Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Woe Is Me Wednesday

In other news, one of my lasers is down AGAIN. I'm hoping it will be a quick fix...I'll call the laser company today to make sure I can swap out Q-Switch drivers without wreaking havoc on the system...but it is YET another delay to my already-delayed getting-the-hell-out-of-here.

grumble grumble grumble.

"This is gonna suck"

I am falling apart. I am an ancient 27-year old lady. Most recent on my list of old-lady maladies is Trigger Finger. About 6-odd months ago, I noticed that my middle finger got "stuck" in the wouldn't uncurl without substantial effort. I thought, hey, this is hilarious! Until about a week ago when it started to hurt. I went to our student health center, and sure enough, Trigger Finger. My doc wanted me to go see hand guy ASAP.

So I went today. Turns out this guy actually goes to my church. I totally recognized him, but he didn't recognize me. It was too weird to have my hand checked out by this man I "know" without any sort of "oh, hey, I know you!" so I asked, "Do you go to St Matthew?" He looked totally surprised, and I said that I thought I recognized him/his name, and that I went there. There was still no "oh, yeah, I thought I recognized you too!" or anything like that, but he was nice and so I didn't let it bother me too much.

There are 3 ways to deal with Trigger Finger:

1) Just deal with it. Apparently, however, it is one of those things that won't get better with time; it will only get worse.
2) Get a super-fun steroid shot.
3) Have surgery.

Thankfully, my case isn't too bad and so the super-fun steroid shot should do the trick.

He left, and the nurse got all the injecty things ready.

And then she left.

I was by myself for really only 5-10 minutes, but in that time I got a little anxious, and I made up a "This is gonna suck" song.

Unfortunately, much in the same way that Tenacious D couldn't remember the greatest song in the world, I don't remember all the words that I made up. Mostly though, it was along the lines of "This is gonna suck, this is gonna suck, suck so much but then I'll be better....." etc etc.

So when the good doctor came in, we were just chatting about grad school or something and he said ok, poke! And in went the needle, and the lengthy shot continued.

This was the first time I've ever had a steroid shot. It isn't a quick "poke, shot, done," it's longer. And so I stopped talking. And starting humming my "This is gonna suck" song. He was a little surprised, and kind of made a "hmm?" sound, so I told him what I was singing. He and the nurse burst out laughing, and he said that he usually gets a torrent of profanities, so he'll take a "This is gonna suck" song. And then we made fun of the tough college boys who pass out from the shot.
UPDATE: This actually happened 2 days ago, and I started writing and then got distracted. My finger/hand is still a little sore, and he said it should take ~3 days to really kick in, so I'm waiting....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

  • Jelly beans, specifically Starburst Tropical jelly beans.
  • My primary care physician at the University's health center. He's just a really kind, rather soft-spoken, knowledgeable, caring, helpful doctor.
  • My hair cutter. If you live in UrPaign and need a good haircut, go see Terra at H2O in Urbana.
  • Reproducible data. It's not perfect, but it's way better than it was!
  • The American Physical Society. I got my copy of the Proceedings of Shock Compression of Condensed Matter-2011 today, and it just makes me happy.
  • The prospect of getting a job. Nothing set in stone, no firm offers, BUT the last email I got from my hopeful future PI said (in response to my sending him an updated CV for my fellowship package): "You're awesome. Can't wait until you're working with us." So, yeah, I'm excited.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: vegetables

I'm suffering from a woeful case of blog-block. I'm working up data (it's currently loading, and it takes awhile) so most of what's on my mind is "man, I was really fighting with the interferometer that day, but the other day looks great!" So I present, my top ten favorite vegetables (in no particular order).

  1. Mushrooms. Button, portabello, morel...pretty much all but that stinky block Chinese mushrooms.
  2. Onions. A perfect complement to mushrooms, they can lend a nice raw bite or they can be sweet and buttery, if, you know, you've cooked them in butter.
  3. Zucchini. Raw, dipped in ranch. Pan-fried, dipped in...ranch again, I guess. Added to pasta, rice, marinated in Italian dressing and's the best thing about summer, pretty much. Baked in bread, cake. Tia also loves zucchini.
  4. Spinach. Because hey, it's really versatile. Not as much usable iron as they tell you, but fiber is good for you too. Raw on a sandwich, cooked and added to pasta or rice dishes.
  5. Tomatoes. Thick slabs of red, meaty, juicy tomatoes. Raw with or without a little salt or sugar or on a sandwich.
  6. Peas. Not the canned variety, of course. My favorite are sugar snap or snow peas, still in pods. Raw or cooked.
  7. Corn. Because I'm from the Midwest.
And it turned out I can only think of 7 that I would consider my favorites. I guess carrots could get an honorable mention, and maybe cabbage.

