Plants of My Life

Tulips in the garden

Now with April showers being May flowers, I thought it would be time to punch out this post about the plants I have acquired for the last few years. Most have been brought home to celebrate a milestone in life (like a bouquet of flowers) or others have been pass down from a family member through propagation from the original plant. A few weeks ago I started noticing every time I walk by a co worker’s desk, I wanted to bring home another plant. You can say I’m becoming a crazy plant lady instead of a crazy cat lady!

Plants Acquired:

Fig Rubber plant, Cyclamen, Jade plant, African violet, and Cuban Oregano plant.

Rubber Fig Plant (ficus “Burgundy” elastica):

I recently brought this plant home after wanting a baby rubber plant for so long. I would see these beautiful plants every where on Pinterest, but did not want to buy a fake one at Target. Back in January while shopping in Trader Joe’s I saw one in the floral department and decided right there the plant was coming home (screw the bagged lettuce!). Since January the plant has taken off with averaging new leaves twice every two weeks. The plant is going to be tree in no time!

Cyclamen (abchasicum):

I bought this plant to mark my second time graduating from college last spring. This plant has given me trouble from the beginning and at one point it nearly died. I has not bloomed since the day I brought it home, but I have been trying to force bloom it for a few weeks with fertilizer. Will see! The flowers are a range of light pink-purple to deep rich pink-purple. Some are white as well.

Jade Plant (arassula ovata) & Succulents:

The jade plant was too good to pass up when I first saw it. Since then it has exploded in growth near the window I have put it. Jade plants are succulents which may explain why I can go a few days with dry soil without much complaint. The other succulents were a prize at a friend’s baby shower a few years ago. One succulent created a few more after propagation, thus there are many.

African Violet (saintpaulia):

A reminder of Tanzania for me. Even thou these do not grow in that part of Africa, the blooms on the plant remind me of Tanzinite.

Easter Lily

Easter Lilies (Lilium longiflorum) & Peace Lilies (spathiphyllum):

The peace lily was inherited from my Grandmother when she was moving house. This one in particular has been re-potted a few times since, and has now bloomed more than twice a year. At one point it almost died when the roots no longer had enough soil to cover them in the pot! As for the Easter Lily, this was another plant from Trader Joe’s. Around Easter these lilies bloom into a long trumpet looking flower signaling rebirth. This year I had to get one.

Lucky Bamboo plants

Lucky Bamboo (Draccens bravnii):

My mother gave me this plant as a house warming gift for my first apartment. Since then it has thrived and moved from one location to another without much complaint. Mine is not planted in soil, but freely standing between rocks in a bowl full of water. I have found the plant is much happy being in a bowl of water and near as much natural light as possible.

Wandering Jew, and Peperonia w/ basil plant

Wandering Jew (tradescantia zebrina) & Peperonia Radiator:

I saw these plants on the clearance rack at Home Depot and with TLC, they are a lot more healthy. The Wandering Jew plant since has started taking over the window ledge and the Radiator Peperonia’s leaves no longer looks as if an animal took a bite out of them.

Poinsettia

Poinsettia (euphorbia pulcherrima) & Cuban Oraguno (plectranthus amboinicus):

This little plant was left over from the Christmas decorations from work. I brought it home after the company I work for closed for the holiday break. Since this little plant has stayed alive, and even started producing new leaves which are not red, but a dark green. My guess this little poinsettia will be still alive come next Christmas. The Cuban oragano plant is a propagation from another plant inherited from a family member. I has shared it’s space with many other herb plants over the years, and keeps growing.

But wait… you may have noticed I have plants that are poisons to cats. Yep I have a cat living with these plants. As a cat owner I am perfectly aware of how deadly a few of these plants are when a cat ingests them or breaths the pollen in. I take special care when it come to having plants that pose a risk. The lilies are always in a location where the cat cannot interact with them. As for the others, Maddie kitty does not have a habit of eating, chewing, or rubbing herself on the plant leaves of any of the above plants. Still, When it comes with tropical indoor plants, you really need to gauge how the cat interacts with the plants on a daily bases to know if there will be a problem.

Where I Buy:

  • Trader Joe’s Stores
  • Home Depot
  • Sky Nursery (Shoreline WA)

I’m not done yet with collecting more plants. I have a list of plants I’m looking to add to the indoor collection. I would like a prayer plant, dwarf date palm, banana tree (Musa oriana),and monstera deliciosa ( cottage cheese plant). Hopefully by then I will have a house roomy enough for the cheese plant to grow and the rubber plant!

