Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it. We're off to the relatives in a few hours but first it is time for some Steelers football!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Baking, Baking, Baking

This morning I managed to hit 5 stores in just over an hour. I was very proud of myself. I started at WaWa (must have Kona coffee), then went to CVS for a few final stocking stuffers, then to the natural pet food store for some "dental chews" to improve the dog's buffalo breath, stopped at the new pretzel place (3 for a $1), and finally got baking supplies at the grocery store. I came home and baked a babka (a Polish sweet bread) and then baked 4 loaves of Amish Friendship bread (we are giving them along with other things to our many hosts over the next 3 days). I also did 2 loads of laundry.

All of this was made possible by the fact that on my first day of vacation I woke up at 7 fucking o'clock. Now if the Christmas gifts for The Wife would wrap themselves.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What to do?

When the wife is in the hospital I feel very much at loose ends. Last night I cleaned out the cabinets under our sinks, the vanity drawers, and the medicine cabinet. I started cleaning because we are collecting supplies at work for the local womens' shelter but once I started I couldn't stop. This evening I am puttering around waiting for Mythbusters to start. I still need to put the laundry away (I promised The Wife I would do that) and water the Christmas tree. I should brush the dog who is just a mess. She was stinky and a mess before today but then dog walker took her for a walk in the rain. I have completed our holiday Excel spreadsheet and averaged what we spent per person/couple this year and last. We aren't done with the shopping but we know what we are getting for people and how much we will spend for the gifts we haven't purchased yet. I still need to do "stocking" shopping for The Wife but I have no desire to go this evening. Even the dog is at loose ends. She keeps wandering around and taking her cookies for a walk.

So, what should I do to entertain myself?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Well Said, Sir.

If you have any interest in the on-going debate over Christianity and being queer go read this article. I have been making many of his arguments for years, although he argues it far more eloquently (and with great biblical references) than I ever did.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

This is my nightmare

Flying is often painful for me because it does something to my gut. In order to reduce the pain I sit there pooting away. No choice really. This is my nightmare. Although I do know better than to light a match on an airplane these days.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

So THAT'S why I hate to shop

Today I remembered why I hate to go shopping. Shopping makes me have to poop. I have no idea why. Today, I had to stop at the mart of K for some random stuff (forgetting it was a weekend during the Christmas season) and a.) the place was completely packed and b.) the act of shopping in large stores (eg, Kmart, Costco, Target, Borders) makes me have to poop. Who wants to poop in a store bathroom? Certainly not me. However, one has no choice. It is very weird and it happens all the time. Doesn't matter what time of day it is, doesn't matter if I've eaten just before shopping or not, doesn't matter whether I need to buy a little or a lot. I have to make a stop in the restroom at some point during my trip. This happens so often I have MEMORIZED where the bathrooms are in the stores we shop in most frequently.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Eh. Not much to say

I haven't had much to say lately. I thought that I would spend my long weekend (and oh it was blissful to have 4 days away from the office) blogging at least some. But it came and went and I don't think I even signed on to the computer. Work is slowly returning to normal and I don't have thoughts of my co-worker who died first thing in the morning and last thing at night any more but I'm sort of just going through the motions right now. Maybe it is the time of year with the shorter days or the "Season of Obligations" that is making me want to be anywhere but at the office but I'm not sure.

On some level I am really schizophrenic about this time of year. I'm not big on re-decorating the house for a month [part of that is because Jesus is not and never has been my Lord and Savior despite my Christian childhood] but I like to look at everyone else's decorations, I like having a Christmas tree in the house but I hate putting it up and decorating it, I don't like to be bothered to send cards but I do it anyway, I struggle mightily to select an appropriate gift that the recipient wants/can use and I get peeved when people give me gifts that they gave no thought to (and that's a really bitchy selfish horrible feeling because I should be pleased [and I'm sincere here] that they cared enough to get something for me at all.)

I saved this post for a while and now the weather has changed (it's seasonably cold now), we've done much of our Christmas shopping, we aren't going crazy with the decorating this year, and I just am feeling better about things in general. It's a Sunday morning, I've had my coffee (and bizarrely, I might have chipped a molar on my granola), and now I'm sitting here looking at the sunny day with my favorite poochie sitting on the arm of the recliner. We have only one obligation today and otherwise I get to putter around. Puttering makes me content. I guess in the long run content is a good thing to be.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Life Changes in an Instant

I usually follow the rule of not blogging about work or the family. It seems to have worked for me so far (in the brief time I've been blogging). Today I will break that rule. On Tuesday, November 14 a co-worker and friend died suddenly of a massive heart attack. She was 41 and leaves behind a 19-year-old son, a husband, her parents, a sister, a brother, and many, many others. I won't name her out of respect for her family. She was a good friend, a conscientious co-worker, and a wonderful person. She touched many lives in a quiet way. I've had to tell various clients of mine with whom she worked about her death and they all had nice things to say about how pleasant their interactions with her had always been. She was a smiling presence in the office and is conspicuous in her absence. I like my job and when I got up in the morning I didn't necessarily think "WOW, I can't WAIT to get to the office" but I also didn't have strong feelings against going there. When I was there it was a pleasant place to work with chit-chat, smiles, and occasional laughter. All the joy has been sucked out of the office now. On Tuesday we will close the office and attend her funeral en masse and then it will be time to return to "business as usual" but I don't know if we can right now.

Even though many of us spend 8+ hours a day with our co-workers we may not see them or think of them when we aren't at the office. I know that, in general, I don't. We all go off to our own lives at night and on the weekends and often our lives are quite different from our co-workers. Now I can't stop thinking of my co-worker and her family and work will never be quite the same.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Doesn't he have better things to do?

This story just horrifies me. Doesn't the Kansas AG have anything better to do? For example, he could investigate this.

As someone who has had more than my fair share of GYN problems I don't need a politician running for re-election to start digging around in my medical records even if they don't have my name on them. I don't see him digging around to find out if every case of STDs has been reported, even though some of those could have come from rape or incest and would be evidence of a crime. He is doing this to scare women away from abortion clinics even though his personal beliefs should have nothing to do with his job prosecuting CRIMINALS. These women and their doctors are not breaking the law. As long as people are abiding by the laws in their state, what they do with their bodies is not the business of ANY AG. People seem to forget that women have minds of their own and are quite able to decide what to do with their own bodies. Leave the decision of what to do about a pregnancy to the woman who is pregnant, anyone she wants to discuss it with, and any doctors involved. No one else has the right to interfere.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

NJ Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Marriage

A friend just asked me what I thought of the recent NJ Supreme Court ruling on the right of gays to marry.  I was disappointed. We have only to look at recent history in South Africa to see that "separate, but equal" doesn't work. In all honesty I don't care what they call it but from a legal standpoint I think it matters. I don't think African-Americans and Whites who were affected by anti-miscegenation laws would have been happy with anything less than marriage rights and I don't think Queers should be either. However, civil unions are a half-step forward. I think all unions sanctified/registered/whatever with the state should be called "civil unions." Then, if you want or can get your religion to sanctify your union you can call it a marriage. If your church wants to give you special rights because you have obtained a "marriage" they can. But in the eyes of the law there should only be "civil unions." The State doesn't currently make a distinction between people who are married in a church or by a judge or by a justice of the peace.  I think it would be an easy change for the State to make.

I think we should all be equal under the eyes of the law. Once again, it all goes back to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence upon which this Nation was founded.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Stealing Elections

If you have any interest in getting free and fair elections back in the United States, go read this Rolling Stone article by RFK Jr.  I am absolutely disgusted by my county's decision to use Diebold machines.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I don't get it

This morning on NPR  I heard the political correspondents discussing how the Republicans were going to start airing an ad on Sunday showing Osama bin Laden with his quotes about wanting to destroy the US.  I do not understand how this is beneficial to the Repubs.  For 5 years, this guy (who did, in fact, have something to do with 9/11/01) has been on the loose and we invade Iraq instead of putting all of our resources towards capturing him.  This is a reason why the Democrats can't "keep America safe?"  It just astounds me every time ObL is invoked that no one (especially the journalists) says "Hey, you've had 5 years to strategize and decide how to capture him and instead you've been busily invading Iraq and creating a civil war there and completely destabilizing the Middle East."  I couldn’t believe Mara Liason didn't bring it up.  What the hell am I missing? Do people really buy this bullshit? 

