Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A House!!!

Glenn and I are getting a house built! We have been going back and forth between saving up more money and getting a bigger house in a few years, or getting a "starter" home now. We had just about decided to wait, but then we stumbled upon this builder. We were actually looking for an open house for a pre-built home, but ended up coming in the office looking at floor plans. This community offers a sort of new concept called "courtyard homes" that have their own gated yards. This model fits our needs perfectly right now! This is a picture of the model (the same floor plan we will be building). The building to the right is a detached "casita" that is decorated as a game room. Mine will be an ART STUDIO! This is a view inside the casita. I can't believe I'll have such an incredible space all for my art!

This is the view from the front door to the casita/art studio. (the model has a pool, ours definitely won't )

Our home will look similar to this one, but not exact, as this one has has lots of upgrades. I can't wait until we get to visit the Design Studio and pick out cabinets, countertops, tile, paint colors, etc!

The house should be finished by mid November so we can close on it by November 30th. (in time for the 8000 dollar tax credit!)

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I have been trying to get my migraine headaches under control this summer. I have too many to be able to rely solely on the medicine that you take when you are already getting one (to treat it) so I have to turn to preventative medicine as well.

My doctors put me on Topamax (an anti seizure medicine also used to treat migraines and sometimes bipolar disorder) and I have been gradually working up to the full dose over the past month and a half. The side effects have been AWFUL! It started with tingling limbs and mild memory loss. I would grasp for a simple word that I have always known. Then my vision became blurry, my motor skills and thinking became delayed. I have had trouble focusing on anything. I feel really tired all the time, and generally not myself. When I read the side effects (listed below) pretty much the only ones I haven't had are stomach upset or nausea. The only reason I lost my appetite was because I had no energy to cook! I thought it was funny that the drug was nicknamed "dopamax" by people who had taken it b/c I have never been on drugs but this is what I imagine being "cracked out" would feel like haha.

OH and it hasn't really helped the migraines... SO my Dr. has given me a schedule to work my dosage down to stop taking it (YAY!) and I am going to try a different medicine. I just hope it works out better for me. I never plan on taking another medicine that has a side effect listed as "confusion!"

Side effects

A GlaxoSmithKline-sponsored Phase IV study suggested that cognitive side effects may be more common with topiramate than with lamotrigine.[23] In studies of healthy volunteers, therapeutic doses of topiramate for bipolar disorder produced greater cognitive deficits than lamotrigine, including short term memory loss and word-finding difficulty. This effect has led to the occasional use of the name "dopamax" by some dissatisfied customers.[citation needed]

The side-effects reported by > 10% of subjects in at least 1 clinical study[24] Listed by prevalence: (*indicates placebo rate [%] is the same or higher than side-effect rate)

  • headache (23.8%) *[25.9%]
  • paresthesia (numbness & tingling) (23.1%)
  • upper respiratory tract infection (17.5%)
  • diarrhea (16.8%)
  • nausea (15.4%)
  • somnolence (15.4%) *[16.1%]
  • anorexia (loss of appetite) (13.3%) *[5.6%]
  • insomnia (11.9%) *[11.2%]
  • memory problems (11.2%)
  • dizziness (10.5%) *[10.5]

The side-effects most frequently leading to discontinuation of therapy with topiramate were:

  • Psychomotor slowing (4.1%)
  • Memory problems (3.3%)
  • Fatigue (3.3%)
  • Confusion (3.2%)
  • Somnolence (3.2%)

Blood clots have occurred in people given topamax, but it has not been proved that these were caused by the drug. Drug withdrawal convulsions (fits) have been reported very rarely. Psychosis (often with paranoid delusions and prominent visual hallucinations) has also been reported.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Recent Happenings

This past week I attended a 3 day professional development workshop in Houston called Capturing Kid's Hearts. I learned a lot, and one of the best things about it was that I met some of my future Owens co-workers! It makes me feel really good to that I will know a few people before the first day of classes. On Thursday, after meeting Amanda and Heather, we all went together to another teacher's birthday party at a local Mexican restaurant. It was awesome to be able to meet people in relaxed setting! Thanks to Amanda taking photos here is a pic of us and another new teacher, Lisa, and Debbie, who also works at Owens.

