November 28, 2008

Pushing Daisies & Eli Stone Cancelled

Seriously, ABC?  When I read the article that informed me that Pushing Daisies and Eli Stone have both been cancelled, I was so mad that I got teary eyed.  Yes, I understand that that makes me a total freak.  But Pushing Daisies is amazing.  One of the best shows on TV.  It makes me laugh every week.  It's pretty, it's new, it's interesting.  So, of course it couldn't stay.  I'm less distraught about Eli Stone, but not by a huge amount.  I think both of these shows are among the most original on TV these days, and I find them quite refreshing.

There is talk of a Pushing Daisies movie already, as the last episode filmed ends on a cliffhanger, and at least SOMEONE out there cares about how sad that will make me and a lot of other people.  My best friend doesn't think it will actually happen, and of course I'd be thrilled if the show was saved, even if only for a few episodes.  

Black Friday

Haiku Friday
I have worked this day
a few times in the past, and
hope never again!

I vow not to spend,
Black Friday is too crazy
shopping mania.

Hubby is taking
the day off work, we will spend
it with Sam, family.

If you dare to brave
these crazy early sales, I
wish you lots of luck!

Shopping or not, hope you all have a great day!  

To read more Friday Haikus click here!

Bonus:  In case you missed it, something very special happened at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.


November 27, 2008

Thankful Thirteen

In honor of Thanksgiving: Thirteen Things I'm Thankful for

1. My husband, who supports me and loves me. For being there for me, for understanding when I need 'me time', even when he doesn't understand it. For randomly telling me how much he loves our son, and for helping me through the hard times and celebrating with me through the good times.

2. My son, who makes my life amazing. He can win me over with just a hug after the hardest day.

3. My family - my wonderful mother & her awesome husband, my stepmom & my two younger sisters, my stepdad and his wife and kids, my in-laws, my cousins, my aunts and uncles. We are surrounded by so many caring people who support us and care a lot about us, and that's what makes life okay even when it's incredibly hard.

4. My church family, our wonderful Pastor, Tom and the other employees. My small group, who have been there with me while I learn and explore my faith, who provide an extra support for me when I need it.

5. My friends. My wonderful friend Amy, who is unbelievably caring and sweet, my friend Violet who is the yin to my yang, my oldest friends Sati & Xotchil who have been there through so much.

6. Our new president, who I believe will take this country to a better place. But by nurturing it, not killing it like the current president has tried his darndest to do.

7. My health. Despite some snags here and some oddities there, I am able to enjoy life as an able bodied, healthy adult.

8. My home. No matter how bad things seem to get, I have a roof over my head and food to eat, and for that I am Thankful. I've gone from 'that could never happen to us' to 'wow, I see that can happen to anyone', and I am thankful for what I have.

9. Bellingham. I love this city I live in, the way it makes me feel, the way I can express myself so much more easily here, and being closer to my Mother and Stepfather and Father-In-Law.

10. My blog. I am truly thankful for this outlet, this place I can express my creativity, my thoughts, etc. I am really thankful to those of you who read it and encourage and support me.

11. My faith - without out it I am not sure how well I could have endured the last year. It's so new to me, yet seems to have arrived just as I needed it.

12. Music. I love to sing, whether it's Jesus Christ Superstar, Plain White T's, Barenaked Ladies, Carole King, Worship Songs, or the Backyardigans soundtrack. Music fills people with hope and joy.

13. My Momma's Group.  I absolutely love the friends that I've found through my Bellingham Mom's Meetup Group.  Amy, our leader, is amazing, and she and her co-administrators do such a wonderful job scheduling playdates and outings and times for all of us moms to get out of the house with the little ones.  Not only that, but it's wonderful to have found a group where we can count on each other for babysitting when we have doctor appointments or emergencies, or just need a break.  They are generous and sweet, and have made my transition to life in Bellingham so much easier.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

November 26, 2008

What I'll Be Watching aka I LOVE previews!

I new that there would be AWESOME previews on the new James Bond movie, and I got some good ones at City of Ember & Twilight as well.  Here are the ones that I was most excited about...

Seven Pounds starring Will Smith.  I have seen several previews for this one, and it is intriguing to me.  It looks like it's going to be somewhat heartwrenching, but the best part for me is the mystery - what did he do?  What is his purpose?

Star Trek!  At Quantum of Solace I saw my first full length preview for the new Star Trek coming out next summer directed by JJ Abrams.  I am so excited about this one!  Also, how come I didn't know that John Cho was in this?  I really like him!  It looks great, and I absolutely love JJ Abrams, so I'm really looking forward to seeing this one.

Valkyrie So I'm not a huge Tom Cruise fan at this point.  I kind 
of think he's crazy.  But, when it comes to movies there are few 
actors who I am so turned against that I won't see something if it looks good.  This movie looks amazing to me.  I've always been very interested in WW2 (although I've seen previews for 'The Boy in the Striped Pajamas' and hell to the no, I am NOT seeing that), perhaps it is messed up, but Nazi shit intrigues me.  In any case, this movie looks really good, and I can't wait to see it.

Watchmen I'm a huge fan of the comic book movie genre.  The only one I've seen that I really haven't liked was Sin City, but Frank Miller made up for it with 300.  I see the movies because I usually enjoy them, but also because it's one of the genres (like vampire/werewolf movies) that I want to support so it can continue.  This is also touted as the most popular comic ever, and though I haven't read it yet, I plan to borrow from my friend before the movie comes out so I can compare.  

Coraline I read this book by Neil Gaiman when it came out, and it's a great story.  It's an intermediate level book, and the story is about a girl who finds a way into a reality similar to her own, but 
where things are sort of... off.  I saw this preview on City of Ember, and was really excited.  I think it'll make a great movie, plus I love Dakota Fanning and Ian McShane is pretty great too.  The style of the movie caught my eye as well - it looks Tim Burton-esque.

2012  I saw a teaser trailer for this one at Quantum of Solace. 
 HOLY CRAP!  I may not have discussed this before, but I have a... THING with disaster movies.  As in I LOVE them.  As in I will watch one no matter how bad (Nuclear Twister on cable starring Mark Paul Gosselar?  Seen it.).  As in The Day After Tomorrow is one of my favorite movies, and I've seen it multiple times.  As in, I watched 10.5 and Category 7: The End of the World when they were on TV.  It's like a sickness.  So, WHY did I not know that this movie was coming out?  Not only that it exists, but stars some of my favorite actors ever, like John Cusack and Chiwetel Ejiofor?  It doesn't come out until next July, but I am going to be waiting and can't wait to see a full preview for it when they come out!

I'm also looking forward to The Day the Earth Stood Still, Yes Man and Bedtime Stories, which are all coming out next month.

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween!

All right, I know I'm a few weeks late on this one (ha), but here are some of my favorites from Halloween, which I FINALLY got uploaded tonight.  To see the full set, click here.

Violet's Family - Bowser, Toadstool, Princess Peach, Luigi & Mario!






To see more Wordless Wednesday photos, click here!

November 25, 2008

Heads or Tails: All About My Hands

Today's theme for Heads or Tails Tuesday is 'anything you can do with your hands'. It's pretty much free reign here - there are a LOT of answers.  But, you know what I can do with my hands? OPEN BIRTHDAY PRESENTS! WOO!!! Yesterday I posted some fun photos from my birthday weekend, but saved a few for today.  The things I got from my friends were so beautiful, I just want to share them with you.

A beautiful basket, which I promptly filled with all my current knitting projects.


A gorgeous feather wreath containing peacock feathers, one of the most beautiful things in nature.


Something I never imagined... we will be testing these out at Thanksgiving and I will let you know how they are.


This really sweet hippocampus necklace.


There's a little bit more story behind this one. See, my friend Violet, she loves mermaids. And I have a bit of a thing (total understatement) for unicorns. So, we discovered the hippocampus and decided that we should make it into a unicorn mermaid instead of a horse mermaid. She has one of this necklace too, she found it at the Portland Pirate Festival and got one for me too as it looks somewhat unicorny. Another part of her present to me was covering 1/2 the cost of my next tattoo, which will adorn my body before the end of the year! We're going to get a hippocampus - either modeled after the necklace or after a really cool Celtic hippocampus we found online.

