I'm still down for the count. I actually took a turn for the worst last night and developed a high (for me) fever. Kevin came home to find me nice and ill (poor guy--just what someone wants to come home to after a business trip, isn't it?). He actually decided to sleep on the couch last night to make sure he didn't get whatever I have. Which again, is exactly what someone wants to come home from a business trip to do. We headed to Urgent Care this morning and I got a shot in the butt for nausea and that's about it. Hopefully this will work its way through my system very quickly.
On a different note, many people have been asking me about Scout and Digory and the pet food recall. I'm very relieved to say that the food we give Scout and Digory is not one of the recalled brands. We feed Solid Gold Hund-n-Flocken Lamb dry food (click for details). When Scout started having bad allergy issues about 5 or so years ago I did a great deal of research into dog food and ingredients. Once we got to Anaheim, I decided to go with Solid Gold brand because the ingredients are all-natural, human-grade ingredients. Both dogs have been doing very well on Solid Gold and seem to like it. We're very happy with it, and now that this horrible recall problem has arisen, I'm really happy I did that research into finding a good food. I have to say that our family gives Solid Gold 4 hands and 8 paws up.
Well I'm down for the count. Earlier this week I started to lose my voice and picked up a nasty cough, headace, and sore throat. I worked all day Wednesday but was croaking a lot by the end. Yesterday I wasn't scheduled to work, which was a good thing since I felt beyond lousy. Then in the middle of the night last night I was hit with overwhelming nausea. I've been nauseous and, well, the end result of being nauseous all day. Luckily I've been able to keep down water and Saltines and I did pretty well with a fruit roll too. Good thing we've got a can of chicken noodle on the counter! I thought I may have caught the stomach part from Mini-Me's rotavirus, but it looks like the incubation period for that is 2 days and I visited her last Wednesday so I don't think it's that. I think it's just probably my own special virus. Lovely. I was going to head into Urgent Care yesterday but procrastinated, thinking I would go this morning. Well that didn't pan out since I'm unable to sit up for long periods of time, let alone drive to the doctor. And of course Kevin is out of town (in San Jose--he's coming back tonight). Kevin is no longer allowed to leave me by myself--something bad always happens. I was supposed to go to a baby shower tomorrow but I really don't think I'm going to make it. Hopefully I'll make it to my next shift at work on Sunday!
There is an awesome dance, called the Thousand Hand
Guan Yin, that is making the rounds across the Net.
Considering the tight coordination required, their
accomplishment is nothing short of amazing (even if
they weren't deaf).
All 21 of the dancers are completely deaf.
Relying only on signals from trainers at the four
corners of the stage, these extraordinary dancers
deliver a visual spectacle that is at once intricate
and stirring. Its first major international debut
was in Athens at the closing ceremonies for the
2004 Paralympics. But it had long been in the
repertoire of the China Disabled People's Performing
Art Troupe and had traveled to more than 40
Its lead dancer is 29 year old Tai Lihua, who has a
BA from the Hubei Fine Arts Institute.
The video was recorded in Beijing during the Spring
Festival celebrations [in 2005].
If this link below doesn't work for some reason, you can
Google Thousand Hand Guan Yin, and find it that way.
YouTube also has it but it is a smaller window.
The video quality is not great, but you can see what's going on. It's really incredible.
If I ever meet the man who invented Heelys, I will personally strangle him with my bare hands. If you have no idea what Heelys are, consider yourself very, very lucky. Heelys are tennis shoes with wheels in the heels. They look like this:
The wearer, 99.9% of the time a child, can then skate along instead of walking like a normal person. The wheels do not retract, so wearing Heelys requires you to walk on your toes or to skate (or to go flying backwards, as the case may be). The child generally takes a few running "steps" (since that part involves basically shoving your toe into the ground I hate to call them steps) to build up momentum and then glides along, returning to running to stop. Running being a relative term.
The danger factor is apparent here, as is the damage to a child's toes, ankles, knees, and every other body part involved in walking due to being forced into such a bizarre shuffling gait. However, the annoyance factor is much higher. People let their children wear these things to Disneyland. To DISNEYLAND!!! What the hell? Perhaps I was just brought up strangely when my parents dressed us in layers and made sure we were wearing sensible shoes for walking and standing around an amusement park all day. I'm telling you, dozens and dozens of Heely-wearing kids come through our store daily. They're obnoxious. They're constantly running into things--displays, for example, but mostly other people. They are constantly running over toddlers and tripping over strollers and just plain other people in the store. Heely wearers are quite often wobbling and grabbing on to things and people (to whom they are not related--just anyone who is handy) and just generally creating a safety hazard and a nuisance all over the place.
