Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hello, Stranger

An Ode to an Old Friend

Hello, Mr. Sunshine,
man, have you been missed!
In case you hadn't noticed,
we were all getting a bit blue.
What with the rain
and the snow
and the clouds
and just the general icky grey.
But now that you're back,
we're all running around basking in your glow.
We hope you're here to stay!
We need some vitamin K!
So here's to you
and banishing the blues;
Welcome back, Mr. Sunshine!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

One Year

It's hard to believe that an entire year has flown by since Derek's first appointment with his oncologist. A whole year. Wow. *Pardon me while I take a minute.*

We had a wee bit of a scare at the first of the year that, in the end, turned out to be a lab error. I know I didn't mention it here on the blog, and VERY few people knew about it. So please don't be upset if you weren't in the loop. We just didn't want to sound any bells until we knew something concrete, and one set of numbers simply isn't concrete. Dr. H thought it could be a lab error and ordered additional, more frequent testing to be sure. Needless to say, we were quite relieved when the tests revealed that it was, indeed, just a single set of bad numbers from a lab (that we will no longer be using).

Derek's one-year follow-up went swimmingly. Dr. H couldn't be more pleased, and that's something we couldn't be more pleased about! So that means Derek will get to bump back his testing schedule:  once every two months for bloodwork and once every three four months for CTs & oncology appointments. And, of course, prognosis continues to improve as the likelihood of recurrance goes down dramatically with each passing year.
 
Can I get a WOOT?!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Things: Installment 35

Hello and welcome to the thirty-fifth edition of the Things Series posts! (Does that sound like the intro to a game show??) Today, we're gonna take a (frightening) peek into what my color preferences say about my personality.

Things About My Favorite Colors (according to a silly online survey you can take for yourself)

Best Occupational Category

You're an ORGANIZER


Keywords
Self-Control, Practical, Self-Contained, Orderly, Systematic, Precise, and Accurate


These conservative-appearing, plotting types enjoy organizing, data systems, accounting, detail, and accuracy. They often enjoy mathematics and data management activities such as accounting and investment management. Persistence and patience allows them to do detailed paperwork, operate office machines, write business reports, and make charts and graphs.


ORGANIZER CAREERS


Suggested careers are Administrator, Secretary, Printer, Paralegal, Building Inspector, Bank Cashier, Private Secretary, Statistician, Operations Manager, Financial Analyst, Bookkeeper, Medical Records Technician, Developer of Business or Computer Systems, Clerical Worker, Proofreader, Accountant, Administrative Assistant, Banker, Certified Public Accountant, Credit Manager, Store Salesperson, Actuary, Dental Assistant, Business Education Teacher, Food Service Manager, IRS Agent, Budget Analyst, and Underwriter.


ORGANIZER WORKPLACES


Your very careful, conscientious, conservative nature gives others the confidence to trust you with handling money and material possessions. Structured organizations that have well-ordered chains of command work best for you.


Suggested Organizer workplaces are large corporations, business offices, financial lending institutions, banks, insurance companies, accounting firms, and quality control and inspection departments.

--------------
Well, gee, you don't think this describes me at all, do you? *wink* (Assuming you can actually see & read all of the colored text) The stuff in green describes me really well, pink is something I wanted to do at some point, and yellow is stuff I've done or currently do.
--------------

2nd Best Occupational Category
You're a RESEARCHER


Keywords:
Independent, Self-Motivated, Reserved, Introspective, Analytical, and Curious


These investigative types gather information, analyze and interpret data, and inquire to uncover new facts. They have a strong scientific orientation, enjoy academic or research environments and prefer self-reliant jobs. Dislikes are group projects, selling, and repetitive activities.

---------------
Overall, I think this 2nd Best category is a bust for me. Sure, I'm independent and analytical and I enjoy school & research and loathe selling stuff. BUT I also would be so B.O.R.E.D. with a capital B in a self-reliant job!

I think this might be a better 2nd Best for me. What do you think?
You're a CREATOR (From my pal Gayla's post)



Keywords
Nonconforming, Impulsive, Expressive, Romantic, Intuitive, Sensitive, and Emotional


These original types place a high value on aesthetic qualities and have a great need for self-expression. They enjoy working independently, being creative, using their imagination, and constantly learning something new. Fields of interest are art, drama, music, and writing or places where they can express, assemble, or implement creative ideas.


