Tuesday, February 20, 2018

"Feline Fine" in Our Sanitarium

I'm so glad we have a screened-in patio. It's a safe and secure outdoor haven for the cats when the weather is nice, and it's so good for them to get fresh air. It did Brody a lot of good when he was recovering from surgery and then recovering from the side effects of the chemo drug that I ended up taking him off of last spring.   

I got a kick out of it when they wrestled with each other. 
It was also a good sign that Brody's strength was coming back!

 Feline fine, indeed!

Monday, February 19, 2018

An A-MAY-zing May 2017

May is always nice, with spring in full bloom and the unofficial start of summer at the end of the month!

I got this Casper pillow because I'd read good things about it. I wasn't disappointed, and ten months later, I'm still not. This is a great pillow!

John had his final elementary school band concert. This was his second year playing the trombone, and he enjoys it much more than he did piano. He also happens to be quite good at it! He was the second-chair trombonist in 6th grade. 
 Can't see him? He's on the right side, second row from the back, second one in.

 This is as close as we got to Hawaii last year--a tax bill. 😔  
Meanwhile I'm still dying to go to Aulani!

I love this picture. Brody liked resting on the loveseat in the living room and looking out the window. 
It was one of his favorite spots. 

 Storytime! John read Walter the Farting Dog to Sam. Hilarity ensued. Silly book and silly boys!

 Brody under the table. He liked it under there because it was hard for me to catch him, and when we ate he could be close by for any falling scraps of food. This was the cat who really wanted to be a dog! 

My baby doll, all bundled up. 

My baby doll, helping in the kitchen.

My baby doll before his swim lesson.

We went to see Peter Pan performed by Theatre Cedar Rapids. John recognized one of the actors as a (very mischievous) boy he went to summer camp with a couple of years ago. Lost boys indeed!

I got a box of delicious chocolate-covered strawberries from Edible Arrangements for Mother's Day. 

The included note was pretty funny.

For Mother's Day I gifted myself this Willow Tree "Mother and Son" figure. I love it!

Two of my favorite dresses on the drying rack. I love wearing navy blue, elegant little polka dots, and pretty flower prints. 

This was during a tornado watch! We just got heavy rain and wind, thank goodness.

We hung out in the basement during the tornado watch (except for when I ran upstairs to snap a few pictures from the back windows--see above).

 I caught Brody reading the paper again. He's so smart.

I love miniature roses! They usually bloom better and last longer than bigger roses.  

I took the boys to see the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie. I thought it was pretty dumb and not nearly as good as the other three movies with the original cast. The boys liked it, though. 

We went to Orchestra Iowa's "John Williams at the Movies" concert, where they played popular music by John Williams from movies like Star Wars. It was a really fun concert and we all enjoyed it.

The Paramount Theater is beautiful!

One of the musicians wore a dinosaur costume for the second half of the concert because they played the Jurassic Park theme. It made me LOL! Some of the others wore costumes, too, as you can see in the two pictures below.

The boys built an epic car track down the stairs.

Fidget spinners were all the rage and were pretty hard to find, so I ordered two from amazon and they finally arrived after a couple of weeks.

A pretty sunset stripe in the sky over the church on a Wednesday evening when we were there for Scouts.

I liked the cover of the Bas Bleu catalog (again).

 Last day of school!
John was dressed up for 6th grade graduation that morning. 

This was the last day the boys went to the same school together. 😢


Friday, February 16, 2018

Five Things for Friday

1. I have to say that I'm pleased by my self-sufficiency over the last week. I guess being on my own while Peter is away during the week is helping to bring it about. I learned how to use the snowblower and cleared off the driveway for the first time with it (and got completely soaked doing it!), I used the fireplace on my own (I'm no longer afraid that I'll set the house on fire), I made grilled cheese sandwiches for the first time (yup, first time), I made homemade hot cocoa for me and the boys on our snow days, I made pancakes for breakfast (I usually only make them for breakfast dinners), and I made special Valentine's Day popcorn for Sam's class valentines. They're small things, but they make me feel like maybe I really can achieve my dream of becoming more like one of my lifestyle icons, Martha Stewart!! 

2. Speaking of hot cocoa--because as nice as homemade cocoa is, most of the time it's easier to go with the instant variety--I discovered a great new brand, and it even has a British name! 
It's Ticketyboo Hot Chocolate. I ordered the Original flavor. It's delicious! 

3. My great find of the week was this connect-the-dots book, currently on sale for only $5.99 from Bas Bleu. It's called "Dot to Hot" which I think is so funny. I like complex connect-the-dots books; I think they're fun and they help keep my mind from turning into a marshmallow. This one will be no exception. I'm looking forward to "connecting" with Mr. Darcy and those other literary hotties. Ha ha!

