Thursday, August 12, 2010

Taste Test: J&D's Ultimate Bacon Lover's Gift Pack: Part 1: Bacon Salt

Emerging from hiatus to share our latest adventure with food additives. A while back, Ryan found and ordered the J&D's Ultimate Bacon Lover's Gift Pack (how could he not??). A few weeks ago we cracked it open and performed our first taste test, starting with three of the ten varieties of Bacon flavored Salt.

Other items awaiting us in the Gift Pack:
Bacon flavored lip balm
Bacon flavored envelopes (or MMM-velopes)
Bacon flavored popcorn
Bacon flavored sunflower seeds
*Bacon flavored mayonnaise
Bacon flavored ranch dip mix

*Product most likely will not be sampled thanks to it's 2 day layover in our mailbox. Sorry folks, we'll eat a lot of gross things, but I draw the line at food poisoning.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

USA v England with Legos

Somehow one's failure is only magnified when recreated in slow motion with Legos.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Taste Test: Soda Marinade Series: Part 3

We now conclude our tour of soda marinades. Last stop: A&W Sauce.

Part 1

Part 2

Surprisingly, I'd say the A&W was the least offensive of the three marinades. Not that it still wasn't bad. Thanks to my helper tasters Steanso, Paul, Erin, and especially Ryan for braving all three!

Ryan has ordered me a secret gift set that should provide an entire summer's worth of tasting adventures. You are in for a treat and I am....probably not.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Clean dog

I got all gung ho this afternoon to bathe the dogs. Lucy in particular, considering every time I looked at her recently I could practically hear the flies buzzing, was in desperate need of a dip in the tub.

My plan was to get Scout in the bathroom first, because I wasn't sure if

1) She would actually go into the bathroom
2) She would actually get into the tub
3) She wouln't freak the hell out when I ran the water

As it turned out, we barely covered step 1. She was frightened of the towels I had placed on the floor, and when I tried to lead her in by her collar, her defense mechanism was to hit the deck.

Taking a different tactic, I went to get the mini-marshmallows to attempt to lure her into the bathroom. I didn't honestly think this was going to work, but it was worth a shot. After feeding her a couple of treats, I tossed one into the tub to see what would happen, but that only resulted in the sudden appearance of a black lab in the bath.

I gave up and washed Lucy.

So at least Lucy is clean. Right now she mostly smells like wet dog, which isn't the best odor, but at least the flies have disappeared. I haven't given up on Scout. I spent some time after Lucy was washed trying to just get her to come smell the wet towels and realize that I hadn't killed Lucy by hosing her down.

I think we'll eventually get there. I have faith that it can be done. I'm just glad it isn't Jeff the Cat.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

10 Years

Tomorrow, the 28th of April, is Ryan's and my 10th wedding anniversary.

Ryan and I met at a party my freshman year at Trinity University in San Antonio. I had been randomly placed with roommates (hi Shannon and Erica!) that had gone to high school with Ryan, who was attending the University of Texas here in Austin. Ryan was down in San Antonio for the weekend visiting his brother Jason, who was a fellow Trinity Tiger (rawr).

We only chatted for a bit that night, and while I thought he was super cute, I didn't quite know what to make of this tall, *cough* slightly inebriated friend of my roommates who needed a tree for support and seemed to be trying to focus through my head to a point about a foot behind me.

While subsequent meetings went much better than our first introduction, they were few and far between. I only saw him once more that year and twice our sophomore year, but he made an impression on me and I looked forward to our rare meetings.

The stars finally aligned our junior year when Shannon, Erica and I went up to Austin for fall break to visit Shannon's then boyfriend and now husband Josh and to celebrate Erica's birthday. We officially began dating October 28, 1995.

After dating semi-long distance (Austin is only an hour away from San Antonio, and I don't think we missed a single weekend visit) for 2 and a half years, I moved to Austin post graduation. For those of you doing the math, yes, we both are members of the Victory Lap Club and each did 5 years of college.

After 2 years of co-habitation, we decided to make it official. On April 28, 2000 we tied the knot.

This is the tough part. I have a difficult time putting into words what Ryan means to me. I am so thankful that he entered my life at such a young age and I'm even more thankful that he is still with me today. He got me through some really rough times. Hospital stays, trips to the ER, Arizona. Things that would have been unbearable without his company.

There have been wonderful times as well. Living in Austin, buying a house, raising three crazy dogs and a cantankerous cat, spending time with family and friends, and just spending time together. Ryan makes every day more enjoyable, no matter what is going on in our lives.

It's been a great 10 years - I love you, Ryan!

1996. Ryan is making the exact same face that his Wii Mii makes

Halloween 1997

Christmas 2000 - Our first as a married couple. Also: Jeff the Cat

March 2005 - My 30th birthday in San Diego

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Taste Test: Soda Marinade Series: Part 2

What you've all been waiting for: Part 2 of our Soda Marinade Taste Test

Bon appetit

(Part 1 Here)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ryan!

