Friday, October 30, 2009

I'm going to hell in a hand basket

In no way am I saying this video resembles Markus. Men just have a different way of dealing with things than women. Poor little bunnies.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On The Mend

If I have been out of touch with some of you the last week, I apologize. I feel like I have fallen down some sort of rabbit hole and I'm trying to move towards the light. The last week has been a challenge. I was sick and in bed for 3 days, pretty much by myself. Then went to work for 1 day before taking off more time to take care of Markus. He had surgery yesterday to remove a cyst on his backside. He went to the doctor appointments before the surgery alone so I was only given a little information beforehand. What I thought would be a very simple procedure that would not last more than a few days has turned into something a bit more complicated. I knew something was up when the doctor came out after surgery to give me the blow by blow and asked "if I worked outside the home" and had I "taken some time off". I only planned to be out yesterday for the actual surgery but after the good pain meds wore off last night, I realized we were in a little deeper than originally planned.

It's so hard to watch someone you love in pain and there isn't much you can do. And in my opinion everything always seems worse at night. The pain meds they prescribed were not helping at all. Markus would barely fall asleep before waking up again moaning in pain. So finally around 6 a.m., after consulting with a friend of the family who is a nurse, we upped his dosage. It seems to be helping. Unless he needs to move, get up to use the bathroom, or change positions. He cannot put any pressure on his back so positions are limited. We go back to the doctor tomorrow to see how it's healing and so they can teach me how to dress the wound. I guess that's when the real fun begins! Google is not your friend when you have a not so pretty medical procedure and a morbid curiosity. We googled his cyst today and I almost tossed my breakfast. Let's hope my love for Markus overrides my weak stomach.

I would not want to leave you with that as your final image for this post. So I will show you some pictures we have gotten over the last week. Being sick has at least one benefit; time with your family. Here are some photos we have captured the last week. It pretty much sums up what we have been doing.

I made one of Markus' favorite dinners tonight. Lindsay and Carlos came to visit and brought his favorite dessert. AND his favorite team is playing game 1 of the World Series*. So I would say things are looking up around here :o)
*Update: So the whole "team playing in the World Series" didn't exactly turn out like I had hoped. But there is always tonight! Go Yankees :o)

Monday, October 26, 2009

I've fallen behind

Last week was a bit rough. It started with the weekend and continued through the week. First I had a paper that was due Tuesday. I am a bit of a what you would call a procrastinator and didn't start working on my paper until Sunday. ALL DAY SUNDAY. But it was rainy and cold and I didn't mind staying in my pjs snuggled on the couch with a book (for my paper) and my laptop. Markus was there too, it was actually kind of nice to not have anywhere to be and use my brain for something other than work. I pretty much worked on the paper non-stop up until I turned it in on Tuesday at 2:22 p.m. 2 1/2 hours before it was due! And I called myself a procrastinator?!?

I went to class that night, turned in my paper, gave my presentation and felt relieved it was over. And then my relief turned into a slight fever and a sore throat. Which turned in to being sick the rest of the week and not getting out of bed until Saturday. No fun. Especially because Markus was gone most of this time and I was home alone. I did however catch up on my sleep and all the programs recorded in my DVR. I have watched enough tv to last me until Christmas.

So, while I get caught up on life, I leave you with this video for Music Monday.

Enjoy :o)

Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear from Gabe Askew on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Music Monday (on Tuesday) for my husband: Tarja Turunen

There is this Finnish band called Nightwish that gets played a lot around our house. And there is a singer named Tarja that used to be in the band Nightwish, that often gets brought up in our house. Tarja is no longer in the band and has branched out on her own. Something about irreconcilable differences blah blah blah. Which is a shame because her lead singing was the only way I could tolerate listening to Finnish power metal.

Anyway, I always post music that I like but today I would like to post something that is very dear to Markus' heart, Tarja. She has an amazing operatic soprano voice that is paired with symphonic power metal.

Are you confused yet? I am. So let's just listen to her voice and you can understand what I mean.

Introducing Tarja:

Friday, October 16, 2009

An Apple A Day {will make you sick of apples}

Last weekend Markus and I drove an hour west to Charlottesville, VA and visited the Carter Mountain Orchard, where it's apple season. It was the perfect fall day. The air was crisp, the sky was blue, and the apples were ripe for pickin' (some of them a little too ripe). It was nice to have an entire day to ourselves with no chores or errands to run.

We arrived in {tractor} style and was handed two bags so we could do our own picking. But first we hit up the concession stand where they had everything imaginable made from apples. I opted for an apple slushy and apple donuts while Markus stuck with the traditional cider. All were delicious.

