Sunday, September 30, 2007

not so fair

The Hater and I have had our weekend claimed by other people. We didn't get in until after midnight Friday night. We were gone all day Saturday, returning around 9pm last night. Our plans were to sleep until never-thirty today, but that didn't work out, either. Between honey-dos and a crying kitty, it looks like Monday will be here before we know it.

We're not the only ones who have had a crazy weekend.

Mom's childhood friend fell from the top of a ferris wheel at the county fair Friday night. The party line reports she fell about 30 feet and got caught in the axle of the ride. It took the firemen an hour to free her with the ladder truck, at which point she was immediately life-flighted to Vandy. She had surgery on Saturday and the party line reports that she's doing well today, all things considered. Her son's wedding is in about two weeks, but there's no word if they're going to change the date or not.

My friend is on her way home today because her cousin has gone into labor at 32 weeks. There is talk about a possible c-section and questions about the baby's heart. But that's all we really know right now.

I'm thinking we aren't the only ones who would like a weekend do-over.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

hypo eve

Among the things that I need to do tomorrow, I need to call my endocrinologists's office and ask them to call me in some of the short-acting thyroid medication into my pharmacy. That's right, folks, it's time for the third verse! Friday I stop taking my Synthroid (long-acting thyroid medicine), and start taking Cytomel instead (the short-acting version).

I'll stay on the Cytomel for four weeks... until the booger hits... when I'm on no synthetic thyroid hormones at all and get to enjoy all of the perks of being hypthyroid. I'll be on nothing for two weeks, during which point The Hater and I will also blow the dust off of the Low Iodine cookbooks and go back to eating sticks and twigs.

This is all in preparation for a lab draw, specifically for Thyroglobulin (tumor marker). If the tumor marker comes back higher than we think it should be, I'll take another Radioactive Iodine treatment for the thyroid cancer.

If the tumor marker comes back zero, then I won't have to take a treatent at all. The difference between this possible treatment and the possible treatments in my past is that this one truly is dependant on the tumor marker. The magical "IF" has come into play, which really is a step in the right direction.

IF... the tumor marker is low, then I won't have to take a treatment.
IF... my scan next spring is negative, then we can try to concieve.

It's nice to be at a point where the illusion of choices are present. Instead of choices that automatically end in surgery or mandated treatments, everything is now dependant on scans and labs.

Although it really is good news, it doesn't change the fact that I'm not looking forward to being pitiful or feeling like a zombie for a couple of months. It's been long enough since the last time that I did this that I don't entirely remember exactly how crappy I felt. I think that's a pretty nifty defense mechanism...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

boom boom in the bedroom

This post has been rated PG: Parental Guidence Suggested. Some material may not be suited for children.

It all started when we moved into the house and bought a king size bed.

It wasn't long after that before we realized that we needed more bedding than we already owned. Fortunately for us, we had been given a boatload of pillows as wedding presents. Ta-da. So we bought two pillow shams to kindof match the comforter. Except we realized that two pillows looked lost on the bed; we neeed three to go across the headboard. When we returned to the department store to purchase the third sham, we noticed how nice the fake beds looked with Euro Shams.

Off to another discount department store to purchase these fancy square pillows at rock-bottom prices. It was successful, but these three euro pillows have lived in the spare closet for three months because we've had problems finding the shams to cover them. Oh, we've found some that we liked, but we're just not willing to pay $100 for one pillowcase.

We're crazy like that.

The other problem was that we couldn't find a color that we liked. This would have all been remedied if we had purchased a bed set from a department store, but we're too cheap to do that. We found a green faux down comforter on a crazy sale, and went from there to find the shams (in a springy plaid) on sale, too. Once we decided to have an adult bed with pillows and such I asked for special permission to bring in a little pink into the bedroom. The Hater agreed to make me happy, and after I explained that the pink would only peek out behind the plaid shams that he picked out.

The problem is that most of the things this spring and this summer was based in pink with brown shams, and I wanted pink shams. I was hoping that this fall (when the browns came back into style) I would be able to find these pink shams... and that we wouldn't have to pay beaucoup for them.

