Thursday, December 11, 2008

I am famous and people do care

So in my RSS feed yesterday I got an email from Obama's transition website. It said the following:

"With so many Americans involved in the political process for the first time, there's a great deal of interest in what's happening inside the Transition right now -- and what happens next.

Today, we're rolling out a new feature that lets you ask the Transition team any questions you have about the issues that are important to you.

You can also browse through questions other folks have and check off the ones you think are the most interesting.

The Change.gov community has jumped into a true two-way dialogue with our Transition team members. So far, we've asked you questions about major issues in our discussion forums, and you've flooded this site with your comments.

Check out our new "Open for Questions" feature, and keep the conversation going."

So I logged on and asked the question: "What do you plan to do to our food industry to make it more sustainable? Will there be changes to our farming policies?"

So far out of 5038 questions, mine is 6th in popularity with 1572 people "checking that they think it is interesting". I feel very famous and expect a call from Obama at any second wanting my personal input!

You can check out my famous-ness here and submit your own question to President-Elect Obama.

Monday, December 08, 2008

If I were famous and people cared

On NPR Music they interview famous musicians and ask them what their favorite recordings are and then let the rest of us listen to them. So I decided to do the same sort of thing, and recomend that you post yours as well, it brings back all sorts of memories.

First is a really odd sort of song. Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915. It is so strange on first hearing. We played it for a concerto concert at USU and it became a serious favorite. Listen to it at least two times, if not more. The six eight time is just addictive.

Second is Phil Collins' cover of You Can't Hurry Love. I think of all the covers of this great song, his is my very favorite, can't tell you why, just love it the most. Maybe it's the fun video.

The Third was introduced to me on a car ride with Nick Maughan my freshman year in Logan. He had a fabu CD of Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax playing cello sonatas. He played for me the third movement of the Rachmaniov Cello Sonata Op. 19 and my life was never the same. I later got to play the third movement with Aram Arakelyan on the viola and it is still one of my most favorite pieces.

I forget who burned me a copy of Eva Cassidy's music, but it is a lasting favorite. Her version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow makes you yearn for Oz. She died young of cancer and really didn't become famous until after her death. Also check out her Fields of Gold. Also another NPR goldmine is when commentator Rob Kapilow talks with Performance Today's Fred Child about how Somewhere Over the Rainbow is musically put together. Amazing.

And the last would have to be Tucka Tucka Stop Stop. It is the very first full lenghth piece Suzuki violinists learn. People ask me all the time if I get sick of it, but I really don't. It makes me smile everytime I see a group of young violinists perform this piece for their parents. You know how many hours of work has gone into that one 20 second piece and I usually end up beaming with pride. You Suzuki teachers know what I'm talking about. I don't have a video or a recording of it, but just imagine a bunch of little kids looking really cute, or check out these cute kids playing another fun piece last year.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Our new toy

Scott got me an aerogarden for my birthday and we finally got it in the mail. I am growing herbs in mine right now because that's what it came with. But next I'm hoping to grow cherry tomatoes. It has lights that turn on automatically and a light that shows up when I need to add water. It grows with no dirt and has water constantly pumped over the roots. It's dang cool and it will be nice to produce my own food since this summer's "balcony garden" was a bust.

Thank you all for your very nice comments about the race. We did well, I was very slow, but I'm proud that I trained and accomplished my goal. Now we need to figure out what to do next.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Running out of breath

For my birthday what I decided I wanted to run a 5k and I wanted Scott to run it with me. Now my husband is a trim man, but running is not his cup of tea. Actually, he hates it more than anything. But he loves me and he said he would train with me. We've been running for about 6 weeks now and the race is on Thanksgiving morning. We're using this running schedule and it has been a life saver. We've hit 20 minutes straight and that is quite a big deal for both of us. I think that the only way that I'm going to consistently exercise is if I do it with Scott. I don't have the will power to get out of bed in the morning if he gets to stay in the warm covers. And I don't do well at night because I'm the only one suffering, and I want someone to suffer with me. So who knows what will happen to our exercise regiment once Thanksgiving is over, but I've got a few ideas. Scott will hate all of them I'm sure. The picture is of a running rhino, that's how I feel when I run.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

You Wanted Change? It's Time To Help

This is a great article from Dick Meyer about how change is going to have to come from the ground up as well as the top down.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

October

So we've been slackers in the blog o sphere lately. I think blogging comes in waves with me. I just have to be in the mood. October was a lovely month here in Nebraska. It's so strange but the leaves didn't change for the longest time and yesterday it was 70 degrees outside. I actually really miss the cold Logan mornings. I'm ready for pea coats and scarves.

