Friday, December 30, 2011

christmas dinner

This is the Spiral Omelet from the Old Hen Bed and Breakfast. It is fabulous.

And just my luck- she posted the recipe on her blog on Christmas Eve. We were already planning on having breakfast for dinner on Christmas, and this is so much better than scrambled eggs!

Of course mine did not turn out as pretty as hers. I just made half a recipe since it was just the two of us, so it ended up being thicker and a lot harder to roll. But I rolled it the best I could, and it turned out just fine. Instead of making Hollandaise sauce, and using ham and onions, I made bacon and layered it with cheddar. Mmmm. It was heavenly! I highly recommend making it for yourself asap.

Danny has been craving waffles for months- but I haven't been able to find the powdered buttermilk I usually use. So I hunted down some fresh buttermilk- why is it so hard to find? After the eggs were done, I plugged in our fabulous waffle maker. After 30 minutes of waiting and it didn't heat up- Danny decided we should go to plan P. Pancakes.

So we had fresh orange juice, pancakes, and a cheesy bacon omelet. Apart from the rolling, the omelet was very easy to make. I'm definitely going to be making it more often!


Another recipe that she posted is for her Maple Boys- a variation of her maple bars and they are so effing delicious! She made them when we were there last year for our anniversary and I almost died. I was like "Uhm, how did you know that maple bars are my favorite?" I wanted SO BAD to make them too but I didn't have the Mapleine or the instant mashed potatoes. 

I was thinking just how awesome would it be to stay there for Christmas? So awesome. Except for the part where there is snow. So I will skip that and stay where it doesn't snow.

Next year, I will be ready.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

not ever going to be able to top this one

I met Kyle, the very talented artist behind button arcade while I was at Crafty Wonderland in Portland last spring. What I didn't see on her table were her ornaments. Later, when we got home and I was checking out all the cards I had collected at the fair, I saw her ornaments in her etsy shop. And I died. And ordered almost all of them. I wanted to get the whole famdamily one for Christmas.

Then we moved and I forgot. Then december came. And a week before christmas, I remembered when I found the stash of ornaments I had been saving. And I panicked.

But Kyle was kind enough to make 8 new ornaments in 3 days and ship them to me super fast. I was SO thrilled to open the package when it came.

Thanks Kyle!

Are you dying yet? I'm dying all over again.

Danny and I. I laugh every time I see his sweet moustache!

Nan and Mike.

Nick and Stevie. I love the birds!

And Loo-loo...

Hehe. My dad.

My Mom.



Danny's sister Chelsea. She is my fav. Everything about her matches her personality to a T.

Danny's sister Linds...

And her GF Sarah. 

I knew I'd forget somebody. I forgot Danny's dad. Oops.

And sorry for the somewhat blurry photos, ever since I got glasses I keep taking blurry photos. Whether I'm wearing my glasses or not. It's very irritating. I need to go in and get my eyes re-checked! And maybe get some contacts, because jamming the camera against my glasses is very uncomfortable.

I really wanted to use pretty snowflakes on my gifts, but after spending a whole evening cutting them out and trying to get them to stick on the gifts, I hated how they looked. It was a total Pinterest fail. Oh well. 

So I dug around in my yarn bin for some red yarn, and made it work. I quite like how they turned out. Then I used my huge alphabet stamps to put first initials on them for a little kick. 

P.S. Kyle makes the most gorgeous and cute little dresses for Blythe dolls. She makes me want to buy a Blythe doll just so I can dress her in button arcade dresses!

Like this one, and this one, and this one, and....

Monday, December 26, 2011

lost & found

Before I delve into birthday and christmas details- I thought I'd share some photos I completely forgotten about that were taken over thanksgiving.

Getting on the plane to go home.

Visiting Danny's dad at the shop.

Danny's grandpa and grandma as babies. Danny's baby photos look exactly like his grandpa. 

P.S. I can't wait to have a chubby little red-headed Coates baby someday...

Van in the toy bin. 

I love this kid!

Cheeto kitteh relaxing with me before we left for the airport.

I love how horribly grainy this photo is. It almost looks like one of those dot paintings.

