Sunday, August 30, 2009

If Dogs Could Blog...

If Lily could type, she'd send the following message to her Grama:

Dear Grama,

Thanks so much for the medicated shampoo. Mommy gave me a shower tonight and I'm feeling much better. It was really fun too, because Mommy had to come in the shower with me and I waited until I was soaking wet, and then I shook really hard and drenched her too. What a riot!

Then I ran all through the house, doing what Mommy calls my "Crazy Puppy Post-Bath Freak-out."I jumped on the couch and rolled around on it, too. Totally worth the spanking, by the way. Mom says the basement smells like Eau de La Wet Dog, but I don't know what she means by that because I don't speak French. She said a couple of other words I don't know, but I don't think I'm allowed to repeat them.

I can't wait until you come over again so I can jump on you and sniff your crotch. I had so much fun leaping into your car today. It was hilarious when Mommy opened the passenger side door to get me and I jumped away from her into the driver's seat. Then, remember how she walked around to the driver's side and I jumped back to the passenger's seat? LOL! That Mommy is just so funny.

Okay well, time to take Mom out for her nightly drag. I'll come see you and Izzy again soon.

Your grand-dog,

Friday, August 28, 2009

Random Updates

So it's been a while since I updated the blog. Here are some random happenings from the castle...

1) Dan's new job is going really well. He's already closed four accounts in the last week and will be scheduling enrollments soon. His boss is very impressed with him and I'm so proud I could cry. This week he also fixed my bathroom sink, replaced the faucet, got my new car tags, and found the elusive coconut M&Ms that I've scoured the city trying to locate. In summary...He's the bomb-diggity.

2) My recovery is going well too. I totally blew off the oncology appointment because they wouldn't work around my school schedule and I didn't want to miss any more school for my NON-cancer.

3) I've been corresponding with Toni McGee Causey, the author of the Bobbie Faye books that I complained about because of the title changes on the re-release. She is such a warm, kind, funny person. She sent me an autographed copy of the third book in the series, When a Man Loves a Weapon. It was even better than the first two (and not just because it was signed and FREE) and I highly recommend it. I stayed up WAY too late finishing it last weekend, but it was worth losing a few hours of sleep.

4) Dan got his ginormous, 50 inch, twenty-five dollar garage sale TV working, so he is in Dude Heaven down here in the Man Cave. He took it apart completely, ordered some kind of microchip thingies (the technical term) online, and installed them using a soldering gun and a DEsoldering gun and all manner of manly man techie stuff. (Insert a Tim Taylor Tool Time grunt here.) The screen is so big I have to wear my glasses to see the picture.

I'm just grateful I'm still allowed down here since I don't pee standing up and this is really the ultimate Man Cave now. I think the only reason the menfolk still allow the Princess to enter the male-dominated basement area is because that's where the washer and dryer are located and they don't want to wash their own clothes.

5) I won't breach any confidentiality issues here by talking about my class, but let me just say that my job this year is completely different than it was at this time last year. I'm caught up, I'm organized, I'm happy. I smile every day--even before I get coffee.

Life is good.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Classic Eleven Argument

To call my oldest child a picky eater is an insult to picky eaters everywhere. Even foods that he actually likes are not immune to his scrutiny. Take, for example, this conversation at dinner tonight:

Me: Eat your cucumber slices.
11: I don't want them.
Me: This is one of the few remaining vegetables on the list of Things You Will Eat. So eat them.
11: But...
Me: But what? What's wrong?
11: Well, I don't like the slices from the top.
(Dan and I just looked at each other with blank expressions.)
Me: The top?
11: Right. I don't like the tops.
Me: (thinking) Well, those aren't slices from the top; they're from the bottom.
11: Hmm. Really? (pause) Well, I meant I don't like the bottom parts.
Me: !! Are you kidding me? It's the same thing!
11: No, it's not. I only like the slices from the middle.
Me: How can you tell the difference?
11: The ones in the middle are bigger and they have more seeds.
Me: Well I see lots of seeds in there. Just eat them.
11: (Whining) No. They're just too...round.
Me: Are you freakin' kidding me?! Too round?
Dan: Honey, could you please try to get the rectangular cucumbers next time?

I give up.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Negative is actually a positive word

I do NOT have breast cancer. Yay. I'm still considered high risk for it, so I have to see my doctor again in two months. I also have to see an oncologist and get an MRI.

My doctor today still suggested that I at least consider a mastectomy and/or taking Tamoxifen. Um, hell to the no. I have no family history of cancer, not even PRE-cancerous cells, WHY would I hack off both my boobs?! And taking a drug which will induce menopause at 40 years old? No thanks. Grrr...

Anyway, I'm glad the tests were negative for cancer but I already knew they would be. I honestly wasn't worried about it one little bit. The thing I was most concerned about today was getting a half-day substitute for my class--not my test results.

My surgeon said that she was a little worried because my mammograms looked so bad. The radiologist called them the strangest films he'd ever seen. The pathologist had two colleagues double-check his report because apparently my microcalcifications look like none they've ever seen. Instead of little pockets of them, I had a diffuse area of them. Right. Hello? My name is T-E-B-L-E. Unusual is my middle name. I've always been one of a kind, right down to my breast tissue.

