Friday, February 29, 2008

My Most Serious Health Concern, Part 1

I have a disease called endometriosis, which makes a nasty mess of the uterus. I was originally diagnosed by accident.
One June morning in 1995 right after I graduated from college, I woke up in terrible pain. My friend Angie once told me that when you have appendicitis it hurts so bad that you know. Well, I knew. My stomach hurt so bad on my right side that I could barely move. I called my doctor’s office, and woke up my sister to come with me. She didn’t have her driver’s license and couldn’t drive me. (Sidenote: she got her driver’s permit and started taking lessons right after this so that she could drive in an emergency.) So, I ended up driving myself to my doctor’s office, and then, for some mysterious reason I had to drive myself to a doctor’s office across town to see another doctor… Beth came with me and had to listen to me groan and moan the whole way. (definite incentive for her to get her driver’s license)
My parents met us at the second doctor’s office and then drove us to the hospital. At this point it pretty much becomes a blur. I remember seeing them in the waiting room after the doctor pushed my stomach and made me scream. And I remember them putting me into the car in the parking lot.
The next thing I remember is waking up and feeling horrible. While the doctor had me open he looked around and discovered I didn’t just have appendicitis. I also had endometriosis, diagnosed by cysts on and around the uterus. In fact, at first they didn’t even think I really had appendicitis. But after tests were done on my appendix, they realized that yes, it was diseased, and yes, it would have ruptured.
I had a REALLY nasty reaction to the anesthesia and ended up staying in the hospital for several days. And I was sick for about two months. (In fact, I showed up at Southwestern seminary a couple months later still recovering from the surgery.)
The surgeon had called in an OB in the middle of my surgery (which added time and FREAKED my parents out) and together they took this silly little video of my insides. I met this OB for the first time a couple weeks after my surgery and he let us see the video. He told my mother and me that I had a very mild case of endo and that I really didn’t need to be worried about it. That I should see another OB in a year, but that this wasn’t anything I needed to be worried about.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Death of 'Cats'

Our copy of Webber's 'Cats' has finally passed into oblivion. As near as I can tell, the girls watched it 60 times in the last month and a half... I guess I now know the resiliency of the average video tape after being stored. My mom purchased it about ten years ago, watched it once, then Beth & I probably watched it twice. Then the video languished alone in storage for probably ten years... After being brought into the light and viewed repeatedly, it is officially dead.
Poor sad movie. Poor sad girls! They've requested the movie several times over the last week and explaining that a movie is broken doesn't work too well for a 2 year old.
It's very fun to listen to Deborah singing 'Memory'. She's doing pretty good on the melody for a 4 year old, but her version of the words! I'm glad I can control my giggles after years of defending our cats' sensibilities. (If you dont know, cats HATE to be laughed at, and so do 4 year old girls.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Third Funniest Thing Ever

This is not really a joke. It actually happened to someone. To someone like one of my college friends who is very embarrassed about all personal bodily functions. I will not say who that person is because she would be embarrassed if I said it was her. All things having to do with sex, procreation and feminine products are off limits in conversations with her. She's a very intelligent woman who just has a couple personal hang-ups. Don't we all?
Anyway, this didn't happen to her, but you should be thinking of her or someone like her when you read this story.
A woman goes in to a store to buy some feminine hygiene products. Because she's uncomfortable with anyone knowing exactly what she needs she picks up about five or six other things- toothpaste, tomatoes, yogurt, milk, bread- you get the idea.
She chooses the line with the female checker and discreetly places her few items on the checker's counter. When the checker runs her box of feminine hygine products over the scanner nothing rings up, so she picks up the phone and broadcasts over the store, "Price check on Tampax! Price check on Tampax!" The woman is embarrassed and a little miffed.
Imagine everyone's shock when this response is heard over the entire store, "Is that the kind you push in with your thumb or the kind you pound in with a hammer?" (Get it? thumb tacks - tampax)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My new haircut

I admit I'm a little shocked... I've been thinking about this for a while and I still can't quite believe my hair is this short. Most days I like it. Sometimes I'm like, 'I just want to be lazy and put my hair in a pony tail' and I CAN'T anymore. And man, when it wants to be funky, look out! It can stick straight up! My hair has NEVER stuck straight up before.

