Saturday, January 27, 2007

Roundup: Brunch, Tiger Balm, Palm Springs & Grey's

Today Sue & I co-hosted a girls' brunch here at the house. Sue came up from Portland for a quick overnight getaway. We managed not to burn down the house and served bacon, homemade waffles & quiche. I have a lot of respect for restaurants after doing events like this. Timing is crucial and, especially in our kitchen, clever maneuvering and working in tight quarters are tough.
Of course, it's always such a hoot to get the ladies together. One of the most colorful conversations involved the topic of "poop," cross-referenced with husbands, children and nicknames. We know how to live and I'm sure the mimosas helped.

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Regarding my recent neck issues, I'm still slightly sore when I turn my head but much better because Sue introduced me to the magic of Tiger Balm. (Think BenGay from Singapore with a little more heat.) Works quite well for the sore muscles but whatever you do, don't apply it then rub your eye. Trust me on this one.

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Looks like we will be going to Palm Springs for a few days with Dad at the end of February for "fun in the sun." Since none of us golf, this will probably mean lounging at the pool for some period of time. Uggh. Usually, that means "bikini wax". I'm not sure I have it in me to do it this early in the year. Typically I save such a blessed event for our East Coast summer trips.

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My thoughts on Grey's Anatomy:
1) I am against firing the dude playing Burke. This has gotten enough press already. Seriously, like he's the only one who ever made a disparaging remark of a discriminatory nature in the history of show business. He's getting counseling and doing public service. Let's move on.
2) In last week's episode there was one too many engagements. I trust the writers to take us down the path but damn, two engagements in one show?
3) Just so that everyone knows, it's "FERRIES" not "FERRY BOATS."

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Pedometer reading: 11,000 steps so far today. Kicking it!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pain in my Neck

This has become tiresome. My back and tail section are fine now but I must have over done it. Too many "upward facing-dogs" in yoga I guess, because my neck and shoulders are killing me. I've been taking ibuprofen today but it's only slowly getting better. My body betrays me and it protests getting back in shape. I bought a pedometer in hopes of motivating me to walk a bit more and I am at 7076/10,000 steps today. I'll have to start taking the stairs instead of the elevator if I'm going to even get close.

Over the weekend, we saw our globe-trotting friends Sean and Shannon who have victoriously returned to Seattle after 16 months of around-the-world travels. Check out their blog. The things they've seen, the things they've done, the things they've written--all quite amazing. We look forward to finally taking for granted how close they live, doing fun Seattle-things and seating ourselves in establishments that prefer you to "wait to be seated." Because what the hell? Life is short.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Pain in my Ass, pt. 2

Today, I endured a 25-minute claustrophobic tube of noise* also known as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Results are due on Monday.

* The machine makes a tremendous amount of noise during a scan. The noise sounds like a continual, rapid hammering. Patients are given earplugs to muffle the noise. The noise is due to the rising electrical current in the wires of the gradient magnets being opposed by the main magnetic field. The stronger the main field, the louder the gradient noise." © 1998-2007 HowStuffWorks, Inc.

But what a difference a day makes... It's a song I would sing to the anti-inflammatory shot they gave me yesterday. I woke up this morning and the sharp mind-blowing pain was gone. This could still be something muscular or a nerve thing. But now the only problem I have is that my mid & upper back have been compensating so I feel like I've gone a few rounds with Van Damme. But the soreness is a welcome condition.

The crazy part was that first night, when the pain violently struck like a fitful viper. I thought, what if this is how I'm going to feel everyday from now on? You hear about people who live with chronic pain and how it changes them. All I could focus on was how many steps was it to the bathroom, if I breathe with shorter breaths will it hurt less, do I really want my slippers enough to endure the pain to cross the room? I hold new found respect for people who live with injuries and disabilities yet make it though each day. I also realize how demoralizing it can feel to have to rely on people for things you once did easily by yourself. Nevertheless, I am grateful and humbled.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Pain in my Ass, pt. 1

Yesterday morning I awoke with great pain emanating from my coccyx (tailbone). On a scale from 1 (nothing) to 10 (ballistic), it was a 9. One would assume that the snow and ice here in Seattle had something to do with it but unfortunately I have no harrowing story about slipping on the sidewalk or snowboarding in the mountains. I simply woke up and couldn't roll over, sit up or walk without a stab of pain bolting up the base of my spine.
Moving around required laser-focused concentration that I usually reserve for bomb defusing and watching Grey's Anatomy. I seriously couldn't talk and move at the same time. But the complete dependence on another human being was completely humbling...and scary. (Many hearts and flowers to Ken who answered every beckon with a smile and had the patience of an angel.)

