Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Say What?

I thought you all might find this entertaining. It's a note I wrote for the Depot a few weeks ago. Can you find my three mistakes? As you can see my spelling has totally improved!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Jesus and a T-rex

A few weekend ago when John and I were in Humboldt we were also able to attend Chloe and Allie’s (the twins) baptisms! What a treat! Well needless to say we weren’t THAT excited when we learned we had to be at church at 8:30am! John asked if we could show up at 9:30am for the baptism, and his mom said that would be tacky. Why must we be so tactful?

I will not state how long it had been since I had been to a regular (non holiday) church service, but the last one I went to I did not enjoy. However I thought this service was very good! I only zoned out a few times, but I really enjoyed it, and all of the singing. I’m sure most of the people were wondering who that Methodist was in the back singing off key!

Right when the first song started John told me to turn they hymnbook to page 398. So I did… where the heck was the song? I had no idea that the 398 was the hymn reference! Doh! Man am I a rookie or what? The Father also chanted The Lord’s Prayer, which I had never heard before. I was so excited that we had finally come to something I knew, and then I couldn’t even keep the tempo! Geesh! Allison (mother-in-law) totally impressed me though. She knew all sorts of songs, (not in the hymnbook), that were sung. I guess once I’m married to a Grundman for 30 years I’ll have it down.

One difference between the Catholic Church and Methodist Church is that kids are supposed to stay through the whole sermon. As a Methodist, the kids head off to Sunday School after the first few minutes. All four kids were unbelievably good during the sermon. I was so impressed. However I do think Jay’s words of advice, (before entering the church), helped: “You are entering God’s house. NO loud voices!”

John’s cousin Fred and his family, (Shan - wife, Sage - daughter, and Kyle – son), also showed up for the service. Kyle is about 2 and was making normal two-year-old sounds when Bowie turned around and said “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Kyle! We are in church!” It was too funny! Most people would, at this point reference that old saying. How does it go? Oh yeah, the pot calling the kettle black.

After the service we then got ready for the baptism. Right before the father started the ceremony, Sarah looks at me and says “Amber! You are Allie’s godmother! Get up here!” I was in total shock! So I rushed up to the front pew with Jay, Sarah, Maddy, Bow, Sage, John, the twins, and Jenny (Chloe’s godmother and who we thought was the godmother of both twins). It was a tight fit!

Let me backtrack a bit. So about 6 months ago John’s sister Sarah had mentioned to him that John and I would be godparents to one of the twins. SWEET!!! I was SO exited, as I had always wanted to be a godmother to one of the kids. However we were told that the godmother of a girl had to be catholic and the godfather of a boy had to be catholic. Well it looked like things had changed w/ the new father taking over.

A few months before the baptism John talks to Sarah again, and then relays the message that I will not be the godmother because I was not catholic. What the heck? I was totally bummed. Oh well. But it seems that Sarah was just teasing John? Not sure… something major was lost in communication, and all I know is that I was totally left out of the loop! But it was such a great surprise to be Allie’s godmother! What an honor!

Here’s an action shot of the ceremony

The kids were a tad bit more restless during this second hour than the first. Bowie decided to interject his observations by shouting “JESUS!” and “GOD!” at two separate occasions, while the father was speaking.

He also asked Sage “Are you afraid of T-rexes?”

“Yes,” Sage replied.

“I’m not,” said Bowie. So tough.

Near the end of the ceremony, John and Jay lit candles for the twins that they will use on their first communions. From the side, Maddy and Bowie were trying their hardest to blow them out. It was one laugh after another I tell ya!

Then to top it off, right as we were finishing, Maddy stuck her nose into one of the flower arrangements and here was the result:

Here are Allie’s godparents:

Here are Chloe’s godparents:

One last family photo before we left:

After we headed over to John’s parents house for a great lunch. It was quite entertaining as you can imagine. Here are the girls and their mom w/ a cool cupcake cake.

As godparents of Allie and Chloe (for John) it is our duty to make sure she attends church every Sunday and is brought up with God in her life.

