Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I have fallen for Alton

I am a fan of the Food Network, but I've never really latched on to shows like Barefoot Contessa and Everyday Italian. I do like shows like America's Test Kitchen and now I have another, Alton Brown's Good Eats. I think the reason I love these shows is the same reason I loved Rose Levy Beranbaum's "The Bread Bible". In all of these mediums they explain the science behind the magic. You not only get killer recipes, but you understand the science behind why they are so wonderful. Once you have the understanding behind it, then you can apply those same principles to other meals. I totally geek out over science based cooking. Alton has served us well this past holiday season. He provided the recipes for the most loved dishes at Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

Squash Soup
Pumpkin Mousse
Christmas Soup

Above you can see him making a smoothie with my other favorites Jimmy Fallon. BTW, if you don't already watch Jimmy Fallon, you really should be. I never watch it in real time, but my DVR is full of it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

MPA stands for Midwest Psychological Association

This email popped into Scott's inbox the other day, I'm a proud wife:

Dear Mr. Barrett
Congratulations! Your submission to the 2010 MPA Conference entitled "Nicotine enhances resistance to extinction of operant responding in rats" has been selected for a Graduate Student Research Award. This award is given to the best submission by a graduate student in each of the five content areas of the conference (i.e., clinical, developmental, neuroscience, cognitive, and social psychology). Your award certficate will be presented before the Presidential Address on Friday, April 30, 2010 at 3:00. You will also receive one year membership in MPA.

(name withheld by blogger)

He won in the Neuroscience category. He's the man.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Barrett Christmas Card

Gimli loves the Christmas tree and spends a lot of time underneath it, so we decided it would be our Christmas Card. We are fat and ugly now with no kids so we figured our cute cat would have to do. We hope you have a Merry Christmas.

Scott and Jentry Barrett

Friday, December 04, 2009

Hold on, it's not October?

For some reason I keep thinking that we're in the middle of October. And every time I write the date I'm taken aback by the fact that we are in December. This semester has rocketed by. I have discovered Google reader and it has changed me. Why I didn't do it before I don't know. But I think it keeps me from blogging more. Because I'm not visiting my blog everyday I don't think about posting. So updates:

We are doing great. Scott's parents came out for Thanksgiving and it was my first time cooking everything. I think it went well, I only slightly burned the stuffing. Thank you food network for your recipes.

While Scott's parents were here Gimli (our cat) had a very big break through. Whenever visitors are in the apartment she hides in her box. But the first night the Barretts were here she came out after about 20 minutes and stayed out. It was a big step. We are proud parents.

Scott is working his fingers to the bone. He spends 10+ hours on campus every single day running experiments, writing articles, analyzing data and writing computer programs. His work is starting to pay off and he is really enjoying what he is doing.

I am doing great. I'm up to 27 students and I feel like things are starting to calm down a bit. I am working a bit in the studio office and hanging door advertisements in the area as well so the days are long but the weeks are short.

Besides that not much is going on.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Vogue Fashion?

Looking for the next fashion trend this season? Want that look to really set yourself apart from the crowded masses? Or maybe you're looking for that next piece to wear to the big gala that is sure to be the talk of the event. If so, look no further! Follow the link below or watch the embedded video on the newest fashion statement fresh from none other than London: R.P. - Encore

A friend of mine from USU tipped me off to this site. At first I thought it was a big joke, but then I watched the CNN video. The results were myself and my fellow graduate students in the lab nearly wetting ourselves in concert. I really like the gem-encrusted headpiece. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What happened to the Barrett family? Long time no post. Any news from Nebraska?

My sweet friend Cassidy made the above comment on my last post this past weekend. I knew I hadn't blogged in awhile, but I didn't realize it had been almost two months. It seems like school just started a few weeks ago. Things have been kicked into high gear here. Now that I'm teaching full time my days are long but the weeks are short. I've been doing marketing for the studio in the morning and then teach all afternoon and evening. And then usually have a wedding to play at on Saturday.