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Today is sponsored by the letter "C"

The Wife gave me a Handspring handheld planner as a wedding gift.  For 5 years it has functioned as my address book, calendar, and note pad.  Then in July I got a CrackBerry through work (and a new personal cell phone within the same month).  I have restocked the cell phone with phone numbers but it is taking me ages to move the stuff to the CB.  I have to be on my work computer, attached to the network, and logged in to email so I can access Contacts.  Granted, it is much easier to move stuff using Contacts and the full-size keyboard rather than giving myself CB thumb trying to key it all in that way.  Today I decided that I have to add a new letter each day.  I'm up to D now.  At this rate it is going to take me until Thanksgiving to get it all in.

Congress sucks

This article really pisses me off, especially the part where they imply that it was up to Gerry Studds to figure out how to provide his husband with his Congressional pension should said husband outlive him. If Gerry Studds husband was named Deanna instead of Dean, he would be automatically eligible even if they had gotten married last week and not 2 years ago (in MA where gay marriage is recognized.) FUCKERS.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Yes, I am wearing pants.

This morning, I walked over to The Wife's side of the bed to kiss her goodbye like I do every day and she gave me a very odd look.  Then she looked me up and down.  I realized that she thought I wasn't wearing pants (I'm wearing khaki-colored pants today).  I wished her a good day and, as I walked out the door I said "yes, I am wearing pants."

Friday, October 13, 2006

YUM! Prosciutto.

My favorite Italian deli has opened a branch in my town.  It used to be a 45 minute trip for fresh ricotta, fresh mozarella, and prosciutto, sweet capocolla, and Italian ham.  Now it is a quick jaunt and is practically next to my favorite bakery (don't like the bread from the Italian deli.)  If Trader Joe's would open a store in town I think I would never have to leave (except to go to work

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

National Coming Out Day

We're HERE, We're QUEER, Get USED TO IT!

Sorry, I was back in my Washington protest days. Ahhh, to be young and in graduate school again.

Today is National Coming Out Day. If you are gay, tell someone. If you are straight and supportive of gay rights, tell someone. If you are homophobic, try talking to someone who is gay (or straight and supportive) without judging.

I have a pretty good life. I have a wife of 10 years (Hi BooBoo), a good job where I am out and where my relationship is treated like any other (well mostly) and where domestic partner benefits are offered, and a family who tries very hard to accept me and The Wife. I have good friends who generally make up for any shortcomings in the relationship recognition department from the family. I also have the world's best poodle who provides more unconditional love than one person needs (in the form of copious doggie kisses.)

While my life is good, life for gay Americans is not always so rosy. You can still be fired from your job (or not hired in the first place), you can be discharged from the military, and general discrimination is legal and openly practiced against gays. Unless you are a Massachusetts resident you cannot marry in the US and foreign marriages are not recognized here. The state and federal government confer many benefits upon married couples and gyms, golf clubs, museum, insurance companies etc extend benefits to those who are "legally" married. In short, while I work full-time, pay taxes, vote, and obey the law, I am still a second-class citizen.

Work for equality. When one person is oppressed, no one is truly free.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

WHOOPS! Or How to Scare Yourself at 7 AM

This morning I discovered the perils of eating fresh vegetables. One of the things The Wife and I enjoy the most from our CSA farm share is the beets. We make a salad of fresh beets, cucumbers, chick peas, and feta cheese with vinaigrette. We had been using canned beets in the salad until the CSA beets were available. Now we know all about the effects of beets on poop (to the uninitiated, fresh beets make it appear that you are bleeding out your bum when you poop.) We've both managed to scare ourselves when we forgot that we had beets for dinner the night before. Now, we announce "Beet Poop" while we are eating the salad to remind ourselves of the beet effect.

This morning, I scared myself because I peed red. It was at 7 AM, I didn't have my glasses on, and it was the last thing I needed first thing in the morning. I was completely flipped out but felt fine so I didn't run for the phone to call the doctor. I finally had a chance to check online (after I peed for the second time today and it looked completely normal) and beets can do the same thing to pee as they do to poop. Giant sigh of relief. I would have felt really stupid calling my Rad/Onc to report "blood in my urine" only to discover it was beets.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Mmmmm, Cheese

This weekend I decided to get back to cheese making. I stopped by the local dairy (and, no this is not the only place I can get "farm-fresh" milk) and picked up 2 gallons of milk. On Saturday I made a batch of mozzarella, which tastes like my most successful effort yet. Today I made a batch of whole-milk ricotta (you can also make ricotta from whey left over from hard cheese making). They only thing I would do differently the next time is drain the ricotta for 15 to 30 minutes rather than the hour recommended in the recipe. However, it is still pretty good.

Tomorrow back to the real world. I just tried to clear out my work email box (393 emails and 457 bits of spam) and I managed to get it down to 150. I'll actually read the 150 tomorrow when I can ask questions of the people who handled my account in my absence.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Review: SenseoTM Coffee Machine

Because the coffee at my office is horrible and I don't pass a good coffee shop on my drive into work, I entered a promotion to get a free SenseoTM Coffee Machine. I qualified and the machine arrived a few days ago. There is very little set up - you have to fill the resevoir with water and push two buttons simultaneously to flush the machine and fill the boiler with water. This process takes about a minute. Then I was ready to brew my first cup of coffee. I used the Medium Roast pods which came as part of the promotion. The coffee was weaker than I like but had a smooth flavor. No bitter aftertaste either. Probably a good coffee for the "average" American coffee drinker. I will try the Dark Roast once I've finished the medium. I also want to try the flavored coffees (I think they have vanilla, hazelnut, and Irish Cream). My parents are coming this weekend and my mother drinks decaf coffee so I picked up some of the decaf pods for Mom.

I have also promised the VP at work that I will share the Senseo with him. He's quite psyched. I'm sure I'll be sharing with lots of people once word gets around. I don't mind sharing the machine but people get to buy their own coffee pods. A bag of 18 pods is about $5 in my grocery store, although I know I can get the pods cheaper (and in larger quantities) online. Maybe this will be the impetus to get a pod-based coffee maker at the office.

I'm glad to be going back to work next week with my Senseo Coffee Maker. Now if I could just win PowerBall and not have to work at all...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In honor of "Talk Like a Pirate Day"

Your Pirate Name Is...

Skull Crusher Mistress of Death

Monday, September 18, 2006

Yes, Virginia, There is an Upside

Lest you think that there is no upside to endometrial cancer and radiation therapy, I am here to set you straight (ha, ha, ha). I will no longer have PMS or cramps and the lovely other symptoms that accompanied them because I will no longer have my period. I won't have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on pads and tampons. I will not sleep poorly 3-4 nights a month because of the aforementioned cramps etc. I will not have to spend a fortune on Advil because it took 4 Advil every 8 hours to manage my cramps. I will not feel too crappy to exercise 3-4 days a week. Not having had a hysterectomy for my endo CA, I have not been plunged into menopause. With luck I'll hit it around 50. My bladder still has its anatomical support so hopefully I will not need surgery at 48 to prop it up. Sure, having endometrial cancer at 34 and again at 38 is not a good thing but there is an upside. It's time to focus on the upside now that treatment is done.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Why I won't vote for Santorum

