Thursday, January 29, 2009

Facebook Facts Meme

Uncle Richard decided to tag me for a meme thing on facebook. Since I am a blogger I decided to do it here and not there, I only use facebook to harass people.

25 Random Things About Me:

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note containing 25 random facts about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you.

1. Until I left for grad school and with the exception of two work injuries at the deli I always went to the same clinic/hospital that I was born in.

2. Doc has spoiled me by being competent and putting up with my silliness so I'll probably die if I go back. Seriously they are messing up my middle sister, her doc never heard of fricking MS (she may or may not have MS, we don't know because he is too stupid to test her).

3. I love my plants. They have their own room in my apartment, they share it with my computer/home office.

4. When I was an infant I shared my nursery with Daddy's computer until we moved into our house not long before middle sis was born.

5. The number 5 is my favorite number, I am all into multiples of 5, LiteralDan shares this obsession.

6. I collect GIANTmicrobes, I'm such a nerd!

7. If they made my research organism I would be so happy!

8. I am seriously considering using GIANTmicrobes to decorate any future offspring's nursery, if I have girls then syphilis and kissing disease, a boy perhaps cold and the clap...

9. I would rather have girls than boys if I procreate, which means I will definitely end up with boys with only the weird family thing to protect me from that fate. My Dad has three girls and has a granddaughter, his sister (who really wanted a girl) has three boys and a grandson.

10. I have a friend who only wants boys, I told her we should plan ahead so we can trade!

11. While Richard was top speller in the 3rd grade I peaked in 2nd by winning my class's bee, I blew the first word in the big bee (thru not through, lol).

12. I wanted to write a microbiology version of the 12 days of Christmas but got too busy and sick to actually do it, maybe I'll get it written for this Christmas!

13. Researching the Dreidel Song for my newest song made me fall in love with it and I think given how Christmas seems to be trying to kill me I might want to consider celebrating Hanuka instead, of course that holiday would have 8 days instead of just 2 to get the job done should it decide to kill me too...

14. I hope Ian records my new song soon...

15. Like Richard I can't dance, we are just too pigmentally challenged my dearest adopted uncle! It was hilarious when Niecey was learning to dance, you could tell who she was copying in the beginning, the slightest bob thing was my signature dance, with my bad knee and her poor coordination at the time it was the best move for both of us. Her style has evolved a lot since then but I think you can see some of her early influences, you be the judge (the tongue out arms outstretched is a new move she invented, the zombie!):

16. When I had my appendix out I "raced" the other appendectomy kid and totally smoked him, of course I was a few years older and had the laproscopic and I think his burst and they had to cut him all the way open. Either way I gave him a head start and I dragged my own IV and held my own guts in, he had two nurses!

17. I rode a mechanical bull when I was 16 (give or take), it messed up my wrist and I suspect is part of why I messed it up so bad here. The only good part I can think of is that I was in a volunteering group and we went to the mayor of my hometown's wake and I made his widow laugh when I answered her question as to what I did to my wrist (it was splinted) with my standard, "I got into a fight with a mechanical bull, it won." It is one of the prouder moments of my life, it felt good to be able to give that poor woman something to laugh about in such a horrible time.

18. I wish I knew where my appendectomy video went, I'm afraid my mother recorded over it, it was pretty cool and I brought it to school to show my biology class.

19. I am going to ask for a vid of my stomach scope, if I think it is cool enough you will all get to see it too.

20. This is my least favorite kind of meme, I suck at thinking of stuff off the top of my head, I need inspiration to work my quirky magic!

21. I am giddy over the impeachment/impeachment trial of my former governor, my office mate told me I was enjoying reading the paper too much the other day since I kept cracking up while reading about it. Seriously how can you not when you read about how he is trying to cast himself as the victim and boycotting his own trial. He is a lovely dramatized version of Chicago politics, never trust a Chicago politician, the corruption jokes aren't actually jokes, the politicians are!

22. The thought of Blago making Oprah the replacement senator amused me greatly, I think I would have considered watching whatever channel broadcasts the senate stuff just to see if she treated it like her show, hehehe. Hell I'd consider voting for her just to see that, especially if the republican candidate sucked (probably would, it is IL and they all do in both parties)!

23. Adam Sandler has a special place in my heart, my mother really needs to start paying attention to if he is in movies she takes us to see. My prude and somewhat religious mother. Did any of you see Little Nicky? She made me see it because she somehow got free tickets and didn't want to waste them by not going even though I had a paper due the next day... Only reason she didn't walk out is because of the huge fit she threw to make us go, she was extremely offended by that movie and I enjoyed it greatly knowing that! His Zohan movie offended her too just not as much, hehehe.

24. I think I harass my doctor too much but probably don't see him as much as I should. I have trouble figuring out if whatever is bad enough to warrant a visit and since I am sickest at night and usually feel a lot better in the morning I usually put off calling for weeks. If he talked to me at 2am many nights in the past he'd have been able to convince me to have just about any test/referral he wanted. Figuring out this stuff was always Mom's job, I am so not into this grown up crap!

25. I always procrastinate going to bed, even when I am exhausted and it doesn't make much sense because I love being in bed!

Tags: Cheryl and Nonna, because you both bitched that I didn't tag you before when I made a point of not tagging anyone, congrats you've been tagged! Anyone who is bored and wants to use this has my blessing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Truth About Flat WeaselMomma

So those of you who have been following the adventures of Flat WeaselMomma have probably noticed that she seemed to have fallen off the face of the earth after I hosted her. As far as we all knew she was sent to NukeDad but there has been no word of her being there. At first we all bought his excuses of being busy, I mean the man has a whole bunch of NukeChildren and NukeDogs and a NukeWife... Well I have discovered otherwise, he was trying to save face, Flat WeaselMomma left him and somehow found her way back here. This is the letter she left him:

Dear NukeDad,

Thank you so much for hosting me but I have found where I belong and I no longer wish to travel. Please do not take this to mean that I didn't have fun meeting you and your family, you are all delightful as is your climate, it makes Karen want to become the NukeMicroblogologist if McMommy won't adopt her (McMicroblogologist, McMB? With the current temp of -11°F she doesn't care what McMommy wants to call her!). When I first started this adventure I planned to go wherever the bloggers would have me, it was so exciting to think little ol'flat me would get to travel the world in the place of the real not flat WeaselMomma who is stuck in the frozen tundra of Chicago. But you know that they say, plans of weasels and moms and such... I am ready to settle down and really hope that you and everyone else understands.

