Archive for category Travel

“First Daddy, now you?!”

That question/statement made me sooooooo sad :(.

Mr T had to go a a 3-day business trip. He came home for one day and I left for a conference for 6 days. Big T was NOT happy. He did not like being left out of all the traveling, and he really did not like the fact that we seemed to be leaving all the time.

I don’t know how other PhD moms do it, but conference time is stressful around here. Scientific conferences are good for my career. Essential, even  – the networking, the learning, the presenting… but leaving Mr T to hold down the fort solo for 6 days is kind of a BIG deal. Plus I miss the fam. I really, really miss them.

So what do I do while I am gone?

1) Skype

2)somehow can’t seem to stop buying them mementosof my trip


4)Skype some more (Did I mention, skype is awesome!)

And what do they do while I’m gone?

I have not a clue. But I really hope they just sort of keep up the routine as much as possible.


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I am baaack! Back home, that is. And all I got from Big T was “hey”. A very unenthusiastic welcome. But I hugged him and I know he missed me. They all did. Little T’s face lit up in a HUGE smile when he saw me. 🙂 I must add, Mr. T held down the fort fabulously.

International Conference was fun. Swanky Tropical Resort was both swanky and tropical.

St Martin

The beach was a topless beach (in that you could be topless if you wanted. This was a first for me and it was not my cup of tea). Everything was super-duper pricey, and the location was pretty.

One thing though…the food left a lot to be desired. Here’s a list of top 10 things I did not like (foodwise) about this past week:

10. The butter for rolls was unsalted. eh.

9. While we are on the topic, the rolls/breads were not always fresh.

8. That was not papaya they had. That was cantaloupe. SO not the same thing.

7. Fish was always over-cooked. chewy.

6. Cold chicken. Really? People like that? Really??

5. Soggy french toast. It was ewwww.

4. This one time, I had raw bacon.

3. Dinner was served at 8pm daily (LATE!!!)

2. There we no snacks between 12:30pm lunch and 8pm dinner. Maybe they put on into starvation mode so that we would not notice how bad some of the food was.

1. The polenta with truffles. It was truly awful. I am still gagging.

Now the good:

10. The fruit punch. It was actually very good.

9. Their coffee and teas. Oh and they had evian water as their bottled water of choice. I am an aquafina girl myself. But evian is good too.

8. Fancy jams and jellies – guava, tamarind, mango…

7. Fancy tropical juices too – passionfruit, guava…

6. Rum punch on the beach.

5. The rotini with pesto and arugula was a pleasant surprise.

4. Fat little breakfast sausages.

3. Rum punch at check-in.

2. Being waited on by a very attentive french-speaking wait-staff. It is just sexier to be waited on in French. Oui, madame…

1. Fried plantains. FOR BREAKFAST. It was magnificent.

I missed my family so much though. In fact, anytime I saw other children I stared at them longingly cause I missed mine so much. The meeting itself was fun, and I made a lot of good contacts. I also got great feedback on my talk. so I guess it was worth it.

One last thing: I had enough time to read a book by the author Malla Nunn – A Beautiful Place to Die. It was hard for me to put it down, and I read it in 2 days. If you like murder mysteries with lots of historical info thrown in, you’ll probably love this one. It’s set in 1952 South Africa, not exactly a comfortable, happy time in SA. Check it out.

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“Hi Mommy!”

*That was Big T skyping with me*

Yay!!!!! I got to skype. Aaaaahhhhh! I got to see my babies 🙂 And my hubby 🙂 🙂 Big T and Little T are both well. I joined them for dinner virtually. Oh, technology…how I love thee.

I gave my presentation today, and it went well. I might have even set up a potential collaboration. Then at dinner, I met more cool people. Scientists. And a couple of spouses. We ended up just hanging out all evening.

The only thing I have not done here is use the pool or play at the beach. Goals for tomorrow: Go to lots of talks, eat only one dessert (no more!), got to the pool AND the beach, do some reading.

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“Mommy is going on a field-trip”

Actually, I am still on my field trip. But I miss the fam. Hoping I can skype tonite. Wish me luck.

And I am learning SO much. And I have met a few cool people.

