Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Well, this has been a MUCH better week then the previous couple (thank GOD for that!). Here's the list:

  1. Dad seems to be making (slow) progress. One of his doctors even mentioned "getting him out of here".
  2. Our little weekend away could not have been timed better! Even though I wish it could have lasted longer, I so desperately needed that break.
  3. My girlfriend Kim, who can tell a story like nobody's business, and can ALWAYS find a way to make me laugh.
  4. The family history lesson I got last week from my eldest sister. It turned into about an hour long visit. We shared many laughs, and I learned LOTS about Dad and his family that I never knew, and never would have known without her sharing.
  5. The opportunity to get some lil man love from my 2.5 year old "nephew" when he, his Mom, his little sister and I met for lunch. Nothing quite like having a kiddo grin from ear to ear, and RUN to you the moment he sees you.

So there you go, my list. What have you got this week?

IComLeavWe - August

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You know you wanna get, and give, virtual hugs!
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Meet & greet some new people, have a little fun, get some pretty blog bling!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Harder than I thought

I'm working on a 101 things in 1,001 days post, and I just have to say, its a LOT harder than I thought it would be to come up with 101 goals that I can realistically (with a decent amount of work) accomplish in previously stated 1,001 days. I'm not sure if that speaks to my contentedness (is that even a word?) with life, or my boredom, or my complete and utter lack of creativity....

AFI 100 years, 100 movies

Similar to the book memes, this one is from the AFI top 100. Movies I've seen are crossed off, and I plan to see the rest! I'm also bolding the ones I have on my DVR, to help me keep track!

  1. Citizen Kane (1941)
  2. The Godfather (1972)
  3. Casablanca (1942)
  4. Raging Bull (1980)
  5. Singin' In The Rain (1952)
  6. Gone With the Wind (1939)
  7. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  8. Schindler's List (1993)
  9. Vertigo (1958)
  10. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  11. City Lights (1931)
  12. The Searchers (1956)
  13. Star Wars (1977)
  14. Psycho (1960)
  15. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  16. Sunset Blvd (1950)
  17. The Graduate (1967)
  18. The General (1927)
  19. On The Waterfront (1954)
  20. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
  21. Chinatown (1974)
  22. Some Like It Hot (1959)
  23. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
  24. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
  25. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
  26. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
  27. High Noon (1952)
  28. All About Eve (1950)
  29. Double Indemnity (1944)
  30. Apocalypse Now (1979)
  31. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
  32. The Godfather, Part II (1974)
  33. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
  34. Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs (1937)
  35. Annie Hall (1977)
  36. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  37. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
  39. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
  40. The Sound of Music (1965)
  41. King Kong (1933)
  42. Bonnie & Clyde (1967)
  43. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
  44. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  45. Shane (1953)
  46. It Happened One Night (1934)
  47. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  48. Rear Window (1954)
  49. Intolerance (1916)
  50. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  51. West Side Story (1961)
  52. Taxi Driver (1976)
  53. The Deer Hunter (1978)
  54. M*A*S*H (1970)
  55. North by Northwest (1959)
  56. Jaws (1975)
  57. Rocky (1976)
  58. The Gold Rush (1925)
  59. Nashville (1975)
  60. Duck Soup (1933)
  61. Sullivan's Travels (1941)
  62. American Graffiti (1973)
  63. Cabaret (1972)
  64. Network (1976)
  65. The African Queen (1951)
  66. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  67. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
  68. Unforgiven (1992)
  69. Tootsie (1982)
  70. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  71. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  72. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  73. Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (1969)
  74. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  75. In The Heat of The Night (1967)
  76. Forrest Gump (1994)
  77. All The President's Men (1976)
  78. Modern Times (1936)
  79. The Wild Bunch (1969)
  80. The Apartment (1960)
  81. Spartacus (1960)
  82. Sunrise (1927)
  83. Titanic (1997)
  84. Easy Rider (1969)
  85. A Night At The Opera (1935)
  86. Platoon (1986)
  87. 12 Angry Men (1957)
  88. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
  89. The Sixth Sense (1999)
  90. Swing Time (1936)
  91. Sophie's Choice (1982)
  92. Goodfellas (1990)
  93. The Frech Connection (1971)
  94. Pulp Fiction (1994)
  95. The Last Picture Show (1971)
  96. Do The Right Thing (1989)
  97. Blade Runner (1982)
  98. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
  99. Toy Story (1995)
  100. Ben-Hur (1959)

Woohoo! Looks like I've got a movie line up for hunting season!


ok, I've FINALLY gotten enough weird google searches to do a post on them. How these people find ME from these search terms, I have NO idea!

"Are dooce and beth still friends?"

  • Best I can figure, this one got to me because I also read Dooce. Must have tripped in my google reader feed over there on the sidebar. But to answer your question, umm... no?

"meijer juice idle"

  • I have no idea what you were even attempting to find with this one. Worse, I can't figure out how it got you to me. My sincere apologies.

"i was born on tuesday - does that mean that i am wednesday's child?"

  • Niobe had this same search term in her stats. Her post on the strangeness of it got some pretty interesting comments, if you care to take a look.

"eighteen weeks pregnant ivf blog"

  • I have absolutely no idea why Google sent you to me. I'm not now, nor have ever been 18 weeks pregnant. And I'm also not now, nor have ever been, undergoing ivf treatment. Clearly a waste of your time... shameful google!

many, MANY search terms related to lupron, so let me lump them all together here:

  • "ivf lupron depot and nursing", I'm sorry, but I can only speak to 1 of those 3 search terms. Perhaps you should keep looking.
  • "lupron depot blog", yeah, I suppose I can fall into this category. If you have any specific questions, please, ask them!
  • "real people who have had the lupron depot 11.25 only one shot", sorry, but I'm only on the 3.75 dose. Keep searching!
  • "lupron and panic attacks" and "lupron and panic disorder", yes, and yes. I will say that after the first couple of weeks (or maybe even once I started the estrogen add back?) the panic subsided considerably. Clearly, you're having some trouble with it, so I suggest you talk to your doctor. I'm sorry that you're having a tough time.
  • "does lupron depot make you infertile?", yes, but only while you're taking it.
  • "lupron depot hip pain", I'm sorry that your injection site is bothering you. I haven't experienced any problems like this, but I would recommend icing the site for a while to see if that helps. If you're still having pain the day after the injection, then I think you should talk to your doc.

