Sunday, July 29, 2007

Optimus Prime's Got Nothin' on True Love

I've been trying for three days to get a decent post up, but I've been so buried in copy editing that by the time I stop for the night I'm exhausted and haven't had the energy to blog. But I'll do my best.

Chewy is, happily, on the mend. Still taking antibiotics and laxatives for a few more days, but seems just about 100% again. It's the strangest thing...he takes the pills straight. And chews and swallows. Like they were treats. We don't have to hide them in dog food, or cheese, or peanut butter, or anything.

Last night we set out with some friends for what should have been one of the best movie nights of all time: The Princess Bride was scheduled to play on the big screen at the Fox Theater. But we got there and found that they had cancelled it due to the AC being out from the previous night's monsoon. AC? We don't need no stinkin' AC! This is Tucson! Our blood is the consistency of water. Just leave the doors open, we'll be fine. Nothing, nothing else we could have done that night would have been any kind of worthy substitute for that opportunity. Sadly, the only substitute available was Transformers. Definitely. Not. Worthy. As if I have to say so. But I will grant that I was at least entertained for most of it. Not as bored as I expected. Could have been worse. But save your money. Unless you're really into the Transformers. It's not that it was poorly made; it is what it is. I just had no interest in the subject matter.

In Christmas-in-July spirit I finished this Advent calendar. Trying to dig myself out from the pile of projects. It's slow going, but very satisfying.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Neither Snow, nor Rain, nor Heat, nor Gloom of Dark Magic...

Harry Potter should have arrived on my doorstep Saturday, according to an email I got from Amazon several weeks ago. I made big plans to drop everything the minute he arrived and head for a coffee shop to read all day. I even went to the gym early, started the laundry early, was as productive as possible, knowing that any minute the package would be delivered and the rest of the day would be lost to the world of magic.

When it got to be 8:30 at night and it still hadn't come, I gave up. My UPS tracking number said it was out for delivery, but obviously it wasn't coming. The next day, when UPS said it was delivered, the Husband got on the phone with Amazon who told him that UPS had delivered all their packages to the USPS. We grabbed the Pooch and headed to the mailbox.

The mailboxes in our neighborhood are clustered in big blocks of boxes that require keys to open them from the resident's (sidewalk) side, while the mail deliverer inserts them into the boxes from his (street) side. There is apparently a slight mismatch between what fits on the carrier's side vs the opening we see when we open our mailbox doors to pick up the mail. Or else he used an expanding charm to make it fit.

We literally tore the box off the book while it was still in the mailbox in order to squeeze the book out. I was so frustrated when the book wouldn't come out. It was Sunday! Everyone else was well into their HPs, if not finished already! I was living in fear of overhearing a spoiler. The Husband, doubting Thomas that he is, said it was "against the laws of physics," that there was no way it was coming out of the mailbox. I think the magic of hope made it somehow shrink it's dimensions just enough to slip out once we had enough cardboard out of the way to turn it diagonally. And then it was mine.

I just finished tonight and felt so drained. I didn't want to talk to the Husband or anybody. I just wanted to sit and process and mourn the end. I was quite pleased with the whole thing, but it was just so intense. It has exhausted me. I was pleased to have been right about some of the theories that were important to me. And to have been right in some ways that I did not expect, but were better than I had guessed. I'll read it again in the near future, I think, now that the tension has abated some. I think I'd enjoy it more the second time, knowing in advance how it all turns out.

It was good, actually, that I had the book to while away the hours the last few days as the Pooch has been much under the weather. Sunday morning he was just not himself. He lazed around all day, more than expected. Then we realized he wasn't eating or drinking. Wouldn't even take treats or ice cubes. Seemed to have struggle or pain with urinating. We worried. We went to bed. The next morning was the same, so he went to the vet Monday. The Husband took him because he's too big for me to lift into the car while pregnant.

They mentioned Valley Fever, they mentioned urinary tract infections, they said he had a fever and had lost weight. They gave us antibiotics and said to feed him broth. We did. He threw both up. He went back to the vet. They took x-rays. No obstruction, but they saw he was a bit backed up. They gave us laxatives. So he's been on a steady diet of broth, with increasing proportions of dry food, along with the meds since then. No action from the back end yet, though he seems to be peeing just fine now. They drew blood. Results should be back tomorrow. But he's looking much more himself, so I think he'll be fine, whatever it is.

In the meantime, while waiting for Harry, I made a couple of soft books from panels my mom picked up at a yard sale.

And we've been enjoying dropping temps with the arrival of monsoon season.

Though some of us don't seem to have noticed one way or the other.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones

This is what I did on Sunday. The to-be-nursery has more recently been the guest bedroom. It currently has two large, hulking bookcases in it, which seemed like at least one too many for a baby's needs. Especially once we get the crib and glider in there. So I packed up all my old Greek and Latin texts, all my speech-language pathology stuff, most of the husband's computer books, and more. This freed up one whole bookcase, which will eventually be broken down and garaged, and half of the other, so there's plenty of room for baby books.

