So in following up last night’s post, I’ve been riding on a mildly high on life kick lately. With the move finally being finished from the past month, it has finally given me a chance to settle down and observe things with a little more clarity around me. Lab work certainly hasn’t improved that much, but on the plus side my social life was running a little hotter than I thought it had been, despite what I may have been thinking.

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When I was younger and in high school and college, I used to think I was fairly cheeky and/or humorous. It wasn’t the crude or obnoxious type either1, just a little sarcastic and cynical. I just had the right crowd of friends or something, and I fit in pretty well.

That is a lot of what makes me miss my friends back in the Midwest (and a lot of that lifestyle with it). I fit in much better there. Perhaps it was just the group of people I came into graduate school with or that I got exposed to shortly after I got here, but it never quite felt like I fit in as well here. My humor certainly didn’t get the same type of response. I felt like I had to work to get a laugh out of people. It just didn’t come naturally here.

Last week or so, one of the newer graduate students in the interdisciplinary program has been around a bit more when I hang out with a couple of my friends. Upon finally paying attention at one point, she seems to get a kick out of my remarks far more than most of my friends have2. Thinking about that a little bit, she’s also from the Midwest region (just a bit further south).

It’s completely speculative at this point, but some of it may really be just regional mindsets, or some sort of bias among them. I know there are personality differences that broadly seem to change from region to region within the US. I suppose it’s entirely possible that humor types could lump in along with them.

Regardless, it was very refreshing and nostalgic to hear her enjoy that sense of wit. I know it sounds dramatic, but it gives me hope that I will run across a few more like her that I feel I could establish stronger friendships with that feel a tad more natural3.

1The lack of exposure to any television that may have been the result of this can solely be attributed to my parents. I think the raunchiest thing I ever got to see in my high school years was a Cheech and Chong film, and not even one of the worse ones.
2The ease and flow of the laughter was much like I got back in college. Most of my jokes here just get way-sided or ignored either because I try to squeeze them in and then someone else just keeps running on a funnier theme, or they just don’t provoke any response. It just doesn’t fit the discussion in their own minds, I suppose.
3More natural = less like people are sketchily avoiding me. I get this uncomfortable feeling that people don’t enjoy hanging out with me, but they just will not tell me. I often feel like (especially lately) people are hiding things from me, deliberately trying to obfuscate things. I have enough trust issues with others; the last thing I need to think is that people cannot trust me either.

July rolls around and it’s another month come and gone. June has gone by in a virtual sort of blink; searching for a new apartment, trying to get back into a groove in the lab, finishing up couples counseling and starting the packing process have caused things to fly along much faster than anticipated. There has been more going on lately, but I’ll separate that into a few other posts for the sake of sparing people too much information in a single post.

I sank nearly a week of time into apartment hunting, only to see a handful of mediocre complex apartments before finding a nice privately owned/operated place above a work office. Throughout that process, I realized I wasn’t nearly aggressive enough in my apartment hunting habits, passing over places with lacking information or less than ideal “descriptions” of the domicile, leading me into misinformed assumptions of what the properties looked like.

Thankfully, my friend Liz excels at this game of cat & mouse while apartment hunting and pushed me into the aggressive mode (at least for me, that is). As a consequence, I’ve settled on a huge, spacious two bedroom apartment on the second floor of a building just off of Elmwood, and even settling for a few dollars lower than the original asking rent to help me along while I’m running on a more limited monthly budget. Even in this process, however, I came across some other fairly nice properties that I probably would not have seen in the first place. I nearly took a one bedroom unit on the third floor of a house for a hundred or so less a month. Regardless, I can’t thank Liz enough for assisting and pushing me in finding a new residence, despite the fact she was on vacation in Oregon at the time. Yikes!

Lab work has been less than reasonably industrious. I really felt bad about asking my PI for time off to go back for my ten year reunion in just under two weeks from now. I will really have to make up for the nearly two week absence I will be taking in order to offset that, and get things ready and done for my committee meeting this fall. The latest purification of my protein of interest has not been nearly as smooth sailing as the original literature purification method suggests. Regardless, I’m hopefully in the final bouts of my purification run for a large batch; I just need to clean up a few additional buggers that co-purified with my own protein. Thank god for the FPLC, but unfortunately our new columns for the ÄKTA won’t be here soon enough to use a fresh/untainted column for this work. I’m hoping the sub-par HiTrap Capto S can provide the resolution I need at this stage of my purification.

I had an absolutely fantastic weekend. One of which I haven’t experienced in a long time, probably since my college days back in Fargo. I need more weekends like this!

