Sunday, August 31, 2008

Go Rich!

For today's Corner, about Trig Palin:

Trig Paxson Van Palin [Rich Lowry]
I meant to post this the other day (so please don’t take it as a response to Rick—in fact it might constitute pleading guilty as charged!), but I got sidetracked. I found the Palin event Friday incredibly moving. Partly because of Trig.

The sentimentalist in me would be willing to see anyone who is loving and unselfish enough to welcome a Down kid into their family elevated to high office.

When I was thinking of Trig, I was reminded of an encounter I had a couple of weeks ago on the Delta Shuttle from Washington to New York. It was a mostly empty plane, but I went all the back to the very emptiest part of the plane to spread out and enjoy he quiet. And there was a man sitting in the very back row who immediately piped up, "Hi. I'm Ian. Would you like to sit next to me?"

He was a guy with Down Syndrome, maybe in his twenties. I declined the offer, but we struck up a conversation. He was going to New York for a family celebration, including for his birthday. I told him I had a birthday coming up too and he lit up and came over to vigorously shake my hand in congratulations—more delighted by my birthday than his own.

When the plane began to fill up a woman and her daughter came all the way to the back with a huge bag. I began to wonder to myself if I should offer to help them with it, when Ian popped up, told them he'd get it, and lifted it up and shoved it in the overhead compartment. When two men came down the aisle with a box they weren't sure would fit overhead, he intervened and told them it would—"trust me"—and put it up for them.

He chatted amiably with his neighbors during the flight, and when we landed was up out of his seat first thing to help that woman get her bag down.

From this brief encounter, I dare say Ian is friendlier, better adjusted and more considerate than about half of the people on the streets of Manhattan or San Francisco on any given day. Yet most of those people are perfectly unperturbed by the elimination of babies with Down syndrome in the womb. To hell with them. God bless Sarah Palin for bringing Trig into the world, and may he shower those around him with as much sunshine as the gentleman I met on that flight.

Somebody's getting maaarried...

Just about to head off to a bridal shower (sort of) for my friends Andrea and Tom at Lindsay's on a sunshiny Sunday. I am bringing the cake.
If you've never made this cake, do yourself a favor and try it. It's one pot clean-up, tastes delicious and is so moist it lasts for days. It's really like super-cake.

I'm going to scream

if some political pundit mentions how Gov. Palin chose to give birth to a "challenged" child.
Aren't we all challenged, in some way? I'm mathematically challenged. Some people are musically challenged. Some people couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a baseball.
Can we please stop talking like this?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

More on Sarah

(and her shoes) here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin!



I absolutely love this pick! As I listened to her speak today I had goose bumps.
She's gorgeous, smart, and has fantastic stage presence. She's also a mother of 5, a former high school basketball player, a professional fisherman (woman?), was runner up in the Miss Alaska 1984 pageant, and was on the cover of Vogue.



above: from the Vogue article

Yeah, she's pretty awesome.

One of my favorite parts? She is adamantly, totally, pro-life.



Woot!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Live music!

So while I'm here, we're getting free food and a performance from the Reynoldsburg Community Band! That's actually pretty cool. :)

But I still want an MacBook like NOW.

Well, there was this...

The bright spot in my day: having my book question answered on Michael Dirda's weekly book chat at the WaPo:


Edith Wharton: Hi Michael, I'm trying to read all of Edith Wharton's novels, and I've gotten through most of the usual suspects (Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth, Summer, Ethan Frome), but I am stuck on The Customs of the Country. I just really, really loathe the heroine, so much so that I can't get past it and enjoy the book itself. Have you read the book? Does it get better as it goes on? (I'm just past the wedding) Should I persevere?

Michael Dirda: I haven't read it, but I can this: If you want to read all of Wharton you'll have to persevere. Think of the pleasure you'll feel in just knowing you've read all her books. On the other hand, if you're not that married to completeness, I'd put it aside, go on to another book, and maybe come back to it later, if at all. I do believe in reading for pleasure--unless there are supervening reasons. (Is supervening the word I want? I believe my mind is going, like the body parts of M. Valdemar.)

Computer hatred

OK, until I either get 1) my DSL set up or 2) a computer that likes me ( I think Widget, the current model, is heading toward the big Mac cafe in the sky), blogging will be, at best, intermittent.

But anyway, here are some random things I've observed over the past few days:

1)Yesterday I saw the Lion King tour trucks pull up and unload at the Ohio Theater. Today dad and I passed the theater on our way to lunch and we saw them unloading the programs. Yes, I am excited! Tiff and I are going on the 16th, and we have awesome seats (thanks to the Ticket Guru!)

