Analytics Tracker

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I'll tell you in another life, when we are both cats

Well, this is not a post I expected to be writing anytime soon.  We lost our Maggie on Monday :(  You will probably remember Maggie from such episodes as cat-sitting at my parents' house, and being generally ridiculous.

A few weeks ago she started precipitously dropping weight, which was initially attributed to hyperthyroid.  Then about a week and a half ago she completely stopped eating and drinking and was having visible acid reflux.  The vet who was going to treat her for hyperthyroid started to suspect GI lymphoma and all of her tests came back supporting that diagnosis.

There is no cure for gastric lymphoma, and the steroid medication that was supposed to make her comfortable enough to eat and drink normally again was making absolutely no difference.  My mom and sister were feeding her heavy cream and water through a syringe to keep her as nourished and hydrated as possible but it just got harder and harder.  The only treatment option left was chemo, but that would not have helped her discomfort.  Any time we tried to give her would have been time spent in pain and that did not seem fair.

My mom called me on Monday late morning to tell me they were taking her into the vet at 3pm.  I wish I could show you my work calendar for the day, because it was essentially a slew of back-to-back half hour and hour meetings, ending abruptly at 2:30.  If there was ever a sign that I needed to be somewhere at a certain time, that was it.

Letting go of Maggie was honestly one of the more difficult/emotional/intense experiences of my life.  I know there are probably people out there thinking "whatever, it's just a cat"...but trust me, I have lost pets before and this time is different.  I think of all pets as my family members, but Maggie was really and truly a member of the family.  There was just something really special about her.  Plus it was so sudden and unexpected... just really hard.

If it's OK I want to share some of my favorite memories of Maggie:

  • The day we brought her home, she promptly managed to fall down the stairs.  I think that pretty much sums it up.
  • Maggie always wanted to sit in a chair at dinner. Not on the table, not on the floor next to your chair - in a chair, like a person.  Sometimes this meant creeping on someone else's chair such as my dad.
  • Exhibit A - Maggie stealthily creeping up on his left
  • She loved drinking  beer.  Obviously beer consumption was not allowed for Mags, but that didn't stop her from trying to steal a sip every once in a while.

    Exhibit B -it's Bell's so at least she had good taste?
  • She really enjoyed staring at people while they slept.  Sometimes this meant sitting on the nightstand and just watching over you, but sometimes it meant that you woke up to find her on your stomach, staring down at you and kneading you forcefully with her (declawed!) front paws.
  • Sometimes instead of staring creepily at you, she would actually sleep with you.  Her favorite spot was curled around your neck, regardless of if you were lying down or sitting up.  This occasionally made breathing difficult.
  • When I brought her to my grad school apartment to cat-sit for the first time, she hid under my bed for two straight days, unable to comprehend that she was in a different space.  She emerged looking frazzled and totally covered in dust.
  • Maggie was a frequent surprise guest in Skype conversations. Whether it was me Skyping my Ben while he was in Ohio, my parents Skyping me when I was in Turkey, or all of us talking to Julianna while she was in Australia, she always had a way of popping in.

There are tons more, and I'm sure they will keep popping into my head.  I hope Maggie knows how loved she was, and how much we miss her.

On a happier note, today is a day of beginnings, too: my friend Alex is getting married!  Alex was in my wedding last summer - we have been partners-in-crime for years and years, and continue to kick ass in Competitive Charades on a regular basis.

Alex is next to me on my right

I love her soon-to-be-husband Karl, they are such a perfect fit and I couldn't be happier for both of them!  On a related note, I should probably hop in the shower and get ready to report for bridesmaid duty.  Hope you are all having a happy and safe weekend.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Things that are Awesome: Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bars

This post contains a few things that are awesome, and a few that are not awesome.

These are awesome
Starting with awesome: watching my cat trying to walk in front of a fan.  It's as though she is encountering an invisible barrier - she literally cannot proceed.  All she is trying to do is walk across the living room so she can drool on my keyboard, but then NOPE BLOWING AIR CAN'T MOVE.  Poor baby...she is so confused.  And then I just watch her and laugh, which probably does not help.

