Monday, June 27, 2005

A to Z, Redux

A to Z, Redux

My apologies to Geekwif. She told me about this idea and that she wanted to do it soon. I had planned on doing a different, much longer post tonight, but it's late and I want, want, want and need to go to bed, so I am taking the easy way out. I would feel guilty, except read her post on June 26, "You are So Jealous". My best friend went to Ikea without me. I promised that I would take no physical retribution, but I did not promise I would not steal her blog ideas. Therefore, I give you the ABC's.

I took this from Blog, blah, blah. Thank you, Heather Nicole.

A is for Age: 39; 40 in September. (This is where you tell me I don't look 39!)
B is for Booze: Diet coke and amaretto
C is for Career: Communication Specialist
D is for Dad's name: Bob
E is for Essential Item to bring to a Party: Camera
F is for Favorite Songs at the Moment: "Held" by Natalie Grant
G is for Goof off thing to do: Read to my daughter, blog, shop at the bead store, make bracelets
H is for Hometown: metropolitan suburb in Minnesota
I is for Instrument you play: I played the drums in 6th grade then dropped them like hot potatoes! Now I play the keyboard - the word processing keyboard, that is.
J is for Jam or Jelly you like: Orange marmalade (it's a legacy from grandma).
K is for Kids: Sweet Girl, one beautiful 5-year-old daughter who makes me laugh
L is for Living arrangement: Me, Champs, Sweet Girl and my Mom. Lord, have mercy on our souls.
M is for Mom's name: Bobbi (That's right, my parents names are actually Bob and Bobbi)
N is for Names of best friends: Champs! Also Geekwif, Smoothie
O is for overnight hospital stays: From age 9 to now: tonsilectomy, 2 surgeries on a broken ankle, childbirth (C-section), Gastric Bypass, 3 days of sickness from the GB, 7 days of extreme sickness from the GB, Gall bladder removal & incisional hernia repair, 2nd incisional hernia repair and, coming up soon, 3rd (yes, 3rd) incisional hernia repair with a tubal ligation and panniculectomy. After that, I'd kinda like to stay out of the hospital for awhile. Thanks.
P is for Phobias: spiders, fear of drowning, thunder and lightning.
Q is for Quote you like: "If you don't ask, you won't get. If you do ask, you might get" (me) and "It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me." Galations 2:20.
R is for Relationship that lasted longest: My wonderful husband-- almost 7 years married.
S is for Siblings: One older sister in Phoenix (Techno-Goddess) and 2 older brothers here (Paddy and Guitar Man). I am the baby of the family.
T is for Texas , Ever been? Nope, never
U is for Unique trait: Goodness, I don't know. Ummm, I have double-jointed elbows.
V if for Vegetable you love: Veggie-tales! OK, when it comes to the real things: Potatoes, tomatoes, avocado and broccoli
W is for Worst traits: Don't know when to shut up
X - is for XRays you've had: From age 3: collar bone, head, head, head, head (I kept getting concussions) elbow, ankle (yup, it was broken), heel, wrist, teeth (lots of those) and a cat scan and MRI of every part of me during the 7 days of extreme sickness from the GB
Y is for Yummy food you make: Shredded chicken enchiladas, chili to die for, pumpkin pie and fajitas. Champs' favorite: Chili. Tiglet's favorite: Cheese, trees & twisties, baby! (broccoli alfredo with capatavi pasta).
Z is for Zodiac sign: Libra on the cusp of nothing. I'm not a zodiac fan.

If you take this idea and post your own list, leave me a comment; I'd love to come and see your answers. And now, goodnight!

Race - Check One: (X) Extremely Caucasian

I am just SO WHITE. This is not a racially biased comparison or any form of supremacy declaration. It is a statement of fact.

I think I have a concentration of about .0025% melanin in my skin. I'm not albino; my eyes are not pink and my skin does have some melanin. I realized the other day that I am so white that medical students could learn the circulatory system, without benefit of cadaver dissection, just by looking at my skin. I am transparent to the point that you can see my veins clearly.

No, I am not albino.

I am Irish-Norgwegian.

