Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Revelation

I had a revelation the other morning. My thought-train was taking me to the comment that I usually say deprecatingly about how my sister is the doctor and I'm the poor starving artist. Now, my mother always taught us never to sell ourselves short, and while it's a derisive statement, because I think my sister is super super brainy and I think of myself as less so because she's so brilliant, I do however consider myself (rather modestly, I might add) to be a fantastic artist.

Granted, this enthusiasm in my own talent is only buoyed by my fiance thinking I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread and my family equally catering to my skills. Though we all know they're biased, as the community of graphic designers in Bend keep refusing to hire me. Thus, the statement I make above which is usually in response to the query by someone of what my degree is in and why I'm selling cellphones.

Basically, in my heart of hearts I'm not sure that I'm as awesome as I think I am.

But that's besides the point.

So, to recap briefly since we were sidetracked (see? this is what happens when we're following the thought train, please try to keep up): my sister is amazing, wonderful and freakishly genius, and I'm fantastically, artistically talented.

My revelation was that the two are not mutually exclusive.

I'm not sure why we do this, but I know everyone does...we get stuck in the rut of thinking of ourselves as solely "this" and definitively not "that." Which is entirely untrue.

My sister, for one thing, is decently skilled at photography (whereas I'm not so good). And that's art. Me, on the other hand, am a true, self-proclaimed-in-the-best-braggiest-way-possible nerd. I get proud of myself when I am at my geekiest of setting up the wireless printer on the first try. I am the one in our little family (of two fuzzies and Tyler and myself) who plugs everything in and knows what goes where in order to make the whole technological jumble work just so.

I mean, Tyler thought the Wii was broken one day because I had been watching a DVD and in order to switch between the two there's a button you have to push on a box in the armoire and he didn't know that. He just assumed the Wii was broken.

Which, in all honesty, is a valid assumption when the thing doesn't work the way he thought it was supposed to.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that even though my beautiful, wonderful sister is absolutely genius, she's also an artist. And while I think of myself as a struggling artist rather than delightfully brainy, I'm also a pretty smart cookie.

I'm not sure if that means as much to you as it does to me, but I just wanted to share it and see if it takes your thought train somewhere positive too.

Ciao,
kc

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's Snowing!

This morning, I was brought out of bed by the sound of my handsome fiance dancing and singing...

"It's snowing, it's snowing, it's s-s-s-s-snowing!"

Me: "Hey honey, is it snowing?"

Silence for a minute in the other room.

Him: "Sorta..."

Be prepared for a white Christmas in Bend!

Ciao,
kc

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Birthday Cupcakes

I didn't fill you in on the wonderful cupcakes that I made for my birthday!




I made Pumpkin Spice Latte cupcakes, thanks to Pinterest, and Chocolate cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream frosting. Delicious!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. espresso powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 large eggs
½ cup coffee or espresso, for brushing

For the frosting:
2¼ cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
For garnish:
Ground cinnamon
Caramel sauce

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Stir together and set aside. To the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachement, add the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar, buttermilk and oil. Mix to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans. While the cupcakes are still warm, brush them two or three times with the coffee or espresso, allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating. Let cool completely.
For the frosting, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high speed. Blend in the confectioners’ sugar gradually. Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat. Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Enjoy! These are perfect for the season...

Love,
kc

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Movie Review: Skyfall


What did you say your name was?

Bond.

James Bond.

I don't know about you but I really think that Daniel Craig is the best 007. He really takes the focus off of the "panty-droppin'" charisma of former Bonds. I mean, we know that Bond can get anyone he wants. Been there, done that, we know. I really feel that Craig (and his writers) make that point with subtle emphasis without it being sex sex sex all the time.

Tyler and I went and had a date-day last week that concluded with Skyfall.

In brief, the newest 007 movie in a lineup of greats begins with our very favorite: the chase scene. 007 is in Istanbul attempting to retrieve a hard drive of sensitive information that leads to an epic scene on top of a train and ends with a hard choice by M and a hard fall by Bond. Bond is believed dead and M is left to deal with the ramifications. Bond resurfaces when news of the information being leaked reaches the place where he has lain in semi-retirement, trying to drown his depression with a nice young lady (whose name we never learn) and lots of booze. He makes his way back to MI6, and the plot thickens as someone from M's past is discovered to be behind everything and Bond is sent on a mission to win the day.

Pretty standard James Bond.

What I love about Skyfall is that it reaches back into the past. In a day and age where the majority of action films are so full of CGI and special effects that the standard human eye has a hard time tracking what's happening and human effort doesn't really factor in any more (Transformers, anyone?), the subtlety, science fiction, and all-around cool factor of old school action movies is crushed under tons of explosions, screaming, and spinning movement.

Bond and M commiserate on how they're going to do the mission "old school" and show the world that just because they've been around the block doesn't mean they're "obsolete."

The Aston Marten DB5 with it's machine gun headlights and ejector seat make an appearance. Bond kicks it old school and makes it — in my book at least — one of the coolest action movies of the year, if not the decade.

Bond delivers as always with twists, turns, and drama. The acting stays strong and the plotline keeps you sane.

See it, but know that unlike times past, the big screen is not the only place you have to see it in order to get the full effect any more.

Though don't be old like Tyler, who as we were leaving the theater said to me, "You know, that was fun, but it would have been better if we'd been at home with the dog and cat and I could have worn my slippers."

Ciao,
kc

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Shake It Situation

Many years ago my aunt started "collecting" glass paperweights. And by collecting, I mean, one of her friends started giving them to her and started telling people that she collected them, thus creating a rather hilarious snowball effect regarding these stupid glass paperweights.

My mother thought it was really funny.

My aunt thought it was really stupid.

Especially when it seemed to start to evolve into salt and pepper shakers. Which was even funnier.

Until the day that my aunt started my mother's collection...of salt and pepper shakers.

My mom always says she can tell exactly when someone giving her salt and pepper shakers because they all have the "same shit-eating grin on their faces" and make her open it right away.

The nice part about this particular collection is that it provided me with disposable salt and pepper shakers through college, but the bad part is that I seem to be forming such a collection. I swear, if I even mention that I like a particular set or think it's cute in passing, BAM, all of a sudden it's now decorating my windowsill.

I swear to God, none of us actually collect the damn things, so don't you even think about it.

I can tell you are. Wipe that grin off of your face.

The beauty of this collecting business is that they're easily regifted. So don't even start it with me, or you'll find that you have a collection of your own.

Now, my dearest friend Heather recently started her very own collection. Not of salt and pepper shakers, however. Of gnomes. So I really feel like I'm getting off easy here. Just like my aunt's paperweight collection and my mother's salt and pepper shaker collection and my evolving salt and pepper shaker collection, it started with a passing comment.

And then someone posted on Facebook.

And then someone else told everyone that Heather and her husband collected gnomes and wanted them as wedding gifts.

Heather sent a video to my mother, sister and I regarding the situation. Revenge is sweet and comes in the form of a foot and a half tall garden gnome with a bobble head...

