Sunday, February 25, 2007

Francesca LOVES Auntie Emily

Wouldn't you love the person who took you for LONG walks for three days in a row? As I got ready for work alone on Saturday morning, Francesca sat in front of Emily's closed door, enthusiastically wagging her tail. Then she started whining.

As Emily got ready to go home today, Francesca darted out the door TWICE. I think she didn't want Emily to leave without her on her next journey. However, I would miss her too much - she is my motivation to jog, and my sole remaining pet. Also, Emily's old cat Sabrina would royally say, "We are not amused!"

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My Chia Pet

Emily came to visit me at work today, and it was rather SLOW. That's unusual, but you never can tell in the vet business if it'll be quiet or pandemonium. She did say it was still more interesting to watch me work than if I watched her work - I guess it's not that thrilling to watch someone type on the computer or have conference calls.

One of my patients was a cat with really bad mats. We see this from time to time, and they come to see me and the groomer - I administer the sedation, and she administers the haircut. I had never seen a cat like this before, though - it had DREAD LOCKS. Seriously, like 7 long hanging matted ribbons of fur all around its neck. I took pictures, but I didn't get permission to publish them here, so use your imagination.

As the groomer stripped this little guy naked (officially it's a "lion cut" - fur around the head and the tip of the tail, and the rest is BARE) - huge piles of hair were being tossed into the trash. I grabbed my dental model, strategically placed the tufts of shorn fur, and made my own new kitten. Behold:

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Holiday at my House

My dear sister Emily called me to ask if she could spend a few vacation days at my house. To get away from it all - work for her has been crazy, and it's going to get worse before it gets better (meaning training new people). What a compliment, that she would come to my house. Of course, the free hugs and kisses from the little people that she hasn't seen for months don't hurt either.

Anna got off the bus today, ran past her dad and me to smack into Emily with a full body hug. The dog remembered her, too, and enthusiastically welcomed her with wriggles and licks. It's a good reminder that, yeah, life here is pretty good.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Blue Monday

Mondays I am "off," -- you know, off from that place where I get paid to work. Lately, my Mondays have gotten so busy, though, something's got to give. Kareen always says that those without children think that we moms sit around, watching Oprah and eating bon-bons on our days off. I know Joey's bon-bon habit has really gotten in the way of her blogging, now that she has 3 kids and a husband taking some time off. She must be putting Whitman's out of business.

Anyway, Mondays are the days I always do laundry - like all of it, in one big go. Otherwise, I start the laundry here and there, and maybe even let it sit in the dryer getting wrinkly, but that's it. I try not to start a load unless I have an exit strategy - a roadmap of how and when the clothes will make it back into the drawers and closets. Always good to plan ahead when tackling something big and significant like laundry, don't you think? I do not invade the sovereign clothes hamper without a plan. I also do grocery shopping on Monday, since I avoid the grocery store AT ALL COSTS on Sundays. Have you been there on Sunday? Congested aisles, long lines, empty shelves - no thank you. Of course, I really can't complain to those of you who work full time, because I guess that is when you get to shop, or at dinnertime on weeknights (also ghastly).

I also make sure I exercise on Mondays, either taking the dog for a jog or going to the gym. With all those bon-bons I'm consuming, I have to try to get some balance!

In the last month, we have added ballet class on Mondays. It's at a great time, immediately after school. But then its rush home, help Anna with homework, rush to make a quick early dinner, then rush out the door with Anth at 6 pm to go to our Spanish class. By the time I get home, its after 10, I'm exhausted but all keyed up, and the laundry is incomplete. The babysitter got the kids bathed, to bed on time, and fed the dog, but all the dishes are on the counter and no lunches have been made.

Man, this is a whiny post. Actually, today work was really great, I got all my surgeries done early. 5 procedures went so smoothly I was almost suspicious! I got to leave a little early, so the kitchen got cleaned up and the laundry got put away. In future, I may have to start the laundry ordeal on Sunday, though. A little pre-emptive diplomacy.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Every month I read my posts from a year ago, and I'm always amazed at what I was doing a year ago, what I've already forgotten, and how much the kids have changed.

This month, I can see what was going on TWO years ago, too. We got Claudio (damn, I miss that cat). I went to a controversial memorial for the Iraq war - now, public sentiment has turned against the war. Montana was alive and thriving. Anna was Colin's age, and Colin-O was a baby in diapers and suits that snapped in the crotch.

