Sunday, October 18, 2009

ER Time With The Chernows

This quarter at school is kicking my ass, thus the serious lack of posts.  Finally getting one done.

Now that the adventure known at Chicago Stem Cell Transplant is behind us, I figure it was time for some serious R&R for my folks. Both are wiped from Chicago, not to mention the trip back to California- which involved a ton of packing. Mom's birthday was just a few days shy of their trip home. Hmmm pack for your birthday, sounds like such fun. I figured she needed a real birthday celebration. I plan a special day with her at our favorite hot springs- Glen Ivy. I didn't tell her that I invited her sisters and booked her for several spa appointments.
9:30am I got a call from her that my childhood cat, Tristan, wasn't doing well. She was lathargic, deydrated, and had a kitty fever. Mom was going to take her in to the emergency vet and hopefully, if things settled down, come to Glen Ivy later. I was pingpoing in my head- worried about my cat (who is 14 yr old btw) and worried that my overworked mother wouldn't make it to her massage (that she didn't know about) in the next hour.
10am The spa let me reschedule mom's massage for later in the day.

11am Mom's sisters show up. We all wait around for word on Tristan, and to find out if my mom would finally get a break.
12:45pm - Mom makes it! Yay! Tristan was given antibiotics and hydrated. Mom's sisters laid down on lawn chairs with their hair in towels and wearing sunglasses. Totally surprised Mom! Lovely day followed.

Wednesday became part II of the Chernow ER festivities:

5:04pm Got a text from Mom that Dad was running a low grade fever, and likely there would be a trip to the ER. I got on the phone with my dad (who doesn't love a text like that?) to get detail. Yes, he had a low fever (100.4) and yes, they were going to the ER- mainly as a precaution, since he was a recent stem cell transplant patient. Every time he got a low fever before it turned out to be something more serious, so all of his doctors just wanted to play it safe.

I spent the evening drinking a large glass of wine, eating take-out, and hoping for the best.

10:48pm Got another text from Mom that they were going home.

The next day they had to go back to the hospital. Dad still had a fever and still on the brink of having to be admitted. Fortunately, his fever broke. 

It's been like that the last few weeks.  Dad has been in and out of the hospital, often from lack of fluids or food, since he has a hard time keeping things down.  It's kinda a roller coaster of being very concerned, but also kinda numb at the same time.  Every time I hear 'ER' I wonder if it's something serious or just caution because he's a recent transplant patient.  Hopefully things will get better once his immune system is back to par.

Good news- Tristan is doing much better.  Whatever she had seems to have resolved, and she is her usual feline self.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Zombie Wedding Followup

Over weeks of planning, 14 hours on set, and a lot of fake blood- and we had an awesome zombie wedding!  Check out a followup article on the Examiner by our favorite zombie-reporter/zombie (he was also in the shoot) here.

We had an amazing cast and crew.  Everyone worked really hard and weren't afraid to get into the shoot and get dirty (well, bloody).  We took over 2,000 pictures, so stay tuned for the finished video, as well as behind of the scene photos of "That Special Day."

They're Back!

Quick update on the parents.  Thanks for everyone's support during this 'wild' ride.

After almost six months- my parents are finally back in California!  YAY!  Thanks to everyone for their concern and support.  It's been a long roller-coaster of a ride, and it's not over yet, but we are happy to have Chicago behind us.

Craig and I went to see them Friday night.  It was wonderful to see them, but they're pretty exhausted.  Dad weighs less than I do, and that was pretty disturbing.  I hoping being home, he'll start feeling better and fattening up.  And hopefully, mom will be able to get some rest too.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

7 Days

One week till the parents come home from Chicago!  After only five months of chemo, and treatments, and transplants, Dad is no longer an international health hazard (thank you Swine Flu) and they'll be coming home!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Zombies Attack Wedding!

For those of you that read my other blog, this will be posted there as well. But you don't have to read it twice. But you can if you. After all, this covers my life, my art, weddings, and zombies.

I've decided that what this world needs is more zombies attacking weddings. So my production team, Junebug Media, is going to make this dream a reality!

