Tuesday, September 30, 2008

boob news

First, let me say that Valium when mixed with Darvocet is a very deceptive little cocktail. While I could very clearly feel the edges of my world had been softened (thank you, Valium), I had great difficultly accepting the fact that I was pretty fricking blotto this afternoon. Simple tasks, such as stating Erik's birthdate and filling out a check, began to clue me in. Then, as Erik enticed me to use words with S's in them, I could totally hear that I was slurring my words. He likened me to Cindy Brady. Mm hm. I was in just the right frame of mind for having long needles poked deep into my unsuspecting boobies.

So imagine my surprise when the doctor decided not to do any poking. Apparently just making me dread the procedure for ten days was torture enough. I still got to strip down and get felt up, but I didn't even have to get my mammy's grammed. At first I was suspicious (or, rather, sssussspisshuss), since you know, a different doctor thought something about my cyst was worth eradicating. But then I grew convinced that my cyst just needed a little more screen time to reveal its benign nature. In the meanwhile, though, my cyst has made some friends. Thanks to a more thorough ultrasound technician (who I totally used to rescue seals with), we are now watching four cysts, not one. But they all appear nice and proper - thin walls, soft shape, no speckling. They are good little cysts. Thanks to these good little cysts I get to have my mammy's grammed again in six months (instead of twelve) - just to make sure everyone has remained on their best behavior.

After spending most of the early evening sleeping off my narcotic haze (and blowing off my gym partner), I have settled back in to my regularly scheduled distraction - my law school applications. If I had the balls, I would submit my Berkeley application in T minus 2 and a half hours - the precise moment they begin accepting them. But I know I have to print everything out and read it when my eyes are fresh and the light is good, cuz typos are the pits and I am way too OCD to forgive myself.

Oh, and besides, I have already screwed up with Stanford. Having my letters of recommendation sent directly to their office was, um, wrong. Great. So I had to confess my super lamedness in order to find out if they bothered to keep my letters. They have two of the three, which is better than I hoped, so I'm all set. Stanford's my longest longshot anyway - they didn't want me as an ungrad, then I attended their rival school, I don't have a perfect GPA, and I haven't cured cancer. Add to that the fact that I can't even follow instructions and I'm thinking my fate is pretty sealed. I only wish there were a place on the application to reveal to them my Big Game curse. Cuz, you know, it's only a curse if you want Cal to win. In fact, I am Stanford's lucky charm. It took all the strength I had not to mention it in my email to the Admissions Office this afternoon. I had to remind myself that a) I was on drugs and b) I already looked stupid.

Oh oh oh, and my new shoes arrived already. I still actually love the red ones a little bit better, but don't tell the black ones that cuz they are much more functional (being, you know, the right size and all). I don't want them getting any hurt feelings, after all. And I haven't had the heart to introduce them to my old work shoes. Those poor guys are so dusty and neglected, they already know they are yesterday's news. They don't need to see me parading around in my sexy grown up shoes. Not just yet anyway. And my new shoes don't need to know how I treat my shoes once the shiny newness wears off. Right now they can still believe they will be stored all orderly like, perhaps even in their original boxes. Maybe they think I will place them on a shelf built just for them, with a polaroid picture of themselves posed just so, so that I can always find them when I need them. Little do they know they are doomed to share a room with the stray cat who pees too much.

Anyway, I am just procrastinating now. All you really needed to know is that my boobs and my cysts are getting along swimmingly. Oh, but stay tuned tomorrow for the latest on my oldest niecelet and her no-good cheating man-whore of an ex-boyfriend. If you enjoyed the story of the slap heard round the school, you'll love the sequel.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Last night I had trouble sleeping. Perhaps it was the Pepsi I pounded at midnight. I hate to admit that caffeine might hold some power over me. I feel like that's some sign of weakness - or, more likely, aging.

And then I thought perhaps I was awake due to my grumpy new muscles. I seldom (as in never) seem to stretch after working out and it appears to be catching up with me. A friend is trying to entice me into attending yoga at our gym, but I still don't feel ready to do Downward Facing Dog in public. At least I went to the gym, right? Too bad my hour on the elliptical machine only canceled out all the full sugar soda I drank yesterday. The Chips Ahoy I inhaled are apparently free to roam about the cabin...

But the soda and the cookies were both part of the essay process. I think I made serious progress on my applications this weekend. My Berkeley essay might even be done. And good. Erik inspired the ending - the part where I warn the admissions committee that I have an apparent jinx that causes Cal to lose to Stanford in the Big Game. I'm hoping that still seems inspired and appropriate tomorrow, or else I have to craft another conclusion. Anyway, post essay excitement might also have been the reason I couldn't fall sleep.

