Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Am I, Exactly?

Shauna, do not say "strange".
I prefer.... "quirky".

Anyways, I've been thinking.

If a woman is a mother and blogs about her children, shes called a Mommy Blogger, right?

Well, I don't have any children and I doubt that I ever will. If I do it probably won't be for a long time.

So, instead of children I have my puppy, Cooper, and I do blog about him on occasion. Okay, I've been blogging about him a lot lately. I think I may also have a tendency to anthropomorphize him a little bit, but what else am I supposed to do? He's my baby boy.

Since I blog about Cooper, does that make me a Doggy Blogger?
I'm okay with that, because he is quite the character and his antics provide me with quite a bit of blog fodder.

Cooper is an absolute sweetheart. He wants to play with everyone he meets, and thinks that everyone is his friend. The perfect example was his follow up visit with the vet a week after he was discharged.

We walked into the waiting room and had a seat while waiting for the vet to be available. After a couple of minutes another client walks in, a breeder of miniature schnauzers. She has a laundry basket full of seven seven week old puppies.

Cooper about lost his damn mind wanting to play with them. Since Cooper had just gotten over such a horrible virus, and these puppies were not yet vaccinated (thats what they were there for), I didn't want to risk him possibly still having some of the virus on him somewhere (yes, I recognize that I can be a bit of a hypochondriac. More on that later) and potentially contaminating seven puppies so I told him "sit".

He was pretty good, but sat there staring at the puppies and whimpering. For the most part he stayed in the sit position, but more than once he lifted his butt about an inch off the floor and slowly started scooting over to where the basket of puppies were, like I wouldn't notice him edging his way towards them if it appeared as though he was still sitting. I would tell him to sit again and he would sit back down, but he was whimpering as though I was asking him to do the most painful thing ever. Like it was Sophie's Choice or something.

Once we got into the exam room, Coop was happy to see the vet, remembering him from the previous week. The vet checked him out and deemed him recovered, then it was time for his vaccinations. Two of them for rabies and distemper.

With each vaccination, Cooper yelped from the needles, but after each vaccination he turned around and kissed our vet on the face. He just wants to love everyone he sees.

This is why I can't have him near the front door when I walk out of the house.

If he is near the front door when I'm leaving, and the stray cat that I feed on our front porch is within his line of sight, he wants to go play with her. Naturally she assumes that he's going to chase her so she takes of running and he runs after her so that they can play.

Do you have any idea what its like to chase a black puppy down a poorly lit street at night?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Steve, I Think We Need To Take a Break

Don't worry, it's just a break. I'm sure that we'll get back together one day. I'm just not certain of when or under what conditions.
However, I'll be honest because thats the least you deserve. While we're on a break I'm seriously considering nailing the cheap copy girl like Ross did on Friends.... and by "nailing the cheap copy girl" I mean buying an affordable PC Notebook.

We were doing so well and going so strong for such a long time, but in the past six months things seem to have just fallen apart.

First, there was the iBook and kPod situation. That was a rough patch to weather through.

Then there was the PowerBook incident. I'd like to pretend that that whole situation never happened.

Now, I'm afraid to say that we've reached the third strike.

I started doing more photography this past year, did a wedding, a few portrait sessions, and had TWO photography shows (granted, they were at a coffee shop and not a gallery or a Second Saturday event, but they still count).

With spring rapidly approaching, I decided that I need to pursue the photography business more aggressively. This is the perfect time to start appealing to the brides to be and high school seniors. In order to do this, I'm going to need a system that has Photoshop on it. My old iMac desktop (5 years old as of last month) is currently running on Mac OS X Version 10.3.9. In order to be able to install Photoshop it needs to be running on Mac OS X 10.5 or higher. Simple enough of a dilemma to remedy, right? I go to Fairfield, borrow my aunts OS X 10.5 installation discs and bring it home.

I spent almost an entire weekend trying various attempts to update the OS on this blasted machine. I tried restarting the machine while holding Command+S and then entering different commands to prompt the system to check and repair all folders and drives (all of this while on the phone with my aunt who is a whiz at all things Mac and plans on becoming an Apple Certified Tech in her retirement). Everything checked out fine. I bought a laser lens cleaner and ran that through a few times as well in the hopes that it was just a dirty lens issue. That didn't help either.

The only thing we can figure at this point is that the entire disc drive needs to be replaced. If you look at my recent history with Apple products you can understand why I'm hesitant to throw money into a 5+ year old machine which I'm afraid will die on me any minute. But, without looking into that, theres no way I can upgrade the OS which means no Photoshop, which means to photography jobs.

I would LOVE nothing more than to be able to drive to the mall, go into the Apple Store, and walk out with a new MacBookPro. Unfortunately, recent vet bills have depleted my finances. MacBookPros start at $1,999.00. I went online and built the MacBookPro of my dreams:
17" Anti-Glare display
2.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
320 GB Serial ATA @ 7200 Hard Drive
pre-installed Aperture 2 software
AppleCare Protection Plan (seriously, with my recent history with Apple products, I'm thinking it might be worth it)
Want to guess what the total comes to???
$3,597.00 before tax and/or shipping & handling.

I can get a Gateway notebook for around $900. True, its not comparable to the MacBookPro of my dreams, but its still over $1,000 cheaper than the cheapest MacBookPro which starts at $1,999.
Do I want a PC? Not necessarily. I would like to maintain my loyalties to Apple. I just can't afford to at this time.
My hope is that I get the PC notebook and put Photoshop on it so that I can start working the photography biz and line up some weddings, rake in the cash, and be able to get the MacBookPro of my dreams in the future.
I may get a PC only to have it underline and strengthen my love for Apple, or it may work like a dream and pull me away from Apple forever. Only time will tell.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Has it been two weeks?

I can't believe its been two weeks since I last posted.

Final Cooper update - he is doing incredibly well. He could stand to put on another pound or two but aside from that you would never know that he'd been so sick.

Since he needs to put on a smidge of weight, I've been giving him lots of fauxreos and he's gotten so spoiled with this treat that he just eats the cream filling and leaves piles of cookies that are licked clean. If I have the audacity to give him a cookie that does not have a cream filling he sniffs it, licks it once, pushes it aside and gives me a look of disdain as though hes saying "Where the F are my fauxreos, mom?"

The only other sign that he's been sick recently is that he is shedding like crazy. He's never shed much in the past, but in the last week or two everything I own has become covered in a fine patina of his fur. The lint roller industry is loving me right now. I'm beginning to think that I'm their personal bailout package.
I did ask my vet about this and he said that it is common for this to happen after an animal has had a viral illness such as parvo.

Since I am so financially strapped after the vet bills, Christmas was on the meager side. I really only bought gifts for my 19 month old niece and my 8 year old cousin. For a few of the other family members, basically all of my older cousins and my sister, I made a sugar body scrub that is SO incredibly easy to make. I really wish that I had measured the ingredients out so that I could write a complete recipe for you here. Basically all I did was take a large can of pumpkin pie filling and mix it with sugars (both regular granulated sugar and sugar in the raw)until it was quite thick, then I added a little sweet almond oil and grapeseed oil (available at natural food stores). The drawback to this recipe is that since its primarily natural ingredients it does need to be kept refrigerated and I would estimate that it would only be good for about a week. If I get good feedback on it I may try to replicate it, taking note of the measurements this time, and post a complete recipe here.

