sparkfrost: (Default)
Earlier this year we had about a solid month where Coco was wearing a cone and taking antibiotics. The poor thing was having trouble with her toes; they kept swelling up. So we'd take her to the vet, they'd express the toe, then we'd have to give her medicine and topical treatments. The toe would begin to look better, then another toe would swell. This happened three times over the course of a month and a half, and we were finally told that we'd have to see a veterinary dermatologist. Our normal vet couldn't figure it out, so off to a specialist we went. The one nearest to us had a month long wait for an appointment, but we finally got in to see him this Tuesday.

Turns out, Coco has allergies. Also turns out that allergies are super common in shorthaired dogs like boxers and pitbulls. Guess what Coco is a mix of?!?! So yeah, they did a scratch test to determine what all she was allergic to, and she tested positive for 12 allergens, including Bermuda grass, Black Walnut, and a type of mold. So now we're starting her on immunotherapy. Basically for the next 30 days we're giving her doses of the vaccine in increasingly larger amounts and concentrations to get her body ready for the maintenance dose. Once that's happened, we'll cut back to every two weeks. And then maintain that for the rest of her life. Its not ideal (who wants to stick their dog with a needle all the time?), but its far better than the infected toes and high vet bills. And Coco is such a chill dog, she doesn't even mind the shots, which is good. Definitely don't want to have to deal with a struggling 60 pound while I try to inject the medicine!

Speaking of dogs. We've adopted a second dog, a rescued Catahoula mix we've named Athena. Athena is a bit famous - she was tied up outside and left to starve, and was rescued when her puppies escaped and let animal control back to her. The poor girl was severely underweight when they found her. Catahoulas are supposed to weigh between 55 and 60 pounds, and she was 29 pounds when they brought her in. I saw her story in the news and basically fell in love right away. I sent it to Palmer, and he agreed that if she were available and got along with Coco and our cats, we could take her in. We almost didn't get her; there was a family that put an application in on her right before we did. Fortunately for us, the family's dog didn't like Athena, and so we were next in line. We did our dog to dog meeting, the girls got along, and we brought Athena home that day.

We got spoiled with Coco. Other than some separation anxiety and clinginess, and her insistence on pulling hard on walks, Coco is a very well behaved dog. Athena wants to be good (and she takes to training like she was bred for it, which yeah), but has a lot of behaviors we're going to need to train out of her, including leash aggression. Luckily like I said she really does like being trained, and we've hired a dog trainer to come to the house and work with us and her. We've also slowly started introducing her to the cats. The first night we did was awful, she barked herself into a panic attack, basically. We tried again last night, and it went somewhat better. She still barked up a storm and was trying to get to them, but let me pat and soothe her and actually calmed down for almost half a minute. We're going to keep doing a few minutes a night until she's desensitized to the cats and can be calm around them. Because the cats were here first. If she can't be trusted around them, we can't keep her. It'll break our hearts, but we can't risk the safety of Goblin and Loki. At least if we have to give her back she'll go to the shelter healthier and with more training. But. We are still quite optimistic that we'll be able to keep her. So keep your fingers crossed for us!

There's more I could write, but it probably deserves its own post in a few days. Until then!
sparkfrost: (Glinda Cocktail)
We had a packed weekend, and it was pretty damn awesome. Well, Saturday started out kinda blah, had a dentist appointment. I'd had to reschedule my original appointment because of a cold, and the only one they had left was that Saturday morning. So yay, woke up early on a weekend got my teeth poked at. But hey, no cavities!

Anyhow, the weekend fun really started with dim sum at noon. My friend Sarah invited us to join her and her friends, and it was AWESOME. I feel like some dim sum dishes are hit or miss, but everything I tried on Saturday was delicious. I was so freaking full by the end of lunch, I about fell into a food coma. But we couldn't do that, no - we had THINGS TO DO.

Community Forklift is a shop up in Hyattsville that sells old furniture and home supply items like doors, windows, appliances, etc. Saturday was their "Garden Party" celebrating spring, so we went to walk around and see if there was anything we wanted. Unfortunately they didn't have a good plant selection, so we didn't get any veggies. But! We found a light fixture that we think will work well for our living room (we want to get a ceiling light put in) and a sweet hatchet. Why do we need a hatchet? Don't you worry. (Actually just for yard work.)

Since our plant purchasing had been foiled, we decided to go to a nursery near our house and see what they had. They had a decent amount! So we got broccoli, spinach, snap peas, seed potatoes, and a few herbs. Plus some summer-blooming bulbs. When we got home we let Coco run around the yard and got the veggies (minus the potatoes, which have to wait a few weeks) into the ground, and the herbs into the pots.

That night we stayed in, had wine and cheese, and watched Daredevil. QUITE enjoying it so far!

Sunday we met up with my family for some day drinking. To clarify - my sister and her family are in town for a visit, and we met up with them and my parents at a local brewery for lunch. Palmer and I had been to 7 Locks Brewing a few times already, but my parents hadn't and obviously my out-of-town sister and her husband hadn't either. My dad bought us lunch, and we all had a few beers - a flight first to try a bunch of different ones, then a full-size beer. Meanwhile the twins (age 5) ate their lunches, played with other families' kids that were there, and learned how to play giant Jenga. Good times!

After beers, Palmer and I went BACK to the nursery to get a few things we forgot about. Did a bit more in the garden, then headed to the movies to FINALLY watch Deadpool. It was hilarious, and very gross. I was laughing and going "Ew!" a lot throughout. Definitely glad we caught it before it left theaters. Now we need to try to catch Zootopia...

And that was our wild and crazy weekend! We were super productive, had delicious food and beers, and got shit done!
sparkfrost: (Angel Puppet)
So, I successfully completed my Lenten vow to not drink alcohol during the week. Go me! It was hard occasionally - I had a few networking happy hours during that time and had to explain why I was only drinking seltzer water. And there were definitely things that involved drinking that I would have liked to do, but didn't. But overall it wasn't too bad, and I was even thinking that I might want to continue cutting out weeknight drinking even once Lent was over. Making the occasional exception for a weeknight happy hour or other social get together.

