Friday, December 18, 2009

Defensive Bowling

When Ron, Audrey, Mom and I went Bowling after I defended my Dissertation we proved that the Merrell's are not great bowlers. Only one of us broke 100, but we sure had fun trying!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


So on my trip this summer I had to take a plane from Cleveland to Columbus. It ended up being a little tiny prop plane. It was crazy small! I was sitting right behind the prop on the left-hand side. It was a short ride, but takeoff and landing are crazy short in such a little plane!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Smells Like Money to Me

I grew up in a little tiny town called Animas, New Mexico. I didn't grow up on a farm, but I grew down the street from one. My childhood home was on Hog Farm Rd.
M & M Hog Farm was a joint venture. One 'M' stands for my grandpa Adair Merrell, and the other 'M' stands for his cousin and good buddy, Marcel Mortensen. My dad worked for them until the Hog Farm shut down in the early nineties.
As a pig farm, there was a pretty strong odor that was in evidence when you were downwind. My grandpa would always "smells like money to me!" I have so many great memories of growing up in a small town and growing up so close to my grandparents!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blowing my nose purple

So for all of the years that i have lived in Provo, I've heard about the festival of colors at the Krishna Temple down in Spanish Fork that happens every spring. There has been something come up every year where I wasn't able to make it, but nothing kept me from it this year! Well, we kind of made it... We had to park so far away, that we were at the street in front of the temple right as they started throwing the colors.

There wasn't any color for Darcie and I to buy, but just wandering around in the middle of the crowd got us pretty colored up.
There were several people from the ward that we met there...
And you can't go to the Krishna Temple without saying hi to the llamas!!!
Breathing in all that dust made me blow my nose purple for days!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ms. no More

No, I'm not engaged, or even dating anyone, but I recently reached a milestone in my life. It has to do with getting a Ph.D., but it isn't graduation that I'm talking about. The fact that I have Ph.D. means that when I'm filling out forms and they require me to put a title before my name, I don't have to put Ms. anymore! I can now choose Dr. That's right, Dr. Karen Merrell.

Life is all about the little victories!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Stuff It

I didn't have much of a garden this year, but I did get a few great tomatoes out of it. I had a few of them for dinner one day. I hollowed them out...
Cooked some quinoa in chicken stock in my little rice cooker...
I sauteed some onions...
Browned some sausage...
Mixed them all together, stuffed the tomatoes, and topped it with some cheese and baked until the cheese was golden and yummy!So Tasty! I love good food!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Heeeeere's Jonny!

I know this post is a little late in coming, but I want to introduce those of you who haven't met my newest nephew.

Jonathan Dean Merrell
Delivered 28 Jun 09, at 10:21am
(9 lbs 7 oz, 22 inches long)

He is taking after his Daddy in more than one way! He is so big! In this picture 7 week old Johnny is almost as big as 1 year old Kate!Here's the cute "little" family on the morning Johnny got blessed...
Here he is being loved on by Anna and Jared...
Showing off his ginormous man-baby hands sleeping on Anna's lap...
Here's the rest of the Merrell clan!

Friday, December 11, 2009

You want me to go WHERE!?!?

Speaking of Karl and Leslie's wedding reminds me of the trip down there. I drove down to St. George and went from there with my mom and little sister. We have to cross the Hoover Dam every time we want to get to NM via AZ.
Apparently, the Hoover Dam hasn't been holding up as well as it should, so the Powers That Be decided to build a suspension bridge over a different part of the canyon. It was well underway when we crossed the Dam. Here's my mom's reaction at the prospect of having to go over the bridge:She has had a fear of heights ever since Nana made her ride the huge Ferris wheel at the World's when she was a little girl. Little Babs had her eyes closed tight and Nana kept yelling at her to open her eyes and that she payed seventy-five cents for her to ride and she better get the most out of it. Apparently, this one experience scarred her for life. It make for a pretty funny picture, though!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Meal to Remember

Not only did I get to spend time with some amazing people and visit some great places, I was also got to eat some amazing food this summer. I can't share the actual food with all y'all, but I can share pictures of a few of the most notable meals with you!
I met up with an old BYU friend, Kathy, in Philly and she treated me to some amazing sushi! I didn't eat a lot of fish growing up, but I was introduced to sushi a few years ago and I discovered that I really liked it. Well, up until this summer I had mostly just tried the rolls. The big slabs of raw fish were a bit of a stretch for me, but I did like them. I may even like raw salmon better than cooked salmon. Well, sashimi-grade salmon. I'm not going to go out and buy me some raw fish to munch on.Here is the Philly cheese steak that I ate in Philly. It was so amazing! Cheesy, meaty goodness... soooo tasty!!
These were the foodstuffs at my cousin Karl's wedding. Horchata, yummy fresh fruit, pecan butter cookies and green-chile brisket soft tacos in fresh, soft corn tortillas. I seriously miss the food that I may have taken for granted when I lived in the Green Chile State!
This wasn't all that much to look at, but it was amazingly tasty. True Cod on a sweet potato hash. At a fish restaurant in Philly, and it was so good!
This was quite possibly the best thing I ate on my trip. Also eaten in Philly, at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant. Blue Crab, Bay Shrimp and Artichoke Dip with fried Pita Chips. We had this for an appetizer on one day, and it was so good that I came back by myself the next day and ate just this as my lunch. Mmmmmmmm........

