Man, I've been meaning to blog for weeks, but I get distracted and then forget what I was even going to say. So. Here are some things on my brain recently.
Sia's new album - really v good. You can listen on Prime Music. It's an album of reject songs she wrote for other popstars. Reaper, Bird Set Free and Broken Glass are my favorites so far. Bird Set Free is a total anthem. Also, did you watch her on Fallon? It will be in your head for hours.
ban.do giveaway - I won that giveaway in December and just got one of the prizes. It's a sweatshirt that is meant to be kind of "girl power", "girlfriends - yay!", but I feel as a 36 year old single girl in Seattle it just comes off as more "lesbian" (not that there is anything wrong with that). Thoughts?
Grease Live - I haven't watched any previous Live musicals, because I just couldn't. We recorded this one and after reading lots of good things, I sat down and pressed play. Now I fast-forwarded through 90% of the dialogue, but the music and production was excellent. And it was just fun. I haven't watched a musical in my living room in AGES and it was really wonderful to sit and singalong. Every note, every word and every pause and inflection buried deep in my brain. I owned the Grease soundtrack on record and it was my first CD. I'm an old school fan so it was nice to enjoy this one too.
Pepper's birthday - Alena skipped her own and instead held a birthday party for her bunny Pepper. Of course. Behold.
carrot cake, bunny tail cups for our Dr. Peppers, salad bar, "Hoppy Birthday", Pepper in a party hat
Valentine's Day - I've been collecting things from the Target Dollar Spot for a while to send to my nieces and nephews. It's getting more difficult because 14 year olds don't want the same things as a 4 year old. When I was diagnosed two years ago, Simon's first reaction was asking if that meant I wouldn't be sending a Valentine package. I loved that so much. It's coming this year, bud.
Lots of other things - I went to see The Marriage of Figaro (opera) on Saturday night and it was great. Great comedy and crazy to read the lyrics from over 200 years ago and realize that relationships between women and men and women never change. And I realized I knew one of the ariettas only because it's sung in a Jane Austen movie. BBC P&P episode 5 to be exact. When Darcy is looking at her like this:
I've been watching/listening to a lot of Jane Austen lately. Partly because of projects and I like it on in the background, partly because I'm prepping for P&P&Zombies this weekend (!) and partly because it's Valentine's season and I love love.
Hey! Guess what we're going to talk about? Cancer. I know. I know, but this time of year always brings it right to the front of my mind. I log my daily activities on my calendar and 1/21/14 just says "work - crying on the curb". I wasn't allowed to drive because of the fainting and I was waiting for someone to come pick me up from work. I was so fatigued and all I could do was cry, because I had no idea why and I was in pain and no doctors were helping me. That Friday I took matters into my own hands and scheduled a doctor's appointment to force someone to take action.
sidebar: In When Breath Becomes Air, even a neurosurgeon couldn't get his doctor to schedule a CT scan when he had severe back pain and weight loss. She started with an x-ray that showed nothing and delayed his diagnosis by months. THE WORST!!!
A friend texted me the other day to ask what my specific cancer was and it prompted me to google it for any new information. Everything you read on the internet says the same thing - your surgeon is the most important factor in survival rates. The recurrence rates are higher in smaller hospitals that don't see this tumor as often. Let's all just take a moment to say a silent thank you to Gary. In the emails between my boss and the Chair of Surgery this is what he had to say:
"Dr. Gary M8nn who of all of us that deal with this tumor is the most experienced and the most interested and knowledgeable."
Now that Gary is at MD Anderson, it confirms to me that he is one of the best. Also knowing how egotistical surgeons can be, it's so nice to know that he put aside whatever ego he had and called in help to assist with my hepatectomy (liver resection). He wanted to make sure they got everything.
another sidebar: In When Breath Becomes Air, he talks about a whipple procedure and how it's one of the biggest surgeries there is and you will feel like you got hit by a truck afterward. Gary told me my surgery was "as big as they come", but until you hear it from someone totally unrelated to your situation, it's sort of hard to take it seriously.
At my appointment with my oncologist last week, it was surprising (but not) to hear her say that she didn't expect to get to this point - twenty months post surgery and no recurrence. The further away we get, the less likely it is to return. So keep crossing your fingers.
I don't really know what my point is, but sometimes I just want to talk about it. It's all the same information though. Sorry about that. Thanks if you made it this far.
Want to hear the stupidest thing? Last week I tried to pick up three prescriptions for my B12 shot. They would only give me one because it was two days too early for the other two. There has to be 30 days between each refill or insurance won't pay. My doctor's office sent in new prescriptions and when I went to fill it yesterday, they gave me 100 needles and 100 syringes. It was dumb and weird, but the cost was only $17 so I just took it. It was costing me $6/month to get them one at a time. HOW IN THE WORLD DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE?!?!?!
