Advent Merriment, And The White Elephant
Photo Credit: Barbie Hull Photography

One stormy night in early December Michael and I made our way down to South Lake Union to Museum of History and Industry for my company’s holiday party. The night started out with a storm that knocked out power in some area neighborhoods of Seattle and north. Getting there was a little bit of a challenge since we could not take I5 since it was all backed up. So down Aurora (SR99) we went, and it was smooth sailing from there.

The party was swinging by the time Michael and I walked through the door. There was signature drinks to be tasted and heavy hor d’oeurve to be sampled. I really like the lamb burger slider and the yummy lettuce wraps they had. I didn’t taste the signature drinks but I heard they were great. The three were Icicle Blue, Fireside and Holiday’rita. Around this time I realized how much of an introvert I really am. Large crowds of people bring this out not only in me, but in Michael as well. Having another introvert as a date becomes tricky since we both stand there like an island in the middle of the room unsure of ourselves.

After all the toasts were made, Michael and I made our way through the museum galleries to check out the history the building held. In the Klondike Exhibit Michael and I decided to see what our prospects were during the gold rush. Our results where night and day. Michael ended up with a person who mined $2,000 worth of gold, looses all of it in a night of gambling and then was jailed for jumping the man who won his gold. Not much of a luck strike! For me I got John Nordstrom and I went on to building a fortune off of the miners coming through and opening a shoes store that one day have a mark of fashion in the Pacific Northwest.

One gallery Michael really liked was the sports memorabilia on display. On display is the Seattle Super Sonics Basketball team’s NBA Champion trophy from 1979, along with the second base from the last Mariners game played in the Kingdome. The base on display has all the signatures from all the players on the team who played in the last game.  But it was the display with the Mariner game score book belong to Dave Niehaus that was the highlight of the evening. Niehaus would keep sore of every game the Mariners played in a spiral bound book while he was the announcer. Just seeing this made the night for the both of us.

Around 10:30pm we made our way to the door to go home and get ready for work the next day. As a small party favor, my company game each person a portable cellphone charger. The next day people who could not make it to the party the night before wanted one and the extra ones were gone by the end of the day.

A week later the research group I am a part of went out for our Holiday Group Lunch at Purple Cafe in downtown Seattle. All sixteen of us had a privet room reserved for our little late lunch around a long oak table surrounded by wine bottle from every wine region around the world.

We started off with three appetizers, the Baked Brie, Bruschetta, and Spicy Prawns with Shoestring frites. The Baked Brie and the Bruschetta where fabulous and there was more than enough of it for all sixteen of us. the Spicy Prawns had a kick of spiciness that after two I really couldn’t take the heat. Plus prawns have never been a favorite seafood of mine, so I rarely eat them. I will admit the prawns were meaty, and not those skimpy ones you sometimes find in the grocery store.

For an entrée I had the famous Classic Steak and Frites. Nine of us in the group all had this same dish and after thinking about it, I could have gotten away with having the Lamb Burger instead. Oh well. The steak was cooked medium-done, and the fries were nothing like a big fat greasy steak fries you get at some restaurants. To wash it down, a tall glass of squeezed lemonade.

For dessert, a Chocolate Truffle! I’m all for anything chocolate, and I don’t share my chocolate truffle with anyone. One of my co-works like to joke about bread pudding and why I don’t like it. I’m not a fan of the texture is all. On the menu under cheese section there was a cheese called Humboldt Fog. Either it was a wine or lemonade talking but I thought it said Humboldt “Frog” instead of Fog. I bet you get the picture why I needed a double take on that.

After waddling-yes I did waddle a bit out around 3.45pm to catch the bus back home, I felt like I had a food baby and in a food coma at the same time. The bus ride home was very uncomfortable and for the rest of the night I didn’t even what to look at food since I was still digesting all the goodness of lunch.

Advent started off with a breakfast high on the sugar scale mix with some caffeine Some church mornings need a little more boost then others. Our church decide instead of a Christmas Nativity play this year, why not have all of us come together as one big congregation (we have two Sunday services) and celebrate the coming of Jesus’s birth.  The service and the party was one of the best the church as put on in recent, and I will say even better than last year’s Advent party.