Some recipes seem to pop up in the searches on a regular basis, so let me just link to them for you here:

And the "WTF Award" goes to: "eliminate pit stains"

  • bathe
  • and buy deodorant

Monday, July 28, 2008


... kind of.

We finally made it out of town on Saturday in the weeeeeee hours of the morning. (If it were up to me, 4am wouldn't even exist, unless that is when I'm falling into bed after a night out with friends. Unfortunately, that is when my alarm clock went off.)

Our intention was to get as loaded up as possible on Thursday, wrap up the loose ends Friday morning, and be on our way out of town by noon, FRIDAY. And, well, for a whole lot of reasons that really boil down to laziness and lack of motivation, that didn't happen.

BUT, we did have a really nice time with our friends. Good food, good conversation, plenty of testosterone laden activity to keep the Grumps happy, plenty of peace & quiet to mellow out my wound-too-tight mood, and well, everything's better with a cocktail or 2, right?

Things with Dad are about the same. The doctors put a chest tube in on Friday and drained approximately 2 liters (yes, I did just type 2 LITERS) of fluid off his lungs. Instantly, he felt better. He still has that tube, and today they were adding a tube to drain more infected fluid from his liver (this is his 2nd of this variety of tubing). He's responding well to the meds, and seems to be improving on all of his original complaints.

Now, we just need to get him to EAT REAL FOOD. And I'm sorry, but 5 spoons of mashed potatoes, 3 spoons of jello, and a sip of Carnation protein shake is NOT a meal. Because of his refusal to eat, he's back on the IV nutrition, which isn't helping to build him up at all. He's also developing some bed sores on his arm from his refusal to get out of bed, or have his position changed as often as the nursing staff would like. I can only imagine how badly his poor bottom must look after sitting on it pretty consistently for the last 22 days.

BUT, he knows that he needs to follow doctors' and nurses' orders. If he is choosing not to do that, I can't do it for him. And if he continues to make such ridiculous choices... well, he just may end up choosing not to leave the hospital. And then... THEN... I may just choose to kick his ass.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Holy Krap I Have a Lot To Do!

But, of course, instead of DOING any of it, I'm blogging about it. Productive, huh?

In the next 20 or so hours, I have to:

  • Finish a client project
  • Take care of some other work stuff
  • Visit Dad
  • Convince Dad to sign off on the patient advocate designation (argh!)
  • Prep a grocery list
  • vacuum
  • do laundry
  • pack to go out of town this weekend (Dad is still in the hospital, and we'll be for another week at least, so I'm taking the opportunity to GO AWAY)
  • get the dog & cat ready to go away this weekend
  • grocery shop for above mentioned list (of things to take this weekend)
  • finish up my IComLeavWe commitment for the week (17 comments to go)

Oh, and Sleep!


BUT, It's ok! Cuz I get to get the HELL OUTTA TOWN for a weekend! WAHOOOOOO!

Thankful Thursday

My apologies for not doing this last week. It's been rough, and I was having a really hard time finding any silver linings, let alone 5 of them. But, let's give it a try this week:

  1. I am thankful that my sisters and I seem to be reestablishing an adult relationship. It's tough, what with the "half-sister" biology, and the age difference, and all of the other nonsense between us. But we're definitely working together - pretty well, too - to help Dad.
  2. I am thankful for the distraction of having lunch with a friend today. (Mmmmmmmmmm Mexican!)
  3. I am thankful that it's IComLeavWe, since I can ALWAYS take a little mental vacation & read some new blogs.
  4. I am thankful for the prospect of having the house to myself for a weekend.
  5. I am thankful for Grumps, as he's been more understanding and supportive - and yet "out of my way" - than I ever thought anyone could be... Hell, more than I could be.

So there ya go. If I can get to 5, you certainly can! Tell me tell me TELL ME!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


When we were waiting for the ER docs to finish their paperwork and get him transferred up to the CCU (over 2 loooooooooooooooooooooong weeks ago now), Dad had 1 "request" (translation: demand). And I'm about to break it.

Don't I feel like a shit.

He looked up at me from that stupid hospital transport bed, and said "I'm not going to a fucking nursing home. My mother died in one, and my brother, and my sister. I won't do it. I'll step in front of a bus before I'll let that happen."

I calmed him down by telling him that all we were worried about right now was getting him admitted and into a room, so that the doctors could figure out what was going on, and get him on the mend.

Monday, a nurse approached my sisters and asked if we had looked into nursing homes. She thinks that it's time we do.

So here I sit, pretending to work, with a list of about 30 homes sitting in front of me. Some have been knocked because of location, others because I know too well their reputation. Those that remain are likely out of the question because of the expense.

I'm preparing to put my father in a home. And it FUCKING SUCKS.

This isn't something that's going to happen today, or tomorrow even. But it's coming. The social worker my sister spoke with seems fairly comfortable that it will be a temporary stay - a place for him to go when he's too well to be in the hospital, but too weak to be home on his own.

I don't know that we have any other options. If he needs round the clock care, there isn't any way that the 3 of us girls could make it happen without someone having to quit their job. Dad wouldn't be comfortable (nor would we) with any of us having to help him with his personal hygiene. Aides are expensive as all get out, and Dad has no money.

Grumps and I would be willing to have him stay with us for a while, but it has to be a "transition to home" situation. I can't have my Dad come to my house to die.

