Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Newest Addiction

Okay, so I'm not the biggest TV watcher on the planet. I watch NASCAR every weekend, and I try to catch Cold Case. I rarely leave the TV on for background noise (unless I've got a DVD playing).

When I'm at Mom and Dad's place, I watch more TV in one weekend than I do in two full weeks in my apartment, probably. On a recent visit, I watched Grey's Anatomy with Mom. I'd seen bits and pieces of it before and always enjoyed the parts I'd seen. This particular episode was a retrospective of Season 3 so far.

I decided that I needed to see Seasons 1 and 2 to catch up with the show, and get to know the characters better. Last week, I bought the first season on DVD, and proceeded to watch it in just a few evenings. I quickly bought the second season and, after three very late nights in a row (midnight Thursday, 3:00 in the morning on Friday night, and 2:00 in the morning on Saturday night), I had finished that season, as well--all six discs.

I'm hooked.

What a great show! It has so much heart. I have laughed, cried, and cheered for the characters. Watching the show, I can literally go--in seconds--from crying over the death of a patient to laughing at the snappy dialogue. There is plenty of romance and enough sexiness for a busload of McDreamies.

Oh, and did I mention it is set in beautiful Seattle?

So I'm counting the days 'till Season 3 comes out on DVD, and in the mean time, I'll be catching the new episodes each week.

P.S. Patrick "McDreamy" Dempsey is proof positive that some things really do get better with age:

Monday, April 23, 2007

One Square???

I'm sorry, Sheryl...but I don't think so.

Sheryl Crow has suggested that we save the planet--by using only one square of toilet paper per bathroom visit! Don't worry, on those occasions that one square won't do the job, you can use two or three.

"I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting," she said.

"I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required."

Not gonna happen! It's just not gonna happen in my house. I'm sorry, Sheryl, I really am. I love trees, and I love our planet. I'm very concerned about global warming...but I need more than one square of toilet paper per bathroom visit!

Now, Sheryl, if you were to maybe lend your celebrity endorsement to something useful, like getting a large recycling center in Antioch that will take paper, cardboard, ALL hard plastic containers (not just the bottles with CRV on them), glass and metal (tin cans, too), then I might not label you as ridiculous. But really, Sheryl...one square?

Try again.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Gerber Chicken and Rice

It started Saturday morning, when Millie threw up on the guest bed at Mom and Dad's house. I didn't think much of it (other than the usual, "Ewww...Mil-lieeeeee..."). After all, Millie is known for her "delicate" stomach. I'm used to it.

That afternoon I drove back to Antioch. Thirty minutes out, somewhere near the junction of Highway 12 and Highway 160, I heard a pitiful moaning meow from Millie's carrier. It was not her typical, "Mooommmmm...I hate this thing!! Are we there yet??" I looked over and saw her hunched over.

"What's wrong, sweetie?"

Pitiful meow.


That's when I noticed the yellow liquid rolling around the floor of her carrier.

Millie has never been sick in her carrier, and she was not happy with sitting in her own mess. I pulled over as soon as I could, and took her out while on the side of a busy road. I wrapped her in an old blanket and hugged her to me. She rode the rest of the way to our apartment with free roam all over the car. She seemed okay, even though her paws were now stained yellow.

I gave her a quick bath when we got home, and set her in her Sweet Spot to get warm and dry. After that she seemed fine, so I didn't pay much attention to it.

On Sunday she ended up getting sick twice, both times throwing up yellow liquid. I noticed that she spent most of the day sleeping, not as playful as usual.

This morning, as I got ready for work, she threw up again. It was then I started to worry. She hadn't touched her food or water since we'd returned on Saturday. She is still affectionate and cuddly with me, but not as playful as usual. I talked to a couple of colleagues when I got to school and they gave me a great recommendation of a vet in town. I called and made an appointment for Millie to see them this afternoon. I left work early to take her.

She threw up on the way.

I was upset and worried, but it wasn't until the vet suggested an x-ray and a blood test that I really freaked out. He left the room for a moment and I just started bawling. I had to leave my little girl at the vet's office for a little while so they could try to figure out what was wrong. My over-active imagination immediately thought the worst.

I spent most of the afternoon crying until the vet called to let me know that they couldn't see anything obstructing her digestive system in the x-rays. The results of the blood test will come back tomorrow. In the meantime, he said, I could bring her home and syringe-feed her water and baby food. "Chicken or turkey will do."

"The canned food?"

"Yeah, like Gerber."

"Oh, you mean human baby food."

"Yeah--that should do it. This little kitty needs food and water."

