Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How does someone even DO that?

So today I took the bus to work and home.

I got up by myself and rushed around to get ready. Didn't even have time to kiss my sleeping sweethearts before zooming out the door. But I had breakfast and lunch packed, a book to read in case I got stuck on the bus in the afternoon, and was dressed with my walking shoes on.

It was only at about 10:30, while talking with two coworkers about a new piece of equipment that I said to my self, "Wow, these pants have deeper pockets than I remembered."

And then, "Hmm, they seem awfully far forward."

Followed a few nanoseconds later by, "Oh crap! My PANTS are on BACKWARDS! Quick, take your hands out of your pockets, keep talking and make sure your shirt is covering your pockets."

Yeah, that was me. At work nice and early, saved money by taking the bus and saving gas, and wearing my pants backwards.

By that time I figured, what the heck. So I just wore them that way all day.

And you know what? Those were some mighty nice pockets to have in the front. Very roomy and deep.

New fashion trend maybe?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

All Clear!

I had my mammogram and ultrasound this morning. Tom and I got up and ready early and I DID put on deodorant after my shower, which is apparently NOT what you're supposed to do. Aw well. (Note to anyone going to a mammogram before work, bring your deodorant with you so you can apply it after you're finished.)

We made it to the place right on time and didn't have to wait too long, probably 15 minutes or so. Then I had to go in alone. Poor Tom had to stay in the waiting room with a very busy 2 year old for almost an hour. But there was just no room in the dressing room where I spent most of my time. The ultrasound room would have accommodated them, but that was at the very end of the visit and so I didn't make a fuss about it.

What follows is my step by step experience. I figure it might come in handy if anyone is going in for one of these themselves.

They took me back to the dressing room that had two doors opposite each other with instructions to get nekkid from the waist up and put on this paper gown open to the front. Because I'd made the cardinal sin of Putting On Deodorant that morning, I was given a wet wipe to try to remove as much of it as possible. There was a chair in there, a huge full length mirror, and a magazine rack. I left my stuff on the chair and sat down to read a magazine. Oddly enough it had TONS of articles about cancer in it. Great fun reading.

I had come in through one door that led off of a hallway. The door opposite opened up into the mammogram room itself. After a few minutes of hearing someone else in there getting their squishings done they knocked to see if I was ready.

I went into the darkened mammo room and faced this machine. The nice lady (who seemed very young) said that I was old enough that they would be doing both breasts. (My paperwork had indicated they'd only be doing the left side where I felt the lump.) She said they'd be doing a lot more images than I'd get normally for two reasons, one was that I'd felt a lump, so they wanted to be really thorough. Two was because their large breast machine was broken, so they'd have to do my breasts in several sections. Great.

It actually wasn't as bad as I expected. It was a little weird to have someone else handling the girls, but after all not too strange after what I had to go thru with my pregnancy two years ago. First they put them on a flat table kind of thingy and squished them flat like a pancake, well actually not that flat. It really didn't hurt at all. The hard part was holding my breath so I'd stay still. Not easy to do as an asthmatic. I can hold my breath for a few seconds, but not long at all.

They did at least three shots of each breast this way, moving them around between shots to be sure to get the whole thing. Then they tilted the table and squished them more vertically. Not really all the way vertical, maybe at a 45 degree angle or so. That hurt a little because they had to squish them more to keep the boob from sliding right off the table since it was so tilted. Three shots of each breast for this position too.

That was it for the squishings though. Then I went back into the little dressing room to wait. I read more stuff, this time about Nancy Grace and her twins and about some women who lost lots of weight walking. Mostly I just skimmed and looked at photos though. And thought about getting a treadmill.

Then there was a knock on the first door that led to the hallway. They had the doctor to talk with me. At first I was nervous just because I would expect to be in a private room to hear the results, so maybe the results were so bad they couldn't wait for a room to open up. But no, he said everything looked perfectly clear and that we'd go do the ultrasound next. La. Well so far so good. I waited a while longer till they came to get me to go to the ultrasound room.

