Wednesday, December 30, 2009

to spleen? or not to spleen? that is the question...

The past week has been such a mixture of joy and holiday cheer mixed with anxiety and sadness.

Christmas was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful! We spent time relaxing, spending time with family, giving gifts to one another and enjoying a holiday feast. And Santa was very very generous to us all (we must have been NICE this past year!).

But all during Christmas, Lucy was so bummed and lethargic and just not acting her normal self. As mentioned in our previous post, we were planning on driving out to California the day after Christmas, but ended up staying behind with Lucy Pants because she was kind of freaking us out. And we have been to the vet ALMOST every day since then:
  • Saturday 12/26 - Saturday's tests determined that Lucy's liver enzymes count was super high awhile her t-cell and platelet counts were super low, causing the doctor to think that her cells and antibodies were off in the liver somewhere fighting an infection. Antibiotics, liver boosters and probiotics were prescribed and an appointment for a bile acids test was set for the next day. The doctor recommended, also, an anti nausea medication, but it was very pricey, so we decided to hold off since she wasn't constantly vomiting.
  • Sunday 12/27 - The bile acids test was performed. During this test, they analyze the bile acids before a meal and two hours after a meal to determine how the liver is functioning. Results would be ready in a couple days' time.
  • Monday 12/28 - Lucy didn't eat much more than 1/2 a cup of food this day and was still very lethargic. She ended up vomiting again so we decided to suck it up and get her the anti-nausea medication. 90 bucks. For 8 doses. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? But it seems to work because she hasn't puked since then.
  • Tuesday 12/29 - Lucy didn't eat at ALL this day and towards the evening started becoming increasingly lethargic and just lying around unmoving. She began shaking uncontrollably and was acting very feverish and out of it. Scary stuff. But, seriously, how are you supposed to know what to do when it's a dog and they can't say "dude, I'm okay, just leave me alone" or "dude, I'm dying so take me somewhere right now." You know what I mean? We were so scared for her because she was so unresponsive and just lying in our arms, unmoving. We called an emergency line and basically she wasn't have seizures or anything and she was still drinking water and was easily roused, so we just kept her warm and decided to take her to the vet in the morning.
  • Wednesday 12/30 - I was supposed to go to work today, but we took Lucy to the vet this morning. We didn't have an appointment, so it took awhile to be seen, but the doctor was very good today. She said that the bile acids test came back normal, meaning her liver is functioning just fine (yay!). But she recommended more bloodwork to rule out other diseases as well as some xrays. Once Lucy was ready to be picked up, the doctor informed us that her platelet counts are up since Saturday (which is awesome) and she also told us that the blood work showed that Lucy doesn't have parvo, giardia, pancreatitis, or any other detectable disease (more awesome!). But...her liver enzymes are still high, which means that there is still some sort of infection somewhere. AND...the xrays showed an enlarged spleen (which would definitely be a cause of Lucy's discomfort, lack of appetite, lethargy and irregular bowel movements). So the doctor advised the following plan of action: getting an ultrasound done tomorrow which will show us if the spleen is enlarged due to (1) a hematoma or (2) a tumor. If it's a hematoma, then the spleen might need to be removed entirely because of the risk of massive internal bleeding. If it's a tumor, then the tumor might possibly need to be removed and/or the spleen removed entirely. That's the plan, as of today. Lord only knows how these things can change day to day. And a side note - can you imagine the bills we've accrued this week alone?
  • Thursday 12/31 (tomorrow) - Back to work and dropping Lucy off for her ultrasound. Only time will tell what the results will be...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

say a little prayer for lucy

For Christmas this year, Joe and I got to spend some really nice time with my family, got some really wonderful and thoughtful gifts from loved ones and secret Santas, and........we got a sick beagle.

Our dog, Lucy, is a million dollar dog. Seriously. A million dollars. That's how much we've spent on her so far. For those who don't know me well, I am sarcastic sometimes. So be aware that we haven't literally spent a million dollars because don't even have a fraction of that, but you probably get the picture.

Anyway, we were planning on driving out to California with my parents and sister the day after Christmas (yesterday) to help prepare my grandmother for her move to Phoenix. We were going to help pack, visit with family and drive my grandma's car back to Phoenix. Well...that was the plan, anyway...

For the past week or so, Lucy has been acting much unlike herself and over the past couple days completely lost her appetite altogether. She started vomiting on Christmas Day and had a really bad fever that night. She woke up in fairly good spirits the next morning, when we were planning on heading out to Cali, but then she got sick again and we made the call to stay behind.

We took her to the vet first thing and they did some bloodwork. The tests they did came back showing that Lucy's liver enzymes were really high and her t-cell and platelet counts were really low. They think this means that all her antibodies are trying to fight something in her liver. The this morning they wanted us to bring her back for a bile acid test to test her liver function. IN this type of test, they take a blood sample to see the baseline level or bile acids, then they feed her, and two hours later take another blood sample to see the level of bile acids. Basically, what they are looking for is any change in levels of bile acids. For example, if the sample from before the meal shows a low level and the sample after the meal shows a high level, then that means her liver isn't working the way it should. Oh goodness...I'm really hoping it doesn't turn out that way.

We were so ready to drive to California yesterday and I'm really sad to not see family, but I am actually pretty glad we were able to get Lucy some help. They hydrated her, gave us a bunch of meds for her and now we're just waiting for the test results, which should be ready in a couple days!! It's kind of been a bank breaking weekend, but I just really really REALLY hope they figure out what's wrong so that we can fix it. It's so sad seeing her so lifeless. And it's so sad because she can't just tell us what's wrong, you know?

The poor beagle breaks my heart.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

do you know what that sound is, highness?....

...those are the shrieking eels!

This post, actually, has nothing to do with the Princess Bride (which is where that quote comes from, for those of us who are uncultured), but it just popped into my head for some reason.

Anyway...

HI EVERYONE!!! I know it's seemed like a bojillion years since we last blogged, so I thought I'd drop you all a line. It really hasn't been a bojillion years, but tons of things have definitely been going on, so we've been a little preoccupied:


