Archived entries for San Diego

snorkeling

Today I went snorkeling off of La Jolla Cove with my cousin and I saw tons of fish whose names I will look up later, some kelp, and some reefy areas. We went into a cave that was absolutely gorgeous, and the limited light made the water this really excellent turquoise. But the highlight was swimming amidst sea lions, even though I balled my hands up into tight fists because I was afraid my fingers might be mistaken for a delicious lunch treat. It was kind of like this but instead viewed from above:

Even in water that was three feet deep, tons of fish were swimming around. These dinner-plateesque white and gray striped fish were in schools of about ten, winding in and out of waders’ legs. I was in this part of the Pacific two weeks ago, and had no idea of the animal diversity.

All of this is well and good, but I digress from my reason for posting. Our snorkel tour guide was this kid named Kevin, an ex-Navy diver who now leads snorkeling and scuba tours for San Diego Excellent Adventures. Quite the upgrade if you ask me. I told him what I’m doing in San Diego and after apologizing for changing the topic, he told me one of the coolest things ever that ended up not being a change in topic at all but instead an expansion of the topic.

He was leading a tour with this woman who would swim in the ocean all the time with those underwater headphones Olympians use during their hours of practice. (My cousin told me about this Olympian thing and all I can say is thank goodgollygosh that someone invented these things because can you imagine hours and hours and hours of only hearing own thoughts and the water splashing? I’d go crazy). Anyway, she had pretty eclectic tastes and would listen to a host of genres in the water. When she listened to rock or country or hip-hop or whatever, nothing weird would happen, but when she played jazz with high-pitched trumpets, dolphins would swim with her. DOLPHINS!

Although his phenomenon is not directly related to my research project here in San Diego, Ani and John do work with animals and their relationship to the music they hear and create. I cannot wait to tell them this tomorrow.

serotonin

My brain seemed to have a lot of it floating around today. What an unexpectedly great birthday!

When I was younger, I used to have the best birthday parties. Always themed (i.e., shells, clowns strawberries, bird houses, Roald Dahl), my mom would cultivate parties that involved crafts, delicious food, backyard games, and copious usage of my playground and hammock. I also remember tons of lemonade and well-decorated cakes. I think my favorite was my clown birthday party, where my aunts all teamed up to paint the faces of the party guests in their preferred clown get-up. The craft involved making these snow globes using jars and these really fun, miniature clown statues. This is certainly a retrospective favorite because I don’t actually remember this party; I just watch the home video at least twice a year.

But my 21st was so great, too! Even though it would have been nice to see my family, my host family and my work friends made the day truly special.

7:30 a.m. – On my way down to the stairs to leave for work, notice a wonderful birthday balloon bouquet (BBB) from Jay and Penny. Yes!

8:30 a.m. – Found out that the IRB approved the study, and received a bunch of e-mails from NSI employees wishing me a happy day. Cute!

10:30 a.m. – Got TB test, but the nurse missed the first time (read: she stuck me with the needle, went to inject the fluid and it went all over my arm.) Ouch!

11:00 a.m. – Returned to Dr. Knight’s office to meet with Carol, a nurse practitioner involved with the study to find the office decked out with birthday decorations, an extraordinary cake (click “extraordinary” for onset of jealousy), a book I have been yearning to own but unable to afford, and a generous gift from the my coworkers at RCHSD! Amazing!

12:00 p.m. – Had lunch at NSI with Ani, John, and two women who are interested in starting a chapter of Dancing for Parkison’s in San Diego. Inspiring!

1:00 p.m. – Entered my NSI office to find a nice birthday message (on a beautiful postcard, no less) from Ani and a Putumayo CD called “From Mali to Memphis: An African-American Odyssey.” Thoughtful!

1:30 p.m. – Stopped by the office of Debbie Honeycutt, a member of the NSI Development Staff, who baked me the most delicious brownies I have ever eaten in my entire life. Chewy!

2:00 p.m. – Continued to amass and categorize articles about the effect of stress on neonatal brain development, how music can effect neonates, etc. etc. Knowledge!

4:30 p.m. – Tripped on the way out of NSI and opted to fall on my left knee instead of drop the brownie tray. Split my pants and my knee cap, but luckily there was a non-emergency-bound ambulance at the gas station so I could clean myself up. (Cute) EMTs!

6:30 p.m. – Ate delicious carne asada tacos at a Mexican restaurant with my host family and some family friends. Delicioso!

Overall, I realized today more than any other day how happy I am to be in San Diego doing exactly what I’m doing. In other news, Haverford physics professor and avid jazz saxophone player Stephon Alexander is joining Ani, John, Dr. Gall, and I for lunch tomorrow! Exciting!

(To update you on my sunburn, it has certainly faded to a tan and a pretty deep one at that. It impedes my wardrobe selection and I look like a fool in my gym shirts.)

i got a little more comfortable…

…with the Pacific Ocean on Thursday. (I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to post about it. Silly me.)

