Thursday, March 24, 2011

tender mercies

so i was actually really surprised how easy it was to get back to real life after my mission. people would always ask me how i was doing, and i would always say " . . . great!" So i don't know if this is normal, but it seems to be getting HARDER the more time goes by haha. at least so far. the last few weeks i've been missing the mission a lot. maybe it's because my brother and parents are all preparing for theirs. secret confession...rain has the power to make me cry every time :) however! i've found that the times when i'm missing the mission the most, the Lord just drops in these tender mercies. Examples:

*one day, i was randomly missing being a missionary. oh i remember why now! i was walking up the hill to campus, and i saw two cute korean girls speaking in korean. then i started missing sister lee, sister kim, H mart, bul-go-gi, and just seeing koreans everywhere. i was about to get emotional (yeah i know i'm pathetic). then i looked up and saw this guy staring at me, but then he quickly looked away. i played the whole walk-faster-so-you-can-catch-up-to-someone-and-get-a-look-at-their-face game. as i got closer i realized it was a guy that was in one of the wards i served in! he'd just gotten off his mission while i was there and he'd come to a few lessons with us. i said his name, and he was like "it IS you! i didn't think you were home so i was really freaked out!" so we walked and chatted for a minute when we ran into this OTHER guy from the same ward!! so we started reminiscing, and THEN a girl from one of my OTHER areas came walking up. Then a fourth person from maple valley! i didn't actually know him, but still....crazy reunion huh? it made me so happy. the lord is so aware

*then yesterday, i was at the provo temple. the past few days i'd really been missing the mission. i was waiting on the benches and started accidentally eavesdropping on the temple workers' conversation. "is your son getting excited to go to seattle?" i, of course, butted right in. "is he going on a mission there??" "yes! in May." "I just got back from there!!! it's the most amazing mission . . . etc etc etc . . . blah blah blah" so this cute korean woman came over to me and i got to tell her everything that her son should expect. he's going to be speaking korean and english! i told her all about the korean branch and i told her about the korean market and i told her all about President and Sister Larkin and the korean sisters and elders he would meet. it was so fun. i loved it. SAY HELLO TO SEATTLE FOR ME ELDER SONG!!!

*THEN last night, i ran across my friend (and first companion) Diane's blog... expressing the same feelings about the mission. and it just made me happy to read it. so i'm a total copycat but i'm going to post a few pics... just humor my nostalgia :) bring on the mission reunion!!!!

I had to stop with my companions... there are way too many other people i adore that i'd be up way too late. another day, another post :)

my favorite customers of the day

so just got back from work, and i was reminded why i love it. i get to meet the coolest people. i of course LOVE the people i work with in my lab... but i also love stepping out of that windowless room that and meeting all kinds of random people. today's favs:

*cute mom of 2...her husband's been in Irag for the past 6 months! and he is going to be out 6 t0 9 more months! i think that would be so hard. but at least i could give her our military discount :) 10% off. see, i have an impact in the world!

*cutest japanese woman. turns out she's here on vacation and was in japan when the tsunami hit! luckily she was in tokyo, a pretty safe area. but she said they didn't have electricity and now their water is contaminated from the radiation. luckily her family is all ok. she was really sweet and said how grateful they have all been, knowing the world has been praying for their country. it definitely made it more real for me, to hear about it from someone who experienced it. so i will be praying for japan more from now on.

*sweet family from mexico! their english was minimal, so i spoke my smidgeon of spanish. i actually only know how to say gospel-related words, so i told them all i knew was "hola! we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" in spanish. Then they got excited and said "mormon! mormon!" they told me they met missionaries in Monterrey, Mexico. So i told them my little brother is about to leave on his mission to Oaxaca, Mexico and they were excited. Anyway, loved them. wish i spoke more spanish!!!!

*then there was the pajama crisis. it's pajama day at school tomorrow, so of course teenager wants cute new pajamas. but then the crisis will only pay $10!!! the world is coming to an end. mom is trying to be the peacemaker. enter LIZ. luckily, we have a clearance section! pj pants for $4.99...we are in business. but the top is $5.99. you do the math. tears in the dressing room. liz is quietly talking about other options with mom on the side. dad is waiting outside the story. liz does all in her power, then slowly backs away. next meeting is at the register. i ring up both items. $11.73. i promised i wouldn't tell dad about the extra $1.73. i offered to plan a bake sale to raise the extra cash. mom says she thinks dad will be ok. teenager has a smile on her face. she will be cute at pajama day :) like i said, i make a difference in the world.

well that concludes tonight's episode of my favorite customers. tune in next time for more exciting tales from the life of liz. i know i joke around...but i actually do love my job!

