Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Fridge of Death - Unexpected Side Effects of Remodeling

The new fridge is in & working. We had planned on waiting until remodeling was underway and they were ready to put the fridge in the new spot, but that was also with the thinking that the remodeling would start by April 20th. Life has happened and the new start date is May 5th. If we miss that start date believe me there will be a rant. Anyway, Lowe's was having a 10% off all Energy Star appliance sale that was good thru 4/26. The amount we got off through the sale was greater than the $60 we could've been eligible for via VA's Cash for Appliances rebate. So, we went ahead and got the fridge.

Getting the old fridge out and the new one in was another blog all together. I'll post about that soon, I promise. This blog is about the unexpected side effects. This fridge, apparently, is the fridge of death.
No, it hasn't eaten the kids yet. It hasn't let food go bad. But it is still apparently very evil and to be feared. At least that is what Jomo thinks.

Jomo is scared of EVERYTHING. New lamp? He'll scoot around it, tail tucked, and growl & bark at it from a safe distance. Satellite dish? Worthy of being barked & growled at ... from a safe distance of course. More trash than normal at the curb?? You guessed it. Bark, growl, runaway. Sound familiar? You've read about it before -

It comes as no surprise then that Jomo is scared of the fridge. But, he normally realizes within a couple hours (or a day) that whatever he thought was so scary really isn't. Not so with the fridge.

Normally he would be under my feet as I type this, today he is curled up in the doorway to the hall. Whiskey is curled up next to the fridge -- I think she's figured out Jomo won't come bother her if she's near it.
Jomo's food is near the fridge, so he is refusing to eat. The door to outside (you can see it in the photo above) is right beside the fridge. If he has to go out he stands way back, waits for your verbal encouragement, and then with tail-tucked & ears folded back, quickly scoots outside. To get back in requires even more encouragement and usually a tug on his collar.
To make matters worse, the ice maker in this fridge actually works!! WONDERS OF WONDERS!! We haven't had a fridge with a working ice maker since we bought the house! Jomo has NEVER heard a fridge that makes ice.
I'll admit, the sound of the ice suddenly being dumped into the bucket (which is on the door by the way, too cool!) is a little startling. It just isn't something we're used to. But Jomo, poor, poor Jomo. Every time the ice gets dumped into the bucket he jumps a country mile and runs out of the room. Whiskey has done this a couple times as well, especially if she's been asleep right next to the fridge when said "attack" has occurred.

All of this has gotten me thinking about what I hadn't considered: how much the overall renovation would scare Jomo. New floors, new layout, new other stuff. There really isn't much we can do other than reassure him as always. I know he will be terrified of the tile floors - he was scared of the wood floors when we first got him (and the majority of our house is wooden floors).
Ah ... the hidden costs of renovations. Jomo keeps looking up at me with large, brown baby eyes that beg "Hold Me" (see the link for photos -he really does want to be held!). Whiskey keeps happily moaning in her sleep, curled up next to the fridge, as close as she can about be, knowing Jomo will not be able to pounce on her (aka - try to play) now.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tristan & Johnny Cash

My first video upload to You Tube. I was playing 'Ring of Fire' this morning as it was stuck in my head. I paused it to try and quote the lyrics and Tristan, who was sitting nearby, got mad at me & demanded it be turned back on. The way he kept saying "Johnny Cash" tickled me to no end, so I wanted to share it with y'all.
I apologize for him being hard to hear, but listen closly and you'll here it!

I'm going to be adding more videos. I apologize for any that are sideways, I'm new to this and will work on making them nicer. Anyway, you can check out little clips of life around here by clicking here:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Food for Thought

First off, Happy Earth Day to you all. No matter where you are today, I hope you find a way to celebrate & do something good for ole' Mother Earth. Today we've been busy hanging clothes out to dry, enjoying our newly working pond pump, and planting the remainder of the potatoes (and hoping they'll grow better this year!). But there is something else on my mind.

Last night we watched 'Food, INC.', a fantastic movie that really should be a mandated thing to see. It has taken me until today to blog about it because I was that moved by it, and even now I'm having a hard time knowing what to write.

