Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008

Wee had a pretty good Christmas, all things considered. We both got the things we’ve wanted for awhile… my husband chose to have his gifts early (his laptop and GPS) but even though I knew what my gifts were, I had him wrap them and put them under the tree before I ever got the chance to play with them. So I had presents to open of Christmas morning. My husband bought me a Kitchen Aid Mixer… FINALLY! He also bought me a Cricut Expressions... which so far I’ve been having fun with. I can’t wait to decorate all sorts of things. I haven’t tried out the mixer yet, but my mom has one so I’m familiar with it.

Bad news for Christmas was that Aaron had to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I spent the day here at the house by myself, which I guess was alright because I needed to recover from the work week.

This was also my first Christmas without my grandparents. I haven’t physically spent a Christmas with them in years but this is my first Christmas without getting a card decorated by grandma (she was very artistic). My grandparents both passed away in September of this year.

Some more bad news came when my mom called to tell me that my uncle and cousins were in a pretty bad car wreck over in Smithfield (up near Raleigh). My uncle and his daughter were in one car and another cousin and her 2-year-old daughter were in the car following them when a drunk driver pulled out in front of the car my uncle was driving and then my cousin who was following my uncles car couldn’t stop fast enough and slammed into the drivers side of my uncles car (he was driving). So to my understanding, there were a few broken bones, a few cracked ribs, a dinged up knee, and thank goodness the ONLY injury my 2-year-old cousin suffered was that she bit her tongue really bad during the collision. Oh… and there were a lot of shaken nerves, not only by those in the wreck but by both my aunts and also my cousins families, my mom and myself.

Then a few days later, I found out that another aunt (the wife of my mom’s brother) lost her 23-year-old nephew in a car accident near Goldsboro… his tire shred or something while he was driving the truck and he lost control of it. His younger brother was in the truck but survived. So, my aunt spent her Christmas grieving for someone that was taken from this world way too soon. Needless to say that even in the season of Christmas, my family has had its share of heartache. (Sorry if all the “aunts” and “uncles” and “cousins” I’ve been repeating throughout have made this post confusing but for the sake of their privacy I’m trying to refrain from using any names)
I learned my final bit of bad news (which is hardly bad at all compared to the things I’ve already shared) is that one of the other girls who works in the cash office at Lowe’s is quitting at the end of January. It gets even worse when I find out that they are not even training anyone to replace her. This is bad because it may mean that I have to work every weekend instead of just every other. And in that case, I will be quitting my job. So, they can either work with me by having the woman who works in the cash office every weekday and has every weekend off sacrifice her weekends and share the burden or… I quit. Period. I mean it this time... seriously.

I’m hoping that 2009 will be a much better year for all of us.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Misty's Trip to the Animal Hospital

CAUTION: Very long entry about a kitty's traumatic couple of days. Might be very boring for those who don't like animals.
Even though Misty is part of our family, I hardly ever blog about her. It’s also pretty unfortunate that these events had to happen in order for her to get her spotlight on our blog. But here goes…

Last night when my husband got home (11:30 at night), he came in the door and started collecting the trash to take out to the road for collection. In this process, he left the kitchen door open a crack and also the garage door. He was inside the house for maybe 5-10 minutes helping me. I guess he forgot he had left the kitchen door open a crack. Anyway, when I got done cleaning the litter box, I was walking through the living room with the bag and Misty comes running from the kitchen, turns and looks at me, hisses, and runs into our bedroom. Very, very unusual behavior for her, honestly. She’ll bite and paw and someone, but she very seldom ever hisses unless something is wrong. So, with this knowledge, I called out to my husband to come here... I think something’s wrong. So he runs into the kitchen and finds our kitchen door open and the sensor light in our garage on. Instantly he reacts and assumes that someone is in our house and that’s why Misty was hissing and upset. So he grabs his gun and we do a thorough check of our house… looking in every closet, etc. Nobody is here. So we finish taking out the garbage and then settle down in the living room to discuss everything. Then we notice Misty had a bit fur sticking up on her back. So I go to pet her to straighten it out and she hisses at me again. Now we know that something is wrong with HER. This is when we realize that she went outside and she was the one who activated the sensor light. So then Misty turns her head to lick down the spot of fur sticking up and it falls off. My husband and I are both thinking “What the…”. Now she’s got this little bald spot on her back… but why? My first theory was that she went under the hot car and her back touched the engine thing and burned her. But there’s no scabbing or anything like that on her back. It’s just bare skin. So, we give her hugs and kisses to calm her down and we all head to bed.