SIDENOTE: today i got a very exciting letter in the mail. turns out i was accepted for the cancer research center fellowship this summer!! yay for getting paid to do what i love... culturing cells, killing cells, shooting light at cells, and figuring out what it all means!! seriously i love it.

cancer researcher by day... sales associate by night. life doesn't get any better than this :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

it's official!

ok folks, it's official...the scriptures are really true :) you know how it says to arise early that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated? well i always trust the scriptures, but that one's rough when your alarm is going off at 6:30 am ya know? well i did an official experiment to test the hypothesis that this is true... (ok so actually i didn't plan on doing this...but the science nerd in me decided to pretend i did)

EXPERIMENTAL SETUP: sleep in ridiculously late one day...see how your day goes....get up early the next

RESULTS: so yesterday i slept in til about 9 am (i am really good at convincing myself i deserve it as the alarm is going off and the snooze button is all too accessible). and THEN i didn't even get up right took me almost thirty minutes to REALLY get out of bed (you know how you like make your bed but then lay on top....then you turn on the light, but go lay back down? yeah that's me sometimes). even when i finally got out of bed i kept getting distracted by things i didn't really need to do and i was just slow. anyway...long story short, i just wasn't as productive as i could have been.

fast forward to this morning. look at how much I've accomplished (and it's now 9 am, the same time i woke up yesterday). I got up at 7 (yes actually UP), studied the scriptures for 30 min (yes actually STUDIED, not just read), cleaned the kitchen, showered, got cute (yes actually CUTE for once), ate strawberries and yogurt for breakfast (yes i actually ate breakfast and it was actually healthy), and prepared caesar wraps for lunch (yes HOMEMADE). plus i got to jam to some sweet james taylor tunes while i got ready. I LOVE TODAY.

GOAL: remember this experiment next time my alarm is going off....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


my first 10k . . . the rex lee run!
i finished in 57:45. not bad for my first time
(especially since i was running 11 minute miles in january when i started out).

some favorite moments:
*taking a wrong turn hear the end and having to backtrack while looking like a total idiot
*my headband flying off my head and hitting the guy behind me in the face (it was one of those elastic ones) good times
*starting to get tired around mile 4 when "running on empty" came on the ipod. legit. pumped me up, made me think of dad.
*passing guys along the way. yeah that felt cool.
*coming in 261st haha (but hey, not bad out of 454! i never claimed to be fast...)
*running with my roommate steph! (well STARTING the race with steph. she's hard core)

Sunday, March 6, 2011


so today was the day jen and i got to present our posters :) the poster session is 2 hours long, with the odd-numbered posters presenting for the 1st hour and the evens for the 2nd hour. people wander around looking at posters that interest them and you get to walk them through your project and answer their questions. i was supposed to present for the 2nd hour but went over to my poster at the beginning to put my coat down. there were a couple guys looking it over so i started answering their questions. after that i had a steady stream of people almost the whole 2 hours! it's so fun to be able to share what i study and feel legit enough to talk about it with scientists from all over the world. today i made friends with people from india, germany, spain, columbia, and denmark! (haha funny aside....i couldn't remember the name "denmark" for a few minutes there...i had to ask jen what the country was called that speaks danish...and she just gave me the look that means i'm challenged...haha awesome) anyway! it was good times. This was an interesting project to present because i actually didn't do any of the experiments! they were done back in the year 2000 when i was thirteen years old :) then i was the one who analyzed all the experiments before my mission. i even blogged about this project here and here. now years later, i'm finally presenting the data! haha.

new friends . . .

well i am blogging from BALTIMORE, MARYLAND today! jen, hannabeth, dr bell, and i are here for the biophysical society annual meeting. more nerdy details to come. but for now, wanted to share my favorite baltimore-ites. i love making new friends!

