April 30, 2005

The Prettiest Medic Alert Bracelet Ever!

I have this really ugly med alert bracelet that I've hated since I've gotten it. Of course, it's a necessary evil, but that doesn't mean I like it. However, after looking at different bracelets on the web, I had an idea--why not have a friend make me a different bracelet to attach to the medallion?

My main concern was would the bracelet look so much like a bracelet people would overlook it? The bracelets that I saw on the web, including those sold by the Medic Alert company themselves, has versions that were very, very busy and distracting. I figured since they would check my wrist for a pulse, or they would place a hospital band on it, that if the medallion wasn't overshadowed by the bracelet, I'd be okay.

This is a picture of my old ugly bracelet with the new creation next to it:

Because of the above reasons, I had my friend make a bracelet that was basically the same width as the original bracelet with a subtle, understated pattern. As you can see in this picture, the medallion and clasps take up nearly the entire width of my wrist. I'm not worried about it being overlooked:

The weight of the medallion tends to pull it down to the underside of my wrist. This happened with the old bracelet as well. But this time, the view on top is much prettier:

Posted by Shelby at 11:47 PM | Comments (2)

April 29, 2005

More Meme-y Fun

And since I can't think of anything else to say, let's do another meme!

1. Dream job: I'm doing it, baby!

2. In the next 3 months something you intend to accomplish: Getting a new pair of glasses to replace the ones Digory chewed up the stem of. Did I just make up some new grammar rules in that sentence?

3. The best advice you’ve ever received: "Well I could treat you, but I really think you should go to Stanford." Any advice that literally saves my life is good advice to me.

4. The dumbest thing you’ve ever been told: You should eat more Cheerios. You know they're heart-healthy. (Hello, I'm on the transplant list--I think I'm beyond Cheerios at this point!)

5. One thing you know to be absolutely true about yourself: I'm a good writer, despite being plagued with self-doubt.

6. If you wrote the story of your life the title would be: You'll Never Believe What Happened to Me!

7. If you could write a book about anything at all what would it be about: I'm doing it already--but the subject is TOP SECRET.

8. When you don’t know what to do, what do you do? Ask someone who I feel gives me good advice, like "go to Stanford for your heart care," not "eat more Cheerios!"

9. One of the greatest experiences of your life and why: Hands down, my wedding day. It was absolutely THE best experience of my life to pledge to spend the rest of my life with this wonderful man.

10. Favorite word: Histrionics. I used it all the time while teaching--"Stop the histrionics!"--followed by "What does that mean?" and my response, "Look it up!" I also like the word facetious. Or maybe I'm being facetious about that.

11. The most memorable compliment you’ve ever received: "You may have been a late bloomer, but believe me--you bloomed."

12. Your least favorite household chore: pretty much all of them.

Thanks Mom With Attitude!

Posted by Shelby at 12:38 PM

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks my parent's anniversary. I hope that my marriage contains half the love that theirs does. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Posted by Shelby at 12:26 PM

April 28, 2005

If I Could, I Surely Would

A cool meme from Dave

How this works: Immediately following there is a list of a bunch of different occupations. You must select at least 5 of them (feel free to select more). You may add more if you like to your list before you pass it on (after you select 5 of the items as it was passed to you). Each one begins with “If I could be…” Of the 5 you selected, you are to finish each phrase with what you would do as a member of that profession.

Once you’re done you get to tag three people you think will actually respond - and would have a good answer. Oh, and by all means, don’t forget to trackback to this post… and to Ogre’s original post so he can keep tracking the progress of his little creation.

If I could be a scientist…
If I could be a farmer…
If I could be a musician…
If I could be a doctor…
If I could be a painter…
If I could be a gardener…
If I could be a missionary…
If I could be a chef…
If I could be an architect…
If I could be a linguist…
If I could be a psychologist…
If I could be a librarian…
If I could be an athlete…
If I could be a lawyer…
If I could be an innkeeper…
If I could be a professor…
If I could be a writer…
If I could be a llama-rider…
If I could be a bonnie pirate…
If I could be a servicemember…
If I could be a photographer…
If I could be a philanthropist…
If I could be a rap artist…
If I could be a child actor…

My answers:
1) If I could be a scientist I would find a cure for all neurological (including psychiatric) illnesses.
2) If I could be a bonnie pirate I'd call myself the Dread Pirate Roberts.
3) If I could be a missionary I would demonstrate my beliefs entirely in actions without using words.
4) If I could be a psychologist I'd actually spend my time concentrating on how people can cope with their problems and move forward with their lives NOW instead of discussing their childhood potty training.
5) If I could be an innkeeper I would have a couple resident dogs the patrons could cuddle with at any time.

