Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hormel Prom, a Blizzard, and all things Christmas!

Hello everyone from frigid, not so fabulous Minnesota! It's officially winter. I was able to live in denial of the fact that I live in the arctic, up until last Wednesday. It started snowing Tuesday night but didn't seem like it was going to be quite the storm everyone was predicting...or so I thought. I woke up to 40+ mph winds and probably about 10 inches of snow on Wednesday morning. Luckily for me, my townhouse is apparently in the perfect place for snow drifts. I could see the neighbors bare sidewalk while I couldn't even open my front door. I also discovered another fun fact that morning, my car is HORRIBLE in snow. I already suspected this, but my suspicions were definitely confirmed after getting stuck and pushed out by my kind neighbors three different times...and this was just in the driveway! I work with nice people, and someone offered to come pick me up. I need to take some pictures, because the snow is not going anywhere anytime soon!

In other news, this past weekend I attended the Hormel Austin Plant formal Christmas party (AKA Hormel Prom). I've made quite a few friends who work in the plant, I and was asked to go by one of the supervisors I know. The night was really fun. It was held at the Austin Country Club. The supper was delicious, everyone looked great, and I got to dance all night :) R&D has its own Christmas party, but it's not till January. Hopefully it will be just as good of time!

My house is looking very festive for Christmas time. I may have gone a little overboard. I have a big tree, a small tree, and some other small lights here and there. I like it though, and I'm contemplating leaving the tree up until at least mid-January! I can't wait to come home for Christmas next week! My plans are once again up in the air after some really interesting phone calls late this afternoon informing me that a line trial I'm doing is being moved to next week instead of the week after Christmas. As long as I can get to St. Louis by 8:30 on the 23rd to meet Mom and Dad for the Illinois-Missouri Bragging Rights Game I'll be happy!

*Amanda & I at Christmas party - I failed at taking pictures and this is the best picture of me in my dress*

*Me & Heidi - I also failed to get a picture of me and my actual date! *

*My natvity scene with lights*


*I thought I would throw in a picture that was taken while I was home over Thanksgiving. This is one of my favorite pictures I've ever taken*

*Another random picture of my successful Paula Deen Pumpkin Pie. The middle got a little brown but it tasted delicious!*

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Travels of a Halloween Tourist

Another Halloween has come and gone. I had a lot of fun during my first Halloween in Austin! Last Wednesday I got together with some of the girls I've become friends with and we carved pumpkins. There was good food, a lot of laughing, and some very creative pumpkins! Even though I had the best looking pumpkins on the block, I only had three trick-or-treaters. Only one of those was even in a costume. I was kind of bummed, because I had bought enough candy to feed a whole army. Looks like everyone at work is going to get some treats this week!!

The tourist made her debut on Friday night at my friend Katie's Halloween party. I was pretty proud of this year's costume that I put together on my own. I think I spent a total of $18.95 on my costume. The lime green pants, Bahamas souvenir t-shirt, and awesome Hawaiin print jacket were all compliments of Good Will. I found some awesome palm tree socks at the Dollar Tree and a set of two visors at Wal-Mart. I owned a pair of Crocs, and the fanny pack and awesome 90's style sunglasses came from home. Top that off with my camera around my neck and a bag full of maps, and you had one really tacky tourist! I would say I had a very successful Halloween vacation. I went to an Indian Reservation, I saw Dorothy and a tornado in Kansas, I went to the Muppet Show, a Farm, and a rock show just to name a few. :) Here are just some of my favorite costumes from the weekend....

*Katie the fairy, Joni the ninja, Holly the can, and I*

*Tony campaigned for about a month to have members of his tribe, Chad was the only member. So they named themselves the Last of the Mohicans*

*Miss Piggy and Kermit*

*One of the most comical costumes was Curtis as the Gingerbread Man*

This week it's back to my normal life as a Hormel employee. No real news to report. Cory and I have started planning our fabulous Mexican vacation for next April. We're thinking about Cancun, but we're not 100% sure yet. We're planning it now so I can have something to look forward to during winter and Cory will have something to get her through busy tax season. I know we're going to have a blast!! Look out Mexico!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Look

I decided it was a time to change the look of the blog up. I like it, but I can't figure out how to move the picture at the top so that it's not cut off on the side. I didn't feel like fighting with it so I just left it alone!

