Merry Christmas

"Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you, to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old? Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world, stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death? Then you can keep Christmas! But you can never keep it alone."
 -Henry Van Dyke

White Christmas Eve

It's snowing like crazy this morning. (This...middle of the night?) Kind of a bummer because I wanted to go to Lubbock tomorrow to catch up on some last minute Christmas shopping. Maybe it will have melted off enough by the time I wake up to make it an easy trip. Even if it doesn't, the hassle is kind of worth it for these pictures:


I love the way dogs react to snow after they haven't really seen it for a year (or ever, in Marlowe's case.) Fun.

Longest Night

Solstice. Tonight is the first official night of winter, and the longest night of the year. It is also the night that is set aside to remember those for whom the holiday season is not the happiest time. In the extra hours of darkness tonight, take some time to think about, say a prayer, light a candle, whatever it is that you do, for those who are struggling with something right now. It's a night to remember those who have lost a loved one, who are living with mental illness, who are without a home, or anyone who is struggling. This has been a difficult year for many people out there, let's not allow them to get lost in the bustle.


Here's the last picture taken of me with all my internal organs:

Justin took me to the surgery center yesterday afternoon. I was super terrified. We were early and so sat around with my dad, siblings and aunt for about an hour before they called me back. You know, just so that I could build up the nerves a bit more. My terror was fully reflected in my blood pressure reading of 163/116, (the previous week in the office it was something like 112/60)  which prompted them to take an EKG. Everything looked fine, and so we moved on. It is possible, that my blood pressure was so high because they took it shortly after starting this, the most painful IV EVER:

That picture was actually taken -after- surgery, so I'm getting ahead of myself. Anyway, after my blood pressure came down to that of a semi-normal person they let me hang out with a saline drip for awhile so that I 'd be hydrated before surgery. (I hadn't had anything to drink in about 10 hours at this point.) Then they kicked my aunt (who was such a huge support throughout this, I cannot even begin to imagine where I'd be if she hadn't been in there.) out of the room, gave me a dose of Versed (otherwise known as "I don't care serum" and wheeled me into surgery. The last thing I clearly remember is moving from my gurney onto the surgery table, and worrying about how much of my butt the OR tech guy just saw. Then I was out.
This is what everyone else in the room was seeing:

Yes, those are my insides, looking like burnt meat...which is, I guess, what they are. The gallbladder is all white like that because Dr. Howe cut off it's blood supply. Isn't my liver lovely and pink? Please ignore the large mass of yellow fat.

What seemed like about 3 minutes (but was really nearly 2 hours) later, I was waking up back in my recovery room. I don't really remember any pain at that point, except that my bladder felt like it was absolutely going to burst. The conversation went something like this:

Me: I need to pee. (probably more like AHneepee)
Dr. Coleman :You can't stand up yet.
Me: I REALLY need to pee. (REALNEPE)
Dr.Coleman: In a minute!
Me: My back hurts. (beeeheh)
Dr. Try scooting up on the bed.
(Apparently anesthesiologists are fluent in the language of post anesthesia garble.) My mouth was filled with lidocaine jelly from the tube that was down my throat during surgery, which didn't help any in the enunciation department.

They made me scoot up on the bed (very difficult) and I suppose at that point, determined that I could use my legs. Dr. Coleman and someone...a nurse? OR tech? I have no idea, helped me to the bathroom, which is when I realized that I was in a lot of pain. I also realized that I looked like hell:

And that my mouth felt like someone had stuffed it with a stick of deodorant. Which is why in that picture I'm drinking what could possibly be the worst Diet Sprite in the world. A few minutes later my family came back in to see me. I'm a little foggy about everything that happened right around then, but I was glad to see them, and happy that it was over with and extremely happy that I still had morphine running around inside me. Justin helped me get dressed, which is when I saw my incisions for the first time. They look like this:

There's also one just at the bottom of my belly button, but I couldn't see that one until later because of the swelling. There's a little hernia behind it, so they had to go in at a different place than usual, but whatever. Now, the tiny hole on the left up there is bleeding and gross, but no one seems to think it's anything serious.

I also finally got to look at the rocks that I've been growing inside me:

I'm kind of proud that they're so uniform in size and shape. If you're going to have gallstones, they might as well be attractive ones, right? So, that was that. Last night I had a weird reaction to my Vicodin, which not only made quite the chatty Cathy, it made me itch all over. Causing me to scratch open one of my glued together incisions. I've switched to a different pain pill, so hopefully that won't happen again tonight. So far the Darvocet has just made me sleepy. I was in and out of the car frequently today, and I'm having kind of a lot of pain. I also have some mysterious bruises on the back of my left arm the shape of fingerprints, which I can only assume are from them moving me back to my gurney from the OR table. I have no memory of that little switch, which is probably for the best. The number of people who potentially saw my butt right then must have grown dramatically. I'm not sure why I wasn't allowed to wear my panties, nothing was going on below the waist, but whatever. And that's the end of that. I feel lucky that I'm not having any of the pain that's normally associated with being blown up like a balloon for surgery. There doesn't seem to be any leftover gas floating around inside me, and all the pain is right around the incisions and deep inside me, where my barbecued guts are. Apparently it could be much worse. I'll be going back to work on Sunday.


