Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 1

WARNING: This will be less like a 'blog' and more like an online journal. This is not only for you, but for me and my sub-par memory that needs any little reminders it can get.

OK... so day one started early, with complimentary breakfast at the hotel. We got in the car and programmed our little british lady with all the cities we wanted to go to, and in what order. I have become a complete believer in navigation systems by the way. I must confess I used to be completely critical of them and worried some day one would send me over the side of a bridge or onto the wrong side of the highway. Ours has been a complete blessing... along with that and the autobahn we have been able to see so much and not waste hours and hours of driving time. Our first stop was a town called Rothenberg ob der Tauber. We drove under one of the towers that is in the surrounding city wall and were greated with an adorable town with beautiful houses and shops and plenty of flowerboxes and ... flower houses? I guess that's what you can call a house that is almost covered in flowers and vines. We parked our rented audi and walked up the stone steps to the city wall. We walked along the wall for a while, able to see down the towns small roads. We went in a few shops and saw things we liked but didn't buy anything (you must be careful not to buy too much at the first place you go, you never know what you'll find the rest of your trip!) After soaking up the towns charm we went to our next "intermediate destination" as our navagator sweetly told us in her english accent.

Nordlingen was the next town we were set to see and it didn't dissapoint!

While en route, I looked in the travel book on Germany we had bought at B&N and read that Nordlingen was built on a crater that was caused by a meteor 'millions' of years ago. Interesting. It also had a church, St. George that had a tower called daniels tower that if you climbed it you could get 360 view of the town. Interesting. The town itself was also very charming, but much harder to find a parking place. We drove around for a while before finding a spot we could slip into that was near enough the church. The church was beautiful of course but we weren't sure how long it would take to climb the tower so we quickly headed to the entrance. The first set of stairs were the stone kind that went into a tight spiral....not too bad. On a scale of one to ten the flimsiness was about a zero but in terms of me feeling claustrophic, it was a solid 9. They seemed to go on and on until I was slightly dizzy and slightly freaking out. Finally it opened up... to more stairs. These were made of wood and creaked as you walked on them and had slots where the wood just didn't quite meet up and you could very much see through them. Now started the hyperventilating. But I kept walking. TJ started walking behind me incase I passed out. I am just going to say this was rough.... I don't know why but sometimes I can force myself to handle heights and sometimes I feel completely hopeless. I once had a panic attack over having to climb an 8 foot ladder. We walked and walked and walked and at one point the hyperventilating went away but not the fear! When we got to the top we paid the man 2 euro each and climbed outside the tower. It was beautiful. You could walk completely around the small tower although the walkway could basically only fit one person. The fresh air helped me a bit and I got out my camera and snapped some photos of the buildings, wall, and distant fields. I wanted to take one straight down but there was no way I was leaning over that wall so I grabbed the tower with one hand and reached the other over the wall and took a photo, not knowing what was below. This was the resulting photo.

The walk down was better but not great, I stared at my feet 100 percent of the time and had both hands grasped on the rails and walls to ensure I wouldn't plummet to my death if one of the stairs fell through. We finally made it down and I was happy to sit in our car and take chill pill. All in all, glad I did it, and glad I didn't cry. hah. pee-ess... I looked it up later and there are 365 stairs!

Our final stop was in a town called Fussen where the grass was an intense green, the likes of which I have only seen in one other place, Ireland.

We instantly loved the little town at the foot of the alps and drove around trying to take it all in. We followed signs to take us to the castles. Neuschwanstein castle was beautiful, nestled into the mountain above us looking old and intricate and beautiful.

The sun was going down soon and it was foggy so we didn't take the time to park and walk up, but did take some photos of the castle with the fog around it that did turn out quite nice. We went back to the town and parked and walked around and found a cute place to eat dinner. TJ order something called a pork knuckle and truly, when they set it down in front of him it still had bits of pig hair sticking off it. Tj scraped the fat off it and said the pork underneath was "good... sortof like pulled pork in memphis" I have to admit If i saw animal hair on my meat I wouldn't be able to scrape it off and pretend it was never there! Luckily my food came, quite normal looking and good tasting. It got dark as we sat there next to the window listening to people walking around town. We decided to drive back up to the castle and see if it was lit up and it was! Tj got some good pictures but they aren't loaded up yet. My camera died soon after turning it on to try and so I really have nothing to offer you considering this.
It was getting late and so we headed home. It took us a little under 4 hours to get home but it was all very worth it and we decided we had a very successful, fun day!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