Awesome: Mumford and Sons FINALLY announced a damn release date for their new album - September 24!!! So excited.  In the meantime, there's this:

And this, which is AMAZING but is sadly not on any album...:

Not awesome:  Apparently we have an infestation of carpenter ants.  Also apparently, this infestation originated in the tree on our neighbor's property, which they refuse to remove or do anything about.  All we can do is have an exterminator come two or three times a year and spray to kill the ants that have invaded our home - we can't do anything about the actual nest.  Awesome.

Awesome: PB Cookie dough bars.  Anyone who knows me even remotely knows that I LOVE baking.  Sometimes, I really enjoy taking the time to construct a complicated tart or layer cake...but sometimes I just want to go from "baked goods sound delicious" to cookies in my face in less than 30 minutes.  You know...normal.

Eat meeeeeeeeeeeee


•1/3 cup natural peanut butter
•1/3 cup oil of your choice - coconut, canola, or you could use melted butter ;)
•1 cup dark brown sugar
•1/4 cup almond milk
•2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•1 cup flour
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• Chopped dark chocolate (I used about 1/2 of a Chocolove bar)

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease and flour an 8x8 baking pan.

Heat the PB and oil together in the microwave (in a microwave-safe bowl) or over the stove, and stir to combine.  Add sugar, almonst milk and vanilla and whisk together.  Add dry ingredients and fold to combine using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.

Chop your dark chocolate into small chunks and pieces - no need for them to be pretty.  Fold the batter into the pan and spread using the spoon, spatula or your hands until it covers the bottom evenly.  Sprinkle the chocolate over the batter.

Pop your bars into the oven on a middle rack and bake for 20-25 minutes.  If your oven is possessed like mine is, rotate your pan 180 degrees after about 10 minutes so that you do not end up with one side that is charred to hell and one side that is still raw.

If your oven is not ridiculous you probably don't need to follow that last step.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Where are you from?

Total dork that I am, I love anything dealing with data and stuff.  The BBC has a calculator that tells you where your height and weight fall on a global scale, based on information pulled together by a team of researchers at the London School of Hygeine.  Put in your information and you can see where you are compared to your national average, the global average, and which country you are most similar to based on your age group.  Fascenating!

Let it be known though that I do think BMI is a total crock - it was meant to assess populations, not individuals, and the fact that we are using it to gague our own personal health is just ridiculous.  That being said, it is interesting to look at the country rankings - the US is unsurprisingly among the highest, but it is topped by Micronesia, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, and surprisingly Kuwait?  I have a friend who lived in Kuwait for several years...I'll have to ask her about that.

Anyways it's fun nerdy times.  Here's the link:

Also I planned to have a recipe as my next post but I keep leaving the photos at home.  Wah wah wah... this is why I haven't blogged in like a week.  I keep meaning to post this damn recipe and then forgetting the photos.  So instead I will post random photos that have no point whatsoever, and then post the recipe in a couple of days.  Win win?

Mini's first experience with catnip



Some lovin' for Sidney, too

This is what happens when you walk home from your friend's house at 11pm, despite a weather forecast that calls for immenent thunderstorms.  Oops.

...Happy Monday!

Funny Workplace Ecard: May your Monday be as swift and merciful as an execution.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

One Year

Exactly 367 days ago (it was a leap year, plus I'm a day late anyways), this happened:


I subsequently became the luckiest woman on the planet.  One of my friends at work told me that the first year of marriage is supposedly the hardest.  All I can say is, if that's true we are going to have a pretty damn amazing life.  This past year has been wonderful.

To celebrate one year of being legally bound - during which we both started new jobs, acquired two pets, and moved across the city - we returned to the scene of the crime (aka our wedding reception) for dinner in downtown St. Paul.  We ate and drank at the Saint Paul Grill, which is located in the Saint Paul Hotel where we, our families and bridal party spent the night after the wedding.  After dinner we took a stroll through Rice Park and past the James J Hill Reference Library, and then headed home for cupcakes from our vendor Cup-Cake.  It was a lovely, romantic and fun evening.