Anyone out there with this same European/Caucasian decent will probably recognize what this means: I don't tan. Ever. I burn. Always. While most people can go out in the sun for awhile and their skin will produce an even coat of melanin to protect themselves, the melanin in my skin runs away, leaving me vulnerable. I am a sacrifice to the sun-god. Put me out in the sun for more than a few minutes and I begin to smoke.

"You're kidding me, right?" I know you're thinking that I must do at least some tanning. I guess maybe I do. The small amount of melanin that doesn't run away when I am exposed to sun huddles together for protection. That's right: freckles. I get the worst freckles, especially across my nose and on my shoulders. Where some people will get tan lines, I get freckle lines. It's true. Put me outside for awhile in a tank top and when I come in, I will be suffused with freckles that end abruptly at the line of my shoulder strap. The skin under the freckles will be the same shade all the way across. Please don't tell me that freckles are cute; I hear it every summer from June through September. I think it is polite people's way of saying "Damn, girl, you are spotted!" without being too obvious or mean.

I don't even try to tan anymore. Forgot fashion. Forget what people say about looking like a bleached jellyfish. I don't care. My bare legs can cause snow-blindness in the middle of summer and I am proud of it. I've had one small battle with skin cancer and I won it (actually, I didn't even know I had a malignancy until 3 years after it was removed, so it wasn't traumatic or anything like that). I don't intend to give it another chance, so I embrace my inner ghost.

If you meet me in person, you will say "Girl, you are SO white!" And I will say "Yup, you betcha!"

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Ants Like Chocolate Chunk

Sweet Girl is a riot! Lately she has been bugging out (pun absolutely intended) every time she sees a fly or ant in the house. We keep telling her that a fly can't hurt her - just say "shoo fly!" and it will go away. This doesn't really work. I think we have the ant thing conquered, though. I owe it all to Geekwif.

See, on Thursday, Geekwif helped Sweet Girl make chocolate chunk cookies. She sent some home here for Champs, as he gets home from three days on the road on Thursday and kept some for The Geek who was pulling an all-nighter at work. This was really noble on Geekwif's part because she hates chocolate. I suppose abhors chocolate might be a better way of putting it. In any case, fast forward to today. Sweet Girl asked for one of "my cookies that I baked on Thursday at Geekwif's" (lest, of course, I should lack the ability to know that these were, indeed her cookies). She dropped a little crumb of cookie on the floor. About an hour later, she looked down and said "Aaahhhgg! The cookie is moving! No, there are two ants! Mommy, ants!" and so on, dancing in place.

I explained (for about the hundredth time) "it's OK, honey, they won't hurt you." She remained unconvinced, so I elaborated. "Sweetie, they're just looking for something sweet to eat. They like sugar." "Oh!", she exclaimed brightly "I'll get them some sugar." "No!", I quickly warned her, "they'll bring friends!" At this point, Sweet Girl leaned way down, cocked her ear and listened intently. "Mommy! They said they like my cookies! I am a good cookie maker!" After that, the ants were her best friends. Flies still freak her out.

A few comments from this post:
Geekwif said...

Sorry about the ants. And you're right about the fly thing not working. Now she just jumps up and down screaming at the top of her lungs, "Shoo fly, shoo!! Shoo fly, shoo!! Shoo fly, shoo!! Shoo fly, shoo!! Shoo fly, shoo!!"

It's actually pretty cute - in a very loud sort of way.

12:09 PM
Hot Rod Mama (in this case, Granmama) said...

I am absolutely LOVING the antics and phraseology of Sweet Girl. For those who haven't had the privilege of meeting her in person, she's even cuter and sweeter than your blogs make her out to be.
By the way, Blond Girl, did you know that "Party Pal" (she came with me to your Longaberger party) actually thought I was one of Sweet Girl's real grandmas? To die for.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Amazing Adventures of Aquatica!

There is a mysterious creature with awesome superpowers. She can create icicles with her breath, absorb heat from her surroundings and turn from human to a reptile in a matter of moments. Her touch can instantly freeze bare flesh. Her skin can detect the tiniest source of heat and spread it within her body. When others are wilting from high tempetures and humidity, she is ready to fight crime, cook and clean or even shop. Her archenemy is the Ventilator 4500 superairconditioner at The Big Company. Her cloak of power is the denim shirt with a Big Company logo on it. She is...


