Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Photo 2010

We totally did this.

Yes. That is a maroon sheet hanging in the background hiding the unfinished walls.
And Yes. John is wearing a Cosby sweater.

These are the two best photos of about 20. The process wasn't as agonizing as we thought it would be. We chose to share with you the ones that Bowser looks best in -
regardless of how we feel about our own appearances!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Banita Creek Park

We've been to a lot of parks and trails recently to help Bowser explore Nacogdoches.
Banita Creek Park is in a neighborhood I used to live in.
My favorite feature of this park has always been this beautiful sycamore tree.
Platanus occidentalis
There's a cute little playground in the park, too.
And some nice views of the creek.
We took this walk the same day that John passed his defense.
Great way to relax.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Art of Sharing

John made some steak kabobs for himself.
Apparently, they smelled really good.
And tasted really good.
John was happy to share what was left on the skewer with someone who would appreciate it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


John passed his thesis defense with flying colors on Thursday!
He promised Bowser that he will play with him all day every day while he recovers.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Workin' Hard!

In case you were wondering...since we haven't posted in a while...

We are doing just fine, except that we've both been ├╝ber busy. John is just about to wrap up his Masters degree in Spatial Science. His defense is at 8am on Thursday!

Here's a LiDAR point cloud he made for his presentation-

I am finishing up my first semester of library school. Lots of busy work, let me tell you, but I hope to be done with it (for a month, anyway) by the end of next week.

After that, pretty much the only plan we have set in stone is working on the house. John is going to keep working for a little while at his current job but plans to put in his notice soon. (He's not happy there and should probably quit before their business folds anyway.)

At Thanksgiving last week Jessica asked me about my five-year plan. I don't have a five-year plan, but the question got me to thinking up a one-year plan. So far it includes:
1. Paying off my car (about two years early!)
2. Paying off my $2,100 hospital bill (we'll see how that goes!)
3. Finishing library school (may actually take me 1.25 years)
4. Brainstorming ways to plan for the long-term...financially - yikes

One step at a time...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fancy Threads

John and I went to a friend's wedding recently. Here we are in our fancy threads -
Look at us -
The most interesting people in the universe.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

TX Ren Fest

My mom had Halloween weekend off so we met up with her for the Texas Renaissance Festival. Our first big stop was the Haunted House -

We stopped by a woodworking shop. John has decided he is going to build one of these -

My favorite show to watch is Arsene -

We did the maze in record time -

My mom bought some flowers for her hair -

We watched a few people ride elephants and camels.
I do not know why someone would take their infant onto an elephant.

We saw Cast in Bronze -

We watched the joust and cheered for Spain.
France won.

A "Sea Wolf" harassed us from above while we shopped in a big boat-shaped store -
Wait. John, is that you?!!

We stayed for a brilliant fireworks show -
Bowser didn't come along with us to the Ren Fest, but he did have a fun time staying with Grandma & Grandpa in Kingwood. Of course, just as we were trying to leave, Bowser decided that he was not getting into the car without getting in some of his usual pool time. Despite the cold, he just plopped right in the moment all of our backs were turned.
We were off to Nac as soon as we got him dried off. A fun Halloween weekend, indeed.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This Year's Pumpkins

This was my pumpkin pattern for this year -
Had to do it in a hurry, so it didn't turn out as well as I would have liked -
I ended up carving John's pumpkin while he was busy writing his thesis. He drew up the pattern himself and then got back to writing.
And here they are outside - our invitation for Trick-or-Treaters to knock on our door -
We had more Trick or Treaters this year than last year but I wouldn't say we had more than 20. We still have plenty of candy left over.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Doggie Depression

This is what Bowser looks like every time we get back home from Grandma & Grandpa's house.
Totally and utterly depressed.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Past Jack O'Lanterns

We haven't carved our pumpkins yet because we've both been really busy. We think we won't have time until Sunday!!! I've got a good idea for mine, though, so don't worry - it will happen! I'm straying from American McGee this year having done jack-o'lanterns on that theme four times already. This year I was browsing photos online and I saw a really cool pumpkin someone else did. Naturally I thought I can do that better, so that's exactly what I'm doing. It won't be as detailed this year because I won't have days to complete the project. But since I'm thinking about pumpkins and we haven't posted for a few days, here's a photo post of some past Halloween fun to hold you over until we get around to this year's fun.

Here are some of my past pumpkins.
The Dremel pumpkins took a few days each to finish.
(I wish I could find the rest of my pictures!!!)
American McGee's Mad Hatter
I wish I had gotten a picture of this while it was lit. The parts where I took off more of the rind glowed brighter. I had a whole system going where certain parts of the face shone brighter than others. It was awesome. This took a long time because I had to draw it first and then transfer it to the pumpkin, retrace some of the lines with a Dremel, and then start really carving.

