Thursday, December 21, 2006

Six Weird Things About Me

I was recently tagged by my pal Uncle KT to blog about six weird things about me. So here goes:

1. I, as you can probably imagine after visiting my blog site, have an unnatural obsession with Alice in Wonderland. I LOVE the story and collect pretty much all things Alice. I have so many Alice books that I actually entered them into the University's book collection contest (I didn't win, but I may resubmit this year...). I will probably one day have an entire room in my house dedicated to my Alice things and I will go there and sit with books and "be" with Alice.

2. I have large hands. I believe they've actually been referred to as "man hands." Sometimes this is a good thing - for instance, it helps me handle a basketball well. Other times, I look at my hands and go "good lord - those are large hands!" I think I would probably have more of an issue with my hands if I didn't know that my grandma has the same exact hands. It's kind of comforting to know that at least it's a family trait, weird or not.

3. I compulsively record and watch TV daytime soap operas daily. I gained this obsession from my mother (thank you mom) who used to tape and watch both As the World Turns and Guiding Light daily, and I would usually end up getting caught up in the storylines with her. Now, I have to record them and try to watch them as often as possible - or at least once a week to stay caught up. I actually get upset when I go home for a weekend to find that my mom hasn't recorded soaps and has no idea what is going on in them. Then I proceed to get her caught up.

4. I have to sleep with feather pillows. I blame this on my mom (again) since I grew up with two very thin feather pillows. They were so thin that I got used to sleeping with my arms underneath my head to add extra support while I slept. Now, if I forget to bring my own (new and plenty poufy) feather pillow with me, I'm usually stuck using a big thick pillow. Since I need to sleep with my arms under my head, this just ends up giving me a neck-ache and very little sleep by the next morning. So now I basically travel like a little kid and take my pillow with me everywhere.

5. I don't know much about the movies or music of the '80s. Frankly, I don't think this is all that weird considering I wasn't even in elementary school until the late '80s, but others seem to think this is very strange. My coworkers like to claim that I didn't exist until 1992. I don't like Madonna and I had never seen The Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles until my boyfriend (hubby, now) bought them for me in high school. I still don't think I missed all that much.

6. I learned to walk "like a lady" - one foot perfectly in front of the other - from my grandma. We used to go on walks together when I stayed at her house and she would watch me walk and critique whether or not it was lady-like. I didn't really think that was all that weird until I told my mom about it just a couple of years ago - and she started laughing. Hmm...at least I look like a lady, thanks to grandma.

That's it. See...I'm totally normal.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jonas, the Wonderous Toy-Stealin' Dog!



I posted earlier about my puppy's new-found ability to jump over our fence (the picture at left is NOT our dog, but may as well be). This has created quite a stir around our house - and because of it we've transformed our backyard into a prison (or close to it!). Lately, however, we've found him in the neighbor's yard with their three dogs - evidently making friends. One of these dogs is a mean coyote-looking dog, another is an old golden retriever, and supposedly my hubby has seen a smaller brown dog, but I have my doubts that he even exists as I have yet to see him. I always thought the coyote dog was pretty mean, but obviously my super hyper laborador thinks he can make anyone his friend. I think this may have been working for awhile, but the past few days we've noticed a bunch of new toys (stuffed animals and shoes) in our yard - and we came to the conclusion that Jonas must be stealing the neighbor dogs' toys! Every time I find a new one, I toss it over the fence so he doesn't rip it apart (which has already happened to one unfortunate teddy bear). Now I just have to wait for the right time to send all of these lost toys back over the fence...this would be much less akward if we actually had contact with our neighbors. Instead, we've never even said hi to them - all we know if they have a junkyard in their back (old, decomposing cars included), they have multiple cars parked out front at any given point in time, and they NEVER pick up their weekly local newspaper (so now everytime we take Jonas for a walk we have to avoid the disgusting pile of newspapers that has accumulated under and around their mailbox - which brings me to another point - why would anyone keep delivering papers that are OBVIOUSLY never going to be read???). The plot recently thickened when I was heading out to my car to leave for work the other morning...I had noticed that Jonas wasn't up on the deck most of the morning, so I was just wondering what had happened to him when I saw him come running through the neighbor's backyard and take a flying leap over the fence - all the while being chased by the coyote dog! So...now I'm thinking that they were never friends after all - our poor puppy thought he could make it work and then he started stealing their toys and now they don't want to play anymore (who would, if someone was stealing your stuff?). I told my hubby that this occurred, but I don't think he believes me. I told him we need to put up more fencing to block his access to their yard, but my hubby still believes that we would be ruining a perfectly good friendship. I think he just doesn't want to buy more fencing.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Small victories

Today I did something extraordinary. I got in touch with a sales rep from a research product company and demanded a discount on the outrageously expensive kits we order from them on an almost biweekly basis. Not only were my demands met, but they were exceeded! Now I won't feel nearly as bad when I blow through an entire kit for one single experiment! I'm not sure why this makes me so happy, but it does.

