Monday, December 1, 2008

I Fell Off the Face of the Earth

(did anyone even notice?)

Yes, I know I disappeared for a while, but with so MANY things happening around here I've been too busy lately....ok, well I was actually being more than just a little lazy. But here are just a few quick updates:
- the semester is almost over!!
- our holiday housewarming party is scheduled for Dec 20 (be there or be tortured with a spoon)
- Gillian learned how to say 'no' (and what it means as well, which is definitely the most annoying part)
- my friend Taralyn got into med school and is expecting baby #2 (yay tara! -> check out her blog over at SowbyIt)
- I have head injury and Halloween pictures to post in my next few blog entries (that's correct, you read it right! graphic pediatric head injuries that are completely unrelated to the adorable pediatric costume)

P.S. - Since several of my favorite bloggers have been employing the use of the much-abused literary device known as the 'post script' recently, I think I'll jump on the bandwagon. The other day while driving in the car I accidentally re-enacted one of Taralyn's infamous blog entries (you know, the one where she says funny things like "so THAT's how hot air balloons work!" on a first date). Joey had remarked upon seeing a squirrel's nest up in the trees, when my head abruptly snaps around and I utter something like "squirrels make nests?! like up in trees?" After trying to asphyxiate himself, he managed to inquire after just where I thought that squirrels lived. I responded with "in holes in the tree trunk, right?" And then that dear sweet man of mine kindly muffled his chortles of laughter and kept his remarks limited to things like
"hah hah...Disney...hehe...PhD....ahem"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

All Little Girls Love Horses

We took Gillian to the State Fair this weekend here in Richmond. Her Uncle Justin came along with us and helped to entrench a new bad habit that Miss Gilli has been working on recently. She has apparently taken an intense dislike to highchairs/strollers/other restraint devices; so loudly in fact that our outings have been cut down because Mommy doesn't like being accused of torturing her by strangers. They may not say it out loud, but those looks say a million snide little things. So how did Daddy and Uncle Justin aid and abet the Gilli-monster? By taking turns carrying her around on their shoulders all day. Thank you gentlemen, you have now ruined my daughter, 'cause who would choose to be ignominiously schlumped around in a bumpy stroller when you can be elevated above your adoring onlookers? Especially when your personal chauffeur has soft buzz-cut hair that you can rub?! I do have to admit it was terribly cute, but I'm going to have to have a serious discussion with the little miss about how she should stay in her stroller (rather than running around touching everything), and the need to remain seated while eating (instead of standing in the chair, crowing and throwing food she deems not good enough for a princess).

While at the fair she also rode a pony (she LOVED it), discovered that she likes pigs and doggies but not chickens, and managed to sleep through the demolition derby occurring about 20 ft away from her. Which makes me suspect that she is not actually sleeping when she suddenly wakes up as I'm passing outside her door during naptime - because anyone who can sleep through several cars attempting to destroy each other nearby, cannot possible be rudely awakened by footsteps on carpet.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Journal Article

It's official, the article has been published. You can find it by just searching my name on PubMed, and you'll find a link to download the entire paper on the abstract page.

Unfortunately, it turns out there are several authors with the same name out there already - however none of them are in Microbiology so that at least cuts down on some overlap.

But that still doesn't beat the ironic/humorous fact that if you Google my get a VERY popular British porn star. *sigh* I'll never be more popular than her (or get higher in the Google search results), no matter how many papers I publish.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Yay! I finally got something done around the house. One day I might even actually get to host this elusive house warming party! The dining room is finally completely painted (with minimal paint smears on tiny hands and doggy fur), which means that we are one step closer to eating at a real an actual chair! The only issue now is that Gilli's highchair doesn't fit at the table, so do I buy a booster seat and risk the oft-maligned new carpet below? Or trust in the speed scavenging skills of my four-legged table beggars? I'm pretty sure that Delia can catch things out of midair, and that Mel is convinced she has telekinetic powers over food, all she has to do is stare hard enough. So one room down, six to go, and classes start this Thursday *sigh.*

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

How NOT to order Chinese

Just a quick post while I wipe away the tears from laughing so hard at Joey:

Do not tease the poor foreign woman on the other end of the phone when she can't spell your address by saying " M - as in magnitude, I - as in igloo, L - as in longitude, F - as in fairchild......" It's never a good idea to use words that half of the semi-educated native population of this country couldn't spell/pronounce/even-flippin recognize, to explain another word the listener doesn't understand in the first place.

It's just not nice Joseph Michael! (and in all fairness, the howls of laughter in the background were not very polite either Jamie Lynn)

Does anyone remember if this was actually fun?

