Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Do All Dogs Go to Heaven?

Sometime between last night and this morning, our nearly 17-year-old family dog, Gordo, died. I'm not sure if I've talked about him here before, but he was such a major part of our family for so long...
When I was 9 mom and dad decided to get a dog (we had one before, but had given her to some friends who had a large yard for her to run--she was a very hyper dog). Dad really wanted a Bassett hound, and mom would be happy with whatever dad wanted. So, we went to this house somewhere in Gulfport where they had advertised "full blooded" bassett hounds for sale. Now I did see a momma bassett hound and a male bassett hound, but I swear the puppies we saw had to have some beagle in them, or something! I remember all the little puppies running around, chasing momma, biting each other's tails, and doing all things adorable for attention. Dad would point to one and say, "What about that one?" Or, "Oh, that one is cute!" But, mom wasn't really interested. She just stood back a little with her hands on her hips eye-balling the rambunctious little troupe. Finally, she saw him. The shy little guy who was hiding under the porch bench--with just his nose and paws sticking out, "I want that one!" We took the little guy home and never looked back.
For a kid who had always considered herself a cat person, I was utterly in love with him. My friends and I would set up obstacle courses for him and on long road trips (driving cross-country in the back of a truck--with camper shell) I would set up a separate "bed" for him and make sure that he had snacks and water when I did. He was always friendly with our cats and even tried to "nurse" one litter when their momma was out on the "hunt."
One summer, when my family went on vacation to New Mexico, we left Gordo at home and R to "babysit." On their 3rd day, R was walking him down the street from our house when he was stung or bit by something. R called us in a panic because his eyebrow area had swollen up and covered his eye. R rushed him to the vet where the wound was drained and he was given steroids and antibiotics. He recovered quickly, but kept the scar above his eye that made him look like a pirate.
In his early years, you could convince him to do anything for a piece of cheese. As he got older, the tricks got smaller and the cheese got bigger. Around 10, he began to show signs of arthritis. But half an aspirin and a night indoors always eased his pains. At 11 or 12 the vet diagnosed cataracts. By 14 or 15 he was nearly deaf. But, he hung in there. Once my family moved to New Mexico, mom and dad always kept the thought that, "I hope he makes it through this one last winter." And, for 6 winters he did.
Now he's gone. My little sister, whose 3rd or 4th word was "bobo" (Gordo) will be sad. Our other dog, Pinta (11) will be sad. Everyone who knew him will be sad. But, I know he's finally comfortable and happy again. I love you Gordo!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Something to do with Chickens

Okay, so I'm almost 3 months out of graduation, and still no job. (Take a deep breath, mom--she has this thing about not wanting me to talk about job stuff.) I'm expecting a couple of phone calls this week--hopefully one from the job I really want. And, I'm down to my last month of being able to call myself and Intermittant Worker at MSU. R is still struggling with the jerks at his work, and we're still the "proud" owners of an old trailer.
But, yesterday, yesterday we did something fairly monumental (for us, at least). We rented a storage unit. And, we successfully moved a lot (I won't stretch the truth by saying "most") of our stuff into it. First, we drove the jeep over there to "try it on for size" (i.e. in case we have keep it in there for a little while--to prevent my parent's house from looking like a used car lot) and marked out the space required to fit one 1967 Jeep CJ5. Then, we took 3 trips (using both the Xterra and Toyota) to transfer bins, boxes, 2 pieces of sentimental furniture, one broken grill, one dirt bike, and one four-wheeler to the 10X20 unit. We sorted through some stuff and even made up a pretty big pile of stuff that we'll try to sell (Garage Sale). Whatever we don't sell will be sent off to the thrift store.
Anyways, back to the chickens... I was writing my mom's Morning Report (daily email tag thing we've started doing) when I made a hilarious (to me anyways) pun-sort of thing.

I'm starting to feel like the saying: Don't count your chickens
before they hatch. Or maybe it was: Don't put all your eggs in one
basket. Now that I think about it, it could be: Which came
first--the chicken or the egg? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it
had something to do with poultry and not getting ahead of yourself...

