Thursday, July 30, 2009


My last day of work pre-op was yesterday. Everyone was very sweet. People keep asking me if I'm excited, but I don't know if that's the right word. I'm a whole lot of things--freaked out, scared, resigned, hopeful. The potential of a good outcome excites me, but really, it's hard to be excited at the thought of getting your intestines re-routed and living on liquids for several weeks. A couple of people have given me cards, which I appreciate. I know I will look at them when I'm feeling gross and they will cheer me up somewhat. People are either acting like this is something horrible or just ignoring the significance of it, never the twain shall meet, it seems. It's interesting. I don't want to plan much of anything for the next few weeks because I just don't know how I'm going to feel, and then I have the ankle surgery and CAN'T plan anything.

It has been insanely hot for the Pacific Northwest, in the triple digits at times. It was 105 in my car yesterday on the way home. I did the pre-op phone call with the hospital and my first question was "is it air-conditioned?" They don't want me wearing even my wedding ring to surgery, which I don't like, but I guess I understand their reasoning. I can always have Mr. Salted hold it for me and give it to me when I'm in the room, after the procedure. It's a simple band--no one is going to shake me down for it.

I've been stocking up on everything, and trying to think of everything in advance. I need to order some more vitamin supplements. I went and put in the prescriptions for the post-op drugs in at Walgreen's--I think it was Valium, Dilaudid and Prilosec/omeprazole. I get Valium and Dilaudid because I'm allergic to everything with codeine or synthetic codeine, so I can't do Percocet, Vicodin, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Darvocet, etc. I have to wear a scopolamine patch for 24 hours before surgery; that's to offset nausea, apparently.

I decided--given the very real possibility of hair loss--to go back to my natural color, so I'm having that done tomorrow. I'm not thrilled about it, but it will be one less thing to worry about, and I want to see what my hair is going to do before I dye it any more. (I just hate my natural color because I think I look more like my father when I have it, so maybe it will be a good lesson in self-acceptance for me.) I also bought about six bandannas at Walgreen's--99 cents each, what a bargain! (A friend of mine told me to buy some cute scarves and rock it like Rhoda. That's the plan.) There is a lot of baldness and alopecia in my family, and a lot of thin hair. I'm one of the latter.

I have not done real well on this low-carb thing. They told me 40g per day, but good days have been more like 50 or 60 carbs. I *totally* blew it yesterday--that was the only day I really have. Someone brought in a huge bag of peanut M&Ms, and I probably ate thirty of them before I could make myself quit. (I don't know how I'm going to leave that stuff alone--I'm hoping that knowing I will get violently ill is going to do it.) All I wanted for dinner was mashed potatoes, so I had some with crumbled bacon in them. (They were sooooo good.) But I haven't eaten any bread or cake or rice or pasta this whole time, and I'm trying to maintain the low-carby thing for the today and the next three. I have actually lost about five pounds just in the last week and a half. (No wonder I'm so tired.)

I gave some of my extra-big clothes away. That felt good. I'm looking forward to getting rid of more of them.

The Queen's Meme #3 (stolen from A Blog in the Rough)

1. If you could put thyme in a bottle, what is the first thing that you'd like to do?

Ask where the parsley, sage and rosemary are. Does thyme talk?

2. Do eggs really crack or do they merely have a nervous breakdown?

I think both.

3. Why are you whipping the butter? What did it ever do to you?

That would take too much effort. My butter and margarine comes in tubs from the store.

4. Do your spoons spoon in the drawer? Have you ever noticed? And more importantly, if wooden spoons spoon do they get splinters? They just hang out however there's room, because there isn't much.

5. You hear: "Dumpling, my Dumpling, come hither." The candles are lit, the fondue is dipping, the Godiva is pouring, the scallions are steaming and the music is playing.....but wait, the windows are open. Why did you close them?

Because I need to know who the hell broke into my house and/or find the pod.

6. Do you need a recipe to cook or are you a bohemian chef? Show us your reckless and wild side in the kitchen. Don't have one? Here's a recipe I made just for you: You will need a spatula, a whisk, a gallon of Chardonnay, a banana and a rump roast. What is the name of your dish? I eat the banana and tell you to feed your damn self. (I don't cook.)

7. After dinner, the dishes are so dirty that the dishwasher refuses to wash them.
What did they say to get in hot water?

My dishwasher is temperamental, so probably not much.

8. Is your pot black?

I would say that ideally, my pot is not black. :)

9. What is the sexiest spice or condiment in your cabinet? What makes it so?

Cinnamon, I guess, because it sounds like a stripper name.

10. How much crock is really in your crock pot?

Not much.

Thursday Thunks meme 7-30-09

1. You are in an enclosed space with a group of friends. Elevator, auto, small room, etc.. You fart and it really stinks. Do you take credit for it or do you play along with the questioning of who did it?

Play along. :)

2. You are locked in a room sitting at a desk with just a piece of paper and a purple crayon. What do you draw? A woman, a cat or a flower with a face.