Everytime we go to the mall I walk through the department store bedding section. I've even enlisted the helpful eye of our best friends to widen the search. I had just about decided that I would have to come up with something else. Until Monday, when my friend called to tell me she saw dusty pink euro shams at a certain supercenter for $10 a pop.

The Hater and I were out picking up laundry, so we swung by and found exactly what we were looking for... and while we were there I picked up a red king-size fitted sheet, too. I wanted to cover the box springs, which peek out between the mattress and the bed frame.

Some day we're going to have a put-together house, including a bedroom that looks like it could be in the penny-pincher Pottery Barn. Our plans were to turn the mattress this weekend, so we thought we'd do it up then.

And what does this have to do with the price of tea in China? (This is where the story gets good.)

Last night (at about 3:30am) the new bed BROKE. Two of the three slats that held up the boxsprigs broke over the center brace.* The boxsprings and mattress fell to the floor and we fell with it, waking up violently from sweet sleep. We rolled out of bed and quickly realized what had happened.

We wandered into the second bedroom and made that bed so that we could go to sleep again. We'd only laid there about a minute before we decided we should probably go pull the mattress and box springs up out of the floor because we didn't want the weight to break the bed frame, too. It was a comedy of errors because neither of us were awake and the foam mattress was heavy as a mug.

When we were finally ready to go back to sleep again the cat, who at this point had been running in circles around the house, wanted us to know that she was not a fan of all of these noisy shenannigans. She hollered and cried for the next two hours, unconsolable, pitiful, and certainly unhappy that her hiding place had been revealed. (If she had been under the bed when we fell, this would have been an entirely different post.) She stopped crying and went back to crazy-circle-running after our alarm went off.

So this morning at about 6:15 I called home to seek advice from Mom and Dad before I had to go to work. I was measuring the length of 1"x3"s that we'd need to put Humpty Dumpty back together. We had thought we'd get two (8") braces to support each board instead of just one because it was the one center brace that the boards split over. It made total sense to us, even if it was an overkill.

After work this evening The Hater returned to the house with new slats and braces. ($35 from the chain hardware store) We spent the next hour and a half drilling holes, screwing scews**, and reinventing the wheel. We now have 6 double-supported slats under the bed.

This was a fantastic opportunity to go ahead and put the red fitted sheet over the newly braced boxsprings. It looks really good, and once the sheets get out of the dryer we'll know exactly how thrifty chic our bedroom has become.

But I am a little nervous about going to bed tonight.

* "Boom! Boom!" was the sounds that woke us up as each slat broke and we fell to the floor.
** An electric screwdriver is now on our Parkes Peanut list. Pass the word.

Monday, September 17, 2007

for the sake of research

Oh, those silly things we do for the sake of curing cancer...

We had major electrical problems this morning. It's always bad mojo when that happens and you're at a hospital. The really important places don't notice because they have generators. But I'm no longer in a "really important" place, so we were stuck in the dark.

Stuck in the dark with hundreds of vials of frozen blood. Study blood that lives in the study freezer... you know, the freezer that keeps everything -80 degrees F. The freezer that wasn't connected to an emergency generator. Enter "Bad Mojo", stage left. Cue dramatic music. Cue panic level orange.

The idea behind this research study is to collect blood (and freeze and send it off) to a lab that is in the process of developing a blood test to detect a certain type of cancer. A similar version of this relatively inexpensive test already exists for prostate cancer; it's called a PSA. The plan is to develop a blood test for people as the first level of cancer detection, then the people with eleveated tests would be the people you point to getting further diagnostic studies. They're probably still years away from developing that test, and then further years away from it being considered a standard of cancer care, but medical research has never been a fast process.

It's exciting, cutting-edge stuff in the oncology community and really has the potential to impact the future of millions of cancer survivors... so it was no small potatoes that the special freezer was on the fritz.

My vote was that we not panic. I was outvoted.

My vote was that we just leave them in the freezer, which would still be kept colder than if we took them outside and transported them to another place. I figured it was like being at home when the fridge went out and mama said that stuff wouldn't spoil so long as we didn't open the door. I was the only one who figured that and was again outvoted.