On to the top however many that I HATE:
  1. Cauliflower
  2. Green peppers (red are not my favorite either, but they're tolerable)
  3. Celery
  4. Water chestnuts
  5. Cucumbers
Anyway, that's all I got today. Back to work!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cheese Strata: no really, the good kind

Fourish years ago, Tjett's mom gave us a huge packet of her recipes. On the one hand, this was great...we got tons of Christmas cookie recipes that were much needed. However, the recipes for meal-food weren't as spectacular. One recipe was for Cheese Strata. It contained white bread, cheese, and milk. It was a very classic "Tjett's Family" recipe, as they're not big vegetable or exciting food eaters. But it sounded reasonable, so we made it one night.

It. Was. Disgusting.

As in, we didn't even bother wrapping up the leftovers. We just threw it out. I NEVER do that. But it was awful.

Fast-forward to a couple years ago. We went to Tjett's dad's house for Christmas (and brought Tia...that's a disaster for another day). One morning, his step-mom made us some kind of delicious eggy, bready, cheesy thing for breakfast. We asked what it was. You guessed it, it was Cheese Strata. "No way!" we said. "Way," she didn't really say. So we got the recipe, and it's become a staple for us for brunchy potlucks. And I'm going to share it, here:

Delicious Cheese Strata

The recipe calls for 12 slices of bread, top crusts removed. I am a fan of using grocery-store-bakery sliced French bread, or last time I used "Mountain Boule" (I don't even know if that's a thing). Regardless, I think the better the bread (tasty, a little chewy, well-structured), the better this will turn out. Probably a white bread, however.

Anyway, cut out 12 "doughnuts" and "holes" of your bread. I usually just take a shot glass to the bread, collect my "holes" and then just use the remaining square-ish pieces of bread as my "doughnuts". If the bread is large enough, I can usually get two "doughut/hole" pairs out of 1 piece.

Fit scraps, or cut-up remaining bread, in the bottom of the pan.

Grate 12-16 oz. cheddar cheese over the bread scraps.

Put 2 cups of chopped ham or turkey ham over the cheese...the last time I made this, I couldn't find turkey ham, so I used all 16 oz. of cheese and forewent the meat.

Arrange your bread doughnuts and holes over the top. I typically fit 4x3 of the doughnuts, and then put the holes around the edge.

6 eggs
3 1/2 c. milk
2 T instant/minced onion
1/2 t salt
1/4 t dry mustard

Pour the egg/milk mixture over the entire thing, making sure all the bread on top gets wet.

Cover, refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325 deg. F.

Bake for 55 minutes.

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

A caveat on the time...The recipe card she gave us says to "check doneness with toothpick in the center". The problem is that this isn't cake or brownies. My toothpicks ALWAYS come out a little milky...even after 75 minutes... and I'm not sure what they're supposed to be. Generally, If the cheese is melted and the bread is a little browned, it's probably done. Don't be freaked out by any milk that comes up if you push on it...having it stand for a little while takes care of it.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Day in Haiku; Part I: mostly some data; and wasting the day


Cough, cough, spit, cough, spit.
Tia, please don't eat that sock.
Time to go to work.

Morning II

That cannot go there.
Throw out damaged lenses now.

Morning III

Data, data, dat-
a, data, data, data.

Morning IV

Wrestle with data
Beat me into submission
Question life choices

Afternoon I

I deserve to eat.
J. Gumbo's for Jean Lafitte
and some good reading

Afternoon II

I just remembered
easy data procedure.
Wasted the morning.

Afternoon III

Compare Day Camp to
Menudo; yes, I am a
spicy latin boy.

Afternoon IV

Amazing lecture!
I learned some biology
and stayed wide awake!

Afternoon V

Writing some haikus
until my bus picks me up.
Data tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

An Observation

This morning, while taking a shower, I noticed something peculiar. On my girly body wash bottle, it says "Body Wash", and underneath, in French: "nettoyant pour le corps." I don't speak French, but in my head, "nettoyant pour le corps" sounds rather lovely.

However, on my husband's bottle of manly Old Spice body wash, it says "Body Wash," and underneath, in French, "Gel Douche."

So why the discrepancy? My only guess is that someone reasoned that non-French speaking ladies like the phrase "nettoyant pour le corps" and that non-French speaking dudes think it's hysterical that their body wash says "douche" on it.