Anyway, I'm in the sort of mood where I'd rather just live my life than write about it, so I'll let the photos do the talking for now.

Striking a snazzy pose

Peppered Shrimp - one reason why I will never go raw vegan

Anniversary Wine


also classy

Outside the hotel

Returning to the scene of the crime





Fleurs in Rice Park

Rice Park

Landmark Center - always pretty

Monday, July 2, 2012

Are you a warrior??

So as I've mentioned several times, my co-workers somehow talked me into running the MN Warrior dash on Saturday.  Why I agreed to this I'll never understans, but I'm so glad I did because it was a BLAST. The Warrior Dash was definitely one of the most fun experiences I've had in recent memory.  

For some reason, I was not nervous for this race at ALL.  I think it was partly because I just had no idea what I was getting into, and partly because I had virtually no expectations for my performance. My only goals for the day were:
1) Don't die
2) Don't get carted away in an ambulence
3) Have fun

(Ben came up with the last one - he thought it would be lame if I stopped after those first two, and he is probably right.  What's the point if you're not having fun??)

Ben and I got there a little early so we had time to hang out, survey the grounds and nosh on some free granola.  As the group started to arrive, we all got together for the required "before" photo:

Me with about half of our group.  That purple shirt was not purple for long...

And then we lined up to start!  We ended up pretty close to the back of our wave because it took us so long to get in line, which has impacts that I'll get to later... but finally, we were off!

Getting ready to start!

While we ran, Ben sat duitfully in the spectator area, waiting to take photos.  Poor Ben - one thing I should mention about the Afton Alps course is that there is no shade, and no covered areas anywhere.  Literally none... except for a few shady areas on the course itself.  If you're just a spectator you are in the sun the entire time.  Being that it was 90 degrees on Saturday, I almost felt worse for Ben than I did for those of us who were running.  Almost.

Since Ben's camera obviously did not capture anything between the start and the finish, I'll try to provide a brief summary what happened in the middle:

I started out with the group and the plan was to at least attempt to stick together.  The first two obstacles were cake, and the first hill was challenging but not too bad.  After the third obstacle I stopped to wait for people, but after that I got tired of waiting and decided to just go on ahead with a couple of others who wanted to keep running.  I had told myself before the race that if I could run, I would and sticking together as a big group would have meant not pushing/challenging myself very much.  Plus, there were two others whose names I will not mention...we'll call them Shmavid and Shmob... who didn't even try to stay with the group and had left us in the dust a while ago.

My co-worker and I stuck together for the next couple of obstacles, but then we hit the woods.  This was maybe the most annoying part of the race, besides the ridiculous hills.  The woods were right after this killer hill, hence many people were too tired to start running again and wanted to walk.  Unfortunately, the path through the woods was very narrow and cut into the side of a steep hill, so it was basically impossible to pass anyone.  If you should know one thing about when running or walking anywhere with me, it is probably this: getting stuck behind slow people annoys me like nothing else.  I wanted to start running again but because of the woods/path situation, I literally could not.  I finally resorted to asking people if I could sneak past them, and risked life and limb to get around all of the slow walkers.  When I looked back I had totally lost my I just kept going.

The rest of the race was basically a lot of really, a lot.  Most people (including myself) started just walking up the hills at a certain point because 1) they were so long and steep and there were so many of them, and 2) it was so effing hot.

The obstacles themselves were not that bad.  Mostly they felt like a welcome break from the damn hills - after hiking against gravity for a quarter mile in the blazing heat, doing an army crawl through the gravel is pretty much a cakewalk.  There was only one that made me nervous - the "Dead Man's Drop", which I can't even was just high and steep and near the end of the race.  I saw several people go around it, which was probably a good choice if you were fatigued.  I went over it...and I'm still alive so yay.

