Saturday, December 18, 2010

Furiously Playing Catch Up

Raise your glass to another disjointed blog entry! Let me tell you about my last few weeks. 

I completely finished all my classes at the community college I have attended for three years. I am transferring to a CSU for this spring semester. I feel very lucky to have been accepted because the school said they may not accept students because of budget cuts, and they did! I recently signed up for classes for my Child Development major. 

I am now the computer teacher for grades pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. I'm very lucky in that the previous computer teacher is very much mentoring me through the transition and has so much to teach me. I love my job and every class is different and fun! 

(Plus side of being a teacher is that you receive wonderful Christmas gifts! I have received Sees candy, socks, gloves, chocolate, homemade treats, money, Starbucks gift cards, and a bunch of holiday cards. I love how this school has such a small-town feel to it, and everyone is just so nice.)

I have been watching How I Met Your Mother (awesome TV series!) on Project Free TV, which is so cool! 

Katy Perry's new song Firework is awesome. Taylor Swift's new song Speak Now and the CD is awesome. Tonight I learned that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," act was repealed.  All good things!

I turned twenty-two. I should really write a post about that, but suffice to say it was fun, Nick took me out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, and now he only has a few days before he catches me up. 

My baby brother turned 19. 'Nuff said. 

I'm typing this in bed while my boyfriend and our friends play Minecraft in our living room. They're having a LAN party. I tried to play and then decided to hide out in the kitchen, pumping out pizzas and clam linguini and cookies. Yummy!

Cheers!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Finished, Done, Kaput.

I'm all done with my courses at my community college, and ready to move on to the school I will get my BA and teaching certification from!

All done with microbiology and chemistry after a year of procrastinating. WHEEEEEEE!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

In Which I Take a Slap at My Subconscious

I just dyed my hair to the same Hazelnut color it was for a while in high school.

This is noteworthy because I had a horrible dream where I dyed my hair and when I rinsed it out my hair had gray streaks in it. GRAY STREAKS.  

And then I woke up and dyed it anyway. 

TAKE THAT, DREAM-SELF. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How to Procrastinate your Micro Test for a WHOLE YEAR

Step 1: Take a ton of classes and promptly get too stressed to finish them. 

Step 2: Beg your teachers for Incompletes. 

Step 3: Rejoice! You have a whole year to wait before finishing your classes!

Step 4: Forget everything you ever learned.

Step 5: Think you really should get on those classes. 

Step 6: Realize that the amount of studying you need to do is frightening and decide to read instead. 

Step 7: Play, Frolic, Laugh, and ignore your impending deadline. 

Step 8: Change majors, decide you really don't want to finish your classes, especially since finishing them involves two microbiology finals and one chemistry final. 

Step 9: Weep, for the academic counselors say they must be finished or you will get an "F". 

Step 10: Wait until you have 2 weeks left, study your ass off, and take your finals, and feel satisfaction in that you totally postponed these tests a whole year past what the other students did!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Whoops

I haven't updated in so long that my computer forgot to remember my password for me, so I had to wrack my brains so I could post some gibberish. You're welcome. 

Gibberish Point the First: I am having a hellish few days and it's all my fault. If you remember, last year I took microbiology and chemistry (and some more stuff) and got so stressed that I got IBS and it took me a year to feel better. I got Incompletes in my classes which meant I could take a year to finish my classes--and to finish them I need to take three finals. Which I procrastinated on for nearly a year. I have eleven days to take them and finish my education class and still work during which I am taking over teaching computers. I was busy for twelve hours straight today. 

Gibberish Point the Second: dude, THANKSGIVING HAPPENED! I spent it with Nick and his family at their cabin in the snow! It was awesome! We ate a lot and played games and drank mai tais and discovered we don't like Bloody Mary's and totally didn't shop on Black Friday. 

Gibberish Point the Third: I am super serious about this working out and losing weight thing. So super serious that I totally worked out for 45 minutes and then made cookies. BOO-YEAH! 

Gibberish Point the Fourth: We finished watching all the available seasons of Psych and really want the next season to come out on netflix so we can stare mindlessly at the TV some more!

Gibberish Point the Fifth: My Nanny is moving here from Florida! She gets here soon. We're very happy she is going to be living near us!


Okay. I'm gonna go zone out in front of X-Files (my boyfriend is a geek) for the rest of the night so I can study my butt off tomorrow for my lab exam and portfolio tomorrow. Ugh. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

BBC Update: Sweaty

Well, in Bikini Body Challenge news; I gained weight. 

I don't actually own a scale, but my pants are tighter and my tummy is flabbier. (Sexy! Pow!) 

BUT I just went and worked out for the first time since I quit the gym since I quit Taekwondo. Yes. We have been living on our own for three plus months, about fifty yards away from our own gym, and I just managed to drag my ass over there to get sweaty and exhausted before dragging my way back and collapsing on the couch. 

Then I ate a salad. With rice vinegar. I was too lazy to make my own yummy dressing. 


. . . so do I have to do this workout things multiple times to see results? 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sac Night Out!

Andra and I went out clubbing Saturday night! We had so much fun. Also fun was saving money by being on the guestlist and then being able to spend it on mai tai's. Yummy! 


Thursday, November 11, 2010

I suspect . . .

. . . that after driving through San Francisco's teeny tiny streets with their bajillion trillion streetlights I will no longer mind the moderate amount of lights when driving through Sacramento. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quick Update

I taught computer class all by my self today, and by December will be teaching it completely! I'll go into that later. Suffice to say, it was fun, and awesome, and I wanna do it again. 

I substitute kindergarten tomorrow. Which means I have to get up early. Ugh. 

Went out with my coworker friends today, laughed a lot. Fun!

Our apartment is messy. 

I love my boyfriend. 

This weekend will be busy. 

I really, truly, seriously for-reals this time must study for my incompletes. 

Mwah!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween

Happy Birthday to the best Mommy in the world! 

Today was kind of busy; we drove to my parents house, drove our last foster kitten down to be adopted (like he is every weekend), went to the grocery store for mom's birthday dinner, drove to Nick's parents house and visited, drove to town again to pick up the kitten, saw a lady looking at him, chatted a minute, she decided she wanted to adopt him, stayed late to adopt my last sweet baby out, drove home, was sad a little bit about adopting him out with mom and dad and Troy, made dinner for mom (white wine sauce linguine with seared scallops, cheese roasted veggies, homemade french bread, and carrot cake), then drove past Nick's parents house to go to Troy's friend's free haunted house, screamed a lot, drove home, and sat down, whereupon I just realized I forgot to steal toilet paper from mom's house like I meant to. 

That was the longest run-on sentence ever! Go me! 

Nick was "Captain One-Eyed Willy" and I was his pirate wench. I'll post photos later. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Substituting For the First Time

I taught third grade today. 

The principal called me this morning right while I was getting ready to leave for a dentist appointment and asked if I could sub for a sick teacher. I told him that I'd love to, but I have a dentist appointment. Would he still need me around ten? He said yes. 

(FYI, I have a slightly receding gumline on one tooth that I just need to brush more lightly, and a tiny cavity that should be able to be reversed by flossing. Whew! Dental Phobia Watch over for six months!) 

So I show up at ten-thirty at the school and get walked back to the classroom which has ten third graders standing. I'm greeted--"Good afternoon, Miss Katie"--and they are given permission to be seated. Ms. R, the school secretary, shows me the lesson plan and leaves me with some encouraging words. 

We start. 

Some relevant points:

1. Math. Sucks. 

2. They teach math super weird. 

3. It's hard to stick to the times alloted. Running behind is common. 

4. PE is awesome. They are gone 30 minutes and you can plan ahead! 

5. Bless Burger King's Value Meal and close proximity. 

6. History is awesome. I felt like I was actually teaching, we were taking points from the book and discussing them with real-life situations and problems. We even tied in some geography because I pulled down the big map and we went over the terrain for eastern and western United States and then learned about Mexico. 

7. I can't wait to learn the skills needed to keep a class under control. I feel like yelling just can't be the answer, ya'know?

8. Threats. Threatsthreatsthreats DO YOU WANT TO HAVE TIME-OUT? STOPPIT. 

9. Awe at children's ability to bounce back. After a day of me feeling one step behind and wishing I had better control of them and better teaching abilities, one of the children who was giving me the most problems said, "You're a good teacher, Miss Katie." 

10. They were sad I wasn't substituting tomorrow. I love them. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Celebrity Chat

No, I didn't talk to a real celebrity. But last night, after sitting through a school board meeting, I met and chatted for about a half an hour with the Assistant Dean of my college, and an Assistant Superintendent of the school district. By the time we were done I felt as though I'd been chatting with a celebrity. 

You can call me weird. It's okay. 

They were so nice! They answered some questions and asked us (my friend from college class was there) about our class and the elementary school, and what we want to do, and they gave us their cards and said to call them anytime, they need great teachers. 

