Sunday, July 30, 2006

What a difference a year makes!

One year ago today, I had the (I still pray) last major surgery to correct a string of recurrent incisional hernias from my gastric bypass. I fought the insurance company for six long months to give me the surgery, since it included a tubal ligation, hernia repair with gore-tex mesh and, most of all, a panniculectomy (which is pretty much a tummy tuck on steroids). In spite of the in-depth research that I did to prove the long-term success rate of such an approach, the insurance company didn't want to spend the money and it took them awhile to understand that spending $25,000 once would be far more economical than spending $15,000 every three months to repair the hernias that re-opened. Thankfully, they finally listened and I had the surgery. I was in pain! You can go here to read a bit more about it if you're interested.

Now, one year later, I am in a completely different place; one that, back then, I knew was coming but didn't really spend a lot of time contemplating. Two weeks from today we will be leaving Minnesota and moving to Illinois. I've got the truck rented and I'm desperately searching for available friends to help us load a truck on a Friday (sigh!). I weigh about 13 pounds more than I did after surgery, which is a bummer, but I haven't had any hernias, which is wonderful. I'm glad, too. I don't think I could handle it if that happened again. I'm leaving my job with my wonderful benefits for the unknown and it is somewhat unnerving to me.

I know my post isn't making a lot of sense. I guess that should be too much of a surprise; it was over 100 degrees today and I packed a ton of boxes in a house with no air conditioning (well, a tiny unit in the bedroom but that doesn't count for the rest of the house) and no screens on half the windows. Perhaps my brain is fried. Or maybe I am on auto pilot, trying to avoid the reality of the emotional pain of leaving my friends, family and city. Or maybe I'm just really glad that I'm not spending tonight lying in a hospital bed, pressing the morphine button to try to stop the pain of three operations in one.

Oh well... Time to take my confused brain to bed. Nighty night.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

My heart is a pendulum

I've never thought much about pendulums before... Except in terms of really pretty grandfather clocks and financial matters. A heavy brass marker keeping time. A seller's market responding to inflation and becoming a buyer's market.

But these days, I feel that I am a pendulum, swinging between nostalgia and excitement. I want to move to our new home but I don't want to leave this state. I want to be hired at a new job but I don't want to leave my job at The Big Company. I want to get everything packed, but I want to sleep. Although I am not manic depressive, I find that I am beginning to understand a bit more how it could affect a person.

Our move is three weeks away. I have so much work to do and I worry if I can get it all done. I'm really looking forward to getting to Champaign and getting our truck unpacked and our home settled and our new lives started.

But until that time, my emotions are swinging... A pendulum going back and forth, back and forth until life slows down and the pendulum settles in the center of my life.

Here are some comments from this post:
princssis said...
Just take a deep breath and relax for just a moment. Then, get back to it! I find when I make the decision to finally delve into something, I actually can get things done faster than I thought.
Anyway, I'm sure you'll get it all done. You have to, right? Anyway, we're all waiting patiently down here for your arrival.
See you soon!

kenju said...
That is typical, Blond Girl. Fear of the unknown is always uppermost in our minds. But try to picture the family in the new home, meeting new people, settling in to life in the new place, and you will be motivated to do each day what needs to be done.

Shannin said...
I know what you mean - when I was getting ready to leave California for here I was a constant bundle of emotions all the time. The worst was Don was here...

Chrissie said...
Hi Blond Girl,
Couldn't let you get skipped....
I have moved 42 times 20 years - yes, tis true. I'd find the link to my list of moves, but I'm just way to tired to dig it up - but it's there, somewhere on my blog - within the 80 something posts I've posted.
Each time I feel the pendulum. I don't know why I do it.... I think I was a gypsy in my other life!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Training is going well. So far it's been a lot of "rah rah sis boom bah" - which The Big Company excels at. It's fun, but trust me, the real work is just around the bend. I now know that the specific area of phone service that I will be in is equity trades. I'll actually be using that NASD Series 7 test that I worked so hard to pass back in 2004!

