Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thinking of the Graceland community.

Last week, on January 28, I got an email with very sad news: The fun-loving, charismatic, dean of students had passed away after a year long battle of cancer.

See here for information that went out from Graceland.

Tom Powell was instrumental in shaping my Graceland years. I wasn't as close to him as some people were that were involved more in student life BUT, he is one of the first memories I have as an incoming freshman and there was never a day that I saw him that he didn't have a huge smile on his face, grinned, and "Hi Jenn!" I don't know how you COULDN'T be happy around him. He was the longest standing Dean of Students at any school in Iowa and I think there is a lot to be learned from anyone who ever came into contact with him: He had a zest for life, for people (especially students and Graceland), humility, sense of humor, and all good things that we could all probably strive more to have ourselves. I am saddened by this news and my heart and my thoughts are with his family and with the whole Graceland community.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another post on steel cut oats

I have already posted about how much I love steel cut oats but this morning I came up with a GREAT creation. It was SUCH a yummy breakfast: steel cut oats, almond butter, a splash of almond milk, a few walnuts, 1/2 banana, and cinnamon. SO DELICIOUS. The picture isn't too pretty but oh well, it tasted FABULOUS.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sick, sick little girl

This post might be too much information for some people...just a warning up front.

Like I talked about here, Bella has been having one of her "flare ups" of her intestinal issues. She's had these ever since we've had her and we've learned how to treat them ($5K later, I might add...) However, this time, it just kept going and going. And an alarming new development: blood in poop. By Sunday evening, she had deteriorated within HOURS to pooing just straight, liquid blood. SCARY.

We had her fasting to give her tummy a break while also keeping water in her (to prevent dehydration) and of course tried everything else we could think of that had historically worked for her to help her feel better. NOTHING WORKED.

Monday morning, I got up with high hopes that some new supplements had helped her overnight as I gave her large doses of them Sunday night. No such luck. Straight blood again. AND, then she started throwing up even though she had nothing in her tummy. She has never done this before and it was VERY alarming (not like the blood wasn't enough....) She was probably just so dehydrated that she just felt sick. But then she started shaking/convulsing/and at the same time, not wanting to move out of her "house." At which point, I completely lost it....

Tim came home and I went to work (hi, busy season, I hate you) so he took her straight to the vet. Apparently also within hours, she had developed huge lesions on her tongue (and had some on her tummy). These were also new this time. By the time we got her to the vet early monday morning the vet told us she could be in kidney failure (!!!!!!!) OMFG. I guess that tongue lesions are a sign of this. Her GI system is just so pissed off, it was wreaking havoc on her whole body. So, about $500 and a whole day at the vet later, here's what we found out:

-No kidney failure (PHEW!)
-Electrolytes were totally fine
-Organs were all fine
-She was dehydrated so got a liter of fluid over the course of the day
-Got an injection of vitamin b (her levels were low)
-Got a steroid shot and more antibiotics
-Got instructions to put her on a VERY simple diet (IE: sweet potato cooked and turkey with no fat)
-Will gradually switch her to a kibble that fits her allergy profile
-Got a referral to an internist who will perform a $2K-$5K scope that would tell us exactly what's wrong with her (UGH)

So, short term? She's doing MUCH better. She THINKS she feels great and looks good too. But she's also still on a fairly simple diet and on antibiotics. Long term? We don't know. When things were really bad monday, the vet was talking about how she COULD have cancer, quality of life, etc, etc. And if she has cancer, the it's sort of a moot point to spend $2-$5K on a scope that will tell us that and only give her a few months to live. So I don't know what to do. We are just going to keep her on this diet for a while and beef up her supplements as well as continue to give her vitamin b shots. We'll see how she does on that and, hoping it all goes well, avoid spending more thousands of dollars on a scope that may or may not help her/prolong her life. We also may consider putting her on a steroid or a raw food diet that would probably also help her intestinal issue.

Most likely she probably has IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). It's common in boxers but she has it REALLY bad. The vet said she is one of 3 sickest dogs she's seen in her 20 year practice in this regard. Yikes. None of her littermates or parents have anything remotely close to this so it's very odd. At least she has us to take care of her! It's been a rough week but we will get through it...and hopefully at the end the little babe is ok.

A shot of Bella and I.... I love this girl and just want her to feel good!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Christmas again?

Mini cooper sent me floor mats the other day. I really have no idea why. I already bought floor mats for my car so I really have no idea what to do with these. And of course it's busy season now which mean the condition of my house goes to hell, so for now they are an "entry way decoration." I actually have no idea what to do with them.... they are worth a decent chunk of money though. Maybe there was just some mix up and I'll just send them back.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Green, um, juice?

After a particularly hard workout yesterday, a trainer I work with at my gym mixed up a "protein shake" for me... It's apparently AWESOME for you but it looks like total yuck. Even that description doesn't do it justice- it honestly looks like someone barfed in the water bottle. It took me about 30 minutes after going back to work to get my mind over the matter at hand: drinking the shit. So, I shook, shook, shook it to try to get some of the "chunks" out (seriously) and then poured it over ice. It would have helped if I would have had some vodka or something to spike it with....

But alas, I didn't. So, down it went. Oh MAN, was it gross. It was partly a mind thing just because it looked so disgusting but it really didn't taste a whole lot better. I DO have to say though... the stuff ABSOLUTELY made me recover faster. I felt like a million bucks after drinking that shake. I think it is amazing for your muscles so if I can stomach it, I'll definitely be drinking this again after workouts.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Frostbite?! More medical musings...