Okay, so maybe it's not as funny to you as it was to me, but keep in mind that this is exactly how it came to me. I didn't stop to think about it, or edit anything. This surprisingly expresses exactly how I'm feeling right now.
After our routine Sunday morning breakfast, and driving the jeep to check out the unit, we came to the Big Decision Time. For nearly an hour, R and I hashed over the reasons for and against getting a storage unit right now.
1a. Obviously, less junk around the house is a good thing. 1b.When we do put up our "For Sale" signs, the place will look bigger without all our stuff. 2. It will be less work for us when I do get The Call and need to leave. R won't be stuck moving all of our stuff by himself. 3a. We know that we have a storage unit big enough for everything and that our stuff will be safe (we've stored stuff here before). 3b. If we had waited until later, all the big ones might be gone, and this one has enough room for everything plus the jeep. 4. I have a sense of "control" and accomplishment if I can actually do something (anything) that puts us one step closer to getting out of here.
1. We might be here for a while and we'll have to pay the monthly rent regardless. 2. R doesn't want to keep his jeep in storage. 3. What if things work out different than what we planned and we have the opportunity (i.e. help and money) to take our stuff with us right away? 4. Leaving our stuff here means that we will have to come back to Starkville to get it.

By putting our things in storage, I feel like I am moving towards that elusive goal of Getting the Heck out of Mississippi. But, with no job and no concrete plan, am I getting ahead of myself? We're planning to talk to the landlords about their requirements for potential residents, so that we can go ahead and put up the "For Sale" signs and ads in the newspaper. But, what if we do sell the house? Where will we live? Rent a non-lease apartment? Crash with friends? Long-term hotel? On the other hand, would that be so bad? At least it would be one less thing for us to "drag around" when we do leave. And, it would be money in our pocket.
Am I getting ahead of myself or just being a good planner?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Best Friend, Extraordinaire

So, I've been a bad blogger... sorry. Last weekend I went to Gulfport to help my best bud AJ move into her new house. Yes, you hear right, her New House! She had bought some furniture (dining room and bedroom suites) at R's work and we've been storing it all for her until the house was finished. As of Wed (V's day) she was the proud and happy owner of a cute 3 bedroom home in a new subdivision in Orange Grove (Gulfport), Mississippi. I took her dining room suite and nightstand and mirror (all that would fit in the Xterra) Friday night and met her at the house for a late night of furniture assembly and friendly chit chat. Saturday, I helped her fiancee at her storage unit (getting most of her boxes and stuff) while she had another friend help get clothes, books, and other random stuff that was at her parent's house. We had a nice (and extremel productive) afternoon, followed up by a dinner I will never forget.
She had another friend (and her boyfriend) coming in from New Orleans, and they were looking at some fancy places to eat. The only place were were able to reserve on such short notice was this Bragozzo's at the Isle of Capri casino. I'll admit it, I'm much more a Zaxby's or Applebee's kind of gal. I like to get full after a full-course meal. I like to talk over dinner, watch other patrons, and just be able to relax. This place did not feel like that. For starters, R wasn't there, so I was already like the "5th wheel." Then, the 2 other people who went were older than us and that made me feel a little strange. Finally, 95% of the items on the menu were seafood. (For those of you who don't know this: I despise seafood.) Fortunately, my big lunch of fajitas (at Chilis) was still "around" and I wasn't very hungry. Of course, if I had actually been hungry, the sight and smell of so much fishy stuff would've chased my appetite away!
We ordered 2 bottles of wine (a very dry red for the men, and a gentler white for us ladies) and discussed the menu items for nearly 45 minutes. I finally chose some truffle ravioli thing--while everybody else chose... guess what... that's right... seafood. The only one I got a good look at was AJ's (because she was sitting next to me). And, wasn't I the lucky one. She ordered the "Aqua Pazza" which they claim means "crazy water."
Now, that I found that pic, I realize that I could've done without seeing it again! Anyways, they cook the thing (snapper--fyi: has huge fang-like teeth) whole and bring it out like that for presentation. Then, they use a little knife-spatula and fork to break the neck, remove head, peel off skin, filet, and de-bone--all right in front of you (i.e. ME)! Maybe this looks utterly delicious to you, but for me... No Thanks!
The only reason I'm talking about AJ's food is because mine was a complete let-down! The bowl was about 3 inches across and contained about 10 mini cheese raviolis in mushroom sauce. Don't get me wrong, it tasted good, but for $16 I would've expected at least a little meat, or something?!
We each ordered a separate dessert (except that they were out of vanilla ice cream--well, they called it something else) and passed them around. All together it was nice. And, the best-bud that she is, AJ bought my meal (as payment for my help moving).
You can be sure that this is one restaurant I will not go to again. It's just not in my taste or budget! :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Be My Valentine

