21 Things I Learned While In L.A.

  1. My mom is doing well.  Really well, it seems.
  2. Just because one relative has a diagnosis doesn't mean that you won't still think another relative is in worse shape when you visit.
  3. Flying 6 hours, followed by a 6 hour drive, a 1 day break, and another 6 hour drive... is not ideal.
  4. Visiting "home" makes me realize why I enjoy the independence of living 2600 miles away.
  5. A trip with lots of time to think about things like "The Last Lecture" will leave you feeling terrified... and yet can be surprisingly rewarding simultaneously.
  6. If I only had 1 year left to live, some things I'd like to think I'd do really don't surprise me... and some things do.
  7. I think I like Kate Bosworth, even though she's only 25.  Who knew?
  8. The California State Fair is way better than the Montgomery County Fair.
  9. The resulting fallout from my marriage was not only emotional, but financial as well.
  10. Foreclosure is possible, even when you think "that can never happen to me."
  11. I miss being missed when I'm away.
  12. Leah Adler (I [sort-of] graduated with her son) is an amazing 86-year-old woman who I'd love to have a nice chat with again.  So is Harrison Ellenshaw (an amazing person I'd like to chat with again, not an 86-year-old woman!)
  13. California airs some really neat commericials sometimes.
  14. Not contacting friends when you visit "home" can leave you with a weird mix of guilt and respite.
  15. Venice Beach is filled with bums and potheads and is absolutely filthy... and yet I still love it.
  16. If you give an MRI to 4 different doctors, you will get 4 different opinions.
  17. If you have a cyst in your knee, despite what other damage may or may not exist, soccer is a sport you will likely have to give up, no matter how much you love it.
  18. Finding an alternative activity to the one you love can be disappointing, terrifying, challenging, and exciting.  You may find surprise reward, but you can never find replacement.
  19. Always bring an extra bag in your suitcase if there is even a small chance you may take home more than you arrived with.
  20. You know you're in L.A. when an airport security guard says (and I quote, I swear): "Please remove water bottles from your bags.  Liquids are, like, so last year."
  21. Coming back home can bring reminders of times gone by.  You may find that the neighbor re-hired the unlicensed contractor who cut down his trees a few years ago who (yet again) dumped all the tree remains in your backyard... or you may find you are being sued by a guy who's car you hit 17 months ago.
  • Current Mood
    pensive pensive
Forever Jung

Knee Confusion

OK, so here's some interesting and thoroughly unhelpful information.  I went to get a 2nd opinion on the knee, which was good timing since I hurt it again this past weekend.  But... 2nd doc says EXACTLY opposite of 1st doc, so I think I'm gonna make an appointment for a 3rd to see who he agrees with.

1st doc said he didn't think there was a tear. If so, it was small, the real problem was the cyst, which was too deep and thick to aspirate and more complicated than arthroscopic surgery would handle and wouldn't guarantee a fix. He thought it was a lot to go through for no guarantee, and said it may be a life problem. He recommended I just avoid high impact sports like soccer and exercise it.  2nd doc said PT wouldn't fix this problem, and evidence so far seems #2 is accurate at least in that regard.  When I told 2nd doc that 1st prescribed PT, before I could tell him results he said "that won't work."

2nd Doc says there is definitely a tear, whereas the 1st doc said not.  He said I don't have to have surgery, wait and see if it gets better a little longer, but if I decide to, he does think he can fix it with arthroscopic surgery.  And he said not to go easy on it like 1st doc said, but to do things like normal and that would determine if I can function normally or if i need to have the surgery. He says unless it’s excruciating, he usually waits about 3 months to see if it will heal on its own, which he said should put me around Labor Day.  It will definitely hurt if the meniscus catches again, which is what he thinks happened in June and this past weekend, but the sport itself is not harming me. It's just a tear getting caught. He said it could be very painful, but then I'll know I need to take care of it, or not, as opposed to first doc’s advice to just avoid sports and doing what I would normally do.  He said sometimes you do have to give up a sport for some reason, but if the solution is for me to sit around, do nothing, and get fat, then it’s not living my life normally how I’d want to and I should do something about it.

So, if I do what 2nd doc says and just go for it, could be in a lot of pain soon, but then will get surgery. He says wait until after Labor Day... He usually waits 3 months to see if something will get better on it's own, and Labor Day would be around 3 months. If it hurts he recommends surgery after that.

