Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Paul (the cat) and I need to go back to decision-making school. And this time? We need to not cheat off each other.

Neither he nor I make great decisions. He where Bella is involved. He is constantly being whacked in the face by her, jumped on by her, jumping on her or trying to eat her food - the latter two which result in scolding. And to prove his point, he just this second walked up to her and tried to head butt her (his way of showing affection). It's a case of loving someone that is bad for you.

Me? My stomach. I make bad decisions when it comes to what I eat. If my stomach is hurting, my general response is to just put something else in it, which 9.8 times out of 10 doesn't help and generally makes things worse. It's a lesson I can't seem to learn.

Well, there's my year end reflection for you. Have a happy and safe New Year.

I'm going to watch fabulous drag queens, drink champagne, kiss the spouse and have brunch at 2 am - all while wearing a stylish sequined tank top (thanks, Amanda!) and wonderful silver circle ring (thanks, Sarah!).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy & Grateful: The Thread

So, the computer with the camera is downstairs and it's way too cold to hang out downstairs, so I'm posting old school (aka, the written word).

I was inspired by this post HERE by Tattooed Yarn about things she wants to be able to remember about the here and now a year from now. She had a great list and inspired me to write one as well.

- I am grateful for the view from my window - a town covered in snow, the snow gently falling, Bella snuggling in a blanket and Hugo spazzing out with a toy - and the knowledge that I get to sit here all day.

- I am grateful for my job, that I have job security, that I've gotten two raises and two bonuses this year, that I have a team of co-workers that I adore and knowing that the work we do makes a real difference.

- I am grateful for my spouse and that we, over the past year, found our friendship again and that we are now the best of friends who have built a great life together.

- I am grateful for all my friends who fill me with love and laughter.

- I want to remember the chest pains I experienced shoveling snow yesterday because I am so out of shape - at age 31.

- I want this to be the deepest I am ever in debt - about $20,000 in credit card debt - and end next year as close to $0 as possible (and how much pain that figure causes me each time I think about it).

Happy holidays, everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


In which Bella plays in the snow and Jason discusses snow.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Going There

In which I shed tears of gratitude.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kissing Dogs

In which I introduce Otie and talk about my issues with authority figures.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for you?

In which Cora & Jason make three attempts at recording a video blog post together.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back to Work

I tried, as best I could, for the past week, to hold my tongue and focus on the joy of the elections.  I tried to revel in our successes, for there were many and they need celebrating.

But, it's time to get back at it.  First, I present this brilliant commentary by Keith Olbermann on the passing of marriage bans in California, Florida and Arizona last week, as well as all the bans that have already been passed.  He gets it and he speaks my heart.

Turning to the international stage, a horrific crime was committed in Somalia last week against a 13 year old girl.  I implore you to speak out on her behalf HERE

Friday, November 07, 2008

Still Celebrating

In which I sing about this past Tuesday's victories.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Can't fight this feeling...

To post, that is.

Feelings...nothing more than feelings...


Whoops!  I had our maps switched (see below, since corrected).  I was more optimistic on McCain's chances.  Thank you, America, for proving me wrong!

According to CNN, Obama: 349, McCain: 163.

States I was wrong about: Virginia, Indiana (!!!), possibly North Carolina.

And Governor Gregoire is leading substantially in Washington state.  Hip, hip, hooray!!!

Many have said it, but I will echo their sentiments: Today, I am proud to be an American for the first time in a very long time.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Crystal Ball

I predict...


Jason predicts...

Subtle differences, Obama still wins.  Fingers,
 toes, legs, arms, etc., firmly crossed.  Will be wearing my Caribou for Biden shirt tomorrow, for good luck.  Really, I should probably be wearing one of these to ward off the evil eye:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Guess who?!?

In which I wish you a very happy Halloween.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My O Face

In which I implore you to vote. Repeatedly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Political Activism

I have had a long day of political activism. Thankfully, I had my Caribous for Biden t-shirt to keep me going strong (thanks, Sarah!) (it's under the pink shirt).

In the picture below, I'm the one in the middle, holding up the red sign.

You can have a Caribous for Biden or Wolves for Biden all for your very own. And $5 of the $20 purchase price will go to the Obama/Biden campaign via the Obama Craft Project. Here's what they look like:

You can get them HERE. Happy voting!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jamaica Me Crazy

In which doggie dates, the Universe and John McCain are discussed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


In which Bella and Hugo make brief appearances.
From 10/15/08

Broadcast from Manzanita

With Sarah, Jason & Bella

Pt. 1

Pt 2

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PJ Vlogging

I'm noticing a pattern emerging...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Day 2!!!

In which FaceBook is discussed and silly faces are made.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Video Blogging: The New Frontier

So, yes, it's been a while. A long while. But I'm hoping this will remedy the drought and usher in a new era on CoraNation.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Can I Get a "F**k Yeah!"?

Tonight, the Ellensburg School Board voted to implement a comprehensive sex education policy.  Meaning that students of public schools in Ellensburg will get medically accurate and comprehensive sex education (i.e., info about condoms and birth control, as well as abstinence).  Words cannot express how stoked I am.  Or how proud.

Take that, certain school board member who sucks butt.  She brought it to the table, thinking she could outlaw it and she lost.  Big time.  

F**k yeah!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Totally Unexpected

I have found a new love...well, a new infatuation. Totally unexpected. Didn't even think it was what I was looking for. Thought I would hate it, find it abhorrent.

