Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Strawberry-Scented Horror

 Okay, let's get this over with.  Long story short, I smell like strawberries.

 The Mommie is constantly sticking this thing in my face.  I'm just glad she didn't have enough presence of mind to document the Pink Humiliation in the bathtub.

She sure did yell though when she came in and found me all smeared with the Sweetheart's pink smelly shampoo.  I guess at that point she knew she had to finish the whole lurid experiment - otherwise I'd probably still be all pink and slick and farting strawberry-scented bubbles.

The Mommie did what she could, and the Sweetheart might've felt kinda bad about it all - but in the end I was the one still wet and cold and shaking like a freaking chihuahua. 

 I've been licking and licking and licking - and really must advise you that though I may SMELL like strawberries, I do not TASTE like strawberries.

Ahhh, the Mommie had a stroke of genius and got this strangely warm and fuzzy thing out for me.  Life is looking better.

Okay, okay, let's make up.  You're lucky you're so cuddly and warm and can make me purr, Sweetheart.

...But just so you know, I'm gonna kill one of your favorite plush toys when you're not looking

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beyond the Burt's Bees

We've been living in our new digs in Klamath Falls for nearly two months now and overall it's been just wonderful.

However, there have been things we've had to get used to.  Making dinner every night, driving in snow/ice, creating a routine that doesn't involve dropping everything to show your house, just to name a few.  But one of the biggest adjustments the Sweetheart and I have had to make is the environment itself.

Klamath Falls sits at a respectable 4,099 feet above sea level.  The Willamette Valley, from which we came, is right around 430 feet above sea level (give or take depending on where you go in the valley, of course).  This significant change in altitude means some significant changes - and not just in baking.

As we were first settling in the townhouse, the outdoor temperatures were settling in the single digits and the snow appeared to be settling in for the long haul.  It was dry and frigid outdoors. 

And indoors, with our geothermal forced air heat, it was warm and dry.  QUITE dry.  I quickly noticed my Sweetheart's tender little mouth drying out and cracking.  Inside her wee nose, too.  Both places on her little face would itch and bleed.  One day in extreme frustration, she came to me with her little eyebrows knotted together, little hands out in exasperation and wailed, "My nose is falling apart!"  With my own hands chapped, mouth cracking, and face and scalp flaking and peeling off, I knew it was time to take action. 

I began running a humidifier in Siennalee's room each night and washing her face with Cetaphil followed up by a Cetaphil lotion.  And Burt's Bees, of course.  Gotta love Burt's Bees. 

While she slowly began healing, I began to notice I was having problems with my contacts.  Constantly blurry, I changed them, cleaned them, and finally abandoned them.  A call to my optometrist confirmed my suspicions: the dreaded dry eye.  I began to wear my glasses, which had broken this summer and were tenuously fixed with a glob of hot glue.  (Classy, I know.)  Give your eyes a break, my doctor had recommended, they should adjust in time.

So I began drinking as much water as possible, taking salmon oil, using re-wetting eye drops, and continuing to forgo my contacts.  To combat the dry skin problem, Aveeno was added to my routine and Burt's Bees, of course.  Gotta have the Burt's Bees.

This past weekend we got a humidifier for the master bedroom and I have high hopes of the extra air moisture assisting me in regaining my contacts and - one day - seeing without one eye constantly blurred.

These adjustments are a pain.  I dislike wearing my hot glued glasses.  Even more do I dislike having continuously blurring vision.  I dislike having skin flake, peel, and bleed and seeing my daughter so chapped and uncomfortable. 

But I am confident this adjustment season is just that - a season.  And all the pain and discomfort we might feel now is making us heartier, stronger, and better able to thrive in this new environment.  

Life isn't static.  Even if it isn't a whole new sea level to face, there are still changes that come, welcome and unwelcome. 

And the quicker and better we are able to embrace the change and let the adaptation process sweep over us, the quicker we can move on to the blessings beyond the pain of the adjustments. 

Because the blessing is always there -  sometimes just beyond the Burt's Bees.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gunther: Kantola Kitty

Gunther is now around 15 weeks (by my best guess) and has fit into our family like he's always been here.  He's a funny little cat with the most beautiful coloring and giant, velvety paws.  

He has excellent cat skills: he took right to the new (covered) litter box we got him and did just fine with his new food (although he does seem to be a nibbler - but aren't all cats?).  He was a bit dazed by the Kerrisdale house when we first got him at Christmas, but once we moved him down to the Klamath Falls Townhouse he immediately began waltzing around like he owned the place.  Cats.
From what his mama's owner told me, he comes from an excellent mousing line and exhibits this in his daily play.  Gunther will stalk with his ears lowered like he's a lion in the tall grass who doesn't want the tips of his ears to give him away, he's "silent but deadly" until he leaps out from beneath the dust ruffle or chair, jumping on hind legs with "arms" extended to grab your leg or foot, claws velveted (unless it's late at night, then the hunter is unquenchable, apparently).

