Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Sometimes the biggest disappointments come from those you love the most.  Naturally, when you trust someone to deliver excellence, to cater to your every whim, or to continually provide nonstop entertainment, the bar is set high, which makes your heart break even harder when your trusted bestie doesn't deliver.

I'm talking, of course, about my love affair with "Glee". 


After a breakout pilot and first six episodes, "Glee" hit... well, a bit of a rough patch.  Dare I say it, there were a few weeks I even considered stopping my viewing.  The storylines got weird, emotions seemed contrived, and plots were flying in out of nowhere.  Song selection got sketchy and I had lukewarm feelings about some episodes.

Somewhere in the middle, the light started to shine again.  Neil Patrick Harris showed up and sealed the deal -- “Glee” was back.  So I hung in there and kept watching, and 30 seconds into tonight's season finale, I was assured that I made the right decision.  And not only because I have an increasing and alarmingly inappropriate three way crush on Finn, Puck, and Mr. Schuester.  Tonight’s finale was pure perfection, delivering on all levels and leaving me with tears of joy and pride.

As I finish this post, 6 glorious tracks of pop deliciousness have been added to my iTunes library.  They will certainly be played on repeat for the remainder of the week, and a few of them may even be specially selected for my personal Glee Season One highlights mix.  “Glee” ended its season on a high note, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year.  Although I know at some point heartache will ensue (kids graduate and favorite shows end, I suffered minor breakdowns at the conclusions of “90210”, “Dawson’s Creek”, and “The O.C.” – saying goodbye to the Cohens was the worst of the worst) I am going to take Schuester’s advice and “make the most of the middle”, relishing every sixty minute segment I get to spend in the choir room at McKinley High.  Until you return, New Directions, I will replay your recorded gems over and over again.  Have a great summer, gang – see you in the fall!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I <3 Free Stuff.

starbucks logo

Today is Free Pastry Day at Starbucks!  Although I don’t think anyone needs a pastry on a daily basis, today it’s free if you’re getting a drink (let me recommend a grande skinny vanilla latte with a half shot of mocha, or any one of the new teas, YUM), and even though pastries are packed with fat and calories, you have the entire day to burn it off!  And, Starbucks has new recipes – they’ve bettered their goods by taking out (most of) the fake stuff like artificial flavors and high fructose corn syrup.

I have taken the liberty of checking out some of the ‘Bucks pastry selections and giving you a quick rundown of your best bets.

8-Grain Roll: Anything with “8-Grain” in the name sounds good for you, but this little number packs a punch at a solid 350 calories.  A lot to spend on breakfast, but the combined 10g of protein and 5g of fiber suggests that this guy will keep you full until lunch. I won’t be ordering it, however, because it has RAISINS IN IT. My number one hated food-in-a-food.

Blueberry Scone: Don’t. do. it.  This small scone has been revamped, but I’m not sure what they changed, because it has half of your daily fat intake and 460 calories (that’s over one and a half Egg McMuffins). It looks completely delicious, but it is teeny tiny and almost nutritionally worthless.  if you’re hitting the gym for over two hours today, though, feel free to indulge :)

Vanilla Mini Sparkle Donut: In all honesty, this will probably be what I go for this morning, since I hit Starbucks a solid two hours after breakfast.  It’s 120 calories and about 4 bites, but it’s small, sweet, delicious, and adorable (and sparkly! Did I mention it’s SPARKLY?!)

Ok, who am I kidding?  There are really no best bets when you’re dealing with the pastry case.  That’s why these are “sometimes” treats – it’s free, and it’s only once a year!  If you want to plan ahead, you can see all of the bakery offerings here – but be warned, they will probably be out of a lot of the options with all the demand. :( Apparently, cookies and/or cupcakes may be included in this offer, so you might want to snag a Red Velvet and keep it bagged til snack time. ENJOY!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Perpetually Redecorating.