We also gotten some great press on NBC LA:

A local artist is looking for zombies to help ruin a wedding in Sherman Oaks.

The undead mayhem is the brainchild of artist Brandie June Chernow. The idea began as a photo shoot to document a staged wedding dissolving into chaos (Imagine spilled wine, bad toasts, perhaps a few awkward moments).

Chernow and her production team at Junebug Media started brainstorming ways to up the ante. One of her coworkers suggested a Bridezilla vs. Godzilla theme. That's when things got interesting.

"…and that led to me thinking that zombies would be a great way to worsen a bad situation. Zombies attacking a wedding it became. Because when you think things can't get worse, that's when the zombies attack," Chernow said.

Chernow is now accepting applications for zombies. The project is on a tight budget, so all undead work will be pro bono. Not all applicants will score a role in the Sept. 13 photo shoot. Those interested can reach Chernow at

Ideally, Chernow says, she'd like the photos displayed at an appropriate venue, such as the Downtown Art Walk.

"But mainly we think it'd be fun. Art for art's sake. Or zombies for art's sake. Or art for zombies' sake," Chernow said.

And the Examiner also ran a story:

On September 13th in Sherman Oaks, zombies will be busting up a wedding, and you have a chance at getting involved in the mayhem!

Junebug Media, founded by Brandie June Chernow in 2008, is putting together a still photography shoot and slide show-style video of the events, which Brandie described in an email as being "about a wedding that starts sweet and then goes wrong (think passed-out drunk groomsmen, bridesmaid making out with groom)," but quickly turns into a bloodbath when zombies attack. With her team rounded out by Ray McCoy, Damon D. Brown and Craig Johnson, Brandie has a group of experienced TV production folks at the helm of this project, and they have already put down some hard-earned money on the zombie makeup that will be used for the event.

Anyone and everyone can get involved by contacting Brandie at and showing up to the event. Although there's no pay -- this is an ultra-low budget event -- Brandie says that she can get people copies of the photos, and will be shopping around the slideshow and photos to be displayed locally, such as at the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk. As Brandie puts it, "mainly we think it'd be fun. Art for art's sake. Or zombies for art's sake. Or art for zombie's sake." How can you beat that?

If you've never heard of Junebug Media, they have completed several short videos, and have won second place at the UCLA Anderson School of Business and Management video contest with a mock 1950s parody PSA. Additional team members support them on various projects. This may very well be an outfit to watch out for in the future.

And by the way, is anyone else reminded of Adam's (Jeremy Sisto) short film in May?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Certified Pre-Owned Cats!

Saw this, and found it amazingly touching. The Michigan Humane Society created this ad poster and video to help promote adopting adult cats. They are adopting out adult cats for free to help find them homes.

Monday, August 24, 2009


So, it would be bad enough for my dad to have rare autoimmune disease and...
  • have it go on for 10 years
  • have a stem cell transplant
  • catch the flu post-transplant
  • happen to have swine flu
  • is having such a hard time holding down food my mom bought a blender (mmmm... the milkshake diet?)
But did it have to be the rare version of swine flu that is immune to the regular swine flu meds?  There have been 9 documented cases in the world- 2 prior cases in the USA, and my dad makes number 3.  He is now officially an international health hazard.  Impressive.

Maybe it isn't a good idea to ask what happen to cases 1 and 2.... Because the answer was, "One survived."  Of course, my dad had and important medical call to take, so I had to wait another 10 minutes before finding out that the 'non-survivor' was already terminally ill.  (Yeah, not post-transplant, no-immune system ill - I asked.)
Dad Sent Us All This Photo, Sums Things Up...

It does make finding balance a bit of a struggle.  Finding joy in the everyday wonderfulness of life.  Going to work, and school, and hanging out with friends, and how does one enjoy that knowing all this is going on?  Shouldn't I feel like crap about it?  

Well NO!  Or at least, not when I can help it.  Sure, there are times it sucks that he is so ill (ok, it sucks all the time), but if I've learned one thing through all this, it's that I can't let it control my life.  Of course, far easier said than done.  And I've spend my fair share of mopping time wondering how to balance it all.  Still trying to figure that one out.  But it's not something I'm giving up on.