A year ago, my Uncle Colin died. We are thinking of you, Paula.

I can't believe how long I have been a blogger. I love my blog, I love keeping it, I love hearing from all of you, and I can't imagine my life without it. I also love how many blogs I like to think that I inspired; I look forward to all of your posts, too. Now, we just need to get Beverly in on the action!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

This is a table loaded down with love. I took this pre-dawn picture of all the V-day gifts and cards put on the table before anyone else got up. There were cards and chocolate all around. I even let my children eat one piece of chocolate before breakfast. Boy, they felt loved, and their breath was so sweet.

New post at my food blog, in case you hadn't noticed.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Seeing is Believing

As I left the rec center after working out on Monday morning, I pulled out my cell phone to call Anthony. While I sat in the parking lot talking to him, I noticed something odd in the parked car next to me. There was a small infant sleeping, still strapped in her car seat, partially covered with a jacket. No one was around. It was kind of chilling.

"There is a baby left alone in the car next to me," I told Anthony. "Someone has left it there." She wasn't in distress; she was sleeping quietly. I could see her little curled up hand poking out from under the jacket, and she was breathing calmly. She was tiny, small enough to need one of those head bumpers inside her Graco carseat.

I talked to Anthony a while longer, hoping someone would show up. I have been tempted to just run in to a place while doing errands when my baby was sleeping peacefully in the car, but I would never leave them in the car while I did an entire work-out. It was a cool February day, but this was just wrong. Babysitting is available at the rec center for cheap. There was another empty toddler car seat in the car; this person might even have the older child inside. What if this baby woke up and no one was there to comfort her?

By this time at least 6 minutes had passed. I hung up with Anthony and dialed the police. They took the car's license plate number from me, and dispatched an officer. When the officer pulled in, as instructed I flagged him down. "Do you need me to stay?" I asked, after giving my information. "No, you'd better leave so you don't get involved," he said.

Right-oh. I hopped in my car and prepared to back out when the officer tapped my window.

"It's a doll," he mouthed.

No way! I hopped out, and once I leaned into the window and shielded my eyes, I could see that indeed, the domed little head had not a hair on it and had a plastic sheen. But I had seen her breathing, that's how I knew she was OK! Well, it must've just been me breathing, although she was very realistic and in a real car seat with real accessories.

So, red-faced, I jumped in my car again, and drove off as fast as I could legally! I'm so glad, in retrospect, that I was wrong, but faced with the same situation, I would call again, of course after checking much more closely.


We had a new instructor at our Spanish class, and it was MUCH BETTER. He was not as charming or enthusiastic, but he was pleasant and very methodical, and we went over the basics and practiced them over and over. We didn't even get to verb conjugation! Some of my classmates had obviously bonded with Christina and were sad that she was gone, but I think everyone got a lot more out of it. Plus, there were handouts to follow! Anthony was much more confident after this class, and we have been practicing a little between us.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Photos by Request

It took a lot longer to download these photos the new blogger way than what I was used to, so now they are all out of order and I have no patience to rearrange them. So, you will see: Anna and Colin getting really excited about the Zoo train ("The Polar Express!"); leaving the Ft. Worth Zoo (click on it to really check out Colin's crack!); excited Colin and pensive Anna riding the train; my two sleepy-heads, sharing the end of the table for breakfast (for some reason they both want to sit there, and they both call it the "middle" even though they know its the END); and, having way too much fun with David and Deedra on their anniversary!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Pet Sitting, with Qualifiers

At my work, lots of us take care of each other's animals while we are gone (like saintly Stacy taking care of Francesca last weekend, for which I bought her a Hefeweizen pony keg!)

One staff member is planning a trip soon to Thailand, and her beloved chihuahua is staying with another coworker.

This coworker informed the traveler today that her partner (who sleeps in another room due to snoring) loves the chihuahua and wants her to sleep with him this time.

"Does he sleep naked?" the Chih's owner asked.

"Uh, yes," said the coworker.

"Well, ya'll better give her a bath before you give her back to me," she said.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mas on Espanol

Update on the Spanish class: we finally got an email from the instructor at 11 pm last night stating she wasn't going to use a text, but was going to get some handouts from websites. She felt sure that we all had textbooks on Spanish from college or previous sources, and asked us to dig those out and bring them to the next class to prepare.

Then at 5 pm we got an email from the informal class administrator, apologizing for the confusion, and saying we would have a new instructor who had taught the course before, and that a make-up class would be added.