The White Elephant part of the story happened on the same night as the Advent party. Started out with me picking up a fruit plate since the deli forgot to make my pin wheel sandwiches! Oh well, fruit is better for you. The “white elephant” for those who do not know is where you bring a gift that you already have (ex: box of cereal) and exchange it for another gift someone else brought. There are many variations to how it is played, but the version played was anyone can steal your gift from you at anytime. The gift I brought was a commercial pot holder that has been hanging around the apartment since I have a whole bunch already. The gift I ended up with was a Starbucks thermos that no one took from me! I’m happy.

After all, this is only the beginning of what merriment waits come by the end of this month and year! By the time I’m done, I will be needing to go on a detox diet for a while in January.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Blue Lab Coat Stories: Two Kegs + Halloween = Work Halloween Party

It all started off with a visit from the Seattle Fire department. The Monday before Halloween the social committee at work decided to tryout the fog machine for the company Halloween party with the dry ice method to keep the fog low to the ground. This test resulted in a massive thick smoke like fog , and the building fire alarms going off. The fire Marshall was not happy about this and resulted in a fine with another surprise fire inspection (not so much as surprise thanks to Zymogentics across the street telling us they were showing up for their inspection). The flog machine was scraped, and so on to decorating the space without it.

The space took us all of the week to complete and only three hours to tear down at the end. Our bio engineered spider somehow escaped from the lab and took up residents in the elevator for majority of the week. He scared quite a few unexpected people in the lift.


There were lots of black lights all around and a whole black wall devoted to all those who a departed from the company as a joke and as a company political statement. The point is to have fun no matter what!


When there is two kegs of beer, large amounts of Jello shots, and people dressed up in costumes, there bound to be crazy things happening. When there scientists involved, the party become unexpectedly wild.  A brewer ( a former colleague)  at the Tacoma Brew Co. hooked us up with two kegs of beer for the party. One a IPA for casual drinking, and the other Lager for beer pong. Now you can see where I’m going with this right? One of my coworkers started “testing” out the beer pong tables at noon. By the time the costume contest rolled around he was buzzed! The beer pong for the last couple of work events has been a huge hit, and so we decided to up the stakes for Halloween. The room was tricked out with black lights and cups the glow in the dark to make it look underground. After a two rounds of jello shots from a food syringe, I somehow managed to get myself on the bus for home. I must have not been too buzzed at this point since I remembered the smell on the packed bus of pot, mildew, body odor and of course alcohol. I think I made the person next to me feel uneasy for most of the ride.

This year I decided to dress up as a 1920s flapper girl. The morning of the party I was wearing part of my costume on the bus to work when I was receiving strange looks by people. At one point a rider asked if I just got of from work at the local gentleman’s club! This came from someone who has seen me everyday on the bus in normal cloths. Apparently a flapper outfit looks like a high-end prostitute to some people wearing a black dress with tassel fringes, cut out lace pantyhose, black flat ballet shoes, curled hair, Cupids brow makeup and a feathered headband. Some people are completely clueless and one coworker said he didn’t get how someone would think it not a flapper costume. The flapper costume received a lot of praise for how it looked and even thou I didn’t receive the best individual costume award, people still loved it. For the group costume, my co workers and I wore costumes representing a time period. We did not win the award for creative, but I say we at least tried. As for the HR inappropriate one, this went to two coworkers who dressed up as an inappropriate banana, and Twister game. At one point I caught on camera their very inappropriate dance with their costumes. I think the picture will be disposed of after reviewing them  at work. Another costume that was borderline insensitive and genius was the Ebola Nurse. She being pregnant made the costume even more hilarious  and ketchup in blood collection tubes.

Next day at work I had a huge mess to clean up. This party must have been something wild since there were half eaten/drunk Jello shots everywhere. streamers and plates of food in all sorts of places, and disgusting green punch no one wanted. I wished I had taken a picture of the beer pong room after the party because it looked like a frat party happened in there. There were beer, Jello shots spilled on the floor, pong balls all over the floor, and black lights still on.

