Friday, May 29, 2009

B.U.I. Alert

I'm sensing my time as a temporary invalid coming to an end. As this was the first time my back went completely on vacation, I've learned some very important lessons:

  1. Flannel jammie pants are right out. When you have little to no strength in your lower body, you may as well be wearing velcro on velcro sheets. It's not nearly as much fun as you might think. Satin sheets suddenly seem much less creepy.

  2. Clawfoot bathtubs, while lovely to look at, are absolutely useless in these sorts of situations. But you knew that already.

  3. A washcloth can only be expected do so much, especially when you can't bend over.

  4. Snickerdoodle Blondies are the food of the gods. Almost as good as Scotch, when you can't have Scotch.

  5. When you are stuck upstairs, every single thing you want and need is downstairs. Like, say, the rest of the Snickerdoodle Blondies.

  6. It's always 70 degrees and gorgeous when you're stuck upstairs.

  7. You should always make one last trip to the bathroom before popping your morning Percoset, especially if you're a cheap date like me. Getting this sequence of events correct is especially critical after your Significant Other goes to work and there's no one to pick you up if you miss the toilet.

  8. Snickerdoodle Blondies make great Percoset chasers.

  9. Percoset makes your pupils really, really small.

  10. Percoset also makes everything you write seem really, really funny.

I'm sure I'll remember this very special time fondly, especially the Snickerdoodle Blondies and Percoset, but I'm ready to get back to business. I may even get to attempt the stairs this evening after Mr. B gets home. And once I sober up, if I'm lucky, maybe this post will still seem at least half as entertaining as it does now.

Let this be a warning to you: Don't drug and blog, kids.

p.s. Check in later today for Fridays Rock! After my nap.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day Two

Hi! Welcome back for day two of What the fuck happened to my back?!? I'm still trapped in bed. I've learned that getting on the toilet is much, much easier than getting up off the toilet, and clawfoot bathtubs are not much use in terms of personal hygiene when you can't raise your feet more than an inch off the floor.

Other than that, it's just me and my muscle relaxants, which have greatly disappointed me. Sure, the pain has decreased, but there's nary a buzz to be had. What a gyp. Luckily, Raoul the Pool Boy -- Mr. B's alter ego -- is here to cater to my every whim. Sounds fun, but my whims have been pretty much limited to things that involve a trip downstairs.

Since I think we all need a laugh at this point (laughing is now authorized, BTW) I thought I'd share something cool that Evil Twin (I think) sent me a while back.

Prepare to be shocked and awed by the glory and power of the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt. Need proof? Read the comments. How could 800+ Amazon reviews be wrong? And be sure to watch the video review. It's very moving.

And be sure to tune in tomorrow, when something may or may not happen.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Talk about letdowns

So we extended the holiday weekend by a day and had a nice little get-away at the shore. Tuesday finally arrived and I was reluctant at best to rejoin the daily grind, but there were Things To Be Done, so we packed up our sandals and fleece (hey, it's the PNW) and drove home. My back was a little sore and wasn't liking the three hour drive home, but we got unpacked and dinner made and completed all necessary action items to get ready for the remainder of the work week.

By the time I got to bed that night I wasn't moving too well. Didn't sleep all that great either. Mr. B decided it would be prudent to telecommute today, in case I needed help getting out of bed in the morning.

Good thing, too.

The alarm went off and I made like I was going to get up. I promptly collapsed in a symphony of spasms, much to my chagrin. Mr. B dragged me back onto the bed which didn't do his back any favors at all.

Now I've had back spasms before, and my back has gone 'out' once or twice, but I've always been able to drag myself around until it loosened up. Apparently I wasn't getting off so easy this time. I also learned quickly that under such circumstances my back will tolerate NO JOCULARITY whatsoever. Giggles are tantamount to torture, and living with Mr. B, that is somewhat of an issue. He was immediately put under strict 'no humor' orders.

With the passage of some hours and liberal application of muscle relaxants and ibuprofen, I am now able to visit the bathroom almost at will. Although whomever nailed that foot-high threshold across the bathroom doorway should be shot.

There will be no going downstairs today, nor will there be any climbing into the clawfoot bathtub for a shower. If I am very careful, maybe I can make it to work tomorrow, although Mr. B looks at me funny when I say that.

All of a sudden, Mr. B's tale of the time he got trapped mid-spasm between the wall and his bed, bracing himself on either side, wracked with pain, unable to retreat or move forward, with a hard-won hotdog clenched between his teeth, isn't quite as funny as it was before.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Not bad for a white guy

The sun is out, it might break 70 degrees, I'm taking off for a long weekend, and I'm ready to Rock this Friday!