A post which deserves to be much longer will unfortunately be abbreviated because I am typing with only my left hand. Troubles strikes again! The elephant table that used to live in the bedroom got banished to the hallway to make room for the new exercise bike. I took one look at it there and said, "I'm going to smack my leg on that".

Sure enough.

The elephant heads that make up the legs of the table are right at shin level. I am now using my right hand to apply ice pressure to the leg.


Today is Ryan's birthday! We had a fun party for him this weekend and will celebrate more this evening. I hope he enjoys the alpaca I got him, although I don't think Scout likes it too much.

Ryan, I hope you have a wonderful day. I love, love, love you and couldn't ask for a better partner in crime!

Here is a great post from Chronological Snobbery listing Ryan's best posts on his retired League of Melbotis blog.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oh, the Carnage

I haven't done a dialysis post in a while, and it's been a semi-interesting week at the clinic, so here goes. If you are at all squeamish about blood, I'd skip part 2 of this one. We'll catch you next time.

Part 1:
So, Monday morning I knew right off the bat was going to be troublesome. My alarm went off, I couldn't find my glasses, and I slipped my hoodie on backwards so that the hood was covering my face. These two events incidentally are independent of each other. It's always dark when I'm getting dressed so the glasses wouldn't have helped. I ended up having to put my contacts in which I don't like to do before dialysis because it wastes time when I'm getting ready and on the off chance I can actually sleep during treatment, they make my eyes feel funny.

Don't ask me what any of this has to do with how treatment goes and maybe I'm just superstitious, but it seems like something almost always goes wonky when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

Sure enough, there was a problem.

Dialysis does two major things, as do your kidneys. Firstly, it cleans your blood of things you don't want building up in there like potassium and phosphorus. As much as you hear about how good for you certain fruits and veggies are because potassium is good for you, if that potassium doesn't get filtered out it could build up in your system and kill you.

Not to get too technical, but by "filtered out" I mean "pee".

This is where we come to part 2 of the function of dialysis. Most people on dialysis have a significantly reduced ability to urinate. For some folks, like yours truly, it just doesn't happen at all.


This is one of the most difficult adjustments people have to dialysis. You aren't allowed to drink very much fluid because you can't get rid of it and it seeps into your tissue which is really hard on your heart. Dialysis removes this fluid for you, but this removal in and of itself is hard on your body so you're not supposed to add very much between treatments.

The amount of fluid to be removed is entered into your dialysis machine prior to treatment and is determined by the amount of weight you have gained between sessions. Stay with me, this is going somewhere, I promise.

Monday after my treatment, I hopped on the scale to measure my post weight and document it on the clinic clipboard. I was a full kilogram (Dialysese is sophisticatedly metric) over where I should have been after dialyzing. One kilo may not sound like a big deal, but I regularly try to only consume 2 kilos worth of fluid between treatments. That means I had to cut in half the small amount I allow myself to drink already. I was not a happy camper.

It was a thirsty couple of days. I still don't know what went wrong. It probably wasn't anyone's fault as I may have just gotten a bad number from the scale on my pre treatment weigh in. However, I was still angry like the Hulk.

Troubles Smash.

Part 2:

Today was a completely different story. Nothing was really any different than usual, but I came to the realization of how completely unfazed I have become upon seeing blood gushing from my arm.

The clinic was short staffed on dialysis techs this morning, so much so that the clinic manager was acting as shift nurse and my usual shift nurse, we'll call her, oh, Lucy, was having to do tech duties.

A dialysis tech is the individual that puts the needles in your arm, takes them out at the end of treatment, and basically monitors you throughout your stay. The nurses have other jobs like taking vitals and distributing medications and don't do any of this.

So, poor Lucy, who I absolutely adore - she's worked there the entire 3.5 years I've been at this clinic and is totally competent, funny, nice, etc - was completely thrown off her game. Enter Troubles to make her day even more fun!

The techs are used to me and my bleeding issues. I am on Coumadin, a blood thinner, and also take a baby aspirin once a day. This means when they remove the 14 gauge (just over 2 mm diameter to give you an idea. they're pretty big as needles go) needles from my arm, it's a little like the Shining.

So, yeah, Lucy was freaking out a bit. I came to the realization as I calmly assisted with the switching out of gauze pads that to new eyes, this was a horrific scene. To me, however, it was just the average Wednesday.

We did eventually get the gushing under control, but the scene was a bit grizzly and I kind of looked like I'd been in a bad accident.

I wished Lucy an uneventful rest of the day before I left. I hope that the clinic gets its s@#$ together and makes sure that enough techs are going to show up so that she doesn't have to do that again. Or at least doesn't have to work with me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nice day

Hello. I feel like I should post something since I haven't created a substantial entry in a few weeks.

Not too much going on. We're almost to the end of Steans family birthday season. Karen, Jason, and I all have March birthdays and Ryan's is coming up in April.

I had a very nice birthday weekend. We went to Peter Pan mini golf Saturday, at which Ryan most assuredly kicked my ass. The weather was great and we had a good time. After the golfing, we headed to Trudy's where Heather and I proceeded to get shnookered on Mexican martinis. Those things are deadly.