"Suck it Satan!" Quoteth the godparents.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Wii Word

So with the Boo Stick being preoccupied with cancer, what does John do with his free time? Well the search for the new Nintendo Wii has ended. Driving back from Ukiah this last Monday, one of my lady sources finally came through for me.

Wait, back story first. The Nintendo Wii is the latest game system from the greatest video game company. See if these names ring some bells you old fogeys: Mario, Zelda, uhhhhh, Metroid. Crap, it turns out I only play Mario and Zelda. Anywho, the system is fully interactive. I swing in real life, my Mii (clever, I know) swings his little bat on screen. The system is so fat kid friendly that it suggests you take a break and go outside every 15 minutes.

So for my 30th birthday I told Amber I wanted 1 thing; that's right, a Nintendo Wii. They came out in Nov 06. But she soon encountered a problem. Wiis are in super high demand, and as the big day approached she couldn't lay her hands on one. I suggested to put all my lady friends on the job. Maggie spotted some in LA for $400. No good, I am notoriously cheap and they retail for $250. Molly A. was also on the hunt. Rebekkah scoured Walmart on a daily basis. No luck. So two weeks ago I was hanging out in Best Buy when I spotted an old co-worker of mine working the register. I slipped her my card, gave her a wink and a pinch, and was on my merry way.

Thank you Joy Grunklee and your employment at Best Buy. Joy called us on Monday at 3pm. Bad news, we were in Salinas; Good news, they received 15. Amber placed yet another call into the Wii phone tree and Jen got on it. By 3:40pm all Wiis were sold but I was finally one of the lucky ones.

Due to these great advances in technology Nintendo thumb is now a thing of the past. However, I have developed a rather more severe condition, referred to in Medical circles as Nintendo Elbow. Much like tennis elbow, except this nasty affliction can take hold indoors with no sun, ball, racket, or even shoes!!

Results of 4 days of game play:

Bowled a 258 game (real life 172)

Beat down 6 dudes in boxing (real life, yeah right! I'm what you call a lover)

Shot par over 3 holes (real life, don't ask)

Hit 8 home runs out of 10 pitches (real life 1 homer career)

Even my lady can roll now!

True athletes play fake tennis. Look at that form!
Also for those in the know, check the shirt. Triforce anyone? (That's Zelda for you laymen).

It's not planned yet, but all will be invited to Lebowskwii Fest. Bowling, Caucasians, and The Dude. All without rental shoes. Actually, without any shoes, as you know we are crazy about keeping our carpet clean.

p.s. Cancer is a Bitch. And to quote D-Jay, "Beat that Bitch"
p.p.s. Watch Hustle and Flow to understand p.s. reference. "Whoop that trick"
p.p.p.s. Sorry for the profanity.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The C Word

Remember in my past post I said how I could diagnose myself and what good were the doctors? Well I take that back! I got the results of my thyroid biopsy last week and found out that my lovely lady lump is cancer. Can you believe it? I am still in a bit of shock. How can it be cancer when it did not show up in my blood tests, run in my family, or that I don't have any symptoms? I am glad it was caught early and that I didn't have to be in the stage of not knowing what was wrong with me. I think that would have been a lot more frustrating.

The next step is to have surgery to remove my thyroid on May 8th. It's an out patient surgery but I will need to take a week off of work and a 2 week break from any physical activities. I just found out that I'll have to take a week off of work and it was quite a shock. I thought since I would be in and out w/ the surgery that I would be back at work on Thursday! Then I realized that I might not even be able to shower for a few days. Could you imagine if I showed back up at work w/ a huge bandage on my neck lookin' all greasy? My co-workers would have really wondered where I had been!

After surgery I will have to take medication for the rest of my life to compensate for the missing hormones. That's not too bad. I know it could be worse. I do know online it says that some people have to go through some radiation to make sure all the cancer cells are dead, and I'm not sure if I wil have to do that or not. I have a pre-op appointment with my doctor the week before where I will get to ask all of my questions.

The doctor told me that 95% of thyroidectomies remove all of the cancer, which is really good news. He also told me that if my tumor was over 5 cm and if I were older there would be more risks. (My tumor is only 2.6 cm.)

