Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Owning up to 30 before 30

Ok, so I'm gonna own it right now.  I'm pretty sure there are 10 items on the list that there is no way I can accomplish before January.  Just ain't happening.  So...I'll confess to being a failure and set more realistic goals in the future. 

For instance?

The 10k...yeah...not really running at all right now.  So the likelihood of running 6+ miles next month?  Mmm...not happening.

Also, I have not been vegetarian at all for a bit.  It just isn't working with my lifestyle right now, and I'm dealing with some guilt, but I'll worry about that later.

I can't go into the rational for everything just now, so I'll leave it at that.  Oh!  And thanks for the concern, but I really wasn't hurt by the fireball.  I may have lost a little bit in the aesthetic department, but that's all.  Thanks, though! 

Monday, September 27, 2010

This weekend's excitement brought to you by the letter...G

Gas.  You either stink up the place, empty our wallets, or pollute the planet.  Ok, I may be a little bitter.  However, I'm also currently missing a lot of eyelash and eyebrow on my right eye, as well as a few chunks of hair.  Not too visible, but pretty darn stinky.

Chris asked me to turn on the grill for him.  No biggie.  Done it a million times.  This time, however, the clicker took a bit too long to light, and I ended up with a giant fireball chasing me down.  Scary, smelly, and I miss my eyelashes.  Bah.

Aren't I talented in paint? :P

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harper is Improving!

Sorry I've been so quiet, but we've been as hectic as you may have guessed.  But we have good news!  Harper is responding well to treatment!  It's VERY expensive, so our pockets aren't loving it, but at least our puppy is.  One B12 shot is $16.50, and she gets one of those weekly.  One 12 oz bottle of enzyme powder is $129, and we estimate that will last us a little over 2 months.  (The vet tech tried to tell us 300 days, but we think she's confused.  Harper needs 1 tsp with every meal.  Believe us, we've run the math a million times by now.)  Also, as she progresses, she'll do a blood test every month or so until she's better...which is a couple hundred.  Puppies are not cheap propositions, people!

But the most encouraging sign?  This:

That picture may not look like much, but let me tell you why it's fantastic.  That is a puppy with a wet head because she wouldn't stay out of the shower while I was in it.  She was too busy biting at the stream of water and having a wonderful time.  She's starting to get back to her old, playful self!  Such a relief.  It's probably been almost two months since she's played this game, and we're happy to have it back, even if it does make for a wet bathroom, and public shower. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

30 before 30: #13. Throw a party

I do have to admit that this is one of many items on my "Bucket List" that I have done many times before.  That didn't make it any less of a goal.  And, it's yet another one that I selfishly used Chris for my purposes.  For his 30th birthday, we had some of our friends over on Saturday.  Not a huge gathering, but it qualifies.

Chris's best man, Matt, brought a lot of his home-brewed beer, as always.  He is very talented.  Don't think some skunky crud coming out of someone's basement.  Think treats from a semi-professional, who dreams of one day being a brewmaster.  He frequently enters competitions, and frequently does well. 

Why the beer talk?  Matt showed up, and immediately treated us to a  micro-brewery beer he had recently discovered, and MAN, was it delicious.  He did not warn the light-weights amongst us (*cough* me) that it was 13%, though, when he handed me a mug full.

Try it, it's delicious.

Not surprisingly, before any other guests showed up, I was running up and down the street trying to invite neighbors.  While this may count toward #8 Making Friends, it is perhaps a little embarrassing.  Not that I was visibly intoxicated.  I just get very friendly.  The two neighbors I talked to, and would love to be friends with, both sounded very positive, and said they'd try to stop by...but didn't.  I was bummed.

The real reason for the party, forget all that birthday stuff, was to watch Penn State play Alabama.  Originally, we were going to watch the game on a screen in the backyard, but the dog has made the yard a terrible minefield that contains swarms of flies.  We try our best to keep up, but...it's disgusting, and we certainly weren't letting people out there.  So, inside it was. 

Lent by another groomsman, Mike

I can't really claim to have watched much of the game, but perhaps that's better for our sanity for two reasons.  1) Penn State got slaughtered (not surprisingly) and 2) Chris DVR'd it and we watched it again the next morning anyway.  The re-watching of the game is pretty standard in our house, and should not surprise any of you who read Old State Glory.  Chris doesn't get all his stats with one watch.  OH no.  There is serious analysis going on in our house.