I was thinking it, but I hadn't yet decided to implement it. Until this morning, that is. I had the day off yesterday and spent it exercising, reading, cleaning, and practicing Spanish. I felt very productive! (And the house looks really good!) To reward myself, I had a glass of bourbon while I finished reading Radiance by Cat Valente. Then I had another glass. Then I had wine with dinner. And then this morning when my alarm went off I didn't want to get up. So I turned it off and set a later alarm, which I did get up for.

Not the biggest of deals, but I'm annoyed at myself. I've gotten into the good habit of waking up at 6am and going to the gym each morning. Not only does that help me get my day started right, but I feel more energized and accomplished every day that I do it. So willfully sleeping through the alarm and not going to the gym cause I'd had one too many last night kinda sucked. And it really did illustrate that cutting out drinking during the week VASTLY improves my sleep. Like, by a lot.

So. Looks like I am going to try to cut out weeknight drinking fairly permanently. Again, I'll make exceptions for social stuff (like tonight, we're going to dinner and a movie with a group of friends, I'll have a drink) but will refrain every other night. I'm trying to think up a little reward or incentive for myself. During Lent I drew stars on the calendar for each day I was successful, and I'll probably keep doing that. But I wonder if I can, like, calculate the money I save and set that aside for something fun? Or just assign an arbitrary value (like $2) for each night and then put that in a rainy day account? I don't know. If anyone has ideas for little incentives, send them my way!

But seriously, my house looks so good right now. I kind of wish I had a free day every week to do stuff like that. Not a weekend, that's for fun stuff! (Ok, also chores.) But like, a day in the middle of the week where I could just double down and get shit done. One can dream...
sparkfrost: (Glinda Cocktail)
I am officially obsessed with one-pot pastas. So! Apparently all of us who have been boiling water and cooking pasta in it have been doing it the wrong way! One-pot pastas are where you put all your ingredients together in one pot, add a bunch of liquid, and cook it all together until the liquid has reduced down to sauce and the pasta is tender. I am all about this. For one, it's a lot easier to clean up just one pot rather than two pots and a pasta strainer. Two, cooking everything together really lets the flavors permeate the pasta. So instead of having sauce and veggies and meat and then kinda bland pasta, you have this super flavorful creamy dish. LOVING IT! I've made two versions so far - one with tomatoes and basil (delicious!) and one with mushrooms and spinach. Oh. My. God. It was so freaking good, I can't even deal. I'm really excited that I have enough of almost everything to make it again in a few days. Hooray!

Been working to actually do meal planning on a regular basis. When I don't actually plan out meals and buy all the ingredients ahead of time, I fall into the trap of "I'm too tired and hungry, and this will take too long." But if I do actually get everything and write down what meals go on which days, its much easier to make myself cook. And I even like cooking! I'm just profoundly lazy, and I'd rather sit on the couch and have food brought to me. Sigh. I've also been trying my hand at freezer meals, which are ok. The nice thing is the ease of making them the day of - just pop it in the slow cooker! But it does take planning and prep on the weekend. Also a lot of the recipes aren't the most healthy... I did find a keeper in Salsa Chicken thought - basically what it sounds like, salsa and chicken breasts in the slow cooker for a few hours. Then you can shred the chicken and serve it over rice. This time I bought avocado and spring onions to top it and make it a bit more flavorful. Good times!

I am somewhat (ha!) obsessed with ModCloth. I just got two new skirts and a dress last week, and while I think one of the skirts is going back (its flimsier than I'd like and fits a bit oddly) the other skirt is my new favorite article of clothing. SO PRETTY.

So like I've mentioned but not really talked about, I've given up weeknight drinking for Lent. So Monday through Thursday I'm not having anything to drink. (Friday through Sunday I can go HAM!) Its been interesting. So far I've been successful, no cheating, and the health benefits are definitely there - I've lost 8 pounds so far! I think I'm going to try to keep it up past Lent, just less stringent. If I'm going to a networking happy hour, I'd like to be able to have a glass of something other than seltzer water. That being said, I was commended for my self-control at a recent young professionals happy hour. Apparently being able to attend a happy hour and not drink was a miracle of discipline.

Finally getting a haircut later this week, so hopefully I'll look less shaggy afterwards. That's the problem with short hair - stop paying attention, and you quickly look unkempt.
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For some reason, my last post decided that it was posted on March 15th, instead of March 7th like it actually was. For those of you following along at home, today is March 15th, and that post was about two weekends ago, so I was a bit confused... Anyhow! Adjusted the date, all is right with the world, and now I can talk about this past weekend.

Friday was a bit of a clusterfuck - this professional group that I'm in did a night at a local theater to benefit that theater's program for high school kids. The play was fine, super depressing, and about 20 minutes longer than it needed to be. More annoying than that was the fact that only ONE OTHER PERSON from our group showed up. I mean, really? GAH! So afterwards we went to a restaurant I've been wanting to try, only to discover that Surprise! It is super expensive! Not horrifically so, but more than we were planning to spend. So we got the cheapest option (pasta) and then got the fuck out of there.

Saturday was good. Got brunch at our favorite spot in Silver Spring, ran some errands, took Coco on a nice long walk. Then that night was our friend Eric's birthday party, which was fun. Got to hang with that group, eat three types of Mac & Cheese, and try Guinness' new "nitro" IPA. It's pretty good!

Sunday I felt like shit. Palmer's been fighting a cold for the past week and apparently I caught the same one. The bummer was, we had concert tickets for that night. I rallied, we went to dinner (which was tasty) then headed to the concert. During the opener I thought I was going to pass out, I felt so badly. I almost just called an Uber and went home - but I'm glad I didn't! When the band came on (Metric) I started to feel better. Not great, but well enough that I could stand for an hour or so and enjoy some music that I like. We got home and I immediately passed out.

