Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Things are a changin'

Erring on the side of way too much disclosure, I thought we should talk about hormones. Mine, to be specific. Because things are not what they once were. I have gone off The Pill.

Now, calm down. I'm not trying to get pregnant yet. This is one of The Steps that shall be taken in advance of The Baby Making. It is suggested (I don't know by who, but I have it on good authority that The Authority says so) that women go off The Pill a few months before trying to conceive. Interesting side note, I asked my GYN about it last year, and he was all ehh, whatever. But, I've decided that I needed to get back in sync with my own body sans artificial hormones. So, pills are no more.

And I have learned something. You see, I thought I knew my body. I thought we had a good line of communication open. But, it turns out that I really had a relationship with Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, who was just pretending to be me. The mask was ripped away when my birth control ran out and low and behold, AN IMPOSTOR! An identical twin sashaying around in my own body. It's just like a soap opera plot. Except [fingers crossed] no one is going to be falling into or out of a coma.

We had a good thing going and now that's gone. I'm left having awkward conversations with my own body, just trying to keep those uncomfortable silences to a minimum. I have been on The Pill for ten straight years, and its like I'm embarking on a whole new relationship with someone I can't break up with.

Some of the differences are so subtle that I am can't be sure that I haven't invented them. Things like food cravings (I'm not that into chocolate...what???) and appetite. Then there are the more obvious changes, like acne. WTF?! Not the teenage acne that I finally beat in my late 20s. Now I have little sprinkles of acne that arrive and disappear in a matter of hours. That's right, hours. If I wake up with clear skin, I have white heads by noon and vice versa.

Changes aside, I really hope this new relationship works out. I've got my fingers crossed that we can become BFFs, just in time for me to get pregnant and mess it all up. Doh! Damn you hormones!! It's starting to look like I'll never win this one.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Preparing for the winter

R and I have been spending a lot of our free time preparing to feed ourselves in the coming months. And yes, I do know that grocery stores are open all year long. In an attempt to stay as local as possible and get the highest nutrition content available, we are buying excess food at the farmer's markets and getting it ready to eat in the months ahead.

The primary weapon in our arsenal is a vacuum sealer. We clean, chop, and blanch vegetables and then seal portions and freeze them. We have the whole process down and together can now quickly get through several batches of veggies in a couple of hours. I am happily chortling to myself about how easy it will be to cook with these vegetables this winter; all I will have to do is thaw them out and dump them into whatever recipe I'm preparing. We also have vacuum seal steamer bags that work just like the expensive bags you get in the freezer section at your local grocery store. We'll be able to pop these straight into the microwave and have delicious, farmer's market veggies in January! I'm totally geeking out about it. Note: vacuum sealers and bags can be bought at many major retailors. We get our vacuum sealer bags from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

We are not winter food prep virgins. We found ourselves in the metaphorical back seat several summers ago with some tasty green beans. We are really going all out this year and have increased both quantity and diversity (I'll forgo a metaphorical representation of that one!).

As I've mentioned before, we are hoping to get pregnant in the next few months - me with the pregnant, him with the helping. Anyway, in true geek-tastic fashion, we want to make sure that I reduce pesticides from my diet as much as possible during and directly before the first trimester. Thus, the squirrel-like hoarding of food.

With fruit, we primarily use the dehydrator. Though we have frozen some berries and pie filling. Mmmm, rhubarb strawberry pie in February. I can already imagine it: me, inside slowly savoring the zingy flavor, staring out the window at the snow covered wonderland. Extra delicious.

Two books should be credited with amping up our commitment to supporting and eating local: The Omnivore's Dilemma and Plenty*. And, of course, our soul-sucking hippie** liberal commitment to our local economy and sticking-it-to-the-man avoidance of corporations. Gah! What's the world coming to?

*If you haven't yet, read these books. Reeeeeaaaaaadddd them.
**I still take showers. I love showers. I swear on all that is science.

