Thursday, June 30, 2011

Frustration... Can I have a Reset Button, please?!

The last post I titled "Frustration" was about David.  Since then, David's knee is all fixed and he's even riding his bike something like 16 miles a day to and from work.  What can I say... He's a stud.

This "Frustration" post is about me.  I'm frustrated.  I've never thought of myself as a sickly person.  In fact, I'd actually go so far as to say that I'm healthier than 90% of the American public.  I admit I'm not a vegan or on a raw diet or even close to being the healthiest person in the world, but I eat well... I rarely, if ever, go to fast food restaurants or eat things like donuts... if I eat pizza its gluten-free and vegetarian!  I only drink occasionally, I've never smoked cigarettes or used tobacco products, I exercise, I take my vitamins and supplements, I even go to acupuncture.  I have a solid spiritual foundation and excellent interpersonal relationships including many friends and a fantastic, wonderful, all I could ever ask for husband, and a great job.  I'm also well read and love to learn new things... all of which are supposed to equal a happy, healthy life, right?

That said, I feel like I'm always dealing with something.  Asthma as a child, then scalp psoriasis in my teens, then the colossal ulcerative colitis started in my 20s, and now kidney stones!  Really?!  I have this 3mm stone that the doctors keep telling me is going to pass on its own, and NOTHING YET.  I gotta say, I'm really SICK AND TIRED of peeing through a strainer!

Today I decided I needed more knowledge about all of this, so I went onto the American Kidney Fund's website and did a little research.  This is what I found:

Who gets kidney stones?

Anyone can form a kidney stone, but you may be more likely to have one if you:
  • Are male (NOT ME)
  • Are Caucasian (ME)
  • Are very overweight (NOT ME)
  • Have had kidney infections (NOT ME)
  • Have a family member with kidney stones (ME- My Dad)
  • Have had kidney stones before (NOT ME)
  • Eat a lot of animal protein (such as meat and eggs) (NOT ME)
  • Do not drink enough liquids (NOT ME)
Other conditions and medicines can also put you at more risk for kidney stones. (ME) ... 
I found this:
People with ulcerative colitis have a higher than normal risk for kidney stones.

    How can I prevent future kidney stones?

    If you have had kidney stones before, you are more likely to have kidney stones again.  To help keep stones from forming, try to:
    • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day (yesterday I drank twelve 16oz glasses of water and I drink at least a 32 oz bottle of water at work each day plus more at home... I think I'm good here)
    • Eat less salt (sodium), meat and eggs (I do like salt, but I don't eat much meat or eggs)
    • Find out what type of stone you have 
    • Ask your doctor for a urine test 
    • Talk to your doctor about your medicines and other tests for kidney stones
    Do NOT reduce the calcium in your diet without talking to your doctor first!  Studies show that limiting calcium in your diet may not stop kidney stones from forming and may harm your bones.

    The furnace repairman came by the house today and I told him about my stone.  He said he gets them all the time and to take shots of Apple Cider Vinegar throughout the day.  I tried it once so far.  Why not, right?!  Nothing yet, but here's hoping!  If anyone has any other suggestions as to what else I should do to get this stone to move more quickly through my system, please drop me a line!  I'm all ears.

    What I'd really like to know though, is there a "Reset" button on our bodies somewhere that no one has told me about?  Like when my internet just stops functioning correctly, and all we have to do is unplug it for 10 seconds and then plug it back in and, Viola!  It works!  I'd like to push my "Reset" button now please!  Can someone tell me where it is, PLEASE?

    I can hardly remember the days pre-colitis when I could "hold it" if I had to or when I didn't know where every bathroom was the minute I walked into a place or when I still got embarrassed about evening using a public toilet to poo- it was so much more dainty and feminine of me.  Those were the  days... I miss those days... I was such a trooper back then... I was up for anything and everything...

    God, I wish I hadn't taken them for granted like I know I did.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011


    I can't believe I haven't posted about this sooner...

    After a rash of burglaries and a 6 time rapist on the loose in the neighborhood, David and I decided to get a security system.

    We weren't actually bothered by the news (after all we do live in Boise, ID) until I personally witnessed a man lurking in front of our house and when I went to snap a photo of him, he off and disappeared...

