The search for baby geese!

Published July 2, 2014 by iampotassium

This past Sunday was National Camera Day so I took my DSLR and my faithful camera buddy – the one and only micro Squishable T rex Sir Chandler “Cornflakes” Montgomery III – on a bike ride to the park by my house on a mission: find baby geese.

A few months ago, Cobalt and I were on a run in this same park when we came across the following sign:

and then were promptly chased down the path by one aggressive hissing goose!

It’s been a while now so Sir Chandler and I decided to see if we could find some baby geese! Sounds like a great way to spend National Camera Day!

We got to the park and set out looking for clues…

Sir Chandler found a feather! We must be on the right track!

We finally found them in the lake. Turns out that I kind of missed the “baby” goose phase and now the little guys are starting the awkward preteen goose phase… Still, they were really cute to photograph so I sat in the grass taking pictures.

The geese started swimming in my direction. Not wanting to make the parents mad at me, I retreated to a safe distance as the geese got out of the lake and started chillin’ in the patch of grass I had just been sitting in. Also I took some more pictures!

Ahhhhhhhhhh I love their awkward teenage puff feathers!!!

Anyway, I had a lot of fun photographing these guys. I had to be quick and quiet. I also wanted to make sure I gave the geese a nice distance between me and them – both out of respect and also fear of goose attacks (I am secretly scared of geese – too many close calls with my childhood friend’s crazy goose!).

Apparently my adventures with baby fowl were just starting because yesterday as I walked to the store, I saw a mom duck and her baby ducklings in the creek by my house! The baby ducklings were sooooo small and soft and puffy looking. I just wanted to hug them! Instead, I went home and got my camera. I am not sure the picture below accurately captures how adorably cuddly these baby ducks were but I didn’t want to get any closer to them – I think I was stressing the mom out as it was! Still! Look how tiny! And puff!

TINY BEAKS

How are you guys doing now that you’ve had a cuteness dose for the day? Seriously, I am so happy that I saw those baby duckys yesterday – trying to finish grad school is hard and seeing adorable baby ducks put me in a way better mood…

Eric and Clara got married (sneak peak)!!!

Published June 25, 2014 by iampotassium

This weekend, my friends Clara and Eric got married! Eric works in the lab next to ours and has helped me a lot with my complicated data analysis problems and Clara is his crafty bride. Every time I see her, she is making something awesome (a new wallet, cute stuffed mice for the children she nannies for, etc etc etc). One time, Clara and I escaped from a party to go to Michael’s Crafts and get painting supplies. It was an awesome adventure. Anyway, there’s something special about these wedding photos I’m sharing with you today. I often bring my fatty DSLR to weddings to take pictures of the bride and groom but this time Eric and Clara asked me to be their official wedding photographer! WOW! So Cobalt and I headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park this past Saturday with my DSLR and all three of my lenses! It was epic – generally I think photographers get more than 2 days notice about photographing people’s weddings so this one was a lot of playing everything by ear and herding family and bridal party members around to make sure I got pictures that I thought Eric and Clara would want. Overall I think it went smoothly – it was a beautiful day at the park and Eric and Clara were so happy and fun to photograph. They had a short ceremony in the morning and the rest of the day was spent frolicking with family and friends (and lots of eating). It was a great day and I feel so honored that I got to be such a big part of it!

Now onto the pictures! I took over a thousand pictures that I am going to be slowly editing when I need a break from science this summer but for now here is a sneak peak so you can see for yourself how beautiful this day was! :)





Because this was my first wedding ever, I thought I would write a little about my experience and give (myself and anyone else who is interested) some reminders/tips. First of all, I LOVED photographing the wedding. I’m not going to lie; it was kind of fun being bossy to get everyone positioned for pictures. Also, I relished all the thinking I had to do about poses, lighting, where I should be, etc. I was so happy and in my element being creative!

Finally, two lists to sum up my reminders/tips:

First: what to bring for a “survival kit.” I brought bandaids, tissues, water, and hair clips. I should have also brought sunscreen because we all fried to a crisp out there. >_<

Second: some things I think will be important to remember when prepping to photograph a wedding/engagement session.

