Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

This isn't only the first year we've had a pumpkin, it's also the first year we've both dressed up. Nathan's office had a costume party for which he was one of for to come dressed and my department decided independently to celebrate the holiday.

While it may look like Nathan dressed up as Nathan, he's really Indiana Jones...or a farmer. He decided to let everyone else pick which one he was.

I have wanted to dress as the Wicked Witch of the East for quite a while. I already had the outfit except for the socks and hat. The shirt is one of my favorites and the skirt is actually the lower half of my only good formal dress. After wearing it all day I remembered why I try not to for more than a couple hours, there is a layer of crenoline lining the bottom of the skirt, which makes it really itchy, and later really painful to sit on. I've had the shoes for a couple of months and everyone at work loved them with the socks.

Do you see two Hecates? Her little doppleganger was a present from Elizabeth, my youngest sister, and one of Hecate's biggest fans. It is roughly the same size as the real Hecate and I'm not sure how she feels about it. She knocks it over, but I don't know if she's playing or trying to destroy it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I promised...

...So, here are a couple of Nathan's baby pictures.

This is my favorite of the pictures I borrowed from my mother-in-law and scanned. That's his older sister standing at the bottom of the stairs.

I love this one too, he looks so cute in his little snow suit.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Pie Maker

It is very rare that Nathan and I find current TV shows we both like. He watches "Smallville" and "Supernatural" both of which I can't stand, and actually give me nightmares occasionally, and I watch "My Boys," which he dislikes.

Imagine our surprise then when we stumbled across "Pushing Daisies" and both really enjoyed it. It is clever and funny and very well done. The storylines can be a bit far-fetched...actually, usually are a bit far-fetched, but that's probably one of the things we love most about it.

We can actually sit down together and watch it. It makes Wednesday nights more fun.

Take it back!

I'm sure we all have those little things from our childhood that we wish we could keep the same forever. The way we remember our grandparents' laugh or the way the first day of school always felt.

Apart from wishing both my grandfathers were still around, the only thing I would really keep the same is not having to deal with my own medical care. It loomed in front of me for so long and now all of the sudden it's here (really it's been here for a while, but while I lived at home mom still more or less took care of it.) And, I truly hate it.

Seriously, I would pay my mother or almost anyone else for that matter, pretend to be me and call all the doctors' offices and make appointments and deal with the insurance companies.

This is the hardest part about my medical care right now. Technically, pulmonary atresia with tricuspid stenosis is a children's condition, which means I have to see a pediatric cardiologist. It is very hard to do this because when I call to get referals to see the ped cardiologist I have to do this every time,

"When is your birthday?"
"But, he's a pediatric cardiologist...and you're 24 years old."
"I realize that, but, if you look at my records...blah...blah...blah."

What is worse is when I go to the children's hospital where I have to see my cardiologist and I have to explain to the security guards...yes, security guards...why I'm there and what I will be doing. I end up feeling so persecuted.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Baby pictures

My poor mother-in-law...Nathan's family moved not long after we started dating and all the family pictures ended up on a shelf in an upstairs room. I actually hadn't seen any baby pictures of Nathan until we had been married nearly a year and a half, I think. Then, last weekend my mother in law broke her toe and I asked her if I could go back through the pictures and pick out my favorites to take home and scan.

She she and Nathan and I slowly climbed the stairs and pulled a lot of the boxes down and we all, including his dad, sat on the couch and went through old photographs all afternoon. I finally saw his very first, when he was brand new, and the really little baby pictures. I also found my absolute favorite from the last time we had gone through them, so I'll put one or two out here later.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Food and "Little Traditionalists"

My father attests that that's what my siblings and I are, "The worst bunch of little traditionalists I've ever known." Just because we insist that every Christmas the stockings are hung on the mantle every year and on trips up to Ely, Minnesota we stop at the same Denny's and Hardee's doesn't make us that bad...does it?

Anyway, usually that extends to food, however, even we get tired of the same things the same ways eventually. To that end, I have adapted my favorite meal. Please to enjoy.

Tuna Casserole
3/4 bag egg noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can tuna
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
vegetable oil

Set oven 350 degrees. Boil noodles until tender and in the meantime mix soup, tuna, and mayo. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat, add mushrooms and garlic. Sautee mushrooms. Add half mushrooms to mayonnaise mixture. Add noodles and mix well. Top with remaining mushrooms and mozzarella. Bake until cheese golden brown and bubbly.

Usually it doesn't have the mushrooms and is topped with crumbled potato chips.

