The Good
The 3rd ASM Conference on DNA Repair and Mutagenesis in Whistler, BC, Canada, was amazing! Six days of intriguing (for the most part) talks from peers in the field, despite the fact that my work doesn’t necessarily fit in the best with the theme of the meeting. The lab that I’m working in is pretty heavily interested in coordination of repair in general, but I have my own little niche of work in that grand scheme as well.

Whistler in general was beautiful! I was completely out of shape for a good hike up either of the major ski slopes, Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. I did try to take plenty of pictures when I could, despite hardly having the time to a few days. We did get a fair amount of free time, with about 3ish hours every afternoon to squeeze in a lunch and our choice of activities. The best part of the free time activities easily had to be the ZipTrek zip line tour of the Fitzsimmon’s Creek valley, between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. For being afraid of heights, this was a great way to start breaking that fear!

Unfortunately, I did wear myself a little thin at the conference. I went out every night of the conference, meeting new people and having a few drinks every time. In combination with that and getting up relatively early to make breakfast at 7:30 each morning, I rarely got more than six hours of sleep a night, hardly more than four for the last couple! A wretched but brief cold set in as I was coming back, and I’m thankfully just clearing the remnants of it from my system now as we speak.

The Bad
Holly and I have been married nearly four years now. For the last couple of years, we’ve been steadily recognizing and somewhat trying to deal with problems we’ve had between each other since moving to Buffalo shortly after getting married. Since February of this year, Holly signed us up to go see a couples’ counselor in order to help address some of the issues between us.

Since then, the sessions have helped us to open up and address more issues between each other and realize what we’re trying to achieve from these sessions, but at the same time it’s also opened our eyes up to what we’ve been expecting from each other as partners and reevaluating whether or not the other is really going to meet that goal. Just short of a month ago, Holly broke the news to me that she had come to the realization that she just didn’t think the marriage was going to work out: there were expectations we had of each other and they really weren’t accomplishable without significant changes in each other. At this point in our lives, we don’t think we should have to make sacrifices that great in our core principles for the other, and despite our strong connection, maybe we’ve pushed a good thing that we had (in a great friendship originally) a little farther than we should have taken it. I felt similarly about these issues, but I asked for a few weeks to think it over and ensure that I (and Holly as well) believed this was the best course of action to go forward with.

A week came and went, and then I was in Whistler for another week, and we revisited the subject Monday evening of this last week. After seeing what’s in store for my future as an eventual post-doctorate and potentially even a primary investigator (PI), I couldn’t feasibly see myself gaining any additional time to really work on making things better right now, and Holly was surprisingly pleased with the freedom she felt in my absence. So on those notes, we both felt even more assured in our decision to go forward with a separation/divorce (depending on how complicated NY state makes it for the immediate future). It’s a strange and awkward time now, but we both feel this is for the best for both of us. We have no hard feelings for each other, we’d still like to remain friends and keep in touch, and will strive to try to make this as easy as possible for the other as we carry through with it.

Hopefully plans will pan out at least comparable to what we’re hoping for. This is obviously new for the both of us, so it’s hard to predict just how well we can keep things as close to ideal as possible.

The Ugly
This is going to be one crazy summer. I have already gone to three conferences for the summer. I had plans to go camping randomly throughout the summer, and take day-trips mountain biking in some parks in western New York. Holly had plans to be gone for six to seven weeks for a summer immersion program to fulfill her remaining elective credits for her M.A. at UB. I was going to drive back to North Dakota and drop in for my ten year reunion in late July.

Plans have obviously changed to some extent. I likely won’t get the chance to go camping nearly as much as I would like. I would still like to find some time to take day-trips to go mountain biking at least a couple times this summer. Holly got screwed out (by a lack of communication from UB) of her summer program and will have to instead attend it next summer (thanks Mr. Advisor, we never knew she needed to file a Consortium Agreement in order to study abroad, let alone verify that the credits will transfer). The drive back to Minot, ND, will likely come at a bad time in late July as Holly and I will be looking for our own places to live in and move in to around that time, so the end of the summer is looking particularly grimacing.

Sorry for the surprise to those of you who knew nothing of the qualms that Holly and I were having with each other. It was something I don’t typically speak of due to my nature to try and address things on my own first, although I’m sure some of you reading this already know about this, either through Holly or myself. Hopefully this summer will turn out okay, I’ll still have my good friend (despite losing her as a wife), I’ll find a place to live in and get moved into without too much hassle, and I can get some kickass research done.