I won't vote for Rick Santorum because he's voted against an increase in the minimum wage 13 times in the past 10 years while voting an increase in his own pay 3 times (and he said he wouldn't vote for a pay increase.) He also believes that families should be able to live on one salary and when both parents work they are being "selfish." He said "Making people struggle a bit is not necessarily the worst thing"(reported in Congressional Quarterly Weekly 9/12/03). Of course, as a Senator (and party leader) he makes somewhere in the vicinity of $183,000. The median household income in Pennsylvania (in 2004 - latest I could find) was $44,131. He also didn't bother to pay the Penn Hills (PA) School District for his kids to attend a Cyber School for PA residents when his kids live with him in Virginia. Now the state (of which I am a taxpayer) is paying over $50,000 to Penn Hills to settle the matter. The man is an incredible hypocrite.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I have very little to say except "I remember." It was my first day back in the office after my honeymoon. I remember the brief time when we didn't know where a friend was (he took the PATH train to WTC every day), I remember not being able to get through to my sister (who works in Manhattan) on the phone, and I remember being glued to all day long. I remember my bosses acting as though nothing had happened and expecting us to work (I left the company less than a year later and I think their actions on 9/11/2001 had a lot to do with opening my eyes to the kind of people they are.) I remember the smell, the fighter jets, my neighbor's dwindling hope that her firefighter cousin would be found and then her dwindling hope that his body would be recovered. I remember going to the dentist and the dentist telling me that she was afraid one of her patients had been killed because he never showed up that evening for his appointment and it wasn't like him to just not be there. I was there when she got the call that most likely he had died. But most of all I remember that the next day my grandmother died at the age of 96 after having been in failing health for just under a year. I cannot separate the two events because my grandmother was so very important to me. I don't like to talk about 9/11 or think about it too much because it is so tied up with my grandmother's death. I feel guilty and selfish because my grandmother had a long, happy, healthy life and died a quiet, peaceful death in her sleep and more than 3000 people weren't afforded that dignity. But still, I cannot separate the two events and I still cry when I think about it.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Freecycle Bitch

I posted some things to Freecycle today and got a really annoying response. I noted the town we live in (it is a large town for the 'burbs) and someone emailed me and said "Are you near X town?" I know if I email her and say "No, we are at least 45 minutes from your town" she will say "Never mind." Why not Google the town before sending me the email?

Friday, September 08, 2006

An Open Letter to Physicians and Their Staffs

I try to be a good patient. I fill (and refill) my prescriptions, take my medication as directed, and try to do what I am told. I go for recommended tests and I have the treatment that is recommended. I ask questions. BUT I AM NOT A PHYSICIAN.

I made a list of questions to ask my Gyn/One and Rad/Onc before my latest treatment. I did not see my Rad/Onc before they took me to the OR and I already had a dose of mellow meds when he made an appearance so I forgot when I saw him then. When I saw him afterwards in the Radiation Clinic I was in a lot of pain and he was getting ready to leave to go to another hospital. I asked the resident one question that seemed to puzzle him (Can I go in the hot tub?) so I didn't ask "Can I have sex?" because I thought I might make his head explode. I couldn't ask the Resident about follow up appointments because he wouldn't know.

I decided that the best thing to do was to call my doctor today because I didn't want to forget to ask him. I called and the woman who answered the phone said "Well, you'll have to ask him that." It was all I could do not to say "Dubmass, that's why I'm calling." She said "The tech can page him the next time you are in." It seemed pointless to argue with/explain to this woman so I just said ok and hung up. The Wife pointed out that the Rad/Onc's email address is printed on his card so I could email him. I did and I got an answer to my follow up appointment question and he said I could "resume normal activity" 2 weeks after my last treatment.

First of all, why didn't someone tell me that I shouldn't go in the hot tub/pool/bathtub until 2 weeks after my last treatment? Why didn't someone say "Don't have sex while you are having treatment"? Why didn't anyone tell me that I was supposed to do a "bowel prep" before each treatment? I've had 5 D&Cs so I know that I have to do a pre-op bowel prep and post D&C I'm not allowed to take a bath/swim/go in the hot tub for 2 weeks and I'm not allowed to have sex for 2 weeks but this isn't a D&C. They weren't scraping out the lining of my uterus, they've been irradiating it. Fortunately I kept to the post-D&C instructions even though they were nowhere to be found on the post-op instructions I recieved.

No wonder patients get into trouble. I could have given myself a raging infection which would have likely delayed my radiation treatment along with making me really sick. The Rad/Onc also told me there were NO side effects to the treatment - then why am I so fatigued? Why do I need to take 800 mg of Advil every 8 hours to avoid inflammation in my bladder like I had last time when you neglected to tell me to take the Advil around the clock and didn't recommend a dose? The usual non-prescription dose didn't do a thing. I wonder if he tells men who are having radiation treatment for prostate cancer that there are no side effects.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Go Steelers!

and thus begins the NFL season. I am quite psyched to see the Steelers open the season vs Miami tonight. I don't have a good feeling about the season given Roethlisberger's appendectomy and earlier motorcycle accident but I still believe they can win and win big.

Today's exciting activity

I had my 2nd radiation treatment yesterday and it sucked. Therefore, today's activities are limited. A friend stopped by with dinner (Thanks, Chica) and stayed for a while to chat and I learned how to use the self-clean feature on my oven. This is somewhat embarrassing to admit because we've lived in this house for 4 years and I'm just now getting around to cleaning the oven. It isn't like we don't use it. I have to remember to do it overnight the next time. How often should one clean one's oven? Presumably it gets dirty from regular use so cleaning it only after Thanksgiving seems like a bad idea. Should I clean it once a month? Once every six months?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Exploding sump pumps

Between Friday morning and Saturday evening we received about 4.5 inches of rain. This was on top of the multiple inches of rain we received the previous weekend and during the week. We have had a problem with water in our basement in the past. To fix the problem we had 2 industrial-strength sump pumps installed in the basement along with a French Drain system and we had a swale created in the backyard along with some additional re-grading. It seems to have solved the problem but because of our previous issues we are extremely paranoid when it comes to big storms. We check the basement obsessively, we go outside to see if the pumps are moving water out, we make sure the storm drains in the yard are clear, etc. On Saturday evening, The Wife realized that one pump was just recirculating the water in the sump pit (it was spraying water out of a hole in the pipe rather than pumping it out) so we called our plumber who didn't even bother to call us back, he just showed up (he lives less than a mile away). He had to cut the pipe to get the pump out of the pit and he discovered that while the system had been installed correctly (he didn't install it), the pressure relief hole was partially clogged and that's why the water was spraying rather than being moved out. He enlarged the pressure relief hole and reinstalled everything but because he had cut the pipe he had to use a rubber clamp to hold everything together. All was well, the basement was dry, we were happy. We went along with our dinner preparations and were having a very nice dinner when we heard a really strange noise. We ran into the basement to discover water everywhere and the clamp disconnected from the pipe. The sump pump was still pumping so the water was slamming into the basement wall and spraying all over the basement. The Wife was able to get the thing unplugged and we unsuccessfully tried to put it back together. We spoke to the plummer again to discover that he knew he hadn't made an ideal repair but at 8 PM on a Saturday night he had done the best he could with what he had. He came back on Sunday morning and glued everything together so we should be ready for the next storm.

The plumber also spent 15 minutes (while the glue was drying) in our downstairs bathroom reading Newsweek and taking a dump. It was odd.


Tomorrow I have my next radiation treatment. Until last night I wasn't really thinking about it because it seemed so far away. Until Saturday I was still dealing with the effects of the first treatment so I wasn't thinking much beyond that day. Sunday and Monday I felt good. We went to a Phillies double-header on Sunday and yesterday we spent the evening with some friends and I felt normal, like myself. Then it hit me (because my treatment was a big topic of discussion), blah, I have to have another treatment on Wednesday. I'm going to feel like crap again for 3 or 4 days. It did spur me to come up with some questions to ask the docs (eg, May I use the hot tub? Anything you can do about the horrible bladder pain?) and The Wife reminded me to write the questions down so I can bring the list with me to the hospital. It also just occured to me that I might have an email address for my RAD/ONC and I could email him the questions.

Ok, I have a day until treatment and I feel good at this moment. Time to enjoy it.

Let the campaigns begin!