Even though I know everything will be ok, it's still Cancer. There is a lot of baggage that goes along with that word. Emotionally I kind of go up and down of knowing it will be ok, to being scared. I do think about it all the time though. I asked the doctors office to let me know if they can get me in earlier, just to I can get it over with and stop having to think about it. John is doing ok too. I think he's more scared then he lets on, which I'm thankful for, because I think I would feel worse seeing him worry.

It's amazing to hear how many people know someone who has either had thyroid cancer or has had another thyroid issue. I didn't realize how common it is.

I'm not looking for any sympathy from people, but I just want everyone to know. If the situation was reversed I would want to know about it.

I'll keep you posted on any new info I find out. I am hoping to get one of the nurses take a photo of the tumor after they remove it. Don't worry!! If it's totally gross I won't post it, but aren't you interested in seeing what it looks like?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Welcome Laina!

Today our friends, Jenna and Jay, (AKA Jayenna) became parents of a cute little girl! I thought Jenna was going to give birth on Friday and it was killing me all weekend not to have easy Internet access. When I got home on Monday night I was relieved to find out that I didn't miss the big announcement! I am so happy that I can now add Laina's birth information to my Birth List. I decided to make a list about a month ago of all of my friend's babies birth dates. There are so many that I have a hard time keeping track of all their ages. Below is my list:

Maddy – August 31, 2001
Rian – October 12, 2001

Cameron – February 14, 2003
Bowie – June 8, 2003
Elizabeth – June 25, 2003

Regan – May 14, 2004

Peytyn – March 20, 2005
Sydney – April 4, 2005
Camille – July 18, 2005
Annie – October 29, 2005

Emma – August 30, 2006
Chloe – July 5, 2006
Allie – July 5, 2006
Navy – October 12, 2006

Myra – January 14, 2007
Annabella – February 10, 2007
Laina – April 18, 2007
Drexler baby – October 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Quick Ukiah Visit

Greetings! So we just got back from our weekend in Humboldt, and man! Do I have some stories to tell! I'm going to have to start with a short one though because I'm on the verge of getting a cold, and I really need to get to bed soon. (Sleep is my best medicine).

On Sunday night we headed to Ukiah late afternoon to spend the night with The Steinbucks. Adam and Rebekkah made us a GREAT stir fry with a peanut sauce. It was SO good. I really love stir fries and try to make them often, but his was so much better than anyone I've ever made.

We just hung out for the night and I helped Re clean out her closet... well sort of. She had already done most of the work. I just helped her with the things she was on the fence with. I did make out with a super cute pair of shoes and some Old Navy sweaters.

We also went through two huge garbage bags full of baby clothes that she was going to donate. I took all her unisex items for Stephanie, and all of her pink items for Marijke (my hairdresser who just had a girl). Some of the stuff is SO cute and never worn. I can't wait to give it all to them.
Here is Syd at breakfast the next morning lookin' super cute! I love her long hair.

After breakfast I gave her a small belated birthday gift which included some chap stick. Here she is in action.

After that we took a walk around their property since it was such a nice day. Here is Syd showing us how she uses her hoe.

Before we leave we always have to get the following shots. I'm hoping to upload all the photos we have of each other over the last 2 years to see how much Syd has grown. Hopefully I will do that soon!
Here is Syd and John with her friend Cobra.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter, Pups, & Family

Hey all! I am here! Sorry for the lack of posts! I've been busy with a few freelance projects this week, which means it takes away from my bloggin time. I know... it's so sad... but can I really afford to turn away a few bucks? No way José!

We had a mellow Easter weekend which was nice. Molly came up from LA to drop of her dogs for two months, as she is currently working on a movie called Forgetting Sarah Marshall in Hawaii. As you can see it's still in the early stages as most characters have yet to be casted.

Having Bonnie and Clyde here has been quite an adjustment. I am just very thankful that John has had pet dogs before... unlike me who has NEVER had a pet dog. The first day was VERY tough. Everything was new to us and to the pups. Day 2 went WAY better, and now I'm happy to say that day 3 has gone just as well. It seems that Bonnie and Clyde have not had much training and don't really know who the alpha dogs are. John has already been working his magic and they actually stay when told. We worked a little bit on sitting tonight too. Clyde definitely picked it up quicker than Bonnie, but I think it was because he wanted the treat.

