What a week…


In an effort to shake things up, I decided to try some new stuff last week. T is still doing a lot of travel for work, so I particularly wanted some activities on the calendar so I didn’t just hibernate in the house and get weird.

On Tuesday, I went to a meet-up book group called “Reading Between the Wines” that my friend Jenn had found. It’s never easy to go meet a group of strangers, but I really want to expand my social circle here. Plus, I’ve been wanting to join a book group for the longest time but had no idea on how to find one. (Kudos to Jenn for looking on meet-up.)

The group was great and I had so much fun. One of the women lived in Seattle at the same time I did in the nineties and even worked at the same theatre company as me. (The one that I moved to Seattle to work at and where I met T.) Crazy small world. I’m definitely looking forward to future meetings and getting to know everyone better.

My other big leap forward was finally going to a Husky Masters swim workout. I’ve been talking about going for the better part of a year, but just couldn’t seem to work up the nerve. But when I told Jenn about it, she agreed to go and thus I had an accountability partner. Then I roped T in and the three of us went to the Sunday workout.

It was scary and intimidating, but I just did the best I could. Luckily, it wasn’t super crowded, so even though I was probably in a faster lane than I should have been, it worked out. I swam further and for a longer time than I’ve done in a pool, probably ever. And it went by so quickly, I couldn’t believe it. I’m definitely going to make myself keep going. It will be tough, but my swimming will definitely improve.

Unfortunately, the rest of Sunday took a nose-dive as I was driving home from the grocery store and the Camry completely crapped out. It had been doing this weird gearing thing, but it had suddenly gotten worse and we were planning to take it to the mechanic on Monday. But one day earlier, it just wouldn’t go forward anymore – 3/4 of a mile from home on a rainy afternoon with a car full of groceries.

Thankfully, I could call T to come help me push the car out of the driveway it was blocking and wait with the car for AAA, while I walked the groceries home. When I got home, I discovered that young Austin decided to make my day even better by chewing up my favorite sandals:

BadDogHe was not my favorite dog. (T was also in trouble for not checking the living room for shoes, since this is a known target of young Austin… )

The next day, I was expecting the worst on the Camry, so I was very surprised to get a text from T that they thought it was only going to be a couple hundred bucks to fix it. Score! But then a little while later, he called back with “Oops, the transmission is shot, that will be thousands of dollars… ” So, for all intents and purposes, the Camry was dead. Luckily, our fabulous mechanic had a soft spot for Camrys and he offered us $500 bucks for it. Plus, it sounds like he’s actually going to fix it/drive it, which makes me happy for no good reason.

Good-bye, little Camry. You were very good to us!


So now, we face the dizzying prospect of buying a new (to us) car and all of the idle thoughts of what kind of car we might want are suddenly all urgent and feel kind of overwhelming. Plus, T is traveling again this week and we’re going up to Jenn & Bryan’s cabin next weekend when he gets back, so there isn’t a lot of action I can take. Honestly, there’s not a lot of action that I need to take. I already take the bus to work and have easy bus or walking access to most stuff that I need. I think it’s more of an emotional panic since I haven’t not had a car in 22 years and it just feels weird and wrong.

But the upside is, I should have get an amusing blog post out of the car-buying process! Stay tuned…


Broken heart


I suspect most of the readers of this blog have already seen this all on Facebook, but we had a little excitement in the DragonFire household this weekend. I sometimes find writing this blog to be very helpful in processing things, so that’s the main purpose of this post. Plus, you know… posterity and stuff.

Around the first of the year, T started back with running and swimming. And, no surprise, it wasn’t going well. He kept complaining that he couldn’t breathe well and it was harder than he expected it to be. He went to the doctor and they thought it was just lingering effects of a cold and we sort of wrote it off to getting back into the swing of things. Then on Friday, he texted me that he got winded walking with a co-worker and was making another doctor’s appointment to have things checked out. Great. Saturday, we ran some errands and I went out for a run and he took the dogs for a little walk. He came back sweaty and looking like he’d just done track repeats. I changed out of my running clothes thinking “We’re going to urgent care, I don’t care what that boy says!” and came out to find him looking up urgent care locations on his phone.

So, we headed off to urgent care. They thought it was angina, but didn’t have the equipment to test it and recommended we go to the ER. Luckily, we live pretty close to a nice hospital (where M had Rowan, btw.) The ER was pretty calm about it, saying they wanted to do an echocardiogram, but that they were sure everything was probably fine. For the next hour, that was pretty much the tone/standard phrase. They did the echo, the ER nurse said it looked pretty good, but that the cardiologist would be by soon. They took a bunch of blood for various labs. It all felt pretty routine. So much so, that I took this picture and put it on Instagram with the caption “Big fun Saturday night”.

