Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A much needed day away

I wish we could take one day a week to do what we did yesterday. It was kinda like a time out from life, only 20 minutes from home. The 1840s Carrollton Inn (the B&B) was awesome.
If you ever need a place to stay in Baltimore, I highly recommend here. In reality, we were "away" for less than twelve hours, but it seemed like two days. I really had a hard time leaving this morning, but really couldn't justify spending another $110 plus whatever another couple meals out would be. Our bathroom was wonderful. It was very big....double person jacuzzi, fancy shower, nice towels....even the complimentary soap, lotion, shampoo kit was nice. (I hope it was complimentary.)

And then there was the cat. I can't remember her name. It sounded like Amicci but there were a few more letters or syllables after that. We found her and her purple "diamond" necklace (collar) laying on her throne in the parlor. She rolled around...well, till she nipped at me for rubbing her belly. I deserved it. I knew she didn't like it but she had such a rub-able belly I had to keep doing it. When we got back from Amicci's, she followed us around and visited our room, at our insistance, of course. We kicked her out though. She was looking a little too comfy. I couldn't cheat on my cats by having another sleep in our room. Even if she looked just like Baxter (with a purple diamond necklace---maybe he'd go for it, you never know. I don't judge.)

The breakfast was freakin' awesome. I have never in my life had blueberry pancakes like that. They were kinda crunchy on the outside but super soft in the middle. I don't know how to describe a flattened muffin top, maybe? Whatever it was, it was good. So was the bacon. Speaking of food, I had to do everything in my power to break out of my comfort zone and try a new Little Italy restaurant. Ciao Bella's was very good. I wasn't a huge fan of the appetizer. It had nothing to do with taste, but everything to do with the feel of it. I'm a texture weirdo. But the seafood alfredo....awesome. I know where I'm going when the alfredo craving kicks in. Like Brian said, Amicci's was great. I liked there were only a few people there and we had that back room to ourselves. We were able talk for a few hours and he got his leather sofa. I got a bit tipsy on Sangria, but thats part of the reason we wanted to stay in the city. We are tired of always having to watch what we drink because of the ride home. All we had to do was walk this time.

The weather was so crappy this morning, after Brian chiseled the ice encasing the Pathfinder we didn't really do anything else "Baltimorey." He drove me around the city and showed me a few places. I think my favorite part was when Brian was so excited to show me the restaurant where he and his brother went to eat with Samantha Fox. Samantha Fox? Yeah, I'm pretty sure she was popular when I was in 1st grade. Oh wait, isn't Brandon in 1st grade? Just sayin' is all.

By reading his post, you can tell he was pretty excited about Wegmans. But, he failed to mention a few details. Like when he was a blubbering, blabbering, wandering idiot after he walked through the door. He just started saying words like "bread" and "ohhh, cookies.....with toffee chips!!" and "they have a Chinese buffet?!?!" and started talking to a woman who he thought was me about the pizza bar. We did a lap around the cafe area so he could systematically take it all in. We finally decided to get subs and I've got to say it was one of the best I've had in a really long time. Very reasonably priced too. A whole meal for what one small sub costs elsewhere. The seating area is on the second floor overlooking the store. Well, we figured that out after we ate. We sat in a secluded area. But wandering around afterward, we found much more seating. While walking back towards the stairs he caught a glimpse of the lounge area. "With a leather couch!!" was all I heard from him. Once we checked out, I asked Brian if he wanted a club card. He all but ran over to the customer service desk to apply. I was people watching then but later decided to stand by Brian at the desk. He started talking so fast---like a kid who is excited---about the license reader. He was totally floored they had this license reader that once a drivers license is swiped, uploads all of the information into the computer. As we were walking out the door, he said he wanted to get a job there. "I have grocery store experience," he said referring back to his long ago teenage days. Later he said, "we need to move somewhere where there is a Wegmans close by. There should be Wegmans everywhere." Who would have thought, out of a nice romantic day/night, his favorite hour was at a grocery store? A grocery store. (shaking head.)


A posting by Brian...

So a few "Finallys" have happened in the last couple days.

#1 I finally am officially divorced. I watched the Judge sign the paper on January 27, 2009 at 10:11:03, not that I was paying attention. So after almost 3 years it's done.

