Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Back Home

We made it safely home, and are trying to get settled, cleaned, and prepped for our returns to work. The drive was relatively uneventful (nevermind the bunny and bird I hit, and deer I nearly hit--all in my first 3 hours of driving).
We had a WONDERFULLY AMAZING AND FANTASTIC time, and many pictures are soon to follow. I'd post a few now...but I'm still trying to upload some pics from the banquet I had a few weeks ago (it was requested that I put them up asap for others to use).
I had a nice relaxing birthday, spent good quality time with each member of my family, and even got my tan back!
Of course, it's hot as you know what here, and we already had the AC freeze up once! Well, it's back to uploading pics and getting stuff together for work tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Family Ties

Well, first of all, I have a little announcement: something finally worked in the lab. Really, you don't want more details than that, unless you want me to go into a detailed description of my research project and all the issues I've been having with of my lab protocols...see, I didn't think so.

Anyways, on to the topic of this post: Family Ties. As the time is getting closer for us to head over to visit my family I have many random and direct thoughts (and comments) about my future. Every time we go to New Mexico, I have mom, dad, gramma, my sisters, and other various family and friends (theirs, not mine) commenting on how beautiful New Mexico is, and how they know people who could help me find a job, and wouldn't it be convenient for me to live with gramma until we get settled, and etc. So, I have to plan my counter-ideas for why I do NOT want to live in New Mexico. Well, it's not necessarily all of New Mexico, just the 2-3 deep counties surrounding the one my parents live in. But, of course, that has nothing to do with them.
So, how are these? Can you see any errors in my logic that I need to research backup?

As pretty as it is to visit, I'm not too keen on living in the desert.

  • I like my water. I like taking long showers, swimming in outdoor pools, washing my car (and leaving the hose running), and grass--oh, how I love grass (I do mean the bermuda/rye/st.augustine, not the other "grass").
  • It's HOT. Yes, I know, "it's not the humid-hot of Mississippi" (which I agree, is WAY WORSE), but still, I
  • There is very dangerous wildlife. Point in fact: Last fall dad got bit on his wrist, by a scorpion that had been hiding out in his jacket! The jacket was hanging up in his classroom--you know, the one in which he teaches, second-graders! For the 3 years he's been in that classroom, he's reported several "sightings" of scorpions, but the school has yet to bring in exterminators! (YEAH, really, at an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!!)

As nice as they are to visit, I'm not too keen on living in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, or Taos.

  • I have spent ample time in each of these cities to know that "outsiders" are not exactly welcomed with open arms into the community. I don't look hispanic (besides being short & chubby) and I sure as heck don't sound hispanic (that's for sure, y'all!)...and I just don't know if I would feel comfortable in a town where I felt that out of place.
  • I really would rather live in the country, away from the bustle of the city, away from nosy neighbors, barking dogs, street shootings, etc. And, although there are some really pretty areas "out there," they tend to be located so that you still have to go into a Major City to do shopping, see doctors, go to school, etc.
  • The Drivers in all 3 of these towns are nuts. I used to think it was just me (that I had gotten used to the "general hospitality" of the south). But, then I realized that People in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Wisconsin also have that "general hospitality" on the road (in my limited experience). I need to live somewhere that I feel safe driving.

I love my family, but:

  • Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right?
  • It's so much more fun when you can go visit your family. It makes the visit more like a vacation and less like an obligation. Plus, I think it's so cool that I have family (who have open door policies for me to visit) in New Mexico, Mississippi, Florida, California, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Missouri. I think the only region not covered is the middle (Montana would be perfect)!
  • My sisters are growing up (19 & 13) and they're really becoming. (I thought I had more to say, but I'm not quite sure what they're "becoming.") And, like most siblings, we tend to argue. So, for all our sanities' sake, it would probably be best for "big sis" not to meddle. Fortunately, bro (23) and I have already reached this understanding, and we have a great time when we do get together.
  • Mom & Dad had a tough past (especially when I was growing up, not so much since my siblings have been "around"), and I would not feel comfortable doing my thing around/with them. I mean, not that I party much, but even now I feel like I shouldn't tell them any of my "party stories." And, I could never go out to dinner and order a drink, or have coctails at my house (if they were there).
  • I tend to be a "critical" person, in that I judge and comment about people a lot. I have been working on this, and gotten much better (if I do say so myself). But, where did I get that from? I dunno, and I'm not pointing any fingers...
  • I like my "buffer" of distance. I like being able to control what things mom knows about me (the stuff I tell her). That is very, very important to me! (Wow, I didn't realize how much until I just typed it!)