I had started to knit a sweater for my mom, but didn't get it completed in time... I just finished the back of it today and still have to do the front and the arms. Plus, now that I've finished the back its looking like it won't fit my mom. I'm thinking its more my size. Whoops. Thats what I get for working without a pattern OR swatching ahead of time.
So, I've started the front just an hour or so ago. Why am I working on a sweater that might be for myself when I have so many other craft projects to do? No clue. I am the Queen of Procrastination.
On my craft to do list:
Necklaces earrings and bracelets - I have a friend whos daughter is in her sophomore year at UCLA and is on their fencing team. Last year she went to Europe for a number of tournaments and her dad bought about 2 dozen necklaces that I had made for her to take to give as gifts to their hosts and members of the other team. They were so well received that he's asked me to make more for her to take again this year. I think I have about 2 weeks to get all of these done.... and I will have to dig out all of my beading and jewelry making supplies.
Baby stuff - I have a couple of baby afghans, hats, etc to make for a certain little bun in the over. One of which will be an original pattern that I'm considering entering in a pattern contest that carries a grand prize of $1,000. That would be sweet to win.
Miscellaneous projects - in an effort to pay off the vet bills and hopefully generate some of the cash needed to purchase a new MacBookPro (so that I can pursue my photography business more aggressively) I've decided to set up a shop on Etsy. I'm not 100% certain of what exactly I will be putting up on their but I imagine it will include some of my jewelry (earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc), knit and crochet goods (simple items that can be done quickly and at reasonable prices, like scarves, hats, tote bags, possibly baby afghans, etc), photography (prints, notecards, etc), and I'm considering a venture into soap making and may include some sugar scrubs.... but not the pumpkin one. I'm incredibly hesitant to put any perishable items on there. I'll blog it once I've uploaded some merchandise to the shop.

UPDATED:
All this talk of fauxreos has me craving real Oreos and a glass of milk.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cooper Update



Emergency Vet visit = $851.08
5 days at the regular vet = $947.62
Total = $1,789.70

having my baby boy home & healthy = priceless.

Also, a lesson to all on the importance of staying on schedule with vaccinations.

Cooper came home today. He finally ate a little for the vet last night & is showing signs of wanting to be playful, but he is still low on energy.
While he does still have diarrhea, its not quite as bad as it was just 2 days ago. Heck, its better than it was last night.
Next week, we go in for the remainder of his vaccinations. NOTHING will keep me from that appointment.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Professor RB Cooper

A few months ago I introduced you all to my baby boy, Professor RB Cooper.

Cooper has been a huge joy to me for the past few months, and I fall more and more in love with him everyday. Seriously, he is a total and complete clown who makes me laugh at least once a day... but more about that later.

Despite how much I cherish and adore my Coop, I got behind schedule with his vaccinations and this past Monday evening I came home to find him very obviously sick. My first fear was that he had possibly come to the same fate that my dog Maddie did this past summer.
I called my mom and she came over and took us to the Emergency Vet. I told the vet my fears and they had another idea. After taking some samples from Coop there in the lobby, she had us go into an exam room. Cooper has contracted the parvovirus.
I admitted him to the emergency vet for the evening so that he could start the treatments he needed right away and the next morning I transferred him to my family's regular vet - Foothill Farms Veterinary Hospital.
Dr Malek and his entire staff are beyond phenomenal. The care that they are giving Cooper is amazing, and they are so personal and attentive. All week I have been calling several times each day to check in on Cooper, and they never get annoyed. Each time that I call someone goes to the room that Cooper is in and interacts with him so that they can give me an update of not only the medical issues that are on his chart but also that of his demeanor as of that moment.
In fact, when I called this afternoon I talked with a tech that I had not yet met or spoken with and when I said I was calling about him her response was "Coopers my cute little guy!" They take such a personal interest in the care of the animals that are brought to them.
They're also not uptight about their hours. While their office closes at 6pm, I don't get out of work until about 530. I still want to visit with Cooper every day, but with traffic I don't make it there until about 5:55pm. Each night they've let me in to visit with him, not once saying a word about the time, and each night I've stayed until about 6:30 or so. Still, they've never told me that its past their hours.
Cooper is making progress. We apparently caught this early enough, and with the care he's receiving its looking like he's going to pull through it just fine.
Visiting him is what I've been looking forward to the most each evening. Every time I see him he's looking better - has more energy, wants to interact with me more, and the best sign is how he tries to make a break for it when I open the door to his kennel. While he may not be out of the woods just yet, he's definitely improving well.
So, in the evenings I sit with him and love and cuddle him and sing this song to him... well, at least the parts I can remember.



Now, for some fun facts about Cooper.

His full name is Professor RB Cooper. He got that name because my aunt (who I got him from) recognized that he was the smartest of the litter and initially started calling him Professor. Then he was the first of the litter to figure out how to use the doggy door and would amuse himself by charging back and for through it... my uncle thought he looked like a rhino charging through the Serengeti so he started calling him Rhino Butt (RB). Finally, when I met him I just felt that his name was Cooper. There we have it: Professor RB Cooper. He has a few other nicknames:
Mr Cooperton
Coopster
Coop
Lil' Guy (most often used by my grandma)
Cooper the Trooper (this is the newest, for how well he's coming through this ailment)

Cooper HATES baths. As you can tell from the following post-bath look of disdain.
After a bath he will spaz out (thats the technical term) for at least a full 30 minutes. He runs around the house, rubbing himself on the couch, every chair, my bed, before he collapses, exhausted from all of the spazzing out... as shown below:


One of Coopers favorite past times is going for car rides

But not too soon after eating... otherwise he'll get carsick.

And while I may be his favorite girl, Janae, my 8 year old cousin, is a very close second.


One of Coopers favorite evening activities is to lay at my feet while I'm on the computer


And he LOVES to go visit all of our friends on the back patio at the pub

All of the love & attention from everyone tires him out.

Coopers favorite treats? Fake oreos from the treat bar at PetCo. Or, as I call them, fauxreos. He likes to hold one down on the ground, use his teeth to pop off the top cookie, then he will lick out all of the cream filling before eating the actual cookies. One day I will capture this on video.

Coopers morning demeanor is dependent upon how badly he needs to go potty.
If he needs to go potty, he paws at my face until I wake up. Then he'll gently grab my hand with his mouth and try to pull me out of bed. Then he'll try to herd me towards the back door.
My favorite mornings are the ones when he doesn't need to go potty very badly.
He'll wake me up with kisses, and once I'm awake he'll lay across my chest in an attempt to stop me from getting out of bed.
I'll move him off my chest so that I can sit up, and he'll lay across my lap. He just wants to snuggle!
I'll move him off my lap and put my feet on the floor... he lays on my feet.
When I'm getting dressed and putting on my pants, and this is my favorite part, he'll jump up and try to pull my pants back down.
Apparently he knows that no pants = don't leave the house.

