Monday, January 29, 2007

I think I slightly pulled my hamstring at tae kwon do Friday night. I know my hip was really tight, but I don't remember my hamstring hurting. I don't get it.

So I have started and re-started Lexsea's headband several times now. I finished it once, but it was huge! I thought I checked my gauge, but maybe I was wrong, or I could have a smaller head than I thought. Whatever the problem was I started again several times yesterday. I switched to a smaller needle from my new Denise needle set and started again. I keep messing up the pattern. It's not hard: K2P2. It's a simple 2x2 rib, that I keep messing up. At least it is quick to knit so I should be able to finish it this week to send to her.

Yesterday I organized all my old bills from the last 6 months or so. They had been sitting in a pile then stuffed in a file for awhile, but now they are in separate manila folders in a hanging file. It's nice. I also figure out how to check up on my investments online. Josh has a mutual fund through the same company and he got me online and showed me around. I didn't have the info until earlier this week, since for some reason they keep sending it to my dad. He and I have asked several times for all relevant info to be sent to me, but they still haven't done it. I am doing pretty well. My Roth looks good and my brokerage account is doing quite well.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


No, I am not talking about the current temperature, though I think that is pretty close to the wind chill. I am referring to the amount of weight I have lost since January 15th. I thought about weighing myself once a week, but I don't want to discourage myself. Instead I am more relying on how I am feeling and how my clothes are fitting. As far as how I am feeling, I feel a little thinner. I can't say I look any thinner, but my clothes feel the tiniest bit looser and I am definitely using tighter hole on my belt. I was between that one and the one larger for ever. I like having a physical measure of my progress to go along with the quantitative measurement.

I bought a new dinnerware set today. I am quite happy with it. I picked white because I figure if I wanted more at some point, white would go with a vast majority of what may be available. I like the squareness of it all because it's a little different. I wanted a new set since my current ones were cheap, warped, and very heavy.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Vampires Save Lives

A Dose of Vampire's Medicine

I was finally able to get a decent amount of sleep last night. I didn't wake up like I usually do and I fell asleep right away. I was having an interesting dream when my alarm went off at 5:45. It had something to do with Josh, me and someone else trying to go somewhere in the snow. Ok, so maybe it wasn't that interesting.

Also, I definitely had to tighten my belt today. For weeks I have been between this notch and the one farther out. I could tighten it to this notch, but it just wasn't that comfortable. This morning when i was tightening my belt I didn't even notice which notch I was in until I went to dig my Dr. Pepper lip stuff out of my pocket. Yay!

I bought flip-flops. I know it's silly since it is 8 degrees outside right now, but they are Havaianas and I had never seen them in a store around here until yesterday. I knew I didn't have the energy for tkd (I about fell asleep at work)so I decided to go to Target to get toilet paper among other necessities I seem to have run out of all at the same time. I also looked for the Dutch oven, but alas, it wasn't there. Of course I then wandered over to Scheels because I can't stay away from shoes. I found a Life is Good coffee mug for my aunt and uncle and just after I paid for it I saw the Havaianas. I have wanted a pair for a long time, and I couldn't pass them up. After I left the store and was driving through the parking lot I realized I needed another gift for my cousin, so I went back and got another pair. I was really looking for another pair of Keens since I wear my almost every day, but I couldn't justify buying a pair very similar to mine even though they were on sale.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I want an enamel dutch oven. I have a somewhat small one right now which I use all the time. I am pretty sure it is older than me, and the handle is starting to get loose (I know a guy that would probably want to fix it for me if I mention it :p ). I considered the Chefmate at Target since it's cheap, but if I use it a lot I am afraid it would just chip on me since I have heard the ones that are left on the shelves are badly chipped. I looked at it last time I was at Target, but couldn't justify getting it then. My dream dutch oven is so expensive that I can't even consider it. My next choices(1,2) are better as far as cost is concerned, but I still worry about the quality of the enamel. I am thinking about going to the outlet mall this weekend to see what they have there. I know they sell Lodge at one of the kitchen stores, so I am hoping I will get lucky. I have heard of people finding my dream dutch oven at TJ Maxx or Tuesday Morning, but I think you have to be pretty lucky.

