Wednesday, April 26, 2017


We rescued Izzy from what was sure to be not the best living situation when she was only a couple months old. She ran right into Ace's lap; practically begging us to take her & give her a good home. We already had Belle by that point; she was 2 1/2y and they got along fine, but we hadn't considered getting another dog. At some point, S.W. (who now, again, goes by her middle name) taped a Polaroid of her to our desk. We discussed it and decided she'd be better off with us than in that situation, so we took her. Izzy and Belle grew up nicely together; they played & cuddled, and Izzy would chase after Belle when Belle chased after her throw toys (Izzy never was one for toys). After Belle died, Izzy went into a bit of a funk... We all did. When Izzy's smile came back, we knew it was time to get her another dog. That story is here.
Over the last (almost) three years, Elvis took on the role of Izzy's service dog. As her health has declined, he's told us when she has to pee, when it's time to eat, has cuddled her when she didn't feel well, and much more. He's been very protective of her. So, last Monday, after many months of her having all sorts of trouble, including running blood work & X-ray and putting her on meds, we had to put her down. She could barely walk, couldn't squat to pee without falling down, refused to eat (we tried all sort of foods... nothing worked). We knew it was time. Princess said goodbye to her before she left for school that morning, and Ace & I took her to the vet. She started her life with us in Ace's lap, and she left this world in his lap, too.
Unfortunately, you can't make a dog understand that his best friend is dying. I think he knew she was sick; he had been peeing over her spots outside for a few months and had been by her side more than usual. This wasn't the first time we'd taken her to somewhere without him, so at first, he probably didn't know she wasn't coming back. Those first couple nights, he seemed ok. Night three, however, he barked & whined multiple times througout the night; keeping Ace & I up like we had a newborn. When we put Izzy's blanket in with him, he seemed better. Ace even put Elvis' blanket in there; fluffing it up to take up more space in the huge kennel he's used to sharing.
He's been sleeping better, but still seems depressed. He comes out of his funk a little when he gets to go on walks or car rides, but when we took him to the groomer today, he cried and didn't want to go with her. Maybe it's humanizing him, but I wonder if he thinks we just took Izzy somewhere & abandoned her... and he's next. :( He was, of course, excited when we picked him up, but it's heartwrenching to watch him go through this. I'd like to get another dog, but Ace seems more hesitant... not that he doesn't want another, but it's too soon. He also mentioned "leaving them alone" when/if he goes back to work, but that's not even within the near future, and two together is much better than one lonely dog.
Anyway, we're keeping an eye on him and eventually will get him another dog. For now, Ace is trying to take advantage of any nice days to walk him & work on uninterrupted training, and times he can bring him in the car with him.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Brainiac... and then some

Princess took the PSAT, along with most of the juniors, back in October. We got her scores back last week. She rates just above expectations and came in with a overall score of 1070. This puts her on-track to get a Merit Scholarship next year. She also brought home her transcripts so far, as they were working on forecasting for next year. Her grades put her at 51st of 323 students (rated higher due to her Honors status), and she only needs 2 one-year and 2 semester classes next year to graduate, but if she takes three additional electives, she'll have a Chancellor's Diploma; this is her current plan.

She was missing a class needed for an "IP Focus", so changed to "Theatre Focus", which only requires one more class -- IB Theatre, which is on her list for next year anyway. She also asked for traditional Senior English (because it sets them up for Writing 121 - a required college course), Graphic Design, online PE (yes, this is a thing), an editor position for Yearbook (which she was asked by her teacher to apply for, and she had to get a letter of recommendation from another teacher to do), and possibly retaking ASL1 (to ease into PCC's ASL classes). One of her classes this semester is a dual credit course, as well, so that also helps out with her PCC for two years plan. We won't know her final Senior schedule, of course, until registration, but all in all, it looks like a great final year for her!

