Tuesday, February 9, 2016

This Thing is NOT the Boss of Me.

I bought myself a little "gift" last month. I wasn't going to buy this thing that many other people already have. I hate doing what the crowd does. I don't like going with the general flow. I choose to be an outlier. That must be why I have gray hair that you can take from me only when you can pry it from my cold, dead follicles.


Off topic. Getting back on topic.

So, I have been to three different doctors in the past 2 months to check up on and look at and scope out various things. I went to see Dr. O'Brien about the lump that is on my left arm, right below the elbow. It has been there for, oh heck I have no idea how long. It is in a weird place and I just didn't notice it. But when I did.....to the doc I went. He looked at it, wiggled it a bit and said, "It's just a lipoma. If you were a member of my family I would just tell you to leave it alone."

OK. I am good with that. I have named him Reginald. He has been asking for an Instagram account of his own but I have resisted.....for the moment. HOWEVER, now that Instagram will let me toggle between up to 5 different accounts I might have to rethink this.

Then there was the Colonoscopy. No need to discuss that further, you can read all about the colonic antics on that blog post.

Then there was the quick and precise gynecological exam with Dr. B. 

Dr. B: How have you been?

Me: Fine. Can't complain.

Dr. B: Strip down and lets see what's what. No uterus. Check! No cervix. Check! Still have knobbly boobs. Check! Here is your order for a mammogram. I am moving to Florida. See one of my colleagues when you come in next year.

Dr. B is a woman of few words.

The mammogram doesn't need to be described either. I know I have a blog post about mammograms in general but I can't find it at the moment and my "Gigantic Excel Spreadsheet of ALL the Blog Posts" isn't done yet. Let it just be said that if men had to have the equivalent of a mammogram on their peckers then someone would come up with a less painful mammogram. I'm jusyin'. I will also say that I "failed" that mammogram and there was all the, "Oh you have to now have the more extensive mammogram because we don't have your old films and we don't like that thing that we are seeing." And the, "We called University for the old films and they don't have them and don't know you." To which I replied, "I will call them and we will see." Which I did and low and behold they DID have the old films which they sent to Cleveland Clinic where the radiologist promptly looked at them and said, "Nah, she doesn't need further tests. Her breast have always been this weird and knobbly."

The common thread through all of this little medical journey was....my weight and my blood pressure. My weight is my weight and I am not telling you what it is and no I will not EVER diet again. My blood pressure was....elevated. Some of that has to do with the fact that when you come at me with a blood pressure cuff my BP shoots up just to be contrary. Darn BP. And some of it was not for that reason.

That is what it took for me to buy a FitBit. The fact that my blood pressure wasn't just a bit on the higher range. It was high. And I hate taking pills. And I don't like medication. And when someone tells me that I HAVE to take medication I become so non-compliant. Hey Mom, I bet you never knew that I took myself off of the Prednisone and Anadrol when I was so sick in High School, LOOOOOOONG before the docs said to taper down.

SO non-compliant. Well, all except for if I have a bladder infection. THEN I am compliant to a fault.

But when all of the medical sites that talk about what to do about elevated blood pressure tell you that upping your exercise might help....I finally had to listen. I cut down on the amount of coffee, or actually just switched to half caff and got to walking. AND lifting weights. I know, that one is still funny to me. Believe me when I tell you that I am a noodlearmed 90 pound weakling when it comes to the weight machines. But I still do them. And I am managing, not every day but most days, to get my ten thousand steps in. It usually entails being on the treadmill at 6a for 30 minutes and then another 30 minute walk when I am at work. For about the first three days I also wore it at night so that it could record my sleep. However, I have put the kabosh on that because I really don't need for it to tell me that I slept poorly and dreamed about folding stacks of tissue paper and exploding composting toilets.

That happens to everyone right? If I actually told you what some of my dreams are about you would run screaming.

But on SUNDAY I don't wear the thing because......


On Sunday that is. Every other day of the week it is kicking my big fat bahookie.

Monday, February 8, 2016

I Journal So Others Might Live.

This shelf holds 18 years of journals.

I journal (and knit) so that others might live. No really, I do.