So for all those wondering how Steve is doing, that sums it up.  

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Mysteries of Twitter

I finally have succumbed to Twitter and am tweeting as brandiejune.  Is it twittering or tweeting?  How does one conjugate 'to twitter'?  He tweets... they tweet... we twittter... 

Do peacock tweet?  What bird did this idea come from?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What's Been Going on

I am officially a quarter of a century old. I feel sooo old! But at the day was nice. Following a lovely Glen Ivy trip, we did a small dinner party with some friends. Craig cooked up tasty foods as always. And Christy made a super tasty red velvet cake.

Just make a wish and blow!

Ahh- wish came true. It was a lovely time. It was a little tough that so much money was spent on the move that we couldn't do much, but it was still a nice time.

I wish I could say things were going as well with my parent. Post stem cell transplant, my dad caught the swine flu. There is all sorts of crap in his lungs and he's down to 130lb. They also worry he may have pneumonia. The specialist are still trying to figure out exactly what's wrong, and more importantly, how to make it better. The scariest was a call I got from him at 9pm and he told me his heart wasn't working. Freaked me out. Turns out it was cuz he wasn't eating, so they pumped him full of potassium, and he's doing better. He still sends update emails in the middle of the night after taking too much ambien, and those are pretty hard to understand (there is a lesson here kids about the dangers of emailing, calling, shopping ebay or amazon while on drugs...). We're just praying and taking it one day at a time. I never cease to be amazed at my mom's strength to be on the front lines all the time.

While I have much better health, I have had a constant string of migraines for the last 3 weeks. My neuro doctor is out of town, and his PA said the meds take time to kick in. Doesn't comfort much the fact that I still have to get through school, work, and finals...

We were able to move out of the old place by the deadline. I'm so happy not to feel gross all day from packing and cleaning. I will miss the paint job we did to my old room. It was truly lovely.
I love the new place, but I'm sure I'll love it even more when it's unpack!
But the cats seem to be enjoying it.

And some super exciting news- Stef got into grad school!! Yay!! Super congrats to my little sis. We'll both be graduating summer of 2011 now! I'm so proud of her and happy for her!

Last Friday Craig and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary. We were both pretty tired and broke from moving, but had a lovely night out at the Cheesecake Factory. Then we went home to play a board game I got for my lover/nerd.

I heart Craig. :)

Kittens Update

As many of you know, a while back I took in some little kittens my roommate found in the alley.  In case you were wondering what happened to them, here's a followup.

Franklin was adopted at an adoption fair through MeoowzResQ.  The family that adopted him already has several cats, and their 13 year old daughter wanted a kitten for her birthday.  While Franklin was her first choice, she checked out the other cats at the fair just to be sure.  She was completely sure Franklin was the kitty for her.

Bootsy was adopted by a coworker's friends/neighbors.  A lovely couple came over to meet him.  While I got anxious when they stepped out to discuss, they did decide to adopt him.  He is now named Peanut (I love it!) and living with another kitty.  The best part is that I can ask my coworker how little Peanut is doing.  Status- he's doing great!

And finally, little Curie.  Craig wanted to keep her since she was so shy (and he claims she loved him the best too), but you'd never know she was shy now.  Total affection kitty, she races around to Craig, me, and our other two cats for attention.  Constantly a purr ball, I'm thrilled at the new permanent addition to our family.   

Of course, she does have some boundary issues... (that's my cup of water thank you!)

Now I just can't wait to foster more kitties.... but we probably need to unpack first...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Kelvin Is Not Normal

Warning: Cute Cat Post.

I recently watched a video about Winston, a 'not normal' cat, and it made me think about how my scottish fold, Kelvin is 'not normal.'  

We adopted Kelvin (named after the Scottish Lord Kelvin) off Craigslist when K was about 9 months old, and he's our little burnt marshmallow - burnt and crusty on the outside and creamy and sweet on the inside.

My adorable marshmallow guys.

