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Archive for the ‘General Health’ Category

I am dreading this recap this year, for some reason. Yet I am still doing it because TRADITION. I think I may start liberally tossing questions out the window. So BE PREPARED FOR THAT.

(This yearly recap originated with Linda of All & Sundry. If you’re so inclined, you can read past versions of my responses: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.)

Oh! And if YOU do this yearly recap, always or for the first time this year, send me a link in the comments won’t you? I love reading these.

  • What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

I quit my job to write a novel. (Which I have not yet completed, BLARGH.) (Prediction: I sense that the topic of the previous parenthetical may reappear below.)

  • Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last year, I said:

This year, I want to prioritize my husband, quality time with my kid, balance in my life… and I also want to really work on personal fulfillment. That sounds… vague and a little frou-frou and a lot privileged, but I think it will honestly help with the first three priorities. At least, I hope so. And I’m going to try.

I do think I have made solid steps on all fronts, and I attribute all progress to leaving my job at the end of March. I feel very fortunate that I have this little pocket of time during which I can be part-time novelist/part-time stay-at-home-mom. The reduction in stress has helped me be more present with my husband and daughter, and helped me really focus on contributing to my family in new ways. It has not been easy, for me, to give up on being a financial contributor. That has altered the identity I always felt I had, and it has been a challenge to adapt. But I do think I’m contributing in new and different ways, or at least contributing more in areas where I wasn’t before.

This year, I am going to finish the novel. That’s my primary goal. It’s taking so much longer than I anticipated just to eke out a first draft. I need to find some way to speed up the process. Because the first draft is only the beginning.

  • Did anyone close to you give birth?
  • Did anyone close to you die?
  • What countries did you visit?

Same as last year: Not really a big year for travel. I visited three states besides my own: Illinois, Florida, and my home state. All with Carla.

I can’t really imagine the answers changing in a big way anytime soon.

  • What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Better ability to prioritize my time. A fully drafted novel. Making my time with Carla richer, somehow, rather than making a bunch of slipshod and ultimately frustrating attempts at “activities.”

  • What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 31, which was my last day of working in the office.

  • What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Taking a leap of faith and quitting my office job. (OMG, broken record much?)

  • What was your biggest failure?

Not getting enough words on the page each day! I can trot out a 7,000-word blog post of a morning, but I seem to spend hours and hours coming up with a measly 200 for my manuscript! What gives? If I can do it elsewhere, why can’t I blather and drivel my way through a first draft?

  • Did you suffer illness or injury?

I am currently enjoying a bout of asthmatic bronchitis, which is super fun. Other than that, nothing too crazy.

  • What was the best thing you bought?

Scrivener!!! It is a tool for writers and I loooooooove it.

  • Whose behavior merited celebration?

This goes 100% to my husband. He is a rockstar. I can’t even express all the ways he’s shown up this year without drowning my keyboard in tears, so let’s move on.

  • Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I mean do you really have to ask, non-sentient Survey created years ago with no knowledge of our current times? I think I’m going to cross this one out because it makes me sad and bewildered and fearful and shaky.

  • Where did most of your money go?

This question sucks. I really want to say something fun like “a new ski lodge in Aspen!” or “a twelve-week trek around Europe!” I guess I could say my potential earnings went toward financing my lifelong dream but that makes me feel dizzy and sick to my stomach so MOVING ON.

  • What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Last year I said: The holidays this year. Carla is so excited about EVERYTHING, and it is so fun to see that.

As with last year, I didn’t even KNOW what excited was! She has been super over the moon about everything. And she gets stuff now. Like, she understood the little countdown-to-Christmas calendar I put in her room, and the last couple of days she switched the numbers all by herself before I even got to her room. She has been really gung-ho about Hanukkah, and has helped her dad light the menorah and say the prayers. She loved decorating the tree and every night for a week she would pick up a present that she knew was for her and squeeze it and hop up and down and say, “It’s so HARD to WAIT until Christmas to open my present!” I mean, a tree full of presents and she didn’t realize most of them were for her, and yet she got So Worked Up about this one tiny thing. She loved all the holiday books I pull out each year, and expressed interest in Santa and Baby Jesus and the Maccabees alike. She loved the stockings, and asked questions about how Santa could do such and such. She loved painting ornaments for her grandparents. She loved collecting the Amazon boxes from the front stoop and putting them in the guest room to await her grandmother’s arrival. She loved singing Christmas carols. Everything this year was just SO. MUCH. FUN. I hope we have at least a couple more years of this pure, unadulterated joy in the season. It’s a mood lifter for sure, and helps make all those I-want-them-to-be-fun-and-meaningful-but-are-really-kind-of-tedious projects seem worthwhile and enjoyable.

  • What song(s) will always remind you of 2016?

I have to say the Frozen soundtrack. Carla hadn’t seen a movie in her entire life until Christmas 2015, and once we started we couldn’t stop. As toddlers are wont to do, she fell in love with Frozen and we have watched it eleventy billion times. PLUS we bought the Frozen soundtrack (we call it “Carly Songs”) on CD (yes, I still use CDs in my car) and we have listened to THAT at least seventy gazillion times. Also: Justin Beiber’s “Sorry” and “Let Me Love You” by DJ Snake featuring The Beibs. “Waves” by Miguel (the Kacey Musgraves version). “One Dance” by Drake. Carla does a mean dance move to Drake, and sings along very sweetly to “Let Me Love You” and “Waves.” Also also, on the classical front, I have grown very attached to Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2. I have some fantasy that I will learn to play it. (HA.)

  • Compared to this time last year, are you:
  1. a) happier or sadder? Happier but more fearful about the future, I think?
  2. b) thinner or fatter? Fatter. Which kind of sucks because I lost 12 pounds after I left my job. I have since gained it back. But I kind of hate this question because I just do. I am scowling at it.
  3. c) richer or poorer? I am skipping this question because math.

This is a question I don’t care to answer anymore, I think. Are these really the benchmarks by which I want to measure the year? No, no I don’t think so. MORE SCOWLING.

  • What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing. (Always.) Submitting my work for publication. Figuring out a better time management system.

  • What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. Yelling. Procrastinating. Writing poor-quality apocalyptic poetry. Wasting time on my phone. Feeling too hot or too cold; that’s really annoying when the house maintains a stable temperature.

  • How did you spend Christmas?

Here at home, with my husband and Carla, and my husband’s parents. It was lovely and fun. Also lovely and fun was adding my sister and niece the day after Christmas, but that amped up the freneticism by several degrees. How does adding ONE additional child to the mix make things exponentially more crazy?

  • Did you fall in love in 2016?

Ugh. Every year this one makes me gag a little, but I definitely fell more in love with my husband. He has been supportive of me and my dreams in a way that shatters me. I hope I make him feel even half as loved and understood and… seen as he makes me feel.

