Thursday, August 31, 2006

Snakes on a Bridge

Thank you domesticali for the suggestion! DH's response was a reference to the giant gingerbread man from Shrek 2. Which I took as a "thank you, but not quite right for our pup." So please, can we have some more submissions to the Name That Puppy contest, inspired by Farmgirl Fare's Name That Sheep contest of 2005? We would love to read any and all suggestions! But you won't win any puppies.

In other news, DH and I enjoyed a lovely spa day last Saturday. Well, he enjoyed a spa 90 minutes of Thai massage. He could have done more, but didn't want to. Silly boy. I had a haircut (I was waaaay overdue for a trim), facial, pedicure, and deep tissue massage. The facial was amazing, loved every minute and actually saw a noticable difference that I didn't see after the only other facial I've ever had, over three years ago. The pedicure was probably not worth it. I've learned that pedicures up to a certain monetary value are worth the money. Apparently there's only so much they can do to the feet after that. The massage was probably worth it, but not enjoyable. That was my first deep tissue massage and it really hurt. I had some huge knots in my back, presumably from the abuse it took during the move, and she could not break them all up. One in particular is actually visible, accoding to DH. Is that gross? Sorry. I may be hanging out with too many PTs lately. Anyway, all financed by various gifts we'd saved up over the years. A rare treat and much enjoyed.

That night we had a lovely evening of walking our friends' dogs (practice, practice!) and ice skating, which I hadn't done in years. I seem to be gaining a lot of fear as I age. I grew up in the land of ice and snow, after all. You'd think I'd be right at home. I think the knee surgeries I had and the doomsday diagnosis about having the cartilage of someone in late middle age when I was only 23 kind of shook my confidence in my body. But I persevered and progressed and didn't fall. Needs more practice.

Monday and Tuesday were uneventful work days. Wednesday I finished the copy editing job from hell. However, on the way to the Starbucks at which it was finished, via bicycle, I was nearly killed by a snake. Maybe a little exaggeration on the "almost killed," but no exaggeration on the "snake." The Starbucks is about two and a half miles from our house. Getting there requires crossing a bridge over the Santa Cruz River wash. Crossing the bridge, I didn't see this snake until I was almost on top of it. It was just to the right of the bike lane, and it was huge. I don't know what kind it was (brown, if that's a kind), if it was poisonous, or what, but it was huge. And did I mention huge. I can't guesstimate tonnage, you'll just have to take my word for it. DH's response: "Why didn't you help it back into the wash?" Oh yeah, why didn't I? And for that matter, why didn't I throw myself into oncoming traffic? Or off the bridge itself? Or drink a gallon of bleach? Why haven't I attempted to kill myself in any of a myriad of ways? Where has my head been? Men. Anyway, I wasn't the only one startled. I swear the snake jumped upon hearing my sharp inhalation of breath. As I crossed the bridge, recovering, and proud of myself for actually not swerving into traffic, I noticed anew the huge construction site on that same side of the road, and now I think the poor snake was probably sans home. Then I felt bad. But not bad enough to go back and commit hari kari via snake bite.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It's a Boy!

Well, we already knew that. But now we know which boy! And we're officially taking suggestions for names. This is turning out to be much harder than naming the cats was. Probably because I keep picturing myself yelling it across a park in front of large numbers of people. So post some comments with male puppy names, please! We just might use one. These are all him:

I have lots more to blog, but I also have to go to bed. More to come, asap.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Snow Days

This morning came with a very sudden and welcome turnaround from the direction it had been taking toward The-Most-Stressed-I-Had-Been-Since-Grad-School, a cold and dark
wasteland from which I just barely escaped once, never mind a second go around. I finished one copy editing job last night, only to open another one and find thick stacks of about 250 pages of papers, many single-spaced, due in about ten days. This figured out to approximately an obscene number of pages that I must complete each day to reach the deadline (and I was just recently late with a deadline, something that's happened only a handful of times in the three years I've been doing this). The problem is that I copy edit articles for academic journals, and most of those journals are quarterlies, which means I get dumptrucked on quarterly. And I have not been my hyperorganized, on-top-of-everything self lately. There's a huge stack of bills and filing, I'm missing birthdays, the house is a disaster, my sewing room is still nowhere near complete, too many errands for my comfort are pending, etc. It's hard for your garden variety type A to deal with.