Well today was an absolutely beautiful day! Probably the best day we've had in the entire month of October. This month we've had two, yes two, days of snow with accumulation, and basically every other day it has rained and been dreary. So when the sun shone all day long, I got a little excited! I'm afraid that there won't be anymore days like today, so I tried to soak it all in. I got off work a little early, so I decided to grab my camera and take some fall pictures. The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center is a big nature preserve right outside of Austin. There are several miles of trails, and it's really pretty. I walked around for about an hour just snapping pictures. With all of the snow and rain, the leaves weren't as colorful as I hoped they were, but there were several trees that didn't disapoint! I'm still learning how to take somewhat professional looking pictures with my camera. I wish I had more days like today to practice with it. I'll post some of my favorites for you to enjoy.

In other news, Halloween is this weekend. I'm super excited! I'll be going to a party on Friday night dressed as a Tacky Tourist. You'll just have to stay tuned for the photos of that! Tomorrow night I'm getting together with some girls I work with and we're going to carve pumpkins and decorate cookies to get ready for the party!

That's about it for this post. I'm now an old lady and go to bed early so I'll just leave you till next time!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Introducing Lily Piper Anderson!

I know I promised to write a long time ago, and I'm sorry. You could look on the bright side that it's a good thing that I haven't had time to write, because that means I've been keeping myself busy. The job is still going well. I play on a rec volleyball team every Wednesday with other girls from Hormel. I know, most of you who know me are thinking "Really Rachel? You are horrible at any sport requiring hand and eye coordination." This is true. My team also knows this is true, but it's something to do and it's been fun. I've already made some good friends up here. I'm really looking forward to Halloween. I've been invited to a Halloween party, and some of the girls I've become friends with and I are going to get together and make cookies and carve pumpkins to get ready for the party. I LOVE pumpkin carving!! :)

Other than that, I actually have a pretty great reason for writing. This past weekend I was asked to be on the official committee for the Iowa State University Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest. I was excited to be on the committee. It was definitely different to be on the other side of the contest. I had a great experience. I think we put together a good contest. Friday night they fed the committee dinner and it was quite possibly the funniest dinner of my life! The jokes and stories that were told had me basically in tears from laughing so hard! It was also really great to see Dr. Carr with his judging team. This is Dr. Carr's last team, as he is retiring after this year. It was a great last trip to Ames for TC, because his kids won the contest! Judging definitely won't be the same without that man! Putting the contest together and reading reasons was a lot of work, but I hope I can be asked to official other contests in the future so that I can stay involved with judging.

But the contest isn't my reason for writing. Most of you have probably heard me talk about Mark, my officemate from grad school, at some point. He has basically been my second big brother since coming to Iowa State. His wife, Katie, and I also became good friends and we joke that she's also my wife. Well the two of them were expecting their first baby this month. I had to be in Ames Thursday night to get ready for the contest. I talked to Mark on Tuesday, and I told him that I would appreciate having a baby to visit when I got to town. Knowing how important Aunt Rachel is, Lily Piper Anderson made her way into the world on Wednesday night. I was so excited to wake up Thursday morning with a message from Mark on my phone with a picture of Lily!! Thursday evening I got to visit the new family in the hospital with my two other officemates Brad and Wangang. It was so cool to get to meet Lily with all of them! I can't wait to see her again when I go back to Ames this weekend for ISU Homecoming!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Coming soon...

I know I've been promising this all summer, but there will be a new post with pictures coming soon! I'm finally all settled in my new place and have much more time to do things like this once again!! Once I finally get my new couch I ordered and the living room is all put together I will take pictures of the new place so you all can see! I can't believe summer is winding down already. Where did August go??? The job is going really well, and I love the people up here. Some of the guys I work with have started growing beards to keep their faces warm in the winter which makes me a little nervous, but I've just decided not to think about it till I have to! :) Also, I will be back in Illinois this weekend, and I can't wait to see everyone. That's all I have time for tonight. Have a great week and I promise I'll write again soon!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Product Development Scientist

If I haven't told you, or you haven't heard yet, I'm officially employed full-time! This week I accepted the position of Product Development Scientist in Research & Development with Hormel! It's been a long and trying search, but I think I made the best decision. I'm going to continue to work on what I've been doing, and possibly take the lead on some projects through August and September, and then I will work for a man who is planning to retire in a year or so and then I will take over his position. I'm really excited about the opportunity! This summer I've seen what a great company Hormel is and how nice all the people are here. I'm breaking my rule that made about moving further north to Austin, MN, but they made me an offer I couldn't really turn down. There are a lot of younger people who work for Hormel and so it's really easy to meet people and I've already made some new friends which was a huge selling point for me. Now comes the fun job of trying to find a place to live in one week because we have to be out of our summer housing next Saturday. Hopefully I can find something or else I might be living out my car for awhile! ......update....I just got a call about a townhouse I looked at yesterday and it sounds like I'm going to have a place to live by next weekend! So it's looks like it's all coming together! Hooray!!!!