And yet, I don't want to send him to a nursing home, either.

I'm telling you, if he could get out of that bed, he'd walk his skinny little ass outside and step in front of a bus. And somehow, that would be a more fitting end for him.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Flickr Meme

Thanks Jendeis, for another idea!

How to do this your very own self:
  • Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
  • Using only the first page, pick an image.
  • Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into the mosaic maker. Choose 3 columns with 4 rows.
The Questions:

  1. What is your first name?
  2. What is your favorite food?
  3. What high school did you go to?
  4. What is your favorite color?
  5. Who is your celebrity crush?
  6. Favorite drink?
  7. Dream vacation?
  8. Favorite dessert?
  9. What you want to be when you grow up?
  10. What do you love most in life?
  11. One word that describes you?
  12. Your favorite animal?


  1. Beth
  2. Steak
  3. EDHS
  4. purple
  5. Chris Meloni
  6. Mike's Hard Lemonade
  7. Smoky Mountains
  8. brownies
  9. Mom with Kids
  10. Couple + Nature
  11. nervous
  12. Golden Retriever Puppy

Monday, July 21, 2008

another announcement? really?

I have this group of friends - incredible women, every last one of them - that I met online about 4 years ago. We all got to talking on a trying to conceive message board, and bonded so intensely that we took the conversations off board and on to Yahoo. I consider many of these women to be some of my closest friends, and have spent time with several of them face-to-face.

When the group started, there were about 20 of us. Some (like me) are 5 day a week chatters, others float in and out as their day/week/month allows. Some have grown away from the group, either thru life changes, thru disputes, or simply because friendships have a tendency to fade.

Most of the group has been successful in their TTC journeys, and several have even had 2 kids since we all met. There are only 3 of us that remain childfree (all for varying reasons). Most of the girls that have news (of the pregnancy variety) to share with the group, have been INCREDIBLY considerate of those of us that still go without, telling us privately, and before making the announcement to the group.

One of the girls, however, has not been so kind.

This one, she's moved away from the group (through no fault of hers, or any of the other girls). Life has simply taken her to other places. She's been blessed with a daughter, and like many parents of our generation, has set up a website to keep friends and family up to date on her pregnancy and her little girl's adventures. We all get emails when there is new info on the site, and many of us continue to follow her story this way.

Early last week, we all got an email from her. The distribution list had to have close to 100 email addresses on it. The subject of the email was "BIG UPDATE ON THE WEBSITE!", and the body included a link. You all know what it linked to, so I probably don't even have to say it - but, yes, she's pregnant again.

Now, let me first say that I honestly am happy for her & her growing family.... really.

But I haven't talked to this woman in at least a year (nor have any of the other girls in our group). She has no idea what is going on in my life, or in anybody else's. I'm not proud to say that not only did this email hit poorly with me, but I took it upon myself to tell her that. I recognize that it wasn't my best moment, but I don't think I was too far out of line, either.

I'm going to copy & paste the email exchange below. Please, take a moment to read it, and let me know what your take is.

Congrats on the upcoming arrival of #2. I hope the pregnancy goes smoothly,
and you & [your husband] can welcome in a healthy sibling for [your daughter].

I have to ask though, since I'm still working on #1 (not that you'd know that), and am still not having an easy time of it (not that you give a shit, clearly), would you mind removing me from your distribution list? I don't really want to be force fed other people's good news, especially when they're only interested in a drive-by friendship.


(By the way, if I sound bitter, it's because I am. Good for you that your life has changed in ways that have allowed you to forget the pain of TTC. I hope to get there myself someday, and can only hope that if something I do bothers someone I know that is still in the trenches, they'll have the good sense to tell me to knock it off, too.)

Again, I recognize that this is NOT by best moment. And truly, it's not that she's pregnant that bothers me. It's the arrogance that everyone on the email distribution is going to be just as excited as they are to hear the news. Here's her reply:

I am more than happy to remove you off all further updates. I am sorry that you are still struggling with ttc, though I have not and will never forget my struggles. I apologize for upsetting you.

My life has changed in many ways, including my growing family and changes at work, however I do not feel that I am a drive by friend. I have had a lot going on as well and do my best to remain in contact through emails and websites. I do care about what happens to all of you, but do not want to be punished for not "chatting" with you guys anymore. Honestly, I don't feel that is fair to equate that with not caring.

That being said, I will remove you from my list and will continue to keep you in my thoughts. I really hope that it all works out for you.

A nice reply, I know - and it made me feel even more shitty for being such a bitch in my first email. But, I still don't think she gets it. And that bothers me... So, I take it upon myself to reply to her:

In no way did I intend to "punish" you for not chatting. I get very much that life changes, and so do friendships. If emailing and websites allows you to feel in touch with people, then by all means, keep it up. I do the same with many of my friends.

But, let me ask you this. How exactly would you expect me to send out a mass mailing? "Guess what guys, I have to have another surgery!" or perhaps "Hey, Grumpy and I are separating! Could ya say a prayer for my sanity?" or maybe "We're trying ANOTHER med, and have no idea if it'll work, but it's worth a shot, right?"

My point is that good things are easy to share in that kind of format. Bad things... not so much. And when you're in the midst of some of those bad things, it's really REALLY hard to hear about someone else's good. Especially when you only ever hear about their good. And that good... it just happens to be the polar opposite of your own bad.

For what it's worth, I did have to have another surgery. And Grumpy & I did separate for a while, but have worked things out. And just like you, a million and 1 other things have changed in my life, some good, and some not as good. But people that I maintain connections with, in whatever format works best for that friendship, know all about it. I would no sooner send out a mass mailing about my surgery as I would pop on to the WebMD TTC boards to announce a pregnancy (should I ever get there) to women I haven't spoken to in years.

