Thursday, May 27, 2010

No, it's not a portmanteau of 'Grey' and 'Poupon'...

Something to be added to my list of favorite things: Groupon!

In case you haven't heard about this yet...Groupon is a site that features some sort of awesome deal around town (SLC) each day that you can buy. The only catch is that a certain number of people have to buy it each day in order for the deal to be 'on.' There are all sorts of deals on restaurants, spa services, concerts, fitness classes, and more--something new every day!
They've done this in different big cities and had a lot of success. It's new here, so they're trying to get the word out!

The way they get these awesome deals from local vendors is this: they tell the company that they (Groupon) can promise a certain number of customers if the vendor offers a great deal (usually it's 50% off or more). If the threshold of customers buying it isn't reached, the company doesn't lose anything, and those interested in that particular offer don't have to spend a penny--no harm, no foul.

So thanks, Groupon...tomorrow night, I'm going to the Utah Symphony and sitting on the 6th row (two tickets for $20!). And maybe sometime soon, I'll cash in my Groupon for Kouing Aman pastries from Les Madeleines ($10 worth of food for $5!).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dumptruck! AKA "How the river beat me up and took its revenge for me throwing a peanut butter M&M into it..."

How does a lovely day on the river (there I am in the back of the boat!) turn into my oar being the only part of me you can see? Or, notice the lack of Annie? That's because I'm UNDER THE RAFT.

Moab was fabulous. Seriously. I couldn't have asked for a better weekend! Shout outs to the following people:

Melinda - Your house in Moab made it possible for windless sleep and afforded me much fatness from some of the world's best cinnamon rolls. Not to mention your laundry and shoe-cleaning service or your homemade granola bars! Yes, we were fast friends, indeed! (And not just because of the aforementioned amenities...because you're awesome and hilarious and kind of what I want to be when I grow up!)

Megan - Thank you for a) having a sister; b) helping pull me back into the raft; c) making me laugh some of the heartiest laughs to escape my mouth. I'm sorry things couldn't have turned out awesomer, but I think you're quite charming and fantastic. If a football ever comes our direction, I will shield you. P.S. Sorry my face terrified you as I was getting pulled back into the boat post-dumptruck!

Amber - I'm so so so glad we could comiserate about life. In so many ways. Your sense of humor slays me through and through, and you know just what to say in all situations. I will forever be indebted to you for telling me about mouse depression ("What are you going to do? Tell it its grandma died...?").

Andrea - "You're going to be fine, but you have a bloody nose." It's one of my favorite lines to tell people from the trip, and you said it! I'm glad you've got my back--especially in dirt clod wars...(how old are we?) I'm jealous of your mad throwing skills! Also, I promise not to make fun of your flirtatiousness...much. :)

Brother B. - The were a champion, seriously. (That's a lot of driving, to Moab and back!) And you even sometimes participated in the crazy rants of four girls, which was semi-surprising yet entirely enlightening. Also, thank you for just smiling and nodding through our giggling fits and putting up with our Arby's pitstop.

...and so many more! Mike for the awesome cobbler. Goblin Valley for the clumps of dirt and the puzzling rock formations (how did they form?!). Jes for the greatest, shortest Sacrament meeting talk in awhile. Annie and Ashley and Tyler and William for making the whole trip happen!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Prediction: correct.

Remember how I said I would have to buy another pair of sunglasses before the summer was out (see the very end of the previous post...)? Yeah, try before the summer even truly begins. The Colorado River ate mine. And gave me a bloody nose.

At least I know I am kind of a prophetess now. (Or just practical in my reasoning...I am brutal to sunglasses.)

More pictures and stories from Moab coming soon!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Things I hate vs. Things I love: Edition...#89?

I know I do this a lot...but sometimes I just need to vent about things that are bees in my bonnet (and now I have "Birdhouse in Your Soul" going through my head!). Don't worry, I'll follow this list up with just as many things that are going well or are just plain fantastic.

