Latte transitions from “tall” to “grande”

Grande Caramel Latte turns 1 year old today. And even though she has no idea it’s her birthday, we celebrated anyway.

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Latte had a harder start than most other kittens. Since she never answers my questions about it, we’ll never know exactly happened to her. But we’re told she got hit by something quite hard when she was a month old. She sustained some cuts and suffered some brain damage, and never regained her vision.

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But despite her rocky beginning, she is like any other cat turning 1 today. And that makes me so happy. I’m so happy she recovered, that she’s ours, and that her blindness hasn’t slowed her down.

Latte can be energetic and crazy, but she’s also sweet lap kitty who greets us at the door when we come home. She sleeps under the covers with me in bed, and every morning, I wake up to her on my chest rubbing my face and purring. I know she probably just wants her breakfast, but I welcome the sight of her and it’s often my favorite part of the day.

Like what every crazy cat lady says, Latte has been the best kitten in the world. So naturally, I wanted to do something for her birthday. I made my first layer cake (loosely based off this) and had some family over. We gave Latte a few small toys and treats, and she ate her first “adult” food — a chunky loaf of salmon and duck.

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She can’t exactly say thank you, but after eating the same boring chicken for the past year, she licked that bowl clean, did a few jumping tricks for her audience, and settled in for a night of cuddling.

Here’s to many more.

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10 1/2 months with McCorrie Lou

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(Also known as McCorrs, McSter, Sesame Seed, and Micky Lou. We really need to settle on a nickname).

I’ve been meaning to write about one of McCorrie’s month birthdays for a long time. I got behind with the posts, and she just grew and grew and grew, and I became overwhelmed with all the new things she was doing. But I miss writing about her and she’s rapidly approaching her first birthday, so I’ll try to capture all of her cute self as best as I can.

My sesame seed has just seemed like such a little person lately. It hit me during a short stop at her house last week. She was on my mom’s lap when I walked in, and she immediately turned to point at me to acknowledge there was someone new in the house. She beamed up at me with a huge smile, and when I put my arms out to “ask” if I could hold her, she launched herself forward as if to say, “I remember you!”

She has learned to clap to “If you’re happy and you know it” so I started singing and she clapped along for the first couple verses and swayed her body back and forth (she dances to anything that resembles music — even my singing). By the time we got to the end of the song, she had some Puffs in her hands that she couldn’t part with,  so instead of clapping she just made two little noises, right to the clapping beat: “uh uh.”

It probably seems like the stupidest thing in the world, but she just seemed like such a big girl in that moment, dancing, clapping, and making silly noises right on cue. Where did that little baby go that I held not so long ago who barely even made a noise? That baby who didn’t even know where her hands were?

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I miss that tiny girl, and cliche as it is, she is growing way too fast. But I also love the laughing, and the clapping, and the way she kind of repeats my name but doesn’t really know what she’s saying. When the time comes, I’ll enjoy the walking and the talking.

And eventually,  I’ll happily take the “AUNT HEH, COMEERE” — when she really knows what she’s saying and she wants to play Pretty Pretty Princess, or swim, or kick a soccer ball around.

Part of me can’t wait for that day, and part of me wants to freeze time so I can play with my little clapping girl forever.

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Made by me: painted Mason jars

I am not an artsy person. In first grade, my least favorite thing to do was cut and paste. In fifth grade, I had the worst self portrait of my class, and in high school, I received some of my worst grades ever for my clay sculptures in art class.

Despite my deep-seated resentment of art, I have come to enjoy an extremely simple do-it-yourself project here and there thanks to Pinterest. I don’t have that much talent and I like instant gratification, so I stick to projects that don’t involve sewing or drilling and that can be done in a night or two. Some easy, fast projects I’ve completed without completely pulling my hair out include corkboards using wine corks in the shape of our initials. (Please don’t be concerned that we are wineaholics — I bought 200 corks on eBay five years ago and 3/4 of them are still unused. That’s how crafty I am).

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And a dry erase board (made by just framing a seasonal piece of scrapbook paper):

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Some other projects I’ve attempted have failed miserably. I tried to use some of those 200 wine corks to make cork reindeer for Christmas ornaments (like these ones). I had great intentions and was in the holiday mood until I realized that it’s impossible to cut wine corks without a saw. Not even kidding. I also forgot that hot glue doesn’t always work, and oh yeah, I never know how to keep the gluey strings from going everywhere. A few of them worked out, but many of them have since lost a leg or two since I made them a few years ago. Poor guys.