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More of Me to Love!

Like I said in my previous post, I love all of you, but I also love myself. So here are some pictures of me that I took on the same trip back east!
Here's me at the WWII memorial. It was so hot and humid in D.C. that I bought a hat from a shop in the Old Post Office run by a couple of Korean ladies. I was able to tuck my hair up in the hat and keep it off my neck. Not the most flattering look, but it was a lot cooler than otherwise.In Philly at the Liberty Bell...
Self-portrait at the White House...
At the Theodore Roosevelt memorial
Under the T-Rex at the Smithsonian
Me with Stephen...
Listening to the radio at the Teddy Roosevelt memorial...
In Philly on one of the oldest residential streets in the USA...
Me with Uncle Abe...
With Thomas Jefferson...
In the Dole Line...
And outside the Betsy Ross House. It was so much fun to be able to see all of these amazing monuments. Great tributes to some of the people that gave so much to help make this country what it is today!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blessed with my Presence

This summer I was able to take a trip back east to visit some of my nearest and dearest friends. It was so much fun! I visited Kristina in DC. Kristina was my only Poly-Sci roommate, so it's all too appropriate that I got a picture of her next to the portrait of Stephen Colbert's portrait. He did run for president, after all...

How this particular portrait actually ended up in the Smithsonian is actually pretty funny. Check it out!

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Portrait Accepted - Brent Glass
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

I did hang out with my new friend Mike at the Mass Spectrometry conference I attended in Philadelphia. Mike is a fellow BYU student and neither of us knew the other one was going to the conference. The conference was several days long, and it was nice to have someone to hang out with. Here he is with the infamous Liberty Bell:

Ah, Holly. How I've missed your delightful giggle! I was able to hang out with Holly during the D.C. leg of my trip. We ate some really great food together, and went to a few of the monuments that I wouldn't have been able to make it to. I'm so glad I got to see you!

And then there's Lil Huff! I have missed her so much! I'm so so glad I was finally able to see your home state! And to meet Ben before you two made it final! It was so much fun to hang out with you guys and let Ben buy me food and cook you other food!

There are so many other friends that I love and miss terribly. So many little bits of who I am come from the people that I have lived, worked, and played with. Thanks to all of my family and friends who have helped me to learn and grow! I love you all!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

T - H - I - R - T - Y

What is it about that particular word that seems particularly ominous these days?

Oh... wait... I know...

It's because that is now how many years I have existed upon this fair planet we call earth.

That's right, I have forever left my 20's in the dust. It really freaked me out for a few days there, but I got over it. I still haven't had to write my age as "30" on any forms yet, so maybe all of the freak-outs haven't passed me by yet. We'll see. What day isn't made just a little more fun with a little bit of freakiness?

I'll make a post about the fantastic dinner I made to celebrate later. For now I want to make a list of some of the fun things I have done/experienced this past decade. The following are listed in no particular order...

I have:
  • Hiked Mt. Timpanogos twice
  • Watched the 4th of July fireworks from the Y
  • Watched the sunset from Squaw Peak (don't get all excited, I was by myself)
  • Seen Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, Diamond Rio, Gary Allen, Sawyer Brown, and several others in concert
  • Been featured in the Daily Universe not once, but twice!
  • Been interviewed for a story that aired on KSL (Allowing me to cross "be a TV star" off of the bucket list)
  • Learned Castellano
  • Spent 16 months in Argentina on a Mission for the LDS Church
  • Been videoed walking around the Riverwoods dressed in a Penguin suit
  • Grown my hair out to my elbows, cut it to my chin, then grown it out to my elbows again (current length. I really do look better with long hair)
  • Known the glory that is laser surgery (both for correcting vision and the obliteration of hair follicles)
  • Was told by a man that I am "more of a man than him." He came out of the closet years later. I'm still unsure how to take that particular statement.
  • Fallen up stairs several times. Trust me, this is something to brag about. Plenty of people fall down stairs, but how many people fall up stairs. I have a scar on my shin from falling up the stairs in front of hundreds of people at the movies...
  • Got both a BS and a PhD in Biochemistry
  • Joined a Band (no, not a rock band... a british brass band. Trust me, its cool)
  • Seen Loch Ness, Stonehenge, Tintagel Castle, the Blarney Castle, Mont San Michele, the David, Venice, the Coloseum, the Mona Lisa, the Eiffel Tower, and the cathedral at Notre Dame
  • Discovered the tasty deliciousness that is gruyere cheese
  • Bonded with my Mechanic (he's a catalyst, I'm just stuck in the bin)
  • Became an Aunt several times over
  • Won 5 radio contests in one year
  • Published several articles in scientific journals
  • Won the 2004 ABRF poster award and gave a presentation at the conference
  • Leared how to crochet and knit
  • Read hundreds upon hundreds of books
  • Made more new friends than I can count
  • Lived in 9 different Provo Apartments
  • Learned how to type really fast
  • Got to know my Great-grandpa Orson and great-grandma Lucinda by compiling a book about their life together
  • Lost 20 lbs. in 4 months, and gained it back upon frequent exposure to funeral potatoes
  • Got to hang out with "Majesty" - a Queen tribute band
  • Tried on Miss Utah's crown
  • Grown my own food in several different gardens
  • Almost ODed on fresh cherries (is there anything tastier... mmmmmm...)
  • Went on a California road-trip with little Huff
  • Had several awkward conversations in which I found out I was not in the running for "more than friends" status
  • On a related note, I have not been on cuddling terms with nearly enough guys in my 20s. Here's hoping to do better in that category in my 30s!
  • Taken 7 dance classes. I'm still not very graceful, but I can hold my own on a ballroom floor with a decent lead.
  • Learned the basics of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
I'm sure I'll think of other things to add... The past decade has had its ups and downs, but its been fun! Here's looking forward to my 30s!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Stuck in Zions

