Tag Archives: cold

This one’s worth clicking for the sweet picture of baby Emma ;) (also roasting hot dogs)

Chilly, chilly, bo-billy! Temps kind of nose-dived right after spring hit and da-dang am I feeling it! Still enjoying the out-of-doors, though! Curls and I have been heading to the Hamus Wildlife Preserve every night after work for a brief walk with the retractable leash and no sling… fun fun fun! Seriously, we’re talking about a very very happy pup!!

“A wisdom still abides in the natural rhythms of the earth, if we are still and open ourselves to it.” –Kimberly Greene Angle

Natural rhythms of the earth… to be in nature…

“There is a wisdom in natural rhythm but we long ago abandoned it to technology and electricity. Now there is not stopping, no ending. Only quitting. I long ago fell prey to it and forgot how to stop and wondered how to quit. So now two unnatural rhythms try for the marrow of my soul: fatigue that is chronic and frustration that is terminal. I am determined to defeat them both.

“My God is definitely a God of the seasons. I prefer that God in spring and fall – when things emerge and mellow – but I have learned more from the God who is the heat of my day and the icy obstacles of my life. From that God I have learned the depths of the self.” — Joan Chittister

I forget sometimes, in the frigid depths of deepest darkest winter and the boiling highs and sticky humidity of summer, how nice it can be to get outside, to feel the air on your face… even stinging cold or blasting hot. To be outside, to enjoy nature, to slow down, is to feel God.

And if I ever had any doubt… here’s my niece Emma as a little bitty baby, enjoying the wind blowing across her little body on a warm fall day:

Emma Wind

This simple pleasure of a soft wind, a blowing leaf… feeling God in the season. Even at a mere 6 months old.

That never really goes away, I don’t think, but it is harder to notice it amongst the hustle and the bustle and they everything else of every day. The phone calls and the emails. The music or books I generally feed into my ears, into my brain, even as I head outside for a jog.

But not always. And in those instances, even when it’s very, very hot or very, very cold or just very, very foreign– that’s when I feel God in nature.

At the end of this winter, for example, on one cold day in January, my friend Suma managed to coax me and Sister Doctor off the couch and onto skis (yikes!) for some cross country skiing in the school forest.


Reluctant doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt– but then, once I was out there, on that beautiful, bright blue, super crisp day, I had the time of my life. The highlight of my whole winter, despite the falls. It was an absolute blast. Quiet and calm and invigorating. Even in the dead of winter.

xc skiing

God was there.

And there was that super crazy boiling hot day on the Rappahanock when the water was a touch too low and the rocks were a bit too high that Jess, Stephanie, Ellen, and I kayaked 11 miles back to our camp site where we slept off our sun burn before traveling home the next day.


We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over a fire, we laughed about my massive wipeout on the water (a strainer got me! can’t say I hadn’t been warned…), and we warmed ourselves over poor Ellen’s deep fried skin during the night, and again, had an absolute blast.

camping rappahannock

God was there.

And then, what was probably one of the very best days of my entire life, when Seth and I spent a day in Volcano National Park in Hawaii… we hiked in the hot hot heat around the top of a volcanic crater and back through the exceptionally chilly middle of it, going from steamy jungle to what might as well have been the surface of the moon (thank goodness for ponchos!).


Then we drove past the massive plumes of sulfuric acid down to the water where we hiked and hiked and hiked on the lava to see the amazing sea arches and ancient petroglyphs. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

sea arch

God was there too.


God is always there, I suppose. But as Joan suggests, it’s in the extremes that we tend to take notice. But maybe with just a bit more awareness, I’ll notice even on a snowy evening walk through Hamus with Curls.

Hamus with Curls

Lots of turkeys calling and deer tracks to sniff. A perfect walk for this sweet girl and her chilly mom.

And finally, as if to underscore the point, this was the message on my ridiculously inspiring page-a-day desk calendar today:


Over and over, nature has been my teacher. When I’ve let it. Silly of me not to realize that in nature, there is God. Snowshoeing to a frozen waterfall in the Keewenaw. Hiking to the top of the Multnomah Falls in Oregon. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and throwing snowballs in the Rockies in August.

Then again, even in the more mundane– picking rock at the farm in the spring, raking and bagging leaves in the fall. God is there. Always.


My freshmen year of college, some friends and I went taert-ro-kcirt-ing in the dorms on Halloween. Taert-ro-kcirt-ing is trick-or-treating backwards. Obviously.

We dressed up (just barely– some cat ears and butterfly wings or something of the sort) and went from door to door with a plastic jack-o-lantern full of candy that we handed out. Maybe we collected for UNICEF or something while we were at it? I can’t really remember… but I do remember it being an absolute blast.

I’m normally pretty scared to interact with people, especially people I don’t know. And people I do know. So all people, actually. But when we taert-ro-kcirt-ed, I don’t really remember minding at all. I felt silly and confident and fun as we knocked on each door and handed out candy and a smile– people didn’t expect it, they were so happy. Like I said, an absolute blast.

And maybe it is that simple. When you want to do the opposite of something, just turn the word around and do it. That easy.

I hope anyway. And here’s why.

Remember that chocolate I told you about earlier this week? All of that delicious and amazing chocolate?

Do you also remember about that little binge eating thing that tends to haunt me from time to time?

Welllll…. this:

A trash can full of shame...
A trash can full of shame…

Sigh. It was not the best afternoon of my life.

Delicious, of course, but so very out of control.

But why? When I have so much to look forward to!

I mean, first thing tomorrow morning, I’m getting on a plane and heading to Miami, one of the only places in the country currently untouched by this mess:

So much cold, so much snow.
So much cold, so much snow.

