28 February 2010

The One with the Day Before Baseball Starts

Nothing makes you feel special like the sight of spinning, twirling, flipped-out dogs who are obviously very excited to see you pull in the driveway after being gone all weekend. 
You know you're really special when they get so excited they lift their leg and pee on the lawn mower.
It's nice to have a nice welcome home.
We just got back from a great relaxing weekend at the lake, just in time for the sun to go down. And why is that important?
Matt wanted to get home before dark so he could go work on the baseball field.
Baseball starts tomorrow.
It's like watching a little kid who is waiting for Santa to come on Christmas Eve. I don't think he'll sleep at all tonight.
In fact, before we left town on Friday, he was out spreading bags of fertilizer on the field..the same bags of fertilizer that have been sitting in our walk-in kitchen pantry since before Christmas. The same bags of fertilizer that are the exact same size and shape as the bags of dog food...also sitting in our walk-in kitchen pantry. You could see how that could make me nervous.
I was so sad to see them go. I'll miss the smell of nitrates in the morning.
After he left for the field, I made plans to take my luggage upstairs to unpack so my darling can start the laundry later tonight. As I made my way up, I started noticing a strange odor the closer I got to the top of the landing. Rubber? Leather? What was that smell?
Oh. My. Gosh.
Shoes. Shoes sitting on top of the vent in the middle of the hallway floor. Shoes that have been turned upside down with the tongues and soles pulled out. Shoes that have been sitting there since before we pulled out of the driveway to leave for the lake. Shoes that have been sitting there all weekend long. That was the smell.
Don't get me wrong. I totally understand the need to wash your shoes after fertilizing an entire baseball field. A muddy field. A soupy, mucky, we've-had-too-much-snow-and-now-it's-melted-and-sogged-the-field field. A field that when you step on it, you immediately sink ankles-deep into sludge and have to come home and wash your brand-new Under Armour baseball shoes so the cakey, red-clay mud doesn't dry them into what looks like a kindergarten pottery project.
I also understand the need to have them dry by time practice starts tomorrow, and I know that throwing them in the dryer is not a good option for a fantastic pair of brand-new shoes (dryers break down the rubber and can cause the soles to split, in case you were curious).
But now the entire upstairs smells like a Foot Locker.
But, believe it or not, I had more important things to worry about.
I am proud to announce that the three Christmas wreaths hanging from our three second-story windows are officially down, which concludes the taking down of all of our Christmas decorations.  
I knew I would get to it after the snow and ice finally melted off the roof. I knew I would get to it after my neighbors reminded me for the 1000th time that they were still up there.
I knew I would get to it sometime before March.
And I did.

26 February 2010

The One with the Book List

Often, when there are more than 45 minutes of free and uninterrupted time, my best friend Sarah and I usually call each other for lengthy discussions about really important issues. This usually happens when we are driving somewhere and are bored in the car and there’s nothing good on the radio.  


The other day, off the top of our heads, we just randomly started discussing current Caldecott and Newbery award winners, and the fact that we are ecstatic that Scholastic is reissuing parts of The Babysitters Club series.  


Yes. That’s right. We can talk for hours about nothing but books. The smell. The feel. The literary genius of a particular author (i.e. how J.K. Rowling so neatly wrapped up the Harry Potter series). How young adult fiction is so much more “adult” than it used to be. How The Giver and Number the Stars made us want to be better people but the sequels (to The Giver) were highly disappointing.


Yes. We’re that interesting.


(I’m blaming Sarah. She’s knee-deep in her Masters in Library Science program and constantly has books on the brain.)


After our conversation, my interest was intensified. Over the years, since my very first literary encounter with “Pat-the-Bunny,” I’ve read quite a few books - largely in part because of my librarian-turned-mom, mom. That meant books, not TV. No video games in the house to speak of. I remember buying a Gameboy with my hard-earned babysitting money and it “mysteriously” disappeared a week later.


Seriously. I still can’t find it to this day.


Then again, if books were so important, why was I always getting grounded from reading until I got my chores done?


Mom is sticking to her guns that if I ever have kids, I’ll be like, “Hold on kids, I’ll fix dinner/change your diaper/give you your flu medicine after I finish this chapter!”


She’s probably right.


I get absolutely lost in books. I’ve been known to not even realize someone is talking to me because I have my head in the middle of a story.


