Sunday, July 30, 2006

Escape from North Dakota - Part II

Okay, back with the wedding. When we got to the church, we saw our flowers, which were beautiful. The pink ones are the bridesmaids bouquets, the white one is Herryn's. You can see her mom and her aunt tying on a ribbon from her grandmother's wedding bouquet - her 'something old'.

We all got dressed and ready to go.

Then it was wedding time! Most of the pictures from the ceremony didn't turn out because it was dark and the shutter speed was slow - so they're mostly blurry. Here's the happy couple, with the bride trying dilligently not to cry, but failing (I cried through most of my wedding too! Can't help it! I started crying as soon as I came around the side of the house and could see everyone waiting for me, and it was all downhill from there! And Melissa, who memorably sobbed her way down the aisle, pausing to try and smile in between sobs. It was cute!).

Wedding went off without a hitch. We took the limo back to GF jam-packed with wedding party, bride and groom and assorted extras. It was so crowded that Nanette had to sit on Kendra's lap the whole time (almost an hour!).

The limo had not been stocked with champagne, as it should have been, so we stopped at a liquor store and Matt and Herryn went in, in their dress and tux, and bought some. Ha. I sat next to Grand Forks Herald reporter Tu-uyen Tran and chatted, which was fun.
The reception was nice, it was at some big convention center in GF. I got to bustle Herryn's dress, which was exciting, and also - it was a good thing I had a PhD for that. Spouses got to sit up at the head table, which was nice, so Brian sat between Kendra and I.

Speeches were all great, especially Nanette's, which was funny and a total tear-jerker at the same time.

Really, it was one of the best ones I've ever heard, so, go Nanette! I didn't get many good pictures at the reception either, especially once dinner ended and the lights went down. They cut the cake and Matt (wisely) didn't jam cake into her face. Good man. It was a lot of fun AND I managed to stay up until 11:30!! Practically unheard of lately!
The next morning, Matt's parents had a brunch which was nice, and we got a chance to see everyone and say goodbye, because most people were leaving that day. Not us though, we hadn't been able to get a flight until Monday. After the brunch, we went back to the hotel (the Hilton Garden Inn, which was okay, but had a few problems that they weren't always very good about addressing. First, our A/C sounded like a freaking Mack truck, seriously. You could not talk when it was on. We asked them to look at it, but no one did, so we got to sleep with that for 4 nights. Also, and far more excitingly, when Herryn's brother Louis checked in, they gave him keys to a room which was already occupied. Luckily the woman wasn't there at the time, just her stuff. When we went back down to the front desk, they seemed almost like they didn't believe him, and they went up there with him to check. When they got in the room and saw the stuff, they went over and looked at the luggage tags and said to Louis "Its Ann's stuff." Like that was suppossed to change something. He kept trying to tell them that he didn't know Ann, but they were still not super helpful in sorting this problem out - although eventually they did). Back at the hotel, we sat around for a while watching TV, especially our favorite channel, the Table Channel.
Ok, actually, the Table Channel was USA. It had the sound of whatever was showing on USA, but the only picture that showed was this bizarre shot of a table and a plant. It was like that the whole time we were there.

After we got tired of the Table Channel, we set off to do some stuff I wanted to do in GF - namely, eat. I had seen a frozen custard place, and I wanted some. I loooooooove frozen custard, because I am from Wisconsin, and we like our dairy products. Look at this map of all of the Culver's Frozen Custard and Butterburgers (another Wisconsin thing that I unfortunately have no opinion on) locations, and you'll see what I mean. It was good, but its no Kopp's, which is the absolute best frozen custard on the planet. My mom and I used to make special trips up to Milwaukee for Macadamia Nut Custard day. Ok, but Culver's was definately worth it because they also had fried cheese curds, which, OMG. I also love. Thats also a Wisconsin thing. So I loaded up on calcium for the baby (or at least thats my story).
The next day we had to check out of the hotel at 11, but we didn't have to be at the airport until 4 or so, so we drove around, got some lunch, sat in the hotel lobby, etc. Dropped off the rental car and went to the airport where we sat for a while before our flight got..... cancelled! Hurrah! Another night in GF! The airline rebooked us on a flight the next day and put us up in a hotel (the same one the rehearsal dinner had been at). Ooooookay. Got a shuttle back there and got settled into our room with its SILENT A/C. Yay! We walked into Minnesota (that sounds so much farther than it really was, it was just 5 blocks or so) for dinner where we had pizza. When the waiter brought it to the table, we were surprised to find it was my favorite kind: crispy thin crust cut in squares!! This is another Wisconsin/Illinois thing that I'm obsessed with and can never find anywhere else. I know everyone talks about Chicago-style pizza being that gooey thick crust crap, but please. I grew up in Chicago (until 4th grade), and my dad did before me, and we both associate Chicago with crispy-thin-crust-cut-in-squares pizza. Mmmmmm. Anyhow, all of my midwestern food cravings were indulged in one short weekend! It was excellent!

