Monday, February 28, 2011

Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!

Yes I am showing my age with this post's title, but then, when do I not? When we aren't at the hospital with my mom (which to be honest is most of the time for me), my Dad and I are staying in a basement apartment across the street, a la Laverne and Shirley. The place must have been built in either the late 1950s or early 1960s - it still has the original pink tile stall shower, green bathroom counter, and many other decorative amenities of that era...quite the charming throwback!

Our apartment is on the right, next to the Subaru (standard issue for all Oregonians ;) )Every time I walk down the steps to the apartment, the theme song from Laverne and Shirley goes through my head!

So if you missed my update on Friday evening, my mom came through surgery just fine and is doing well...her surgeon said on Saturday night that she's ahead of the curve with her recovery already. I truly think the fact that she started off in great shape, with a healthy diet and regular exercise routine, has helped with this, and if there could be a better case for all of us to take good care of our bodies, well, I don't know what it would be. That said, let us not speak of the M&Ms ingested in the past few days. Life will return to normal soon, and I will undo any damage done by getting back to my regular diet and exercise routine. Or maybe I could start sometime today by climbing the stairs to her 7th floor room instead of taking the elevator. Hmmm...I'll let you know on Wednesday if I actually did that!

Just a few more pictures, as I am pretty short on content lately. Oh, and please go and check out Helen's blog today to see what she did that made me cry on Saturday.
Around 5:00 am Friday - dressed and ready to head over to the hospital. My mom was saying to my dad "do I really have to do this?"
Not exactly thrilled about what awaited her, but she was in pretty good spirits.
One last picture on Friday morning. Somehow we managed to dress alike even when we didn't plan it!
Saturday morning, 7:00 am. Yes, you read that right - less than 24 hours after major, major surgery, my mom was up and walking the halls of her floor! With her is nurse Karen, a really sweet woman who looked (and sounded) so much like Debby that it was both uncanny and comforting!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quick Update

My Mom's surgery went well - after 7.5 hours, she is minus a gallbladder, half a liver and several lymph nodes - and all the cancer that the doctor could see. She was given a spinal block during surgery for pain management, and is definitely feeling good at the moment...entertaining us with lots of loopy observations. Much relief is felt at the moment!

Thank you for all the lovely comments, emails and texts today - it really meant a lot to me. Our blogging community is the best!

Friday Mishmash

By the time most of you read this, we will have been up for several hours already - my mom had to be at the hospital at 5:30 am today for her scheduled surgery at 7:30 am. Think the good thoughts for her today, ok?

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OK, onto the mishmash.

On Wednesday night, my mom and I went to Lunafest. We really enjoyed it - if the festival happens to come to your town, buy a ticket and go see these short films. I think you will be glad you did. Also, it was quite nice to hear a room full of women laughing - beautiful sounds. Of course we had to wear matching outfits - it helped that while we were out shopping earlier in the week, we found brown jeans that we both fit into (and were on sale, naturally)...then we found a green t-shirt (again, on sale), and the outfits came together. We wore our matching lime green/turquoise earrings, and the pièce de résistance was my uber-fancy crocheted um, scarf? necktie? Invention...lol. I am in the process of teaching myself to crochet, and so far have only mastered the chain stitch (and master might be a stretch at this point, to be honest). So I made two long strings, and then we knotted them into our whatever that we wore.

Dork city, population two.
Graduates of the Barbizon School of Modeling, circa 1978 (not!).

We went out for a quick bite at a local restaurant before the show - split what was quite possibly the best burger I've ever tasted (we sat at the bar and got Sean, the bartender, to take our picture). Anyway, they grind their own sirloin for the burgers, and my gosh, was it GOOD!

We had Izze to drink - pomegranate for my mom and grapefruit for me - yum!

Then we walked a few blocks to the arts center and posed for yet another picture. Look at my mom - doesn't she look wonderful? Healthy? Vibrant? Still shocks me that she has cancer when she looks (and feels) so good.

