Jan. 31: Way TMI, etc.

Yay, Jen! I haven’t puked since about 8:00 p.m. yesterday. I thank the good drugs.

I still feel terrible though. My back still hurts. My headache is as bad as ever. I feel very weak. I’m able to eat but don’t have much of an appetite so I really have to force myself and that’s no fun at all. For some reason, applesauce on peanut butter toast is just about the only thing I’ve managed to eat. And bananas. I love bananas.

I’ve peed, like, TWICE in the last 24 hours, even after all those IV fluids. This just shows how dehydrated I must have been (and probably still am). I’m guzzling Gatorade and lots of ice water. It makes me cold and kinda angry.

The carnival at the school seemed to go off just fine without me. I went, but bailed pretty quickly as soon as I found out there were plenty of people to cover the prize room where I had been assigned. After a quick chat with Dawn, I headed home. I fell asleep almost immediately and didn’t wake up until the kids came home very noisily.

Weird stuff goes on in my brain when I’m on potent drugs. This afternoon I dreamed they had way too many Charleston Chews to sell at the school carnival. Then I had a new house and was married to Jay, one of my co-workers at Catapult (I know, Ed—you’re relieved it wasn’t you for once). Victor lived with us and did not seem to enjoy the situation even a little bit, especially when I was trying to get Jay to make out with me. And then I was spraying glass etching stuff on stencils all over the walls and kept saying it was really going to make my mom mad. I also have a vague memory of dreaming that Erin’s dad was putting out records—yes, the VINYL stuff—and we were all trying to be supportive but they were awful. Also, they were VINYL.

Sherilee, I watched the last half of a Top Chef episode rerun when I woke up. It was the one with the farm food. Interesting. It’s hard for me to read your reviews each week and not get sucked in. Now I might have to curse you because I might just be hooked on yet another show. I really hate reality TV and its unnecessary drama, but at least the people on that show have some talent.

Yikes. Suddenly I’m worried I might have imagined that Top Chef episode. Please tell me it was real, Sher. They sent home that headband/too-much-spray-tan girl, right? Gah.

As I’ve mentioned a thousand times, I hate football. I usually make an exception for the Super Bowl for the commercials, especially if Justin Timberlake is in one. Please tell me who I should root for, Lori or someone else I like in spite of their football feevah.

I finally finished reading The Cider House Rules yesterday. That took for-freakin’-ever! It was an interesting story, though, and one more check for my 100 Books to Read list. I haven’t decided what I’ll tackle next. Right now my dreams are way more mysterious and strange than the plot of any book I can imagine.

Dr. Kelli said this pain medication should be in my system “a while.” Frustrating, since it’s not doing anything good for me anymore. Until I start getting some strength and sanity back, you can expect these meandering types of posts. So sorry. Sorta.

Jan. 31: I.V. League (ha ha ha splat)

Continued from yesterday morning’s post…

Friday was more of the same with my severe headache and nausea/pukin’. It was not fun to be me or anyone in earshot or noseshot, that’s for sure.

By 7:30 last night I’d had it. I felt sure I was dehydrated after keeping almost nothing down for two days, and my head was no better. And you know how sometimes an empty stomach can make your head pound? And so can retching? My nausea and headache were fighting it out and guess which was winning? WHO CARES? I was on the losing end no matter what.

Vic took me to the emergency room. We had hoped for Grandma to take the kids but we couldn’t find her, so we packed their Nintendo DS games and dragged them along with us. The only thing that bothered them was listening to me throw up in the car; even after I was done they wouldn’t take their fingers out of their ears. As they sat in the corner of my tiny little room in the ER, Vic and I agreed that choosing two DS systems over one Wii was probably the best decision we made at Christmas last year. We finally got hold of Darlene around 10 and she took them home with her. I love that woman.

One nice surprise was to see that my ER doctor was a familiar face—Kelli Dunks Westcott, a friend from Auburn and WWC. She was great, and I don’t think it was just because we knew her. I have really come to appreciate young doctors—not Doogie-young, but me-young. Which some people might say is old. To which I say SHUT. UP.

I was given an IV and two bags of fluids for rehydration, as well as Zofran for nausea and two big doses of Dilotin for pain. My nausea disappeared almost immediately, but the pain stuck around for a while. Later Kelli added another pain med. It helped, but my headache still hung on.

Oh, and remember in my last post I mentioned my back pain that didn’t seem to be muscular? It wasn’t. I have a urinary tract infection. I knew it. Listen to your body, people—you know what it’s telling you! Kelli said that there’s a connection between urinary tract infections and headaches in women, but they so rarely get treated properly because why would anyone make that connection? Interesting.

All the IV meds made me pretty loopy last night and when we finally got home around 2 a.m. I went straight to bed. Actually, I ate a banana and then went to bed. It felt so nice to eat. I also slept very well; I don’t think I moved much the whole night long. When I woke up this morning my nausea was still gone (hooray!) but my headache is back to an 8 on the pain scale. Grr. I’m hoping that will get better now that I’m able to eat and on antibiotics.

Right now Victor is out filling my prescriptions for oral nausea medication and antibiotics. I ate some breakfast and will probably spend as much of the day resting as I can. I’m supposed to help out at the big carnival at school this afternoon/evening so I need to get well(er). Vic and I are working the prize room and putt-putt game, and a puke-fest could really spoil either or both of those events. Vic said maybe he’ll start practicing his most sincere, “Sorry, let Mrs. Manullang wipe that off for ya.”

