Monday, December 31, 2007

Last week of 2007 update

Huh? What do you mean I didn't post anything about Christmas? What? I haven't posted anything for a week? You've barely heard anything from me this month?

Well we can't have that, now can we?

So I guess we're in for another quick update-a-roo!

Christmas
This is our first Christmas where we didn't go anywhere, and hence our first Christmas tree, and OUR first Christmas with my parents. Well I think so anyway. Most of the last 7 Christmases, Eric and I have either been apart, or on the East Coast with his family for Christmas, and one year we went to Canada to visit my brother and sister-in-law. I have been craving to build our own Christmas Traditions, but Eric really just wants to be with his family. Neither of us put much effort into this holiday to make it special though, so I can't expect miracles.

We agreed to no gifts with the siblings and between ourselves, and only to give to the kids in the family. My brother still had a DVD shipped to us, but I'm not sure if the coding will work in our player as its from the UK (anyone know?). My mom gave us a box of See's chocolate which I have been promptly making disappear, usually around breakfast time the craving hits me.

On Christmas day I cooked dinner and my parents came over to eat. I made Prime Rib for my father, a lovely salad for Eric which was also supposed to be special for my mom, but I failed to remember to put in the freshly roasted beets which she loves (and they are still sitting at the back of the fridge where I put them to cool). I also made Yorkshire pudding which was a first for all of us. If you've never had it, Eric came up with a great description, Meat Doughnuts. Mmmm batter fried in beef fat! I roasted up some Broccoli and Garlicky Potatoes (separate dishes), and finished off with a rather un-traditional Christmas dessert of Strawberry Shortcake. My father only cares for 2 desserts, Lemon Custard Pie and Strawberry Shortcake, and since some lovely Florida strawberries were in the store, shortcake it was. Unfortunately, I forgot my mom can't have strawberries due to her diverticulitis, so she got seedless Strawberry Jam on her's.

Most meals with my parents are a little stressful, at least I find them to be. But who knows, maybe it's just me being super sensitive to any tension in the air when they are concerned and I just can't relax. Hell, I probably put that tension in the air. The bickering was at a minimum this particular meal though. I'm pretty sure my mom caught my pleading stare when my father started going on about his cough and how he stopped taking his Blood Pressure medication because it gives him the cough which keeps him from singing, or sleeping and therefore he can't enjoy life. This complaint comes up just about every time he has us as a captive audience, and every time I ask him to call his doctor who will adjust his medication, but nooooo he has now just decided to stop taking the medication instead. Usually my mom voices her frustration about this continuing complaint, and then things get uncomfortable, and bickering proceeds. But this time, she made a few little comments and didn't push and the subject was able to be changed. So thank you mom!

I'm hoping after we have kids, that this time of year will become the magical time I remember it being. But I guess if I want it to be special, I have to get off my duff and do something about it. Maybe next year.


New Hobby!
Eric and I have been talking about checking out a climbing gym, and this weekend we finally did it. We knew they would get a rush of new people starting in the new year, so since we said we'd do it this year, we went this weekend.
It was a blast! I suck at it, but I still had a good time. Eric has strong arms due to his work, and he has climbed in gyms and outdoors before so he was able to scamper up those walls pretty easily. He kept wanting to push himself so he kept choosing harder and harder routes, which gave me some practice in belaying and catching him when he would fall. I simply couldn't get it through my head that if I fell it was ok because the rope and Eric would catch me, so I played it really safe and stayed on the easy routes. I discovered I am afraid of heights though and would consistently freak out at the same height on the walls. Only once did I make it past that point and on to the top, and that was sure will because I was totally freaking out. I'm also grossly out of shape, and my upper body strength is even worse then I thought. I'm a tad sore today, but Eric is even more sore.. tee hee!
As we always do when we get excited about something, we jump in head first and usually that means we jump in with our wallets. After one single go, we joined the gym, bought shoes, harnesses and the whole get up. We did this with snowboarding too, and we haven't been boarding for years (we say its because of the expense, but somehow we can throw money at other things instead). At least this time, this is an activity where you have to have a partner to belay you, and even though Eric's skill far surpasses mine, the gym offers difficulties that can challenge both of us. No more getting left alone on the mountain. Plus, a month at this gym equals a single day lift ticket, so it seems a little more reasonable.


Umm... let's see, what else?
Tomorrow I have a big goal for myself (us). A day of purging and cleaning out closets. Clothing, crap, stuff, and junk closets. Just like we did when we were kids, we have, on more then one occasion, just shoved stuff in a closet or two when company was coming over. Do that a few times and you loose the floor, and then you loose stuff, and then you start re-buying stuff you thought you lost, and then you loose the floors in a different closet. So as not to overwhelm myself, I'm going to start with my clothing closet as I haven't seen the floor in there for at least 6 months.

I'd also like to put together a list of goals for the year. Not so much resolutions, but just some things I'd like to do. We'll see if that happens, but I'm not setting my sights too high, because I do indeed hate failure.


Phew... only 2 more minutes until we hit midnight, so I'll wrap up this babbling update and I'd like to wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas MeMe

I was tagged by J at Thinking About for this MeMe about my favorite Christmas things quite a while ago, and since I haven't been really bloggy active this month, now is an excellent night to do this one.
Please share 12 of your favorite Christmas things: they can be memories, traditions, songs, presents, beliefs, whatever it is about this season that you love

So here goes:
  1. Baking! My mom used to bake cut out butter cookies at this time of year and us kids got to decorate them with colored egg whites and sprinkles and such. We'd box them up and give them out to the family friends. I have continued this tradition with my own little twist and have added quite a few new varieties to the mix, but I still use the same butter cookie recipe my mom used (Joy of Cooking 1975 edition - Rich Roll Cookies). This year the cookies and candies were made a little too late to ship, and I worked to much to hand deliver, so my co-workers got the brunt of the butter and sugar extravaganza. Don't worry, some will still get shipped out after the big day.
  2. Annual Newsletters - Not as many people put the annual newsletters in their holiday cards as they used to a few years back, but just so those that do still do them know... I love them! I understand that a lot of people find them impersonal or tacky, but whatever! Ours lives have gotten very busy and hectic and I'm that type of person that lets relationships slide, so I enjoy seeing some of the year's choice pictures and reading up on the events of my friend's families. Not everyone chooses to be so public as a blog.
  3. Holiday Music - I LOVE the music of the season. Be it Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole, or Mr. Hanky. I love it all. Beware though... I love to sing it all as well. And don't be surprised if you see me skipping and hmming my way through a busy retail establishment this season. I may be out in the hussle and bussle but the music is everywhere and I can't help but to move when it moves me.
  4. Seeing Friends and Family from afar - As is now common in this day and age, we have family and friends far from where we call home. So this time of year is a extra special because we usually get to see some of those people we don't get to see throughout the year. Most years we travel to see my brother or Eric's family, but this year we didn't go anywhere so we got to see some of my good friends who just happened to traveled home.
  5. Trees - As I got a little older, my parents kinda stopped doing the whole Christmas tree and decorations thing. This time of year is the busiest for my mom with all of her doings at church and her piano student's recital, she just got to the point where the decorations lost priority. So when I was about 15 I started getting the tree with my boyfriend or my brother, and would make sure it was decorated. So when I moved out, I made sure I had a tree as soon as trees were available. However, after Eric and I started dating, we always traveled at this time of year, so we didn't bother with a tree... until this year. YAY! And being the kind of guy Eric is, he wanted to get a live tree we could use year after year. The idea is to root prune it to keep its growth stunted. We'll see how it works out.
  6. Lights - Someday I want to put up one of those synchronized light shows you see on YouTube and the news. I've read all about the technology and will watch the videos over and over again online. There are even some in our neighborhood, but for some reason we haven't made it out to go see them... guess we're lazy (so I'm sure I'll never get around to actually designing one myself). As a kid we'd drive around and check out all of the displays, of course back then I was mostly amazed by those plastic light up figures. My favorites being a house down the street that put up a light up nativity scene on their roof. I'd make my mom drive me by their house over and over again as soon as they would put it up, and I'd cry the night we'd drive by and it was gone.
  7. Fudge - Why is fudge only made at this time of year? Huh? Why? I even buy fudge at madly expensive prices at those amusement park candy shops, and even once in an airport. I loves me the fudge! Which is funny because I'm not a huge fan of chocolate (well unless it's See's).
  8. Gift Wrapping - I love to wrap gifts and adding ribbons and pretties. This year we didn't do much in the way of gifting, but I was still adding bells and ribbons to the bags of cookies (which are still sitting on the kitchen table because the pull of the afternoon nap was great).
  9. EATING - Every year I over indulge on the eating pretty much through the month of December and I give myself complete permission to eat whatever I want without guilt or exercise. Ok, not completely without guilt, I am still a girl with the same stupid image issues after all.
  10. My love - It was back in 2000, just a few days before Christmas when Eric and I first started hanging out. He and I had been co-workers for a few months and he had asked me out a few times, but I kindly kept declining as I'm naive that way and had no idea he was actually asking me out. I thought he was just being kind and suggesting that this suburban girl should go to a club and get out into the city more, but the biggest part of my naiveté was that I also thought he was gay. He claims that I finally asked him out, when really I only said, "Are you going to so-in-so's Christmas party? You guys should totally go!", to him and his boss standing at the front desk. His boss bailed, and he caught a ride with me and a few people. It got late, really late, and he walked with me back to my car in the financial district, where we talked and talked for the hour it took to walk I don't know how far. I drove him to his place to thank him, and he said, oh so lovingly, "I've got a couch if you're tired!". So romantic! I said I was fine to drive home, and we had an awkward good-night moment somewhere between a kiss and a hug, and I slowly caught on that not all really nice guys who listen to Techno music, and enjoy dancing are gay!
  11. Snuggling - I'm not one for the cold, and thankfully it doesn't get too cold here in these parts but it does get cold enough for fuzzy socks, fluffy down comforters and lots of snuggling with my love. He also makes for a great bed warmer, so this time of year his overly zealous metabolism doesn't go to waste!
  12. The New Year - Although this season is full of cheer and love and all of those warm fuzzies, it is also the gateway to the new year. Of course a year is just a measurement of time, I still see it as a point to start over, or to set goals. This next year is hopefully going to hold a lot of exciting memories and travels. Already I'm hoping to go on our honeymoon to Hawaii, I'm planning a hiking/ferry/car trip with my brother through British Columbia to Alaska, a ton of challenges are in store at work, Eric's business is really picking up, we're hoping to move closer to my work (Housing market hear our prayers!) and maybe, just maybe my doctor will clear us to start trying to start our family.