It's only 10 hours until my surgery. (It would have been shorter, but they scheduled it for 1pm, who does that??) I -know- that it's not a big deal. And I -know- it will be over in a hurry and that I'll feel better (in about a week), and I -know- that I'm stressing out over nothing. But I'm still freaking out. I've never had anything invasive done before and while I'm really interested in invasive procedures, it's not as much fun when it's my body they're digging around in.

4 Days

On Tuesday when I knew that my surgery was 8 days away, that sounded like a long time. On Wednesday "one week" still sounded a long way away. But now it's only FOUR days, and that sounds much too soon. Especially since I'll be working for the next 3 days and work days always -fly- by. Stress level: 5.

Christmas Sweaters & Pap Smears

I made the dogs Christmas sweaters. It's been really cold here, and Maybe, especially, has been shivery since we had to shave part of her hair to treat eczema.. Marlowe is always shivery since he's got such short hair. Anyway, I think they like them.

You can't really tell in the picture, but they're kind of a dark blue-green and shiny! They're also super soft. I feel crafty. -grin-

Moving on, has anyone else seen this stupid  commercial from CBS Cares, suggesting that, as a Christmas gift (there's actually a Hanukkah version too), husbands should schedule pap smears for their wives?

Whose idea was that? I'm pretty sure that if I received a pap smear for Christmas, from anyone besides my OB/Gyn, they would be in a world of hurt. I'm also positive that I'm not the only girl who feels this way, so to all the significant others out there wondering about the perfect gift, go for anything but a cold speculum and an exam room.


I'm not super into babies, but I don't see that there's any possible way to watch this video without laughing.It's my absolute favorite thing right now.

It's Official

I saw the surgeon (Dr. Howe) today, and it's official, my gallbladder will be sucked out next Wednesday, December 16. So that's um...about one week, 7 hours and 20 minutes (give or take) from right now. Yay? I'm nervous, but I know I'll feel better and it will be good for it all to be over with in any case. Plus, I heard a rumor that I'll get a video of the surgery. Sort of like a gift with purchase, who can resist that?

Also, since I might miss my (horrible) gallbladder, I think I'd like one of these cute plush ones. Except that I'm bothered by the fact that it's purple and not green...hmm. (That website has lots of stuffed organs by the way, if, you know, you're just dying to own a cuddly pancreas.)

Taco Saturday

Justin gets the credit for this one. I found the recipe, but he did all the work. He says it was really easy, and so it must be. Please excuse the bite taken out of the taco in this picture. I couldn't resist for long enough to get Justin to bring the camera.

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos:

1 bag frozen corn (I used the kind that has both white and yellow kernels, mostly because it's pretty.)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
3-4 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on how many people you want to feed and whether you want leftovers.)
About 1 cup of salsa (Whatever brand you prefer, I used medium heat Pace, you can also use more or less depending on your taste.)
Taco shells (obviously)
A palmful of taco seasoning.(Again, however much you like.)

Put the chicken, corn, beans, taco seasoning and salsa in the crock pot on low heat. There's no need to stir anything at this point. Just stack it up and turn it on.

In about an hour, stir everything up.
Leave the mixture in the crock pot on low heat for about 5 hours.
Check the chicken. If it's done, use a fork to shred it up, stir everything around and put it into heated taco shells.

Justin ate his with Mexican blend cheese, but I don't like cheese on my tacos. These were AMAZING. Much better than I even expected. It was nice to wake up to dinner already done. The house smelled amazing, and I think they're generally pretty figure friendly, for tacos.

The Thermostat Wars

It's winter. We can all agree that we're officially into December, there has been snow on the ground and candy canes are readily available on the shelves at the supermarket. WINTER. It being winter, one has to acknowledge that the previous summer levels for the central heat/air are no longer applicable. Especially when there are LARGE windows in the house letting the winter air and SNOW in. It is officially time to turn on the heater.

My dear husband (who is, at this very moment, decreasing his core body temperature even further by eating ICE CREAM)  doesn't see it that way. He thinks that 60 degrees is a perfectly reasonable temperature to keep the thermostat on all the time. Even when it being set that low keeps the heater from kicking on. My toes are blue, people.

