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Friday, February 24, 2017

Checkup

I went to my semi-annual dermatology appointment today.  I'm moley.  It turns out that moles I THINK are dangerous are harmless and those I think seem harmless are malevolent.  So I go to the dermatologist and he checks me out twice a year just to be safe.  They take pictures with an ipad and then compare my moles today to my moles from the past and flag the changers.

I have this mole-ish thing on my thigh.  It's been there for years.  He said a name for it.  He said it's fine.  He always says it's fine.  Which...is why I go see him, because I wouldn't have thought it was fine.  I told him so.  He said, "it does all the things we tell you to worry about, but it's still harmless.  It turns out it's genetic."  Well...if it's genetic. Nothing genetic could be a problem.

"These things save lives," he continued.  "People think there's a problem and they come to get them checked, and because they come in we spot something they might NOT have caught that ISN'T harmless."  So basically my thigh-mole-thing is a hero.

My dermatologist told me that his brother was a pilot in Iraq.  He told me that he asked him once what it was like being a pilot in Iraq and apparently his brother told him, "It was a target-rich environment."  He told me the story after he peeled the paper gown away from my chest.  In terms of moles, he said, "you're a target-rich environment."

Don't worry, this story ends happily.  He examined and catalogued my moles and had his assistant take some pictures, pronounced me healthy and told me I could get dressed and he'd see me in 6 months.

Writer technique...FLASHBACK!

When I started this appointment they asked me if I wanted a gown or just to take my shirt off.  Considering I knew he wanted to examine "all of me" I figured rather than sitting bare-ass on butcher paper I'd prefer the sparse modesty a gown could offer.  The assistant brought me a paper gown and I disrobed when she left, peeling the paper apart to find the arm holes.

"The opening goes in back," she said.

I put it on and looked for some way to pull the stiff paper closed.  There was a thin plastic strip, perhaps a half inch wide and 36" long that had fallen out of the gown and I attempted to wrap it around myself.  I could make the ends touch but there was no way I'd be able to tie it.  This was not my first paper gown exam rodeo.  I looked for eyelets on the gown...maybe it threaded through them.  There weren't any.  I tossed the strip on my clothes in disgust.
flattering!

I gathered the gown around me and pulled it closed before sitting on the butcher paper and waiting.  "Please don't use cell phones while in the examination rooms".  Whatever.  I didn't though.

Writer technique...PRESENT!!

I crumpled up the paper gown and tossed it in the garbage.  I got dressed and grabbed the "belt strip".

I handed it to the assistant and said, "Explain yourself.  I'm relatively slender and I couldn't tie it, I guarantee you have bigger patients.  There is no wa-"  But she was already holding the strip out in front of her...and...LIFE HACK...She pulled it apart.  The strip didn't snap in half or really even seem to thin out as much as I'd have thought.  She handed it back to me, stretched nearly double.

At the look on my face she laughed delightedly.  "That's how you do it," she said.

I can't POSSIBLY be the only person who has failed to see the solution to the short-belt problem.  If I am, please feel free to laugh at me.  If not...use this life hack for your next appointment.




Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Lookin' Up

I've been doing a pretty good job of watching what I eat.  I've been doing an "okay" job of getting exercise.  I guess from my perspective any concerted effort to get any exercise is better than the complete LACK of that I was previously getting.  It's like Lizzy used to tell us (a dietician at work who gave us a 6 week brown bag series on nutrition)...it's about making better choices. 

So I've been trying to get out and walk for fifteen minutes every day at work, but I haven't been as diligent at home.  I'm not beating myself up about it, I'm still eating much better, and I'm focusing on doing things that help my overall mental health, so if I don't get a walk/run in on the treadmill it's not the end of the world.

One of the things I've been doing is sampling vegetarian food choices.  I'm not going vegetarian or plant-based, or whatever...at least not yet...but I'm just seeing what the dark side has to offer.  Since 90% of my dining is Asian, it's amazingly simple to just make the meat disappear and still have a great entree.  Other things I'm doing is attempting to limit my portion sizes to something more...reasonable.  I can eat a dinner sized portion of Hunan chicken, but really it's probably three full servings worth of food.  So I'm trying to just cut it in half and ask for a doggy bag for the other half so I'm not tempted.

I'm back where I was when my pants stopped fitting three weeks ago.  So now that I lost the six pounds I gained without even realizing it...and since I'm already in eat right and exercise mode...I'm going for the next five.  I think ten more total and I'll be content, but for now I'm taking it five at a time.

Myfitnesspal is limiting me to 1,750 calories today, which is actually not that big a deal to maintain, although I do find myself having to talk myself down from grabbing a snack out of the pantry, or at the very least, forcing myself to log that information into the app so that I can see how much damage I'm doing.  In some cases I end up going to bed with a little cushion (not literally, though I do use a pillow), in some cases I'll treat myself to a little something just shy of the goal limit, and in other cases I'll go a little over.

We went to visit my folks last week and mom made steak and brussels sprouts in a cheese sauce, and served wine...and then finished with a chocolate chocolate chip cookie sandwich with fucking marshmallow fluff in between.  So yeah.  Kind of hard to ALWAYS stay under budget.

