Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Josh

Just wanted to blog a happy birthday to Josh this morning!  I love you! 
(Just think- you're almost halfway to retirement age!) 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I just thought I'd write a little blog about some of the critters around our house that you haven't seen yet.
A few months ago I opened the back door and found this in the doorway.

Josh had just been outside about 2.5 hours earlier.  I was pretty amazed that such a huge beautiful web was created in such a short time.  It spanned the entire doorway and was about 3 feet tall.

We've also discovered that we have at least 2 species of frogs in addition to our toads.  Here's our little leopard frog...

And our big bullfrog...

We have the usual bright green preying mantis, but we also have this camo version

Of course things are bigger in TX, right?  Check out this moth!  Wingspan was at least 6 inches.

For a good chunk of the summer we had this hummingbird nest hanging over our driveway.  I couldn't believe how it was just sitting on top of a small pine cone.  Eventually 2 babies were born and we could see their little beaks sticking up out of the nest too.  Three hummingbirds living on top of a pine cone where we could see them everyday- that's good stuff!

The ACU Ecology class is in the process of setting some small traps around our property too. It will be interesting to see what they find!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another edition of Titus vs. ...

Last night while I was watching Amazing Race (hooray for another season!), Titus got restless and wanted to play.  I told him to go get a toy from his toy box, but instead he pointed at the bottom of the TV cabinet.  I figured there was a ball under there so I looked and only found a plastic cable wrap that had popped off our cords.  I gave it to Titus to play with, but I guess he thought it was alive or something.  He did NOT like it.  Here are the videos I tried to take without laughing too hard.  I'm sorry they're so dark- I need to remember to turn more lights on!
Titus vs. cable wrap, part 1
Titus vs. cable wrap, part 2
Titus vs. cable wrap, part 3

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lab Quote Friday #4

This week is a little lacking in humorous quotes because I didn't spend much time around the students during lab.  I'll try to do better next week, but next week's labs are kind of easy and don't actually require much time in the lab at all.  So, if you have some funny lab quotes (and I know some of you do), please send me a separate email and I'll work in your quotes when mine are lacking.  Thanks!
(Remember, my thoughts are in this color.)

So the water in our labs is sometimes extremely aerated.  Extremely, as in fill up your beaker and 3/4 of it is bubbles.  It always surprises the students and it's funny to hear their reactions.  

Lab Girl:  What is wrong with this water!?!
Professor:  It's just got a lot of air in it.  It's fine.
Lab Girl:  It's, like, vaporizing!!
If our cold water is vaporizing, we've got serious problems!

Students had to dry their filtered product in an oven for 45 minutes.  The oven was set at about 190°C (~350°F)

Lab Boy (at the end of 45 minutes):  I can just reach in there and get mine, right?  It's not too hot. 
Me:  No, you need to use the tongs and oven mitt.  It's pretty hot.
It's an oven!!!  Surely your Mom didn't let you reach into hot ovens as a child!

As I was walking down the hall during the first week of labs this semester, I overheard:
Lab Boy (to professor):  What's the most exciting thing we're going to do this semester?
Keep this boy far, far away from the bunsen burners!

See?  Not too funny this week, sorry.  While writing this, I came up with an idea for next week's post since it has the potential for being weak.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fair Comparison

