Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I might be amazing.

I have only worked at the Foundation for 5 days, and I have already (maybe) found a cure for HIV.

Yep. Its true.

Today we had a presentation with Dr. Robert Gallo who is a co-discoverer of HIV and is currently the Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He went over the basics of the virus and explained what they were doing to find a vaccination to rid the population of this retrovirus.

When it came time for questions, I had one.

"I was a veterinary assistant for a few years, and it was common for me to vaccinate cats for Feline Aids and Feline Leukemia. What is the difference in the virus, and why is it that we are able to vaccinate felines already, but not humans?"

Actually, the way I asked it made me sound SO much smarter, especially because Dr. Gallo understood me. The above quote was created for all you blog stalkers, put into layman's terms for your sake :). This is how it was really stated:

"Why are we able to vaccinate for FIV and FELK but not HIV? What is the difference in the virus?" I totally sound like I know what Im talking about, right?!

Anyway, after being taken aback with my obvious intelligence, Dr. Gallo responded in a way that humbled me back to my high-school diploma status. This is my interpretation:

"Well, they have created an envelope...bla...bla...TRK...ABC to kill off the RXp2 of the virus acting as a IPRT that sends alerts to the TRC cells..."

Yeah, a totally different language. I nodded my head and "followed along."

Then, he turned to the other scientists that were touring with him, they proceeded to speak in "Smart" and then Dr. Gallo turned back to me and said:

"Well, I hadn't thought of that before. That's something I would like to experiment with. Thank you."

The audience turned to me, recognizing that I may have just input some small but life changing idea into this genius's mind.

Then I laughed and asked, "Well, do I get credit if something happens?" Everyone laughed and Dr. Gallo told me I could get 90% of the credit. Then he asked me to see him afterward to talk more.

I don't remember the rest of the meeting because I had other thoughts in mind.

"Is he going to ask me to work with him?"

"Am I a savior?"

"Can I change my title to Superhero?"

After the conference his Scientist buddies approached me and spoke to me more about my knowledge in the feline viral studies (very limited, I promise). I even proved a scientist wrong who tried to tell me there was no vaccine for FIV.

"Yes, there is."

Bald scientist says, "She's right. There is one."

Don't try and deny me of my kitty knowledge dude.

Anyway, Dr. Gallo just came up to me, shook my hand and thanked me for my input. Well, Dr. Gallo, if you do find a cure for the HIV, I hope that your Nobel Peace Prize speech starts off with "I met this engaging woman at a presentation I had at the Gates Foundation..."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

I am giddy about my new job! It feels so good to be working for a company that is literally trying to save the world. The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation is a non-profit organization in Seattle that is trying to improve the status of life for people around the world. I am working in the Global Health Department. I process grants everyday that are given to research organizations that are trying to create immunizations, diagnostics and treatments for diseases such as TB, Malaria and AIDS. I am impressed everyday by the things that the Gates Foundation does.

First off, they have two wonderful mission statements.

"To whom much is given, much is expected."

"All lives - no matter where they are being led - have equal value."

Both of these are things that I believe, and that the gospel teaches. Isn't it so great that a company feels the same way?!

Secondly, they are so great to their employee's! There are free lunches, so far everyday, they pay for my bus pass and parking and just check out my view! Although the city doesn't look as great when its rainy, its such a cool thing to look out my window and see the Space Needle. I am so thankful for this job, and I hope it lasts! I am also thankful for the people that helped me land this awesome position with such a great team. The Dillon/Campbell family has always been there to employ me! Thanks!

Monday, July 28, 2008


This weekend we made the 2 hour drive into Entiat to hang out at the Orchard that the band plays at every year. I got to sit in as Keyboardist and I was shocked that I played as well as I did considering I haven't played for months.
We camp down by the Colombia river and this year both my parents and Shauna were able to come along. Oh yes, and ALL the dogs. Don't you love the above picture that my mom tried to ruin?