Whee!

Kindergarten

Kindergarten is where I will be for the next six weeks, since I finished up the first six weeks in special ed. I am loving this college class for the field experience we wannabe teachers are getting. The lectures are interesting, even if it is the same type of learning experience every day; we get into groups, read a section of the chapter (that we are supposed to have already read) and then write up a poster and present it; I suppose it's best for us to get experience in front of the classroom, and I certainly can relay that public speaking is no longer the stuff of nightmares. 

So far in this kindergarten class I have worked one-on-one with students who are struggling to recognize their ABC's and the related phonetics. It is a lot of repetition; you say the letter, the sound, and then the picture that relates to the letter; a lot of "A-ah-apple, B-buh-bear, C-cuh-cat," etc. Then we write down the letters on a whiteboard and have the child recognize it and (hopefully) say the sound. Today we also worked on writing and recognizing numbers 1-10. I was so proud of M, who went from knowing and writing 1, 2, and 4, to 1-6! 

We also work in groups of about six students to one teacher's aide. For example, the student may need to write "I like (fill in blank [usually T-Rex or guinea pigs, who knew?]) and then color a picture about it. We circle around and help them sound out their words, and encourage them. Afterwards we do a "Must-Do", which in my day were called worksheets. I was emphatically told by several 5-year-olds that "worksheets" don't exist. We worked on the letter U, copying Uppercase and lowercase over and over. 

It's very fun, and very repetitive. The kids are so sweet (for the most part. C makes me rip out my hair with his ADHD-like behavior) and I love the colorful fun environment. I still don't know if I want to teach kindergarten or a higher grade, but from what I've experienced so far, I think I'd like it either way. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Experiences in Teaching

This semester has been all about me figuring out what I want to do. I am (strongly) leaning towards teaching elementary school, because I love kids and enjoy bossing them around. (I kid! Though it is very satisfying saying "five-minute time-out!")

I'm doing two things to figure out if teaching is a good fit: First, I am taking a field experience class where I am put in a classroom at an elementary school for 12 weeks; and second, I am working at a private school's after-school childcare program. 

The field experience class is, in a word, AWESOME. One hour of lecture and then we head to our assigned classrooms, which for four of us at the moment is special education. After six weeks in the first classroom we change over to another class, which for me is kindergarten. 

Special education is amazing. There are anywhere from 4-8 kids in the class at any given time, because the school mainstreams them as much as possible, so if Billy is really good at reading he goes to a regular class for their reading time and then comes back. They have speech therapy (I got to go see a session twice!) and some other classes as well for the kids. It ranges from K-3rd grades, and all the kids are very smart this year according to the teachers. 

I loved that we got to work one-on-one with the students. They had lessons planned, so we would review their sight-words and then do some pages from a practice book and then read . . . and bribe and/or coerce them as necessary. Some days they were better at concentrating, some days they were super hyper, some days they were just not into learning. Every day was an exercise in patience. 

Being in a teaching position like that was very humbling. There are lots of little tricks to getting the kids to understand what you're talking about, and tricks on how to focus--even getting to know each child's strengths and weaknesses helped you understand the best way to work with them. Learning these tricks took time, and an understanding that there was always some better way to help the kids learn. 

Last Thursday was the last day we were in special ed. When we walked in (myself and three other girls), the class was sitting in a circle. We were invited to join.  The kids said thank you to us and why they were glad we were there. They had practiced before we came. 

One little boy said he was glad we came because "it helps because class is quiet and I can work." 

A girl said, "You are my friends and I'll miss you," which of course made my eyes get all hot and wet. 

A boy acted really shy and cute and finally mumbled, "You're all pretty." 

I am going to miss them so much! Kindergarten should be really fun though, so that's something to look forward to. The private school I am working at is great! It has kindergarten through 8th grade, and every day I work somewhere different. The kids and parents are so nice and it is great experience. 

So far all signs point to yes, I do want to be a teacher. 

Someone's Rain Dance Paid Off

Today was the first rainy day of the season in Sacramento, and we celebrated by stuffing sugar cookies and cocoa in our faces and using the excuse of "listening to the rain" to lounge all day and essentially do nothing. (Amended: Nick did some homework.) 

Happy, happy day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I have mentioned that procrastination is my middle name, right?

Regarding the lack of uppity-updates . . . . yeah. I suck. Sorry. ^_- And now I'm going to bed, so quick! Here's a summary of interesting things that happened while I wasn't blogging!

1. I vacuumed. (Not interesting, but something I'm very proud of.)

2. Amalah up and got pregnant! Again!

3. I read the whole series of the Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz: this hilarious series about a private investigator dysfunctional family with Izzy Spellman getting into weird situations is awesome. 

4. Speaking of awesome (and legen--wait for it--DAIRY) is the TV series How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM!) that started and is conveniently posted online at cbs.com for us cable-less folk. 

5. Was scared stiff by watching Blade Runner with Harrison Ford. Nick made me. 

6. Made Nick watch the Disney movie the Princess and the Frog as payback. 

7. Cooked a bunch. Dinner tonight was wor won ton soup, which was super delicious. (Also a pain to fold those damn wrappers into the right shape.) 

8. Exercised! A little. 

9. Yelled myself hoarse at kids not behaving across the playground, while I was at work at the after-school program. And yet, it is so fun! Oh! And I got a babysitting gig through work!

10. Frowned at the sky a lot, like, "This is fall, right? So why is it NINETY DEGREES AND UP?!" Seriously. I buy the cutest sweater at Old Navy and then it's too hot for me to wear it. What gives, Nature? 

Okay. Bedtime. Sweet dreams! 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

On the other hand, this will help me hibernate all winter long. Just call me Katie-Bear.

You know how people say that kids gain a "freshman fifteen" and that newlyweds gain weight, and la dee da? Is that true for couples moving in together as well? Because I seem to be putting on some weight. And I DON'T WANT TO BE A STATISTIC! 

I'm fairly certain this is Nick's fault. If he would stop making these damn delicious noodle bowls and bringing me out frozen cookie dough truffles with a semi-sweet chocolate drizzle, I wouldn't be weighing this much. 

I'm also fairly certain that this means the reemergence of the Bikini Body Challenge, except it is going to be less bikini-body challenge and more along the lines of "Katie would like to fit into her jeans" type challenge. 


. . . this is depressing. I think I need some tea. With a cup of sugar. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Camping at Wright Beach

I spent the weekend with my parents and brother at Wright Beach, outside of Bodega Bay.

Legend has it that more than 80 years ago the largest rock was connected to land, and a family was walking out on it with their son, who sadly slipped off and drowned. In his anger and wanting to prevent another tragedy like theirs ever recurring the father blew up the connecting rocks.


Despite this beach being so deadly that you can't go in the water (and even going near it is discouraged due to sleeper waves) we had a great time! Here mom in her pj's holds Kali and Troy holds Sage (who is in her fashionable doggy sweater) while they play and tangle themselves up.


Hiking up the path to walk back to our campground, viewing the beautiful huge waves through the fog.


Daddy!


Happy weekend! And a welcome respite from the heat in Sacramento (over a hundred!) while we enjoyed high fifties, s'mores, and dad's homemade chili. Yummy!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Amazing Boyfriend Makes Amazing Meals!

Vermicelli rice noodles, home-made marinated chicken, sliced carrots, sliced green onions (I love slicing with our new Calphalon knives!) nestled on top of baby spinach, drizzled with a rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and salt mixture.



It was delicious. I love having an amazing cook for a boyfriend!

Gooey Caramel Ooey Yum-Yum

Just made caramel. From scritch-scratch. From this recipe except I substituted 1/3 cup whole milk and enough corn syrup to make 1/2 cup mixture for the 1/2 cup cream. Then I split it in half and kept one normal and to the other added 1 tsp cocoa powder for a delicious slightly bitter/sweet caramel dip.

I expected to totally burn the sugar but it didn't! I kept calling "Nick! Come see it now! This is awesome!" as it started melting by itself in the saucepan.

Going to slice three trillion Honeycrisp apples. Will roll my way out tomorrow. Kisses!

OM NOM NOM NOM NOM.


Caramel sauce. Perfect for apples, ice cream, and drizzling.


Cocoa caramel sauce (not fully incorporated) for little bursts of bitter. Delicious.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Growing Up is Hard to Do

Yesterday I was sucker punched with the realization that holy cow, my baby brother is a whole grown up. Even if I knew in my head that he's eighteen, and in college, and working--it hit me in the gut when I was watching him drumming up on stage at the concert at his college that my tall blond brother is an adult. BAM.

Ow.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Seafood Birthday Dinner!

Every year for Nick's dad's birthday we go out to a delicious restaurant. This year we went to Rudy's Hideaway in Sacramento. 

THE BEST. LOBSTER RAVIOLI. IN THE WORLD. 