But, I don't...
This show, about a serial killer who kills other killers. Very good. And, so far, two ex-Buffy actors have appeared. Making it even better.

Monday, August 04, 2008


After years of searching, I think I've found my craft - embroidery.

My pal, Nan, over at Tattooed Yarn, is teaching me all about hand sewing, via her blog and e-mails. And she started me out with embroidery. I bought a kit from Sublime Stitching and the book, The Alabama Stitch Book.

I started with the kit and am working on learning and becoming proficient at basic stitches. I'm learning on an old Ikea dish towel with citrus fruit printed on it. I'm simply following the lines and trying different stitches. I'm also reading the Alabama book, but I'm thinking it will be a while before I attempt any project in that book - they're intimidatingly beautiful.

I really like embroidery - it's very mellow and simple, yet beautiful and open to all sorts of possibilities.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I'm Back, Y'al!

Hey!  Ms. Fabulous is here.  Enjoyin' my day off.  Yo!

So, I have the pics from the Alaska Cruise all put together - I now just need to figure out how to easily get them on the Internets.  Stay tuned!

To keep you occupied and happy until then - three of my very favorite youtube videos!

Athens Boy Choir: Fagette (for some reason, youtube no longer loves the blogger, so I can't post directly)

Sonya Renee: Women Deserve Better  A-f**kin'-men

Sexual Harassment (definitely NOT work appropriate)

Enjoy!  Happy, happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Well, almost.  Jason is doing so much better.  He's been sleeping and eating a lot and doesn't seem to be having any lingering affects of the allergy or meds.  Tomorrow we'll see a doctor to follow-up and get final permission to go on the cruise.  Then Sunday, it's off to the great North - southern Alaska, actually (Glacier Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan, Juneau, Victoria and Seattle).  

I'm practically healed too, mentally I mean.  I saw my psychiatrist today, and he had me review the symptoms of OCD.  I had 1.5 and you need at least 4 for a diagnosis.  So, I'm healed!  Not really, but I'm greatly improved than when I started back in January.  I'll continue seeing him and taking the meds.  We're working on acknowledging and dealing with natural anger.

And no new shoes for me.  I rediscovered a pair of heels that used to hurt my big toe but no longer do, so I'm going to use those on the cruise and use the shoe money to pay for a hot stone massage instead.  Lovely.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Home again

Jason was discharged from the hospital today.  He's in the next room, sleeping.  He's in really good spirits and feels a lot better.  In fact, he looks like he lay on a beach and just got too much sun.  Tomorrow, we'll schedule more doctors visit, have a physical therapist visit - essentially try to get him ready to leave on our cruise on Sunday.

Having my mom here has been great.  She's been such a help.  J's folks arrived today and, thankfully, are staying in a hotel.

Thanks to all of you who have posted well wishes.  They've really warmed my heart.

And shoes!  I did go with my mom and tried some on.  I'm pondering the purchase of these:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Giving in

Wow.  Who knew visiting someone in a hospital could be so freaking exhausting?  And draining.  J's okay - a little better but still not sleeping.  He's got a lot of anxiety, worrying over his IV, any little pains or changes in his body, making sure the fluid in his body stays centered around his kidneys and liver so it will process out.  He's also worried about dying.  That worry, I think, is the sleep deprivation talking.  Before leaving tonight, I convinced him to take an anti-anxiety med his doctor had suggested.  I'm hoping it will calm him down enough to sleep.  Lord knows he's got enough fatigue to carry him to slumberland, if he would just let it.

It's funny, I've read blogs of those with loved ones in the hospital and always wondered how they could find the time to blog.  Now I understand - you make time to do it.  You gotta clear out some of the stress.  

The giving in part - I called my mom at 10:30 pm and asked her to come.  More than anything, I need a big, big hug.  It's been about a week since I've hugged anyone.  And I want to lay my head in her lap and have her comb through my hair and stroke my eyebrows.  That sounds way more relaxing than any massage.

Most of the time, I feel numb or panicked or tired.

J's parents come Sunday.  I'm not thrilled by the prospect, but it's what he wants and they've agreed to stay in a hotel.  I love them.  They're good peeps.  But right now, I just don't need to add their worry to J's hospital room.  Does that make sense?  But, I'll have my mom, and that should help.

Okay, am I totally horrible that I want to sneak away and buy these sandals from Payless?  New shoes would help all of us, right?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Well, this week officially sucks

Jason was admitted to the hospital today.  According to the ER doc, he's suffering from way more than your average allergic reaction.  Something to do with his skin reacting from the inside and causing damage.  The doc said Jason has something akin to a second degree burn.  He's at the hospital now, receiving intravenous meds and tests are being run to make sure his liver and other inside parts are okay.  And both an opthamologist and a dermatologist will need to see him.  He seemed in better spirits when I left, but he hates needles, so the IV makes him nervous.  And he's exhausted.

Whew.  I am tuckered out too.

And, when I got home, I found one of the fish, Alfie, the Beta, had passed on.  It's the second fish this week - Fanty died on Saturday.  Hopefully, I can find the energy tomorrow to clean out the tank and save the two surviving fish.

I know this week could be a lot worse, and I am grateful for it not being so.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I finally broke down and got some glasses.  Truthfully, I've wanted glasses all my life, just like I've wanted curly hair.  I'm nearsighted, so I wear them for driving, concert going and any other long distance vision needs.  Jason says from the side, they're very sexy librarian, but from the front their intimidating smarty.  I think they make me look like my friend, Iris.


