pink moon is on its way...

Working at a Breast Imaging Clinic sure has a few perks. For example, how often does your boss come in and say we're going to drive BMWs and chow down on a fancy spread over our 'executive lunch' break? Obviously there is a little more to it... like the ride to vegas in the private jet. kidding. But, really, the Susan G. Komen foundation has partnered up with BMW for the "Ultimate Drive". My boss, Melissa, was honored at the event as the 'local hero' who champions the breast cancer cause. At the event, anyone can simply get behind the wheel of a new vehicle for a test run (of course, we picked the convertible!) and for every mile you drive BMW donates $1 on your behalf to the Komen foundation. They've raised over $11 million in the past - for everything from breast cancer research, education, and treatment program. Great news for you - they're traveling! here's the 2008 Route Map to check out where they're headed, so you too can make a difference in such an easy, fun way. ...and p.s. my 'yay-for-the-week' - I finished by 8 hour comprehensive final yesterday! on the homestretch baby.


oop Art. oop Art Art.

Good job, OKC. 10 points, you're growing on me. With the summer approaching and the promise of free-time in my future, I'm really looking forward to all the fun (and free) activities that living in a city has to offer. I spent my first 17 years in camden, tennessee (population: what? 3,500?) and then spent the next 5 years in waco, texas (which was a a huge jump for this small-town-girl, but still on the small side), and now I'm residing here in 'the city' - it's definitely the largest place I have ever called home. And, they really have a handle on keeping their inhabitants entertained...the whole summer calendar is filled with outdoor concerts, festivals, fairs... from shakespeare in the park to this weekend's kick-off with the 'Festival of the Arts'. Downtown shuts down for artists across the country to come and showcase their talent. There are 'hands-on' stations for kids, lots of musicians, and so many yummy local restaurants come out & set up booths. It was really fun, but needless to say, Aaron and I decided to wait on the 750$ original piece we liked. One of the exhbits got me craving a Hobby Lobby run to start a new decoupage project- there were some neat pieces there from a California artist, and really it was just paper! I think I lost any real creativity I had years ago, but I'd love to give it a try. I must admit, I think the most fun I had was Aaron and I's 'canadian tuxedo'-spotting contest.He won, with TEN. and I gave him an extra point, because one of the subjects was wearing shorts. unbelievable. Tonight will be less creative + cultural, well at least for the girls...Aaron and Corey are going to check out the new Ben Stein documentary about Darwinism v. intelligent design, Expelled, but Kara (who is with child) and I are going to see Baby Mama. Don't judge...the previews made me laugh out loud. :)


tres cher campaign trail.

So, I have to admit, I've been selfishly swamped in my studies as of late. imagine that. With the exception of my 6:30 am local news broadcast and an occasional visit to an on-line news site...I've not fulfilled my social responsibility of keeping up with the campaigns. or the kardashians. I read that John McCain was heading to Oklahoma, and I'd love to go hear what he has to say...& just be amidst all that patriotism. What do I find when I look up the events of the campaign trail? "...the general reception begins at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the event are $2,300 per person with a Photo Opportunity, or $1,000 per person." Looks like his intent in Oklahoma is to catch up on financing. As a sign of the times, I guess I'll just have to catch it on YouTube.


come fly with me.

Ever had one of those weekends where you just change up your routine...be a little spontaneous...and it feels like you're off on vacation?

I think that's definitely a signature of a weekend well spent. Being spontaneous is something I've never been, and in the last 2 years it's something I couldn't afford to be (sanity- and study-wise). It's on my "list", which I'll have to compile later, of subtle changes to come once I can finally close the book on school. It took me 2 years... and now 3 weeks from graduation, I feel that I was able to begin to relax and hush some of my worries, and truly enjoy my free time. Other graduate students have shared a similar complaint - that anytime you aren't studying or working on something involving school, you feel this tug and guilt that you should be back at your desk productively laboring away. There's just so much more than having little 'independent' classes, and having your 'last final' being the celebration that meant a semester was over. It's just not like that. There is a lot of pressure to know your stuff with only 2 students in the program, that's for sure. And, a lot of pressure self-imposed to provide for your patient. But, I digress... now that I'm learning to be able to distance myself and unwind...I feel like I've stumbled upon one of life's little secrets. ...and, that I'm probably the last one to know.

So, my totally-guilt-free relaxation began Friday night with dinner after work in Bricktown with Aaron, and then catching a Redhawks baseball game with Corey and Kara. I'll be the first to admit, I really pay little attention to the sport being played until the very end. I just spend the first 6 innings looking around at the other fans... I loved catching up with our friends, counting how many hot dogs the guy in front of us had inhaled, getting up and down to go get bottomless buckets of popcorn, cheering & singing along with all the classic baseball chants, enjoying my husband watching his favorite sport and spending 6$ on ice cream in a batters helmet, and of course, the fireworks display at the end of the ole'...ball...game.
Saturday was a beautiful day... I stepped out on our porch when I woke up and ran back in to Aaron - "Summer is here!" It's felt so strange here, just last week I had to wear my heavy winter coat. I've felt the winter 'cabin fever', and I'm just ready to BE outside. We went and had a long, leisurely meal just catching up with Aaron's mom out at the lake. There are several lovely restaurants that have patio tables where you can sit watch the sunset...it definitely felt like we were out of the city. We almost missed our chance, and I almost got into it with an older couple who snatched our table... yes, me. first come means first serve! I'm pretty sure Aaron was ready to go crawl under one of the big rocks.