On an entirely unrelated note: I made scones from scratch last night, one batch plain and the second batch I stole a friend's suggestion of adding craisins and sprinkling with sugar. I don't usually bake, so the fact that these went over well at work was really cool.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Like most people, in my memory my wedding is just a few flashes of the day's highlights (or otherwise). Our wedding color was hunter green, which I chose because Nathan said at the moment his favorite color was green and my sister Anne had hunter green prom dress.

On the morning of the wedding, in the midst of my worries that the tuxes wouldn't be right, Anne came to the kitchen and asked me to help her get her dress strap over her hair, which had been put up. The only moment of panic I really felt all day was when we couldn't get the strap over her hair. We ended up cutting the strap off and keeping the dress up with packing tape.

My maid of honor was my good friend Alexandra and she was in charge of carrying Nathan's wedding ring around. While we were hanging out at the house, I kept picking the ring box up and handing it to her every time she put it down. She got pretty frustrated with me until we were outside the church. Allie had the ring on her thumb and made a motion with her hands and the ring went flying across the parking lot. I nearly lost it.

We stood around outside in front of the church until someone finally said it was one o'clock (the time of the wedding) and as far as I knew we were no closer to going into the church. It was then they had to tell me the priest was late. Father Hummel had been my pastor at college and had it been anyone else I would have been upset. As it was I laughed and we all laughed when he came speeding around the corner and into the parking lot.

Then of course at the wedding Nathan shoved cake in my face...All in all it was a pretty great day.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ah, memories...

I realize that for most brides, the biggest day of her life is her wedding day. Well, the same is true for me, but the rehearsal dinner was nearly as great.

Two years ago today, at six o'clock, was Nathan and my wedding rehearsal. The rehearsal itself was fun, almost everyone showed up on time and even though the whole thing seemed to take longer than it should have, I was happy we had finally gotten to that point.

Then came the party. My dad has five brothers who love to cook and are like, five of my favorite people, ever. It seemed logical to me then to ask them to cook the rehearsal dinner. We discussed it for a little while, then in May we talked about what should be served. And that was the very last decision I made for the rehearsal. That is probably what made it so great. I didn't have to do anything. My wonderful aunts decorated, my wonderful uncles cooked, and everything was perfect.

My parents' house was packed with friends and family the night of the rehearsal dinner, my brother was there with his wife, who was then his fiancee, both my sisters were home, my parents, me, and my friends Bonnie and Travis. And this was the first time Bonnie met my mother's Halloween tree. It was to become a favorite story of both family and friends. For the story go to Bonnie's blog at here and scroll down to Autumn Pictures. (As you can see, I haven't learned to properly link to the blog yet).

The rehearsal itself was also the first "Holy Cow this is actually happening moment." Nathan and I were saying our practice vows at the rehearsal and we both said it seemed a bit surreal.

The rehearsal dinner also provided the bridesmaids something to eat while we were waiting for the wedding to start the next day. Everyone was more than happy to see the pan of cheesy potatoes and leftover cheesecakes.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Early holiday

Our anniversary is in two days, and I'll post on that when we get there, but every year (or, at least last year) I try to make a CD of all the pictures we've taken during the year. Mostly to get them off the camera, but also because it's fun to have them on a CD so we can just pop them in and watch.

Anyway, since our anniversary is so close, I wanted to get our Halloween pictures on there, so here...Happy early Halloween.

We've had three Halloweens since we've been married and this is the first time we've had a pumpkin. We got a carving set and carved in a bat flying at a window. It's not great, so it's kind of hard to see.

I'm not one for putting clothes on animals. I don't want to feed the conception that animals should be treated like children. However, ever since we got Hecate, whose name comes from the Greek goddess of witchcraft, because she's a black cat and we got her in October, I have wanted to find a little witch hat for her on Halloween. I found one this year. And since we have two cats now, I felt it necessary to get a hat for Hyperion as well. It didn't go quite how I had expected, but here it is our first picture of our cats in their hats.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Little Disturbing

I have a very good friend who is a Lutheran and recently attended the Catholic wedding of a friend of hers. We were discussing it afterwards and she told me she was disturbed during the service because the priest told the congregants that non-Catholics could not only not accept Communion (which is standard), but they were not allowed to participate in the prayers either.

I am in a "mixed" marriage, Nathan is Methodist and we did not discourage everyone from not praying at our wedding, in fact, we had Nathan's minister there and he gave the final prayer and blessing.

As my friend pointed out, the Catholic and Lutheran services are very similar and she knew all the prayers already, and I can't imagine that the Church would discourage people (any people) from praying.

If someone knows more about this than me and can enlighten me I would appreciate it.

