Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Since my family is Jewish, the holiday of Christmas has little meaning or value to us. My family often celebrates it the same way the rest of the Jews do, by going out to a Chinese restaurant and then going to a movie! It's great :o) Needless to say, Christmas is not the biggest holiday for us. Since I was home for a week at Thanksgiving, and I need to save vacation time for graduate school interviews later this winter (hopefully, that is), I decided to stay in Madison for the first time in 5 years for Christmas and New Years.
Tim and I were both able to get off for 5 days, and decided to make the long drive up to visit Tim's parents in Spicer, MN. We decided to leave at 12:30am (yes am!) because Madison was going to get pounded with oh-my-good-grief-MORE snow sometime around 3am and we never would have been able to safely get up to Spicer. I was in bed, in my PJs, with the lights off, when Tim came home from work and wanted to leave (grrrrr). Although I was NOT thrilled to drive through the night, it worked out well because Cooper slept the whole way and we were able to miss the snow storm that Madison DID indeed get.

We arrived in Spicer at the crack of dawn around 7:30am. Luckily, Tim's parents are wonderful and took great care of us, so from the moment we arrived we were fed like royalty, Cooper was spoiled rotten, and the relaxation began! Tim's brother, Dan, was also home for the holidays, and his girlfriend Sarah joined us on Friday (this was the first time Tim and I met her and we liked her very much :o) ). I also got to celebrate Christmas "Court" style. There were lots of presents for everyone (including Cooper! Jennifer and John like to spoil their grand-puppy), TONS of great food, and TONS of great sugary treats. Here are some of the images from the weekend:

Tim and Dan opened their gifts to each other first:

Cooper helped open some of his presents too; and he had a lot:

Dan got these two flying remote control helicopters that we had way more fun with than anyone over the age of 6 should:

We also lit the Chanukah candles three nights since Jennifer is also Jewish so we had quite a few Jews in one room (Tim knows the Chanukah prayer, and his basketball team used to make him say it before some of their games in high school, haha!):

We had a very relaxing weekend! I was not excited about the 6 hour drive back, but Cooper only had one mini-meltdown and we were able to make good time so it wasn't too bad. Not to mention it wasn't in the middle of the night this time! Thanks Jennifer and John for a great weekend!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

First Bath, First Snow

Since Tim and I aren't very exciting, I'll just keep posting about Super Chewper Cooper. Although Cooper has lost most of his baby teeth, he did manage to chew threw a lamp power cord and my computer power cord, as well as discover the games of "grab the toilet paper and run" and "jump on the kitchen chairs and eat people's food"! Although we now refer to him as "trouble" more often than we do by his own name, he is still a great puppy! He recently got his first bath. After all the snow, and the rain, and the muddy snow, and the freezing muddy snow, we decided it was time to wash him. Our white puppy wasn't looking so white anymore.Cooper wasn't a big fan, but he obliged:

It was very wet, but totally worth it! He thought he were punishing him though, since spent most of the day in the kitchen because he was always wet after walks, and then we locked him in the kitchen after his bath:

Well just in time for his bath, we got our first big snow storm. Although we have gotten snow a few times, we got pounded on Friday. We're talking 10" between midnight and dawn! This is what our steps looked like at 6am:

Cooper took one look at this and said "I'm going back to bed." I didn't blame him. We tried a little later, when the snow wasn't coming down sideways, and he at least gave it a shot. Keep in mind that 10" of snow comes up to his shoulders, so the other mode of transportation through this mess is bounding through the powder. Here's how deep it was (Cooper is walking through a car tire track):

Cooper had tons of fun eating, running, playing and galloping through the snow. Unfortunately the piles are very deep (some higher than me and Tim) so he's having some trouble understanding what to do! But he still loves it, as long as it isn't -20 and windy!