Yesterday I did something that felt very old-fashioned. I put up a sign in my yard for a political candidate on Labor Day. At least in my memory, Labor Day was when campaigns began in earnest and when people began paying attention. Of course, if you are a political/news junkie like I am, you know that is no longer true. Campaigns are a year-round, non-stop machine now. It still felt really good to post a sign for someone I actually know. We need to get signs for the other 2 candidates that we know so we can put them up as well. I am proud that when I cast my vote for these 3 candidates in November I'll be voting for men (they are all men) that I have personally spoken with and can support without reservations.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Ernesto, you suck

This morning The Wife and I woke up to discover that the combination of rain and wind from the remnants of Ernesto may have wiped out our small collection of fruit trees. I noticed that one of our largest apple trees and the fig tree (which was full of figs) were leaning at a 45 degree angle. The Wife went out to move the bench out of the hosta (and keep it from ending up in the pond) and determined that the fig tree had split at the base. SHIT. At this point there is nothing we can do until the wind and rain stop. I'll have a look tomorrow and see if we can save the apple. I think the fig is done.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

One down, two to go

I had my first radiation treatment on Monday. Other than being an incredibly long day (we left the house at 4:30 AM and returned at 4:30 PM) it wasn't horrible. Drugs are my friends right now. The placement of the imlants was done under general anesthesia so I have no memory of that. They gave me lots of good medication to keep me comfortable after that. The biggest problem was that the post-anesthesia care unit didn't get me to radiation oncology until 30 minutes past the time they promised I'd be there so I missed my original slot. Then one of the implants moved (I coughed) and they had to re-do the entire set of maybe 15 x-rays. It took them a while to do the calculations of my dose but the treatment itself took 9.5 minutes. I have to go back next Wednesday.

I was really sore yesterday, probably from lying flat on my back on a board from 8 AM until 3 PM and today my bladder is quite irritated. Other than that I feel ok. Still sort of tired in a "a nap would be nice right about now" sort of way. It is also time for my next dose of Advil.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A long night with a small dog

Last night The Wife and I attended the Steelers vs. Eagles game at Lincoln Financial Field. The Wife got the tickets as an anniversary gift for me (our 10th anniversary is September 2) and also got us a room at the Loew's Philadelphia. I am a Steelers fan and The Wife is an Eagles fan so this game seemed like a perfect idea. However, Eagles fans are less than gracious to fans of the visiting team. I was greeted with a chorus of "asshole" more than once for wearing a Steelers T-shirt (as it was 90+ and very humid I brought, but did not wear, my Steeles jersey).

The adventure began when I zoomed out of work at 2:15 and headed home to pick up The Wife and The Poochie. We headed into the city and got stuck in the usual traffic on the Sure-kill Express Parking Lot. We just missed The Steelers at Loew's. That would have been cool. We learned our lesson the last time so as soon as we arrived I took The Poochie for a walk but she would not pee. We hung out in the room and fed The Poochie and went for another walk - still no pee but was accosted by homeless man who was either asking me to call an ambulance or NOT call one if he fell over.) Finally, it was time for us to leave so in her crate she went. We walked to the subway and discovered that the token machine dispenses the maximum number of tokens for the money you put in (ie, put in a $20 get 15 tokens). The change machine was broken and the attendant couldn't break a $20 which was all we had. While we stood there and tried to figure out where to go to break a $20 a very nice guy gave us 2 tokens. Thank you awesome guy from Phila!

Uneventful trip to the stadium, lovely chorus of "asshole" while walking through the parking lot, into the stadium, up to our level, get expensive food and bad beer (something was wrong with the tap), and proceed UP to our seats. We were sitting amongst a group of serious Iggles fans and then discovered we were in the wrong section. It was a welcome move to the right seats. We lasted until the end of the 3rd quarter and headed back to the hotel.

First order of business was to take The Poochie for a walk and get something to drink. Poochie finally peed but still no poop. The Wife and I decided to order late night room service and watch Leno and then it started to pour. Before we went to bed we had a major debate about if the dog needed to go out again but she won't go in the rain so that seemed fairly futile. This decision condemned us to a rather fragmented night of sleep. First the dog was barking at the people going into the next room, then she didn't know where she wanted to sleep, then The Wife and I were having temperature issues. Finally sleep. Then around 4:45 The Wife announces "The dog is peeing." I get up, discover the dog has not peed but the hotel slid our bill under the door. I decide to take the dog out. DOUBLE SUCCESS. Finally fall back asleep only to have the maid wake us up knocking on the door (good guard dog) around 8.

After showers and breakfast we went to my office where we spent 2.5 hours filing/organizing and finally home where the dog pretty much passed out for the rest of the afternoon. Now we're watching baseball (Phils vs Mets) and I am just waiting for bedtime.

Finally, a plan...sort of

I heard from the anesthesiologist on Monday afternoon and he announced "I hear you are having a procedure next Monday" and I told him that was news to me. Then on Tuesday, the office manager from my Gyn/Onc's office called to tell me that I needed to have blood work done before my procedure the following Monday and "Don't forget to sign the consent form." I told her all of this was news to me and could my doctor please call me. Apparently Rad/Onc had told Gyn/Onc I was in the loop but Rad/Onc told me everything was in Gyn/Onc's lap. Great communicator, Rad/Onc. I still don't know when my 2nd and 3rd treatments will be but I have an idea (probably Sept 6 and 13). Friday was my last day at work and today The Wife and I cleaned up my office as I'll be out for 3 weeks (and hopefully not more).

The weather here has turned suddenly cold (68 degrees, it was 90+ yesterday at this time) and rainy. We need the rain as we've had something like 0.06" this month until yesterday when we had 2". I think the weather (and my evening/night last night - for another post) is contributing to my general unsettledness (if that's even a word.)

I think I'll feel better after I get through the first treatment on Monday because I'll know what to expect and I'll know how I'll feel afterwards and whether or not I'll be spending a lot of time on the couch in the next 3 weeks.

On a pleasant note, it will be a good night for the hot tub provided that it doesn't rain.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Hiding from the World

Mentally I have been hiding from the world since last Wednesday when I had my MRI (still no results and Dr who ordered it is on vacation. Thanks, Dude, appreciate that) and met with the Radiation Oncologist (aka RAD/ONC). It was just one of those completely stupid days. I took the day off work but still ended up working for 3 hours in the morning before we drove into Phila. MRI people were running about an hour behind and then the tech "blew out" (her choice of words, not mine) a blood vessel in my arm. We got to the RAD/ONC's office just before my appointment which turned out to have been scheduled for 45 minutes later. They just told me to come early to fill out the paperwork - so we rushed and stressed for nothing. Then the doctor was running about 45 minutes behind. His nurse was a complete FREAK who asked if she could give me a hug. I wanted to say "Fuck no, get away from me" but I just said "No." Then she gave me this lecture about all the people behind me reaching out their hands to me that ended by telling me "It's not about me." Excuse me, I'm here because I have cancer you fuckwit. Yes, it is all about me today. Then I had to throw a complete hissy fit to keep the resident from doing a GYN exam. I believe I said "I do not want her to TOUCH me." Then the doctor provided virtually no information, even to my very specific questions. Mostly he said "We don't do this very often, we don't have a plan." It did not inspire confidence.

He did call the next day to tell me they had formulated a plan and it would involve 3 treatments and general anesthesia each time. He said we would start Aug 21 and they would do the treatment once a week for 3 weeks. Then he called back on Friday to say that my Gyn/Onc needed to talk to anesthesia first (see previous post on that fun experience).

Now I am in a holding pattern because my Gyn/Onc is on vacation. I can't make arrangements for anyone to take me to treatment because we don't know when it will be, I can't make arrangements for my medical leave from work, I can't pass off projects yet, etc. Mostly I hide in my office all day and try to get as much done as I can. If I didn't have to leave the house right now I wouldn't but I have to go to work and we had baseball tickets last weekend and on Tuesday night, we are going to a dinner tonight, and the Grange Fair tomorrow and we have a family thing this weekend. Mostly I just want to find a comfortable cave somewhere (with electricity, indoor plumbing, cable, and wi-fi) and hide.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Car Stripping

Last night The Wife and I went out for dinner at Cheeburger, Cheeburger. Given that they had no AC and that the power went out briefly while we were there, it wasn't a bad first impression. I wouldn't get the onion rings the next time, just the fries. I also think their "Classic" burger at 5.5 oz is plenty and I'm glad I didn't order the next size up. The Wife ate her burger (but only a little of the bun), some fries, and an Oreo-Cookie shake. (I'm sure those of you who know her and her eating habits are astounded. :-)) On the way home, she was lamenting that the pants she was wearing were not "Cheeburger, Cheeburger" pants and she was feeling particularly uncomfortable. I said "Why don't you just take them off?" So she did, along with her polo shirt (she was wearing a cami underneath). It was an amusing ride home.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Well this just blows

Another TMPI post...someday I'll have something more interesting to write about than my va-jay-jay.