Well I just wanted to update everyone all at once. Please feel free to come and visit beautiful southern Minnesota. We can go to the Spam Museum!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Really far behind

I've seriously neglected my blog so far this summer but I have good reason. I actually attempted to update it several weeks ago, but the internet connection that I first had here was terrible and I lost the entire post with pictures that I spent about an hour writing. So this is just a quick post to say that a good update is coming. Until then I will say that:
1) I really like my job and the people I work with.
2) I passed my defense and only have a few corrections on my thesis to go before I'm completely done!
3) I just got back from RMC in Arkansas and had a great time
and finally
4) The job search is still ongoing and after RMC I have some good leads on a few openings.

That's really all I have time for tonight. Hopefully this week sometime I can include some pictures from Matt's wedding from earlier this month, RMC, and some other random summer pictures. I can't believe the 4th of July is this weekend. Time is flying by!

Friday, May 29, 2009

That's all folks!

Today I turned in my thesis to the members of my committee, cleaned out my desk, and said goodbye to my days of working in Kildee Hall. This past week has been so strange knowing that it was my last week in Ames. I'll admit I really don't know what to do with myself since my thesis is finished. I'm also relieved. I've spent the last 4 months or more staring at my computer screen, and now I will hopefully get to enjoy my summer! But before I'm officially a meat master, I have to defend my thesis in two weeks (June 17 to be exact) so I will spend the next two weeks preparing for that. Luckily my seminar this spring will make up the bulk of my defense presentation, so I don't have to add too much to it.

Now I have to get back to packing. I move to Austin, MN tomorrow, and my first day of work for my internship is Monday. I'm one of those people who really hates change so I'm just kind of dreading it all, but I know it's going to be fine. I'll keep everyone posted on how things are going!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


So my favorite TV show (aside from old Seinfeld re-runs) is hands down Grey's Anatomy. It's got a little bit of everything: humor, drama, blood, romance... what more do you need?? It's one of those shows that you sometimes get a little too wrapped up in and pretty soon you want to live out your love life through the MerDer relationship and want to find your own "McDreamy". This obsession all started about 3 years ago at 4H House. My beloved roomies, Jessica, Bethany, Rachel, and I were watching the Super Bowl and these commercials for some show called "Grey's Anatomy" kept playing. The commercials consisted of nothing but the words CODE BLACK and then people looking very serious. The more this went on, the more we had to know what CODE BLACK meant. We watched the episode after the Super Bowl, and we found out that Code Black meant that there was an unexploded bomb inside a guy. We continued to watch and witnessed a bomb squad guy explode into dust, and were first introduced to the love affair between Meredith and Derek...needless to say we were instantly hooked. After that. every Sunday night the four of us would all pile onto the futon (yes 4 girls on one futon...we were quite the sight) and tune in to see what our favorite interns were up to that week. There were many times that we got complaints from rooms down the hall about our shocked screams, bursts of laughter, or frustrated rants because something didn't happen the way we wanted. After the show we would then spend about an hour dissecting what had happened. Like I said, we were obsessed. But these nights we spent together are some of my favorite memories of the 4 of us together.

Tonight was the 5th season finale of Grey's Anatomy and it was a doozie. Of course by the end of the show I was completely in tears. But probably my favorite part of tonight were the text messages, phone calls, and Facebook posts which took part during and after the show was over. Jessica and I discussed the occurrences and shared theories on what would happen next. Rachel, who's missed this season except for the last two episodes, (I told you that you needed to be watching!) sent messages about how shocked she was as well. Bethany had something to go to and missed it, but I'm sure she'll watch it tomorrow online and I'll hear her comments on it as well. I know it's just a silly TV show, but I love the memories of watching it with the best roommates in history and that it still brings us together. I remember Jessica ranting one night and giving a speech about how Grey's brings us together and we'll never forget the nights we spent on that futon and she was absolutely right.

There's really no point to this post, other than I've just been feeling very nostalgic lately with college coming to an end, and tonight just reminded me of how lucky I am to have great friends and entertaining TV! :)

Bethany, Jessica, Rachel, and Rachel - The fearsome foursome

Dr. Derek Shepard (McDreamy) and Dr. Meredith Grey - aka MerDer

Monday, April 27, 2009

Working Woman

Just wanted to let everyone know, if they haven't heard yet, I'm officially employed! This past week I accepted my offer, and I will be interning with Hormel Foods in Austin, MN in the research and development department. I'm excited about the opportunity, and I think I will learn a lot. It's still up in the air about what will happen in August (I may end up going home to farm yet), but I'm just happy to be working and making some $$$ :) This also means I have a lot of work to get done before I start at Hormel in June. I can't believe it's all coming to an end!