As for the rest of this year, she has a trip to New York planned for Spring Break, their next play opens next week (one more planned for a May open, I think), and is waiting to hear back from Girl Scouts about a PAID summer camp counseling position (her Skype interview - yes, this is a thing now - went well and lasted 35 minutes... a great sign!). We came up with a viable plan for practicing for and getting her Driver's license, as well, and she still plans to buy my car as soon as that happens (which sets me up to buy that truck I want).

Quick "rest of the fam" update as well -- Ace has embraced his Stay At Home Dad role (rides, homework help when needed, cooking, cleaning, etc) but has also taken on a more active stock market role for us. He's started trading options (which is not easy to understand, but he's been researching for a few months and watching/listening to online classes). It's only for our personal portfolios, but the idea is to eventually draw a small income from it so we don't have to pull from the savings account anymore (not that we're pulling much now; our monthly output is fairly low, considering). *I* have a huge work update, which I'm waiting for a couple things to happen before I announce... but keep tabs on my FB page for a big announcement soon. I am also working with a friend to design a real website! That should launch May 1st, but may be ready sooner. Gamerboy is still in Springfield, going to school at UofO, and doing janitorial work. He also took on a new roommate (his old ones moved out because they're having a baby!); that seems to be working well. And, Squeeks seems happy with her new (ish) boyfriend, and is back to working at both the theater and the grocery store (online orders). I have a feeling, due to some hints she's made, that she may move in with said BF before the end of the summer... but we'll see. :)


And for those who are curious, I caught a few posts semi-recently (and had some info shared with me by certain people) that makes me wonder if Wildebeest is FINALLY letting go and learning to accept Gaston's relationship. KC was, with Gaston, at his & Wildebeest's daughter's cheerleading competition down in Salem last weekend; that's a good sign (unless she came regardless of how Wildebeest felt about it?).

