Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oui! Oui!

Oh, the French.  The French!

I am smitten.  Totally in love with the French.  And France.  Everything.

They drive like they are invincible.  Incredibly fast on narrow roads.  They kiss on both cheeks...coworkers, people they've just met...everyone.  Their language is melodious and oozes intimacy.  They can cook like no one else.  And the wine.  The wine!

Yesterday was so busy, and so long, that I collapsed after returning to my hotel shortly before 10.  I caught up on e-mail (because my day-to-day job most certainly doesn't stop just because I'm over here) and found myself falling asleep with the computer on my lap.  So, no post yesterday.

The day was great. I had a tour of the plant here, attached to our global headquarters.  I met my colleagues on the international communications team (and tried to hide the fact that I'm totally geeked out about being on an international communications team).  I worked with Martin, my British boss, until a bit after 7 and then we were off to dinner.  He took me to the Cosy Cafe, which was an incredible introduction to French cuisine.  Small cafe, with a fireplace and a server who knew Martin by name (apparently he likes to lunch there).  I had fois gras, gratinee (which is French onion soup, although in France it's really unnecessary to call it's just, you know, onion soup), and a tartilette, which was layers of potatoes, bacon, and cheese.  Oh.  My.  God.  It came in a tiny casserole dish, especially small given American portion sizes, and it was perfect.  Just enough to eat without feeling gluttonous.  I had one glass of white wine.  And half a bottle of red.  Delight!

Today was a full day in the office, working mainly with Philippe (fee-leep!) who manages corporate web communications.  An adorable young man with clicky shoes and bags under his eyes due to his newborn, Alice ("Ah-leese, you know, like Ah-leese in Wonderland!").  We ate lunch together in the corporate cafeteria.  I'd venture to guess that there isn't a corporate cafeteria in America that puts goat cheese (much less a lot of goat cheese) on pizza.  Lunch was capped off with our second coffee of the day.  And by coffee I mean fancy schmancy coffee from the cappuccino machine because the French wouldn't deign to have a Mr. Coffee in the office.  There's no Coke machine, but there are multiple cappuccino machines throughout the building.  And they all have a button that, for me, needed no translation: Mocca.

Tonight was dinner at Martin's house.  We had quite the international crowd.  I was there with another colleague from the States, plus we had Martin and his wife who are British but spent 18 years in Africa, and then there was Stephane and his wife who are French.  And three dogs and two cats (two of the dogs were Pip and Otto, and one cat was Georges...I don't remember the other names).  Dinner was amazing. Some sort of baked tomatoes with delicious stuff inside and sprinkled on top, gnocchi, grilled chicken marinated in lemon juice and thyme, and a squash/artichoke concoction that had quite a spicy kick to it.  Oh, and three bottles of wine from the region here, Saint Emilion, including one from the vineyards attached to Martin and Sarah's home.  The wine barn is literally 50 feet out their front door.  The house is surrounded by vineyards, and it was beautiful even today when it was overcast and with no leaves on the vines.  Sarah invited me back, any time, to visit, and told me to bring M.  He would love them as much as I do, so I'm on a mission to make that happen.

Philippe said today, "I think you should come back here on a regular basis. Maybe once quarterly or once a trimester."  He didn't even finish the sentence before I said, "Yes!"

It's hard to believe that Tuesday will be the 1-year anniversary of starting with this company.  Normally the honeymoon wears off within 6 months or so.  In my case, it was a bit rough going at first due to it being a completely new industry for me and receiving little to no direction for the first two months, but I got my feet under me and now it's quite possibly the best job I have ever had.  The pay is good.  The people are great.  The fringe benefits are fantastic (they sent me to France, for Pete's sake!).

Okay, it's late, and I'm tired, and I have another full day ahead of me.  Bon soir!

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011


My adorable little room looks out to an ancient building.
Arrived just fine, along with my luggage. Charles DeGaulle airport is spectacular. Managed to get a bit of sleep between Atlanta and Paris, then more on the way to Bordeaux. My cab driver picked me and another employee up in a BMW. Downtown Libourne is quaint, what little I've seen of it. Boss is picking me up shortly for a factory tour. And hopefully some food - I just realized I'm starving! Breakfast was meager, and about seven hours ago on the plane.
It's about 2:30 pm here. I just talked to Zozo, who is on her way to school for the day. I keep seeing small children, and it makes my heart break to miss her so. I've never been so far away from her; I have to just not think about it or I'll start tearing up.
I've showered and changed, and feel like a new person. Must go - shouldn't keep the boss waiting!