Scott spends all day at the lab. He is working like crazy and getting a ton done. He's presenting at the Neuroscience Conference in Chicago next week.

Today is Gimli's birthday (we think). She got a piece of cat furniture and a new litter box.

And just for your viewing pleasure:

Here is a picture from our vacation in Colorado this past summer. Scott and his dad are guarding the entrance to Mike and Kelly's kitchen.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School

Now that Scott and I are not driving to campus together and Scott doesn't want to wait until 8:30 at night to be picked up we decided we needed to get another vehicle. So off to the scooter store we went and picked up this little beauty. So we took a picture this morning as Scott goes off for his first day of school as a second year graduate student. Not that Scott got much of a summer vacation. I think there were four days total that he didn't have to go into the lab (including Saturday and Sunday). He works very hard and it is paying off for him. I'm so proud. Plus I think he looks hot with his helmet and avaitors.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A big fat change

I am officially using my college degree to earn all of my income. That's right, folks. My last day at my office job is next Friday and then I will be teaching vioin, Kindermusik, and Children's Music Academy full time. I'm totally stoked. This has been a very long time coming and I'm so grateful that the time has finally come. So there's our news.

Friday, August 14, 2009

T. Boone-Gettin' it done

The National Clean Energy Summit 2.0 happened this past week in Vegas and T. Boone's website just released this video. I think the Pickens Plan is a leap forward in reducing our dependance on foriegn oil. Van Jones is also feautred in this vide. Van Jones wrote a book called Green Collar Job Economy. He is also President Obama's Green Jobs Advisor. He brings up some great points in the video. Take a look, 6 minute video.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Mammograms are not for the faint of heart

So today I went in for my first ever mammogram. I don't recommend these for anyone who doesn't have to have one. They hurt like crazy. And why they are taking the x-ray you aren't supposed to breathe so I thought for sure I was going to pass out. But the radiologist said that everything looks okay. So I'm waiting for my doctor to call me and tell me what the next step is. But I think everything is going to be just fine.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Blogs you should be reading

This one is a personal blog about two of my most favorite people. My cousin Max and his awesome wife Brooke. They are in Jerusalem (yes that one in the Middle East) for the next two years while Max gets his Master's Degree at Hebrew University. They just arrived and one of their latest posts is a view from their hotel balcony where they can see not only the Dome of the Rock, but the Mount of Olives as well. I have a hard time imagining places from the Bible as real places, they just seem to exist in pictures in my mind, but I think through their blogging I am going to gain a greater understanding of the Holy Land.

Brooke is a master blogger (find their blog about their other adventures in the Middle East here) and I am so excited to read about all their adventures in Jerusalem. So put it on your blog roll even if you don't know them, because I get the feeling we are all going to be able to experience something awesome while they are there.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The girlie doctor

I love my OBGYN. She's nice and plesant and when you have an appointment at 9:00 you see her at 9:15 which is just amazing to me. I went in for my yearly on Monday and she found a lump on my left breast. A million things ran through my mind. Mostly it was, "what do you mean, a lump?" She said that she thought it was just fiberous tissue, but I needed to get an ultrasound just make sure. She said that I might need to have surgery to remove it, but maybe not.

I felt so many things the rest of the day. I had to go back to work and I felt like I was in a cloud the whole day. How long had that lump been there? I felt guilty. I always tell the doctor that I do my own examinations, but the truth is I probably only remember every three months or so. I went to workout on my lunch break and felt the lump and almost completely broke down in the locker room. If I had cancer everything would change. Would Scott be able to stay in school? Would I be able to keep my job and my insurance? Would I have to move home? I was in a million places at once and no where in particular.

I called the radiology receptionist to make the ultra sound appointment and she had to enter in all my information and apparently she needed to enter in "reason for appointment" about 600 times because she kept saying under her breath, "left breast lump". It freaked me out every time I heard it. I made the appointment for Wednesday and all I could do was wait.

I had my full breakdown Monday night. Scott was wonderful and gave me a Preisthood blessing and that really calmed me down. The next day I really didn't think about it, and when I did I didn't dwell on it.