Remembering your own struggles means that you must remember how hard it is
to hear pregnancy announcements. And not because you don't want the announcing
person to grow their family, or to get what they want. But, simply because you want it so badly for yourself that you ache for it. Imagine that feeling you felt, that little twinge of jealousy with the pangs of your own sorrow... and then think what it would feel like to be over 4 years into it, with no chance of success in sight, after watching almost all of your contemporaries move on without you.

For what it's worth, I genuinely do wish you & your family only good things. I knew that you & [your husband] wanted more kids, and I'm thrilled that your family is growing. But, as someone still struggling, I need to not open those surprise emails. I need to not hear about those growing families unless I'm in a space that I can handle it. I don't expect you to understand... in fact, I pray that you never have to. But, some forethought, and a little compassion, is much appreciated.

I haven't heard back from her - and I really don't expect to. I do know that she contacted at least one of the other childless girls of the group, asking if her emails were upsetting. Maybe I did get thru, after all.

So - my apologies for the length of this post... I know it's insane (especially for me). But, if you've read this far, how about weighing in with your opinion of how the conversation went down. I recognize that I wasn't as diplomatic as I would have liked. But, I'm not sure that I'd do anything differently, either.

How would you have handled it?

Friday, July 18, 2008

New Classics Book Challenge

I have this mental list of books that I want to read, except that I can rarely remember them when I'm at the library. Thus, Jenedeis's post today was perfect!

Lost In A Good Story is hosting a New Classics Challenge, based on a list of the 100 best reads published from 1983 to 2008, according to Entertainment Weekly. Because I don't have the time to put into Joanna 's challenge, I think I'm going to bend the rules a bit. BUT, I'm not going to sign up for the challenge, either, so can that really be bending the rules?

---Moral dilemma for another time, Beth. Stay on topic!---

So anyway, here's the list. Items I've already read are going in bold. Those I want to read will be purple. (And, because I'm an idiot like that, I'm going to italicize the ones for which I've seen the movie version... pop culture at it's finest, folks!)

  1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
  3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
  4. The Liars' Club, Mary Karr (1995)
  5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
  6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
  7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
  8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
  9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
  10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
  11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
  12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
  13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
  14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)
  15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
  16. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
  17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
  18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
  19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
  20. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
  21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)
  22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
  23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)
  24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985)
  25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)
  26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
  27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
  28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
  29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)
  30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
  31. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien (1990)
  32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)
  33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)
  34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
  35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
  36. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
  37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)
  38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
  39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
  40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)
  41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
  42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)
  43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)
  44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)
  45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
  46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996)
  47. World's Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985)
  48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
  49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
  50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)
  51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)
  52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992)
  53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
  54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)
  55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
  56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)
  57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)
  58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)
  59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
  60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
  61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
  62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994)
  63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)
  64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
  65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
  66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)
  67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
  68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)
  69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
  70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
  71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
  72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
  73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)
  74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
  75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)
  76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (1998)
  77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
  78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
  79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
  80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
  81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
  82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
  83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
  84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)
  85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
  86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)
  87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
  88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
  89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999)
  90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001)
  91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)
  92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)
  93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
  94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
  95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)
  96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
  97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
  98. The Predators' Ball, Connie Bruck (1988)
  99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
  100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Daddy's ring

My parents separated when I was 15. The marriage itself was a controversial one for many reasons, not the least of which was the 27 year age gap between the 45 year old groom and 18 year old bride.

As an only child, living in a house with 2 very unhappy adults, I had seen the writing on the wall years before Dad moved out. In our close knit extended family, having Dad stop attending functions at my grandparents house was not only a bit uncomfortable, but it was a definitive sign of things to come.

By the time my parents separated, they had been together for almost 20 years. By the time they divorced, it was almost a 35 year "marriage".

Dad is nothing if not a creature of habit. His neighbors can "set their watches" (by their own admission) based on when he goes to breakfast, or when he moves his car out of the afternoon sun and into the shade of the giant evergreen in the complex common area. In my almost 30 years, there are 2 things that I have never, EVER seen Dad without.... His teeth (he had his teeth pulled @ 19 to stop some infection or illness, and has had full upper & lower denture plates since then), and his wedding band.

Last night, after some pulling and twisting, and with the help of a kind nurse's aid and a few dabs of vaseline, we got the ring off of his swollen finger. Now, I wear it on my right hand. Somehow, it manages to feel both completely foreign, and absolutely natural.

He told me that he wanted me to have it. He has 2 other daughters from his first marriage, but - in his own words - that ring has no ties to them. It belongs to me.

Is it just for safe-keeping? Or is this the start of Dad saying his good-byes?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WFMW - Date Night, the Frugal Way

We swear by date nights. The Grumps & I both recognize the importance of designating time that is ours, and ours alone. As tough as it is to do in today's hectic life - balancing 2 full time jobs, a side business, house chores, family obligations, friends, and finances - we've managed to schedule, and pretty well keep to, 2 date nights a month.

Sometimes, date nights involve big things - a fancy dinner out, drinks & dancing at our favorite bar, a concert, etc. But MOST times, we keep it low key, and low cost. Some of our favorite, and most frugal, date nights have been:

  • fishing at the local pier (we already have all the gear, and bait is REALLY cheap)
  • cooking together and eating on our patio, with the phones turned OFF
  • watching a movie from netflix, or catching up on some of our favorite shows on the DVR
  • grabbing a $5 pizza & eating it on the patio while chatting about our plans, dreams, etc
  • pouring a couple of cocktails and spending an evening in front of a bonfire

That's what Works For Us. Head on over to Rocks in My Dryer for more Works For Me Wednesday ideas.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

hanging on for the ride

Dad's still in the hospital, and will be for the immediate future (best case scenario, end of this week). Latest developments include:

  • Finding out (this morning) that the infection was so bad when they brought him in last Monday he was classified as septic. I'm not sure if that's still the classification, but I do know that he is still on antibiotics to fight the infection.
  • His CA19-9 is elevated, indicating the possibility of cancer (pancreatic or colon are the most likely), but it could also be caused by the infection.
  • His liver is not functioning, and he's received at least one fresh frozen plasma transfusion, as well as Vitamin K. These are to help supplement the functions that his liver would normally be providing.
  • The next test is to be a liver biopsy, to see if the lesions they found during the CT scan are from the infection, or if they're cancer. This test can't be performed until his blood levels (specifically the ability to clot) have improved to safe levels.
  • The doctor is confident that he does not have liver cancer, so if they find cancer in the liver, it's spread from somewhere else.
  • Despite all this, he's been moved out of the critical care step-down unit and into a regular medical unit. I suppose that is a good thing, but I don't really know.