As I think back over the past 7 valentine's days... the 7 R and I have shared... no one stands out as extraordinary. Every day we tell each other "I love you," hug and kiss, and try our best to be nice. I don't need Hallmark, Russell Stover, or Kay's to tell me that my husband loves me. If he remembers that I mentioned my need for socks and a new belt--and delivers those to me, I am happy. Just for the sake of simplicity, we will probably eat out tonight, but I doubt we will go anywhere out of the ordinary (does a $10 burger really taste any better than a $4 burger?). In fact, I'd rather eat quick and get home to continue our game (we've been playing Justice League on the PS2 for the past week--almost got it beat). Maybe we'll order some burgers or chinese food for delivery. I can pick up a bottle of wine on my way home. We'll hug and kiss and say "I love you" just like every other day.
How do you feel about this day? Do you have special traditions, or fantastic plans for the day/night? Do you expect gifts?

Friday, February 09, 2007

An Avid Reader

I would certainly classify myself as "An Avid Reader." Ever since I was young (maybe 8 or 9), I started reading everything I could get my hands on. I believe I was 11 or 12 the first time I read Dean Koontz. And maybe 13 or 14 when I was "introduced" to Danielle Steel. I guess my mom knew I had enough grasp on reality to handle the horror, science, drama, and sexuality of these authors. After all these years, I still claim "House of Thunder" as my favorite novel. I've read it 3 times and it still reels me in! (You should check out that link, it's the strangest Internet Book Review I've seen!) Anyways, since I've been paying for my own things (i.e. since I turned 18 and started college), I've learned new ways to save money on what can be a very expensive "hobby." I hit up the thrift stores, antique shops, and garage sales every chance I get. I tend to buy books in "bulk," stacking up to 10 new-to-me novels next to my bed and randomly picking one from the pile. Sometimes I have to pace myself, though, because--if a book is really, really good, I can read a 600-page novel in one day. I'm not bragging, ask R, I'll curl up with it every spare minute I have and somehow just finish it.
These days I tend to go for soft romance and medical thrillers. Actually, that's not fair--I've also been reading historical fiction, non-romance drama, and suspense stories. Two things I am NOT interested in are fantasy (you know, like dragons and wizards) or autobiographies. Usually I pay between 25 cents and $1 for these used books, and once I'm finished reading a stack of them--I'll choose any that I might want to keep for re-reading (not many)--and the rest will go back to the thrift store (donation). So, it's like I'm paying 25 cents to "rent" their books--how silly is that?!
The two authors I always keep are Dean Koontz and Danielle Steel. I have nearly all of his books (from the mid 70s to now--before then it's hard to find them, which is probably around 40--OMG! That's way more than I thought!) and several (like 15) of hers. I'm such a faithful reader (of Koontz) that I even pay full-price for his new books! Sometimes, if I'm a very good girl, I'll even get his newest in hardback. Right now, I'm waiting for the paperback version of his newest--and also for the 3rd in his Frankenstein series (which was postponed from last Nov to this May).
My recent acquisitions are: Dazzle and Scruples Two (Judith Krantz), Malice (Danielle Steel), Hunter's Moon (Karen Robards), Deceptions (Judith Michael), Paradise (Judith McNaught), and--just to throw in a non-romance, Atlantis Found (Clive Cussler). That's weird, I picked books from 3 different authers all named Judith! :) I already read Atlantis Found and it was pretty good. I've read a few Cussler books before--he's my dad's favorite author. This book had it all: lost civilizations, earth-shattering meteors, gold mines, hidden treasures, and links to Nazi Germany!
Yesterday I started the Paradise book, and it was pretty good. I actually spent most of the day stretched out on the couch reading. Then, last night, after dinner and Gray's Anatomy, I crawled into bed and kept on reading. Somehow, I managed to stay up until 4:30 (yes, four thirty in the morning) reading. When R woke up and couldn't believe I was still reading--he pointed out the time to me--I decided to put it down. I still pulled myself out of bed and made it to work this morning--did the few things I needed to take care of (still no results on those samples)--and came back home (still feeling yukky--maybe it is the flu and not a stomach virus?).
I just finished the book. And, I'm feeling the customary let-down I always get when I finish a good book. I mean, this wasn't like, the best ever, but it was good. And it was long. And I really liked the characters. My fingers are still stained with the gray ink from turning 709 pages of intense drama, sad revelations, and endearing love. Ha! That makes me think of this video I've posted before (from Family Guy).
Anyways, sometimes I still surprise myself that I can read an entire book so quickly. And, I actually retain the story on the ones I really like. R teases me when I get really intense in these books, too. Because I guess it's harder for him to understand that, like a really good movie, I get involved with the characters. So, just like you'd laugh out loud at something funny in a movie, or cry a little when something tears at your hearstrings--I do the same with books!
Do y'all enjoy reading as much as I do? What's your favorite book? Author? Need books to read--I have tons and will happily share them!