If you're reading this you're probably like me and already know a lot of the horrors that go on within our mass-produced food industry. You've probably seen the video of forklifts trying to maneuver downed cows (cows to sick to stand up) so that they can be slaughtered for food. Here's the link - if you haven't seen it, you ought to take the moment to watch it:

You probably know about battery caged hens kept for eggs, and the mass-lots they're raised in. You probably already hate Monsanto. You likely have heard of Micheal Pollan or Joel Salatin (Polyface Farm in Staunton, VA) & the good that they're doing. So, if you know all this why should you watch the movie?

For starters, there is the story of 2 year old Kevin Kowalcyk who died from E. Coli. In 12 days. I listened to his mother tell what happened and the battle they've gone through trying to help make sure this doesn't happen to other families. ~ Those of you who know me personally know I am a weeper, so it won't come as a shock to you to know that I weeped during this part of the movie. I am crying now as I type. This poor child ate the all-American hamburger, got E. Coli from it, and died 12 days later. --- Do you really know what you're feeding your children?

Then there was hearing the farmer's talk. Somehow I had begun, in my mind, to put some of the blame on the farmers. After all, they're the ones growing this stuff or raising the animals. I was completely unaware how tight a hold the bigger companies had on them. One lady agreed to talk on camera. She raised chickens in "old fashioned" chicken houses that had open, screened windows. She still had to walk through there with a mask on and described the conditions inside as disgusting. She talked about chickens being bred to hit a "mature" weight too early, causing them to be able to barely take a couple steps before collapsing from their own weight. Americans do love big breasts, but the cost is too great. She talked about how the companies farmers sell their goods to put pressure on them to keep "updating" how they do things. She ended up losing her contract because she wouldn't "update" to an all-dark, windowless tunnel chicken house. How the hell is that considered an update?? According to the film a farmer averages over $500,000 in debt yet makes only $18,000.
Or that farmer who was saving seed. Yea, saving seed! And encouraging others to do so as well. He had a machine (whose design dated back to the 1800's) that cleaned the seed for saving. His name wound up on Monsanto's list. Monsanto has genetically altered the DNA of seeds, and it is currently legal for them to sue you if they think you're infringing on their policies by saving seed. They sued him. And sued him. And ran him out of business. This wasn't the first farmer they attacked, it won't be the last. They currently have 75 men out patrolling the country & farms. Ex-military men, ex-cops, threatening and intimidating farmers who are just trying to make a living. And, before you think "well, they shouldn't use Monsanto's seeds" remember that seeds open-pollinate. They can, and do, blow in on the wind causing this meshing of varieties.

What really got me though was that you can be sued for talking about this. Barbara Kowalcyk can't even say what they eat nowadays for fear of being sued for 'veggie libel.' No joke.
Oprah was sued for talking about Mad Cow disease on her show and saying how she didn't want to eat another burger because of it. Several years and way more money than most of us have later she won .... but could we fight such a suit??
'Veggie Libel' laws are very real. In Colorado, for example, it is a felony. Talking bad about food, about food companies who DESPERATELY need to have whistles blown because they ARE that bad can land you in some seriously hot water. Showing photos of what goes on inside feed lots, slaughter houses, and meat processing plants gets you in equally hot water.
Let me get this straight then -- we're not supposed to be able to see where our food is grown or raised. We're not allowed to look inside how it is processed (unless the company gives us the tour it wants us to see). And we're not allowed to talk about the bad stuff going on? Where the fuck are we living that this is acceptable?!?!

There were many more things in this movie that are well-worth talking about. It is worth talking about how it is cheaper to buy bad food than it is to buy good food. That is wrong. It is wrong when you feel forced to make a choice that you know isn't as good of a one as you would like because of the way our current food system is.

And even though I am sad and angry, I want to try and end this on a positive note. What can you do?? You can do lots!!
~Plant a garden, even if it is a very small one.

~Shop at local Farmer's Markets. If there isn't one where you live, work to get one started, you'll be surprised how many people will want this.

~Ask questions about how food is grown. If you are getting your food from farmers, ask them how they're growing it/raising it. Do they use pesticides? Do they pasture-raise their meat? Most farmers will want to talk about this as they put so much energy into it.