He is my love and I can't wait for him to be able to come home.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Things I Want to Make

It's that time of year.
The time of year where craft obsessive types, such as myself, are perusing the internet searching for projects. Specifically, quick, easy, and cheap projects that would make for welcome holiday gifts.
I found a number of projects this year, some of which I will keep in mind for the future. These are all ideas that I liked, but didn't quite make the cut for this holiday season. It's not due to them not being worthy, it's just that I had to limit the number of various projects so that I could keep supplies and time to a minimum.
Plus, some of them are impressive projects in their own right, but not necessarily holiday appropriate.

A few that aren't necessarily craft projects, but baking projects I stumbled upon during the search:

A moist yellow cake recipe. Not only do I want to try out that recipe, I also want to test the suggestion for keeping the cakes moist.

Also, I found this recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting. SOUNDS PHENOMENAL. I really wish I had found this recipe a couple of weeks ago. I would have made these for the baby shower of a certain friend who LOVES all things pumpkin.

This project made me a little misty eyed. My grandmother who passed away almost two and a half years ago had a thing for tea towels. I made her many over the years, and after she passed my grandfather found the remnants of one of the first towels I ever embroidered for her. She had been planning on framing it, you can see the piece thats left here.
These potato stamped tea towels are something she would have loved.

I found a number of coaster related projects this year.

First up, are these glass coasters.
These have a lot of potential. You could make them with the paper crafts shown in patterns to coordinate with the recipients decor, or interests, or they could be made with photographs.
I also like these mirrored coasters, although they are much more of a contemporary style than the glass coasters and that should probably be kept in mind when choosing who to make them for.
Last in the coaster category are these embossed clay coasters. These would be great for someone who is a writer, or just a lover of books. I can see these embossed with lines from favorite poems or classic novels.

Fiber related crafts.

First up, is this tulip cozy for little girls. I may try to drag out my grandmas sewing machine so that I can make this for my nieces birthday in May. I just wish I was a better seamstress.
Another project that makes me wish I knew my way around a sewing machine better is this fleece blanket. Fleece is so warm and cozy!
More sewing, this stacked ottoman.
Heres a fabric related project I might actually be able to tackle. The no-sew calico quilt.
Another no sew project... the crochet edged fleece blanket. I could do this one, its more crochet than sewing.
And since crochet is one of the crafts that I definitely have down pat, I'm sure I'll make this hat.
A knitting project that I would NEVER dream of taking on, this arm chair slipcover. I do not have that kind of patience.

I also found a couple of mosaic projects. Mosaics are something that I've never tried, but am interested in. I'm thinking that after finding a couple of these projects that I will try making them this next year. I think that my mom would like both of them, so they may make fitting gifts for her birthday in March and for Mothers Day.
First up, these garden stones. Mom has been working on a couple specific parts of her garden - one being right next to the cottage that she's turning into a massage studio and these would make for a nice addition to that area.
The second is this tray. Mom is a fan of the vino so I think a grape accented design would suit her well.

A few years ago I made something VERY similar to this next project - a Rosebud Memory Box. It was easy, and cheap, and I still see these boxes on the dressers and vanities of some of the women I gave them to. One little tip -- pick up some rose scented oils to dab on the roses, just an added little touch.

These Sparkling Votive Holders would make for easy and inexpensive gifts for someone wanting to add a little sparkle to their home.

The following two items would make great gifts for a housewarming party.
First is the bead wrapped serving spoon, then theres also the sparkling serving set. Both projects together, which really are basically the same idea just on different objects, would make a complete set.
Another potential housewarming gift would be these Tabletop Terrarium Jars. I would make one for myself, except that I have a brown thumb. I have killed every single plant I have ever bought, even ivy.
I wish I had a reason to make this Tree Branch Chandelier. The only home I can think of where this would fit well with the decor would be my families cabin up at Shasta Lake... where theres no electricity.

I'm big on bath products. I love indulgent bath oils and bath salts and bombs and fizzes and bubbles. That is why I know that eventually I will be making this Peppermint Stick Salt Soak.

For holiday decor I absolutely LOVE these Chandelier Ornaments. They look so delicate and elegant!
I also like these glitter words. I think they could look nice on either a tree or a mantel.

While I've done many various crafts over the years, I've never delved too much into paper crafts. Although I do think I will be trying to make this Groovy Greeting Card sometime in the future.

Finally, a craft I think I may try to make for myself... this Contemporary Photo Wall Art. I most likely will try this with some of my travel photography.

And for the last item. Something that scares the bejebus out of me. Something that I know I will never try to make simply because I know that I do not have the patience for it. It is beautiful, it is elegant, and it is frighteningly intricate. It is a three foot tall chandelier commissioned for Tiffany & Co. And its made out of paper.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Nightmare Before MacWorld

'Twas 40 days before MacWorld and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a PowerBook G4.

Wait a minute... what?

Didn't I just post about computer problems about two months ago?
Yes. Yes I did.
As you may recall, my aunt gave me an old PowerBook G4 and while it was an older model (like my Grandma) and it had it issues (like my Grandma) it was still plugging along (say it with me... "like my Grandma").
I could still use it for basic word files, some photoshopping, and internetting (is too a word and if not, I just made it up. So there).
Then I got one of the standard software updates popups. Soooo, I installed the updates and when they were completed with the installing the system restarted. As it went through the restart it was going slow on some of the initialization or file conversion or whatever its called. This was about a month ago so I don't remember exactly what the screens said, but it was something like that. Then it got to the main start up screen... the white one with the apple on it. And it sat there, and sat there, and sat there, and has gone absolutely nowhere since.
Since theres been no progress, only setbacks, on the laptop front theres been no progress with the kPod either. By the way, have I mentioned that since the iPod now plays everything but the frontline vocals like a karaoke track I'm calling it the kPod? Get it? Karaoke...? iPod...? kPod...? Or am I just amusing myself? Crap. I knew it. I'm only amusing myself.
Anywho....
Steve, I am "this close" to breaking up with you.
Without my laptop, my internetting it seriously limited. Do you know how far behind I am on both reading and writing blogs? TV shows? Photoshop?
And don't even mention purchasing a new MacBook and iPod. I already offered Steve some of my blood and he didn't bite. (Get it? Blood? Bite? I'm making a vampire joke and the Twilight movie just came out last week? Crap. I knew it. I'm only amusing myself. Again.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Because I Love Equal Rights

I would wear a shirt that said this on Tuesday, if I could:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adventures at Walmart

I was doing some shopping this evening at my local Walmart and felt compelled to photograph some of the items in stock.

How do we know the holiday season is approaching?
By the red, pink, and blue artificial trees of course.



As cheesy as it is, I am a little partial to the pink one.

For the pampered pooch



Vitamin Water. For your dog. One was for general wellbeing, one for dental care, and one for a shiny coat.

Single serving Spam



When you just don't want to open an entire can.

Theres nothing like that Baked Virginia Ham Taste.



Its not a treat, its a "treet".

Sorry for the poor picture quality, my camera phones not the greatest.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ashamed

Every now and then I think of many of the wonderful attractions there are here in my home state of California.
There are so many things to do and places to see, and I am ashamed to admit that I have not done, or seen, the majority of them. Such as the following...

1. Yosemite National Park.
Despite living only a little over three and a half hours from this great national park, I have never come anywhere close to the park.