3. Do you ever pee in the shower? No.

4. Have you bought, sold or got rid of something on Craigslist?

No. I did get one job through there and it was a disaster.

5. You are in a convenience store. In the line in front of you is a drunk guy trying to purchase more alcohol. The cashier tells him they cannot sell it to him because he is obviously already intoxicated. He gets belligerent. The cashier is scared. What do you do?

See if the guy leaves. If he doesn't, duck into an aisle or the bathroom and call 911, or pretend to leave in disgust and call 911. I've been the cashier in this situation, and I personally was not willing to risk bodily injury to deny some big, scary dude his booze or to stop people from doing beer runs. I always called in the license number, if there was one, after the fact. Convenience store clerk is one of the worst jobs in the world, especially for women at night.

6. While shopping for produce, do you "sample" before you buy (i.e. grapes)? No.

7. You are walking down the street and there is a toddler sitting on a bench by themselves in front of a store - do you just keep walking? I wait a minute and see what happens. Whenever this has happened to me, a caretaker has revealed themselves rather quickly.

8. Have you looked up an old friend and/or lover online? Yes.

9. You are nearly in a car/auto accident. Do you freak out, follow the person who nearly caused it & talk to them or just keep going? Keep going.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Grocery-store consumer musings

My overall status has been 95% fatigue with a side of epic drag-ass this past week. This brief anecdotal--yet extremely vivid--experience has led me to conclude that the people who have told me a low-carb diet gives you more energy are on crack. (True story: I have a little bag in my purse that says "I Heart Carbs". I guess I will have to gift it to someone else now, eh?) I have just plodded along through the days trying not to chew off my own hand, which may well have happened if there had been Hershey's syrup on it.

I made a massive solo Costco trip yesterday--I needed boneless, skinless salmon fillets and string cheese. (String cheese has virtually zero carbs, but I am wondering how many pieces of it I can eat a day before my digestive tract goes on strike.) Costco had huge cans (3 pounds, I believe) of whey protein isolate, and when I went up and down their vitamin aisles, I was amazed at the number of liquid supplements they carried for every imaginable thing. (Many of them were full of sugar, though.) I invested in a case of the Zipfizz powdered tubes--the flavors are orange soda, citrus and pink lemonade. I can't say I'm wild about the taste, but I put in a couple of Splenda packets and doubled the water and they taste just okay. I'm going to tinker with them a bit more because they still taste a tad medicinal to me. (Mr. Salted was more blunt--he said they reminded him of a laxative he had to take when he had a kidney stone procedure, so they are forever verboten in his book. I have several friends who love them, however.) I managed to get out of Costco without any new books, movies, or music, but I did find a wonderful soft blankie--I am a sucker for a wonderful soft blankie, and this one was even a pretty lavender color--and an office organizer, because hope springs eternal.

This morning, I made another grocery-store trip with Mr. Salted at my side, narrating why I was buying This and Not That. Soy Slender soy milk has been my faux dairy product of choice, only having a couple grams of net carbs, very low sugar, and I have been able to find it at Fred Meyer and Albertson's in chocolate, vanilla and cappuccino flavors. I am going to try mixing some of the protein powders with it. I also got a bottle of sugar-free caramel syrup--the type they make espresso-stand drinks with--so that I could throw that in to make some of these concoctions more palatable. I didn't bother with chocolate or vanilla sugar-free syrup since every meal-replacement shake seems to be chocolate or vanilla.

My nutrition folks recommend the Bariatric Advantage meal replacement powders and they are okay, but so far they haven't thrilled me too much. The vanilla, in particular, tasted extremely chalky to me. The chocolate is pretty good, and the strawberry is just meh. I'm going to try mixing them with some other things to see if they are more tolerable. They also have a chocolate mint and, I believe, a banana flavor. They also have the full range of vitamins and supplements.

I stocked up on sugar-free Jell-O, always a crowd-pleaser for me--it may have little to no nutritional value, but it is sweet and makes me feel more full and that is all right by me! Jell-O has always been a comfort food for me for some reason, especially when I am feeling sick and/or in the summer.

I also found some drinks in the same area with the Red Bull and the Starbucks Frappuccino (I really miss the latter, BTW) called Fuze Slenderize. They are fruit drinks that come in a number of flavors such as strawberry melon, one of which which I happen to be drinking as we speak--2 g carb and 1 sugar, and various vitamin boosts--this one has the full RDA of vitamin C as well as Chromium, Super Citrimax and the amino acid L-Carnitine. There is no protein whatsoever in these--I pretty much bought them for some variety because they were on sale. (When not on sale, they are spendy!) I like them because they taste like actual juice. (This woman cannot live on water and Crystal Light alone.) I noticed that I had to be careful to get the Slenderize variety because the same brand has some regular ones as well with tons of sugar, as fruit juice tends to have, and the labels are not all that different unless you look for the word "slenderize". Diet V-8 Splash is good, too. Yum! I also bought a little $8.99 food processor with a 1-1/2 cup capacity. I want to see if I use it before I invest in a big one.