Scottish folds are quiet kitties... well, you wouldn't know that when dinner time comes around.  K tends to do the 'I'm dying... meow... feed me now.... meow.... I haven't had food since yesterday... meow... I've only had dry food ALL day....MEOW!!!'

Sorta like this guy:

Scottish folds are friendly, and have dog-like personalities.  He lived in the closet for a week when we first adopted him, and usually doesn't like to be pet.

However, he loves to be pet in bed.  He insists on bed snuggles, and lying on his back for belly rubs.  
Rub me now!

He's been rather freaked about the move, but I'm hoping he'll feel better once we're settled in.

Bonus: Baby Pic of Kelvin (his previous owner sent this to me).

Monday, August 3, 2009

We Made It

My poem about the last week.  Just be happy I'm not more emo.

We got out of the old place by the first.  
I spent the week being grimy, sweaty, and gross while moving/cleaning.  
Our new place is full of boxes.
I'm too tired to rhyme or count syllables.
Time to sleep.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Counting Down

I would like to thank everyone for their wonderful birthday wishes!  The Glen Ivy trip was a wonderful way to relax.  Ahhhh.... and all that leaves is a move across town...

I have decided that the next time I move, I will be moving into a fully furnished house.  FULLY.  I will be leaving behind everything at the old place- the furntiure, the dishes, my toothbrush.  I guess I'll take the cats and Craig, but that's it.  

The countdown is coming to a close in our deadline of being out of the old place by the end of the month.  I've been off work this week and Craig and I have typically been making a few trips to the old place to pack and clean, and then repeate.  I'd post pictures, but I don't even know where connector cables are at this point.  Even though we have a ton of unpacking here, I'll be thrilled to be all done with the old place and working on a more relaxed time frame.  While it's been stressful to move during school (getting migraines almost everyday!), I'm excited to have a the chill time after school where were are happily moved into our lovely loft!  Anyone want to come over for a pool side bbq?  We just need to find our towels, swimsuits, and get a bbq... at least we have a pool!

But despite the freak outs, pains, and the extra expenses, I'm can't wait to be settled it.  A little home with my fiancee and the kitties.  Yay.  Both Tesla and Curie are doing well with the new digs, and really enjoying scampering up and down the stairs.  Kelvin is doing ok, but like to spend a lot of time in the mattress frame of my bed.

My dad unfortunately, is not doing so hot.  They have to check his lungs, since he still has some flu-goo.  So they are bringing in the experts.  That's good at least, these people should at least know their shit.  Guess we can just take it one day at a time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Are We There Yet?

I'm amazed at how cluttered my room looks, despite the fact that 90% of the stuff that used to live there is now in boxes in the living room. Just over a week till we have to be out of the house, and I'm darn glad it's not February. We need the extra three days at the end of the month. So much stuff has yet to be moved. But I will not panic (a lot...). I think the stress is triggering a string of migraines I've been getting. Oh well, it will be over soon! Craig's friends and brother are coming over tomorrow to take care of the big stuff. I hate moving, but am actually looking forward to decorating the new place. There was a 'yard sale' we had at work after cleaning out storage. I have a great variety of vases and pillows for the new place.

The flu my dad has is like Swine Flu. And he might have pneumonia. Never a dull moment. My mom flew back to Chicago yesterday. We can only wait and see how things turn out.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Few Of My Favorite (Tiny) Things

Despite, or perhaps due to, the current things stressing me out, it's always good to remember why life rocks.  A few of my favorite things...

...are tiny!  Maybe it's cliche, but I love tiny foods, animals, and people.  

Tapas, hors d'oeuvres, prix fix menus, and especially sliders - I love small foods!  I think it's because I fill up fast, but love to try different foods.  A friend once said he figured out women, and that they love tapas and sangria, and that is pretty true. 

So small and so tasty!

And kittens!  Especially my kitten.  I don't have much to say here- but I wanted an excuse to post a video of Curie.  It's from right after we got her.  My roommate found her in the street, and she's a tiny, dirty 5-week old kitty.  But she was so sweet, even then.  I instantly melted and let Craig know we had another member of the family.