#2 Sarah and I wanted to celebrate so we went to Baltimore. We found a Bed and Breakfast a couple blocks north of Little Italy. It was awesome!! First they upgraded our room without telling us. We reserved the Congressional but got the Scholar's Room. We got a discount because it was off season, so A $250 a night room was only $110. Not bad for a room in downtown Baltimore right? Gets even better. You have the option of having breakfast in the room instead of with everyone else. So no awkward small talk with strangers. We ordered our food the night before to be delivered at 9:30am. And me being me, I had to order a carafe of coffee be delivered at 9am, just to say I did. Wouldn't you know my internal alarm clock went off at 9am. Went to the bathroom then opened the door and got my carafe of coffee. Sarah was up so we turned on the TV and I sat in either a very antique chair, or a replica that was probably a little pricey and had my coffee. At 9:32am, a couple minutes late, breakfast was delivered. It was great! We ordered quite a bit to make sure we tasted everything. We figured if we went out to eat, it was probably a $40 breakfast. So factor that in our stay price and we did quite well.

#3 We went to a different restaurant than Amicci's. We always say we would try something new, so we did. We went to Ciao Bella, which is funny because we carried around a coupon for there for there all 2008, but never used it. The dinner and the atmosphere were really good. After that we went to our favorite, Amicci's, and sat in the back lounge and had a few pitchers of Sangria. The back lounge was great because it is set up like a living room. Comfy leather sofas and chairs to sit on. We were the only one's back there, so it was a little romantic.

#4 After our nice trip, Sarah wanted to finish it off with lunch together. She wanted to go somewhere we always wanted to try, but never made. So my choice was Wegman's. I have wanted to go there for years. Everyone says how good it is. They were right. We had fantasic subs, nice cup of coffee, and a few cookies. I was so overwhelmed by everything, the bakery, deli, sushi, asian food buffet, the the grocery store itself. We walked around, only got a few things. We stuck to things we needed not wanted. We will go back though, prices were pretty cheap. Sarah laughs because she grew up with Wegman's, so for her it was no big deal. But I loved it!

So that's it, all in all a fantastic two days!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Did I mention...

..we're moving? Not sure where and not sure when, but the process is definitely in motion. We've even have a realtor. We'll be moving closer to Bella and Brandon's house. They are always asking us to do stuff with them or meet them somewhere, but often times we can't because of the traffic/commute. Plus, if we live close to their school, we may be able to change custody to 50/50 down the road. So far we like Mt. Airy and New Market. We still have a few places to search. Our current house will have to go on the market first, which scares me a little bit. It's just something I didn't think I'd be doing after being in this house for 2-3 years. Then again, when I bought the house I didn't know kids would be living in it either. I may not get as much as I hoped for this house but if we can sell this place, finding a new house for cheap can definitely happen. Plus, interest rates are super low (at least compared to when I bought) so thats a plus as well. We're not rushing into it. Its not like we are getting a house next month or anything.
Oy. Good thing tomorrow is my weigh in. Not because I'm looking forward to the scale, but because it will mean last week is over. I have such a hard time starting over the day after I totally lose control of my points. Its like the memory of that sticks with me for the remainder of the week. And God bless me if I figure out exactly what the points would have been. Like today....after a nice homecooked breakfast (home fries, blueberry pancakes, biscuits with sausage gravy, and 2 glasses too many of OJ) and supper (BBQ country ribs in the crockpot, applesauce, green beans and tortellini with butter and onions) I think I'm somewhere around 60 points. Oh, and thats not counting the Trader Joes apple struedel Brian's baking us.

I'm ready for tomorrow. I'm actually looking forward to it along with this week. Breakfast is going to be blueberry pancakes (4 for 4.5 points), a Lean Cuisine pizza for lunch, and I''m still working on supper. It may be BBQ turkey meatballs. I had tons of extra BBQ sauce so I put leftover turkey balls in there. 4 balls (good sized) were only a few points. I'm working extra on Tuesday for a friend so I have to plan yet another breakfast and lunch. I will be working with my old partner, Mike, and we didn't always eat so well together. Actually it was great, just not all that healthy.