Scott's parents came to visit and they spoiled us rotten. It was nice to see some familiar faces and they were very nice house guests. Because they came we finally had to clean out our second bedroom and so now I have a studio to teach in.

I now have a grand total of seven students and I'm liking all of them.

I had a great birthday with lots of love from family and friends. I got lots of beautiful things and was again spoiled. I had to teach that night, but we went to a great little Greek place and I ate way too much and we even got dessert.

I got half way through Thomas Friedman's book before having to return it to the library so I'm now back at the bottom of the list. But I immensely enjoyed the first half and recommend it to anyone.

We finally signed up for curb side recycling. They gave us a nice big bin and come and get it every week. They recycle cell phones and chargers and all those misc. cords that seem to appear in every drawer in our house. They take grocery bags and produce bags and every kind of plastic you could think of. all for only $11 bucks a month. And if I get another person to sign up for it we get a month free. Oh, and we took our old computer monitor to Best Buy to have them recycle it and they gave us store credit. Awesome. I'm really excited about our recycling, can you tell?

That's about it from us, the election is finally over and last night all I kept dreaming about was Anderson Cooper and David Gergen.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

2 More Days!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Did we really need all those debates?

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at 236.com.


This is rolling around the internet and I think it's great.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hot Flat and Crowded

So I started my new book from the library today. So far, I love it, here's my favorite quote so far:

"There is a third trend, though, and this is the one that gives me hope. This is the trend toward what I call "nation-building at home". While Washington may be gridlocked and drifting sideways, and our economic management has been anything but responsible, our country is still exploding with innovators and idealists. Every week I hear from people with thier new ideas for making clean energy, or with new approaches to education or with new thoughts about how to repair something in our country that desperately needs repariing. And though some of these ideas are wacky, the number of people experimenting in the garages and local communities certainly tells me that this country is still bursting with vitality from below. Our young people are so much more idealistic than we deserve them to be, and our broader public, though beraten down at times, is still eager to be enlisted-enlisted to fix education, enlisted to research renewable enery, enlisted to repair our infrastructure, enlisted to help others. You can see it in the number of college graduates lining up to join Teach for America. They want our country to matter again, they want to be summoned, not just to do nation-building in Iraq or Afghanistan, but to do nation-building in America-to restore and revitalize something they cherish but feel is being degraded."

Thomas Friedman-Hot Flat and Crowded-Why we need a green revolution - and how it can renew America

Monday, October 06, 2008

Here's my main question..

The housing market is a complete disaster, but those stupid dancing people advertising for cheap morgages are still dancing in the middle of my news articles. Shouldn't they be gone by now?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

What I've been making

This is not my picture, nor are any of these pictures mine, but this is from my new favorite blog Smitten Kitchen that Amanda turned me onto. I'm going to be attempting this apple cake this afternoon. I've been trying to get a lot of cooking done on the weekends and then eat it all week. Here's my list:


Macaroni and Cheese














Black Bean Soup













Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore










Beef, Leek, and Barley Soup








Whole Wheat Zucchini Pancakes

Thursday, October 02, 2008

So many books, so little time

Remember the good old days of Pizza Hut Book it? Those were the days. So the library here in Lincoln is amazing!(Said in a Kelly Kapoor voice from the office). There are five libraries and you can request a book on the website and they will drive it over to the library that is closest to your house. This might be how most library systems work, but coming from a one library town like Logan, this is big time for me. They also have a really nice interlibrary loan system that pulls from all around Nebraska. So when we first got here I went crazy and checked out all sorts of books and never got around to reading them all before we had to take them back. So I've gotten better but this week all of these books that I've been on huge waiting lists for have all showed up and they all have people waiting for them after me so I feel like I should get them all read. So here is my reading list for the next couple of weeks:

Currently Reading:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver 352 pgs
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch 206 pgs

Currently waiting at the Library for me to pick up:
Hot, Flat and Crowded Why We Need a Green Revolution - And How it Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman 438 pgs
Alcohol Can Be a Gas! Fueling an Ethanol Revolution for the 21st Century by David Blume 591 pgs.