None of us 3 girls have medical power of attorney, so NONE OF US have any ability to make decisions for Dad. And he doesn't want to do anything except go home and sit in his recliner. I don't know what this means as far as his treatment goes, but so far he's agreed (altho not happily) to all of the tests his doctor has wanted. If there is ANYTHING to be learned from this, it is to make sure that you either have your medical wishes documented, or you have the legal paperwork in place to allow someone else to make the decisions for you... ideally, you want both.

Please, learn from my mistake here. My father is not a young man. At 79 years old, and a 2 pack a day smoker for over 65 years, none of this is coming as a surprise. Unfortunate and stressful? Abso-fucking-lutely. But not a surprise. I've been meaning to have a conversation with him about making sure I (or one of my sisters) know what he wants, and that someone has the ability to carry out those wishes for him. Unfortunately, I was too much of a chicken shit to open that dialogue. So now, we wait, and we hope, and we thank God that his doctors have been kind enough to keep us as in the loop as we are.

PS: He did have the foresight to tell me, in the ER on Monday, that he is NOT going to a nursing home. What that means for his eventual (hopefully) release from the hospital... I have no idea.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - Week of July 14

Here I go again, trying to be more organized. Yes, you are allowed to laugh at that... Lord knows that I am.

Here's what I'm *planning* for this week, assuming nothing outrageous happens with Dad.

Monday: Chicken Tucson (have a portion in the freezer) and Corn Souffle (will make fresh)
Tuesday: Cheesy Tuna & Rice Muffinlettes (this is a "new to us" recipe, so we'll have to see how it goes) and frozen veggies
Wednesday: Chili (have a portion in the freezer)
Thursday: Burgers & Oven Fries
Friday: Berstler Special
Saturday: we are attending a wedding, so no need to cook
Sunday: will either have dinner with Grumpy's parents, or will go out

All in all, not too bad... at least I don't think so. Some of the menu is coming out of the freezer, so there isn't a whole lot of real cooking to do.

Lunches will be leftovers (I know that there will be some on Monday & Tuesday, for sure) or frozen veggies (because I have a freezer full), and breakfasts will be toast & fruit.

I'll post next week & let you know how I did with it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The "I'm Unscholarly" Book Meme

This will prove that I truly read for entertainment's sake.... and that I'm pretty easily entertained! I found the meme on Jendeis blog and figured I'd give it a whirl...

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.


-Look at the list and bold those you have read.
-Italicize those you intend to read.
-Underline the books you LOVE or if you can't put a note at the end. (Blogger doesn't have underlining, so I'm bolding & italicizing these.)
-And, just for fun, change the font color of those you have seen the movie version.
-Reprint this list in your blog so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. A Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Hmm, not as bad as I thought. I've actually read 16 of them! How 'bout you? If you do the meme, please comment back with a link to your post, so I can go see just how much more literary you are than me.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thankful Thursday

tough week, but I said before that I was going to make this a weekly feature, so here we go...

This week I am thankful:

  1. that Dad has been moved to the Critical Care step-down unit.
  2. that Grumps made the choice to stay home with me this weekend, instead of taking his Mom out of town for the annual trip to the Iowa family reunion.
  3. that my half-sister and I, who have never seen eye to eye on anything, are working well together to get Dad thru this.
  4. that Dad's neighbors are so concerned about him, and especially that one of them even volunteered to keep a closer eye on him when/if he gets back to his apartment.
  5. for all the prayer support I'm getting right now. I can't even tell you all how much it means to me.

Your turn!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Dad is still in the hospital. They've decided the abdominal pain was caused by severe dehydration. He's got some kind of infection going on, possibly in his urinary tract, and they found some spots on his liver. He's been in the Critical Care Unit since Monday night, but are hoping to move him to the step-down unit today.

After being incredibly low (60s/40s), they've gotten his blood pressure to a place they are more happy with. The docs are confident that the low pressure was also because of the dehydration, as it's normalized after about 24 hours on IV fluids.

His heart rate is still giving them the most trouble. He says he's always had an "irregular heartbeat", but Dad's never been a fan of doctors, so we don't have a real history on said irregularity. Those fancy hospital monitors REALLY don't like it tho (about every 5-10 minutes it will start beeping and flashing a red "VTACH" warning), and the cardiologists don't like it either. They seem to be close to deciding that it's just the way his heart works. Once that is decided (with a round of bloodwork they drew this morning), they'll release him to the new unit.

His spirits are good, but he's antsy as hell to go home. He wants a cup of coffee, and a cigarette, and a glass of cool water - in the WORST way. Because of the abdominal pain they've not let him have anything to eat or drink since he's been there, but have started him on ice chips this morning. Convincing him that ice chips will lead to water which will eventually lead to food hasn't been easy. Nor has reminding him that he's going to be in the hospital for a few days (he wants to go home NOW, so that he can "get better").

Once they have him more stabilized, they're going to take a closer look at the liver. They're not sure if the spots are simple the kind of thing you'd see on an almost 80 year old liver, or if they could be cancer. For now tho, getting his strength up is the priority. We'll deal with what comes next - well.... next.