I got a wee bit crabby tonight.  It's been a long day.  Took Jason to the acupuncturist, which helped for about four hours, then stopped helping.  A few hours later we discovered the healing power of aloe.  Glorious aloe.  We decimated our little aloe plant and covered Jason in it.  But, he needed more, so I headed out in search of aloe products.  Safeway had a pathetic selection, so I headed over to Rite Aid, only to arrive 4 minutes past closing.  At that moment, I really, really wanted to yell, "Who do I have to blow to get some f***ing aloe in this town?!?"

Alas, I did not, but returned to Safeway.  And the product I found there just might be working.  I tucked Jason into bed for the first time in two days - he's been sleeping on the bathroom floor so he can easily go between water (the bathtub) and dry land.

I read a wonderful blog, The Crucible of Joy, written by the mother of an adorable baby boy with a very complicated medical condition.  As I was readying Jason for bed, I marveled at her strength.  Here I am, day 4, worn out, frustrated, crabby, and she's had months of much, much worse.  I'm not judging myself or my feelings, just in awe of her.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Exquisite Pain

No, this isn't a post about S&M.  

I was sitting on my steps, feeling the cool night breeze on my bare arms, listening to the crickets, my neighbors' sprinklers, young men saying good night to each other, as they made their way home to make their curfews.

And I was thinking.  Brooding perhaps.  About Jason and my grandma.  Right now, Jason is experiencing some intense discomfort.  A nasty, bright red, terribly itchy rash covers 95% of his body.  And nothing, absolutely nothing is bringing him relief from the itch.  He has been in pain for three days now.  I'm doing the best I can to offer him whatever relief we can think up, taking him to the doctor, feeding him, bringing him medication, reading to him.  But it's not really helping.  The allergic reaction (to a new medication, which he is no longer taking) is stubbornly holding on.  And it hurts so much to see him in so much pain.  And to know that I can't really do anything to effectively help.

My grandmother - she's doing all right.  But there are still issues.  And lots of questions and what ifs about her future.  And trying to figure out how to honor her wishes while also keeping her safe and comfortable.  

So, I was sitting on my steps, feeling a bit sorry for myself, to be honest.  Sorry that I was feeling pain and stress about these two people I love so much.  And then it dawned on me - that I wouldn't feel this pain and stress if I didn't love these two people so much.  That this pain and stress comes from a place a love.  And I let myself feel that love, sat there and focused on the love instead of the pain.  And I felt better, lighter.  And I surveyed my surroundings and remembered how much I love where I live, who I live with.  And felt fortunate to have those, as well as a job that understands my current situation and is willing to work with me.  That I love my work deeply and feel so grateful to have it.

Really, this post is about love and gratitude.  And ands - lots of ands that I am too tired to edit out.

On a sillier, lighter note, here are some photos from our recent vacation with my dear friend, Iris.  I didn't take a one of these photos - no, I was in the car, asleep.  I slept a lot on that trip, worn out from work and knocked out by my allergies, which hit me like a mac truck when I entered the Portland area (but thankfully, didn't stick around).

Monday, June 16, 2008

4 Things

Stolen from the lovely Hilleri

4 jobs I have had in my life:
  1. Grant Writer
  2. Receptionist
  3. Telephone Fundraiser
  4. Intern
4 movies I watch over and over:
  1. Amelie
  2. Serenity
  3. Princess Bride
  4. White Christmas
4 places I have lived:
  1. Portland (of the OR, not the ME)
  2. Chicago
  3. Hamburg, Germany
  4. Anchorage, Alaska

4 TV Shows that I watch:

  1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  2. Angel
  3. Firefly
  4. The Adventures of Pete & Pete

4 places I have been:

  1. Paris
  2. Australia
  3. St. Croix, Virgin Islands
  4. Billings, Montana (most recently)

4 of my favorite foods:

  1. Sushi
  2. Soy Mac & Cheese
  3. Haribo Gummy Bears
  4. White Cheddar Popcorn

4 places I would rather be right now:

  1. Paris!
  2. Buck Island, Caribbean
  3. In a Yurt, on the Oregon coast
  4. Spooning Jason (he is too itchy to hold right now)

4 things I am looking forward to this year:

  1. Sid & Maralea's wedding!
  2. More of Trio Vintners 2006 Zinfandel
  3. Visiting H&M in DC
  4. Electing a new president

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Still Alive

Hay-lo!  I am still here.  Alive and breathing.  Working a lot.  Too much?  

But now, another vacation.  Six whole days away from work, away from home, spending time with distant friends.  I'm very excited.  

And get this...we have no plans.  We have a sketch of plans, but nothing set.  And I'm excited about that.  Six whole days to wander, explore, ponder.

And visit Trader Joes!  I'm also very excited about that.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Silver Shoes

My new silver ballet flats with embroidered stars, courtesy of Payless.

After getting home  yesterday, I realized that Heather and I have a thing for silver ballet flats.  This is my second pair, the first pair given to me by Heather.  And click HERE for a photo of her new pair.  I would've owned the ones she owns, but Target didn't have them in my size, so I settled for a pair of black patent leather, which I do adore.

And, if I could, I'd buy these bad boys, also from Payless.

 Aren't they divine?  But, my feet swell pretty bad in the summer, and to keep the swelling down, I have to wear confining shoes.  Oh well.  No pedicures or sexy sandals for me.  My life is a true hardship.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I turn 31 in approximately 12 hours (I was born 7ish in the a.m.). I am sitting on my bed, drinking some really good Chardonnay (not usually a fave), mini brownies and watching Juno for the first time. Bella and Paul have joined me.

