Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Ephemeral

I want to the haze that has been my healing process with my back, the days have run together and all of a sudden another week has gone by and I haven't posted! I had minor visions of lots of posting happening, and truly, it may have if I was equipped with such technology as a blue tooth keyboard for the iPad, as I'm truly not supposed to be sitting. Standing for short periods, yes, or lying down for long, yes, but sitting is aggravating to the back and as I do much sitting at doctors offices and such, I try not to sit at home.

Prone, more like.

And onscreen keyboards are hard to type on when prone.

But I digress.

Today's word is just a fun word that's fun to say. I don't use it often, and I can't honestly say I've ever truly used it, but there it is. Let's try a new word on for size.

ephemeral. adjective. [ih-fehm-er-uhl]. lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory. Lasting but one day.
  • Almost without exception, it's designed to be ephemeral and site-specific.
  • Partnership equity, by contrast, is ephemeral because partners withdraw their stakes after retiring.
  • That's partly because many of the region's waterways are ephemeral, and they run underground for the majority of the year.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Guilt-free Ice Cream

Usually I don't particularly like Rachel Ray. Most of her recipes are complicated and weird. Or just weird. Just because it only takes 30 minutes to make doesn't mean anyone in their right mind really wants to eat things like kale pancakes.

But when I was in Seattle for Siobhan's wedding, we got our nails done at a nice place that had a nice tv playing an episode of Rachel Ray's show. I think she was making kale pancakes and rice noodles. That's not important though. She also made this really interesting dessert that piqued my interest.

Banana ice cream.

Healthy banana ice cream.

Sounds weird, but it so isn't.

If you're anything like me, you hate to see those bananas that are all brown and gross looking go to waste, so you either make banana bread or you freeze the bananas on hope that someday you'll make banana bread. If you're my mommy though, you don't get many of those because my papa eats them.

You can use non-brown bananas too.

Peel them and cut or break them into chunks and then freeze them. Once they're nice and frozen, throw them in the food processor with some milk and blend until smooth with the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Viola! Healthy banana ice cream!

It's especially delicious with chocolate sauce, peanuts and whipped cream, though that takes away some of the healthy bit, but its still delicious.

And its just pureed fruit with a little milk.

I promise it is really good and very guilt free.


Friday, August 24, 2012

One thing to say...

I only have one thing to say:


This whole experience of getting to watch our currently undefined little man grow up is incredible. And look how fuzzy!!! Two weeks old, eyes opened two days ago...


Sunday, August 19, 2012

By the Way, We Moved

Oh, by the way, we moved.

I told you that, right?

I didn't? Well...damn.

It did kind of get lost in there. I mean, there was that wedding in Seattle that I told you about and we were...


Let me back up. Because this all really started July 22nd. And I can't believe it's been a month since then. Well, almost anyways. It actually really started at the beginning of July when my mommy and daddy were here. Not the craziness, but what spawned the start of the craziness that's been this past month.

When my parentals were here, Mom and I went wedding dress shopping. Every little girl's dream. I had been waiting to go wedding dress shopping since forever. Luckily, Tyler did right by me and I finally got to go. We spent several hours in a nice salon and a dress and a half at a not-so-nice salon and came away with no dress but two potentials.

Since going shopping for the ring with Tyler and having that "oooh" moment with the ring, I was expecting that "oooh" moment with the dress. I had an "oh" moment with two of them, but not the "oooh" moment. It was a "Wow, I'm gonna be a bride and I could actually be wearing this dress on the day of my wedding" moment, not so much as "this is the dress, I never ever ever ever want to take it off ever again."

But who knows, at the time, I was like, well, I go to Portland and go to one more place and then I'll just pick between those two if I don't find anything I'm more attracted to. No big deal, it's one dress, one day.

So, that led to July 22nd.

I got up really early and drove up to Portland and was in Portland by 10 a.m. I met up with Heather at her house and we went out to a most delicious breakfast, complete with mimosas, fantastic almost-Italy-worthy cappuccino, fresh croissants, tomatoes, and eggs. It was our pre-wedding-dress-shopping celebration. Then, we excitedly trouped over to Bridal Exclusives, the place in Tigard where she bought her dress.