It really puts things into perspective, don't you think?

Ciao,
kc

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Catching Up

I can't believe Turkey Day is almost here. As in, it's here tomorrow.  Can you? I can't remember where my October or my November went...

I'm pretty sure the dog ate them.

Banyan is so big now. It's crazy. We weighed him two weeks ago and he's 21 lbs. which means that by now he's close, if not surpassing 25! That's a long ways from 4.8 lbs.

Tyler graduated him to the "big dog" leash this week...

It's crazy.

This is terrible, but I sat down to write this and remembered that I have about forty things that I wanted to get done and didn't intend for one of them to be a blog. SO. I will post this, and hopefully I will return.

It's my goal to write a bunch and spread them out over the next couple weeks so that y'all have something to read since I've been so lax lately!

Love you all,
kc

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dear Nana

Dear Nana,

It's weird not having you here for my birthday. I'm writing my thank yous, and I know that's something handed down from you, and it just feels weird not writing something that starts with "dear Nana."

I hate that everything now coming from "5 Everett Ct" is no longer from you. Did you know that your address was the first one I remember recognizing? Maybe because it was always accompanied by big boxes filled with more goodies than one little girl could ever dream of.

I'm writing to you because it just feels off-kilter that a whole year and then some has gone by without me writing to you or receiving a single, smokey letter from you. Even the paper you used smelled like cigarettes and Nana's house.

I remember that some of the things you sent took weeks to air out, though often we were too excited by whatever it was to really care that they smelled faintly of smoke.

Opening boxes from you was my favorite part of any gift holiday, because there was never any foreknowledge of what you would send...everything from weird, old, gross panties to wicker dumpling cookers to pretty pretty princess dolls. You were as good as Santa when we we're little, and as I grew older and left home there was always a secret, satisfied happiness that I finally didn't have to share Nana boxes with anyone else.

I'm so glad you were my grandmother, and I'm so grateful for every little thing you ever did for me.

I wish you weren't gone.

I wish you could see me in my pretty white dress and get drunk at my wedding and give everyone sloppy, wet, Nana kisses and tell everyone how wonderful everything was. I'm glad you got to meet Tyler and that you think he is a wonderful young man, and I wish you could see our little family now.

I hope you can.

So, Nana, this year this is your thank you letter. I wish you could get it in the mail.

I love you for always, I miss you forever.

Love,

Your granddaughter

Thursday, November 1, 2012

In the Works

It's a sad day when I've been so remiss with my blogging! It's hard to find a spare moment these days. I'm not a "mommy" in the truest sense of the word, but I'm feeling like I'm getting a very real taste in parenting with this puppy business. Those of you not in a place in your life where you have a bit of spare time for worry, training, poop, etc. don't do it! Simply live vicariously through me!

I sit down hundreds of times a week to write even a little -- this moment is even a great example of it -- I sat down for a second here at 6:48 a.m. only to here a tiny "whoop" from the bedroom from B telling me, "Mom, I have to go potty."

He's back in bed and here I am trying to remember what I was doing.

I was supposed to go to Portland yesterday to pick up my wedding dress and see my lovely friend, but the shop was closed and so the trip was postponed. Not that I didn't want to go up just to see Heather, I did, truly, but we had already arranged for Banyan to go to work with Tyler, which meant that if I stayed home, I could get all those things that I've just needed time away from our puppymonster to get done.

Like cleaning the house.

And making muffins.

And finishing baby quilts.

Okay, so the quilts aren't done yet, and there are about forty other projects backlogged as well. But two of three quilts are done. Which is impressive because one of those quilts has been in the works since January, and the baby was born in March...oops!

So I had some alone time, and was soooooo productive.

And I wanted to tell you not to give up on me. I'm still here. Mr. B is potty trained (for the most part, we had an accident yesterday...), can sit, stay, lie down, and come occasionally. We're still working on "come." It's selective. But he's getting better.

Now that he's getting older (and so much bigger!), I should have more time. Theoretically.

He's 15.6 lbs now. Compared to 4.8 lbs when we got him. Huge!

Ciao,
kc

Friday, October 12, 2012

Literation

I had an interesting conversation with a customer the other day. We were killing time waiting for her phone to activate or some such, I can't even remember anymore, but I asked her what I ask most customers when we have down time, "So what are you up to today? Anything fun?"

She told me that she had to run by her work and do a few more errands, nothing particularly interesting.

"Oh? What do you do?" I questioned mildly.

"I work for the library," she replied with a smile.

This launched an avid conversation about sorting books by genre versus author because the Deschutes County Library is the first library that I have encountered that sorts its fiction by author rather than genre and I had a bone of contention with that. She went on to explain to me that apparently they get more complaints when it's sorted by genre than by author because some people are more wont to argue about the validity of one author or book being one genre or the other. For example, some would classify Michael Crichton as science fiction (hello, because he is), but also tests the realms of horror (did you read "Congo"????), drama (he did create ER after all), some mystery, and even just realistic fiction. So rather than argue ten times a day about that, they just make it easy...

...except for people like me who read by genre not by author.

Sigh.

We also had a discussion that brought about a topic that disturbed me greatly.

I mentioned that I would love it if their e-library was bigger. She said it was the biggest in the state, and I agreed, but still.

"Did you know that most publishing houses won't sell e-books to libraries?" she told me. "And the ones that do charge so much that it's not even worth it? Not to mention that there's no good way for patrons to donate e-books because libraries don't have access to Amazon specifically and all the rights surrounding them prevents us from loaning books that way."

This was news to me. Especially since if you're checking out one of their "Kindle"-filetypes you have to go to Amazon to download it.

The specific example she gave me was Fifty Shades of Grey. "The paperback copy of that book costs the library seven dollars apiece. The e-book? That's forty-five dollars per copy."

That's abhorrent.

How does that make sense?

I mean, I know that logistically it sort of does, because it'd be hard to moderate otherwise, and they have to have specific codes built into library copies that cause them to "expire," but I mean really. Forty-five dollars? For Fifty Shades of Grey?

That book just wasn't that good.

Ciao,
kc

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Inculcate

So I was reading, as I am apt to do, and was stumped by a word. Now, I could get the point of the word from the surrounding sentences, and I've read this book so many times that I've seen it before, but by george, I think I always thought it was "innoculated."

So wrong.

The word as I read it was "inculcated." You see my confusion?

inculcate. verb. [in-kuhl-keyt]. to implant by repeated statement or admonition; teach persistently and earnestly. to cause or influence (someone) to accept an idea or feeling.
  • ...to inculcate virtue in the young.
  • Socrates inculcated his pupils with the love of truth.
Enjoy my confusion! Ever been confused by a word?

Ciao,
kc

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Perils of Parenthood

As many of you know, we're the proud new parents of the cutest little bundle of fur to walk this earth like...ever. Meet Banyan:


His big sister, Maddie, our other sweet bundle of fur, thinks he's the devil incarnate even though she's twice his size at her all-of-eight-pounds.