No real other news to report. I spent the weekend in Lincoln with Ace. After beautiful weather all week I was really excited for the weekend. But Mother Nature won another round, and the weather was cold, rainy, and gloomy all weekend. But we still managed to have a pretty good weekend. I got to visit Rachel and David for awhile on Friday and Sunday. They never fail to entertain me :)

This week I intend to get very serious about writing. My goal is to finish writing in the next two weeks so I have the last two weeks of May to kind of do what I want. I really want to help the girls in my pledge class from 4H House celebrate graduation in Champaign, but I just don't know if I'm going to have time to get down there. Also this week, me and my officemates' wives are dragging the guys to see Cats on Tuesday! I'm super excited, but I'm a nerd like that :) I'll have to update on how it was.

So that's it for tonight. Lots of work to do tomorrow so it's off to bed!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Yeah it's been awhile again since I updated this....again. But to be honest this thing is the last thing on my mind most days. The job search continues. Most of you know that I've been offered an internship, and I'm probably going to end up accepting it. I think it will be a great experience and I will learn a lot, but I just hate that I don't know what will happen in August when the internship ends. I've just been trying to be positive and keep my head up, but to be honest there are days when I fail miserably at doing that. But I know everything will work out in the end....

When I'm not job searching, you can find me in front of a computer working on my thesis. It's coming along. Nothing too exciting to report about it.
On the more entertaining side of life, I got to spend 4 fabulous days at home last weekend for Easter. I wish I could get home more often. It was so great to just relax and re-charge for a few days. The river was out, yet again, and so I've been banned from coming home until after we're completely done planting corn because I seem to bring the water with me when I come home. Saturday we had Smith Easter at Sunday was Gognat Easter dinner. Needless to say I didn't spend the weekend being hungry! I got to see my mom's new kitchen which is AMAZING. She has a ridiculous amount of cabinet space and an overload of lights that she likes to call her "light factory". Of course the rest of our house isn't finished yet so when you first walk into our house it looks like we live in a poor man's shanty with a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling and bare walls with wires hanging out everywhere. I'm anxious to see what it will be like when it's finished. It won't be the same house anymore!

*Smith Easter*

*Egg hunting*

*The Smith Bunch Band*

*Mom and I failing miserably on the drums*

Of course no trip home would be complete without stopping in Champaign. I spent Thursday night visiting with everyone. I miss that town and all the people there so much. It was so great to see everyone and I hope I can make it back to celebrate graduation with my ohniners before the end of the semester!

*Dallas and I*

*4H House 09s*

I also got to spend some time with Adrienne while I was home. She got to come up to Ames a month ago, and I'm so glad that we've stayed such close friends even though I live so far away.

*Adrienne and I*

To wrap this update up. This past weekend was Veishea here at Iowa State. Veishea is a university celebration that includes a parade, food, and entertainment of all kinds. The spring football game happened to fall during the weekend so the guys brought out ISU 911 for one last time. I've had such a great time during my time at Iowa State and have been blessed to meet some really great friends. The past few weeks it's finally started to hit me that I'm almost done with college. From Wabash, to Illinois, to Iowa State I've collected an amazing group of people that I'm priveledged to call friends. It's been a great six years!

*Amy, me, Leah, and their friend Casey*

Well that's it for now. I'll try to write again soon, but I'm not promising anything!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Who says you can't go home?

Really who said that? That's just what I did this past weekend. Went back to Illinois and it was glorious! :) This time I even managed to convince Ace to come with me. We left Ames early Friday morning to avoid the snow storm that was supposed to hit. We rolled into Champaign around 5 and started making the rounds visiting people. It was such a great weekend. I got to see everyone I wanted to see (except I missed Megan again!). Mom and Dad came up and took Ace and I out to eat and then Rob came up Saturday night to help celebrate Lindsey's birthday. I miss all of my friends in Illinois so much. It was so great to catch up with all of them and get out of Iowa for the weekend.

Then it was back to reality this week. I finally finished my lab work the first week of February and have been working away on my lit review. It's slowly coming along. Between writing and job hunting I've definitely started feeling a little stressed. Looking for a job in a recession isn't any fun. There are jobs available but I'm almost too qualified for them. I'm going to have to take a job and work my way up. It's not the most ideal situation, but I just keep telling myself that it's all going to work out one way or another. If anyone out there is looking to hire a meat scientist give me a call!! ;)

Other than that, I've been pretty boring lately. I have been doing a work out class which has been hard work but really good. I've lost a few pounds and I think I'm going to sign up for the class again. Also, Adrienne is coming to visit this weekend so I'm excited to show her all that Iowa has to offer...hahaha.