So, everyone saw my rants on urgent care. I won't go there again. Luckily I don't have to... well, except to mention that they charged me $200 in addition to the $100 office visit to tell me (again) that I had an infection. Notice how calmly I said that. I will stop talking now in efforts to remain calm about that whole matter.


My achilles. Literally. It's still messed up after, um, 7 months and a while ago I posted everything I've tried to make it better. EVERYTHING. SO, a few days ago I went to physical therapy to try to get it to 100%. I got convinced that I should try this in conjunction with alternative treatments like rolfing (deep tissue massage or something to that affect), orthotripsy (shock wave therapy) and other things (IE: natural anti-inflammatories, pineapple, ice, etc). Additionally, a new alternative treatment includes Topricin:

Topricin is a topical homeopathic ointment that has arnica (also a homeopathic herb) as a base and is known for healing sports/trauma injuries (thanks to Timmy for finding it for me!) I tried it last weekend and it helped SO MUCH. I was even able to take Bella on a walk!! SWEET! I was so excited that I took her on two walks in the same day... NOTE TO SELF: do not get overly ambitious. That 2nd walk was quite painful.

A few days after said walks: my achilles was feeling generally ok at probably 65% (MUCH BETTER than it has been). But I still had the physical therapy appointment booked. I did NOT want to go. I dragged myself in there thinking, "this is stupid, a waste of time, won't help." I know, horrible attitude. BUT GUESS WHAT. FASTFORWARD- I WAS RIGHT.


After doing stretches, etc., they finished off the hour by doing electric/ice therapy. IT FUCKING HURT. Like a 7 out of 10 on the scale and I generally have a pretty high pain tolerance. I mean I was almost in tears. I kept asking the PT gal if it was supposed to hurt so badly and if after this hurts like bloody fucking hell, it will feel better. Her response was that, "Yes, it will feel much better afterwards." Oh yeah, I forgot, it's STUPID TO TRUST PEOPLE. So, I hobble out of there (even though I didn't even hobble in...) and can barely drive. It is THROBBING, and not even my achilles but the right side of my foot.

A few hours later? Still throbbing. WTF. So I pull down my sock and what do I find? THIS:

That bitch gave me FROSTBITE on my foot!!! Literally. It was blistered/red like an incredibly bad sunburn. And for the next 3 days, I could barely walk, not wear socks/shoes, basically slept with a bottle of aloe...and of course, completely bitched out the PT center (who, funny enough, happen to be a client of mine...) The PT director is graveling trying to get me to come back and keeps telling me "it's an isolated incident, it will heal, it's just a burn, now we know so please come back." The dude is smoking crack. I was so mad! I mean, seriously?! A freaking cold burn on my foot? I don't really think that was part of the plan to make my achilles feel better but I do have to say that as a result of the painful burn, I haven't noticed my achilles in about 4 days. Perhaps that WAS part of their plan... But, alas, regardless, I do not like the "burn therapy" notion of pain relief. So, I've decided no more physical therapy. I now know that I very much dislike that option and will go the other routes- which is what I wanted to do in the first place. Should have listened to that damn intuition! In the meantime, I won't be doing anything with that foot other than slathering aloe all over it... Seriously?! I can't believe stuff like this actually happens. It's not even really a cool story- if I thought about ever getting frostbite, it would be cooler to say I got it while hiking Rainier!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Poor sick pup.

Nope, you are not having deja vu! The poor Bella girl is having her monthly flare up of her intestinal track. Seriously, what in the hell is wrong with her?! I don't KNOW! Part of the issue is that the majority of her $450 supplements haven't come to the house yet due to an issue with UPS (UGH). SO, she's only been getting a fraction of the supplements she needs.... and the other part of the issue is that she just has a chronic intestinal issue that, while common in boxers, hits at very inopportune times and is a very bloody, disgusting mess (and also demands wake up calls during the middle of the night). I always feel so bad for her when this happens. Luckily, it doesn't seem to affect her energy level at all, which is good. We're cutting back her food, beefing up her supplements, doing everything that helps her during these times. I'm sure she will be back to feeling better in no time. In the meantime... pictures of the pup from recently:

Bella laying around with her buddy Calvin. Actually more like he's laying with her since it is her bed.... oh and she kept farting in his face. He didn't move so I guess he liked the "sisterly love?" Gross. (As a sidenote, part of her tummy issues involve INCREDIBLY bad gas, I mean, I can't even describe how bad it gets... it's always an indication of the flare up in store).

And the beautiful pup. Doesn't she look so grown up here? I love her.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We all fall down..

but some fall harder than others...

As I mentioned in my post about the holidays back in Missouri, that part of the country has been hammered by wintry weather. This has not ceased since we left over 3 weeks ago. And it sounds like it has even gotten worse... some warm days cause the snow mixture on the ground to melt then as the day progresses, it turns into ice.

Well, on January 11, my mom found out just how treacherous the situation is out there. She was headed out to get the mail and BOOM. She wiped out on ice, hit her head and spent the next 5-6 days in the hospital suffering from a severe concussion. Now, I've never had a concussion but it sounds HORRIBLE (dizziness, throwing up, severe headache, head staples). She is lucky in that she didn't break anything, hopefully didn't hurt her shoulder more (which she just had rotator cuff surgery on), and didn't have any brain bleeding. Needless to say, though, it is going to be a long recovery.

Many thanks to all of you for offering your good thoughts her way over the course of this last week and a half.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The season has started...

