Thursday, August 28, 2014

Medical Update and other stuff

I haven't talked too much about my surgery recovery in a while. It's been smooth sailing for the most part although I still get tired very easily. Last weekend Aaron and I walked about 2 1/2 miles and it wiped me out for the rest of the weekend.

Tomorrow I'm having another surgery. It's Stage 2 of the reconstruction. The first part was all about making sure the transplanted tissue survived. This time is where the magic happens, as I like to say. I'll have scar revision on my stomach from where the incision had opened up, and some nipping and tucking on the new boobs. It's outpatient surgery and should last maybe a couple hours. The bummer is that we were supposed to go away for the long weekend with friends, but if I didn't have this surgery now I'd have to wait until October.

I'm sorry that some of you (including family) are finding this out for the first time by reading this. It came up pretty quickly and honestly, I didn't want to say too much until I had my pre-op appointment this week because part of me was nervous that they'd make me wait. The rule of thumb between Stage 1 and Stage 2 seems to be 3 months, and I'm just barely there. But it seems that we're a go so send me some good vibes tomorrow!

I've stayed away from talking about the Ferguson situation, but if you haven't seen Jon Stewart's take, watch it now.

In the case of his story about the producer and the correspondent, I would have been suspicious of the white guy because to be honest, I do tend to judge people based on their appearance. We all have our prejudices. And while I don't know what happened specifically in Ferguson, we cannot pretend that race is not an issue in this country.

On a lighter note, if you don't follow me on Instagram or my personal Facebook, you missed this gem:

I might have to frame that one.

And today I saw this:

Of course, I won't be drinking much wine for a little while, but this suits me for sure!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Faves 8/22

I've been so busy this week that I haven't even read any blogs, nevermind writing my own. But yesterday I took time to read Steph's post and I highly suggest you do the same. It's pretty deep and touches on a bunch of current topics, including Ferguson and the ice bucket challenge.

I didn't do a recap of last weekend but I must share a couple things we did. Last Friday we went to Goodale Park for Screen on the Green to watch Dirty Dancing. If you don't already know how much I love that movie, you should read about how people used to tell me I looked like Jennifer Grey. Prior to the movie, there was a trivia contest. Our friend Dru answered one of the questions, and so did I. We each won a free movie ticket so I guess we have a movie date sometime. I also got a shout-out because I was wearing this:

Blurry, but you get the idea.

One of the ladies in our group brought these watermelon cookies so she could legitimately say "I carried a watermelon."

Last Saturday was our annual block party. Two of our peeps were getting married that very day. The wedding was in Albany, NY so most of us were not there, but we wanted to extend our best wishes.

Someone needs to photoshop them sitting in the chair!

One of our neighbors is a landscape designer and last night he and his significant other had a gathering to show off some of his creations. He does incredible work and specializes in vertical gardens. This picture is of a garden wall in their courtyard. It's across the alley from us and you'd never know it's there. It's literally a secret garden!

Yesterday I wished our oldest niece a happy birthday. Tomorrow is our youngest niece's 6th birthday. Here's a picture of Kate and me from just a few weeks ago. Love those snuggles!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What better way to celebrate my 300th post?

Hello friends! I've been crazy busy lately, which has taken a toll on my blogging but I couldn't let today go by without acknowledging our niece's 21st birthday! 21 on the 21st! You can read a little more about her (and see pictures of her through the years) in this post that I did a couple years ago. You can also read about the time Aaron and I took her to Disney World.

Jacqueline / Jackie / MzJ is a super talented artist. We have a lot of her artwork hanging in our house. She's about to start her 4th year in college, where she's majoring in animation. And as you know, she recently spent a little over a week with us. I've so enjoyed watching her grow into a beautiful young woman and I love her to pieces.

When I started to write this post I realized that it's my 300th post! How perfect!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Yet Another Essay in the Wake of Robin Williams' Death

In stark contrast to yesterday's lighthearted post, I'm getting deep today. If you're on Facebook or Twitter, no doubt your feed blew up Monday night and Tuesday with the news of the apparent suicide of Robin Williams. I've read countless tributes and opinions and blog posts.

Robin Williams was an incredible, unique talent who will live on in his comedic and dramatic work. I don't know that I can choose a favorite. From Mork and Mindy to The Birdcage to Dead Poets Society to Good Will Hunting to Mrs. Doubtfire. The list goes on. One of his movies that affected me the most was Awakenings, although I don't know if I could see it again. I bawled watching that movie. I bawled after watching that movie. 

As with  many celebrity deaths, people are quick to say "why is there so much attention to depression NOW, just because somebody famous committed suicide?" First of all, be glad there isn't so much attention when it's someone you love. Now that new details are coming out about Williams' death, I'm disgusted by some of the judgments I've read regarding his private life.

The good thing that can come out of all the attention is awareness. And I'm not just talking about the awareness of family and friends. My hope is for people struggling with addiction and/or mental illness to realize that admitting the need for help is NOT a sign of weakness; it's seeking treatment for a terrible disease. But healing cannot be achieved until the afflicted decide they want help.

I can't know the depths of Robin Williams' illness, but I'm sad that he lost his battle with it, just as I'm sad when anyone - famous or not - loses their battle with any illness.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Shit Aaron Says

Once upon a time in Blogland, there was a linkup called "Shit Men Say." By the time I was ready to do one of these posts, the linkup was no more. But Steph still does a post like this and I'm copying off her paper and posting one today as well.

