Friday, January 30, 2009

Third Annual Miss G Birthday Cake

My friend Sarah helped move us into our apartment when we moved to St. Louis 2 1/2 years ago. I hadn't even arrived yet, but she said she knew she had found a friend when she saw the box labeled "Kara's Cake Decorating Stuff." The first year we lived here we literally lived across the street from Sarah and her family. Now we're still close, but it's a lot easier to drive.

So two years ago Sarah and I made a cute pink flowery cake for Miss G, the older of her two children. It was pink. It was cute. It had some flowers. It had a lot of sprinkles on it, because that is how you impress a five-year-old. They will not be impressed by gum paste flowers or exquisite details. If you want to really impress them, dump on the sprinkles.

Last year we made a cake for Miss G's sixth birthday. It was also pink. It also had flowers. And, of course, it also had sprinkles. It was accented with a Belle figurine on top, because that made it a princess cake.

This year Miss G is focused on the Rainbow Magic Fairy books, particularly the Jewel Fairy series. Her requirements for her birthday cake were that it be a purple fairy cake. There has been a coup in the color hierarchy and purple is now on top. So, here is the picture of the purple rainbow cake. The fairy will be added tomorrow. It's not an impressive fairy, just a paper figure of Amy the Amethyst fairy. If you want an impressive fairy (or impressive cake) you have to talk to Jewel.

The cake turned out as we planned as is accented by, rather than covered in, subtle sprinkles. Miss G will undoubtedly notice that I misplaced yellow. It should have come after orange, but I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing until it was too late. Not a big enough mistake to end up on Cake Wrecks.

Tomorrow at the birthday party, the cake will have purple jewel lights around it. I think Sarah and I really know how to impress the seven-year-old crowd.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bad Reporting at its Worst

The Davis County Clipper did an article on Dallas's new tax business. Great. Slight problem. Everything about the article was wrong, and to top it off the writing is terrible.

They made up quotes allegedly by Dallas (no one who has heard him speak would believe them.) They made false claims as to his licensure (he will be a CPA soon, but he isn't quite yet) [but he is a tax expert.] But even worse, they somehow managed to get his phone number wrong, the address wrong, and the date of his open house wrong. Basically, they got absolutely nothing right. You'd have better chances at getting a well-written article if you put a bunch of monkeys in front of typewriters.

Check out Shannon's blog entry about the monstrosity.

Then visit Redwood Tax's Grand Opening party on Saturday January 31, 2009 from 11-4. The address is 420 N. Redwood Road in North Salt Lake. To make an appointment, call 801-295-6789. Walk-ins are welcome. For directions, visit the web page at .

Was that so hard to get right??

View From Our Front Door

Click on the picture for a better view.

Saint Louis has been under winter weather warnings for a couple of days now. We've had a considerable bit of snow, at least for our Midwest standards. Most of the schools were closed yesterday and today. Saint Louis University started two hours late due to weather, but that didn't change the fact that Nick had to be at the hospital by 5:00 AM. Caesar came with me to take Nick to school, but had a hard time getting to the car- the snow is higher than his belly. As you can see, the sidewalks aren't shoveled and the street's not plowed. We had a snow shovel before, but I think it walked away during a storm last winter. I'll try and get a new one today if anyone still has any.

I was really disappointed to find out that Nick had two more weeks of his surgical rotation than I thought- meaning he'll be done five weeks from now, not three. Somehow I didn't know that after his next rotation, plastic surgery, there's another two weeks of surgery at the VA. He's really liking his surgery clerkships but they are very demanding. I think this is what his intern year will be like.
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Monday, January 26, 2009

I Feel So Smart

The maintenance guy was here this morning about our dishwasher. It wasn't draining properly; there was always a lot of water in the bottom. I had googled the problem and concluded the problem was found in the installation; whoever put it in failed to remove the "knock out" plug in the disposal. The knock out plug is part of the disposal that if you hook it up to a dishwasher, you "knock out" to create a hole for the dishwasher drain to connect to. If there's no dishwasher, you leave it in place.

So the maintenance guy said, "Yeah, it looks like they didn't knock out the knock out plug." I felt smart for knowing exactly what he was talking about, despite being totally ignorant to the rest of the plumbing world.

I don't feel so smart all the time though. I'm sure you've noticed that I don't wear make-up most of the time. When I do wear it, in all likelihood it was applied in a moving vehicle (with someone else driving), and if we're on our way to an evening event that means it was also done in the dark. Debbie asked me how this is possible. I readily admitted it involves gambling, but if you apply conservatively you shouldn't end up going too far astray. Also, I have trained Nick to alert me to any problems he notices once we're actually in decent lighting.