But mostly I suspect I wasn't restful because I knew today I would have to wake up and have an "ultrasound guided biopsy" of my poor right boob. I keep telling myself it's most likely just a routine aspiration of a harmless cyst, but I hate that I had to use the word "biopsy" when making the appointment. Anyway, after the poking I get to enjoy some squishing, as they gram my mammies one more time, in order to be sure the part they poked was the part they saw on the scan in the first damn place.

So, yeah. Caffeine. Conclusion. Impending torture. Any of these could have been last night's culprit.

But this morning, thanks to this site, I find myself laughing so hard I am crying. I only wish my mother were savvy enough to send a emails or a texts as I am certain I could contribute mightily. Also, I am sorry to see that this site is currently not supporting submissions as I was fully prepared to upload my "Jenni Africa" photo for all the world to see.

{An aside to my dear Wendy: I totally think these are the folks that produced that book I found for you. Remember how I was so bummed that I never knew about Duran Duran fan fiction? Well, it seems after talking to my brother last night, I realized that had I actually been inclined as a teen to author any Fab Five inspired soft porn that I would need now to go back and make some revisions. Apparently the English are not big on circumcision. While I don't have any diary entries to alter, I have been forced to update a few of my mental images...}

Anyway, I am also excited because today is OC's buttiversary. One year ago today he had his last enema. I ordered orange cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles to give to the vet in celebration. I know the folks there are at least as relieved as OC and I are that none of them has had to put their fingers up his anus lately.

On that note, I am either off to the gym and then the bakery, or just off to the bakery. I haven't decided which.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

updates from hermitville

Sorry, folks, for my (continued) virtual absence. I'm sure you've grown used to such neglect, but it is still no excuse.

I wish I could say that I have spent my time away appropriately - that I have finished up all my applications earlier than planned - but indeed I have not. In truth, I am only posting now as a brief respite from my dreaded "diversity essay" - the one piece of my application puzzle which I ought to send to all schools. I know, I know, what exactly is so diverse about a middle-aged white woman? That's precisely my challenge. But I think this morning I might actually be on a roll. After that, I have left only the love letters - why I love Berkeley, why I love Penn, why I love Northwestern, why I love Cornell - and I believe I am still (barely) on track to hit my October 1st submission goal.

Speaking of Northwestern, have I mentioned that I have to profess my love for them in person? This semi-unexpected, not-entirely-required roadblock has sent me into a dizzying array of diversions. I have a room reserved (the interview is a 3 hour drive away - the price of living in paradise) and my resume is sparkly and fresh. I've had my hair done - not just cut, but colored - and I've done much shopping - you know, for grown up clothes, like bras and stockings and high heel shoes. By the way, I am in love with my shoes. This is probably because I have only worn them for 2 minutes, but they are so perfectly my style. I love love love love love my shoes. I love them so much that I stole a picture of them from Zappos just to share with you. Then, darn it, while I was there I ordered a pair in black - in a size more appropriate for my woefully wide feet. I have done so much shopping lately that I am expecting to receive one of those fraud alert phone calls any time now. "Um, excuse me, ma'am, but your card has shown some suspicious activity lately. In all the years we've had you as a customer we've never known you to visit a hair salon or a specialty undergarment shop..."

Another benefit of the upcoming Northwestern interview is that it gave me an extra excuse to look cute for my new driver's license picture. I don't know why the DMV suddenly decided that this was the year I had to renew in person, but I put it off until the very last second, dreading the photo shoot and weight question. In fact, the woman who processed my application was awesome. When it came to the needlessly invasive quesiton of weight she whispered her request for the information. As I hestitated, she encouraged me, assuring me it would be okay to list my "goal weight." I suppose I should have been mortified, having the DMV acknowledge that I am of a size worth lying about, but I was relieved. We immediately bonded over our fluctuating sizes (she confessed she once shed 200 pounds on the South Beach diet) and it was over in a flash. If you're lucky, loyal readers, I may even share with you my new picture, once it arrives. Of course, it can only be appreciated in contrast to my existing picture - the oompa-loompa as I call it - which was taken at the other local DMV, the one which sorely needs to color correct its damned camera. And that, that will be hard to share.

Anyway, other recent distractions include the near purchasing of yet another house in our neighborhood. This time I was actually genuinely on board with the process because the house was cute and not gross. Turns out it was also severely underpriced and we lost it in a bidding war by tens of thousands of dollars. C'est la vie.