Then two things happened: First, I learned I would not have to go in to work today at all. Ah, the magic of working PRN! "Snow days" come more frequently here in the desert than they ever did when I was growing up in the 'burgh, north of the Adirondacks, if you can imagine such a concept. Of course the reality of a snow day is a little different in that there is now no actual involvement of said snow, but there is still the unexpected thrill of waking up expecting to face another day, put another "x" on the calendar, only to get the phone call from heaven that, in fact, I have the day off! And there's the downside of not getting paid. On the other hand, this meant I could spend the whole day copy editing, for which I do get paid, and thus carve a nice chunk out of the work I had expected to be tethered to all weekend.

Second, I checked my email and found more puppy pictures!

The breeder will be doing temperament testing this weekend and allocate the puppies to their families on Monday. The two girls are apparently already reserved, so now we also know that we'll be getting a boy. She sent a dozen pictures of only nine puppies, so obviously some are dupes, but Lord help me, I can't tell them apart. Some look more reddish than others, but that could also just be the lighting. They're all just darn cute (as all juvenile animals are meant to be) piles of fluff. She also asked for preferences regarding ship date, and I learned that he could come home as early as the ninth, but I don't have a set date yet. Time to make a list of the 10,000 things that need to be done before he gets here and get cracking. Or get DH cracking while my butt is glued to the couch with my hand glued to my red copy editing pen.

I also learned three interesting things today (interesting to me anyway):
  • My old standby technique for copy editing, whereby all unknown or unfamiliar words and terms are replaced by such ubiquities as "whosit" and "whatsit" thus making the sentence comprehensible for grammar checks, does not, in fact, work for all academic fields. Specifically, I have stumbled upon a segment of academia so baffling to me that there are more whosits and whatsits in the sentence than anything else, making it instead less comprehensible than it was before. Case in point: "The spread of whatsits such as thingamajig, doodad, and whatsitsname has greatly contributed to the rapid dissemination of whosits among several thingies of human and verterinary importance." And that's a tame one. I just don't have the time to find the wild ones hiding in the bush for your reading excitement.

  • Despite the fact that I live in a so-called desert, one's lawn can apparently turn into a veritable jungle within a matter of three weeks during monsoon season. And further despite the fact that the real estate agent specifically told us she thought all the grass was going to die. It didn't. In fact, DH and I somehow failed to reckon with the fact, until days after we had moved in, that it was actually our responsibility to now care for this lawn. Lawn? Who said anything about a lawn? Wait a minute, lawncare requires a lawnmower! No sir, we did not sign up for that. Who has a lawn in the desert? Actually, far too many people, if you ask me, but we never intended to be one of them. We just never put two and two together and now we have to buy a lawn mower. This seems as overwhelming and daunting a task as buying a new car. In theory, DH is on it.

  • It turns out that fat really does weigh less than muscle. I am now suspiciously close to my wedding weight (according to the MD's scale at my recent check-up), which, for those of you who didn't know me then, was my fighting weight, my I-can-pretty-much-wear-whatever-I-want-without-thinking-twice weight (periods that have come fleetingly in my life). That should sound like a great thing, but I feel like I have the same amount of flab on me I had 16 pounds ago. Could I have really lost that much muscle? DH seems to have no trouble believing it, but he's a boy and that much muscle is nothing to them. Women don't put it on so easy. I recently figured out my supposed "ideal weight," not the fashion magazine kind, but the Women's Health kind with all the very complicated calculations that registered dieticians use for actual optimum health, as close as any calculation can figure it. Now I'm starting to see how that low, low number I figured is actually possible. With the same amount of muscle that most of my girlfriends have on them (i.e., very, very little), that would actually be a reasonable weight for me. Not unhealthy at all. I think being a rower in college just skewed my idea of what normal muscle mass was for a woman; although, I was never by any means any kind of hulking warrior princess. Looking in the mirror, I see the back muscles I've carried for the past ten years are gone. But when I think about the kind of effort it took to keep all that muscle, way way more than the average fitness plan, I start to question whether it's worth trying to rebuild to the same degree. Out of my early 20s, I'm not so insecure about how I look. Other things are more important now. Frankly, I'm busy. I don't have the same drive to excel at fitness so much as to just meet the status quo. But am I really willing to surrender to the fact that I've probably peaked, in that totally vain, shallow, physical way (note me noting that none of this really matters; feel no need to scaffold my self-esteem, sweet as any such intentions would absolutely be)? This is a tough fact to come to terms with for me. Kids are not too, too far in the future and I think I still see that as the beginning of the end, for my body anyway. Well, I'm not going to reach a decision this moment, so I'll just revel in the uncommonly low (for me) numbers on the scale, and ignore the rest for now!

