Saturday, March 29, 2008

Weekend Rockstars

So far, we have been partying like rockstars this weekend. Last night, Friday night, it was fairly decent outside, so Chel and I ventured out to the park. Along the way, we stopped and picked up her friend Truth. The girls had not seen each other in awhile, so they were very happy to see each other. We are very sad that Truth and Aunt Sharon have a new house in Hilliard - they were bursting at the seams in their current house and just needed more space. This new house has a sliding door out to the backyard (many of the houses in my neighborhood do not - mine does) and I have heard that Truthie LOVES her new yard. We are happy they will have a bigger house, but sad they are moving away. They had a great time at the park, chasing the Kong ball and the Wubba.

After we got home, I cleaned house - because I had to stay awake for an 11PM soccer game - yep, that's right. The older I get, the more insane that becomes. If I had sat down last night, it would have been lights out. The game was definitely more physical that I would have liked at 11PM on a Friday night. I was especially irritated when I took an elbow to the hip from a guy. It hurt like a you know what - actually almost knocked the wind out of me and dropped me, that was for sure. We ended up losing 4-3 and the hip pointer is still with me tonight....

Despite the punishment from last nights event, I went to kickboxing this morning. I had taken a week off from kickboxing because the new movements had caused incredible tightness in the muscle group on the middle left of my back - to the point where turning over in bed was miserable and twisting to the right was nearly impossible. When we first started warming up, I thought I had gotten in over my head, but I managed. After kickboxing, Tim and I caught the softball Buckeyes in action against Iowa. Unfortunately, they lost 1-0. Chelsie came to the game and got to chase her ball for a little while - the game was pushed back an hour in hope the temperatures would rise. It worked, the hour made a difference.

Our rockstar weekend continued into tonight, we had a hot date with a 2 yr old and and 2 week old. Chelsie wanted to go visit Bryce, so we did - and of course, got to see Teagan. Bryce is getting so big - his little sister got him a train set for when she and her mom came home from the hospital, so he showed us his train set. We ate dinner, played and then Chelsie supervised his bath. He was making animal sounds for us in the bath - he was a snake, a monkey, lion, frog, dog, cat....he is so cute, growing up so fast! It is amazing how he has changed in just the last month, especially his speech. He speaks in full sentences and said my whole name for the first time tonight. I promised him a visit soon.

And here it is, 10:30 on Saturday night and we are ready to pass out! Louisville is making a comeback so we might have to stay awake for that, but we (I) will not be awake much beyond that. Chelsie's nap time today was interrupted, so she is passed out. Hard to imagine that at one point in our lives, we were just getting ready to go out, as opposed to passing out!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Free Agility Time

This week is AKC Agility Nationals, so we did not have class. One of the members my club did not go, so she invited us to practice last night - FOR FREE!!! Chel went and played with the Airedales Diablo and Patrick and beagle Jewels for an hour and a half. She did fantastic - worked her little heart out for her mom! We did lots of contacts, weaves poles and had a blast making up our own courses. She passed out last night, passed out after breakfast and is probably at home destroying every bed in the house to find that prime nap spot. And mom? No such luck, I had to come to work.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Reflecting on Life Changing Events...

Last night, we went up to Dodd, as we do on a weekly basis. One of the first rooms we went to was Levi's room - his parents were packing up and getting ready for him to go home, as he is being discharged today and is actually going home to his home. He had been at Dodd for close to 2 months, and still has a long hard road ahead of him. Recall Levi was the young man on the ventilator we have seen for the last couple of weeks. His wife was there last week, but was not there last night. It struck me that it was probably in an instant that so many lives were transformed forever - I sometimes think about things like this when I am out driving, or doing the things that I probably take for granted on a daily basis.

On a another positive note, I have been keeping up with Kim Weavers progress on her care page. Recall Kim is the 20 yr old we had seen a few months back with a brain aneurysm. Kim continues to make significant progress and is down to 2 days of therapy a week. That was very nice to hear. Another example of how life changes in a split second....

I hope this finds everyone doing well. Happy birthday cousin Michelle and Aunt Toni!!!


Nicole and the Chelsie Belle

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Because Inquiring minds wanted to know....