Stress is less, I think.  Lily is still in the throes of some sort of metamorphosis that is not always super pleasant (like getting spit on or bitten, for example) but she's pretty happy and easy for the most part. 

Emma is more focused at school lately and I'm seeing her grades reflect that, and I've found there's an inversely proportional relationship between her grades and my stress level that has probably been my biggest single source of stress these past six months...yes...autism/money/election included.

My big "project" is done, and I'm eager to show you all what I was working on, but I can't until the recipient receives it, lest I ruin the surprise.  Now I have to pick some new thing to focus my creative energies on.  Room remodel?  Lamp project?  Drawing for Emma? 

I like my new foci, and I feel like they're helping me steer the boat.

Life is feeling good right now and I'd be smelling the roses if I hadn't contracted some sort of cold/flu from Lily and gotten a stuffy nose.  And I'm out of tissues at work. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Free Burrito with Haircut


I suggested she put on the little cape, which worked fine until Lily flung it over her head a few times so that she looked like a little black ghost and completely covered her head.  We made it past or through...and she settled down for about the last 1/3 of the hair cut. 

Well...if you're following along in the haircut process, yesterday I posted three styles I thought would look good for Lily.  They're here.  We ended up splitting the difference between Options 2 and 3, going not quite as short as 3, but not quite as long as 2.  It looks great.  Great job Leigh!
How YOU doin'

It started out a bit rough.  The things that Lily hates most about her hair...combing and clips were all things Leigh needed in order to get her hair cut.  Also..."I don't like rain" when she would spray her hair with the little spray bottle.

And even though she had already eaten her favorite McDonald's earlier that evening, I took her for a special treat after the haircut.  She wanted nuggets and fries.  I thought about getting her a four piece with a kids fry, but I didn't think it would be enough fries, so I just got her a six piece and a small fry.  Like an asshole.

She ate her nuggets like a champ and I pulled around McDonald's to Chipotle, because at that point I hadn't eaten anything yet and it was about 8:15.  Daddy deserved a little treat too.  I'd never taken Lily in to a place like that and gotten something for myself.  Sometimes I just don't want to worry about the fuss or stress.  But I was like...we can do this.  I need to challenge my comfort zone.  So I did.  Like an asshole.

At some point I noticed the woman in front of me kept turning around to look at Lily.  And I'm like...yeah, bitch, she's a princess, drink it in.  But I didn't say that, and instead I looked at Lily who was making the face of someone who wanted to throw up.  Possibly because her father overfed her like a kid with his first goldfish.

And then she settled down a bit, and it was my turn so I started to order, but I kept looking at Lily, because if she had to hurl...and so I kept having to say what every five seconds.

Slack jawed teenage girl (SJTG):  What would you like to order
Me:  Veggie Burrito (I was being so damned healthy too!)
SJTG:  White or brown rice
Me:  What?
SJTG:  White or brown rice
Me:  Oh...I want the lime cilantro rice
SJTG:  The lime cilantro rice comes in white or brown
Me:  What?  Oh...uh...white
SJTG:  Black or pinto beans
Me:  What?
SJTG:  Black or pinto beans
Me:  Uhhhh...black

And so on.

The woman behind me had now taken an interest, asking if Lily was choking and I told her no, that she'd eaten too much and was feeling a little sick.  I sat Lily down and divided my time between ordering and double-checking that Lily wasn't going to throw up in Chipotle as the woman behind me started barking orders at the SJTG behind the counter...Bag!  We need a bag!  No, not a paper bag, do you have a plastic bag!

And so on.

I'm along for the ride at this point.

"Sweetie, you need to put your hands up in the air if you're feeling like you're going to throw up, that will help."

That was about 25 words more than Lily wanted to process at once, and I'm like, "ma'am, she doesn't know what you mean, she's autistic."  And I cringe because I feel like I'm minimizing who Lily is, but I just want the nice lady to leave us alone so I can address the situation my own way. 

She begins taking all the things the SJTG is giving her and engineering some sort of double-contained barf bag apparatus like she's a fucking Apollo 13 astronaut, wrapping one bag inside the other and then turning it inside out or something and folding it at the sides...my attention was divided at this point.

"OH!  My NEPHEW is autistic."  She thrusts the Apollo 13 barf bag into my hands and says, "I'll pay for your order, you just take care of her."

 And I'm telling her it's really not necessary and thank you, but it's okay.

And SJTG is STILL asking me questions...guac? cream cheese? salsa?...and I'm responding "Yes, jesus, yes, all of it...put everything on the goddamn burrito (I didn't swear)...all of the things..."

Lily is now saying, "I have to go potty".  Son of a BITCH!  But...hey...cool points for self initiating.

NOW the nice lady behind me is practically pushing me out the door...I hear her telling SJTG repeatedly...I'll pay. I'll pay, just give him his order...

And she insists on paying for my burrito, and I thank her again as the cashier hands me my free burrito and I walk Lily to the back of the store, asking her if she wants to go home or go potty.  She never actually answered, so I ushered her into the car and drove home.

Lily was fine when we got home.  No throwing up.  Awesome haircut.  Free burrito.

Nailed it!  Thanks nice lady for helping!