Yesterday was a bit of a waste. I had to go into work cause I had a phone call that afternoon with a potential client. Well guess who never called? And then we rescheduled for today (with the understanding that he would call me) and guess who didn't call again? At this point I'm kinda over it. Anyhow yeah, yesterday sucked, felt like poop, went to bed very early. Thank god for Nyquil. Today I'm feeling better, but still clearly sick - its just moved all up into my head, which is very clogged. I've taken some Sudafed and I'm staying hydrated, but still - no fun.

I got accepted onto a committee I applied for, which will be nice resume-builder. (God I got old. When did that happen?) I also dyed my hair blue! (There, that's better.) Palmer and I are planning to paint the living room a fun teal color, then our big house project for the year will be to re-do the floors. Well, first check to make sure that we do in fact have hardwood under the carpet, then hire some folks to rip up the carpet, sand the floors, and stain them a nice dark finish. Yay, modernity! (Seriously, right now we have builder beige walls and beige carpet, its a PROBLEM.)

And that's about it. What have you been up to?
sparkfrost: (Boom Di Ya Da)
H'ok, so - had a crazy busy weekend, it was pretty awesome!

Friday evening after work I went down to Dupont Circle to meet a friend for drinks. This is a networking buddy I met at a client's event, and this was the 2nd time we've gotten together. I like her, we have similar jobs, and she's fun to hang out with. Probably becoming an actual friend, not just someone in my network. ANYHOW. We went down to Kramerbooks and their attached cafe Afterwords and had a few drinks. Last time I was there was about a year ago for the Fug Girls' book-signing for The Royal We. Luckily, the veggie quesadilla app was just as delicious as I remembered.

After drinks I headed back home, and Palmer and I ordered some food, drank some whiskey, and finally finished up Agent Carter season 2. Upon waking up Saturday, I realize that we probably drank too much whiskey, but never mind that. On Saturday we went to a late brunch, then headed downtown. The Renwick Gallery (part of The Smithsonian) has an exhibit called Wonder that I was dying to see and photograph - as was everyone else in DC. When we got there, the line to get in stretched down the block, and we were a bit worried that we wouldn't even be able to get in before they closed. Luckily the line actually moved fairly quickly, so we only waited about 20 minutes. Once inside, getting around took a while cause of the crowd, but the exhibit was gorgeous. Everyone's favorite seemed to be the installation by Gabriel Dawe, which is gorgeous. But I think I liked the one by Janet Echelman the best - fishermen's netting sculpted to mimic the energy wave released by the Japanese earthquake, with multicolored lights shining all over it. Stunning.

After the Renwick, we headed over to Yards Park on the Anacostia Waterfront. They had some enormous luminescent bunnies on display that I wanted to see and photograph before they were taken down on Sunday. So we wandered around Yards Park for a bit, then headed back to the Metro to go home. Unfortunately the Metro ride made me super queasy, so when we got home I pretty much chugged an Alka Seltzer then took a 2hour nap. When I got up we ate dinner and hung out for a bit, then I went right back to bed.

Sunday the nausea was gone, thankfully. We went to brunch at my new favorite place, Carluccio's at Pike & Rose. THEY ARE REALLY GOOD, OK? Then we took Coco on a nice long walk. We'd abandoned her Saturday to do our downtown exploring, so we wanted to make it up to her with a lot of exercise. We did a 5 mile walk through Rock Creek Park, which seemed to do the trick - that evening she was zonked. (So were we!) After the walk we went to a new brewery that opened up near us, and did a flight of their beers. They were all good, but we decided on a growler of the Honey Ale. On the way home we grabbed some Chipotle, which we then enjoyed with that growler. Finished out the night watching the democratic debate, and went to bed around midnight.

Good times!

This week is busy - have a craft meetup tomorrow, lunch with my parents Wednesday, and then a full weekend of stuff going on, including a Metric concert. SO excited! So yeah, managed to get off my ass and go do stuff this weekend, here's hoping I can continue the trend. :)

Oh! I gave up weeknight drinking for Lent (which I think I mentioned before?) and I've lost 7 pounds since starting! Rock on!
sparkfrost: (Glinda Cocktail)
Apparently I can only bring myself to update when it snows. Which is... not good news for the majority of the year. Hrm. Anyhow! Worked from home today because they were calling for 4"-8" to fall during the day, followed by sleet to ice over the roads. Did not want to drive in that! The majority of all that ended up missing us, but hey whatever. Got to wear my slippers all day!

Yesterday was a bit of a rollercoaster. Started off well - went to breakfast in Kensington where the service was bad but at least the food was good. Then took Palmer's mom and brother out so we could buy her a winter coat - our Christmas present to her. We went down to Tysons Corner in Virginia, and managed to get her a very nice coat with a faux fur-lined hood. She and Derby then bought me my belated Xmas gift, a set of serving utensils. Long story, but they'd ordered some for me well before Xmas, then the company went out of business and said they didn't actually have those items in stock. Fun! (And not that long, as it turns out...) So we went to Sur la Table and I picked out a set I quite like.

We invited them back to our house so they could play with Coco, whom they adore. Coco was so excited to see them that she scarfed down her food, then promptly vomited it all back up. So that was fun. While I was soothing her, we noticed that one of her toes was swollen. So while Palmer drove Susan and Derby back to their house, I gave Coco's foot a bath with some antiseptic shampoo the vet gave us. Seemed to be ok, so we left for Valentine's Day dinner.