Phew! Well if that wasn't a mouthful! So there you have it, my top 12 Christmas "Things". With that, I want to wish you and your loved ones a VERY MERRY Chri...uhh... HOLIDAY SEASON!


P.S. If the cookies don't get shipped out, and my waste line doubles - please know that those two events are mutually exclusive.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Way Random!

I have been rather busy lately and have not had much time to read any blogs as well as write anything for my own. So here is just a quick update and some quick thoughts for today:

Osteo Update
Eric saw an Endocrinologist and that system is in check so it is not the cause of the low bone density. The doctor had some thoughts that the test might have been inaccurate since the scores for his lower lumbar were so dramatically lower then any other area, so he's going to check on that. Another possibility is that since he has been a runner since he was a kid, that it's possible that his legs got more bone when he was growing and his spine is weaker because of the activities he was involved in while he was developing. And... then there is the heredity thing. He has the frame for osteoporosis, and it runs in his family, so he has upped his supplement taking and dark green leafy veggie eating, which doesn't hurt anyway!


Baking Marathon 2007...
has begun (2006 found here), but way later then planned, and it's not looking likely that these goods are going to be shipped before Christmas this year. Well they might be, but they won't make it by next Tuesday. Some new recipes (well, new to me) were made yesterday, as well as a 2nd go at my Sister-in-Law's favorite cookie, Amarettis. I've decided that the recipe is faulty and not me, because 2 times the same recipe resulted in the same flat, way too chewy cookies. Ok, maybe it is me, but I'm going to look for a few recipe or I'm just gonna buy some for her at the local Italian deli.
Tonight I will turn my attentions to rolling, cutting, and icing (if I have time) some gingerbread bites. I was going to move onto some fudge and toffee making, but my co-workers have requested the gingerbread. Here's a picture from last year.
Gingerbread Bites



Update on the bed decision...
of dropping down to a queen, or trying to squeeze a king up the stairs -- We're going to optimistically wait until we move because we'd like to stay in a King bed, and it seems silly to buy a Queen to fit up the stairs of a place we will hopefully not be living in, in a years time. HOPEFULLY! Thankfully I'll be starting Physical Therapy for my back and neck in the new year, so that may help with my pained sleeping situation.


Update on the Persimmons
I think I'm going to leave the persimmon pulp to Eric as he didn't even peel them before pureeing them (he was tired and cranky by this point), but I will ask that after 6 months if they are still in there that he toss them. That is some precious freezer space! The fruit leather he made turned out great (in a persimmony sort of way). The dried fruit when totally dry weren't too astringent, but still a little. So even though the office was taken up for about a week with all of the drying, I'd say it was a successful project (even though I didn't help much!).


Random Thought
After devouring a bag of chips at lunch today I casually flipped over the bag to read the nutrition information and I'd like to understand why do they say that the # of servings in this snack size bag of chips is 2. Do they think people will actually split this with someone? Or perhaps eat the noted 1oz serving size and then have the rest the next day? Why even bother? Or is 1oz of chips a standard serving (which I'm sure the answer)? Perhaps it's a marketing mind game so I think I'm only eating 150 calories but really its 300 because I can't have just one!



BTW - I wrote this post yesterday (Monday), kinda throughout the day whenever I had a few spare moments or needed a break, but like the first half of this month has gone, I got busy and never got back to post it.
I'm working through the holidays, so in case I don't get around to posting the few posts I've already written, or don't write any new ones, or heaven forbid I don't get a chance to stop by your place to catch up and leave a comment or two....

I hope everyone has a Very Happy Holiday and a Wonderful New Years!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Persimmon Explosion

This past weekend, my lovely husband went to work with a volunteer group that goes to people's houses to pick the fruit they can't consume (or give away). He has worked with them for a few years, but this month they were working at a house in our city. And at this time of year, that means Persimmons.

This tree was HUGE (as he describes it) and they worked for 5 hours with 4 guys to pick all of the fruit. 1.5 pickup truck beds full of persimmons later, Eric came home with a load of boxes to go to our county food bank (the other guys took a load to their local food bank). Eric wanted to sort the persimmons as the overripe ones wouldn't transport well, so that left us with the cull to deal with.
Eric says he loves persimmons, but he tends to prefer Fuyu's (crisp round ones) over the type he had picked, Hachiya (squishy, astringent, drop shaped ones). He had read that dried persimmons aren't astringent and are just yummy sweet. We've tried dried ones before from a friend and they were great! So Eric set to it...except we don't have a food dehydrator.

So our office has turned into a giant dehydrator room (and in my opinion it stinks! really!). He has a fan and stacked wire racks with slices and trays of persimmon mush spread out over half of our desk which lines 3 of the walls (the rest of the desk if covered in his design work - so I'm avoiding that space right now).

Last night, Eric apparently decided to also try out the juicer we got as a wedding gift and although it worked at first, it later started spewing mush everywhere and leaking. Then I suggested he use the blender or the food processor as the juicer isn't meant to deal with that amount of mushy fruit (I did this without stepping in to the kitchen because I have issues seeing it a mess when I haven't been the mess maker). Around 11pm things got really quiet in the kitchen and I stepped in to see if I could help ....

I need not go into the details of the next 2.5 hours, but I have reclaimed the kitchen and the cookie baking prep will begin tonight!

Anyone have any ideas of what to do with a couple gallons of persimmon pulp?


Photo by elroy

Monday, December 10, 2007

TAKE THEM!

A few years ago, my husband's family was going through some stressful times and his mom came out to stay with us for a few months. We got her to come out pretty abruptly so she didn't pack much and a lot of shopping was done out here. When all was clear, or as clear as it was going to get, she went home and she handed me the remainder of the bottle of Calcium suppliments she had bought out here and said, "Make sure Eric takes these".

So, being the good future-daughter-in-law that I was, I asked Eric to take them. He poo-poo'd the idea of a 20-something year old guy should be taking any suppliments let alone Calcium. Calcium is for old women. Since that initial poo-pooing I have continued to ask him to take vitamins. I'd even set up his little pill caddy with them and that is the only time he'll take them. When its easy he'd take them because bending down to pull out the bottle under the cabinet is too much effort.

(You're probably already catching on to what the moral of this story is... but I'm going to make you wait anyway....)

Last year or so, Eric was playing kickball and threw a ball to throw someone out and when he did that he must have pulled some ligaments because he was in a lot of pain for about 2 months after that. He had thought he had broken a rib but the urgent care doctor thought it might be possible, but unlikely. Especially since he was only playing kickball and it started to hurt badly after throwing a ball. No big impact and at this point he was only 31 so he couldn't have broken a rib!

(Psssst - go take your calcium pills!!!)

This past summer he was working on a client job (landscape designer), and he was working with a crowbar or something and he felt something give in his chest, followed by lots and lots of pain. He showed me his chest when he got home (bow chica bow bow -- ok not really), and there was this bump sticking up just under his sternum. I had seen this before with a previous boyfriend (I used to get around alright!), who had broken a rib and a kite boarder friend of mine said that most kite boarders break a rib and end up with that bump. Months went by and Eric finally saw a doctor for a general physical and he showed him the bump... and again the doctor didn't think he could have broken a rib although it looked like it.