2. Vikingsholm Castle.
Vikingsholm is one of those little known wonders in Northern California. Anytime I mention to someone "I'd like to go to that Scandinavian Castle up near Tahoe sometime" the response is generally something along the lines of "what the heck are you talking about?". Again, this location is SO close (just a little over two hours drive), yet I've never gone. I think what has deterred me in the past is the idea of the "steep but well defined" 1 mile hiking trail from the parking lot to the actual castle.

3. Point Reyes National Seashore.
It is SO close, two and half hours drive, but I've never been and I have no clue why not. This must be remedied soon.

4. Redwoods National Park.
This site is further away, over six hours, but I'm starting to wonder if I've got something against National Parks.

5. Lava Beds National Monument.
This ones easy. I know why I've never been there... I didn't know it even existed until recently. It does sound pretty awesome though, don't you think?

6. Lassen
I've never been to either the Lassen Volcanic National Park or to the Lassen National Forest.

7. Mono Lake
I really want to go here - I'm thinking I could take some great photos there - all of the images I've seen of the lake are phenomenal.

8. Natural Bridges State Beach
Another place where I think I might be able to get some nice photos.

9. Sequoia National Park
I should go see it, because its there/

10. Death Valley
I would love to go see the spring bloom sometime

11. Big Sur
Isn't it a requirement that every photographer in or near California take a photo of the Lone Cypress at some point?

12. 17 Mile Drive
I've been to the Monterey-Carmel area several times, I have no idea why I've never done this.

13. Solvang
A Danish village right here in California - with my love of Europe, why haven't I been there yet?

14. Joshua Tree
Again, I should go - even if only because I love the U2 album

15. Catalina Island

16. San Diego
The zoo, Sea World - I want to see both.

17. Hearst Castle
One of the biggest tourist attractions in the state, and I have yet to see it. This needs to be remedied.

18. Knotts Berry Farm
I've been to Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Great America - I need to add this one to the list.

19. The California Missions
I've had this draw to photograph all of the California Missions for a couple years now, I don't know why I haven't started yet.

20. State Capital Building
Dude, seriously, its just a 20 minute drive from my house.

21. Golden Gate Bridge
Sure, I've driven across it, but I've never walked across it. I think I need to.

I'm certain that theres a lot more here in California that I should do, these are just the ones off the top of my head.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

An EmbarASSing Story...

Today I was reminded of an embarassing situation I got myself into a few years ago.

To preface for this, I should say that I just completed my fourth week of Weight Watchers. I've been doing okay so far and have lost a total of 12.4 pounds - not too bad, but I'd still like to see the weight come off faster, who wouldn't like to see the weight come off quicker, right?
Although I do have to admit that I haven't been the most diligent on following the plan exactly.
I've had slip ups - the night at the pub here & there (math gets hard after a couple pints of Newcastle, and WW is all about counting points), friends visiting from out of town, the usual life events popping up.
I've been making modifications to my eating habits, and whenever I make changes to my diet my body decides to change how its going to process said diet, if you know what I'm sayin'.
So, my body has recently decided that this decline in my fat and caloric intake was going to result in it STOPPING from processing everything and I found myself in the supplement aisle of my local discount department store where I discovered this.
I tried it today and can give it an astounding thumbs up. It does its job without any humiliating side effects.
Unlike a supplement I tried a few years ago.
The last time I did Weight Watchers, which was five years ago, I had the same reaction to the change in my diet. Now, I've never really gotten the concept of "less is more". I've always thought "thats a load of bull. More is more, obviously. Its right there in the phrasing MORE IS MORE".
So, when things came to a screeching halt did I go in search of a simple supplement?
No.
When perusing the shelves at the drug store did I think "Oh, heres the gentle womens formula! Perfect, since I am a woman after all!"
Nope.
I thought "Extra-super-duper-get-the-job-done-NOW" BINGO, we have a winner!!!
I bought the extra strength formula, went home and read the packaging and paid special attention to the time frame that it typically takes to kick in. I don't recall exactly, but I believe it was supposed to take something like anywhere between three and twelve hours to achieve the desired results. So, I took the extra strength supplement at work the next day during the late afternoon with the thought that it would kick in after I got home, but before I went to bed that evening.
It never happened.
I went to bed thinking that it would kick in when I woke up in the morning.

Part way through the night I'm awoken by what I think are gunshots.. or maybe a car backfiring. I jumped straight up in bed thinking "What the EFF?!?!?!?!???" I sat up, not hearing anything further, and went back to sleep.
A little bit later I'm awoken again, sitting straight up in bed, by the same gunshot sounds. This time I realized something... I was not being awoken by gunshots, or a car backfiring, there weren't even hooligans lighting M80's in my backyard.
Yes, I was being woken up during the night by the explosive sound of my own ass.
The extra-strength-super-duper laxative was not doing its job, it was only giving me explosive flatulence.

There you have it - one of my most humiliating, yet still hilarious, stories to tell about myself... and its about gas.
The twelve year old boy in me thinks its hysterical.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Amazing Race

Many of my friends know that one of my favorite TV shows is The Amazing Race (TAR). Even those who may not know that most likely are not surprised considering my love of travel.

So I am very happy tonight since the new season has started. And I always generalize a few of the teams into one of the following categories

1. Most Annoying
2. Most Endearing
3. Most Likely To Combust (either on air or after the show)
4. Most Likely To Be The First Eliminated

Here are my preliminary generalizations:

1. Most Annoying - I'm thinking its going to be Terence and Sarah. First, its just the first episode and they're complaining that two of the other teams have formed an alliance and didn't say "Hi!" to them at one point. Okay, yes, general pleasantries are always nice, but guess what... YOU'RE IN A COMPETITION. FOR A MILLION DOLLARS. General pleasantries are going to be tossed out the window, and its only going to get worse the further along you go. Buck up and get used to it.

2. Most Endearing - Anita and Arthur. I've got a soft spot for older couples that embark on something like this.

3. Most Likely To Combust (either on air or after the show) - This is a tough one this season. I'm torn between Ken and Tina and Anthony and Stephanie. What I don't understand are the couples who base their relationship upon how they do in this competition... and every season has one of those couples. Ken and Tina are separated after he was unfaithful and have said that how they do in TAR may play a big factor in their reconciliation. Then theres Anthony and Stephanie who said that how they do in TAR will help them to decide if they should get married, or go their separate ways.
I will never understand why couples who already have less than solid relationships will throw themselves in the middle of a fire like this. I can only imagine how stressful TAR can be on relationships and if the relationship is already strained. Why willingly put it through something that trying?

4. Most Likely To Be The First Eliminated - Anita and Arthur. While I do find them to be the most endearing, they just don't seem to have that much drive - they're just a little too laid back (turns out I was right, they were the first eliminated).

And to answer your question: Yes. I do want to audition for TAR one day. It would be perfect for me - a couple weeks of racing around the world? HELL YEAH! I'm up for that anytime!