Halloween night was not as eventful as it should have been. The whole week I tried not to eat all the trick or treat candy before Halloween. Even buying the week of the event was not enough to curb my craving for Kit Kat Bars and Twixs. Shame on me! Even raided the  candy bowl at work. I have no shame! After spending the whole week avoiding the candy in the apartment, I only had one trick or treater. One! A three-year old in a purple dinosaur costume. I was so bummed from have the expectation of having all theses kids from the apartment complex coming and begging for candy. Even the guy downstairs went all out with music and a table of candy. We both were sadly mistaken. Halloween night did not live up to expectations. Oh well I guess I will be eating candy for a while and passed off some to Michael to take to work to get rid of.  I was very bummed out by not having any one. The night was spent curled up on the couch with Michael and watching a movie together. As Michael has said a few times “I’m old.”





12th Man x 4 = Super Bowl 48!

Blue and Green! Go hawks!


All started right after the win. The boys looked at each other and said now on to the Super Bowl for the win of a lifetime while dumping Skittles over themselves. Next morning, a co-worker of mine started planning the whole building’s Super Bowl Tailgating party. Within two weeks all of Seattle and the country was a buzzed with speculation on the two teams (from the only two states with legalized marijuana use) in winning the Super Bowl. It has been a very exciting two weeks, and the whole of Seattle with a non stop party for the team who has taken the NFL by storm this season. Also this is the season I have become a Seahawks fan all over again. And I cannot complain!

Tuesday before the Super Bowl our work had a tailgating party in support of our Seahawks. The tailgating party ended up being over sixty plus people showing up and precipitating in what we like to call “team building” activities together. Took a lot of planning in a short period of time to grill fifteen pounds of hamburger and hot dogs for all of us. Even after all that we had lots of left overs! But we did get the Costco sized boxes of Skittles before the “great” shortage of Skittles happened on Sunday.

At most tailgating parties we had beer and soda, but the one thing we did decided to do was the Skittle Jell-O Vodka shots in the Seahawks colors. I will admit, we used cheap vodka for this, and so the blue had a taste of cough syrup and the green had a very strong lime vodka flavored that I almost choked on with the Jell-O.

Taking a shot for the team
Taking a shot for the team

One very fun thing we did was have a pinata that was made into a Denver Bronco (ok it was a My Little Pony Unicorn one….we had to improvise!). The day before the party the My Little Brony was ok, but some how between the afternoon of hanging him up, someone as a practical joke on the Hawks fan put a yellow rubber chicken with the 12th Man logo on the chest and put it in the mouth of the Bronco. The Bronco had turned into a vampire bronco with fangs and blood all over its mouth for added effect.

Too bad My Little Bronco did not survive the destruction we all took out on it. Poor thing did not have a chance at all!

Has no legs now!
Super Bowl Sunday came and I was ready for the intense game starting at three West Coast time. My boyfriend and I were invited to a small friend’s Super Bowl Party at his house. As a team, we both made Buffalo Potato Wedges ( recommended dunking them in Buffalo sauce before baking them-it taste really good!) and Jalapeno Popper Dip. Both had rave reviews from the party.

Game time came and boy were we all surprised at how the score turned out! Most of us thought the game was going to be a close one with the Broncos putting up a fight at least. The first 12 seconds of the game was a big surprise! The ball went whizzing past Payton Manning’s helmet! And the look on his face through the whole game was just complete shock. The whole game the guys were down in the Man cave watching on huge flat screen while all of us girls were upstairs watching it in the living room. You can say it was male bonding moment down stairs and girl time upstairs. Through the whole game, the downstairs TV had a thirty-second delay, so when there was a touch down, they would see it thirty seconds after us. At times there were funny moments because you would hear them downstairs laughing at an ad right after us. I guess you had to been there to know. My excited boyfriend had to run up the stairs every time we scored a touch down with the Skittles. Towards the end of the game we had to be rushed out one Skittle because we started running out of them.

Then it was the moment of truth…….