Friday, December 23, 2011

happy birthday to me


There have been so many birthdays where I have looked out the window at the falling snow and wished for a summer birthday. Having to pile on sweaters and coats and hats and gloves, just to go outside, and still being cold. The panic and frustration of driving in the snow/slush/ice. Outside is ugly. The snowbanks get covered in black who-knows-what. All the trees are bare. The grass is yellow and dead. The inversion, the pollution, makes everything hazy. The hurry-ing. This time of year, everyone is crazy, getting last minute Christmas-y things finished.

Everywhere you go, it's like Christmas threw up. Tinsel and blinking lights are strewn all over, jingle bells are on every door, every store has terrible awful Christmas music playing. I know I sound very negative and without christmas spirit- but bear with me.

My parents have always been wonderful about celebrating my birthday. Not wrapping my gifts in christmas paper, always making me a wonderful birthday cake. Always singing the birthday song, even though I never sing for them. (I don't sing for anybody- except for Van, I would sing to him because his face would light up at I'm a Little Tea Pot.) Always doing something special, just for me. Yet every single year, when blowing out my candles, I'd wish for a birthday without snow.


Now we live in San Francisco. California. Where it doesn't snow. And the grass is still green. And it's 50 degrees. And so I decided that I didn't want to go home for Christmas. Or my birthday. Because I finally have the chance to have a snow free birthday. A Christmas free birthday, no. I'm never going to have that. So I'll take a snow free birthday and enjoy every last minute of it.

And yes, I will miss my family so very much- it will be the first Christmas ever away from them. Well, there was that one time when I was 17 and I went to Victoria with Beth and her mom and step-dad. That was awesome. But it's just as cold there as it is in Utah.

I've been trying to think of what to do for my birthday. It's on a friday- so going out to dinner, on the friday evening before christmas is going to be chaos. CHAOS with christmas music. So, no thank you. Danny has to work, and I don't have any friends here.

I finally decided on this:

I'm going to go to Ghiradelli Square, and get myself a hot fudge sundae. Eating a hot fudge sundae while sitting on the beach, watching the waves? I might just cry. Dream come true!

Then I have a facial scheduled. I love facials. They are so much more relaxing to me than massages- plus my skin has been so pissed off since moving here, I am in desperate need of professional help.

To top it off, a mani-pedi. I am horrible at painting my own nails, getting them done will be so nice.

A day of pampering, all by myself, for my 32nd birthday. It's just what I have always dreamed of. And if I don't hear any christmas music, it'll be the best birthday ever.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

the cheese knife- diary entry part 3


Monday, December 19th.

Over the thanksgiving holiday, we told my family what was going on. It was a huge relief- I spent so many years lying to my family, and now that I don't, I hate keeping things from them.

It was a seriously beautiful day. In the 50's. I still can't believe how nice the weather is here- often I go out in my coat, scarf and gloves only to immediately take them all off. We drove to the clinic. Danny and I were both on edge, I didn't know where to go from the parking garage as I had walked there the first time, we snapped at each other and then finally found our way. We waited an hour. We finally got into the exam room, we waited another hour.

The Dr. came in and talked to us. Did we have any questions, no we did not. She made sure to tell Danny that we could not have sex for 4 weeks, and then she told him graphically why. Sheesh.

She inserted that damn metal speculum, I swear that thing is extra long, and then started rummaging through all the drawers in the room. She didn't have what she needed, she said. As she was rummaging, she told me that the LEEP tool looked like a cheese knife.

WTF. Why must you keep doing that to me? I don't care, nor want to know what the tool looks like, but comparing it to a somewhat common household item is not helping. Now every time I see a cheese knife I'm going to go into convulsions and have to explain to the paramedics that one time a Dr. took a cheese knife to my cervix and so now I'm deathly afraid of them.

She left the room in search of the cheese knife. I was on the table, legs in stirrups, metal speculum wide open. Waiting.

A nurse came in, rummaged around in different drawers, set out the appropriate equipment, and left.

I seriously began to doubt her ability as a Dr. since she didn't know where anything was.

She came back in and took another look with the fancy microscope. A long look. She didn't look that long last time, but I was glad she was being thorough. I kept waiting for her to tell me stuff like "Well, looks like your timing belt is shot," or,  "you could really use some new spark plugs."