So we hand-carried hundreds of frozen vials across the street (in 90+ degree weather)... Our first stop was to the twin -80 freezer that was connected to a generator. There were more vials than we could carry in one trip, so we put the first set of vials inside and shut the door. When we returned with the second set of vials we found that the safety on the freezer was to automatically close if it got too hot (which was apparently -60 degrees F).

Enter Bad Mojo's cousin, "Super Bad Mojo", stage right. Cue panic level red. Cue six people in the office making frantic phone calls to figure out where we can put the other half of the vials as they are obviously no longer -80 degrees.

We ended up literally RUNNING them down the hall to a place that had dry ice. We had just finished packing them when I received a phone call on my cell... telling me that the electricity had been fixed.

This whole scenario took place in a time span of about an hour. Looks like Mama would have been right again.

We waited until after lunch to rummage all of the tubes back into the trunk of a car and return them to their proper home. We could be bitter, but two really good things came out of today. The obvious first, we protected the very vials that may one day be the pivotal samples that secure FDA approval.

Second, according to my pedometer I hit 10,000 steps before lunch. That means I don't have to walk tonight, which makes the whole fire drill worth the effort.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

visit to Germany (minus the jetlag)

By Germay we mean "Old Germany Restaurant". We decided to be spontaneous yesterday and ended up in Choctaw, immersed in all things German. We decided we didn't want to brave the crowds for Oktoberfest, so we made the trip in honor of an early celebration.

We entered the restaurant and immediately knew that this would be a fun experience. Perky German music was playing (some song about a girl named Heidi), and we were met with a huge collection of steins. The wood tables and chairs, not to mention the decor, sang of old world charm. The wait staff wore Bavarian dresses, complete with the lace-up bodice. If we hadn't seen OU/OSU posters in the back of the kitchen, we might have thought that we were no longer in Uglyhoma.

Neither of us have ever eaten authentic German food prior to last night. I remembered being grossed out by sauerkraut served at elementary school on pale green trays. The Hater had some bad canned sauerkraut memories. So, needless to say, it took us a while studying the menu before we were ready to order. There were lots of choices and fewer things that we could pronounce.

We were impressed with the binder of all the different types of alcohol they had; we've never been to a restaurant with a list that long. Because of the immersion experience, we both decided to have beer with our meal. ('when in Rome' and all...) The Hater had a really dark German beer that we couldn't pronounce. I had a house-brewed amber beer. They brought us huge glasses (0.5 L). The Hater, who isn't a beer drinker, was slowly pulled to the dark side (pun intended).

The Hater ordered schnitzel with cream sauce and potato dumplings. He said the beef was good and cooked well, and the peppercorn sauce grew on him by the time he finished the meal. The potato dumplings were more potato than dumpling, very dry, and a unique culinary experience that he would not choose again.

I ordered a steak with special herbal butter on top. My potato side dish was spatzle, a homemade egg noodle pasta thing. It was okay, but nothing really fancy. If we ever go back I would probably get something else.

We had high hopes for dessert, but quickly learned that the German restaurant orders its desserts from a French restaurant in town. So we had a piece of apple strudel cheesecake, which at least sounded German.

This was a really expensive experience. We very rarely spend that kind of money on a meal. We didn't know how pricy the menu was until we had already been seated... and by that point we thought we'd go ahead and continue our spontaneous immersion. We would go back if someone was visiting and was hankering German food -- or if someone else picked up the tab.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I fell last night.

In my head I was thinking it would only be a matter of time before I slid on the hardwood floors. I've even tried to be more cognizant of the threat and have kept on my shoes until the end of the day, the very end when I actually get into bed. I've tried to slow down around the corners and have resolved to myself that it's okay if I don't answer the phone while it's ringing. It's better to return a call promptly than to return it later because I was busy with ice packs after I hurried and fell.

This comes from a knowledgable, not-so-graceful past. I fell so many times at home that Mom and Dad quit coming to check on me when I fell. Even Sister would holler from the other side of the house, "You okay?" Yeah. Just thought I'd take a close look at how well we've been dusting. Don't worry, I'm fine. Just a bruised ego.

