The Weekend Wrap Up

So, just under the wire but here is my third post of the week, just as promised.  And to end the week, a weekend wrap up.


IMG_2196Friday, after TWO months of fighting working with Firestone, they decided it was not normal that my front driver’s side tire kept losing 10 lbs. of air about every other week and finally just replaced the tire.  As much as I enjoyed spending so much time there it was really a pain in the ass to plan it into my work day every couple of weeks and I was starting to get way too friendly with the early morning Uber drivers in the area.   This is a huge relief because Hal will be shuttling us 3,000 miles back and forth across the United State in a couple of weeks and now we can be rest assured the new tires will be up for the trip.


vaccinationSaturday, we started off the day by getting our Hepatitis A booster shot.  We got our Hepatitis A immunization before we went to Peru this summer but needed to go back to get the follow-up shot so that we wouldn’t have to start all over with the vaccines again next time we decided to travel somewhere that needed them.  Kaiser Urgent Care on a Saturday morning is a fun experience.  There were some really sickly looking people who were all wearing masks and I wanted to ask where my mask was to protect me from whatever they had.  Before we could get our shots, we had to go through a little triage area where they take your temperature and blood pressure.  My better half has been pestering me ever since because he felt my blood pressure was too high.  My blood pressure could not have been affected by the fact he was staring at me and the monitored with a panicked look on his face that made me freak out inside.  Because of my foot and my sinus issues, I go to the doctor no less than two times per month.  When my better half is not there my blood pressure is never high, could there be a potential correlation?   But, luckily it was a short visit and we were on our way.


IMG_6712After brunch, the next stop on our agenda was to get the pups pictures with Santa at Westfax Brewing.  I was most concerned about this activity.  I had visions of Coaly Dog lurching towards Santa’s face and taking a big chunk out of Santa’s nose.  (Where would I get this idea?  Oh yes, because it’s exactly what she did to me about six months ago!)  But, to my great surprise, both pups were pretty well-behaved.  They didn’t get Santa half as much trouble as the screaming, crying toddlers.  What is it about toddlers and Santa?  Has any toddler ever liked Santa or are all the pictures of Santa and children between the ages of two and three just crying red-faced children staring at their parents pleading with them to get them away from this horrible man?  The Santa pictures came with a free beer so there was some people watching time after the picture taking and we were able to watch a small yippy dog actually draw blood from Santa when it attached Santa’s hand.  Fun times.


IMG_6686We left Westfax without incident and dropped the pooped pups off at home and headed to our next task, cat sitting!  We are cat sitting for some friends and so we needed to check on the kitties and make sure they had food and water.  It’s important to note we are DOG people, not CAT people, but at of all the cats I’ve met these cats are definitely the coolest.  I don’t know if it’s just because they were lonely because their people were away but when we were visiting they were very social and playful and were pretty fun to hang out with.  Not in the sense that we will ever run out and get a cat, but we would definitely cat sit for these cats again if the need arose.


Before heading home, we decided to drive by some homes that are on the market.  We are getting ready to maybe, potentially, start looking for a house.  Why they maybe, potentially you ask?  Because the Denver housing market is 100% INSANE.  We have honestly seen houses that are actually falling to the ground in their real estate pictures and they are for sale for over $300,000.  You would have to scrape the house and start from scratch and people are still have bidding wars over the land.  We are cautiously optimistic that the market is changing and that when our lease is up this next year things will have calmed to a somewhat reasonable pace.  For now, we are finding the neighborhoods we are most interested in targeting and deciding on our must-haves for our house.  For now, we’ve agreed that the house has to have a bathroom or outhouse, we are negotiable on a kitchen, but there must be a yard for the dogs – we’ll consider everything else on a case-by-case basis.


ogcwSaturday night closed out by attending the non-existent Golden Christmas Walk.  I have no idea where I got the idea that Old Golden Christmas would a night-time Christmas walk.  It’s actually a Christmas parade at 10:30am every Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas.   So, when we arrived, most of the stores were closed, but the lights were absolutely festive and beautiful and we got some good bar food before listening to Christmas music on the way home and turning in the for the night.