Ryan and I are tentatively planning on executing Part 2 of the Marinade challenge Thursday night, so hopefully I'll have that ready to go sometime next week.

What else? Not a whole lot. I think Lucy is hungry. She's looking at me like Stains the Dog:

Hope everyone is having a good day!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Today is my Birthday

Thanks to Nicole for the picture. I think it speaks for itself.

Thanks also for all the good birthday wishes on Facebook, e-mail, and by phone. Also to my parents who came to take me to lunch. The best present is getting to hear from/ being able to spend time with friends and family today. Here's to year 35!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Birthday to Jason

Just a quick post to wish my brother-in-law, Jason, a Happy Birthday! I hope you finally figured out that people are not wearing green because they heard it was your favorite color.

This traumatized kitty would also like to wish you a Happy Birthday. And also desperately wishes to escape the Phantom Zone.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Taste Test: Soda Marinade Series: Part 1

You may remember this picture from a thrilling post I did about a trip to the grocery store:

Well my friends, you are in in for a treat. Ryan and I recently purchased each and every one of the above mouthwatering soda marinades. They will be featured in our new taste test series.

First up: Dr Pepper Marinade (Thanks to Nathan for pointing out there is, in fact, no period in Dr Pepper)

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I'm going to take another shot at this live blogging thing. I figure, if I'm going to already be watching the Oscars, I could at least be doing something moderately constructive.

A word of warning. I'm not planning on editing this bad boy before I publish it, just so you know. I want to get to bed at a decent hour.

The ceremony doesn't start for another 2 hours, but E Exclamation Point is covering the arrivals. It is apparently pouring rain so all red carpet activities are taking place under tents.

Ugh, the E! (EEEEE!!!!) crew is so annoying I refuse to write about it.

So the Oscars have a few changes this year. They are going with 2 hosts, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. This could go one of two ways: it could actually be funny because these are funny guys, or it could be a scripted banter/wild and crazy guys disaster. We shall see.

The other major alteration is the expansion of the Best Picture category to include 10 films. My reservations here. I'm not going to rehash this. What's done is done, but I will say I was delighted to see Up and District 9 get nods. If McSteans was running the show, one of these 2 would win, but we're not, so they won't. No one ever listens to me.

Of the nominations this year, I've seen:
District 9
The Hurt Locker
An Education
Something I can't remember so it must have been awesome

Didn't get around to seeing:
The Blind Side
Up in the Air

Was on Deck on my Netflix queue but I guess they ran out:
A Serious Man

Oh yeah! Inglorious Basterds was the one I forgot. It was good, I didn't mean to imply I didn't like it, it's just that that's what happens when you have 10 movies nominated.

So I haven't seen a lot of the acting nominations, actually. One from each category except for Supporting Actress, of which I haven't seen any of the performances. I hear everything but Best Actress is pretty much a done deal. Mo'Nique, Christoph Waltz, and Jeff Bridges should all have their speeches ready.

HOLY COW Ryan Seacrest is short. This is brand new information, I know.

Sorry, I said I wasn't going to acknowledge E!!!'s coverage, but I got distracted.

Ah geez, Peter Sarsgasrd shaved his head. Not a good look, buddy. (For him. There are many people who can work that look. He is not one of them) I hope it's for a movie.

AAAAARG, E. They are using football analysis style arrows to discuss the ladies' dresses. Classy.

Jake Gyllenhaal must be tiny - I had no idea. The Seacrest side by side comparison is giving him away.

UGH only in Hollywood. I just heard someone marvel that "At 45 Sandra Bullock is better than ever!". I very seldom play the sexism card, but you would never hear that comment made about a man. Fact.

Sarah Jessica Parker talking about her genealogy show "Who do You Think You Are", which is a total rip off of the great PBS series "Faces of America".

Ok, the drawn dress analysis arrows are hysterical because they are essentially pointing at the actresses boobs. Nice.

There's George Clooney. You know, I didn't see Up in the Air, so I could be totally wrong about this, but I really wish his Best Actor nomination had gone to Sharlto Copley from District 9 or Sam Rockwell from Moon (which was criminally ignored by the Academy). Nothing against Clooney, but it seems like he's played this part before.

What a strange combo of people: George Clooney, Queen Latifa, and Adam Shankman

Queen Latifa looks gorgeous btw.

Yep, there's the boob pointer again.

Jeff Bridges. I can't wait for The Dude to give his acceptance speech.

It's almost time to switch over to ABC for the pre-show. Not that it's going to be any better than Eee!

Ok, here we go!

Old Oscar arrival footage

Chick from the View; Kathy Ireland (??), some editor from Entertainment Weekly

Wow, Kathy is awkward

They have all the Supporting Actresses lined up. Wow they are really playing up the competition aspect. No one seems like they want to participate in this.

Clooney high fiving the mundanes.

Clooney with his flavor of the week who doesn't speak Engligh

Sandra Bullock's dress is awesome. She looks nervous

UUUUUGH Kathy Ireland -- I'm getting second hand embarassment. They couldn't have gotten anyone else for this?