When I spoke to my surgeon a week ago and got the news that the cancer was back, he said that they were going to talk to my insurance company and get a progesterone-only IUD approved because he thought that local hormone therapy was the way to go this time. I had a post-surgical follow up with him on Thursday and he said that I had been quite the topic of discussion amongst the staff. They had come up with a new treatment plan - high-dose internal radiation therapy. I will spare you the nasty details as I'm sure you can come up with them on your own but suffice it to say that it's going to be unpleasant. I've been doing a lot of internet searching and now that I know more of the details all I can say is I've had quite enough of strangers contemplating my crotch and we haven't even started. The radiation therapy will also entail another trip to the operating room and general anesthesia to "install" a sleeve for the radioactive rods to be placed in during the treatment. I'm a lesbian. I don't want to contemplate "radioactive rods."

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I hate shopping

I hate to shop but I love catalogs and I love to buy things on the internet. I've bought shoes, underwear, my dog, pretty much everything but a car on the web. Because of my purchasing habits we get lots and lots of catalogs. Recently a product caught my eye. What a great name. Very straight-forward, no confusion about what it is for. Now if they only made them for humans...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Good news and Bad news

Warning: This could be considered a TMPI post. Feel free to skip it and come back later.

My surgeon called last night with the results from my D&C. The good news is I didn't go through hell for nothing. The bad news is I didn't go through hell for nothing. The endometrial cancer appears to be back (apparently there is very little difference in the appearance of "hyperplasia with atypia" and stage I cancer). The surgeon said it is only in one place on the right side, everything else is clear. We talked about the options and they are going to try local application of progesterone (via IUD). He said I could go and get a second opinion and gave me the name of a couple of doctors at other University hospitals in the area because they are recommending something outside of usual standard of care (usual standard of care for endometrial cancer is radical hysterectomy which includes ovaries and cervix). They treated me with high dose oral progesterone in the past and it was tough. It made me gain weight from fluid retention and I was always starving. I also had horrible hot flashes. I've been on a maintenance dose of progesterone for 2 years but it wasn't enough and now the cancer is back again. I have no interest in a second opinion. I've done enough of my own research to know that there are limited options outside of hysterectomy. I don't want a hysterectomy because they will remove my ovaries and substantially increase my risk of osteoporosis which is prevalent in my family and they will remove my cervix which will leave me prone to bladder problems as I get older. It would be different if I were 60 or even 50 but I'm not even 40 yet.

Wow, this sucks.

Well that was surprisingly effective

After I wrote my long rant about my experience with anesthesia, I wrote a long email to my surgeon explaining what had happened. All I asked from him was an acknowledgement that he had received the email. He replied a few days later and said he was sorry for my experience and he would forward my email to the head of anesthesiology. Then the next day I got an email from the head of anesthesiology saying that he had spoken with my doctor and he would like to talk to me. He gave me his office number and said I could call him or I could email him my phone number and he would call me. Long story short, we eventually connected via phone and he was so nice. The first thing he asked was how I was feeling now. He apologized, he said they could certainly have done a better job with the pre-anesthesia so I would have no memory of the procedure, and he thanked me for my constructive comments. He also said if I ever needed another procedure at that hospital that I should call him and he would make sure that I had a more pleasant experience. I was just stunned. I was so afraid to write the email but I feel so much better now (and I'm not afraid to have general anesthesia again should I ever need it.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Not moving on like I would like to be

I have discovered that when I am not doing anything else, my lovely experience with "awake fiber optic intubation" pops into my brain. It's pretty unpleasant to keep reliving the experience. I also still have a sore throat and a fat lip. I found out the name of the anesthesiologist (I love the internet) who was in charge of my "excellent adventure" and I wrote an EXTREMELY long email to my surgeon. Hopefully I will be able to put it behind me over the next few days.

I still want to know why they did it. I have had general anesthesia 4 times over the past 4 years (before this time) and I was always asleep when they did the intubation. If there was a problem in the past they should have told me. I also would have appreciated more of an explanation of what was going to happen and what sort of instruments there would be using. When I opened my eyes at one point the fiber optic scope looked like a damned octopus hanging in front of my face.

Anyway it's over. I've done everything I can to address the situation and all I can do is try to be sure it doesn't happen in the future.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A month of anxiety for nothing?

Note to the squeamish or those who don't wish to know about my va-jay-jay troubles...stop reading now and come back when I've added a new post.

Those of you who know me personally know that 4 years ago I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. It was successfully treated with high-dose hormonal therapy and as of May 2004 was cleared. I was maintained on lower dose hormonal therapy and I had several successive biopsies and complete D&Cs that showed normal cells. This changed in early June when my latest biopsy came back with abnormal cells. My gynecologic/oncologist (aka GYN/ONC) said he needed to do another D&C to "see what's going on in there" (as though my uterus is hosting a raucous party). Said D&C took place yesterday.

This was my day:
Got up at 3:45 AM, had to give myself an enema (after the one the night before), showered, and was in the car with The Wife at 4:30 AM. Made the trip to the hospital an hour away. Checked in at "Short Procedure Unit", was interviewed, given a shot of blood thinner in my stomach (whoever invented the stuff needs to work on the formulation - that shit stings like crazy), and fitted with lovely thigh-high compression stockings. Taken to waiting area outside OR. Interviewed by anesthesiology resident (who has probably been a doctor for about 3 weeks given his unfamiliarity with procedures and the fact that new residents start July 1). Anesthesiology resident soundly abused by nurse (she said she needed the chart to check me in, which took 30 seconds and consisted of asking me my name, what procedure they were doing, and my doctor's name. He gave her the chart but asked for the labs from it so he could continue his job. He was polite and professional; she was not. Then she snapped at him again when he asked where to find the surgical consent form in the chart.) Anesthesiologist arrived (resident's boss essentially). She did the IV (thank you, done in one stick; I hate when they let the resident try first when they know I'm not an "easy stick".) Then she decided that they needed to intubate me before I was asleep. I had to breathe liquid lidocaine to numb my throat (BLECH!), then they put lidocaine gel on my tongue (MORE BLECH!) and then they tried to intubate me (they had given me some medication to make me relaxed). I promptly gagged and threw up. It was lovely. They realized they hadn't suppressed my gag reflex enough (I could clearly hear all the discussion that was taking place) so they sprayed more junk in my mouth and had me gargle with more nasty crap and finally (I can see the cords...) they intubated me and knocked me out. They managed to give me a fat lip during all of this manuevering too.

Afterwards (when I was awake but only halfway) the GYN/ONC came to talk to me. Apparently they managed to put a hole in my cervix or detach my cervix from the rest of me in one spot so he had to put in a stitch and was sending me home on antibiotics. Then he told me the kicker: "There's nothing there. I don't know that I even got an adequate sample for the pathologist." Basically he was telling me that the lab may have made a mistake (not the lab at his hospital, the lab my insurance company insists all outpatient testing by done at). We'll know more in a week or so. It appears that I probably had a month or more of anxiety, a horrible experience with anesthesia, and a hole put in my cervix for NOTHING!