Here are two reasons you might not want my husband as your escort to the emergency room. First, he can make this item into a million different things, all of them R-rated and/or offensive:

And secondly, right after I got hooked up to all the IV and machine stuff, his shoelace broke and he goes, “Oh, MAN! Everything bad happens to ME!”

Lastly, I’m kind of embarrassed because now you all know I have a urinary tract. Please don’t blab it.

Jan. 30: A quickie

On Wednesday I woke up feeling headache-y. I didn’t sleep much Wednesday night. Yesterday I slept most the morning but when I woke up my headache was worse than ever. I tried to eat, but my tummy said “no way!” I tried to drink water, Gatorade, tea… it all came right back up.

Last night I slept most the night but not soundly, so I’m exhausted today. This morning I’ve been able to keep some food and water down for a few hours (an improvement over yesterday) but my head is still pounding. At least I’m not so concerned about getting dehydrated.

On top of all this, my back is killing me. I thought it was because of our crappy bed but after several hot showers, a heating pad, etc. it doesn’t feel even a tiny bit better. Now I’m worried it could be a kidney infection. When I had E. coli poisoning a few years ago it started like this—achiness until I couldn’t stand up straight. That was the only thing that let me know anything was wrong.

I’ll try to get in to see my doctor today if this doesn’t improve in the next few hours. I’m not asking for sympathy; just want to let you know why I’m not really blogging or returning phone calls and e-mails very quickly.

Jan. 28: It’s Sonya’s b-day

Happy birthday to my fab sister-in-law Sonya! Today is her big day, unless you’re in China (which she is), and then it was yesterday. Kinda. I never understand the time difference and always mess up when I’m trying to carry the four and divide by the square root of Kazakhstan’s current exchange rate. It’s true, you can ask her. That’s why we called her at 4:00 in the morning when Jack was born. Of course, she lived in Belgium back then, and that just proves that I can’t do math no matter where Sonya lives.

Here’s hoping, from all of us, that your day is or was great, Son! She occasionally checks in here at stuff jen says, so feel free to leave your own birthday wishes for Sonya in a comment below.

Jan. 27: No. Nonono! NOOO!

This was the view down our street at 10:30 this morning. Where are those above-freezing temps, trained meteorologists? You suck.

Lovely Lori, are you surviving? At least you can be stuck at work (you already went in, right?).

Jan. 27: Who’s the dork?

Yesterday was a teacher in-service day and there was no school, so today was Jack’s first day wearing his new glasses in front of his friends. He was nervous about it; he kept saying he was embarrassed because he looked weird and nerdy. Poor little guy. But what can we do?

This, I guess: just before we went out the door this morning, I knelt down in front of him and said, “I think you look really cool. Those glasses are awesome.”

He rolled his eyes a little but looked like he believed me. And as I hugged him, I thought “Great, I’ve turned into Milhouse’s mom.” I’m not suggesting he’s Milhouse, but I am definitely Luann.


Jan. 26: Facebook anxiety

I signed up at Facebook about a year ago, and started being active on the site last spring. Almost immediately I re-connected with Sherilee, one of my first friends at college and one I’d lost touch with after graduation. If she was the only friend I’d found on Facebook, it’d still be totally worth it. But I was lucky; I continue to find dear, long-lost friends every few weeks. I think Facebook is a kick in the pants, in the very best way. Most people I know start out like I did, just doing a little bit here and there… and then you start finding people, and being found, and it turns into something addictive and oh-so-much-fun. I love keeping in touch with friends in an almost effortless way.

(But it’s not so much fun that you need to join, Mom. I don’t want to mislead you into thinking it’s something you would enjoy. Heh heh heh…)

One of the most interesting Facebook features is that users can write “status updates” to say what they’re doing at any given time. People also use these to share links, ask advice, offer opinions, and that sort of thing. Status updates and the comments that follow appear on a person’s wall, which is visible to anyone that has permission to view their profile. However, once there are more than three comments on a post, they are collapsed so just the first and last show and viewers have to click if they want to read the ones in between.

Last weekend I had my first negative experience on Facebook. A silly friend and I both commented on a mutual friend’s status Friday night. Our first couple of comments related to the text in his status, but then one of us wondered how long we could continue our comments until he would intercept (he was online but inactive). In the mean time, we were writing a bunch of goofy comments, and because the three of us had conversed on my wall the same way a while back—where we got up to something like 46 comments!—we figured once he jumped in that we’d all have good chuckles.

He did jump in, but he didn’t add to our comments. Instead, he started deleting ours. He didn’t delete them all, though; he removed most of them and the ones he left made us look like we had had a conversation that we did not. We were both shocked that not only was he not amused by what we had done, it appeared he was embarrassed or offended by it. The guy has a great sense of humor and this just did not seem like him at all.

She and I were privately chatting at this point, and both of us felt terrible about his reaction, but also like we’d been punished, which made us feel embarrassed and kinda mad. It’s not like we hijacked his wall or anything; all our stupidity was collapsed into a link. It felt as though he was censoring us. We both went back to his wall and deleted the rest of our comments. We also both apologized to him, separately, in private chat, which he pretty much ignored. Later that evening he left a note on her wall that basically said, “I forgive you, but not Jen.” Huh? I can’t even begin to guess why that is. We were equally silly/stupid/annoying.