SEPTEMBER
  • LUCY - We are not millionaires because Lucy did not win the cutest dog competition. :o( For those of you who actually did vote and continue to show your endless support of our gorgeous beagle dog, THANK YOU! Maybe we'll have better luck next year. Or maybe we'll start a dog talent competition, or something. Lucy's pretty amazing at sitting, laying down, rolling over, speaking, and playing hide and seek! Anyway, to see information on the winner of the competition, click here.
OCTOBER
  • SWINE - I'm pretty sure I had the swine flu in October. Joe and Alanna and I had planned a camping trip for the first weekend of October and, even though I started feeling like death with a fever of 103, NOTHING was going to get in the way of camping. I had a fever for a couple days and we were scheduled to go on a Friday night and I really didn't want to pull the plug on the trip. So we headed out of Phoenix and during the ride I think something pretty crazy happened because I don't remember much from that night. My fever seemed to skyrocket and I was freezing and burning up all at the same time. I'm pretty sure I was delirious (Joe and Alanna can probably give more details) and it seriously felt like I was actually dead. Not fun. We stayed one night and packed up first thing in the morning. :o( Sad!! It probably wasn't really the swine flu (I tend to exaggerate), but it was pretty brutal. On the positive side, I've hit my sick quotient for the year, so hopefully I won't be sick again for a long time.
  • LUCY - Lucy turned TWO!! YAHOOOO!!!! Okay, so maybe this is only exciting to us.
  • KIDNEY - Joe celebrated his first anniversary with his new kidney on October 7th!! It's definitely been a roller coaster as far as that goes - being more apt to get diseases and virus due to the suppressed immune system. They are constantly meeting with him, always doing new lab work, adjusting medications due to differences in blood levels and new viruses that pop up, keeping him healthy, etc. The Mayo Clinic and all of Joe's doctors in this city are really top notch. And so is Jen for being the awesome donor!! :o)
NOVEMBER
  • MOVING - We moved into a new place!! Moving is always super stressful (especially when you realize about 1/3 of the stuff you own could probably just be thrown away), so we are glad to have that over and done with. And, as of yesterday, we have now been in the new place about a month and are pretty much all unpacked and settled in. It's a nice place, too. It's just about 3 miles away from our previous place, so it's in the same general area, but it's about $200 cheaper per month, so we're REALLY excited about saving some extra money. Which is something that isn't easy to do this day and age.
  • WILDLIFE - We take Lucy for nightly walks around the new neighborhood and have had the opportunity of seeing and hearing different wildlife such as rabbits, owls, coyotes and even javelinas!! HOW COOL IS THAT??
  • WORK - The coming of this month signaled my first anniversary at my current job. It's really crazy how time flies when you're having....fun? Yeah. Amazing. There are DEFINITELY days when things drag and situations get stressful at work (poor Joe never seems to hear the end of it, either) but, for the most part, I have actually grown to really enjoy my new position. This month has been really stressful at work because it's the end of my first year, so I had to work some overtime and work as hard as possible to make sure that I ended it with a bang (want to get some good points on my review!!). It's hard to do with unexpected issues that come up, fires that need to be put out, lives to save, etc. But on the other hand, there is a lot of teamwork involved, so there is a lot of time to continually improve upon communicating effectively with each other. There are great benefits and a lot of opportunity for growth. There are people who really make each day worthwhile. And among all the good and the bad (which you seem to find no matter WHERE you work), it's really been a pretty good experience so far.
  • NEW MOON - I have nothing to say about it that won't make you all roll your eyes. So will spare you my thoughts.
  • THANKSGIVING - It's scary how quickly Thanksgiving has come and gone, you know? My family traveled on a tour of Ireland for the holiday last week (the price was right) but Joe and decided to save our bucks (will visit Ireland someday...) and stuck around Phoenix. We had an awesome dinner celebration at my aunt and uncle's house and hung out and played games afterwards. We went camping amongst coyotes for a few days at Apache Lake, where we went last Thanksgiving. And had a really nice, stress-free weekend. I love Thanksgiving. And I am still so very thankful for everything listed here...and more!!
DECEMBER

Dude. Back off. It JUST STARTED!!! he he.

Really, though. December. Ahhh.
  • Weather changes (finally).
  • Holiday decorations.
  • The season of giving.
  • Making new year resolutions.
  • Spending time with family.
  • Enjoying life.
Hmmmm. I utterly love this time of year. :o)

Ciao for now!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

alive and kickin'

we are alive. lucy did not win $1 million dollars. will write more soon!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

cutest dog competition

Being the proud parents that we are, Joe and I have decided to enter Lucy in the Cutest Dog Competition, which is presented by All American Pet Brands and dog.com, because she (of course!) is the cutest dog in the world!!!

The only way for us to win is from a daily vote from YOU!!! You can vote once per day, per dog, so remember to cast your vote for Lucy EVERY DAY!!! The contest started at the beginning of August and we just entered, so we've got a lot of time to make up.

So, without further ado, be sure to click on the link below NOW to CAST YOUR VOTE for Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds Fur!!!!


Thanks!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

faces in places + just places

Faces in Places
Do you ever find the shape of a face in things like the clouds, or a textured wall, or any other completely random place? Every once in awhile, I notice faces in different things and, believe it or not, there is a blog that points out this exact thing. I'm not quite sure how I originally came upon this blog, but I think it's one of the dorkiest, yet possibly one of the coolest things ever. It's called "Faces in Places". Check it out!!




Just Places
The following is a list of places that I want to go in my life. Some of them are places that I'm not sure we'll be able to afford the trip for a LOOOOOONG time. Others are trips that could possibly be very attainable and may sound a little weird and definitely un-exotic. Nonetheless, these are the places (in no particular order) that I would most like to go at some point in my life.
  • Australia - all of it
  • New Zealand
  • Hawaii - I know I've already been...but want to go back so bad!!
  • British Columbia - Vancouver, Whistler
  • Alberta - Banff
  • Nova Scotia
  • Maine - again!!
  • Vatican City
  • pretty much any other part of Italy
  • Paris
  • anywhere in Alaska - an Alaskan cruise would be awesome!
  • Washington - Seattle, Mt. Rainier NP, Olympic NP, North Cascades NP
  • New York City - again!!
  • Oregon - Portland, Eugene, Astoria
  • Niagara Falls - again!!
  • Santorini
  • pretty much any part of Greece and the Cyclades
  • the entire UK
  • New England - going next month! YAHOOOOO!!!!
  • Jerusalem
  • Madrid and Barcelona

Monday, August 10, 2009

reflections

The past week and a half have been kind of a blur for me. A lot has happened, both good and bad, but most of all...growth. A lot of growth in myself, growth with family and friends and, especially, growth with Joe. One thing I've learned in the past week and a half is that life throws you curve balls without even a moment's notice, you just have to learn how to catch them.

Today I am thankful for:
  1. Family - Especially Mom, Dad and Alanna. You are my most favorite people in the whole entire world.
  2. Alanna - I am so thankful that your trip in the South Pacific was safe and that you are finally home!
  3. Friends - You know who you are. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have you in my life as my lucky stars and rocks of support. I learn more from each of you every day.
  4. Lucy - My little ball of beagle fur. I am thankful for your hugs, your yawns, your kisses, your stretching, your cockroaches, your zoomies, your growls, your cuddles, the way you smell, the way you run up to us when we get home like we are the most important people in your universe. I love everything about you!
  5. Work - In these tough economic times, I am so thankful to be working for a solid company that has much interest and support of their employees. Without this job I would not be able to camp, travel, pay rent, pay bills, buy groceries, etc. I am so thankful to have this job.
  6. Health - I am thankful to be alive. This summer has been pretty rough (especially with regards to heat), but my health is something I definitely need to stop taking for granted and try to preserve. I'm starting to get into the swing of the gym again and, once the weather cools off, we'll be able to go for rides and hikes again.
  7. Jen - I am so thankful that you gave one of your kidneys to Joe. It is the most amazing gift a person could ever receive. Sadly, words really can't even express gratitude for a gift like that.
  8. Recreation - I am thankful to have the opportunity to do things like camp, sight see, swim, relax, read, spend time with family, etc. The joy I get from these simplest of things makes the weekends so precious to me.
  9. (last, but not least) Joe - No matter how flawed you are at times and no matter how perfect you are at times, what amazes me most is how much more I grow to love you each and every day.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

familiy reniunion

I think that the Kolbergs and McGowans are some of the funnest people I've ever met ! So T and I thought we should do an annual "reunion!. It can basically just be a big party, in a different area of the country each year ! Really we just want an excuse to see you more ! Here's how we think it should work: All Kolbergs, all McGowan, Welches, Gallianos. Ercolininis (am I forgettimg anyone ?) plus friends would gather once year at a adifferent fun outdoorsy venues ?! we could BBQ olay games, reminisce... who's in ?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

life, work and alanna wanna fanna

Life is good.