So, it looks like from my last post that I've been MIA since January 8. Yep, sounds about right. I was so excited because I kept updating my blog for the ENTIRE first week of January. And since then, I keep having these great things to blog about but, OH YEAH. This day job that I have? Just THREW UP ALL OVER ME. Turns out that I somehow always forget every year the minor detail that this job turns into a 24-7, four million clients, 10 million projects, a billion staff demanding YEARS of your time (all in 10 minutes!), OMG I HATE MY LIFE (oh wait, what life?) from, oh, NOW until on or around April 15. Actually more like May since I don't do taxes so we start before tax guys and finish after them (which, I always convince myself is better but honestly? It doesn't sound like it when I mention that).

But April 15 is the date that we all take a deep breath, look around and realize, holy shit- a new SEASON (SPRING!) arrived while we were buried under papers in our offices and client offices from 6am-10pm, 6-7 days a week for 3 months. And it's almost warm. And there are flowers. And green trees. And holy freaking hell, I finally get to join the world of the living again! It's almost like being reborn. Maybe THAT'S why we all do this- because every year on April 15, we re-discover the beauty of the world again and we genuinely appreciate our "low key" jobs that exist for 9 months out of the year as well as our free time/spouses/homes, etc. So on that date of rediscovering ourselves and the world around us, we then all party with the tax guys who do have firm deadlines on April 15 and we wrap up our busy season for the next month working much leaner hours and no weekends. It makes all the difference in the world.

And NO. I do not want to get any emails about how I just said we lose our identity and "but, I'm an accountant, I still have free time, I don't lose myself." DIDN'T SAY THAT. Truthfully, this busy season can be very invigorating at times and very exhausting at others. It's just like any other job in that respect. I can't REALLY complain. I can't. I have a pretty great life 9 months out of the year and mostly everyone I know works as hard, if not harder, than I do. My hard work is just really, really confined to about 3 months out of the year, which all of us in this profession bitch profusely about. It truly does suck working so long and so hard but after 3 months, it's over. But something about this crazy schedule works for those of us that have stayed in it, which is why we continue to do it year after year. HOWEVER I reserve the right to bitch from January-April.

So anyway, this madness that us crazy accountants call busy season has started... at least for those of us in audit/assurance/consulting. Tax is still ramping up. I am ready to go this year. I pre-bought all of my makeup and all necessities that I could possibly need in the next 3 months so that I don't have to worry about it. We accountants are planners like that. I've been out at clients since the first week of January and my calendar? Well, it looks like a kindergartener scribbled all over a coloring book without any rhyme or reason and with a million different colors. Complete madness, I tell you. But, we'll get through it, we always do and I promise I'll try to keep up with the posting. What I can't promise is how interesting the posts will be.... This time of year my life revolves around work, eating, minimal sleep, attempting to keep working out, and wine. Yes, wine. You cannot survive busy season without wine. Most accountants this time of year are alcoholics about one night a week. Just saying.

Below are some early and pre-busy season activities that I haven't had a chance to post about yet. Enjoy!

The weekend after one of my first projects got underway and prior to my first out of town trip, at a favorite Thai restaurant. So delicious!

And of course, what Thai dinner is complete without a Thai beer?

Shortly after that night, I went on my first long distance client of the season. They are located in Gray's Harbor/Aberdeen, Washington which is right on the coast. Above is a picture entering Aberdeen... beautiful weather that week, eh? It was SO rainy... my poor little car was filthy by the end of the week and I had JUST washed it. Bummer. I opted to drive to/from Aberdeen every night that week (as did my co-worker) because it was worth it to us to be home. It made for some long days- IE: getting up at 4am, getting home at 9pm. YUCK. It was great though because the way the scheduling worked out, I got to take another manager with me on this project. Generally managers don't work together but we got to this time- so fun to work with a peer!

My dinners that week were very late in the day so nothing really sounded good when I got home... so I turned the above....

Into a nice, light dinner. I know, it's not really "dinner" but it was so late and it was the only thing that sounded remotely good and it was relatively nutritious as well. Almond butter is amazing! OH! And to follow up on Almond milk?? LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! Eat it every morning on cereal now.

Friday, January 8, 2010

My take on milk (and as a bonus: awesome new blog find!)


Last night after working at a client, I went to whole foods to get the staples: veggies/fruit, peanut butter, jam, cereal, milk, tea. It was pretty convenient since the client is right next door to whole foods and since I've been getting up at 4am all week and into the office by 5:30-6, I was NOT going to the gym... I went to the gym Monday (1.5 hrs strength training), Tuesday (1 hr cardio), AND Wednesday (2hrs strength training/cardio). Awesome.

But, last night? Night off from. I'm going back to the gym today anyway for more strength training and "running" (aka: stupid elliptical) tomorrow (if I can avoid urgent care again unlike last Saturday....) Just so everyone knows, this isn't a new routine. I just really haven't posted my workout regimen before but I've been asked about it, so there it is for all of you curious people out there. Some days I just dance around my house for cardio. Trust me, it's a great workout...and anyone who is around (even animals) look at you like you're crazy. Total riot. Other days when I don't have a broken achilles, I hike, walk, run, swim (in summer) etc. I just get bored easily and feel AWESOME when I'm active, SO, I stay active. Simple enough. There is not a day that goes by when I don't do something- even if it's just walking around the dog park or cleaning the house (not my FAVORITE "active" thing, by the way but cleaning is definitely a necessity for us all, eh?)


Whole foods last night. I was feeling very ambitious about trying new things. I have been drinking organic skim (cow's) milk. And by drinking I mean occasionally using it to cook and on cereal in the mornings. I KNOW. I can't believe I use bovine milk either. I don't have a problem with soy, (I get soy lattes), I've been SO wanting to try almond milk or hemp milk (hemp isn't really widely available yet that I've seen) but I just haven't made the conversion to using an alternative to cow's milk every day...I guess just because I use so little of it anyway and I figure that organic skim milk isn't THAT bad even though it still does have hormones, lactose, all of that crap.