We started off with escargot and some crab-stuffed mushrooms. Oh, and of course our bread. Then our soup's arrived: a lobster bisque for me and clam chowder for Nick. Mine was mildly spicy and full of lobster, soooo good! Nick's clam chowder was amazing as well. Then there was the noodle course: a delicious red/cinnamon/cocoa? meat sauce spooned over hollow noodles. Then our entrees arrived: I had the lobset ravioli which had huge pieces of lobster stuffed inside with the richest cream sauce imaginable. Nick had crab-stuffed salmon, as did his mom, Clair had the children's prime rib and french fries, and his dad had a 1.5 pound lobster tail. It was all AMAZING. For dessert there was creme brulee and mudpies and chocolate mousse. 

I am so stuffed I cannot move, so stuffed I debated the relief of unbuttoning my pants at the table versus the embarrassment it would cause. 

So delicious, so yummy, thank you Nick's dad! Happy birthday! 

If you happen to be in the area . . .

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Lucky Phone Call

I'm feeling very lucky right now!

Yesterday I gave my classmate my contact information so she could pass it along to her boss who is looking for after-school workers to help teach and corral students. I felt so lucky just that the opportunity presented itself, and really appreciated her offer even if it didn't work out.

Today the principal called and invited me to an interview this Monday! If all goes well I will start right after the meeting. It is not a big job, just two to three hours daily for four to five days a week, but I'm so excited to start working again, especially since I will be in a teaching environment! It's even a private school!

Happy happy happy day!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Boy, Interrupted

Title: Boy, Interrupted. Based on a true story.

Date: Today
Time: Approximately 4:30pm
Location: Driving from Bed Bath & Beyond, en route to Target
Driver: Katie, wearing sunglasses, a frown, and shoes that started out comfy but are now painful
Passenger: Nick, general direction-giver, human GPS, and patient boyfriend

Background: Nick has a cold. A bad, bad cold. Being the lovely thoughtful person that I am, I dragged him out to buy a knife block set and spend hours wandering stores. This is us driving out of the parking lot by the mall.

* * *
Katie, peering around to make sure all stupid squishable pedestrians have vacated the vicinity, finally turns attention to sick boyfriend who has been quieter and quieter.

"How are you feeling?" I ask, glancing over.

"Crappy," sick boyfriend starts, turning towards me. "I'm pretty sure I have a fever, my throat hurts, I keep sneezing, and my nose is a faucet."

"You poor thing!" I nod sympathetically, patting his knee.

He continues, "I'm pretty sure my leg fell off back in the cutlery section of Bed Bath & Beyond, I'm seeing quadruple, and --"

"CRAP! NICK, DO I TURN RIGHT? Shit! I'm turning right. Was that right? Should I have gone straight?"

Nick gives me a calm, patient stare. The way you would look at someone who has traumatically lost their sanity and you feel pity and compassion for them, and no matter what they do you will never lose your temper because that would be like shouting at a dumb dog.

"Katie, open your eyes." He waits while I comply. "Turn left here. Now go straight. Move into the left lane. Good. Go straight again. Now left, straight, then turn right here and now you should know where we are."

I wipe the sweat off my forehead dramatically. "Phew! Good thing I have you!"

You can practically hear his eyes rolling.

I glance hopefully towards sick boyfriend. "So, sweetie, what were you saying about how you were feeling?"

"Nope. Forget it. I'm not gonna talk to you anymore. You don't listen anyways."

* * *

The End

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grammar Rant

I've noticed recently that I'm getting more and more easily incensed over other people's misspelled words. When I'm on facebook and someone says "Im not sure weather or not im going but will definatly rite u rite away!!!" . . . my head falls off in disbelief that this person actually graduated high school.

Common Misspellings that make me roll my eyes so hard they are stuck staring at my brain:

by vs. buy
wierd,
weather vs. whether
definately

. . . I have to stop. I was looking on facebook for ideas and I became waaaaay too frustrated with some people's ideas on proper spelling.

Here. Go read this blog post on a way to turn murderous feelings into happy ones by picturing the Alot, courtesy of Hyperbole and a Half, who sums this situation up much more eloquently than I am able.

I need some chocolate.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Series of Serendipitous Events

This morning it was only a happy accident that prevented me from missing my very important phone call from the EDD; an interview that would (hopefully) reinstate my unemployment paycheck since it stopped when I started school.

I had completely forgotten about the window of time--10 to 12-- during which I was going to be called. If I missed the call I would have to reschedule which could take a long time. At a quarter to 10 I was heading out to grab my bike so I could meet Nick at the end of his class and bike home with him, and if I had I would have missed the call.

Luckily I had forgotten I had a flat tire! I headed back in, intent on walking as far as I could to meet him, and heard my phone ringing. By the time I bolted into the bedroom and grabbed my phone I thought I had missed whoever it was, but fortunately made it just in the nickel dime! When the person said they were from the EDD you could have knocked me over with a feather. I could not believe I had forgotten what I had been talking about all weekend! (That just goes to show how slow I am in the mornings.)

Even better is that my paycheck is reinstated! After finding out that I had only ever worked part-time, that my school schedule is only four hours a week, and that I was indeed looking for work--a conversation that took all of four minutes and contained no scary questions--she said there were no problems and that they would continue my unemployment! Yay!

What's so scary is how darn close I came to missing that phone call. I am so happy to have a flat tire right now--even if it means spending five bucks for a new tube. After all that I still had time to get a few hundred yards before Nick ran me over with his bike. Happy happy day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Delicious Japanese Dinner: Miso, Onigiri, Char Siu Bao & Adventures in the Asian Supermarket

Early this morning I discovered a terrible craving for Japanese cuisine. After scouring the internet for the most delicious looking and doable recipes I settled on the amazing website of Just Hungry which I had explored before. (Nick and I are . . . kind of obsessed with food. And we love Asian cuisine. I know I've mentioned before what sushi freaks we are.)

A few hours of obsessive clicking later and I dragged Nick away from his videogames, proclaiming, "We have to go spend lots of money! I need this food to ensure my happiness!" He was smart enough to go along.

I wanted to make Onigiri (rice balls with a center of your choosing, we had chicken teriyaki), Miso soup, and Char Siu Bao (steamed pork buns). If any of those sound amazing, click on the one you want and it will take you to that recipe on the JustHungry website.

We needed wakame, kombu, and nori seaweeds, and some shaved bonito flakes, and then some miso and sushi rice. At the online asian market which would ship what we needed that added up to maybe fifteen bucks. At Whole Foods it was fifty.

Needless to say we didn't end up with the things I wanted. I just could not justify spending that much money on things that could be found for so much less. We did purchase enough to make a non-traditional miso soup and seaweedless onigiri, and started to drive home without all we wanted. But then Nick had a brilliant idea! He searched "Asian markets" on his GPS and found one! We quickly made our way there.

Once we arrived at our destination, courtesy of "Shut UP, Woman" (our affectionate nickname for our chatty GPS, our jaws hit the floor. We had found a huge Asian center! Florists and restaurants, and in the middle of it all a HUGE supermarket!

This supermarket was unlike our traditional American ones. As you enter you practically trip over a large glass display case full of dust-catches and knick-knacks, "ON SALE!!!", kind of like what you would expect to find in Chinatown. To the right was the vegetables, but it was full of bok choy and all kinds of mushrooms and weird fruits! We were fascinated and didn't have enough eyeballs to see all we wanted. We walked around the entire store. Most of it was in Japanese characters with English printed on the side. We passed chicken hearts, tripe, testicles, ducks, quail eggs, oysters, every type of noodle imaginable, and so many more different things!

We purchased chilled steamed buns with a lotus center and frozen pork buns, one of which we shared tonight. It was delicious. I didn't take a picture because we ate it too quickly. We got pocky (chocolate dipped biscuit sticks) and peanut mochi and noodles and all the types of seaweed that we needed plus some instant dachi (integral part of miso soup; made from seaweed, sardines, and fish flakes).

Exhausted, we ate some pocky on the way back home and quickly started our dinner.

The Miso was very good. After simmering the dachi in some water (it was stinky!) I added the miso, tofu, scallions, and wakame seaweed. We enjoyed it but it was a little fishier than we like so next time I will simmer the dachi for half the amount of time.

We steamed the pork bun in our makeshift steamer (saucepan and a sieve covered in tinfoil) that worked surprisingly well! We did steam it about seven minutes longer than it said because some of the steam was escaping. It tasted so good, even though the pork was really more of a pork sausage than the char siu (seasoned pulled pork) I wanted. Keep in mind that it was a frozen bun and not the amazing looking one on the website. Someday when I have a lot of free time and the necessary ingredients I will make them.