Aaaand, last but not least, this gorgeous box, in which I found some gorgeous earrings. In the background you can see a really cool blue and gold picture frame which I got along with a bottle of rum and a bottle of Stirrings Mojito Mix.


What are YOUR hands up to?

To see more Heads or Tails posts, click here!

November 24, 2008


** This review contains spoilers for anyone who has not read Twilight **

What did I do this weekend?  Among other things, I went to see TWILIGHT on Saturday afternoon.  Holy vampire hotness.  Here are my thoughts...

First off, I will point out that I DEVOURED the books.  I absolutely loved them, and thought the last one was great.  I know some people didn't like the last one as much, but I thought it was amazing.  So, I was really anticipating the movie, but also slightly nervous.  

The thing is, sometimes things go REALLY bad for me when I try to watch movie adaptations.  Like Chocolat.  I did not like that.  Sometimes, they really screw things up.  I know that they can't put in every detail, because then movies would be six hours long (which actually I would think was awesome, but not everyone would).  So, I accept that they're going to have to change things a little bit when it comes to the main story as well as side plots.  So, I always worry a little bit when I go into an adaptation that I've read.  This becomes doubly true when it's something I read and LOVED.  

I wasn't convinced about Robert Pattinson before I watched the movie.  He just wasn't Edward to me.  Guess what?  HE IS NOW!  He was hot.  Yes, sometimes he was a little wooden, but I think that's part of the character.  He was put totally out of his comfort zone by meeting Bella, and that affected his behavior.  I thought he was amazing.

Kristen Stewart was great as Bella.  She was pretty, but not amazing.  She was... normal.  Which is exactly what she should be.  She is that clumsy, slightly awkward but coming into her own teenage girl.  One of the things that makes Bella such a wonderful character for teenage girls is that they can relate to her, and Stewart did pull that off.

They pulled it off.  Their chemistry was amazing.  Both in the book and the movie, one of the things that makes them so amazingly hot is how long they have to hold off before they even kiss, and I'll tell you what - that first kiss in the movie was INCREDIBLY hot.  Also, did you know that baseball is hot?  'Cause it is.  I loved that scene.  I loved the way Alice held herself when she pitched.  I just love the whole idea of it.  It was really good.  I did find it funny that they were all wearing uniform clothes, because I didn't get that from the book.

I liked the Cullen family.  I have a little trouble with Elisabeth Reaser because she was Ava on Grey's Anatomy and I sort of hated her a little bit.  But, she was good as Esme.  My friend Violet didn't like Alice because she pictured her a little smaller and a little odder, but I thought that she was great.  I also liked Rosalee, she wasn't as thin or traditionally beautiful as I would have pictured, but her facial expressions were great.  The scene where Edward brought Bella to his house to meet his family was hilarious and perfect.  

I was also unsure about the actor who they cast as Jacob, because in all the shots I'd seen he was pictured with a wide grin and rosy cheeks.  I just couldn't picture him getting angry or beastly or anything.  But then at the end of the movie when he showed up at prom and was mad... I got a glimpse of what he could be, and now I think maybe he'll actually be great in the sequel.  Which I absolutely CANNOT wait for.

Now, there were a couple of things that I was less excited about.  The scenes with Edward running/climbing trees etc. were not that realistic, but it didn't really matter, because it fit.  I do wish they had tried a little harder to explain the Bella/Edward relationship.  I know it's probably a time issue, but if you had not read the books, I don't think it would come across why they were so in love because it was sudden.  I also don't think it was emphasized enough why it was hard for Edward - that he REALLY wanted to eat her and that's why he was rude.  

Here is my biggest caveat... if you have not read the books yet, but want to read them BEFORE seeing the movie.  It will enhance your viewing experience.  I loved this movie, but I also think that people who have not read the books and fallen in love with the story are not going to be as impressed by it.  I can't look at it from that point of view because I DID read the books - so if you have not, and you saw the movie, let me know what you thought!

All in all, I recommend the books and the movie.  And I think I might go see it again, which is something I haven't done in the theater in a long time.

If this isn't enough, and you need MORE, check out these Twilight posts by some of my favorite bloggers:

Feel free to link to your Twilight post in the comments!

28 Years Ago

Guess what? 28 years ago yesterday, this happened:

Awww... That's right, yesterday was my birthday. I had a great weekend, and got to do some fun stuff. Like what? Well, my weekend started off right when I received THIS:


A beautiful birthday bouquet from my Dad! It was not blooming yet when it came, and now the lillies are starting to open up and they are totally gorgeous. I love lillies, they're so solid and robust and beautiful all at once.

And then, the mail came and I got a card. Inside it were THESE:


WOO HOOO! Do I have the best mother-in-law in the world, or what? After I tried to calm my excitement, I got ready and got in the car and headed to Seattle.


When I got there, Violet and two other friends of mine headed off to the theater with me to see TWILIGHT! I have a full review up here, so I'm just going to say right now that I absolutely loved it.

After the movie, we headed over to one of my favorite restaurants, The Rock, and along with the friends, my awesome sister joined us!


She is so awesome. Then we ordered a Bucket. What is the bucket, you might ask? Well, it's a pail of rum and fruity goodness...



The Rock also has THE best cheese bread in the universe, which I also enjoyed. Then I ordered my FAVORITE pizza... white garlic sauce, cheese, hot sausage and roasted pecans. If you have never had pecans or walnuts on your pizza, you should do it now. We had a great time.


I also made out like a freaking BANDIT, because my friends are awesome and know me so well. What, you might ask? Well, perhaps you should look here.

Sunday I went to my home church in Seattle, and the children's choir performed just for me (okay, not really, but it was still totally adorable). Violet's daughter Kiki sang, and unlike she used to, she sang ALL the words, and did ALL of the sign language motions. I was so proud. Then I drove home to birthday dinner #2 with my Mom, her hubby, and my hubby and the boy. And this happened...


After a yummy Mexican dinner, we headed back to my house for Pecan Pie, homemade by my Mom and both gluten & corn free so that my hubby and her hubby could both enjoy it with us! What a great weekend. I'm really so blessed to have all of these wonderful people in my life. It was the best birthday I've had recently.

November 22, 2008


Comes in many forms. Sometimes, it comes in the form of a giant bouquet of birthday flowers from my Dad...

Also known as the perfect start to my BIRTHDAY weekend, which will include: Twilight, Dinner & Drinks with my friends and sister, church at my home church, dinner with Mom and family, and Pecan Pie (gluten free by my request so hubby can enjoy).

No Saturday Share this week... too busy getting ready - but will have it sometime this week, or a double one next week!

Have a GREAT weekend!

November 21, 2008

Oh, hai, ku you want to know what's up here?

Haiku Friday
Lets talk about my
son, the boy who I spend most
of my time with now.

Here are some things he
hates: bedtime, diaper changes,
haircuts, nails clipped, dressing.

Here are some things he
loves: Handy Manny, hummus,
baths, cars, trains, pennies.

He drives me crazy
but I love him, I can't turn
away his kisses.

I thought it was about time for me to post an update on Sam, for the family out there who read this and for anyone else who might be interested in my ramblings about my little guy.  So, here is the latest...

For the last week we have had MAJOR struggles at: diaper change time, bedtime, hair washing time, teeth brushing time, and getting dressed time.  

Bedtime has been horrible, we've had 5 out of the last 7 night where we only had two choices.  Either put him to bed and listen to him scream and cry for an hour, or let him stay up.  There was no comforting him, no lying down with him, no rocking him in the chair.  He didn't want any of it.  Luckily last night we got a small reprieve - he went down well when Justin put him to bed and didn't really cry.  We're debating on the subject of naps.  Right now, on some of the days Sam doesn't nap he gets really tired and cranky and hard to deal with.  It's hard to tell if bedtime went worse on days he took a nap, because the days are about even so far when it comes to nap or no nap.  So, we'll just have to wait and see.  I'm sort of on the 'no more naps' side of things, because it means an earlier bedtime, which works well for us.