Anyway, though it is a major time sink right now, and we spend all this time prepping food to only end up with nothing to eat for a meal that day, it has been a lot of fun. We both enjoy the farmer's markets immensely. We spend a lot of time working toward a shared goal. And it's a great way to constructively spend time together.

Just to amp up our geekiness, we are planning on taking an inventory of our food supply. We will also be making a way to track our inventory so we know what we have left once we start getting into the freezer this winter. Ahh, our geeky love will flourish in the light of our well organized food preparatory skills.

Friday, September 23, 2011

[insert relevant title here]

Hello Internet. How are you? Mmmm. Really? That rash might clear up with some cortisone. Let me know if that works.

Anyway, stuff and things are happening on my end too. Yesterday, after work, I got to visit a bunch of my family. My niece from Portland, her family (including baby/toddler adorableness), and my nephew from Montana were up visiting my sister. So I got to see all my sister's kids, together, for the first time in years and years. That was fun.

Today some of very good friends are on their way to visit (with their baby!). Since we have rented a tiny house here in Coeur d'Alene while we look for our super-awesome permanent home, we have no place for guests to stay. Thus, we have rented a house for 2 nights so we can all stay together!

It should be a fantabulous time! I will let you know if anything dramatic, exciting, or embarrassing happens. In the meantime, I am off to scrub my house. Even though we won't be spending any time at our house. Because I am a freak and people seeing my house when it is not spotless makes me break out in hives and my hair fall out in clumps.*

*This is a rampant exaggeration. I just don't like it.

Until next time, get your butt outside and enjoy the fall weather - because it's officially fall now! Crazy time passing silliness is definitely afoot.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Random Things

I was "tagged" on Facebook forever ago. You know, one of those write 25 random things about you. Well, months later, I wrote up a list and since I don't have anything else to say, here it is:

1.     Due to my parents’ previous marriages and the spaced out nature of their cumulative children, I have been the youngest, an only child, the oldest, and the middle child. Take THAT birth order effects! (A brief explanation to keep you from either obsessing over how this is possible, calling me a liar, or both: my oldest sister lived with us until I was four, I lived alone with my parents until my brother was born when I was 7 1/2, I was the oldest until we all got old enough to be around each other again, which put me in my current position as middle child.)

2.     I had tons of freckles as a kid, and in my head I still ‘see’ myself as having them.

3.     I have a recessive genetic mutation that causes my molars to have an extra root.

4.     I prefer temperate mountains to tropical locations.

5.     I spend a lot of time memorizing visual details: shadows, colors, proportions, scenes, etc. for paintings I rarely get around to creating.

6.     Even numbers are superior to odd numbers, or so I believe. Note: visual compositions are the obvious exception to this rule.

7.     My eyes were dark brown my whole life. Now they are shifting to hazel and getting lighter all the time. Go figure.

8.     I have never locked my keys inside my house, car, office, etc. because I compulsively check that I have them with me before locking anything.

9.     I have never had a nosebleed.

10.   Drowning is the most common way that I have almost died, followed closely by bicycle accidents.

11.   In my humble opinion, documentaries are awesome!

12.   My husband and I speak to one another in a code composed primarily of South Park phrases.

13.   Four is my favorite number simply because that’s what I told someone the first time I was asked.

14.   I am rarely in my own dreams. When “I” am in them, “I” am usually someone else.

15.   When I was a kid, a lion sprayed me through the bars of his cage. Not cool, lion, not cool.

16.   I have never had a moving violation.

17.   I am not that kind of doctor or that kind of psychologist.

18.   My most annoying behaviors emerge in the classroom. I blame it on operant conditioning.

19.   My knowledge of pop culture might fill a thimble. Maybe.

20.   Aliens are real. I 100% believe this. Just look into the sky at night and consider the odds.

21.   My books are always organized by genre, theme, and author.

22.   Cutting off all my waist length my hair was the most liberating and scariest thing I’ve ever done.

23.   I am probably shorter than you. Again, consider the odds.

24.   I research lots of random things in my spare time. For example, I have extensive knowledge of most medium to large dog breeds.