In other news: My follow up with Dr. N went well, and pretty much as expected. Lupron & estrogen are doing their thing, so I'll be on them for the full 6 shot regimen. After that, we'll be released to TTC "naturally" for a few months. If I'm not pregnant by "Jan - Mar timeframe", he's willing to give Clomid a try for 4-6 months, and then it'll be off to the RE. My next appt with him is on Sept 8.

Sorry for the factual approach to the update. I have some things I actually need to get done at the office, and then I have some running to take care of for Dad. I'll likely be spotty over the next few days, but will update the blog when I have news to share. Thanks all for the prayer support. It means the world to me!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Prayer Request

Just got a call that my older half sister took our Dad to the hospital. He's having trouble breathing, and has significant pain in his abdomen. They still have him in ER, and will be running tests to see what's up.

Please say a prayer for him. Will update when I can.


Long Weekend Recap

Grumps & I had a fairly busy, yet pretty quiet, weekend. Lots of sidework (thank you extra $), some family time, some housework, some prepping for the upcoming road-trip, and some laziness. All in all, a pretty typical weekend for us.

Have my next appt with Dr. N tomorrow. I'm thinking this is the "now what?" appt, and assume that we'll be scheduling another HSG (this will be my 3rd, but Doc did mention wanting to take a peak at my tubes after the surgery), probably talking about another SA (also the Grumps 3rd), and figuring out how long we'll be doing this whole Lupron thing.

I'm hoping that we'll be able to stop the Lupron after 4 injections, but I've pretty well resigned myself to it being 6. That will put my last injection in October, with my first trying cycle in - oh - forEVAH starting sometime in November.

We had another conversation about it all over the weekend, and Grumpy REALLY doesn't want to immediately jump to the RE, unless Dr. N recommends it. He'd rather "try on our own for a few months" (altho, did agree to Clomid therapy, thank fuckin Christ!). I'll spare you all (and myself) all the details, but let me just tell you that the man came about 3 seconds shy of telling me that I needed to "just relax".

Sometimes we're on the same page with all of this, and sometimes I don't even think we're reading from the same book.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Scattergories, The Independence Day Edition

Cali did it again, so here I go again!

SCATTERGORIES - it’s harder than it looks! Play here or play on your blog. (note to those new to the game: these don’t have to be actual truths. If it helps- replace the word “you” in the questions & substitute it with “someone”.) Play on!

Take the first letter of your favorite beverage and use it to answer the following:

1) What is your favorite beverage? Mike's Hard Lemonade
2) Something you would grill? Mushroom caps
3) Something you would wave?
4) Something you would fight for? M (The GrumpyOne's real name, which I'm not gonna give... but his first inital is M)
5) Something you would celebrate? Marriage
6) Something you would whisper to Ben Franklin? "Make me feel that electricity, Benny Boy"
7) Something your neighbors would bring to the party? Mexicali dip
8 ) Something that makes you see fireworks? men in uniform (the good kind of fireworks... Rawr!)
9) Something that is located in Washington, D.C.? monuments
10) Something red or white or blue? Miracle Whip jar

Let's Make a Mix Tape!

You remember those things? Spending all night copying just the right mix of songs onto a single tape, either to give to someone special, or to speak just the right words for whatever mood you were in at the moment? I had BUNCHES of them!

And, since I'm not technologically advanced enough (and too frugal for) an MP3 player, I've decided to make a Mix CD, hopefully with YOUR help!

The vibe I'm going for is "songs you play at top volume, and sing along to, that you can't help but feel good while listening to"... could I be more complicated?

My music tastes are ALL over the map, but for purposes of THIS cd, I'm going to stay away from the Rap & Hard Rock stuff. I'm looking for things that a) most people know & enjoy, b) won't offend my grandmother if she happens to get in my car, and c) scream summertime!

Here's my list, so far:

  • "When the Sun Goes Down", Kenny Chesney
  • "She Loves You", The Beatles
  • "Mambo Italiano", Rosemary Clooney
  • "Sweet Home Alabama", Lynard Skynard
  • "Wasting Time", Kid Rock (questionable for Grandma, but I LOVE this song!)
  • "Summertime", Kenny Chesney
  • "Fly Me To The Moon", Frank Sinatra
  • "Friends in Low Places - Live Version", Garth Brooks
  • "If I Had $1,000,000", Barenaked Ladies
  • "Here for the Party", Gretchen Wilson
  • "Whatta Man", Salt-N-Pepa & En Vogue
  • "Summertime", Will Smith
  • "No Rain", Blind Melon
  • "All I Really Want", Alanis Mosissette

So, what are your suggestions?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thankful Thursdays

It's about time I spend my energy focused on the things I DO have going for me. (I know, I know - you've heard this before... I'm TRYING here, though!) Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar too much of this blog is focused on the crap crap CRAPPY-NESS that is my incessant infertility whining.

I'm going to try a new weekly feature, for a couple of reasons. One, it should get me blogging more regularly (whole weeks without a post? shame on ME!), and two, I'm hoping that it will help keep me in a "half-full" mindset.

My self-imposed rules for this new feature: MUST post every Thursday. MUST list at least 5 things that I'm thankful for since my last Thankful Thursday post. Pretty simple, me thinks. Keeps me in the moment, and accountable to you all that are reading (tap tap tap... Hello?).

Here we go:

  1. The boss letting us out of work a couple hours early today for the upcoming holiday long weekend.
  2. An afternoon nap, and some afternoon delight, with the Grumps when I got home. (Was that too much information? My apologies. Oh, and get over it!)
  3. Papa John's Spinach Alfredo Chicken Tomato pizza for dinner last night (and lunch today).
  4. Lillies and snapdragons EXPLODING in my flowerbeds.
  5. The Kaylah Puppy and Shitty Kitty sleeping peacefully on the floor next to me.
  6. Last Comic Standing being on TV while I type this, and the comics being funny enough to give me a few chuckles.

So, tell me... What are YOU thankful for today?