10 Things I hate:

1) Bumping studies from my agenda at work...and subsequently getting 18 angry phone calls and emails complaining about it. "Why isn't my study going to the meeting?!" "What's the hold-up over there at the IRB?" I can think of one thing I'd like to hold up in your direction...I'll try to refrain.

2) When the girl at the hospital cafeteria doesn't know that 'a little spicy mustard' actually means just a little. Glob it on there, new girl. Don't mind me as I try to wipe it off before each bite I take.

3) Getting caught in the rain and having sopping wet pants by the time I finally make it home.

4) Road construction--in all of its blessed forms.

5) Locking my keys in the house while I go jogging. At 7:15am on a Saturday morning. And the landlord isn't there. (Remember, I live alone...ugh...) The only other person with a key is my sister in PROVO. Saturday morning gone to waste.

6) Having the alarms go off at every store in the Fashion Place Mall. No, I'm not a thief. Just taking some DVDs back to a friend, and they were in my purse. What I did find out is that personnel at these stores won't bat an eye if you walk in and walk out like nothing is the matter.

7) Finding renters.

8) Car accidents, even with really nice people who are extremely apologetic.

9) Trying to get around a new operating system at work. Why can't Microsoft stick with the same colors in their Office products?!

10) Stepping on the scale each week...and not having it budge. Or worse yet, having it go up a pound. Less chocolate...more jogging (see #5 above).

...and then I realize that *actual* horrible things happen to good people. Like medical conditions that don't have a diagnosis (you know something's up when your brother-in-law calls twice). Or refugees from Afghanistan (just finished A Thousand Splendid Suns--excellent book!).

10 Things I Love:

1) Seeing random photos of my newest nephew pop up on Facebook via my sister and bro-in-law. I could look at those pictures for hours.

2) Neil Patrick Harris guest-starring on Glee this week. (In case you're wondering, yes, I had a Doogie fettish as a young child...)

**Bonus: the I Dreamed A Dream song on this week's episode was also fantastic. (And kind of a tear-jerker for me!)

3) Finding blackberries on sale. And a bunch of other excellent fruit. I love summer for the produce you can find!

4) Getting an adorable text from my oldest nephew, an invitation to his elementary school's 'Spring Sing.' I couldn't go, but it was still so cute that he extended the invite.

5) Puzzles! We put together a tractor puzzle at work, and it made me want to do one on my own. I pulled one out of the recesses of my closet and blew the dust off...

...of this 1000 piece baby. It's insanely difficult. I see puzzle pieces when I lay down to go to sleep at night. But I will finish it. Someday. When I need my dining room table again.

6) Bouncing on my exercise ball. I could sit on that thing even after a bad day, and it puts a smile on my face to be bouncing there. Like I’m four again or something…

7) Receiving emails from my little brother. I know I gush about him all the time...but I think he's turning into quite the amazing guy. This week I got to help him do a little Facebook stalking to find out where some of his friends were going on their missions. I love being there, doing little computer favors that he needs while he's at the computer for half an hour each week.

8) Finally getting my temple recommend signed! It only took me four weeks to track down the Stake Presidency to get that sucker current again.

9) Buying new sunglasses. The old ones were getting kind of sad, what with their super-glued frames that went skeewompus every time I pulled them out of my purse. I don't know why it took me so long to plunk down my $5 for a new pair. Don't worry, I'll probably be buying another pair before the summer is gone.

10) Going to Moab this weekend! I’ve lived in Utah for how long? And I’ve never been. Pray that I don’t drown in the river or anything crazy like that. I’m excited for the good times that are bound to be had.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ireland (finally!)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

It's a...

When I found out there was possibly something wrong with me, I ate an entire sleeve of Thin Mints (side note: those Girl Scouts sure know how to make some mighty fine cookies!) Then I cried. And my mind fast forwarded to all of the worst case scenarios...naturally.

