Friday, March 30, 2012

A Series of Scars: Incident #2

I'm not really sure how old I was when I got this next scar, probably 10 or so. It was a Friday night and my parents had dropped me off at my friend Tiffany's house for a sleepover. Tiffany's dad was playing in some basketball game over at one of the high schools so we went to watch.

Being young girls, we had a short attention span when it came to watching basketball games, so we found other things to entertain ourselves. The bleachers we were sitting on were open underneath, so Tiffany and I went down there to mess around for a while. Of course there were other kids down there too... BOYS. So I thought it'd be fun to play "keep-away", as in, run away from the boys. So the boys were at one end of the bleachers and Tiffany and I started running away from them towards the other end. I was ahead of Tiffany and just as we slowed down, almost to the other side, I bumped my head on a corner of the bleachers.

As I was standing there rubbing the sore spot on my head I noticed it felt warm. I walked out into the light and held my hand out. To my horror my hand was covered in blood.

"Tiffany! My head is bleeding!"

"Oh crap! Let's go tell my mom!"

Luckily her mom is sitting towards the end of the bleachers talking with another lady.


"Just a second..." she says a few moments before turning around to see why we're pestering her.

As she turns around and looks at my blood covered head, her eyes get big. She jumps up, grabs my hand and we race across the sidelines of the basketball court towards the bathroom, blood dripping on the floor in our wake.

For the next half hour or so I sat on the white tile of the bathroom floor while several women mopped up my head and found towels to stop the bleeding. It was sort of a trippy experience and all sort of a blur. I was very calm the entire time and didn't cry or freak out or anything. Eventually my mom showed up and we drove to the emergency room to get some stitches.

It must have been a slow night at the emergency room because I don't think we really had to wait. We went in and I sat on a bed surrounded by open curtains while the nurse gave me a numbing shot on the top of the head. I remember the shot stung a little as the liquid was injected. A few minutes later the doctor came in, threw in a couple stitches and sent us on our way.

Understandably I didn't sleep over at Tiffany's house that night. In fact, I don't know that I ever slept over at her house again. Of course what parent in their right mind would let an accident-prone kid like me stay over after a fiasco like that? Not Tiffany's parents, that's for sure.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Series of Scars: Incident #1

I've always been somewhat of an anti-thrill seeker. I don't like jumping off of high stuff or doing flips or crazy stunts. Which means that any scars I've accumulated over the years haven't come from doing really amazing things. Most of them have come from being clumsy or stupid which means there are stories involved with each and every one of them. As some of these stories are quite lengthy in their explanation, I've decided to do a series of posts about how I got each of these scars. Here is the first:

Scar #1:

When I was about 8 years old, my family took a short overnight camping trip to a lake up along Skyline Drive. This is an epic trip in Holley family history. Probably the most memorable for us all. We were the only ones at the small emerald colored lake that day and spent our time making rafts out of logs and twine we found strewn around the shore.

After a day full of building & testing our rafts, the time came to head into the camper as it was starting to rain. My dad took us girls outside to do our last bathroom run of the evening and apparently it was during this time he noticed I had a small bulge on the right side of my lower abdomen/groin.

Following the camping trip my mom took me to a doctor who had me turn and cough in order to confirm their suspicions. Sure enough I had a hernia. I knew what a hernia was because my dad had explained it to me before the doctor visit. However, somewhere along the line I misinterpreted the conversation because I thought I'd gotten a hernia from pushing too hard while doing my business that night in the rain on the camping trip. I was so embarrassed. Luckily when the doctor asked how I'd gotten the hernia, my mom piped up during my stutterfest and said they didn't know how I'd done it. I just thought she was covering for me. Turns out they really didn't know how I'd done it, they'd just noticed it while I was doing my business.

The surgery was scheduled for a couple weeks out, during which time I would periodically push on my squishy lump of guts to smooth it back into place. I don't remember much about surgery day even though it was the first I ever had. I do remember being sore for the next few days and not being able to walk very well.

For years I thought I'd gotten my hernia by pushing too hard while pooping. Which made it a topic I didn't ever bring up. When people would talk about their scars, I wouldn't mention mine because I didn't want to say where it was or how I'd gotten it. These days that 3" purple scar has faded to white and is barely visible. In fact I always forget I have it. But, it was my first real scar and it always makes me laugh whenever I see it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Dungeon, Transformed

During the last year we have had several guests stay at our home. While we managed to throw together a somewhat decent guest room during that time, our downstairs/guest bathroom left a lot to be desired.

