Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Picture a Day-Day 29

Happy Almost New Year everyone.

I like to celebrate my Almost New Year by Almost going out and getting Almost drunk. How do you celebrate Almost New Year?

Now that we got the pleasantries out of the way, time to talk about the past. About two days ago past actually.

Every time we visit Chicago we always go downtown for at least one day and this trip was no exception. For those of you that have visited the city of big shoulders what is your most lasting impression?

Is it the tall buildings?Or maybe the hustle and bustle up along the streets (and who doesn't love all the weird TV show ads on the back of everything in the city?)For some of us that grew up with our ears permanently attached to the Oldies Station Chicago is not so much a city as a large band complete with brass section:For some Chicago is just simply The Lake (and yes that really is snow on Lake Michigan):Could Chicago be a ride on the majestic L as it rattles above all the walkers?Or is Chicago most memorable for its herds of senior citizens roaming the area hunting for wild early bird dinners and antiques?For me I think, after watching my husband jump with glee, Chicago will forever symbolize one thing in my heart: The Chicago Style Hotdog:How about the rest of you? What does Chicago (or any big city really) mean to you?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Picture a Day-Day 28

It is so good to be home. The ride was wild and windy and way to long (I really think we should just get rid of Iowa all together. It's not like anyone would really notice).

Tomorrow I promise a little re-cap for now I have some little pictures to share.

This is my husband looking through all his little Magic cards while at Chicago to find just the right one to something something something (somewhere around word three the language just completely lost me and somehow turned into pig latin in my ears).If you can't tell, that's our little air mattress on his back. His old bedroom was so small he had to prop the thing on his head so he could look through all the cards. I called it his little fort, though admittedly a fort where you can only maintain the roof using your head isn't a long standing one.

It's tradition for him and his father to get together and play a few (hundred) games whenever he's home.
It amazes him that I am not the stereotypical wife there to throw away all his old card boxes the second he leaves to get the mail. Instead I encourage him to play and have picked up a few games myself (Black and White deck is the only way to go).

I really don't see why when guys get married they are expected to give up their little indulgences and are ordered to grow up. I saw on a message board recently one woman that was gloating because she wheedled her fiance into putting away the X-box once they were married (I am guessing that little exchange would not have gone over so well if say he'd wanted her to never buy another purse again).

Is it really so bad if he kills a few hours a week slaying orcs? Think of all the stuff you can get done while he's not under your feet. You could finally re-tile the bathroom to look like an English cottage or change all the wall paper to Strawberry Shortcake.

I'd say it's one thing if he's spending whole days playing a game while you maintain your place and a job to pay for it all, and it's quite another if that's how he wants to spend his free time. Or maybe I'm just weird as I like together time and then alone time. Constant together time would drive me mad.

Does anyone else out there try to encourage their SO to indulge his childhood every once in a while? Are you just as willing to get on the floor and play with him, or are you actually better at chopping off mages heads than him?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Picture a Day-Day 27

Hello Cleavland!

We're gonna give a big shout out to all of you from my in-laws kitchen!

It's been one hell of a wild ride trying to make posts day in and day out on this minuscule postage stamp sized lap top.

I know some of you have been worried that I've been on a text diet as of late with each visit containing less words than a parrot with pneumonia but we hope to be home in a few days and I can be back on my nice big iMac sprouting out prose and aphorisms to my little hearts content.

So til then I just want to give big virtual hugs to Linda, Valerie, Stinky and Cate for sticking through this challenging time and entertaining me with your comments (I don't think I'm really cut out for this touch pad business).For now the Introverted Wife is signing out and praying to find a normal sized keyboard before I kill the damn Caps Lock on this stunted growth silicone nightmare.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Picture a Day-Day 26

Sometimes I feel like a picture speaks for itself. Othertime they just create mass confusion.

These are the later.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Picture a Day-Day 25

I am getting old. Every now and then I keep getting reminded of it.

It seems every time I get together with my friends talk turns from boys and booze to child care costs and insurance co-pays.

This latest trip to Chicago cements another milestone in my life, I am much too old and decrepit to sleep on the floor.

When I was younger (by a whole 2 years) and also in the long distance thing I would be overjoyed to sleep on the floor next to my once every two months seen boyfriend.

Now that I am an old wife, my bones and his just can't take a few blankets for a bed on the floor. What can I say, we've become horribly attached to our bed at home.

So this trip, after not sleeping for a night, we convinced the In-laws that what we really need is this:And now all cozy.
What do you guys sleep on when you're traveling especially with the new hubby/fiance?