~If you can, keep some chickens. Finding heritage breeds is even better. You'll get fresh eggs that are likely healthier for you, you'll get fertilizer for your garden (and if you don't want it, post it for free on Craigslist or FreeCycle, surely someone local will gladly take it!), and you'll know your chickens got to live a life like they were meant to -- on grass, in the sun, happy.

~Lastly, remember the power of the almighty dollar. Stores aren't starting to carry more organic & locally grown items because they care, they do it because they realize they can SELL it. Every time you buy something you are voting with your money. Don't be afraid to call the stores, speak to the managers, and so on either. Let them know what you want to see in their stores. Every time I've had to drive across town to go to a better grocery store I've called my local one to let them know about it. And I told them how I saw other local people there. They don't want to lose your business, so make damn sure you get your voice heard!!

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It gets worse before it gets better..

Whenever I've been on the verge of a thorough cleaning I make an absolute mess first. It isn't on purpose, it is part of the cleaning. Piles of stuff everywhere -- which are not to be associated with my normal piles of stuff everywhere, these piles are "cleaning out" piles .. there is a difference! Right now, I'm a mess, the house is a mess, and I'm debating with samples of tile, wood, and grout. I've gone mad, I'm just not as attractive and eccentrically cool as the Mad Hatter (played by Johnny Depp).

Wood - I think it was Shakespeare who first pondered "Is it better to maple or pine?" Obviously anyone who has read Shakespeare would know he would prefer pine (look at all those sappy romance plays!), but he's dead and I'm not sure. The wood in question will be for the cabinets in the back hallway. Lots of traffic, not much elbow room. And, of course, once we decide on WOOD, then we're back to stain, which is actually where we started at before leaping to wood. (yes, ha ha ha, I said "wood").

Grout - Harmon (what I am calling my contractor from here on out till I think of something better ~ aka David Harmon) dropped by grout samples along with above mentioned wood (yes, you can giggle again) this morning. I had an idea of what I wanted and then he presented me with approximately 50 friggin' samples. Doesn't he know how you just simply do NOT give people that many options?!?!?
So .. I've now pretty much narrowed it down to two grouts, one for the floor and a different shade for the counters. The floor would be "Speckled Red Black" & the counters would be "Speckled Buff Wine" (sounds like a breed of chicken!). But then there is "Hemp" and that is just hard to resist. Though I REALLY like the speckled ones. These grouts are all from

Tile - Well, those have already been decided upon. They only got thrown in the mess here today because I have samples of tile sitting on the floor (so that you know it is the floor) and on the counter (so that you know it's the counter) and on the wine barrel (because I can't figure out where else to put them). All grout samples have to be first viewed in between two samples of tile. Just like wood colors for the ceiling (which is decided upon) had to be viewed both up close to the tile and far away. The tile is now becoming like some 1/2 broken old video game: moving colored squares on the floor that I feel I need to quickly step on or jump over.

On top of all this (quite literally) are books and papers. Papers for this being done, estimates for that being done, mail. Books for ideas for this being done, new cookbooks, magazines. Rounding out the mess is an empty box to place cut potatoes in (the potatoes are currently still in a large bag on the floor ... the bag is, like the tile, starting to wander around the kitchen), grout samples, the new blender, beer growlers and bottles, and so on.

I had wanted to perhaps post a video of the Mad Hatter, but the good one I found wouldn't let me embed it. Bastards. So, here is a link for it:
Now, back to my debating.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hate & Letting Go

Yes, yes, you've seen this photo before when I was being Primo Bitch. I couldn't find my "angry me" photo, so this is gonna have to be close enough.

I guess I never realized how often I say that I hate something. I tend to hate a lot of things. I'm really not that much of a people person, though I try to be. I just end up REALLY not liking a LOT of people. (Given the number of people that are out there one could make the argument that I'm still left with LOTS of people to like ... but still, and I digress as usual)

Being a parent brings into sharp contrasts some flaws you might not know about yourself. Like things you tend to say. Both boys now walk around saying they "HATE" this or that, particularly Tristan. -- Not good, and I hang my head in parental shame knowing he likely learned it from me.

