Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tiger Lily

We suffered a loss in our family yesterday. We had to take Lily, our #3 cat, to the city pound. No sniggering all you cats-are-just-pets people, she was a member of our family and it was a difficult decision to let her go. What with a new baby coming and the phenomenal amount of food and cat litter our cats go through, we had to make a choice about one of them.

We finally fixed on Lily because Johnny and Karli have been in our family for many, many years and Patches, although she is the youngest, is the most like a normal cat we have ever had and that's really saying something. Lily has, especially in the last few years, been very withdrawn and "spooky" around us. We see her once a day if we are lucky. So, though she is a beautiful cat, as well as a gift from one of Ben's brothers, we determined that she wasn't adding enough to our family in comparison to the other cats. It was a very difficult choice and caused Ben, especially, considerable consternation.

We got Lily from Ben's brother, Joe, about 3 years ago. He owns Yarona (affectionately called Yoyo) who is the amazingly beautiful matriarch of a rather wonderful family of cats. I can't remember how many litters Yarona had before she was fixed but if I recall correctly, Lily's mother was in her first. Lily's mother was named Nosferatu but was always called Nossy. Unfortunately, she was dropped on her head as a kitten and ever after suffered from a very nervous disposition (and rightly so!). We also used to joke that it made her a little bit stupid too.

Lily's litter was born in spring of 2005. We were impressed with Lily right away because she seemed to be very adventurous and curious about everything. She was completely white except for a calico patch on the top of her head in somewhat of a flower shape. I thought the name Tiger Lily was very appropriate, but we ended up calling her Lily more often than not.

She was a very exuberant little kitten, exploring everything and just being a rather amusing little thing. She even decided to explore the fireplace in one of our apartments and after being scolded and bathed, she went right back in there to mess around again.



Somewhere along the line she suddenly became fiercely frightened of ceiling fans and would not enter a room when one was turned on. Heaven forbid we ever pick her up in said room, as we would always end up with large, bleeding scratches on our arms and sometimes our necks and backs as she scrambled to get away.
She seemed to have inherited her mother's nervousness and this continued on until the last moments we had her. This contributed to our decision to give her away because as annoying getting scratched was, we didn't want our children to suffer from such a temperamental attitude.
When I was pregnant with Audrey, we talked quite a lot about getting rid of one of the cats simply because the idea of 4 cats and a baby all under one roof was a little incomprehensible. We could never agree on what we should do about it and so it was left alone. Upon finding out that we were expecting again, Ben firmly stated that we needed to revisit the topic. We talked with a lot of people, trying to find out if anyone knew anyone that would take in a cat. We preferred to have her go straight into a home, rather than risk her getting put down at the pound. We couldn't find anyone who was willing or able.
Ben took Lily to the city pound yesterday afternoon. She seemed to know that something was up and yowled loudly as Ben took her carrier to the van. Ben, especially, felt terrible about it after he got home, fearing that he had sentenced his cat to death in the pound.
I think the most difficult thing about it all is even though we know that we did the right thing for our family, we can't help but feel that we have given her very poor chances of finding a good family and we can only hope at this point that she will touch someone's heart. If not, we can only hope that she understands on some level why we made this choice and forgives us.
Our picture-purrfect pretty girl.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cake Mania

A few weeks ago, Albertson's had a sale on cake mixes and frostings. (Other things too, but they have little or no significance to this particular blog.) So, I was standing happily in the baking isle looking at the various cakes and frostings. For many years, I have prided myself in baking entirely from scratch, but time has slowly gotten the better of me and speed is now of the essence. Otherwise, my poor family would never experience cake. I normally try to look for cake mixes that I know I would have great difficulty in scratching out on my own: Carrot Cake, Party Rainbow Chip, Lemon, Strawberry... but, I also end up getting the occasional Yellow, White and Chocolate for the possible cake emergency.

So, I was standing happily in the baking isle looking at the various cakes and frostings.. (deja vu anyone?) I was trying to remember how many cake mixes I had at home that were potentially frosting-less so that I could get enough for all my little cakey friends. I can't remember now what I concluded and ended up walking out of the store with, but it will potentially keep me in cake for the foreseeable future... or in other-words.. about 3 months.

I finally got up the energy to make cake this afternoon when Audrey went down for her nap. I took inventory of my cakes and frostings and found that I had miscalculated the amount of frosting I needed and ended up with much more than the mixes I have. Oh well! (More cake for meeee.. heeheehee!)