Is anyone out there actually willing to still sleep on the floor?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Picture a Day-Day 24

As I spend more time with kids around Christmas I am quickly learning that you must come to the gift opening session more prepared than the Marines.

Unless you want to see this little face turn into a screaming ear shattering wraith you had better get together little Christmas emergency kit. (While you don't have to be as prepared as my hubby the box sure couldn't hurt unless it had teeth).
  1. Batteries-from AAA to C's to a car battery. You just never know what the latest epileptic toys require so the must have toy of the season can by seen from space.
  2. Scissors-Or better yet a machete. It seems that anymore childrens toys are not just packaged for keeping the toy safe in transit but to protect them from a bear attack, a small fire, or a nuclear bomb.
  3. A skilled carpenter- If not then you would wind up with this:Thanks to my patented Gift Opening Security Kit you too can have a nice calm Christmas morning (or at least a lower decible one).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Picture a Day-Day 23

Merry Christmas from the windy city.

It was a driving pain in the ass to get here but it did provide some great pictures.

I hope you all have a wonderful and restful holiday. Also try not to drink too much egg nog.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Picture a Day-Day 22

Hello from the road. We were hoping to be in Chicago last night but sadly the weather was out to get us.

Instead of a nice drive we first had to deal with salty and gravel strewn roads leading us to have to pull over at one point and use some snow to clean off the windshield.

After a while the storm picked up and in the night the roads got so bad we gave up and pulled over. So now we're hiding here in Iowa waiting for a lull so we can continue on. Hopefully we can make it there by Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Picture a Day-Day 21

It's funny how much ceremony there is when it comes to preparing for the wedding: a formal engagement dinner to announce you're gonna have one, a big get together with your friends and mother(s) to purchase anything from a dress to table linens, a shower to prepare for all the thank you notes you'll be writing after the wedding.

But when it comes to the afterbirth of a wedding, you're pretty much left on your own. No one wants to get together with you to have your dress dry cleaned. There isn't a large queue helping to return the tuxes (in fact it's amazing how quickly guys can scatter then). There certainly are no parties thrown when you get in your pro pics.

For the past two months all of our ceremony decorations have sat in the church awaiting attention, but rather than just stroll in on a late Saturday afternoon to pitch it all we got together with our good friends who had their wedding two weeks after ours and shared some of the decor with.
It's amazing the level of crap you accumulate just to decorate a church for a simple wedding. All of those pew bows did get two uses instead of one, but it still feels really wrong to just toss them in the dumpster.

So instead they're getting donated to the kids crafts in the church. No one knows what a kid with some scissors, glue, a fake silk rose, and a piece of ribbon could come up with but I bet it'd be neat. Our friends also took the opportunity of cleaning up all their stuff to finish their "Love Candle." They, instead of burning a unity candle, wanted to make one the day of; but, well, with all the moisture and heat the two separate colors were stuck in the jars so their "love candle" has been waiting to be completed and burn with the passion of two suns for a while now.

And we were there to witness the joining of two into one as the flames um rose higher and well . . . Okay I can't do this pretend sappiness anymore, but it sure was entertaining to watch. Especially when the scissors came out.

Once the decorations were all divvied out and the office was freed from under the pile of tulle we all went back to their place for a little movie night. But it wasn't just any movie night, it was a chance to show off all the hard work (or all the hard swearing at my computer) I did for the wedding videos.

Their little kitty was working on setting up the computer to get the DVD to play. Though once it was playing, his job done, he crashed in the warm corner content.

It's so much fun to hear all the little inside details that were going on during a ceremony you were just watching. Also no matter how good you may look I think everyone is freaked out having to watch themselves dance.

Did anyone else have a little wedding purging party? Or have a good couple you can share their fun wedding stories with?

Final Contest Winner!

It's been a ton of fun giving out the little prizes this month and hearing all you guys great comments. Maybe I'll attempt it again for some other holidays. St. Patricks beer extravaganza, or Valentines quiver full of gifts.

Well the last winner is Christy at Christy and David with:

I am thankful for my students, especially my choir girls. They have gotten excited about singing, held on to something that I'm passionate about, and asked for more. They've opened up and trusted me, and let me be the shoulder they cry on and the one they share their joys with first. They truly are the reason I do want I do, and I am thankful that I can look forward to going to work.

Just e-mail me with your address at sabrinarichard at and I'll send that on to the maker. Enjoy the thank you notes and good luck in planning your Disney wedding.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays

Yesterday was the start of Hanukkah, Thursday is Christmas and the day after is Kwanzaa and Boxing day.

