Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bedroom Reveal

Remember the contest I won . . . the one where I got some help redoing my bedroom. Well here’s the big reveal.

Ta-da!!! See that paint color? That’s Glidden’s Dolphin Grey. I thought it was going to be gray. Nope. It’s totally lavender.

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me give you a little recap. In July, some folks from Apartment Therapy and Glidden showed up to help me make over my bedroom. They brought a film crew to tape the whole process. And¬†Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely¬†played design guru. See the video here! Continue reading


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I do!

Last weekend, Soren and I rented a car and headed up to his uncle’s lake house in New Hampshire. We spent a lovely weekend canoeing, reading, picking apples, grilling steaks, entertaining family, and dozing in front of the fire.

On our last day, the weather was beautiful. So we decided to walk a half mile to the General Store to get coffee and a breakfast snack. Harrisville, NH, is adorable. According to a real estate brochure we saw, it is the most photographed town in New England.

On the way, we stopped at the public beach to goof off.

Soren took photos while I made attempt after increasingly dramatic attempt to leap onto this rock, which, as you can see, was not all that far from shore.


Then, a surprising twist! Just as I was about to say, “We better get a move on before my hunger turns me into a whirling dervish of fury and irrational hatred,” he sat me down on the sand and proposed. Yes, marriage. I accepted. And then I cried a little. And then we took some pictures. Continue reading


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Small Pleasures

My photo is the photo of the day on the neighborhood blog! I snapped this with my new Nikon d3000 DSLR during the snowstorm we had last week. This kid ran up to me and said, “Hey, take my picture!” You don’t have to tell me twice, kid.

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Reunited (And It Feels So Good)

When I was a child, I had a friend named Emily. (Actually I still have a friend named Emily, but no matter). Emily had a house that had a furnished basement. And the furnished basement had a fridge that contained rows and rows of tiny green bottles filled with a deliciously zingy liquid called Bitter Lemon. It was, if I remember correctly, her father’s favorite drink. And soon after Emily first introduced me to Bitter Lemon, it became my favorite drink too.

Of course, access was a problem. I could drink as much as I wanted at Emily’s house. But my house didn’t have a furnished basement. And it certainly didn’t have a fridge stocked with Bitter Lemon. So I would binge and then go through prolonged periods of withdrawal. Finally, after some not-so-subtle hints, Emily would invite me over again, and the cycle would begin anew. That is, until I hatched a brilliant plan.

The plan was relatively simple: I would beg. Through feverish bouts of shameless begging, I hoped to convince my father to drink Bitter Lemon, or at least to buy Bitter Lemon so that I might drink it. And lo and behold, it worked.

Of course, unlike Emily’s family, we never had an entire fridge dedicated to Bitter Lemon. At my house, it was a special treat. Mostly I remember drinking bottle after bottle when we canoed the Wisconsin River. The adults would crack the cooler and pull out their adult bottles of beer (or plastic cups of strip-and-go-naked) and I would kick back with my icy-cold bottle of Bitter Lemon. We would sip our drinks, nod knowingly, and watch the world float by. It was magic.

Then, tragedy struck. Bitter Lemon disappeared. First there was a hole on the store shelves where the tiny bootles had been. And then even the hole was gone, filled in by something disgusting — grape soda, no doubt.

So you can imagine my surprise and UTTER delight when, last week, I discovered Bitter Lemon at Duane Reade. At the PHARMACY for crying out loud! “What are you DOING here?!” I exclaimed, clutching the one-liter bottle to my bosom. And then I took it home. We had a delicious reunion. Bitter Lemon tastes just like I remember. Why yes, Tommy, you can go home again.

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Izzy is so mind-blowingly adorable sometimes that I almost can’t handle it. Here she is luxuriating on the blanket my mom bought her for Christmas.

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Lemon Cat

I can’t even remember how many times I’ve told my dad, an avid curbpicker, “Don’t take something just because it’s free.” Yet what do I do? I scoop up the first mangy, ragtag cat that sits in my lap. “Oh she’s so adorable,” I gush. “Let’s keep her.” Cats are easy, I remember thinking. Having once been surrogate mother to the most difficult cat known to man (RIP, Suki), I should have known better.

