next_to_normal: Three-paneled close-up of Buffy in The Gift; text: Big Damn Hero (big damn hero)
Hi, y'all.


Where'd we leave off? Chicken pox, I believe. LOL so much epic shit has gone down since then


so let's just start with the catching up.




So that's what I've been up to, tl;dr.

The most recent health news - after Italy, I was doing really well for about a week, and then suddenly for no reason at all had a fever and chills and worse than usual pain - which had nothing to do with my surgery, but also we could find no outside cause other than "haha you have Crohn's," even though the study drug seemed to be working pretty well? But I had to go get a CT scan, which showed the inflammation was really, really bad and for like a minute, my doctor was talking about more surgery - intestinal, this time - but then the fever and stuff just kind of went away. So I am currently on antibiotics that make me want to puke, and anti-nausea medicine so I don't puke, but otherwise seem to be sort of okay and am approaching the end of the 12-week trial, at which point I will have my EIGHTH FUCKING COLONOSCOPY, and then who knows? I can stay on the study drug if I want to, if it's working, since they miraculously haven't kicked me out of the trial yet, despite having a gazillion complications and breaking all their rules, lol.

So. That's me. How've you been?
next_to_normal: (VM exasperated)
1. I have decided to get myself a TV streaming stick, either a Roku or Amazon Fire. I am leaning toward Roku based on internet comparisons, but I do have Amazon Prime and a Kindle Fire, so I'm open to being persuaded in that direction. (Also, I have a suspicion that as soon as I buy a Roku, they will announce that they're coming out with a newer model, whereas Amazon already did.) Anyone have a recommendation or preference? (Obviously the best time to purchase such a thing is AFTER I spent the weekend binge-watching not one, but TWO TV series - Jessica Jones and The Man in the High Castle - on my laptop. Both shows are highly recommended, FYI.)

2. I really want to email this to my mother and be like, "Do you think maybe we could try this for a change?" I might possibly be cranky after a phone call this weekend in which I mentioned having a lot of pain this week, and her response being, 'Well, you have been doing a lot of cooking lately and eating more than usual." Like, SORRY MY BAD for trying to eat relatively balanced meals and maintain a healthy weight. Maybe I should go back to eating nothing but grilled cheese. I get that she just wants to be able to make me better and critiquing everything I ingest is her trying to ~solve my Crohn's but CROHN'S DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY and just once I would like to say, "Hey, I'm in a lot of pain," and hear, "I'm sorry, honey, that sucks," instead of, essentially, "Well, that's what you get for eating FOOD." 

3. Speaking of food, I made butternut squash soup this weekend. I'm not even going to bother linking the recipe because the proportions were way off and I ended up having to add more than twice as much chicken stock as the recipe called for in order to get the right consistency, so I'll be looking for a different recipe the next time I make it. My parents have one, but it makes about eight gallons of soup, so I figured I'd just look for a smaller batch recipe online, but this one was not a winner. Tasted fine, though, once I made it not mashed potatoes-esque. 
next_to_normal: (Miss Kitty Fantastico)
So I have not updated in forever. I blame it on the drugs. I am still on Percocet, my mother is worried I will become an addict, but my doctor said, "If it hurts, take as much as you need," so I am all, "YES THANKS TAKING ALL THE DRUGS" because I still have a lot of pain for some reason? Like, the nausea is (mostly) gone, way less diarrhea, and I am basically eating food like a normal human again. (It doesn't seem to matter what I eat, so I figure I might as well eat normally if it's going to hurt like hell anyway.) So, I mean, other than the DAILY BOUTS OF EXCRUCIATING PAIN, I'm kind of feeling better? I guess?

Poop and travel and weight loss and cat teeth )
next_to_normal: Tony Stark wearing sunglasses (Tony shades)
Whenever anyone would tell me I should watch The Sopranos, I used to joke, "What do I need to watch it for? I've got my own dysfunctional Italian family." It was the same reason I always gave for never having seen The Godfather or any of the other mafia movies. But, you know, it was always meant to be sarcastic, because I was pretty sure my life actually bore very little resemblance to a TV show or movies about mobsters. I did grow up in New Jersey in an Italian-American family, but although we certainly had a criminal element, as far as I can tell, the crime was anything but organized, lol.

But people keep telling me how good it is, and this summer one of my favorite TV critics was doing a rewatch of the first season, so I said what the hell, I'll give it a shot. (I've only seen the first season so far.)