I'll be honest. We thought he'd be bigger than the 4.8 lbs he was when we brought him home.

Our trip began last Wednesday, we hit the road in the dark of 5:30 a.m. Someone was very excited. Okay, well, both of us were. We made it to Ellensburg, WA at about 10:15 am, due to the nature of empty roads and excited driving. We were forty five minutes too early to go to the breeder, so we used our cool new iPhone 4S's to find Safeway for some mid-morning breakfast sandwiches.

Mid-sandwich, the breeder called us and told us that her previous appointment was done early, so if we wanted to, we could head on over if we'd made it to town and were just killing time (how did she know?). I said great! and told her we'd be over in 15 minutes.

We pulled up the dirt road onto her property, and met her for the first time. We met one of her employees when we went up to meet Jill, the mommy. She lead us to the "backyard" which was really more like a grassy, fenced, courtyard between her home and her breeding facilities. Her husband breeds Labs and she breeds Goldens, so they were quite established breeders.

Six tiny little golden boys raced along the fenceline, tails a-wag, to greet us as we walked to the gate.

Our first comment was, "They're so tiny!" Because from the pictures, you'd have to agree, they were much larger. We were envisioning bringing home a ten- to fifteen-pound puppy, when in reality, there was only one larger than 5 lbs., with most being smaller.

Then came the challenge of choosing just one of those sweet puppy faces!



It took us an hour and a half.

We immediately eliminated one who was a lot more independent. We were left with five, and what our top three boiled down to was purely personality. There were three particularly sweet boys, one small and whiteish like his mommy, one bigger and redder, and one in the middle.

Sadly, the middle one was quickly eliminated as we "liked the other two equally" and he had a heart murmur. The breeder said that he would probably grow out of it, but unless he was the only one we loved, as we had first pick we'd be better off with someone else. Which is too bad, because he was a very sweet boy.

We both bonded quickly with the redder one, but struggled for a long time between the two because the "aptitude" of the smaller one was closer to what we wanted, but the red one was the one who climbed into our laps first and the one who kept coming back to say hi and snuggle. Finally, we let our hearts choose, and the red guy became our Banyan.



The drive home went relatively well. While warned that he'd probably wail and cry the whole way home, we had our "nerves of steel" prepared. He cried very little, and we ended up being failures at strength (and so proud at how good he was being) and cuddled him in our laps.


He was such a good boy for the first couple days. We were sleepless but happy as we struggled to figure out the best sleep schedule for him that didn't have us cleaning up messes or getting woken up by his crying.


By the second night, he barely whimpered when kenneled for the night and we were so proud of our little boy for his progress.

Then the third night (Friday night) met with some mild complications in the form of diarrhea in the middle of the night. We were a little worried, but not overly so as the breeder told us to expect some due to the stress of a new home and being taken from his siblings. Saturday morning it still hadn't stopped, so we all trooped off to the vet. There was no crisis, and our vet calmly assuaged our fears.

It wasn't extreme enough to be parvo, but let's just check for generic parasites and here's a general antibiotic to give him to clear up anything lingering until we get the test results back on Monday.

Relieved, we went home and I went off to work.

We thought it concerning that he continued to have loose poop throughout the day, but were not super worried as the vet had told us that it would continue for a little while. That night though, our poor little boy took a turn for the worse. Every twenty minutes to half hour had an accident or weak whimpering to go out. Outside, we'd shiver and worry while he strained at nothing left. What he little did produce was bloody and mucusy. Our five pound little man had a hollowed belly and was so weak he could barely do that.

At 3 a.m. he threw up.

That was the final straw for me. I got on the phone with the emergency vet and she said to bring him in because it was sounding like parvo.

For those of you who don't know, parvo is a puppy-parent's worst nightmare. The production of diarrhea and vomit dehydrates the pup to a dangerous point if it doesn't outright kill him within the first day and a half. Treating it is extremely expensive in money, time, and emotional distress.

"Canine parvovirus is a particularly deadly disease among young puppies, about 80% fatal, causing gastrointestinal tract damage and dehydration as well as a cardiac syndrome in very young pups. It is spread by contact with an infected dog's feces. Symptoms include lethargy, severe diarrhea, fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, and dehydration." Wikipedia
We took him in and the vet examined him. He wasn't exhibiting the intestinal sensitivity (pain) and hardness one would expect with parvo, so most likely it wasn't, but he could be tested just in case. In the meantime, they would give him fluids and run another fecal (since we weren't getting the original back for another 24 hours) for the most concerning parasites. They told us to go home and sleep for a couple hours while they ran his tests and treated him and they would call us with results and when to come pick him up.

I cried on the way home, and cried when we went back to bed and cuddled a perturbed and needy cat (who thinks that the whole puppy thing sucks in general and has become increasingly attentive when he's kenneled). We finally fell asleep and were awoken by the vet calling a couple hours later.

"So we got the parvo results back," she began, and I choked back a sob, "and it's negative."

It was a less deadly infection called coccidia with a side of giardia. They rarely kill, but had we been less attentive parents, less concerned, or had continued to say, "oh we'll get the results on Monday, he'll be fine until then," Banyan could have become dehydrated to the point of...well. Luckily for him, we very attentive, bordering on overreactionary.

He got antibiotics, came home with us, and ever since we've been very concerned about his poop.

Ninety percent of our conversations during the day surround Banyan's poop.

"Did he poop?"

"How much?"

"What color is it?"

"Is it soft or hard?"

...and my favorite...

"What does it smell like?"

He's doing fine, driving us nuts, and has given Maddie giardia, which gives her even more reasons to love him — as she also had to be medicated twice a day for five days, something that was just abhorrent to her.


Everyone is okay though, he's up from 5 lbs. to 6.8 lbs. and learning to sit, ring his bell to go outside, and not to bite Mommy.

We've been getting more sleep too.

Ciao,
kc

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Dreamt

Now, dreamt isn't exactly a big word, so we're going for fun fact this week. Did you know that dreamt is the only word in the English language to end in -mt? The only one!

Isn't that cool?

dreamt. verb. [dremt]. a simple past tense and past participle of dream.  

Do you know any fun facts about words?

Ciao,
kc

Monday, October 1, 2012

Most Delicious and Nutritious

I made this salad several days ago, but the beauty of delayed posting is I actually wrote this post the same night I made the salad!



It was delicious.

I went a little overboard on the onion, so it was a bit strong, but sooooo good. Perfect for lunches (though pack strong mints!) or a hot summer evening. So good, and so easy!

Black Bean and Sweet Corn Salad
 
2 ears raw sweet corn, cut kernels from cob 
2 cans (16 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced red onions
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon honey or brown sugar
salt
ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the corn, beans, parsley, onions, vinegar, oil, lemon juice, garlic, and honey or brown sugar. Let the salad marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. Add salt and pepper to taste.
 
Ciao,
 kc

Friday, September 28, 2012

Best Thing Ever

Again with the Pinterest thing. It's amazing, it has so many great ideas!

