Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Teaching a dog how to swim

The past couple days we've been taking Sam's dog Slate to a park in Keizer so he can learn how to swim. It is so funny watching a dog try to figure out how to swim. By day 2 he was swimming like a little seal. He still won't get in the river, but he doesn't mind the lake we found. The video quality isn't great because we took it with our camera, but you can still see how great he's doing. Isabel is the other dog in the video. She doesn't care what Slate does as long as she can keep swimming and fetching!

Here is one of his first attempts

And here he is on day two swimming like he's done it all his life. Okay, he's not that good, but he'll be doing really well by mid-June.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's almost June?!

This has been a crazy month. I can't believe June is almost here, although I am loving the warmer weather. My mom was in China for two and a half weeks this month (she arrived home safely on Friday!) and the direct result of her absence was my life speeding up a lot. My sister relies on my mom to help her with nearly everything and with my mom being in another country, much of that fell on me. I don't mind helping my sister out, but it is exhausting. My nephew is 2 and a half now and he has lots to say about the world and his life. I loved spending so much time with him, and I was given a new name, (Nana Annie) but at the end of our days together I found myself ready for a book, some ice cream and a bit of couch time.

On Sunday Jonathan and I went for a hike with my dad and the dog. We went all the way up to the base of Hoodoo only to discover the hike we really wanted to do was still completely snowed in. We went back down to Detroit and hiked the Breitenbush trail. With my mom gone my Dad was working 14+ hour days and I felt like it was important to get him out of his office. Of course when we got back to our house he hopped into his car and headed in to work. At least we tried.
The next day, Monday, I got home from spending a day at the beach with my sister and nephew only to have to go with Jon to rescue his two best friends. They had spent the day drinking and kayaking on the Willamette River. Around 7:30 they tipped over and had quite a dramatic time trying to make it to shore with the kayaks and themselves intact. We didn't know they were drunk until we found them in Keizer River park dripping wet, cold and miserable. Dan was two days back from his honeymoon and I told him I thought he would be a little more responsible when he got married. Sam kept telling us he was so glad his phone worked because he thought for sure they were going to die. These boys are nearing 30, at some point they're going to have to pull themselves together and stop acting like frat boys.

I worked Tuesday and Wednesday, went to my sister's on Thursday, worked Friday and Saturday and went to a birthday party last night. Sam's mom had a big UFC party for her birthday. She likes to knit and she loves UFC (what a combo!) so we watched the fights on a big projection screen in their living room. It was more fun than I thought it would be, and not too bloody.

Now it's Sunday again and Jon's working a short shift as a wayfinder because people are still having trouble finding their way in the new hospital. He gets paid the same as he does for his regular job, only it's time and a half and he gets to stand in the parking garage for 4 hours and tell people which elevator is the correct one to use. Why they don't just put up a sign, I don't know, but we'll take the extra money!

Tomorrow it's off to the beach again to get Jon some shirts for his Washington DC trip, which is fast approaching, and to pick up some things for my sister at her beach house. If Ryan's chemo goes well on the 4th of June they will be headed out to Idaho with Scott. They'll have to come back once a month for chemo, but at least they will get to spend three weeks of each month together as a family.

I am exhausted. May has been a whirlwind of activity and I could really use a vacation. That's not going to happen until August though. We're going camping and we're going to have a huge housewarming/birthday bash August 8th. It's not even June and I already feel like the summer is almost over!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wedded Bliss

This week has been a long and tiring one. On Friday night we had our first wedding of the season! Jonathan's friend Dan got married at the Grand Ballroom in McMinnville. It was a wonderful wedding, lots of fun, good food, I am so glad Dan is happy, but I am exhausted. Jon was in the wedding so the week leading up to the big day was very full for him. It seems like Jon, Sam and Dan were out every night enjoying Dan's last few nights of singledom.

After the speeches I was walking down to the restrooms when Sam came up beside me. He started talking about how his two best friends were married now and how sad he is. Then I asked him about his ex, something I've been wanting to do for a long time. While Sam and I are fairly close (I see him at least once a week, if not more) we're not close enough that I can ask him what the heck happened with his last girlfriend without him giving me an opportunity. Well, opportunity knocked and I took it.

We stood outside the restrooms (lovely place for a conversation, I know) and he explained that he didn't really know what happened. He thought she was the one, he thought he wanted to marry her but now he's glad to be single again because the only happily married couple he knows is Jonathan and me. Mmm, I don't really think that's entirely true, but he was feeling rather sad so I let it pass without comment. I told him Jonathan and I didn't have a perfect marriage, no one does, but not everyone's willing to put that much effort into a relationship and that's fine. Throughout the week people kept asking Sam when he would get married and I could tell he had had it. So I told him Jonathan and I were happy for him if he was happy. Then an older gentleman came up and told Sam he loved his speech and the conversation was over.