Then it was time for the local. A few shots to the cervix. My legs started shaking, my heart was racing, I thought I was on the verge of a full blown panic attack and that I was going to die. "It was the Doctor! In exam room 3! With the cheese knife!" But it was just my weak leg muscles protesting being in stirrups for that long. I had to laugh at myself, then breathe and count to 5 to slow my heart down.

She left again to let the local take effect.

I was so glad to have Danny there, with all the waiting and leaving in and out of the room, being on that table for so long. So much less scary.

She came back in and switched the LEEP machine on. I could feel her putting stuff in me, and I kept wondering if she was just seeing how much crap she could shove in there.

When she turned the actual tool on, and it had that high pitched electrical buzz, I decided that never again will I be afraid of a dentist's drill. Oh, you want to give me 5 root canals? Today? Ok! No problem! Strap on that gas and go for it!

Breathe. One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

OMG, burning flesh.

Breathe. One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

Thank god I can't feel a thing.

She shoved a few more giant q-tips and some gauze in me and I wondered OMG how bad am I bleeding right now? Then said she was finished, and finally, finally took out that horrid speculum.

I laid there for a bit, knees together, grateful that it was over. It's OVER!!!!

I leaned up to ask her a question, and saw the chunk of flesh that she had cut out of me. I forgot my question, and laid back down.

FYI. The size of a quarter.

She left the room for the final time, and I got to put my pants back on. I fully expected to be bleeding like crazy, but I wasn't.

I am so grateful that this was a MUCH less traumatic experience than the colposcopy/biopsy. With all the waiting, my anxiety built up and made me crazy with worry, but it was not horribly painful. If I have to get a biopsy done ever again, I will ask for a local first. A shot is worth not having that kind of torturous pain.

Speaking of torturous pain- I'm by no means tough, but I am not a total wuss either. I've had my nipples pierced, and I have a lot of tattoos. I can endure pain. I have learned that the pain and emotional torture that comes with "touching" my cervix is unlike anything I have ever experienced, and I never want to have to go through that again.

Walking out that door, the relief I felt was tremendous. We finished out the afternoon by going to lunch. It was so nice to be together out and about during the day- since the days have gotten shorter and Danny has been working so late, we only go out after dark. After lunch, we walked down Valencia street- a pretty cool street in the Mission, and did a little window shopping. Just taking a walk, holding his hand, feeling the sunshine- made my anxiety melt away and I realized how lucky we are.

It's December, and we are walking around in tee shirts. They caught it early! They caught it early. I am so grateful to be healthy. Even with all the crap, and all my whining about it- I'm ok. We're ok.

The recovery has also been easier than with the biopsy- but this time I am armed with painkillers. Yes, I am an addict taking painkillers. But I am certainly not taking them for fun- I am in pain and they help tremendously. They do make my brain very foggy, which I do not like, I can't get any sewing done.

Hopefully she got it all out, so I won't have to do this again!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

just a pinch- diary entry part two


Tuesday, November the 15th was a doozy.

A few days after that terrifying phone call, I got another one. This time it was a lady from the women's health center to schedule me an appointment for the colposcopy. I was relieved that she called so soon, except that the next available appointment wasn't until December 8th. Eek. A whole month to sit on this and think worry about it. To go home for Thanksgiving for a week and not tell anyone yet because we don't know what it means. I was having a hard time sleeping that Sunday night, so I prayed a bit for strength and a clear mind.

The next day, I got a phone call saying that even though I had an appointment on December 8th, the Dr. would not be in that day, and would I like to re-schedule. "Hell no, I don't want to wait longer," I thought as she was checking her books, but when she came back on and said "could you come in tomorrow? It'll be a different Dr." I said of course I'll come in, a different Dr. who cares, I want this to be DONE."

I went upstairs and got down on my knees and said thank you a millon times. Sometimes answers come so quickly it's freaky. But good freaky. That was the night we got to see Feist, it was a much better Monday than the previous one turned out to be.