If I didn't know any better I'm starting to think the holidays are circling me like a downed gazelle in a pride of lions (I shouldn't of taken that wrong turn at Albuquerque).

To help get through this religiously charged time I like to turn to my all time favorite holiday carol (though we can't call it Carol because Carol is a woman's name and we want this to be all inclusive):

Happy Holidays and a safe, warm winter to everyone no matter who you worship, even if it is a guy named Greg.

Picture a Day- Day 20

My mother has an infuriating habit of buying things without consulting with us. Sometimes it's lamps we don't need, other times it's a game we already have or some strange decoration all while she claims that it doesn't matter as it was on clearance.

This year she's finally outdone herself.

As soon as we got home she pulls us into the garage to show us her latest find. It's in a huge box and we glance at each other knowing there is no way in hell it'll fit inside of the little Taurus.

Then she starts to tell us how it was originally priced at $200 and finally clearanced for a whole $20. (Oh dear God, what the hell is that big that was so bad they were willing to pay people to take it away?)

Meet the pieces of our new recliner:It was only through sheer willpower and frozen fingers (packing a car when the temp is a good 10 degrees below zero is just pure evil. I say we move Christmas to June) we got the thing home with us and put it together.

He may look all smiles, but we figured out right away why that thing only cost $20. It's like sitting on a plywood board with some fabric on top.

Not to mention we have nowhere to put it. Having moved in a year and a half ago the living room space was pretty much spoken for by our love seat and super special video game chair (not really super or special it's just the only one my hubby will use). I have no idea where the chair is officially going, for now it's tucked in a corner. Maybe after the tree is gone we'll come up with something.

Anyone else have a parent or friend that just gets you the weirdest things because they decide you need them or they're on sale? Especially without consulting you?

Oh yeah and that is Death in the background with a santa hat on, he's the Hogfather this year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Picture a Day-Day 19

Snow ruins everything!

We had quite a bit planned for our little trip to my home but it was all crushed thanks to an overnight 5 inches and enough blowing to make visibility on the roads down the zilch.

We even got roped into helping scoop.
We pretty much spent all of the visit inside the house watching very boring TV shows and movies not willing to go out in the subzero weather.

Well at least the dog had a good time in it.

Is anyone else missing out on some fun plans thanks to this craptacular weather?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Picture a Day-Day 18

For the weekend I've traveled up north to do Christmas with the family. Actual Christmas is gonna be a week in Chicago though thanks to my hubby's new laptop you can't get rid of me that easily, mwhahaha.So of course upon arriving the kids figure out instantly that not only are we back to visit but we also brought some toys with us. They started sniffing through the bags trying to figure out which ones were theirs.

I couldn't take the excitement anymore and let them dig in.A sign of things to comeAt 10 years old, he's a pro at this
I'm pretty sure all he really wanted was to rip the paper apart, toys were just the after math.Hurray, sweet victory. Greenies are like Doggie crack to them.

Does anyone else have to spoil their fur babies with wrapped presents? Ours adore Christmas and are notorious for opening up presents long before they're supposed to.

In fact they were more prone to peeking than either me or my sister.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Picture a Day-Day 17

There's a war going on in my house. It's been a long drawn out battle between two opposing forces who refuse to back down.

I fear there will be no end til one them lies strewn across the floor, soil covering every surface.

You see, the war is between my husband and the Morning Glories I planted last March. Living in an apartment means we have little to no green space to grown things (and anything grown outside gets eaten by the evil bunnies).

So thinking I would be all smart and make some oxygen on the side I planted some simple and pretty morning glories in a window box (a window box that doesn't fit inside of our tiny sill I might add. Who knew husbands were so good at finding just the right precarious point to send the thing tumbling every time they try to water).

Well, even with the occasional dive onto the carpet the Glories thrived, taking over
first one window. Then finding it not quite suitable enough moved over to the next. This is when the little war took over.

With scissors in hand my husband has tried to reclaim some of his territory back by clipping back the vines and just in general hacking the morning glories apart. But he doesn't seem to be making much headway as with every few days we're gone they just grow right back.

His latest kill

I have no idea who will best who in this battle of the window blinds, but I know in the end there can be no winners.

Does anyone else have their SOs fighting for dominance against your plants or maybe even a pet or is mine the only crazy one?

Giveaway-Last Chance ever!