As far a who would carry on this torch? Let's see, who of my readers actually do memes in the first place? I'd have to go with two--Annastazia at Burlap Soul once she finishes her final 9 days of college (go Staz! You're almost there!) and Mom With Attitude since she's a meme-y kind of gal. My third would be Dave but he's already there!

Bonus points for guessing the song reference in the title of this thread.

Simon and Garfunkel's El Condor Pasa

Posted by Shelby at 10:18 PM | Comments (1)

April 25, 2005

OMG It's Absolutely True!

Although my slow heartbeat is medicine-induced.

Doctor Unheimlich has diagnosed me with
Shelby Hoganitis
Cause:lack of sleep
Symptoms:aphasia, hyperactivity, turning into a giant monster, sudden slow heartbeat
Enter your name, for your own diagnosis:
Posted by Shelby at 11:28 AM | Comments (3)

Sarah McLachlan

Oh my God, I just went to the most awesome concert last night--Sarah McLachlan. Since Kevin wasn't available, I went with my friend Ragon, also a huge Sarah fan. She just has the greatest voice and wonderful songs. She's also just a great performer. She plays both the guitar and the piano and just sang on a few songs. She kind of dances along, which is cool. There was no falling prey to what I call the Art Garfunkel syndrome, where his hands just dangle and he has no idea what to do with them. Anyway, it was a great concert.

Posted by Shelby at 11:10 AM

April 24, 2005

Road Trip

Yesterday I went down to San Diego with the Lush girls. It was a blast! For various reasons everyone got a late start, (we got stood up, someone showed up 40 minutes late for the second car, someone else had a very traumatic flat tire) but the amazing thing was that we all reached the restaurant in Old Town San Diego at just about the same time. Whilst looking for a parking spot (I had my mom's minivan, although it turned out that a lot of people flaked on us so we only had 3 passengers, but that was okay) we pulled into this dirt lot where we found out that it had no exit and a slanted entrance with cars on either side, and one car trying to get out and one car trying to get in (we were like, "look buddy, it's not going to happen"). Of course I'm used to driving the Miata, so this behemoth was quite a challenge. I'm very proud to say we emerged from the lot going backwards within 5 minutes without even having to send someone outside to guide us. And don't worry Mom and Dad--not a single scratch! I really impressed the other two girls with my driving skills in that van.

We went to a wonderful Mexican retaurant that was cheap but had very good food. There were 3 different sizes of margaritas (also reasonably priced) and the two girls with the flat tire were just like "Oh my God, I NEED A DRINK!" Then the larges came in these giant glasses that might as well have been fish bowls. After lunch we headed over to one gal's place and played my new favorite game, Apples to Apples which I actually had heard good things about and had bought it for Kevin on a whim. As it turned out, I ended up winning the game. It was a total blast.

And then we were on the road again, every single one of us exhaustes. It was a fabulous trip!

Posted by Shelby at 01:14 PM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2005

Friday's Feast

Name something that helps you fall asleep.
Chemical assistance

Who brings out the best in you?

What do you like to do on a rainy day?
Stay inside

Main Course
Complete this sentence: In our home, we never have enough...
macaroni and cheese.

Which shoe do you put on first?
Whichever one is closest to me.

Borrowed from Annastazia who got it from Friday's Feast.

Posted by Shelby at 01:39 PM

April 20, 2005

Disobedience Class

So tonight was my first night taking Digory to obedience class by myself. Oh. My. God. It was quite an experience.

It started with my trying to get things ready to go. Once I got Scout in her crate Digory went ballistic wanting his crate and his cookie too. Then he realized we were going out together and went bonkers. I could not figure out how to put on his seatbelt harness (good Lord, this is the most complicated thing I've ever seen!) and we were running late so I decided to just take him unfettered. Mistake.

