Archive | August, 2010

honeymoon, act iv

31 Aug

We spent the last night of our honeymoon in a tree…well, suspended between four of them.

The view from the hot tub, overlooking Mt. Abraham:

The dreamers who created this paradise (and us):

H and Ellie’s treehouse in Lincoln, VT is worth not just a detour, but a journey.  John and I essentially organized our honeymoon so that we could make sure we could spend at least one night at the treehouse–it books up quickly–and it exceeded our wildest expectations.

H and Ellie (with the help of one or both of their sons) built this treehouse over the course of three summers with their own hands.  Every single nook and cranny was made with thought and care–I know I sound so crunchy, but I’m not sure I’ve ever slept somewhere that had such a tranquil spirit about it.  If I ever feel like I need to rediscover peace, the treehouse is the first place I would think to visit.

And H and Ellie are simply lovely, an incredibly warm and generous couple.  They were so considerate, giving John and I every opportunity to enjoy a little time just the two of us, but we enjoyed our conversations with them so much; if they had let me, I could have talked with them all day, and then again the next.  And they didn’t let us on the road without a hearty breakfast, with everything from Vermont–cider, coffee, orange juice, honey, granola, jam, maple syrup, pastries, eggs, raspberries and blueberries (John and my absolute favorite fruits…how did they know?!).  It was so hard to leave!  And now I would love to go back during every season!

On our way south to the Ya-ya beach week, we came across a detour in the road, and we needed to take a ferry boat across a river.  When John asked the cost of a ticket, the officer just blinked, “Well, of course it’s free.”  John’s eyes lit up, and he excitedly turned to me, “FREE?!  SHHHOOOOOOT, I’d cross the river for the f— of it!”  My husband, what a cutie:

And so endeth the honeymoon, well worth the wait.


weird, right?

30 Aug

Almost 99% of fetuses with Turner’s Syndrome (females with only one X chromosome) spontaneously abort in the first trimester, in fact, Turner’s is one of the most frequent chromosome aberrations found in early spontaneous abortions.  Yet, especially when compared with other chromosome abnormalities, the effects of Turner’s are fairly mild.

Also, the fact that imprinting is, in fact, a thing and not just something made up by the Twilight saga…weird.  That the human body can somehow sense which somatic genes come from which parent, and that a microdeletion in the one inherited from the father rather than the mother would have such drastically different effects (Prader-Willi vs. Angelman), is totally freaky/fascinating.

And I, at the ripe old age of 26 (who am I kidding, I’ll be 27 in December–that’s practically late twenties!  please note sarcasm), am over 25% more likely to be carrying around eggs with chromosome abnormalities than I was just five years ago.  Jesus.

honeymoon, act iii

30 Aug

Montreal!  It was spectacular–the neighborhoods, the cafes, the food, the parks, the people.  And the residents would respond to me in French, to John in English without batting an eye.

We stayed the first night at a the somewhat unusual but altogether charming Petit Prince B&B.

Then we spent two nights at Isabelle and JP’s beautiful flat in the Plateau.  For those of you who haven’t tried airbnb, John and I cannot recommend it more highly–it’s probably my new favorite website.  We might never stay in a hotel again–what’s the point?  We got to stay in a killer apartment (with a gorgeous back porch, see below) in our favorite neighborhood in Montreal with way more floor space and character than any hotel.  And we saved a few bucks because a) the apartment was more affordable than any hotel room, and 2) we could cook our meals at home and then just go out for coffee, drinks, and jazz.

We must have had coffee or espresso at least 4-7 times a day–there were so many fun places to try, including Cafe Myriade (left) and Juliette et Chocolate (right–extra-dark Tanzanian hot chocolate…yum!):

We just loved exploring the city, we literally walked everywhere:

Although it was hard to keep John off the bixis:

Thanks to Betsy’s suggestion, we had the best soup in the world at Chez Jose, and then perused both Marche Atwater and Marche Jean Talon for local produce (the latter was better!)–we even managed to cross the Canadian-US border with a few stowaways (though I’m still mourning the loss of the tomato and peppers we had to hand over to authorities):

And these are just the highlights–we consumed way more coffee and alcohol than I care to document publicly.

Stay tuned for our detour to Lincoln, Vermont!

honeymoon, act ii

28 Aug

The drive from Quebec City to Mont Tremblant, Lac Monroe, Diable Sector:

Camp Site Castor #44–making use of all our REI registry items–the mid-afternoon illy espresso was camping in style:

La Via Ferratta:

La Corniche:

Le Lac-Poisson et les Cascades:

impromptu sleepover

27 Aug

I am questioning my ability to live by myself.  Last night, I went for a run and took my apartment keys off my main key ring to take them with me.  This morning I left with my key ring, but not my keys.  I realized just after I shut the door and thought I wanted to go back in to check to make sure I turned the stove off, as I compulsively do.  I hope I don’t burn the building down.

So now I’m sleeping at Doria’s until my landlord can let me in tomorrow.  I am grateful for new friends who are willing to put a roof over my head.  Wish I had my PJs, that would make this sleepover perfect, all curled up with histology and metabolism notes.

And tomorrow, keys for everyone!  I am making like ten copies.  The ironic part is that I was just about to exchange keys with Gwyneth in the apartment upstairs, whose cats I’m sitting for over the weekend, but she was running off when she dropped off her keys with me last night and was afraid that they might get lost.

