Friday, December 26, 2014

It's not a toomah!

My Mom's leg lump has been resolved.

Thank God.

It turns out that the first doctor who looked at her was using an old, low-resolution ultrasound machine.  When she had her leg re-scanned by a better machine, the second-opinion doctor said that it's not a tumour, at all.  Definitely just a cyst.  It doesn't even require minor surgery at this point, or drainage.  It will resolve on its own over time.

So.  That was an emotional roller coaster I won't soon forget.  (Assuming that's the end of it, which I sincerely hope it is.)  As if Christmas weren't enough of a psychological minefield all by itself.

I'm glad that I have a bunch of time off work without many plans.  I shall spend it regaining my equilibrium.

I hope that you had a Merry Christmas!  Ken and I celebrated on Christmas Eve with my family, because it was my younger Bubbe's 94th birthday; and on Christmas Day we spent time with his family.  My new sister-in-law is a professional pastry chef and could easily be a... you know, a CHEF-chef too.  For savoury food.  Like roast beef with veggies and dressing and gravy and homemade Yorkshire puddings.  I never understood what Yorkshire pudding was all about until last night.  It's all clear to me now!  (It's about buttery fluffiness with a soft, hot middle.)  I almost didn't have room for my personal-sized, fully-homemade-including-the-perfect-crust apple pie.  My goodness, did we eat last night.

Today we visited my elder Bubbe, who will now tell you that she's 98 and a half, because you go back to counting the halves at her age.  As usual, she made tea, excavated some fossilized pastries from the back of her freezer and commanded us to eat.  We ate.  Elder Bubbe may be old and tiny, but you'd better do what she says.  She's fierce, and a marvel.

I guess that's it for the season.  Family members have been embraced, gifts exchanged, and bellies filled.  I think now I'll spend the weekend reading my incredibly absorbing book.  And sleeping.  That sounds about right.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Leg Lump

If you've never seen the movie A Christmas Story, shame on you.  GO SEE IT RIGHT NOW.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200.  Just watch it, because it is the best Christmas movie ever, and don't anyone try to tell me otherwise.

This is Peter Billingsley, who stared as Ralphie:

I got curious about him.  I wondered :What does he look like today?"

Here he is, having aged quite gracefully, I must say.  Looks like he didn't shoot his eye out after all.

If you know the movie, you know the leg lamp.

It's a testament to the staying power of the movie that more than 20 years after it was released, leg lamps are still selling well.  Good old leg lamp.

However, that is not what I have gotten for Christmas.  Unfortunately, my Mom has just discovered a pretty scary-looking leg lump.  She had it checked out by ultrasound yesterday.  It's not a cyst, and it's growing fast.  Dang.  

Is it just me, or does crap like this always happen around Christmastime?  November and December seem to be reliably dark months in all senses of the word.

Next step will be an MRI to see what we can see.  Until then... we wait.

Although I had to sit down when I first heard about what was going on, I'm feeling steady now.  I've been psyching myself up for something like this for the past couple of years.  I've been reminding myself that my parents are getting older, and that I need to stay strong if/when they start to go downhill.  If I fall apart for a while, I must put myself back together again before long.  Socks up, chin up, take one day at a time.  I'm glad I was at least slightly braced.

This may turn out to be nothing serious.  My Mom will probably need surgery to remove the Whatever It Is, and that might be the end of it.  She can recuperate at her Mom's house, where there are care workers on duty 24/7 already.  

Thanks in advance for your well wishes and prayers.  I know all y'all have my back! :-)

Sunday, December 14, 2014


The office Christmas party was almost a disaster, and it would have been on my head.  I am the party organizer, for the same reason that I do a lot of stuff at work: no one else wants to do it.  I don't want to do it either, per se, but it's not unbearably painful, so I don't object very loudly.

We share our Christmas party with another company, and have done so for several years.  This is because one professional who works part-time with us has his own company, but he's too busy to plan his own party.  His employees have always been a small and unobtrusive group; it was easy to absorb them into our party.  It saved him the trouble of organizing an event, and it helped fill the room when our own turnout wasn't great.

This year, this fellow expanded his business.  By a lot.  And didn't mention it to me.  I mean, I knew that he had added some locations, but I figured there were only a handful of staff in each new office.  I had booked the party room in June.  I was expecting 20-30 people from the other company.  They e-mailed me last week to say that they were sending 90.  Ninety!  My company only confirmed 65, including the plus-ones!  We were totally outnumbered.  I wasn't sure that we could all fit.

It was a squeeze to seat everyone in the venue I had booked, and still have room for a  buffet and a dance floor, but fortunately we managed it.  And hey, the party was super-fun!  No one got sloppy drunk.  My boss kept his often awkward and rambling annual speech to a minimum.  And I only sustained a slight injury to my right foot from dancing like no one was watching.  (As the hostess, I feel it is my moral responsibility to break the ice on the dance floor, and I don't care if I look a fool in the process.)

So there you have it.  A work event that did not involve any drama or calamity.  It's a true Christmas miracle!  Now, if only I could get my hands on some of those mini-quiche hors-d'oeuvres  at home, life would be perfect right now.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Everybody's Working On the Weekend

On Friday I tried on this sweater:

Alpacas!  (Or llamas, I suppose, it's difficult to tell, but "alpacas!" is more fun to say.)  Imagine my chagrin when I found that it didn't fit well.  Unless skin-tight arms with a baggy, flying-squirrel look to the torso is the next trend. 

I was out with Ken doing some minimal Christmas shopping.  This is the time of year when I'm most grateful for being Jewish.  The only people I have to buy for are those who inconsiderately have their birthdays in December, and the underprivileged kids who will be the recipients of the toy drive at work.

Although it's technically called a "toy drive", we've been told to provide appropriate gifts for teens and tweens, who may be a little too old for toys per se.  Last year I got a palette of nail polishes and another of lip glosses for the girls.  This year I wanted to get something for the guys.  It's difficult, because what can I successfully pick out for a 12-16 year-old boy?*

My first thought was a cool watch, but then I remembered that kids don't wear watches anymore.  Don't be such a square, grandma.  Alright then, how about a cap, in the style of LL Cool Joe?  But when I was confronted with a wall of caps to choose from, I realized I didn't have a clue which one to pick.  And trust me, I remember enough about middle school to know that the wrong cap would be worse than no gift at all.

I finally settled on a couple of wall calendars.  Sponge Bob, for the slightly younger fellow, and Dream Cars for the cool high-schooler.  Ken tried to talk me into getting the car calendar that included hot girls in bikinis.  As if!

Anyway, I brought the calendars in to work today, yes, Sunday, because I'm here babysitting the place while Miguel and Estaban clamber around on ladders wielding a huge, duct-sucking hose.  Everything is going pretty smoothly so far today, but I figured I'd better come in to supervise, because with this place, you never know.  For example, yesterday, in addition to the duct-cleaning team, a couple of guys from building management were in here playing around with the fire alarm system.  They were supposed to know what they were doing, but next thing I knew all the bells were ringing, and three minutes later I could hear sirens whooping as a big fire truck pulled up outside our front doors.   I'm pretty sure that wasn't supposed to happen.  Except that it's my workplace, so of course there's a certain amount of guaranteed drama and angst.  Oh well.

How's your holiday prep coming along?

*Note for Joey, and anyone else offended by gender stereotypes, yes, I know, I know.  If the toy drive organizers want to give the nail polishes to a boy and the car calendar to a girl, that's fine, they can go ahead.  Maybe it's better to say that I'm trying to cover all the bases, for kids of all identities and styles.  Better?  ;-)