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Thursday, July 30, 2009

A worthy distinction

Yesterday at work I had the task of caring for a kooky person. I don't generally mind kooky people, being rather crazy myself. And I didn't even really mind this cockamamie lady though she did require more patience than the average patient. Anyways, I started an IV on her which was quite uneventful from my perspective. Meaning that I got the vein on the first try, I didn't have to "go fishing" as we say, and the whole thing took about 15 seconds. The patient had a different take on it entirely.

When I had barely pricked her skin with the needle she began this wail reminiscent of a vintage siren. The kind that starts as a far away hum but waxes to an ear splitting drone. I had to make a choice in that moment about how I would face her response. I was startled because I rarely, actually never, encounter yelling when I'm starting an IV. So I decided that I didn't care if she was screaming as long as she didn't flinch. So I paused and told her not to move her hand. She kept still and wailed again as I got into the vein, pushed the catheter in and taped the whole thing up.

After I was done she informed me that she had been in the hospital 60 times and out of all the IV's she's ever had the one that I had just inserted was the worst.

If this had been a sensible person I certainly would have felt bad. But because this lady was off her rocker I almost took pride in that distinction. If you're going to do something, you might as well do it big, right? The worst IV out of 60 hospital stays! That's going on my resume.

Just to give you an example of this lady's idiocy she also told me that she was allergic to blankets.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

And I think it might give me the upper hand in a knife fight, which couldn't hurt.

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I love to cook. But for the past four years one thing has consistently hampered my enjoyment of preparing food and that is using a knife for anything. You see, our knives were duller than your high school calculus class. They resolutely maintained their dull edges no matter how often we tried to sharpen them.

Using those knives, I knew that I was headed towards early onset arthritis, or a finger amputation. Slicing tomatoes was usually a disaster and slicing anything harder than a tomato felt like I was trying to slice rock. And you don't even want to know about the time I tried to quarter a chicken. While wrangling with that thing all over the kitchen, I know I succeeded in flinging a light shower of salmonella over all corners of the apartment. (Don't you want to come eat at our place???)


So when we went to finish off the Macy's credit left over from our wedding, I was determined to get a knife that could slice a person in half with one stroke. I don't actually intend to slice anyone in half but you never know what manner of perils you will encounter while fixing dinner.


So, among our purchases was a Hinkle santoku knife. I don't know much about knives. I don't even really know what the defining properties of a santoku knife are. But I know that this knife was the Best. Kitchen. Purchase. Ever. It has literally improved my quality of life , like, 10% at least. Now you might think that's overstating the case. You are wrong.

Here she is. My eyes look watery because I was chopping onion. The knife, unfortunately does not remedy that problem.


I chop, cut, mince, slice and dice many, many things and now instead of dreading it, I enjoy it. Or at the very least my hand is not curled into a stiffened claw when I'm done. A few weeks ago I cubed 2 pounds of potatoes in under 5 minutes. Slicing vegetables feels like I'm slicing through clouds beaming with rainbows while butterflies flutter around me and angels sing the hallelujah chorus in my ear. This knife has got me all in a swoon.

I'm not necessarily saying that you need this particular knife. But if you cook a lot, a top quality knife is really worth it. Get one. Now. Save your fingers and your sanity. I would probably give away 75% of my other kitchen gadgets and keep this knife if I had to choose. Happy chopping to you all!

Here's an up close shot. Also, you should be warned that I carry it on me at all times for safe keeping. (Totally kidding!)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Here but not Present

We're back! Back from Yellowstone, and (almost) back to normal after we spent all of last week living in close quarters with 8 other people. So, we're back but we're definitely not all here. I think my mind is still somewhere out near the Yellowstone Lake taking a nap.

We had a lovely, splendid, wonderful time with the Ness's in SLC and in Yellowstone. But I'm so tired. Our adventures really took it out of me. I feel like I need about a week to recover.