My progress report

Since we're about halfway thru 2008 (which, by the way, I find completely unbelievable... yet, my calendar wins), I thought this would be a good time to let you all in on how I'm doing with my resolutions.

The original Resolutions post can be found here, if you'd like to read all the details. For the purpose of the progress report, I think I'll just sum up.

Get healthier:

  • In this vein, I have successfully created the habit of cooking at home, averaging at least 3 nights a week.
  • I am still working towards: an exercise regimen, quitting smoking, and enjoying the fruits (and veggies) of the local farmers' market on a regular basis.

Be more financially responsible:

  • I've worked towards a MUCH more involved and informative approach to our bill paying/income-tracking/expense reducing/money saving activities. Everything is in excel (I still can't believe that up until this year I was still using a paper check register), I pay 95% of our bills online, we have a "working budget" in process, and I've created a very basic Income & Expense statement. We also have a detailed excel file showing how much we owe people, who we owe it to, and how quickly we're paying it off.
  • I'm still kicking around the idea of taking that damn class the boss wants me in. It's offered again in August, but I really have ZERO interest in the subject matter. Argh!
  • Still working towards: unloading some resell-able stuff on Craigslist or ebay.

I've also done some "off-list" things in this area, the biggest being that I've stopped going to Meijer (Wal-Mart-esque superstore chain) for grocery shopping, and have instead started using Aldi for most of our regular shopping needs. The store is smaller, they have less variety (and thus, less things for me to get caught up thinking we "need"), and the prices are oh-so-much lower. Example: Doritos @ Meijer: $3.99. "Nacho cheese chips" @ Aldi = $0.99. And they taste the SAME people, THE SAME! Seriously, if you have an Aldi near by, and you haven't yet explored it, give it a shot! Take a quarter so that you can rent a cart, and be prepared to a) pay with cash or debit card, and b) bag your own purchases (you can bring bags, or buy from them: $0.10 for plastic, or $0.05 for paper).

Get more organized: I feel like I've made a lot of progress here, even though much of it is not in the ideas I set forth in the original post.

  • I have a better filing system for the bills, and for grocery shopping.
  • I clean out closets (and other clutter filled areas) MUCH more regularly. One of my favorite steps I've taken here is that I donated THREE pieces of furniture today. I transferred our CD & DVD collections from their jewel cases into media cases like these. This simple step allowed me to get rid of 3 media towers! THREE OF THEM!!! (Can you tell I'm a wee bit excited about this?) This also makes the collection MUCH easier to toss into the camper for vacations, or into the car for road trips!
  • I've made some strides in the housecleaning area as well, although I definitely still need to focus more energy here.

Live a little more green:

  • I have: discovered and used Freecycle (that's where all those jewel cases went), started recycling everything that our city will pick up curbside, planted a few tomato plants (and planned for a larger garden next year), adjusted the thermostat to use less energy, gotten in the habit of turning off lights and unplugging electronics when they're not in use, and I've broken the habit of having the TV on all the time (thanks in large part to our DVR).
  • Things I still want to work on: more detailed garden plans for next year, continue doing all of the things I've started.

Be more adventurous:

  • I think I'm pretty good about picking up "something new" when grocery shopping, altho I haven't tracked it.
  • I KNOW that I've tried a whole lot of new recipes over the last 6 months. Some have been added in to the rotation, others have been banished from ever appearing on Grumpy's plate again. Win some, lose some, right?
  • Haven't been on the bike, as the bike needs fixin'.
  • Have only been shooting once so far, but I know there is more of this to come.

Be more kind to myself: This is an area that I really feel (at least on good days) that I'm excelling at.

  • I have definitely spent more time with friends over the last few months, both in person with the local friends and on the phone with the out-of-towners. I think I've also grown and nurtured some connections that I've made thru the blog. Still want to work on spending more time with family, specifically my side.
  • Grumps & I have spent a LOT more time together this year, too. We are working better together on projects, and we are playing together more often (thank you camper).

I must say, compiling this post has made me feel really, really good. I've gotten a lot accomplished over the last 6 months. Of course, there is a lot more to be done (isn't there always?), but I really feel like I'm making good progress towards being that version of myself that I want to be. I need to remember this, and to refer back to it. I hope it will serve as encouragement to continue, even when I'd rather plant my big, fat, white, cellulite ass on the couch.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

IComLeavWe - July

Go Sign Up! You KNOW you love comments! Go, you! NOW!!!
Some helpful tidbits:
  • unlike NaComLeavMo, this time we're only going for 1 week out of the month, the 21st - 28th.
  • you can drop in and out each month, based on your availability for that week.
  • there will be a fancy new piece of blog bling for each month, so that you can always display the current list.
  • NaComLeavMo rules still apply... 5 comments per day + 1 comment back (Or 6 comments, if you don't have any new comments that day). Iron Commentors have to go thru the whole list within the week.

As difficult as NaComLeavMo was, I still think the idea is important. Especially in opening up a larger dialogue about infertility. I'm asking all of you to join in, but ESPECIALLY those of you that aren't struggling with infertility. Many of my readers have gone thru this journey with me, and you've been amazing. But many of YOUR readers don't have the foggiest idea what an HSG is, or that saying "just relax" is kin to a punch in the IFers face.

That's my plea, and now I'll shoosh!

WFMW, 5 Ingredient or Less Recipes

Shannon over @ Rocks In My Dryer is doing a themed edition of Works For Me Wednesday. This time, she wants our best quick & easy recipes. Here are a few of mine (or other peoples that I've found). And, as always, head on over for more WFMW tips!

Strawberry Fruit Dip:

  • 1 8-oz. container of your favorite strawberry yogurt
  • 1 cup strawberry jam
  • 1 8-oz. tub of “Cool Whip”-type whipped topping (any style),thawed
  1. Blend together with a spoon
  2. Serve with strawberries, bananas and other fresh fruit, graham crackers, angel food cake or pound cake, or brownie squares.

