Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Meat Science!

I've got time for just a short post. After taking a pretty rough test this morning and a long lab this afternoon, I'm taking a little break at work for something more fun :) Just to catch everyone up, this past weekend my best good friend, Rachel Baum got married. It was a gorgeous wedding, and I'll have to post pictures and details a little later as all of my pictures are at home.

Tomorrow evening is the meat science club's annual appreciation dinner. I was asked to help finish up a slide show of random pictures from the past year. When I got the slide show I was so excited to see that a bunch of old meat lab pictures were included. And when I say old, I mean from around the 30's. I absolutely love old meat science pictures. It's crazy to see how much the industry has changed. No hair nets, no frocks most of the time, dirty floors...it's just fun to see. Here are a few to enjoy. I believe all of these were taken in the orginal Iowa State meat lab, which is now the livestock pavillion. Now it's just a big open space off the Animal Science building where sometimes classes are held and is the site for a couple of auctions and shows throughout the year. If you're squimish with animal carcasses then maybe don't look, but I promise they're not bloody or anything!
*Pork Carcasses*

*My favorite - really not sanitary at all*

*Beef carcasses and rounds on the table*

*Fabrication - Grandma Edith has a table just like those that I want one day*

*Pork bellies (bacon) and hams*

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I love Halloween!

Oh Halloween. The one night a year when it's not strange to see people running around with crazy wigs, faces painted, or cardboard boxes cut out as some sort of costumes. Halloween in a college town is even crazier! The festivities here in Ames started on Thursday night. I went out for a little while to check out the costumes. Some of my favorties included Mario and Luigie who ran around all night just like the video games, four guys who wore cardboard boxes of different shapes and were tetris, there was a guy dressed as Hannah Montana, and Captain Crunch complete with a giant paper mache hat (I wish I would have had my camera). The best though was a robot. The body was all cardboard painted silver, he had cardboard on his feet and head and had eyes that lit up. We got the pleasure to watch him go down a set of stairs...it was hilarious! Last night I joined in on the Halloween fun. My friends here really get into dressing up and decided we should be 80's rockers. We had sequin tops made from fabric from Walmart, skirts, tights, heels, and ridiculous wigs that we generously sprayed with aquanet. We were quite the site and the night was really fun! A guy that the girls know was dressed as Slash from Guns and Roses and all of us together looked great! There wasn't a costume contest, but if there would have been, I think we definitely would have won!

*Me, Jessie, Sarah, and Leah*

Since Dad has been worried that I think too much about Halloween costumes and not enough about school, I'll give a little school update. I'm in the middle of my lab work for my project. It's so tedious right now and I just want it to be done with. But on the other hand I know that when it's done I'll have write my thesis and graduate and I don't want that to come too quickly! I've been having mini panic attacks trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I've kind of looked at what jobs are available but I just can't find something that I think I really want. Sometimes I wish that I wanted to be a teacher or nurse so that I know I could get a job anywhere. I know I'll get it figured out but it's just so stressful in the meantime. I really hate making decisions about life!
Other than that, life in Iowa is great. It's been in the 60's and 70's this week which I could really get used to. I know it will come back to get me in the end. Winter is coming and there's nothing I can do about it. I just hope there isn't as much snow this year! Rachel's wedding is in 2 weeks from today and I can't wait. It's the first wedding that I've been a bridesmaid in. It's going to be so fun to see everyone and maybe spend a day in Champaign. It's the same weekend of the International meats contest so Ace won't be coming with me. I hope to get him to Illinois at some point though!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just call me Betty Crocker!

Success! So anyone who knows me, knows that sometimes my domestic skills are a little lacking. But, I've been trying to correct this. So when my professor was giving away apples, I decided to try and make my very first apple pie. I've made pie before, but never completely on my own. Brooke peeled the apples for me, and after a few phone calls to Grandma Betty...the pie was complete! And I must say it was amazing! The crust was delicious and it looked fabulous too!! I might not be so hopeless after all!!

Fall is definitely in full swing here in Iowa. We carved pumpkins this past week, and everyone can't stop talking about Halloween this weekend. The leaves up here are beautiful this year. I should go walk around campus and take some pictures. Even though I love fall, I can't help but dread the winter. I can feel it creeping up on me. It's been a lot colder and is supposed to be in the 20's tonight. I'm definitely not ready for the snow to come back. This southern Illinois girl was not made for Iowa winters!!

This past weekend was another busy one. My good friend, Dallas, who I judged with at Illinois, came to visit me and Brooke. Dallas and I stay in pretty close contact, but it was so good to get to see her and actually spend time with her. I miss her a lot! Ace also came to visit this weekend. It was homecoming here so we tailgated on Saturday. It was just overall a really great and fun weekend! I love having visitors and always feel a little sad when they're gone!