These are not diaries, let us be clear. I might write down the mundane things that happen in a day but I write them in much greater detail than the three lines that are generally afforded to someone who buys a 5 year diary. There just isn't enough space in a 5 year diary for me. I like to use ALL the words. My mother and her mother before her kept diaries. 5 year diaries that were/are often stretched to 7 years, depending on whether days can be added above or below the slots printed on the page. An Iowa nature of frugality and use it upedness cannot be overcome by a mere 5 years prescribed to a diary. For the life of me, although I have seen the diaries and I know that it can be done, I don't see HOW the Meemster (my partental unit) manages to so accurately and succinctly convey her day in just three lines.

Like I said, I like to use ALL the words. 

I also like to paste in ticket stubs and odd pieces of paper that mean something and cards that people send me and the programs from summer nights at Blossom and wedding programs and odds and ends of things. 

And I like to write. 

No, I probably should say that I NEED to write. I started journaling 18 years ago when I was going through a particularly rocky point in my life. I had to find an outlet for all of the things. I had unsuccessfully kept a diary at various times in my life but they would just drift to the side of life after a period of time. Just another project started and failed. Three lines a day was all that I needed to do and I couldn't manage it. Those diaries sat there and mocked me.

And then I saw "The English Patient." What does that movie have to do with journaling you might be asking yourself. Well I will tell you. The character played by Ralph Fiennes has a diary of sorts, one that his nurse reads. It has maps and pages of importance stuck in it and things pasted in it and words written and it was his life. And I knew I wanted just that thing. I needed it in some way that I couldn't even define for myself. I just knew. I went out the next day and bought just a basic small note binder and started writing and pasting and stuff. I hadn't really thought through the whole why am I writing and what am I writing part. I just knew that all the words had to be mine.

I am a person who tends to internalize things. It has always been something I have struggled with. My feelings are hurt over something or someone has done something that really cheezes me off and my natural "bent" is to internalize those feelings. Sometimes that isn't a problem. And sometimes it is.  I have learned to ask myself, when faced with an issue that raises my BP, "Is that a hill that I want to die on?" Most of the time it isn't. I can work out the whole, "hill I want to die on" thing by writing it out, as if in conversation with myself and the other person. Sometimes that is all it takes to know that, nope, not going to throw myself into battle over this thing. I have written it out and I am moving on. If journaling about it doesn't solve that dilemma of to speak or not to speak....then I speak.

At other times the whole internalizing things can be a big problem. You can internalize the things that bother you for only so long and then......

KABOOOOOOOOOOOM! My head blows off and my mouth opens and bad lava juju comes out. Words cannot be taken back. Or just as likely I will KABOOOOOOM internally and then my brain goes FRRRRRRRRRRRITZ and it isn't good. I get to a point and I can feel myself spiraling down into the bad day where everything is bad and blue and no one likes me and HHBL hates me and has done this "thing" deliberately, even though I KNOW that isn't true. When those times come I know I haven't journaled enough. It is much, much better to express these things through the modem of my fingers writing on virtual paper rather than just letting words fly from my mouth. That is much better for everyone in my life. 

It may sound nuts but I actually do the writing portion of my journaling in Evernote. So awesome is Evernote.

Never leave me Evernote. Never, ever, ever.

I write daily, or at least I try to. At the end of the month I print the pages out, cut them into individual days and paste them into the journal for the year. Yes, I am perfectly aware that I could just keep all of that in Evernote and never actually print it out. No, I am not going to change how I do this. I like the way I journal. PFFFFFFT!

I am open and honest, always, in my journal. If you cannot be honest with yourself then what is the point of the thing. If HHBL and I have a disagreement, yes that does happen, I journal it. But I also journal the resolution. That is only fair. I journal my prayers. I journal my hopes. I journal my disappointments. 

I journal it all.

And I am going to keep on journaling until I can't do it any more. When I am gone the progeny can read them or burn them or send them to the Smithsonian with a nice note from me. I can, with all honesty, say that these 18 journals have helped stay sane.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Oh No" Is Not What You Want To Hear

Email. The bane of our technology obsessed world.
We all have emails. Many of us have multiple email addresses. I do and I am sure you do too. Right?


