Sunday, July 31, 2005

Updates galore!

  1. Ruby (the cat) is doing well. We never did figure out what she swallowed. But she never puked again and has just recently regained her playfulness. Maddie is happy about that. Ruby's belly is still a little bare. I remember from when she was spayed, it takes a while for the hair to grow back.
  2. The painting is happening, slowly but surely. As of today, we have at least finished the livingroom so that we can move furniture back to where it belongs. For three weeks, the couch, loveseat, two tables, chair, and piano have been housed in the middle of the room. The cats will be losing one giant fort.
  3. The spider I blogged about earlier today is still at large. The web, in the meantime, has collected more bugs and other stuff.

Hope your weekend was happy. The weather sure was. Happy end of July!

I hate spiders

I really do. I think they are creepy. In my humble opinion, eight legs is just too many for one body. Don't even get me started on centipedes.

Last night, I was cleaning up some stuff in the dining room and my eye caught a very large spider on our sliding glass door. At first I couldn't tell whether it was inside or outside, so I kind of freaked out. Luckily Dan was downstairs, so he couldn't make fun of my jump. Once I was confident that it was, indeed, outside, I became rather fascinated. This thing was big. Well, for me. Don't go telling me stories of the biggest spiders you've ever seen. I've witnessed my fair share in Haiti, but I've tried to block those from my memory as much as possible. Anyway, the spider last night was big. The body alone was probably the size of a large bean. Except it wasn't really shaped like a bean. Work with me. With the legs, the total size was probably an inch and a half across. Okay, now that I'm describing it, this thing doesn't sound that big. Please don't make fun of me. I think when it moves it just seems THAT MUCH BIGGER.

Anyway, as I watching this MASSIVE thing move, it became clear that it was spinning a web. A big web. I couldn't see the actual web in the dark last night, but you could just tell this spider was hard at work. My mind shifted to the famed spider Charlotte, and I almost expected to see "SOME PIG" scrawled across its work. But I didn't. So I went to bed.

This morning, as I grabbed something off the dining room table, I was reminded of my little friend and went to check out the finished product. It was amazing! And huge! Still no "TERRIFIC" written anywhere, but quite impressive nonetheless. There were even some small bugs caught in the web; some snacks for the spider to enjoy later. That might be fun to watch too.

I'm not going to lie--I'm definitely not dying to get outside on my deck anytime soon. I couldn't spot the spider while I admired the web. That means it could be anywhere. It means it could be waiting for the sliding door to open so it can descend onto the first head that exits to the outdoors. Now that's a pleasant thought.

I'll be enjoying the inside of my air conditioned house this fine Sunday, thank you.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Do you know what it means to be held?

Song lyrics of the month...and they aren't Nichole Nordeman!

My mom bought the new Natalie Grant CD for me, and the song "Held" is extremely powerful. The lyrics alone aren't going to do the entire song justice (although they are awesome alone), so you need to actually hear the song sometime. You could go to and try to listen to a snippet. (If your computer's speakers are as crummy as ours, that's not going to be great). You could listen to KTIS long enough to hear the song played. (Wouldn't be my first choice, but I'm trying to help you out here). You could download it onto your nifty iPod. (Yeah, I don't have one either). You could go to Northwestern Bookstore, where the CD, Awaken, is currently on sale for under $10! The choice is obvious!

Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling

Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

If hope is born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our savior

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Two noticings...

1.) I have links to the blogs of 19 people on this site. The names of 8 of those people start with "J." Weird.

2.) Check out It's got some cute pictures of unlikely animals posing together.

And have a happy Tuesday, all. :)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The power of women

No, I'm not some crazy feminist all of a sudden.

I just started a book called The Secret Life of Bees. I'm not very far, but I already loved the quote that started off the first chapter. Enjoy it with me...

"The queen, for her part, is the unifying force of the community; if she is removed from the hive, the workers very quickly sense her absence. After a few hours, or even less, they show unmistakable signs of queenlessness." -Man and Insects

How true!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I'm an old married woman...

If you read my husband's blog, the fact that it's our third anniversary isn't news to you. He totally outdid me with an amazing photoshop creation, too. Nothing fancy here!

Three years. Sometimes it feels like it's only been a few months. At other times, it feels more like a decade. In a good way.

I really couldn't ask for a better partner for this journey. Dan makes me laugh like no one else. He knows when to talk, when to listen, and when to leave me alone.

