Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Case of the Missing Necklace

Harper is pretty infamous for taking things. Socks. Underwear. Shoes. Food. But jewelry? I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

On Sunday morning after yoga, I was in the shower and could hear Harper in our room running around like a lunatic — which usually indicates that he has gotten a hold of something he shouldn't. So I wrapped myself in a towel with the water still running and went to see what he had gotten into. He stops, glares at me, challenging me to chase him, and I see the chain of a necklace hanging out of his face like a piece of spaghetti.

Recognizing the necklace, I begin to panic, but managed to calmly grab the dog and pull the chain out of his mouth. Unfortunately the chain came out sans pendant. Harper kept chomping and running, but by the time I grabbed him again, whatever was in his mouth (presumably the pendant) was long gone. He looked very proud of himself. Not unlike after his recent total destruction of Dr. Penguin toy.

So I yell for Alex like a lunatic and he came running. Alex did a cursory look around but we didn't find the pendant. Presumably, it's in the dog. Fantastic.

Now, of all my jewelry, it appears Harper has good taste. Other than my engagement ring, the necklace he stole is probably the most sentimentally significant piece of jewelry I own. Back when I was in high school and my dad was still working, it was hard for him to wear his wedding band at his job because it was sort of an occupational hazard. Eventually we realized that it didn't fit him any longer, so my Mom and Dad took it to Bridgewater Jewelers over in Old New Castle and had it fashioned into a heart pendant for my Mom. The ring itself was bent into a heart shape and then the diamond from my Mom's engagement ring was added to the center.

I always really liked the necklace and the sentimental value it held, so in August of 2003, my parents gave me a similar necklace made out of my mother's original wedding band. When she worked on the floor at the hospital, my mom was only allowed to have a plain gold band, so the original white gold band was put away. Mom prefers the plain yellow gold ring, so she and my dad decided to have the original made into my very own heart necklace. They gave it to me that August because I was about to have my senior picture taken and they though that I would enjoy having something special to wear.

Since then, I have worn that necklace pretty much every single day, so needless to say, I'm pretty upset that my tiny little jewelry thief has made off with it.

So, after 3 days of checking poop, there was still no pendant . On Tuesday morning, I called the vet to get their recommendation. Of course they suggested an xray to see if it's in his belly, so Harper and I went down there and he waited patiently to see the doctor.

I assumed that the xray would look something like this, we would know where the necklace was, and that we would come up with a plan to get it back.

I was in the exam room closest to the back room where they do xrays, so I got to hear what was going on. After about 15 minutes of what sounded suspiciously like a Benny Hill sketch, Dr. Teti came in to tell me what they saw.
Fortunately and unfortunately, the x-rays show nothing in his little puppy stomach and GI tract (except and lot of gas and poop). Luckily, this means no bowel obstructions or perforations which is great news. The bad news is, either H already passed the pendant and I missed it, or it's somewhere in my house. Fantastic.

So, even though on that first day we tore the house apart looking for the pendant, I went home after the vet and looked everywhere else that I could think of. I even got out a flashlight and checked behind furniture. Looked in all of the heat registers. Checked the crack between the carpets and the wall. Drains. Inside shoes in our closet. Under throw rugs. In cushions. Shook out clothes.

Didn't find the pendant....but what I did find? The chain of the necklace. AGAIN.
I had put it up on my dresser (further back this time), but at some point Harper had yoinked it again. And where did I find it? Under the cushion of his dog bed. Are you effing kidding me? This dog is a ninja. So, needless to say, the search continues. If he's smart enough to hide things he knows he's not supposed to have, who knows what he did with the pendant.

So here's hoping that someone up there intervenes and I find this thing. St Francis. St Anthony. Dad. One of you guys up there. I do bet that when we do find it, I'll have a whole 'nother story for you guys. Cross your fingers!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Day: The Perfect Excuse to Wield a Machete

Martin Luther King Day has long been a day when folks get out there and give back to their local community in honor of Dr. King's legacy. My company just happens to do it with a particular flair that's really sort of hard to match. About a week ago, I received this company-wide email from a coworker:

Click to enlarge

I think my status on Facebook from that day really sums up my feelings on this one. Utter bewilderment and a bit of head-shaking.

Click to enlarge.

