We had a nice weekend around here. Saturday was kind of busy. We had chiropractor adjustments up in Bluffton. From there, we went down to mid-town Savannah and I donated platelets at the Red Cross donation center.
It had been six months since my previous platelets donation! I don’t know how so much time passed! I know that for a streak there I wasn’t feeling well. And then the holidays hit and things got busy. And then I wasn’t feeling well again. And then they changed my schedule at work and I couldn’t schedule donations on Friday afternoons anymore. But a whole half a year?!
After donating, and getting some food, we went back home and I took a power nap for an hour or two because in the evening I went out to a friend’s birthday party. She was having her third or fourth annual 49th birthday and it’s always a lot of fun. She invites a handful of women and we sit around eating and drinking and playing games for prizes that she’s bought for her guests. This year I brought home a yoga mat and a lovely piece of wall art. I’m not sure yet where to hang it.
Sunday was relaxing after all the excitement of the day before. And that was needed because I was up very late on Saturday and this week has been busy and stressful. I’ve had a lot going on at work, trying to get caught up on a mess that’s gotten out of control and requires an insane amount of detailed research to clear up. And Justin had a test today, has a paper due on Friday, has another test next Wednesday, plus another paper due that same day. Plus his other class is starting and that’s going to add more work and reading. And it’ll extend his days so I’ll have to be responsible for making sure we eat dinner on those days.
On top of that, we’ve started training for the 5K race we have coming up in April. So we’re running up the street outside our apartment complex and back. It’s a nice place to run, with wide grassy strips, and we see a lot of people who are also out running or walking.
There’s this one guy I’ve seen several times who walks with his three dogs. I’m not sure what kind of dogs they are, but they’re biggish, like Labradors, but skinny with smooth coats. One of these days I might ask him what they are. Anyway, he walks them off leash and they are the most well behaved dogs I’ve seen. They stay right beside him all the time. And when someone approaches him from the other direction on the sidewalk, he’ll step off the sidewalk and tell his dogs all to sit. And they plunk their bottoms down and look up at him, not at the people who are walking past. And then once the sidewalk is clear again, he’ll give a command and they’ll all get back in heal with him walking.
I saw a Yorkshire Terrier try to pick a fight with his dogs and they all just sort of looked at it and kept on walking. I was worried the Yorkie would try to bite me, it was so badly behaved. But not these three big, muscular dogs who are just the best behaved things on the street. I’m very impressed.
Anyway, nothing terribly interesting from me today. But I’m trying to remember to write more often. So this is the babbling that happens.
Happy belated birthday to Amy, Mae, Tim, and Ethan! And happy birthday today to Isaac! We really had intended to send cards or something but my life is apparently insane and I can’t get anything done.
Congratulations to Dalton on those first steps! So exciting!
I’ve taken two classes now on how to use MS Access. I’m trying to learn a new way to keep track of all the information I manage at work and it’s being troublesome. It’s a whole new way of thinking about what I’m doing. I’m sure it’ll work out in the end, but it’s making me go around in circles while I try to figure it out.
I’ve donated platelets several times now. The last time went without a hitch and didn’t have any low-pressure problems. The time prior to that, however, was a failure because the pressure was so low I couldn’t even manage to get blood up to the machine to start.
On our way back from an appointment for Kay in Atlanta back in May, we stopped to help a woman and her daughter who were stuck on the side of the road with a shredded tire. We learned that we need to keep a better flashlight in the car, that we need a higher jack if we’re going to be able to help people who’ve lost their jack, and that we’d need a better tire iron to get those lug nuts off if they’ve lost that piece of equipment, too. Fortunately, a Georgia State Patrol trooper stopped and he had all those things and was able to get the women back on the road again. But we were able to help them stay calm and we learned some valuable lessons for ourselves in the process. One of these days, we’ll figure out which jack to pick up — hopefully before we actually need it again.
When Mom and Dad were here, the project that we decided to work on was a skinny little table/shelf that goes behind the sofa and has outlets on it, making it easy to access an outlet, even though the sofa is blocking that whole wall. I got the idea from a blog online that I’m too lazy right now to go find. And we kind of adjusted the idea as we went anyway. When they were here, Dad showed Justin how to run the electric by taking an extension cord and splicing in an outlet. And we cut the wood and stained it. After they left, I sanded the wood and Justin polyurethane it a couple times to give it a nice sheen. I don’t have any in-progress photos and the pictures I have of it in place aren’t super, either. But this is what I’ve got.
It’s just a little wider than the outlets, of which we’ve got two. One of them is a standard outlet. The other has USB charging slots. We had to order that one from Amazon because no where in town carried them in the nickle color we wanted.