As of 8:52pm last night I am finally back to one cell phone and one cell phone bill. I like that a lot.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bakers Edge Brownie Pan

Welcome to Bakers Edge Brownie Pan

I understand why people would like this, but I am just not sure it's worth it. I like the middle and the edges for the different qualities.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Wanted: cupcake tasters

I will be baking cupcakes for my grandma's 80th birthday in March. Everyone (or family) is supposed to bring 80 of something for the bash. We are having the party catered, but apparently a cake is still needed; that's where my cupcakes come in. I didn't realize this was actually going to be my responsibility. I offered to bake a cake, but I wasn't told that it was a sure thing until my mom called to discuss it. She's stuck on mini bundt cakes, but I am not up to that.

Anyway, I want to do a Snickers cupcake of some sort. Snickers are my granny's fave candy bar. I haven't decided exactly how I want to proceed. One thought was to chop Snickers and sprinkle them on top. Another is to incorporate them into the frosting. I have also considered making a chocolate cupcake with caramel frosting and peanuts on top or a chocolate cupcake filled with caramel, topped with vanilla frosting and peanuts. I also like the idea of baking the cupcakes in little paper cups like here. I think they would be a little easier to handle and transport, and I may not need to buy more mini muffin tins.

I was so tired this weekend. I kept falling asleep on the drive to and from Eldora on Saturday and Sunday I kept dozing on the couch until Josh woke me up. I think the new workout routine and tkd starting again did me in. There was also the lack of sleep issue. I kept waking up during the night a few nights in a row and had trouble getting to sleep another night. You would think having Josh gone for most of the week would have made it easier to sleep. Well, he's leaving on Wednesday to go look at another school, so maybe I can recover then.

I like going to the gym in the morning. I can get it over with and not worry about trying to fit it in the rest of the day. Yesterday Josh convinced me to lift weights at the Rec Center with him. We did all arm stuff and I have a rather wimpy upper body. I could lift almost as much as him when pulling but anything that involved pushing the weight forward didn't go so well. I need to do more push-ups. I keep forgetting to do sit-ups on my stability ball. I always intend to do them when I get back from the gym in the morning, but I am usually in such a hurry to get in the shower so I can catch the 8:15 bus that I forget until I am in the shower. I think I need to find a different time.

A cold one for man's best friend -

A cold one for man's best friend -

I don't get it, but I do know some pets that would probably enjoy it.

Friday, January 19, 2007

What happened on January, 19 besides me being born?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I am slowly learning (through various sources) how many people I went to high school with are either married or engaged. It's crazy! I think it's at least 1/3 of them, and my class was pretty small.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Yesterday morning I decided to let myself sleep in and go to the gym after work, since I had nothing else going on. It was cold and there was snow and I didn't want to scrape the frost off my car. I didn't have that choice this morning. My car took a little while to start and it didn't sound happy about it. When it did start and I checked the temperature I knew why. It was 3 degrees outside! When I got to the gym it said -1. We were spoiled by having 50 degree highs in January.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

If you haven't noticed, I realized that I have a digital camera, and I decided to use it. Josh's dad recently gave him two 500GB memory cards (you know, so you can have a back-up), but Josh decided he didn't need a back-up and I was struggling with my 16GB card. If I took 5x8's I could get about 30 on there. Anyway, I have been taking pictures of things I make or bake because...well, I don't know why.

Ok, so today's picture is: My supper!

Doesn't it look pretty? It's salmon with a Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and garlic glaze along with linguine, broccoli, and grape tomatoes in a sauce made with chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, red onions, garlic and basil. Some dry white wine would have been nice in there. It was all quite tasty. I was trying to make enough of the pasta for just tonight, but that didn't really work. I probably still have two servings of the pasta. I guess I could take a break from my turkey samich, yogurt, goldfish crackers, and orange for some pasta. I have a better idea: I will have it tomorrow after tkd so I don't have to cook. Maybe a salad too for some variety.