We rolled into SLC last night around 11 pm and I had to get up this morning at 5 am to go to work. We did not intend to get in so late. We managed to stretch out what should have been a 6-7 hour drive into an 11 hour drive. Yes, an 11 hour drive.

The Ness's. God bless 'em. I love them all, every one. But many of them (the smaller ones) have bladders the size of my pinky finger. And none of them were able to pee on the same schedule. We would stop for one to go to the bathroom and 10 minutes later we would stop so another one could go to the bathroom. Next time we're using catheters.

The older ones have their own brand of quirkiness. We would stop for gas and then 10 minutes later they would decide that they needed to switch drivers. "You did not forsee that 10 minutes ago?!?!"

But, in all fairness, the majority of our delay was not from their stops. Our exit from the park was obstructed by bison which slowed us down quite a bit (but it was really cool to see the bison and the baby calves up close). Then we ran into road construction on the way into and out of Jackson Hole.

And today it was Craaaaaaaaaaazy at work. So, in short, I'm going to bed early tonight. But I will put up pictures soon!

I hope you all had a great Pioneer Weekend!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Martha Stewart, I am not

I am a Martha Stewart wannabe. Martha is really good at making something out of nothing. I would love to be able to go to a garage sale and buy a candle holder and some picture frames and make them into a stunning day bed or a magnificent seasonal centerpiece. I don't find this quite as easy as Martha makes it look.

But I do love garage sales, free stuff, used things, vintage, retro and eclectic pieces that might not look special but can add just the right touch. And I also enjoy decorating and being creative and having an artsy outlet.

What I don't necessarily want is for it to appear that I furnished my duplex by time traveling back to the 1970's, dumpster diving, and then hauling all of the loot back into the 21st century. Unfortunately that's sometimes the result when most of the things you're working with are used, free or gifts. I try to go for eclectic but sometimes it looks more like a goodwill store.

Saturday we stumbled upon a hippie garage sale where I picked up some items that I tried to incorporate into my decor.

Like these adorable little plates and saucers.


And these funky vases


I really like these. I love the shapes and the colors. I've been struggling since we moved in to get this living room to look finished with everything in its place. And I'm still not there yet but I worked on it a little yesterday as I was cleaning. I had several other vases in the room already. Martha says that you can group a number of a particular item together for a dramatic effect. So I put all of my vases together but the drama eluded me.

By some thought process I also added two bowls on the ends, I'm not sure why. This picture is not very close up so you can't really tell that the two vases and the bowl on the right end have polka dots. The thought occurred to me that this looks like June Clever meets Stevie Nicks with all the polka dots and 70's glass. And I'm not sure those two gals would have hit it off. So I ended up removing the last three items but keeping all the 70's-looking stuff.

So, this is what it looks like now and I still don't know where to put all those other vases. I have limited options. If I place them where the cats can reach I'm sure they will be shattered before I can say "get the broom." So we'll see. This picture doesn't do it justice but the vases really do add something. They make the wall space look less empty.



I also got theses frames that I intend to paint. And let me just say that I got three frames, three books, three vases, 1 glass bottle, six plates and saucers and a pair of gloves for $14! Bargain was exuding from my pores!

Monday, July 20, 2009

They're heeeeeeeere.


The Ness's made it! And we are so happy that they're here! Above, the four smallest are pictured. And, I've learned that children are difficult to photograph. The pictures are blurry because they are always moving.

We ate dinner and visited and there was much chaos. But everyone is full and the kitchen is clean. So, the evening was a smashing success, in my opinion.

Penelope did have to retreat under the dresser to regroup for a while. But overall the cats have handled the hullabaloo with remarkable aplomb. Based on their behavior so far I think they will be good cats to have around kids. And I think they will have a great time tonight walking around upon all of the new sleeping bodies that are strewn about on the floors and sofas. They've grown a little tired of Peter and I. As of late they don't spend too much time on our bed at night. It has been a while since I've woken up (awakened? been awakened? not sure on that one...) with my head hanging off the side of the bed only to find that Theodore has usurped my pillow. But I'm sure the cats won't be able to resist a whole new crop of sleeping people.

