Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday 13: January snapshot

It happened again. I blinked and there went a whole month! Upon reflection for this Thursday 13, it was a good one...

1. A recent photo:
In line for Tower of Terror.
2. Favorite reading material: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This NY Times best-selling, award-winning book is a riveting story about the life of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black tobacco farmer in the 50s. In the throes of cervical cancer, Henrietta's cells--known later around the world as HeLa--were taken without her knowledge and went on to help scientists make some of the greatest medical discoveries in history--the polio vaccine, genetic mapping, cloning, and more. The book is expertly written and brings up really a lot of moral/ethical questions about medical research, racism, poverty, and privacy. Plus, Oprah's making it into a movie soon.

3. An adventure: DISNEYLAND!
More on our Mother-Daughter Disneyland Adventure here.

4. New dishes cooked: Mac & cheese, collard greens, kale chips, navy beans & ham hocks.
Turns out, I love collard greens! Of course, most things sauteed in bacon grease will taste pretty good.
I tried the Pioneer Woman's macaroni and cheese, and was disappointed at the surprisingly un-creamy concoction. In subsequent mac-related research, I found that tempering the milk and/or incorporating it very slowly will increase creaminess. Or using heavy cream. Either way. I'll write later about how cooking ham hocks almost turned me vegetarian. (Truly.)

5. Major accomplishment: Submitted my revised dissertation proposal to my committee of four faculty members. I'll defend it on Monday the 30th!

6. Something I'm looking forward to: The Jesuit Crab Feed this Saturday. I'm not a huge fan of crabbies, but it's always a good time with friends.

7. New routine: This semester, I'm staying over one night a week in Cactus Land. Wednesdays involve getting up at 4 a.m., flying, teaching, and getting "home" from work around 10 p.m. Then I fly home home on Thursdays. No rest for the wicked!
A view of my weekly commute.
8. Job shift: After a year as a research assistant, I'm back to teaching this semester! I teach half time and do research half time at ASU, and as this teaching post suggests, I'm loving it.

9. Something I'm grateful for: My advisor working overtime to help me apply for a dissertation fellowship for next year. Thank you Sarah! (Please send out your good luck vibes, okay?!)

10. A struggle: Staying motivated in the fitness arena. You know I love me some Zumba, but on the in-between class days, I find myself opting to be a slugbug more often than not. It wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't concurrently making dishes like mac & cheese, and Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls!

11. A blessing: Rain!
Name that movie! Photo credit.
Prior to last weekend, Sacramento was dry as a bone for two straight months. Having the rain arrive felt like such a relief.

12. A new-to-me movie: Road to Perdition. Accepting Tom Hanks as a hit man took some mental work, but overall I enjoyed watching this 2002 flick. Not the most uplifting film in the world, but an intriguing story line.

13. Plans for the last six days of the month: Prepping for the dissertation proposal defense, completing my fellowship application and submitting another article for potential publication.

xoxo,
shawna

7 comments:

  1. You know, I don't think I've ever made collard greens. I think I've meant to... but here in the west it's kind of hit and miss as far as finding them at the grocery store. And I feel your pain on the mac and cheese front. It took me a long time to find a mac and cheese recipe that wasn't bland or just plain gross. I still like the cheap Kraft mac and cheese, but I did finally find a fancy baked mac & cheese recipe that I make on occasion too. Ok one more thing... I've tried making bean soups and such with ham hocks. Will not do it again. Even though the soup tastes ok, just the thought of that gross looking thing floating in the pot kills my appetite and I can't eat the final product. You're definitely not alone on that one!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Shawna, Love your list. Good luck with your dissertation fellowship next year. You've sure had a full month.

    ReplyDelete
  3. People I don't know are so interesting!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, what a month! I bought a new toothbrush.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really want to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Glad to hear such good things about it :)

    My Thursday Thirteen
    To Kill a Mockingbird Blu Ray Giveaway

    ReplyDelete
  6. Holy EFF are you defending today?? GOOD LUCK!! Thinking of you and sending smart, assertive vibes (not that you need them).

    ReplyDelete
  7. Karen- Please share that mac & cheese recipe!! And I'm with you on the ham hocks. I don't think I'll be able to do it again.

    MWK- Thank you! It's just the proposal defense today. Please look forward to a year of dissertation bitching. I think you've had good practice hearing that sort of thing already. ;)

    Thank you all for the lovely comments!

    ReplyDelete