It turns out that there is a fabulous series of reasons I’ve been offline for ages. The most immediate of these is that I’m co-authoring a paper! On malaria! Awwwww yisssss!

MK (a.k.a. Princess), our PI, and I are hoping to get it off our desks next week. We’re already hard in on the experiments we anticipate our reviewers requesting, so life is crazy. Crazy awesome, I should say.

As usual, most of my life happens in the lab, but mariachi has been heating up lately. To be precise, we’ve been heating things up. That’s right, we did Valentine’s Day serenades. For the paltry sum of $10, one could contract a full mariachi band to show up and woo one’s sweetheart with Un Motivo and a chocolate rose. It was pretty sweet. Nothing says romance like sappy Spanish yearning, and nothing says cojones like wearing a moño in public.

Speaking of valentines, here’s a sampling of the inkwork I used for my labmates’ valentines this year. My reasoning was that it was late at night, and (apart from mariachi) nothing says “happy-platonic-valentine’s-day” like a gecko. Monsters are a fairly safe bet, as well, for friends with kids or easily amused fiancées

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One of my other friends and I keep in touch by letter, so I sent this valentine to her and her cat, Cleo.

2012 valentine for Cleo

I’ve also been up to some interviewing, writing, painting, and orchid-tending on top of teaching and cheffing, so look for some pictorial updates over the next month or so. There will likely also be recipes as we discover how, exactly, to make a balanced meal when someone hands you 10 whole chicken carcasses, several pounds of asparagus, and 15 packs of last-day blueberries.

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