Judy and Shelley, February 23, 2011

After Lunafest, we walked back through falling snow - big, fat, wet flakes! It was wild - I've never been in snow like that. My hair was not only wet, but really cold! Another new experience for me. We were headed back to the restaurant where we had dinner with dessert on our minds. One chocolate volcano cake with homemade vanilla ice cream and several cups of coffee later, we headed home. Such a fun night!

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While it's been warm, Spring-like weather back in Texas, winter is still happening in Oregon. I took this picture on Wednesday morning:
Sweet crocus peeking through the snow in my parent's backyard.

Also, the tiny pine tree looked like this:
Nicely dusted with snow - so pretty!

Then on Thursday morning, this is what I saw:
Poor little crocus is buried somewhere to the left of the tiny pine tree...now that's what I call SNOW!

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I wanted to give you a sneak preview of some future Fashion Fridays - we had fun shopping and I got quite a few new tops (and the brown jeans, and a pair of darker wash jeans as well), which will be great to wear once I get back to Texas and warmer weather. Or I could wait and wear them here in a few months!
And yes, there is also a new running vest (so I can be seen in the early morning hours when I run) and a new pink lightweight running jacket - and a pair of socks that might protect my ankle a bit better from my kicking action. Not nearly as cute as my Thorlos, but I'll give them a try. :) I may not be running at the moment, but soon...

Hope you all have a good weekend. :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Workout Update - Aw, Who am I Kidding?

Well, really. Who has TIME to workout when there is so much to DO?!? We have been busy here, taking care of important business like:

Pedicures...

and Prada...
Can you believe these sunglasses were ONLY $245? LOL. I managed to restrain myself from purchasing them. ;)

Pineapple...
Still enjoying the fruits of our labors (haha, so punny!)

and Pampering...
Decided to get my hair cut on Friday after watching my mom get hers cut - I am loving all the curls that popped out after my mom's hairdresser layered it!This side of my head has never been so curly - there is no product in my hair; I just hit it with the blow dryer for a few minutes (no diffuser, either).
Just call me curly-top! Thanks for springing for the haircut, Mom!

Combined with dual blogging...
We were working on a website to give updates on my mom for after her surgery. Had to write an intro, and as she wanted to set the tone fairly light, we were coming up with all kinds of funny things to write, which had us laughing our heads off!

And general hijinks!
There's always a troublemaker in the midst!

Ok, one person has been working out:
Now you see where I get my headband affinity from!


We have tickets for Lunafest tonight (a film festival by, for and about women) - stay tuned for Friday's post, which should include a picture of our matching Mother/Daughter outfits. What?!? You've met me! Would you expect any less? LOL. Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pineapple and Silliness

Fun times continue in Oregon! My mom learned a new way to slice up a whole pineapple when she was in Hawaii (after we left Maui and they went onto the big island), and for months now she has been telling me how easy it is. Since I am constantly buying cut up fresh pineapple, I not only wanted to see how she did it, but document it as well, as we all know my C.R.S.* strikes at will and I'm likely to forget a crucial step.

Pictures to start, and then a silly video at the end.

Step one - Cut the top and bottom off of the pineapple:
Notice how fast my mom was slicing - I had to put my camera onto "sport" mode to capture her speedy movements!

Step two - Slice the pineapple in half, and then slice those halves in half:
Step three - Slice the "core" off of each quarter:
Step four - Make horizontal slices across each quarter (about 3/4 of an inch thick), following the inside contour of the pineapple skin:
Step 5 - Carve under the slices and pop the pineapple out!
Step 6 - Enjoy!
Getting every last bit of juicy goodness!


And now, my mom's first attempt at a video using her camera, and my first (and last) attempt at pretending to be Julia Child. I have to give the television cooks mad props, as this is harder than they make it look!






*Can't Remember Sh*t

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Mishmash

Greetings from Oregon! My flight was long but uneventful (except for the part where the flight crew rushed the boarding and take off from San Jose to avoid getting stuck while Air Force One was flying in), my parents picked me up at the airport, and we've had a nice lunch and dinner out, as well as gotten in a little shopping already! On tap for today is a haircut for my mother, followed by pedicures for us both - ooh la la! Then, you guessed, it, more shopping. Hmmm, I'm beginning to see where I get that gene from, lol!