He wouldn't sit still in the car, of course. He was nervous as hell and all worked up. And of course the only car we have right now is the Miata so we were in cramped quarters. The electric windows are on the middle console. He kept sticking his paws on it while he was trying to help me drive. The first 10 times it was funny. The second 10 times it was only amusing. The third 10 times it drove me crazy. The fourth 10 times I was seriously concerned about blowing out the little motor that runs those things.

After much difficulty (it's very hard to shift when a 33 pound dog is standing on the space where the next gear should be), we finally arrived at our class. Digory was just out of control. And then the worst part--I am not strong enough to control him. Literally, he would pull me around. I had the leash wrapped around my hands and now have leash burn on them from all of his pulling. It made it very difficult to do some of the activities--especially the ones where you "hold the leash in one hand with treats in it, and put treats in your other hand." Excuse me, but how many hands is that? And I couldn't control him with 1 hand on the leash. It was suggested to me (more than once) to invest in a Gentle Leader. Yeah, I think we'll be making a trip to PetSmart or something tomorrow. We have to do something.

They didn't believe me when I told them that Digory won't, under any circumstances, lie down. Scout won't either. Maybe he's picked that up from her? Anyway, the second trainer (the trainer-in-training) was a little condescending as he explained v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y how I should lure him into a down. I was like wanna show me? Here's some treats--knock yourself out. He came out of it a little humbled when he realized that he couldn't get Dig to do it either. And then the real trainer came and guess what? She couldn't either. Well, I guess Digory is nothing if not consistent.

Have we mentioned the other beagle in the class with the insufferable parents? Well the guy didn't come, he was the real ass, but the woman did. Their beagle (who is Scout-sized) apparently comes to the facility for day care and they proudly brag about their advanced training techniques all the time . So while Digory is not doing a simple down, Kayley is doing a sit, down, roll over thing. Whatever.

You know one thing I hate about dog training is people who don't control their dogs in between activities. We'll be practicing something, then we'll all sit down and listen to the next explanation. While I have Digory on a very short leash and am constantly luring him into a sit-stay, there's this woman with a Puggle (half beagle, half pug--not as cute as you might think) who is TWO SEATS AWAY and letting her dog run to the end of her leash and try to attack Digory. .

By the way, do you like my new smilies?

Anyway, so we make it through a couple more activities where Digory is basically pulling me around and we're not getting much done. Then we had this contest with the come command. Digory doesn't respond to a come, but is well attuned to a "What's this?!" which means there's some kind of food involved in his final destination. The first dog did well. Digory was second and he tied the first dog. Then I was too busy bribing him to quit barking (by basically shoving treats down his throat continuously), but I had to watch Kayley the beagle. First her owner is all confident and is like "I'm going to go all the way!" (instead of 3/4 of the way that the rest of us did). So this big giant show-off is all hoity toity about it, and guess what? Kayley did worse than every other dog in the class! She did even worse than Jack the 6 month old Husky who never does anything right.

After Kayley's momentous failure (it took her 4 tries to complete the task) I exchanged glances and a smile with the owner of Lola, a Rhodesian Ridgeback. anyway, following that we had one other activity that was really dumb in my opinion. I understand the skill they were trying to teach, but their method of doing so was just pointless for a dog like Digory. Plus it involved having everyone throw treats on the ground and then pulling their dogs away from them so they couldn't eat them. Well guess what Digory spent his time doing? That's right, pulling me around on his leash while he Hoovered the whole yard. The trainer was like "don't let him do that!" and I was like give me a break lady. I'm at a point where if I just may turn around and take my out of control dog home with me, if I can muscle him into the car at all.

Anyway, it was very frustrating. I definitely cannot control him on my own and will need to get a Gentle Leader or something to stop this dog from pulling me around. I'm glad he's not any bigger!

Posted by Shelby at 12:59 AM | Comments (1)

April 19, 2005

Benedict XVI

Putting the edict back into Benedict since 2005.

Posted by Shelby at 10:02 AM

Happy Blogiversary To Me!