The atmosphere was so nice. Never once was it about the sale, never once did I feel pressured to buy the dress (other than my own pressure of course). At one point, I was making some sort of face at myself in the mirror and the girl said to me, "You look like you're trying to talk yourself into the dress, why is that?" and then went on to say that if I don't have "that feeling" then that's not what we're looking for and I shouldn't try to make any dress into something it's not.

Even once I found the dress and was wiggling my joy (which apparently is a universal Kristen sign for "happiness" because both my sister and Heather were aware of it), the salesgirl made me put on two more, and then leave once I'd tried on the dress again and come back after a couple hours to make sure it was still the dress. It's still the dress.

So that was the 22nd.

On the 23rd, I rose again really early and drove back to Bend and spent the afternoon packing. I worked that Tuesday and Wednesday, and then Thursday morning we got up really early to drive to Seattle for Siobhan's wedding. Bridal events ensued through Saturday night (the wedding night), and then we trouped back home leisurely Sunday.

Sunday night we hosted the outlaws (soon-to-be-inlaws) for dinner and made moving plans. They showed up at our house bright and early (7:45 a.m.) on July 30th (Monday) to help us move. That commenced a whirlwind of moving (when the initial plan had been to do some moving Monday, not most moving), initial back pain, more moving, more back pain, and then finally, suddenly, we were in our new house and Maddie was stubbornly hiding in her litter box in a show of "everything has changed but this so I'm staying right here thankyouverymuch."

And then of course, I went to work for a week while we struggled to unpack, and Tyler's family remained in town so we had many family activities, and then they left and it was my weekend and the puppies were born and I bought my car and then my back stuff started.

Very very busy.

But the new house is wonderful, I'll show you pictures when I get to it. Nice big backyard, kind of a weird neighborhood outside of our block, but our neighbors are quite nice and the price is right. Lack of air conditioning would be the only drawback so far, I love not having to climb up and down stairs! And it'll be perfect when we get our little boy in a month!

I told Maddie that if she thought it was bad when we moved, just wait two months and she'd be in for a shock. Her little brother is something we've been trying to prepare her for, but I just don't think she'll understand until he arrives.

Not so busy now.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thankful for

Today, after yet another sleepless night, I would like to focus on the things I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for reusable ice packs. They're softer than ice in a plastic bag, and when one is cranky, tired, and still unimaginably hurting, more convenient and wonderful to use.

I'm thankful for the fact that the miracle that is Apple, has once again, come through for me in the fact that their remotes are all universal. I've been frustrated the last few days because the remote to the AppleTV has been MIA, and I think its in the tv box which is currently living in the man cave on a really high shelf that I couldn't reach even if I was allowed to and I keep forgetting to ask Tyler about it. And then this morning, I fished out the (much older) remote for my iMac out and pointed it at my AppleTV in a frustrated gestures of defiance. And it turned on! Huzzah! Again, I love Apple.

Apple, I will never leave you.

And I'm also thankful for whoever invented bendy straws. It's awful challenging to drink tea while prone, and I seem to have developed a terminal case of holey lip. And then I remembered my dearest man keeps me well stocked in straws due to my cold sensitivity. Oh, and I'm thankful for travel mugs too. The combination has renewed my faith in the world of chai tea for breakfast.

As always, I'm also thankful for Tyler. He's been so supportive and wonderful.

Oh, and I would like to say how I just "love" how it's 80 in the house this morning and 62 outside. I miss air conditioning.

Hopefully you are thankful for something too.



Friday, August 17, 2012

Puppies were born!

So I mentioned, briefly, that the puppies were born the morning of August 8th! Tyler was so excited he went out and bought a collar, harness, food bowls, a leash and a dog tag for our little munchkin who we haven't even picked out yet!

We did decide on a boy puppy, as there were nine puppies born with three female and six male and since we had first pick male but second pick female, we would have only had two choices for female, and so a greater chance at the perfect pup with the boys.

Here's their one-week picture for you to oooh and ahh at and we are so excited to pick out our little man on September 26!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Life Hijacked

So it's been a busy week.

I bought a car. Which we knew. It was new. I love it. Still.


I went to work for two and a half days before the hecticness that has been the last five (six?) days began.

Let me start from the beginning.

