Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Kicky Punchie

Hey everyone!  Dallin here.  Katie wanted to do a post about me starting at the studio (which means you probably would have gotten it earlier than you are), but I wanted to write it, so here it is!  I started at Omega Martial Arts in Salem, Utah on the last day of June.  I'm testing for my white-yellow belt tomorrow, so we might post some pictures once that's done.  Here's a few pictures from my third day:

This stance is called "Jhoon-Be", which is basically the "stand at attention" stance when you're not doing anything.

This is the fighting stance, although I have since learned that my fists are not in the right position in this picture.  I also shouldn't be leaning back.  Hey, I'm still learning.

Another one of me.

If you look closely, you can see I have one stripe on my belt, which is for basics.  For each belt, you have to pass off basics, self defense, sport combinations (which is basically several moves put together), forms, and sparring.  Then you have to get a sixth pre-testing stripe, which basically means that you're ready to test.  I got that today.

I didn't realize at first how taxing Taekwondo would be on my body.  It's based primarily on kicking, and I never realized kicking took it out of you that quickly.  For the first few days, I would throw maybe ten kicks and then be out of breath.  Luckily I've gotten a lot more stamina and I can usually handle things okay now.  My flexibility has also increased a lot, though I'm still struggling with the roundhouse kick and side kick that I need to do for my next belt.  All in good time.

I'm going to be moving pretty quickly for the next couple weeks since we're trying to get me to a yellow belt by mid-August (three belts past where I am now).  We'll see how that goes.  Overall, I'm really enjoying it, and I'm glad I have something to help me get in shape (since I apparently can't do it myself).

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Katie's Birthday

Birthdays are even better when you're married!  Dallin surprised me with a banana peach smoothie and pancakes for breakfast in bed this morning. And then he rented me a puppy this afternoon!
Scout has to be one of the most mellow dogs I've ever met. 

 She wasn't really a fan of her chew toy, but an old sock?  Man, she thought that was the best thing ever!
Once she was done exploring (which she did a lot) and playing (which she did for maybe 15 minutes) she got cuddly. 

And then she got tired.  This doesn't look at all comfortable to me, but Scout seemed to like it!

Once we returned the puppy we got 2 watermelon, 2 cucumber, and 4 tomato plants at buy one get one free to put in the garden where our seeds didn't do much. (and by much, I mean anything.)  We found several interesting things in digging the few holes we did to plant the new plants, mostly scraps of metal.  I'm wondering what all is down there!  And, if that might not be part of the reason some of our seeds didn't do so well.  (bugs and late planting in the heat were also part of the problem)

And, Look what I finished tonight! My honors portfolio! It's ready to go in tomorrow!
Dallin got my cake finished just as he left for work, so he's coming home on his lunch break for chocolate cake at 2 am.  I'll be ready for bed once he goes back to work!  Poor boy, he's going to be very tired when he gets done tomorrow morning.  We're looking forward to the minion movie and Tucanos with Mom and Dad Dressman and Ann tomorrow evening!

Tour of the Lab

As many of you know, I'm working on an ORCA research project and my honors thesis.  Both projects involve making a microfluidic device and preterm birth.  One of them is trying to figure out why a certain protein tends to be in higher concentrations in a woman's blood when she is going to deliver preterm.  The other is making a device that a doctor could use to predict whether or not a pregnancy was going to end in premature labor.  (Not including trauma induced premature labor.)

Here are a few pictures from around the lab(s):

After I print the designs onto the templates for my devices in the clean room (in the Clyde building) I etch it in this hood so the design can be embossed into the device. 
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Several molds are made out of a single wafer, so we break them apart and inspect the templates here. 

You can see the molds in the petri dish at the top of this photo.  The green lines are what's going to be imprinted into the device to make the microfluidic channels.  The square rectangle to the left of the razor blade in the center is a paper covered piece of PMMA, a substance similar to glass and plastic. I use the razor blade to take the paper off, wash it well in IPA and distilled water and then compress it with a template between 2 glass slides and 2 copper plates (pictured to the right of the center razor blade).  The contraption is then held together with 4 C-clamps.  
This is where I dry my PMMA off and put them in their glass slide/copper plate sandwiches. 
I use this drill to drill reservoirs into the cover plate.  The cover plates are then put side by side into a glass slide/copper plate sandwich held together by C-clamps as well.

This is what they look like when they've had their holes drilled and the edges cleaned up. 