IMG_6721Sunday morning was pretty much the most exciting part of the weekend for me.  I RAN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN TWO MONTHS.  Now, don’t get too excited.  I ran 2.25 miles at non-Olympic pace, but you have to start somewhere.  I ran intervals to test out my foot and get back in the groove and I survived.  The first half of the run was absolutely awful.  It was like my entire body was revolting from the idea of running again and I honestly thought I would never be able to run again but, by the time I hit the midway point and turned the corner to head back towards home everything clicked and it felt so good.    My foot feels like my foot, exactly the same.  There was no pain, no new or different feelings so I am just going to go back to running.   I have missed it so much and I feel like I am turning in to an insane person. I have my third opinion with a new ortho doctor this week and we’ll see what happens then.


IMG_6722To wrap up the afternoon I am home with two sick pups.  Apparently, the excitement from going to the brewery yesterday was too much for them (I blame the snotty kids).  Both have upset stomachs and just not acting like themselves so we are just laying low, my better half is climbing have a great time and I am here cleaning up dog vomit and making rice (oh no, that’s not a tinge of resentment).  I think that re-watching the new Gilmore Girls will really help them feel better.  The upside of the dogs being sick (I will warn you right now this is a little gross and dark, so you may want to stop reading now) is that we have a squirrel that lives in our garbage can.  He has lived there for probably about four years and he goes through our trash, eats our leftovers and strews our trash around our driveway.  He has chewed a squirrel size hole in the top of the garbage can to make it easier to get in and out.  We have named him Trash Squirrel.  As I was cleaning up the dog vomit I was actually excited to throw it in the garbage as kind of a “screw you” to Trash Squirrel.  Halfway through this thought I realized that Trash Squirrel is just that, a squirrel, and even dog vomit up is a tasty meal…sometimes we just go to dark places when we are dealing with vomit.


So, I think we are caught up.  That is a lot of writing for a pretty boring weekend.  But, I kept my promise, three blogs this week and now you know pretty much exactly what we do on the weekend, so now you don’t have to wonder and be jealous!


What did you do this weekend?


Being a Domestic Dud – Part One: Cleaning Failures

IMG_6670Exciting news in Denver, Colorado!  Casa Bonita has put up their holiday lights!  Nothing says Happy Holidays like horrible Mexican food and festive holiday lights!


Now, back to the topic at hand.  I am a domestic dud.  My domestic failures fall into two main categories – cooking and cleaning.  I am equally bad at both but in very different ways.  Today we are focusing on my failures in cleaning.  I know that cleaning is not really anyone’s favorite thing to do, but the funny thing is I actually enjoy the act of cleaning.  There is something comforting in cleaning – starting with a dirty house and ending with a more clean and orderly house…it’s such a feeling of accomplishment for me.   The only problem is that even though I have a sense of accomplishment and a cleaner house, I am definitely not the best cleaner in the world.


From the outside I actually appear to be a fanatic about cleaning.  I am always vacuuming and spraying cleaners and wiping up spilled drinks and while I do like the feeling of a clean house, I am REALLY bad a “deep” cleaning.  One of these areas in particular is dusting.  My better half always makes fun of me so obsessed with cleaning but still having one of the dustiest houses around.   Like Adam’s Family dusty.  The majority of our picture frames and the corners of our rooms have cobwebs and dust hanging around like we have decorated for Halloween (which we have not).  To prove the point let me tell you the tale of Charlotte.


IMG_6672We have a spider in our bedroom that has been in the corner since shortly after we moved in (her name is Charlotte – hence, the tale of Charlotte).  When we first moved in she was busy making a web, catching bugs, and I couldn’t bring myself to kill her so we just left her be.   But, at some point Charlotte left this world but her little body remained.  I left it alone in case she was just sleeping, but over several months that outcome become less likely.  At that point, it just seemed pointless to get rid of her so I just let her be in the corner of our bedroom and there she’s stayed for several years.  Every once in a while, my better half and I will look up at her and think about how we are going to transport her to our next house.  Charlotte’s carcass (and her spirit) are officially part of the family.  A normal person who is concerned with real cleanliness would not let this happen, this spider would have been disposed of and the webs she left behind would have been destroyed long ago, but as a domestic dud, that just isn’t me.  I have bouts of OCD cleanliness and then it passes and I go back to a pattern of keeping everything clean enough so we don’t get rodents.