I know I've blogged about it before, but my cousin Erin and I think that we'd make a pretty good team -- we travel together well, and our strengths and weaknesses balance each other out. Plus, the only other cousin team (that I know of) on TAR was Charla and Mirna. And they were annoying as can be. Erin and I are way cooler.
We've been saying that we want to audition for the past year, but a couple of things have held us back.
1. My weight. To be honest, my weight and lack of physical fitness would be a complete liability to any team I was on. I would need to lose a considerable amount of weight before participating in anything like this.
2. Erin spent the past year embroiled in a less than pleasant divorce, so the timing was not optimal for her.
3. My knees. This goes along with my weight - the condition that they are presently in would present a large liability in any physical challenges. Losing weight would help with the condition of my knees, and so would improving my general physical fitness.

So, I've got a lot to do if I want to even consider auditioning. I'm already working on the weight issue - I joined Weight Watchers a couple of weeks ago (more on that later) - and I'm going to be working on the physical fitness issue, especially if I'm going to be doing any of the multi-day walk-a-thons or bike rides next year (again, more on that later).
I need to do these things for reasons more than the possibility of auditioning for TAR. I need to do these things just to improve my general health.
TAR is just an added incentive.

So, I'll pose a question I've asked before:

Any suggestions on what would make an audition tape that would grab the attention of the casting directors and producers?
Those of you who know me well - what aspects of my personality should I play up?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Open Letter to Steve Jobs

Dear Steve,

I adore you. I've been a fan of yours since I got my first iBook four years ago -- it was only a couple of months until I got my first iPod.
I've told my boss that if I ever call in sick in mid-January, its a safe bet that I'm actually playing hookey to go to Mac World in SF. I really want to see your keynote speech someday.
I like your casual jeans and mock turtle neck.
I thought that walking out in front of the Mark Twain quote, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated", at the launch of the latest generation of iPods was quite clever.
To sum it up - I am a huge fan of you and your empire and am sure that I will be for life. Its because of this that I have to ask you one very direct, and rather difficult, question:

Why do you hate me so?

I got my first iBook, a G4, in July of 2004 as a gift from my eldest aunt. I LOVED IT! Finally I had a computer that didn't continuously crash on me, that I didn't have to "defragment" (whatever the hell that means, I never really understood and don't particularly care to) all the time. I didn't have to consistently run virus sweeps. The best part? It was EASY to use! Intuitive! Plus it was pretty and stylish! I love the white casing - so much prettier than the clunky black of your competitors. Yes, I know that some other computer companies offer laptops in a wide rainbow of colors now, but I still love the pristine white Mac.
The iBook served me very well up until this past spring. Then it started behaving very... weirdly.
Of course, I had been spouting off the wonders of Mac, how much I love you, how I'd had this iBook for four years with absolutely NO problems whatsoever, how EVERYONE should have a Mac.
Within a week, I started having problems. Naturally.
I used it to watch DVDs and to catch up on my favorite TV shows online. All of a sudden, I would be in the middle of watching something, and the screen would go black and the sound would cut out. Almost as if I had turned the iBook off, except I could still hear the hard drive (or at least what I think is the hard drive) running. It woulldn't respond to anything on the keyboard or touchpad, but I could turn it off via the power button. Then, when I turned it back on via the power button it would usually turn back on (with the hard drive running loudly) and start up okay, but other times when I turned it on via the power button, and only the hard drive would run. Then sometimes when I would restart the iBook, the date would be set for something crazy, like 1981 or something like that. NUTTY!
I spoke with a friend who used to work for you and he told me that there was a known problem with the cold solder graphics on that years machines and that he thought it sounded like that was the issue. The problem? I was well beyond any warranty. Sucked to be me. He did offer me the suggestion of resetting the power manager by OPTION+SHIFT+CTRL+POWER or by starting up in safe mode. These solutions worked a couple of times only, then all of a sudden the iBook wouldn't power up at all. No way, no how. REALLY REALLY REALLY sucked to be me. I only lost a few casual photos. Thankfully I had everything else backed up to an external hard drive.
I was without a computer for a couple of months.
Then something miraculous happened. I cried my tale of iBook woe to my wonderfully generous aunt, and she bequeathed to me an old PowerBook G4 that she had upgraded from. We installed the latest OS and hallelujah, I was back in business.
Then things got a little sticky again. The USB ports won't recognize anything I plug in. Not my external hard drive, not my ipod, nothing. All I get is some odd message saying something about an unrecognizable device. WEIRD. Then I go to watch one of my favorite shows online and theres no sound. Same thing with DVDs. Evidently something is a little wonky with the sound card I assume.
But, I can email, blog, and photoshop to my hearts content.
That is my tragic story with the iBook/PowerBook.

Now, for the iPod. Not all of these are technical issues. They're not all your fault, Steve. Some of them are my own clumsiness. I understand this.
My first iPod fell victim to a cup of coffee. Yes, a cup of coffee. I'm driving to work, not paying attention to the road while I scroll through my playlists thinking "Do I want some George Michael to pep me up this morning or am I wanting something a little more current? Maybe some Beyonce?" When I look up and see that I have to slam on the brakes. As I slam on the brakes, my iPod slips out of my hand and into my cup of coffee. I cursed. Profusely.
At the time I was a little short on cash flow, as I usually am, so I found an iPod nano on ebay to hold me over until I could get a real one (the nano won't hold my entire music collection - I have something along the lines of 18GB of music and the nano was only 8GB). That one lasted a while, although it was a little frustrating to have only half of my music collection on there. Then, I let the battery go completely dead one day. It would never power back on. I'm thinking that it may make a rather cool fish tank ornament, dontcha think?
I did eventually get another iPod. Then my car got broken into. Buh-bye iPod.
I got another iPod, a refurb (again - low cash flow), and have been loving it for nearly two years. It has been fantastic. I've been grooving along on my commute, blocking out annoying seatmates on flights, its been great. I even downloaded podcasts for some recent trips I took that provided me with guided tours of attractions and helped me to learn other languages! I LOVE THE IPOD!
Then, tragedy struck.
Last week, my iPod suddenly froze up on me. No big deal, right? I can just reset it. So, I did. Everything seemed fine, until I went to play the iPod in my car the next morning. I selected a song, the music started, and then the music kept going, but with no lyrics. No lyrics? Thats right, no lyrics. The music is playing, and I can hear the back up singers just fine. What I couldn't hear was the main vocals. It was as if I were listening to a karaoke track. It does this with every song in my iPod. It is very very very frustrating.
So, I would go out and get a new iPod BUT I would have a problem getting my music library on it since my PowerBook won't recognize anything that I plug into any of the USB ports.
I would love to get one of the new MacBooks with 4GB memory and 250 GB Hard Drive (between my music collection and photographs, I need quite a bit of storage space), but those START at $1,600! $1,600? Seriously? I can barely afford to put gas in my car! If I had that kind of money, I'd spend a week or two in Europe!
Then I'd be looking at another $250 for the iPod (or $400 for the iPod touch, which I'll admit, I really would like). And since I'm at it I may as well admit that I am deeply, madly, ravenously in lust with the iPhone (white!) and of course, thats another $300. Plus $150 to break my contract with my current cell phone carrier.
So, what are we up to now? Anywhere between $2,150 to $2,300? Or more if I add on any applications/programs/accessories. Could I just give you some of my eggs? How about a few pints of blood? I am O-/CMV-... a true Universal Donor.
I absolutely love your products. They're beyond fantastic, I just wish they could be more affordable.