I am always, always, always redecorating/remodeling at least one room in our house.  Today, our office underwent a major cleaning/reorganization, adding the bookshelf in (next to the bench/”reading nook” and incorporating the majority of my craft supplies.  Now that I have my lovely laptop, the old desktop got the boot, and I cleared a niiiiice big space for crafting (mostly, card writing and list making).  I asked Deane if we could do a built-in desk the length of the wall, using some perfect table legs from IKEA, but he said I don’t need a big huge craft/art space because I never do anything!  Which is partly true, BUT… I argued that I never do anything because I don’t have any SPACE (a vicious cycle, I tell ya!).  So, now there’s no computer, I have a nice clean empty desk, and if I consistently produce some artwork/really cute cards/organized and efficient bill paying, I can have a big huge new desk soon (and maybe, just maybe, my dream of ribbon spools on a pegboard – who cares if I never use ribbon?! It’s SO CUTE!).

Until then, I’m on to the next project.  The master bedroom has been in need of paint since the dawn of time, and when I saw a new quilt at work last week, I was beyond inspired:


Is it wrong to demand a complete bedroom makeover based on a single piece of bedding?  I didn’t think so, either.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Peter Piper.

March 2010 is officially hospital month.

On Wednesday night, we went to my in-laws house to celebrate St. Patty’s Day with the traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner (ever the finicky eater, I enjoyed hot dogs and macaroni and cheese with my 5 year old nephew).  Deane was still battling a nagging cough that’s been around for a few weeks, so when he started cough/choking at the table, I didn’t think much of it.  The cough was initiated by a bite of…pepper relishpepper relish, home canned and brought to dinner by a family friend who was enjoying the festivities with us.  I have a super sensitive spice palate, so I wasn’t going anywhere NEAR this stuff, but Deane downed a solid couple tablespoons.  We finished dinner, hung out a bit, and headed home.

When we got home and got ready for bed, Deane’s cough was so persistent that he couldn’t catch his breath and was starting to get sick.  I frantically brought him water and a cold washcloth, since he was getting super hot.  I also speed dialed my mother in law, a nurse and my saving grace at times like these (also always totally helpful and the reason I am never sick for more than a day -- she has the best advice and the best meds!).  While I was on the phone with her, Deane started scratching frantically and said he felt like something was biting him everywhere.  I almost dropped the phone when I looked at him – bright red face, swelling, hives everywhere – not a good scene.  We jumped in the truck and I high-tailed it to the ER as fast as I could (which ended up being barely over the speed limit, since it was a drinking holiday, and there were crazy drivers everywhere, and it was RAINING, and I had on my glasses that are about 3 prescriptions old…).  We finally got there and got him checked in, and he was seen almost immediately.  He was given a shot of epinephrine, which stopped the swelling and returned him to normal skin color almost immediately.  A few IV’s and a few hours later, we were released with a handful of prescriptions and direction to get the one for an Epi-Pen filled as soon as possible – Deane is also allergic to bee stings, and after seeing him have this reaction, you can bet that I do NOT want to be speeding to the hospital EVER again.

As we talked to the doctor and tried to figure out what the reaction was to, we realized that the only thing Deane had eaten or been exposed to out of the norm was the pickled pepper relish.  We determined that this must have been the culprit, and he is on a BLAND FOODS ONLY diet for as long as I can hold him to it (which probably won’t be long). 

Being in the ER is terrifying and horrible, and I was so so scared when Deane was having a hard time breathing – I felt so helpless!  We are going to really be focusing on taking care of ourselves and having NO MORE hospital visits in 2010.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

To Your Health.

First of all, thank you all so much for your thoughtful emails and comments on my last post.  I am so, so, so happy to report that Mom was released from the hospital on Sunday and cleared to go back to work (half days only, and I have my spies out, Mom, so you better be following doctor’s orders!) starting today.  After what seemed like thousands of tests, blood work, scans, etc., it turned out that her blood clots and her weeks of illness were actually unrelated (we think).  The clotting was caused as a side effect of a clinical drug for cancer prevention that she has been taking for 2 years and is supposed to take for another 3.  After weighing risks versus rewards, Mom and her oncologist decided that she will stay on that drug and add Coumadin, a blood thinner, to stop the clots.  Meanwhile, another doctor discovered a blockage in her bile duct behind her liver and kidneys.  Unable to perform the minor surgery that they would normally do to remove it (since her blood was so thin), they inserted a stint to allow the liver to function as normal, and Mom has not been feeling much digestive distress (my new favorite phrase, I am going to use it from now on to describe anything from tummy aches to pooping problems) since then.  Her right leg is still swollen, so she got to go be fitted for a super sexy thigh-high compression stocking which I’m sure is probably driving her insane right now (but it’s for the best! Keep it on, lady!).  So all in all, she is much better and hopefully has a good first day back at work.