On Tuesday it was back to the airport, where our flight left without problems AND we got upgraded to first class. That was awesome and I loved it. We got back, picked up Milo from a friend's, and got back to the cats who, luckily, had not run out of food and eaten each other.

Phew. I think thats it!

Friday, July 28, 2006

News flash

We interrupt your Herryn's wedding coverage for an important news flash:

We're having a boy! And he seems to have all his parts! He even moves and opens his mouth which, a little bit freaky to see actually. How can there be something in there as big as a large banana, moving (!) and i can't really even feel it?? Holy crap.

He was not shy at all about showing us. The U/S tech said he really wanted us to know, he made it easy! Now we have a picture of a little penis with a big word and arrow pointing to it: 'BOY'.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Escape from North Dakota - part I.

This weekend we flew up to Grand Forks, North Dakota for Herryn's wedding. It was super exciting. A round-up:

Our flight out of RDU on Thursday was delayed, but it didn't really matter too much because we had a 4.5 hour layover in Minneapolis. We met up with another Grand Forks bound traveler on that flight who missed his GF connection and ended up on the same flight as us. He treated us to lunch on his expense account. I've gotta chat more with random strangers at the airport!

There had been a bridal shower that afternoon that I'd missed, but we got there in time for the "bachelorette/bachelor party" at "Herryn's Bar" (obvy, its not really called that - she frequented this bar in her years as a 'local WDAZ personality', and this is where she and Matt met. Matt is significantly younger than us, and we like to tease them about this. So, all I'll say here is that its lucky Matt had a fake ID back in those days. Ha. Ok, I'm just kidding. He had probably just turned 21. Hee. Ok, really, I'm done now. This was the first time I'd seen many of the other bridesmaids for a while. Erin (who is about 3 wks more pregnant than I am) and I haven't seen each other since sophomore year of high school, Nanette (Herryn's sister) not since Herryn's law school graduation about 7 years ago, and Kendra since our 10 year high school reunion a few years ago. So, that was fun.

Nanette and Kendra made pink ribboned cowboy hats for the bride and maids, but no strippers (much to the dismay of the non-wedding related women at the bar). Brian and I didn't stay too long because I was tired and it was pretty smoky.

The next day was busy with pre-wedding events. We had a bridesmaids luncheon at Suite 49, which was located right near the crazy Ralph Engelstad Arena. The guy we met at the airport had told us about it, that it had granite floors and leather seats throughout. Also, I sort of love that its website is ''.

It was a nice chance to catch up with everyone and meet some of Herryn and Matt's relatives. And, unlike at my wedding, no one was too hungover to attend. Ha. I guess we're all grown ups now. Also, it doesn't hurt to have half the bridal party pregnant.
That night we drove out to Gentilly, MN for the wedding rehearsal. Both of Herryn's parents grew up in this area, and the wedding was at the church Herryn's dad went to (and his family for many, many years before that). These pictures don't do it justice, but the church was really pretty, and went along nicely with Herryn's pink theme. It was a longish drive out there from GF (about 50 minutes) but it was worth it.

However, no A/C. Luckily this wasn't a full Catholic mass, and the b'maids got to sit down for a while. Otherwise, I think I might have keeled over. Then it was back to GF for the rehearsal dinner, at the Best Western.