Saturday 9 meme: Fast Car

1. What’s the furthest trip you’ve taken by automobile?

From Rancho Cordova, CA to Kalispell, MT as a kid. U-g-h.

2. What’s the worst pick-up line you've ever received? "You have a beautiful face. You could be in Hollywood."

3. What’s the best pick-up line you’ve gotten? "God, I love your socks!"

4. What was the last gift that you received? A lady I work with gave me a cute little figurine from Chinatown in San Francisco. He's on my fridge now.

5. What was the last gift that you gave someone? For Marilyn's 21st birthday, I gave her an Emily the Strange journal, an Emily the Strange address book, and a couple of buttons. I can't remember if there was something else in there.

6. Tell us about the last time you cried. A few days ago when I realized I will never be a grandmother.

7. Tell us about the last time you laughed uncontrollably.

It was probably last weekend and induced by Dena and Steena.

8. Do you suffer road rage? What are your thoughts on it? I get annoyed like anyone else does and scream a curse once in a while, but for the most part I think we need to calm the down. We're not going to get there any faster elevating our blood pressure, and no one's life or time is more important or worth more than anyone else's. So CHILL. :)

9. What’s one of your favorite movie quotes? "I wasn't even supposed to be here today!" from Clerks. I have said it myself many times.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pre-op consult with surgeons

I never blogged about this yet; it was fairly uneventful. I was taken in by a nurse or medical assistant who was probably 100 pounds soaking wet and who talked a mile a minute. I heard all about her life, how she never knew anything like bariatric surgery really existed, how she thought at first it was just an easy way out, and how she felt like apologizing to all of her patients now because her outlook has just totally changed. Me being me, the first thing that popped into my head was, "You were mean to fat girls in high school, weren't you?" I refrained from saying it, however, as I wanted prescriptions for all the painkillers that I will be needing. I just smiled--very hard, crinkly eyes--and nodded (and ultimately walked out of there with scrips for Dilaudid, Valium, etc. Mission accomplished).

The surgeon came in with someone in training. She looked like a deer in the headlights, and the poor dear had me as her next patient. He went over my health history and recent test results, etc. At one point, he said, "Looking at these lab results, you aren't diabetic, are you?" I replied, "They diagnosed me with type II ten years ago, andI take metformin; I changed my diet drastically and immediately, but I only lost about 20 pounds. However, my blood sugars have tested in the normal range for the last several years." The surgeon turned to the trainee and said, "That's very common. There are a number of physiological factors that keep people heavy." I got this big old grin and said, "See, that's why I'm here!" He said something about how the rest of the medical field needed to catch up, and I insulted the first idiot bariatric surgeon I consulted with, we smiled at each other, and you could feel the love in the room. (At this point, I don't think the trainee knew what to do with herself; I could see the wheels turning in her head. Do I agree? Do I nod and smile? What's appropriate here? )

He told me a little bit about how long the surgery takes and things like that-- nothing I really didn't know. I then meandered along toward the scheduling people, who kindly called a nearby pharmacy and found me a pill crusher that I could go and buy (I'd looked all over for one of those damn things), and we went over more stuff. My check-in time is at 5:30 AM on August 3. (I don't think even God is up at 5:30 AM. Poor Mr. Salted will have to rally. I'll be all doped up in short order, so I don't feel as sorry for me.)

They asked me if they could take a before picture, assuring me I could not be identified. I said fine--I trust them, and I think I remember seeing photos like that at the seminar I went to, with the faces obscured. Yippee! Miss July, Poster Girl for Morbid Obesity. I told them, "You know, I'm a photographer, I can take good, flattering pictures of myself where my body shows and I'll still weigh 270 pounds in them." But no, they had to take one THAT DAY, when I was broken out, not wearing any makeup, and very, very hungry--and not a little testy--because it was Day 1 of Carb Deprivation: This Time It's Personal.

Being hungry and still fat has always put an angrily buzzing bee in my bonnet. I'm sure I've written about that before--walking around high school with a travel mug full of Slimfast when I was bulimic, lightheaded, sweaty, and still getting called names that pertained to my weight. (And I was 100 pounds + lighter.) How many times have I had a salad and a Diet Coke when my skinny husband/friend/coworker has had a massive plate of fries and a Philly Cheesesteak? Every fat person has these stories. I'm sure they get old, but so does living them. I, for one, want mine to be over.

I just want to be average size. Nondescript. If someone is looking at me, I want it to be because they think I have cool shoes or something. It seems like such a simple thing to want. I'm extremely determined to make this work--SO determined. Every time I see people eating food that might look or smell fantastic now, I cannot forget: for me, it just isn't worth it. I always thought food was my friend--sometimes my only friend; my only balm, my one reliable source of pleasure that one could take away. However, it's killing me,and I cannot let it kill me, or continue to let it make me sick. That's what I am keeping as my focus. I'm eating to stay alive--and that's all.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pre-Op Nutrition Class

Talk about information overload. A lot of it was review for me, but I took Mr. Salted and I thought the poor man's head would explode. We both felt he needed to be there, though. I'll hit the highlights:

1) I have to limit sugar to 5 grams or less per serving to prevent dumping. In milk and yogurt, sugar must be limited to 12 grams or less per serving. I asked why this varied, and the nutritionist said the sugar was different--natural--and was processed differently by the body.