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Finally, I have an ankle update...and while I'm glad to have an answer, I'm not too happy about it. Along with the bone chips, the MRI shows that I have a contusion inside the bone, which the doctor also called a "bruised bone" - he said it's not a stress fracture, but rather a stress reaction caused, most likely, by the repetitive pounding of running (or constantly kicking of my ankle, lol). The good news is that the ligaments and tendons are all intact. The not-so-good news is that he predicts (who is he, Punxsutawney Phil?) another four to six weeks of no running (or jumping, were I so inclined to pick up a jump rope).

So in case you are keeping track, this means I am not running the Austin half, the GLOW run 5K, the Armadillo Dash half, or the Dallas Rock and Roll Half. I guess most of this running season was not meant to be. However, I do plan on making my 2011 racing debut as part of team Carpe Criem in the Blue Bell 10K relay fun run on April 9th. Who is team Carpe Criem? Me, Jeff, Kelly and her husband Chuck! How fun will this be??? Instead of a baton, we will hand off an ice cream scooper from teammate to teammate! And after the race? All the ice cream you can eat! It's like our own mini version of the Hood-to-Coast relay. So I have that to look forward to.

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Look what Jeff brought me for Valentines Day - a Starbucks gift card, packed into a cup full of coffee beans, and a bag of crack coconut M&Ms! I have the cup of beans on my desk and periodically pick it up and inhale the aroma...it smells so good! I wonder if they make coffee bean perfume?

How funny, I just realized that the coloring on the candy bag matches the coloring on the Starbucks cup - they were meant to go together!

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I will be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about doing a video, but I managed to film Paco and Ginger running around like maniacs and I made a little movie. Please also enjoy the lovely "dead of winter" look that my backyard has going on - normally it's a little nicer looking. Stick with it - the action really starts about 29 seconds in:

This happens every day - Ginger escapes from her backyard and comes into our to play with Paco. They chase each other for five or ten minutes, and then she goes back home. It never fails to make me laugh!

Hope you all have a great weekend - I'm planning on it! :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Workout Update

First, I want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the lovely, supportive comments on Monday's post. I appreciate you all more than you can know. And we will get through this - I'm hoping that in about six months from now we will look back and say "well, there was a blip, but everything is just fine." Order restored, and all that. :)

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On Friday, I participated in Lori's Healthy Heart Weekend challenge by riding the recumbent bike for 15 miles. What I wanna know, is, what kind of crack was I smoking when I pledged that number of miles?!? The most I had ever done on the bike was 11 miles in 45 minutes. Let me just tell you, 15 nearly killed me. Plus, I was trying to do it in an hour. It was rough. I deeply regretted publicly committing to that number. But, with the help of listening to a podcast by Adam Carolla, I finished.

Discovering that I could download *free* podcasts to my iTouch has been wonderful - what an excellent distraction from the boredom of the bike!
Sweaty and done!

This was the hardest I've worked, exercise-wise, since I was running. Coincidentally, it was also the best I've felt about myself after a workout, since I was running. Obviously I need to push myself more on the bike. Good to know, so thank you, Lori, for the challenge!

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Ankle update: My gosh, are you as sick of this as I am? I just want it to be fixed so I can move on! My ortho was perplexed that it was still hurting, especially considering I've been a good girl and rested and iced the heck out of it. He sent me for an MRI, which I had done yesterday - the results should come in sometime later today, so we will see if there is anything that the xrays couldn't pick up, and what the game plan is. I swear, if it turns out to be just more "rest" I may lose it. Not really, but you have to admit, this IS getting ridiculous. More later...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Turmoil

Life can change in an instant. We all know this, but when it happened to me, I was just as blindsided as the next person - thoughts of "what the HELL???" "this can't be happening" and the one-two punch of "this isn't fair" and "I'm not ready to even THINK about this, much less deal with it."