However Friday night as we headed to dinner, I applied my make-up in the back seat of the car. It was only after I finished applying the mineral foundation that I realized I had actually applied my new mineral blush (which comes in a practically identical container/applicator device) all over my face. Fortunately, this blush has next to no color in it. I wiped off what I could and we'll just chalk the rest up to the glow of pregnancy. Not my smartest moment ever.

Back to Normal, but with a dog.

Kate was only in Saint Louis for roughly 18 hours. She came, she saw, she got her eyebrows threaded. At 6:00 AM on Saturday, she left us for a better party. The Wheadons were in Denver for the Stock show, and even though Kate has never previously expressed interest in livestock, she's smart enough to know where there Wheadons are, the fun is.

My mom and dad are now also home in Salt Lake. We had a nice visit, even if it was on the short side. But the exciting thing is that Caesar stayed here. He's adjusting well to the new environment. He was barking at the front door in the middle of the night, but other than that he's been pretty calm.

The greatest entertainment from my parents' visit came from menu confusion. On Friday, we ate lunch at Sweetie Pie's. They had really loud live music going. You literally had to yell across the service line to place your order. My dad saw Buffalo on the board, and it's too loud to ask questions, so he went for it. Turns out Buffalo is Buffalo fish, not bison. My dad described it as carp-like with more bones than flesh. The rest of the food at Sweetie Pie's was great. We were really there for the macaroni and cheese, which I'm sure is half butter.

After he had given up on eating the Buffalo fish, he googled it. This fish looks a lot like carp too. It also carries the risk of giving you Haff Disease, which there was an outbreak of in St. Louis last year. Once he'd made it a few hours past ingestion, he knew he was in the clear.

The next day we went to another place featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives." It was called Iron Barley and is in the traditionally German area of town. Their menu had no descriptions, just names, which is not all that helpful when the names are "Hill Pig" or other similarly ambiguous monikers. I settled on the Monte Cristo. It's the sandwich that I only get to each about every five years at the Blue Bayou in Disneyland. What I missed though is that it was under the hot dog heading. So it came and I was totally surprised that it was a hot dog. Nick wasn't. He said, "Yeah, I was a little shocked when you ordered a hot dog."

Knowing I don't eat hot dogs, you think he might have mentioned his surprise during the ordering process. But he didn't and the hot dog came. We debated what exactly made it a Monte Cristo, and the only thing we could come up with was the dollop of jam it came with. It was probably a lot funnier if you were there.

Friday, January 23, 2009

At the Assessor's Office. Kate must be Really thirsty.

Update: We took this picture as part of standing in line at the City Assessor's office for over a half-hour. Turns out, we probably didn't need to be in this line, but we didn't find that out until AFTER we waited in it.

My mom and dad and Kate brought out a car for Nick and myself, along with the dog. I think the car was just an excuse to get the dog here. It's a Ford 500. What, you've never heard of it? It was renamed the Ford Taurus after three years. It's the first car I've ever owned in the same decade it was manufactured.

Anyway, they got here about 12:00, and after eating lunch at Sweetie Pie's, we began the quest to register the car. I know you people in Utah are used to their one-stop convenient registration. Here in Saint Louis, we like things to be a little more challenging. And even if you've tried to do all your research online to know what to expect and be prepared, you will find misleading and incorrect information provided by the city to keep things exciting.

By the time we leave Saint Louis, I'll probably have some faint idea of how the whole convoluted process works. Tonight's most exciting episode took place at the Triple A office where we go to do the actual registration after the four other stops have been made. But it would just take more time to explain than it's worth. We got the car registration minutes before 5:00 and we've got the shiny new license plates to prove it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Another Day at the Garden

Click on the picture to view it in a larger format.

Today has an expected high of 55. A week ago we had a day where we didn't reach 15 degrees. What a world of difference 40 degrees makes! With the beautiful warm weather, I met Janette and Miss A at the Garden. It was still chilly when we started, but by the time we finished it was a beautiful, sunshine filled day. You can tell how cold it has been by the large chunks of ice in the fountains.

We also spent some time in the Climatron, the geodesic dome housing the tropical plants. I can't get any pictures in there because the lens of the camera fogs over. The temperate greenhouse has a great Spanish Fountain that Miss A is a big fan of. It also houses several oleander plants, which are extremely toxic.
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Caesar's Road Trip

Caesar here. I'm in Kara's new used car headed across Nebraska. Somewhere in
Wyoming my caregivers didn't notice I really had to use the bathroom. I tried to tell them, but they just kept ignoring me.
So, I was left no choice but to do get busy in the back window! It (#2)
made quite a mess but my loving aunt Kate cleaned it all up very
quickly without even vomiting! I'll see Nick Kara and the fetus tonight!
Love, Caesar.

Editor's Note:
Caesar is on his way to his new home in St. Louis. We've been waiting for quite some time for him to join us. Now that I'm home most the time and we're living on a ground floor, we're sure he's going to like it here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Told Him Not to Come

I signed up to take a tour of St. Mary's maternity unit this evening. I worked at St. Mary's in the medical ICU so I'm very familiar with the hospital in general, but not the maternity floor. Nick is very familiar with the maternity floor there- he just finished his OB rotation there around Christmas.

I was not expecting the tour to be exactly good. I told Nick not to come. He wouldn't learn anything, and he really doesn't have the time to spare. He's on his surgical rotation right now, currently pediatric general surgery. He has to be at the hospital at 5:00 AM, and gets home about 13 hours later. Today he was done just in time to be picked up at the children's hospital and go with me to the tour of St. Mary's, which I totally warned him about. But because he's nice, supportive, and wanted to spend time with me, he came anyway.

The tour was a little worse than anticipated. The very quirky nurse who lead the tour was definitely trying to indoctrinate us to her point of view. She kept insisting that we REALLY SHOULD take the birthing class that we're not signed up for. She bad-mouthed western medicine in general. She seems to think that no one should need an epidural (which is really the only reason I'm having my baby in a hospital.) She insisted that labor pain wasn't any worse than menstrual cramps, and so you should be able to sit on the birthing ball and just feel great about it. Nine out of ten women screaming in pain disagree.

The tour went on for over an hour, and I found out that our tour-guide, who constantly spoke of her own labor experiences but her youngest is a junior in college, is teaching the breastfeeding class I'm signed up for. I told Nick not to go to that either.

I'm still glad I went on the tour. I think familiarity with the set-up and normal working operations of the unit will be good when it comes time to be a patient there. I'm just sorry that Nick got dragged into it. Of all the things he could have stayed up past his bedtime for, this was the lamest.

Baby Stuff

Now that I have a room to get ready as a nursery, not to mention my due date is two months away, I'm getting more stuff ready for the baby. That has mostly entailed getting more stuff for the baby. In the last week I've purchased a high chair, exersaucer, and a baby swing (all used). I've taken them apart and washed them so they're good to go, as soon as I can figure out how to put them back together. (I took notes, so it shouldn't be too bad.)

I also indulged in a Kangaroo Beanie Baby as a tribute to Nick's Australian roots-his mum (as Australians would say) Debbie is Australian-born and has joint citizenship. Nick has plans to apply for Australian citizenship, but we would actually have to LIVE in Australia for our baby to become a citizen there. We'll have to call it good with some Australian paraphernalia, and continue to dream of visiting there someday.

I bought the crib from a Craig's List posting a few months ago. It has a gate at the top that folds down instead of the whole side dropping. I just ordered the replacement hardware so that both of the latches that hold it up work easily. Nick assembled the crib as the traditional fifth anniversary wedding gift- wood. Also, the cute quilt was a Christmas gift from Samantha. We just need a crib mattress (one of the few things I want to buy new) and we'll be ready to tuck baby in.

I'm still soliciting advice on what stroller and carseat combo to buy. If you have experience in that realm, leave me your opinion as a comment.
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pretend Christmas

In December, we had the chance to see lots of our family at Christmas. A week later we were invited over to the Douglas family household to do it all over again. They had postponed celebrating Christmas by a week. Their two-year-old has no concept of time and doesn't own a calendar, so they moved it to a date more convenient for their little family.

Nick and I got to come over and watch A. open her presents and then share in the Christmas dinner. It was a very nice evening. A loved her presents, but nothing could beat the cowgirl back-pack that came with two "baby horses." Everything she did for the next several days was done with one stuffed animal horse in each hand. She received the cutest doctor kit, but she's not really impressed by the fact her dad will be a surgeon. She is very impressed by his ability to play with the baby horses with her.
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Some Pictures of Our Apartment

I'm not quite to the point of apartment unpacking that I thought I would be. The trip to Disney World may have something to do with that fact. So, this is our place as it appears now, not how I hope it will appear in the next few days. I took much longer than I thought I would to post any pictures, so now I just have to post pictures, unpacking mess and all. There's really much less stuff around than there was a few days ago, I just don't know what to do with the leftovers. For example, what do you do when you find a lone gardening glove? Do you throw it away, or keep it in case you find its mate in the rest of the unpacking? I am trying to throw away/ give away things that we really don't need anymore, even if it's something I like.