Now the house has quieted down and most of the inhabitants are sleeping. Except me. I'm writing this post because I'm waiting for the bathroom. The line has suddenly become very long. But that's okay with me!

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner!

The Ness Family- 8 of them! I've never had this much food in my refrigerator! I'm so excited to see them. I feel like a child during the days before Christmas.

Friday July 23th is Pioneer Day in Utah. I only have a vague idea of what Pioneer day is, but I love it already. I love it because we get a three-day weekend! Two three-day weekends in July is fine by me. So, Peter's parents, his four younger brothers and sisters, his twin sister Anna and her daughter will all be coming to visit us this week. They are scheduled to arrive at dinner time on Monday. They will be gallivanting around SLC during the day while Peter and I work for the man. But on Thursday we are all heading to Yellowstone, in honor of pioneers. I love pioneers!

I've only been to Yellowstone one time and it was about 10 years ago. I have wanted to go back ever since because it was so incredible. One of my favorite memories is that it snowed while we were there. It was June. Being from Texas, I don't think I had ever seen snow falling up until that point. And there it was snowing in the summer time! It was no less than magical.

I will be sure to post plenty of pictures of our exploits when we get back. But I'm also posting a few things this week that I cooked up over the weekend.

I hope you all have a happy Pioneer Day!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shhhh... it's a Cecret


I might have said this hundreds of times before but it is so nice to be able to get to such beautiful destinations just a half hour from our house. (I'm not bragging, we had zero control over moving here. But we are definitely happy that God provided Peter a job here!)

Sunday we drove to Alta ski resort and went on a wee hike to Cecret Lake (pronounced secret). We're hoping to make a Sunday hike a weekly tradition. It was hot in the city but in the mountains it was probably in the 60's. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy being able to have a brief respite from the heat. Though, in my opinion it's not all that hot. We haven't even had to run our A/C. But people up here are complaining about it. Actually, its peculiar because one moment someone will complain that she couldn't sleep because it was 78 degrees in her house (sorry, no sympathy from me because our apartment in Houston was seldom cooler than that). Then the next moment someone will be in awe over the lack of triple digit days that we've had lately. So, I really don't know what they think of the whether.

Cecret Lake

Many people have told us that you can see moose at Alta. We looked for one but had no luck. Maybe next time.

The wildflower season here is during the summer months. The flowers had a late start this year since it was so cold and rainy in the spring/ early summer. Hopefully we'll go back when they are peaking and take more pictures. But they were already looking very lovely.


I think that the Utah Tourism Bureau should pretty much put me on their payroll. Because if I am not making you people want to move here, or at least come visit, then nothing will!

On our way out a storm was rolling in but it was accompanied by this gorgeous, bright rainbow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Something is Afoot!


Someone is being sneaky! But I won't name names.

A Pain in My Rear End

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful. Hate me because I ruined a perfectly decent cat carrier.


Today I had to take Penelope to the vet. Just for an exam and some vaccines. Should have been simple enough. All we have is the cardboard cat carrier that we got from the Humane Society when we brought her home. It worked well for Bluebonnet and Theodore when we took them to the vet. I learned that cardboard for Penelope is like a small white picket fence for an elephant. It's not really a formidable barrier, in other words.

At first she was fine just meowing and occasionally scratching. It's not a long drive to the vet. But the vet had an emergency so we had to wait a while there. Each minute seemed to have an exponential increase on her desire to claw out of that box.

Finally we were shown into the exam room where she could be free for a little while. Everything went swimmingly. But when I had to check out she went back in the box and she was not having it. Pretty soon she had chewed a small hole through which her little paw was darting in and out.

Then the hole got bigger as she desperately chewed and clawed. So, I ran to the car. Though I knew we would not make it home with her still in that box. Sure enough, pretty soon she had emancipated herself and was perched on the top of the passenger seat. And where did she find it expedient to go? Right under my feet! Where else? So, I'm driving about 20 MPH and swerving every now and then trying to keep her out from underneath my feet.

