Dog days and dog years

Hi everyone! Another weekend has come and gone and I’ve run the farthest that I’ve ever run again. Nine miles yesterday! I have a 10 mile run next week and then two weeks of relative rest until race day!

This post is mostly about Indy though so let’s get to the important stuff 🙂

wpid-20150315_152226.jpgIndy has really developed a love for people furniture but she also can really tell the comfy stuff from the not-so-comfy stuff. For instance she really doesn’t like the basement couch even though it comes with a matching chair. On an unrelated note, anyone want to buy wonderfully comfortable matching couch and chair?

That picture of Indy was from Thursday or Friday I think. Afterwards we decided to go out for sushi at a place we’ve recently discovered in northish Raleigh called Kai sushi and sake bar. They have a three roll special for $24 which is not a bad price at all and they have some unique rolls that they served to us on this excellent fish dish.

wpid-20150320_200158.jpgThis weekend was Indy’s birthday. She’s four years old now, making her around 28 in dog years. She still hasn’t settled down and found a man but that’s ok. She can live her life the way she wants to as long as she’s happy.We went for a long run/walk. She went about 5 miles with Amanda before they turned around and I continued on my for 9 miles. I hurt something in my leg around mile 7.5 and had to take my first ice bath when I got back. Amanda was very amused at my reaction although I didn’t see what was so funny about it.

We seared a steak for Indy as a special birthday treat. You can see her enjoying it below. If I had a premium subscription to upload videos you could see her inhale the whole thing at the end but alas, poor graduate students can’t afford such luxuries, especially after splurging on a better dinner for the dog than ourselves.

wpid-screenshot_2015-03-23-16-41-41.png wpid-screenshot_2015-03-23-16-40-07.png

After her long walk and delicious dinner she couldn’t fight off the cuddles. I don’t think she would have anyway 🙂

wpid-20150322_221621.jpgI added another picture with me in it too but the angle and lighting aren’t half as good as the first one. Also Indy looks slightly more depressed…. or maybe has a stomach ache from eating a steak whole. Next time we’ll cut it up some for her 🙂

wpid-20150322_221632.jpgUntil next time!

An Irish adventure

Yay date night! and it was the weekend that downtown was celebrating St. Paddy’s day too. Amanda taught me that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland which I’m a little skeptical of but it seems nice of him. I don’t know exactly how you drive snakes out of anywhere. Do you shout at them? Do you chase them with whacking sticks? Do you raise a large family of mongooses? I don’t think getting rid of a snake problem by starting a rodent problem is a great solution, and then who drives Rikki Tikki Tavi and his family out of Ireland? In any case, St. Patrick, if you’re reading this could you stop by and help us out with our copperhead problem?

Our plan was to go to Centro for dinner. When we got there, after 8:00, we were told there would be an hour wait. In my shocked state I allowed them to put us on the wait list and take my phone number down before leaving to find that the Hive was much better suited to our schedule. We walked in, sat down and had beers in hand within 10 minutes. That is when Centro called and said they had a table available, 13 minutes after telling me there would be an hour wait.

Dear Centro,

Your food is amazing, but get your shit together.


Steve and Amanda


Amanda got an amber ale. They were all out of the Death by Hops cask of the night but I got another IPA that Amanda decided to try. Here’s a picture of her reaction, I think she really liked it!!!


Next up: dinner. We were both pretty hungry by now. What is it about daylight saving time that pushes your dinner schedule back an hour or two? We still get hungry at the same time but just decide to be unhappy about it and find a snack before finally getting around to dinner. The loaded tots at Busy Bee/The Hive are amazing so we started with those.


I got the left hand burger with onions cooked in some stout I think and sharp white cheddar cheese


Amanda got a chicken sandwich with some kind of basil pesto, pear and honey. Amanda won this time and about bit my face off when I tried to steal it from her.


After dinner we went to Tir na Nog for some Guinness followed by some cheap green beer. Immediately upon walking in Amanda joined two guys calling the hogs. They were so happy to run into another Arkansas fan I think they fell in love. This really set the tone for a great night of watching and interacting with very interesting people including one guy I overheard telling a stranger about how the settlers didn’t even have cell phones and they managed to find their way home so he didn’t really see what the problem.



There was an Irish rock band called The Fighting Jamesons playing. The high energy, small venue show reminded me of my punk rock days back in the 90s. I went to lots of shows in little hole in the wall places with my old high school friends back then. I nostalgia’d HARD.



My first time in a mosh pit in I guess 15 years was fun although I did get my glasses knocked off my face. They got pretty mangled before I was able to find them since there were drunken horses stomping around. Luckily I ordered them from China for 30 bucks so it wasn’t such a loss.


While searching for them I found a set of keys and saved a couple from a ruined night. The girl looked like she was about to kiss me or Amanda or both of us after their frantic search ended with me asking if the keys were theirs.