I couldn't sleep AT ALL that night, partly because I was worrying and partly because Tilda slept on one appendage or another of mine the entire night. There was no shaking her- she was sleeping on me, and that was that. I was grumpy when I woke up. I went back to bed. I got back up. I laid back down, covered my head with the covers.

The fire alarm started going off. I jumped out of bed, searching for my flip-flops and glasses. I chased the scared to death kitten around the house, until I finally caught her and crammed her into her carrier, pulled on a hoodie, grabbed my keys and ran out the door. I still had crazy bed-head and pink zit cream dotted on my face. Awesome.

About 30 minutes later, we were back in our apartment safe and sound. False alarm. Phew!

I went back to bed.

I reluctantly got up, showered, and made it out the door and on the bus in time for my appointment. Early even. I had to walk 5 blocks from the bus stop to the office. After crossing the street in front of the building, I totally ate shit on the sidewalk. Tripped over my own feet, stumbled, caught myself- or so I thought. In slow motion my phone flew out of my hand, hit the sidewalk, and I went down. Palms first, followed by my left shoulder, knee and hip. My face was inches from the ground. I haven't fallen that hard in a very long time. I bet whoever saw it was laughing hysterically. I got up, dusted myself off. Grabbed my phone- saved again by it's ugly case. I tried to calm my shaky skinned hands as I walked into the building.

I had to wait forever. Get measured, weighed, pee in a cup. I barely had any pee, and I totally peed on the cup. Wait forever again. The Dr. finally came in, we talked. Went over the same stuff my regular Dr. told me. "You do NOT have cancer. But the abnormal cells do need to be removed or you will develop cancer. This procedure is just a more in depth version of the pap," she said,"and the biopsy is just a pinch and then it's over."

I don't usually resort to profanities on my blog, so be forewarned. I have resorted.

What started out as a normal, yet more in depth pap, turned into one of the most terrifying situations of my life. As you know, I had just gotten a pap done not more than a month ago. Everything I read and/or heard from the Dr. was that a colposcopy is really no different, and not painful at all.

First off, metal speculum. Really? My other Dr. has nice plastic ones.

"Ok, I'm going to put vinegar on your cervix, and then look at it with this fancy microscope."

She starts stabbing the shit out of my cervix with a q-tip. Oh thank god you stopped stabbing me. Take your time. Look all you want!

"Now I'm going to prep the area for the biopsy. But I'll tell you before I do it."

More stabbing, with a much larger object. What the fuck is that, a fucking bottle brush? Ironically, the Feist song "I Feel It All" came into my head.

"Ok, now for the biopsy. Your going to feel a little pinch."

Knucklesandwich! I can't help myself from crying out in pain. Cutting out a cone shaped chunk of my beaten up cervix does not feel like a pinch. It feels like you are slicing out a chunk of my cervix. Yes, I most certainly "feel it ALL."

I always hate it when the dentist tells me I'm going to feel a little pinch. No, actually I can feel a big fat needle making it's way to my brain stem. And then they wiggle it around. And then they pull it out. Shudder. But I'll take that pinch any day over this bullshit biopsy pinch.

And then she took a second biopsy. Are you fucking kidding me????

Then more with the bottle brush. Dude! I have two gaping wounds up there! STOP!

"Now I'll do the scraping."

Okay, could you call it something else than scraping? Maybe sweeping?

You know that feeling, the one in the pit of your stomach that says "you are going to fucking die right now in a very horrible and painful way and every second is going to feel like eternity?" Also known as a panic attack or anxiety? The very emotion I have the most trouble with? Yeah, that.

Now this is strange, as I've never run into anyone else with the same issue, but I can't stand having my belly button touched, as it brings about this very same feeling. It hurts in a way I can't exactly describe. It makes me sick to my stomach, and I fill with dread whenever it happens. Also, nobody believes me.

OMG. My cervix is somehow connected to my belly button, and that is where the pain lies in wait.

As she twirls the scraper around and around, I force myself not to scream in horrible pain and anguish. Waves of nausea wash over me, my brain pulses with panic, as satan is surely sucking my soul down to hell where it will burn forever.

I moan. She asks if I'm ok. I tell her I'm nauseous. She says "yes, sometimes that happens when your cervix gets touched. Take a deep breath."