It's getting really, Really, REALLY hot now. And, with the monsoon season actually picking up a little, the past few days have been wicked humid...so it's been kind of like a sticky furnace outside. But life is good. We've been spending a lot of time hanging out with family, swimming, camping, playing with Lucy, relaxing, etc....just doing all of the things that you SHOULD do during summertime.

Work is.....uhhh.....work. But it is good, too. :o)

Some days are better than others (as is true with any occupation), but I am really starting to feel like I'm actually doing okay there. When I first started, I was totally overwhelmed. It's almost too difficult to explain in words, so I will just say that I knew I would get used to it, but it was a little stressful at first. Especially since we are judged quantitatively in several different categories - something that I have never experienced before. It's different, and started off a little rocky. Recently, though, over the past few months, I've been doing a little better and better with every week. And it has even gotten to the point where I was given an award (a fancy piece of paper) at an awards ceremony in front of 900+ of my peers in the Northeast Division. I'm not 100% sure of what the award was for, but it has something to do with not sucking. So getting that recognition for my efforts made yesterday a really nice day. Now I just have to start doing BETTER so that I get another award at the 4th Quarter awards ceremony (won't hold my breath, but it doesn't hurt to try).

And, finally...Alanna is AWESOME!!!


Alanna has spent the past 2+ weeks on her expedition with Project MARC in the island nation of Vanuatu, and is now in tourist mode in Australia. The expedition was supposed to last all month, but due to some certain circumstances (which I'm not fully clear about yet), the volunteers have completed everything they could and have finished the mission. Since the mission has ended ahead of schedule and my folks aren't flying out to meet her until the very END of the month, Loni has decided to take an inclusive guided tour around some of Australia's islands and up to the Great Barrier Reef. Her first stop, today, was at Fraser Island (pictured above) and I am seriously jealous of all the different places she has been seeing. What a neat experience to have!! It's a little scary because she's all by herself, but she's a big girl and I'm sure she's doing just fine. Plus, I kind of have this sneaking suspicion that she's having the time of her life.

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July Camping Trip

We had quite an interesting weekend ! Here's a quick(?) recap.

Early Friday morning we left PHX and headed up to the Sierra Ancha Mountains. Our ride was uneventful as far as I can remember. Theresa drove first, then we switched just after Punkin Center, AZ. We got to FR487, off AZ288 around noon. Heading up towards the campground we wanted to stay at Workman Creek Falls. The first interesting thing we saw was a deer in the road (then another on the side of the road). Continuing up we saw an interesting sign warning us of abandoned uranium mines in the area. Finally we reached the campground, and although it wasn't full, people had parked on a few of the remaining flat spots we would have camped on. Since there were no spots left because of the people parking on empty spots, we decided to try to go further up the road towards Aztec Peak. This is where Theresa's panic attack started ! Apparently looking over the side of a significant drop off on her side of the road, the road going from bad to worse, plus my driving near the edge of the road worried her. We made it to Workman Creek falls 1 mile up the road and then almost got stuck trying to cross an old wooden bridge. Theresa got out and directed me so I wouldn't accidentally drive her car off a cliff, and I made a 20 point turn. We headed back down to AZ288 and found one open spot at the Rose Creek Campground. This was actually a blessing, because it was a much more private, quiet campground.

Saturday morning we got up early and decided to drive to Young, AZ before going hiking. There's not much to say about Young, The population was 561 at the 2000 census, there are two restaurants, one gas station, one convenience store, one church (Mormon), an auto parts store, a motel, a small medical center, a thrift shop, a library, and a refuse service. Young also has A resident deputy (one!) and a volunteer fire department. We got ice and water and got the hell out of there quickly. Heading back to Workman Creek campground, we parked there and attempted to hike to the summit. 3 miles. What we didn't think about was the fact we started our hike at 5200 feet elevation (roughly a mile high), and we heading to the top which is 7748 ft (roughly a mile and a half). Starting our hike we realized quickly how difficult it is to breathe when you aren't used to the elevation. Even Lucy was struggling. Even though it was close to 90 degrees, we made it about halfway, seeing some cool stuff (I got close enough to pet a horny toad, and did!), the 200ft drop of the "falls" (not really a lot of water in the summer, best to go in early spring or after monsoon storms) then had to turn around because we knew that we were not gonna make it back if we kept going to the top. I was pretty upset about not making it, there's a fire tower at the top the Edward Abbey (my new favorite author) worked at for 2 years, writing some of his books there and, supposedly, a stone living room I really wanted to find. Back at camp we were to tired to do anything except read. The skies started to darken, and we could hear thunder far off, but didn't think much of it (the same thing happened the day before and we never got the storm). The winds picked up, then it started to rain a little, followed by marble sized HAIL, and torrential downpours. We tried to wait out he storm under our EZ UP, but the combination of wind and rain were soaking everything. After a filming a video of the hail we dashed to the car and waited out the storm. Roughly half an hour later it wound down enough that we ventured out to the picnic table and dried off the seats. After a quick game of UNO (I destroyed Theresa) we made tacos and went to bed early.

Sunday morning we were packed up and out of there by 7:30 to head back and dry our stuff out. All in all it was a wonderful weekend. Here's some pics, enjoy !




Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the meaning of "humanitarian"

Main Entry: humanitarian
Pronunciation: \hyu-ma-nuh-'ter-ee-uhn\
Function: noun
Date: 1844

: a person promoting human welfare and social reform : philanthropist
humanitarian adjective
hu·man·i·tar·i·an·ism \-ē-ə-ˌni-zəm\ noun





Right now my sister, Alanna, is flying to the South Pacific. Let me explain...

A buddy of mine, Seamus O, who I've known from a fairly young age - we went to the same church growing up, the same high school and even college - has been quite the world traveler since finishing up his college days. He's been extremely active in theater circles and has been a crewman for a sailboat, doing a considerable amount of volunteer work overseas. In all reality, the phrase "doing a considerable amount of volunteer work" doesn't even do justice the works that he has undertaken over the past several years.

Seamus O is an advocate and volunteer for Project MARC in the island nation of Vanuatu (located to the East of Australia and to the West of Fiji). The most basic way to summarize what this organization does, is to say that it provides volunteer medical services to Vanuatu's most remote island communities.

Part of being a Project MARC volunteer involves sailing vessels, building small clinics, and training village health workers. One of the big projects for this year was going to be the construction of a clinic on the West Coast of Santo (an island in the nation of Vanuatu). Because the ships are not available to help them transport supplies, etc., they are not able to get this project underway at this time.

