Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Table Pictures

As promised. Disclaimer: I am not the world's best digital photographer. I am not even in the top 10.

It didn't come out very well in the pictures, but the dark thing in the middle is a cranberry glass turkey. There's one on each table. The first couple years I did Thanksgiving dinner, I had professional floral arrangement centerpieces, but I like the gourds and autumn leaves from my liquidamber tree in the back better.

Guess who made this? :-D

Turkey Today, Margaritas on Sunday

This year, we are brining the turkey for the first time. I'll let you know how it turns out. I get the organic, free-range kind, and always cook it breast-side down to keep it juicy. BIL carves and lays it out prettily on the platter, so I don't have to worry about trying to present a whole, perfectly browned turkey on a platter at the table. I've made the stuffing (though we no longer actually stuff the turkey except with chunks of celery, apples and onions for flavor) and will do the gravy when we're close to serving. I cheat and use dry packaged gravy mix and just add pan drippings, but everyone always raves about the gravy, so there. And that's all I'm cooking, unless I get inspired to make the steamed green beans with the dijon dressing. MIL is bringing yams and cranberry sauce, BIL is bringing roasted root vegetables and carmelized-onion mashed potatoes (have I mentioned that he's a chef?), the cousins are bringing a kosher turkey (she only eats kosher meats) and Doug is picking up the biscuits and pies. And that, ladies and germs, is how you keep Thanksgiving simple. This year, we only have fifteen, which is a few less than previous years. SIL's folks went to Texas to see one of their other kids, and some of the other cousins aren't in town.

Thanksgiving has always been my holiday. Back in college and when I was first working in radio, I'd get together with friends and we'd cook up a storm, and feed people in waves, depending on when their shift on the air ended or when the bong-fueled munchies kicked in. For the first few years after Doug and I were together, the (now ex-) SIL insisted on hosting Thanksgiving. She made up a huge elaborate Southern feast (including a baked ham which always sent the Kosher Cousins over the edge). But they kept moving further away, and after one year travelling 450 miles each way in heavy traffic to their house, I said "enough" and vowed that I was going to enjoy Thanksgiving at home from then on. And within a few months the BIL and SIL split up, so I've hosted the family Thanksgiving dinner ever since. I love doing this, and it never feels like work. I'll post pics of my tables in a couple hours once the camera is recharged.

Sunday, we take off for Puerto Vallarta with Doug's folks for six days of fun in the sun. Tuesday I'm going to swim with the dolphins! I'll post pictures. Other than that I'm looking forward to doing a whole lotta nuthin'. Right now for Sam it's all about the ride on the airplane and we've been counting down the days with him for the last two weeks until the "airplane!". Since he's been taking swimming lessons and is now able to do some rudimentary dog paddling, I think he's really going to want to spend the majority of the day swimming. They have wonderful pools where we stay, with bridges to swim underneath and water slides. And cabana boys who bring margaritas for Mom. ;-) I'm taking a stack of books, too.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The C Word and Laugh Lines and Diets, Oh MY!

Got the stitches out Thursday, and the scar is not hugely noticeable, though I'm still swollen and sore around the incision site. Turns out the large nodule was totally benign, but they did find a very small papillary carcinoma in one of the smaller nodules on the left side. The good news, according to my doctor is that this type of cancer is extremely curable, and in many cases no other treatment is necessary beyond the thyroidectomy. But he also wants to talk about doing the radioactive iodine follow up (which would probably happen after the first of the year) so it looks like I might not be done yet. Still, it's not chemo.

I went back to my old hair stylist today to get a cut. I just haven't liked the last two cuts I've had from the new stylist, though he is a genius with color and highlights. Michael is quite an interesting guy; he also has a "day job" working in the entertainment industry, but still cuts hair on Saturdays for a few clients. Anyhow we talked about our dogs (he and his partner are into competing with their dogs in agility events) and about our jobs and the industry in general. He kept talking and cutting and talking and cutting and now my hair is very short. Cute, but very short. At one point the sun was pouring in through the front window of the salon and beating down right on us. In that light I looked in the mirror and noticed that I'm developing some very defined laugh lines around my eyes. I really like that.

