Mark and I decorated our Christmas tree today! It was a team effort. Mark put the lights on and I put the ornaments on. I'm almost embarrassed to post the picture as we have a much larger tree than we have ornaments to cover, but I guess that gives us room to grow. Mark, being a native Oregonian is rather picky about the type, shape and size of his Christmas trees (if only he could see some of the wild Alaskan trees I grew up with, then he'd understand my apathy =).
As I decorated our tree today I was reminded of some very good friends of my parents, Ben and Norma. I had the pleasure of spending a few extended vacations of my childhood with them and I think they are wonderful people. My most recent memory of them includes Norma rescuing my friend, Leslie, and I from exploring every yarn shop in Seattle with my Mom. And Ben putting away more Top Pot donuts than I ever imagined possible (and he's a runner and a bit of a health nut, supposedly), then 'breaking' into a classic car shop with my Dad. They seem to bring out the extremes in my parents - and they always have a great time together!
When we were growing up Norma would send each of us kids our own ornament for Christmas. They were always beautiful ornaments and getting them out each year was my favorite part of decorating the tree. Often times she'd get similar ornaments for each of us, so we'd have sets of three or four (once Keeton arrived).
Once Mark and I were married my Mom let me take all of my ornaments down to Oregon with me. My favorite is a little golden gingerbread house, although, it doesn't look quite the same without the three other little gold ornaments.
After awhile the ornament tradition faded. But then, for a wedding present Norma did a wonderful thing, she went to a local store and bought me a box of fall and Christmas decorations. I have to admit that about 80% of our current holiday decorations can now be attributed to Norma - and I'm certainly grateful for that!
Jersey had an eventful week. Which is rare for him. Considering he gained two pounds this last year and is now a 24 pound cat I think you will all agree he does not often have an eventful or exciting week.
It all started 3 weeks ago with his annual vet exam. We learned he had gained 2 pounds over last year. And we learned he has a set of teeth that he has basically had an auto-immune reaction to. So they have to pull the teeth.
But before they pull the teeth they need to do bloodwork to make sure he doesn't have any major organ failure. So they take a blood sample and I hear all about what a sweet kitty he is.
Then, while I was in Indiana I got a call, and they said he had one kidney protien (?) that was high, but probably falsely high. So I needed to get a urine sample for them.
Well, to avoid the stress of another trip to the vet I decided I'd pick up some 'no sorb' kitty litter and give that a try. Well, they gave me about 3 ounces of this kitty litter. I think the girl that went and got it for me had never seen my cat. If she had she would have given me 30 ounces.
Needless to say, Jersey refused to use it last week when we tried it out. So rather than have him decide he'd rather go somewhere other than the litter box with the 'no sorb' kitty litter I gave up and moved on to the next option.
The next option was an ultrasound and removing the urine sample from the bladder with a needle. We had a great plan worked out - I'd drop him off on my way to work and the vet would get the sample and I'd pick him up on my way home. But Jersey had a different idea.
He was great for the first attempt. But he had nothing in his bladder. Absolutely nothing.
That afternoon they tried again and apparently he tried to eat them. So they convinced me to let him stay overnight, because surely he'd go during the night in the 'no sorb' kitty litter.
But he did not go. And he was apparently quite 'scary' for the new vet tech in the morning.
So I went to pick him up last night just before they closed. They tried the ultrasound again, and this time he was complacent, but the needle wasn't long enough to reach his bladder thru all the fat!
They let me take him home. He stayed in the laundry room last night. He went sometime after 11 pm after we went to bed. So he got to go free this morning, and go back to normal kitty litter.
Crazy cat - he held it for nearly 48 hours!! And I think he may have lost those 2 pounds due to the stress of this last week!
I started this quilt shortly after Mark and I got married. I finally finished it up this week with the binding. It is going to hang on the wall in our room. The medium blue fabric is currently my all time favorite fabric, luckily I have a little left over.
Jean McDanial of the Santiam River Quilt Company did the machine quilting for me. She always does beautiful work and has very reasonable prices as well.
We're headed up to Portland tonight, I have my '5 Mile Marathon' in the morning, then we get to spend Sunday with Portland friends before I fly to Indiana on Monday while Mark goes to class. I haven't flown for work since June - I think this is the longest travel free period I have had since I started at HP 3 years ago!
Every two years my friend Leslie and I have managed to take a trip up to Alaska in the summer / fall. We decided it was time again this year so we used a $50 campanion fare. We had a fabulous 4 day weekend with my family. We had a lot of fun, but for the two of us, both fairly well buried in the corporate world most of the time, the best parts of the trip were my Mom's home cooking, the relaxed, no-agenda schedule and the beautiful fall colors. We fit a lot into our weekend with no agenda, a walk, a hike, a trip to WBC to see the new basement and hear some great bluegrass worship music, a few visits with family and friends and the regional x-counrtry championships (see above). Thanks for coming Leslie - I'm looking forward to our next trip again already!!
