Baby Bean is Growing

 BabyFruit Ticker

Monday, July 31, 2006

more kitty trauma

To make a very long story short...

Cleo got sick again last week. Thursday night she was acting really strangely, and we took her to the hospital Friday morning. Her blood pressure was double what it should be and she may have had a small stroke episode.

The good news is that after a single dose of blood pressure medicine, her blood pressure came down. The bad news is that the doctors have no idea why she is hypertensive. They ran some more tests, but didn't come up with anything conclusive. They wanted to run an echocardiogram (sp?) but, according to the doctor, she was so full of "piss and vinegar" by that point, that she wouldn't let them do the test.

So, she's home now with a blood pressure pill and vitamin solution added to her daily regimen, but it's still not as bad as the six medicines, three times a day we were administering after her surgery.

Thankfully, she seems comfortable and alert. She's playful and eating well, and we've even been able to decrease her steroids to one pill every other day.

Hopefully we are on the road to recovery.

We have an appointment for a "meet and greet" with a pet sitter Brandon found online on Wednesday. She's licensed and bonded and insured and Lord knows what else, so hopefully she'll do a good job, and thankfully, she's not very expensive.


My writing instructor and critique group leader posted some pictures of our group last Thursday on her blog. Check it out!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

baby picture

Hey! There's a photo of Baby Seth on Eric's myspace page at -- go see the baaaabeeee!

Friday, July 28, 2006

If you haven't seen this post on Cute Overload about a baby opposum in a toilet, then you are missing out.

Of course, now I look before I sit, too...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I'm an AUNT!!!

Seth Ian Justice was born at 2:11 this morning to my beautiful sister-in-law Heather and her husband Eric. Baby and mother are doing well, recovering from a C-section. (I assume dad and grandparents are doing well, too!)

He has blond hair like his mum. =)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

As if the weather this week all over the country weren't strange enough, I am now sitting smack dab in the middle of an all out electrical storm. But not a drop of rain.

This is going to be great for fire season.

Must conserve computer battery, cos I'm sure as hell not plugging it back in until this blows over.

Update: RAIN! Curiouser and curiouser...

Monday, July 17, 2006

top of the top

Money Magazine has published its list of the 100 best places to live in the US, and Fort Collins, CO topped the list, with Longmont and Colorado Springs also making the list.

They also have a list of the top 50 best jobs -- "writer" came in at number 25 and "biotechnology research scientist" came in at 35.


the blog hog

As many of you know, I am something of a blog hog -- I love 'em! I love to write blogs and read them.

Some of my favorites are on the left hand side of this page, but I don't update that list as often as I should. For a full list of what I'm reading, you can go to this page -- my account. is a great web site for people like me who work on multiple computers, say home and work. Create a free account and you can create bookmarks, organize them by "tags" or keywords, and then access them from any computer with an internet connection! Pretty cool.

I also love useful websites like, and I just found this site called jobster -- sort of like a facebook for us worker bees! I'm kind of excited to see if it will grow into a useful networking tool. Registration is free.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Colorado or bust!

We spent the majority of the afternoon today working out our plan for our Colorado trip. Originally scheduled for June, it had to be postponed due to unexpected kitty craziness, so now we are planning to go the third week in August.

And I'm so excited! It's looking to be such a great trip. We're leaving Saturday the 12th and we're hoping to get as far as Zion National Park in Utah, where we plan to camp overnight. We're hoping to get in on one of their cool shuttle tours of the park before heading on to The Peck House in Georgetown, Colorado.

Georgetown is about 45 miles west of Denver, and one of Colorado's original gold mining towns, and The Peck House is a five star restaurant and bed and breakfast in the mountains. We're hoping for a really relaxing dinner and stay there Sunday night before heading to Rocky Mountain National Park on Monday morning.

We have a reservation at the Moraine Park campground and plan to spend Monday driving and hiking around the park. I am particularly excited about the prospect of summer "Campfire Talks" given by the rangers. Because I am a dork for stuff like that.

Tuesday we will head into Denver proper, probably by way of Boulder. We have a reservation at a hotel in Denver for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights. We plan to drive around the city, trying to get a feel for the different neighborhoods and where we might like to end up. We definitely want to spend some time downtown, probably in the area of the 16th Street Mall and LoDo, and we're also talking about making a visit to the zoo, the Natural History Museum, and probably at least one brewery.

Friday night we are hoping to stay in one of the camping cabins at the Garden of the Gods just outside Colorado Springs. They just look so kitschy and cute! We also hope to take the Pike's Peak Cog Railway to the top of Pike's Peak to get a panoramic view of the state before heading home.

Saturday we will head south, probably stopping in Flagstaff or Sedona, or wherever we happen to end up (no reservations for Saturday night) and on home by Sunday.

More details as we finalize them!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Sometimes, I find it positively eerie how accurate my horoscopes can be. Take today for instance:

Pisces Pisces
You're continuing down a path of self-discovery. The trouble is that what you're searching for is still a bit unclear to you. It may seem like everyone but you has a passion in life, or a direction to follow. If you're feeling lost or a bit overwhelmed with your options, plan some alone time to figure it all out. It doesn't have to be a weekend getaway -- a simple hour or two alone, perhaps on a long drive or wandering through the park, will give you some distance from the stress.

Sounds like I need a trip to the beach!

Monday, July 10, 2006

10 more reasons you might be battling the bulge

10 Factors in Rise of Obesity

1. Inadequate sleep -- average amounts of sleep have fallen among Americans, and many studies tie sleep deprivation to weight gain.

2. Increased consumption of endocrine disruptors, substances in some foods that may alter fats in the body.

3. Climate-controlled environments. Air conditioning and heating limit calories burned from sweating and shivering.

4. Decrease in tobacco use. Smoking is often linked to appetite suppression.

5. New prescription medicines that promote weight gain.

6. Changing demographics -- there are now more middle-aged and Hispanic Americans, groups that have higher obesity rates.

7. Women giving birth at an older age, which correlates with heavier children.

8. Genetic influences during pregnancy -- a so-called "fetally-driven positive feedback loop."

9. Natural selection -- heavier people tend to survive tough times better than skinnier humans.

10. Assortative mating, or "like mating with like" -- meaning fat people procreating with others of the same body type, gradually skewing the population toward the heavy end.

Source: International Journal of Obesity &

Sunday, July 09, 2006

six reasons I am done with California

  1. Yesterday, the Mister and I decided to go to a mall to have some dinner and walk around and shop a little. The parking garages at the newer malls out here have little counters that tell you how many available spaces there are on each level. The parking garage was ENTIRELY full except for the roof which had 17 spaces available -- at 5:00 on a Saturday afternoon.
  2. We went to P.F. Chang's and were told that it would be a 45 minute wait, but we waited it out because it would have been at LEAST that long at any restaurant in town, including Denny's and McDonalds.
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean was started showing at 6am and was sold out all day on four screens at the 21 plex, and the lines for people waiting to get into the theater were ridiculously long.
  4. I waited almost 15 minutes for a dressing room to try on a green dress.
  5. We ended up sitting in "traffic" in the parking garage for -- quite literally -- more than half an hour when we were trying to leave, and witnessed people doing the most asinine, ridiculous, dangerous things I have ever witnessed in a parking garage.
  6. It has been HOT here. And this is not "Oh! It's 85! It's so HOT!" No, no. This is 96 degrees and three thousand percent humidity hot.

And frankly, if the weather isn't going to be gorgeous all the time, then why the HELL would ANYONE want to live here? No one here understands my pain. They think this sort of overcrowding is normal, the poor sods. They've been brain washed by the Gubinator.

Also, 6a. The Orange County Fair started on Friday, which is about two or three miles from our house, which means that for the next three weeks, the traffic on the freeways near our house is going to be ABYSMAL. Joy.

