Monday, December 31, 2007

Meeting the family? I survived

Meeting the family? Turns out it wasn't too bad.

The Coach and I left for the family gathering around 1 p.m. Saturday, after watching Michael Flowers hit a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left to give my Badgers an upset over (then ranked) No. 9 Texas on the road.

And then it was time for us to hit the road to the southeastern part of the state.

We were actually the first to arrive at his mom's house. So it wasn't too overwhelming meeting a ton of family at once. Although 20 minutes after our arrival it was me who was answering the phone, mostly because The Coach and his mom were elbow deep in getting some kind of appetizer ready. That phone call lead to an early introduction to The Coach's brother, who was on his way over to the gathering.

Within an hour or so, the house was full of people. There was lots of food and laughing. Stories were told and drinks were shared. And not once during the day did I feel out of place, even though I was clearly the "New Girl" who hadn't been around this family before. In fact, the only hard time I got was from The Coach's brother, who told me I was expected to eat three plates of food and keep up with him in the number of beers consumed. Yeah, I didn't quite fulfill those expectations.

As people trickled out of the house at the end of the gathering, I got lots of "nice to meet yous" and warm handshakes. But a handshake wasn't going to do for The Coach's mom, who even got me a Christmas gift! Instead I got a big hug and a "see you again soon."

As we were driving back north to The City on the Water, I asked The Coach how he thought the day went. He said I did a good job and not to worry, that he was sure his family liked me. And apparently they did, since that's what his mother told him in a follow up phone call the next day.

So one family has been met. Now it's just time for The Coach to meet mine. And I'm pretty sure he'll do a good job and they'll like him.

Friday, December 28, 2007

As long as the weather isn't crappy, I'm in for a big event

I'm looking forward to the weekend, yet at the same time, I'm a bit nervous.

See, I have plans this weekend. As in the kind of plans that I haven't participated in in about five or six years. Plans that can make a girl nervous.

I'm meeting The Coach's family on Saturday.


And while I say I'm nervous, I don't think it will be too bad. I mean, I'm a big kid. I can handle meeting new people (for crying out loud, I'm a reporter, I talk to strangers all the time!) and I generally think I'm a nice person. And besides, as long as The Coach is by my side I think I'll get through this day-long meeting just fine.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I've been poked and prodded, but this? It's uncomfortable

I've had to do a lot of things in order to help solve the throbbing in my head. And I'm not even thinking about the insane number of high powered drugs that have been pumped into my body (and therefore wrecking havoc with my monthly visitor).

I've been stuck with way too many needles so my blood could be drawn. There were MRIs and CT scans. And don't forget the day when a doctor stuck needles in my my spine in order to collect spinal fluid. Needless to say, it's been a bit painful.

By far, the most painless treatments so far have been my visits to the chiropractor. But he's also got me seeing a physical therapist who works at his office. And mostly the therapist has me doing a bunch of stretching stuff in an attempt to help build up my muscles in my neck and shoulder area. Because apparently I don't have the best posture. Today I had to work with some resistance bands, and although I'm a bit sore, it didn't hurt.

But then the therapist decided on another form of treatment. And this one? It's a bit uncomfortable at times. Because I've been taped. Yes, there is tape running from my collar bone up and over my shoulders to midway down my back. It's supposed to help with my posture. Like when I start slouching it becomes uncomfortable. Luckily I don't slouch too much. It's just the tape? It's a bit uncomfortable. And it itches. And it's warm.

But I have to keep wearing it. After a couple of days and a few showers, the tape will start to come off by itself. Then I can just have The Coach rip it off. And I can be tapeless.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

This won't be a lazy Sunday

I've never been a last minute shopper. But this year? That's exactly what I am. Because tomorrow, on Dec. 23, I have to buy every single Christmas present I plan to give this year. And while I'm at it, I'll have to wrap them as well.

I'm not sure if this is going to be fun or not. It depends. Hopefully my head isn't throbbing though. Because that could make the day's plans a little difficult.

And if spending the entire day before Christmas Eve shopping and wrapping presents isn't enough fun, I get to do it all while a winter storm is pounding Wisconsin. And throw some winds, which could reach 40 miles per hour, into the mix.

Yeah. I can't wait.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Only 3 days left and I still have a bunch of stuff to do!

So if I count the days on the calendar right, Christmas Eve is in three days.

I should be excited. I mean, Christmas, one of my favorite holidays, is almost here. But instead, I'm getting nervous. And worried. And I'm starting to freak out a bit.


Well I have a bit of a problem. I haven't even started my Christmas shopping yet. I've bought a grand total of zero presents so far. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. And believe me, that's not a good thing when I have a list of 12 people to buy gifts for.