And I’m so fortunate to have married someone who gets that and is ok with it. Besides, he is the exact same way. Books…not so much. But if ESPN is on or he gets a text on his Blackjack? He’s out for the count.


Anyway, after talking with Sarah, I stumbled upon this really great website. Decades upon decades of the best-loved children’s books of all time.


So going through the list, I discovered not only that because of my mother I’m fairly well-read, but I really, really want to get out some of my favorite books again and re-read them, starting with the entire Little House on the Prairie series. I used to read On the Banks of Plum Creek and Farmer Boy over and over and over. I was even Laura for “Missouri History Day” in middle school once.


I didn’t realize how far back some of my favorite books go. Thanks to mom’s advice on what to check out from the Sullivan Public Library, I read books that were written back in the 1900’s. Here are some of my favorites:


The Beatrix Potter books (Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Jemima Puddle-Duck – which was my favorite – Squirrel Nutkin and Tom Kitten)

The Nancy Drew series

Make Way for Ducklings

Curious George


Charlotte’s Web

Misty of Chincoteague


**I loved the Misty books with every ounce of my being. Misty of Chincoteague, Stormy,Misty’s Foal, etc. Those books are the sole reason I fell in love with horses and begged my dad for a pony every year from my 8th birthday until…well, last year.


The Giving Tree

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Where the Wild Things Are

The Yearling

The Outsiders

The Little House on the Prairie Series

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great


Freckle Juice

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

A Wrinkle in Time

A Wind in the Door

A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Stuart Little

The Trumpet of the Swan

Rumble Fish

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the Red Fern Grows

Island of the Blue Dolphins

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

The Pigman

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The Cay

Julie of the Wolves

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

How to Eat Fried Worms

The Cricket in Times Square

Corduroy (one of the reasons I slept with my arms around all my stuffed animals in case the house caught fire – I just knew they would come to life at night and I would have to save them.)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe



Frog and Toad are Friends

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Magic Locket

The Silver Slippers

James and the Giant Peach

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Amelia Bedelia

The Indian in the Cupboard (excellent, excellent book! Again with things coming to life.)

The Polar Express

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie


Bridge to Terabithia (this book made me cry for days)

Sideways Stories from Wayside School

Sarah, Plain and Tall

The ENTIRE Babysitters Club Series, including the Super Summer books

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

The Ramona books – I loved anything by Beverly Cleary

Socks (also by Beverly Cleary. I felt so bad for the cat when the baby came home. No one paid attention to Socks anymore!)

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

The Sign of the Beaver (this was hands-down my absolute favorite book ever. I actually wore out my copy and pages fell out.)

The Chocolate War

The Giver

Number the Stars

The Devil’s Arithmetic (A very powerful and moving book. I still read it once a year and highly recommend it to kids and adults. That's why I'm highlighting this commentary. Read it.)


Blueberries for Sal

Summer of My German Soldier

The Secret Garden

The Black Stallion

Black Beauty

The Trumpeter of Krakow

The Pippi Longstocking series

Call of the Wild

White Fang

The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books (a particular favorite of mine and my sister’s. Who wouldn’t want to live in an upside-down house with pirate treasure in the backyard?)

The Light in the Forest

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Death Be Not Proud


Helen Keller: Story of My Life

Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Ok, I'm stopping now. Seriously, this list could go on and on and on. These are just books I remember reading when I was a young adult…the books I’ve read since then could fill seventeen million blogs.


And bookcases, of which I am in desperate need. The dogs are starting to build forts out of the stacks of books on the office floor.
Some of these books were just plain fun to read. Others, with deep and serious subject matter, helped shape me into the person I am today. There's nothing like sinking so deep into a book that you become part of it. You empathize with the characters. You hurt for them, you cheer for them. And when you emerge back into reality, the things you experienced stay with you for a little while.
What's the last book you've read that really made an impact and stuck with you? And don't say the Bible. That's a given. :)

24 February 2010

The One with the Discovery

Write scholarship letters. Mail the applications. Search for more scholarships. Study for microbiology. Get my suit ready for tomorrow's open house/tours event at the hospital. Mop the mud from the kitchen and bathroom floors from the guys who came over yesterday to dig around the house to see if we have a busted water pipe.

So much to do...yet we just can't stop watching The Office.