After the last couple of obstacles, it was pretty much run down the ski hill, slide down the slip-and-slide, jump over the fire, crawl through the mud and you're done!  I may have gotten a little overenthusiastic with my speed on the slip-and-slide, realizing about halfway that there was no way to slow down before the end.  Needless to say I did not land gracefully and I have a couple of awesome bruises. 
Just leaping over the big deal

Crawling out of the mud like some crazy swamp monster



The whole gang! (most of us at least...)
Work should be a piece of cake after this...

Clean, sort of...

Even though Warrior Dash is totally about fun and it's kind of a joke that it is even timed, I was really proud of my performance!  My goal going in was basically to not look like an idiot - but even with all of the stopping/waiting for other people and not pushing myself 100% I still finished in the top 13% of my age group, and I was one of the first three people from my work group to finish (along with the two aforementioned rebels...)! 

I'm honestly not trying to brag or pat myself on the back, but I was genuinely surprised by how well it went, as I don't necessarily consider myself a "runner."  I'd be really curious to see what happened if I actually pushed myself hard for the entire race.  Here are a few tips/takeaways if you're thinking of signing up:


1: Don't Wing It
Seriously, I know a lot of people don't really prepare for this because it's supposed to be a "fun" race, but I'm guessing that if you were not in shape or didn't work out at all beforehand, this race would not be fun AT ALL.  It is challenging - I can't speak for other courses but the MN Afton Alps course with the multitude of hills is killer, and the sun and heat made it even worse.   Running three miles was the easy part, to be honest.  I saw a lot of people who looked like they probably just went "Warrior Dash woo!  Whatevs it's only three miles I'll be fiiiiine..." I'm guessing those were the same people who rested under a tree for 10 minutes and finished the course in an hour and a half. 

Not to mention, some of the obstacles present the potential for serious injury if you're fatigued or aren't being careful.  You can always go around them but then you're kind of missing the point of Warrior Dash...meh.  Anyways I guess I am probably a massochist because I loved it anyways. 

Below is my "training regimen", such as it was:
  • Yoga 4-5 times a week (at least 2-3 of these were hot classes)
  • Running 3 times a week (2-4 miles each time)
  • CPY Bootcamp.  I am seriously so glad i did gave me so much more confidence in my overall fitness level, and I think the circuits helped improve my strength too.  And as tough as warrior dash was it sort of paled in comparison to last week's outdoor workout... as you can see, not exactly akin to that of an Olympic athlete, but at least I am in decent shape...

2: Don't worry about your time
....and if you are worried about your time, make sure you start at or near the front of your wave.  We started near the back and ended up waiting in a huge line for the first obstacle becuase the crowd still hadn't thinned out.  There were about five lines waiting to climb over the wall, and when you actually got over it depended on a) which line you picked, and b) how fast the people ahead of you in line were.  That combined with the whole 'being stuck behind slow people in the woods' make the timing kind of a crap-shoot if you aren't in the front to start with.

3: Have fun!!
Ben was totally right about this, by the way.  You get to be a bad ass!  You get to leap over fire and crawl through the mud like a champion, and in this setting it is completely socially acceptable to do these things.  Do not underestimate how awesome this is.  Enjoy it!!


Anyways, Warrior Dash was awesome and I am SO glad I decided to sign up.  I will definitely be doing this again.

Another takeaway from this whole experience is that I realized I probably don't hate running.  I also realized that without some external motivation, i.e. an upcoming race during which I would prefer not to die, I probably won't run that much.  So, I'll be making running dates with my husband/sister/whoever just because someone needs to hold me accountable for these things.

That's really all for today!  Only one more day in the office this week, and then I am out until July 9!  We're not going anywhere, just hanging out at home but I'm pretty excited because this is the first real "vacation" time I've taken since Jaunary and even then I was sick for half of it.  Unfortunately it will be 95 degrees and humid the entire week, and we only have one AC unit in the I might end up wishing I was in my air-conditioned office building.  Either way, it will be nice to relax for a few days.

Happy almost 4th of July!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...