So here's the scenario: I come in from work at the coldest possible time, just before dawn. I am freezing. My breasts are ON FIRE from the cold and I'm shivering and tired. I see the thermostat set on something like "Antarctica" and so I turn it to a reasonable temperature (70) before crawling into bed, in layers of clothing and socks. Justin gets up, sees the reasonable temperature on the thermostat and immediately breaks into a sweat. He's melting...MELTING!! He turns the heater back down to freezing. By this time I'm super drugged and sleeping under a gigantic pile of blankets, pillows and pajamas so I don't notice. When I get up, it's FREEZING again, and we have to have a fight about his ridiculous expectations for the temperature in the house. I maintain that if I'm wearing layers and layers of clothing, am wrapped up in a blanket and still have blue fingers that the heat should be on. One shouldn't have to wear gloves in their own home.  He says it should never, under any circumstances be on and I'm a weenie. So yeah, that's been the weekend.

Couldn't Resist

How cute are my nieces and nephews? So sweet it makes my teeth hurt.

Rocky Road

Ok, so apparently everyone thinks my gallbladder could possibly rupture, (bad!) so we're moving more quickly that I really wanted to on this surgery thing. Today I went for my "official" (apparently it's only official if it costs money) ultrasound and this is what we saw:No, that isn't actually my gallbladder, but it looked -exactly- like that. The radiology tech (who was very unpleasant) wouldn't print me off a picture. I'm going to try and get a picture of my actual gallbladder scan from my doctor tomorrow. He's a much nicer person than Veronica or whatever her name was. (It's almost certainly not Veronica. Unless I have some previously undiscovered psychic abilities.) In any case, we're looking at December 9 or the 16. I want to do it on a Wednesday so that I don't have to miss much (if any) work. It'll be nice to have it all over with before Christmas, anyway.

So that's the plan. I'll post more when I know more.

Pumpkin Pi

You know you're laughing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Doo De Doo

Yes, I know it's been 2 weeks. I just haven't really had that much to say. After crashing, hard, from depression for a couple of weeks, I finally got brave enough to talk to my doctor about it and get some help. I'm feeling much better, better than I have in a very long time, actually, so that's good. I feel stable and  energized and like I can cope with everything appropriately again, and it's been years since I felt like that. Once again, Dr. Landry saves the day.

 It was super important to me to take something that a) wouldn't turn me into a zombie and b) had minimal side effects. I think we've found that with Pristiq. The only real side effect I'm having right now is freakishly dilated pupils, and they (they being the internet and Dr. L) tell me that it will stop pretty soon. Another side effect is that I've been having pretty crippling cramps in my legs and arms for a couple of days. I just assumed that I was dehydrated (since I'm almost always dehydrated). Nope. Apparently the Pristiq lowers the amount of potassium in my blood. Most people don't even notice that, but my new asthma inhaler (Symbicort) also lowers potassium, so I've been hit with a double whammy. Luckily, potassium is cheap, and that's an easy problem to fix. A small price to pay for sanity and the full use of my lungs.

I'm leaving in the morning (Ok, noon, but that's early for me.) for a quick trip to the Dallas area. That should be fun, and then on Saturday we're having "Thanksgiving" at my dad's house. They want me to make my super-yummy-delicious-twice-baked potatoes, but I really don't think about white potatoes being a holiday food. -wrinkles nose- I asked my dad if I could do sweet potatoes instead and  he seemed to be happy with that, as long as there are marshmallows on them. Well, duh. For actual Thanksgiving, I think we're going to Amarillo/Panhandle to see Justin's family, but no promises. It really depends on how our finances are, whether there's ice on the road and how well Justin thinks the car will do on a semi-lengthy trip.

The Swine Flu & Other Stuff

I got my H1N1 vaccine yesterday. I haven't noticed any real side effects, except that the injection site is slightly swollen and itchy (still) and I've had a pretty persistent headache since just after I got it. So, not too bad. No fever, no aches, no oinking. Excellent. If you can, get vaccinated. (Although I wouldn't recommend the inhaled nasal vaccine, because it's a live virus, and if you're sick or immunocompromised at all, you'll regret it.)

I'm mad at my OB/Gyn because he allowed one of his patients to be treated very badly by an anesthesiologist last week. This is not okay with me, under any circumstances, but especially these specific circumstances. I'm pretty sure I'm going to fire him over this. So, there's that.

I've decided to wait to have gallbladder taken out until summertime. There are a few reasons for this:
 1. I'm scared, and a big believer in procrastination in the face of fear.

2. I might be uncomfortable (all the time) or even in a lot (LOT) of pain (occasionally), but it's not going to kill me (almost certainly). And while the surgery itself can be covered by payroll deduction, the ultrasound is going to cost me $100 (plus $100 deductible) and I'd rather not spend that $200 on something that's intangible right now. There are other things that I want/need in the near future.
3. If I have surgery now (or in the next couple of weeks), Justin will be in school a) the day that I have the surgery and b) most of the days when I'm recovering. I'm not interested in having (minor, but still painful) surgery at a time when he a) won't be able to take care of me, b) won't be available to drive me to/from the surgery center, and c) doesn't need all the extra stress of my surgery when he should be worrying about school.