Flat WeaselMomma

Now if any of you thinks she is referring to my apartment as where she belongs you obviously don't know Flat WeaselMomma very well. My apartment lacks caffeine and only contains isopropyl alcohol not ethanol, and she drank all my cough syrup! She is not here working in the lab nor cooking for me, not going to water aerobics, she did not join me for my latest doctor's visit like she did in November, and she is certainly not here for the climate. Nope, none of that, in fact I didn't even know she was here until I went into my boss's lab the other day and found her like this:

And so the NukeCat is out of the bag, sorry to NukeRat you out NukeDad but I didn't want you to have to keep living the lie, don't want you to end up with a NukeUlcer! Maybe after she gets past step 1 in AA she'll be willing to hit the road again, that first step is definitely a tricky one, so far the only problem she is willing to admit is that I "waste" all the ethanol using it as a disinfectant and leave less for her. And it is not like I can lock her out of the lab, the lab is locked most of the time but being flat she can easily get in and hit that bottle! I'd ask not flat WeaselMomma to help but she is too busy drinking beer and eating wings and cookie dough with Melisa. Don't worry, we'll beat this eventually (or the lab will run out of ethanol)!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Victory is Mine (and Doc's)!

As I was taking my post-water aerobics shower after having made the appointment to see Doc inspiration hit and culminated into the shirt that is pictured above, which made my nurse laugh quite hard and became a running joke throughout the appointment, which featured Doc's current new shadow that I enjoyed bragging about my exploits to (Doc often has a med student, resident or whatever following him). The shower is one of my favorite parts of the water aerobics routine, unlimited hot water that I do not directly pay for, life here doesn't get much better for this cold-blooded person. I usually relax and ponder stuff while in my utopia of warmth, for some pondering something difficult is stressful, for me not pondering is stressful. I have to mentally beat a difficult subject to death in order to be able to accept whatever reality is being thrown at me that I do not approve of. Humor is my other coping mechanism and is usually a part of the pondering process, as I dissect the issue I try to find aspects that amuse me. This doctors appointment was no different, for my dear readers and was the mental subject for every shower between scheduling the appointment and said appointment. This visit was the one I knew I would have to admit defeat, stubborn people such as myself are NOT good at accepting this.

For approximately a year, the actual time escapes all of our memories, I have been fighting Doc. See I fried my stomach on NSAIDs* trying to get my wrist functional and when the stomach became my dominant issue and PT and a steroid injection got the wrist functional again (thanks to Doc not the guy he referred me to). At some point after when the stomach became the focus he started bringing up sending me to a GI doc if I didn't get better, even had one picked out. I had the shot in November 2007, right before Thanksgiving break so I could go visit the family and recover before attempting going back to work. I think that it was sometime in January 2008 that the GI referral was first introduced. Doc knew by then that I am reluctant to agree with him on treatment options I do not want, even if they are what I need but won't admit to needing. First time I went to him for my wrist I left with no splint/brace, a week later I caved and am wearing the brace he had picked out for me the first week, he paraded 2500 of them out and I rejected all of them, based on my reactions to them he picked out only two to show me the second time. His, "you'll be back..." look gets a lot of use with me as his patient!

Back in September I was getting ready to cave on the referral, but then he/we discovered some lower GI issues added to the upper and there was a med I could try to fix it and so I wiggled out of the referral and became even more against it. Lower GI issues lead to horrible things like what NukeDad went through, I was NOT going there! After the last visit I knew I had used my last "Get out of referral free" card and that next time I whined it would be straight to the GI doc for me, thankfully I got to pass go and got 240 dicyclomine and 60 prilosec! I went in with the brilliant idea of trying to convince Doc that he could just send me for tests or perform them himself but he shot that down since only GI docs do some of the tests and he isn't allowed to shove cameras into my stomach even if he had one at his disposal and I promised not to tell nor sue. There was absolutely no wiggling out of it this time, Doc put his foot down and as I have said before to many people who questioned either his or my competancy/sanity (I make sure that it is known that it is I who refused the referral, it is not for lack of trying on his part), when he puts his foot down and tells me I am going that I will listen.

Not only did he put his foot down but he also conspired with my nurse, she did the paperwork while he examined me and listened to my crazy scheme. He also answered some of my questions, like the one that I'd been wanting to ask him for weeks. See I take 10 pills a day for my GI issues and heard of a drug in patch form that could potentially help me gain weight and the only restriction didn't apply to me, you are not to wear it on scrotal skin. Doc shook his head and laughed and told me that androderm (topical testosterone patch) is not a treatment option for me and he wouldn't put me on it. I wonder if the med student is thinking he should have gone to grad school instead... He also was nice enough to be my Jewish consult and told me that the dreidel song is just a fun song and no one should care if I change the lyrics, especially since I am not being a biggot in my song (well except idiots who don't label their containers containing chemicals and pathogens, I'm pretty prejudiced against people like that), so as soon as I sweet talk Ian into it and he has a moment or two I shall have my Label Song =)! I am quite proud of it and am planning to try and make a music video with it, we'll see what happens as far as that goes. Either way I had planned to have it recorded and put on a CD to have blasted and looped when the lab idiot (in the words of Adam Sandler, "Not a Jew") is working >=).

Note: I am sleep deprived not stoned in this picture that
makes me look like I have a more robust chest so I had to post it...

So after the required belly taps and my bragging about being a half a pound over our agreed upon lowest maintenance weight oh and he caught me eating a midday snack since I had to run over from work and didn't have a chance to eat while busting my butt to get done and across campus (he acted like it was a miracle, as if I don't eat ever, brat!) he was getting ready to go play with his next patient when my nurse comes in and hands me a piece of paper. On it is my GI appointment, not sure if it were Doc's idea or if she decided to help out poor Doc in case I somehow miraculously dodged again. And so I am going, in March (guess he is in high demand and gets behind a lot, oh my that was a sad sad pun!), and Doc is friends with him and promised to tell him to be nice to me.

OK so you all are likely scratching your heads at the title, because it is obvious that Doc won as I am going to his GI doc (I will not refer to him as my GI doc until he proves himself at least 25% the doctor my Doc is, don't think that will be easy, pray for the poor guy). The reason Doc won was because he told me he is referring me for the upper GI issues and not the lower. I had come to terms with the idea of having the stomach scope, and even was thinking about how I could use it for blog fodder, it is the lower GI tests I am completely against and in the four months I've had to contemplate I have not come to terms with the idea. Seeing it on youtube was probably the most disturbing thing I have ever witnessed besides maybe my niecey's birth (ew ew ew). He told me that the GI doc might try to convince me if he feels I need it but otherwise he wants my stomach checked and my esophagus dilated. And so there you have it, I've taken the referral which is a big victory for Doc and it is on my terms so a victory for me as well. Might not have gone too well had Doc not backed down on the lower GI stuff, I am quite fanatical about my exit only policy but all in all a successful visit for both of us.