At last count I have 6 email addresses. Well, 5 really since the Yahoo email address has pretty much been abandoned like an orphan step-child. But that means that I STILL have 4 other active email accounts. There is the personal one, there is the gmail one, there is the photography business one, and there are 2 work emails. That is 5right? So, the work emails has always been on Exchange. I love Exchange. I delete an email on my work computer or my phone and it is deleted everywhere. No need for double work. Double work which, with the way my other emails were set up was a constant thing. Most of the time I keep up with my personal email on my phone or iPad. I am out of the house three days or more a week and I often don't have time to turn on my desk top and clean out emails. That is a job for Saturday, if I get to it. Consequently I have often felt like I was doing double duty with emails. Exchange will clear all of that up.

By the way, a word on Exchange. When I started working for HHBL I was assigned 2 work emails. I set them up on phone and iPad and work laptop and was ready to go. I checked email on my phone and deleted things there that I knew I would need but figured that they would just be on my computer where I wanted them. I mean, that is the way that all of my other emails work so that must be the way this email works. If you are reading this and you use Exchange you know where I am going with this.

No one explained to me that Exchange integrates all the devices and when you delete an email on one.....it goes away on all. I can tell you that it wasn't a long time before I figured that out but it was a really unhappy few moments when I went looking for an important email and it was no longer there. Thank goodness I am not overly obsessive about cleaning out my Deleted folder. 

Now back to our blather.

The only emails that we had on Exchange were the work ones, until this weekend that is. I am not going to give you all of the explanations about why we were moving emails from a "Pop!" system to Exchange. I am not even sure that I just described it correctly. HHBL explained it to me but.....lets just say that GoDaddy doesn't want to play with "Pop!" anymore and likes Office 365 much better and so we switched.

Oh these teenage internet romances!

Anywho, HHBL switched his various emails over and then it was my turn.

Emails were switched over to Exchange on the GoDaddy site. Am I getting this right? Who knows. It sounds about right. All I know is that once that happened I no longer could get emails on my computer in the basement or my phone or iPad because they were set up for the whole "POP!" thing. But HHBL confirmed that the emails were there if we looked on the website so it was obvious that the conversion had taken place. Then it was on to the next thing. 

Make sure that all of the emails that I currently had in Outlook were backed up somewhere. We won't talk about how many emails that REALLY is until later. Check!

Make sure that my inbox is empty. Check!

Push, pull, click, click...........

And the wheels just came right off the old switcheroo bus.

Is there anything more annoying and crazy producing than watching that little annoying wheel thing spin round and round and round, telling you that it is working and working and working and then....Ding! Up comes a dialog box telling you that, nope, not going to work. I tried not to hover over the process, or ask too many questions, or make suggestions that would have no basis in fact or knowledge. I just sat on the stairs and waited to be called. A call to GoDaddy produced the results that my Outlook was a version(2007) that wasn't even supported any longer. It has been kicked to the curb, given a few dollars and told to find another home. AND, of course, there was no way to upgrade to 2010. SO it was to the 2016 version of Outlook that we turned. Downloaded that and got things going.

Or not, as the case may be. Oh the new version of Outlook was hot to trot, waiting for emails. It was just that nothing was working. No emails. Just dialog boxes that gave unhappy news. It might as well have been a foreign language for all I could decipher what it was saying. Thank goodness for HHBL, my hunky IT guy. More typing and clicking ensued. And then I heard a phrase that strikes fear into the heart of anyone who is trying to do something on the computer.

Sharp inhalation of breath. Head in hands as he looks at the screen and softly says, "Oh no."

Oh no what??? What do you mean by, "Oh No?" Perhaps Oh No I forgot to send that email? Or, Oh no she cooked liver for dinner. Or, Oh No the Browns have decided to keep Johnny Manziel. Oh no WHAT?????

I come from a medical background where the words "Oh no" are followed by phrases like, "Call a code." Or, "hand me that clamp." Or, "retract this so that I can get at that bleeder."

Oh no is not a good phrase.

In a nutshell, the new Outlook, which was by then getting fresh emails (which was good), didn't know where to find all of my old emails (which was very bad.) I have a lot of saved emails. I mean, you never know when you might need the email from our Real Estate agent from the FIRST time that we tried to sell OCK, ummmmmmmm, sometime around 2011. OK, so I probably should have cleaned those emails out. But it was the emails from family and friends and my dad that meant a bit more to me. And there are all those emails that deal with the Wedding Coordinator things that are going on this year. And all of the Blog Comment emails.

