Wednesday, May 28, 2014

First day of work + ... first day of ultimate Frisbee?


Can't tell you guys much because top secret government shit, or I'm just really lazy, other than I did about four hours of computer online training and it was wild. End scene.

Trevor didn't get home from Seattle until much later than expected so I went with our duplex neighbor, Ben, to play ultimate frisbee down at the park. The group we played with was nothing short of comical, they call themselves, The Desert Lorax, and one man who they referred to as "Swede" had to be in the range of 60-70, was indeed Swedish, an aerospace engineer, and he rode a motorcycle. It is safe to say I think I just met the coolest person of my life. Oh, and he was the boss at ultimate.

The day was great, the people were good, and I'm trying to prolong breaking everything at the lab for as long as possible.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Birthday Boy goes for a hike

Today marks 24 years of T-man being alive and we celebrated with a hike in the Blue Mountains in Umatilla National Forest near Dayton, WA, about two hours away from Richland. The birthday gods played in Trevor's favor and our weather, although the pictures don't show it, was a very mild 70ish degrees, sunny, and blue skies, perfect for a day hike. We hiked about seven miles with some pretty steep uphill. Again, I discovered how terribly out of hiking shape I am; Washington has been honest with me, guys. Trevor and I were both badly sunburned (don't tell mom) regardless of wearing sunscreen. My farmer's tan is not to be competed with.
I apologize for the terribly over-edited pictures, I had no choice because I discovered not only was my camera battery dead upon arriving to Washington, but I had also left the charger at home. Good to know I haven't lost my forgetful qualities over the years. Bear with my shitty i-pod pictures until June.

Herp derp birthday hike

I forgot to weave....

We ended the night with Gladiator and a rhubarb strawberry pie which turned out edible. We used Mom's rhubarb she grew from home and sent with me when I left. I would've liked to use more rhubarb in the recipe but unfortunately 2 cups is all I had. Next time I'd like to do higher ratio of rhubarb to strawberries but the bitterness of the rhubarb still came through. Here's the recipe I used that my awesome roommate from last year, Megan Satterfield, gave to me.

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 cups rhubarb
3 cups strawberries
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon

1 pre-made pie crust (I suck I know, not home made)

Trevor contributes to the blog, take two (and out writes me in 1/8 of the words):
Serendipitously celebrating circumstantial subsistence. Solicitously swaggering the sweeping slopes of southern state. Semblance of simplicity? No, some sense of surreal survival in spite of silly alliteration.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

For Mom

The notorious floral overalls- mom's old ones  

Trevor and I also tried out the new grill (one of his birthday gifts from my parents): Zucchini and red peppers obviously, but also a spicy beef thing of sorts, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes
herp derp grilling is hot

Today I met Chris

Trevor had to go into the lab today (wtf I am never doing a PhD) so I rode my bike to Roasters, a local coffee shop that he recommended to me with the caveat "It's really good, but it's like, the high school hangout." So far, they've played a lot of Alt-J and Vampire Weekend so I swear they knew I was coming. It's an eclectic, indie style coffee shop (whoa, that's new) BUT they have a huge garage door that they open when it's nice out, which is literally all the time. It was a nice place to hangout for the day. 

I was sitting reading yet another research paper and noticed a guy that, I kid you not, looked exactly like Buster from Arrested development (except for he had both of his hands) kind of awkwardly looking at my computer. He then sat at the closest table possible to me, in the shop. After a couple minutes, he stood up and pointed to my computer.

Photo for reference, I'm pretty sure he was wearing that exact shirt

Buster looking man- "What painting is that?"

me, laughing because I already know this is going to be the most awkward conversation of my life- "Starry Night, by Van Gogh, you like?"

Buster looking man, not making eye contact- "Oh, yeah, huh huh, (HE SERIOUSLY LAUGHED LIKE THAT WITH A STRAIGHT FACE, I'M NOT KIDDING.) you must be an art major then"

me- "Nope, microbiology"

Buster looking man, into his iced snickers latte- "mmasdfsfrff"

me- "Uh, what?"

Buster looking man, into his iced snickers latte, again- "I just said thatmsldkfs too"

me- "haaaa....sorry I am pretty hard of hearing, one more time"

Buster looking manthis time making eye contact(!)- "Oh...I just said, that's fitting too."

I then introduced myself and he said his name was Chris and he joined me at my tiny table. We talked for about 15 minutes. Chris was born in  Seattle and moved to the Tri-cities as an infant but has a strong distaste for his hometown. He prefers Portland and told me if I go anywhere on the other side of the mountains, go there. He also indulged me with his most recent breakup. He was seeing a girl who is a PhD physicist at PNNL working on electron microscopy (which then led into a tangent about Trevor). He said when she told him she was a PhD physicist he "was like whoaaaaa, I just have my A.A. over here." I then tried to ensure Chris, I bet he was plenty smart and asked him if he worked nearby.