And babies!  I don't have time/money/maturity to care for a tiny person, so I do the next best thing.  I play with friend's babies!  A bunch of us went to see our friends Jessica and Zach's new baby, William.  He was 6 weeks old, and quite a bit bigger than Curie when she was that age (he's also less furry- is it unusual to compare a kitten to a baby?).  Us girls played 'pass the baby' while the boys played video games.  My favorite part was giving him a baby mohawk.  And he totally rocked it!

The Baby-hawk

Ahh yes, life is good.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


It's been a pretty smashing full day.  Full of what, you ask?

Data entry all day for a rush project at work.  So much data slowly turns my brain to mush.

However, leaving work, things must get better.  That's what I thought.  On the drive home from work, I talk to Mom and Craig, both on the phone.  I find out Dad still have a fever, and the flu.  Not sure what kind of flue.  Further tests needed.  But the hospital said be may be able to go back to the hotel soon- which is a good sign.  You have to stay at the hospital if you're really sick.

From Craig I learn my roommates and landlord are freaking out about rent.  I could have sworn we paid first and last month rent when we moved in.  I swear that's what the landlord said.  And damn it- turns out that what I thought was last month's rent was actually a security deposit.  Was not planning on paying rent this month- not with rent and deposit on the new place.  Just hoping to get most of the deposit back.

Then on to an unproductive conference call with my study group.  We attempted to meet on a call to save time.  Instead, the call was so ineffective, we're meeting tomorrow, in person.
I process to spend the next few hours packing and am a wee bit tired.

And yet....

Craig has been wonderful.  In addition to feeling better, he's taken charge of the move.  He will deal with roommates, landlords, the majority of the moving, and utilities.  What a guy!  Now it's true that he has more time without school and work, and I have to foot the bill with some of the larger checks, but he's really reduced my stress.  Always a plus for me!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hot and Sweaty Toil

Ok, so here is what's going on, in a nutshell:

  • Craig and I are moving
  • Summer class stared Saturday and already have a paper due in less than a week...
  • Work and figuring out long term plan (what I want to be when I grow up)
  • Dad was re-admitted to the hospital yesterday with a fever
  • Mom's back in CA for a week to make the house livable and 'stem cell safe'
  • Craig has been feeling ill on and off for a month now.  

I just need to take deep breaths to avoid a panic attack.  Actually, I'm not too panicked at the moment, but that may be from fatigue.  Got up early for a dentist appointment, then stayed up late for class.  Plus, yesterday was toiling around all day.

Mom is in town for a week, and Craig and I offered to help Mom get the house ready for my parents to move back in.  Having to leave for Chicago, in addition to my dad's untidy (I use the term very loosely) nature, has left their house looking like it just survive a tornado made out of paper.  So we moved boxes, shredded papers, and Craig did the heavy lifting.  It was pretty tiring - a lot like moving (which reminds me - we need to move OUR stuff...), but well worth it.  I think my mom seems a bit less stressed with the house a bit more clean and cleared out.  While we would have come down just to help, my mom fed us, in addition to other treats- such as odds and ends of things we picked up from the house.  Plus, we made out well at a Costco trip when we went there to pick up a battery for one of the cars.  All of the cars had dead batteries when we got to my parents' house from being idle for so long.

But I'd have to say the best part was being attacked by some guy in a jester costume.  He looks a lot Craig in an outfit that looks a lot like one of my old Halloween costumes we found in my parents' garage.

Note to self about tilting the camera while recording.

The worst part was finding Playboy magazines from the 70s... Some things a daughter never wants to find in her parents' home.

Unfortunately, we got an unfortunate call from an extremely groggy Dad as we were on our way to a well-deserved dinner (and for me a well-deserved cocktail).  He spiked a fever of 102 and had to be re-admitted to the hospital.  His sister is out with him in Chicago this week, but it seems the shit always hits the fan the moment my mom leaves him.  Or maybe the shit just hits the fan a lot.  Either way, my mom hadn't been gone 48 hours before a crisis.  Never a dull moment.