Notes to Team Karen:
To Doc: If you have decided to check this like you joked about doing today that is my opinion on the appointment. I doubt much of any of it is news to you though since you were there and are way too good at reading me. Now you can take the noncompliance note off my chart in case I am forced to see someone else who will somewhat wrongly judge me based on that... I enjoyed seeing you and everyone again and really appreciate all you do for me and all you put up with to keep me relatively healthy and happy. Thank you Doc. Oh and you have to watch the video Niecey made you! And I understand you are too busy to read blogs, pretty sure I told you that when I linked you, I don't expect you to read about my silliness, just wanted to give you the option if you wanted to or were bored between athletes.

To my nurse: You are great too!

To my drug dealer: Hi favorite pharmacy tech, thank you for enabling me!

~~~~~Copy LiteralDan Section~~~~~
*NSAIDs are NonSteroidal AntiInflammatory Drugs, most over the counter pain meds are NSAIDs, tylenol is the one that isn't.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ice Age Preparedness: Improvision

On Saturday we got some snow, 1 or 2 inches. We had a slight thaw beforehand, which resulted in ice formation, not a fun combination. Truth be told if I had to choose I would actually prefer the snow and cold to a day of it being a little warmer. As much as I loathe the cold having a sheet of ice covering everything is worse. When it is really cold and snows the snow tends to be the light and fluffy kind (yes there are different kinds of snow, many), this makes it much easier to shovel. The drawback is that it blows, this can be a nuisance in town but in the farmland, which takes up the majority of the midwest, it can be deadly because there is nothing to break the wind and there are hundreds of acres of snow.

I had to go into work today, I was supposed to be doing a run but since my cultures did not all grow I had to start over and just inoculated today instead. I procrastinated all day like usual when I am not on a time schedule and so lost some opportunity to clean my car off while the sun was out and possibly could have helped. I love Oldsie's dark color for that very reason, when the paint is exposed the sun hits it and warms the interior, not a whole lot in the winter but sometimes enough to soften the ice. Kinda sucks in the summer but all cars get hot then and mine doesn't get a whole lot hotter than the light colored ones. But I digress, between us having that mini-thaw and the new snow and the sunny day water got in my car's door and froze. I decided to share with you all how one such as myself deals with such a problem in case the ice age becomes more widespread and permanent (plus my intelligence/competence is being questioned after my last couple posts):

The neighbor was totally staring at me, like he has never seen someone perch a digital camera on top of the adjacent car and record ones self complaining about how horribly cold it is and such. He missed my awesome car opening trick so you don't get to see him standing there in awe of my brilliance. I wonder if it were his car, probably not since he took the bus to Cub Foods and who in their right mind would go shopping on a Sunday night with the bus, Sunday has the most pitiful schedule!

Oh and one last tips, never leave your car door opener in your car, and coat drawstrings double as an extra holder for things like car door openers and spray bottles of alcohol. Also carrying a spray bottle of isopropanol to the pharmacy while dying of the plague so as not to spread said plague will result in pharmacy techs who already thought you were amusing falling in love with you and helping you plot against your doctor giving you even better service (my pharmacy has good service to begin with). I have not had to take out and swipe my ID since November. The only reason I have to wait is because I want my favorite tech and will do the hover thing until she is free. I get to see her tomorrow, though it will just be a stopping by to say hi most likely since this visit probably won't result in a script but a referral, unless there is a wrist drug that won't screw me up...

OK I'd best get to work on preparing for my visit with Doc tomorrow, I told my lovely nurse to try and make it so he is complacent but she is so a double agent! And by that I mean she has my real best interest at heart and so totally sides with him when I try to get sneaky talk him into stuff and she often successfully tries to be the voice of reason. But I am so going to be super compliant (kinda, define compliant...) and brag about how I didn't down a bag of candy to gain weight before the visit (because I ran out, though brag worthy is that I could have bought more but chose not to). I will probably post about the visit, either way do not worry since as I have said before, my issues suck but they definitely are not life threatening or anything like that. Either way it should be fun, I hate being sickly but I don't get out much and definitely enjoy getting to see Medical Team Karen, they are the best!

Dearest Bugs

Dear Research Organisms,

You know that I love you all and enjoy working with you for the most part, yeah sometimes I get jealous of the others with their bugs* that do not have to be incubated without oxygen like you but all in all you are great bugs. The fact that first B. breve, my shining star bug, stopped growing after the initial revival step. That was bad enough but then when I got up early so I could inoculate for the last run of my last rep (not counting redoing some runs that did not turn out after I am done with rep 3), I was so excited! Then I pulled you out of the incubator and only B. bifidum grew well, B. breve grew a tiny bit, and B. infantis and B. longum, nothing!

It makes absolutely no sense that you did not grow, you grew in the first step and that was coming out of the -75°C freezer. It would make some sense if you did not revive at that point but the second pass, why!?! I am trying again but this puts me way off my schedule! Thankfully the new schedule works so that I will still be able to see Doc on Monday, though of course I am quite nervous about this appointment since it is basically a one way ticket to referral land and I do NOT want to go there! You all are so not helping, you know stress is a trigger for GI issues right? I will admit, I stress you out with my simulated GI tract, I'm sorry but it is for your own good. Have you all gone bad and made some sort of deal with Helicobacter pylori??? Giving me an ulcer will make this take longer but it is not going to stop me so you might as well be good little bugs and grow like you are supposed to!


~~~~~Copy LiteralDan Section~~~~~
*Bugs means bacteria or other microorganisms, it is a somewhat common nickname in my field and I use it a lot.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pray for CK Updated

1/15/09: OK so I normally do not post twice within the same day and I normally do not get religious or whatnot on the blog, and I am usually way behind the times since I get busy and behind on my blog reading. That all said I am breaking the usual and being abnormal. My blog roll caught my eye and I saw that VegasDad had posted and with the title, "a broken heart". I clicked it and kept saying, "please be a funny blog" over and over, the sense of foreboding was strong. I tried to imagine something cute attached to that title, like maybe his oldest boy got into a fight with the girl next door or something (my internet is running slow since I have too many tabs so I had time to think/worry). My instinct that this was not a funny post was sadly right, his little nephew CK is having heart surgery in less than 7 hours (11am eastern), he is only 2 years old. Whatever your spiritual beliefs please think of this little boy and his family, pray, meditate, send positive vibes, whatever, can't hurt. And go let VegasDad know you are thinking of his nephew and his family in this horrible and hard time they are going through.

Also his brother is trying to raise some money to help their sister and her family get through this, as we all know healthcare is not cheap and they do not have good benefits, he is a techie so if you need some tech help check him out, he is offering his expertise for free with the request that people donate if they can (you can donate even if you don't need advice), any amount helps and it can definitely add up if a bunch of people donate even just a little. Thanks everyone!

Update: The surgery has been postponed until next week, the hospital got full of sick kiddies and so there wasn't room for little CK and it sounds like he is not as critical thankfully as some of the others. I'll try to keep this current but you can always go directly over to VegasDad's site, it is linked above, for the most current news. Thanks.