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Here we go!

Sitting in a huge, cushy seat on a giant airplane. Got my pillow, a blankie, my iPhone, my Kindle, a wallet full of Euros, and M's Bose noise-canceling earphones. And considerably less stress. Am finally beginning to enjoy this.
More from the other side of the pond, when I get a chance. I hit the ground running over there, so who knows when I'll have a chance to check in.
Au revoir!

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Unexpected love

Out of boredom, I was looking through the pictures on my phone. I recently taught Zoe how to make self-portraits. Turns out she now has creative license to make selfies whenever she wants. I had no idea she did this (or four others in this series). We were at Carl's, waiting for stools to open up so we could have lunch this weekend. Totally cracked me up, and is just what I needed right now.



I usually don't read too much into things, but sitting at my gate this morning, waiting for my flight, this was my view. Uh oh.
So far:
Flight delayed.
Got here early to sit on a concall from hell. That it turns out I wasn't really needed for.
Restaurant forgot to put the chicken on my salad, and I didn't notice until I was finished eating. (Free salad!)
Realized that while I remembered my nighty-night pills, I packed them in my checked bag. Lotta good they'll do me there! (My company has now grossly overpaid for a small pack of Tylenol PM, but I figure we're square as I saved them an $11 salad.)
Well, the good news is my plane just arrived, and I have a new bag of peanut m&m's in my purse. Yay!
Next stop: Atlanta.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011


Sunday afternoon.  NCAA games.  Hanging out with the family.  Doing some laundry. Debating what to do about dinner.  Slowly freaking out in my head about flying to France tomorrow.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about this trip.  On many, many different levels. I'm stoked to see my company's headquarters.  I'm happy to meet my international communications counterparts.  I'm thrilled to see France, including Friday morning that I have "off" before my flight home, to walk around and photograph Bordeaux.

It's the whole, "Holy crap, I'm going to be somewhere I don't speak the language" thing that freaks me out.

Yes, yes. I know in my brain that most of the French speak very good English.


When I visited Ireland years ago with Dad, they spoke "English" and we still couldn't understand them.


I was doing pretty well quelling the fear until Friday morning, when Ms. OohLaLa from Air France called to tell me that due to an equipment change I no longer had a flight from the US to France.  My JFK-CDG route was no longer available, and what would I like to do?  Ummmm, how about you give me some options?  She did, and rattled off so much information that I myself became quite rattled in the process.  I filled a page on my legal pad with acronyms and times and terminal names.

All the while completely distracted that she ended every word with "ah."  "May-ah I-ah have-ah you're-ah frequent-ah flyer-ah number-ah?"  "Sure.  1-2-3..."  "One-ah, two-ah, three-ah"  "4-5-6"  "Four-ah, five-ah, six-ah..."

It's hard to concentrate when that's going on.  Felt like I was talking to Coco f*cking Chanel or something.  I probably would have enjoyed it more if she hadn't been talking about whether I wanted my upgraded status-ah.  (Yes, dammit. I still want the upgrade.  Like you should even ask someone who is gonna be on a flight that long whether they still want first class or would steerage be fine?)

M, good man that he is, has made two calls to Delta and farted around on the site in an attempt to ensure that I do indeed still have the upgrade despite there being no evidence to the contrary (for instance, on my route home I'm listed as business class, but on the way over, I'm "W."  We have no idea what the hell "W" stands for.  Winning!!  Maybe I'm flying next to Charlie Sheen.)

My freaking out about all this means nothing to M, world traveler that he is.  "Chill out, Aim," he says.  "You'll be fine."  Yes, I know this.  But my maternal instincts are berating me for leaving my child while I'm simultaneously wondering what will happen if I mispronounce "bonjour."  Will they just laugh outright and give me the crappy room by the ice machine and the elevators?

I really, really hope this is the first of many trips to France.  Because once I get this one under my belt I'll be able to relax and enjoy future ones.  One can only hope.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Morning snack

I love kiwi. Nom nom nom.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quote of the Day

"I call upon you to draw from the depths of your being - to prove that we are a human race, to prove that our love outweighs our need to hate, that our compassion is more compelling than our need to blame."