Needless to say, despite the fact that many thought it was some sort of January April Fool's Day prank, it turns out that some of my coworkers really take their MLK Day contribution seriously. A few turned up in duck boots and wellies. Others brought pruning sheers and hacksaws. Larry wore his hat with attached beard.

Unfortunately, since I'm still getting over being sick, I opted out of sloshing around in half-frozen swamp muck this morning (although I'm starting to really think I would have enjoyed it). I did, however, enjoy some fantastic pictures from coworker, David. Here's a few of his gorgeous shots of some of our happy helpers.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Old Memories Made New Again

For Mom's birthday this year, I was having trouble coming up with something to get her. Recently, Mom pulled out her old photo albums that have her childhood pictures in them and was looking specifically for ones of her and her grandfather. There aren't many because according to her, her Pop Pop was always the one behind the camera snapping Polaroids of family events. Luckily there are a few, although they're not in great shape and are relatively small, unclear images.

So, after uploading them as TIF files, Larry took a look at them. As you can see, he fixed up the color issue on the color photo, removed scratches, and did the best he could where the photo had rubbed away from scrapbook glue damage on the third image. I took the photos below, converted the color to black and white so that they matched, and had them printed as 4x6 photos — which was a bit larger than the originals.

Then I bought a collage frame and added matting to create a really nice keepsake. Mom was already planning to make a shadow box in honor of her grandfather, so I figured this would make a nice addition.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

UGGs = A Healthy Balance of Self Loathing and Ridiculous Comfort

I've been avoiding the UGGs trend since I saw my first pair out in California in summer 2004. That was also the first time I ever saw UGGs worn with a skirt in warm weather. I vowed that I would never EVER be caught dead in such ugly boots.

Then after that fateful summer, I went to Delaware for my first year of college, and every single sorority girl for miles was wearing the Greek uniform: Northface fleece, leggings, ribbons around their ponytail, popped collared shirt, pearls, and of course, UGGs. Actually, more common at Delaware was the combination of PINK brand sweatpants (that never actually were pink) and the boots.

And while we're talking about things that just don't work, lets talk about this whole leggings as pants thing. This is another thing that is not acceptable with or without UGGs.

Actually, there is an entire website devoted to why leggings are not pants. If you think that leggings are acceptable to wear with short shirts, check out www.tightsarenotpants.com. You can thank me later for saving you from yourself.

Alright, back to the UGGs. So I vowed never to do it. Well, that was until Jenna came and stayed over and left her shoes by the door. I threw them on to take the dog out and couldn't believe how comfortable the damn things were. Like slippers, but warmer.

So here we are in 2011 and I now shamefully own a pair of Bearpaw knock off UGGs. I will say that I did not pay over $40 for them which makes me feel slightly less sick to my stomach, but just the thought of having something in common with a bunch of orange, duck-faced, Jersey Shore wannabes does pinken my cheeks in shame just a little.

So, in light of my new boots, here are a few self-imposed rules to keep me from totally sliding into the black hole of popular culture:

  1. Only wear boots when it's below 40 degrees
  2. Don't wear boots with dress clothes or skirts
  3. Don't wear boots with leggings
  4. Avoid sunless tanner like the plague
  5. Don't wear PINK sweatpants out of the house...EVER
  6. Don't wear pearls with boots
  7. Don't make friends with the cast of Jersey Shore
  8. Don't tuck jeans into boots
  9. Don't tease or poof hair while wearing boots
  10. Don't give anyone any reason to compare you to Snooki while wearing boots

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What? I Can't Change My Mind?

Yeah. So. Turns out I'm not a big fan of chiffon in person. Changing it up to Euro Satin but sticking with the navy blue.

Unfortunately these dress choices don't look like they're all the same color, but the dresses are in person. Here's the new bridesmaid dress choices. Check out billlevkoff.com for more details.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Books, Books, Books

My plan was originally to write a nice little paragraph about each of these books and why I love them so much, but a nice little paragraph turned into about 4 pages for the first selection.

So to save you from my ramblings, I've decided just to put up a list of some of my recent favorite books. As you can see, when I find an author I like, I tend to read everything they've written. Also, I have a soft spot for historical fiction. Below that is my stuff to read lists. As always, if you have other suggestions for my "to read" list, please comment below.

