Sunday, July 26, 2009

As the Stomach Turns (or my unhappy affair with antibiotics) Part 1 of...

...however many parts it takes to tell this sordid story, soon to be seen on Lifetime for Women starring hopefully someone like Kelly Ripa (I like Kelly, she's cute and skinny and I want to be just like her!).

Actually the whole Lifetime for Women thing is a lie because even this story would be too boring for Lifetime for Women and anyway I already got my man (I mean good old Hans, who is in sales, and I never thought for one minute that he might be a serial killer but in reality was a CIA agent!!).


It all started one December with ominous rumblings in my stomach and I just knew that my middle daughter, Vet Tech Girl (then known as Unhappy College Girl), had finally given me ulcers.

At that time, in addition to my full time office job, I was a waitress and December, for me, was always hell month. The extra hours, due to awful business/office Christmas parties, usually attended by people who didn't get out much and therefor I had to deal with, meant more tip money but really didn't make up for the fact that I had no time for gift shopping let alone wrapping anything I might be able to buy.

Sadly, in an effort to save my sanity, I quit putting up a Christmas tree, or even decorating in any other way, for many of the informative years of my children. No Mother of the Year Award here.

And it didn't help that I lived in a snow belt and one memorable December (it snowed every single damned day!) had me shoveling my driveway sometimes twice a day! First on my lunch hour from my office job and again at about eleven at night when I got home from my waitressing job. I still remember sitting in a kitchen chair at midnight after one of those shoveling marathons, too tired to get to my bed. And I had to be at work at eight again the next morning.

So when I started suffering from facial pain I wasn't too surprised when I was told I had an abscessed tooth.

In December! Gee, why not?

My dentist started me on a round of very strong antibiotics since an infection near the brain can supposedly be dangerous.

"What brain?" I asked.

About a week later when the inn, where I was a waitress, closed for the season, and it was deemed safe, I had a root canal.

During my antibiotic/root canal episode, Unhappy College Girl (the gifted child) decided after only one semester at college (and let me tell you she couldn't get to college fast enough because in college she would finally be 'understood'), that college life wasn't for her.

And my stomach started rumbling.

Then I started having episodes in the bathroom that left me weak and breathless, and thinking that I'd rather go through childbirth again because at least then you have something to show for all your efforts.

These episodes followed me to my office job and I had a couple of nightmarish moments when, as the only person in the office, I had to wait on customers all the while hoping they couldn't see me grimace in pain as I wondered if I'd make it to the ladies room in time.

After about a week of this, and realizing that the Imodium AD really wasn't helping, I broke down and called a doctor.

I was tested to see if I was passing blood.

Luckily, I wasn't.

I asked about ulcers and then bawled out the story of 'Unhappy College Girl' to the brand new doctor on staff who, God Bless him, clasped his hands behind his back and listened to me with the patience of Job, never once looking at his watch, and he made me feel like my problems were the most important thing he'd ever heard.

Ulcers? Maybe, but probably not.

Surprisingly, I wasn't dehydrated so we (meaning I) decided to wait it out.

Another week passed and I realized that I was in almost constant pain. When I wasn't emailing page after page of 'What your life will be like if you drop out of college,' to Unhappy College Girl, I was frantically surfing the Internet looking for an answer to my tummy troubles. I was disturbed to read passages on forums such as, "After six months of blood in my stool I finally went to the doctor and I've been diagnosed with advanced colon cancer which has spread to all of my surrounding organs." Or, "My horrible stomach cramps and severe diarrhea were the result of six foot worms in my bowels. If you suffer from the same symptoms as me, for $40.00 I can send you this wonderful elixir that will get rid of these parasites! When you see the results in your toilet, you'll thank me!" In the meantime I was spending hours in the bathroom, leaning against the wall in a sweat with hideous spasms that had me fearing that my insides would fall out.

I went back to the doctor.

A colonoscopy and an endoscopy were recommended but in order to get one immediately, I had to check into the hospital.

That day.

I said no way. Only old, sick, or God help us, dying people, go into the hospital.

Certainly I was none of the above, but I allowed the office to make an appointment for me with a gastroenterologist for the following week, and then I went home. That evening I finally found a reclining position that allowed me the least discomfort, and when I didn't feel like ground glass was flowing through my bowels, I stayed that way all night.

The next day I waved my white flag and checked into the hospital.

Stay tuned for Part II.

Believe me, I couldn't make this stuff up!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A huge Michael Vick debate and I'm pissed

This little fellow gives the most wonderful 'smooshy' kisses!!!!

Duncan the Dingbat.

I just love him to pieces.

Check out the tongue.

This dog would kiss you to death if you let him.