Sincerely,
Vanessa
who does not want to have to break down and buy a Dell and/or a Zune but is afraid that she may have to considering the current economic situations.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Third Times a Charm???

So, last Wednesday I bit the bullet and joined Weight Watchers. AGAIN.
Its worked for me in the past, then I went completely off plan and gained back all of the weight that I had lost (and then some).
When I went off plan last time I gained back some, but not a whole heck of a lot at first. I really gained it all back when I started hanging out at the pub more often. I'm starting to wonder if there might be a connection there.
Yes, this is my third attempt at Weight Watchers. Well, not really. It's my third attempt in my ADULT life. My mom put me on WW for the first time when I was 10 years old (5th grade) and again when I was 13 (8th grade). So, if you really want to get technical this would be the fifth attempt.
The first time I did WW (as an adult) was 5 years ago, and I had a pretty good support system. I went on Saturday mornings with my cousin and my oldest friend. It was something that the three of us looked forward to, a way to get us out of the house early on a Saturday morning and really kick off the weekend.
Now, my life is such that I often have social commitments on weekends, or I may be traveling, hopefully photographing a wedding, or something along those lines. Okay, I'll be honest, theres also a possibility that I could be recovering from Friday night and can't imagine dragging my butt out of bed to go to a Weight Watchers meeting.
This time, instead of Saturday morning I'm going to meetings on Wednesday evening, again with my cousin Erin.
So far I'm doing okay at staying on plan. I figure I'll just follow the food plan for a couple of months, see how I do at losing the weight just by making food modifications. Then, when I hit a big plateau, I'll start to incorporate some sort of exercise or fitness routine.

Random Cooper update, I had the following text message conversation with my cousin Erin this evening:

Me: Cooper randomly runs laps ON my bed as though hes being chased by evangelical missionaries.

Erin: Why would they chase him?

Me: To convert him from his heathen ways. He likes to play with yarn and womens panties. They figure he needs saving.

She never replied after that.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What the....?????

So, imagine this:
You're driving home from work, on one of the busiest streets in the area and a couple of cars ahead, you could swear that you see an airplane.
HUH? Yes, you ARE on the way to the optometrist to pick up your new glasses, but your visions not THAT bad. So you speed up a little, because you have to see if there really IS an airplane on the road.
And sure enough, there is:

Yes, the wings have been removed and it is being towed buy an SUV, but still! Theres a freaking plane on Sunrise Blvd!

Of course, this had to be the day that I pull out my real camera and the battery is completely dead but I was able to grab these pics with my cell phone.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

What am I, Crazy???

Wait. Don't answer that.

Every so often I get some wild hair up my backside to do something. Sometimes I go through with it, and sometimes I don't. When I do go through with it I get all gung-ho crazy and obsessed. A couple examples...

Several years ago I had been watching my diet and practicing yoga semi-regularly - I tried to make a class about once a week. By doing these two things, I started losing weight so I then started going to yoga more frequently, 2-3 times per week, and pilates occaisionally, maybe once every other week. Naturally, when I became more active I started to lose even more weight. Yeah, I started to get a little obsessed. I was considering becoming a yoga instructor at the urging of the owner of the studio I was going to, I was looking into yoga retreats as vacation options, half of my wardrobe was various yoga pants and tank tops.
I didn't limit my obsession with physical activity to just yoga though. Somewhere in the middle of all of this I read about the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure which is either a 25, 50 or 100 mile bike ride to raise funding for diabetes research. I was training for the 50 mile ride. In addition to yoga and pilates, I would go on bike rides throughout the week. I would take my bike to work on the back of my car, and on my way home I would stop off at the American River Bike trail and ride for about 5 miles before returning home. On weekends I would go on 15 mile rides around my town. In the evenings, or when weather would not allow biking, I would lift handweights. I walked around my house, and the grocery store or Target, with ankle weights. I was dead serious about my training.
About a month before the ride I got bronchitis. While the antibiotics did clear out the bronchitis, I still didn't feel like my usual self and my workouts were nowhere near as easy as they had been in the previous months. But, I kept pushing through it figuring that I just had to build myself back up to the level that I was at before I got sick. It never got any easier and then I started to develop this really weird stabbing pain in my ribcage whenever I did try to work out. Then that stabbing pain was there whenever I took a breath. I went back to the doctors and was diagnosed with pleurisy just a week before the Tour de Cure. I was out of the ride. I knew that with the pain I was in there was no possible way I would be able to come anywhere near doing a 50 mile bike ride.
At that point I was so disappointed that I stopped riding my bike, stopped going to yoga and pilates and slowly gained back all of the weight I had lost, plus an additional 40lbs.

Another time I got all gung ho about something was just a little over two years ago. for New Years Eve 2005. I was at home, sick, watching Sex and the City DVDs when I rang in 2006. Lying there, I decided that my resolution that year would be to go somewhere that required a passport. I briefly forgot about my resolution for a couple of months, then remembered it when I was preparing to do my taxes in late February. As soon as I found out how much my tax refund was going to be that year I went online and booked tickets to Ireland. The rest is history - I've been obsessed with travel ever since and have made it my personal goal to take at least one international trip each year and I aim to visit every continent except Antarctica during my lifetime.

Other ideas that have just been a flash in the pan...

A few years ago I got some random idea that I wanted to photograph all of the California Missions. I spent a couple days mapping out where all of the missions are, which ones could be done in short day or weekend trips, figuring out which ones were in the closest proximity to one another and would be feasible to visit two in the same day.
I also thought it would be cool to photograph California lighthouses and/or boardwalks.
However, have you seen or heard me speak of any photos of ANY of the missions, lighthouses, or boardwalks???

My latest idea? A walk for breast cancer research. This one has a bit of a surprise to it though. Its in October of next year (yep, 2009) and I would need to start training soon. I know what you're thinking "What? Train? For a WALK? Come on now Vanessa, you can't possibly be serious." But I am.
It is a 3-day, sixty mile, walk. Check it out.

So, am I crazy to consider this?

By the way, these are the glasses I ended up ordering

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The trials of a new puppy

Ahhh.... puppyhood.

Friday morning I woke up, thankful that it was the last work day prior to a 3 day holiday weekend. I reached over to my nightstand for my glasses and they weren't there.

Fast forward through a good 20 minutes of me blindly stumbling throughout the entire house searching for my glasses. Where were they? With Coopers chewies and toys. And mangled pretty badly.

Without glasses, I can't see. Without glasses, the DMV won't allow me to operate a motor vehicle, and thats a good thing. Without glasses, I can't see worth a damn and knew that I wouldn't be able to go to work that day.
That was interesting phone call:

Me Yes, I don't know when I'll be able to make it in to work today.
Boss: You're sick? (with sound of suspicion since this is the Friday before the Labor Day weekend)
M: Not exactly. Puppy ate my glasses
B: BAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Call me when you can see.