Last Friday night we went to the West Texas Fair and Rodeo.  The last time we went to this fair we were dating, but not much had changed.
1.  Sadly, I'd have to say that Washington had a better fair as far as animals go.  Washington had entire buildings dedicated to different animals.  There was the pig barn, cow barn, sheep/goat barn, poultry barn (you'd be amazed at how many different kinds of chickens and ducks there were!) and other miscellaneous animals like rabbits and guinea pigs.  WA petting zoo was also superior.
2.  Texas definitely had a better rodeo.  Several contestants had bad luck with their animals, but overall they were much more skilled than the cowboys in WA.  Here's a good ride.  Our friends, Jeremy and Kelly, had NEVER been to a rodeo!  I think they enjoyed the mutton bustin' the best.  A tiny little 4 yr old stole the show and was the only kid that hung on for the full time.  The rodeo clown was cheesy, but not annoying.  The bull fighters were also pretty fun to watch.  Here's a video of the clown and bull fighters teasing a bull at the end of the rodeo.  The bull was not impressed.  I love the staredown at the end! 
Washington had better tractor displays which is very important to a certain hubby of mine!
3.  TX has better food than WA (but not as good as the food I usually get in NM.  You just can't beat good Indian Fry Bread- mmm, mmm!)  We ended up with some German food from Fredericksburg people.
4.  WA had better food/craft competitions.  Some of the ribbon winners at the TX fair were just ridiculous.  I never knew you could just pull some weeds up from your yard and win a competition- maybe we'll have to enter next year!  Another entry was just a piece of framed wood.  The wood grain kind of resembled an eagle, but you had to use your imagination.  I think Josh and I could win something at this fair!  (Evidently, when Josh was younger he won 3rd prize for his brownies.  He doesn't think the recipe was special enough to share even with me, so I guess it really doesn't take much to impress these judges.)
5.  TX had some interesting agriculture displays with some fun information.  They also had a cotton gin to play with.  However, there were no giant pictures made out of beans- WA wins there!
6.  I can't comment on the rides.  I refuse to pay tons of money to risk getting on a ride that can be put together or taken apart in less than a day. 
So we had a really good time.  Here are a few pictures from the evening.  (more on our flickr page)
At the petting zoo... this mama cow was suspicious

"Get away from my calf!"

 Jeremy and Kelly with some donkeys

This little calf was my favorite.  Look at the curly hair on his forehead- too cute!

Josh's Mom and her mutton bustin' student.

Who let these people in?
(Shelly, I finally got to wear my rodeo shirt with the flappy sleeves!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lab Quote Friday #3

I'm a little concerned that people didn't read the actual lab quotes last week because they thought it was only lab coat Friday with Titus.  If you missed the actual quotes, go back and read the post that came before the pictures of Titus.
This week in lab, the students were studying the ideal gas equation.  They mixed hydrogen peroxide and yeast and collected the gas that was produced.  The equipment used to collect the gas needed to be filled with water before the experiment began.  (I'm going to use generic "lab boy" and "lab girl" in my quotes from now on and will add my thoughts in this color.)

Lab Boy:  "Where do we get the water?"  About 5 minutes passed, then I heard him talking to Lab Girl. "Oh!  You have water!  Where did you get your water?" 
Where has this boy been?  Did he really spend 5 minutes looking for water?  I so badly wanted to walk up to him and say, "Sink.  There are 4 of them you can choose from."  This is why I am not a teacher.

Lab Girl showing me her test tube of hydrogen peroxide and yeast: "What do we do with this?"  
Me:  "If you're done with your experiment, you can just wash it down the drain."
Lab Girl:  "Oh ok.  I wasn't sure.  I didn't want it to like make bread or something."
Bread?!?  You think 3 ml of hydrogen peroxide and yeast mixed with water will make bread!?!  Oh dear.

Lab Boy (different one):  "How much yeast do we use?  It says a pea-sized amount.  How big is a pea?"
Seriously?  No comment.

I probably shouldn't tell you these are mostly quotes from pre-med students.
Also, there's just something really funny about a guy wearing a cowboy hat and safety goggles.  I need to get a picture.  
Maybe I should keep my personal thoughts out of this.  I can't decide.  Am I being too mean, too sarcastic?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hord's Creek Lake

Last weekend our church had a campout at Hord's Creek Lake (about 8 miles west of Coleman if you're wondering).  We didn't get to go last year because of Josh's schoolwork, so we were itching to go this time around. 
We got there around 5pm on Friday, set up our tent, and got unpacked.  Then a storm came through with lots of lightening and thunder but very little rain.  We had a laid back evening of visiting with church folk and then went to be early.  These campsites had electricity, so we brought an extension cord and small fan to use in our tent.  Sleeping was sooooo much better than our last camping experience.   
Saturday we headed out in the canoe to check out part of the lake.  It was a beautiful morning- quiet with a slight breeze.  A little later in the morning, the campout coordinator, Jim, took a group out on his sailboat.  I stayed at camp with Titus while Josh joined the group.  Here they are getting some sailing lessons before heading out.