2) I am now in low-carb hell until my surgery date (August 3), when I just don't eat at all for a few days, they give me IV nutrition, and I drink a lot of fluids. Today's forecast: abject terror with scattered feelings of panic. If I go over my allotted 40g of carbs per day for the next two weeks--which I don't think even a beetle can live on for any length of time--I am to do it in the nonstarchy vegetables category. Nonstarchy vegetables include green beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini and tomatoes.

3) I can only have one serving of fruit per day because it has so many carbs. (One serving of fruit = at least 15 carbs. Sigh. I already had a banana this morning, so that's it for today.)

4) Clear liquids start the day of surgery and the following day. At first, I will probably only be given water in a medicine cup. This gives the stomach time to recover from surgery. The best fluids are liquid at room temperature and do not contain residue, sugar, caffeine or carbonation--sometimes room temperature is just easier to take than cold. I will need to sip continuously, but slowly, and not use a straw. Hydration is extremely important, and my post-op liquid intake goal is to drink one ounce over a 15-minute time span, and the equivalent of 48 ounces or six cups per day. I can have water, ice chips, broth, sugar-free Jello and popsicles, and beverages like Crystal Light, Diet Snapple, and Diet V-8 Splash as long as they are caffeine-free and non-carbonated.

5) Full/liquids will be the week following surgery. All of these timelines will vary depending on doctor's orders. The goal of full/liquids is to transition between clear liquids and pureed diet. I will need to take 2 Bariatric Advantage multivitamins and one sublingual (dissolves under the tongue) B12, which aids the intrinsic factor and promotes proper digestion. If there is any numbness or tingling in the feet and hands, I'm supposed to let everyone know ASAP. My recommended daily allowances (RDAs) are 60-80 grams MINIMUM protein, low fat, sugar free or reduced carbs, and 48-64 ounces, or 6 to 8 cups of fluid per day. The foods I am allowed during this period include protein drinks such as Zero Carb Isopure (GNC carries them), Atkins shakes, Pure Protein shakes (they sell these in cans at Trader Joe's), Matrix, Nectar (available at and Unjury (, which also carries a high-protein chicken broth. I can have fat-free or 1% milk, Lactaid milk, and soy milk such as Soy Slender (available at Albertson's). I can have reduced-fat cream soups except for tomato and should add nonfat dry milk powder or unflavored protein powder to them. I can also have light, low-carb or plain yogurt if it has no fruit pieces or sugar-free pudding if it has been thinned with a little extra milk. I need to blend and/or strain any soups so they do not contain particles.

6) Some people develop lactose intolerance after this surgery. In this case, I should choose soy protein, spirulina types of protein, or whey protein ISOLATE. Whey protein CONCENTRATE contains lactose and should be avoided. I went ahead and bought a big can of protein powder made with whey protein ISOLATE at Trader Joe's yesterday, and the price wasn't bad--$12.99.
Protein drinks need to be low in sugar, calories and fat.

7) Getting protein and fluids in are my two main goals. I won't know what I can tolerate until after surgery, so I have to roll with it in many cases. Things I like now might be disgusting to me afterward. I also learned that I might have hair loss (the good news keeps on coming), so pushing the protein can help with that.

8) About 10 days after surgery, the pureed diet begins. The goal of the pureed diet is to transition between full liquid diet and the mechanical soft diet. Calcium and magnesium becomes very important and I will need to take in 500/600 mg three times per day. Tropical and Lifetime are two of the brands she showed me for liquid supplements of this nature, and Bariatric Advantage has some chocolate calcium citrate chews that I like. All food should have the consistency of baby food, and the suggested portion size to start with is 1/4 cup. The fluid intake goal rises to 8 cups per day during this phase, and the RDA of protein remains at 60 to 80 grams per day. (Now that I've heard about that hair loss thing, I'll be doubling it, fear not.) This is also where I need to keep beverages separate from food--no liquids 20-30 minutes before or after solid foods.

The nutritionist discourages scrambled eggs during the pureed phase; meat can be pureed with broth or gravy and added to soups, though red meat should be avoided. Small-curd cottage cheese is okay or yogurt without fruit pieces. Nothing should contain nuts or seeds. Strained or pureed vegetables are fine, but peas and corn should be avoided as they do not puree completely and may get caught in the pouch. Malt O' Meal, Cream of Wheat, or Cream of Rice is okay, as is baby cereal, but no oatmeal, rice, or pasta. Mashed potatoes should be okay. Recommended foods include: pates, hummus, refried beans thinned with broth, pureed chili with melted cheese, pureed sloppy Joe mixture over mashed potatoes, unsweetened applesauce, or fruit smoothies with protein powder. has many good recipes, including pureed foods.