Now for some of you (Amanda, Brooke) this would be no big deal, but I am less diligent about picking up a book when I have a spare second but it will build character.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Voting Early

I went to the Lancaster County Election Office today on my lunch hour and registered to vote, and now have my Election 2008 ballot in my hot little hands. Early voting is the way to go in my opinion, mostly because I've spent hours upon hours waiting in line to vote, but now I get to fill it out and mail it back, no lines involved. It also gives me a little bit more hope that my vote will actually be counted. I'm not trying to be cynical here, but the last two times I've tried to vote my registration somehow was not on their list, I had to vote absentee and who knows if my vote actually ever got cast. Now all we have to do with the Nebraska government is get new license plates, new driver's licenses and renew our car.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Election 2008

Whether you like John McCain or Barack Obama, or neither, these videos are pretty funny and I think capture a bit of the spirit of this election season. Many of you may know that I do not particularly care for politics, and I declare my position to be nonpartisan (I dislike political parties). As such, do not interpret my sharing of these videos as some form of trickery to endorse one candidate over the other. Instead, watch with interest to the competitive spirit of what is shaping up to be one of the most interesting Presidential races in decades. Enjoy!

Video 1:




Video 2 - FOLLOW LINK

Video 3:


Video 4:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Big Bang Theory

So, as of the few weeks, I have a new favorite television show. It's called The Big Bang Theory, and it on CBS on Mondays. Here are some clips of my favorite scenes from last week's season premiere.




Friday, September 12, 2008

Waiting is the hardest part...

Five minutes, starts out a bit slow but totally worth it. New season starts soon!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Friends, Violins, and Tomatoes

Not much has happened since our last post, though it sure seems like it was a while ago.  We made some new friends in our ward, a young couple who moved in just about a month ago.  Oddly, we discovered that we have uncanny similarities with them.  As it turns out, Scott Church is from Centennial, Colorado as well, and actually lived in my same ward in Colorado, not a few blocks from where my parents live now.  Their family moved out about the same time that my family moved in.  Not only is his name also Scott, but we like the same music, know the same people, and we both want to be professors.  Heather and Jentry seemed to get along quite well also, both being fans of BBC specials and girly movies (though that appears not to be too uncommon).  Anyway, we were glad to make some new friends here in Lincoln, and I think it has helped make Jentry feel a bit more at home.

Jentry has been busy trying to get her studio up and running.  We had some brochures and a large banner made to help her advertise.  I'm trying to convince her to make a yellow pages ad, and maybe post in the classifieds or on Craig's List.  She does have a website up and running though, www.lincolnviolin.com.  She has also contacted various pre-schools and kindergartens in the area, asking if she may come give a presentation on the violin.  So far we've heard back from only one school, but it's only been a few days since she mailed out her requests.  She has a clever way of trying to get the parents interested as well.  When she gives her presentation, she will also give the children stickers that say "I learned to play the violin today!" on them with her web address and name below.  Hopefully, when the children come home wearing their stickers, the parents may be intrigued and visit her website.  We'll see what happens.

Other than that, things have been pretty slow.  Lots of rain, on and off again, which is nice.  Jentry's tomato plant is a single, green tomato growing on it, despite the heavy abuse it sustained over the course of the summer.  Her black beans have also been growing rapidly, but no fruit on them yet.  We're not exactly sure what to expect, or whether or not we'll have to artificially pollenate them like we did with the tomato plant.  And that's just about it!

Friday, August 29, 2008

A small small world.