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Surgery Update & more

My 1030am Wednesday, Nov 23rd surgery was rescheduled to 11am. When we got there at 1045a, the nurse told me that the doc actually took less time with the other surgery he'd had that morning so I could have come earlier... Regardless, I got Ace settled with my tablet while I filled out some more paperwork, signed some more papers, and was taken back. Since it's a private surgery center & clinic (clinic is on the first floor, surgery on the second floor), there were only five people on staff -- two nurses, the doctor, the anesthesiologist, and the receptionist. The recovery room has two "waiting/guest" chairs and two reclining chairs, which is where they started my IV, I got introduced to "Dr Sleepy" (lol), two nurses asked me the same questions about my history, and Dr F. walked me through the surgery specifics. I walked (assisted, as I was dragging my IV with me) to the surgery room, got settled... and woke up almost 3 hrs later back in the recovery room.
It took a while before I was able to focus on anything, let alone get dressed & walk well enough to get back to the parking lot, so the doc came in a couple times to chit chat, the nurses talked to me a bit, and Ace kept me company while I came out of the anesthesia. We literally didn't get home until after 6p, so I was glad Princess didn't have anything scheduled after school that day. I spent the next few hours on the couch, not really focusing on the t.v., ate half a small container of yogurt, and Ace helped me to bed at 945p (after the nausea got so bad, I actually threw up). He woke me every two hours to take meds (switching off on the different meds), assisted me to the bathroom as needed, and he rested on the couch so as to not disturb my sleep with his possible snoring. The first few days were mostly resting/chillin' on the couch, and sleeping fully clothed in bed on my back (not the most comfortable way to sleep, btw).
Day two was Thanksgiving and I definitely did NOT feel like doing anything related to that, so I had some light fare throughout the day (none of it came back up, thankfully), and Dr. F even called to check on me; giving me his cell phone number in case I needed him over the holiday weekend. I spent most of the day watching t.v., a movie, FaceBooking, and playing Words With Friends... and was in bed by 10p. On day three, I woke up feeling like I got punched in the gut, but the nausea was a lot lighter and I had a bit more of an appetite. T brought my mini-Little to pick up Princess & the food we made for mom's Friday Feast (I had made my fudge Wednesday morning, and Princess made my GB Casserole Thursday night), and Ace & I watched a couple movies. She brought leftovers when T & bigger Little returned her around 6p. I was hungry by then, so she made me a little plate.
Saturday, we watched the Civil War (Oregon State Beavers vs University of Oregon Ducks); Beavers won (happy face; I chose them this year) and the Ducks coach got fired (sad face), and my uterus came in the mail (thanks to my BFF). We also did our traditional Thanksgiving meal (albeit, a bit smaller than is the norm, since there were only three of us). We watched another movie (we've watched a LOT of movies over the last couple weeks, too... thanks, Redbox!), and Princess made lemon bars for me. The two of them did a big chunk of the Santamas decorations, too, since I couldn't help. She also did all the laundry that weekend and this past weekend, which really helped.
By Sunday, I had weaned myself down to two Percocet per day, but was still on the rest of the meds. Hiccups, laughing, and coughing all hurt (similar to when I had my C-section 17+ years ago), deep breaths hurt, one of my five incisions was starting to itch and was bruised, and I needed another sponge bath (I got shaky when upright for too long, but couldn't lift my legs well enough to get into our soaker tub for a bath). Princess was kind enough to use her dry shampoo & brush my hair for me, as well. I got myself out of bed without assistance for the first time on Monday morning, but relied on Princess to make my mocha all the rest of that week. She made sure Ace was up before she left for school, as well, but for the most part, I didn't need as much help. I *did* still require assistance to get up & down (couch, toilet, bed, etc).
Tuesday, I was able to take a full shower. It took longer, and I had to split up the steps, but I did it! What they say is true; you really don't know how good you've got it until it's gone. At the one week mark, I felt well enough to start on Santamas cards (just finished yesterday) & wean down to one Percocet (at night before bed). I also felt ok about being left alone for a while (Ace went out to run a few errands) for the first time since surgery! Thursday & Friday, I redid Princess's nails (gel rebalance on Thursday, color & stamping on Friday) due to (1) her time constraints and (2) my energy & ability to sit for short periods of time. And, Saturday, I felt up for some errands (I wasn't driving, though); as long as he pushed the cart and remembered to walk slower than normal. I totally rested when we got home, too. My goal was to be completely off the Percocet by this day, too, because I had brunch plans Sunday. Mission: Accomplished! Princess & I were able to join my mother at her club for brunch; with only minor discomfort. So far, we've gone out three times over the last few days (gotta space it out, still). This past Monday, I also had it in me to get a few little things done around the house, including wrapping the few gifts I've already bought, another shower (normal amount of time this round), a little baking, and I made the bed without assistance (although that stretching is still uncomfortable).
Today makes the two week mark. I removed my butterfly bandages this morning, and am basically at 90%. I still have trouble with the stretching/reaching, and occasionally get pain twinges, but I'm down to two IB Rx per day and am off everything else. I will definitely be ready to go back to work next week, although that first day, I'm bringing Princess with me so she can carry my work bag up the stairs and help me put up Santamas decorations. I am on a strict "do not lift anything over 20lbs until mid-January" rule; doc's orders! My work bag, with my lamp & stuff in it, is at least 40lbs.

For those interested in the G-fam update, I have a little one -- I saw some pics from their Thanksgiving celebration at Gaston's aunt K's house. Not sure if/when Wildebeest was served with the divorce papers, but it had to have happened by now... so I'm hoping the fact the KC, her oldest daughter (k.c., as well, btw; we'll use lower case letters for her), Gaston, and his two young daughters were all there means Wildebeest is cooperating (I hadn't seen/heard of any co-mingling up until this point). Ooooorrrr, she didn't know until she saw pics (she's "friends" with a few members of the G-fam, so she had to have seen the pics posted on FB, as I did). My hope for that whole brood now is that the divorce comes quickly so that Gaston & KC's wedding date won't have to be moved, and they can all co-parent successfully (as Gaston & I were unable to, due to Wildebeest's interference).