Well I need to wrap this up and look over some papers for class tomorrow...totally not like me to wait till the last minute :) I'm also watching my Colts lose to Tennessee. I'm really not sure what's wrong with them this season... Anyways, I'll leave you with some pictures from the weekend and our pumpkin carvings. Enjoy!!

*Our awesome front porch*

*I carved Frankenstein*

*Dallas, me, and Brooke tailgating*

*Ace and me*

*Dallas and me*

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pumpkin Pickin!

I know it's been a little while since I've updated this. I suppose was just waiting until I did something halfway interesting to write about! Just to catch everyone up on the past week or so...this past weekend was the Iowa State Invitational Meats judging contest, and I helped out a little with that on Saturday afternoon. Ace is the coach of the University of Nebraska's team, so I also got to spend some time with him while he was in town. Dr. Carr and Stacy (a grad student from Illinois) were also here to serve on the official committee for the contest. It was so great to see both of them and catch up a bit. I also got to visit with some of the other team's coaches who judged the same fall that I did. The meats judging circuit is kind of like a family and every contest seems to be a mini reunion of some sort. I think that's why I love it so much...apart from the educational purposes of course ;) This coming weekend is the American Royal contest in Omaha, Nebraska and a group of grad students and myself are going over on Saturday to be group leaders for the contest on Sunday.

The weekend of visitors and fun led right into a fun filled week. Yesterday, Rita Wilcox (used to be Muehling) came over for supper. She went to U of I and lived at 4H House with Brooke, Abbie, and I. She lives in Dallas Center, Iowa now which is conveniently located only 45 minutes south of Ames! It was really great to have her here and catch up. Our original plan was to take her with us to a pumpkin patch, but the weather was less than cooperative. Brooke still wanted to go and I talked her out of it (which she didn't let me forget). So to make up for it. We made a trip to the pumpkin patch this afternoon with sun shiny skies :)
I found this place just by typing 'pumpkin patch Ames' into Google. It was only about 15 miles south of town, and it was awesome! They had acres of apple trees, a huge pumpkin patch, a corn maze, a cute little store filled with apple butter, cider, pie, jam, and loads of other goodies, and lots of other fun things. It was a search to find the best pumpkins. There were still gobs of green pumpkins, and then lots of rotting orange pumpkins :( Right as we were leaving, I found the most perfect one! It rivals the great pumpkin of Charlie Brown! We then tried our luck in the corn maze, and it only took us 23 minutes to find our way out. Brooke and I each bought two pumpkins, and then we got some apple butter, cider, and pumpkin pancake mix. It was just so great to get out of town for a few hours and be in the country. We're making plans to go back in a couple of weeks. When we got home we mixed up some pumpkin pancakes for supper and they were delicious!
Headed to the patch with our empty wagon.......

The patch was definitely a bit weedy. It was easy to lose each other!

The maze had these cut outs that you had to find in it.

Heading back with our finds. It was a great day :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

So what's new with you?

So you know that saying "If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you jump too?" Well starting this blog is me jumping. After some of my friends started blogs to keep their family and friends updated and in the loop, I never thought I would have anything interesting to write about it. But after religiously reading theirs, I decided to could do this too.

So what's new with me....well I've started my second year of grad school here at Iowa State in meat science. Everything has been going really great. Most of the data for my research project has been collected, and I teach a lab section which I really enjoy. I should graduate in May or by August at the latest, and I've been contemplating my next move. Of course, I'm that crazy girl who likes school, so I've been thinking a lot about continuing on to get my phd. I've started looking at universities a little bit and getting an idea of where I would like to go. But I still really have no idea what I want to do when I grow up!

When I'm not doing school stuff, I've been keeping myself busy with various fall activities. Football season is in full swing, so I've been taking part in tailgating and trying to disguise myself as a true Iowa State fan. But in reality, I'll be orange and blue forever! I will give Iowa State props though for having amazing tailgating. While their football team isn't anything to brag about (although they did almost upset Kansas this weekend) they take their tailgating very seriously. Some guys I know went together to purchase an old ambulance off of Ebay and cleverly attached "ISU 911" decals to the side. With it's working lights and sirens, it's quite the sight!

This past weekend, most of my pledge class from 4H House took their senior walkout and came to visit me. I took them tailgating and we had a small bachelorette for Rachel Baum on Saturday night. Overall it was a fabulous weekend, and I wish I could see those girls more often!

Rachel (Baum that is) now lives in Lincoln, Nebraska which is conveniently located only a little more than 3 hours away from me. It's so great to have her and her fiance, David so close that we can easily visit each other during free weekends. As some as you may or may not know, she's not the only reason I'm frequenting Nebraska these days....I've began dating a guy who lives in Lincoln and his name is Ace. I think that's all the details that I'm going to give away for now... :)