Instead of building this clinic, they will be undertaking an expedition instead, spending the next month or so traveling on foot from village to village, surveying and evaluating each location for what their needs may be (clinics, supplies, training, medical help, etc.) so that these villages may get the medical attention they need.

I now return to my first statement.

Right now my sister, Alanna, is flying to the South Pacific. She is traveling there to do embark on this expedition with Project MARC. Her path crossed Seamus O's over the holidays and she decided that it was just something she wanted to do.

As her big sister, I am a little nervous for her - especially because there will be no contact with her until she sets foot back on American soil - but I am extremely excited that she is taking advantage of this opportunity. I know it will be a challenge for her (mainly because she HATES camping and bugs and will be sleeping in a tent for a month), but I think she will learn so much about herself, and others, in the process. I already can't wait for her to get back, but I am so proud of her and wish her the best of luck on her voyage.

According to Merriam-Webster, a "humanitarian" is a person who promotes human welfare and social reform. The expedition that these individuals are on is, by no means, a simple undertaking. The gifts they give freely - their time, their own money, strength, blood, sweat and tears - emphasize the fact that these individuals fully embody the meaning of this word. Each of these people deserve our prayers, good wishes and utmost respect for changing the lives of the inhabitants of this island nation.


SIDE NOTES
  • You can access the Project MARC website here.
  • You can access Seamus O's blog here (or on the sidebar of our blog).
  • For your information, there are 3 videos that showcase, with considerable detail, the works of this organization (which is a non-governmental organization) by clicking here. The link will take you to the first of three pages (courtesy of Seamus' parents) - each page with a streaming video, 2-5 minutes in length. The links for additional pages/videos are at the top of the first page (1. project MARC, 2. 2008 Donor Thank You, and 3. 2009 Water Project Appeal).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Camping 6/12-14 at Reynolds Creek

We went camping last weekend with the Kolbergs at Reynolds Creek. This is the second year in a row we've gone, and 10+ years for them. They started a journal when they bought their pop-up and the 1st entry was the same weekend, at the same campground, exactly 10 years ago! The area is beautiful, it's about a mile high in elevation, in a pine forest, in the Sierra Ancha Mountains. I highly recommend checking out this area there is a lot to see and do. We might go back next weekend to explore some more, we missed a 200ft waterfall, Indian Ruins, abandoned uranium mines, and a hike to Aztec Peak. Plus a firetower on the peak, where author Edward Abbey worked and wrote some of his books. Also there is rumor of a large stone living room complete with thrones (with cupholders) and a large fireplace in the area. Here's someone elses description of the area:

"Aztec Peak is the highpoint of the Sierra Ancha Mountains. This relatively unknown mountain range is located in the Tonto National Forest. Aztec Peak is also located in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness Area. The Sierra Ancha Mountains have some precipitous box canyons, towering vertical cliffs, and pine-covered mesas. Elevations range from 4,000' near Cherry Creek to 7,748' atop Aztec Peak."

Back to my ramblings the weather was great, 80's during the day and high 40's at night. Lucy had a ball, she chased squirrels up trees, swam in Reynolds Creek, and caught a Horny Toad. I can't accurately gage his horniness, but he was not a toad. He was a medium sized lizard, flat, sandy colored, and covered in spikes. When Lucy caught it I was afraid she'd killed it because when I pried her jaws open it was bloody and not moving. When it ran off I thought that the blood must be Lucy's. Neither animal had any obvious wounds and when I told Theresa what had happened she explained that they shoot blood from their eyes to discourage predators ! I looked it up when I got home, check this out:

"Horned lizards (Phrynosoma) are a genus of the Phrynosomatidae family of lizards. The horned lizard is popularly called a "horned toad," "horny toad", or "horned frog," but it is neither a toad nor a frog. The popular names come from the lizard's rounded body and blunt snout, which make it resemble a toad or frog. (Phrynosoma literally means "toad-bodied.") The spines on its back and sides are made from modified scales, whereas the horns on the heads are true horns (i.e. they have a horny core). There are 14 species of horned lizards in North America, 8 of which are native to the United States. The largest-bodied and most widely distributed of the U.S. species is the Texas horned lizard (P. cornutum)."

"Horned lizards use a wide variety of means to avoid predation. Their coloration generally serves as camouflage. When threatened, their first defense is to remain still and hope to avoid detection. If approached too closely, they generally run in short bursts and stop abruptly to confuse the predator's visual acuity. If this fails, they puff up their body to cause it to look more horny, making it appear larger and more difficult to swallow. At least four species are also able to squirt an aimed stream of blood from the corners of the eyes for a distance of up to 5 feet. They do this by restricting the blood flow leaving the head, thereby increasing blood pressure and rupturing tiny vessels around the eyelids. This not only confuses predators, but also the blood tastes foul to canine and feline predators. It appears to have no effect against predatory birds. To avoid being picked up by the head or neck, horned lizards duck or elevate their head and orient their cranial horns straight up, or back. If a predator tries to take it by the body, the lizard drives that side of its body down into the ground so that the predator cannot easily get its lower jaw underneath this lizard."

This is the coolest animal ever !!! Around the campfire one night there was a little girl who was very interested in Lucy. She harrased her for close to an hour, petting her, putting her pom-poms on her, hugging her, and Lucy never growled or nipped at her...she barely even woke up. Here are some pictures, we would have taken more but my battery died very early on. Enjoy !











Sunday, June 7, 2009

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Joe and I were reminiscing about New England this weekend and part of our thoughts drifted towards Robert Frost, the great American poet.

While I lived in New England, we would pass by Robert Frost's home on several occasions as it is in Derry, Hew Hampshire...just a few minutes down the road from where Joe's parents live. All I remember is that it was a cute little home, painted in white, on a big lot right off of Route 28. There is nothing remarkable about the house, really. It is cute and very country-ish. But what I think is more remarkable is the work of the man who lived there.

His words have often been favorites of mine while studying poetry in my English courses during school years and were, without a doubt, quite often inspired by the terrain around him - some of his poems light and inspirational, some dark and foreboding. Whatever sentiments were intended, his works are nothing short of amazing. Some of his most famous poems include The Road Not Taken, Acquainted With the Night, and Birches. Below is one my absolute favorites.

Enjoy!!

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, June 1, 2009

star trek, new moon, et al...

Joe and I went to see Star Trek a couple weekends ago and, I must say, that I actually loved it! I was never a Trekkie growing up and really didn't watch more than 3 or 4 episodes of the show. Ever. So going into the movie, I didn't really know what to expect other than people kept telling us good things about it (my sister, Joe's parents, etc.). I was a little skeptical, but kept an open mind. And I loved it! Seriously loved it. And I would actually like to see it again. I'm not 100% sure why I liked it so much - could be the plotline, could be the cast, could even possibly be the fact that Spock's haircut reminded us of Jim Carrey's hairdo in Dumb and Dumber - but it was just plain good. So go see it!!