How have Matt and I not known about this show? Sure, we've heard about it, but we've never actually willingly sat down to watch it. We're almost done with Season Three, and it just keeps getting better and better.

I've come to the conclusion that staying up until 1am watching episode after episode of The Office with your spouse is good for your marriage. Laughing together so hard you cry - then laughing at each other because we can't stop laughing - is a good relationship builder. (Matt would totally roll his eyes at me if he knew I just said that.) Then being so stinkin' tired in the morning that we laugh about how we shouldn't stay up so late. But then we do it all over again the next night. It's like a vicious cycle of Office addiction that we just can't stop.

Seriously. We've watched seasons 1-3 for five straight days now. Is that sad?

Don't answer that.

Speaking of strange and weird things that you shouldn't admit to, I discovered something when I went to Sullivan on Monday night to have dinner with my parents.

I found out where I get my OCD tendencies. Now I know I come by them honest. And somehow, in the back of my mind, I always knew it stemmed from the Polish side of the family.

First, let me say that I love that grandpa lives next door to my parents. He used to live so far away in South Bend, Indiana, and now whenever I'm home to visit I can just run next door and say hi, and bring him back over with me for dinner. My parent's cats love love love to see him, and immediately jump on his lap when he sits down.

It's cute. See?

Anyway, I went over to grandpa's house to see if he was ready for dinner, and what I found made me smile. He, at 5:30 in the evening, was setting the table for his breakfast in the morning. Newspaper. Napkins. Plate. His pill cup, with his morning's pills nestled inside, ready to go. Coffee pot set up with water and coffee in it. Mug by the coffee pot.

Sounds excessive? Too much planning? Well...

When I got home that night, much to my chagrin, realized that yes - I had done the exact same thing. My coffee pot was full and ready to go for my 5:30 am coffee time. Mug and spoon out on the counter just waiting for me. My books (microbiology, Beth Moore, some fun fiction novels) were lined up in - not the order I need to read them - but by size and shape. And color.

And is it a little OCD if I re-copy my class notes over and over because I don't like how my handwriting was the first time around? Or the second? (Argh. Ok. Yes. And third.)

I know. You now think even more weird and strange things about me.

Want weird and strange and scary? I found this unfortunate picture of me and Erin over at grandpa's.

Ugh. What's with the perms and the black flowery dresses with the shoulder pads? It looks like we live in a funeral home or something.

Sorry sis.

Plans for this weekend? We're going to the Lake.

And we're taking seasons 4 & 5 of The Office with us.

20 February 2010

The One with the Million Dollars

So what do you do on a weekend that you have absolutely nothing planned?

#1. You sleep until 6:30, 30 minutes longer than you normally do during the week. You would like to sleep longer, but dog tongues on your forehead make that impossible.

#2. You rent entire seasons of The Office, start at disc one and vow not to stop until each episode is watched.

#3. Ricotta pancakes. Completely South Beach approved, and oh, so delicious.

And my absolutely favorite thing to do when I have nothing else even remotely planned for the day:

Find multi-million dollar houses on realtor.com.

Try it sometime.

Then try to stop.

Hard, isn't it?

For instance...

Interested in a Florida waterfront eight bedroom, twelve bath house that features it's own fitness center, pool and art gallery? You might like this one: http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/11-Casuarina-Concourse_Coral-Gables_FL_33143_1108676575

Or how about your very own four-story house in Savannah, Georgia? It has a library, 5.5 bathrooms and multiple open-air balconies: http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/126-West-Harris-Street_Savannah_GA_31401_1103593702

Ever want your very own bronze elk in your front yard? How about a movie theatre? Plus, this one is a little closer to home in St. Louis. Bonus! http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1300-South-Mason-Rd_Town-And-Country_MO_63131_1099918551

This one just blows my mind. People actually live here (then again, it is LA): http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/Nimes-Road_Los-Angeles_CA_90077_1116063815

Seriously. If you're ever bored, just go to any real estate site, type in Las Angeles, CA with 1 million as the minimum and nothing as the max, and you will see some of the most incredible houses ever.

Dubai or Morocco might come in as a close second.

As I look at these houses - while incredibly fun and great daydream material - I can't help but think that

A) they would be a nightmare to clean (though if you can afford a house like that, you probably have an entire cleaning staff)


B) does anyone really need that much living space? And stuff? And multiple chaise lounges throughout the house?