I know its now August, but this is a story that I haven't had the chance to tell you all yet. And I'm going to tell you now. Even though we're way closer to the coming Christmas than the one that that involved this story. It's my blog, and I can procrastinate if I want to!

Right... back to the story. Well, this past Christmas it was just Mom, Audrey, and I at home for some of the time. I think my mom felt a little bad that we weren't going to to have as much Christmas craziness as usual, so she planned a fun adventure for us. Saint George is right next to part of Zions National Park and we haven't really had the chance to see much of it, so mom arranged for a jeep tour of part of Zions.

Funny thing is, even though it rarely snows in Utah's Dixie, a huge storm system moved through and there was snow everywhere! We got in the jeep and took off up the mountain. We went a ways and it was beautiful. Not many people see the redrock cliffs of Zions covered in snow, and it was just amazing! As we got higher and higher, there were more and more trucks that had towed snowmobiles up the mountain, unloaded and pulled off to the side of the road. The traffic slowed down a bit and the jeep started slipping and sliding on the road, so we decided to turn around rather than risk getting stuck.

Turning around was a little bit nerve-racking, but we made it OK. We headed back down the mountain, with our guide driving carefully seeing as the road was pretty steep and snow-packed. Unfortunately, because our driver was such a nice guy, when another truck was coming up the road, we pulled to the right to make sure they had plenty of space on the road to get around us. Now, the road wasn't all that narrow, and they probably could have gotten around us in any case. As it was, we pulled right to what looked like road, but was actually just loose snow that the snow plow had leveled off to look like road. There wasn't any paved shoulder to the road, and the dirt shoulder dropped off pretty steeply.

The long and short of it is that we got stuck, and we got stuck good. Our front right wheel was completely buried, and the wheel was just spinning. We spend some time trying to get out. My cell phone didn't get reception, the driver's cell phone didn't get reception, but Mom and Audrey's phones got some reception, so we were able to call for help. Our guide called his Bishop and his strapping sons to come and help us. (Yes, they were all married. My mom made sure to ask.) It took some doing, because the truck that was trying to help pull us out kept slipping.

It was beautiful, but really cold. Especially for Audrey. She has less insulation than Mom and I, so she was really struggling. Her hands got to the point where they were starting to feel numb, so she found an interesting way to keep them warm. Turns out your armpits are one of the warmest spots on your body. Someone else's armpits are sometimes warmer than your own! It was really funny to watch :)

We did finally get out, and headed all the way down the mountain with an entourage. We passed some cowboys driving their cattle in the sunset. We got an additional little bit of tour, and then got dropped off at our car. We went and looked around the museum a bit, saw lots of stuffed animals native to the area, and then went and had a warm dinner at Olive Garden! It was a fun trip, and makes for a good story!

Calvin did drive up and surprise us for Christmas, and we got to spend some time with the Sowards. It was made for a great Holiday Season!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tu-Tu Cute

I am way behind on my blog posts, but am just going to post old stories whenever I get around to it. Hopefully I'll get caught up and things will be in chronological order and recent, but for now just enjoy the stories as they roll out!

My roomate Michèle rented a tutu to run in the Nutcracker 5K this past winter. (The link is pretty outdated, but it'll give you a pretty good idea what it is all about) She mentioned how relatively crappy the tutu was and mentioned how easy it would be to make one. A better one. That gave me an idea. I googled how to make a tutu and was a little surprised at how easy it was to make them. I went to wally-world and bought a whole bunch of sparkly tulle and cut it into strips and looped it onto an elastic waistband.
I made a Barbie pink one for Michèle, a hot-pink and purple one for Katherine, and ones for my nieces: purple for Cindy, pink for Sarah, yellow for Anna, and a little green one for baby Kate. Jared got spiderman pajamas and a cape.
I was pretty sure Ben wouldn't have appreciated me making his son a tutu. Even if it was going to be blue. Everyone was so cute! Merry Christmas to everyone!