Thursday, March 30, 2006


Remember back in (God, I can't believe I'm dating myself like this) high school - call it the eighties. You'd tell someone something unbelievable, the say, "psyche!". As in "Just joshin' ya", "I'm totally messing with you", "Silly you for believing me."

Well, I got a bit "Psyche!" from my doctor.

Flashback to previous post about follow-up mammogram. The previous ending was "and she left the hospital, to live happily ever after." Well my doctor called me up the following week and basically did a "psyche!" on me.

She said, "well you left before the doctor could talk to you further." Hmmm... the sonogram gal said something like, "you are free to go." Guess I misinterpreted that somehow.

Then she follows it up with, "there's some calcification that's just asymetric and we want to do a biopsy."

What I heard was "blah, blah, blah, BIOPSY". As in "cut" as in "remove stuff" as in "get me on the next bus outta town RIGHT NOW".

She must have smelled the fear (horses and doctors, I suppose), and she quickly said, "a NEEDLE biopsy. A small needle, like a sewing needle. We just need a small sample of tissue to analyze."

I'm still not feeling the love. Now I hear, "blah, blah, blah, NEEDLE IN YOUR BREAST." Can it get any better?

So I agree to call a surgeon. As luck (?) would have it, my husband had his appendix burst several years ago and we happen to know a good surgeon. This was one of the surgeons that my doctor mentioned as a referral. Ah! A small bit of coincidental good luck. I'll take it!

I saw the surgeon yesterday for a consult. I didn't hear anything new. I heard "BIOPSY" and "NEEDLE" and "TISSUE" all together and scary-like.

I wasn't really sure what questions to ask. Anestetic? Yep. Recovery time? Short. Pain? Minor. Scarring? 1/4" scar, nothing big.

Then he gave me a card with a website link with more information. As a good patient would do, I followed the link to the site and looked up details on the procedure.

And I tripped across this lovely illustration of what they are going to do:

Does this look suspiciously like a DRILL to anyone but me?!

Okay, so let's summarize. BIOPSY. CUT. TISSUE. BREAST. DRILL!!!!


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Goofy Food Fetishes

I get a lot of harrassment for things I eat. Or don't eat. Taking a page from Scooter's book (wherein he details all his food preferences), here's my food likes and dislikes:

"Normal" food that I don't like:


NOTE: I can't even be in the same room with someone eating tuna. Bleck!

Peanut Butter.
I just don't like it. Not even with jelly. I do, however, like Butter & Jelly sandwiches. Or just Jelly sandwiches. I will eat peanut butter if it's combined with chocolate, like Reese's Peanut Butter cups.

Potato Chips.
Just quit liking them one day. I prefer pretzels. Not fat-free pretzels, though.

Candy Bars.
Believe it or not, these are too sweet for me. I can't eat them anymore. I can down gallons of ice cream, slabs of cake and entire pies, but keep the candy bars, please. Especially ones with nuts. I've never liked Snickers. Ever. You might be able to tempt me with a Dark Chocolate Milky Way...

I cannot stand getting the kernels stuck in my teeth, so I don't eat popcorn anymore. If only they could make kernel-free popcorn, I would come back around.

Food that I like to eat, but often in weird ways:


I only like ketchup, but not on my burger please. When I dare to eat a cheeseburger, it's PLAIN. No ketchup, no mustard (yuk), no lettuce, no tomato, no pickle (UGH!). Meat, cheese, bun. Boring I know, but that's my preference.

This used to go the same way as the burger. Meat, cheese, bread....Done. In the past few years I've ventured forth and added mayo. But again, no lettuce, no tomato, no mustard, nothing else, please. Especially not a nasty pickle to color my bread green and get nasty pickle flavor on my sandwich. Bleck.

Donuts are my downfall. I've considered "overdosing" on donuts - buying a dozen raspberry-fille Krispy Kremes (my all-time favorite donut), eating them all in one sitting and making myself sick. I've done this quite accidentally with a few things, and never wanted them again. There's a chocolate shake/wisdom tooth story incident that comes to mind...