Friday, July 07, 2006

book fair

From July 4 - August 4, the World eBook Fair will be taking place! Download any of 1/3 million classic works of literature that have been digitally scanned for FREE! This is an excellent opportunity to browse the Guttenberg Project ebook library, and there are also some free audio books and poems available.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

it's all in the timing

I've recently recommitted myself to whole living -- that is, trying to live my best life by doing things that are positive, like eating better, exercising more, reading more, writing more, etc. But I'm really prone to jumping in with both feet, starting a really rigorous "program" of diet or exercise, or both, and then falling off the wagon just a few days in because it is too much, too fast.

Knowing this about myself (after MUCH trial and error), this time I'm slowing everything waaaaay down. I'm just taking one little tiny baby step each week. First, it was wearing my pedometer.

It's pretty simple; it just counts my steps and tells me how many miles I've walked, but it's really motivating to see how much (or how little) I've walked in a day. It was a real eye-opener to realize, when I first started wearing it, that I was walking sometimes less than a mile in an entire day! Now I'm shooting for a goal of 10,000 steps a day (about 3.5 miles).

(You might have noticed the US map in the column on the left hand side of this page -- it's a web site I found that lets me put in my steps every day, and it tracks my progress as though I were walking across the country! As you can see, I haven't even gotten out of California yet!)

Someone recently asked me how I managed to get all that walking in every day, and to tell the truth, it's really not that hard. Our apartment is in a really great location, so we can easily walk to the mall, the movies, tons of different restaurants, and our pick of two grocery stores and a Target, not to mention lots of other places like our bank, the dry cleaners, our hair salon -- the list goes on and on. The trick is just choosing to walk to do those errands instead of hopping in the car.

Lots of people don't have that advantage, I know, so I thought I'd post this article I saw that lists a lot of ways to increase your activity during the day.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get up and move my bum.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

looooong weekend

Happy Belated Fourth of July!

The Mister and I did absolutely nothing this weekend, and it was glorious -- nay, decadent in all its lethargy. Saturday we managed to make a trip to the library for new books and a picnic in the Huntington Beach central park, and then we spent the entire rest of the weekend reading and trying to stay cool.

But then, out of the blue, some friends called us last night to find out if we had any firework watching type plans. (Their previous plans fell through and they asked themselves, "Who do we know who has no life and is probably sitting at home bored right now? The Renners! Of course.") Since our firework watching plans were a little half-baked at best, we gladly accepted the invitation to go watch fireworks with them at Tustin High.

It was a really nice little event. We didn't bother trying to get into the stadium, but instead found a comfy little patch of lawn and enjoyed the fireworks over the wall of the school. There's just something about relatively home-grown fireworks that is so much more exciting than the perfectly choreographed, timed, synced-to-music variety.

And then we got to see some amateur fireworks enthusiasts totally busted with their highly illegal fireworks on the walk home. Good times.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

livin' the dream

You are looking at a bona fide new member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators -- an international group of like minded writers working in (or toward) the children's market. I've got a membership card and everything.

I've been thinking about joining this society for over a year now, ever since I attended the Children's Writer's Bootcamp and found out about the organization. I kept putting it off, and putting it off, but when I saw that they were having their summer conference in LA in August, I knew the time had come.

So, I not only registered to become a member of the Society, I also registered for the conference! August 4-7, I will be up in LA learning all about what it means to be a working children's writer. Now my only dilemma is which workshops to go to during each session -- "35 Writing Secrets for Beginners" or "How to Write a Bestselling Series?" "Writing Characters Who Will Make Your Readers Laugh and Cry" or "Channeling Your Inner Teen?" The possibilities are endless.

In fact, I may try to find someone (or several someones) online who might be interested in sharing notes. That way, I can go to "Writing Young Adult Literature: Seven and a Half Truths" while they go to "Naughty or Nice: WhatÂ’s Happening inYA Novels" and then we can share the wealth.