CREATOR OCCUPATIONS


Suggested careers are Advertising Executive, Architect, Web Designer, Creative Director, Public Relations, Fine or Commercial Artist, Interior Decorator, Lawyer, Librarian, Musician, Reporter, Art Teacher, Broadcaster, Technical Writer, English Teacher, Architect, Photographer, Medical Illustrator, Corporate Trainer, Author, Editor, Landscape Architect, Exhibit Builder, and Package Designer.


CREATOR WORKPLACES


Consider workplaces where you can create and improve beauty and aesthetic qualities. Unstructured, flexible organizations that allow self-expression work best with your free-spirited nature.


Suggested Creator workplaces are advertising, public relations, and interior decorating firms; artistic studios, theaters and concert halls; institutions that teach crafts, universities, music, and dance schools. Other workplaces to consider are art institutes, museums, libraries, and galleries.

So go ahead, take that little quiz & see what your favorite colors say about you!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Not My Kind of Souvenir

So I was rudely awakened this morning about 5:30 a.m. with the worst case of nausea I can ever remember having quickly followed by terrible stomach cramps. It seems that I brought home more than bruises and t-shirts from the ski trip. Apparently, someone was kind enough to share a stomach bug too. As the day wore on, I finally felt like I could keep something down so I had some soup and Fritos and 7Up. I felt okay for an hour or so before it all started up again and then I got a monster headache on top of it all. I thought the upset tummy might have just been the preemptive to the migraine. But apparently, it's all a part of the bug ... or so my friends on Facebook tell me.

Anyway, I'm resting easy in bed hoping that I can go to work tomorrow. I've had lots of fuzzy company today. Is there anything better than creature comfort? Nah, I didn't think so either.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Home

After lots of hemming & hawing, we finally decided not to ski this morning before leaving. While we would have all loved to have taken a few treks down the mountain, none of us could get geared up and out of gear quickly enough to make it work. So we enjoyed a leisurely morning of packing instead before heading to town for breakfast and a little shopping.

We then loaded up in the airport shuttle and headed for Salt Lake City. It was a harrowing ride down from the mountains. (For those of you who don't know, I get car sick on windy roads.) Luckily, I kept my breakfast, but much longer of a ride and it would have been very dicey.

The weather held up nicely in Dallas and we arrived on time. We had upgraded to first class for the ride home, so it was by far the fastest we've ever gotten off the plane, gotten our luggage, and gotten on the road. Whoohoo for priority tags!

The cats were all very excited to see us. We got an earful from Meeko. Dottie peeked her head out from under the bed long enough to see that we had returned and then promptly went back to her hiding place - not to be seen the remainder of the evening. We got lots of help unpacking. Getting inside luggage is a favorite pastime.

I'm bushed and am now on my way to dreamland. Photos from the end of the trip tomorrow maybe.

Monday, February 22, 2010

On the Slopes

We spent today on the slopes. It was the perfect day for skiing - sunny & clear. It was cold but not too bad even with the wind in your face. The wind picked up in the afternoon and it was definitely cold but not unbearable. We had an awesome day! No major wipe-outs, lots of great runs down the mountain. Just perfect!

Enjoy today's highlight reel (background tune: Feelin' Good by Michael Bublé)...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Recovery Day

So ... when it was all said & done, we decided that we were too sore to hit the slopes today. We're not heading out of Utah until late Tuesday afternoon, so we still have plenty of time to hit the slopes tomorrow and Tues. morning before heading to the airport. Today we hit Main Street and did some shopping and spent some time at the Wasatch Brewery & Pub. Did I mention that we found an alpaca store? Oh yeah! We spent all our money (haha!) and headed back to the resort for some sled races. Oh my, good times! We had dinner reservations at Zoom, which was by far the best restaurant food we've had since we've been here.

Enjoy the slideshow from today's fun. (Music: New Drug by Thousand Foot Krutch)

Ouch with a Capital O

So yesterday's harrowing trek down the double green has resulted in a slow start this morning. We're all sore in places we didn't even know we had. I'm probably better off than the rest. We've had breakfast, and I'm (surprisingly) ready to hit the slopes. However, this is currently what everyone else is doing:


I'm not sure they're ready to "ski through the pain." What do you think? *wink*

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 2 on the Mtn.

Well, we survived a second day on the mountain. Sorry, no photos. None of us were quite ready to try snapping photos while on skis. *wink* We all stuck together today. Not originally what Kelli & I had planned, but it actually worked out really well. We got to the bunny slopes before all the ski school peeps got there, so it gave me & Kelli a chance to go over the basics on more "friendly" territory. Then we headed up the chair lift with the boys to the top of the green. We spent all morning riding up & skiing down. And by the time we broke for lunch, we'd become experts at getting off the lift without wiping out. We had some funny disembarkations tho.

