Friday, March 28, 2008

A karaoke update (and I didn't even sing)

Last night I went to karaoke with Beth. It's the first time I've seen her since my birthday because I was in no condition to go to karaoke the day after surgery and last week I was busy getting ready for an apartment inspection.*

*You want to get me to clean? Inspect our apartment and then threaten us with possible fees and/or eviction if my bedroom isn't cleaned. Keem will freak and lay down the law. My bedroom is now shiny and new and I am not sleeping with a ton of boxes on the left side of the bed (sleeping single in a double bed, can't toss and turn because I'll hit myself in the head). There's still a lot of boxes I need to go through, ones that I haven't touched since I moved into my apartment building over 6 years ago but I did get rid of a lot of junk and brought a ton of books down to the laundry room (there are bookshelves where you can leave books you don't want and this is awesome).

Also at karaoke was my kick ass niece Betsy. She is the daughter of my half brother, Bruce and she is incredibly awesome. If I knew Bruce's phone number, I would call him to tell him what a great job he did with her. Betsy's going to be graduating from college this year (so will Beth). I told her I'd have to get her a card and do the proud aunt thing and she told me there would be a family party sometime this summer that I could go to. Which I might take her up on. It would be weird because I haven't seen that side of the family since my Dad's funeral (well, except for Betsy) but also kind of fun.

Betsy was playing that bar trivia game, I think the network is NTN or something like that. After Liz and James arrived, I asked Annie (our bartender) for a playing thing (the network calls them playmakers but that just irritates me) and decided to take on Betsy.

Ha. She kicked my ass. At one point, after I got another answer wrong about something that I had never even heard of, I turned to her and told I hated her. She laughed. Apparently she doesn't take my hatred seriously. I sighed and said I should have know, she was smarter than me, younger than me and prettier than me, of course I was getting whupped.

Then I got to witness the argument between her and James which was kind of awesome, if not weird. Both Betsy and James hate Ron Howard as a director but Betsy said Stephen Spielberg was worse. James took umbrage to this and I was then in the middle of a screaming match (okay, not really screaming but funny as hell) while they compared the merits of each director.

The night ended with Betsy and I each pitching in a quarter so we could buy the world's smallest glow stick, just to make sure they weren't really crack vials. She offered it to me. I may scrapbook it.

Beth and I hung out in my garage and talked until about 3:10 this morning. It was great catching up with her. We are going to have a scrapbooking weekend in April which will be loads of fun. Maybe I'll be able to finish Evora. Maybe. Probably not.

I am blaming James and Betsy for my strange dream last night where I was the oldest of 3 children and our father who wasn't really our father would beat us if we did anything wrong and my little brother didn't believe me until he didn't listen to me when I told him we had to be perfectly still when lying in the tiny bed that barely held the 3 of us and moved around and made noises and then our dad came downstairs and beat the heck out of us.

So then we went to this amusement park and these guys asked me to pretend to be a monster so I could play a trick on my fake father and I dressed up in a costume and they did these weird special effects and then I scared my fake father and made him promise to treat us all better and then the guys brought me out to see my family and it turned out they were Ron Howard, George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg & some Hispanic guy whose name I never caught & my father used to be a director as well & we were part of this strange movie that he was filming that was supposed to be like The Truman Show. Then I woke up. And said "WTF was that?"

And it was this and also the grogginess this morning that made me decide that 41 is not the new 21. I am freaking old. Old, tired, cranky and I want to go home.

As Co-Worker Julie said - "So it's a normal day, then?" You'll be pleased to know that I didn't punch her.

Hope you all have a great weekend. Sunday I am going to go to the store that James hates with a fiery passion so I can buy new glasses (Starts with W, ends with Mart, my insurance is through them). Kari is going to go with me because I need a responsible adult to make sure I don't pick out glasses shaped like stop signs. And then, oh joy, we are going to go to Chuck E. Cheese! I can't believe my luck! Small screaming children! How awesome. Apparently she has promised Josh.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Saved from boredom!

So yesterday I was bored but today, Udge has come to my rescue with a meme. Thank you, Udge, for saving me.

Of course, the saving will last all of two minutes, the most time it takes to write a six word biography, complete with picture.

Crazy woman - very fond of trees

I love this picture. Beth took it last year when we went to Kakabeka Falls. It brings back good memories.

Oh, and who else do you know who could have this conversation? This took place last month when it had snowed and the downhill path to the car was slippery because of evil, evil ice (I hate ice).