(Did you go take your calcium yet?)

Reluctantly, Eric's doctor scheduled a bone scan because Eric was asking for one but he's only 32 and a man, so they wont' find anything, but since he's insisting....

(Go have a big glass of milk too... and maybe some cheese!)

If you haven't guessed yet, we got a letter from Eric's doctor this weekend which said he has osteoporosis of the lower lumbar. He'll go in to see the doctor this week and we hear there is some miracle pill men can take but women can't, so hopefully that'll fix him up good because Eric has a life goal to live until he's 100 and to go out healthy and spry, so this news has been a bit of a blow to his indestructible self view.

So the lesson of this story is 2 fold.
  1. If you suspect something is up and your doctor is sorta ho-hum about running tests... push!
  2. LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Worlds Collide

As a general rule of thumb, I don't talk much about work her on my little space on the Internets. We all know why so I don't need to elaborate. I have broken this rule from time to time to mention the perks of this company and maybe a little event or two. However I am now going to break this rule again to welcome a new reader.

Earlier this week I was being silly, because that is how things get around the office at 9pm and it's been a long stressful day/week/month, so I walked up behind my co-worker who was happily reading through his rss feeds via Google Reader while wearing headphones and I stared over his shoulder to see if he'd notice. He wasn't noticing and I was getting bored so my eyes glanced over his screen and I couldn't help but notice that he has subscribed to MY BLOG!

I, of course, gasped which brought attention to my too close proximity to his self, and I backed away.

So this post is for Ryan.... HELLO RYAN!

I don't yet know how I feel about these two parts of my world coming together at this point in my life/career, but I suppose I'll just roll with it for now. I mean, what else can I do? I'm the one who mentioned I have a blog, multiple times. It was bound to happen. Perhaps I wanted it to happen. Perhaps I was having another one of those lapses in judgment from ingesting too much sugar, kinda like when I asked one of the managers to 'Dance like a Monkey' after having a hot chocolate late in the afternoon.

My best friends have come out of work, but I haven't quite crossed that socializing outside of the office line for a number of years. We'll see if this turn of events will change what I write.

If there are any other lurkers out there, let yourself be known, so I can welcome you too!

Monday, December 03, 2007

To Be Queen? or King?

The decision to purchase a new bed has been made, but now for the next big step.... King or Queen??

Luckily we are pretty sure what mattress set we will get, as we recently stayed at a Hilton Hotel and we LOVED the bed there, and it turns out you can purchase some of the items made specifically for Hilton. Eric and I very rarely agree on mattresses so the fact that we both happily slept on a bed for multiple nights with no complaints is really big.

But the size is still up for discussion. We currently have a Cal-King which is big and luxurious but as mentioned, it's big and takes up a lot of the bedroom. It also damaged the ceiling when we were trying to get it up the stairs in our little townhouse so something a little smaller would be easier to get into the space. We are looking to move in a year and likely to an older neighborhood with older houses which have little bedrooms, plus a smaller bed would show the master bedroom better when we do get this place on the market. But alas, the cats really do take up a lot of room, so it is nice to be able to sleep 2 to the bed plus have ample room for the fur babies. AND... we would have to purchase new linens (although we still have a set from the wedding we haven't opened yet -Thanks Liz! - so we should be able to do a trade on those).

What a quandary!

Friday, November 30, 2007

NaBloPoMo 2007 Ends!

And now it's time
To say goodbye
To all our Family!

N-A-B
Because it's OVER!
L-O-P
Pee 'cuz I gotta go!
O-M-O -Zero - Seven!

This has been a fun month of writing some well thought out posts and a whole lot of crap ones! Hopefully next year my November won't be quite as crazy as this one was, as I'd like to be able to see a marked improvement in my writing by the end of the month! I'd also like to be able to spend more time reading and commenting and finding some new blog buddies. There's nothing like feeling a sense of community in the vastness of the Internets!

Here's a shout out to all those who took on the bigger challenge of NaNoWriMo!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

30-20-10

I know lots of people have done this one, and I've been meaning to do it at some point during this NaBloPoMo thing. Since tomorrow is the last day, today seems as good a day as any.

30 years ago
I was all of 3 years old. I was already asking my brother's swim coach when I could join the team, and she'd tell me when I could swim the length of the pool she'd let me join. I worked really hard with the neighbor's daughters who were all lifeguards and was on that team the following summer.
I was following my brother everywhere he went. He was my idol, my everything. Being 4 years older I'm sure he got tired of me from time to time, but mostly he let me toddle after him. He taught me to build mud cities, bridges and tunnels for his hot wheel cars, but I remember I wasn't allowed to play with his Star Wars figures!


20 years ago
I was barely a teenager and all awkward and nerdy. I was very actively competing in Ice Skating and had just recently quit gymnastics, community theater and dance, because my mom said I had to choose, but was still allowed to swim on the community summer team.

I was in my final year of Middle School (grades 6-8). I was FINALLY 1st chair 1st flute in band, which was sooo big and I was in the District Honor Band. I adored science and hated history. I had been moved from advanced English to regular English because advanced was full and I had tested just below the cut-off, and even though I had always been in Advanced they were pulling me out. This pretty much was the turn of my reading abilities from slightly advanced to CRAP! I was never challenged in writing and reading in school after that and I lost interest.

I had a crush on Rob Sirwell but he said his parents were getting a divorce and was not in the right place for a relationship (relationship? who said anything about a relationship? I just wanted to hold hands and talk on the phone, maybe go to the mall, get some pizza!).

My best friend was a cheerleader and I REALLY REALLY wanted to be one too. I loved the dance and gymnastics elements of it, but mostly, I loved that freakin' skirt. I WANTED THAT SKIRT! I wasn't too keen on the image though. Yea, sure, they were popular which part of me wanted to be too (don't most kids at some point?), but at the same time I didn't. I went to the try out clinic for Jr. High, but never tried out. I told everyone that I didn't want to become snobby, but really.... I didn't want to be rejected. I later got that skirt in high school, but not for cheer. BTW - I still wish I had gone out for cheer.

Oh and a very outstanding thought on my mind during this time... When the hell are my boobs going to grow? Boob envy big time! Ok really, the body issues started about this time in general. I gained 15 pounds over the summer and went over 100 pounds after cutting back to just Ice Skating plus puberty was in full swing (minus the boob part DAMN IT!) and I recall being completely devastated. I HAD HIPS! No boobs AND I could no longer fit into the skinny Guess Jeans!


10 years ago
Around this time I had started down a career path I had not really planned on. I was on my 5th year of being enrolled in a Jr. College working on what I wanted to do when I grew up. I had gone from a Biology Major to a Computer Science Major back to Biology and then to Business. I was still not really working on my GE requirements to transfer and was continuing to take classes that simply interested me.

I had been working at a big company for a few years which started off as a 2 week temp assignment doing clerical work while I waited for an accounts payable position to open up at my friend's mom's office. This job was where I met some of the best friends a girl could ever ask for, and I switched over from a business direction and into high tech.

Along with my friends from this company, I was very much into country music and was off dancing 2-4 nights a week at a local country bar. I even competed a few times in couples, and I learned every line dance there was to learn back then. Yee Haw!

I moved out of my first apartment and into a rented house shared with my brother, his girlfriend and a high school friend (who was the lead singer in a bar band and had a different girl keeping me awake every weekend - good times!). The house was dubbed 'The Blue Room Yacht Club', as it had an in-law suite behind the house which was painted blue and decked out in a Nautical motif. The stereo and TV were out there, so most of the noise was out there too, which allowed the house to be relatively quiet. It was quite the party house.

Soon after I moved into the house, I adopted my two fur babies at 6 weeks old. I only had the intention to bring one home, but as I was walking out of the garage where they were kept, with one tiny grey kitten in my arms, the runt of the litter just looked so sad and helpless that I had to take him home too. They were small enough to both fit in my hands which is hard to believe now at 14 pounds each. I wouldn't name them until I got to know their personalities so we had a white board up in the house for people to leave suggestions. After each party we had quite a few to choose from. In the meantime, they were nicknamed Mousy and Ballsy, as that was their personalities. On the day of their first vet appointment I just couldn't put Ballsy on the record, so I called for a vote of the names on the board. He was a little crazy acting, so Cosmo it was (as in Kramer). Mousy stuck, even though he's far from the mousy one now.

A few weeks after the fur adoption, I began dating the guy I thought I was going to marry but a few months and a new mortgage later, I realized I couldn't stand living with him. So I suddenly found myself living on my own for the first time, with 2 adolescent cats who kept me up every night.



