July 27, 2007

Perfect Timing

I haven't been to Provo to see friends since we moved away in May 2006. C saw some friends when in Salt Lake City for work last August, was down there once last fall to elk hunt, and just went fishing with a friend of his about a month ago. We've continuously been saying that we need to make a trip. Not only for us to see the friends we miss, but to give everyone a chance to meet KT.

With family coming to visit this summer, trips for C for work and other random "stuff" it's been difficult to find a weekend that works. Two weeks ago we committed to making the 4 hour trip today.

For the past couple of days, Miss KT has been super cranky. I just chalked it up to me being stressed and her playing off of that. Yesterday KT started to run a low-grade fever and was drooling like mad. With flashlight in hand, I pried her mouth open enough to take a look (which she totally hates). Sure enough--the top right tooth is RIGHT THERE about to bust through the gumline. Hopefully lots of teething tablets, ibuprofen and attention from gads of friends will help with the crankiness this weekend.

Because I highly doubt that tooth is going to break through before we strap her in her car seat at 12:30pm.

July 26, 2007

Cherry Wine

I have found a new favorite drink -- homemade cherry wine! A friend of mine started making her own wines back at the first of the year. So far she's made elderberry, raspberry and cherry. We bottled the cherry last night and WOW! Fantastic. It's a nice light wine that has a strong cherry taste and is slightly sweet. Very good for just sipping after dinner. The best part about last night was that she sent me home with 2 bottles just for helping. Woohoo!

I'm thinking that maybe it's something I'd like to start doing myself. The one drawback to it is the space that you need to have for the equipment. It's doesn't require you to dedicate an entire room in your house to the process but whenever you have a batch going it's either in a five-gallon bucket (to get it started) or in these monster 6-gallon glass containers. We have limited counter space as it is and I'm not sure how having the baby would factor in. My friend said that I could keep the stuff at her house but I hate to clutter her house/basement with my crap.

And it's not like I need another project to embark upon. I've got enough stuff to keep me busy for years right now as it is. Stuff that just sits in our guest bedroom waiting for me to work on it and finish it.

But it's so tempting. The initial investment is a little pricey but after that (minus the cost of fruit) you spend less than $10 on a batch and it yield about 24 bottles of wine. I don't know. Maybe I'll just keep helping my friend in the hopes that she pays me with the "fruits" of our labor.

July 19, 2007

Diagnosis Determined

The summer before I went to Nepal and met C, I worked at a nursery in my hometown. The pay was okay, the hours were good and it let me play in the dirt with flowers/trees all day. I also dated the owner's son but that's another story (*pausing for a brief second to think back*).

When I worked for Dale I started to get these horrible little spots on my hands. It wasn't a rash per se because the bumps weren't red, they were clear. The easiest way to describe them is that they remind me of tiny little blisters. They'd show up all over my hands and itch like the dickens. When they would break open they'd be filled with liquid, similar to a blister. My first thought was that something that I worked with had irritated my skin, causing the condition. I saw my family doctor for them and he diagnosed it as contact dermatitis. He told me to start wearing gloves at work, to watch coming in contact with certain plants and to be extra careful when working with the fertilizers/herbicides/insecticides. It was weird though because we couldn't figure out exactly what was triggering the outbreaks.

Over the last 9 years the bumps have come and gone. I found that they got worse when I was stressed or sick. The scientist in me figured it was due to a compromised immune system and blew it off. When KT was born my hands broke out horribly and it's been pretty constant. Just before my mom visited a month ago I had a major flare, the worst one to date. The blisters manifested themselves into scaly, rough patches of skin instead of just disappearing. Unfortunately the quickest I could get in to see a dermatologist was yesterday. Almost 5 weeks after the onset.

Thankfully, the dermatologist I saw yesterday knew exactly what the problem is. Come to find out I have dyshidrotic eczema. The good news is I finally have a diagnosis. It's a skin condition that affects about 20 people out of every 100,000 characterized by small blisters on the hands and feet. Bad news is that it's not preventable but instead something I'll always have to deal with. I can use corticosteroid creams and antihistamines to help with the flares but most times the cause itself can't be pinpointed. Other piece of bad news is that one of the worse things for it is contact with soap and water.

As a mom of an infant, that part is the hardest to handle. It's not like I can just quit washing my hands. I figure, on average I probably wash my hands AT LEAST 20 times a day now. Be tween using the bathroom, changing diapers, fishing stuff out of KT's mouth and making meals I always have a need to wash my hands. The dermatologist recommend switching to a gentle hand cleanser, instead of soap. Preferably a type that doesn't need water for us. He sent me home with some samples, a script for a steroid cream and instructions to come back in a month.