I'm excited.

31. I'm finally an adult. Here comes middle-age. Welcome middle-age. Parking in back (ha!).

Truly, I am excited. It feels a little weird, to be excited about getting older. But I am. As my dear friend, Amanda, put it, "You're really an adult now." Indeed, I am. And I ain't takin' no crap. Okay, that's not true. But, I've decided since I will be 31 tomorrow, I don't need to go on any trips to the gun store with my dad and uncle who are visiting, which I would have done when I was 30 or younger. No, I've passed into a new realm. I am now 30+. I am an adult. And I love it.

It surprises me that I am so embracing of aging. Well, I'm not fond of my white hairs, but now that I'm 31 (well, almost), I feel they fit. White hairs in your 20s? No way. 30s? OK. Wrinkles, bring them on. I feel now I need them for street cred. Who's going to believe I'm 30+ without some crows feet?

Seriously, I am so excited. I know, I know. It sounds like, "Me think she doth proclaim too much." But, really, I am. I feel like I'm 17. No, 19 years old. But I am very excited to tell people I'm 31.

So, cheers. Raise your glass. Here's to 31. And here's to another 31 years.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Today is the first day of a four work day (plus two weekend days) hiatus from work.  Six days away.  Is this what heaven feels like?  

It felt so weird yesterday setting my out of office message, re-recording voice mails, to say I would be gone six days and knowing it wasn't because I'd be gone for work travel.

And I left my work cell phone on my desk.


Freedom from all the drama, the dead-lines, the politics (both inner- and outer-office), phone banks, ants (we have an ant infestation), worries, commutes, e-mail and the little stupid sh*t.  Work has not been fun.  Last week was the best week I've had in a long time.  But not so great to make me miss one thing while I'm away.

And here I am, the first day of my break, doing what?  Blogging about work.  D'oh!

Updates (in no particular order):

1) the increase in meds is working out fabulously, as is taking them in the morning.  I'm a little curious to see if my doctor will up my dose just to see what would happen, if life could be even better.

2) Bella is still bone obsessed.  But, Jason did find a bone she will actually chew and eat.  Hooray!  We're now trying to train her that the cats do not want her bone and that it isn't necessary for her to growl at them every time they walk past.  Of course, the moment we get her trained, one of the cats (I'm looking at you Hugo) will attempt to touch and/or steal the bone.

3) I visited the San Juan Islands last weekend (Friday Harbor to be exact).  Wow.  Such a fantastic place.  You must go.  No, really, you must.  And make sure to visit the camel.

4) Grandma is doing well.  My parents are staying with her right now.  She's walking with a cane.  Still having some memory lapses.  

5) Jason and I have been doing couples therapy for about two months now, and, wow, has it made a difference.  My marriage totally rocks.  And, Jason, well, let's just say he's the greatest spouse ever and leave it at that.

6) My good buddy, Heather, is really blossoming as a photographer.  And I think it's helping her blossom as a person (I hope she's not too chagrined that I just wrote that).  I am so very proud.  And totally in love with her photos.  And very proud.  (I'm feeling lazy, being on vacation and all, so the link to her site is to your right - More Adventurous).

7) We adopted more fish!  We now have 5 total - Alfie, the original, a Beta; Gypsy, a little sucker fish to clean the tank; and Fanty and Mingo, two cute orange fish that are biological cousins of the Beta.  (Bonus points for those that can identify where the names for the new fish came from.) All seem to be getting along, but when Jason returned home last Sunday, he found Alfie a bit beat up and had to move him to another tank to recuperate.  Not sure if it was the other fish or the tank or the "play things" in the big tank that did the damage.  He is fine now and back in the big tank with the others.

8) Snow.  It just won't stop.  No real accumulation, but every couple days we get a snow shower.  WTF?  I know I live in higher elevation land, but this is just a bit silly.  The tulips and trees have finally blossomed.  Hopefully, the weather patterns will take a hint and start sending warmer weather our way.

Well, I should probably go brush my teeth and get out of my pjs, since my mom will be arriving soon.  But, how glorious - it's 11:30 am and I'm still in my pjs and unbrushed.  Yay vacation!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Holy Crap, where has the time gone?

So, my mind has been slipping into funky time warps lately. I think it's two weeks ahead of the actual time. The end of March seems ages ago. My birthday isn't tomorrow? Weird.

And my life, it has been kicking my a**. Job - out of control busy. Increased meds, taken in the AM instead of the PM. PMS. Fridge died. Gas is insanely expensive. And it keeps snowing. Well, not in town, but in the mountains near by and it's not exactly cold, but not exactly warm. However, the forecasters promise it will be 72 degrees both here in M-F and PDX, where I'm hanging this weekend.

Last week, Jason bought Bella a raw hide bone. Not sure why, because she has steadfastly refused to chew on anything that can't then be swallowed shortly thereafter. She's not a chewer. But, he still bought her this bone. He smeared chicken fat on it in the hopes that would make her a chewer. Instead, she licked it until the fat was gone or unlickable. And despite all this, she does not abandon the bone. Thankfully, she's stopped feeling the need to be with it 24/7. But, in the morning, when we go down for her morning constitutional, she checks to make sure it's still where she left it before venturing outside. She growls at or closely monitors anyone who goes near it, including Jason. When I brought it closer to me, she picked it up and moved it two feet away from my clutches. Right now, she's laying in the middle of the room, the bone tucked near her chin. I just don't get it. And I can't decide if she's being OCD about it and it's making her anxious. Or she truly loves it, like it's her baby. Perhaps, just perhaps, it's not for me to decide.