30-20-10 years ago I was a pretty different person from who I see in the mirror today. I'm certainly no longer drinking a lot of beer and doing Jägermeister shots in the parking lot of the country bar (I know at least one of you reading this remembers that!). I've gotten over gaining those pounds that put me over 100 on the scale, but I'm still waiting for the boobs. It is good to look back and see a few constants though, like my friends, my love of science, my cats, and I'm still working on what I want to be when I grow up. Oh and I still idolize my brother too!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

PIF (Pay It Forward) Exchange

I saw this over at Donnaz Chaos and I think it's a totally cute idea.

PIF Pledge:

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days. That is my promise. The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.


The ideas of what to make are all a swirly distraction in my head. I could knit something, or pull out the glue gun, or maybe the sewing machine (oh wait, my sewing machine died, so needle and thread?), or maybe some butter and sugar with a little flour to keep it together....

But you already know that I'm not down with the crap gifts, so hopefully it'll be something you will like and will use (or eat!).

You don't have to be crafty to join in. Come on along!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom and Papa!

DOH!
Last Tuesday was my Mom's 75th Birthday, and even though she doesn't read this blog I shoulda mentioned it...you know, just in case!

Happy Birthday Mom!

And today, today is my Father's birthday. I think he's 71. He doesn't get on the computer unless my mom is showing him something, so there is little chance he'll see this. But just in case...

Happy Birthday Papa!


I think it's amusing that my parent's birthdays are 4 years and 8 days apart, and my brother's and my birthday are 4 years and 8 days apart. Hmmmm..... November to August is how many months?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hug Me Pillow

It's called the Hug Me Pillow. I found it while looking for some decorative throw pillows on a shopping website and I must say... It kinda creeps me out. Plus how will it fit in that perfectly arranged pillow ensemble on the bed? But then I noticed that it got a lot of great reviews, and only one in the bunch was slightly negative.

Here is a sampling:


I've slept on this pillow every night since I got it. I bought it to give my husband the "cold shoulder" for some long forgotten misdeed. However, was I surprised to find that this is the most comfortable pillow I've ever owned.

If you're bothered by a girlfriend whose body temperature rises dramatically when she falls asleep, but they still want you to constantly hold them, this is a fantastic purchase. By placing the Hug Me Pillow in between you and her, you'll keep her happy, without suffering through another boiling, sleepless night.

I bought this pillow to keep my company on nights when my husband, a correspondent for the Trans-Alaskan News Network, was out of town. The pillow exceeded even my wildest expectations. I'm told the pillow was modeled after Brad Pitt, and I believe it! When I first nestled against the soft, but firm chest of my new "husband" I slept better than I ever had before. Now I don't mind when my husband goes out of town!


There were a few reviews which I couldn't tell if they were real or a joke so I passed on sharing those, but it sounds like there are a number of satisfied customers that feel a little more safe and warm in the night.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

From a List of Movies to this....

Glinda over at TeenyMalono just posted her Top Ten Family Christmas Movies, and I must say that I was not prepared for this.

Christmas Movies? Already?

I mean, I realize that there are already a few in the theaters, we've already survived Black Friday, and I'm even thinking about getting the lights up today, but I'm not ready to start thinking about the movies yet. I'm just barely ready for 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown', and I don't think I'd even think that would hold my attention long enough.

To me Christmas movies means Winter Break from school and wasting time in front of the boob-tube watching whatever was on. They aren't quite nostalgic for me yet, except maybe those oddly animated Christmas Classics of Rodolph and Jack Frost. I never really cared for 'A Christmas Story', however I am still a fan of 'A Christmas Carol'. I did enjoy 'Elf' when we finally saw it last year, but most of those other ones I could pretty much pass on this year.

Perhaps it's because I'm still kidless and I'm in this in-between mode of what this time of year means to me. Perhaps it's because these last few months have been sort of crazy between the wedding, and the surgery and then me diving head first into work, that I haven't slowed down enough to realize I need to slow down to reflect on this season. Perhaps it's because I want this Christmas to just sorta slide on by since we aren't going to visit either my brother or Eric's sister this year. I thought I really wanted us to spend our first Christmas with just us (and my parents because they'll be involved I'm sure), but maybe I'll have to rethink that.

Who knew Glinda's post about movies would trigger so much introspection. Thank you oh mighty Good Glinda, for you may have saved Christmas!

Let There Be HEAT!

Last night we turned on the heater for the first time this season. What can I say, I had a moment of weakness and even though we were going to go to bed in an hour, I was cold and it was 59 degrees in the house, and I didn't want to go put on another layer even though we would end up roasting in bed the the down and the fuzzy blankets plus two warm kitties snuggled up somewhere in there (plus Eric is my own personal bed heater).

I flipped the switch over to heat, all ready for that dusty hot smell that comes from the vents when the heater is used for the first time in a while. I stared at the thermostat checking the numbers to make sure the heater program I had set last year was still adequate for this night. The heater wasn't coming on though. I looked at the furnace sniffing for gas, afraid it was going to blow up in my face. I went back and forth between the thermostat and the furnace a few times and then decided to just wait.

15 minutes went by and still no heat. Something was wrong and I asked Eric to look at it for fear of blowing up our house and the neighbors along with it. He did the same thing... looked at the thermostat, sniffed the furnace.... still no heat. I started thinking about repairman bills and that we'd have to wait a little longer for our kitchen remodel and then Eric started pushing buttons on the thermostat and the heat started blasting.

Apparently we've been in A/C mode too long because neither one of us saw that the thermostat was set lower then the temp in the house, I mean that's how it works for the A/C! I guess it wasn't THAT cold, but if we were in an area of the world where we HAD to have some heat, we may be frozen by now. Thermostats... who knew they were so complicated!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

All Man!

While playing a fun game of Yahtzee between Eric, my mom and myself, my father brought in a plate of freshly broiled chicken thighs which he had been marinating in soy sauce and lemon juice and then brushed with BBQ sauce. It's so good, and very distinctively my dad's chicken. We gobbled up the chicken and continued on with our fun game. On the way home Eric, being the country boy that he is, belched a big one.

Him: Mmmmmm

Me: GROSS!

Him: Smells like CHICKEN!

Me: Please roll down your window!

Him: If you didn't know that was a burp, you'd say, 'Mmmm smells like chicken!' too!

Me: That may be true, except that I do know.

Him: Mmm Tastes good!

Earlier in the evening Eric was taking care of some personal grooming. I walk into the bathroom to find the sink littered with plucked out NOSE HAIRS!

Me: EWWWWW!

Him: What?

Me: THAT! (pointing to the sink)

Him: Oh yea (as he reaches for some toilet paper to wipe up his mess). Man, my nose feels lighter!


My husband, he may have no shame in letting a tear fall or talking about his feelings, but he's ALL MAN! I think I may even go as far as to get him a 'personal grooming tool' for Christmas. I've been talking about getting him one for years but it just seemed so cliche... but that's it, he's totally getting one!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Kenya

My co-worker pointed me to this little diddy a while ago and it cracks me up every time I watch it. I love how the lion slides down the giraffe's leg (just watch it, you'll think its cute too... really). I am embedding the video from YouTube, but its originally from here.




Apparently other people liked it too, because here's a live remake of it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I've been busy in the kitchen preparing a somewhat non-traditional Thanksgiving meal. Later this evening my parents are coming over for a meal full of awkward silences and some idle chit chat between my mom, Eric and myself as my dad doesn't really say much and will be busy eating. I need to make sure there is plenty of food on the table to keep us all busy.

Since it's a beautiful day today and my dad thinks that all turkey is dry turkey, I am grilling up some ribeye steaks. Hopefully the propane tank won't run out and I won't char or overcook them (I tend to do that when I get nervous). Funny how I can cook in a restaurant kitchen in the middle of a dinner rush without the nerves, but as soon as I get home and am cooking for a few friends and family, I forget where my head is. I put way too much pressure on myself to impress and to express that whole food = love thing (yes I reference that a lot in this blog, but hey it's the phrase of my life).

I'm also making some dinner rolls, pumpkin pies, roasted delecata squash, sauteed mushrooms garlic and shallots for the steaks and a household favorite of brussel sprouts. Eric has also requested a salad so I'll figure that out at some point in the next hour. My mom is bringing a dish of scalloped potatoes to make sure we have enough starch and cream in the meal, because it was looking a little too healthy to be a proper Thanksgiving meal!

I hope everyone is enjoying a special time with their families today (even if you aren't celebrating the US Holiday), it's still important to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thankful for Kitties

Today my kitties went in for a teeth cleaning. Some people may think that having a cat's teeth cleaned sounds silly, but I'm one of those pet owners that take their care pretty seriously. Sadly I didn't take their dental health seriously enough because my little baby Mousie (that's one of the boy's name), had to have 2 teeth DRILLED out today. He had some pretty bad cavities and since he was already sedated for the deep cleaning, the vet extracted the two teeth with the cavities.

