out west.

Home again, home again after a whirlwind little escape. If Aaron didn't post while he was wife-less for 5 days, then I have doubts that he ever will. First things first, the presentation went really well! It was actually quite exciting. Of course, you all reminded me that the worry was just all in the anticipation. Several people were very interested in my research and so helpful...and of course, there were others that it seemed maybe just wanted me to know how much 'they knew'. But, I did get lots of great feedback and ideas that will be so valuable for my oral defense coming up at the end of April. The conference overall was really good experience.

I was in Phoenix by 7 a.m. their time on Thursday & had the whole day before my dad arrived that night. I sat in on some seminars, grabbed lunch with one of my professors, and toured around downtown phoenix (...trying to fight off the jet lag). That night was the genetics "swag" party... It's a reception sponsored by all the scientific vendors complete with lots of free stuff -- some just for fun, some actually useful in clinic...and a chocolate fountain, hors d'oerves, butcher's block, and open bar. I actually ran into a familiar face, Ali - a former Baylor-ite, now employed by a biotech company in CA. I asked him to tell me about the product he was marketing - & we both just cracked-up, feeling like impostors in this adult-world. After a day of solo-traveling, lugging around all of my stuff - I decided to catch a cab back to the hotel & hit the hot tub while waiting for my dad to get in.

The next day, we went back to the conference to hear one of my professor's talks. My presentation was over by noon & Dad and I decided to see all that Arizona had to offer. We had lunch in Glendale, and decided to take the 'scenic route' to the famous breathtaking city of Sedona. We stopped off at Montezuma's Castle - ancient Aztec dwellings constructed into the side of a limestone cliff.
The ride into Sedona was beautiful... All grand canyon glory aside, it's one of the most famous Arizona landmarks. Around every curve of the road was another spectacular site with the sun reflecting off of the large red rocks. Dad & I walked around the shops of sedona - even the little town was so uniquely framed by these picturesque landforms.
The next day our flight was to leave at 3, so we woke up with enough time to go on a hike. There were trails just across the street from our hotel. We looked like amateurs carrying our caffeine and wearing flip flops... but we managed. It was a fun little outing, and I'd been looking for the chance to take the obligatory cactus photo. Oh and word-of-warning...be wary of the grass in the desert...it may look harmless, but it breaks off very easily and becomes quite the enemy - i described it as a thousand little paper cuts on the bottom of my feet...

We cleaned up & headed to a quick lunch at a yummy Cuban restaurant. We had just been 'complementing' ourselves on a trip well done, when our perfect trip encountered a big snag...we dropped off our rental car, and got to the airport about an hour early - only to see no less than 1,000 people waiting in line at the southwest counter. Long long story and struggle aside, we ended up missing our flight and not being able to leave until the next morning. We grabbed a room at the Embassy Suites and decided to make the most of our extra day. A fancy town car driven by what we assumed to be a Russian-mobster type came to pick us up and take us to Scottsdale...the 'beverly hills' of Az. We walked around the shops and had a fabulous dinner sitting outside a this hip little restaurant, Olive & Ivy. Luckily, we flew out the next morning rather uneventfully. I posted all our pictures here. There's so much more to our nice long weekend, but hopefully the highlights will do it justice. I had such a good time hanging out and really getting a chance to talk with my Dad. I really appreciated that time together... & I imagine that opportunities like that are few and far between nowadays.

To wrap up the rest of my break, Dad & I flew back to Tennessee. I'm not going to be able to be there for the birth of my first little niece, Emma. [Due May 3rd!] So, I'd planned on surprising Trae & Coi and coming out for their baby shower. Unfortunately, because our plane was delayed a day - I didn't get a chance to actually see my brother, because he had to work the next day. :( But, I did roll in to Camden just as the shower was starting on Sunday afternoon. Little Emma got so many cute things, and mommy Coi looked beautiful. Jill stepped in and helped her open all her gifts...and decided she wanted all of those gifts in her size too. I just can't believe there will be a new little Dedmon in this world in just under two months!
As if that wasn't enough, My uncle Greg & aunt Teresa were in town from Wyoming. I'm never able to time my visits home well, and seem to always miss them. So, I was so thrilled to be able to see them and hang out... if even just for an evening. Logan and I even managed to head out for a game of bowling [he's a leaguer] and a good talk. Mom and I got a chance to catch up a little too and spend the day together in Nashville, shopping and dining, before my flight back to Nashville. Unfortunately, I only managed about 28 hours in the state of Tennessee - but, I had to get back to Oklahoma to catch up and use my break wisely on the 'downhill climb' to graduation day...working on my thesis, upcoming presentations, and preparing for patients. It's going to be a crazy 1 month and 21 days...


hey, i'm megan. ♥ said...

i'm envious of your jet-setting lifestyle... but I'm oh-so-proud of you!!!