I'd say I agree with 2nd doc, but I'm really confused by the fact that a supposedly good doc with a good reputation says they don't see a tear when another says it's obvious.  That concerns me. And I don't know how to read the darn thing, so I can't tell.  Also, 2nd knew about cyst and could definitely see it, it's obvious on MRI.  He said he could go and repair the tear and remove the cyst at the same time.  He made less of a deal about the cyst than the tear, 1st doc was opposite.
It’s SO opposite the first doc, I feel like I need a 3rd opinion. For one to say there is no tear and the other to say there is definitely an obvious tear is too contradictory for my comfort level.  They both looked at the same MRI

I am thinking about going to #3 and just not say anything, see what he says.  I have a good recommendation for a 3rd, so that's my plan. I hope my insurance doesn't have a fit, but I guess for my knees I should be sure.

  • Current Mood
    confused confused

Good & Bad


- Weather.
- Mom's first chemo went better than anticipated.  And she seems happy with her wig.
- Olympics opening ceremonies.  Wow!  That's all I can say... Wow!


- Really bad mosquito bites, despite my Deet efforts.
- Bad attempt at touching up the paint on my bumper.
- REALLY bad haircut (I am NOT amused that it is not only bad, but also short).
- Prospects with GICA.  Why do I always have to get crazy about people who aren't interested back?  And might I add, really, that even up to and including my wife, no one has really loved me in the way I've always wanted.  So it isn't even a matter of being crazy about people who don't like me, but really, why does no one like me that way at all?
- Lonely... yes, still fixating on GICA.  It deserves 2 bullets, what's it to ya?
- Working too many hours.
- Knee.  Tried biking into DC yesterday.  Got within a mile before I hit the wall, diverted to Silver Spring, and had to call for a ride.
- Cardio.  See above.
- The good list isn't longer. 
  • Current Mood
    exhausted crabby

This Day is for the Birds...

 ... NOT!

(2letuseemeshould skip this post.  With all due respect and poor coincidence of timing, her beloved pet bird passed early this a.m.  My greatest condolences.)

Now, in other "Day for the Birds" news: My friend arrived in plenty of time to get to West Virginia and join the tubing group.  It turned into BEAUTIFUL weather and an all day advnture.  I was quite happy.  Can't say the same for the winged creatures that crossed my path.  On the drive to West Virginia, I swear this bird fell out of the sky.  It didn't appear to fly into me, instead it rather fell in front of my car moving 65 mph on the highway where I heard a plentiful smack on the grill.  I looked in the rear view mirror, but didn't see anything fall.  I was hoping that was my imagination.  When we arrived at the meet-up spot, I had my less-squeamish friend take a look at the grill.  When she started to look and said "I see feathers," I thought she was kidding.  When she said "No, really, I see feathers," I knew she was not making it up.  I peeked over the hood and you could see full plumage sticking up.  I charged her with the task of taking a better look.  When she did, she apparently found the bird implanted head first into my grill, and she couldn't fully get it out.

We proceeded with the application of the bug spray and sunscreen, and began the awesome tubing adventure.  It was truly awesome.  Purely relaxing, sunshine, great weather, and a decent picnic lunch included.  :)   A wonderful summer day indeed, just what I wanted - with one exception.  Throughout the day, butterflies, dragonflys, and any other random winged creatures felt it was their duty to hurl themselves at me in rare suicidal form.  Fortunately, the mosquitoes kept away and the other adventurous types were spared a similar death sentence.

When we returned to the car, rigor had set in, and the stick my friend retrieved from the river worked much better in prying the remains of the Oriole from my grill, save a few tiny feathers.  It was too late for a car wash when I got home, but I figured I could quickly hose it down.  After a MUCH needed shower from a day on the river, I went outside at 7:30pm-ish to get the hose and do the deed.  But darn those winged creatures.  The second they saw an opening for revenge, they took it!  With the shower having washed my Deet away, in a matter of 3 minutes I incured probably over 15 mosquito bites all over my legs and feet.  ARGH!!!!!  This day was for the birds, indeed.

  • Current Mood
    hyper itchy

I'm Not the Only One

My commuting newspaper has a little section in the back with quotes from websites they encounter each day.  It's called the Blog Log... and yesterday, they quoted an excerpt from  I had to check out the article, because apparently Sarah did exactly what I did over the weekend.  She tells it better than me:

 Like Shaving, Except You Sweat More

I did something yesterday that I had never done before.

For the first time in my entire life I mowed the lawn.

(No. That is not a euphemism.)mowing_the_lawn_grass

I mowed the yard and I have a couple of things I would like to say about it. 1) It was both way easier and way harder than I expected. 2) Why did we buy a lawn mower that wasn’t self-propelled?

For those of you who have also lasted this long without ever mowing here is how I would describe it: It is a lot like shaving except you sweat more.