Sam also currently hates having his diaper changed and getting dressed.  There is nothing wrong - no diaper rash etc.  He just doesn't like it.  He starts thrashing and kicking as soon as he's put on the changing table or laid down elsewhere, and he pretty much keeps it up until we're done, and which point about 2 seconds after we take him off the table, he's happy and babbling and playing again.  So maybe it's just a power kind of thing?

He also hates getting his nails clipped more than almost anything ever.  At this point he's so tall and strong that I have to get Justin to hold him down so I can clip the nails.  It's horrible.  But it has to be done, if they get too long he not only hurts us when playing, but he scratches himself.  Last time I had to do both his fingernails and toenails, and he cried so hard he almost vomited.  Sigh...  I still have hope that one day, he will relax and realize that it doesn't hurt and it's not going to kill him to let me do it.

And don't even get me started on his hair.  It's shaggy, it's in his eyes, it's all over his ears, it bugs me!!  But he won't let me cut it.  He tries to look at the scissors as soon as he hears them, he won't sit still and he wants to grab them from me.  Last time we took him to a haircutting place it was a complete disaster, he cried horribly and she only got in one cut causing me to call him Caesar for the next two weeks.  There's a woman in my moms playgroup that cuts hair professionally and she's done a great job with my friend Amy's son, so I might ask her if she can give it a try - maybe if I dropped him off at her house for a little bit, she'd be able to get it done.

But... it's not all terrible twos!  In fact, there is a lot of TERIFFIC two-hood going on around here!

Sam is still a super happy little boy.  He has his moments, of course, but most of the time he is fun to be around.  I love having a little boy who loves to give kisses and hugs, and will cuddle with me.  On nights that he wakes up in the middle of the night and we bring him to our bed, I love the way he cuddles up and pulls my arm around him and nestles in to sleep.  It makes for a little bit of a sore back in the morning, but it's totally worth it.

The best and biggest thing in recent months has been that Sam is FINALLY really talking!  It's completely amazing.  He just started one day, and it's been a crazy accumulation of vocabulary since.  He will repeat words we say to him, and he says new things every day.  Here are some of the favorites...

  • Hanee Manny (His current fav TV show, Handy Manny)
  • Juice (means all types of drink)
  • Mama
  • Dada
  • Show (if he wants to watch TV)
  • hap (help)
  • pillow
  • cat
  • bus
  • doggy
  • Sam
  • rockets yes! (we don't know what that means yet, I think he wants to vote for rockets)
  • wake up
  • Edie
  • And of course... Blue, Dora, Swiper, Boots

There are SO many that we could never list them all, and we are just reveling in the beauty of watching him learn and develop.  It's amazing how much being able to express himself has eased the tension.  Even though he's not always asking for things, just being able to convey his thoughts seems to make him really joyful.  He's starting to make small sentances, stringing together words like 'no sleep mama' (when he wants me to wake up and play), 'sammy sleep', and 'big bus'.

He knows his body parts, and finally doesn't get ears and eyes mixed up.  He knows where his hands and feet and his head are.  He can recognize, say and draw 'circle', as well as identifying triangles, squares, rectangles, octagons and stars.  He knows up, but we're still working on down.  The other day I asked him to go find me the remote and he went and got it for me.  Finally, my little errand boy is ready to be groomed... 

He loves the cats, and he follows them around.  Despite his sometimes... less than gentle treatment of them, he has managed not to get scratched yet.  It helps that most of the time, he's very nice about petting them, so they actually like him okay.  Phoenix is such an attention seeker that he'll take petting etc. from anyone even after that person has flopped down on top of him.

We're in a playgroup and we have weekly playdates with other kids between one and six years old (usually), which is a lot of fun and a welcome trip outside the house!  For the past month and a half, Sam has been spending every Thursday with my friend Amy and her son, Samuel, who just turned two.  Since we moved to Bellingham, I don't like going out in the evenings for my break time, so this way I have one day a week to myself (at least until I get a new job), and still get to spend evenings with Justin and Sam!

I think once the new year comes, I'm going to look into some classes that Sam and I can take together, and starting next summer or fall I'll probably look into daycare at least a few days a week.  Of course, those plans could all change depending on my job situation and whether I get a part time or full time job and what the hours are.

Last month we went trick or treating for the first time - he was dressed as a tiger for halloween and had a wonderful time.  He totally overdosed on chocolate and stayed up way late, but it was fun!


His favorite toys to play with are still cars.  He has a bunch of action figures from the movie "Cars" and those are his favorites.  He loves his train table and usually plays with it every day.  He loves playing on our bed, jumping up and down, playing with the pillows, wrestling and getting tickled.  He likes books and is finally able to sit for longer books and is interested in them.  He recently went to see Wall-E with Justin, and Madagascar 2 with Grandma Deanna and did great.  His favorite movie is currently Toy Story.  His favorite shows are Dora and Handy Manny.  His favorite foods are mac and cheese, hummus, applesauce, yogurt, cheddar cheese and pancakes.

All right, enough about him for now... I think I've fulfilled my requirement for another month or two :-)  Thanks for reading - if you made it this far, kudos to you!  Next week my haiku friday will be shorter, but probably not sweeter, 'cause Sam is sweeter than sugar!

To see more Haiku Friday posts, click here!

November 20, 2008

Top Chef NY: Week 2 - Hot Dogs, Canned Crab and Ostrich Eggs

Quickfire Challenge

Make a hot dog, competing against a famous hot dog vendor from NY. I love it when they do challenges based on simply/"lowly" foods, where they have to not only be chefs, but be COOKS, to understand the challenge of making good food no matter what situation they're thrown into and not trying to make something really fancy that doesn't need to be fancy to be good.  I thought the bacon & roasted onion one sounded DELICIOUS.  I also liked Stefan's 'world dog' concept.  I don't know about the flavors, but I really liked the concept a lot, but unfortunately the flavors didn't hold up to judging.  I also thought that Carla's dog was good - sauerkraut & onions, sticking to traditional ingredients, but throwing the lamb in.  What was Jill thinking using a pre-made hot dog?  Sometimes I wonder if the people who compete have actually SEEN the show before.  It's never a good idea to use pre-made stuff when the challenge specifically calls for you to MAKE something.  

Elimination Challenge

The chefs will be opening a Top Chef restaurant in Manhattan.  Chefs must create a 3 course New American lunch menu.  Each chef is responsible for one dish.  50 New Yorkers will be eating the food.

The first thing that happened is everyone started screaming desserts.  Which seemed funny.  Kudos to Jeff for taking over and getting everyone organized!  The first thing that happened in my house is that I googled "New American Cuisine".  Here is what Wikipedia said:

New American cuisine a term for upscale, contemporary cooking served primarily in restaurants in the United States. Combining flavors from America's melting pot with traditional techniques, New American cuisine includes ethnic twists on old standbys, Old World peasant dishes made from luxury American ingredients and molecular gastronomy.

It developed in the 1980s from fusion and California cuisines and features significant creative use of in-season produce and sauces. It is somewhat related to the French Nouvelle cuisine and often incorporates influences from Latin American, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine.

So, I'm watching them shop and it's like watching So You Think You Can Dance and wondering what the hell the dances are supposed to look like.  Beef carpaccio?  Ostrich eggs?  The crab meat in a jar seems to go nicely with American, but perhaps not the 'upscale' part.  I'm interpreting the cuisine as traditional, but stepped up a notch.  Come to find out during judging that the chefs didn't really GET it either, Tom said they set back American Cuisine 20 years!

Again, what's up with using ingredients you've never used before?  Why would you buy an Ostrich egg if you've never used it before?  It's like a gimmick.  Why not just use regular eggs, which you know about already?  

Tom comes in and says they're cooking in his restaurant, Craft.  Carla has crazy eyes.  Then he announces that the people eating the food are people who auditioned for Top Chef and didn't make it.  Carla has more crazy eyes.

I love watching them use weird or different techniques like that weird olive thing.  It's so interesting to watch.  The diners arrived and it was very obvious that they are going to be VERY hard on the food.  They're going to be the hardest on the food because they think they should be there, but at the same time because they're not there, they don't know what it's like to be in the position of the competitors.  Tom explains how they're going to do the tickets, and I realize that Carla's eyes are ALWAYS crazy.  It was fun watching Tom run the kitchen the way he runs it, kind of seeing a different side of him than just the judge, the head chef side.