Thursday, February 08, 2007


*"ER" theme music plays* (Please note, if you have a sensitive stomach, you may want not want to continue reading. I'll keep the language gentle, but the insinuations will be very clear.)

This past Saturday, on his way home from work, R called me to "warn" me that his stomach was upset and he had Mc*Donald's for lunch. Now, just so you know, I have successfully omitted Mc*Donald's from my diet--after the 3rd upset stomach. (We didn't eat there often, anyways, but every time we did, we'd both end up sick a few hours later.) R tried to avoid them, but still held out hope that maybe one day they'd be good again (his childhood loyalties are much stronger than mine). So, I was "warned" and I was prepared.
He came home and ran straight for the throne. I quickly realized that this was no ordinary stomachache--he had crap coming out both ends! I gave him some pepto bismol and water--and sent him to bed. But, his stomach wasn't cooperating. Every 5-10 minutes he'd jump out of bed and rush to the bathroom. Always with crap out of both ends! He also told me that he felt like something was "stuck" in his throat--and that was what kept making him gag.
After 4 hours of nonstop "bathroom breaks" and one phone call to his mom (25 years as a nurse), he told me that he thought we should go to the Emergency Room! We dressed and packed up a barf bucket and some papertowels and headed out (it's only about 5 miles from the house, but not in my truck--you know what I mean). There were only a few other people in the waiting room--and honestly, they seemed to be on a social call rather than a medical emergency! The nurse called him back for his vitals--and he put on a terrific gastro-technics show for her! I tried to warn her! After that, he had to be wheeled around in a chair because he was feeling lightheaded.
They took us back into a private room, where we waited, and waited, and waited. Finally the doctor (his name was Dr. Butts, if you can believe it!) came in and asked for the symptoms. He looked in R's throat and quickly made his diagnosis. R had gastroenteritis (caused by the stomach virus that has been "going around" this season) and all the barfing had irritated his uvula--which was now swollen (hence the "stuck in the throat" feeling). The doc ordered two shots for him--one was a steroid to help the swelling go down and the other was a muscle relaxer to help stop the gag reflex (and to help R sleep). About 30 min later, a nurse came in with two HUGE needles! One went in his shoulder, the other in his hip--and he is a BIG baby when it comes to needles. Not 5 min after the shots, he was OUT (asleep) on the bed! We waited another 45 min to "check out," and the doc gave us a prescription for anti-nausea medicine. 2 hours after we got there, R was wheeled out to the truck, and I took him home.

When we got home, I got him in bed and gave him a cold compress for his head. Even the kitties were worried about him--Reina cuddled up right next to him like she wanted to make him feel better! (She never does that.)