Oh no was not good.

Another phone call to GoDaddy ensued. And by the way folks, it was now almost 8:30p on a Sunday night and HHBL had been dealing with this little issue for 3+ hours. Did I tell you that he is the most wonderful and fabulous and hunky IT guy in the world?

And hunky.
During all of this I just sat on the stairs and tried not to jump up and look over his shoulder. I read, or tried to. I spent some time doing what I always do when I am nervous or upset, I cleaned and straightened stuff. A LOT of things got straightened.

By 9p it looked like most, but not all of the issues had been worked out, at least to the point that Outlook had located the old emails and was displaying new emails and I heaved a sigh of relief, and resignation that my task on Tuesday, that would be today, is to go through ALL of the old emails and maybe delete some of them and move the emails that I need to keep over to Exchange.

Hi, I'm Debbie and I am an email hoarder.
Did I tell you that I love HHBL very much and that he is a hunky steely eyed IT guy.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

All I Wanted To Do Was Write A Blog Post

Really, that is all that I wanted to do. I wanted to write a blog post. Google, why did you have to make everything so COMPLICATED!!

Let me backtrack for a moment and give an explanation of my life, or parts of it.

I hold a number of jobs, one of which is as the Executive Assistant at a local software company. That means that I wear a boat load of hats. They still refuse to call me "She Who Must Be Obeyed" but I am working on that. One of the hats is that I am in charge of social media. We ALL know how much I love social media. I would do that all day. As a part of setting up one of the social media streams that we are using, I grabbed a gmail account that dovetailed with the name of the company and what we do.

That was my first mistake.

The fact that Google wants to integrate all aspects of your life and your blogs and your email is great....until it isn't. The minute that I grabbed that other email address Google automatically thinks that it can read my mind. It thinks that I want THAT email, the email that isn't really going to be used but must be preserved so that someone else doesn't grab it and cause confusion for us down the road, to be my main email.

WHOOOOOOOOOOOSH! It automatically assigns THAT email as the admin on all of my blogs (there might be more than one that lies dormant for the moment) and it takes my main gmail address OFF of the blogs as either an author OR administrator, thereby rendering me wordless on my own blog unless I want to sign in with the work email.

I do not want to sign in with the work email. It isn't used for anything and it is a WORK email. Work emails and personal emails do not mix. Someone should have made sure Hillary Clinton understood that little maxim.

SO, I go to write a blog post this morning and....I can't because Blogger (which is conveniently owned by Google) tells me that I do not have any blogs that are assigned to my gmail account.

I might have just sat there for a moment, scratching my head and wondering where my blogs went. Trying not to panic. Trying really really hard.

I signed out of my gmail. I signed out of my work gmail. I signed back into my gmail, thinking that would solve the problem because that is what you are SUPPOSED to do to let Google know which email you want to be the default email.

REALLY GOOGLE?!? Can't we just have a setting that does that?

But signing out and signing back in does not fix the problem. It still tells me that I have no blogs at all, which is rather upsetting when you think about the 1700+ blog posts that I have written over the life of this little place of internet coziness. 

I might have then said a bad word that I will not write here but that has four letters and was uttered with enough force and loudness that HHBL heard me....two floors above.

Moving on.

I collected myself, took another sip of coffee and consulted the Internetz, where a link took me to YouTube, the place that has saved my bacon more than any other, where a little 41 second video showed me what to do. That was the shortest part of the entire episode.

This is what I had to do for THREE different blogs.

Sign into unloved work email. Go to where they tell you what blogs you own. Go to blog you want. Scroll to settings. Open up settings. Find place where you can add someone to that blog. Send an invitation. Sign out of work gmail. Sign into loved gmail. Check email. Accept invitation to the blog THAT I ALREADY OWN, making sure that it is accepting in the name of the correct gmail. Sign out of loved gmail. Sign back into work gmail. Go to blog. Go to settings. Give loved gmail blog administrative powers. Repeat as many times as you have blogs. THEN, when you are all done and you are sure that you have administrative authority over the blogs THAT YOU ALREADY OWNED, you sign in with the loved email, go to each blog individually, go to the settings, delete the work email as an administrator and just pray that nothing gets screwed up.