  1. Get to know the bride and groom – I think this was easy for me because I work with Eric and I see Clara a lot too. This is really important though because I want to take pictures that capture the couple’s essence and I want to put them into poses that seem natural for their personalities
  2. Ask the bride and groom beforehand for certain pictures that they definitely want – this part caused some stress on my part during this wedding because I didn’t know which family members had come and I didn’t know who wanted to be photographed with whom. Also I think if the bride and groom and the photographer have an idea about the “set list” before the wedding, it helps the photographer plan the shots and the timing needed to get all of them beforehand.

That’s all! I hope you liked the pictures! I can’t wait to photograph more weddings/engagements/special events! Let me know if you want me to do something for you! :D

The one with the completed sewing projects

Published June 11, 2014 by iampotassium

Can you tell I’ve been watching a lot of Friends?

Hey all! We’re still in the backlog of what happened to Potassium for the past few months so I today we are talking about the few sewing projects I’ve managed to complete while being completely overwhelmed in school. Yay!

First up we have the rice whale. I got the idea for this guy back during winter break when I spent pretty much the entire time at my sis in law’s house curled up with a rice frog made from Harry Potter fabric. It was awesome. I just popped him in the microwave for a minute and voila! Warmthhhhhhh… So I decided to make myself a rice creature of sorts… I went shopping with my mom for the fabric when we were visiting my family for new years. Then I went back to lab and got swamped and didn’t think about rice creatures for a while. Fast forward to April, my sis in law found me a pattern for what could definitely become a rice whale and my excitement was reignited! The pattern was in Russian so I kind of just guestimated about sizing and such and I made one total fail rice whale and one okay but not amazing rice whale before the one pictured above but yay! Rice whale complete! And I think I’ve got the pattern mostly figured out now too which is awesome. I wish grad school would stop trying to drown me so I could make more for family and friends….

Second up we have the shark hoodie. So I originally bought this hoodie to be part of a Halloween bat costume last year. For those of you who don’t know, I have a similar hoodie (except it’s blue) that got turned into a super awesome raptor costume for my first year of grad school. It’s still all raptor-y and I love wearing it. Last year, as a grumpy 6th year, I just pinned wings to my bat hoodie and then after Halloween was over, it got converted back into a normal black hoodie. However, when Cobalt and I were romping around NYC last month, I noticed that one of the pockets was starting to detach from the hoodie. Thus the shark idea was born. I should fix the pocket, yes, but how much more awesome would it be if I embroidered a shark over the pocket instead of just using normal black thread to fix the problem?! Wahahaha… I am proud to say that I used three different stitches here for the shark – chain stitch for his gills, the split stitch for his outline, and the satin stitch for his eyes. I found sewing this shark amazingly relaxing and healing after all the craziness in lab. AND now my hoodie looks way more awesome! :)

Now I need more art projects. Ideas? I found some crochet patterns for tiny sushi… Might be fun…. ;)

Potassium and her projects

Anyway, I apologize for never writing in here and being really bad about posting pictures that people are actually excited about (like from graduation or weddings I’ve recently attended). I have been saying that it’s because I am too busy and that is definitely true (I now have an army of undergrads – okay… 2 undergrads – to train in addition to doing all of my stuff) but I think that it’s partly that I’ve been kind of depressed lately. I get the feeling that my pictures aren’t going to be good anyway so why do I even try? And then of course I take lame pictures and I get mad at myself and go hide in the corner and am all emo instead. Also, lab work is actually starting to feel like it is destroying my soul. I am kind of having a life crisis about it – here I have spent years of my life training to be a scientist and what do I have to show for myself? Rage?! I hate it so much right now! It breaks my heart to think about how much time and effort I have spent working on something that makes me frustrated and infuriated and stressed out, etc. Here I am so close to finishing this degree I have wanted all my life and instead of feeling relieved and excited about the future, all I can see is how much work I have left to do and how much I just don’t care anymore. :-/

Whoa… that got deep for a minute. Anyway, I thought I owed you guys the truth so there it is. Now it’s your turn – ideas for new projects? Potassium needs some distractions from science, which is eating her soul. Also, if you know this feeling I am talking about, care to share some insight?

