Friday, June 30, 2006

What we're doing

All week I've been telling myself I need to blog and then finding something else that needed to be done more. Maybe the heat is getting to brain doesn't seem to be sustaining info. The heat is making me cranky and less inclined to sit and write. There's also the fact that we've been busy this week.

We went to see An Inconvenient Truth with some friends last Sunday. It was disturbing, and scary. Daniel and I went home and discussed the movie and what we could do (besides the recycling we already do) to make a positive difference. One of our answers was getting a new car to replace Daniel's Saturn. We decided on a Toyota Prius after researching the different hybrid cars. We liked the hatchback style and all of the reviews I read on them were above the other hybrids. The MPG seems to be the best out of all of them too. We're thinking the dog children's' crate will fit easily and when the time comes, the car won't be too cramped with a baby seat and stroller. I'm keeping my Toyota Highlander for minimal use, but someday we hope to get another Prius or possibly the Highlander Hybrid. We'll see.

Other than buying a new vehicle, I don't have much to report. We got some new bookcases and spent some time rearranging some furniture. I went with Daniel to see Fast & Furious : Tokyo Drift last night. I hated it, but I do have to say the races were sorta cool. The story was lame (when they decided to have a story) and the ending was super cheesy, but I was glad to go since Daniel wanted to. Besides, he's taking me to see Devil Wears Prada this weekend - so I can't complain.

OK. That's all I've got for now.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Still Cookin'

So far, we're sticking to our guns on the cooking thing, and we're having fun with it. We've pretty much decided that we prefer cooking and cleaning together instead of one person taking on each thing alone. We're like a mini cooking show in our kitchen! Sure, we don't record ourselves cooking, but I have been insisting on getting photographic proof of the finished product. Daniel hasn't made fun of me about it once.

Last night we made Lemon Pasta and Asparagus. Go to Rachel Ray for the pasta recipe (the asparagus we figured out on our own).

It was very good and again, easy to make. We'll definitely make it in the future...and might even add some grilled shrimp or swordfish to the mix.

Jen (hey, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!) requested the recipe we used for the Taco Salad. We actually got the recipe from an ad for Jennie-O Turkey in the magazine. I found their website and have saved it in my bookmarks for future cooking adventures.

See that: Future Cooking Adventures. Woohoo.

P.S. - Those bowls are part of a Pasta bowl set. That little platter is from a set of two. All of it is pottery made by my wonderful mom-in-law, in her studio in San Antonio. Someday, I'll take a photo of all the stuff she's made for us. She is so talented and her pieces are reason enough for us to cook more often. You know, because food looks really good shown off in her pottery.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Domestic Duo

Daniel and I started off really well as far as the cooking at home goes. Almost four years ago, we were taking turns cooking for each other. Different kinds of pasta dishes. Pad Thai. Lasagna. Peanut Butter & Jelly w/ Cheetos. We bought a grill and I made some fabulous swordfish with mango salsa. I made a childhood favorite: Tuna Casserole. We made tons of Tuna Melts. When we moved into this house almost two years ago we resolved to cook more meals at home. We've hosted some friends over for dinner. We experimented with a few new recipes and made some of the stand-bys from the past, but it's been so hard to stick with it. Don't get me wrong: Every time we've cooked for and with each other, we have enjoyed the results...but it never feels like we have enough time or inclination to spend our time in the kitchen prepping, cooking and then cleaning after.

See, that's our first problem - the cleaning. As charming as it is to live in an old house, we lack the luxury of a dishwasher. Daniel grew up without one and said it wouldn't be a problem...but the dishwashing duties often get put off for as long as we can stand it. Note: Daniel can stand it longer than I can. So, we've gotten into a rut where when we do cook at home, we make easy things that require little clean up. We also eat a lot of Chipotle (oh, those Burrito Bols!) and sushi (not anymore, what with our "project").

And that brings me to our second problem: the time. There never seems to be enough of it. At least not when we're doing theatre or wanting to get together with friends. Also, we're just a little lazy about it all. It's fun to eat out with friends. It's fun to go out on dates to our favorite restaurants. It's easy. We like easy. We like it a lot.

