Thursday, January 28, 2010

How Do YOU Stay Organized?

I was just contemplating how much I enjoy the feeling I get after I clean and organize my desk at work, or after I empty the dishwasher in the kitchen, or after I've folded that pile of laundry that's been laughing at me for days. We don't have any kids so I can afford to let it sit there for awhile and I don't have to fold it, if I don't want to.  But, I eventually have to do it, or it doesn't get done. That's just the way of things.

Now I don't know about you, but I think that you'll agree, one gets a sense of control and of satisfaction after one organizes something, well, anything for that matter. At college, I could not study until my dorm room was clean. And after it WAS clean, I got this blooming feeling of satisfaction, that I had a margin of control over one small area of my life and that I could move forward now as a result. I could study and actually concentrate, not having to ponder the mess around me. I wasn't in the eye of a storm, I was in a tranquil bastion of organization, protected from an evil horde of distraction and chaos.

I happen to like a good accordian file for manuals, warranty info and tax documents. I enjoy bookshelves for my books, and trunks for blankets and board games. Small appliances go on my metal kitchen rack. Tin foil, wax paper, and zip lock bags are in a drawer. All my baking products are in labeled Tupperware above my stove and all my frequently used items are in my pantry at eye level. These are just a few of the things I do to stay organized.

Something else I like to do to stay organized is to make an Excel spreadsheet with addresses that I can use for party invitations or Christmas cards, which I can easily update. Keeping information or music electronically, (as long as you back it up on a flash drive or CD) is a great way to avoid using gobs of paper, and the waste of physcial space that CD's or DVD's would usually necessitate.

Now that I've shared, do you have any organizational tips to share?

Monday, January 25, 2010

El Cactus and the Bermuda Triangle

Have you ever been to a restaurant and had bad service?  I was looking forward to a night out with the girls at a new Mexican restaurant we'd heard was hot shizzle. I was looking forward to maybe a little Mexican coffee with the chocolate and cinnamon in it, maybe a margarita, some chips and salsa, but I was DENIED all three.

#1. BYOB. #2. The waitress was too lazy to make any coffee ("Yeah.... We don't have any," said the waitress.) And oh, by the way, #3. We had to remind the waitress (twice) to bring us the traditional chips and salsa appetizer. Have you ever been ravenously hungry and gone to a Mexican restaurant where it seemed every other table but yours already had their chips and salsa, including the people that were seated 10 minutes after you? Yeah. We had to ask twice for the chips and salsa. Did this girl want a tip?

She even took her ciggy break out in front of the restaurant bringing the acrid smell of ciggies and the cold with her when she breezed back into the restaurant. This girl LOOKED like she didn't care, head to toe.

My friends (whom I shall refer to as Friend-on-the-Right and Friend-on-the-Left) and I began to think we were in the restaurant's dead zone: the place where all things lost and forgotten go hungry and not get any service. We were the "Bermuda Triangle" of El Cactus.  I started calling my Friend-on-the-Right "Amelia" (AKA Amelia Earhart) and she couldn't think of anyone else that had gotten lost there, so she volunteered to call me the Lindberg Baby. We all cackled one great, witchy laugh at the insanity of it all. There should have been a cauldron on the table.

The food was OK, but it wasn't our fave. We split a fried ice-cream which was obviously prepared way in advance. It was cold, and the fried shell was a little stale. Friend-on-the-right called it freeze fried ice-cream. More cackling. We still left a tip.  Would you have left one? I'm curious.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day One: First Appt. With Fertility Doctor

My husband and I visited Abington Reproductive Medicine's Lansdale office today for our first infertility appt. We showed up early to fill out new patient paperwork (just before 9:30 a.m.), but we weren't actually seen by the doctor until 45 minutes after our scheduled appt. of 10:00 a.m. The doctor was both kind and apologetic.

We haven't been diagnosed yet as we're in the preliminary testing phase of our journey. I have no expectations beyond wanting to know why we haven't been able to conceive. We both gave blood samples and urine samples, being tested for everything from disease to genetic mutations. I also had a vaginal ultrasound and the doctor said everything looked OK from the images we saw. He took time to explain everything on the screen. It was neat. Both Jeff and a nurse were present at the time.