What bothered me about this most, I guess, is that I’ve been lucky to have almost all very positive and fun Facebook interactions. I’ve never felt the need to delete anything anyone has put on my wall. I suppose I’d do it if I thought something was inappropriate. I enjoy humor, though, so it’d have to be really, really, really inappropriate. Really. But this whole experience left me feeling icky. A little bitter. Sorta hurt, too. It just sucked. I’m not exactly angry anymore, but I feel like I need to walk on eggshells around this guy on Facebook now, that’s for sure.

Well, Sherilee, not to worry; you are still my #1 Awesome Facebook Friend-Find™ (I know that’s the only reason you read this far).

Jan. 25: Mr. Magoo

How old were you when you first needed glasses? Did you dread the idea, or were you excited?

I got glasses when I was in second grade. I remember being mostly indifferent about them; I didn’t love the way they looked, but I thought seeing the chalkboard and TV more clearly was pretty cool. I got contacts in tenth grade and had LASIK a couple years ago.

Vic got glasses in fourth grade. He was like me: not thrilled, but he knew he needed them. He’s worn contacts occasionally since then but his allergies make them uncomfortable a good portion of the year. He wants to get LASIK but I won’t let him because I’m almost positive his eyes go crossed when he’s not wearing his glasses.

Nowadays Harry Potter and stylish glasses for kids have certainly helped with the nerd factor of wearing glasses. Right? I know Ashleigh Banfield and Tina Fey changed it for women…

Jack’s teacher mentioned at his conference a couple months ago that he might need glasses. Good parents we are, we kept forgetting to take him in for an eye exam. Yesterday was the big day. The verdict? The poor boy has inherited his parents’ vision.

Jan. 23: Lori’s holiday

Happy birthday to The Lovely Lori! My guess is that she’s celebrating by going to work. Woo. Hoo. Hopefully someone will take her out for lunch and shower her with stuff that’s shiny or sparkly or both.

I, on the other hand, am offering up these lame-o virtual gifts for her:

A mad man.

A Prius. Just cuz.

Carb-free pasta that tastes good. Oh, I know it doesn’t exist. I have a team of researchers on it right now, though. And Lori will be one of the first to try it when it’s perfected.

I’m pretty sure that “President Obama” is the best gift Lori could ask for, but just in case… John, you better have somethin’ good up your sleeve and if it has somethin’ to do with John Mayer, all the better.

I love you, Lori! Have a great day!

Jan. 21: Reading lists

I’ve mentioned before that I’m slowly working through a list of “100 Books Everyone Should Read.” I think I’ve also promised to post that list here. I started to do that this morning and realized I don’t remember where I got the list from and, like an idiot, I didn’t cite the source. I copied it into Word, formatted it into a table, added publication years, added a column to record the year I read the book, and somewhere in that process I removed the source URL.

So what’d I do? I Googled 100 books everyone should read. The results were a very, very long list of everyone in the world suggesting lists of books they think everyone should read. So… here are links to a bunch of them. If any appeal to you, copy the text into a program that will let you track your reading.

There are lots of children’s reading lists out there too.

Jan. 21: Fleeting fame

The Always Fabulous Ed™ made the local news while watching the inauguration yesterday at Kells, one of Portland’s Irish pubs. He shows up clinking glasses for a couple seconds right about 3:15. As he says, “Don’t blink.”

Ed, you’ve got 14:58 left. I’ll be watching.

Jan. 20: Inaugural chuckles

There was lots of live twittering today, and so much of it was utter perfection, it’d be a crime not to share with you. As an added bonus, I’m including links to these twitterers so you can follow them if you’d like. You really should.

InsoOutso Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that Cheney's pulled muscle was a paper shredder injury?

secretsquirrel Of course, Bush's legacy will live on, as Obama will probably be finding Pokemon cards down the back of the White House couch for weeks.

essdogg Attn Southern GOP: snow forecast today across Dixie, so that makes it official...hell has frozen over. Viva Obama!

KatyDidSays I hear Bush wrote a really nice letter for Obama's first day. It said: O-Man, Sry I wreked yer country. GL fixin everything I f'd up. LOL!

InsoOutso John Cusak was attending the celebration, however he was quickly arrested when he approached President Obama with a boombox over his head.

Moltz Here are the keys to the House. You gotta jiggle it a little bit because it sticks. Trash pickup's on Monday. Screens are in the attic. Uh..

secretsquirrel With the weather in Washington being a brisk -1 C / 30 F, Obama something something Presidential Tauntaun.

Moltz Michelle Obama is beautifully dressed in a design by Cuban designer Toledo. Mrs. Bush, meanwhile, is wearing what appears to be a gray sack.

mcbrowney Laura Bush looks like she's still in her pajamas

SeoulBrother Guys, no spoilers please. I'm recording this.

blurb Rick Warren should have prayed for more tolerance for himself and announced that God wants marriage for everyone.


essdogg Rick Warren nailed it! For a minute I forgot he's a bigoted douchebag full of high-minded hate and hypocrisy.

gordonshumway Thanking Bush for his service to our nation is like thanking the bank teller for not shitting himself while the vault got robbed.

