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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A day in the life of Soot

I hear them up there. Walking around when it's still dark outside. I hear them talking. He should be coming down soon. He always comes down in the morning when it's still dark.

Still waiting for someone to come down and be with me. My pack is up there, and I'm not! Hey! Someone! Come and get me!

I knew reminding them that I was alone would get them down to me. See, here he comes. I'm a little sleepy but it feels good to get out of the box. Ahh...and it feels good to have my belly scratched first thing in the morning.

Oh, we're going outside? Okay okay! Outside outside! Are we going out the door outside? We are? I see the thing they tie to my jingles out in his hand. Outside outside! Up the hill as fast as I can. Umph. Doesn't he know that I can go faster than that? Let's go let's go let's go. What's this smell? It goes over here, no, back over here. No, no, lost it, let's go back to the beginning. Umph...again, go faster! Sniff sniff sniff sniff....

Inside? You want to go inside? Well, okay. I haven't seen her yet this morning. There she is! Hi hi hi hi! Food! Yum yum yum...

Oh, are we leaving? No, just she's leaving? Wait a second. I want to be with her! Where is she going? Wait wait! But...but...oh, it's a toy! Attack the toy! Grrrrrrr....

He's around still. He picked up that fuzzy that they put me in the box with. I like that fuzzy. What are you doing with the fuzzy? Oh, in the box. Okay. And where is my treat? He put that in the box too! I better go get it.

Here I am in the box. Again. What is their fascination with putting me in the box. I spend a lot of time here. But at least I have the fuzzy. And it squeaks when you chew it right.

Hm? Wha'? He's here again? But I just started my afternoon nap. It's good to be out of the box, and have my belly rubbed again. Are we going outside again? Okay. It's warm in this patch of light. I'm going to sit in it for awhile. He has something that smells good. Is it food? It is food! Can I have some? Please please please? No? Are you sure?

Are you really sure? Because I would love to share it with you. No? Okay, I have my own food. That's pretty good.

Back in the box? I can finish my nap then.

Done sleeping. Who is coming home first today? It's him. I hear him. Yay I'm out of the box! Hi hi hi hi...can we go outside? Yes, outside? Yay outside! Did I hear you say walk? I want a walk. Walk walk walk walk. And out the door? Yes! Run run run umph. Again, I go faster than this!

Who is that over there? I hear them. It's little ones! I love the little ones. They squeal and run away and I can chase them! Let's see the pups! Oh fun fun fun. Play play play. Oh, are we walking? I guess we're walking. I see more pups over there. Let's go over there! No? I guess I could go in this direction. There are some interesting smells over here.

Boy it's hot. I need water. We're going back home soon, right? I need water. Oh good, we are home! Inside inside. Water water water. Ah...cool floor. And I'm wet because I dug in the water. That helps me be nice and cool.

Are we going somewhere? In the moving thing? I like the moving thing because there are all sorts of moving things around and I can look at them. Very interesting. I see her! I see her! Hi hi hi hi! My pack is together. I like this.

Back home. Inside to play with the ball. Does she want to play too? Run chase run chase. I'm getting tired. But I don't want to stop playing! Hey...let go. No bite huh? Well, okay.

He's picking up the fuzzy again. Is it box time? What about my treat? Treat in the box. I go in too! I'm tired. I'm going to curl up with the fuzzy and sleep.

Love you all,

Monday, September 20, 2004

Insert catchy title here...

Hey everyone,

It's been a long week for us. Juice is still trying to adjust to his new work/school schedule. It's hard on him to have to be up so late every night. But he seems to be enjoying his classes so far. But I rarely seem him on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays so you'll have to ask him for sure. But he says he likes it and I'll take that at face value. :)

On the nights that Juice has school, I spend most of it walking the dog and playing with her. It's nice to have some company when he's gone. Soot's favorite toy right now is a small red dog that we got at her vet's office. The receptionists put that small red dog on a leash and loves to chase it around. Especially when you swing it. Well last night, the leash broke! Poor thing was chewed through. But it didn't stop Soot from running around the house with that red dog in her mouth. She loves it that much. Another favorite toy is an empty plastic milk carton. You know, the gallon ones with the handles? She loves carrying it around the house and stalking it. She'll drop it, walk away, turn around, crouch, and the pounce on it. Behold the mighty hunter! Get that milk jug!

We didn't do much this weekend. I went out and bought a new suitcase with my birthday money. We went to the outlet mall in Virginia called Potomac Mills. (www.potomacmills.com) It's a huge place! And it's a major tourist trap. It even has a foreign money exchange center in the mall. Amazingly enough. But they have really great stores like Off Saks 5th Ave and the Nordstrom Rack. I got a really nice suitcase for about 65 dollars. It's bright blue, and has a bunch of little pockets on the inside. My favorite thing is that they have a plastic pocket sewn into the liner to put your 'wet' things in. Very cool.

