Welcome to the NIH

Finally after months of planning and preparation Alan has finally arrived at the NIH in his new lab. He is excited to be the newest fellow at the National Cancer Institute of the NIH and is ready to tackle cancer. In his first few weeks, Alan discovered that working for the Federal government is different than other jobs. For example, in order to be hired, Alan was required by Title 5 U.S.C., Chapters 11, 21, 23, 31, 33, 35, and 51 to submit a detailed background check requiring a complete and gap-free list of residences for the last 5 years with an accompanying list of contacts that can verify each address, a complete list of employers and verification of unemployment status for the last 5 years with supervisor contact info for each job and a non-family verification for unemployment, and a list of 3 friends that can vouch for his character in the last 5 years. In addition to the background check, Alan was required to be electronically fingerprinted and provide a comprehensive physical report. The entire process took Alan over a day to finish and there are still training courses that he needs to complete.

In addition to all the paperwork, during the 1st week at the NIH, Alan got completely lost several times. One day he got lost in the clinical center and spent 20 minutes stumbling through several construction zones, two patient surgical wings, and one abandoned cafeteria kitchen before finally finding an exit that wasn't an alarmed emergency exit. A few days later, Alan boarded a shuttle he thought was bound for his lab building, but much to his surprise, the shuttle exited the NIH campus, and drove 20 minutes away to another city before returning back to the main campus (stay away from the green line!).

After all the difficulties of orienting himself at a new workplace, Alan finally feels comfortable getting to and from work. He has a desk (but not a trash can, the purchasing department won't accept orders until October), an NIH email account, and a phone number. He is learning about the cancer stem cell projects that he will work on and is excited to prove that those cells really do exist.


August is birthday month

Today is Ly's mom's birthday. For all you who know Ly's mom you know that it is definitely a reason to celebrate. Here are some examples of why from Ly's perspective:

My mom took me to my first concert when I was 7 years old and bought me my first box of Crayola crayons before I could walk or even talk. She encouraged me to be whomever I wanted to be and when kids teased me in the first grade for being short she told me to "get over it" and laugh with them or else they'd keep teasing me the rest of the millions of years I was in school.

My mom made me a Jell-O cake with crayons made out of gumdrops on it for my birthday when I turned 5 - and let me eat the purple crayon because purple was my favorite color even though everyone else wanted the purple one. She made my Halloween costumes and even sewed me a Civil War era dress for the 8th grade Civil War dance. She took me on a mother-daughter bonding trip up the coast of California where she taught me that things will always be okay - even when you run out of gas in the middle of Sequoia National Park at 9:30 at night and there is nobody around. She also taught me to love trees and nature and that I should always take a moment to appreciate the beauty around me.

My mom was very active in my life at school. She graded the cursive papers of my third grade class (I always did bad because she claimed that my writing was hard to read), went on field trips, and made treats for my friends on their birthdays. She also stayed up with me whenever I had a project due - whether it was a report on zebras or a final paper on Shakespeare. She made sure I always tried my hardest, and while she would often get frustrated with my perfectionism sometimes - like when I'd spend an hour choosing fonts for a poster at 3 in the morning - she put up with it anyway.

My mom spent countless nights in hospitals with me, which was not at all fun. She snuck me in ice cream from the cafeteria and taught me how to play poker. She would yell at dumb doctors and get ice when needed. And my mom never once acted as if she were afraid, and because of that I wasn't either.

My mom is my hero. She has always been there for me when I really really needed her even if it meant having to sacrifice something that was important to her. She is my best friend and my role model.

I love you mom! Happy Birthday!


Over the Hill

Today is Lyanna's dad's birthday. He is turning the big 5-0. So congrats to him for lasting this long in a family of all girls and putting up with all the crap the Bolig girls put him through throughout the years.

In honor of his birthday, Lyanna put together the following lists:

The Top 10 Things I Love about My Dad:

1. The way he folded my blanket when I was little just right with silky side up
2. The way he calls me every few days just to check up on me and make sure I'm okay...even after I got married
3. The fact that all my friends voted my dad to be the "cool dad"
4. How easy going he is
5. The way he makes me laugh
6. How he used to make me lunch everyday I was in school.
7. How hard he tries to give me what I want/need
8. How when he shaved his head he chased me around the entire house trying to rub it on me...and I was 22 years old.
9. That he has put up with all my crap for 23 years
10. How much my dad loves me

Top 10 Things I've learned from my dad

1. Sometimes it's okay to just let things go
2. It is important to be able to go with flow
3. Work hard, Play hard.
4. You should always give everything 110%
5. It is okay to fail sometimes
6. Hugs are important
7. Family is the most important thing in the entire world
8. Take advantage of every opportunity
9. Always do what you say you're going to do
10. Make sure that the loved ones in your life know you love them everyday

Daddy I love you lots! Happy Birthday and I hope that the next 50 years are better then the last!