Saturday, December 3, 2011

Our Thanksgiving in Pictures

I'm blogging at 8 p.m. on a Saturday night.  I know how to party.  :)  Truthfully, last night was spent at our new favorite local bar, Antlers, drinking my new favorite local micro-brew, Spotted Cow, listening to Dropkick Murphys (one of Nathan's favs, they're growing on me also, the more we hear it).  So, tonight is promising to be rather chill.  I've been meaning to blog about the Thanksgiving we had.  We weren't able to make it home as we had hoped but I did have my own personal accomplishment of making an entire thanksgiving dinner all by myself, while Nathan was at work.  Rather than go into long-winded explanations of it, and since I take way too many pictures anyway, I decided I'd just post pictures that I took throughout the process.  I should really look into getting a good beginner SLR or something with all the pictures I take.

I swear this is going to end up being a food blog.

The beginning of the process:  Turkey breast in the crockpot and apple pie filling cooling on the counter.  Making dessert first seemed logical since it had to cool.  Unfortunately, I did not EAT dessert first.

Random ingredients.  Also, this is basically all the counter space I had to work with.

MMM.  Coffee.  This became necessary midway through the day.

My "assistant."  And by assistant, I mean sneaky, scrap-stealing, ninja-cat.

Crockpot full of chicken and noodles.  My first try.  Turned out good but not great.

PO-TA-TOS!  I actually considered making mom's twice-baked recipe, but didn't have a large enough baking dish, and at this point I was running low on time.

The finished product:  Turkey, chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, gravy, greenbean casserole, tea and apple pie.  I'm still pretty impressed with myself.
So there you have it.  It occurs to me now a picture of us eating the food would have completed this nicely, but I was way too concerned with actually eating.  Tip:  If you ever have a thanksgiving where you know you'll never eat a whole bird, the turkey breast in the crockpot idea worked out really well.  We had leftovers, but not too many and it turned out really juicy.  While, not exactly the way we would have liked to spend Thanksgiving, a holiday feast for two actually made the whole thing kind of special.  And besides, this way I didn't have to feel guilty for having a four day weekend while he worked 10 hour days for all four. :)

I couldn't very well end on a sappy note, now could I?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Arkansas Trip, part 2

So, we made it to the airport just fine.  Nathan walked with me through check-in and said good-bye to me at security (again, cause he's awesome). I made it through security with only a few hassles and found my gate pretty easily.  Milwaukee airport is fairly small and pretty easy to navigate.  I had a couple of hours to kill before take-off so I got a snack and sat down.  That's when it hit me.  I had to fly on four different flights in a two day time period.  Did I mention I hate flying?  I, then, mentally curled into the fetal position.  I'm one of the fliers that white-knuckles whatever she's holding at the smallest turbulence.  And then there's landing.  I envy those people who can sit and read calmly during landing.  I can't read during car trips or flights anyways because I'll start feeling sick, but landing is the worst for me, even the slightest descent will cause me to get incredibly dizzy and light-headed.  So basically, from the time we start landing till the time we hit the ground I'm concentrating on not getting sick and holding onto the armrests for dear life anytime we drop suddenly.  I, of course, do all of this as discretely as possible if someone is sitting next to me.  Hate flying.

But, I passed the time before the first flight watching netflix on my phone.  (I love modern technology) And, by the time we were boarding I had accepted my fate.  Then, there was the size of the plane:  tiny.  It was on of those with only one main isle and only four columns of seats.  Three out of the four flights I had were on planes that size, so that was new.  Overall, the flights were very smooth, which put me at ease.  This was good, so that when I got to Little Rock, the person from the lab that was picking me up would not be met with a frazzled looking person with crazy hair and a crazy look in her eye, but a calm, well-put together possible future employee! (after ducking into a bathroom to make sure this was the case, of course)  Everybody that I met over those two days were very nice.  The same person that picked me up, drove me around Little Rock to show me the area before dropping me off at my hotel.  It, honestly, made me miss living in the south.  Scenery-wise it looked similar to northern Mississippi.  This, naturally, only served to make me more excited, and fuel my internet apartment searches in the hopes that we would be moving to the area.

I was dropped off at my hotel around 5:30 pm that evening.  The interview would be around 10:30 the next morning so I had all evening to chill in the room.  There were two huge bonuses to this:

Backyard Burger!! How I missed you!!!