And once again, I've freaked out a hair stylist. This time, she ended up basically asking me to come back so she could finish up... I've got so much hair, and it never looks like it 'cuz it's so flat and fine. There is just a TON of flat and fine hair on my head! Stylists frequently get halfway thru and then realize they're only halfway thru... And they panic. 'Cuz it's taken 'em 45 minutes to an hour to get there, and they've got the next client waiting and they're only halfway thru... So I went back today and she got to finish up and we're both happy! I love my new do!

Grammy's Girls

This is my mom and my girls. I think they're beautiful!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This is my 2nd Favorite Joke

I'm pretty sure that John Tillman in Company told me this joke. It's my 2nd favorite joke of all time. I can almost tell it right, but have messed it up a couple times, too. Why can't I tell a joke? If I had to save my life by telling a joke, I'd be shot dead!
A panda bear walks into a bar, and tells the bartender that he wants to have lunch. The bartender gives him a menu and he orders.
The panda bear eats his lunch, and when he finishes, he gets up to leave. Suddenly, the panda bear pulls an AK-47 out of his fur, and shoots the bar to pieces. He then heads for the door.
The shocked bartender jumps out from behind the destroyed bar and yells, "Hey, what do you think you're doing? You ate lunch, shot up my bar, and now you're just going to leave?"
The panda bear answers calmly, "I'm a panda bear." The bartender says, "Yeah, so?" The panda bear replies, "Look it up!" and walks out the door.
The bartender jumps back behind the ruined bar and grabs his encyclopedia. He looks up "Panda" and sure enough, there is a picture of the panda bear.
He reads the caption, which says, "Panda Bear: a cuddly, black and white creature. Eats shoots and leaves."

This is My Favorite Joke Ever!

I love this joke- I heard it in high school or in college, and I can NEVER ever tell it right. I always end up forgetting part of the punch line, or enough of the joke for it not to be funny. So finally! Here it is, correct and complete:
A string walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender says, “Look, I can’t serve you, you’re a string.” So he walks outside, twists himself up tight, and pulls out his ends. Then he walks back into the bar. “Buddy,” the bartender says, “I already told you: I can’t serve a string.” And the string says, “I’m a frayed knot!” (Get it? “I’m afraid not?!”)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lack of Energy

I've been busy, busy, busy lately. And not feeling too hot. All last week I had trouble sleeping. Jake's been snoring- I think he's sick- which means I don't sleep well.
We finally seem to have gotten over the difficult part of Deborah's nemesis at school. She's found another group of friends to play with and is delighted to go to school again. At least she was today...
I don't seem to have any energy for anything creative right now... Which probably means I'm in my mid-Winter slump. Around February I feel like sleeping all the time and just staying home... Part and parcel of living in the dark for the last three months I suppose. I keep saying to myself, "Soon it will be Spring!" I wish I could convince myself! I'm down in the blacks.

Airplane blunder

My aunt passed this one on. I thought it was fun and that I'd share with anyone who hadn't previously read this apparently true story:

A woman was flying from Seattle to San Francisco. Unexpectedly, the plane was diverted to Sacramento along the way.
The flight attendant explained that there would be a delay, and if the passengers wanted to get off the aircraft the plane would re-board in 50 minutes. Everybody got off the plane except one lady who was blind.
The woman had noticed her as she walked by and could tell the lady was blind because her Seeing Eye dog lay quietly underneath the seats in front of her throughout the entire flight. She could also tell the blind woman had flown this very flight before because the pilot approached her and, calling her by name, said, "Kathy, we are in Sacramento for almost an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch your legs?" The blind lady replied, "No thanks, but maybe Buddy would like to stretch his legs."
Picture this: All the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill when they looked up and saw the pilot walk off the plane with a Seeing Eye dog! The pilot was even wearing sunglasses. People scattered. They not only tried to change planes, but they were trying to change airlines!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mean Girls