Think about what you could do with that much money that would actually make an eternal difference.

For instance, compare the cost of a 30 second superbowl commercial. $2.6 million was this year's asking price. That's insane for just 30 measly little seconds of airtime, most likely which will be forgotten when the next 30 second commercial comes on.

Know what you could do with $2.6 million? According to World Vision International, they would be able to build 76 health clinics in poverty-stricken countries.

30 second lame GoDaddy.com commercial vs. saving thousands of lives in Uganda, Nicaragua and Peru?

You have got to be kidding me if you would even have to think twice about that.

Don't get me wrong. If we had the finances, we'd buy a great house...Matt's dream is to have a swimming pool. Mine is to have multiple fenced acres so the dogs can have room to run and double sinks in the bathroom so I don't have to see Matt's toothpaste dribbles every morning. One day, maybe.

But I also think there are so many other important things in the world, too.

I know that getting a degree in nursing will be awesome. Job opportunities wherever we live, a nice salary and benefits. Wearing scrubs and Nikes to work every day. Many different fields of medicine to choose from. (I currently have it narrowed down to Geriatrics, Oncology, Forensics and Intensive Care. Yeah. That's not a lot, is it?)

But I pray that I don't lose sight of the big picture. A nursing degree will also open doors to things like medical missions and rural health opportunities. Helping the people who can't afford help. Immunizing and vaccinating babies in countries like Angola, where the life expectancy is only 38 years old and the physician-to-people rate is .08 per every 1000. The infant mortality rate alone is 192.5.

And if for some reason I can't travel to third-world countries to volunteer, maybe $30 or $40 a month would help those who are there. According to Compassion International, just $38 a month provides food and clean water, medical care, educational opportunities, important life-skills training and biblical teachings to children who live in poverty conditions.

I don't know about you, but having a house with 20 bathrooms and a seashell-encrusted vanity can't compare to the satisfaction of knowing you helped better someone's life, no matter how big or small the effort.

Plus, you'd have a lot less toilets to clean.

18 February 2010

The One with the Chocolate Goodness

How do you satisfy a massive chocolate craving without ingesting all the (insert: delicious) calories of a jumbo-size bag of M&M's?

Chocolate Meringues!

10 calories of crunchy, chocolaty goodness. And it makes my house smell like brownies. And I finally got to use the Pampered Chef icing squeezy-tube things that my sister told me I just had to have. A year ago.

Chocolate Meringues


2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar substitute
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: Almond slivers or powdered sugar to sprinkle on top. Or chocolate chips. Or M&M's...depending on how desperate you happen to be at the time.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 250F. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar at the highest speed possible.

It will start out looking kind of gross and soupy. I had to convince myself that I wasn't whipping up baby chickens that never got a chance at a happy little life pecking away at bugs in a sunny little farmyard. Which, in all actuality...never mind. Cocoa powder will soon be added to make all my thoughts and troubles disappear.

Hang on till the chocolate. Hang on till the chocolate.

Right when you think your arm is going to fall off from holding the mixer, the egg goop will start to form peaks. This is a good thing.

Step 2: This is the best part. Throw in the cocoa powder and vanilla, and keep whipping the life out of the egg mixture. It will deflate a little bit, but that's ok. It will look and smell like brownie batter, which is the ultimate power source of all things good and holy, and the absolute cure for world peace. And PMS.

Step 3: The fun part. I filled my little Pampered Chef icing-decorator-squeezy-thing and resisted temptation to squeeze it straight into my mouth. Raw egg, despite copious amounts of cocoa and vanilla, probably wouldn't be a good idea.

Step 4: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and pipe as many little meringue stars as you can get with the mixture. The recipe I followed called for 20 meringues in all, but I made mine a little smaller and got a decent amount of bite-size stars. So. Cute.

Step 5: Bake in oven for 30 minutes, until they are crisp and dry. Then turn the oven off and let the meringues cool in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and place meringues on a pretty plate.

Eat almost all of them without looking your husband in the eye, and prepare yourself to feel ashamed and guilty about the amount of chocolaty goodness you just consumed.

Then remember that the entire recipe is no more than 100 calories (which you easily burned off when you had to chase the dogs down the street when they escaped out the back door) and immediately make plans to make another batch tomorrow night.