At the beginning of April, I went to the doctor for a physical, nothing fancy or odd happening (except for those close-calls during times I knelt for too long and almost fainted...that's a different story...). He listened to my heart, looked in my ears, made me watch his finger swipe side to side, and all was well.

Then he felt the glands in my neck. "Swallow," he said. " it again." He kept repeating this again and again until we completed the process about six times. Then he walked to his notepad and wrote me a radiology request form. "Take this down to the first floor and schedule an appointment for an ultrasound. There's some sort of nodule, it feels like, on your thyroid, and I just want to have a better look."


A 'nodule.'

What does that even mean?!

The doctor proceeded to calmly tell me that these sorts of cysts happen all the time, and that they're usually benign, but that sometimes they're actually tumors. Yikes! All sorts of horrible words floating out there (nodule? cyst? tumor?), and me trying desperately to remain calm while he's explaining things. He counseled me not to worry yet. Ok, thanks doc. I'll just hum and skip on my merry way while a tumor could be taking over my thyroid (I tend toward the dramatic in situations like these...).

I went down to radiology where they got me straight in. Gown, gel, ultrasound. Bam, all of this was so weird and so fast. And then it was all over. "We'll have your doctor look at these scans, and he'll get back to you."

Two. Weeks. Later.

(In his defense, I was in Ireland for one of those weeks. Worry isn't as prominent in your mind when you're on vacation, I guess.)

I called the clinic and asked if the doctor had reviewed the scans and what the results were. The receptionist said that his nurse was busy with another patient, but that she'd have the nurse call me. Waiting...hoping it's nothing...trying to focus on work...

And then a call: "Hi, this is Dr. ________. I understand you're looking for your results from your bloodwork and your scans? Well, I'd like you to come in for some more testing, probably a biopsy because one of the nodules on your thyroid looks abnormal." Doctor-speak. Gotta love it. 'Abnormal' means scary and weird. And you know when the actual doctor calls that something fishy is up.

When I got home from work that day, I broke down emotionally. What happens if I have to undergo cancer treatment? Who will take care of me? What will that mean for my work situation, my living situation? What if I can't afford it?

It's amazing how everything in life gets put on hold for two weeks until you find out if your fears will be realized. More waiting. More waiting rooms. Family praying for you. Close friends sharing your worry. Preparing for the worst. Hoping for the best. Trying to be patient, not letting your mind wander to what could happen if the world gets kicked out from underneath you. Joking around during the biopsy so you don't freak out about the five needles they'll be jiggling around in your neck. HAVING A NECK THING. Knowing you have absolutely no control as to how this situation will ultimately play out.

Waking up wondering if today's going to be the day you might find out you have cancer.

Feeling so alone.

And then looking around, realizing that it could be a lot worse. Those were the times I felt most at peace, that really, I wouldn't have to worry about being so debilitated. That life would go on and everything would turn out fine. That I needed to stop being a drama queen and be grateful for everything I did have and the people who loved me.

This last Tuesday, I figured I might hear from the clinic. I kept my phone by my desk at work and nervously kept checking it, just in case I didn't hear its persistent buzz. Lacy and I had just clocked out to go to lunch, and my phone started vibrating in my purse. "IHC Clinic," I said. Shakily, I opened the phone and rushed down the hall and outside, so I wouldn't have to cry in front of my co-workers.

The nurse on the other end of the line was very kind when she told me I had what was called a 'thyroid goiter' (again with the gross words?!), and that they would just follow-up with it from time to time. I asked what that entailed. "Just a blood test once a year."

A blood test? Bring out the needles--I'm ready.

I was so relieved that there wasn't anything wrong. It was almost an audible mechanical whir back to life as I slowly began realizing that I didn't have to face the prospect of surgery. Or taking pills for the rest of my life. I wouldn't have to worry about taking days on end off of work. I wouldn't feel like a burden to my family or friends who would have surely stepped up and helped me through.

And so, as some of my family and best friends get ultrasounds of their growing babies, I give to you--my thyroid:

It's a goiter!