9) The mechanical soft/mushy diet starts two weeks or so after surgery and continues until the end of the August. This phase includes foods that are tender and easy to chew. They don't need to be pureed, and may include such things as ground meats, moist tuna salad, egg salad, chicken salad, bananas, and steamed fruits. Sugar and fats should still be avoided, and protein needs to be eaten first. Stringy foods like broccoli, celery and asparagus stalks need to be avoided, as does red meat. Texture examples include eggs scrambled with milk, soft ripe fruits without skin or seeds, and crackers. A meal is somewhere between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup of food and should take 20 to 45 minutes to finish.

10) About a month out from surgery, many of the same guidelines apply. I can begin to eat salad, but need to continue to keep liquids and solids separate and eat protein first to ensure I have room for them. I also need to start with softer raw vegetables and work up to crisper ones. I need to avoid crisp or sharp edges on meat, and teriyaki or barbecue sauces, as they contain sugar. It may be hard to tolerate fruits with stringy membranes such as oranges, and juice and sweetened beverages will need to be avoided for the rest of my life. When choosing grains and cereals, I need to steer toward whole-grain carbs (wheat crackers, brown rice). Saturated fats will need to be limited, and simple sugars are always to be avoided. Carbonated drinks should be avoided permanently as well. They cause bloating and studies have shown that people who continue to drink them tend to lose less weight.

11) I will need to take something like Prilosec for the first couple of months. Taking vitamins with coffee or tea interferes with their absorption.

The basic guidelines to follow are:

Slow down, chew everything to the texture of applesauce
Eat protein foods first
Separate beverages from food 30 minutes before and after eating
Take all vitamins and supplements

12) Regular bone density scans are suggested if possible.

13) Dumping syndrome is a reaction to sugar, sugar alcohols, high fat foods, or alcohol after gastric bypass surgery. The symptoms may include abdominal cramping, sweating, nausea, dizziness, headaches, diarrhea and weakness, "Early" dumping syndrome may occur within 15 minutes after eating and is often associated with diarrhea. "Late" dumping syndrome can occur up to 4 hours after eating and feels more like having low blood sugar. Acceptable sugar substitutes include Splenda, Equal, Sweet 'n Low, aspartame, saccharin, and Nutrasweet.

14) Food intolerances vary from one person to another, and what tastes good before surgery is often different from one tastes good afterward. Using the baby utensils can help with remembering to take small bites and chew them well. If vomiting occurs, it may help to return to clear liquids for a couple of days. Don't avoid healthy foods that cause vomiting--wait a week and try the food again. (Oh joy!) Try food at different temperatures, and add a meat tenderizer to meat or poultry if it is not being tolerated well. Constipation may occur, and no fiber supplements are allowed until six weeks out from surgery. Milk of magnesia, stool softener, or Probiotic pills (available at Walgreen's) can be helpful. Beano and Gas-X can be used for gas. Bad breath can occur from the body being in a state of ketosis post-op, and if this happens, gum should be avoided (in case it is swallowed accidentally). Bad breath typically improves over time as the diet becomes more varied.

15) Don't drink with a straw. Stop eating when you feel full. Don't lift anything heavier than a grocery bag, and no swimming for 4-6 weeks when the incisions heal.

Now that I have summarized all that, I think I need to go lie down. No wonder Mr. Salted's eyes glazed over...damn! I have my final pre-surgery consultation with the surgeons today.

Saturday 9 meme: Heatwave

1. It’s July. How has the weather been where you are? High 80's up to low 90's. A bit much for me.

2. What is the best way for you to beat the heat? A/C unit, dark room, cold drink.

3. “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” Do you buy that? Not really. Hot is hot. I think you sweat more in humid heat, and dry heat might help arthritis--that would be the main difference.

4. Do you like hot tubs or saunas? Hot tubs, but not when it's hot.

5. What’s the hottest you’ve ever been? Corvallis, Oregon, summer of 1993. I was living in a second-floor apartment with no window screens or A/C units, and it was 104 degrees. UGH.

6. How many times do you hit the beach in the summer?

Not often. I like beaches where you can wear sweaters.

7. When you were a kid, what did you do in the summer?

Read, hung out at friends' houses, avoided my family.

8. Surfing. Have you ever gotten on a surfboard? Body surf? No.

9. What’s your favorite summer song? "The Warmth of the Sun" by the Beach Boys

Helter Skelter--Monday Crazy Questions meme

1.What is one thing that will put a great big ole smile on your face?

A cute dog.

2.You're walking down the street toward a very familiar face. As you get closer you realize you do not remember this person's name at all. Do you speak with the chance that they'll want to stop and chat or do you pretend that you don't see the person?

Pretend I don't see. If they stop and speak first, I wing it.

3. Are you the rock or the sponge of your household?

I'd say the rock.

4. You have gone over to a friend's for dinner. You look down at your plate and notice a great big ole hair hanging out from inside your sandwich. What do you do?

Pick it out. Shit happens.

5. If you HAD to name one....who would you say is your role model?

I really, really can't. Heroes are just people who keep on trying.

6. Have you raised children? if so do you think your parenting skills were top notch or could have used a little help from Dr Phil?