The One with the Sweet Potato

I might, just might, be able to get to work on time if a gigantic dog wouldn't decide to lay on my lap during my early-morning-news-coffee-time.

It's just so hard to get out of the recliner with that cuddly lump of fur sound asleep on my legs. It's so warm and cozy...and literally hard to get out of the recliner. I think Knuke weighs 2947 pounds now.

Which reminds me. We stocked up on dog food while we were in Alabama. I freaked and started jumping around the in-law's living room when I saw a PetsMart commercial announcing 20% off dog food sales for President's Day, and I had a PetsMart gift card burning a hole in my pocket from my parents from Christmas.

Can you believe we don't have a PetsMart in Licking? Yeah. Me neither.

Momma W. put their little dog Sheila in her harness, I grabbed Matt's truck keys, and we went out to do some damage.

So this is what we came home with. It totals 178 lbs of dog chow, and you should have seen me pushing it around the store in the cart. I was just so excited to see that each bag was marked down to $19.95. Feeding three big dogs can get expensive...so at these prices, load me up, baby!
"Do you have a dog rescue?" one of the innocent little PetsMart employees inquired.

"Pretty much," said Matt, when I got back from cleaning out PetsMart's Purina supply and told him what the guy had said.

Hey now. Cheap shot.

We really had a great time in Alabama with Matt's parents. We didn't do much, but that was fine with us - down time is always welcome in our life. Throw in some naps and movies and that's the perfect weekend. We also like being able to visit their church. My father-in-law teaches a small group class and he always has some interesting insights into some Bible passage or verse that I've never considered before. And of course, my mother-in-law was just bursting to introduce us to everyone. Every. One.

The entire family went to Longhorn Steakhouse after church for a nice Valentine's Day lunch....along with pretty much the entire city of Huntsville. After what seemed like a 136 hour wait, we finally got a table. Then the fun started.

How in the world do you find anything vegetarian at a steakhouse?

You ignore your husband's eye-rolling and underhanded comments, lift your chin up high and tell the waiter, "I want that." That's how. And that would happen to be a gigantic garden salad with cucumbers and tomatoes drizzled with a tangy-sweet honey mustard, along with a lovely and delicious baked sweet potato. With cinnamon, of course.

Matt had half a cow. Or pig. Or whatever Longhorn slaughters to get their ribs. Animal death. What a great way to celebrate Valentine's Day.

During lunch, Matt's brother Michael asked Matt, "So what did you get Addie for Valentine's Day?"

"She's quitting her job and starting nursing school in May. That's her Valentine's Day present." he responds.

I am so incredibly loved, people.

I'm actually floating pretty high right now. Last night in class we got our tests back that we took last week, and I got a 95% on the lab portion, and - get this - a 100% on the lecture part! I wanted to call my mommy right then and let her know that when she gets the test overnighted in the mail, it better be front and center on the fridge. I can't believe it! A 100% on a microbiology test. Sweet. Maybe I'm more inclined to the sciences than I thought I was.

Then again, I justified my degree in English for the sole fact that I love to read.

PS: Baseball starts in 11 days.

11 February 2010

The One Before the Road Trip

Matt has finally stopped prancing around the house due to the Saints (unfortunate to me and all my Indiana family roots) win on Sunday.

Yeah. It was obnoxious.

I think the best part of the night was when Coach Glasgow decided to wear my Peyton Manning jersey just to annoy Matt. You should have heard him whine.

While not intentional, we kind of had a Colts side of the room (roughly about three of us) and the Saints side - the rest of the group. We were all making fun of each other's teams, which really made Matt's true Southern colors came out.

"Hey," he says. "Shut it or I'll show you what we do with mouthy women in the South."

Bring it.

I got my car out of the snow today by myself (and kitty litter). I have actual superpowers.

So now the celebrating of the Superbowl has ceased, but Matt's still dancing around the house.

It's almost baseball season.

Nineteen days until the first day of practice, to be exact.

The living room smells like rubber and electricity from tees and lights he's testing. Knuke has happily discovered the bucket of baseballs in the kitchen. I'm trying to ignore the infield drag mat that's taking up valuable space under the carport.

And the number one indicator that Matt wants baseball to start in the next .324543 seconds?

He buzzed his head.

I walked in the door from class last night and he just looks at me. Smiling. Which, of course, immediately makes me suspicious of everything. Did he do the dishes? Did he break something? Did something burn down?

He whips off his hat with a "Look!!! Look what I did!!!" It's like a second-grader who's proud of the booger he gave the girl in the seat next to him.

It just about had that effect on me. I can see his scalp. It's precious.

So he's putting on a hat and we're leaving for Alabama tomorrow. I'm telling his mother.

Actually, we're taking a mini-trip to see the 'rents since once baseball starts, we're tied to the house until the season is over (which is for two weeks in August if you count summer baseball). He was supposed to have tomorrow off school, but because of all the snow they're using Friday as a make-up snow day. We're looking forward to getting away for a little bit...it's hard to believe that a little over a month ago we were in Pensacola. It seems so much longer ago than that.

Wonder if his parents could ship in some sand and ocean for our visit? Maybe??

Also considering really - I mean really - getting back into the habit of Clean Eating. Since I can't keep doing the Insanity workouts or start training to run again for awhile, I want to do something that makes me feel good about my choices. I've been re-reading my CE books and found a couple of great CE blogs...I think it might be time to kick it back into gear. It takes more effort and planning, but I think it will be worth it.

06 February 2010

The One with the Blog Award

I've been nominated for my very first blog award!

Thank you, Mel, for the nod! You can find her at her super-cute blog Life as a New Wife.

As part of the nomination, I'm supposed to list 10 interesting facts about myself. You all know I'm already crazy, so let's see what else we can add to the mix.

1. I'm a voracious reader. I know spome people might think it's nerdy, but books are just about the best thing in the world. Thanks mom (a librarian!), for introducing me to the written word. I still remember her reading "Pat the Bunny" to me when I was itty bitty. That's when the obsession started. Seriously. Mom would have to ground me from reading just so I would get my chores done. Matt loves that I love to read - more time for him to watch Sports Center.

2. I love to travel and experience other cultures, and I'm so happy I married a guy who loves to travel as well. I think I could go someplace different every month. The world is such a big, exciting place, and we only get this one life here on earth - why not experience it to the fullest? I would hate to die and not ever know what Austria or Brazil or Poland looks like.

3. Speaking of Poland...I'm Polish. Yep. That's where my addiction to anything carbohydrate and doughy and sugary comes from.

4. I hate eggs. I have a tendancy to refer to them as aborted chickens, and that little white glob that's usually in eggs is the part of the baby chick that tried to form but didn't have a chance. I have to force myself to eat them because I know the whites are a low-calorie major source of protein, but they make me gag.

5. Most everyone knows this, but it's still fun to bring into conversations: I grew up in a funeral home. Our halloween parties rocked.

6. I secretly like hokey tv shows on TLC like "The Little Couple" and "19 Kids and Counting."

7. I'm terrified of fish and everything else that swims in open bodies of water. I get panic attacks when I swim at the Lake or go near the ocean. When Matt and I were in Florida and we saw some jellyfish washed up on the beach, I swore I could feel them crawling all over me.

8. I love to sing and I love to play the piano. I just can't do both at the same time very well.

9. I'm working on my third degree. BA in English, Master's in Business, and now I'm going for my BS in Nursing. I would really like to be a full-time student - there's so many things out there to learn, and I'm a big advocate of knowledge and furthering your education. Fulfill your potential!

10. I'm musical and a bookworm. My husband is all sports. Yet we have an amazing marriage and somehow make everything work. It's not without it's tough days, but for the most part we have a lot of fun. He puts up with my reading and singing around the house, while I try to overlook the fact that he can recall random sports stats from years ago and not what he went to the grocery store for five minutes ago.

05 February 2010

The One with the End

Sixth and final doctor's appointment (in three weeks!): done. Let's count them, shall we?

1. Initial appointment with my OS about my knee.
2. MRI for my knee.
3. Follow-up appointment about my knee. Revealed a strain, and received a suggestion to see my regular doctor to figure out why my foot keeps going numb while I walk/run/workout.
4. Appointment with my doc. He orders more tests, mostly to rule out MS...since my family medical history states my sis has it, it always throws up red flags.
5. MRI for my brain. Follow-up call the next day reveals that everything is perfectly fine with it.

My husband is quick to disagree. He got my cold feet on his back in the middle of the night for that.

The sixth appointment was today a physical medicine doc.

It. Was. Not. Fun.

First of all, there's nothing like standing pantsless in front of a man while he marks all over your leg and foot, then hooks you up to electrode pads that have a lot of little wires coming out of them.

Then the electricity starts. Apparently a necessity for a nerve conduction study.

And it hurts. I now feel kind of bad for making my sister stick her tongue on batteries and telling her it was ok to put scissors in the light socket when we were little.

The result is that my nerve conduction is perfect. No chance of MS, so I was glad that was ruled out. Kind of feel bad that my sister has to go through a lot of those tests. Like, all the time.

However, the doc was concerned about how my tendons were reacting to the electric shocks. As in, they weren't performing.

Meaning I have a bad case of tendinitis and shin splints that he thinks has been building for the past year or so...which is why my back felt like it snapped last weekend. The study concluded that I've been overcompensating for the knee pain, which is why other parts of my body are reacting so adversely. I've been so worried about not hurting my knee, I'm not staying aligned properly while I run and work out.

He said that taking a week off might make the pain go away, but it won't make the problem go away. And if I don't do something about it, I'll have to deal with arthritis earlier than I'd like to.


The verdict: no running, no Insanity, no power-walking for exercise for four to six months. MONTHS. The only things I can do is swim, bike or use a stairclimber. Ugh. I was just proud of myself for holding my tears until I called Matt.

So I'm just so discouraged. I'm one of those people that love to exercise - it makes me feel like I've accomplished something and I just feel better about myself when I break a sweat. I feel healthy. Complete. And Matt and I were having so much fun doing Insanity together.

I know I need to heal, but I don't have to be happy about it. Ok, ok...I'll be happy and grateful I don't need surgery. Happy...tomorrow.

At least I got to leave work early because of all the sleet and snow. That's positive, right?

Now back to a freakishly graphic book for microbiology called "The Hot Zone," about the Washington D.C. Ebola outbreak in the 80's.

Talk about uplifting and positive.

02 February 2010

Tik Tok

First of all, I can't get Ke$ha's song "Tik Tok" out of my head. If anyone has a solution for this, please let me know. The catchiness is making me bounce all over my house...and the dogs have gone into hiding.

And speaking of bouncing all over the house, I woke up this morning without (hardly) any back pain. And who says multiple muscle relaxers aren't a good idea?

Note: if you do in fact decide to take multiple muscle relaxers, make sure you're ready for bed before 8pm. If not, you will most likely sleep through your alarm and be woken by the slurpy tongues of big, smelly, morning-breath dogs.

So the first thing I did when I got to work was cancel my doctor's appointment. Yeah. Matt wasn't happy.

Know what I wasn't happy about? Matt, at 10:30 last night, poking me in the side until I was awake and asking, "Did you do Insanity today? Only a couple hours left!!"

I literally growled at him. Was he serious? Heating pad on my back, hot baths with those muscle soaking salts that my sister got me and a whole sleeve of muscle relaxers in less than 48 hours? Was he for real?

He the gently leaned over to my side of the bed, and - I thought I was going to get a sympathy kiss - he gleefully whispered in my ear, "I wiiiiinnnnnnn!!!"

I wanted to kill him.

The boy needs to be coaching something. This off-season stuff is ridiculous. He has way too much pent-up energy.

So despite my husband being so wonderful and caring, my back is better. Which was good, since we did this at work today:

That entire van and truck (front and back!) are full of boxes of medicines and medical supplies the hospital is donating to Haiti. PCRMC pledged $5000 worth of items, and I got to head up the project. The main items are medicines for children and infants (remember liquid cherry Tylenol?), gauze, antibiotic ointments and surgical masks and gloves. Apparently kid's meds are hard to come by down there, and those poor babies are just laying there waiting for relief. So here it comes!

The lady in the black jacket in this picture heads up a humanitarian group in Rolla, and will be taking the supplies to Springfield tomorrow to the Convoy of Hope. CoH has teams going to Haiti every couple weeks, so on top of our $5000 worth of supplies, we're also doing an employee donation drive for the next couple weeks.

So in a nutshell, I've decided to take a recovery week for Insanity. One week off and I'll start back again fresh next Monday. I wanted to start again tonight, but if there's one thing I learned during marathon training, it's the importance of giving yourself time to rest and heal - unless you really, really want a worse injury down the road.