Okay, that was a fun way to spend my lunch break. So, let me know what you think about my "counters" okay!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Points of Interest

Our plans in New Mexico have changed slightly. Hopefully everything else will go according to my schedule:
Wed-Thurs night: Drive from Starkville, MS to Rio Rancho, NM
Fri: Relax , some shopping for party
Sat: Little sister's graduation party
Sun: Church, family to Santa Fe, play "tourist" around town
Mon: Tour around town, graduation at UNM's "The Pit"
Tue: Drive to Taos Pueblo, Enchanted Circle, etc
Wed: Relaxing day at Mineral Springs, back to Rio Rancho
Thurs-Sun: Family Togetherness (i.e. R helping mom with her truck, drive to R's favorite place, and maybe a few nights camping)
Mon: Pack up truck, relax, head home...
Mon-Tue night: Drive from Rio Rancho, NM to Starkville, MS.
Wed: Unpack, take a chill pill.
Thurs: Back To Work.

Whew, what a quick 2 weeks!

OMG! Do y'all watch Grey's Anatomy?? Are Burke and Denny going to make it?!?! I'm so tense right now--watching this show!! Isn't it amazing how some shows can get us so worked up that we laugh and cry and cringe right along with the acting?!

****Spoiler Alert****
Denny is okay! And, the interns are sticking together! And Denny proposed to Izzie? Seriously? Yes, he means it! Awww! Now if that isn't the sweetest proposal!
And, Christina wasn't strong enough to support Burke! She just walked out on him in the middle of his surgery! Will he be okay? Will he be paralyzed? I bet that will be drawn out for the next hour...
****End Spoiler Alert****

I don't have many shows that I truly enjoy watching, but this is definitely one of them! I'm also SO INTO General Hospital! I know the characters as if they were my own family members! :)
Okay, this dual-duty (blogging & -actually-watching tv) is giving me a headache.

Friday, May 12, 2006

A List

It's almost 5:00 and there are a few things on my mind:
1. In 5 more days we will be packed up and headed out to New Mexico! We already have some stuff packed in the truck (the tent, air mattress, blankets, and snacks). Yes, we already bought our on-the-road snacks. And, yes, they are in the truck (that way I know R can't eat them all before we leave). By packing early, I can see physical signs that we are actually going somewhere.

2. In 12 days I will be 25 years old. Is that old? Not really, but it IS almost 30! I just hope somebody remembers to get me a cake!

3. I finished the first draft of my "Methods and Materials" thesis chapter. However, I am getting nowhere with the "Water Quality" section of the "Literature Review" chapter! I really wanted to have the first draft turned in for review by Monday. So, do I really believe that I will actually sit down at the computer and type up all the notes I've been taking? Probably not, but I'll take my paperwork home anyways, with high hopes.

4. Saturday, tomorrow, is my normal housecleaning day. But, we will be leaving on Wednesday and I know the house will get a little "messy" and need to be cleaned again by then. Do you see the dilemma: Should I clean house tomorrow AND Wednesday, or just wait to do it all on Wednesday? (It is not an option to NOT clean it before we leave--there's nothing worse than coming home from vacation and having to clean house! Nevermind that the cats will probably have catfood and hairballs everywhere!)

5. I asked a friend from work if he would watch/feed the cats, bird, turtle, and fish while we're gone over a month ago. I told my boss I was leaving 2 days ago. Does that show my priorities, or what?

6. My sister is graduating from high school and I'd like to do something nice for her. She's planning to come visit us in August and I told her that I'd help pay for the plane ticket (mom is paying part) and she didn't have to worry about anything (i.e. food, gas, etc) while she was here. Is that a good gift? I'd also like to give her something "small" at her party, any suggestions? My bestfriend got her an awesome gift--so great, in fact, that I wish I had thought of it (can't tell you what it is, b/c sis sometimes reads this)!