The saga continues...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

No Bueno

Life's been hectic (hence the lack of posting), and to add to it all, Anthony and I have decided to take a Spanish class on Monday nights at the University. Our first class was this week.

We were standing with the other students, milling outside the classroom door, when our instructor showed up. "Hello, I'm Patricio!" she said. "Not really! Patricio is a man's name. I'm Christina, and I'll be teaching the class." Well, Anthony selected this particular class based on Patricio's bio, thinking he would be ideal for teaching neophytes from his background. We filed into the desks. "Buenas Noches," said Christina, followed by a long sentence in rapid Spanish. We twittered nervously.

"All of you have had some Spanish, yes? This class is just to loosen you up?"

No, this class is for beginners, we told her.

"Yes, beginning conversation, which means you have some background?"

Uh, no, beginning Spanish for beginners.

"Oh, that is not what Patricio told me. Are you sure?"

Fortunately, someone brought the class description from the catalog with them and read to her, "...a class for those with no prior knowledge of Spanish. Emphasis will be on correct pronunciation and basics..."

So now, she believed us, and then told us a long explanation of her background. She is from Peru and just earned her PhD in social psychology (not language). Then she told us she would introduce herself in Spanish, and we would go around the room and do the same, saying where we were from, what our profession was, and why we wanted to learn espanol.

There were 12 of us in the class, and this took TWO HOURS because when someone said, "I want to learn Spanish because I am taking a class in Mexico City this summer and I am learning photography," she translated the whole thing and explained it, even verbs like "will be taking." Ditto for "because my sister is getting married in Venezuela and I want to speak with the family," and "because I took Spanish in high school and want to remember it," or "my finance has business in Mexico and I am tired of going and him doing all the talking." Never mind that we didn't know articles, or pronunciation, or conjugation, she plowed ahead and taught us complex sentences, and had us all repeat them.

I said I wanted to learn Spanish because I live in Texas (yo vivo in Texas), and Anthony said for his job (para trabajo). Keep it simple, stupid.

Christina was actually very charming and enthusiastic, but we were a little disappointed at how under prepared she was (although it wasn't her fault - apparently Patricio threw this class at her the day before). She had no handouts and couldn't even tell us what text we would be using, but said she would email it to us once she had a plan.

At the break, Anthony asked if she would go over the alphabet, and she did, emphasizing pronunciation, and that was great. Then in the last 10 minutes of class, she quickly showed us the conjugation of 4 different verbs (amar, beber, cantar, and tener) without telling us what these verbs mean, or explaining the different types of verbs (tener is quite irregular), or even telling us what the different verbs were for (I, you, they??). She also showed us all the pronouns without saying specifically what they were, either. I could keep up from all the lessons I've had in Latin and Italian. I whispered to Anthony I'd explain when we got home, because he, like most of the class, was left behind.

This class is quite expensive for us, since we are paying 2 tuitions AND a babysitter. I hope it gets better next week. Por favor.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The house seems quiet to me

Francesca is staying with my friend and coworker, Stacy, this weekend while we went to Ft. Worth. I'm sure she is having a big time with Stacy's four canines.

"Did you miss Francesca?" I asked Anthony on Friday after I dropped her off.

"I did when I was cooking!" he said. "I dropped so much on the floor, and I had to pick it up myself!"

Thursday, February 01, 2007

100 days

I woke Anna up early yesterday morning, then left to quiet the whistling kettle. When I returned, Anna was on the floor, pulling her pyjamas off. This is very unusual - typically I have to undress and dress her while she reluctantly leaves slumber.

"Wow, Anna, you're really helping today!" I said.

She said, "Its the 100th day of school today. I don't want to be late!"

Anna's school has been preparing for the this day for a long time. They've been counting each school day since Day 1. She had to bring 100 of some small item for the day, something that would fit in a brown bag. She easily counted out 100 pistachios.

There were lots of fun activities for the 100th day. They had a book with 10 pages, and went to 10 different stations, where they stamped the book 10 times on each page. They counted to 100 by tens. They looked at each others 100 items. It was a great way to help the kids understand such a big number, really get a feel for it. I have often struggled with trying to explain to the kids what a hundred, a thousand, a million really represent. They also feel a sense of accomplishment for going to school for so many days (not counting sick days, of course).

This morning, Anna was a little sluggish as usual getting out of bed. I told her, "C'mon, its the 101st day of school!" Somehow, not so exciting.