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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Poor Riley

Lots of people have been asking about Riley, so I thought I'd post this note. I was walking Riley in the park on Monday with a friend. Riley was only a few feet behind us when we heard him yelp. I turned around a saw a dog on his back biting him. I yelled at the dog and it took off. I followed it to a nearby house then ran back to Riley and looked him over but couldn't see any wounds right off. He was whimpering and I was steaming mad. The dog had come out of nowhere and just ran up and bit my dog! My friend said he'd go talk to the dog owner later and wanted me to cool down.

When I got home from work, I noticed blood on Riley's back. I called the vet, but they were closed so I left a message on their machine asking for an appointment the next day. I went over to the dog owner's home that evening. A woman answered the door and immediately said, "What do you want?!" I explained to her what happened that morning. Her response was, "So. What do you want me to do about it." I told her I wanted to make sure this never happened again, especially since her dog has attacked Riley and other neighborhood dogs numerous times. She got defensive and asked how I knew it was her dog. I described the dog to her, and she said lots of people have chows in the area (total lie). I told her I followed the dog to her house. She denied it was her dog. I then told her I had another witness who could also describe the dog. She said she "might" talk to her husband about it.
The next morning as I was walking Riley, the husband pulled up next to me in his car. He said, "I heard our dogs had an incident yesterday." I explained what happened and he said he was sorry but his dog "don't bite to be malicious" and "he was just doin' what dogs do." I told him that is not what dogs do and ended the conversation.

I took Riley to the vet. They didn't stitch him up because it is a puncture wound. He has one deep puncture wound and one that is more of a scratch. He has bruising around the area too. My vet bill came to $235.10 and there may be more if the wound gets infected. The wound doesn't hurt Riley and he isn't traumatized, so that's a plus. Now I'm filling out a animal bite report. There's not much the city or state can do unless there are three reports filled on this dog, but I do intend on making the dog owners pay the vet bills. I've started asking the neighbors about their experiences with the chow. There have been three other dogs attacked by the chow and two humans charged by it.

I'm asking everyone to report the chow if it is seen off leash anywhere and if it acts aggressively. The attack was bound to happen sometime. The chow has attacked Riley four or five times before, although this is the first puncture bite. I shouldn't have let the other attacks go unreported. Oh well. I've learned. I think the chow's aggression is escalating, and it's only a matter of time before it attacks a human. I've actually seen the dog loose in the park when children were playing there, and the owner was wandering behind it and yelling at all the kids to stay away--he's not friendly. Brilliant. I'll keep you posted on the developments.

Friday, February 06, 2009

New Year Fun

Congratulations to Kevin for winning first place and best special effects in the Elkhart County Parks' photo contest! He ventured outside to take the winning picture when it was -30 degrees outside! What dedication.

We spent the weekend in Chicago to celebrate the Chinese New Year. We went to Lincoln Park and explored the zoo and had dinner on Navy Pier. We went to the parade on Sunday and watched the traditional dragon dance performed at the local shops. We also got delicious dim sum for lunch! We raced home after all the festivities so Kevin could catch the second half of the Super Bowl. All in all, it was a terrific (but busy) weekend.

Kevin has started his new job and is still trying to adjust to it. It's going to be a big challenge, but one that I am confident he can overcome. He found an apartment close to work that he can stay at during the week, which helps break up the awful commute. It's a big adjustment, but our friends have been really helpful and supportive during the transition. I don't know what we'd do without them.

I'm still busy with school work. That never changes. There's always more work to do than I can ever seem to get a grip on. But at least I'm still enjoying it!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We're Back!

You think that we've given up on the whole blogging thing. I blame time; things have been moving too quickly for us to keep up with them all. Summer flew by, as well as the fall semester. We managed to make it back to Utah to visit family for Christmas. It was a short visit since I had so much work I needed to get done in the lab, but we managed to see many family members and had a great visit. We were especially excited to meet our new niece Eliza Woods. She's very sweet but has a grip that rivals a grown man's, as I found out when she grabbed some of my hair. Our families are all doing well, and we're looking forward to visitors in the spring and summer.
The biggest change in our lives came right before Christmas- Kevin was laid-off from Crowe. It was a mixed blessing. He wasn't happy there and had been looking for other jobs since fall, but it didn't seem like great timing right before the holidays. The job market is very bad in Michiana with unemployment at 10% in some areas, so we weren't sure what he'd be able to find available. Fortunately, Kevin's skills are in demand, and he managed to find two potential jobs. He took one that is all the way in Indianapolis (a 2 hour drive from South Bend), but was the most interesting and would be the better career move. We're not sure how all the commuting will work out, but I'm optimistic things will work out. He'll start this Monday.