I've been meeting up with old friends and that's been a lot of fun - but it could get me in trouble! My biggest problem has been that I get to talking to my friends and that has made me late from break a couple of times. My trainer has made it beyond clear that this will get me in big trouble if I am not careful. I used to be a salaried employee and I didn't have to worry about being a few minutes late from break - especially since I usually worked more than 40 hours and I didn't get paid OT. Now that I've taken a grade decrease and gone to a phone queue, I am back in the realm of being watched all. the. time. I can't let this be a problem, so I went out and bought myself a hanging watch that I can put on my badge. I'm not a wristwatch type of girl; I just really don't like them. But this should work well for me; it will just hang on my badge and keep me on time.

Another adjustment was that I went out and bought an airbed to use while I'm staying with Mom. She only has a little one bedroom apartment and I was sleeping in her double bed with her, but it didn't work. Hubby, yes. Mom. No. 'Nuff said. Now her room is wall-to-wall bed and I'll share this bed with Sweet Girl until she goes home, but I think it's for the best... at least I know I'll sleep better tonight.

The one thing I don't think I'll adjust to... I MISS CHAMPS!!!!!!!!!! I'm still so grateful for this opportunity, but Oh, do I miss my man!!

The comment:
Paul said...
I'm sure it's tough, but I hope the time goes by fast for you--and Champs. Chin up.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

This world has nothing for me

Have you heard the song "Rescue" by The Desperation Band?

Here are the lyrics:
You are the source of the life
I can't be left behind
No one else will do
I will take hold of You

I need You Jesus
To come to my rescue
Where else can I go
There's no other name
By which I am saved
Capture me with grace
I will follow You

My heart is Yours for life
I need Your hand in mine
No one else will do
I put my trust in You

I will follow You (This world has nothing for me)
I will follow You (This world has nothing for me)

I need You Jesus
To come to my rescue
Where else can I go
There's no other name
By which I am saved
Capture me with grace
Capture me with grace
(won't You) Capture me with grace
I will follow You
I will follow You
Jared AndersonĂ‚© 2003 Vertical Worship Songs/ASCAP

I have loved this song since the first time I heard it; everytime it is played in worship I am there, full on. Even so, I heard it on the radio today on my way into work and it totally stopped me in my tracks. Before I even was aware of what was happening, I was in tears. You see, the one part of the song that I never quite connected with was "this world has nothing for me" - because it does! So much of who I am and what I present to the world is tied up in what I do everyday. I am a Communication Specialist. A Toastmaster. A choir member. A daughter. A friend... you get the point.

But we are moving soon from Minnesota to Illinois. We're down to weeks on this move and I am realizing more and more each day just how many changes are in store for me. So much of what goes into "identifying" me will be stripped away. I will be reduced, temporarily, to the three most important roles I hold in this world: Child of God, Wife of Champs and Mother of Sweet Girl.

As I go through these changes; the laying down of roles, duties, perceived obligations and work to make a new life in Illinois, the only constants I will have are Jesus, Champs and Sweet Girl (well, death and taxes, too, but we won't look at them now :-)

Today, for the first time as I sung the song, I understood what "this world has nothing for me" means to me. Yes, I am still in the world. I will find a new job, new friends (yes, I am keeping the old friends too!) new church - the world will indeed be a part of my life. But this stripping away has brought me to the one true relationship, Jesus, and the two He has placed in my life - my husband and my daughter. Other than that, this world has nothing for me. I am marking time at my job. I can't wait to leave the little place we rent. I am giving away stuff that no longer seems to matter.

It hurts right now to be laying everything down. I'm a security girl; I like my job and my benefits. I like the reputation I have created for myself. I've worked hard to become someone in people's eyes. Right now, my heart is crying out "I need you Jesus. Capture me with grace". and with that cry comes the assurance "I won't be left behind. No one else will do. I will follow You. This world has nothing for me."

Let me not soon forget this moment of Grace, oh Loving God. Thank you.

Editor's Note: My thanks to Margalit, who made the following comment on my meme below, in response to the question, "Ever wanted to tell me something but couldn't?" Margalit's response was, "I guess so, but it isn't going to make you happy. I get VERY uncomfortable when I go onto sites and see the assumption that everyone walks with Jesus. I don't, I'm Jewish and it makes me a bit skeevy to read posts like your first one.'"

Margalit, thank you for telling me what you think. I understand the "skeevy" feeling; it's the same one I get when I go to people's blogs and it appears that they all assume I hold the same political beliefs they do.