Friday was the Opening for the Galveston Art League Juried Show! It was a really nice reception with wine and cheese and lots of good company! My parents, my Aunt Anne, and Uncle Gary all came to support me which was awesome! I also got to meet a couple of my mom's RAT (Retired Art Teacher) friends who were great! All in all a good evening!

Saturday night, Glenn's good friend Kyle from Tulsa was in town with his wife, Amy! They are moving to Houston soon (yay!) and were looking for houses and apartments, so we got to go out to dinner and ice cream with them! I took a really cute picture of them at the ice cream parlor, but accidently erased it (still getting used to my new camera) so sorry no pics :-( but it was good to catch up with them.

Finally, today, I visited my Theta friend, Erin at her apartment. We had a low-key afternoon and hung-out by the pool, then ate lunch together. I tested out my waterproof digital camera with her, but alas, I accidently deleted those photos at the same time that I deleted the one of Amy & Kyle.

I've had a really fun and social week/weekend, but my summer school class starts tomorrow, so I'll be back to business...we'll it's printmaking, so it's fun arty business, but still school :-)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Recipe: Em's Easy Orange Chicken

Here is a recipe I made up for orange chicken that turned out pretty well:


boneless skinless chicken breasts
flour/flour alternative
green onions
jar of sugar-free orange marmalade
soy sauce
garlic (I use minced kind in jar)
water chestnuts
any other stir-fry ingredients

  • start rice cooker before cooking chicken (I cook rice for Glenn and steam Cauliflower as a rice alternative for myself, all using rice cooker)
  • cut chicken into bite-size pieces
  • coat in beaten egg and flour or flour alternative (for low carb diet)
  • pan fry in small amount of oil with garlic
  • add green onions
  • add mushrooms and other ingredients
  • Stir in orange marmalade and soy sauce to taste. If you like it saltier, add more soy sauce.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Re-evaluated Wish List

A while back I blogged about the things that I wished I could get in the near future.

Since then, we have decided to wait a while to get a house. Even though I got hired in May, I won't get my first paycheck until September, so we really can't save enough for a down payment. Well, we could come up with a small one, but would rather save a larger amount for a long list of reasons.

Instead, we are going to move into a larger 2 bedroom Apartment (not on the 3rd floor and possibly with a garage) when our lease is up in December. It actually will cost about the same as our current apartment! I have to have more space! (poor Glenn, my very expensive art supplies need a home and I need a work space!)

This decision has made many things possible for us that are really important:
  1. Glenn is going to start graduate school! His Employer will pay for it in full (which is incredible) but we have to pay for it up front. When his passing grades come in, then they will reimburse us. If we got a house now, not only would it be an expense, but Glenn would have to be distracted by things like mowing the lawn when he needs to be studying for his classes/driving to class. Glenn having a master's degree will help us financially more than anything else- after only 2 years (about the same time he will also get his professional engineer's license!)
  2. I got my new laptop! And digital camera is ordered... Like I said in my earlier post, I have needed a new laptop for a LONG TIME! I didn't just want a new laptop, I NEEDED it badly! I however, did not have to get a Mac. That is a luxury. I consider my laptop not only a study tool, work tool, but also an art supply, so I really appreciate having a Mac. I use it for photos, adjusting color, visualizing images for my paintings, etc. I am also told that artists interviewing with galleries often show their work on Mac laptops, so now I am prepared! Also, I am an expert at destroying PCs with viruses, so I thought it was time to try something different!
  3. Art Supplies! Besides my laptop, camera, and tuition, ART SUPPLIES are my biggest must-have expense! The large panels that I paint on for my Grad school work cost 25-35 dollars each (depending on which art store I find them at). Ad up the cost: I am required to do a minimum of 24 paintings of this size to graduate when it's all said and done, so not including paint, paper, paintbrushes, or any other materials =$600-840!!! Now I can relax and just get what I need when I need it.
  4. The possibility of a Vacation this year! Without a house payment, we will definitely go on a vacation!
I think I am actually forgetting some things, but you get the idea!