There are things you can learn from or that you can be doomed to repeat, and I firmly believe if you don't learn from it early on the lesson (and consequences) get rougher each time you repeat it. So, I am going to list some things I would normally say I hate (and part of me still does) and then I am going to do my best to let them go. It is Spring, things are growing anew, life begins again, it is time to let some of these things fade away.

~RSVP - Actually, I LOVE RSVP, what I can't stand is the mass of people who completely & blatantly ignore them.

~"Mouth Noises"
- This is something that now I've gotten the whole family hating. And yes, hate is an appropriate noise here. And I feel a little guilty about that. I won't stop hating these noises (and, VERY seriously, don't think it is funny and make them around me please), but I do think it is time to try and find a mantra or happy place or SOMETHING other than anger and outrage. <---- Your ideas are welcome here folks!!

~Drama - Not the drama you took in school, that was fun! No, I don't like lots of drama in my life. Which is not true, I LOVE it. Growing up with divorced parents, custody battles, and younger brothers, I learned to THRIVE in it. But it isn't something I WANT to thrive in. It isn't something I want to love. Justin has been really good helping me learn to at least try and avoid this. So, Drama, it's been a wild ride, but I gotta let you go.

~Idiots, Cruel People, & general Jack-Asses - Over the years I've tend to lose friends for the very strangest of reasons. Someone once pointed out that if you like the freaks and want to hang out with the freaks, you gotta watch out for the FREAKS. You know, there's the "hey, you're a Freak, man!!" and then there's a "oooohh, dude that person is a freak, back away slowly." The two can be hard to distinguish. That isn't just the reason I've lost friends, but when you straddle two worlds (I've always said I feel like I'm living somewhere between a Dead Show and an episode of Frasier), it gets hard trying to find friends who are long-run friends.
There are also the idiots & jack-asses we all know and loathe. The crazy neighbors who no amount of reasoning and common-sense works on. The people who make your fingers cringe mid-air, fixed in the position of choking their necks.
The cruel people who just seem out to hurt you. Or who you thought you were close with only to suddenly be shunned by and dropped from their lives without even the decency of an explanation, leaving you with the haunting questions of "what did we do?"
I've realized these are people you simply can't expect anything logical from, no matter how much you may deserve it or no matter how much the situation begs for it. It just ain't going to happen. And like the driver who cuts you off and you spend the next hour or so bitching about -- you're the one bitching and angry, you're the one carrying about the stress, you're the one ultimately doing damage to yourself.
SO - To those people (and if you read this, you know who you are), I'm letting you go. Eleanor Roosevelt once said: "No one can hurt you without your consent." And, you don't have my consent anymore. Part of me wants to go all Red Queen and yell "Off with their heads", but I thinks Mrs. Roosevelt said it better. Our run is done, you can go on now.

I don't want to end this with the thought of the evil Red Queen, so instead I will end it with this. 1) If you're hating something, I hope you can find the courage and strength to try and let it go. Heal yourself and worry not about the fools.
2) I would REALLY love to hear any ideas you have for ways of dealing with a noise that you can't control but that still drives you batty. How do you find your Zen in those moments?
3) Welcome Spring. Welcome to flowers blooming everywhere and the wonderful things they promise us: beauty, fragrance, shade from the heat, and food to come. - Below is a photo of one of our apple trees blossoming.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Going Barefoot

Tom's Shoes has asked people to go barefoot today, April 8th, so that we can experience the difference shoes can make in a child's life. For more info, check it out here:

So, we're doing our part. The boys and I took a walk this morning down to the Farmer's Market. We were looking for "the honey man" as we go through honey like crazy, and now that allergies are upon us we need it more than ever! Sadly, he wasn't there today. Fear not, he'll be there this weekend. The walk was not a waste though (is a walk ever a waste?).

This used to be Miss Zini's house. Now her grandson lives there. I love the rocks (sorry for crappy photo quality, I used the cell phone) and the way he's made little cairns, or rock sculptures. The boys thought it was pretty neat too.

Salem's City Hall. Always stately and beautiful, in every season. We had been noticing & identifying all the different flowers that were blooming as our walk progressed, and so, we had to stop and admire all the red tulips in front of City Hall.

What else did we learn on our walk?

~Always watch out for broken glass, it's a bad, bad thing. - We saw broken glass but luckily didn't have trouble avoiding it.

