Saturday, May 3, 2014

Things That Rock My World

I'm happier than I can remember being in a very long time and yet it's the little things that jump out and seem to really make me happy.

I started baking up a storm recently and I had the opportunity to purchase a friend's gently used Kitchenaid mixer.  It was always a "nice to have" item but sort of out of my price range.  I used it this past week to make cupcakes and I must admit that all of the hype about Kitchenaid is true and this thing really rocks!

Another thing that rocked was the Sebastian Bach show last weekend.  When I saw Tom Keifer and had his sweat splash in my face I thought "the 16 year old Jen would simply die".  Well, I'm pretty sure if I went back in time and said to the 16 year old Jen "I saw Sebastian Back live in the front row.  I met him, had my picture taken with him, joined his band in a hotel room party until 4am and gained an all access tour pass" 16 year old Jen wouldn't have even believed that was even possible.  

Other happy things this week:

A neighbor discarded a beautiful plant that I couldn't resist:

When I noticed an amazing deal on Kindles being offered to some Amazon users I asked both my mom and my boyfriend to check their accounts.  Neither had the deal but both were already desperately thinking about my birthday 2 1/2 months away.  Mom won and I have a new Kindle Paper white!

Sunday, April 13, 2014


For no known reason I have been drawn to dresses lately.  Not the kind of dresses I could ever wear to work but the kind of frivolous dresses that I will have to come up with an excuse to wear.  Nevertheless, I made this purchase on my current favorite store Thred Up.  Thred Up is an online second hand store.  I have bought a bunch of items from them over the past year and every piece I get is impeccable.  And just in case used clothing isn't good enough they have tons of items that people have sent in that are new with tags.  I get amazing quality brand name clothing at a steal! Love it.  Plus they just started a thing where if you order from their app you get free return shipping.  Risk free shopping.  I am so in love!  The dress arrives and when I try it on it's low cut in the best way and the black side panels are really flattering.  I believe this dress will make it's way into my suitcase to Austin just in case I have an opportunity to show it off.

On the way to dinner last night my friends and I stumbled into a little Vintage Shop on Congress Street.  There was a sign in the window that said 75% off all dresses.  We went in and decided to mess around with trying on dresses just for the fun of it.  We snapped a few photos and weren't actually thinking about buying anything.  We never even looked at the price tags.  When I decided I really liked what I tried on I asked the price.  The owner had to go to the register to check and my mouth dropped open when she told me the price was $2.50.  I was a more than a little bit thrilled.  I bought two dresses and a delightful little ring for under $15.  Amazing.  And fun!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014



In the end it wasn’t kidney disease, thyroid disease, heart murmur, high blood pressure, weight loss, dehydration, or anything else on the long list of ailments that troubled Lou.  In the end it was a simple kitty cold that brought my time with sweet Lou to a close.

He had been troubled by recurrent URI ever since Kelsey returned from the surgeon’s office in 2009.  First Chloe caught the cold and just as she recovered Lou started sneezing.  After that first episode he would periodically get a mild sneeze or runny eyes and nose.  It was nothing more than an annoyance just like when we get a cold.  More recently he had been getting them more often and more severely.  About 10 days before he passed he came down with what seemed like a routine cold.  But it progressed very quickly and stubbornly held on.  His nose became completely filled and my best attempts at holding warm washcloths didn’t seem to help.  A humidifier running didn’t seem to help.  And then he started having trouble breathing.  I would wake in the night to hear him on my bed struggling to breathe.  He stopped eating as much because he was unable to smell his food.  His sounded like he was snoring in the middle of a deep sleep but the sound came from him while he was fully awake.  On the tenth day of this I knew that he needed help.  I had a choice to make.  I couldn’t let him struggle without seeing a vet. Maybe they would suggest antibiotics.  Maybe they would want to scan his lungs.  Whatever course of treatment I knew that he was uncomfortable and even if the cold ran its course something else would be right behind it.  At the same time Lou had basically stopped using his litter box.  He had gone from getting fully in the box and making every effort to try to squat though failing miserably to simply placing one front paw in the box before he relived himself.  I think it was important that he tried to go through the motions and make the gesture even though he really was unable to do very much.  His legs were also getting weaker.  Although he was currently still making his way around, just the week before he had been unable to climb the stairs and even had difficulty with the two steps up to the chair he slept on. More than once I watched him slip on the stair as his legs went in all directions.  Quite simply, I could not watch him struggling to breathe knowing that even a miracle would not give him back strength in his legs or the ability to maintain his dignity in using the bathroom.

And so that’s how it came to be that on a dark, gloomy, rainy Wednesday afternoon we took the ride up I-295 to the doctor’s office.  Other than a couple of small cries in the beginning Lou slept during most of the car ride.  While in the room he lay wrapped in my arms in an embrace.  And when it was time to lay him down on the table I cupped his head and covered his face with both of my hands which is what always made him feel secure in scary situations.  And when I saw his front paw relax I knew he was gone even before the vet confirmed it.  I picked him up in my arms for one last embrace before gently placing him down and having to turn and walk away.  I silently walked hand in hand with my pillar of strength and we gently wiped our tears away.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Little Bit of Savings, Flowers and Hockey

I've mentioned many times how hard it has been for me to give up regular trips to Whole Foods.  I get so excited when I'm able to make a trip there.  So imagine how happy I was to get to pick up all of the loot in the picture below for only $23.  I combined sales prices with 25.00 in coupons.  I carried home a bounty of healthy, natural products that I use and need on a daily basis. Normally it's impossible to completely fill two large totes bags at Whole Foods for $23 but I did it! This silly little hobby of mine is so much fun.  I guess some people knit, others garden.  I coupon.  Lol.