All the while she's meowing these very serious meows of concern, almost like the moving car might even be more scary than the box. And I'm saying "Don't you be crying to me, you did this to yourself!" Of course, she doesn't speak English so this is all lost on her.

Finally she climbs into the back and proceeds to open the window. And I, with the speed of a mongoose, quickly close it and turn on the child lock. But I couldn't see her in the back seat and I was worried she might have jumped out while I was frantically fumbling for the window controls. But no, soon she was back on my lap trying to get down under the pedals again.

And that was about the longest 15 minute drive of my life! But we made it home safely. And we're buying a new cat carrier today. In fact, I'd like to talk to NASA about having one custom made. Does anyone have their number?

Texas Cuisine

Friends, I need your assistance. Everyone at my work loves to eat. Seriously, I have never seen so much food. Nearly every day someone brings cupcakes. Recently a few of them inquired about Texas cuisine and suggested that I bring in a thoroughly Texas dish. I drew a blank. I don't really know what we eat in Texas except for Mexican food and BBQ. So, do any of you know of a good Texas recipe that I could make and take into work?? If so, please leave a comment! I would appreciate it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Not Your Mamma's Mac and Cheese

Last night Peter and I made a Macaroni and Cheese recipe from bon appetit magazine that we both thought was scrumptious. It was a little involved but if some prep work was done ahead of time, I think it would have gone a lot quicker.

Part of the reason we liked it was because it was a little different than a traditional mac and cheese. The cumin seeds give it a mild smokey flavor. And there are some greens involved! Which added a nice element and made my veggie lovin' heart happy. So, if you don' t like branching out, this may not be for you. (Terry, Kyle, Vanessa, I think you all might like this! Maybe Beth and Erin as well, but it might be too much if you have to hold a toddler/baby while doing it! :o) And I don't even know if any of you are reading this but if you try it let me know!)

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk- we used skim
  • 2 cups (packed) coarsely grated aged Gouda cheese plus 1/2 cup finely grated (about 10 ounces total)
  • 2 cups (packed) coarsely grated Edam cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 pounds Swiss chard, stems and center ribs removed
  • 12 oz elbow macaroni- we used whole wheat
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless sourdough bread
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)- I think 1 tsp of ground cumin would work just as well
-Also, the recipe below tells you to boil the chard. I steamed mine because I think its easier and it keeps more nutrients in the vegetables.

Preparation

  • Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, then flour; stir constantly 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture begins to boil, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups coarsely grated Gouda and 1 cup Edam. Stir until cheeses melt, about 2 minutes. Stir in cayenne and nutmeg. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Cook chard in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer chard to plate; cool. Reserve pot with water. Squeeze water from chard; chop finely.
  • Return water in pot to boil. Add macaroni; cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Stir macaroni into warm cheese sauce. Place half of macaroni in dish; smooth top. Top with 1 cup Edam cheese, then chard. Top with remaining macaroni mixture; spread evenly.
  • Melt 3 tablespoons butter. Place breadcrumbs in medium bowl. Drizzle butter over; toss. Add 1/2 cup finely grated Gouda and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over mac and cheese. Sprinkle cumin seeds over, if desired.
  • Bake mac and cheese until breadcrumbs are golden and edges are bubbling, about 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Keepin' it Chill- a Summer PSA

I meant to post this picture when I wrote about our trip to Bryce Canyon. We saw this little fellow keeping cool on part of our hike. I thought he was so cute!

Anyways, its finally heating up here! Though, I still don't find it unpleasant. I remember learning in chemistry classes in high school and college about a class of reactions called endothermic, which are reactions that release heat. Evaporation is an endothermic reaction. Like, for example, when your sweat evaporates it's supposed to cool you down. Well, that concept actually works here! When you can stay dry, life is so much cooler!