The drive from NSI down La Jolla Shores Dr. was a beautiful, winding journey, with a view of the ocean that I failed to capture on film but that is unlikely to leave my memory soon. Parking my (the Smith’s) Mustang under a palm tree and walking to a beach littered with surf boards and bonfires/cookouts embodied my most California-y experience here to date. Besides that traffic the other evening.

It was great to observe the various amalgamations of families and friends: those high school kids who I regrettably used to be (except they are much better off because their hangout is the beach), new parents introducing their child to the sea, that father who plays sports with the kids (in this case a lovely, portly, young dad who managed to turn soccer into a chase game, resulting in many a squeal from his daughters and nieces), and my favorite: countless duos of father-son surfers.

All that camaraderie warmed my heart but also made me feel pretty lonely, to be honest. I’ve been trekking to all these really great places that are relaxing when alone but they merit the company of someone close to you. On a scale of one to lonely, I was almost desperate enough to walk over to one of the cookouts and introduce my hungry self with the line, “Hi, I’m Genna. I’m new here. From Jersey. Not as bad as it seems. Anything you suggest I do in SD besides eat this hot dog and ear of corn?”

I withheld my urge and instead took to the sea again, this time motivated to take a memento or two. When I visited Torrey Pines Glider Port, I decided that I was going to collect something from each new place I visited this summer. Unfortunately for my luggage, this decision has amounted to a growing collection of (really sweet, neverbeforeseen) rocks. And one royal blue zipper pull that I almost threw back in the ocean until I realized that a seagull was probably going to eat it if I didn’t take it. And I kind of wanted it. And now I have it.

Oh, one more thing: after the beach, I finally went to an In-N-Out Burger! It didn’t quite live up to its name due to the length of the drive-thru line, but it surely lived up to its reputation. I got a Double-Double, Animal Style (on the secret menu), with a side of fries (ketchup too!) and chocolate shake. In retrospect, I really did not need that shake and I certainly did not need the ketchup for the fries. I said “Sure” when the cashier offered it to me because I am usually a fan of the condiment and always a fan of something to dip my fries in, but after employing the ketchup for its intended purpose, I realized that these fries were just too good to be tainted with Heinz. Away with the ketchup packets!

Excuse me while I ingest this bucket full of health.

One last thing: I’m going to include a song in this post that makes me feel better whenever I hear it, off an album that makes me feel better whenever I hear it. It is one of the only CDs from my adolescent period that I insist on keeping. I have kept a bunch of the music, but in terms of owning the physical compact disc, Bleed American is the only one that has persisted. Ladies and gentlemen, Jimmy Eat World’s “Sweetness.”

it tastes of california sunshine

I just returned from one of the most fulfilling afternoons for my foodie self at Hillcrest Farmer’s Market, about a 18 minute drive away from my digs here in Scripps Ranch. In this post, I will record my purchases. In the next, I will outline some of the major points Robert Sapolsky makes in Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers about stress and food consumption because although it is not directly relevant to the project with the babies, it resonates with a lot of people nowadays so I figure it worthy for the blog.

My purchases

-4 organic fennel bulbs, for 2 fennel fontina pizzas I’m going to make tomorrow in honor of Penny’s birthday (link is to my food blog, a collaborative effort with Scott Schnur ’10 over the course of the Spring 2010 semester)

-1 container of peanut butter hummus (yes, such a thing exists; so glad the stars aligned that way)

-lots of heirloom zucchini and summer squash for a vegetable lasagna I will also make tomorrow

-1 bunch of organic basil

-6 pluots (plum-apricot hybrid) that my taste buds forced me to buy after trying a sample

-1/2 pound of dried apricots, California style; was turned on to these by Harper Hubbeling ’11 freshman year, who taught me the proper pronunciation and mouthfeel of the dried delicacy; was informed by the saleswoman today that they taste of California sunshine

-2 bunches of candy-striped beets*

-1 container of cilantro-, chile- and garlic-ridden labneh (cannot wait to make sandwiches; yum)

-1 handcrafted ring featuring a stone of which I forget the name (I’ll ask them next time I go, in T-168 hours), fit to size in front of my eyes on a ring stretcher made in 1921

-1 organic iced coffee with soy milk and agave nectar that did not stand a chance against my thirst/fatigue

-1 spicy mushroom/garlic gourmet tamale that did not stand a chance against my hunger (finally, I know what Adam Mayer ’10 has been talking about regarding Mexican food on the West Coast-sorry any other Mexican food I’ve ever eaten; I would have eaten the husk if it were edible, I swear; no more California dreamin’)

-2 green glass tumblers made from recycled wine bottles for Jay ’73 and Penny as a sign of my gratitude, in honor of Penny’s upcoming birthday, and because I wanted to add to their collection of incredible cups (Jay blows glass, see below)