So last night, I decided, that's it. The end. I'm sick of cow milk. Gross. So I bought 3 milks: organic soy, almond, and cow (just in case I really hated one of the 2 alternatives). Last night I tried soy. I was a little up in the air on soy because it has been shown to have some harmful affects even with its benefits. It was OOOK (with some hesitation)...(but this morning I admitted to myself that it made me want to puke). But I don't know WHY it was so repulsive to me. I love tofu, edamame, and generally like all things soy. And like I said, soy lattes? Yum! But soy milk in it's cold, raw form on cereal? BARF. BY THE WAY! I have never posted about my FAVORITE cereal. I need to add that to the posting list.

Anyway, after that sort of failed attempt at getting off the cow, I resorted to almond milk. But, outcome is to be determined because I actually haven't tried it yet (will try it this weekend or I might tonight). I am SUPER optimistic and excited for it though. I have read such great things about it and last night I was doing more research on it, the health benefits, etc, etc AND! in the process I stumbled on the coolest new blog (that also gave me a recipe to make my OWN almond milk and called almond milk "drinking 100% health." Um, yes, please!) So, here's the new blog address (also linked to the right) that I stumbled on. For all of you people out there into health/nutrition, specifically organic health/nutrition, it will be right up your alley.

And I'll fill everyone in on the almond milk experience once I know. I have high hopes.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Further evidence of the idiocy of urgent care

So I get a call earlier today from the urgent care mentioned a few posts ago. By the way, in case anyone missed it or needs a reminder: I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE URGENT CARE.

Did I mention HATE?

Urgent care in itself is one GIANT symbol of all that is wrong with western medicine. And I will not bore everyone with that theory but there it is in all of its glory. I really HATE urgent care and most of the time, western medicine although it did save my ass from the infection of the year. Thanks, western medicine. I'll visit you again someday but hopefully NOT SOON. (And as an aside, I do ADMIRE western medicine and think that it is a phenomenal TOOL and I do highly respect all of the advancements that western medicine has for extending/improving people's lives that are ill-and have a deep respect for all of the medical professionals that work in western medicine...(deep breath) BUT.... I just think there is a lot of abuse of the system and it isn't used in a way that would really "heal" people. Again, won't bore everyone right now with that theory either).

As another aside, after said urgent care experience, I promptly found a ND on monday of this week. ND meaning naturopathic doctor. I am SO excited for it. She will be my primary care physician and is a certified physician in Washington state. And has been extensively trained in women's/pediatric care and midwifery. And, if I were to get infections like said ear, I could get antibiotics from her. AND, AND! They are SO NICE. The gal I talked to wanted to find the "right fit" for me for a doctor and said that the whole practice is just like a big family. I meet her in a week or so. Such a great vibe...and ALMOST made me forget about my stupid western medicine experience a few days ago at urgent care. Until they called today.

(How's that for a transition after a few paragraphs of tangents!?)

Oops, but one more tangent. I have to give some brief history. I just need to say first say how much I hate health insurance in addition (or complementing, possibly) my hate of urgent care/western medicine. Anyone who says that the healthcare in the US doesn't need reform is smoking crack. And not any sort of crack that makes me look at someone and say, "Hey, you might be onto something, that looks fun, let me try!" Nope, we're talking bad, bad, hair falling out, teeth shattering, hysteria inducing crack here. Whether you are conservative, liberal, or just trying to figure out WHAT you are in the political respect, healthcare needs reform, it's just a matter of trying to decide HOW and what's best. (And I know this from personal experience just as much as I hear how horrible it is from Tim who experiences the abuse of the system every day that he works...)

So. Health insurance. My name is still under my prior name. I have been arguing with them on this FOR OVER A YEAR and they won't change it. Not the main reason why I dislike them so much (mostly that's because they rape us in costs/premiums as much as possible and we have a pretty damn GOOD plan). The name thing is just another added annoyance...because everything ELSE is changed. EVERYTHING. And has been for over a year.

So the phone call goes something like this (I call them back after they left me a message):

Me: Hi, I'm trying to reach a nurse who called me earlier.
Receptionist: What's your name?
Me: [I give them my married name]
Receptionist: Ok, I'll transfer you.

Nurse: Hi, is this Jennifer?
Me: Yes
Nurse: What's your last name?
Me: [Married name] but it could be under [prior name]
Nurse: Well I don't see any call back records for you.
Me: Ok, well you guys called me?
Nurse (AFTER TEN MINUTES OF LOOKING!!!): Nope, nothing
Me: Well, I was just in there Saturday and it probably relates to my infection.
Nurse (AFTER ANOTHER 10 F-ING MINUTES!!! Now I know why urgent care is so inefficient!!): Oh, could it be under [prior name]?
Me: I TOLD YOU THAT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CONVERSATION [wanting to add dumbass! to this remark...]
Nurse: Oh, well we just wanted to call to tell you that you DO have an infection but the antibiotics you are on are effective to treat it so just keep taking them.
Me: Um???

....And end of conversation.

Does anyone else see why this is so RIDICULOUS?! Ten seconds to solve the idiocy of this whole phone call.

HELLO! This was an unbelievably STUPID waste of time because:

1) I already KNEW I had an infection and so did the doctor who saw me Saturday who GAVE me antibiotics for said infection
2) As mentioned, I am already ON antibiotics for this infection that is ALREADY treating the infection (FOR FOUR DAYS NOW!!)
3) Obviously, I am continuing to take these SAME antibiotics to CONTINUE to treat the SAME DAMN infection.

