Friday, April 30, 2010

For Richard

Favorite Uncle

The taste of metal on my tongue
pales in comparison to the cut of your frail voice
into my soft palate.

I want to say:
Don’t go.
I’m not ready.
That hug was not supposed to be

But it is not a time for selfishness.
So instead, I pray
for your peaceful release
from this disease and its slow, cruel feast.

I see you glide
without effort or pain
into your mother’s outstretched arms,
as the warm brightness of a never-ending April afternoon
pours over you

Richard and me, circa 1970.
Rest in peace you sweet, funny man.

Monday, April 26, 2010


A couple of days after I started taking my "synthroid" medication (it's really called levoxyl), I was SO pleased. I had ENERGY again. I felt normalish! I wasn't dragging through every day on auto pilot, grumpy as hell and generally miserable for no reason! It felt amazing. But by the end of last week, man, was I exhasted. I felt like a washcloth that had been wrung out and then wrung out again. This weekend, I literally could not get enough sleep. I would wake up in the morning and begin thinking about when I might be able to catch a nap. Everything seemed like a blur. I felt like I'd been slipped a mickey, and it sucked. And I pretty much looked like this.

This morning I called and talked to my endocrinologist. Basically I was thinking, "Surely, this can't be right. I need my meds adjusted, right?" Wrong. Apparently this "crash" is to be expected. According to her, it takes "4 to 6 weeks" for the artificial hormone levels to get normalized. That's why they're not having my blood tested or my follow-up visit until early June. DAMN IT!! That is NOT the answer I wanted. I want to be fixed, like NOW! I want to feel as good as I felt the for the 3 or 4 days after I started taking this stuff!! Crap, crap, crap.

I need a nap and a good, long cry.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Love Your Mother.

From time to time at work, they organize events where we can volunteer to work to benefit organizations in the Austin community. It's been a whle since I've signed up for one of these events, but today, I went full-tilt, volunteering for a wetlands preserve clean up and beautification project for the afternoon in honor of Earth Day.

A group of like-minded helpsters descended upon the work site at about 1pm.

We had an orientation about the site, what we were trying to achieve, and how to spot the (unfortunately very common area nuisance) poison ivy.

And then we chose which group we wanted to work with: trash pick up, invasive tree removal, wildflower seed dispersal, trail maintenance (a.k.a., mulch spreading), and bamboo removal. I chose my group based on the tools you'd get to use--a big-ass cut lopper--and therefore ended up with the bamboo removal crew.

We wandered down a trail until we came to an area that really needed our help--a curve in the main trail that was being all but suffocated my bamboo and "wild cane" (whatever the hell that is). So we were told to clear it and pile up what we cut out on along the side of the trail.

We went NUTS. At first I was working closely with the others (and, as a result, received an accidental "caning" on my arm that is still very swollen and bruising up nicely). But eventually, I found a spot I claimed as my own, deciding that its clearing of bamboo, wild cane and random deadfall branches and crap would be my personal Earth Day mission. I started working at around 1:30. I didn't take a break until close to 3:00pm.

It was cloudy (HUMID!) and totally gloomy the entire time we were working. But it was an amazing feeling to see the areas we were working in become so much brighter as we removed the tall, leafy bamboo and let the sunlight come in and hit the trail floor.

At about 3:45, TOTALLY sweat-soaked and worn out, I looked around at my little self-proclaimed Earth Day mission area and declared it cleared. I stumbled back to the car, drove my stinky butt home in the rain (yep, it finally started raining), took a long, hot shower, and grabbed a quick cat nap before it was Geedles time.

I know I am going to be SO sore tomorrow. My upper body, especially. But I will do something like this again next Earth Day, and hopefully, between now and then as well. I want to involve The Geedles in helping out with something like this so that she gets how important volunteerism is along with how important it is to take care of the beautiful world around us.

Happy Earth Day, everyone. This is, indeed, my favorite planet in our solar system--by far!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


You know how when you go to some restaurants and you have leftovers and you ask for a doggie bag and they say, "Surely. Let me wrap it up for you!" and then they whisk away your half-eaten whatever and come back with it cleverly disguised as a big foil swan or big foil goat or some such shit?

Wanna know what happens at OUR house when your leftovers consist of one turkey sausage and two Yukon potatoes?

Ladies and gentlemen: FRIDGE DICK!!

BH packed this up all nice for me so I could take it to work and have it for lunch tomorrow.

He's so sweet...

Friday, April 16, 2010

All kinds of learning.