Since my mom has scheduled appointments for the house all week (cleaning, floor installations...) I asked Craig if he'd stay at my parents and deal with all that if the situation with Dad got works worse and Mom had to book an emergency flight back to Chicago before her original return date next week.  He said yes, and we told my mom.  There have been emergencies before where such trips were necessary.

That was last night.  This afternoon I got an update- Dad is still in the hospital with a fever, but it's less of a fever and he's doing better.  I just hope he'll improve, and my mom can stay out here for the week.  In addition to all the stuff around the house that needs to get done, she really needs a break.  If all goes well, I'll be dragging her out to Glen Ivy this Sunday for a much needed day of rest.  It's a precarious balance game of making sure Dad is ok, and that we don't all go crazy or get too worn out making sure he is ok.  As Mom says, "It's a marathon, not a sprint."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Hour Lost Souls

Getting out of work slightly early on Thursday, I decided to be semi-responsible. Responsibly, I went to the cafe Lost Souls and did some reading for school. Irresponsibly, I went during their happy hour. Because what goes better with Operations Management homework than a $3 sangria?

Lost Souls is a funky little cafe in downtown LA with a strong indie vibe and a bookshelf full of books and games to amuse one's self while enjoying a beverage.

Down an alley, it looks pretty shady from the outside. 
Inside, are couches, chairs, and even chairs on the ceiling. While I've been plenty of times during my lunch for a quiet place to study while eating a sandwich or enjoying a cup of their Soul Drip (coffee with condensed milk and half and half), but this was my first happy hour there. 

During their Monday through Friday happy hour from 5pm to 7pm, they serve $3 beers in addition to the sangria. They also do other fun stuff during their happy hour, such as performances by DJs, or display art from the Downtown LA Art Walk.  My sangria was over ice and brimming.  It was tart and sweet, and a lovely way to commence a long weekend.

Sadly, this was not my cup.

If you ever find yourself in downtown LA, I highly recommend Lost Souls.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Home Sweet (New) Home

Apparently this is the great summer of homecomings. Dad got to go to the hotel last Saturday. It's not quite going home, but it's a hell of a lot more home-like than the hospital. And considering they've been in Chicago for so many months, the hotel is a temporary home. I've talked to my folks, and it sounds like the worst is over. It's been weeks of hell, but the greatest danger has passed. It will be a long time before my dad's immune system fully recovers, but it's heading in that direction. Both my parents are dead tired, and there is a lot left to be done. But we'll take the good news and keep going one day at at time.

As for other homecomings, Craig and I have decided it's time to get our own place. Several things factored into this decision- such as getting engaged and my desire to be closer to school. Is it really safe to drive 30 miles at 11pm after a 3.5 hour accounting final? I think not! Of course, I also don't think it's really safe to take an accounting final at all.

It's been a whirlwind. In the last two weeks, we decided to get a place, went apartment hunting, and signed a lease. The manager seems really nice- a vast improvement from the one place we showed up at for our 10am appointment, and they asked us to come back Monday. Our new places is a lovely 1 bedroom 1 loft with a rooftop pool, little fireplace, dishwasher and beautiful high ceilings. While Craig and I were originally going to each take a room (which is how we've been living), we might make the upstairs the bedroom with a loung/den of inequity downstairs. The neighborhood is only a little sketchy, but the parking is locked and gated. I'm very excited, though a bit nervous about fitting in a move with school resuming in a week... Housewarming party to come.

I was dying of anxiety to tell the roomies, since finding new roommates for them could be a pain. I was truly dreading the moment of, "Hey guys, we're getting our own place." But my fears were unnecessary. They pretty much said, "Ok. Thanks for the notice." Fortunately, with the odd way our rent was set up in the middle of the month, we're paid through mid-August. So that at least give them time to find other peeps. Just goes to show that worrying doesn't solve things, and often just wastes energy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Hour Pops for Champagne

For another great happy hour Mom and I hit up was at Pops For Champagne. And I now my favorite food accessory is truffle oil. Mmmmm.... Nothing says decadence quite like truffle Gouda cheese. It explains the new plethora of truffle items on my Amazon wish list (hint hint, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more). A plate of that fantastic cheese started off our fantastic happy hour.

