I like pretty sparkly things.

Our family Christmas pictures are coming up, and I got a cute dress at Target, but it needs a cool necklace.

And then my sister asked me to host a Stella & Dot trunk show.

And then I found this necklace.

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Gorgeous, right? It’s totally perfect. I’m in love.

Stella & Dot has tons of beautiful accessories. Not just jewelry. Bags, wallets, scarves, all kinds of stuff.

Let me be frank. I want that necklace. You want one of these beautiful pieces. So let’s just cut to the chase.

Click here to shop for pretty stuff from Stella & Dot.

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My little gif celebs

The boys are internet famous!

They’re on FunnyorDie.com!

They’re on Giphy!

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ETA: They’re also on Buzzfeed!

I mean, this isn’t the first time this video has made the rounds. A couple of years ago, the whole video made me a tidy sum on YouTube when Yahoo Japan picked it up.

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So fun!

(Thanks to my friend Barbie for finding the Funny or Die link.)

More Halloween festivities

When did Halloween get to be such a long, drawn-out holiday? When I was a kid, it lasted one night. Maybe two days total if it fell on a weekend. (Yeah, yeah, get off my lawn and all that.)

We did Boo at the Zoo a week ago, and then this past Saturday night was Ghost in the Oaks. Both really fun events, but yesterday there was a neighborhood party and the boys were just like, ENOUGH ALREADY. Plus it was 85 degrees, and who wants to wear polyester costumes with fake muscles in that kind of heat? Not my kids.

I don’t mean to sound too grumpy. After all, stealing the boys’ Halloween candy is a sport at this time of year. It’s my hobby. It brings joy to my life. And the more events we go to, the more Smarties and Snickers to steal.

Some pics from Ghost in the Oaks:

And a time lapse video of the Scrambler. SO FAST!

Stinky the cat

4545058363_4b480ee75e_bI got Stinky in Spring 1998. That was a long time ago. I was still in college. My dad was still alive. It was the ’90s, for goodness sake. I named her Isabel, actually, but somehow her name evolved from Isabel to Isa-smell to Stinky-smell, to plain old Stinky.

When I got her, she was tiny. So tiny she could barely climb over the lip into her litter box. My roommate Ann had an Italian greyhound that would carry her around by her head. I mean, he would put her entire head in his mouth and carry her around. She seemed to enjoy it, or maybe she was playing possum. Hmm.

384991769_45125c7646_bShe came with me when I moved in with my mom after my dad died, she moved with me to New Orleans in 2000, and basically has been a part of my life for a long, long time.

Stinky wasn’t a particularly loveable cat, I’ll just go ahead and say it now. (Maybe kittenhood trauma from being carried around by her head?) If I wasn’t around, she was likely to hiss and moan at you, and possibly swat at you. It got harder and harder to find someone to feed her when I traveled. Even my cat-loving friends were a bit frightened of her.

7189666213_75c470a845_kThere were six people on Earth she didn’t hiss at loved. Me. Kristina. George. And Linus, Oliver, and Miles. We’d always warned the boys not to pet her, because we were never sure if she’d decide she’d had enough and suddenly take a bite of whoever was petting her. But she was always calm around them. She never swiped at them, never hissed at them. I think she felt protective of them and loved them in her own way.

6173738687_43ede91637_bSixteen years and seven months is a long time for a cat to be alive. Over the past few years, we’d noticed she was slowing down. Going up and down the stairs was getting more difficult. And in the past months, her decline was a little more dramatic. She wasn’t grooming herself. She wasn’t using the litter box, she wasn’t eating very much. After a lot of soul-searching and agonizing, George and I decided to put her down, so she wouldn’t suffer any longer. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.

One of the questions I was told to ask myself was, “is she acting like she did when she was younger?” which, for Stinky, was a really hard question. Stinky was never a particularly playful cat. But I knew things were bad when I got her a catnip toy and she just listlessly sniffed at it, then pushed it away. Catnip would always get her in the past.

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It’s weird not to have her around anymore. She’s been part of my environment for so long. Not seeing her curled up in a pile of dirty laundry or on a pillow she’d co-opted is weird. Not dodging piles of cat barf is welcome, but also kind of strange. It’s odd to think I won’t have to hide my toes under a blanket when I’m reading on the sofa now. And we won’t have to worry about cords getting chewed on or water glasses being drunk out of.