If you're wondering why they were drilled out, its because a cat's mandible is weak at the point where those two teeth are (right behind the canines), so our vet chooses to essentially break the tooth instead of risking breaking their jaw. Umm.. OWWW!

I was dreading this appointment because I knew Mousie is prone to bad tartar build-up and I was pretty concerned about the sedation. I'm currently pretty hyper sensitive to the thought of death right now, so the vet was really kind and took the time to call me as they were coming out of sedation to give me the low down on how things went. I must say I LOVE our vet because he never rushes a fur parent and will tell you as much or as little information as you want, I want it all so we chat a long time and he never makes me feel like I'm taking too much of his time.

So now I have 2 kitties at home, both a little not themselves. Mousie (the one that had the 2 teeth extracted) is a little high on pain drugs, staring off into space with his tongue sticking out because the pain drug is absorbed locally AND makes him high. Cosmo is still just a little scared and jumpy while being really sleepy, but mostly that's just how he is.

This holiday weekend I will get to spend some good cuddling time with my boys trying to make up this day to them and some fun wrestling time with them to get them to take their antibiotics and pain meds, and introducing the wonderful world of CAT TOOTHBRUSHING!! Good times! We'll see how it all goes. At least the cuddling will be nice.

I figured since lots of folks write about their kids, I wouldn't feel at all silly writing about mine....even though they are covered in fur and poop in a box of sand. Don't you wish your kids did that?

Oh... and apparently the fact that I've been feeding them bits of ham is effecting them. Cosmo's cholesterol levels were elevated at 244. I guess he needs to eat more oatmeal and veggies and no more tasty meat treats!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pie Luck Contest


As an annual fun thing to do at work, every year during the week of Thanksgiving we have a Pie Luck Contest. That is, a Pie making contest. Last year I had every intention of entering but I simply ran out of time. This year, I was asked to judge but I declined because I really wanted to have a go at it.

Taking inspiration from last year's winner I decided to enter one chocolaty super sweet concoction which I wouldn't eat by choice.. just too much sweet richness, which came out as a Peanut Butter Cup Cream Cheese Pie. And the other entry was my signature Caramel Apple Tart (yes I realize that it's a pie contest and not a tart contest, but I saw tarts in there last year so I'm calling it legal!). I went with 2 entries because I wanted to enter one that showcased something I like and then something "they" like.

This year we didn't have nearly the turn out we did last year. Last year we had up words of 40 pies entered. Many people had multiple entrees, and they spanned the gamut from way chocolaty sweet to almost savory, many varieties of pumpkin and nut pies, and even a few ice cream pies which didn't hold up well for the judging. This year we only had 14 entries and 2 of them were my own, and another 2 were my teammates, so I was a little uncomfortable having entered twice. I mean, 2 out of 40.... wouldn't even get noticed, but 2 out of 14? NOTICED!

Well.... after much sugar ingesting, and watching the judges circle the table of pie slices (which had no names or descriptions on them), they announced the winner of the 3 categories.
  • Best Looking
  • Best Overall
  • Least Overall (a nicer way of saying worst)
Let's just say that I'm feeling pretty embarrassed to walk away with the 2 cash prizes. The Peanut Butter Cup sugary goodness won best looking, and the Caramel Apple Tart won best overall. That was totally not my intention. REALLY!


Much thanks to J,Py and Maya for giving me some great feedback on the first trail of the Peanut Butter Cup pie.

** apologies on the lack of photo quality. I didn't have much time to fiddle with lighting and focus and such, since I was also on the committee to set up the whole deal and slice up all of the pies for judging.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Four MeMe

J over at Thinking About... tagged me for this one, and even though I posted a MeMe this weekend and I have some thoughts about content for today, I shall go forth with the MeMe as I am super slammed today!

MeMe Hoooo!


4 words to describe my response to this meme:
Resigned - to doing a MeMe

Relieved - to do a MeMe

Reminiscent - thinking about stuff for the MeMe

Reeling - to think about witty things to say about myself, for the MeMe


4 jobs I’ve had: (These are some of the more interesting ones, nothing like I do now)
burger flipper and drive through chick (the high school job, turned college job at a family run burger joint)

Barista (managed a little independent coffee house until the owner had a mid-life crisis)

Kitchen and Bar manager (before I was 21 I as meeting with micro-brewries and deciding if I wanted to pimp their brew, it was SWEET!)

Seal care taker (fed, medicated, cleaned and did rescue/release)


4 movies I’ll watch over and over:
The Wedding Singer
When Harry Met Sally
Star Wars
Tron


4 places I’ve lived: This is sad. All of the cities I've lived in have shared borders.
Concord, CA (2002 - 1994)
Pleasant Hill, CA (1998 - 2002)
Walnut Creek, CA (1997 - 1998)
Pleasant Hill, CA (1974 - 1997)


4 shows I watch:
Heroes
Grey's Anatomy
Biggest Looser
Little People Big World


4 foods I love: Do you see the pattern?
Whipped Cream
Creme Brulee
Ice Cream
Cream Cheese


4 places I’ve been:
Hawaii
Mexico
Victoria, BC Canada
Somerset, PA


4 websites I go to daily:
Google Reader
Yahoo! Mail
My Google Page
511.org (traffic reports)


4 places I might rather be:
Hawaii - on my honeymoon
in my Kitchen - Baking
Victoria - visiting my brother
Italy - because it's there and I want to be there with it

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Impress your girlfriend and win the UK Lottery!

Is it just me or is SPAM getting worse?

I have used Yahoo! mail for over 9 years now (really, only 9 years?), and through much of the beginning of the rise of spam, the filters they used were great and I never really had to deal with the drivel which comes along with Internet mail. However, over the last few months it has gotten increasingly worse.

Oh sure, the majority of the spam is caught by their filters and it lands in my spam folder which I occasionally scan for mail which ended up there by mistake. However lately I mark at least 20-30 mail entries as spam a day. I'd think that by marking it spam, that I am "helping" teach the filters, but I'm starting to doubt that more and more. Now granted, the spammers of the world are getting more and more savvy but come on now! If spam can't get through to my work email inbox, then it shouldn't get through to my Internet account either.

Hmm... perhaps since I work at a company which our main money maker is a spam blocker, that should shed some light as to why I don't get any at work. Clearly Yahoo! Mail needs to buy our product!

So tell me... is it just me?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Name Meme

It is 11:30pm and I gotta get a post out before midnight. Sadly I don't have time to put together a really well thought out post, so that means its MeMe time!

Since I'm just getting home from hanging out at my friend and blog buddy, Autumn's Mom's, house warming party, I shall do a MeMe I grabbed from her (who grabbed it from Ms. Mamma). I actually filled this one out a few weeks ago but was saving it for NaBloPoMo for when I needed something personal but quick. So here you go!

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & first car) - Yoda Tercel

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)- Butter Pecan Shortbread

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name) - C Bee

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal) - Blue Panda

5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first) - Beech

6. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink) - The Green Mojito

7. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers) - This is the saddest thing to say, but I don't know either of my grandfather's names!

8. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter) - Loften London

9. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, favorite flower)- Summer Hydrangea

10. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”) - Passion Tanky (I don't know what kind of Cartoons you watch, but that doesn't jive with me!)

11. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)- Yogurt Japanese Maple

12. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”) - The Internet Surfing Lightning Tour

13. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) - Rebecca Concord

14. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ) Leola... Just Leola (my father doesn't have a middle name)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Willy Nilly

My brain is all over the place today and I can't seem to focus on any one thing. I keep bouncing from work stuffs to pie baking to holiday cookie baking to Christmas shopping to remembering that NEXT week is Thanksgiving! Both Eric and I are a little scattered right now, and both had forgotten that Thanksgiving is next week. I suppose I should talk to my parents about plans. Hmm.

So I'm going to go back to my willy nilly thought paths and wish you all a happy weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

DUCK!

I have a current food obsession, and it's not really a healthy one but I can't seem to get enough. I'm in love with a Thai Duck Salad at a Thai place by my work. I had it for both lunch and dinner one day a few weeks ago, and I think I've had it at least once a week since then. And I'm incredibly possessive over it. I realize that I'm raving about it, but I don't offer a bite to anyone. I feel a little guilty.... but not enough to share a single bite!

First off I LOVE duck. LOVE IT! Sure, sometimes it gets too rich or fatty, but this restaurant cooks it so well. And then in the salad, they pair it with lettuce, but not as much as you'd think of a salad, just enough to cool things off and add a crunch. There are so many flavorful little additions in it that give it so much character and texture like cucumber, mint, Thai basil, carrot, tomatoes, cabbage, red onion, green onion, CHILIES and a sweet and spicy vinegar sauce. Even though it's called a salad, I put it over rice because it's not quite enough to fill me up and that sauce shouldn't be lost and the rice helps to save it!

So here it is!


