Friday, October 14, 2011

Eighth Grade, Bike Crashes, and Vegan Care Packages - Oh My!

It has been a good long while since I posted last. This is not new.

What is new? The boy is well into his eighth grade school year. The most exciting thing for me has been watching him progress in cross country. He stuck it out all three years, and this year the boy's team earned a spot at State! (Two of our awesome girls earned a spot at State as well!) Tomorrow is the state meet. It makes the end of middle school and approach of high school that much more real with the end of cross country season.

What else is new? Monday I took the day off from work since school was out. I had purchased some panniers for an upcoming trip (back to Ireland!!!). I rode my bike to the bike shop to purchase a rack once I determined my old rack wouldn't fit my newer bike. Having installed the rack, I really wanted to test out the panniers. So, against the teenager's wishes, we started cycling to the library (versus driving). Unfortunately for me, the railroad crossing about two miles from home decided I didn't need to stay on my bike, and I took the first flying leap off a bike I can recall taking pretty much ever. The fortunate perspective of the crash is that I was on the shoulder, not in traffic, and I was able to ride my bike back home to then drive a relatively short distance for medical assistance. My right knee and elbow/forearm looked pretty, let me tell you, but I didn't break anything or need stitches. So, the lesson is, don't take vacation days. Just go to work.

In the BEST new news, I participated in the Third Annual CVL Care Package Swap this year! It was my first time participating in the swap, and I was very excited to exchange veg*n goodies with another blogger. I was paired up with Meggie of The Vegan Adventures of Meggie and Ben. I think we were very well matched since neither of us had much in the way of restrictions for the other person, but then again when everything is an option, it's hard to narrow down your final selection. There are a LOT of vegan goodies in the world!

Meggie's package arrived Wednesday this week, and I wanted badly to tear through it to see what was inside, but I demonstrated amazing restraint by waiting two more days so I could investigate and blog at the same time. Meggie wins for care packages because she managed to achieve a balance of items new to me, items I have been wanting to try, and items I already love.

Goodies! Goodies everywhere!
Falling under the new to me category: Dr. McDougall's entrées and soup. I rarely pick up convenience meals like this for myself, so these will be a treat on those days I just can't get away from my desk for lunch.
Also falling under the items I have wanted to try category: Pro Bars, Justin's nut butters, Enjoy Life mini chips, and what appear to be almonds in a dusting of cocoa powder. I think it's fair to say I will always want to try mini chocolate chips and almonds even if I didn't realize it until they show up on my doorstep.
More delicious snacks await me.
Last, but not least, falling under the I love these category: Dandies, Primal Strips, and Justin's Dark Chocolate peanut butter cups. You just can't go wrong here. If you aren't familiar with Dandies yet, you need to get familiar with them, and if you haven't tried Primal Strips for some unknown logic, try them. They pack a nice amount of protein into what I consider a low-calorie, non-stomach busting snack.
These are all good. Oh, yes.
Thanks, Meggie, and I hope you enjoy the contents of your package!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Joplin, MO Fosters

We have a local trap, spay & neuter non-profit (Catsnap) that recently sent two car loads of animal supplies to Joplin, MO. The story goes, they didn't even have time to unload the cars. A line of people were waiting for their arrival and basically unloaded the cars for them the second they arrived. The shelter has over 700 animals. While they were there helping out, they were able to identify some cats and dogs they could transport back here for foster and adoption care. These are animals that are no longer under "tornado hold," i.e. no one has claimed them and the time frame for claiming them has passed. (Of course, if someone were to come along later, I am sure they would do there best to match them up.) They brought back 20 or so cats, but the dogs they wanted to bring back had one more week of tornado hold. As a result, they needed quite a few foster homes to help out. I work with a number of folks who volunteer with Catsnap, and they helped get the tortie we rescued a few months back adopted, so I volunteered to take a trio of kittens, three boys, nine weeks old.

Meet Jet, Solo, and Chewie:
Foster: JetFoster: SoloFoster: Chewie
Foster: Jet.Foster: Solo.Foster: Chewie.
The morning after they arrived.


Solo and Jet goofing around.

Chewie on the move.

