Sunday, September 30, 2012


We lost my Grandpa about a week ago. He's just gone. I'm honestly having a hard time writing anything about this event, but I felt it disingenuous not to acknowledge it. I miss you, Grandpa. And we'll love you forever.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


My 94 year old Grandpa is dying. I went home this past weekend, even though I just started my job and my house is an absolute disaster area. I hung out with him, held his hand. It's sad. I'm having a hard time dealing with it, and a hard time writing about it.
I haven't been home in so long, and now I'm back. Although it took so long to come across the country, I think a big part of me is still in Philly, thinking I am headed home. CA doesn't feel like home yet, even though I'm from here. Going home to see my folks was nice. Being able to be there and get there fast, without worrying about getting a plane flight or arranging transportation was really nice. Things didn't seem so frantic - have to do this, have to see this, have to buy this because I can't get it in Philly. Everything is just so unsettled right now.
I forget that it takes a long time to adjust. It takes a long time to get used to where you are living. It takes a long time to feel like you're home. I forget it takes time to make friends, to find my way around town, to get comfortable on my bike again. I had all of this down in Philly. I knew where all my friends lived, I knew what they did, I knew where to find them. I knew where all the stores were and all the good little places to eat and the places to get a good beer. I know I will get there here, but its an adjustment.
This week, we are at conferences. Alex from Mon-Wed and me from Wed-Fri. This weekend, thankfully we are home. I hope we can get some furniture. I have no place to put my things. Clothes are piled up everywhere, and I can't even begin to unpack books and other things. I think I have to make about 300 trips to about 400 places in the next few days. Why do you always seem to run out of soap and important things right when you move in? I also threw alot of stuff away before we left, and I'm finding that I would like to have some of those things again. Figures.
Moving is a huge adjustment. I need to keep telling myself that....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sept 11

On the actual Sept 11, I lived in CA. The whole day was quite surreal. I wasn't sure what I was watching on TV, it all seemed so nonsensical. A plane? Hijacked? Into a building? Wha?
I think it hit me the hardest a few years later when I went to NYC to sight-see. We went up in the Empire State Building, and everyone told me the World Trade Centers were twice as high. I already felt quite dizzy from the heights - what could possibly make someone want to build towers that tall? So tall, they are in the clouds? I have occasionally gotten snippets of the horror. A friend whose Dad was on the last train out of the WTC that morning. A friend at Columbia who had to walk back home to Brooklyn because all public transit was shut down. Another friend who couldn't contact her Dad. Others stranded in parts of NY. I literally cannot imagine what people went through, have gone through, are going through.
I read an article not too long ago that suggested we might all have some form of post-traumatic stress disorder from seeing the towers fall. From watching the planes hit. From seeing the people jump. I believe it. Honestly, sometimes, I hate 9/11. I hate the "Never forget". I hate those "See something, say something" signs. I hate the inane "We'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way!". I hate taking off my shoes at the airport. I hate the overly audacious patriotism. It feels odd. I can't exactly explain it.
I flew about a month or so after 9/11. I can't remember where I was going, but I do remember seeing a flight attendant wearing an American flag tie. I liked that. I also remember seeing signs saying, "Thanks for flying!". It felt heartwarming. I've always loved travel. I've always loved to fly. Now, it's a relief if I don't have to fly somewhere, even if that means driving an extra few hours.
I think the thing that rubs me the wrong way about 9/11 is the prominence. Maybe those older than I can attest to this, but it seems like overkill, going on 11 years later (I have no idea - was Pearl Harbor the same way? But those were military killed - is it different when it's civilians?). As for 9/11, I know those people died. I know a lot of them were first responders, doing their jobs, rushing into the tower. I know that others were just poor workers, headed to work. I know that some were travelers. I guess my biggest problem is what about everyone else? What about those soldiers killed in Afghanistan? Those civilians battling for their lives in Syria? Those government protesters in China? Those starving people in Africa? What about those people who die on the freeway, headed to work on Monday morning? I realize this is a little facetious, but when is a death "patriotic" and when is it just "run of the mill".  When does it call for the recitation of names on that day for 11 years? When are others who have been lost remembered?
I read an article once on terrorism in Israel. It stated that terrorists like to strike common areas because they want you to be afraid. They want you to change your life, never leave the house, give in to the fear. They want to control your life. A cafe was bombed and a number of people were killed. The next day, Israelis were lined up outside the cafe, waiting to buy a coffee from the bombed out shell of a building. Sometimes, I wish our collective reaction as Americans was to face the fear head-on. To rebuild those towers, to fill them up with businesses, to get on planes without enormous hassle. To trust each other again.

Monday, September 10, 2012

It figures that...

Our first piece of furniture is bike-related :)

A beginning...

A list of a few things we've done in the past year or so:
April 2011: I defended my thesis
June 2011: I started a postdoc at CHOP
August 2011: My bridal shower in the 'Nard and final wedding preparations
September 2011: My bridal shower in Philly; the ING Rock N Roll half marathon; job interview at Harvard
October 2011: We got married! And honeymooned in Yosemite!
November 2011: Both Alex and I had job interviews in CA; spent Thanksgiving and my birthday apart; Philly marathon
December 2011: Finally a quiet month at home...but a bit of a bummer because we couldn't visit family or friends for the holidays; Finalized our decisions to head out to Stanford for postdocs
January-February 2012: Work really ramped up - working at least 60 hours a week for both of us
March 2012: Alex applies for NRSA and begins the process of writing his thesis
April 2012: NRSA submitted, but thesis writing continues; bought a car
May 2012: Only one month left till we leave, work ramps up even more. Alex's defense and the whole family comes - lots of fun!
June 2012: begin final preparations to move, try to map out a lovely drive across the country, wrap up at work, say goodbye to friends
July 2012: Begin our trip, including stops in Baltimore, MD; the Berkshires, MA; Salem, MA; Boston, MA; Ausable Chasm, NY; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Alexandria Bay, NY, on the banks of the St. Lawrence; Scottsville, NY; Rochester, NY; Niagara Falls, NY and Canada; Erie, PA; Geneva on the Lake, OH; Dearborn, MI; Chicago, IL; Eagle, WI; Cross Plains, WI; Sioux Falls, SD; Devil's Tower, WY; Sheridan, WY; Yellowstone, WY; Salt Lake City, UT; Colorado Springs, CO; St. George, UT, Oxnard, CA and then FINALLY to the Bay, CA.
Sept 2012: Started work at Stanford as a postdoc. Found a ridiculously expensive apartment 9 miles from campus.

Phew! I'm tired just thinking about all that stuff. Here's to new beginnings....