*P.S. In the spirit of eating healthily, not wasting food, and loving to cook things I’ve never cooked before, I asked what to do with radish leaves. The man I asked relayed my question to his son who was about my age who asked first if I was raw, vegan, vegetarian, etc. before he proceeded. His suggestion was to wash the leaves, spread them some tahini, hummus, or nut spread of my choice, pan-fry them, and enjoy. Nom x 1,000,000.

birdman (healthy, wealthy, and wise)

So my first flight was excellent and complete with a turkey dog “wrapped in dough” (quite a way with words, Stefano Foods), Tony Hawk (San Diego native, professional skateboarder), naps, and wonderful scenes from the wing-side window seat (good advice, Scott).

My first afternoon/evening in SD started with a short tour of downtown from Haverford alum Jay Smith ’73 (daughter Lauren is HC ’04) who is housing me with his wife Penny. He was kind enough, in true Haverford style, to pick me up at the airport, wearing a Haverford t-shirt and his class ring. Nice! We then stopped at Vons (the West Coast’s answer to Safeway a version of Safeway) to buy hors d’oeuvres and some other finishing touches for my welcome dinner. The three of us have spent the past three and a half hours or so getting acclimated and eating our fill. I can tell already that this is going to be a wonderful home to call my own for the next ten weeks or so.

I’m about to put a dent in my clothes organization, but as you know, my body’s striking midnight while the Pacific Coast is like no, lady, it is 9:00. So early to bed, early to rise am I.

this time tomorrow, it’ll be three hours earlier

What a week! Preparing for my departure has been a full-time job, especially considering the added neuroticism of an individual who has ne’er-before traveled by air. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but I’m about to embark on my first adventure in the sky. Here are some thematically-appropriate tunes, even though I already booked my flight and I’m not going over the sea.

I’ve been shopping to smarten up/California-ize my wardrobe and gathering all of the last minute necessities that have spent a little too long simmering on the back burner. I just finished packing my carry-on, which barely falls under the limit in both weight and size, and my personal item, a stuffed-to-the-brim backpack complete with airplane snacks and enough reading material for a time period equivalent to the length of my flight cubed.

Tomorrow, the Cherichello clan is getting up bright and early to have a family breakfast before Dad has to go to work and my brother (Johnny) has to set off to school. Mom is taking the day off to take me to the airport, which I greatly appreciate.

Anyway, on a note directly relevant to the project, I received an e-mail about a required Biomedical Ethics training course that I had to take online due to my involvement with this summer’s music therapy research with human subjects. This course, mandated by the UCSD Institutional Review Board (IRB), ended up taking me longer than expected because I became fascinated with the array of completely unethical studies throughout history that led to today’s cautionary procedures. One study that sticks out for quite a number of scientific errors intended to determine whether sleeping or being physically active allowed for more digestion. The researcher fed two prisoners a large amount of food, then sent one to bed and one to engage in vigorous physical activity. Going through the lessons and quizzes of this course brought me back to this semester’s Experimental Methods and Statistics (colloquially, “Psych Stat”) at Haverford, as they mark one of the many prerequisites to my first engagement with IRB-approved research as a role other than “participant.” Although I have conducted two group studies at school, both have been for lab classes and thus have not gone through the IRB. I feel so legit!

To further build on this legitimacy, I’m continuing my progress with Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers and Music Therapy for Premature Infants (I’ve yet to mention the second in any detail, but that post is soon to come). Both have incited in me countless a-ha moments, whether they regard my own experience as a stressed person, my (limited, but growing) knowledge of infant development, or the power of music. If I were already in SD,  it would be merely 12:30 a.m. and my eyes would not be feeling the wee-hours-burn, so this post would include some of the content of these “a-has,” but for now, they must wait.

One last exiting update is that I meet Dr. Patel for the first time over lunch at the Neurosciences Institute (NSI) on Tuesday at noon, after which we are both heading over to Rady Children’s Hospital for the first meeting with Dr. Knight. I have training at the hospital during the next few mornings and will my afternoons at NSI.

In sum: sleep, family breakfast, Newark airport, California by 4:30 (7:30…), readreadread, acclimation. I can’t believe this thing that I’ve been talking about for so long and thinking about for even longer is happening. Wish me luck!

Note: Posts following this one should be full of photographs, pending the purchase of batteries for my camera.

The Neurosciences Institute

Not only have I never seen a building like this, I never expected that I would call one my place of employment. Behold the Neurosciences Institute in sunny La Jolla, California. I can’t wait to see for myself the way that the building’s stark, cold angles intermingle with the sky.

And for your listening pleasure, some Architecture in Helsinki: It’5!



Copyright © 2004–2010. All rights reserved.

RSS Feed. This Haverford College blog is proudly powered by Wordpress and uses the Modern Clix theme.