I know that you all have been having hell-like temperatures in Texas. So, I wanted to remind everyone to drink lots of water and practice good sun protection! (Keep that skin casper-the-friendly-ghost white!)

And by sun protection I mean:

- wear a moisturizer that has at least SPF 30 every day (I use Olay complete defense, which I cannot find in SLC and am having my mother send me a stock pile.)

-if you go out into the sun add to that a sunblock of 30-50 (I like Burt's Bees but it makes your face look white. Whiter than it already is). Reapply often! Up to every hour! (Seriously! Remember that a tan is already sun damage and the time to apply sun block is not when you can tell that you've already burned!)

-also if you go out into the sun wear sunglasses, a hat, and long sleeves if you can stand it.

-don't go out into the sun

-this might be sort of off topic, but, for crying out loud, DO NOT go to tanning beds. If you want sun damage, you can get it for free!

But, I break the fourth rule all the time so I try to follow the first three the best that I can. I don't always do perfectly but the idea is that I don't want to look like I'm 70 when I'm 30. I have my mother to thank for this sun care routine. She drilled it into my head that "the sun is our enemy." Also, my mom is a vampire. But that is a totally different issue. ;o)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Productive Schmoductive

Do you ever tire of getting so much work done? Do you find yourself just wishing you could fritter away more time? Are you frustrated when you accomplish all of your goals?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need a cat.

Cats are specifically designed to curb your productivity at its peak. Their highly effective skills work instantly and repeatedly so you'll never get another minute of work done in your life!


Notice the feline's strategic body placement over arm so as to render useful movement completely impossible!


Other highly specialized and successful tactics used to completely immobilize your achievement include adorableness (shown above) and purring. Both of which sap your will to do anything but pet the kitty.

Soon, you'll be fired from your job and evicted from your house! Then, you won't have to worry about any more pesky work! You'll be free to lounge in sunbeams all day, sleep long hours and take occasional cat naps.

No productivity here!

Mission: Accomplished.

Climbing at last!

Hey everyone, this is Peter. Today is a big day and I wanted to leave a short note. We went rock climbing!!!

I never thought I would live in a place where I could go climb a route or two after work, but that's exactly what Leslie and I did today. It was all I thought it could be and more. I got home from work a little before Leslie so I grabbed our gear and picked her up so we could go straight to the rocks (picking up some dinner on the way, of course). Last night, I picked out a couple crags (i.e. areas with rocks to climb) in Big Cottonwood Canyon just outside SLC. Everything worked out well and we managed to cross the Big Cottonwood stream without getting too wet.

The reason I picked that particular crag called the Salt Lake Slips was because we haven't climbed in a long time and there were a few easy routes. We ended up both climbing an easy 5.6 called Roll the Bones and let me just say that I'm glad we started easy because I am a bit rusty on the rock.

Leslie says we should plan to go every Friday after work while the weather permits, and I'm not going to argue with that! I'd go more often than that, but once a week is infinitely better than our nonexistent climbing in Houston. We still have no idea where we will be next year or the years that follow, but we know we are here for now and I thank God for his kindness to put us in a place that nourishes our souls in his great creation.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Hike

Our hike was the under-the-rim trail through Bryce Canyon. It is a 22.9 mile trail from Rainbow Point to Bryce Point. We camped for two nights and split the hike up into three days. This was the longest we've ever backpacked. Previously, we've only done one night. So, this really wasn't much longer. But increasing by only one night adds a whole new element of excitement because you spend one entire day totally away from civilization. This was also the first time that we had to collect water from creeks along the way. We did it with a water filter-pump that we rented from the University. So far no giardia has reared its head! (Thanks goodness!)

Rainbow Point

Rainbow Point

The first day we took a shuttle from the the main part of the park to Rainbow Point. We hiked 8 miles to our campsite called Natural Bridge. We thought we would get rained on because we could see a storm in the distance. There were ominous clouds, and threatening lightening. But it passed without ever raining on us. It was nice to watch it without being in it.

Along the way to Natural Bridge.