~Pesticides Suck. - We talked about how putting a lot of chemicals on the ground was "yucky." The boys decided that the idea of walking barefoot on a ground doused in chemicals wasn't too appealing, and announced their pleasure in our yard being free of them. We talked about how if we don't want to walk on them, imagine the animals that have to live in the ground or who get their food from the ground (like our chickens). Yuck.

~Asphalt is HOT! - Luckily our walk was early in the morning before the asphalt really got hot. Mama knew well enough to time that one on purpose. But, we were able to notice a very significant change in temperature between grass, concrete sidewalks, old & gray asphalt roads, and freshly paved asphalt parking lots. We talked about the impact it had on the world around us.

~There are people who have it a LOT worse than we do, so we should be grateful for what we've got! - This was the main lesson when we started our walk. To be grateful for the things we have. To help the kids realize why it is good to donate things we don't have use for anymore (or that we've outgrown, etc) to people who could use them or need them. To remember that, despite how we might feel from time to time, we've got a pretty darn cushy life. Not all people are so lucky.

My apologies if any of the above lessons seem overly simplistic and obvious to you who might be reading this. Please remember that Shannon is 6 and Tristan is 3, so lessons learned have to be on a level that they can learn them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Some mornings just slap you across the face, as soon as you wake up. That's my best photo of getting slapped in the face right now. I took it yesterday and call it "Justin getting Shadow Bitch-Slapped." I shouldn't have tempted karma like that.

Normally in the mornings the kids come and watch some Tom & Jerry cartoons on my bed, which gives me about 1/2 an hour to wake up some. I just really, REALLY need that time. This morning Shannon woke me up. He was already dressed and they wanted to go ahead and eat breakfast and watch Tom & Jerry in the kitchen. (I let them eat their cereal and watch cartoons. It allows me to usually get a shower without wondering what they're up to.) OK.
I get up, throw some pjs on, help Tristan get dressed and fix them their cereal. Then I fix the dogs their food.
I go back to my bedroom and do my morning sit-ups (look at that, I'm making a freakin' effort!) and start getting ready to take my shower. Shannon comes in the bedroom and asks "Mommy, can I go outside and play in the sandbox?" --- I'm standing there with no pants on (sorry for the visual image) and look at him dumbfounded. I tell him that I haven't even had my shower yet and no.
I go to take my shower. While I'm in there he comes in and asks if he can go play in the sandbox. "NO, I'm in the shower!!"
I turn off the water. Again he appears, asking if he can go play in the sandbox. I was still standing in the shower! "NO!!!!"
I inform him that he may NOT go play in the sandbox until after I've had my shower and am dressed and to NOT ask me ANYMORE, that I will tell him when he can. I head back to my bedroom to get dressed, shutting the bedroom door behind me.

I am dressed now (you're welcome), and I open the door. Shannon informs me that Tristan ate a dead worm off the sunroom floor. *LONG SIGH*
Yesterday, when I got him up from his nap, Tristan had this to say to me: Mommy, I have to tell you something. I am sorry I ate so much crunchy ants. And I'm sorry I ate so much crunchy sand. I'm sorry for both of those. ----- Note, I wasn't aware of either (though am not shocked either) nor was he being punished, this was out-of-the-blue.
Apparently this morning he's eating worms. They haven't been fried and more than likely the worm was a centipede of some sorts. I tell him not to do that, eating dead things off the floor can make you sick, and I contemplate what type of drink is going to restore my morning.

Since then I've gone out to hang laundry on the line, we've had a bathroom "issue" and near disaster, and Shannon has yet to stop talking.
I would think Karma has gotten me back for that photo of Justin.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Quick Look Around

Just a quick look around at all the things growing & planted.