Check it out here:


Also, apparently the trailer for New Moon (not released in theaters until this November) was premiered at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards last night. The awards show (which is generally pretty amusing to watch) didn't start until 9pm last night, so I only watched about 20 minutes of it. [why they put these shows on late on Sunday nights is beyond me]

Anyway, I decided to look online to see if they posted the video of the New Moon trailer and....since all of you are DYING to know....they HAVE!!! Part of me is telling myself that I shouldn't be excited by trivial things such as this. But the other part of me is so excited for November!!!

Enjoy...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

memorial day weekend

Can I just tell you how much I love 3 day weekends?

I LOVE THREE DAY WEEKENDS!!!


Yesterday, I cleaned a little a while Joe worked on the AC in his truck (he had to replace the AC compressor because his AC isn't working) and then we went down to Tempe with Lucy and swam for a while then had a little mexican food fiesta when Alanna got home from work. YUMMMMM!!! Then today we woke up and went back to AutoZone because it turns out that in order to recharge his AC he had to convert the refrigerant system from R-12 to R-134A (why they don't make a system called R2-D2 is beyond me!). While he was busy at work doing that, I finished cleaning the house so that now you can safely eat off of any surface in the house. Not advisable, obviously, but it's just THAT clean. Then, after Joe came back inside from winning the battle with his truck's AC (it's a good thing because no AC in the summer here = imminent death) and he helped finish up the cleaning. It was amazing how tired we were so we took a nap.

A nap.

On a Sunday afternoon.

It was just heaven!

Tonight we are going to have some dinner, take Lucy to the park for bit and then go see the new Star Trek movie, which we keep hearing nothing but good things about. And tomorrow we're headed back down to Tempe for more swimming, playing with Lucy, possibly board games, and of course getting our food on! I seriously can't tell you how much I love three-day weekends. It's so nice to gets things done and now have an extra day to relax. The joy of it also makes it very easy to forget what the extra day is for.

Memorial Day. Remembering the American men and women who have died during their military service. Through all of our happiness and relaxation this weekend, I'm now a little saddened thinking about the lost lives of so many people who have helped make it possible for us live in this country today. That's really what the holiday is about, and it's just kind of sad that sometimes the meaning slips through the cracks as we gather with loved ones to enjoy the extra day off. And I am admitting fully that I am a guilty offender of this. But on this Memorial Day, I am taking the extra time to actually do what is intended for this day.

Remember...


In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Taps
lyrics

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake, From the skies.
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor, God keep.
On the land or the deep, Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone, Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
'Neath the sun, Neath the stars, 'Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know, God is nigh.




For something completely unrelated...

For those Goonies fans out there, you will appreciate the following links:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lucy has a new friend

This morning at 3:30 Lucy woke me up needing to go outside. I threw on some clothes and my glasses and took her out. She was acting a little strange, sniffing even more than usual, and her tail was down between her legs like she was nervous. She didn't immediately urinate so I took her around "the block" (our building). We got halfway around when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. I stopped and looked and saw an animal that I thought was a dog, it was slightly taller than Lucy, with erect triangular ears, a long muzzle, lean frame, and a bushy tail. Lucy started growling, then barked and the animal turned and ran between the buildings into a wash. I still wasn't sure what it was because I was pretty sleepy, and started to head back to the house. Looking back I realized it was following us. This kinda freaked me out, and I picked up my pace a little, half-ran into the house. closed the door and yelled "Hey T, want to see a coyote?" I ran into the kitchen and saw it sniffing around outside our front door. Theresa jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen, but it was gone. Lucy was going nuts, barking and growling and sniffing under the door. A few minutes passed and we realized Lucy never peed. A little afraid it was still out there, and might be rabid, I went out first, with my pocket knife, and Theresa followed with Lucy once the coast was clear. We looked around, but did not see the coyote again. I had never heard of a black coyote, so we googled it, and sure enough though rare, they do exist ! We kind of want it to come back so we can get a better look (and maybe a picture) But we also don't want to run into it in the middle of the night if it's rabid.

6/22/09 UPDATE: I was talking to one of our neighbors who has a dog (that I had warned after this happened), and she told me that her friend lives in the condos closer to the mountains and a black coyote was stalking her friend while she walked her big golden-doodle. When she brought her dog in, the coyote hung out around the steps to her front door sniffing around ? It's gotta be the same one because black coyotes are rare.



Saturday, May 16, 2009

I am terrified of driving in Arizona

All statistics mentioned are derived from 2007 research reports from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Yes, I know it's 2009 already, but the latest complete lists I could find were from 2007. Maybe I didn't look hard enough, but time is off the essence and I wanted to share some of the information I found.
Granted, the numbers are pretty intense for every state in one way or another - with some states having worse statistics than Arizona in some categories. However, the fact of the matter is that I am officially afraid to drive in Arizona. Even more than I was afraid of driving in downtown Boston and Manhattan even. Honestly, those places are a walk in the park compared to Phoenix. Especially with regards to speeders.

Speeding, in my opinion, is the stupidest thing ever. I mean...what are you going to win by speeding and passing people on the left and right? What do you win if you do this? Nothing. And if someone cuts you off, just back off a little and let them get ahead. Chances are they are drunk and don't have insurance anyway.

Another thing to keep in mind, however, is that the reason I know this information is because I had to attend Defensive Driving School a couple of weeks ago. I didn't completely stop for 3 seconds before turning right at a red light and got zapped by the camera. So I am guilty of letting the rules slide as well. Something I am SO not proud of.

But in 1 1/2 years of being in Arizona, I have already been hit twice. Once by a lady turning left onto the main street without looking. She t-boned me while I was driving straight like I should have been and totaled my Corolla. The second time was by some man who was in the middle lane and decided to switch to the right lane (where I was) without looking and sideswiped me.
Surprise, buddy! I was right there! Didn't see me? Well LOOK next time before you switch lanes.

The fact that drivers both had insurance makes me so grateful, but still solidifies my fear that people here just don't pay attention and are ruthless. My fear of driving in Arizona won't keep me from living my life and getting where I need to be. But it's a real fear. People here drive and think they are invincible, and they don't get behind the wheel thinking that their life (as well as any others in the vehicle) are at stake every time they set foot in their car. They drive way too fast while eating, drinking, talking, texting and thinking that the metal box around them is a safe place. They couldn't be more wrong.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

to move or not to move, that is the question...

As I mentioned in the last post, my buddy Heidi and her husband Mike bought Joe and I a trip out to Eugene, Oregon for a couple days. Our time there was so short and packed with running around trying to see and do as much as possible - it was quite the whirlwind trip. But it was so unexpectedly wonderful and seriously one of the coolest gifts. I wish we were still there!

Here are some of our snapshots:

Trying to avoid contracting the swine flu.


Heidi, Collin, and Mike.


Moss covering every inch of a tree.


Joe standing beside a really small tree.


Heceta Head.


lighthouse at Heceta Head.

View the rest of our pictures from Oregon HERE in our online photo gallery!!


For quite some time now, I have wanted to travel up through the Pacific Northwest. I don't really know why - maybe just because of the fact that the weather is quite opposite that of Phoenix. Whatever the reasons were, our time spent there blew my mind - we were able to spend some really nice quality time with Heidi and Mike, went on some quick hikes, visited Veneta, went to the Saturday Market in Eugene, got rained on, traveled out to the coast, enjoyed the fresh ocean air, poked around looking at anenomes, climbed rocks, relaxed, fell asleep to the sound of rain, played with cutie-pie Collin, drove around town, and even saw Portland (even if only for about an hour).