Falling In Love With Bivalves

A long time ago I had some very bad mussels dish at a fancy seafood restaurant which was the reason I never touched certain bivalves. Clams where the only thing I would eat with a shell in this department. This all changed when I toured the Penn Cove Mussel Farm on Whidbey Island and Taylor’s Shellfish Farm in Bow. Not only did I get to sample fresh mussels, clams, and oysters, but I learned more about how each farm raises them in the most sustainable ways possible. I even was able to see a geoduck up close, something very few of us are afford in a restaurant.

Penn Cove Shellfish Mussel Farms

To get to the mussel beds out in Penn Cove, I had to board a boat at the old Coupeville Wharf. This is the famous wharf everyone has to take a picture of for social media, and on this morning, the wharf had a coastal seaport asleep vibe waiting to be awoken by the sun.

DSC00353Once in the boat, I sported the most stylish bright orange life vest and off towards the mussel beds we went. Once in the area, we saw mussel beds loaded down into the water with harbor seals lounging on top looking very happy. Most of the beds at the time had small mussels growing, but a few of the beds were big enough to harvest. It takes about a year for a mussel to grow the size for harvesting.

DSC00334DSC00311IMG_3299DSC00331Penn Cove Shellfish Mussel Farms grows more of a native mussel to the Pacific Coast-Penn Cove, but they also grow Mediterranean Mussels as well. The mussels are grown mostly in their Penn Cove location, but they also grow other shellfish like clams and oysters at their other location in Willapa Bay.

DSC00341After the tour was finished, our group received a 15lb bag of mussels to bring back to share with our friends.

DSC00395Interesting fact: mussels are more popular in Belgium, Netherlands, and other landlocked German-Franco countries. The first mussel farm on the west coast of the US was established in the 1970s and is Penn Cove Shellfish Farm.

Taylor Shellfish Farms

DSC00589When you hear Taylor Shellfish Farms, you may think of the Oyster Bars popping up all over the Seattle -Bellevue area of recent. But the real treat is to visit the location of the farm itself off Chuckanut Drive in Bow. Here you can have a taste of oysters while enjoying the view of the oyster growing beds and seeing first hand how those oysters are harvested.

DSC00593Here I tasted the different types of oysters grown and got an up close look at a delectably, the goeduck which goes for $70 lb which translates into $80-100+ at a seafood restaurant! I really wanted to try a small piece just to see why people want to eat this, but only if you buy one.

DSC00608DSC00611What does a person do with a geoduck? This even sparked some… let’s say.. inappropriate jokes regarding what a goeduck looks like. Even a shirt being sold in the market store played on this inappropriate joke. Pacific Northwest native the geoduck is known as “the good time clam.” Yep, I typed that!

IMG_3660IMG_3671The famous oyster shells are spread all over the ground outside which goes to show how close from tide to table really is.

Overall, I do believe I will be eating more bivalves in the future. Spending a whole day touring both shellfish farms was a treat, by had the opportunity to see how sustainable shellfish farming is and how it contributes to a healthy environment in our water ways, all the while eating homegrown shellfish in the process.

Terracotta Warriors In Seattle

Terracotta Warriors were in town for a limited engagement in two cities in the US. Seattle was lucky to have the traveling exhibition come to Seattle before heading back to China. While Nana was in town for our birthdays we went to see the exhibit at the Pacific Science Center. We happen to go on the same day of the Seattle University graduation at Key Arena and some festival at the Seattle Center park. Just think in another year this will be me walking around in my black cap and gown from Northwest University.

….back to the Terracotta Warriors…..

We got our timed tickets for the first group of the day so there was not a whole lot of people in the exhibit. The whole exhibits were in the making of these terracotta statues, the science behind preserving them, how the site was found, and the history of the Qin (Chin) Dynasty, the first emperor of China. The special thing about this exhibit is the fact you can get up close to the artifacts were at the excavation site in China you cannot.

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Nana and I posing in front of the statues

 


The surprising thing I learned in this exhibit is the first man-made pigment was founded during this time called Huns Purple which is barium copper silicate. This pigment is stable enough to conduct electricity and is made of this compound it is found in many electronics such as a smartphone. A science nerd moment right there! This compound was found on terracotta warriors and pottery of the time period.

List of paint pigments used to paint the warriors

 

 


After the tour of the Terracotta Warriors, we headed over to McMenamin’s in lower Queen Anne for some lunch. The place was hopping since families of graduates from the university graduation where there the celebrate. The food was done pub style and the theme of the restaurant was done like an old pub in 60s England.

The rest of the day was spent walking around the Seattle Center area and going to the Olympic Sculpture Park on the waterfront.