But a gift card from work and an Amazon order later and we’ve got ourselves a really spiffy outlet.
We would like to have installed actual lights into the table, but they were really expensive, so we held off on that idea for now. In the mean time, we’ve got a rope light that we’d put up the stairs at the other house that didn’t have a home yet, and that’s filling in the gap for now. It’s a subtle light, but nice.
The outlet that’s down behind the sofa has one outlet that’s controlled from a switch at the door and one that’s on all the time. So the outlets are plugged into one and the lights are plugged into the other and it works perfectly!
The table isn’t actually put together all the way yet. The long piece was really torqued and we were having trouble figuring out how to actually install the support beams that we cut in order to give it some structural support. We’d really like to do it right with sunken screws and everything, but we don’t have the money right now to buy the kreg jig we’d like in order to do it right. So for now, it’s tucked back behind the sofa, hopefully getting a little more straight the longer it’s there, and when we’ve got the money for the tool, we’ll take it back down and do the supports. And then when we’ve got more money again, we’ll add a lamp or up-wash lights or something.
For now, though, we’re really happy with how it turned out. I’ve actually got my computer plugged into it right now. And it’s actually stained darker than we would normally go, but it almost perfectly matches the sofa, so I’m tickled at how that worked out.
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for paying for all the lumber! And for all the help on figuring out how to put it together!
And that pretty much rounds out the news that I’ve got for the moment. More than what I’ve mentioned and I feel like I’m complaining about my life, which is actually pretty good, I’m just irritated at parts of it at the moment (55 days) and that’s putting a huge grumpy gray cloud over everything. So don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me for a while again. I’m not exactly trying to be reclusive or anything. I’m just trying not to be a whiner at everybody. My life is good. I’m just cranky. But things will get better.
Okay, in the last post, I made it through talking about when Justin’s family is leaving and talking about Jessi’s graduation. Today, I’m going to talk about my boobs a lot, so if that makes you uncomfortable, come back another day.
SPOILER ALERT: It’s NOT cancer.
Okay, the Friday before graduation, I had a mammogram. I went in for my yearly physical a few weeks ago and while I was there, I mentioned to my doctor (she’s a PA, but I call her my doctor anyway) that I’d found a lump . . . in the place where lots of women find problematic lumps. (Are we all women reading? I’m not sure. I’ll be delicate-ish.) I was concerned, but not “Oh my gosh I’m going to die of cancer” because itHURT. I mean, it woke me up from a dead sleep like someone had stabbed me in the chest and it had been throbby-achy since then. And from what I’d been reading, if it’s cancer, it doesn’t hurt. So, yea! probably not cancer, but not yea! because it hurt. Anyway, she examined it and said I should get a mammogram to get a better idea of what was going on.
I went through a whole heap of trouble to make sure that the place I went was actually covered by my insurance, and got an appointment to go in. I was covered for a mammogram and an ultrasound and got my pre-authorization for a biopsy, if one was needed. Which we all hoped wouldn’t be necessary.
I won’t go into too much detail about the whole hows of the appointment (if you’re curious, call me and I’ll tell you all about it), but the gist of it is that they did end up doing both the mammogram and the ultrasound because that sucker is about the size of a ping-pong ball, and the mammogram tech, after saying “Oh, gosh! I can feel that!” said that they usually do want to ultrasound something that size, and she was right.
The ultrasound tech, after reassuring me that it’s really not that big compared to other problematic lumps she’s seen, told me that it’s a cyst. I have what’s called fibrocystic breasts, but I already kind of knew that. Back when I was in Toccoa, the doctor I was seeing there was concerned about what the doctor here called “lumpy bumpy breasts” and had me get a mammogram. It came back normal then, too. I just have lumpy boobs. But this is the first time that they actually got all angry and flared up.
So it’s nothing to be terribly concerned about. The doctor who looked over my ultrasound emphasized that I really absolutely must do breast exams every month and this scared me enough that I’m absolutely going to do that. I’ve always been kind of “Eh, it’s been a while, better check.” But I’m going to get regular on those because it was really scary not knowing for sure if I should be more concerned.
I’m still waiting to see if this cyst is going to calm down or if I’m going to need to do something about it. The doctor said that it’s got about 33% chance of staying the same, getting worse, or going away. So now I’m waiting to see if I want to go in and have it drained or if it’ll go away on it’s own.
So yeah. There’s that. Do regular self exams, everybody. They’re important.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written. There has been a lot going on and large chunks are things that I’m not especially pleased about. I figured “if you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.” But it’s been long enough that maybe I can chat about things without sounding too whiny.