Friday night was originally slated for watching the Presidential Debate on television. There was a marginal chance that a friend and I were going to catch up over food and beers (that was a bit overdue for a couple years) instead. Being that she was a medical student in addition to having other commitments, I really wasn’t expecting it to come through. Surprisingly, she did manage the time in and we had a nice time catching up at Tully’s. I am quite pleased with the Irish Egg Rolls there, especially since I only recently took to trying sauerkraut, not even a week or two ago.

I never did get to watching the debate that night, although I did listen to some snippets of it on the drive back home from Tully’s. I had plans to watch the remainder of it when I returned home, but Holly had the TV otherwise occupied watching something else. Leaving the TV relegated to her since the debate was being recorded on the DVR, I settled into retiring for the night.

Saturday was a mildly loaded day from the start. I had plans to see Choke with another friend at the Amherst 9 in the afternoon. It was a well-spent seven dollars, thoroughly enjoying the majority of the film. It might come off a little awkward to those who haven’t read the novel, but I feel one could thoroughly enjoy it otherwise if nothing else for all the quick wit and comical situations positioned through it.

The remainder of Saturday was reserved for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra‘s opening night performance at Kleinhans Music Hall. What really enticed me into opening night was the guest artist, Itzhak Perlman. I think it’s been somewhere on the order of a decade since I last saw him perform, and I hard recall it even back from those days. Anyways, I had a mild dilemma on my hands as Holly had come down with a rapidly developing cold that morning and hardly felt in any condition to go to the performance come late afternoon. An hour and forty minutes prior to concert time (I was planning to be there an hour ahead of time), I bounced the idea off my crazy-busy friend from Saturday night as a random thought as I have very few acquaintances that would be interested in attending such a performance. Much to my surprise, she agreed to after only minor hesitation. I could only imagine how much of a wrench I threw into her busy plans for the weekend after these two nights!

The opening night concert was fantastic! The opening number (Hector Belioz’s Roman Carnival Overture was just the thing to set the opening night: something to keep me enraptured with shivers up my spine and emotional movement with the music! The applause demonstrated just how good the piece was. The second piece was 23 minutes of the Roman Festivals composed by Ottorino Respighi. Every movement flowed together beautifully and kept me as thoroughly entranced as the first piece even though it was nearly three times the duration!

Itzhak Perlman’s guest performance came in the third piece after intermission: Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. As can be expected, Itzhak did a marvelous job with his piece. Unfortunately, I felt the piece just didn’t have as much luster and flair after listening to the two pieces before intermission. However, all in all the entire concert was well worth the ~$100 a seat I paid for it!

Upon departure from Kleinhans, it was decided we should really eat some dinner. I was introduced to a much talked about tapas restaurant on Elmwood, ¡Toro!. It was my first experience in any sort of a tapas bar. A bit on the pricey side, but the food was delicious:

    Toro Calamari, crispy with hot peppers, olives & shaved parmesan…no sauce – This is probably some of the best calamari I’ve had to date. Unfortunately, the few places I tend to eat it at have only been Chinese or eastern-Asian restaurants of not the highest quality.
    Tuna Package, Panko crusted, sushi grade Ahi tuna over spicy cherry-chipotle salsa – This was my first time eating essentially raw tuna, and it was far more pleasant than the smoked salmon I had in a Wegmans salad roll (far too chewy, the texture was just wrong). The sauce on this tuna was right up my alley…it reminded me of a hot chipotle and barbeque blend.
    Cassoulet of Duck Confit, with orecchiette pasta, cannellini beans, leeks & roasted peppers in a rich broth – This was my 2nd favorite behind the calamari, being a wonderful blend of ingredients, I could hardly pick them out individual bites of this dish. I will have to get Holly to try this…I hardly think she’s discern the peppers of the beans out of it!

So between good food, a little bit of whiskey and a lot of catchup of life and other things, we burned the evening away until midnight. It’s not often I get a friend (or more) that are comfortable just running with the night like that. I miss those dear friends from Fargo to whom I still talk to (and will get to see over Christmas, thankfully).

The whole weekend has done a marvelous job of distracting me from the looming doom of the financial bailout on Wall Street (just saw that the proposed bill is in writing, all 110 pages of it) and the painful drama of the Presidential campaigning. Shoot, here it is Monday already, and I haven’t gotten the chance to watch the debate yet. It has been a good weekend that I can look back on and smile about. Hopefully I will make more over this year…I have not had enough of them since moving to Buffalo. Between five more BPO concerts, and season tickets to the Bandits again this year, I think I shall if I play my hand right.

Let me see what I can make out of this week going into it on such a good note! *wink*

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!