And that last sentence is a good example of how my therapy session went today. No answers, just many good examples of my neuroses.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


First, a quick update - my grandma got out of the hospital on Tuesday and is doing great. I am taking care of her until Sunday. Her confusion and memory issues have all but vanished. She's getting around quite well and has good spirits. And is very appreciative that I am here. Not that I need her to be (or that she should be), but it is nice to know that what I am doing is helpful and wanted.

Okay, on to dreams...

I had a dream on Saturday that was just fantastic. And quite like the dreams I would have when I slept better. I dreamt that my family (Jason, my parents, cousins, etc.) went on a trip to the South Pacific. We were island hopping and had wound up on a wonderful island for a few days. It was time to go to another island and we were packing. For some reason, we had brought a ton of stuff with us - I'm talking copious amounts of toiletries and paintings to hang on the wall to make where we were staying feel like home. We had only managed to hang a couple and a big pile were just sitting in our room. Our departure time was drawing very close, so I decided to just pack those things I would need to have an enjoyable and light journey. But, I was worried how we were going to get our other stuff packed in time, or if we could come back for it. Part of me wondered if we should even bother. And why the heck we had brought it in the first place. Then, my mom came and suggested we repack the stuff we really didn't need (like the paintings) in one bag, so we wouldn't have to keep unpacking them. But time was running short and I didn't think we'd have time to repack. I kept reminding myself that I had everything I needed in a small bag, ready to go. I woke shortly after that.

Talk about subtext. Obviously, I have a lot of emotional baggage that I carry with me, that is weighing me down, holding me back from having a fun, enjoyable trip through life - from having the kind of life I want to have. Obviously, a part of me wants to let go of this baggage and move on with a much lighter load. Part of me wants to make sure I'm not going to leave something important behind. So, how to lighten the load? Perhaps that too will come to me in a dream.

One last thought - I want this purse so badly.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Hair

Here's my new 'do, taken yesterday morning, just before leaving for work.  By the afternoon, it's flat and drab.  But, in the mornings, super cute.

And this is a photo from Sunday's financial and taxes extravaganza!  We did our taxes, sorted through our financial docs, drank and danced.  The day was capped off by spending the evening watching Aladdin and The Little Mermaid (which Jason brought to the marriage) and singing along.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Thinking About Books

I just started reading a book that has blown me away.  I'm only 40 some odd pages into it, but I am totally digging it.  I find these sorts of books rare, where I just fall in and don't want to stop reading.  That used to happen a lot when I was a kid.  My mom would get mad, well, frustrated really, because she'd buy me a new book and 3 hours later I'd have it finished.  I still remember the first book I didn't want to finish because I didn't like it.  I thought perhaps something was wrong with me.  A book I didn't like?!?  Over time, I've grown more picky, so that happens more often.  Now, I get miffed at the author and editor and book company, though this is just as ridiculous as getting mad at myself. 
My lovely, wonderful friend, Iris, from Germany, is coming to visit in May.  She's an avid reader and likes to read books in English to keep up on her language skills.  So, I've been pulling together a list of books for her.  Here's what I've got so far:

People of the Book is the one I'm raving about above.

Any others you would recommend?  She's pretty open to genre, time period, etc.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

My Grandma

That's her, in the middle, between Jason and I (my parents are behind us).  She lives in Lewiston, ID, about 2+ hours from M-F.  She's technically my step-grandmother, but she's never made me feel anything but loved.  

Lately, her mind has begun to slip.  Little things, like sending Jason two birthday cards with two checks on the same day.  Forgetting how to play card games, or mentally switching games in the middle of a hand.  

She went into the hospital Tuesday to have one of her knees replaced for the second time.  I went to visit her today.  The drugs and pain and likely lack of decent sleep are making her mind slippage worse.  Several times I had to remind her that she wasn't going home tonight.  That we didn't need to pack her suitcase.  That she hadn't been home yesterday.  Nothing major.  But it worries me.  I worry her mind won't go back, that she'll just continue to get worse.  And it makes me sad, sad that she's confused and is embarrassed when she realizes she's confused.  That's the worst part.

It's also hard because of my grandma's sister-in-law, Betty.  Betty's about the same age as my grandma and sharp.  Her body's a bit broken and sore, but her mind is in great shape.  It's hard seeing the two of them together, comparing how my grandma could be.  Without Betty there, I might just chalk my grandma's slipping up to old age and not worry quite as much.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very glad Betty is around and as mentally competent as she is (and a good driver).  I just wish it was also so for my grandma.

I'll go visit my grandma next weekend for Easter and hopefully, she'll be a bit better.  And not quite so anxious to get home, though I think that's hoping for too much.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Occasionally, I'm callous and strange*

This lovely feline is Hugo (or as I like to call him, when not cursing his name, Snugo = Snuggly+Hugo).  The photo was taken by the lovely Maggie.  Though, it does not capture his "lips," the pink skin that shows through his fur around his mouth.  You can see more Hugo pics and some M-F pics here.  Thanks, Heather!

So, you're probably now looking at the picture and then back to the title of the post and wondering, "What has she done to that devilishly handsome cat?"  No, no, it's not about anything I do to Hugo; it's something I do for him.  