Moltz Love how every fricking thing he's saying is "I'm totally going to undo the last 8 years" with Bush right there.

CcSteff If Bush and Cheney weren't sociopaths, they'd wish they could sink through the chairs and disappear from view.

Moltz This guy gives a good speech. He's gonna go far one day.

essdogg If you'll excuse me I seem to have something in my eye

gordonshumway Um, the mightiest word isn't "love". It's Beetlejuice, especially when said three times in rapid succession.

gordonshumway When brown can stick around? When yellow can be mellow? Is he encouraging us not to flush?

essdogg It's gonna be tough for Obama to get anything done if people keep crying when he walks into the room.

bcompton Come on, Canada. You know you want Obama to be your President, too. We'll slide you guys in ahead of Alaska; we hate those guys.

Moltz MSNBC coverage summed up: Chris Matthews turns everything into a ridiculous simplification and everyone else says "Uh, no..."

KatyDidSays Ok, now that the speech is over can I start complaining about my cramps? What? It's *never* ok to complain about that? Oh, ok. Sorry.

Moltz OK, got some forms for you to sign. Keycard. Box of business cards. Supply cabinet's over there. Fill out your time cards on Friday.

essdogg Let's take a moment to lament the fact that we're still stuck with the REAL most-hated man in American politics: Wolf Blitzer.

SeoulBrother I'm going to find a lunch counter to eat at.

Moltz OMG, festive cupcakes with red, white and blue star sprinkles in the cafeteria! Can this day get any better?!

Moltz So, I'm sorry, I must have missed this. They start sending us checks from all the money they take from the rich when? Tomorrow, or...?

AinsleyofAttack So, now that that's over, who's up for a game of murderball against Dick Cheney?


InsoOutso Senator Ted Kennedy might have laid down, but Senator Jesse Helms rolled over.

secretsquirrel First thing I'd do if I was Obama? Change all the damn locks.

Finally, two of today’s headlines over at The Onion:
Obama Inauguration Speech Ruined By Incessant Jackhammering
Hillary Clinton Mouthing Along To Presidential Oath

Jan. 20: It was not a toomah

Today I saw the surgeon for a follow-up on my surgery 12 days ago. Before the surgery we weren’t sure exactly what it was that was being removed from my abdominal wall, but they called it a tumor. The guess was that the mass of painful whatever-it-was was most likely scar tissue or a hematoma.

After the surgery they sent my guts to a pathologist. I was eager to hear the results as soon as possible, and when no one called me about it I decided to assume there was no bad news to report. Ignorant, maybe, but come on! Wouldn’t they have called me?

It turns out the tumor was not a tumor, but endometrial tissue. What most likely happened was tissue from the inside of my uterus fell on my abdominal wall during one of my C-sections. This is not all that unusual, the surgeon said, but is normally irrigated and cleaned up before everything gets stitched up again. Apparently a tiny amount was left (lucky me) and it grew for the past 7-9 years, eventually causing sharp pain and extremely bitchy behavior.

And here’s why I say it’s no wonder I was such a bitch: this mass of endometrial tissue had grown to the size of a chicken egg. An EGG!

Of course, the best news is that there was no cancer found in my guts, and because the endometrial tissue was all removed, this should not happen again.

A dear friend of mine—the same one that suggested the tumor could be a hairball, you remember her—said she thought I was being kind of a wimp about recovery for having laparoscopic surgery. I would like to point out that although laparoscopy was the plan when we thought the lump was a hernia, as soon as we determined it was something mysterious, the surgeon said he would have to do traditional surgery. I was not a wimp, Dear Friend, for taking a week to get up and around after having my belly cut open and letting my 5-inch long incision heal. Neither am I trying to steal Obama’s thunder today with my good news of “no malignancy found.” You may now commence apologizing profusely, emoticon-challenged Dear Friend.

Also, I’m kind of embarrassed because now you all know I have a uterus. Please don’t blab it.

Jan. 20: “Hope over fear”

I was on my way to the surgeon’s office this morning (more on that in another post) so I didn’t get to see the swearing-in ceremony live, but I’m watching all the replays and continuing events of the inauguration now. Some of my thoughts:

It’s zero friggin’ degrees in Washington, D.C. today? I’m almost glad I’m not there.

What a huge moment we’re all living through right now; this day is amazing. You people that refuse to admit all this means and how far we’ve come can kiss my wide, very white left buttock.

I love all the pomp and circumstance of our national traditions. Seems we just don’t get to see too many of them, and it fills me with a strong feeling of patriotism. Sure, it could have something to do with this pomp surrounding a man I respect (for a change). I like to think today is about the U.S., not Democrats only.

Aretha’s hat? Not so much.

I got an e-mail from my mom yesterday that she was concerned about her dog because he had been sick and lethargic—unusual behavior for this crazy puppy. This morning I called her, partly to check on him, and she answered the phone all teary. It freaked me out. Turns out Gilly’s fine; Mom was watching the inauguration and reacting like most of us are today.

Interested in the presidential blog? Here’s the URL: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/. If you read blogs in a reader, like you should, this is the feed address: http://www.whitehouse.gov/feed/blog/

Another good political blog is written by NPR’s Ken Rudin: http://www.npr.org/blogs/politicaljunkie/. The feed address: http://www.npr.org/blogs/politicaljunkie/index.xml

Best wishes to the senior senators trying to take attention away from the new president by collapsing during the luncheon today.

