Thursday, May 26, 2011

ASM 2011

Last weekend I left for the 2011 Annual American Society for Microbiology (ASM) meeting.  This year it was held in New Orleans, LA.  I have been going to ASM since 2001, except I missed the last two years.  It is a heavy scientific conference that leaves me with a mushy brain by the time it is over.  This year though was fun and exciting since my new job allowed me to see more unusual talks.

The first session I went to was on the BP oil spill and how the microbial population was affected and how those microbes helped degrade the hyrdocarbons in the sea water.  The other and most exciting talks were on how microbes can help feed the world.  In this session I learned how bacteria can help plants survive in high salt concentrations which may lead to watering crops with 1/2 sea water.  This would be huge for developing countries that don’t always have access to fresh water.  They also talked about the use of viruses and fungi to help plants grow in high temperatures, drought and combat plant pathogens. 

Inside the convention center there is a sea of posters in addition to all the talks.  And on the other side is a sea of vendors vying to swipe your card so they can send you all sorts of crap. 

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Of course, being in New Orleans, there was lots to see and eat :)  There were lots of crawfish, shrimp, crab, fish, gumbo and jambalaya.  I even had an alligator sausage Po-boy for dinner the first night! 

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It was Jodi’s birthday and Andy’s college graduation on Sunday, so I gave them some beads and they got a delicious chocolate cake for dessert.

We went on a walking ghost tour in the French Quarter with this interesting guide.  I had a hard time following what she was saying, and the hurricane I was drinking did not help the situation.


The last night we had the obligatory Beignets and Cafe au Lait at Cafe du Monde.  They were excellent!


Unfortunately, I brought two pair of new shoes and the ones I wore the last night caused the back of my heel to cut open and bleed.  It looked horrible, but after cleaning off all the blood it wasn’t too bad.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A quick update…

It’s been a while, so here’s an update:

The vertigo is gone, so my ear rocks are back in place, yay!

I was in New Orleans for the annual ASM conference.  Most years I have trouble understanding or staying awake at this conference, but this year was awesome, I hope to post about this soon with some pictures.

My gardens are doing very well and my lilac bushes are looking great, except for one that I may have pruned too much (can you do that?) and looks a little sparse.  Thanks Chris for the extra plants!

I made some more hamburger brownie cupcakes with sugar cookie fries for Juli's rummage/bake sale.  She said they sold really fast!  I’m even getting better at making them, but they still take 4 nights to make/assemble.  She has a good picture on her blog, which I’ve tried to steal, but my computer won’t let me.

Jamie, Jake and I are heading to the Dells for the weekend and we hope you all have a great Memorial Day Weekend :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Between the sinus/ear/eye infection and car accident I started getting these strange dizzy spells.  I would get dizzy when I bent over or laid down or rolled over in bed.  It felt like the room was spinning or like I was drunk.  I was having these issues for about 2 weeks before I mentioned it to a doctor.  She said I have BPPV or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo and said physical therapy can help (which I’ve been going to anyways for neck and back pain). 

Apparently there are otoconia or commonly known as ear rocks that can get dislodged and start floating around in your inner ear.  These cause imbalance and misinformation is sent to the brain causing vertigo.

On Monday I had my physical therapy appointment.  She had me put on a mask (like a snorkel mask) that let her see my eye while she maneuvered me into different positions.  She would ask when I felt dizzy and she was able to see my eyes moving really fast trying to compensate for the dizziness.  She then put me in the positions shown in the picture to try and get the ear rocks back into place.

When the procedure finished she told me I had to keep my eyes on the horizon for the next two days as well as not lay down flat.  I have to sleep at a 45 degree angle for 2 nights and then for the rest of the week I have to sleep on at least two pillows and not roll onto my right side (the bad ear). 

If this treatment doesn’t work (only works for 80% of people) then there are some other at home exercises I can do to try to get things back in position.  I hope it works, but it is very hard to keep your eyes on the horizon constantly and not tilt your head up or down.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What’s on TV?

I have no idea!

Jamie and I cut out cable back in late-February and we now have only about 20 channels.  No DVR, not even a VCR to record any tv.  We don’t even have a tv guide channel to find out what’s on or what’s coming up.

Actually, it has been okay.  We rarely had much time as it was to watch the 200+ channels we had and the DVR had recordings from over a year before that went unwatched.  We do have a subscription to Hulu which I blogged about earlier and that allows us to keep up with the tv shows we want to watch.  Mostly though we watch the news or channel 10 so Jake can watch Thomas the Train on the weekends.  We bought a couple movies for Jake and we still use Redbox to rent a movie about once a week for us.  It works for us and since the weather is getting warmer we won’t even be inside much anyways.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easter 2011

Sorry, this is a little late, but here is how we spent Easter this year.

This was the first year we let Jake dye eggs.  He was a little impatient, but they turned out great!


We hosted Easter dinner this year with Debbie, Dave, Chris, Andie, Lance, Trenton & Ethan.  We bought large candy filled eggs and David hid them in our yard for the kids to find.  Debbie & Dave brought up champagne, heavenly hash (a fruit/marshmallow dish), chocolate chip cheesecake with a brownie crust and she helped with the fruit platter.  Jamie was in charge of the ham and soup.  I took care of the green bean casserole, twice-baked potatoes, deviled eggs, bread and of course the cake.

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For the cake this year I wanted to try a new ruffle technique for the frosting.  I saw a two-tiered pink ruffle cake on Bakerella’s blog and there is also a youtube tutorial.  I decided on a lemon poppy seed cake with raspberry filling.  It was very yummy and work ate up the remainder seen above in about 2 hours.  It got rave reviews all around.

We enjoyed everyone’s company and I was happy that we decided on an early 3pm dinner.  By 7:30 the dishes were done, everyone was gone and the three of us were in our pajamas.