Happy Feastday to me

Today is the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. St. Margaret Mary was born on July 22, 1647 in France to a middle class family known for its virtue. At a young age she exhibited a great affection for the Blessed Sacrament and spent much time in prayer and contemplation. She suffered rheumatic fever and was bedridden nearly four years, until she made a promise to the Blessed Virgin to consecrate herself to religious life.

She entered the Visitation Convent at Paray in 1671. Our Lord began appearing to her and asked her to establish devotion to His Sacred Heart. Because of this, she was treated as a visionary (not in a good way) by her own community and only her obedience, humility, and charity, and the grace of God were able to persuade her detractors. She died October 17, 1690.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque’s Consecration to the Sacred Heart

I give myself and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, my person and my life, my actions, pains, and sufferings, so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being other than to honor, love and glorify the Sacred Heart. This is my unchanging purpose, namely, to be all His, and to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing with all my heart whatever is displeasing to Him. I therefore take You, O Sacred heart, to be the only object of my love, the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the atonement for all the faults of my life and my sure refuge at the hour of death.
Be then, O Heart of goodness, my justification before God the Father, and turn away from me the strokes of his righteous anger. O Heart of love, I put all my confidence in You, for I fear everything from my own wickedness and frailty, but I hope for all things from Your goodness and bounty.

Remove from me all that can displease You or resist Your holy will; let your pure love imprint Your image so deeply upon my heart, that I shall never be able to forget You or to be separated from You.

May I obtain from all Your loving kindness the grace of having my name written in Your Heart, for in You I desire to place all my happiness and glory, living and dying in bondage to You.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

The title of this one pretty much says it all.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Least Favorite Jump

I'm good at hiding things. Not physical things, there never seem to be enough places for them, but ideas and realities. I'm very good at putting them in a box at the back of my mind and saying, "That's not important, you don't have to deal with that, just move on."

Funny thing is, most things so labeled and religated to the back of my mind actually are quite important. They are the frightening, unpleasant, or otherwise unsavory realities of life. (You have no idea how many times I've gotten up and walked away while writing this). But more and more lately I've felt compelled to the idea that the worst of these tucked away realities may someday be of use to someone.

(I've been trying to come up with a clever way to lead into this, but there doesn't seem to be one so I'm just going to dive in, please forgive the lack of segue).

I was born with a cardiac disorder known as pulmonary atresia with tricuspid stenosis and a hypoplastic right ventricle. The doctors say that means my tricuspid valve does not function properly and my right ventricle is too small. There is no rhyme or reason for these things, they just are the way they are.

But I'll tell you what it really means. It means by the time I was seven I had an abdomen full of scars and had spent more time in the hospital than most of my friends put together. It means my brother and sisters have a whole litany of stories that begin with "Do you remember that time we were at Grandpa and Grandma's and...oh, you weren't there." (I don't begrudge them this, I just think it's funny.) It means from grade school into about college I wore shirts with turtle or crew necks to hide my scars. It means even though I'm trying to live as a good God-fearing Catholic, I have been advised not to use Natural Family Planning. It means I will always have to go to a pediatric cardiologist. It means more things than I can write here.

When I was younger I pretended this wasn't real. I didn't think about it, I didn't talk about it, I didn't even like it when other people talked about it while I wasn't around. But the older I get the more I realize that a) For my own health and safety I need to understand what happened and what has been done, b) I realize I am not alone in fighting congential cardiac defects and c) because I am not alone, there may be people and parents out there who don't know what they have gotten into and need a little sympathy and to know that this kind of thing can be lived with.
So to all of you, if you ever read my blog, I want you to know when I was born, the doctors told my parents I wouldn't make it to two and a half months, and next month I will be 24 and a half. I haven't had serious, open heart surgery since I was seven. I've had many good doctors, most of whom understand the trials of being an adult with a "child's condition." While I was in college I spent four months living by myself in London (it was fabulous). I have a career, I'm happily married to one of the greatest, most understanding men of all time. While I shouldn't have kids of my own I do look forward to being a mom through adoption.

Don't despair, it is possible to live a full and happy life with most congenital heart defects.

P.S. You have no idea how hard it was for me to post this. I've gotten up and walked away more times than I can count, put up my hair and put in my contacts, called both my parents, and put it "Much Ado About Nothing" so I could take comfort from one of my favorite voices :)

Friday, October 10, 2008


Just an update. Elizabeth got a 1350 out of 1600 on her GRE. Go Bella!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Go, Bella!