I seem to remember a point in my life where I would have KILLED to have my birthday bash at ChuckECheese's. This was an especially appealing idea because my little sister absolutely refused to come within seventy feet of anyone wearing a large character costume, thus she wouldn't be present to ruin said party. But now I wonder if she didn't have the right idea all along. Case in point:

- Those creepy people in large character costumes. My head says that they are unfortunate employees who are paid far too little for the indignity, but I can't help but wonder who exactly is behind that furry smile and mesh eye-holes...and why do they want to hug my baby?

- The animatronic version is no better, with jerky movements choreographed to terrible music (about bellybuttons, hot sauce, and SPF no less!) - I was just waiting for its head to slowly spin around to look at me with red glowing eyes.

- All the employees have a glazed-over look in their eyes, kinda makes you wonder what it's like from their side of the counter.

- All those surfaces, do you think they're sanitized............ever?

- The person at the front door who stamps your hand with the same number as your child's - to be checked when you leave. Is this because I might steal someone else's kid, or better yet forget which one is mine? (not such an outrageous assertion given the sheer number of them running around without leashes)

- The fact that you can buy the prizes!!! They have large signs that say "1 Ticket = 1 Cent" prominently displayed where anyone with rudimentary reading skills might comprehend its oh-so-complex meaning. I know that you have always been able to pay for the prizes, but seriously?! When I was little we were told to save up our tickets until we had enough to 'buy' our dream prize ourselves. It taught responsibility, patience, and money management skills (since you also had to figure out which game was the best value for your token). And so what if the ticket price was astronomical, after a few visits your parents could always slip the cashier the difference when you weren't looking (especially effective if the child is very young). But this way, it's letting them know upfront that all the work they put in will only get them a cheap non-denominational plastic dradle, unless Mommy & Daddy cough up some cash. The larger prizes didn't even have ticket prices anymore, only $$$!

Mom, was it like this for you when I was little? Is this simply disillusionment on my part? Do I remember it with the rosy glow of childhood, or has the establishment deteriorated that much?

(On a side note - despite this wandering theorization, we did actually take Gilli and cousin Marlee to ChickECheese's the other day. They seemed to enjoy it as much as any play area they've been to, and the food was decent. We'll probably take them there again, but next time I'm thinking about paying a kid some money so I can see what the employee at the door would do when I leave with a child that's got a different number.......and so the kid can use the $$ to buy that Hanna Montana purse of course!)

(click to enlarge)

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Serving the commercial sign repair & maintenance needs of the Greater Richmond Area!
(pictures of our eyesore of a service vehicle coming soon to a blog near you)

Monday, July 28, 2008

My First Publication

My first academic journal article will be published in the next edition of the Journal of Bacteriology: Regulation of the intercellular adhesin locus regulator (icaR) by SarA, sigmaB, and IcaR in Staphylococcus aureus with Dr. Jefferson (my boss) and Dr. Nuno Circa (a post-doc who has since moved on to a position back in Portugal). Admittedly I only did part of the lab work, and didn't contribute any creative ideas, but hey! you have to start from somewhere. You should be proud of me, it's still very early in my academic career to be published! The article is already available for viewing online, but I won't post the link until it is formatted and officially published. Then I can give you a real PubMed link! My own work in the lab is coming along at a more sedate pace - which translates to: I will be working on screening this mutant library until well after Christmas at this rate. It isn't until you really get hip deep in the stuff that you realize how much time it does take, and why it's no surprise that there aren't cures for everything that ails the world. But don't worry, I'll still be here chipping away at my own ail-of-the-world when the snow flies :P

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gillian Goes to Busch Gardens...and *gasp*..daycare

We took Gilli to play at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg this weekend for the first time. It was 98 degrees outside so I was surprised that she held up as well as she did. Land of the Dragons was her first opportunity to wander absolutely wherever she pleased, and I'm sure we were a hilarious sight: one small girl-child in a big floppy hat being followed around by two anxious parents carting her paraphernalia with them. None of the other parents were closely shadowing their offspring like we were, in fact most were barricading the one possible exit and ignoring them! Tsk tsk ladies, apparently I am the only mother who realizes it IS possible that her little fiend will devise a way to get thru the 4 layers of rope to fall out of those hanging walkways. Or worse! Like getting her sweaty bum stuck in the middle of an enclosed metal slide where she can't go up or down, and no one can see her. The sad part is these are just the beginning of my horrible playground visions of disaster. And Joey thinks he's going to get her on the sky cars? NO SIRee bob, think again magic man! I do have to admit that following her around did provide one gem of a memory: she couldn't see us her behind her because of the aforementioned floppy hat, so she would walk along then suddenly stop to wiggle her bum to the music for a minute and continue on as if nothing had happened. Priceless! We even made that annoying 'awwww' noise that all parents learn how to make.