And, as we allow the tears to dry a bit, I fall newly in love with Carla with each new stage in her life. Three has been challenging, but it has also been utterly delightful as she becomes more independent and imaginative and curious and affectionate and funny and fun and inquisitive. I just adore her.

  • What was your favorite (new) TV program?

What a year for TV! Standouts from the year include the OJ Simpson mini-series, The Night Of, Westward, and the Gilmore Girls revival (even though I hated GG as much as I loved it – many flaws, no?). I also loved the latest seasons of The Americans, The Great British Baking Competition, Shark Tank, Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, The Middle, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. What can I say? I like feel-good shows to balance out the gritty stuff slash real life. Oh! And two series my husband and I watched and loved that were new to us this year were Master of None and Catastrophe. God, I love TV.

  • Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I can’t even. This question has got to go.

  • What was the best book you read?

I READ SO MANY BOOKS THIS YEAR! Contenders for best book include A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, The Round House by Louise Erdrich, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, and A Doubter’s Almanac by Ethan Canin. There have been others, but those are the standouts. For me, all had great stories with interesting, well-rounded characters, and truly beautiful language that enriched the story without getting in the way. Then sometime in November I fell into a Sue Grafton wormhole and have been reading my way through her Kinsey Millhone series (again) because it’s fun.

  • What did you want and get?

A chance to write a book. More time with my daughter. More time to exercise. More time in general, I guess. Less stress. And also this gorgeous green coat from Boden that unfortunately didn’t fit so BOO to that. My hips are not British enough, it seems. Oh! And I got the sheet music for Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2, and have been painstakingly picking out the right hand notes. That’s really all I’ve managed.

  • What did you want and not get?

A finished first draft of my manuscript because I am SLOW.

  • What was your favorite film of this year?

Let’s see. My husband and I took a break from watching TV to watch all of the Daniel Craig James Bond movies. That was fun, but I wasn’t as… enamored of the most recent (last?) film as I was of the earlier ones. (To be fair, Daniel Craig seemed less enamored of it as well.) Did I watch anything else? Of the (many) kids’ movies I’ve seen this year, Brave is my favorite, followed by Wall-E and then probably a tie between Tangled and Frozen. I did not care for Zootopia, and Robin Hood – a childhood favorite – sadly did not live up to my memory version. (Robin Hood himself is still by far the foxiest cartoon I’ve ever encountered, though. No pun intended.)

EDITED TO ADD: My husband and I watched Sicario just last night, right under the 2016 wire, and it was really well done. Dark and disturbing but a heart-thumping, thought provoking film.

  • What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 35 this year, and I can’t really remember what I did. Which is a pattern at least a few years running, so I am getting rid of this question.

  • What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Same as every year (don’t I ever PROGRESS as a person?!?!):

Being able to just LET GO and not freak out about EVERYTHING.

  • How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

Same as last year: I have full-on embraced the leggings-as-pants “style” that I used to disdain. COMFORT IS KEY. In your face, Past Me!

Also, this year I started doing Fabletics (I joined Fabletics? I am not sure of the proper verbiage here. It’s just a subscription service in the vein of Stitch Fix. Sort of. Third cousins.), and so have added some very cute workout ensembles to my wardrobe, which means that sometimes I switch up my leggings with legging-like yoga pants. You can spot the difference because I wear tennis shoes with the yoga pants version.

  • What kept you sane?

My husband. Exercise. Being able to write every day most days.

  • Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I adore Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan of Catastrophe. The characters they play are adorable and funny and in-your-face in a way I find charming. Sterling K. Brown. Constance Wu (her and her character as Jessica Huang on Fresh Off the Boat) because she seems fearless and take-no-prisoners and also is hilarious and beautiful and talented. Kelly Bishop as Emily Gilmore. Okay, so maybe these are primarily TV CHARACTERS and not necessarily the actors themselves but whatever.

  • What political issue stirred you the most?

Nope. NOPE. Not even going to. CUT.

  • Who did you miss?

Same as last year, although – shocker – blogging more frequently myself has helped a teeny bit: I guess I most missed the bloggers I used to interact with regularly, back when I blogged frequently and they blogged frequently. I suppose I should figure out a way to do Twitter (which makes me uncomfortable for some reason).

  • Who was the best new person you met?

As last year, I don’t know that I met many new people this year. AM A HERMIT. Oh wait, that’s not true. I have made a couple of (tentative strides toward making) mom friends through Carla’s new school.

  • Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

Write it down, don’t write it right, for the love of all that is holey.

  • Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

(I don’t know if the following makes sense as a lyric or as the answer to this question, but it’s in my head, so I’m going with it.)

Don’t you give up, nah nah nah / Never give up, nah nah nah / Let me love you.

Happy New Year, Internet! I hope 2017 goes a hell of a lot better than we fear!

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Apps:

Our trip to visit my parents is coming up, and with it four very long flights on an airplane. Carla has a tablet for just this kind of occasion (also for going out to restaurants when her parents cannot stand the thought of cooking/washing dishes), and so I am on the lookout for some new apps. Is it apps? Suddenly that’s making me think of appetizers. Or aps? It’s not apse, I know that. (Although I still couldn’t tell you which is the apse and which is the transept or how they are related except by “church.”)

Carla’s favorite apps include:

Toca Pet Doctor (My husband and I recently got into a nearly-heated discussion about why it’s “pet doctor” instead of “vet.” My husband’s explanation is that the “healing” has nothing whatsoever to do with veterinary medicine. My retort is that nor does it have anything to do with any sort of “doctoring.”)

Toca Pet Doctor.jpg

(Image from Tocaboca.com)

 

Toca Hair Salon

Toca Hair Salon

(Image from appsplayground.com)

 

Sago mini Ocean Swimmer

Sago Ocean Swimmer

(Image from googleplay.com)

 

Sago mini Road Trip

Sago Road Trip

(Image from itunes.com)

 

Dr. Panda Restaurant

DrPanda Restaurant

(Image from smartappsforkids.com)

 

Dr. Panda Airport – I love this one because it requires simple counting and number/letter recognition, as well as understanding of matching concepts. Plus it’s fun.

DrPanda Airport

(Image from topbestappsforkids.com)

 

Sago mini Toolbox

Sago Toolbox

(Image from gabdar.com)

We also have Sago mini Monsters, but I don’t know if she’s ever played it. It seems a little simplistic. And we have Toca Boo, which Carla likes in concept (scaring people while dressed as a ghost), but is a little advanced for her, so she gets bored quickly.And there was a Sago mini Friends app we had on our ancient second-gen iPad, which Carla loved as well.

We are always on the lookout for fun apps for Carla. Especially if they are free or very low-cost. Any apps that your toddler loves?