Aquatica Abilities, Activate!
See, this is the deal. Before I had the gastric bypass, I was always warm - always comfortable. I never got cold. True statement. The entire first winter that Champs and I were married, my winter coat was velvet wrap with a nylon lining. It didn't even have buttons - just a tie around the waist. I didn't suffer at all with such a light coat. I was fine.

But then, I let Dr. PJ (see Millipedes and Aliens, 6/21) do the gastric bypass. During the surgery, he let a clamp come off my spleen and it bled out. He was able to save the spleen, but I think it plays an important part in the next statement: Since about 1 month post-op, I have been CONTINUALLY COLD. Not just "a little cold". No, we're talking touch-others-and-turn-them-into-ice cold. We're talking put-your-feet-on-the-hubby-in-bed-to-make-him-stop-snoring cold. To give you an idea of just how cold I mean, it was 97 degrees here in God's country today, and I was the ONLY Person who wasn't sweating. I had to leave my desk at The Big Company because I was so cold that I couldn't type. I was working up a wind-chill. So, I went outside and sat on a rock to get some body heat back into me.

The cold thing is so bad that I can barely go to the bathroom. Especially at work. I mean, what is WRONG with the maintenence people at The Big Company? Why do they have to keep the bathrooms 15 degrees colder than the rest of the building? Do they think it will kill germs? Do they not understand that this is the single most vulnerable place in the entire building and, if anything, it should be warmer than all the other zones? Do they not understand that a porcelain seat has the power to drain all the body heat out of a woman in 2.6 seconds? They must not. If they did, they would at least be sure the faucets had warm water. Honestly! This is a Fortune 500 company, one of the largest and most respected brand names in the world, and they can't pump warm water into the women's bathroom. It's pathetic, I tell you.

The doctors say the reason I'm so cold is because I've lost 111 pounds and I don't have enough padding to stay warm. Pffllt. I don't buy it. I still weigh more than most Oompa-Loompas, and they aren't cold. I'm about a size 12-14 now. There are PLENTY of people who are smaller than me, and they're running around happy as clams in the air conditioning. Not only that, I froze over about one month after the surgery. By that time, I had only lost 30 pounds. I still had LOTS of padding and I was solid ice.

This is where the Aquatica part comes in. Champs has a couple of theories about this cold thing:

1. Dr. PJ actually killed me on the table, but found a way to make me look and sound as though I am still alive to avoid a malpractice suite. Essentially, I am nothing more than a Stepford Wife walking around, only without the subservient attitude.
2. Dr. PJ, while attempting to save my spleen, gave me a blood transfusion. Only, it wasn't human blood, it was reptilian. It kept me from dying but turned me part reptilian so that I am now cold blooded and unable to produce my own heat. I must take my heat from outside sources, such as hot soaky baths or warm, sunny rocks.

I'm not sure which is correct. I have a technical, medical theory about it that involves platelets and ITP, but I won't bore you with that. The bottom line is, something IS wrong and I am always cold. Cold to the point that, when co-workers ask me how I am, I almost always reply "good, but cold". Cold to the point that, if the maracas were missing, you could use my chattering teeth to keep time.

So, I explained this to Smoothie. She decided that option two is the best option. Her proof of this is that, when I get cold, I get the worst goose flesh ever. She justs laughes and points at me and says, "ooooh, you're spottin!" My skin pebbles up so bad that I look like a freshly plucked chicken.

Just dip me in 11 secret herbs and spices and fry me up.


So anyway, Smoothie started calling me Aquatica, since I am part reptilian. Everytime I get cold and run for my denim shirt to put on (which is every day), she calles me Aquitica. It's true. I am part reptilian. If you can't find me, just look around. I'm probably in the bathtub, basking in 110-degree water.

Or out on a rock in the sun, soaking up heat.

Here's some comments from this post:
Geekwif said...