It was just plain awesome.

And a real wake up call for us in terms of figuring out where we want to settle down to start a family. I still have a huge soft spot for New England - the family, the people, my previous employer who I still keep in contact with. But one interesting thing is that the Pacific Northwest, we found, actually reminds us a LOT of New England (just tending to be not as frigid in the winter time and a little greener because of all the rain). On the other hand, there might be an opportunity for us to consider in Illinois with my friend, Anna, and her family. But at the end of the day, I also have a huge soft spot for Arizona - the family, my history here, and the multitude of things that we have yet to explore here.

So this is the question - with Joe and I having explored different parts of the country and narrowing down our choices as to where we want to "set up shop", how do you select one knowing that there will be things that we will miss so dearly, and knowing that our decision affects others as well? We feel like we are being pulled in a few different directions, so how do settle on one, especially when the feelings of family and friends are involved? And how do you know which decision is the right one? This is a decision that we will definitely not be taking lightly, that's for sure.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

oregon...here we come!!

Joe and I are just a few hours away from heading to the airport to fly out to Oregon to visit friends, Heidi and Mike, and their family in Oregon.

They live in a town called Veneta and I think it's about halfway up the state and about an hour from the coast. They actually live fairly close to Euguene, and Allegiant Air flies directly from Mesa to Eugene. We've never been to Oregon and up until last year I didn't even realize that Mesa had an airport! So I'm really looking forward to this new adventure!!

Plus it will be really good to visit with Heidi. Both her and Mike are unbelievably sweet and actually bought our trip out there as a wedding gift. Can you BELIEVE that?? I really can't say enough how awesome of a gift this is!!

I am actually kind of nervous to be flying with the swine flu going around (they have actually closed a school here for a whole week because of the pandemic). And I was actually beginning to think that we weren't going to find face masks anywhere because we literally went store to store the other night in search of them, but they were all sold out. Joe then had the brilliant idea to go to Home Depot after work yesterday and found a bunch of them there. So we're all set. Still kind of scared of germs, though. I definitely don't want to get this swine flu thing-a-ma-jigger. But Joe is so more susceptible than I am because of the immuno-suppressants he is on. His immune system is so low because of the medications that he REALLY needs to be careful!! So we've got the masks and I have refilled our hand sanitizer bottle to bring with us (yes...the bottle is under 3 ounces).

Also, it always breaks my heart to be away from Lucy. It may sound like I'm just whining. But I really love that dog. I love coming home to her after work and seeing her happy and excited to play with me. I love when she rolls on her back and does the cockroach. I love how loud she is when she yawns. I love how cuddly and sweet she is in the mornings and how rambunctious and playful she is in the afternoons. She's just a gem. Shamefully, I even cried when we dropped her off before our trip to Hawaii. This time, she will only be there for 5 days/4 nights, so it's not quite as long. I'm still going to miss her, though.

Besides all of the nervousness about flying and leaving our puppy behind for a few days, we are SO EXCITED to be going to Oregon. Oregon has been on my "to do" list for quite some time and I am so excited to see my friend and her family. I am just so grateful that they are sending us out there for a few days. It will definitely be a nice break from routine. Not only will it be mid-60s during the day and COLD at night, but it will be GREEN and hopefully (fingers-crossed) my allergies will have a little break from flaring up.

Wish everyone would come with us!! But, don't worry....we'll take lots of pictures.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

craigslist = completely unreliable people

I bought a camper shell off Craigslist for my truck, it was really cheap, but did not fit perfectly. I thought I would just modify it a little to make it fit and then we could use. After driving with it on my truck for a day or two I realized it was really, really obnoxious because it has no windows, so I cannot see behind me to back up, and I now have huge blind spots when I try to change lanes. I decided to put it back on craigslist to recoup my money, and since then I've realized that 90% of CL users are idiots. The first guy who emails me actually shows up to look at it, but it doesn't fit right so he decideds not to buy it. No problem. The second guy who emails me barely speaks english, but manages to convey a date and a time he wants to see it. He arrives, but isn't driving a truck. He looks at it, asks a few questions, tells me he'll be back the next day with his truck to buy it... he never shows up, doesn't call, doesn't email so I contact the next person who emailed me. He shows up, with his truck, but has a shell already on it. He takes some measurements, tells me he'll be back the next day to buy it. When i wake up the next day he has already called and left me a voicemail telling me he won't be coming to buy it. I then call the next person who emailed me, who mumbles something about being somewhere, and he'll call me when he gets back to Phoenix... that was about 30 hours ago, still no call. I haven't gotten anymore responses, so it's still sitting on my truck, which I must add looks like a smurf because the truck is blue and the cap is white.

here's my ad:
http://phoenix.craigslist.org/nph/pts/1125879688.html

It's time to panic

Has everyone been following the news about the swine flu ?

"Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza that regularly cause outbreaks of influenza among pigs. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans, however, human infections with swine flu do occur, and cases of human-to-human spread of swine flu viruses has been documented. From December 2005 through February 2009, a total of 12 human infections with swine influenza were reported from 10 states in the United States. Since March 2009, a number of confirmed human cases of a new strain of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in the U.S. and internationally have been identified."

Apparently it's killing otherwise healthy people via pneumonia (81 people in Mexico)... and it's coming from Mexico, which is directly south or Arizona. They have confirmed cases in California and Texas (on either side of AZ), so basically I'm screwed. if healthy people are getting it, what chance do I have with my drug suppressed immune system ? Maybe now would be a good time to secure our border ? Well at least the government will put someone capable in charge, right ? Nope, it's former AZ Governor Janet "let's just throw money at the problem" Napolitano. Great, I need to go buy some masks now, I'll be wearing them for a while.

LINKS:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_swine_flu_emergency

http://uk.reuters.com/article/governmentFilingsNews/idUKN2649351120090426

Saturday, April 25, 2009

photos by Sam

Hey everyone!! I just wanted to take a minute to post a slideshow of some new pictures from our wedding day. These photos were taken by Samara Link, talented photographer extraordinaire.

And I told her this already - that I’ve looked through them all at least 10 times already. But they are so awesome!! More than we hoped for. She captured the whole day and everyone so wonderfully – from every little detail to every facial expression. Looking at them, I just remember how happy that whole day was.

Thank you so much for your photographs, Sam! We really can’t put into words our appreciation. We will cherish them for always!