The end was sad, but very peaceful. I had a little photo shoot with her yesterday before we headed to the vet. She was such a beautiful cat, but I don’t have a ton of photos of her because it’s hard to photograph black cats.

Rest In Peace, Isabel (better known as Stinky)
March 15, 1998 – October 24, 2014

LASIK, Day 3

Day 3. Not terribly exciting. In a good way.

I drove for the first time, and didn’t have to use my new laser beam eyeballs in any road rage incidents. Win!

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I went back to work today, too, which went pretty well. I had to take a few rest breaks and I made the font size a bit larger in my browser like an 80-year-old, but other than that, the day went pretty smoothly.

Well, until Miles accidentally poked me in the eye. I was afraid he dislodged my left eye flap (I can’t write a post without talking about the flaps) but my vision is fine, so he’s not in trouble.

My right eye is pretty disgustingly bloodshot (I will spare you a photo) but other than that, you wouldn’t even know how traumatized my peepers were just two days ago.

The main downside is not being able to wear eye makeup for two weeks. It’s not like it generally matters, but my Halloween costume kind of looks better with some vaguely goth eyeliner. Ah well.

Oh, and I keep thinking (at night, mainly) “boy, I’d like to take my contacts out now” because my eyes kind of have that constant dry, tired feeling you get after a long hard day of wearing contact lenses. (First world problem.) I’m assuming that goes away as everything heals. We’ll see. Fingers crossed.

Now I’m off to finish listening to the Jodi Picoult audiobook I got for my recovery. I’m ready to read real books again!

LASIK, day 2

My last post left off on Wednesday morning. My vision was still kind of hazy, but I could definitely see pretty well. After the boys went off to school, my mom and Larry drove me to the eye doctor for a follow up.

My vision was tested and I got 20/20 in one eye and 20/25 in the other. It seemed like it was the haziness from the light of the projected eye chart that was making the letters blurry, and I was assured that would improve over time.

Not much time, as it turned out. My eye doctor came in a few minutes later and removed the contacts he’d put in my eyes at the end of the procedure yesterday. Who knew? (Well, I suspected, but I wasn’t sure.) Sure enough, my vision immediately because clearer. I wasn’t tested again, but I’m pretty certain I’d be able to read the 20/20 line with both eyes now.

The doctor went over the schedule for my myriad medications again. I may have alluded to my weird eye issues before, so I may as well come clean now. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s just…kind of weird and gross. So in addition to using antibiotic eye drops and steroid eye drops, I also have to take four antiviral pills a day for the next few months. That’s because I have ocular herpes. Whatever you do, don’t do a Google image search for that. Trust me.

Ewwwww, I know.

When I was in high school, just a few weeks before the Sweetheart Dance (I actually had a date, people) I noticed a pimple on the bridge of my nose. It wouldn’t go away. It got bigger and grosser. (Man, this post is turning out to be worse than yesterday’s.) I finally earned a trip to the doctor (this was when I was at boarding school, so it wasn’t as easy as it sounds) where I was informed it was not a pimple, but a cold sore. And there were some small fever blisters on the edge of my eyelid as well.

At the time I wore gas permeable lenses, and the doctor informed me I’d have to switch to glasses immediately. I didn’t care that wearing rigid lenses might let herpes into my eyeball and cause blindness. I just didn’t want to wear glasses to a DANCE!

Regardless, I followed doctor’s orders and my life was ruined wore my glasses to the dance. Everything healed, and except for the scars I still have on the bridge of my nose, I pretty much forgot about this incident.

(I suspect I got this particular fun strain of herpes from my dad, who also got them on the bridge of his nose, or so I was told. Some people get them on their lips, some people get them…elsewhere…, and I get them around my eyes. Lucky.)

Seventeen years later, in 2009, I was preparing to go to Toronto for work, but I had this irritation on my eye. I assumed I’d scratched my eye putting in my contacts or something, so I went to an ophthalmologist who looked at my eye with that searingly bright light and immediately recognized my irritation as A COLD SORE. ON MY EYEBALL.