2) Yesterday sunny and gorgeous. Today--raining and sort of chilly, but then not chilly. Weird. But we need the rain.

3) I hate my internet right now. Did I mention that?

4) Making great progress on L&A. I will try to post more later, when I have real internet.

5) I promise to post the taco recipe--again, when I have internet at home (I'm currently using Panera's wi-fi)

6) I am trying to learn one of Bach's pieces from "The Little Notebook" well enough to play it for other people. So far it's going OK.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Market Day!

(No, not the fund raiser. A real market day!)

One of the side benefits to J&H was that I got up early on Saturdays, and thus, had like the entire day free, as opposed to waking up at 10 like I normally would. :) Since rehearsals usually let out around 11, I would stop by the North Market on the way home to pick up food for the week.

As long-time readers know, I love to cook. I am a foodie, all the way, and subscribe to several food magazines. One of the big topics not just there, but in the "Crunchy Con" lifestyle, is buying locally grown products. I always liked this idea, but I didn't know how feasible it was. At first, I switched to Trader Joe's (which I still love with all my heart). But their produce would say things like "grown in California", which isn't really "local." So after a bit more reading, I decided to try and go as local as possible. That meant places like the North Market.

Unlike a lot of farmer's markets, the NM is open year round, and what they have is what the farmers are growing. There is also Jeni's Ice Cream (which is heaven on a spoon), meat stands, fish stands, cheese, bread, many pastry stalls, and international foods (like Indian and Chinese). My "usual" visit, which is on Tuesdays after work, consists of getting produce at the Greener Grocer, and then heading to Jeni's for a pint. I'm on a Raspberry Yogurt kick now.

So today, I bought:
--One pound of heirloom tomatoes (one "Hillbilly", a reddish color, and one "lemon boy", which is (duh) light yellow).

--One pound red bell peppers--they just looked so delish. (They are being used in tonight's beef tacos.)

--One pound red grapes (for the lunches)

At Jeni's:
--One pint of raspberry yogurt

The nice thing about buying in season is that everything looks so good. The peppers are the bright red you see on a kindergarten color wheel. The heirloom tomatoes are just gorgeous and have such a snappy taste!

I normally only go once a week, unless I'm out of something that I desperately, desperately need. It's not far from my office so it's not that big of a trip. Saturdays are just wild, though, but that's when I can do a big shopping trip and get things like meat and bread, if I need them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

GREAT!

Today was my three year clinic exam, which means the whole shebang of tests:

--Vitamin levels, in addition to regular blood draw;
--Chest X-rays;
--CT scan of chest;
--Annual bone density scan;
--VQ scan (which involves breathing and injecting radioactive material into me so they can see how that stuff is diffused in my lungs and chest--very fun);
--annual social work assessment;
--annual dietician assessment, and
--the PFTs

Good stuff all around...
I lost 5 pounds from the beginning of the month! Woohoo!
My PFTs were at 64%. I don't think I've ever blown that high post-tx and if I have, it was a long time ago, as Dr. A commented when he saw the results. So yay!
And I got to see all the lovely CF team people, including Dr. M, whom I haven't seen in quite a while. I showed them the J&H pics and generally caught up. It was great.

So it was a super-good, if very long, day. ..

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's time

For more of this.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Internet is really, really great...

*bonus points if you get the title reference!*

It's so great I can blog while I wait for tests at Children's...
Yes, today I'm getting an Upper GI series, which involves drinking Quick-flavored Barium and then taking lots of Xrays to watch the stuff move through my stomach and small intestines. But, as usual for me, my body doesn't want to cooperate so it's taking a lot longer than usual. I'm due for my next picture at 12:10.

The nice thing is, I get to see people that I haven't seen in a long time! Like Dr. G, my transplant surgeon.

I was in the cafeteria getting a bag of chips (I was told to eat soemthing, so that was my pick), when I saw him getting lunch. He is, hands down, one of my top 5 favorite people at Children's because he is so nice and so fun.

He gave me a hug and called me "beautiful" (yes, I know, I'm vain), which made me happy. :) We talked about his kids, my sibligns, life in general. I haven't seen him since my transplant surgery itself (you don't really see the surgeon, unless you need a more detailed biopsy, or another transplant (gulp!). I told him about the show over the summer and he asked me if I was playing my piano (he has a great memory, did I mention that?). Seeing him really made my day (he told me it made his week, so I'll take that.). I'm sure it's great for him to see his patients and know he did an awesome job (which I told him).