They all got flea-dipped when they arrived in town. They are on worm medicine. They are all sneezing, so they are amoxicillin. Solo and Jet seems to be thriving. Chewie is the smallest and wheezes the most. Solo is a bit of a food hog. A co-worker totally called him out as the trouble maker just by looking at his picture. :-p

Hopefully they will all be healthy enough to be neutered next week since that is a necessary step before they can go to a forever home. I am not sure if they will stay with us until they get adopted or just until Catsnap has some room for them elsewhere, but for now they are enjoying ruling the spare bedroom. :)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Kaeng Raeng Detox

I felt the strongest urge to do a detox the last few weeks, and Vegan Cuts had discount offer for Kaeng Raeng products, so I jumped on it. I have fasted before, but I wouldn't say I've done a cleanse, so I appreciate the idea of a pre-made mix that has all the nutrition packed into it for me. Plus? Vegan, non-GMO soy, recycled packaging, local ingredients, etc. This is not meant to be a fast. You are encouraged to drink the three servings per day in any order or combination, and then supplement your drinks with a raw, vegan diet (per the box). I recall the web site saying raw fruits and vegetables, which is different from everything a raw, vegan diet can be, so I am sticking with just raw fruits and vegetables if I feel the need to crunch on something.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Back Home from Ireland

I don't know that I will ever excel at writing a summary for a long trip post-trip. It's why I upload and tag photos on a daily basis (when possible) while traveling. If I don't do it immediately, I start to lose information and the little details that are most memorable.

(For the TL;DR crowd, here is a link to the photos and videos from the trip.)

Our trip to Ireland was about 8-9 days long once you chop off the days of travel. Flying Aer Lingus was a pleasant experience. The flight over was more turbulent than coming home, but nothing extreme. We flew in and out of Dublin which was pretty stress free as well. Returning, it seemed as though we went through eight thousand security screenings due to U.S. Customs and Immigration conducting preclearance at DUB, but overall it was probably less time than we've spent in the security line at MCO or LAX. Plus, it meant when we landed at ORD, we could head straight to pick up our luggage and get on the road. This is definitely a perk after a 7-hour flight. (We also landed early both directions. Bonus.)

Our first two days were spent in Northern Ireland. We couch-surfed with a family in Irvinestown who were beyond accommodating and lavished attention on the Boy since it was his birthday. We went to Belleek, the Ulster American Folk Park, and the Giant's Causeway. We also stopped at the Caldwell Castle ruins when we stumbled upon them. That was our general itinerary during our trip. We had general ideas of where we would be staying, but we didn't really have a list of places or sights to visit. This way, at least to me, we didn't feel like we were missing out or cramming our days full of activity. If we saw something interesting while driving, we stopped.

After Irvinestown, we drove down to Galway. Another couch-surfer lended us the use of their apartment while they were gone, so we had a base camp in Galway for four days. We ventured south to see the Burren and the Aran Islands, and we stayed in town one day as well.

By the fourth day in Galway, we were ready to move on to Dublin. We had our last two nights booked in a hotel, but we decided to fill the gap at a hotel somewhere between Galway and Dublin to make the rental car drop-off less stressful Friday morning. We ended up at the Bloomfield House Hotel in Mullingar, Ireland. It was very reasonably priced, perfectly located, and super accommodating. I think the funniest thing we experienced while in Ireland was electricity in hotel rooms. You have to place and leave a room key in a slot to activate the electricity to the room. This wasn't explained to us when we checked in, so it took a few phone calls to the front desk to figure it out. Fortunately, we were old pros at it by the time we checked in to the hotel in Dublin.

Speaking of Dublin, I think it is a city I could grow to love, but that is very hard to do in a day and a half when you have fellow travelers to take into consideration. At the end of a somewhat long trip, aches and pains and lack of routine can start to settle in. Everyone could probably use some solo time, too. We opted for the bus tour of Dublin, which was a great idea. It gives you a full review of the layout of the town and popular tourist destinations, so when you get a chance to explore on foot, you have a better idea of where to wander. I enjoyed the pedestrian-only area (Grafton Street) in Dublin as well as in Galway. I think it is a concept that could be used more in the U.S. (As well as roundabouts. We figured them out. No one in the U.S. knows how to deal with 4-way stops or actually comes to complete stops anyway, so why not make them roundabouts?)