ZOMG Cable!!
Backyard Burger is a wonderful place that I have only ever been able to find in the south, and it was within walking distance of my hotel.  My night involved getting a burger from there, bringing it back to my hotel and watching HGTV until I was tired enough to go to sleep...and it was AWESOME.

Then came the morning of the interview.  I woke up super early so I could get ready, and soon enough it was time to go.  I'm not gonna go too much into detail about the interview other than to say it was an all-day thing and I left feeling fairly confident.  Which is the best it gets for me when it comes to interviews.  I constantly second-guess myself about those things, so feeling confident at all is a good thing.  After a very productive day, they dropped me back off at the airport for flying fiascos: round two.

Me, all dressed up and ready to go for the interview.  Not pictured:  the suit jacket because it was too warm inside the room.  Yes, I DO know how to look professional, thankyouverymuch.
Sidenote to the above picture:  Never say you'll never wear something again, just because it's part of a bridesmaid outfit.  The pearls I'm wearing in the picture, I got from my fabulous friend Ashleigh when I was one of her bridesmaids.  And I'm pretty sure I've worn them to almost every interview I've had.  What can I say?  She has style.

The flights home went largely like the first with one exception:  the Detroit airport can shove it!  I arrived thinking I had an hour and twenty minutes between flights.... except I forgot about the little thing called TIME ZONES.  I had twenty minutes.  To get from one end of the airport all the way to the opposite end.  That airport is HUUUUUGE!! Ridiculously so.  I made it, but barely.  This was also the point where exhaustion began to set in.  Four airplanes and an all day interview in two days can take it out of you.  That last flight was the longest hour of my life.  Nathan picked me up at Milwaukee and drove me back home, where I then passed out, satisfied that, at the very least, I had just had an epic adventure.  (my definition of epic may be a little lame.)  

So, what happened you may ask?  After waiting almost two very very long weeks, I did finally hear back.  Unfortunately, I did not get the job.  I was disappointed, but I can honestly say this is the quickest I've bounced back from a job rejection.  I had a great experience, got to be in a forensics environment again, and got some valuable interview practice.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Arkansas Trip, part 1

So, I know what you're saying.  "Wierd.  She posted some random letter in which she addresses her own immune system as though it can answer and then says nothing for over a month.  Obviously, she's lost her mind."  And while, that may be the case, it's not the reason for the extended silence.  The reason for that would be the Arkansas trip and my attempt at getting the job of my dreams.  It was a situation that ended up dragging on and on for a while and will likely end up in a two part post.

So, the 2nd week of October (wow, that seems like an eternity ago), I got a phone call from a crime lab down in Arkansas for a phone interview.  At this point, I was intrigued but not too hyped considering, I've had plenty of phone interviews that came to nothing.  I scheduled it for the next morning, and let me say, that I have never had a phone interview go that well before.  It was one of those things were it seems like everything just clicked.  At the end of the phone interview, I was asked if it would be possible for me to fly down for a face-to-face interview.  I have not been that excited in a long time!  I was so excited that despite the fact that it was then, still only 10:30 in the morning (early for those of us who work 2nds :P ), I woke Nathan up to tell him the news, then made him get up out of bed and stay awake with me because I was obviously too hyper at this point be awake by myself and would end up talking to myself or the cats until he woke up again.  He's a trooper.

After being advised to keep the momentum going (thanks Mom), I scheduled things fairly quickly, and ended up only having to wait roughly two weeks to go down there.  Also, there's no way I could have scheduled things that quickly without all the help I got from family.  You guys are amazing.  During the two weeks I had to wait, I told myself I wasn't going to think about it and was only going to tell the people that needed to know.  No point in reading too much into it, or getting too excited......

That lasted all of a couple days.

To be fair, the not telling too many people thing lasted longer than that.  But within a couple of days I had already thoroughly explored craigslist for possible future apartments/houses and was thinking about how we would pull off a move at the last minute if we had to.  I COULDN'T HELP IT!!!!  I was too excited at the idea of finally getting a forensics job and being settled!  I tried to resist but couldn't.  And since I felt guilty about it, I decided I'd just yell at Nathan for "jinxing it" any time he talked about getting the job.

Honestly, sometimes I don't know how he puts up with me...

The not telling anybody except my family thing lasted until the weekend before I left.  Then, I kinda told Marci and Phil...then Dani....then Jess....then anybody else who asked.  Whoops.  I'm pretty impressed I lasted that long.  I am horrible at keeping my own secrets.  Keeping a secret for someone else is no problem.  Myself?  Totally not possible.