Very minor spoilers, mostly just me blathering about my childhood )
next_to_normal: (Buffy sigh)
Haven't had much to say, sadly. Health continues to be a clusterfuck. I did get anti-nausea medicine that helped for a while (until it didn't), and I went on vacation, which was fun and relaxing (except when it wasn't), and now everything is terrible.

Read more... )
next_to_normal: (Buffy ugh)
I am officially a member, as I had my fifth colonoscopy yesterday! And what an honor, to have achieved this at only 31, having long ago surpassed my father's piddly count of two (at 63 years of age), and closing in on my mother's more impressive six (also 63, family history of colon cancer and polyps). To be fair, though, she started at 40, so she's had 23 years to rack up that number. I did mine in six years. *drops mic*

I did the math, which is depressing. My doctor recommends having a colonoscopy every two years. They generally stop performing them once you hit 75 or so. But that's for colon cancer screening, I guess because they figure the chances of you dying of something ELSE is much higher at that point, so why torture the elderly unnecessarily? Could be there's no limit for Crohn's. So, conservative estimate, assuming I live to be 75 and don't have many more years like this one, where I had two colonoscopies in 3 months for clinical trial purposes, I'm looking at another 44 years of every two years.

That's 22 more colonoscopies. TWENTY-TWO. Conservative estimate.

That seems... unfair.

In other news, y'all know that my dad is a fairly skilled amateur home remodeler/mechanic/handyman. We always joke that he should have his own HGTV show called "Projects Without Permits," since he is not actually licensed to do any of the things he does, but that really only matters because homeowners' insurance can be sort of picky about paying for accidents resulting from unlicensed construction/electrical/plumbing work. But that's only if something goes wrong. Which it never has.

My mom, on the other hand, is very talented at many things, but home repair is not one of them (you should try her lasagna, though!). So their latest project is remodeling their master bathroom. My dad has completely retiled the floor and the shower, installed new fixtures, sink, vanity, etc. My mom's job? Paint the linen closet. The linen closet is a rather tight space, so for this job, she had a little mini paint roller with a matching mini paint tray. I am told it was adorable. I never saw it, for reasons that will soon become clear.

So at one point, my father walks into the bathroom, into what he describes as a scene from The Three Stooges: My mother is standing on a step-ladder, leaning over to reach the back corner of the closet, except that as she leans, the paint tray tilts with her, and so it is spilling paint all down the step-ladder and onto the floor. While bending down to clean up the spilled paint in the narrow space, she bumps against wet walls both in front of and behind her, and now has paint in her hair and on the back of her pants.

She resumes painting. Somehow - and neither one of them could tell you precisely how it happened - she manages to fling the mini paint roller so vigorously that the sponge part flies off the handle and directly into a hole in the wall, which my father had made in order to access the water pipes for the shower. So my mother, already covered in paint, is now sticking her entire arm into this hole in the wall in an effort to retrieve the paint roller.

Dad: "You're going to get stuck."

The paint roller is never recovered.

Later: My parents have come to visit for my colonoscopy, and my mother has decided that I need plants on my balcony. She loves flowers, and rather enjoys gardening, so I let her do her thing, even though there is a 90% chance I will kill them within a week. My father and I are watching with bemusement as my mother sits out on the balcony, digging around in a flower pot with a kitchen spoon, because $11 was too much to pay for a shovel at Home Depot, and of course I don't have one. Gardening is too dirty. Which I say, out loud, and my mother mocks me for it.

And then she accidentally flings dirt out of the pot and all over her shoes. Me: "I rest my case."

When she's finished her planting - and her side of the balcony is smeared with mud - she realizes she can't come in the house without taking off her shoes because she'll track dirt in, but she can't untie her shoes until she's washed her hands because her hands are caked with mud. Me: "Would you like some wet wipes?" Mom: "Shut up. And yes."

Once she's got most of the dirt off her hands, she realizes she forgot to replace the garden flag in one of the planters. The garden flagpole is tethered to the balcony railing, because it gets super windy up there on the 6th floor, so sticking it back in the planter involves some maneuvering. My mother's solution is to tip the planter sideways and slide it under the flagpole's bottom prongs. Immediately, it tips too far and more dirt spills out onto the balcony. My mother looks at her hands, looks at the dirt, says, "Oh for God's sake!" and starts picking it up by the handful and tossing it back in the pot.