Of course, change is on the horizon. Our serial eating out lifestyle needs to change.
  1. It's expensive. I'm not even going to get into the amount of groceries we could buy with the money we spend on restaurants (even Chiptole starts to add up).
  2. It's fattening. Even if we don't order the most caloric item on the menu, we eat more than what we would normally eat. The portions are always so darn big...and sometimes it's hard to push the plate away.
And getting back to the money thing: we could stand to cut some corners. You know the fertility treatments don't come cheap and I have a sneaking suspicion that our baby (babies or theatre troupe) is going to cost us some serious moula along the way. I mean, Duh.

So, I picked up a Rachel Ray magazine last week and poured over the pages. I'm a sucker for a pretty cooking magazine or cookbook. I love the pictures of what the food could and should look like. If there aren't any pictures for inspiration, I tend to lose interest in the recipes all together. Rachel Ray's mag delivers easy recipes on colorful pages with bright photos. I checked out her cookbooks expecting more of the same, but alas...with only a few photos to gawk at, I've decided we're just going to subscribe to the mag.

On Monday night, (after some take home Chipotle) Daniel and I sat down with the magazine and picked out three recipes to fix this week. We made a shopping list and went to the grocery store. It was kind of fun to fill our basket with all sorts of veggies and fruit and healthy ingredients. Tuesday afternoon I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to exchange a tiny little chopper (that we'd never taken out of the box) for a Food Processor/Blender. Our old blender had gotten messed up when we tried to blend up an avocado in it last Christmas.

Old, broken blender in Blah White

In a side note: We don't have a good track record with appliances. When we were making soup last month, we lacked a large enough pot so we got our never before used Crockpot out. We transferred half of the ingredients in to the pot and plugged it in. We were good to go. Then Daniel came up with the idea to put the ceramic pot on the burner on the stove. I asked him if he was sure we could do that and he said "Sure. Why not?" Well, the pot couldn't handle the flame and after less than a minute we heard a loud pop and then a little sizzle from the leaking soup. We cracked our brand new Crockpot. Kitchen goofs: US.

So anyway. The old blender is being retired after suffering our misuse and we're being very careful with our new "toy":

RED! Food Processor/Blender

We unwrapped it and set out to make dinner last night. Using the food processor, we made Mango Salsa to go with our ground turkey Taco Salad. We had to call Daniel's mom to make sure it was OK to put some bowls in the oven to act as molds for the shells. We were worried we might make them explode or something and knew she would know what to do. The bowls came out great....and here is the end result:

Taco Salad for Two

They were very yummy. Light. Healthy. Tasty. Oh, and fun to make. We're looking forward to cooking tonight too - unless we end up going to the movies with our friends Brock & Melissa. Gah! It's so hard to cook at home!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Busy, Busy

Daniel and I left the fertility doctors office reassured and excited for what's to come. The entire office staff is very accommodating and our doctor is awesome. Doc says that due to our ages and blood test results - that we really have nothing to stress about. Turns out I don't really have a blocked tube so he doesn't want to do surgery. Yay. He also says he thinks I'll be pregnant in the next few months. Woohoo!

We just need a little bit of help getting us to conceive, so I'll be starting some meds this week. Typical fertility some injections. The possibility of twins is moderate. I'll be monitored closely in the next few weeks.

In the mean time, we've got a lot of other things happening in the next month or so.

