Friday, November 30, 2012

Eight Weeks to Go

The Man and I have had a very heavy week this week, thus my complete lack of desire to blog.  Our family bid farewell to my little (only) sister on Monday as she left for the U.S. Air Force.  She is now completing eight weeks of basic training, and we only have contact with her the old-fashioned way.  Her husband is living with us until she is done with that training and also her technical school training immediately following.  When she returns in the spring, she and her husband will be packing up for a move to her new home on an Air Force Base (we're all hoping for something on the west coast).  With the exception of the few letters she'll have time to write, we're incommunicado for eight weeks.

Meanwhile, on the homefront, our Furballs of Doom have had a busy week attacking or destroying boxes, paper packaging, and a shoelace we attached to a stuffed bird toy.  Eddie and Annie both had "shelter flu" or upper respiratory infections, and we're giving them antibiotics to help them get better.  Eddie was pretty sick on Monday, and he has gone from a docile, kind kitten to a holy terror with claws as he's gotten better.  Annie, his sister, didn't get a sick, but she's even kicked into high gear.  We had some packaging from a Cyber Monday purchase (woot! TV is mounted on the wall now!), and they've gone absolutely nuts playing in the paper.

I researched cat food for more than ten hours this week in the hopes of finding a healthy, natural, and not bank-breaking cat food for them.  Everyone insists on feeding wet food to kittens online, but the veterinarians that I work with (and we have a half-dozen on staff in our department with another thirty or more over at our vet school a couple blocks away) told me not to feed them wet food.  The wet food isn't any more or less "natural" than dry food, and it doesn't prevent tarter buildup on teeth over dry food.  Really, the only difference for the cat is water.  Ours have absolutely no problem draining their bowl each time we put it out, so dry works just fine for us.  Also, the dry food really is more convenient.  We have some cans of wet food that we fed them while they were sick (mixed with dry food), and we put it out as dessert sometimes, but we're going the dry route for day-to-day feeding.  In my attempt to find the "perfect" dry cat food, I found a ton of snooty cat foods promising to cure my cat of being a cat (or something), but the only ones that made sense also cost a fortune.  I had certain criteria: no corn, no wheat, no "animal or meat by-products (see also: hoofs and snouts)," and no other junky fillers.  The only food that really made sense was Orijen cat and kitten food.  The first six ingredients are meats, and the quality is super, super high.  The food is made in Canada, and it doesn't cost much more than the Petco junk we found first, about a dollar more per pound.  Our first attempt at feeding a few bits of kibble to them went well, so I mixed a few pieces into their current food.  So far so good.  We'll transition them off the corn crap soon and hope to see healthier kittens in a few weeks.

Seriously, between playing with Eddie and Annie at night, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry, I haven't had but a few minutes to spare each day.  I fell into bed last night around 10pm completely and totally exhausted.

This weekend should be relaxing.  We have friends coming over tonight to help us socialize our Furballs of Doom.  We might do some Christmas shopping.  And we might even get to sleep some (oh sleep!).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

We Have Been Owned

The Man and I have found new owners for our little home.  We are, once again, tenants.  The only difference is that this time we get to keep our house.  Our owners, demanding as they may be, prefer a life of eating, sleeping, and chasing that darn little red laser pointer that won't stop moving!

After trips to three different shelters, The Man and I found two precious kittens that needed a new home.  I'm still working to get them to hold still long enough for a picture.  Our all-grey kittens are three months old, make very little noise, and seem to like their new home very well.  They are especially fond of their litter box, which we appreciate.  I don't think they're as crazy about the toys we got for them, so we probably won't get any more of those.  Though the cats were named, we elected to change their names right away.  We were originally going for crazy names, but Eddie and Annie seemed just perfect for them.

We wanted two cats so they could play together, and we were keen to get siblings so they would really know each other.  Also, if possible, we wanted cats that are young without being complete babies.  The shelter in Corvallis was clean enough, and they had quite a selection of kittens, but we just didn't fall in love with any of them.  Also, they didn't have many sibling duos, and I'd hate ripping the third one away from the other two.  The shelter near Tangent was pretty bad.  They had a terrible selection of cats--most of them apparently sick--and no siblings.  We decided to go up to Salem Friends of Felines to see if they had any kittens.

