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.


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