The day at the hospital was capped off by the fact that they won't release you until you pee. Normally I lie. I go to the bathroom, wait a few minutes, and tell them "I peed, now can I please go home?" Now they measure. You have to pee in a "hat" and you have to have a certain amount of output (100 cc or 3 oz) before they let you go. I tried to pee around 11 or 11:30 (after 8 oz of cranberry juice and a cup of tea and 1 liter plus of IV fluid) but no luck. Then I started drinking water and finally 3 cups later I went. Of course, after all that water we had to stop on the way home so I could go. The McDonalds we stopped at had no power but The Wife made a plea for them to let me use the bathroom. Peeing in the dark in an unfamiliar bathroom after having general anesthesia is its own special trip. The manager did give us 2 bottles of water though.

In the end all I really care about is that I am probably not having a recurrence of the cancer and I don't have to go back on the high-dose hormonal therapy (which has some major side effects).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Snark, Snark, Snark

Normally I do not give two shits what celebrities do. In general, as far as I am concerned they can pretty much do and say whatever they want as long as it's legal. That said I was basically struck dumb by the following photo. WHAT was she thinking? She looks like Rudolph Valentino.

Photo by: Gianmarco Maggiolini

Photo taken from:

Thursday, June 22, 2006

What I learned on Saturday

When you buy two new cell phones WITH CAMERAS and you attend a professional sporting event, do NOT leave both phones in the car. We did not leave the phones in the car by accident. It was very purposeful and even was discussed as we left the car. Of course, while standing in line for the ATM I saw someone who looked just like someone I used to work with. She was known fondly as "The Troll." If I had the camera I would have snapped her picture so former co-workers and I could have figured out if it was really her. Then the Phillie Phanatic came out in the 5th inning with a HOT DOG CANNON. He was shooting wrapped hot dogs into the stands. The best part was when one blew up all over the field just behind first base.

It sucks to be a grownup sometimes

Recently The Wife and I got new cell phones. I decided that I wanted a new ring tone. I was looking through the available tones and came up with 2 that I would love to have - The Lumberjack Song from Monty Python and a Beavis and Butthead bit. I, of course, did not buy either one because I decided that the first time I forget to put my phone on vibrate during a client meeting, someone will call and my phone will start screaming "I AM CORNHOLIO. I NEED TP FOR MY BUNGHOLE." I am sad that I care. It makes me old.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The dog is a complete spaz

I received the note below from The Wife the other day. We are trying to teach our dog to be less hyper when walking anywhere but our backyard so The Wife took the poochie to a lake near our house for a little stroll. I'm not sure why I found this so amusing but I did. Probably because I have seen what an "interested" pooch looks and sounds like. Quite indescribable.

We have returned from our walk at the Lake. Pooch is asleep on the cool floor here in the kitchen. We walked an (as of yet) undetermined distance with relatively few difficulties.

Difficulty 1: Forgot to bring baggies so when she had her horse-sized doot, I was forced to dump her treats into my shorts' pocket and use that baggie.
Difficulty 1a: There are no trash cans along the path - just at the parking lots, so had to carry the baggie of horse-sized doot for the remainder of the walk.
Difficulty 2: 4 VERY LARGE SWANS. Needless to say Pooch was extremely interested.
Difficulty 3: Lots of people walking & running - and many of them had baby strollers - extra interest for that.
Plus #1: She's NOT interested in people on bicycles.
Plus #2: She only pulled for difficulties 2 & 3 - the rest of the time, she was very, very, very good on the leash.
Plus #3: She only stopped to lay down & rest once.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I'm sorry, Brady Bear

Last Monday the wife and I adopted an 18-month old male miniature poodle to be a companion to our nearly 4-year old female miniature poodle. Yesterday, we returned him to his breeder. He was basically still a puppy, albeit one with a few bad habits already. However, he was settling in to our house and was a furry love bug. The problem turned out to be our existing poodle. She got more agressive with him as the days went by. We had to keep them separated inside and if either one was loose in the house we had to supervise them to keep them away from each other's crates. We also had to closely supervise their time together outside. We had our trainer in on Saturday and she got to see a dog fight. She gave us some techniques and recommended a book called "On talking terms with dogs: Calming signals". The whole process was absolutely exhausting and we were keeping both dogs crated far more than we were comfortable with. Finally yesterday we made the decision that for the well-being of the household, we should return the fuzzy boy to his breeder. She accepted him gracefully and said that if our female had not accepted him already she probably wasn't going to. I feel like such a failure. I feel like I should have been able to make it work and create a "peaceable kingdom". I feel like we failed in training our first dog and made it so she couldn't accept another dog but she is otherwise a good dog. Spastic in her greetings (according to our trainer she was just born that way, not that we can't make it more socially acceptable) but otherwise a good dog.

I want to save every dog that doesn't have a good home but I can't do that. The whole situation just makes me cry.

Bear, I hope you find a forever family all of your own who can give you all the love, treats, and training you deserve.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Clumsy, clumsy hippo

Over the past 2 weeks I have been incredibly clumsy. Not that I am normally a tremendously graceful, glide when I walk sort of person but I am able to get through an average day without dropping, spilling, or knocking over anything. Last Monday I knocked over the ever-present glass of water on my desk. Cleaned it up, made jokes about my desk blotter's appearance, and went on with life. Then on Thursday I did it again, except this time with a full glass. My loud exclamation of "not again" brought my co-worker to my rescue with paper towels. Then on Friday, I did it at home with a full glass of milk. I sent it flying right off the counter. I'm blaming the fact that my hands have turned into hooves or paws on stress. Work has been incredibly busy over the past few weeks and I'm moving 100 mph when my usual speed approaches that of a sleeping sloth. I had intended to replace the water in the hot tub this weekend so we could soak in the evenings but between the rain, not feeling 100%, and some work we had done on the house (and the need to feed 2 twenty-something men - WOW, not used to that!) I just didn't have time. Things should improve stress-wise on Thursday. I don't think my desk blotter can take much more water.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Products I Don't Need

I needed to buy a new bathroom scale - we have one that tells me I've lost 6 lbs from one day to the next and another that neither one of us can see without our glasses on. I was looking on the web (where I do all my shopping) and I found "talking scales." Now I think talking scales are a good idea if you are visually impaired, but for the average person? Who in their right mind wants a talking scale? I certainly do not need some disembodied voice announcing my weight at 7 AM each day. UGH. I cannot think of a more annoying product right now.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Roses for Grace

Over the past few evenings the Wife and I have planted 2 rose bushes (a third awaits somewhere to plant it as the place we selected originally is too rocky) - a Peace Rose and a Grace Rose. I bought the Peace Rose last summer in honor of the 100th anniversary of my grandmother's birth (she died 9/12/01, aged 96) but the company didn't want to ship it until this Spring to give it a whole growing season before cold temps come. My sister bought the Grace Rose and the Amazing Grace Rose for me for Christmas and they were shipped at the same time as the rose I had ordered. She picked those particular ones because our grandmother's name was Grace. I'm feeling very protective of these roses. Apparently they represent a whole lot more to me than plants really should. I didn't have any idea that I would feel this way but now that they are in the ground (and if you have ever planted a rose you know it is a labor of love to dig a 2 ft wide by 2 ft deep hole for a 6 inch plant) I have to go and visit them when I get home from work and see how they are doing. I'm afraid the dog will dig them up or dig around them or the landscaper will spray them with weed killer (like they did to the 2 Astilbe last week - dumbasses) or something will eat the roots. We have a rose bush in the yard already. The Wife discovered it under lots of overgrown stuff when we moved into the house and with some fertilizer and sun it's grown into a huge, beautiful bush so I don't think it's likely that anything that lives in the yard will eat the roots but still, I worry. I am fond of that rose bush too and we jokingly say that Grace must have had a hand in its resurgence but I don't feel the same (perhaps because it is larger and seems as though it can "take care of itself" as I do about the rose bushes we just planted.

I still miss her, almost 4 years later, and sometimes I talk to her (in my head, not out loud thankyouverymuch). I'm tearing up just writing this. She was quite the gardener, had the proverbial green thumb. I own some of her gardening books now but most of her knowledge came from a lifetime of observing what worked and what didn't and seemed to be innate. I don't have that same sense. I have to read what we are supposed to do and I don't remember what plants like acidic fertilizer and on and on. I don't have the time she did to devote to gardening, for when I knew her she was always retired. I think she would be proud of the life I've built and the gardening we are doing.