AAAAANYway. I was pondering my cake cravings and recalled something I read in an email about how you can make your store-bought frosting go further by whipping it in a mixer. (This only works with the non-whipped kind.) So, I thought, "Hey! What a great idea! Then I'll have the equivalent of twice the amount of frosting! HAHAHAHAHAHAH!" In order to use all the frosting, I theorized, I'd have to make two cakes. Two rectangular cakes in matching glass pans sounded a bit boring to me, so I ended up making 12 yellow cupcakes, a rather thin 8" round yellow cake (left-over batter from the cupcakes), and a nice, big 13x9 rectangular spice cake.

After the cakes cooled a bit, I rather hesitantly dumped my vanilla frosting into my Kitchen Aide mixer and turned it on the highest setting. Ben hovered nearby in interest. It didn't seem to do much to begin with and I was starting to worry that there was some key ingredient that I had forgotten and was necessary to fluff out the frosting. So, I went to the computer to search online. There is nothing on store-bought frosting except for the from-scratch-snobs who turned their nose up at the idea of anything like that. (This coming from an ex-snob.) While I was searching away, I hear a "Wow!" from Ben as my mixer suddenly seems to remember it's job and kicks into high gear. I went back over to find my batch of frosting had suddenly turned a whiter white and was now rather whippy looking! Hooray! It must have taken all of 3 to 5 minutes.


I had just enough frosting to top 10 cupcakes (two had muffin-top breakage and had to be forfeited down our gullets), the little 8" round and the entire spice cake. Not bad for a tub of frosting for $1.50! The other really awesome thing was that the frosting wasn't so heavy that it tore the cake up (a problem I have had in the past). All in all, it was a wonderful experience and I will now be eating cake for the next 3 or 4 days!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Best Bedhead EVER


Look at the fullness. Isn't that great?!

Watch the bounce!

video

Friday, September 12, 2008

Doctors

Dr. Lewis is moving. He's been my doctor for 14 years or so and he's running away to Utah.. just like everyone else. I found this out a day or two before I went to his office to get my pregnancy verified, certified and prescribed.

As usual, he was pleasant and bland. If Dr. Lewis were a color, he'd be frosted glass, like a Christmas Tree ornament. It doesn't glow of it's own accord, but requires a 1 watt bulb to bounce light around on it's surface. He perked up just a little (he must have been REALLY excited) when my pregnancy test came back positive and wondered in his bemused way why I needed to come to his office to check if I was pregnant since I already took a test. I told him (trying hard to not sound irritated) that I needed to check with him that my medication levels were okay for the pregnancy and also needed something from him in writing stating I was pregnant for the medicaid office. His confused little smile made me want to smack him. I didn't ask him about getting blood tests for iron levels or anything because it seemed rather pointless since he was leaving in a few weeks anyway.

So, I am now searching for a new doctor and am in possession of my medical chart so that transferring to that said new doctor will be smooth. I am not excited. I wonder if my OB will take me on as a General patient... probably not.

In looking at my medical record, it was interesting to me that I only go to a doctor if I'm sick, need a refill/bloodwork, or if I'm pregnant. It seemed that my issues pre-marriage were bronchitis, resperatory tract infections and other cold/flu type problems.. my issues post-marriage were migraines and hypothyroidism. Let the jokes insue... I can't think of any right now.

I'm tempted to not worry about getting a regular doctor until after I've delivered but my luck would be getting horribly sick in the middle of January and needing antibiotics.

I'm sorry if this blog has been a bit wander-some... I've been a little scattered in the noggin for the past few weeks.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rolly-Polly Me

I am bound and determined to have a better pregnancy than last time. I had trouble with weight gain (I gained about 45-50 lbs!), pre-eclampsia (also called toxemia or high-blood pressure), heart palpitations, premature labor and when it was all said and done, Audrey came out with the cord wrapped around her neck 4 times!! Sigh... I figured I could deal with ankles the size and consistancy of water-logged nerf footballs, but my baby being in any kind of danger was a real shock to me.