I've never been in this kind of situation before. In years past, I've always had my presents bought with at least a week to spare, I've taken the time to wrap them with bows and ribbon and they've been sitting under my Christmas tree, making it look pretty. Not the case this year. Granted I spent a majority of December curled in a fetal position with a throbbing migraine, so I wasn't really in the mood to shop. So I do have an excuse.

But still. Three days? And all that shopping? I'm freaking out.

And I'm not sure when, or if, I'm even going to get everything done. In the best case scenario, I could spent Saturday shopping until every person was crossed off my list.

But I have a bit of a problem. It's my weekend to work. Meaning I'm sitting at my desk from 2 until 11 p.m. Saturday. It's hard to shop when I'm supposed to be working.

So my tentative plan is to maybe get up quasi early Saturday, maybe around 9 a.m., to head north to get some shopping in before I have to be in the office. In a perfect world, I'll be able to cross everyone off my list. Because I have bigger problems to contend with on Sunday. There will be presents to wrap, cookies to make for my family get together on Christmas Day (and no, I can't sacrifice any more of my portion of cutouts), a get together with an old friend from preschool and, oh yeah, supposedly a snowstorm to deal with. I tell ya, there's no time for shopping Sunday.

So cross your fingers for me that I can magically get all of my shopping done Saturday. Because at this point, I need all the help I can get.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

At least it wasn't the rainbow colored jibberish I've experienced before

My computer and I aren't getting along very well.

Actually we're not getting along at all since the computer won't turn on. Yes, that's right. The computer? It might be dead. Either that or very, very sick.

See it all started a few weeks ago. I'd go through all the motions to shut it down and it would just freeze. Stuck in "shutting down" mode. It kind of annoyed me, but I didn't think it was a big deal.

Unfortunately it turned into a big deal the other night. When I got the Blue Screen of Death. Or Severe Illness.

I was on my computer, wasting some time before starting my annual Christmas letter (yes, Christmas cards have not been sent out yet). So there I was, surfing on the web and all of a sudden BAM! The screen goes blue. And it's telling me all this high tech sounding stuff. Things about how I'm supposed to make sure any new hardware I've installed is properly done and I should do all this other computer stuff.

I shut the computer down. And I unplugged it from the wall. And left it like that overnight. For like 38 hours.

Last night I tried turning the computer on, hoping the Blue Screen of Death or Severe Illness was just a freak accident. Nope. I don't think the computer even booted up. The Blue Screen? It was back.

Now I was getting worried. What was I going to do? I need my computer. If anything I need an means to procrastinate at night. And blog. And play Snood.

So I guess tonight I get to unplug all the cords that are plugged into the back of my computer tower. And then load it up in my car to take it north to Best Buy. Because although I'm getting stuck with the Blue Screen of Death or Severe Illness, at least my 3-year warranty hasn't expired yet. Which means this might not be too costly for me. Because I can't handle another costly incident right now.

All I want is a computer without the Blue Screen of Death.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Apparently I talk a lot

Here's another numbers post. This time the magic number is 900.

As in, that's now the amount of anytime minutes I have for my cell phone.

That's right. Today I had to go to Verizon and upgrade my cell phone plan. Mostly because for the second month in a row I went over my allotted 450 minutes, and that doesn't take into effect the free night minutes I get. For that matter, most months I was coming awfully close to my 450 minutes, I was just lucky and stayed under the bar.

But last month? Over. And my bill, which is normally about $45, skyrocketed to $70. This month? I was already over with about a week left in the month. Who knows what the bill would have come to. What I did know was that I had to high tail it over to Verizon and tell the phone people that I needed to increase my minutes. Because when extra minutes are 45 cents, that adds up really quick. And the phone lady I dealt with was nice, she made it so my 900 minute plan took effect at the beginning of the month. Which means, no overages for me in December.

So now the lucky number is 900. And that's a number I think I can stay below. Unless I start talking non-stop.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

37 times 12 is a really big number


That's a big number. An impressive number even. But it sounds so much cooler when I say that 444 is the number of cutout Christmas cookies I helped make today.

Today was the annual Cutout Christmas Cookie making day that my mom and aunts participate in. We tripled the recipe, using 21 cups of flour instead of the 7 cups called for in a single recipe. And there was 6 eggs instead of 2. And so much shortening was needed that we no longer use the measuring cup. Nope. A few years ago we realized the 6 cups of shortening was the exact amount that came in a 48 ounce can of Crisco. So now we just empty the entire can in.