I've had a cold the past few days and it's been driving me nuts. I know exactly where I got it. A few Sundays ago, Hannah, one of my sunbeams, was talking to me and I couldn't hear her. So I got closer to hear better and she sneezed right in my face! Eww! I'm sure that's where this cold came from since I'm normally a fairly healthy person. Ah well...At least it's a fairly mild cold. It just means I've been sleeping a lot, and I stayed home from work on Thursday to nurse my poor health. I'm happy to report that my health is getting better now. :)

The weather has been beautiful the past few days. We had Hurricane Ivan come through and apparently did a lot of damage in Virginia with tornadoes and floods. We just had a lot of rain and wind, but nothing too serious. We were lucky. But since then, the weather has been nice, mid 70s and sun shining! And it's not too hot. It feels like a very nice crisp fall day today. I even had to wear my jacket this morning. Yay!

Love you all,
Safire and Juice

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Fall Already?

Hey everyone,

It went from being hot and humid to actually cold. I was wishing for my coat this morning. It's raining today and when it rains out here, it normally doesn't change the temperature a whole lot. It just gets moist-er. Because let's face it, it's very moist here all the time. I don't like the rain in the summer because it doesn't do anything to help the temperature. If anything, it raises it! And you're just moist all the time. Steam rises from the streets and sidewalks, but doesn't seem to go away. But today, it rained and it's down right cold. No steaming streets, no sticky hands, nothing. Fall is coming!

The leaves are just starting to change slightly. You can see the trees tinted in red and brown (although some of that might be from the cicadas this year). Fall in the east is different because you can't watch it move down the mountains. It just surprises you all of a sudden with the changes.

I am so looking forward to full blown fall. The leaves out here are gorgeous! I'm excited for this year because last year we had the hurricane that blew a lot of the leaves off the trees prematurely. So this year we should have some fantastic color. At least, I'm hoping so. Mom and Dad are visiting in October and I would really like them to see some of the fantastic leaves out here!

I had a really nice birthday. Thank you everyone for your cards and gifts! It's nice to feel loved. :) Juice had class that night so I spent the night with the puppy and a good movie. Juice took me out to dinner on Saturday night to celebrate, though. We went to a restaurant called The Last Mango. It's pretty good. Kind of a Jamaican style food. I had a sweet pork sandwich with bbq sauce and pineapples (a weird combo, I know but it worked!). Juice had a jerk chicken sandwich. It was actually quite tasty and reasonable. And it had a beautiful fish tank.

Love you all,
Safire and Juice

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Long weekend...does everything have to break at once?

Hi everyone,

It's been a nice long holiday weekend for Juice and me out on the east coast. We had a good time. Friday night we went camping with our ward in a forest near our house. It's called Little Bennet National Forest. We took the puppy along and boy did she have fun! All the kids loved her because well, she's so cute! And she's hyper so she would run with them. There was one little girl named Hannah who's 5 who kept squealing with delight whenever Cinder went towards her. It made me think of my niece who LOVES animals.

Juice set up our tent and I played with the kids and the puppy. We had dinner and roasted marshmallows with the ward for a bit. But we went to bed early because I was tired. We took Soot in her new travel bag to get her used to it so when we come to Utah for Christmas, she won't freak out. (Yes, we are bringing her.) She was a very good puppy and didn't wake up until about 5am. That's when we normally get up and that's when we take her out for the morning. So we got up early with her, and went back to bed after she had 'been a good girl.'

We slept for a few more hours and woke up for breakfast, provided by our ward. There were eggs, sausage, muffins, juice and bananas. Juice didn't touch the bananas, but I think I had two. Yum! Soot again was a ball of fire with the kids and she was having a good time running as far as her leash would let her. As we got ready to pack the tent up, we took Soot inside it and Juice burrowed into his sleeping back all the way at the bottom and asked, "Where's Soot?" It was so cute to see her cock her head at the big lump where he was. He asked again and she started to dig on the sleeping bag. She was determined to get him out of there! It was so cute. We played that for awhile, and then packed up everything to take home.

As I was packing the car up, I noticed that it was looking a little lopsided. I thought maybe we had parked in a ditch but no, we had a flat tire. Again. This is the second flat tire we've had in a week. Both times because we had a screw stuck in the tire. So, Juice put the spare tire on and I went on a short hike with the puppy. It's very beautiful here with lots of trees. I like the forest floor because hardly anything grows down there. It's a lot cooler in the trees than out in the sun. I saw a really pretty glade with bright green grass dappled by the sun. Soot and I ran around in it for awhile and went back to see Juice.