In March, I think we all remember I hurt my back. I bent over for a pair of stupid pants and felt it go "pop!" and ended up on the floor thinking I wouldn't be able to get back up. I assumed (and still do, I suppose) that it was the reemergence of my back injury four or five years ago when I threw out my back, exacerbated by my working conditions and the unusual weight-lifting activities at the time (remember? I was trying to get in shape).

After the move (oh, dear, I haven't caught you up on that either...well that shall have to wait), at the end of July, it began aching again. Badly. Enough that I thought to myself, "Well, I was dumb not to go to the physical therapy they referred me to then, so I'll call and try to set up an appointment now." Which lead to a frustrating round of referral expiration (someone please explain that to me, it's not like it was medication!) trying to get the referral re-issued and then giving up and setting up a primary care doctor, which I should have done long ago anyways.

So last Tuesday, the 7th, I went for my new patient appointment at my new primary care doctor with the intention of getting a referral to physical therapy. After long discussion and confusing over-explanation, which boiled down to "I don't recommend physical therapy because this is something to do with nerve pressure in your sciatic ligament or something or other, let's give you a cortisone shot to hopefully relieve that pressure and go from there in about 12 days" I got a shot in my back — not in my spine or bone, as my doctor repeated several times to make sure he was clear, but in the soft tissue right above my right hipbone.

Worst case scenario, my condition wouldn't improve, and we'd have to take alternate steps from there.

I went about my two days (which ended up being so happily eventful, what with our fluffy puppy being born and me buying my shiny black sweetheart) and woke up Thursday morning thoroughly pleased and pleasantly surprised to have no pain at all in my back for the first time in...well...I can't actually remember.

Unfortunately, by mid-afternoon, it was back and with a vengeance, sending shooting pains into my mid-back. I wasn't supremely worried at that point though, because it wasn't super unusual. Though I did spend a couple breaks lying on the floor in the break room in enough pain to give my manager's teasing suggestion of cold calls serious thought.

Which should have told me something.

Stupidly, I ignored it.

I woke up Friday morning with the dull ache that I've become so accustomed to in the past few months. By Friday afternoon, the shooting pains were back and they had traveled down into my hips. By six p.m., I was lying on the floor of the break room cursing myself for not calling my doctor and wishing it was any day but Friday at 6 p.m.

Saturday morning showed signs of the shooting pains by 8:30 a.m., though I'd been at work for half an hour at that point. I struggled through a sale and then asked for cold-call busy work. I sat in the back room, stoically making cold calls and sending sales emails for the better part of two hours.

I just have to make it through the day, I thought to myself.

A customer came in and requested me specifically, which brought me out of my painful hiding place to make a sale. The sale was successful as far as getting phones out, but the pain that was now in the backs of my legs distracted me from doing more than the phones. Sadly, I kept hoping that he would leave more quickly so that I could go sit again.

I told myself at the end of the sale that I needed to just go home, but I chickened out at telling my managers. Luckily, they were aware of the ongoing condition, as it's kept me from work a couple times in the past couple months and it's a constant complaint of mine. I had excitedly let them know about my treatment on that Tuesday, but when the shooting pains had started, had mentioned it in passing.

My tearful state that morning had encouraged them into letting me hide in the back — provided I had something to do.

Now, it sounds terrible that I was trying to make it through the day, but the thing about my job — my only major complaint, and I can actually totally relate and understand why they choose to do it this way — is that the severely discourage the use of your sick time, to the point where you get written up and then even likely let go if you take too much (though we do have to hit the 80 hour mark and it's calculated in a rolling 12 months). Which again, I understand completely because I have seen firsthand how some people exploit sick time and take advantage of every little thing, the grand ol' case of one person ruining it for everyone, but because of this injury I was higher in that sick time number than I was comfortable with.

But by 1:45, I was in so much pain that I caved. I went to my managers and told them that I just couldn't do it. They encouraged me to call our human resources department since this has been such an ongoing thing and start the process of getting the time off (without being in danger of losing my job) that I needed to heal.

I went to urgent care on Saturday, and they gave me the same old song and dance I'd heard before about physical therapy and muscle relaxants, but my primary care doctor (who I saw Monday) was concerned enough to send me in for an MRI on Tuesday. An MRI which revealed that I have a minor ruptured disk smack dab below a bulging disk in my spine, which while had no definitive connection to the nerve root connected to my legs, was the probable cause for that pain and the definitive cause for the ongoing back pain. Which means I need to be out of work and off my feet for at least another five days — making it over a week total.