This was taken in Wurzburg, Germany at the end of January. I went over for work and Tim was able to come over and spend a whirlwind weekend over there with me. I am permitted to fly business class to Europe, but flew coach so he could come over. My department has a separate travel policy than the rest of the company, because we travel so much - my business class ticket would have been $5600 and both our coach tickets were less than $1500. It is actually a fairly significant savings to the company. At any rate, we are on a bridge in Wurzburg over the river Main (pronounced mine) and above us is a castle called the Fortress Marienberg. We went in it and it is really neat.

Our next adventure is at the end of April to Chicago - Tim is a Cubs fan and we are going over to catch a Cubs and White Sox game, all in the same day. I forget who the Cubs play and the White Sox play the Yankees. I foresee another Europe trip later in the year, to Gort, Ireland, which is on the west coast of Ireland. We have a couple of international trips in between, but I had to give those to the other team so their folks had the opportunity to travel.

I will try and post some more pictures, but my camera seems to have done a disappearing act on me...I need to buckle down and look for it, because it is really annoying me that I can't find it...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Great Job, jumper girl!

Dear Chelsie,

This weekend, you ran like a big girl agility dog - I am so proud of you! You did nothing more than get 4 Q's on 6 runs and get your open jumpers title. But more importantly, you had FUN. Mom has finally figured out that it brings you great pleasure to sniff the floor and eat dirt before you head into the ring for your turn and that you know once we are in the ring, you must pay attention to where I tell you to go.

You ran your first excellent jumpers course this weekend, which is where you will remain for the rest of your AKC agility career. You came within the tip of your back little toes on getting a Q on your first excellent run, and knocked a bar down after the weaves on our way heard the tick of your toes on the bar and heard it fall down, she also heard everyone go "OHHHHH". But you, you never missed a stride. You kept right on going and were very proud of yourself on the way out. What was most important to you was finding grammie, who had your cookies, and getting some cookies for a job well done. You knew that even though you had knocked that bar down, that you had done a good job.

You also had your first Q in the FAST run - mom made up a good course for you that was user friendly for your favorite obstacles and had a enough points for a Q. You got the "send" on both days - even with mom behind the send line (a line I cannot cross in certain areas of the run), on Saturday, you took the far end of the tunnel about 15 feet away from me. You loved the send on Sunday - over a jump and straight into the weaves with speed. For your efforts, you got 2Q's and are now one Q away from being an open FAST dog.

Your standard run on Saturday was awesome, even if you did get an off course (which was mom's fault for not getting you set properly). Mom forgot that in open you can get one off course and still get a Q. I have to admit that I forgot I challenged you. I asked you for some very tight turns and some rear crosses - all of which you did to perfection. On Sunday, you decided you did not want to weave with me on your left. I tried to put you back into the poles, but when you came out a second time, we moved on. At that point, we would not have Q'd any way, since you had 2 refusals at the weave poles. But even so, it was still a good job on your part. Did you know, that on all your contact obstacles this weekend, you got every "spot"? Mom did notice that, and it was a very good job on your part.

I had a lot of fun this weekend with you, even though it is a lot of hard work. I have an idea now of how much work soccer and softball tourneys were for grammie and the grand paw- this weekend wore the both of us out, but unfortunately, I am the one who had to get up and come to work, while you are at home napping. ????

Our next adventure is the Delaware County trial, and I am sure it will be fun. Hopefully, you will come away with your Novice FAST title and your Open Standard title. But more importantly, I hope we have as much fun as we did this weekend!



Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sibling Love and Manners

Tonight, Joe met Tim for the first time. We went to a Texas Roadhouse on the east side after my agility competition. While waiting for our server and munching on the peanuts in the bucket on the table, Joe made "brotherly" comment about me to Tim, so I chucked a peanut at him. My mom pipes up and says - "Oh stop, I don't want Tim to think I raised children with no manners." Joe had been buttering his roll when she said that but as soon as the comment sank in, he stopped, got my mom's attention and licked his knife. It was awesome - totally inappropriate, but such a "Joe" thing.

Warm weather, where are you?