*RUSH: so we flew out of salt lake around 9:45 am yesterday. it was a four hour flight, yet all we got to eat was PRETZELS. we got pretty excited when we saw the people in front of us get TWO bags of peanuts each. we were sorely disappointed when we only got ONE bag of pretzels a piece. i don't know if there are a different rules for peanuts or if we just weren't cool enough. either way, i was pretty hungry. i had a cinnamon roll for breakfast (thanks mom!), but lets be honest, that's just not enough to hold you for 6 hours. by the time we caught our super shuttle (they almost tried to drop us off at days inn instead of the radisson... close call) and got our bags up to the hotel room, i was famished. one of the many things i learned on my mission was that i get cranky when i'm hungry. i still don't entirely think this is true, but that's what my companions told me. however, yesterday it was definitely true! i was cranky! (in a pleasant way of course). the concierge suggest Tony's Grill one block over, and boy are we glad he did. our buddy Rush was there to greet us at the door! he seated us and handed us menus. we glanced at them for a bit, a little disappointed at how expensive everything was. when Rush came by again, i told him how excited we were to be there and i told him just how hungry i was. then the miracle. he said "you know what? i have a deal just for you. i have a special take out menu, only $5.99 for delicious sandwiches with right back...just for you!" then he came back with the top secret menu...just for us. dinner for $6 ain't bad i say. later when i asked for more water, Rush tipped off my glass and said "anything for you? you know this right? anything for you!" so moral of the story is, sometimes it pays to tell people just how hungry you a very pleasant way of course. i think we're going to hit up tony's another time or 2 :)

*THE CONCIERGE: so turns out i forgot my toothbrush. yup. sad day. you'd think i'd be responsible enough to bring a toothbrush but no. so this morning i called up the front desk and they told me they had some. i ran down and came back up with a toothbrush, 3 things of toothpaste, and 3 bottles of mouthwash. i told him how i just hadn't been a very good packer and he said, "you know what, i'm going to hook you up!" and he did. i think i should go down again and tell him i forgot my boots and a rain coat and see if he will hook me up with those too :)

*HOUSEKEEPING: well this one was actually all Jen. we went to church this morning (by the way, friendliest ward i've ever been to! so fun) and came back and took a little power nap. we were awoken by housekeeping knocking on the door. we opened up and told her we were leaving in a couple minutes. jen ended up talking to her for like 15 minutes, helped her clean up the towels, and talked her into giving us 3 more bottles of shampoo and conditioner AND extra towels. i think we're her favorite room now. (note .... i know what you're saying... our hotel friends would've given ANYBODY extra toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner... but trust me... we have something special with these people)

*our last little friend is actually not a friend. mostly this is just a random story. so last night jen and i went on a search for 7-11 to see if we could buy some snacks. turns out it was a lame-o 7-11 with nothing that we wanted (except dibs...that will be a purchase later this week...). anyway on the way back, we saw this guy crouching in the middle of the road. upon closer inspection, we realized he was holding a 6-inch knife, scraping a manhole cover. what the random! i wasn't even creative enough to come up with an explanation. needless to say, we decided we should always follow the buddy system while wandering around baltimore after dark :) good times.

let's wrap up this post with some pics. we walked to church this i decided to have comfy footwear :) dr bell was kind enough to stick my heels in his bag for later. also, i felt pretty legit in this chair, so jen helped me document it.

ps - check out my legit badge. yup i'm a member of the biophysical society.

a reunion of epic proportions!!

it was the first time all 7 of us had been together in TWENTY TWO MONTHS!

Ryan got his first taste of the craziness that is ALL of the gibbons together for games. this night's game: acquire. watch out . . . you may get yelled at, mocked, slapped, or ganged up on. especially when it gets late at night :)

sometimes we like to hang out under the piano... that is to say we will do anything james wants to do! haha

other highlights of the weekend include our snowman, snowdog, and igloo with a book of mormon keystone. pretty legit. pictures to come.

there's nothing like family :) i can't wait for this weekend! the WHOLE fam will be there (including jonathan!) and josh will give his farewell talk in church.

what does YOUR family do when they get together?

well MINE makes up completely random, simple games that turn into intense competitions.

this time around, it was "pens o' plenty" (i can't remember who came up with this one? josh?) the rules are simple: toss the pen . . . the person who gets closest to the edge of the table without falling off WINS!

and the winner pics! (ryan beat out mom at the last minute . . . )

simple pleasures :)

and the winner is . . .

happy for me since that means i can go visit a lot :)

ps - i attempted to upload this AWESOME mp3 ... "happy little home in arkansas" ... unfortunately there was a tragedy and there was an ERROR ... even after i paid a whole $0.99 for it on amazon ... even though my parents already had it ... just so i could have an entertaining blog post ... oh well you can't win them all