BoyER(You can’t tell in the picture, but he has all kinds of little electrodes stuck to him already.) The cardiologist swung by and told us that it was likely they’d want to do an angiogram at some point, where they run a wire up through the artery and inject dye into the heart so they can see blood flow. And then the labs came back and they decided to do the angiogram right away. It sounds funny to say this, but everything was still very calm and matter of fact, there was no sense of panic or chaos. Even when there were four people in the room, putting in IV’s, shaving patches of T’s chest and sticking more things to him, it all felt totally in control and normal. I suspect this is a testament to the excellence of their staff, sort of like how dancers make their movements look effortless.

I accompanied T as far as I could and then headed home to feed the dogs and get them set up for a friend of ours to keep them company for the evening. I was gone probably 45 minutes to an hour and got back to the waiting room just a minute or two before the cardiologist came through. She sat down with me and explained that T did in fact have a pretty significant blockage in one of this arteries and that they’d put in a stent. She said he’d need to take it easy for a few weeks, but that she expected he’d make a full recovery. Then about 15-20 minutes later the surgeon came out and talked to me about the procedure. He even brought a printout for me to look at (I added a few details in Photoshop, cause I’m fancy like that):

StentBasically, that top circle should look like the bottom circle, that’s how much it was being blocked. The stent is like a little wire framework holding the artery open and keeping it clear. It’s kind of crazy that they can just do that with the casualness that you or I would put on a bandaid. I’d called M and she joined me at this point, right about the time they let us go up to see him in the ICU.

It was very surreal to see T in among the really sick people. On either side of him, there were folks with tubes everywhere who looked TERRIBLE. And except for having to lay very still from the hole in his leg where they ran the wire, T looked totally fine. He had been awake through the entire procedure and generally was pretty upbeat. We chit-chatted with M for a little while, then she headed home and we hung out for a little while longer. But he was starting to look tired, and lord knows it had been a long day, so I left him to get some sleep and headed home for a few hours.

Not surprisingly it wasn’t a super great night of sleep, but I got a few hours.  The next day was a juggling act of time with the dogs and time with T. We talked to the cardiologist from the previous night and she confirmed that he did indeed have a heart attack. They moved him out of the ICU, but wanted to keep him another day in the hospital to see how he was doing on all of the meds, which was tough. He didn’t really want to be there any more, but obviously we would follow doctor’s orders. They did come into to do an ultrasound on his heart, which was pretty amazing:

EchoBoyLuckily, there were two big football games on to keep him entertained. I left for a little while in the afternoon and returned for the final fifteen minutes and it was pretty awesome to listen to the reaction from all of the nurses as the Seahawks won the game. It was like surround sound. 😉

The next day, they finally released him and he was happy to come home. He’s supposed to take it very easy for the next three days, so he’s lounging on the couch watching movies and playing on the Playstation. Then we’ll start the rehab process and figure out what kind of work schedule he can handle. I’m still taking all of this in, but compared to last year’s hip surgery/Smokey Joe, this all feels strangely manageable. We’re lucky not to be the average person in this situation for whom this is a huge wake up call requiring major lifestyle changes. For us, it’s minor if any changes to diet/exercise protocol.

Mostly what I am is grateful. Grateful that we caught it early. Grateful that I have such great friends/family. And that’s not such a bad place to be.


What a week!


So, I was going to write this fun little blog post about the metric century I rode last weekend with my mother-in-law and her friend. It was the first time I’ve ever been faster than Susan and it was quite an ego trip (especially with dorky cyclists hitting on me, since I was riding sans-T.) Here’s a little collage of the fun:

MCcollageBut then poor Smokey Joe, who had been limping around with what the vet thought was a sprained elbow, got sick. He’s such a stoic dog, but when he woke us up at 2am to go outside and then went to lay under the bushes in the rain, refusing to come out and making T carry him back into the house, we got the memo that something was wrong.

I was working at home on Tuesday anyway, so I took him to the vet to have him checked out. She was immediately concerned about how pale his gums were and suspected internal bleeding. The look on her face said that this was really serious and made me wonder if I’d be putting Smokey Joe to sleep that day. They took some x-rays and ruled out the giant spleen tumor she was initially suspecting. The x-rays didn’t show any causes for the bleeding, so we were referred to the local emergency vet to do an ultrasound and quicker bloodwork. They also didn’t see anything, but suspected a bleeding ulcer – a side effect from the aspirin/meds he was on for the sprain. Poor Smokey Joe then spent two days there, having every test in the book, including a blood transfusion.