More Information:
Pacific Science Center Exhibits

Victorian Murder Mystery: The International Sherlock Holmes Exhibition

The game is afoot….

Sherlock Holmes is a much-loved “high functioning sociopath” we all are very familiar with. I would not call me a fan girl of the show Sherlock, but I cannot wait for the new season to come in the BBC in January 2017. So I could not resist going to see The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at the Pacific Science Center instead of braving the Black Friday craziness.

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Outside the exhibition

The day was a crisp cold day in downtown Seattle with some sunshine peeking out from the clouds. With a peppermint mocha in hand, I made my way to line gathering outside the entrance to be the first few people inside. The exhibition is about how the character of Sherlock became, the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle life (he was one of many who contribute to the beginnings of forensic science), and taking the visitor on a hunt for clues to solve a mystery using the same basic techniques as Sherlock would use during the Victorian times.

At the beginning of the exhibition you are given a small detective notebook with pages for activities within the exhibit to solve a crime. Each part of the exhibit has the background on how the field of forensic started, how those techniques are still in use today and the background knowledge on some of the clues you will encounter while solving the crime. As you walk through the exhibition you are deducting clues and facts in order to figure out what happened at the scene of a crime.

Towards the end of the exhibition there is a section devoted to various shows and movies spun out of the books known to many. One thing I did learn from this section is the phrase “elementary” was never a line uttered by Sherlock or Watson in any of the books written by Conan Doyle. It was added as an effect for a movie back in 1937.

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Horseless buggy

At times I was a little confused on how you are supposed to go about collecting the clues. At one point I had a hard time finding one of articles in 221b Baker Street home of Sherlock Holmes. I had to ask a volunteer for help. It ended up being one of those ah ha moments that should have happened sooner (palm to forehead). One thing I thought was missing was how forensic scientist today use Sherlock Holmes’ techniques to solve crimes. Oh well the scientist in me is always trying to get more young kids interested in sciences (especially young girls).

Overall the exhibition is worth exploring especially if a fan of Sherlock Holmes and you want to put those amateur sleuthing skills to good use. I enjoyed learning about how forensic science came about in Victorian London England, and knowing more about a great-great grandfather who was a London “bobby” on the streets of London around the same time as Jack the Ripper was roaming around.

…. as for whodunit, you will have come see for yourself for the answer.

More Information:
Pacific Science Center Pacific Science Center Exhibit runs until January 8, 2017.

Never theorize before you have data. Invariably you end up twisting fact to suit…:

Pushing Forward To Curing Cancer

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This past week has given nothing but sad news on the cancer front. All week there was not one day we did not hear another famous person has died from cancer. This is just a small sliver of the pie of how many people around the world died of cancer this week. Cancer touches every corner of society, and no one is fully immune to the effects it has.

As a research associate in cancer research there isn’t a day go by that I do not hear another statistic about the rate of cancer deaths and survivors. Cancer is complex. Complex as the very person it has affected. Cancer is self against self. It is the bully on the playground that doesn’t just take lunch money, it takes a life. A self made parasite to which every researcher, doctor, nurse, family and society is fighting everyday. Each type of cancer has a different way of bullying, and that is the reason why in research we are still pushing forward towards the ultimate goal: Cure Cancer.

This process takes time, and time is the essence in a person’s life. It may seem to the world we are going at this too slowly, but the truth is we are making strides towards this goal everyday. In the past few years more and more people are surviving cancer then dying of it (may not seem like it this past week). More people are becoming aware of how to prevent certain types of cancers, and more being diagnosed in the early stages where treatment is the most effective.

One day not so far off cancer will be cured. When this day comes there will be many tears of joy shed. Until then I will keep pushing forward towards the goal to curing cancer.

Sing Me A Song Of A Lass That Is Gone….

…..say could that lass be I? Merry of soul she sailed on a day, over the sea to Skye. Billow and breeze, islands and seas, mountains of rain and sun. All that was good, all that was fair, all that was me is gone.

~Robert Louis Stevenson‘s poem Sing Me a Song of a Lad That Is Gone. Modified Version From Outlander’s Theme song.

You may have noticed this is the opening theme song to the wildly popular Outlander Series by Dannia Gabaldon. It is true that I am a huge fan of the book series and the Starz TV series, and I believe the love story between the two main characters is better than the love story told by Fifty Shades of Gray. But this not a post about me being a huge fan of Outlander, more of a post about why this song is stuck in my head for the past twelve months. Am I the lass in this song? I could be.

 Being Walked Away From…..

