Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gaffes and Gratitudes

I'm not feeling great this evening -- sore throat, stuffy nose, and that deep chest cough that makes me sound like a barking seal.  Traveling can sometimes do a bit of a number on me. 

I will be asleep shortly, but not before . . .


*Chewing off my manicure and, later, finding little pink specs in my teeth.  Festive.

*Wrestling to reload a giant stapler at work for 45 DAMN MINUTES only to find it's as simple as dropping the staples in the back end.  Over thinking and small machinery do not a love connection make.

*Ending up with my phone in the bathroom with me, no pocket to put it in and requiring the use of both hands.  If you think you could just tuck it into your bra without it falling out and shimmying all the way down your dress and almost falling in the toilet, you'd be wrong.

*Forgetting to put my veggie burger in the fridge at work . . . and eating it anyway.  How rancid can a veggie burger get?

*Attempting to Google Dr. Pornshei's contact information for one of my doctors -- Dr. PORN-shei.  So many boobs.  I had to give up.

*Somehow having "Promiscuous Girl", Katy Perry's "Part of Me" and "On the Wings of Love" on rotation in my head for a good 4 days.

*Wearing cotton pants for a Spin class.  Unsightly sweat marks is an understatement.  Thank God my sister had a sweatshirt I could wrap around my waist.

*Having my vacation include a trip to the dump.  If ever you are feeling really good and inspired about your life, go to the dump.  It will cure that right quick.


*A Colorado night sky.  I forget there are that many stars.

*Sweet smelling alfalfa on my clothes.

*The culinary perfection that is Taco Bell's chili cheese burrito. 

*The rogue packet of Emergen-C in my purse.  Sweet ambrosia when one is not feeling well.

*Alice B.'s wiggly bum and wonky ears greeting me at the airport.  She has recovered nicely from her glitchy pancreas.

*The Valentine's Day balloon D.R. got me that's still floating in our living room.  It's flying high.  It's flying high on the wings of love.

*My 86-year-old grandmother's face and hands.  I held them a bit longer this trip, know what I mean?

*She gave me one of her mother's rings.  Isn't it beautiful?


*Returning home.  Returning to work.  Returning to L.A. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Springtime for Isla

OK, I've been taking pictures for my April Photo a Day, but they have all been promptly overshadowed by my niece, Isla.  She and I have been playing on my mom's ranch. 

Changing the water for the horses.

Making sure the fences are in good shape.

Making tumbleweed declarations from the porch swing.

Giving love and pep talks to the horses.

Making sure those trees are sturdy.

Taking giggle breaks.

Contemplating life . . . and tulips.

Fitting things inside of other things.

And the hardest part of the morning . . .

 . . . moving the wood pile.

See, 2-year olds are very handy on ranches.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gaffes & Gratitudes: Birthday Edition

It's my birthday, folks.  I have continued the tradition of traveling for my birthday that I started when I was 30.  This year, I am with my family in Colorado.

Tonight we had wine, pasta, roasted broccoli, salad and Boston cream pie.  Never been a big fan of Boston cream pie, but it looked delicious in the bakery case with the inch of fudgey chocolate frosting on top.  I was not wrong.  It will make a delicious breakfast tomorrow.

While the gaffes have been plentiful over the last couple of weeks, I feel that I should revel in the gratitudes today.  Some days I feel so much older than I really am -- that too much "life" has been packed into these three measly decades.  But, I am grateful for the perspective and the wisdom, and I know they will serve me and hold me up as I continue to walk this life.