Well, R went home early today (got overheated doing "yard work" at work today), so it's off to take care of him and scrounge up some grub. Ta-Ta!

After reviewing this post, I notices several "problems" with my grammar, but you know what? It's 5:05, It's Friday, and I'm going home!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Already Wednesday

Okay, so we'll be leaving one week from tonight! And, how excited am I? Very. I still have several things to do, but I finally caught a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel, and am feeling much better. Hopefully by the start of next week I can stop being way too busy, and get back to being just me!
Speaking of tunnel, look at these most adorable kitties! My sister-in-law gave this to them after her cat showed very little interest in it. Isn't that just the cutest thing?! Yeah, they both play in it, even the big girl, and some nights the little one sleeps in it!
Last weekend we attended my department's annual cookout. The main thing is that they get loads and loads of crawfish. Of course, I don't eat seafood, and such that crawfish come from the water, YES, they are seafood, thus, I do NOT eat them. Anyways, there are big coolers of cooked crawfish and everyone stands around the paper-covered tables pinching tails and sucking heads. The crawfish are boiled with corn-on-the-cob and whole potatoes (I don't eat those, either). I know this is a southern thing, but what do y'all think? Do they look just yummy?
And, finally, an homage to a childhood summer tradition: The Sno-Cone. Here are our first of the summer. How convenient is it that they just put up a new stand right down the street (about 5 minute walk)!! But, they didn't have many flavors, so I was stuck with Sour Green Apple (my favorite is spearmint), and R chose his "usual" Banana. Do y'all still get sno-cones? What is/was your favorite flavor?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

How "Spoiled" Am I?

I saw this at somebody's site...and was curious what kinds of questions it would have. But, I figured that if I was going to take the time to read all of them, I could at least use it as a post. The Xs are my "yes" and the [] are my "no."
Do you have:
X your own cell phone
X a television in your bedroom
☐ an iPod
☐ a photo printer
☐ your own phone line
☐ TiVo or a generic digital video recorder
X high-speed internet access (i.e., not dialup)
☐ a surround sound system in bedroom
☐ DVD player in bedroom
☐ at least a hundred DVDs
X a childfree bathroom (no kids)
☑ your own in-house office
☐ a pool (I don't count the "neighborhood" pool)
☐ a guest house
☐ a game room
X a queen-size bed
☑ a stocked bar
☑ a working dishwasher
☐ an icemaker
X a working washer and dryer
☐ more than 20 pairs of shoes
☐ at least ten things from a designer store
☐ expensive sunglasses
☐ framed original art (not lithographs or prints) (Do completed puzzles count?)
[] Egyptian cotton sheets or towlels
X a multi-speed bike (it's rusty and can't be ridden right now)
☑ a gym membership (I'm not counting my "automatic" membership through tuition & fees)
☑ large exercise equipment at home
☐ your own set of golf clubs
☐ a pool table
☐ a tennis court
X local access to a lake, large pond, or the sea
☑ your own pair of skis
X enough camping gear for a weekend trip in an isolated area (how does this make me "spoiled?" Camping is for people who can't afford hotels!)
☐ a boat
☐ a jet ski
☐ a neighborhood committee membership
☐ a beach house or a vacation house/cabin
X wealthy family members
X two or more family cars (we have to get to work/school somehow, 2 trucks)
☐ a walk-in closet or pantry
X a yard (the empty space between us and the neighboring trailers)
X a hammock
☐ a personal trainer
X good credit (well, it's good enough for them to let my buy a car)
X expensive jewelry (My engagement ring and maybe my stud earrings)
☐ a designer bag that required being on a waiting list to get (I actually dislike carrying a purse!)
☑ at least $100 cash in your possession right now (I hardly ever carry cash)
☐ more than two credit cards bearing your name (not counting gas cards or debit cards) (I cancelled all but one a few years ago)
☑ a stock portfolio (I don't count the 401k investments through R's work)
☑ a passport
☐ a horse
☐ a trust fund (either for you or created by you)
X private medical insurance (does "private" include insurance provided through R's job?)
X a college degree (and no outstanding student loans) (what? my degree doesn't count if I have loans? Well, I'm counting it anyways)
Do you:
☐ shop for non-needed items for yourself (like clothes, jewelry, electronics) at least once a week ☐ do your regular grocery shopping at high-end or specialty stores (ha ha! not unless Walmart is "high end?")
☐ pay someone else to clean your house, do dishes, or launder your clothes (not counting dry-cleaning) (Oh, I WISH!)
X go on weekend mini-vacations (sometimes we just need to get away from school/work)
☐ send dinners back with every flaw (I don't send the food back unless it's really, really bad)
☐ wear perfume or cologne (not body spray) (not very often)
☐ regularly get your hair styled or nails done in a salon
☐ have a job but don't need the money OR
☐ stay at home with little financial sacrifice
☐ pay someone else to cook your meals (Again, I WISH!)
☐ pay someone else to watch your children or walk your dogs
☐ regularly pay someone else to drive you
☐ expect a gift after you fight with your partner
Are you:
☐ an only child
☐ married/partnered to a wealthy person
☐ baffled/surprised when you don't get your way
Have you:
☐ been on a cruise
X traveled out of the country (to Canada, once, for a day)
☑ met a celebrity
☐ been to the Caribbean
☑ been to Europe
☑ been to Hong Kong
X been to Hawaii (I lived there when I was a kid--mom was in the Marines)
X been to New York (july 2001, for 2 days, as a girl scout counselor/leader)
X eaten at the space needle in Seattle (I ate at a place below it. And, I went to the top.)
☐ been to the Mall of America
☐ been on the Eiffel tower in Paris
X been on the Statue of Liberty in New York
☐ moved more than three times because you wanted to (Moved many times, but never "just because.")
☑ dined with local political figures
X been to both the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast
Did you:
☐ go to another country for your honeymoon (what honeymoon??)
☐ hire a professional photographer for your wedding or party
☐ take riding or swimming lessons as a child
☐ attend private school
☐ have a Sweet 16 birthday party thrown for you (I probably had a regular birthday party, but no "big" thing)