Next week, Tim, Cooper, and I are heading up to Spicer, MN to spend Christmas with Tim's parents and his brother Dan. Tim and I both have off for Christmas Eve and Christmas, and adding in Friday we are turning next week into a 5 day weekend. We are both very excited! I haven't been up to visit Tim's parents in over a year, so I'm looking forward to spending Tim at their place. More to come then!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cooper, Thanksgiving, Grad School, Cooper, Stuff

As usual, another month has passed and so much has happened without a single update! My time flies! Well November flew by for us because Cooper is now keeping us very busy. It turns out that we got not only a crazy puppy, but a bit of a sick puppy. We noticed he was having digestive trouble, and had to take him to a vet only 7 days after we brought him home. Turns out he had campylobacter, a bacteria that not only made him pretty sick, but could make humans pretty sick too. It was pretty serious, but once he got put onto antibiotic he got better quickly, and neither Tim nor I got sick from him. In addition, he also had a yeast infection in both ears, and he probably has some kind of allergies that makes his eyes red! Our poor puppy. However none of this has seemed to phase him, as he has continued to run around, play with his toys, steal Tim's socks from his laundry basket, and steal our shoes to chew on the shoelaces. Cooper has also been discovering snow, and the joys of bounding through deep drifts!

Tim has been keeping incredibly busy too. He has been work at Dick's Sporting Goods quite frequently now that the Christmas shopping season is completely upon us. Instead of opening at 9am, they have been opening at 8am, and next week at 7am. This means that Tim, who is NOT NOT NOT DEFINITELY NOT a morning person, has been forced to get out of bed at hours he wasn't actually aware existed! This unfortunately kept him in Wisconsin over Thanksgiving, as he had the joy of working Black Friday. Luckily his parents and his brother, Dan, were able to come to Madison to spend Thanksgiving with him and Cooper. I was able to go home to Connecticut for the first time in 11 months (it really had been that long!). I got to see my parents, a couple high school friends, and spent a good amount of time relaxing. I also spent a lot of time working on graduate school applications. I completed most of them, and finished the last one once I came back to Wisconsin. I am all finishd applying, and now I get to wait. If all goes wel, I will be invited to interview at several schools, and then hopefully will be accepted to a few as well. The final list of schools is:

- University of Wisconsin
- Univeristy of Michigan
- University of Washington - Seattle
- Oregon Health and Science Univeristy
- Yale University
- University of Virginia

I applied to microbiology programs with the intent to study virology and immunology, possibly sticking with HIV research, returning to influenza research, or finding a new pathogen to study all together! Hopefully some of the schools like me; keep your fingers crossed! As of right now I do not know where I want to go. Wisconsin would be convenient, and it is a great school, but I'm going to see where I am accepted and decide from there.

And again, more Cooper stories! We have had him for over a month now, and he keeps us entertained every day! He has finally started to gain wait again now that he isn't sick, and last time weighed in close to 12lbs (he should be ~25-30lbs when full grown). In addition to bounding through snow, he has been working on his jumping skills. He can finally get on to the couch almost every time (he used to biff it 2 out of 3 times!), but has not yet mastered jumping on to our bed (it is fairly high in his defense). He has been teething like crazy, and therefore biting our hands in lieu of his toys (not our favorite game). We have started to teach him to sit, which he already did on his own most of the time, and to lie down, which he seems to have mastered in a day! Shake is in the near future! Cooper enjoys staring out the window of our apartment and contemplating life, or wondering what that squirrel is doing and how he is going to get it!

I promise to upload pictures sometime to keep these posts interesting, so if you stuck with me down to here, thanks for your commitment and dedication! Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Welcome Home Cooper!

Just as we've been talking about, Tim and I finally got a puppy! We'd been looking all over, but most of the puppies we found were over 2 hours away. A coworker recommended we check out a pet store / rescue shelter in Madison and that's where we found Cooper! He's a black and white cocker spaniel, with a little brown mixed in. He came from a breeder, and he's already been neutred and gotten several vaccines (so we don't have to worry about too much medical stuff right now). HE'S SO SWEET! He's great with people and other dogs, loves to cuddle, has discovered it's fun to rip up Tim's newspapers, and just learned how to go down the stairs today (he used to just stand at the top and look confused)!

We took him home last Wednesday, and he's been doing really well with us. He was a little scared of his new surroudnings, since they were much bigger and a little scarier than his cage at the store. His first walk was a bit traumatic because it was wet, cold, and the blowing leaves scared the hell out of him. He has sinced discovered it's fun to run outside, play with some of the other dogs, eat the leaves (that'll show em!) When he got scared he would run up and sit on our feet, but when we were walking and didn't expect that he got booted a few times. He's a lot braver now so he doesn't do that as often and doesn't get kicked by accident!

He loves to be held, and he loves to snuggle up right next to you.

Cooper was pretty worn out the first day so he just came home, checked out a few things, and slept. He actually slept right through the night! He has sinced learned to wimper, howl, wine, and cry. We're working on his separation anxiety, which is already getting better.

I gave him a Gatorade bottle and he plays with it all the time! It's virtually indestructible, and when he bats at it it rolls across the room and he goes running after it. Tons of fun for him!

He also found our shoes. Luckily he hasn't decided to chew on them yet, only cuddle up on them. Again, Cooper loves to sit on our feet when he gets scared, and he also discovered that under the chairs is a fairly good hiding place (especially when the vacuum comes out). So far he's a great puppy!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Engagement Photos!

Our engagment photos are online! I can't post any here (cause it's stealing) but if you want you can check them out on the website:

password: macnair

We're going to use one of those photos for our Save-the-Date cards, so if you have a favorite let me know! Happy looking :o)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Is it really almost November?!

Wow, time sure has been flying by! Somehow it is almost November, which means fall is almost over, and Wisconsin is about to be buried in a yet to be determined amount of ice and snow... oh winter. Lots has been happening with Tim and I since I last posted, and things are going to continue to be busy for a little while... at least until all my graduate school applications are in!

In preparation for our wedding, Tim and I finally got engagement photos taken! They are not online yet, but once they are I will be sure to post the link so everyone can view them. We took them at the Memorial Union Terrace (classic Madison location, and it's also important to Tim and I because it's part of the university and it's where we got engaged ;o) !). Our photographer seems very nice, and I'm excited to see how the pictures turned out!

We also finally got to go see the Wisconsin Badgers football team play! It was exciting until we were losing, and then we lost, and then it was disappointing. Luckily the first loss we saw was to Penn State, who is now one of the best teams in the country (makes it a little easier to cope with). The second time we got to see the Badgers they also lost, to Ohio State, but this time we forgot to bring our defense... it was not a good game to watch, and we left after the third quarter. I bet Tim could give a better recap of all the things that went wrong, so if you want more details you'll have to ask him! We won't get to see them play again for a couple weeks, but hopefully next time it will be better!

Tim has been working at the Wisconsin State Journal primarily at nights answering the phones when the coaches call in scores after matches/games/meets, but he was also given an opportunity to cover all of the state tournaments for high school tennis. This has kept him pretty busy over the last couple of weeks, spending most of the day at a tournament, coming home and pounding out an article, and then doing it again the next day. He's gotten to see some of the coaches and athletes he used to work with when he was in Lake Geneva, so it's been exciting for him to cover the events and see some of his past acquaintences! Tennis finally came to an end yesterday though, so he's not sure what he will be covering for the next season yet. Tim also have some exciting news, and he got a job working at Dicks Sporting Goods! Although it's not his dream job, it is a job he can work just during the day so his nights can stay open to cover sports and work at the Wisconsin State Journal. It will be low stress (for the most part) and will help pay the bills.