I drove back to the vet's office to get my girl. When I got there one of the technicians was walking a small dog outside. She smiled at me and said, "Are you here for Millie?"


"She's so sweet--she did a great job with all the stuff we had to do."

"Awww...yeah, she's my sweetie."

A few minutes later, Millie and I were happily on our way home. She did not get sick in the car (the kind people at the vet's office cleaned out her carrier for me). She's been happy to be home, and cuddly as usual. I've given her a couple of syringes of water and one of Gerber chicken and rice. She does NOT like being forced to eat, but we do what we have to do.

So yeah, it's been quite a day. I'm exhausted, and so is Millie. She's been under the bed a lot, because she knows I'll stick that syringe in her mouth. But when I go to get her, she purrs and lets me pick her up.

It's going to be a long night. The vet's office recommended I feed and water Millie as much as possible, so I will probably get up once or twice to feed her in the night.

What a day.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Gee, Ya Think?

Who didn't see this coming?

No matter what your moral views on sex outside of marriage, no one can deny that even kids wearing CTR (Choose the Right) rings and living the WWJD (What would Jesus do?) lifestyle are occasionally going to stray...some of these kids are going to have sex. Bottom line.

I teach teenagers--I have seen, on a daily basis, that each and every one of them, at some point, struggles with monumental decisions. What they have learned from parents, church and other adult sources does not always win out over basic peer pressure, teen rebellion and curiosity.

I am glad to see that some states are dropping the abstinence-only sex education program. It's time we stand up for common sense. The only way we're going to give our kids a chance to make an informed decision about sex is to give them information--all of it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Road Trip 2007--Part Four


On Wednesday we got up bright and early to make the long drive home. I took some pictures of Idaho farmland:

It wasn't too long before we crossed the state line into Nevada, going through a town called Jackpot (great name! Alas, I missed getting a picture of the "Welcome to Jackpot!" sign).

This part of Nevada is less flat but still not all that interesting. I just can't find much beauty in the parts of Nevada I've seen, and I've seen a lot of it:

This sign was hilarious, as we've all heard of Beverly Hills, California, and this isn't remotely like that place:

Nevada is, of course, famous for its legal gambling. You can find slot machines everywhere you go, including the Flying J gas station in Wells (note the convenience store behind the slots):

And yes, I did play--but only once. I'm not a gambler by nature.

With all of this driving, I tend to get bored. I could only play so many games of Tetris, and my cryptic crosswords weren't keeping my interest, so I spent much of the day looking for photo opportunities. Finally, I turned the camera to face the other direction:

(I was sucking on a candy stick.)

Dad, sitting behind me:

Battle Mountain was our approximate halfway point. Like any other self-respecting Nevada town, someone has painted the town's initials on a nearby hill. The parents and I thought this was hilariously funny, as I can think of other meanings for BM.

Some more pictures of endless Nevada:

We stopped in Winnemucca for some McDonald's, and I got some pictures of their hillside W and another great sign:

And then we drove some more.

Our next stop was Sparks, just east of Reno, and our last stop of the day. After this stop we forged our way across the last small stretch of Nevada, into the Sierra Nevada mountains of eastern California. Through Donner Pass we hit some snow, but it wasn't significant.

In Sparks:

Finally, something pretty in Nevada (but we were really, really close to California by now):

Last chance to gamble:

Dashing through the snow, only an hour-and-a-half from Home Sweet Home:

Finally we made it home, and a happier crew you've never seen, except for our Fur Babies, who were happy to have us back. Our fabulous pet-sitters had left daily notes, and apparently everything went very well:

Gene said that he has seen Millie every day. She sits by the bedroom door but seems a little frightened when he approaches. Every day Gene retrieves the toys from under the TV stand and every morning they are back under it. So even though Bella and Duchess have not made an appearance, it appears that the 3 kitties have a good time after he leaves.

We had pizza for dinner and washed our dirty laundry. Dad was in bed at 7:30, and Mom and I both headed off not much later. I read for a little while but eventually was too tired to go on. I slept until 8:30 this morning--after a few nights sleeping horribly in hotel beds, it was fabulous.

So we're home now. I haven't gone anywhere today, opting to finsih my laundry and sit around with a book. All too soon I'll be back at work...

Road Trip 2007--Part Three


Originally, we were supposed to spend Tuesday night in Salt Lake, then drive to Twin Falls on Wednesday. We were ready to get moving, though, and decided to bump everything up one day. Thus we found ourselves making the 3-hour drive to Twin Falls a day early, eager to see the Idaho Coopers again.