-Elizabeth Taylor


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Farewell to a Beggar

We lost one of our own today.  I am starting to get really, really incredibly pissed off at this death thing.  It sucks any way you look at it.  If you know the person is nearing the end (whether it's because of age or cancer or whatever) it sucks.  If you don't know, because the person is young and reasonably healthy and there's no reason to suspect anything is amiss, it sucks.  I was in the latter camp today, blindsided by it.

So I cried for her, and for my family, and for the unfairness of it, and for the selfishness of not getting to say goodbye.  Or rather, not knowing that our last goodbye was our last goodbye.

And I was reminded once again that life is fleeting and we have one chance at chance to do and experience as much as we can and to not take a single day for granted.

Anyone who knows me knows that I look for the silver lining in everything.  It's always there.  Sometimes it's hard to find, but it's there.  My silver lining today is to take the gift that she gave us, the lesson that the best way to live, the only way to really live, is to live on our terms, no one else's.  She was tough and independent, had gorgeous Cherokee cheekbones, and could throw horseshoes better than most men.  If I had to use only one word to describe her, it's fierce.  I loved and respected her for that.  I want to be as fierce as she was some day.

RIP Aunt Mary Ann.  You are loved and you will be missed.

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Last night we went out for National Ravioli Day (yes, I do live in the best country ever) to a new little Italian joint up the road.  The food was amazing, save the t-ravs (ironic, yes?).  They were a bit tough and chewy.  But the hand-rolled meatballs, and the aroncinis and the salads were top notch and definitely worthy of returning.

The chewy ravs re-aggravated my jaw.  Or so I thought.  We went to Red Mango for froyo afterwards and while it was its normal yummy awesomeness, it was a bit hard to eat.  Damn.  I had really thought the pain was gone.

Got home, supervised Zoe's shower, and got her tucked into bed (with a goodnight call to M, as he's in RI this week).  I went to brush my teeth and about doubled over in pain.  Holy mother of God.  The canker sore that's been hanging out back there was really, really acting up.  I've had that thing for about as long as the jaw pain, but it wasn't hurting until last night.  And it felt weird.

I peered into my mouth, as much as one can peer into one's own mouth.  Which isn't much, as I'm sure you already know.  I could see a bit of the canker but not much.  I searched the house for a small mirror, cursing the fact that we don't own one of those little round mirror thingies the dentists have.  Because, you know, when you need one you really really need one and nothing else will do.  I tried cramming little cosmetic mirrors in there, but contrary to popular belief my mouth isn't that big.

Since I couldn't see anything, I started poking around with my fingers.  That only brought more pain, and then some blood, but I started to figure out that there was something in there.  I could feel a hard edge.


This is where the internal dialogue starts up, rising with panic.  "OMG OMG OMG.  What is that thing?  I don't know, and I don't know that I want to know.  Holy crap, that's disgusting.  Maybe it's a popcorn kernal that got stuck in there.  When's the last time you ate popcorn?  I don't know...a month ago?  Surely it's not from a month ago.  That's it, I'm never eating popcorn again.  What the hell do I do now?  Well, you can't just leave it in there.  Why not?  Because you know it's there now.  You gotta go in there and get it out.  Fine.  Fine."

I got the tweezers, and the huge bottle of rubbing alcohol.  After disinfecting the tweezers, I took a deep breath, and went in.

And removed what I believe is a tooth fragment from the wisdom pulled about a decade ago.


After extraction, the pressure and pain in my jaw just shut off.  It was like flipping a switch.  Done.  Whoosh.  Free.

I just did what a dentist, hygienist, oral surgeon, ENT, internist and neurologist couldn't.  I fixed myself.  I'm billing my insurance company.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Pre-school Econ, or Baby Budgeting

Zoe had her first hard lesson in economics at the mall yesterday.

For Valentine's Day, we bought her a little owl coin purse she wanted from Borders on the condition that it was to be her allowance keeper. She'd been simultaneously helping out around the house and asking for things when we go shopping, so we figured now is the time to start teaching about the value of money and material possessions. Also known as, "How to ensure your kid is not a spoiled brat."

She receives a nickel every time she feeds the cats (which is twice a day), and a quarter every Sunday for helping M with the trash (she fetches the small cans from each of the rooms and brings them to the kitchen for dumping in the kitchen bag, then returns them). She earns bonus money for helping with extra projects (another quarter yesterday for helping me wash windows). She steadfastly deposits her change into her coin purse, and every once in awhile we dump it all out and count it. It has earned a permanent spot on the kitchen counter.