Girl, you are just too much! I have one correction to make, though. Pre-GB you were not comfortable - never. You were the complete opposite of what you are now. You were always hot! In the dead of winter, when everyone else was wrapped up in parkas and big furry boots with nothing but our beady little eyes showing and yet our eyeballs and nostrils still froze up instantly, you would step outside in your little velvet wrap, take a deep breath, and ask where the cabana boy was. It's true, I was there.

Oh, and I'm sorry I had to use the word "nostrils" on your blog. I know it's ugly but it was necessary.

6:18 AM
Geekwif said...

Oh, and another thing. You never did sweat. You never have, probably never will. No matter how hot you were, you never ever ever sweat. I despise that about you. It's just simply not fair.

6:26 AM
Princess said...

So....... we shouldn't ever tell you to "take a chill pill"???


8:06 AM
Blond Girl said...

Champs got a great laugh out of that one, Princess. You can tell me to take it, but only if you supply me with thermal underwear and a heating pad.

11:13 PM

Club Gore-Tex

Now that I’ve been approved for my surgery; it means that I will have three doctors tag-teaming over me on July 29th (Ding! Look, the OB-GYN just jumped in the ring!)

I will be having a tubal ligation, a diastatis rectus repair with a LOT of Gore-Tex mesh and a panniculectomy; all of which is a fancy way of saying that I am having my tubes tied, a HUGE hernia repaired and a very intensive tummy tuck, all in one surgery. I’ll be reconstructed (How ironic. I will finally stop looking like I’m wearing a big coat of fat and they will use coat-making material to accomplish that. I wonder if they can put in a hood and handwarmers, too?)

I cried when they told me I was approved; I cried – I am such a sap. Then I felt almost empty. Just about everyone has seen the kind of movie scene when the hero is fighting, fighting, fighting and finally his opponent falls to the ground. Still the hero tries to keep on fighting until a friend pulls him off and he stands there, still struggling, unable to stop fighting. Well, that’s a little how I felt. For the longest time, all I could do was breathe. I was so happy; yet so empty inside that I could almost hear my insides buzzing. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s how I felt. Now, when I called my Mom, she was yelling and “woo-hoo”ing and “praise Jesus”-ing like crazy. Then, when I told Smoothie, she literally jumped up and down cheering and then hugged me tight. She stopped and clapped a hand to her mouth when she realized that this was not The Big Company sanctioned behavior. Given the fact that she is 7 months pregnant with Smoothie-Boy, this was a little scary. In fact, my boss said, “Pregnant girl, you need to stop jumping!” – and she NEVER says “girl”. It is “woman”, thank you.

Now, I was jumping up and down and flushing like a toilet inside, but outside I was pretty calm; smiling a lot and still concentrating on breathing. I almost felt guilty for not acting as excited. I know, however, that I felt as much, or even more, joy than they did. This has been my fight, my struggle for six months. It feels good to lay it down. My surgeon congratulated me and said it was proof of persistence. Well, yeah, I did a lot of work, but I still think God had the most to do with it. Everyone who knows me helped me pray for a miracle and that’s what I got. A just-in-time-but-not-too-late miracle. That’s God; never late, but always in the door just in time, it seems.

As of today, I have about one month before the surgery, during which time I need to get a TON of work done at The Big Company so that I can go on a medical leave and not feel guilty. I know that some of my friends at work will tease me about taking medical leave in August and say, “isn’t that convenient?” Well, let them. Anyone who thinks that I have signed up for Club Med has another thing coming. First of all, I am having three surgeries in one sitting. I’ve already had hernias repaired twice and given birth by caesarean section, so trust me, I know what I am in for and it is NOT PRETTY. I will be in a pretty significant amount of pain. Also, I will have to wear an elastic body-stocking kind of thing during the hottest month of the year. Finally, I am diabetic and I take about 5 shots of insulin a day. I take them in my stomach. After the surgery, for a while anyway, I will need to take the shots in my leg (ouch!). So, this ain’t no freakin’ vacation, peoples. Oh well. I’ll put up with it – the return will be so much greater than the investment. I like getting a good return on a pain investment. I mean, look at Tiglet… that little peach is the joy of my life. One day of 12 hours of labor, sent home; another day of 18.5 hours of labor, then 4.5 hours of pushing and finally a c-section. Now THAT was an investment in pain, but what a return!