DM: Keem. It is icy. I am scared.
Keem: I know it's icy. Be careful.
DM: May I touch Tree?*

*Tree is a tree that is growing on the hill next to the parking lot. He is the 2nd tree from the road. I have no idea why I decided to name him one day or why I decided his name was Tree. I think it happened when I was trying to convince Keem to park by the tree and I probably got excited about it (much like Pink Spot that was in our garage that they eventually painted over. Bastards. I miss Pink Spot). There is also Default Tree when there wasn't a parking spot by Tree.

I used to hug Tree at random times and then Keem decided this was annoying (much of everything I enjoy, Keem has decided is annoying).

Keem: I suppose. Do not hug him!

I slowly sidle up to Tree and press my cheek to his bark.

Keem: I said don't hug him.
DM: That wasn't a hug. I was greeting him.
Keem: Large sigh of frustration.
DM: I'm the only person you could have this conversation with, right?
Keem: Yes. Thank God.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored.


Did I mention I was bored?

Oh, and tired. Apparently my body thinks it's fun to wake me up every 2 hours and let me stare at the clock in disbelief. Especially when I have tons of monitorings to do before Monday (although I am doing much better than I thought I was doing, only 65 calls left. Woo-hoo!) so hey, the fact that I'm nodding off is something I'm trying to hide from my co-workers. Succeeding so far, thanks to Diet Cherry Coke.

I guess I should be grateful though, last year at this time I would have been listening to yet another person scream at me because I couldn't provide them with 30 years of statements for free so they could calculate their cost basis.

Anyway, hope you're all well. I'm off to read some more of Go Fug Yourself. Because there's nothing more entertaining than poorly dressed celebrities.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

D is for Danger Girl

I have spent the longest time trying to figure out what I was going to write for the D edition of the Encyclopedia of Dee Em.

Was it going to be about my Dad? I did mention that I had a few Daddy issues in edition C. I do. I don’t remember a lot about my childhood because my Dad was, quite frankly, a lush. He was also verbally abusive and I do remember one time seeing him pushing my mother up against the wall, his hand spanning her neck, screaming down at her.

Last month, when I was at the Chalet with Beth and my completely kick-ass niece, Betsy, we started talking about my Dad and how Betsy remembered meeting him when she was 17. She said her Dad, my half-brother Bruce, said he was a good drinking partner but not a good father or husband.

And it’s true. My Dad was a great guy, a wonderful guy who was charming and funny and had a particularly wicked sense of humor that I inherited (along with the crooked pinkies and hairy toes…thanks, Dad!) but he was not a good father or husband. My parents actually got along a lot better after their divorce when I was 13.

Should I write about Diabetes? No. I’m sick of the subject. Not that I’m so sick of it that I’m not watching what I’m eating (you’ll all be happy to know that Kraft makes a Light Done Right Golden Caesar Salad dressing that is fantastic and I am actually not missing Quizno’s incredibly wonderful and fattening Caesar salad dressing at all. Do you know what that means? Yes! It means I’ve had a salad every day this week for lunch. And carrots for breakfast. Yay, Dana!) or making sure that my levels are good (and when I say good, I mean under 150 (considering when I first started this, I was close to 300, I think that’s pretty good, people). I think I would have to stop eating all together to get below 100. I thought it wasn’t possible to actually hit those numbers but then I got to poke Co-Worker Beau and Co-Worker Vivian the other day (it’s so much more fun to jab other people with sharp pointy things than me. I wonder why that is) and they are both around 94. I hate them) and watching my feet obsessively for sores that won’t heal or obvious circulation problems. I have actually been expecting to be diabetic for years. In fact, I kept asking to be tested for it.

What about Dieting? Well, the truth is, I can’t diet. It’s impossible. If I tell myself I’m on a diet, I start feeling like I’m starving and then I binge. And bingeing is bad! Because then I feel worse about myself and then I eat more and then, if I’d managed to lose any weight at all, I gain it all back and an extra 20 or 30 pounds on top of it. So, instead of dieting, I follow the Weight Watcher’s philosophy. I am not dieting. I am making a lifestyle change. And, other than the fact that I cannot keep anything remotely snacky at my desk (even rice cakes) because I will eat them all, I’m doing pretty well.*

*I don’t remember when I started this but today (March 18th, 2008) I do actually have rice cakes, granola bars and even some Girl Scout cookies at my desk and I’m not going crazy with them…not even the Thin Mints which, quite frankly, are the best cookies ever and usually I can eat an entire box in 2.5 minutes but today, as a reward for cleaning my desk, I had 4 which is 1 serving. Wow. I am quite impressed with myself. And also, when I went to the doctor last Monday, I found out I lost another 5 pounds since February 6th. I so rock.