Dad: "What'd I tell you? Three Stooges." Me: "More wet wipes?" :D
next_to_normal: (Parker oops)
[phone rings; it's my mother]
Me: Hi.
Mom: Oh, hi. I didn't even hear the phone ring.
Me: That's because you called me.
Mom: I did?
Me: Yep.
Mom: I thought you texted me.
Me: I did.
Mom: I was trying to get back to that screen. I didn't mean to call you. WHOOPS.

Anyway, snagging a meme from [ profile] fluffyfrolicker and [ profile] rosaxx50 because I have been SERIOUSLY REMISS in my icon-making lately. Haha, remember how I used to participate in all these comms and challenges and then I just posted my FIRST ICON POST in like 4 months yesterday? Yeah, we should fix that.

So! Pick a number + fandom/character/ship, whichever suits your fancy ♥ and I will make icons. If you want to give me specific caps, that''s okay, too.

1. Faceless
2. Looking Down
3. Bruised & Battered
4. Up Close & Personal
5. Scenerygasm
6. Full Body Shots
7. Colors Abound
8. Silhouette
9. My Emotions
10. The Space
11. Light
12. Tickles My Pickle (whatever. who knows what might happen)
next_to_normal: (internet forever)
Haven't posted in a while because I am at my parents' house. The original plan was for them to come visit me for Easter, since I would have to go to work today, and the 3 hour drive home would kind of mess up dinner plans. But we handily solved that problem by me getting laid off a week ago!

Fortunately, my unemployment only lasted a few days, as I got a job offer on Thursday (which I'd applied for well before I knew I'd be losing my job). End result: I got three weeks off and severance pay from the old job, which I wouldn't have gotten if they'd just waited a week and let me quit. \o/ This pleases me, since the old job sucked and the people were dicks and I'm glad to be rid of them, and the new job pays a lot more. And since I don't have to work this week, I came home to spend a few days with the new kitten my parents. (The new kitten is SO CUTE. But still a little afraid of me.)

Also? BEST WEEK TO BE UNEMPLOYED, because I watched SO much TV courtesy of Watchathon Week. I've actually made an index post to keep track of all my TV shows. Feel free to leave recs in the comments or just boggle at the size of the list. As you can see, I've now completely caught up on Game of Thrones, and I started in on Girls, both of which I enjoy but don't really feel the need to get all meta about them? Nevertheless, if you have ~feels, let me know. (I have not and do not intend to read the books, so please restrain yourselves and keep any GoT talk to what's aired so far. I'm not super-concerned about spoilers, but it'd be nice to avoid them.)

I did not, however, have a chance to watch this weekend's Doctor Who or the premiere of Orphan Black, but I will get to those this week, I'm sure.

Mini linkspam:

* Clark Gregg talks about resurrecting Agent Coulson for S.H.I.E.L.D.

* David Tennant and Billie Piper are slated to return for Doctor Who's 50th anniversary special. Interesting.

* Natalie Dormer discusses her role in Game of Thrones. I get a very Anne Boleyn-ish vibe off Margaery, but I can't tell if it's the character or just Natalie's Tudors history.

* Every Jurassic Park dinosaur, in order from worst to best. Guess who gets the top spot.

(Related: Why do I not have more Jurassic Park gifs.)
next_to_normal: (original musical)
Happy Monday, boys and girls. I'm back from my weekend at home/in NYC, which kinda wore me out. My mom and I got up at 5am in order to take the train to NY and get there in time to hit the TKTS booth for half-price theater tickets. I've become a TKTS pro, so we were able to time it just right - I hate to give away my secrets, lol, but if you get there at about 8:55, you will JUST beat the huge crowd that shows up shortly after 9, and you'll only have to stand in line for about an hour. We were out of there by 10:05 with tickets to The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which was my first choice (my mom's was Cinderella, but weekend matinees probably always sell out. We saw SO MANY little girls dressed as Cinderella coming out of the theater after the show).

After TKTS, we went over to Rockefeller Center and did the NBC Studio tour, which I'd never done before. It's kind of cool. We saw Brian Williams' studio, the Dr. Oz Show set, the control room, and - most exciting - the SNL studio, where they were rehearsing for that night's show. We saw Jay Pharoah prepping the Obama press conference cold open and Kenan Thompson standing around with a giant stuffed horse, which made us desperately want to watch the show that night to find out what the freakin' horse was for. (As it turned out, the actual sketch was quite a letdown after our wild speculation.)