But most of all I have been busying myself with doctor's appointments. I had my teeth cleaned, which was not near as much fun knowing that my regular dentist died three months ago (cancer of some sort). And the new dentist is making me come back to fill a little something that isn't quite big enough to call a cavity. In the meanwhile, Erik got a referral to consider getting braces. His lower teeth are all crammed in together causing him more headaches than I do. For years he's longed just to yank one out. Hopefully his new orthodontist will talk some sense into him about that particular plan...

I've also had my eye checked. That stupid scratch in my cornea is still there - four years later - so I finally let the doctor hasten the healing by poking holes all around it. Why this works even he couldn't say, but I wish I'd known how painless it was two years ago. I would've let him do it then, when the scratch was gigantic and easier to find. I also need to get both my eyes checked as I have begun seriously guessing at those eye charts. At worst I am apparently 20/40, as that is the DMV requirement, but I figure I should get glasses before I go off to school anyway. I look kinda cute in glasses, I think, and I will soon be doing a crapload of reading.

But mostly I have been getting my boobs checked. Indeed, I failed my second mammogram and was sent off to get a sticky old ultrasound. The radiologist is pretty sure my abnormality is just a cyst, so he's planning to drain it on Monday. Afterwards I will get my third ever mammogram. Here's to hoping the third time's a charm. Anyway, everyone is acting all very casual about my so-called cyst, but I have heard talk of a biopsy (if it turns out to be solid) and they ordered me a nice cocktail of drugs (Valium and Darvocet) for the poking day, so I'm not wholly convinced that everything is hunky dory fine. My experience with my breast cancer by proxy was that the doctors tend to tell you just enough to make sure you show up for your next appointment. They leave all the freaky bad stuff out until they are super sure.

Anyway, I am mostly not freaked out and I promise a prompt update when I know something. But for now I really must return to my diversity essay. Guess you will have to wait to hear about Bushy, an actual real live sea lion I got to net during this strange summer of the sloppy seconds... I can't believe even my seals haven't got me posting. So sad. Oh, and I didn't take any pictures (I know, you're glad) but I got to see a Harbor Porpoise necropsy which was kinda interesting. Poor gal was beat up by a gang of bottle nosed dolphins, which is way more common than you'd like to think.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

living the dream

Ha, I just realized from the title that you might think I am living the American Dream - of home ownership, that is. But indeed, thank God, I am (so far) not a home owner (or home ower, as my friend Tony used to call himself). Erik's bid was countered and he chose not to play ball. Still, I feel like the house is a looming possibility. It makes me buy cookies and ciders. But whatever. Today's post is not about my financial fears.

Instead, today it is about my dearest niece, miss Zoë herself. As the oldest - sister, niece, soul - Zoë is doomed to suffer all sorts of experiences first. This week's uncharted territory is the terrible break up. Drat that no good six pack ab toting cutie of a rich boy she's been dating for two years. After basking in the glory of her wonderfulness for so long, he finally broke down and has returned to being the serial dating man-whore he was when she found him.

I know. This is bad. This is pints of ice cream in the fridge, crying unconsolably all night bad. It's even had me sobbing, once while on the eliptical machine at the gym thanks to an ill-timed teen-angsty tune on my ipod Shuffle. And I'm not even premenstrual. Weird, huh?

Anyway, Zoë is fortunate to have my best friend as her mother. Jules has kept her daughter from making all the mistakes a broken heart wants to make - crawling back, begging for reconciliation - and instead has made sure she heads off to school each daying looking like the hottie that she is. We are also extra fortunate that Sadie, Zoë's little sister, was admitted to the same private high school so we can get her firsthand perspective on the break up. According to Sadie, her sister has been totally winning the split - she's been looking calm and collected and he's been looking down and dejected.

Until yesterday. Yesterday, after having a good cry in the dark room (a great place to cry, by the way - I used to cry in the dark room at work all too regularly...), Zoë was called off to an assembly. There she discovered her man-whore ex-boyfriend was parading around his newest catch, her former friend (of course). Zoë didn't miss a beat. She walked up to them, slapped him (hard) across the face, and told him to fuck himself. Twice. And then she asked him never to talk to her again.

I know. Awesome, right?

As the day wore on, Zoë's true friend made sure that the rest of the (very small) school knew her side of the story. Walking the halls Zoë found herself receiving high fives and style points. At lunch time, when the man-whore and his new catch tried to join the regular group in the regular place, Zoë got up and left. So did about 30 or 40 other people.