 

Brushing Teeth

Speaking of apps, I was thinking that it would be SO GREAT if there were an app that was connected digitally to a child’s toothbrush. The image on the screen would be of a mouth with lots of gunk on the teeth. And the child would be able to remove the gunk by brushing his/her own teeth. AND the gunk would come off only after two minutes of brushing. HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?

Because brushing teeth is becoming a HUGE power play around here. My husband and I have exhausted our collective creativity on the subject. For a while, Carla liked being A Big Girl and brushing her teeth. For a short while, she liked me or her father to brush her teeth for her. For a short while, she would “compete” with one of us to see who could brush their teeth most quickly. For a shorter while, she accepted the dentist’s recommendation that we be the ones to brush her teeth. There were a few days when she would enthusiastically “teach” her baby doll or one of her stuffed animals to brush their teeth by watching her. Of course, my husband or I had to narrate the entire time. There were a few days when she thought it was hilarious for me to brush her teeth while she had her thumb in her mouth. Then two thumbs. Once in a while, she will brush her teeth to a toothbrushing song or video on YouTube. Lately, I have been allowing her to watch Elmo videos while I brush her teeth.

Every day, it’s something new. You never know whether she’ll be game for whatever stupid game you’ve dreamed up or you’ll end up feeling like a teakettle about to boil over.

It’s a NIGHTMARISH ORDEAL, is what I’m saying.

HOW in the WIDE WIDE WORLD do you get a stubborn, control-enthusiast toddler to brush her teeth?

 

Eating (again)

Last night for dinner, Carla had two tablespoons of peanut butter and 12 slices of pepperoni.

I mean.

She can’t SURVIVE like this, right? How is she surviving?

As usual, I served her a meal that had a variety of things. AND, the variety was things that she LIKES and has eaten with gusto in the past. (Read: no guarantee she will ever eat again.) I gave her fish sticks (with plenty of ketchup), cheesy noodles, and cheesy broccoli. But no. She put a tiny bite of fish stick into her mouth and then spat it out. “I don’t LIKE it,” she said, beseechingly. SIGH.

She asked for rice off of my plate, then didn’t eat it.

We THREATENED. She has presents to open from the party this weekend, and we said she MUST eat three fish sticks in order to open them. Nope. Nothing more than the teeny little taste that came right back out.

So. Peanut butter and pepperoni it is.

She used to be GREAT about yogurt. And I felt fine with giving her a (whole milk, full fat) yogurt anytime, anywhere. But now she is finicky and not interested. Oh! That DOES remind me that she and I made some yogurt “popsicles” that I should try and get her to eat.

Breakfast used to be a fair guarantee that she’d eat: a pancake or two, a French toast stick or two, plus some fruit, plus an applesauce pouch, plus a yogurt pouch. Lately? She’ll eat a handful of berries, a bite of a starch… and some Cheez Its.

This morning she had twelve Frosted Mini Wheats (she’s very into counting things; there were 20 to begin with, and it took about 890 minutes to eat the twelve and then we were late) and about a half cup of blackberries and raspberries. And an applesauce pouch in the car.

And that’s the other thing. Meals drag. On. For. Ever. I wake her up at 7:00, and we’re “eating” by 7:15… but it takes until 8:30 to be done. And even then, it’s only by setting timers and urging her to KEEP EATING FTLOG and then we have to be finished even if she’s not done. Dinner time is a series of ups and downs and “I need water” and “I need a spoon” “no a different spoon” “no a BIG GIRL spoon” and “I have to go potty” until we strap her into her booster seat. And then it’s eating nothing and trying small bites and arguing and wheedling and negotiating until finally I set the timer for bath time. And then she wants something else! That she doesn’t eat! And something else! And something else! Until I am ready to throw in the towel and all the bedsheets and a canopy besides.

I know – I know – that EATING is one of the few ways she can exert control over her universe. But it is driving me mad. MAD.

And also nervous. Because how is she surviving? She eats less than a bird.

Do I just… continue along this path – offering good food, then when she refuses it, give her an alternate option? (And please keep in mind that I asked her what she wanted for dinner – between two options – and she chose fish sticks so it’s not like I haven’t tried THAT tack.) I cannot put her to bed hungry. I know it’s an option, and it’s one that we’ve tried. But it just doesn’t work for us.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE?

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I did not make resolutions this year. This is not because I object to resolutions; I simply have difficulty KEEPING resolutions. So I’ve found that the solution to that perplexing problem is to refrain from making resolutions in the first place. Genius, I know.

But! I am not opposed to bogarting other people’s resolutions.

When my best friend from back home told me she was giving up sugar for January, I jumped right on board.

My logic: If I don’t make it through January, I only have HER to blame, for picking such an unreasonable resolution. Right? RIGHT?

Anyway, I need to take more initiative when it comes to my health, and abstaining from sugar for a month seemed like a good idea. I don’t expect to give up sugar forever. But I do think this will help re-calibrate my sugar-desire mechanism. Or whatever it is that one re-calibrates.

(And by sugar I mean sweets. I am still eating fruit and drinking juice [in moderation] and using products that may have sugar or a sugar derivative in them, like ketchup.)

(I’m not even TRYING to aim for perfection here, Internet.)

Since I will only be traveling once this month (woo!), I thought it would be a good idea to get into exercising. After all, my in-laws gave us an elliptical and a treadmill. So it’s rather stupid NOT to use them. Especially because they are set up very nicely in front of the basement TV.

So far this week, I’ve exercised every day AND I’ve steered clear of sugar.

But I do have Things to Report. (Yes! Already!)

Thing 1: I didn’t realize how much I was depending on sweet things. I never really cared about sweets – well, not THAT much – until I met my husband. But he has a MASSIVE sweet tooth, and he converted me to sweettoothism as well (although I’m nowhere near as devout as he is). But I always thought that I was so much more of a chips and cheese gal that sweets weren’t really a big part of my life.

Nonetheless, it turns out that I really MISS sweets. I guess they had become a bigger part of my life than I realized? (Although, thinking back, I do seem to remember lots of Reese’s eating going on this year.) I find myself prowling around the house, hungry, trying to figure out how to satisfy the gnawing sweet-hunger I’ve developed. Usually I stave it off with chips or alcohol.

Thing 2: But! Now I am giving up alcohol for January as well, just because my friend is. And because I am clearly a masochist. Now I will have to really load up on the chips to compensate!

Thing 3: I tried to use my computer on the treadmill the other day. I do a lot of reading (for work) and I figured I could walk and read at the same time. Of course, my treadmill doesn’t have a laptop holder. So I thought I would just hold the laptop in my arms. It would be a good workout for my arms, to hold it for 30 minutes whilst climbing an imaginary hill.

Then one of my clients IMed me. So I IMed her back.

And fell off the treadmill.

Don’t worry! I didn’t drop my computer!