Today I was sitting at my desk working on (yet another) Excel spreadsheet when in walked a professor and her new grad assistant. I looked up and was suddenly looking at (a stunned) Christina Squire from Tolman Elementary and the LDS Bountiful North Stake. I blurted out, "You live in Nebraska?!" I jumped up and we gave each other a huge hug and started talking a mile a minute. She just moved here two weeks ago with her husband for them both to start grad school. I've known Christina for as long as I remember. She's a year older than me, but we went to school together and were in the same LDS Stake and served on the Bountiful Youth Council together. She's an amazing girl and we both marveled at what a small world it is. As I sat down and started thinking about the encounter, the talk by Elder Bednar on "The Tender Mercies of the Lord" popped into my head. I know that Heavenly Father is looking out for us here and I know He sent us here for a reason, and this is one of them. I can't tell you what a comfort a familiar face is in this sea of unfamiliarity. Christina and I both actually started to cry a bit as we were talking about how we don't know where anything is in the grocery store or how we look for people we know as we walk through a crowd, but then realize that we're not going to know anyone. Seeing Christina today was a blessing and a comfort to me and I know that we're not here alone.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

African Wisdom for Life

On my desk is an "African Wisdom for Life" daily calendar. The wisdom for today is, "The tree that is not taller than you does not shade you." -African proverb

I don't know what to make of it, any ideas?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I don't want to be a bummer anymore

Sorry this blog has been a bit of a bummer lately, but things are looking up. My parents are much better and my dad's surgery went well and my mom is recouping in style with her sisters in St. George. We are doing well. I now have four students from the music store and I taught them for the first time yesterday. I forget how much I love teaching when I go for awhile without doing it. Scott starts school on Monday and I think he is excited, but you can never tell... We celebrated our 3rd year anniversary yesterday and it was very nice. We ate really good Indian food (spinach naan, I don't need to say anymore). Then we missed our first movie time so we went to the 9:40 showing of Traveling Pants. We had the entire movie theatre and probably the entire building to ourselves. I enjoyed the movie and we sat and commented and sang as loud as we wanted. A perfect date for us.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Crazy things

Thank you all for your comments and concerns over my tranistion period. I got lots of good advice and perspective from those who have gone before. Thank you for your love, wisdom and understanding. We have been watching the Olympics and I have three students now through the music store down the street. Things back home in Utah have been a bit scary, but okay. Check out my brother's blog to see what's going on in the life of the Stoneman family.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The following spouse

This is what Amy Odum (one of Scott's amazing advisors at USU) called me (or my role) before we left Logan for Lincoln. She had been a following spouse years before and then eventually got her own Ph.D. I've been thinking a lot about this phrase ever since we got here. When we started down this path of graduate school it was obvious that we would go where Scott needed to go. His field is way more specialized than anything that I wanted to do with a graduate degree and when people questioned me about "following him" I was like, "duh, of course we're going where he needs to go". I didn't feel like I needed to defend the fact that I was taking a back seat, and I still don't feel that way. I know that coming here was the right choice for us and it holds in store many things for me that I know will enrich my life.

What I didn't know was what being "the following spouse" was going to do to the image I had of myself. In Logan I had many things that defined me. My music, my students, my church, my schooling, my friends, my husband, my family, my job etc. Most of the things that defined me existed before I met and married Scott and he just added to this wonderful mixture of my self esteem.

When we came here a lot of those things were no longer there. Well, they still were a part of me, but I wasn't able to partake of them everyday. I missed having students and close friends and family. I missed having a direction in my life. When we were in Logan it was always really clear cut what was next; graduate from school, work for a year while Scott finishes, go to graduate school for Scott. And that's where it always ended when people asked. Now that we're here, I find myself floundering for what I really want to do.

It's not to say that there isn't plenty for me to do here. I want to start a master's degree in learning disabilities, I want to get a big studio and teach lots of kiddies, I just didn't expect me to feel this way. It's like I have nothing to really attach myself to. I'm jealous of Scott who has this title and future sketched out for him for the next five years "graduate student". My future is much more uncertain. I'm not complaining, I'm not bitter, I'm just reflective. I know that many of the readers of this blog have been, are or are going to be in this situation; so I want to hear from you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Update

Things are humid and sticky here in the heartland. We are getting along fine, even though our a/c stops working on the dot every Friday afternoon so we can spend the weekend simmering in our own fluids. But it's fixed now.

My job is going well. I'm really liking the people I work with and campus is beautiful. The work I am doing is pretty clerical at this point, but I've been promised that it gets better.