In mostly random order, but probably mostly from most recent to further back in time:
Tomorrow Justin’s grandma flies back to California. She’s been here since the 20th (two weeks) visiting for Jessi’s graduation from her grad program at SCAD. It’s been absolutely wonderful having her in town, even though we didn’t do much that was terribly interesting. I think she appreciated not having any responsibilities and just sitting around and reading and enjoying the moisture in the air compared to the desert. And we appreciated chatting and hanging out.
Wendy flies back to Vermont on Wednesday after her two weeks being here, but she’s been staying with Jessi downtown. I haven’t actually seen her much since she’s been spending time helping Jessi pack up and get through all the “You’re done with school! Now face reality!” things. She brought her Bichon, but I’ve hardly seen him at all.
Jessi flies out on Thursday to New York City to an internship at MSNBC for three months or so. It’s exciting and terrifying and we’re all very proud of her and hopeful that this excellent opportunity for her is a jumping off to a lot of great adventures.
After the three of them are out of town, we’re just left with Kay still here, but we’re counting down the days until she’s leaving and heading off on her own adventure. (57 days.) And then we’ll finally have the house back to ourselves again and I think that’s the way it’s going to stay for a VERY LONG TIME because I’ve learned a lot about myself during this time, most strongly of all that I NEED MY OWN SPACE. And I have very little patience for people who resent responsibilities. And who have very little concern for other people. And make excuses for absolutely everything. And I could rant on this vein for a while. 57 days, people. Fifty. Seven.
Jessi’s graduation was on Saturday in downtown Savannah at the Martin Luther King Jr. Arena. I tried to take pictures, but they didn’t turn out very clearly. But let me show you a few so you can get an idea of what this was like.
This was the view from where we sat at commencement. The people on the floor there? Those are all the graduates. By my count, there are 20 people on each side of the aisle down there and there are 25 rows of seats. That’s 1000 students graduating, give or take. They had two separate ceremonies after lunch for the actual walking across the stage part so that the parents of graduates only had to sit through half of that group. (The person talking on the screen is SCAD president, Paula Wallace.)
This was the commencement speaker. Can you name that face? What about if I give him a prop to help?
That’s right. The speaker at the commencement was none other than John Lasseter, creator of Pixar. Animating genius behind Toy Story, Cars, Wall-E, Big Hero 6 and many others. He almost made me cry.
At the end, just to show how SCAD likes to end things with style, this is how they closed the event and marched out of the arena.
That’s confetti that’s been blown out of cannons at ceiling height. And a drum line at the front of the room. And in the middle of all that, there are AERIALISTS.
Yeah. Seriously. Aerialists. And dozens of white beach balls. Art school, ya’ll. Go figure.
I don’t have any pictures from the other half of the ceremony because my camera just couldn’t handle the level of light and how far away we were sitting to get anything remotely good. But Jessi made it across the stage with excellent poise and as soon as they get around to mailing it to her, she’ll hold her masters degree in Motion Media or something like that.
Now any of you who know me kinda well are looking at those pictures and noticing that there’s a HUGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THAT SPACE. Yeah. Let me tell you, I started freaking out about going into that arena about a week before we got there. It wasn’t fun. We had to rush in with the crowd to try to get a good seat, which meant getting right into the press of things and I do not handle that well. Justin got in front of me to lead the way. When we got up the first set of stairs and into the actual building, we then had to make it through the smaller set of doors into the actual arena. And that was when I really started having trouble because I went from being outside to being in a dark, enclosed space with lots of people all around me, all talking loud, with loud music playing over it, and everybody’s pushing forward. I tried really hard to hold it together, looking up at the ceiling and breathing deeply and trying to visualize a happy place while also visualizing me successfully making it up the steps and to my seat, but I just couldn’t quite do it and the tears did start to fall. I probably got some weird looks from people, this blonde white chick staring at the ceiling and crying, but Justin got me through the crowd and to my seat, which was right next to the rail by a stairway (I love that railing with a love that I’ve never had for railings before) and I was able to sit there with my headphones on for a while, listening to podcasts on my phone until the commencement started.
The second event wasn’t quite as crowded and because I’d already gone through it once, it was easier to go in the second time. It still wasn’t great, but I managed it without completely melting down. When we got home much later in the evening, after going out for celebratory dinner with Jessi, I shut myself into the bedroom and listened to classical piano music and read for TWO HOURS before I could handle being around people again. Any people.
It was a rough day. But exciting.
I’ve hit about 1100 words so I think I’ll break this up into parts. I still haven’t talked about my mammogram or the table behind the sofa we made with Mom and Dad. I’m sure there’s other stuff, too. So I’ll break here and put up another one soon.