My youngest sister, Elizabeth takes the GRE tomorrow in hopes of getting into grad schcool. Good luck, Bella!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

October 8

I realize this is a lot of posting for one day, however, one year ago today, Nathan and I went to the animal shelter and picked out our very first pet. She was very small, she still is, and we named her Hecate.
Last and certainly not least, today is Anne, my sister's birthday. Happy birthday, Beanie!

White or red?

As I said, this was the brain child of my friend's a three week rotating menu. So, this post looks a lot like the one Bonnie put up about her menu (sorry, Bon.)

Week 1
Monday--Macaroni or spaghetti*
Tuesday--Fruit day**
Wednesday--Fish and veg
Friday--Breakfast food
Saturday--Leftovers or dine out

Week 2
Monday--Baked potatoes
Tuesday--Hamburgers and hotdogs
Wednesday--Fruit day
Saturday--Leftovers or dine out

Week 3
Monday--Fruit day
Tuesday--Chicken and side
Wednesday--Tuna casserole
Thursday--Porkchops and side
Friday--Bagel pizzas
Saturday--Left overs or dine out

*Mondays have to be easy because I have meetings every other Monday night, plus who wants to cook something complicated on a Monday?
**Nathan insisted on having a fruit day every week, it has come to mean, "We have fruit, eat it if you want. I'm not cooking tonight."

Most of the items are pretty general, which allows me to learn to cook different kinds of fish or chicken or sandwiches. Also, the "anything" on Sunday gives me leeway to make whatever I feel like.

Boo Boo Bunnies

I always thought Boo-Boo Bunnies were only a part of my childhood. It was the early nineties, so I figured no kid growing up now would have any idea what it was, except from their parents' childhood pictures.

They were something that my Mom brought out at Easter and that had no practical purpose other than as a decoration. I wasn't overly concerned about the giant hole in the back of them, because they were cute and soft and had a fun name.

It was only a few years ago that I saw them advertised somewhere and realized not only are they still around, but they do serve a purpose. That giant hole at the back is meant to hold an ice cube. All the pieces started falling into place.

I mentioned them to Nathan the other day and he just looked at me blankly.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Grocery shopping

I haven't been married very long...just under two years actually. But it's easy for me, after almost two years, to think Nathan and I have developed lasting habits or we have sort of "figured each other out" in the context of our marriage.

But then some days, Nathan surprises me. Today was a grocery shopping day. Nathan hates shopping and a few weeks ago, after getting tired of saying "What do you want for dinner?" and hearing "Whatever," and then making macaroni, I came up with a menu. Actually, it wasn't my idea, I stole it from my good friend Bonnie.

Anyway, yesterday I was talking about having to go shopping today and Nathan mentioned that he was going with me. And he did!

Points for the husband.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Vitamin K--how I miss you

For the last year I've been taking Warfarin, an anticoagulant. It's part of my daily medical regimen and I have never hated a medication more. It doesn't taste bad and apart from easily bumping and bruising there are no serious side effects.

The worst thing about Warfarin is that vitamin K is a coagulant, which means it's off-limits. Vitamin K is in nearly all green-leafy vegetables: lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and my beloved broccoli. It is also in cranberries and avacadoes.

For some reason my Warfarin level refuses to go up, I've been at 1.4 for months now and if it would go up, I would be allowed a little bit of my favorite vegetable, and maybe a dill pickle now and then.


I'm not a creative cook, or baker. I don't draw or paint. I don't sew. In general I am not a visually artistic person. But I got bored a few weeks ago and a good friend of mine who knits taught me how. I actually enjoy it. It's relatively easy and mindless, so I can do it while I watch TV or ride in the car with little to no interference.

My first project, which I'm calling a table runner, is a bit rough, but I actually am surprised by how nice it looks. Nathan and I went to Hobby Lobby today because I was looking for new needles and yarn. I was surprised at what an active interest he took in yarn selection. He picked out the Bamboo Spun yarn I bought for a scarf that will probably be for him in the end.

The hope is that eventually I will be good enough at it to make a hat or a blanket for the baby when we finally finish the adoption process. If anyone has cool and easy-ish patterns I could try, please let me know.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tea Party Risk

Nathan and I played Risk tonight. He tolerates me so well when we play strategy games. I hate them and only play because he endures countless games of Trivial Pursuit and Scene It with me. The only time Risk has ever been fun for me was the few times we played it with Nathan's friends and my friend Jules.

The guys get quite vulgar and hostile capturing each other's territories and planning where to move their little plastic pieces next. Jules and I like to temper that when we play with them by phrases like, "Jules dear, I'm afraid I have to invade Norway." "Oh, no Margaret darling, please, take it, I'm in your way."

It drives them crazy and makes the game a little more bearable for us.