… where I will meet my husband for a lovely long weekend and to attend his work Christmas party where all of his co-workers and their spouses will be waiting to meet me and look at me and talk to me and realize how ugly and stupid and weird and lame I am…

Ah ha!!

I’m stressed. Stressed backward is desserts. So I’m eating desserts. Doing the opposite.

It’s science, don’t think too hard about it.

And the reason I’m stressed?

Really… it’s because I’m terrified. And even worse, I am certain that all of Seth’s coworkers and their spouses and basically all of the people of Miami are going to hate me.

What’s not to hate?! My jaw is so square. My hair is going to be so frizzy (Miami?! of all places!! with this HAIR?!). I haven’t lost any weight (I wanted to lose weight first!) and my clothes come from Target. I’m almost thirty-ONE and I have ZERO kids and I’m a NERD. A huge nerd. I really wish my right eye would open up as far as my left. Oh god oh god oh god. What am I even going to WEAR? What in my closet is the least make-you-hate-me-able of all???


Cheese and rice.

I have got to stop.


I assume that everyone who meets me down in Miami is going to hate me.

All evidence points to the contrary, of course– Seth loves these people and they love him back. Seth is awesome and Seth chose me so of course they’ll love me too. And if they don’t? B… F… D…

Not everybody clicks, and that’s ok. A truffle for everyone, you know?

But maybe it would be better to head to Miami with my jack-o-lantern full of candy before I start knocking on doors, if you know what I mean. To ditch the assumptions and just emussa instead that everyone is going to love me. That’s the opposite, of course.

Think it could be that simple?


Probably. And here’s why.


… I assumed that Theresa wouldn’t want to be in my book club because she was pretty and wearing fancy jewelry and drinking a fancy drink and married to a doctor and just seemed so cool. She overheard me telling someone else about it, though, and begged me to let her in. We’ve been texting ever since. I really, really like her.

… I assumed that Kristen wouldn’t want to be my friend because she’s pretty and thin and a pediatrician and therefore a “class A” doctor (not kidding about the classification system at my place of employment, that’s real), but today, after we ate lunch together, which we do pretty regularly, that Grumpy Gus told me I had “lifted her spirits” and wished me well  on my trip to Miami. We’re hanging out for my birthday next week.

… I assumed that my very young friend Emily (like younger than my sister AND brother) wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore after our mutual slightly-closer-to-both-our-ages-friend moved away over the summer, but Emily’s coming to my birthday dinner next week too. And also we do yoga and crafts and watch trash tv together. Traaaaaaash.


I wonder how much time, stress, and probably desserts, I could have saved myself from wasting, experiencing, and eating, respectively, had I gone in emussa-ing instead??? Not to mention how much cooler I could have played it if I hadn’t been busy trying to keep them from hating me instead of letting them like me like they were always going to do. (That’s a super confusing sentence. Leaving it.)

Eventually, this afternoon, I went to a little mini holiday party and ate some cocktail weenies (oy, so good) and got over it just a bit. I chatted with some people from another department (who I originally assumed hated me… but totally don’t– another excellent example of that assuming crap) and stopped the spiral. I’m going to face the day tomorrow essuma-ing instead of assume-ing and everyone is going to love me in Miami.

Or not. But it honestly doesn’t matter.

Regardless, the weather will certainly be warmer and I’ll get to spend a bit of time with my long lost husband (it’s really only two weeks, I’m being dramatic) and (you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around) that’s what it’s all about!



Coincidentally, I’ve talked about assuming before. But unfortunately, Tim Haight never taught me what happens when you assume something about yourself. Like that you’re super hate-worthy. Lessons are so much more difficult to learn on your own. I wish Tim were here.

He’d probably hate me anyway 😉


I’m so neurotic. You knew that already. Don’t hate me, k?

Clap for the Clap!

Ladies and gentlemen, the plague is upon us.

It’s upon me anyway.

I haven’t been sick in a while, I suppose I was due. But my goodness– this cold is miserable! Trying to keep a little perspective, though. Thank goodness for drugs (better living through chemistry!) and the snuggles of my sweet pup. I have a feeling I’ll be on the mend in short order and all will be well by the weekend.

It better be, anyway! Because I’ve got PLANS! Book club on Saturday night… Wes Anderson movie marathon on Sunday. I’m pumped about both– so sickness be gone!

So. Are you ready for a forced and awkward segue? Good!

Sickness… diseases… bacteria… bacterial STDs… I studied bacterial STDs in grad school…

And we’re there.

Some seriously good news on the gonorrhea/chlamydia forefront last week!! My old boss emailed to let me know that my coinfection model has been repeated. And not just once, but TWICE. Once in another strain of mice (in case you’re “in the know”… I did it originally in BALB/c mice, another graduate student just did it in C57/Bl6) and once by another group up in Boston (total burn moment for the drunk PIs who tormented me at my poster in Banff– mwuahahaahaha!!). Both repeated my entire first paper– demonstrated coinfection with gonorrhea and chlamydia in female mice (which is ridiculously and unfortunately common in female humans) and increased levels of gonorrhea in mice that are coinfected with chlamydia (which incidentally, has also been shown in women since I graduated… word).

So, all that’s good news… but the really exciting thing to me is that while I was in grad school, I found the freaking mechanism. I did flow cytometry, I made beautiful figures, I wrote a paper and planned to submit it to PNAS (it’s a big deal), but since I graduated in 2011, that lovely piece of work has sat there in my dissertation on a shelf. HOWEVER, now that others have repeated the findings from my original manuscript, my grad advisor feels comfortable getting this second one out there. YESSSSSSS!!!!!

Gonorrhea’s pretty exciting, huh? Better than whatever virus is hanging out in my sinuses at the moment, anyway.

So let’s celebrate– and CLAP for the CLAP!


(Clap = gonorrhea. But I’m sure you already knew that.)