This morning, Misty did not come into the bedroom to greet us. She typically jumps on the bed, crawls onto my husband's chest, and sits there very silently until he opens his eyes… then she starts “singing” to him and begging to be rubbed. This happens every single morning. So then my husband goes and looks for her and finds her sound asleep in her kitty bed in the computer room. I suppose that’s typical cat behavior… just not Misty’s typical behavior... but whatever. Maybe she was still exhausted from the traumatic events the night before. We decide to continue on with our plans for the day, and headed out to Raleigh. When we came back around 5 or so this evening, I noticed she was walking kinda funny... and slow. She even looked a bit lethargic. So my husband goes to pick her up and she screams (very, very high pitched screeching meow) and hisses at him. Her back was fine… we could pet her back (where the fur came off) and she was totally fine. But now when we'd touch her underside (ribs and tummy) she’d scream. So, we figure we’ll just leave her alone for a little bit and head out to the ward Christmas party at church.

We got back from that around 8:30 tonight and she was still not herself. My husband finally just grabs her and flips her over (with her screaming in pain) so that we could examine her tummy. There wasn’t anything too obvious except that she kept her right front leg clutched closely to her. She also refused to be turned onto either side. So this is starting to freak me out a bit because I think something is seriously wrong (and she can’t tell me!) So I look online for a vet place that is open and find the pet emergency clinic. I call them to inquire if I should bring her in or not and they tell me the fee is $100. So I got off the phone, we discussed it, and decided that for my peace of mind, we needed to take her in. She’s a very low maintenance kitty that has never given us any undue financial burdens (even her getting spayed as a kitten was free since we got her from the humane society). So the $100 for a member of our family was worth it. We took her in and they examined her… the vet working there tonight was very nice and gentle with her. She took her temperature (Misty did not like that AT ALL!) and it was slightly high. However, she said that the fever could be caused by stress. So then the vet feels/looks around on Misty’s underside and doesn’t see any abscesses or feel anything broken in her arms. She gives us the option of running full diagnostics on Misty (X-ray to check for broken ribs and blood work to check for infection) or for some anti-inflammatory medicine to take home. Even if Misty had a broken rib, there’s nothing that could be done about it… just like humans. You just need to continue living your life and let it heal. So we opted for the medicine. The vet gave us 3 days worth and said that we can come back any time before 7 a.m. Monday and we won’t get charged again. The total visit cost us $110 (kitty medicine is really cheap!) We gave Misty her first dosage tonight and we’ll see how she does.

To many this entry may seen really silly but for those of you who have pets (and like them), when your pet is in excruciating pain, it is so frustrating trying to figure out what’s wrong… and then you spend $100 at a kitty emergency room because it breaks your heart so see a fluffy little member of the family like that.

By the way, we still have no idea what happened in that garage and why she lost a patch of fur on her back. I think that is something Misty will be taking with her to her grave.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. My husband and I traveled to his hometown to have dinner with his parents and his sisters’ family. Early in the morning, my husband made sausage cheese puffs to take down there to snack on while the feast was being prepared. They were pretty tasty. Our oldest niece (3 years old) absolutely loved them and kept going into the kitchen and looking on the kitchen counter to sneak another one. It was funny to watch. I had made a broccoli casserole and an apple pie on Wednesday night to take down there Thursday. They turned out all delicious. It’s hard to go wrong with broccoli casserole, and I was told that the pie was yummy as well. I had a piece of it but I really don’t even like pie all that much (unless it’s a chocolate pie or something like that… and even then I don’t bother with the crust). I’m glad everyone else enjoyed it though, because pies sure are fun to make!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Reality of Losing My Grandparents

Now that summer is over, things are really starting to die down at work. The economy might also have a little something to do with it, but not much… there are still a ton of people spending a lot of money. I just finished my weekend of working in the cash office and am so happy to be off today.

I suppose this last week I was extra tired because of some things going on with my family in Hawaii. My grandparents passed away (they were the reason why I went back to Hawaii a couple of weeks ago). I think every one has been feeling a little bit of relief, since we know they’re together and no longer suffering, but just the thought that I’m now grandparents-less has made me realize that I’m getting older and life is always changing. Years ago, I couldn’t possibly imagine what life would be like without grandparents, but now I’ve come to face that reality. One day I know I’ll have to face the same reality of losing my own parents. Hopefully that won’t be any time soon.