Update (1/20/09): The surgery is tomorrow. It is a risky procedure, his parents had to decide to risk surgery or let him pass away slowly. I simply cannot imagine how horrible that decision would be to make, especially since he is only two! Thanks everyone who has clicked over and shown them some love and support, the fund they set up earned over $2000 (it is still accepting donations), once again I am impressed with the awesomeness of the blogging community. If society were more like the blogosphere I think the world would be in much better shape on many levels.

Update (1/21/09): So far so good, he came out of surgery in pretty good shape, he has at least one other he has to go through in about a month or so from now. Hopefully soon he can be running around getting into things and driving his parents nuts, since that is what 2 year olds are supposed to be doing! Thank you to everyone who kept this little guy in your thoughts and prayers.

Twit or Not?

OK so many of you fellow bloggers have that twitter thingy and I vaguely know what it is. For those of you less savvy than even I am from what I can tell twitter is like facebook's status updates on steroids. You basically write relatively short one liners and can reply to other people's "tweets". Facebook has recently made it so you can comment on other people's status updates so perhaps they are practically the same at this point. I see them on many of the blogs I read and several bloggers talk about their twitterings and such. I was delurked by the lovely Mrs. Watlz via her twitter, that was quite amusing!

Now I figure you see where this is going, I am contemplating getting this twitter thing. Sometimes I come up with what I feel are hilarious thoughts but they are only one liner type things and so not really enough to support being a blog post but that does not make them unworthy of being shared. Sometimes this is probably a good thing though since sometimes when I am sleep deprived and feeling sickly the stuff I come up with is decidedly not funny, unfortunately I am in this state a lot lately (I have an appointment with Doc next week so no worries). That part aside I have been neglecting facebook for the most part and have been trying to go on it more to keep up with some of my people and at first I really enjoyed the new status comments thing but then I started getting swamped with the back and forthing of it. I am used to skype, which is almost instant not the facebook thing that has a lag time and at least for me seems to dump the comment backs on me all at once. And of course if I were playing on twitter I would have less blog reading and writing time most likely. But on the other hand all the cool bloggers are doing it and if McMommy jumped off a bridge I just might follow suit.

And so dear readers I would like to know what you think about twitter. I get confused reading other peoples' twitter things since it only tells you what they write and if they are replying to someone else it will say that name but not give the original comment. Is it less confusing if you are one of the Twitterers? Can't I just con you all into going on skype instead? Of course that could cause the blogosphere to crash, all of us would be too busy cracking ourselves up on skype to blog, unless we posted the conversations on our blogs taking turns or something... Who all thinks I should go for this twitter thing? If there are enough people pimping it I'll probably try it, no promises that I will and if I do that I will keep it. Thanks!

On a different note, do I have any Jewish readers? If so please let me know if "stealing" the dreidel song would potentially offend you. I made a song about how to label chemicals in the lab for the lab jerk who can't seem to get it through his thick skull that there are laws/rules that apply to him too, it is definitely not vulgar like my last song. I didn't really have any qualms about the last one since it is "my" song, but I definitely do not want to offend someone of another faith, especially one I respect and admire and that has way better songs than mine! Seriously I can listen to the dreidel song all day but you start playing most Christmas songs and I am sick of them very quickly. Thanks for letting us steal your religion to make ours ;). Oh and thanks for producing the best doctor ever!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Setting the Lab on Fire

Given the title there might be some speculation as to what happened in said lab. Did Karen literally set the lab on fire or is she talking figuratively? Well folks my prospects for the figurative sense definitely don't do it for me. While I like the Dishwasher he is way too young for me and I think of him as a friend. I have discussed my loathing of the more my age male grad student before, if you're new I despise him and wish he would go back where he came from (Wisconsin, if it weren't for Loren messing up my stereotype that Wisconsinites suck I'd go into that... way to redeem your home state Loren!), and neither are my type anyway. Oh yeah, the prof's son works in the lab too, also not a candidate for doing the figurative setting the lab on fire thing* being not my type and seriously going after one of my committee member's kids would definitely raise some eyebrows if he were!

All of that to say that I literally set the lab on fire. And by I set the lab on fire I mean I set a fire in the lab. This is actually a somewhat common occurrence given that I use a glass spreader when I spread plate and have to ethanol flame it between uses, as somewhat shown in the crappy video I made in an earlier post about spread plating. Once in awhile while flaming the spreader a drop of burning ethanol (95%) can fall off the stick and land on the lab bench. The black bench top is designed to be fire retardant (or maybe fire-proof, not sure) and so this is not a problem. The drop normally burns until it has burned off the ethanol and then goes out, no need to panic or get excited, it is actually kind of cool to watch. This however was not the case the other night.

Side view

A few nights ago I was plating the last set of samples for the day and talking to Niecey on the phone. The little imp has discovered that if she hits the redial button on the phone that it will call my cell. This works the majority of the time since my family is somewhat anti-social and I am one of the few people who is called using that phone. While a little awkward I am capable of doing most lab work with the phone balanced between my shoulder and ear so I answered and chit chatted with her for a bit. I saw the drop of flaming ethanol drop like I've seen probably 100 times and watched as it went under the test tube rack that I put the used tubes in. At this point I paused to watch it until it burnt out and then started spreading the plate.

Top view

As I was finishing spreading the first of two plates I shifted my focus from the plate to the suddenly up in flames test tube rack! Niecey got to hear what Auntie Kee says when she gets startled with something of that nature, it involved many repetitions of the cuss word Forest Gump made a slogan out of. Thankfully for me she already knows that one and so I was not teaching her a new word, more the proper application of said word. I finished spreading the plate I was on while trying to hold the phone and blow on the rack in hopes that would put out the flames that were quickly growing and burning towards the tubes the rack was holding. Blowing on it did not help, thankfully I was able to finish spreading the plate quickly and then I grabbed the rack and took it to the sink where I doused it with water. The test tubes in it seemed to actually protect the part of the rack they were in, thank goodness! I did NOT need to have that part burn and the tubes to start falling down into the flames. It definitely could have been worse, no one got hurt and it wasn't even that much of a fire. It was a freak accident that will hopefully never happen to me again, especially since I now know that a small drop of ethanol that looks like it burnt out is enough to light up a rack!