The ultrasound room was much bigger than the ones I'd been in at this place to check my ovaries. (Oh yes, did I mention I'd been to this same office several times before? I'd been in to have my ovaries checked here at least twice and to have all my joints x-rayed last fall when we were checking me for arthritis.) I was put up on the table and angled around. Then a LOT of ultrasound gel was gooped on me. We only were doing the left breast for this. Thankfully the gel was nice and warm at least. But she used a metric ton on me. I swear they used a lot more for this than they ever used for the ultrasounds when I was pregnant.

Lots of poking with the wand, then she went to get the doctor. He looked at the photos she took and compared them to the mammogram photos. Then he came in to watch her do the ultrasound live. I feel like they were very thorough and he said everything looked very clear and good. No cysts at all. I asked if a clogged duct would show on the ultrasound and he said it probably would.

So I was left to clean up with some of these paper towels and get dressed. Heck I used the whole darn gown in addition to the towels, that was a LOT of goop! Then when I came out they had a paper ready for me that stated I was all clear. The ultrasound tech was nice and said that with this clean starting point it was a good time to start doing those regular exams so I could be familiar with all the lumps and "gristle" in my own breasts and therefore be aware of any changes that might pop up later. I agree, and will be good about doing exams regularly! As funny as it sounds I actually liked her term "gristle" as the kind of stringy hard parts in there. I'm sure it has a much more scientific name, like fibrous bundles or something, but gristle is what it feels like to me too.

After that I was all done and went to collect Nicky and Tom. They'd been in the waiting room for an hour and were really ready to go. Tom was very relieved I think to hear it was all fine. He'd been saying he was sure it was nothing since the start of all this, but the confirmation of that I'm sure made him feel a lot better.

He tried talking me into taking off the whole day, but it was just about 9:30 and if I could just go straight to work I could work late to make up the time and not have to take sick time off. So we stopped at the store on the way home to buy me some lunch and deodorant. Tom stayed in the car while Nicky and I went into the store. We had a nice little run around in the store and I got some very nice Nicky-kisses from him. (He's getting to be a very good kisser, with a pucker and smack included!) I picked up a sandwich and the deodorant (I was running low at home anyway) and had them drop me off at work. I made it in by 10, so by having a working lunch and leaving at 6pm tonight I'll have made up the time missed this morning.

And with that, I've been declared ALL CLEAR!

What a relief.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wherein I ramble on and on about how much TV we're letting Nicky watch these days

Finally! I'm uploading some new movies and photos tonight. JM took some fabulous photos on Mother's Day weekend and she gave me the disks today. I also pulled several movies off the camera tonight to upload. That takes a while, so we'll see how many I can do before I have to hit the hay.

We have to get to bed at a decent time since we all have to wake up to take me to the mammogram and ultrasound tomorrow morning. I have felt the lump twice more since last week, so I just don't know if it's something that comes and goes (maybe a lymph node?) or maybe I just don't know what I'm feeling for. Hopefully it's nothing. I've managed to keep it out of my mind most of this week by staying nice and busy. I'm sure I'll be a mess tomorrow morning though. At least the appointment is in the morning before I go to work so that I'm not sitting at work worried and unable to focus. I should be able to update after the appointment. At the very least I'll twitter the results. You can see them in the right hand spot on the blog here if you don't follow me on Twitter.

What else is going on? Hmm, well Nicky is really starting to talk more lately. I swear it's due to him watching that movie. He loves this movie, Monsters Inc. He calls it "Boo" though, after the name of the little girl in it. I think he loves her, or at least identifies with her. Ever since watching it he's really started babbling and attempting to talk more. It's like he figured out that you don't have to say things absolutely right in order to talk. (The little girl babbles in the movie unintelligibly, but you can kind of understand her via body language and tone.)

It was also after first seeing this movie that he slept in the big bed for the first time. He's only done it successfully about twice so far though. We've tried a few more times, but he ends up coming out and getting put in his crib. As soon as we set up the den with the daybed and new desks we'll probably move the gate over to his doorway and really work on transitioning him to the big bed. Probably over this summer.

Anyway, he'd watch "Boo" all day if we'd let him, but we try to keep it down to once a day at the very most. He's even started saying some of the lines along with the movie. On Sunday we watched it with his Grandma and Grandpa after dinner and he was reciting along with one of the lines in there. So funny to hear! I have a little movie I'm uploading now that shows what he does at the beginning of the movie. The very first scene starts out scary and so he'll run out of the room when it's starting. Then he comes back when the scary part is over. He figured that out on his own after only watching it once.