Scott is being research-y, and I think he is ready for school to start so he has something to do while he has to wait for me to get off of work. The tomatoes are blooming and I planted black beans on Saturday that are already shooting out of the dirt. Besides that, not much is going on.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Omnivore's Dilemma

This weekend I finished the above mentioned fascinating book by Michael Pollan. It has three sections. The first is how corn has taken over our entire diet and a substantial part of our farmland. The second is his experience in a sustainable farm "Polyface Farm" in Virginia. The third is his quest to create a meal that he "hunted and/or gathered". After reading the book I've come up with some goals for my eating. Granted they are goals and probably not all completely feasible until Scott has a real job, but I think my heart's in the right place.

1)The bulk of what I put in my body should not be processed
2)The food should mostly come from a local source
3)Meat should be a special occasion. Most of our meals should be meat free.
4)The meat that we do eat should be grass fed - we can get this at our farmer's market-I don't know what we're going to do in the winter, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
5)I want to grow a large part of my own food. This is really the only way I can figure out how to achieve all of this. Vegetables are expensive and food from your own backyard has very little carbon footprint!

Now of course this doesn't mean that we won't eat out or demand these rules from anyone else. I'm really not sure if I can enforce these rules on Scott. I just want to try to be more responsible with what we spend a lot of our money on. "Eat your view!"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Case of Animal Activism

As a scientist and animal researcher, I obviously have biased opinions about animal rights. The nice thing about this blog is that I get to share them with you. Better yet, if you disagree, you have to post it on your own blog because this blog is firmly opposed to absurd opinions.

Now that I've hopefully limited my audience by offending some of our readers, I can finally get to the point. Animal research is an essential part of biomedical science. Some would have you believe that it is unnecessary, avoidable, and even a hindrance to scientific progress. These people would also have you believe that scientists who practice animal research are heartless, cruel and sadistic individuals who relish in inflicting pain and suffering on other species. Many would also try to convince you it is just to strike back at research institutions through vandalism, threats on personal safety, burglary, arson, and other illegal activities. It should go without saying that these people are idiots, plain and simple.

The sad part is that like many idiots, they are good at making their voices heard. Of course, when you look closer at what many of them say, it makes you wonder why they are permitted to open their mouths (see a list of interesting quotes). Nonetheless, they have their first amendment rights and they exercise them liberally. Unfortunately, this has the effect of making their opinions seem more prevalent than they really are, and can have the effect of making it look "mainstream" or even "popular." To complicate the matter, those of us who disagree with their views tend to remain quiet, even in the face of their hate-filled propaganda. That is something that I mean to personally change.

Animals do indeed have rights, and they should be treated with dignity and respect. I believe that while animal research is essential to the progression of biomedical science, it should be conducted in a responsible and respectful manner towards the animals used. In my experience, this is the guiding principle that governs most, if not all, animal research laboratories. Animal researchers do not relish in animal pain and suffering, but we work to minimize or completely avoid it in all of our work. Researchers view loss of animal life as a necessary cost toward developing a science that will improve the lives of both humans and non-human animals. Without animal research, human and veterinary medicine would be still relying on archaic and inaccurate practices and create a far greater amount of suffering to both humans and non-human animals than it does at present.

I have personally had enough of the ignorant falsehoods that the extremist animal activist groups distribute. Furthermore, their tactics and illegal activities are detrimental to society and are designed to deter by fear and coercion (see list of illegal activities committed in the name of animal rights, posted with pride on their own websites...). The term 'terrorism' comes to mind... As such, I am vowing to be more vocal in speaking out in favor of animal research and against the violent, hateful, and dangerous activities taken my animal rights extremists. If you feel at all similarly, I encourage you to do the same, and find out more information from the sites listed below:

Pro-Test
Speaking of Research
Foundation for Biomedical Research
Americans for Medical Progress

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Unleavened Bread

We made naan, and I'm tickled about it. We fell in love with the Indian Oven back in Logan and I've always wondered how you would make naan (my personal favorite part about eating Indian food). Turns out, not difficult. Flour, salt, baking powder, and plain yogurt. Though the baking part was a bit intensive, I think this could become a habit. You have to have a hot griddle going and your oven on at 500 degrees so I don't recommend doing it in the heat of the afternoon. We topped ours with melted butter, honey from the farmer's market, and cilantro (had to use the dried stuff as mine is still trying to grow back).