Campsite, 1st night.

We were all by ourselves at this campsite and I was a little scared of bears, psychopaths lurking in the woods, lightening felling tall trees that would then crush us in our tent. I think I was just a little insecure about us being alone in the wilderness with no quick way out if something were to happen. But it all turned out okay. :o)

Hiking, second day.

The next day we hiked 11 miles to our next camp site. This is the farthest we'd ever hiked with our big packs on (as opposed to day packs). I took a nap as soon as we put our tent up. We did get rained and hailed on (what is it with the hail here?!) a little in the afternoon. But! We were prepared! (Lessons learned!) We had ponchos for us and trash bags for our backpacks. So, nothing got soaking wet!


View from Yellow Creek campsite, 2nd night

Here, I have to brag a little. The third day, we had to hike 5.2 miles back to Bryce Point where our car was. We were uber motivated because we planned to clean up and then gorge ourselves at a nearby restaurant. Also, I was ready to be back where a quick response is available in the event of an emergency. (This is what happens when you're in the medical field and you live in the medical center. You're thoughts are frequently focused on how quickly the nearest emergency response can reach you if something happens.) So we hiked those miles, uphill, with packs in 2.5 hours! We were hustling! And then, as planned, we proceeded to gorge ourselves. Fun times! We're hoping for many more hikes before we have to leave Utah.

America the Beautiful

I hope you all had a fabulous 4th! Peter and I most definitely did. Though, the traditional fireworks, potato salad, and John Phillips Sousa music were conspicuously absent.

What was present were freeze-dried meals, a small hail storm and spectacular scenery! We spent three days/ two nights backpacking through Bryce Canyon National Park. I'll post more about our hike later but I wanted to post some pictures of the Canyon's most striking features.

All of the parks that I've been to in the area have similarities but they each have something that makes them uniquely spectacular. Arches has arches and rock fins, Mesa Verde has its cliff dwellings and Bryce Canyon is famous for its hoodoos. Hoodoos, according to the dictionary, are pillars of rock, usually of fantastic shape, left by erosion.

The erosion patterns in the park leave these amazing patterns in the rock. Walking through the canyon reveals many sights, each seemingly stranger than the last. You might see bony fingers, praying hands, pipes of an organ, gothic spires, or all of those. The formations combined with the fading colors of red and white sandstone make for very dramatic scenery!



I'm not a geologist, but I would venture to say that scenes like this are rare in the rock world. Because, how are they still standing?!? Peter wanted to throw a rock at one of the pillars but thought better of it. Which was probably the right decision. :o)






The two pictures directly above are the same rock. I took a close up to show just how precariously the top one is perched!


I feel so blessed to be able to spend time in a place like this. This park is practically in our back yard (comparatively) and people come from all over the world to see it!

"Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well." Ps. 139:14

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Great Cat Naming Contest of 2009

Ladies and gentleman, I want to thank you all for your participation in the Great Cat Naming Contest of 2009. And thank you for your patience. I know that the wait for this announcement kept at least one of you wracked with suspense.

First I must say that despite all of the lovely name suggestions (and we were really close to picking some of them. Among my favorites were Petunia and Eleanor.) we decided to name her Penelope. It just fit. So, the contest became a drawing. And the Grand Prize Winner is....

Justin Stephens!

So, Justin is my brother in law. But you'll have to trust me when I say that nepotism did not play a role at all. I literally wrote out the names of all the people who gave suggestions and drew one. And besides, I don't even think Justin cares for cats.

What does Justin win??

A lovely cat picture frame!

I'm sure Justin will use this frame to capture a sweet moment between himself and Joey. Joey being his family's cat with whom his relationship, I believe, is tenuous at best.

But there's more!

Justin will also receive this lovely set of Bath and Body Works warm vanilla sugar body lotion and shower gel.

Justin, I know beneath that rugged, football-coaching exterior there is a metrosexual in you just waiting to be drawn out with the inviting scent of real vanilla extract!