Books I've Read, Loved, and Will Read Again Numerous Times:

  • Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger
  • The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  • Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
  • The Murderer's Daughters - Randy Susan Myers
  • The Bone Garden - Tess Gerritsen
  • The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
  • The House at Riverton - Kate Morton
  • The Distant Hours - Kate Morton
  • The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton
  • Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay
  • A Secret Kept - Tatiana de Rosnay

Books That I Have at Home Waiting to Be Read:

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - Mark Haddon
  • The Bonesetter's Daughter - Amy Tan
  • The Kitchen God's Wife - Amy Tan
  • Devil in the White City - Erik Larson
  • The Dante Club - Matthew Pearl
  • Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi
  • Wicked - Gregory McGuire
  • Cider House Rules - John Irving
  • The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
  • Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer
  • The Help - Kathryn Stockett

Books From Authors That I Love and Can't Wait to Read More Of:

  • Gravity - Tess Gerritsen
  • The Keys to Rebecca - Ken Follett
  • World Without End - Ken Follett
  • Sacred Hearts - Sarah Dunant

Suggestions from Friends On My To Read List:

  • The Nineteenth Wife - David Ebershoff
  • The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
  • The Brightest Star in the Sky - Marian Keyes
  • By Nightfall - Michael Cunningham
  • C - Tom McCarthy
  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers
  • The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford
  • The Hummingbird's Daughter - Luis Alberto Urrea
  • The Lemon Tree - Sandy Tolan
  • The Reader - Bernhard Schlink
  • A Reliable Wife - Robert Goolrick
  • Room - Emma Donoghue
  • The Zookeepers Wife - Diane Ackerman

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Ten may seem like a lot, but I feel like these are at least realistic goals.

Remember to take at least a multi-vitamin every day. I'm so bad at this. I have a daily reminder on my phone now, so hopefully that will get me in the habit.

Eat protein instead of crap for breakfast.
I tend to eat better, feel more full, am generally more alert, and am in a better mood on days where I start with protein instead of carbs, so why not just try to do that all the time? Not saying that Dunkin or Wawa won't call my name sometimes, but I'll try to stick to my Chobani yogurt or an egg most days.

Exercise more regularly instead of in fits and starts.
I have a tendency to exercise for a while and then when I get where I want to be, my workouts taper off into nonexistence because I'm too busy, too lazy, or making some other excuse. It's so much harder to get started again once you're up a few pounds and your body isn't used to exercising. This year, I'm going to try to at least maintain a day or two a week when I'm not in my uber-crazy fitness mode, which I think is realistic.

Get stuff at the grocery store that is both healthy and that I like and will eat.
I, like a lot of people, have a tendency to set myself up for failure when it comes to grocery shopping and cooking. Sometimes i get all excited about eating right and I buy stuff for five meals and only end up cooking 2 of them, and wasting or half-assing recipes with the rest of the ingredients. It's either that or I go ahead and buy crap and then eat that instead of something that would be better for me. This year I'm going to try doing smaller grocery store trips and getting ingredients for 1 or 2 meals at a time, and planning for meals with ingredients that keep for longer. Not saying there won't be cookies and goodies too, but if there's good, healthy stuff around, I will be more likely to eat that.

Be more aware of what I'm eating and drinking.
Sure that beer after work is fantastic, but I've gotten myself in trouble these last few months with wine or beer after work along with 3 cups of coffee with cream and sugar during the day.

Find ways to destress and use them.
It appears yoga and the old standard reading in the bath are first on my list for this year. Other suggestions are appreciated.

Let stuff go.
No one cares if my house is OCD clean to my specifications or if the laundry is done. Let it go sometimes and get back to that whole number six thing.

Read more.
I have at least a dozen books sitting in my room that i want to read. There's something to be said for turning off the tv sometimes and snuggling up with a warm puppy and a good book. Add that to number six.

Make an effort to spend time and keep up with friends.
This year has seemed really hard as far as keeping up with friends. College is over. It takes a concerted effort to keep up. We're all busy. Blah blah blah. Here's to at least a few emails to see how folks are doing. Maybe that will lead to dinners and visits, but I'll start small.

Don't let wedding drama take over my life.
Enough said.