Diet Coke.
If I drank water instead of Diet Coke, I would be healthy on a Herculean scale. I realize how nutritional useless Diet Coke is, yet I can't help myself. Arg.

Chili & Mashed Potatoes.
You take a bowl. You put a mound of mashed potatoes (no instant potatoes, please!) in the center. Then you put the chili on top. And cheese if you're feeling frisky. Then eat bite consists of some chili and some potatoes. It sounds weird, but I've converted lots of friends.

Corn & Mashed Potatoes.
Detecting a trend with the mashed potatoes? Same as above. Lump of potatoes, corn on top. This one I used to mix up all together and have for dinner with nothing else. Starch overdose, anyone?

I'm sure there's other items that I'm missing, but frankly, I've been eating strange combinations for so long that it's not until someone says something that I realize the oddity.

So, dear readers...what strange food fetishes do you have?

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Goofy Scare

As faithful readers know, I had my first mammogram two weeks ago. It was really no big deal, and after I was sufficiently poked and prodded, the technician told me should couldn't tell me any results (she sounded like she gets asked this question 800 times per day), but I would get a letter if everything looked fine. If there was anything suspect, I would get a phone call. "I'm rooting for the letter," I joked.

Well guess what. I got a phone call. The Phone Call. The "your recent mammography shows a finding that needs further evaluation" Phone Call. The "we've detected an asymmetry in your right breast and want to do more poking and prodding" Phone Call. Basically the Oh Shit Phone Call.

I played it off well, I think. "Is this normal?" I asked. The nurse gave me a seemingly scripted answer. "Well, with first mammograms we don't have a baseline. Many times we have women come back in for an additional look. And we did see an asymmetry."

Asymmetry. As in "One of these things is not like the other".

I got this call on Monday. They could not get me in for an additional look until Thursday. Much worrying ensued. Of course the inevitable thoughts creeped in. "What if I have cancer? What if I lose one breast? How do you buy clothes with only one breast? What about chemo? Would that be an option? Would they catch it in time? Would I die?"

So yeah, I went overboard with the worry thing, then decided I couldn't do anything until Thursday. Poking my right breast did not unearth any offending lumps, so I waited. And waited. And waited.

And Thursday finally came. And I was ready to face the mammogram again. I felt brave. I shed my clothes and donned the tiny baby blue Batman cape that serves as your coverall during the ordeal. The same technician was there, and she met me with the same jovial demeanor as before. She took some views. Only the right breast this time, and quite a bit more smooshing (probably not the technical term) this time. Okay, folks, this kind of mammogram does hurt, although not as bad as getting a cavity filled or anything.

Then I waited. Then they wanted to do a sonogram. Had they not seen what they expected? Was this good or bad? I started getting nervous now. I hate hospitals, and even though this was the outpatient territory, deep down I knew it was still the hospital, and that didn't help my nerves.

The sonogram was easy. Lay down. Try to stop racing heart. Get squirted with gel (actually warm gel...they have a warmer for the stuff!) and wait as the friendly technician glided the sonogram paddle thing (there I go again with the technical terms) in eighteen directions over me.

"You've got cysts," she said. My heart stopped.

I must have looked shocked because she continued.

"They're benign and very normal. See?" She pointed out several dark shadows in the maze of wavy lines on the screen.

"What causes them?" I blurted out.*

"Well, I've had that question so many times, that I've researched it. It could be blocked glands, you know, like a clogged drain gets backed up and it causes a lump. It's also thought to be hereditary," she said, "They could go away or they could just stay there. Either way they are normal and always benign."

I really liked her use of "always" here!

I couldn't think of any other questions, so she left to let me dress and get the hell out of there. It was strange having been there so long and then after this quick n' painless procedure, they just let me loose. I wasn't going to let them have second thoughts.

But as I waited, I thought of one more answer I needed to know. I don't know why, I just needed to know.

"How many are there?" I asked, as she came back in to see me off.

"Four" was the answer.

Well, there you go. A nice, even, symmetrical number.