So I've been here about 2 1/2 days so far. I probably should start this blog with the flights. Here are the basics. My planes were first going from Memphis to Amsterdam... then Amsterdam to Frankfurt. I was standing in line to board the plane and the guy scanning the tickets was doing just that, scanning the tickets and sending people through. When he got to me he looked at my ticket and said "I need to see your passport" (I quickly open my purse and grab my passport and hand it to him) "You can't leave the country without your passport...and uh huh... you have an invalid passport" My stomach dropped to my knees.... invalid passport??? Did I accidently grab my old one with my maiden name on it?? No, turns out I forgot to sign it. He hands me a pen and tells me to step aside. My dread quickly turned into anger towards this old man who apparently wanted to be a jerk and punish me for forgetting to sign my passport by making me crap my pants. I went to my seat and fumed. Then, my journey began! My flights were generally pleasant, and included, but was not limited to.... one man sticking his knees in my seat the entire overseas flight, one seat-mate who was a fellow book reader, dachshund lover,and lover of the name claire...one semi cute inflight movie... one tired mother with one young child who had one million "whys" and three semi-decent meals.

Surprisingly I didn't have to wait long at the Frankfurt airport before TJ came to pick me up. It was so good to see him! My feelings quickly changed to dread when we got to the car, and we headed onto the autobahn. For those of you not familiar with the autobahn, it is basically a highway with no posted speed limit. For those of you not familiar with TJ, this is scarey. Oh and did I mention he rented a deisel audi? Audis are his favorite car and he pretty much is in love. The highway has parts where the speed IS posted due to unsafe conditions such as construction, exits etc. I have to say so far on the no limits areas we average 110-115mph but have gone as fast 130mph. Our oh-so-amazing audi has a digital display that shows us our speed in mph along with the km.

We reached ramstein and went straight to dinner. We stopped at a restaurant in town called Paradox (or something like that) and had schnitzel and potatoes and nice cold cokes that we later realized were 3 euros a piece (roughly 4.50 in u.s. dollars.) We finally headed to the hotel, and by then I was fully ready for bed. The hotel is called the Hotel Atlantis. It is a light blue stuccoey looking hotel several miles off base. It has 4 floors and is relatively small. Our hotel room is on the 4th floor and this is my description of it. The room has no air conditioning and is shaped rather differently than other hotel roomes with one big window on the slanted part of the ceiling/wall. We were not able to open it the first night but thank heavens there is a ceiling fan. Did I mention we're on the 4th floor and that heat rises? The walls are the same stuccoey texture as the outside of the building, but white. The floor is a hard grey and white tile and in some parts feels hot under your feet. There's a tv with a few channels, including CNN and MTV. Right now MTV's 'Made' is on, but it is dubbed over in german. The bed looks like it is made of two full beds put together in one frame and is low to the ground. The bathroom is pretty comparable to any hotel bathroom, although the TP here leans more towards the paper part of its name. Every morning there is a complimentary breakfast buffet downstairs in the restaurant that offers eggs, toast, bacon, hashbrowns, sausage, yogurt, fruit, and the customary european cold meat and cheese.

OK I didn't plan on writing so much on the plane/hotel etc so I now need to take a break and do something less... demanding. To be continued........

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Don't say I'm not prepared.

People are always telling me 'just wait till you have kids, you won't sleep, they smell bad, they're bad, etc' I'm always telling people, I have 3 dogs.. I have an idea. Here is my argument for that statement.