So that's what I'm doing...I'm in the family resource center, which the Columbus Blue Jacket Foundation funded. It's awesome--it has lockers, a workout room, a laundry room, food, and these great computers. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Books in Duck





Above: photos of Duck's Cottage:
1) The main section of the store
2) The lounge area; I love the "No laptops until 11 AM sign"
3) Me soaking up the joy


Duck's Cottage was one of the highlights of my vacation, after the beeach. A converted duck-hunting lodge, the small bookstore/ coffee klatch houses a wildly eclectic collection of best sellers (there was Twilight and Scott McClelland's What Happened), as well as plenty of books I had never heard of. These are the ones I quickly snapped up.

My purchases:
--Mediterranean Summer, about a chef's life onboard a private yacht (with recipes!)
--Lost on Planet China--a wonderful, engrossing, and hysterically funny exploration of that country.
--Four Seasons in Rome--a new father of twins wins a fellowship to write in Rome. This is his memoir of the experience, including JPII's funeral and B XVI's election!
--Choosing Happiness
--Duck: An Outer Banks Village
--The Insiders' Guide to North Carolina's Outer Banks
--Little Heathens, a memoir about growing up during the Great Depression on an Iowa farm, which I loved.

As you can see, they are mostly travel books or memoirs, since this store had such a great selection. I also bought a hand-made journal by a Maryland artist. The store sells a variety of arts and crafts items from local artisans.

If you're ever in Duck, you must stop here. Or, check them out online.

And more!

Yet more at CPG.

I promise I'll have something new up here soon. :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New posts!

Up at CPG

The theme: Abortion, Obama and Why Catholics Cannot Vote for him.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back from Duck!



LOL Ducks in Duck...


Yes, I am back! In one piece! Huzzah!
But since it's LATE and I have to go to work tomorrow, know that I will post more in the days to come. Complete w/ pics.
Of, and of course, I found a great bookstore. I bought an obscene amount of books. This should surprise no one.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Blog hiatus?

I don't know if I'll have computer access in the OBX, so there may not be any blogging from the vacay site. But I will have full stories and a travel journal up when I get back! (Well, OK, probably in the days following my return.).

I am going to the state fair tonight w/ Andrea and Tom. I haven't been in years, so this should be a lot of fun!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Books and movies

Tiff just left and we have decided on Entertainment for the Masses--she picked out movies for us to watch on Vacay. I reserved veto power in the case of her picking a movie that was NOT "family" appropriate. (As in, can't watch with parents in the room, like Love Actually. For some reason I cannot watch that movie w/ my parents.)

So we have (and it's eclectic--really, I just let her pick!):

--Cold Mountain
--Enchanted
--Casino Royale
--Armaggedon
--The American President
--50 First Dates
--Juno
--Little Miss Sunshine
--Thank You For Smoking
--Shakespeare In Love
--Becoming Jane (OK, that was my contribution, LOL)
--Groundhog Day
--Spanglish

So yes, a HIGHLY eclectic list. LOL.
Tiff also took from the library The Secret Garden and Rebecca to read.

Packing!

For the beach has seriously commenced. In fact, short of packing shirts, I'm done. And there's a washer/dryer at the house, so I don't even need to pack a lot of extra--I'm sure we'll do at least one load of laundry. There's a BABY coming with us, for pete's sake.

The book dilemma just got bigger. I removed Flannery O'Connor and added A Tale of Two Cities. Yikes!

And a medical note--
Packing pills can be a huge pain. Most of the time, when I do car rides, I do plastic baggies for each day, since normal pill boxes are not, in any way, big enough for all my drugs.

But! Behold! I have found one that is!

The Container Store sells one that is not only dividable into AM and PM for each day, but also big enough for all my drugs! Huzzzah!!!!

I just finished loading it up, after a pre-trip Kroger run w/ Mom and Dad to get the extra drugs, and it is safely stowed away. The drugs I will need for Sat. and Sunday before we get to the house are in the baggies, because the box is only for a week, and we'll be gone 9 days (wow how cool is that?! I've never, ever, had 9 days on a trip. Woohoo!).

Beach packing

Mostly, it consists of...books.

Are any of you surprised?
In the prelim pile:

--Bleak House
--Crime and Punishment
--The Hours
--Girl With A Pearl Earring
--A Year of Pleasures
--Chocolat
--The Customs of the Country
--Flannery O'Connor's short stories

Any other suggestions? I'm also thinking about adding "The Condition" and "The Secret Lives of Bees", replacing...what?

Just so you know...

