Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupy...It's About Opportunity

This whole Occupy movement has got me thinking lately.

Mostly, what comes to mind is what I said in this post.

Everything I said in that post about the work I've done is true.

But what I left out, and what I've been thinking about recently, is how amazingly lucky I was to have the opportunities to do the things I talked about.

How many people never even get a chance to get jobs to keep themselves out of debt through school? How many people have the resources necessary to do so well in school? How many people are offered the opportunity to apply for a full-tuition scholarship at a school with an incredibly prestigious program in their chosen field? How many people meet the right person to marry? How many people were in the position to take advantage of the $8,000 homebuyer's tax credit? How many people have health insurance that covers psychotropic medication, or even realize they need it? How many people can afford their medication, even with insurance?

What a lot of people who are "against" the movement don't realize is that life is pure shit for A LOT of people, and often, hard work can get you somewhere, but you've got to be somewhere to begin with.

I have so much. And yes, Scott and I work hard. But I was born in one of the most wonderful, safe countries in the world. This is a place where I have things protecting me and my rights: police, laws, and the right to have guns in my home. I was born to a woman who sacrificed so much to stay home with her kids, to teach them and give them every opportunity to learn possible. As poor as we were, I was born into a situation where I could choose my own destiny. And SO FEW people have that choice. Some people are just born with the short end of the stick, and no matter what they do or how hard they try, they will never be able to turn things around.

I am so thankful for what I have and the experiences I've had, both good and bad (because the crappy stuff teaches you life lessons that, it turns out, come in quite handy).

I realize everyone has different thoughts about the Occupy movement, and I respect that. The last thing I want to do is make a political statement or sweeping generalization that offends people or starts a huge debate. No, thank you! But I felt like I needed to share this. I hope that regardless of your stance on the Occupy movement you take a few minutes now and again to reflect on what all you do have, and be grateful that where you are is infinitely better than where some others have been...or still are, and perhaps always will be.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Here's a quick, relatively worthless update:

Thanksgiving was great. My cooking worked!

Scott just had his epidural steroid injection. It won't help for two to four days according to the nurse, so we'll see what happens. He goes back in three weeks to see what the next step will be.

I wish I were hibernating.

The end.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Very Briefly...

1. There is no point in trying to change your diet right before the holidays. I am an idiot.

2. I gave Buster the guts from our turkey this year (started brining it yesterday) and he just about DIED of gratitude.

3. My house is almost clean enough for Thanksgiving dinner.

4. I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I'll let you know if anyone ends up with food poisoning.

5. My knitting crap is everywhere, and I am okay with that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Who Needs A Spine, Anyway?

Who wants a medical update? You do? Well here you go:

Scott hurt his back.

He's actually been having back pain for years. He's been to see several different doctors, but so far everyone has just given him some Flexeril and Lorotab and then sent him on his way. One doctor even went so far as to take an x-ray, but when nothing showed up they gave up. So for years now he's strained it by working too hard, or sometimes just from sitting for a while, and he's just had to suck it up and deal.

November 1st was the day our new insurance plan took effect. The last time we had to change insurance plans, both the new and the old insurance plans were supported by the clinic where we usually went, so we didn't have to switch doctors. But this time, we had to go to a completely different clinic. This turned out to be a really good thing.

Keep in mind that the events I am about to recount were expected to take, at minimum, two or three weeks. PLEASANT SURPRISE.

I called Monday morning to set an appointment for Scott to see someone at the new clinic. Surprisingly, they had an appointment open for 11:00 a.m. So Scott went to the old clinic, had them print out our medical records, and then went to the new clinic for his appointment. The next thing I know, he was calling me to say they were taking x-rays now and this afternoon there would be an MRI! THAT QUICKLY, YES I KNOW.

So after the MRI, I had to go pick him up, because they gave him Valium so he wouldn't get stressed out inside the MRI machine, and OH BOY WAS HE STONED. I mean, like giggly stoned. It was hilarious!

So then we expected to wait a few days for results, right? Ha! They called within a few hours and were like "Hey, you have a bulged disc!" From zero to diagnosis in three hours. SO GOOD. So they said they had a doctor there who specialized in back injuries, so they would have him give us a call and we would go from there. Less than an hour later, guess who called?

Major brownie points to Tanner Clinic!

So the back doctor called and Scott has an epidural steroid shot scheduled for the 28th, and then we'll see what happens. It's looking like there will probably be a back surgery at some point, although we don't know when.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On The Doctor's Orders

So Scott and I have decided to go low-carb. My doctor told me to, so before any of you start in about diets being bad, blah blah blah, just know that it was my doctor's suggestion in the first place. Besides, we intend to gradually add good carbs back in, and we're trying overall to be healthier. Doing this is forcing us to cook at home for every meal and really think about what we're putting into our bodies. We're also eating more vegetables. More vegetables never hurt anyone!

We'll do this for a few weeks (or maybe longer) to get a jump start on weight loss, and then we can add some fruits in for a few more weeks, and then some lentils and nuts (except Scott can't because he's allergic), and eventually we'll get to where we're adding in whole grain sorts of things. We want to do this for life. We want to get to where we're eating healthy foods out of habit, instead of eating out out of habit like we've been doing. I'm learning cooking skills, too! Like yesterday I cooked some chicken and nothing got burnt. It was AMAZING.

Tonight we cooked up a spaghetti squash, sauteed some mushrooms, and had a steak. We cooked extra of everything so that we would have some for lunches tomorrow (except the mushrooms...those don't reheat well, I'm guessing).