Angled Close Up

~~~~~Copy LiteralDan Section~~~~~

*While all this talk about doing a figurative setting the lab on fire thing may sound like a good plot for a porno I definitely wouldn't recommend it. Not based on experience mind you, that has so never happened, more from a I know most of what is worked on in the lab and can only imagine the rest. It would be a situation where you could walk away with a STD (aka STI and VD), diarrhea, and purple^ and green^ markings on your butt. If that floats your boat go for it, just don't let me know about it!
^PW, the male grad student, has been working with stains lately, specifically crystal violet and malachite green, he is a slob (one of the many reasons he is the object of my loathing). I have gotten dyed a few times, at first I was confused but quickly figured it out and just sigh and wish my boss would let me whack him with a newspaper like I keep asking her if I can but she keeps saying no...

My New Pet

Warning, you may need one of these if you read this post (at least I have been cracking myself up all day over it):

It is a pretty well established fact that people crave companionship, we are an at least somewhat social species. So what is a workaholic hermit graduate student living in the frozen tundra to do? Obviously the more traditional pets are out, especially since my apartment is not pet friendly and I'd have to move to one that is (think the only ones that are pet friendly are the ones that have the stupid layout and no carpet and no dryer hookup and no basement, ick), and I think the fee is $350. That and I don't like the idea of a pet that sheds, licks, jumps, makes noise, and could excrete waste on my floors. I also do not like the idea of scooping poop out of the yard or a bin. I have fish, tired of dealing with them though, way too much work for a busy/lazy person with bad joints and a knack for flooding the place when trying to clean the stupid tanks.

I have plants and adore them, but most (BFF Pasha) do not consider them pets and I will likely devote a post to them in the future so they'll get a mention but not be listed as pets. I do have the occasional transient "roommate", they are a great source of amusement for me, but usually do not stay too long. This one is a permanent resident, though I brought her in from outdoors in the state she is currently in (I think it is a she based on the abdomen) to show my mom when she came to visit me (in the much anticipated trip that never was due to her foot needing surgery), she is a small one of her kind and this year they had a population bloom and were everywhere (so fricking cool!). Had Mom visited I think she would be in California by now after seeing one of these babies:

So anyway, while reading WeaselMomma's most recent post she introduced a new idea for a pet that is perfect for the average busy college student. And here it is:

Is it?
Oh yes it is!
Cough syrup!
What a little cutie, so happy and content and low maintenance, and don't listen to the directions on the box, she lasts way more than 8 hours with no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (in this application, not the other use, the other use definitely has a TSS risk but if you are dumb enough to take the before mentioned statement as directions for THAT then it is natural selection and I thank you for taking yourself out of the gene pool and will nominate you for this year's Darwin Award if I hear about it)!

And she gets along with my other low maintenance pet that Middle Sister gave me years ago as a joke and can't believe I still have it. They are so BFFs!

Nice and cozy, it is good to mimic your exotic pet's natural environment to make them feel more comfortable in their new home.

Awww, they are playing leap frog, how adorable!

And there you have it, thank you WeaselMomma for the wonderful suggestion! The only problem is I don't know what to name her, maybe my readers can think of some suggestions in the comments... Oh and if you plan to adopt one of these lovely pets you might want to make sure you get unscented, my goodness does she stink up the place, her only flaw! Hopefully it will wear off soon if she becomes this blog's version of the Bathtub Gangsta, because knowing my luck you will all fall in love with her*.

~~~~~Copy LiteralDan Section~~~~~
*By fall in love with her I mean fall in love with the idea of me carrying her around in public, I know at least some of you people!

~By the way doesn't my new camera take awesome pictures, I LOVE it!!!!! Only good thing about breaking the one I bought in May 2008!

~~If you read this Doc you don't have to send me to Dr. Seat Stealer (J told me he is a head shrinker so I'll so know what you're up to if you ask if you can "consult" with him), I have so not lost it, this is totally normal blogger behavior! Seriously go read about the Bathtub Gangsta (it is hilarious), this may be slightly more warped than that but I totally had to do it after reading WeaselMomma's blog. I am so not helping my case am I...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Identity Crisis

So I was shoveling my parking place the other day, in subzero temps since I read that it was going to snow again and be even colder and the wind chill was going to be in the -30-40°F range. I figured I'd best get it done while the risk of frostbite and hypothermia was a little lower. During this activity I came across something strange, can any of you tell me what it is:

Also look what happens when one breathes in subzero temps, especially one wearing something over the bottom of their face which causes their breath to channel upwards:

That's right, there are ice drops on my eyebrows and eyelashes, that was the best picture I got out of it. I think it was about -5°F at the time, it got down to -28°F at one point, horrid (it was worse up north in Minnesota, ick!). We really need to build a border fence between Canada and the US, keep their cold air out! We really need to increase our emissions people, I want me some global warming! Polar bears can kiss my frost bitten butt. I am not going to think about believing in their little global warming hypothesis until they can with 99.9% accuracy predict the weather on day 10 of the 10 day forecast, in detail. A model system that can't even predict much beyond 2-3 days is NOT enough to convince me. I believe in conservation and recycling and alternative fuel and such, don't get me wrong, I just don't like the idea of some crackpot hypothesis/theory being used to try and force it on people. Sometimes scientists need to take a step back and think about what they are saying and what the limitations are on their research and how valid their conclusions are before sharing it with the general public.

Stay warm all you cold climate readers, and for you warm climate ones does any of you want to adopt an adult microbiology grad student?!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mother Meme

OK I find this amusing, in all my months of blogging no one has ever tagged me for a meme. This does not upset me so don't be all, "OMG Microblogologist is such an unpopular whiner!" And I don't need to get flooded with meme tags, remember I will enact swift and total revenge on anyone who over-tags me by over-tagging them back with my access to multitudes of inane myspace bulletins! That aside my mother sent me an e-mail meme (what are they called in e-mail language, on myspace they are usually called surveys...). Breaking my normal rule of not posting someone's name without their permission here is my mom's meme with her answers (she doesn't have a blog I can link... yet, my commentary in parenthesis):

1. Six names you go by:
1. Susan
2. Sue
3. Susanita
4. Suzy
5. Mom
6. Grah
(interesting, I guess "Mom" and "Grah" aren't the cool names, not good enough for #1&2 eh Mommy?)

2. Three things you are wearing right now:
1. black denim pants
2. black sweatshirt
3. camouflage t-shirt
(I thought you swore off black after Grandpa said it made you look like a bowling ball, yes my grandpa can be a jackass dear readers, I wrote him a bitchy e-mail after hearing that one! Oh and Mom does not resemble a bowling ball dressed in any color, I'd post pics to prove it but she knows where I live and I'd like to be able to see my family again...)

Three things you want very badly right now:
1. for more hours at work
2. for it to be warmer
3. for my foot to be totally normal
(Thank all that is holy that sex is not on this list! I would've been so traumatized! My mother is a virgin damnit, Daddy said the storks came and dropped us off and I believe him! That said #1 is just pathetic, totally get 2 and 3.)

4. T
hree people who will fill this out:
1. Mel
2. Karen
3. Richard
(I am 2 not 1, sad, and rather presumptive aren't we...)

Two things you did last night:
1. read with [Niecey] for 90 minutes
2. watched American Idol
(I don't refer to the kiddo by name on the blog Mom, nor our hometown, don't want to end up on the news the bad way.)