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“I wasn’t talking to you mommy, I was talking to daddy”

This particular statement coming from Big T’s mouth made my blood pressure rise. I get that daddy is his hero. I get that. But I will not tolerate rudeness from my own kid. Unfortunately, I was driving so the best I could do was give him a super stern talking to. I seem to be using The Mommy Voice a lot nowadays.

We decided that Mr T would stay home instead of coming with me to the International Conference. It was just too complicated to have him come with me. Plus, Little T (and Mr. T) appear to be coming down with something. Little T was not 100% his usual cheery self today, and he has been sleeping a lot. Plus he had a low grade fever this morning. Mr. T also has a low grade fever. Come to think of it, I may be getting something too…I have a massive cold. Should be fun flying while stuffy. ugh.

I never did get around to getting a flu shot this year.

To prepare the family for my absence, I decided to make a huge batch of one of Big T’s favorite dishes – Jollof Brown Rice. It’s delicious and it freezes well. Mr. T likes it too. If nothing else, they can eat this all day 😉

Recipe for Jollof Brown Rice:

Saute 1 medium onion (chopped) in 3/4 cup canola oil. Med. high heat, about 3 minutes until onions are tender. Add 1 15oz can of tomato sauce, and 1/2 6oz can tomato paste. Mix well until smooth. Add 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning mix (I know, right. it works), 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1.5 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 tablespoon black pepper. It  can be more or less spicy to taste. We like it on the spicier side. Mix well, and bring to a simmer on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Then, stir in 4 cups Uncle Bens Brown Rice. Add 4 cups chicken broth and 2 cups water. Stir. Bring down heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until all the liquid has evaporated. Stir well to mix. serve with chicken or beef and a side of veggies. ENJOY.

I am looking forward to my conference. I cannot lie. Sun, Beach, Science…

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“Is it Christmas?”

Big T has been asking for a particular toy race car, and we told him that maybe we would give it to him as a Christmas present. Since then, he has been asking several times a day “Is it Christmas?” Not yet, honey. Guess this is a good opportunity to teach him that Christmas is not all about the gifts.

My weekends are generally spent catching up on life – laundry, grocery shopping, meal planning, and of course, some social events have to be thrown in. This weekend is particularly stressful, since I will be leaving for International Conference on Tuesday and I won’t be back till Saturday. This means everything has to be in order for whoever is taking care of the kids. I am going to miss my babies, but I recognize that this is an opportunity  I cannot pass up – the location is AMAZING (it is at a swanky resort), I will be giving a talk (great chance to impress people in the field), and hopefully I will get a chance to meet leaders in the field (who knows, this might lead to future job opportunities).

Anyone with ideas on how to help the little ones deal with my absence will be greatly appreciated. Actually, maybe OUR absence, since we are trying to get Mr T as a guest at the International Conference. Like I said – SWANKY RESORT!!

Trying not to stress out over everything I still need to accomplish before leaving.…

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“That’s not the moon, that’s a circle”

We had a full moon last night. A big, beautiful, bright full moon. Since the moon wasn’t its typical “moon-shaped” semi-circle, my poor little boy was all confused. So, yesterday in his world, there was no moon. Just a big weird circle in the sky.

Ohhhhh…today is shaping up to be awesome in so many ways. I gave a practice talk to my lab first thing this morning. I will be presenting my research data at an International Conference in less than a week. The practice itself was sub-awesome, but it is still a work in progress. It will be perfect by next Wednesday. Also, I may have figured out a way for the hubby to go on said International Conference with me. Trying not to get too excited in case it does not work out. But I am crossing every finger and toe in my body, and saying extra prayers that it does work out. 

Now the big news – A lot of my excitement today stems from the positive conversation I had with The Boss. The Boss has upgraded my authorship status on the paper we will be submitting next week. I will now be a co- first author!! This is SUPERB news. If the paper gets accepted (like we think it will – we are on our third revision) this may propel me into super-stardom. After all, we are talking about high-impact research in a high-impact journal. OK, not really super-stardom, but it will be a massive boost to may CV, and may make it that much easier to find a job when the time comes.

*doing a happy dance (on the inside)*

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