The afternoon was spent swimming and relaxing.  Some people played frisbee golf while others visited or napped.  Titus spent his afternoon playing with his new friend Padington.  He's a 1 1/2 yr old yellow lab.  Boy, did they wear each other out!  Sorry, I forgot to get pictures because we were just having too much fun. 
Later in the evening another storm blew in.  This one had a lot of lightening, less thunder, but more wind.  Again, very little rain.  The excitement came when the sailboat's anchor got dislodged and the boat blew away.  A couple of guys jumped in the water and started swimming towards it, another guy grabbed a kayak, and Josh and our friend Kelly grabbed our canoe and took off.  It was exciting and scary at the same time since they were all headed toward a boat with a large pole (read lightening rod) in the middle of a thunderstorm.  They were able to stop the boat before it hit the opposite shoreline and everyone made it back safely.  Of course I stayed behind with Titus and took pictures.

Runaway sailboat

If you look closely, you can see 2 guys in the water and one in a kayak.  Josh and Kelly are on the shore getting in the canoe.

And they're off!
The kayak won the race to the boat.

We stayed up a little later Saturday night to visit with people.  Titus was exhausted and went to bed without us.  Poor little guy just doesn't have the energy he used to (plus he didn't have his 8 hour nap that he usually takes at home each day while we're at work.)
Sunday morning we took the canoe out and explored the other end of the lake before church.  Josh tried fishing all weekend, but nothing was biting at all.  Bummer.  A few people drove down from Abilene for church services and I think we ended up with about 58 people total. 
After services were over we started packing up.  The lake was pretty low this year and only 1 boat ramp was open.  Of course it was at the far end of the lake.  There was nearly no breeze on Sunday, so the sailboat needed some help getting across the lake to the boatramp.  Kayaks and paddlers were enlisted to help pull when needed.  Our cousins and their son Luke were part of the group that didn't camp but came down for church.  Luke really wanted to help Josh in the kayak and eventually ended up riding in the sailboat.
 Too bad Titus couldn't help pull the sailboat!

Luke and Josh getting ready.

Titus did not like being excluded from this adventure!

We got home Sunday afternoon with just enough time to unload the car, take showers, and head back into town for small group Bible study.  It was a wonderful weekend and we can't wait to go back next year!

Monday, September 13, 2010

ACU at the Zoo!

Each year, ACU puts on some kind of family activity for faculty, staff and their families.  It has been at the zoo for the last several years.  We didn't get to go last year because Josh was overwhelmed with classwork and we said "no" to pretty much everything.  This year is different.  Josh's classes are a repeat of last fall, so we have much more time and much less stress this time around.  We even went camping this weekend (post to follow sometime this week.)
Anyway, last Thursday was ACU at the zoo night.  We hadn't been to the Abilene zoo since our dating days.  Josh had a zoo pass back then so we were pretty regular visitors.  The zoo has made some major improvements in the last 9 years, but some things remain the same- like the giraffes.  The giraffes are the main attraction because there is a bridge that gets you to their head height and you can feed them!  Kids love it and are grossed out by it at the same time.  Why?  Their tongues are a little creepy.  Check out these videos and pictures to see for yourself.
Feeding giraffes- video 1
Feeding giraffes- video 2

There were other animals too, but we didn't take too many pictures.

Josh needed a new black swan picture for one of his lectures.

This guy was zonked out.  I wish I could sleep like that or have balance like that!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lab Coat Friday

My friend Deona mistakenly commented about lab coat Friday instead of lab quote Friday on facebook.  I decided to make it lab coat day for Titus since he's helping me out today.  I should note that I am totally against dog clothing, and this is the first time Titus has ever worn any clothing other than a bandana (and that was for a parade).  He would not tolerate the safety goggles long enough for a picture, sorry.  Still, something about a lab in a lab coat is kind of cute.  He should be the department mascot.  (My lab coat was too small and nearly didn't button.  I took if off as soon as I got the pictures.)

Lab Quote Friday #2

Students needed to heat up a beaker of water in the microwave for part of their experiment.  No specific volume or temperature- we just have hot water issues in our building and using bunsen burners takes too long sometimes.

Two groups were heating their beakers of water at the same time.  (I was proud of them for being efficient because most groups will stand in line and wait their turn when they could easily all put their beakers in together.)  A guy from one of the 2 groups rushed over to the microwave where a member from each group was waiting for the water to heat.  He said, "You didn't put them in at the same time, did you!?!  How will we know which one is ours?"  One of the other guys answered, "Don't worry.  Ours is on the right side."  (The beakers were on a turntable.  On top of that, it totally did not matter which beaker belonged to each group.  I was no longer so proud of these guys!)

At times I think I will include other random funny things in these Friday blogs that didn't necessarily happen in lab but are just as funny.