What a sweet face.

All of a sudden he's a big boy.

I realize this is way off of any post I've ever written but Hans and I had a 'discussion' tonight over Michael Vick.

Michael Vick the incredibly well payed professional football player is now free after having served his 'time' involving Dog Fighting.

Boo-Hoo, poor Baby.

This man is a sick bastard.


Electrocuting dogs who didn't perform well?

Slamming dogs into the ground until they're dead because they didn't perform well?

How about hanging dogs who didn't perform well?

Oh yes people, Michael Vick was involved in all of these sorry, sick episodes involving dogs who would rather lick your hand than fight.

It's not like he was desperate for money. When I couldn't make ends meet I got a waitressing job. Why I didn't think about murdering dogs is beyond me. So much more money.

Now he's claiming that he's been exposed to Dog Fights since he was 8 years old.

Big Effing deal.

I've been exposed to a hell of a lot of stuff in my life but I do have choices.

He did to.

Hans says someone will sign this sorry excuse for a human being to their football team because he's 'so good'.

I say you can't tell me there aren't 10 more guys out there who are just as good.

It will be a sorry day on this earth if some football team owner is greedy enough to sign this sonofabitch to his team.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm absolutely sick at the thought.

My daughter has a Pitt Bull (above pictures) and our Duncan would easily have been one of the 'poor performers' as this little fellow dons his pocket protector every morning before he begins his day which primarily involves playing with cats.

Check out the web site for the Pitt Bulls that were rescued from Vicks' concentration camp for dogs and tell me that it's OK for him to go about his merry little way.

As far as I'm concerned Michael Vick can go hang out with O.J.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer fun and our Anniversary

There was a Vintage Grand Prix race in the Big City this weekend.
Vintage cars take to the track for a number of races. Actually, these are city streets and not a race track at all. A friend of ours, who was there, said there are only 2 places in the U.S. that use actual streets for races and that this is one of them. I'm not sure whether I should believe him or not as this same friend once threw me into a swimming pool at a graduation party. A graduation party that was on par with some of the swankiest weddings I've ever been to and a home we've never been invited back to.
Go figure.

We rode our bikes all over the place and tons of vintage cars were parked on the golf course that bordered the race track.

I told Hans that the fact that people walked and biked all over the course just gave the bad golfers a reason to bitch for the rest of the summer. I can hear the grumbling now..."Damned Grand Prix! The course hasn't been the same since all those idiots stomped all over the place!"

A group of cars headed our way.

One car flipped over at a turn but luckily it was a hard top and the 79 year old driver was unhurt. A year or so ago a car hit a wall and the driver was killed.

Hans is checking out a Lamborghini with a license plate that read 1OF34 (1 of 34). I would have bought it for him but I didn't bring enough money with me.

Maybe next year.

I think I'd rather ride around in this.The Wienermobile by Oscar Mayer.

It's license plate said OUR DOG.

Here we are beside a 1969 Pontiac GTO Convertible with its original sticker price of $4,000.00 in the window.

Four thousand dollars back in 1969!!!!!

Okay People!!!
What's wrong with this picture???
Actually, maybe nothing.
Perhaps they're just telling us something about themselves?

Yesterday was our 5th Anniversary of unwedded bliss!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What I got in the mail.

Recently, I found myself in need of some sewing supplies.

I like some of my purses to have adjustable straps and I wanted something other than the typical black plastic ones that you find at JoAnn's. I knew Nicole Mallalieu carried some in her store so I got online and started checking.
I also knew that she was going to start carrying ink jet transfer paper for fabric. There are only about a thousand different kinds of this stuff out on the market and I bought some myself but what I don't like about it is that it's so stiff.
Actually, this isn't paper, it's fabric. You print onto it, let it set, and then peel the backing off and it's ready to go.
I know that you can do something similar with freezer paper and muslin BUT I did some investigating (just call me Nancy Drew!) and found that these item's colors didn't hold up well with washing.

So there I am online looking around but I couldn't find the transfer paper. Rather than place two orders I decided I would email them for an answer first.
Now understand that I'm in the U.S. and Nicole is in Australia. I know all about time zones etc... as Hans places a lot of over seas, work related calls from our apartment since he can't do this during regular work hours. I sent my email with my question and figured I would hear from her company within a couple of days.
Imagine how shocked I was when I heard from Nicole herself almost immediately.
It was around midnight her time and she took the time to get back to me.
Talk about customer service!
In my opinion this is above and beyond the call of duty.

I received my adjustable tri-glides and more magnetic snaps as I just ran out. I also got some D-rings, and a fabric marker that will disappear with water OR over time. I like the idea of that.