WTF? Did the nurse just repeatedly hit her head and forget how to be intelligent? Or perhaps urgent care is required to have so many stupid instances a month to be qualified as an official "urgent care." So to meet that quota, they have to call people to tell them, "Oh, just so you don't forget: you have an infection." or, "Just so you don't forget: you have a COLD." Ugh, idiots!

Whatever the reason, someone please tell me WHAT IN THE HELL was the point of that redundant and stupid phone call that wasted 20 minutes of my time?!

Oh, I know: the point of it all was so that I could waste another 15 minutes posting about how much I hate urgent care. Got it, confirmed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Animal madness

I haven't posted about the animals in a while...not extensively at least. I still don't even feel like GOING THERE with the cats so I'm not really going to write much about them otherwise I will begin to feel my blood pressure rise again. I mean, seriously, they are 8 POUND CATS ("obese" according to our vet, although they have been on a diet for about 6 months). How is it possible that they could be so annoying? They do have their sweet cuddly kitty moments but for one of them, even that is more of an obsessive compulsion.

Bella is doing well but she is getting on my nerves as well. I have taken to calling her Princess Bella because she thinks that she is entitled to anything and everything she wants. Case in point: she ran her ASS off over the weekend on Saturday AND I kept her awake all evening thinking that would make for a nice, relaxing Sunday morning. NOOOOPE. Princess Bella was whining and bored at 9:45 AM. NINE FORTY FIVE. And no, it's not like I was making her sleep. No, not at all. I was awake at 7am and she got up then, ate, played, etc. So you would think that she could just relax after a big day Saturday and fairly early morning Sunday. YOU WOULD THINK. But we are talking about a boxer puppy here. A puppy with ENDLESS energy. She whines, she wants attention, she wants to run, she barks (AT 5 F-ING 30 the other morning!), she jumps on Tim knowing that HE will give her the hugs/attention she wants...even when she's been getting it for HOURS already. I mean, we are not talking about a neglected pup here. I am ready for her to hit about 2 years old so that her energy level dwindles just a little bit. Or I am ready to adopt another boxer puppy just so that she has a playmate. Wait.... I just lost my mind. No way. No other boxer puppy.

And not to mention: I really want to be able to NOT have to take her to daycare every day. As in: leave her at home and (gasp) TRUST HER. It's just not possible unless she is beyond belief exhausted which doesn't seem to happen no matter HOW long she runs with other dogs (example: Saturday was pushing 2 hours at 120%...never seen her go that hard and she played at home for at least 5-6 hours and ran errands with for 2 hours. Seriously...the whole day was consumed with her). If she isn't exhausted, she'll chew, eat/ingest toys, pounce on 8 pound kitties (which would equal a dead kitty if we weren't home, I could only imagine), poop/pee in the house. Why do I say she would go to the bathroom in the house? Oh I don't know, because pooping and peeing are two of her favorite past times! She goes A MILLION times a day. Seriously, that much. So, we can't leave her at home by herself. I so thought that by this busy season we would be THERE but we just aren't. I get sort of frustrated about that.

She's also still having tummy issues. She had a huge flare up while we were in Kansas City, beginning on Christmas Eve. She had had a little flare up prior to us leaving town so we put her on an antibiotic that was supposed to "cure all" in terms of boxer colitis. DIDN'T WORK as evidenced by her completely liquid poops about 8 times per day while we were out of town (our poor neighbor....) But seriously? Shocker, it's Bella the puppy that is incurable in this regard. So, on the weekend of Christmas when we got home, I sent an email off to our natural puppy supplement lady to get more supplements for Bella since they are the only thing that seems to work for her. It makes sense though- use the supplements as a means to control whatever is wrong with her. I mean, it was $470 (OUCH) BUT. The supplements last for about a year which then doesn't seem like that much of sticker shock PLUS it makes more sense to just get it under control than to keep running tests, trying medicines to try to solve the problem. Obviously the problem is just a chronic tummy issue- whether it's colitis, irritable bowel or whatever- it's chronic so if we just have to control it forever to have a happy, healthy dog, I'd rather do that than essentially torturing her for another year just trying to figure out what's wrong.

So, that's the update on the animals. Princess Bella and the obese kitty bastards. I love them all to pieces of COURSE...I really truly do. It is so rewarding to have them and it's so fun to "know" each of them and their own distinct personalities...and to take care of them, give them a good life, etc. But, WOW, somedays, those personalities just drive me nuts. Especially when you have 3 ornry animals that are just out to show you how cool being ornry is.....

An example of the ornry kitty Calvin. I don't have a picture of him doing what he does to us, so I'll show you how he drives Bella nuts. He also likes to punch her cheeks...and bite them. He is a tough little guy. Bella gets pretty confused when we don't let her pounce on him since he dominates her so much.

And an example of how much Bella plays.... a picture of her jacket after one particularly active day with all of her puppy friends. I wasn't there but Tim told me they were going absolutely INSANE. I can only imagine based on the looks of this jacket!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The year did not quite start off as planned.

Another appropriate title would be: I really need to get a primary care physician or naturopathic doc.

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010 was supposed to be a great day. I was going to get up, go "running" (aka: elliptical since my foot is still unfunctional) and then it was time to just enjoy the weekend. It didn't really go like that. I mean sort of, it just didn't start off in the way that I had imagined. And really, in the grand scheme, the day wasn't THAT bad, I'll be realistic.