And no, I'm not talking about my ankle injury. Small potatoes, folks.

You see, about two weeks ago, we found out my mom has cancer. It came completely out of the blue - she isn't sick. She had just gone in for her yearly check up and mentioned an occasional stomach pain, and the doctor sent her for an ultrasound to check for gall stones. No big deal, right? Except that it turned out to be a very big deal. A spot was detected on her liver, a CT scan was done, and they biopsied the spot.

After that first numbing "it's positive" phone conversation with my mom, I wandered around the house aimlessly, in a daze. Finally I sat down and thought to myself "I should call someone" and you know who I went to call? My mom. Because that's who I would always call when I got shocking news like that. Except that this time, SHE was the shocking news.

Trying to move forward while we waited for the next doctor appointment, I did a load of laundry one morning and hung my workout clothes and several other shirts to dry - I use my shower stall as the drying rack. A little while after, I went to go take a shower so I grabbed all those clothes and hung them, temporarily, in my closet. Two days later I realized that I never moved them back to the shower area to finish air drying! Luckily I guess having the heater on so much in the house kept them from mildewing. I've loaded the dishwasher, put soap in it, and forgotten to start it. Written emails and hit discard instead of send by mistake - more than once. Same for text messages. My brain is not engaging correctly. This just does not compute.

Officially, my mom has gallbladder cancer that has spread to her liver and lymph nodes. Luckily, she has a bunch of doctors and specialists who are working with her and looking for the best options. She is scheduled to have surgery on February 25th, and while it will be a major procedure with an expected six-to-eight week recovery, she is very young, fit and healthy, which will be a huge benefit for getting through all of this.

I'm going to fly out to Oregon this Thursday. We will have a week before her surgery to shop, play and get into trouble mess around - and who knows, you might just see a dressing room fashion show soon! Then surgery, hospital time, and home to recuperate...my parents are planning on attending Sam's college graduation on May 14th, so we need to get this show on the road. Cancer can't get in the way of living life!
Live being lived in a major way - zip-lining in Maui, 11-1-10!

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By the way, if cancer could be cured by eating coconut M&Ms, well, let's just say that great inroads have been made recently. Logically, I know that stress eating candy won't help the situation. But this situation is not exactly logical. How can someone who isn't even sick; who barely has the tiniest bit of one symptom, have such a terrible disease? It does not make sense. And so I eat when it gets to be too much to think about. Some days are better than others with this - the last few have been M&M-free. But, it is what it is, and I'm just being honest here.

Amazing how small my ankle injury looks now, isn't it?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Mishmash - Ice, Ice Baby Edition

When we first moved to Texas, back in 1992, and got a "wintery weather event" every few years, it was fun. Everything shut down, we enjoyed our bonus days off from work and school, and then life went back to normal within a couple of days. We all laughed at how Texans can't handle driving in snow or ice, and how our cities aren't set up to deal with it beyond throwing down some sand/gravel/deicer mix on the freeway onramps and bridges. Haha, we are so southern and charming. Well guess what? It isn't charming anymore. For the last few years, we've gotten ice and snow and freezing rain and this whole "winter interruption" is just getting to be annoying. Artic air masses, I'm putting you on notice. This will not be tolerated anymore. Stop when you get to the Oklahoma border. Thank you in advance.

Wednesday turned out to be extremely cold (24 degrees with a wind chill of 10 degree...10, people!) and, thanks to a bit of rain and wintery mix, it was icy. So, since cars were sliding off the roads, I decided to reschedule my ortho appointment - hated to delay it, but I would have felt like a moron getting out in those conditions and wrecking the car. My new appointment is on Monday - hopefully I'll have some answers on my ankle by the next WWU.

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Comment Catch Up:

Regarding the huge cardinal in last Friday's post? I did not know that birds fluffed themselves up in the winter, but that makes sense, as it was really cold the day I took that picture. Thank you Lori and Kelly for the info. :)

And several of you wondered if we really do shut down with that little bit of snow. Yes. To be fair, though, there was ice and that is really what messes Texas up. Apparently winter weather has not heard of the "Don't Mess With Texas" slogan that we have going here.