Jamie was really conceited about her soup... well, does it still count as being conceited if you're right?  I dunno.  Hosea's crab from a jar didn't work out too well.  Surprise, surprise?  I mean, why would you buy crab in a jar when you usually use fresh?  It seems like an unnecessary risk, just like the Ostrich egg (judge: "it tastes like glue") or the farro last week.  Jeff's chicken dish looked SO good.  Avacado mousse?  What the hell?  The lemon merangue martini looked disgusting.  And Padma almost vomitted after tasting it, shich was funny in a way.  The weird banana sandwich was just... weird.  I think that Carla's dessert looked the best, althought the plating was weird with the cheese on the plate.  The pies looked really delicious.  I feel like it was the only dessert I would have wanted to eat.  The pound cake looked okay as well.  

Fabio wins the challenge with his beef.  That left Hosea, Arianne, and Jill in the bottom three.  I felt like they should have said something more about Hosea's pre-packaged crab meat, because it seems like that is a lot of the comments that I heard.  I don't really understand why Arianne made a dessert, it seemed like she kept saying that wasn't her forte, but she still did it.  And, Jill is burned by using a giant gimmick egg that she never used before.  Really...  and it ended up getting her sent home.

13 Questions I Have This Week

Thirteen Random Questions about LIFE

1. Why did God create babies and toddlers with oversized, hard heads, and parents with soft noses full of nerves in the perfect spot to be headbutted?

2. Why did it take me 7 days to call Unemployment and not get hung up on because they were 'too busy'? At least they were really nice once I got through.

3. Does anyone else find it weird that we're getting some kind of economic stimulus thing, but we owe the government like $20,000 for last years taxes?

4. How am I going to manage to read 10 more books before the end of 2008? My goal for this year was to read 50 books, and I still really want to try and get it done!

5. How can Pecan Pie be so delicious? It's my birthday month, so I'm eatin' it.

6. When did I become an adult with a husband, a two year old son, and no money?

7. Why are my son's elbows and knees so pointy?

8. How does he manage to dig those elbows and knees (and his chin and toes and heels) into me while we're playing and give me bruises all over?

9. Why do I keep letting him do it even though it hurts me? Well, how could I NOT play with him with THAT smile?

10. Why are my cats so annoying? They are such beggars!

11. Will anyone care when they find that every Christmas present they get from me this year will be homemade in some way?

12. When will I finally get to go get another tattoo? I'm hoping maybe this can be my birthday present from hubby...

13. Where will I be living in a year?

This is my 2nd time doing the Thursday Thirteen - you can start now! Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

November 18, 2008

High School Musical 3

I remember when High School Musical was on.  My friend Violet was the first to see it, having kids means our eyes were on the Disney Channel more than we would have publicly admitted.  She thought it was really good, and knowing that I am quite the enjoyer of the musical genre, she knew it would be right up my alley.  I was impressed!  Then came HSM 2, which I waited for eagerly, and it didn't disappoint me, but wasn't quite as great as the first one.  So, when the buzz started about HSM 3 being a feature film instead of a DCOM (That's Disney Channel Original Movie for those of you normal people out there... ha), I was really interested to see where they would take it and what difference would be made by the big screen budget and increased attention that would be paid to it.

I went in with high expectations, and wasn't disappointed!  In fact, I found it highly enjoyable.  Here's the thing.  One of the things that might bug me about a teen movie like this is that I find that the situations they're singing about are nothing to get that riled up about.  I mean, sure it sucks if you lose a couple songs in the high school musical.  Or if you think that it's not okay that you like to bake.  But is it really something to freak about?  But this time it was different.  The whole premise of HSM 3 is that they are in their senior year.  They're freaking, but it's about stuff that really IS scary, and decisions that REALLY matter.  Where am I going?  Did High School really matter?  Will I ever see these people again?  What will my father say if I don't follow the path he wants for me?  How do I tell my best friend if I've decided NOT to go to college with him like we planned?  What are the right choices for ME?

I think that just contributed to the enjoyability for older people (ie not teenagers) who have been through that stuff and remember how it is to step out of school and grow up without really knowing exactly what they're doing.

The big screen budget definitely had a positive effect here.  The choreography was stepped up, and the sets were stepped up.  There was the scene where Sharpay and Ryan sing in the cafeteria and it morphs into a search for dreams remniscent of Gene Kelly's dream in "Singin in the Rain" during "Gotta Dance".  Yes, I felt weird making that comparison, but it's just what it reminded me of, and they pulled it off.  Then there was the romantic scene with Troy and Gabriella dancing on the much expanded garden roof of the school.  

Good choreography, good story, good scenery and good singing.  What more could you really ask for?  If you were a fan of the first two, you'll definitely enjoy it.  If you didn't see the first two, but you're a fan of musicals, go see it.  I'll tell you one thing - it was way better than Mamma Mia.  It's also worth seeing as one of the few real musicals that the current generation of teens has seen in the theaters.  I'm ALWAYS willing to support that!

PS I also realized while watching this that if I was 16 I would totally be in love with Zac Efron.  As it is, when I was in middle school I was totally in love with Jonathan Brandis.  Oops, was that out loud? 

November 17, 2008

An Amazing Life in Descent

Monday October 27 was HH(my father-in-law)'s 70th Birthday. On Sunday, we gathered with the family - my husband's brothers and other extended family, wives, kids, and close friends. It was an amazing gathering, but one that also held a weight of sadness and change.

Last week, HH moved out of the house he's lived in for almost 30 years. The house that he built with his own hands, while my husband and his brother lived on the property in a trailer with their mother and father. The house that my husband grew up in, and that we were hoping to move into someday. He moved himself into a local assisted living/retirement community. He didn't tell us that he'd gone, and when we found out we were concerned. At first it seemed like he had moved there for a month as a sort of 'trial run'. He's talked about his options - about living at the house and having help, or moving in to this kind of place. But we had no idea it was imminent. On Sunday at lunch, he spoke with all of us and it became very clear that this is not a temporary move. He's left his home, and unfortunately will probably never move back.

You see, HH has Parkinson's. He's had it for 20+ years, and for most of the time I've known him, the most obvious sign of the disease has simply been a tremor in his right hand. 18 years ago, he had brain surgery that mostly corrected the tremor in his left side, but he never went back to have the other side done, for reasons I couldn't tell you. I suspect that fear probably played a part - the fear that it would go wrong or that it wouldn't help at all. In any case, for the last 10 years that I've known him, he's been doing fairly well. He was able to maintain his house and 10 acres by himself, and do projects like putting in a really cool swimming pool that his grandkids could enjoy.

For the first several years I knew him, HH was still the president of our local Community College. He retired in 2006 after 23 years of service. He wasn't just the president of the school. He was an amazing member of the community. He built the college up from one building ouside of town to what it is now - an amazing campus with 6 buildings that serves thousands of students. During his time there, he built amazing relationships with students, especially with the foreign exchange students. I watched him interact with them and become a father figure for them away from their homes. He included them in family gatherings and helped them whenever they needed it. Imagine all of the duties that he had during that time and still managing to have these amazing one on one relationships with students AND be a father to 6 kids and over 30 grandkids!

HH is an amazing, amazing man. I knew this. I saw his age, his tremors. In the beginning I was uncomfortable with it. I was frightened by it. You see, my parents are very young. My Mom is only 49, and in amazing shape. None of my parents are anywhere near being 'old', none are suffering from illness. I am lucky. The idea of watching a parent succumb to such a fate was not something I expected to experience, not anytime soon.

So, I didn't expect this. I didn't expect it to hurt so much when I found out that he'd moved. I didn't expect to be so upset when I learned that the house will probably have to be sold. I didn't expect to feel so bad about how little time we've spent with him in the last six months. I didn't know what it would be like for him in assisted living, how he would feel the lack of freedom. I didn't expect for another little piece of my heart to break off to live with him.