I thought about Depression and my struggle with it for years but quite honestly, it’s really depressing. Please. Like you could resist the pun.

So what does that leave me with? I’m certainly not going to do D is for Dana because, hello, it’s my blog, it’s pretty much a given it’s going to be about me. But then I remembered why I’m so deathly afraid of heights. And it’s kind of an amusing story in a perfectly terrifying way. So here we go…

D is for Danger Girl*

*You know what I find so amusing? That there are women out there who get completely offended if they are referred to as a girl and will snap “I am a WOMAN!” and I constantly refer to myself Danger Girl or Green Duckies Girl without any problems at all. And let’s face it, at 41; I don’t think I technically can be considered a girl anymore. But Danger Woman or Green Duckies Woman sound stupid. Certain things just sound better with Girl. Like Super Girl works but Cat Girl doesn’t. That’s why there was Cat Woman.

Anyway, here’s the story.

Many years ago, when I was probably about 13 or 14, Mom decided she would feel better if Kari and I went to summer school instead of hanging around the house all day. Since this was after my parents divorced, it wasn’t like Dad would be there during one of his many times of being unemployed (honestly, I don’t remember him ever working. I know he did but couldn’t tell you what he did while he was my Dad. I know he was a well digger before I was born. And he also repaired boilers because one exploded on him but anything after 1967? No clue).

We got a choice as to what we got to do; Mahtomedi had a lot of different classes you could take that weren’t remedial in the least. Somehow I got signed up for something about camping. Not exactly sure how this happened because I’m not exactly outdoorsy at all. Let me rephrase that. I like Nature but prefer Her from indoors. Of course, exceptions are always made when there are cameras involved but this was long before my obsession with scrapbooking took place.

There are two things I remember clearly from this class (I’m not surprised that it’s only two things. After all, this was 1980 or 1981, many years ago (as already stated) and my memory of my childhood is not crystal clear. Hell, I have a hard time remembering what I did last week).

The first thing is coming home on the bus and it had been an incredibly hot day. We had been outside all day at summer school and I was worn out. Suddenly, a few feet before Kari and my bus stop, something odd happened. My vision went completely black except for white dots that outlined people and the bus seats. It was the oddest thing that had ever happened to me. Somehow I made it off the bus and asked Kari to help me home because I couldn’t see.

If you would have told me at 13 or 14 that someday I would count Kari as one of my closest friends, I would have laughed hysterically. Kari and I did not get along. At all. She was constantly trying to get me in trouble with Mom and I’m sure I was constantly complaining about her. The term “Sibling Rivalry” could have been invented to describe our relationship.

So, when I asked Kari to help me home, I believe her response was “Whatever. I’m going home.” Or something similar. Her nicknames, by the way, were Brat and Bug. We also called her Care Bear but that was not very often.

I ended up sitting underneath a tree, in the shade, alternately crying and praying that God restore my vision. Apparently resting in the shade helped and eventually I was able to make my way home. Where my mother lit into me for not coming home right after school and then I got to explain about Kari abandoning me. One day where I actually did get her in trouble. I felt victorious.

The other time led to my eventual fear of heights.

We were at William O’Brien for a field trip and got to set up tents (ooh. The joy. Yes, let’s sleep on the ground under a small piece of plastic that will gather a ton of rain (and it always rains when someone in my family goes camping. I think it’s a rule. Or a curse, possibly) and I will wake up cold and wet and unhappy. In fact, the older I get, the more I think that camping should be done in hotels. And parks should only be visited for scrapbooking purposes) and cook over a fire (I am fond of fire though, just ask Beth about our trip to Wisconsin) and why must I use so many parentheses? Why?

Anyway, we’re at William O’Brien, I decide to go for a walk, I’m walking along the river and I see something, Lord knows what. Maybe it was a fish hook. Somehow I manage to fall off the side of the cliff (Or, knowing me, I may have thought, Hey, let’s go rock climbing and then lost my footing). I managed to grab onto the ground with my fingernails and was holding on for dear life. There’s not that much distance between me and the river, maybe a 5 to 6 foot drop but there’s a slope. And this slope is filled with rocks and more rocks and really big, pointy, could seriously hurt Dana rocks.