But before we left, Dad kindly stopped at London Mart, because he knows I can't go long without a Jaffa Cake fix. I bought four boxes, a couple of Cadbury Crunchie bars, and a can of Heinz baked beans. Happy girl. I also took a few pictures of the store itself.

We also drove up into the hills above downtown Salt Lake City. Recent rain had cleared the sky and these are the best views I've ever seen of the valley:

As we left SLC, I took a couple of hasty pictures. First is State Street in downtown SLC, with its view up the hill to the state capitol building (and not bad, considering it was taken from a moving vehicle):

While at a stop, I got this picture of the Mormon Temple. The large office building is the world headquarters of the church:

Finally we were on our way north to Idaho. We drove through a brief hailstorm and our share of cloudy skies before hitting some sun.

Southern Idaho was windy as hell--and there were dust storms to prove it:

Aaron and Susanne live in Jerome, across the Snake River from Twin Falls. Our hotel was in Twin Falls. We had to drive over the Highway 93 Bridge to get to Jerome--complete with its gorgeous view of the river below. Unfortunately, on one side there were several police cars and some yellow evidence tape was being put up. According to Susanne, who is a social worker, the site is quite the popular place for jumpers.

By the time we arrived in Twin Falls, we still had a few hours before Aaron, Susanne and the kids would be home, so we rested at the hotel for a bit. Mom and I went out in search of ear plugs, post cards, and we stopped at JoAnn's for fun (Mom hasn't been able to find the fabric she uses for her crazy quilting in her local store).

Of course, I'm always on the lookout for funny or interesting signs. I was not disappointed in Twin Falls:

We went to Aaron and Susanne's place at about 5:30, and sat around chatting for a bit, and playing with a few of their six (yes, six!!) cats. I let the kids take pictures with my camera.

Tyson took one of Echo and I (the shirt she is wearing is one Mom and I picked out for her):

Then Echo took this one of Tyson, Mom and I (his shirt is the one I bought for him):

They love their kitties (Coopers seem to be big cat people). Here's the kids playing with Sonia (a chocolate Burmese) and Freddie, the newest member of the Cooper family:

This is Angel, who started his life as an orphan, left to fight off big dogs for what scraps of food he could find. Now he's a healthy big boy, and a sweet one at that:

Aaron and the kids playing with the cats:

Freddie, who purred for all of us, moments after our first meeting:

We drove to Twin Falls to a very good Mexican restaurant. Again, Tyson wanted to sit next to Aunt Megan. After a delicious dinner we all drove back to the hotel, where we said our goodbyes. I wish we could have spent more time getting to know the kids, but I'm sure that will come. Aaron and Susanne eventually want to bring them to California to visit. Aunt Meg will be ready!

Next update: Wednesday.

Road Trip 2007--Part Two


Monday was a day for Mom, Dad and I to bum around Salt Lake City. We started by driving up to Park City, about 30 miles east of Salt Lake City itself, and home to many of the skiing events of the 2002 Winter Olympics. It is also home to the Sundance Film Festival.

We didn't get out at Park City, except to buy a battery for Mom's watch and some eyeliner for me at WalMart. I didn't get too many pictures, except of some people snowboarding on what is left of the snow:

On the way back into Salt Lake City, we stopped at This Is The Place Monument, a site overlooking the Salt Lake Valley, where Brigham Young famously proclaimed that the Mormon journey had ended; this would be their Zion. Today we only stopped to take some pictures, as we've all been through the small park before. There are several old houses, some belonging to famous Mormons, that were moved to the site. Volunteers in costumes show the daily activities of the Mormon settlers, from farm work to weaving to a small schoolhouse. The site has some great views, when not hampered by smog:

The monument itself:

After this, we stopped at a couple of places Mom loves to go anytime she is in Utah: The Quilted Bear, and Gardner Village. The Quilted Bear is a handicraft store, where crafter sell their goods. There are also antiques and other interesting items. Mom and I happily spent a lot of money there.

Gardener Village is an old mill, with more old buildings relocated to one setting and turned into shops. Mom and I happily shopped here (I bought a gorgeous teacup and saucer, among other things) and I took lots of pictures, as the whole place is quite charming.

After the Mill, we stopped at JoAnn's Crafts (for Mom) and a scrapbook store (for me) before heading over to visit my grandmother at her nursing home.

We spent an hour talking with Grandma, then saw her off to the dining room for dinner. We then met my aunt and uncle for a quick dinner out, then went back to the hotel to rest. We had another adventure lined up for the next day.

Next update: Tuesday.