Saying yes to his proposal on April 14, 2001 is definitely at the top of my "good decisions" list. Deciding to walk down that aisle 15 months later is up there too. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2005


We Minnesotans have the priviledge of observing the "dew point" in addition to the regular temperature. The combination of the two results in a "heat index." For instance, the current temperature is 87 degrees. The dew point is 65 degrees. The heat index (what it really feels like) is 90 degrees. When the dew points exceeds 50 degrees, things get pretty sticky. Beyond 60 degrees is just plain oppressive.

The dew point the last couple of days has been in the mid-60s.

The dew point on our wedding day, July 20th 2002, was 85 degrees. The weather broke all kind of records that day. The heat index was WELL over 100 degrees. It's a wonder we could breathe at all.

So as we sat at an outdoor wedding this evening (our third wedding of seven this summer), wiping sweat off my face every other second and feeling my clothes sticking to me with great force, my only thought was...

"honestly, it could be worse."

Friday, July 15, 2005

Of procrastination and painting.

When Dan and I moved into our house last June, we knew it would need some work. Hideous wallpaper on the kitchen and bathroom walls, a baby blue ceiling fan in our bedroom, multi-colored mismatched outlet covers, and so much more. We took care of the MOST vital problems last summer. Wallpaper came down (albeit, not without a valiant fight), paint went up, kitchen cupboards were transformed from dark wood into white. As this summer approached, I was reminded of all of the projects we didn't get to last year. I sat down, made a list of everything we would need to complete these endeavors, and made a giant trip to Home Depot over Memorial Day weekend. I figured if I had it all, I could get started right when school got out. Surprisingly, I didn't start right when school got out. In fact, it's July 15th and our walls have yet to absorb a single drop of paint.

Now, before you accuse me of COMPLETE laziness, you must know that I deliberately started on Monday (realizing that my summer break was 1/3 done), only to find that prepping a house for painting is really the biggest job. I have been taping off windows, trim, doors, cats, whatever. I'm on my third roll of the lovely blue painters tape. We've bonded in the process. At this point (after one more trip to Home Depot yesterday), I think I'm actually ready to start painting. Dan will be happy when it's all finished. We'll finally have blinds on the windows and furniture won't be crammed into the middle of the room.

I'll end with a home improvement tip. Painting a house's ceilings is one of the best ways to update the look and make everything seem bigger. You don't even realize how NOT white they are until you start to paint them. We did our bedroom ceilings last year and I'm anxious to do the rest in the next day or two.

Wish me luck. It's going to be a long couple of days, but I'm confident that it will be well worth it. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

For a good time...

Either I'll do anything to put off prepping my house for painting, or my summer is turning out to be just that boring. Actually, it's neither of those...I'm just easily amused and distracted. As I was wondering how in the world someone from Germany could comment on my last post, curiosity got the best of me and I kept pressing the "next blog" button in the corner of my page. There are some crazy people out there. And some cool pages. A lot are in other languages, which is really cool too.

There you have it. If you are pressed for interesting internet browsing material, look no further.

Now, back to something a little more constructive.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Oh, depressing

I saw a "back to school" commercial today. It was for Walmart.

I never did like that store.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The end of the story...for those who care!

The vet called yesterday with weird news. Ruby had gotten out of surgery and they hadn't found anything. That's really disconcerting when you know you are forking over a buttload of money for just the surgery. Anyway, the mystery object had passed into her colon by the time they got into her.

Herein lies our dilemma. We really didn't feel okay about paying so much for an exploratory surgery that didn't solve any problems! Dan called his "vet friend" yesterday afternoon just to see if our frustration was valid. His friend was surprised that they didn't do a pre-op x-ray just to make sure they the object was still there. So we knew that we had to chat with them before we wrote any checks.

The vet's office closed at 8:00 last night, so we got there around 7:45 to pick up Ruby. We brought up (very nicely!) our concern and were satisfied with the answer. They had injected the barium on Tuesday night to take pictures of her insides on Wednesday. At surgery time yesterday, the barium was still in her system. They knew the object was soft, so the barium could go into it and run through it. Apparently barium affects the way things are seen in x-rays (which is why they have special barium pictures), so they wouldn't have been able to see it clearly anyway. Plus, if they had seen in the x-ray that it had moved out of the stomach, they still would have gone in to make sure it wasn't blocking anything else. Which is what they did. They felt along the entire intestine and discovered that it was in the colon and would eventually pass. After their explanation, we felt okay about the money we were giving them. Besides, the surgery was almost half the amount they had quoted us anyway. So that all worked out.