Wherever you are, Gracie, I hope you can see the roses when they bloom.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Adventures of Autumn the Wonder Poodle

The Wife had a major scare this AM. The phone rang and a woman said "Do you have a dog named Autumn?" and the wife said "Yeeeees?" and the reply was "I have her." OH SHIT! The Wife, as is their routine, let the dog out to run (in our large FENCED IN yard) when she got up this morning (I always take Autumn out for a morning wee before I leave for work and then she gets a run when The Wife gets up.) Apparently a landscaper stopped by yesterday to take a look around in order to give us a quote for a clean up and regular lawn mowing and the dumbass didn't properly close the gate. Thanks, Butt Munch. If we hadn't already selected someone else because you've been too slow to give us a quote, this would pretty much seal your fate. The woman brought Autumn home (and when The Wife went out to get the dog from the woman's car, Autumn was sitting very nicely in the back seat.) In the confusion The Wife forgot to get the woman's full name or address or anything. She said she had a dog and she would want someone to do the same thing. The only good thing is that Autumn loves to ride in the car so I'm sure she jumped right in when the woman opened her car door.

The Wife has gone off to the hardware store to get a "Beware of Dog" sign and some hardware to make the gate hard to open from the outside. We have to replace the fence anyway (there go the nice hardwood floors we had been planning to install) so this is certainly the impetus to get it done sooner rather than later.

Even though I wasn't there the retelling of the story certainly gave me a good jolt of adrenaline this morning. On a final note, Thanks to Anna, the woman from Bucks County who brought my dog home safely.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


We finally joined the DVR generation yesterday and, of course, now I say "what the hell took us so long?" We don't often watch shows that start at 10 PM because I'm too tired the next day so we miss "Gray's Anatomy" among other things. Last night we got involved in an episode of "Law and Order: SVU" and at 10:30 we looked at each other and said "hit record." We are such geeks. I'm quite psyched that we can watch "Out of Practice" then the 2nd half of SVU and finally, my favorite show "Mythbusters." Oh I am pathetic. but content.

I'm a blog slacker, I'm a blog slacker

First you must sing the title of this entry to the Wheel of Fortune ditty from who knows how many years ago. As I mentioned in a previous entry I am trying to eat better, exercise (I can't say more as I was pretty much a couch spud before), and lose weight. How is it going, you ask? Eh, I say. I'm losing weight, I'm not always hungry, and the wife suggested that I exercise before we have dinner so that I can relax afterwards (and it's dark after dinner right now in our neighborhood without street lights and sidewalks) so what is my problem? Gas, horribly painful gas is my problem. I feel like crap (no pun intended) right now. Normally I fart with abandon (I even won the Super Bowl farting contest one year at Sarah's ) but right now the gas doesn't make it to my ass. It's an incredibly uncomfortable feeling. I guess it is because I have increased my fiber intake over the past month but it isn't like I went from nothing to 30 grams. I hope it gets better soon.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Praise for the DMV and The Butt Swab Study

Today The Wife and I went to the DMV to renew our licenses. In PA you send in a form with your check and they send you a "camera card" which you present at the DMV (in fact we both paid over the internet). We walked in around 11:30 AM today, got a number, sat down for all of 5 minutes, got called one after the other, and had our licenses within 15-20 minutes. It was amazing. This is a huge improvement over the NJ DMV where everyone has to stand in the same line regardless of why you are there. It can take 30 minutes just to get to the counter. This was absolutely painless. Kudos, PA DMV.

On a completely unrelated topic, The Wife recently came home from a week's stay in the hospital. While there she proudly participated in what we will call "The Butt Swab Study." Yes, someone came in and asked her to consent to having her butt swabbed for resistant E. coli bacteria. If she has resistant E. coli bacteria around her bunghole they will pay her $10 per poop sample (every 2 weeks for up to a year). She gets to deliver the poop samples via a nationally known next-day air courier. Pay for poop. Hehehehe.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Phila Food Police

I have been meaning to blog about this since I read it in the paper over a week ago. The Philadelphia School District is going to allow parents to become the Food Police for school lunches. Parents will be able to make certain foods off limits and then the cashier will be responsible for not selling forbidden foods to kids who still try to buy them (not fair to dump this on the cashiers.) I think this is a horrible idea for many reasons. First of all kids have to learn to make their own decisions about food at some point. The earlier they learn to do it the better. I think it is great (and very necessary) for parents to talk about and MODEL good nutrition and good eating habits but in the end it is up to each individual to select what goes in their mouth. I also think that it is a bad idea for certain foods to be forbidden for kids (unless there is allergy or religion involved.) I have a very personal reason for thinking institutionalized Food Police are a bad idea. My mother was the food police and remains so to this day. She hid food (we all knew where it was but she thought she was being discrete) that was meant for my father's lunch alone. Things like pudding cups, fruit cups, granola bars, stuff like that. She also bought sugarless gum for my sister and me and Juicy Fruit for my brother. Certain cereals (Captain Crunch comes to mind) were for my brother's consumption only. She said things like "If you only ate the food we see you eat you wouldn't have a weight problem." She sent me to school with peanut butter and jelly on Pepperidge Farm Diet White Bread. The kids made fun of me. She sent me a care package at camp full of sugarless dietetic candy. It was humiliating. She also hid food in her dresser so we wouldn't see her eat it. She still does that now and only she and my dad live in the house. I know she does it because when I was home this year for the holidays I found an empty pound box of chocolates in the desk drawer in "my" room. Snacks for us were pretty taboo but my father permitted them (mom wasn't usually in the TV room at night but off doing crosswords in bed). She was death on all pork products because of the fat content (her father died at 66 of a heart attack). Even now she is paranoid about fat and has bizarre eating habits. She also did not encourage us to exercise beyond yelling at me to stop reading and go outside (although most of my memories of that statement are tied up with my grandmother as she was the one who was around after school because my mom was working.) She never once came to my baseball games and I played for 3 seasons at least. She did come to some of my basketball games but never came when I was in the marching band. She came to every (indoor) concert and play. As you can see she talked up a storm but she modeled bad behavior. My siblings and I all have poor relationships with food. My sister and I both became obese in college (and I'm not sure we were actually overweight as kids) and remained so afterwards. I am very proud that my sister has been able to lose over 100 lbs recently. She also walks half marathons, swims, and does yoga. My brother has my mother's relationship with food and takes it to extremes. I am certain that he was bulimic at one time (the toilet in the "kids'" bathroom at my parents' house didn't flush properly and I shared the bathroom with him when we were all home for holidays.) Now he is the food police with his wife (who generally blows him off and eats what she wants). He runs too. I am, once again, trying to lose weight and change my eating habits. I don't blame my mother for my current weight, she didn't force feed me or strap me to a chair to keep me from exercising. However, I think that parents who are the food police (and the Phila School District for enabling it) do the exact opposite of what they are trying to do. Teach your kids to think and to make decisions and the first place to start is with the food they eat when they are out of sight.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Finding time to Blog

Lately I've been struggling to find time to blog. I don't want to blog from work, even at lunch, because that seems like it is just inviting disaster. I should figure out how to carve out 30 minutes a day to devote to this because I'm frequently ready to spew about something but have no one (except The Wife and she's tired of hearing it) to discuss it with.

I am happy to report that The Wife and I are getting involved in local politics. The Wife was a volunteer during the 2004 campaign season and last year some acquaintances ran for local office and won. We supported those campaigns and met lots of people on election night and then we had a house party for Patrick Murphy who is running for Congress in the 8th District of Pennsylvania against Mike Fitzpatrick (well he needs to win the primary first). Yesterday we heard Larry Glick, candidate for PA house in the 143rd district, speak at an event. I also got a chance to actually talk with some of the people who I met on election night. I'm excited to be getting involved in local Democratic politics. We've been feeling a little lost out here because we've been here almost 4 years and we haven't made too many new friends. Part of the problem is because we don't have kids. For some reason, many people with kids don't even think to include us in anything. We like kids, really we do, we just couldn't have them (or adopt them or foster them...we've considered all the angles, health reasons prohibit us from being parents). We do things with our friends who have kids but we knew them before they had kids. Of course, in my paranoid days I wonder if people with kids don't invite us because we're gay and they don't want to expose their kids to us. This thought simultaneously makes me angry and profoundly sad. Anyway my hope as we get involved in local politics more and meet more people is that we'll make some local friends who we can go to dinner or the movies with, who we can have over for dinner or football or cards, and that we can meet some people who we can travel with. We like to travel but it's always just us. Sometimes it would be nice to have people to travel with because The Wife and I don't always want to see the same things. If we were in a small group we could split up sometimes and both of us could see the thing(s) that interested us most.