The vanity was in rough shape... a tiny old oak mess with peeling varnish. The countertop was a formica nightmare full of gouges and stains complete with a super helpful 4" wide piece that spanned the bathroom and made access to the toilet tank virtually impossible. While the tile in the bathroom was a sound choice design-wise, it had been installed incorrectly and grout was crumbling at an ever increasing rate, exposing the tile spacers the installer had decided to leave in. This is not to mention the hideous sky blue color on the walls which assaulted your eyes upon entry and the dim cheap light that half-heartedly allowed the entire monstrocity to be seen by all. Oh and we can't forget the crappy mirror which had been "dressed up" by etching the profoundly motivational saying, "Be Your Own Beautiful" at the top. In other words, this bathroom was by far the ugliest room in the house. I liked to call it the "dungeon" as it served as a perfect den of sadness and doom to any soul who had the misfortune of using it.

This picture doesn't do the ugly enough justice.
But the time finally came where we had both the time, money, and motivation to get this project done. We spent a couple weekends bouncing between Lowe's and Home Depot finding all the right elements and I'm happy to say our dungeon has been transformed into a lovely oasis. Here's what we did:

First, Seth ripped out the crumbling tile and painted the walls this light aqua color, Pensive Sky by Behr (also used in our main bathroom upstairs). Then he installed my favorite element, cork floors! They are so beautiful and feel warm under your feet even on top of a concrete floor. Not to mention they are softer than hardwood and tile so they're nice and cushy to walk on. We chose Natural Floors cork planks from Lowe's. I believe the color was called 'Sage' but I'm not 100% sure about that. Anyway, following the cork floors Seth put in new baseboards because the old ones were warped and gross.

Close-up of the cork floor

The hardest part about this bathroom was the tight size constraints we had. There just wasn't room for a medicine cabinet or a standard size cabinet above the toilet or even a towel rack long enough to fit more than one towel. It was tough to find pieces we liked that fit the tight spaces but also maximized the space we had. The 25" wide vanity, 24" wide mirror, and 20" wide toilet cabinet are all from the Estate Java collection at Lowe's. The light is from Lowe's as well, but I can't remember what brand it is and the shower curtain is from Bed Bath and Beyond.

In order to save space and maximize the number of towels available, we used wall hooks instead of a towel bar. I also found this great magazine rack from Home Depot to use as storage for extra towels! This was a great space-saving option to keep towels on hand for guests instead of having to remember to bring towels downstairs from the linen closet. We only had a width of about 20" to work with for all towel storage so the hooks & magazine rack worked out really well. Plus I think the towel rack doubles as an art piece!

So there you have it. I have to give Seth a lot of credit for this project. I may have helped pick out stuff, but that's about where my contributions ended. He did all the work himself and it turned out so beautiful. Nice job sweetie!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review: A Short History of Nearly Everything

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a good solid 4 stars, bordering on 5. It's my second venture into the wonderful land of entertaining knowledge that is Bill Bryson and to my delight I loved this book as much as "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid"... a book that is quite different from this one.

You'd think that a history of the universe and Earth would be material best kept out of the vicinity of a daily commute (well, so long as you don't want to fall asleep while driving...) but to my surprise, this audiobook was able to hold my attention better than many novels I've listened to. Somehow Bryson was able to cover these topics in a humorous, intelligent fashion. To my shock I actually understood most of the concepts he covered without much effort. Sure, there were a few parts where he got a little too deep into one topic or another, but overall, it was a great overview of our existence.

Another thing I liked about this book is it got me thinking. I seemed to always have tidbits of cool facts and information I couldn't wait to get home and talk to my husband about. I learned that space is curved and there's no way to get to the end of it. I learned what the space/time continuum is and how planets disrupt it. I learned about all the huge catastrophic events that could wipe out the entire planet at any time without so much as a warning. Heck I even learned about all the backbiting and sabotage that goes on within the scientific community!

In order words, my love for Bill Bryson goes on and I can't wait to delve into another one of his masterpieces. I recommend this book to everyone.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Things to Do Before You Die

My new favorite t.v. show is 'An Idiot Abroad' on the Science channel. If you've been over to our house recently, there's a good chance you were forced to watch it. The basic premise is they (Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant) make the 'idiot,' Karl Pilkington, choose activities to do based on a list of the top 100 things people say they want to do before they die. These aren't things Karl wants to do before he dies. He's more of a homebody type. So to see him put into all these crazy situations is pretty dang funny.