  • "The Humpty Dance" in my car on a sunny morning drive to work.  Digital Underground may not have stood the test of time, but you can't deny it's a damn catchy tune.
  • The perfect bag of oranges from Trader Joe's.  Seriously, every orange was delicious.
  •  The return of Joan Holloway, her amazing dresses and the hips that fill them out.  Go on, girl!
  • Real cookbooks, with bent pages and cooking splatters.  Just not the same on a Kindle.
  • Salads that don't have the tough, yucky lettuce stems in them; it's rabbit food.  Keep it out of my Caesar.
  • My first Orange Bang.   I think I had diabetes for 10 minutes after consumption, but it tasted like an orange creamsicle and laughter.
  • Walton Goggins on Justified.  Don't think I'll ever root for a backwoods, religiously conservative, neo-Natzy, criminal mind the way I do for him.  
  • The note from our neighbor admitting she hit our car as she pulled into the parking garage.  Bonus for being honest and forthcoming.  Double bonus that our car is so beat up, we couldn't tell where the damage was.
  • Finally figuring out what's been up with Alice B.'s belly this past week (pancreatitis) and having pet insurance to make sure she gets the treatment she needs.  Without it, there may have ceased being a Beefus.
  • That D.R. was a rock when the vet explained how a dog is treated for pancreatitits while I just sobbed.  I don't do well when animals are in pain. 
  • An evening of (too much) wine and early birthday presents around a familiar and loving dining room table after a tough week.  New baking dishes will always set you right again.  Is that just me?  Weird.
  • The mountains of Colorado.  Every time I come back, my soul is stirred a bit.  I love California, but I am tied to this land, for sure.  
  • The familiar and comforting feeling of driving a large dirty truck with mud on the tires and utility gloves on the dash.  You can take the girl out of the 4x4 . . .  
  • This sweet little sleeping face.  Kinda want to smooch those rosy cheeks all day long. 
A rare moment of stillness to snap a quick iPhone pic. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cancer Cardboard

More blood tests.

Every three months, for a year, I've got a date with a needle.  Last time was more drama than I thought I could handle.  But, the results were well worth it.

Last Monday, I saw my surgeon again.  When I had my first surgery, my surgeon (different dude) followed up with me one time to make sure my incision was healing well then passed my care over to an endocrinologist; I never saw him again.  My current surgeon does not operate--(heh heh, BOOM!)--this way.  I saw him a couple weeks after surgery so he could admire his handy work (he graciously cleaned up and straightened out my scar a bit), then he said he wanted to see me again in three months because he wants to be accountable for the work he's done.   

Accountability?  What?  Could you repeat that into my good ear? 

So, he gazed at me for about 45 seconds, palpated my scar and my neck, and asked how I was feeling on my new hormone dosage.  I told him I was feeling well, minus the intermittent pain I am experiencing on the right side of my neck.  He said it was normal to feel some pain and discomfort within the first year as the scar tissue settles and resettles.  I was relieved because some of the pains knock my logic straight into Sweet Jesus, I'm Dying! territory.  Pain is never a welcome thing, even less so when all I want to hear for the next 9 months is "your blood tests are normal" and "your scans are clean".  Settling scar tissue I can handle; a third recurrence and I will wreck some shit.

All in all, he was pleased with my progress and noted that January was my last round of blood tests.  Ugh, I knew what was coming.  I took his orders to the lab downstairs and winced as the lab tech stuck me with as much finesse as a drunken second grader.  OUCH!

Then, a week of waiting.

These waiting weeks always make me feel a bit off.  I feel like a child wearing a costume made of a large cardboard box, like a robot.  Remember those?  It's not a heavy feeling, but a hollow lightness that fits awkwardly.  I feel like I'm rattling and bumbling about, and I have to pause and pivot my whole body before starting in a different direction.  I feel like I lose the fluidity of motion, of thought.  I feel like I'm running after the much cooler kids in much cooler costumes yelling, "Wait up, guys!  I'll be there just as soon as I figure out how to maneuver this!"

Maneuver worry.

Maneuver cancer.

Maneuver life.

Aren't we all trying to figure that one out?

Thank the 8-pound baby Jesus, the results did come back in a week.  Thyroglobulin is still undetectable and my TSH level is down where we need it to be.  All good news, kids.  Wahoo!

So, my shoulders are straighter, my steps a bit more fluid, and the cancer cardboard box has been put away for another three months.  My birthday is next Monday, and I am once again excited and grateful that I have earned the year.  As Oriah, the author of The Invitation, says, "I don't want to know how old you are.  Your age tells me how long you have lasted but not what you have made of the precious time you have been given.  Lasting, enduring, is not enough."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Photo A Day, Week #1

Ugh, to apartment hunting.  Ugh, I say!  