I asked The Lovely Lori about the presidential line of succession the other day and she whipped out her Blackberry (and I thought *I* was a nerd). She didn’t have it listed, but she had all the Supreme Court justices in there. Her name is not yet on that list, but I’m sure it will be because Lori is awesome. So here, to answer my own question and your curiosity if you have any, is the presidential line of succession:

  1. Vice President: Joe Biden
  2. Speaker of the House: Nancy Pelosi
  3. President Pro Tempore of the Senate: Robert Byrd
  4. Department of State
    Secretary-designate: Hillary R. Clinton
  5. Department of the Treasury
    Secretary-designate: Timothy F. Geithner
  6. Department of Defense
    Secretary: Robert M. Gates
  7. Department of Justice
    Attorney General-designate: Eric H. Holder
  8. Department of the Interior
    Secretary-designate: Ken L. Salazar
  9. Department of Agriculture
    Secretary-designate: Tom J. Vilsack
  10. Department of Commerce
  11. Department of Labor
    Secretary-designate: Hilda L. Solis
  12. Department of Health and Human Services
    Secretary-designate: Tom A. Daschle
  13. Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Secretary-designate: Shaun Donovan
  14. Department of Transportation
    Secretary-designate: Ray H. LaHood
  15. Department of Energy
    Secretary-designate: Steven Chu
  16. Department of Education
    Secretary-designate: Arne Duncan
  17. Department of Veterans Affairs
    Secretary-designate: Eric K. Shinseki
  18. Department of Homeland Security
    Secretary-designate: Janet Napolitano

One of my favorite topics from Obama’s inaugural speech: “For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies … those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.”

“President Obama.” Oh, how I love the sound of that. Good riddance, Divider.

Jan. 20: ABCs of housewifery

Another meme? Yes, another meme. This one was stolen from Jen E at Momma Blogs a Lot.

Aprons – Y/N? If Y, what does your favorite look like?
Always. My favorite is the one I found while ordering dog-themed stuff for Jack’s first birthday party.

Baking – Favorite thing to bake:
I don’t really love baking. It’s alright. I always get tired of baking cookies before the dough is gone. Cakes are easy but kind of a yawner. I guess I’d have to say muffins are my favorite thing to bake and then eat.

Clothesline – Y/N?

Donuts – Have you ever made them?
I don’t dare.

Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day:
Dirty up lots of dishes so the husband has something to do when he gets home.

Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freezer?
Yes, we have a big freezer in the garage. My mother-in-law uses it more than we do. Whenever she asks if she can put something in it, she always gets an extra [whatever] so we can have one too. And people wonder why we love her so…

Garbage Disposal – Y/N?

Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?
Some of my favorite cookbooks are from Williams-Sonoma. I love the good photos. I also have the decluttering books by that one guy. They’re good.

Ironing – Love it or hate it?
Hate it. Avoid wearing things that need ironing.

Junk drawer – Y/N? Where is it?
Yes, one at the kitchen desk.

Kitchen – Color and decorating scheme:
Walls are green on one side and creamy coffee colored on the other. White cabinets, white tile countertops. No color scheme, but coffee décor throughout. I used to have tons of knick knacks on top of the cupboards but took them down when I repainted and now I love how clean and uncluttered it looks.

Love – What is your favorite part of homemaking?

Mop – Y/N?
When it has to be done, this is one of my most satisfying tasks.

Nylons – Wash by hand or in the wash in the dryer?
Can’t remember the last time I wore them, but they’d go through the washer.

Oven – Do you use the window or open the oven to check?
Open it.

Pizza – What do you put on yours?
Love Alfredo sauce with veggies, but my favorite basic pizza is olives and mushrooms. California Pizza Kitchen? Definitely pear and gorgonzola.

Quiet – What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Read or blog.

Recipe card box – Y/N? What does it look like?
I have a cookbook cabinet, and it’s mostly books. Cards are in a binder.

Style of house – What style is your house?
Built in 1997, it’s whatever style they were building that year (not Craftsman… Erin, help me…). All the houses in our neighborhood have white porch rails and paned windows. We took down our porch rail but our house is still as boring as all the others.

Tablecloths and napkins – Y/N?
Yes for both, though no tablecloth for everyday dining. I don’t like cloth napkins because WHERE DO I PUT MY GUM?

Under the kitchen sink – Organized or toxic wasteland?
A little of both.

Vacuum – How many times per week?
Only when it needs it. Sometimes not even that often.

Wash – How many loads of laundry do you do per week?
I hear Victor doing a lot, maybe 5-8 loads a week. I sometimes do one.

X’s – Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?
I love lists.

Yard – Y/N? Who does what?
I hate all yardwork. I want to hire a dude. Vic doesn’t like it much either, so our yards look like you-know-what. Neighbors across the street make ours look good so I hope they never move.

Zzz’s – What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
That makes it sound like I won’t go to bed unless the house is spotless. I’m falling over laughing RIGHT NOW.

As always: Now it’s your turn.

Jan. 19: Just. So. Painful.

Good thing I’ve still got some painkillers from my surgery last week. I need them after watching this.

Lord almighty. Regardless of who you voted for last November, you’ve gotta admit how nice it will be to have a good speaker for a president.