Then, finally, after two weeks of waiting, and fighting with my body about whether or not it was going to get sick (refer to previous post), it was time to go!  Sunday morning, we woke up at 6:30 in the morning and Nathan drove me to the Milwaukee airport and dropped me off, despite having to work 3-12 that day.  In case you're wondering, yes, he did rack up tons of bonus points for being amazing during this whole thing.  I had forgotten what it was like to be up that early.  And despite being a nervous wreck (I haaaaate flying, and this was the first time I was flying by that makes me sound like I'm 10), I was very eager to experience the whole thing.  I was determined to enjoy myself and take in the whole experience, no matter the outcome.  And since this is beginning to turn into a novel, I'll stop the first part here.  It seems an appropriate spot.  Also, it's 2 am, and sleep will be necessary soon. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Letter to my Immune System

Dear Immune System:

We need to have a chat.  I appreciate your hard work.  You are normally very good at your job, keeping me fairly illness free, aside from the usual cold here and there.  I understand that you may need to take a break now and then and let your guard down.  Let me assure you that NOW IS NOT THE TIME!!!  I'm sorry.  I know I don't take care of you as well as I could.  You don't get the tools you need very often.  But I'm worried, because lately you seem to be on the fritz.  You can't do that.  You see, I have very important things coming up this weekend and I need you at your best.  If you perform well this weekend, you'll even have a chance at a better quality of life afterwards.  I've loaded up on your favorite vitamin C and will continue to do so until the important stuff is over.  Afterwards, I promise to try as hard as I can to better attend to your needs.  As for the tomfoolery with the sniffles and scratchy throat this week:  Knock it off!!!  I understand you may need a break.  After all, you do work hard.  If that's the case, I can also assure you that I will not whine/complain/otherwise throw a tantrum if you take a break after Tuesday.  But only after Tuesday!!!  Such nonsense beforehand will not be tolerated.  That is all.


Edit:  The cold indeed waited until after the important stuff was

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Tale of Two Pies

It turns out I can bake.

I know! It was a surprise to me too!  I think the last time I baked was chocolate chip cookies from pre-made cookie dough.  Or heck, even the "awesome" blueberry muffins I made in high school for band trips...that were made from mix out of a box.  Domestic, I am not.  My definition of domestic has been largely in the cleaning area (which, I have gotten much better at then when I was in college, truth be told).  I know how to cook a maximum of 4-5 dishes that aren't microwaved or made out of a box.  And, not all of those are main courses.  Granted the dishes I do know taste amazing, but I've mostly relied on friends and my husband for good home-cooked meals.  

Then Nathan's birthday came around, and since we're poor I wanted to do something nice for him that wouldn't break the bank.  I decided, initially, to make him a Key Lime Pie, since a pie that didn't have chocolate in it would obviously be a pie for him.  I ended up telling him, because I can't keep a secret from him for anything.  When I informed him of this, he says "Hun, I'm pretty sure Key Lime Pie is supposed to be pretty tough to make.  You can pick something else if you want."  (doubting my baking abilities, I'm sure) He then informs me that apple would be a perfectly fine substitute. "Crap, I can't bake an apple pie, I don't know how to make pie crust and you have to with apple cause you need one for the top (naive, I know)."  "Buying me an apple pie is a perfectly fine birthday present.(again with the doubting)"  "Done."

Done, until the actual day of his birthday when he's at work and my mother guilts me into baking him the pie by informing me that I can buy pie crusts that come in packs of two for one on top and claims it's not hard, and I should really just bake the pie.  I hurriedly search for a recipe, find one online and dash to the store.  At this point I'm completely panicked because I was starting this adventure with no plan and limited time to pull it all together since I was getting a late start due to the whole, just gonna buy it thing.  I'm a huge perfectionist.  The idea of doing something new like this without a set game plan panics the hell out of me.  