Two things you ate today:
1. lasagna made by a co-worker
2. Alphabet cereal in skim milk
(Skim milk is gross, you should drink real milk, oh and a study showed a little milk fat is good for you.)

People you last talked to on the phone:
1. AT&T about my cell phone
2. Richard
(The red button turns it on AND off)

Two things you are going to do tomorrow:
1. work
2. see Twilight with Cheryl at the Tivoli
(Hahaha, Cheryl had no idea you had plans! Funny that you are going to watch the movie of the only vampire romance book you have not read.)

9. Your favorite beverages:
1. cold water
2. decaf tea (iced or hot)
(Can't think of anything snarky to say here, I must be losing it!)

And now to answer these burning questions myself:

1. Six names you go by:
1. Karen
2. Auntie Kee
3. Microblogologist
4. Microbiologist (this one amuses me)
5. Micro
6. Real Karen (there will be a post on this)

2. Three things you are wearing right now:
1. Jeans, leggings, and fuzzy pants.
2. Two shirts, a fuzzy shirt and a hoodie.
3. Boots, regular socks and fuzzy socks.

3. Three things you want very badly right now:
1. To stop refluxing/having GI issues.
2. For it to be 80°F during the day and 65°F at night all the time.
3. Niecey cuddles.

4. T
hree people who will fill this out:
Whomever wants to may play along, I am not officially tagging anyone.

5. Two things you did last night:
1. Wrote a blog post.
2. Listened to the Dreidel song (seriously the Jews' song is way better than most of the Christmas songs and it makes me giggle to see it listed as a "Christmas song"!)

6. Two things you ate today:
1. French toast
2. Chicken noodle soup
*cough and chocolate cough*

7. People you last talked to on the phone:
1. Niecey, she has discovered that hitting the redial button on the phone calls me, which will work until someone in my anti-social family calls someone other than me on that phone, this could get interesting.
2. Auntie D

8. Two things you are going to do tomorrow:
1. Spend a few hours in the lab inoculating and pouring plates and such.
2. Water Aerobics (it's back!!!!!!!!!!)

9. Your favorite beverages:
1. AE 2% Chocolate Milk
2. 2% Milk

Welcome to my blog Mom, while this is the official my linking you I totally know that you accidentally linked yourself and so may or may not have "snooped", I don't care if you have (I could have stopped you had I wanted to). I planned to link you eventually *cough after editing some posts cough*, I was introducing you to the concept with my vague blog references. Oh and don't freak out about stuff I write, if something is serious I'll probably let you know, or tell Cheryl because she is on skype so ask her, though she has the attention span of a gnat so probably will forget... You may comment if you like, I prefer you click name/url, you can write your name (Mom or Grah/Graw/Gra, not Susan like you keep signing your e-mails... I'm still your daughter...) and leave the URL blank. Oh and this so counts as communicating so my being a neglectful e-mailer is negated now by this (plus it is not like I have much to say in response to you talking about work, you so need to get a life or a more interesting job!). Love you! (I bee-lieve my not posting your Halloween costume is my mother's day present to you this year, the horrible pun would bee your bonus gift, though this parenthetical will likely get the attention of my regulars and have them taunt you into saying I can post it, I am so evil!)

And a little extra for all of you:
Public Service Announcement from Niecey: Fiber makes you poop like you never pooped before! (thanks Auntie Cheryl for teaching Niecey about fiber and Niecey for making me laugh my butt off when she called me to let me know this while I was working and to tell me to put it on my blog.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fun with Reverse Stalker

I've noticed on google analytics that my post about the benefits of having an art major sibling is one of my most popular posts but since all the people who find it are lurkers who likely only look once I don't get my curiosity satisfied as to what they were searching for when they stumbled on my blog and more specifically that post. I think the majority come from doing image searches on google but that does not answer the what they were looking for part. So I am getting ready for bed and my Reverse Stalker (right side bar) caught my eye:

Islamabad arrived from on "My Microscopic Life: Why having an art major sibling rocks."
Islamabad left "My Microscopic Life: Why having an art major sibling rocks." via theunmarriedhouse

I edited the post to include a plea for a comment not too long ago, so far no one has, until then I'll have to keep an eye on the reverse stalker. Enjoy the stalker from Islamabad Sibling, and thanks for the awesome artsy stuff!

In other google analytics news the epic battle between North Carolina and Tennessee for forth place, until now only known to me, is currently nearly tied up with Tennessee ahead by only one visit (TN: 101, NC 100). I'm guessing that NukeDad (NC) and Nonna (TN) are the representatives of their states, based on the % New NukeDad is the main one representing his while Nonna might have some help (she says she is highly competitive so she might start recruiting people now so she can thoroughly trounce NC/NukeDad). The battle for second place isn't much of a battle anymore, at one point it went back and forth between California and Illinois but the home state (with the indicted and impeached governor, yeah!) has pulled ahead (IL: 185 CA: 143) and likely will remain that way since I have befriended several bloggers (WeaselMomma and LiteralDan) from the homeland and Sibling is there and also when I visit it counts all my clicks when I post and use my blog roll to catch up on my blog addiction while on vacation.

There won't be a battle for first until I move out of the frozen tundra, I click my own blog way too much and google doesn't distinguish between me and everyone else unfortunately, though I do have more than just me clicking here, Loren stops by regularly (or as regularly as someone with 4 kids, three of them 4 year olds, can) and Kev (has the baby been born yet?!) has been known to come for a bit, though he did not approve of my and my coworkers' immaturity involving the crazy visiting professor (it was not in the best taste and definitely not one of my finer moments, months of build up anger...), don't worry Kev I plan to make a "lab drama" post much more to what you had in mind, just have to get around to it, lol.

Time (ok past time) for bed, good night blogosphere.

Edited to add: Look, while writing this post another one came:

Munich, Bayern arrived from on "My Microscopic Life: Why having an art major sibling rocks."