So, although I am not quite the exercise guru like Melissa and Dara, I have decided to try to be as active as I can. This, of course, is a challenge because I was not too terribly active before getting pregnant. One of the things all the books and websites say, is that starting a strenuous exercise program AFTER getting pregnant isn't very smart. They all say to start slow and work up to something that will get your blood pumping. Even then, for me, a fast walk will get me panting. (Pathetic, I know)



So, my current plan: Try to get out to someplace that requires walking every day. So far we've done Coronado Mall, the new Uptown Shopping Plaza, the irrigation trail from my mother-in-law's to the Flying Star (I got cake as my reward - Birthday present), and ANY shopping trip to Walmart.. you can guarantee to be standing in line for at least 15 minutes. I think just the stress alone of shopping at Walmart should burn a significant amount of calories.

The real problem seems to be my inability to get out of bed before 8:30. I lose a lot of around-the-house busy work before Audrey gets up. I keep planning out what I'm going to do when I get up and maybe I'm just psyching myself out because by the time I wake up, I'm exhausted from promising myself to actually clean.

Cleaning is especially difficult right now because our kitchen is in the process of being re-floored. The old flooring was creating a moisture problem and we found while we were ripping it all up that there were 3 layers of flooring (including the original 55 year old 9x9 ceramic/clay tile). Right now, our floor is concrete with 55-year-old dry adhesive creating sortof an interesting ridged pattern... oh, and it's black. As if I didn't feel my floor was dirty enough.. it HAD to be black. The inspector came earlier today to figure out how to sort out some of the problems the previous owners left for us with their poorly-done patch jobs and he enthusiastically told us that the tile and adhesive used back in the 1950's for these houses was chock full of asbestos. Oh, joy. As if I wasn't paranoid enough. He then went on to tell us that we weren't in any real danger since we weren't trying to inhale our floor. He also said that he's been working around it for years and he was more likely to die from smoking, but his friend died when his lungs shrivled up into little rocks and he suffocated to death. Like that's going to make me feel better. My baby is going to be a mutant.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Llama Time

It's Llama Time!!!


Happy Llama

Sad Llama

Mentally Retarded Llama

Super Llama

Drama Llama

Big Fat Mama Llama

Camel

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I don't hate you...

I heard a really great line on a sitcom not too long ago. The scene involved a young man chasing a woman down a hallway and trying to get her to talk to him. He says something to the effect of "I know you must hate me..." and she says, "I don't hate you. I nothing you." Wow.


I laughed so hard at the surprising rudeness and pure unabashed brutal honesty of that comment that I've been giggling over it ever since. I have also been trying to think of any reason at all for me to use it personally. (I'm mean, I know!)

I'm struggling with this because I don't know anyone that I would actually say that to because "I nothing you" is almost as mean as "I hate you." In some respects, it's meaner because few people actually mean it when they say "I hate you." They usually just mean "I strongly dislike you." To say "I nothing you" is nothing other than the absolute truth. I've been pondering over this and I'm afraid that there isn't anyone I have met that I have no feelings about whatsoever. It's so dismissive, like you're throwing away the person themselves, not just the relationship. There are definately people that I'd rather not associate with but that falls more into the "I find you distasteful" lines.

It's a very arrogant remark too and I fall a bit short of arrogant, merely flirting with the self-centered category. I am usually so concerned with how people feel that I couldn't possibly think of them as beneath me. (Although I did actually say once that someone was beneath my notice! True story. I'll tell it sometime.) I am also usually very cautious about what I say to people because I know that it can be misconstrued and feelings can get hurt where no hurt was meant. So, I typically think very carefully about what I say before I say it, trying to determine how it might be taken by the other party(ies).

I suppose I'm too nice to say something purposefully mean to someone. I tend to suffer through tense moments in a relationship, rather than say anything truely hurtful. Ben says it's a good thing that I'm that way.

I suppose that the tiny little devil inside me will always mourn that she got stuck inside such a concientious, long-suffering nice-girl that cringes a little every time someone raises their voice in the heat of debate or argument.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Capers

Random thought... Ben's mother and her husband took us out to the Macaroni Grill for his birthday a few weeks ago. It had been a long time since I'd been there and I was feeling adventurous. When I go to a resturaunt, I inevitably chose a meal that looks as "safe" as possible. I always think I'll try something new but I never do.. Well! Not this time!

I chose the Chicken Scaloppine (partly because it didn't look too scary). I was thinking.. Chicken, Prosciutto, Lemon Butter Sauce.. YUM.. as an added bonus, I was feeling brave for trying something with Artichoke in it. When everything came, I happily dug in. I remember thinking.. "Hmm.. what funny looking peas.. sortof shrivled." Then I ate one.. EWWWW! PICKLES! WHAT THE HECK?!?