Josh had a student ask him, "If I make a 95% in all of my classes, will I have a 3.5 GPA?"  

During chemistry tutoring, our tutor (an upperclassman) was trying to help a student with sig figs (you science people know what this means.)  She was getting a little frustrated because the student didn't know the difference between 2100.00 and 210,000.  Oh boy!

Titus is with me at school today because we are headed to a church campout this afternoon and didn't want to have to go back home to get him.  He was "helping" me with lab work this morning (no pun intended).  He kept sniffing and licking things.  I don't think he understands the "no eating or drinking in the lab" rule.  He may not be a good lab assistant, but at least he's a good lab.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lab Quote Friday

The majority of my job during the school year is setting up stuff for labs that run Monday-Thursday, so I've decided that I will attempt to write a blog every Friday about some of the funny things I've heard or seen during the week.  I hope you enjoy these posts!
This week I will highlight a few moments from our Intro Chem lab.  These students are non-majors, and about 1/2 of them are freshmen.  For part of their lab this week, they were asked to weigh out 5 grams of sugar into a beaker.  Seems simple enough, but...

2 different students asked the professor, "How do we know how much 5 grams is?"

One student brought their TA a 1 liter graduated cylinder (used for another part of lab) and asked if that was the beaker they were supposed to use to weigh their sugar.

The professor told the students that the sugar would be in the balance room.  I overheard this conversation between 2 girls in the hallway:
Girl 1:  Where do we get the sugar?
Girl 2:  It’s in the balance room.
Girl 1:  This is the balance room.
Girl 2:  No, the balance room is in there (pointing towards the lab). 

Gotta love these students!  I have several more from this week, but I think I'll hold back a few just in case I need them later.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Doggie Splash Day News Coverage

Here's the video from the Saturday night newscast that I Titus and I are in.  Enjoy!
Doggie Splash Day News Coverage

This and That

No particular subject for this post, just a few random things I've been working on.
It took me a little over a year, but we finally have curtains on all of our windows.  For several months we've only been lacking curtains in the office and master bedroom.  I don't know why we didn't do the office sooner.  All we did was put up some plain brown valances that are accented with light brown stitching.  Simple, masculine, perfect for Josh.
The bedroom, however, has been a bit of a struggle.  For the last few years, we've had a quilt on our bed that my great aunt Ruby made us for a wedding gift.  As much as we love that quilt, we just didn't want to use it forever and wear it out too much.  Aunt Ruby has since passed away, and we want to cherish this family heirloom.  So I didn't put up any curtains because I knew we would be changing our bedding soon.  Back in June, after tons of searching, we finally found a new quilt.  We are really picky- simple is best- we don't like super fluffy comforters, lots of pillows, modern prints, too many flowers, etc.  We decided on this one from Bed Bath and Beyond without any of the extra pillows.  Although this quilt has several basic colors in it, curtains were not as easy to match as I had hoped.  I was leaning toward something navy, but ended up with brown and green instead.  I think it works ok even though these pictures don't show the green and brown in the comforter very well.

I also added some cork boards to my craft room recently.  I used fabric that matched the rest of the room to cover cork trivets I bought at Ikea for a few dollars.  Then I found some little green buttons in the $1 section at Michaels (that rang up at $0.50) and glued them to thumb tacks.  I think they turned out pretty cute.

Fabric covered cork boards

Buttons- too cute!

Thumb tacks

Finished product

One other addition to my craft room

Some of you already know why I would buy this box ($7 clearance at Pier One- love it!)  For those of you who have no clue, let me fill you in.  I grew up in Albuquerque, NM.  The mountains that border the east side of the city are called the Sandia Mountains.  Here's what Wikipedia says:

Sandía means watermelon in Spanish, and is popularly believed to be a reference to the reddish color of the mountains at sunset.  Also, when viewed from the west, the profile of the mountains is a long ridge, with a thin zone of green conifers near the top, suggesting the "rind" of the watermelon. However, as Robert Julyan notes, "the most likely explanation is the one believed by the Sandia Indians: the Spaniards, when they encountered the Pueblo in 1540, called it Sandia, because they thought the squash growing there were watermelons, and the name Sandia soon was transferred to the mountains east of the pueblo.”

Of course the box is also pink and green which happened to match my craft room, and it's perfect for holding patterns.  What could be better!?!