The surgeon said it looked really bad on the inside too because of all the bruising and scar tissue from the previous procedure. I told her it didn't look like much from the outside either. She said that she removed a significant amount of tissue, so the results are conclusive. She also said that when the swelling goes down I might want to consider reconstructive surgery. Yeah, uh, NO. I've been cut on enough, thank you very much. If I'm lopsided I'll stuff my bra.

THAT is Victoria's true secret.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Young Man

My almost twelve year old son is trying his best to turn into a man right before my very eyes, no matter how hard I fight it. Case in point, he's merged right into the whole middle school thing without blinking his eyes. He has all his materials organized, completes his assignments without my nagging him to do so, remembers to bring me all the things that have to be signed, and generally carries on the work of being a big kid without any input from me whatsoever. Yes, I'm blessed. And still, it annoys me.

See, I can remember when this kid was a bratty little three year old who refused to be potty-trained. I have very vivid memories of sitting on the stall floor of Chuck E. Cheese's on his third birthday (8 months pregnant with his brother, I might add) begging him to pee in the potty because we were down to the last pull-up in the diaper bag. Both of us were crying. Both of us were hard-headed, strong-willed, and determined to get our way. He finally peed and then refused to leave the bathroom in underwear because he wanted a pull-up. I caved. Life with this child has always been about compromise.

But now, he's showing me glimpses of the man he's going to be and I love it. Today after school, for example, he "graded" his brother's math homework for me because I was busy cleaning out the class pets' tanks.

(Yes, that was "pets," plural. Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment. This should not surprise you about me.)

Anyway, he was kind, helpful, and encouraging because he knows that math is his greatest academic skill but not necessarily his brother's strength. (Did I mention that this child got a 100 percent in five of the seven Math sections on the TCAP test in 5th grade? Yeah, it freaks me out.) When we got home he offered to play Eight's favorite video game (one that Eleven does not really enjoy) if Eight would practice his "addition with regrouping" skills for a few minutes. See, Eleven and I had a talk last night and I asked him to help me by helping his little brother with homework if I'm busy. He jumped right on that request and became a team player.

But despite all this maturity, he hasn't lost his dry sense of humor because, like his mother, sarcasm is his native language. Tonight it was past his bedtime and I was fussing at him, saying, "I know I'm not the only member of this family who can tell time." He argued that all the clocks were blinking because we'd had a power surge earlier and he didn't know what time it really was. I reminded him that he could consult my iHome clock in our bedroom because it has a battery back-up. Senor Sarcasm responded, "Your bedroom? You mean the Restricted Area? Isn't that like Area 51 for us kids?"

Then, when he finally got in bed, I went in to kiss him goodnight. (Hey, no matter how mature he acts, he's still my baby boy.) I said, "Good night, honey. You're my sweet boy." He responded with, "Yeah. Good night. You're my...uh...Mom." (Insert heavy sarcasm, if you didn't catch that on the initial read-through.)

I love that little goofball. I can't wait to see the man he'll be.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kinder, Gentler Blog

Because yesterday's post came across as bitter and angry (well, I WAS) I should update it with a kinder, gentler post about the book I read. I did not mean for yesterday's post to come across as an author bashing. Not at all. If there was any bashing going on, it was all on the publisher's handling of the marketing of this author.

Once you click the "Enter Site" button on Toni McGee Causey's home page, it does mention that SMP decided to rerelease the books as books one and two of a trilogy (as I quoted from her website yesterday). It also mentions, in tiny print on the copyright page of the mass market paperbacks, that the books were originally published as trade paperbacks under another name. However, I did not go searching for that information, it wasn't blatantly obvious, so I feel cheated.

I'm positive that the author had absolutely nothing to do with this marketing ploy. She was an auto-buy for me before this experience, but now I'm going to proceed with caution whenever I see a book with her name on it. I'll check the copyright page before I rush up to the cash register with a big, excited grin on my face. Don't get me wrong, I'll still by TMC's books because she's a talented writer. I'll just double-check my facts first.

It's actually a really good deal for the author, because her books are being released one a month for three months, so it increases her name recognition among people who've never read her before. I wish her only the best, really I do, but I did not like feeling tricked by her publisher.

There, does that sound better? I'm still a fan, just a once burned, twice shy kind of fan.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Drugged and Duped

So most of you know that I've been home recovering from surgery on my breast, which I've begun to affectionately refer to as FrankenBoob. The stitches and the bruising are beyond sexy, let me assure you.

A few days before the surgery (because I'm a plan-ahead kind of girl, dontcha know?) I treated myself to two new books to read while I recovered. I picked two Toni McGee Causey titles because I remember enjoying Bobbie Faye's Very (Very, Very, Very) Bad Day when I checked it out from the library a while back. The book was funny and kooky, kinda like Romancing the Stone meets Stephanie Plum, and I wanted something fun to read while I was in pain. I'd heard that she had more titles released, so I was excited about reading these books.