Jan. 19: Another meme

  1. Do you believe in seeing a rainbow after the rain?
    How do you believe or not believe in seeing a rainbow? You either see it or you don’t. Am I missing something mystical here?

  2. Do you believe in eternity love?
    As in, loving someone for eternity? Sure.

  3. What feeling do you love most?
    Contentment. (What does it mean that as I was typing “contentment” it came out “contempt”? Hm.)

  4. What feeling do you hate the most?

  5. Do you cherish every single friendship of yours?
    Most certainly.

  6. Who cares for you most?
    Probably that guy that touches my goodies.

  7. What do you think is the most important thing in your life?
    My family. Then coffee.

  8. What emotion do you like to show?

  9. If you have something troubling you, what do you do?
    Hold it inside until I get an ulcer.

  10. Who do you admire most?
    People who don’t hold things inside until they get ulcers.

  11. Who did you last chat with in a chat room?
    Chat room = Facebook chat? I think it was Sherilee on Friday night when she couldn’t figure out how to type an emoticon.

  12. What color did you use to dye your hair?
    The one with the prettiest girl on the box.

  13. Why are you doing this meme?
    Because it’s a habit; I steal memes from Chris on Mondays.

  14. What do you do when you’re moody?
    Get impatient and growly.

  15. At which age do you wish to or did you, get married?
    I always thought I’d be married in my early 20s but I got married at 28. Considering the choice I would have made in my early 20s would have been a bad one, I’m glad I waited.

  16. If today is the last day of your life, what will you do?
    Blog, probably.

  17. Who is the person you trust the most?
    My momma.

  18. Last time you smiled?
    Recalling my chat with Sherilee in which she couldn’t figure out how to type an emoticon.

  19. What are you listening to right now?
    The dogs chow down their breakfast.

  20. Who was the last person you saw in your dream?
    Can’t remember.

  21. Are you talking to someone while doing this?

  22. Do you walk with your eyes open or closed?
    I don’t have the best of luck walking as it is; walking with my eyes closed would mean certain death or disfigurement.

  23. Is there a quote you live by?
    The one I try to live by: “Let it go.”

  24. Who always makes you laugh?
    Victor, without fail.

  25. What was the worst idea you’ve had this week?
    It’s only Monday, but it shouldn’t be long.

  26. Do you speak another language other than English?
    Fluently? Not even close.

Your turn.

Jan. 18: Book reviews

I read four books this week and heartily recommend three of them.

I stepped outside of my preferred genre to read two young adult novels: I Heart You, You Haunt Me and Far From You, both by Lisa Schroeder. I met Lisa about 12 years ago when she was a Pampered Chef consultant and I was a frequent hostess/customer. We’ve stayed in touch over the years since she quit Pampered Chef and picked up writing, and I subscribe to her blog, which I enjoy immensely.

I Heart You, You Haunt Me is the story of a teenaged girl whose boyfriend’s ghost hangs around for a while after he dies. I’m not a fan of the supernatural so I didn’t expect the story to grab me, but Lisa’s writing style is so unique (opening the book, it looks like a bunch of poems; it is actually a story written in verse), and she develops her characters well. I was sucked in quickly. It was a quick read, but thick with emotion.

Far From You, Lisa’s second young adult novel, is also written in verse. This story has more adventure, which I enjoyed. I could relate to Alice, the main character, because her dad has remarried and she feels ignored and unimportant. She ends up trapped in the snow with her stepmother and half-sister for days, and through hallucinations brought on by fear, hunger, and desperation, her mother appears as an angel to remind her of what’s important in life. Again, the characters are realistic and Lisa manages to capture the mood of the situations well.

Yesterday afternoon I got to meet up with The Lovely Lori and her daughter Taylor to attend Lisa’s book signing at Powells. She talked a bit about her writing process and some of the responses she’s heard from readers, and she read a little bit from Far From You. One of the things I like best about attending readings/signings is to hear the author read their own work, to hear it read in exactly the way they had in mind when they wrote it. I read both of Lisa’s books as books, not as poems; she read them more like poetry. It was interesting, and made me appreciate the stories for their poetic style more than I had before.

Although I didn’t read it this week, I can’t leave out a quick mention of Lisa’s first published book, for baby-preschool age. It’s called Baby Can’t Sleep and is beautifully illustrated. Very sweet little story.

The third book I read this week was Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. I tried to describe it to Lori and Taylor yesterday and did a pretty bad job, so let’s see if I can do any better in writing. It reminded me of Water for Elephants in that it was a very different story from what usually interests me, and also that it completely captivated me. There were a couple parts that dragged, but most of the book was hard to put down. And now that I’m done with it I see that the parts that dragged were fairly significant and I simply didn’t “get it” at the time. The story is of a man remembering key experiences from his childhood, primarily one in which he is the sole human survivor of the sinking of a cargo ship. He ends up on a lifeboat with a hyena, orangutan, zebra, and Bengal tiger. He survives 227 days with the tiger as his shipmate, using surprisingly effective methods of training to keep the tiger from attacking him. It was somewhat similar to the Cast Away story, especially in the ways Pi learned how and what to eat to keep himself and the tiger alive. There were scary, suspenseful moments in storms and encounters with other animal life. The story itself was shocking and unbelievable, and that’s exactly what his rescuers said; they accused him of making up the whole thing. Comparisons to faith and religion are made that tie in with Pi’s childhood discovery and commitment to three different religions. Readers that are more familiar with world religions will probably see the correlations earlier than I did. I thought this book was excellent; it was well-written and the story was unique. I loved it.