The other thing I'm looking forward to is going to Curves. I joined again and my first workout/measurement is Wednesday. I'm going to see if I can sneak in a workout on Tuesday after work. I was a member of Curves years ago and had great luck with it. I had to quit when I moved to PA because there were none near the area we were moving. But, now, I found one within walking distance from the house. I won't be walking there in this cold yuck, but I think it can happen when it gets warmer. I think it will be just the thing I need to get back into exercise. And to get out of this slump. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Point friendly Rachael Ray meal

We had a friend over for supper the other night and Brian made this for us. It was very good, especially the next day. He found the recipe on Rachael Ray's website. The recipe says it makes eight servings but we say it makes twelve, at least. We're still eating leftovers and that's after we sent a pretty big container home with Missy.

This would be great make for a Super Bowl party. It is 6 points a serving (based on 12 svgs). Brian used beef broth instead of beer.

Progress chart

I've been using this and its been helping. Its helps me "see" my goal and how far I've come. This week? I lost 4.6! :0) My little bag of tricks to help keep me on plan is working! Finally. Maybe I'll actually hit goal this year.

A 99% diagnosis

I talked with my GI doctor this morning. After reviewing results of all my tests, he is 99% sure I have colonic inertia along with my small intestine bacterial overgrowth. The bacterial overgrowth will be fixed with the antibiotic. Because the colonic inertia is a nerve/muscle issue, I will probably spend the remainder of my life on some sort of laxative treatment. He said the colonic inertia doesn't have a known cause, but usually has some sort of trigger to worsen the nerve/muscle issues, leading to nearly no contractions of my intestines. He feels the bacterial overgrowth may have been the trigger. Like I said, I'll be treated with medicine for quite some time. He said if the medicine doesn't fix things, the next step would be to remove a portion of the colon, attaching the small intestines directly to the rectum and that would fix it. Thankfully he's not in a rush to cut me open. He said surgery is intended for people who have bowel movements once a month or are in great pain.

I'm glad to have an actual diagnosis with actual test results to prove it. I hate that limbo period where treatment fixes nothing and you start to think you're crazy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jump rope

Who: Me.
What: Jump roping.
When: 30 minutes ago.
Where: On my patio.
Why: Brian will be mad at me if I get a rope tied around the pipes in the cellar.

The information that was not listed, but should have been listed, on the side of the jump rope box:
  • Beginning new endeavors, such as jump roping on the patio should be held off until the temperature is at least 50 degrees.
  • There are some risks/side effects one should look out for when making the decision to begin a new workout regimen, such as jump roping, in 19 degree weather.

Possible risks/side effects:
  • There is a rare chance that the nose will run uncontrollably.
  • There may be an inability to breath after a mere ten seconds.
  • The feeling that the inside of the lungs are literally on fire may occur.
  • Injuries to the right big toe is possible. There have been reports that repeatedly hitting a nearly frostbitten toe with a hard, weighted vinyl jump rope causes the sensation of a brick thrown on the same frozen toe at a high rate of speed.
  • Small children should not be present while the jump roper is jump roping because some non-child friendly words may be spoken.
  • Gloves are optional, but encouraged.
  • Upon finishing the jump rope endeavor, allow 15-20 minutes "thaw" time.
  • Sit back and reflect on the experience: before jump roping the jumper was probably warm, cozy, and uninjured. Afterward, most ropers think about how frigid their hands, ears, and toes are but also think about how they're grossly sweating under all those layers. As the right big toe defrosts, the feeling of pain will indeed increase, which will make the jumper not want to take the shoe off any faster. The roper can add an activity point to their journal for the day. But most of all...
  • Why in the hell did I decide to do that today???

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Good news, maybe?

Sooooo. Here's my tummy troubles update. The breath test that I had during my pediatrician experience came back positive. That means I have bacteria growing in my small intestines that aren't supposed to be. That could cause my symptoms, although typically it comes in the form of diarrhea. On Monday, I begin a two week regimen of high dose antibiotics, which I'm assuming is Flagyl or something like it. If I start pooping like a normal person, it worked. If not, I'm officially clean of little buggies swimming in my gut.