Other things I have made during my unemployment:
Pesto-from my own basil
Tomato Basil Pasta Salad
Basil Lemonade-a new favorite-can you tell we had a lot of basil to use?
Baja Black Beans, Corn and Rice

My job is going to be a great one. One of my main responsibilities is to work with scholarship recipients and donors. The Dean wants me to start nurturing past donors and making sure that they get updates on the recipients of the scholarship that they funded, stuff like that. They had to do a background check on me because I will be dealing with other people's money and that takes 3-5 days so hopefully I will start on Monday. Here is my next gardening project.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Updates

First off, this post is to commemorate our first 100 posts on Cumulative Record (this being the 101st post). Yay for us!

Since Jentry kept everyone in suspense about her job and everyone seems antsy to know what it is, I thought I might as well post and give our friends and family some updates on how we're doing in Lincoln. You'll note that this is a break from the norm in my posting style; as I mentioned to Jentry, I prefer to limit the topics of my posts to the superficial rather than real. However, it always brings a smile to Jentry's face when I do actually post something other people actually care about, so here I go.

The move went well, despite being expensive (as all moves are). The most costly part of the move was not the U-Haul rental, the new apartment deposit, the fuel consumed while travelling, or even our overnight stay in North Platte, NE. It was the gap between paychecks we're experiencing between our last checks from jobs in Logan and our coming checks from our new jobs in Lincoln. It's amazing what a difference a few weeks without pay makes when you're living from paycheck to paycheck. Nevertheless, we're surviving and actually doing quite well in spite of it (please, no charitable donations, unless you last name is Gates). Jentry had a slightly harder time of the move than I did, since when I got here I immediately had things to do in my new laboratory, whereas Jentry had to look for jobs and wait for them to get back to her, with nobody to hang out with all the day long. Being the trouper that she is, however, she got along quite well considering how miserably bored she must have been at home alone all day long while I was on campus.

Fortunately, Jentry will no longer have to endure to loneliness of our empty apartment, as she has indeed found a job, and just the job she was hoping to get at that. If fact, she has much reason to be happy because she actually got the first job she applied for, and not many people can say that. As fun as it would be to leave it at that and not tell you what job it is, I'm going to be civil and share the secret: Jentry is working as a Staff Assistant to the Dean of Education and Human Sciences on the East Campus of the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. It is the exact same job she had in Logan except that she'll be in the Dean's Office instead of the departmental office, and as a consequence, she'll also make a bit more money. What her additional responsibilities will be I am not certain, but maybe she'll divulge sometime if everyone behaves nicely.

As for myself, graduate school is both exactly and not exactly what I anticipated. My schedule is definitely more flexible, and I have a lot more freedom to govern myself and spend my time on things that I am personally interested in. In the same vein, however, I feel somewhat confused at times about what exactly I should be doing. Mostly I have been doing a lot of reading, both of various papers that have been recommended to me to read and articles that I find on my own that I suppose might be interesting of valuable to know. I have been doing a lot of procedural training as well. As every lab is slightly different on how they take care of their animals or perform their injection procedures, or maintain their laboratory, etc., I have a lot to learn about how things work around the UNL lab. For one, I'm having to learn to perform injections much more rapidly, for many more rats. It's a good thing. I really like the lab here, and I think their procedures are very refined and efficient, so I'm eager to learn what I can. On Saturday I will get my first experience with surgeries. Twenty rats need to have IV catheters surgically implanted, so several of the graduate students will be in the lab to perform them (which will take most of the day) and I will get to observe and be trained on anesthesia procedures, etc. It should be interesting, and I'll let you guys know how it goes.

As for my projects in the lab, I have been given several things to work on (as of yesterday), and all of them involve IV-prepared rats, which is a new experience for me. It isn't typical (from what I hear) for a graduate student to come into the lab and have several projects to work on immediately, or to even start training on IV-procedures so quickly, so I feel both a little nervous and pretty excited about the opportunity to do so. We'll see how things go. One of the big differences between this lab and the USU lab (of which there are many) is that most of the people in this lab have a strong neuroscience and pharmacology background, but less of a strict behavioral and learning training. USU was quite the opposite, for the most part. So it is interesting to be coming into the lab from a quite different perspective, and to both be completely ignorant of many principles of neuropharmacology, but somewhat knowledgeable about principles of learning and behavior. I'm very glad I came to this lab because I feel that I both have a lot to learn from the people here, but also a lot to contribute from my previous behavioral training. Let's say that I am optimistic about my experience at UNL.