The Onigiri was deeelicious! Nick made the rice (short-grained sushi rice but not made in the sushi style where you add rice vinegar) because I am a total fail at making it edible. I had made chicken teriyaki and chopped it up and put that in the center before squishing it and then wrapping it in nori (seaweed typically found around sushi). We decided it needed more salt. We have two left for snacks, yummy!

Here are my onigiri wrapped with sliced nori. You can make them look really cute with faces and shapes but since it was my first time I decided to stick with what was easiest. Each onigiri had about 1/2-1 tablespoon of chicken teriyaki.


Nick is taking the first bite. We were both nervous--me if it came out well and him if it tasted good!


It was good! Here you can see the chicken teriyaki. Sorry it's blurry--I had to take the picture quickly because Nick was trying to eat it!


We still have our peanut mochi to have for dessert but we are so full now I don't know if we will taste it tonight!

Everything was very good and it was so much fun to go to the Asian supermarket and find things for much less than we would have paid elsewhere. We have a new favorite place to shop! Also, I suspect we will be asking Santa Claus for a steamer and a rice cooker this year! At least we will if this fascination with Japanese cuisine continues. And with how delicious everything is so far, how can it not?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Going Home Again

Well, I've been moved out from my parent's house for a whole two and half weeks and already I'm back home, though it is just for a night! I came back up to visit and watch chick flicks! My poor mama is outnumbered by Dad and Troy so she can't watch girlie movies. I decided to stay and sleep in my old bed and snuggle with my cats, so that they don't crowd mom and dad like they have been. I hear that once the cats snuggle in--usually one between your feet and one by your side and one by your head--mom has an impossible time moving without disturbing kitties!

We are watching the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, set in Botswana, a TV series based on a book series. It is simply adorable.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

10 Secrets to a Fabulous Night Out

You know how some nights you go out and it ends up being a dud? But sometimes it is amazing-- the guys are hot, the drinks are great (and cheap!) and the music is exactly what you wanted! None of that awkward walking into a dead club with weird music and creepy forty-year-old guys leering at you and wanting to dance.

So! 10 Secret to a Fabulous Night Out is really a series of secrets that probably are not that secret! Yet here they are in a list form, for your enjoyment. You're welcome.

1) Only go out with the girlfriends that want to dance. If one of your friends is feeling tired, or sick, or has a history of going to a club just to sit down and making you feel obliged to sit with her. . . she should stay home. A group of three is perfect for keeping creeps away: You evaluate the guy, pull your friend away if necessary, and wink if he's hot so she knows to keep dancing.

2) Check the clubs website to see if they have a special going on that night. Chances are that if they advertise for College Greek's in free, or mini-dresses in free, there will be more people which means much more fun!

3) For the love of God, get on the guest list. Snag one of the club recruiters and get his number, call around, or go to the website and find it. If you can get in free there is no reason to hand over any money!

4) Wear the tiny dress you aren't sure about but DO NOT wear high heels unless you KNOW you can dance for hours without orthopedic surgery. (Or have amazingly sweet friends who let you borrow their flats.) I recommend wedges.

5) Do not wear thin fabric. You will sweat through it and then be too grossed out to feel sexy.

6) Do wear boy cut underwear, and not a thong. Just trust me.

7) If a guy offers you a free drink, say yes. If he is cute, feel free to stay with him while drinking and possibly dance with him when he asks. If he isn't cute, feel free to go find your friends. You said yes to a drink, not a date.

8) Kick ass whenever necessary. If a guy is getting too handsy and won't take a hint (or even a warning) you are totally within your rights to tell him off. And don't be afraid to say "No, thanks" if you just aren't interested in dancing with a guy right then. Sometimes it is just way easier to dance with your friends.

9) Use the bathroom excuse often and do not be ashamed. You don't want to dance anymore? You need the bathroom. You're too hot? You need the bathroom. You want to squeal over the hot guy that was dancing with you? Better go to the bathroom. You're dripping sweat and need to stick paper towels under your armpits? You know where to go.

10) The best secret to a fabulous night out is simply going out with the intent to have a fabulous time! Loosen up, have a drink or two if it helps, and enjoy being with your girlfriends. The guys will notice and if you look happy you are way more approachable so you will be dancing with them so much more!

(I'm totally going out this Saturday with my best dancing girlfriends and the club is having a Greek night so all the fraternity guys will be there! Wheee!)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Unemployed College Student Seeks Winning Lottery Ticket

After being unceremoniously laid off a few months back I began collecting unemployment (your tax dollars hard at work!) until the EDD got wind (okay, I told them) that I had started school, so now my income is on hold until an interview occurs (it happens this Monday.)

Damn EDD. They're giving me like 80 bucks a week and they need to be sure I'm not cheating them. Considering that they give up to 800 bucks to some people it seems like they could concentrate on them and not me, right?

Now Nick and I are living in Sacramento, our bank accounts dwindling away as we spend money on rent, utilities, and food necessities, and I am coming to the realization for the first time in my life that if I run out of money it won't be okay. 

My nest egg from working part-time at the veterinary clinic was a happy size until I got laid off and started spending money on living expenses. It's still pretty happy, and I could get along for . . .  (runs off in search of a calculator . . . can't find calculator so sits still and stares very hard at wall while running numbers in head . . . ) . . . eight months or so without an income. And since Nick is paying half of everything I could really get along for more than a year. But then we would have nothing. 

Which is why I dragged myself off the couch and away from twitter and addicting blogs this morning and went out in search of a job. A few hours later and I'm back on the couch, but with a few resumes in circulation and a few applications filled. A lot of places are hiring for seasonal retail work (I kind of want to work at Sephora. They all had bright red lipstick on. I want to be part of the red lipstick club!) and the manager said she'd start interviewing soon for seasonal and that she usually keeps most of them after the season ends as well, so I'm crossing my fingers that A) I get a job and B) I don't have to wake up at 4am for a job and C) I like my job. Oh, and D) It pays money. 

But when I was tramping through the mall trying valiantly to ignore the sweaty stains under my armpits, I realized this would all be made so much easier if I won the lottery. So that's my plan. Win a million bucks. 

. . . do you think I need to get off the couch to buy a lottery ticket or can I phone it in? 

Smooch!


Don't get too excited. We didn't run off to Vegas. This is from his aunt's wedding on a nearby air base a few months ago. 

Anybody else think Nick looks like I'm murdering him? Or at least forcing him to do something he doesn't want to? I can't remember exactly (there was wine!) but I suspect his "I'm-in-pain!" face is either because I'm stepping on his foot, I'm kissing him in front of his grandparents, or because he's grumpy that I'm forcing him to dance. I suspect the latter. 

But really, the boy had already had a few drinks, you'd think dancing wasn't such a big deal! 

. . . maybe I am stepping on his foot.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Singing

Some of the very best songs in my universe at this exact second are: 

"Teenage Dreams" by Katy Perry (You! Make! Me! Feel like I'm living a Teen! Age! Dream!)

"Mine" by Taylor Swift (Okay, so I adore her songs but think she can't sing worth a damn live. Am I alone?) 

"If I die young" by the Band Perry (So gorgeous, sweet, and very heartbreaking.) 

"I like it" by Enrique Iglesias (I dare you to watch this video without cracking up at his weird dance moves. Double dog dare!) 

I can't resist singing along with these songs whenever they come on. I crank up the radio until I can hear my eardrum rattling and belt it out. I wonder how many times I've gotten weird looks in the car but didn't notice. I'll bet it's more than I'm comfortable with. 

I sing a lot. (Christ. Just saw what I typed and it made me think of Hyperbole and a Half's "Alot" which is too funny to not read. Shoo. I'll wait.) 

Anyways. Where was I? Oh yes. I sing all the time. When I'm cooking, when I'm driving, when I'm sitting, in the shower, getting ready, when I'm nervous, when I'm happy. I have gotten compliments on my voice before but most of the time now it goes like this: 


A song I love pops into my head completely without reason. I stop paying attention to whatever conversation I'm having with Nick and start singing. 

Nick reaches over and without a word turns on the radio to one of his stations that is playing a song I don't know. 

I stop singing, give him a sheepish grin as an apology for interrupting, and we continue talking. 


However, if the song that pops into my head is one of the Most Awesome Songs Ever in Katie's World at This Particular Time I get to sing and he has to wait until I'm done for my undivided attention. 

Ooh! Shiny! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

I suspect . . .

 . . . that the Internet is weird. 

Forget suspecting. I KNOW the internet is weird; I think everybody does. But today I was checking out my StatCounter for like the first time in a year (I forgot I had it and tried to make a new one, oops) and I started clicking on how people find my blog. 

Aaaaaand enter the weird. Did you know that people actually search "Put poo in perfume"?!? From my post about spilling perfume when a foster kitten had diarrhea? (Ew, BTW). But seriously. Put poop in perfume? WHO WOULD DO THAT?! 

Apparently, a few readers. 