The cool camera test has been changed. Someone in the doctors office ordered the wrong test. Thankfully, we found that out the day before the test was to take place. It was replaced by a Sitz marker test. In this one, I got a baseline x-ray. Then I swallowed this horse pill sized clear capsule. It is filled with 20-30 little barium (I think) rings. It kinda looks like a weird fishing luer. On Saturday morning after work, I have to go back for another x-ray to see where the little rings have moved to. If they are all together on the right side, I probably have colonic inertia. The nerves and muscles in the gut aren't working together so instead of moving poop along, mine sits there. He said it is treatable with a few medicines. If the rings are someplace else, I could have pelvic floor dysfunction. The treatment for that is biofeedback. Basically, I need to learn how to poop again. How embarrassing.

The thing I was most happy about??? The serious weight gain I've had since this time last year has a lot to do with what's been going on with my belly. The doctor told me so, and you have to believe what doctors said. I'm going out on a limb and saying the pizza I overate and those cookies from the holidays...oh and the food on the cruise....yep, none of those had to do with the weight gain.

Speaking of that, Brian and I are back doing WW. I know I raved about, but the more involved with it the more it frustrated me. Its good for some nutritional information and stuff, but it wasn't working for me. I'm trying hard to be good. I need to up the exercise. Today I bought a jump rope. I can be in a mindless trance and jump rope. I recall jumping rope really give me a jump start (no pun intended) to weight loss a few years ago. You don't realize how many calories you are burning by this simple exercise. I try to think of me being 7 and jump roping at recess and at home. Why don't kids play with jump ropes any more. We used to have double Dutch contests at school.

Anyone with WW online or eTools: try the pan seared chicken with garlic sauce recipe. Brian made it last night and it was awesome. And, only 3 points.

For the next two weeks, we've decided not to eat out. We want to see if it benefits us by cooking. Plus, we're curious to see how much money we save in that time by staying home. Its been nice. We alternate nights of who's cooking supper. It would be lovely if we were one of those couples that could cook together, but I'd be afraid someone would end up with a steak knife in their chest. We don't play well when it comes time to cooking. We each have our ways of doing things and aren't willing to budge to accommodate the other. We've compromised and it seems to be working, so we're sticking to it. Plus, all the money saved will go to a nice night out on Jan. 27th. His divorce will finally be final!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

I was the biggest kid

I never thought I'd be a patient in a pediatrician's office ever again, but there I was, at the age of 28, a patient in a pediatrician's office. It was awkward to say the least. Well, the waiting room was, anyway.

Every adult was associated with a child. Then, hidden in the corner, were Brian and I, pretending like our kid was in the back or something. After an hour, the staff finally hid me in a room for my hydrogen breath test. I had to drink this sugar stuff and then every 15 minutes for 2 hours, I had to blow into a syringe to give a sample. The goal is to find out if I have an overgrowth of bacteria in my small intestines.

On Tuesday, I have to swallow a "capsule camera" and wear this monitor thingy all day. It takes pictures of my GI tract....I think she said it takes 2 pictures every second or something like that. I think its kinda neat. I hope I get to see the video. The goal of that test is to determine what my insides are doing and where my "food" goes (or doesn't go) once I chow down on it.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Leigh's wedding was very nice. It was simple, laid back, and had no drama. It took place in the foyer of my parents house and was officiated by the mayor of a neighboring town. Only our immediate family was there. The ceremony took about 5-10 minutes and was probably one of the nicest I've ever seen. The mayor's "sermon" or whatever you want to call it was better than any I've heard done by a priest. After the ceremony ended, pictures were taken, but it wasn't overdone. Everyone took a bunch and we're all going to swap them later. A little reception was had for the next few hours. Even that was simple. Everyone brought a little something, so my mom wasn't overwhelmed with cooking or cleaning up.

The best part of the wedding? About halfway through, just about everyone staying at my parents, including Leigh, I think, changed into pajamas. We really had no reason to stay dressed up, plus everyone was getting tired.