Is Morgan Freeman eating something?

Recap of movies the last time 10 movies were nominated. I'm embarassed I haven't heard of most of these.

GEEZ I'm tired of seeing Jennifer Lopez. Maybe she was just the most willing to give interviews.

Sarah Jessica Parker looks like a walking spray tan accident.

It's hilarious to hear actors parroting the same answers on ABC that they gave to the E(eeeeee!)! correspondents.

I don't want to hear about Whoopi Goldberg's leakage. (That was a commercial, just so you know)


Kate Winslet. I can't believe she's my age. Need more Oil of Olay.

I think ABC knows what they are dealing with. We haven't seen very much of Kathy "no I'm not reading from the monitors what would give you that impression?" Ireland.

Taylor Lautner is such a cheeseball. HAHAHAHA 10 second interview. Good call.

Chris March (Project Runway Season 5?) made Meryl Streep's dress. That is awesome.

I know this statement is a no brainer, but this new JLo movie looks horrible.

Show is starting now...

Oh, how embarassing, they have all the best actor and actress nominees on stage. Awk.....ward.

HAHAHAHA Neil Patrick Harris! YAY!! Good call.

I guess they wanted to recreate Wolverine's opening number from last year, but didn't think Baldwin or Martin could belt it out like Neil.

Here come the hosts.

I guess RDJ is taking over sunglasses duties from Jack Nicholson.

This double host thing is going ok, I suppose. I guess it's no less funny than a single host would be.

Wow.....George Clooney does not look like he wants to be there.

Sandra Bullock won a Razzie last night, ya'll. I'm just sayin'.

Geeeeez, Clooney looks pissed!! They need to stop cutting to him.

Best Supporting Actor


and because that means I get to see James McAvoy because he's in Christopher Plummer's clip. Ahem.

Wow, Stanley Tucci is a creeper in The Lovely Bones. Which I guess is the point.

Winner: Christoph Waltz (yay!)

Ryan Reynolds introducing The Blind Side

Best Animated Feature
Cameron Diaz, Steve Carell presenting

Dug!!! I hope Up wins! Tough category, though. Fantastic Mr. Fox was also fantastic.

Winner: Up!

Best Original Song
Amanda Seyfried, Miley Cyrus presenting

Guess they're not doing live performances this year. I guess if you want to cut down the length of the show, but I do miss hearing the songs.

I really need to see Princess and the Frog.

Nine looked so bad.

Ryan just said, "Ryan Bingham did that? I'm gonna go see that movie!" re: Crazy Heart

And Ryan Bingham wins!

Chris I mean PINE to introduce District 9 (yay D9!!)

There's Sharlto! Shaaaaarrltoooooo

Ooh, I didn't think this dinner thing through very well. Ryan and I chose shrimp and I'm going to have shrimpy hands. Could make blogging difficult. Thanks to Ryan, btw for handling dinner!

Best Screenplay, Original
Robert Downey Jr., Tina Fey presenters

That is a gigantic bow, RDJ. Maybe he's going to use it for his getaway.

Winner: The Hurt Locker

I have instructed Ryan to bring lots of napkins along with the shrimpies.

Molly Ringwald, Matthew Broderick to give tribute to John Hughes, who passed away last year

John Hughes montage!

Awww that was sweet

Hey, it's all the John Hughes kid actors!

Samuel L. Jackson introducing Up

OMG just watching this is going to make me cry. That soundtrack....UGH.

Best Animated Short

Doesn't Pixar always win this?

Guess not! They're not even nominated this year

Wallace and Gromit!

Winner: Logorama

Best Documentary Short

The only Documentary I saw last year was Anvil: the story of Anvil and that wasn't even nominated.

Winner: Music by Prudence

WHAAAAAAT???? This woman totally just came up and Kanyed the director!! Who is this woman? Maybe she is involved in the movie somehow? Wow, they are playing her off. The funny thing is, Ryan just said before this, "This is invariably when something goes off the rails"

Best Live Action Short Subject

Winner: The New Tennants

Ben Stiller, dressed as a Na'vi: Best Makeup
Wow....this is going on WAY too long

Staaaarr Treeeeeeek

Never thought I'd say this, but it wasn't a big year for makeup

Winner: Star Trek

Ben Stiller is keeping his promise of standing far out of camera range so as not to demean the winner's acceptance speech.

Jeff Bridges to introduce A Serious Man, I'm guessing because of his work as The Dude

Best Adapted Screenplay
Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams presenting

Winner: Precious

Yuuuuuuuck my keyboard is getting shrimpy

Queen Latifa to introduce clips from the Governor's Awards........Bathroom Break!

Oh boy, it's Robin Williams. How long will we be here? Oh wow he's not adlibbing!
Best Supporting Actress

I think they just leave Penelope Cruz's name on the ballot every year.

Winner: Mo'Nique
Wow, her clip was amazing. I'll have to watch that when it comes on cable. Great speech, too.

Colin Firth to introduce An Education. Great movie!

I have no idea how we're doing on time. We're only half way through the allotted 3 hours, but it seems like there's a heck of a lot more show to get through.