Man you guys have made picking a winner super hard. I had to consult with both my best friend and my hubby (the first of which is good at picking the super sentimental ones, the later likes to use random number generators). And we have decided that the winner of the cute little peony hair brooch is Megan Teegarden with:

I love that flower pin! It is too cute!! But honestly I used to work in a nursing home and I still go back to visit here and there and when I saw this I pictured this little old lady there that loves to put little pins in her hair and she would just absolutely love that little pin! I can see her wearing something like that!! So cute!

So just e-mail me with your address at sabrinarichard at and they'll get it out to you soon.

And since I am heading home this weekend I figured I'd better start the contest for the last and final contest. This one is really cool and probably worth all those times of losing (sorry, I wish I had a cool present for everyone. Well I could give you all some snow, we have too much of that).

This is an adorable Thank You card kit from Ink Drop Design. The first card of theirs that caught my eye was this cranberry bird sitting on a branch.

Realizing; however, that the last thing anyone wants after the Holidays are a bunch of cards for next year I perused their other options and found some amazing Thank You Cards. Let's face facts, we can always use more Thank You Cards.

This one is a set of 10, designed so that you could add a favorite wedding picture to. To win these cute cards you just have to leave a comment saying what you are thankful for. I'll do my best to pick a winner before the 24th but I have a funny feeling you guys are gonna make this one the hardest of all.

My entry for these pretty cards is that I am thankful for all of my wonderful blog readers and commenters. You guys entertain and make this blogging land a much more cozy place than I could have ever imagined.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Picture a Day- Day 16

Today we shall begin a segment I like to call "Science isn't scary and anyone can do it."

In fact I'm pretty sure a well trained monkey could do most of what I do (note: do not tell my boss that a monkey could do it). So I'm gonna try to take the scary soundingness out of what is the backbone of just about any molecular lab: PCR.

PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction, but to anyone who does it it's really code for "Piece of Crap not Reacting" PCR is one of those things that requires more prayer and finesse than just mixing stuff together (akin to baking as opposed to cooking). And anyone will break out into a cold sweat upon hearing the horrifying phrase "perfecting primers."

That's all nice I hear you saying but what does it do exactly? Why it is the magical procedure for amplifying DNA. It works quite simply where you rip the DNA strands apart, attach specific little sequences called primers, add a very expensive enzyme (damn patents) that will add all those G's, T's, A's, and C's that are DNA to make your specific segment.

If you've ever watched CSI you've seen the magical version where it works every time and is done in 10 minutes.
This is my usual arsenal to begin PCR. The ice bucket is very important as part of the PCR prayer. Only by sacrificing frozen blocks of ice to the Science gods can one hope for an accurate amplification.

On the ice are all the tubes of special things I need: dNTPs (the C's G's and other letters), Primers, Reaction Buffer, DNA, Water (Don't worry you don't have to remember it, there won't be a test later). I got the two little pipetteman sitting in the bottom right corner all ready to dispense my liquids.

But probably the most important thing there is my calculator and the post-it notes. I have to make about 7 calculations, some in the range of 1-2 uL. How much is that? Well I'd say one small drop of water is about 10-20uL.

After calculating up all the special mixes of that fun important stuff I then pipette them into their special little baby tubes.

Once they're all happy and ready to go (very important to spin the mix down or if you don't have the right centrifuge *cough*like us*cough* just bang the hell out of it on the counter) time to go into the thermocycler. The thermocycler is a special piece of equipment that um cycles temperatures. Basically PCR works by altering the temperature at specific time increments and repeating the cycle. So while there is a typical program one can start with much like any recipe it can be messed with onto infinity to get a better product:As you can see, we now have 2 hours and 23 minutes to wait. This is about when you hope you have something important to do in lab that day (like say a little ring shoot) or you brought a really good book.

Once the PCR is done, time to make a way to see it. So that means running it on an electrophoresis gel. This involves having to color the PCR product with a special running dye so we can watch it run on the gel and it doesn't just all run right off (I may or may not have some experience with that).

Gel loading has a bit of a learning curve as those wells are a little tiny and near invisible til you get the first one in.
Now you just got to run the bad boy. DNA is negative so it runs towards the positive side of things when a current is introduced (or it's the otherway, I forget). For those of us that have no idea about electrical stuff (ME) black to back, red to front or your gel will run out of the top.

If it had worked (which mine this time didn't, again) you'd get a pretty picture like this when looked at under UV (that's why all the lab nerds you see are so golden tan, wait).I've probably bored the hell out of most of you by now, but if you have any questions feel free to ask. I at least hope I've made science seem a bit less scary and more doable (though biochemistry will forever be pure evil).