We were given, #1. paperwork by the office manager, including instructions/information on upcoming tests that needed to be done, #2. a run down on how to contact our insurance company to see if our pharmaceutical plan included coverage for various fertility drugs, #3. instructions to contact our insurance company to figure out our coverage for fertility procedures (i.e. responsibility, 90/10, 80/20, 100% or no coverage). Abington had contacted our insurance company ahead of time and determined some of that information, but we had to confirm and to clarify the rest. Jeff spent alot of time on the phone with the pharmaceutical people (2 different calls) to try and determine our fertility drug coverage, another phone call with the insurance company to determine coverages for fertility procedures and our deductible, and a call to the doctor's office to let them know how it was going.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you're thinking about going to see what your options are, you'll need to be prepared to bring your driver's license and provide your social security number, employer information etc. and sign a hippa form. Gentlemen get to provide a semen sample (can set an appt. to provide at the office or to set an appt. to bring one in), get a blood test, and give a urine sample as well as provide their medical history. Ladies also provide a blood test, urine sample, and medical history. Both must provide information on family medical history as well. My docs wanted to know if my periods were regular, when I first started my period, the date of my last period and when my mother entered menopause.

Our nurse told us she'll only call with results if something is wrong, and that at the end of all the tests, we'll get an appt. to discuss all the results at once. I still have three tests to go: the Clomid Challenge Test, the Hysterosalpingogram or HSG Test, and a Hysteroscopy.

The Clomid Challenge Test involves taking Clomid and seeing how my body responds to it in egg quality and quantity production.  I get a blood test to measure my follicle stimulating hormone or FSH level.

The HSG (HIS-ta-ro-sal-PING-o-gram) is a test that lets your doctor examine the inside walls of your uterus and fallopian tubes using dye and x-rays. It's done at a hospital in the radiology dept.

The Hysteroscopy lets your doctor examine the inside walls of your uterus. It uses sterile salt water and a tiny telescope to visualize the inside of your uterus. The doctor also perform an endometrial biopsy to rule out an infection or an inflammation of the uterine lining. It's usually done at a surgical center.

When I reach Day 1 of my next cycle (aka when my tampon is full) then I call the doctor's office to schedule a test. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another Correlation or Two

Do you remember that tape I told you about? It was the one from Oct. 2005 that had my Grammy speaking to her bible study on it. Well, Grammy's old church came through again (thank you Martha), and I was sent a CD that I can now share with friends and family.

I was listening to it the other night through laughter and tears as I heard Grammy talk about her love of God and her desire that we too desire to know him more. She talked about coming to Christ in her 20's and about the ebb and flow of her relationship and repeated attempts to get into a groove of reading her bible. God's people get to know him well by spending time with him, by reading his word. We talk to him in prayer, and we listen for him to answer.

Wouldn't you know it, the Pioneer Girl's lesson that I taught last night, was on Getting to Know God. It was unreal. The gist of the lesson was to explore how our desire to get to know someone can lead to a relationship that can affect us profoundly. When we hang around people, they influence us. We take on their characteristics. Our relationship with God can bless us.

Here's the third point of correlation. LOL. At small group, we were talking about building our house on the rock, not on the sand. We talked about having, you guessed authentic relationship with God that will help us through the storm.

Get to know him. John 3:16. Chapter and verse. He's the only God that died for you.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon and Chocolate Almond Cake with Butter Frosting

I've watched Julie and Julia three times now between the movie theatre and the DVD. It was only a matter of time before I would try to make Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon and her Chocolate Almond Cake with her Butter Frosting. Who am I kidding except myself? I needed the appropriate motivation to begin this endeavor, which I found in the guise of my foodie friend Christy.

It had been awhile since we had spoken, and while we were chatting on the phone and pondering our next get together, on a whim I suggested we make Julia's Beef Bourguignon. We set the date. At the appointed time, Christy brought her Le Creuset, French oven and all the ingredients and went to work. I began to document our adventure with my camera when Christy pulled out Julia's cake and frosting recipes and said she thought we could use a nice dessert to go with the meal. We exchanged a smile, both thinking of that scene from the movie where Julie's husband starts eating the cake with his bare hands, sans fork.

I began to make the cake while Christy continued with the main dish. While we were working, I couldn't help but admire the cooking saavy of my friend. Mouthwatering smells filled the air, seared beef, sauteed onions and mushrooms, and the scent of melting chocolate. Christy knew the terminology and what would happen if you manipulated ingredients, temperature and time. Long story short, I learned quite a bit that day, like the fact that preparation plus determination and hard work yield a world of meaty deliciousness followed by a velvetey and chocolatey ending.  Yummo.

As an added bonus, my ambitious friend organized my pantry and cooking appliance rack while we waited for the meal to finish cooking.  She orgnaizes as a side-business while she's waiting for a contracted teaching job, in addition to nannying. Did I mention that she's really good at it?

It was a food-friendly, fellowshipy, organizationally fantastic kind of day!