It started out on tuesday. Work was hard and long. I was there from 9am till 7pm and we were b-u-s-y. I went straight to the gym and did 60 minutes on the eliptical and spent 10 minutes basking in the not-so-sun UV. I had visions of hot showers and cuddly fleece all the way home, and by the time I pulled in the driveway I could hardly think of anything else... until I walked in the house. What is that smell? Is it a gas leak? If I turn on the burner will the house explode? These are the thoughts I had as I was walking to open the door to the room the dog cage is in. I turned the handle and pushed and was instantly smacked in the face by a smell so rank my nose hairs shriveled up and became nonexistant. One quick glimpse and I saw 3 dogs stomping (or should I say splashing?) and whining in numerous puddles of crap. I quickly cleared a path from the cage to the back door, pushing aside all throw rugs and furniture. I ran the dogs outside and came back inside and formulated a plan. Blanket-trash, rubber mat-patio, cage-disassembled and put on the patio. I gathered supplies... trash bags, rubber gloves, cleaner. Soon after starting the clean-up I realized what I was REALLY dealing with. One dog must have went number 2, and the other dogs must have promptly ingested said #2 and then threw it up. everywhere. I'm talking piles of crap vomit the size of dinner plates. Let me wrap this up by saying it took almost 3 hours, two trash bags, 3 pairs of gloves and almost a whole roll of paper towels to clean it up and bathe all three dogs. (did i mention it was crusted in their fur?). When it was all finished I finally got my shower. I fell asleep around 1am that night.... with wet hair and a hint of pooh in the air.

Wednesday, 7am...my day begins. Work was worse, and just as long. I got out at 7 and saw a text from tj that said 'i'm home' I called and one of the first things out of his mouth is 'we're even'. Apparently Cody had bloody diarrhea all over. So we went through another roll of paper towels and the dogs got their second bath in two days. His diarrhea continued so we slept on the couch all night so we could better hear when he needed to go out. And he did. Need to go out. A lot. About 25 minutes before my alarm was to go off he was standing at the door, tapping the handle with his nose. I was bringing them back in when they all stepped in HUGE thing of mud. I didn't open the door to the house right away, trying to ask tj for a towel and they all took off running to the neighbors house. I broke down. I plopped on the couch face first and TJ got his shoes on and went in pursuit of the little idiots.

Needless to say, tj put the whole dog cage on a tarp today before he left for work.

Did I mention Olive is in heat?

Saturday, June 6, 2009


The saying:
"time flies when you're having fun"

(And like-wise, it drags when you're not.)

Application: How can I describe a day in my life? Have you ever been in a car with a teenager just learning to drive? Too much gas, slam on the breaks... too much gas, slam on the breaks. Time feels jerky, one minute it's flying a mile a minute, and the next it's slammed to a near stop, and always at the most agonizing moments.

The saying
"life isn't fair"

Application: The time I spend with my friends and TJ seem so short proportionate to the time I spend at work. How is that fair? Here is my most calculated response to that.... BOOOOO!! (thumbs and eyebrows down!)

The saying (sortof):
"..everybody's workin for the weekend!"

Application: My weekdays consist of work, the gym (one of the bright spots) and a few sleepy minutes talking to tj when he gets home from work. I count down the days... I get so excited for friday night so I can stay up late and be able to sleep in the next day. But the reality that always happens is, mon-thurs night I can't fall asleep and end up getting >7 hrs of sleep, and then friday night I can't keep my eyes open to save my..... important news break. Please see below.

Breaking news
I just looked at the clock and realized it's 2pm on saturday and I'm still in my pajamas. Yes, this is sad. TJ will be home soon and this must be remedied. Please stay tuned for the exiting news of my exercise/dieting routine that is soon to come. Don't touch that mouse.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Back together like pb&j.... or Lois & Clark.

This is probably going to be completely random but here goes.

Healing from surgery is going well. Only one incision is still sore, the belly button one, and they told me it probably would be the worst. It's the largest, the one that provided the exit to my sick little buddy. I have my two week follow up thursday. I want to know when I can go back to the gym please and thank you.

TJ is home. ABOUT TIME. This last month and a half has been pure torture. Let me take a minute to outline why it has sucked. (and I'm not complaining... I'm 'venting'. It's healthy.)

-TJ has been gone. A lot. This=Lonely. And not only has he been gone, he's been home twice, and to spain. I got one word for ya....... jealous.

-TJ has been gone. No, you read that right. Let me elaborate. When TJ is gone things don't run smoothly at the homefront. My dogs pretty much act like idiots and make me want to kill kill kill. Their feeding schedule gets off because I get home from work so late, which means they wake me up MULTIPLE times a night to go out. And sometimes, like last night, they get loose and make me risk my life creeping around the neighbors house in the middle of the night to get them. (lets not forget I live in the south and eeeveryone has a gun...stereotypes are there for a reason folks.) This makes me hate the world. Sleep is important right? My body thinks so. Oh, and lets not forget that I have to sleep on the couch with the TV on. If I try to sleep in bed they freak out at every little noise thinking TJ is coming home and in turn freak me out and wake me up. This alone is enough to make me rip my hair out and scream "uncle!"

