wrapping up the semester

The end of the semester is a crazy, crazy time. Luckily I had some fun times mixed in with the crazy amounts of projects/papers/group presentations/studying for finals/etc.

So delighted to’ve had my cousin Sophia move to town with her hubs Mike (hopefully the first of many relatives embracing the joy that is NC life). Lucky me got to attend her birthday dinner- Mike’s parents treated and invited me along!

Elements is a lovely spot to celebrate a special occasion- look how prettily they decorated our table!

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We split some appetizers- there was calamari that was quite nice and these tempura asparagus say whaaat?! They were good!

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For my entree, I got the scallops. Holy cow! A big adjustment from moving to the DC area to lovely North Carolina: if you order scallops, you go from getting three to getting… eight?! They were great (and abundant!) but the best part was the little mushrooms in the dish (oyster mushrooms maybe?) that soaked up the sauce and were velvety and addictive.

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Another fun outing was hanging out with my friends and their bambino at Carrboro’s central spot, the co-op market (love a town where everyone hangs out on the grocery store lawn!). The bambino turned one in February and is just awesome and adorable at walking. She did a lot of mad giggling, and stared in awe every time a motorcycle or other heavy piece of machinery went by.

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I wen to the co-op another time during a studying lull. Treated myself to al fresco lunch- a selection from the hot bar (it’s always good when classes get stressful to force oneself to eat vegetables- difficult, but worthwhile) and a kombucha on the side for hopefully enhanced immune health.

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Back story- in my medical nutrition therapy, we’ve been doing case studies on different chronic diseases. I was in the Type 1 Diabetes group (I may share about that project) and one of the last groups to present did a case study about chronic kidney disease. Because that group contained Sophia, who is basically a perfect human being (stunningly gorgeous, an amazing baker, brings cake and leads rounds of Happy Birthday on classmates’  special days, writes thoughtful notes to people who get dumped, hosts parties with our whole class, etc.) there was a little special extra something at the end of their presentation.

Behold, kidney cookies!

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She said she ordered the cookie cutter online and they ended up tiny, so she made a lottt of cookies 🙂 I enjoyed a few while figuring out how to dose patients on dialysis.

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On one of the last day of classes (before we started “reading days” for finals, argh!) the School of Public Health hosted a party for all the students. The free food trucks were in theory a fabulous idea, but ultimately involved 70+ minute lines.

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This led to selfie opportunities (people who don’t know me: I’m in the very front on the right. People who do know me: it’s so weird that I have this big important group of people in my life who you haven’t met!)

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Love these people. It wasn’t so bad sharing those minutes with them (and we were all, frankly, happy to give our brains a bit of a break).

The tacos we got at the end of the line were… yknow, tacos. Heh. Probably not totally worth it, but they fueled me through epidemiological data analysis (eeeeuuuuurrrgggghhh). Also got some natural brand chips that were basically hot cheetos- fun little throwback!

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My friends spontaneously had me over for dinner- it was soooo nice to be fed, and so nice to take a Friday night off to watch Bull Durham. Before, of course, spending the remainder of the weekend furiously working on health policy management analysis questions and a presentation about obesity management options, among other things.

Anyway, my awesome friend Myra made buffalo cauliflower pizza! Cauliflower made into buffalo chicken like bites, plus blue cheese on the pizza, and, once the pizza was out of the oven, a sprinkling of cool crunchy celery and creamy ranch dressing. Tasty junk food that is at least a bit reduced-guilt!

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Then came another studying weekend.

Sidebar: I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day, and told her about (a concept I got secondhand from my friend Andrea) Dan Savage’s theory about “price of admission” in relationships. The idea is, everyone, even in really happy relationships, is going to find something annoying about their partner. They bite their nails, they watch trashy TV, their best friend bugs you, etc. That’s price of admission, and you get all the perks that come with being in that Couples Club that makes it worth it (companionship and support and laughter so on). But I was telling my mom… I’m just not missing that much about being in a relationship. Right now, to me, with everything else going on in my life (and all the other sources of companionship and support and laughter I have) the price of admission to get into a relationship is not worth it.

But the one exception is, I am embarrassed to admit BRUNCH! I am a super stereotypical girl and do want someone to accompany me to brunch. I miss admission to brunch.

But eh, for now I’ll take myself. And, of course, flashcard making materials.

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Above is brunch from Jessees: their strong and delicious coffee and their super yummy open faced biscuits. Toasted biscuits topped with maple roasted turkey, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, and cheese. Note that I took some of this home afterwards (it’s quite a tall and messy dish) and the leftovers actually reheated well! Even with eggs! Score!

Finally, a note on nature.

First, the pitfalls of nature: the pollen here is out of *@#(%&@#%& control. I did not know there were places in this world where there was just a coating of yellow on bloody everything. It’s particularly gross when you think about the fact that it’s basically tree sperm.

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In addition, even in places that aren’t permanently yellow in April and May, I am violently allergic to pollen. So my situation here is even more insane. I am a snot machine!

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However, Mother Nature did me a solid lest I grew to hate her:

we have babies!

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In general birds seem to be a big fan of my apartment complex, and I noticed a particularly high activity level on my porch starting a few weeks ago. Alli was going to go dump out the (dead) contents of a plant pot, when she found a nest!

We then spent quite a few days looking, engrossed, at mama bird, who we named Phoebe (because we initially thought she was a Phoebe; though it turns out she is, in fact, a house finch). Phoebe’s baby daddy has proven to be a dedicated and responsible father: while Phoebe faithfully kept her eggs warm, her man (who, incidentally, is pretty darn handsome with a bright red breast and face) would come and faithfully regurgitate snacks into her mouth.

Then once the kiddos were born both mummy and daddy came bringing them nourishment (we learned that house finches nourish their young on non-meat protein from grains and seeds; my roommate laughed and said of course they were vegetarians, living in the crunchy place they do). The parents also seem to do sort of a tag-team nest cleaning maneuver where one of them pulls out stuff with their beak and the other one does some crazy wing flapping.

The babies have grown since the picture above was taken, and I’ll have an update for y’all soon, but for now I thought I’d let y’all see them as they entered the world, as just little fluffy fluff balls of fluff dawwww!

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