Wedding day started off with hair, makeup and lunch at a local salon. Herryn's hair looked great, very classic. Most of the maids (those with long enough hair) went for updos. Here's Nanette getting her hair sewed up (literally, they sewed her hair up in the back, which was kind of crazy) and Kendra getting her makeup done.

Also, the back of my hair.

As a side note, the morning of the wedding I was putting my hair up to get in the shower when I noticed that I'd suddenly sprouted a beard. The hell? The fine, soft hairs on my chin and back by my ears have completely overgrown. Although, this is obviously baby-related, I was still a bit horrified. I had a little trimmer thing with me that I use to trim my eyebrows, so I tried to get Brian to shave all this hair off so I wouldn't look like the Amazing Bearded Lady. He wouldn't do it as he was afraid he'd shave off something I had meant to keep. So Kendra and I had a little bonding experience where she shaved my face. I can see from this picture that it has also creeped down the back of my neck. It figures, I'd get an abnormal facial hair overgrowth when I'm pregnant instead of something useful, like super-luxurious hair.
After we finished up at the salon, we took a limo out to the church where we finished getting ready.

Wait for Part II tomorrow when I have more time to finish. My mom is coming in this afternoon for my big ultrasound, which is tomorrow! Dun dun duuuuunnnnn....!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

If only I knew how to do bullet points in my blog.

This lady crazy. Its probably because telemarketers ruptured her appendix.

Astute reader Becky has pointed out to me that NBC is airing Project Runway on Monday nights. Although I really enjoy watching the eps in a small window on my computer screen while sitting in the fairly uncomfortable chair in the den, I think I'm going to tune in!

I think I might be able to feel the baby. I'm not really sure, but I keep feeling these twingey feelings in my lower abdomen in the morning when I'm laying down. Its a new thing, so I'm guessing thats what it is. Still, its not really super earth-shattering just yet, and also doesn't feel as much like the movie 'Alien' as I had anticipated.

Er... thats it.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


We hear all kinds of strange conversations at work. I'm sure people who overhear the lunch conversations I'm having also think they're a little odd. Once we were talking about a baby shower and someone suggested chugging beer out of baby bottles. The guy sitting next to us said "I want to go to your parties!".
At work the other week, we were eating lunch outside and my friend Sheri said "Hm. That guy over there is apparently uncircumcised, which I really didn't want to know, but he just said it really loudly to everyone else he is sitting with." We didn't know this guy, but we'd see him around and say to each other "There's the uncircumcised guy!". On Friday, we were sitting out there again at a big picnic table, waiting for our other (slow) friend. The uncircumcised guy came out the door and down the stairs and I told Sheri he was coming. Then he came and asked if he could sit with us. Awkward! So he, and later, his friend (who I had met before) sat with us and chatted. And the whole time, really, all I could think about was that I knew the status of his foreskin.
We had another interesting conversation with these guys about surf and turf. The uncircumcised guy, I should have guessed, is foreign - from Argentina. I think. Actually, I forget. He just did not understand the concept behind surf and turf dinners, as he didn't really think that the flavors of beef and seafood went together particularly well. I'm a vegetarian, I have no freaking idea. Apparently though, he did think that seafood + bacon was okay. Again, I'm a vegetarian, but I'd have to agree that bacon makes everything better. In my case however, its Veggie Breakfast Strips. Anyhow, he likened the surf and turf combination to something unusual: "Its like thinking, "Hm. I want some bananas and pate."

Also overheard right now (at least by me) is the England v Pakistan cricket match. Brian is (obviously, I still am completely confused by cricket) listening to it over the BBC Sport website. The commentators are seriously crazy. I mean, they'll chatter on about anything. A few minutes ago they were telling us about some pigeons flying around over the cricket pitch, and also about exactly how many players were still wearing sweaters. Oh wait: just now, they're talking in great detail about a couple of fruitcakes that are there in the commentators booth. And I don't mean 'crazy people', I mean actual cakes. A fruitcake and a Victoria Sponge, whatever that is. Listening to cricket completely removes the main reason I would try to watch it in the first place, and that is: hot cricketers. In fact, pretty much everything I ever learned about cricket, I learned from playing this game during the Ashes a few years ago.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ding dong, the witch is dead!

OMG. O. M. G.

It is finally happening! A miracle!