Bobby Flay's Parmesan Crusted Portobello Mushrooms

  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  1. Heat grill to medium-low.
  2. Combine Parmesan, thyme and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Brush mushrooms with oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place the mushrooms, cap side down and cook until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Turn over and continue grilling until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes longer.
  6. When the mushrooms are cooked through, carefully divide the cheese mixture over the top of the mushrooms. Close the cover of the grill and cook until the cheese has melted.

Onion Casserole

  • 5 large sweet onions, cut into 1/4 inch slices and separated into rings
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 10 buttery crackers
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. Melt the margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir until tender.
  4. Turn off the heat, and stir in the sour cream and Parmesan cheese.
  5. Transfer to the prepared baking dish, and crumble the crackers over the top.
  6. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly.

Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice & Teriyaki Veggies

  • 8oz (or so) chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 box chicken flavored Rice-A-Roni
  • 1 box Green Giant frozen veggies in Teriyaki sauce
  • butter or margarine
  • olive oil
  1. Prepare Rice-A-Roni per package instructions.
  2. Brown chicken in olive oil in non-stick skillet.
  3. Microwave veggies per package instructions, but about 30 seconds less.
  4. Combine veggies & sauce with cooked chicken in skillet.
  5. Serve over rice.

Taco Soup

  • 6 cans of any bean
  • 2 cans of any tomato
  • 4 cans of any vegetable
  • 2 packets of powdered Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
  • 2 packets of taco seasoning
  1. Open all cans
  2. Dump into pan (you may want to rinse some of the beans. if so, you made need to add some water)
  3. Add seasoning packets
  4. Simmer till smells done
  5. Serve with cheese, sour cream, corn chips... whatever

Berstler Special

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, diced (you want the potatoes & onions similar in size)
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 5 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 lb chopped ham
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I prefer cheddar)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. brown potatoes & onions in butter over medium-high heat (about 10 mins), adding salt & pepper to taste
  2. toss in ham & cook another couple minutes
  3. add eggs, stirring well
  4. when eggs are cooked the way you like them, add the cheese. turn off heat, cover skillet, and let cheese melt (only takes a couple minutes)

Chicken & Broccoli Pasta

  • 1lb pasta shape of your choice (I like penne rigate, with the ridges)
  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced or pressed
  • 2 handfuls frozen chopped broccoli
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • parmesan cheese
  1. Put water on to boil for pasta. Once you have a rolling boil, add pasta.
  2. In deep, 10-12" skillet, place approximately 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat entire bottom of pan). Add garlic to oil.
  3. Add chicken, and brown thoroughly.
  4. Remove pasta from water about 1 minute before it's completely cooked. Add pasta to skillet with chicken, oil, & garlic.
  5. Add frozen broccoli to skillet. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until broccoli is warmed throughout, stirring frequently.
  6. If dish seems dry, add more oil & toss to coat.
  7. Garnish with parmesan (or other grated) cheese, salt & pepper to taste

DaMamma's Pineapple Angel Food Cake

  • 1 20oz can crushed pineapple in juice
  • packaged Angel Food cake mix (use brand name)
  1. Bake cake as directed on packaged mix, substituting pineapple & juice for liquids in directions.

Jiffy Corn Souffle

  • 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 can cream corn
  • 1 can regular corn, drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 stick butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Melt butter.
  3. Add slightly beaten eggs and sour cream.
  4. Add corn; stir.
  5. Add mix; stir again.
  6. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

Broccoli Bake

  • 2 16oz packages frozen broccoli cuts
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
  • Velveeta or American cheese, sliced (or any other cheese you like)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place frozen broccoli in colander & run cool water over it to partially thaw. Let drain.
  3. Melt butter.
  4. Crush crackers into crumbs.
  5. Combine crackers crumbs & butter in bowl.
  6. Place broccoli in even layer in 9x13 glass baking dish.
  7. Place even layer of cheese slices over top of broccoli layer.
  8. Top with cracker crumbs & butter mixture.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes.

Mac & Tuna Salad

  • 1 lb shaped pasta of your choice (I use small shells)
  • 3-4 celery sticks, diced
  • 2 60z cans tuna packed in water
  • miracle whip to taste (I use at least 3-4 heaping tbls)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Cook pasta fully. Rinse with cool water until pasta is chilled.
  2. Mix in rest of ingredients.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I've been hesitant to post another "review" of something, since the Ebates review didn't go so well... (Who knew that referral $ didn't count towards the minimum payout amount?)

But, since discovering, using, and being PAID by MySurvey, I'd figure I'd let you all in on it, too.

It's an incredibly simple survey site to navigate and use. They don't hound you with ridiculous amounts of spam. In fact, they only send out emails when you qualify for a survey.
The payouts are also pretty simple. Survey completions are awarded points, anywhere from 10 to 150 (that I've seen) at a time. You can "cash out" at 1,000 points minimum, for cash (1,000 points = $10), prizes, or charity donations. I did my first "cash out" about 3-4 weeks ago (after being a member for 3 or 4 months), requesting a $10 check, which I received in about 2 weeks.
At some point along the way, I also qualified for a product evaluation. MySurvey sent me 2 50oz bottles of 2x Ultra Tide, enough to do 64 wash loads. All I had to do was test the hardness of our water, use the product for 2 weeks, and fill out a survey (which took about 20 minutes).
They also run daily contests that you enter just by logging in. So far, I've not won, so I certainly can't attest to their wonderful-ness. But, I have stumbled on to some additional surveys just by logging in regularly.
If you're so inclined, click on the link above (they do offer referral reward points if you sign up using my link, so please do), and give it a whirl. You're certainly not going to get rich from it, but I think it's a cool way to let your consumer's voice be heard. And really, what's wrong with the occassional free product, and a few pennies for your time?