Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Charlie's home!

Charlie came home today from the vet. His surgery went well, but the vet said there was a lot of scar tissue around the break which means that Charlie's hip was probably broken for longer than we thought. He will undoubtedly be much more comfortable once he heals up than he was before the surgery.
He has to wear a cone to keep him from messing with his stitches and his right hindquarters are shaved. He looks pretty pathetic and we are already counting down the days to his stitches coming out so he won't have to wear the cone anymore. But most of all we are just glad to have him home and healthy.I'm curious to see what he's going to look like in the coming months as his hair grows back in. Should be interesting...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Poor kitty :-(

Seth and I have two wonderful cats, Emmett and CharlieWe got them in January from a rescue in St. Louis. Charlie was only 6 months old when we brought him home, but we don't know how old Emmett is (based on what the vet told us, he's at least 4, but probably more like 6-8). Emmett was rescued from a cat hoarder and was in very bad shape when he was found. When we brought him home he only weighed 6 lbs and had a lot of trouble eating. Over the last 9 months he's come a very long way. He's now at a healthy weight and eating well, and he has lots of energy and loves to run around and play.

Charlie is a stinker. He loves to eat and despite our best efforts to control his portions has developed a bit of a pudgy belly. He is very sweet boy and loves to snuggle and have his belly rubbed.

About two weeks ago, we noticed that Charlie was limping. We thought he just had a minor injury or irritation on his paw so we figured we'd give him a few days and see if it got any better. After about a week of no visible improvement we made an appointment for him at the local vet's office. I brought him in Saturday morning and the vet decided he needed to take some x-rays.

Well as it turns out, poor Charlie has a fractured hip. It seems he has a disease that results in a deterioration of the bone at the top of the femur between the ball of the hip joint and the length of the femur. Our vet said that it could be genetic or a result of a previous injury that he could have incurred as a kitten before he was rescued. So since he had a weakened bone, it could have been just about anything that caused it to fracture.

The bad news is that it probably won't heal on its own since the bone is so weak. The only real solution is for them to operate on his hip and remove the ball of the joint. They'll file down the bone to make it smooth and Charlie will have a "floating hip". Apparently cats have enough muscle mass in their hips that he will still get along okay with his leg not actually attached at the bone. The vet said that while he probably won't use it for a month or two after the surgery, eventually he will start to use his leg again. And most importantly, he won't be in pain like he is now.

So tomorrow morning Seth is going to drop him off at the vet for the surgery and he'll probably be able to come home on Tuesday.

And now, some super cute pics of our Charlie Prince (and his brother Emmett) :-)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

chicken mushroom pesto!!!

I love to cook.

Even though I don't have a lot of time for it, and even though I hate cleaning up after it, I still love to cook. And my favorite kind of cooking is the kind that involves no recipe. Perhaps this is due to subconscious fantasies of being a culinary genius. Perhaps it is due to a stubborn laziness that says I can come up with something on my own faster than I can look up and follow a recipe.

Well, whatever the reason, I greatly enjoy inventing my own dishes and throwing things together to try and come up with something delicious.

Tonight it was chicken and mushroom pesto. I highly recommend it. And not just because I made it up. Because it was oh-so-yummy and amazingly quick and simple.

Here's what you need:
(Pretty much all of the ingredients can be adjusted, more or less, depending on your taste.)
- 2 large chicken breasts (cubed)
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 1 box of pasta - my favorite is cellentani. It's fun and a good weight (is "weight" the right word?) for a dish like this.
- 2 tbs butter
- 1 tbs garlic
- olive oil
- 8 oz grape tomatoes
- 6 oz. pesto Start by boiling the water for the pasta while you melt the butter and some garlic in a medium skillet. When the butter is bubbling and starting to turn a nice golden shade of brown, add the mushrooms and onion. Saute the veggies until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms nice and dark, then add a little olive oil, the chicken and the rest of the garlic. While the chicken and pasta are cooking, halve the tomatoes. Drain the pasta and mix all of the ingredients together AND SERVE!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Pleated Poppy GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Have you ever visited Grosgrain? It's a blog by Kathleen Dougherty and it's one of my favorite places to visit.
Kathleen is hosting an amazing giveaway and I highly recommend checking it out here:
The Pleated Poppy GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fishing with my hubby

Seth had been planning a fishing trip for the two of us all week long. Friday night: homecoming. Saturday night: fishing. We were going to run some errands in the morning and then head out to the pond around 4pm.

Unfortunately, I woke up Saturday morning feeling a little sick... which quickly became a lot sick. As bad as I felt from the sudden sickness, I felt even worse that our fishing trip might be canceled. I knew how much Seth had been looking forward to it so I was really hoping that I would feel better by the time 4 o'clock came around. I threw a few different kinds of medicine at my stomach and finally started to feel somewhat normal just in time to go fishing.