Aren't you glad you know what I am having for supper tomorrow?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Day 3

Elliptical: 40 minutes (~4 miles)

I put the banana bread in the oven about 15 minutes ago and it already smells good in here. Yum! I have also been working on laundry. I am $.50 short of being able to finish it all. Dang! Ooh, maybe I have a couple quarters in my car... I quite enjoy three-day weekends. It's nice working for the university. I still have to teach tae kwon do tonight though.

I can't decide if I like our newly fallen snow or not. It looks all pretty, but when you try to drive through it the snow doesn't look so pretty. My ABS has kicked in a few times today.

2 Hours later...

Banana bread.
I wish you could smell it.

Benoinkes!! (AKA brownie cookies)And my new green spatula.
My cousin Bailey and I have an inside joke. They are going to be heading her way tomorrow.

6.5 hours later...

I barely got my workout in today. I had just enough time to shower and eat a piece of banana bread before I had to leave for the Nest. Josh tried to convince me to go to Davenport with him for a couple of days, since my Christmas vacation wasn't much of a vacation, but I declined. I have to get some work done. I am making progress and don't want to stop now. Tomorrow I have am appointment with my chiropractor. I am quite looking forward to it. I missed my last one, and that was quite awhile ago.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Day 2

Elliptical: 40 minutes (~4 miles)

Too sore for sit-ups. That's what I get for trying something new!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

This is not a resolution. It's just for me.

I was finally able to go to the gym today. I think I am pretty much over the cough I have had for the last week. I did the elliptical thingy for half hour and it went well. I only coughed once and I felt pretty good while doing it. I usually do at least 40 minutes on it. I like it a lot better than the treadmill. The only problem is my toes go numb sometimes. I think I may need some different shoes, but I am not willing to get new ones yet. I also bench pressed for a little while and did a little ab work. I intended to do some more on my stability ball when I got home, but I haven't yet. Maybe later tonight when i am watching TV. Oohh, maybe I will do my pilates tape. I haven't done that in while and Josh won't be home to laugh at me since he is working.

Ok, so my goal over the next few weeks is to get myself into a good workout routine. I intend to go to the gym every morning at 6:00. Parking is free then and I should still be able to get to work at a decent time. I may do some evenings if Josh wants to go with me. He also got a gym pass, and I like going to the gym with someone else if I can. It makes the workout go a little faster.

I know I have gained some weight since I graduated college and became a working girl. I am guessing it is due to the drastic decrease in the amount of walking. I used to walk all over campus. I worked on one side of the river and most of my classes were on the other side. I made the trip between the two at least two or three times a day. I would often walk to campus as well. Since I have moved to Coralville walking to campus is not nearly as pleasant.

In May the guy who is the closest I have to a big brother is getting married. I have a green dress that I intended to wear to my friends' wedding, but it didn't arrive until a week after the wedding(I order it over a month in advance). I have not had the chance to wear it yet and now it doesn't fit me very well. I want that to change by May. My goal is to lose enough weight to fit into that dress. I am aiming to lose 1-2 pounds a week over the next couple of months. Since one pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories, I want to burn at least 500 calories more and decrease my caloric intake by 500 calories a day. That's equal to 2 pounds a week. I would love to lose closer to 3 pounds a week, but that would be hard.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Cute little cookies

So I made the cookies I posted a link to earlier.

Aren't they cute??

After baking. They were a little bigger than I thought they would be.

After dipping in chocolate. Instead of adding paraffin to the chocolate I added shortening to thin and soften it a bit. I didn't want a hard shell of chocolate on the cookies. I agree with her assessment that they aren't full of peanut butter flavor. I think next time I would increase the PB and probably corn starch and use PB in the chocolate instead of shortening. I think I ate one before I took the picture.