So Dana hangs there, alternating between shouting for help and praying and looking at the slope and thinking “What were you thinking?”

One of my classmates ran off and got a teacher and eventually I was saved. I don’t think I hung there for more than 5 minutes but they were the longest 5 minutes of my life (well, up until then. I’ve had many other long minutes happen).

I believe the teacher also wanted to know what I was thinking. This seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life.

So this is why I’m afraid of heights. This fear can manifest at the oddest times, I can still climb a rock or two (but only when there’s a picture involved and the rock isn’t too high and there’s someone around (usually Beth) to call for help if I fall and crack my head open (unless, of course, she’s climbing on other rocks to get her picture)) but I can seriously freak out sometimes.

And yet, I live on the 27th floor. I’m kind of weird. I think you might have all known that. If not, well, here’s more proof.

Edition D was kind of lame. I’ll have to do something really good for E. Any suggestions?

Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm back in the office

Hello all.

I'm back at work after my glorious vacation and the procedure that took place on the 12th. Sorry for not updating you sooner.

Vacation was fun. Procedure (endometrial ablation) went smoothly. Except for one or two minor details.

Here is something that I would recommend you not do if you ever think that you might need surgery at some point in your life.

Get your "nether regions" pierced.

Why? Because apparently you cannot wear jewelry while in the operating room because it could cause a spark and there could be a fire. While my earrings were easy enough to remove, the lower piercing took some work. I was not able to remove it myself so you can imagine my sister's reaction when she was shown into my room by the nurse.

Nurse: She's having some difficulty removing a piercing and needs some help.
Kari: Where exactly is this piercing?
DM: Um, hi.
Kari: Oh, God, no.

Unfortunately this resulted in much pain from Kari trying to unscrew it and so I had to ask Doctor Jory (not Joy, remember) to do so. He decided to wait until I was sedated. Probably a wise decision.

Since I have sleep apnea, the person in charge of anesthesia (I know what they're called but I can't remember how to spell it so deal with this) thought it would be best to do a combination of sedating me and giving me something for pain instead of a "general." He offered to do a nerve blocker but I didn't think that was such a great idea. It just sounds scary.

Sedation worked well. Apparently I started singing when they put me under. This does not surprise me at all. I remember them bringing me into the surgery room and saying "Okay, Dana, it's going to be kind of chilly and bright in here" and my response was "Oh, thank God, I'm finally comfortable." I had been hot before. They've never actually had that reaction. Most people complain about the cold.

Also I apparently started coughing during the procedure and instruments shot out. This also doesn't surprise me. I mean, it's me, right? Obviously there has to be some sort of adventure involved.

The piercing was removed safely. I may scrapbook it. Because that's the kind of person I am.

I was not kept overnight, they let me go at about 5:30 because, even though my oxygen levels started dropping every time I started falling asleep (I was so damn bored!), every thing else was fine. And hello, I have sleep apnea, of course my oxygen levels fall when I am sleepy. Kari, Josh and I had a lovely dinner at Key's Café.

The only problem at all is that Wednesday night I started breaking out in hives on my neck. I took Tylenol PM which has Benadryl in it so the itching stopped shortly after that. I just have some lovely scratch marks on my neck. They are very pretty.

Patti, no, I did not go any where warm on vacation. Beth and I were going to go to Canada to take pictures of a frozen waterfall but, because it was snowing so badly on Monday, we instead decided to go to Duluth and take pictures of a frozen lake. Why? Because we are crazy. I'll be loading pictures soon. There was at one point where I thought "If I can get the picture I want, it doesn't matter if I lose my finger." You'll be happy to know that, while I didn't get the shot, I didn't lose my finger either." My mom was worried that Beth and I were taking pictures underneath a bridge because apparently that's where the homeless people hang out in Arizona. She needed to be reminded that you don't find many homeless people under the bridges in March, at least not in Duluth.

It was a great birthday. I do not feel 41. I barely feel a day over 39. Pictures soon!

Oh, since NPW asked, the "nether regions" piercing is not new. I've had it for many, many years. I don't know how many years this has been, however. Possibly 8 or 9? Kari asked me why I ever would possibly think that this piercing was a good idea and when I replied that it was supposed to increase sexual pleasure, wanted to know if this was true. And then I had to say "How would I know? It's not like I've had sex since I've had it."