  • Now really, this can't be comfortable.

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    No News Is Boring News

    This is a token post, a space-filler. Not much quality here today, I'm afraid. DH tore the computer apart today, unexpectedly, so I don't have access to Photoshop, which I usually use to try and pretty up my pics (as much as possible). But I've had these on the camera for days now, so I got him to show me how to upload them to my laptop. We're still unpacking. I'm still disorganized. I'm still getting slammed with copy editing, so I've had no time for anything. I honestly don't even feel inspired to write today. Could it be the three straight hours of Project Runway that's been on tv in the background rotting my brain? I swear I'm actually making progress toward having interesting things to post again, but I'm not there yet. In the meantime, here are a few tastes of what's going on around here.

    Not sure what happened with this glass. I had set it down on the floor, then dropped this silver goblet-y thing on it accidentally. It broke right at the level of the liquid, which we found fascinating. We couldn't decide whether to peg it on the cohesive or adhesive properties of the liquid. Any takers on that one?

    This is a chocolate chip banana bread I made today because I had some way overripe bananas. It was a new recipe I pulled off Epicurious. Not overly impressed. It's a little dry, but I didn't actually measure out the banana volume, so maybe I didn't have quite enough. Small matter; it's just going to work for the colleagues anyway. It was kind of nice to bake something for the first time in a loooooonnnnngg time. I generally have no restraint with all things baked, so they seldom make appearances in our house.

    Here are a couple of promised pictures from the walking/cycling path near our house. The views are nothing phenomenal, I know, but I'm just so happy to have someplace I can walk, alone, even at night, and feel 100% safe.

    This last pic is a mountain near our house of which I'm just particularly fond.

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Kind of Puts It All in Perspective

    DH emailed me these yesterday and I thought they were way too cool not to share. This is one of the most enlightening things I've seen since my first barium swallow video (when my entire dysphagia class suddenly came to a new understanding of the anatomy we'd been poring over for months--"Oh, that's the valleculae? Now I get it.") .

    Monday, August 14, 2006

    Kitty Bling

    DH is still working on the computer, so no pics. Sorry.

    I've been slowly edging myself toward getting up earlier in the morning because I have big plans to join the LA Fitness near our new house and go to the 5:45 Aqua Fitness and Spinning classes. They say that when you need to get up earlier in the morning you should get up 5 minutes earlier every day to ease into it. So I am not yet getting up early enough for the gym classes, but I do have time to kill before work, so I went for a walk this morning. I discovered that there's a paved bicycle/pedestrian path in the wash that borders our development, which will be perfect for dog-walking! I'm very excited about this. On the one side, you can look into people's backyards and compare landscaping and patio furniture. Turn to the other side and a wide open desert vista confronts you, with only a few manmade structures visible in the distance. I'll have to post a picture. It's not the most picturesque Tucson landscape, but it's certainly better than the QuickMart we had previously as our walking scenery.

    On a totally different topic, since when did Petsmart decide that ID tags should cost $18 each? For the cheapest ones? All three cats need new tags now that our address has changed. I read that you're not supposed to put your name or address on their tags anymore because bad people will use the info to steal your cat or rob your house. Now you're just supposed to put your phone number. So I'm doing that, but I'm ordering them online where I found them for only $4 each. I wanted to order a dog tag, too, but we don't know the gender yet and I really felt that would guide my decision as to what shape and color the tag will be. I know. You don't even have to think it.

    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    Checking Back In

    Told you I'd be back! Sorry for the long hiatus. Everything is finally moved in. DH and a friend whose stock around this place just went up a hundredfold moved all the big furniture yesterday with the help of a dolly. DH swears we are hiring movers next time. I don't blame him. He's been cleaning the old apartment all day. I've been continuing to unpack the new place. All the important stuff is 99% done. DH will tackle all the electronics (e.g., tv, stereo, computer) over the next few days. Then we're left with his office, my sewing room, and all the decorative stuff: hanging pictures, making curtains, etc. I'm calling Aveda tomorrow to schedule massages for both of us next weekend.