Now, I'm starting to feel there's a bit of a conspiracy.  Virtually every blog I read has recently announced they are pregnant (Hi Kat of Living Like the Kings and Tina of Faith, Fitness, Fun who usually read here, too).  ALSO, while you can only see Maddie over on the left, and Will front and center, Sam is hiding behind a column and Tim & Cathy are hiding little "Borat" (or so they claim) in-utero.  Feeling some pressure.  But, while my husband suggested that I do a post on my feelings on what we're thinking, I think I will not ask for THAT many comments.  ;)

***NOTE FOR ALL NEW PEOPLE WHO ARE FINDING THIS POST SEARCHING "PREGNANCY": The complete and total irony of this post is that I was indeed pregnant at this party.  I did not know it.  I found out 4 days later.  Our feelings were that we were going to start trying some time in a few months...obviously...well, y'know...unnecessary.***

Overall, we had a great time.  I made vegetarian chili (which, I need to send the recipe to Kelle, but you can find HERE.  Yum.) and pulled pork, as well as the cake.  Our very generous and helpful friends brought all the sides.  Which, obviously means, I broke down and ate some of Meghan's buffalo chicken dip.  Ok, the majority of the pan.  So much for vegetarianism, and my comfort.  OHHHH have I felt sick from the dairy.  Whatever, worth it.  It's awesome.

And even Harper got up off her whiny, sick-butt and joined in.  She can't resist a good party!  Of course, she was passed out the next day, but loved it while it was going on!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Harper Update

We got Harper's bloodwork back today, and it's confirmed that she has an insufficient pancreas, which is pretty much destroyed.  She is being put on pancreatic enzymes which need to be given with every meal for the rest of her life.  Furthermore, the vet wants to give her a B12 shot to try and push her in the right direction, and is switching the antibiotics over to Metronidazole after reviewing the bloodwork.  I did a little google research, and it seems that it treats protazoa instead of bacteria, so I'm guessing that's what they found.

She's still on pain killers for the leg, but because she seems to be improving, we are holding off on seeing the orthopedic specialist for now. 

It's amazing how much the dog is going through.  Never anticipated anything like this, but hopefully she'll be alright soon. 

 (Happier baby Harper)

Monday, September 13, 2010

30 before 30: #23. Bake a cake and decorate it WELL

This can also be titled: Happy 30th birthday, Chris! 

Chris lucked out and convinced me that he needed a week of celebration, so this cake was for a party we held on Saturday night, not actually his birthday on Sunday.  And, the definition of "WELL" is very subjective, but this is pretty darn good for me.  So I'm going to check this one off my list. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Doggie Depression

It is incredibly sad to watch how lethargic and antipathetic Harper has become.  Even Chris is letting her on the sofa.  So, you know things have gotten rough. 

She wouldn't even get up when I came downstairs this morning.  Or even give me a wag.  And this is a dog that typically loses her mind with excitement if I step outside for 5 minutes and come back in!  But there is one thing that got her up this morning...


No puppy can resist dunking her head in freezing gallons of water, just to retrieve ice cubes, and run them over to her bed to chomp on them:

"Running" being a relative term, of course.  With Harper it's kinda a slow hobble at the moment.  But that didn't stop her from going back for more:

Feel better soon, baby girl!

**We do not have test results yet, but as you can see from the above picture, the total bony-ness is SCARY, and they need to do something SOON.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

I had a very happy, exciting thing happen to me yesterday, which I can't discuss, but I thought MAYBE, just MAYBE my string of really terrible events was coming to a close.  This turns out to not be the case.  So, on top of family drama, illness, financial concerns, and deaths...we add a VERY sick puppy.

You may remember that starting about two and 1/2 weeks ago, she was having major issues with...digestion.  I will try and make this not gross.  If possible.  She was up every hour, was having accidents in her crate, and the smell was unbearable.  We took her to the vet, and they diagnosed an infection of the small intestine.  Put her on some antibiotics and told us to feed her chicken and rice.  Lucky, spoiled dog.