Time to load more tunes on the iPod.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Coming home to snow

I'm having trouble believing that the Super Bowl was only a week ago (and I'm bummed I never had the opportunity to blog about it or really enjoy the fact that the Steelers won.) I had to get ready to leave on a business trip to Spain on Tuesday that would be followed by 3 days vacation in London (The Wife was going to join me in London). It's been a hectic week. The business trip was generally fine as business trips go - no major hassles and we accomplished what we went there to accomplish.

London was expensive. I made the mistake of booking The Wife on a bus from the airport (then booked myself two days later on the same bus). It took FOREVER - traffic was tremendous and it was the middle of the morning. I can't even imagine what rush hour must be like. I had The Wife's best interest at heart when I booked it - I didn't want her to have to haul her luggage on and off the train and then drag it through the station to find a cab. We took a cab and the Heathrow Express train on the way back and it was painless and barrier-free (and took less than an hour door-to-door).

We saw an old friend (who will be referred to as the Italian former boyfriend who is gay...TIFB) who was a wonderful companion (along with his husband) for the wife when she first arrived and who spent Friday and Saturday evening with us. It was his 39th birthday on Saturday and he hosted a fab party in a gay bar. MMMMMM, BEEEER. We had a good time with the "Hi, I'm TIFB's former girlfriend" angle - unfortunately The Wife picked up a nasty cold in London so she was back at the hotel and this caused some confusion among the attendees. Apparently two of them were arguing about whether or not I'm gay. HA. TIFB's husband (after several mojitos) was asking all kinds of amusing questions which I, tongue well loosened with Hoegaarden beer (there's something really wrong about a lesbian drinking something called HO garden) was indiscreet in answering.

I will now say something that may surprise you - we had good food in London... It was Indian food, not "English" food but wow, was it good. We don't have an Indian restaurant near us now and I really miss Indian food. I ate it all the time when I was in grad school. I also had a "pasty" filled with steak, stilton cheese, onion, potato, and maybe turnip. It was good.

I had the opportunity to interact with my English counterpart - The Chemist (aka the pharmacist). The Wife woke up with a cold on Saturday morning so I went to "Boots, The Chemist" to get some things for her. Unlike here where I could stand in the cough and cold aisle and browse (and read ingredients etc ) in the UK some of the non-prescription items are behind the counter so you have to ask for them. Not knowing what anything was called or what it contained I had to ask the Chemist. I also had to lie through my teeth to the Chemist (is she taking any other medications? Just some Tylenol...).

To be continued...

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Can they please just play the game already? Is it just me or did they play the Super Bowl earlier in the day back in the 70s? I have distinct memories of watching what I thought was the Super Bowl during the afternoon at the neighbor's house with my Dad. Somehow I think my parents should have known then - all the neighborhood men and me. I must have been all of 8. Having grown up near Pittsburgh in the 70s and 80s when the Steelers were good I couldn't help being a Steelers fan. I had a Steelers jacket, stocking cap, T-shirts (including a "one for the thumb in '81" purchased specially for me by my Dad. This is significant because my mother bought [and still buys] all gifts in our family), and who knows what else. The Wife (despite being a lifelong fan of another team) has embraced my love of the Steelers and it was a Steeler Christmas - light-up pen, ornament, helmet lights, black terrible towel, and T-shirt. Earlier in the season she game me a yellow terrible towel and a new winter hat (so my ears don't get cold when I run the snow blower.) I also have the Steeler Snowman. [As an aside, Dancing with the Stars is the stupidest show on television and I am very sorry that Pizza Hut is sponsoring the ABC SuperBowl pre-game show because I am already tired of the Jessica Simpson "These bites are made for poppin' ad.] PLAY THE GAME ALREADY.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Here's your sign TM

Today THe Wife and I ran errands. We went to the Italian deli and picked up some prosciutto and some Italian cooked ham along with some fresh mozzarella and fresh ricotta. Then we returned something to Target (bought the wrong size Hanes for a friend in London) and went to the pet store to get the Supersize pet litter. I really wish we could teach the cat to use the toilet (yes, this includes flushing) but we can't get her to not miss the litter box when SHE'S STANDING IN IT so I think it's a lost cause. We ended up at the book store where The Wife wanted to get a map of London. We are unable to leave the book store without a pile of books so when we arrived at the register the cashier announced "Got some books there." No, I'm buying fire starters. HERE'S YOUR SIGN! (with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy and the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.) Dude, you work in a book store. Why would you say that?

Ok, can the SuperBowl start already.
As a hobby, I make cheese. Living in semi-rural PA we have several dairys nearby and can get "farm-fresh" milk. We even have a couple of options for raw milk (non pasteurized, non homogenized) which makes the best cheese. I'm not sure what made me think of making cheese, it was probably a trip to Vancouver Island, Canada a few years ago. I've had good success with mozzarella but my cheddar was nasty. We think we solved the problem with the cheddar by buying a "cheese fridge" and getting a cheese fridge thermostat so we can age cheeses at the correct temperatures. I am now making something called "Guido's Cheese" from the book Home Cheese Making by Rikki Carroll. My first batch was ok. My co-workers and friends liked it. I thought it wasn't quite there. I bought new cultures and rennet and tried again. Last night I couldn't stand it anymore so I (lacking a cheese trier) dug a chunk out with a sharp knife and tried a piece (you reseal it by sticking the remainder of the chunk back in the hole and smearing a bit of butter on top to seal it.) I think this round may be pretty good. We aren't going to cut it until we come back from London on the 12th as we can't eat a 2 lb cheese in 3 days. I'm also trying to make Provolone for my Dad. So far no luck. My first batch was a complete disaster. That was the impetus to buy the new stuff and to ask for some additional things as gifts. Now I just need a cheese press. I have weights but when I am initially pressing the cheese they slide off and the resulting crash scares the pets. The Wife is going to build me a cheese press but she hasn't had time lately.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Right now the Pennsylvania House is considering House Bill 2381 or The Marriage Protection Amendment. Pennsylvania already has a law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman and, in fact, invalidates a same-sex marriage entered into in another state. From my perspective this new bill is nothing more than ignorance and hatred. It would deny me hospital visitation rights, impact inheritance, and interfere with my right to make healthcare decisions with my family. We already had to pay our lawyer for wills, living wills, and powers of attorney (healthcare and otherwise). In fact we had to do this twice because we moved from one state to another and wanted to take the opportunity to make some other changes. How does my relationship with my partner impact anyone else's family? Why does anyone else need to be involved in end of life discussions between my wife and I? And despite being under 40 we've had those discussions about 3 times now because the wife has a congenital cardiac anomaly. It's hard enough to talk about let alone involve others. Fortunately for us our birth families are supportive and won't interfere should we have to make these decisions (and anyway they are in agreement with us.) As an aside, if I am ever at the point where 2 physicians give me little or no chance of regaining a meaningful quality of life, please PULL THE PLUG! I've just realized that I am blathering and I am not coming to a point. So my point is this, leave us alone. We are law-abiding, tax-paying, property owning people. We are not a threat to anyone's marriage. You worry about your relationship and I'll worry about mine. 'K?
Welcome to Boogers from Space. I plan to post on whatever strikes me. Although I have promised myself I will not comment on my co-workers or anything that happens at my job. Self-preservation, you understand. Staying employed is important. Please feel free to leave comments but I reserve the right to delete anything for any reason. It is my blog after all.