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Adventures of Flat WeaselMomma and Niecey

Let's rewind things a bit and go back to November for a bit shall we. A reminder I had the plague, though was declared to be noncontagious by my doctor extraordinaire and sent off to go spend Thanksgiving with my family. I was hogging hosting Flat WeaselMomma at the time before giving her up so she could go visit NukeDad who still hasn't written a post about their adventures, neither has BusyDad... I of course was excited to see my family, last time I had visited was July and Niecey and Pa visited me in August but I had not seen any of them since. I of course had to take a picture of two of my favorite blog subjects:

Niecey fell in love with Flat WeaselMomma, which awesomely translated into my normally a bit shy Niecey being totally comfortable with the not flat version of WeaselMomma when we visited her later that week. We of course had to bring her on our road trip to Michigan, she helped Pa drive:

Then she went and hung out with Niecey to keep her company for a bit:

She then decided to check on Cheryl to make sure she was still alive after taking cold meds and Dramamine and not sleeping (poor kid gets car sick easy and having a cold on top of it was not pretty). Baby Sibling was quite stoned and out of it and didn't really remember this but was gracious enough to let me post it (she is likely going to use this to barter putting a horrible pic of me on her blog but who could resist posting this hilarious pic?!):

This is the picture I got of the political cesspool city of Chicago, Dad wouldn't stop on the expressway so I could get a better shot and probably didn't appreciate my unsuccessful attempts to get FWM in the picture so this is the best I got:

We made pretty good time and made it into Indiana, notice how the sign is back lit, the sun appears to be in the eastern sky. Who knew that the sun could be over on that side of the sky? Normally when I see the sun it is in the western sky, strange! Whatever this horrible voodoo magic is it is not good for trying to get a picture of the sign:

Daddy was driving a bit fast and my sleep deprived reflexes made me basically miss this one (can you tell the trip was boring and uneventful, especially for the sickly passenger who can't sleep in cars and her niece and sibling both decided to nap):

Since Oldsie is not the only car that has a no bodily fluids policy we stopped at a rest stop after crossing the border, I showed Niecey where we were on the map, she though this was pretty cool and decided we should share it with you:

They had a fake lighthouse by a pond, I had to cross the parking lot to be able to get the whole thing in the shot, makes Niecey and FWM look quite tiny:

We finally got to our aunt's house and after eating a nice big meal, beating up all her big cousins, and playing with her little cousin Niecey, Big Bear, Auntie Cheryl's Sock Monkey, and FWM decided to call it a night (not leaving much room for me!):

Since Michigan borders the North Pole we had a white Thanksgiving, Niecey enjoyed this greatly and FWM got to show off her winter clothes in action, sweet!:

We all had a great time and were sad to say goodbye, too bad we only get to go once a year! It was definitely a busy week full of family and friends, all of whom gave us much to be thankful for.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Introducing the Greatest Musical Team Ever!

So I have mentioned my good friend Ian before a time or two, and there will be more mentions of him if I ever get around to editing and posting another spotlight on nutrition video I took awhile ago (there are several of those along with other vids rotting away on my hard drive). He is a music major and I have to admit that at first I was kinda skeptical about the whole music major thing since the arts tend to be glutted. Then I heard him sing, holy crap that boy is crazy talented! He doesn't just sing either, he writes music too. I LOVE this composition he wrote for class, it has its own tab on my firefox browser so I can play it whenever I want, and usually listen to it on a daily basis because it puts out happy vibes that make me smile:

Now for my credentials, I am a bored grad student who sometimes has a spark of creativity and can't sing. Ask Uncle Richard if you don't believe me, he is my concert buddy and so has actually heard the train wreck that is my singing. Or better yet ask Niecey, she tells me to stop when I sing along with the radio when taking her out and about (I admit I ham it up just to harass her). Most of my musical talent lies in my ability to play the radio. I am also able to play CDs and get the songs from them onto my computer and from there to my mp3 thingy (thanks to Pasha, knower of all things tech and saver of this non-techie's butt in tech situations over my head).

Today I have to work. Last night I was up literally all night long feeling miserable (GI issues, I am so not eating dinner tonight and having a third night in a row like this, if you read this Doc* I have a few tricks to try before calling you to discuss my terms of GI referral surrender, I am not going down without a fight! And one meal won't kill me, I have chocolate and ensure!), I decided to go in and inoculate for tomorrow's run earlier than normal and then come home and sleep a bit and then go back and finish my work. I was eating whatever that meal is that you eat when you go to bed for a few hours in the afternoon and wake up and eat cereal because you are from the north and the thought of eating anything heavier when you wake up makes you feel ill (not GI and GI issue related), and then heard the rain and sleet start to get really bad. I'd already seen the radar earlier and knew that this band was going to be nasty and last forever and go from freezing rain into snow. Can't remember if they were saying 1-2 inches of snow in the afternoon and another 1-2 tonight or if it was 1-2 total, either way it sucks. The only good thing about the snow part is that sometimes it combines with the ice in such a way to provide traction (until the university brushes it off the sidewalks leaving the extremely slick ice behind, you think they'd learn in 150 years!). So I see the horridness that is the weather in this region this time of year as I know since I have lived in the midwest all my life but still I am pissed, I HATE winter!

Then something triggers in my disoriented brain and I decide to rewrite "Deck the Halls" into a song describing the tip of the iceberg of my feelings about the weather, I don't think it is possible to adequately describe how loathsome and vile I find winter. I put it into a skype chat that is populated be my sister's friends that I have been adopted into and by and now consider the majority to be my friends as well. Ian saw this and ran with it, he changed it up a touch where I lacked in rhyming ability and I nearly fell off my chair at the ending I was laughing so hard. I've been harassing him to record my songs before, this one had the good fortune of him seeing it when he actually had everything set up and was recording another song. OK totally hilarious, literally as I typed that line he linked the song I was referring to which he had put on the uploading back burner to get our Deck the Halls collaboration up, it is amazing so check it out, especially if the song this post is about offends you, it will totally win you back over it is that good!

Disclaimer: The F-word is featured VERY heavily in this song, if you are offended by this do not listen (nor click the F-word link, which is one of my favorites), if you have children present or are at work you may want to consider waiting. Or you can use Auntie Cheryl's rule and tell them, "Never repeat the horrible things Auntie Cheryl (or Auntie Kee and Ian in this case) says!" so you can listen to what I am quite proud of (non-profane lyrics below):

Here are the lyrics minus the swearing:
Deck the trees with freezing rain.
'Tis the season to be lame.
Don we now our not gay like Ian's winter apparel**.
Troll the sidewalks for not slick patches.
See the blazing snow come after.
Strike the sidewalk and break our [butts]***.
Follow me in dreary weather.
While I say it's bad as ever.
Fast away the driveability passes.
[Heck] this sucks ye lads and lasses.****