Last week my brother-in-law, Jon, and I were in a competition to see who could burn the most calories (based on what our heart rate monitors calculate). For me with 4 runs, 1 mountain bike ride and 2 channel classes I burned 4,216 kcal last week. So I took the weekend off. I also set a mileage record last week - 15.5 miles. I was tired. And I have a large appetite. But I'm thoroughly enjoying my summer. All in preparation of my 5 mile marathon in October =).
Unfortunately, Jon had a back problem, a rough work night (he's a paramedic) and got sick Saturday night so I don't think the competition was quite fair. But at least I know what I'm capable of when we try again!
We're going camping this weekend, we get to see Baby Bekah's first camping trip (Nate & Jodi's baby for those of you that know them). She's almost 1 (but really almost 9.5 months, but that is another story) so it should be a blast! I'll try to come back with pictures.
I've managed to find a group of women who like to mountain bike. We've gone for two weeknight rides, now and we're hoping to keep it up through the rest of the summer at least. Although we'll be going down in number next week. Apparently my sister-in-law figures it is best to take a break from the mountain biking now that she is 6.5 months pregnant. We've invited at least 4 others, though so we should have the numbers back up again soon!
Anyhow, yesterday we shuttled up to the Lewisburg Saddle, rode to the top of Dimple Hill and then down Dan's Trail. Dan's Trail was new to me. Janelle gave us warning at one point that when we hit a bridge there would be a steep hill right after it. I made a mental note - bridge & steep hill.
Unfortunately the mental note didn't stick with me so well. This was my 4th ride with clipless pedals, so I came across the bridge to a tight corner. I knew it was the spot to at least get my shoes out of the pedals, but I didn't really have the time without crashing. So I decided to attempt to ride it. And I crashed. That is right, I crashed going uphill.
The good (and disappointing) thing is that my pedals were set really loose so I popped right out and landed on a gloved hand. Meaning no injuries. No scratches to even speak of. Just a bit of dust on my bike shorts and gloves. Good, but a bummer.
Sarah Sowell informed me she fell awhile back and had good pictures of it on her website. I went there but I couldn't find them. Maybe if we all ask for them she will post them again for us.
I don't really have any pictures to go with this long post. And I really should have gotten a picture of the ladies this week since Janelle won't be with us anymore. I'm not sure why she can't ride anymore, her bike shorts still fit =). Oh well - I'll at least get one of the Sara(h)s sometime!
My sister, Brittney, has been visiting this week. And sadly enough I have not taken any pictures of her trip yet. Anyhow, last night she came home after dinner while Mark and I went to Bible Study. She closed the outside garage door, but briefly left the door from the house to the garage open. Jersey (the cat who always thinks he wants an adventure until it happens to him) snuck outside into the garage.
Mark and I came home about two hours later and opened the garage door, parked the Subaru in the garage, got out and started to walk inside. For some reason I paused with the door into the house open as I closed the outside garage door. And all of the sudden this flash of white came flying at me and around the corner and into the house. We had apparently scared the poor kitty pretty bad.
He now has a rather tarnished, dirty look (I guess our garage isn't the cleanest in the world). But judging from his appetite he has not been permanently scarred.
I had my semi-annual GFU ASC Central Committee Girls' Reunion this weekend. 4 of us drove up from Oregon to visit Leslie in Seattle. We did a few Seattle things like walk around Greenlake (and have a picnic there). And eat at the best Thai resteraunt just down the hill from Leslie's cottage. And we did some things that we always do, stayed up late talking, eating some sugar snap peas and lots of lauging. We missed Faith and Amy, but hopefully we can all see each other in July!
This was Sydney's first time out on one of our girls' weekends. Last spring Marisa was still pregnant. She was a fantastic sport! And the best part of having her along was that when she took her afternoon nap we all got an afternoon nap! And I managed to be a human high chair at least twice over the weekend. Her little eating noises are pretty cute. She is one long and lean little girl, we're thinking she'll be a b-ball player like her Daddy.
Thanks for hosting Leslie - we all had a great time. And see you all in July!
We spent the weekend up in Eastern Wahsington / Northern Idaho. We flew into Spokane and drove over to visit my cousin Teagen at University of Idaho and meet up with my Alaska friend, Carrie. We had some time to ourselves, too, venturing up to Coeur d'Alene to eat lunch and walk the boardwalk.
Teagen, our good friend, Carrie, Mark and I spent a lot of time hanging out in coffee shops and resteraunts and wandering around Moscow, Idaho. Talking, laughing, catching up and generally having fun. And of course the highlight of the weekend was seeing Teagen's fabulous performance in Oklahoma! He did it all folks - dancing (with retro-fitted tap dance cowboy boots and fur trimed chaps), acting and singing. Usually when Teagen's artistic side comes out it is part of Aunt Pam shining through, but I have to admit this performance demonstrates he is a true son of Uncle Loren's training - he has at least one kiss almost every single scene! Carrie posted pictures at her blog so you can check his costume out there!