Sunday, October 02, 2011

What's Up, Doc?

I got new running shoes a while back. I love them. They were the most expensive ones, but my feet, hips, and knees are thanking me for them. I loooove them. Maybe when I become a real runner, I will stop blogging every time I get new shoes.

So, I am totally blonde now, thanks to my super-awesome bestie that does my color now. She's not trained in the least with hair dressing and she rocks at it. Yeah, she's amazing. Even better than DIY!!

I have yet to find something she can't do well. She does my toes too. We have pedi-dates every week or so where we do each other's toes. It's great fun. Again, she rocks at it.

Nolan took me shooting in the desert a few weeks ago. It was pretty much awesome. I had such a good time. I love to shoot guns.

Sasha and Erik came down to help clear out Dad's house for about a week. They used Dad's time share points to get a hotel for the week. It had a great pool and was good fun. The only downside was that it was just about as far away in the valley as you can get. Still - good fun.

Nolan and Sahsa both have under-water digital cameras that I filled with stupid pictures and videos of (mostly) me doing stupid things for the camera. I had fun with it. I don't have any of those pics or videos, though.

We celebrated my b-day at the hotel. It was fun. Katie, Dave and Andrea, and Rob, Sheri and the kids stopped by at various points to play. We swam and bbq-ed. It was a great way to spend my b-day.

Sasha got me a princess crown to wear the day. Dalan loved it and wore it the whole time we were together. Ha ha ha. Funny kid.

I discovered that I have relatively amazing shoulder muscles. I have no idea how I got them. Dillon tells me that they've been there all along. Yeah, I'm not surprised - observance is not my strong suit. Welcome to the gun show...

Speaking of guns, we went shooting again while they were in town. Sasha and Dillon just observed while Erik, Nolan, and I shot up a muck.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Max Stories

So today was full of Max stories; I just had to share.

I try to spend as much time as possible with my bestie. Since Max is like my shadow and goes just about everywhere I do, he spends a lot a time with her too.  As an added benefit, he gets a lot exposure to kids - she has a 1 year old and a 3 year old. He isn't to the point that they can do anything to or near him without him reacting, but he has come a long way and they are some of his favorite people. Max is also very picky about taking food from people - he won't take food from most people and has to feel pretty comfortable with someone before he does. Katie's cute little baby was playing in the dog food bin today and Max was watching him play and then Collin started feeding him dog food and Max was eating it right out of his hands. It was so bonding and precious.

While we were over there also, Reese, the 3 year old was playing hide and seek with me and was hiding. He doesn't like to hid for long - the anticipation of being found seems to get to him - and he will yell "Cerra! I am here!" and then I have to pretend to be surprised that I "found" him. So I try to find him quickly (I usually cheat and watch where he goes) but I missed where he went today. So I thought I would see if Max could find him. We have never done it before and wasn't even sure he knew which person was "Reese". But I said, "Max, where's Reese?" and gave him body language that indicated that I wanted to follow him. He was all about it. His ears perked and he took off immediately across the kitchen, through the entryway, and into the office where he stuck his nose in the curtain. At first I thought he thought I wanted him to get something outside and was trying to look out the window. But then I decided to look behind the curtain anyway, and there was Reese! I was so surprised and proud that Max found him so well! It was amazing!!