Our drive to Salem was rewarded.  SFOF had plenty of cats of all ages, some sibling pairs, and two small rooms of kittens.  The facility was much cleaner than the other two shelters, smelling hardly at all of litter or food.  We held several kittens, none drawing our eye, until we spied Annie asleep on a cat tree.  She awoke and started playing readily, and she also laid down into The Man's arms without hesitating.  Her brother, Eddie, was asleep when we officially purchased him.  He has proven to be a lap kitty even more than his sister.  She's a mighty hunter: he's a mighty lover.

Both of the cats have been microchipped, had all of their vaccines, and been fixed already.  We knew we'd have all of those things done ourselves soon, but it was nice that SFOF just took care of things before adopting out the kittens.  We paid less for the cats through SFOF than we would have paid a vet to do the surgeries and shots, and a shelter wouldn't have bothered with any of it.  And the people at SFOF were incredibly helpful.  They introduced us to cats, knew temperaments and likes for each cat, and really encouraged responsible ownership (making sure we won't declaw, know appropriate discipline, etc.).  What a fantastic experience!

The Man and I have new owners.  We're pretty okay with that as long as they promise to snuggle lots and give us love.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Still Unpacking

I must have awoken this morning with a bit more gusto than usual.  In the last twelve hours, I've managed to tear the house apart and put it back together again.  The Man and I ran our errands in town just before lunch, so after eating, I set out to clean the master closet.  That sounds simple, but we crammed three closets full of stuff in there, so it was an undertaking.  I emptied all but one remaining box of stuff out, sorted piles from other piles, and redistributed piles to new homes.  Now the only things on the carpet are the few things staying on the carpet.  An hour later, sweaty and out of breath, I heaved the last of the cardboard out to the recycling bins.  I think we're now finally, officially unpacked from our move in August.

One thing that has bothered me since we moved in three months ago was the stains in the dining room carpet.  The little dark dots mocked me each time I walked past them.  Our carpet cleaning didn't remove them, so I set out to do some spot removal.  That extra gusto must have paid off, because they're all gone now.  All of them.  Seriously.  And I didn't use any expensive cleaners or toxic junk.  I used a toothbrush to work some baking soda into the stained areas, and then I dotted vinegar over the baking soda areas and made small volcanoes in my carpet.  I stood on some clean, dry rags after that to sop up the vinegar.  Poof!  The stains disappeared.  Any remaining baking soda should just be vacuumed up next time we vacuum.  This method did not remove the stain in our office carpet, unfortunately, but I am pretty sure that's either rust or blood, and there's little anyone can do for it at this point.

Speaking of gusto, I actually started hanging pictures on the walls of our house last weekend.  We have pictures in the downstairs bathroom now, and I have a few hung in the living room.  Hopefully I will get our college diplomas, some other frames, and our Las Vegas souvenir poster hung tomorrow.

While getting all of my many, many tasks done this weekend, I've been listening to old Loveline episodes.  Loveline is a radio broadcast that airs from 10pm to 12am Sunday through Thursdays, and it has been airing for nearly thirty years (1983 was a good year, but I'm totally biased).  I used to clandestinely watch Loveline when it was also a TV show on MTV back when MTV didn't totally suck (being all of eleven years old didn't exactly make me the target demographic or even remotely allowed to watch MTV).  The show--whether radio broadcast or on TV--is a call-in show where people call in and ask the hosts questions about anything, specifically sex, drugs, and all things taboo.  I have no idea why I like listening to this show, but I enjoy the commentary and Adam Carolla's ranting through the 1990s and 2000s.  Dr. Drew Pinsky has hosted the show since the very beginning, and he's the driving force behind the quality of information and help the callers receive.  I especially enjoy the older clips from when I was in, say, seventh or eight grade, and can remember who I was when Adam was going on and on about something happening in the world or how Dr. Drew answered questions about the current health thoughts and trends.  It is just interesting.