Deborah has a problem kid at school. I want to remind you that Deborah is 4 and in pre-school.
This other child, who shall remain nameless, will now and forever be called 'J' in my blog...
J has had a very difficult child-hood: living with a foster family, now returned to her parents... Also, her foster family had three teenage girls, so she's been around the whole "boys, makeup & hair-do's, and clique" type attitude.
J likes to control most of the other kids around her, and does this by 'letting' them or not 'letting' them play with her. At first she and Deborah were friends, but they've gone through this whole 'I'm your friend now, but tomorrow I won't be' thing.
She has called Deborah 'fat' and 'stupid'. Words completely unacceptable in school and in our home.
We've asked Deborah to avoid playing with this other girl, but this has led to her kind of being a pariah in her class...
We've talked to her teacher, who is very concerned about the situation. She knew something was going one, but didn't know how much it's affecting Deborah. Miss Emily is working on teaching the kids about feelings, hurting each other's feelings, and kind vs. unkind words.
Right now, I'm having a battle with Deborah every morning about going to school. I HATE making her go to school. I know how bad this all feels, 'cuz I had two girls who did similar things to me- one in kindergarten and one in 2nd grade. When you're a kid in the middle of this kind of mess, it's HUGE.
Anyway, this is what's going on here...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A week of weather

We've had a week of -35 to -45 here in Fairbanks... Plus nasty ice fog. Which means Deborah's been home most of the week 'cuz her bus doesn't run when it's that cold.
I'm not supposed to run when it's this cold, 'cuz then I have trouble breathing. I have mild asthma- mostly triggered my weather and activity. And of course our weather this week triggered my asthma. I hate using my inhaler 'cuz it makes me shaky and wakeful so I avoid it til I absolutely have to use it. And I've had to use it several times lately. Makes me feel like a druggie coming off a high or a diabetic running out of insulin- all quivery and jumpy. Yuck! But as my family points out, better use it at home than be carted off to the ER.
I saw the coolest thing last night- I was out and about doing errands and driving across town. We've got two overpasses in town- one on the Mitchell expressway and one on the Johansen expressway. As I was driving on the Johansen overpass I saw the ice fog blowing across the ground and then lifting up over the expressway. There was enough wind to keep it flat, slim and straight- like a finger of fog trailing something and pointing it out. Or like some evil thing directly out of Harry Potter... Just a sliver of long trailing fog... Very cool in the dark.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I enjoy the musical Cats quite a bit... I could probably watch it once a year. I enjoy the music and the dancing- I've seen it live and enjoyed it more than most of Webber's musicals. For one thing, I like cats and enjoyed watching these amazing dancers take on the strong character & motion of them. For another, I like Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats...
However, my girls have recently discovered the Cats movie. And they LOVE it. They want to watch it at least once every day, and most days they want to watch it twice... It inspires them to dance, laugh and sing. They'll watch part of a song and then start dancing, and then watch some more and then dance some more. It's as fun to watch them as it is to watch the movie action...
As much as I enjoy the music and the girls' dancing, I do NOT want to watch it or listen to it twice a day! The songs are playing over and over and over in my mind... Last night I couldn't get to sleep for hearing: 'Bustifer Jones is not skin and bones, in fact he's remarkably fat'... and 'oh, well, there never was there ever a cat so clever as magical Mister Mistofoles'...
Aaaah! Webber's music really sticks in your head!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Waltzing Rebecca

For Christmas I gave Jake a gift certificate for the two of us to take 6 weeks of beginning ballroom dancing lessons... Waltz, Foxtrot, and East Coast Swing. He was skeptical, but gracious and willing. Frankly, I just wanted to give him something that the two of us could do together and alone! Living with two kids, a sister and a mom doesn't leave much time for the two of us to just be by ourselves. I also wanted to do something fun, and something challenging.
We've now had three lessons, and we're having fun! The first time was okay, the second was exhausting, but it seems that we've finally hit our stride or something. Jake actually enjoyed himself!
One thing I can say about ballroom dancing is "Wow, the guy works hard!" He has to do almost all the thinking. As long as Jake knows what he's doing and is confident, I can pretty much just follow his lead and we look great. If he gets messed up, it's curtains. Of course, I can trip us up, but it's not the same...
I'd done some basic steps, but never worked like this with a partner. It's a lot of fun to work on something together... Since we met in church and on the praise team, we're used to working together, but we haven't been able to do music lately. He's playing with our worship band, but they don't use vocalists, and our worship leader isn't convinced of the need for a djembe... So, it's wonderful to have something creative & silly we can do together. (side note: I admit our teachers don't view it as quite the silly & fun thing we do! I'm glad we can laugh at ourselves even if they can't. They're great teachers, but they take this stuff pretty seriously...)