*Quick side note on the MRI: Tyler went with me, and since it was an evening appointment it was pretty much just us, the receptionist and the MRI Tech, so Tyler got to sit in the booth with the tech and watch the pictures from my MRI and learn all about it, which is totally up his alley. When we left, his eyes were lit up brighter than a kid on Christmas morning. *

He started me on prednisone (sp?) earlier today (as I haven't gone to sleep yet, it's still Wednesday) and we should know in about five days if it's working or not. If it doesn't work, the next step is referrals to a specialist and injections combined only then with physical therapy. Following that not working (which we're going to hope does), we'd be looking at surgery. But that's another bridge.

I've qualified for FMLA, a personal leave due to injury that does not count against my punishable sick time, thankfully, which is a difficult process — especially when one has a back injury and is trying to run around faxing things off to HR in addition to doctor's appointments and wanting only to lie down and let the nice painkillers take effect and ice my poor back — but it means that I will not lose my job. Since I'll be out more than 8 consecutive days, I may even be granted Short Term Disability leave, but theoretically I'll be healed and back at work before I find out if that was approved or not.

Which brings me to why I'm still awake. The prednisone has me wired, and that combined with the pain (which no longer stabs and has receded from my legs) is enough of a dull throb that I can't sleep! Oh and combined with SundayMondayTuesdayWednesday of forced inactivity for this normally very active girl doesn't help either.

But anyways, that's the crash and burn story that followed my awesome weekend last weekend. Cross your fingers for me that the prednisone works and I can be back at work slinging phones sooner rather than later.


Big Word Wednesday: Exacerbate

Okay, so I know this is technically now Thursday morning, but we'll wing it as the post that I'm going to post when I'm done with this will explain both why I'm up so late and why I chose this particular word of the week.

exacerbate. verb. [ex-sas-er-beyt].  to increase the severity, bitterness, or violence of (disease, ill feeling, etc.); aggravate. to embitter the feelings of (a person); irritate, exasperate. to make (pain, disease, emotion) more intense.
  • Worse, the hurricane could well exacerbate the tensions that lurk in the city.
  • There are a couple of additional factors that can exacerbate ear pressure during a flight.
  • State or federal mandated tests exacerbate this narrowing of focus.
  • (TEASER) Standing all day for work, exacerbated my current condition leading to where I am now!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Big Word WFriday: Irrevocably

This word has many important meanings lately, but was brought to my attention by my coworker yesterday. He may have been rapping it.


It was funny.

irrevocably. adverb. [ih-rev-uh-kuh-buhley]. not to be revoked or recalled; unable to be repealed or annulled. unalterable.
  • But it also means that the world we've become accustomed to will change, perhaps irrevocably.  
  • The world is irrevocably going down the cloud path but nothing ever flips around all the way. Today's moral theologian prefers an existential approach to the dissolution of irrevocably broken marriages.
Sorry this came on a WFriday instead of a Wednesday. I'm trying to catch up!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Christmas Morning

I can't remember the last time I couldn't sleep like this. Actually, that's not true. I can...but I was housesitting for my aunt and for some reason just woke up bright eyed and bushy-tailed at like 4:30 a.m. after being awake probably until 11 or midnight.

Who knows.

But this is different.

This is like Christmas morning.

Only better because I know what I got for Christmas and it's almost like I couldn't sleep because I wasn't sure it would still be there in the morning. Like I would jinx it or something. I'm still waiting for that. Though part of the sleeplessness was something else but I really ought to tell you what I'm talking about before I get into that...

I bought myself a really really big present.

It's something I've never done before.

And tell you's really scary. I had the same gut-wrenching, panicky, what-am-I-about-to-do "Oh Shit" moment when I signed the handwritten "contract" the guy handed to me when we were negotiating price as I had had right before I got my tattoo. But the tattoo, while less expensive by oh, a lot, is still enjoyed, and I was straight thinkin,' Mom and Dad, and knew that until I signed on that official dotted line, handed over my keys to my sweet old 15-year-old, 251,000-mile Honda, and gave them the down payment it wasn't official and I could still walk if I needed to.