One of my best falls happened while I was at Ft Knox one summer at basic camp. The Army really liked to punish the entire platoon for one individual's mistakes. (I'm not sure how that teaches teamwork or leadership, but it sure did a lot for my push-up percentage.) Anyway, if one person was late for any formation, the rest of the platoon would "half turn to the left" and start doing push-ups. The DS would yell, "Down!" We'd go to the ground and yell, "Hurry the hell up!" The DS would yell, "Up!" We'd push and yell, "We're waiting on you!" So the poor person inside would hear us yelling, know we were doing push-ups because they were tardy, and then later we'd sit in the friendship circle and sing Kumbaya while we talked about our feelings.

Well, one night we were dismissed early, and a bunch of us took advantage of the opportunity to take a long shower. A long communal shower, mind you, but a long shower all the same. In the middle of my shower people start screaming because the DSes called a formation. I was soapy sudsy, drenching wet, and I wrapped up in a towel, grabbed my shower caddy, and ran back to the barracks. My second greatest fear was for the platoon to have to do push-ups because I was late to a formation. I ran in wet flip-flops on a tile floor, slipped, fell spread-eagle and watched my contents of my caddy slide under a dozen bunk beds. The man I feared most (Drill Sergent Goodnite) appeared out of nowhere and jerked me up by my arm, asking me if I was okay. "Please don't make them do push-ups because I'm late!", was my answer. I could have had compound fractures, busted my head open, and knocked out teeth, but my answer was, "If you want me to do push-ups, I will, but please don't make everybody do them." He asked again if I was okay, surprised at my answer. He instructed me to hurry safely and put my clothes on before I joined formation. I did in about two minutes, relieved only that I wasn't being told, "Hurry the hell up -- we're waiting on you!"*

Last night I was being so careful. I was walking slowly. I was watching where I was going. I was even still wearing my shoes.

I fell. The Hater ran immediately to my aid. To his credit, he checked on my to see if I was okay before laughing at me. And he helped me up, too. He even bragged on me for trying to be safe and still having my shoes on. And although I carried on last night, I don't even have a little bruise to show for my agile exploits.

And the moral of this story? Sometimes you can do all the right things and crap still happens.

* One of the last days of basic camp I was sitting outside shining my boots on the steps. DS Goodnite came up behind me to brag on my method. Dad had taught me to set the polish on fire for a few seconds before putting it out and spreading it on the boots to get a smooth shine. DS Goodnite said that's how he shined his shoes and wondered where I had learned that trick. It was drizzling outside and we talked like real people, not like a peon terrorized by a hard-core DS. We talked about Vietnam and home. And after we had been talking for a little while he stopped and looked at me, saying, "Are you sure you were in my platoon?" I kept polishing, "Yes, DS Goodnite. I'm in 4th squad." He shook his head, "I just don't remember you." I smiled, "No offense, DS Goodnite, but I've worked really hard to keep it that way." He smiled and nodded before going back inside.

And the moral of the post script? If you happen to be an idiot in front of people, try to do it in a way where they won't remember it was you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I knew a guy in college whose birthday was September 11th. When I first learned of this I thought, wow, that will be easy to remember because he used to be an EMT. (Get it? 9-1-1 !) I thought of all the birthdays, 9/11 was probably in the top ten coolest to have. Among other things, it's not so close to a major holiday that you get hosed on birthday wishes.

I can't remember his name for the life of me, but I remember that his birthday was 9/11.

After the initial week of shock after the towers fell and we were all glued to the news broadcasts (looking away only when they would repeatedly show the scenes of people jumping), I realized that all the 9/11 tragedy made me forget my friend's birthday. We weren't close, but the 9-1-1 memory aid really made an impression on me.

I called him up with belated birthday wishes. I wasn't really sure what to say. I asked how his day was, but he said it was a real bummer that everything happened on his birthday. He said that he had made plans, but they stayed home to watch the news instead. I told him the story about why I will always remember his birthday - now more than ever, but I would remember it first as being 9-1-1, not 9/11. He said he doubted that he would ever be able to enjoy his birthday again - and he said it in a way that people say things in the movies, lacking only a cue of background forshadowing music.