I didn't feel like I was pushing it too much physically, but there's a good chance I was wrong. For the last couple of weeks I've been having increasing back pain. Not lower, which I would have expected, but upper right. Obviously due to the increasingly imbalanced weight, the loosening of the abdominal muscles, shifting upwards of the ribs. Getting through eight-hour days at work has been rough. I've been in pretty significant pain by the time I'm heading home (and "significant" for me, with this kind of pain, is noteworthy as I have a fairly high pain tolerance for this stuff). Can't take ibuprofen when you're pregnant and Tylenol does nothing for me. Anyway, Sunday night the pain was so bad it woke me up in the middle of the night and kept me up for hours. I'm not sure what that's indicative of exactly, but my years of interactions with orthopedists has taught me that it definitely falls under the classification of "not good." So Monday morning, instead of waiting for the pain to gradually build throughout the day, I got start off with it right from the get go! Yay.

But I heated and iced like crazy last night, with the husband's gracious assistance, and today was much better. Hubby also hooked me up with a prenatal massage tonight, which I'm hoping will also help. I've laid off the gym the last couple days. Doing some physical therapy exercises that my mother-in-law, a very experienced PT though unfortunately out-of-state, and a PT at work, also very experienced though unfortunately mostly in geriatric acute care, assigned me. I think it's only a muscular problem. I don't think there's anything skeletal going on, but I can't be sure as I do have a history of herniated and bulging discs. But that was several years ago. The massage therapist tonight said my scoliosis could be partly to blame. She was able to feel extra tightness on my right intercostals (muscles between your ribs that help you breathe) and left IT band (running from your hip to your knee), which support my mother-in-law's theory that it may have something to do with my ribs. That would also explain the day that it hurt to breathe. Not fun at all.

But it was better today, so we may just have to stick with this heat/ice/occasional massage regimen. I'd like to eke out at least one more month of work, if possible. Anyway, enough anatomy/injury talk.

Chewy is one year old! Can hardly believe it. We need to have a little doggie party for him. Or at least a doggie cake. Or an extra bone. Something.

This also alerted me that my one-year blog-day passed me right by without acknowledgement. Oh well. Can't keep up with every milestone.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Critic's Corner

I made the lemon cake Thursday night. Unfortunately, like Ouiser, I also neglected to take pictures of it. Mostly because I didn't put the glaze on until just before we left for the party last night, and we were in such a rush that it slipped my mind. But it was delicious, got lots of compliments, and it was kind of fun to make. I think because I had my new Microplane zester, with which I promptly grated some finger into the lemon within the first 30 seconds of use. Aside from that, zesting was much more enjoyable than ever; so efficient! One bit of warning with that recipe: it says six to eight large lemons. I used three. Did you find that, too, Ouiser?

Anyway, it was great. Which is an impressive review given that I was making it around the hours of 1:30 to 4:00 am. I couldn't help it. I came home from a nine-hour day at work (that didn't used to be a big deal, but apparently now I'm pregnant enough that it is), and was just so exhausted, I knew it was a bad idea, but I fell asleep at six-something. I woke up at 7:00 and made myself get up, tried to stay up until a decent bedtime hour, but nothing doing. Fell asleep again at 8:00, slept until the husband got home from class at 11:30. Then it was all over. I was up. So the baking occurred in the wee hours. Then I slept again from 4:00 to 6:00. Not ideal, but I survived, and I'll even say the cake was worth it. Wish I had a picture. It was pretty. Even the husband complemented the look of it and he never notices those things, nor does he, as a rule, even like lemon cake.

Tonight we saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I'll give no spoilers here, but I will say the following:

  • Daniel Radcliffe is growing into a fine actor. He's young, he's still got lots of improvement ahead of him, but he's becoming quite promising. All the teenage angst in this book gave him fodder with which to break in the real acting chops with this movie.

  • Best casting choices: Luna Lovegood and Bellatrix LeStrange. Excellent. Perfect.

  • Look for a line of dialogue from Luna that the husband and I can figure for nothing other than a massively blatant bit of foreshadowing that was not in the book. I know J. K. has lots of control in these movies. I can only assume she decided to sneak this in to please the fans, especially a week before the final book's released. I won't give the line, but fans should spot it easily.

  • Also a fine performance by Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge. I expect that was an extremely challenging role to play--sickeningly sweet and terrifying at the same time--and she nailed it.

I don't have any real criticisms. The husband hates any movies made from books. But he also hates live music (I know, I know. And he's really quite smart about most other things, I swear.), so he clearly just has a real hang-up about anything altered from it's original version. I could stand for Julie Walters to be a little less shrill, but she does look just as I picture Mrs. Weasley. I will give away (because it's not really giving away anything) that they did not manage to include St. Mungo's, which is a shame as it would have been a really great piece of filmmaking. But you can't include everything, and I understand the limitations.

And I've got dibs on reading the book first (within this household anyway) when it comes next weekend! Very excited...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Shopping Spree

Today was the first "snow day" I've had this summer. Meaning, a day where we finally got so slow for the summer at work that we had too many people scheduled, so I got to stay home.