The Mystery of Edwin Drood
was a fun little show. All I really knew about it prior to seeing it was that it was a murder mystery based on Charles Dickens' final unfinished novel, since he had the audacity to die before completing it. There's no indication of whom Dickens intended the murderer to be, so the show allows for audience participation to vote on several plot points and determine the ending. (Fandom would be proud - we voted on the couple who should get together at the end and our audience chose, of all the possible options, the twin brother and sister. LOL we <3 incest.) This is one of those shows that you see for the experience and the humor, not the music, since the songs are pretty forgettable, but not everything can be Les Mis, right? Everyone in the cast did an incredible job - a cast that included Stephanie J. Block, Will Chase (most recently hated in season 1 of Smash, this time intentionally playing a villain), and Chita Rivera, who was a total hoot.

While I was home, my mom and I also started planning our trip to San Francisco. We're going the last week in May. \o/ I was supposed to go to San Fran three and a half years ago, but ended up canceling because I was starting a new job and moving to a new city right before the trip. My parents, being callous and unsympathetic people, went without me. But my mommy is lovely and is taking me this time. :) We're planning to spend four days in the city and then renting a car and driving down to Monterey and doing some stops along the way (Big Basin, Santa Cruz). On the last trip, my parents did something similar, except they went north to Sonoma and Napa and drank a lot of wine. I'm not big on wineries, and I didn't want my mom to have to duplicate her entire trip, so we're going south instead. In terms of planning, Mom has San Francisco pretty well covered, but the rest of the trip is quite open, so if anyone has any suggestions of things to see and do, I'd love to hear them.

So that's my weekend. How was yours?
next_to_normal: (long day)
Been somewhat out of commission this week. My parents were here this weekend, and if it seems like that's really soon for them to visit after I just spent a whole week there over Christmas, you'd be right. But I had a colonoscopy on Monday, and so they came down so that I'd have someone to drive me home while I was loopy from the anesthesia. (Which I actually got this time. SO MUCH BETTER. Last time they gave me fucking extra strength Tylenol and I was awake the whole time and felt EVERYTHING. WHAT THE FUCK. I think that actually qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment. And the doctor was all, "You can watch on that screen if you want!" Like I'm Katie Couric or something.)

Anyway. Links:

* It's really a shame this post is in all-caps, because it's really a fascinating and insightful take on cinematography and pins down exactly what I disliked about Les Miserables but couldn't quite put into words.

* Speaking of which, there may possible be an extended director's cut version of Les Miserables? GOOD GOD HOW MUCH LONGER COULD THAT MOVIE POSSIBLY BE?

* Aaron Tveit continues to be my favorite, giving pronunciation lessons, talking about Les Miserables and his new show, Graceland, and why he's not on Twitter.

* Sarah Michelle Gellar is trying again with TV, this time on a sitcom. To be fair, I've always thought SMG's comedic talent was vastly underrated. She was great at the comic material on Buffy.

* Downton Abbey and Entourage are pretty much the same show. I can't actually speak to that, having never seen Entourage, but the criticisms of Downton are spot-on. Having just rewatched the first two eps of season 3 while my mom was here, this in particular resonated with me: "Downton Abbey is full of tension heightened by the fact that these people have nothing better to do than sit around and worry about nothing."

* Community could totes possibly get a fifth season. Yeah, I'm not holding my breath on that one.

* Jon Stewart says what we've all been thinking about the gun control debate.

* This oral history of Good Will Hunting made me all nostalgic. Remember when Matt and Ben were nobodies from Boston? LOL Matt: "Ben’s still the youngest writer to ever win an Oscar for screenwriting. I’d be the youngest if it weren’t for Ben. Fucking asshole."

Home again

Dec. 31st, 2012 01:19 pm
next_to_normal: My cat, black and white tuxedo, on a grey background (Chelsea)
I finally decided to stop torturing Chelsea yesterday, and we left my parents' house (and Patches) behind. This was the longest I've stayed at their house since acquiring Chelsea, because I couldn't leave her alone for more than a few days at a time. It was nice to be able to spend a whole week at home for once. I actually quite enjoy spending time with my parents, even if we sometimes get on each others' nerves. But being at home feels like a vacation from being a grown-up, you know? It's a relief not having to worry about everything yourself. And the kitty experiment went better than I'd hoped, so we'll try it again, I'm sure.