Boy, I can’t wait for July 29!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Millipedes and Aliens

Someone will find this blog, perhaps through a keyword search, or by reference. They’ll read this entry and say “so what? Big deal!” However, someone who KNOWS me will read this entry and say, “Blond Girl?!? No Way!” Way! I planted a window box and a planter box full of geraniums, vinca vine, petunias and impatiens. Not only that, but I dug around in the soil, pulled weeds and (here’s the no way part), didn’t freak out when a centipede (or was it a millipede? It was gross anyway) went crawling out across my little shovel. I figured “oh, he’ll just aerate the soil” and kept planting. This was just one more thing to help get the house ready to go on the market.

Our home is actually quite cute; it was built in 1924 and it is a 1½ story with some wonderful features like a white sunroom, a transom window in the living room and a bright, sunny kitchen. It has a three-car garage (which satisfies Champs’ testosterone needs nicely. All the other husbands in the neighborhood have garage envy) out back and an old tree out front, so it’s pretty charming. We’re leaving it behind, though. The other night, Tiglet was saying how excited she is to move to another state by GranJay and GranDee (Champs’ Step-mom and Mom). She said she would be sad about the house, though, because when we moved out, our house and all our stuff would be blown up. Imagine the time we had explaining that the house was safe; it would not be blown up. Another family would move into this house and all our stuff would come with us. “Even Robert (her stuffed horse)?”, “even Drew (her doodle-bear)?”, “even Spunky (her stuffed dog)?” With each “yes, even that” she grew more and more excited. Now she is really ready to go, safe in the assurance that her “friends” and all her treasures will go with her.

I wish I could have the confidence of a 5-year old. Instead, I get the benefit of years of experience in worrying to help me along. I know it doesn’t sound like faith to admit to worrying. Actually, I don’t worry as much as I question. I constantly question. I question myself about what I want, what to do next, how to do it. I question professionals and websites for knowledge. I question God continually about “what’s next?” and “how do I do this, Lord?” In the end, we will move, we will find jobs and we will pay the bills, but it is difficult. The funny thing is answering everyone else’s questions when I am so full of my own. The favorite one that people ask of me is “do you have jobs lined up?” Well, no. It’s a little hard to say to an employer in another state “please hire me. I don’t know when we’ll be there. Once we put the house on the market, sell it, pack everything up and close on the sale, then we’ll be there.” Not exactly conducive to a job hunt, is it? Oh well, is our friend. Also, friends and family in the other state are already looking for opportunities in our fields. I am hoping to find something in the communication or compliance realm, since that’s where my expertise lies.

I am on pins and needles tonight. Why? Because tomorrow morning I get the answer to a very important question. Here’s the background (the ultimate really long story as short as I can make it): In October 2004 I had an open gastric bypass. I’ve lost 111 pounds since then and I’m doing pretty good. However, the surgeon who did my GB (I’ll call him “Dr. PJ” for Dr. Patronizing Jerk) allowed me to have an untreated peritonitis infection 10 days after surgery. Due to that infection, my insides are covered in scar tissue. I’ve had two incisional hernia operations so far, and I have a HUGE hernia right now. It used to be 3 smaller hernias, but they’ve opened up into one. I look pregnant. Each time I go through another round of hernias and surgery, I feel like I’ve got aliens inside of me. I’ve started calling them “the alien children”. Just call me Ripley. I’ve been fighting with my insurance company for 6 months now to do the hernia repair along with a panniculectomy (which is a reconstructive tummy tuck type of surgery). I keep explaining why I qualify, and they keep saying that, because I don’t have a rash, it is cosmetic. Well, tomorrow the insurance company appeals committee is meeting to make a final decision. I’ve written so many letters and Champs has written a letter (the hubby’s perspective) and my surgeon (the competent one, NOT Dr. PJ) has written over and over. Hopefully they will listen to reason and approve the surgery. So, I’ve been praying. My friends have been praying. My church has been praying. And tomorrow morning I find out. As Champs says, “there’s not much you can do about it now, you’ve done all you can.” OK, I need to stop talking about this subject. I’ll get the verdict tomorrow and that’s that. I’ve been doing a lot of ranting here, and not enough revelations.

