Friday, August 29, 2008

New Floor!

My hubby and I have been talking about ripping out the carpet in our living room to expose our hardwood floors pretty much ever since we moved into our house 3 years ago. Two weeks ago we finally did it! It was a fairly straight forward project, however it did take awhile before everything was complete and we could move back into our living room. In the meantime, we had our couch and ottoman in our dining room, our two chairs and books, DVDs, etc. in our office, and we were able to leave our TV in our bay window so we could watch it while we worked. Here was our schedule:

Day 1: Remove carpet, carpet pad, and tack strips (Syd enjoyed this part!). Also remove all staples and nails from floor. Sweep and wipe down floor.

Day 2: Run to Menards to purchase supplies and rent a floor sander. Sand ALL DAY LONG - using the floor sander and a portable hand-held sander. (I seriously had no grip strength left by the end of the day!)

Day 3: Stain floor. Let dry.

Day 4: Varnish coat #1. Let dry for 4 hours before we could head upstairs to bed.

Day 5: Varnish coats #2 & 3. One in the am, one in the pm.


Days 6-7: Let varnish dry. We should have left it to dry one more day, but couldn't handle the suspense any longer! Move all furniture back into room.


Day 8: Purchase new rug for main seating area. And to cover a few stains that wouldn't sand out. Enjoy beautiful new living room!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The joys of being a fireman's wife...

I just got a text from my husband saying that he's going to be home late. And to check kstp.com.
So, I look and the headline for Roseville says "Roseville mother stabs 2 daughters, self"

Yep, all in a day's work, evidently.

You can check out the story yourself here.

Add onto that the fact that I just saw his work schedule for the week of the RNC. Roseville is upping their staffing, and since he's shift commander he's acting as on-duty chief for 1/3 of the time (the chief and assistant chief are taking the other 2/3). So starting Saturday of Labor Day weekend through the following Friday I will barely see him. I may get to spend a few hours asleep with him or, alternatively, we may get to have breakfast together a few mornings! Oh well, at least it will soon all be over! And I'll have plenty of time to myself to start working on my thesis, because there's no way in hell I'm driving to campus everyday during all of that craziness!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Wedding Photos

I was asked by our good friends Ryan and Emily to take photos at their wedding (I did convince them to invest in a "real" photographer, so I just got to have fun taking lots of additional photos!). Here are some that I thought I'd share!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pampered Chef Treats!

I just hosted my first Pampered Chef party last night - it was a small group of girls from the lab and from back home, but we had a great time. It was actually better than the last party I went to only because I felt like we got to learn more about the products because of the smaller group - plus we could ask lots of questions and pretty much had the full attention of our consultant, Missey. However, she was slightly distracted because at the beginning of the party I got a call on my cell phone (and even though I didn't recognize the number, I answered it, which never happens) only to find out that we had won a prize from the national Pampered Chef organization! Both Missey and I won 7" santoku knives ($70 retail value, with a lifetime guarantee!) and the guests at the party won rosemary herb seasonings. So Missey was extra excited and a little distracted, but all in all we had a great party. We actually raised just over $500 in total sales (thanks A LOT to people that placed online orders!!), so I'm getting $90 worth of free stuff and a couple of great deals (in addition to my free knife!). I'm trying to figure out just what I want to spend my free money on - it's a pretty tough decision! :)

Corn and Salsa Tortilla Soup

Just made this soup for lunch - yum!


3 poblano chiles (I used Anaheim, which was also good!)
6 corn tortillas, halved then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick strips

3 Tbsp. veggie oil, divided
1 tsp. cumin
salt

6 ears fresh corn, kernels scraped from the cob, or two 10 oz. boxes frozen corn kernels
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
pepper
One 32-oz. container (4 c.) veggie broth

One 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted diced or crushed tomatoes

1 avocado, chopped

1 lime, halved

2 Tbsp. cilantro leaves

1/4 c. sour cream


1. Preheat the broiler. Broil the chiles until blackened, 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover and let cool. Peel, seed, and chop the chiles.
2. Preheat the oven to 400. On a baking sheet, toss the tortilla strips with 1 Tbsp. oil and cumin.l Bake until golden, about 10 minutes; season with salt.
3. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil over med-high heat. Add the corn and cook until charred at the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the red onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, and chiles.
4. Divide the tortilla strips among 4 soup bowls. Add the avocado and a squeeze of lime juice. Ladle the soup over the avocado. Top with the cilantro; serve with sour cream.

From Everyday with Rachael Ray, August 2008.

And - Jenny, it's vegetarian! ;)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A new AC and our Jumping Dog!

Whew! Summer is flying by! I can't seem to keep up with my posts - sorry! For those of you that read this on a regular basis, you'll be happy to know that we got a brand new AC unit so we're back to a nice and comfy home. We found someone on craigslist to do it for almost half of what we were originally quoted. All I can say is, "ahh..."

We went back home for another long weekend, which involved taking Jonas to the lake and playing fetch with him off our my parents' dock. Check out his amazing jumping ability below!

Also, I just have to say how much I'm LOVING my new digital SLR camera - just discovered the continuous shooting option, which is how I took the last three photos above!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Kadner Institute

So, I've been back from Colorado for over a week now, and I figured I'd better post about the career development conference/institute that I attended out there. First off, it was a blast. We had randomly assigned roommates, which I was frankly pretty worried about, but mine pretty much rocked! ;) Tara is a southern girl who likes Sex and the City, deep fried food, and wine, oh, and she researches HIV, so we could talk about various female research areas that we had in common.