Also?  While I don't think we'll go broke on my nail polish habit by a long shot, I think I need to start investing in a storage setup.  I have almost twenty bottles now and no place to put them.  Suggestions?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Man's Yoga Pants

What follows is a transcript (slightly edited for your reading pleasure, but the content hasn't changed) of an actual conversation my husband and I had today over an instant messaging service.  He had found a great deal on two OSU sweatshirts and wanted to let me know that he purchased them.  You have to understand that he's rather secure in his masculinity and that this entire conversation was unprompted and completely unexpected.  Mild swearing, you were warned.

The Man: I found a deal for two OSU hoodies for $33. I got one of each they have (but not the pink one).

Me: Why didn't you get yourself the pink one?

The Man: I don't have any pants to go with it.  My yoga pants split up the ass.

Me: Oh, that is tragic.

The Man: No, that's awesome!  Now I can showcase my sexy panties.

Me: *dying

Yup, this is the man I married.  For better or worse or yoga pants split up the ass.  *sigh

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Blog Year Retrospective #7

Happy Seven Years to Me!  I get to celebrate a blogiversary again and look back on the exciting things that have happened in my life over the past twelve months.  This year wasn't so much about big events and things but about growth.

And no, The Man and I aren't talking about our expanding waistlines.  Those have--thankfully--been just fine.

We've grown this year.  We have lived a little.  We were lucky enough to both finally find permanent employment and two real incomes.  With that income we have been able to spend a greater amount of time with loved ones in new places (a long weekend in Sisters, Oregon, and a short week in Las Vegas, Nevada, come to mind).  We are also growing much closer to my sister and her husband as they've moved in with us for a short while (we planned this long ago).

We increased our space by buying a house this last summer.  In a mostly painless process after months of penny pinching, The Man and I put down some serious roots and went headfirst into home ownership.  Though neither of us are as excited about painting the interior as we once were, we're determined to get a few more rooms painted before calling it good.  We are loving "our" space and having the ability to change or fix things according to our whim.  We get whims a lot.  Thankfully our whims haven't been too expensive thus far.

With the independence of a house and the responsibility of more income, The Man and I have grown and started thinking about our future.  We're entertaining ideas we haven't had the luxury of considering before, things like saving for retirement, more vacations, and simply saving for children (should we ever find ourselves in that situation).  That independence and responsibility has finally made us feel like adults.  Yeah, at 25 we were both "adults," but neither of us felt it.  We sort of feel it now.  We're adults.

Well, we're adults that watch cartoons, play video games, and eat Kraft Mac like it's going out of style... :)

Our marriage has grown this year as well.  It's not that we're adding to the family as much as that we're finally deepening--or seeing the deepening--of our love.  We bicker and squabble in different ways now and get less frustrated by the same ol' things (or we've just been able to stay quiet better).  We have wisdom now, a few years of ups and downs to rest on, a smattering of experiences that help us know we'll get through things or celebrate things after this.  Our love has grown.

On a personal note, I have grown this last year.  I've branched out into hair dye, nail polish, new makeup, and even bought new earrings!  I've spent most of my life hating all of those things, and being able to open myself up to the accessories as options for me has helped me grow.  I can actually sit down with other women and understand what they mean when they say "no foundation matches my skin tone ever" or "ugh, would you look at that dye job, seriously bad!"  I feel more comfortable in my skin than I ever have, and I'm really glad I feel comfortable with none of these accessories on or with all of them on.  It's less about making myself look better as much as it is just me having fun.

Lots of growth this year, and I'm hoping for even more growth over the next year.  Can you believe this little project I started waaaay back in college is seven years old?  Here's to many, many more!

Monday, November 05, 2012

29 and Counting

I celebrated my 29th birthday this weekend, and while I didn't get to eat any cake, I had a great birthday.