It's very hard to believe, but as of today I've been blogging for two years! Okay, my actual blogiversary was a few days ago, but my old Blogger site has become one with the ether so this is the first day I blogged using the misspelled Movable Type. So happy blogiversary to me!

Posted by Shelby at 09:46 AM | Comments (1)

April 18, 2005

And Yet Another One

Choose a band. Answer only in song TITLES by that band. I'm picking Dar Williams

Are you male or female:Flinty Kind of Woman--The Honesty Room

Describe yourself: The Great Unknown----The Honesty Room

How do some people feel about you:The One Who Knows--The Beauty of the Rain

How do you feel about yourself: Farewell To The Old Me--The Beauty of the Rain

Describe your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend:The Pointless, Yet Poignant, Crisis Of A Co-Ed--Mortal City

Describe your current girlfriend/boyfriend: Family--Mortal City

Describe where you want to be: Closer To Me--The Beauty of the Rain

Describe what you want to be: I Won't Be Your Yoko Ono--The Green World

Describe how you live: Another Mystery--The Green World

Describe how you love: Your Fire Your Soul--The Beauty of the Rain

Share a few words of wisdom:
Well sometimes, life gives us lessons sent in ridiculous packaging.--Mortal City

Posted by Shelby at 06:57 PM

A Meme for Monday

1. What would be your ideal "last meal"? Buffalo wings, one of those onion flower things, cheese french fries from Steak 'n Shake, and a really good chocolate bar for desert.
2. Do you wear a watch? If so, describe it. Yep, it's very cute. It's got a picture of a The Dog beagle. It has a clear plastic band with pink writing in Japanese.
3. When was the last time you made non-microwave popcorn? This summer when I was living with my parents. It turned out good too.
4. Would you rather shove your arm into a beehive or shove it into a scorpion pit? A beehive. Although the scorpions you find in CA are not deadly, I've seen the reaction of someone who was stung by one and it wasn't pretty.
5. What's one thing you feel you really must do before you die? See Mount Everest.
6. Why haven't you done it yet? Used to be expense, accessibility, and the general nature of visiting Nepal. Now with my heart condition I find it very unlikely that I would be able to complete a trip like that.
7. Do you take a multi-vitamin? Some days when I remember it.
8. Are you going to any weddings this summer? I haven't been invited to any yet..
9. Do you have any online "wish lists"? I have an Amazon Wishlist.
10. What would you rather be doing right this very second? Appreciating a Democratic President.

Thanks Swirlspice!

Posted by Shelby at 04:17 PM

April 17, 2005

It's A Dog's Life

Okay, it's confession time--Scout is having some problems. First, she has an ear infection, so we have to give her drops. She's actually tolerating that really well, probably because she gets an ear rub afterwards, which she loves. But other than that there's two problems--one is excessing barking in the morning and the other is peeing in her crate. The problems are related.

Scout seems to think she has a God-given right to wake up whenever she wants to and to wake the rest of us up along with her. Her wake up time varies but it's generally around 7:00, give or take 1/2 an hour. We know we shouldn't take her out of her crate until she shuts up, but that's so hard to do when she's howling. And the worst part is that once she gets going, Digory jumps in, because barking=fun! So when she starts barking I put the ear plugs in and try to wait it out, but it's not easy. This morning I waited until she was quiet for 10 minutes before getting her.

We tried to separate Scout and Digory into separate rooms--oh my God, practically instantly there was the most piteous howling I'd ever heard coming from both rooms. They are really attached to each other and did not like being separated at all.

So the next problem is peeing in the crate. Scout has had some problems with that in the past but hasn't for a long time. She has a very cushy crate pad (thankfully machine washable) so it soaks it up and the surface is only a little damp. Part of the way crate training works is that the dog won't go because they don't want to sit in it. So I don't know what to do. I think I'm going to just have to pull her crate pad for a couple of days to see if that works. She's going to the vest on Tuesday for an ear check and a urinalysis to check for UTIs, so that could be one cause. We don't know how often she's going during the day because we keep the door open (it's beautiful here). So I don't know. We'll see what happens tonight/tomorrow.