My radio station pulled this classic by Robert Palmer out of its hat this week and I knew immediately the universe meant it just for us. My station usually plays the three songs together in a nine-plus-minute orgy of Robert Palmer-y goodness, but the 'Tube did not provide the middle bit so here's one and three for you:

Then I found this one, all three songs plus the joy of watching someone experiencing flow. Especially the last three minutes or so.

Have I mentioned I'm a closeted drum freak? If I thought there was even the slightest chance I could learn to do this, I'd start lessons today. I think a drum kit would look great in the living room, don't you? Lucky for Mr. B, I don't think these almost-50-year-old muscles and reflexes are gonna go there. But I do have an impressionable nine year old at home, heh heh heh. Yes, I tried pushing percussion on Lovely Daughter. It didn't stick, but I've still got one more shot at making one of my kids fulfill this dream so I can live vicariously through him.

Isn't that what parenting is all about, really? ;)

Happy long weekend to everyone in the US! We're off to the beach to stare at the water for a few days. I'm more than ready.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wide-area excision 101

It's Arts and Crafts Time here at AIWJT!

Cut an approximately 2" circle out of paper, then place it on top of your head. Then imagine a surgeon cutting that much of your scalp out. It will be deep, too, at least 3/8" deep. All the way down to the muscle. There's a lot more meat on your head than you think!

This time Mr. B's going to have a skin graft, which should make it easier to deal with although rumor has it that his thigh will probably hurt worse than his head.

Last time we healed up the excision site the slow way. It took about three months, including a major setback at the one month point when they had to go back in and remove a 1/4" ring of the freshly-grown skin because of a 'rogue cell' in the pathology report. I got really good at cutting appropriately-sized circles out of hydrogel and dropping them into the abyss.

We don't have a date yet but I'm hoping for mid-June. I'm going to try to take a before pic (if he'll hold still) and an after pic (if he'll let me.) I was miffed last year that he wouldn't let me photograph the healing week by week.

Is that weird? Don't answer that.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Call to action

Today's the day things start happening.

This afternoon Mr B & I return to the LHRMI where we will learn how much they're going to cut off the top of his head this time. We will also learn whether they have any other special activities planned for us him.

We're going to get dinner out after and I'm guessing there may be Adult Beverages involved, possibly even one apiece! gasp!

Also, I made an appointment for an initial consult with the dyslexia-tester guy, three weeks from now. Pinning someone down and having an appointment set is a big relief.

Now all I have to do is find a renter for my house and finish up PT and everything will be perfect!

Everything will be perfect, right? Guys?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Oh, hi. Sorry, but my head fell off and I'm busy trying to get it screwed back on. In the meantime, here's Lovely Daughter to entertain you.

My Transient Life, ep. 2
Warning: Mature themes

I understand there's at least one more webisode to come - yay! There can never be enough Lovely Daughter screen time for me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

So much to look forward to

So a week ago Sunday, I noticed a Thing on the top of Mr. B's head, which is not as easy as it sounds as he has a good 9" on me. Fortunately, he was sitting down.
"How long has that been there?"

"I don't know, it just kind of showed up. Maybe a week ago?"

"I don't like it. Can you call the dermatologist tomorrow?"
I really didn't like it, not one little bit. As we are both of primarily northern European stock, we both have pale flesh covered with spots in a variety of shapes and colors, but I had never seen a Thing like this one. From the way it looked at me, I don't think the Thing liked me either.

So he called the dermatologist Monday morning, even though he was busy getting ready to leave for a week-long trip on Tuesday. They couldn't get him in that day so they booked him an appointment for the 21st.

So he calls me and I'm all, like, 'they couldn't get you in any sooner?' and he's all, like, 'no'.

So of course I email Evil Twin to whine about the Thing and that he couldn't get in for a week and a half and waah!

So she emails me back and basically slaps me upside the head. She's all, like, 'he's not canceling the trip? what do you mean he's not getting it looked at for ten days? WTF?' and I was all, like, 'duh!'

So that's when the light dawned: I bet he didn't tell the appointment clerk that he had melanoma a year ago.
"I'm really feeling twitchy about you not getting the Thing looked at for ten days. Did you tell them that you had melanoma?"

So he calls the dermatologist and a short while later there's a txt msg: 'Appointment at 1500.'

So he goes to the appointment and they take off the Thing to send to the lab, give him two stitches, and send him on his way. I asked if the temperature in the room dropped ten degrees when they saw it, like it does when docs see something they really don't like, but he said no, their guess was it was just a plain old seborrheic keratosis, which is harmless.