Our neighbors are MOVING!! Away! From us!

I can't stand our neighbors. There's this... I'm sure I've written about them since, but I'm too lazy to try to find these posts, so you're just going to have to take a trip down memory lane.
A friend of ours who also lives in the neighborhood heard a rumor from a parent at the school she teaches at (where our neighbors kids go to school) that they were moving. This was a couple of months ago, but nothing happened since, so we weren't really sure what was going on. We had noticed an increase in yard sales (getting rid of all their crap?), a bunch of boxes on their front porch (in addition to all the other crap on their porch), etc. Also, he planted a tree in the front yard. This was significant, because usually he buys plants that then sit there, in the ugly pots they came in, for months (or even years) at a time, until they die or otherwise disappear. Actually, they have about 7 rose plants lined in front of their flowerbed that have been there for (and I'm totally not exaggerating here) about TWO YEARS. I don't even know how he keeps them alive. They'd be so very very dead if they were at our house. Those nursery pots don't hold a lot of water. And also, I kind of suck with plants. Okay, really suck. I have many other skills. This is not one of them.

But last night? I came home and the SIGN WAS IN THE YARD. Okay, so all the crap is still in the yard, both front and back. Okay, so they're going to have a hard time selling their home with its FIVE full baths and FIVE tiny bedrooms (we've been in there of course, before they moved in). Who that wants 5 full baths also wants a 3500 sq. ft. home on a small lot? I'm guessing, no one. But anyhow. Either way, they're moving! Hurrah!

Monday, July 10, 2006


This weekend was a total thrill, I tell you. On Saturday, Brian and I went to Babies R Us to register in advance of a baby shower I know is coming up in a month or so. Overwhelming. Did you know there were 8 million different varieties of Pack-n-Play? Now you do. We managed to get a lot of the big stuff taken care of though. Oh, also? I bought a Snoogle, which is a crazily-shaped body pillow. And thanks, Aimee, you were right on the body pillow front. Loves it!

On Sunday we had friends from work over to watch the World Cup Final. A friend who couldn't make it suggested we play a drinking game wherein everyone has to chug a beer every time Italy fakes an injury. I didn't think this was a good idea, because everyone would have been completely trashed within 15 minutes. Ha. The game was okay, I was disappointed that it had to end in penalty kicks. However, how very exciting it was when Zinedine Zidane, in what was apparently his last professional soccer moment ever, headbutted some guy on the Italian team 10 minutes before the end of the game. I'm sure they were arguing, but hello! Not a good move. Stay calm for 10 more minutes!

Wrong number

Karl's brother recently ended a loooooooong blogging drought with a funny post about a debt collection company who kept calling his apartment looking for someone who he did not know and did not live there. Andrew also mentioned that his current phone number is the ex-phone number of some bankruptcy business of some sort, and that they get a lot of calls for them, which is annoying.

I can sympathize, as I get an inordinate number of calls on my cell phone for Radio Shack. I finally figured out that there must be some Radio Shack located right on the edge of the 919 calling area. People who live in 919 don't realize that they need to dial another area code to call their local Radio Shack. Now that I know whats going on, I usually tell people what to do (otherwise they keep calling me back). It is irritating though. Also, I get way more calls for Radio Shack on my cell than I do for me. I am THAT popular, people.

Brian has a similar affliction at work. Somewhere on the Duke website (although, lo! This seems to have been fixed! I just searched for it and its not there anymore), the phone number of the Athletic Office is incorrectly listed (I think it is very close to his actual number, but not quite), and people find it by searching the website. Brian used to get phone calls from reporters, from football players trying to reach their coach, from people hoping to get hooked up with tickets, etc. Often, when he would inform them that the number they had called was in fact a lab in the medical school, they would ask to be transferred. Which, of course he can't do.

I'm sure this sort of thing happens to a lot of people. Comments!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Emmy voters were smoking crack!

I'd like to add my own voice to the chorus of voices saying, "What the hell was up with the Emmy voters this year?"

No Lost for best drama? Are you kidding me? They WON last year, and were not even nominated this year (actually, as E! pointed out, many of last years winners in big categories were not nominated this year, which is a little bit odd). Lost is the best show on television, for sure. Like many people, I also thought Desperate Housewives sucked this season, but probably not worse than Two and a Half Men. And I don't hate that show either (I didn't say I liked it though).