Oh. My. God. This dinner was AMAZING. So it was "Valentine's Day Three Way" at Denizens Brewing Co., featuring their beers and main courses, cheeses from Firefly Farms, and chocolates from a local chocolatier, Puja Satiani. Again, oh my god. The cheese course was a black and blue cheese paired with a tripel, and a bella vita paired with an esb. The second course was a yummy salad paired with a rye ipa. The third course was this DELICIOUS pasta paired with a red ale. And the fourth course was the chocolates, paired with two different beers: a quadrupel (which was WAY too sweet) and a very nice oatmeal stout. AND! We got Denizens glasses and a little box of chocolates to take home with! Like I said, dinner was AMAZING.

So then we got home, and it all went to shit. Well, kinda. Coco's toe had swelled up even more and she was favoring it and licking it. So back in the car we went, this time with her in the backseat, and headed over to the 24-hour vet clinic. They said it looked like a spider had bitten her and it had subsequently gotten infected. So they bathed it, gave her a shot of steroids, and gave us some antibiotics and a topical to give her. And they put her in a cone, poor girl. So wee had a not so triumphant end to the weekend with a very sad dog in a cone.

She's in better spirits today, but is still favoring that foot a little bit. We've also been giving her Benadryl (per instructions) so hopefully the swelling will go down soon.

I'm a bit obsessed with my new planner, but that's a whole post in and of itself. I've also joined a group that practices hand-lettering; I posted a bunch of pictures to Facebook, go check em out! So yeah, that's been a lot of fun. The next meeting is in a few weeks, the theme is "What Inspires You" so I have to think on that.

And that's about it!

Snowzilla

Jan. 25th, 2016 06:34 pm
sparkfrost: (Default)
Figured being snowed in for four days was a good enough reason to actually post something here. Hi! I missed you!

So yeah, Winter Storm Jonas (known 'round these parts as "Snowzilla") came rolling in at 1:00pm on Friday. My boss was out of town, but he knew about the storm and told my coworker Nick and I to work from home on Friday. So I got a nice view into the backyard as the snow started. And then didn't let up for 36 hours. YAY!

We got a bit above 2 feet in our neighborhood, though with the drifts it felt like a lot more. On Friday night Palmer and I ventured out with Coco to get her some exercise and it wasn't too bad then. Snowing hard, but about 5 inches on the ground. But like I said, it kept going. So Saturday we take her out again (cause dogs need to pee, its a thing) and it was miserable. Coco had no idea what to do with that much snow, we had to break a path through the snow pretty much the whole way, and it was STILL SNOWING. Lucky for Coco, we bumped into her doggy friend Maxine, so they got to romp in the snow for a bit. That is, until we saw that Coco was literally shivering from the cold. Then it was time to take her inside, dry her off, and cocoon her in a nest of blankets to get her warmed up again.

Here's her and Maxine in the snow:

Coco and her bestie playing in the snow. #blizzard2016 #snowzilla #dogsofinstagram

A video posted by Suze (@suzefrost) on




The rest of Saturday we just lounged about. We were a bit worried we'd lose power, but luckily the snow was the light dry kind, so we were good. We basically started drinking early, played a lot of video games (Super Mario World FTW!) and began watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.

Sunday we began the process of digging out. Our neighbor owns a plow, so he'd already done our driveway, which was AMAZING of him. But we still had to clear our walkway and the sidewalk in front of our house, plus ATTEMPT to start getting the cars out. Couldn't get my car all the way out before we had to stop and rest, but made a good start. Then it was football and video games for the rest of the night. Plus pupusas that our OTHER awesome neighbor made us!

Today Palmer and I both worked from home. Everything is closed, and residents are urged to stay off the roads to let the plows do their work. So that's what we did. Around 1:30 I went out to finish digging out my car. And succeeded! Then Palmer came out and we got his car dug out too. They're now safe and sound in our very clean driveway. AND! As Palmer went off to grab some more wine (priorities, we have them) I decided to try to clear the side exit of our house. I thought I'd just get the stoop cleared so we could access the trash cans, but ended up shoveling out a path to the cleared driveway. Did I mention the huge berm I had to shovel through to do so? I'm proud of what I accomplished, but ouch. My everything hurts.

So! Tomorrow I will attempt to go into work, we'll see how I fare. I will be glad to get out of the house. Less glad to have to put on real clothes. As I said on Twitter, you know what makes pajamas work appropriate? A bra. But tomorrow I'll have to do more than that. Sigh.

Anyhow, hope everyone in the path of the storm stayed safe, hope everyone else had a great weekend, kisses! MWAH!
sparkfrost: (Angel Puppet)
One of the frustrating things about my job (and believe me, I know this is small bananas) is my boss' music habits. See, he has a Pandora paid account. Which is great, theoretically. No ads, tons of stations! Only problem is, he plays the same station (maybe two) ALL THE TIME. And its always mellow shit I've heard during yoga classes. Seriously, I have heard many of these songs in actual yoga classes. And that's fine, he can play what he wants. The problem happens when I am already playing music, and he comes in and turns his music on anyways. Like, I'm not going to get into a volume war with you, that's childish. But could you maybe acknowledge that we listen to your music ALL THE TIME, so when I turn on, say, Explosions in the Sky, we could take like AN HOUR to listen to that instead? But no. Comes in, sits down, music on. Gah!

Whatever, this is why I have headphones at work.

I got a shiny new phone yesterday! My beloved old HTC One had really started to crap out on me. Apps weren't working right or were taking forever to load, the battery life was decreasing, texts weren't going through... so even though it probably has a few months left in its usable life, I decided it was time to get a new phone. Coincidentally, Motorola just released their latest phone, and it is FANTASTIC. One, it is enormous compared to my old phone. Not quite Fablet territory, but pretty close. Two, it was fully customizeable, so I got 64 gigs of space, pretty colors, and a personalized back and welcome screen. Three, IT IS SO SHINY! I haven't been able to play with it a ton, because work, but I've slowly been getting my apps on there, getting everything set the way I like. You know what I also really like? That the technology now exists to transfer all your shit from your old phone to your new phone. So now I have my text and call history, my contacts, my photos - that last is crucial. While I have everything backed up, its nice to still have all my photos on my new phone. So if there's something I snapped that I didn't post to Facebook or Instagram, I can still pull it up really easily. Awesome!