Today is another anniversary for the survivors of those who lost friends and family in the terrorist attacks. This day deserves to be remembered and honored for their needless deaths. The rescue workers need to be honored (and given the best of medical care for their health problems they have acquired because of working at Ground Zero). This country needs to be honored for pulling up their boot straps and working together, for donating money, blood, prayers and their time during a dark hour of need.

These things are important to remember and protect, but the show must go on. Those of us who remember need to tell all of the stories. We need to take the batton and run with it.

I'm making a conscious effort today to send birthday vibes to my friend, Mike. I hope you're having a fantatic day and that you are able to celebrate with those you love with a blind abandon. I hope you're doing well and seizing every moment for it's full potential. I hope you have lots of cake and ice cream or beer and pizza, that you get your fill of whatever gluttonous celebration you choose tonight.

And, honestly, from the bottom of my heart, I hope you're making progress putting the 9-1-1 back into 9/11. Today my heart goes out to you and everyone else celebrating a special anniversary.

Friday, September 07, 2007

special helper

A certain furry companion is being absolutely precious tonight. Somehow she knows when The Hater is out of town... and it's those times when she turns into sweet cat. My anti-lap cat has sat beside me all night, following me like a puppy from room to room.

I think she knows that my only goal this weekend is to clock as many hours sleeping as humanly possible. My humble attempts will no doubt pale in comparison to her olympic sleeping marathons, but I have good intentions to try.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


We have discovered cooking shows on tv. Which means we've also been trying out lots of different kinds of recipes that Nana never made. Some turn out okay, some are duds, but all are learning experiences.

A few weeks ago we saw a chef on Bravo's "Top Chef" make "Bacon-wrapped Shrimp", Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Grilled Corn & White Cheddar Cheese Grits. The Hater loved the idea of shrimp and bacon; I loved the idea of anything served with grits. So Monday we got everything together and came up with a big mess... a big tasty mess. I'm not a shrimp person, but my piece was really good. The Hater was excited that we had left-overs.

We've also been cooking with our new tajine after we saw someone cook with one on the Food Network. I don't remember the chef or the show, but the premise is that he goes around the world and eats awful things that would make Americans cringe. He eats some wild stuff, most of which we would never intentionally recreate in the kitchen. But on one episode he ate some kind of organ stew out of a tajine, but talked about how you could cook regular food in one, too. We had never seen one before and were intrigued-- so much so that The Hater picked one out for his birthday. We've probably cooked with it 4 or 5 times since then, and each time has been a success with easy clean-up. Last night we had another easy tajine dinner -- and The Hater has taken its leftovers to work.

We do not claim to be foodies. Serious chefs would die if they knew that we paired everything with whichever box of wine is open (or The Beast if we've recently had beer dogs). But we are so proud to have a kitchen where we can both work at the same time, and we like cooking for our friends. In my world that's more important than the most refined palate, at least on the days that we don't nuke a frozen pizza.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

preseason predictions

The Hater would like to announce his XLII Super Bowl prediction:

The AFC champions will be the New England Patriots and the NFC champions will be the New Orleans Saints... and the winner of the 2008 Super Bowl to be held in Arizona will be the Patriots, again.

The Titans are currently on year two of the "Five Year Super Bowl Plan". Vince is progressing nicely, and the rest of the team is steadily making improvements. We're hoping for much larger improvements after this season. Our prediction for this season is the same as last season - that they'll go 8 and 8.

Peyton will make the playoffs because he's the bombdotcom. Unfortunately, The Hater thinks they'll lose the second round of the playoff.

The Hater also predicts our Vols will have 4-5 losses this season. That includes our last loss to Cal. (I asked if it would be 4 losses or 5 losses, and he said, "I don't know. I can't tell you now." I don't know if that's because he was concentrating on beating the video game or if the Magic 8 Ball in his head kept reading "Ask again later.")

There you have it. You can't beat free advice. Approach the Sports Book with faith -- and without your entire roll.