Heat, ice, Tylenol & bed rest summed up yesterday. Doctor's office was most of today and upon waking this morning, the pain was hovering at an 8 but my body may just be getting used to it. They took a slew of X-rays in addition to an exam and gave me a magic shot that I am still enjoying 6 hours later. Now pain is at a 2 but this won't last. Because the films were inconclusive, I am having an MRI tomorrow. Possible theories on my condition: disk damage or a fracture. WTF?

One never thinks about the tailbone until you hurt it. Laughing, sneezing, coughing, bending walking & sitting on the toilet affect this area directly. Usually you have to do something pretty obvious to injure yourself: falling on one's ass or racking a balance beam to name a few. The only thing physical I did on Monday before all of this was take a long 45 minute walk in the afternoon. It was cold but I was feeling good, getting the heart pumping and the muscles moving. No issues upon getting back to the house. My masseuse thinks this might have something to do with my hyper-extensive joints. (Is the tailbone considered a joint?) We'll just have to see.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Portland Comedy Train

Amy and I are huge fans of the comedienne Kathy Griffith from Bravo's "My Life on the D-List" and "Suddenly Susan" fame. So we traveled by train to Portland on Saturday and in less than 24 hours, we managed to eat like queens at Pazzo's, attend her comedy show, ride the hotel elevator with the coach of the Denver Nuggets and have Sunday brunch with Mother. Here is Kathy during her show. We were up in the balcony so the optical zoom is maxed out. Lots of dish on celebrity encounters and insights on current events.

I must tell you that traveling by train is not too bad. The Tacoma/Olympia bit is amazingly picturesque. I do recommend it. It does take four hours to get to Portland but you can avoid all traffic, stand in no security lines, drink alcohol (if that's your bag), walk around, use the bathroom all you want and keep young children entertained. What's not to like?


So this is Amy & I at dinner. Lots of girl talk and relaxation on our quick getaway down south. Great to see Mom too, albeit brief. Good times.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Women in Casual Games

A rousing editorial by Vinny Carrella entitled Why We Need Women caught my eye today.

He makes the point:
"We need more women at the grass roots level of game conceptualization and development."
"Now that we have a true critical mass of female game players, we must tap into that mysterious realm of experience and emotion that is uniquely female, and the only way to do that is to jump through hoops to include more women in this space."

But the best part is in the comments. Look for a comment by Roman (1st one), then farther down by Pavel (this one's a screamer) and then one by me. Great topic and fun to see what everyone else has to say.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Ruminations

As I learn more about career sacrifices many professional women make when they have children, I am reminded of a conversation my dad and I had when I was 18 and just about to enter college. The pressure and the scariness of that transition got the best of me one afternoon so I lashed out at him, "Why does it matter if I go to college? I'll have to give up my job the minute I have a baby anyway." He seemed taken aback since my schooling experience had not cut corners and had been slanted toward a grueling profession in the sciences (which to his chagrin I later abandoned for a broadcasting degree). In retrospect, my comment was just plain ignorant and short-sighted. But, it underlined a frustration that still pervades today's female workforce.

Once I started college, the reality of getting through school with good grades, good times and the prospect of a job faded the "motherhood conflict" into an abstraction, like a country you've heard about but never visited. It also helped that I dated guys who, like green bananas, had great potential but needed to ripen. With a healthy dose of work ethic and self-sufficiency, I graduated and developed a challenging career observant of technology trends that also exposed me to bright and exceptional people (including my husband).

As a "Type A" perpetual project manager, I like to consider all possible scenarios...far in advance. So in the later half of 2006, I ruminated about what it would be like to walk away from 10+ years of working full time to stay at home to raise a child--not that we were even in this position yet of course. The very thought awakened a deep fear of becoming irrelevant to the community I had spent years participating in. Granted, for some people it doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition but the time commitments required for the kind of work I do *is* all or nothing. It took months of talking to friends who already have babies and observing their various situations to feel comfortable that I could do this too. One of the main complaints I've heard from stay-at-home moms is feeling under stimulated due to lack of regular exposure to adults. You know, I've worked with my share of adults who act like children so it does go both ways.

I also realized that I had bound almost all of my interests and self-worth to my work. I knew this was dangerous and I needed to expand my purview. So I started to blog and reinvested myself in children's writing again. This leads me to a whole new group of people and celebrates my love of children's literature. I find it extremely fulfilling and I've only scratched the surface of what I can do in this arena.

I know there will come a day when I will set my current career aside to fulfill the great and blessed responsibility of motherhood. But it doesn't mean I will cease to contribute or be relevant. Like everything I've accomplished in this life, it's up to me to forge that path.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Cheerleading Career: Not done

One! One Human Pyramid! AH HA HA HA HA! (in the voice of the Count on Sesame Street) There really is no explaination for this which is why it's so perfect.