I spent the morning working on the most ridiculous paperwork for my professional certification. Remember over a year ago when I started my clinical fellowship? That was over in February. Granted, it took me a couple months to get all the paperwork together and send it in to them. But then it took them two more months to decide they couldn't find everything and send it back to me. Luckily I had photocopies of everything, but some of this stuff I sent in a year ago! Usually I'm very relaxed and methodical about form-filling and applications, but somehow having to do the same one for a second time five months after this should have been done with was overly stressful. But it's done and in the mail and I'm out $40 for having to reorder transcripts and test scores but whatever. It just better work this time.

I swam for half an hour today at the community pool, from about 11:00 to 11:30. And I'm burned. Probably doesn't sound unusual for July in Tucson, but this is the first time it's happened. I wonder if pregnancy makes you more susceptible to the sun? It's not a bad burn at all. The kind that will be gone tomorrow. But that's the third time in the past two months that I've gotten that kind of mild burn, so that's not so good. Now I know, so I'll know to where sunblock for even that brief of a swim.

I also had a marathon shopping day. I realized that no one will get any Christmas presents this year (or birthday for the 99% of people I know who have birthdays in December, myself included) unless I mail them in September or October. Somehow, I just don't see shopping, packaging, or trips to the post office happening in the six weeks after I have the baby. But this is good, because there are several little ones on my list, and since I've been having this sudden yearning to shop for my own baby (which is silly with showers coming), my plan was to take it out on them instead. Except that I ended up shopping for them and my own baby. Oops. Maybe the husband will talk some sense in to me and I'll return some of it. But it was only from Old Navy. One can't do too much damage there.

I also had a bit more maternity shopping to do. It never ends. Allow me to simply say that it's become blindingly apparent that certain undergarments I've been attempting to squeeze into for months past their limit just can't be squeezed into anymore. So I broke down and spent more money. On the plus side, these are things I'll need after the baby comes anyway, so I guess it's a wash. I also may have found a little something to wear for my shower in Ithaca in August, and to Scarlet Lily's engagement party. And a little something for Scarlet herself! Never fear, Scarlet, I will be plenty pregnant to satisfy even the likes of you in another five weeks. Believe me!

I also bought the lemons and things I needed to try that lemon cake. I'll tackle that tomorrow. I'm tuckered out from being such a good consumer today.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Goats and Sheep and Chickens, Oh My!

We're back from CA, safe and sound. We arrived on Wednesday. The plane was about an hour and a half late, but compared to my last misadventure, it was a dream flight. We stayed at my mother-in-law's farm, north of Sacramento, that she runs with her partner through Friday. My nephew, J, had been there all week and was an old farmhand (as old as you can be at not quite 18 months) by the time we got there. We met the pygmy goats and one regular goat, Mr. and Mrs. Baa (sheep, if you can't guess), and lots of chickens. It was about as ungodly hot there as it was in Tucson, unfortunately.

The husband feeding the pygmies, who are very shy.

Mr. and Mrs. Baa were rescued from previous owners who didn't have them sheared for three years, and it shows. Their new owners are currently desperately searching for someone to shear these poor creatures. They must be literally at least half wool.

Friday we headed to the cabin in Tahoe (the north side, sans fire), where we had a birthday party for the husband's uncle that evening. The next morning they through a baby shower for me--my first! It was lots of fun and included...

butterfly tattoos (even the boys were good sports and allowed themselves to be branded)...
and onesie decorating. The men joined in on this, too, which was great.

We brought home lots of fabulous gifts. We left Tahoe that evening to drive back to the farm, and flew out early Sunday morning. Too brief, as always, but it was great fun to see everyone and I was so touched that so many of the husband's family drove and flew in for the occasion. And Tahoe was beautiful, also predictably. It was the first time the husband and I had been there in the summer, though. The weather was perfect. I didn't manage to get any pics, but I know the husband's brother did, so I'll see if I can get some to share.

The flight home was also mercifully reasonable. Some nausea with the landing in Tucson (lots of turbulence), but it could have been worse. Keep your fingers crossed for my trip back East again in August.

I didn't work today, but kept plenty busy around the house. Also test-drove some Chai brownies from the March 2007 Cooking Light issue that I had planned to make for a pot-luck with people from work this Friday. Good thing I did because they did not turn out well. Very dry, so I won't share the recipe. I substituted whole wheat white flour for the all-purpose flour, which may have been the problem. Not sure. So now I'll have to come up with something else for Friday. Considering Ouiser's lemon cake.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day

We're off to Sacramento and Tahoe (fortunately, the north side of the lake, not the south side where the fires were) for the holiday weekend! The husband and I are going to visit his family and have my first baby shower. Should be beautiful weather and lots of fun. I'll be back Sunday, and hope to post again on Monday. I've done nothing but work since my last post. When I wasn't at the hospital, I was home copy editing myself half to death. I'll try to have some pretty mountain scenery to post when I get back.