However, in response to your comment regarding this particular post, I didn't write it assuming everyone walks with Jesus. In fact, I didn't write it hopeing it would cause someone to want to walk with Jesus. You see, I come from a family where most don't (and wonder why I do) and I work in a company where most don't (and don't understand why I would choose to). But I do walk with Jesus.

I am going through a particularly trying time in my life right now and my faith is a great comfort to me. I assume that yours is to you, as well. I would expect that if you were going through changes and stress, that I might come to your blog and read, possibly, how the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and the observance of Passover brings you the comfort of knowing that Yahweh brings his people out of bondange. I guess my point is, that everyone, whether we agree with them or not, needs to be free to turn to what helps them, and express gratitude for that help. I didn't write this assuming everyone would walk with Jesus. I wrote it because today I walked farther with Jesus. And no, you didn't offend me or make me unhappy. You made me thoughtful.

Thank you!

Here are some comments from this post:
Beverly said...
I've always lived basically in the same place, except for college years and the few years after that. When I married, I lived in the same city that I grew up in. All my roots are here. It would be hard to have to move.
I will think of you and pray for you as you make this move. Someone gave me a little plaque once that said, "The grace of God will not lead you where the grace of God will not keep you."

1:43 PM
Blogger Geekwif said...
He is the only sure thing. Even more than death and taxes. I think it is hard to understand that line now because there are things that we connect ourselves to here. However, I believe there will come a day when we'll understand that line in a way that we cannot now – when we'll say, "Wow, compared to this the world really held nothing for me." Only the things that really matter will be there because they are the only things that are eternal.
Oh yeah, and I'd just like to say that I expect to be part of your life in this world after the move too. Just add me to the list please..."Child of God, Wife of Champs, Mother of Sweet Girl, and Friend of Geekwif". ;)
P.S. That is one of my very favorite songs too. It's a very good car song.

Pearl said...
Wise response.
I write to myself as the first audience, not to convince anyone else. I sometimes forget readers are out there.
Thanks for stopping by my place.
Warm thoughts your way in these days to learn from.

Carmi said...
I'll be thinking of you and wishing you only the best as you make the trek to your new life in Illinois.
As someone who's done the big move, I can confirm that your identity will remain intact. Who you are is dictated not by where you live, but by what you do when you're there. Since you're already a builder of family and community, I suspect your identity will survive and thrive just fine.

rampant bicycle said...
Hang in there! I've made a big move too (Texas to Canada!) and can speak to exactly how uprooted you feel when you do it. The good news can still build once you're there. :)

Shane said...
change is always good -- maybe inconvenient at times -- but there's always silverlining on every black cloud.
did i just write that horseshit? heh heh

Suzy said...
BGirl, I sooooo have loved that song for quite some time now! It brings me such peace inside. Have you heard Jeremy Camp's 'Walk By Faith'? It's my favorite right now because it talks about... 'because this broken road prepares Your will for me'. Comforting!
Glad I stopped by today....I didn't know who sang the 'Rescue' song. =o)

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Body Worlds... Amazing

Have you heard of Body Worlds? It is a traveling exhibit of "plastinated" human beings. There are three exhibits that travel around; the original one is here in my hometown at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Champs and I went last Saturday night and I must say that, while it was an expensive date; OK, a REALLY EXPENSIVE date, it was also really worth it.

First we attended the Omni Theatre for a movie called "The Human Body", which showed many functions of the body from the inside on a 6 story screen. Pretty cool! The sections on reproduction and the blood were fascinating. It's amazing to see a million tiny red blood cells from wall to wall above you!

After that, we went into the Body Worlds exhibit, where there were portions and entire bodies of more than 200 people. The plastinates, as they are called, are people who donated their bodies to be plastinated after death (you can read how the process is done here) . The tour starts small with individual bones and body parts, then moves to a full body. The muscles are so red and the inner organs are the greys and reds you would expect. Apparently the plastination process does a good job of retaining the colors as it stops decomposition.

The first full body was of a man who had been a smoker. His muscles and portions of his ribs were removed so the lungs would show through. They were amazing - black and putrid. Nearby, you could see the lung of a non-smoker and the difference was profound. It reminded me of when I was a child and saw "Casey Jones" (a Minneapolis children's show) feature two lungs like that. I was five at the time and despite the fact that both of my parents and later two of my siblings smoked, I never once lit up; and I never will, due to that sight.