Work is busy. Our big shoot starts tomorrow, and I was running around (not literally) all day getting ready. Hopefully all goes smoothly, the client loves us, their Kickstarter campaign is a massive success, and we all become millionaires.

Is that not how it works?
sparkfrost: (Default)
So, because we have a shoot this coming Saturday, my boss decided to give me today off. Probably so he doesn't have to pay me overtime, but also because exhausted Suze = unhappy Suze, and my boss (for his faults) does actually want happy, productive employees.

So! I couldn't fully take advantage of the day off by sleeping in because I had a dentist appointment scheduled for 9am. Alas. Whatever, my teeth are in pretty good shape. Except for one tooth, whose filling is apparently starting to put pressure on the rest of the tooth, which might lead to a crack. Therefore, I get to have a crown put in next month. Yay.

Anyhow, after that I was like, OH MY GOD, I HAVE AN ENTIRE DAY TO MYSELF. SELF, IT IS TIME TO GET SHIT DONE. And shit got done, ya'll. I have done, like, 5 loads of laundry. I cleaned out the hummingbird feeder and refilled it, and put it on the new post I got for that purpose out in the backyard so the sparrows won't frighten the hummingbirds away any longer. I also filled the NEW hummingbird feeder I got and put it on the picture window out front. I harvested all the veggies from the garden, froze the Tabasco peppers and rendered the tomatoes down into sauce. I also went through all the mail, got Coco's pet license renewed, and put my new registration on my car. Hooray! AND I took Coco for a nice long walk in the middle of the day. Shit. Got. Done.

Palmer's out having a drink with a friend, so now I'm chilling on the couch enjoying a beer. Well deserved, I might add!
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Whoops, accidentally let 3 weeks go by without an update. Heh. Sorry. Anyhow! The past few weeks have been pretty grueling. DC was hit by the coldest February in years (daily avg 14 degrees below what's normal for the season) plus a few more snow and ice storms, and everyone was basically sick of it. Luckily, we've finally gotten some warmer weather. It's actually pretty amazing - we've hit 60 once or twice, and have had a few more days in the 50s, and everyone just seems so much happier. For a few weeks I was hanging on to what felt like very thin strands of hope, like "Oh that tree has a few fuzzy buds on it, we're almost to spring!" and "Hey, we're getting up to the 30s today, that's so much better than it has been!". Like I said, thin strands. But since Saturday afternoon, it has actually felt like spring is almost here. It's pretty wonderful. When I walked Coco this morning, I saw that the first of the crocuses I planted last fall have sprouted. I almost cried. Ok, not really, but I was REALLY EXCITED! I'm keeping my eyes peeled for jonquils, next.

This past weekend we actually started prepping for our spring/summer garden. Since the maple in our backyard has now been taken down (and that's something to get used to, how empty our backyard is now) we're planning to build a raised bed in its former spot. So this weekend we bought seeds! I got cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers (at Palmer's insistence), mixed lettuce, and carrots. The lettuce and carrots can go directly in the ground once it warms up, and the others have now been started in little pots. Hopefully at least some of them will sprout! I also bought some gladiolus bulbs, half of which have been planted in a large pot and placed on the tree stump in our front yard. I'll plant the others in a second pot, but that one lived outside all winter and the soil was still frozen on Sunday, so they'll go in this weekend.

Finally got back to the gym after a shamefully long absence. Went on Monday, and again today. I tried to set the alarm early to go Tuesday morning, but the call of the bed was too much. As much as I'd like to be, I'm really not a "hit the gym first thing" kind of gal. Anyhow, I'd like to try to go at least 3 times a week. I pay for the damn thing, might as well use it! Plus, I can either listen to podcasts or watch HGTV (guilty pleasure!) while I work out, so win-win!

That's about it. Work continues to be work. Had a shoot at ass-oclock on Monday, but it went well, and the client told me that she's going to pass us more opportunities as they arise. My boss has a shoot this weekend out of town with another big client, and this is now the 4th project we've done for them, so that bodes well for future work.

Oh! Went to my first "Girls Pint Out" event this past weekend. Sunday was International Women's Day, and we had a beer brunch at Scion in Silver Spring. Boys were welcome, so Palmer was dragged along. Food and beer were both DELICIOUS, though they probably could have done slightly smaller portions of the food. I was stuffed! But I had a fun time, and I'm looking forward to going to more events!

That really is it. Ciao!
sparkfrost: (Glinda Cocktail)
For friendly and sociable people, Palmer and I sure are recluses a lot of the time. Part of it is laziness, part of it is we really enjoy each other's company and like spending time together without other people. But a lot of it is laziness. Anyhow, we were NOT lazy this weekend! In fact, we did TONS of stuff!

Ok, so I'd been reading all week about how Jupiter Ascending is amazing and stupid and crazeballs and amazeballs and space werewolves etc., and the excitement finally got the better of me. I told Palmer that I wanted to see it, that I wanted to see it that night, and went and bought tickets. We just got an iPic Theater close to us, so I bought tickets there. For those who don't know, iPic is a "luxury" theater that has armchair seating and waitservice. I got the cheaper seats, so we had to go to the bar and order (LIKE PLEBES) but it was still super nice. And oh, Jupiter Ascending. If there's ever an instance where "Shine on you crazy diamond" is appropriate, it is for this movie. I'm stealing a thought from Tumblr which is that everything in the movie can be preceded by SPACE! and still make sense. SPACE BEES! SPACE WEDDINGS! SPACE POLICE! SPACE REGENERATION! HOT SEXY HALF-ALBINO SOMETIMES-WINGED SPACE WEREWOLVES! See? Jupiter Ascending is a treasure, it really is. An orgy of gorgeous special effects and actual orgies. A feast for the eyes! Plus the guilty pleasures of Channing Tatum (looking damn fine as the afore-mentioned space werewolf) and Eddie Redmayne doing his very best Space Voldemort. Mila Kunis is awesome (and screw people saying she's a damsel in distress - she does quite well for herself amidst extremely weird and dangerous situations!), Sean Bean is awesome, everyone is awesome. GO SEE IT! Ahem.