It was a strange moment, but every now and then Sam will open up to me and all I can do is try to give him the best advice I can in a very short amount of time. Usually he's drunk when this happens, or well on his way, but I'm pretty sure the copious amounts of So Co he drank throughout the afternoon had worn off by the time we talked. It's always interesting to get serious glimpses of Sam because he's usually happy and jovial. He knows a lot of people, he's super friendly and everyone loves him. When he drops his guard and gets serious it always throws me off balance.

I like all of Jon's friends, but I am the closest with Dan and Sam. Jon's known them for 12 years and I've known them for almost 6 years now. I'm so happy for Dan and his new wife. I teared up during the ceremony, during the speeches, during the first dance ... I never all out cried, but I was emotional for most of the wedding. If Sam ever gets married, I will be ecstatic for him, but I really don't believe that's in the cards for him. So I must remind myself that he is happy being single and I should not ask him if he will ever get married. Marriage is not right for everyone and he's perfect just the way he is.

I'm getting emotional just writing about weddings! I guess it's time to finish up the dishes. Jonathan and Sam want to take the dogs down to the river this afternoon. Hopefully it will be warm!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Last week we got really, really good news. Jonathan was picked to go to the national echo cardiogram conference in Washington DC in June. Basically this is a big convention where techs and doctors can learn about new tools, machines etc. Jonathan will be gone from June 5th - June 10th.

I'm happy for Jonathan because the higher-ups at the hospital wanted to send somebody with seniority, but the direct managers convinced them that Jonathan had a lot of influence and had done a lot for the department. And he gets to go with his good work friend and I know they're going to have lots of fun causing havoc all over DC.

I'm really happy for me because I LOVE having time to myself and I haven't had any since the year we were first married and that was only for a couple days. I love my husband to pieces, but sometimes it's wonderful to have a few days alone.

With Jon out of town I don't have to cook, I don't have to do nearly as much laundry (until he comes back) and it's much easier to keep the house up. When he leaves I tend to revert to college days. I have cereal for dinner, I stay up really, really late, I eat lots of food that I'm not supposed to have and I watch way more stupid TV shows than I do normally. With Jon gone I can turn on MTV, (which makes me feel old) curl up with a book, some chocolate, a beer and just be. Now, granted, I could do this even with Jonathan in the house but it's not as much fun. When he's away, I feel like I'm getting away with something, even though I know he could care less what I'm doing.

I'm going to have 5 entire days to myself and I'm going to cherish every moment. I'm going to have caffeine because there won't be anyone around to tell me not to. And there won't be anyone around to tell me to stop complaining about how uncomfortable I am once the caffeine kicks in and my heart rate sky rockets. There won't be anyone around to tell me that popcorn and ice cream is not nutritional and does not equal dinner. There won't be anyone around to pop into the living room, or bedroom, on the weekend to ask "Have you really been reading for 5 hours straight??" Oh my, it's going to be wonderful.

And here's the best part: No X-Box from June 5th - June 10th. No guns, no shouting into the headphones, no parties at our house, no online parties. I'm going to have days of peacefulness and I am going to treasure them.

BUT - it's probably a good thing he will only be gone for a few days. At the end of our time apart I will miss him, it will be our 3 year anniversary, and I will desperately need a decent meal.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


My dog, Isabel, is a genius. Or at least as smart as your average 2-year-old. The other day I was talking to Jonathan about the dog and who was going to take her outside to play. I spelled the word "out" because I knew if I said it she would be immediately ready to go and would get over-excited. When Isabel gets excited about going somewhere she follows you around the house and yawns. I'm not kidding. Her immediate response to going somewhere is to yawn and yawn and yawn until you put her in the car. And her yawns get bigger and bigger and bigger until you're pretty sure her jaw is going to unhinge if you don't get her outside. So we try not to say any words that may trigger this until we are absolutely ready to go.

Unfortunately certain actions also start the yawning process (putting on shoes or jackets) AND she can now understand some of the words we spell them out. And so the other night when I spelled "out" I was shocked when she jumped up and headed for the stairs. Our strategy now is to spell things backwards or mix the letters up a bit. If we spell the same thing too many times in a row she will pick up on it and learn that whatever we are spelling means she gets to play.

I don't know why I thought getting a border collie would be a good idea. I thought I knew what I was getting into, but I don't really like being outsmarted by my dog on a regular basis. Plus, any dog we get from here on out will seem so stupid. I can usually teach Isabel a new command in an afternoon. All I have to do is repeat it three or four times, give her a treat each time and she's good to go.

Despite all her smarts though, she is impossible to walk on a leash. She will not heel and we cannot get her to heel. Isabel hates being on a leash, she would much rather run free at the dog park, or go swimming, or hiking and I think she is an absolute tyrant when we leash her because she doesn't want to be leashed.