Then we hit the orchard for some apple picking. There were all kinds of varieties but most of the apples from the bottom of the trees had already been picked. So I was designated apple picker. Markus would point to the ones he wanted (being the apple eater in the family) and I would throw them down to him to bag. Our system worked well. We came home with almost 50 apples! Hence the title of this post. Markus called today to say that he had eaten 10 apples in 3 days and was a little over apples. Guess that apple pie I planned on making tonight will have to eat itself :o)

See below for Grandmamma Chenault's applic pie recipe:

Follow Friday: Me!

Sometimes I wonder if I'm writing to myself or if I have an audience outside of my husband. I know he checks the blog because he tells me but is there anyone else out there? Not that I mind writing to myself, I find it therapeutic. But I am just a tad bit curious of who is out there. If you are reading and you want to say hello, please do! And feel free to "follow" me so I can get to know my audience outside of my husband.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Boys

Markus came home Saturday with these presents for the boys. Charlie wasn't quite sure what to make of the new visitors in his space. Meeko wanted nothing to do with them from the start and wanted out.

I can't tell if Charlie is scared of the toys or not. Either way, it kept him entertained through dinner!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Feeling Gray

A peak inside of my neurosis, and why our house will never be "done"

It started a few weeks ago in class. We had a 10 minute break. I used 3 minutes of that break to use the bathroom and text Markus. The rest of the time I spent online looking at what I always look at when I'm bored, design blogs. I went to DS* and stumbled across this post and the gray/cream combination in this picture really caught my attention.

Oooh, aaaah, gray and cream!
And I thought to myself: "self, those colors sure would look nice with the orange clementine rug in your dining room". By that point the break was over and I had to pretend to be interested in IT management and Porters Five Forces. But all I could think about was turning my dining room into a gray/cream/clementine oasis.

So when I got home I googled "gray and orange design" into my iPhone. I found all kinds of inspiration. And before I knew it I had my Benjamin Moore paint fan out and was rummang though fabric samples I have collected over the years. I came up with this inspiration board and have been drooling over it ever since.
I also decided that I MUST. HAVE. picture frame wainscoting and crown molding added to the dining room.

So the next day I tell Markus "I think we should paint the dining room gray, add some molding, and install a new light fixture". And he asks if this is because of the orange rug. No, this is because I'm neurotic, and on a break in class I found a picture. Duh!

This is what keeps me up at night. I do not try to solve world hunger or end poverty but rather wonder what colors work best with my clementine rug and what fabric would be best for drapes. This is normal, right?

The last California post for a long time

Ahhh, it saddens me that this will be the last time I write about California. There are so many other places to see in the world and yet I would be content just going back to visit this state. It's so beautiful. And, I saved the best for last: Monterey and Big Sur. Some of the prettiest country I have ever seen. If you have not gone, go!

We arrived in Monterey on Saturday and headed straight to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I recommend going on a non-weekend day. It was CROWDED with lots and lots of strollers. But so worth the admission price. I took a ton of pictures . Under the sea creature are amazing and so colorful.

And that's just the inside. The outside is just as nice to look at. Here is the observation deck that overlooks the bay where you can see kelp gardens and kayaks.

And this is where I could kick myself. It was late in the afternoon when we got to the hotel so we decided to rent bikes and get the lay of the land. And dummy me didn't bring my camera! I missed some really good shots. The weather was gorgeous, the marine layer had burned off and the sun was shining bright. We rode through town, down to Lovers Point, and then headed toward the tide pools. I'm still mad at myself for not bringing the camera because the tide pools were amazing! Markus ventured into the very chilly water to explore what was under the sea, while I opted to lay on the rocks and soak up the sun.
The next day we drove down the coast and headed towards Big Sur. And I realized quickly that my fear of bridges is actually a fear of heights. The road down is very windy with a minimal line of sight and so close to the sea. But the views are so breathtaking that I (almost) didn't notice.

It was early and the marine layer was still around so the views looked something like this as we left Monterey.

But the fog started to burn off the further south we headed and the sun began to peak out
And eventually you could see everything. So beautiful and peaceful. We would pull off every few miles and just stand in awe of the landscape. I think this is what they mean when they refer to God's Country.

Big Sur is very rustic. A great place to go camping and get in touch with nature. There are several parks in the area. We chose Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park for hiking. They have redwoods and I hugged one. Does that make me a tree hugger? The hike up was a little tricky but the view from the top was worth it. So was the waterfall we passed.

We also went to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park because I had read the views are amazing. They are. Most of the park is closed due to the 2008 wildfires but a small trial that leads to the waters edge is still open. You walk through this:

And on the other side is this:

There are signs posted everywhere warning not to go down to the beach. Many people have attempted and have needed rescuing. Probably worth it once you get down there. The land was once private property and the owners left it to California and requested the house be torn down and named after a local resident, JPB. Can you imagine LIVING on land that looks like this?