On another note...the lab music today is pretty extraordinary. First we listened to Gwen Stefani's new CD, then London Bridge by Fergie, and now we're on a newly expanded CHRISTMAS playlist. YEA for Christmas carols! Some may think it's too early for Christmas music, but we have an official start date of November 15th - so we've already be listening for a few weeks! Now if only it would SNOW!

Monday, November 27, 2006

I SURVIVED BLACK FRIDAY.

Yep. I did it again. I actually woke up at an insanely early hour to go shopping with the hoardes of people on the infamous Black Friday.

"Was it worth it?" you may ask.

I evidently seem to think so, although since my body is still dragging from the lack of sleep (now 3 days later) I'm starting to wonder... I actually had to convince my mom to come with me this year - usually she's the one dragging me out at the ungodly hour! Evidently the apprentice has now become the master.

We did manage to avoid Best Buy this year - the whole Black Friday ordeal for us started when my parents needed new computers - but we walked in the door to see the checkout line started at the door, wrapped all the way around the store, and then ended only a few steps from where we were. We decided there wasn't anything we needed all that badly there. We did spend a couple of hours in Kohls - well spent, if you ask me, as I got 3 pairs of jeans for my hubby, a under-the-cabinet CD player for my kitchen, and part of my brother's Christmas gift. All in all, we had a pretty successful year, but as usual when I wake up at 4:00am by the afternoon I was delirious and exhausted! Good thing my hubby decided he would let me sleep all the way back up to the cities!

A New Look

Don't be alarmed. I've just changed the look of my blog, for the better, I hope.

Friday, November 17, 2006

GAH!


It's been much to long for me to have gone without posting something - sorry! Things have been a bit crazy around here, but I have enjoyed reading everyone else's posts in the blips of extra time I have at my computer. Can't believe the last time I posted was on Halloween and now it's less than a week 'till Thanksgiving - where the hell did November go??? On the plus side, in the past 2 1/2 weeks, I have convinced my hubby to hang Christmas lights on our roof, we've purchased him a new vehicle, and we've added multiple lengths of fencing in our backyard. Why might we be adding more fencing? Well...it's not to make our fenced in yard larger, but to make the preexisting fence taller. Yep, our wonderful little chocolate lab puppy has learned that he has the extraordinary ability to leap over the fence. Now our yard looks like a prison yard - all we're missing is barbed wire running along the top... Oh well, at least I won't wake up anymore wondering if he's in our neighbor's backyard (which of course happened once). Ugh. Why exactly did we decide to get such a BIG dog?? He was so cute and little just a few months ago...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dress Like a Burrito!


Today at Chipotle, it was "Dress Like a Burrito Day" - if you showed up dressed like a burrito you got a free burrito. This is an annual lab event, so we generally go all out. We wrap ourselves in tinfoil (from the large lab roll, of course!) and walk the couple of blocks down to Chipotle, trying hard not to look like a bunch of fools. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if only one person were walking around in a tinfoil costume, it is Halloween after all, but a whole group of people dressed in tinfoil probably makes quite a sight. We even had a van full of kids roll down their windows and yell something about martians to us. Luckily, we couldn't understand them due to the tinfoil wrapped around our ears.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween Cocktails

Now that the stress of my prelims are over, I decided that it finally time to have a Halloween party at our house. Last year we were still reeling from the wedding, so we couldn't manage it, but this year we're having a cocktail party the night of Halloween (who doesn't like drinking on a Tuesday night?). Mostly the party will be lab people, but since my hubby and I do have a few other friends left in the cities, we're inviting them, too! Last night I had a trial run of the cocktails that I'm planning on making - S and K came over to watch Grey's Anatomy and to be my taste-testers. This allowed me to tweak the recipes as necessary, plus I got to put them to work helping me make the radish and green olive eyeballs pictured to the left (too bad ours aren't quite this pretty). This is what the official drink list will be: Jack O' Tini (I'm still working on this recipe), Green Goblin, Ghostbuster, Witches Brew, Eyeball Martini (pictured, of course!), and Smashed Pumpkin. Most of them feature vodka (the Green Goblin features my watermelon-infused vodka), but I am trying to include some gin and rum. Yum...just the idea of all of these yummy drinks makes me thirsty!

I'm also pretty excited to see everyone's costumes, although K informed me last night that her boytoy is coming as a baby (adult diaper and all) so now I'm a little afraid. Oh well - as long as everyone has a good time, all will be good! I'll try to take some pics to post later...hopefully the baby isn't camera shy.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Nuclear warfare: it's a funny thing

End of the world video

Check it out. It makes me laugh every time. Props to John for finding this, by the way.

Babs!

