Sunday, December 23, 2007

They Say It's Your Birthday...

Well that's what they say anyway. The family from whom we adopted Milo didn't seem to know his birthday, but when pressed (ie me asking them if it was before or after Christmas) one of them thought it was December 23rd, so that's what we're saying.

He was the biggest kitten in his litter, and by far the cutest. His siblings weren't long haired like him and as soon as we saw his picture on Craigslist we fell in love. SD just happened to check the site at the right time because $50 kittens had just been posted a few minutes before and we contacted them right away. When we were looking for a new cat we searched for a while, and every posting we replied to people had snatched right away so we drove there and had the pick of the litter.
He is still pretty big and is starting to out pace Darla. He's the furriest cat I've ever had and even has fur coming out of his ears (kinda like an old man) and jetting out between his paw pads. It's rather amusing so I'll try to get a picture of it sometime. His tail is like a big plume, and sometimes we have to bathe him because he just has too much fur and it's a lot for him to clean on his own...He is certainly a very sweet kitty. When you yell at him for doing something bad he chimes back with the cutest little cry as if to say, "Why?" or "Really?" It's just so sweet.

I'm glad it's your birthday

Happy Birthday to you.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Let It Snow, Let It Snow No Mo'

I'm definitely not dreaming of a White Christmas!
At least not newly white. We've gotten a record 26 inches of snow this month in and around Boston and we're running out of places to put it! Not to mention my back hurts from shoveling so much. Even though we pay a condo fee every month which is supposed to include "snow removal" they rarely, if ever, come and when they do it's wicked late in the evening and if you're smart you've already shoveled around your car before it freezes over to ice.But then they plow you in so you have to go right back out so you don't get stuck in a snowblock overnight.

The day we got a foot I worked from home and shoveled during my break. It started coming down a little after noon so I went out and brought our empty trash cans to the back and slipped and fell on a layer of ice hidden from the new coating of snow. After that I went in and called out Management Group, and of course no one answered, but left a lovely little message for them informing them I will not be paying any fee if this continues and that people on these two streets are not happy (we share the lot in between). Around 3pm I shoveled the stairs and the spot for the car and when SD came home at 3:15 from his hour and a half commute that under normal conditions takes 15 minutes it looked like I hadn't even shoveled a thing. They finally came around 9pm that night and plowed the lot, but they never do the walkways or stairs nor put down salt or sand. In Boston we never had to shovel the stairs or walkways so our first snow here last year we just left it and it ended up turning into a big 6 inch block of ice--fun times...

Since we park in the back we hardly ever use our front door and I wouldn't bother shoveling that path if it wasn't for the mailman using it. I had a little trouble opening the front door just to get out there and clear it. I did however make sure when I shoveled the front steps to pile most of it in front of the door next door (we share the stoop). No one lives there right now and I wasn't about to throw it 3 feet away. So good luck crappy management group when you try to have an open house and you can't even open the front door! (Bwa, ha, ha! A little evil, I know, but they do suck). The night of the big storm a couple kids from the neighborhood rang our bell to ask if we wanted them to shovel, which was sweet. I should really pay them $125 and tell the townhouse trust to go screw...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Got Sick?

I've had this stupid sickness for a couple weeks now and it refuses to leave me. It's all the rage at work; everyone and their mother is sick with this. Everyone except my husband who never gets sick! My body is trying to shake this and I actually slept a good 11 hours last to the weekend! I'm not sure how much it mattered, though I'm sure it was good overall, as I'm still hacking up a lung today. Blah.

So the following headline caught my eye, and though I will probably never try this since I HATE cold feet, maybe you will and then can attest to it or not...let me know if you do!

Get Rid of Your Head Cold Fast
POSTED: Friday, December 07, 2007 Powered by BlogBurst
FROM: Green Health Spot - A naturopathic doctor talks about vibrant living and vibrant health with practical tips on reversing & preventing illness and living the good life.