Her first purchase was a bunny-ear headband from the dollar bin at Target. She didn't mind a bit forking over $1.07 for it, and continues to wear it regularly (good purchase). Yesterday, though, she went to the mall with us, owl change purse in hand, with the intent of shopping in her favorite toy store. Before going in, she and M counted out what she had: $3.80. She was ready.

They found me later in Bare Escentuals, Zoe teary-eyed and sniffling.

"What's going on?"
"She found something she wants, but she can't afford it.  And I wouldn't buy it for her."

Ah, time for your first lesson in saving, young grasshopper.

The three of us had a good discussion about saving for things we really want, and working hard to earn money to buy the things we want. We calculated out how long it will take her to save up for the stuffed animal at her current earning rate, and how she might be able to earn more by providing extra help. We explained that lots of times there are things that we want to buy, but we can't because we have not saved up our money yet. She looked interested.

I said, "Do you know how long Daddy saved to get our Corvette?" She shook her head. "Over ten years. A long time." Her eyes widened. The 12 weeks (give or take) it'll take to get to her purchase goal pales in comparison, although 12 weeks to a child might as well be 10 years.

I wasn't sure our discussion worked, but she was calm after that and resigned to the fact that she simply hadn't earned enough money to make her purchase yet. We didn't hear another word about the toy, but she has since asked me, "What can I do to help? How can I earn more allowance?"  And you bet your bippy after she fed the cats this morning she was right there, coin purse open and jingling, waiting for her pay.

She'll get there. And I'm so proud of her for really learning from this and figuring it out.

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And just like that, almost as stealthily as it crept up, the pain left.

I don't know why, but I'm really not going to be upset about it.


Friday, March 18, 2011


Had great seats at the theater tonight. Another awesome performance by Cousin Dan.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011


This just proves that going to the neurologist is no fun.
Another vote for trigeminal neuralgia today. I tried really hard not to cry when he told me there is no treatment for it, but I couldn't help it. They throw scary meds at it in varying doses to try and manage it, but it's all really just a crap shoot. Maybe it'll go away on its own, in time. Maybe.
I think if you're going to give a person news like that, you should at least let her get some kicks with the rolling stools.

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Green Day

A year after leaving the soul-sucking cesspool that was my last job, I've finally broken out of the old dress code. Fun prints and bright colors.
Lots of green today, for luck o' the Irish. Happy Eire Day to you and yours!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Grab shots from our post-dinner stroll.

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Concurring diagnoses!

Okay, boys and girls.  We might be finally settling on a resolution.  At the very least, a common diagnosis.  Dentist today poked around, and rattled his metal mirror torture-device thingy around my teeth and, after peeling me off the ceiling, proclaimed, "I think it's trigeminal neuralgia."  Ding ding ding!  That's what the primary care doc said, so that's what we're going with for now.

The National Institutes of Health summarizes it much better than I, so go here if you want to learn about it.

The good news, before you freak out (Mom), is that all the proper scans and tests have been done and there's no tumor.  It appears I've got this "just because."  I'll work with the neurologist tomorrow to try to confirm the diagnosis and hopefully figure out a treatment plan or, at the very least, a medium to long-term pain management program. 

Well, now that we've got that out of the way, I can stop having this rule my life and get on with living.  'Cause there is way, way too much good stuff going on.

We went out tonight for dinner (love love love Dewey's Pizza!) and I had a pretty pain-free meal (thank you Vic).  It was so nice that we walked down to see if our beloved Custard Station was open for the season yet (it's not...and won't be 'til April) and then just hung out in a little park nearby.  Races with Zozer, lots of spins, tons of laughing.  A lovely walk around the block and then a leisurely drive home through one of our favorite neighborhoods.  It was nice to just be outside, with only light jackets, breathing fresh air.

I was able to register today for Camp Shutter Sisters, which thrills me to no end.  This is the first year for it, and it promises to be spectacular.  All 70 spots sold out in two hours, so I consider myself incredibly lucky for having remembered to set the calendar alarm to go off when registration went live this morning.  Three days on the California coast with other women photographers...a target-rich environment full of nurturing and support and a common goal to recognize the beautiful in every part of our lives.

One of the best parts of my day, though, was learning that my hubby, my wonderful M, told all his colleagues that his wife is most likely suffering from trigenital neuralgia.  After I stopped laughing, I set him straight.  I'm still wondering, though, exactly what trigenital neuralgia would feel like.  Pretty sure I don't want to find out.  Here's hoping he corrects it with his colleagues, or it's going to make the next holiday party a bit uncomfortable.