On Wednesday morning we went to the radiology building and checked it. In the waiting room was a whole array of women. Young, old, some even younger than me. On the coffee table were magazines with titles like, "Living with Cancer".

I got called back, got my gown on and the radiology clinician did the ultra sound. She had to keep going over it again and again. Then she called the doctor in and he did another ultra sound. The doctor finally told me that it looked like all normal tissue and that I would probably just need to follow up with my doctor to see what she wanted to do next.

I was so grateful that things were normal. But the truth is that I do have a lump and it could turn into cancer. I don't know how likely this is, but it could still happen. It's really made me think about what I eat and how much I exercise and take care of myself. I doubt I will ever forget to do my own examinations again.

So this is my reminder to you, one week after your period is over, check yourself.

UPDATE: My doctor's office called. They didn't find anything on the ultra sound, but she wants me to go in for a mamogram just to be sure. I'm glad.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blogs you should be reading, if you're not already

Picture from Smitten Kitchen.
I'm really trying to blog more. My friend Natalie has posts called Pin In where she talks about all the cool things she's found on the internet that she loves. So I thought I would do something similar. We all have our favorite blogs that we wouldn't mind reading every day. My number one blog is the Smitten Kitchen. This spunky New Yorker is just an amazing chef, but it's her pictures that draw you in. The reason I like her pictures most of all is that she shows "process" pictures. She shows you how to go from A to B. And I never feel overwhelmed by her recipes. Everything she cooks she makes seem doable. I know lots of you read her blog, but if you don't, you should. Share with me your secret blog delights. Cuz I do love the comments.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Missing Pioneer Day

I got out of bed today knowing that everyone in Utah was either sleeping in or going to the parade. I loved the 24th of July as a kid. It's the parade where you got to decorate your bike or wagon and walk down 4th north. You got to have more fireworks and more potato salad and more hamburgers. I think having a state holiday for your "founding" is a rare thing. It doesn't happen in Nebraska or Colorado. So for all you luckies that didn't have to work today, tell me what you did instead. I'm at work, but still very grateful for the pioneers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

After almost 4 years, we've got some things figured out

This past year in Lincoln has been a very interesting one. Lots of growth for both of us. I think the best thing that has happened in our marriage this past year has been how we split up the chores. Before we would wait until we had hardly any clean clothes left that we would finally haul everything to the basement of our apartment complex to get it done and it would take hours. Finally Scott decided that he hated folding the most, so he struck a deal with me. He'll wash and dry if I fold and put away. Deal. Then I decided that would also work with the dishes. So now I unload the dishwasher and he loads. It has turned out to be an amazing system. We always know who's "turn" it is and we never get really behind in the laundry or the dishes. Scott really does work a lot around the house. He always does the litter box every day, feeds Gimli, takes out the trash and 8 times out of 10 he vacuums and cleans the bathroom. Plus President Obama just signed a big fat grant for Scott's lab so my husband is the best.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

New blog of awesomeness

I've decided to start a blog dedicated to my teaching. Things are changing all the time with my studio so I thought I would start documenting. So do me a favor and put me on your blogroll!


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The longer you wait...

..The harder it is to play catch up on the blog. Here is a quick rundown of the last month:
1) Had a final concert with my cute OLLI folks-8 are now my private students. (8/17 ain't bad)
2) Went to Utah for my Suzuki teacher training and it was AMAZING! I am such a better teacher. Got to see some family and spend some serious time with my mama, which is what I needed.
3) Got back and the next day came down with the flu-not the swine kind-but I don't think I've been that sick in a long time. Missed 3 days of work (on top of missing 5 days the previous week because of being in Utah.)
4) Came back to work-got all caught up-and now I just want the three day weekend to be here.
5) I'm going to get better at blogging with cute pictures and clever things to say.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A post with a table of contents

We had quite a weekend and I know I don’t like to read long posts so I’m devising a way for you to only read the news you want to. I will number the paragraphs and put the table of contents at the top.