Kinda warms your heart, doesn't it?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

nothing says lovin

Nothing says lovin like something in the oven. Today I made the tuna casserole. Even before I read the comment from yesterday's post. Because I do love that house-buying man. Though I still hope he's not buying this house. And in addition to powerlessness, isolation, and financial anxiety, my three years of unemployment have brought me bliss and reconnection, adventure and relaxation. They have been life saving. And I wouldn't have had them without him. I wouldn't have much without him.

So says the tuna.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Yesterday he put a bid in on the house. Or rather, I, as his wifely secretary, put the bid in for him. It involved a frustrating stint at the fax machine (abusing my privileges as a volunteer), a trip to the copy center (since the fax no longer felt like copying the multitude of pages), and a stop at the post office. This was followed by a failed attempt to keep my Monday workout date. I drove to the gym but found all I could do was sit in the parking lot and cry.

My gym buddy understood. Her life is so much more colorful than my own. She has surely spent more than her fair share of time sitting in cars and crying. So then I went home and tried to get drunk. That didn't work out all that well either. This was particularly disturbing, because I am usually all too skilled at sucking down the sauce.

Finally I went to bed. Until I woke up. At 3 am. I was not awake because of the cats (miracle?). I did not even have a full bladder (darned failed drinking attempt). I was just awake.

I waited until the sun came up and the gym opened and I did my penance on the elliptical machine. But the rest of the day has been a surreal sleep deprived day of hoping against hope that the bid is rejected. This, apparently, we won't find out until Friday (thanks to a vacationing realtor).

But really, whether he buys the house or not, my world is still rocked. For the first time in our sixteen years together something huge came up. For the first time ever I didn't get my way. This is not to say that's necessarily a bad thing. Truth be told, if he can pull off the payments, the house is probly a great investment. Even so, it hurts. Because now I feel all the things I feared I'd feel when I walked away from my job three years ago - powerless, isolated, and worried about money.

This afternoon he called to see if I wanted him to pick up anything on the way home. I told him I didn't need anything, I was already working on something for dinner. He actually thought this dinner might be for him. Really. You decide to buy a house that I vehemently don't believe in and you think this is the day I will wake up and become domestic? Really?

It's sad to know he checked the fridge and the oven for these fantasy fixins while I pretended to nap in the bed. It's sad because he probly actually deserves to come home to a warm meal (maybe not today, but most days). It's sad because it wouldn't have been all that difficult for me to throw together the batch of Tuna Noodle (the legendary family favorite that ironically started as my mom's way to punish my dad) that I've been talking about for weeks. But mostly it's sad because it proves I really am isolated and he has no idea what I'm feeling.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

suddenly september

So I'm surprised I haven't been blogging recently as I have been very actively procrastinating on the law school application process. Like most projects in my life, the vision is there and most of the elements are 90% completed, but still I haven't quite managed to send off a single application. Granted, any application received before Thanksgiving is considered an early application, and applications just became available last week, but the perfectionist in me is disappointed. Personally, I think perfect me should be pleased that procrastinating me has gotten so much laundry done at least.

Anyway, I have to keep this entry brief if I hope to make it to the gym this evening. Yes, I have a gym. And I actually go. I kinda sorta hate my gym - it is stuffy and hot and has not a single water feature - no pool, no hot tub, not even a steam room or sauna - but it does have, well, all the stuff you need to make muscles. I considered joining the sexy gym, of course, but it is almost 20 full miles from my home. I knew I'd never go. So I signed on with the old folks gym. Besides, I'm certain I have more in common with the old folks than the sexy folks, so it's working for me.

Having been a gym rat now for nearly six weeks, I'm kinda bummed that I've only dropped maybe five pounds (depending on what sort of scale voodoo I do and which of the gazillion times I step on the scale each week counts as my official weigh in). Still, I am thrilled to have rediscovered my quads and my pecs, and best of all, my abs. I'm working on making friends with my biceps, especially as it will improve my net throwing stamina, but so far they are still pretty puny. My triceps, on the other hand, are almost not even flabby - though they are still far from their former waitressing glory. Sure, waiting tables was tough on my back and I got blisters from hot plates and I always smelled like food, but, man, were my arms cute. I want them back, my waitress arms. In fact, I have even considered getting a car that lacks power steering (I had one for a few of my peak waitress years), but I drive so infrequently I don't think it would be worth the investment. Oh well.

