Thursday, July 28, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...

Yup, the title of this post totally made me burst into song. (You know me so well.)

Here are some fun pics that bring me joy. The kind of joy that only comes from seeing things that remind me of my grandparents, of my childhood, of "cousin bonding" in the back room at Grammy's, of the smell of Dial soap and the taste of Tin Roof Sundae ice cream.

Does anyone know who made these? They're in Kathy's bathroom, but in the back of my head, I'm thinking Cindy made them at a Homemaking meeting. Any of my favorite aunts want to take a stab at where this came from?

Ahhh... the label maker. It's a thing of legend in the Ball family.

More label-made magic. (I love Grandad!)

Whom among us doesn't love the tissue paper flowers? They're one of my earliest memories, and I was super happy to see them again.

I so spun in the chairs. Bwuah-ha-ha...

I love the memories that all of these things bring back to me. I love my grandparents, and I love my cousins and I'm so grateful for all the funny and quirky things that we have in common because our grandfather was a label maker and our grammy didn't want us to spin in chairs or touch the pole.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My whirlwind week.

I went back to work last Thursday. A week ago. I've been back at work for a week. (Well, kind of. I'm only part-time through the end of the month. Which is a blessing, since I can hardly stand to sit.)

Anyway, I went back to work. And then I proceeded to have one of the busiest weeks of my life. I don't even know how all this stuff came out of the woodwork. I've been swamped, and tired (exhausted, really), but I've also been super happy. It's been a good week.

I'll show you what I did. That'll be fun for everyone, I am sure.

I went and saw this movie:

It was, in a word, brilliant. Seriously, fantastic. (If you haven't read the books, you need to do it now. Because I'm not gonna lie, the book is better. But still, the movie was pretty epic.) Here's a little teaser:

My one complaint was that the Fred thing didn't go down quite right. (C'mon. All I'm asking for is for him to see Percy and to get a good laugh in. That would have added, like, 5 seconds to the film. Is 5 seconds too much to ask? I think not.) Other than missing the Weasely thing by a hair, it was fab. I mean, FAB. I started weeping when McGonagall started the enchantment to protect the school and didn't stop until about 2 days later. (True story. It came up in conversation at Sunday dinner and I started to cry - in a good way - all over again.) One of the most incredible stories of good vs. evil that I've ever read. I'm so sad that it's over, but I'm so glad that the movie was done so well. The ending was exactly perfect.

I weep. (Even now, just remembering.)

The theater was full - I mean, FULL - and people clapped and cheered at all the right parts. It was awesome.

I also saw this movie:

Soooo not a warm & fuzzy, sweet and sappy story about the Mormon pioneers. It was harsh, and it was hard. And that's exactly why I liked it. I liked that they showed that it was hard. It was hard. Really hard. But, with all my heart, I believe that it was worth it. (Also, I want to marry Levi Savage. Too bad I don't look enough like Sandra Bullock.)

I've whipped right through season one of my new favorite show:

Leverage. It's like Ocean's 11 and Burn Notice got married and had 5 criminally-minded con men babies with a Robin Hood complex. I'm in love.

And while I've been waiting for Netflix to send the next Leverage dvd, I've been catching up on one of my all-time favorites:

Sam Axe. I so love him.

One of the best things about the summer of 2010? Surgery took me totally out of commission and before I knew it, I'd missed the first half of Burn Notice Season 4. I opted to not even try to catch up and just buy the dvd's. ... Best. Decision. Ever. Being able to chain-watch 20+ new-to-me episodes of Sam? My version of a good weekend.

I read this book:

And I loved it. So much. So much more than I remember loving it last time. The language is incredible. The imagery is so vivid that the town practically comes to life. The moral lessons (that are taught on so many levels) are life-changing. Ahhhh... Such a good read. If you haven't read it, you must!

And I'm about halfway through this book:

Charles Dickens was the man. I'm so loving this book! (Of course, I'm not allowed to read it at night, because it's a little much for me. But that's ok. I can watch Burn Notice and/or Leverage at night, as they aren't the kind of thing that makes me think about the horrors of being hidden away from the world for 18 years.)

I went to the doctor AND the dentist yesterday on my day off. It was my final follow-up with my surgeon (hopefully, forever). This is how it went down:

The Good Doctor: Do you have your next 90 day scan scheduled? (He cracks me up. Like he thinks I'm ever going to let 90 days go by without being scanned? Hi, I'm the girl who grew a second tumor in less than 100 days. Uh, yeah, I have my next appt scheduled.)

Me: Yup.

Him: *eyebrows raised* (If you've met him, you know this look. It means that he's questioning me. ... I don't know how I know that he's questioning me, mind you, because he has never actually verbally questioned me, but trust me, it was a question.)

Me: My last appt was June 22nd. My next is scheduled for Sept 17th. (Because I am a "bury with proof" communicator, and I felt the need to make sure he knew that I'm taking this 90 day check-up thing seriously.)