Well, OK. I have those, and they don't look like that. I'm uneasy, but hey, dermatologists see those things all the time. What do I know, anyway?

So the next morning he heads off for his trip. La-la-la-la...

We chat throughout the week. No big. Friday afternoon the phone rings.
"Hey, how are you?"

"Not good."
Whoa. All stop. In Mr. B-speak, that's the code word for 'OMFG! Something horrible has happened!

The dermatologist called. It was not a seborrheic keratosis. It was the M-word.


There are damned few times in my life I wish I was wrong (I hate being wrong) but this is one of them.

Here we go again.

Friday, May 15, 2009

It always comes back to the goats

As you've probably noticed, my week has been chock-full of seriousness. Big thoughts, big worries, big fears, big blah fucking blah. I've had it. I can't stands no more.

I want my funny back, and I want it NOW!

So instead of a Fridays Rock! I'm trying out a Fridays ROFLMAO! on y'all. And somehow, Diesel from Mattress Police knew what I would need before I even knew I needed it.

Scary, that.

Am I the only one who thinks this is abso-friggin'-lutely hys-fucking-terical? I mean, c'mon! Welcome to Facebook. All your goats are dead. It just don't get better'n than that.

I've been reading Diesel for awhile, and I usually enjoy his stuff. But you know what? I'm thinking I like the vlog format better. Maybe it's because I have that whole 'split-brain' thing going on, but I'm all about body language and subtle vocal nuances. I think watching and listening to him perform the piece made me laugh a hell of a lot more than if I had just read it. Not to question The Master's tactics or anything, but I hope he does a lot more vlogging.

You know, I feel a little better already. And you?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Circular logic

Since Dyslexia research is my current Shiny project and is therefore taking up approximately 85% of my available brain cycles, that's what you're getting today, whether you like it or not.

(Hey, you think it sucks? Imagine how Mr. B feels about now!)

The goal: Find a certified tester who can give Young Son the battery of tests needed and interpret them correctly to pinpoint exactly what's going on.

As common as dyslexia seems to be, such a tester is surprisingly hard to find in this area.

I was lucky enough to get Young Son an appointment at the Naval Hospital this morning. I'd had a couple of people tell me that the Naval Hospital has 'resources' for Dyslexia and was excited to learn what they were.

Well, according to the head of the Pediatrics Dept., the short answer is no. He wasn't even sure who to refer us to. While we were in his office, he called the premier developmental clinic out in town and was told they only test for disabilities up to age 3, after which they refer to the school system.

Shit. You already know what the school system told me. Back to Start, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, and lose a turn.

So I am to find a certified tester, then call the pediatrician and give him the contact info so he can put in a referral. I doubt Tricare (military health insurance) will pay, but with a referral at least they'll look at the claim.

I have phone calls in at a couple of places and should be able to pin someone down fairly soon, but I am really shocked at how difficult it is to plug in to resources.

Makes me wonder how parents who don't sit at a desk playing with Google all day and who aren't stubborn as hell and who can't afford to pay handle it?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I struggled over whether to write about this, but I figured that those of you who know me personally will learn about this eventually anyway, and those of you who don't know me, well, it's just a story about people you don't know. No big.

So anyway, Friday was the Mother's Day Tea in Young Son's class. The kids presented the moms with all of the stuff they had made, one being a little booklet with two photocopied 'coupons' at the end.

The last coupon said:

Mother's Day Coupon
This coupon is good for

For all you do for me!

Young Son had elaborately hand-colored the photocopied pattern around the border, and had printed, in more-or-less capital letters, "I WILL HLDE MACK MY NATE DOT", which, he said, read "I will help make my neti pot."

It's totally adorable. Upon closer inspection, I noticed he had written and erased it at least once. He really worked hard to get it just right for Mom!

Now take into consideration that Young Son is not five or six or seven. Young Son is almost ten years old.

Ten years old.

Even though he has lagged behind in reading, writing, and spelling since day one, he's funny and smart and clever and has an amazing imagination and has always managed to make just enough progress each year, somehow. It's come up a couple of times that there might be some sort of slight learning disability, but hey, he was making progress, and sometimes boys develop those skills more slowly, right? So let's wait and see.

Wait and see, year after year.

Well, somehow on Monday it all came together. I pulled out that coupon book and stared at it. I started researching online and reading about Dyslexia. And within ten minutes I knew in my heart that this is something we have to deal with. Now.

You know, it's amazing what you can not see if you don't want to see it.

So now what?