BTW - My co-workers just couldn't get why I'd be taking a picture of my food. Apparently me saying, "It's for the blog!", doesn't mean anything to them. They have no idea!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WHY? WHY must the Earth tilt away from the Sun? Oh WHY?

Although tis the season and all, I have a few beefs with this time of year. Even though it isn't exactly cold here yet, the days are definitely shorter. I'm also WAY busy at work right now so it isn't a shocker that I will go days without seeing the sun without it being through a window. This produces a few bad side effects:

1. Late Work Hours. I end up staying at work WAY later then I intend because once the sun has gone down I loose track of time. Let's just say that Eric doesn't even call to check in on me anymore when its 10pm and he still hasn't heard from me. Don't worry, he knew that November was going to be like this. I also saw an opportunity to go home "early" last night (6pm) and even though I was asked to stay late I didn't. I missed my lovely! We even planned this big healthy meal but by the time I drove into town I was too hungry and tired and getting my crank on, so I stopped at Panda Express. Mmmm Orange Chicken!

2. Seasonal Depression. Oh sure, you could say that I get all cranky because of the way too much work to be done at this time of year which was planned by the powers that be, or it could be just the general stress this season brings or we could say that not getting enough sunshine in your day will lead to the blues. Whatever it is, I get this weird manic mood thing happening this time of year. I'm way cranky, and then belly laughing, and then crying, and then all warm and fuzzy and want to hug everyone around me. I suppose that's not depression but its weird!

3. Vitamin D production and Bone thinning. OK, this may be a stretch here because I do have a big south facing window in my cube which I have drawn the shades on because the sun is too bright and throws a glare on my monitor, but I don't get out much as it is and I'm not exercising since I'm at my desk while the sun is up and I don't much like to go for walks or runs when I get home so late, even though Eric says he'll go with me, because I find it way too creepy that's when the creepy people come out (which I know the creepy people don't exclusively come out at night but that's how it works in my mind so just go with it OK?). I could start utilizing that gym I've mentioned the office has provided which is on the same floor as I am, along with showers so I don't really have a good excuse except that it takes time and I'd much rather go to lunch and socialize, which I do occasionally walk to so there goes my thoughts that I'm not doing any weight baring exercises or getting my 15 minutes of sun a day for adequate Vitamin D production. But still.... its not consistent enough and I need to do more weight baring exercises as Osteoporosis runs in the family (on both Eric and my sides so our kids are going to be screwed!). Besides.. .Oprah's Dr. Oz said so!


Another bad side effect... RUN ON SENTENCES!!! Yes I realize this post was full of them, but I just couldn't stop the flow of the poorly constructed thoughts and sentence structures. They just kept coming. Hell, I don't even remember what my point was that I was trying to make here, but let it be known.... I need my longer daylight filled days back (and this work project to be done wouldn't hurt none either).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Music Memory Triggers

I have been rather emotional and nostalgic over the last week or so. Having to face the reality of death with the passing of a friend and the back burner thoughts of having to put down a pet someday, reminds me of how I used to fear falling in love when death might take them away. I would think, 'What's the point?'. I was just a kid when these fears entered my mind, and I suppose they still have a hold somewhere in there.

As my husband said about facing the death of someone we know:
It's shocking. It pops our bubble of believing that we and those we know will just keep on living indefinitely. This whole consciousness thing is strange, knowing that we're all gonna die.

I'm guessing these feelings are what is drawing me to listen to music from "back in the day". Mainly 80's and early 90's love songs fill my play list. Tonight, I threw in a lot of Air Supply, Chicago, Christopher Cross (oh yes, you know you don't want to love him but you do!), Genesis & Phil Collins. I have found that I am playing certain songs over and over again, and I feel myself getting more and more emotional with each song. These were the artists I listened to, danced to and cried to, even though I was far too young to know really what they were singing about.

I guess that some memory or tragedy in my life is being triggered although I don't know what it is. It must be something that happened to me as a kid, since I remember crying to these songs even back then. My therapist says that when we are dealing with an emotion that small memory triggers may elicit stronger then normal responses as those "gates" are open. There are so many events in our lives that we gloss over and don't "process" to truly get passed them. I know I hold many of these types of feelings back there in the safety of memories I have blocked out. Part of me is finding comfort in these songs and feeling the emotions, and part of me is feeling stuck and wants to continue to gloss over.

Perhaps now would be a good time to call that therapist. I haven't spoken to her since before my surgery. But really... it's so much easier to not.

I'm sorry for all of the morbid posts. I'm not really feeling all that down, just sort of coming to terms with things I guess.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Scar Management

I have that kind of skin that scars. I get a scratch, I scar. I stupidly pick at a zit, I scar. I gain some weight and the stretch marks remind me of it for decades later. And since I was a kid who fearlessly played, I often had scraps and bruises, and therefore still have scars from my little tumbles. I still have the mark that helps me remember the day I scraped up my knee on the tan bark at our church's little playground as I ran and dove to jump on the tire swing in my little pink dress and dragged my knees along the ground.

So, I'm not at all surprised that my surgery incision ain't so pretty. Besides having scar tissue internally that makes the area puffy and move funny, the actual incision is still painful, discolored, jagged and raised.

I tried using the VERY expensive Mederma gel but it gave me such an itch that felt like it was coming from inside where I could never get at it. I decided the discomfort just wasn't worth it.

Then I started using just Vitamin E oil while doing scar massage to help break up the tissue. I've read this technique can takes months to know if its working, but might as well try. At least the skin will be soft!

All along I had read about plastic surgeons recommending Silicon Gel Sheets to help both Hypertrophic and Keloid scars. My scar has both types of scar tissue, so even though I was hesitant to spend anymore money on something hardly anyone but myself, my husband and my doctors might ever see, I went ahead and ordered some. Most reports say the biggest changes will be noticed in the 3rd month, so I still have a while to wait to see if this treatment is worth it.

I know there are a number of people out there who have had surgeries, so I'm curious if you have tried any of theses techniques or products, or have any suggestions. I'm sure a number of you have also have "this type" of surgery or a c-section so you may be able to shed some light on how long it really takes to heal. The numb parts and the painful parts are one thing, but this scar is really bugging me.

Thanks!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

When is it too much?

My sister-in-law and her husband have been battling with some really tough decisions about the "next steps" in the care of their aging Bichon Frise dogs. The pups are eleven years old and have been the family's boys since they were just a few weeks old. Each dog's health has been failing in different ways and they require quite a bit of medication and attention. They also have 2 girls (of the human kind) ages 7 and 2, who of course need plenty of attention too.

They have been taking these pups to a great veterinarian who is up to date on all sorts of fancy procedures. When one pup got cataracts he referred them to an animal eye specialist. When the other was no longer able to control his hind legs, they referred them to an animal ortho specialist to do an MRI and possible surgery on his spine.

This past year, my parent's have been dealing with their own vet issues. They have one cat who was a stray that is in end renal failure who requires injections every other day and she takes him to the vet for most of them at $12 plus the cost of the fluid each time. I do it when I can, but it has been 2 years now and I basically only do it when the vet is closed. They also lost the last 2 cats I had when I lived there, one was also in end renal failure but wouldn't allow us to inject him and the other had her own issues and had gone blind. They were both at least 17 years old and I begged them to put the 2 they lost down, but my father just couldn't do it (at least that is what my mother said). I think neither of them had the strength to do it, and I had already lost my connection with them so it was easier for me to suggest. Both of them died within a month of each other, but the stray gets stronger and stronger (and meaner and meaner) each time I see him.

With all of these decisions being talked about it got Eric and I talking about how much would we do for out boys (of the feline persuasion). Eric says he has a hard time stomaching the thought of spending money on pets but knows that I would go to much further means to care for my boys (I've had them since they were 6 weeks old). They are now 10 years old and have been my companions and babies through some tough times. Thankfully (knock on LOTS OF WOOD) they are in good health.

I don't know how I would make the decisions my Sister-in-Law and her husband have been having to make. How can you put a price tag on the life of a family member, but at the same time keeping a level head that they are pets. It is legal to euthanize an animal and in some cases this seems more humane. You can't explain to your pet why you have decided to put them under the knife and why they are enduring the pain of recovery and that yes someday it will improve their quality of life... maybe.

When it comes down to it, I hope I will be able to reasonably judge whether or not an expensive surgery will improve their quality of life or will extend their life and make it better, not just extend their suffering because I can't do what may be more humane. Who can say if 6-12 more good months is worth the money or if a 50/50 chance of a surgery's success is worth it. You'd never think twice if it was your child, right?

Have you every been faced with such a decision? If so, what did you do? If not, what would you do?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

We've got spirit! Yes we do! ....

Eric and I just got back from a high school football game (the LONGEST game ever!). One of our friends is a teacher at the school and her and her husband invited us to drive up to join them. Eric has been asking to go to a high school game for a number of years as he always enjoyed his high school and college games. I don't think he really watched the game much, but to him it was a big social party.