On top of that, we were split into groups of three or four to review grant proposals and do presentations of our research. It just so happens that the two other guys that were in my group were also cool. And the first two nights our group was working on presentations with Tara's group, so we all hit it off together right away. Basically our days were like this: get up at 6am, shower, get dressed, grab breakfast buffet in the hotel (we had an outdoor patio with a beautiful waterfall to watch), head up to campus and sit through seminars all day long (until 9pm most nights!), then back to the hotel where we either A) drank in the hotel sports bar with the faculty, B) ran to the nearby liquor store and grabbed wine and beer, then headed back to the outdoor patio to drink, which both times resulted in us ordering a 24" pizza around midnight, or C) headed to "downtown" Boulder to hit the bars. All in all, I learned a lot about my career options after grad school (most of which, I'm happy to say, I've heard about through our fairly new MICaB career development program) and even more about grant writing, the review process, and tips on how to find a post-doc. Whew! The best part of the whole experience was just meeting so many other grad students (and some post-docs) that are having similar problems regarding what to do next (or at least after a post-doc). We spent a lot of time talking science and our research, but even more time talking about what we want out of our careers.


But...just a few crazy stories (because there's always something...). One of the first nights, we had just wrapped up and I ran up to the room to change before meeting people back in the hotel bar. I noticed something dark on my tennis shoes, which I hadn't actually worn yet. I picked up my shoe to find a dead bat on it!! I probably would have screamed, had I not been pretty sure it was dead (considering I was moving it around on the shoe quite a bit!). I called down to the front desk to have someone take care of it, the guy I get on the phone says he's checking someone in so he needs to call me back (!), which he does while I'm oh-so-impatiently waiting. He spends time trying to find a new room to move us into, when I finally just tell him that if he'd send someone up to just get rid of the bat, I'd be more than happy to stay in the room (what are the odds of finding another one in there, after all?). He said he'd send one of their "engineers" up to deal with. Meanwhile, I call David to fill him in on the situation, and my roomie walks in the door while I'm on the phone - I hurriedly get David off the phone so that I can tell her what's going on before she sees the dead bat herself. She thought it was hilarious, and proceeded to take pictures of it - and then called down to the hotel bar to tell the others that they should come up and see! Unfortunately the "engineer" came by before they could make it, but at least we had the pictures to prove it!


That same night, after a little too much wine (and our first 24" pizza!),


we were wandering back to our room and came across a toilet seat (plus lid) in our hallway. It, along with a lampshade and some sort of heating duct, had been in our hallway for the past two days, so we decided we should take it and hang it on the guys' door. Unfortunately we didn't know their room number, so we had to wait until the next day, when after multiple attempts we finally managed to get their room number out of them without them suspecting anything. We decided it would be funny to put the Batman logo on the toilet (what with the bat situation and all), so we drew one and attached it to the toilet lid with gum. We were all meeting in the hotel lobby that night to head downtown for sushi and drinking, so we waited until the last possible moment to leave and then ran up to their room to hang the toilet on their door. Of course, we ran into two people, one of which worked for the hotel - but he left it there, so no worries! That night, after closing down the bar with the guys, I had the opportunity to watch them find the toilet seat by their door (it had fallen off the door handle). It was pretty funny.


Oh and, after some conversation concerning the toilet seat later in the week, we decided that someone had to take the seat with them so that it could be circulated among the group. So what happened when Tara and I go to leave on Thursday morning? The toilet seat was out in the hallway- one door down from our room (they must've watched us walk back to our room one night and made a pretty good guess!). So...I took one for the team and packed that thing in my suitcase! :) It was a really heavy toilet seat, so I was concerned that my suitcase would be over the weight limit, but it was 48.5 lbs!! And now I have a toilet seat under my bed...waiting for the first one of our group to defend their thesis....

Monday, August 04, 2008

Our AC is dead!

That's really all I can say. We're still without air, and now we have to buy a new central air unit - yikes! Ah, the joys of being a homeowner...

Friday, August 01, 2008

So flippin' hot!

Our AC went out in our house two nights ago. I woke up and realized that it was STILL hot, even after I had turned down the temp to cool things off, so I went to investigate before heading to work. Turns out, the fan system was still running but the AC unit itself was not. After a phone call to my dad, I checked out the fuses on the outdoor connection box (using our trusty Ohms meter!). Turns out one was dead, the other was fine. So I headed down to the nearby Hardware Hank, but it wasn't open yet. Back home I went, I grabbed some breakfast, showered, and finished getting ready for work before heading back to Hardware Hank to grab a new fuse. I found one, replaced the bad one, and put the fuses back (all the while trying not to get too dirty or wet - it was raining by then). The fan on the AC unit started to turn on, but wouldn't keep running. Finally I realized that there were some instructions on the other electrical box (the one that's connected between the outdoor fuse box and the unit) that stated that if that box loses electricity it will take 7 1/2 minutes (yes, they gave an exact time, I wish I would've had my stopwatch!) for the unit to start up again. Sure enough, I was watching from inside the house when I saw the unit start up - success!

But....although the unit is now running, we still don't have cold air. Damn! So after a fitful night's sleep in the blazing heat (stupid end of July 90s!) we called the local AC/heating guys to come and fix it. Here's hoping it up and running when I get back from work!

At least I'm in AC at work....oh wait, no I'm not. The ventilation went out in the building I work in yesterday! And it's still not working today, so I've been perpetually HOT for the past two days. To top things off, E-train managed to almost start the lab on fire by trying to melt some old agarose - so now it's hot and smelly. We finally had to resort to opening some windows in the lab (something we generally avoid because inevitably we end up with some weird contamination floating in the windows). At least we're heading out for lunch soon - we're off to Town Hall Brewery for Will's last day!