Oh, and by the way mom, that whole "not hard" thing, yeah, you are full of it.  That freakin thing took me 4 hours, about gave me carpal tunnel from all the peeling, and involved a frantic phone call to mom where the first thing I said to her when she picked up is "I can't believe I let you talk me into this!!!!"  It turns out eight apples is too many, and that sent me into a panic about whether or not my portions for the other ingredients were off (I'm an OCD scientist, I freak if equations get messed up.  Sue me.)  There was another panicking moment when I went to put the top crust on, and it proceeded to completely fall apart on me.  BUT it was all worth it to make my baby something special for his birthday. (I'm aware you're all gagging, shush it)  Despite the panicking here are the results, which in my and my husbands opinion, tasted DELICIOUS:

The ingredients before going in the pie.  The pan is sitting on top of books because I don't own a wire rack to let things cool.

Before putting the top part on.  The recipe actually makes too much filling, so there was a moment with the smoke detector when some started bubbling out when baking.

The final product.  You can't tell, but the edges were burnt, and all I could manage of the top was trying to cut steam vents in with a fork instead of latticing the top, but I was INORDINATELY pleased with myself

Skip to a couple weeks later, I'm sitting at home again last weekend while Nathan was at work, looking for something to do.  His new job means he works most weekends, so I'm finding myself with a lot more free time on my hands.  I decided to see if the fact that the apple pie tasted so good was beginners luck.  I went with blueberry this time because it was something I knew we both liked and there wouldn't be peeling involved.

Holy crap was this one easier.  The prep took me literally, 20 minutes.  Again, because of the lack of peeling and slicing, and also because you don't really make the filling before hand.  Just throw the ingredients in and the filling cooks as the pie bakes.  It was going so quickly, no ingredient photo was taken (a disappointment to all, obviously.)
Before baking:  I decided to try the whole lattice top thing since it was so easy to make.  I was quite pleased for the fact that it was my first attempt.

Final product.  Fun fact:  I zoomed in on the pie to disguise the fact that one of the books used for my makeshift cooling rack was a cheesy romance novel.  I'm A GIRL! Stop judging.  Also, no burnt crust!
 The moral of this story:  Obviously, I'm a domestic goddess that's just now realizing her abilities.  Martha Stewart should watch her ass.

Monday, October 3, 2011


It feels like I haven't posted in months.  Turns out it's only been a couple of weeks.  I've been trying to figure out why time has been seemingly dragging and I've narrowed it down to a few reasons.  Among them:  work schedules and lack of trips home.

Work schedules has been the primary cause, I believe.  Working 2nd shift has it's pros and cons.  Pros:  Don't have to wake up to an alarm if I don't want to.  It turns out my body naturally starts waking me up around 11 am.  Also, I don't have to take any time off work for things like doctors appointments, etc.  I can wake up and run all of my errands before work.  My body naturally prefers 2nd shift so I've been feeling as rested as I ever have.  Cons:  Having work land in the middle of your day can kinda suck.  Luckily me and Nathan both ended up on a 2nd shift schedule rather than one of us 1st and one 2nd but there are definitely days when it feels like we get no time together.  Getting to wake up slowly rather than rushing to get out the door in the morning like I did on 1st is nice but having a few hours before work and a few after can often make it feel like my entire day is taken up by work.  I've tried the idea of waking up right before work and staying up later but it seems my body now refuses to sleep past 11.  Also, 2nd shift is apparently the one with the most changeable hours.  There are days I need to go in at 11:30 - noon and others when I don't go in until 3, depending on the work that day.  And then of course there are days when I have to switch to first for only a couple of days at a time.  So yeah, I'm figuring this is a large portion of why time has been dragging.

Then there's the lack of trips.  Me and Nathan both have depended on frequent trips home to see everyone when we can to keep our sanity.  Unfortunately, due to various reasons the frequency has shrunk to basically, once or twice a year.  So, needless to say, we miss all our friends and family.  We were lucky enough to have Nathan's parents visit this weekend.  It was great seeing them again and we had a lot of fun.

The final (and probably most important) reason:  I am nothing if not impatient.  A little while after writing previous post mentioning my dream job, I decided it was time to stop waiting around and get on with it, so then Nathan can get on with finishing what he wants to and we'll both be much more satisfied in the career department.  (All the other departments of our marriage are going swimmingly already <3 )  So I've been working on getting to a point where we are settled for a while in a career I love, be it forensics, tox, research or pharma, something that I can get behind and really enjoy my job.  Problem is, it turns out serious job hunting takes time and requires a lot of waiting.  I don't wait well.  My patience factor is basically something along these lines:

Because I don't feel right if I don't put something funny in my blog.
So here's hoping for something soon, because here soon, I'm afraid days are going to start feeling like weeks.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why The Cat almost died

Anybody who can access my facebook page may have noticed a status message involving coming *thisclose* to killing one of our cat.  Aptly named, The Cat.  (don't blame me, Nathan named him before we ever got together.)  I didn't give a reason at the time and am going to be explaining now.  Mostly because I didn't feel like adding paragraphs of explanation to a status update.