    The kitties hated the drive up here. My vow for this move is that next time all three will be sedated. Puck and Lita were in a carrier together and fought. Bob was in a second by herself and I think she was throwing herself against the door the whole drive. When we got here, they had to be locked in the bathroom for hours while all the furniture was being moved in. I periodically checked on them and invariably found that Lita was still in her carrier and Puck was beating on Bob who had her face hidden in a corner. It was heartbreaking seeing Bob, in particular, so scared because she's usually so confident. Poor dears. But they've bounced back quickly. There are lots of big windows in this house, which they love. And the wildlife viewing is much improved from our central apartment. I saw a bunny in the backyard yesterday, and again in someone else's front yard tonight when walking to the mailbox. Also a quail. There are lots of other birds I can't identify and that we didn't have at our last place. Really big birds, too. So the kitties will have lots to watch to keep them busy. Nobody's going outside for a while.

    I've also started them all on a diet. Lita has surpassed the cute, chubby weight she was at for years and is now pitifully, downright fat. I'm worried about her, so no more grazing for anyone. They usually have a big bowl of food at all times. Now it will be measured portions every morning and night. Regular food for Puck and Bob, Lite food for Lita. Maybe Puck will even put on some weight while Lita loses. This really would have been a necessary change in another month anyway as I wouldn't leave cat food out with a puppy in the house.

    A new copy editing job arrived in the midst of this move, so I'd better get busy with that. Sorry no pics today. Our wireless is set up, but not the main computer, so I'm writing this from my laptop with no way to upload pics at present. I'll get on that as soon as DH has it set up.

    Saturday, August 05, 2006

    Empty Nest

    I had a request for some interior shots of the new house, so here's the best I could do with what little energy I had left after work:

    Living room, shot standing near the kitchen

    Kitchen, shot standing in the dining area

    Living room in the foreground, shot standing near the front doorway. The dining area is at the far end, with the kitchen directly to the left of it, out of camera range.

    There is also another room through the french doors you can just make out to the left of that last shot. It will probably be the office/DH's computer room. The master bedroom is through that arched doorway to the right of the last shot. Down the hall to the left is a guest bathroom, guest bedroom, & another bedroom that will be a sewing room for me!

    As you can see below, the backyard is in pretty rough shape, but we figured that was perfect for a new puppy! No pristine landscaping to be ruined. And I can try some experimental gardening with no reprecussions.

    We'll be doing a lot more moving this weekend, and maybe not much else. So posts may be scarce for the next week while we finish up. Patience, grasshopper. I promise to post more frequently in the near future.

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    New Digs

    Work is going well this week. It continues to improve every week as I like to think I get more competent and, therefore, confident. I have learned, though, that, contrary to my previous assumptions, I am not the worst person at dealing with stress. Let's leave it at that.

    We've now taken about 8 carloads of stuff up to the new house. And my Matrix holds quite a bit of said stuff. DH is now referring to it as the "clown car." We've been preparing items to pack each night, getting up early to load the cars each morning, then dropping off the goods at the new abode after work each evening. Every morning, when packing my car, we get to the end of what we'd prepared and find the thing maybe half full. Then we run around the apartment grabbing whatever we can to shove in there and get to work. Anyway, here's a pic of the new 'hood. If you look very closely, you can even see my wreath, already transported and hung on the front door. You may also notice, at the very right of the picture (try clicking on it to make it bigger), behind the tree, the gate with spaces between its iron bars big enough for several Pucks and maybe one Lita to get through. Okay, maybe you can't see it in this picture. But, at any rate, don't worry, we'll be covering that with something or other. I'm not making it that easy for him to go gallivanting around the neighborhood. And Lita won't be going out at all unsupervised. I really don't think she'll mind much. She kind of likes having the place to herself now when the other two are out. In the plus column, we are at a nice median distance from both the major road and the wash, minimizing danger to my furbabies both by car and coyote/hawk/owl/generic cat-killer.

    By the way, we've had some meteorological excitement 'round these parts lately. It's monsoon season and we had some nice flooding Monday. The Rillito River flooded in a dramatic manner. I tried to take a picture Tuesday, but it was already mostly dried up. Here's one pic from our local NBC affiliate.

    Gratuitous kitty picture.