I re-read Breaking Dawn. :)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Home!

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig....

So I cleaned a bit, and finished Portrait of a Lady--I'd forgotten how much I like that ending. Also finished Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity. Am now debating on reading The Last Lecture again or continuing my re-read of Breaking Dawn. Hmmmm. Decisions....

A new diet...sigh

First--happy news--I get to go home soon! Like, in a few hours! Yay!!!!

OK not happy news. Well, really not unhappy, but sort of a bummer.

apparently my cholesterol levels are high--like really high, even for me. Post-transplant, even if you're a baby, your cholesterol levels skyrocket. It's a side effect of all the drugs.

Well, mine are really high. So that necessitates a few changes:

--No more carbonated beverages. ARGH! What am I going to do without Diet Coke? I suppose I could just pretend I'm always in musicals prep, which would mean no Diet Coke anyway...and with the auditions I'm planning, that would be true.

--Also, like no caffeine in general, because that irritates GI organs. So Really my drink options now are: tea (decaf, of course, which I already drink), water, and...water. And any sort of juice I make that's low in sugar, because most drinks are just loaded with it. Seriously. Check the label sometime and you'll be amazed. Target makes a good no sugar lemonade that I like, however.

--So no fun drinks anymore. Oh well.

--The next thing--really really watching what goes ij my mouth. Very limited red meat (which I limit, anyway, since I'm not going to buy like a pound of meat for one person. It just doesn't make sense.) Chicken is good, and I can get individual portions of that. My awesome Jeni's ice cream is going to have to be severely rationed. I'd already given up most alfredo sauces, so that's good. And of course, portion sizes, which I'm good at in some cases, and not others (like, my chips and salsa...)

Like Dr. A said, it's really just a normal, healthy diet, but it's going to be hard to drop a lot of these things. Well, I thought it would be hard to drop the coke habit, too, but that went pretty easily, all things considered. And this does give me an excuse (not that I really needed one) to buy the awesome no-fat milk that's sold at the North Market! It's so, so good.

Coffee will be hard, because I seriously like it. Seriously. Sure, it will certainly save me money, but I'll have to figure out another breakfast drink now. I suppose I could go decaf? Hmmm. Will have to look into this.

If anyone has good food suggestions, please put them in the combox. I could use them!

But...I'm getting sprung! Huzzah!

Another great thing--ballet starts up again at the end of the month!

Still here....but!

OK so I'm still here, but hopefully I am getting sprung tomorrow. I'd really like to get sprung today, but we'll see what happens, since there are about 8 bazillion doctors we need to talk to in order to make that happen. But oh well.
Yesterday I had a few GI scans, and basically slept all day, which isn't a bad thing--except sleeping in hospitals sort of screws up your sense of time. You wake up and you can't remember what day it is. :)
I finished The Agony and the Ecstasy (which I was supposed to give Matt before he left for D.C., but oh well!) and will start The Man Who Was Thursday for one of my book clubs today.
The beach--still on, thank God! Also good that I pack early, unlike some people I Know. So all I really have to do is throw clothes in my suitcase because everything else is ready to go!
The dietician was in today, talking about what I eat, and I basically said I've given up eating, since between GI's new "no carbonation" mandate (which I hope and pray is short lived), the diabetes stuff, and general low-fat food looking, I'm just about ready to say ARGH! and eat all the cookies I can get my hands on. But that, apparently, isn't a good idea. So we're going to try to come up with a viable list when I come back for my normal, regularly scheduled appt. on the 25th.
Kathy also came in and we talked for awhile. Dad's not due for a fe wmore hours.
I think--hope, pray--that lunch is imminent. I really want some decent food.
At least I'm getting my caribou coffee fix--they sell the cold versions in the cafeteria!! :) :)

Monday, August 04, 2008

In Shangri-la...

Again!

Yes, friends, I'm back in CHildren's-- aka, The Resort, Shan-gri-la, whatever. Thankfully there is internet access in "The lounge", which is actually quite nice--it has games, a pin ball machine, movies, a wide-screen TV, a table and a vending machine. So not too bad. Obviously it also has a computer.

I went tot he ER on Saturday--by myself, for the first time ever, since my parents were on vacation and Tiffany was out of town, so I couldn't get ahold of her. I was having pain and cramps on my right side of the abdomen. So I had a CT scan with lovely contrast (think drinking rancid Hawaiian punch--gross), X-rays of my abdomen and lungs, a ton of blood work, etc. Then my port infiltrated, which meant the needle was disloged so fluid was going intot he skin around the port, leading to excess puffiness. So we de-accessed and tried 3 times to get a peripheral IV in, which finally happed in one of the veins on the back of my left wrist (Yeah, ouch). That lasted until about Sunday PM, then we accessed the port again because the swelling had gone down.