First a little background on The Cat.  Out of our "two" (read:  three.  Two, according to the apartment rules.  I know, I know, but he had two and I had one and neither of us were gonna give up a cat when we moved in together.) cats, he's the boy.  And boy does he love to act the Alpha Male part.  He is named The Cat after an older british sci-fi series, Red Dwarf.  My husband has loved it for a long time and has also converted me.  If you like sci-fi, british comedy and are ok with cheesy 80s special effects, I recommend it.  Fair warning:  It's totally geeky.  Probably why I love it.  Anybody who has seen the series and meets The Cat knows he takes after his namesake PERFECTLY.  He has attitude to spare.  As evidence of his personality, I submit the following:

A clip from Red Dwarf of The Cat.  Consider this how our cat would act if he spoke english (for the record, our cat is fixed so can't actually make anything "his" anymore, but that doesn't stop him from trying):

Also pictures:

"yeah, I made a mess of my food, what of it?  Not like I'M gonna be cleaning it up"

"Sweet! Breakable stuff!  Now if I can just pull it down off the desk I can play with it!, It's obviously mine anyway"

Anyway, so one of the cats bad habits has always related to dirty clothes/wet towels.  Basically, if Nathan leaves dirty clothes, or if either of us leaves wet towels on the floor, he will make a bee-line for them and pee on them.  Normally, it's not an issue cause we don't leave these things on the floor, hence, no worries.  The only thing I didn't think of is the fact that our clothes hamper is right next to the closet.  It turns out one of Nathans shirts had fallen in between the clothes hamper and the closet.  So this past week, I had to pick up Nathan from work.  It was midnight and I was in comfy clothes so looking for a pair of slip-ons to wear out to pick him up.  I couldn't find them anywhere so I started digging through my shoes in the back of the closet.  Normally, where the ones I don't wear that often end up.  

That's when I found the shirt.

It turns out The Cat had found the shirt that fell before we did, had drug it into the back of the closet, where he was unlikely to be seen, and had been using the shirt as a bathroom, for, it appeared to be, quite a while. And the thing is....the shirt...when he was dragging it...ended up ON TOP OF A LARGE PORTION OF MY SHOES!!"  And due to the apparent time he had been doing it, absolutely nothing was salvageable.

Yeah, I was pissed.  I could have strangled him.  The fact that he's furry and cute and cuddles with me is basically all that saved him.

As soon as I walked in to pick up Nathan, he came up to give me a hug and tell me hi, the first words out of my mouth were "You're lucky you don't have a dead cat!!!"  It's all cleaned up now.  I trashed the shirt, took all the shoes out of the closet and went through them all (not an easy task) to see which ones had been hit and which hadn't.  It was easily the grossest housekeeping I've ever had to do.  Oh, and as of today the carpet in the closet has been completely cleaned.  No trace is left, thank god.  In the end, literally half of my shoe collection was trashed, including three of my favorite pairs.  I'm mostly not mad at him anymore.  I'm trying to see this as an opportunity to go shoe shopping to replenish my, once glorious, collection.

And that is the story of why The Cat almost died.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Toys R Us kid

It's been two weeks since I blogged last.  The reason for this is mostly because it's been a stressful couple of weeks and I don't care to broadcast drama/problems on the internet.  There's enough negativity in the world, I don't feel like I need to add to it.  That, plus, I feel silly complaining about problems when I know people who have it worse.  For instance:  I may have a job that is currently stressing me out, BUT, I have a job.  And in this economy, that's nothing to sneeze at.

I will say one thing though:  It turns out being an adult can kinda suck.

It turns out it's not all desert for breakfast and staying up way later than I should.  But, before I completely rip off a Grey's Anatomy episode, I'll explain.

I was initially under the impression that my Master's degree would be the key to a sweet job very soon after college where I combined with my husbands income would be enough to live comfortably and even take vacations from time to time.  It turns out a Master's degree is not, in fact, a magic key to a comfortable middle class life.