After all of my time in the hospital, I was exhausted when I got home on Friday night.  I actually ended up sleeping in our guest room because Deane has been battling a nasty hacking chest cold, and I woke up myself at about 5 am with “digestive distress” of my own (see? I used it already!) After 24 solid hours of expelling every last bit of anything that existed inside my body, I was able to stand up and even drink some water.  I have been back at work all week and this morning, I even got my appetite back!  I was a little sad about this last bit, because even though the 24 hour virus came after me with a vengeance and almost killed me (really!), it did produce a net weight loss of 2.6 pounds :) I am working hard to keep it off, as I have been doing pretty well in 2010, and want to be looking good in time for bathing suit season! 

Which, by the way, is coming way too late this year.  As I was getting dressed this morning, Deane reminded me to wear green (pinch me and die) and I was thinking about what I wore LAST St. Patrick’s Day.  After I got over my awe of being able to recall outfits from 365 days prior, I remembered that I wore layered tank tops and knee length black city shorts.  Today’s forecast calls for rain and a high of 62 degrees, which means I am not even rocking an open toed shoe, UGH – it’s gonna look and feel like Ireland around here :(  I wish it was sunny and 76 like it was last year, but I know spring is riiiiiight around the corner.  Maybe it’s the time change or the face that Easter seems super early this year, but I am SO BEYOND READY FOR SPRINGTIME!  In the meantime, I’ll be gobbling up some seasonally themed candy (chocolate covered Peeps blog review to come…) in moderation, of course – and hoping for days of 70+. Happy St. Patty’s!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Get Well Soon.

Remember when I vowed to not talk about running on my blog anymore?  Well, in the weeks leading up to my first half marathon, dealing with a (weirdo embarrassing) injury and focusing on completing 13.1 miles pretty much took over my life.  Since I was already alienating everyone in my life with intricacies of times, pace, distance, food and fluid intake, and the like, I figured I would spare the blogosphere from my boring details and return when I had something worthy to say.

Since completing the run on February 21st (fabulous and complete race recap can be found here, thank you Emily!), life has been pretty back to normal.  Working, relaxing, spending quality time with my husband and dogs, and attempting to keep up some sort of fitness level.  All of this has been sprinkled with a v. small amount of knitting, but it IS happening, and I am confident that I will not be arriving in Cincinnati for Lindsey’s birthday without a completed handmade gift!

I have also spent time since the race reflecting on why I set out to run it – mini explanations can be found in blog posts here and here.  In a nutshell, my mom battled and beat stage 3 breast cancer, and I wanted to do something that both raised funds and awareness for treatment, research, and diagnosis, as well as take on a goal that would be difficult for me to achieve – something that could be (very slightly) representative of her struggle through surgeries, chemo, and radiation.  Every day, I find more and more people are affected by this disease, and the bravery that survivors demonstrate in the face of scary treatments is beyond admirable.

Last week, I called my mom to see how she was doing, since she had been very ill with what we thought was severe flu for about a week.  She sounded weak, tired, and OVER IT.  The biggest and most lasting effect from my mom’s treatment is that her immune system is just about shot.  Like me, she used to hardly ever get sick, and when she did, it was unavoidable (food poisoning or the occasional cold) and over quickly.  Now, she has to careful around other people with the sniffles, keep a close eye on her diet, and she experiences severe drops in energy.  This particular bout of sickness was really doing a number on her, and I urged her to head back to the doctor if it persisted through Monday.