An Ode to Sprained Ankles

Published May 28, 2014 by iampotassium

My ankles graduated from physical therapy yesterday. They’re still a little scar tissue-y but they’re getting their strength back and are ready to be on the move again. In fact, I got the okay to return to all normal sporty activities! Just in time for summer (bring on the hikes and some (gentle) trail runs)! It got me thinking about what a crazy 3.5 months it’s been and I wanted to share it with you.

Dressed up for a wedding + my sweet double boots 12 days after I fell…

I can’t tell you how many minutes hours I have spent now obsessing over that split second before I fell off the climbing wall. What could I have done differently? Why was I climbing at all when my toes were already sore? Why didn’t I fall differently? What would my life have looked like if I hadn’t fallen? and on and on and on and over and over and over again. Especially after I first fell, I would lie on the couch/my bed staring up at the ceiling being mad at myself for hurting myself really badly just in time to miss the entire season of spring soccer.

But you know what? I think overall it turned out okay. Not like I needed to fall or that I purposely fell or whatever you are thinking… Mostly I think that some good came out of it. I really learned to listen to my body for one thing. I tend to get stuck in my head a lot, especially when I am stressed out. The recovery process especially required constant awareness of how my ankles were feeling. Are they hurting? How badly? Should I ice them? Are they hurting because I’ve been lazy and forgotten to do all my PT exercises? etc. I think it’s good because it reminds me to connect with the world instead of freaking out about science in my head like I always do.

Second of all, it helped me learn how to deal with anger and sadness. I am a wiggly person – not even being able to frolic down the stairs in my house was a big thing for me to lose. Also I have a lot of anger at science right now because I am so done with this graduate school thing. I used to use exercise to physically wear myself out when I was angry. Sometimes I think it’s healthy to be able to run the anger out but sometimes I think it can be bad – leading you to not listen to your body telling you to stop because you’re SO FULL OF RAGE RIGHT NOW BODY, OKAY?! So while it was incredibly depressing to not be able to have my rage outlet anymore, I think it was useful because it forced me to find constructive ways to learn how to handle everything. I’m still learning but I think it was good anyway.

Back when I was only allowed to run for 10 minutes every other day, Cobalt and I successfully ran/walked a 5K.

Finally, I made some awesome PT friends – including some people who hurt their ankles in the same climbing gym in the same area as I did. It made me feel sad that we all had hurt ankles but it also made me feel better – that this is a common error and that I’m not alone. I also befriended all of the PT doctors who helped me go from a hobbling version of myself with double ankle braces on to the me who is pretty much 90% functional now. I know they were just doing their jobs but I am so grateful for everything they did – including calming me down when I was freaking out that I was going to be broken forever and pushing me to get back to normal. Yay ankles!

I celebrated my new found ankle freedom yesterday by throwing a football outside our science building on a beautiful sunny day with my friends. It was lovely. :)

Now it’s your turn – tell me about an injury you had and how you coped with it. Or tell me about something that’s driving you CRAZY right now. Or just tell me whatever. You know how it goes. :)

We’re Still Alive!

Published May 21, 2014 by iampotassium

Helllloooooo everyone! It’s been forever since I’ve written a post. It’s so sad! I’ve missed you guys so much!

Anyway, it’s starting to be summer here in Boulder! It’s finally stopped snowing (maybe?) and a bunch of my friends graduated with their PhDs (stay tuned for pictures of my friends in their funny robes and hoods). It was a rough semester for me with the super sprained ankles (still healing…) and the crazy science all the time. Science is still crazy but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! Last week, my thesis committee agreed to my (slightly crazy) plan to be ready to defend come mid September! So that means that as long as I don’t die of exhaustion soon I too will get to don a crazy robe and hood and be called Dr. Potassium. Wahahahahaha…

So yeah! It’s summer and I have a ton of stuff to talk about! Cobalt and I have been going to a bunch of concerts and plays (including seeing Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch last week in NYC) and I have fun graduation pictures, etc etc etc. Plus I want to update you on future plans/what it’s like being so close (and yet so far) to being done with the PhD program, etc. So let’s get these posts going again! Life is still insane with trying to graduate and such so I’m going to try to write in here maybe once a week (on Wednesday or Thursday I’m thinking). Who’s excited?! I am…

While you’re waiting for an exciting post next week, maybe you should update me. What have you been up to? Do you like the picture up there of me and Cobalt in NYC? I think it turned out really nicely…

Family trip to the zoo!