1. I played two weddings in Omaha on Saturday
2. We ate at a restaurant famous for its “Testical Festival”
3. Scott’s new calling in church
4. I didn’t get puked on in nursery
5. Scott’s birthday on Sunday
6. Fun pictures

1) On Saturday I played in two weddings in Omaha with the quartet from my studio. We didn’t get lost, the weddings were nice and I visited the only castle in Nebraska. Scott was very nice and came along because on the way home…

2) We ate at a steak restaurant for his birthday. This restaurant has what is called “The Testical Festival” it is exactly what it sounds like. We got steak instead of testicals and left very full. It’s the best steak we’ve found in Nebraska so far.

3) On the way home a member of the High Council called for Scott and asked us to come in early for church. When we went to the meeting they called Scott to be the Executive Secretary for the Bishopric. Suddenly it donned on me that we are grownups. It’s a weird feeling.

4) In the nursery there is a very sweet girl who gets really worked up every time her parents drop her off. She gets so worked up that she pukes. We try really hard to get it in a bowl, but it usually ends up on one of us. This past Sunday she didn’t puke, she really didn’t even cry. The past couple of weeks I’ve made her sit in a time out chair if she started to cry and she can’t come out until she stops crying. On Sunday I took her from her parents and asked her if she wanted to play or if she needed to sit in the chair and she wanted to play with the babies and only three tears were shed. I felt like wonder woman. Nursery is getting easier-which is good seeing as Scott can’t help anymore.

5) We also had a small birthday party with some friends for Scott’s birthday on Sunday afternoon. I made a peach pie, pumpkin cupcakes and yellow cupcakes from a box. The peach pie was a big hit, the pumpkin cupcakes got eaten and we still have yellow ones left if you would like to come over.

6) Here are some favorite pictures from the weekend. Our friend's daughter Jane came up to see Gimli but had to look under the couch to find her.

I hope this ordering system has helped you navigate through this very long post. Don’t blame me if you skipped important information.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Julie and Julia

New movie coming out in August. A movie about Julia Child and food blogging with Amy Adams and Meryl Streep! How could you not love this?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dear Husband,

This is your cat Gimli, she is waiting for you to come home. I think she is sick of me.

This is your wife, she cut off ALL of her hair and she's kinda freaking out about it. Come home from your fancy-shmancy conference. We miss you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our first week of veggies

We picked up our first CSA bundle and it was fabu! We got salad greens (Scott picked up one of the leaves and said with a pout, "This one looks like a weed!"), broccoli raab (not our favorite), radishes, and the most wonderful spinach I've ever had. When we went to the farmer's market to pick up our veggies the guy at the booth introduced himself as our "farmer". I totally freaked out. This is going to be so awesome.

I just roasted my radishes in the oven and I stood over the pan and ate most of them. I think I'm going to have a tummy ache.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday night, 8:00, panic attack

At 8:00 p.m. last night I realized that I had failed to think of a cute craft for my nursery kids to do for their mother's the next day. So turning as I usually do to Amanda I was inspired my her genius and put a small twist on it.

Paint samples from Home Depot, sticky foam shapes from Michael's and sharpie messages. The kiddos colored them a bit during nursery and then completely man handled them so they were a bit wrinkled, but I assume the moms loved them all the same.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

This past Thursday

I got these:

From these fine fine people:

click to make bigger, they are so dang cute

They had a recital, and I couldn't have been more pleased with their playing. I get such a rush when I see a bunch of string students playing all at the same time, with all their bows going in the same direction, their fingers all going down at the same time. I was a very proud mama.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dun Da-Da DUN!!

My mother in law tells me that curtains are the easiest thing to make because it's just a straight line. Apparently she didn't tell me that I could still be awful at making them. But the curtains you see to your left were made by yours truly and I'm very proud of them. The stitching is not straight, the ends do not meet up, but I made them and I will probably make some more soon. A very nice lady in the ward who is a seamstress extraordinaire has a bunch of people over on Thursday nights and teaches them how to sew. Now I just have to figure out what to make next.