I tried to prepare Seth for the possibility that I might not be feeling up to staying out on the pond as long as he usually likes, and he promised me that if I started to feel sick again, he would take me straight home (because he's wonderful like that :-).

Well wouldn't you know - the night I go out fishing when I'm sick and don't even really feel like fishing ends up being my BEST NIGHT EVER!!!
Now, I do have to say that I haven't done all that much fishing, so what I would consider my "best night" may be nothing special for a more seasoned fisherman. We were only out on the water for about an hour and a half and I caught 5 bass that were 1.9 - 2.2 lbs! (Plus a few smaller ones.) This was my second 2lb bass (hence the two fingers - no, it's not a peace sign)
Plus we got to enjoy the emerging fall colors and an absolutely beautiful sunset.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

a specatcle unlike any other

This is homecoming weekend for Glenwood High School in my new home of Glenwood, Iowa.

My previous experience with high school homecomings consists of a football game and a homecoming dance. And that's it.

Well apparently not in Glenwood.

Ever since Seth and I arrived here in mid-July, we've been hearing from people about homecoming. "Oh just wait til homecoming!" "Have you heard about our homecoming yet?" At first I thought it was just a highly developed sense of community pride, but as the big weekend started to approach, I began to realize that it was so much more than that. Here in Glenwood, homecoming is probably only second to Christmas in terms of preparation and celebration.

First, there's the parade. People begin planning for parade floats before school even starts. The parade has a theme and all floats must be connected to the theme. This year's theme was "Going Green" (as in environmentalism - not the school colors, which are in fact black and gold). Allow me to introduce you the various categories of parade participants:

1. The Authorities
The mayor, the city council members, school administrators, etc.

2. The Alumni
There are floats for every class going back in 5-10 year increments all the way to the class of 1949. (Plus, the 25 year class of 1984 got to go around the route twice)

3. The Royalty
There are various types of convertibles, ranging from 90's mustangs to 20's or 30's cars with jump seats down in the back, which carry the varying levels of Glenwood royalty. There's the reigning homecoming king and queen, the candidates for this year's king and queen, and several of the kings and queens from the alumni classes (see #1). There's also the Outcast King and Queen ("Outcasts" are any people who didn't graduate from Glenwood High School. They also have an "Outcast Dance" after the football game.) and the Keg Creek Days (a local festival held in August) prince and princess who can't be more than 4 or 5 years old (see photo to the left).

4. The Kids
Now I would have expected that perhaps each school would have their own float in the parade, but no. Every grade has their own float, and every student rides on their grade's float. Even local daycare programs have floats.5. The Bands
Two middle schools and the high school.

6. The Churches
Our church was the only one with a float in the parade this year. Which means we won the prize for best float in our division.

7. The Businesses and Organizations
Some examples: local restaurants, the after-school tumbling program, boy scouts, etc. (I didn't get to see this part of the parade as I jumped on our church float as they entered the square and missed whatever came after us)

The parade route includes three sides of the town square (one small block that is home to the county court house) and the entire parade lasted over 90 minutes. I think what I found most shocking though, was the amount of people who came out to see the parade. Every inch of the parade route was plastered with people in their Glenwood black and gold - at 1:00pm on a Friday. The entire town was shut down. Every store front was covered with encouraging messages for the team. And I must admit that I, too, took a half-day off of work so that I could witness the spectacle for myself.

After the parade, people went home to rest and freshen up for the JV game, followed by the varsity game. The stands were completely packed, but we were lucky enough to find some people from church who happened to have space in their section for Seth and I. We sat between the star player's grandmother and a local beauty shop owner. It was a wonderful game and the Rams won 17-0.

The game was immediately followed by a complete fireworks display that lasted almost 15 minutes. It was hard not to get swept up in the charm of the moment. Sitting in the football field stands after watching the local team with the homecoming game with beautiful fireworks bursting overhead and every child in the town sitting out on the football field.

In the words of little orphan Annie, I think I'm gonna like it here. :-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Right after I started my new job I started hearing about flu shots. There were the mentions of them during orientation meetings and the company-wide email reminders. I did my best to ignore it all and stuck to my long held belief that the chances of my getting the flu do not outweigh my long-standing fear of needles.

Well after the presentation by the infectious diseases guy that we had to go to for orientation, I started to think that perhaps I needed to give some thought to the idea of getting a flu shot. After all, I do work with preschoolers, which means I am exposed to more than the average amount of bodily fluids. So I decided (somewhat vaguely) that I would indeed get a free flu shot. Sometime...

Then, this afternoon, I get a phone call from my fellow teacher.

"Did you get the email about the flu shots? They're giving them right now in the conference room. We should go."

Crap. In the words of Kevin McCallister, "This is it. Don't get scared now."