When Aaron talks to the cats he often says "Hello, my little mas pequeños!" This quite literally means something like "hello, my littlest littles." Aaron took German and Latin, but clearly not Spanish.

Also to the cats: "I just vacuumed yesterday and it doesn't look like you guys are respecting that."

Aaron is notorious for losing his sunglasses. If you find a random pair at your house, they're likely his. Earlier this summer he couldn't find any so we went to Target and bought two for $12. That night he went out but then came back and said "I can't lose my sunglasses if I don't take them with me." And yes, he came home at the end of the evening without his sunglasses.

By the way, when he cleaned out his car for the last time, he found a good five pairs of sunglasses, so he should be set for a while.

On the 4th of July, we were going to a baseball game and we discussed whether or not we'd try to eat dinner first or eat there. Aaron said "if we're going to eat before the baseball game we should have hot dogs."


Make sure to head over to Life According to Steph and read her post, Shit MFD Said Vol. 8.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Girl Time!

I mentioned on Friday that our niece Jackie is in town. We had some lovely girl time together over the weekend. Friday I had a hair appointment for a cut and color. I go to a salon that specializes in curly hair. Jackie has naturally curly hair but she often straightens it. She also loves to experiment with color and she loves wigs (that picture in Friday's post was a wig). My stylist agreed to color my hair and use my cutting time to cut Jackie's hair. Here's the result:

Friday night we all went to Mike and Amy's house for dinner, where Jackie immediately pulled up a chair to the koi pond and started drawing.

Saturday we went to the movies. I haven't been there all summer, so I finally got to see 22 Jump Street. Loved it, very funny. Then we shopped till we dropped, for real. When we got home, we both took short naps, then watched Mean Girls and Lizzie Borden Took An Ax (Christina Ricci was suitably creepy). Aaron was out, so Jackie and I ate charcuterie which we had purchased from Grandpa's Cheese Barn. Why is it that when you say "I had cheese and crackers for dinner" it sounds so bad but change it to "I had charcuterie" and then it's all good?

Sunday was L-A-Z-Y for all three of us. We did venture out to Ethyl & Tank for brunch, then went back home where Aaron hung out on the couch watching various sporting events, Jackie retreated to the FROG room to draw and then nap, and I went to the bedroom and napped, read and napped some more.

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Ameliorer la Vie

Friday, August 8, 2014

Let's play catch up

Here's what's been going on the last week:

Sunday we had a family reunion on Aaron's side. We were at his sister Cynthia's house, where they have a pond with zipline, a pavilion with picnic tables and a firepit, and lots of land.

Taken from the deck of the house

The kids were just the best. I love it when kids who may not have ever met each other become besties in about 2 minutes. They did a scavenger hunt before the lure of the pond hooked them for the rest of the day.

All girls, except for little Cohen, being held by our niece Lauren

Kate, Julia and Lauren

Zip line!

As you probably know, we have a community garden next to our house. This is our last year for that and there will be houses there soon (living through construction should be fun). Anyway, one of our neighbors planted a sunflower this year and it finally bloomed!

I took this from our second floor window. I love that it
faces the house so I see it whenever I walk past and
it makes me smile.

I started the longer-than-I-want-it-to-be process of reorganizing/purging/decluttering the bathroom shelves. I need some suggestions on organizing. I don't like the wicker baskets that are so big and I can't see anything in there and definitely can't find anything. Here's the before pic:

Here's the recipe for the Blackberry Lemon Trifle I made last week. I got the recipe from The Fake Gourmet.

8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 container whipped topping
1/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup water
6 cups fresh blackberries, washed (or frozen, thawed)
1 jar (10 oz) blackberry jam
1 pound cake, cut into 1/4 inch slices

Combine cream cheese and lemon juice and mix until smooth.
Add condensed milk and mix again.
Fold in whipped topping. Set aside.

Combine lemonade and water.

Line the bottom of a trifle bowl (or whatever bowl you want to use) with pound cake. Brush on the lemonade mixture (I spooned it on) and if you're patient, wait a few minutes for it to soak in.

Spoon blackberry jam over the pound cake.

Spread whipped topping mixture over the jam layer, then put blackberries over the whipped topping layer.


Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

My bowl was way too big! But this is delicious and easy!

Have a great weekend! I know I will because I have my niece Jackie visiting. Look how gorgeous she is!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Favorites - 8/1

Our cat Bella is such a Daddy's girl. But last weekend, after Aaron had been gone for three days, she must have decided that I was an acceptable snuggling companion.

Every morning I put this in my coffee:

And yes, every time I sing "I'm so fancy....."

Fancy (feat. Charli XCX) by Iggy Azalea on Grooveshark

This week saw the long-awaited opening of The Market Italian Village in our neighborhood. I went on Monday during the soft open, and again Thursday for the grand opening. I haven't counted the steps yet, but they're so close that when our windows are open, I can smell the coffee.

Last night I hosted the neighborhood ladies for Yahtzee night. Our group this month was small but mighty. I provided the finest in cheap boxed wine, meats and cheeses from the aforementioned Market, take-n-bake pizzas from zpizza (and yes, I baked them) and a blackberry lemon trifle (check back next week for the recipe).

Have a fantastic weekend!