I figured that I'd go to Lens Crafters since they advertise "glasses in about an hour", or at least thats what I remember them always advertising.
In the meantime, I browse their website, looking at various frames so that I'll have an idea of what I want and can speed up the whole frame selection process.
I narrowed it down to 2 pairs that I thought were AWESOME. Theyre quirky, a little eclectic, definitely not glasses you see everyday. In fact, theyre even described as "sassy" on the Lens Crafters website. My younger cousins say I'm "sassy" and even have "Sassy" instead of my name programmed into their cell phones.
Just check them out for yourself...



Cute, huh?
If you look real close, and its not early, and your current glasses haven't been chewed on by a 15 week old puppy, you'll see that they're Bulgari's. Theyre also nearly $400. Thats when I had a mild freak out. Yes, theyre a designer name and have those cute crystal flower things on the sides, but still! $400???

So, I wait until Lens Crafters opens and guess what: my insurance won't recognize Lens Crafters. To be honest, with $400 frames I'm not sure that I blame them.

I called my optometrist, but wasnt able to get in for an appointment until 12:30. The dr fitted me for contacts to hold me over until my glasses come in and then spent a good 45 minutes trying on practically every frame in the shop. Also of note - it had been 3 years since my last eye exam so the dr dialated my eyes and I couldn't see a thing less than 3 feet away for next couple of hours and ended up taking the rest of the day off from work.

The contacts. Over the years people have seen me take off my glasses for photos, comment on my eyes, and ask why I don't wear contacts or have lasik surgery.

Well, a few years ago I did look into lasik surgery. I had a consultation and everything. The doctor told me that I have larger than normal pupils (great - my boobs, ass, and now my pupils. ALL larger than normal)and while they can do the surgery and correct my vision, I would see halos around lights (because of the whole pupil deal) and have less than perfect night vision. Initially I did schedule to have the procedure done, but as the date got closer I decided against it. I figure that the point of lasik surgery is to correct my vision - not correct it for half of the time while causing another vision problem the other half of the time. My thoughts on it are that if I give them a few more years, perhaps technology will advance to the point that they'll even be able to correct vision for the big-pupil-afflicted.

Contacts - I've worn them off and on over the years. However, I've never been able to get a proper fit, especially on my right eye. I guess my astigmatism is such that I can't get a good snug fit - I can feel the contacts move to the point that its annoying at times, and they get really dry and uncomfortable and when they get dry, everything gets kinda foggy and hazy. Like I've had a couple martinis, but without the soothing buzz.
These trial contacts that the dr gave me are working okay so far. I do like being able to wear cute sunglasses and can easily see myself purchasing way too many pairs from the "compare to *insert designer label here*" kiosk in the middle of the mall.

I'm thinking that I may spring for some prescription sunglasses though, and this is where I need your help. Do you like the green? Or the black?



of course, these are the ones I like just from looking online. Whenever I do actually go in and try them on, my preferences could very well change.

And yes, I'll probably end up buying a back up pair of my regular glasses in case anything happens to the new ones. Like Cooper wanting a midnight snack again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kylees First Piano Lesson

Preston, a family friend, had come over to visit my mom and sister this past weekend. While there, he decided to play the piano some and took a seat on the bench. As soon as he started playing, Kylee was fascinated and wanted UP! UP! UP! on the bench next to him. She took her seat next to Preston and started playing right along with him.

The following video is a VERY brief example of her playing that day - she sat next to him for over half an hour. Thats a pretty impressive attention span for a 15 month old - at least I think so from what I know about kids.
Also, notice that during the second half of the video shes starting to try to hold her hands properly, more like Prestons rather than just banging away on the keyboard.



Kikis First Piano Lesson from Vanessa ODonnell on Vimeo.


What you don't see in the video are some of the examples of how dominant of a personality she has. A couple of times my sister would start to talk. Kylee would dramatically stop playing, turn around and tell her mom to shush.
Then, if she decided that Preston was too far into "her" side of the keyboard, she would push his hand back over to "his" side.
I do believe shes going to be a bit of a diva.

Apparently the video won't load. Check it out here

Monday, August 25, 2008

Theres Someone I'd Like You to Meet...



Professor RB Cooper, but I just call him Cooper.

He is 14 weeks old today.

A couple of years ago, my aunt had a miniature poodle imported from France (shes a huge francophile and wanted an actual french poodle) with the thoughts that she may breed her a few years down the road. Fast forward to this past spring when Antoinette had a brief but fervent love affair with the neighbors lhasa apso, Spike.

After Maddie passed away, I went to my aunts house in Fairfield to borrow a program disc to upgrade the operating system on my computer. This little guy didn't have a home yet and he and I just kinda fell for each other.

The difference between him and Maddie is astounding. Maddie was in tune to my energy levels and emotions from day one. Even when I brought her home at 8 weeks old, she would pick up on my moods and just roll with it. If I'd had a rough day at work and just wanted to veg out in front of the television, she would cuddle up on my lap and chill out. If I was more upbeat we'd go out in the back yard and play fetch for an hour. She was awesome that way.

This little guy? Its like he's on crack half the time. Training him is going to be more of a challenge than it has ever been with any dog I've ever had. I think I'm definitely going to have to take him to training sessions at Petsmart or someplace like that.

He frustrates the crap out of me, chews on my ears to wake me up in the morning, has destroyed more than one skein of yarn, loves to trot out into the living room with my dirty panties in his mouth when theres company over, "yells" at me when he's decided that its my bedtime, and throws temper tantrums when I stop paying attention to him long enough to take a shower.
Even with all of this, when I left him with my aunt and uncle so they could puppysit while I went on a camping trip with friends, I missed him every single day and worried when I didn't get a text message update on how he was doing each morning, afternoon, and evening.

He is a pain in the ass, but I adore him.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Things I Like

A while back I was visiting a friend I hadn't seen in a couple of months and we were discussing things we like. Our new favorite lip gloss, Food Network personality, typical girl stuff.
I've made a list...

Bare Minerals
I decided to jump on the bandwagon and got these two kits


The first time I used it, I looked in the mirror and was thought it looked a little... powdery, like it was obvious that there was powder on my face. However, people immediately started commenting on how well rested I looked and asked if I had finally gotten a good nights sleep - yes, these people are all aware of how exhausted I'd been due to school the last couple of months.
I think I've gotten the hang of applying the powder so that I don't have that "powdery" look. I'm loving the powders, eye shadow, blush, even the lipgloss! The mascara... eh, its not that great.

However, a mascara that I DO like:

Its great. Thats really all there is to say about it. No need to elaborate, rave about its virtues. Its just fantastic, go get some. NOW.

Guinness.

But thats not really much of a surprise to anyone who knows me.


Renting beach houses.

Last fall a few friends and I rented a house in Sea Ranch for a weekend.
We stayed here

It was awesome. Quiet, secluded, a short walk to a beach. Bonus - the house had a hot tub AND a sauna. Totally affordable when you get a small group of friends together and everyone contributes one meal each.

Body washes.
I am a total and complete sucker when it comes to various body washes. These are my current faves:

Caress Exotic Oil Infusions in both Moroccan and Brazilian.


They both smell fantastic and moisturize well.


Dial Yogurt Body Wash in Vanilla Honey




I also have the hand wash in this one.
The scent is nice and clean.