Touched? Yes, and sometimes you lose the vision in your left eye when I poke it out of your skull.

After another round with the bottle brush and more stabbing with a different q-tip to stop the bleeding, she removes the horrid speculum. My anxiety goes down, but I still feel like I'm going to projectile vomit while laying down. I breathe deeply.

"You might experience some cramping"

Little shoots of pain are going from my wounds to my belly button, over and over again. Cramps? What the fuck is wrong with your choice of words? Pinch, touched, cramping. You need a dictionary, and a lighter hand.

I want to ask her if she has a nice dark room that I can cry in for the next 4 hours. One with a toilet, please. My bowels feel as though they might expel every ounce of food, as well as every organ in my body in protest for "touching" my cervix.

She says I'll bleed and spot for a few days. I ask her when we can resume our sex life.

"Not for a couple of weeks. And by then you'll need to have the LEEP, so not for awhile after that."

Please just keep taking the joy out of my life, okay? No sugar, no wheat, and now, no sex.

After I've convinced her that I'm ok, she leaves. As I dress, I am dreading the 5 block walk to the bus stop and the bumpy bus ride home. I should have had Danny come with me. I opened the ridiculously wide yet thin pad she gave me, and in the sink I saw what I'd imagined was a bottle brush- it was actually just a gigantic q-tip covered in betadine.

I realized having a heavy-handed tattoo artist is nothing compared to having a heavy handed Dr. wielding a giant brown soaked q-tip to your cervix.

Walking was painful, it made the "cramping" worse- but it helped clear my head. I realized that I was starving and needed food. Across from the bus stop I spot a cheesesteak place. I ordered a sandwich, and ate it alone while watching the street. It was delicious, and it settled my stomach.

As soon as I got home, I put on my favorite comfy pants and scooped up my not-so-little furball and gave her sweet little head a million kisses. It was over, and I made it. I'm ok.

And if they won't knock me out for the LEEP, then I'll find someone who will. I don't need any more cervix related emotional trauma, thankyouverymuch.

Monday, December 19, 2011

abby normal- diary entry part one

(coco cuddles with me)

November 7th was a gorgeous sunny day. I was in a great mood, even though it was a Monday. Most Mondays I miss Danny, and I mope around not getting anything done. I was sitting on my bed with Matilda and Coco- a teeny tiny white maltese, whom we were dog sitting. I was checking my email when my Dr. called me.

"Sorry it took me so long to get back to you on your pap results, the pathologists took a long time getting back to me."


"So your results are not good. Your pap was abnormal, you have hi-grade squamous cells."


"If they were low-grade, they would most likely fix themselves. But at this high, they are most likely a lesion. You'll need a colposcopy to determine the extent. Depending on what the Dr. sees, you may need a biopsy."

So... What?

"If this goes untreated, you will develop cervical cancer. But we caught it early!"

Uh... What happens after the biopsy?

"Sometimes the biopsy gets rid of all the abnormal cells. If not, you'll have to have a procedure called a LEEP. The Dr. will use a thin, low-voltage wire loop to cut out the abnormal tissue.

So. Can I make an appointment?

"We can't do it here. Do you want to go to A) which takes about 51 calls to get an appointment, or B) who never answers their phones and I hear they are backed up till January."

A, asap.

"Great. I'll let you know. And I'm sorry for the bad news."


I started sobbing. Uncontrollably. This was one of those moments where you can actually feel in your heart how many miles away you are from your family and friends. I wanted my mom. I wanted Nan. 

Coco came right up onto my chest and sat down, looking me straight in the eyes with her big brown ones. She whimpered and licked my nose, then rested her head on my shoulder and sighed.

Anyone that says animals don't feel human emotions are idiots and fools.

I texted Danny. Like 4 times. He finally called me back, he was pretty busy at work. I told him that I was ok, and then what the Dr. said. He said he'd be right home. I told him I was fine, not to worry. I just needed to hear his voice.

He came home anyway, and I've never been happier to see him. We cuddled on our bed for awhile and he kissed my forehead and told me that I'd be just fine. We decided to keep it to ourselves until we knew more. Moving away was hard on our families, the holidays were coming up, I just didn't want to stress anyone out.