Despite all of this, I am glad. I'm glad that it's upsetting, because it makes me realize how much I love him. I knew that I respected him, but I didn't realize the depth of my other feelings. Most of all, I'm glad to have had some small part in his wonderful life, and to have gotten to know a truly amazing person.

We don't know what will happen from here. We don't know how short, or how long our time with him will be. I hope long, I hope that Sam will get to know his Grandpa who loves him and will tease him and tell him all the jokes he told me when I was new to the family. Things change, but love remains in spite of sadness, and I am glad for that.

November 16, 2008

What He Said: Keith Olbermann on Prop 8

I finally got around to watching Olbermann's special comment on Prop 8, and I don't think he's ever had me in tears before.

Oh Keith, I have the love, and I have some of it over here for you if you wants it. But seriously... what HE said, we should listen.

November 15, 2008

Saturday Share

I'm so happy it's the weekend, mostly because after the last couple of weeks, I'll be VERY happy to leave Sam with my Mom today so that Justin and I can spend a little time together.  Maybe we'll go see the new James Bond movie!  Here are some posts to check out from this week!
I also discovered a new blog this week - ZooBorns.  Holy cute babies, Batman!  This is a blog where tons of zoos post photos, video and stories about whatever baby animals happen to be joining the world in their neck of the woods.  I discovered it through the Woodland Park Zoo Twitter, and especially like this freaking adorable pygmy hippo and two of my favorite animals in the WORLD in BABY form - pygmy marmosets & red pandas.

November 14, 2008

Grey's Anatomy: Where my missed shows come back alive

What's up with Grey's Anatomy?  First, they bring in Kevin McKidd from Journeyman, who is henceforth referred to as McJourneyman.  I like him on that show, and was sad it was cancelled, but bearded, hardcore McJourneyman... well, he's hot.  Then this week, first Melissa George (Alias) then Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Gallactica) come up both in one episode!  It's like my favorite shows that aren't on right now are coming alive before me.  Ha.  So far though, I sort of hate Melissa George's character.  But I thought Mary McDonnell did a wonderful job, although I find it hard to believe that they would all meet her and just think she was weird, and not consider that she might have Asperger's or something.

Here's the thing.  I love Grey's, it's one of my favorite shows.  But I don't think I like this weird Izzy seeing Denny's ghost storyline.  I LOVED Denny, don't get me wrong.  I swoon a little for Jeffrey Dean Morgan.  But I just am not sure that it fits in that well with the show, and I just don't like it.  It's one thing to dream about people, it's another to actually have a ghost.  Is he real?  Is he a hallucination?  Is Izzy having a NERVOUS BREAKDOWN?  Sigh...  I don't know if it's because of me or the show, but I haven't been as moved this season.  I used to cry during every episode, now it's more like every other episode.  

Good ending this week, loved Christina yelling at the interns, loved the scene in the bar with the Sloane/Lexi thing and the Christina/McJourneyman thing - HAWT!  But then, Izzy and Denny - WTF?  Like, seriously, is she mental?  I so wanted Alex to walk in to see what he would see when she was kissing him.  

What do you think of the ghost/hallucination?


Dear Sam,

I know you are only two years old, and you don't always understand WHY. But for God's sake, PLEASE just go to sleep. It's an hour past your bedtime and you still fought like mad when I put you in your crib. I am in the living room right now listening to you cry. It hurts my heart to sit here and listen to it. Some nights, I am on the verge of tears myself. I wish that you knew that you need sleep now to have fun tomorrow, and that there was some way for me to explain that to you.

I feel like the meanest mommy in the whole wide world listening to you cry and knowing that you don't even have a pillow because you threw it out of your crib in a rage. You get so mad at bedtime, you try to hit me, and that hurts my feelings. I know you don't mean it, but I wish you knew that I don't either - I'm not trying to hurt you, but you can't stay up until 1 AM every night. It makes for a very tired and crabby Sam, and a very tired and crabby Mommy too. Your cries are breaking my heart right at the time of day when I REALLY need to wind down. Please Sammy, just go to sleep.


November 13, 2008

Bedtime Hai-blues

Haiku Friday

At nine forty it's
finally back to bed and
I resign myself

I will listen to
crying, as it gives way to<
babbles then more tears

I hate this fight, this
bedtime battle of wills, why
won't he go to sleep?

After 10 and he
goes back and forth from crying
to random words, sounds.

Sounds get quieter
further in between words and
I pray he's asleep

Ten minutes pass and
absolute silence, then a
word, a small high voice.

Twenty more minutes
it's finally quiet now
sound sleep at long last.

We've been having some sleep issues in our little abode.  On Wednesday night, Sam didn't go to bed until 1 AM, we tried putting him down several times and there was tons of crying and screaming and up and down and it was just horrible.  Tonight when I tried to put him down at 8:30 he was just not seeming tired at all, and just cried and cried.  I let him cry for about 30 minutes, then got him up, put him back down at 9:30 and it's taken a full hour for him to go to sleep, alternating between crying and talking, then just talking and babbling.

I don't know if I'm just being paranoid or reading into things, but it almost seems like he really doesn't like his crib anymore.  We've been lucky that we've been able to use it this long, and that he doesn't try to climb out of it or anything.  But I am starting to think that he just doesn't like being in there anymore.  Justin's Mom is going to get Sam a big boy bed for Christmas, but that's a while off, so I'm hoping that maybe he'll start going down easier before that.  Otherwise we're in for a LONG two months...

Wish us luck this weekend...  I'll be hoping for easier bedtimes!

For more Friday Haikus, click here!

Top Chef NY: First Impressions

How excited was I to see Top Chef waiting on my DVR this morning?  Super excited!  Here are my first impressions as I watch the first episode of Top Chef New York...

First off, I just love Padma.  I don't know why.  I just do.  I feel like I'd like to hang out with her.  

Quickfire Challenge

Round 1: peel 15 apples with a knife,  first 9 to finish are safe.  Eliminating one chef in the first quickfire challenge, that's hardcore.  It must be so weird to do all this work, then get eliminated halfway through the first episode.  I mean, can you imagine thinking, if I'd just peeled that apple better, I could have been on Top Chef?  Richard immediately cuts his thumb.  And Stefan is the first to finish.  I'm glad Richard got one of the spots so he didn't slice himself for nothing!  Ha.

Round 2:  brunoise two cups of apples (brunoise is a small dice), first 4 to finish are safe.  I feel bad for Jill that she finished and then they said it wasn't good enough, but I guess it's okay since she got through in the end.

Round 3:  create a dish using apples in 20 minutes, weakest dish is eliminated.  Talk about pressure.  It's funny that Radhika is going straight to an Indian Chutney even though she said that she didn't want to be pigeonholed for doing Indian food.  I guess you need to go with your strengths on a challenge like this though.  I'm not sure about Lauren...  she's just so cutesy.  I'm not sure Lauren's dish showcased the apples enough.  How funny that it came down to the two friends.  Seems like a pretty big coincidence...  And the judges agreed with me and Lauren was sent home.

Elimination Challenge

Pairs compete to create a dish inspired by the area of New York they drew from the knife block, the pairs will be competing head to head against each other for the best dish inspired by their area.

The team rainbow thing was pretty funny.  They always get such sweet diggs on these shows.  It's interesting to see two European chefs, it's weird it makes me wonder if they got those people applying before and they just chose some this season to change it up.  They've already got the two Europeans portrayed as the cocky/stubborn/hoity ones this season.

Carla just said she wanted to be lead to this dish by her spirit guides.  That does not make me like her.  Melissa is strange looking.  I like Eugene.  He's obviously the underdog here with no culinary school, and I don't always like that.  Sometimes, I'm annoyed by it.  But for whatever reason, I like him, and am already rooting for him a little bit.  What the hell is up with Daniel's freaky beard?

Here's my thing... don't choose something you've never worked with before, or something that you know is very time sensitive (black rice noodles, farro).  Have you never watched this sort of show?  Or cooked with unknown ingredients for the first time and ASSUME that it's just like something else you've used before?  It's just a bad idea.  I don't understand why you would do it.  I understand taking risk and wanting to be authentic to the type of cuisine, but there's a line between doing that and just being a little dumb.

