Life in Davis

I have lived in Davis for over two years now. Today was the first day I saw a bike accident!!

Now this wasn't just any bike accident. A bicyclist didn't run into another bicyclist. Or into a car. But into a person. Walking. And the bike pretty much ran over the gal.

He didn't slow down at all. Ran right into her like a ton of bricks. It was pretty crazy.

I ran to the victim, asked if she was ok. Her arm was pretty scratched up, bruised and bloody. Another woman ran to the scene as well. The gal was shaken, but totally tough. She laughed it off. I offered to walk her to the union building to get some bandages. We started walking. After a few blocks, she said she was fine, and went her merry way. What sort of blew my mind was that the bicyclist didn't say a word. Maybe he was in shock too? But he didn't say he was sorry. He didn't offer to help. And once we started walking away, I looked back, he was gone like the wind.

It certainly took my mind off of the pretty crumby day (mostly due to a poor attitude, which was largely due to my lack of quality sleep last night, which was completely due to the Red Sox) I'd been having. Well, at least I didn't get run over by a bicycle today.

I tried to find an image on Google Image to illustrate what a bike + pedestrian accident looks like, but apparently no one has ever photographed this.

I'd air my grievances on my blog, but before I'd even start, I'd have to preface them by saying these are developed country, middle class problems. That's what I have. And I know tomorrow I'll wake up on the right side of the bed.

In other news, yesterday morning I heard a couple of undergrads talking about grad students. One of them said, "They're really into the fact that they are grad students. Like, that's all they talk about." I laughed to myself because it reminded me of the grad school post on Stuff White People Like. One of the students did jump in and say, "Well, it is like their career, and school, and social life..." Which is sadly true.

Have I mentioned how excited I am to see the PhD Comics movie in November?


One lovely day!

I had a very nice day today, with little adventures and such. Here is photographic evidence! My mom also requested more photos of my apartment. :-)

A little lab love this morning.
Stumbled upon these sandals on sale at the bookstore! 25% off!
Best price I've seen for Rainbows anywhere.
Came home to my Red Sox hat! :-D It's official! I am a fan.
Had my first pumpkin spice latte of the season!
It was 88* outside, I sipped the steamy deliciousness in my car with the AC on.
It's a little cup of fall regardless of weather!
Made this for dinner! Lemon-dijon tofu and potatoes. 
I added carrots, onion, and whole garlic cloves to the mix.
I also used Trader Joe's delicious whole seed dijon mustard.
So tasty and so easy!
Enjoyed dinner with a wine glass of Diet Dr. Pepper.
Like my new coasters? They were a steal at CB outlet!
Some updates to my apartment...

I rearranged my photos on my bookshelf.
The photo clips and candlesticks are new!
The photo clips. Another steal at CB outlet!
My new candlesticks from CB2.
A while ago, I hung my photo panels!
I'm trying to figure out what to add between them...
And, finally, some wall panels I made with Marimekko fabric.
I think they are bomb.com!
(These wall hangings from CB would probably be around $100 each!)
Another one!
I have plans to make three more larger wall panels for my living room, once I get around to it... :-D

And that concludes this blog post.


Back to School

So, fall quarter started up last Thursday, but today feels like my first real day back. As usual, the first office hours of the quarter are SO busy, I was able to find sometime to go back and read my posts from September 2010 and September 2009. In '09, I wrote about how I was pretty sure my world would be forever different. In '10, I posted the above PhD comic.

This year feels different.

I did leave. I went to Salt Lake for a few weeks to meet my niece and spend time with family and friends. I spent weekends with Sean and his family. I visited Caitlin and Evan at their little yellow house. The summer was full of adventures and relaxation. It was basically 2 or so months of procrastination and, thus, guilty pleasure. Regardless, it was awesome.

And now things have returned to normal. Anyway, I have some goals and sure-to-be highlights for this quarter that ought to be blogged about!

1. I will finish and file my thesis by my birthday. If I only complete one more item on my 24 before 24 list, it will be my thesis!!

2. Sean's sister is getting married and I get to play a very special part in it! This entails some writing and dress shopping. Both of which I'm very excited to do/continue doing.

3. I will be cooking more! In fact, I have a whole menu planned out for the weekend including what I consider my ethnic food (Mormon funeral potatoes!) and pesto salmon with risotto. Mmm!

4. I'm on the executive committee in the grad program, which means exciting meetings, and the graduate student association rep, which means reportedly less exciting meetings. I'm very happy to have this leadership position!

5. At some point, I will hear back about SRA! Cross your fingers that I'll be going to Vancouver next year! :-D

6. And, finally, I am returning to ballet! Tonight I have my first class. I anticipate being very sore tomorrow.

Here we go, Fall 2011!


And the summer ends...


One jar of Nutella, several bags of peanut butter and chocolate candy (e.g., Ghiradelli Milk + PB, PB M&Ms), Lays chips and Stax, peanut butter, popsicles.

Four MAJOR horrifying zits.

Nine hours over three days.

Three papers. Twenty pages. Only a list of readings.

Six ear plugs. Four bobby pins.

A handful of freak-outs and wanting-to-chicken-outs.

A recipe for the preliminary exam.

This is post-prelims Natalie blogging from hot, hot Davis, California. I can see stuff in the future. Things like thesis, Halloween, teaching, November birthdays (my mom, Sean, me, then Wes!), Sarah's wedding, Thanksgiving, Christmas. 2012.