We loved Arrested Development, which was nominated for best comedy series (an award it has won in the past, despite the fact that no one watched it and it eventually got cancelled). Happy about that, and happy that Will Arnett (Gob) was nominated, because he's great. But bummed that no one else from this series was nominated, because Jason Bateman? Is fantastic. And so is the mother. Ok, they're all great. I'll miss that show. Sniffle. But I did get all the DVDs (which Brian has obsessively been watching these last few weeks).

Also, I did love Desmond on Lost, so good for him to get nominated for something like 'guest actor in a drama series', but to nominate him over Fake Henry Gale? Come on.

Finally, The Amazing Race will hopefully continue its run of winning the reality category, as it has done (I think) every year since that category started. But, I'm also a big fan of Project Runway (not that Time Warner Cable will broadcast that channel in its Durham viewing area, for reasons completely beyond my comprehension).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lisa vs. The Insect World

This week, the insect world has been conspiring to make my life miserable (actually, this has been a long-term offensive action on their part). It all began last Friday when a big, scary, black wasp somehow ended up in our lab. Like I can work when there's a big, scary, black wasp flying around the room. My boss came in and killed it, thank god. That afternoon, my boss and I went out to Duke to meet with our collaborator (i.e. Brian), as I'm now writing up the results of these experiments. Afterwards we were all going to go out for dinner, but someone had to go let the dog out, so I went home and did this while my boss and Brian discussed early career sorts of stuff. On my way back to meet them, I was sitting at a traffic light with the windows open, and I saw another big, scary, black wasp flying around my side mirror. I frantically started putting the window up, but the wasp flew away, over the front of the car and... into the other window. Holy crap. Of course, at this moment the light changed. Of course, also, I was screaming like the little girl that I am. I'm sure the guy in the car next to me thought I was insane. I couldn't see the wasp anywhere, but I had to pull over and completely inspect the inside of the car before I could proceed.
On Sunday, Brian and I went to Home Depot, and A BEE flew into the car. Brian removed it though. At least it wasn't a big, scary, black wasp. I was beginning to think they, as a species, had a vendetta against me personally. On Monday, however, I came into the lab and ANOTHER BIG, SCARY, BLACK WASP was flying around. The hell? Where are these suckers coming from? Only another female postdoc and I were in the lab. She's not as big of a baby as I am about bugs, so she was willing to at least get close enough to it to try to kill it - with a spray bottle of 70% ethanol. She sprayed it a bunch of times and it fell down and was sort of incapacitated, but we were not sure what to do with it. My boss came in and saved the day (again) by stepping on it. Phew.
Last night we were going to bed and I happened to be staring at the ceiling, where I saw some sort of insect. I couldn't figure out what it was, but I was guessing a spider. I mentioned this to Brian, but he insisted it would stay up there and be okay. So I started to drift off. Brian was still reading, so he had his bedside light on. A few minutes later I looked up and the thing was on the wall right over my head. This would not do. I made Brian remove it, but he will not kill anything, so he had to go get a piece of paper to scoop it up with, so he could rescue it. I hate this policy, because it just leads to the sorts of things like what happened next. As he scooped up the spider, it jumped/was dropped. Right over our bed that I have to sleep in. We couldn't find it. So now, instead of having a spider that I can at least see, we have a spider that may or may not be in our bed. Brian used the power of positive thinking to decide that it was in one of the sconces we have over the bed. I thought that was a load of crap, just to get me to go to sleep. It wasn't working. So, Brian shook out each of the sheets and blankets on the bed individually, to convince me that it wasn't in the bed. Still, it might have been over my head, waiting to jump out and walk on me or something. I said to Brian, "What happens if it comes down here in the middle of the night and walks on me?" He answered "You might eat it." That didn't help. The 4th of July is our 8 year anniversary of our first date, and in the time since, Brian and I have learned how to deal with each other in order to achieve maximum relationship calmness (this is often difficult when you are married to me, as I am inherently not calm). The bug thing is one area where clearly, we still haven't got it.