We've tried a few other disney movies on him, but Boo is far and away his favorite. Some we've tried are:
Lion King
101 Dalmatians (live action version)
A Bug's Life
The Little Mermaid

I think that's about it. In the past we'd watched others while he was around, but he wasn't really into watching them back then. We have a lot more to try though. Tom and I collected Disney movies since back when we first met in 1993 and we have nearly all of the animated ones. We always hoped to have them for our children, even though we sure didn't think it would take 11 years to get there. Most of them are on VHS even since we started before DVD got so popular. Only a handful are in DVD format so far.

There is one more movie that Nicky will watch. He's rivited by this one. It's not even really a movie. More like animated music videos, but it's really incredible! We first saw this on PBS during one of the beg-a-thons (which to us is not a negative name-we love PBS!) It's called "Animusic" and you have to see it to believe it. The music is beautiful, but the animations are out of this world! Nana bought their second DVD and brought it over for us to see. Nicky will sit and watch the entire thing (8 long videos) hardly taking his eyes off the screen. We talk about the lights and music and stuff, but really I don't even know if he's listening to us. We tried watching Fantasia actually right after seeing Animusic for the first time, but he wasn't very impressed. As cool as Fantasia is, it can't hold a candle to the Animusic stuff. I hope you'll check them out. They have several videos available to view on their website.

Hopefully Nana will leave this DVD with us for a while. I hope to go back and buy their first DVD soon.

Alright, back to uploading movies. It's been a half hour and one is almost uploaded. This takes so long!

Friday, May 16, 2008

So the bus isn't perfect

I haven't been very frugal with gas this week. Actually Tom's driven me to and from work every day this week. I've still managed to get to work early every day, actually earlier than the bus would have gotten me there too, but I couldn't quite get ready in time to catch the bus.

But Thursday I actually tried to catch the bus home. Now to get home I pick up the bus that comes right in front of my office at about 4:50. In order to be sure to catch it I usually get to the bus stop at 4:30. Then that bus takes me to the downtown station where my bus home leaves at 5:03.

So Thursday I got out to the bus stop at 4:30 and waited. And waited. AND waited! Finally it was nearly five and there was just no way I was going to make my connection. We don't actually have real cellphones anymore, but luckily I had one of our "go phones" that we use when we travel and it had a minute or so on it. I called Tom to come pick me up.

While I was waiting for Tom, the bus finally came 5:08. My bus home had already left the station by that time. So if I had no choice and HAD to catch the bus home, I would have ended up waiting at the downtown station until 6pm to catch my bus. That would have been 45 minutes or more at that station.

So I'm not entirely sure how the bus thing is really going to work out. I can't catch the earlier bus because I can't leave work any earlier than 4:30. If I wait for the next bus (to minimize my time waiting for my connection) I'd not only be at work longer, I wouldn't get home till 6:30. That's an 11 hour day away from home.

Our compromise might be for me to take the bus in the morning (before the buses have a chance to fall behind on their schedules) and then have Tom pick me up in the afternoons. At least it would save half the gas we normally spend on my commute. We'll have to see. Next week I definitely need to take the bus to save gas though.

Who knew taking public transportation was so complex? Well, actually I suspected it, that was one of the things I was afraid of before I tried it out. But really, I can't imagine how hard it must be for folks who have to rely on public transportation for their only ride. It must be really stressful.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Found a lump

I found a lump in my left breast Monday morning.

I have an appointment with the Nurse Practitioner today at 4pm. I'm worried as it felt hard and I'd been having little stabbing pains in that area for months. Hopefully they'll order a mammogram. I'm "young" for one I guess, but my mother and both her sisters have had cysts (some benign, some cancerous or "precancerous" if I remember right) so I'd feel better getting checked.

Wish me luck! I'll try to update tonight.


Back from the appointment. The good (?) news is that they couldn't feel it. So hopefully it was something temporary (maybe a blocked duct?) but they're sending me for a mammogram and an ultrasound just in case. I'll feel better when those come back fine. I'll have to call for that appointment tomorrow and hopefully they'll fit me in soon.