4. Speaking of hotties, Peter sent me a bouquet of chocolate-covered strawberries from Edible Arrangements for Valentine's Day. I ate all of them over the course of two days. I had to before they went bad! I'm not going to mention how many there were, but it can't be that bad because it's fresh fruit and dark chocolate. Edible Arrangements has THE BEST chocolate-covered fruit--it's all really good quality, fresh, and super-delicious. We've tried other companies before and no one has ever been as good as them. Literally!

5. My heart is heavy because of the school shooting in Florida on Wednesday. I still feel traumatized by the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting that happened five years ago, which absolutely broke my heart and still leaves me in tears sometimes when I think about it. I feel so terrible for all of those affected by these shootings, but especially for those who lose a loved one, especially when it's their child. 
It's a sad sign of the difficult times in which we live that I have to talk to my innocent kids about what to do in an active shooter situation, and that I worry about their physical safety at school. I pray every morning for them to be safe that day. I also pray on a daily basis for those affected by these shootings and other tragedies, even months and years after the events happen.
When tragedies like school shootings and the Las Vegas massacre and the wildfires in California fade from the news, there are still so many people left with broken hearts and post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and the grief of bereavement and so many other things. My heart goes out to them. Selfishly but also sensibly, I hope and pray never to be counted among their ranks. It's such a comfort to know that one day, all will be made right, and that everyone will be reunited with their loved ones thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

To end on a more upbeat note, this weekend I'll be taking the boys to see Peter Rabbit (I like Peter Rabbit and when John was a toddler he was obsessed), Peter and I are going to have dinner at a new restaurant we've been wanting to try, I'm going to continue to be in denial about moving, and John's going to give his first talk in sacrament meeting!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Cat Who Read the Newspaper

Brody was so smart that he read The Wall Street Journal, or at least he'd lay by it and absorb its information by osmosis.

He preferred the front page above the fold; that's where the most relevant news was. How efficient!


When he finished his reading, he'd settle in for an afternoon nap.

 The life of a feline genius!

*An added note: Remember the mystery series by Lilian Jackson Braun, "The Cat Who..."? Her editor was my instructor at an editing class I took at NYU in 2004. She was really nice and I almost got a job at Penguin Putnam in downtown Manhattan with the help of that connection. It could have worked out quite well but I took myself out of the running for the job when I found out I was pregnant. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

I Can See Clearly Now

Brody wasn't the only one to go through a surgical procedure last April. I finally faced my fears and had laser vision correction done, specifically PRK surgery, after nearly 25 years of wearing contacts and glasses for my very nearsighted eyes. I wanted to get Lasik instead of PRK because the recovery is supposed to be much easier, but alas, my corneas proved to be too thin. My doctor thought PRK was a better long-term option for me anyway.  

I had the procedure done on Thursday morning, April 20th, and it wasn't that bad. I hardly felt anything (that had been one of my biggest fears), and I felt pretty normal afterward, other than my vision being really blurry and having to wear funny protective goggles over my eyes. I looked ridiculous and Peter thought it was hilarious. I guess it was, as you can see below. Ha ha!


It wasn't until a few hours later when the meds started wearing off and my eyes felt like they'd been filled up with burning sand that I knew what people meant when they talked about the difficult recovery from PRK. 
It hurt. I cried, the tears leaking out of my beleagured lasered eyes and pooling into those stupid goggles, which I had to keep on until the following day. But it was only really bad that first day, and the pain meds helped. I was prescribed Percocet for the pain. As you probably know, there's a big problem with this kind of drug abuse in the country right now, and I'm happy to report that I was in absolutely no danger of getting addicted, because it made me throw up every time I took it. By the next day I'd had enough and took ibuprofen instead. Much better!

The first few days were blurry and my inner vampire came out as I stayed inside away from sunlight and babied my tender eyes as much as I could, resting and listening to audio books and taking naps. 

Exiled to bed

I'd been reading a really good mystery thriller (The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware) before the surgery and I was eager to start reading it again, so by that Sunday I did just that, even though I had to close one eye and squint with the other. I read through the haze and it was worth it! That book was so good and I couldn't put it down. I don't think it put too much strain on my eyes because they recovered beautifully from the surgery. My vision progressively cleared as the weeks went by, and my eyes felt great. There were no problems or complications. I'm happy to report that I now have 20/20 vision in my left eye and 20/40(!!) in my right. 

I really love being able to see clearly out of my own eyes without contacts or glasses. It's awesome to wake up in the morning without everything being blurry, and to to be able to go swimming without worrying about getting water in my eyes, and to not have to put contacts in and take them out every day and continuously order more. I really should have done this years ago. It's one of the best things I've ever done for myself!

This was my last-ever bottle of contacts disinfectant. My usual sense of nostalgia wasn't present at all. 
I don't miss wearing contacts or glasses a single bit!