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How do you spell relief?


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Another office visit today

Let's see if medical expert #5 can figure anything out. Seeing the dentist late this afternoon.
After a pretty good day yesterday, I crashed and burned last night. A rush-hour Vicodin helped, except for dinner, which was excruciating. Again.

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Morning Ice

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I've run the medical gamut, and am really nowhere new.  Here's what I've done, in a nutshell:

I've seen an ENT, a dentist (or rather, one of his assistants), an oral surgeon, and a general practitioner.  I've had a CT and some MRIs.  I've been poked and prodded and scanned, weighed and blood pressured and generally inspected.  Each time, the doc looks at me, shakes his head slowly and says, "Boy, I don't know..."

All scans came back negative, which is great news except that someone forgot to tell the pain.  I was given Vicodin for the weekend, which helped tremendously except when I ate.  And it made me sleepy.  I was also given steroids, which I'm still stepping down.  The symptoms, bless their little hearts, are changing on a daily basis.  The pain is still there, but now my rear gums are swollen again and hurt when touched (they didn't do that when I was at the dentist on Tuesday or the oral surgeon on Friday, f*ckers).  It's not as bad as it was, thankfully, so I haven't taken a pain killer of any kind since noon yesterday.  So long as I don't mess with those gums, I'm pretty good.

The general practitioner, given the symptom change and all the negative scans, proclaims that he thinks it might be dental after all. Maybe an abscess.  Although according to WebMD I have only one of the many symptoms of an abscess, that being pain. I called my dentist again this morning, since he's now back from Hawaii, and he had the office manager call me back to refer me to an oral surgeon.

"But I've already seen an oral surgeon."
"Oh, what did he say?"
"He said it's not dental."
"Well, you didn't see the oral surgeon WE recommend.  For TMJ."
"It's not TMJ.  My doc inspected my jaw and said it's not TMJ."
"Fine.  Tomorrow at 4:15 then." (insert heavy sigh here) (with a huge dose of attitude)

So I see the dentist again tomorrow.  Or actually, the dentist for the first time since he was in Hawaii last week.  Maybe he'll actually, oh, I don't know, do a damn x-ray or something instead of relying on 6-month-old panels and saying, "Can't be dental."

Just in case, I see a neurologist on Thursday.  Which I may end up canceling if the pain keeps diminishing and/or the dentist decides that since my gums hurt, hey, it just might be dental after all.

I honestly have no clue what this might be.  Trigeminal neurolgia was floated, although I don't really have all the symptoms associated with that, either.  I'm a regular medical mystery, I am.

So that's the scoop.  Yes, I'm still in pain.  Yes, it's getting better.  No, I don't know what it is, or why it's getting better.  Maybe I'm just getting better at managing it.  Who knows.  I'm just happy to be back at work, cranking right along, and not feeling simultaneously stoned and in pain.


Friday, March 11, 2011


Why is dental equipment always so scary looking?!

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Well, Wednesday's relief was either temporary or an indication I spaced my pain meds appropriately. That night I crumpled again. Yesterday saw a CR scan to rule out a mass in my sinus passage. All clear on that front (thankfully), causing the ENT to proclaim it must be dental. He referred me to an oral surgeon, where I sit waiting to be seen right now. Fun.
Actually, I don't care WTF they do if it brings relief.
More later. Hopefully pain-free or at least with some solid answers.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Anatomy 101 - Today's lesson: Sinus cavities

The visit to the dentist yesterday afternoon was very informative.  First, I learned that Dr. C. is apparently doing just fine as he is currently on vacation in Hawaii and is going to Aruba next month.  Second, I learned that his assistant, Kelly, is da bomb.  And very knowledgable about all things toothy.

My teeth and my gums are fine.  "Clinically perfect" is the term she used.  I'll take that.  What I also learned from Kelly is that the roots of our upper teeth actually extend into the sinus cavity located behind our cheekbones.  If those sinus cavities get all jacked up (which mine, obviously, are), the roots and their surrounding nerves can be irritated.  And since there is one big ol' nerve branch that extends all the way down through the lower jaw, pain gets a passport and travels all around.  Just like Dr. C.