Thing 4: Last night, I made a “milkshake” with orange juice, crushed ice, Greek yogurt, a dash of vanilla, and a little drizzle of honey.

I do not recommend it.

It was gritty and tasteless. But I made a LOT of it, so I drank three glasses.

Thing 5: My husband and I tried a new recipe – broiled salmon with Thai sweet chili glaze from Once Upon a Chef. It was delicious and SUPER EASY. We paired it with steamed broccoli.

I felt SO HEALTHY after eating it, too.

Thing 6: It feels very virtuous to say “I’ve exercised and abstained from sugar ALL YEAR LONG.”

It feels less virtuous to be reminded that the year, so far, is only 5 days old.

Thing 7: I have an urgent and inexplicable craving for Brie. Wrapped in phyllo dough and crisped in the oven until the Brie oozes out the sides.

My friend better not say she’s ALSO giving up cheese.

 

 

How are your resolutions – or non-resolutions – coming so far, Internet?

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You know when someone says brightly, a la Office Space, in the most annoyingly high-pitched version of cheer possible, “Looks like you have a case of the Mondays!” and your only response is an icy stare designed to induce a disfiguring series of frostbite blisters all across her stupid cheerful mouth?

Yes. That.

I am crabby for several reasons, Internet. Please proceed only if you want to:

a)      Work yourself into a froth on my behalf

b)      Enjoy a case of Other-Person’s-Grouchiness-Induced Poor Temper

c)       Commiserate

d)      Roll your eyes at my CLEARLY first world and therefore RIDICULOUS “problems.”

 

Firstly, I am on Day 1.5 of a stomach bug. And I’m grouchy because, well, obviously, it SUCKS but also because I’m not sure if it’s a bug sort of stomach bug or if I brought it on myself by eating raw cookie dough or sour cream that had been out of the fridge too long. (Perhaps I need to re-evaluate my eating habits.) I have been lying in bed all day – after NOT lying in bed until about three in the morning (you do not need more details than that) – but I have of course had my computer with me, and have been working because when you work from home there is no excuse NOT to work.  Ever. Especially when you have wireless. I mean, you can take your computer INTO THE BATHROOM if necessary. (Please lord do not make it necessary.)

 

Secondly, it is the third anniversary of my marriage, which should be a lovely happy occasion complete with flowers and wine, but, this year, is NOT. (See Item #1 for the reason behind the No Wine.) I cannot begrudge my husband the flowers, because – although he has sent me lovely reminiscent-of-my-wedding-bouquet flowers for the past two years – well, he is busy and he doesn’t think NEARLY as highly of fresh flowers as I do. And I am trying very hard not to pout and tear up at Lack of Flowers because that is stupid.

Plus, I keep feeling this (SILLY, I KNOW) fretfulness about how we are ONLY three years into this thing and yet we are ALREADY chucking the Anniversary Is Special hoopla? That makes me sad. Not that we really are Big Hoopla Type People, or anything. But we’ve had, you know, flowers and a night out in years past. Which was SOMETHING. Has The Magic died in our marriage Internet? Are we Failing At Anniversary Celebration?

We ARE going out to dinner tomorrow night, which, as it turns out stomach-bug-wise, is lucky. And it’s not as if we NORMALLY exchange gifts or anything, so there’s really nothing to be crabby/panicked about. And yet…

 

Thirdly, I have barely made a dent in my Christmas shopping (what in the universe am I going to get for my husband?) (We are destined to fail at Christmas, TOO, aren’t we?). Of course, I can only blame MYSELF for this. But it’s still making me crabby and mildly panicked.  I had planned to rush to the mall after work today. But now… I may SKIP THAT.

 

Fourthly, I am still dithering about Christmas cards. They are important to me, and yet EVERY YEAR I have a hard time justifying the cost to my husband. Plus, I feel enormous pressure to send out a photo card this year, since I did so LAST year and it seems like a step BACKWARDS to send a non-photo card. My mother informs me this is silly, as does MY BRAIN, and yet I still feel OBLIGATED somehow to send out a photo card. Do we actually HAVE a photo appropriate for a card? No, no we do not.

What I should really do is haul ass to Target and buy a bunch of cards and start filling them out, since we are nearing the point where I will be sending them out in February instead. But I keep DITHERING and my husband keeps saying things like, “I thought we were sending out photo cards?” and “Oh, it will be EASY to do a quick photo!” and “Why are we sending out holiday cards again?” whenever I bring up the non-photo-card option.

The WHOLE THING is making me crabby slash panicky.

 

Fifthly (Good Wife complaint), I am not sure whether Will Gardner is now going to be a Bad Guy. Nor am I sure whether Peter Florek is going to be a Bad Guy (Worse Guy?) going forward either. And I don’t want EITHER of them to be Bad Guys, so it’s stressing me out.

 

Sixthly, I just finished The Gift of Fear. It was a good read and had some good tips about preventing/anticipating violence. It also really helped me think through some of my anxieties. For instance, I learned that being on High Alert in a parking garage and suspecting Every Man in the Vicinity of imminent rape/kidnapping/murder may actually INHIBIT my brain’s natural ability to recognize actual danger.

However, SOME is the operative word (in that sentence a few lines back), seeing as I’ve been EXTRA anxious and jumpy in MY OWN HOUSE.  It makes lots of noises that I am STILL not used to. And for some reason, I am just SURE that something bad is going to happen – that someone’s watching me or hiding in the basement or lurking the garage or creeping through the back yard or WHATEVER. Needless to say, I am extremely uncomfortable when I’m here by myself. (Which is a LOT.)

(If I am being honest with myself, I think that this House Fear is rooted in some unbloggable issues I’m dealing with lately. And my brain can’t solve those issues, so it’s painting the rest of my life a nice rosy shade of Panic About Everything. AWESOME.)

Anyway, I spend a good part of my days feeling panicky… and then being crabby about my idiocy because THERE IS NOTHING TO PANIC ABOUT. (Unless, of course, some horrible creep HAS planted tiny video cameras in the air vents and is watching my every move, biding his time until he drops soundlessly from the crawl space in the attic into the guest room closet and disembowels me in my sleep.)

 

Seventhly, I STILL feel unsettled in the new house. We have two tables and only one set of chairs. And actually, we have two ADDITIONAL tables that have no purpose. And we have EIGHT DECK CHAIRS on our teeny deck and no table for THOSE. And there are still boxes of stuff to unpack and/or donate. And we have a total of TWO pictures on walls and we still have several rooms to paint and I haven’t gotten into a cleaning schedule and we STILL haven’t done ANYTHING to the lawn (Laura – I KNOW) and the beautiful couch in our living room is DOWN FILLED so I spend most of my time in that room feeling awful and allergy-ridden and there’s a TV in the basement but the speakers don’t work and the piano is beautiful but the keys stick and I am afraid to contact a tuner for fear it will cost ridiculous amounts of money and there’s a whole list of little non-urgent items leftover from our inspection that need to be taken care of and I have no idea how to keep stainless clean and there’s still the irritating matter of where to best store the recycling/trash containers for easy access without gross trash clutter and I have no idea how to find and engage a snow plower which – according to my husband – is a necessity and I keep hearing about how important it is to “know one’s neighbors” but I don’t know how to DO THAT and and and. CRABBY SLASH PANICKY.