Him: Has the oncologist told you what the follow-up will be for the future?

Me: Yup, every 90 days. Forever.

Him: Forever?

Me: That's what I understand. ... Something about how it came back so quickly the first time. They may relax it to every 6 months if I don't have another recurrence in the next 5 years, but for now? ... Every 90 days. Forever.

Him: That's a long time.

Me: I know. (It's the rest of my life in 3 month increments. Seriously - that's a long time.) And it will be expensive. This is why I must always have insurance. ... Or a rich husband. (We've had this talk before, the doctor and I. He knows good and well that the only reason I was willing to go through the abdominal surgery and possible cancer treatments for the second time in 12 months was because I had my own personal fantasy that it was all so I could meet a single oncologist who'd want to take care of me for the rest of my life. ... We all know how that little fantasy played out. Or didn't, rather.)

Him: I know. *smirking*

Me: And you know that I'm not doing a great job of finding a rich husband on my own, so if you could just keep an open eye on the medical community for me, I'd appreciate it.

Him: Sure, sure. (I got half a chuckle out of him. This, btw, is an accomplishment.)

Me: But all you can tell him is that you have this great patient that you think he should meet. You can't tell him that I'm neurotic, or that I make appointments just to come in and ask you questions.

Him: Of course not. *smiling*

Me: Thank you. ... For agreeing to help me find a husband. Oh, and for saving my life. Twice. And for operating on my bum. (Which also saved my life.) And for being a great doctor.

Him: You're welcome.

I love that man. I mean, I love him. If anyone ever needs the name of a surgeon in the greater Phoenix area, you just let me know. I couldn't recommend him or his quirky bedside manner highly enough - and I get compliments all the time (I'm not even kidding) on my scar. (Apparently, he does good work. Every single nurse and/or doctor who's seen my abdominal incision has raved about how clean the lines are.)

So, I've been busy. I've been working, and watching movies and tv shows and doing laundry and eating fudgecicles and getting stuff caught up and put away and taking care of medical and dental needs. I've been a busy little bee, to be sure.

But you want to know what I sure haven't done? You can probably guess.

It's not hard.

I mean, really - it's not a hard guess.

It's basically the easiest guessing game ever played.

Just think of the one thing that we all know that I never, ever do.

That's right. Vacuum. ... Maybe I'll do that next week. (But probably not.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

True, that.

Ah, Arizona!

The devil wanted a place on earth
Sort of a summer home
A place to spend his vacation
Whenever he wanted to roam.

So he picked out Arizona
A place both wretched and rough
Where the climate was to his liking
And the cowboys hardened and tough.

He dried up the streams in the canyons
And ordered no rain to fall
He dried up the lakes in the valleys
Then baked and scorched it all.

Then over his barren country
He transplanted shrubs from hell.
The cactus, thistle and prickly pear
The climate suited them well.

Now the home was much to his liking
But animal life, he had none.
So he created crawling creatures
That all mankind would shun.

First he made the rattlesnake
With it's forked poisonous tongue.
Taught it to strike and rattle
And how to swallow it's young.

Then he made scorpions and lizards
And the ugly old horned toad.
He placed spiders of every description
Under rocks by the side of the road.

Then he ordered the sun to shine hotter,
Hotter and hotter still.
Until even the cactus wilted
And the old horned lizard took ill.

Then he gazed on his earthly kingdom
As any creator would
He chuckled a little up his sleeve
And admitted that it was good.

Twas summer now and Satan lay
By a prickly pear to rest.
The sweat rolled off his swarthy brow
So he took off his coat and vest.

"By Golly, " he finally panted,
"I did my job too well,
I'm going back to where I came from,
Arizona is hotter than Hell. "

Monday, July 18, 2011

Three reasons why I need it to rain.

1) So my car will be clean.
2) So the dust will leave the air.
3) So I'll stop thinking that I should drive my car into the lake. (Which is really just a variation of #1.)

Seriously, on my way home tonight I was looking through my gritty, filthy, mud-stained windshield and I was thinking that I should just give it up and go to a car wash. ... Then I turned the corner onto Rio Salado, glanced over at the lake and thought "Or I could just drive the car through the shallow end of the lake".

Uh, no.

No, I don't think my 10 year old Dodge Neon could drive through even "the shallow end" of the lake.

Also, I don't know that there IS a shallow end, since I'd rather DIE than get in fish-and-other-creepy-underwater-creature-infested waters.

Clearly, I need it to rain. Why? Because (maybe) that will make my brain work better.

Good grief.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It amazes me.

My body, that is.

Mostly, in a good way.

Not that it's an amazing body, per se. It just amazes me. :-)

When I think about all the things that my body has done, had happen, learned and re-learned in the past 12 months, I am amazed. When I remember how I felt a year ago, six months ago, a month ago, and I compare that to how I feel now (even with a stomach bug that's ensuring I have the cleanest colon on the block), I am amazed.