We also saw an entertaining wrestling match between some guy and two cops. They tackled him to the floor of the bar and carted him off for a free night’s stay in a suite cell at the city jail.

We also saw some bagpipers at the bar for some authentic Irish celebration. Amanda was surprised to learn there is a bagpipe class available at State so I figured I’d let you all know too.


All in all we had a blast. At the end of the night Amanda drove us home since my glasses were smashed. Thankfully we were not smashed and didn’t suffer too much the next morning. Probably a good thing that they were all out of jello shots 😉

Have you had any adventures out on the town lately?

I made cookies!

Well it’s been a while since I posted, things have been a little crazy. Let’s see if we can sum up what’s been going on. I’ve been continuing on my half marathon training and have upped my running schedule from 3 to 4 days a week. Amanda has been running too and also spent some time on her bike trainer.

wpid-20150201_122712.jpgWe went to see the Imitation Game about Alan Turing on Friday.

wpid-20150130_192123.jpgIt was really good and helped remind me that I like being a scientist. With my newly rediscovered inspiration and motivation I got back in the lab this week and made some good progress. More on that later.

On Sunday we went to a Superbowl party with some friends. We made sweet vanilla butter cookies (recipe below) and a delicious Thug Kitchen black bean and cilantro dip (after the turmoil of grocery shopping on Superbowl Sunday afternoon (which I will never recommend for anyone without a serious masochistic streak) in a store with NO FREAKIN CILANTRO! How does that even happen?


wpid-20150201_170537.jpgWe also took tequila shots for some reason.

wpid-20150201_211828.jpgAnyway, this week I’ve been pretty productive in the lab. I took a bunch of measurements and made some nice pretty graphs and it’s a good thing too because today I was asked to present my recent work to a new industry partner for our Research Center. I got a good 90 minute notice that my adviser wouldn’t be attending and I would be presenting. Do you see why I sometimes hate grad school?

Anyway, race training! It’s going well so far. My long run this week is 5 miles and then I have an easy week before increasing again. Week after next when I do 6 miles it will have been my longest run ever! I still haven’t cried any (well, maybe a little on that damn foam roller) and my legs don’t feel like they’re going to fall off despite how much I might like them to. I’ve been making great use of my GPS watch Christmas gift (thank you baby!) and logging my runs on Garmin connect. Even though I was a little off this week and my short runs were a little tough (read: made me want to barf), it’s nice to see my progress 🙂

Are you training for anything??

Sweet Vanilla Butter Cookie

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed at 300K (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (get the real stuff, trust me)
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped*
  • 1 large egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Put flour and salt in small mixing bowl, whisk to combine
  3. In large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar with a mixer until light and creamy. Add vanilla, vanilla bean seeds (discard pod) and egg. Mix until combined. Add flour/salt mixture and mix on low until just combined.
  4. Make your cookies! We used a Cuisinart Electric Cookie Press to make nice shapes but you can do it however you like. They were pretty small, maybe the size of a half dollar and a quarter inch thick.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Keep a close eye on them since your cookie size may influence the cooking time.
  6. Cool before removing from pan (I didn’t do this, I just started eating them. I burnt my fingers a little)

* to get the seeds out of the pod, cut it in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, flatten it out and scrape the seeds out with the knife edge/tip

Wicked and Wild

Hi everyone! Hope you all have had a lovely day!

Yesterday was a typical day in the life of a grad student. Bat shit crazy. Sometimes the crazy is a good thing and you leave the day feeling super accomplished. Other days….notsomuch. This was luckily one of those in between crazy days, where it starts off great and then unravels into total chaos.

Highlights of the work day:


Cookie at the weekly seminar! It was delish 😀


The 3D printer is up and running! As a side note, I need to figure out how to set the LEDs in the thing to change colors so then it’ll be like a disco when I print things.

We also had a great lunch with leftovers from our great dinner last night (another Blue Apron, but hey it’s planned and easy so why not). I’d tell you what it’s called but I can’t spell it without the recipe card right next to me…. O.o oops. But it had chicken and coconut milk and spices and veggies and rice and it was awesome.


Downside of the work day: (That there are no pictures of because why would you take a picture of that!?)

The director for the ERCs (engineering research center) nationwide was stopping by for a visit. Cool right?! Except for that, like things always go, he was running 30 min late……then 1 hr late…….then 1.5 hrs late. GAH! Majorly. Annoying. Made worse by some blatant sexism but that’s a story for another time.

Because we were running super late….our date night plans had to be slightly adjusted. Originally we were gonna dress nicely, go get dinner, and then go to our show. Instead, we were swinging through Cookout drive through and eating in the car as we were trying to make up time so we weren’t late for……



We got there with just enough time to jog walk in and grab some wine before getting to our seats.


And. It. Was. Incredible.

We got a chance to walk around Durham for a bit before heading back home and crashing.

What is your favorite date night activity?