Sunday (fortunately was R's day off) he was feeling better--but had to visit the bathroom every 10-20 minutes! I picked up his prescription for him and the "sleepyness" side effect was an added bonus. He ate a little soup and jello, but pretty much slept the day away.
By Monday he was feeling much better (although still a little "tender" in the stomach).
Yesterday, I started feeling it! (Thanks R!) I made it through nearly a full day at work, but today, I'm staying home. Fortunately, I have some samples that I'm waiting on--and I can't really do anything else until I get those results back... So, it's an okay day for me to stay home. Blech! I just wish I didn't feel so crappy!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Turtle

This big guy (I just assumed he was a guy, but I really don't know) has been a member of our family (aka zoo) for nearly 5 years. His name is Jackie (I know, that's usually a girl's name, but we had 2 roommates--guys--named Hiroshi and Jackie and my 2 turtles--the other died last summer--were named after them). He's a Red-Eared slider. And, he was already pretty grown when I got him (someone gave him to me). For a long time I had the 2 turtles in a 55-gallon tank, but we didn't have room for it in this house, so I had to downsize them to this 10-gallon tank. It is a little crowded, but I think it's okay, and it's probably better now that Hiroshi is not there to dirty up the water as quickly.
He's not exactly what you'd call a pettable-pet, but he does have his own little "personality." He likes to watch me do the dishes (his tank is currently right next to the sink) and he gets excited when I shake his food can. On the days I remember to turn on his light, he'll spend hours "sunning" himself--precariously balanced on his personal piece of driftwood. We also have an in-water heater so he doesn't freeze his cute little hiney off.

One day I hope to have a large tank for him again--or even an outdoor pond! But, for now, the little tank will have to do. I'm also thinking that maybe my dad can set up a nice tank for him in his classroom (if we move to NM). It's so relaxing to sit and watch him swim around, and maybe we could even get a girlfriend for him one day?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Handsome Boys

I'm home alone... and bored...
R is in Gulfport (yes, again) today. These are two of the pics he took on one of his trips down there. Isn't Stewie (our nephew--his name is really Elijah, but I like Stewie) just the cutest little blondie you've ever seen?!

Here they look like they're up to no good! It's so amazing how fast the little ones grow up! It seems like just a few weeks ago he was still crawling and crying! Now he's fast on his feet and calling everyone mama and dada. R says that his favorite toy is a little microphone thing that he walks around talking to! He also likes dancing to the music that his mom plays on the guitar!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Just One of THOSE Days

I know we all have those days, you know, when nothing works the way it's supposed to. The breakfast you at at 9 doesn't last until 12, the cats yak in 3 hidden spots (two of which you found by stepping in), the hubby makes a whole pot of coffee and takes every last drop of it in his thermos (leaving the tell-tell signs of drips on the counter and a fresh filter of wet grinds--for you to clean up), you realize that somebody dragged in all kinds of grass and leaves (when you just vacuumed--yesterday), when you finally make it to work (at nearly 11), you manage to forget everything you're supposed to be doing, when you finally figure it out, you drop stuff and misplace your samples, the noises in the lab (i.e. squeaky shaker and humming freezers) are really grating on your nerves, but you're sick of listening to the same 100 songs that are on your mp3 player...
I'd say it actually started on Monday (and I didn't even go into work), so I guess it would more accurately be described as "Just One of THOSE Weeks!" I also haven't been sleeping very well (weird dreams, uncomfortable pjs, bad pillow, etc). Oh, AND I missed GH yesterday (apparently the day someone blew up The Metro Court Hotel)!
I love the cold weather, but really, it's only worth it if you get the added benefits of Fun Snow and Snow Days (neither of which I think we will get). It supposedly snowed last night (I was still up when it was sleeting), and R claimed to have seen ice on the bridges, but--this morning--Nothing. A big fat Nothing. So, poo on you Mr. Weatherman! If you can't make it snow during the day--or at least give us enough to last through the night--just Keep It! I think I'd much rather not be cold (for no reason).

An Update on The Previous two Posts:
The cats are even more hilarious with that tent! I'll put it in one position before I leave in the morning, or before I go to bed, and by the time I get home (wake up) it's at the complete opposite side of the room! Reina (the big one) has decided that it's all hers and if Nabi even goes close to it, It's ON!

R really enjoyed having his XM radio on the drive yesterday. He even said that he was so "into" the talk (whatever it was) that he almost missed his turn!