I got the first noticeable glimpse of spring today. I was in the backyard on land mine duty (dog clean up duty) and noticed my day lilies have come out of the ground! A true sign that warm weather is coming soon!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Buying Brand

There are some things that are just not "generic name" brand type of items...tomato juice, oatmeal and peanut butter are just a few things that come to mind. On the way home from dinner with my agility friends, I stopped off at the store - just as good a time as any, especially since I was full from dinner. Tim gives me a hard time about my brand name stuff in the pantry - why buy brand when you can buy generic for cheaper? For some things, like yogurt and uncooked rice in a package, generic is fine. After drinking Kroger brand tomato juice and eating Kroger brand low sugar oatmeal, I gladly put V8 and Quaker in my cart tonight at the grocery store. I am confident I will be able to sleep tonight know I paid $2 more for tomato juice I can actually drink and oatmeal that does not taste like card board.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Why I Don't have Tivo...

In short, I am never really home and don't watch much TV. About the extent of my TV watching is What Not to Wear and anything on HGTV (I want David Bromstead to makeover my basement). I do have a few free HD channels - thankfully one of them is CBS, so we were at least able to watch in HD. Even Tim has DVR...he is quite frugal (despite being a doctor) and even he makes the monthly "investment" in DVR. As I said, I can't even program my own universal remote - nor can I figure out how to turn on my parents or brother's TV. I am a technological idiot....

So, so little.....

The highlight of my night last night was getting to hold Teagan Lee Quisenberry for almost an hour last night!!! I picked a great time to go - when only the parents and the grandparents were there (all 4 of them!!) and they were very generous about sharing. :) She is beautiful - but so tiny!!! B had her dressed in this little pink outfit, little pink hat and mittens...she slept on my knees for about an hour. Occasionally, someone would make a loud noise or I would move and it would startle her, but she never made a peep.

B looks fabulous - she was up and moving around, picking up Bryce, had makeup on. I hope that when I have a peanut I can look like that and recover like that. She was ready to go yesterday, but her doctor said she should stay. They are definitely going home today.

I also got to see Bryce, who is growing up into such a big boy. He is at that stage where he is changing so quickly...last night, I heard him speak in a full sentence for the first time! Bryce loves Chelsie and associates me with Chelsie - he always asks for Chelsie when she is not with me. I promised a visit with her at his house when his mom and sister went home.

Congrats Mark, B and big brother Bryce!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

March Madness has Arrived!

There are some distinct advantages to working close to home. One of those advantages is being able to go home at lunch. To celebrate the tip off of March madness, my co workers and I gathered at my fortress to watch the first half of the first game. I picked up some pizza on the way home and we crowded into the living room to catch the excitement. I do have CBS in HD, so we had a pretty nice picture. Several of my coworkers were appalled I do not posses a DVR - this became an issue when some of the guys wanted a pretty sweet play replayed. I can't even program my universal remote, let alone figure out how to use DVR....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nine Lives

Tuesday night has become a very busy night in our house - it is now both hospital and agility night. I will be starting a class at OSU at the end of the month and it is on Monday nights. It is only 6 weeks long, but I think we are going to keep Tuesday this way, to free up one more night during the week. It worked out OK tonight.

Tonight at agility, Chelsie nearly got crushed under the teeter. I was debriefing my run with my instructor when another student started her run. Unfortunately, we had not moved out of the way and just as the other dog approached the teeter, Chelsie ran under it. Fortunately, I was close enough to grab and both dogs were OK. The other lady gave me some lip about not being able to stand around all night, and I finally shot back at her...this is the same lady that always gives me grief about Chelsie being overweight for a competitive agility dog, and I am tired of her running her mouth. I finally told her to relax - I should have gotten Chelsie on her leash, but I was still talking to the instructor. My instructor was clearly irritated as well...thankfully, no one was hurt.

Tonight she also did very well at the hospital. Levi, the patient that was paralyzed and on the ventilator, has made significant progress. He is much more aware and communicative, and has regained some movement. He can pick his head and shoulders up and tonight, began moving his left foot. His wife and parents were there, and they were very excited to see Chel. She sat in her chair in his room for 15 minutes while we visited with the family. Levi will be going home next Wednesday - actually to his home. I was somewhat surprised, I thought he would be going to another facility near his home since he still needs FT care, but he is going home. It was great to see. We also saw the lady that had the stroke. She is very aware as well, but still has not regained use of her right arm and still has trouble speaking. But she looked great - bright eyed and cheery and glad to see us. Mom was very proud of her.

Our weather here is still crappy - we will get about 3 inches of rain in about 30 hrs. Thank god its not snow, as we would have another 30 inches if that were the case. We hope this finds everyone well!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hearts, Alone

For the first time ever in my Euchre career, I went "alone" on Saturday night. We played cards with some of Tim's friends that night, and on the last hand of the night (my deal, coincidentally) I had the most amazing hand I have ever had. I had both red jacks and the ace of hearts. The card waiting to be picked up was the king of hearts. It came to me to decide what trump was, so I nonchalantly up the card - and Tim looked frightened. I looked over at his friend Scott (still don't have great Euchre confidence) and said, I can go alone on this, right? He answered in the affirmative - I pointed to the ace, he again affirmed my call - I put that bad boy down, brought out both the big boys and finished everyone off with the king. I was right proud of myself, even if Scott did have to help me.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Weekend Stuff

So this weekend has had its share of events - I should have known laundry was going to be my curse on Friday night when I went to put my sheets in the dryer and in doing so, hit my thumb on the dryer and broke my nail about halfway down (I had put the sheets in the laundry before leaving for work on Friday)

I did manage to make an amazing recovery in the towel area - I used every kind of bleach product on the shelf at Walmart, and this stuff called Rit finally seemed to make enough of a difference that for now it does not appear necessary to replace the towels in the bathroom. Rit is that stuff you can use to enhance color - I used the one to whiten loads that were not compatible with bleach.

It was a spa weekend here at this house - Chel got a bath, ears cleaned and a pedicure. She is the only girl I know that does not like a pedi!!! I got my dishwater hair highlighted and cut too short - I have not had hair this short since after I graduated from college. It will grow back, I suppose.

Did a little shopping with Maggie (my mom) today after Chelsie's private agility lesson. She worked so hard today and was such a good girl. She wore herself out and is now laying sideways across the bed - has more room on our king size bed than the human does. Found some non black work pants, which I was in desperate need of - can you explain to my why I have pants from Ann Taylor in my closet that are size 6 and fit perfectly, and then size 8 and 10 with the same scenario? Killer deal today at Ann - spend $100, get $100 of rewards cards. Essentially, get $300 of clothes for $200. I am a good sale shopper at AT and always have a coupon - my record came in the fall when between coupons and savings cards, I got about $800 of clothes for $500. I know, ridiculous...but nice work clothes are necessary.

Best find of the day was at Bed Bath & Beyond. I got a seat cover for the back seat of my car because something furry and black refuses to ride in the very back of the car. She acts so bad back there it is a battle I have chosen not to fight. This seat cover attaches over the headrests and on to the bottom of the seat. It also has little holes where the seatbelt can come through - I know many people strap their dogs in, but that is not something I do with my little precious. I had a blanket back there, but it always fell down - won't happen with this because of the straps holding it over the headrest. Machine washable, which is key. I would highly recommend it - I would think it would also be effective to prevent spills - because seat belt hooks go through the little holes, I would think you would be able to attach a car seat, right? I have only ever had a car seat in my car once, but I think it would work.

Hope this finds everyone well. Happy Monday and have a great week!

Wherefore art thou, Darwinism?

Like many other stores across this county, the store I shop in (Kroger) has one of those rewards programs - you know, one of those deals where 10 packets of Quaker oatmeal is $5 for non rewards members and $2.50 for rewards members. Kroger has taken it a step further and has brought fuel into this concept. If you spend $150 per month, you get ten cents a gallon off of up to 4 purchases the following month. If you spend $350, you get twenty cents and it goes from there - you get the picture.