25.   I last had cable television when I lived with my parents in high school - over 12 years ago.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Geeze, enough about that dog!

I know my last post was about my dog. I KNOW you don't want to hear about it. That's why I haven't posted anything new, but now you're stuck with it. You see, I have once again been bitchslapped by Irony.

Previously, I wrote about loving beer, and then was put on a super-sucky diet of total suckiness by a doctor. THEN, I write about dobermans and Odin gets all cut up. I get it Irony. Sorry if I stole your boyfriend or showed up at that party wearing the same dress as you, or whatever it was. I promise not to do it again. Pinkie swear.

Now, come with me on the magical journey of aging pets. {Swishhhh}*

*You know, that sound effect that represents transitions in movies and sitcoms. Come on people, keep up.

Odin is 7. And, in big dog** years, that's like a gazillion or so. He doesn't know this of course. He runs, plays, and bounces around the house and yard, same as always. But he is starting to get a tiny bit of gray on his muzzle and he has developed fatty tumors on his tummy - my previous vet affectionately called them old dog lumps (when I say affectionately, I mean my knee-jerk reaction was to slap him across his face and tell him to watch his mouth because HE was the old one).

**aka: "Holy sh*t your dog is HUGE;" "Wow, that's a big dog;" and my personal favorite, "Are dobermans supposed to be that big?"

Odin became lumpy overnight. I had starting worrying about how quickly the tumors were growing. But, we were moving, then we were getting settled, and last week I kind of panicked because I hadn't got the tumors looked at (or even found a new vet), which was making me get that sick-to-my-stomach-ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away feeling.

So, I found the dogs a vet, and Odin went to get checked out on Tuesday. The vet had me point out the two tumors that were growing the fastest, aspirated them, and called me later that day to tell me that one of these tumors was bad, as in a mass cell tumor. She wanted to remove it as soon as possible. And, moments later, an appointment had been booked for Odin to go into surgery the next day. Gulp!

The vet had warned me that, to be sure they got it all, she would have to take a "good chunk" around the tumor, in addition to the tumor itself. The growth was maybe 3/4th of an inch. I was expecting a 3-4 inch incision, so I was a bit freaked to see the 7-8 inch row of stitches bulging from my poor puppy's side.

Ridiculous details later, and Odin is fine. He had a small growth on his lower eyelid removed while he was out, so he could see better. And a big chunk of his left side was taken out. He was very whiny, and remains very clingy, but is doing great. Though he smells. And the details include gross things that I will spare you from; things that are best described by words like 'seep' and 'exude.'

You don't know it***, but the vet just called me while I was typing this - to check on Odin. That's nice of her. He really seems to like her. At least, he liked her during the first appointment where she fed him cookies and poked him with needles. He might like her less now.

***An aside: Now you know it.

Anyway: dogs, dogs, dogs. I swear, I'm not quite that focused on them. Though now I'm feeling like Karma is getting left out. I love her just as much, and she has even better surgery stories, and more of them, and thinking of how much money I have thrown down on these dogs makes me feel a bit foolish and a quite a bit more defensive. And, obviously, it is hell on my grammar and sentence structure. So, that's that. I have been working on grant applications, forcing drugs and t-shirts on my doberman (the t-shirt keeps the incision site clean and lick-free), and forcing my doberman-rottweiler to leave the other dog alone, and trying to air out the house as much as possible because healing is a smelly business.

In closing: You win Irony! I will never do it again! Just, please, tell me what IT is!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Doberman People

AKA Ridiculous Oversimplification for Blogging Purposes

There are two types of people in the world. Those who are terrified of Doberman Pinschers* and those who LOVE them. Unfortunately, both camps can be annoying.

*Fun Fact: Pinscher is the German word for terrier. The United States is one of the few places in the world that refers to this breed as the Doberman Pinscher, because Dobermans are not true Pinschers. Also, that means your Miniature Pinscher is a miniature terrier - NOT a Doberman, thank you very much.