-For about 5 weeks I was in pain daily due to my stinky worthless gallbladder, then the painful surgery/recovery, while only missing a total of 5 days at work. Oh and did I ever mention that my job stresses me out to no end? Well it does.

OK so there are the 3 main reasons why the last month and a half have been more than a little crap-tacular.

Sorry to be so gosh-darn depressing but if you can't take my honesty, get out of my blog! But ok, here are a couple of highs to balance things out.

-Church. We're having revival right now... which means 5 speakers in 4 days. I've been to 3 out of 4 so far and wow, what a blessing. Although I feel blessed every week to hear such great preaching/teaching from Dr. May, it's so exciting to learn so much in a short amount of time. I have never regretted or even thought about going to a christian college before but honestly, I've been thinking how much I would have learned and I really feel some regrets now. Just sayin.

-OK so I can't think about anything else but let me end by saying this. No matter what is going on in my life it could never compare to what Christ did on the cross for me. And you know what I realized...not only do I not deserve it one bit, but the fact that I don't deserve it doesn't make me feel bad, it makes me feel great that He just loves me THAT MUCH.

The End.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Since you've been gone I feel like part of me is missing.

So after all of my blogging concerning my gallbladder I realized I never actually said when the surgery was going to be. Ta Da! It was yesterday. Let me give you a small glimpse into the day in the life of a gallbladder surgery victim. yeah.

When I got to the surgery center (I opted to do that instead of the hospital... less wait, more comfortable atmosphere, friend who works there) I was taken quickly back because there had been a cancellation. They put me in a bathroom and had me change into a gown, slippers, and a shower cap. Then I went out and they started hooking me up to a blood pressure machine, oxygen saturation machine, and an IV. The Dr. of Anestesia started talking to me and asking me questions. They told me they weren't trying to gang up on me, just getting me ready fast because of that cancellation. I didn't mind. The faster the better.

Dr. Fore stopped by to talk to me a bit and instantly made me feel comfortable. He couldn't be more kind and personable. Then I was informed they would be putting a tube down my throat to breath. -Bye bye calm!- Then I was informed I would be completely knocked out when they did it and when they took it out. -Nice to have you back-

I was soon wheeled into the operating room where I had to scoot over to this bed (or should I say board) that looked just slightly less wide than my hips. They started to knock me out and it went fast, but not before I saw them strapping me onto the table. yikes!

Next thing I know, I'm waking up with a mask on my face and a spear in my gut. I look down to see why I had a spear in me and to my surprise there is nothing. Then a nurse asks "how are you feeling dear?" and all I could say was "pain" and motion to the phantom spear. She walked over and made some adjustments to my IV and said ok lets kick this up a notch. BAM! Not really though, I can't remember what she said, but it was something to that affect. The next half hour/ 45 minutes consisted of a few things; sprite, nausea, pain, and that annoying thing when all you want to do is sleep and all they want you to do is wake up. They gave me something for the nausea, but it didn't work. They gave me a "cough" suppository "cough" but it didn't work.

They wheeled me out to the car and right as we reached it, I reached for the plastic cup they gave me and puked about 3 times. I have never seen quite that shade of yellow before. I felt slightly better but clung to my new plastic cup the whole way home.

The way home... if I had to think of one word to describe it, torture I think would suffice. The surgery center is already a 35-40 minute drive from home, and we had to stop at the drugstore to get my percocet/nausea meds. Let us not forget, that about 20 minutes after taking my first percocet at the hospital I threw it up so I was running on empty. We stop at walgreens and all I can think is... percocet NOW. And as i'm sleeping in the car I wake up to a loud bang. I looked around and saw nothing and figured I am imaging things in my weird drugged up state. But soon, TJ comes out empty handed saying that the construction crew next door blew out the power so we now have to go to another walgreens. I think you could literally hear my heart break. So we drive another 15-20 minutes down the road and finally get my pain meds and headed home. I woke up and saw we were passing the train tracks. Only 5 more minutes I told myself, then bed, quiet, still, sleeping.

Once I hit the sheets I was out.