 

Eighthly, I HATE THE NEW GMAIL. I am in gmail all day long and I need it to be easy and intuitive and not like I’m inside an IKEA project. It is DRIVING ME NUTS.

 

Ninthly, my in laws left a baby gift here for friends when they were here for Thanksgiving. And it is (STILL) just SITTING on my table as the baby gets older and less in NEED of the gift, but there have been so many Little Things that need to happen before I can deliver the gift: buying packaging for the gift (I sent my husband to Target to complete this errand. I managed to specify “large gift bag” because the gift will not fit in a small gift bag, but the bag is HUGE and also I forgot to specify that I needed tissue paper); calling the friends to set up a time to go over; HAVING a time to drop it off, a time that includes my husband – because I don’t want to go alone – and some buffer time during which we’ll be offered a drink; figuring out the friends’ address;  ETC. It is such a small, simple task. And yet the days pass, and it does not get done and the panic level is rising with every minute, as is the crabbiness at having to COMPLETE the task in the first place.

 

Tenthly, I have to return a shawl and necklace to the store. I took your advice, Internet, and wore an old dress to the holiday party last weekend. I simply bought a sparkly belt and a sparkly bracelet to go with it and I thought it looked just fine. But I ALSO bought a shawl and a necklace. A shawl and a necklace that I wasn’t crazy about, but I allowed the salesperson to talk me into them (“No way, there’s no such thing as too much sparkle!”) and so now they are in my possession, even though I didn’t even take them out of the shopping bag. But returning them is a HASSLE and there’s no time and whine whine whine.

 

Eleventhly, I really wish I had more to blog about than WHINING. I am annoying MYSELF. But I am grouchy and at least I’m posting something. (Perhaps you are wishing for a kind way to remind me that “silence is golden.”)

 

I am stopping there, Internet. YOU ARE WELCOME.

Please let me know your biggest complaint/panic today, because I need some PERSPECTIVE.  And also some good old fashioned tangential crabbiness.

In the meantime, I am feeling the stirrings of hunger. Since there is no soup or crackers to speak of in our house, I think I may go drown my sorrows in the Cookie Dough of Death.

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Hello there, Internet!

How I have missed you, these long weeks we’ve spent apart! Okay, so it was really more like two weeks, which isn’t super long. And I posted on Friday, even though it was about teeth goo, of all things. And I’m sure that you didn’t even NOTICE my lengthy absense, but I missed you, so let’s just pretend that the longing was mutual, okay?

Let’s get to the randomosity.

– So, my apartment has two tiny balconies – one off of the living room, the other off the master. My apartment is on the first floor, but it’s above the garage door, so there’s quite a distance between the balconies and the ground. No trees touch the balconies, and no branches overhang the balconies either. So I was surprised the other day to find a squirrel on the living room balcony.

I have no idea how he got there. But he seemed quite at home, climbing up the railing, sitting on the little glass table that’s between two deck chairs, and flattening himself on the concrete floor. (It must be nice and cool.)

I didn’t mind him. In fact, I (briefly) entertained the idea of setting out some water and food (what do squirrels eat? Probably not pre-sliced Hormel pepperoni) and trying to tame his wild little heart.

But then he started flinging himself at the door.

You see, two sliding glass doors open onto the balcony. The squirrel would climb up onto the back of the deck chair and leap at the door. Of course, he would then smash into the glass and fall, stunned, to the floor.

I was pretty shocked. I mean, what the eff, squirrel? But I figured that he’d learned his lesson and went back to my typing.

And then he did it again.

He did it four times before I stomped over to the door and opened it, and he disappeared over the edge of the balcony.

I have no idea what he was doing or why. Was he trying to get onto the roof? Was he suicidal? (It HAS been really hot around here.) Was he trying to fling himself into my living room?

– In other wildlife news, a pair of pigeons keep landing on my balcony railing to… get busy. Seriously. I am constantly banging on the door to get them off each other. Couple of horny teenagers. Get a room already. One that doesn’t obstruct my view.

– In other OTHER wildlife news, when I was visiting my parents a few weeks ago, I answered the phone when my mom was out walking the dog. It was the neighbor.

“Tell your mom to bring the dog inside,” she said cheerfully. “My grandson was in the outhouse and he spotted a grizzly. It’s headed your way.”

(Yes. He spotted a grizzly bear from the outhouse. This is the wild, y’all.)

Once my mom and her dog were safely inside, we spent the rest of the afternoon peering out the windows for the bear.  It was an odd feeling. I mean, do you hope that a grizzly walks across your lawn… or do you hope that he doesn’t? Is an unseen grizzly better than a visible one? Would a grizzly-sighting be exciting or terrifying?

Not questions I ever really thought I’d be asking.

– We’ve been looking at houses for about a month now. I’ve learned a lot even from such a short period of house hunting. Perhaps I will bore you with share the details in a future post.

I fell in love with the first house I looked at. My husband loved it, too. It’s very over-priced for the area, but we’re going to put in an offer anyway to see if they’ll come down on the price at all. Writing about it here pretty much guarantees that we won’t get it, so if you see me mooning about in the next few weeks, you’ll know why.

– Of course, in anticipation of this house (which we won’t get), I’ve gotten some wild idea that I’m an interior decorator. I joined Pinterest, which I don’t really understand. And I’ve spent way too much time flipping through screen after screen of “luxurious bedrooms” on Martha Stewart’s website. But just because I can pin 10 photos of rooms in varying shades of green and brown doesn’t mean I could arrange them in a room in any remote semblance of “style” or “intentional design.” Anyone want to decorate the house that we don’t and probably will never own for me? You can start in the office. It must incorporate a desk and this loveseat.

– I’ve secured a new eye doctor. I wasn’t a big fan of my last eye doctor, and I am not sure yet whether my new eye doctor is any better. BUT I will give him a chance.  (He appears to be obsessed with fish. Every room has big paintings of fish. He wears a fish pin. I guess that’s my only evidence of Fish Obsession, but it seemed like ample evidence when I was in the office.) (I mean, his Love Of Fish was so evident, I spent the whole time trying to think of ways to bring up fly fishing or trout or something. Fortunately, I had enough presence of mind to realize I know NOTHING about fish [other than it’s yummy] so I kept my trap shut.0

Anyway, I got my eyes examined a few weeks ago and ordered new contacts.  Then, a week or so ago (I can’t remember – I was on a plane, and I’ve been on too many planes lately, and all the stupid planes run together) I got a voicemail from the eye doctor’s receptionist. All she said in the message was, “This is Receptionist. Please call me back.”