You see, Hugo loves spiders.  Perhaps love is the wrong word, since he doesn't cuddle them or share his food with them.  He eats them, after he's chased them around a while, batted at them, put them in his mouth and spit them out a few times.  If he spots one walking across the ceiling or the wall, he'll start "talking" to them and pacing back and forth.

And that's where I come in, all callous and strange.  In the past, with spiders, I would make a pact with them - you stay over there, I'll stay over here and all's good.  Or if that just wasn't going to work, I'd get Jason (I'm not ashamed to admit this) to take them outside.  Every time I saw one, I would recall an interview with the Dalai Lama, when asked about his regrets, he said he regretted all the insects he had accidentally stepped on or swallowed throughout his life.  I was trying to do my part for the insect world.

But since getting Hugo, I (all by my brave self) have been getting the spiders down off the walls and ceilings and handing them over to him.  All in the name of love for my Snugo.  Yes, it's cruel.  Yes, it's a 180 from my previous practices.  And I feel a little guilt.  But I love making Hugo happy.  

I wonder to what lengths my love for my children will drive me?

I will also confess that I love eating lamb.  Yes, those cute, wooly, prancing lambs.  They are delicious.  And I don't feel a smidge of guilt about that, which I find a little curious.  Maggie said it's the one thing she doesn't like about me.  I think I can live with that.  For now at least.

*Quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 3, episode 13, "The Zeppo," said by Willow.  Told you I was a Buffy geek.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Update on the Meds

Yo. So, I thought I'd give you, all my loyal readers, an update on how the meds are going.

The short answer - so far, so good.

The longer answer - I had some minor side-effects, a couple headaches, some nausea, particularly in the morning. My doctor asked if I was pregnant. I can confirm that, indeed, I am not. He asked, mainly I think, because I take the meds at night right before bed, so it's a little strange that I experience the nausea in the morning. But that has since passed.

I've been noticing some mood effects. A general feeling of calmness and less obsessive thoughts and/or less bothered by the obsessive thoughts. However, I've not been feeling this so much this week. I suspect it's due to my over-indulgence at Heather's Oscar Party on Sunday. Apparently, drinking negates the effects of the meds, hence the reoccurence of the anxiety and obsessive thoughts, and that it can take a few days to bounce back. I'm hoping I bounce back soon. I'm missing the way I was feeling last week.

So, that's that. I see my doctor again in late March, but if I don't start bouncing back, that might be sooner. He's started working with me on responding to my obsessive thoughts and finding the root of them, so I can help the meds in getting rid of them. I like him.

And here are a couple of pictures of Jason and I at Heather's party. He went as the Red Carpet, and I got my dress for $7 at Value Village. Check out that mesh back.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Outer Limits

We've had some interesting occurrences, out here on the fair limits of civilization.  (Okay, that's exaggerating a bit - we do have a Walmart.)

Today - the lunar eclipse.  So, not just something that we experienced, but it was cool to watch.  I expected it to be a steady phenomenon, but instead the quality and amount of light during the height of the eclipse seemed to shift and it looked at times that the moon got more overcast.  Very neat.

Yesterday - a meteor struck somewhere in Eastern Washington, perhaps near the Canadian border, around 5:20 am.  For some reason, I awoke just before hearing the sonic boom and feeling something hit the house.  I thought it was a strong gust of wind, or something hit the house, both of which are technically true.  Some colleagues and I joked that it was an illegal Canadian immigrant trying to enter the country.

This past weekend - TV's Batman, Adam West, was in town for his brother's funeral.  Apparently, upon taking the mic to give his brother's eulogy, he asked: "How's my lighting?"  I like a sense of humor.  All the hotels in town were booked for some unknown reason, so TV's Batman had to stay at the Holiday Inn Express, which I found amusing.  Rumor has it that he grew up in Walla Walla. If this is true, Jason and I wondered why no one has founded a museum here for him.  I think doing so would add a nice mix to the mainly wine and county fair tourist crowds - comic book geeks and nostalgia freaks!

And that's about it from the far out West.  Below is a picture of a super cute felt button made by Artful Artsy Amy on Etsy.

Monday, February 04, 2008


This letter to the editor was printed in the Feb. 3, 2008, edition of the Tri-Cities Herald. For those of you not familiar with eastern Washington geography, the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Richland and Pasco) are the fastest growing area in the state, one hour northeast of Walla Walla.

Back to the letter:

Men presidents only

I think that having a woman president would be a bad idea for our country. Women are not meant to rule countries and be in charge. They are meant to make decisions but not confirm them.

Our president deals with some countries that don't respect or allow women in leadership positions. I wonder if the United States would have more terrorist attacks because we would be seen as weak with a woman leader. I agree that women can do many things, but leave the ruling of the countries to the men.

BRITTANY BAYLES, 13, Kennewick

Reading it just makes my stomach hurt.

P.S. I got the letter mentioned on the Feministing blog (click here)!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Albino Moose!

My dad sent me these pictures and I just had to share. Great camoflage for winter, but not so much for summer.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Post I've Been Putting Off

I've been putting off writing this post for a while.  A mixture of denial, shame and my ever constant companion, procrastination.