(So, Anna, I'm pretty sure you're actually the winner of all of this. Enjoy!)

And if you didn't come away a winner in our contest perhaps you'll have better luck next year with our "Great Dog Naming Contest of 2010 or Just as Soon as We Get a Yard"! Maybe there will even be a Great Baby Naming Contest of 2010- but I'll let you know. ;o) (I am NOT pregnant right now. So, please, no one start THAT rumor.)


Penelope doing some light reading.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Besties Encore!

I was so pleased to come home from our Independence Day festivities to find that our new cat had resigned herself to Theodore's company. I came to this conclusion because our duplex was delightfully free of that wildcat-just-bereft-of-her-young growling. But I became even more pleased when I saw this:


It appears they actually like each other! Maybe its even luuuuuv.

This is from the outside of the house. It's a little fuzzy because there's a screen in the way.

I must warn you that this blog may quickly devolve into insipid blathering about my cats. With plenty pictures, of course. But, what can I say? I love them! I even missed them when we were gone over the weekend. I am so happy to be a cat owner!


Theodore took an online finance course and now he's qualified to authorize home mortgages.


Here's our shy kitty, name still tba. She's warming up to all of us now. And, thankfully there have been no litterbox mishaps!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Pick Your Own!


This time last year I was introduced by my lovely friend Beth (Beth, if you're reading this, hello! I wish we could go picking more fruit this summer!) to a website called pickyourown.org. It has local listings of farms, and orchards that will let you pick your own fruit and sometimes veggies.

You might ask, "why would I want to pick my own fruit?" Well for one thing it's much cheaper. When I went picking blueberries with Beth last year (this was in the Houston area) we paid around $3 per lb. At the grocery store blueberries are often more than $3 for a tiny carton. Granted we had to stand out in the hot sun for hours to get all those blueberries. And Beth, God bless her, was 5 months pregnant! But it was fun! And Peter and I had blueberries all summer and into the fall.

Also, around this same time that Beth and I went picking last year I was becoming interested in learning to eat locally and in season. I'm still learning about those things. I think they are important because our eating habits have so much impact on our environment and our health. I would like to write more about this topic but I need to collect my thoughts and research a little first.

When we moved to SLC I consulted pickyourown.org and made a spreadsheet of all the fruits I want to pick and when they come in season and where I can get them. Isn't that super organized of me?!?! (If you know me, you'll realize that isn't normal.)


The first fruit to come into season here was cherries. So this past weekend Peter and I drove about 1 hour out of SLC and harvested some. It was quite nice. For a few hours we picked the small heart-shaped fruits under the canopy of shady trees listening bugs humming about us. In the sun, the lovely cherries glistened like rubies. We ended up with about 16 lbs. of cherries and we only paid $12. At the farmers' market cherries are about $6 per lb. I'm not sure how expensive they are at the store but I'm sure they're more than we paid. So, I'm working on preserving them right now. I've canned some and I'm drying some so that we can continue to enjoy them out of season. I'm new at all of this little house on the prairie business (i.e. preserving food) so I'll let you know how it goes!





But we're definitely savoring all of our fresh cherries!




Here is the link if you are interested: http://www.pickyourown.org/

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Thank you!

Thank you all for your name suggestions! I do believe we will pick from one of them! You all are so helpful. :o)

We haven't decided on a name yet. Partially because her personality is a little slow to come out due to the fact that she's shy and she's still highly irate at Theodore's continued existence. But when you're with her at the right time, she's adorably sweet.

I have been as busy as a bee around here preparing for our first house guest, Peter's dad. He's here for a wedding this weekend and arrived today. And Peter and I are headed off to Bryce Canyon early Friday morning. We're going to go camping for the weekend. So I hope you all have a happy 4th! And I will announce our cat's name and our grand prize winner next week! Oh, the suspense!

Also, I would like to thank all of you who have left comments on the blog. Not only name suggestions but comments in general. We love hearing from you and the whole point of this is to keep in touch with everyone!