I’m so sick of that same love old love, that sh*t it tears me up, I’m so sick of the same old love, my body had enough, that same old love. Feels like I’ve blown apart, I’m so sick of the same old love the kind that breaks your heart. That same old love. -Selena Gomez Same Old Love.

 It seems like ages ago when I last saw or talked to him. I believe it was never meant to be, and other priorities took the place of him after he walked out of my life forever. I had other plans with my life, and things I needed to accomplished for me without him being around to hinder the progress. Yet him being selfish was truly the best thing for me in the end. Looking back I realized I was not really putting myself first enough times in the relationship and he never full there for me. He was just passing through my life, and never really meant to stay long. Another lesson on the path to finding the person I meant to be with. Making the choice to not be friends after the breakup is and always be the best decision I have made after the breakup. I wanted to move on without him hanging in the background. As I said in a post, I wish him the best of luck in his life and that he find happiness along the way.

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 Finished A 5k Run…..

The best feeling as if you are invincible and breaking all the limitations you put on yourself come right off after crossing the finish line. Seeing the numbers of how well I did for a beginner still amazes  me. I did that? WOW! After this, there was no stopping me from enjoying running and participate in fun runs and other races throughout the year. Running has tough me a whole lot about myself and how to deal with life’s disappointments. I am thankful for a friend in telling me of this fun run. Made all the difference in healing. I am hoping to run my first half marathon soon. Will have to see!

Must Be Something In The Water….

In front of family, friends and a whole congregation, I gave my life to Jesus. After three years attending church I decided to be baptized and I thank a dear friend of mine who helped me see I was ready to do this. I will not lie it did change parts of my life for the better and paved the way for a very wonderful thing to happen later on in the year (scroll down to see what it was). A new life has begun.

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 Beautiful Smile Is Born Again…..

I have had braces in the past, and over the years my teeth have decided to move on their own accord. Now as I write this my pearly whites are now straight! Adult braces are not nearly as bad as I thought they would be. I believe it is starting to become more common for adults to have braces, and having them on even gives you better confidence then when a teenager. Not to mention the fact that I had to go through countless job interviews smiling with them. Thank goodness for advancement in braces since I had them as a teenager. Instead of two years of metal in my mouth, I had them for only eight months! Time to flash those beautiful teeth!

 Accomplished Whole30 and Began Paleo….

I think I fell off the wagon two times before the third time stuck with me (you can thank having braces for getting me to finish!). Just getting a hold of the book It Starts With Food from the local library and The Whole30 Cook Book spelled out more about how to be successful then just reading pins off of Pinterest. Just seeing other people’s results was just amazing to drop all that bloating weight on Instagram. In the end I managed to stay on the diet for thirty days on the diet and lost a lot of health problems I had after completing the program. Was not easy to do, but I am glad I stuck through with it for as long as I did.

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 One Career Door Closed, Another Will Open…..

There are times where you can no longer ride the roller coaster any longer. At the beginning of this year that was as true as ever. For the past three and half years I had been riding the ups and downs at a company that was struggling. One day it sold to another larger company. Walking into a job every day and not knowing what will become of you is the most stressful situation you could possibly be in. In the end I was laid off and in itself was a blessing for being let go, I was moving on was for the best. As heart breaking to leave people who became like family to you for three and half years, and knowing the team built through those times will never be the same. I will never forget what each and everyone taught me while working with them.

  Went Back To Finish My Bachelors Degree….

If you had asked where I would have been twelve months ago I would never had said I went back to school. After being laid off from Dendreon and going through a string of disappointing interviews,  I decide on a whim to apply to Northwest University’s biology program. To the surprise of me I was accepted to the University two weeks before classes began. In this a new journey began, and a new beginning was starting to take shape. I’m still amazed at what has transpired over four months studying, and learning what it means to realize a long-lost dream was about to be accomplished. Three years are going to go by fast, and judging by how fast time flew when at Dendreon, it means this too will past quick. Maybe this time I will continue to reach higher in my career with the completion of my dream.

Sophmore At Northwest University Fall 2015
Sophomore At Northwest University Fall 2015

Life takes us to unexpected places we never thought we would go. Plans we thought we had go to the wayside, while other plans are made. Dreams happen, old goals are reignited and most of all, things we thought would last forever or awhile come to an end. In one year everything in life changes and you are never the same again.

The more I reflect on what has all transpired over the last twelve months, there has been a lot of changes and a lot of new beginnings happening all at once. I never thought I would be where I am today as I am right now.  “For every new beginning comes from another beginning’s end” The Closure. I guess that is what being in your twenties is all about and learning to be the lass that is gone. Gone to become something more then she has ever been before, and new adventures to go on.