The book I do not recommend? The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd. Although I thought the writing was interesting and the overall story was somewhat appealing, I had a hard time relating to Jessie, the main character. She felt unsettled at home and took an opportunity to leave her husband when her mother needed help. Not being able to put your finger on exactly what makes you feel unsettled is something with which I can certainly identify; leaving your husband because of it—in this case, anyway—seemed like a pointless solution and for me, that quickly turned Jessie into an unsympathetic character. An interesting aside: I was telling my mom—who loved the book—about my disappointment in Jessie’s choices and she said that for her, that part of the story was secondary to the relationship between Jessie and her mom. It’s all in what we as individual readers connect to, isn’t it?

Next up: Atonement or The Cider House Rules. I haven’t yet decided.

This is a good time for me to mention again the fabulous book trading site Bookins, which is where I get most of my books nowadays.

Jan. 16: Meh, what milestone?

Ah, the other shoe dropped. Er, um, the other tooth fell out. That snaggle-tooth look is not the most attractive, which is funny because I LOVE the missing-both-front-teeth look. During a pizza dinner this evening, Jack lost his other front tooth. These are the photos I just took of him, none of which really even look like him and one in which he’s trying not to yawn, to show off the gap in his mouth.

He was really excited and proud but within minutes was glued to Phineas & Ferb again. Now it’s all MOOO-OOOOM! WHY DO YOU PUT EVERYTHING ON YOUR BLOG?

Jan. 16: Manhattan Beach memories

Once upon a time, back in 1997, we went to Manhattan Beach for a weekend with Jim and April. While we were at a Dodgers game the first day, Princess Diana was killed. Every newspaper we saw and every TV that was on that weekend was covering the tragedy, and it was hard to avoid. Two years later we were in southern California again, all four of us, when JFK Jr. was killed. It was then that we decided maybe our southern California vacations were not very good luck for huge celebrities. We’ve vacationed together since then, but not in L.A. (You’re welcome, still-living huge celebrities.)

We were staying at a hotel in Manhattan Beach, so it seemed like the actual beach shouldn’t be too far, right? And wouldn’t that be a pleasant stroll? Wrong and no. Apparently even though the address of the hotel was Manhattan Beach, it was actually located in San Bernardino. It was a long, long time before we actually reached the sand. Even suckier? We had to walk back again and it was mostly uphill. Victor and Jim still remind me and April about this poor decision, as though THEY have never mis-read a map.

April’s an expert at researching restaurants before our vacations, and she had a Wolfgang Puck Café on our list for this one. It was on this trip that my love affair with most things Wolfgang began. That love affair has felt strained, though, ever since I watched his cooking show and he licked his fingers the whole time he was preparing food for his guests. Oscar partygoers, beware.

This trip was also at a time when I was a new Jetta owner and the commercial below was very popular. I decided that weekend that I needed to get the Trio CD so I could listen to the song anytime, and that meant I dragged Vic, Jim and April with me to 1,524 different stores to find it. I did not find it and Jim has still not forgiven me. However—and I’m sure he’ll correct me if I’m wrong or even if I’m right and he won’t admit it—Jim started my obsession because we frequently drove on Sepulveda Blvd. that weekend and none of us knew the correct way to pronounce “Sepulveda” and no matter how we said it, Jim always echoed with “Sepulveda-da-da.” So it’s totally his fault, right?

Wherever these guys are driving, some of the streets kinda remind me of Manhattan Beach. Also, I miss the VW commercials with the infectious tunes and silliness.

Jan. 15: Another Simon movie

Remember Simon’s cat? I’ve posted the movies on the blog before but here are the direct YouTube links:

First movie

Second movie

Third movie

And there’s a new one, starring Simon’s sister’s dog. This one’s kind of a public service announcement but it still manages to be cute.

Jan. 15: 7 things

Ok, everyone’s doing the 25 THINGS meme. There’s also a 7 THINGS meme going around and I keep getting tagged on both. I wasn’t going to do either because I blog about everything (and nothing) and I don’t think I need an excuse to share even more. But I don’t have anything else to write about today, so here goes. The instructions for the meme are to write random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. I chose to do the 7 THINGS meme because seven is less than 25 and I’m lazy as hell (#8, I guess).