HAHAHA they just caught some dude running across stage

Best Art Direction
Sigourney Weaver presenting

Winner: Avatar

Sorry I'm falling behind on the commentary, but Scout keeps having coughing fits. This may have to be cut short if she keeps this up.

Best Costumes
Tom Ford, Sarah Jessica Parker presenting

Oooooh, Bright Star! Good movie :) For the ladies that is. Dudes wouldn't like it.

Winner: The Young Victoria

Why do the costume designers always have the weirdest outfits on?

Charlize Theron presenting Precious

Tribute to horror movies

Hee - Steve and Alec recreating Paranormal Activity
Hahahaha that was awesome!

Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner to introduce the horror montage.
Oh geez, Kristen is so awkward

Some of this is entertaining, but if you're trying to cut down the show's running time, this is a good place to start.

Gah this is going on WAY too long.

Tarantino liked it, surprise surprise.

Best Sound Editing
Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick presenting; Morgan Freeman narrating a demonstration video using The Dark Knight

Oh, Zac, your hair is insane

Winner: The Hurt Locker

Oh holy cow, I take back what I said about Zac's hair. This guy wins.

Best Sound Mixing
Winner: The Hurt Locker

Geez, I'm eating a ton of Goldfish

Elizabeth Banks in the thankless job of discussing the Sci Tech awards. You know, the ones no one cares about! Which is why they don't televise it.

John Travolta presenting Inglorious Basterds

Killin' Natzees!

We've got an hour left before we're running overtime. Let's bring it home, Alan Shankman! (show producer)

Best Cinematographer
Sandra Bullock presenter. I love, LOVE, her dress

Winner: Giant Smurf movie

CCH Pounder!! She is awesome. She does great work as Amanda Waller in the animated DC stuff

Demi Moore introducing the In Memoriam

James Taylor is singing.

LOL love whoever put in the clip of Dom DeLuise from The Muppet Movie!

Awww, Natasha Richardson. Damn, that was sad.

Best Original Score!
JLo, Sam Worthington presenting

This is my favorite category. Up better win. Michael Giacchino's work on this movie AND on LOST often moved me to tears.

Cool! They're using dancers from So You Think You Can Dance! Nice tie in, Adam Shankman ;)

Ya'll, as much as I love dance...this is a little dorky. You just ruined the UP soundtrack with your popping and locking!

Winner: Michael Giacchino! YES!!!

**Ryan just had to take Scout to the emergency vet. She coughed up something that looked like it had blood in it. Ugh. Thank you to Ryan for taking her! I'm feeling guilty for not going with them. I really hope she's ok.

Best Giant Blue People, I mean, Best Special Effects
Bradley Cooper, Gerard Butler presenting

Winner: Blue Cat People

Jason Bateman introducing Up in the Air

Best Documentary Feature
Matt Damon presenting

I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't seen any of these. I'm also embarrassed to admit it took me 3 tries to spell embarrassed correctly.

Winner: The Cove Fisher.....Stevens? Weird. I didn't know he was involved in this.

Wow, they are really starting to play people off super fast.

Best Editing
Tyler Perry presenting

Hee, Steve and Alec backstage in the world's largest Snuggie

Winner: The Hurt Locker

I hope we're getting close to the end.

Keanu Reeves introducing The Hurt Locker

Eeesh, this is going to run over. Why are the commercials so long??

Best Foreign Language Film
Pedro Almodóvar and Quentin Tarantino

Haven't seen any of these, either

Winner: El Secreto de Sus Ojos; Argentina

Kathy Bates presenting Avatar

UUUUUUGH another commercial. Make. It. End.

Straight into Best Actor clips

OH....CRAP THEY'RE DOING THIS AGAIN. They're having a friend tell a story about each of the nominees. THIS IS SUCH A TIME WASTER. UGH NO ONE CARES.

I do like this friend thing better than random past winners. At least they're telling personal stories.

Kate Winslet, presenter

Winner: Jeff Bridges

I can't believe how many of these winners I've typed before the actual announcement. Ha, love Jeff Bridges. The Dude Abides!

Oh no....he's rambling. Maybe he had a few White Russians before the ceremony.

*Blah blah blah You're So Great Actor Tributes*

HA Michael Sheen, you are awesome (ETA - LOL I typed Martin Sheen last night. Hey, it was late)

WOW, Peter Sarsgaard just spoiled his own movie

Gabourey Sidibe is such a sweetheart

Best Actress
Sean Penn, presenter

Winner: Sandra Bullock
Wow, it's weird to see Jesse James at the Oscars

Classy speech, Sandy

Best Director
Barbara Streisand, presenter

Winner:Katheryn Bigelow

Guess we know what won Best Picture

Best Picture
Tom Hanks, presenter
Winner: The Hurt Locker

Hahaha her soldier actors are freaking out. I was still sad Anthony Mackie didn't get a nomination. He was great.

We made it to the end! Wish I'd eaten something else besides shrimp and Goldfish for dinner. Goodnight everyone!