I was giving Nolan some respite from Steve today, and before I took him back home for the bed, we decided to walk around the lakes in his neighborhood. They are a couple of man made lakes in his neighborhood. They are probably 1.5 miles around the two of them. Even though it was dark, it was still very hot. We were about 3/4 of the way done and 45 minutes in - Steve had to stop to rest a few times - and I thought I would try to see if Max wanted a drink from the lake while Steve sat on one of the benches. From where we were the water was about 1 1/2 feet from the concrete edge. There was a point a little down the way that looked like the cement was closer to the water, so I toddled down that way with Max. At this point, it was about 8 inches to 1 foot from the edge. Max has laid on the edge before and reached down to get a drink that far away, so I thought we could do that again. So I tapped the water surface with my hand where I wanted him to drink and said, "Get drinks" (his command to drink water). And in he went. He just walked into the lake! I was like, 'What the....?!?!?!' He instantly started swimming to stay afloat but started moving away from me too. So I grabbed the scruff of his neck. I just had his leash wrapped around itself around his neck, so if I pulled on that, it would cinch and probably hurt him. So I ended up pulling him out by his scruff and under his neck. It was successful and quick. Here's where it all went down. I usually don't like when people try to apply human emotion to animals, but I swear he was embarrassed. When he got out, he immediately sat down like he was just chilling but he wouldn't make eye contact with me. His face looked like he was saying, "Okay, let's never talk about this again... Can we just go now?" It was scary for a minute, but it was a very short time between when he fell in and when I got him out. So it was pretty quickly something that was hilarious to me. And his reaction made it that much more comical. Before he fell in, he was roaming around going in front of us, behind us, to the sides, sniffing things, strutting around (he knows he's allowed to do that on his retractable leash, BTW), and generally having a gay ol' time. After he fell in, he was in "super-heal" position. He would not leave my right side and his tail was definitely not up in the "grand ol' flag" of a position it was in minutes before. And since this is a desert we live in, we fill our giant, man-made lakes with secondary water, so we both reeked like fish crotch. After the initial shock of what Max just did wore a bit, I realized why he jumped in and felt a little sad for him. My brother's pool has a couple of spots that have steps that Max can get in the pool on and not be in over his head. I think it's hard to see in and be sure where the steps are for him, so when it looks like he's looking for them, I go tap on the water where they are and he steps in. I a pretty sure he wasn't listening to my words (not uncommon when he has new stimulation) and just saw that I tapped the water and automatically thought, STEP! And so he stepped right in. The trust I realized he displayed in me at that point in time was amazing. Luckily for me, Max really does like to trust me and I didn't let him drown, so hopefully that's not shattered due to the fact that there wasn't a step there.

What a day! I love my Max!!

One for the road - Max makes the funniest face when I share my Thrifty ice cream with him.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


About a month ago, Nolan picked up his life in SLC and moved down here to help take care of Steve. He moved in to Steve's house and has been taking care of him and taking him to his appointments since. I have been trying to offer respite to him on weekends and whenever he needs it, but he has pretty much taken Steve off our hands. I cannot express my appreciation for Nolan enough. His decision to come here was internally motivated and purely selfless. He is one of the most special people I have ever met and a wonderful example of Christ-like selflessness. Thanks, Noli. We love and appreciated you more than you may ever know.

I sure love these boys. :-)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

My Bad Trip

While I normally disclose way too much information to way too many people, I don't generally, willingly bring up discussion about my medical conditions - especially those of mental health. While I am completely fine with the fact that I need medicine to balance chemicals in my brain, I am also aware of the many stigmas and taboos that society and individuals still have about those kinds of medicines. So I'd much rather not deal with the potential of being subject to people's prejudice based on this fact.

So, what makes me bring it up? I'm glad you asked (..or not). I feel that it is worth the discussion to educate the general populous of the terrible effects of withdrawals from some of these medicines.

I have been on several SSRI's and never experienced the terrible withdrawals that I do from the SNRI that I am currently taking - Venlafaxine (brand name - Effexor) - not to allude that there is less risk or intensity of withdrawals from SSRI's over SNRI's (I really don't know).

The purpose of this post is not to try to talk people out of taking this medicine or others like it. Instead, I hope to offer information so people can make informed decisions. My prescribing doctor did not inform me of the terrible risks of taking this medication and, unfortunately, there are many others in my same situation. I learned of them the hard way and far too late to make an informed decision. There are some doctors like my old one, others that refuse to write a script for Effexor, and, I'm sure, everywhere in between. Do your research, ask your doctor specifically about the potential for SSRI (SNRI) discontinuation syndrome and effective ways they treat it, talk to people about it (feel free to contact me --->), and try to follow what feels right for you.