Don't stop, make it pop
DJ blown my speakers up
Tonight I'mma fight
Till we see the sunlight
Tick tock on the clock
But the party don't stop
No oh, oh oo whoa oo whoa oh
Oh oo whoa oo whoa oh
Oh oo whoa oo whoa oh

Seriously! Can't stop singing this song in my head!

Oh oo whoa oo whoa oh....

01 February 2010

Baby Got Back...Problems

The reason why there hasn't been a post in a week is because Insanity is sapping the life out of me.

Actually, that's not true.

It's Insanity mixed with Microbiology (just started last week), some weird, freaky medical tests (also last week) seven inches of snow and more doctors appointments this week.

Therefore, I have a confession.

Today is the first day in three weeks I'm skipping a workout. Ughhhh. That means Matt wins.

Before I crawl under my bed in shame, can I justify my actions? Here we go.

I had something really, really freaky happen yesterday. Church was cancelled because the snow, so I decided to do something really sweat-inducing and strenuous instead: read an Adriana Trigiani book in my warm, comfy recliner. Blackberry tea and cinnamon toast included.

All of a sudden, I couldn't breathe. It felt like the whole right side of my back was seizing up, and I couldn't even get out of the chair. Think of a really, really bad muscle strain. Then picture it ripping in half. Yeah. That's what it felt like.

I figured that maybe I turned wrong or it was just a random muscle pull. I thought it would go away, so I hobbled upstairs and took a muscle relaxer and planned to take a nap.

(I guess I should explain at this point that Matt had been gone since 6:30 in the morning with some baseball players on their way to JeffCo. He didn't return to find me hunched over like an 80-year-old until 7:00 that night.)

Anyway, the muscle relaxer did absolutely nothing. Swallowing air would have been more effective. I was in so much pain that I just wanted to cry and scream. I couldn't even take a deep breath without the muscle seizing up, and don't even ask me about yawning or sneezing. Death would have been a welcome release.

When Matt finally got home, he found me trying to sit at a weird angle in the recliner with a heating pad against my back (which didn't help). He told me to take another muscle relaxer, so I did (which didn't help). I got ready to go to bed, and about collapsed as I tried to climb onto the mattress - it was so soft that every time I sank down my back would spasm. I ended up sleeping sitting up, propped against two pillows.

Not. Fun.

Matt happily reminded me that that's exactly how his back started feeling before he got diagnosed with shingles last year - just random, ripping back pain on one side of the body that appeared out of nowhere.

Thanks for the encouragement. That's not going to give me nightmares.

I woke up this morning (is it really waking up if you never got to sleep?) and, I don't know how it's possible, but my back pain is worse. I still can't take a full breath or reach out my arm or twist or turn or bend down without that back-muscle-is-ripping-in-half feeling. Driving to work was...interesting. Try turning the steering wheel when every time you move your right arm you feel excruciating pain. Matt made me promise to make a doctor's appointment, which I have for 11:30 tomorrow.

We'll see what happens. It's probably nothing, but as I sit here typing this I'm just very, very aware of the pain shooting up my back.

I'm thinking that doing a round of Insanity tonight is completely out of the question, unless the neighbors want to hear me scream like I'm getting murdered.

But there is some good news.

Matt and I had our Insanity Fit Test #2 last Monday, and we both improved in every category. We were so excited to see that this Insanity stuff really works. Here's our numbers:

Mine are in teal, Matt's are the dark blue. I know that some of those numbers look low...I actually thought that too after looking at other people's fit test results online. That was before I tried the actual exercise. Whoooooo, those globe jumps are killer. And I lost two more pounds at weigh in!

So like I mentioned, on top of Insanity and medical problems and getting buried under seven inches of snow, my Microbiology class started Wednesday. Oye. I don't want to say anything bad about the class or instructor (yet), so let's just suffice it to say that I'm very, very happy that Micro is the only class I'm taking this semester. It's going to be a serious test of what I'm made of before the start of nursing school.

Which I just realized is coming up in less than four months. Woot woot!

And our snowstorm was really fun.

Love this one:

Ok, off to find more muscle relaxers. Which should not be mixed with Microbiology textbooks, unless 7:30pm is your target bedtime.