When I got out of bed at 7am to a throbbing right side of my head, only to look in the mirror and see my ear swollen OVER my new piercing and bright red, which in turn made me feel slightly ill and grasp the sink so that I wouldn't keel over (as an aside: I HATE when things on me look bad or weird)?

Well, I freaked out.


Due to the immense size of my ear, the fact I couldn't even SEE the piercing remotely (I actually thought it had fallen out during the middle of the night and spent 10 minutes looking for it in bed only to determine there was no way the back was still attached if nothing was on the front), the GIANT redness of the "bump" and the fact that it was bleeding (GROSS!), I immediately went to my friend google.

I've said it before and will say it again: I HATE GOOGLE IN CASES LIKE THIS. Of course google directed me to sites that told me I was going to die if I didn't remove the jewelry rightthissecond (um, hello?! Not possible when my SKIN is COVERING the jewelry and there is no way to do that unless I pull it OUT the other OWWWWW!) But other more tame options were: soaking in hot salt water, ice for inflammation, antibiotics for the infection.


Let me just say: I obviously KNEW it was infected. I knew I needed antibiotics. And I knew going into getting this piercing that the likelihood for infection for this piercing was about 90% (it's a tricky spot because there is no blood flow in the tragus and it's prone to infections). BUT I'd been soaking it every day in hot salt water since getting it pierced to prevent what I knew could likely happen. I'd done so good at preventing even any swelling!

Until last week.

It had been a few weeks, I wanted to listen to my freaking ipod at the gym. Luckily I only stuck an earphone into ONE ear (coincidentally the right one)... and THAT, my friends, is how to win yourself infection of the year. On January 2, 2010.

So, I go soak in hot salt water, I put ice on it to get the swelling down and I call Tim a million times, texted him telling him PROBLEM. CALL ASAP. COME HELP ME. As soon as he did, I told him my little situation (at this point I was fairly calm thinking that I'd just soak it all day and it would be fine).

Fast forward to 45 minutes later when he gets home. First words out of his mouth, "Holy shit Jenn, we are going to urgent care ASAP. That looks HORRIBLE."At which point I started uncontrollably bawling for 30 minutes. Because HELLO. Nothing like someone else freaking out to really scare the shit out of you (and, not to mention a PARAMEDIC who sees people who I would assume are much worse off everyday!!) Jesus. Not to mention, he had gotten NO sleep the night before and his moods/perceptions of things when he has no sleep? Not good. Can't blame him but it was not a good mix that morning.

I then made myself busy trying to find the front of the earring. I was determined because he told me I would have to pull it out the other end (NOOO!) So I just pushed the hell out of the stupid thing and YES! It popped through (but WOW, that hurt). Once that happened, I knew I had a shot at a) not removing the jewelry and b) saving immense amounts of pain and c) not dying like google said I would.

Tim and I both got calmed down quite a bit after that and he convinced me that my ear wasn't going to fall off and continued to tell me that google was wrong, I wasn't going to get an infection in my brain and die, but I DID still desperately need antibiotics. Since it was Saturday (and since we don't have a primary care doctor- we don't really ever need one except for stuff like this!), we headed down to urgent care.

I HATE URGENT CARE. HATE HATE HATE HATE. (I also hate antibiotics/any other drugs too but oh well. Had no option this time).

The wait always takes FOREVER and I already KNEW what I needed. And there are always a million people there who are flu-sick who SHOULD wear masks but instead sit there and hack all over everyone. Ugh. And the staff there treat you like cows...heard you in, heard you out. So annoying.

So after two hours, I get in. Get my temperature taken, my blood pressure, my oxygen levels. EVEN THOUGH I'M NOT SICK! UGH! Just look at my ear, idiots! But on the plus side, my oxygen level was at 100 (the highest/best possible), my heart rate was great at 60, and my blood pressure was great at 110/70. So, I guess that was good to know.

I finally see the doctor and 5 minutes later I am on my way with a prescription for antibiotics. And now, two days later, my ear is totally fine, a little swollen still but fine. It looks like I'll be able to keep my cute (again) piercing. And I learned my lesson: no headphones. At least for a while. And I am going to research primary care docs in the area, preferably of the naturopathic kind so that I can avoid urgent care AT ALL COSTS going forward.

A picture of the ear when it's NORMAL: non-massive, non-swollen, non-gross. Turns out I was too freaked out Saturday to take a picture of it in all of its swollen, red glory. I should was pretty impressive. Just imagine a huge red ball over the top of the stud. It stuck up probably a half inch and was red all the way around the tragus and onto my face (not kidding).

Luckily, the rest of the weekend was pretty low key. Lots of puppy time at the dog park (which, coincidentally went HORRIBLY saturday...she was in big, big trouble and had several time outs but sunday she was AWESOME), dinners, cuddle time, reading by fires, drinking tea. It was perfect... Although it started a bit shaky, I ended up having a great "last weekend"...the weekend before the unofficial start of busy season.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pineapple as the cure? Really?

One of the awesome trainers at the gym I go to has added on to the list of stuff to try to get my achilles to heal: Pineapple. He said something about it having bromaline (or some sort of chemical) that helps SOMEHOW with calcium in the body and is great for these types of injuries. Obviously, I'm a little unclear as to exactly what is in it or how it works, but I'm willing to give it a try.