Here goes: a while back, a good friend forwarded this blog posting along to me and this is what I sent in response:

I too used to be on anti-depressants. I've taken Welbutrin, then went off my meds for three years, then took Zoloft, then went off for a year, then took Cymbalta, which I stopped taking this past May. I've chosen to go off my meds because I wanted to see if I was better -- I was certainly feeling so. And I chose to get back on them because I realized I could not control my condition by sheer willpower. I also went to therapy while on the meds. This time, so far, being off meds is going better. And really, it's day to day -- some days are wonderful, most days are fine and every once in a while, I think about calling a doctor and getting a new prescription. And I recently saw a counselor for a couple sessions to help point me in a healthier direction. I don't want to say I've beaten depression -- I think it will be something I deal with for the rest of my life. For me, I think it's a learned tendency. My mom suffered from depression while I was growing up, and I think I picked up a lot of her behavioral patterns, which I'm now learning to recognize, examine and change. But farther down the road, I may figure out that it's not just behavioral for me, but also brain chemistry, and I'll go gladly back on to meds.

I guess I wanted to share this, not to say that people can or should try to beat depression without medication -- that is not my message at all. I just wanted to share my story -- I think the more we can talk about our mental health issues, the easier it will be for everyone to get the treatment they need or stop treatments they feel they don't need.

After sending this e-mail, I began to wonder - am I just fooling myself? Could my life be better, less of a struggle, if I would just commit to staying on medication? If I could find a doctor willing to work with me to adjust dosage or try different meds? I know I do not want or feel I need to see a therapist full time - that part of the e-mail I am certain about it. But, I've been wondering if my habit of getting off meds is more because I feel weak to be on them. I certainly have the family history of mental illness. It's on both sides of my genetic chain and my step-dad's family had more than it's fair share.

I had an episode soon after that e-mail that told me I needed to reexamine taking medication.  I also read this blog posting here (in response to the linked posting above) and decided that I needed to do take positive measures to ensure that...I'm struggling with how to say this...that I do what I can to minimize my craziness that hurts the six beings I live with.  Essentially, I decided I need to get over myself so my life and the lives of those I live with are better.

So, I started seeing a psychiatrist.  Our first meeting was 2 hours long, and we've met two more times for an hour each.  He did a thorough intake, asking lots of questions and for clarification.  He pondered.  Which is exactly what I wanted.  I didn't want a quick fix.  I wanted to try to pinpoint what's going on and I was more than willing to be patient.  He gets it and is willing to work with me.  Also, he doesn't treat me like I don't know anything; his attitude is more that I am the expert on me and he is the expert on diagnosing and wants to match our two knowledges together.  

This week, he came to some conclusions.  He has diagnosed me as having moderate to severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and mild social phobia.  We're not certain, but we both suspect that my depression is brought on by my untreated OCD.  So, for not, we're not going to treat the depression (i.e., take meds specifically to treat it).  He has put me on Luvox, and, due to the side-effects, I'll start taking it next week after my big work event tomorrow and Monday. 

I'm relieved and excited - excited by the idea that some of my obsessive thoughts might go away (!!!) and that I have what seems like a better fitting diagnosis that depression.  I'm also a little scared because some of the side-effects of the medication are worrisome - headache, nausea, diarrhea, panic attacks (!), restless leg syndrome (!), suicidal thoughts (!!!).  My doctor has told me to call him if I find the side-effects worrisome.  And he and I are both open to trying a different medication if Luvox proves to not be so effective or some side-effects don't go away.

So, there you have it.  I feel better having shared and having it out in the open, in a way.  I truly believe that our society would be a lot better off if we'd stop stigmatizing mental health issues and talk about them more openly.  This is my small part.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Treasure Hunt

I stole this idea from the blog, Monitor Mix, written by former (on hiatus?) Sleater-Kinney guitarist, Carrie Brownstein - she's extra fancy because her blog is part of NPR.

Here's how it works: if you wish, please respond (via comments, cut and paste) if you fall into one or more of the following categories. If you do respond, please provide a brief explanation. Here we go!

You always tip 20 percent at a restaurant
You are addicted to caffeine
You have never dyed your hair
You dye your hair because you don't like your natural color
You dye your hair to cover the grey
You will be rooting for the New England Patriots during the Super Bowl
You will be rooting for an upset by the New York Giants during the Super Bowl
You read your local paper in the morning
You have a library card
You have entered a karaoke contest
You have sung an Eagles song at karaoke
You own your own bowling ball
You are left-handed
You met your current boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife online
You sneak your own snacks or drinks into a movie
You've never liked AC/DC
You will put a presidential candidate's sticker on your car
You already have a presidential candidate's sticker on your car
You have never been to Canada
You have a bumper sticker on your car expressing a political belief or opinion
You have a band's sticker on your car
You don't like The Beatles
You have one leg shorter than the other
You used to have your nose pierced
You have a treadmill at home
You don't know how to drive a car
You live in the city in which you were born
You don't own a television
You have a song as your cell phone greeting (as opposed to ringtone)
You have never voted
You call your mom or dad every day
You fall asleep to music

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Trip to the Vet's

Yesterday, I took Rachel to the vet for her annual check-up. For those of you who know Rachel, you know that this was a minor miracle. And for those of you who don't know, this is why - we've never picked up Rachel*, never trimmed her nails, never pet her when she didn't want to receive pets - she very much sets the terms of our relationship with her. In some ways, she's just a typical cat.

Anyway, I spent 20 minutes chasing her around the cat's room and was finally able to throw a blanket over her, pick her up and put her in the carrier. It's a good thing I did - she has some kind of eye infection, potential ear mites and a tooth that needs to come out.