Published April 15, 2014 by iampotassium

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well! Last weekend, my sis in law and the kiddos came up to spend their spring break with Cobalt and me! Cobalt and I had to work a lot of the time but on Friday, we both took the day off and everyone went to the Denver zoo! It seems that everyone else in the state of Colorado wanted to go to the zoo on Friday too because it was packed. I think it was because it was one of the first really nice days of spring…

Once we finally made it to the zoo (after parking a half mile away), my SIL and I both broke out the big cameras. It was fun having a camera partner in crime! My niece and nephew kept stealing my phone so they could share in the picture taking fun. Now I have a bunch of phone pictures from the zoo too. Anyway, it was a really fun time, though by the end I think we were all a little dehydrated and over-sunned so a nap was in order by the time we arrived back in Boulder… -_-

Above this text and below are some of my favorite pictures that I took at the zoo. Comments are of course included. :)

I really like this one because of all the reflections off the glass – and yet the kitty is still so in focus. I think it’s kind of artsy.

We have Canadian geese everywhere so this goose isn’t part of any exhibit in the zoo. I just liked that it has a little nest.

Peacocks were everywhere too – I think that is kind of standard in the zoo.

I liked this frog on the glass. Also I like that it looks like it’s saying “wut up?!”

I love cowfish. I also love this picture though I am also kind of mad at myself for cropping the fish’s tail….

I am apparently also obsessed with these cute little sharks. This one was fun to watch and its home is so colorful!

This is quite the orange frog! And it was just sitting there, waiting for my SIL and me to take its picture!

I loved this puffer fish. Such a silly grin on its face! :)

It was fun trying to catch these guys in flight!

More flying…

This bird is eyeing you suspiciously… what did you do?!

Tell me what you think! Do you have a favorite? What is your favorite animal to see in a zoo/aquarium? What is your opinion on zoos in general (this was an epic topic of discussion yesterday during my physical therapy appointment…)? Did anyone stay up late to watch the eclipse last night?

Mmmmm macarons…

Published April 8, 2014 by iampotassium


A few weeks ago, our lab made cookies for our floor’s cookie hour. I decided to attempt to make macarons which are a delicious cookie I discovered when I was in France (note: because they are made with ground almonds, egg whites, and powdered sugar, they are gluten free! Yum!). A few weeks before cookie hour, I found a recipe book for macarons so I flipped through the book and decided to attempt chocolate macarons and raspberry macarons. The weekend before cookie hour, I made a test batch of the chocolate ones. My first attempt made for some crunchy macarons…

I think that I overcooked the shells a little. Also it turns out that recipe has you add a lot of coccoa powder to the shells and I think that crushes the fluffiness of the egg whites that make up the shell.

Fast forward to the day before cookie hour – Potassium running around the kitchen covered in chocolate and raspberries. The raspberry shells turned out really pretty and much fluffier than the chocolate shells. Look at them!!!

Anyway, I was so excited for these shells that I might not have let them cool enough. They were so fluffy that they were really fragile and I had a lot of trouble getting them off the parchment paper. On the other hand, the raspberry jam I made for the inside turned out great! :) My second attempt at the chocolate turned out really well I think, though I can’t tell you for sure because they were gone before I had a chance to try them… oh well… I guess that means I should make another batch!

Next thing to try: maybe alter ground almond to egg white ratio. I still want fluffy shells but maybe slightly more ground almond would help them not be as fragile. (heads off to the kitchen to try this out!)

Now it’s your turn. What have you been up to while I’ve been slaving away in lab? Maybe one day I’ll finally have a degree to show for all this work but for now, I need to go. There are cells and a microscope and a lot of data analysis that need my attention RIGHT NOW. :-/

Oh wait… I have more questions for you. What is something you have spent a lot of time perfecting? A delicious dessert? A tasty snack? Something totally unrelated to food?

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