    Sadly, this is all I was able to get of the guy.
    And then the next day I was running very late to work and this non-desrcript white van with no back seats drove up and parked in front of the house.  When the driver noticed me in the window she got this startled look on her face and drove off like a bat out of hell.  Unfortunately this time I wasn't quick enough to get a picture or the license number.

    After speaking with law enforcement and the neighbors, we realized that both the neighbors have had things stolen in the past few weeks, that's when we took serious notice.  It's not that we have anything valuable to protect, but there is something about having your belongings gone through- your private space violated- the potential for something horrible to happen...

    I also just saw the movie "Felon" with Val Kilmer and Stephen Dorff, have you seen it?  My boss told me about it.  It's about a man (Stephen Dorff) who is convicted of manslaughter after a guy breaks into his house through his child's bedroom window.  The guy (Dorff) chases the thief out of the house swinging a baseball bat and accidently hits the guy too hard in the head and the thief dies, the guy goes to prison for accidently killing the thief while trying to protect his wife and child.

    The rest of the story is about the injustices he faces in prison as he just tries to keep his head down and not get killed.  It's a fabulous movie, but it certainly makes me question the justice system in America.  Shouldn't we be allowed to protect our own homes from people trying to do us harm?  Check it out on IMDB:

    Anyway, back to our new home security.  Well, a few days ago a man knocks on our door with an ADT shirt on.  Apparently the company was doing a few installs in the area so they sent their sales team out to knock on doors. We let the guy in cautiously (and called ADT and the Better Business Bureau to verify who the guy was).  David is much more suspicious than I am- which is frankly a good thing and has served us well.  He's a great protector for our family :)

    By the end of the evening we were owners of an ADT home security system... with the works.  Ain't nobody breaking into our house without getting caught!  I took the liberty of putting stickers in all the key windows and a sign in back yard and one in front that let's everyone know we mean business.  I admit, I went a little overboard and David asked if I was trying to decorate with all the ADT stickers, but hey, no one can say they weren't warned!

    ...And this is only about half of the stickers and signs I posted... :)

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Rollin' with the Stones...

    Kidney Stones that is.  My dad gets them all the time, and I never quite grasped the pain he was in until about 4 a.m. on Sunday morning.


    It felt like someone punched me in the back, no wait the front, no... the back again... was someone playing ping pong in my gut?  Or as the nurses referred to it, my "right flank."

    Poor David.  I woke him up to tell him I was in pain, and that I didn't want to go to the hospital around 4:30am.  Then about an hour later, after trying to rest in every possible position, on the bed, the couch, and even the floor in both bathrooms, I woke him back up and told him he had to take me to the hospital.

    I somehow calmed myself on the car ride over to the hospital to the point where David turned to me and asked me if it was really necessary?  "Yes. It. Is. Necessary," I spat.  I could barely breathe!

    The nurses admitted me immediately, got me hooked up to an IV (I've got the marks to prove it, thank you, to the male nurse with plumber hands) and shot me full of morphine... Ah, sweet morphine!

    Only, it didn't quite have the effect I was going for.  It only dulled the sharpness... but the pain was still there.  I felt like Lady Macbeth wanting to yell at the nurses- "Out, damned spot! Out, I say!"  That last bit was a combination of the Morphine and having just been at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival... As a side note, the production of "Two Gentlemen of Verona" was very good, I was very sad and embarrassed to leave during the intermission due to pain in my gut... but then, lately, what's new?

    They sent me for a CAT Scan.  And when I came back they pumped me full of more morphine... Ah sweet morphine!  There you are... it finally kicked in!

    It was right when I was just drifting into a beautiful morphine induced slumber that the doctor came in... "You have a kidney stone. It's 3mm in size, and you're just going to have to pee it out, so we'll send you home with some pills to manage the pain, some pills to help you pee, and some pills for the nausea that the other pills will make you feel."

    (Thick sarcasm) Lovely.

    Great.  They took out the IV and sent us on our merry way.  I slept ALL DAY Sunday.  Minus an hour here and an hour there.  I was out cold.  Any time I woke up I was nauseated or trying to go pee, which was more like dribbling... tinkle tinkle tinkle.  So I figured I'd just try to sleep the stone out of my body.