IMG_6675Next, let’s move on the bathroom.  From the outside looking in our bathroom is usually pretty clean.  The one thing I can’t control is the HAIR.  I can sweep or vacuum the bathroom and within seconds the floor is covered with hair again.  I know I lose hair but with the amount of hair on the bathroom floor I should be completely bald.   The more alarming part is that the hair is 85% people hair and 15% dog hair.  I can count on both hands the number of times I have actually seen the dogs in the bathroom.  How on earth is their hair getting in to the bathroom at this frequency?  So, I continue to sweep, but honestly some days I just don’t have it in me and soon the floor will go from smooth white tile to a slightly fuzzier hair coating and I’ll just let it go.


The final stop is the kitchen.  I love having a clean kitchen but I absolutely hate cleaning the kitchen.  It is a place I cannot wrap my head around finding the right techniques to really get it clean.  I actually look forward to moving so that I have a fresh kitchen to start all over with.  I clean the microwave about every two to three years after the coating of rice and other food remnants get to be too much and I can never, ever, EVER seem to get the stove clean.  No matter what I do, or what tips or tricks I read about, there always seems to be a layer of grease or oil near the hood of the stove that I just can’t get rid of.  Please don’t even get me started with the refrigerator.  Why is it so difficult to keep the refrigerator clean?!  Sometimes I’ll be taking the milk out and I will find pine needles in there.  How on earth did sap and pine needles get into the refrigerator and why are there so many expired condiments in there!   While the kitchen is never filthy, it just never feels really clean either.


The good news is that my better half isn’t a cleanliness fanatic and so he doesn’t seem to notice a lot of the stuff that drives me mad (aside from the dust).    So, I’ll just keep things under control enough to keep the rodents at bay and maybe one day I’ll finally get bit by the domestic bug that will teach me all I need to know to really have a super clean house.


Stay tuned for Part Two when I share tails of my inability in the kitchen!

Life Goals of a Failing Blogger

i told you soLast week when I was posting every day on my blog my better half said: “you better pace yourself.”  I politely nodded and thought “what does he know I have lots of ideas and tons of time, I’ll be able to keep this pace forever!”  That was the day before I went back to work after a week off and a vacation that never happened.  That was after a week where I had all the time I wanted to sit at my computer and write anytime I wanted.  I could stay up late writing because I had nowhere to be the next morning.  Now when the alarm goes off I have to be at work.  This whole work thing gets in the way of this whole doing whatever you want whenever you want thing, doesn’t it?  So, lesson learned.  Advice taken.  I will pace myself.  So, you should probably expect about three posts per week and anything more you can consider a bonus!



IMG_6655Before I get too far let me catch up on our weekend first.  Saturday we went to Fort Collins.  Our trip to Fort Collins had a mission but we turned the day into an adventure.  Better half went climbing at Horsetooth Reservoir and I got a start on our holiday shopping and then we met up for lunch to complete our mission.  Our mission was to get a replacement pint glass from Coopersmith (the best brewpub in Northern Colorado).  I “got” (aka stole) one for my husband when we first moved to Fort Collins and it was one of his favorite glass.  Coaly Dog knocked it off the end table a couple of weeks ago and smashed it into a million pieces and my better half was heartbroken.  So we returned to Coopersmiths on Saturday to get a new pint glass (an actually pay for it – because we have jobs now).   We had a great lunch on the patio, bought a new glass, visited Jax (an awesome outdoor store), tried a new brewery (shout out to the Gilded Goat) and headed back south where I promptly pulled in to the driveway, opened the door to the backseat and the pint glass rolled out of the backseat into the driveway and smashed into a million pieces (AGAIN).  Mother f(&@er!!!  I feel horrible and my better half is still bummed.  So great trip but mission FAILED!