Lots of cat talk )

Anyway, the highlights of my Christmas:
* Most hilarious moment - My grandmother unintentionally propositioning my cousin's father-in-law: "Here's my keys, you wanna go to my place?" (His response: "Well, only if my wife says it's okay...")
* Most WTF moment - My mom asking if I should freeze some of my eggs, in case I ever change my mind and decide I want children. Me: "No." (Bonus WTF moment: "Hey, I didn't want to have kids, either." Me: "......." Mom: "....but it's different when they're yours.")
* Best Christmas present - New car! Well, new to me, at least. It's my grandmother's 2003 Hyundai Sonata, which she is no longer allowed to drive, because she is 87 and kinda crazy. But it was free and everything works, so it's an improvement over my old car.

How was everyone else's holiday?
next_to_normal: (Leverage)

Guess that means I have to finish my Christmas shopping after all.

I am at my parents' house, and since I have a crazy ELEVEN days off this year, I brought a special guest with me. Chelsea (who is currently hiding under the covers on my bed) gets to come home with me and hopefully she and Patches (my parents' cat) will not kill each other. We won't try to introduce them for another few days, at least (they've met before, but it was a few years ago and didn't go well).

Pre-Christmas linkspam:

* The writing's been on the wall for a while, but Leverage has officially been canceled. I suppose it's good, in a way, since this season has very much had the feel of a final season, and the season finale episode (which airs Christmas Day) was written as a series finale "just in case." Here's hoping Aldis Hodge, Christian Kane, and Beth Riesgraf find other work soon. I will miss those crazy kids.

* And yet, HIMYM goes on and on, now extended for a ninth season. DAMMIT JASON SEGEL. I was depending on him to stop this madness, but apparently he caved.

* Another Les MIserables clip, this time the full version of "At the End of the Day." Definitely better than "One Day More," but this discussion of 10 reasons the movie misses the mark is starting to look more and more accurate.

* Ben Affleck for Senate? This is apparently an actual possibility.

* Community's holiday sneak peek involves ADORABLE KITTENS.

If I don't make it back online before Christmas, hope everyone has a lovely holiday!

next_to_normal: (one day more)
What? It could be a thing.

As you might have guessed, I've been MIA because I went home to celebrate the Ritual Sacrifice with Pie with my family. The table did not collapse this year, which made it a 100% improvement over last Thanksgiving.

Also, while I was at home, the early reactions to the Les Miserables movie screening started trickling in:

"In a movie season that is largely about holding onto humanity in a cruel world, Les Misérables fits the bill beautifully."

"I began to think there was this story of twin epiphanies, of the discovery of spirituality and compassion and the transformative power of love."

"If you're like me (and, if so, may God have mercy on your soul) and worry that you won't enjoy Les Miz because you're not familiar with the source material, do not let that keep you away."

next_to_normal: (delightful and delicious)
Well, I am back in the 21st century! As are my parents, actually, since they finally got their electricity back on Sunday night after I'd left. I guess it's kind of fortunate that the hurricane happened in October because, as my mom pointed out, "If the mayor wants to get reelected, he'll get the power back on before Tuesday!" And lo and behold, it worked.

Speaking of which - obviously, if you are American, go vote! Do it now. I'll wait.

*Jeopardy music*

Done? Good.

Anyway, as much fun as it was walking around the house with giant scented jar candles (my mom dug out as many as she could find, so it was like seasons colliding as honeydew melon, lavender, cinnamon, and Christmas cookie all mingled together) and making toast by holding slices of bread over an open flame, I am glad that my Laura Ingalls interlude was brief. Moving day was... unpleasant, as expected, but we all survived, so there's that. Also, my grandmother apparently told my mother that I am "growing up to be so beautiful," which - setting aside the fact that I haven't "grown" in over a decade - is a nice change from the usual "Have you gained weight?" and "Why don't you have a boyfriend?" comments that I usually get. \o/ I guess moving makes her sentimental? She was crying an awful lot...

Otherwise, there is not much happening with me. I do have recipes to post and picspams to finish. Best get on that. Anything exciting going on with y'all? I hear we're getting another nor'easter tomorrow (though this time without the bonus hurricane), so that should be fun.

...seriously, you haven't voted yet? What are you waiting for? DO IT!
next_to_normal: (Juliet) anyone still watching that show?

Anywho. Obviously made it through the hurricane okay. DC didn't get hit nearly as badly as they were predicting. I did get two days off work and spent time watching TV and cooking lots of food (recipes forthcoming). The news (and especially the pictures) out of NY and NJ have been kind of terrifying, though.

So, naturally, I am going to NJ this weekend, because I am a glutton for punishment or something.