So when my barely creative itch struck recently, I decided to stay away from hot glue guns and that box full of wine corks in my trunk. After scouring the trusty time-waster known as Pinterest, I decided on painted Mason jar vases — a project that includes less than five tools and only a few hours of time. I picked up some of my own jars at a craft store, along with a wide, soft brush, acrylic paint, and some fake flowers.

Following advice found on the Internet (as always), I cleaned the jars well before starting. I then painted one coat, let it dry for about five hours, and painted a second coat. As evidenced by my art projects in school, my painting skills are below par and the paint wasn’t 100 percent even. I especially struggled with the area around the raised words on the jar, but I think they turned out OK. I think having a variety of brushes may have helped, but I don’t exactly have a craft closet built up and I like to think the unevenness gives them a natural look. ;)

After all the paint was dry, I sprayed the jars with a matte finish and cut the fake flowers to fit in the jar (I’m too cheap/lazy for real flowers but those would be even better).

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And voila. Done in a day and already up for display. My kind of project.

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Life lately (in verbs)

READING :: The Goldfinch for book club number one, and Lenin’s Tomb for book club number two. (I’m actually a 50-year-old cat lady/book club member who took a 24-year-old’s body hostage).

WAITING :: For Mike to take his boards Tuesday so that we can have a staycation and go for bike rides and take Latte for walks binge-watch Netflix and go see How to Train Your Dragon 2.

BROWSING :: Facebook and seeing my niece in a Fisher Price ad. Easily my favorite model — pictured in her oh-my-god-I-found-my-tongue stage.

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A whole lot of people “like” McCorrie :)

CRYING :: Over math problems. I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to school at some point in the distant future, and a practice GMAT test told me that my math ability is stuck back in third grade. I forgot all about triangles and factoring and exponents … and it’s bad. Mike is trying to tutor me but I think I need my 13-year-old nephew’s help first.

LOVING :: Veep. I finished the three seasons on Sunday after starting the show an embarrassingly short time ago. And now, of course, I’m sad I have no new episodes to watch because I felt the need to fly through them.

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SITTING :: In our new patio furniture for the balcony. I’m pretty excited about it and Latte thinks we got her a huge new toy in a shape of a cardboard box, so everybody’s happy.

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MAKING :: New recipes, like Thai chicken quinoa bowls (Jessica can do no wrong) and this snickers brownie ice cream cake. Chocolate sauce got all over the table and counter during the assembly of the cake, and it certainly didn’t look as pretty as it did on Pinterest — but it tasted pretty darn good.

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Sunday happiness

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I came home from Starbucks today and found Latte blissfully sleeping in one of her favorite spots — warm in the sun and near her dad, who is permanently glued to the office chair until he takes his boards in June. We took her outside after she woke up, and except for her intense desire to go play in a swamp, she behaved perfectly. When it started drizzling, she calmly got back into her carrier and once we were upstairs, she let me wipe all the mud off her tiny paws. I emerged from the adventure without a scratch and my iced coffee still intact. As a reward, Latte got an extra treat, and then, of course, returned to her spot in the sun.

Dating a med student: The first two years

Before Mike started med school, I heard plenty of horror stories about how demanding it would be. And on Mike’s first day of orientation, a teacher told the entering class that if they were dating someone, they likely wouldn’t still be together in four years. So I was only half joking when I made him this sign:

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I can’t exactly mock that professor yet, but we’re halfway through and so far, so good. I’m actually surprised at how smoothly it’s gone for us, but most of the credit goes to Mike. When I told him about this post, he said “everyone deals with it differently.” Some students study 24/7, others get emotional before a big test, others want to spend hours in the anatomy lab. Everyone is just different.

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Mike’s own approach to med school fit in well with our life, and although he’s worked hard, he’s made me (and Latte) a priority too. We were also helped by the fact that we were living in the same city, we had already been dating for a few years and I had a new job to keep me busy. I do realize we were not the typical couple of 22-year-olds, and for the most part, I knew what I was getting into.

Here’s a few ups and downs of the first couple years.