Okay, so I answered "yes" to 23. The rule is that if you answer "yes" to 40 or more, you are "spoiled" (whateever that means). Well, just give me a few years, several of these things are on my "To Do" list!

Friday, May 05, 2006


Flying Objects and Prickly Plants AHEAD!
So, walking through campus earlier this week, I had to duck and dodge...the flying discs! Not such an easy task with 10 or so frisbees zooming this way and that! Of course, I would have loved to kick of my shoes and join in. But, alas, I had a class to get to.
Then, our truck was in the shop (yes, already) and I needed R to pick me up after class.
I told him to meet me by the tennis courts. This is where I usually meet him on the days he drives me to class. Little did I know that I would have the wonderful pleasure of dodging tennis balls. Well, not really, but I had to at least pretend like I was interested in the game. Do you see what I see? Yes, those are shirtless, attractive, athletic young men (playing tennis)! And, the view was even worth the dirty looks R gave me when he finally pulled up!
Finally, I am seeking gardening advice regarding this cactus that is very dear to me.
I "picked" a small cactus (about as long and thick as a finger) about 10 years ago, on a summer visit to New Mexico. Little did I know that I would drag it around with me once I left home for college. Yet, here it is. Starting about 5 years ago, it started blooming, and now every spring I get 4-5 beatiful yellow flowers. Somehow, it has also managed to survive being left in the rain, hail, and 100 degree 100% humidity summers of Mississippi. Can you see the new growth at the tops of several "branches?" Yeah, every spring, it grows another "branch" high/tall/long.
The issues I have are:
1. This pot is about 8 years old, cracked, and just not holding up. How in the heck do you replant/transplant a cactus this big? (That is, without significant blood loss.)
2. What is the proper way to plant a cactus? Should the new pot be shallower than this? What kind of dirt do they prefer? (This is just potting soil mixed with Mississippi dirt--what's left in the very bottom.)
3. All the plant parts that are in the pot are brown and ugly. Is that b/c of watering habits, a pot that's too deep, or what? I don't want to cut and replant all the "good stuff" and end up with 20 cacti--I like just the one.
On another note, my biochem test is over. OVER. Yes! I felt good about it, but really, you just never know. Now I just have my Statistics final on Tuesday. That, and the million pages (20-30) I have to write for my thesis. I think I'll now have more time for blogging, and it feels good to be back!