UPDATE: Scout is totally fine. She is home and sleeping.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Snow Day


OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG It's snowing!!!!!

It is snowing in Austin, TX. I can't believe it. All week, the forecast has said snow and I said "PEOPLE, it is NOT going to SNOW." It never snows here. Ever.

Not only is it snowing, it's snowing in FAR south Austin (we're almost to Slaughter), it's snowing big fat flakes and it's sticking. Somewhat.

Well, now it's back to raining. Or maybe that's ice. But I did get to see a small bit of snow while it lasted and that was fun.

Blizzard 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Doug fixed my picture for me

Thursday, February 18, 2010


My mom took me shopping today for my birthday (early shopping - it's more than a month away). In retrospect I'm really glad we decided to go to Barton Springs mall instead of the Arbor because of the plane crash situation. We were mainly looking for jeans, because my daily uniform consists of jeans and t-shirts and I don't know if I currently own any denim that's younger than 5 years.

There's a reason I don't have any newish jeans: I hate shopping for them. Maybe it's because I'm rocketing towards middle age, but all the jeans now are totally ugly. They're either too faded or look like they've been mauled by tigers. So no jeans for me today, but I did find some other stuff. Thanks, mom!

One of the shirts I tried on made me laugh. It was this t-shirt with a giant picture of a dog head. The only problem was that it looked a lot better as a flat picture and, well, I am not a flat surface.

Let's just say the dog's face became a little, um, distorted....when I tried it on. Ahem.

More dog pictures:

What Scout does when we're not looking...

...try to take over the world*

*This picture was NOT photoshopped

Plane Crash

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is currently giving a press conference on the Austin plane crash that occurred earlier today and is scolding the reporters for their irresponsible journalism. As is typical in situations like this, there has been a good amount of sensationalism on the part of the news. CNN (which is national, but is a good example) is running it's coverage under an "ATTACK ON AUSTIN" splash screen. Chief Acevedo was clearly irritated that it has been suggested that this was not an isolated incident. One of the journalists could be heard arguing with him with information from "numerous blogs" and demanding how he could be sure. Really, guy? You believe heresay from Joe Blogger and not the police department, who has been on the scene all morning? Anyway, it was nice to see Acevedo giving him the smack down after that.

After seeing footage of the site I honestly can't believe that only two people were injured. Eye witnesses are claiming there was quite the fireball. Hopefully the injuries are not too bad and I wish those individuals a speedy recovery. This is scary stuff that you don't expect to hear about happening in your hometown.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Turn on your Heart Light

If you were reading Troubles back in 2008, you may remember that I had a procedure to determine whether or not I should get a defibrillator placed. The results indicated that they were able to get my heart out of rhythm and that a defibrillator was recommended. After about 3 months of mulling it over and not being able to decide, I realized my indecision was stemming from my resistance to the idea. I did not get the defibrillator.

The reason I had this test performed in the first place was that I had had a series of results from previous, less invasive studies which were troubling to my cardiologist. These studies included a stress test and multiple Echocardiograms.

An Echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart that helps determine your ejection fraction, which is basically a measure of heart function. More specifically:

ejection fraction (Ef) is the fraction of blood pumped out of a ventricle with each heart beat - Wikipedia

Healthy people generally have EFs of around 50-75% (this varies from source to source). My readings of 2 years ago were running a steady 35%. This is what concerned my doctors because I was right on the tipping point. If it had been reading below 35, they would have firmly recommended the defibrillator. As it was, they left the decision up to me, and I decided I was not ready for the lifestyle change and was willing to take the risk.

Last week I had a follow up Echo. The cardiologist's nurse called me the next day and informed me that my ejection fraction had read in the 55-60% range. My reaction to this news can be described as floored disbelief. Part of me was thrilled, but my more cautious side had a pile of questions for the doctor, the most important of which was - "did they make a mistake?".

I now have an appointment scheduled for this Friday so hopefully I can get at least some of my questions answered. I am slightly more hopeful after talking with my kidney doctor at dialysis yesterday. He had a run in with my cardiologist and it sounds like he believes the results. I'm not celebrating yet, but I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog Day, Lost, Radiohead

This guy says winter's not over. No s@*#.

Has Punxsutawney Phil ever NOT seen his shadow? Wikipedia says he's only predicted an early spring 14 times in 113 years. I think it's a pretty safe assumption for 6 more weeks of winter the first week of February. Especially this year which has been so chilly.

The bright side of February is that it brings the start of another, but sadly last, season of Lost. I know there are a lot of people watching that are itching to get answers in this final season, but I'm just enjoying the ride. There is no possible way after this much build up that Lost can end with a satisfying conclusion. I've accepted that. But that's also not why I watch the show. It brings on a regular weekly basis better writing, acting, music and cinematography than you see in most movies. I will be sad to see it wrap up this year, but I also applaud the creators and ABC for knowing when to say when and wrapping it up before it gets tiresome.

The Interwebs are messing with my goal to remain spoiler free

I'm making Polynesian Chicken tonight in honor of the big premiere. If I were going for authenticity I would be grilling up some wild boar and mangos, but sadly HEB was fresh out of boar.