I found Freezer Crockpot Meals.

Absolute genius.

You put them all together at once, raw, in plastic ziplock bags with the instructions on the front and then freeze. When you're wanting a dinner, you pop them out of the freezer in the morning before work and throw them in the crockpot. No defrosting, no prep, just pop and when you get home, there's dinner!

It took me about an hour and a half to make four different meals, and each meal divides in half for a 2 to 3 person family with leftovers so I've got eight crockpot meals in my freezer!

Actually, only seven now since we ate one the other night.

It's amazing.

I made:

Cilantro Lime Chicken with black beans and corn
6 chicken breasts
3 Tbs olive oil
2 limes, juiced
2 cups cilantro
1 large bag of frozen corn (or two smaller bags)
4 minced garlic cloves
1 finely chopped red onion
2 cans of black beans, rinsed
2 tsp cumin or chipotle powder
salt/pepper to taste

Split everything into two containers. shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer. Instructions
for Container: cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours, serve with hot tortillas or tostitos. Dress with
sour cream, guacamole, and/or cheese

Divine Chicken
6 chicken breasts
4 cups baby carrots
4 cups fresh broccoli (chopped)
2 onions
salt/pepper to taste
2 cartons of cream of chicken soup (add 1 each at cook time)
2 cup milk (add 1 each at cook time)

Split everything into two containers. shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer. Instructions
for Container: Add 1 cream of chicken soup and 1 cup of milk, cook on low 8 hours or high 4
hours

Sausage and Peppers
6 Italian Sausage (or chicken sausage)
2 green peppers
1 red pepper
1 large red onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans italian diced tomatoes
2 Tbs Italian seasoning

Split between 2 bags, seal, mix, lay flat, freeze. Directions for Bags: Add drizzle of olive oil, cook on low 6 hours, serve over hot noodles or fresh french bread with mozzarella cheese

Lazy Day Beef Stew
4lb cubed stewing beef 4 cups baby carrots
4 cups baby red potatoes (cut in half) 2 onions (chopped)
10 oz package dried lima beans 2 cups celery (chopped)
4 tsp quck-cooking tapioca
Salt and pepper to taste
1 15 oz can tomato sauce (1/2 in each bag)
2 Tbs brown sugar

Split between 2 bags, seal, mix, lay flat, freeze. Directions for Bags: Add 1 cup water. Cook on low 4-6 hours. Eat as a soup, or serve over hot noodles or rice.

And I got these recipes and more here.

Ciao,
kc

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Mesocephalic

mesocephalic. adjective. [mez-oh-suh-fal-ik]. having a head with a cephalic index between that of dolichocephaly and bracycephaly. in other words, having a mid-sized head.

We're doing BWW this week a little differently because I wanted to give you the word and it's meaning first. This morning, at 6 a.m. we left for Ellensburg, WA to pick up our fuzzy little boy, Banyan. Also known as Maddie's little menace brother.

I wanted to do a word related to dogs in honor of that. Mesocephalic is used to describe the shape and size of a dog's head. A golden retriever's head is mesocephalic, which means it has a medium sized head with a medium-length muzzle, whereas a dog like a pug, boxer, or pitbull have bracychephalic heads (broad to large heads with short, broad muzzles), and dolichocephalic is related to dogs like dachshunds and collies who have smaller heads with long narrow muzzles.

You learn something new every day, don't you?

Stay tuned for puppy spam!

Ciao,
kc

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wishing on a Runstar

You're not supposed to run with a back injury. Did you know that? I mean, the blinding pain clued me in and then my physical therapist recommending a "get back to running" program "in a month or so" also gave me a good idea.

Sigh.

It's so sad.

Because all of the cute summer runwear is on sale right now. And what else do you think I did while lying for hours on my back equipped with my iPad and my TV? Online shopping!



I got this super cute top at Sierra Trading Post. Good running tops run between about $30 (GapFit are my favorite!) and $60 (a lot of Nike ones) and with my long torso I have trouble finding ones that don't ride up while I'm running because they start high to begin with. Nothing more uncomfortable than constantly tugging your top down while running...other than running shorts that have liners that ride up or spandex capris that fall down or whatever.

AND with the strapless wedding gown I'll be wearing next August, I need a slimmer tan line to vanquish. As if I can, I'm going to run half marathons seven and eight next summer. Damn it.

I also picked up these:


Cute spandex shorts at 6pm.com. They're normally like $35, but they were on sale for $12.99. Yay! I like the spandex shorts for speed workouts and runs shorter than 6 miles. Too much rub for longer than that, and they start to ride up at 6.5 miles, which is not what you want. But I like them a lot!

Both the top and the shorts (which I am only wearing together for photo purposes, I would not wear them together in real life...save that for my sister :) ) are by Moving Comfort which is my new favorite running brand.

Other than GapFit of course...who knew that Gap had such good running wear?

I have a pair of their Momentum shorts which I just loooooove because they're so comfy to run in and wear just, you know, in general. In fact, I spent a lot of the month I was on leave in those shorts. I pick them up when they're on sale at the local running store, but I always need more, so if you see a sale let me know!

Ciao,
kc

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chai Vanilla Cupcakes

So I mentioned before that I discovered Pinterest and all of its wondrous glory. It's encouraged me to get back to cooking and baking! And projects. I have lots of projects now. More things I'll never do.

But I did do this:


Chai Vanilla Cupcakes. I baked them when my parents were in town a couple weeks ago. And man, were they good!


You make the little "chai" mix of spices, and some goes into the cupcakes and some goes into the frosting. They were delicious! Not too sweet, which I find is usually a problem with cupcakes for me. I don't like them super sweet (like the Salted Caramel Cupcakes were), and with buttercream frosting most of them are!


 Chai Vanilla Cupcakes
(from the Culinary Enthusiast blog)

Chai Spice Mix
1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Cupcake Batter
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
2 eggs
2 tsp. chai spice mix
1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
2 cups powdered sugar
remainder of the chai spice mix
1 Tbsp. cold milk, if needed to thin out the buttercream

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a cupcake pan with liners.  In a small bowl or plastic bag, combine the chai spice mix ingredients. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla bean paste and beat in one egg at a time. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the chai spice mix. Fold in the flour and buttermilk alternately and stir until combined. Mix together the baking soda and vinegar in a separate bowl, then add it to the batter and mix until combined.

Spoon into prepared cupcake tins until 3/4 full and bake 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Buttercream Directions:
In a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is creamy. On low, mix in the vanilla bean paste and the rest of the chai spice mix. Carefully beat in the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time. If the buttercream is too thick add 1-2 tbs of cold milk until the desired consistency is reached. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes with your favorite frosting tip.
 
 
I used regular vanilla instead of the paste and it tasted just fine. I also used regular vinegar. It was a crapshoot, because let's be honest, I don't actually know what the difference is between regular white vinegar (not balsamic, white) and apple cider vinegar. Maybe taste? The cupcakes still tasted awesome, so obviously not much! She also said she got almost a dozen and a half out of this recipe, I maybe could have squeaked out 13 or 14 under-filled cupcakes but I opted for a little bigger cupcakes instead so only ended up with 12.