Since we last chatted December has snuck up on us.  It’s officially 21 days until Christmas.  In my world, that means it’s 5 days until the end of classes, 9 days until the end of the fall semester, and 16 days until my next vacation starts.  Lots to do in very little time!  I need to do some sort of holiday shopping, prepare for our journey across the United States trapped in a mid-size car with two bigger than mid-sized dogs, and wrap up everything I need to wrap up at work before the new year.   With all of that to do, I have also decided I am not waiting until the new year to start my new year’s resolutions.  I have never liked the idea of new year’s resolutions and so instead I have set updated life goals and I want to start them today!  I have come up with three broad categories and within each category, there are more specific goals. Seems easy enough.  The setting the goals is always the easy part, it’s the sticking to them that always tends to be a little more difficult.goals


So, without further ado, my three goals:  eat, run, blog.


eatEat –The main focus of this goal is pretty simple.  Eat better.  More specifically, stop eating like a child.  Cool it with the processed food and focus on eating more natural food.  Instead of taking the easy way out and eating packaged food actually take time to prepare meals and take them to work for lunch.


runRun – Get back in to running.  It seems like the problem with my foot is going to be a problem whether I run or not so I NEED to get back into running.  Not running is driving me absolutely crazy (and probably those around me as well).  I’m going to start slow and rebuild my base and stamina and I have a goal to run at least one race every month in 2018 and run at least one 5k, 10k, and half marathon.  December will be spent rebuilding stamina and my first race will be January 1st, 2018.


blogBlog – Find a regular routine for blogging.  I have to take life into consideration.  I work full time (actually usually more than 40 hours per week) and I have lots of other stuff going on like running, teaching, making sure our house is clean enough we don’t get rodents, we have clean clothes, and sometimes we have food on the table.    So, I need to realistically figure out when I can find time to blog and make it a regular part of my routine.  I love doing it and I want to make it a regular part of my life.  And I know how much you all love to hear me complain!


So, expect to be hearing a lot more about these goals and my successes (and failures) along the way.  But, hopefully this time next year I will have lots of great things to report on my life goals.


Have you started thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions or updating your life goals?  What’s on your list?



Riddle Me This – The M&M Debate


So, last night, like a lot of nights, my better half and I found ourselves wondering the aisles of our local Safeway.  This is an all too common event because let’s be honest, we don’t really have lives.  Anyways, this particular evening we found ourselves in the candy aisle of our local Safeway and a very important debate began.  While gazing upon the shelves upon shelves of M&Ms my better half asked: “how do you rank the M&Ms from best to worst?”  Great, yet difficult, question.  One that I want you all to weigh in on!


So first – I’ll start by listing all the types of M&Ms that were available last night at Safeway and then I’ll share my list from best to worst.  Then hopefully you will share yours in the comments.  Just imagine the fun we will have!!  And trust me it’s a much harder question than you first think.


Types of M&Ms: Almond, Caramel, Crispy, Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Peanut, Milk Chocolate (Plain), Mini (Plain), Peanut, Peanut Butter, and Pretzel.


My Ranking of M&Ms from Best to Worst:

  • Milk Chocolate (Plain) – What can I say, I’m a purest!
  • Peanut
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pretzel
  • Crispy
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Caramel
  • Mini (Plain)
  • Almond – I wouldn’t touch these with a ten-foot pole!


Okay, now it’s your turn – let me know what your favorite and your least favorite M&Ms are…and are there some flavors you’ve had that aren’t offered at our Safeway?

Making a Knit Pom Pom Hat

IMG_6643Over the Thanksgiving holiday I got a little hat crazy making a knit hat for both myself and my better half.  It started with a hat for my better half but when it knit up so quickly I decided I needed a new hat to match my new down jacket.  From start to finish it took me less than 90 minutes (or the first half of the Penn State vs. Maryland game if that’s your preferred method of telling time) to make the second hat.  I had a pattern I liked but completely changed it because I wanted to use bulkier yarn and I wanted a chunkier look.  You can either fold the brim up or you can leave it down for a slouchier looking hat.


What you need to know:

 What supplies you need:


What you need to do:


Cast on 40 stitches

Knit 2, Purl 2 and repeat on each row until the brim is as wide as you want it to be. Mine is 7 rows.