We all got pretty good at zipping down the green. So at lunch we talked about what other trails that would be good for us to try. None of us felt ready for "easy" blues, but we thought we might be ready for the double green. It was supposed to be a long meandering trail down the mountain. Haha ... WRONG! First of all, it was nothing but about a foot of fluffy powder up there, and it took way more energy to "glide" over the powder than it did the packed powder on the green. And second of all, we had to cross a wicked blue to connect with the bottom part of our double green, and this wicked crossing happened several times as we made our way down. Basically, we all either slid, scooted, or walked our way down until Kelli & I just threw up our hands and said DONE. We took a courtesy ride down to the hotel. We might be ready for this trail by Monday, but now that we all know what it's like, I doubt any of us will be brave enough to try even if we are capable of getting down any better. Let's just say that in this case of mind over matter that the matter whooped @$$!!

All in all though, we had a great day of skiing and are looking forward to tomorrow's runs (photos...promise!), assuming any of us can roll out of bed in the morning. B/c good lord my everything is sore!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Good Times in Park City

We're in Park City, Utah w/ the neighbors having a great time. We had no travel problems and settled into our suite. Check out these views:

This is the view from the kitchen window.


And this is a view from our bedroom balcony.



Today we had a blast skiing. We all went through varying levels of ski school. And we all wiped out at least once. Good times! We're getting ready to turn in early tonight - exciting! Quite frankly, we're all worn out after a day on the slopes. We're having a fantastic time and can't wait to hit the trails again tomorrow. Assuming we can all stay upright a bit more steadily tomorrow, we'll take some on-the-slopes photos.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chilly Round-up

Wow. Last week was pretty amazing. We haven't seen snow like that in 30 years. 12.5 inches in 24 hours. I can't even begin to tell you how beautiful it was. Pictures really don't do the scene justice! We had a great time playing in the snow, as you've seen by video & photos. And when we weren't entertaining the dog with snowball tosses, we were curled up in front of the fire, nice and cozy. I wish I could say that we accomplished a lot during our long(er) holiday weekend, but that pretty much sums it up.

Would you be surprised if I told you there is still some snow on the ground? Yep. All of those snowmen just refuse to "come back again someday." But I suspect that tomorrow's projected temps and calm winds will likely take care of any leftover Frostys ... for now. After all, Punxsutawney Phil does say we're due for more winter. *wink*

We enjoyed a nice Valentine's Day. What about you? We had our traditional steak dinner w/ the neighbors. No super-awesome cupcakes this year. But don't feel bad. We had tirimisu (Denisio's best yet!) and ice cream cake instead. YUM-MY!

It's a particularly short work week for us as we're off to the slopes of Park City, Utah tomorrow! Can't WAIT! I'll post some photos while we're there ... maybe.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fluffy Stuff

So. The weather folks have been talking about this winter storm system all week. How it might bring us snow, how it might not bring us snow, how it might be 1-2 inches, how it might be just a dusting, how it might start on Wednesday, or how it might not start until Thursday afternoon.

I took this photo this morning from my back door. It's not crystal clear since I was using my phone, but I think you can see that there is already at least an inch on the ground. And it's coming down pretty heavily & expected to do so well into the morning.

Look what they're saying about accumulations now. Yep, you read that right - FOUR to SIX inches! Crazy!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm still expected at the office....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cartoon Weekly

In keeping with Friday's theme, I thought I'd share some animal-related funnies this week.

I just love this play on words. Surprisingly, the artist claims that he received an inordinate amount of email asking him what this cartoon meant.

I find this cartoon particularly amusing when I think about how long it took my uncle The Farmer to actually "go wireless" in the real sense of the words. Now he never leaves home without his cell phone. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. Hehe

I'm not sure why this particular strip appealed to me. But perhaps it's because it reminds me of that episode of Bugs Bunny where Tweety flies around in the motorized bird cage that Granny bought for him.

This one just speaks for itself.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I Love You ... Today

My sweet husband sent these to my office today. You may now commence with your jealousy. *wink*

Friday, February 05, 2010

Things: Installment 34

I read an interesting blog post this week that pointed me to a recent article from New York Magazine. The article discusses the evolution of Man's Best Friend from working dog happy to live outside in the doghouse to bed partner happy to sleep under the covers with his human companion. And this led me on a thoughtful little quest in which I explored my own animal companion relationships. Since this imaginary adventure took the better part of an afternoon, I thought it worthy of a post all its own. What are your feelings about your own furry friends?