I raised myself, and I did a pretty good job. Dr. Phil is a tool. I knew I was having a bad day last week when I watched his show and he was actually making sense.

7. Would your -(Past or present)- mate/spouse, significant other/whatever -say that living with you has been like a gentle breeze or more like a hurricane?

I'm gentle like a laxative, blunt like an instrument...I don't know. Hurricane tendencies with frequent, sporadic gentle breeze sightings.

8. When you shop at the grocery store, do you always shop exactly by a list or just go helter skelter and hope that you get home with most of what you need?

99.9% of the time, a list. 80%, coupons too.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I finally got a laptop; it is a lovely thing. I would have liked to get a Mac, but just couldn't justify the expense at this juncture. I just got an Acer at Office Max, and it was the floor model, so it set me back a mere $423.00. I lasted about 12 hours with the stupid "pad" on the keyboard, so I went back the next day for the wireless mouse. I also got a nice lap desk, which I like to sit atop a big flat pillow. (I don't have much of an actual lap.) I still like my PC for my iTunes and my photo editing stuff--I don't think a laptop could handle all the memory that would take, though I did get a decent-size screen (I think it's 16.5"). I love that I can take it with me and write anytime and anywhere; I hope it encourages me to do so. The keys do feel wonderfully fluid under my fingertips. (To date, mostly it has encouraged me to sit on the bed while Mr. Salted and I harvest our farms on Facebook.) It's great that I will be able to have it in the hospital, and while I'm staying off my ankle prior to that surgery.

Tattoos, Botox, and Good Luck Charms: Monday Crazy Questions Meme

1. Do you have a tattoo...?? if so What and where is it??
if not do you have a secret desire to have one?

I don't have any yet. I do want one and it's not a secret, I just haven't gotten any yet. I kind of want Snoopy with the typewriter, or one of my paintings.

2. You have been offered a free Botox treatment...where do you have them put it?

I don't want Botox. The thought of needles in my face freaks me right out. I do want my eye bags gone, but not enough to let them cut into my face.

3. Do you have a good luck charm? what is it?
Do you think it works?

Mr. Salted is my good luck charm. And yes. :)

4. When was the last time that you said something to someone that you REALLY wished you hadn't said?

I can't remember.

5. The bath water is running, the phone is ringing, the dog is barking and there is someone at the door.....what do you do?

Shut off the water, see what's up with the dog. If the dog is okay and Freddy Krueger's not lurking around, go back to the bath. Ignore the phone (they'll call back) and the door (it's probably the annoying neighbors). Calgon, take me away!

6. Your best friend from high school just popped in from out of town. do you offer them a place to stay or suggest a hotel?

I'd offer my place but advise them of its limitations. :)

7. Have you ever seen a ghost? Seen? No. Felt? Yes.

8. Someone is driving in front of you rather erratically and slowing you way you see that they are talking on a cell phone and checking themselves out in the mirror. The other lane is blocked off so you can not go around them. What do you do??

I scream, "Hang up and drive, you moron!" and crank angry music.


In the middle of road trips and work hours--when it comes to work, I have suddenly become in demand--I fit in the pre-surgery EKG and bloodwork. It was a bit of a cluster, which I've learned to expect throughout this entire process. I was fasting, so I went to one lab, where the tech was filling in for someone else and didn't know how to do EKGs, so they sent me to another lab I had never been to. I got to that lab, and that tech knew how to do the EKG but had never seen orders the likes of mine. Ultimately, she had to call someone from the first lab I had gone to to come over and assist with the blood draw. They had to take FIVE vials of blood. I sat there for a good hour and a half while this all transpired--hadn't eaten in oh, sixteen hours--and feared I was going to have to choke a bitch, but fortunately, they had cookies and Diet Coke to keep me from dying. Five vials of blood, though. Damn!

The EKG was normal. The technology has improved drastically since my last one. Who knows about the bloodwork? I see the surgeons on the 21st, nutritionist on the 20th, and I'm sure all will be discussed ad nauseam.

Post-EKG/bloodwork debacle, I had this fun road trip to Portland with an old friend--meeting up with another old friend--which was so much fun. We went to Powell's--which is where I joke that I want my ashes when I die--and also hit one of the branches of the Book Bin in Salem. What can I say? I went on a major book bender. Here is a partial list of my goodies:

Scott Spencer—A Ship Made of Paper

Nick Hornby, ed.—Speaking With the Angel: Original Stories

Leo Tolstoy—Anna Karenina

Carson McCullers—The Member of the Wedding and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Elliot Perlman—The Reasons I Won’t Be Coming: Stories

Peter Terzian, ed.—Heavy Rotation: Twenty Writers on the Albums That Changed Their Lives

Maile Meloy—A Family Daughter

Kim Addonizio and Cheryl Dumesnil, eds.—Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos

Tobias Wolff—Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories*

Laura Moriarty—The Rest of Her Life

Dorothy Parker—Stories (a collection of 24)