*In hindsight, this is weird. My first thought should have been thankfullness, instead of curiousity. But my brain works like that sometimes...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Is it Wine Yet? Is it Wine Yet? Huh? HUH?

Man, I told you all I was impatient. I haven't pried open the bucket's lid to check progress, but I did do a lot of listening and poking tonight. You'd think I had a lot of spare time on my hands, huh?

Speaking of spare time*, I've been doing some reading (and listening) lately. Here's the scoop:

"Little Earthquakes" by Jennifer Weiner
Please, don't read this book. For all that is sane and proper in the world, just don't. This book is just wrong. It's depressing. It contains entirely too many stereotypes about pregnant women, mothers and women in general. It's just plain annoying. I couldn't finish it. I got through 3 of 4 CDs and found that I just didn't care what happened to any of the characters. So I said out loud, "...and they lived happily ever after" and returned it to the library. Ugh. Jennifer, After "Good In Bed" I expect better out of you!

"Birth of Venus" by Sarah Dunant
This is a book club book. I never, ever would have picked up this book if it hadn't been assigned to me for book club. And it's wino book club, so like, I gotta go or I don't get to drink. So I was forced to read the book. And...surprise! It's not bad. It's set in pre-Renaissance Italy, so the language is bit, er, flowerly. And this author really likes to describe things like gardens and peacocks in excrutiating detail, but the story line is interesting. It's about a clever and curious young girl (an unusual thing for this period) and her movement into womanhood, marriage, etc. There are some unusual twists and turns along the way, but there's a decent love story plot line, plus a nice sprinkle of feminism too. I also feel like I learned something historical from reading this book. Bonus!
Book Club NOTE: It made for some interesting book club conversation, but not nearly as much as "Tortilla Curtain" or "Life of Pi".

"On Bullshit" by Harry G. Frankfurt
I swear that Cagey was eager to read this book. I swear that she told me she had heard good things about it. Alas, Cagey disavows all knowledge of this, and rightfully so. I didn't make it past Track 5 on CD #1 before realizing that this was a serious book about bullshit. WTF? On the dust jacket, it was noted as a "satire". Can satire be un-funny? Well, this one was. Bo-ring. Just say no.

"Saving Fish From Drowning" by Amy Tan
I have enjoyed all of Amy Tan's books that I have read. My favorite (and first one) was "Bonesetter's Daughter". It was great. This book was nothing like that. The prologue explains how Tan got the idea for this book. It was intriguing. However, two discs into the books, I was wondering if she was ever going to get around to a little thing called a plot. You know, that thing that keeps your reader interested in the book. She missed me on this one, and I had to stop. Maybe I'll pick it up in the future and try again, but I just didn't "get it" this go 'round.

"Company: a novel" by Max Barry
After zooming through "Jennifer Government" by Barry, I tried his newest, "Company". It did not disappoint. Without giving too much away, this book is a cross between "The Firm" and "Office Space" (the movie). It's funny, thought-provoking, and you just might see a little bit of yourself or your co-workers in it. I enjoyed it.

So there it is, the good, the bad and the un-readable. What have YOU been reading lately?

* Behold my elegant segway. Gack.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Wine Making with Goofy Girl

Wine making is extremely simple. I mean, think about it....way back when, it happened accidentally. Some monk-dudes gathered some grapes for munching, and set them aside, meaning to get back and eat them or make them into preserves. They got busy praying and such and forgot them. The grapes were discovered a week later, moving, shaking and bubbling as wild yeast ate up the nutrients of the grapes and expelled gas.

Was it an act of God, or that other guy? The jury is still on this one, folks.

So after the bubbling stopped, one of the braver monks tried a sip. "Yum," he must have thought, and the rest is history. *

So back to me. Ahem. I manage to make the simplest things hard. Thus was the case with the wine making. I bought a kit, for crying out loud. A kit. Like "Do step 1", "Then do step 2", then "Idiot, do step 3. Why are you even still reading the instructions?" Each package was labeled with (you guessed it) "step 1", "step 2", etc.