Last weekend was hectic with my sister and brother-in-law moving in with us.  That's right, we have roommates now!  My sister is leaving for the Air Force at the end of the month, and we offered to have her husband stay with us while she's in Basic and her technical school.  She will be back with us for a couple weeks in March, 2013, and then they will both move out to wherever she gets stationed.  They get to save on paying rent, and we get a little help with the food costs and utilities.  Plus my brother-in-law isn't from this area and will be more connected to people by staying with us.  He and The Man are both videogamers, so they get along famously (and I still have my quiet time for crafting or TV!).  This past week has been crazy as we all settle into new spaces and roles.

My sister joined The Man and me as we ventured to Woodburn to the outlet mall.  Visits to Columbia, Jockey, UnderArmour, and Eddie Bauer proved fruitful.  The Man got a wonderful winter coat for a third of the original price, and I scored two more fleeces to keep me warm until June.  We also visited Ulta in Keizer Station where my sister downloaded her brain full of beauty product information to me.  I learned a lot and bought an eyeshadow palette that I think I will really like.

After shopping until we dropped, we went out to dinner with my parents to The Depot.  I haven't been there in years, but it hasn't changed much.  The food was amazing.  I had a small shrimp plate and substituted in clam chowder instead of the fries.  My four panko breaded shrimp were perfect, and the little pink shrimpies on the salad were delicious.  I'm usually not a chowder fan, but theirs was the best I've ever had.  It wasn't gooey or snotty in texture, more of a creamy stew, and the clams weren't as chewy as others I've gagged down.  I really liked the potato chunks: done, but not overcooked.  And the appetizer of havarti cheese and crackers?  I could have died right there and been completely satisfied.  YUM!

I feel 29.  I really do.  I know we celebrated our birthdays by going to Las Vegas this year, but it was still a nice birthday at home.

Just need to get me some cake still.  Working on that...

Friday, November 02, 2012

Random Questions XVI

Holy cow, it has been over two years since I last posted any random questions and answers!  I'm long, long overdue.  After some hunting, I found some new questions.  Enjoy!

Do you like fish sticks?
I will eat them, but I much prefer fish filets.  The Man taught me to eat fish sticks over white rice, and while I thought that was an abomination at first, I've come to really appreciate his bachelor food concoctions.

What is your favorite cereal?
Frosted Mini-Wheats or PB Cap'n Crunch

What kind/brand of deodorant do you use?
Ban, the green thing with the purple stripe, unless they changed the packaging again, in which case I'm going to be mad when I go to the store next time.  I swear they change it every time I buy any.

What is your favorite mythical creature?
Bigfoot.  Think about it: all of the other mythical creatures are dangerous or weird abominations of half-man-half-something.  Nobody, in the history of the whole world, has ever been proven to have died at the hands of Bigfoot.  I think, therefore, that Bigfoot is probably a romantic at heart.  I don't think I'd make friends with Bigfoot if I met him, but I'll take my chances.

What is your favorite cheese?
As an Oregonian, it is my duty to declare my solemn allegiance to Tillamook Cheddar.  But when I'm not loving my way through a Baby Loaf, I do enjoy havarti cheese, especially the Danish stuff.

How do you eat your eggs?
I don't eat eggs by themselves.  They're fine in things like cake and breading, but apparently I am allergic to eggs by themselves.  My body will not tolerate scrambled eggs.  The fake eggs are okay scrambled, and I make a mean overeasy egg, but none for me, thanks.

What would you do if you were the opposite sex for a day?
After thoroughly investigating my new plumbing and assessing its ability to function as designed, I'd probably write my name in the snow.  I would stand while peeing throughout the day.  I would enjoy not waiting in lines at restrooms and utilize that spare time to adjust myself in public.  I would have a guys' night and learn what it is that men do at those things.  I would sleep on my stomach without boobs to get in my way.  I would belch and pass gas without worrying if it was ladylike.  I really do think men have it easier...

What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?
Since cooking isn't nerdy, housework and paperwork are necessary, and quilting is more of a hobby, I'm going with blogging.  That's pretty nerdy.  I also read.  A lot.  Nerd.

Do you prefer Wheat Thins or Triscuits?
Going with Wheat Thins on that one.

Do you face the showerhead or away from it while showering?
I face all different directions, but I think I'm mostly facing away from the stream of water.  The best part of my shower every day is that first moment when I tip my head back and get my hair wet for the first time.  Hot, hot water... oh, that is the best part of my day sometimes.