Holy shit Gail, what's up with that dress.  Not a good choice.  You know how sometimes people just rub you the wrong way?  Carla rubs me the wrong way.  I don't know what it is, it's the way she talks, her buggy eyes, her pursed lips.  I just can't deal.  Know what's funny?  Right as soon as they introduced her, I wrote down "I get the impression she's going to have a bit of an attitude".  Yes, I judge, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Interesting that 2 people used farro to make a risotto.  One successful, one not so much.  Yay for Eugene and his home run with Indian food!  I thought it was interesting what Padma said about in all but one season the winner of the first elimination challenge has won the competition.  That's an interesting indicator.  And they choose Stefan's dish as the winning dish.  Unfortunately they sent home my cute gay boy.  So sad!

Can't wait for next week.

November 12, 2008

13 Things I'm Thankful for Today

  1. It seems like my Google Reader has FINALLY stopped showing the list of blogs I'm following, like I asked it to, so I just have my normal reading list and not that annoying list saying I have 600 unread items. YAY!
  2. My sister is out of the hospital. Her sodium went up to normal levels yesterday and they let her go home, but still don't know what caused it in the first place. For now she's still on medication that makes her sodium normal, but that's not a long term solution. She'll have followups with the endocrinologist and we'll see.
  3. I was seemingly getting better, then I had weird ear pressure/pain and a 1/2 sore throat. Like, only the right half of my throat hurt. It was really weird. So I went to the doctor, and he said I have had an upper respiratory infection & put me on antibiotics. It was 3 hours at the walk in clinic, and that was on Tuesday. But today I feel ALMOST normal!! My sore throat is finally gone, my ear doesn't hurt as much, and I can FINALLY take a deep breath without coughing. Yay!
  4. Have I ever told you how awesome my husband is? Well, he is. He even does the dishes most of the time, he cooks me dinner a lot (he cooks way more than I do), and he loves our son so much. Throughout this year, so much has happened and it's been really hard, but all it's done is make our relationship stronger. I am just really thankful for having him in my life.
  5. Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix. We had homemade pizza for the first time last night since Justin was diagnosed with Celiac's Disease. We used this mix and it was DELICIOUS! It tasted just like regular crust! It's the first time since he got diagnosed that Justin has been able to enjoy his pizza fully - a lot of times when restaurants have gluten free crust it's rice based, and it just isn't that good. It is doughy, and doesn't taste 'normal'. I am so impressed Bob's Red Mill! It's a great company anyway (their 7 Grain Pancake Mix is to die for, especially if you add blueberries), and I am TOTALLY checking out more of their GF products now!
  6. My friend Amy, who is amazing. I met her through the Mom's Group that I'm in, she runs it, and she is awesome. I have only known her a few months, but I consider her one of my really good friends in Bellingham. She watches Sam every Thursday and she is SO cheerful and giving and just wonderful. She is always in a good mood, and we have a lot in common. I'm just really glad to have met her.
  7. My bloggy friend, Auds. I seriously LOVE her blog, Barking Mad, and think she is smart, funny, and a really awesome lady. She is always aware of what's going on with me and offering her thoughts, advice and support. I'm so glad to have discovered her blog & gotten to know her a little in this funny blogosphere world.
  8. Top Chef started again last night! WOOT!
  9. My readers. Okay, my blog isn't huge like Dooce or Girl's Gone Child. But there are some people reading it out there, and I seriously love you guys. You make me laugh, make me cry, make me realize how lucky I am, and make me feel like part of a community. When something bad happens, you pray or send good thoughts. How totally amazing is that? I don't care if I only get 30 hits a day, because the people who are coming here have proven themselves to be the kind of people that I want in my life!
  10. My sister's boyfriend, Joe. Okay, I already liked Joe before. He is funny, great with Sam, awesome to my sister, an amazing singer and guitarist, and he's just fun to be around. But last week, he spent five days in the hospital with my sister. He stayed by her side when she was out of it, he made sure that he was up to date on what the doctors were saying when she couldn't be. He let her family and friends know what was going on. He kept her company when she was getting better and bored. He comforted her. He slept on a cot so he could be with her. If you asked him, he might not say it was a big deal, but it was a big deal to me, and to my family. It was a big deal that she had someone with her that cared for her so much so that she didn't have to be scared. I'm crying just thinking about it. Joe is awesome.
  11. Barack Obama is the next President. I am so excited. I have never actually thought so much about a president in my life. In my spare time, I find myself just thinking about the election, and unlike 4 and 8 years ago, this time I'm happy!
  12. Laurell K Hamilton. I don't care if her books are some dirty dirtiness. I LOVE them. I'm in the middle of one right now, and will be devouring much of it this afternoon.
  13. Pecan Pie. I had my first slice of the fall the other day. It was from the grocery store, but it was delicious. Not as delicious as the one I'll get to eat next week - my Mom always makes me one for my birthday because it's my favorite.
What are you thankful for this week? To read more Thankful Thursday posts, go to A Bit Squirrelly!

To read more Thursday Thirteen posts, click here!

Discover Something New: Fringe, Supernatural & Private Practice

There are some things that you should be watching right now, especially if you're missing some of your old favorites.  I'll have more in the future, but for now here are a couple of recommendations!

If you liked The X-Files, you should be watching Fringe and Supernatural.  

I described Fringe to my husband the other day as a mixture between Alias, The X-Files and Dawson's Creek.  Okay, okay, it really has nothing to do with Dawson's creek except that it has Joshua Jackson, who will forever be affectionately referred to by me as Pacey.  It's a great show, with seperate storylines that you can enjoy as well as an ongoing mythology that as of yet is not too tough to catch up on.  Also a safe bet for fans of Alias.

Supernatural is absolutely one of my favorites on TV right now.  It's got several people who worked on The X-Files working on it, and like the X-Files manages to put out great montser of the week epsidoes while carrying a really interesting, origingal backstory that continues to progress and twist.  Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles have great chemistry as brothers, and are just all around fun to watch.  

If you liked Gilmore Girls,  you should be watching Private Practice.

Okay, okay, I know that they're not really even in the same genre.  But one thing they do have in common is that these shows are PURE girlyness.  It takes place in a medical clinic that includes a pediatrician, and internal medicine doctor, fertility doctors, a new age doctor, and a therapist.  The relationships are complex, and draw you in.  Despite the fact that they're co-workers, they're a family and it's all about the talking and the secrets and the story.  Give it a try!    

November 10, 2008

Petite Update: Bankruptcy & MRIs

Just wanted to stop by and post a quick updated. I'm dropping Sam off at a friend's (I have such awesome people around me) in 10 minutes, then Rob and I are heading down to the hospital in Seattle to see Kira again.

She's doing fine, had an MRI this morning and I assume we'll find out about the results when we get there. Her sodium was up to 120 last night, which is good. I haven't gotten any info on test results from today. Thank you so much to all of you who have offered your thoughts and prayers to us. It means a lot to me, and I know it helps.

On another note, Justin and I had our bankruptcy hearing this morning and she declared no assets, which means that they dissolve everything and we don't have to give up any of our possessions to the court. I'll be posting more about that later on when I have a little more time for actually thinking about what I'm writing.


When I first saw previews for Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie, I thought it had some supernatural element to it.  The only things that were really revealed in the trailers were that a woman's son was missing, and when he returned, he was not the same boy as when he left.  Since the movie was getting good reviews, I was interested in going to see it.  Then, my husband went the other night and saw it and absolutely loved it.  He's a big fan of crime shows like Law & Order, and he thought this movie was great.  He couldn't stop talking about it, so I decided I ought to go and see it before he gave away too much of the plot!

Based on true events that took place in California in the 1920s, the movie delves into what happens when a police department goes corrupt and how it affects the regular people in the town.  Angelina Jolie stars as Christine Collins, mother of nine-year old Walter.  Jolie was perfect as this working, single mother who obviously loved her child and did everythign she could to take care of him.  Their bond is demonstrated through her actions as well as through her honesty in answering his questions about what happened to his father.  Collins works as a supervisor at a telephone switch, and comes home from work one day to find that her son is missing.