    In the evening I ate some food and drank the juice that David brought home.  That was a mistake!  I vomited all night long.  All night long and all morning long.  Until 9am or so, when my doctor's office finally opened and I called them in desperate need for help!

    They said they were sorry I felt so bad, but that they couldn't really do anything for me and they sent me back into the ER.  Obviously they'd (the ER) given me something that wasn't sitting right in my gut, and I was also clearly dehydrated.

    So I spent from 9:30 this morning until 3 or 3:30 this afternoon strapped to a hospital gurney wearing an ever so fashionable hospital gown, getting poked and prodded and told nothing much... only that they had pumped me full of two liters of saline and that they were changing my nausea meds and I still had to go home and pee in the strainer and look for gold- I mean a kidney stone... Oy!

    I am headed to bed now.  Please wake me when its all over!

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Home Sweet Home... or Swimming through the Midwestern Humidity

    Hello All!

    Last week I visited the Midwest on a whirlwind tour of family, friends, more family, more friends, and then more family again.  It's always nice to "Go Home," and no matter how old I get or how much my life has changed, I must admit that I simply love driving up my parents driveway and walking into the house I grew up in.  The familiarity of everything is so inexorable- the way the light hits in the sky, the smells, the sounds, everything feels so right.  This place will always have a piece of my heart.

    Sunset over Lake Wisconsin from my parents house
    That said, Holy Humidity Batman!  OMG!  I stepped off the plane last Tuesday into 95+ degree weather plus something like 80% humidity.  I thought I was going to die a slow miserable sweaty and smelly death. Ugh!  Thankfully, when I met my dad for lunch as his golf club, we ate indoors in the nice comfortable air conditioning.  When I left Boise that morning, it was cool and raining, so I was wearing jeans, a shirt, a jacket, and a scarf, and I forgot to pack shorts!  Dad took pity on me and he sent me into the pro-shop at the club bought me some shorts and a t-shirt.

    I was able to see a bunch of friends from both Lodi and Madison while I was home... unfortunately, I didn't think to take pictures like I had planned to while I was with them.  But, I must say, my girlfriend Stacy is the cutest pregnant lady ever!  And Nicci's sweet baby girl Magnolia (Maggie) made my ovaries hurt - I just love her.  I could have held her for hours and hours... can I have one just like that?!

    Driving Through WI

    On Thursday I drove down to Dubuque, IA (in the rain with no windshield wipers- thank you Enterprise-Rent-a-Car) to see David's sister Marlee and her family.  Marlee has become one of my closest friends and I was really excited to spend some time with her and her family.  Their home is absolutely lovely, and Dubuque is at its most beautiful at this time of year.  Peonies were in bloom everywhere, and everything was lush and green.  My nephews Carson and Walker were out of school, so I was able to spend some quality time with them which was fun.  They are boys through and through, that's for sure!  It's fun to be around all the commotion.

    Marlee and David got us tickets to see the band Chicago at the River Festival that was going on in town.  I did remember to snap some pictures there...

    My beautiful sister-in-law Marlee and her handsome husband David Tart
    You know you're in the mid-west when...

    You can't really tell, but this guy is wearing a Boise State hat.... Bronco fans everywhere!
    I felt like I was going to see Sarah Palin around every corner!  The band Foghat opened for Chicago and unfortunately we all wanted to shoot ourselves by they were done.  They were mostly just loud.  If you don't remember Foghat, they are a one-hit-wonder band who did the song Slow Ride (  Chicago didn't come on until 9:30.  We stayed for most of the show, but by around 10:45 it started to rain and we got out of there just in time for the heavens to open up.

    The next day, Marlee and I drove to Chicago and did some shopping at the mall in Schaumburg, IL.... They have a Nordstrom which is all I need :)  It was really fun.  Marlee is a fantastic shopper, and we both got a few cute things.  I told her she has to come out and help me go through my closet to get rid of things and put together a yard sale and go shopping on the money we make from it.  I love the idea of having a personal shopper!