So that was Friday evening. Saturday we went out to breakfast at our favorite spot in Downtown Silver Spring, then headed over to Rockville to look at furniture. We need a dining room table, cause the one I bought 5 years ago is tiny, shaky, and looks silly in our proper-sized dining room. So we went to Bob's Discount Furniture and then a proper furniture showroom to look around. Each had tables that we liked, but Bob's wasn't as sturdy as we hoped, and the one at the furniture showroom was more money than we had planned on spending. We thought about them, and talked about them, and decided that for now, we'd be ok with what we have, but that we'd keep dining room tables in mind, and check semi-regularly for options.

Saturday evening it snowed, but we had Valentine's plans and braved the weather anyway. We went to Denizens Brewing Co in Silver Spring for their beer and chocolate event. Each ticket got you five tasting rounds of beer pared with a hand-crafted chocolate made by a Silver Spring-based chocolatier, plus light fare. It was a great time. Crowded, but we managed to get a table, and all the pairings were awesome, as was the food. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get something for a proper dinner, and then it took us an hour to GET home because the snow turned into whiteout conditions and no one in MD can drive. But! We made it home safely, had dinner and more beer, and had a good night overall.

Sunday was chores and hanging out. Palmer's family came over for an hour to see us (but mostly Coco) and then we got some takeout for dinner. My boss had already told me to wait until noon to come in, so I was able to stay up a bit later than normal.

This morning I was getting ready to go in when I got a text from my boss telling me to stay and work from home. We've got a winter storm moving in (it's been snowing for a few hours now as I type this) and he didn't want to risk me driving. So I ran to the grocery store really quick for some lunch stuff for tomorrow and the ingredients for dinner on Wednesday (a slow cooker dish I'm making for parents, who are coming by) and it didn't take me as long as I feared. Longer than I liked, but even though the lines were crazy, the cashiers were moving quickly. Everyone was fairly nice and calm, though people need to learn how to not block aisles with their bodies and carts. Then I got home and spent the next five hours working.

Now we're making dinner. I'm doing some red skin mashed potatoes and Palmer will be cooking steaks. I made us cocktails, but they kinda froze while we let Coco out, so we're waiting for them to thaw. After dinner, idk. Maybe I can convince Palmer to watch Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Or maybe we'll watch House of Cards. Either way we're safe and sound, and happy to be able to work from home tomorrow.

For those in the path of this storm, stay safe!
sparkfrost: (Adulthood)
Because Coco's illness came from "something rotten" that she ate, and the only place she can run free without overt supervision is the backyard, after her procedure we realized that the backyard is most likely where she found and ate the thing that made her sick. Now, here's the thing - we've been terrible about the yard. We started out determined that we wouldn't let her poop back there, that we'd clean up, etc. But as time went on, it became so much easier to just let her out back in the evening to do her business. Then late fall came, and the leaves all came down from the trees, and our yard was covered. Since I'm all eco-shit, and lazy, I figured we could just leave them on the grass to decompose and turn into nutrients for our yard. But with the whole "clean up the yard" mission in place, that was no longer the case. So last Saturday we spent about three hours cleaning up the yard. Going over every inch carefully looking for dog poop, and raking up (and bagging) as many leaves as we could. Now it's all clean, yay! But during that process, we noticed two things:

1. The ground from our sidegate leading down has become hopelessly muddy and torn up, and will likely do so every fall and winter because of shade, leaves, rain, slope, etc. So we've decided to tear up the grass and replace it with a mulch path leading down to our patio. Excellent!

2. One of our big lovely maple trees (and the one I like better) is in trouble. We already knew that it had a hole in the side - a knot that had gotten dug out by birds/animals/bugs/what-have-you. But on Saturday we discovered that the hole has practically doubled in size and depth. Not a good thing! So we called some experts.

We had three tree care companies come by to take a look at the tree. Each of them said, definitively, that the maple has to come down. That hole means it is sick and dying, and we cannot leave it up cause it'll fall on our house. Each of them also gave an estimate for how much this removal would cost. YIKES. So that's a paycheck going to get the tree down right there. We'd like to go with the cheapest option ($1K less than the next lowest) but we're waiting on him to provide proof of insurance and a written estimate. Assuming he can get those to us tomorrow or Tuesday, the tree should be down by the end of the week.

I'm pretty bummed. I know the tree has to come down, and I value the not-destroyedness of my house over the tree, but still. That maple is the one that provides a lovely green curtain during the summer months, and makes the dining room really pretty during the day. It also shades the house, and turns all sorts of pretty colors in the fall. Proof.

The caption on that post says "The best part of the backyard in fall are the maple tree's gorgeous leaves" and dammit, I'm really sad that it has to go. I'm trying to look on the bright side (safe house, more sun in the backyard for gardening, less leaves to rake) but it still sucks, cause when we moved in I pictured our future kids climbing and playing on that tree. Yeah, that's a lot of hopes to wrap up in a tree that could come down naturally any day, but still. I had hopes for that tree.

Anyhow, I'll stop being maudlin about the maple tree. We have another tree in the yard, after all, and an intact house is more important that a dying tree. But still.
sparkfrost: (Glinda Cocktail)
So remember how Coco got sick last weekend? Well, she didn't get better. She ate her bland diet and seemed ok, but Wednesday she didn't eat anything. Thursday morning she threw up - and there were leaves in her vomit. So I took her to the vet Thursday afternoon where they did an x-ray. Sure enough, undigested mass in her stomach. They sent us home, told us to fast her, and then bring her in Friday first thing for a serial x-ray. Friday morning, the second x-ray showed the same undigested mass. So guess who got an endoscopy! That's right, we had to take poor Coco to the animal hospital where she got more x-rays, blood work, and an ultrasound, and then got an endoscopy. That procedure took 2 hours to get out the mass of undigested leaves, sticks, and something *rotting* in her stomach. Gross.