Footbath: Here is a quick trick to get rid of your head cold, fever, cough during the winter season. I've given this technique to many of my patients successfully. I'm not really sure why it works but it does. This is one of those old naturopathic remedies that have been floating around for centuries and it makes many believers of natural medicine.

This is great for a sore throat or any inflammation or infection of the throat, neck pain, ear infections, headaches, migraines, nasal congestion, upper respiratory infections, coughs, bronchitis, and sinus infections.

What you will need:
* 1 pair white cotton socks
* 1 pair thick wool socks
* Towel
* Warm bath or warm foot bath

1. Take a pair of cotton socks and soak them completely with ice cold water. Be sure to wring the socks out thoroughly so they do not drip.
2. Warm your feet first. This is very important as the treatment will not be as effective and could be harmful if your feet are not warmed first. Warming can be accomplished by soaking your feet in warm water for at least 5-10 minutes or taking a warm bath for 5-10 minutes.
3. Dry off feet and body with a dry towel.
4. Place ice cold wet socks on feet. Cover with thick wool socks. Go directly to bed. Avoid getting chilled.
5. Keep the socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry in the morning and usually the cold or sore throat will be gone.

This treatment acts to reflexively increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat. It has a sedating action and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment. This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Wild Wild West and Red Neck New England

Last week was busy busy. I had two business trips, one of which brought me to my hometown. Good as I am I saved my company money by staying in my parents' guest room rather than a hotel. They didn't even charge me. =)
Since I don't get to see my high school friends that often I got together with some of them Tuesday night in downtown Springfield.
We had reservations at Virtuoso and the food was delicious! We ordered a lot of appetizers, had a good main course and shared some dessert as well. The wine selection was also top notch. The only complaint I would have about this place is that they offer Pecan Crusted Duck Foie Gras.
I know I'm not a vegetarian so maybe I shouldn't talk, but some methods of "fattening up" animals are pretty cruel and what they do to these ducks and geese is horrible! Foie Gras is French for "fatty liver" and the method in which they fatten them up is beyond cruel. The ducks and geese have tubes inserted down their throats and are force fed a ridiculous amount of food a few times a day and then those that don't suffer a frightening death endure disgusting conditions and painful maladies until they are slaughtered for food. So far Foie Gras has been banned in Chicago, California (I think was considering it), the U.K., Germany, the Czech Republic, Finland, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, and Israel.

The following investigation gives you a glimpse into this "delicacy of despair:"

Undercover investigations at America's two leading foie gras producers, Hudson Valley Foie Gras in New York and Sonoma Foie Gras in California, revealed horrific cruelty. Investigators from and the Animal Protection and Rescue League found that ducks were crammed into filthy, feces-ridden sheds and that others were isolated in wire cages that were so small that they could barely move. They also observed barrels full of dead ducks who had choked to death or whose organs had ruptured during the traumatic force-feeding process. The investigators rescued 15 ducks, including two who were being eaten alive by rats because they could not move. View video and photographic evidence of this cruelty.

A PETA investigation at Hudson Valley Foie Gras (then called "Commonwealth Enterprises") revealed extremely high death rates. So many ducks died when their stomachs burst from overfeeding that workers who killed fewer than 50 birds per month were given a bonus. In addition to ruptured stomachs and liver disease, many ducks develop foot infections, kidney necrosis, spleen damage, bruised and broken bills, and tumor-like lumps in their throats. One duck had a maggot-infested neck wound that was so severe that water spilled out of it when he drank.

I haven't clicked on the videos cause I think I would cry. If this isn't enough to stop you from partaking in this barbaric "delicacy" perhaps you'll take into consideration your own well being:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Geese force-fed and then slaughtered for their livers may get their final revenge on people who favor the delicacy known as foie gras: It may transmit a little-known disease known as amyloidosis, researchers reported on Monday.

Tests on mice suggest the liver, popular in French cuisine which uses it to make pate de foie gras and other dishes, may cause the condition in animals that have a genetic susceptibility to such diseases, Alan Solomon of the University of Tennessee and colleagues reported.