So let me just close this by saying a couple of things. First, never underestimate the pain that comes when an organ is removed from your body, no matter how routine the surgery or uneeded the organ is. Second, don't call the surgery hat a shower cap unless you want to be laughed at.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

to spill or not to spill?

I'd like to put a couple things out there that worry me slightly. I'll make this brief.

exhibit A: A few months ago I was driving along when I realized I used the last of the toothpaste this morning. Without thinking, I picked up my closed cellphone and held it like a recorder, clicked an invisible button and said "Note to self, need toothpaste". I set it down and realized what I had done. And the kicker, when I hit the invisible button I made a clicking nose with my tongue. I laughed at myself. outloud.

exhibit B: Last night I got a sharp pain in my stomach and I looked down and said "I hope you enjoy these last few days in your warm little home because soon you'll be cold and alone in a trashcan somewhere." I was alone.

And there it is.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Tomorrow is Thursday. Thursday is one day away from Friday. Friday means weekend. Weekend means TJ. Therefore I love thursday. Tomorrow I am meeting with the surgeon to find out when my gallbladder will be removed. Let's hope it's soon... I can't deal with much more of this! OK i just realized I am too tired to write anymore. Big whoop, wanna fight about it?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gallbladder... be gone!

So that's the prognosis... surgical removal of my "abnormally functioning" gallbladder. When I got the call today I was nervous and most of all relieved.... relieved to know what the heck this was all about! It was driving me crazy having this terrible pain and not knowing what it was. Now at least I know that I have a defective organ that needs to be pulled out through a little laparascopic hole in my stomach.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Health; why it sucks.

Let's start off by saying this.... today I got an upper GI endoscopy. For those of you who don't know what that is.... here's how it went.

Traded in the track jacket (go penn state!) for a paper gown.

Had an IV put in my delicate little hand.

Was prepped by 3 nurses while simultaneously being grilled about my tattoos, eyelashes, and earrings.

(Said prepping included a painful blood pressure cuff, oxygen being pumped into my nose, and a plastic O put in my mouth and strapped around my head like one of those torture gag things.)

While I was knocked out the doctor put a tube down my throat with a camera and looked at my esophagus, stomach, and part of my intestine and took a sample for biopsy.

Ta da! I woke up not long after in the room where I started!

SO.....After putting my clothes back on the doctor came in saying I had a bunch of tiny ulcers and that he took some tissue to biopsy but he though that was not the cause of my pain.

Now I have to go on tuesday and get a HIDA scan.... which will further test the functioning of my gallbladder.


Ps.... I have been in so much pain the last week it's nuts....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

OK. So it's been a while right? It's hard to have motivation to write when no one really knows I have this blog. So I'm going to do a quick update on my life. (in order of importance)

GOD: More in love with Him than ever! I belong to the most amazing church that has made memphis feel like home more than I ever thought it could. I help out with the youth group regularly and love it! (wasn't I a teenager like a minute ago?)

TJ: More in love with HIM than ever! (funny how that happens right?) We've had our rough moments but by the grace of God we pushed through and what a wonderful man! Sweet, handsome, and funny. What else could I have asked for?

WORK: I work at The West Clinic. It is one of the top cancer clinics in the mid-south. I love the patients, but my job stresses me out to no end. I started out as a student in the lab drawing blood. I LOVE PHLEBOTOMY. Some people think it's sick to enjoy sticking people with needles, but they just don't get it... I enjoy sticking people WELL with needles... and hearing them say "I barely felt that!". Well on the last day of the clinical portion of my schooling a position opened up at the front desk and I had to decide if I wanted to do what I love (phlebotomy) somewhere else, or be at the front desk of a clinic I love. So here I am.. working the toughest, most stressfull job I've ever had. But you know, it's all worth it when a patients face lights up when they see me... or when they heartfully thank me for fighting the hospital to get their biopsy done in a few days instead of a few weeks.

SELF: Two days ago I did the most selfish and wonderful thing. I joined a gym. I have a treadmill and a weight bench... but coming home after 8-10 hours of stressful hard work never really puts me in the mood to use them. The second I get home my energy starts deteriorating. The gym I joined is amazing....I felt instantly comfortable and relaxed. I love it! I would spend hours there a day if I had the time. Why can't I get paid to work out? Then I'd be thin and rich. Would anyone like to fund my dream?

So there it is... a very detailed and boring update on my world. Come back... It will improve I swear.