People who are afraid:
BUT, first, an aside. Odin is a red Dobie. He's also an enormous 105 lbs. and we didn't crop his ears. So, he looks like this:
That means that many people don't recognize that Odin is a Doberman. Among those who don't recognize that he's a Doberman are people in the Afraid Camp.

On several occasions, some random person will walk over, start petting Odin, and we will have the following conversation.
Person: Oh, he's so sweet! And SO well behaved! What a big dog. Is he a Great Dane? (Seriously, people ask me that all the time. I don't get it either.)
Me: No, he's a Doberman.
Person: Snatches back hand and backs away. OhmyGod, I'm terrified of Dobermans!

I have also been forced to hear various stupid, ill-informed stories about the breed that I own and researched extensively (Because I research everything and a dog is big responsibility and you have to be sure that it is exactly what you wanted, and what? You're telling me you don't research every commitment you make?). These people are convinced they are right and are doing you a great service by telling you a bunch of bullpucky. I have gotten much better about not rolling my eyes, though it's always hard to resist shaking them.

Made up facts by random people: 1) A Doberman's brain never stops growing and it gets too big for it's skull and the dog goes CRAZY and destroys Manhattan; 2) Doberman are like sharks, and they grow rows and rows of teeth; 3) You can never trust a Doberman and if you make it mad it will smother you with a pillow in your sleep; 4) Once you have a Doberman you can never invite people over to your house, EVER; 5) It's so smart it will resent you training it and will attack you.

People in the Afraid Camp like telling me these stories while eying Odin suspiciously; all the while Odin leans up against my leg and yawns loudly.

People who LOVE the breed:
At least these people don't tell me crazy made up facts that they heard from this one guy who had it on good authority from this other guy that was someone's sister's cousin from high school.

Instead, this camp is made up of Bad Asses and Gushers.

Bad Asses:
They are all about the TV stereotype of the Dobie. You know, the stereotype perpetuated by Hollywood because these dogs are so easy to train, intelligent, and athletic. Yes, you can get a Dobie to jump over a car and chase some guy off set. And the dog is going to look fast, and sleek, and those teeth are going to gleam! What the camera isn't showing is that the Dobie catches the guy by running in front of him, play bowing, and then licking his face.

The Bad Assess ignore the fact that Dobermans have been bred, at least in the last 40 years, to be pets. These people want the ears cropped so the dog looks scary. They may even be the assholes that taunt their dog or train it to be overprotective, making it legitimately dangerous. These are the people who loudly tell me how I shouldn't have neutered my dog.

These people give Dobies a bad name. If you see one of these guys, kick 'em in the shins!

Gushers are the true aficionados of the breed. They get it. They know that Dobies are the only dog bred to be a personal guard dog. They know that this makes the breed awesome! That Dobies want to be with you always! That they are wicked smart, and if properly socialized, they are only a danger to knife-wielding psychos. Yes, the Gushers know that!

Which is awesome, if you want to hear every detail of every Dobie they've ever owned, saw, or heard about. You see, Dobies are a lot like having a toddler. Forever. They are smart. Smart enough to get bored. You have to teach them appropriate behavior, they are going to test you and you have to be firm, and then they are going to test you again just to be sure. They want to be with you. Always. With you in the bathroom, with you in the car, with you when you're doing the dishes, with you with you with you!! They want to be entertained. They really want to communicate, but they don't have a larynx and that is super frustrating. So they moan, groan, sigh, whine, woof, sneeze, yawn, whine, grumble, whine, and make this ywnwownmmnn noise.

Basically, a Dobie is almost a person, and the Gushers love them for that. They want to communicate that love to another Dobie lover. They want to tell you all the funny stories. They want to share their hatred of the Bad Asses. They NEED to TALK and TALK. Even if you are out on a walk and your dog is beginning to wind its leash around you in a desperate bid to get your attention. And the Gusher sees this and starts in, all "MY dog does that too!"

Gushers are the people that stop us mid-walk and talk for 15 minutes about all the stuff we already know. It's like, "enough about dobermans already!"