I have been taking Effexor for 2 or 3 years now and am in trouble if I miss or sometimes even am late for a dose. Unfortunately, Walgreens has been the sole cause of some of these instances. (That may be a whole other post...). The effects of not taking this medicine are debilitating - completely live halting. I experience "brain zaps" (one of the worst feelings ever - I am so thankful for the internet because I would think I were crazy if others hadn't been there and given it a name already), dizziness, nausea, diarrhea (I know, you really really wanted to know that... sorry, full disclosure here), headaches, fatigue, and waves of chills or hot flashes.

These have ranged in severity directly related to the length of time I have been without the drug. The most I have been without it is 2 or 3 days and have been rendered anywhere from noticeably impaired to completely  and utterly useless and miserable - I have never been so sick in my life (and I had swine flu)!

I missed my dose last night - usually taken around 10:30p - and took it just after 10a today. I have been sick all day - brain zaps, headache, dizziness, and nausea. I missed church and haven't been able to do much all day - this post took way too long to even write and I am sure it's littered with type-o's and errors. It's almost 2:30p now and I am just barely starting to notice relief from some of the symptoms - they are all still there, but some are less in intensity. The longer I go without after missing a dose, the longer it takes to recover from the withdrawal symptoms.

This all said, Effexor has been the most effective of these types of drugs for me. I would have to say, though, knowing what I know now, I would never have started taking this drug.

Again, I hope that this finds someone before they've made an uninformed decision. I am not a doctor, so find a doctor that knows these medications and can and is willing to help educate you in making a good, sound, informed decision about your health.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I've always leaned toward doing things myself whenever possible - hair, nails, surgery (ha ha ha - we'll say I'm kidding on that last one)... You know that sort of thing. Maybe because my parents never took me, my siblings, or my pets to the dr. My mom always cut our hair and even her own. I didn't even know what a mani/pedi was until I was probably in my twenties. There were several injuries that I probably should have had stitches on but never did. My dad always fixed the cars and anything else he thought he could. He even cut my hair once. My mother was not pleased - I guess it looked pretty bad. I think in the case of my childhood, it was out of necessity - lack of excess cash - but I have since learned to love the freedom of being able to do things on my own - no waiting for appointments, you can take as much or as little time as you want, you can play around and get exactly what you want, etc. Perhaps it says a lot about my childhood (and even present) socioeconomic status, but it is what it is - I ain't booji! ;-P

My hair is definitely one of those. I think I can count on one hand the number of times in my life that I have got to a professional to do my hair - if not, easily two hands. It is two fold usually - I can't wait to make an appointment and I like to save the money (sometimes, I can't get what I want unless I do it myself either). When I decide I want to do something with my hair, it takes everything I have to actually wait for an appointment. I just want to do it! And I usually do... The results are mixed. Sometimes it's awful and other times it's fine.

When I wanted to go lighter last month, I was going to do it myself, but then I remembered the last time I did that - it had fire orange hair with white roots. It was not cute. My friend, Renae, and Dillon convinced me that I would regret it, and I am glad they did. I went to the lovely Mariona Farsworth's salon and she did a great job.

I had in mind all along that going lighter was going to be a process, so I was okay with it not being as light as I wanted to end up. I loved the change and thought it looked great.  She even made me a really light spot in front so that I could make it colors -PINK! And I so did!

I have never had a salon weave before, so I learned a lot by watching her and asking questions. She also mentioned there was a product that will remove only artificial color from hair instead of bleaching like she did for my weave. This was very intriguing to me and I thought it sounded like the perfect thing. So I investigated it later.  After three boxes and two applications of Color Oops (I got the extra strength) - one box wasn't enough when I tried the first time - I could totally see my dark hair lifting. Here you can kind of see the dark parts are lighter.