All in all, it was a good trip. I would love to go back. Obviously we didn't explore even a third of the country. I don't know if I would opt for a rental car on the next trip or a combination of train and bus. (I definitely wouldn't use Europcar again. Way too pricey and shady.) Almost without exception the people were kind and interested in helping make your experience the best. The restaurants and stores focused on local and organic foods, and if you are out of the bigger cities, it is very peaceful. You should definitely add Ireland to your list of places to visit if it isn't already there.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February Update

What is going on lately? Well, I finished the afghan.(Since then I have made a baby blanket and a hat, and I am about 50% done with another hat.) The thyroid issues that appeared to be brought on by taking a multi-vitamin have dissipated. (One more follow-up appointment and a biopsy is on the schedule. We'll see what happens next.) Then there is this little trip to Ireland. Counting down the days! (Roughly four weeks left. Yes!) Happily, last night I had a chance to enjoy some time with friends in the presence of Cary Judd's music. He has been touring in the area, if you can count WI, IL, IN, and PA as all one area, and fortunately he was able to secure some time in town for a brief set. I highly recommend checking out Looking Back from Space and Goodnight Human if you enjoy an eclectic folk style.

Since it's been almost a month since my last update, I think it's safe to guess this will be my update for this month. I will do my best to prove myself wrong.

The finished afghan. It is plenty large enough for a full or queen bed. It could probably work on a king as well. ♥
I used some of the leftover purple yarn for the hat. The color photographs differently every shot. *sigh*

Friday, January 21, 2011

Creating Lately

I don't think I shared that I started crocheting again. (Again as in, for the first time since I was very young. I have been knitting in the past five years, but crocheting, no.)

Afghan, in progress.
Infant's hat, fluffy.
Infant's hat, side-view.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First Birthday Party (3/19/1999)

Thanks to Jeannie, I was able to convert the VHS tape we found at my grandmother's house from Jack's first birthday to AVI. It's pretty wild, not the least of which for the people who are all in the video.

The party was on March 19, 1999, so Jack was 1 year and 1 day old. The filming technique leaves something to be desired, but I am glad to have it despite the random zooming, extreme close-ups, and other oddities. There is almost 45 minutes of video, which I am sure will not interest everyone, so I will try to highlight some funny/cute moments in each.

Part 1: The first few minutes are introductory as Jack was apparently still napping. My grandma Dorothy is in the blue and Grandma Joyce (my father's mother) is in the pink. Jump to minute four for Jack's appearance and stay through minute six for cuteness with Nana and Grandma Mary. (

Part 2: Essentially, twelve minutes of Jack eating. Eating, eating, eating. And talking, talking, talking. You can probably skip this one unless you are interested in seeing my grandfather or Jack inserting himself in the conversation from the very early years or Aimée and Craig looking like youngsters. :-) (

Part 3: Time for cake! Jump to 1:00 to see Jack pleased at our singing, then skip way to the end to see the messiness. I apparently made a pretty indestructible cake because it took forever for him to break into it. (

Part 4: Presents. So many presents, and the boxes and tags are the best gifts. My favorite part of the video is contained here. I like to call it, Awkward Toddler is Awkward. Jump to 10:00 and stick around to the end. (

Part 5: More presents! A good moment is around 2:40 when Jack decides to give up on the squeaky book because Nana is better. Right after that, I unwrapped the blue afghan she made for him which of course we still have. At 4:40 Jack says, I understand what to do with a big box. Drum! Then at 7:50, he played the diva card and left his own party. The end. (

(Yes, the person behind the camera with the drawl is my father, but he isn't southern, honest.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

College Thoughts

Do other parents think about their child's college years this early? Do some consider starting to think about it when their children are past ten years old too late? I'm curious.

One method, if it can really be given that much credit, I have been using is uPromise. When you make purchases starting from their web site, a percentage is given back to the college fund. Most stores do this, but not all. So if you are interested in helping out and shop online already, you can use this guest link. You don't even have to join uPromise!


In other news, a recent picture I like:

Tradescantia pallida, or Purple heart.

Oh, and it's 2011. How did that happen?