Don't get me wrong, it definitely helps!  Because I got it, I have learned TONS about my field (thank you Dr. Peebles, and all of my grad professors too ), been published in scientific journals, gave presentations in front of others in my field (and decided I will never not be insanely nervous before said presentations) and given opportunities that there's no way I would have had otherwise.  I in no way regret the decision.  And it's helped me get the jobs I've had.  It's just, it turns out that a comfortable lifestyle takes longer than either me or Nathan had intended.  Nathan has been incredibly awesome dealing with me carting us around the country until I find my dream job.  He's putting off finishing what he wants to, to get the career that he wants so I can find mine.  It's an awesome sacrifice and I can never thank him enough.  I also can not thank our family enough who has helped time and again when we've needed it, often without our asking.

Anyway, I'm getting off-track.  The point of me saying being an adult sucks is *drumroll*....bills.  Yes, bills. And responsibilities.  BUT, as with everything I am trying to find the positive side.  We have been forced to find inexpensive ways to entertain ourselves, and having a blast!  Matinees can be inexpensive.  We've seen Fright Night (finally!) and Harry Potter recently.  I've been reading alot more.  I highly recommend the Game of Thrones series.  OH! and MONOPOLY!!! :)  I have a new love for that board game.  

Because if I can't be rich in real life, dang it, there's always Monopoly!
I know it may not seem that exciting.  In fact most people would say we lead a really boring life right now.  But the important thing is we are still having a good time despite recent troubles rediscovering things we loved when we were younger is always fun.  And also just reinforces my earlier opinion:  Growing up can kinda suck.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Adventure That Wasn't

It all started around 9:30 Sunday night.  I wanted to see Fright Night, cause, let's face it, Colin Farrell as Jerry the vampire and Peter Vincent played by my favorite doctor, David Tennant?  Yes, please.  If you haven't seen the original, with Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdink), as Jerry, I strongly recommend it.  So the plan was to go to an 9:55 showing and to meet a couple of friends from work there.  I looked up directions since we had never been to this theater before, and in a moment of incredible foresight, I choose the route taking the roads I know rather than the quickest one involving the interstate.  We get downstairs, and as we're walking towards the cars, Nathan asks which one we're taking.  I realize I forgot my keys upstairs and Nathan says it's no big deal we can take his, cause it should be ok.  This was our first mistake.

Let me explain:  We had just taken Nathan's car into the shop the previous week for acceleration issues.  It has been acting a little overtuned since he got it back, but generally ok.  Also, it should be noted that Nathan drives a stick.

So we get on the road.  And as we're driving it's still acting a little funky but generally ok.  Until we get to the first hill.  And, let me stress that this is not a big hill.  The car starts slowing down, and Nathan keeps trying to rev it with NOTHING happening in the acceleration department.  It got to the point that I was a little worried we'd roll backwards.  From that point on, the car was failing hardcore.  He'd be revving the engine to the point of 5 or 6 rpms and it would get to an acceptable speed eventually, but by eventually, I mean a couple miles and an acceptable speed would be 30.  Did I mention the route to the theater involved highways? (at least it didn't involve interstates.  See? I'm awesome!) Yeah, and stoplights.  So there we were going around 30 on the highway praying for the light to not turn red because then the process starts all over again.  So, at this point, we've been on the road for twenty minutes on what should have been a 15 minute drive and we're nowhere close to the theater.  I was starting to freak out and we decide that the theater isn't going to happen.  Called our friends to let them know;  "go on without us, Save yourselves!!" and we limped the car into a Kohls parking lot.  Also, at this point he was having serious problems getting the car to 20 mph and there was a distinct burnt rubber smell.  We realize, the car is not making it back to the apartment.

So, there we are, stranded in a business area of Madison, at 10 o'clock on a Sunday night.  We decide to get a cab.  "Wait, CRAP, we don't have cash," I realize.  So we start walking to find an ATM.  We see a bank nearby and walk there.  Only, they want to charge a $5.00 fee just to use their ATM.  "F That!" we decide.  In the distance, I see a Hooters.  "I got it!  Let's just walk to Hooters! Surely, they have an ATM, and we can grab a beer while we wait for the cab.  I want beer."  We start walking, and somewhere on the way there I mention that it's "adventures like this that bring marriages closer together."  We get to Hooters.  No ATM.  So, farther down the street, I see a shell gas station.  "ok, they HAVE to have an ATM" and we start walking.  Luckily, the gas station did, in fact, have a gas station.  We get money, a couple of drinks, and Nathan finds the number for a cab (thank god for smartphones!) and calls them.  Their response:  "We'll work on getting someone out there"

My response:  "....what the hell does THAT mean?"

So there we were, 10:30ish at this point on a Sunday night in Madison, and what are we doing?  Loitering outside of a shell gas station because we didn't think to go back to the Hooters to call the cab from there.  And now, Nathan keeps going on about wanting an adventure.  Yep, hanging out outside of a gas station.

We keep it classy.
Nathan looking excited.  Clearly, I should not have used the word adventure.

Did I mention I take pictures when I'm bored?

So, while we're waiting outside the gas station I mention that I feel like we're in a Jay and Silent Bob scene, only I'm a chick so we're missing one.  Nathan perks up and goes "Yeah, I need Brian!"  Then realizes we're in Madison and Brian is in Mattoon.

Then, he got sad.

After what seemed like hours, but was, in reality, roughly 30 minutes the cab gets there and we're on our way home!  I look at the cab window......and see a Visa and Mastercard sticker......

WHEN DID CABS START TAKING DEBIT?!?!  Why didn't I know this before walking all over the place for an ATM?!

Finally, we were home.  No Harold and Kumar adventures to speak of, but we made the best out of our situation.  If your wondering what was wrong with the car?  The clutch went out.  Found that out the next day after retrieving it from Kohls.

And, I still want to go see Fright Night.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


     Kayla was here!!  She came here last weekend to tour Madison, catch up, and also dye my hair.  We did a tour of downtown and all of it's fabulous little shops on State Street.  We didn't wake up early enough for the farmer's market (dang you 2nd shift schedule!) but she DID get to try Glass Nickel Pizza (which, is AMAZING, for all of you who haven't been to Madison) and Milio's which is essentially Jimmy John's but better.  (yes, you heard me, I said BETTER!) Either way, it was fantastic to see her.  Also, she did a fantastic job on my hair.  Now, maybe, one of these days I'll be brave enough to do it myself.  Cause, I still can't find it in myself to spend 60-70 dollars every 6-8 weeks to get it professionally dyed.

We're daaaamn fine :)

     Catching up with her also made me realize how awesome my friends are.  Me and her rarely get to talk outside of the occasional facebook post, text, IM, etc.  But when we do get to hang out, we pick up exactly where we left off.  (complete with watching really RANDOM FRENCH CRAP *cough*kayla*cough*)  I love that.  And, it occurred to me that all of the close friends I've gained are like that.  Whether it be my girls, or the friends I've gained through my relationship with Nathan, or my friends from school, whenever I get a chance to see them, it's like we never left home.  And I think that's amazing.  

Random sidenote:  Can I credit the friends I've made through Nathan to him when technically I met him through Jess and Wade? *shrug*

   Speaking of my girls:  It just occurred to me that my weekend with Kayla was very Nsync and Beyonce-less. We didn't even listen to Single Ladies ONCE.  (It was the theme of my bachelorette party and it was AWESOME)  It should also be noted that usually when I write a blog post, I put on Pandora to one of my rock station.  What station am I listening to now, you might ask?  Timbaland.  Yeah, I said it.  I can't help it.  Rock just really didn't fit.  Anyway, this is getting ridiculous, so I should probably wrap it up.  I'm currently resisting the urge to put up embarrassing bachelorette party pictures.  But, just as a close, I want to note that to all of our friends (caution:  gratuitous sappiness ahead):  I LOVE AND MISS YOU ALL.  You are all amazing and our lives would not be as awesome without you. :)  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Yes, I'm actually devoting a post entirely to food.

I love food.  And once upon a time, I fancied myself a decent cook.  Then, I married a wonderful man who is also a wonderful cook and I kind of let him take over the cooking duties while he looks for a job (ok, it wasn't so much "let him" as it was "pouted at him until I convinced him to cook cause I didn't feel like it when I got home from work," but he IS a really good cook).  Anyway, lately I keep getting the urge to cook.  I entirely blame the websites and  ESPECIALLY the latter.  The thing is, they're making me want to cook healthy meals instead of the crap I usually like to eat.  I'll flip through them having delusions of grandeur in the kitchen where I'm this awesome chef who can cook wonderful tasting healthy meals and fantastic deserts!  Can't forget the deserts! The cupcakes, the pies, the cookies....wait, where am I?