Stocking stitch (knit right side, purl wrong side) for about 18 rows ending on the wrong side.


Always knit on the right side and purl on the wrong side.
Row 1: Knit 2, K2tog, repeat to end (30 stitches left)
Row 2: purl
Row 3: Knit 1, K2tog, repeat to end (20 stitches left)
Row 4: purl
Row 5: K2tog, repeat to end (10 stitches left)

Cut yarn leaving about a 30 inch tail. Thread yarn onto a tapestry needle and carefully remove knitting needle. Run tapestry needle through the remaining 10 stitches and pull tight to close.

Sew seam together using the magical mattress stitch.  Weave the remaining tail of the yarn into the inside of the hat.

Make the Pom Pom (if you want to)

  • Cut a piece of yarn about 8 inches long and lay it on a flat surface.
  • Wrap yarn around 4 of your fingers about 60 times. The more times you wrap it around your fingers the bigger your pom pom will be.
  • Carefully slide the yarn off your fingers and lay it on that piece of string you cut earlier.
  • Tie it tight. Flip it over and tie it tight on the other side too.  Cut through the loops and trim your pom pom to your liking.   Make sure not to cut the strings you tied the pom pom with.
  • Take the strings and thread them through the top of your hate and tie it tight on the inside. Weave the string through some of the stitches and then knotted it to hold it in place.


Ta-da!  It’s been about 90 minutes and you have yourself a very stylish knit Pom Pom hat.  Enjoy!


Joining the Spinocerebellar Ataxia Club

What would you say if I asked you if you wanted to be part of a super elite club?  Sounds pretty cool, huh?  What if I told you there absolutely no charge to join?  Sounding pretty good, right?  How about I sweeten the deal and tell you that you would be one of 150,000 members in the United States, impressive right?  Let’s move on to the perks of this exclusive club.  The main perk of this club is that you get to retain full mental capacity.  You will be the same person, with the same personality, the same intelligence, and the same memories.


Oh, you have a question?  Ask away?  “Did you just say I ‘get’ to retain my mental capacity? What the hell does that mean?”  That’s a great question!  While you get to retain your mental capacity, your body will slowly start to fail you.  You have another question?  Feel free to ask any questions as we go along? “Why the hell would I want to be part of this club?”  Fair question.


In all honesty, there is no way in hell you would ever volunteer to be in a club like this. I was just trying to make it sound really cool.  But, now that I have your attention, you do want to know more don’t you?  What is the club that I am talking about?  The club I am talking about is the club that about 150,000 American are in because they all have one thing in common and that one thing is that they all have spinocerebellar ataxia or SCA for short.  Actually, they have two things in common.  The first is that they all have SCA and the second thing they have in common is they would have never EVER chosen to be in the exclusive club if given the choice.


Spinocerebellar-AtaxiaBefore we go too far it’s probably good to have some idea of what SCA is.  According to all-knowing Wikipedia, SCA is one of a group of genetic disorders characterized by slowly progressive incoordination of gait and is often associated with poor coordination.  SCA is hereditary, progressive, and degenerative and there are 29 different gene mutations of SCA and each mutation can have significantly different symptoms.  There is currently no cure for SCA and little research is going on in the area because of the relatively small number of individuals affected.  There is currently one larger clinical trial being conducted by BioHaven in New Haven, Connecticut but the trials did not see a significant difference between individuals receiving the drug and those receiving the placebo.  You can read more about the trial here.


Until a couple of years ago I had no idea, like most of America, what SCA was.  It swooped into our family slowly and quickly all at the same time.  My dad was having some medical issues and was having trouble getting answers.  He went through a back surgery that was supposed to solve some issues and the issues never fully resolved sending him and my mom on a whirlwind tour of various doctors and specialist throughout northwestern Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio.  After several years and many doctors, the diagnoses of SCA appeared and the education of what it was and what it meant for our family began.  I am not going to go into the details about my dad’s condition here because that is his story to tell (although he is welcome as a guest blogger ANYTIME…hint, hint…).  He lives it every day and I can’t even begin to imagine what that is like, so I will leave it up to him to share.  I just want to share my perspective as someone who loves someone who has SCA, and someone who may be genetically predisposed to SCA.