So..$150 per month, no bog deal. I pack my lunch religiously and generally cook at home most of the week, so $150, no big deal. My Kroger on Bethel and Dierker is in the process of getting a gas station - and with the next closest Kroger gas station north of 270 on Sawmill, I have not been able to utilize this benefit. The Kroger near Tim's house has a gas station, and when I was leaving his house the other day, I need gas. So I go to the pump, and realize you need an actual card to get the benefit. In the store, you can punch in your phone number and get credit, so not having a card was no big deal. So I go in the store, go to the service desk and tell the guy I want to get a replacement card so I can buy gas. He looks straight at me and says:

"You don't want to buy it today do you?"

I looked at him dumbfounded - first, I had just told him that and second, why would I not want to buy it today when I can get money off the price????? (For those of you that do not live in Ohio and are curious about the price of gas, I paid $3.39 yesterday - obviously not at Kroger). Apparently they have to activate the card and that can't be done on a weekend, which I can totally live with, but come one dude - or am I missing something here?

I make it home and have some errands to run, laundry to do. So I decide to put my laundry in before going to the dry cleaners - my laundry is just horrible these days from kickboxing. I decide to wash my wraps because they are worse than the clothes. I carefully unwind them, strap the Velcro down and put them lovingly in my linen bag. My bathroom towels need washed, and after looking at the size of the load, decide it can all be done in one load. I put it in, and off I go.

Upon returning from the dry cleaners, I go down to move my laundry - and am horrified to find my nice, fluffy WHITE bath towels from Macy's are now pink. In my effort to conserve, I had overlooked the wraps I had so carefully placed in a linen bag were red. Due to the nastiness of the load, I had also opted to wash it on hot - I usually wash it all in cold.

What goes around comes around.

The Secret Life of a 30 Something Single Girl....

For some time now, many of my married friends have said "we live vicariously through you". Thus, I decided tonight I will contribute more to my blog than just what is happening at our therapy visits. You all can see my exciting life as a single (meaning unmarried) 33 year old..

Here is a little background information for context purposes - currently dating "the doctor" as I call him. Tim is 39 and is an infectious disease doctor - never married, no kids. (how blissful is that??) For those of you that have been out of the game for awhile, those are hard to find these days. Currently working at Cardinal Health in the Internal Audit department - how boring you say? On the contrary!!! We get involved in all kinds of nifty stuff - to the point where the phrase "insider trading" actually may mean something. Thus, I contribute a very small portion of my salary to our employees stock purchase plan and will be sure to understand the insider trading law before making any sales on it...spent 7 years in public accounting and then decided I had no interest in working 80 hrs a week for a portion of the year for the rest of my life trying to interpret accounting guidance written in another language, so I finally had the sense enough to find a new job. I will never be able to commute again, as my office is 2 miles from my house.

I have lived in my humble little home for 4 years, with the company of Scoobi Doo the cat and Chelsie. All of the immediate fam is about 20 min west of here, in a small city called Marysville. For those of you that drive a Honda, that is likely where the car was made, depending on the model. I am currently involved in many activities - volunteering at OSU medical center, doing agility with Chel and playing soccer and softball. I clean my own house and mow my own grass, and occasionally, have time to sleep.

I hope you guys enjoy this - I love reading all of your blogs and I hope this one can bring some laughter to your world from time to time...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Redemption as a Dog mom....

The weather was finally decent enough last night to take her out to the park for a serious ball chasing session. She has really not been out for the past couple of weeks and had some energy to let loose. Bedtime was great - she snuggled right up to me and passed out, until I was wide awake at 3:30. I finally got up at 5 and did some stuff around the house. She was glad to see me go to work so she could rest up from her lack of sleep last night.

In my next life, I want to be a dog in my house...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Job Well Done

Tonight again was yet another job well done!!!

Today was cruel and unusual - it was 65 degrees!! I really wanted to take her out for a walk, but it started raining...bummer. We had to work anyway. With the temperature being so warm and having the heat still on in the building, it was a little hot in most of the rooms tonight. But she took it like a champ tonight.

Our night started off pretty good. We walked into a room, and a lady peered out looking at us, and so I went to the one side of the room first (a double room) As I went in, I caught a glimpse of the first patient we saw last week. She had very clearly had a stroke - her right side was paralyzed and she could not speak. This week, she looked much, much better! Her eyes were brighter and she could speak! The words were very garbled, but she wanted me to know she was doing much better. Still no movement on her right side, but she pointed to it and somehow let me know they were working on it. It was great to see.