Chris- "Oh yah but I get bored a lot so I just leave. They always say, "Chris are you going to get more caffine? Are you bored again? and I say, "uh huh" huhhuhhuh."

He then politely and abruptly excused himself and told me it was nice meeting me, and returned to work. I returned to Iodine isotope 129.

Happy Saturday Guys.

Even when it's cold it's hot.

Friday morning involved more exploring and little relief from the heat here. I ran only four miles and the sweat return was not equal to the work being done, let me tell you. This dry heat is a different beast and I realized I more or less have to double my water intake, otherwise sad cells, yanno?
Late in the afternoon, it cooled off to around 73 and rained a little which was a pleasant surprise. Trevor got out of work and we rode bikes to one of the many parks located along the Columbia river trail to play soccer with a group that plays every Friday. It was an eclectic group of people, a couple men in the range of 40-50 and the rest in the age range of Trevor and I. Needless to say, I was the only girl and it showed. I am pretty rusty on the field and HOLY CRAP I AM NOT QUICK ANYMORE. Apparently two years of long runs and lifting does not make you speedy. I need to work on that. Regardless it was a great time playing, even if it was with, as Trevor put it, with a couple "washed up high school soccer stars".
Tonight, there was supposed to be a meteor shower around 11 pm here, which I had wanted to go someplace cool to see with the brother bear but Trevor went to bed around 10:00. I snuck out to our backyard at 11 to watch alone but couldn't see anything, so watching a meteor shower was sadly not crossed off my bucket list.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Day 1: Go West, young man

I was welcomed to Washington with a vibrant pink and purple sunset in the last hour of the flight and landed around 9:20 pm in a blanket of black hills and city lights of Pasco, about 20 minutes east of Richland.Trevor greeted me in baggage claim in the most affectionate way that Trevor knows how, he strolled up from behind and stood next to me until I noticed his presence. I turned to give him a big bear squeeze when I noticed a brown fleck in his eye accompanied by some serious red irritation:

Me- "What's up with your eye dude"
Trevor- "I dunno, I think I'm going to go to the emergency room after I drop you at the house"

and that was probably the most appropriate commencement to my summer with Trevor in Washington. 

To those of you that I haven't already bombarded with my excitement for the summer, I (somehow) acquired an undergraduate internship at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA (Trevor is working on his PhD in the same lab). I am working for Dr. M. Hope Lee, who is an Oceanographer/Environmental Engineer/Microbiologist. I've had several conversations via phone and email for her and I'm pretty excited to work with her, especially after her summary of government lab dress code primarily entailed, "don't wear shirts with  "I hate the government" and "I have a bomb"."

The project I'm helping with is studying the mechanisms and microbes involved in the cycling of Iodine isotope 129 in the environment. Needless to say I have been reading research papers and interwebbing out the wazoo because, well, I don't know anything. Hopefully I don't break too many things in the lab and avoid sucking at everything too much.  

Trevor lives in a small, two-person, "duplex" which is one of the homes that was built in the 1950's with the population boom during the Cold War as  Richland was a quickly growing city as it was home to the Hanford nuclear site, a portion of the Manhattan Project.  Most of the homes in the surrounding neighborhoods are one of two layouts when housing was being mass produced. Trevor's place is quite open and very "airy", especially due to Trevor's minimalistic style of decor...
My favorite part of the place is there is more beer than food in the refrigerator.  

My first morning in, I rode my NEW, AWESOME, road bike to work with Trevor to become familiar with the ride and explore a little bit. At around 8 am it was in the 70's and apparently this is very mild weather for the Tri-city area. I'm probably going to melt this summer. It's very dry climate here unlike the Seattle rain forest that most associate with Washington and it's what I would consider to be scrub land? Richland is located right on the Columbia so there is a fair amount of vegetation and some big old trees down by the river, thank god. I already found my favorite tree which I will have to share with you all later.

Here's the new beauty herself:

I explored the city a little bit by bike this morning while Trevor was at work. All the streets in the Manhattan engineering district are named after U.S. Army members of the Corps of Engineers and the streets corners have tiny "plaques" of sorts with a small description. Around our neighborhood there is a crumbling strip mall with a haphazard collection of stores like "Bible Shoppe" and  "Emerald of Siam Thai Restaurant" which looks fairly sketchy and I am determined to eat there. I then rode the same work route as the morning but stopped at a pavilion of sorts on top of a hill by the Columbia and read some research papers, but mostly napped. All in all, a pretty okay first day.
This was Trevor's contribution to the blog today:

lol poo