And poor Coco. She was so unhappy Friday night. Not only had we left her to get this procedure, but she was coming out of anesthesia and still quite nauseated. Not to mention her sore throat. Or the putrid stink that followed her around. So. We were given meds for her and told to keep her on a bland diet. She's just today starting to get some regular food again (which she loves!). But ugh - one of the meds can't be given with food, and apparently tastes really bad. Let me tell you, trying to get a 60 pound dog to take medication they don't like is not easy. Luckily, she doesn't hold it against me. I actually called the hospital to ask whether it HAD to be mixed to a liquid, and the tech said it could be given as a solid - so I'll be trying that tonight and hopefully it'll go down easier. Literally.

Now the only thing I'm worried about her intestines - she hasn't pooped since yesterday, and I REALLY HOPE there's not an obstruction in her bowels, cause that would require surgery. Considering we already spent over $2K on vet bills, we're really not looking to spend another $5K to get THAT fixed.

Ugh. Thoughts and prayers for Coco's health and my sanity would be appreciated. If you'll excuse me, I'm now off to drown my sorrows in a glass of whiskey.
sparkfrost: (Adulthood)
Since we've cleaned the house and sorted through the unsorted stuff, I find myself more eager to have people over. (Before it was like, Look away from my shame!) So a few days before the Superbowl we asked if a few friends wanted to come over to watch the game at our place. I said I'd make dinner if people could bring snacks and desserts, and so a plan was set! Went shopping for ingredients on Sunday, and decided to make two types of chili - a white chicken chili that I've made before, and a red slow cooker chili that was new to me. Both ended up delicious, though we do have leftovers. (Like, a lot. Those recipes weren't playing around.) And we had a good time with our friends. Except that Coco got sick.

Not sure if she ate something or caught a bug from doggy day care, but Sunday evening she was nauseated and puking. The poor thing kept trying to eat leaves and grass (either to make herself puke or to calm her stomach, not sure) and just looked miserable. I gave her some Pepto Bismol, which helped, but didn't want to give her too much in case she really did need to expel something. She looked better yesterday, if a little quiet, but threw up again both during the day and when I got home. We took her to the vet, and they said her vitals were fine. They gave her some anti-nausea stuff and fluids to fight the dehydration, and said we should fast her and then give her a bland diet. So no food for poor Coco last night. This morning I boiled some chicken and cooked some white rice, and Palmer has been giving her a bit at a time. Knock on wood, but so far so good. Ugh, it just sucks when your animals get sick. They feel bad, and you feel bad, and you just want to cuddle them and help them feel better and UGH!

Anyhow. The other fun thing from the weekend was a flat tire on my car. The "check pressure" light came on Saturday night, so I figured I'd go get some air in the tires Sunday morning. Nope! Completely flat! Changed it out for the spare and discovered a screw had punctured the tire, right in the middle. Which mean that first thing Monday I was at the tire place getting it patched. At least it could be patched - cost me $18 instead of the several hundred it would have cost to get new tires.

And that's the big stuff from the weekend. Hope everyone else had a less eventful one than I did!
sparkfrost: (Default)
I love dogs. I love cats, don't get me wrong. I grew up with cats, Palmer and I have two that we adore, i coerced a former coworker into adopting a stray cat that lived outside our apartment, I coo "hey kitty" at any cat that I see while going about my daily business, I will always have and love cats. (BTW, the coworker adores his cat, he's named Sirr Purrz and is the most spoiled Maine Coon to ever live.) But I've also always loved dogs. Since Palmer and I became serious we talked about getting a dog. But for a long time it just wasn't possible. I certainly couldn't fit one in my tiny apartment in Takoma Park, and we couldn't fit one (along with two cats) in our more spacious apartment in Silver Spring. We knew that once we bought a house, a dog would quickly follow. So when we closed in May, we immediately began talking about when we should get a dog. We wanted to give the cats time to get adjusted to their new home, so we said we'd wait until August.

And that's pretty much what we did. Early August we went out to the MoCo Adoption Center and filled out the paperwork for dog adoption. We met with an Adoption Counselor and went over our experience, other animals, and lifestyle. She recommended a dog at least 2 years old, previously owned, who was shown to be good with cats. After a disastrous attempt to pick one out on our own (she crossed off every dog we said we'd like to meet), she selected a few dogs for us to interact with. The other two were sweet, and Big Zeus was tempting, but Coco is the one that won our hearts. So we filled out more paperwork, got her scheduled to be fixed, and came back a few days later to bring her home.

She is a great dog. Not the best behaved - we're looking into obedience classes. But she is affectionate, energetic, and loves attention. She desperately wants to be friends with Goblin, and is slowly but surely succeeding. She makes sure that I get at least a mile walk every day, if not more. And she loves curling up next to us on the couch or bed and just snuggling. As I type she's curled up in her dog bed, snoring. ButI said a post would have pictures, so enough talking, am I right? Without further ado, Coco:












Coco is a boxer mix. We think she's got some pit in her, and also some sort of bird dog - she does the adorable paw-lift-point thing when she sees something interesting. She pulls too much on her leash, eats the cats' food, and has destroyed several pairs of loosely-guarded shoes. But she also snuggles next to us when we're on the couch, adores the cats (even if they don't feel the same yet), and is super friendly to every person she meets. Basically, she's a good dog.