Thanks to your friends and mine, Redbox & TiVo - we caught a few movies this weekend... one being Lars and the Real Girl, if anyone has seen it - please, feel free to explain it to me.

On Sunday, we just had to get out and enjoy this beautiful weekend. Aaron and I took the bikes and a picnic lunch out to the trails at Lake Hefner. What seemed like a perfect idea... only to be interrupted by some 40 mph wind gusts! It was definitely an exercise of resistance training. At one point, I actually was 'blown off' the trail. Because the winds were so strong, Aaron couldn't even hear me calling for him to wait up. We only managed to put in about 7 miles (compared to our previous 13). We decided to grab a seat on the benches by the lighthouse and eat our lunch & watch the kite-surfers. Now, they were probably pumped about the weather... we saw some of them fly nearly 10 feet in the air. It looks like so much fun, and I'm sure it's much harder than it looks. For some reason, that seems like something my brothers would love to try. I'll look into it kids... oh yes, and Aaron almost had another run-in with some canadian geese... the second picutre just cracks me up, there's just so much 'going on'. He really earns his membership into his facebook group "People who have been attacked by ducks."


shotgun for eternity.

big day, that april 11th.

We turned in the final copy of our 'theses' to the graduate college.
I went through many drafts to get here at the end. and many more after the mini-crisis last week. [see previous post].
A lot of trees were harmed in the making of this thesis.

It would not have been possible without the guidance and patience from all the wonderful faculty & staff in Medical Genetics. and, As you [family & friends] will read on page 4's acknowledgments section...
"...Finally, I cannot end without thanking my husband, Aaron, whose constant love, encouragement, and sense of humor I have relied on throughout this entire time – and will for years to come. I wish to thank my parents, my brothers, and new in-laws for the overwhelming support and inspiration you have shown me. I thank all my friends and family for their optimism, words of encouragement, and patience as I worked to complete graduate school. It is to them I dedicate all of my success."

This is Melissa and I holding up our handiwork before making the walk over to turn in our year of blood, sweat, and tears...[all actually literally], and to receive our big 'sigh-of-relief' in return.
I didn't anticipate feeling that much better after turning it in - what, why? you've only been obsessing over this for months? - I guess I just assumed I'd just be on to worrying about the next big thing - my oral defense or 8-hour comprehensive final... but, no, a significant weight has been lifted off these shoulders.

To celebrate, Melissa, Julie, & I went out for dinner at 1492, a yummy little Latin restaurant downtown. We had a fun, relaxing, and to our own surprise...4-hour meal. I will love having more time (nights/weekends) after graduation to hang out with these girls.

Aaron & I celebrated together the rest of the weekend - sleeping in, making a big weekend-quality breakfast, shopping, movies, p.f. chang's, open houses - I know this week will be hard because of my little 'break', but well worth the recharge. ::high five::


Extra. Extra.

You get the bad news first:

Well, I can't even begin to tell this story... because to tell of the tragedy, I would have to explain to you my 50+ page thesis for you to fully grasp the situation. But, let's just say this week brought some bad news on the thesis front. I spent a small window of time with fears of not being able to graduate on time...and my day ended with tears sitting in my director's office. The long-story short is that everything is going to be okay. Not without a hefty amount of butt-busting this weekend and into next week. I will 'lose' some of the work I'd already done, and have to work that much harder making myself an expert on 'zinc finger proteins' in the next week and 1 day - but, everything is going to be alright. It's incredibly disappointing, and I'll keep my hands in my pocket and not point any fingers because I'm so appreciative of all the help I have been given. and I've had some wonderful support of people in my section in the midst of all the recent goings-on. Say a little prayer for us 'chaloners' this weekend. Aaron has a Medical Neuroscience test on Monday, and I'll, of course, be righting all the wrongs. Neither one of us can take care of each other this time. We're so used to locking ourselves away like hermits on stressful study-marathon weekends [which needless to say can be a real downer] , so we decided we're going to try a little something different this time... right now, we've set up camp at Starbucks - taking advantage of the wifi and the plentiful supply of caffeine. ...but if you know me, you know I had to walk across the street to get a dr. pepper from McDonald's. :)

The stack of old-school board games rescued us during our study break...[aaron's camera phone is not to shabby i might add.] oh, yes I promised good news too:

This week was our campus's G.R.E.A.T. (Graduate Research Education And Technology) Symposium - a week that "provides an opportunity for students to present their newest and most exciting scientific concepts and research findings through oral and poster presentations." & countless other workshops and lectures. Aaron was offered an oral presentation on his neurological relationship of 'Early Life Trauma and the Development of IBS in Adults'... and I was offered a poster presentation on my research too. That was neat all on its own...but, come the awards ceremony on Thursday and Aaron won a $1,500 Research Grant! They had a little congratulatory message waiting for him back in the lab:

All the OCNS (oklahoma center for neurosciences) kids were well represented, his mentor was quite proud. his wife was too. :)