I was instructed to continue taking the antibiotics and popping Advil like candy, and just let everything clear up.  While relieved about the diagnosis, I had a rough evening ahead of me.  The tears came halfway through dinner when the pain got pretty intense.  Zoe got upset then, too, so I had to feign happiness and reassure her that Mommy will be fine, despite the fact that Mommy wants to rip off her own head and dunk it in some sort of numbing solution.  (Another shout-out to the in-laws for taking care of little things like dinner and bathing my child so I didn't have to.)

Then, late last night, after working another few hours (I was on deadline and feeling guilty for not being as productive as I usually am), I blew my nose, sent shock waves through my jaw, and totally lost it on the phone with M.  He's in Austin this week, and so is offering long-distance sympathy.  I'm not sure what he thinks with his wife calling him in tears, when there is nothing either he or I can really do about it.  We agreed that if I wasn't feeling better this morning, I'd call the doc back and get something stronger than amoxycillan.

This morning I woke up and had no pain in my jaw.  I laid there for awhile, wondering what would happen once I stood up.  Finally, I decided that I couldn't hide in bed all day.  I got up, got in the shower, and started to feel the now-familiar thudding in my left mandible.  Great.  But it just stayed that way.  It didn't erupt into something worse.  Holy cow...relief.

When you're in the hospital, they always ask you to rate your pain on a scale of one to ten.  I'd say the pain this week has been hovering around 32.  This morning, it settled in at a comfortable three.  I'll take three. I can handle three.  Especially after 32.

On the way to work, I dove into my granola bar.  Slight pain, maybe up to a four or five, but nothing like it had been.  I'm on the mend.  And I'm so damn appreciative of that fact that I've been sending out love letter e-mails to my colleagues all morning, just to tell them what a great job they're doing.  (We don't do that enough, I think, as a society overall.  And I know I've certainly been pretty confined to my own head the last four days, so I'm doing what I can to fix it.)

I do know this: if there is ever a procedure for a sinus transplant, I'll be the first to sign up.  I've been dealing with these mothers for years with allergies and sinus infections.  But now that they've brought out the artillary and are gunning for other parts of my head, yeah, it's war.  And especially, don't f*ck with my ability to eat.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Pain goggles

When it comes, it sneaks up from behind and clobbers me without warning.  The pain swoops up and descends, bringing down a blanket over my view.  Everything, everything, is seen through the haze of pain.  It's impossible to look around it, or over it.  It mocks my attempts to ignore it by prickling my eyes with tears since apparently a metaphorical vision change simply isn't enough.

Routine daily activities like eating a granola bar for breakfast, either on the run or while waiting for the computer to boot up, become something for which I have to steel my nerves.  I eye the bar warily, stomach growling, knowing that while I need to eat something for the medicine, the pain it will inflict makes me wonder if it's worth it.  Oprah survived on a liquid diet for awhile, yes?

I don't know how people with chronic pain do this.  I can't understand how someone just lives with it.

I consider myself to have a pretty high pain tolerance.  I don't take pain medication for minor aches.  I walked on a broken foot for five days before going to the doctor, for Pete's sake, and I only went out of a sense that perhaps something might be really wrong.  The wrist cyst grew to enormous size before I even went to an ortho, and then it was close to a year before I caved and had surgery.

This pain, though, is a whole new world of pain.  It's all-consuming.  It dictates how I'm living my life.  It's affecting my roles as mother, wife, employee, sister, aunt, etc. 

I wanted to work on my niece's birthday invitation last night.  I'm so excited to do this for her, and I have it all mapped out in my head.  But I couldn't move from the couch, rigid in agony and praying for medicine to please please start working now.  I couldn't think about anything else but the pain.  I gave up Zoe for the evening (thank you to MIL and FIL for taking her with such short notice) because I couldn't give her the attention she deserves and I felt right on the edge of just losing my shit entirely in front of her.

When the pain subsides, and it does every now and then, I feel relief but not wholly.  Because I'm too worried about when it will come again.  Pain saunters away and leaves a lingering, "Yes, but..."

I feel ridiculous for even writing this.  Like a huge, whiny baby.  Like one of those people you avoid at work because a simple, "Hey, how are you?" turns into a litany of every minor corporeal disturbance.  I don't want to be one of those people.

But ohmyGod, it's really, truly taking over my life.

Dentist today at 4:15.  Hopefully that's the start of becoming normal again.

Monday, March 07, 2011


I shot this first for the pattern, or patteren as Zozer calls it, but it was later, during post, that I saw little slivers of myself and her both reflected, albeit distorted. It only made me like it more.