Yesterday was a great day.  It kicked off a five day long weekend. A very busy workday was made very, very special with this delivery.  Shown here at work on my desk and also at home.  They smell so fragrant and they are more beautiful today than they were yesterday.  Just spectacular.

I was able to spend some time with the sender of the roses.  Here is the sports recap of my night with a slight glimpse of my favorite flower gifter.

WGME Video Sports Recap 2/12/14

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What We Do When We Love Someone

I thought a moment before deciding to do this post.  I didn't want it to come off sounding like I'm a martyr and all "Oh look at all I do".  Instead I'm focusing on the facts here.  I do a lot for Lou.  I do go out of my way and beyond what many people might feel is necessary and appropriate.  But I love him so how do you draw the line?  You do what you can, for as long as you can and for as long as it makes sense.

Several years ago old age descended on Lou in a major way.  He went from having minor ailments to serious chronic conditions that could be managed but never reversed.  He was diagnosed first with hyperthyroid disease.  This made him insanely hungry.  He wanted food all of the time and still lost weight to the point where he is literally just skin and bones.  I don't know what glue holds him together most days.  When he first began asking for food constantly I resisted.  I tried to keep him to a decent schedule.  It became clear that was not going to work for him.  So, I decided to simply feed him as much as he wants, whenever he wants.  When he began to need frequent meals throughout the night I bought an automatic feeder that kept him happy through the night and also allows me the occasional night away.  It has literally been a life saver for both of us.

Lou was also diagnosed with kidney disease as most older cats are.  It makes him extremely thirsty and he pees a lot.  It's not healthy for him not to have access to ample fresh water.  He used to jump up onto the bathroom sink to drink.  When he was no longer able to jump I bought him a water fountain.  It satisfies his need for fresh water.  He drinks a ton which is the healthiest thing that he can do to keep his kidneys functioning well for as long as possible.  One of the side effects of thyroid and kidney disease is high blood pressure.  That manifests itself as blood in Lou's urine.  The picture below might seem rather graphic but it is the reality of our life.  For 18 years he never had even one accident outside of the litter box.  He now has an inability to completely squat when he pees and the result is blood soaked urine everywhere.  Luckily these dog pads come to the rescue and for the time being they completely solve our litter box issues.

The most recent small change in our house is that Lou can't climb onto either the chair or sofa in the living room.  I was picking him up but I know he missed getting in the chair during the day.  An easy fix was adding these stairs in between the two  It isn't the best decorating touch but it accomplishes that Lou maintains a bit of independence .  Plus, he looks so peaceful asleep in the chair now that he can reach it again.

I feel very fortunate that each obstacle that we have faced has come along with a manageable solution.  As long as he is happy and enjoying life I will do what I can to make sure he stays that way.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Lot Of Orange

My team at work is undertaking a 4-6 week project to get the business office's cash posting up to date.  This means I am now doing two jobs and supervising two distinctly different teams in two different job functions.  My team is the orange team.  The process for flowing work in and out is dependant on orange folders.  Each folder contains a bank deposiit that needs to make it's way across the organization to have a variety of money posted.

At the end of Monday my cubicle looked quite orange:

By Tuesday morning the orange was spreading:

By Wednesday every surface was covered including the floor and including parts unable to be captured in this photo.  The good news is my little group of orange posted about $4 million in one week.  But why oh why couldn't I have been given the color purple?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Some Of the Best Things In Life Are Cheap Or Free

Here's my steal of the week.  I have been saying for months that I need a new set of sheets.  I have two sets.  One is relatively new and really nice but the other set is ancient and not the nicest color. I managed to snag a $69.99 set of sheets for $23.52.    They are Fieldcrest Luxury 500 thread count Egyptian cotton and they are super soft.  I can't wait to wash them and get them on the bed.
Here's the breakdown of my savings:
Sheet Set 69.99
minus -10.00 off a $50 home purchase Target coupon
minus -35.00 Save 50% Target Cartwheel Deal
minus - 1.47 Target Red Card Savings         
Total $23.52 for a Queen Set!

I am also super excited that I have 12 of these coupons on the way to me.  I spent .96 cents for them and they will save me $18.00 on countless items at Shaw's.  I also think it's funny that getting them was sorta of like trying to score Bon Jovi tickets in 1989.  These coupons sold out in less than 5 minutes.  I am not the only freak out there!

Here's an update four weeks into the 52 week money challenge.  I have stashed $109 into the jar which puts me just slightly above the average amount I should be saving to stay on track and not end up with a bunch of high dollar weeks right around the holidays at the end of the year.  I am LOVING this jar idea.  I love seeing the bills piled up!

And on one final note of the best things in life being cheap or free...$20 for a concert ticket and for that I got 5 hours of entertainment, got better acquainted with some friends, heard some of my favorite songs live, and have a fantastic story of chasing down a rock star!