1.  I saw plenty of Mike. He had a lot to learn, but his schedule wasn’t always as demanding, and on some days he was out for the day at noon (which, for me, definitely made transitioning from being a student to having a full-time job more difficult).

2. The days leading up to tests were less fun. Mike does best studying at home, so it was hard for me to not interrupt him to talk — or to try to watch a blaring TV show on Thursday night before a Friday morning test.  (But could he really expect me not to watch Parenthood?)

3. I’ve heard a lot about anatomy lab dissections and I’ve been shown some very pretty pictures of diseases and infections. I’ll let you decide if that’s an up or a down.

4. Scheduling things like getting married can be difficult. I’m completely fine with our time frame, given that we are young and it’s really the only time suitable for a fun honeymoon, but I can imagine that for others,  being controlled by board exams, residency interviews and hospital rotations would be more frustrating.

5. The summer between first and second year was relatively low key and fun, and there are fun events built into the schedule, like formal dinners and golf tournaments.

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6. Mike’s very decided and committed to an intense field, while my own career path can be a little hazy at times. I know plenty of recent college grads are also unsure what the next step will be, but being around med students can make me feel more ” behind.” Having said that, Mike is constantly reminding me that I’m only 24 and I’ll figure it out.

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7. The fear of the next few years probably takes the cake as my biggest struggle so far. Mike will be busier over the next few years, then we’ll try our best to stay in the general area for residency and then again for fellowship (training and then more training and then wait for it … a job). Those six years will include plenty of 60-, 70- and 80-hour work weeks. So the worst of it might be ahead of us. I have a feeling I’ll look back on this post in a few years and have a good laugh.

8. Going through the stresses and discussing the unclear future did bring us closer and reaffirmed my commitment to Mike long-term. Probably a good thing since we’re planning a wedding now, right?

To be continued! 

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Latte’s latest adventure

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, so I’m going to ease back into it with a quick post about Latte’s latest adventure. I promise I’ll write about something other than my cat one of these days.

Ever since it’s stopped snowing outside, we’ve been opening the french doors to the balcony and letting Latte sit inside the screen door to listen to all the birdies, cars and people pass by.

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Her new spot keeps her amused and occupied, but as we watched Latte spend days with her nose pressed against the screen door, Mike and I started feeling bad that our little blind kitty would never be able to explore the outside world. So one weekend, as Latte was taking a catnap in a patch of sun in the office, I ran to PetSmart and bought a leash and harness.

Latte was not a fan of her new gear. As soon as the harness was on, she rolled on her back and flailed her paws all over the place in an attempt to get it off. I tried to play with her, but she wanted to stay as  close to the ground as possible, so walking and running didn’t go so well. She tried, frantically jumping around and hitting the furniture in the apartment.

After she began to get a little used to it, we attempted to to take her down the three flights of stairs in the apartment building and outside. About halfway down, she scrambled out of Mike’s arms and made a run for one of the apartment doors. Mike tried to pick her up, and she crazily crawled up his shoulder and to his back — where she hung on by her claws.

I tried to peel her off him, but those darn claws are sharp, and she did not want to go anywhere. There was a moment when she was scratching Mike’s back and I was holding Latte and half laughing/half stressed said “I really just don’t know what to do.”

She eventually let go and we dragged her outside, where she finally realized that we weren’t trying to kill her. She was hesitant at first and didn’t move around a lot, but seemed to enjoy scoping it out.

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We brought her over to the field across the street from our apartment and walked around with her a bit (yeah, we looked like complete nutsos). She was mainly attracted to the smell of deer poop, so it was a bit of a struggle directing her, but she didn’t freak out and throw a fit when we didn’t let her go where she wanted to.

The next day, we tied her out on the balcony and let her roam around a little bit. Don’t worry, I was my normal controlling self and didn’t let her get anywhere near the edge.

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When the balcony became too boring, I brought her downstairs by myself. Bringing her down there and back up was another pleasant experience, but she did better with her harness and even walked with me down a path. Yup, I might be trying to turn her into a dog.

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She only got scared when someone came home and had to walk by her (it’s a good thing she couldn’t the scary looking cat was eying us from a window the entire time).

I probably looked even weirder on our second “walk” since I brought my camera and was alone. Cat lady alert. But at least she’s cute. That’s all that matters.

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