I'm on IV morphine and I was taking IV Zofran and Phernergan (ym fav!) so Sunday I was a bit out of it. But I was pain-free, at least. And today was pretty good, except for the massive pain bout at 6:30, which led to more IV morphine. Whether or not that will continue to be ordered, I'm not sure, but I hope so, because I hate the whole "let's try tylenol and see if it works, and if not then we'll call..." Usually I do OK, but this time I had a total meltdown--sobbing in my room. I think the nurse was convinced there was pain. :)

My parents came today once they got home from vacay. My brother was here last night, made an partment run for me to get the CI charger and a few other things, and then was back today. He has done a super job, and even channeled my dad by calling the nurses' station this morning (I hate it when they do that!). I was really impressed. He also bought me a SpongeBob Squarepants beanie baby from the gift shop. :)

Right now we're on the "evening" shift, with my nurse, Jackie, staying until 11. I really like her. :) It's mostly babies on the floor, with haert issues. I think I'm the only lung tx patient. Dr. Astor is out of town but should be back tomorrow, so I"ve been seeing Dr. Kirby, one of my favorite pulmonary fellows, and my GI doc Dr. Mousssa, who was in today.

The plan for tomorrow involves more blood tests and an Uppper GI scan. Some sort of "invasive" procedure hasn't been ruled out either; endoscopy, I think? Not sure. I'm not sure how the lungs look on the X-rays. I've been coughing more, but...

I'm also NPO, which is, as usual, killing me. I am chewing ORbit with a vengenance, and I can have liquids, but Dr. Moussa doesn't want me to have any caffeine, so that leaves me with Fuze Slenderize drinks (Which don't have a lot of sugar) and Caribou Coffee drinks so that I can get down the more powdery pills that otherwise would not go down.

Whew this is a long post--sorry! :) But hopefully things will resolve themselves. My white blood count was also up a bit. Not quite sure what that means, in context.

Oh, another thing--the CI. I've been telling everyone that they can take off their masks when they come in my room (this is kosher) so I can read their lips. And the nurses come down to my room when I hit the call button, since I can't usually hear them over the intercome.

I hope tonight is better than last night--hardly slept at all.

Oh, and, of course, Read Breaking Dawn! Very good, very long, and a satisfactory ending to the series. There were several times where I just went "WHAT?!" but it was good.

Here I'm reading The Agony and the Ecstasy and keeping a record of all the Italian words so I can expand my vocab. :)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Funny politics

From work today:

Me: Is (Boss) here today?
Co-worker: I don't know. Why don't you ask The Golden Child (another co-worker). He knows these things.
Me: Maybe we should just call him The One, a la Barack.
Co-worker: Yes, We Can.


(I'm in Barnes and Noble, surfing the net and generally hanging out for the next 4 1/2 hours untiL I can get my paws on Breaking Dawn. To which I will promptly go to the last page and see what happens. Make some sort of exclamation, either of pleasure or despair, then go home to find out HOW we got to the point of pleasure/despair.


The fact that I have a Parish Council retreat all day tomorrow--beginning at 7 a.m.--does not faze me from my Reading Plan.)

New Medical Adventures!

So.
Went to the GI doc yesterday, Dr. Moussa, at Children's GI Procedures clinic.
I hate that place. It gives me shivers every time I walk in, because it is the site of the ever-lovely pH probe testing!.

Anyway, she asked me a few basic questions, looked over my chart, and felt my abdomen.
Based on the results of last Monday's abdominal scan, it appears I have an enlarged liver.
This is caused by a bunch of things, but since I'm: 1) diabetic, 2) have high cholestrol due to transplant drugs and 3) am on steroids, this isn't reallya shocker.

It could mean several things--fatty liver, or something else. Who knows. So Dr. M ordered a liver panel, which, miracle of miracles, was drawn on the first stick in the outpatient lab. We'll get the results shortly, but I may end up (MAY being the key word) having a liver biopsy as a result of all this.

In the meantime, we're waiting for lab results, and an Upper GI scan, where you drink barium (fortunately Quick-flavored at Children's) and they scan your GI tract as it goes down, are in the works.

YAY!

Guess what today is?





Breaking Dawn! Breaking Dawn! Breaking Dawn!


Which means I'll be at Barnes and Noble tonight, and almost everyone there will be younger than me. Ha ha.