That struck me as a little weird, right? Did I have some horrible eye disease that she couldn’t talk about over the phone? Was there some embarrassing problem with my insurance? Was my eye doctor firing me?

When I called her back, she wasn’t in the office. And she hadn’t left any notes for the other receptionist about what was up. So I had to call back. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t a horrible eye disease, or even the eye equivalent of a cold. She just wanted me to come by and pick up some trial contacts. Why she couldn’t leave that in a message, I do not know. I suppose it could have been a HIPAA thing? Who knows.

– So the other thing about the eye doctor receptionist: She seemed to think that I could just pop over and pick up the contacts. And that I could just pop in next week to have the eye doctor check the fit.

Can you do this, Internet?

I just… I can’t. Despite the fact that I am an independent contractor and work from home… I just can’t slip out for an hour or two in the middle of the day. And I would imagine that it’s even more difficult to do when you’re in an office.

Am I terribly misguided on this point? Can you come and go as you please?

– I’m reading A Discovery of Witches now. I’ve been reading it for a month. My mom mailed it to me a while ago and I read the first page and put it down. But then a few bloggy friends gave it high marks, so I picked it back up and forced myself to keep reading. And I am now about halfway through.

It’s enjoyable. But I don’t know if I like it. And it’s taking me forever. And it’s heavy. And I just want some action already, stop describing Matthew’s house and his horses I DON’T CARE. But somehow I am still compelled to read it instead of the copy of Home Buying for Dummies my husband keeps placing meaningfully on my pillow.

– Do you watch murder mystery shows? You know, CSI, Bones, The Closer, etc? Have you ever noticed how, when the cop/FBI agent/crime scene investigator notifies The Bereaved that their friend/loved one/lawyer just turned up dead, The Bereaved almost immediately starts referring to The Dead in the past tense?

I just… find that unbelievable. More unbelievable, in fact, than a forensic anthropologist or crime scene investigator doing a death notification. Don’t you think it would take a while for the death to sink in? Wouldn’t you still refer to The Dead in the present tense until his/her death sinks in?

“Ma’am, your husband was murdered 10 minutes ago.”

“Oh god no!”

Five minutes pass.

“He was such a great husband, back when he was alive.”

Um. No. I don’t think so.

– And finally, because I have had this stuck in my head all weekend, I pass it on to you. Please take careful note of the slammin’ dance moves.

Happy Monday, Internet.

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Do your visits to the dentist come with a heaping side of judgment?

I went to the dentist the other day for my yearly check up. And I got a nice long lecture about The Importance of Flossing.

Let me say up front, I quite like my hygienist. She’s friendly and efficient.

But I am not a big fan of the floss-related disapproval.

Firstly, I am already well-versed in The Importance of Flossing. I mean, are there people walking around in the world today who DON’T know about Flossing and All Its Toothly Benefits? Because I’m pretty sure I started getting the stern Floss Talk way back when I was a wee one.

Did I listen? No, of course not. Maybe you, Internet, have a pristine history of sterling dental hygiene habits. I was always a good brusher, but I hated flossing. (Partly because my teeth are widely spaced in the front of my mouth, which renders flossing useless, and crowded together like Harry Potter fans crushing to get the best seats at a midnight showing in the back, which renders floss broken. I know, excuses, excuses.)

HOWEVER, lest you think that I am recommending a devil-may-care flossing attitude, there is a Dire Moral to this story of flossing recklessness. Many years ago, my combined bad habits of under flossing and over brushing (who knew there was such a thing as OVER BRUSHING?) resulted in some horrific procedure known as gum planing. (No, not “gum planning,” Word. PLANING. It is so a word – stop underlining it.)

Ever since that day, I have been a flossing superstar. Except when I’m traveling. Which has been too often lately.

Erm, where was I? Oh yes.

I already KNOW that I should floss regularly. And I do, normally. So the lecture was stupid.

Secondly, I’m pretty sure there’s a way to tell a patient that she needs to be doing something without wagging a (metaphorical) shaming finger in her face. Maybe shame is a good motivator for you. All it motivates me to do is dislike the shamer.

Thirdly, it’s especially unfair to lecture someone – about something she KNOWS – when you are scraping her teeth with a sharp metal teeth-scraping implement and she cannot respond in comprehensible language, let alone MOVE lest you jab her in the gum. (Gum. Is that right? Can you make it singular like that, or is it always “gums”?)

The whole thing is just plain humiliating. I mean, it’s bad enough that you’re lying there, immobilized by gum-jabbing-induced terror. But you’ve got a big old paper bib strapped to your chest like you’re some giant baby. And the hygienist is scraping TEETH GOO out of your teeth. Mouth-type things that I try at all costs to pretend into non-existence.  And instead of hurrying the goo discreetly out of sight, the hygienist WIPES IT ON YOUR BIB. The bib that you must continue to wear – TEETH GOO leaping grotesquely into your peripheral view – for the whole rest of the humiliating visit.

Then the dentist comes in to… what? Look at the hygienist’s handiwork? Just kidding. He comes in to review the x-rays and jab at your teeth with a tooth-jabbing tool and decide whether or not you need a filling or a root canal or gum planing. And the whole time, you’re lying there, your mouth gaping open, with your unmentionable TEETH GOO on display.

Isn’t that ENOUGH humiliation, Internet? Does the hygienist need to pile on a sternly-worded lecture as well?

By the way, I was wondering the other day about whether my dentist (or any dentist, really) actually hates dirty teeth. I mean, it’s unlikely that anyone really ENJOYS dirty teeth, you know? But maybe dentists are particularly put off by them. My dentist never even SEES teeth until they’ve been thoroughly scraped and polished and buffed to a toothpaste-model sheen.  He always pokes and prods at my teeth and says, “Beautiful! These are beautiful teeth!” (which makes me flush with pleasure, because, come on, how often do you get a compliment like THAT?). But I wonder, if he saw my teeth pre-hygienist, would he be disgusted? Plaque! Ack!

You know what else I was wondering? Whether the dental staff disinfects the little sucker tube they use to suck out plaque chunks (does anyone else want to barf about now?) and excess spit and such. They MUST, right? But… what if they don’t?

These are the kind of thoughts that are prompting me to leave the house less and less.

Oh yes, I had a point to this post. (Well, a “point.”) And, since I suspect that you don’t visit this little blog to read about my teeth goo, I shall now get to that point. (“Point.”)

When the dentist had finished praising my beautiful teeth, he noted that a couple of my molars are worn down.