American McGee's Cheshire CatI think this may have been the first time I used a Dremel tool, but it was the second time I did the Cheshire Cat. I ended up drawing only half of the face, making a copy and tracing an inversion to make the other half. (Less work.) I plan on doing this one again in the future, but better. (Third time's the charm, right?)

I've also done the American McGee White Rabbit but those pictures are floating around in my box of photo negatives. I must still have the pattern I made somewhere, though...

Jack Skellington
This was a year when I actually did the carving after Halloween. I didn't have a whole lot of time, so I kept it simple and did something I could draw in just a few seconds.

This might have been from a pattern - I don't remember.
This was a year when I did quite a few pumpkins for friends, which explains all of those pumpkins in the background. I'm counting four of them in this shot.
(Why wouldn't you want to do your own pumpkin?!!)

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Concussion

So on Saturday, the 16th of this month, I fell backwards and smacked the back of my head against the wall. I laughed it off and went about my business. A little while later, though, I was finding it incredibly hard to focus on my homework. I felt slow. I had difficulty holding a pen, I couldn't type, and the front part of my head hurt like hell. I went to the bathroom and noticed some Halloween decorations I had hung in the window. I wondered if I should take them down and put them away - I couldn't remember if Halloween had already happened or not and I had to ask John. I went to bed to try and rest.
Soon I was nauseous. I couldn't stand up without getting a chill that would cause my teeth to chatter. The instructions on the box of a microwave meal were just too complicated. At some point I found myself attempting to articulate how to give a sheep walking lessons. (This involved a robotic arm-like contraption that the sheep had to slip its legs into before attempting to stand up.) Yeah. It was time to go to the hospital.

We got to the hospital at around noon and sat for a while in the parking lot while I debated whether or not I really wanted to go inside. My head was really hurting. We went in. When I was admitted, they couldn't tell us anything about costs. John asked if there was a standard fee for seeing the doctor and the receptionist couldn't tell us. We asked how much a CT would cost and the lady couldn't tell us. She said "it all depends, but believe me, you WILL receive a bill." But they couldn't even tell us when we would get a bill. "Could be as long as six months, could be next week." That frustrated me.
We spent most of our time waiting. I knew we would. In the triage station, the nurse asked me a whole bunch of questions. Answering was difficult. No I don't remember what time it happened (yesterday?), no I don't remember when my last menstrual cycle was, yes the light hurts my eyes. Huh? (It's a good thing John was there. I think he answered most of the questions.)

When we finally got to see the doctor, I was tired and hungry and my head hurt even worse. The doctor was a jerk. Some doctors have a way of doing things. That was his way. John got really upset and thought about taking us to the other hospital in town. The doctor bullied us into a CT. I started crying thinking about how much it was going to cost and John called my mom to update her on what was going on. She told him that we should do what we had to do to make sure everything was okay and to not freak out about the cost because if I couldn't handle it she was going to help.
I made myself feel a little better by convincing myself that this was a convenient course of action. After all, I'm 26 years old and have hit my head a LOT. Getting a CT now would catch any problems I might have already been living with...right? I could think of three instances in which I probably should have had a CT: one bad time when I was a kid and someone else made a hole in a wall by banging my head into it, another time when I was in a car accident and was knocked unconscious for a little bit, and another time when I was out with a friend of mine surfing at dusk. (Bad idea to begin with.) I didn't see him wipe out and I didn't see his board fly at me in time to avoid it. It hit me in the head HARD and I swear I went blind for a few seconds. I never 'hit the waves' ever again.

Because I was doing a brain scan they took an HCG test and I had to give them three vials of blood for it. When it finally came time for the scan, a nurse came in with a wheelchair to wheel me to the exam room. John asked, "I take this to mean she's not pregnant?" and the nurse rolled her eyes at him. It was nice not having to walk to the exam room. Everyone else seemed to be able to walk much faster than me.

When we got to the room, I had to stick my head into a giant doughnut. The tech asked where my head hurt and I told him. He asked if that meant it had already migrated. What does that mean? "Ummm...yes?" I was told to keep still. I had a hard time keeping myself from laughing for some reason. Probably because I was sticking my head into a giant powdered doughnut.I'm really jealous of John because he got to watch the scan while it was in progress. I bet my brain looked really cool. After the scan John wheeled me back to our room where we waited and waited and waited. We heard snippets of things the doctor was saying outside and couldn't figure out if he was talking about me. He said something about finding something else wrong and not knowing if "she" had ever been dialyzed. I thought it could be me because I've always been sort of borderline diabetic and I was convinced that I probably had a brain bleed, if not from this mishap then from another one of many in my life.