Another room we went into had this really nice old woman in there, along with her daughter. They were definitely dog people - the old woman had some sort of british/australian/south african accent, I loved it!! Turns out the daughter's partner is a doctor at Children's (as is the daughter) and is a quadriplegic, who uses an assistance dog from Canine Companions for Independence - and works with my friend Jenny, who also has a facility dog from CCI. Both dogs are black labs, like Chelsie, and their names are Travis and Ansley. They were very happy to see us.

Next, we saw the man from last week - the one who Chelsie graced with her flatulence before we left. He is doing well, going home next week. That was very, very good to hear.

After that, we went into a room and the guy in there was lying in bed. He was not too interested in the dog initially, but when I came in to see his roommate, he became interested. He was petting her, talking to her, telling her how beautiful he was. He was a heart patient, with one of those heart machines we have seen in the past, and was holding on a pillow in the shape of a heart that had been signed by family and friends. His roommate was a dog person - I think this poor guy was diabetic, he could not see and had lost part of his leg. Did not matter to my little precious, he was a dog person and she knew it. She put her face up in his lap and he started scratching her ears and she just loved it (one of Chelsie's sweet spots - that and her booty) She held his hand too - ie, gave him her paw. Mom was very proud of Chelsie's work tonight.

It appears to be slightly windy, which always induces some sort of inner panic in me - which is not good, because I am tired. We hope this finds everyone doing well!!!


Nicole and the Chelsie Belle

Homesick for California....

My whirlwind trip to California was very successful - I got there 2 hrs early as I was able to get on an earlier flight standby (despite having checked my bag) and enjoy a few extra hours with my friend Adrienne. On Saturday morning, we got up and went to kickboxing - what a freaking amazing workout. For all my softball buddies, it has the same workout effects of the dreaded "circuit" - which I am sure brings back such pleasant memories. I am on the lookout for a mixed martial arts studio here in Columbus. The workout whooped my fanny despite three nights a week of indoor soccer...but thankfully, it has not inhibited movement and I can still walk, dress myself, feed myself.... :)

The baby shower was a ton of fun, and Saturday night I saw some old HS friends. We watched the UFC fight, which was actually in Columbus. I had never seen such a fight, but actually had a whole new respect for the physical conditioning of wrestlers and boxers after my workout yesterday morning.

I was surprised at how much I missed California this trip - I am always glad to be there and always have fun, but this time I found myself reflecting on how different my life would have, could have been. Had my parents still lived in LA, I probably would have transferred back when still working for Deloitte - which would have obviously changed my life dramatically. I do miss Adrienne terribly, and we always have such a good time when we get together. Our 36 hr weekend was short, but I would not have missed it.

Of course, I was very glad to get home and see the baby angel. It was an exciting afternoon for her, because grammie had packed up her stuff - so she knew she was going home. As usual, my parents kicked butt - my laundry was on my dresser and my comforter and towels were clean. Grammie and Grand Paw also brought the baby angel to the airport with them - as I put my luggage in the trunk, she was resting her head in the back of the car, just watching me, begging me not to leave her. I actually opened up the door and let her out so she could jump all over me. She was sitting up against me, touching me the whole way home. She is now resting on the bed next to me, passed out - and grinding her teeth. I hate that...I kick her and wake her up when she does that...

On Saturday night, my friend Leno borrowed a car from Adrienne's brother. Leno is another good friend of mine - the guy would give you the shirt off this back. We dropped him off to get the car and then he followed us back to the freeway. As we waved and went out separate directions, I thought about how lucky I was to have such good people in my life.

Two final notes...

Mom, Dad - don't read this and get paranoid, I am NOT moving back to California.

And worst of all....THE WEATHER YESTERDAY WAS AWFUL!!! OVERCAST AND CLOUDY, DAMP AND COLD (relatively speaking). To add insult to injury, it was already 65 when Adrienne dropped me off at the airport. I text messaged her to told her I landed and she responded it was 80 degrees. I mean, come on....