“Looks like you grate your teeth,” he told me. Which made me cringe, because teeth grating is right up there with fingernails catching on fabric and knives squeaking on plates and Ke$ha in terms of horrible sounds.

Teeth grating, it seems, is my body’s new choice of stress outlet. Good times.  Apparently, it can cause neck and back tension and severe headaches. Plus, if left unchecked, you can grind your teeth so much that they BREAK. Needless to say, I was pretty eager for a solution.

The solution? A mouth guard.

Which meant that I have to wear a mouth guard. Like, every night. Plus,  I had to go to the dentist two days in a row.

The second day, I woke up early and left early so I wouldn’t be late. I don’t drive much, especially at rush-hour-type times of day, so I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get there.  Turns out, it only took 15 minutes. So I had 15 minutes to wait in the waiting room.

The receptionist told me that I should take a seat and make myself a cup of coffee. Yay! Fifteen whole minutes to read Discovery of Witches and drink free coffee from the little one-cup Keurig in the waiting room.

But once I fixed myself a cup of coffee (I don’t even LIKE coffee, Internet), I realized that there was no way I could DRINK it. How could I have coffee breath when the hygienist was going to be all up in my face? That just seems rude.

Anyway, I held a full cup of coffee in the waiting room while I read (this book is taking me FOREVER), and then carried it back to the exam room with me.

There, the hygienist set me up in the lifty chair, secured a paper bib around my neck, filled a little plastic mold with gooey acrylic, and fit it onto my front teeth. Goo got all over my lips. (That’s another thing I hate about the dentist. With hands and x-ray plates and scraping tools in and out of your mouth, a lot of saliva gets flung around. There is almost nothing worse in the whole world than having someone floss your teeth for you whilst rubbing a saliva-coated hand-heel all over your chin.) Then she waited until the acrylic hardened. Then she pulled the mouth guard out of my mouth, shaved it with one of her tooth-tools, put it back in, pulled it out, shaved it with one of her tooth-tools, put it back in, over and over and over until I thought she was going to rip my two front teeth right out of my head.

But eventually she got it shaved to the perfect balance between de-toothifyingly tight and choke-you-while-you-sleep loose.  She told me that I may take it out while I’m asleep and that I may wake up and not be able to “find my bite,” which sounds kind of terrifying and oddly vampiric, but that everything would be okay.

As I was modeling the mouth guard one last time, showing the hygienist my bite and trying in vain to clamp my back teeth together, I joked, “My husband is going to make fun of me tonight!”

The hygienist removed the little square mouth guard, perfectly molded to my teeth, and plopped it into a tiny little glow-in-the-dark box.

“Yes, he is,” she said.

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— This is Future Me, coming by after writing up this post to warn you that it is long and mainly about boring things like Good Health and Doctor’s Visits and Blood Tests. I thought maybe some of it would be amusing/informative. But turns out really it is just one of those For My Own Future Reference posts that will likely be of no interest to anyone but Current Me. Because even Future Me is thoroughly Over It, and I’m betting FUTURE Future Me will feel the same. But! Just in case I need to prove in 15 years what my HDL cholesterol level was in 2011, I will post it anyway. —

— Additional Note: I am also realizing that this is a really Poor Showing for someone who hasn’t blogged in, like two whole weeks, and whose last post was met with such lovely and thoughtful and illuminating comments. I’m sorry. It has been a HELL of a, well, past two months, actually. This is all I can muster. —

 

— And now that you are thoroughly talked out of even reading this damn post, let us begin. —

 

My husband’s hospital recently did a nice thing. They offered a free health screening to all employees and their spouses.

Even better than being free? If you posted your results on a special website, you could get a discount on your health insurance.

Free! Discount! Sign me up!

My initial excitement about this health screening wore off pretty quickly.

For one thing, have you ever tried to schedule an appointment for a doctor? ANY kind of appointment?

It is impossible. I have to schedule dinner dates with our friends at least a month in advance, just to make sure that our friends are free on one of my husband’s super limited number of free evenings.

And that’s EVENINGS. When he is off. (Well, IF he is off.) Things like doctors’ appointments, teeth cleanings, and free health screenings happen during the DAY. When he is working.  And unable to say, “Hey, I’m taking a vacation day” or even, “Hey, I’m taking a few hours off.”

But I put on my game face and called the number to set up our appointments. Guess what? THEY WERE ALL FULL.

(This may be because my husband waited a while to tell me about the free health screening in the first place. Actually, he didn’t even tell me. My friend – who is the wife of another doctor – told me. She and I have to constantly check in with each other to find out about important things – like the date of the big End of Year Fancy Pants Dinner, or the date of Match Day, or the date of the day where all the interns get to go to a baseball game and drink lots of beer together while she and I go about our normal work like CHUMPS. AHEM.)

Anyway, I put our names down on a waiting list for the free health screening.

And I waited. And waited. And waited some more.

Finally, I stopped waiting and gave up. This wasn’t going to happen. We’d missed out. Bye bye, insurance discount.

Then! An entire MONTH after I’d been put on the waiting list, I got The Call.

Of course, the kind woman on the other end of the line had only one appointment left.

Of course of course, the appointment was during a time when my husband was going to be at work. Plus, it was at a hospital 30 miles away. So. I signed myself up.

The appointment was the day after Easter. I had to fast for 8 or 12 hours, I can’t remember which.

When I got there – at some swamp awful early hour of the morning (by which I mean 7:00 am) – there was one person ahead of me. And a room full of nurses and techs.

This is where things slowly started to go downhill. Or uphill, which I personally think is worse than downhill.

They weighed me – with my clothes on, which I think is Cheating, In A Bad Way. (I mean, if you are going to cheat, it should be to your advantage, right?)

Then they measured my waist. AROUND MY SHIRT. And to be completely honest, I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt over a tank top. So you know that adds a good half an inch, right? Plus, the nurse measured me very loosely. Again with the Bad Cheating.

Lest you think I am super vain (I am), and am bringing this loose-over-the-clothing measuring system up purely for vanity’s sake, they use that waist measurement to determine your BMI. One inch can mean the difference between “normal weight” and “overweight,” you know!

To add to these super accurate measurements, the nurse asked me how tall I am. Um… I have no idea. I’ve spent many years valiantly trying to will myself into being 5’7″… But I’m pretty sure I’m more like 5’6″ or 5’5″. So I said 5’5″ with a question mark in my voice, and the nurse wrote that down as Fact.

Then she took my blood pressure. It was 128/92. (If you are about to spring to the comments to warn me that I am on the verge of a hypertensive breakdown, be reassured: more on this later.)

Then she sent me over to the tech, who pricked my finger to test my cholesterol levels.

While I sat there, waiting for the test to spit out my results (which I will share with you momentarily – I know, you are shivering with anticipation!), a cop came in the room.