Here's an open message to parents everywhere: Heelys are NOT SHOES. Just because they are sold in a shoe store and look just like shoes does not make them shoes. Heelys are sporting equipment, just like roller skates, rollerblades, and skateboards. Here's an example that demonstrates why Heelys are skates and not shoes. Heelys' own website states clearly that Heelys should always be worn with protective gear. One does not need protective gear when wearing shoes. You can join Team Heely and show off your tricks and stunts wearing your Heelys. Here's some videos! There is a word for tricks and stunts done while wearing shoes, and that word is dancing.
Heelys should not be allowed anywhere that other types of skates aren't allowed. Sorry--call me un-fun and stodgy if you will, but Heelys are a hazard to your child and everyone around him or her. It is true that one does not skate the entire time one is wearing Heelys, so a rollerblading analogy would not be a good one, but they are very much like skateboards in that one can choose to skate or not choose to skate. Heelys are just not appropriate for places like Disneyland.
It is my sincere hope that people will start seeing Heelys as sporting equipment (which they are) and not as shoes (which they are not) and treat them accordingly.
Yes, it's the news we've all been waiting for--we have our Log In Date (LID). That means that our dossier is officially logged into China's system and we're officially at the bottom of a very large stack. Our LID is March 20, 2007, and it's from there that we start counting. The current predictions are around 24 months right now. They may slow down or speed up at any time--it's really hard to tell.
So this is the point where we won't hear a single thing for a couple of years. Nothing. Our poor dossier won't see the light of day for months and months. However, no matter what, that means that there's our baby at the end of the rainbow!
Mini-Me is out of the hospital! When I went to visit today she was very much her normal, energetic self. It was a huge difference even from yesterday. We enjoyed reading some books together, but it was getting tough for her because she was still in isolation and couldn't get out and play. Still, she made it through like a trooper and looks great now. Good thing, because she's my favorite niece--except for Corie, who also happens to be my favorite niece. Funny how that works.
My poor little Mini-Me--my niece Seana, who is a spittin' image of what I looked like at her age--is in the hospital. She caught a nasty case of the Rotavirus and got very dehydrated, so they checked her in. I visited yesterday with a Build-A-Puppy dressed in a nurse's outfit and she loved that. Today I'm going down with some books. Yeah--big shock there! Shelby with children's books! Anyway, send good vibes to our little munchkin.
Oh the busyness of my life! Seriously. I'm getting lots of hours in at work. They've been scheduling me Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday (with the week starting on Sunday). On the one hand this is good because they're cutting and adjusting hours according to how productive a given bear builder is, and it looks like I'm one of the good ones (haha). On the other hand, I'm, like, working. Hunh. Throw in Chinese class Monday and Wednesday and FAWG on Friday and church on Sunday morning, and you've got one busy girl.
Chinese class is going...well, it's going. We had a very difficult quiz today. It was dictation, and Kong lao shi (our teacher, Ms. Kong) read a paragraph in Chinese and we had to write down the characters. Not exactly quickly, but not slowly either. I of course got by writing the pinyin (a phonetic transcription of the Chinese characters) and then writing the characters. I completely blanked on a couple and biffed more than one. I'm not sure there's partial credit if you get 2/3 of the character correct. But for the most part, I was pleased with my performance.
Then we got to watch sample presentations including one from last semester's student who was hen cong ming (very smart)--one Kevin Hogan. The presentation was all about his family, so there were some pictures of me in it, as well as cute ones of the dog. I did get a bit embarrassed (all of the pictures featured me with very short hair, which makes me realize we've really taken very few pictures since we moved into the house) but of course, Kevin just kicked ass, even if I did get put on the spot a couple of times. It was kind of weird to hear the class chanting from the presentation, "Shelby tai tai shi hen piang liang he cong ming" (Mrs. Shelby is very pretty and smart). And I was called upon to say, "Wo ai wo de xian sheng" (I love my husband).
For anyone remotely Asian or familiar with Chinese, there are tone marks in there that I'm too lazy to incorporate.
Oh wait! I forgot I installed Simplified Chinese in Windows!
我爱我的先生 I love my husband!
So here we are on the Ides of March which means it's also another important holiday--Scout's birthday!!! Our little Scouter is now officially 11 years old, which is clearly not possible, since I got her as a puppy when I started grad school. Strange how those time warps work like that. Also amazing is that Scout was only 4 when Kevin first met her, which means that Kevin and I have been connected for 8 years! How did THAT happen?!