I don't even remember what I was originally going to blog about today. It is an hour later in my day and I haven't even GOTTEN to what I was originally signing into my blog for, which was to write the blog post and to start on a spreadsheet that will tell me all of the blog posts that I have written, when I wrote them and what they referenced. I am tired of trying to figure out when I wrote something if I want to refer to it again.


And I haven't even had a shower yet today.

Gretchen, this still doesn't beat your turkey story from yesterday, but it was the best I can do at the moment.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Go Litely is a Gigantic Understatement

Sorry, this may be a bit on the long side. But the intestinal tract is a long organ.

I avoided it for as long as I could. When I turned 49 I had all my lady parts yanked out. Well, maybe yanked out is too violent a term for it because I am sure that Doc U didn't do any yanking. I hope. But I was asleep at the time so it really didn't matter, just so long as the Uterus of Eventual Destruction was gone. Doc U suggested that I could also have my colonoscopy before hand just to get it out of the way.

I declined. Having all the internal lady parts removed was enough for me. I decided to wait.

50 years old rolled around and I was busy. Funny how that happens.

51-54 years old passed right on by and during that time I started a small business, moved to a different part of the Frozen Northeast Ohio, went back to work for HHBL and sort of just said, "Yeah, yeah I know I have to have THAT done. I will get to it when I find a new doctor."

This year....I finally went to the doctor. Of course I picked a doctor who promptly moved to Florida after my appointment. Should I take that personally? But before she took that big wide moving van to a place that is warmer than here......

She ordered a colonoscopy for me.

Thanks Dr. B. You shouldn't have. Really. Now it couldn't be avoided.

The prep. The prep is what I feared, if that is not too strong a word for it. Doesn't everyone quake in fear at this? I have this thing, you see, about the texture of something. I am not a picky eater by any means. I am what you might call omnivorous. But there is this thing about the occasional food or drink that it isn't the taste that throws me into a tizzy. It is the texture. And there in lay the preparation problem. I feared the texture of the liquid.

I was right to have this fear.

That darn jug of prep powder with it's little flavor packet sat in the kitchen for five days before the big day. Cleveland Clinic tells me to get the stuff 5 days before and I do what they tell me. It sat there and mocked me and said nasty little comments about what it was going to do to me. GoLitely is like that, evil and nasty at heart all the while disguised as clear and innocent liquid. "I won't hurt you, I am just powder that you will dissolve in water with a lemon flavor packet added. Nothing to worry about." I could hear it's evil laughter every time I went by. And was that the Darth Vader theme from Star Wars playing faintly in the background?

But I couldn't escape the fact that I had to do this thing. Monday was "prep day," which meant that I had to be on a clear liquid diet for the full 24 hours before the actual procedure. I have had many a patient who has had to endure a Clear Liquid diet. To all of you, I apologize for doing that to you. Coffee, no problem. Lots of water, no problem either. But I had to work on Monday and so I knew I needed to have something else. Jello was on the list. Perfect, I like strawberry and raspberry Jello......only they specifically state NO red Jello.


But I managed to find a package of Orange Jello and a package of Lemon Jello, both of dubious age but still. Jello never ages.....I hoped. I made the Jello on Sunday. I took it to work on Monday. And then I remembered that we had a Organizational Lunch in the office, so I ate Jello while everyone else had.....Chipotle. Curse you gods of colonoscopy! I had to go and pick the food up, which meant walking into Chipotle and seeing all of that lovely food. And then I had to sit in the conference room with everyone eating their Burrito bowls or salad, the smells wafting in my direction. Gads!

Am I whining too much? Tough. My blog, my whine.

Finally it was home to mix the jug with 4 LITERS of water and the tiny little lemon flavor packet that smelled like that horrid bathroom deodorizer that you often encounter in store bathrooms. Such an appealing thing. Such an appealing taste. You mix this stuff up and it looks innocuous, but then you take that first sip and you realize. Sweet. Salty. Fake lemony....and just slightly viscous.