~This photo really does the scene NO justice! The cherry tree (in the foreground) is in bloom and spectacular. Daffodils are finishing their blooms along the front porch, with tulips springing up in between them. The tulips from Salem's 'Tulip Day' are giving the fence line mad color, and you can see irises growing wildly in the lower right-hand corner here. It is beautiful and breath taking, and not captured properly here.~

~The front 'Salad Bed' - I've labeled things as best I could, pardon technology if you can't read them. We have Romaine & Red Leaf lettuce, Kale, Chives, Plants that are supposedly Leeks but look like Chives (blame Lowe's if they're Chives), a little bit of Garlic, a Blueberry Bush, and some Strawberry Plants waiting to come up.~

~Looking inside one of the 'Tulip Day' tulips. When I was little and we lived in Abingdon, VA my mother planted tulips along the front walk. I loved to gaze down inside them and was amazed by the yellow & black center. They were my favorite flowers for the longest time because of that. I still love them and this year I got to show Shannon the inside of tulips.~

~These were some of the first daffodils we planted. We ordered them from one of those catalogues you get in the mail & are never quite sure about. They're double-blooming (obviously) and called 'Tahitian Sunrise'~

~The blossoms on the Nectarine tree were already starting to die away by the time I took this photo. We planted the tree last Summer, when we decided that the things we planted should do double-duty and be good for not just beauty or shade, but also provide us food. I've left the tag on there just in case it didn't live the 1st year (it did) as we could return it.~

~Red Leaf lettuce growing in a container hanging off the deck. There is a thistle seed filled bird feeder beside it that needs to be hung up .. somewhere~

~ Romaine and Red Leaf lettuce growing in a pot on the deck. Every year Kroger (a grocery store around here) has these clay pots for sale in the Spring and they're SUPER cheap .. at least comparatively speaking. They're good quality and look a lot nicer than using plastic containers. I've stocked up on several and use them for growing things on the deck & filling in "blank spaces" out in the front gardens.~

I took all the photos on April 3rd, which was 3 days ago. Since that time the Nectarine tree is mostly leaves now, the lilac bush (leftover from the days of my great-grandmother) is beginning to bloom, the big dogwood tree is now in bloom, and things seem to be changing by the minute.
We're also in the middle of an insane (albeit kinda short) heat wave, with temperatures today supposed to reach 91 degrees!!! I'm eager to see how this effects everything growing. I'm also tempted to take the boys down to the river and let them wade around, skip stones, and cool off some.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Remodeling - Before Pics & Contract Signed

Sorry for the long title, I couldn't think of a better way to shorten it. We signed the contract this morning for the remodeling job. We decided to go with David Harmon for very obvious reasons stated in We've been very pleased with him so far and, while I must admit to being a little nervous as is normal at the beginning of any new voyage, we're really excited. The planned start date is April 19th. We expect it to take 3-4 weeks for the entire job to be done.
I promised to document it all, and to stay good to that, I'm going to post the "Before" pics now.

~The door to the left leads to the dining room, the door on the right to the hallway. You can see the chimney jutting out (the chair is in front of it). The chimney is going to be taken down, the flue put more into the wall, and the new fridge will be put along this wall.~

~The stove & oven will be replaced with a new gas one (the current one is electric), along with a new vent that will actually vent to the outside. This should allow me to cook & can much more efficiently and also keep the kitchen cooler when I cook! The stove will be moved to the left a little to free up the corner cabinets for a lazy susan. Currently the cabinet next to the stove (as well as the upper cabinets) go all the way back to the wall, making access very difficult. He's also going to build more counter space where the fridge is, and some complimentary cabinets.
Since you can see them in this photo, I'll include them here. The wine barrel is going to be replaced by an island with a butcher block top. The floor will be tile, the counters will be tile, and the ceiling will be replaced with a pine tongue & groove wooden ceiling. There will also be can lighting in the ceiling (though we're keeping all current lighting as well), and LED lighting under the cabinets.~

~This WAS a full bathroom. Currently we use it as a pantry & beer storage room. We've never cared for it as a bathroom, as it feels like you're going outside to .. well, take a shower or go. The plan?? This will become a laundry room & beer storage room. The doorway will be made bigger, so we can fit the washer & dryer through it. If the room doesn't end up looking just as cluttered I'll be friggin' amazed, mainly because the beer stuff just takes up a LOT of awkward room.~

~This is a shot of the hallway. I was standing in the doorway to the deck when I took it. If you look in the lower left hand area of the photo you can see the doorknob and, behind it part of the wooden clothes drying rack. There is space behind that wall where we currently have shelving.
So, back here he's putting in glass brick to replace the current windows. You can't really see them at all in this photo, but if you look in the upper left hand area you can see the light coming in. He's going to put insulation in the walls, refinish the floors, and build custom cabinets for me to use for my pantry items and for the other things we keep back there. The freezer will stay in the hallway, the washer & dryer will go into the "laundry room" & the trap door to the basement will remain a trap door.