So, anyway, I wanted to share this really funny story about Odin. You see, he used to have this blanket that he carried around like Linus from The Peanuts...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The awesome weekend of awesome

Incredibly sucky diet of total suckiness aside, this past weekend was awesome.* Two of our friends came up to visit us (OK, really his mom lives here too, but we were an integral part of the visiting). We went out on a pontoon boat two days in a row. We were pulled behind the boat on various plastic floaty devices. I got to dive off the boat to my hearts content. Important side note: diving is not allowed pretty much anywhere. Not even on the floating dock, which, c'mon! It's all floaty and shit!

The only negative part about swimming in the middle of the lake is my ridiculous fear of fish. I don't want them to touch me. I am totally, irrationally panicked by the idea that some humongous fish might rub against me. Also, I was traumatized by a catfish as a kid (not a joke), and do you have any idea how big fish can get?!? We were near the edge of the lake, and the water was 80+ feet deep = AHHH scary fish!

*Awesomeness was previously noted in the aforementioned title.

R and I also re-re-celebrated the sale of our house in Ohio. Given the current economy, one can't take these things for granted! The sale closed on Friday. We got our check on Tuesday, and since we both had the day off, we went to Spokane and visited a couple parks. I was all "I remember this," and "We went here a lot when I was a kid," at nausea. But R's a good sport.

Then we went to a nice restaurant, where we ate on the deck overlooking the lake and mountains. Much seafood and wine were consumed (I'd been feeling fine for days, so don't you dare mention the doctor-prescribed diet). It was fantabulous.

The only downer was some family-related craziness. But, I have decided not to bring my family up in this here blog because: 1) Some things are too real, dawg; 2) Someday they might read it; 3) I'm hoping to be able to block out the majority of my memories of a particular family member, rendering my life much happier and myself much less neurotic. Wish me luck on that one.

So, family craziness aside, this weekend was awesome. We were away from the house quite a bit, and so there are dog-related repercussions. Odin - who's my baby and I love him so much he LOVES his mamma - is extra-super clingy and whiny. He's kinda driving me a wee bit crazy, but I'll let it slide. It's a small price to pay for having such a good time.

Friday, September 2, 2011


It's priceless. For the last few days, I have had abdominal pain. The day after posting about my love for beer, I have been put on a restrictive diet = no beer!

Let me back up. The abdominal pain was weird, and, most importantly, not going away. It was centered in my lower right side; I googled symptoms (there were others, but I won't be gross) and Appendicitis came up! And then all these dire warnings about waiting, and ruptures, and infection led me to flee to Urgent Care. Interesting side note: I waited overnight, possibly risking ruptures, because R's insurance didn't kick in until the beginning of the month. Oh, and no we haven't gotten a card from the insurance company, and no they can't give us our individual number. So, yes, we will happily fight it out with the insurance company post-hoc, thank you sir, and may I have another!

Anyway, a urinary test, blood test, and much abdominal poking later and the Dr. announces that I have the flu. (P.S., I have had no flu-like symptoms and am not a moron or a hypochondriac) It's a rare strain of a gastrointestinal virus and the symptoms are primarily pain - localized, crampy, stabby pain. Yay!

Because it's a virus, there is nothing you can do to get rid of it. To ease the symptoms (PAIN), I have been put on a super-restrictive diet of total suckiness. Things I cannot eat: spices, vegetables, meat, cheese, chocolate, most fruit, caffeine, alcohol, things that taste good, anything life sustaining. I'm allowed to eat plain noodles, broth, unbuttered toast, bananas, jello (ew), popsicles, mashed potatoes, rice, tea, chicken noodle soup (I bought Chicken and Rice soup = stickin' it to the man!), and Gatorade. Everyone probably stopped reading because the list of foods I can eat are BORING!

So, for several days I will be quietly salivating to myself. And, of course, it's a holiday weekend. And we have friends coming. And I will be eating my dry piece of toast and dying quietly inside.

On the bright side: it isn't appendicitis and I don't have to have surgery! Oh, and I'm sure to lose weight because I can't eat a damn thing.

Have a beer for me! Cheers!