So there was plenty of good and bad associated with the diagnosis. I'm so glad to finally know what's going on. But yet it's difficult when something so routine such as washing your hands needs to be changed.

And to thwart the suggestion -- wearing gloves when washing dishes, making dinner, changing diapers, etc. is completely out. That's a common irritant as well.

July 16, 2007

House Guests

House guests here until Wednesday.

So far so good -- just very little time to log into Blogger.

Time at the computer is heavily dedicated to "real" work right now.

Will update soon.

July 10, 2007

Late Night Late Blight Plight

I try to stay away from controversial topics here on my blog. There are many things that I have very strong opinions on but I don't ever want to seem as though I'm forcing my ideas on people. I believe the things I do because I believe in them. Not because some celebrity or famous person holds the same views. I've done the research behind them; I have the education and evidence to defend what I say.

I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. To me, it goes hand in hand with the First Amendment. Free speech means that we can believe in whatever we want and voice those beliefs. What bothers me though is when people go overboard. When they become slanderous, destructive with their First Amendment right. Also when they just spout off about an issue that they haven't fully researched.

Last Saturday, protesters in Cambridgeshire, UK scaled fences and destroyed some research trials of potatoes. This bothers me on many levels (trespassing, destruction of property to name a couple) but as a researcher it really hits home. You can read the full article here, but the nitty gritty is that the trial was researching the resistance of genetically modified potatoes again late blight. Late blight is a fungal disease that infects spuds and can wipe out an entire field. It is the most economically important disease in potatoes because of its difficulty to control. Currently, there are few (if any) organic controls so massive amounts of chemical fungicides are applied. Genetically modified plants are being researched for their natural resistance to the disease. The protesters were obviously in opposition to the genetic modifications.

I see both sides of this issue. For many reasons, I'm not going to even talk about my opinion on the topic. My main complaint with the story is that the protesters were illegal in their actions to express their freedom of speech. They could have held lawful protests, boycotted other products of the research company to show their opposition, but ripping up entire research trials is way beyond freedom of speech. It takes a great amount of time, money and effort to design and implement research projects. I spend countless hours trying to take care of tiny details that will ensure "sound" scientific procedure. I can't even imagine how upset I'd be if something like this happened to something I coordinated.

Anyway, that's all. I am supposed to be working. This news story was in my email this morning and it triggered a random work-related post.

July 8, 2007

Sunday Synopsis

The last 24 hours around here -- a picture really is worth a 1000 words.

Style Help Needed!

Okay, all my fashion forward friends, I'm recruiting your help! I need some fashion advice and who better to turn to than my wonderful internet buddies. (Granted, quite a handful of you actually know me in real life too. That's partially why I'm sending this plea out because you know my personality, body type, sense of style, etc.)

This is going to be a long post, so strap in and hold on.

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My "baby" sister, A (in the green in the picture above) -- who also goes by Stinky -- is getting married in September. Stinky can be quite opinionated (it's not a bad thing) about people and their fashion choices. Which is probably why both of us get along so well. Neither one of us has a terrible lot of money to spend on clothes but we always try to look our best. We pick pieces that are flattering and appropriate for the situation. So I want to look my best at her wedding. As vain as it sounds, I have to redeem myself for being huge and pregnant at my other sister's wedding last summer.

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This is my dilemma. Shopping here in Idaho Falls is very limited. The mall is one of the least diverse that I have seen. What stores we do have very limited selection as well. Many of you whom have been around since last summer remember how hard it was for me to find something for Stretch's wedding that I was happy with.

I bought a dress last night while KT and I were at the mall. I LOVE the dress. I'm just not sure if it's dressy enough for Stinky's wedding. THIS IS WHERE I NEED OPINIONS!

To preface this next part, let me give some details about Stinky's wedding. My main goal is to find something for me that will coordinate with the rest of the bridal party, then match C and KT to my outfit. That way we don't clash in wedding pictures. Stinky's bridesmaids will have on dresses that are a cinnamon/nutmeg (dark orangish-brownish) color. So my intent was to find something in dark brown so that it would go well with the bridesmaids. There are a couple of main criteria that I want the dress to fit: an empire waist, an a-line skirt that falls about knee length, and halter or spaghetti straps (so that I can try to nurse in it if need be). I also would like it to be slightly more dressy than what I'd wear if I was going to a friend's wedding since I'm sister of the bride.

I've had my eye on a dress online but was hesitant to spend the money they want for it. Plus I hate to order anything online without being able to try it on. My body is so weird to fit that it's hit or miss with online shopping. This is the dress that I like. It's solid brown like I want, fits all the criteria that I'm looking for and is dressy.