UPDATE: 

I've been thinking about this "poo in perfume" person. (I had ample time to do so while biking with Nick to school and then again on the way home.) I suppose there might actually be REASONS for googling such a thing. A few I have thought of include: 

1) This person (oh! they live in London, by the way, so let's call them Queenie) received some perfume as a present and it smells awful. They googled "poo in perfume" to see if it is an actual type, (in which case their friend doesn't want them dead) or if the poo smell is from their friend actually mixing poo and perfume together in which case the friend probably wants them to come down with E. Coli. Either way Queenie needs to dump this friend; they're toxic. 

2) Queenie is a fervent vegan soul working for PETA (or the UK equivalent) who is trying to find ways of suing perfume companies by accusing them of mixing the poop of unwilling animals into their bottles. 

3) Queenie is actually a thirteen-year-old boy trying to piss off his sister. 


OH MY GOD THERE IS NO REASON TO GOOGLE "PUT POO IN PERFUME". THIS IS GOING TO HAUNT ME ALL NIGHT LONG. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Morning Breakfast: Adorable Edition

Breakfast this morning made me laugh. So I thought I'd share. Doesn't everyone like to see two good-looking young men sitting at an elegant bistro cafe glass table, eating homemade chocolate chip waffles and laughing together?

Sigh. So cute.


Nick and Ryan, acting adorable together. I had finished eating and was about to sit in the living room when I glanced back. And saw them.


What else could I do? I needed evidence. It was too cute for words!

Er . . .


Yep. Simply adorable. Also a delicious breakfast.


PS That painting is by my dad. He has a blog for his paintings: Gary Symington.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years Ago

Nine years ago today I woke up, rode the bus to school, and noticed that things weren't quite right. I walked into my sixth grade class and instead of finding the teacher doing roll call, everyone was staring at the television, which was on a news program.

Never having been one for watching the news, it took me a few minutes to realize what was on the screen. That's really my main memory of 9/11. I remember not knowing what was going on. I remember the teachers abject horror, the students talking, the confusion of not quite understanding what had happened.

It wasn't at all like the movies, where when something evil happened you knew it was going to because the music turned ominous, and how in a book you knew because of foreshadowing. It was an ordinary day, and then it wasn't. There were two tall buildings, and then there weren't. People were alive, and then gone; families were together, then forever ripped apart. And suddenly there were a lot of words that everyone was familiar with: Terrorism. Osama bin Laden. Death. War.

Nine years later, and it still confuses me.

I'll bet reading this makes you itchy!

Because really, who can read about fleas without suddenly thinking that every tiny itch and hair on your body is a flea? I sure can't. And we do have fleas. In our apartment. Crawling on us. Sucking our blood.

(Take a moment to scratch. I don't mind.)

They seem to be concentrating on me, mostly. Nick has a few bumps on his ankles, but he never finds them. I've sat on the floor and immediately found three jumping on my legs. I sat on the couch and found one on my foot. I left to go to school and found one on my arm. I range from thinking it's not that big a deal--they aren't the kind that has diseases, so all they are is pests--but as soon as I find one on me I go through a period of shakehairshakeshairSCRATCHITCOULDBEAFLEA! and paranoia. Right now my calf feels like there might be a flea on it. Now my foot. Now my toe. Now my thigh. Now my ear. And I go from trying to ignore it because I'm probably making myself itch to MUST LOOK AT ITCHY SPOT TO TRY TO FIND THE FLEA. And then Nick asks for my help cleaning the kitchen because he knows I'm compulsively googling "How to kill all fleas" and "declaring war on fleas in your home" which just makes me itch more, because I'm reading about fleas jumping around other people's houses, EW.

(shudders. scratches.)

We have flea bombed the apartment, and that worked for about a day. Then the pest control guy came out with his chemicals and sprayed our whole carpet and patio. We thought they were gone, I told mom they were gone, and fine damn minutes later there is a fucking flea on my ankle, and now I am paranoid again, and trying to figure out how long after spraying it is normal to have fleas. Does it take a while for the chemicals to kill them? Mr. Pest Control Guy said to call him if we still had fleas in 3 weeks. Does that mean today is okay? Oh God my knee is itchy and now my chin stopitkatie.

So! I hope you're all good and itchy now and looking suspiciously at your animals. You're welcome. Thanks for reading. Kisses!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Apartment Living

For ten days now I've been living with Nick in the city. What can I say? I love it!

I do miss my family, but I've seen them a few times already, and since it's only a 45-50 minute drive I suspect I will see them quite a bit. Just yesterday Troy and I met up with Dad near his work and we all had lunch! (Sushi, mmm! Also, a historical moment, since Troy ate a sushi roll piece and declared it okay!) So while I miss them, and do miss my boys Io and Oz, (and my last foster baby Billy, whom my wonderful mom is taking care of!) I'm so excited to be on our own. I do feel sad for Clair, Nick's nine year old sister. She wrote him the sweetest note (with glitter!) about how much she missed him, and it made my heart break a little bit. I don't know what to do about it yet.

So! Adventures in apartment living!

First, our brand-spankin' new microwave broke after two days of use. Apparently the "Minute Plus" button is just there to taunt you, and if you actually press it everything just stops working. It's not the big a deal (yet) because it has a complete warranty and there are service centers all near us. (The benefit of city-living! Everything is so close!) But now it is taking up space in our pantry until I get around to calling them.

Second, we are right on the levy for the American River. Which means that 35 miles of bike trails and walking paths are right outside our door. It's fabulous. We went for a bike ride last night after dinner (of pasta! dinner of college champions!) and the weather was cool and lovely, it was so fun! Especially with Nick making fun of me for wobbling around on my mom's bike. ^_-

Third, we have fleas. Yes. I will that sink in. Much like a flea sinking into warm skin, searching for blood, hopping around, making you itch, and EW! The first flea I noticed the day after we moved in, when I was sitting on the rug futzing with some wires or something for Nick. There was a black speck and I picked it up and then promptly fell over and died of horror. I was pretty certain it was a flea but opted to go with DENIAL, because Denial Land is where happiness lives. A few days later I found three more and Denial Land became Panic Land, resulting in a visit with the manager who gave me a flea bomb and a promise to get Pest Control back out to spray. The flea bomb worked for a day or two but I found TWO fleas on me last night, ZOMGSHOWERRIGHTNOW. Pest control should be coming very soon. Very, very soon.

Fourth, we have no internet. Comcast is the only option for internet so we called them last Monday and made an appointment for a guy to come out on Friday. (Five days of no internet! Yuck!) Friday rolls around and we wait patiently during the two hour window when Mr. Comcast was supposed to show. Then I get a missed call on my cell (bad reception inside) and a voicemail saying Mr. Comcast was outside but no-one let him in and since we didn't answer the phone, we'll have to reschedule. Nick runs out to the gate but he's gone, and I call Comcast and talk to a girl who assures me that Mr. Comcast left way too fast and they'll get him back within the hour. Satisfied I go inside. It makes sense! We got ahold of Mr. Comcast right after he left. He can't have gotten far. Well. The hour passes and nada. I call again and talk to a very nice girl who checks with her supervisor and assures me that Mr. Comcast is on his way, should be there very soon. Still happy. Ten minutes later and I get a call from comcast dispatch. There's no way he's coming out, don't know what those girls were telling you, we have to reschedule. For a week from now.

We were pissed. Dispatch knew it. If Comcast weren't the only damn option we would've dropped them like a hot potato, but we were stuck. I grudgingly made the appointment and brushed off the apologies. Grrr.

Yesterday I talked to the Comcast rep for our complex and she managed to get us the appointment a whole 24 hours sooner. We get internet tomorrow between 2 and 4. If there is a mix-up again, I cannot promise that this blog will be child appropriate.

Fifth, Nick is getting me addicted to video games! Wario Ware (weirdest game ever), and MarioKart (I do still drive off the road) and some others. He just brought Metroid, the Other M, and I was fascinated by the movie-like story portions of it. It made me cry!

Sixth, blahdeblahblah. I'm happy. I like it there despite the fleas. I love living with Nick. I even like pasta five nights out of the week. Now what I would REALLY like is a whole day to enjoy having our apartment without having things to do! Ah, well. Maybe Saturday.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Moving Impressions

*Wow, my legs hurt.  

*There are a LOT of people on the road before eight in the morning. Hello, city!

*Car alarms.

*Lovely weather—it's sixty-two outside at nine-thirty in the morning. Yesterday while moving we had the windows and doors wide open all day, and it never got hot. And last evening Nick and I went for a walk and it was beautiful out!

*Our patio is huge. Mwahaha! We are one of three large patios in this apartment complex, very shaded, very nice.

*We have no internet. It kind of sucks. What did people used to DO without internet?

*We are so, so, super lucky. We have all the furniture we need, we were given a couch, our parents are handing out supplies and food like they're candy on Halloween, and they are very supportive.