Monday, November 21, 2016

Princess's Birthday and another update

Princess turned 17y on Nov 6th... and again, it hit me; she's only a year away from being a legal adult. We started the week with a shopping trip (she wanted some clothes, shoes, and misc school & bedroom stuff) and lunch at Panera on the 5th. She had a show the afternoon of her birthday (not sure if I mentioned that, along with her SM duties with the school play, she also was running the back and doing tech for a show put on by one of our local theatre groups). While she was gone, though, another stray dog showed up in our backyard. I found the fence down; that must have been how he got in.

He is a lab, fully intact, so I was concerned that he & Elvis would have a scuffle, but no; they just sniffed at each other for a bit, then got some water, and I sent my dogs inside while I calmly coaxed him into the leash I was holding. I went to the Hopkins' home first, but I was pretty sure their lab is black; this one was dark brown. Chatted with them for a bit while their great-granddaughters gave the dog a bunch of treats, then took him to the renters across from me. He does belong to them, so they thanked me, and I left. When Princess got home, we went to Juan Colorado for dinner. When we got home, we had cake (she asked for, and got, chocolate zucchini cake... her favorite right now) and opened gifts (tee from Papa, money/checks, candy, gift cards, a new set of towels, and a few other things).

A few days after her birthday, she got in more volunteer hours for her Yearbook class by helping to run the table during conferences. I've stopped going to those, as she is a great student (solid 3.75 GPA every year, so far), and I feel conferences are for those children/parents who are younger &/or having a hard time. I feel it is a waste of my, and the teachers', time to just have them tell me how awesome she is (I know; we're very lucky). The following day, she, KP, and KVC spent a few hours together at KVC's house. It had been a few months since they'd seen each other, so this was nice. They made cookies, had dinner, giggled, and just hung out. Oh, and Princess finally gave KVC her birthday gift (only seven months late... LMAO!). She bought it before her birthday; just kept forgetting to give it to her!

Anyway, other things going on -- Ace got denied Life Insurance due to his "chronic pain & migraines" (what a load of shit, btw... those are no reason to deny someone!), so we decided to just put a little money each month into an interest-earning account, and when he's employed again, hopefully there will be a company plan he can get (that's what he had at Intel; too bad we couldn't continue that one when he left). He also, due to my impending surgery & recovery, he has decided to delay his job search until after the beginning of the year... unless he decides to go back to school for a couple terms. He's thinking of updating his CAD knowledge by taking some classes at PCC Winter & Spring terms. From a purely financial standpoint, we're fine; he hasn't even touched his unemployment yet and I'm currently bringing in roughly what he was making when we first met.

Speaking of my surgery, for those who weren't aware, I have been diagnosed with Adenomyosis. Because of that, insurance had zero issues covering a hysterectomy for me. This has been a long time coming, and I'm very excited about it. The biggest downside is the three weeks I have to take off work (although, Dr. R said I could go back at two weeks if I feel I'm ready, but to take it slow & easy). After the first few days of pain, discomfort, extreme tiredness, I will probably be bored out of my skull. I am bummed I have to miss Friday Feast at my mother's this year, but (A) T will pick up & bring back Princess, so she doesn't have to miss out, and (B) they promised to bring me leftovers. I promised to make a small batch of fudge (which I'll probably do tomorrow evening) and my famous green bean casserole (not hard to throw together, but if I'm not up to it Thursday night, Princess can make it), as well. I also have some shows saved up on my DVR, a few things on Netflix I want to see, and a list of movies we can rent. I can either download books onto my reader or go to the library (if I'm up for it), as well.

Last but certainly not least, I have a couple of updates on the Wildebeest, et al (oh, I've decide to nickname MG "Gaston"... from Beauty & The Beast, Gaston always struck me as outwardly confident & charismatic/charming, but inwardly lacking confidence about who he really is. I don't know much about KC, yet, though, to give her a nickname, so we'll stick with KC for now). About a month & a half ago, Gaston & KC got engaged. Last week, I found out he FINALLY filed for divorce from Wildebeest. I'm assuming she has yet to be served because she hasn't gone more completely off the deep end of reality than she already was (her birthday post to Gaston was the most pathetic one, yet... but nothing unexpected). The best news, though? Gaston & KC moved into the SAME APARTMENT COMPLEX that he & Wildebeest lived in (twice, with a year in Colorado in-between) many years ago (the house they were renting in Aloha just sold again, too, which is interesting). They've been remodeled, and there is a new bunch of homes in the area, but I find that absolutely hilarious... Looking forward to another update after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Life, Revisted