  He also has claimed a small plush unicorn toy (who we refer to as "The Victim") that he carries around the townhouse in his mouth and occasionally drags into the dark depths below the beds like a smaller (and only slightly less terrifying) version of Ghost and the Darkness.

Siennalee and Gunther are fast friends... 
although at times fickle.

My Sweetheart is learning to be gentle with this cuddly and warm new friend.
The oft repeated "be gentle!" reminder/admonishment doesn't always stick though, and at these points I'm happy that Gunther is able to employ his rather loud MEEEAAAOOOW! and also that he has his thin, needle-sharp kitty claws and teeth.  (As a former child pet lover myself, I must own that I spent most of my growing up years with kitty scratches decorating the length and breadth of my little arms.  Cat scratches are par for the child pet lover course.)

Siennalee and Gunther have their activities they enjoy together.  This includes, of course, running through the house - screaming - chasing each other, one holding and one dangling as they march up and down the stairs, acrobatics with the kitty teaser (fabulous kitty toy), bird watching....

And Gunther gets to take rides in the baby stroller.  He must enjoy it on some level, because he stays put.

Although, being a cat, he can't really just give in to something without at least a bit of attitude.

A few of my very favorite Siennalee/Gunther observations and interactions (to date):
  • “Mommie, come look in my backpack!”  Siennalee is wearing said backpack, zipped up and ready to go.  Guess who’s inside.  Gunther.  I now regard all zipped and bulging bags and backpacks with a certain anxiety.
  • Siennalee is working tirelessly to teach Gunther to walk on his hind legs.  The blame for this may lie at my feet as I continually allow cartoons/shows where the animals do, in fact, travel on two hind legs.  
  • Siennalee observing to me: "Gunther is really hungry, that's why he is licking himself."

Gunther is also the very first cat I've had that actually sleeps in a bed meant for him.

And of course, since Gunther *is* a cat, he sleeps wherever else he wants to, too.

    And a bit of Gunther Trivia:
    Gunther got his name from one of these full cheeked cuties.  Anybody wanna guess which one?
    (Hint: he's on the show my four-year-old is most likely to have watched *and* enjoyed.)

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    New Year's Visit to Crater Lake

    We decided to take a trip to Crater Lake National Park while Mom was down visiting for the New Year holiday.  Despite living in Oregon for over 35 years, this was Mom's very first visit to Crater Lake and we were pretty happy to be able to take her.

    Crater Lake National Park is about a 45 minute drive (depending on the weather) from Klamath Falls and we bought a season pass to be able to go whenever we want (however, we discovered in that in the winter there's no fee to enter the park.  I guess they figure if you can make it up there through the snow/ice/weather/nutty drivers then you deserve to get in for free).

    Upper Klamath Lake is fairly shallow and will ice over and thaw very quickly.  Here you can just see the cracks scarring the ice surface of the lake. 
     I love this barn.  The wide angle lens on my camera can't quite capture it the way I want, but it's gorgeous.  The mountains rising in the background and the snowy fields - just breathtaking.  At some point I'll return with a lens that can catch the view juuust the way I want it.

     The drive up to the Park is gorgeous, especially with the (huge) snow pack and the giant red Ponderosa pines with green branches frosted with snow. 

     The snow pack on the sides of the road grew to where we could hardly see over it.  It was a little intimidating.  (Glad I wasn't driving!)

     My pretty little Mommie.

     Taking it all in.

     Gorgeous Crater Lake.

    Beautiful Mom.

    The Lodge and Bookstore/Cafe - nearly buried in the snow.

    Hello SNOW!

    Jason pulled over to, um, sample the snow pack.

    Mom was full.

    Siennalee got her chance to snag some snow, too.

    Snow: pretty - and tasty, too.

    Saturday, January 8, 2011

    Happy (first week of the) New Year!

    Our very first week of the brand new year 2011 in our new home in Klamath Falls, Oregon!  New Townhouse is slowly turning into Cozy Townhome and we're enjoying every bit of the novelty of having our little family together every day as well as the adventure of living in a new part of our beautiful Oregon.  

     Part of the adventure of this new place is learning about (and adjusting to) the new altitude (around 4100 feet above sea level) and environment (DRY and COLD!).  It's also been a treat to be around so much snow (although driving in it can be a little nerve-wracking for Valley born-and-bred Jessica).  

    Not much grows right now in this dry, icy air of the high desert winter, however we did come across something that seems to do quite nicely: the icicle.  They hang from the eaves and roofs and glitter and glow beautifully.  And boy do they ever grow...

    A lesser known fact about the icicle - it can make a wonderful snack.

    Happy New Year!