Even though we didn't know the name of the school we were at (out of my school's division), we had a blast. The game took 3 hours and it was tight for a few quarters. Both teams were undefeated so it made for a pretty exciting game. It was fun to watch the parents and the "spirit squad" and all of the little school traditions. By the 4th quarter we were all cheering and clapping along with the girls and really getting into the game. I didn't grow up with football so I'm still very much learning the game and it was pretty darn fun to actually WATCH the game and get all caught up in it.

I was a little bummed that they didn't have a band to play all of those little songs, but they did play recordings of bands playing those little songs. You know those songs. All of the exact same songs I played in the stands many years ago or performed to on the field (Flag girl here!). I found it quite amusing that the songs haven't changed much. My high school no longer has a marching band as my director retired and they got all artsy and only focus on symphonic music and theory and stuff (they really are quite good, but I was very sad to hear the tradition of the Marching Band was over).

Eric had a great time and this game has only wet his whistle for some football fun. He's now talking about getting us to a Wisconsin game (his Alma mater). I told him maybe if they come to California (which they won't), because me and cold don't go well together! Ok, maybe I'll go visit Wisconsin in the fall one of these years. It's not too cold in the fall there is it? Mind you I think low 60's is COooooold!

Let's Go Badgers! Let's Go!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Co-workers and Friends

I got some very sad news this morning that a woman I worked with previously passed away yesterday morning. It was found that she had cancer only a few short months ago. The word spread farly quickly because we were a pretty tight group. We will meet at an open house in a few weeks to think of our friend and to be thankful for each other.

This news of course makes me grateful for mine and my family's health, but it also has made me realize how lucky I have been to work with the people I have found through my jobs. I have developed my closest and most lasting friendships though work. I have also grown my career thanks to these friends as we have developed a network of knowledge and opportunities.

Tonight, please hug each other a little tighter.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

LOOK OUT! Crazy lady coming through!

Have you ever felt like you were having a crazy day?
Not just a day that seemed out of control, but more that YOU felt out of control?

That's me today.
It's only 10:15am and I'm already wondering if I am PMS-ing and looking at the calendar which shows me that there is no way this is PMS. I'm just going insane.

So far I have been rude on a call for work, I have been rude to multiple people, including my boss on IM, and I have had to stop myself from freaking out about some little work things before I had the whole story (THANK GOODNESS that I stopped to get the whole story before I went running to yell at someone, because today I'd actually yell instead of handling things in my normal calm and very professional manner.)

I honestly feel like I'm on speed or something.

It seemed to start this morning when I was driving to work and traffic was flowing nicely, and then some guy cut me off and then flipped me off... HARD! shaking his hand, like he really wanted to make sure I saw him. When he was behind me, I think I had slowed down a touch (you know to maybe 70 mph) as he had something hanging out his passenger window and I was looking in my mirror to try to see what it was via the lights of the person behind him since it was still dark out. Then suddenly he flew over 4 lanes and then back over within a few feet of me to flip me off. I immediately began replaying the previous few minutes in my mind to find out how I had pissed off Mr. AgroMan. Within moments he did the same thing to the person in front of him and then slammed on his breaks (I guess trying to make some sort of point). Thankfully his stupidness didn't cause an accident, but I watched this guy continue to be stupid for at least another 15-20 miles (mind you he never got far away from me because he kept flying all over the freeway, but I finally lost him at the bridge toll plaza).

Since that initial flipping off, I have been on edge a little. And then one little thing happened at work (aka a phone dying on me while on a conference call) and the crank has taken over.

I've eaten so that's not it.
I slept pretty well last night, so I've ruled out sleep deprivation.
I didn't end up exercising last night, so I'm thankful I have a yoga class at noon today.
But for the sake of my co-workers, I think I'm going to go for a walk now. Maybe a visit to our prayer/meditation room would be a good thing too. Although just slowing down to type out this post has helped too.

So thank you my dear bloggy friends. You have no idea how much you just saved me today!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Another late night at the office

If you were to check a traffic website which estimated your drive to take 2 hours with the current levels of traffic and you didn't really HAVE to be home at any given time, would you:

A: Get on the road and just sit in the traffic hoping that the traffic website was all wrong?
B: Wait and hope it'll lighten up soon, so that you don't have to waste all of that gas and aggravate your nerves, and spend some quality time with the Internet?
C: Hunker down for a really late night at the office and get all of those little nagging tasks done and maybe even get a good chunk of a big nasty project done, while eating whatever snacks you have stocked your cube with, with the hopes that traffic will totally go away before you start nodding off?

So yea, I'm bitching about my commute YET AGAIN! It's after 7pm and our local traffic website is all full of red and black lines on my route home. Even my alternate routes, which are way out of the way, are really gross looking. There are a ton of accidents because people just can't NOT run into each other (you aren't driving bumper cars people!) and CalTrans, the California Transportation Agency, has somehow come into lots and lots of money or they are trying to dry up their budgets before the end of the year because they have suddenly decided to resurface ALL of the freeways up here simultaneously. BRILLIANT!

Even though I have been wanting to stop this blog from being a bitch fest (yes I realize the majority of my posts are complaining about something or another), it just seems like the negativity keeps rising to the surface at about the time I have a touch of time to write a post. I do hope I can stop bitching. I really don't like to be thought of as a bitchy person.

Ommmmm. Ommmmmm.

Oh! Sweet! I just realized that I have workout clothes here AND our office recently turned a conference room into a gym. I forgot my iPod though, so I'll just have to workout with my thoughts. Maybe I'll step my way through the negativity.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Gifting

The decorations are up and the sales have begun, but I'm not a big gift giver and I still am drawn to the urge of getting out there with everyone else. I am not a big nick knacker and try to only give a gift because I have found something that speaks to me that this person must have or I like to give something I know they would use. Sometimes this happens around a holiday or a birthday, and sometimes it happens randomly.

I started baking for Christmas gifts when I was a kid and over the years, these cookie gifts became actually more expensive then buying store bought gifts but I felt like I was giving a part of myself to my friends and family and could more accurately express my emotions through my cooking. After all food = love!

Well, not everyone sees these cookies as a gift. They've almost become expected. I realize that everyone has different gifting views and traditions so it's difficult for me when I want to give in a non-traditional way.

So last year I started knitting and had planned out all of these gifts I was going to make over the next year. It's now November and I haven't finished a single one. I feel both an internal and external pressure to be able to give a gift which isn't gone in a few bites and can be wrapped in paper and put under a tree. But I don't want to become that aunt or grandma who gives those gifts that she thinks are GREAT but aren't really received well. I was one of those kids who totally didn't appreciate the time and effort put into a handmade gift, so I don't expect much more, so should I bother?

This is a really tender spot for me because I want to please people and to make them happy, and frankly I want to be loved and accepted. I realize a gift does not make or break the love but there is still this psychological thing in there that makes me want to throw aside my values to please others. I don't know if I am projecting or if the number of gifts and how big they are is really as important as it seems but it sure feels like it.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bite Guards are so hot!

Over the last few weeks I have been struggling with clinching my teeth at night. So after a few nights of being woken up by the pain, I finally called my dentist. He didn't note any real damage to the enamel but he went ahead and took impressions for a bite guard to be made.

A week later the guard came back from the lab and we popped it in there to see how it fit. OWWWW!!!

Now this thing is hard plastic made to "click in" on the top teeth. Well it didn't click... it crunched and I squealed. He said he's never heard one of these make so much noise and he was startled by the noise I made because in the 30 years I've been going to him, I hardly ever complained of pain. After 30 minutes of him putting it in, me pointing out what hurt and then him grinding down spots he said to try it for the weekend and then come back on Monday AM to make any additional adjustments.

That night I clicked it in, Eric proceeded to tease me, and I went to sleep. I woke up sometime in the middle of the night to memories of braces as my gums were swollen, at least one tooth had moved so I couldn't bite fully for half a day and the insides of my lips and cheeks were swollen & sore. That thing was taken out and did not return to my mouth until this morning in the chair.

I asked him... "What's the deal with sending me home with a torture device?"

More adjustments were made and hopefully tonight it won't hurt so much and will keep me aware of my clinching so I will stop. I'm getting pretty tired of soft foods! And um.... that bite guard so doesn't bring on the sexy! Especially the drooling part.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lazy Sunday

If you've been following this blog you'll know that I had a surgery a few months ago, and since then I get tired easily. I have been totally giving into this and have been telling myself that I am listening to my body and allowing myself to take it easy and to be nice to myself. Well I've gotten rather bored of this, and also know that if I don't push myself a little, that I will never return to the energetic life that I enjoy AND will not get back in shape. In other words, I have been leaning on this recovery period to get even lazier!

