Saturday, February 9, 2008

The week in review

This is the post I never got around to writing last weekend, so this is really about the week starting  January 28th, the best day of the year: my birthday!! I like the fact that my birthday is a celebration of me :-) This year, I was particularly spoiled in the number and quality of gifts I got. I already knew what my biggest present was, since it had been living at the foot of my bed for a few weeks: a stand mixer! My sister and parents got together to buy it for me. Jesse and I already love having it and I have plans to sew a cover for it. Here's the stack of gifts:
In the back is the mixer, of course. Draped on it is an AWESOME T-shirt I got from Jesse that says "Powered by tofu!" on it. I love it. On top are some cards I got. On the floor from left to right at the back are: "The elements of style" by Strunk and White (I do a lot of writing as a scientist; Jesse gave this to me), "Persuasion" by Jane Austen (also from Jesse), "Vegan Cupcakes take over the world" (a cookbook; from my sister), a "Mansfield Park" DVD (from Jesse), a box of notecards (from Jesse's mom) and a book by Andy Goldsworthy of his fantastic natural sculptures (from my parents; do a google image search with his name for an idea of his work). In the front are a pair of silver and garnet earrings from my parents, and an enormous bar of chocolate from Jesse's mom. As I said, I was particularly spoiled this year!

I also had two birthday meals courtesy of Jesse. One was Sunday brunch the day before at our favorite all-vegetarian restaurant, Jyoti-Bihanga. We'd never tried their brunch, which they don't have every week. We were a little disappointed because they seemed understaffed and they were continually out of plates or food or coffee or water or water glasses, and our table wasn't bussed from the previous occupants until the end of our meal. But I feel bad saying anything bad about them, because they do have excellent food and I highly recommend their restaurant. I told Jesse that we'll have to give them one more chance for brunch, then decide if we should just never go to brunch there again, or if it was just a bad day for them. Of course, Jesse and I go out to brunch about once every two years...

On the day of my birthday, Jesse and I made two cheese fondues for dinner: one with Jarlsberg cheese and one with goat cheese. The goat cheese one just tasted like warm goat cheese, so was "okay." The Jarlsberg one was more a classic fondue and was awesome. We dipped bread, broccoli, apples and dried apricots. We don't have a fondue pot: we just served it in the pots we'd heated it in on the stove. I'd been inspired by a recent New York Times article on fondue. For dessert, Jesse made me a (Key) Lime pie (with normal limes, not Key limes). Yum! He baked the crust and filling the day before and it smelled SO good. When it came time to eat it, he made the meringue topping. It was so pretty, I took some photos.

A slice of the finished product:
We so loved the first pie, and Jesse appreciated how simple they are to make, that he made another one this week, with real Key limes that I got at the grocery store last weekend. The second one is significantly more tart (Key limes are more tart than regular "Persian" limes), but I like that. [For my 2007 birthday, Jesse made me the tartest lemon cake with lemon frosting--it was awesome too.]

With my birthday celebrations over, I returned to life as normal, except it wasn't a normal week at all! Starting January 30th, I had jury duty. This is the second time I have been called up to the San Diego County Superior Court in the three years I've lived here. You only have to report for one day, unless you end up on a case or, as I've discovered, you get called into a courtroom where the jury selection takes multiple days. The first time I got called up, I didn't get called to a courtroom until the afternoon, but it was for a murder trial that was predicted to take 2 weeks and I didn't get kicked off until the third day of selections. For murder trials, the lawyers get to kick a LOT of people off, I have discovered. I think I was the 17th person the prosecutor kicked off (if I remember correctly, he had 20 "freebies," so he waited a long time to kick me off, especially considering that I had been in the jury box from almost the very first minute we were in the courtroom). This time, I got called in the very first group to a murder trial as well. One that was predicted to take 4 weeks! I wasn't very excited at the prospect of being on a jury for 4 weeks, I have to say. I knew I'd be working evenings and weekend and court holidays (there are no jury trials on Fridays for example, though the judge assured us that he and the lawyers would still be working) but even so, I'd fall behind in my research. And, I knew other people in the lab would suffer too, since I am frequently sought after by lab members who need questions answered. Well, long story short, I got kicked off by the prosecutor in the afternoon of the second day. I was the 5th person she kicked off (the lawyers don't provide a reason for excusing jury members in this phase of the selection, but I presume the prosecutor was nervous about having me on the jury panel of a case that was going to involve DNA evidence... I'd been specifically asked if I work with DNA, which I do). The murder in this case had taken place in 1997! 

Jury duty took a lot out of me. I had an hour commute each way (drive to park-and-ride, take two trains, and walk several blocks to get there, then go to work by doing the reverse, but taking the train past the park-and-ride to go to campus... Jesse picked me up on campus and took me back to my car later) and even though there were many breaks during the day (they take 1.5 hours for lunch!), I'd be concentrating so hard while in court that I was exhausted at the end of the day and was actually mostly useless for doing lab work in the evening. During the breaks (including the 35 minutes we waited the second morning for a potential juror to show up, which he never did (can you say "contempt of court"?)), I read... first, I read a couple of scientific papers for work, then I switched to a shortish novel, The Life and Times of Michael K by J. M. Coetzee (takes place in South Africa). I finished all but the last few pages of the book in those two days! I haven't read that intensely for pleasure since I was a teenager, I don't think!

Well, I've gone on longer than I should, as usual! This past week wasn't nearly as interesting, so you won't have to read about it.

Take care.

1 comment:

Kirsty said...

Happy belated birthday! Wow you scored big time!! I now have a terrific craving for lemon meringue pie!