WHEW! I have a few things on my mind these days and it's been months since I blogged so here it goes:

We finished out the summer with a couple more concerts and hiking adventures. We also bought a kayak (or is it a canoe? I can't keep them straight...) and took it out for a maiden voyage along a local part of the Tualatin River. Our garden is doing well; we've removed a lot of the summer blooms, but replanted carrots, radishes, lettuce, arugula, peas, cauliflower, celery, broccoli, and spinach. Those are spring & fall plants, and so far, so good. We haven't been on the bike much, though. We tried to get out a couple times, but life/pain always seems to get in the way.

As mentioned, we did end up getting life insurance (well, mine is active; we're still waiting for approval of Ace's). We are going to be in the market for a new medical insurance plan, however; our Cobra runs out at the end of next month. We've warned the kids, as the older two are still covered by ours, and we've all taken care of everything we need to, with a couple exceptions. Squeeks hasn't fit in her annual Well-Woman check, Princess & I have dentist appts at the end of this month, and I am in the middle of deciding which route to go as far as my "evil baby-making parts" are concerned. Do I try a stronger/long-term hormonal method or do I go completely permanent? There are pros & cons to both; and I'm running out of time to make that decision. I'm hoping the ultrasound will help me lean one way or the other... Ace is supportive no matter which route I go, which will make recovery that much easier on me.

Our older kids are doing well; Squeeks is living with her mother again, paying a small amount of rent, and just working. She has a couple ideas about her future, and is hoping to get into a particular internship either this Fall or in the Spring that will further that end. She went back east a month or so ago for a friend's wedding, and was able to join us for The Lion King performance. GamerBoy started the next series of classes he needs for his planned career. He said one of his classes is a bit difficult, but there *is* tutoring available if he needs it. His roommate situation has changed a bit, but he was able to work out a new arrangement that works for both of them. He's also decided to start working out; UofO has a full gym available to all students at no charge, so he just has to make time.

And then there's Princess. She is taking two IB classes as well as one college prep class, is a member of four clubs (National Honor Society, Drama Club, Gay Straight Alliance, and the newly-created Feminist Club), and has started rehearsals for the first play (as she did last year, she is co-stage managing with her best friend). There is actual homework this year (not hard, just time-consuming), as well; her junior year will probably be the most labor-intensive of her high school years. She's also starting to plan for college -- last Friday, while she was in Ashland with family for their annual trip, she & my mother signed up for an official tour of Southern Oregon University ("Mom, did you know SOU has an ASL program?!??!" Yes, I did.). This week, she is taking the PSAT. And, we'll be signing up for a couple more college tours at some point this year. Who knows what her educational future holds? My job is to give her options and make sure she makes an educated decision as to what/where is the best fit for her.

Wildebeest is *STILL* pining over MG (I think he needs a nickname... I'm going to think on that one). She's still posting pics & status messages about their wedding anniversaries, his birthday, "family" activities (& by that, I mean the younger girls' cheer events that they both attend; using the opportunity to promote the idea that they're still together...hahaha), etc (but also, interestingly, how he's "cheating" on her & "destroying" their kids)... I'm sure there'll be another "Happy Birthday"/love message when he turns 39y next month. Here's something interesting, as well... seems she's not involved in Pass It On anymore. Probably still a consignor; maybe even volunteers to work/run shifts, but she's no longer listed on the website as the Volunteer Coordinator. Wonder if her PIO friends know she hasn't been with MG for almost three years (probably not; she does like to lie about that, and other things). On a related note, even though he probably won't see this, I'd like to wish MG & KC a huge CONGRATULATIONS on their recent engagement! Now all he has to do is take care of that pesky divorce...