SO, the list is now:
-Eccentric stretching
-Inactivity (meaning no running, hiking, or high impact stuff (even including walking when it's flaring up, which coincidentally is most of the time). This is KILLING ME and is going on for um, SIX FREAKING MONTHS NOW!!)
-Wrapping it
-Anti-inflammatory (like advil)
-Arnica (homeopathic treatment)
-Orthopedic doctor


My chiropractic friend Jill told me to try cold laser physical therapy as is on my list to do. But of course the trainer at my gym told me that only works for about 50% of people. Oh well, willing to try it, regardless. The other trainer at my gym told me he knows a guy who does massage type work, targeted for these injuries where he will just basically massage them (OUCH). His words: "It hurts like utter hell but it really works." I think I'll wait a bit on adding that option to the list. I'm going to give pineapple a shot first. Let's just hope that SOMETHING works before the year mark and the dreaded surgery word that the ortho doc told me....

Update: I just noticed this morning on one of the supplements I take (a whole enzyme one) that it has said Pineapple stuff in it... Hmm. Interesting.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Exploring my inner chef...or something.

Last night I made such an awesome dinner (well, in my opinion). Guess it's not really something that a meat and potatoes person is going to drool over but I thought it was fabulous! I don't know what I would call it... I kind of just made up the recipe as I went. Here's the recipe, as specific as I can get since I really just was making it up:
-1/2 red bell pepper
-probably two good handfuls of chopped brocoli
-1/2 red onion
-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-6-7 good sized crimini mushrooms
-probably 1/2 cup or so sliced carrots

I put all of above on the stove and sauteed in a bit of olive oil and some water. I also added some balsamic vinigrette. Then I seasoned with pepper and also some red chili peppers (I wanted it to have some kick).

When that was mostly done, I added:
-probably a good 2 cups spinach to wilt
-1/2 block of tofu (firm, extra firm is best) cut into chunks

While it was all cooking I was making quinoa and when it was done I put the tofu veggie stuff on top of the quinoa, cut up fresh tomatoes, and topped it with feta cheese. So yummy! Would have also been good to have some fresh basil, but I didn't... so, next time!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Another year down...and onto...2010!

Last year I did a year in review by pictures and I think I'm going to do just that again for 2009. It's a great way to sum up the year even though it's a long post...just to remember and reflect all of the "bigger" things, even though pretty much big and small were all blogged about throughout the year. And, for me, it helps me to have kind of an "out with the old, in with the new" attitude. Reflections on the year that was, getting ready for the year to be.

Well, I'm not sure what happened in January 2009 other than possibly busy season just jumped right in and kicked my ass, but I have NO pictures from January last year and no recollection of anything significant happening (other than, I imagine, trying to prepare for the next few months of busy season). So, we'll jump right into February 2009- when I had to go to Alaska for work and Tim joined me. He got to explore the beautiful frozen tundra and I worked. Of course we found time to play and explore some together too. It was a fun trip.

One of the things we try to always continue to do throughout the year is to take advantage of this gorgeous state we are in and hike! It's a way that we connect and it is so peaceful and serene in the mountains/outdoors out here. Plus, it keeps us active and healthy! Here is one of the hikes we went on in February of this year. Gorgeous.

Valentines day, 2009. I was definitely busy at this point and I remember being absolutely exhausted coming home on this day but my husband had flowers, a card, my favorite wine, and dinner all waiting for me. Not to mention, he looked pretty darn cute.

March 22, 2009. I had some crazy idea throughout January/February that I wanted a puppy...I researched puppy breeds, then found a breeder and next thing you know? On that day, we flew to Boise, Idaho (ON A TOTAL WHIM). And we got picked by Miss Bella Kaleigh Jones (not even the original litter we were going to look at! The breeder had decided THAT day that she was not going to keep her...and Bella picked us. So glad she did).

Still at the breeders (and already in love with Timmy), about ready to book it to the airport to try to get back to Seattle that night...and then proceed to panic because we were ABSOLUTELY unprepared for a dog and made it to petco in Seattle 5 minutes before they closed (thank god).

A few weeks later, she is in puppy kindergarten, learning lots, loving lots, playing lots and just basically adjusting to life as princess Bella.

My 27th birthday cake- delicious!

We celebrated my birthday week by taking Bella on her first excursion to downtown Seattle- the crumpet shop and pike place. She slowed us down a bit because everyone wanted to see her/pet her. She was a star!

Bella looking around at Pike like, "WOAH. This world is BIG."

Also around my birthday week we ventured up to Vancouver, Canada for my birthday. Such a fun road trip!

We got to hike, explore, and play on an absolutely beautiful and warm spring day in Vancouver.

My birthday flowers...

During the month of May, Bella really broke out of her box and decided to show those kitties who is boss. Puppy kindergarten was still a learning process at this point...

Getting used to those silly kitty brothers and enjoying some warm spring sunshine.
During the end of May/beginning of June, the weather was AWESOME here. We had lots of beach days.

We all loved lounging in the warm sun after the winter.

May was also the realization that Bella had some sort of chronic tummy problem. We spent A TON of money between May-June on various vets, specialists, tests, foods, etc. trying to figure out what was going on. Not fun for her or us. (Happily, at the end of 2009, it is much more under control...though still costly as she is now on expensive food and expensive supplements for life). Oh and those test and "the specialist?" Complete waste of money. Here I am trying to get Bella to eat pumpkin. It was supposed to be good for her tummy but it really did nothing other than cause a huge mess.

Once the lake warmed up through June, we got to go swimming! (Bella's first time!) She is definitely excited as you can tell.

But she eventually got the hang of it...

And it always ended like this. I don't think swimming is her favorite activity.

She also learned that she LOVES to be social. We had many days like this of playing with her new puppy friends.

Those playdates always end like this.

Also in June, we went down to my cousin Patrick's graduation from the University of Oregon in Eugene. Fun weekend trip and we got to spend time with my brother prior to it and see my family during it!