My hair grows so fast, so it was only a matter of weeks before I had roots coming in. Thanks to the dye remover, they were not nearly as noticeable as they would have been had, but I was ready for a touch-up and to take my lightening to the next level, but I wasn't ready to fork out the funds to do it at the salon again. I had already got bleach and 40 developer when I got my pink color. I figured I had just enough to left to do the job - and I was right!

I wasn't going to do a full weave like Mariona did because I can't remove my head to work on my hair and that would have been a joke.  I did want to do a row on the very bottom though so you would see streaks when I had it pulled up.  I also wanted to make a "peek a boo" chunk and get a lot more blond and chunking effect. I was really worried I had pulled a huge boner at first because looked weird when it was still wet, but after it dried it looked fine. I don't think I did half bad for my first ever self weave. I actually really love it.

Along the same lines of doing things myself, I gave myself a pedi the other day too. For the first time, I got exactly the paint job I wanted and have been asking for almost every time I go into get a pedi.

Confession: I edited out my toe hair on my big toe in this shot. Ewww.

I had my makeup done at Ulta the other day because they asked if they could the last time I was in there and it was free... So yeah - no brainer for me. I liked the base products, but I wasn't too impressed with the eye work. My eyes aren't one of those that are hard to make pop, but she just didn't nail it. But it was fun. I love getting my makeup done.

I stand by: If you want something done right, do it yourself!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blog-a-thon: Done!

Yup, I was right, there was a blog-a-thon in the works. Six days and ten posts later - now it's done. Here's what's new.

A Surprising Call

You would think I was crazy...

Maricopa County Fair 2011

Aubrey Gets Props


Wedding Brunch and Pedis

Vermint?... Varmin?... Bah!

Finishing Up Strong

Erik and Sasha's Big Day

The Bionic Woman

The Bionic Woman

The day before we left for St George for Sasha's wedding, I got my off-loading brace. The brace guy who measured and fit me for it said that I should get used to it for a week before trying to run with it or anything like that.

I wore it a lot those 4 days we were in St George. Dillon's cousin, Mary, said I looked like I was the bionic woman. At least it's pink. Pink makes ugly things bearable to me.

We got back Sunday and I went for my first run on Monday with my brace. It was amazing. My knee didn't hurt at all. I was so happy. I ran Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday as well. My muscles were really sore - I've been out of running for 5 months - but my knee felt as good as new. I was so happy I could cry. It's a little miracle for me and it couldn't come any sooner - my sanity needed this. YAY!

Erik and Sasha's Big Day

Sasha and Erik wed on May 7, 2011. It was a great day.

The ceremony and reception took place in beautiful St George, UT. The location was amazing - green grass and red rocks.

The bride arrived via golf cart driven by her little brother, Nolan.

One of Sasha's best friends, Mike, performed the ceremony. He did a great job.

Here is my man in black. He looked so good - not that I'm biased or anything.

Again, he's sooooo cute!

The bride's side of the family. 

What are these silly siblings looking at?

That's better.

John locked his keys in the car, so the Hawkins' boys busted out their thug and tried to "slim-jim" their way in - a few hours later, they ended up calling a lock smith.

Reception time!

Michellie, Carol's oldest, was the flower girl. She did a great job. I can't believe how big all the kids are.

Here are "Johnny Smash" and "Lady Goo-Goo". Ha ha ha. I love my nerds! BTW, doesn't Courtney rock Dillon's military aviators?

Isn't she the cutest?! Mama looked so lovely!

 The bride and groom arrived at the reception via gold cart.

They served some rocking food. It was really good.

Sasha asked Dillon to give the toast. It was wonderful, touching, heartfelt and wise. That's my boy!

Their first dance as man and wife was tender.

I am so glad Steve could be at the wedding. We were sure he wouldn't be able to because of the extensive brain surgery he had just 5 weeks before. He was so proud of Sasha.

Then it was boogy time.

We danced the night away and they lived happily ever after.  ;-)