Patteren discovered under the cashier counter at Steak n' Shake.

Sidebar: holy mother of all oral hygiene, please please please do something about my painfully swollen gums. Do I not brush 2x per day? Do I not floss regularly? Why must you torture me with pain worse than my c-section? I'm serious. This is really affecting my quality of life and, after three days (and nights) of constant pain, I'm so over it. I'm now on antibiotics, which I hate, but I have no other choice. It's that or the bottle of Jack in the basement, and I still have to go to work. The antibiotics supplement the 800mg of Advil I pop about every four hours just to take the edge off.

Jeez. If I'm going to be in this much pain, I'd at least like to have something to show for it. Gaping head wound or something. Swollen gums just sound so damn wimpy. And geezer-like.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


Zoe: how do you spell "wonch?"
Me: there is no such word.
Zoe: yes, there is. "Wonch you sing with me?!"


This is on the coat rack outside the hall. What a fantastic hat. Stylish hats need to come back, for both men and women.

Colorful potties

I seem to have a bathroom motif going today.
I just liked the colors in here is all.

Lunch and learn

The program today includes a box lunch. After shuffling through the line with everyone else, I found a table with two darling little old ladies. A third soon joined us.

Two of them were delightful. The third? Yeah. I dined with a sweet little blue-eyed, white-haired bigot. Holy crap. Although we tried desperately to steer the conversation elsewhere, she managed to drive it right back to such conversational gems as welfare, teen pregnancy, rap, and violence. Which according to her only afflict "the blacks." The only humorous part of it was the fact that she seems rather stuck in the 80s, as breakdancing and Atari were also mentioned.

I stuffed a mediocre turkey and artichoke sandwich in my mouth, washed it down with a Dr. Pepper, and beat it. Along with one of the other white-hairs with whom I have a lot in common: we're both writers married to engineers. Oh, and we're not racist.

Program is getting ready to start again. It's, well, it's meh. Not great, not horrible. Definitely for someone who hasn't been shooting for 20 years. Eh, the pictures are pretty.

And they play Van Morrison at the breaks. Although I've heard Caravan about five times now. La la la la la...

Zoe on the potty

Forgot I took this last week. I just love that her feet don't touch the ground.


They're showing camera club members work while we wait for the program to start. STL has some phenomenal photographers.

Photography seminar today

Yay! Haven't really been able to shoot much lately. Well, to be honest, I haven't really felt much in the mood to shoot. Been hibernating, I guess. Spring is coming, though, and I'm hoping that today's seminar primes the creative pump.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Live to write, write to live

Down for the count today.  Three days of ignoring the head cold did not do anything to convince the head cold to leave.  Since my main deadlines were met for the week, and I was relatively caught up, I stayed home and stayed in bed.  Every once in awhile I would regain consciousness, check the phone, see that my job was still secure as 27 more e-mails had arrived since I last checked, and then fall back asleep.

I think it worked.  I feel much, much better tonight.  Although quite exhausted, which is odd given that the most energy I exerted today was to shower.

Things are going incredibly well at work.  My positioned has changed from marketing to communications.  This means nothing to most of you, but in my world, there is a distinct difference.  The largest change is the amount of writing and editing I do.  My new job is almost entirely writing and editing.  Which I love, love, love.  All day long I craft messages, constructing news releases and internal releases, speeches, promotional materials, and corporate communications like annual reports and websites.  My title is a big, long, fancy-schmancy sounding thing (that contains the impressive-sounding "North America"), but really, it could be distilled to "Wordsmith." I am, in essence, creating the voice of my company for this part of the world.  Well, and other parts of the world that require someone to take roughly-translated English and polish it up all nice and shiny.

Given where I started a year ago, leaving a soul-crushing job with nothing else lined up just to end the daily heartbreak, I am amazed.  When I left that job, I took an on-line course called Mondo Beyondo.  The biggest lesson I learned from that was to be open to possibilities, to be secure while feeling completely adrift, that the universe is unfolding exactly as it should.  I took a lot of risks over this past year, and tried so many new things that I can't even keep track any more.

So things are going really well in my little universe right now.  Yeah, something can come along at any time and demolish things to happens...but at least I know that I'll get through it and come out on the other side open to new possibilities.

I'd really like to get rid of the snot factory in my head, though.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


My new passport and our new recycling bin were both delivered today.

I honestly don't know which one makes me happier.