Here is an applique mat. You put this between your fabric and your iron when using fusible webbing and the fusing gunk won't get all over your iron.
How cool is that!?

I see she's also revamped her Baguette and Day Bag patterns. I have the Day Bag pattern and I've made countless purses from it, and already have plans for more.

Now that we're back from Ireland I'm back to work at my house cleaning job and I've gotta tell you, it's kicking my butt!! I almost had to crawl into the apartment when I got done with my 8 hour shift yesterday and I was in bed by nine which is unheard of for me.
Thank God I'd put ribs in the crock-pot or I'm not sure what we would have had for dinner. I was thrilled that I only had to work about 3 hours today, but I'm back to 8 more hours tomorrow.
The upside of it all is that I sleep like the dead!
And there's nothing wrong with that!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wrapping things up in Ireland

We spotted a couple trying to take pictures of themselves by this statue so we offered to take a picture of them with their camera so they could be in it together. We ended up with three couples exchanging cameras all around and I think this is the only picture I have of Hans and I together on this trip.

When we were done, Hans looked at the name on the statue which said 'Phil Lynott' and asked, "Who the hell is that anyway?"

One of the other couples laughed and said, "It's Thin Lizzy and he was from Dublin."

I'm really surprised that Hans (being Mr. Music Man) didn't know that but now he does.

This is a guard station at the Dublin Castle.

With his white socks and black shoes I'm sure Hans would have made a fine guard back in the day.

Very commanding!

Outside of the Guinness Brewery here are some horse drawn buggies.

See my umbrella? Well of course it's raining (remember we're in Ireland), and if you succumb to the 'I have to take something back to the kids guilt thing' then take along a water proof bag and don't for even one second trust the pretty bag that the Guinness people provide. By the time we walked from the tram station to our hotel in winds that literally pushed me backwards (thank God I had 8 big cans of beer from the off license in my shoulder bag as an anchor) that Guinness bag was in complete sodden shreds. Hans had to cross his arms over it and carry it against his chest and was just barely able to keep my stuff from blowing away.

Three thousand visitors at $15.00 euro each go through the Guinness Storehouse daily. It's the original and only Guinness Brewery in the world and along with beer sales and souvenir sales they have to be making a mint!!
Oh, they also originated the Guinness Book of World Records.

Hans is at the Gravity Bar with our tickets which allowed us to a 'free' pint of Guinness.

Ignore the lady in front of him, I have no idea who she is.

While I was trying to get a picture of Hans (you can see him in back of the guy on the right) these guys moved in the way and insisted that I get a picture of them.
No problem.
Everyone has fun in the Gravity Bar.

It's very difficult to see but there is a shamrock figure in the top of the foam of each glass of beer. The bartenders do a little swirly thing at the end of pouring each glass.
Kind of like the DQ (Dairy Queen) curl.
Only I like this better.

So we left the 60 something temperatures of Dublin and arrived home at the Dulles airport to the 90 something temperatures and I'm more than glad to put my leather coat away.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fabric from Dublin

First of all the fact that I was able to get to the tram line, navigate about Dublin all day by myself, and not get lost is a miracle in itself.
The fact that I was able to find a fabric shop is yet another.
I'm just a regular Miracle Worker this week.
A little off the beaten path is Murphy Sheehy & Co. and you can visit their website here. I got off the tram at the St. Stephen's Green stop where all the happening things are and it's within very easy walking distance. If you can't find it, ask. That's what I did.

It's a small shop with two floors of fabric rolls. I bought three pieces for bags. I wanted a piece from a roll on the upper floor so the proprietress brought her scissors up, snipped, ripped, and it was mine.

The same thing for two pieces downstairs. I didn't need full meters and they were also very wide so I got approximately 1/2 yard of each. I wasn't sure how much I was actually spending and I was thrilled when it only came to 2o euros!

A view up the stairs.

Here's the girl who was running the shop. So very friendly and cute as a bug!!

If you're going to Dublin stop in. I only wanted cotton fabrics but they have linen, wool, etc...

Just inside the front door.

This print caught my eye. I have no idea what kind of silly birds they are but I liked them.

This striped fabric isn't an exact match as the stripe is more red and the beaks on the birds are more orange but we went with it anyway.

I have a pair of my sunglasses lying next to it so you can see how big the print is.

I see I left a sun burst cookie cutter lying there too. I got that for my mother.

This is the print I found upstairs. Actually it's fully embroidered. The underside is as dense as the upper and each sea creature is attached by all the threads from its neighbor.

