Posts filed under ‘food safety’

News x 3

Happy Friday everyone! Families have been informed, co-workers are up to speed, neighborhood kids are in the know. Now is time to update my blog with all the latest news from our household.

1. Ryan’s Job Change
Ryan’s changing jobs. The timing actually worked out super great for me and my colleagues. We’re in the middle of a big migration project and Ryan’s been able to assist us out with some contracting work. Right now he’s integrating our application with Mettler Toledo balances. Ryan’s been a tremendous help! I’m still hoping I can convince him to stay with us permanently!

Lab Visit - ZJ and Ryan in Hair Nets
The Obligatory Hairnet Shot

Elizabeth City - Ryan Working on Balances
Ryan Working on Balance Integration

2. We’re Moving
Related to #1, we’re moving circa February 26th to my hometown of Occoquan, Virginia. I have very much enjoyed Hunter Street and I am sad to leave. Surprisingly, I have yet to find a neighborhood kid who seems as sad as I am! They’re resilient! Nonetheless, I do look forward to being closer to my family… and closer to the mountains. In November, Ryan and I spent a week gutting my maternal grandmother’s house. We’ll be working on reinnovating it once we are back in Occoquan (don’t worry some of that work will be overseeing contractors doing to actual work. ūüôā ).

Grandma's House - Overgrown Exterior on 9_19_2010
Home Sweet Home….Eventually*
*It doesn’t look like this right now, Ryan already cleared away all the brush

Grandma's House - Living Room on 9_19_2010
Living Room on 9/19/2010

Grandma's House - Living Room on 11_1_2010
Living Room on 11/1/2010

Grandma's House - Living Room on 11_2_2010
Living Room on 11/2/2010

Until reinnovations are done, we’ll be staying on the top floor of my parents’ house. It should be a great exercise in patience and stress management. With our combined pets, we’ll have a total of four dogs and three cats on one property. We’ll see how that goes. ūüôā

Last But Not Least….
Shortly after we were married, I received a Facebook inquiry from Tyrek.

Inquiry From Tyrek
Vicky When Is You Going to Have a Baby!

It took a while, but I finally have an answer for him.


Ryan and I are expecting our first child in mid-August!!! We’ll be at 14 weeks tomorrow, which means I somehow survived the terrifying first trimester without the terrifying part. I skated by with minimal trouble from morning sickness. I really, really, really lucked out. A big shout out to whatever force it was that decided to spare me. I owe you one!

8 Week 4 Day Ultrasound - Marked Up
Ultra Sound at 8 Weeks, 4 Days

And so we have a lot of big changes coming. They’ll be a lot of stress, I’m sure. But there is going to be a lot of great things as well! : )

February 11, 2011 at 11:08 am 6 comments


Greetings from Detroit Airport.  I have a collection of milk items to cover.

Me Getting Milked
Last Friday, I donated blood at the Red Cross.¬† A trainee did the initial workup on me while a trainer monitored his actions.¬† Part of the workup is checking your iron level to make sure you aren’t anemic.¬† As usual, they had to stick me twice to determine my iron level.¬† With the second stick, the trainee had trouble filling up the little pipette with my blood.¬† He kept squeezing my punctured finger to encourage blood to come out of hiding.¬† For some reason he had a lot of difficulty.¬†

“I’m worried about crushing your finger,”¬† he said.

“Oh, it doesn’t even hurt.” I assured him.¬† I’m biased, but I¬†think¬†I’m a great person for the Red Cross to¬†train on.¬† I’ve¬†given blood so many times,¬†sticks and resticks and even¬†struggles finding the vein with the needle doesn’t¬†phase me one bit.

So he squeezed again and again and again.  Still the little red dot on the tip of my finger refused to produce.

He shook his head and looked over at his trainer,¬†“I know I got a good stick.”

The trainer shrugged and said, “I’m sorry, I really can’t show you how to milk her.”

The trainer wasn’t being difficult.¬† She was right handed while her pupil was left handed, so they had trouble with meaningful demonstrations.¬† According to my mother, this¬†combination causes complications learning to crochet as well.¬†¬†Eventually the trainee stepped aside, the trainer took hold of my hand and with her¬†seasoned¬†squeeze blood instantly filled the pipette.