Friday, April 03, 2009


This picture just seems far too appropriate to not use for this post. Last Thursday, the Barrett Family grew from two members to three! Meet Gimli, our long-haired tabby, whom we adopted from a no-kill shelter in town (picture below). She's 1.5 years old, is very shy, and hasn't let us pet her at home yet, but we're confident she'll come around. She currently lives in our spare room, but after she settles in over the next few weeks, we will give her access to the front room as well. In the meantime, we've been trying to win her over and make her comfortable by providing plenty of treats and by building her a cardboard mansion for her to hide in. Admittedly, it's been tempting for us to keep checking in on her, but we are trying to give her some space for the first few days until she gets used to her new environment. She's already been spayed and vaccinated and knows how to use the litter box, which is SUPER nice.

UPDATE: After a very successful petting session, we think Gimli is starting to warm up to us. She has a loud purr.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture

We are so excited because this summer we get to participate in the CSA program. Some info from the CSA website: A CSA, (for Community Supported Agriculture) is a way for the food buying public to create a relationship with a farm and to receive a weekly basket of produce. By making a financial commitment to a farm, people become "members" (or "shareholders," or "subscribers") of the CSA.

We paid about $300 and we get a box of veggies from a local Nebraska farm for 20 weeks in the summer. I love the idea of CSA because you are supporting local sustainable farming, you get great food that hasn't been covered in pesticides and hasn't been shipped from another country. If you would like to learn more about CSA farms in your community visit this website.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Our first tornado

On Monday we experienced what I have been waiting for since moving to the midwest. A big fat tornado with thunder, lightning, wind, rain, hail, sirens, everything that is awesome. It actually wasn't that exciting. But Monday afternoon it started raining like crazy and then on the radio they issued a tornado watch, and then it turned into a tornado warning. There is a myth in Lincoln that tornados don't ever touch down in the city because we are in a bit of a valley, I don't know if that's true, but I've heard it from lots of people. Anyway, they upgraded to a tornado warning and as we were watching the rain outside suddenly the sirens went off. That means get to the basement. So everybody headed down to the basement with a radio and then just waited for the tornado to pass. It never touched down in the city, but touched down about 7 miles out of the city. It created some serious hail and made my afternoon interesting. So we are officially mid-western-ers, had our first tornado, and lived to tell about it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The party had to end sometime

So I got a call from my church leader last week asking me to come to church early to meet with him. I thought that he was going to ask me to help out with some committee, or head up a church dinner. What I didn't expect is for him to release me from my totally awesome calling as Relief Society Chorister which I totally rocked at, to Nursery Leader (nursery is for children 18 mo-3 years old during Sunday school). I was totally blown away. I was really liking my other calling and I was teaching them all sorts of cool stuff like how to sing alto, how to sing solfege, and I was about to start on key signatures when I got released. Now granted I have taken quite a few children's music classes and so I could experiment a whole lot on these kids with different games and songs, but I'm afraid it will really isolate me from the rest of the congregation. The lady I'm taking over for was in this calling for four years. FOUR YEARS! So if any of you have been in my situation before, help a sister out with some ideas.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Good Times...

Some things never get old...

Nothing new, but I come back to these time and time again when I need a good chuckle.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Research Report

One of the most vexing questions I have to answer on a regular basis is: "what do you do at the university?" This probably does not sound like a difficult question, but it's much more complex than it may appear. You see, the program I am in is entitled Behavioral Neuropharmacology. You can't exactly rattle that name off to people without (1) sounding pretentious, (2) receiving a blank stare in return, and/or (3) having the question repeated. Alternatively, I could say that I study psychology (our home department), but that results in a different set of problems. Generally, people either (1) make a joke about how you should "psychoanalyze" them, or (2) promptly change topics by mentioning something harmless like the weather while not so subtly eyeing me up and down as if I had all to recently escaped from a mental institution. When people hear you study psychology they automatically jump to the conclusion that you are training to be a clinician or desire to author the kind of self-help books on which you might collaborate with Dr. Phil. What's worse is that I don't really believe that I study "psychology" at all, but that is just where programs like mine end up at universities, for historical reasons. For this reason I tend to give the Behavioral Neuropharmacology / Neuroscience answer, because blanks stares, repeated questions and pretention are far more tolerable than being perceived as a sweater-wearing, sofa-enthusiast with a penchant for writing on clipboards.