Once they're clamped together, a cover plate/glass slide/copper plate sandwich and 3 template/plastic/glass slide/copper plate sandwiches go in this oven at 138 degrees for 25 minutes or so to imprint the channels into the slides and flatten the cover plates.

Once they cool, I align a cover plate that's had holes drilled into it and a glass slide that's had the channels imprinted into it, sandwich them between glass slides and copper plates, clamp it all together with C-clamps, and put them in this oven for another 25 minutes or so at 110 degrees to bond the two pieces together.

This is what they look like when they come out of the oven and are cooling.

This is what the finished devices look like.  (Sorry, it's an old pic of a well used device from my cell phone)

This white microscope is the microscope I use to inspect my devices and make sure the channels aren't compromised.
This is the lab bench where I test the channels with IPA and clean them on vacuum suction overnight.  The smallest particle can clog a device so gloves are always warn and the utmost care is taken to keep them clean.

I use this bench to make buffer solutions and to label proteins and peptides.
This is part of our chemical supply.  (Not pictured includes: samples that have to be refrigerated and flammables)
This is where I store my labeled samples and buffers between use.
This is the bench top and microscope I use to run my separation e

This is a close up of the microscope/laser combination I use to electrophoretically separate my PTB biomarkers and quantify them by detecting the light produced when a laser hits the florescent tags I put on my proteins and peptides.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

Hope everybody had a great 4th of July!  It's always been one of my favorite holidays as it corresponded to Brower family reunions, Brower BBQ chicken, cousins, and Stadium of Fire fireworks when I was in my single digits.  I had to laugh at myself when Dallin asked me what my family did for the 4th of July and that was what I responded with.  It's been about 15 years since that's how we celebrated the 4th, but apparently time is irrelevant in this instance.

We had planned to go see a movie with Mom and Dad Dressman, go to a family BBQ and then spend the evening with our neighbors, the pet lesbians.  Unfortunately, our sleep schedule and my nausea led to us sleeping through everything except the neighborhood BBQ and firework show.  Poor Dallin had to leave before the firework fun for work. 

Here are a few pics from the evening:

Dallin, how can you be this bored... 

when you have this all around you?

Brian was very happy he got shot.

The crew and the inflatable movie screen.

Chad and Kimberly's dogs did much better this year with the fireworks than they have in years past.  This was shortly before they got put in the car.  

And of course, pretty fireworks!  Unfortunately, Dallin had to go to work before this part of the night happened.


Saturday, July 4, 2015


What does a daddy tomato say to a little tomato when he falls behind?  "Ketchup, Son!"

As my aunt and cousins say, "pictures or it didn't happen." Instead of trying to give a comprehensive overview of the first 30 days of our marriage, I'm using my cousins saying to guide what gets covered and what doesn't. (Thanks Mom and Dad Dressman for the camera!)

Highlights of the honeymoon included:

Chichén Itzá

and Tulum (You can see the main temple in the background and to the right in the picture on the left)

with Helaman, 

a pirate cruise,

swimming with the Dolphins at Xelha,

getting fantastically burnt as they wouldn't let us wear sunscreen until after we had played with the dolphins,


and a sailing trip

to the Isla de Mujeres.  

This slow cooker is my new best friend when it comes to Sunday dinners.  (Thanks Michael!!) 

And, I'm in love with my new dishes, my Grandma Brower's stoneware.  It gets used on special occasions, like our first fancy homemade Sunday dinner. (Thanks, Mom and Dad Brower!)

We spent the weekend of June 20th in Cedar city for the Summer Games.  It was pretty obvious I haven't been spending as many hours in the studio as I used to, but I did medal in weapons and sparring and only missed medaling in forms by a tie breaker. 

Sparring would have gone much better if I hadn't had bronchitis.  Air is necessary when it comes to fighting. 

Dallin also started at the studio this last week (06/30).  We'll have to get pictures in his new uniform to include in the next update.

The Brower Family Reunion was June 27.  We didn't make it to the Redneck slide until after 6pm.  Dallin's temp job, working graves as a stocker at Walmart, makes it hard to do much during the day.  We really hope it's temporary and he gets something in his field soon.  He was pretty bummed to have to leave early to get back to his 10pm-7am shift.

Of course, the traditional game of Volleyball occurred.  Maybe some day I'll be athletic enough to not be a handicap to my team and I'll actually consider playing.  This year was not that year.

Aunt Jan made Lizzy a beautiful cake for her 9th birthday! 

On the way home we stopped at the Wellsville Burger King for a pit stop.  We really hope that the spelling of Welcome is a play on Wellsville.