Mindless Eating

We’re delving into dangerous territory. I’ve been considering starting a recommendations section but have resisted because well… who wants to trust the tastes of a Midwestern 20-something? I can resist no longer.

While in grad school, I had a weekly (ahem… required) graduate seminar. One Friday, we had a speaker that actually inspired me to put away the Sudoku puzzle. His name was Brian Wansink. At the time, we was a professor at the business college at the University of Illinois. We recently lost him to Cornell, but no matter.

Not only was Brian a fantabulous speaker, but his area of research is simply fascinating. Why the heck do we overeat? Clearly it’s been an increasing problem in the United States, and we all know this. I’m starting to fall asleep at the keyboard just typing it out. Brian has spent the last who-knows-how-many years researching the environmental and psychological cues that surround our eating experiences, and he’s written a book about it. It’s called Mindless Eating. And no… he’s not a psychologist, he’s a marketing guy. (Further proof that the line between these two fields grows ever thinner.)

So what’s so cool about his work? His experiments. Absolutely hilarious. From handing out stale, free popcorn at theaters to rigging soup bowls so that they automatically refill from the bottom, unbeknownst to the eater. In what type of glass is a bartender likely to overfill by 28%? Many, many different studies have been done. And, wait for it… much of the research was done while he was professor at the Universtiy of Illinois! In fact, the site of many experiments was at my home sweet home, the Bevier Café.

So check it out if you feel so inclined. I don’t know how widespread the distribution is, but odds are, it’s gonna be popular. But what the heck do I know? 😉

April Showers

It’s late, actually… it’s tomorrow. But a favorite movie started playing on TBS, my one channel of interest in my meager basic cable package, and it started storming. I love listening to the rain through my open windows. So I figured now would be a good time to post some updates just to let everybody know what’s going on!

First off, I deposited my thesis last Friday. For those who aren’t familiar, when you finish your thesis, you have to defend it in front of your thesis committee. For me, that was three professors. Then, once they signed off, I had to take it to a departmental revisor so they can check that the format is correct. Then you have to take it to the graduate college office to undergo another format check. Once you’ve made your revisions, then you can deposit, otherwise known as turning in your manuscripts to the graduate college. After that point, the thesis is finished. Woohoo! Done!

Now Andy and I have been busy coordinating our big move to Texas. We’d like to get a moving company to move us, so we’re busy getting people out to the apartment to perform surveys and prepare quotes. We’ll be moving after my graduation in mid-May, so we’re getting closer and closer!

Mom and I went to the bridal shop today to have my second dress fitting. It was amazing to put on the dress and have it fit. I didn’t have massive clips holding the excess fabric in the back, and the skirt was hemmed enough to walk around in without tripping. Whoa baby! The wedding day is definitely sneaking up!

Catch-Up Time!

A lot has gone on this past week, so I figured I’d lump everything into one post.

I finished my thesis… finally… and distributed it to my thesis committee. I’ll defend about a week from now, and after that, I’m home free!

My spring break was last week, and I spent the first half with Andy. We celebrated his 24th birthday last Tuesday at the Cheesecake Factory. The dinner location gave me an excuse not to make a cake for him. I’m still licking my wounds from the homemade yellow cake/sponge atrocity I made for Andy’s birthday last year. How a girl, who spent three summers making at least 40 yellow cakes a day, could churn out such a horrific mess… I will never know! I digress…

I drove to Mom and Dad’s house for the latter half of the week. Andy took a day off work on Friday to help get some groom-inclusive plans finished. We had our pre-marital counseling session with our minister, met with the wedding coordinator through the church, and Andy picked the tuxes for the boys.

News came that Andy’s grandpa Jim passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, so Andy and I had an impromptu visit to Kansas City this weekend. We visited with the family and attended Jim’s memorial service. Andy and I drove back home yesterday, and Andy continued on to his apartment this afternoon. I guess that means that it’s time for things to get back to normal.

Oh yes. After a struggle with additional mice in the apartment, I caught another mouse in a trap and haven’t seen any evidence of the dirty little vermin since!

The Argument for Cats

I know a lot of people don’t care for cats. They’re lazy. They’re indifferent. (One of which I don’t think is true.) But Mookie reminded me why I continue to feed her and clean her cat box daily.

Yes folks, tonight Mookie caught a mouse. I heard a ruckus in the utility closet, and, when I went to investigate, I saw her backing quickly out of a cramped corner. When she turned around, the little limp, gray body was hanging out of her mouth

Unfortunately, the mouse was still alive.

Mookie trotted down the stairs, and I ran after her. She dropped the mouse in the kitchen, caught it again, dropped it in the foyer, and caught it again. She dropped it in the living room, where the mouse dashed under my curio cabinet. Mookie pounced under the cabinet, and when she backed out, she had the mouse hanging out of her mouth. I was duly impressed.

I finally got her to drop it when I was close by so I could cover it with a mug and take it out to a wooded area behind my building.

Mookie is now my favorite creature on the face of the earth. She is currently laying out in the utility closet waiting for Mickey’s friends to make more appearances. ::shudder ::

One Wicked Weekend

Hmmm where to start, where to start. Okay, I know. How about the seminar I gave to all the graduate students in Food Science on Friday? The presentation itself went well. I got a lot of good feedback, which could have been because my slides were well organized and I talked slowly and clearly, but I tend to think it was because I brought in cookies and peanut butter crackers for my audience. I got nailed with questions at the end. My advisor ended up having to answer two for me. That was a low point, but in the end… it’s over!

Fast forward to when I drove home after the seminar. I pulled up to the mailboxes outside my apartment, and, instead of leaving my car door open like I usually do, I shut it behind me (I think you see where this is going) as to not block in the UPS man. And yes, the door was locked, and yes, the car was running. So I’m in the parking lot of my apartment building. The apartment key is locked in the car, and ironically enough, the spare car key is locked in my apartment. I call management, get the key, etc etc, onto the weekend!

On Saturday, Andy and I drove downtown and ordered our wedding rings. I’m pretty excited about that. I picked out a ring that I’m going to wear for the rest of my life in 5 minutes flat. But you know what? That’s the kind of girl I am. Of course, it took longer than that because the jeweler kept showing me different options, but now we’ve got a major wedding thing out of the way. Woohoo!

After that, we met up with my parents and spent the rest of the afternoon shopping around downtown. That evening we got all dooded up and ate out at The Saloon. A steakhouse much like Morton’s, but it’s on street level (i.e. not in a basement) so it had a little lighter ambience. Very nice.

On our way to the restaurant, before we left the hotel, I got nervous and decided to take a bunch of medication with me. Some Pepcid, Imodium, and two Tylenol. I didn’t have a formal purse to match my dress, so I shoved the bare pills into my coat pocket. I said, “I sure hope this pocket doesn’t have a hole in it!” but come on… if you say something like that, doesn’t it like… have to happen? I stick my hand in the pocket and find a big gaping hole. So I now have two Tylenol, two Imodium, and one Pepcid floating around my floor length formal coat. But me being me, I went after them. During the cab ride to The Saloon, I found and extracted every pill, except one Tylenol. Not too shabby! :)

After dinner, we went to see Wicked at the Oriental Theater. Man… it was so good. I’m not even going to try to describe it, but very entertaining and the costuming was just to die for. I knew that Intro to Makeup, Hair, and Costume Design class I took freshman year would pay off! And the theater itself is worth the trip. I have never in my life seen a theater with that much going on on the inside. The walls, the ceilings, amazing.

For the next two weeks, I’ll be writing my thesis. Er go, I will be a lifeless drone staring at a computer screen for 14 hours a day. So take care, everyone, and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks!