Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or treat!

Despite being at work all night, I got to see some trick-or-treaters -- or small monsters, which is what they really are. A scary zombie, a lady of death and a bee stopped by my desk this evening.

Happy Halloween!

Some of my past outfits. I'm not dressing up at all this year.

New web site

We launched our new web site at work this week, Doesn't mean much for me, except that I had to stay up late Monday night to make sure some of our recent content was moved over.

All in all, it's pretty exciting. I can now share stories very easily here on the blog, and the site looks cleaner and more organized.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First snow

As I drove to work today, I noticed some flurries brushing up against my windshield. It was the first snow of the year.

When I walked out to the parking lot later in the evening, the top of my car had a thin dusting of white flakes on it.

Winter is almost here....

Which also explains why I am carrying gloves in the pockets of my coat. As I pulled one of the gloves out today, an item fell to the ground. Figuring it was probably just a crumbled up receipt, I poked it lightly with my foot. It was somewhat hard, and it looked blue.

I bent down to pick it up - it was a toy mouse. Apparently the kitties thought my coat a safe place to hide it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The non-pregnancy

So my dad read my post about going to the doctor and sent me an e-mail asking if we are expecting another family member soon.

"No!" I wrote back. "Just a routine visit!"

Funny thing is... and this might gross some of you out, so you might want to stop reading... that I have a fibroid in my uterus - a benign growth - "the size of a three-month pregnancy," my doctor said.

I've had it for several years, and it keeps growing. We are just checking how fast it's growing, to see it it might cause a problem.

Today, I had to have an ultrasound again (I've had two before). The nurse told me the fibroid is "the size of a baby's head." So yes, it really does feel like I am pregnant. Ultrasounds, measurements.... all that's missing is a heartbeat, I guess.

Of course, having watched too many sci-fi movies, I'm thinking it could be an undeveloped identical twin or something else creepy...

"You poor thing," the nurse said. "You must be so uncomfortable!"

The truth is, I haven't felt a thing. I just hope a real pregnancy is this easy. :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Exciting times

Last night, after I got home from work around 2 a.m., I finished my fifth column for Nerikes Allehanda about Americans and the election.

I got to write about my favorite candidate, Ralph Nader, since several people I spoke to have said they consider voting for him.
This morning I got up and found another e-mail from the Swedish newspaper asking me questions for a "hello there" feature they plan to run before they start my columns on Tuesday. I got to tell them - in less than 200 words - who I am, where I am, what I do and what I like about my hometown.

Writing about yourself is difficult enough - when you put a word limit on it, it gets even harder. But I'm excited to see the results. And I'm excited to see what they do with my portrait photos I had to send... that was a debacle in itself.

Most columnists in Swedish newspapers look serious and stand with their arms at their sides or crossed over their chest. The background must be neutral so the person in the photo can be cut out and put against any background. Since we don't have a photo studio at work anymore, my photographer friend and I rolled out some big paper in the lunch room and improvised. It came out better than we expected... From what I hear, my figure will be cut out and pasted on top of an American flag. How fun!
Of course, I will have to wait for my most reliable friends to send me the clippings... Unfortunately I cannot buy the paper where I am.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dinner in New York

Albie and I finally arranged to have a day off together so we could attend a friend's 30th birthday celebration in New York City. We met up with 14 other people at Tony's DiNapoli on Second Avenue and 83rd Street.

After figuring out the train costs, what time we would need to leave to make the train and how much extra money we would have to spend on cab fairs, we decide our best bet was to take the car to the city. I have no problem driving on Manhattan, and we were lucky to find free street parking on 75th Street. From there, we walked to the Central Park zoo to see polar bears and puffins, then up to 83rd to enjoy various pastas and Italian treats.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Male vs. female doctors

I had to go to the doctor on Friday. Yes, THAT doctor.

It isn't a pleasant experience - and I will not share details of the visit, don't worry. It is so unpleasant for most people, in fact, that I procrastinated going at all until I was in my early 20s. Then I decided that it HAD to be a woman doctor.

When I first got health insurance, I searched through pages and pages of doctors to find a woman covered by my health plan. I finally found one in Hamden, and she turned out to be OK - at least for the first visit. When she found out it was my first time, she was friendly and sympathetic. We had a chat before the actual exam, and it was calming and not so scary anymore. The visits after that, however, were not so nice. She seemed to be have an attitude of "well, just get over it!" even though she never really said that out loud. It's like she wanted to say "I'm a woman and I can handle it - so should you!"

The first primary care physician I chose through my health care plan was also a woman. I went to her once for an issue that she checked out in a few minutes, then referred me to a dermatologist (the paperwork I had to fill out took three times as long as the exam). I had some other things I wanted her to check out as well, but she didn't even listen to my request - she just ran out the door and on to the next patient. I think she even said something like "oh well, I'm sure it'll go away" on her way out.

That's when I decided "no more."

It's like the women doctors had to work so hard to get to where they are at now that they forget to be human.

I don't know about you, but when I go to the doctor with any type of problem, or even for a check-up, I'd like someone who listens and acts like they care about my potential problems.

Male doctors do that, I've found. "How ARE you today? Is everything ALRIGHT? Are you SURE?"

The other problem is the staff of the doctor's office. At most places, they act like you are their FINAL problem of the day that they just cannot WAIT to get rid of. And they do not have to treat you like a customer in order to keep your business - if you are locked into a doctor, you are unlikely to switch just because a nurse or a secretary is rude. They've got you for life.

I've got two exceptions, though, that I have to point out. My new dentist is a woman, and she is awesome. She's young, friendly and funny. My chiropractor is also a woman, although I was her husband's patient first. They are both great.

Perhaps in most cases it's best with a male-doctor/female-patient relationship or a female- doctor/male-patient one? I'd like to hear some comments on this! Has anyone else experienced issues with their doctors?

Friday, October 17, 2008


I guess ya'll think I haven't recovered from that long bike ride yet, but that's not really true. I've been busy pondering redesign plans and future projects we are taking on at the paper. I'm also trying to catch up on house work, since Albie mentioned the other day he has no clean underwear left. My response was, "didn't you just buy new ones?"

That's what I do when I run out. I figure I just don't have enough, so I buy more. My goal is to always make it through at least 2 weeks without having to do any laundry. It's more difficult with two people, but hopefully it will all work out.

For those of you in Sweden, those who read Nerikes Allehanda in particular, I should spill the beans on another plan: I will be writing columns about the presidential election starting at the end of October. Actually, I am writing some of them ahead of time, because election week will be crazy at work, but they will appear around Nov. 4. I think we've settled on 9 columns in total, so watch for that! (If someone could save me a copy as well that would be really nice - not sure my grandmother will read them all).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Bike Ride

After reading about hiking the Appalachian Trail, I keep feeling the need to get outside every time the weather is nice. Into the woods, preferably, but I'd settle for anywhere with a piece of grass.

Today it was beautiful - mid 60s, sunny and with just a slight breeze. I started my day with a panic attack because of all our unfinished projects; I didn't feel like completing any of them, I didn't even know where to start. Albie finally suggested I go ride my bike.

I've been saying I'm going to do it for over a year. Actually, I think I said it since before we moved to our condo. "I'm going to ride my bike to the farm," I clearly remember saying last September. But that never happened.

Today - as if there weren't enough challenges in my life - I decided to get on that rarely used bicycle and rise to the occasion.

What I need to explain at this point is that the trip to the farm is 2.6 miles (4 km), and all of it is uphill. And the only way to go is on the road with all the cars.

I haven't ridden a bike like this since I was 15, when I would ride my bike to the next town over, also uphill all the way, just so I could see what it would be like to zoom back down. See, the downhill part is what makes it all worthwhile.

Today, I pedalled, walked and sometimes dragged that bike behind me up the hill (one woman in an SUV even pulled over to ask me if I was OK). After 45 long minutes, I was finally at the farm where I used to live. I hugged some puppies (and a pig), had a glass of water, got a to-go portion of vegetarian chili, then zoomed back down the hill for 2.6 miles.

And it was all worthwhile. The wind ripping at my T-shirt, the rustling of the leaves and the smell of fall made it seem like this is the only place to be on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Working weekends

I don't mind driving to work on the weekends when my ride is this beautiful!

Slow but steady progress

Half of our kitchen is blue, half is yellow. Half of the cabinets are brown, half are white.

The handles are missing on the cabinet doors because Albie and I have yet to agree on which ones we are getting. Paper printouts show the tiles I want, but I have yet to visit a tile store to find out what's available.

Countertops? Eventually they will be granite. We just have to save some money...

Proud to live in Connecticut

Today I'm proud to live in Connecticut. Here's why.

We are now the third state in the United States to allow gay marriages. Yay!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Meet Billy

Breaking a record

I set a new personal record Wednesday. Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook have already read about it. For the rest of you, here's what happened.

After a 12-hour day Tuesday, I slept in ang got in "late" on Wednesday - 2:45 p.m. I don't technically start until 4, but since after the editor and city editor left, I've made it a habit to come in a bit earlier. Our new editor, Jordan, started on Monday, but he was off Wednesday because of Yom Kippur (important Jewish holiday).

Since Jordan started, things are a bit less stressful. So despite getting stuck in traffic because of construction, and despite almost running out of gas on Route 8 on my way to work, I felt...well, almost relaxed.

Then I found out that our publisher had upped the paper with four pages because he thought we had a lot of ads.

I can do an entire 20-page paper by myself, which is only about 12 pages when you subtract sports and pages like comics and classifieds (which are done by another department). Heck, I can even do a 20-page paper by myself when I have most of my 16-page weekly tab to get out, considering I've done some work on the tab in advance.

Well, on Wednesday, I found out that I can also do a 24-page paper by myself (16 broadsheet pages of actual work for me) in addition the tab, when I've done almost no prep work for the tab at all. And it was all done by 12:47 a.m. - only 2 minutes after deadline.

Today I took a half day off to go home and watch the season premiere of "CSI." I also e-mailed the publisher to not EVER do that to me again.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

I'll be watching you - don't you worry!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chorus practice

So these are some of the old folks I sing with every other Monday. Unfortunately, you can only see one and a half woman, since the other one and a half are hidden behind the men (they are very short). We have some strays that come to join us most weeks, but this is the core group.

Can't get more fun than this.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The American housewife

I felt like a real American housewife today as I slipped on my sweatpants and took a trip to Wal-Mart without even showering.

I had to pick up food for our cats and our newly acquired fish - Billy. Albie and I went to a wedding yesterday. On each table, underneath the flower boquet, was a beta fish swimming around in a little bowl. We were ordered by the bride to take one home.

Now I'm sitting here watching the the fish, making sure Billy doesn't become the next snack for Sophie or Pip.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

What are you lookin' at? The stairs really smelled like catnip!