Sunday, November 30, 2008

Most Expensive Thanksgiving Ever

This year, like most years, Chris, Rosie and I went down to North Carolina for the week of Thanksgiving. This year, after a two-day stop in the western part of the state to visit my aunt and uncle, we drove to Charlotte on Tuesday to spend the rest of the week with Chris' parents, his sister and their German Shepherd, Barron.

After running around with Barron at the dog park, then returning to the house to chase the family cat around, Rosie — initially unbeknownst to us — got into Barron's food. Baron eats a mix of wet and dry food, which is much tastier than the plain dry mix we give Rosie. So, Rosie went to town, gobbling it up, then practically drank her weight in water.

These three factors combined — exercise, gulping down food and extreme water consumption — can lead to a condition in dogs called bloat. When a dog has bloat, the dog's stomach twists on its axis. Meanwhile, the stomach produces a ton of gas, which can't escape because of the twisted tummy (basically, the two normal means of gas escape — burping and farting — are blocked). As a result, the dog's stomach begins to expand, eventually compressing and cutting off circulation to the dog's lungs, spleen and other vital doggie innards. Ultimately, it can lead to death, often in just a few hours.

Dogs with large barrel chests, like Rottweilers, are prone to bloat, and luckily, Chris' mom had warned us about the condition years ago. So, when later that evening, Rosie repeatedly attempted to vomit without success, we were immediately concerned. Soon after, we noticed that her belly expanded larger than we'd ever seen. It seriously looked like she had swallowed a football sideways, or an entire basketball. At that point, we panicked. We immediately lifted Rosie into Chris' parents' SUV (Rosie had lost the ability to stand by this point) and Chris' mom drove us to the emergency vet hospital.

I can't even begin to describe how horrible that car ride was. Rosie's breathing slowed and she kept trying to put her head down. We were losing her. Chris and I kept holding her head up, forcing her stick with us. We were both sobbing while trying to keep her awake. There were times that the length between her breaths was so long, we thought she had already died.

We had some trouble finding the hospital, and at one point, drove up to an adjacent animal clinic, only to find it closed. Once again, we thought Rosie was gone. But eventually, we found the hospital, and the staff quickly wheeled her in on a doggie gurney.

After all this panic and running around, we had to wait for hours in the waiting room while the staff first inserted a tube down Rosie's throat to relive the pressure, then performed surgery on Rosie's stomach to twist it back into position. They also stapled her stomach to the inside of her abdominal wall to prevent it from twisting again.

In the end, she survived. She had to stay at the hospital overnight and most of the next day for observation, but she was able to come back to Chris' parents' house the following night, where I pretty much didn't let her out of my sights for one second. Chris and I even took turns sleeping on the floor next her that first night.

Amazingly, Rosie has since bounced back to almost normal. We were able to drive her back home yesterday, just four days after her surgery. We're supposed to keep her relatively calm for the next two weeks, and since her surgery, she's been a teensy bit slower and sleepier than normal. But by and large, she's recovering much better than I would if I had just been cut open and had my insides rearranged.

In fact, what seems to be bothering Rosie most now is a bit of razor burn. She looks pretty punk with her lower half all shaved and a giant scar along her belly. You can check it out in the video below. But be warned, there's some full-on doggie groin in this video, which, depending on your place of employment, may or may not be safe for work.

Rosie's surgery scar from Sarah Wunder on Vimeo.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friends with Photoshop

A few months ago, my friend Jon was in town on a photo assignment. Because he's a photographer and kinda goofy, he decided to follow me in to work and photograph me paparazzi-style. It was amusing. But then today, he posted this little illustration on Facebook.

I should note, Jon has an unhealthy obsession with poop.

In other Facebook news, you should go check out this post from Anything Said. Dude. Hilarious, and sadly, so very true.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Channeling Janis Ian

A tiny article in today's Sun-Times pretty much confirmed what I've long believed about Generation Y:

"Today's teens are far more likely than their parents to believe they're great people, destined for maximum success, a study says.

Between half and two-thirds of Gen Y teens gave themselves top ratings, compared with less than half in their parents' generation."