Vie en Rose
Of course, it wouldn't be proper to go to a champagne bar and not get champagne. Mom got a glass of bubbly, and I enjoyed their cocktail "Vie en Rose," which consisted of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, a sugar cube, Peychaud Bitters, and Brut Champagne. Indeed, life was good.

Blue Crab Packets
We ordered their truffle-Parmesan chicken wings, but they took over an hour. In the meantime, we munched on fries with garlic aioli, scallops, and blue crab packets- which consisted of crab, green tomatoes, avocado, and curry mayonnaise. It was bite-size 
heaven. Eventually, the wings came, by which I was on my second glass of bubbly.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Back to "Normal"

I got back to LA Sunday night, then crashed before work on Monday.  I've been pretty tired all week, and may still be on Chicago time.  :p  Got a horrible migraine on Wednesday, at it was around 1:30am by the time the meds killed it.  Also, seems like everyone is getting sick.  A ton of people at work, as well as poor Craig, who has had migraines all week.  Actually, he was sick all day, and the toast I made him (with peach preserve from Chicago) is the only he's kept down today. 

Bootsy, first day

And good news of the day- Bootsy has a permanent home!  A lovely coworker of mine had some lovely friends looking for a kitten.  The couple came over tonight to meet Bootsy.  I got really nervous when they stepped out to talk about it, especially since Bootsy was more interested in foil balls than people this evening.  But they decided to take him home!  Bootsy is such a great mix of social adventurer and love bug, that I'm sure they'll love him.  They're also renaming him Peanut, which will suit him well.  I'm thrilled he has a good, loving, permanent home, but I think I'm going through kitten withdrawal.  Curie is snoozing and purring on the couch next to me, so I think it will all be ok. 

We get to see Craig parents this weekend.  Then it's off to meet our friend's semi-new baby!  I love kids that I'm not responsible for.  I can play with them, then hand them off when they get cranky or smelly.

I talked to Dad, and he's ok.  He's out of 'danger' - thank goodness!  I think this means his immune system is not at deadly low levels, though it will still be a while before he's back to 'normal.'  God, I'm not even sure what that would mean after everything.  However, things are still sucky.  He had to get a line put in his arm, and they hit a nerve.  He's been vomiting so much that he hasn't eaten all day.  (What's up with everything throwing up today?!?) Hopefully, that will settle.  Mom's picking him up a Jamba Juice- and they were a necessity during his interferon treatment a few years ago.

Happy Hour 1492

Now that I have a bit of time, I can post about some of the great places I got to experience while in Chicago.
I love vacationing during the week.  It means I'm free to enjoy the wonderful world of happy hour!  Today we bring you, gentle readers, the 1492 Tapas Bar.  $3 tapas 
and half off selected bottles of wine during their happy hour.  Mmmmmm... 
I love tapas, appetizers, prix fix menus, and anything else that lets me sample a ton of food.  (And Craig wonders why I always have to try some of his food when we go out.)

The waiter suggested a wonderful wine.  Not on th
e half off menu, but only $20 for the bottle.  It was amazing.  Light and sweet and so, so
 very drinkable.  We polished off half the bottle (ok, Mom had a glass, and I took care of the rest), and then took the rest of the bottle home (which made for wonderful late-night, post-hospital drinking).

We ordered six tapas, and by far my favorite was the lightly fried artichokes.  Chicken croquettes were also delish.
And the dessert- so simple, and yet so wonderful.  Vanilla ice cream wrapped in a thin crepe and covered in strawberry sauce.  I was almost licking the plate by the end of it.
Mom's probably wondering how much dessert to eat.

Outside 1492, there was a psychic doing $10 palm reading deals.  Well, we couldn't beat that, so Mom and I got our palms read.  Seems she gave us the same fortune- you'll help people, you're a strong person...  Though she saw me with 2 kids (couldn't say if they were biological or not- I asked!) and that my fiance would be very successful.  Oh good.  Later that night I talked to Craig.  He was stressing about finding work, and I told him to relax, since the psychic said he's be very successful.  
His response?  "She must not know me very well."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nom Nom Nom

Shown to me by a friend.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Or at least eat your veggies.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Correction: Normal white blood cell count is between 10,000 and 12,000.  Good news, my dad is up to 4,200.