Enjoy!

Ciao,
kc

Friday, September 21, 2012

iPhone 5 Launch Day...

The iPhone 5 launches today, and if this week hasn't been a horrible example of how shiny new technology that they can't have reduces so many people back to temper tantrums, I don't know what has.

Wish me luck. I get to go to work in fifteen minutes to be overwhelmed by people who must. have. the iphone. five. now.

You know.

The one with the big Gee Bees. And the Why Fies.

I don't care.

Ciao,
kc

P.S. Please watch the video at the link above with caution. It's pretty vulgar, but it kind of describes how manic some iPhone customers are...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Things You Do When You Can't Do Anything Else

The things you do when you're not allowed to do anything else. During my month of medical leave due to the wondrous back-pain-filled-fun I attempted...

...quilting. And was shot down because sitting hurt too much.

...baking. It involved too much standing.

...napping. I'm not a napper. It ran into sleeplessness, which was occurring due to inactivity anyways.

...blogging. Again, too much sitting.

...and eventually found a winner with pinteresting. Pinterest was something I didn't understand. After having nothing to do I realized why it's so popular. It's a time-filler. It's fun. It's interesting, it gives you ideas on things to do!

While on Pinterest I saw I picture of cute, knitted My Little Ponies. I followed the link and found an Etsy artist who sold the pattern.

"I can knit while prone," I thought. "And five bucks, if it give me a project, AWESOME."

Luckily, turns out I could!


The little white one in the back was my first try, and is a little jenky as a result, but still adorable. The blue one is a pegasus version.


This was my third one (and is a unicorn) and as a result was much better! You can kind of see on the blue one and on this one that I embroidered designs on their butts just like real my little ponies. 


And this is mi sobrinita who will hopefully love the ponies as much as she loves the quilt I made her (that she's standing on in the picture)! Sol is my niece (well, soon to be anyways) who lives in Chile with her family (Tyler's sister, who is my future sister-in-law, and her husband), so the ponies will have quite a trip to get to this little girl, but she's worth it!

Ciao,
kc


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Lascivious

The wonderful thing about reading is you have a large vocabulary. The downside is half the words you know, you've never heard pronounced and therefore would not know them necessarily if you heard them.

The other hand of today's word is embarrassing, and it means I have to let you in on a little secret: I watch dumb tv like Bachelor Pad and The Bachelor. I find them so entertaining. They're hilarious with all the drama and the "I am so in love with him!" that they figure out isn't really love but just attraction based upon forced togetherness and hormones. A couple weeks ago, I was watching Bachelor Pad and they had a spelling bee. The contestants sucked, I was awesome. Until the host said the word "lascivious."

I was stumped. I thought it was a word I'd never heard of.

I was half right: I'd never heard it.

lascivious. adjective. [luh-siv-ee-uhs]. inclined to lustfulness; wanton; lewd. arousing sexual desire. indicating sexual interest or expressive of lust or lewdness. lustful, lecherous.
  • He was an attractive man in his youth, now he was just a lascivious old man.
  • The lascivious jokes told by the fraternity brothers made her uncomfortable all weekend.
  • She might be lascivious, but I don't consider that a fault if it is only with me!

 Any words in your vocabulary that you might not have heard? Let me know what they are!

Ciao,
kc

Thursday, September 13, 2012

PUPPY SPAM!!!!

Maddie's fluffy little brother turned 5 weeks old yesterday, we go pick him out in less than two weeks! (On the 26th of September).

Here's some more FLUFFY LITTLE GUYS to just make you go awwwwww like I've been doing all afternoon...

Irresistible...

So many fuzzy faces!


Too cute, I can't even stand it...

Chaaaaaarge!

Playing is sooo tiring...
 
Jail!

Such cute little puppy butts! I love their short lil' tails...
I hope you guys enjoyed this as much as I did.

This fluffy cuteness is brought to you by SkyRiver Goldens.

Ciao!
kc

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Sepulchral

This week's word is really more of a Halloween-y word, but as I saw candy corn in the grocery store today under a Halloween sign (apparently they've already abandoned back to school themes), the ref is going to allow it.

I read this word in my book last week and thought it was a fun one. By its usage, I couldn't figure out what it meant, or rather, what I thought it meant was different than what it actually meant. So here it is!

sepulchral. adjective. [suh-puhl-kruhl]. of, pertaining to, or serving as a tomb. of or pertaining to burial. proper to or suggestive o a tomb; funereal or dismal. hollow and deep: supulchral tones.
  • On right and left every rock seems to have been excavated, every cave improved, for sepulchral use.
  • He is covered by the heavens who has no sepulchral urn.
  • Full of luminous color, they are sepulchral in tone.
 Enjoy!

Ciao,
kc

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Derogatory Revisited

The irony of yesterday's post is that this morning I read this article:

"Trampire:" Why the Public Slut Shaming of Kristen Stewart Matters for Young Women


The article touches on such items as what politics is telling young women today, what the media is saying is acceptable and what is not, how the young woman involved (for however much you care about her, or in my case, really don't) is having her reputation smeared across magazine covers and even has had a new word created in her honor degradation and the man involved has had...nothing. Other than a token slap to the wrist, it's launched him to the stratosphere of People magazine, and now people actually know who he is. How men in her position have escaped relatively unscathed for greater crimes (Ashton Kutcher, anyone?).

It is a crying shame that the people we look to for words of advice — if you can even call it that — are continuously calling women out and calling us sluts and whores for things that are our right to choose, what we do with our bodies, how we treat others, and even the mistakes we make.

The thing that brought me near to tears (and the thing you should read even if you don't read the whole article) is the following:

"I might not be concerned for [Kristen Stewart], but I am concerned for my younger stepsister who has pictures of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson on her walls, who idolizes and worships them, and who might grow up to hate Kristen Stewart for reasons she doesn't understand. I'm worried she will be taught that it's not okay to mess up, learn from it and apologize, because no one wants your apology, just your suffering on camera. I'm worried that she'll think its okay to harass and threaten women for their indiscretions, even if men get off scot-free. I'm worried she will think this culture of bullying, slut-shaming and rhetorical violence against women is the norm, because you get a t-shirt for it. I'm worried she will learn to internalize the shame brought on far too many women today, for having sexualities, for not being perfect, for not fitting into a box. I'm worried she'll believe men like Todd Akin, Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee are right.
"Because even if she doesn't know who Akin, Ryan and Huckabee are, even if she doesn't pay attention to politics or the radical right-wing GOP, she does pay attention to Twilight and [Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson]. And if we want to empower her to be a strong, independently minded woman who knows that her body, sexuality and safety are legitimate and can stand up for her rights, we need to pay attention, too. This might seem ridiculous to us, and most people I know can't wait to stop talking about it. But for her, having this conversation makes a difference. Although no young woman shouldn't think it's okay to cheat, what we are teaching them right now is so much worse."

I can't think of any words more poignant than that. What we are teaching our sisters and daughters, what we are showing our future is that women don't matter. Women are the weaker sex, we deserve less, we're criticized more. When raped, it's our fault; when we screw up, the man is never at fault even though it takes two to tango; when wanting a little more for ourselves in this world, when wanting it to be okay to choose who we want, what we want, when we want, we're sluts, we're trampires.

When all of this isn't true.

It's a crying frickin' shame, is what it is.

So show your sisters, your daughters different. Show your mothers, aunts, and grandmothers who fought so hard for our right to choose that you understand the travesty that the politicians, the celebrities, the faces of our culture are telling us and that it is wrong. That they are wrong.

We are right.

We have rights.

We are not the weaker sex.

We. Are. Woman. Here us roar.

Sorry for the soapbox, but I needed to say it, even if I am preaching to the choir here. Keep strong, keep faith, and keep reminding the world that we're better than that.

Ciao,
kc

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Derogatory

Have you ever noticed the unfairness of the sexes when it comes to derogatory statements? Even myself, to my shame, am party to such statements as...

"Don't be such a girl."

"What are you, a woman?"

Since when are women the weaker sex? I know that this is an age-old argument, won over by such revolutions as Title IX and Roe v. Wade, not to mention women's suffrage and the disappearance of the corset, but in some instances I agree with the experts that we just haven't made that much progress.

In a world where women get paid 77 cents to each male dollar earned, how fair have we really made it?

And in a world where we still use pejorative phrases like the ones above, how lessened is that stigma that women are the weaker sex?

Because we're not.

I'd like to see men undergo childbirth. And cramps.

Yeah, yeah, external genitalia might not have been the best evolutionary call, but how many times in a guy's life to his boys actually get injured? If it's not an average of once a month, we win on the pain argument thankyouverymuch.

I'd also like to see men grow up with other little girls.

Because while kids are mean, the biggest critics of little girls (other than themselves) is other little girls. And little boys. Girls are very mean to each other, especially when they're growing up. Exactly one cruel statement made to me by another little girl gave me my nose complex.

And I'm sorry, guys, but where are the 150 thousand magazines telling you how to look, how thin to be, how much you should or shouldn't be putting out, what to wear, etc.?

I would definitely argue that women are not the weaker sex. So would many other people.

"...physiological tests now suggest that women have a greater tolerance for pain, and statistics reveal that women live longer and are more resistant to many diseases." Women's International Center, Women's History In America
Yet somehow, this is being perpetuated on and on through the generations. And why? Why is a question that would have to be answered by people much wiser than I am, but I do know one thing: just like Title IX and all of the advancements in women's rights, change does not happen unless it has a voice. That voice is all of us contributing when someone says, "Don't be such a girl" and telling them to stop or that it's not appropriate. It's all of us not saying those same words and not allowing others to get away with saying them in our presence.

Repetition makes habit, and by repeating ourselves, we will make the men in our lives know better. And maybe they'll spread it around too.

Ciao,
kc

P.S. you should read the Women's History in America article, it's actually really interesting

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Adventures in Shipping

Once upon a time, there was a Papa who wanted to join the 21st century. His little girl thought that was pretty cool since she works in the 21st century. He picked out the perfect smartphone and said, "Let's get it!"

Trying to be super sneaky, they ordered it but had it mailed to her (she lives in Oregon, he lives in California). There was a method behind that madness, that is now forgotten especially in the face of what happened next.

What happens next is also sort of the moral to this story: never ever ever mail packages while not 100% lucid. Because this little girl hurt her back and so was on a pain pill or two and not all there when she decided to mail that smartphone to her papa in California.

For some reason, she decided to mail the phone not from the post office but from a store called Postal Connection. Now, she had mailed stuff from them before and all went smoothly, but this time was different.

Two weeks went by and her papa didn't receive his phone. And her sister, to whom she had also mailed a present, hadn't received hers either.

Now lucid, the little girl went to Postal Connection to find out what happened to her packages.

Turns out, the guy who helped her was a moron.

He saw that the last name on the packages was the same (this is the only thing we can think of that happened) and so instead of double checking the addresses, he printed the same address on both labels.

Unfortunately, the address he printed was the sister's.

And in her haze, the little girl had used her sister's old address instead of her current address.

So both packages went to some random person in Massachusetts.

And then the guy, instead of using the return address that the little girl had written on the box, used the return address that was in the system. Which was her old address. So all of the addresses on the boxes were wrong.

Luckily, her sister's got shipped UPS, and UPS is nice and helpful and allowed her to pick it up at their office instead of waiting for it to bounce back to Oregon. So her sister got her present. But Papa's smartphone had an adventure.

The box that had a great b i-coastal adventure.


And the US Postal Service is absolutely no help at all. They won't tell you where the package is being forwarded to. They won't allow you to pick it up until they've attempted a delivery. They won't tell you doodly about where your mail is!

Thank goodness I know the new tenant in our old house and she knew to call me when my dad's smartphone bounced back to her house because I let her know about the cluster that was this whole scenario. Needless to say, I'll be a little gunshy about mailing stuff in the future and I definitely won't be using Postal Connection!

The ending to this story is a happy one though, the box made it back in to my hands, and the manager of Postal Connection not only refunded my shipping costs, but reimbursed me for the $8.83 I was charged by the post office because of the return to sender business!

And for the record, this whole adventure took about 3 weeks.

Good luck with your next postal adventure!

Ciao,
kc

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Fabulist

I chose today's word because it was the word of the day on Dictionary.com when I was looking up last week's word, and I thought it had to mean something totally different, and possibly even fashion related, but how wrong I was!

But it's a fun word nevertheless, and as I had never heard it, we all learn something new!

fabulist. noun. [fab-yuh-list]. a liar; a person who invents or relates fables.

  • "But at the same time, for fear of disruption and uncertainty, we attempt to relegate the maker's role to that of fabulist , equating fiction with lies and opposing art to political reality..."  -- Alberto Manguel, The Voice of Cassandra
  • "Nothing is off limits to this free-range fabulist.  He can fold a dusty Persian carpet into the contours of the world itself and wring delight from every lustrous thread." -- Clive Barker, The Essential Clive Barker
Ciao,
kc 

Deprivation

I miss running. I miss running so much, especially with how perfect the weather is for running in the mornings...beautiful, sunny and cool. I can't wait until I can run again...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Ephemeral

I want to apologize...in the haze that has been my healing process with my back, the days have run together and all of a sudden another week has gone by and I haven't posted! I had minor visions of lots of posting happening, and truly, it may have if I was equipped with such technology as a blue tooth keyboard for the iPad, as I'm truly not supposed to be sitting. Standing for short periods, yes, or lying down for long, yes, but sitting is aggravating to the back and as I do much sitting at doctors offices and such, I try not to sit at home.

Prone, more like.

And onscreen keyboards are hard to type on when prone.

But I digress.

Today's word is just a fun word that's fun to say. I don't use it often, and I can't honestly say I've ever truly used it, but there it is. Let's try a new word on for size.

ephemeral. adjective. [ih-fehm-er-uhl]. lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory. Lasting but one day.
  • Almost without exception, it's designed to be ephemeral and site-specific.
  • Partnership equity, by contrast, is ephemeral because partners withdraw their stakes after retiring.
  • That's partly because many of the region's waterways are ephemeral, and they run underground for the majority of the year.
 Enjoy!

Ciao,
kc

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Guilt-free Ice Cream

Usually I don't particularly like Rachel Ray. Most of her recipes are complicated and weird. Or just weird. Just because it only takes 30 minutes to make doesn't mean anyone in their right mind really wants to eat things like kale pancakes.

But when I was in Seattle for Siobhan's wedding, we got our nails done at a nice place that had a nice tv playing an episode of Rachel Ray's show. I think she was making kale pancakes and rice noodles. That's not important though. She also made this really interesting dessert that piqued my interest.

Banana ice cream.

Healthy banana ice cream.

Sounds weird, but it so isn't.

If you're anything like me, you hate to see those bananas that are all brown and gross looking go to waste, so you either make banana bread or you freeze the bananas on hope that someday you'll make banana bread. If you're my mommy though, you don't get many of those because my papa eats them.

You can use non-brown bananas too.

Peel them and cut or break them into chunks and then freeze them. Once they're nice and frozen, throw them in the food processor with some milk and blend until smooth with the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Viola! Healthy banana ice cream!

It's especially delicious with chocolate sauce, peanuts and whipped cream, though that takes away some of the healthy bit, but its still delicious.

And its just pureed fruit with a little milk.

I promise it is really good and very guilt free.

Ciao,
kc

Friday, August 24, 2012

One thing to say...

I only have one thing to say:




FUZZY FACES!

This whole experience of getting to watch our currently undefined little man grow up is incredible. And look how fuzzy!!! Two weeks old, eyes opened two days ago...

Ciao,
kc

Sunday, August 19, 2012

By the Way, We Moved

Oh, by the way, we moved.

I told you that, right?

I didn't? Well...damn.

It did kind of get lost in there. I mean, there was that wedding in Seattle that I told you about and we were...

Wait.

Let me back up. Because this all really started July 22nd. And I can't believe it's been a month since then. Well, almost anyways. It actually really started at the beginning of July when my mommy and daddy were here. Not the craziness, but what spawned the start of the craziness that's been this past month.

When my parentals were here, Mom and I went wedding dress shopping. Every little girl's dream. I had been waiting to go wedding dress shopping since forever. Luckily, Tyler did right by me and I finally got to go. We spent several hours in a nice salon and a dress and a half at a not-so-nice salon and came away with no dress but two potentials.

Since going shopping for the ring with Tyler and having that "oooh" moment with the ring, I was expecting that "oooh" moment with the dress. I had an "oh" moment with two of them, but not the "oooh" moment. It was a "Wow, I'm gonna be a bride and I could actually be wearing this dress on the day of my wedding" moment, not so much as "this is the dress, I never ever ever ever want to take it off ever again."

But who knows, at the time, I was like, well, I go to Portland and go to one more place and then I'll just pick between those two if I don't find anything I'm more attracted to. No big deal, it's one dress, one day.

So, that led to July 22nd.

I got up really early and drove up to Portland and was in Portland by 10 a.m. I met up with Heather at her house and we went out to a most delicious breakfast, complete with mimosas, fantastic almost-Italy-worthy cappuccino, fresh croissants, tomatoes, and eggs. It was our pre-wedding-dress-shopping celebration. Then, we excitedly trouped over to Bridal Exclusives, the place in Tigard where she bought her dress.

The atmosphere was so nice. Never once was it about the sale, never once did I feel pressured to buy the dress (other than my own pressure of course). At one point, I was making some sort of face at myself in the mirror and the girl said to me, "You look like you're trying to talk yourself into the dress, why is that?" and then went on to say that if I don't have "that feeling" then that's not what we're looking for and I shouldn't try to make any dress into something it's not.

Even once I found the dress and was wiggling my joy (which apparently is a universal Kristen sign for "happiness" because both my sister and Heather were aware of it), the salesgirl made me put on two more, and then leave once I'd tried on the dress again and come back after a couple hours to make sure it was still the dress. It's still the dress.

So that was the 22nd.

On the 23rd, I rose again really early and drove back to Bend and spent the afternoon packing. I worked that Tuesday and Wednesday, and then Thursday morning we got up really early to drive to Seattle for Siobhan's wedding. Bridal events ensued through Saturday night (the wedding night), and then we trouped back home leisurely Sunday.

Sunday night we hosted the outlaws (soon-to-be-inlaws) for dinner and made moving plans. They showed up at our house bright and early (7:45 a.m.) on July 30th (Monday) to help us move. That commenced a whirlwind of moving (when the initial plan had been to do some moving Monday, not most moving), initial back pain, more moving, more back pain, and then finally, suddenly, we were in our new house and Maddie was stubbornly hiding in her litter box in a show of "everything has changed but this so I'm staying right here thankyouverymuch."

And then of course, I went to work for a week while we struggled to unpack, and Tyler's family remained in town so we had many family activities, and then they left and it was my weekend and the puppies were born and I bought my car and then my back stuff started.

Very very busy.

But the new house is wonderful, I'll show you pictures when I get to it. Nice big backyard, kind of a weird neighborhood outside of our block, but our neighbors are quite nice and the price is right. Lack of air conditioning would be the only drawback so far, I love not having to climb up and down stairs! And it'll be perfect when we get our little boy in a month!

I told Maddie that if she thought it was bad when we moved, just wait two months and she'd be in for a shock. Her little brother is something we've been trying to prepare her for, but I just don't think she'll understand until he arrives.

Not so busy now.

Ciao,
kc

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thankful for

Today, after yet another sleepless night, I would like to focus on the things I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for reusable ice packs. They're softer than ice in a plastic bag, and when one is cranky, tired, and still unimaginably hurting, more convenient and wonderful to use.

I'm thankful for the fact that the miracle that is Apple, has once again, come through for me in the fact that their remotes are all universal. I've been frustrated the last few days because the remote to the AppleTV has been MIA, and I think its in the tv box which is currently living in the man cave on a really high shelf that I couldn't reach even if I was allowed to and I keep forgetting to ask Tyler about it. And then this morning, I fished out the (much older) remote for my iMac out and pointed it at my AppleTV in a frustrated gestures of defiance. And it turned on! Huzzah! Again, I love Apple.

Apple, I will never leave you.

And I'm also thankful for whoever invented bendy straws. It's awful challenging to drink tea while prone, and I seem to have developed a terminal case of holey lip. And then I remembered my dearest man keeps me well stocked in straws due to my cold sensitivity. Oh, and I'm thankful for travel mugs too. The combination has renewed my faith in the world of chai tea for breakfast.

As always, I'm also thankful for Tyler. He's been so supportive and wonderful.

Oh, and I would like to say how I just "love" how it's 80 in the house this morning and 62 outside. I miss air conditioning.

Hopefully you are thankful for something too.

Ciao,

kc

Friday, August 17, 2012

Puppies were born!

So I mentioned, briefly, that the puppies were born the morning of August 8th! Tyler was so excited he went out and bought a collar, harness, food bowls, a leash and a dog tag for our little munchkin who we haven't even picked out yet!

We did decide on a boy puppy, as there were nine puppies born with three female and six male and since we had first pick male but second pick female, we would have only had two choices for female, and so a greater chance at the perfect pup with the boys.

Here's their one-week picture for you to oooh and ahh at and we are so excited to pick out our little man on September 26!



Ciao,
kc

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Life Hijacked

So it's been a busy week.

I bought a car. Which we knew. It was new. I love it. Still.

Excellent.

I went to work for two and a half days before the hecticness that has been the last five (six?) days began.

Let me start from the beginning.

In March, I think we all remember I hurt my back. I bent over for a pair of stupid pants and felt it go "pop!" and ended up on the floor thinking I wouldn't be able to get back up. I assumed (and still do, I suppose) that it was the reemergence of my back injury four or five years ago when I threw out my back, exacerbated by my working conditions and the unusual weight-lifting activities at the time (remember? I was trying to get in shape).

After the move (oh, dear, I haven't caught you up on that either...well that shall have to wait), at the end of July, it began aching again. Badly. Enough that I thought to myself, "Well, I was dumb not to go to the physical therapy they referred me to then, so I'll call and try to set up an appointment now." Which lead to a frustrating round of referral expiration (someone please explain that to me, it's not like it was medication!) trying to get the referral re-issued and then giving up and setting up a primary care doctor, which I should have done long ago anyways.

So last Tuesday, the 7th, I went for my new patient appointment at my new primary care doctor with the intention of getting a referral to physical therapy. After long discussion and confusing over-explanation, which boiled down to "I don't recommend physical therapy because this is something to do with nerve pressure in your sciatic ligament or something or other, let's give you a cortisone shot to hopefully relieve that pressure and go from there in about 12 days" I got a shot in my back — not in my spine or bone, as my doctor repeated several times to make sure he was clear, but in the soft tissue right above my right hipbone.

Worst case scenario, my condition wouldn't improve, and we'd have to take alternate steps from there.

I went about my two days (which ended up being so happily eventful, what with our fluffy puppy being born and me buying my shiny black sweetheart) and woke up Thursday morning thoroughly pleased and pleasantly surprised to have no pain at all in my back for the first time in...well...I can't actually remember.

Unfortunately, by mid-afternoon, it was back and with a vengeance, sending shooting pains into my mid-back. I wasn't supremely worried at that point though, because it wasn't super unusual. Though I did spend a couple breaks lying on the floor in the break room in enough pain to give my manager's teasing suggestion of cold calls serious thought.

Which should have told me something.

Stupidly, I ignored it.

I woke up Friday morning with the dull ache that I've become so accustomed to in the past few months. By Friday afternoon, the shooting pains were back and they had traveled down into my hips. By six p.m., I was lying on the floor of the break room cursing myself for not calling my doctor and wishing it was any day but Friday at 6 p.m.

Saturday morning showed signs of the shooting pains by 8:30 a.m., though I'd been at work for half an hour at that point. I struggled through a sale and then asked for cold-call busy work. I sat in the back room, stoically making cold calls and sending sales emails for the better part of two hours.

I just have to make it through the day, I thought to myself.

A customer came in and requested me specifically, which brought me out of my painful hiding place to make a sale. The sale was successful as far as getting phones out, but the pain that was now in the backs of my legs distracted me from doing more than the phones. Sadly, I kept hoping that he would leave more quickly so that I could go sit again.

I told myself at the end of the sale that I needed to just go home, but I chickened out at telling my managers. Luckily, they were aware of the ongoing condition, as it's kept me from work a couple times in the past couple months and it's a constant complaint of mine. I had excitedly let them know about my treatment on that Tuesday, but when the shooting pains had started, had mentioned it in passing.

My tearful state that morning had encouraged them into letting me hide in the back — provided I had something to do.

Now, it sounds terrible that I was trying to make it through the day, but the thing about my job — my only major complaint, and I can actually totally relate and understand why they choose to do it this way — is that the severely discourage the use of your sick time, to the point where you get written up and then even likely let go if you take too much (though we do have to hit the 80 hour mark and it's calculated in a rolling 12 months). Which again, I understand completely because I have seen firsthand how some people exploit sick time and take advantage of every little thing, the grand ol' case of one person ruining it for everyone, but because of this injury I was higher in that sick time number than I was comfortable with.

But by 1:45, I was in so much pain that I caved. I went to my managers and told them that I just couldn't do it. They encouraged me to call our human resources department since this has been such an ongoing thing and start the process of getting the time off (without being in danger of losing my job) that I needed to heal.

I went to urgent care on Saturday, and they gave me the same old song and dance I'd heard before about physical therapy and muscle relaxants, but my primary care doctor (who I saw Monday) was concerned enough to send me in for an MRI on Tuesday. An MRI which revealed that I have a minor ruptured disk smack dab below a bulging disk in my spine, which while had no definitive connection to the nerve root connected to my legs, was the probable cause for that pain and the definitive cause for the ongoing back pain. Which means I need to be out of work and off my feet for at least another five days — making it over a week total.

*Quick side note on the MRI: Tyler went with me, and since it was an evening appointment it was pretty much just us, the receptionist and the MRI Tech, so Tyler got to sit in the booth with the tech and watch the pictures from my MRI and learn all about it, which is totally up his alley. When we left, his eyes were lit up brighter than a kid on Christmas morning. *

He started me on prednisone (sp?) earlier today (as I haven't gone to sleep yet, it's still Wednesday) and we should know in about five days if it's working or not. If it doesn't work, the next step is referrals to a specialist and injections combined only then with physical therapy. Following that not working (which we're going to hope does), we'd be looking at surgery. But that's another bridge.

I've qualified for FMLA, a personal leave due to injury that does not count against my punishable sick time, thankfully, which is a difficult process — especially when one has a back injury and is trying to run around faxing things off to HR in addition to doctor's appointments and wanting only to lie down and let the nice painkillers take effect and ice my poor back — but it means that I will not lose my job. Since I'll be out more than 8 consecutive days, I may even be granted Short Term Disability leave, but theoretically I'll be healed and back at work before I find out if that was approved or not.

Which brings me to why I'm still awake. The prednisone has me wired, and that combined with the pain (which no longer stabs and has receded from my legs) is enough of a dull throb that I can't sleep! Oh and combined with SundayMondayTuesdayWednesday of forced inactivity for this normally very active girl doesn't help either.

But anyways, that's the crash and burn story that followed my awesome weekend last weekend. Cross your fingers for me that the prednisone works and I can be back at work slinging phones sooner rather than later.

Ciao,
kc