Oh again. When I had to have a pre-op physical on Monday (thanks to Beth for rushing me to the doctor so I could get this done because I swear this was the first time I had heard of it), I was told I needed to give a urine sample so they could perform a pregnancy test. I know. Apparently this has to be done for legal purposes to make sure they don't accidentally do an abortion but um, if someone tells you they haven't had sex this Millennium, wouldn't you take their word for it? Sheesh.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Fun with sick people*

*Alternately titled Dana is on serious drugs (over the counter, people) and things are either confusing or amusing or both (and hey, confusing and amusing rhyme. confusing, amusing, confusing, amusing). It is a good thing Keem is in La Crosse or the whole little confusing/amusing dance number I just worked up would have put her over the edge on the Tolerating Dana Oddness scale.

Elvis hasn't left the building, he's still hanging around

Background - Beth went to Graceland and, knowing that I am a huge young Elvis fan, brought me back postcards with his glorious young image all plastered over them. I had been talking to Co-worker Rykken and Beau about something...

DM: Something, something, something. Rykken, you may notice that I am easily distracted sometimes by things...

Co-worker Rykken has worked with me since I started at this particular department of NABABNA and so has always been aware of how my mind works but, since he is somewhat diplomatic, doesn't start in with smart-ass sarcastic comments. Co-worker Beau, however, is not diplomatic and does. Co-worker Beau is not sufficiently frightened of the wrath that is Dana. Must work on this. Plus, I am quite sure Buddhists aren't supposed to be sarcastic. I am almost positive that this is a huge Buddhist rule. I think it is right up there with Thou shalt not mock Dana and make her cranky.

Beau: Sometimes something hanging on her wall is crooked.
DM: Hey! I am not!

Notices postcard of Elvis is askew and not charmingly so.

DM: Elvis is crooked. This will not do.

Starts straightening Elvis.

DM: Elvis is thwarting me!

Realizes Rykken and Beau are staring at her because she just got distracted by something she just said she didn't get distracted by.

DM: Oh, shut up.

Later, our heroine (that would be me) returns to her desk and sees that the postcard of Elvis is upside down. She realizes that this was done by Co-worker Rykken when she hadn't been looking. Our heroine (still me) sends Co-worker Rykken the following email:

From: DM
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2008 12:24 PM
To: Co-worker Rykken
Subject: Elvis

Elvis is very cranky now. He doesn't like being upside down. The blood is rushing to his head.

Wooooooo. Wooooooo. Yoooooooou aaaaaain't noooooothin' buuuuut aaaaaa hooooound dooooog. Woooooo.

That is Elvis's ghost yelling at you. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Not aware of my own strength

Last Monday, when I was home sick, I wandered into the bathroom and found that I had some clorasceptic lozenges left from January. Yay! My throat is sore. I will take one of the lozenges.

I push on the lozenge, hoping to break it from its thin tinfoil prison. Apparently I push just a tad too hard because it shoots out the package and, with a perfect arch, lands in the toilet. Kerplunk. Dammit. Luckily Keem, who is always prepared, had Halls cough drops in her room.

Dreams that make you say WTF?

I don't remember much about this but apparently I had a dream in which that Wallace Langham (Hodges from CSI: And oh my GOD how I do love him), Tiffany-Amber Theissen (but she may just go by Tiffany Theissen now, I'm not really all that up on my Saved by the Bell star trivia) and Viggo Mortensen were in this new reality show called "Trapeze with the Stars" and they were doing this elaborate routine to Helter Skelter. And I was one of the judges. And Wallace Langham may have kissed me. But I'm not sure about that part, it might have something to do with wishful thinking.

I do know that when I woke up, Helter Skelter was playing on iTunes.

Is that it? How is that it?

I swear to God there were more Sick Dana stories but I can't remember them now. Perhaps later.

I am feeling better, thank you for all your well wishes. I am still stuffy and coughing on occasion but no longer convinced I'm going to break ribs. Tomorrow my vacation starts and I am free from work for 7 glorious days (work days, actually, I don't return until the 13th) and then I can start panicking all over again about "How will I ever get this all done?" All I can say is that it better never again involve working until 10:30 (Friday) and coming in on Saturday (2-7:45). I was going to come in on Sunday but hadn't been sleeping well this last week since I couldn't wear my CPAP so ended up taking some Tylenol PM and conked out for most of the day. And still managed to go to bed at 8:30 and sleep until 7 this morning. Glorious, glorious sleep.

I should be able to catch up on blog reading this week. I hope so anyway! And I am working on the next entry in the Encyclopedia of Dee Em but can't figure out what D should be about. Any suggestions?