But back to the point of this post - the vet. How I praise his name! He totally got our relationship with Rachel. We love her very much, but we don't push her to do things she doesn't want to because 1) it stresses her out, usually exacerbating whatever issue she's having; and 2) we don't like being scratched and bit. Past vets, when we've explained that we can't apply ointments or force feed pills to Rachel (and Paul, for that matter), have just given us the stink eye and said we had to, that there was no other treatment. And, then, we'd hang our heads in shame, purchase whatever treatment the vet suggested, attempt to apply it once, then throw it out months later - the cat no healthier and we out $50.

The vet yesterday, oh he got it. He started to suggest an ointment for Rachel's eye, then stopped himself and asked: "Are you even going to be able to apply an ointment?" After saying no, he said he could give her a shot of antibiotics which should clear it up, but if not, to bring her in for 2 to 3 days and they'd administer the treatment for us.

Hallelujah! He gets it and is willing to work with us. Yes, we'll pay for it, but it's so worth it to have a healthy, happy cat. I felt so relieved and grateful - grateful that Rachel was going to get the treatments she's been needing and that I didn't feel like a bad parent because I couldn't administer those treatments. And while I'm not looking forward to corralling her to take her back next week to get her teeth worked on, I am looking forward to another positive vet experience.

Just a side note - we are working with Hugo so that he is comfortable with us picking him up, trimming his nails, examining him, etc., so we at least have one cat we can easily take to the vet and treat on our own.

*Well, I did pick Rachel up this one time, got her to about waist height, and we were both so shocked that we froze for a moment and then she leapt (leaped?) away, giving me a good scratch.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sniff Train

Last night, because I had to work late, I missed a cat moment, potentially one of a lifetime, which may never occur again.

The kitties were waiting around to be fed by Jason. And Rachel took advantage of the situation to start smelling Hugo's butt. Paul, ever the jealous one, decided to get in on the butt smelling action, in an attempt to get Rachel to stop paying attention to Hugo. (Note: Rachel loves smelling butt but not having her own butt smelled.) So, for about ten seconds, they formed a Sniff Train.

Curses!!! A moment like that would make up for some, if not all, of their early weekend morning wake-up calls.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What a Difference

Jason and I spent this weekend putting together our new book shelves and finally unpacking and putting out our books, knick knacks and art work. And what a difference it has made, let me tell ya! I just can't get over how great our place - and our stuff - looks. It feels like a real home and a fashionable one at that, something I thought not possible with all of our hand-me-down furniture. We still have more rearranging to do, but we're definitely on our way to settling in. This place just might stick after all.

When Heather visited us back in early November, she took a bunch of photos, which you can see here (photos 1-43): http://picasaweb.google.com/hbinns/Nov07 Since we all know how notoriously bad Jason and I are about taking pictures, much less posting them, you'll have to make due with these, though not really making due since she takes great pictures. Thanks, Heather!

After viewing the photos, you might be wondering about the picture of the frog dressed as a bank robber/sheriff. Frogs are the mascot of Milton-Freewater (aka Muddy-Frogwater). We have frogs all over town and any self-respecting (and I use that term lightly) business in town has one. They are carved by chainsaw at the annual Muddy-Frogwater festival. Hopefully, Heather will visit this year's festival so you all can see photos of this wacky small town fun.

And you might be wondering about the photos of the grape collecting and me with my foot in a bucket. Yes, Jason had the crazy idea to make wine out of the grapes growing in our back yard - no idea if they were actually wine grapes, but we went for it anyway. We have actually bottled the wine but have yet to taste it. Something went wrong, very wrong, during the fermenting phase, for the wine is a murky salmon pink instead of deep burgundy. Hence, we are a bit fearful of tasting it. I'll keep you posted.

And that's about all the news from M-F. Though, I did fall down this morning while taking Bella for her walk. We were experiencing this lovely weather phenomenon called "freezing fog" and the ground was slick. I fell, tore my work pants (my only clean pair!) and scraped my knee. Thankfully, Jason was with us and he helped me up and dusted me off. He then proceeded to tell me that he was afraid I had fallen on Bella and squished her. Thanks, hon!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Closing 2007

I had an enjoyable New Year's Eve (which included a nap around 11 pm), spent with friends and lots of wine.  I was the first one to bed - even before the 4 year old - and the last adult up the next morning.  I haven't made any "official" New Year's Resolutions, and by official, I mean things I'm calling NYR.  Back in November, I started keeping track of some changes I wanted to make, things like flossing, taking my vitamins, drinking 2 cups of green tea, etc., daily and weekly.  I'm just going to stick with that and call it good.

I was reading the blog, Superhero Journal, and she had a great post about closing 2007 (see here), and I thought I would do the exercise she suggested and share it with y'all.  Here goes:

1. What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in regard to 2007? 
Making another leap of faith and moving to a new town and starting all over again with work, home and friends.  Buying another house so soon after the heartache that came from selling our first place.  For taking on the challenges of my job.  Adopting Bella and Hugo and Alfie.  Keeping up with this blog and trying to be open and honest about who I am.  Doing a radio show.  Driving Jason all the months he could not.  Giving up dairy and eggs.

2. What is there to grieve about 2007?
Losing the friendships I had in Portland (the people are still my friends but the friendships aren't the same).  Selling Carl, our first house.  The pain I have caused those closest to me and love the most.  The end of my friend's marriage.  The debt we accumulated making our move.  Ice cream.  Scrambled eggs.

3. What else do you need to say about the year to declare it complete?
Thank you, 2007.  You were a hard year, but you brought rewards and insight, and ultimately delivered me to 2008 with hope and happiness in my heart.

4. What is your primary intention or theme for 2008?
Patience and acceptance.

Happy 2008.