  • I need to finally enroll the dog children in obedience classes. Seriously. They're adorable but they don't listen unless they want to. Especially Bailey. She's 22 pounds of muscle and she needs to learn some manners.
  • Tons of people coming to visit us the week of July 9. First Daniel's cousin, Jimmy on the 11th. He leaves on the 12th and my parents arrive that day until the 14th. Alison wants to come on the 14th through the 16th. Oy.
  • Comicon in San Diego. Daniel is very excited as I've been telling him we should go for the last few years. We'll be there July 20-23.
  • We'll be back in S.D. July 27-30 to visit my parents and see Wicked.
Sometime in there, we'll be fitting in some movies and plays....blood tests and ultrasounds. I feel like it's going to be non-stop hysteria for a few weeks...but, it's all worth it. Thanks for all your well wishes. I'll let you know in about a month or so how the treatment worked. In the meantime, it will be back to my regular blogging.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Girl Talk (You're forewarned) the past few months, I've hinted about certain decisions being made; adjustments in mine and Daniel's lives; planning for our future, etc. A few of you bloggers have had comments from me that are much less vague...the rest of you, I'm sure you've put two and two together. I'm not very cryptic and I wasn't trying to hide so much as be discreet about what our plans were. At the time, it seemed like the right thing to do and I didn't want to jinx anything by writing about it here.

I changed my mind.

After some long talks, Daniel and I decided last August that we want to extend our family. We talked with our family doc, my ob/gyn and my specialist for RSD. I was weaned off of my pain medications and quit the BC. After a few months, (November) we "officially" started trying for "Baby E." It's been 8 months and we haven't had any luck. And when I say no luck, I mean no natural periods. In eight months, I have had three periods (all induced by a hormone). A few weeks ago, my ob/gyn decided it was time we went to a specialist.

Daniel and I met with Dr. Shakespeare's (Hello! How awesome is that? The theatre girl in me loves this.) PA a few days before we left for our anniversary trip. We discussed my medical history and our hopes. They took two tubes of blood from me and I barely winced. Daniel was waiting a few feet away from me, so instead of squeezing his hand as tight as humanly possible - I stared at a poster of a newborn. I figure when the time comes, there will be a whole lot more blood tests and shots and there's no use in me being a baby about needles anymore.

Yesterday, I went in for an HSG. I was told it was a simple X-ray of my uterus. Wrong. They said it might be uncomfortable. It was. It was also extremely painful. I ended up needing to call Daniel to come pick me up and I walked out of the office doubled over in pain with cramps and nausea. I cried and moaned...and stated that I would relay this story to our teen whenever I deemed necessary.

Today, our PA called to give me the results. My bloodwork all came back normal. My uterus and left tube are "perfect". My right tube is completely blocked. She discussed my case with an expert in Thousand Oaks and he wants to see me. It's possible that a condition I was born with is affecting my fertility. Normally, he's booked and we wouldn't be able to see him until July or August...we lucked out and someone cancelled just before I called. Daniel and I are driving down to Thousand Oaks this Thursday night and we have a 11 a.m. appointment on Friday. The initial consult will take over an hour and then he'll do an ultrasound. It is extremely likely that the next step will be me having a surgery to unblock my right tube. Meds are likely to follow...and then who knows what.

This blog will not become a "Infertility Blog", but with it being a important part of our lives right now and something that is on my mind...I can't not talk about it.

I should also say that Daniel and I are not putting any pressure on each other and we are fairly relaxed about all of this. I have my moments of anxiety, but we're good. Better than good. Our lives haven't revolved around getting pregnant and we're going to do our best to keep it that way. After all the articles I read today about our doctor and his facility, we feel like we are in extremely capable hands and I am very hopeful and excited for what may come. I'm a firm believer in the idea that things happen when and as they should. That said, any good thoughts you want to send our way are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Mel Moved

I just got a text message from our good friend Mel. She's 5 hours from San Antonio and tomorrow she'll be in Houston.

I met Mel a few years ago. She works with Daniel. She and I took to each other pretty quickly. We both share a love for music - especially those singer/song writer...indie types. She's got a bigger collection of CD's than me - and I think that's awesome because I buy CD's at a ridiculous pace. We've driven to L.A together a couple times. She's watched Bailey for us when we've left town and she was one of those friends who had a key to our house in case of emergencies. Our dogs love her even though she's really allergic to them. Mel co-signed for us so we could rent our house (since my credit was awful) and helped us move in. She's an amazing photographer and I am extremely proud to say that two of her photos are framed and hanging in our home - the home we would not get to live in had she not helped us out. She came and hung out with me when I was seriously sick and Daniel was busy with "Play it Again, Sam" at BCT - and she brought Daniel flowers to that show when I was too sick to see him perform and give them to him myself. Mel encouraged our theatre ventures by being at every show we were in and we loved that she enjoyed going to the Empty Space, Spotlight and BCT (and Woody's after) with us.