Thanks for the well wishes!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Finally taking action

Ok, I think everyone is in agreement. Gas Prices are CRAZY! It cost us 60$ to fill the tank of the van. And even though the van gets markedly better gas mileage than the SUV, I can't spend 120$ a paycheck just to get to and from work.

So today I finally took the plunge. I'd been thinking about it for a long time, but I just couldn't avoid it any longer.

I took the bus to work.

And I'm so proud of myself! I know this is SO not a big deal to many folks. But I never lived in a city. My first city bus ride didn't happen at all till I was in college, and even then it was only on campus where the buses arrive every 10-15 minutes and so missing one is no big deal. City buses though, they're on 30-60 minute routes. If I miss a connection I have to wait up to an HOUR at a bus stop for the next one. And I don't have a cellphone to call Tom to come rescue me.

But I mapped out my route, and it went really smoothly this morning.

Really, the choice between riding the bus and driving to work should be a no-brainer for me. I mean it's FREE! It's not even "cost of gas v.s. cost of bus." It's "FREE vs. 120$ a month." (Oh I suppose we'll have to spend some money on gas still. Can't expect Tom and Nicky to always stay home.)

Anyway though, just for giggles let's look at my PROs and CONs list along with some random fears I had/have about riding the city buses.

On the PRO side:
As a university employee I can ride the buses for free just by showing my ID.
There is a bus stop within sight of my front door.
The bus arrives at my stop at 7:30am-ish and so I get to work EARLY and can then leave work EARLY!
Tom and Nicky don't have to get up and ready to leave with me in the morning.
Tom and Nicky don't make two trips to and from my work every day to drop me off and pick me up.
The bus drops me off within sight of the building I work in, and I only have to cross the road once (in the morning) and can easily do so at a light.

The CON side:
The bus arrives at my stop at 7:30am-ish in the morning! Usually I am not even awake by then.
I miss out on riding with Tom and Nicky in the morning, and being greeted by them in the afternoon.
There is one transfer I have to make and it's at the downtown bus station. While it's actually much nicer than I feared, although it is still a stone's throw from the street where the hookers walk.
If I miss my bus in the afternoon I'll have to wait an HOUR at the downtown bus station.

Random stupid fears I have had about taking the bus:
Getting hassled or mugged at the downtown station.
Being around crazy, drugged, or drunk people. (There seem to be a lot of these folks in my town, and some could be dangerous.)
Possibly sitting near someone really smelly. (You know it could happen.)
Getting lost or stranded somehow. Like getting on the wrong bus or something.
Getting in a traffic accident (hey, there are NO seatbelts in these things)

I'm happy to report that there was no one stinky on my buses this morning. Crazy? Possibly. Drunk or high? Most likely. Oh, and the two people at my bus stop this morning were talking about in their experiences within the system.

Let's see how this afternoon goes.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

He did it again

Nicky slept in the big bed again last night. We watched Monster's Inc. again last night and then he went right to sleep in the big bed and stayed there till about 7:30am. I'm amazed!

Now I just hope this "stimulus money" comes soon so we can buy a daybed for the den. Otherwise sleeping arrangements are going to start getting interesting.

Oh, AND we had another peepee in the potty last night! He does get an M&M for going in the potty, but mostly I think he just likes the praise and excitement.

So twice in one week for both the big bed and the potty. He's growing up so fast!

On a funny note though, this morning while I was having a quick breakfast, Nicky pulled his chair up to the table and climbed up. I gave him some raisins which he enjoyed, and then I gave him a "BIG raisin" (which was actually a dried, pitted prune). He took it and held it in his hand. He looked at it, then at me, and then the following exchange took place:

Nicky: "Poop?"

Me: "No, it's a big raisin! It's yummy!"

Nicky: "Poop."

Me: "It's yummy. Aren't you going to eat it?"

Nicky: "No. Poop!" And he gave it to me. So I ate it.

Me: "Yummy!"

Nicky: "Poop!"

(Ok, so I imagine Nicky's part of our conversations will be more interesting as he gets a little older.)

Here, let me distract you with a video of him running around in the yard: