item on my bucket list. I knowthis is getting old alreadybut I think it'll be a while until next time, so please bear with me just this once.

The objective this Easter Sunday: the blossoming tulip fields of Skagit Valley. Shani, Cian and I made the hour-long drive north from Seattle to RoozenGarde, to wander about in the sun among the colorful rows of flowers. In this case, colorful is a bit of an understatement.


Orange Emperor is not a bad nickname for this little guy; Cian was drawn to everything orange.

Again, color... So much color! Don't think I've ever seen so many varieties of tulips.

Part of the Old Garden.

...and a couple of close-ups. (You know I have to...)

I may want to stay here for a while.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A sweet surprise from Sweden

According to Swedish tradition I'm not supposed to be smiling on Good Friday (or Long Friday, as we call it), but this year I will. Why? Because a precious and impressively well-timed Easter egg from back home landed in my mailbox today.

It's quite simple, really; Easter in Sweden is all about candy; I am all about candy. Hence, I am all about Easter.

I'm going to savor this treat until Easter Eve, when I'll open it and think only of delightful things like friends and spring and sunshine and...sugar.

Thank you, sweetest Easter Bunny!