Anyway, I am tempting fate to go to the gym at all today as today I am in charge of seals. Recently, though, I seem to only get to enjoy other people's sloppy seconds (like the super cutie pie yearling we shipped off yesterday - sorry, no pix until I really get down to business on the great seal story catch up episode). Since I was on call yesterday, there are no seconds to enjoy today, so I am feeling kinda safe. Besides, I am extra overjoyed by an email I just received about a hideously wounded sea lion I sort of attempted to rescue a couple weeks back. Seems he found his way to Santa Cruz where he was rescued by my counterparts at our sister satellite location in Monterey. Too bad he didn't actually survive another 24 hours, but I'm surprised, given his exposed skull and all, that he made it into rehab at all. I could post pictures of him, but I know my graphic photos aren't exactly popular with my reader(s).

Speaking of my reader(s), little miss Wendy celebrated her 37th birthday just this past Tuesday. Her mom posted a fabulous birthday tribute, which made me feel both better and worse for merely thinking good thoughts her way all day. Not sure what happened to my birthday blogs this year, but once I skipped one I decided to skip them all. Anyhow, sounds like Wendy enjoyed her day, which is all that matters...

Personally, I was just pleased to make it through a Labor Day weekend without having any cats go missing. Last year, of course, poor Blackers got himself runned over. And the year before, you'll recall, troublesome OC got himself abducted. I was so proud that I was able to control my paranoia enough not to lock the kitties in all weekend. Little did I know I was due another dose of kitty drama, just a few days later. It was Thursday when once again old OC did not show up for his dinner. I wasn't too worried until I realized he'd missed his 4 am feeding, and then his 7 am breakfast. It wasn't until Friday afternoon that I was able to take what I refer to as the "worry walk" - cruising his turf, calling his name. I was at the far end of his known territory when I finally heard him answer back - from the crawl space of a neighbor's house two blocks away. He was a little freaked out, a little embarrassed, and a lot hungry. For the past couple days he's hardly left my side. It's been nice.

While OC was out exploring on Thursday, I went for my first mammogram. It was just to get a baseline reading, so it was no big deal. In fact, I found the most painful part was removing the little metal stickers from my nipples (which they use as landmarks on the xrays). They sent me home with a flower (making it feel more like an awkward date) and all was well.

Until they called me yesterday. Apparently I failed my first mammogram. I have to go back in a couple weeks for a do over. Normally I am a big fan of the do over, and even as they told me not to worry, I wasn't worried. Sure, my best friend has had breast cancer which she got, hmmm, just a couple years older than I am now. And sure, there's now breast cancer on both sides of my gene pool. But I know mammograms are imperfect and big boobs might be the best part about being fat, but they aren't the easiest to xray. But when I suggested we postpone the follow up appointment by a couple more weeks (calculating my likely bloat factor), I was told I couldn't wait the extra couple weeks. Two weeks, apparently, is fine, but four, four weeks is a problem. So which is it, I wonder? Nothing to worry about? Or something that can't wait? Whichever it is, I guess there is no sense in fretting about it. Still, I find myself absent-mindedly poking around the suspected boob to see if I can find anything. All I feel is boob.

Besides, I've got bigger things to worry about than my boobs. Lately my husband has been getting very very close to buying a dumpy little beach cottage we totally can't afford. I've been as supportive as I can - assembling the paperwork, making the phone calls - while being about as passive-aggressive and bitchy as I've ever been. Buying a house would be a great idea if I weren't, oh, I don't know, planning to take on up to $200,000 in student loans starting next year. Buying a house would make perfect sense if I wasn't pulling him away from his great state job in less than twelve months. Buying a house would be fabulous, if we had an extra thousand dollars in the bank each month - the difference between the rent on our awesome rental and the mortgage on his beloved scary crank house. At least he's decided to go for a crappier loan - so he doesn't have to drain my retirement accounts (just his own) to come up with the down payment. Yeah, good times.

The thing is, I don't want to make him trade his dream for mine. It sucks that my taking of the LSAT just for kicks happened to coincide with the bursting of the housing bubble. So who knows? It might happen. But right now I'm "winning." After I assured him that if he took on this debt, I would enroll in the law school that offered me the best financial package even if it wasn't the best school I got in to, he put his plans on hold. Truthfully, I might choose the scholarship over the prestige either way. At my age, that's not the worst strategy. In fact, at any age, it's not a bad choice. And I don't want to get my way through blackmail. So we'll see. I can't believe I am actually considering talking him back in to something I have been so actively talking him out of... I feel like I am on Judge Judy and I am saying too much, and she looks at me and asks if it looks like she needs any help? And I am supposed to say "no" and then shut up and keep winning. But winning doesn't feel like winning when it's in a marriage. I'd much rather find a way for us to agree - as long as we agree with me.

I know. I'm horrible.