Things About Man's Best Friends
  • I grew up in the country. We had innumerable outdoor pets all through my growing-up years. There was Sheba, the big black lab who was happy to let me take a ride on her back. There was Daisy, the mutt who wandered up and claimed us as Her People and then proceeded to give us a litter of puppies every year. There was Freddy the cat who literally scratched his ears off due to some unknown infection. There was Callie the calico who lived to the ripe old age of 20, had a knack for getting knocked up until we finally kept her out of the frey long enough to get her fixed, and who survived some kind of bite to the face that left her a drooler for the rest of her life.
  • The common thread for the pets of my childhood - they all lived outside. Sure, they received a little love every day. Some more than others, of course. I mean, we do have our favorites. But they were never allowed indoors and certainly weren't allowed to sleep with us. It wasn't for lack of trying, however. My brother & I begged for many years to have indoors pets, but our allergies were the reason we couldn't. But the relationships we had with these pets were cursory at best.
  • And then came CoCo. CoCo was a toy poodle. Poodles are hypoallergenic, you know. Man how we loved that dog. And thus begins the transition from pets at arm's length to animal companions as cuddlebugs.
  • I got my very first pet right after I moved to Dallas and got my first apartment. Naturally, I chose a cat. I've always been a Cat Person. And cats generally do better on their own while the owner is away at work, i.e. they have the convenience of the use of indoor facilities. But little did I know that the cat I chose wasn't happy on his own during the day. And so, I went searching for a playmate. And now the brood stands at two. Then I got married. I had turned him into a Cat Person too. And when we went to get a cat for my grandmother, he couldn't leave the only kitten left from the litter all by itself. Nope. He had to take her too. And now the brood stands at three. All inside, I might add.
  • Then we built a house and I always told Derek - the Dog Person - that we could under no circumstances get a dog until we had a house with a yard. Well, now we have a house with a yard. And that's how we ended up with Sweet Pea. Dear lord that dog was a HOT MESS! An abused rescue from the SPCA. When the dog is in a "special room" and you find her hiding there cowered behind the tv, that should be your cue to turn tail and run. But ohhhhhhhhhh no. I had to be the hero. "All she needs is a little TLC. I'm sure she'll come out of her shell once she's at home." Uh no. So Derek decides that Sweet Pea needs a friend. That would be the answer to her psychotic behavior. And that's how we got Dori. The Two Dog Experiment failed with spectacular colors. And Sweet Pea went to live in the country with my parents where she lived a short but happy life. Dori becomes the only dog in a house full of felines.
  • One summer evening, Derek was on the front steps watching the world go by when he noticed a cat wandering around the cul-de-sac. A beautiful Siamese. We "fostered" him for several weeks while searching for owners. We called vets and shelters in our immediate area and no one was looking for this handsome boy. Derek tried not to get attached but it was inevitable. Now we have Meeko (f/k/a Carlos b/c I thought he sounded cool with an accent).
  • To relate a bit back to the article that got me meandering down memory lane, yes, our animals sleep with us. In fact, they get locked in the bedroom with us at night. This is mostly b/c some of our critters like to get into trouble, and there's nothing worse than waking up to smashing glass in the middle of the night.
  • Dori is on a special diet. In fact, we call her the Million Dollar Dog b/c if we added up what she's cost us in the last several years, well, it would be scary. Which is why we don't. Sometimes you just make the decision that your pet is THAT important.
  • We treat all of our furry friends as children. And if you have pets of your own, you understand how that happens. B/c they really are a lot like children. They're needy, they're sassy, they don't always mind, but they give you unconditional love and endless entertainment - at the times when you need it the very most.
  • The biggest drawback to the transition from arm's length to bed partner? One day you know the relationship must end. You hope that it ends naturally and peacefully. But sometimes those sweet eyes look up at you in pain and suffering begging you to let go. I dread the day that will inevitably come. I only hope the decision isn't mine to make.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cartoon Weekly

Just one this week. I'm a little behind on my surfing, quite honestly. But I got this one in an email (thanks, Carol) and couldn't stop laughing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Open Letter

Dear Credit Card Company:

While I appreciate that you monitor my account closely enough to identify fraud, I have to question your security measures when both of my credit cards have been compromised in less than six months' time. I understand that the first one was the result of a breach on the retailer's end of things, however, I cannot excuse blame on your end for the latest breach in my financial identity when it was in-house. If we didn't have a ridiculous amount of reward points towards our next cruise, we would jump ship altogether (pun mostly intended). Please see that this doesn't happen again. I'm getting really tired of learning new numbers!

Sincerely,
Me