Photo credit: New Pittsburgh Courier

The Seahawks won the Super Bowl! The whole party erupted into cheers and you could hear the firework exploding off the Space Needle from where we were. A victory for Seattle! The score was unbelievable, and the whole city of Seattle parties well into the night.

As we were leaving my boyfriend’s friend’s house up along Queen Ann, there was lots of people in the streets celebrating like crazy. Just seeing how joyful of a celebration of a super bowl win on the city was apparent on the local news.

Two hours later my boyfriend was super excited over the win that he went out to the local Sports Authority and bought himself some of the Super Bowl champions gear they were starting to put out. Too bad the shirt he got me did not fit, so he will be taking it back to exchange it for a size that will fit me. How thoughtful of him!

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks and all the 12th Man fans for winning the 48th Super Bowl! You all worked very hard for this. For the Denver Broncos, you had an amazing season as well. Congratulations on making it to the Super Bowl again and winning the AFC championship title!

Blue Lab Coat Stories: Adventures of a Lab Technologist

I should have titled my blog that! Oh well, the title now comes from another blog I did off of Blogspot (which I totally killed after something went wrong in my life. Who needs the bad memories). I am very lucky to be working in a lab where there is really never a dull day (even on Saturdays), so why complain? Think about it for a moment, would science really be boring? I mean if you think that go ahead, but then you are probable sleeping through science class. Now I decided I would let you in on what happens most days.


I take the bus to work every day since trying to find a parking spot (with no meter) in South Lake Union is non-existent (see post : 2 Parking Tickets + Patrol Car = Ride The Bus). This commute is usually with a lot of people who work along Eastlake in the life sciences companies, U of Washington Medical Center and Amazon. The morning commute is not really as bad as the one going home, but I like how I can get to work without the hassle of sitting in Seattle famous traffic.

I start at 8:00 am every morning with a nice cup of English Breakfast tea in my hand, and whatever I thought would be good for breakfast that particular morning (have no shame when its cold pizza or a Cliff bar). I make my lab rounds as in housekeeping, checking temperatures on incubators, refrigerators, freezers and nitrogen tanks to make sure nothing is a missed over night. Start setting up my lab bench and hood for what I am going to be doing that particular day.

Looks like FedEx arrived!
Looks like FedEx arrived!

Around 9:30-10:30 am FedEx shows up with our blood samples from our clinical trial sites from across the country. This involves un packing all the boxes containing blood tubes of subjects in our prostate cancer therapy drug trials. There are days where I am drowning in blood! Those days are called blood bath days because so much of the samples are 100ml of blood each.

The next two and half hours is processing all the clinical trial samples and separating the cells in the cancer subject’s blood into viable immune cells we need to do our research on and collecting viable data for our drug product. This entails me pooling 6-9 tubes 9ml of blood together from each subject and separate the red blood cells from the white blood cells along with other immune cells present. After successful separation of cells, I aliquot (dividing) certain amount of cells to freeze in liquid nitrogen tanks for future experiments.


Lunch! Yes Lunch!


For the rest of my work day I am either running experiments on the cells to gather clinical data on each subject for our trials or crunching the data generated by theses experiments. Some days I have to assemble clinical kits for our many sites that send in blood samples of patients in our clinical trials.

Today was running our E SPOT assay plates into a plate reader to see how many immune spots were visible from one of our subjects. How this works is plating a small 96 well plate with an antigen that reacts with the cancer subject’s antibodies they have acquired from our company’s drug treatment. Depending on the subject’s success with our treatment, most of the wells in the plate should have spots florescence back to show a reaction. The day before I had plated all of the subject’s immune cells from all the time points the subject had gone into through and now needed to see how successful the subject’s treatment was. After running through the machine, the computer shows a picture of each well and the spots on the screen. With this screen shot, I can count how many spots there are present to see how much of a reaction the subject’s immune system mounted on a tumor antigen. The treatment was a success.

Around 4:00pm I head home for the day. Going back on the bus during commute time can result into getting up close and personal with some people. Most days I don’t even get a seat until a few stops before my stop. So my day ends like everyone else in Seattle with a commute out of the city. week 9_edited-1

Ok so it may not seems glamorous, but this is what I do everyday.