*deep breath* Time to get started, I guess!

In light-hearted news, I finally got a legitimate nap today. I have not really enjoyed a real nap in ages. Something happened near the end of my college years and I seemed to break free of the “nap whenever I wanted trend.”

I got comfortable on the bed laying in the sun and slept rather nicely. Much to my surprise, I woke up to a surprise in my lap. This:

Naptime Mitzi 1

She enjoys sleeping in the sun. She enjoys sleeping on me. Or Holly. A lot.

She must have been in feline heaven sleeping with both.

I had to physically stand up before she would get off of me. No wonder she gives me looks like this the rest of the time:

Annoyed Mitzi

2 terminally ill Montana residents sue state in right-to-die case

That’s my grandfather in the aforementioned article. This arose mostly because it appears that Montana state law interferes with the ability to obtain a reasonable death with little suffering. I can understand the desire to prevent assisted suicide, but when the laws restrict the ability of an individual to die peacefully instead of suffering through the painful stages of a terminal disease, I can see where this would be a problem.

Now mind you, I’m not intimately familiar with the law(s) in Montana regarding assisted suicide, but it must be fairly concerning if my grandfather’s choosing to address it now. He’s doing okay right now with his illness, but it’ll eventually go downhill and just won’t really be treatable/deal-able. I personally wouldn’t want to hear that he’s being forced to suffer with his disease simply because they cannot let him die. I suppose cases like this really would just need to go under more scrutiny prior to a decision. Would it be too much to put a decision about assisted-death in the case of a terminal disease into the hands of a committee at the hospital comprising both in- and out-of-hospital members? That might be too much of a bureaucracy, but it could at least allow these things to happen the laws don’t get repealed.

I’d comment more, but I’m a little distracted and unable to concentrate on a solid thought process at the moment. Woo…*sarcastically* I’m sure this issue has been discussed to death prior to this anyhow.

My cat trusts in me pretty unconditionally. She’s been with us long enough to realize that despite the fact we try to get her to swallow pills, and we bathe her weekly just to follow with a sulfonated lime dip, that we still feed her, love her, and pamper her far more than she probably needs to be. That trust is simple and easy to understand. Probably a bit blind in devotion, but it’s there nonetheless.

Trust with other people has never been that easy. I know Holly and I trust each other deeply, but there are times when my mind worries that I’ll break the trust, despite what she may think. I’ve come to notice that I don’t have many female friends here in Buffalo; this is something that was quite the opposite back in Fargo. The majority of my friends in Fargo were female, with a minority of males that I also spent time with.

Things are a little different in Buffalo. I’ve got a good handful of male friends (more casual than I’m used to for most friends), and very few (if any) female friends that I spend time with. I was pondering this slightly last night when I caught up with an old friend of seven years now. I noticed that I really had no female friends here…I just happen to keep up with a lot of them from the Midwest. I pondered this today at some point while I was at work, and I realized that I was concerned that Holly could/would be jealous of something like that. I don’t mind her spending time with her male friends here, so I really had to wonder why I was so concerned she’d be upset with me spending time with female friends.

We broached this subject, and obviously she mentioned she’s not concerned in the least. She admitted she might be slightly jealous that I’d choose to spend some time with them instead of her, but sometimes you just need a little change in your social life and so one would have friends for just such an occasion. I thought about this train of thought (yay for redundancy!) a little more, and I think I’m scared I might actually really like the female if I spend a fair bit of time with them. I worry that despite my love for Holly, my desire (be it altruistic or more wanton) in such a case would lead me to feeling unfaithful. Yet again, this made me realize that I probably worry too damn much!

So I plan to worry about this a little less. Sure, this seems like a trivial thing to be blogging about, but this has been a recurring issue in my past: my over-thought concern with regards to other people’s feelings about me. I don’t worry enough about myself, and lo and behold that may be a substantial contributor to my stress levels! Again, it’s time for me to worry a little less and not chastise myself over the consequences unless it’s something that’s really warranted.

That, and just tell Holly if I’m worried about something. I like a girl? Big whoop! I’ll let Holly know and just leave it as is! Remind Holly that I love her, and let her know I’ve found a new good friend, guy or girl alike!