My new kitchen storage!

My new utensil storage device in above my stove. I got the idea from not Martha. I had to modify it a little due to the materials available around here. I couldn't find a canister with a big enough lip to keep it from slipping off the towel bar.

Here it is with many of my utensils in it.

A close-up of the attachment site.


Josh stirring the wort. The Wort chiller is the copper spiral with plastic tubing coming out of it. That was his Christmas present.

A close-up of the wort while it is boiling. It sorta looks like beer.

The new apron. It must make it official.

Apparently my cheap drip pans can't take the heat. Sadly, they are the only ones I can find that fit our stove.

Dipped Peanut Butter Meltaway Cookies

The next cookies I must make. I have been in the mood for peanut butter cookies.

Dipped Peanut Butter Meltaway Cookies

Friday, January 05, 2007

I am glad it is Friday. I really did not want to go to work when Tuesday came around. That first day back is always the hardest. I hadn't been keeping very good notes of what I had done before my vacation, so when I got back to the lab I had to spend a couple hours reorganizing all my work and figuring what I needed to do. Now it's Friday, and I am ready for the weekend. I will be in and out of the lab this weekend, but it won't be that bad and it will make me feel a bit less useless if I get something productive done.

So I made the brownies, and I think they turned out quite well. Definitely a recipe I will use again. As for the chicken cacciatore I made, I think it also turned out well even though I made a few omissions and additions. Tonight I am planning on making a pizza. A store-bought pizza crust topped with a creamy pesto sauce (from a package, b/c it's pretty easy), mozzarella, feta, green pepper, chicken, and tomato, if I can find any that look good. I am hopeful since I saw some cute, little, still-on-the-vine tomatoes at Hy-Vee last night. I am looking forward to this pizza. Maybe I can sneak some spinach on when Josh isn't looking.

I believe Josh wants to brew some more beer tomorrow. I took some picture of the last brewing adventure and I will try to remember to post them. Josh wanted some pics of him with his new brewmaster apron. He even bought a fabric paint pen so he can write the names of his brews on his apron.

I went to the Field House to get a new fitness pass today, but they don't go on sale until Monday!! I was really hoping to workout tomorrow while I had an hour of downtime at the lab. I assumed my pass expired on the 31st, but maybe I was wrong. I will have to check it when I get home. I really want to do something since i am bout over my chest cold.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I must make these.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


So, for the last couple of months I have been trying to insert a gene into a DNA vector that contains another gene we are using. The gene already in the vector likes to rearrange it's sequence because it the same sequence repeated twice. Cells don't like repeated genes and tend to try to get rid of them. I have been using E. coli specially designed to resist rearrangements. To insert genes into the plasmids/vectors we use restriction enzymes to cut the vector at a specific site where we can then insert the gene that has ends compatible with the cut site. The thing is, putting these vectors together is like a puzzle. If you cut your vector too many times you won't have the pieces you need. If you don't have a site in the DNA that you need to have to do a lot of manipulations to get everything arranged in the correct order. I am not sure if this is making sense to anyone else at all.

Ok, back to my vector. I have been trying insert a gene into a vector using two restriction enzymes. Several of my clones had the same exact problem with their sequences and I thought that was really odd since recombination is generally a little more random. I was given a map of the vector I am trying to insert this gene in when I started so I could tell which restrictions enzymes to use. My map was incorrect. There was a site for one of my enzymes in the gene that is already in the vector. That site was not on the map. this whole time I have been thinking the vector was rearranging itself therefor making it incorrect, when really I was cutting it in more places than I wanted to be. At least I know I haven't made a mistake with what I have been doing. I probably should have caught the mistake, but I trusted the map I was given. I have the sequence for everything so I should be able to make it work, but I am still frustrated. I am going to draw a new map with all the pertinent information so I don't have this happen again when I try to put another gene in later.

Funniest quotes of 2006