I'm not this ambitious. I'll stick to my chicken dish.

Radiohead did a fundraising concert for Haiti January 24. I don't get to go to a lot of live shows, but I did get to see them last year at the Woodlands and it was a fantastic performance. You can listen to the podcast of the Haiti concert here. There are links on the page to donation sites so if you haven't yet donated, this is a good opportunity. I've been listening during my post and the set list is impressive, especially since this event was thrown together. They sound incredible and Thom Yorke has a gorgeous voice.

Unfortunately the podcast provides no Thom Yorke Muppet dance

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Evil is a Girl Scout Cookie

Morning, Troublemakers. I seem to be on the upswing from whatever yuck I had last week. The last of my fever went away Friday and I only struggled with minor aches over the weekend. Now all that's left is lots and lots of kleenex and a dry, hacking cough that is making me quite popular. It doesn't matter how discreet you try to be, when you are making that sound, people will politely back out of your radius.

Sunday evening we were visited by one of Ryan's co-workers who brought over our yearly supply of Girl Scout cookies. I like that we're past the point of kidding ourselves. I know there were one or two years in there somewhere where we vowed to do good on our New Year's resolution of not eating junk and that included GS cookies, but we probably ended up getting at least one or two boxes anyway.

A number of years ago, the Girl Scouts wizened up and completely got rid of the order form, pretty much rendering their sales pitch unnecessary. Lets be honest here, somebody figured out those puppies sell themselves. I am way past convincing myself that I am being a do-gooder by helping ambitious young ladies with my donation.

It's about the cookies.

Thin mints. Samoas. Do-Si-Dos. Delicious.

The Samoa. Nature's most perfect cookie

Last year, after missing one girl at the door (I think I was on the phone or upstairs or something), I literally chased her and her mom down the street yelling, "Girl Scouts!". I am not making that up.

So after ordering way too many boxes this year, I am ashamed to admit I spent some time curled up in bed with a book and a box of peanut butter cookies yesterday. No, I did not eat the whole box, but I realize even that fact doesn't excuse my actions. The sad things is, writing about it has not even shamed me into not wanting to eat any more. In fact, it's making me want another right now. Help.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pet Pictures

The Dream Team

Why Scout so sad?

Evil kitty stole her new pillow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dear China,

Thanks for clearing things up:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010



I've got the crud. At first I thought it was allergies, but the allergy readings haven't been that bad and my fever hit 101 last night. I had to turn on the AC and the fan in the middle of January.

So, here's something Doug sent me. When I was a kid, we had an Atari 2600 and Colecovision. We thought Colecovision was the s#&*. The graphics were sooooo much better than Atari, because they probably added, like 10 pixels. My favorite game was the Smurf game. In my defense I was pretty young:

Stupid fences

We also had this game called Venture, which I would never play because I thought it was too hard and it scared me. No, I am not kidding:

Stupid goblins

I still liked the Atari, though, mainly because of Pitfall and Adventure:

I could never get past the alligator pit without a rope

You gotta love a video game where your character is a square

Sorry for the sad sack post, but that's all the energy I've got. I'm going to go curl up into a ball on the couch.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Catching up on Movies

I've complained before about the dumping of quality movies around the end of the year for higher awards season visibility. My main beef is that the holidays are a horrible time for me to get to the theater. Since I seem to have very little pull with the film industry, I suppose I'll have to live with it. It is what it is, and I don't see them changing the system any time soon.

Now that January has rolled around and I have more free time, I'm trying to catch up on some of the films I missed. I saw An Education last Thursday, Inglorious Basterds at home Friday night and Avatar in 3D at Alamo Drafthouse Sunday.

Avatar is an amazingly gorgeous film. If you're going to see it, see it in the theater, and preferably in 3D. I'm kind of wishing now I'd gone the extra mile and seen it on IMAX. It's just all about the visuals, so I doubt watching it on DVD or Blue-Ray would do it justice. The story is fine, but nothing to write home about:





I also enjoyed both An Education and Inglorious Basterds, although I've heard so much about both for so long that I wish I'd seen them with no prior knowledge of plot or quality. That is the problem with movie catch-up. As good as a movie is, and these were both fine films, I think I would have liked them more if I'd seen them right out of the gate. I think that's part of why I loved Moon and District 9 from last summer: I had no expectations and knew little about either film.

I've resolved this year to actually make good use of my Netflix account. I have Let the Right One In sitting on my table and am expecting The Hurt Locker to show up this week. That's the good thing about having a decent TV and a Blue-Ray player - the movies still look really nice and while it doesn't quite live up to the theater experience (especially effects heavy flicks like Avatar), flopping on the couch with the dogs and some popcorn is still an enjoyable way to spend an evening.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I just got back from the dentist. The left side of my mouth is numb, but it's mainly in the back so I can still feel my lips and tongue for the most part. He had to replace a broken filling that I just had put in 4-5 years ago. I really like my current dentist. He's close to the house, the staff is super nice, and he seems totally competent, which is always a plus.