So far this week, I learned that the school system does not test for Dyslexia and does not offer special ed or tutoring for it. The best we can do is have him evaluated ourselves and, if he starts struggling in the fall (4th grade) we can bring in the results and call for a 'team meeting' to talk about accommodations and a 504 plan; things he can have to help him get through his work, like more time to do his work, verbal testing, etc. But any special tutoring he gets will have to be on our time (and our dime). I was really surprised to learn that, but that's OK really, because that means I can do the research and we can be sure we get it right.


I feel really, really bad (I mean really bad) that I didn't face this before now, but I am bound and determined to do everything I can to help Young Son learn what he needs to learn. I am very, very lucky that between the Ex and myself, we have the resources to pay for whatever needs paying for. I'm learning more every day about Dyslexia and what our options are, and I will be having him evaluated as soon as I find someone qualified to do so. Then we will choose a program and start working on those skills that did not come naturally to him.

But that adorable coupon that he worked so hard on will always remind me that I let my fear prevent me from doing what he needed me to do years ago.

And that sucks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Scourges of the PNW Profile #1


Left to its own devices, moss would consume everything around here. Some of the less-maintained roofs and structures are practically moss farms. At least moss is native, unlike most of our other scourges. But more on those later.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Perfunctory at best

Recently I had a new provider at PT and in less than five minutes I knew exactly who she was: Ms. Perfunctory. If I thought Mr. Adequate was all about 'just good enough', then Ms. Perfunctory was 'fuck all y'all'.

Think I'm being harsh? Not even. Before I had even kicked off my shoes and climbed up on the table, I had already learned she was in the process of separating from the military, aka punching out. She is what is known in the trade as a Short-timer.

She is also an over-sharer.

In the course of our very short time together, I learned she is 31 years old and has three children ages 3-7. I learned her ex was/is a controlling prick, and that she has a boyfriend. She has a degree in business administration, which she mentioned at least twice, but she is only an E-5.

Somehow that doesn't surprise me.

She has a half-brother 10 years her junior who is in the Army and asked her for money last week. I heard about her other siblings and their careers, including the half-sister 11 years her senior whom her dad and a previous wife had given up for adoption as an infant but reconnected with the dad 16 years later. Oh, in case you were wondering, her dad has been married three times, and her mom started having kids at age 16, popping out three by the time she was 22. Her mom is now 55. In case you were wondering.

Ms. Perfunctory considers herself a bad mom because she doesn't check her kids' backpacks every night* and because of that didn't learn about the Mother's Day Tea at her daughter's school in time to schedule time off. She is dreading the elementary school band concert she had to attend that evening**.

By the time she finished rushing me through my stretches and exercises, shoved me in the chair, and tossed an ice pack at me*** a scant 20 minutes after I walked in, I was exhausted from all of my sympathetic smiling and nodding. Because, you know, it would be rude to not.

I forgot to ask when she was separating, but I know it ain't soon enough. I already have another appointment scheduled with her in about ten days. Oh Jeebus, please let her have enough awareness to at least tell me new stuff next time.

* OK, I'm guilty of that too but at least I made the Mother's Day Tea.

** Yeah, guilty there too, but I've been going to kids' shows and concerts for over 20 years. I get partial dispensation for my bad attitude.

*** OK, slight exaggeration. There was no actual shoving or tossing.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Just for one day

David Bowie is gonna Rock this Friday Seventies-style. For, uh, Mother's Day. (?) Yeah, because, uh, well, because... mothers are heroes, right?

OK, I suck but the song rawks! Serving suggestion: Crank it!

I missed this one the first time around even though it was released in 1977, the year formally known as The Year I Graduated High School. But apparently I wasn't the only one -- it didn't even make the US charts. According to Wikipedia, "While not a huge hit at the time, the song has gone on to become one of Bowie's signature tunes and is well known today for its appearance in numerous advertisements."

Whatever. I love it. And, may I say? David Bowie is one fine looking man, then and now. And even in German!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Home Security System


This guy sits right next to our front door and hides the key we leave for the housecleaners, uh, repair people. But don't tell anyone, OK?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Three down...

My twelfth week of PT. Three months. Thirty-six appointments, more or less. Early on the physical therapist told me it could take three to six months to 'thaw' my frozen shoulder.

Well, I'm getting the sense it's going to be a little longer than three months.

Overall things are going well but my progress has slowed. I think I'm reaching one of those plateaus they warned me about in the beginning. How to you break a plateau? Why, more stretching = more pain, of course.

Good times.

But I can't complain. I can now reach up with my right arm to turn on the floor lamp in my office, even if I can't reach back to unhook my bra or fully shave my pit.

Why can't I shave my pit? Let's do a little demonstration: Hold your arm out ninety degrees to the side so it's parallel to the floor, and try to shave your pit. Oh yeah, you have to squint so that you can't really see what you're doing. Because -- have I mentioned? -- I'm legally blind without my glasses. Fun, huh? It's a wonder I haven't severed an artery or something.