Oh Lordy, viscosity in anything that I am drinking is going to be a problem. Not enough to be slime-like in consistency, just the barest hint of unwanted thickness in the bathroom lemon water. And I have to drink an 8 ounce glass every ten minutes starting at 6 PM and ending by 9 PM. Just chug the glass down they tell you. It is the best way, they opine. They are all flaming idiots who most likely have never had to actually drink it. I know myself very well and I knew without a doubt that to chug the glass would be absolutely impossible and would result in spewage.

I was doomed.

But, I was not going to be foiled by this thing that I had to do! I had two icy cold bottles of Sprite to wash it down with. I could do this thing.

I did try to chug the first glass.....and there might have been a bit of spewage. Not going to do it that way again. I finally figured out, after several glasses of disgustinglemonliquidviscosity that if I took 5 sips of yuck and then a good swig of icy Sprite that I could make it through the glass in about 5 minutes time. I could do this thing.....barely. And 10 minutes is a REALLY SHORT TIME in between glasses of disgustinglemonliquidviscosity. I put on a movie, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, and set my mind to doing this thing. The directions said that "things" would start to happen in about an hour. We would see.

Two glasses in and I wasn't feeling anything. Third glass down and no issues, no nothing, no.............


Holy cow! Where is the bathroom? I need the bathroom! NOW.

Have I ever told you about our second trip to see the in-laws in Peru? We went to a dinner-dance at Villa, the large club in Lima, where I was assured that since there were so many foreigners and ex-pats there that it would be fine to eat that fruit on the table. Boy were those grapes good.....until the next day....and the day after that. I have this feeling that there is a blog post explaining the entire episode, but I just can't find it. What I need to do is spend time cataloging all of the blog posts so that I don't have to go searching for them. Then life would be easier. But I digress. Let's just say that my evening yesterday was very reminiscent for that trip to Peru. I was amazed. And horrified. And need to buy more toilet paper. And because I am the person that I am I spent some time, while sitting on the "pot," looking up what actually goes into things like GoLitely, a contradiction in terms if I EVER heard one, that makes you go so.....litely. By the way, if you are interested, it is the Glycerin in powder that does the trick. It pulls water out of your intestine and produces that looked for "flushing" effect. It is amazing what you can learn while sitting in the bathroom with your iPad and nothing else to do.

I will save you the small details of the evening other than to say that I had to stop the movie A LOT and I managed to get all but 1/4 of the jug down my gullet before I declared SUCCESS! and called a halt to the sip, sip, sip, gag thing I had going. If you want to know what "success" looks like in the matter of colonoscopy prep....then look it up on the Internet. 

I had been assured that if I could get through the prep then the actual colonoscopy would be a breeze. I have to report that this is the case. We arrived on time, despite the Winter Weather Advisory that told us that there was snow going on. Checked in. Wait. Go back to pre-op. Wait. Prep questions and IV in. Wait. Doc comes in to get consent. Wait. HHBL comes to sit and wait with me. Wait. Finally wheeled back into "Procedure Room 1." More questions and reading of arm bands and asking of questions.

And then the drugs. Versed and Fentanyl. And WHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOSH life is very rosy and relaxed and I wasn't even aware that the procedure had started until I opened my eyes and realized that the large screen off to my left had a fabulous view of the inside of my intestinal tract. Sweet! I watched the rest of the procedure and the removal of a couple of polyps and then all was done. I do remember Dr. W complimenting me on the "pristine nature of my colonoscopy prep."

Thanks.....I think. I always try to do my best. By the way, I WAS going to show you a picture of my pristine colon. I have them. But I decided not to.

You can thank me later.

I snoozed through most of post op but perked up immediately when asked if I wanted some juice and crackers.

Doose and kwakers! Yes pweese! 

I was finally sprung from the surgicenter and the next stop was someplace where I could get eggs and bacon and COFFEE!

I don't have to do this "thing" again for three years (that whole polyp business). It may take me that long to get up the gumption to do the prep.
And by the way, it has taken me two hours to write this post because, you know, Versed and Fentanyl.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Instagram 2015

I love Instagram.

I live for Instagram.

I think in Instagram.

Actually, I posted 615 photos last year. Not a bad count. Here are some of my favorites from last year.

Who KNOWS what I will post in 2016