My hubby surprised me earlier this fall with tickets to see Barbra Streisand in concert. I know I'm a bit young to be a fan of Babs, but I didn't think it was that weird. Then I went to the concert and was surrounded by people my parents' and grandparents' age! So maybe I do have an unnatural obsession with a 64-yr old entertainer...oh well. The concert was AMAZING - even my hubby thought it was pretty good (which is saying something since he's not really a fan!). Her comments regarding the current president were met with laughter and applause (maybe that's why she finally decided to make a stop in the twin cities - after initially testing out the crowd with a comment about Mps/StP holding the Republican Nat'l Convention, she murmured "ooh, good crowd" after the warm response). All politics aside, her performance was unforgettable. I did come across a story when I did a quick google search to find a pic of her from the concert - here it is:


"Barbra Streisand Demands Strict Security While Touring

Barbra Streisand has implemented stringent security measures on her U.S. tour to deter any potential assassin. The 64-year-old singer demands metal detectors be installed at every venue door, extra security staff is present and police sniffer dogs patrol the auditoriums.

According to documents obtained by website Smoking Gun, Streisand also requests plain clothes guards be "neatly dressed in dark jackets, blazers or sweaters."

She also asks for 120 towels, 10 end tables, 10 floor lamps and five coffee tables at each concert venue."

Is it just me, or is it weird that people actually care about this stuff? Especially the towels, end tables bit at the end - what does that even mean - or have to do with security??

Strange. But yea for Babs! Oh, also on my google search, I found a story on her concert that she just had in Boston - there she only did one encore song (Don't Rain on My Parade, from Funny Girl), but she did 2 or 3 encore songs in St. Paul (including the one from Funny Girl) - that makes us better, I think! :)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bad speakers

So...I'm officially back in Mpls and out of Cincinnati. The conference sucked. Can I just make a large, all encompassing statement that too many people in science have HORRENDOUS public speaking skills? Granted, I may be one of those people, but at least I try to tell myself that I'm just a student and therefore have plenty of time to hone my speaking skills. The vast majority of the speakers at this conference could either not speak clearly or put so much data (and other various pieces of junk) on their slides that I was distracted by everything else besides their actual topic. What's so wrong with putting together something in a logical way that presents everything simply and concisely? I realize that most people want to appear to be the experts in their research areas, but does that mean that they've forgotten how to actually make their research interesting to others? Maybe this happens gradually over time so that the older researchers don't even realize that it's happening...the few younger professors and post-docs that gave seminars were (in general) much more interesting to listen to.

Nonetheless, my time in Cincinnati was saved by the presence of a bar in our hotel lobby that made very strong, very yummy margaritas! That, and the fact that I ran into someone I did my undergrad with, Jessica, that is now at UIUC and will be starting her masters in microbiology next fall! Yes, Fixen Vixen, that is THE Jessica that we both know and love - crazy, huh? I was going to call and let you know all about it Friday night after all of my margaritas, but decided that you probably would not appreciate a call at 1:00 in the morning...which I was thinking, drunkenly, at the time that it would actually be 2:00am for you, but since we were actually a time zone over from MN, it would have been 1:00 for both of us, and alas, I should have just dialed you up and at least left a semi-incoherent message on your voicemail! ;)

Here's to good margaritas that save the day! Yippee!


(University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne, for those of you who were staring at that abbreviation for awhile trying to figure it out!)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Cincinnati


I have to go to a conference this weekend in Cincinnati. I'm slightly annoyed for two reasons: 1. I have to miss the Gopher game against NDSU (yep, North Dakota...if we can't beat them we need to seriously reconsider our DI standings!) and 2. What the hell are we going to find to do to keep us occupied in Ohio? (On second thought...maybe there's a football game somewhere on the University of Cincinnati campus...) Granted, we're actually supposed to be attending the conference, so I'm sure that will take up most of our time, but what about the times when there is nothing scheduled? After 6:00pm on Saturday it's free time. So, my question to you is, any great ideas for a night on the town in Cincinnati? All my hubby had to say was something about some old TV show based in a radio station in Cincinnati, so I had to figure out what the hell he was talking about online today (hence, the picture).

Monday, October 16, 2006

Give me the coffee!

You know those days when you just can't get enough caffeine?

I'm having one of those days. Maybe it's the dreary Minnesota weather we're having right now- cold, wet, and windy. It looks frankly miserable outside the lab, maybe I should just stay here forever...oh wait! The lack of caffeine is making me crazy!

Maybe it's the fact that I only got about 4 hours of sleep last night. My hubby and I headed to the Fine Line for an amazing concert last night (the weepies, yea!), but that meant that we didn't get to bed until after 1am this morning. Added to the fact that my hubby then had to get up at 5:30am for work, it simply means that I most definitely did not get enough sleep!

I managed to drag my butt outside to feed and play with the dog at 6:00am and then get into work to set up an experiment, all before my first cup of coffee, which I think is pretty spectacular! Now I've had coffee and a cherry coke and I still want to just put my head down at my desk and take a little nap...

Oh well. At least it's too wet out to do the yardwork we planned on doing this evening - maybe I can fall asleep on the couch instead!