I finally realized that part of the problem is the disposable razors I use. The blade is too wide and the handle too long to navigate that small space. But just yesterday I found a promising solution: Mini-razors! These cute little guys are maybe three inches long and the head is probably not even an inch and a half wide at the most. Perfect! Now if they just came with a lighted magnifying glass attached... OK, that may be too much to ask.

I haven't used them for their intended purpose but I can see where they might come in handy there as well. Although the word 'bikini' makes me snort. As if!

The Noxema folks probably won't find this post and send me a truckful, but if they do, I'd be OK with that.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The three Rs

Reduce, reuse, recycle, right? Isn't that what we're all supposed to be doing? Yeah, me too. I'm working on being a little more conscious of what I consume without getting all wacko about it, you know, like the folks using rags for toilet paper. I can't make myself even think about going there, but I feel I'm making progress in my own half-hearted way.

But today I found a site that may well hold the key to putting my conservation efforts over the top:

NetFlix Origami!

Photo from

Yes, finally, a use for those extra flaps from the Netflix mailers. Apparently the paper is perfectly suited for origami. Is that brilliant or what? They have several cool patterns, including a snack tray to hold your M&Ms while enjoying Napoleon Dynamite for the thirty-fourth time. Not that I would know what that was like or anything.

I threw out a pile in my last move but it won't take long to accumulate another stack. Geez, I'd better get that Battlestar Galactica disc finished up so I can send it back.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Le freak, c'est chic!

Last week I encountered this fun little quiz about brain lateralization*. Of course I had to take it because test-taking is one of my most valuable skills, or at least it was forty years ago. I thought the questions were weird and kind of lame, and I was frustrated because there weren't nearly enough 'none of the above' options.

My suspicions about its validity seemed to be confirmed by my results:
Your Brain Usage Profile:

Auditory : 50%
Visual : 50%
Left : 50%
Right : 50%
Ri-i-i-ight. How could that even be possible? Then I read the summary:
Liz, you are one of those rare individuals who are perfectly "balanced" in both your hemispheric tendencies and your sensory learning preferences. However, there is both good news and bad news.

A problem with hemispheric balance is that you will tend to feel more conflict than someone who has a clearly established dominance. At times the conflict will be between what you feel and what you think but will also involve how you attack problems and how you perceive information. Details which will seem important to the right hemisphere will be discounted by the left and vice versa, which can present a hindrance to learning efficiently.

In the same vein, you may have a problem with organization. You might organize your time and/or space only to feel the need to reorganize five to ten weeks later.

On the positive side**, you bring resources to problem-solving that others may not have. You can perceive the "big picture" and the essential details simultaneously and maintain the cognitive perspective required. You possess sufficient verbal skills to translate your intuition into a form which can be understood by others while still being able to access ideas and concepts which do not lend themselves to language.

Your balanced nature might lead you to second-guess yourself in artistic endeavors, losing some of the fluidity, spontaneity and creativity that otherwise would be yours.

With your balanced sensory styles, you process data alternately, at times visually and other times auditorially. This usage of separate memories may cause you to require more time to integrate information or re-access it. When presented with situations which force purely visual or purely auditory learning, increased anxiety is likely and your learning efficiency will decrease.

Your greatest benefit is that you can succeed in multiple fields due to the great plasticity and flexibility you possess.

Oh. My Gah. Talk about freakishly accurate! I'll admit, I was slightly weirded out, especially by the highlighted sections.

Welcome to the wondrous mass of conflicting impulses that is me.

Is it just me? Does it work for you? Give it a try, then leave a comment telling me what you get and how accurately you think it describes you.

And if anyone else comes up 50% across the board (without trying to on purpose!) let me know and I'll send you something goofy in the mail. I'm so hoping it's not just me....

* Yeah, I know. 'Brain lateralization' and 'fun' are two concepts that should never, ever go together.

** I should highlight this entire paragraph but the Protestant Ancestors wouldn't let me. Pricks.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Extraordinary machine

Kind of a different vibe for this edition of Fridays Rock! I suppose this week we aren't so much Rockin' as we are gently swaying back and forth with gentle grins on our faces.

Hope that's OK.

I was a huge fan of Fiona Apple's first two CDs and finally got this one for Christmas. It didn't immediately grab me like the others, but recently Young Son and I have been playing it in the car at random intervals and it's growing on me, especially the first few songs.

This one we particularly enjoy. Maybe because it brings up old musical theater memories from high school? Or maybe simply because I am, indeed, an extraordinary machine.