Monday night I started and finished Paul Kalanithi's new book When Breath Becomes Air. I finished around 2:30am and then cried for a solid half hour. Such a waste. He's a beautiful writer and I don't really know what else to say except that you should read it. I quoted some of his articles here and my goodness. It's just so heartbreaking, but a great perspective from a doctor turned patient. We should talk about it sometime.
Work is kind of frantic right now and will be for the next month. I actually better get back to it now. I wanted to share a few pictures from Vashon Island this weekend.
Oh, Christmas. I stayed in Seattle again and I'm pretty happy to spend my day alone. But then I start to waffle because when people hear about my plans they either say, "that sounds amazing" or they get this sort of head-tilt/sad look on their face and then I start to feel bad about my day. Don't pity me! I'm really OK.
On Wednesday evening, Meredith and Susan came over and we hate-watched Mariah Carey's "A Christmas Melody" Hallmark movie. It was truly terrible, but very fun to watch.
I got to leave work around 10:45 on Christmas Eve and I went downtown to pick up some pajamas from JCrew. The good part about waiting until the last minute to buy is getting a 60% discount. Yes, to $19 pajamas. I was home for the day and was in pajamas by 3:00pm, but then ended up going out to dinner with some friends so I had to get dressed again.
I facetimed with family and then decided to go downtown late, late at night and take some pictures of the pretty lights and empty streets. I wasn't the only one. People were down there with tripods set up.
I spent Christmas Day facetiming with my nieces and nephews and getting the lowdown on their new presents and then read and watched movies all day.
On Saturday we went out I-90 to play in/look at the snow. It was beautiful, but cold and very crowded and busy.
We headed into North Bend and ate lunch at Twede's Diner (Twin Peaks fame) and look at these portions! It was ridiculous. I got a HALF portion of biscuits and gravy...riiiight.
After scooping up a few bargains at the outlets ($9 skirt!), we headed home and I made a stop at Target for after-Christmas sales.
On Monday I had my final CT scan of the year. I'll get the results next week. I got SO sick after this one, which freaks me out, but I'm sure it's fine and had more to do with crappy holiday eating.
Anyway, back at work and trying to avoid making NYE plans.
It's been a few years since I've made it home for this annual holiday tradition. Mandy was kind enough to call a few months ago and asked if I wanted to come home for baking weekend or Star Wars weekend. Both are big events for our family. I chose this one since I already had Star Wars plans and she got me a miles ticket and we didn't tell anyone I was coming.
We had fun surprising everyone, but I think the best was my mom's outburst, "JENNY!" It was great. We headed down to Houston and made a grocery run on Friday night before we started in earnest on Saturday morning. I was sick a lot of the morning, but rallied for the afternoon and evening. We concentrated on the dipped ritz this year and only made a few other items. Still an overwhelming amount of goods though. Sunday morning we woke to a weather-related power outage, but after a few hours it came back on and we were able to finish. I even got to sneak in quick visits with Kim, Holly, and Seshu.
The weather went from the mid-70s, to thunderstorms/tornadoes, to freezing. Texas weather. . .
I went back up to Dallas with Shelly on Sunday night and spent Monday morning working from bed before I left for the airport. Aaron was downstairs and called my name, "Jenny! If I'm downstairs by myself, I'm all alone" so he came upstairs with me and cuddled in bed watching my iPad (he was shocked I only owned one;) while I worked. The baby of five siblings isn't used to alone time I guess.
Anyway, it was a great pre-holiday visit and I'm trying to get back again in January for more niece/nephew and friend time. Thanks again, Matt and Mandy!
My goodness, the rain has been relentless the past few days. We had the darkest December day in 9 years on Monday. December. . .killing it.
Have you guys ever seen these scrunched up, mini poinsettias before? I hadn't until Monday and now I WANT all the poinsettias. Is this just the beginning stage of the bloom or an actual variety? I need to know! (edited to add: they are called Winter Rose variety) Do you think I could ask my boss for this specific type for this year's holiday bonus? They look similar to dahlias. Anyway, nothing really interesting to talk about. Life is chugging along.
Do you have any shows that you could suggest for binging over the holidays? I always have lots of free time when everyone is out of town. Hit me with your favorites.
Also, are any of you on Snapchat? I follow like 8 people and I don't find it that interesting. Do you? People aren't that great on video, but I will say that when people are gone, video is such a wonderful thing to have of them. To hear their voice and see them move. Makes me want to video my every interaction. I wish it was more of a instinct to turn on video instead of just a picture.
I took way too long last night to try and get some decent photos of my Christmas decorations. I know it seems silly, but I really do enjoy looking back and seeing them. So suffer through my ridiculousness.
I do enjoy the tradition of skulking down the street and cutting the holly from my neighbor's yard.
I seriously have to limit myself to two Trader Joe's boxwood wreaths every year. At only $10 I cannot resist.