I occasionally check in on Big Fat Blog and this morning followed a link to this exceptional post at Tiny Cat Pants about dieting and beauty and suffering. I remember reading somewhere not so long ago a comment that fetishization of thinness and beauty is really a fetishization of female suffering, and on some levels that really rings true. Extreme thinness, high heels, boobs that look like beach balls...none of these come without some pain or at least discomfort. How many of us grew up hearing "you have to suffer for beauty", or in the words of another hairdresser friend of mine, "beauty isn't pretty". Anyhow the thing that always strikes me about blog entries or articles anywhere on the internet that talk about quitting dieting (especially when that discussion is within a feminist framework) is that three kinds of commenters always show up. First is the "yeah-well-men-have-impossible-standards-to-live-up-to,-too!" contingent. Second is the "you're-all-just-a-bunch-of-lazy-fatasses-who-are-ugly/hate-men/have-let-yourself-go-and-are-unhealthy-and-if-I-can-lose-80-lbs-anyone-can" representatives. This group especially strikes me as rather self-hating, because they're so locked into the "I willingly suffer, therefore I am superior to you" mindset. (I've found that the need in people to feel superior to others often masks a low opinion of themselves.) That group also doesn't seem to understand that other people may have different life circumstances and challeges that don't leave room for getting up at 6am to walk for an hour, or shopping daily for fresh organic produce, or spending hours at a time at the gym. They are quick to assign moral judgement on others who they believe don't live up to their rigorous standards. Then there are the "but-beauty-is-POWER-and-I'm-so-much-happier-since-I-got-my-boob-job-I-DID-IT-FOR-ME!" commenters. To which my standard response is that the only "power" inherent in "beauty" is the power to attract and appease those who hold the real power. Sure, the world is a far kinder place to those (women especially) who fit the current standards of attractiveness. But any power that can be taken away with the first sign of a laugh line or a sagging jowl or a bit of flab around the middle, is no power at all. I'd been working on a long post about my own history with food and weight obsession, but it bores me to tears to read it these days, so I won't subject you all to those ruminations. Suffice it to say that I spent many, many years dieting, bingeing, gaining and losing weight, and have finally come to some kind of equilibrium. I have a healthy diet (with a small "d"), my weight is within a healthy range and stable, and I've accepted the fact that I will probably always want to be thinner than I am. I can live with that.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Back Home

So the bottom line is the surgery apparently went well. Of course the schedule got screwed up (my surgery was moved 2 hours earlier but no one notified us) so I ended up not getting into the OR until about 2pm. Surgery was done by 5pm, but I ended up staying in recovery until 1030pm because they didn't have any rooms ready. Which was OK by me since all I was doing during that time was alternating between sleeping and puking. Apparently I don't do anasthesia well. It took until about mid morning yesterday before I was able to hold down liquids. Once I could hold down some chicken soup I was ready to get out of there, got home about 3pm, and was in the shower by 330 trying to wash off the hospital smell.

According to the surgeon, the nodules on my thyroid looked "clean", which means that they were self-contained, not invading any other tissues, and his initial impression was that they didn't look cancerous. Pathology results should be done within the next couple of days and will hopefully back that up.

Everyone--doctors, nurses, hospital volunteers--was kind, informative, caring and (except for having to wait about 30 minutes at 4am for help going to the bathroom) responsive. Before the surgery, both the surgeon and the anathesiologist came over and explained everything they were going to be doing and asked if I had any questions. My surgeon and my primary care doc both came and checked in on me first thing the next morning. My only complaint was that the hospital nurses couldn't find a vein to save their lives. (I had to have blood drawn a few times to check my calcium levels and now have bruises all up and down my right arm.) It makes me really appreciate the nurse in my doctor's office, who always gets the vein on the first try and never hurts.

I haven't had much pain at all beyond the first few hours out of surgery. My neck is pretty stiff and sore, but I haven't had to hit the pain meds, which I'm grateful for. There's enough of a chemistry set still probably floating around in my system (which I'm doing my damndest to flush out by drinking gallons of water) that I don't want to add anything to the mix that I don't absolutely have to. I'm feeling pretty good considering the surgery was less than 48 hours ago, and look forward to getting back up to speed.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Surgery Tomorrow

So tomorrow I get to kiss my thyroid gland goodbye. I think I'm ready: I'm washing my bathrobe to take with and I've already filled the prescription for the thyroid hormone I'll need to take for the rest of my life. I check in tomorrow at 10am and then get to sit in a hospital gown in a cold room somewhere for the next few hours (having had nothing to eat or drink since midnight tonight) until they deign to wheel me into the OR. I'm actually scheduled for surgery at noon, but I've been told by everyone to expect that it won't actually happen until a few hours later due to frequent backups in the OR.

I've been told to expect that I'll be able to go home the next morning, and I'm taking the rest of the week off. Both surgeons we talked to indicated that most people bounce back from this surgery pretty quickly, so that's a good thing. (We went with the second surgeon we met with, who does 200-300 of this exact operation every year.) They'll send my poor ole thyroid gland off to be dissected and examined under a microscope to determine if there's any thyroid cancer, though I've been told that the odds are against - only 15% of these apparently turn out to have any malignancy. The unfortunate part is they can't determine this without removing the gland and making julienne fries out of it.

So that's the scoop. How sick is it that I'm actually seeing this as an opportunity to have a little down time?