*Being the last people to move into this complex means that the cardboard box recycling bin is FULL. Now my coat closet is filled with cardboard.

*Since we are right on the bike path, I have a feeling we are going to be walking and exercising a lot.

*I need to do the dishes.

*I need to steal some paintings from my house. Our walls are nekkid.

*Our bistro table is SO. CUTE. I lurve it.

*My mommy brought us beautiful pink roses from her garden and they smell deeelicious.

*Nick made me breakfast, an egg sandwich. Mmmmm.

*It takes less than three minutes to drive to his college from our apartment. I dropped Nick off so he could get oriented (our bikes are still at our houses and the short bike ride turns out to be a loooong walk) and it took me longer to get out of the school than it does to drive there, sweet!  

*It's a good thing I can listen to the same music over and over again since my iTunes is sadly lacking and we have no radio tuner yet.

*We are close to EVERYTHING. For a girl that's used to driving 15-45 minutes to get something, WHEEEEEEEE!

*I miss my kitties and doggies and my family, but I love the apartment. 

*I just know I've forgotten something. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Packing

There are not words to express today. 

At least not words for polite company. 

^_-

To summarize: Packed. Lifted. Carried. Packed. Played tetris by fitting boxes and dressers and tables into a car. Brought Nellie-kitten to the park-and-ride and picked her back up after she was at PetCo to try to get adopted. Brought Billy-kitten to the veterinary because he has persistent diarrhea that is not going away with regular treatments. Tried to find a new foster home for babies. Failed. Ran out of kitten food. Drove to Nick's, ate delicious turkey chili and cornbread. Drove Nick to my house, watched Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp (amazing!) and made chewy chocolate chip cookies to bribe people to help us move tomorrow. Drove us back to his. Packed more. Drove home. Cleaned. 

WE MOVE TOMORROW HOLY CRAP. 

At nine tomorrow morning Nick and I will be at our apartment filling out paperwork and getting keys and giving them money. At ten or ten thirty our parents will show up with tightly packed trucks and SUV's. We will begin to move. Will probably get tired. I will offer cookies and beg them to keep lifting the heavy things so I don't have to. Katie will lift heavy things. Then eat a cookie or five. 

This time tomorrow night Nick and I will be in our first ever apartment. WHEEEEEEE!!! 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lexapro Uppityupdate

I took the last lexapro I will hopefully ever take last night. Yay! I feel . . . normal. I'll see how it goes in a few days when my body realizes that it's really not getting any more pills. 

Without the lexapro and kapidex I do kind of have my nervous stomach back--but back to the way it was years ago, when I get nervous and I get butterflies. Not the kind of bad nervous anxiety ow my tummy hurts ugh that I had from the IBS. Cross your fingers for me that I can cope! 

Sounds to Remember

Most nights our living room sounds something like this:

"RAAAAWRRRRRGAAAAHRRRBAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAMZING!" (Dad, playing video games)

and, this:  [beautiful piano music] (Troy composing)

and, this: [clickityclackitytypetypetype. snort.]  (me browsing and blogging and reading)

and, this:  [page turns. silence. page turns. sigh.] (Mom reading) or [clickityclick] "Who wants to go on a sailboat? Kids? Dad? How about a cruise?" (Mom planning our next vacation. Also dreaming.) 


Welcome to the Symington's. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

De Young and Legion of Honor

A few weekends ago my family and Nick went to San Francisco to see the Impressionist Exhibit at the De Young museum, and the subsequent exhibits at the Legion of Honor. It was very fun and soooo beautiful! We spent the night in a cute suite and ate expensive food.

Mom and Dad being all cute outside the Legion of Honor.

Rodin's "The Thinker" plus three extra Thinkers.

. . . still Thinking.

. . . aaaaand we are Lost in Thought.

My dad also blogged about the visit on his new art blog where he blogs about his paintings, so click to see the pretty pictures: De Young and De Restless.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hair today, Gone Sunday

I got a haircut! For the first time in . . . . um . . . . way too long.


More importantly than hair, though, is that we move Sunday! Nick's room is mostly packed. Mine is not. Ack.

I have learned to stop telling people I am moving out to live with my boyfriend because a surprising number of people have opinions and don't mind sharing them. And a lot of them have a "my daughter's friend's dog catcher's mom said this" kind of vibe. Thank you very much, but I am NOT your daughter's friend's dog catcher's whomever and my experience will be different.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Incoherent Spluttering

  . . . while picking up the soggy, strewn-about pieces of my favorite American Eagle flip flops that are apparently the tastiest doggy treat ever. So mad at the dogs right now--but also mad at myself, because I KNOW they like to eat flip flops and I left them out, and for our dogs that's like screaming EAT ME! in a really defiant way, kind of like the Gingerbread Man does at Lord Farquaad in Shrek. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

Whenever I leave Nick's house at night for the ten minute drive back home, he always stops at the top of his stairs and waits for me to back up and start to pull out, and then waves and I blow him a kiss. I love that. 

Waking up with my cats sleeping next to me. Io laid claim to the pillow I don't use (I have a queen-size bed) and Oz sleeps by my feet. Also, snuggling with my foster kittens. 

The book series Outlander by Diana Gabaldon--if you want to read a few thousand pages of fascinating historical fiction, time-travel, medical treatments, absolutely fascinating characters and complex plots, and romance, this is the series for you. 

The TV series Burn Notice, Firefly, and Buffy. 

Baking yummilicious treats (and trying to keep them healthy) (and sometimes really not). Pumpkin pie tonight--but more often brownies! 

Amalah, the first ever blog I knew about and read and got invested in. She went from a hip wino that was good at falling down and making it funny to a hip mom with two kids, one of which has SPD and some other learning issues. Pretty much daily I check Amalah's blog and click on her Advice Smackdown, and the Mamapop gossip site that she helps run. 

Dooce, one of the world's most popular bloggers, who has some ridiculous number of people following her. But she is hilarious and witty and snarky, very blunt about being ex-Mormon and her treatment for mental illness. 

A new hilarious blog that is illustrated (with the best expressions a near-stick figure can have) is Hyperbole and a Half. I just found her and she made me laugh so hard I couldn't resist adding her to my blog listing. 

Hmm. I'm sure I have more faves but I can't think of them now. I love being lazy, watching movies, reading, eating, sleeping, and day-dreaming. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oasis

Two nights ago I had a dream. I was parched, and gulping down icy water as fast as I could and it didn't do anything to slake my thirst. I woke up soooo thirsty! 

Last night I didn't have the same dream but I remembered it and so in the middle of the night I was SO. THIRSTY. I had to drink lots of water, even though my bladder is the size of a pea and I already routinely wake up my household several times a night. (TMI? Tough buns.) And now that it's nighttime again tonight, I am guzzling water again. Weird. 

Mom suspects the thirsty-dream was probably when I first came down with the fever. I think I agree! 


***Update*** Just took my temp and it was 99.9, which explains the thirst. Lovely. 

On the bright side . . .

We may have a couch! Nick found that his aunt's couch is available, it's hanging out at his grandma's house, and she doesn't want it there anymore! So we get it! It's apparently a large blue couch and we will go look at it soon. Yay! 

Ugh

I may have caught an actual bug in addition to the weirdness of decreasing the lexapro. Here are some of the weird symptoms I've been having that may be from it: coughing (serious hacking), headaches, body-aches, skin-sensitivity/pain, and now fever and sometimes dizziness (usually if I stand too fast or, like, walk through the market.

I was babysitting last night when I discovered the fever! It was great fun. I was feeling worse, and used the baby thermometer and found a temperature of 100.6! After sitting I came home, took some Tylenol, and went off to read in bed. I'm still not great today but hopefully tomorrow will be better. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lexapro Weaning Update

Heh. That title makes me think of weaning a pig off milk, not me off anxiety drugs. 

My doc told me to take 5mg Lexapro every other day for two weeks and then stop. That should, according to him, make it so I don't develop withdrawl symptoms such as agitation, or make me feel like I've got a stomach bug. I, however, am picking and choosing my symptoms as I please, and according to moi I have a bad cough and am damn overly easily agitated. Feel free to blame it on the lexapro, or on me being moody, but don't say so in my hearing unless you aren't particularly attached to your head. 

(Also feel free to send thoughts of sympathy and candy to Nick, since he's had to deal with me being grumpier in the last two days than I have been in the last six months. I'm sorry, sweetie.)

I may be weaning off my drugs but I'm doing it with a lot less grace than a pig would wean off milk. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy!

Because my two bikinis from Victoria's Secret arrived today! A pink triangle bikini and a purple tanga bikini with a adorable top. I lurve them! Now I must continue my bikini body challenge to fit them properly. 

Also happy because we are watching Lost in Austen again and this movie cracks me up! 