What could be worse for the parent of a missing child than wondering what's happened to their child?  If they find the child dead, it's a nightmare but there is closure.  If the find the child alive and well, it's a dream come true.  What happened to Christine Collins is decidedly a nightmare, not only lacking closure, but presenting more questions than it seems possible to answers.

Months later, she's notified that her son has been found, but when she goes to the train station to meet him, the boy they present her with is NOT her son.  Watching Jolie bullied into taking the boy home and struggling with her disappointment and confusion is heartwrenching.  She plays the scenes of frightened desperation with such heart and pain that it's impossible not to feel for her character.  

As time goes on, the nightmare keeps getting worse, and Collins is forced by a corrupt police captain into a mental institution where no one believes a word she says.  Despite everything, Collins stuck to her guns, and with the help of a local Reverend who takes her side and publicizes her situation, manages to expose the police department's horrifying activites.

The movie isn't incredibly fast paced, and that's one thing I loved about it.  I liked watching a period movie from a more recent time, but not involving war or politics or tons of action.  I liked watching this normal, everyday woman faced with a horrifying situation, watching her struggle and eventually help change the world she lived in for the better.  For the most part, it was pleasant to watch, and easy to follow.  It was just a great story turned into a great movie.  

Jason Butler Harner,  who I recognized from various appearances on TV shows like Law & Order and The Closer, was incredible as Gordon Northcott, a serial murderer whose storyline parallels and intertwines with Collins' story.  Northcott lived in the nearby town of Wineville (renamed afterwards to Mira Loma, CA) and was convicted of murdering several young boys.  As one reviewer put it, the scene in which Northcott is eventually executed by hanging is so real that it's almost unbearable to watch.  

Changeling is proof that Clint Eastwood is progressing quite nicely as a director, and a refreshing piece of cinema.  

November 9, 2008

In the Hospital: what I know and what I could really use

The doctor just came in and gave us an update on what's going on with my sister. Here's the story so far.

She became nauseous on Tuedsday night, and started throwing up until she got to the point where she could not even keep liquids down. On Thursday she went to the doctor and they sent her to the hospital to get IV fluids. They gave her a bag of fluids and she felt better, but as soon as she got home she started to get nauseous again. Friday morning they decided to go back to the hospital and ended up in the ER. At that point she was put in an ambulance and brought and checked in to the intensive care unit here. Friday she was very out of it and her sodium level was not responding. I got here on Saturday afternoon and she was more aware, but still looked pretty sick. She was drowsy and sleeping off and on and still sort of out of it when the doctors asked her questions etc. I got to the hospital around 10:30 this morning, and she looks a lot better, but it still weak and definitely not 100%.

Her doctor is great. Here's what he said. A long time ago when we evolved from sea creatures, we evolved so that we have about the same salinity as salt water. So, we have to maintain that level, and our body does that by using hormones and having our kidneys pee out water. If we drink a glass of water, we generally pee out a glass of water as well. For whatever reason, my sister's body is peeing out salt and hanging on to water, which means that something in her brain is telling her body to hold on to water.

This is not a common situation. You see it in people who have a head injury, or sometimes in old ladies as a side effect of taking Paxil or diuretics. They're not sure why this is happening.

The doctor said that a normal sodium level is 135-145. When she checked in to the hospital on Friday, her level was at 111. The doctor told us that normally if you walked in to a room with a person who had a 111 level, they would be nearly comatose - totally out of it, possibly unconscious, and would be feeling worse than ever. Even now, with a sodium level of 118, he said that normally people would be feeling very nauseous and out of it. So, this indicates that the sodium has been dropping over time, probably gradually over several weeks. The fact that my sister feels this much better and is aware and talking and stuff at this level indicates that she probably has not been living with a normal sodium level for a while now.

Tests have been done. She's had an X-Ray of her chest and an ultrasound of her abdomen, both with normal results. She did see an endocrinologist several years ago and was told that she had a growth or tumor on her pituitary gland. The endocrinologist that she saw today is going to get an MRI of that to see if there's been any change or that could be affecting the situation, but the main doctor said that he does not think it's that likely they'll find anything that could be causing any of this to happen.

Because of the history of endocrine issues (hormonal issues & the pituitary thing), the doctor thinks that this might be something that would happen more than once in her life, that we'll have to have medical records and be aware of it so that we can be informed in the future if it happens or if doctors ask about it.

Since they don't want the sodium to go up more than 10 points in a 24 hour period because that can be very dangerous, and in fact they probably want it to go up more like 5-6 points a day to avoid any danger. If your sodium goes up really fast, you can get a condition where your bodies sodium is way higher than your brain and that you can get paralyzed, which is obviously really bad. It's really rare, so it's not a huge worry, but a reason that she's going to be here for a while.

He's going to be moving her from ICU to a normal room today, and they're not doing IV fluids, and they'll check her blood a little less often. The goal is to get her sodium to level out WITHOUT the medication, she's on the medication now but it's a temporary solution to the problem. He estimated she'll be in the hospital for 3-5 more days and then will have to get her blood checked by another doctor at least every week or a couple of times a week.

We're waiting. That's all we can do. We're curious, and we want answers, but we might not get them. I'm going home tonight because our bankruptcy appointment is tomorrow, then probably coming back here with my Mom tomorrow to stay with Kira some more.

It's a weird situation. Despite the fact that it doesn't seem that serious just looking at her, having sodium that low can be a very serious condition and can even cause seizures. Despite the fact that it's not life threatening right now, it's not fun to come into an ICU and see your awesome little sister hooked up to an IV and a bloodpressure and tons of other monitors looking sick. Frankly, it's scary. I've cried a little, prayed a little, and just tried to be with her a lot in the last couple of days. I don't really want to go home tonight, but it's necessary.

In addition to all of this, I am of course in the back of my mind also thinking about the medical bills that will result from this. I have no power to help with that except to do research on organizations that might be able to help with the costs once all is said and done, and to be supportive.

I know there are a lot of people out there who care, and who have good thoughts or prayers to offer. I'd ask that right now if you could pray for the doctors to find some sort of cause and figure out what's going on, we could really use it. Also, thanks to my wonderful hubby Justin for posting last night - he's been added as a writer here for a while, and I've just been waiting for him to join me. We're not going to have a joint blog, but he might show up here from time to time, and I'm happy about that!

November 8, 2008

Hospitals & Death vs President Obama

Since Rachael is otherwise occupied (more about that in a bit), I am posting my first entry here. I'm Rachael's husband, Justin.

A bit about me... I'm a computer tech turned software developer turned network(s) administrator. I have a wonderful wife and an adorable son, and am blessed with a whole bunch of caring friends and family. I'm a huge progressive liberal, so that might come out a bit in my posts every now and then. I love having discussions with my mother, who is also one of my best friends. We've had a lot of great political discussions, as she is of the moderate/conservative mindset. In fact, unless it's at church or with a client, politics generally comes up a lot around me. I love Law & Order (and all of the spinoffs), crime shows, medical shows (House!), various sci-fi shows, Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, Pen & Teller's Bullsh*t, and the Fox Sunday evening lineup of cartoons... every single one of them.

I want to preface this post with a note... This post starts on a low note, but gets better (depending on your political persuasion, I guess).

Rachael's sister is in a (very good) hospital in Seattle right now. She's been sick for several weeks and recently got much worse. She was admitted yesterday very dehydrated and with very low sodium levels. Over the last day her levels haven't gotten any better, so they're trying to figure out what's not right. They've got a good lead on a cause, but we're waiting to see what comes of it. She is stable, but tired. Rachael decided to stay the night in Seattle, so I dropped Sam off with his Grandma and drove back up to our house to make sure the cats don't destroy anything because of lack of food. 

Every once in a while, I get a weird grouping of events that is quite out of the ordinary. This time around it is people dying. Someone who I didn't know all that well, but was very active in the men's group at our Church that I'm a part of died a few weeks ago. Bill went in for routine gallbladder surgery, but just didn't wake up the next day. We had a men's retreat scheduled a few days later at this beautiful lodge in the mountains, which turned into a rememberance of sorts, as this particular retreat was orchestrated by Bill.

