Friday, May 30, 2008

Congrats to my little brother!





Little brother #1 graduated from college a couple of weekends ago. I can't believe how quickly time has flown by - that I've already been done with college for FOUR years now and that our younger brother (aka little brother #2) is going to be a sophomore in college this fall. Crazy. Little brother #1 was a music performance major (for voice, not an instrument) - so what's he going to do now? Bum around the Bahamas and Puerto Rico with his girlfriend for most of the month of June - then attempt to make just enough money to live by doing studio production work in the area. If that doesn't pan out in a year or so, he's heading out to LA to try to find an 'in' there. Ah...to be young again. And not still in school.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

S & R's Baby Shower!



Baby shower two was another success! Yeah for babies (and good excuses for a party)!

Woo-hoo for lifetime guarantees!

Last year we bought a dog id tag online at this website I found on Google. It's called Boomerang Tags and we purchased the adjustable collar tag, which is a metal tag that fits right on the collar (so that it's laying flat on the collar, not hanging down from it). It's quite sturdy and the collar actually has to be pinched to put on or remove this tag, so it's been a great asset for us to use with our large over-rambunctious dog since it STAYS ON! But...last week I realized that the tag was gone! Jonas isn't super friendly with strangers, so I figured he probably wouldn't have let anyone close enough to take it off of him - but I have no idea how else it would have came off. Evidently it had to have broken and fallen off. It would be less weird if the entire collar had gone missing, but it was just the slide-on tag. Anyways, today I looked at their website again because I thought there was some sort of lifetime guarantee for the tag to not break or fall off. I sent off a quick email to the company and I heard back from them very shortly - they're shipping a new tag (identical to the one we previously ordered) free of charge TODAY! Now that's service!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

9 Month Seminar

Well, evidently they're going to let me graduate sometime within the next year. I just did my nine month seminar committee meeting this morning and it went pretty well. They thought my data were pretty interesting ("data were" seems completely inaccurate to me, but I'm trying to be more aware of that oddity as it seems to bug my committee chair a lot). Anyways, the data I have so far is (are, dammit!) good, but I need to still do a few more experiments to tie up some loose ends, and hopefully make sense of some new, weird data. All in all, it's looking like another trip or two to Iowa to do more penetration studies (at least this time I'll know which road we need to be on!). I think when it's all said and done it will be a pretty interesting model that I've developed. I just hope things go relatively smoothly so it doesn't take extra long because I want to get out of here! ;)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

All in a day's work

My hubby was supposed to be officially sworn into his job on Friday (a job which he's had for a year and a half already, but they haven't gotten around to doing a ceremony for yet...) but he took off for a call about an hour beforehand and didn't get back until 5-6 hours later. Needless to say the ceremony didn't take place. Here's what he was up to - it made the news, including an interview with him (which you can watch online). A tanker full of unleaded fuel turned over on the on-ramp for I-35W. Had it turned over ON the interstate, it probably would have made national news (shutting down a major interstate on Memorial Day weekend and all!).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Monday Night Pub Crawl? Why Not?

John started it. He's taking a job in Madison and is done with his job on campus today, so we had to have one last hurrah while he was still on campus. So we pub crawled across campus Monday afternoon-night. We put him in charge of the schedule - which was evidently a mistake since it meant that we were crawling until 11:30pm that night (after starting at 3pm!). Whew! I've never had to go into work with a hangover before, but Tuesday was pretty rough. I ended up finishing my work as quickly as possible then going home, taking 3 advil, and crashing on the couch for an hour before getting up and running errands for the rest of the night. Here's what we did:

1) CC at 3pm for martinis - and 2 shots of the day!
2) Off to seven corners to Town Hall for a homebrew (and we bought John a shot of Wild Turkey to commemorate the occasion!)3) Across the street to Bullwinkle's for pitchers of Premium and MN chili dogs4) Across the street again to the Corner Bar for $1.50 domestic taps
5) Across the street to catch last call for happy hour at Sgt. Preston's - only to find once we got there that their happy hour had changed and we had already missed it - so we headed to the next place instead!6) Across the street to Grandma's - which is closing it's doors tomorrow after 27 years in it's Minneapolis location - where we had more happy hour pints (including one Trusty Ol' Brew for old times sake) and some of the best onion rings I've had in a long time!7) David picked us up and saved us from making the LONG walk back across the river to East Bank and Stadium Village - where we ended up drinking pitchers of PBR at Big Ten (that's what happens when the girls leave to go to the bathroom and the guys are in charge of ordering...)
8) Down the street to Sally's for more beer and some apps, where we were joined by Gabe and Tony
9) We lost half the group (Gabe/Laura, Kristi/Tony) but the rest of us (me/David, John, E-train) finished things up at Stub and Herb's for a pitcher of Goose Island 312, cheese curds (best on campus!), and tachos (some slightly odd but still tasty nachos made out of tator tots)

What a night. Good thing I don't plan on doing that again any time soon! My liver needs to recover.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

RIP: A Napa Legend

Robert Mondavi died this weekend at the ripe old age of 94. I obviously never met the man, but he was a major factor in the success of Napa Valley wines. I've consumed quite a few bottles from his winery - good quality wine for an even greater price! I'm sure he will be missed in the valley!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ahh....Iowa.

Well. It's been awhile. But that's just because it's SPRING, finally(!), so we've been busy with other things. But mostly I've been super busy with work stuff. I just finished my LAST CLASS EVER, which was a really great feeling. Then I remember that I want to actually teach, so really I'll be in class for the rest of my life...