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So anyway, whatever, that healed, life goes on, I didn’t go blind, etc. But when I was researching LASIK, I learned that it can be a risk factor, since the trauma of the laser slicing into your eyeball can activate the virus. After a lot of research and speaking to my doctor I made the decision to go ahead.

Wow, that was a lot just to explain by I’m taking those antivirals, huh? I didn’t tell this story just to gross everyone out (that was just a bonus) but in case anyone else who has eyeball herpes wants to get LASIK, maybe this will help them make a decision.

You know what’s the worst part? I lied. I didn’t wear my glasses to the dance.

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LASIK, day 1

I survived! I can see! Sorta.

In the interest of science, I will describe how the day went. I looked for blogs of people describing their LASIK experience, and it helped me prepare mentally for what was going to happen. So now it’s my turn.

11:00: Got to eye doctor’s office, checked in, paid eye-watering (see what I did there?) amount and sat down with my mom and Larry. Fortunately, there was an adorably smiley child in the waiting room to distract me.

11:10: Got called back. First thing I got was 10mg of Xanax or Valium or something. I knocked that puppy back with no hesitation. I hoped it would be enough.

I spent the next half hour doing tests on my eyes. At the end, I was sat in an exam chair while I waited for the doctor to finish my exam. I could definitely feel the meds kick in at this point. Niiiice. My hands were kinda funny.

Finally, the doctor came in and did some last measurements. He then put some numbing drops in my eyes and pulled a marker out of sterile packaging. And then he DREW ON MY EYEBALL. Afterwards, he invited me to look at the two black dots on the whites of each eye. I wish I’d taken a picture.

Then I was led back into THE ROOM. The room, which, by the way, had viewing windows. When I was first taken back, I was sat in a chair with a full view of the room. There was a guy laying on the exam table. Thank god my glasses had already been taken away so I couldn’t see anything.

They asked if my mom and Larry wanted to watch…I said probably not. I’ll bet George was regretting not going now, though!

I laid down and they gave me some stress balls to squeeze. Soon enough, The doctor was sitting at my head. He taped my eye lashes up and out of the way, and then put something on my eye, I guess to keep them open. Then he put a circular suction device on my eye, which was a bit disconcerting, but I’d read about it, so I was prepared. He called for suction, and gradually, everything went black. Fine by me!

I was rotated so my head was under the first machine. I am guessing this was the laser that created the flap (shudder.) That only took a few seconds, and during this part, I could see white with tiny specks of color. It was really pretty, actually.

I think they removed the suction device thing after that, because I could kind of see what I imagine was the flap flapping around. It kind of looked like being underwater. Thank god for Valium. And that I couldn’t feel anything.

Then I was rotated under the other machine, the one that was going to do the real work. I was supposed to look at a red light. That damn red light kept moving, I swear. I felt like my eye was all over the friggin place. It took 43 seconds, which passed pretty quickly. I expressed my concern to the doctor that my eye was flailing around, but he assured me the machine tracks the movements and if it gets too crazy, it shuts down. He said I did great.

I think they put a contact on my eye at the end, but I might have been imagining that.

Photo Oct 21, 1 16 06 PMAnd rinse and repeat for the other eye.

When it was done, I was told to sit up slowly. The formerly blurry room was mostly in focus. I could see that the printer was a Canon. Everything was pretty hazy, but I was told that was normal.

Had a little exam after it was over, and then I got some goofy shields taped over my eyes. Was ordered to go home, take an Ambien, and sleep. So that’s what I did. No walruses appeared, thank goodness.

This morning, I woke up, removed the goofy eye covers, and I can see! Mostly. It’s still a bit hazy, but I expect that will improve.

Yay for seeing!

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It’s LASIK day!

Today is the last day I’ll wear glasses or contacts*. For the last 26 years I’ve worn some kind of corrective lenses.

When I was young, I had excellent vision. And then some time in middle school, it started getting bad, fast. But I was bullied in middle school, and there was no way in hell I was going to voluntarily wear glasses until I got out of that place. So the summer after eighth grade, I finally told my mom that I was having trouble seeing, and I got my first pair of glasses.