And now if you'll allow me to put on my curmudgeon hat:

Hey kids, what's with all the narcissism and bloated egos? In my day, being a teenager was all about self-loathing, bad acne and Manic Panic. We were full of hatred and rage and sadness, and the only things that comforted us were flannel shirts, posters of Trent Reznor and hanging out at Denny's with every other suburban tortured soul.

You kids today are really missing out.

You see, you all think that because television is full of people who are famous for absolutely no reason, that you'll all be famous someday, too. But 10 years from now, you'll wake up and realize that assuming you'd get your own reality TV show probably wasn't the best career track.

When I was a teenager, we all assumed we'd never amount to anything. So when, 10 years later, some of us found ourselves with decent jobs and living in mostly rodent-free residences, we were pleasantly surprised.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go lock myself in my room and listen to Pretty Hate Machine on repeat while reading Sassy magazine.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kitchen adventures

Last night, I managed to cut my finger while sifting flour. Yeah, I don't understand either.

In other kitchen news, we still don't own a microwave. But, I find that I don't really miss it. There are really only two times when I long for one: when I make popcorn, and when I want to reheat leftover tamales.

For the former, I've solved that by making it on the stove top. But it's kinda messy, so I'm thinking about getting a popper. My parents had one when I was growing up, and I remember it being a lot of fun. Plus, it's probably a lot healthier than the microwave option.

For the latter, microwaving tamales is nice because it sort of re-steams them. I could reheat them in the oven, but they dry out a bit. And I could steam them on the stove top, but that's a big pain, especially considering tamales and late-night drunkenness kind of go hand-in-hand. Pots of boiling water and intoxicated Sarah, however, do not go hand-in-hand. (Ahem, see the aforementioned sifting accident, which occurred while I was completely sober. Had I been drinking at the time, who knows? Maybe I would have lost a finger.)

Anyway, got any ideas for reheating tamales sans a microwave and hot water?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ad rage

There are a few companies whose products I refuse to ever purchase because I hate their commercials so much.

Recently, it's the "Saved by Zero" Toyota commercials. And today, I learned that I'm not alone in my utter hatred of these commercials. According to the Tribune, Toyota says that dealer traffic has increased since these commercials started running. So, I'd like to declare right now that I refuse to buy a Toyota or visit one of their dealerships until I can't remember the tune of that damn song. Nevermind that I'm not all in the market for a new car, but still. I used to be in love with the Toyota Matrix. Now? The love affair is over.

Another irritating commercial maker is Luna. There's the one where the woman talks to her carpet about how much she loves it. Then there's the one where a couple sings and plays guitar to their hard wood floors. Barf.

But the Luna commercial that bothers me the most is the one where they show pictures of all the flood damage that hit the Midwest. That's followed by an announcement that Luna is extending its special financing deals due to all the people who were devastated by the recent flooding. This is followed by a picture of a happy child playing in puddles. And all of this is followed by me yelling obscenities at the TV.

First of all, Luna — along with every other carpet and flooring store — ALWAYS offers special financing. It's like saying, "Did you know that Guitar Center is having a huge sale this weekend?" You can't convince me that this special financing deal is any different than the one you offer for President's Day, or Memorial Day, or Casmir Pulaski Day. So the idea that Luna would attempt to use a legitimately devastating event — hundreds of households having thousands of dollars in damage, as well as losing their belongings, and in some cases, their lives — to not only sell more carpeting, but also try to make themselves look benevolent, is disgusting. People died due to regional flooding this summer, and Luna is trying to capitalize on that. Sick.

Once again, I can safely say that I will never purchase anything from Luna. However, in this case, I'm actually in the market for some carpeting for our stairs. So Luna, you lost a potential customer because your commercials are stupid and annoying and pandering and insulting. You stink.

Why can't all commercials be like Dunkin' Donuts commercials? I heart TMBG.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oh, the weather outside is....

...not too shabby, really.

Summer in Chicago is, always has been, and always will be my favorite season. But today, it's about 45 degrees out and slightly sleety, and I find it all quite refreshing.