Posted by Shelby at 01:13 PM

April 14, 2005

Y'all Talk Weird

Kevin and I participated in the original Harvard survey that was something like 100 questions long, and had a lot of fun. So these answers are not surprising to me at all.

Your Linguistic Profile:

85% General American English
15% Yankee
0% Dixie
0% Midwestern
0% Upper Midwestern
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Thanks Dave!

Posted by Shelby at 05:47 PM | Comments (3)

More Meme-y fun

1. If forced to choose, for the rest of the your life, would you rather have a mullet or a mohawk? I'd rather shave my head and call myself a cancer victim.
2. Do you own flip-flops? No but I own Tevas.
3. How long can you swish Listerine in your mouth? As long as I want. I love the feeling of the little bacteria and crap getting burned to death in my mouth.
4. What's your favorite kind of gum? ShockTarts gumballs.
5. When is the last time you sent/received flowers? My mom brought us some beautiful stargazer lillies and some planted flowers for our family Easter (which was the day before regular Easter).
6. Have you ever tried to keep your eyes open while sneezing? It's never occurred to me to try.
7. Do you wear rubber gloves when doing dishes or other types of scrubbing housework? Almost always.
8. Do you have houseplants, of the non-plastic variety? we have 3, and they are Kevin's responsibility because my green thumb is actually a thumb-of-death.
9. What are your thoughts on vertical blinds? Take them down! My eyes are bleeding!
10. When you ride in the back of a vehicle, do you wear a seatbelt? I can't ride in any vehicle in any position without a seatbelt. I feel naked without one and am convinced that I've going to become a flying projectile in even the most minor of fender benders. I don't have that great of luck when it comes to freak accidents and illnesses so I prefer to not take my chances.

Thanks to Swirlspice!

Posted by Shelby at 12:51 AM | Comments (3)

My Inner European

Is Irish. I guess it helps that Hogan is a very Irish name (originally O'Hogan). And I probably can drink many people under the table, although that's a skill I'd like to prove only in private settings (where I'm not driving).

Your Inner European is Irish!

Sprited and boisterous!

You drink everyone under the table.

Who's Your Inner European?

Thanks Dave!

Posted by Shelby at 12:38 AM

April 12, 2005

Fraud, Fraud, Fraud--I Knew It!

So it turns out that the lady who found the finger in her chili at Wendy's has a history of filing lawsuits including a settlement from El Pollo Loco (a chicken chain) when her daughter got sick from eating there. All along Wendy's has claimed that none of their store or food process employees are missing any fingers. Honestly I always thought it was a case of "too gross to be true." Read the whole article here: Finger In Chili Accuser Has Litigious History.

Posted by Shelby at 10:26 AM

It Was a Blast!

If you've read Kevin's blog, you already know this. If you don't, here goes!

We went to Disneyland tonight, again (remember, we're annual passholders and live 2 miles away so this is not a big deal). There we rode D-land's newest ride: Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters. The ride consists of you sitting in a little car and shooting at targets with your blaster. You have a little knob where you can turn the car 360 degrees as well.

I expected to be wowed by this ride, but I found 2 flaws with it. First of all, unlike this picture from the D-land website:

There are no laser lines that come out of your gun. In fact, it's nearly impossible to tell if your gun is even anywhere near the target. Every once in a while you'll see a red spot, but you're never sure if it's someone else's spot or yours. Nor are you sure if the points when you hit the mark are yours either.

I suspect there's no light beam because some dumb person would point it at someone else's face and burn out their retinas, thus suing Disney. But surely there's a way to do this so you at least know where you're shooting and if you, personally are successful.

Upon completion of the ride, you can find your picture (much like other rides that take your picture, such as Splash Mountain) and for free you can email it to someone. The unfortunate thing is that this is done through a touchscreen (lots of false readings and double or triple letters) and you have to specify both a "from" address and a "to" address. We got stuck behind a group of 4 jr. high kids and the wait was positively agonizing while they struggled through typing in their email addresses and remembering their friend's too so they could send it to them. So I have a few suggestions for Disney:
1) Have a button that says "Send this to myself" so you only have to enter one email address.
2) Limit the number of people you can email to one.
3) Replace the touch screens with keyboards (I know, never happen, I know)
4) Require an intelligence and age test for people who can do this.