It was magical! Everyone talks about seeing the moon clearly for the first time, and it really is the coolest thing. About a year later, I got contacts – gas permeable because of my astigmatism. And also because I was too squeamish to touch my eyeball. All I had to do was pull on my corner of my eye and *pop*, out it would fly. (For better or for worse. I lost a lens at Mardi Gras one year when a bead hit me in the face.)

Okay, seriously, we don’t need to go through my entire eye history. I’m just glad I won’t have to wear contacts or glasses anymore. Even though I do like my glasses, kind of. I stopped wearing contacts regularly when I started working for Automattic, and now my face is going to seem weirdly blank without them. Ah, I’ll get used to it.

I really wish they did general anesthesia for this. I am not at all looking forward to all the things I’ve read they do during the procedure. That eye squeamishness is still there, even though I started wearing soft lenses some time ago. But everyone I’ve talked to said it’s no big deal, it’s over fast, and listen, if I can deal with major surgery and a triplet pregnancy, I can deal with a few minutes of discomfort.

See you on the flip side! (Pun completely totally intended. Obvs.)

*Yes, I know, I’ll have to wear reading glasses one day soon. And maybe real glasses. Just indulge me in this fantasy.

Shots

This is going to be the most fascinating post ever, in case you were wondering. But I’m trying to blog more, dangit, and therefore you are going to get a blog post about getting flu shots. I took lots of pictures, and so I shall tell the story through images.

 

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Fascinating, yes? I have to give the CVS Minute Clinic props for giving flu shots to kids. Walgreen’s won’t do it until they’re nine, and this is easier than going to the doctor’s office. And when I got mine, I didn’t feel it at all. It was kind of freaky. If my arm hadn’t gotten sore later, I would have wondered if I’d even gotten it.

Bring it on, influenza!!!! (I kid.)

It’s “Fall” so we went to the pumpkin patch

The boys are on Fall Break this week (don’t even get me started on this ridiculousness…I’m just lucky I work from home now, because this is bullshit for working parents) so I took today off so we could go to the pumpkin patch. I’d been eying the forecast for the past few days, and today was shaping up to be cool enough to make the trip and not be totally miserable.

The weather was gorgeous, as promised, but a bit warmer than I would have liked. I mean, is it too much to ask for the air to be crisp when you’re at a pumpkin patch? Of course, we’re in south Louisiana. I’m fairly certain it’s not a real pumpkin patch anyway. I could see the giant crates of pumpkins that they litter a field with, and it was pretty obvious they were shipped in from elsewhere. Never mind, it’s not like it matters. It’s a great place and I’m sounding very grumpy about it.

After the hour-long trip to get to the pumpkin patch, we sat down for our picnic lunch. I’d promised it was too chilly for bees to come out, but I was a lying liar. There were bees. Miles freaked out, wouldn’t eat. Linus sat calmly and finished his food.

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After “lunch”, they milked a cow. Nature, man.

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Then they went on the giant bouncy pillow thing.

Then they went on the zipline thing, but I have no pictures of that, because I was too busy trying to hold a rubber tire horse thingy in place and simultaneously lift a 50-lb child onto it.

Then they rode on ponies. Miles had words with his recalcitrant equine.

Then I saw a shady spot that would make a good background for a group selfie. I was right.

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Then the boys climbed all over the haystacks. That was fun. They cooperated for some group pics, they jumped from stack to stack, they played with other kids, etc.

At least I got a good group picture.
At least I got a good group picture.

When they were done playing in hay, they wanted to go down a slide. A slide with a puddle at the bottom. After Oliver ended up sitting in said puddle, he declared it a terrible day. Gee, thanks, kid. His brothers mocked his tears, which didn’t help much. We picked out some pumpkins. The selection was weak. Whatever. I had given up on photos by this point.

Before leaving, I told them we’d get drinks and a snack. Oliver and Linus picked Sprite (judge all you want, they never drink soft drinks) but guess what else likes sugary beverages? That’s right, bees. Again, Linus was like, “whatever” but Oliver was freaking out. I ended up throwing the can in the trash to the sounds of Oliver’s declarations that this was indeed THE WORST DAY OF HIS ENTIRE LIFE. Dramatic much?

Next year…grocery store.