When she'd finally had enough we left to go see the Clydesdale horses, but not before stopping for a Kodak moment. Notice that Miss Gilli decided to display the talent all small children have for absolutely refusing to be as cute as they were just-a-flippin-millisecond-ago when you go to snap that perfect picture (she decided that being in a big plastic egg was truly cruel and unusual punishment).

She LOVED the horses, practically leaping out of Joe's arms in excitement. She even rode the Lil Clydesdale ride all by herself, and absolutely broke mommy's heart when she kept looking up and waving to us (on her own no less! we didn't prompt her, we were too busy taking pictures like crazy people). What is it about kids that turns an otherwise sensible person into a raving lunatic?

Well never fear! Mommy and daddy have not been utterly taken in by the wiles of this fairy princess. Yesterday was her first day at *gasp, no! say it isn't so!* daycare. Now that Joey has nearly got everything done for his company Elite Signs LLC, we are sending the rugrat to a very nice young lady named Ms. Jenny. There are several other children there her age, and I'm told Gilli is quite laid-back and quiet. HA! That won't last long. But in all seriousness, it's going to be wonderful for her to finally start socializing with other children. Now if only we can break mommy/daddy of their guilt over the decision, and Gilli's bad habit of bonking other little ones on the head in greeting.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What's the moral of this story? JAMIE WAS RIGHT!

The entire time that I was pregnant I was convinced that so was a disproportionately large percentage of the female population around me. I saw more of them coming into Outback to eat (or parents with newborns) and out shopping at baby-meca/BabiesRUs. But nooo, those around me insist that I'm just taking more notice of a part of the population that I had previously been oblivious to. Nevermind that seven girls at work and several of my friends were pregnant; this wasn't the cosmos' way of stealing my thunder (no, they left that job to my sister-in-law) it was just a broadening of my perspective. After Gillian was born I continued to have a suspicious little voice muttering in the back of my mind, although my internal soundtrack of "I'm a Little TeaPot/ToysRUs Kid" kept drowning it out. Why were stores always sold out of clothes in her size range? Why did so many of my new friends have rugrats themselves? Aside from the pleasant side effects of numerous play group options for Gilli, and a wealth of gently used baby clothes at consignment stores, I just had to wonder. Had I started a trend?
Well I got my answer today! No mom, it's not just that all of my friends and people around me have reached an age where they start exponentially reproducing, I was RIGHT! Everyone around me WAS pregnant, and now I'm worrying about what is going to happen to my daughter when they all apply to college at the same time.

Record number of babies born last year

WASHINGTON - More babies were born in the United States last year than ever before, according to preliminary data, but it's not another baby boom just yet.

About 4,315,000 children were born in 2007, about 15,000 more births than the peak time of the baby boom in 1957, said Stephanie Ventura, a demographer at the National Center for Health Statistics, which compiled the data from provisional birth certificate registrations at state health departments.

"According to our provisional data, we had the highest number of births ever reported in 2007," she said.

I'm sorry if this is a strange post, but HA! What the name of this game? "I win"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

When it suddenly goes very quiet in the house

Sometimes I'm just not up to being an active participant in Gillian's play, so on those bad-mommy days I just put up the baby gate and sit to read while she proceeds to run around me ripping the house to shreds (showing me her accomplishments every few minutes...'yes honey, mommy loves it when you try to tell me that dog food really is nutritious and delicious').
But every once in a while the house goes ominously quiet, and not in the good she-curled-up-to-take-a-nap kind of way.No, it's the omg-my-child-is-eating-dish-soap-and-what-is-that-in-your-HAND!? kind of way that happens only when they have found something so very interesting/naughty that they instinctively become quiet sneaky little bogarts. This exact scenario happened at our house just the other day. My reaction is to silently explore the quarantined area so that I can catch the little rascal red-handed. This time, as I expected she had completely destroyed the play area that I futilely insist on organizing, but I did not expect to see what she was doing:

(sometimes you can hardly handle the cuteness, for some reason I think we're doing ok so far with this one :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Um yeah....

So we finally got it figured out so I can write on this thing too. Well hello everyone! *waves* Ok what have I been up to hmm...

Unpacking.... it's all her stuff *sighs*
Baby wrangling..... where'd she go now??!! *looks around frantically*
Working..... my money tree just won't grow
Starting a new business.... look at my tree problem

And on top of it all Jamie wants me to take some summer classes, but the courses look weird to me.