The problem with answering that I study neuroscience is that most people unwittingly demand further explanation. What they don't realize is that they don't *really* want further explanation because that warrants a much longer, detailed, and tedious conversation than they originally bargained for. What people really want is "small talk," and there frankly is much in the way of small talk in behavioral neuropharmacology. Oh sure, I can say "I work with rats" or "I study drug addiction," but that inevitiably leads to probing questions that lead into the above-mentioned tedium, or to different sorts of misperceptions (Willard anyone?). Let's face it, when you ask someone what they do, you aren't really asking them to give you a ten to fifteen minute lecture on animal models of drug addiction, how they do and do not help us better understand patterns of human drug abuse and potential treatment problems, and what they tell us about general principles of learning which is what you really care about anyway and all this drug business is just a means to the end (and where the grant money is found).

I've tried to find ways to solve this social problem, and the conversational awkwardness that it precipitates, but not to much avail. The first solution I came up with was to lie. You know, just say I study something else that I know a little something about and that is far less conversationally inhibiting, but still interesting. The best way to do this is to pick a subject that virtually everyone knows something about, and that sounds interesting, but not too interesting (Political Science is a definite no-no here...). For instance, biology, genetics, or economics. Of course, this strategy runs into major hiccups when (1) someone else present already knows what you study, (2) the person you're talking to specializes in the field you just chose. Of course, my first attempt at lying about what I study resulted in the latter possible outcome, creating the sort of awkwardness I had hoped to avoid.

Since lying about what I do doesn't seem to work as I intended, I have to come up with another way of getting around this social predicament. In the meantime, I will have to fall back other flawed strategies or learn to deal with the standard social awkwardness that is the burden of scientists who inject animals with illicit drugs. However, you can avoid hearing a long and boring lecture on neuroscience by either accepting the fact that I study economics when I tell you so, or by reading our blog! I recently published my first peer-reviewed article (as 2nd author) in the journal of Behavioural Pharmacology. I can't link you the full article for copyright reasons, but I can provide a link to the abstract. As I publish additional articles, I will likewise link their abstracts via our blog, so that you CAN avoid awkward conversations about how I don't really privately speculate about what deprivations you may or may not have had during the "oral" stage of you psychosexual childhood development. Perhaps you might even find them interesting! One can dream, can't they?

"Nicotine does not enhance discrimination performance in a temporal bisection procedure."

Saturday, February 07, 2009

It. Was. Awesome.

It couldn't have gone any better. They are wonderful, excited, and willing. This is going to be great.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Jordy's wedding

Last weekend we flew out to Salt Lake City to see my brother Jordan get married to Abbie Laurence. It was a wonderful weekend full of lots of family and food. I got to hold lots of babies and see neighbors who I hadn't seen in a long time. We really like Abbie and we're amazed that she wants to hang out with us forever. Here are some fun pictures of the weekend:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Omaha Zoo

For MLK day we decided that our service would be to "donate" our disposable income to the Omaha Zoo. This place is rockin'. This is a picture of us with our 3-D glasses on for the movie "Wild Ocean". The really awesome thing about the Omaha Zoo is that a lot of the inside exhibits are designed for the animals to roam quite freely. There was a desert dome that had things scurrying about and then in the basement of that building had a swamp exhibit. I think the swamp was our favorite part. You walk around this boardwalk with hardly any light and all around you is alligators, beavers, mostly alligators. Then in some really dark corners of the swamp the boardwalk is very squeaky and it un-nerves you quite a bit. If you want to come visit us we promise that the zoo will be on the agenda, we might even buy you a bag of sweets.