I didn't.

I signed.

And handed over the most money I've ever paid out in one lump sum that was in no way contributed to by my parents (my dear, departed grandmother, yes, but I was the one who hadn't spent it yet).

It was scary.

So part of my sleeplessness was the irrationality of that much money at one time and the inevitable car payments to come (which I've never had before...I'm so grown up, jeez). Which I can afford. Because I've only been looking at cars for the past year and a half. So I know what I can afford and what I can't. And we just moved and are saving lots of money, so I don't even have to quit my gym to be able to afford it.

Yes, I might be trying to still calm my nerves. That's a lot of money!

But when I got up this morning, finally giving up on sleep at 4:55 a.m., the first thing I did was go outside and make sure it was still there. And then pinched myself to double check.

Though I'd have to say, I've never bought anything so "permanent" before that has no return policy. Is it weird that a return policy would have probably helped me sleep better? Even though I wouldn't. Return it, that is.

Because I needed a new car. My poor Honda's AC has been shot, oh, pretty much since I've owned it (though probably before that), but it really gave up the ghost this summer. Tyler's recharged it three or four times in the last two months to no avail. And something's leaking. Again. And the brake rotor on the right front wheel has been warped for probably close to two years which means that when I'm going 45 or so and have to make an abrupt stop, the Honda would shake and slip a bit. And when I was going 50 and up, and had to brake at all, it would shudder like it's life was ending.

Mildly terrifying.

And two mechanics told me that while fixable, the likelihood of something being damaged during the repair was very very high as everything was corroded together and if this other piece thingy ended up breaking too, the cost of repair would be more than the car was worth.

Aren't you glad I never told you this, Mom?

So now I'm the proud owner of a 2012 Subaru Forrester. It is a Certified Pre-Owned, which boggles the mind, considering we're still in fact in 2012, but it was part of their rental fleet and they have to pull them from the fleet when they reach a certain mileage. Or so I was told anyways. It may have been a load of garbage.

I went and looked yesterday at this and a 2010 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport. The Impreza was a little smaller, about the same size as my Honda, only with that overpass to the trunk rather than the sedan style. It had 8,400 miles on it and the Forrester has 1,100. I went with an eye to low payments and something that I'd have for the next ten to fifteen years (luck permitting), so it had to be big enough that it would fit our full-grown puppy (who was born yesterday, by the way) and possibly our 2.5 kids once we have our white picket fence.

The Impreza would have been fine. It may have been cheaper. But when I went back and he gave me the estimate on the 60 month loan (as opposed to the original 84 month loan, thank you Mom and Dad), after long kicking of the tires with Tyler (who was trying to be so strong and talk me out of a new car...until finally I said, "Look, you're not the one who's been driving a scary car with no AC for the last year and half. I have. I'm done. This is happening. I love you, so please give me your input. Because this feels right, today, and if I walk away now, I'll be in that scary, hot car for another year and I won't do that.") I looked at the price of the Impreza and the price of the Forrester, which I really liked better and told the guy look, if you can make the Forrester the same as the Impreza per month for a 60 month loan, I'm sold.

He got pretty damn close.

The only thing that's not sitting well is the guy at the end who did the paperwork (luckily there was no "closer," you know, the guy who sits down and says, "What is it going to take to get you into this car today," just the nice salesman I worked with) who talked us into some extra warranty because at that point I was tired and after confirming I could cancel it at any time after looking closer at the paperwork, I said fine, just add it for now at your "cheaper rate."

I have a new car though! I'm so happy.

Now I'm going to go drive it to the gym :)


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Donating for Daniel

So I promise I won't normally do this. But do you remember me talking about Daniel? Well, one of my dear friends is running the Nike Women's Half for Team in Training — which means her entry is donation based, and the money goes to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society supports research for a cure and supports those caught up with the tragedy of the disease as Daniel and his family were.

I love my friend, Erika, and I loved Daniel. Both are fantastic people and the cause is a good one. Only donate if you're able, but the cause is valid. The world needs more people like Erika and needs to not lose as many people like Daniel. And I promise I won't plug like this very often.

Until I am to do NWM for Team in Training, anyways :)

Donate for Daniel