The transfusion made him feel a lot better, so we were able to pick him up this morning, but we’ll need to take him in for blood tests to make sure he is truly on the mend. Here’s the sweet boy, so sleepy and happy to be home:


While we were dealing with getting Smokey Joe home and settled, T got a message that he had the opportunity to move his impending hip surgery up from early June to tomorrow morning. (Gulp!) He’s been really hoping to get the surgery moved up, so I’m happy for him on that front, but I’m not sure I can handle two invalids in the house!

So, gentle readers, send your healing thoughts to Smokey Joe and T. And if anyone has a lucky rabbits foot or a four-leaf clover, I could sure use the good juju! Lord knows we can use all of the help we can get…

Hanging out in downtown CdA


T made a fabulous breakfast, complete with bacon. We decided to check out the swimming area near downtown. T had an easy run, so he decided to run from the house and J took a nice long walk, so it was just the girls. There was a nice big beach, but also a lot of wind, so it wasn’t too enticing. But T got there as I was contemplating my options and guilted me into suiting up and getting out there. I decided to try out the long-sleeved wetsuit this time, since I’d had problems swimming in last year and wanted to make sure it was a viable option in case Leadman was cold. (Gotta explore all of my options!)

The water was crazy choppy and wavy, so I only swam for a short time. But something is better than nothing and it was good to reacquaint myself with the joys of chop. I had Grand Columbian flashbacks, for sure.

Afterward, we decided to check out the downtown area. While we were adding money to the parking meter, the girl in front of us was wearing this rad shirt:

Then on our way to the downtown area, we passed an art gallery with the creepiest painting of a little kid:

(I like that it looks like someone painted part of a family portrait.)

First stop was a really awesome toy store, with a cute name:

It was an insanely awesome toy store:

We looked in a few more shops, had some lunch and I got my picture taken next to this giant wrought iron moose:

Then we went to this huge antique store that M had been talking about. I’m not the biggest antique store fan, to me it always looks like bunch of overpriced junk that might have belonged to my grandmother. But going with M is awesome, she’s all about the kitsch factor. And this place had a ton of it. I couldn’t help taking pictures of some of my favorite highlights. First up, actual stuffed dead squirrel playing golf:

I couldn’t resist taking M’s picture next to this painting. It’s a clipper ship-fest!

And of course T got into the action:

And my favorite silly picture of all, M with the “World’s Greatest Lover” mug:

There was all kinds of racist memorabilia, including this whole cabinet o’racism:

(It boggles my mind that people collect this stuff.)

They had a whole bunch of random signs and posters upstairs. I wanted to buy this one so bad, but it was a tough overpriced. Needless to say, there were many jokes made about it.

My white whale


I’ve been wanting to do a blog post on some of my favorite creepy public art pieces for some time, but getting a picture of one of them has proved difficult. But today on my lunchtime run, I finally managed to get one. So without further ado, I bring you Pedophile Fountain!

The fountain streams are usually covering one of the figures, which is why it’s been hard to get a good picture in all of it’s creepy glory. But seriously, naked man staring at naked child in fountain form is just not okay. I’m sure there’s some fabulous hippie-artist explanation of man gazing on his inner-child or what-not, but give me a break…

Off to a good start


I spied this parked outside of a Starbucks (!) and had to take a picture. I’m not sure what’s more disturbing to me, that there’s a cup holder for the child or that it’s filled with a pretty large soda for a child small enough to ride in that thing. <shakes head sadly… >

Orange is the new black


I think I should just start a new blog for “ridiculous things spotted while on Target shopping trips with M.” I swear we see something hilarious every time we go. And today’s trip was a particularly good one. Apparently, it’s that “Decorate Your Dorm Room” time of year. Or, more accurately, “Buy Your College-Age Child Stuff to Embarass Them and Provide Their Roommates With Things to Make Fun of” season. So, without further ado, allow me to preview the hottest accessories coming to a freshman’s dormitory near you.

First hot trend, pillows shaped like food:

Note the attention to detail on the back:

And a detail of the lovely pizza pillow:

And the second hot trend for fall, plastic dishes that have textures of their intended foods:

(From top to right, we have Doritos, pizza slice, whole pizza, mac & cheese and spaghetti & meatballs.) Please also note that all the hot foods this fall are orange…

I am a little sad not to have a college-bound kid in my life to embarrass with these things, but writing snarky blog posts about them works too!