Gotta end on a happy note, so here goes: Grandma B’s been experiencing some swelling in her feet lately and got new support hose today. They’re sooooo tight, she needs to use a contraption to help her get them on. Well, she does Sweet Girl’s daycare, so they are together a lot. Sometimes this rubs off on Sweet Girl. For example, tonight she was playing doctor with us and listening to our heartbeats (she just went to the doctor with Grandma B) and then, to join in my conversation with Grandma B, she said, “speaking of which” (yes, that blew us away). Finally, when we prayed before bed, Sweet Girl prayed “And please keep Grandma’s feet from blowing up like a darn balloon!!”


Monday, June 20, 2005


Just a quick note about Geekwif; she's awesome! In girly-world, she's the yin to my yang. Where I am loud and boisterous, she is quiet and confident. Where I forget to stop talking, she remembers the value of silence. When I can't make up my mind, she is the voice of reason. Actually, she's a lot like the hubby, only without the fun parts and with a shopping gene, which makes her the perfect friend with whom to spend time. Actually, we tend to laugh at the fact that I am much like her husband ("Geek", of course, since she's Geekwif.) He is also talkative, outgoing and boisterous. Only he doesn't like to shop, which is, of course, why I am so valuable to her. Ah, girlfriends! Never turn your back on a good girlfriend; she's your line to sanity! a good girlfriend; she's your line to sanity!
Sweet Girl just turned 5, a fact that she is intent on spreading to the world. I truly think she will not be happy until everyone knows she has achieved this milestone. Case in point; we went shopping on her birthday, sneaking birthday presents into the cart as we went. When we were done, I sent her and Champs to the snack bar while I paid for the bounty. As I went to join them, I passed by the security guard. He saw me wave to them and smiled. "It's her birthday", he informed me. "Yes, it is..." "She's five", he further enlightened me. "I see she got to you, too" was my weak reply. I love that kid, but man! She is the most outgoing child in the world. There are no strangers in her world, only friends she hasn't met yet. There's no use telling her not to speak to strangers, so we try to get her to understand that she can only speak to people Mommy and Daddy and Grandma are talking to. Is it working? Somewhat. I pray over her more for safety and wisdom than you can imagine.

Speaking of prayer, we were sitting down for dinner the other night and I told Sweet Girl it was her turn to give thanks. She said "but I don't know what to do". "Sure you do", I told her. "Just thank God for the food and ask Jesus for what you want to ask." After informing us that she would ask Grandma Bina for help if needed, she started: "Dear Jesus, thank you for today. Thank you for this food. Please bless it to our bodies AND please keep my Mommy safe as she travels to work AND please make Grandma's legs and mouth feel better AND bless the food to our bodies AND bless Daddy as he travels AND bless the food to our bodies. In Jesus' name, Amen." Both Grandma B and I assured Sweet Girl that this was a perfectly wonderful prayer; she smiled and said, "I didn't even need Grandma's help! God helped me, though." "He did?” I asked. "Yep! He did the ANDS". Ah, child, you slay me.

It's Father's Day today. Being that it's a week to payday, I was caught without the funds to pull off a big celebration. At least I was thinking earlier in the week and picked up cards for Champs. I managed to give him presents, though. Thank goodness for gift coupons. One is for a backrub, one is for a beaded bracelet or necklace of his choice (of course, utilizing very MANLY beads!) and one for a $50.00 shopping spree to the Home Depot or whatever store he wants. I know he'll enjoy it. There are at least 6 kinds of saws that he doesn't have yet. He wants a sawzall, a miter saw, a table saw... I never realized men had so many ways to cut stuff. At first I couldn't begin to comprehend the need. Then I thought, "shoes"... and it all became clear. It's summer; take sandals for instance. I need sandals for work, sandals for play, sandals suitable for dresses and sandals suitable for capris - and I need them in white, brown and black, not to mention a few fun colors like pink, aqua and lime green. OK, let me get my sandals and you can have the saws.