John got really worried when a nurse came in needing urine. John asked why they needed a urinalysis after the scan and the nurse said he didn't know - that the doctor just ordered one. So I peed into a cup without knowing why and we waited some more. (It would be easier for patients to ask questions if they ever actually got answers to any of them.) A long while later, the doctor poked his head in and said "Good news - just a minor concussion. Don't leave yet; they're gonna bring you in some paperwork in a few minutes." Half an hour later, a nurse brought some "Head Injury Follow Up" instructions and told us that we could go. We left after 6:30pm. John took me out to eat.

John spent the night waking me up every few hours and making sure I knew where I was. Once when he asked this I almost said "Grandma's house" but stopped myself because I knew that couldn't be the right answer. I spent the night having some of the most vivid dreams I've ever had. I remembered at least ten of them and told John about a few every time he woke me up. My head hurt all day the next day despite regularly medicating with Tylenol. I still have headaches every single day. Sometimes they're mild, sometimes they're more than that. I take at least one Tylenol per day. Yesterday I had four. This is the first time I've ever had headache problems in my life and I really hope this goes away soon!

In the mean time, I am trying my very best to be less accident-prone.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

John's Self-Portrait

John did this self-portrait for an art class once. This is how it hangs in our office -
(His favorite color is green.)
John got his undergraduate minor in Art with an emphasis in Ceramics.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bowser and the Horse

Every morning while John is watering the plants in the back yard a horse stops by to say hello.
We've decided to name this horse Charlie.

He'll let us pet and feed him through the fence, but mostly he stops by for Bowser.

He sniffs at Bowser while Bowser strains to lick him through the fence.

We think Bowser is a little smitten.

The horse is one of Bowser's favorite pals.
Sometimes the horse will run back and forth across the fence line to get Bowser to chase him.
Gotta love interspecies friendships!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Taking Down the Tree

There was this dead hackberry in the back yard leaning precariously toward a house on the other side of the fence for a long time. We've been worried about it since moving in but thought that taking it down was a bigger project than it truly was... so naturally we put it off!

First we called Old Gappy Tree Services. (It was the first tree service we found online.) The owner came out the next day and gave us a HUGE estimate and promised that we'd be able to schedule something for that week. John called them repeatedly to try and schedule. Once the secretary said she'd leave a message for the owner and that he'd get back to us that afternoon. He didn't. John called again and somehow got cut off while talking to the secretary. John called again and the owner answered but curtly said, "Now's not a good time" and hung up. Then we found out that their truck might not be working. Well, clearly this wasn't working out! I told John that we should take all this as a sign that we should NOT go with this service.

We then called and left messages with every tree service in the phone book. Only one got back to us the same day. Another tree service called the next day. (We never heard from any of the others!) When Drewery Tree Services got back to us the same afternoon that we called, we were really, really excited because we had been starting to feel a little gloomy about the whole project. We got SUPER excited when Drewery said he'd come that very afternoon to give us an estimate. Then, we got SUPER DUPER excited when Drewery gave us the quote because it was WAY less than the quote we got from Old Gappy (about $300 less!). We went inside the house, drew up some paperwork, and chatted with Tim Drewery for a while. He's a really nice man. A pleasure to do business with, for sure.
The BEST part was that Drewery had his guys over here the VERY NEXT MORNING to take the tree down! The workers were prompt, friendly, and took care of business! All in all, once we got into contact with Drewery Tree Services, the entire process took less than 24 hours!

Take that, Tree!
The only thing we felt sorry about was depriving about a million geckos of their dark hollow abode.

Another plus is that Drewery cut all of the pieces into firewood. Bonfire, anyone? One rarely sends a Thank You card with a bill payment, but this time we did. This project was made sooo much easier by Drewery's efficiency and commitment to getting the job done. It was truly an example of a high degree of professionalism that we unfortunately rarely see in this community. Seriously - This totally made our day - scratch that - week!
So whatever happened to Old Gappy? Well, he called a week later at around 8am. When John answered Gappy said, "How about this morning?" John politely responded that we no longer needed his service, but thanks anyway; we got it taken care of last week. Old Gappy's response was "Well, thanks for wasting my time!" and then he hung up! Really?! Wasting his time?!!! Glad we didn't go with him!

Life Lesson: Don't ignore the signs that something isn't working out! Once you move on, you might find that life and its obstacles are much easier to handle!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Quick update

Here's a quick update of the different things we've been working on the last week -
More detailed posts to follow...

Dead Hackberry-
Now you see it:
Now you don't.
If you're in Nacogdoches and you need to take care of a tree in your yard, go with Drewery - Best in town!

Site of the future butterfly/hummingbird garden-
We dug up a bunch of dirt and pretty much terraced it to keep the yard from taking over the back patio. That's Bowser in the dirt pile.
New walkway/steps in progress-
Now we can walk to our mailbox in style!
Keepin' busy!!!