When I first started reading Charmed and Dangerous, I thought it sounded familiar. Very familiar. I figured it was just because of the formula of the series, like when you read a Janet Evanovich number book you expect Stephanie to blow something up, you know Lula is going to be eating a lot, Ranger and Joe will both be trying to woo Stephanie, Grama Mazur will be attending a funeral, and Vinnie will be doing something with a duck that you'd rather not know about. That's Evanovich's schtick. I figured the combination of the narcotics and the Causey's schtick were combining to make me feel as if I'd read the book before.

I gave in to the sleepy drag of the pain pills (for a couple of days). When I woke up and started to read it again after the meds had worn off, I was very upset to realize that Charmed and Dangerous was the same book as Bobbie Faye's Very (Very, Very, Very) Bad Day. It had a different cover and title, but it was the same damn book. And, here's what really irks me...the same publisher. St. Martin's Press released this book with two different names and tricked me into buying it. I checked the other book I'd bought, Girls Just Wanna Have Guns and realized that it's the same book that was previously published as Bobbie Faye's (Kinda, Sorta, Not Exactly)Family Jewels. ARGH!

I can understand why SMP would want to rename the books because the first titles were long and tedious, but they should've thought of that BEFORE they were originally released. I know that publishers rerelease books all the time. SMP has republished a ton of Jenny Cruisie's older titles. In fact, they're rereleasing The Cinderella Deal next year. (I own a signed copy of the original.) However, the difference here is that they're calling it a rerelease and keeping the original title. Jenny's website has this info clearly posted, referring to the original 1996 release of the book. Causey's website, once you click on the "Enter the site" button (you can't see it from the home page) says this,
"I have exciting news for the Bobbie Faye series—St. Martin's Press is going to release the books in mass-market paperback this summer as a back-to-back trilogy! You'll see new titles for the first and second books (and there's a little something extra in both for the inveterate readers who want to have a copy in this format as well)"

I feel duped, ripped off, and pretty PO'd right now. I don't exactly have an unlimited book budget, you know? I wanted something funny and entertaining to read while I recover from surgery. Instead, I've spent money I don't have buying books I've already read. I feel cheated and tricked by the publisher and I'm not happy about it. I still think the books are good and I admire Causey's writing, but I can't help but feel angry enough to avoid her books in the future.

Does anybody know the background story behind this?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Valium is my new best friend

I'm home and I'm comfortable after my surgery, but I'm high as a kite. My vision is blurry from the pain pills, so I can't read what I'm typing. Please ignore any typos--I can't see the letters to fix it.

Everything went well yesterday. They won't know whether the tissue they removed is cancerous for about a week. I had all kinds of meds running through my system yesterday. They gave me Valium at first to relax me before the needle localization. Wow, that stuff is awesome. Wish I could take one before school every morning! Dan says I was quite entertaining.

After the surgery, when I was in recovery, I was talking up a storm with my nurse until they brought Dan back to my room. He kept laughing at me because I was stoned out of my mind. I started talking about the spider that I found in our bedroom that morning and how I wanted him to kill it right now and all kinds of goofy stuff. He and the nurse kept laughing at my crazy random comments.

I had an anti-nausea patch, pepcid, Valium, some kind of antibiotic, lidocaine, pain meds (Fentanyl, maybe?) and knock-out juice in the anesthesia IV, Percocet, and then later Loratab. I slept most of the afternoon yesterday. I had some really technicolor hallucinations too.

The worst part of this is not being able to read. I have two new "Bobbi Faye" books and I can't read them because the words are all blurry. I'M SO BORED!

Thanks for all your prayers and white light. I feel much better after this surgery than I did after the last one.

Maybe because I'm snockered on pain meds.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Middle School? Are you kidding me?

I survived my first day of middle school. Oh, and so did my kid. The one who actually went there.

I had to DROP HIM OFF AT THE DOOR! ARGH! Don't they know that it felt like ripping my uterus out of my body and throwing it on the sidewalk at the school's front door? Do you know how hard it was to say goodbye and drive away, not knowing what he'd face on the other side of the door? He may be almost twelve years old, but he's still my B-A-B-Y!

I cried all the way from Eleven's school to mine which, admittedly, is not that far to drive, but I was crying hard for the short drive. I sobbed to my younger child in the back seat, "Don't tell your brother I cried when I dropped him off." Eight said, "Don't worry, Mommy. I'm sure he'll be fine."

And he was.

Although he doesn't have any classes with his best friend (but a girl he doesn't like is in three of them), he says that he had a good day. It was only a three hour day, but it seemed like forever to me. I was watching the clock the whole time I was greeting my own students, waiting for the moment when Mom would bring him over to my school so I'd know that he was safe and hadn't been stuffed into a locker by an eighth grader.

Eight met his new teacher today too and really likes her. He's excited about third grade, even though he's also separated from his best friend.

I'm very excited about my new class. I'm looking forward to a great new year, once I get my stupid surgery over with on Thursday. NOT looking forward to THAT.