My parents lost power Monday night and still don't have it restored yet. The refrigerator's running on a generator, and they have hot running water. A few trees fell in the yard, but no flooding or damage to the house, so that's good. Apparently my dad was threatening to unplug the fridge and hook the TV up to the generator (PRIORITIES. I approve), but if boredom is the worst thing they're dealing with, they're quite lucky.

So I'll be without electricity (and therefore internet - don't miss me too much) this weekend. Eh, it'll be fun, I guess? And cold. It'll be like camping. I hope there's a fire. This weekend we are moving my grandmother into her new apartment in the senior community, so that also promises to be torturous. Thus far, I've been fortunate to have escaped the packing and cleaning out of her house (it's like a never-ending episode of Hoarders) so I guess I'm due.

See you on the other side.

next_to_normal: (Sarah LOL)
Parents came to visit again this weekend (is it just me, or does it seem like they're ALWAYS here? I'm starting to think I run a B&B...). Fortunately, they can be exceptionally entertaining, which makes up for it:

Mom [talking about the epic project of cleaning out my grandmother's house]: You wouldn't believe the nice suits I found. There's this one, it's tweed-ish -
Me [giggling]: Tweedish?
Mom: Yeah... What? Tweed-ish. It's tweed.
Dad [also laughing]: Do you have a lisp?
Mom [incredibly confused]: No...
Me: Tweed is fabric. Tweedish are people from Twee- [laughing too hard to finish]
Dad: From Tweeden!
[Dad and I break down in uncontrollable laughter.]

(I think my favorite part is that my dad caught on without my even having to say it. Of course, once we explained it to my mom, she found it funny, too, and then all three of us laughed so hard we cried.)
next_to_normal: (Andrew cooking)
While my mom was visiting, she shared with me an experimental recipe that she'd been playing around with. It was delicious, but only vaguely measured, so it remains to be seen whether we can replicate it...

Peaches in Cream Sauce and Lemon Coconut Rice )

Honey Mango Chicken... also with Lemon Coconut Rice )

Warm Tortellini Salad with Cherry Tomatoes )
next_to_normal: (Damon squinty)
Haha, well, I guess it's obvious that my new power cord arrived in the mail, and I clearly have priorities (POST AVENGERS ICONS!). Gotta have something to dull the pain of going back to work after a week-long vacation (more of a staycation, really, since much of it was spent at the pool).

Read more... )

So that's what's going on with me. What's new with you?
next_to_normal: (Carrie/Brody shots)
I am not going anywhere, because broke. But I have a week off, and my mother is here, and we will hopefully do fun things.

Things we have done thus far: volunteered at an animal shelter, where I almost got my eye clawed out by a cat (don't worry, I am fine), and attended my building's pool party. On the agenda for tomorrow: get my car inspected. But later in the week, there may be a day trip to Annapolis! What an exciting life I lead, eh?

This is basically to say that I may not be around much this week. See y'all on the flip side.
next_to_normal: My cat, black and white tuxedo, on a grey background (Chelsea)
My parents are visiting for 4th of July - my dad had off Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and my mom has an obscene number of vacation days, so they figured they'd spend a long weekend at the Hotel Laura. Of course, I could not take off from work (otherwise I'd be on vacation right now), so I am in the office being bored while my parents get to sit on my balcony and go in my pool. Something about this situation does not seem right... :\ At least I got to go to the pool yesterday. The water is SO WARM, so I guess this crazy heat wave has been good for something. I also got a lovely sunburn while I was outside, but it's already turning to tan (thank you Dad and your Mediterranean genes!).

Chelsea had quite an adventure, though. We've been sort of practicing with walking on a leash in my apartment, and we've managed to get to the point where Chelsea's not afraid of the leash anymore. (It was pretty funny, for the longest time she had no problem with the harness - I swear, you could dress that cat up in doll clothes and she'd sit there and let you - but as soon as I clipped the leash on it would freak her out.) So yesterday, while my parents and I were sitting out on the balcony, I took her outside and she sat in my lap for a few minutes, then tentatively explored a bit, before slinking back into the house. Which is an improvement over the last time I took her out, when I held her for about 15 seconds before she ran back inside. I really think she'd like the balcony once she gets used to it. She is, as they say on Animal Planet, a "tree dwelling" cat, so she likes being up high.

The other excitement in my condo was rearranging the furniture to make room for my new piano! Which should be delivered in the next week or so! YAY!
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