If you are resettling yourself in your chair at this plot twist, thinking to yourself, “Finally, the story is going to get good!” you are sadly mistaken.

Anyway, the cop said to the nurses that he needed his health screening but he’d never been able to get an appointment. And the nurse said cheerily that he could have come in any time! Appointments not necessary! But this was the last day, so why don’t they do his screening right this second?

I was the only person getting a health screening at that moment. Empty room. Well, except for all the nurses and techs.

Which made me VERY ANNOYED, as I’d waited for A MONTH for this appointment. Plus, my husband was totally unable to get an appointment AT ALL. And now his opportunity had passed.

SIGH.

Anyway, back to the results!

My good cholesterol was 45. My bad cholesterol was 89. My total cholesterol was 202. (I know this because I am looking at the sheet they gave me. By the way, my LDL and HDL numbers each put me in the “low risk” category. But my total cholesterol puts me in the “moderate risk” category. What’s up with that?)

What else? Oh, my fasting glucose was “low risk.” My BMI put me in the “normal weight” category.  (Even with the extra clothing and the loose measurement. PHEW. Cheaters never prosper, NURSE Loose Measure-er.)

But here’s where things get concerning. My triglycerides were 339.

According to the sheet they gave me, triglycerides of 200 or more put you in the “high risk” category. (Although I’m not exactly sure what this is a risk OF. Dropping dead whilst cleaning the toilet?) So I was a little concerned.

The nurse who “interpreted” my results  (i.e. read them to me out loud as I read them silently to myself) said encouragingly, “Oh that’s probably because this is the day after Easter! Did you indulge in a big Easter dinner yesterday?”

Well, no. I hadn’t. I’d eaten veggie stir fry for lunch on Easter. My husband and I had eaten chicken paprikas for dinner. And then I’d fasted.

“Oh,” she said. “Well, you should set up an appointment to discuss this with your doctor.”

And this is where I should have recognized that I was Being Taken by a Big Health Screening Scam. (Not a real scam, I don’t think. It just feels that way in retrospect, through the haze of Sky-High Triglycerides.)

Because now I had to leave my FREE health screening and go set up a PAID appointment with my doctor. Where he would simply repeat all the tests done at the health screening.

But at that point, I wasn’t thinking “This is a scam.” I was thinking, “What the hell is wrong with my triglycerides? Am I going to drop dead at any second?” (Note: I do not know anything about triglycerides or what they do or how they work or what relationship they have to dropping dead.)

My father was more concerned with my blood pressure than my triglycerides. However, the nurse at the health screening had shrugged off my elevated BP reading, saying it was “a little high,” but “nothing to worry about.” So – completely at odds with my normal personality – I didn’t worry about it.

But my father didn’t like it. And upon inspection, that’s because my systolic BP was in the “moderate risk/prehypertension” category and my diastolic BP was in the “high risk/Stage 1 hypertension” category.

So I started – characteristically – fretting about my blood pressure and my triglycerides and thinking dour thoughts like, “It really does all go downhill once you turn 30” and “I really need to make a change in my life if I want to live to see 40.”

Every time I got stressed out at work (which was oh, about 365,000 times a day), I would worry that I could feel my blood pressure rising and slowly killing me. (My husband informs me that you cannot feel your blood pressure rising. I DISAGREE.)

Anyway, I went to see my doctor. And that’s when the Big Health Screen Scam became apparent.

First I shelled out $20 for my copay. (Which, I know, not a lot of money. BUT NOT FREE.) My doctor took my blood pressure. It was 110/68.

Which is… Perfectly fine.

Then I went and got my blood drawn, so he could retest my cholesterol and triglycerides.

He called me at 6:38 am on Wednesday morning (After, incidentally, I’d been up until 3:30 am working. Not his fault, I know. But seriously. Who calls at 6:38 in the morning?) to report that my good cholesterol was 89 and my bad cholesterol was 80 (both still delightfully low risk). And my triglycerides were 76.

(6:38 in the morning.)

Let’s take a minute to marvel at the wide, vast, cavernous difference between 339 (the reading at my FREE health screening) and 76 (the reading at my PAID doctor’s visit).

My doctor then informed me that he’d seen several other patients who’d had wildly elevated triglyceride levels during the health screening… But totally normal triglycerides when he’d retested them.

SCAM.

They woo you with “Free! Health Screening!” and “Health insurance discount!” and then they give you inaccurate labs so you have to make an appointment with a doctor and get them redone. WHICH YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR.

Okay, okay. Things could be much worse. This is clearly a First World Problem, as I have health insurance and – even better – good health.  I am very fortunate, I know this.  But the whole thing was kind of an Ordeal, and annoying and semi-stressful. It feels good to write it all out and release the stress and irritation to the universe (read: you).

Anyway, the biggest deal about going to the doctor – for me – was that I had to get actual blood drawn, instead of dealing with the teeny tiny finger prick they did at the Free Health Screening. I do NOT like blood, Internet.

You know what the worst part is about getting your blood drawn? Well, aside from trying valiantly not to catch even a peripheral glimpse of blood, of course. * WOOZE. * (That is totally a word.)

The worst part is the tape they use to hold the stupid cotton ball on your “wound.” You’d think there would be some sort of special skin-friendly tape that doesn’t rip your arm-hairs out at the root – below the root even – or tear off the top layer of your skin. You would be wrong. Because they use special Eternal Strength Tape (Will Never Leave Your Skin! Guaranteed to Be the Last Thing Left in Your Coffin Once the Worms Get You!).

Also, when and if you finally pry the tape and your top layer of dermis off your arm, the tape will leave behind a parting gift of black sticky residue. That will remain after 10 showerings as a visible reminder of your blood draw experience. Souvenir!

The best part of the blood draw is the phlebotomist. My doctor’s office has THE BEST phlebotomist in all the lands. I’m not actually 100% sure that she IS a phlebotomist, but I really enjoy typing and reading and even saying “phlebotomist.”

Whatever she is, she is wonderful. She is always super cheery. She doesn’t mock me or roll her eyes at me when I tell her that blood makes me woozy. She assures me kindly and brightly that she will not let me see even a drop – a drop! – of blood. And then she tells me exactly what she’s doing – “This will feel cold” as she swabs my elbow with the antiseptic, “You’ll feel a pinch” as she nears me with the needle – which I think ALL medical and dental professionals should do at all times. Heck, let’s extend that policy to all service providers – including accountants, hair stylists, and mechanics. I like to know exactly what’s going to happen. It makes me feel like a) I’m in control of the situation, even when I’m clearly NOT and b) the service provider knows exactly what s/he is doing, rather than making things up willy nilly as s/he goes along.

Anyway, all this to say that I am in the peak of good health.

Except for the tiredness. And the stress. And the chubby thighs. And the lack of exercise.

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