And now, those of you who have not been driven away by my vulgarity (all of which is mine, Ian did not add any), I have to get ready to brave this storm so I can try to get to bed early so I can somehow get my butt to work at 10am (instead of 11am, ew!). Too bad the secret motivation blog members would probably kill me if I joined them since I am struggling to keep on and at times gain weight, seriously how could they not want to kill me when one of my goals would be "maintain/gain weight without resorting to eating own weight in chocolate" (and two of them have my address!). At risk of hate comments/mail I envy those who want to lose weight, I've actually been there and looking back it was so much better, much less painful.

~~~~~Copy LiteralDan Section*****~~~~~
*My doctor knows about my blog and has the URL but most likely does not have time to actually read it, seriously he has to read doctor stuff to stay ahead of my broken self as well as take care of his other, probably much less ornery, patients many of which are athletes and he has to go to their stuff and make sure natural selection doesn't select against the more valuable ones (hasn't lost one yet, go Doc!). My little disclaimers are there in part because it amuses me to pretend he reads and in case he does because he does care and I don't want to worry him too much and in this one give him a heads up that most likely I will be seeing him in the next couple weeks. Him being awesome earned him that at great expense to myself since he is way sharper and quicker witted than I, even with me prepped and him not for what I am going to throw at him, so really I am giving him even more of an advantage. Though I do have a good one up my sleeve...
**The use of the word gay is not meant to be offensive in any way except to Uggs, Ian wears the same ones as his mommy (she totally is copying him). Ian and I both love gay people and I love making fun of his Uggs.
***The real lyrics use the more vulgar word for the posterior...
****Yeah, little stronger than heck and I suppose I'm borderline on sucks, when I was a kid it was considered a swear but I think that society has excepted that as being a bit rude but not an actual profanity.
*****I seem to have started something here, Nonna and Sibling have both started copying me copying LiteralDan. I get minion points for having underminions right Dan? Either way it totally cracks me up!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Navigationally Challenged

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses; strengths to help you get through life and weaknesses to keep you humble. One of my weaknesses is the fact that I am navigationally challenged. Once I have been a place enough times I am pretty good at getting around but until I am used to it I can get turned around and lost quite easily. I was discussing this with WeaselMomma on one of her recent posts, I was telling her that if I ever went to Philly (her home town) that I would probably end up calling her hopelessly lost and she'd have to figure out where I was and get me unlost, or that I would have to kidnap her and use her as a prophylactic but in this case as a guide so I didn't get lost and not in terms of antibiotics* nor birth control.** I then revealed to her that I was navigationally challenged to the point of getting lost in my hometown and she said she wanted to hear this one so I am indulging her and the rest of you with one of my slightly less finer moments, enjoy.

It was the fall of 2001, I had graduated high school, gotten my driver's license, became a deli clerk, and got my first car, a 1988 Mercury Topaz that was my grandma's but she had stopped driving and it was just sitting in her driveway collecting wasp nests, a fact that scared the shit out of my mother (Hi Mom, I saw you save my blog address so you don't have to hide if you are reading this, I was getting ready to link you anyway). I started college that August at Benedictine University, a small private university in Lisle, IL. It was an interesting transition for me, not only was I new to the whole college thing but I had my K-12 in public school (a good system) and it doesn't take much guesswork to figure out that Benedictine is a catholic school given the being named after a saint thing.

At Benedictine Christian values are something they strive to instill in their students no matter what religion they are, this was rather apparent in their humanities classes, especially the first one that all students are required to take. In that course I was given an assignment, I was to do 10 hours of community service and write a report about the experience. This assignment proved very difficult for me, not only did I now have a full time course load but I was also a deli clerk and up until that summer I had been in a coed youth program through the Boy Scouts of America called Venturing Crew. My crew dissolved before I started college. While in crew I did many hours of community service, without crew I had no outlet and had to find my own place to volunteer, and most I thought of and contacted didn't have anything or I needed to have background checks or other nonsense that prevented me from doing it. Finally I found a nursing home that was happy to have some free labor, and it happen to be in my hometown, score!

A little bit about my hometown. It is a rather small suburb of Chicago. According to the sign last time I saw it there are 24,600 people in my town, obviously this is a somewhat rough estimate but close enough. Almost no one has heard of this little town, it isn't uncommon for people from neighboring burbs to have not heard of it. I was about a year and a half old when my family moved to this town and lived there until I finished my undergraduate work and moved here for grad school. So one would assume that I know this town quite well right? Well you assumers are wrong, I know parts of this town very well, the nursing home in question was NOT in my area, which was still very small since I had only recently started driving. My mom told me she knows where this place is, it is past 63rd street she tells me. And so confident in my abilities I got in my trusty Mercury and hit the road.

I get on the street the place is on and am driving along and get to 63rd street and start looking for a nursing home, I didn't see one. I kept going a ways until I decided I must have missed it and so turn off the main road onto a side street so I can turn around legally (too much traffic to do one of the U-turn using all 4 lanes my daddy taught me and I have made my own). Unfortunately for me this stupid side street had some odd twists (I was going around the block instead of finding a driveway to use figuring it would be easier, hah!) and instead of ending back on the main road I was on I got on another road that I thought was the main road but wasn't. At this time I had this really bad instinct to keep driving, I used to always do that when lost, just keep driving in hopes I would eventually get somewhere I recognized. In my defense I had not diagnosed myself as navigationally challenged yet and used to be dumb enough to think this method might work.

I drove until the road I was on either ended or forked and kept going and going. Eventually I saw a Jewel, which is a grocery store chain, and decided enough was enough and stopped to find out where the heck I was and call for help. I walk into the Jewel and find an associate and asked them what town I was in, the answer was Countryside, which is several towns over and around 6 miles from my hometown, though I took the insanely "scenic" route. I found out the street names and got on my cell phone (which only had 75min/month so I never used it) and called Grandpa and told him where I was and asked how to get home. He gave me specific enough instructions and so I went on my merry way.

The funny/ironic part was as I got back on the street I was on and drove further I drove into LaGrange, the town I was born in, where my clinic/hospital was and oh yeah, where I went to church for quite a few years. I was not far along at all when I started recognizing the landmarks, the road I was on was the road we took to get to church, except we turned before Countryside since it was in LaGrange, once I was in LaGrange I knew exactly where I was and how to get back. So my strategy funnily enough would have worked had I stuck with it about a block or two more, which is probably why I later used it when trying to navigate elsewhere with generally bad results. Instead of going home I decided that since I had been driving for like an hour or so I should at least try to make it to the nursing home, which Grandpa told me was BEFORE 63rd street. I found it and worked for a few hours, the next day I went back for a few more and then was too busy to get the full 10 so wrote it up as was and turned it in for a not so good grade.

And that dear readers is how I got lost in my hometown. Since then I have actually improved in my abilities to turn around and am a little better at navigating. It helps that I generally refuse to go anywhere without mapquest directions. Oh and my getting a little mixed up on my way to the Weasel's house was totally the weather's fault. I went during a bit of a snow storm that consisted of somewhat sticky blowing snow that coated the street signs and reduced visibility. That said if I ever do go to Philly I will likely get myself GPS chipped and steal WeaselMomma along the way!

~~~~~Copy LiteralDan Section~~~~~
*Use of antibiotics in a patient without a bacterial infection that has a risk of contracting one is the application of the word prophylactic that I encounter and use the most.
**Referring to various birth control methods as prophylactics was the application I actually forgot about when commenting on WeaselMomma's blog, proving once again that I am a nerd and my blog title is quite appropriate in more than just the figurative sense.