Apparently, I had been successfully milked.

Soy Milk
In 2000, I read the “Worrying About Milk”¬†article in Discover magazine which questioned whether the costs of milk outweighs the benefits.¬† I was convinced sufficiently to move over to soy milk.¬† So for pretty much the last seven years, soy milk is¬†all we had in our household.¬† Everything we cooked that called for milk, we used soy milk.¬† Sean and I never noticed a difference in recipes.¬† I had soy milk with cereal, soy milk with dinner.¬† It was easier for me to convert from skim milk to soy milk than it was to move from whole milk to skim milk.

Well, a few months ago I started buying milk again.¬† Why?¬† Law and Order: Criminal Intent*.¬† There was an episode where a devious, murderous father tried to sabotage his daughter’s attempt to conceive by sneaking soy into her diet.¬†¬†Soy!¬† Infertility!¬† What’s this?!?¬†¬†Turns out Law and Order: Criminal Intent is not exactly the best authority on medical science (I know, I was¬†aghast¬†too).¬†¬† Next time I’ll be sure to make my key¬†dietary decisions based on a more credible resource… like¬†American Idol.

Last Friday, a co-worker and I stopped by Starbucks so he could use the restroom.  While I waited on him, I ordered a Green Tea Latte and on a whim I had them make it with soy milk.  That thing was so deliciousРmuch more so than the version with milk.  One sip and I knewРmilk is getting bumped off my shopping list again.

Milk Plant
Today, I’m on my way for another business trip.¬† This time, I’ll be working with and touring a dairy production plant.¬† They make milk, chocolate milk and ice cream.¬† According to Food Safety Magazine, “most [U.S.] milk and dairy processing plants rival the best hospitals when it comes to sanitation and food safety protocols.”¬† I expect the visit to be interesting.¬† I also expect it to have no bearing on my soy milk decision.¬† ūüôā

*Okay, Law and Order: Criminal Intent wasn’t the only reason… but it was the item that started the ball rolling.

July 11, 2007 at 2:55 pm 3 comments

Lab Visit

Greetings from Kansas on my last night here.¬† It’s been a very busy trip and even tonight I have little time to write.¬†

On Monday, Larry and I got to visit a food safety lab.  This particular lab specializes in pathogen testing in food (stuff like Ecoli 0157:H7, Listeria, Salmonella, etc).  With roughly 76 million cases of foodborne illness occuring in the U.S. annually (equaling an estimated 325,000 hospitalizations and 5000 deaths), the work they do in the lab is of great value and importance.  The employees there take their duties very seriously.

Larry and I have visited many different types of organizations during our respective careers, but this was the first aseptic environment either of us had been involved in.  Great strides are taken to prevent cross contamination and to protect the integrity of the samples.  Larry and I had to wear special booties over our shoes.  This involved a tricky process where you keep your outside, unprotected foot on one side of a line, meanwhile you put a bootie on the other foot and move that freshly-bootied-foot to the other side of the line.  My attempt was less than successful.  I lost my balance and fell.

That was embarassing, but at least I was able to successfully put on the latex gloves!¬† Larry struggled with that step! ūüôā¬†

Larry finally got his gloves on.  Great Success!

We also wore hair nets, large lab coats and special additions to the sides of our glasses.¬† Somehow the look still managed to be flattering on the lab workers.¬† On me and Larry— not so much.

Lab worker making the look work.

DORKS!  I thi
nk my blink is an especially great accessory to the look.

It is a very good thing Larry and I do not work there.¬†¬† As the workers moved between different duties, they had to change into fresh lab coats and gloves.¬† With my struggles with balance and Larry’s with his gloves, we would never¬†get the work done in a timely fashion.¬†

We both very much enjoyed our visit and were extremely impressed by the expertise, vigilance and dedication of all the lab employees.  It was easy to see they cared about their jobs and that they performed their duties superbly.

April 25, 2007 at 11:13 pm 1 comment

People Love Their Pets

Hmm…I’ve had way more people¬†alert me about the recent pet food recall than I have had for any of the¬†“people food” problems, like February’s peanut butter recall.

March 20, 2007 at 2:33 pm 1 comment

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