That more or less sums up our experience thus far in Lincoln, but I'm sure we'll keep you posted on further updates.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Window/Balcony Garden

What once were these:


Became these:


Are now these:



The tomatoes survived the car trip and are thriving in the humidity. I am growing them upside down so gravity does all the work and I don't have to worry about keeping them standing upright. With the process of getting them through the little hole in the bottom of the pot some branches got ripped off, but I think they will be okay. Hopefully before the summer is out we will have some tomatoes!

P.S.-I got a job - a really awesome one.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Home on the Range

Jentry has recently been reading a book entitled The Omnivore's Dilemma, which from what I understand is a well prepared criticism on our food-industry's over-reliance on corn in virtually all food products. To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, but I'm also not the one reading the book. One thing that Jentry and I have discussed a few times that the book mentions is the differential pros and cons of grass-fed beef compared to grain-fed (corn-fed) beef. To give a brief summary of the issue, post-WWII, the beef-industry has switched from raising cattle primarily in open grassland ranges to grain feedlots. The shift is largely due to ranchers' ability to produce beef year-round, at a lower cost (to producer and consumer), at a faster rate (corn-fed cattle grow much faster), and with more consistent results. Economically speaking, these are all terrific advantaged for cattle ranchers. However, proponents of grass-fed beef argue that there are several disadvantages to grain-fed beef. Some of those include:

  1. Grain-fed cattle succumb to more health problems, like acidosis and rumenitis, "feedlot polio," liver problems and others. In fact, it is considered the norm for feedlot cattle to have one illness or another (Gardner, B.A., et al, "Health of Finishing Steers: Effects on Performance, Carcass Traits, and Meat Tenderness." J. Animal Science, 1999. 77:3168-75.).
  2. Grain-fed cattle ranching practices are believed to contribute to climate change by environmental scientists. Obviously, this is one of the more controversial arguments against grain-fed beef.
  3. Repeated studies have shown that grass-fed beef is nutritionally superior to grain-fed beef. Specifically, grass-fed beef is reported to have more beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), less saturated fat, more omega-3 fatty acids, more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, believed to reduce the risk of heart-disease and cancer, and often added to grain feeds because of its health benefits), more Vitamin E, more protein, and lower levels and more benign strains of E. coli than grain-fed beef (numerous reports, but see Kraft et al. 2008, Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 56:4775-4782.)
  4. Antibiotics and hormones administered to grain-fed cattle have been correlated some health risks in humans, including breast cancer, premature sexual maturation in females and reduced antibiotic efficacy in treating bacterial infections (Casewall et al., 2003, J Antimicrob Chemother, 52, 2:159-61.)
While it is true that grain-fed beef is cheaper, easier to find, and argued by many to be more tender and flavorful, perhaps it comes at a unforeseen cost, particularly to human health. It's an interesting issue, one I'm not sure I've completely formed an opinion on, but aside from being more expensive and slightly less convenient to purchase, I don't see any reason not to prefer grass-fed beef when the choice is available. As a bit of a BBQ connoisseur, I'm thinking about grilling up some steaks from both grass-fed and grain-fed sources and comparing them in terms of flavor, tenderness, and cost, and perhaps posting my opinions for the rest of you to analyze. It seems like a good excuse for some great steaks nonetheless.

Check out EatWild.com for more information on grass-fed meat.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

New Pad


Front Room

I put together this table all by myself!

Bedroom

The view from our balcony.

Nebraska sunset view from our balcony after a storm

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Amazing Weather

Amanda, one of the fellow graduate students in the lab, tipped me off to this great weather website that has much more information that weather.com, which is was I was using. the site is Weather Underground, and it's pretty cool, I must say. Best of all though were these amazing photos that people had posted on there of weather and wildlife. It makes me wish I had a fancy camera really bad. Someday it'll be my new hobby. Below are a few sample photos from the site.