Scout celebrated the day (so far) with a Frosty Paw (ice cream for dogs). She loves them. Digory isn't all that crazy about them, which is weird since he's not a picky eater at all, but he's willing to take one for the team when it comes to anything edible.
We also have a new addition to Scout's foodstuff--Solid Gold's Berry Balance. Scout went in for a teeth cleaning and naturally came out with a million dollar vet bill. She was overdue for a look-see and her shots, and we had them do bloodwork as well. Her urinalysis turned up with a UTI (surprise) and struvite crystals in her urine. Since these can be a sign of kidney stones, we had to do an x-ray ($$$). Luckily she doesn't have kidney stones, but crystals are not so great either. The common form of treatment is a prescription diet from Science Diet, but their food is not of the quality standards that we like (we'd prefer not to feed our dogs chicken beaks and feathers, thankyouverymuch), so we went searching for an alternative. Solid Gold is what we feed them now (human-grade ingredients and a food that doesn't list ground corn--a filler--as the #1 ingredient), and we were pleased to find a Solid Gold product that might help. Solid Gold Berry Balance is a powder of things like cranberries that raise the acidity level of Scout's urine, helping to break down any crystals. We don't know if it's working or not, but her last urinalysis seemed clear, so who knows. What's one more supplement? She does a pretty good job of eating it too, as long as it's well hidden. So Scout's birthday Frosty Paw was laced with Berry Balance--BWAHAHAHAHAAHA!
Anyway, Happy Birthday Small Dog!
We're back from the cabin and have decided that the best thing to do is to go up on a Thursday and come back on a Saturday, or pretty much anything that doesn't require us to go up on a Friday evening and back down on a Sunday. We had a great time, and there were still some patches of unmelted snow. Digory got his feet wet and seemed to like it. There was some definite squirrel-chasing, and while Scout clearly knew what her role was (get the squirrel up the tree, then bay like crazy, looking over your shoulder and wondering why Daddy isn't shooting it), Digory wasn't that swift. He sure is cute though! We were smart enough to bring the citronella collar this time around. The citronella collar is an anti-bark collar, but instead of a shock, it delivers a small poof of citronella in the air. The citronella (a strong citrus scent) disrupts the dog's barking by catching their attention. Additionally, for a scent hound like Digory, the collar works especially well. He's already figured out what level he can growl and make small barking sounds without setting it off. This worked a lot better, since the last time at the cabin he barked the entire time. He feels intensely protective and, I suspect, insecure in that location and is always on edge. This way he was able to relax. All in all, a great time was had by us (that one's for Marc--haha).
We are off to the cabin this weekend! Unfortunately, the snow seems to have melted :(. We were really hoping Digory could romp and gambol in his first snow (that we know about--I highly doubt his previous family took him to see the snow). Anyway, no blogging until at least Monday. Which is totally different than what I've been doing now. Not.
I DID IT! I actually threw a successful surprise party for Kevin! Successful meaning both that everyone had fun and that Kevin really didn't figure it out. I'm not so great about keeping secrets sometimes so I was sure I was going to give something away about this one, but he was truly surprised. I had told him that my cousins Geoff and Tracy (plus daughter Addison plus bun in the oven) were coming over at 6:30. The party started at 4:00 so at 3:30 I told him we had a very important errand to run. We set out and he was trying to figure out the whole way there. When we pulled into the Downtown Disney parking lot, he said, "This has something to do with bears, doesn't it?" We arrived at DD and met up with everyone else and the party began. Megan was our Party Bear and she did an awesome job. Everyone really had a great time. Some people kept their bears for themselves or as gifts, and the other bears we are donating to the Children's Hospital of Orange County. We ended up with 5 bears for CHOC so I think that's going to make a great gift to them. Afterwards we headed back here for pizza and cake (and wine, of course). It was a great party and a real surprise to Kevin, so a big THANK YOU to everyone who was able to make it!
This is an awesome story. A woman who received a heart transplant over 10 years ago has free climbed an unexplored peak in the Andes. Free climbing is rock climbing that involves relying entirely on your own strength and balance to ascend a rock face or mountain. Ropes are present only for safety but aren't used to assist in climbing. In addition to this accomplishment, she has also climbed Mount Fuji, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the Matterhorn (the one in Switzerland, not the one in Disneyland). Only 10 months after her transplant, she hiked up the backside of Half Dome in Yosemite. Interestingly, she was 35 years old when she got sick, and her condition was cardiomyopathy caused by a virus--exactly the same as me! What a wonderful testament to the strength of the human spirit and the refusal to let medical conditions rule your life.
Read the whole article here.