Mom and I made a Father's Day brunch that we took to the hospital this morning.  The three of us snacked on her tasty cheese-egg-avocado omelets, grapefruit, and chicken sausage.  It was a nice little celebration.
I leave in a few hours to get back to LA (let's just hope it works this time!).  Just hanging out in the hospital till then, and Mom is catching up on some things at the hotel (hopefully, but not likely, including a nap).  Dad's trying to sleep with some wet washcloths on his head to help break another fever.

As Mom puts it, "This isn't a vacation and it isn't reality."  It been really hard emotionally and physically to be here this week.  I so greatly admire both of my parents who have been here so much longer.  On the bright side, it was good to see them, and I ate some amazing food and did some fun shopping.  More posts to come later about the other restaurants we went to, as well at the aquarium and the museum.

I have mixed feelings about going home.  I'm looking forward to my bed, my cats, my friends, my fiance... well, my life, really.  Selfishly, I'm excited about days that end around 6pm.  However, it's a struggle to lead a 'normal' life, knowing this stuff is still going on here.  It's sometime a fight to enjoy my life and take care of normal activities (going to work, going to school, cleaning the house, seeing friends) while I know there could be a health crisis with my dad at any moment.  Still, can't put my life on hold, especially considering this has been going on for most of the last decade.  It's a balancing act.  And I will also miss the indulgences.  Eating out is a much rarer treat back in LA.  But overall, I am looking forward to going home.  

If this was a Lifetime movie, he'd be all better by now.  If this was an episode of House, he'd be better now.  It's not.  But we're all taking it one day at a time.  My gratitude and thanks to all my wonderful friends and family who have been so supportive during this difficult time.
Live Long and Prosper!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I Fail

Good News:  Craig got Franklin adopted.  A nice family with a few other cats got their 13 year old daughter a kitten for her birthday.  After careful kitten inspection at the adoption fair today, she chose Franklin.  Yay!  We wanted Franklin and Bootsy to go to a home together, but a home is better than no home.  And 'the orange kitten' was so popular before, I'm pretty sure we'll get Bootsy a home soon.

More Good News:  Dad's white blood cell count is two thousand!  You need 500 to fight any infection and 1,200 is normal-ish.

Bad News: He's still spiking fevers on and off.  But they say that's normal.  Sucks, but is normal.
This was supposed to be a goodbye photo

Bad News: I can't read a calendar.  I was supposed to fly back to LA today.  After some issues with the self-check in at the airport this afternoon, I went to an attendant.  She let me know that the ticket was for 6.27 - next Saturday.  Oh shit!  I booked the ticket for a week in advance.  Damn.  Ironically, I also sent my itinerary to Dad, Mom, and Craig, and not one of us caught that.  Guess I should buy tickets when stressed out with finals.  American Airlines told me it would cost a thousand dollars to re-book this weekend.  I nearly died.  

4 hours later, my parents got me a ticket back to LA tomorrow on Jet Blue- for far less than a thousand too!  Thanks Mom, Dad, and Jet Blue.  AA- you failed me.  A taxi ride back to downtown Chicago.  I've had better days. 
Better News:  I got to have dinner at Karen's, a favorite vegan restaurant of my mom's out here.  I had an amazing polenta, and an pomegranate soda martini with natural vodka.  Most tasty!  My mom got 'ribs'- which tasted like good hotdogs with amazing bbq sauce.  The cornbread and carrot cake were ok (bit dry, not sweet enough for me), and the mead wasn't as sweet as I like it.  But overall, super fantastic food.  And not even 'fantastic for vegan,' but really tasty.

Even Better News: Now I get to spend Father's Day with my dad.  I tell him I arranged all this to spend father's day with him.  Ok, it's a lie that he knows isn't true, but it's a good lie.

It's 11:45 pm just got back from the hospital.  Kinda tired.  Miss kittens.  But Mom and I picked up brunch stuff Father's Day brunch tomorrow.  Yay.  Ok, nap time.