It was Brimley's first time camping, and we were surprised at how good he was. He played all day, and slept all night. Brimley is the social one, and made plenty of friends on this trip. He is such a fun puppy.
The Bean family brought their jet ski's and we got to play around on them in the cold river. It was really choppy on the water, and I got pretty soaked. Matt and Shauna had never driven a jet ski until this trip. It was so funny to hear them scream!
That night, after dinner, the band played for a few hours while the party goer's danced away. It was a fun gig, and a perfect night to play outside.
The next morning we headed into Levenworth for some Bavarian lunch. We ate outside on a terrace overlooking the mountains. It was great and I learned that I could put sauerkraut on anything!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bye, bye bad cells.

My biopsy results came back with positive news. (About time!) They were able to remove all of the pre-cancerous cells, and there was enough tissue removed that they dont believe it will come back. I still have to get tested every 6 months, but I can live through that after the LEEP.

I am on fertility treatments now, but mostly just to get my hormones to where they want them before I start getting really serious about getting pregnant. I am on day 8, and I am feeling good. A lot of people I talked to who are taking these drugs complained about moodiness and lethargy. I feel neither which makes me think that they will have to up the dose since my progesterone is so low.

So, I have a blood test in 2 weeks that will determine where we go from here. I am pretty excited to be on the treatments, but I do not want to get my hopes up since they have been nothing but crumbled for the past year.

I also started my new job! More to come on that. I need to take some pictures :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

3rd Wheel on the Ferris Wheel

Last night I met up with Kelsey and Kellen at the Kla-Ha-Ya Days fair in Snohomish while Matt was watching UFC fights. I didn't think about it as I was heading out to "play" with them, that I would be the dreaded 3rd wheel.

However, even if I was the awkward friend who didn't get the hint when they said "We'll go on this one alone if you're afraid", I had a great time and I even got sick! You can always tell you got your moneys worth at the carnival when you have to drive home with the window open just in case.

Kelsey and I played around with our camera's a bit and I finally got to use my tripod! I love messing around with settings and timing. Here are two I captured with a slower setting:
We rode ALL the rides worth riding (no bumper cars or kiddy rides) and for some reason thought it would be a good idea to do two spinning ones in a row. We couldn't stop laughing at what immature teenagers we were. We had a blast.
Me and my camera enjoying a romantic carousel ride...alone.Kellen won me a pig at the dart-balloon game. He became my date. Aren't we so cute?

Thanks Kelsey and Kellen for another fun filled night!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sick Day...Birch Bay

Dear Boss, I woke up this morning not feeling so well. I think I am going to have to use a sick day.

I have severe light sensitivity and I have been really warm all morning. I dont have much of an appetite

but luckily I was able to hold down a small ice cream and a light cinnamon roll. My mind is really distant and I have this odd pinching sensation in my hands. I wont go into detail about the bowel issues, but Ill tell ya, it ain't pretty.Maybe I have Mono? Or there might be something in the water?I went to the Doctor
and they recommended I take a nice, refreshing baththen sit back, relax and watch a comedy.They also prescribed some herbal remedies that seem to be helping.I am starting to feel much better now, but Im still a little light in the head, so I think Ill wait to come in until tomorrow.

For the record, this is the FIRST time I have ever played hookie! I was so nervous to do it, but it was so much fun to be with Matt on a mini-vacation. I did wake up pretty crampy, but once the drugs kicked in, I was not about to go into work. Plus, last week I quit my job at VOLT. So what are they going to do, fire me 3 days before my last day? Putting in my 2 weeks was such a hard decision to make, but I feel very good about it.

I have been offered a great position at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. I am so excited to start, and I cant believe how perfect everything has been working out in this situation. I am not a person of change, but this is definitely a welcomed one.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


We took Brimley swimming for the first time this weekend, and he did great! He followed Brisbane right into the water, and after trying to walk on top of it for a while, he let go and got wet. At first, when it got deep, he would try to get on top of Briz instead of try to swim. She didn't put up with being dunked under for long, and forced him to doggy paddle. Shannon, doesn't Brimley have great Dressage form?He caught on to swimming quick, and we are happy that we have an activity that he likes, and tuckers him out for a few hours!