We also watched our first episode of The Dog Whisper ASAP as we became instant dog owners. Let me tell you that Cesar Milan is AMAZING! I totally love that show! I'm making John tape all the episodes. We did learn a few tricks from him which work, however I'm even more excited to try them on my parents dogs. Namely Pearl who totally runs wild. (Don't be alarmed parents... everything I learned is from Cesar and he is an experto!)

We do have to decide by Thursday if we are going to keep the dogs for the two months or take them w/ us up to Humboldt to John's parents. I'm ok either way, but I"m leaving the decision up to John since they are his sister's pups (and since he's doing the majority of the work).

over and died!!!!! John thought that since the bag was tied that it So far there have not been any major mishaps, and the dog are really well behaved for the most part. However John left me a nasty treat when I came home tonight. I opened the garbage to throw away our junk mail, only to be GASSED out by a doggie bag in the trash!!! I about keeled wouldn't stink!! I was so nauseous after smelling that!! However I can't be too hard on the dude, because who says I wouldn't have done it myself?

I'm sure I will have more dog tales soon, but I need to wrap this up, as I'm getting tired!

The weekend of our birthday party we headed over to Bakersfield on Sunday night. There we met up with a bunch of John's family to celebrate the March birthdays. The photo below is of the older kids.

John's mom Allison, Aunt Phyllis, Uncle John, Gramp's wife Mary, Gramp, and Auntie Jane (another fellow groundhog).

Here are the grand kids:
Molly, John, Mary, Gramp, Phyllis' kids Scott and Lindsay, and Jane's daughter Val.

These were not all the grand kids, but the ones who were able to make it. I hope we get to have more family get togethers, as life is not getting any shorter!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Side of Fries Please...

Today I met up with the ear, throat, and neck specialist… and as I predicted, he wants me to get a biopsy! I swear! What do we need doctors for? The reasons I need to get a biopsy is because of the size (of the nodule) and that it’s solid. I guess they do the biopsy w/ an ultra sound to make sure they get the needle in the correct spot. Pretty cool eh? He said it shouldn’t hurt much more than giving blood…unless they have to move the needle around to get it in the right spot. I think I may need to take one of John’s Valiums that he got for his teeth! He also said that normally he doesn’t recommend his patients to get the radioactive test until after the biopsy, so he didn’t even care to see those results. He was really nice and friendly. Probably one of the best doctors I’ve met and I was only there for about 15 minutes.

He said the results can be inconclusive, show cancer or not show cancer. Then he said that he has seen biopsy results state one thing and then be wrong. He also said there were many options to take if the results come back inconclusive, so I asked them what they were. He said you can get another biopsy, or just watch it by getting ultra sound check ups every 9 months (to make sure it’s not growing.) But that was all he told me since we weren’t at that stage yet. I could care less if we weren't at that stage yet… my eager brain was just waiting to soak up new info!

I think he expected me to be more worried, but I told him that I’m not since I don’t have any symptoms. He also said that thyroid and skin cancers are the two most desirable cancers to have. I told him how my doctor said he’s never lost a thyroid patient and he said that’s the same for him… knock on wood… then he knocked on the door! Then his assistant Gay came to the door and asked if he needed anything and he said “Yes I’d like a cheese burger, fries, and a new thyroid for the lady.” Gay replied, “Right away doctor." And the doctor said, “Thank you Mrs. Focker.”

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

My Lovely Lady Lump

A few weeks ago I went to the doctor and he noticed a nice big lump on my thyroid. He asked me what it was, and I was like 'uhhhh isn't that your job?' He then asked me if I had any of the following symptoms, which would mean I had an overactive thyroid… tiredness, weight loss, increased heart rate, heat intolerance, sweating, irritability, anxiety, muscle weakness, etc. I told him no, but that I was very interested in the weight loss side affect.

He then asked me if I had any of the symptoms of an under active thyroid… fatigue, weakness, lethargy, weight gain, depression, memory problems, constipation, dry skin, intolerance to cold, coarse and thinning hair, brittle nails, or a yellowish tint to the skin. I told him ‘No’ once again.