I did manage to follow all the steps, in order. However, there was a slight (okay, large) delay between step 4 and 5. Step 4 was basically "Dump the juice into the giant 6 gallon bucket and stir". Step 5 was "Add the yeast". Doh! The yeast. The yeast that was supposed to be out of the fridge, sitting in a nice warm-but-not-hot place, eating the nutrients provided in the package and making the package swell to a plump "ready-to-use" size. This step takes about a day. Double-doh! So, as I said, there was a slight delay between these steps.

This delay was made worse by the stupid directions (I always fuck up when I read these...why do I continue?) that said "package should swell in about three hours". After four hours...the package was flat as a pancake. So I poked and prodded; shaked and shimmied. After which I figured I had killed any yeast even thinking about getting busy. I threw the package in the microwave overnight (I didn't turn it's just a nice warm, breeze-free place) and went to bed. Then, like a kid on Christmas morn, I ran down this morning to check on my yeast package (boy, I need a vacation if this is exciting stuff, huh?). Flat.As.A.Pancake. Dammit!

I threw the package in the pantry and left for work. My expectations were low when I got home from work. But when I checked the pantry, presto! A nice, puffy package of yeast! Yippee! I quickly fed Goofy Junior and we went down to add the yeast to my science fair project.

Right before you add the yeast, you add oak chips to the wine. Goofy Junior looked a little concerned when I added playground droppings to my wine, but he was supportive. This means he didn't dump the bucket or put any foreign bodies into it. Good boy! I put the lid on my concoction and left the yeast to feast.

So now, I wait for 5-7 days before taking a peek. I'm not a patient person, so I will be amazed if I don't peek before then.

* Okay, so I totally made up this historically-inaccurate story and wine was most probably discovered way before monks, but I always associate early wine-making with monks. So shoot me.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Goofy's Week of New Experiences

This has been a week of new experiences for me.

New Office:
My new department moved to new offices on Monday. There were a few glitches, like the restrooms on our floor are not done, so for the next two weeks, we have to travel either up or down a floor to pee. Bonus exercise though if you take the stairs! Also, the heat on our floor did not work until late today. But the good news is that our entire department is together. Together in a recycled, 70s-decorated, restroomless, freezing location...but together nonetheless.

Monday I had my very first mammogram. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Actually, it was less painful than just plan weird. It's kind of like putting your breasts, one at a time, into a vice. Then you have to stop breathing for a few seconds as the "vice" takes an x-ray. It was really more pinching-painful than the "oh my God you are flattening my breast"-painful that I was expecting. Then I got to watch an embarrasing video of breast self-exam.

Wine Making:
I took a Wine Making class last Saturday. It sounds so totally easy that I'm going to try it. Go figure...another project for me. My local "home brewing" store just got in some Limited Edition Petite Syrah/Zinfandel juice. Yum. And since it's already juice, there's no annoying grape picking, de-stemming, crushing, etc. Just pour it into a bit bucket, add some yeast, add some oak chips, close it up and wait! If everything works out like planned, I might have some wine in the works by this weekend. Then, in about six months, I will have 26 bottles of wine to drink. Be nice to me and maybe you'll get a bottle!

Poker Tournament:
Tonight I played in my very first bar Texas Hold 'Em tournament. Mr. Goofy & I have had a home game for a while, but this was the first time that I ventured out to play with real live strangers (versus dead ones?). My goal was to not be the first one knocked out at my table. I surpassed that goal my miles! I had so much fun and actually did pretty well. Of 7 tables of 8 people, I was still around when it got down to 3 tables. I lasted almost 2 hours!

In case you are curious, the hand that did me in was A-K unsuited. A new guy to our table (they start consolidating tables as players go out) went "all-in" before the flop. If you are not familiar, this means that, based on only two cards, he was betting his entire bankroll. My A-K was a very good pre-flop hand, so I called him. Turns out he had 7-7...a pair of 7s. But the flop was still coming. The flop is 3 more common cards. One of these cards was an Ace. I had a pair of Aces! Which beats a pair of 7s. But alas, the final card turned up (there are 5 common cards total) was a 7. The bastard had a set of 7s (3 of them). Which, of course, beats even a pair of Aces. There was disbelief all around the table as this guy took a LOT of my chips. I never really recovered after that, and finally went all-in on a pair of 9's (not a horrible bet) and got knocked out by a higher pair. As you can tell by how much I'm writing about this, I had a blast! The only downside was that I had to come home and take a long shower to get the horrible cigarette smell off me. My frigging socks smelled of smoke!