Tim having a job also means we can start looking for a puppy! Tim and I have been talking about getting a dog for over a year, so we are very excited to start looking and preparing! We are not sure what kind of dog we are going to get yet, because we have decided we are going to get one from one of the local shelters. We would like a dog about 30 pounds as an adult, so nothing too big or too small! I'll write more when we make a little more progress ;o)

As for me, I have been working on applying to Ph.D. programs. Lately I've been working on my personal statement, which is basically a summary of why they should except me over another candidate. It's basically a way to tell them about myself, grab their attention, and give me a little personality over the cut and dry academic record from college. It's been a little tough, but I'm getting a lot of good people to help me out. I've also started to ask people for recommendations, which include higher ups that I work with. It's good to have strong recommendations, especially from people within the field you plan on applying, so I'm hoping a strong personal statement and good recommendations will help me out a lot. I also recently became a published author! I will try to post a link, but I can't remember what it is right now! Applications for graduate school are due December 1 at the earliest, so I'm hoping to have them ready by mid-November (before Thanksgiving at least). Hopefully it all goes well!

Well that's the update for now. Hopefully I will be more prepared next time and I can get pictures uploaded too! I hope everyone else is doing well too!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Chicago Pictures, Weddings, Weddings, Weddings!

Wow, the last month has been crazy! It's been filled with many weddings, the start of fantasy football, the start of ACTUAL football, college football, fall recreational soccer for me, and lots of work craziness. So lets back up a few weeks. I was in Chicago visiting a friend, and at the time I was unable to post any pictures because my blogger skills had not yet been refined. Well here are a few shots.

This was the menu from the restaurant we ate at the first night. Sorry, I have no idea what the name was! The menu had pictures of every item on the menu, and they had DOZENS!! There were pages upon page of this stuff! And a whole drink section too!! Athma and I got some awesome drinks there too (see below).

This is Athma's crazy mango jello drink. She probably knows the real name, but for now we'll call it mango jello drink. They were huge! And we got a TON of food and it was still sizzling and boiling when they brought it to us! I would highly recommend it, but knowing the name of the restaurant would be helpful (oops, I'll get back to that sometime).

The Air and Water Show was this weekend too, so there were tons of fighter jets flying throughout the city and (I swear it's true) between the buildings and upside down. It was cool to watch, but a little surprising when you weren't expecting one of the planes to come by. I wasn't able to get any pictures of the planes, but I did get some cool panoramic views of Chicago. Here's one:
We went to the Shedd Aquarium, which is super cool, and I have discovered my new favorite animal... the Sea Dragon. Not Sea Horse, Sea Dragon. They are nocturnal, and look like swimming seaweed. It's hard to get a picture of them because it's so dark, but if you Google them I'm sure there are pictures. We watched a bunch of movies and ate Chicago-style pizza and had a blast! It was a good weekend ;o) Then the following two weekends were dedicated to weddings.
Wedding #1: Mike and Meredith's Wedding
Two of our friends from college got married August 23 in Milwaukee, WI. Tim was one of the groomsmen, so the whole weekend was dedicated to the wedding. Most of Tim's good college friends were part of the wedding, so it was good chance to see friends that no longer live in Madison. We started with the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, where the groomsmen got Wisconsin footballs signed by the head coach (AWESOME!) and then we went to The Safehouse. The Safehouse is a bar in Milwaukee that you need a password to get in to, and if you don't know the password you have to do something embarrassing that they broadcast to the entire bar. You then enter the bar through a secret passage, and the whole bar is spy themed. It's really cool! We also ordered a martini just so we could watch them send it in a crazy chute device around the entire bar.