Kevin also had a good suggestion, which was that you should fill out your email address(es) while you're waiting in line and save them on a cardboard card with a magnetic strip. Then once you finish the ride you find your photo and just stick the card in and voila! instant emailing.

At any rate, here's our picture, with my appalling score. Although you can tell by the determined look on my face that I'm trying REALLY hard, even though my blaster is going a totally different direction than Kevin's.

Posted by Shelby at 12:11 AM

April 11, 2005

Those Weird Soap People

I'm makin' friends! I am addicted to Lush, a company that makes soap, bath bombs, and a bunch of other products for personal care. Their products are handmade, sold fresh, and contain very few synthetics and preservatives. So I've gotten to know a few girls over the web who also love Lush and we've gotten together a couple of times.

Yesterday the Lush store in Beverly Hills (there are also ones in Pasadena and Santa Monica in Southern CA, and they're all over the world) had a party with free foot masks and a little goodie bag and some free stuff with purchases. How could I resist? I met my new friends Viv and Ragon there and we had a blast--Ragon and I got there around 3:45 and Viv shortly thereafter, and we stayed until closing time at 6:00, at which point we took the party to the Cheesecake Factory.

In the picture below, from left to right it's Viv, me, and Ragon. Don't we look like we're having fun?!

I've tried to get my friend Cari to join us, but she keeps calling us "Those Weird Soap People." Hee hee hee

Posted by Shelby at 10:57 AM | Comments (1)

April 09, 2005

It's "Auf," Not "And"

Thanks to Teresa, one of my German readers, I have been set straight on the meaning of the bar name in this picture:

I always thought it said "Lust and Pause" which sounded a little funny to my non-German ears. However, Teresa points out that if you look closely, you can see that it says "Lust auf Pause" which makes it a whole different thing entirely. Teresa tells me that Lust auf Pause translates to, "Feel like a break?" or "In the mood for a break?" Which of course makes it not nearly as funny as Lust and Pause but makes a whole lot more sense.

Thanks Teresa!

Update: It doesn't change the humor of the Santa Claus in the window--this picture was taken in February.

Posted by Shelby at 11:38 PM


Yes, today is that sad, sad day in a dog's life. The day when heartless, cruel humans deliberately strip a dog of their natural general affect and inflict needless torture to do so.

That's right, it's bath day.

And we're way overdue for it. Scout's getting her bath right now, which is okay because she tolerates it pretty well. Digory, on the other hand, believes that a bath is second only to eating steak in front of him without sharing in degree of cruelty. While Scout is being bathed, Digory is whining (because she's not in the room) and practicing his current favorite activity--Looking Out The Window. He's totally oblivious to his fate, but I wonder if he'll pick up the idea when Scout comes racing out frantically rubbing herself all over the place in an attempt to dry off.

Update: Scout's bath went well, but Digory's??? Well let's just say that with the piteous whining, I had to stick my head in the bathroom to see if everything was okay, and even Scout was very engaged and waiting by the door to see if Digory was being tortured to death or not.

Posted by Shelby at 10:08 AM

April 07, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite

We just watched Napoleon Dynamite tonight. Apparently it's a real cult hit. However, I had the same response as I did to another cult flick, Donnie Darko. And that reaction was...

I don't get it.

Posted by Shelby at 11:36 PM | Comments (3)

April 06, 2005


My. Teeth. Hurt.

That's all.

Posted by Shelby at 10:33 PM

Back to the Dentist!

Fun! Well, more fun for me than for Kevin. Hopefully this will be my last visit, while Kevin's got one more. We think. Actually I wasn't very clear on that point. But anyway, I get my new crown so I don't look like a Gangsta with my metal cap anymore.

Update: Damn that dentist!!! My two cavities were under existing metal fillings and the Waterlase drill I love so much couldn't get to them, so I got stuck with the regular drill. I got a shot ("just a little pinch" my BUTT!) then the drilling, high pitched whining, and grinding feeling. And also have I ranted about the suction thingy? I hate that. They always point it in the wrong direction--sucking things from my teeth instead of at my throat where it kept pooling and gagging me. The dentist (a different one than the last guy, who didn't use the suction thing) kept getting mad at me for swallowing, and I finally said to the asst. "You're pointing the suction in the wrong direction. All of the water is going down my throat, not under my tongue. I'm gagging because of it, and that's why I'm swallowing." Of course, that changed nothing.