That's what we've been doing for most of the week.  When we're not apartment hunting, I'm pestering D.R. with hypotheticals and What If's about moving and finances.  I'm weighing pros and cons and figuring out bus schedules to UCLA.  What's D.R. doing?  Saying things like, "I will be happy where ever you are happy."

Awwwwwwwwwwwww.  Luuuurve.

But seriously, dishwasher or central air?

You think about it while looking at my photo results from last week.  

Colour:  bushes outside my office.  California really does know how to do the color green.  

Mail:  weekly reminder of all the things I want to steal from Sur La Table.

Someone who makes you happy:  Ina Garten.  Just once I'd love to see her hairstyle change--maybe just part it on the other side?--but this woman's kitchen is my holy ground.
Tiny:  Eiffel Tower necklace from my mother-out-law.  Look, it even shimmers like the real thing does at night.

Lunch:  Oh, it looks so healthy, doesn't it?  Especially with that bag of cherry tomatoes on the left.  You should know that the bag of oatmeal cookies is not in this picture because I had eaten them prior to this lunch. 
Shadow:  my favorite photo of the week. 
Inside your wallet:  All the bits and slips of paper I've collected over the years:  quotations, pictures, love notes, my dad's business card.  They even have that funky wallet smell. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gaffes and Gratitudes

Still cultivating that gratitude . . . with the gaffes right on my tail.

  • Buying a tub of Trader Joe's peanut butter cups for "special treats" and "to share" and "to use for baking".  Then, D.R. and I blacked out.  We woke up with fistfuls of pleated brown wrappers.  You can prove nothing. 
  • Being of the age when the number of glasses of wine consumed directly correlates to the number of hours napped.
  • Having my boss call me out on a word I've been misusing for--oh, about a decade.  I tried arguing my logic . . . with my boss . . . the M.D. with a matching Ph.D.  I lost.  Proud of my college education that day.
  • Failing to wash my face or brush my teeth for three nights in a row.  Not great for my skin or teeth, but at least D.R. had a vision to wake up to. 
  • The moment I realize my contribution to the conversation ended about 7.5 seconds ago.  Now I'm hovering . . . j u u u u u u u u s t  hovering.  It happens more times than I'd like to admit. 
  • My pantyhose waistband rolling down and violently unleashing the Belly Beast.  It's never not sexy.

  • The rainy early morning run that filled me with peace and accomplishment and left no room for frustration in my day.
  • The lovely friend that challenges me and makes me ask myself Is that all you can do?  As Gina Barreca says, "Lorelei Lee got it wrong in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: It's not diamonds that are a girl's best friend, but your best friends who are your diamonds.  It's your best friends who are supremely resilient, made under pressure, and of astonishing value.  They're everlasting; they can cut glass."   
  • When I can extend my washed hair 2-3 days.  It may be funky but those up-dos hold really well.
  • Seeing my "site visits" number go up.  Thanks for reading, peeps!
  • D.R. bringing me flowers . . . because it's Tuesday.
  • Having two different conversations with married men who spoke so highly of their wives -- as partners, as professionals, as mothers.  We need more of these men in the world.  We need our daughters around these men so they know what a real man looks and sounds like.  
  • That my dad still finds ways to show he's hanging out with me . . . watching over me.
  • Fence hunting at the dog park. 
    Puppy butts.

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

    A Project To Save This April's Fool

    As if the Unemployment/Cancer combo wasn't enough in 2011, I also had to pay taxes this year.





    I've drowned my sorrows in a giant cupcake and a giant bubble bath.  I'm now in a pruney sugar-crashed state of relaxation.

    I have two choices:  descend into dark twisty pity spiral of anguish, or find a distraction.


    What to do . . . what to do?

    May I have another cupcake, please?

    I went looking for a project on Pinterest and found this simple but effective idea.  I have no idea who this woman is, but I like the look of her blog and I'm a terrible photographer.  Let the fun begin!

    Love that our bathroom's beige walls look green, helps bring out those luscious bags under my eyes.  That scowl is all I can muster for the IRS.