    My original reason for making the trip to the midwest was to go to my friend Maren Baker's wedding.  So, after shopping, Marlee and I ran to our hotel, quickly got dressed, and then fought our way through traffic to get to the ceremony.  It was lovely.  Maren was a spectacularly beautiful bride, and I was happy to see she and her husband Matt so in love.  It was an honor to be included.  We sat at a great table, and I of course proceeded to get into a fight with the gentleman next to me about the merits (and in my mind demerits) of the BCS, and why a playoff is necessary in college football.  Luckily we ended on good terms, I think mostly because he was shocked to be having this argument with a woman!  Marlee and I didn't stay too long into the night.  I was exhausted by ten, and we went back to the hotel and climbed into bed... I was out like a light the minute my head hit the pillow.

    The  bride dancing with her Daddy
    Sunday morning Marlee and I parted in Rockford, IL and I drove back up to Madison to join my father and my three brothers and my sister in the Father-son/Father-daughter Golf Tournament at our dad's club.  I am happy to report that my dad and I won the 9 Hole Father-Daughter Division!  AND my dad dad and my brother John won the Father-Son 18 Hole Division!  My dad was able to take home 2 of the 8 trophies they gave out.  Go Dad!  My sister and I both actually played amazingly well considering we pick up a golf club once a year at best.  Dad says its that "natural Manchester talent"... I think it may have just been luck.  Anyway, it was really fun- I love all of my in-laws, but it was especially nice to have time some alone time with Dad and his kids.
    Left to right: Anabel, Morgan, Katie, Dad, Chet, John 
    Winners of the 9 Hole Father-Daughter Tournament
    Monday we all left.  Katie and John's flights were delayed twice, so we all got to have lunch together.  Thank God for my friend Ann Daily who let me use her computer to fix a work thing in the middle of all the commotion!  I was then bumped from my flight to the later one and Morgan and I left within a half hour of each other, which allowed us to have a good chat while we waited.  All in all, it was a great trip and I'm looking forward to next year!

    I'll say it again, there's nothing quite like going home!

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    Fresh Start

    After a brief reprieve, I'm back.

    Let's recap the past month:

    Mamapalooza (I'm still waiting for the photos we took with my mom's camera...)

    Juli (my mom) was on a mission to get her daughter's garden's looking respectable.  We worked hard and got it done... however, not before Francie showed up.  We had hoped to finish before she arrived so that once she got here it was all play time, but she was a trooper and pitched in and helped us get it done.  And I must say, it really looks beautiful!

    We got some play time in as well.  We had some delicious meals together and did some sightseeing and some shopping.  Juli and I got feathers in our hair, which made me feel like a rock star.  My sweet husband informs me that it takes more than a few feathers in my hair to be a rock star, but I think they look cool.
    I took both the moms antiquing one day and we ended up at this really cool antique store called 'The Shabby House.'  I felt like I was witnessing something out of a movie... circus meets gypsies meets???  My pictures don't really do it justice, but it was really funky:

    After Juli left, Francie and I did some downtown Boise exploring and we ended up raiding the sales racks at Anthropologie and she got some of the cutest outfits for her big trip to Spain... I'm excited for her to wear them... she looks so great my father-in-law will not be able to take his eyes off her.

    Unfortunately, I bought both our moms tickets on and Francie got royally screwed on her trip home... I'm so sorry Francie!  She left at 4:30 in the morning and didn't get home until midnight- after having gotten caught in a storm in Houston, TX.  I felt horrible, and I appreciate that she was such a good sport about it.  I will not be using again anytime soon, that's for sure.

    We love our moms with all our hearts, but boy were we wiped out by the time they left!  We did have an absolutely wonderful time, however, and are looking forward to the third annual Mamapalooza in 2012.

    Projects and 5 Reasons NOT to get DishNetwork

    After Mamapalooza ended David decided we should re-arrange some furniture in out house.  I must admit I was hesitant, and definitely dragged my feet, but I have to admit, he was more than right.  It looks and feels amazing now.  I love how much more open and clean the house looks- plus its so much more classy and grown-up.  Bravo David on your incredible vision!

    We also decided to take the old-fashioned awnings off the windows on the south side of the house.  Which not only gave the living room more light, but when I stand in my house I feel like I can see the world in a different way.  It gave such a new perspective to our view and out street.  We are planning to get some shutters to match the ones on the front of the house to finish it all off, but we haven't gotten that far yet.