And that is pretty much all of it. I'll likely create a Flickr set of the photos since there are much more than posted here.
Like I said, we're really excited about this, and eager to be working with him. He's always been on time, very courteous, willing to work with us, sharing ideas, and makes us excited about the project. Now excuse me while I go throw up these butterflies.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wilted Tristan

That's my Tristan. Can you see how RED his poor little face is??? We went to the playground down the street, the boys call it "the Down Street Playground" as we do whenever weather is nice on Fridays. Well, today it was nice, but it was also 88 degrees!! WHEW!

Tristan is like me and turns beet red as soon as he gets hot. I always thought there was something a little wrong with me when it happened to me. Like I was out of shape or something. I just do not do well with heat. And neither does he.

Like a little flower or lettuce, we wilt after too much exposure in the sun and heat. I can watch it with him. His little shoulders start to slump, he walks instead of running, and will eventually hardly move. His hair sticks to his head.

We take plenty of cold water with us, and I make sure he sits down when he starts wilting. When it gets really bad is usually the sign it is time to go home. After too much wilting you just need to go rest for a bit. He's always fine as soon as he cools back down.

Shannon gets pretty red too, but he's more like Justin. He seems to handle the heat better. Even with that mop of curly red hair that flies like flames off of his head when he runs around.

I'm doomed

~photo brazenly swiped from

Ask Justin and he will tell you how "bad" I am at doctor's offices. Particularly in filling out forms. These forms ask you if you've ever had the following _x_ many symptoms, which include things like: headache, back ache, anxiety, sprained ankle, cold. Things which we've all had. So, when I go back to see the doc and they look at my chart, with all the things I've checked off, I tend to look like a very sick person even though I'm not. It's likely a good thing I go to an acupuncturist more frequently than a Western doc.

Today though I got an email that had info on "How to Make Sure a Heart Attack Doesn't Kill You." ~ Well, that is a good thing, right? I certainly don't want to die from a heart attack. Currently, whenever I have a freak-out moment and am sure I am having a heart attack (admit it, we all have those moments) I take my "heart attack pills" -- 2 aspirin and at least 1 Valium. This way if it is a heart attack the aspirin will hopefully keep me alive till 911 gets here and can save my ass (heart?) OR, if it isn't a heart attack (usually the case), the Valium will calm me down till I feel groovy once again.
According to this article though, I am apparently doomed to die soon as I seem to be having heart attacks a couple of times a week. Check it out:

Here are the typical symptoms women experience just before or during a heart attack:
• Fatigue
• Sleeplessness or insomnia
• Anxiety and stress, sometimes described as a feeling of “impending doom”
• Indigestion, nausea or heartburn
• Shortness of breath
• Flu-like symptoms
• Jaw, ear, neck, or shoulder pain
Interestingly, numbness and chest pain are typical male symptoms of heart attack that women may not experience.

You can read the entire article for yourself by clicking here:

For the record, I have actually been in the ER within the last 2 years (I'm really not good with time-lines) to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack. I didn't think I was, but I was having chest pains. I thought it was a reaction to medicine that the doc had just given me. I was right. The ER staff wouldn't listen, the doc on call was a jerk, and a lot of our $$ was wasted to make sure my ticker was healthy. -- Ok, knowing my ticker was in good shape was a nice relief, just because you need to have a healthy heart if you want to live. Still though.
I do think it is imperative that we be aware of our bodies and our health. But given that list above, I am seriously doomed to die pretty damn soon. The top 3 symptoms I have almost daily, the 4th regularly lately with the stress of this whole refinancing/remodeling stuff. Shortness of breath? Well, I have mild asthma and really need to get back in shape cardiovascularly speaking. Plus, heat is horrible for me. Neck Pain? Got that. It is related to my migraines. The only one I don't have is flu-like symptoms.

I'm curious to see how many other women out there have several of these symptoms on a regular basis.