So... what was it like, you ask? Well, this is how studying went:

I had several hundred notecards, which I studied then made into three outlines. One for Development in Infancy through Early Childhood, one for Development in Middle Childhood and Adolescence, and one for Development in Aging and Adulthood. The full outlines were about 60 pages, all inclusive. I then created shortened outlines, around 45 pages. I had to shrink one of them down to size, and they were then about 35 pages. I took thousands of pages of information and made them into bite-sized pieces. Even then, it was almost too much to chew.

But... it happened. All of that stuff got into my brain. It was miraculous. I survived. I hope.


I am so, so thankful for everyone that supported me through it! Clinton, one of my fellow prelimers, posted this quote a few weeks before the exam...

"Pain and suffering devastate even the most resilient of organisms. We cannot avoid it... it was a lie, perhaps the lie of inexperience, that we ever thought we could avoid it. You see, experience and knowledge will show us that life is a long, dark, indifferent road full of anxiety and despair. But experience and knowledge also show us that we can light up this dark road... we are not helpless to its control... but it is up to us. The light is not there... and as we light it up for ourselves we also light it up for everyone else. You'll be surprised how many lights have been put up along the way."

I was surprised, and grateful, for all the lights put up along the way. Stephanie gave me her notes and outlines from the previous years, which helped fill in some gaps and give me ideas for how to study. She also kept me from chickening-out. All of my fellow prelimers helped me get organized, especially Erik who set up a system for sharing articles on dropbox. Teri, Andrew, and Adrienne encouraged me to take the exam this year, and not delay it another. So many people, fellow grad students (like Katie, April, and others) were so supportive and sweet. Nicole even went so far as to buy me a children's book about a sweet little bunny who charms the socks of a cat, for pre-sleep reading. April and Lisa went well out of their way to bake me gluten-free treats on the days of the exam. And Caitlin and Evan invited me over for a wonderful study retreat in Palo Alto.

The day before the exam, my mom sent me a few photos of some tiny pigs (one of those silly, inside jokes!) cheering me on from Salt Lake.

Nothing can help my confidence more than a couple of sweet swine cheering me on. :-D Except, perhaps, the pre-prelim phone calls from my sisters and Taylor.

And, of course, my amazing, sweet boyfriend, who greeted me after the first day at the door with peanut butter M&Ms, a smile, and a big hug. Back rubs and pep talks, tasty food, and open ears. Clean dishes. A bed all made to relax on. What can I say? I love him. Dare I say... he made it almost... fun?! We certainly had hilarious adventures in the afternoons when he did a kick butt job of entertaining and distracting me from the exam.

...We most definitely got our hands on some Dr Pepper Ten (IT'S NOT FOR WOMEN!)

This is my most masculine, intimidating look.
The best news is... it's over! YAY!

And thus the summer ends.

Today was orientation for new MS and PhD students. It was fun to see everyone again, enjoy tasty food, and chat about prelims and get to know the new students a little better. It's so exciting to have a new cohort but it's also bizarre that this is my third year at Davis... feeling kind of old!

Anywho, the quarter begins on Thursday, and I begin teaching(!) on Friday. I'm excited to get to know my students, especially to work with the few that are as passionate about research as me. I'm also excited to finish up my thesis, I will have turned it in before my birthday, so as to mark that special item off my list!

And now to enjoy two guiltless days off. :-)


Cool Beans

Let us be honest. As far as people go, I am quite lucky and I honestly have everything a girl could want. But it's still fun to do a little harmless online shopping just for kicks. Cute things... and things that are somewhat practical... that I'd buy if money grew on trees.

Wall mountable dish rack!

I think this would be fantastic for my bathroom.
Now that function's out of the way...

I love these modern candlesticks.

These coasters are bomb.com. Especially the blue ones.
These Birkenstocks are adorable.

Love this Kate Spade purse!

I am quite smitten with the new Venezia collection! I love the gondola inspired stripes!

Wouldn't this rain jacket be just perfect for Davis' winter? A little brightness on a rainy, gray day.
/end procrastination.

Google Visit and More!

...Hello, Dear Blogosphere.

I am alive and well. Busy as a bee with prelim studying, paper grading, and my two trips in the past week to the bay area to hang out with Caitlin and Evan and Sean's family! There have been oodles of adventures, like to Google Headquarters and grading papers during a karaoke competition, and delicious foodstuffs eaten, particularly those at Google HQ and Sean's mom's barbecue. Delicious. Mostly, I've just been enjoying spending time with some of my favorite people!

Anyway, here are some photos from my visit with Caitlin and Evan!

1900 Charleston.
Google bike system!
All checked in!
Google Voice telephone box!

Pinot Noir soda and Doodles!
Fun friends and tasty eats!
Delicious sushi and gluten free soy sauce!
Nerdiest bathroom ever.
Caitlin in her classroom's dance studio!
Seeing Google was really awesome. So much so that I'm thinking about tailoring my dissertation to get a job as a quantitative researcher at Google. Tasty, free food... the best preschool imaginable... slides! (Not shown.)

Anyway, it's been a fun and busy couple of weeks. Now it's time to give 500% of my focus to prelim preparation and then, it's time to go back to school! 

*Sigh* is summer really almost over?