Don't get me wrong, it's still not in tip-top shape (and who's kidding who - we all know me and my love affair with butter ... I will never have a "tip-top" bod) but it's my body. It's gone through a lot, it's really tired and the funniest things make me sore in the weirdest places, but it still works. In a lot of ways, it works better than it ever has.

I am amazed.

And grateful.

The End.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Heh heh heh...

I love Batman.

The End.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

She's my favorite. (Also, I heart Jim Rockford.)

As any frequent reader of my blog will know, my mom rocks.

I mean it. Seriously, she rocks!

For a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that she's come every single time I've had surgery in the last year (which was a lot of times - three) and has taken care of me (and the shopping, and the driving, and the vacuuming, and the laundry and the dish-washing ... you get the picture) while I'm down for the count.

I love her. Like, totally. (In a different way than how I love Nathan. ... But more.)

Not only is she super nice, but she's fun (and funny), a great little alterer of dresses and skirts and shirts, and we have very much the same taste in entertainment - which makes for a good time. This last time she was here, we watched a lot of classic TV. Our favorite? Hands down, The Rockford Files. Mom's favorite part of the show? The answering machine messages at the beginning of the episode. Per Mom, and I quote, "We should have something like that at church. If we did, no one would be late. ... I sure never wanted to be late to watch The Rockford Files, because I knew I'd miss the answering machine!"

This is for you, Mom. Enjoy! ... Well, enjoy the messages. Don't look at the pictures. They're a little grody, esp the pizza. (These slides were - obviously - not chosen by me.) You know what they should have shown as images for the 3 or so minutes of play time? James Garner, that's what. Over and over again. And then again. (Too bad no one ever asks my opinion before they make and upload a youtube video, right?)

Mom and I had a blast fast-forwarding through the car-chase and/or driving scenes in Rockford, so we could get right back to enjoying the witty dialogue and circa 1974 cars and wardrobe.

Seriously, Rockford's a good time.

Just like Ude. (Well, not just like her. In a different way than her. ... Kind of like how I love her, and how I love Nathan, but differently. You know what I mean.)

Besides watching TV, Mom and I:

altered many pieces of clothing
watched Jane, and The Pie Maker and Dan (amongst other things)
baked to our little hearts' content
ate fudgecicles, Chinese food, raspberries, chocolate cake and fried chicken (listen - I have cravings, severe cravings - don't judge)

Of course, we also went to the doctors a lot of times and she listened to me whine about the gauze in my bum and my broken tooth. So, it's not like it was all a party.

But, in retrospect, it was mostly a party. Why? Because she's my favorite, and when I weigh the hard/bad things against the good ... with her, the good always outweighs the bad. I'm so lucky that she's my mom and my friend. (And that she likes fried chicken and chocolate cake as much as I do.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Oh. My. Stars.

Watch this. Right now!

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for lawyers. (I kid. ... Sort of.)

I heart Francis Scott Key. (Always have. The man had a way with words. You know how that gets me.) I can get through the first verse okay, but the second verse slays me.

"What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:’Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave."

The "as it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses" makes me choke. Every time. The visual imagery that verse brings almost always makes it impossible for me to actually sing the third verse (which is a crying shame - no pun intended - because the third verse is even more beautiful than the first two)!

I'm so grateful for my country, for my heritage, for my freedom ... for the men and women who do and have served in our military ... for the men who died holding the flag while the British bombed Fort Henry.

Oh. My. Stars.

I am so grateful.

Happy Birthday, America! I love you!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Canada!

She's 144 today, folks. (How do I know? Because I am a good girlfriend and I follow Nathan Fillion on Twitter.)

So, this one goes out to my two favorite Canadians...

My one true celebrity love, of course.

And my Lizzie. (Do you know how hard it is to find a picture of your friend alone, when she is a wife and a mother of three? Impossible. That's how hard it is. So, I finally gave up and am posting this one of her and Baby Drew, even if he was born on American soil.)

Happy Canada Day!

And the survey says...

A few days ago, Mom and I had a Science Experiment Dinner.

Grilled PB & J (raspberry jam - it's a must)


Grilled PB & Nutella

I put the question to my FB friends, and received a few comments/votes.

Per my public, there was a 50% response that Nutella was the way to go, a 30% response that PB & J would be their preferred grilled sandwich, and the remaining 20% commentary was made up of ... well, commentary ... as well as suggestions for other grilled PB concoctions. (PBJ & F = peanut butter, (raspberry, of course) jam and marshmallow fluff and PB & C = peanut butter and cheese.)

*As it would turn out, both the suggestions came from the Weagles. So you know that now I'm curious and will have to try both. Why? Because if there's one thing I've learned about Weagles, it's that you should trust them in all things food related. They know good food. The End.

For Judy and me, we're gonna have to go with the grilled PB & J all the way. Seriously, people, they're SO good! If you've never tried it, you must. One tip I will give you, load the sandwich. Like, twice as much jam and peanut butter as you would usually use. You want it nice and gloppy.