As for Riley, he's as cute as ever. He's loving the cold weather and especially the snow. He'll run and jump into a snow bank, hunch down, and start eating all the snow around him. We also suspect he's part seal. He likes to slide his cheek along snowy patches on the sidewalk and slowly roll the rest of his body down. Once down, he lays on his side and uses his back legs to slide him along the sidewalk. He also thinks he needs to be let outside to roll in the snow every hour. We had a cold spell last week, but it didn't seem to phase Riley. I walked Riley one evening without realizing how cold it was outside. Fifteen minutes into our walk, my hands froze. I was concerned I was getting frostbite but I wasn't very close to our house. I ran to a friends house in the neighborhood, and luckily he was home. We spent a good twenty minutes warming up and then quickly headed home. When I got home, I found out it had been -26 degrees. We're still taking Riley to agility classes too. He's not the fastest or most graceful dog, but he puts his whole heart and body into it (which inevitably results in knocked down obstacles). At our last class, Riley was walking towards Kevin, looking at him full in the face. Kevin decided to tease him and pulled his coat over his face; Riley freaked out and started looking everywhere in the room for Kevin, except where he was actually sitting with a coat over his head. Everyone in the room just said, "Whoa. That's one smart dog." But we love him, and he always makes us smile.

Kevin is really progressing on his photography. A picture of his was featured on a iReporters article on Chicago. His pic was selected out of thousands of entries. Check it out at It's the picture of the train. Best to you in the new year!

Friday, September 05, 2008


It really has been a super long time. Sorry for that. But it just means that we've been busy having fun and haven't had time to document everything that's been going on. We've been reprimanded, so I thought I'd write. There's a lot to catch up on, so I'll have to break things up. Plus, nobody really wants to read a super long blog. So, I'll start back in June…


I left for Uganda in early June for a research trip to Nindye, Uganda. It was an exploratory trip for a potential collaborative research project with the Ford Family Program at Notre Dame and Uganda Martyrs University. I stayed on the UMU campus and spent most of my time meeting with local health care workers looking at how malaria is treated in the area. I was able to visit local schools as well, which was quite an eye-opening experience.

Kevin was able to join me for part of the trip, and we were able to do a little sightseeing. We went whitewater rafting on the Nile. It was much moreintense than we had anticipated, but we survived and had a great time. We spent a couple of days in northern Uganda at Murchison Falls where the Nile River surges through a seven meter gap. We went on a mini-safari and saw all the big game of Africa. We even had a close encounter with some of Uganda's wildlife. We stayed in a banda near the park and woke up at two in the morning to the sound of rattling and rustling coming from our ceiling beams and from a little table near the door of the hut. I turned on my flashlight and aimed it at the wall where I heard noise. The first thing I saw was two glowing eyes near the mirror. I realized I was looking at a glossy, jet black snake curled up on the corner of our mirror. When I moved the light to the table, I saw another snake slithering between our cameras sitting on the table. I don't know much about the snakes of Uganda and had no idea if they were poisonous or dangerous. Our bed was in the middle of the room and was covered with a mosquito net. I didn't want to get out of bed to chase around two snakes in the early morning, so I told Kevin to go back to sleep because the snakes were unlikely to crawl onto the bed. Well, we lay there in bed for a few minutes listening to the snakes move around: The snake on the mirror fell onto a shelf and the one on the table crawled back onto the floor. Kevin couldn't stand it and got up. We didn't have any lights in the room (the electricity is shut off at ten o'clock), so I shone the flashlight while he used his camera's monopod to chase/scoot the snakes out of the room. We managed to sleep much better after that.


After Uganda, we headed to Europe for Natalie and Ulli's wedding in Heide, Germany, and met up with my parents as well. We were able to finally meet Ulli's family and enjoyed getting to know them. They were gracious hosts and held a spectacular wedding. From Heide, we traveled to Munich. We visited the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau and King Ludwig's castle Neuschwanstein.

From Munich, we traveled to Switzerland and stayed in the Lauterbrunnen in the Berner Oberland region. We explored the Alps and walked along the edges of Lake Geneva in Montreaux. We traveled to Lugano and explored the chalets along the lake and took a train through some of the most beautiful scenery of the Alps through Switzerland and northern Italy. From there we took a night train to Amsterdam.

We had a quick couple of days in Amsterdam and visited the Anne Frank and Rijks museum before heading to Brussels. We only had one day in Brussels, but enjoyed the wonderful nightlife in the city. From there it was back home- finally. I was gone for the entire month of June and really missed Riley. Apparently, Riley missed us too. He stayed with neighbors while we were gone but was sometimes put back in our house during the day. He decided to take out his anger on one of my houseplants and tore the poor plant to shreds. He even managed to pull it out of the pot and drag it around the house. Our neighbors came home after work to find pieces of plant and dirt spread out everywhere. They cleaned it up, but even when we got back, there were perfect muddy dog prints all over our carpets and even on our bed. I guess we should be happy that he missed us, even though we had to rent a carpet cleaner to get rid of all the paw prints.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Swiss Mountains

Swiss Mountains
Originally uploaded by KM Photography..
Wow, has it really been that long since we last made a post? Crazy!

Things are going well with us and we've had a busy summer. Becky spent about two weeks in Uganda doing research and I met her there for the last week and we did some site seeing.

We then spent a couple of weeks traveling around Europe with Becky's family.

I will try to have a post here soon with more details and pictures of our summer events. I just had to at least get something on here. :-)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Miller Cliff Notes

Another long absence, I know. I'll just hit the highlights. The semester is finally over, and I managed to eke by in my class. I am now totally done with coursework- forever! It's a good thing too because I couldn't take another formal lecture course with tests and projects. It'll be nice to focus completely on my dissertation project. Our friends the Behling's visited us for a weekend, and we were able to take our dogs on lots of walks through campus (with an unexpected detour into the lakes) and Potato Creek State Park. Kevin got his first job for his newly created KM Photography business. He took pictures for a car show at the McCormick Place in Chicago. It went well and Kevin's expecting more jobs to come in. We also decided to put vinyl siding on our house. It was a last minute decision that just fell into our laps, and we couldn't pass it up. The job is almost finished, and it looks great. It sure beats having to paint! Riley's doing great and is still growing. He went through a bit of a teenager phase but seems to be pulling out of it now. Other than that, I've been super busy trying to get our upcoming trips to Uganda and Europe planned. I leave in two and a half weeks and don't feel anywhere near ready. I got all my shots and have my pills. I'm nervous about Uganda. I'm going over there for my fellowship and am working on finding collaborators for a research project on malaria and the Ugandan health care system. That means I have a lot of prep work to do before I leave. Kevin will meet up with me a week later, and we'll do a little bit of sightseeing. From Uganda, we head to Germany for Natalie and Ulli's wedding. We'll hang out with Ulli's family for a while, then take a week with my parents to do some blitz sightseeing. I'll be gone for the whole month of June. Riley will be staying with neighbors, so he'll be well taken care of; he'll probably forget all about us. We'll be sure to post lots of pictures- Kevin is super excited to get some new views for his camera. I'll try to write again before we leave, but it's likely we won't write until July. Wish us luck!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Parasites, Panic & Politics

I made it back from Florida in one piece. [For Mel] I was in Tampa at the University of South Florida visiting a lab down there that does transfections for the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Transfection isn't anything new to science, but when you have an 80% A-T rich organism, getting anything to successfully insert into the genome is a big deal. It was a success! I'm not sure if the actual transfected parasites will survive, but just learning how to do the technique made the trip worthwhile. I worked full days on Monday and Tuesday and half days on Wednesday and Thursday. I managed to drive down around the Tampa Bay area to sight see a bit one afternoon and went to the IMAX the second afternoon. Other than that, I was basically in the lab or reading at the hotel. The hotel I stayed at was also in a bad part of town. I walked to campus on the first day I was there and was told not to do that again. Turns out they were right about the area. My last night at the hotel I was woke up at 3:30am to the sound of someone banging on the vending machines around the corner outside of my hotel room. The next morning, I noticed the security cameras had been knocked around and the vending machines were broken open. I was glad that was my last night there. The weather was very warm— eighty degrees during the day. There were violent thunderstorms each evening; that's unusual for spring.

Last week was a disaster trying to get everything back up to speed. It was frustrating. I'm still in panic mode with the end of the semester fast approaching and me not having my course project finished. That's one reason why this entry will be so short.

Wednesday we went to an Obama rally in South Bend. Kevin got six tickets, so we and four friends went to the rally. Obama didn't speak until 10:30pm but there was still quite a crowd. He's a great speaker and the crowd was really hyped. We're hoping to hear Clinton speak sometime. I'm so excited to be in a state that actually participates in politics and has candidates visit.

The lab has been very busy with parties and such. We had a successful thesis defense and engagement. On Friday, I also managed to invite over the entire lab to our house for a party. I don't know how it all happened, but before I knew it, I was having ten people over for Korean barbeque. It went really well though, with more food than we could ever eat. I even learned how to roll sushi (although we made kimbap). Needless to say, I'm very tired today.

Other announcements: I guess I'll be gone the entire month of June. I don't know how I'll do without my Riley. Should be interesting and exhausting. Well, that's all for now.