Now she is bare-bellied and can't eat until 8:00 this morning, poor thing. But Maddie is MUCH relieved to have her home. Not so much following me around meowing. :)

The end of the pet drama. Thanks to those of you who care. It's like having kids sometimes. Well, probably not at all, actually...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sick kitty :(

I took Ruby to the vet yesterday afternoon. After she endured a thermometer up her butt, a finger practically down her throat, and a variety of x-rays, we found out that she has something in her stomach, abstructing the normal flow of things in her digestive tract. I left her at the clinic last night. They gave her barium (yum!) and took pictures today to see how the barium was moving through her. When I talked to the doctor today, she was pretty confident that the object (whatever it is) is too big to move past her stomach and unlikely to come back up in vomit (lovely). So, they are doing surgery tomorrow. The doctor said there really isn't a reason to wait with the surgery, and since Ruby is stable today, they are just going to go ahead with it.

Price tag? Not pretty. Luckily they have a reasonable monthly payment plan. They also have a special fund for situations like this, when the expenses are a little unexpected, and they are donating $100 from that to our bill. That was a nice surprise.

So our little baby is at the vet for another night and Maddie is wondering what the heck we did with her sister. :)

And I'm DYING to find out what in the world she swallowed! This will be good practice for having real babies in the house--picking up our crap so they don't put it in their mouths!

Update to follow...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Caution: stressed blogger ahead

It's the middle of summer.
I'm a teacher.
I shouldn't be stressed.

But I am. Everything in my world is so overwhelming right now.

I have a super hyper young adult lit class for my reading licensure. The reading requirement for the six-week class is 50 adolescent novels. Luckily, I'm reading number 45 right now. So I'm almost done, but there are a bunch of other requirements for the class. Unfortunately, one is a "group project" which will require the coordinating of four schedules. And the professor is driving me up the wall! I hate when that happens!

The last step of the reading licensure is a reading clinic at a year-round school in Minneapolis. This starts tomorrow. If you looked at the preparedness of the program, you'd think it was starting in a month. I don't have a clue what I am supposed to teach tomorrow morning. Luckily I only have four kids for an hour at a time. I'm sure I can pull something together.

Ruby, one of our cats, is sick. I have been cleaning up after her since Friday. We'll be going to the vet in about an hour. They practically charge you just for walking in. It should be fun.

I am in the middle of physical therapy for my weak running knees. It's a great thing and I know it's helping, but sometimes it's the last thing I have time to go do.

I WANT TO PAINT MY HOUSE! I bought everything I would need in May. I haven't gotten a chance to touch anything yet. I'm dying to get it done. But I need to find time to start. I was looking forward to getting it over with and enjoying the new look. Now my goal is just to be done by the time school starts.

I can't believe I mentioned school starting. Before you know it, Target's seasonal department will be stocked with notebooks and pencils, and teachers everywhere will think "What on earth did I do with my summer?"

I am confident that I will have an answer for that question.

Friday, July 01, 2005

On my heart

I saw a disturbing commercial today. It started out with a seemingly happy couple sitting across a dining table from one another with their hands intertwined. The voice in the background was talking about marriage and commitment and how much people work on relationships. Then he said something to the effect of, "But sometimes it just doesn't work out." And across the screen was the phone number of local divorce lawyers.

The part of my day most contrasting to this commercial was my drive home from class tonight. I had (surprise, surprise) the new Nichole Nordeman CD on in my car. I've been listening to this for a couple weeks, but there are some songs that I listen to more closely than others. One of the songs that I didn't truly pay attention to until tonight is called "We Build." tt is so poetic and such a beautiful picture of marriage.

We Build
It's bigger than we thought
It's taller than it ought to be
This pile of rubble and ruins

The neighbors must talk
It's the worst yard on the block
Just branches and boards where walls stood

Did it seem to you
Like the storm just knew
We weren't quite finished with the roof
When it started?

So we build
We build
We clear away what was and make room for what will be
If you hold the nails, I'll take the hammer
I'll hold it still, if you'll climb the ladder
If you will, then I will, build

On any given day
We could simply walk away
And let someone else hold the pieces

The lie that we tell
Says it's better somewhere else
As if love flies south when it freezes

What I'm trying to say
In some clumsy way
Is that it's you and only you for always

What I'm trying to say
In some clumsy way
Is that it's you and only you, not just for now, not just today
But it's you and only you for always

So you hold the nails, I'll take the hammer
I'll hold it still, if you'll climb the ladder
If you will, then I will, build

I am blessed with a great "building" partner in Dan. But I'm not naive. It's very true that sometimes the hammer accidentally hits the hand that holds the nails. We get out of sync. But we pick up our tools, give each other a hug, and proceed with the building. We just need to be consistent and deliberate about building. I know stuff gets hard, but I know that I will never get to a place where a divorce lawyer is the only way out.

So, this is the lighter side of all of the weddings we have this summer! To see the beginnings of the building. And to bless the start of their journey.