We had a key to her house too. We checked her mail for her when she was in New Zealand. We watched Bush get elected as President (again) at her house. We watched two Academy Awards shows in her living room - Daniel and I won the prizes. I helped her do some minor redecorating and talked her into a cool ceramic vase from Pier One. She stayed with us after she had some oral surgery and we took care of her while she was all drugged up. We enjoyed movies at the Fox at her urging and we loaned each other our DVD's and books. We drooled over each others new cameras and encouraged one another's photography.

Back in December 2004, I asked Mel to be one of our bridesmaids (I say "our", because we felt like our friends were standing up for both of us). It was fairly early in our friendship but even then I knew she was a friend who I wanted to stand up for us. She was a "keeper". I immediately recognized her as someone who I knew was a "kindred spirit". Mel is one of those friends where it doesn't matter how far away she is - she's still very much a part of our lives. She stood up for us on one of our most important days and I turn to her when I need someone to talk to - be it about my hopes, stresses, medical crap, etc.

KeelyMel...taken by Melissa Ecker

It took FOREVA for the company to pinpoint when Mel was going to get to go to Houston. For a while there, I thought it was some sick joke they were playing on her and us. I started to believe that Mel was never going to move away. When they finally did give her a moving date, it seemed like everything moved in fast forward until we said goodbye yesterday afternoon. But I don't really look at it as goodbye...more as "See you later". Who knows if or when Daniel and I will end up in Houston, but in the mean time Mel and I have each others blogs to read, email, phones, and of course, text messaging.

That said, I did feel sad to see such a good friend drive away yesterday. For whatever the reason, Daniel and I don't have very many close friends here in Bakersfield (most of them are in Texas and L.A). We only have a few local friends that we can call on a whim and really be ourselves with. Only a few people here know us really well and we've had to work really hard to get to that point. I'd say we must be unapproachable or not friendly enough, but I know that's not true. Maybe we're just both too shy...or something. Bah. All I know is making friends just isn't as easy as it was in high school. And it's a shame that Mel won't be here anymore. I miss her tons already.

P.S. - I stole the photo of me and Mel together from her flickr page. She's got an "all rights reserved" on it and I couldn't get the html until I downloaded it and then sent it to my flickr...but I figured she'd forgive me since it's such a good pic of us and I really felt the need to have it included with this post. If it disappears, you know why.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Anniversary Weekend

After spending two wonderful days of our honeymoon in Ashland last year, Daniel and I agreed that we would try to return to every year. So far, so good. The town is the perfect place to slow down and relax (the town pretty much shuts down at 10pm - except for a few bars). It was wonderful getting to go back to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.

We stayed at the lovely Ashland Springs Hotel again. We had a nice view of the mountains and Main Street, and our room was cozy. I especially like the location of the hotel: right on Main Street, close to the shopping, restaurants and the theatres. I highly recommend staying there.

The long weekend was filled with lots of walking - up and down Main Street and some steep hills. We parked our rental car upon arriving Friday afternoon and didn't get back in it until Monday. Next time, I think we'll look into just getting a shuttle from the airport.

We saw 3 amazing shows.

Friday night was "The Winter's Tale" by Shakespeare. Everything about it was amazing. The set. The costumes. The acting. The play is very engaging. Part tragedy, part romance and quite a bit of comedy (in the second act). It had my undivided attention the entire time. I was in theatre heaven.

Saturday afternoon we saw the new play "UP", by Bridget Carpenter. The play is about a man who 16 years prior tied 30 weather balloons to a lawn chair and flew. Since then, he's been searching for a moment like when he was up in the air. He has a wife and son...and a passion for inventing. The characters were a joy to watch. I especially enjoyed being in a different theatre environment and getting to see a new show that I had no predisposition to. Apparently, there was a movie in 2004 about a man who also ties balloons to a lawn chair - I plan on checking it out soon.