I was very honored to spend this evening with three amazing women from the Gee's Bend Quilters Collective while in Birmingham, AL for work. It's not every day that I get to do something this cool, but when I do, I'm reminded how much it is possible to love my job.

Also, they had pork-free collards and mac and cheese on the hot bar and nanner puddin' in the cold case at the store, so there was that.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


OMG. So busy. Can't really blog. But must.

Good news: My full body scan came back yesterday with the ALL FREAKIN' CLEAR!! And to add to that seriously awesome news, I got to start taking my thyroid replacement hormone. I'm already feeling a bump in my energy after only two doses. No afternoon SUPER DRAG today (for the first time in weeks)!

Which is good timing because let me break down the next couple of days for you:
  • Tomorrow morning, fly to Birmingham, AL (via Dallas) at 7:40 in the damn morning. For work. Go to/work at event tomorrow evening in the B'ham store.
  • Leave B'ham at 9:55 am on Saturday, and return to Austin (via Nashville).
  • Land. Then IMMEDIATELY head to Llano county to attend a 40th b-day soiree of one of my favorite people (my NYC-based friend Tom) at one of my favorite places ("Casa Avocado"--my friends Lin and Ollie's ranch).
  • Sunday. Do all of that get-ready-for-the-week stuff I always have to do on Sundays. Laundry. Grocery shopping. Etc.
  • Monday. Back to work where an already-packed calendar awaits me.
So yes, this is the first time I've gotten to travel for work in nearly 2 years (due to travel/budget restrictions), and it just happens to fall on a weekend when a friend I never get to see is visiting town. Awesome.

The other thing that has me all wound up? This whole Russia-shutting-down-all-U.S.-adoptions-in-reaction-to-one-crazy-lady's-horrible-decision thing. The emotional toll that this HORRIBLY reactionary decision is having on untold people in the adoption pipeline is simply unfathomable to me. Imagine being there on Trip 2, preparing for your court date, excited about finally getting to take your child home and complete your family, giving him/her the love/attention that they so much need and deserve, only to be told that you have to leave without them...leave them behind in that godforsaken orphanage...without knowing if/when you'll ever see them again.

It's like a kick to the gut.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Obligatory Kid-in-the-Bluebonnet Photos

Photo 1 says: "Yes, I'll get in the bluebonnets to take this stinkin' picture but I'M SCARED OF BEES so HURRY IT UP!!"

Photo 2 says: "Mom, you REALLY need to get my bangs cut."
(Photography courtesy of Dah.)

Monday, April 12, 2010


I came out of isolation Saturday morning.
I marveled at the abundance of wildflowers along FM 1431 as I headed to Dah's house to get The Geej.
I got The Geej and marveled at how much a 5 year old girl can talk. (I'd gotten used to the silence, I guess.)
I got home and realized how much I'd really missed it all--BH, the pets, my bed, the kiddo.
I did laundry.
I was amazed by how much the leaves on the trees had emerged in the short time I'd been gone.
I took afternoon naps because I'd get so fatigued from doing not much of anything, that I wanted to cry.
I cried anyway.
I doubled over because my lower back ached so intensely.
I went to IKEA on a Sunday because I am insane.
I went back to the office.
I had trouble concentrating, but managed to get some work done.
I went to my 6 week post op appt. with my ENT who was happy with the way my scar is healing (as am I).
I came home after the appointment and tried to work, but ended up crying and frustrated because I was too tired to concentrate.
I went and got The Geej from school.
I got to started reading the Beverly Cleary "Mouse and the Motorcycle" series to her at bedtime, and was FLOODED with memories about how much I loved those books when I was little.
I started reading this and am already loving it.
And I started counting down the hours until I can start taking my goddamned thyroid medicine because I am sick of feeling as round-the-clock awful as I currently feel. (Approx. 36 more hours...)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Isolation Diary, Day 3

WARNING: If you can't handle stir-crazy, hormonally-challenged, women in their early 40s w/o makeup, then don't watch this:

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

This? Sucks.

Remember a few weeks ago when I listed all of the potential symptoms of hypothyroidism that awaited me after my surgery? Well guess what. I'd say that I'm experiencing 90% of them right now, and it is horrible.

I'm not sleeping. My stomach is a wreck. I can't regulate my body temperature. I'm super depressed and jittery. I cry at least once a day. I cannot concentrate to save my life. I have to write everything down because I literally cannot remember things one minute to the next. My skin is horribly dry and itchy (more so than normal). I'm totally broken out. I am angry for no reason. And I get hit with 10 tons of tired every afternoon.

Maybe it's a GOOD thing that I'm isolated from friends, family, and the general public right now. I'm not very pleasant to be around, that's for sure.

On the upside, here's the view out of one of my bedroom windows:

So, you know. There's that.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Isolation Diary, Day 1

Amount of work done: Everything I had due today has been accomplished. Tomorrow, I actually plan to get ahead (if there is such a state of being.)

General mood: Frustrated but accepting. Beginning to relax. Thankful.

Outside the window: Sunny. Sun setting. Breezy.

On the menu: For dinner--Soup and a fresh salad.

Predicted bedtime: Earlyish.

Thing(s) I realized my accomodations are missing: Kleenex; Some light bulbs (there are several that are burned out); a soaking tub; decent cell reception w/in the dwelling; comfy work location.

Thing I've realized I forgot to pack:  Nothing...yet.

Photo of the day: View outside my front door

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Not quite the wildflower season of 2007...

...but I'll take it.

This is a shot taken of the land across from my mom's house in Horseshoe Bay. So lovely.

Oh. wait. You wanna see those bluebonnets up close? Well, okay!

The peak of this wildflower season is happening right now. Such a short window of time for such extreme beauty.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

There is no "I" in "Team", but there ARE a couple in "Isolation"

The next step for me with this whole thyroid cancer thing is to have radioactive iodine therapy, which begins on Monday.

Basically, as I understand it, I go to the radiological clinic, people come at me wearing those suits you see people wearing in documentaries about Chernobyl, they open up some crazy container with The Radioactive Pill within it, I swallow it, and then I'm on my merry way. Except I need avoid pets, babies/children, pregnant ladies and most other humans for 3 - 5 days because I will be RADIOACTIVE. Freaky, no? And although limited, arm's length (or more) interaction most humans is sort of okay, it's not encouraged. So, because I work in Cubeland, U.S.A., my doctor was like, "Yeah, if you can work remotely, that's the best thing for everyone."

Luckily with my job (and my boss and my team), I CAN work remotely on a limited basis. However, because I have both a small child and pets and a husband, I had to figure out where I could isolate myself and work with the minimal amount of life-disruption for all involved.

At first I thought of relocating to Dah's house for the week, but she doesn't have Wifi, and she DOES have a cat. So, no.

And then I thought of holing up at the South Austin Motel. But then I'd have to interact with the hotel staff and go out and interact with other folks for each meal, and risk infecting them with my RADIATION. Plus, that shit's exPENsive. So again: no.

Then, on a whim, I decided to look on for some sort of efficiency/studio apartment in town that I could rent for the week. But I had no luck--either the places that would work were rented out during part of the time that I needed, or they were available, but WAY too expensive (i.e., as much or more than a hotel).

I've got doctor's appointments on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning, so I needed my isolation pod to be somewhere close to town. But it also needed to have wifi (for work), be reasonably priced (because the medical bills are rolling in fast and furious), and to be pleasant (for sanity's sake). So I started looking for someplace out at Lakeway, Lake Travis or Lago Vista. I finally found the PERFECT place and emailed the owner and said (basically)--Hey dude, I see you've got a vacancy, and for medical reasons I need to be isolated in a place where I can cook and do everything else for myself, but I can't afford a hotel. Would you be willing to cut me a deal that could benefit us both--you get a M-F tenant, and I get a break on the price? And guess what: he's a decent human freakin' being who not only waived the cleaning fee, but came down to $85/night for me.

So, starting Monday of next week, I'll be staying in a secluded, exclusive, fully stocked lake front condo complex with 2 pools (that I can't swim in, but still...) and a view of the lake. In fact, THIS is the view of the lake I'll have from my private balcony:
Pretty freakin' sweet, no?

For some reason, I feel like should be saying that I'm dreading the week ahead. That being alone, without direct interaction with other human beings is just going to drive me batty. But the only child in me is more like,  "OHMYGAWD this is going to be AWESOME. Like a mini vacation, but with RADIOACTIVITY. And eating off of paper plates with plastic utensils and flushing the toilet 3 times after you pee and throwing away your toothbrush and using a pillow that you throw away after your isolation period. And I'll be working remotely. But still!!"

That's what next week holds for me (including some blood tests and a full body iodine uptake scan). And then the week after that, my first work-related travel in nearly 2 years. I'M A BUSY RADIOACTIVE LADY, DAMNIT!!