Now I'm in serious pain. The two fillings hurt. The injection site hurts. Even the freakin' cap hurts--and tell me how that's possible when I already had a root canal on that tooth?!?! I finally had to resort to one of Kevin's vicodin (that he got for his root canal) and that seems to be working, but I won't be eating on that side for a long time.

Posted by Shelby at 08:18 AM

April 04, 2005


You want to talk about a catfight? I witnessed one in the Post Office today that could only be outdone by the girls in my sorority.

So there was Rather Helpful woman, and Bitch woman. Rather Helpful was sincerely trying to get customers through the line as quickly and cheerfully as possible. Bitch was berating a customer who didn't understand that if he wanted a money order for $300 and he also wanted a stamp, his cost would be $300.37.

Then the next customer got to Rather Helpful and it turned out that she'd deposited a letter in the outside mailbox (the big blue ones) with the stamp on the wrong side, and can they go outside to find it? Ugh. So while Rather Helpful is gone, Bitch gets the next customer who has a very complicated problem. Once again, Bitch speaks to him in a condescending voice, until she realizes that there's something that she doesn't know how to code in the computer. At this point Rather Helpful is back. Their conversation went like this:

B: "How do I code this?"
RH: "You just use this xxxxx code."
B: "I know that! How do I code this" (holds up some funky stamp
RH: "Did you check the sheet?"
B: "Yes I checked the sheet!" (waves sheet in the air)
RH: "Well then I don't know."
B: "Well who's the manager right now?"
RH: "Mary."
B: "And where is she?" (very snarky tone at this point)
RH: "On her break."
B: "Well she's taking too long."
RH: "Well you took 22 minutes this morning!" (I'm assuming the breaks are supposed to be 15 or 20 minutes long)
B: turns around in a huff

Then the mysterious Mary shows up and immediately helps the poor guy standing there in the middle of this fight.

Actually it was pretty funny, and made me glad I don't work for the US Postal Service.

Posted by Shelby at 07:16 PM

April 02, 2005

Fun Stuff!

Today we're getting our first out-of-town guest! My friend Dorothy from San Jose (well, Sunnyvale actually) and her boyfriend are stopping by to see our new place and to have lunch. I'm so excited because most of our Southern California friends have already been here, but I can't wait to show the place off to my out-of-town friends.

Also some great news from Ira, a friend in Germany and frequent commenter:

(IN etwa 8 Wochen bekommen wir ein Mädchen!!!)

Translation: In approximately 8 weeks we will have a girl!!!

Congratulations Ira! I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well, and you will have to send me pictures of your little girl once she is born!

Posted by Shelby at 10:59 AM | Comments (1)

April 01, 2005

Nearly Normal

I just had a follow-up appointment with my cardiologist to discuss my echocardiogram (ultrasound) results. For everyone who's been following my progress, you won't believe this:

My Ejection Fraction is 50%!

This is an 8% increase from my previous echo of 42%. My heart had held in there at 42% for a year, so this echo result is a pleasant surprise.

A couple of important things to know--a "normal" Ejection Fraction (EF) is 55-60%, so I am nearly normal. More test results show that my Left Ventricle enlargement has reduced down to 3.8--I don't know what it started at, but the upper end of normal is 3.7, so I am practically there as well! My mitral valve prolapse (leaky valve) has also reduced so much that I don't need antibiotics before dental treatment anymore.

I'm also able to reduce my beta blocker, Toprol, to 100 mg. per day as long as I closely monitor my heart rate. If I go above 80, I'm back to 150 mg. Still, that's a far cry from the 200 mg, then 175 mg I've been on for the last 2 years.

My doctor cautioned me, however, not to get cocky. Well she didn't say it in so many words, but that was the gist. I'm still not quite normal, and even if I were in the normal range they would be high enough to warrant treatment. I will still be on the meds for the rest of my life, because if I were to go off of them, my heart would go right back into congestive heart failure (that's nothing new, every doctor has also pointed that out).