I had forgotten how much I did like fresh foods. We're very fortunate that we can afford to buy all of our vegetables (and eventually, fruits) fresh instead of canned. When I was growing up we were so poor that canned fruits and vegetables were all we could afford. No wonder I didn't like them!

I really hope that by giving up processed sugars, white breads, rice, and potatoes, and sugary drinks I can break some of these deeply ingrained food addictions. I don't know if I can. I tried once before, and I failed miserably. But this time Scott is doing it with me, so I think with the extra support from him it's going to be a lot easier than trying to do it alone.

The cool thing is, Mim is doing it too, so we're going to have a low-carb Thanksgiving dinner. If you think about it, mostly what we'll be giving up is the mashed potatoes. I can live without those.

I'll have to take a few days off when I go to Boston for Li's wedding, because it's hardly fair to ask someone to accommodate a weird diet while they're having a wedding, but after that I'll get right back on track.

I'm trying not to think of this as a temporary "diet", but more of stepping stones on the path to healthy eating for life. There seem to be so many social events with food that it seems overwhelming to have to start saying "no" to things, but I'm hoping that with time it will get easier. I think I've been using these social events as an excuse to eat poorly.

Also, as I learn to cook things so they are actually delicious and not burnt or weird or disgusting I'm hoping that will make it easier, as well. The internet is full of recipes, and I intend to use them!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Kwiddens Makes Amazing Cookies, Too

Dearest Kwiddens,

Yesterday was your birthday. I SUCK AT LIFE, so I didn't write about it yesterday, but here you go!

Yesterday we all met at a restaurant and had dinner together. You were telling such fun stories that the waitress kept coming over and laughing with us. That is the kind of person you are, Kwiddens: the kind who makes everyone laugh, and at nobody else's expense (that they know of, anyway...*evil grin*). That's an admirable quality.

Lots of things have been happening lately, both good and bad. I call you and tell you the good things, and you laugh and tell me how awesome it is that I have happy things in my life. I call you to complain about the bad things (or bad people...) and you just let me rant, and then agree with me that shit sucks sometimes. Also, you don't think I'm a total bitch when I talk smack about someone who is bugging me. Or maybe you do. Either way, you don't say I'm a bitch. That's what a good sister does.

This is a picture of you and me together in the poodle skirts Grandma made for us:

I can't even believe it's so long since we took that picture! Even now that we're grown, I'd still wear an ugly-ass skirt and hold your hand (just not in public)!

I love you so much I don't even know how to tell you. When I see you sad my heart breaks into pieces. I want your happiness more than I want my own. You're the best sister and friend I could ever have, and I forgive you for everything you've ever done to me, like that one time you threw a dead spider on me but told me it was alive and I screamed and punched you and we both got in huge trouble. Or that one time that you stole my underwear, and then when you bent over at school I said "You're wearing my underwear!", not realizing that the boy I had a crush on was in the room. Or that one time that you read my journal and made fun of me for having a crush on James Bacon. Ha!

Kwiddens, I wish you realized how much you are worth as a person. At least ten dollars. Maybe fifteen. Just kidding! HOW ABOUT A ZILLION? That's not even a real number, it's so big. But really. You are a beautiful and brilliant young woman, and an amazing momma, and a devoted sister and daughter, and you are really good at lots of things, like putting on mascara perfectly and making the world's most delicious carrot cake. You work hard all the time and you deserve health and happiness (and lots of chocolate).

I hope this year is better than the last. You better text me every damn day. I need my Kwiddens fix. I'm about as dependent on it as I am on having three cups of coffee every morning, and that's really saying something. Even when you're miserable you make me laugh so hard with the way you tell your stories: with funny faces and hilarious impressions and everything. And when you text me I imagine you in my head, making the same faces. Sometimes I laugh out loud at work after reading a message you've sent me and people look at me like I'm on crack. It's awesome.

I love you more than I love candy and cookies, and cashmere yarn, and my electric blanket, and Dr. Pepper...the list could go on forever, you know. I appreciate everything you do for me and say to me and how supportive you are of me, even when I'm a total brat.

I love you forever. THE END.

Anna Banana

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Frederick Was A Hit!

Scott has spliced together a video with some of our Halloween stuff this year:

Here's the sad bit: we borrowed a night vision security camera from Scott's company and had it set up so we could record kids' reactions...but somehow it didn't record the whole night and missed the very best parts, such as the part where Scott jumped out from the fog and scared the crap out of some kids, one of whom screamed and ran away down the street. Yes. So this video is some of the other pictures and videos we took.

Kids are so cute on Halloween. One kid (five years old or so) saw the full-size candy bars and said "Where have you been all my life?!" Another, my friend L.'s kid (two year old girl) said "Bye, scary!" as she walked away like it was her friend.

At one point during the night we saw some people walk up to Frederick and have people take pictures of them with him. AWESOME.

So new things we added since last year:

Ghost in the front window (black lights and white tulle)
Creepy cloth on the front door and up the walkway
Orange lights across the front of the garage
Moss on the tombstones
Flashing lights with thunder sound effects

Next year we're thinking about building a creepy tunnel the kids have to go through to get to the door. We'll see what we come up with!

Quick rant: when I was a kid and we went trick-or-treating, we went to each house and got one small piece of candy. We hit lots of houses so we could end up with a large stash. ONE PIECE. So we handed out full-size candy bars, right? Several kids had the stones to ask, "How many can I have?" or "Can I take two?"

Greedy little bastards.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Video Editing Takes Time!

Halloween 2011 was a smashing success. We're working on a video. It may take a few days, but it'll be worth the wait!