Vaccine Nightmare

You may recall that I was laid off two weeks ago from the veterinary clinic where I worked for three and a half years. One of the most difficult parts of this laying off (aside from my boss not saying good-bye or giving me a heads up) is that now I have to pay full price for everything for my animals. Add to that some horrendously unlucky timing since I was laid off right when I was planning on bringing in all the animals for their vaccines and heartworm/lyme disease tests . . . and I was looking at a few hundred dollars instead of less than fifty. 

Since I'm a cheapskate, I decided to take them to the County's Spay and Neuter where it costs less, yay! Also, I'm not ready to see my old boss yet. I don't know if he didn't say bye because he would miss me and get sad--I'm wanting to think that but don't think it's very probable. 

We left the house at eleven. I hauled the two cats in their two carriers into the tiny crowded office and waited twenty minutes to get checked in. The tech said it would be fifteen minutes so I took the cats outside and got the dogs from the hot car (it's in the nineties today) and we waited on a bench in the shade. For at least thirty minutes. Finally it was our turn! Everything went spiffingly. We waited again for our test results and then paid $148 (zomg) and left in my car that needed gas to go fill it up and drive to the foster kittens veterinary clinic so I could drop off a fecal test for Nellie, our black foster baby girl. But by now we'd been out for over two hours and I had two hot dogs and two upset cats, so I decided to postpone those other errands. 

Two minutes later I look over and see Oz panting. Like a dog. Mouth open, tongue out, quick breaths. I grab the form the clinic gave me about vaccine reactions and difficulty breathing is one of the emergency ones. I hang a U-y and call the clinic to tell them and they say come back right away. We park, I grab Oz, leave the dogs and Io in the hot car with the windows down, and high-tail it back into the clinic where a tech takes him and whisks him into the back room for a doctor to examine him. I sit down, practically wringing my hands and trying not to be too upset because I'm feeling like I might cry, worried that my baby boy is gasping for air and not liking being on the client side of a veterinary clinic at all. I'm also worried that my animals in the car are too hot so I tell a lady I'll be outside when they need me. I turn on the car but don't have enough gas to be comfortable doing that for however long they will have Oz, so I take the carrier and the two dogs back up the stairs to the waiting area while the lady pops back in and out and asks me how long Oz has been in the carrier, how long in the car, etc. Finally she comes back out with him in his carrier and tells me that he's okay, probably just in shock and that they gave him some benadryl at no charge, and to watch him carefully all day. 

I can't get outta there fast enough. I reload the animals and take off watching Oz, who is calmer but still occasionally panting and then licking his paws. I'm still upset and not sure that Oz is okay and trying to convince myself that he's okay and then belatedly remembering to check on Io, who is stuffed in a tiny carrier and has been for nearly three hours now. I had this terrible urge to get home--I think a teeny anxiety attack as well--because I was trembly and trying not to cry and just knew that if I got home it would all be okay, which is totally irrationally. But it was true. As soon as I got back home and let the cats out I saw Oz acting normally and could pick him up and smoosh him and kiss him, I was better. And he was better. 

All in all, much more of a hair-raising vaccine experience than I'm used to. All of us were exhausted and went upstairs and collapsed on my parents bed and the cats snuggled close. All better. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sometimes I wish my stomach was a separate entity so I could punch it in the stomach

. . . because last night and this morning my tummy was a little upset--more of an anxious upset  than a normal ate-too-much or I-don't-feel-good upset--and I don't know if it was from eating pizza for dinner or being worried or anxious or from lowering my lexapro, and I am damn tired of trying to dissect my emotions and every little twinge. 

On the brighter side, my stomach appears to be doing fine tonight, so I am okay blaming it on the pizza. (Cross your fingers.)

On the Less Lexapro! front; I will be keeping my dosage at about 6mg Lexapro daily for a little longer than I was planning just so I can make sure lowering the dosage isn't causing an upset stomach. I so hope it isn't because I want to be off these pills. 

On the Completely Random! front; I am sleeping waaaay too much and it is now annoying. I slept until noon today. I woke up at six, read for an hour, and then conked out again. Nick keeps threatening me by saying when we move in together he will make me have a decent sleep schedule. I'm kind of looking forward to that. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lexapro Update

Day whatever of less Lexapro--I'm down to like 6mg a day from 10mg--and I appear to be doing fine. (Yay, me!) I have been having a tiny tummy ache at night before I fall asleep that may be psychological (I have been known to do that) or might be I ate too much (I may have been known to do that as well.)

Huzzah!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Second Day Withdrawls . . .

. . .  and I have hardly any symptoms. Or perhaps none? If I think about it too much it has the potential of freaking me out. Therefore, I do not think. 

Took another 7mg Lexapro tonight. Cross your fingers!!! 

(Totally going to prescribe myself some new happy meds: CHOCOLATE. Today's prescription came in a rice krispy and chocolate chip form. Tomorrow it will be chocolate milkshake and Bailey's. Mmmmm!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Withdrawal Symptoms (I feel like an addict typing that)

So last night instead of my 10mg of Lexapro I decreased it down to about 7 or 8mg's and today has been interesting. I felt fine all day long (granted, I was babysitting for Cole (3.5 years old) and Siena (1.5 years old) and I probably wouldn't have had the time to notice if I felt weird even if I did)--regardless, I didn't notice anything odd until dinnertime when I was driving to Nick's. I started to feel light-headed. That sensation has remained for the last five hours and may I just say it is a most curious sensation indeed. (MAKEITSTOP.)

Mayo Clinic says in regards to stopping Lexapro: "Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping it completely. This is to decrease the chance of having symptoms such as increased anxiety; burning or tingling feelings; confusion; dizziness; headache; irritability; nausea; nervousness; trouble with sleeping; or unusual tiredness or weakness."

LOVELY. Before I started decreasing the dose I had a headache (I think I've only had two in the last month, I never get headaches) and have been seriously tired, but that could be because I stay up late and get up late! Yay, summer! 

So I'm googling and reading all these horrible sounding withdrawl symptoms--tachycardia, bradycardia, (at the same time even! ^_- ) brain zaps (!?!?) paranoia and serious depression--and reading these horror stories of people who are addicted to Lexapro and can't get off it without baaaad symptoms. And then I promptly slapped myself across the face and said, Self, you cannot handle reading scary things because you will become a hypochondriac and believe they are happening to you, knock it off and click to something happy. 

Wheeee. It's kind of a light-headed slightly dizzy feeling. Even when I'm lying down! Tonight I took another 7 or 8 mg dosage and I think I'll keep that up for a week at least and then knock it down to 5mg. And perhaps contact my doctor to see if he has a better idea. 

BBC Update

Bikini Body Challenge Update: Man, I suck at sticking with challenges.

Beginning Weight (from, like, a year ago): 152
Current Weight: 147
Goal Weight: 140

Summary: I did lose weight. And then I found it again! ^_^ When I had serious tummy troubles I dropped twenty pounds and went down to like, 135, which is too skinny for me. I'm happy at 140-145. Unfortunately (and also fortunately) my tummy troubles started to go away and I actually managed to start eating, which translated to over-eating. (Crap!)

So now, once again, it is bikini season and I am not happy with the way I look in my bikini.

Solution: Bikini Body Challenge 2010!!!

I hereby declare that I will start to exercise for at least twenty minutes a day, and eat healthy, and stop over-eating. Feel free to pester me about behaving. Feel free to join me! Let me know where you stand and where you want to be, whether or it maintaining or losing! (Or gaining a bikini booty! Be like Kim Kardashian!)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And with Bated Breath . . .

. . . I will tell you that I have been off Kapidex, a prescription medication that controls the acid in your stomach, for nearly three weeks and haven't experienced any really bad days! So crossyourfingersandknockonwood that it stays the same!

In a similar vein of finger crossing, I am about to start weaning myself off of the Lexapro, which is an anxiety medication. I'm on 10mg once a day, and will start shaving off a bit to get it down to 5mg a day, and then see how I do. Lexapro is a type of med where you cannot go cold turkey on it unless you want some serious side effects. I know that Lexapro has helped control my IBS and gastritis very well, and I'm so glad my doctor suggested it, but since I've been feeling so well and dislike being on meds, I want to see what happens if I go off of them.

Wish me luck!!!

Gotta Go . . .

Because I was gonna write about how I'm off Kapidex and going to try to get off of Lexapro but Nick is here! Yay! Adios!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Perfume and Poop

You know what one of the most horrifying smells in the world is? 

Perfume and poop. 

. . .  . . .  . . . 

. . . yes. You see, my last two foster kittens Billy and Nellie were diagnosed with coccidia, a nasty intestinal parasite that causes horribly stinky diarrhea and an apparent inability to make it to the litter box. I've found stinky little piles of pudding diarrhea in my closet, on my pillow cover, in the downstairs closet, behind the guest bed, next to the litter box, and on the bathroom rug. It's so bad that while I was taking a bath today I was trying to figure out what that awful smell was--I was sniffing my armpits, looking for mildew, making sure there wasn't cat poop behind my head . . . and finally realized that it was a few paper towels in the trash that had some diarrhea residue on them. That's how strong the smell is. 