That would suggest that amyloidosis can be transmitted via food in a way akin to brain diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD, which can cause a rare version of mad cow disease in some people who eat affected meat products or brains.

Amyloidosis can affect various organ systems in the body, which accumulate damaging deposits of abnormal proteins known as amyloid. The heart, kidneys, nervous system and gastrointestinal tract are most often affected but amyloidosis can also cause a blood condition.

The researchers used mice genetically engineered to be susceptible to amyloidosis, which can be inherited.
"When such mice were injected with or fed amyloid extracted from foie gras, the animals developed extensive systemic pathological deposits," Solomon's team reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Sometimes Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, is described as a type of amyloidosis as well.

The amount of foie gras given to the mice would equal about 3 1/2 pounds over five days for humans, Solomon estimates. This may seem like a lot, especially considering that even in France the annual consumption is about half a pound. Yet evidence suggests that it takes very little of the protein clumps to instigate amyloidosis - and that amyloids, rather than being digested, may just lurk about until there are enough to cause disease. "This material can stay in the body indefinitely," Solomon says.

If the danger to humans turns out to be real, Penn's Whitehead admits thinking about "the delicious irony of those who live well doing themselves in with foie gras." This story recalls the days when gout was known as the disease of kings. Gout is caused by a diet rich in meat, so only the wealthy and overindulgent were afflicted.

In any case, the scientists wrote in their paper that "it would seem prudent for children and adults with rheumatoid arthritis or other diseases who are at risk . . . to avoid foods that may be contaminated by [amyloids]."

I'm thinking of writing a letter to Chef Cousin about how much I enjoyed his food, but wish he would not serve this cruelly derived appetizer...

My business trip took me to Mercy Medical Center and it was a successful meeting and presentation. Afterward I visited Tara in Pathology and that was cool to see where she worked. I then went back home and treated my dad to lunch at his favorite diner where he knows everyone, and they serve a clam chowder that's better than most I've had in Boston. I worked the rest of the day "at home" until going out with my mom and middle sister to whom I still owed dinner for her 30th birthday.

After dinner I packed up my things to head to my next trip to what someone dubbed recently, "The Hillbillies of New England."
More on that next time...

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Ah, the holidays...
They're always an enjoyable time of year for me since I'm one of those fortunate people who actually likes their family. For Thanksgiving I celebrate two times over; once on T day and then again on Friday so the Hub and I can spend time with both families. You would think I'm sitting fat and pretty right now, but since I got that aforementioned stomach bug courtesy of my favorite Godchild coupled with my own carelessness (he looked fine--and cute!), I really didn't overeat on Turkey Day. In fact I really didn't eat much at all, but it was still a good time.

The nice thing about married life (both mine and my sister's) besides getting to celebrate with more people, is the extra blessing of different and new types of cuisine (don't worry Mom, I still enjoy your food too!). My sister-in-law surprised us all with a new domestic side and brought some very tasty food: a macaroni lasagna dish and salmon stuffing. Then my sister and my bro-in-law brought some stuffed mushrooms they make together (how cute). The food, or what I tasted of it, was very good.

We've also started a Thanksgiving tradition of an "adults only" friends dinner which was nice as well. We hung out at The Stacks for the afternoon and got to visit with the new baby again. Cameron is a cutie and actually smiled at me a few times. Later on the kids were shipped off to the grandparents and we met up with more friends in North Andover at a nice Italian place. Afterward we went to The Claddagh Pub for some pool and drinks. Brian & I teamed up against The Doc & The Hub and won a best of 3 series.
It was a fun night.

*The title of this post BTW is because I happened to see that the last 2 years I've had this blog I ended up coincidentally having 38 posts each year, and noticed that I just hit that 38 post mark with my last one. Should I be consistent and stop posting I pondered...nah, I guess I can be a little post happy this year. So voila!