The fabric is a heavy but very soft cotton. It almost has a flannel feel to it and I forgot to ask for care instructions. I'll do some experimenting on it when we get home.
Tomorrow is our last full day here so we're taking the hop on hop off bus tour. I love those things!! In total it's about an hour and a half but you can get off anywhere you want and just pick up whatever bus you want when you're ready to get back on. The weather's not supposed to be the greatest but since we'll be visiting the Guinness Storehouse and The Old Jameson Distillery I don't think we'll mind.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hello from Dublin

Hans and I landed in Dublin, Ireland yesterday morning and I'm just now getting caught up on seeing what everyone in blogland is up to.

We spent the long 4th of July weekend on our boat, and Baby Girl and a couple of college friends were able to come along. We had great weather and got in quite a bit of sailing. We anchored in Annapolis and St. Michael's and lucked out and caught the fireworks at each place. We were able to sit on the front sun pad of the boat and enjoy the show.

The unlucky part was when, even though there was a ton of water space available, a double-decker party boat anchored right beside us. I'm talking like 20 plus people including a lot of little kids, and some really bad and loud 80's music. There was a lot of dumping of people overboard (which apparently when your drunk is really, really funny!) and then two men (obviously not rocket scientists) climbed on top of the small roof on the second story of the boat. Even though this roof was never intended to hold men (drunk or otherwise), some even stupider people remained standing under it. Then amid loud cheering and encouragement they both jumped into the bay and much to my disappointment immediately bobbed to the surface.

Since they anchored far too close to us (a mile away would have been too close for me!) we prayed that they would leave right after the fireworks.

They didn't.

But just as we were trying to go to sleep and were sure that we were stuck for the night with them they hauled up their anchor and away they went. I almost cheered as I watched their pulsing green and blue disco lights fade into the distance.

We're in a relatively new hotel and they're trying for some funky theme that involves stark clean lines and clunky accessories. The lobby has all white upholstered furniture and includes a huge king size bed with a doughnut shape cut out and a table in the center.

Totally non functioning.

They also used chandeliers for lighting but they aren't hanging. They're just lying on the floor here and there.

Here is the floor length mirror in our room. It leans against the wall.

The mini fridge has sensors and if a bottle or can is removed you have 10 seconds to replace it or you get charged. We replaced their items with our items (bought in an off license) and when we use ours we immediately put theirs back.

We'll see if it worked or not when we check out.

We were exhausted when we arrived (I really struggle with jet lag) and were told our room would be ready.

It wasn't. We walked into an obviously used and yet to be cleaned room so when we headed to breakfast we let them know and they immediately upgraded us from a Queen room to a King room.

Here's the bathroom and I love a big bathtub. It's a good thing there is a tub though because I didn't want to wash my hair before going back out and the shower only has a huge shower head that's about 9 feet above you and only sprays straight down. No adjustments and no hand held nozzle just straight down.

Here's the view from outside the bathroom looking in.

I prefer more privacy in a bathroom but once again it's their funky decor.

The bed. It has diffused lighting underneath and glows, if you want a nightlight I guess.

But I love the duvet's that I find in Europe. The cotton is always incredibly soft and smooth and I wish I could find something like it for home.

The little fellow below kept trying to eat this plastic bag. I felt sorry for him and threw him some crumbled cookie.

We walked around for far too long looking for an ATM that would work, stopped for a huge chocolate chip cookie at Starbucks because I was starved, and then finally started out for the tram line so we could get into town and eat.

After about a 2o minute walk (we were told it would take 7 and who really times this stuff?) that involved my stubbing my toe on a barricade, and bracing ourselves against the non stop Dublin wind we were just getting ready to go back to the hotel for better directions when we noticed a flood of people coming up some steps. Aha! It was the tram-line and I think they could do with some better signage!!

A view of a building from a walking park in St. Stephen's Green.

The gate from inside the park.

We also had dinner at a place that offered buy one get one free entrees.

It was very good, Hans had beef and potatoes, and I had beef and shrimp stir fry.

Getting back was a lot easier since we knew where we were going and even at almost 9:30 it was still very light out.

Hans, looking very debonair, at the park, with our hotel umbrella. We won't be going anywhere without it!!

Me, with jet lag (and a leather coat in July!).

I've already read one full book (Kate Wilhelm and I'm yet to be disappointed in her!) and I'm almost done with a Janet Evonovich book. It's Stephanie Plum in Fearless Fourteen. I quit reading her stuff somewhere around her eighth book because it started to get to be the same old same old, but I found this one lying around for free so I took it and I'm glad to say I am enjoying it. After that I have a Nevada Barr book and like Kate Wilhelm she's still good!

We're headed back out tonight and I think I'll see if I can find some fabric somewhere. I only want enough to make a purse so I can have my own souvenir of Ireland.