Summer Classes for Men at


by Friday, August
17th 2008

Class 1

How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays--Step by Step, with Slide Presentation.

Meets 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 2

The Toilet Paper Roll--Does It Change Itself?
Round Table Discussion.

Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.

Class 3

Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat and Avoiding The Floor, Walls and Nearby
Bathtub? -- Group Practice

Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 4

Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The
Floor -- Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.

Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.

Class 5

Dinner Dishes--Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink?
Examples on Video.

Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning
at 7:00 PM

Class 6

Loss Of Identity--Losing The Remote To Your
Significant Other.

Help Line Support and Support Groups.

Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM

Class 7

Learning How To Find Things--Starting With Looking In The Right Places And Not Turning The House Upside Down While

Open Forum

Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours

Class 8

Health Watch--Bringing Her
Flowers Is Not
Harmful To Your Health

Graphics and Audio Tapes.

Three nights; Monday,
Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 9

Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost--Real Life Testimonials.

Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined

Class 10

Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks?
Driving Simulations.

4 weeks, Saturday's noon, 2 hours.

Class 11

Learning to Live--Basic Differences Between Mother and Wife.
Online Classes and

Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined

Class 12

How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion
Relaxation Exercises, Meditation and Breathing Techniques.

Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 13

How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy--Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries and Other Important Dates
and Calling When You're Going To Be Late.

Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full
Lobotomies Offered.

Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 14
The Stove/Oven--What It Is and How It Is Used.
Live Demonstration.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM,
location to be determined.

Upon completion of any of the above courses, diplomas will be issued to the survivors.

Party Update

Apparently houses shrink in the sun and boxes procreate when you're not looking (what are those naughty boxes doing on my new carpet!?). I say this because after a few weeks in our new house during an intense heat wave, it's gotten smaller than I remember, and there are still moving boxes everywhere. Note to all my friends with small children: do not under any circumstances considering moving if it will take you less than 24 hrs to unpack. Rugrats view all those boxes as toy boxes full of surprises that mommy and daddy brought home just for them, and some are even still gift wrapped as a challenge. Don't worry! They WILL get the taped ones open, and they WILL learn how to climb that ladder sitting in the corner so that one day they can give mommy a heart attack when she turns a corner to find herself eye-to-eye with a child who is terribly pleased with the view they've discovered (seriously, she was laughing so hard she nearly fell off). But to actually get to the point of this post, we haven't unpacked our clothes so we can stop wearing the same things repeatedly, let alone worked on putting the house together so we can show it off at a party. Thus, I think it is going to be pushed back to August, probably on a Friday night. So let me know if there are any major conflicts for you, and if you rate high enough on the give-a-hoot scale we'll see what can be done ;P jk

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today was my mom's 30th Birthday (ummm, yeah that sounds about right :) so we took her out to the Tobacco Co. Mom informed me after I'd made the reservations that this was the restaurant where she told my dad that she was expecting me. I can't decide if its kinda weird or cool, but either way I guess I can say that I've been there before. It was my Nana's idea to go out for lunch, but she couldn't be there, so we left a chair empty for her...the wait staff looked at me awful funny when I put out the single name card. But hey, what do you expect from a crazy redhead? (click picture to enlarge)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Jamie's Summer Course

(click to enlarge)

I have to take a summer course, how awesome is this! (it's really Bioterrorism and Public Health, but this is what THEY are calling it)'s actually extremely interesting but depressing at the same time. They keep telling us how unprepared Virginia is for a true crisis event/natural disaster. The message so far is pretty much that we should all live in remote cabins with food stores, and not count on help from anyone. What a way to inspire potential employees!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Please tell me that potty training isn't this messy

Since she pretty much does everything else all by herself (*sob) I decided to let Gillian try to feed herself with a spoon. She's almost 14 months old now, fairly well coordinated, and Daddy wasn't home to fuss if she did make a mess on the brand new carpet. So what the heck, I gave her the spoon and ducked for cover. She (and the dogs waiting joyously below the highchair) thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and I learned just how frickin far food could really fly. She actually got some on the ceiling..9 feet up! Now I just have to go find a ladder and clean it up before Daddy gets home....

Thursday, May 15, 2008


House warming party! (Tentative Dates: July 12 or 13)
We've decided to throw a party to show off our new house and all the work we'll be putting into it. It's probably going to be from 2-9pm so people can come and go as they please, so I need some input on what day of the week it should be. There'll be food and pictures of the house as we bought it, as well as drinks and music in the evening (think anyone will actually dance?). I'll post before and after pictures here once we unveil our masterpiece to the public :) Keep in mind that this is our first house of our own to decorate, so if you don't like what we've done with the place just smile and nod, I can live with the lie!