On the way back to Monterey we drove 17-mile drive and got a glimpse at the Pebble Beach golf club. We also got to see the Lone Cyprus Tree. Pretty cool looking.

I'll miss you California, hope to see you again soon!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Music Monday: Halloween Edition

Can you tell that I am a little excited about fall and Halloween? So this morning I thought I would share a song that always puts a smile on my face. It's a fun song to dance to as well, if you are so inclined. Enjoy :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weekend Edition

We had a fun weekend that I will blog about later but while the hubby watches football AND baseball, I thought I would blog about a typical Sunday in the H household.

We try to sleep in but the dogs wake us up around 7.  Meeko wants to get in the bed and Charlie wants to go outside and play.  Eventually Charlie makes his way into bed and then this happens:

We Markus has a strict no dog in bed policy, but we usually break the rule on weekends.  How could you resist when they are this cute?

Then it's a walk around the neighborhood to settle the dogs down.  Markus is working with Charlie on sitting on command on our walks.  He pretty much has it down when he is in the house or yard (or if a treat is involved) but all bets are off when we are on a walk.  This morning Meeko and I left Charlie and Markus and made it 2 blocks before Charlie sat.  He is a little stubborn but so cute!

See, I know sit!

The rest of the day varies but Starbucks is usually involved.

I have been getting the house ready for fall.  Pumpkins are out on the front porch and ready for carving.  The planters have been filled with pansies and mums.  And, we even got a new flag!
After chores it's time to settle down for some family time.  Charlie loves his brother so much that he shares his bed.

Meeko, however does not like to share and usually kicks Charles out.

There, that's more like it.
What did I do?
Don't look at me, I was an only child for 10 years.

And now it's time for Dexter!

The End :o)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Follow Friday: The Macs

Meet The Macs, your normal, young married couple just starting a family of their own. I have wanted to blog about Jess and Joel for a long time now. I have been reading their blog for over a year and feel like they are real friends. Some of you may have heard me talk about their daughter, Cora, and her very short, sweet life here on earth.

Jess is a mom who started a blog when she gave birth to chronicle her growing family and keep loved ones in the loop. Just like many of us. Except Jess's baby was diagnosed with cancer at 11 months old and died just 17 days later. And now Jess shares with all of her followers her pain and sorrow of losing a child, and how her and her husband are trying to pick up the pieces and be a normal family again.

A lot of the time Jess, understandably, wonders why this happened to her sweet Cora and questions God's purpose for taking their daughter away from them at such a young age. I can't imagine the grief that they have felt the last seven months and the void they will feel for the rest of their lives. But I am very thankful that Jess has shared her story with her readers. It is a reminder to everyone out there that life is short and precious and should not be taken for granted for one second.

Whenever I am having a rough day I think about Jess and all that she has overcome, and will overcome in her life, and I'm reminded that life is a gift. Her and her husband have a strong bond and an even stronger faith that is helping them through this.

On a happier note, Jess and Joel are expecting again! Baby Mac is due in December and I can't wait to follow their journey with this new bundle of joy. And I am so happy that Jess gets to go back to what God intended her to be, A stay-at-home-mom.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

California: Wine Country

It's been over a month since our last trip to California so I think I better try to wrap things up! Where does the time go???

Soooo...I left my heart in San Francisco and we headed north to wine country. We stayed in Sonoma at a really cute hotel that was walking distance from the city square. The hotel felt like a private residence with cottages tucked away behind gardens. Our room wasn't quite ready for us when we arrived but no worries! Their was a winery we walked to that had tastings. We each had a glass of white wine and then headed to the pool at our hotel to cool us off from the 90! degree heat (which is what we left back in Richmond).

That night we went to The Carneros Inn in Napa for dinner at Farm (pictured below). This place was amazing and if we could have swung the $800+ rooms per night, we would have stayed. But I was happy with drinks in the open air lounge and dinner under the stars. Dinner was our wedding gift from Chris and Alexa. Thanks guys, it was phenomenal! And, we liked this place so much that we stopped for donuts at the Boon Fly Cafe on our way out of town. And, I liked the donuts so much that I ate half a dozen in one sitting!
The next day we had a driver pick us up and we headed an hour north to the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County. A friend of ours in the restaurant business had arranged a private tour at one of her vendors wineries, Ridge. It was really cool to see how and where they make the wines as well as get a history of the vineyard. However, they poured us more than the normal tasting so when we left 1 1/2 hours later I was pretty tipsy!