When I went back to work, I was exhausted after a day of work in the office, so I started working 2 days from home. Then I was able to only work 1 day from home and was doing ok, but even then I was still sleeping a ton on the weekend to "catch up".

But this week I had 2 parties to go to both of which kept me out until the AM. It felt so great to be out of the house and to be social. But today I am pooped! Completely pooped! My face and eyes actually hurt. I feel like I have a hangover but without the alcohol consumption. Had I known I was going to be hungover the next day, I might as well of had a drink or two!

Thankfully we had very light plans today, because not much was accomplished. We woke up after noon and went to the grocery. It's now almost 7:30pm and I still haven't put all of the groceries away because that would require me to clean out the fridge (which hasn't been done for quite a while). I bought ingredients to make little pecan tassies (little pecan pie like cookies) to take to the office tomorrow, but they never got made. I bought the makings of a fancy-ish dinner.... but I sat on the couch and ate Halloween candy and snap peas (great combo huh?), so I'm not hungry now, which means Eric is fending for himself.

I realize that the clocks were changed so it may seem really early, but I'm going to bed soon anyway.

It's days like these when it's nice to not have too many responsibilities!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Zombie Prom 2007

Tonight we are going to an after-Halloween Halloween party. Our host and hostess have an annual party and due to some scheduling issues, they couldn't do this last week like most folks.... so we got to tear through the clearance bins to find some deals today to try to put together some costumes to go with the theme of '80's Zombie Prom'!!!!

So far we have some nice pieces from Goodwill which includes a lovely black velvet and iridescent teal taffeta number for me, and for Eric we found a red and black hounds tooth jacket with a sweet black velvet collar (you know you want one too!).

We just got back from a few drug stores which had clearance bins of their leftover Halloween CRAP, and we found a few little makeup kits and I got a can of Aqua Net which is totally required for the 80's hair. Hopefully my recent perm will help out!

Wish us luck.... we're off to put on our costumes and then .... rip them up and pour blood on them.


*Due to time constraints (supposed to be at this party in an hour), I'll add pictures to this post tomorrow.
**Sunday AM update -- I forgot our camera!!! But some friends got a few shots of us, so I'm waiting for them to send them to me. Stay tuned.
As a teaser... let's just say I had completely forgotten the power of Aqua Net, a curling iron and a lot of back combing.
***Sunday PM update -- Ok... ok... here's a little cut and paste work from a group shot I found on facebook. My hair was never that fantastic in the 80's!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Day 2 and I almost didn't make it

Here it is, Day 2 of NaBloPoMo and there is only an hour left in the day.... but I made it!

Last night my company had a most excellent party at the Exploritorium in San Francisco. Granted yes, it was held on a Thursday, it still totally rocked. Last year's party was very fun as well, but this year's party .... well, let's just say that this year I didn't hesitate visiting the open bar, I ate a lot of great food including the best Risotto I've EVER had, danced to a really good DJ and a really bad Neil Diamond cover band (they were great as far as Neil Diamond bands go, but it was more the fact that it WAS a Neil Diamond cover band which made it bad), took some cute photo booth pictures with my husband, played with a lot of science experiementy thingys, and laughed with some of the best people I've ever worked with.

The party was officially over at 11pm, and we left to head back over the bridge. We took along one of my co-workers who decided that public transportation to the other side of the Bay would be fun which would take her 2 hours plus a lot of stress to make it back home. Once we dropped her off, I asked Eric if he would mind if we went back to the city to hang out with the kids who were continuing the party at a nearby bar. By nearby I mean it was nearby to where the original party was... you know, back in San Francisco... not in Oakland which is where we were as I asked this (lets just say this is a good 30 miles away plus bridge toll). Being the wonderful husband that he is, he said he'd take me back and let me hang out with the cool kids to try to up my social status at the office. This office where I have felt to be a very awkward pre-teen amongst all of the really cool seniors, and have been trying to get my break into the inner circle since I got there.

We found the gang at their 2nd after party bar, and continued to move with them to 2 more bars until closing time and then onto a pizza place for some drunken pizza eating (we were completely sober by this point... well Eric and I were at least). By the time we got home from our 2nd venture into the city, it was 3:30am. Good thing I had planned ahead and took the following day off! Even though I'm very tired now, I'm really glad we went back to do a little bar hoping because of that whole not getting out to do much factor, and even though my co-workers may not all remember that I came back based on the state we found them, Eric and I had a great time.

When I got home I did contemplate logging on to write my day 2 post since it was technically the 2nd day already, but I figured I had time.

Of course, I had already filled up my day off with plans of sleeping, a dentist appointment and a whole lot of hanging out with my good friend Liz on her last day of maternity leave, so this is why I am just now finally sitting down to write this post, now with only 1 hour to spare. I really can't be doing this kind of thing every night, so I had better figure out a better system and schedule. Oh and don't worry. Not all of my posts will be of the 'what I did last summer' (or last night) types of posts. I'm sure something more insightful will this way come because that's just how the randomness of my brain works.

Cheers! (with water of course!)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaBloPoMo 2007 Begins!

That's right folks today is Day #1 of a month of posts, and yes, I'm even shamelessly using this really cheap post on the very first day. I just loved this badge and had to do a little posty post just for it.

Mew!

LOLCATS Ho!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Gettin' out of the house

Eric and I don't get out much. We tend to be home bodies, and this frustrates us, because there is no other reason other then laziness. We both enjoy being active participants of life but our asses are very heavily drawn the couch, the bed, or to the comfy office chairs I spent way too much money on.

Last week, my co-worker announced that she had some tickets to a Taiko concert/show in Napa, on Saturday and she was no longer able to go. I quickly jumped at the chance because we both enjoy these types of shows. It is cultural, it is worldy, it is full of energy and it's just pretty cool! Plus, it's a great reason to drive up to Napa which really is only a 40 minute drive from our house but we tend to forget that it's so close.

We had hoped to get in a casual but tasty dinner before the show, but we got a late start and my mom had asked us to fill up her car with gas (she breaks out in a rash if she does it and there just aren't full-service stations around anymore), so we let go of the idea of dining at a lovely Napa restaurant. We took our time getting ready and still found we had 45 minutes before the show, so we got our casual but tasty dinner of In & Out burger, fries, and a shake and Dr. Pepper to share. And honestly... the best part of that meal was the Dr. Pepper (we don't drink much soda and it was so luxurious!)

We arrived at the Napa Valley Opera House to find that we were TOTALLY overdressed. I put Eric in a casual but nice button down and some black slacks and I was in a cut little matte jersey dress. We don't have reasons to dress up much (since we tend to not leave the house), so we took the opportunity and ran with it. The rest of the play house was dressed rather casually... good to know for the next time we head to Napa for a show.

The show was fantastic though. So full of energy and rhythm. If you ever get a chance to see a Taiko Drum group, I would highly recommend it. I wish that I had thought of inviting some other friends and their kids because it was a perfect show for kids. Perhaps a little late running, but I think I know a few pre-teens who would have really enjoyed it (and their parent's too).

This week we have 2 parties to go to, so we are feeling all grown up and social suddenly. It's very odd! But the big question now...what will I wear?

Friday, October 26, 2007

More goings on about the hair

I wrote that little post about the perm right after I walked in the door from the salon and I was still reeling from the sudden decision to frizz out my hair. Now that it has been a few days, and this morning I was finally able to wash it, I don't think its THAT bad anymore.
It's a "body wave" done with big perm rods and it was way curly the night I got it done. Then the next few days it was looking sad from the not being allowed to touch it business (for those non-perm havers, you can't wash, brush or generally do anything with permed hair for the first few days to allow the hairs to "remember" the curl since the chemicals are still doing their thing).
So now that I got to play with it.... I don't love it, but I don't totally hate it either. I blew out my bangs so they aren't one big cork stew anymore (think Squiggy), and I put in some de-frizzing serum and shine stuff. I don't like the way it hangs and its more kinky then curly, but maybe when I go back on Tuesday for a cut, she can make it have more shape. I dunno.... I miss my shiny, wash and go hair, but maybe I needed a little change to spark things up a bit.

The night I got the perm I couldn't sleep. I was having little anxiety pangs. Little freak outs about the hair, and then fearing the teasing I would get at work, and then realizing that I have to stand up in front of my whole department and do a training in a few days... WITH THIS HAIR! And then of course I started freaking out that I hadn't finished writing my presentation and had no idea what I was going to do with my hair for the presentation. And things just spiraled down from there.

And now today... I have ok hair, I am dressed in a casual but sharp sweater (I was so not going to wear a costume like most people in the office), and my presentation is at 1:30pm. So far I'm not all that nervous, just a little.. if I think about it, so I will stop thinking about it now.

Oh... and by the way... IT'S FRIDAY! and the best thing about that.... I get to SLEEP IN tomorrow AND my presentation will be over, oh and we're going to a Taiko Drum group concert in Napa.

May you all have fabulous hair this weekend!