So now I am not sure if I should be proud that I can mow the grass or embarrassed that it took me 35 years to do it for the first time.

  • Current Mood
    amused amused

4th of July

OK, so West Virginia is NOT almost as good as London.  Especially when it storms most of the 4th, cancels the local fireworks, cans your trip in the inner tubes down the river, and puts an indefinite hold on the 4-wheeling and the camping.  By about dinner time, we had decided that spending the night was not a good idea, that we would eat and leave.  But by dinner's end, the rain had stopped, the sky was clear, and we set up camp.

The place was on 18 private acres, right near a creek (or a "crick" as everyone seemed to call it), and it was a beautiful setting for a better day.  But we set up the tent, hung out with some of the other folks, and I even got to go 4-wheeling for the first time... in the muddy dark.  Any doubt that I LOVED IT!!!!???  (I didn't think so.)  After a very late night being up very late, I headed to the tent to call it a night.  I noticed the clear skies had given way to some fog rolling in, but brushed negative thoughts out of my head.  Nothing we can do about it now.  I woke up somewhere in the middle of the night to very loud rain, and remember being impressed how well the tents hold up, then promptly passed out again.  Woke up a few hours later to the drip, drop, splat of rain hitting my face.  It wasn't just our tent.  Everyone had the same problem.  Just way too much rain for the circumstances.  So up very early in a wet mess, quick clean up of camp, and home before 10am. 

Despite the damper (pun intended) in the weekend, I really did have a great time.  Did I mention that the 4th of July is my favorite holiday?  And no, I wasn't upset with how the weekend turned out.  I mean, a better day would have made a better trip, sure.  But the company was good, the hosts and some of their other guests entertaining (did you ever read my previous post about West Virginia?), and I really did have a good time.

Why is the 4th of July my favorite holiday?  Not too sure.  I think it's a combination of reasons:
  • Family obligations are nil - Don't get me wrong, I like my family, but once it becomes a requirement, there comes a lot of expectation and a lot of stress, and often a lot of residual unhappiness.
  • Lack of religion - I'm not particularly fond of the separatism inherent in religious activities, so I prefer the patriotic holiday.  Sure, it's separatist from the rest of the world, but I'm happy to be American.  Not at the expense of the well-being of others, but I just wish the rest of the world were as lucky... Cause I think it's a pretty darn good place to live.
  • It's just a happy party - drinking, fireworks, BBQ... what more could you want?
  • It's the same month as my birthday.  so it's as close to a party as I'm gonna have.
Because of the shortened camping weekend, I had a little time to deal with my current problem of the moment - my computer (an issue for another post), see another friend, and just relax a little.  Overall, it was a happy 4th weekend.  I hope you had the same.
  • Current Mood
    good good
cannibal marshmallows

Missed Opportunities

I'm working on this project that is having some work done in the UK.  The people in London have been driving us batty with their requests.  They asked for stuff last minute, we tried to bend over backwards to comply, then they said it wasn't good enough.  They wanted to pick up some sensitive material, and we didn't want to give it to them directly.  Long story short, they offered to fly someone on a plane to pick it up.  Then, my brilliant coordinator has the thought I missed.  "I'll take it to London," he jokingly says.  Brilliant!  Our person, under a watchful eye, and he gets a trip to London.  Great idea!  As I'm explaining this to some co-workers, they ask the inevitable.  "So, why aren't YOU going to London?"  Damn.  Damn, I say!  My underling gets a holiday weekend in London, all expenses paid, just to fly some materials there, wait for them to be used, and to fly them back.  Stupid, stupid, stupid me.

On the other hand, I was invited to an overnight camping, 4-wheeling, tubing adventure in West Virginia tomorrow.  West Virginia is just as good as London, right?  Sigh.
  • Current Mood
    moody moody
Forever Jung

From Bad to Worse

Hobbled home last night in the middle of the biggest storm I've seen since I moved here.  Tornadoes not TOO far away.  Lightning up the wazoo.  Power out along my drive, but lights on in houses near home.  I am a block and a half from home (driving thankfully), when pow, bam... and all the lights go off in my neighborhood.  Still no power this morning when I left to work.  Why oh why did I wash my hair?  Hat worn today at work... Went to doctor for diagnosis, then found out Internet is still down at home and will likely require a Comcast technician.  If anyone has known me in the last 3 years, they know how ecstatic I am about having to deal with Comcast again.

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  • Current Mood
    depressed sigh

Not. My. Week.

Verdict (pending MRI results) = likely torn meniscus + likely surgery + definitely a pocketful of radiation-erased credit and ATM cards
  • Current Mood
    crappy unhappy with LOTS o' pain