Whew! After all this excitement, I'm ready for a quiet weekend.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


I am hereby a Lemming.


Google it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Cost of Motherhood

Lately, I've been pondering the costs of motherhood. No not the costs of diapers, formula and Baby Einstein DVDs, but rather, the opportunity costs. The time costs. As in "What Have I Given Up for This Motherhood Gig?" No, I'm not regretting motherhood, just thinking back to that time before Goofy Junior came along and comparing how my time was spent then versus now.

And I've come up with a few things. Things that I either knowingly or unknowingly gave up. These fall into two categories: Things I Don't Miss and Things I Miss

Here they are, in no particular order...

Things I Don't Miss:
1) Watching TV

This is the biggie. I remember nights when I would come home, park myself in front of the TV with dinner and hubbie and stay there until bedtime. Upon reflection on this...JEEZ, what a huge waste of time! If I put my Mommy Time Management Hat (MTMH) on, I think of all the things I could have done with that time...walk the dogs, pay bills, do a load of laundry, read a book, listen to an audiotape, go to the gym, shop for shoes, play a computer game, blog...

2) Staying at Work Late
I can remember looking at my watch and thinking, "'s 5:45pm. Guess I better think about heading home". Holy Moley! I currently have to leave my desk no later than 5:00pm if I am to get on the road, miss the majority of traffic and get to daycare for pickup by 5:45pm or so. I don't do this to miss the late penalty (which is not until 6:30pm anyway), but rather because I miss the little cur. I am rushing to pick him up because I want to see him, not because I'm afraid to incur some additional cost. It sure gets my butt going though...

3) Sweet Snacks
I have a large sweet tooth. Okay, it's gigantic. But now, I have to be a Good Role Model and not eat brownies before dinner. And not carry Twix bars in my car. Toddler Eagle Eyes see everything with a shiny wrapper. I do still eat sweets, but I have to pick my moments and I don't do as much as I used to. This is not a bad thing.

Things I Miss:
1) Walks with Mr. Goofy

This sounds mundane, but we used to have wonderful talks while we walked around our neighborhood block with two dogs in tow. We would talk about work, vacations, dreams, pet peeves, etc. Often we would argue, but in retrospect, we were communicating, and that's always good, even if tempers get heated.

Now we have to either take Goofy Junior with us, which slows the walk down to a toddle and prohibits any meaningful conversation; or one of us has to go alone. Definitely not the same.

2) Eating Later than 7:00PM
Pre-Goofy Junior, I used to roll home about 6:45PM, feed the dogs, remove my work costume and put on comfortable clothes, check the mail, then discuss with Mr. Goofy what we would make for dinner (or where we would run to for takeout).

Now we have to plan for dinner to be eaten no later than 7:30PM, or Goofy Junior's stomach causes him to become this mad lunatic. And bedtime is at 8:00pm, so we want to give him time to digest. As a compromise, we occasionally make Junior dinner at 6:30 or so, then wait until after he goes to bed to grill steaks, bust out a bottle of wine and have a normal adult dinner. The downside of this is you are literally in the kitchen all night. Sometimes it's worth it though...

3) Large Blocks of Time for Reading
I remember once sitting down on a Sunday after lunch and reading an entire Harry Potter book. In one sitting. Ah!

Now I have to find smaller blocks of time to read. A half-hour before bed. In the car while Mr. Goofy is driving. During dinner (yes, it's not the best role modeling. oh well). A big savior has been audiobooks. It's a wonderful multi-tasking situation listen to a book while driving. And I have about an hour each day to do it. I love it!

So there are costs, and there are rewards too. As with most large life changes...