This got me thinking of what would be on my list. My "Bucket List." I've actually done a lot of things that'd be on your typical list, so I think I'd have to get a little creative and/or specific. I don't have any desire to do things involving large amounts of adrenaline. At least the type that comes with risking life and limb. No bungee jumping or sky diving for me, thanks. I think most of my to-do's would involve outdoor activities, traveling, and food. So... let's see what we have...

  1. Fly fish for Browns in New Zealand
  2. Eat an authentic French & Italian meal (ideally in each of those countries...)
  3. Visit New England in the fall
  4. See the Northern Lights & an iceberg
  5. Have an article or book published
  6. Go backpacking in the backcountry for at least a week
It's actually really tough for me to think of things I'd want to do before I die because usually if I want to do something I just do it! Most of the things I haven't done are simply because it takes a little extra cash to accomplish them.

So what do you think? What do you want to do before you die?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's a Girl!

After 21 weeks of waiting and guessing, we finally found out we're having a little girl! Seth and I were both pretty surprised as we both thought it was a boy. Now we'll have to start referring to 'her' instead of 'him'! Needless to say we're both super excited and we can't wait for Karen Jr. to get here!
This is her side profile. I think she has my nose!
This is a picture of her feet. Her 2nd toe is longer than her big toe... just like her dad!

We were happy to hear her growth is right on target and all of her parts look healthy. Looks like all those cookies I've been eating have paid off!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Week 19: Heirloom Tomato

Ok so first off, since when is an heirloom tomato 6" in diameter? Pretty sure they're just old-school regular tomatoes. Anyway, I'll get to the important stuff. So these last couple weeks have been pretty fun for the most part. Even though my belly is getting huger by the day, it seems like the back aches, especially while sleeping, have really let up. I've also started to feel this little baby moving around. It's really subtle and feels sort of like a pulsing or a really gentle finger poke. So far it's not strong enough that I can feel it with my hand or let Seth feel, but there's definitely some movement going on in there!

It's also funny to see people's reactions to my pregnancy. Acquaintances at work who I haven't told about the pregnancy directly, are really starting to be more confident in asking direct pregnancy questions like "oh, when are you due?" or "how's the baby coming along?" It's much more apparent that I'm pregnant and not just getting fat! It is humorous to watch people's eyes when they first see me because they'll look at my stomach first and then at my face. They try to be discrete about it but fail miserably... like my belly is a magnet and they can't help but look.

This week was a bit more rough because I got knocked out by a cold for a few days. Sure is a lot tougher being sick and not being able to take any good strong medicine. But the good and bad news is, the night before I ended up taking off sick from work I noticed our freezer died so the repairman came out to fix it the next day while I was home! And luckily our fridge still had another month left under warranty. Score! Ha ha...

And I know you've all been dying to see my pregnant belly so here it is in all its glory!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book Review: The Paris Wife

The Paris WifeThe Paris Wife by Paula McLain

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is basically a historical fiction novel about Hadley, Ernest Hemingway's first wife. However, I think most of the book is pretty accurate because of research and letters and such that Paula McLain used when writing it. It took me a couple tries to get through this book. I'd start and stop and then forget what was going on so ultimately I started all the way over and re-read it before I lost the drive. Now as far as the writing goes, it was ok. I didn't find it very compelling. I think McLain tried to copy Hemingway's style but didn't succeed. Instead of the dreamy, flowing prose of Hemingway, McLain's attempt was more of a dragging narrative.

So... what did I think. Hmm. Mainly I ended up being frustrated and angry with this book, more specifically Hadley. She constantly allows her husband to walk all over her, flirt openly with other women, and eventually engage in an open affair! Have some respect for yourself! It's no wonder the relationship fell apart. She was spineless and lost her identity in her husband as a way to keep him. Nobody wants a push-over who doesn't have a life of their own. I mean, you don't buy a new dress to replace the rags you're wearing because you think it'll make your husband dislike your friends? WHO CARES?! I'm not saying Hemingway was a perfect saint in this but this woman really made my blood boil. If you feel bad for your husband because he's in love with (and can't choose between) two women and allow him to go back and forth openly during the day between hotel rooms (and shockingly don't stand up for yourself when the other woman jumps into bed naked with you and your husband), well, I just don't have much sympathy for you. You've essentially condoned his actions and shouldn't be surprised when you're the one that gets kicked to the curb.

In other words, I believe you teach people how to treat you and Hadley's story is a perfect example of that.

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