Then I remembered... the discription of the meal said that there were capers in it. I didn't know what capers were so I figured they couldn't be too scary.. I mean their name suggests a sort of free light-hearted joy.. ahhh the caper.. they caper onto your plate and into your mouth and then caper around in there until they reach your stomach where they caper some more.. ahhhh.. capers.. WHY DID THEY PUT MINIATURE, ROUND PICKLES IN MY PASTA?!?


I casually asked my mother-in-law what capers are.. she said, "Oh, they're berries that are sort of pickled." "Ah." Well, I guess that explains it... About half-way through my meal, I decided that the pickled nature of my little green berries wasn't tooooooo bad and was rather mild in flavor, so I finished the (free) food without heaving.

I still wonder, however, why anyone would pickle a berry... aren't they just fine the way they are? They're berries for heaven's sake... sweet, yummy berries that go in jams and sauces and fruit salads.. not turned into a sickly green pea-like thing with shrivled skin and set free to slither around in pasta.

If I were to go to Macaroni Grill again.. would I order the Chicken Scaloppine again??

In a heartbeat.
(Better the devil you know than the devil you don't....)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Soooooo Tired.

Sorry for not posting in a while (and for my posts being a bit dry and short...)

I've been super tired since we came back from camping. I just realized that I didn't even tell you anything about that trip. It was a whole lot of fun!

The first adventure was discovering that one of the concrete picnic tables had a wasp nest under it when the bishop's son jumped on it. His scream went straight to my mommy heart! One of our ward members examined the next and the extremely angry wasps and went to his car post-haste to get something wasp-deadly. He came back with some carborator cleaner... I was rather skeptical of this tactic but it didn't take very long before there was only one lone wasp buzzing around agitatedly. The brother was quite pleased with himself. (I was mildly impressed.)

Putting up the tent was uneventful for us. Not so much for others in the ward. Jimmy Romero had apparently NEVER put up a tent before and strugged to put up his little 3 man. Ben and another brother helped him... Speaking of Jimmy.. his good luck started on the drive up. One the hoses on his van broke and his family needed rescuing. It was a little reminicent of a certain trip from Phoenix... but it wasn't 120 degrees... and I didn't have to beg for water on the side of the road.

Fireside chat was fun. Audrey was content to sit in her camp chair and stare at the fire until about bedtime. She was given a glow stick after dark so that we didn't lose her in the gloom. She was facinated with the luminescent plastic. She went to bed with it.
Ben went to bed shortly after and I stayed up a bit to continue the discussion with the left-over night owls. Hey! One of the ladies in my ward LOVES Harold and Maude.. I was beginning to think I was a little overly weird. :)

I tossed and turned a bit after I went to bed... I figure about 20 minutes after I finally fell asleep is about when Audrey decided she didn't want to be in her pack and play anymore... LOUDLY. I would normally have let her cry herself back to sleep but as there were tired ward members nearby, Ben got her right away.
At that point, she decided that it was time to talk to us. Yack yack yack yack yack.... yack... yack.... sigh.. After a bit, we settled her down and put her back in her crib with her Tad singing to her. About 5 minutes after the songs ended, she screamed some more. She ended up sleeping the rest of the night with us. I must have been really tired because Ben said that at one point Audrey had her head on him and her feet on me and I don't remember at all.
In between Audrey crying, the Isaakson's son cried too... usually right after Audrey finished... I think that was our fault.. sigh. We also had a pack of coyotes running a perimeter around the campsite and calling to each other. At 2 in the morning, a coyote yip and howl is a little eerie.

Breakfast was excellent the next morning.. packing up was a drag. The only amusement was Andy Greenwood explaining to his daughter that the tent must be completely dry before it can be packed up. When asked if the tent was dry, his daughter's responce of "I think so" sent Andy striding over there to unfold the whole thing and check it out before he let them re-pack it.. I chuckled a bit.. but I think you have to know Andy to understand why it was so funny. Apparently, at the last campout, he felt the need to tell everyone in the ward (multiple times) not to wash the cast-iron with soap.

Overall, it was a fun trip. Audrey had lots of kids to play with and lots of room to roam. It took me until about an hour before we left to feel okay with Audrey playing in the dirt... We heard lots of fun stories from the ward members and ate some fantastic food... It was good to be home, though.. not smelling like campfire.

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