Finally, Summer

Matt and I were finally able to enjoy the sunny weather this weekend by first hanging out on the Havens boat and then attending the Jiu-Jitsu picnic at a really fun park in Marysville. I was promised that there were going to be goats to pet at the park, so I was pretty disappointed when I heard that the petting zoo had been shut down. Oh well, I had fun anyway.

Chris and Tiffany came with us, and all of us together explored the park. We had a good time taking pictures and making fun of all the nerds playing swords in the forest. Yes, playing swords. Guys that were probably in their 20's. Long hair and tucked-in shirts. Im sure you can imagine.

Then, after the picnic, we headed over to "Neiko's House" to give him some attention. Chris and Tiffany have built an outside enclosure for him, that he really likes. We haven't seen him for a while, so it was good to get to play a little. Hopefully the weather will stay this way for a few more weeks. I really love it here when its warm, and Lake Stevens is the place to be in the Summer.

Friday, July 11, 2008

First Stripe!

Matt got his very first stripe for Jiu-Jitsu! This is very exciting since there are guys in the class that have been there longer, that still don't have a stripe on their belt.

Stripes are levels within the belt levels. Matt is still a white belt, but is now a higher leveled white belt than a beginner.
I am very proud of him, and its so exciting that he is enjoying the sport so much.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


This morning was the dreaded LEEP procedure, and contrary to what everyone told me, it was MUCH worse than my biopsies. I made the mistake of looking down as they were about to numb my cervix and I saw the 5 inch long needle that they were inserting into me...

and OUCH. (owwche Charl-ay!)

Have you ever felt bee stings on your insides? Well I have! Luckily though, the numbness kicked in quick and I didn't feel much pain for the rest of the procedure. The hardest part for me was when the Dr. said it was imperative that I sit still. No coughing, sniffing laughing or adjusting or he might fry something worth keeping. I was already pretty shaky from the previous pain, but it was quick enough that I did fine.

The cauterizing was a joy as well. I could feel the heat and the vibrations and see the smoke that was being suctioned out. It was a very weird thing to witness, and I pray that I will never have to go through this again.

The Dr. says that by the look of things, I should be clear of all the abnormal cells and dysplasia. The results wont come back for a while, but he sounded very optimistic about everything.

Including pregnancy.

He thinks that we could start trying again within the next few months, which is VERY different from what the nurse told me at the last appointment.

However, last month I tricked myself into thinking that waiting was a good idea, and I am still feeling the pain of the procedure enough that giving birth, doesn't sound all that exciting right now!!

So, even though its great news, it really hasn't struck me as such yet. I know that my baby fever will come back soon, but for now I am enjoying my cooked guts just the way they are :)

The 4th of July

This year, like the last, we watched the fireworks from Shannon and Tylers house on the lake. The view is always great.
We brought the dogs this year, and they had a great time playing in the water and with Guster. Briz played in the water while Brimley watched her. He hasnt gone swimming yet, but we'll toss him in soon.
Both dogs had a hard time when the fireworks started. Briz has never had an issue with them before, but when Brimley got nervous, so did she. Hopefully being right in front of the fireworks didnt scar them for life.
We also brought our friends Kelsey and Kellen to the party.
Even though the sparklers didnt work like they were supposed to, Matt still had a blast playing with them. He turns into a kid when there is fire around.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Photography Blog

Its official.

A Pup-date

Brimley has really grown up in the last week.He is getting his adult hair, and his teeth are almost all permanent.

He got his first kiss from the neighbor dog "Bell"......and then made it to second base. We will have a talk with him regarding moral standards soon. He's just such a player.
He has even begun to understand "fetch" and his motor skills are finally fast enough for him to catch toys.
However, with his maturity came a teenagers attitude. Sometimes he gets into things just to see what you are going to do about it. This weekend he thought it was funny when I dry heaved after listening to him crunch down on a decomposing mole he found in the bushes. Yack. He is also smart enough to know that he is too old to be having accidents in the house. So now when they do happen, he covers them up with the nearest rug, or a dishtowel that he has pulled down off of the oven handle. Yeah, he's a smart boy.
We sure do love him though!