We have a system worked out. My mom and one aunt mixed, rolled the dough and used the cookie cutters while I scooped the cookies on to the trays. My other aunt managed the oven. It's a system we've perfected over the years. In the past I've been much more involved, even doing some rolling, mixing and cutting myself, but due to the whole head throbbing issue and not feeling the greatest, I played a limited roll. But still, it only took us 2 hours and 30 minutes to finish.

And while 444 cookies, minus the four test cookies we had, sounds like an impressive number, it's smaller than last year's number. Last year when there was one extra aunt and we finished with 601 cookies.

Now all I have left to do is frost and decorate my share of the cookies. But I'm waiting. Because in just about a half hour, The Coach is coming over. And he's going to help me. And while he doesn't know this yet, he might go home with a small plate of cookies. Because my box of cookies came back to the City on the Water much fuller than I was expecting.

I'm sure a few cookies will be consumed tonight. But I'll be stingy with them. Because they need to last until Christmas. But I think it goes without saying that the annual cookie making day is one of my favorite parts of the whole holiday season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sometimes I read

This is way overdue, but I need to supply my November reading report.

The results are too impressive, but in November I managed to finish two books for a total of 839 pages. That brings my yearly total to 44 books and 16,505 pages.

In November I read:
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

I missed reading at the end of the month due to the head issues and I think I've managed to read 10 pages so far this month. But hopefully I'll start feeling better soon and be able to finish up another book or two before I run out of dates in 2007.

A quick update

My blog is feeling neglected again. And it's still due to the throbbing in my head. But since today is one of the better days I've had lately, I thought a quick update, in bullet form, was called for.

  • The bad news is the throbbing migraines in my head are still causing me problems. The good news? My doctors think they know what the problem is. I still have to undergo one more test on Friday, but hopefully after that, the doctors will make a diagnosis and I can start down the path towards getting better. Apparently treatment for what the doctors think I have involves a hefty dose of steroids for a couple of months. But at least it's a chance to feel better again.
  • I'm amazed at the amount of care and concern I've gotten from family, friends and co-workers. It's something I've expected from my friends and family. But I never thought this would be the reaction I got from some of my co-workers. It makes me feel good and appreciate the people I work with and the place I spend my days.
  • And speaking of people who are concerned. The Coach has been amazing. I've given him the chance to run away. Because seriously, who would want to deal with something like this? But he refuses to leave. And instead on the nights when I'm curled in a fetal position because it hurts so bad, he's been by my side. Letting me fall asleep and making sure I'm OK. All because he's concerned and wants me to feel better.
  • I did have one good night last weekend. And I took advantage of it, going to a holiday gathering hosted by one of my friends. And The Coach came along with me, meeting most of my friends here in The City on the Water. And he did a good job.
  • It's December 12 and I haven't even started my Christmas shopping. I've been too busy dealing with a throbbing head. Looks like this could be one of those Christmas seasons where I do all of my shopping at the last minute.
  • Since the head throbbing began, I think I've been averaging 16 hours of sleep a day. And I'm still tired.
  • Remember my fantasy football team? The team that was so awful at the beginning of the season? Well Crime & Grime is now a force to be reckoned with in my league. After starting the season 1-7, my team went 4-1 and qualified for the playoffs. And then? The Criminals knocked off the No. 1 ranked team in our league. The rest of the teams in my league should be scared of my Criminals.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I wanted to kill the monster in my head, but I didn't have the energy

It's been so long I don't even know what day of the week it is much less what day of the month it is.

But I have a good reason for my disappearance.

For the last two weeks, I've been curled up in a fetal position. My head has been throbbing. And we're not just talking a dull pain, but a throbbing so bad it felt like it was a pair of knives being stabbed in and out of my head. Pain where it might have been less painful to chop my head off than deal with the migraine that pestered me for SEVEN DAYS!

Yes, I've been dealing with a migraine for seven days. I've never had a migraine last seven days before. They usually leave after two days. But this one? It was seven days.

I stayed home from work the entire time and made four different visits to my doctor's office in hopes of getting rid of the migraine. Two different blood draws and four different shots to the lower back area still left me with a migraine so Friday night I headed over to the emergency room, where I got more medicine via an IV and also had to have scans done of my head, because remember, the migraine that had been bothering me for seven days?

I still didn't go to work today, but the throbbing has subsided. Instead I've been dealing with a very, very sore lower back, because some neurosurgeon decided I needed to have fluid drawn, FROM MY SPINAL CORD! OUCH! And yes, it did hurt.

But hopefully I'm on my way to figuring out why I was left throwing up and curled up in a fetal position for over a week. At the same time, hopefully I'll also be able to return to my blog, because even though I didn't think in coherent sentences too often the last two weeks, I did miss blogging.