Tuesday, July 01, 2008

We live in Nebraska now

We made it to Lincoln. Here are a few things I have learned so far:

I hate moving mostly the packing and then the unpacking

Key Bank and T-Mobile do not exist in Nebraska (who knew? you would think that if they existed in Logan, UT they would exist everywhere else.)

Not having a job is boring

Not having a job and having to unpack boxes is even more boring

Not having a job and having to unpack boxes in the humidity and being alone because your husband is off being a Ph.D student is boring.

Pictures to come

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tagged

Jentry:
4 Places I go over and over:
Work (Education Building)
Fine Arts Building
Grocery Store
Amanda and Richard's house

4 who email me:
People from work
Auntie Mary
USU String Academy peeps
Ideal Bite

4 Of my favorite foods:
Spinach Soup from Indian Oven
My mom's apple pork chops
Anything Scott or my dad barbecues
Chocolate English Toffee ice cream from Aggie Ice Cream

4 Places I would rather be right now:
Brighton Girls Camp
Wisconsin getting my master's degree in Suzuki Ped. from Pat D'Ercole
Baking new breakfast treats that were on NPR's website today
Playing tennis with my boy


4 Movies I watch over and over again:
Recently I've been watching over and over
North and South-BBC
Wives and Daughters-BBC
The entire Jane Austen series that PBS and BBC just did
While You Were Sleeping

Be tagged if you want to be tagged.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Picture of new apartment courtesy of google maps

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Post

We are moving to Nebraska in T minus 10 days. We bumped up our moving date for a number of reasons and we think it is the right decision. Because we moved up our date a whole month lots of things have to be done rather quickly.

Scott went out to Lincoln on Thursday and found us an apartment. It is on the south part of town (read nicer part) so that I can build up a violin studio. It has two bedrooms, a fireplace, a balcony off the master bedroom, a dishwasher, AC etc. I am very excited and will be glad to get out of the studio apartment we have been living in for almost two years now.

I have been at the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute since Thursday down in Draper. I am staying with my family and that has been fun. My sister Jessica came up from SUU for Father's Day so we were all there for the weekend and got to have one last weekend together.

My Suzuki classes have been amazing. I am very excited (read terrified) to start a studio completely over in a brand new town where I know hardly anyone. But my good friend Carrie just gave me all of her tricks on how to start a new studio because they moved to LA about a year ago.

So Scott got home last night and he has to pack the majority of our apartment while I am down here until Saturday. Then we go home and I finish up my last days at work, teach my last lessons and say goodbye to everyone.

Here's to a new adventure.....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Come fly with me, come fly

So my boss took us flying tonight. He owns his own Sesna plane and has been wanting to take us for awhile. So with our days in Logan numbered we decided that tonight was the night. He even let me fly for awhile. It was so much fun and the views were just unreal. I am really going to miss these mountains. I also wish I was better at photography and had a really awesome camera. Here are some pictures of the flight and the plane. Scott got some new sunglasses for his birthday and I thought they were very appropriate for our flight.











You can see our apartment building in this picture, but it's really really small.

Monday, June 09, 2008

An "Active Lifestyle"

How I wish this phrase described my life. I really would love to have this lifestyle of biking to work and walking to the grocery store and spending my evenings playing tennis. But alas, I'm lazy and I justify using my car way too much. I get into fits of working out that last for about 3 weeks and then life starts to come at me and my will power goes down the drain. So I ask you dear readers, how do you keep an active lifestyle?

Friday, May 30, 2008

A very interesting picture

Depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes. See the rest of his pictures here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Scott had to go to Chicago to present research at the International Association for Behavioral Analysis so I decided to spend the weekend with my folks in Bountiful. My sister Jessica was up from SUU so we had a great time.
Thursday night we went to my sister Jana's madrigal concert. It was really the only pictures I took the entire weekend:








Going back to Viewmont High just made me realize how grateful I am to be done with it. Whenever I walk back into that place this feeling of self doubt and awkwardness just washes over me. I didn't have a traumatic high school experience, I had a great one, but going back just makes me feel so self conscious. Am I the only one who feels this way? Anyway, had a great time with the fam and I am glad that Scott's presentation went very well and that we are both back at home.