Joyce Carol Oates—The Female of the Species: Tales of Mystery and Suspense

Ann Charters, ed.—The Portable Beat Reader

Shawn McBride—Green Grass Grace

Mark Budman and Tom Hazuka, eds.—You Have Time For This: Contemporary American Short-Short Stories

John McNally, ed.—When I Was a Loser: True Tales of (Barely) Surviving High School

Mary Oliver—New and Selected Poems, Volume One*

Leslie Marshall—A Girl Could Stand Up

Tim O’Brien—July, July

Elissa Schappell—Use Me

Graham Roumieu—Bigfoot: I Not Dead

Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannessen, eds.—The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them

Amy Goldwasser, ed.—Red: Teenage Girls in America Write On What Fires Up Their Life Today

Lily Burana—Strip City: A Stripper’s Farewell Journey Across America

Doris Lessing—The Golden Notebook

Jonathan Lethem—You Don’t Love Me Yet

Franz Kafka—The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, and Other Stories

Joyce Carol Oates—My Sister, My Love

All were used except the ones marked with *.

Being with old friends after years and years, just talking about life, was SO cool. We were all once children together, and now we face a lot of what people our age our facing--aging parents/grandparents, etc., and our plans for the rest of our lives. We are all only children; it was really like spending time with two long-lost sisters. It even got me thinking about going back to graduate school...but I'm only thinking at this point. I've got to take care of this surgery stuff and my ankle is getting worse all the time, unfortunately, so I can't think much past the immediate future.

I'm still enjoying food and drinks in moderation, but am always mindful of the the looming expiration date on eating "normally". The 20th is when I see the nutritionist and the pre-surgery low-carb regime begins. One friend of mine--who is an RN--warned me I would feel hungry all the time, and possibly weak and/or sick as well. I hope the nutritionist gives me some guidance in terms of keeping my energy up for work. I also hope I don't have that gonna-have-to-choke-a-bitch feeling the whole time. Diets make me crabby. But not as crabby as taking five vials of blood when I haven't eaten in fourteen hours!

Saturday 9: Wedding Bell Blues

1. If you have been or are married, tell us about your wedding. If you are not, tell us how would you want it to be.

Both of my weddings were very small. The first had three people; the second had seven people, which was more than I wanted, but it worked out well. We picked an officiant, wrote our own vows, and I actually got dressed up, carried flowers, and all that stuff. If I'd had my druthers, though, we would have run off somewhere alone together and gotten married. We plan to renew our vows that way at some point.

2. What age would you encourage your children to get married? I don't think anyone should get married before they are 25. The later, the better. I was almost 30 the first time I married and that was a good age.

3. Who got married at the last wedding that you attended? Pat and Noemi.

4. Do you enjoy weddings and receptions? The receptions tend to be more fun, of course. It really depends on who's getting married. For the most part, I enjoy them, but I used to be a wedding photographer so I can pretty much predict the length of the marriage accurately before the ceremony is over.

5. Have you cried at a wedding? Sure.

6. Would you prefer a lavish event or a intimate ceremony? Intimate.

7. Have you ever been in someone’s wedding party? If yes, do tell.
A couple of times. Once I was a bridesmaid and the photographer--I don't recommend that. My main memories are of being hot, of going into a handicapped stall with the other attendants and holding up the big dress so a bride could pee, and of hoping my strapless bra(because you could never wear a normal bra with those dresses) wouldn't blow out at an inopportune moment.

8. Does a wedding make you happy and sentimental or grouchy and skeptical? Depends on the circumstances. I err on the skeptical side until I see some evidence to the contrary, but always hope for the best.

9. Why do you think our divorce rate is so high? People getting married for the wrong reasons to people they don't know well enough. And people that want a wedding, not a marriage!

It's a Wonderful Life: Thursday Thunks meme for July 7

1. Do you tend to have a guilty conscience? No.

2. Do you still have your wisdom teeth? I have one impacted one waaaay in the jaw. It's not going anywhere.

3. Peanut Butter - creamy or crunchy? Jif Extra Crunchy, but I have recently switched to Jif Creamy in honor of my impending gastric bypass.

4. Get up off your butt. Take 5 steps. Which leg did you start out on? The left

5. What color is your favorite kitchen utensil? Silver.

6. Did you watch the Michael Jackson memorial/funeral? I saw about ten minutes of it--I was on my way out the door with some friends.

7. Do you know anyone who graduated from high school this year?
Were you invited to their graduation party? Did you go?
This year, no.

8. White with black stripes or black with white stripes? black with white stripes

9. If we were to call your 6th grade teacher, what would they say about you? They'd say I was a nice kid.

10. Can you draw a perfect circle? no

11. What was your favorite scratch & sniff sticker scent? Cherry

12. What does your sibling do for a living? no siblings

13. How many light switches and electrical outlets are in the room that you are in right now? One light switch, four outlets

14. Do you know sign language?
No. I'd like to learn it.

15. Do you step on cracks in the sidewalk? I step wherever it's level.

16. And the sheets on your bed look like....? T-shirt sheets!

17. What is something that everyone else has, but you don't? I can't think of anything EVERYONE else has. Sometimes it feels like everyone else has kids and I don't.