The next day was the wedding. The church was really beautiful, lots of plants and running water. Mike and Meredith were both walked down the aisle by both parents, which I hadn't seen before but I really like the idea. This was the second Catholic wedding I've been to recently, so I was prepared for how things run (they don't teach us these things at Hebrew school). Here are a few pictures from the ceremony:

Then the wedding party went off and took pictures, and all of us girls went to the Canyon Grill and ordered way more food than we meant to (but it was delicious!). Then the reception started... and the booze started flowing. You can definitely tell as you look at the pictures (not all of the 100 pictures are posted here!). The reception was at a beautiful golf club, and the facilities were amazing. Here are a few pictures:

The reception was TONS of fun! They played a Badger Medley, all of the songs from our days at Wisconsin from the football games, our Alma Mater, and a variety of other crazy songs. I was exhausted by the end of the night! It was so much fun! Tim and I got a lot of good ideas for our wedding, which we should eventually get back to planning! The following weekend we had Tim's cousin's wedding in Arizona.
Wedding #2: Erin and Zachary's Wedding
The wedding was in Phoenix, Arizona. It was over Labor Day weekend, so the rehearsal dinner was on Saturday, the wedding on Sunday, and a brunch on Monday. There were a LOT of people at this wedding, and since so many were coming in to town everyone was included in the rehearsal dinner (about 150 people at least... it was very large). The wedding and reception were at the JW Marriott (which is where we were all staying). I didn't know anything about JW Marriott's, and if you don't know either, it's not really a hotel... it's a resort! There was a lazy river, valet parking was included, butlers to open your car door and let you into the hotel. It was crazy! I spent most of my time with Tim, his brother Dan, and their parents. This was the first time I got to meet his mom's side of the family, including her two sisters Robin (mother of the bride) and Jody, and her brother Scotty. I met lots of other relatives and cousins, and I'm still trying to keep them all straight (150 people, remember). It was a black tie wedding, and a Jewish wedding at that (I suddenly became the Jewish expert that Tim's family turned to with questions). Here are a few pictures:

The boys: Tim's brother Dan, their dad, and Tim.

The girls: Tim's mom and myself

My future family-in-law! We're dressed in our "black-tie" best here.

The ceremony was outside, in the Arizona heat, but luckily it was in the shade. Tim and Dan both did readings during the ceremony.

The cocktail hour just after the ceremony. It was very pretty outside, and it was nice and cool since the sun went down. Tim's mom and I felt great in our dresses, but the boys were not happy in their suits! The dinner was inside, and was delicious! However by the time we got to the dance, Tim, Dan, and I were exhausted (too many weddings). We ended up calling it an early night and heading back to our room. It was a great wedding though!
Finally this weekend, Tim and I have had NOTHING to do! We've stayed in Madison for the first time in almost a month, and we're finishing up organizing the apartment and getting extra things we need. I imagine tomorrow will include lots of lying on the couch and watching football. Eventually we'll need to get back to wedding planning! But for now, we're all weddinged out! Hopefully no one else will get married for a little while ;o)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tim moves in!!

Although Tim and I have technically had the new apartment since July 26, Tim was not actually able to move in until last Sunday, August 17. He was supposed to be able to borrow a truck from a friend's brother, but the friend needed it for work (since that is the trucks main purpose), and then the transmission was blown. So Tim had to wait an extra week and get a UHaul (my second favorite company, after Charter... lots of sarcasm here). Luckily things worked out well, and Tim is finally here!! He is making one more trip back to Lake Geneva to clean his apartment (yuck, I don't even want to think about it) and then we're finally settled! Now we just need to unpack all of these boxes!

That's about all the excitment here. Tim and I will be going to two weddings the next two weekends, one in Milwaukee for friends of ours and one in Arizona for Tim's cousins. After that I'm going to be all weddinged out! I also went to Chicago last weekend to visit a friend from high school, so two more weekends of not being around is going to be a bit overwhelming! I had a blast in Chicago though, went to the Shedd Aquarium, ate tons of good food, and watched the olympics and two really good movies; 21 and Definitely, Maybe. It was great to catch up too. Once all these weddings are over, maybe Tim and I will get back to planning our own! We'll see... ;o)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

New Beginning and Long Update

Some of my family, and now some of my friends, have created blogs to help people stay in touch. I've considered starting one, but now I'm actually doing it because it seems like a perfect time. A few days ago, Tim and I moved into our first apartment together! It's a nice apartment, two bedrooms, two baths, vaulted ceilings, in unit washer and dryer, wood burning fireplace (will be nice during those Wisconsin winters when it drops to -30F outside!), and a garage that will be nice for storage. It's in a great location, right behind the west side mall, near REI, a movie theatre, all kinds of shops and restaurants, and target! The place is a mess right now, and once I learn how to upload pictures I will make sure to do so! Once we get settled and Tim figures out a job, we are also going to get a puppy!! Many pictures will follow that one, but that is quite a ways down the road!