Enjoy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

looking back

Last year at this time....
  • Joe had recently started dialysis
  • I had been notified that my company was going to be closing and I had to look for a new job
  • Lucy was only 6 months old and still in the process of being housebroken
  • We hadn't gone camping anywhere in Arizona yet
  • Joe hadn't gone any further West than Arizona
  • We hadn't gone hiking at all in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve (which is literally 1 mile from our apartment)
  • We just bought a brand new computer
  • My nails were all long (past the tips of my fingers) and my hair was at least 7 in shorter
  • Joe had just popped the question!!
This year at this time....
  • Joe has an AWESOME new kidney...thanks to his sister, Jen
  • I have a new job working with the University of Phoenix
  • Lucy is a little over a year and a half and hasn't had an accident inside since I don't even remember when
  • We have gone camping pretty much every month (or every other month) since last May
  • We took an amazing trip to Hawaii, so now Joe has gone much FURTHER West than Arizona
  • We have started to hike as much as possible in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve
  • The computer is still up and running with no problems (knock on wood) and has been wonderful (iMacs are seriously a wonderful investment, by the way)
  • My nails are all gone (sadly) and my hair is getting a little too long and scraggly
  • Joe and I are now married (to each other, DUH!!) and it has been nothing short of wonderful!!!
I'm sure there are many other things I am forgetting here, but it's amazing how much can change from year to year, huh?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

photographs

What's up, home fries??

I just wanted to let you all know that we're in the process of updating our website. Some of the pages are still under construction, but take a gander at the photographs page when you get the chance (you'll be ESPECIALLY please to notice that we've added the photographs from the table cameras at the wedding).


Have a great weekend, everyone!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

wedding photographs

Hey everyone!!

Just wanted to let you know that John Merrell, our ceremony photographer, has posted his photographs online.

His website is: http://www.johnmerrellphotography.com/
  • Once you are there, click “Online Viewing”
  • Then click “Joseph and Theresa Wedding” (2/21/2009)
  • Enter my maiden name (if you don’t know it, then you can’t see them! he he he)
  • Then click “OK”
  • VOILA!!


On our computer, it doesn’t let us scroll from one photo to the next, so you may have to open each photo individually, too. Also, he told us that it’s more expensive through the website, so if you want to order prints, just let us know the sizes and photo numbers (photo id’s are listed under the photos and look like this: 001 Joseph&Theresa) and we’ll get them for a cheaper rate directly through John.

Anyway, ENJOY!!!!

Stay tuned for more updates soon!! Love you all...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

lake pleasant

Mom, Dad, Joe, Lucy Fur and I went camping this weekend to Lake Pleasant, just north of Phoenix.

My parents both work for Honeywell and, for years upon years upon years (since before it was even called Honeywell), there have been family events such as camping, Christmas parties, dances, rodeos, water park days, you name it! As kids, we always went to the annual Christmas parties, went to some rodeos and family water park days. We've never gone to the Lake Pleasant Campout and Fishing Derby but, apparently due to the economy, they are downsizing on their events for their employees and families. We've never gone to this campout before. Too bad, too, because it's probably the last one.

Anyway, I was actually a little hesitant to camp so close to Phoenix. It seemed like it wouldn't be the greatest "getaway", you know? When it came down to it, though, it was definitely a little crowded (people LOVE lakes here, man!) and there were people constantly driving back and forth kicking up dirt, but it actually turned out to be such a nice and relaxing weekend!! It was a little warm (pretty much the same temperature as Phoenix, since it's only about 30 miles to the North and West) and there was actually one point where we got hot enough to jump in the water. It definitely hasn't heated up fully yet since the summer hasn't "exactly" started yet, but it was so refreshing!!

We stayed up at night listening to dad jam on his guitar around the campfire, we walked around exploring, Lucy had a blast running around in and out of the water, played UNO, and.....of course, we sat around alot to just relax, chat, eat and just "be".

Enjoy the pictures...

A view of Lake Pleasant.
(you can see campers packed in on the left side)


Our campsite.


Joe splashing up some water.


Lucy ran around so much sniffing everything and playing in the water.
It's so cute when she's so exhausted that she just plops down to rest.


I love camping. Really can't get enough of it.
And this picture just tops it all off.


View MORE of our pictures from the camping trip HERE!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

oh heavenly day...

Hey everyone!!!

We just wanted to take a few minutes to share a few pictures from the most heavenly day. We actually had two different photographers on our wedding day - one who took pictures at the church/ceremony (a guy named John) and one who was there snapping pictures of everyone all day long (a gal named Sam).

The following are just a few samples of pictures that were taken by Sam, who I met through my friend, Lindsay (who I knew from way back in grade school...you know, right around the age where boys and girls started getting little things called "crushes" on each other). Both Lindsay and Sam are the most genuine and artistic people you'll ever meet (take a look at their blogs and you'll see for yourself!). In addition, Sam is such a talented and (dare I say) humble artist who just captured things perfectly. So we thought we'd share a few of her portraits from our most heavenly day!!

Enjoy!

And stay tuned for more to come...



Sunday, March 1, 2009

we've been busy...

Which is why we haven't posted in a while (not that I post that much...). Guests started arriving Monday February 16th, and everything went into fast forward. Wednesday Anna (muchacha) and T started to make the cake. Thursday I went and tried on my tuxedo to make sure everything fit correctly, met up with all my groomsmen and some family there. Later in the afternoon I went and got a haircut, then we went down to Theresa's parents house for an excellent dinner with family and friends. Following the dinner everybody in the wedding went to Holy Spirit in Tempe for the rehearsal. I was sweating profusely I was so nervous. Friday morning everybody met up at the Kolberg's again, and the girls went to do their spa thing while I took all the guys to Dave and Busters for some lunch and games. After we had spent enough money we headed back to Theresa's parents house for another great dinner with family and friends. After that T and I had to split up and go to seperate hotels for the night. I went to the Hawthorne Suites in Tempe where most of my family was staying, and Theresa went to the Fiesta Inn where a lot of her family and friends were staying. I probably wouldn't have slept at all without a sleeping pill that night, and even after taking one I only slept about 6 hours. Saturday morning I had breakfast at the hotel with the fam, then went to run some last minute errands. First stop was Target (I needed black dress socks!), then Starbucks, then back to the hotel to check out (forgot my hiking boots there, they still haven't turned up). Went to a drug store and got nail clippers (gotta have the nails neat in case the photographer wanted those "both our rings together" pictures. Had lunch with Ray (stress doesn't seem to effect my appetite) and headed over to the church. Briefly considered running to Mexico (just kidding !!!!). I waited anxiously in the Sacristy, peeking out the door as the church filled up. The ceremony went off with only a small hitch (apparently fingers get swollen and make it hard to get rings on), that most people didn't even notice, and everything went beautifully! After about 3.5 billion photos we made our way over to the reception. Everything was perfect, we had great meal, danced more than we ever had before, 2 million more photos, hours spent talking to friends and relatives and then it was all over way too soon, but it was the one of happiest days of my life. The hotel hooked us up with the Presidential Suite that was nicer than I thought it would be. Sunday morning we slept in, then headed over to pick up our precious little puppy, then went to Theresa's parents house once more to hang out with family, and open presents (we are working on the thank you notes now, they may take a while because people were too generous). Monday the real world made a brief appearance when my truck wouldn't start, but we didn't let that ruin our day, we just loaded up the car and took off ! I'll let T tell you all about our camping trip in a later post because I need to go to bed !

Friday, February 13, 2009

the countdown is ON!!!