The two things that I struggle with the most are 1) that I live 1,500 miles away from my parents and I can’t help out and be as much of as a support that I want to be and 2) what does my future look like if I have SCA.


The guilt of not being close to my parents is the worst for me.  I want to be there to help my dad and I want to be there to support my mom who is doing a kick-ass job helping my dad.  But, there is the reality that moving back isn’t a reality for me either.  While being there to help would be great, being unemployed would be completely unhelpful and there aren’t a ton of opportunities where they live.  Also, I think moving back to my hometown that I left at 18 would probably spiral me into a deep depression…also, unhelpful.   I know that so many people deal with this when they move away from their hometowns or their parents move during retirement and there is never a good answer or solution, but it’s just always hard.  Luckily, we live to a major airport that can get me to Pennsylvania in a couple of hours and so when I’m needed I can be there as soon as possible and I will work on being there as much as I can.



Tackling #2 would mean doing some genetic testing.  According to children of someone who has SCA has a 50% chance of inheriting SCA from an affected parent. My current insurance will do the genetic testing for me if proof of diagnoses in my family can be provided.   Genetic testing is always a very personal decision but my better half and I have discussed it and really believe that if there is information out there that you can have about yourself and your future you should arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible.  Of course, that’s easier to say right now when it’s a hypothetical, but I definitely do want to know.  While there isn’t a cure right now, I don’t have symptoms right now either.   But, if necessary, I can be keeping my eyes and ears open for potential studies and trials in the future.  Or my chemist better half could move back into pharmaceuticals and get busy finding a cure.


This is just a really short intro to SCA and kind of a warning that there will probably be lots more on this topic in the future as I learn more and have more experiences.


Interested in learning more?  Visit


Sad Sad Situation

I’ve had a great holiday surrounded by great friends but I have to be honest I have been in a serious funk since the destruction of our Vegas vacation (read more about that disaster here).  I have been sad, depressed, and at times a little weepy and I finally realized what was going on.  Turns out our trip to Vegas was a little more than just a trip to Vegas, it was supposed to be our anniversary trip celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary.


Getting Marriage License at Clark County Marriage Bureau


Our anniversary came and went like every other day – better half went climbing, I got stuff down around the house that needed done, we went out to dinner (nothing fancy just eating so we didn’t die of starvation), we came home and promptly went our own ways getting ready for the week ahead – just like every other day.  The glimmer of hope was that in a few short weeks we would have three uninterrupted days together without the crap of the real world – no dogs to medicate, no laundry, no cleaning, no work…heaven! Then our trip was unexpectedly cancelled and we headed home and were immediately sucked back into our normal routine.

Even when we said we wouldn’t go back to the same exact routine here I am exactly three weeks from our 13th wedding anniversary and my better half is out climbing and I am getting stuff done around the house as we get ready to head back to work.  Our “vacation” has consisted of  getting up, medicating and feeding the dogs, better half going and getting some sort of exercise (me being slightly pissed about this because my foot is still injured and I can’t really exercise), doing all the stuff you have to do to keep you house from burning down, meeting up with better half for the planned activity of the day (Thanksgiving dinner, second Thanksgiving dinner, Penn State game, etc.), coming home, going separate ways because we can’t agree on what to watch on tv and we are working on different projects (cooking, knitting, brewing, etc.), going to bed, sleeping, getting up, and repeating.  I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression – I’m not saying we don’t have a happy life and a happy marriage – I love my better half more than life itself.  We just have a very predictable life at the moment and I was hoping Vegas would kick us in the ass a little.


Fancy Las Vegas Wedding

I keep telling myself that life happens and there’s no reason to be upset about something as small as a cancelled trip, but I am having a really hard time getting out of this funk.  I’m actually hoping that going back to work tomorrow will help to readjust my attitude (it’s a sad situation when you are hopeful that work will improve your attitude).  I’m not even exactly sure why I shared all this other than I just needed to get it out so I could process why I was so upset about not going on the trip and to make myself not feel like such a crazy person for feeling this way.

Have you ever been really disappointed by something happening, that in the grand scheme of things, was relatively small?