Face Cleanser.
Laventine Water Soluble Facial Cleansing Oil in Olive Forte

Its an oil - you take a very small amount and rub it all over your dry face. Since its oil, it melts away the mascara and all dirt, and doesn't leave your skin feeling dry. How it doesn't leave an oily residue, I have no clue. I once asked someone with more science type knowledge than what I have and he started saying something about charged ions, and thats where he lost me. I have no idea exactly how it works, but I love it.

Redken Fresh Curls

Ive been using this line for about 6 weeks or so, and my hair is super soft. The curls are holding nicely but without feeling like theres a ton of product in it. So far all I'm using is the shampoo, conditioner, and curl boost scrunching spray but I'm thinking I may have to try some of the other products in the line.
I think the "secret" ingredient is coconut oil - it moisturizes really well, and anyone with curly hair knows that moisture is the difference between nice curls and frizzy mess.
Now that I think about it, I'm almost out of the shampoo and conditioner. I'll have to pick some up soon.


Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale

Tasty, light & crisp, plus one can has 100% of your daily vitamin C

Travel in general

Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to be able to do a lot of it in the too near future. The price of airline tickets are really high right now so it's beyond my budget, plus with my new school schedule I just don't know when I'll be able to squeeze any travel in.
I would like to reward myself with a little trip somewhere after the fall semester is over, but considering thats right around Christmas time I won't be able to get much time off from work, if any.

Ace of Cakes

I just discovered this show a couple of weeks ago and I LOVE it.
Mary Alice is hilarious!

I LOVE Geofs dead pan speech

And yes, as a matter of fact, I DO have a wee bit of a crush on Duff

Hes totally like MacGyver... with CAKE! Hilarious, looks like he'd be an awesome boss, laid back, creative, drives a Vespa, plays in a band, spends a work day doing a mock Iron Chef challenge, come on... how could you NOT like him?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Maddie Baby Girl

A few years ago I was going through a rough time.
Over the course of just a little over a year, my mother had a heart attack, my grandfather had a stroke then passed away 6 months later, my dog Trucker (who had really become more of my grandfathers dog, to be honest) had to be put down due to brain tumors, I became an overnight mother of 3 when I got custody of my cousins while my aunt got clean and sober, and I found out that my grandmother had inoperable lung cancer.
I was feeling depressed, overwhelmed, and as though I had completely lost touch with myself. I needed something of my own, to be able to hold on to and bring me back to my center.
I decided that I needed a dog. It had been over a year since I'd had to have Trucker put to sleep and that was the longest I'd ever been without a dog in my life.

I made numerous trips to the pound out on Bradshaw, but every dog that I connected with, and who got along with my youngest cousin who was 4 at the time, was either deemed "unadoptable" or was adopted by another family before I was able to get to the shelter.

I was feeling heavily discouraged that I would never find a puppy and did something that I customarily do not condone - I started looking in the newspaper and on Craigslist.
One of the first listings I found on Craigslist was for a woman out in Marysville (now known to my cousin Erin and I as Scarysville after our trip out there to this womans house). The woman had long haired chihuahuas that she was trying to rehome.
My theory is that she had SO many dogs that the county was making her find homes for them before they were seized and taken to the shelter.
Erin and I pulled up to this womans double wide and were immediately apprehensive - there were numerous skulls, I think cow & goat... or maybe sheep, I'm not sure, fastened to the cyclone fencing around her property. Against our better judgement, we went inside.
The woman kept bringing dogs out of every room and structure on her property. There had to be somewhere around a dozen of them, if not more.
These dogs had obviously had no socialization at all because any time I went to put my hand towards one so that they could smell me, they would snarl and bite at me. There was one that would sit on my lap, but it was so incredibly frightened that it immediately peed a map of the Hawaiian islands on my leg.
Yes, I wanted to take home as many of these dogs as I could so that they could live in a better environment, but I had a 4 year old at home and there was no way I could risk having a dog that would bite at her.

A couple weeks later I found a listing on Craigslist for a woman in Fremont who had a litter of Pembroke Welsh Corgi/Miniature American Eskimo mix pups that were 4 weeks old and she was starting to line up homes for once they reached 8 weeks.
I truly do not support back yard breeders, but saw this photo and my heart went mushy.



I made the drive down to Fremont and sat with the woman for well over 3 hours, holding each puppy and talking about dogs. I feel she was as responsible as a backyard breeder could possibly be, wanting to know my pet ownership history, training and discipline methods, how often the dog would be left alone, etc.
As I held each of those puppies, my thoughts were "so adorable and sweet, I want this one. No, this one, no this one."
When I picked up the puppy on the far left, she snuggled up in my arms and fell asleep. After about 20 minutes or so she woke up, crawled up my chest, sniffed my mouth, gave me a little kiss, and then curled up on my chest and went back to sleep.
I knew that she was my baby.
I went home that night, with arrangements to come back 4 weeks later to pick up the puppy.
I spent the next 4 weeks deliberating over names. I considered celtic names since she's part Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I considered Inuit and Native American names since shes part American Eskimo. Absolutely nothing seemed to fit.
On the day that I was to pick the puppy up, my cousin Meghan and I were in San Francisco for the morning and walked into a Starbucks. I started considering coffee names since its one of my favorite beverages. None of those worked either.
As Meghan and I were placing our orders at the counter, she picked up a package of madeleine cookies and asked what they tasted like. Then she looked at me and said in an awed whisper, "Madeleine!" I looked at her and confirmed "Maddie!" I then new what my puppys name was.
We went to the womans house in Fremont and picked Maddie up - she remembered me from 4 weeks prior, and the whole car ride home to Sacramento Meghan held her as best as she could while Maddie tried to crawl over to me.
I've gone on many vacations the past couple of years, and whenever I've returned Maddie has greeted me with excitement - jumping up and down at my feet until I pick her up and give her love and kisses.
I went out of town this past weekend and got home incredibly late Sunday night, was exhausted from the long drive back from Redding and went straight to bed.
Monday morning I was running late for work, so I just peeked out the back window to make sure that Maddie had food and water, then I left for work.
A couple of hours later, my grandma called me to let me know that my mom and great-uncle had come over and found Maddie on the back porch and that she seemed to be sick. They also found 4 packages of d-con that Maddie had apparently eaten.
We haven't had d-con here at my house for a number of years. I suspect that someone threw it into my yard, and I have an idea of who may have done it, but unfortunately no proof at all.
My mom took Maddie to the vet for me on Monday where they treated her with a Vitamin K injection and gave us a prescription of Vitamin K pills to give her over the next month.
She came home, and I was taking care of her as best as I could, but late Tuesday night she took a turn for the worse.
Maddie went back to the vets yesterday and they told me that the damage was more extensive than was evident when they originally saw her on Monday. The Dr and his staff said they really couldn't give any prognosis other than to see what happens day by day. She was admitted so that they could keep her hydrated and use more aggressive medications than what I would be able to give her at home.
Last night I stopped at the vets to visit her after work before going to school.
I sat on the floor next to her kennel and leaned in and snuggled against her for a while.
She again sniffed my mouth and gave me a little kiss. Just like the first time I met her.

This morning I got the call from the vets office that Maddie had passed away during the night.
I love you my Maddie Baby Girl.