I will no longer feel this affinity when it's cold and sleeting in April. And May. And possibly even June.

But today, it's a good thing. Rosie just might get an extra-long walk tonight.

Monday, November 10, 2008


So, regarding my previous post, I suppose it may have across the wrong way regarding the economy. I just keep wondering how much of what's going on right now is the result of the media and fear.

For example, it seems like every day, there's a story in the paper or on the news about how people are penny pinching and methods they're using to save money. But inevitably, the "real people" they find are either people shopping along Michigan Avenue or college students. Um, I've yet to meet a college student who doesn't spring at the first hint of free food, or who hasn't, at least once, gone through the couch cushions to find cash (only to blow it on beer, of course). That's why you go to college - to learn about how to live on very little.

In addition, I always see these articles about how people can reduce their expenses, and every single one says to eliminate $4 cups of coffee, which will ultimately save you about $1,000 a year. Has anyone reading this EVER spent $4 on a cup of coffee? I rarely buy pre-made coffee anyway, so I'm totally out of touch with how much a cup of coffee is, but I seem to remember that they're about $1.50, at most.

Some of the other suggestions always amaze me, too, like to repair winter coats rather than buy new winter coats every year. Who buys a new winter coat every year??? It's like the people creating these news articles assume that pre-recession, you were a millionaire, and now you're barely able to scrimp buy. Hmmm, looks like it might be time to trade in that Hummer for a Mercedes.

I know that I'm very naive, and I know that everything could come crashing down on me so quickly. But I feel like I never really graduated from that poor-college-student mentality. I still remember what it was like to make minimum wage and not have health insurance. It sucks. But maybe it goes farther back than that. I remember when I was a kid, my dad would have me doing math in the aisle, trying to figure out if buying a 2-liter of soda or cans was more economical. (2-liters were ALWAYS more economical, even though I always preferred the cans). It's not like we were a super-cash-strapped family. it's just the way we were. And today, I still stand in the aisle trying to figure out if the double rolls of toilet paper are actually bigger than the smaller ones, and then, which package truly has the cheapest cost-per-ply.

Anyway, all of this is what I was referring to in my poorly worded previous post (which I've since deleted due to some confusion). It wasn't me saying, "I'm so lucky," but rather, "I have never known this $4 coffee luxury you speak of. Is it topped with flecks of gold?"

Thursday, November 06, 2008

This one's for the ladies

I apologize for the nature of this post, but it's one of those things I can't stop thinking about, particularly one week every month.

You know where I'm going with this, so I'll back up. In our new neighborhood, we are lucky enough to be within walking distance of a Jewel. But the problem is, it's just a Jewel, not a Jewel-Osco. (Osco, being the pharmacy/drug store arm of Jewel.) So, in a half-assed attempt to make up for its Osco deficiency, it devoted about a quarter aisle to all the things you'd find in a drug store — toothpaste, shampoo and foot cream, all crammed onto four shelves. As you can imagine, this forced the Jewel to cut down on the number of brands it offers, and herein lies the problem: This crappy, yet conveniently located grocery store, does not carry my brand of tampons.

I discovered this on a recent shopping trip, which resulted in me agonizing in the aisle for about 20 minutes trying to decide if I should try out a new brand, or buy all our groceries, go home, unload 'em, and then go out to Walgreen's just to get MY brand of tampons. Although I seriously consider the latter, and ultimately went the new-brand route.

Today, I am not a happy camper. There's nothing extremely wrong with the new brand, it's just not what I'm used to. The packaging isn't quite the same, the applicator is slightly different and the shape is all wrong. It's all very upsetting.

It reminds me of this Ad Report Card article I read a while ago about how advertisers try to hook women on their brand at a young age because in general, women stick with one brand for life. Although I've often thought that advertisers must know nothing about me and all the women I know — what with all the horrible commercials I see painting women as vapid, jewelry-obsessed, catty, 92-pound, 19-year-olds — apparently, they got one thing right: I'm a tampon-brand lifer.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sarah Stone Wunder Bread

happy halloween, y'all.