We saw "The Importance of Being Earnest", by Oscar Wilde on our anniversary (Sunday night). Again, we were very impressed. The play was done in three acts and each one flew by. The sets (all three of them) were gorgeous - as were the costumes. It's difficult to say which of the three plays were my favorite because they were all so different, but I did enjoy getting to sit back and enjoy a farce. There was no drama or tragedy in "Earnest" - just fun (sometimes ridiculous) comedy.

Besides the walking, shopping and play going, we also had some amazing meals. Since Shannon will be in Ashland soon, I'm going to go ahead and suggest a few places.
  • The Greenleaf - (sit creekside, it's gorgeous & great for people watching). I had the Greek Scramble for breakfast and it was fabulous.
  • Ashland Bakery & Cafe - Great coffee. Yummy pastries. We went there for lunch the first day (Stuffed Portabello Sandwich - SOOO good) . The food was so tasty, we went back for breakfast. Daniel had Polenta Pancakes...I had French Toast stuffed with Lemon Ricotta and covered in fresh berry sauce. Seriously. Divine.
  • Macaroni's Ristorante - We sat outside on the patio and split a warm spinach salad (with shrimp) and a small Margherita pizza while listening to live musicians playing in front of the theatres.
  • Pasta Piatti - Again, we sat outside - Ashland is too gorgeous not to. We got two amazing pasta dishes, a pesto and hummus platter, and a piece of warm chocolate cake served with espresso gelato...oh, and a glass of wine - for under $50. Great food, atmosphere and value.
  • Dragonfly - Go there. Sit outside (duh). Try anything on the menu and I'm sure you'll be pleased. The food is fresh and healthy. The servers are very friendly. I wish this restaurant was in Bakersfield.
If we could, I think Daniel and I would love to spend entire summers in Ashland...who knows, maybe when we've won the lottery. For now, we're happy to get to go back for a few days and pretend we're locals. I'm already trying to figure out when we can go back.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The First

Today, is the first of June. After some careful consideration of the other eleven months, I believe this has got to be my favorite month of them all.

Back in the day, I loved June because it was the month that school got out...the month that I got to claim another grade. June 1993 was the month and year my friends and I began to revel in being seniors in high school. We thought we were so cool and we were so excited to be the older kids on campus. Why, I'm not really sure. In recent years, June has become an even bigger deal.

In June 2002, I moved to Bakersfield to start over.

In June 2003, Daniel and I moved in to our first apartment together. I had lived with him in "his" apartment for a couple months prior to that, but the one on Ming Ave was truly ours. We chose it together. We bought knick knacks, wall decor, a sleeper sofa. All of our books, movies and CD's got grouped together in cohesive groupings. We decided together (after some deliberation) how every room would be set up.

It's strange. Even though Daniel and I have gone through so much together in the past three and a half years, in some ways it's seems like time has moved so fast. It is almost surreal to me that a year ago I was running around San Antonio with my mom and Donna (Daniel's mom) getting ready for the wedding. June 4, 2005: my favorite June event ever. Our honeymoon in Portland and Ashland, Oregon comes in second place...but first place in the vacation category.

June will bring some exciting things for us this year.

Today, we have a doctor appointment that hopefully will get certain things on track.

Tomorrow, we leave for our anniversary trip to Ashland. Sunday is the big day, but the entire extended weekend will be filled with a total of three plays, good food, walking, gorgeous views, lots of photography (with our new Canon Digital Rebel!) and relaxation. We've had this weekend planned for six months and we're both really looking forward to getting away. Don't expect posts from me until Tuesday...except for maybe some photo updates on flickr. I plan on being offline all weekend.

The rest of June: Looking into getting a new place? Max's first birthday. Father's Day. Alison's birthday (the last year of her twenties!). Seeing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in San Diego. I love June.

Hey...Does one year of marriage mean we're no longer newlyweds?