    House with Awnings
    House with Awnings
    House without Awnings

    House without Awnings
    As for the 5 reasons not to get DishNetwork:
    1. They don't arrived within the 4 hour window they say they will arrive it.
    2. Unless you get to a "Loyalty Manager" their customer service sucks.
    3. They constantly charge you for things you don't receive... i.e. HD TV.
    4. We've had 5 technicians out to our house in two weeks and its still not working right.
    5. How many times can I tell them I've been through all the steps and it still says, "Complete Signal Loss"?

    To sum it up, the minute our contract ends, we are canceling and signing up for's Hulu+.  It's so much cheaper and more reliable, and I'm crossing my fingers that by October when our contract is up it will be available for streaming on Wii so we can use it like we use Netflix.

    Gluten Free
    I was officially diagnosed as being allergic to Gluten.  I knew I had a sensitivity to it, but my self- professed blindness to that sensitivity has turned it into an all out allergy.  Bummer.  This allergy has contributed to the Ulcerative Colitis I suffer from, and after learning that it can also cause infertility, I have immediately gone completely Gluten Free.

    It's really hard to do.  I LOVE bread.  I could live on bread and cheese.  Thankfully the restaurants in Boise have embraced this incredible movement of Gluten Free living and even the pizza joints offer Gluten Free options.  And they even taste good.  I've had a few relapses- like during Mamapalooza- but other than that I've been doing really well, and I must say I'm enjoying the results.

    Our good friends Andrea and Rodney invited us to dinner at their favorite pizza place Cassanova's a couple weekends ago, but I didn't think I could go because of my allergy... Andrea suggested we try another place, Flatbread, that offers gluten-free options for all of their bread-based foods.  It was amazing!  Our friends were kind enough to order Gluten Free as well so we could all try everyone else's pizzas, and WOW... it was really amazing!  And I was so grateful to our friends for being so understanding.

    Also, after talking with another friend about my passion for bread and how I was struggling to be good, he suggested I get a bread machine and make homemade Gluten-Free bread... what a terrific idea!  Thank you Scott.  I am currently looking into one that would work for us.

    I will definitely be posting more about my Gluten Free experiences later.

    Cecil's 21st Birthday

    One of my favorite people in the whole world is my friend (I usually refer to him as my cousin) Cecil Wilcomb.  He's like a little brother to me actually.  On May 24th he turned 21 and to celebrate his parents hosted a paella party.  His mom, Mary always makes enough food to feed an army, and she decided to use our extra large paella pan for the occasion.  The pan was a wedding gift from David's Aunt Judy, and we love it... only thing is, its so big we haven't been able to cook with it on our stove or our grill because it doesn't fit.  So the pan has been hanging proudly in our kitchen waiting to be used.  Luckily Mary didn't have that problem, and she christened it for us with the most delicious Paella.  It was one of the best Paellas I've ever had.  What a way to celebrate her son's birthday!  Delicious!  And so beautiful too!

    The birthday boy Cecil (right) enjoying the party with friend Jake

    Leavenworth, WA

    David and I wanted to get out of town for the long Memorial Day Weekend, so we decided to both pick a place and debate who chose the better place to go.  I chose Tahoe, with my second option being Leavenworth, WA (it's a Bavarian town 2 hours east of Seattle we'd seen it in an in-flight magazine on our way to Seattle once, and we'd both always wanted to go there.)  Anyway, David chose Leavenworth- and we ended up not even having to debate because it was my second choice.

    It was a wonderful little get away.  The 7.5 hour drive was simply beautiful, and our hotel (The Enzian) was very nice and super comfy, plus we had an amazing view.  We went on a wine tasting, read, slept, went swimming and hot tubbing and took a very nice long hike into the most beautiful mountains.  It was lovely.  I highly recommend it.  The part I found the nicest was that it was a great place for families, (and there were lots of them) but there were so many things for couples to do (without the bother of other people's kids) as well.  Apparently they have a magnificent Christmas tree light ceremony that David and I are hoping to get back for and of course their Oktoberfest is like none other- except in Bavaria itself of course.  Anyway, it was a wonderful way to spend the long weekend.

    Well, I think that about sums up the last month or so.  I promise to get back on track and start blogging a bit more frequently.  Until next time!