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Here's some pictures of the dress I bought yesterday. Sorry they're not the best quality. I couldn't get good shots without the flash on. It does meet the criteria I wanted style-wise and as an added benefit it makes my chest look huge and my waist look tiny! It's not solid brown which is what makes me think it's not dressy enough. I originally thought it was brown and beige but it's actually dark brown with light tan.

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These are the shoes that I ordered to go with the dress. If I did decide to go with the solid dress, I don't think these would be dressy enough to go with it. So I'd have to find something new.

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Now that I've laid it all out. What do you think? Here are your options:
  1. Buy the solid brown, expensive dress and order new shoes.
  2. Wear the brown/tan floral dress with the shoes above.
  3. Do both! Wear the solid one to the wedding, the floral one to the rehearsal.

For what's it worth...here's the dress I'm thinking about getting for KT. Not sure if that helps sway your opinion one way or another.

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July 6, 2007

In Memory

It's not often that something shakes me enough that it render me speechless. A message from a friend this morning brought upon one of those rare occurrences.

When I was an undergraduate at BYU I became good friends with one of the graduate students in our department, Laurie. We had a "Michigan connection" that I so desperately needed at that time in my life. After she had graduated and left for BYU her parents had bought a house just outside of East Lansing -- where Michigan State University is located. She was familiar with the area around MSU so we would chat about the campus, the climate, etc. Laurie also ran the Horticulture program at the Senior Center in Provo. Once a week she would teach a class on various gardening topics, using students in our department as volunteers. After volunteering once with her, I was hooked. I spent a good part of the summer of 2001 helping her with the program -- even teaching the classes myself when she was unable to.

After she graduate with her M.S. degree she moved back East for a while. The last time I saw her was the summer of 2003 when I was working on my M.S. degree. She had since moved back to Utah and was teaching special education. We hadn't spoken to one another since C and I moved to ID last summer.

This mutual friend of ours sent me a message to let me know of Laurie's passing. A month ago she was killed in a rafting accident on the Green River in Utah.

I truly am saddened by this news. Laurie was the type of person we all should aspire to be and will be missed greatly.

July 5, 2007

Where Did My Baby Go?

Silly me, there she is...halfways across the room ALREADY!

Some New Bling

My grandma (my mom's mom) was always known for her jewelry. Marge loved gold, plain and simple. I can't ever remember a time when she didn't have her jewelry on. She always wore 2-3 necklaces, rings and multiple bracelets on each wrist. Every time you'd see her everything would be tangled together. My sisters and I would always untangle her necklaces and make them look "pretty".

When she passed away in 2002 I received one of the tennis bracelets that she constantly wore. The week after her passing, I was at meetings in Indianapolis and the bracelet broke. Thankfully I was standing on concrete inside the exhibition hall and I heard the bracelet hit the floor. I was devastated that it broke but so thankful that I noticed when it did. I would have been heartbroken had I lost that gift from my grandma.

At the time I was a graduate student and we didn't have much money. I took the bracelet in and got it soldered back together. The jeweler told me that it was in fragile condition -- mainly because of it's constant use when grandma was alive -- and it shouldn't be worn all the time. Although disappointed I understood and put it away for safe keeping. Over the years I've thought about the bracelet over and over again. It was such a shame for something so beautiful, and treasured, to sit tucked away. Once I took it into a jeweler in Provo and talked with them about doing some custom work. My thought was to pull some of the diamonds out of the bracelet and set them in an anniversary band that would be worn with my wedding set. I was told at the time that the diamonds wouldn't withstand being removed from the settings in the bracelet and was quoted an exorbitant amount for doing said work.

Since KT has been born I haven't been wearing my wedding set all that much. Although the diamond from my engagement ring isn't overly large (about 0.5 carat), I found myself scratching the baby when changing her diaper. So my ring sat, unworn, on the nightstand next to the bed. Many times I would walk out the door to run errands and have a bare ring finger. I admit that it's somewhat vain to think, but I would find myself so self-conscious when I was out and about with no ring on. Especially when I had KT in tow.

So I decided to try my luck again with a jeweler here in town. I took my grandma's bracelet in and the guy I talked to thought it was a fantastic idea. He said there wouldn't be any problem removing the stones and they'd do the work for $200. TOTAL. That would include the new ring and all the labor. Plus it would only take a week to do since they did all their work in-house. No second thoughts this time, I left the bracelet with them and told the guy I'd be back in a week.

It's nothing flashy, but it's perfect for my taste. I couldn't have asked for anything better. Now I can carry my grandma's beautiful jewelry with me everyday.