I very reluctantly agreed to go with her to get our flu shots. She promised to hold my hand and as we walked toward the conference room I tried to take slow, deep breaths to keep from getting light-headed. It didn't help. You see, ever since I gave blood my freshman year of college (which, unfortunately, involved lots of vomiting and near-passing out) my fear of needles became a downright phobia.

As we walked through the doors of the conference room I tried to keep myself calm. I told myself, "you are a grown woman. suck it up. it's just a flu shot." We joined the line and started chatting with our fellow shot recipients. They pointed us to a pile of consent forms on the table and the bunch of pens on the counter top near by. As I started filling out the form, I noticed a section where you had to check a box for which form of vaccine you would prefer: the flu shot, or the flu mist. WHAT?!?! Flu mist!?!? Praise the Lord!

Apparently, they have this new thing called the "flu mist" which is a nasal spray instead of a shot. I had to restrain myself to keep from jumping up and down. This was the best news ever. My pulse slowed. My breath deepened. My muscles relaxed. I did not have to get a shot. Excellent.

So I waited cheerfully in line, joyfully proclaimed "mist!" when, at my turn, they asked me which form I would prefer, and took a bold sniff as the medic squirted liquid up my nose. I did not have to get a shot. Who cares if the spray drips out of my nose. Who cares if I can feel it dripping in the back of my throat. It's nothing a can of diet cherry coke won't rinse away! I didn't have to get a shot! Hooray for post nasal drip!

Monday, September 7, 2009

breaking the seal

When Seth and I first came up to Iowa to look for a place to live last June, one of the first things I noticed was the relatively new shopping center just 15 minutes away from our small town. It had the most beautiful Target I'd ever seen, Kohls, a BW3's (a.k.a. Buffalo Wild Wings), AND.... a Hobby Lobby.

There it was. Right off the highway on my way to and from work. Every day. That spells danger.

So I resolved to put off visiting said Hobby Lobby for as long as I could stand it, knowing that once I started going I would most likely never be able to stop. We moved on July 17th and I successfully resisted for a solid seven weeks. But last week I made the mistake of visiting their website and checking out their weekly add. To my absolute horror & delight I discovered that they were having a sale on jewelry making supplies - up to %50!!! - until Sept 5th. The wait was over. This had to be a sign that the time was right for me to finally make my first trip to the glorious H.L.!

So on Saturday afternoon I went. It worked out perfectly because Seth had to pick up some stuff from Menards so I had him drop me off so that my time would be restricted. I also didn't get a cart or a basket. I gave myself the rule that I could only take what I could fit in my two hands... which ended up being quite a lot actually.

After Seth picked me up he asked how much I spent. I gave him my best puppy dog eyes in hopes that the power of my cuteness would cause him to forget the words that had just left his mouth, but alas, it did not work. "A hundred bucks," He guessed. "Oh, goodness no!" I said, "Nowhere near that much. Wait... could I have spent $100???"

**check out my design blog to see pictures of my haul as well as the first fruits ;-) **

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

a well stocked gym bag does not a work-out make

4 pairs of socks: check
a few tops, bottoms, and sports bras: check
cute (yet conservative) sporty bathing suit: check
combination lock: check
gym shoes (complete with arch supporting insoles): check
extra deodorant, moisturizer, and razor: check
travel-size loofah: check
travel-size bottles filled with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and face wash, all tucked in cute little mesh zipper bag: check

After a great amount of careful thought, planning, and preparation, my gym bag is at long last complete! I have thought of everything I might need at a visit to the Y. Even though I haven't gone swimming for fitness purposes in... well... okay, so I've never gone fitness swimming. But I might! And so what if I've never actually showered at the Y after a work out (I do shower, just usually at home) I might decide that I want to next time. The point is, now I'm ready for anything.

The problem is that I have allowed my gym bag preparation to take the place of actually going to the gym. My bag sat, first in the car... then in the house... then in the car again, for almost two full weeks before (drum roll, please) I went to the Y today!!!

After work I called Seth and asked him if he wanted to meet me at the Y. He suggested I just come home first and pick him up so that we wouldn't have to take two cars. I (somewhat grudgingly) agreed, but insisted that he come out and jump in the car so that I wouldn't have to get out and lose any time. Translation: I didn't put all of that time and effort into carefully planning and preparing my gym bag so that I could just come in the house and change for my work out. That would just be wasteful!

So I picked him up and we did our usual Y routine (can I still call it our usual if we've only done it 5 times?) of Seth shooting hoops in the gym until he reaches his quota of successful baskets followed by free weights, and me running/walking on a treadmill for 30-40 minutes followed by weight machines. And even though I didn't touch my bathing suit or my shower supplies, I did feel so much cooler and athletic walking into the Y with my gym bag over my shoulder. Besides... there's always next time.