One thing I am excited about is being able to do their temple work. My grandfather was huge into genealogy but was never a member of the church, but he often went to the Family History Center. One of the times he was there, he submitted all of my dad’s family to have their work done. He understood why it was done and figured there wasn’t any harm in it. So I’m pretty caught up on that side. I can’t wait for a year to be up and I can reunite my grandparents with their parents, and family, etc.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Working Around the House

I know it’s been a while since I last posted, but I’ve been really busy. At the beginning of this month, I headed home to Hawaii by myself for somewhat of a family emergency. My husband had to work, and it was the longest we’ve ever been apart, so it was a little bit of a trial. Luckily, we were able to talk on the phone every day. I’ve been home now since Friday and am still fighting jet lag.

While I was away, my husband started working on the hard wood floor in our living room and dining room, and he just finished yesterday! Today we’ll be putting down quarter round and some other last touches before moving our new living room furniture in. We also bought some area rugs for both the living room and dining room. I had originally wanted them to be the same pattern/print, but we ended up picking 2 different ones so hopefully they’ll work well since the rooms will somewhat be divided by the sofa.

I can’t tell you how ready I am to have our house looking back to normal again. Our front bedroom has been serving as our living room, with the TV and the old sofa in it. It’s been a little cramped but we’ve managed. The computer room is also piled with junk from when we cleared out the rooms to begin ripping up the old carpet. The only part of the floor that is visible in the computer room is a pathway from the door to my desk. Oh, and a little pathway from the door to Misty's litter box.

I wish I could say that we're completely done but we still need to buy a new TV stand and a new TV (my husband's anniversary/birthday/Christmas present to himself).

Well, that’s all for today’s update. Time to get back to working around the house on my day off.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Anniversary Trip to Charleston, SC

It’s about time that I blog about our trip to Charleston, SC. My husband and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary on August 12, so to make it extra special we decided to take off work and head down to Charleston. The drive was about 5 hours long and seemed to go by so slowly, but eventually we got there. We booked a hotel right in downtown so that we could walk anywhere we wanted to go. After checking in, it was about time for dinner so we walked down the street about a block and I saw these Irish flags. If you haven’t noticed by now, anything having to do with Ireland gets me giddy and excited. You can thank my grandpa for that.

As we got closer, the sign said “Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub”. So that settled it. We were eating dinner there.

My husband ordered the safest thing on the menu: Shepherd’s Pie. I have made Shepherd’s Pie a couple of times for him at the house and he really loved it. Their recipe was very different. They had mostly meat, hardly any vegetables, and the mashed potatoes were put on top in 3 scoops. They brought this out in a miniature skillet. It looked delicious.

"Shepherd's Pie" from Tommy Condon's Irish Pub in Charleston, SC

I decided to order fish and chips. I know, very risky. However, I have never ordered “fish and chips” at a restaurant before so I figured this was my chance, and it would be the closest thing I could get if I actually were in Ireland.

"Fish and Chips" from Tommy Condon's Irish Pub in Charleston, SC

The portion of fish was quite large and I ended up not eating any of my chips. Overall, the dinner was pretty good.

The next day (the day of our anniversary), we headed over to Magnolia Plantation. It was about a 20 minute drive from historic downtown Charleston. Here were toured the gardens, the house, and the swamp. They had a “Biblical Garden” which I had never seen one of these before so we checked it out. Of course that is my husband by the sign.

We then kept walking along the extensive paths and came to a bridge over the swamp. I’ve always been scared of swamps because you never really know exactly what is lurking beneath. For those of you who are not familiar with the Southern states, South Carolina is the northern part of Gator Country. And Charleston is located pretty far south in South Carolina. Almost near the border of Georgia.

All that green stuff on the water’s surface is called “duck weed”, in case you were wondering. Close up, they look like teeny tiny lily pads. I thought it looked pretty cool because it made the swamp look all that more swampy.

So, like most historic houses, there is no photography allowed inside. So here is a picture of me outside on the back porch up against the ivy.

Next we went to the petting zoo they had on the property. There weren’t any exotic animals there… just your average farm animals. And of course, a deer. She was the highlight of the petting zoo. I had never been close to one, much less touched one, but she was so gentle. Very shy though. Her eyes were amazing and the picture doesn't do her justice.

Then of course I had to have a picture with the goat resting on the bench.

There were also some not-so-shy peacocks.

After our fun at the petting zoo, we took a boat tour over the old rice fields. Yes, I said RICE fields! Charleston, South Carolina is famous for their rice, which is called “Carolina Gold” for two reasons. First, it has a golden color; and second, it brought much gold (money) for the plantation owners. This particular type of rice originated in Madagascar and was brought over with the slaves. So anyway, here is a picture of the rice field/swamp. Look closely and you can see the top of the head of an alligator.