  1. I could live in jammies and grab any opportunity to take a nap. I used to write them on my schedule in high school and college.
  2. I was raised Seventh-day Adventist but no longer have any interest in organized religion of any kind. I can easily list several specific events that helped me make this decision and if you’re SDA, they would all make you cringe (another post for another time). The only SDAs I still have regular contact with are those I respect as kind and loving people (you know who you are).
  3. My dad died unexpectedly in 2005. It took a year of grief counseling until I began to feel like myself again—but it was a new me, a me without her father. I don’t know for sure that anyone ever really recovers from losing a parent so much as they just adjust. I truly believe something inside me broke the day my dad died, and it makes me feel for those who grieve in a way I never did before.
  4. My greatest weakness: macaroni and cheese. My greatest strength: not answering “macaroni and cheese” when asked about my weaknesses in a job interview.
  5. I consider myself an open-minded person, but the truth is that I have no respect for inconsiderate a-holes and ignorance in general. My feeling is that when you make a conscious decision to ignore how your behavior affects others, you should lose the right to be heard. This applies to things as simple as parking like a jackass in a crowded parking lot and goes all the way to the big stuff like committing heinous crimes. Somewhere in there is denying the right to marry for two people who love each other.
  6. I have a hair that grows out of my neck. It’s black and very coarse and has outsmarted all methods of permanent removal. During the winter, when I wear more clothes and apparently pay less attention to neck grooming, the hair has grown long enough for me to wrap it around my index finger and yank it out. And that’s exactly what I do when I notice it, right after screaming at my husband for not noticing, and isn’t that why I got married in the first place, so someone would be there to tell me when I obviously haven’t noticed myself that there is a giant friggin’ hair growing out of my neck???
  7. While we’re on the topic of hair, I hate shaving my legs. I do it only when I absolutely have to, like before doctors’ appointments and on Vic’s birthday.

Consider yourself tagged.

Jan. 14: Out

I’m so tired of lying around all day every day. This morning when I woke up I thought, “I’m going to work today. I can’t stand this anymore.” Then I stood up and realized that I still hurt, and I hurt a lot. It had been more than six hours since my last pain pill so it made sense. I took a Vicodin—I’m slowly weaning myself off them; now I’m down to one every 5-8 hours—and went downstairs for coffee.

By the time I got to the bottom of the stairs I knew I was sooo not going to work today.

I ate a bowl of Cheerios, drank coffee, cleared my Google reader and answered some e-mails. I watched the last half of an old Law & Order (I swear, that show is on all day on some channel or another but I’m not complaining because I love it). I started to clean up my messy desk and decided I’d rather do something, anything, else.

The dogs get frustrated with me when I move around too much—“too much” meaning “more than twice a day.” I went back upstairs. The dogs sleepily followed me and were nervous the whole time I was in the shower, as they think showers happen just before they get left alone for hours. I put clean jammies on, played some Spider Solitaire, lay down, and read until I fell asleep.

When I woke up it was sunny and bright and I thought again about venturing out. I got dressed. Yes, in REAL CLOTHES! I couldn’t believe it either! Living in jammies for a week is awfully nice but it takes away all motivation to even open the front door.

I thought maybe a quick trek to the mailbox wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I bundled up and walked down the street. Twister, Dawn & Darby’s silly kitty with half a tail, was sitting under the mailboxes, and immediately began to scold me. I don’t know what I did wrong. Maybe Millie told her how lazy I’ve been all week. She rubbed just enough hair on me to piss off my dogs and ran off.

When I stepped back into the house the dogs looked relieved that I was FINALLY home, and they ran upstairs in front of me to cozy up on the bed again. And that’s where we are now.

I put on clothes, I got fresh air, I got exercise, and I got the mail. It was good to get out but it exhausted me. I’m done for the day, I tell ya.

Tomorrow I might try driving all the way to Trader Joes. Stay tuned.

Jan. 12: Monday meme

There’s just one question in today’s meme, but it has three answers:

Name three celebrities you’d like to punch in the face, and why.

  1. Kathie Lee Gifford. You drove us crazy when you overstayed your welcome with Regis, and now you’re driving us crazy on The Today Show. You’re a name-dropper and think you’re an expert on all things showbiz. You are not. You think you are funny and talented. You are not. You think you’re just like every other woman in America. You most definitely aren’t. Now get off my TV.
  2. Tom Cruise. Nobody finds you as entertaining as you believe yourself to be. “Pretending to be irate” is not “acting.” You’re not smarter than Matt Lauer. You’re probably not smarter than very many people, so stick to talking about what you know: tricking the world into thinking your movies are worth seeing.
  3. Ann Coulter. Every time I hear her start in again I am surer of it: If we ignore her, she will go away. She is a truly hateful person.

Your turn.

Jan. 11: Definitely maybe better

I fell asleep around 10:30 last night and was surprised that I didn’t wake up again until 2 a.m. On previous nights I woke up pretty much every time I rolled over or moved or breathed. When I got up at 2 I took some pain pills and fell right back asleep—another nice surprise. The next time I opened my eyes it was after 8 a.m. A good night’s rest, for really and for true! Of course, going six hours without pain pills did a number on me and it took a few hours before I could stop growling.

I also think we need a new mattress. We have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad bed. I’ve known it for a long time, but it’s much more noticeable when I’m aware of every single muscle in my body. Why didn’t I think of this last week, when I could have actually gone out and mattress-shopped?

Nothing else to report for now. Just busy gettin’ well.

Jan. 11: Dance like everyone’s watching

Y’know I have a bit of a thing for that yummy little Zac Efron. Yes, I’m old enough to be his mother—Victor reminds me often—but he’s such a cutie. I can’t help it. The heart eye wants what it wants.

Taylor, totally awesome daughter of The Lovely Lori, made a video of me dancing with Troy Bolton in High School Musical 3. I tried to post it here but it kept giving me error messages. Is it possible they have a cougar-detector built in to their video sharing service?

Taylor is also keenly aware of my sister’s love for Donny Osmond. Maybe because Kathy and Donny are BOTH old, there was no trouble posting that video.

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