So, that's the poop part, which is damn well bad enough on it's own. Here's where the perfume comes in: 

After I organized my room I realized I needed to put the cat food bowl somewhere else since I had gotten rid of the huge bookshelf where it had been kept, high up away from our constantly starving dogs. (Who, incidentally, adore kitten poop! Hooray! Instant clean!)

So, for lack of a better place, I put the food bowl on my dresser. It worked very well until recently, when in the middle of the night I was woken up by a crashing sound and then a pervasive smell. Since I was still half-asleep it took me a few minutes to realize that Oz had taken a flying leap onto my dresser and knocked into the food bowl which crashed into my perfume bottles which knocked over my blown glass perfume bottle that was holding some of my Britney Spears In Control perfume. So. I had perfume soaking my dresser, a broken bottle, and a freaked out cat--and a pressing need for sleep. 

Here's where my half-assed procrastination approach really shows. I soaked up some of the perfume, consigned the rest of it dripping down my dresser to a carpeted eternity, covered the glass with paper towels and went back to bed. I still haven't dealt with it. 

BUT. (Hah, puns. I kill me.) The heavy flowery scent of the perfume mingling with the knock-ya-over-with-a-feather odor of the kitten poops is simply awful. So awful that I just had to share. You are WELCOME. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First Steps *Now with new fancy schmancy updated info!*

Today I took the first steps towards moving out of my parents house and living with Nick in our own apartment! I put down $200 on the perfect apartment--it's got a nice layout and a huuuuge patio! It's shaded and lovely and close to the university and markets and everything we need! Yay!!! 

We have two days to change our minds and get the deposit back, but if everything goes well we can move in August 29th! I'm very excited and can't wait to live with Nick!!! 



Update: As of today (Wednesday) our credit was approved (she said "terrific credit", yay us!) and we faxed her all the necessary information for our rental applications and employment verification blahblah she'll deposit our check tomorrow and it's looking more and more like we will be moving in August 29th!!! 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Suckage

I got laid off Wednesday night. It was totally out of the blue. My boss DR didn't even say goodbye or give me a heads up, he just left and then it was just Aimee and I and then she told me. I get a severance check and good references from them. 

Suffice to say I was surprised, and upset after the shock wore off. Mostly I'm disappointed that after working for him for three and a half years I didn't even get a good-bye. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

First Day of Preschool, Again.

Today I was at my old preschool. Instead of being known as "KATIE!" (usually said in a tone of BAD) I am now "Teacher Katie." I like that one better.

One of the long-time teachers at the preschool/daycare/after school program is in Hawaii, so I was asked if I wanted to help out. (For MONEY! I heart money.) This was my first day back at preschool and it was so much fun. I picked up their names quickly and spent a lot of time wishing I had more pairs of eyeballs to catch them playing in the dirt where they weren't supposed to be, and keep an extra eye on the new two and a half year old who kept trying to escape. ^_-

We painted clownfish and read books and played with toys that I remembered playing with. It was so cool, and I get to work there next week too!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

God, He's Cute

Happy

Nick and I, sitting on a gnarled huge tree trunk on the beach right next to Van Damme, watching the sunset while Ryan was our personal photographer. He took a bunch that I adore and will be printing out to hang in our future apartment.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Well, it only took about 16 years or so. That's progress!

I finally cleaned my room. It took me 11 hours one day, a few hours the next day, and it is actually still a work in progress. (Hint: there is a reason my bed is not shown.)

My picture-mobile that Drew gave me for my 18th birthday. (Vicky, I still have photos that technically belong to you! But I will keep them by default unless you reeeeally want them back because they are majorly cute.)


This is the dresser that belonged to my grandma and grandpa--it's beautiful and very handy dandy. The top jewelery box my grandma gave me and is totally filled with my necklaces and bracelets and pendants! The middle picture is of my friend Cassie and I when she was just a few weeks pregnant with her first child. The ferris wheel of pictures was a birthday gift from Quentin. And then there's a carved knick-knack filled with zircon earrings.


This is my dresser and mirror that I've had for ages. Mom and dad bought it at an auction when I was young. The feather mask was my grandma's. On my dresser I have a carved jade jewelery box, a blown glass perfume holder, a fairy earring holder, and two coral jewelery holders. Oh, and a cat and a kitten.


This is a cross-stitched Japanese (Chinese?) woman with a little butterfly in the bottom corner. It belonged to my grandparents and was always kept in the bathroom and I've always loved it.


My bookcase corner. I gave mom the larger bookcase and took my older bookcase back (getting rid of about half of my books) and organized them to my exact specifications. On top are my bamboo hearts from Nick (^_^) and a cheap fan, and a "chop" from China from my parents.


I also organized my closet. It's awesome. I need to clean some more (does it ever end?) and then maaaybe post some more pics to show you my beautiful bed and closet. Oohlala!

Small and Fuzzy

Heeeeeeeeey!

You has foods?

Perhaps you haz cheezburger?


Three have been adopted so far, yay! I have a black tabby, a silver tabby, and a black baby girl left. They are the sweetest babies! Right now one is snoozing on my lap, so cute! They purr and play and sleep all day long.

Van Damme

I just spent Sunday through Thursday at the Van Damme campground in Mendocino, near Fort Bragg on the coast. The weather was great--we were having cool mornings and warm afternoons and cold evenings while at home they were sweltering in the hundreds. Ugh!

We biked up trails and to the ocean, flew kites and ran in the sand, soaked our ankles, poked through tidepools, and ate too many s'mores. I camped with Nick and his whole family, and our friend Ryan who we've known forever and ever. We went down to Van Damme very specifically because Nick's dad dives for abalone. Last year we went down and I dove with them but this year I stayed on the rocks with his mom and sister while Nick, his dad, and Ryan dove. Nick's cousin Brett joined us after two days and he dove the third day as well. Each day they pried off two to three abalone (like 10-25 feet down, they are giant snails stuck to rocks and they can be impossible to pry off) and we feasted on abalone for dinner.

Abalone are so weird! You gut them (eeew), slice them thin, and then mallet them until they are tender and then cook them however you like. We fried them in tempura/panko and they're soooo delicious! Monica made the most amazing fish chowder as well with some abalone in it and ohmigod it was so yummy!

We had so much fun just hanging out. We stayed busy riding our bikes and driving to beautiful spots on the coast. At night we sipped tea (or beer, or gin and tonic, or wine, whatev) and talked and told jokes and traded stories. Nick and I found the best shower where you can get like 20 minutes for a buck instead of the five minutes you were supposed to, yay! And then we shared the good news with everyone else. I bet the guys thought it was weird to go to the girls side of the showers. Heh.

Ryan took some awesome photos of Nick and I that I am so happy to have--I'm going to print some out for our apartment! I'll post them soon.

PS I've got to still take photos of my room! I went camping before taking them and it still is a little messier than I want to photograph.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Exhausted and Dirty

Holy crap on toast, I am so pooped right now! My legs are throbbing in pain from walking. (Oh God am I ever lame. Pretend that they're sore from snorkeling through the Caribbean instead.)

I'm lying in bed but my brain is going a hundred miles a minute, and if Aimee called me right now to babysit I would jump up and jog over. My brain and legs are so contrary because I just cleaned for eleven hours in one go. (You know what would sound impressive? If I said 'eleven hours and I cleaned the house top to bottom'. But that would be someone else's blog, because you know what?) It took me eleven hours to clean my room.

I'll just let you absorb that little tidbit of horrifying information.

Seriously. Whose room is so gross it takes eleven hours to make it clean? WHOSE? (Sidenote; since I am so tired normal things are looking weird, and I just noticed that "whose" is "w"-"hose" and it's weird that the word "hose" is in a possessive form of "who". Now, onward!) Really, who has such a dirty room? There's only so much dusting and vacuuming a person can do before they keel over.

Those of you who know me and/or have seen my dirty room are probably shaking your heads right now in disbelief that I am pretending shocked disbelief. Well, YOU ARE RIGHT. I AM DIRTY. My room is dirty and full of dust and cat litter and EW, if I think about it then yes, I get grossed out too. So I don't.

I wish I had taken a "before" picture but you will have to use your memories for that and settle for "after" pictures. I dusted and vacuumed and mopped repeatedly, threw away and donated and organized and neatened (as strange as it is I am slightly OCD about things being in order. My room can be a hurricane but MY BOOKSHELF WILL BE IN THE RIGHT ORDER. Everything in it's proper place! Or ELSE.) and now my room is so beautiful that I simply must share it with you . . .

. . . tomorrow. (Hey, I'm exhausted and sore here. Ninight!)