These should give a pretty good idea of where I'm coming from:

Oh yeah, did I mention in addition to a husband who can cook, I also have friends who are amazing at cooking.  Especially at tiramasu, now that I'm on a desert kick in my head.  (Yes, I'm referring to you Dani, you should mail me some Danimasu ASAP.)  So, after I find all these amazing recipes and have visions of myself in a chef's hat making amazing food....I turn around and look at my kitchen.  Which is a hallway.  A hallway that contains an oven, a sink, a refrigerator and barely enough counter space for a coffee maker and a microwave.  Really, we have to keep moving the garbage can because wherever we put it it blocks SOMETHING.  (Can you tell the kitchen is my least favorite part of our apartment?)  So, I guess all this is to ask...does ANYONE have ANY idea how to cook fabulous meals in a very confined space?  Cause as soon as I have the space and the means to buy fantastic ingredients it is SO on! :)

Friday, August 5, 2011


Have you ever seen NCIS?

More importantly...have you seen the awesome character Abby played by Pauley Perrette?


Yeah, she pretty much has my career.  She gets to work in a government forensics lab that's basically ALL HERS completely equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, solving crimes using science all while practically main-lining caffeine, being super smart and getting to wear what she wants and blast whatever music she feels like blasting at work.  *This is the part where I whine about it being NOT FAIR* Ok, so she has a Ph.D and her character is supposed to have, like, genius level intellect, but COME ON!!!  My own lab!!!! She calls one of her instruments Major Mass Spec!  Which is ABSOLUTELY something I would do.  There was a set of three instruments at my last job that I nicknamed Frankie Dean and Sammy.  I'm that level of chemistry-nerd.  She has my dream!

The reason I bring this up is there has been a resurgence of forensics career issues this week.  Don't get me wrong.  The company I work for is great and I'm getting tons of good lab experience.  But it's not my dream career.  Combine that with the fact that there's been a couple of dream openings this week and three basic things have been on my mind.  1.)  WANT!!!  2.)  It is super frustrating that it's nearly impossible right now to get hired onto an entry level position without already having experience.  Why not just go ahead and advertise an experienced position?  You're gonna give them slightly higher than entry level pay anyways.  That way you wouldn't get my  hopes up.  3.)  How douche-y would it be for me to take a new job this soon?  Is there a specific code of conduct for that?  And should I even care about it that much considering it's my DREAM CAREER.

Let's face it, "cut-throat" is one of the last terms anybody would use to describe me.  "Meek" on the other hand HAS been used to describe me.

Can I just be Abby already? (Don't worry, I'm well aware the spiked dog-collar/jet black pig-tails look is NOT one that I could pull off, I'd be satisfied just having the job.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


     The story behind the name is this:  One random evening, me and my friends Brian and Danielle Sparr were in the car heading to, most likely, Steak n Shake.  I'm pretty sure I was joining them as a break from schoolwork, still working on my masters degree at the time.  I don't remember who asked the question initially, but eventually, I was explaining to Brian the different areas of chemistry and which one my research applied to.  (and likely doing a horrible job, as I have since discovered I am HORRID at breaking chemistry into laymen terms)  We had finally gotten over the hurdle of how in the world there can be any other area other than Organic and Inorganic.  At this point, I suspected he was being deliberately obtuse.  I then said, "So anyway, I'm studying Physical Chemistry, which is another one."  Brian:  "Physical Chemistry?" "Yeah, it studies kinetics and thermodynamics and stuff" "Kinetic Chemistry?!  Is that like getting hit by a bus?"

     He broke my brain with that question.  Don't know that it's ever quite recovered.

     Anyway, I decided to go with that for the name because I intend to this blog to be my outlet for all of the crazy changes that have happened/are still happening in the last few years.  (it's also possible that I named it because I was trying to come up with a chemistry based name and that story popped into my head and WOULDN'T LEAVE.)  Since that story I have received my master's degree involving writing and defending a thesis. I've gotten married to a wonderful man, who any of you readers will likely have to deal with me being sappy about.  Moved, twice, to locations ranging from 1-4 hours away from where we were and started two different jobs.  It's been a whirlwind and I've realized that all of the changes haven't completely been processed.  So, I figured I should probably be writing some of this down for posterity.  If anyone is reading this, I hope you will enjoy the randomness.  (and it will likely be VERY random at times.  I'm fairly certain many entries will be written with a glass of Merlot next to me.)  :)

My Muse