Finally, she's going to look at my test results from my primary doctor. You know, the one I had in January? The one I already asked twice to have them sent? *sigh* But anyway, she wants to start me on a statin (a cholesterol drug) since there seems to be a lot of new evidence showing that statins help work with the other heart meds and have a positive influence on treating cardiomyopathy.

For some more technical information, click the extended entry below.

Shelby's Extremely Basic Explanation of Her Heart Problem for Beginners:

Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy--commonly called just cardiomyopathy, this is my official diagnosis. Idiopathic means "We don't know where the heck this came from," dilated means that the heart is enlarged (usually to a great degree, as mine was in 2002), and cardiomyopathy, a term for a heart that isn't functioning properly.

Congestive heart failure, or CHF--Not nearly as alarming as it sounds, this is when the heart is not beating sufficiently to keep up with the needs of the body (the Heart Failure part), including the ability to rid the body of excess fluids. Congestive means that the body is experiencing edema (swelling due to excess fluids)--usually refers to congestion in the lungs and extremities, but in my case I had a lot of problems with my lungs and liver.

Ejection Fraction (EF)--this is the percentage of the amount of blood your heart is able to pump out versus how much it takes in. Normal is 55-60%. When I was diagnosed, mine was only 16%--extremely low. When it gets below 10% or so you can expect to be hospitalized until your heart transplant comes in.

Right and Left Atrium, Right and Left Ventricle--These are the 4 chambers of the heart. The atriums are on top, the ventricles are on the bottom. The right side of the heart pumps blood through the lungs, then into the left ventricle. The left side has more to do--it takes the blood from the right side and pumps it to the rest of the body. Since the left side has so much more to do, the pressures are much greater. In a heart with cardiomyopathy, something has damaged part of the heart muscle. Like any muscle, if you work it out, it gets bigger. Damage to the heart muscle forces the left ventricle to get bigger (and consequently, weaker). This is bad.

Arrythmia--The right side also sends out the electrical signals to the rest of the heart telling it to beat. The electrical signals travel over the surface of the heart. If something goes wrong with the electrical signals, bad things can happen to the heart--such as atrial fibrillation (not life-threatening), non-sustained ventricular tachycardia (where the heart beats too fast, but is able to resolve it by itself), sustained ventricular tachycardia (can be fatal unless it turns into a non-sustained version), and ventricular fibrillation (always fatal unless the heart muscle is shocked in some way). There are other types of arrythmia but I won't go through them here.

My type of arrythmia--I experienced several runs of non-sustained v-tach. That's the kind that doesn't kill you, unless it decides to stick around. The reason this happens is because if the heart becomes enlarged, the electrical signals (which, as we recall, travel over the surface of the heart) can be misread or missed entirely.

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)--This is where the ICD comes in. Instead of waiting around for my heart to go into a fatal rhythm and hoping that someone is around with shock paddles to fix it, doctors implanted an ICD. The ICD is implanted under the skin with a lead (wire) that goes through a vein and attaches directly to the heart. The ICD then monitors my heart activity, and if it senses a fatal arrythmia, it sends a shock to correct it. This is very scary, but it does save your life. I have not been shocked yet and hope that I never will be. As a handy added feature, the ICD also includes a pacemaker, which senses when the heart beat gets too slow, and sends out smaller shocks (which you usually can't feel) to get the heart back up to an acceptable rhythm. This has also never happened to me.

Airport Security Arches--A serious pain in the ass for those of us with an ICD. Since I have a chunk of metal in my chest I set it off every time. There's no danger from the metal detector itself, it just means that I have to have a hand search. Every. Freakin'. Time.

Remodeling--It's not just putting in an extra bathroom! Remodeling describes the process of the heart changing shape--either getting bigger or smaller. My heart has remodeled considerably since my initial diagnosis. This gives me enough energy to do something like, say, remodel our bathroom.

I hope this has answered some of your questions about my heart. Please note that I am in NO WAY a medical professional and that these explanations are EXTREMELY basic. So if you found this site by a search engine, please don't take my word as gospel--it's best to clear up your confusion by asking your own doctor. Thanks!

Posted by Shelby at 02:45 PM | Comments (1)