Class was just one itty-bitty part of my work life that was keeping me busy, however. May is always a little crazy for me - I'm usually trying to evaluate myself for our graduate program (which really doesn't take too long, especially now that I've learned to save the eval from the previous year so that I can just copy and paste and briefly update, but I just hate doing it so much that I put it off) and then I spend a bunch of time putting together a poster of my research for the big general meeting for the American Society for Microbiology, which can be a bit stressful. This year May is even more crazy due to the aforementioned showers AND the fact that I had to put together an application for an institute I hope to attend this summer AND the fact that I was finishing up my class AND the fact that I had to fit a trip down to Iowa into my already busy schedule! But, my eval is in (decided I couldn't procrastinate that one this year!), the application has safely arrived (on time!) in DC, my poster is pretty much ready to go to the printer, and I have been down to Iowa and back for a week now. Whew!

So...I finally made it to Iowa with my boss. Last time, if you remember, we spent 6 hours in a rental car just to make it down to Mason City and had to turn around and come back because the roads were so bad! This time it was absolutely beautiful (everything was sunny and blooming in Iowa City - I was so jealous!) and we drove my boss's BMW convertible down (he drove, I rode, the top stayed up, thankfully, except when we cruised around Iowa City, which was fine with me because we were only going 30-40 mph). Everything seemed to be working in our favor - it's been really hard to find fresh pig tissue (ie pigs sent to slaughter and available for us to grab tissue from), so we were lucky that we were able to not only find a pig, but that the pig was a female (important for us because we work with the vaginal tissue). It was great getting to see the machine that runs these experiments (very ingenious design!) and to meet our collaborators down there, which I had been corresponding with via email for some time. We only spent one night down there so it was a quick trip. Here are my highlights:

1) Listening to at least an hour's worth of geology stories on the way down (my boss was a geology major as an undergrad before getting into a microbiology graduate program, and he helped pick out the rock to lay under the interstate system down there)

2) During the geology "conversation" (I mostly listened and murmured responses while he talked), I realized that we were on the wrong road. We had made a stop to get gas and I was looking at the map of Iowa posted next to the restrooms. I couldn't find the towns we had just driven by on the road that I was pretty sure we were supposed to be on, but when my boss came by and I asked him where we were, he just pointed in the general area of where I thought we were supposed to be. I didn't say anything and we got back into the car only to get back on the wrong road. I listened to the geology stories as I tried to figure out how best to tell him that we were going the wrong way. Finally I said, so we're driving through Cedar Rapids, right? He said, yep! And then I said, so we're on I-380, right? And he again replied, yep! And then I pointed at the road sign that said Hwy 20 and asked why we were on 20 then. He didn't say anything at first, and then exclaims, "We're on the wrong road!" Yep. We were. We were headed straight for Dubuque, and if I hadn't checked the map and spoke up, we probably would've ended up in Illinois before he noticed. Oh, and I forget to mention the fact that he was born and raised IN IOWA. And did his undergrad at the University of Iowa. So you would think he would know where he was going...

3) Riding around Iowa City in the BMW, with the top down, feeling like people were thinking I was some gold-diggin' whore with my sugar daddy...

4) Walking around campus with my boss after we checked in the hotel. Walking by the Airliner and him pointing at the bar at the front window and telling me that's where he used to sit and watch the girls go by.

5) Ending up back at the Airliner for margaritas before we met up with our collaborators for supper. But we didn't sit by the window.

6) Hearing my hotel phone ring after I had retired to my room after supper. Knowing that I had to pick it up, which led to me going out for a second round of margaritas with my boss. This time we got to sit outside at a nearby bar (seriously, Iowa City has an insane amount of bars in a close proximity!), but we were surrounded by 21 and 22 year olds that were getting completely sloshed for Cinco de Mayo (and it was a Monday night!).

7) My boss telling me that I could be done with my thesis by December. Ha! That'll happen.

8) Getting back to the safe confines of my own lab. And my own car. Oh, and Kristi and I putting left and right signs on the front windshield of the BMW while it was in the parking garage - just so he wouldn't get lost on the way home.


9) But my favorite part of my trip to Iowa? The data. It was completely opposite of what we were expecting. Sweet.

And to top off my already busy schedule for May, I'm putting together my nine month seminar, which will satisfy my yearly committee meeting for my grad program, but is also at Pat's request, since he thinks I should be done by December. And I'm giving it right before we head to Boston for ASM. Awesome.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Erin's Baby Shower

Baby shower number one was a success!






And finally...the fruit pizza for KT! :)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Baby Shower Mania!

Or should I just say, shower mania? I have three showers this month alone! Today, I'm off to our good friends' wedding shower (WAY on the other side of the metro!), but then I've got the first baby shower on Tuesday for my friend, Erin, who is soon to be adopting a Columbian baby with her hubby. We have a break for a couple of weeks, but then we're hosting a couples baby shower for S & R, who will be back in town for a weekend. It's all very exciting, and I enjoy playing hostess, but whew! it's going to be busy!

A few years ago, there was three of us girls in the lab planning weddings at the same time. It was like wedding mania - lots of bridal magazines, horrible wedding dress pictures hung all over the lab, most afternoons broke down into wedding planning talks and surfing the knot. So evidently I'm getting old enough that my friends are now having babies, which, frankly, is pretty scary! But - on the flip side, pretty amazing! It's been a lot of fun to check out the baby registries, although I can't even imagine how you begin to figure out just what to register for! And all of the stories...well, I'm not sure if they make me all that anxious to get pregnant, but at least they're amusing!

All in all, I think it's going to be a lot of fun to watch my friends become new parents, so I'm just happy to be able celebrate with them - and hopefully some of those crazy baby gifts will help them prepare for their big new adventure!