There were approximately 300 alligators living in the swamp/rice field and about 500 alligators total living at the plantation.

After the boat ride we walked through the rest of the gardens and came across some ginger!!! And not just any ginger, but WHITE ginger! The best kind! So here I am with my white ginger.

Magnolia Plantation was a neat place to visit, but it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for dinner. Instead of going somewhere fancy for our anniversary dinner, we decided on Bubba Gump’s. Why? Well, we ate here on our honeymoon, except it was the one in Kona, Hawaii. My husband and I ordered the exact same thing we ate while on our honeymoon, and enjoyed the very same dessert (a giant warm chocolate chip cookie with ice cream and chocolate on top).
On our honeymoon at Bubba Gump's in Kona, Hawaii (2005)
Third Wedding Anniversary at Bubba Gump's in Charleston, SC (2008)

We’ll skip Wednesday because it was raining and Aaron was not feeling too well so we didn’t do much.

On Thursday, after checking out of the hotel, we headed on over to Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, SC. This was my most favorite part of the trip. The plantation was gorgeous. This was the driveway as we are heading toward the house.

Those are live oak trees with Spanish moss. The trees have been there for about 300 years, planted by Mr. Boone himself. In case you’re wondering why this driveway looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same driveway that Patrick Swayze rode his horse up and down in the movie The North and The South. Another movie that was filmed here was The Notebook. So it’s a very popular place for Hollywood films.

Here is a picture of me with a baby horse that was born in June 2008. She was a cutie!

And here is my husband standing in front of the house. I wish you could see him better. One of these days I’ll figure out how to take a better picture outside!

So, that’s it! It’s great to be home!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Now that I've hit the big 2-3...

In an effort to consolidate blog posts from various blogs I have had over the years, this post was transferred to this blog on October 27, 2015. They contain records and milestones of my family to look back on in later years.

Yesterday morning, my husband and I packed up and headed to New Bern to meet up with his parents, and from there we all headed to Harker’s Island to take a ferry over to Cape Lookout. I am almost ashamed to admit that I have lived here now for 4 years and had never been to Harker’s Island.

A couple of things really fascinated me on this trip, and I wish I had taken my camera. The first was seeing horses eating grass on a tiny little island in the ocean, separated from the larger island that I now know is be called Shackleford Banks.

Shackleford Banks horse (via Google Images)
The second fascinating thing was how gorgeous the Cape Lookout lighthouse appeared when standing on the beach on the ocean side of the outer banks and looking inland. It was breathtaking.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse (via Google Images)

After our Cape Lookout trip, we headed back to my in-laws house, showered, and went out for a lovely dinner. The next morning (which happened to be my birthday), we had a quick breakfast and my mother-in-law took me out to tour Tryon Palace.

Tyron Palace in New Bern, North Carolina (via Google Images)
I had wanted to see the palace ever since I found out it existed (only 3 years ago) and so for my birthday, we went there. It was fun doing the whole tourist thing and learning about the history of early North Carolina. I particularly liked how the people who worked at the palace doing the tours were in character. I got to meet "Governor Tryon" himself and he even asked me if I wanted to play the harpsichord in his Council Chamber (hardly anybody else was touring the place that morning so there was a lot of interaction with the palace people). I chickened out because I hate performing anything… music or speech. So he played a little tune instead and it was lovely. I was disappointed to hear that the palace is a reconstructed version of the original, since the original burned down. However, I guess I shouldn’t be disappointed in history since there is nothing I can do about it anyway. Having a reconstructed palace is better than having no palace, right? The “palace” was pretty cool though. When we headed into the kitchen house, the people in there were in character too. There was this one older woman who was supposed to be working with the laundry upstairs but hung out with the cook all day. I can’t remember her characters name but she was so gossipy. She kept snickering to me about the Isaac fellow who works across the hall and how he’s engaged to a girl of a prominent family and she doesn’t like Isaac because she thinks he is against the King, etc. Her gossiping was really making me uncomfortable and I had to keep reminding myself that this was all just an act and part of her being in character. I can’t imagine having to be around a real person like that all day.

For lunch, my mother-in-law and I met up with my husband and my father-in-law for lunch at a Japanese place where they cooked the food right in front of you. It was really neat to watch and the food was delicious. When the restaurant found out it was my birthday, they came out with a pink frosted cupcake with a candle in it and sang me happy birthday in English and in Japanese to the beat of a drum. That part was strange, but whatever. The cupcake was still yummy.

It was an enjoyable weekend getaway for my 23rd birthday.
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