He told me to get some blood tests and then come back a few days later. He never told me anything reassuring, like 'oh it's probably nothing,' or 'don't worry about it,' so of course I worried! Well the worrying stopped once I did some research on That site is the best! I had never found the exact information I was looking for so quickly!

Since I don’t have any symptoms I self diagnosed myself with a thyroid nodule.

Sorry this photo is blurry, but the only way to get a photo of it was to take it w/o the flash.

Here is an image of a thyroid in case you were wondering.

The site stated that you can get various tests done to make sure it wasn’t cancerous. It also said that 5% of nodules are cancerous. The one positive thing my doctor did tell me was that thyroid cancer is rare in people my age, and that he’s never had a thyroid cancer patient die! Well that is good news! I could careless if I had cancer as long as I don’t die! (Does that sound like I’m being sarcastic? Because I’m not).

I was SO scared to get my blood drawn! I had never done it before, and w/ a few bad experiences w/ IVs I was not looking forward to it. The nurse was really nice and after she was done I felt like such a wuss! It was nothing and it didn’t even hurt!

So I headed back to the Dr. a few days later. He said that all my thyroid levels are normal (duh) and that I have low cholesterol! That was a total highlight! I have known I needed to get it tested, but I was scared of getting my blood drawn…now I need to get John to check his. You know now going over the 30 hill we need to be conscious of these things!

Next he suggested that I get an ultrasound, to find out if the nodule is solid or liquid. Result = solid. However the technician was not able to tell me what that means, since she wasn’t a doctor. I knew I still had more tests to come, so I didn’t worry. I was very interested in seeing the images from the ultrasound, and the technician was nice enough to print out a photo for me! It’s now proudly hanging on our fridge!

Below is the image. I have been kind enough to label the important areas so you know what you are looking at. (I’m sure my parents are so proud they put me through school for graphic design. I mean this totally shows off my skills!)

Here is the image w/o the labeling.

So after the ultrasound I was scheduled to get a radioactive iodine uptake test to evaluate the thyroid function.

I had to first go in and take a radioactive pill, (which I could not touch, but yet it’s safe enough to digest), and then go back in the afternoon to get photos taken. The technician explained to me that the thyroid takes in the radiation (Iodine) a which allows it to appear when the machine takes photos of it. Thanks to I learned that w/ this test they are looking to see if the nodule is hot or cold. Hot means that they thyroid is working and there is normal activity. Cold means there is less activity, which isn’t ideal.

After the photos were taken, I asked to see them, and let me tell you that the ultrasound photos were way more interesting! See below:

This looks like a blurred UFO photo from the National Enquirer! I wonder if I could submit it for a little extra cashola!

Since the technician could tell I wasn’t that impressed he also showed me a scan of a normal thyroid. That helped me see that the nodule was not taking in the iodine 100%, which means it’s cold. (Self-diagnosis of course since the technician was not allowed to tell me anything).

When will I find out what all this means you ask? Well on Thursday afternoon I have another appointment to see a throat, ear and nose specialist. FINALLY! I think because the nodule is cold they will probably do a biopsy. We will see though. I have no symptoms though so I’m not worried.

John thought I should wait to write about this until I see the specialist, but regardless of what he tells me, I wasn’t not going to write about it! I mean it’s my lovely lady lump!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Plant Life

So I don't have a ton of time to write right now, as I must go watch the Amazing Race. However I didn't want to leave you hangin' on this Monday morning! Our weekend wasn't too eventful, so I have decided to just post a few photos for you.
this photo is of some flowers that recently bloomed. I received a bunch of bulbs from Rebekkah's baby shower 2 years ago and they are still going strong! We originally planted them in the mini yard we had at our condo, but then had to dig them up and replant them when we moved. Another orange one just bloomed and another one looks close.

I am sad to report that our succulents in our terrariums were not doing well. We had about 3 die, I think due to lack of sunlight. When we first went to the nursery they didn't have the type of plants we were looking for, but decided to get succulents instead. I'm so sad that they are no longer indoor plants...however I do hope they make it outside!
The survivors

Can you tell they were just planted?