Well, she got a tiny bit better, but then a couple of days ago, she was back to the up-all-night, and poop-in-the-crate routine.  Not to mention, she had gotten SKINNY.  Not that our girl was ever big, but you can see her ribs.  And she's eating about 6 cups of kibble, 3 chicken breasts, and 2 cups of rice a day.  She's a bottomless pit!!!

Also, she had been limping.  This, while disconcerting, we weren't too worried about, because she tends to do it fairly often if she's had a lot of exercise.  But, as long as we were going back to the vet...  Get her checked out.

So...$350 later, they think that she has an insufficient pancreas.  This is a disease where the pancreas does not produce the necessary enzymes and often shrivels up.  It is primarily a German Shepherd disease (80% of all cases), with most of the rest of the cases being rough-coated collies, with an occasional greyhound thrown in the mix.  What does this mean?  This means that she cannot break down fats, and, consequently, is not digesting her food, or getting the nutrients she needs.  She had lost 3 pounds in 2 weeks, after having already lost weight before the first visit.  She is down to 66 pounds, from the standard 75. 

How is it treated?  If the diagnosis is confirmed with bloodwork, then we will start giving her pancreatic enzymes with her meals for the rest of her life.  Unfortunately, 1 in 5 dogs do not respond to the treatment.  For now, she is on another course of antibiotics, because along with not digesting fat, the intestines become a breeding ground for bacteria, since they are so full of unabsorbed nutrients.  This usually develops around 4 years of age, but can occur at any time.  She's only turning a year old October 12! It is rarely congenital.

As for the leg, it seems to be pain located in the femur of her front, right leg.  For now, the vet is hoping it's a muscle tear from playing ball, and put her on pain meds, and she's on strict rest for 2 weeks.  On Monday, when we call about the bloodwork, we are to report on how the leg's doing.  If it isn't improving, we will get x-rays to see if it is a fracture.

I slept downstairs on the couch, since with four stories, the stairs would be too much for the poor girl needing to go out so frequently.  Fortunately, the medicine's already kicking in, and she didn't have to go outside too much during the night.  YAY! 

We will hope that the good news from yesterday is confirmed today, and I can get out of the downward spiral.  NO, I am NOT pregnant.  That is not the news.  I will share it if and when it comes to fruition.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Before I Forget: Spanish Rice

Alright, I know I need to move on, and let a new post take the first position.  I've been avoiding it.  In part because I can't find much to say.  However, I made a pretty fantastic version of Spanish rice this weekend, and while I was a terrible blogger, and failed to take a picture, I am going to try and recall what I did, so that I can recreate it in the future.

As a warning, you should know that I rarely follow a recipe exactly, if I attempt to follow one at all.  More often, I randomly start throwing things together that sound good.  It usually works out well, though.  There have been a few times that were complete disasters, too.  This one, was delicious, and will be kept for posterity.

Spanish Rice


1 Tbl butter
1 Tbl olive oil
1 green pepper, chopped
2 small onions, fine dice
2 small hot peppers (not too spicy?  I grow these, and have no idea what they are.  Less spicy than a jalepeno), fine dice
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
1/2 a Tbl??? Emeril's Southwest Seasoning (approximate guess here)
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup rice
1 can V8 (soda-sized can?  is that like 12 oz?)
1 can black beans

Alright, I love risottos, so I took that style of approach.

1)  Melt the butter and olive oil in a deep skillet.  Add the pepper, onions, hot peppers, and corn.  Sprinkle liberally with the Southwest Seasoning, and saute until the onions begin to look translucent, and the veggies soften.
2)  Add the chopped tomato and the rice.  Allow the rice to heat a bit, but not burn before adding liquid.
3)  Add the can of V8, let it soak in a bit.  Add the can of rinsed black beans.
4)  Continue to add water about 1/2 to 1 cup at a time, and let it cook down on a slow simmer.  You should add more water when it starts to dry, and as long as the rice isn't cooked thoroughly.  This will usually take about 2 1/2 cups of liquid to 1 cup of rice?  Remember, the V8 is liquid, though won't be as much moisture as the water.  So...I may have added about another cup and 1/2? 