I love Isabel to pieces but my vocabulary is limited around her. Following are the words and phrases she responds to: go, going, out, swim, swimming, river, play, playing, park, Frisbee, ball, leash, come over here, come with me, do you want to, walk, run, find Jon, what's that?, kitty, cat, and car. I'm sure she knows more but that's all I can remember right now.

What's really interesting is how much she's changed since we first got her from the Humane Society. Isabel was terrified of inclines and hills when we first took her on walks and hikes. Now she's a log climbing, river swimming, mountain goat of a dog who loves to be outside. I love spending time with her but some days I wish she would pay less attention to me and what I'm saying.

Right now I'm trying to teach her "What's that noise?! Check perimeter, check perimeter." For some reason she is not picking up on this command, but I am hoping she will get it soon. Part of the problem may be that I don't exactly know how to teach her this one ...

The 11:00 news is on soon. I have to check in on my dangers of getting swine flu! And then I have to tell my dog how much I love her.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Playing catch-up

I didn't realize it's been so long since I posted. The weekends have been so nice I've spent most of my time outside recently.

This past weekend Jonathan and I went to the beach. It was our first trip of 2009 and it was very Oregon-beach-like. It was really sunny on our way to Lincoln City but as soon as we hit the town it fogged over and things got cold and windy. I had visions of lying on the beach in a t-shirt while the dog and Jonathan played around. Instead I curled up behind a log and tried to read while the wind whipped around me. I don't know why I was hoping for a warm day on the beach in Oregon in April. Hope springs eternal, I suppose.

Jonathan spent his time playing in a stream and throwing the Frisbee for the dog. Yes, he is 27 (since Monday!) but he still enjoys the simple things in life. He used rocks, sticks and sand to divert the stream and create new pathways. The dog enjoyed laying on top of, and therefore ruining, all of his new little streams.

Monday night Jonathan's friends came over for an X-Box party. I'll never get over 7 grown men, all of them married, most with children, playing video games for hours on end. I don't mind having his friends over, I just find the situation interesting. All of his friends are polite, nice to me and they usually clean up after themselves. My upstairs smells horrid for a couple days after, but they all have fun and I get to be the laid back wife who doesn't mind having all of the guys over. Maybe the other wives are on to something ...

In other news, I got the green light from all of my doctors regarding conception. I have to switch my thyroid medication in May and I want to wait a couple months after that. My endocrinologist says we can start trying to conceive any time we want, but I'm sticking to the conservative route. I want to know how my body reacts to the new medication before I toss in pregnancy hormones.

Jonathan wants to stick to our original plan of going off birth control in September. I'm pushing for August because I'm already feeling impatient and I think it's going to take us a long time to conceive. He said I can go off birth control and he doesn't even have to know about it unless I get pregnant right away. I vetoed that idea because I think it seems like a dangerous way to proceed. I never want to lie to Jonathan about birth control because it seems like entrapment (even though we are already married!).

I was contemplating a gentle birthing center but the nurse practitioner I am seeing right now said she doesn't feel there is one close enough to a hospital around here. Plus within 2 minutes of being born (or something ridiculous like that) the baby has to be checked for signs of hyperthyroidism and most birthing centers aren't able to do those tests. Now I'm trying to decide if I will use the nurse practitioner I am currently seeing in McMinnville or if I will try to find a new n.p or OBGYN in Salem. I love the nurse I am seeing in Mac and she can be the one who delivers the baby but I'm afraid there may be a price difference if we use Mac hospital. With Jonathan working at Salem hospital one of our benefits is cheaper care. We don't have to pay for ultrasounds and I think part of the hospital fee would be covered as well.

Why am I worrying about all of this now? Because I like to have all of my ducks in a row before I start on something new. And the only way I am going to be able to handle being pregnant and all of the changes that come with a baby is planning and having everything that can be planned ahead settled before I get pregnant. So, my "before I get pregnant this is what I need to know plan" is coming up on the one year mark and soon I will transition into the "oh my stars, we're going off birth control plan."

I love having the option to plan and think things through. I'm viewing this summer as a chance to get myself into shape before I try to get pregnant. I'm doing lots of Wii yoga and taking lots of walks and trying to prepare myself mentally and physically. I'm also viewing this summer as my last hurrah. I know, that's a tad dramatic, life doesn't stop once you have children but it certainly doesn't stay the same either.

I need to start dinner and take the dog out for a walk. It looks like it may rain tonight and for the next few days but I'm hoping the sunshine returns soon!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I found that elusive copy of Little Bee!! While straightening the ARC shelves in the staff room yesterday I found the slim little book. Good thing I decided to clean out my office and then got distracted and decided to clean up the staff room.


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