Monday Crazy Questions, from June 29

I'm a little behind....

1. what would you say is your biggest blessing ?

My friends; that includes Mr. Salted.

2. do you shop online...Home goods or personal items? Can you tell us what personal items you look for??

Clothes, books, gifts, shoes, jewelry, movies, music...I am a dedicated online shopper.

3. Name a song from your past that you have always loved. what year was it recorded?

I have always loved "Helplessly Hoping" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Probably 1969 or 1970?

4. If you found out there was a pedophile living in your neighborhood, would you take any action or ignore the fact??

Is s/he a convicted pedophile or just an alleged one? If convicted, I'd make sure s/he was doing the reporting s/he was supposed to be doing and that the neighborhood was aware. I'd help put up the posters, if need be.

5. If you could live in any city In the USA...what would it be.

Cannon Beach, OR

6. what is the one city you wouldn't live in even if you were paid to!?

Miami, FL

7. If you were strapped for cash would you ask a parent or sibling for money?

Don't have either. Wouldn't anyway.

8. what is your most favorite thing to do to relax when you are not working?


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pre-surgery ultrasound

I feel like I haven't been around at all. It's been crazy! Between fun stuff, surgery stuff and work stuff, I have been on the run, and mostly I'm glad; I don't have time to sit around and obsess about the surgery, and I'm bringing in some money--and I know this is a temporary segue.

Yesterday was my pre-surgical abdominal ultrasound to evaluate for gallstones. (If they see gallstones, they will remove my gallbladder during the bypass surgery.)

I've had ultrasounds and a lot of other stomach tests before (colonoscopy, endoscopy, etc.) but this ultrasound was quite the marathon. I must have been in there for at least 45 minutes, contorting my body so that every conceivable view of my innards could be recorded. There was also a lot of breath holding and blowing it out. At times my torso felt a little tender because the tech was really having to push to get the view needed, but what surprised me was how sore I was afterward--basically I was no good at all for the rest of the day from the pain.

I still need to do an EKG and fasting blood draw; I was going to do it the same day, but my surgery date is August 3 so it needed to be done July 3 or after.

Out of the Blue--Matthew Kahler

1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, mp3 player, etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.

Lullaby in Blue--Bette Midler

How Can I Be Out When I Ain't Been In?--Girl Trouble

Need You Tonight--INXS

Speak Low--Billie Holiday

That's The Way (I Like It)--KC and the Sunshine Band

Pay To Play--Nirvana

Brass in Pocket--Pretenders

Galaxy of Emptiness--Beth Orton

There is a Sound--The Handsome Family

WHAT IS 2 + 2?
No Self-Control--Peter Gabriel

C'Mon and Get My Love--Cathy Dennis

Wrap My Head Around That--Lucinda Williams

Sleep to Dream--Fiona Apple

When Harpo Played His Harp--Jonathan Richman

Artesian Lover--Sandman

American Woman--Guess Who

Your Heart is an Empty Room--Death Cab for Cutie

Twisting By The Pool--Dire Straits (good choice!)

Become a Robot--They Might Be Giants

Mr. Blue--Junkster

Nightmares By the Sea--Jeff Buckley

Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight--Spinal Tap

The Kokomo Medley--Bonnie Raitt

The First Show--Your Heart Breaks

Speed of Sound--Coldplay

Girl Gone Bad--Van Halen

I Could Write a Book--Dinah Washington

Out of the Blue--Matthew Kahler

Thursday Thunks meme for July 2

1. When you close a door, do you close it quick and just let it slam or do you hold the knob and slowly shut it tight? Slowly shut. Slamming is obnoxious and I want to make sure it's closed all the way.

2.Train A is moving at 60 miles an hour. Train B is moving at 22 miles an hour. They will pass each other at X time. Now what color shoes are you wearing when train A derails? I am barefoot and drinking a margarita.

3. What if M&M's grew on trees? What color M&M tree would you have?
M&M trees would be great, but wouldn't the M&M's melt in the sun? Purple and/or blue.

4. How many petals on a flower does it take to make it the perfect bloom? It's not how many petals a flower has, it's how the flower feels. :)

5. I took you to spend $421.67 on you, what did we spend that money on? Books!

6. If you were a squash, what type of squash would you be? Yellow. I like that kind.

7. Have you ever gotten a wrong number call and ended up talking to the person for longer than 5 minutes? No, but I've had a brief chat about the weather or something inane.

8. Why haven't you joined Berleen & Kimber at Insanity Cafe yet? Do we stink? I don't know what that is, but it sounds like a good place.

9. Shampoo bottles say lather, rinse, repeat... do you? No, once is enough--that would just wash the hair dye out faster. :)

10. It's July, the year is half over. Do you see it as "whew that part is over" or best is yet to come? The best is yet to come.

11. Why do you do the Thursday Thunks meme? It's fun.

About Me

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Seattle, WA, United States
This blog focuses largely on a personal journey to and through weight-loss surgery. It's also about reading, writing, animals, photography, love, humor, music, thinking out loud, and memes. In other
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