Alright, there's insight into how I cook.  Aren't you scared?  Little of this, little of that...sounds good.  Enjoy!

** Note for you meat-eaters:  The next day, Chris threw some cooked kielbasa into his portion and said it was wonderful.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Today is hard.  Really hard.  I just found out that a dear friend decided to take his own life.  I can not even begin to comprehend, but all I am feeling is tremendous guilt that I lost touch with him.  This is the last picture I have with him (4 years ago), though I ran into him once since.  Both of us had moved to different cities.

I'm glad that I'm next to him in the photo.  It gives me a feeling that there's still some connection there.  We were much closer in high school, and even had a flirtation at one point, but he was a freshman, I was a senior, all of that.  I still will always remember driving around town, with him making fun of me, saying I was the "Barbie Girl" referred to in the Buzz Poets song.  Or sitting in my parent's basement watching tv.  Or our town's fireworks, or ...all the times.

I have such respect for the man he had become.  He always took time for people, was smart, funny, athletic, kind...there are not enough good words to say.  I love his family, and my heart breaks for them.  Most recently, I ran into his father when Chris was in the emergency room, and he stopped everything he was doing to check on how I was.  I know where his sons got their kindness and generous spirit from.

I cannot stop crying, praying, eating, anything to try and relieve the horribly guilty thoughts I have.  I hope that no one else in my life, or no one else period feels so alone.  I wish I had known enough to reach out.  I wish I could stop his family's pain.  I wish that all of us that were friends in high school, and pictured in that photo weren't having to reconnect under these circumstances. 

Matt, I wish you knew just how many of us loved and cared about you.  I will miss you. 

The "Correct" Relationship Style

Dogs and cats may not seem to be a good example here, but it's exactly what I've been throwing around in my mind.  Harper and Monster's relationship is at best love/hate.  At worst?  There may be some murder plots involved.  However, they can not stand to be apart from one another.  They will always check up on where the other has gone, and go bat or nudge the other just to ensure that they are aware that they're in the room.

This then leads to lots of screaming by Monster, and lots of running by both of them.  They would be happy to play this scream, run, swipe with the claws game for hours, and I don't think it's just Harper enjoying it.  But for Chris and my sanity, we usually don't let it go on that long.  Still, we'll turn around, and Monster will have gone up to the sleeping dog and wailed in her face, or Harper will walk up to Monster and be licking his head.

What does this have to do with relationships?  I know we all have friends or family that are in relationships where there is seemingly more bickering than friendly interaction.  Yet, I am often believe that some of these may be entirely healthy relationships and it is just their method of communication.  Whatever works for them, right?

It's a lot of the reason I have issues with talk shows, or even scripted television.  You rarely see more than one style of interaction that works.  Do I think we should encourage everyone to scream on occasion?  Absolutely not.  I do think it helps some people to vent, though.

The irony is that neither Chris or I are screamers.  So, who knows where the example came from.  I am somewhat confrontational in my argument style, though.  I am not one to beat around the bush.  I say what's on my mind, and that's that.  Chris can be passive-agressive.  I know that these roles are a little reversed from the male-female stereotypes, but that sounds about the norm for us.

For example, let's take cleaning bathrooms.  All of our favorite task.  *heavy sarcasm*  I have taken the "I absolutely do not want to do it, and will take chores x, y, and z instead" route.  I own up to avoiding it, being lazy, and generally doing everything in my power to give it over to Chris.  Chris takes a more circuitous approach.  Meaning, I find the bathroom cleaner and rag following me everywhere I go.  It will be sitting on top of my make-up, or next to my pile of clothes, or anywhere else that he thinks I might notice it.  DRIVES ME UP THE FRICKIN WALL.  He can spend an eternity plotting how to get me to "notice" something, rather than just doing it.  And then, his most recent tactic, was that he "gave in" and cleaned the tub.  Kinda.  It was still absolutely filthy and disgusting.  He knew that would drive the perfectionist in me up the wall, and of course, it immediately had me in grungy clothes scrubbing down the tub 5 minutes after he claimed to be done.

Long rambly post later...I wish there were more examples of functioning relationships that embraced different styles.  It sure would be nice to have role models that looked like real people!  So often, you only see the dysfunction, though I guess that makes for a better sitcom.