Friday, February 27, 2009

Syd & Libby

So we're cat-sitting for my parent's kitten, Libby, while they're in Florida for a week. Our cat, Syd, has met Libby multiple times before, but it's always been at my parent's house and not in his own territory, so we weren't sure how it was all going to play out! Luckily, it seems to be going pretty well (or as well as can be expected). Libby mostly chases Syd around, usually she's trying to go after his tail, but misses a lot of the time and ends up on top of his back (which is pretty funny!). Syd finally gets annoyed and swats and hisses at her. I wondered how often this happened when we weren't around during the day, but when I stayed home to work one day this week it seems that they just sleep all day (like normal). Initially, Libby insisted on being in my lap, with my laptop, where she would sit still for about 20 seconds then started either biting me or crawling all over my keyboard trying to chase the mouse cursor on my screen. After I threw her off of my lap for 18th time, she finally gave up, hopped back onto the couch, and curled up next to me where she proceeded to sleep for the remainder of the morning. When I got up to make lunch, she moved to a chair across from me and slept there for the entire afternoon. Then David got home, we made supper, and she hopped in my lap to sleep for the rest of the evening. Now I know where she gets all of her energy from! As fun as it has been to have a kitty around, I think we will ALL be happy when she goes back home! Even Jonas doesn't know what to think of her - he jumps up against the patio door whenever he sees her near the door (hopefully this doesn't continue because I'm afraid he may actually break the door down).

Johnny Cash Hurt

Wow. Johnny Cash would have been 77 yesterday. Btw, I found this on Twitter- Lance Armstrong posted it. ;)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Florida Fun

So we've been back from vacation for over a week, and I'm just now getting around to posting some pics. We fly down to Florida for about 5 days, visited the hubby's brother's family, including a trip to Universal Studios (sans kids, yeah!), and then a trip for just to two of us to Clearwater Beach on the Gulf of Mexico. It was a blast, but probably a day (or two!) too short! And now we're back in MN, in a snow storm. Sweet.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


LOVE the new format - much more entertaining to A) bring more star power in by bringing back 5 former winners for each of the big awards and B) hear a little bit more about why each person is nominated in a particular category. Nice work Academy!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Barf Blog

Due to the media attention of the recent Salmonella outbreak and the fact that I'm doing a little research on E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks for a lecture that I'm giving in a couple of weeks, I stumbled across this great read: Barf Blog. If you check it out you can read about one of the plants involved in the contaminated peanut products - here's an excerpt.

The order came Thursday evening from the Department of State Health Services. The agency says "dead rodents, rodent excrement and bird feathers" were discovered Wednesday in a crawl space above a production area.

A state inspection also found that the unit's air handling system was pulling debris from the infested crawl space into production areas.

The plant began operating in March 2005 but was shut down earlier this week.

Yikes. It's now on to a total recall of anything ever made by the Peanut Corp of America's plant in Plainview, TX.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

25 Random Things About Me…

1) I’m an obsessive person. I get completely addicted to things – luckily these things are usually books (Twilight series – seriously, I just spent the past week and a half with my nose in a book – I think David almost killed me!) or TV shows (Six Feet Under) and not something like drugs.
2) On that same note, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Alice in Wonderland. I fell in love with the story as a child, played Alice in a children’s theater play, and have collected all things “Alice” ever since. At last count, I had 37 different books relating to Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
3) I danced for 11 years – only quitting after my freshman year in high school because I wanted to play basketball instead, but as a kid I literally couldn’t remember the part of my life before I started dancing.
4) I’m from a small town, where I started friendships that have lasted 27 years, met my husband, and had an awesome childhood, but I don’t ever want to move back. Ever. I hope to find a community that is sufficiently supportive for my own kids, and I hope that a larger town will provide them with more opportunities than my husband and I had.
5) I have a hard time doing something only part-way. I’m either all in or not in at all. It’s annoying.
6) I love to bake – mostly cookies, but I branch out every now and then. Except for necessary events (and Christmas), I usually just bake when stressed. My college roomies loved me during Finals week.
7) I still have a hard time believing that I met my perfect mate at such a young age.
8) I really love hosting things –I love coming up with themed drinks and menus, not to mention the decorating! I think I come by it naturally – not from my parents, necessarily, but from my dad’s cousin, Jan, who I spent a lot of time “helping” host family events as a kid.
9) I also love gardening, which I didn’t realize until I had my own home and gardens, but I love the experimental process behind designing the space.
10) My husband and I have been Gopher season ticket holders for the past 8 years. I never really got into football until I started more regularly hanging out with my then-boyfriend, now-husband and his family, who all are avid Vikings fans. I guess I easily got hooked (see #1 and #5).
11) I have a thing for coats. I don’t keep track of how many I have, but it’s a lot. I blame it on my grandma, who has excellent taste and probably even more jackets than I have!
12) I’m named for my mom’s mom (my other grandma) and her mom before her. If I have a daughter some day, I haven’t decided whether she’ll be Amanda, too, or not.
13) I blame graduate school on a lot of things, but most of all on my ability to appreciate (and be somewhat snobbish about) good beer, wine, and coffee.
14) I like to corrupt my husband – he used to drink only Grain Belt beer and cheap booze, but now he’s trying microbrews, loves wine, and is even more of a snob about his coffee.
15) Our dream home would be on a vineyard in Sonoma Valley.
16) I’m crazy-proud of my husband, the fire fighter, and the fact that he’s found a perfect career for himself.
17) I ended up going to graduate school because I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with my microbiology degree and had enjoyed the little bit of directed research I had done as an undergrad, but I seriously had NO idea what I was getting myself into. As I progressed through graduate school I realized how much I want to teach and stay in the academic setting, so I guess I ended up in the right place after all.
18) Even if I don’t end up in the same field that I’m currently in, I will always value my graduate training because it has taught me how to problem-solve (which is a very big understatement).
19) I think my alternate career would be to open my own gift & coffee shop and/or wine bar (or winery, if my husband gets his way!).
20) I love my pets, but after seeing how crazy they are, I can’t wait to see how we’ll do raising kids.
21) I love to take pictures and have bought a ridiculously expensive camera to do so.
22) I constantly think of ways to make things more efficient. It drives me nuts to go through a process that takes more time than it should.
23) I was in 4-H and FFA in high school - I judged eggs and chickens and showed pigs. Although it’s not that odd, considering I was raised on a hog farm and am from a rural community, it cracks up everyone else that I’ve met.
24) I love music, but my favorites all happen to be ones that I can easily sing along with – if I can’t actually sing it, then it’s not going to make my playlist.
25) One day I realized that there were only two main ‘luxuries’ that I’d like to own someday - a vintage convertible and a hot tub. Then I realized how much I sounded like my dad, who already owns both. Weird.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I just found out that my second paper, which is being published in the Journal of Immunology, is going to be featured in their "In This Issue" portion, which is found at the beginning of each issue and features about the top 10% of all papers published in JI. Yeah! It comes out February 15th, and I have to admit I'm kind of excited to see it in print - and to see what they have to say about the article!