What is the oldest thing in your refrigerator?
Tabasco sauce, I think.  I have a good turnover of refrigerator items.

What is your favorite breed of dog? cat?
Dog: Vizsla or American Labrador Retriever, but the Australian Shepherds or Huskies are close.  Cat: Bengal, Egyptian Mau, or plain ol' tabby cat.  Shorthaired, please, and no smushed faces!

How are your survival skills?
I'd like to think I'd do pretty well left to my own devices in Oregon.  I'm still learning about plants here, but I'm comfortable with my ability to find water, make shelter, and defend myself using found or improvised items.  Don't want to try it, but I have confidence.

Do you prefer tacos or muffins?
Oooh, tough!  I like both pretty well and dislike the extremes of both just as much.  I'm going with a muffin simply because sugar can cover a multitude of crap, but tacos really need to stand on their own.

Can you play any instruments?
Yes, I can.  I can even play one rather well.  I have played several instruments, some with more success than others (piccolos are not as much fun as they look).  The piano has a very special spot in my heart.

What is the most overrated exercise in your opinion?
All exercise?  Oh, just one, sorry.  Uh, lunges.  I particularly dislike lunges.  My knees don't do that motion.  Also, just the name sounds painful.  Lunge!  No.  No thanks.  I'll push up or sit up or generally do anything that involves a useful motion.

Do you prefer waffles or pancakes?
Waffles.  I like pancakes, but I looooove waffles.  Crispy ones.  With peanut butter and maple syrup--especially the crappy syrup from that missus ladybottle.

What is the grossest thing you've ever eaten?
Mustard.  I get it by accident sometimes when the burger joint doesn't hear "DRY burger, dammit!"  Also, sushi: vommitus maximus.

Who is/was the most influential person in your life (besides parents/Jesus)?
Easily, my husband has the most influence on my life at this point.  I think my sister would be high on that list as well.  My grandmothers would also make the top five.

Do you prefer breakfast or dinner?
Breakfast, since I actually like most breakfast food.  Dinner is so overrated.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

I Thought Acne Stopped at Adulthood!

I admit I never learned how to take care of my skin.  Nobody told me what a t-zone was.  I didn't understand that I should keep my hands off my face.  I had no clue about drinking water and eating right and how that could effect my skin.  They didn't teach skincare in school, and I didn't want to rely on the "ancient herbal remedies" I saw online.

Before you get to thinking I'm about to tell you I have my skin all figured out, let me just put the kibosh on that now.  I don't.  But I'm learning.  That's all I can share.

Just before we went to Las Vegas last month, I finally experienced my first full week of really great skin.  I had no break-outs, no healing patches, no spots that cried out for concealer.  My makeup was flawless day after day for a week.  But then I went to the desert and had to leave a bit of my daily routine behind.  For a day or two, things were still pretty good.  By the time we got home, however, my skin had turned into this super dry nightmare of peeling skin, oil slicks of grossness, and a broken-out middle ground that I won't even get into.  I fought my skin for a week solid after we got home.

Lesson learned: Jaggy does not fare well in the desert in any way.

I have since worked and worked to be diligent in washing my face carefully and gently just once a day before bed.  I use clay masks to absorb oil once a week, toner to balance the skin, and a light moisturizer to heal dry spots.  My make-up is of good quality and gets sanitized a least weekly (except mascara which gets replaced religously every three months).  All of these things have greatly improved my skin, and I'm happy to report no new breakouts since we returned home from our vacation.

The frustrating part of this whole situation for me is that I thought acne stopped with adulthood.  I thought I was supposed to be over this frustration.  I thought I was "too old" now for major breakouts and painful zits and dry, peeling skin.  Sure the odd zit doesn't surprise me (Aunt Flo usually leaves her calling card after visiting), but this... this was unreal!

What do you do to keep your skin looking its best?  What products or techniques do you employ to heal, stabilize, or otherwise calm your skin?  And what is the weirdest thing you've ever heard to help a skin condition?