My dad just retired last year from his career as an Orthodontist. Prior to that, he was an army dentist. This meant that not only was I a guinea pig for my dad to straighten my effed up teeth, Doug and I had excellent dental care complete with yearly fluoride treatments. This was back in the days before they put fluoride right in your toothpaste so you had to swish it around in your mouth for a while. I believe it came in two flavors, Cat Pee and Battery Acid.

After Doug and I left the nest, I kind of let my attendance record at the dentist slip a bit. The first time I went to another dentist was in Arizona. I think Ryan and I just picked them randomly off of our insurance list.

The first time I went in, the doctor came back with the x-rays and informed me, "You have 5 cavities".

5. cavities.

I had never had a cavity in my life. The first thing that went through my head was not "Getting these filled is going to SUCK" but: "I have brought shame to my family".

When I went in 6 months later for another check up, I was told I had 3 more cavities that had been there a while. So, they pretty much just didn't catch them the last time. So now I had a total of 8. cavities.

At this point I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to show my face at home again. On top of that, WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THIS DENTIST that they missed 3 huge cavities the first time. Also, they obviously did something wrong now that one of these fragile fillings has already shattered.

Moral of the story: ask around about your dentist before making an appointment. And listen to Mr. Tooth:

Don't forget to brush and floss every day boys and girls! See you in your nightmares!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bright, Sunshiny Day

Good Monday, citizens! I don't know what to call my collective group of 3 or 4 readers. League of Melbotis had Leaguers and Adventures of Steanso has Adventurers. Troublemakers? McSteanies?

I admit, I am in a good mood today, primarily because I didn't have dialysis this morning. I'm coming off of a strange holiday dialysis schedule where everyone's days were shifted to give Christmas and New Years off to patients and staff. So this marks the first Monday in years that I haven't felt like crap. Hooray! Also? No dialysis tomorrow, either.

It is hella cold here this morning, which caught me off guard when I glanced outside at the sunshine and ventured to the grocery store sans coat. My car thermometer informed me it was not yet 40 degrees out and I regretted my clothing choice. I hope it gets a little warmer, or at least stays sunny, because I have to get the dogs out of the house for walkies today, lest they drive me bonkers.

Speaking of the grocery store, I picked up some shredded cheese (cool story, right?). I always get the HEB brand, because it tastes fine and is cheaper than Kraft. Anyhoo, I find it strange that HEB has made the decision to label some of their cheese "Fancy", even though it tastes exactly the same as the non-fancy cheese. What's fancy about it? Was it cut with diamonds?

Needs a top hat and a monacle

While we're talking about the Heeb, I saw these on the shelf there a while ago. Ryan wants me to buy all of them to try, but I don't think I have the stomach for it.


One last pointless picture - I got a new toaster this weekend. It is already superior to my last 2 toasters in that it:

A) Doesn't have a "POEWR" button
B) Has a door that closes all the way
C) Has a timer that works

This is the best toaster, ever. There is none higher.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

It Lives!

Well, if you've been periodically checking Troubles the past couple of months and are shocked to see it open for business today, you can probably guess what my New Year's resolution is. I'm giving this blogging thing another go. Around October I kind of just ran out of ideas and went on a little hiatus. Hopefully I can get back in the swing of things, because I do honestly enjoy writing.

I'd like to start on a somber note, by honoring my big orange friend Melbotis, who passed away one year ago today. I still miss my buddy every day and that's all I'll say on the matter for fear of getting verklempt and upsetting Lucy.

I don't have any Earth shattering news, other than Scout thinks she's in the Great Escape and has run off into the wilds of Grand Oaks subdivision twice now. She returned to us relatively unharmed once by the kindness of strangers and once by the tenacity of my mother in the pouring rain.

Sometimes I think I hear her throwing a tennis ball against the inside of her crate

The Dug and Kristen have a runaway of their own. Dixie the cat escaped through an open window a couple of days ago, and Doug has been busy combing the streets of Berkeley trying to track her down. I hope they find her, soon.

**UPDATE - Dixie came home! Yay!

We had a quiet and lovely Christmas holiday. Ryan has been off work for nearly 2 weeks, and while I think he is frustrated with not being able to accomplish all he set out to do, it has been nice just being able to spend some time with him. In all honesty, he did manage to bag and board all of his comics from the past year, which is no small feat.

We spent Christmas with the Steanses out at Steans ranch and it was lovely. Thank you for the hospitality and good food and much too generous presents, Karen and Rick!

New Years was also nice. We went with Matt and Nicole to dinner and then made an attempt to spend the rest of the evening at Austin's First Night celebration downtown. After walking for half an hour to locate the main festivities (which was, by that point in the evening, a scattering of kettle corn stands and a mediocre band with a sad, tiny grouping of freezing people) we made the unanimous decision to make a U-turn and high tail it back to the car. We rang in the new year in the warmth of League HQ eating popcorn and playing Mario Kart. Good Times.

Happy New Year everyone! Have a great twenty ten! (Doesn't that sound awesome and futuristic?)