He was done with the tire, and mostly packed up. We said goodbye to our ward and went home. I took a nice long nap with Soot on the couch. I'm not sure what Juice did but I think he played GameCube for a bit. We had dinner and watched a movie that evening, the puppy still sleeping. We wore her out! We need to remember this when we travel so we can wear her out on Christmas day. Hopefully then she'll sleep the whole way over on the plane.

Sunday I wasn't feeling very well and stayed home to sleep. Juice taught my sunbeam class.

On Monday, we decided to try and clean the house and get some things done. You know, all those little things that houses need. We're slowly getting everything the way we want in the house. Juice was cleaning our guest bedroom windows and I was scrubbing the kitchen sink down. Still trying to get paint off that thing. Anyway, I heard Juice hammering away at the window sill because the window had warped a bit, and he couldn't get the pane out to clean it. I didn't think anything of it until the hammering became the sound of glass shattering. Oops!! He had tried to force it out of the window and the stress was too great for the window to stay intact. I ran upstairs to see what happened and he's standing there, holding the broken window looking a little dazed. We had to shut the puppy up so she wouldn't get cut with all the glass and I helped him pick up the pieces. Good news is that he got the window out of the sill. And we have double paned windows so we're not open to the elements. So now that window is nice and clean, if missing a piece of glass.

We bought a new car! Yes, we are now a two car family. It's a fairly old Ford Taurus (91) but with 53,000 miles on it. Can you believe that? We got it for a really good price. Basically all we wanted it for was so that I could have a car when I go to work. I normally ride the metro and the bus but I was tired of waiting for the bus (last 4th of July weekend I spent an hour and a half waiting for the stupid thing. I finally had to call Tammy to take me to the metro station.) The bus stop is about a mile away and I just couldn't see me walking that every day in the winter. They don't shovel the walks here when it snows. So, we bought a car. I leave it at the metro during the week and I drive it home on the weekends. We picked it up on Monday and I love having it. :)

Love you all,
Safire and Juice

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Welcome September!

Hello everyone,

September! I love this month. Not only is it my birthday month, but it means fall, cooler weather, and we're that much closer to Christmas!

This is the second September we've spent on the east coast. Last September was very eventful. We had the hurricane, I started at my job, and Juice started grad school. This September is a little quieter. No hurricane this year for us, (those poor people in Florida are getting hit hard!) and I've been at my job for a year. And Juice started his second, and hopefully final, year of grad school.

Let me explain my job a little bit better. GIVF is an infertility clinic. Basically we dope up nice women on hormones and put them through the roller coaster ride of daily poking, prodding and the like. It makes these nice women (I have to believe they are nice), very upset people. Now mainly they are nice but sometimes those hormones we give them don't mesh. It gets interesting. My section of the office consists of 4 other people besides me. Maria, Hodan, Jon, and Tammy. Tammy is my boss. We answer all the incoming calls to the Institute, make appointments, and give general information. I have learned a lot in the year working here. Did you know that there are 2 different options for choosing the gender of your child? One option is do do what is called Microsort (www.microsort.com) where we separate the female sperm from the male sperm by putting them in a solution that will attach to the X or Y chromosome. If it's an X, it will show pink on the microscope (imagine that!) and if it's a Y, it will show green. Right now Microsort is in clinical trial so there are a few guidelines that patients must qualify in order to have it done. Like they have to be doing this for family balancing (people who already have one child and would like another of the opposite sex) and for X linked disorders (like hemophilia). Typically, these disorders only show up in male children, and female children are unaffected, although they carry the gene. Currently I think the success rate of Microsort is 91% for a girl, and 78% for a boy. The cost is around $3,000 for the sort.

If you want to get more in depth with the genetic side of selecting a specific gender, you can do what's called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). In order to this, you have to do in vitro fertilization (IVF) so that we can have the embryos outside the uterus. When the embryos reach a specific stage in their development, we'll take a cell out of them and test them for gender as well as genetic disorders. This is 99% accurate for a gender. But it's more involved than the Microsort option.

In any case, that's a little bit about my job. I feel like I've written a book!

Juice started school today. He's a little nervous and sad to be going back to his very hectic schedule. But, this is the reason why we're here. I think he'll have a fine semester. He's got Mechanics of Space Flight, Theory of Vibration, and Spacecraft Design. I think it sounds like a lot of fun for him.

Love you all,
Safire and Juice