On Saturday, she noticed pain and swelling in her leg and her right abdomen, in addition to still feeling completely lousy.  Monday she went to the doctor and they performed an ultrasound on her leg, after which they promptly admitted her to the hospital because they found a blood clot.  Further testing at the hospital revealed another clot in her lung, so she was moved to the cardiac unit where they could keep a close eye on her (and make sure the clot in the lung did not move to her heart).  I drove down here first thing Tuesday morning to be with her and help out around the house – she lives with my stepdad, also a cancer survivor, who is currently undergoing treatment to raise his red blood cell counts and was recently diagnosed and severely anemic. 

I immediately set up shop in Mom’s room – arranged her flowers, demanded more frequent water refills, perfected my role as a pillow fluffer, and so on.  By the time I left her late last night, she was feeling a bit better – but she had had a CAT Scan and they still hadn’t figured out what had caused the clots.

This morning, she was feeling much worse.  Her doctor ordered an ultrasound of her liver and kidneys, and professionally stated that her liver is “angry”, but it shows no lesions (which means NO CANCER there, always a cause for celebration).  They tested her gall bladder and determined that while she has gall stones that could be contributing to her nausea and digestive problems, they don’t explain the clots.  They sent her for a bone scan early this afternoon, and we will get the results for that this evening hopefully.  In the meantime, I am staying OFF of google, webmd, and similar cites, choosing to completely dismiss the option of bone cancer, because I am SURE that she does not have it.  They also took a ton of blood samples this morning to test for all sorts of diseases and things, so we’re waiting for results from those, as well.  In the meantime, she continues her treatment of a Heparin IV drip and daily doses of Coumadin, both blood thinners which should work together to dissolve the clots.  Right before I left her room late this afternoon, her roommate was moved (thank goodness, she was a crazy old woman who watched BET very loudly, completely odd) and we were told that Mom would not have a roomie, that she was being isolated for potentially having the Noro Virus.  Her nurses instructed me to wash my hands well and often, and to wear a gown, gloves, and a mask if I was touching my Mom at all.  I am just happy that she is finally in a peaceful room, and after making sure she was situated, I left her to get some rest.

I’m not sure how much longer she’ll be in the hospital, but it will definitely be through the end of the week.  It’s definitely led me to some “deep thinking” on subjects that range from light (why is it so difficult to find healthy food options in the hospital cafeteria? why do nurses have to wake you up to put pain meds in your iv?) to way too heavy to process (when did i grow up and start taking care of my parent? how much longer will my grandmother, whose memory is deteriorating rapidly, remember my face and name?) – I’ve been doing a little writing, a little reading, and a lot of Sudoku playing, iTunes library organizing, and Mom-watching.

And so this post, which I thought would find a voice and a point somewhere along the way, has come to a rambly end with no insight whatsoever.  It was a bit therapeutic, anyhow.  Here’s hoping you are feeling better soon, Mom!

mom and me

Friday, January 29, 2010

Just in time for the SuperBowl...

...I FINALLY finished my Colts square!

This was my first project knitting intarsia, which basically means incorporating more than one yarn color within rows to create a pattern (here, the letters and horseshoe logo in blue on a background of white). The biggest problem I had with intarsia was keeping track of my yarn. I ran into a lot if twists, knots, and tangles along the way. When knitting intarsia, you carry the color not in use across the back of the work. I didn't leave enough slack when I started the letters, which is why they look slightly puckered (the blue yarn is pulled tight against the back of the work, not allowing the stitches to lay flat). About halfway through this project, I read a blog on intarsia that suggested twisting the two yarns together every 4 or 5 stitches to keep the proper tension and eliminate the pulling. It worked, but I don't really like how you can sort of see the blue through the white. But, all in all, I call this a successful first intarsia project! You be the judge...

Intarsia was slightly difficult and required quite a bit of concentration to follow the pattern, but I will definitely use this technique in the future, and this was a great first project to try it out on. Now, I'm not sure what to do with my finished "square". It measures about 16" by 16", so I'm thinking about knitting a solid blue back and turning it into a pillow. Otherwise, I could just use it as a spirit flag! :) Your suggestions are welcomed!