I was exhausted. We had a rough few hours prior to leaving for PA. Between Brian and I, we picked up the kids. I was running early, so I decided to wash the truck so we could see out the back window. In that time, Brian called saying Brandon had to go to the doctors because he probably had strep throat. We were trying to leave no later than 11. The wedding was at 5 and it takes 4 hours to get there normally. By the time they were seen at an urgent care center, then waited forever for his prescriptions to be filled at the drug store, we didn't leave til 12:30. I was so super stressed. I'm late for most things, but I knew if I was late for this, I'd probably get in a bit of a spat with the family. It wasn't like we could sneak in the back of the church or something. We got there sooner than we expected. Thankfully there were no police monitoring the highways that day.

Brandon is doing well now. Poor little guy's throat was a swollen mess--I have no idea how he could swallow or really even talk for that matter. The PA agreed and was shocked that he didn't have wheezing or anything, since his airway ended up significantly smaller from the swelling. You could tell his glands were swollen just by looking at him...there was no reason to touch. Because of all the swelling, he had to get a steroid shot in the butt in the office and now is on Prednisone for a few days. Of course he's got an antibiotic as well. You'd never know he was sick, though. He was running around like a maniac. We're always so scared with him....we really don't know what caused him to get so sick over the summer, so we're afraid we're going to have a repeat of that every time he gets sick.

The kids had an absolute blast. They do everytime they go up there. We felt bad because they wanted to stay another day, but everyone has school today. The trip needed to be cut short.

I'll post some pictures up of the wedding once I get them.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hanukkah Party

We went to Brian's grandparents house for their annual New Year's Day Hanukkah breakfast. It was my first time attending. Holy crap. I never realized just how big the family was. There were people everywhere. Luckily their condo is laid out in such a way that we weren't all on top of each other.

I've only been in the family a few years and only see people a few times a year at holiday dinners, but its kinda neat seeing how the kids "grow up." The shy little girl now bobs her head with an "oh no you didn't" attitude. Or the little cutie boy that threw a little plastic frog in my drink while at Sader two years back....he's not so little anymore and I'm sure doesn't play with little plastic frogs. Even Carter...its amazing how much he's grown in a year. I told Amy I'm not as impressed with his physical growth as I am with his mental growth. Kids are supposed to grow, that's what they do. But their mental growth is amazing. And most of it is based on who they are around. Last year he just laid around, ate, pooped, and cried. Now he's eating breakfast with Brian and I, signing "more" when he wanted some banana, says appropriate words at appropriate times, listens when you say "no" or "take that out of your mouth," plays catch, but the most impressive of all, I think, is watching how he interacts with others. Its so amazing to me to see how much a child learns in just a few months or years.

Brian's cousin, Melissa, brought her 5 month old baby girl, Shoshanna. I'm actually looking forward to Passover or next year's Hanukkah breakfast to see how much she's grown and all the things she's learn to do in a years time.

I had a blast hanging out with the kids. We played catch and hide and seek, played catch, built things out of blocks and then demolished our "buildings" til the kids laughed so hard I'm sure they peed their Pampers a little. Kids are just so innocent and aren't at all interested about drama or gossip. It was nice to be a kid for a few hours without a care in the world.

Sometimes I hate having morals...

Here I am, sipping on cherry flavored Mag Citrate. Not the most horrible thing I've ever drank. Tastes like sweet tarts, actually. But I'm getting frustrated with having to go through all this stuff just to accomplish taking a crap that should happen naturally. Its been 15 days since my last "induced" movement. Sorry, I know this is probably grossing some of you out talking about my GI habits or whatever, but its what is going on in my life right now. And its starting to get old and frustrating. I'm starting to think maybe I should only eat soup. That should fix my problems.

Anyway, to my morals. I don't know how people abuse sick leave. I feel guilty because I called out sick for tomorrow, knowing that once all this stuff kicks in, I'll be incapacitated. I hate calling out sick. I always think they think I'm lying. Even when I had my nose surgery I kept thinking, "I probably could be on light duty," even though I was still worn out and napped every 3 hours. I feel fine now, but, from past experiences, I know this stuff is eventually going to kick in. I don't want it to be while treating a patient in their house. That could turn awkward quickly. My partner replied to my "I called out tomorrow" text with "good, because I would laugh when you shit yourself." I knew there was a reason why I liked him as my partner. So caring. So supportive.