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Don't forget that Lori's Healthy Heart Challenge starts today and goes through the weekend. I pledged to get in 15 miles on the recumbent bike - not my first choice, but it's all I've got for now.

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Speaking of working out, since I couldn't get out to the gym on Wednesday (ice, remember?), I made up my own routine at home. First I did crunches on the stability ball - I wish I had someone here to take a picture, because as soon as I laid back on it, Paco jumped up on my stomach. I think he's been watching too much Biggest Loser...plus he got it wrong - Jillian jumps on the contestant's backs, not their stomachs! Then I did 100 calf raises, and a bunch of upper body work with my 10 pound dumbbells, and finished it with another 100 calf raises. They burned, but in a good way. Of course, when I woke up Thursday morning I was slightly crippled - ouch! Felt like old times when I worked out with Brad and Linda! A little stretching and I was good to go.

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There was trouble in River City in my office the other day...Henry, meek, mild, hide-under-the-bed Henry, took over Paco's chair (and pillow!):
Paco is giving Henry the stinkeye - "Yer in my spot!"
Just so you know, Henry is not kissing Paco here...there was biting going on!
Ooh! Now Henry is giving Paco the stinkeye right back - "I not moving, buddy!"
An epic battle for the chair begins!
Henners did not back down...
But Paco did - "You can have chair today, Hen. Today only."
Henry: "Dis MY chair, dog!"
Not only did Paco back down, he backed AWAY from mean old Henry - "I fine right over here wif my bone."

Later on I noticed Paco still hadn't gone back to his favorite chair - in fact, he never did get in it the entire day!
"I just lay here in sun. Don't need no chair. Or pillow."

Hope you all have a good weekend!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Workout Update - Weird Weather Edition

Oh Texas, our Texas, what strange weather you bring. Just before midnight on Thursday, snow started falling - keep in mind that we are pretty far south (three hours south of Dallas, where they were hit hard by the snow), so we don't normally get "weather events" like this:

Love how you can see the snow falling with the flash!

Got my requisite snow pictures, then went to bed. Woke up Friday morning and sent Paco out to get the paper:

Hey! You guys coming or what?!?
Neither rain nor sleet nor snow will stop me from retrieving the paper!

Wasn't I just saying that I won't leave my house in sweats for fear of getting caught on camera? Dang those paparazzi!

I was wearing my purple puffy vest under that jackets - it's a good look, I know. ;) The only cute thing about this outfit was my pink Helen hat!

Anyway, we enjoyed staying inside and watching the snow all morning - it's the perfect amount for us...enough to have to stay home from work, but not too much to make us housebound for long.

By Saturday, it had pretty much melted away. The sun came out and it was warm! I was going to go to the gym, but copped a f-it attitude and went shopping instead. Hey, sometimes you just have to go with what you are feeling.

Sunday was positively warm. And sunny. And I felt like going for a bike ride - a REAL bike ride, not the one at the gym. So I dusted off Ipoholo, my pretty pink bike, got some air put in her tires thanks to Jeff and the air compressor in our garage, we leashed up Paco, and took off!

We even stopped by the horses to let Paco say hello - funny, he really didn't take much notice of them this time. Used to, he'd get his hackles up and growl. Maybe he's growing up!

After one loop around the neighborhood we dropped Paco back at home because he's not the easiest thing to ride with. Then we ambled up and down our streets, riding the route that we used to, back when I first started losing weight and exercising. Interesting thing...while it was fun, it was not hard at all. I didn't feel like I'd exerted myself, and that certainly was not the case a couple of years ago when I started bike riding! Guess I am in pretty decent shape, even with not running for ::sigh:: three weeks now. Still, it was a fun thing to do:
Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

I'm off to the ortho this afternoon for a recheck on my dang ankle. I ran a mile on the treadmill on Monday and it hurt like a mofo. Something ain't right, still. And Austin? Not going to happen this year. But in the grand scheme of life, there are a lot worse things going on, so this has become pretty small potatoes.