Moving on, Justin is doing very well in school. He's actually taken care of real patients at this point. He's officially allowed to give people drugs now. The whole thing is very stressful for him, but I think it's going to get (at least temporarily) better for awhile.

This -n- That

I'm posting primarily to distract myself so that I don't buy new jeans and a sweater dress over at We'll see if it works.

1. You may remember that about six weeks ago Justin and I got new glasses. It has not worked out well. After wearing mine for less than a month, I left them at home, safe on the coffee table, one night when I went to work. When I spoke to Justin later that evening he told me they were broken. Not just a little broken either, completely irreparable. The metal stem that holds the earpiece on has been twisted off. We have no idea how it happened, but I suspect the cats are to blame. (Aren't they always?) In any case, I was able to glue the earpiece on, which works when I'm wearing them, but they can't be closed to fit into a case. This worked for about 2 days, until, one night at work, I was watching TV in the breakroom when a montage of ankle rolling came on. (Why!?) There is nothing that freaks me out more than ankle rolling, so I reflexively threw my hands up to cover my face, breaking the newly mended glasses. -sigh- Back to EyeMasters it is.

2. We've been invited to a Halloween party on Friday. It kind of sucks, because I'm super excited about the party (whee!), but before I received the invitation I agreed to work a 12 hour (ugh) daytime (double ugh) shift that day. Suck, suck, suck. I'm going to put it in writing, right now: I will NOT take any more day shifts. It's too hard to switch my sleep schedule back and forth and it takes a full week for me to feel rested again. It also irritates Justin. On top of my work, Justin has clinicals that day for school, and I'm not really sure how he's going to get there, I'm going to get to work, and we're going to meet up for the party. But we -are- going damnit, end of story.

3. I found out that the deductible on my insurance is less than I thought it was, and that the hospital will do payroll deduction for medical bills (something like $25 per check) and so I'm going to try and have my gallbladder out before Christmas. It's just getting worse, I'm sick all the time, and, thanks to the nice ultrasound guy, I have seen with my own eyes that there are a whole pile of stones in there. I'm scared about having surgery, but excited about the possibility of feeling better.

4. The new inhaler I got from Dr. Landry last month is not working. It's also having the same side effect as the old one (chest congestion), and my insurance doesn't cover it. I'm going to have to call and ask for something else. This is mostly a reminder for me to do that, because I keep forgetting.

So, what's going on with you this week?


Not to brag (well, maybe a little), but I made the -best- dinner tonight. The full, original recipe can be found here, gotta love that Pioneer Woman. So here's the breakdown, for those of you who don't follow links:

1 small bag of Irish potatoes. (This is about 15 or 20 little potatoes.)
4 large heads of garlic.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup semi-dry white wine
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Quarter the potatoes, and cut the ends off the garlic, to expose all the cloves. Arrange them around the pan and drizzle with the olive oil and wine. Take extra care to coat the top of the garlic cloves. Kosher salt and pepper to taste. (I also used a little seasoned salt.)

Toss to coat.

Cover tightly with tin foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

Uncover and bake for 20 minutes.

Broil on 500 for about 5 minutes.

This is when the "official" recipe ends. But here's what I did to make it a full meal:

During the last 10 minutes of cook time, I shredded up a rotisserie chicken (into large pieces), then when the potatoes and garlic came out of the oven, I mixed them with the shredded chicken. You will have to (of course) remove the roasted garlic cloves from the papery skin, and take care to smash them up a bit when you mix the chicken with the veggies. The garlic gets mild, sweet and nutty as it roasts, which is delicious, so even if you think it will be too strong, use it! I've been afraid to cook with fresh garlic for years, because it's typically not a flavor I enjoy if it's very strong, but roasted, it's a completely different flavor.

As Promised

I like Meghan McCain. I know that probably comes to a shock to any of you who are familiar with my true-blue, Democrat-to-the-core politics, but it's true. I think she's funny, smart and surprisingly reasonable for a Republican. She's definitely not one of the crazy Republicans who hang around town hall meetings stirring up trouble.

So when I found out that people were throwing a fit over a -completely- innocuous picture that she posted on Twitter, I was pissed. The critics say that she's showing too much cleavage. And yeah, there is some boob there, but it's a tank top, not a corset and panties. Meghan is a curvy girl. Unless she puts on a turtleneck, there's probably going to be cleavage going on. She commented that she was spending the night at home with a book. Looks like pajamas and bedhead to me. People need to get over it. No one's complaining about Jeff Flake's shirtless photos. In fact, he seems to be getting a lot of brownie points for that.This is a ridiculous double standard.

Rant Over.


I'm taking a suggestion from Random and posting pictures of my bookshelf. It's really dusty, because, well, I live in West Texas, and even if I dusted yesterday (and you can't prove I didn't!) it would be dusty again by today. Also, I forgot my Zyrtec this morning, so I only managed to dust the first two shelves before turning into one solid histamine reaction, so that's what you've got pictures of. You didn't want to see all the chick-lit and Terry Pratchett books anyway.  Here goes:

This is my top shelf. From left you see a picture of my feet, Other People's Love Letters, Cautionary Tales for Children by Edward Gorey (Shannon, you need this book.) Lyrical and Critical Essays by Albert Camus, My French Whore: A Love Story by Gene Wilder (It's soooo good!), The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, which was a graduation gift from my best friend in high school (Yes, I was that girl.), The Song of Songs, The Dictionary of Superstitions (because I'm highly superstitious) The Chronicles of Narnia, Ophelia by Lisa Klein (Hamlet, told from Ophelia's viewpoint),  PostSecret, The Joy of Sex (Which I didn't know was up there, and I should have moved it, because my dad is here all the time.), Human Sexuality: Diversity in Contemporary America (Which is a textbook, and therefore father-friendly.), and Mosby's Medical Dictionary. (Because Justin is in nursing school and I'm a huge geek, and wouldn't let him sell it back. Plus, I might be superstitious, but I also believe in science.)

Moving on to the second shelf:

From left: A picture of a dandelion (Yes, I took that, and I'm very proud of it.), The Quotation Dictionary (Which belonged to my Aunt Eva Pearl who used it when she went around giving Dale Carnegie talks.), The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Bedlam: A Year in the Life of a Mental Hospital by Dominick Bosco (This book is non-fiction, and the scariest thing I've ever read.), The Secret History by Donna Tartt, The Witch of Cologne by Tobsha Learner, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (As I said, I'm a huge geek.), Love & Desire (This photography book is less pornographic than it sounds, but not much.), The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (if you haven't read his stuff, you should.), and Listography: Your Life in Lists. (This is a really fun book, who doesn't love to make a good list? I filled it out on an airplane a year ago.).

There you have it, my bookshelf. You'll have to remember there are three more (dusty) shelves, and about a hundred books under my bed right now, but I think these are a pretty good representation of what I could be reading at any given moment.

That was fun. Thanks Random.

Come back tomorrow, when I'll talk about the "scandalous" Twitpic that Meghan McCain posted yesterday.

Bum Bum BAHHM!


The hospital I work in is recently remodeled, very stylish and generally doesn't give anyone that creepy "I'm in a hospital" feeling on their skin. That said, whoever paid for the remodel, didn't think that it was important to pretty up the non-patient areas, so the ground floor (really the basement, I don't know who they think they're kidding with that G) basically looks exactly like you'd expect a hospital built in the 50s (or maybe the 70s) to look. Plain white, slightly shoddy tile on the walls, ugly linoleum and no windows. (I told you, it's a basement.) It's all together a very different environment than the cheerful "there are no sick people here!" schtick that the rest of the building has.

Adding to the creepy, institutional feel of the place is the fact that along the hallway are a series of doors with large, yellowing signs proclaiming THIS DOOR MUST BE LOCKED AT ALL TIMES and THIS DOOR IS NOT TO BE OPENED. Every time I've been down there alone, I've walked on the opposite side of the hallway to avoid something jumping out from behind these doors. What could they possibly keep in there? Is this secretly the psych ward? Zombies? The logical part of my mind knows that it's probably just trash bins or something, but it still creeps me out. Did I mention that the cafeteria is downstairs? During the day, this negates the creep factor a bit, since there are loads of people getting meals down there. Safety in numbers, you know.

Anyway, a few nights ago I had to venture down to the ATM machine in the middle of the night, and so I boarded the elevator, completely forgetting that the basement would be even creepier after hours. I walked down the hallway totally pretending that I wasn't prepared to flee at any moment, and nearly jumped out of my skin when a transporter came running, full tilt down the hall. I may or may not have let out a strangled little "eep!" Or possibly a big faah!!! Anyway, regaining my composure and trying not to think about what he possibly could have been running -from,- I made it to the "pantry" which is what they call the vending machine room where the ATM lives. I got my cash and, feeling somewhat triumphant, headed back to the elevator.

Blocking my way was one of THE DOORS. It was open, in a direct violation of the DO NOT OPEN signs. Crap, crap, crap. I let my the reasonable part of my brain (yes, I do have a reasonable part) take over and walked past the room. Not being able to resist facing my fear, I looked to my left and I found this:

That's right, folks. A single, pink, helium-balloon. There was nothing else in there. Every time I think about it, I dissolve into giggles, because it's so weird and ridiculous. Justin thinks the lonely balloon makes it even creepier, but I love, love, love it.

I'm still not going down alone at night again.

TMI? Maybe.

I'm not exactly a seductress. Yes, I know, you're all very surprised. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an innocent Amish girl or anything, but frequently when I try to channel Bette Page, I fail miserably. (Much like the woman in this video.) Not to give too many intimate details away, (or cause anyone who might be related to me to scratch out their eyes) but I will tell you that in the (very) recent past an "event" ended with someone in the room saying "what are you doing?!" and someone else saying "I'm turning you on, I'm turning you on!!"


Oh well, it's funny least to one of the parties involved.

AND, for the record, NO ONE WAS NAKED. So stop thinking about it!

Return of the King?

Does anyone else see the face of Elvis in my massive, ugly blood work bruise? (It's not just me, Justin sees it too.)

What if I make a diagram?

 I'm pretty pleased with my Elvis bruise. Primarily because had it been an image of the Virgin Mary, there'd be a gaudy shrine in my front yard. I also might have had to remove my arm and auction it on ebay. 

Pancake Bunny?

I don't know why this bunny has a pancake on it's head, but I like it. Perhaps I need more sleep.

More weird art by Dan Lacey Here.

The New Doctor

I went to establish myself as a patient (I think that's a funny term) today with my new PCP. I was nervous, because the last time I had my very own doctor for things like the flu was 6 or 7 years ago, and she was kind of...bitchy. Since then I've just gone to the doc-in-a-box clinic, which always takes forever and exposes me to so much crap that I usually go home sicker than I was before I went in.
 So, my appointment was at 8:30am on Wednesday. I got off at 6:30, found my way over to the office (across town) and hung out, reading, in the parking lot for the next 90 minutes. It was COMPLETELY worth the wait. Those of you who follow my Twitter (over there ==>) already know that I luurrrve Dr. Landry, now I'll tell you why.

His office was comfortable, I didn't wait in the lobby for more than 5 minutes before I was called back and his staff were all super nice. (As an added bonus, I've lost 5 pounds since my work physical. Yay!)(Yes, I'm aware that 5 pounds is practically nothing, but it's not like I've been making any effort to lose weight, either.) The doctor himself was very pleasant and answered all of my questions. He appeared interested in me, as a person, not just any symptoms that I might be having, and he actually listened when I told him that I'd been having problems with some medication. He also told me that if I was feeling sick or needed to be seen for some reason, that I could always walk in at 8am or 4pm and someone in his practice would be available to see me without too long of a wait. It was the best experience I have -ever- had with a physician, and I feel almost elated. (It's similar to the feeling after a great first date. But in a totally appropriate, non-sexual tension kind of way.) I had no idea that a doctor's visit could be like that. I vote that we put Dr. Landry and Terroni in charge of health care reform. Especially the parts regarding actual patient care, not just money, which is what everyone else seems to be focusing on.

I Like This:

“And so we ignore our greatest gift, which is our ability to enter into solidarity with those who suffer. Those who can sit in silence with [others], not knowing what to say but knowing that they should be there, can bring new life in a dying heart. Those who are not afraid to hold a hand in gratitude, to shed tears in grief and to let a sigh of distress arise straight from the heart can break through paralyzing boundaries and witness the birth of a new fellowship, the fellowship of the broken.”

-Henri Nouwen


I spent the last week fully convinced that I had MRSA. You should not be surprised to learn that my primary concern was not imminent doom, but how to get rid of it before my gynecologist appointment on Thursday. Seriously, nobody wants -anything- gross going on that particular day. Especially since a disgusting skin disease is not going to help in my attempt to convince Dr. K that I need some form of permanent (or at least semi-permanent) birth control. In case you're holding your breath, I'll just tell you in advance that this will be a failed attempt. I've tried every year for the past 5 years. You'd think that the fact that I've been consistent in my demands requests would be a good indicator that I won't wake up one day and say "hey, I think I'll have my tubal reversed!"

In any case I do not have MRSA, just some sort of contact dermatitis from either the harsh detergent that they use on my work scrubs or possibly my shaving cream. A little hydrocortisone cream seems to have (mostly) cleared it up. Continued care and I won't feel compelled to wear legwarmers to my doctor's appointment. Or maybe I will. The 80's are coming back, right?

Cheap Date Night

Justin and I are not as broke as we used to be, but still poor enough that occasionally we have to find super cheap entertainment for our date nights. Here's tonight's cheap date:

The supplies:Remember these?We also needed warm water, but that's not a very interesting picture.Nothing's happening....So Justin tried an alternate method:
Finally it "hatched."And now we have a whole flock of monsters.

(This isn't the whole date. The capsules were surprisingly less fun than we remembered from our childhoods. We also have a pile of Netflix movies.)

Life List: Learn to Like Coffee

I've been anti-coffee for years. I don't like bitter flavors and I don't like hot drinks and I don't have the patience to wait around for something to brew. For a short time, I couldn't even stand the smell of the ground beans on the coffee aisle at the grocery store. However, coffee has become a statement in this country, much the same way that tea is an institution in the UK and Ireland. There is nothing that can't be solved with a cup of tea (there) or a cup of coffee (here). There's also the fact that every time someone offered me coffee and I refused, they acted like I was crazy or had an immature palate. Plus, I'm a sucker for accessories, and coffee shops always have great mugs, etc. So I decided that I'd either have to learn to like it, or suck it up and drink it even if I didn't.

Step 1. The coffee make at work makes surprisingly good coffee (for coffee). When I switched to a night schedule, the first few nights I really needed the caffeine boost to get me through, and in the beginning, I never had money for the soda machine. I'd mix half a cup of coffee with half a cup of milk and more sugar than any person has a right to ingest after the age of 10. Every week I upped the coffee and cut down on the milk (and after that first night switched to Splenda). So now my coffee looks (and tastes) more like coffee and less like a milkshake.

Step 2. Justin has wanted a coffee maker for years. We had one for awhile, but I (accidentally, I swear!) broke the pot and we had to throw the whole mess away. A couple of weeks ago, we ordered a Keurig. It makes one cup of coffee at a time, so I don't have to worry about scorched coffee sitting around in the kitchen, and I don't have to wash a pot. As an added bonus, it brews the coffee in individual pods (k cups!), so I never have to clean up coffee grounds. (Bleh.) It brews in about 2 minutes, and is -exactly- the right temperature, so I don't have to wait for the coffee to cool off enough to drink.
There are hundreds of flavors of coffee, and K cups that make hot cocoa and various sorts of teas. It's very fancy. I like Timothy's Donut Blend coffee with Italian cream flavored creamer and I feel just like a grown up.

Gotta Get Outta Here!

The Texas Board of "Education" has voted to remove Neil Armstrong, Caeser Chavez, Thurgood Marshall, Stephen F. Austin (?!), Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Franklin D. Roosevelt (among others) from history and social studies textbooks. They also plan to add references to Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh (among others) because "liberals outnumber references to people that identify themselves as conservative."

There are a lot of reasons why this is ridiculous, but don't they realize that it’s not surprising that a social studies text would tend to focus more on the people who push for social change? (Generally people classified as 'liberals.') You don’t tend to get into the history books by maintaining the status quo unless you fail spectacularly at it. (-cough-RickPerry-cough-)

Another proposed change in the social studies standards, known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, includes referring to the United States as a republic instead of a democracy in order to insinuate that "republican" is better than "democratic." Brainwashing much?

Here are some more great accomplishments that my (and I use that term loosley) state has made:

Texas is ranked
*49th in teacher pay
*1st in the percentage of people over 25 without a high school diploma
*41st in high school graduation rate
*46th in SAT scores
*1st in percentage of uninsured children
*1st in percentage of population uninsured
*1st in percentage of non-elderly uninsured
*3rd in percentage of people living below the poverty level
*49th in average WIC benefit payments
*1st in teenage birth rate (With my very own Lubbock in the lead)
*50th in average credit scores for loan applicants
*1st in air pollution emissions
*1st in volume of volatile organic compounds released into the air
*1st in amount of toxic chemicals released into water
*1st in amount of recognized carcinogens released into air
*1st in amount of carbon dioxide emissions
*50th in homeowners’ insurance affordability
*50th in percentage of voting age population that votes
*1st in annual number of executions

This is a popular bumper sticker here:

Perhaps someone should market one that says "Living in Texas? Get out while you still can!"

Life List

I'm taking a cue from Maggie and putting together my life list. This isn't everything that I want to do, but it's a good start at getting it down on paper. I tried to only list things that I think I'm actually capable of accomplishing, eventually, and a few things that I already have. (It's encouraging if you can mark a few things off from the start.) Here goes:

Learn to speak French
Crochet an afghanVisit India
Live in a home I'm proud of 
Decorate said home perfectly
Learn to walk safely in heels
Assist in surgery

Develop a signature style
Go to a fancy spa and get the works
Visit the Winchester Mystery House
Get perfect porcelain veneers
Work on a political campaign
Find just the right perfume
Learn to like coffee
Live through a moment when real history is made
Take my nieces to Europe
See Willie Nelson in concert
Win a hand of Blackjack in Vegas
Learn to make activated charcoal soap
Live in a blue state
Attend Carnaval in Brazil
Bask in the sun on a beautiful beach
Have a drink named after me
Direct a musical
Own a professional grade camera
Learn to take really good pictures
Learn to make Nan's cherry cobbler
Have a llama and a donkey as pets
Grow a vegetable garden
Learn to make margaritas from scratch
Go on a real honeymoon
Throw a rockin' Halloween party
Personalize my own nail polish color
Go to Disneyland
Go to the Tony awards
Hit 50 thousand visitors on my blog
Sing karaoke
Ice skate in Rockefeller Center
Go one full year without falling down
Develop my digital photos
Own a mac, see what the fuss is about
Get a professional bikini wax 
Read all of Ovid's Metamorphoses
Own a hybrid (or fully electric) vehicle
Visit Monaco
Hold hands with Neil Patrick Harris 
Purchase designer sunglasses
Avoid losing designer sunglasses
Learn about my great-grandparents
Visit Salem at Halloween
Live in France for a year
Learn to make a really fancy dessert
Host a holiday dinner at my house

  • The Best Thing Out of England

    If you aren't listening to Florence & The Machine, you should be.

    The music makes me want to dance around in a really primal way, which may not be attractive, but -feels- amazing. Better than chocolate. Better than sex. Better than drugs. (Just guessing on that last one.)

    Speaking of drugs, there's a PSA playing here that says "7 out of 10 high school students say they've been offered illegal drugs." How much of a loser was I in high school, that nobody offered me drugs? In fact, no one has -ever- offered me drugs. 7 out of 10? Clearly I hung out with the wrong crowd. (Or the right one...)

    Nightmares Coming True!!

    So, the first time I taught a class by myself, it was 3rd grade. Throughout the morning a little girl complained of an earache, so when the nurse finally arrived (they only work something like an hour a day at each school!) I sent her to be looked at. About 30 minutes later, the nurse came in and told me that she was sending the child home because there was a bug in her ear and she needed to see a doctor. A. Bug. In. Her. Ear!!!!! From that moment forward, this has been my very worst fear. It's the primary reason that I refuse to go camping.

    Right now, we have these bugs in our house.

    They're called cucumber beetles, and they're tiny. I'm not sure why they're in our house, since I'm not growing cucumbers, but whatever. It's not an infestation or anything, just a few that sneak in when we open the door at night. For some reason, they're really drawn to my bedroom, and I'll find one my bed occasionally. (You know, as I'm turning back the sheets.) I get rid of them and it's all fine. (Do you see how calm I am? Not having a nervous breakdown at all...) Except it's -not- fine, because if there's a bug on my pillow, chances are it's going to end up on me somewhere. Or worse, in my ear. Auggggh!

    Then, quite suddenly, the bugs were gone. Every year, this area gets some sort of plague, beetles or crows or locusts, and they always disappear as quickly as they arrived. I thought that was the end of it. I stopped checking my bed. TERRIBLE MISTAKE.

    Then it happened. I woke up a few days ago, unsure of what had startled me. And then I felt it. A tickle in my ear. I thought it was my hair (the new short layers are always tickling my face) so I moved to brush it away and there it was. A. BUG. IN. MY. EAR. Auggggggggghhhhhh!!!! I screamed and jumped around and got it out, but now I'm a total basket case at bedtime. I wake up a thousand times a night (day) to check my pillows and my ears and it's a total nightmare. FAAAAhh!!

    I can't wait 'til winter.

    In a completely unrelated note, Wonka Gummy Puckerooms are a very naughty candy:

    Too Sick for a Real Post,

    but Justin sent this to me, and I think it's funny.

    Click on the picture to make it big enough to read.

    So, It's Been Awhile

    I know, it's been over three weeks since I posted. Sorry. There's not really that much to say. Work is busy. Justin got started to nursing school, which you can read about over on his blog. He'll be there 5 days a week, for basically 12 hours a day, so I'll see him probably only on Friday afternoons and Saturdays, which is kind of stressful. Since I started (and he stopped) working, he's been very good about keeping up the house: doing the dishes and vacuuming, etc. I guess those chores will fall back to me now, since his 5 days make my 3 days look like cake. Oh well, I actualy enjoy dishes as long as I've got my ipod, and the vacuum is broken anyway.

    Yes, I'm aware that this is the most boring post ever, but I'm tired and feeling all edgy, so it's going to have to do. Something is better than nothing, right?


    My cat was run over by a car. I've had him for 8 years, and so, am very sad. I love his little round face, and his cuddly nature and his super soft fur. I got him the first year that I felt like an actual grown up and will miss him so much.

    Actinic Keratosis

    I officially have insurance now, and therefore, can afford to have some things sliced off my body, like this suspicious mole:

    No, that's not Actinic Keratosis, but this is:

    So my question is, how do you let something that starts out as a suspicious mole grow into a HORN? Seriously, when she first noticed the spot, maybe she didn't think anything of it, but really, you'd think she'd have thought to do something about it when she noticed that not only was it not going away, it was turning into something out of Legend.

    Please Welcome...

    Erika Grace Burleson

    July 8, 2009
    9:28 am
    Officially: 7lbs, even.
    Really: 6lbs 15.8 ounces.
    20.5 inches long.

    Go on, I'll wait while you acknowledge how beautiful she is.

    Done? Okay. I had the unique and remarkable honor of witnessing her birth, via cesarean section on Wednesday. It was the most amazing (and scary) thing I have ever seen, so amazing in fact, that I'm going to OR tech school so that I can see as many c-sections as possible. But this isn't about me.

    My sister, D'Liesa, was amazing. Watching her get her epidural was one of the most agonizing things I have ever witnessed, (it wasn't as quick and easy as usual, I think) and the things that are involved in getting a baby out? Yeah, very effective birth control. D'Liesa was totally tough, and the payoff, obviously, was worth it.

    We'll be calling her Gracie.