Honeymoon, acts two-four coming soon.  Happy Friday!

honeymoon, in four acts: act i

27 Aug

Very rarely I fall asleep in the center of the bed; I never wake up that way.  I guess it’s pretty predictable to miss your spouse more at the tail ends of the day.  And so, I often spend a few minutes in the morning looking through pictures.  Today, I’m retracing our little Canadian honeymoon, which we took in late-July (over ten months after our wedding), and I’d love to share some of the highlights:

Act I: Quebec City

Neither of us had been to the province of Quebec, and we’ve heard so many great things from loved ones, so we decided that we needed to take advantage of its proximity while our home base was still Boston, easily driving distance.  We started our trip within the walls of the old city of Quebec–it was like we had driven into Paris!

We stayed at the luxurious Hotel Acadia, enjoyed a couple’s massage, and ate every meal, drank every espresso outside.

my commute

26 Aug


I have a sneaky suspicion that med school is going to start to get a lot more painful.  I know you’ve heard it before, but I really appreciate the twenty-minute commute on either end of my day to clear my head and enjoy my new city, though I’m sure that too will get a lot less pleasant as it gets colder.

I stopped over at The Nook to do the genetics problem set with Doria (LOVE my fellow Goucher girls, Mallorie and Doria!) before heading home to wait for the gas company…which is what I’m doing now.

PGW, if you’re reading, please come and turn the gas back on!

Fellow MS1s, any generous soul want to explain to me how to use the UCSC genome browser?  I am a technophobe, and I would love to figure out whether these copy number polymorphisms are a big deal :/  Would be so grateful.

what we need in this city are more osteoblasts…

25 Aug

and fewer osteoclasts…

said the cell biologist who lectured today, right after he described osteocytes interconnected via canaliculae as “an enormous network, kind of like facebook for the skeletal system.”  That’s right Dr. Levine, you know who you’re talking to…this one right here in the back row because she slipped in a few minutes late.  In all seriousness, I do appreciate that you use terms I understand to explain what I don’t–you’re like a gentler, more PC version of Dr. Gregory House.

It occurred to me that I haven’t written all that much about what I’ve been learning in med school so far.  I know today was only day eight of class, but I already feel like I’ve absorbed a ton…not enough, but a lot.  (God, I’m sure the rate is only going to increase.)  Anyway, MS1s start out in four main science-y classes in Mod 1 (essentially first semester): metabolism (biochem); genetics; cell biology (histology); embryology.  We also take a class on Doctoring, but it extends throughout the four years and, to my knowledge, does not include multiple-choice exams.  In mid-September, we’ll take finals in genetics, cell biology, and embryology, pick up three new classes, and continue with metabolism for another month.  Frankly, I’m going week to week (day to day) at this point, so I’m not sure what comes next–don’t think I don’t notice that I’m doing exactly what used to (continues to) frustrate me about how John deals with his work schedule.  Sorry honey.

Today’s lecture in cell bio was on bone and cartilage.  So far, it’s the same general material that we learned in Bio 101, but with more detail and explanation…like, I somehow don’t think the mnemonic “osteoBLASTS build (bone), osteoCLASTS crush (bone)” is going to get me through the related questions on the exam.  Still, that’s what Dr. Levine was getting at when he made the comment that what Philly needs are more osteoblasts.  He was commenting on the fact the roads are somehow always under construction, and that the workers who build the asphalt back up just cannot keep up with those who tear it apart, so we’re always left with weak rubble being reabsorbed into circulation (the commuters being the blood cells and plasma in this analogy).  Having busted my butt on the torn-up Chestnut Street for the last several days, I couldn’t agree more; we need more osteoblasts.

The process of bone remodeling is still pretty mind-boggling to me.  I think of bone as such a permanent, stable thing…but the truth is that my skeleton is likely 100% different, on a cellular level, than it was a decade ago.  Even crazier, in the first year of life, almost 100% of the skeleton is replaced–in one measly year!  Okay, this might not seem too terribly exciting, I just get a kick thinking of all the ways in which my body is doing work, maintaining a dynamic equilibrium, building something (in this case bone) and tearing it apart based on what is needed in the blood–makes me feel a little better for opting out of a run today.

my non-human study buddies

24 Aug

They include:

The centipede.

The stinkbug.

The silverfish.

The fruit-fly.

The ladybug.

I opened my living room window on my first day here.  Oops.  I was picking stinkbugs out for the next couple days.  One died in my bathroom.  Ew.

Then the fruit-flies came in with a batch of produce from the Italian market.  I no longer keep trash in my apartment.

The centipedes and silverfish have been a constant.  At least they’re small, not like the centipedes of Boston that can get so big, I hear the “pad-pad-pad-pad-pad” of their hundreds of feet on the hardwood floors.

The ladybugs come in waves…I’m exhibiting a lot of restraint by not making a crack about “Lady B cyclins”…lllll.  One dropped on my shoulder on Sunday, a cute little guy he was.  As I escorted him from the building, I told him, “Don’t get me wrong, I like you better than all the others, we just can’t be living together right now.”

So, apparently I’m talking to bugs now.  Fantastic.

new study spot

24 Aug

The Chapterhouse.

Good coffee.  Great baristas (all of whom  multiple tattoos and/or piercings).  Modern, airy atmosphere.  Free wi-fi.  Open until 10pm.  Less than three blocks from my place.

I don’t have internet yet chez moi, so I was at the Chapterhouse the last time I video-chatted with the husband.  Ten minutes into our conversation, John informed me that the woman behind me was laughing at us.  She thought the man on my screen was naked.  Truth be told, he very easily could have been, sitting at his desk in our bedroom in Jamaica Plain.  More likely, justs shorts were sufficient in the un-air conditioned flat…but it’s always good to keep them guessing.

I’m tuckered out.  I missed last grounds at the Chapterhouse.