Jake's Mirror Shot

Jake took this shot, and I thought it was pretty cool...

January Books

Reserved for the Cat by Mercedes Lackey A
I loved this one!
The fifth in her Elemental Masters series. Each of these books is loosely based on a fairy tale, and then placed in England before the turn of the century. I thoroughly enjoy these books, although I admit none of them come up to the standard of the very first one, The Serpent’s Shadow, which is very loosely based on Snow White. Putting a fresh spin on an old and well-known tale is difficult to impossible, yet Lackey pulls it off with charm, humor and simplicity.
Reserved for the Cat is loosely based on Puss in Boots. Lackey adds a bit of ballet, a touch of theatre life, spreads elemental magic throughout, and then tops it off with just a hint of romance. And once again, her recipe for excellent fantasy delights. Her characters are sympathetic, interesting and believable. The period touches add fun and weight. Bonus: Lackey’s thorough knowledge of the time period grants the reader insights into the major upheavals of the time: racism, changing gender roles, class struggle between the aristocracy and general British citizenry, the industrial revolution’s effect on people’s lives…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince A
Re-read. Loved it! Good to read a favorite through again.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling A
I loved this… I bought it the day it came out and I’ve put off reading it forever. I just couldn’t bear to read it. I guess I thought if I hadn’t read it the series really wasn’t over, which is silly. Cuz yes, she wrote it, so yes, it’s over. I was satisfied. I’m so glad Snape wasn’t an evil villain. I didn’t want him to be! I was sad Dumbledore was really dead. There were way too many deaths, and there was a section in the middle that just d-r-a-g-g-e-d… But I loved it. And the ending wasn’t too schmaltzy for me. I was glad to have those questions answered. The best review of this book was done by Stephen King and can be found on the Entertainment Weekly site here:,,20044270_20044274_20050689,00.html
I love how King compares the draggy section of The Deathly Hallows to the part of Robinson Crusoe where he’s out in the middle of the ocean and keeps going ashore to different islands in search of food…

Outlaw Mountain J.A. Jance A
A Sheriff Joanna Brady mystery. Very good.

Partner in Crime J.A. Jance A
Sheriff Brady meets Homicide Investigator J.P. Beaumont. They don’t really get along. Excellent.

Wizard’s Daughter by Catherine Coulter A-
Silly fantasy/romance. Interesting mystery that kind of peters out at the end. The buildup was really good, but the ending was a bit of a let down… .

Birds of Prey J.A. Jance A
Homicide Detective, J.P. Beaumont takes an Alaskan cruise ship directly to murder.

The Gift by Richard Paul Evans B
Kind of a ‘spiritual’ book… About a kid with the power to heal others, but that power comes with a severe price: each time he heals someone he gets sick- really, really sick, leukemia-type sick.

Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen & Bruce Coville A
Excellent YA. This book is told alternately by two teenage characters: Marina & Jed. They have each been dragged by a parent into a freaky millennialist/survivalist cult which has set itself up on the top of a mountain to wait for the end of the world. The leader of this cult preaches that the end of the world will come on a specific day, July 27 2000, and that only 144 will be saved… The story is funny, charming, disturbing and very sad.

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods
Gregor and the Marks of Secret
by Suzanne Collins both A
These move quickly and are well written. Clear believable characters, humor and tragedy, a fully developed world. This series started out as an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ adventure, but has developed into more of a young ‘Lord of the Rings’ adventure. I have thoroughly enjoyed these and would recommend them to anyone. (Donna, that means you!) Very clean. Very fun.

The Calhouns by Nora Roberts B
Enjoyed these very much. Five sisters search through the past to save their home.

Desert Heat by J.A. Jance A
The first Joanna Brady mystery. Excellent. Joanna’s husband dies and she must figure out what’s going on and why everyone’s saying he committed suicide when she knows he didn’t…

Tombstone Courage by J.A. Jance A
The second Joanna Brady mystery. Also excellent. Joanna is the new sheriff & must take on her first case…

Pandemic by Daniel Kalla A
Disturbing book about a seriously wicked flu virus and a seriously demented Jihadist… Very good.

Sorcery & Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevermer B
SLOW start, but it ended up quite well. This is a book based on the letter game (2 people writing back and forth as different characters- just playing around really). After they were done killing off the bad guys they got together and realized they’d written a book. ‘Sorcery’ takes place in an alternate England just after the Napoleonic wars where magic abounds. There’s much about manners with just enough silliness to make it fun… My impression is that it took them about half the book to figure out what they were doing, and that it got quite good after that.

The Grand Tour by Wrede & Stevermer A
Second in the ‘Sorcery & Cecilia’ series. Much better than the first- they’ve definitely gotten good at this whole letter game business. Grand Tour takes place in Europe on the cousins’ honeymoon tour and is a rollicking good magic/historic/mystery/romance tale. I enjoyed it immensely.

Tiger Eye & Shadow Touch by Margorie M. Liu B+
I enjoyed these very much… They’re paranormal romances/mysteries, and they’re fun, but a little wordy/effusive. I love seeing books with the same characters. She’s a young writer and is still using way too many words to say what she needs to say, but they’re still fun.

Spiderwick Chronicles, Volume 1- The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black A
I thought this was funny & silly… Took me 20 to 30 minutes to read and I found it enchanting. Fairies, brownies, trolls. My girls have looked over and over the illustrations… They love them!

The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years Later by Wrede & Stevermer B
This is the final one in their ‘Sorcery & Cecilia’ series and takes place back in England. Fun & silly, but not as good as their second one.

Shoot/Don’t Shoot, Dead to Rights, & Skeleton Canyon by J.A. Jance A
Three, four & five in the Joanna Brady mystery series. I like these and am finding them a little addictive. Sympathetic characters, solid & interesting plots, intriguing mysteries. My favorite was Skeleton Canyon- I don’t know why particularly- Maybe ‘cuz I really liked the ending. It’s clean and one of the main characters has a drastic change of heart. There are some interesting messages in these about forgiveness, justice, duty and God’s faithfulness…

Gregor & the Code of the Claw by Suzanne Collins A-
I’ve just devoured these. Great adventure/coming of age type books. But this one was a disappointment. It’s the finale, and just didn’t live up to its potential, in my opinion- I didn’t think it was as good as the others, plus it didn’t really wrap anything up. There’s a ‘boy, war really sucks’ kind of message slapped at you at the end, and I was left going, ‘what on earth was that??’

Edge of Evil and Web of Evil by J.A. Jance A
Books one and two in a completely different series with different characters. These revolve around a 40-ish TV reporter who’s kicked out of her anchor chair because she’s ‘over the hill’. She then discovers that her executive husband is having an affair. And to top it off, her best friend is found dead… These stories are good. Interesting to me because in both of Jance’s other series (Joanna Brady, J.P. Beaumont) the reporters are the BAD guys. And here we have a reporter as the good guy.
I find the situations she’s in a little unbelievable because she ends up in so much craziness- 3 gun fights in one night, for example. She’s a reporter! Not a police officer… And most police officers aren’t in multiple gun fights…. However, I’m still enjoying them… Just kind of going along and suspending my disbelief for the sake of the story.

Blood Dreams by Kay Hooper A
The first in another one of Hooper’s FBI/Bishop Special Agents trilogies. Hooper writes about FBI agents who defeat psycho sickos using paranormal gifts. The main character in this one has some precognitive vision-type powers which give her warnings about upcoming events. And the good guys are trying to catch a whacko serial killer.
Hooper is a real ‘hit or miss’ type writer- some of her books are excellently crafted with interesting plots and great characters. And then you’ll pick up another book and it reads very much like a first book by a total newbie author. It’s weird. Beth and I both read her stuff and enjoy them very much, but some of her books are so frustrating! We know she can do it. She’s done it before. She has interesting concepts. Some of them are rip-roaring… But then you’ll get one of her duds and be like ‘What happened? Did she fall asleep at the computer? Did her editor cut tons of stuff out? Why is this so bad?’ Anyway, Blood Dreams lives up to its’ potential. Yay!