They have a jungle that is the same sort of set up with monkeys running around on ropes that run above your head and parrots that look like they could just start flying over to another spot at any time. They also have a butterfly exhibit that is really neat as well.

Scott and I have decided that when we retire we want to work at the zoo. There were two older ladies who worked there who were giving a talk about an iguana to a bunch of school kids and they had the iguana right there for the kids to come up and pet. That sounds like a really cool job to have.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Vornado

Coolest name ever for a space heater. We got this for Christmas in hopes that it would decrease our utility bill. This thing is awesome. It heats up an entire room but doesn't just turn on when it gets cold and turns off when it gets hot. When the room reaches the desired temperature, it just slows down the fan a little bit and doesn't put out as hot of air. It also somehow "vortex-es" the air around so the air is constantly being rotated so all the air is warm and you don't have hot and cold spots in the room. It also is cool to the touch and automatically turns off if there is an obstruction in front of it, or if it falls over. Also nothing bigger than a number 2 pencil can fit through the grills.

The cool part is that we only heat up the room that we are in. It usually stays in our bedroom. And we are usually able to turn the regular heat off all together. I think in the last 2 weeks that we have had it we have only had to turn the heat on 3-4 times and it is usually only for an hour or so. We have to keep the space heater running all day in our bedroom because of my instruments, but we're hoping that our utility bill will be much happier because of it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

OLLI-What I'm doing with my spare time

I work in the dean's office of Education at UNL. Housed in the same college is a program called OLLI. It is a community ed program for people over the age of fifty. People volunteer their time and teach classes and the classes are really quite awesome. Computer classes, learning about the middle east conflict, they go on tours in Chicago, world food classes etc. So I decided that it would be awesome to teach a Suzuki group class for OLLI. Now mind you I've had adult students before, but never 12 of them at the same time.

The class will be set up with the first 45 minutes being a group class and the second half will be a master class situation where every other week they get a private 7 minute lesson while everyone else watches. It should be very interesting and exciting. I went to an open house for all the members to check out what classes are being offered and everyone I talked to thought it was such a cool idea. The people who are signed up are totally stoked and that makes me totally stoked. Only two of them have had any kind of violin experience and it was when they were in grade school so everybody's really starting from scratch.

Hopefully by the end of the six week course everyone will be able to play tucka tucka stop stop and we can put on a recital for people to come to. I was amazed at the open house how many people were convinced that they couldn't do it. They would say to me, "I really want to, but I just don't think I could do it." There was nothing I could say that could convince them otherwise. If I am really good at documenting the successes of this first class it will inspire those who have made up their minds that you have to have talent in order to succeed with music. I'm out to prove them wrong. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

All things January

So we haven't been blogging about our actual lives for awhile. I think the main reason is because our camera is totally shot. It got dropped awhile back and ever since the focus has been slowly dying and now it can't take any pictures. And I feel like nobody wants to read a blog post without at least some pictures. So I'm just going to post pictures that were taken awhile ago. The one to the left is of us on our honeymoon in Durango, CO.

We had a wonderful holiday. Stayed in Lincoln for Christmas so Scott could finish up his research project and then we headed to Denver for New Years. We spent the time with Scott's parents and his sister Ellen and her husband Kevin. We were spoiled to death and also went to the zoo which is way more fun in the winter FYI.

As I've read other blogs about the new year, or reflections on the old I've tried to figure out what I would want to say about 2008. It was a big year for us. Scott graduated, we moved to a brand new place with brand new people. I conquered yeast breads and my new boss called me "a very goal oriented person" I think that's one of the best compliments I've ever received.

So the new year comes with new goals. We got the 10 minute trainer workout videos and we've been diligent so far. I've written down all the dinner meals for the month of January and their accompanying grocery lists. We're eating more lettuce and less pizza. And Carrie said that if you practice for at least 5 minutes a day it counts, so I'm think I'm going to try to do 100 straight days of practice again.