Trust the Japanese to answer the important questions

There are apparently a variety of crazy shows on in Japan. Although I'm not really in the target demographic for SpikeTV, I do enjoy watching MXC, Most Extreme Elimination Challenge. We just don't have anything like that here. Probably for liability issues. Last week we were informed of a sort of similar clip where naked Japanese men inexplicably sit in leather (also vibrating?) chairs in an obviously thrown-together-at-the-last-minute shack on top of a ski hill, then get either ejected backwards onto the hill, or (my favorite) shot down the hill in a chair-turned-snowmobile. Still naked, mind you. Also, I do not really enjoy the thought of putting my naked body on the same chair that an unknown number of other random naked bodies have been on, but maybe thats just me.
This morning on Cute Overload I found another interesting Japanese show of some sort. You can watch the video by clicking on the Cute Overload link, as I can no longer figure out how to embed the video in my blog. The video is called "How is fish's weight that Dora cat can carry?" I'm not sure who this Dora cat is, but that might mean wild cats. Because what happens here is like a strongest man contest between wild cats, complete with commentators. They weigh out fish and place them out in the middle of an open area, and these wild cats come by and pick up the fish. The fish weights are continually increased until none of the cats can remove the fish. Its a long clip (10 minutes) but i watched the whole thing. If you can't watch the whole thing, skip ahead to the end, about 8 minutes in. I like how they pit the three cats against each other like some sort of wrestling match:

Watch them get eliminated one by one. I won't spoil the answer for you though. You'll have to watch it for yourself.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ed v. Spencer

We're a little bit addicted to BBC America. One thing that bugs me about it though is that I don't feel that they're very good at promoting shows. Like, Coupling (UK version, of course. The US version blew). Their commercials for Coupling made it seem totally stupid, so we didn't watch it. I happened to catch one episode about halfway through and I was completely in hysterics. We ended up watching all of the eps and buying the DVDs, we liked it so much.
A new example of this is a show called Ed vs. Spencer. Again, from the commercials it seems really awful. I can't remember why we even ended up DVRing it in the first place, but we did for some reason. It is one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. These two guys (who are suppossedly friends, although sometimes I can't see how this could be) battle each other in totally inane challenges. Last night we watched 'Who do women like better?', 'Who can stay handcuffed the longest?' and 'Who can stay in the woods the longest?' I know. It sounds stupid. You're just going to have to trust me. The interaction between the two is the funniest part, although usually I want to kill Ed, who is a total cheater. Its also interesting to see the approach each guy takes to the problem. In 'Who can gain the most weight?' Spencer went the way of bulking up at the gym and eating tons of protein, while Ed completely pigged out on junk (to the point where he brought one of those rotisseries that cook the big thing of gyro meat into the living room, so that he could sit practically motionless on the couch and scrape off chunks of gyro meat). Spencer won, by a lot, just in case you ever need to gain a lot of weight quickly. Anyhow, it really is a funny show, so give it a chance if you get BBC America, even though their commericals for it make it look like a complete waste of time.

Deshedding the dog

Shelties have a lot of hair. I think Milo has ten times the hair of a normal sheltie. We haven't had him professionally groomed for a while, so he's losing big clumps of hair all over the place. Which is nice. We were watching TV the other night and we saw a commercial for some sort of deshedding comb. It looked pretty cool, but I don't know. Kinda fake. Brian went to PetsMart this morning to get more cat food and he picked up a similar comb, called the FURminator! It was $35, but it had a money back guarantee, so he figured we should try it. We busted it out this morning on Milo.
Holy crap. It works pretty well. We got out a lot of undercoat, and he looks totally thinner now. We also used it on the cats and it was taking out tons of hair. I know two people who read this blog who should get one: Melissa (your cats shed like crazy!) and my parents.

Who will play you in the movie of your life?

Gawker linked to a fun website, MyHeritage. You can upload your picture (or, anyone's really) and it uses some 'face recognition technology' to match the picture to that of some celebrity. So, I uploaded my picture from the lab website, and Carrie Underwood was my closest match.

I hope she's available. I'm sure she is. Winning American Idol doesn't tend to be all that lucrative (unless you're Kelly Clarkson).