Izzy’s problems began even before her first vet visit. She was sneezing. “No big deal,” I thought. “She probably has a cold.” And then her eye clouded over. I freaked out, but then it healed. “No big deal,” I thought. “She probably has cat herpes. Lots of cats have that.” And then then her other eye clouded over and her pupil stopped responding to light. Six vet visits, six bottles of antibiotics, and $900 dollars later, her cold is seeming like a very big flipping deal. Of course, now we’re financially and emotionally invested, so kicking her scrawny, bacteria-ridden butt back to the curb isn’t really an option.

The latest diagnosis? Bartonellosis otherwise known as cat scratch fever. Yes, it’s a real thing. Cats get the bacteria from fleas, and humans get it from cats. She tested positive for Bartonella antibodies, although there’s no way of knowning whether her symptoms are the result of this infection, some other infection, or a completely different condition altogether. All we can do is treat it and hope she gets better.

The whole affair has left me riddled with anxiety. I should be working. Instead I’m sifting through veterinary journals. According to the medical literature, azithromycin is the recommended antibiotic for Bartonella infection. So why did Dr. Mann put her on clindamycin, a drug recommended for toxoplasmosis? These are the questions that keep me up nights. It’s torture.

The other day, Soren came home to find me feverishly writing down Izzy’s symptoms on his white board, Gregory House style. Given that I’m not a vet, it was an exercise in futility. (Damn it, Jim! I’m a science writer, not a doctor.)

I’ve taken to calling Izzy “Lemon Cat.” Let her be a constant reminder not to pick things up off the curb. And if you need another reminder, ask my dad about the time he picked up a dresser that was infested with fleas. Beware the curbside freebie.


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Izzy Gets Spayed

My first cat, Suki, was spayed in Bolivia. When I arrived to pick her up, the assistant said, “They’re just finishing up. Why don’t you come on back?” So I did. Suki was on the operating table. Apparently “finishing up” meant the vet was still putting stitches in. Off to the side, on folded slip of pink toilet paper (only in the developing world do they use pink toilet paper), lay her ovaries and uterus — a “V” of stringy, pink flesh.

Suki was still completely knocked out. When I got back to the house, I put her in a cardboard box lined with a soft blanket. At 3am, she woke up and began to yowl and thrash. When I tried to hold her still, she bit me. Bleeding, I rushed to get a towel. I wrapped her up and spent the rest of the night cuddling her. Every time she woke and started yowling, I had to stroke her back to sleep.

Compared to that experience, Izzy’s surgery was a piece of cake. I dropped her off at 11am. Soren picked her up at 7pm. When she got home she was groggy, but awake. Her pain seemed manageable. But she soon began to lick and tug at her stitches. So we put her head inside the mandatory $18 plastic cone that the vet provided. No dice. She flopped around like a dying fish and then scooted backwards across the floor growling.

Next we tried one of Soren’s tube socks. But it seemed too tight. Finally, we got one of my legwarmers around her midsection. That took care of the licking last night, but I was worried that the fabric wasn’t letting the wound breathe.

So this morning I made a little t-shirt coat. I cut a rectangle out of one of my old t-shirts, safety-pinned it around her middle, and pinned a strap across her chest so it wouldn’t slip. Dark gray isn’t the best color on her, but I figure it’s all about healing, not fashion.

The only downside of having your cat spayed in the US (vs. Bolivia) is the cost. I paid about 200 bolivianos to get Suki spayed (roughly $30). Spaying Izzy cost $237 (and that was with a gift certificate for a so-called “low-cost” spay). I’m still filled with righteous indignation. (C’mon! $18 for a plastic cone that she wore for 5 minutes). What makes me even more angry is that they originally gave me a quote of $87.

The surgery went fine, but now Izzy seems to have developed an upper respiratory infection, which I’m sure will mean more money, more antibiotics, and more stress. Sigh. They are expensive little beasts — at least in the US.

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