I'm sure you have noticed that Joe and I have been a little lacksadaisical on our blogging over the past month or so. Please accept our apologies. We have had so much going on lately and definitely should have been blogging about it. We've been working, planning, meeting with DJs and MCs, meeting with the church wedding coordinator and musicians, hiking, camping, making seating arrangements, designing programs, getting kidney biopsies, etc.

[by the way...that last part was just Joe]

In addition, the next week or so may be a little crazy, too, because......Joe and I are gettin' hitched in exactly 7 days from today. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?? Time just flies by like you wouldn't believe, huh? We were talking about this last night, actually. When you're going through anything, it always seems like it will take such a long time to get through. But once it's past, you look back on it and realize that time just flew right on by. For example:

When we knew that Joe had to get a new kidney and that he would be on dialysis for a while, that time went by SO SLOWLY! And then the transplant day itself was crazy - realizing that it was all actually happening. He was actually getting a new organ! And right after the surgery, wondering if his body would accept or reject it, if there would be any complications, etc. It was all physically and mentally draining. But now, he's going on 4 months and 1 week with no complications whatsoever! Jen and the Mayo Clinic really worked a miracle!

And when Joe proposed last April we knew that we had almost a whole year before our big day. But now it's only 1 week away.

Time just flies by.

This weekend we will be cleaning like mad people, putting programs together (I am making them myself and really hope they turn out okay), getting a trial run of hair and makeup (this will be me only), as well as getting some last minute shopping done. Other than that, we are pretty much DONE and it is so exciting!!! I am excited to marry Joe because he's my favorite person! I'm excited to see all of my family and to meet Joe's friends and family I haven't met! I'm excited to spend time with friends, to see all of our family friends, and just have a good time! I'm so excited!!!

Thank you all for being there for us every step of the way...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

hi ho, hi ho, it's off to hike we go

Joe and I have started hiking a lot recently. When we decided to find a place to live in Phoenix, we found a good location right near the Phoenix Mountains Preserves because at the time we were thinking about living somewhere where we could spend a lot of time with our future dog. We FINALLY started going recently and it's just so much fun!!

I know the trails are right in the middle of the city, but there's actually a point where you hike up to the top of one of the summits and then start hiking down into a canyon-type area, and you can't hear a sound. You can actually see the Phoenix skyline off in the distance, but it's so silent and peaceful that it's almost eerie. I love that.

And the absolute BEST time to go for a hike is the day after a storm. I know storms in Phoenix happen only once in a blue moon, but when it happens, the rain washes away all of the pollution and for a single moment the Arizona horizon is completely pure and beautiful.


25 Things You Never (kinda, maybe, sorta) Knew About Me

This is a little survey thing going around on Facebook and thought I'd share...



Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people, then click publish.)

1. I am so much in love with Joe. He's my favorite and he's just plain awesome. And we are getting married in 2 weeks!!!!

2. I have bitten my nails since I was in the womb. Last year, one of my 2008 New Years' resolutions was to stop biting my nails. It actually lasted about 9 months. My best time yet! This year, I am going to last the whole year, though. Almost 2 months now so far, and counting. Do you think they have meetings for nailbiters? he he

3. I love the Twilight series. LOVE it. Really can't get enough of it. I even went to see the first movie, Twilight, in the theater 3 times. And yes, I know how old I am.

4. I never had a dog growing up. Not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, but I finally got my first dog (Lucy Fur) at age 27 and am loving every second of it!!

5. I would like to write and publish a novel before I die.

6. After 16 years, Tim Robbins is still my favorite actor.

7. I accidentally slammed my sister's finger in our car door when I was about 6 years old. At least I THINK it was an accident. I don't really believe that, at age 6, I would maliciously plan and attack her finger.

8. I love to watch movies. All kinds. My favorites are The Shawshank Redemption, Braveheart, Love Actually, Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version), The Departed, The Red Violin, Crash, Bridget Jones movies, The Last Samurai, Boondock Saints, The Goonies, Someone Like You and The Fifth Element.

9. One of my absolute most favorite things to do is go camping. In fact...that's what Joe and I are doing for our honeymoon!

10. Joe and I have started hiking a lot recently. We decided to live in Phoenix right near the Phoenix Mountains Preserves because at the time we were thinking about living somewhere where we could spend a lot of time with our dog (we actually didn't have a dog yet). We FINALLY started going recently and it's just so much fun. I know the trails are right in the middle of the city, but there's actually a point where you hike up to the top of one of the summits and then start hiking down into a canyon-type area, and you can't hear a sound. You can actually see the Phoenix skyline off in the distance, but it's so silent and peaceful that it's almost eerie. I love that.

11. I hate talking on the phone. HATE it. And I work at a job where I am required to talk on the phone at least 3 hours every day.

12. I love music and think of myself as very musical. I play the guitar and piano and like to sing a little, too. I go through spurts every now and then when I will either play the guitar a lot, play the piano a lot, or do neither for a while. Right now, I'm starting to get in the piano phase again. I really need to keep at it, though, because some songs I used to be phenomenal at are now quite rusty.

13. I really want a Volvo. I have for years. I think the first time I really noticed them was when I first moved to Boston. There, every fifth or sixth car was a Volvo. They aren't very common in the southwest, so that's why I first took notice of them when I moved to New England. I really like the newer ones and I would LOVE to have one of the new C30's, but I really have a soft spot for the V70 (circa 1997). And I figure it's a fairly attainable goal...considering that every third and fourth car in Boston was either a Saab or a Porsche!

14. I would be a TERRIBLE actress.

15. I have a serious fear that Joe and I are going to lose our jobs. The way things are going right now, I'm actually terrified of it.

16. I love tuna casserole with a side of sweet peas.

17. I get really messy sometimes, but in an organized way (if that makes sense).

18. Sometimes I don't make sense.

19. I recorded about 11 tracks in a studio while I was living in Boston, and about 5 or 6 of them were originals. That was so much fun! I really want to do that again as some point.

20. I love graphic design. I'm not phenomenal by any means and am still learning, but I love it and really wish that I could possibly own my own design business one day.

21. I really miss Cheers and The Hampshire House. A lot. The people I worked with there really became a sort of "family" for me while I was living in the northeast. There is such a huge place in my heart for all of them.

22. We had a cat, Noodles, when I was 7 years old. After about 6 months (give or take a few) it ran away.

23. I want to travel more. I really want to go to Oregon this year. I also want to go to Alaska someday. I would also like to (finally) take a trip back East again. We haven't been able to go back since moving to Arizona. Also, Joe's never been to California, so we're definitely going to take a trip there. Outside the United States, the places I'd most like to see are Santorini (and really all of Greece), Italy, the British Isles, South America (in particular Iguazu Falls), Canada, and Australia and pretty much anywhere in the South Pacific.

24. I love to read. Pretty much just fiction. Especially women's fiction (i.e. "girlie books" that usually some in a bright pink, blue or purple color) and suspense (i.e. anything by James Patterson or Dennis Lehane). I know that I should be more interested in non fiction books, current events books, and the like. But at the end of the day, I'd much rather lose myself in someone else's imaginary worlds. My favorites are The Alchemist, The Giver, The Da Vinci Code, Pride and Prejudice, the Twilight series, and pretty much anything by Dennis Lehane, James Patterson and Marian Keyes.

25. That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...