Anyway... The exhibit continued on with bodies in various poses designed to highlight certain body systems. A man playing chess to show the brain and nervous system. A man's skeleton separated from his muscles to show both systems in their entirety. Perhaps the most profound body was one of a woman who died of a fatal disease in her 8th month of pregnancy. Her baby could not be saved, either. She arranged before her death to be plastinated with her baby. The exhibit of her leaning back on her elbow with her uterus exposed and the babe curled within is so breathtaking... And so sad.

One of the things that I found interesting was the fact that there must have been at least 200-300 people milling through the exhibit and yet, it was so quiet in the room. There was a hush that acknowledged some unspoken rule that the plastinate's humanity and final gift must be treated with reverence.

Near the end, I started to be a bit done with the exhibit. Although it was really interesting, I began to get to the point where I could no longer see them as impersonal. There was one body that had been cut from top to bottom in about 5-6 sections and posed one in front of the other. However, the cuts were not always straight through. The heart, for example, was left whole and mounted in one section, with a corresponding space where it would fit into the slice in front of it. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but he was like a standing human puzzle. The problem is that, unlike almost all of the other subjects, they left his skin on. And he had tattoos. And pubic hair. And a balding head. Seeing the tattoos and hair really kind of did me in. After that, I was ready for it to be done.

I am really glad we went, though. The secrets of the human body are fascinating, mysterious and beautiful. If you have a chance to see this exhibit (and you won't have squeamish nightmares, as some of my friends would), then I recommend you go see it. It truly is amazing.

This post created a LOT of comments:
Heather said...
Okay. I am a nurse and there is NO WAY I would go to that exhibit.

Geekwif said...
I'm glad you were able to see it and that it was so fascinating to you. I am just as glad that I didn't see it as I would have been completely overwhelmed by it.

Ravvy said...
it was here in Adelaide, AUSTRALIA for like one day *or one day that i knew of anyway* and i heard that it was even on on the day that it was happeneing and it was so popular, i would've just loved it completely as im a bit of a freaky geek when it comes to the human body and blood and arty stuff like that... so i woulda loved it and been totally facinated! Unfortunately at the time i had no moolah and was unable to go at all.. i really hope it returns...
Great Blog!!!
Here via Micheles Via AUSTRALIA!! :)

utenzi said...
I've read about this in several of the magazines I get. As much as I like science, even forensics, I don't think I want to see this exhibit. It's just a little too visceral to me. It does sound incredible, and I'd have loved to see it when I was in my teens or 20s but I've gotten more sensitive to "death" in my advancing years. Now I think it'd bother me to see such "real seeming" dead people.

Jean-Luc Picard said...
That sounds really creepy. I don't think I'd be keen on going there.

bobealia said...
Wow! My husband is a Med student, and I think he would love that.
I am guessing you didn't mean to say Palistinians... (when you were talking about the pregnant lady) it confused me for a few good seconds. LOL!!!
How expensive was it?

bobealia said...
That is an expensive date!! It was a super cool one though, sounds like...

kenju said...
That's a great idea, and I would definitely go.

panthergirl said...
It really does sound fascinating. I'm sorry I missed it when it was here...although I'm sure I would not have taken my son to see it. Were there kids there?

Sparkling Diamond said...
Wow, how fascinating! I would love to see something. I have always been so intrigued by the human body and I think it is so amazing that we can do something like this. If donating my body could help science learn something new or save someone's life, I'm all for it!

Shane said...
i always thought this process was quite amazing. i know it's controversial among some sects. People need to learn how to lighten up. I just read a post about someone who was outraged over the Geiko caveman commercials -- get a life (rolling eyes)

David said...
uggh real corpses,, dont think I would pay for that - I also dont watch tv, day or nighttime

Tracie said...
I have heard of this exhibit and read about it in several different places, but I am not sure that I want to go see it for myself.

Dara said...
I don't know how I would have felt about that exhibit. I think it's fascinating that we have the technology to do that and use it as a learning tool. Thanks for stopping by.

The Flamingess said...
I've heard about the plasticised bodies, but your description was very enlightening. I'd definitely go. No idea what the highlight woul d be, but I know I'd be faciniated by the technology. I feel donating ones body to science is is an excellent use for the vessel when we are done with it.