I realize now our Kitchen is not pictured. I'll have to catch it next time. We've already enjoyed the bigger kitchen with more cupboard and counter space. We have a stackable washer and dryer in the corner closet in the kitchen. Although the loads are very small, they're very convenient to do, so I don't put off doing laundry because I don't want to carry down two flights of stairs.

Originally they had forgotten to install a mailbox. They've remedied that, so feel free to mail us a postcard anytime.
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Kate in Solvang, Ca

Kate with Tim in Solvang, Ca

Editor's Note: Last week I used Kate's phone to publish on my blog. Her phone stored the secret email address I used, so now she's publishing on my blog as a vandal. I hope she and Tim have a great time on their little get-away.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Linette!

Happy Birthday Mom!

This is the back side of the castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom as we waited for the fireworks.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I surprised even myself by joining my parents' trip to Florida on
pretty short notice. We're staying at the Fort Wilderness Resort and
we'll begin in the morning by visiting the wild animal kingdom.
Tonight all we did we goes to dinner which took hours because you take
a bus to a boat that takes you to another boat. Then to get back you
take the monorail to a boat to a bus. Today I've been in a car, a
plane, three buses, a van, aboard three boats and of course, the
monorail. We've also rented a golf cart and drove that to the bus
stop. We really get around.

The group consists of toots, Doug and Linette, Harry and Lucy, Dallas
and Shannon and kids, Kate, Sam, and me. Wish Tim luck running the
fort back in Bountiful.

Hamster Surgery

I stumbled upon an unbelievable scene last night when I went to the Primary Presidency meeting. The hostess had been watching the hamster of another presidency member. The hostess has a cat, but not a regular cat. It's a cat that's a small part Asian leopard. Anyway, for two weeks she had managed to keep the cat and hamster from each other. But of course, that wouldn't be a notable story.

Just before the hamster was to be retrieved by its owner last night, the leopard cat sneaked into the office, knocked the cage off the desk and got a piece of flesh off the flank of the hamster. (It's at this point I showed up.) So, what do you do with an injured hamster? If the hostess's husband is a med student who's done a few animal surgeries before, you set up a miniature surgical suite on the kitchen table.

He used ether as the anesthetic to put the hamster out by spraying a common garage product that's mostly ether on a paper towel and putting it under a bowl with the hamster. He then used 4.0 suture to give the hamster seven stitches. It was only after the hamster was out that he found out it was a little more than just a flesh wound. That makes it really likely that infection will get the hamster, but I'm still impressed by the veterinary care. I don't recommend trying this at home for most people.

I had promised our moms I would get picture of our new place posted, but I'm failing miserably. The desk top computer still isn't put together, and there are still boxes everywhere. I'll be away from the computer for a few days, so it will be next week sometime when I get anything posted.

Friday, January 2, 2009

We're Never Moving Again

The move out is complete. We've turned over the keys to our old apartment. It's much cleaner than when we moved into it, and we even changed the burnt out light bulb in the bathroom that we hadn't bothered to change for ourselves.

The move in is less complete. There are still no pictures because I haven't dug out the camera and the computer isn't assembled. The apartment is almost at the peak of chaos- where things are coming out of boxes and the mess just kebveps getting bigger. In the next few days I hope the mess will begin to shrink. It takes so long to unpack because we have to think of where to put things: where's the best place to put our cereal? Which wall should we put the big clock on? Which painting goes above the mantle? How are we going to make due with only one towel rack? The decisions are endless.

I had a list of things that we had lost in the previous move that I was hoping to rediscover as we packed. We've now spotted the things on the list, but I'm sure that we will have misplaced more stuff in this move. Things recently found include my teeth whitening kit, a wireless router, a stainless steel vegetable brush, and a couple of specific books. I also found about fifty hair elastics, which I can't exactly blame Nick for.

Nick definitely did more than half the work. I don't think that the labor would have been divided equally anyway, but Nick wouldn't let me carry anything heavy or stay on my feet too long. If we ever move again, which at this point I'm saying is never, I really want full-service movers who come and pack your stuff for you. That's not likely to happen, so I hope that it's far enough in the future that we've forgotten how troublesome it is to move.