I am SO relieved that I insisted on having that pap done, even though my Dr. said I didn't need it. Turns out I most certainly did need it. 

So when your Dr. says you can skip a year, don't. It's not worth the risk, not at all.

Friday, December 16, 2011

the belated post about thanksgiving

Seeing as how it's almost Christmas, I thought I'd better blog about Thanksgiving. Whoa, have I been busy for forgetting to blog about that. 

We flew home to Utah for 6 days, stayed with my parents in the new guest bedroom and had lots of fun meeting up with friends and family. 

Lindsay with Lindsay Olives. 

Lindsay eating said olives.

Maloree and Kaci, Cory's dog. 

My mom's famous apple pie cheesecake. Mmmmm!

On Saturday, we had a nice family brunch all together since Nick and Stevie were in Wyoming for Thanksgiving.

This is Cheeto, my brother's newest kitten. She is so sweet, yet so wiggly. So I was very surprised that I got this good photo of her. Or maybe not, I took like 458679 of them.

Mal and the kitten.

Hahaha! Danny and the kitten. 

"It's almost Christmas, you know!" Says loo-loo moments after finishing her Thanksgiving meal. Always looking ahead, that girl!

A family photo in the very bright sunlight on the brand new porch. You will notice that Cory, Mal's boyfriend isn't here. He was in Texas for his brother's wedding, so he missed out- but Mal made up for it by including Pitri the cat on her lap. 

And here's one with my dad's aunt Mary, my grandma's sister. She came into town for the holiday- it was so nice to see her! She always has the best stories.

I have been SO CRAZY this week. Sewing custom dolls, sending out packages to lucky little girls almost daily, making 100 cupcakes for Danny's work party, dog sitting little Coco. 

I hope I can get all the sewing finished this weekend and get my presents sent out so I can relax next week- I have a minor surgery scheduled for monday that I promise to tell you all about, later. We've decided to stay here for my birthday and Christmas, so it should be pretty low key. 

See you on Monday! (well, sort of.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

happy holi-dolls!

Wow, was that a cheesy title or what?

Must be due to me putting all my creative energy into these little cuties:







They will shortly be available in the shop- except for Opal, she sold at the show on wednesday.

If you would like a custom doll for your little girl for Christmas, the cutoff date for orders is December 15th. Email me!

Friday, December 9, 2011

do what you love

A little peek at the holiday boutique that was on wednesday...

Here is my table...

with old favorites,

new friends,


and a team of dolls all ready to brighten up a little girls christmas morning!

See this? All neatly set out on a table, displayed for the whole world to see?

That is my heart.

Sewing, cutting, snipping, stuffing. I'm in love with my work.

Some of my favorite comments from the night:

(and one of the top 5 reasons we live in San Francisco)*

"Oh what cute dolls!"

"I can make a custom one for you if you want."

"Wait. YOU made (wild hand gesture) ALL of this? Yourself?"


"And you are local? You live here?"


"So you actually live in the city?"



That one happened a few times. Made me smile. And giggle.

(one lady to her friend)

"THIS (wild hand gesture) is ART."

Dear lady who said that,

You made my heart swell. 

Thank you.

I went back in time, to my old high school art class, when I was contemplating whether or not to go to art school. I had this vision- of the rest of my life, filled with sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, the love I feel when I am creating something. I wanted more than anything to have that as my future, forever.

I sucked at painting. I wasn't patient enough for sculpture. I was worse at drawing than I was at painting. Photography, I was good at. But art school was not in the cards. 

And back to reality. To today.

I am (almost) 32, and I have found my medium. Sewing, fabric. I do what I love, every single day.

So thank you- for supporting me, encouraging me, keeping me on my toes. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some work to do.

*because in Utah, everyone can sew, so people just look at my stuff and say "I can make that." And then I don't sell anything. But here, nobody sews. So I get my chance to shine.

Monday, December 5, 2011

holiday boutique


I have been working so hard to prepare for this show! I have a whole bunch of new dolls and even some ornaments! I've also been stockpiling supplies so I can make custom dolls for Christmas.

I would love to see you there!