At that retreat, I had a long discussion with a friend of mine who lost his wife last year suddenly. He is the first person that came up to us and said "hi" when we came to our Church for the first time. He's a truly great person, and he passed away a few days ago of a heart attack, leaving behind a 12 year old son. His memorial service was today, so we kind of killed two birds with one stone since both the memorial service and Rachael's sister are in the Seattle area.

President Obama
OK, I'm done going on about the depressing stuff in our lives. On to something much greater... Hope!

The night of the election, watching President-elect Barack Obama give the most inspirational speech I have ever witnessed, I was filled with hope for our future. Something about him just makes me feel better about the world.

The "vs" part
You might ask, what am I talking about? Is Obama going to go up against Hospitals and Death? Hospitals maybe, but Death??? Is he really crazy enough to go up against Death itself?

The short answer is: Unfortunately, no. Although it might make for a good HBO special.

The long answer is unavailable at the moment, as I have no long answer.

Max Payne

*Contains Mild Spoilers*

I knew I was going to see Max Payne when I first saw the previews, after all, I have a little bit of a thing for Mark Wahlberg and I usually enjoy movies based on video games even when they're hokey because I like action movies, and they usually have fairly fun plots.  

Unfortunately I was a little bit disappointed by this one.  Mark Wahlberg's character was one dimensional, which does well in a video game, but doesn't translate well into a movie that's supposed to entertain you or make you care about the characters.  

I would be interested to know what people who played the game thought about the movie.  My husband has played the game before, but not in a long time and he didn't really remember the details that well.  I know they changed the ending of the movie to leave it wide open for a sequel, which I probably won't bother to go see whenever it ends up being released.

I was personally disappointed because I didn't feel like the previews accurately represented the movie, which really annoys me.  I went into it expecting there to be some sort of Constantine-esque supernatural element to it, and come to find that it's not that at all, just some drug that mysteriously makes all it's users have the same bizarre hallucinations.  I was annoyed by that, because it would have been a lot more interesting to me if the plot had incorporated what I originally thought.  

There were things I did like about it, I like not being able to tell what time a movie takes place in, and whether the world it's happening in is the same as our own.  At first I thought the snow and rain effects were enhancing, but it got old after a while - if it was snowing that much, there would have been snow on the ground and not just ashy looking debris in the air everywhere.  Some of the filming was good, I always like it when they use interesting shots, and some of the camera/special effects when they were under the effect of the drug were interesting.

One thing I thought was really interesting was the cast of this movie.  In previews, and in anything I read, it really only mentioned Mark Wahlberg, then watching the movie many other people showed up, including Donal Logue, Chris O'Donnell, Beau Bridges (gotta love those Bridges) and Mila Kunis.  

Saturday Share: OBAMA Edition!

It's been a couple of weeks since I did my Saturday Share, and I want to get back into it again.  This week, since I've been so inspired and delighted by what's been going on, I decided I want to highlight my favorite posts about the election.  There is a lot of hope in these words, but also some sadness, mostly due to the passage of California's Proposition 8.  I share the hope, and I share the sadness.  Read on for some great perspectives that will make you laugh & cry.
  • Shannymar at The Mommy Project writes about her feelings on the election, and also how Obama is not too hard on the eyes (hehe).
  • Bejewell's letter to her son at The Bean mirrors some of my emotions thinking about my son and the world he'll know.
  • Rebecca at Girl's Gone Child writes about our evolution.
  • Dawn at Growing a Pair (and her husband) explain why it's so bittersweet.
  • Todd at Iced Tea & Sarcasm stands up for his rights.
  • Kimberly at Petroville wins for best way to notify someone of the election results.
  • Maria at Immoral Matriarch is overjoyed - and scared.
Have a great weekend.

November 6, 2008

My Future, My Hope

Haiku Friday

Obama accepts
A nightmare begins to end
Only one word: HOPE

November 6, 2008

Dear Sam,

What an amazing week this has been.  In the midst of what has been a difficult year for our family, something wonderful and historical and inspiring has happened.  In a time of hardship and difficulty for so many people around us, we have been given something we all needed - hope.

You are 2 1/2 years old, and most likely too young to remember this time.  You won't remember Tuesday November 4.  You won't remember going to the courthouse in the afternoon to get a replacement ballot so that I could vote.  You won't remember running around, squealing and playing while I filled it out.  You won't remember how we handed you the ballot so that you could slip it into the collection box.  You won't remember running around your Grandma's house while election results flashed on the TV.  You won't remember me hugging you as tears streamed down my face, and you probably didn't even notice that I was crying.  Over the next few years, you will grow older and you will learn to recognize the face of our country, and the voice of our new leader.  You will know Barack Obama as the first president you remember, and his leadership will be a way of life that I hope will continue as you grow up.

But right now, you are too small to know what and incredible thing has happened.  Because you're too young to remember, I want to give you my memories of that day.  You will read about it in the history books when you're in high school.  You will learn about the day that America elected it's first African American President, but I want you to know what it felt like that day.

It felt amazing.  Our country is young, less than 250 years old.  In the grand scheme of things, it's just a baby.  To think that in only 150 years we have gone from a time when Obama and his family would have been owned by other people to a time when a young black man can grow up to lead his country into tomorrow.  I feel so proud that it brings me to tears.  I am proud of the people in this country for standing up for what's right.  For standing up for what they believe, for reminding politicians that our system CAN work.  Our votes DO count.  They count in a big way.  Barack Obama's campaign slogan was 'Yes, we can' and on Tuesday we proved him right.

Four years ago, we stayed up into the night, anxiously awaiting election results, feeling more and more sad and angry every minute.  The numbers went back and forth, up and down.  We thought for sure that President Bush had been voted out.  We were sure that this time, the voting machines would work, and that something great would happen.  Four years ago, the leadership of our country was not elected by popular vote.  It was taken over by a president who has run our country into the ground, taken our citizens into a horrible, seemingly endless war, and allowed corporations to dictate what is 'best' for our country.  Four years ago, your father and I lost hope.  We lost faith in the system that is supposed to allow us to take part in the policy and atmosphere of the world we live in.  We stopped believing that we could make a difference.

Two days ago, we didn't have to wait.  As soon as the polls closed on the west coast at 8:00, all the news channels announced it.  Barack Obama was the next President of the United States of America.  Instead of watching numbers so close (Kerry 252 Electoral Votes, Bush 286 Electoral Votes) that the election was decided by ONE state (Ohio), we watched Obama's numbers climb and climb until the tally was 364 for Obama versus 173 for John McCain.  Two days ago, we let our guards down.  We didn't spend hours waiting to find out who won, instead we knew before it was over.  An hour later, our next President, Barack Obama took the stage to speak to us.  Here is my favorite part of his speech, which represents the hope and amazement I feel today at our country's progress:

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that We Shall Overcome. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.  

We were headed home before 10 PM, and as we got in the car, I asked your Dad to drive through downtown Bellingham even though you were tired and fussy and ready to go home.  As we approached the heart of our town, we started to see people.  Young people, walking, talking, excited, celebrating, cheering.  There were people with signs.  We honked the horn, our grins so wide our cheeks hurt.  At a stoplight, we shouted a greeting to a young man on the corner with an Obama sign, and he ran over and high fived your Dad.  There were people on bikes with signs.  And there was something in the air, something jubilant, something wonderful - it was HOPE.

I wanted this change for you, Sam.  I know that this is the beginning of a movement that will change the world.  You will have the opportunity to grow up in a world better than the one that you were born into two years ago.  By the time you are old enough to read and understand this, I hope that you won't even understand why electing Barack Obama was a big deal.  I hope that you will grow up not to see race or sexual orientation, but just to see the amazing people who surround you.  I have hope again, I have hope that this is the beginning of the world I want for my family, for you.

Sam, I hope that one day you will get to feel what I felt on Tuesday.  I hope that you will get to feel what it is like to be part of history, to be part of a moment that changes the world for the better.  I hope that you'll get the chance to raise your voice and tell the bad guys that they DON'T win, that you and your friends and neighbors want better for this world and you are going to make it happen whether they like it or not.

I love you Sam, and I can't wait for you to grow up so you can have your own hope, and change the world in your own way.