Several people had suggested picking up lunch at the Dry Creek General Store so we headed there next. It looks like your average country store until you walk in and are met by gourmet cheeses, sandwiches, and products. They even have live bait and tackle, if you are so inclined! I was more interested in the grub.
Our driver knew of a winery close by that had great grounds for a picnic so we took our food to go and headed to Lambert Bridge Winery. Which as the names suggest, is located over a one lane bridge. Think Bridges of Madison County. As soon as we crossed the bridge we felt like we had gone back in time. Here is the building where they do the tastings, complete with it's own sleeping Saint Bernard (unfortunately not pictured).

The grounds were beautiful and the perfect place to have a picnic. I'm not smiling because I have food in my braces, not because I'm not having a good time.

I took these pictures at what we dubbed the Mafia Vineyard, because our driver told us they owned casinos in Las Vegas and had ties to the mafia. The wine wasn't that great but the views were spectacular.

Up next, we head down the coast and visit Monterrey and Big Sur. Some of the prettiest views I have ever seen.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sala B: The early years

I was surprised this weekend by my aunt, who was visiting from North Carolina, with photos of me as a child. I don't have any memories of my early years, I can only remember bits and pieces. And those are probably from stories I have heard and not from my own memory. For example, I have no recollection of the family trip we took to San Francisco when I was 3 but I have the faint memory of my aunt's house and riding a cable car. Here is the proof:

Riding the cable car in San Francisco with Dad. Circa 1982

Me, Grandmama Chenault, and Dad

I also don't have any memories of my parents together and have seen very few family photos of us as a threesome. I love this photo. My mom as a young mother and my dad is so handsome.

Outside Auntie Viv's house, San Francisco 1982

My Step mom remembers this photo being taken, she says I was leaning in to tell Grandmama Chenault a secret. I was probably four or five.

And this last one is a classic Sarah picture. I was visiting the same aunt who lived in San Francisco at her home in Asheville, NC. I'm wearing her clothes and jewelry (the glasses were unfortunately mine) and probably bossing her around to do something for me. That is her dog, Calliope in the background. I remember this trip vividly. I was plotting the entire visit on how I could stay longer. Auntie Viv's house was so much fun to visit.

Auntie Viv's house 1986

The name of my blog is another nostalgia left over from my childhood. It was a nickname given to me by my dad. Sala being my first name, Sarah, and my middle name, Lisette, combined into one. I was way ahead of the combining names trend in Hollywood! B stands for bird which is what my dad, brother, and sister still call me. He starting calling me bird because I would pucker my lips like one when I was hungry.

Op Ed: My Rant to Time Magazine, the FAA, and the American Public

I read this story on Time magazines web site this morning and it really got my blood boiling. The article is titled "Too Tired to Fly: European Pilots Want Shorter Shifts". I'm not angry because European pilots want shorter shifts. I fully agree and support their argument. I'm angry because the writer focused strictly on the E.U. rules and hardly mentions the U.S. He cites in one sentence at the bottom of the article that after the Buffalo, NY crash, U.S. authorities worked quickly to overhaul U.S. flying time. That flight happened in FEBRUARY and NO rules have been changed. That is not working quickly when peoples lives are at stake.

It angers me that nowhere in the article do they cite FAA regulations for pilots and duty times. Markus can work 16 hour days with only 8 hours off in between flying. And, he can do it up to 6 days in a row. Think about how you would feel at your desk job working from 6 a.m until 10 p.m., and then having to be back at work at 6 a.m. And, they are sleeping in a hotel and eating airport food with no time to exercise and barely enough time to get 6 hours sleep. Then multiple that by 6 days. Would you want that person flying your plane? I wouldn't want them driving a vehicle on the road, much less flying a plane carrying 50+ passengers 3,000 miles above the earth.

Why doesn't our government do something about this? Media outlets focus on ticket prices and delays going up but hardly ever do you hear about the pilots and how they are working around the clock and putting lives at risk. And, it's even worse for the flight attendants. Their main purpose on being on a flight is to provide assistance to passengers in case of an emergency, not to provide peanuts and drinks.

Bottom line: time is money. The FAA has these rules on the books and until the American public demands better or more lives are lost, it will stay this way. I don't want to lose my husband because he was too tired to do his job. I don't need studies to tell me that 16 hour days are too long to work when you are FLYING A PLANE. So why does the FAA?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Music Monday: The Beatles

We had a double date this weekend with one of our favorite couples, Suzi and Steve. And after dinner we went back to their house and played The Beatles Rock Band. Ever since I have had this song stuck in my head. My mother would sing this as a lullaby to me when I was a little girl, among many other Beatles songs so it has always had a different meaning to me than what I'm sure they originally intended. And since videos weren't really around when this song was recorded, this is the best I could do.

Happy Monday!