One that needs training, but we're working on that.
sparkfrost: (Adulthood)
I always forget how awful cramps are until they happen again. This time was my own stupidity - I forgot to renew my bc prescription and it didn't arrive until 6 days into the new pill cycle. Since that would be impossible to catch up to, I decided to wait and just restart with the new cycle. But goddamn. My birth control not only helps with the whole not-pregnant thing, but also reduces my cramps to almost nothing. Which, considering the debilitating pain that happens without the birth control, is nigh miraculous. But, since I didn't take it this month, guess what I got today? That's right, wicked cramps! It's super fun! Anyhow. Drinking water, sitting on the couch with a heating pad, and planning to take the dog for a walk in a few minutes.

Took Palmer's mom out for a girls day yesterday; manicures and coffee. Turns out it was the first time Susan had ever gotten her nails done, so she had a blast. Got her a nice neutral cream color while I went a bit... bolder. She did say she'd try to work up to purple. :-) Coffee was at Quartermaines, and I didn't know either of the baristas, it was super weird. But hey, the girl made some damn good drinks, so no complaints.

I'm a little torn about my job. I enjoy it, I like the work I do, I like my boss (most of the time), but it's not my field. And I keep seeing postings for jobs in my field, and it's tempting. I saw a recent posting that is what I'm doing now, but also more editorial, and for a conservation group in the area. And I really want to apply. It's less money, but more vacation and actual benefits, and it's in my field. So I'm thinking about it. I don't know. I have a few weeks before the application deadline, we'll see what I decide.

Getting in shape has been going alright. I have been better about cooking (cooked 5 of 7 days last week) and I try to walk at least two miles a day - but sometimes get up to 5! I've lost a few pounds already, which is nice, and I do feel better. Now to cut down on the wine! :-P

I swear the next post will actually be about Coco - since I promised to write one all those months ago and never did. Til then!
sparkfrost: (Default)
When we moved in to our new home, Palmer and I were actually pretty good about getting things unpacked. All the major and not-so-major stuff was out of boxes and put where it made sense. But other things just... lagged. So we kinda got used to a random box or two being around the house, and didn't really think about it. But my aunt came in town for Christmas, and asked to come by to see our house. Now, this aunt is very chill and wouldn't have minded the mess, but in my mind, it turned into "MUST BECOME SUPREME HOSTESS. MUST HAVE SPOTLESS HOUSE!" and so the cleaning began. The day after Christmas, Palmer and I actually spent several hours cleaning, sorting through clutter, and organizing the house.

It looked so good, you guys. You don't even know!

And so the aunt, along with my mom and dad, my eldest sister, her husband, and their twins, all came over two days after Christmas for cocktails and appetizers. It went really well! Everyone got the tour (not a big one, cause it's not a big house), I made cocktails for those that wanted them (I make an awesome Old Fashioned), and we hung out. It went so well, in fact, that when friends suggested New Years plans, we offered to host! Luckily this was a small get-together, but still - hosted people for New Years, like a boss! And the house has actually remained fairly clean - there's some dishes that need washing, and some mail that needs looking at, but overall I'm very happy with the status of our abode.

Yesterday we went on a hike, and took Coco along with. It was a nice walk, though very muddy. Coco had a blast - ran through puddles, rolled in poop, just a grand old time overall. But the coolest thing, for me, was seeing a huge number of Eastern Bluebirds. I know they're not exactly rare (population estimated at 22 million, thanks Cornell!), but before yesterday, I'd only ever seen one or two in my lifetime. So it was incredible to walk into a bit of a clearing and see bird after bird fluttering around and realizing that every single one was a bluebird. Near the end of the walk I was almost convinced they were following us - there were a few that kept flying back and forth across our path, and definitely seemed to watching us. Not as blatantly as the sheep in the next pasture, but still. (That was a creepy sheep!)

Since I didn't mention it in my New Years post, Christmas was good. Everyone seemed to like the gifts I got them, and I got some nice stuff in return. Most used is the FitBit One my parents got me. Most squealed over is the penguin Nativity scene from my aforementioned aunt. It is a thing of beauty.

Tomorrow will be laundry and going over to the in-laws to chill. Then Monday is back to work. After so much time off, it'll be weird. But I'll have plenty to keep me busy, so that's good!
sparkfrost: Me! (Snake)
A lot has happened since my last post (checks, shudders) four and a half months ago. But this post is not for a life update! It is for a discussion of what I'd like to work on in 2015. Not a resolution (it's a trap!) but goals and aspirations. So!

1. Write more consistently. I think part of what has made me back away from updating so often is that I now do it for a living. It's hard to spend all day blogging on various topics and come home to do the same. But I miss writing on LJ, and I'm always a little sad that I don't write here more often, so in 2015 I'll be trying to write more consistently.

2. Get back on track, health-wise. Between house-hunting, moving, unpacking, and stress at work, I've gained back about half the weight that I managed to lose two years ago. It's not terrible, I still fit into my jeans, but I want to do better. Like, actually use that gym membership that I pay for, and take my energetic dog on nice long walks. This also means cooking rather than ordering. It's hard to get home after a long day and be motivated to cook, but I enjoy the results, so...

3. Improve my Spanish. I've forgotten a lot of what I once knew, way back when I was almost fluent. I have, and enjoy using, Duolingo, but I've been slacking for a while. So I'd like to practice more often, and improve/expand my vocabulary. This is a slow goal, but it'd be nice to feel a bit better about my comprehension by this time next year.

4. Keep crafting. I have fun when I do it, the trick is to find a project that fascinates me and will prove *useful* to me. Like, the magnetic makeup board was completed in a weekend, but the scarf I'm knitting has been a WIP for over a year. So - find projects that I like and will use, and do them.

I don't want to overwhelm myself, so that's it for goals. We'll see how I do. But hey, I wrote a post for the first time in four months, so that's going well already!
sparkfrost: (Glinda Cocktail)
Once again, I'm trying to read one book per week this year. So I don't forget anything (or have a massive post on my hands come December) I'll be keeping track here throughout the year. Follow along, or wait til the end, whichever you like!

Books! )

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May 2016

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