So here's what I'm up to! I'm still in Madison, Wisconsin, and overall things are going really well! I graduated last year, and for the past year I've been working in an AIDS Vaccine Research Lab here in Madison. Work is great, although as of recently some things have not been working so it's been frustrating. But that's kind of how science woks; it's a very frustrating field! But aside from that, work is great. I get along really well with everyone, the work is interesting, and it's great experience. I'm preparing to apply to graduate school this fall to attend a PhD program next year (assuming I get accepted somewhere!). My number one choice is, of course, Madison, since it means Tim and I can stay here and we won't have to move and he won't have to find a new job! UW is very competitive for graduate school, so it's not going to be easy, and I'm definitely looking at other schools all around the country. So basically next year is completely up in the air! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

As for other things, life is good. As of 3 days ago, Tim and I finally moved into our first apartment together... FINALLY! Well, I'VE moved in, Tim's lease is not up until the end of August so he's taking his sweet time moving. Hopefully this coming weekend we can really start to organize and make this place look a little more livable! Tim is still working on finding permanent work in the area, but he is freelancing for one paper and might be doing a part time job at another paper, so hopefully one of those will become a more permanent position. In the meantime, I'm the breadwinner of the house, which isn't exactly what my income can support! We'll make it work though. And once Tim does get a job, we are planning on getting a puppy!! I want a dog so badly, and our apartment lets us have a dog up to 30 pounds (perfect!). We're not sure what kind we will be getting since we are planning on going to the animal shelter, but we're thinking a spaniel or a terrier of some sort. I'm so excited! but again, that's a ways off! For now, I have 4 fish that keep me happy. One is a 4-year old guppy (I don't know how he isn't dead yet) a blue gourami, a catfish that I haven't seen more than twice since I bought him a couple months ago (he hates the light) and my newest fish is a red gourami. They are fairly entertaining for fish; who knew fish had personalities?!

And yes, we are finally underway with the wedding planning. We have a date, June 13, 2009, the place is picked out, and we have a photographer and I've found a wedding dress! We will be sending out save-the-dates and invitations and stuff once we get a little more settled (hopefully soon!). There's a lot left to do, but my parents are helping us a lot, even from Connecticut, and Tim's parents are helping us out too. It's a lot to deal with between work, graduate school, taking GREs, planning a wedding, and moving! It's nice to have a few of the big things figured out, and we need to get a few more big things figured out and then it's just the smaller details.

I'm still swimming and biking and running a bit, but mostly just to stay in shape now. I did do one triathlon this summer, in Ohio where my sister lives, and that went well (except for the run... swimming don't run... ever... ever... ever...)! It was an olympic distance, which was a 0.9 mile swim, a 25 mile bike, and a 6 mile run. The weather was great, and I had a lot of fun doing it :o) I might try to do one more event this summer or this fall, but I've yet to decide which one! In the meantime, I'm just swimming for fun, and I bike to work everyday, and I run ever once in a while. I also started playing soccer with some work peeps so that gives me another reason to run! I'm starting to get better too, seeing as I haven't played organized soccer since I was in 5th grade!

Well, that's really about it!! Nothing too exciting, but lots of things to figure out and plan over the next couple of months. Grad school apps are due early December, and then I get to play the "wait-around-and-sweat" game while they take their time making a decision. Should be fun... hopefully I'll have a puppy by then to distract me! For now, that's about all!