At the end of June, we got to go to our friends' Holly and Justin's beautiful wedding in Wenatchee, Washington. We also made a day trip of this to explore the east side of the mountains.

This picture was taken during Bella's first experience with wind (after the ceremony). She was not sure what to make of it so she went nuts.

In July of 2009, Tim traded in his FJ SUV for a more eco-friendly prius since he has such a long commute.

We also moved to our new home on July 15. LOVE IT. Such a cute place and great neighborhood. A few days later on July 18, we went to our friends Rich and Stacies' wedding... it was another absolutely BEAUTIFUL ceremony/reception and we are so glad we got to be part of it. In fact, we were so busy talking and having fun the whole night, we didn't even take any pictures!

Our new place is right by a TON of parks- probably at least 5 or 6. Here is one of them where we take Bella to run at alot. In July, it was really dry.

We went to hike at the end of July on one of the hottest days of the year in Seattle (over 100 degrees). It was HOT (and miserable to be inside). I now know what it is like to live in Arizona without air conditioning.

A picture of me on that same hike. Pictures were taken with phones so they are really small, not sure why.

Shortly after that hike, we headed to Missouri to see my family where we got to experience "Seattle weather" for most of the week (mid-70s, sunny). However, on the day we decided to golf, it ended up being over 100 degrees...hence the flip flops and tank top. So great to see family even though it was a fairly short trip.

In August we made the day trip to Mount Rainier. It did not disappoint. Absolutely stunning.

Tim in front of the mountain range at Rainier.

After exploring all day we went on a 5 mile hike....and found this cool little mountain lake. Bella was such a trooper!

Also in August, I said goodbye to little Winston, my 2005 mini cooper.

But hello to my new little spicy Alfred, a 2009 mini cooper.

In September, we did the North Cascades drive. It did not disappoint either and was just breathtaking.

Also on north cascades drive...Gorgeous, gorgeous scenery.

At the end of September, our breeder flew in from Idaho and we got together with her and all of her boxer puppies that live in the area. So much fun!

In October, we headed back to the beautiful islands of Hawaii for a week.

During our trip, on October 20, 2009, we celebrated....

....the one year anniversary of this (October 20, 2008).

When we got back from Hawaii, it was almost Halloween and Bella was exhausted from so much time at her "puppy hotel." But we made her get in the Halloween spirit anyway. It's more than we did...Tim had to work on Halloween and I took it easy (meaning stayed home and handed out candy to kids). Yes, totally an old married couple.

During the first part of November, we started having fall fires to combat the cold nights. Bella and her buddy Calvin the kitty LOVE THEM.

At the end of November, we headed to Phoenix over Thanksgiving for a long weekend.... we got to hike, see many good friends, go to a comedy show, lay by the pool, eat and just generally had tons of fun!

Thanksgiving 2009- totally the way to go. No cooking, no cleanup, all relaxation. Perfect!

Tim's birthday, 2009...we celebrated by cake, a couple of dinners, lots of presents after I returned from my annual December Alaska trip.

Luckily this December, we had no snow in Seattle but we DID have a white Christmas in Kansas City- blizzard, actually!

Christmas, 2009....a perfect ending to a week filled with family and friends.
And now we are here. Almost 2010. Lots of ups and downs in 2009 as in every year...laughter and tears, joys and sorrows, beauty and wonder... but mostly, looking back, it's only the joys, laughter, beauty and good memories that ever stick. I am amazed that it's already 2010. I'm not quite sure how the past ten years have flown by so fast... and then, thinking about it, although they have seemed to fly by, I am taken by how much has happened in those ten years. The person I was ten years ago is totally different than who I am now... not the "core" but I'm shaped and transformed by all of these "years in review" from the past ten years. There are some years that wouldn't have a year in review. Like 2006 or 2005...dark, dark years for me. But at the end of the day? It's made me who I am now: a person so utterly thankful for all that I have in this life...for knowing true, real love; for realizing my full strength and potential; for understanding that I will never be afraid to do what I know is right and to stand up for those beliefs; for having a good job and loving that I am good at it; for having supportive family and friends that I know without a doubt will always be there for me. And mostly, I'm so thankful for my little family that I started with the guy that walked into my life in December 2006 (or, more like, I passed out into his...) I'm so excited to share this next decade with him. I know there are such exciting things to come for us...and that some of these things are going to bring tears- not only tears of sorrow, but tears of joy, tears of knowing how HARD you are working to be the best you can parents, as people in the community, as partners. But I welcome the tears just as I embrace the laughter... through it all, I cannot wait to see what the year in review for 2010 holds for us. And 2011. And 2012. And 2013...
I don't do resolutions. Never have. Never will. I don't believe in them. I personally think they are overrated and stupid and set people up for failure. I don't want to do a top ten list of things I want to do or who I want to be as we enter this next year. I already KNOW that stuff. I want to be healthy, I want to always make time to slow down, to not let time zoom by me, I want to be a good mom (even if it's just a puppy/kitty mom for now), I want to continue to grow and learn in life/my job/my community, I want to be a great friend, I want to be a loving sister and daughter, and most importantly, every day I want to wake up and I want to make sure that every person that means something in my life knows how much I love them, support them, cherish them and that there is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for the prescense and impact that they have in my life. The things that help me fill in that list will come... But through all of those things, I will always come back to those core values of just wanting to be the best person I can be for all people in my life. And year after year, that will be my "life resolution." The constant that never changes, the goals that I always strive to fulfill. Happy 2010 to everyone out there. Cheers!