22 December 2009

Dogs For Hire

first snow of season - 12/20/09
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Should a jolly old fella in a red suit find one of The Eight calls out sick on Christmas Eve, I've got two replacements ready and able to take their place here -- on Suki, on Tara, dash away all!

Took the girls out for their morning walk today. Normally it's a lazy stroll, but for some reason this morning the two of them were in tandem, rushing around the block, making me do double time. For crying out loud, it's 6:30 AM, it's dark, it's cold, I'm still half asleep -- slow down dogs!

As much as I kvetch, the quick pace and the brisk morning air combined for a nice walk. Now I just have to take a shower to warm up my tootsies. I really must invest in a pair of 'practical' winter boots. Those with 3+ inch heels truly have no place in this snow and ice that we have now.

20 December 2009

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas...

first snow of season - 12/20/09
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

We got snow! Somewhere in the vicinity of 20" of the lovely, powdery white stuff. I love it. Well, except the shoveling bit. I was out about 3 times yesterday throughout the day, trying to keep up, but by 9 PM, I had enough and said I'd tackle the rest in the morning. Woke up this morning to around 10" of new snow. Ugh.

It's lovely now though -- and for the first time in I don't know how long, we will have a White Christmas here. The temps are supposed to warm up throughout the week, but there's enough snow that this won't be going anywhere for a long time.

My car has been dug out, the driveway clear and a path to the front door made. Now I can enjoy a couple of the chocolate chip cookies I made yesterday. I think I've earned them.

18 December 2009

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Self Portrait - 12/12/09
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

The first big snowstorm of the season is bearing down on us - by this time tomorrow, we *should* have significant snowfall. Guess I'll be out shoveling at some point.

Just hoping that it holds off enough for me to get to the gym in the morning the supermarket. Maybe a stop at the liquor store too -- just to make sure we've got some potent potables in the house.

For my fellow east coaster - stay warm, stay safe and snuggle up under the covers with a loved one.

10 December 2009

Stitching Update

WIP: ABC Christmas (10-Dec-09)
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Since the broken finger incident prior to Thanksgiving, I haven't been working as diligently on this piece, but I did put a little effort into it this week thanks to a Stitch-n-Bitch session at the office. So close and I'd really like to get this complete and ready for display this Christmas.

It doesn't really look like I've accomplished much since the last update - a lot of "fill-in" work and some oddball stitches here and there. I am off tomorrow, so perhaps I'll finish up that top row and then be able to concentrate on the lower right corner and get it done.

05 December 2009

Here Come the Holidays

Christmas 2009
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Just under a week to Chanukkah and under 3 weeks to Christmas. Oy! The tree is finally decorated and my holiday shopping is complete. Thank you etsy!

I'm continuing to plug away on Lizzie Kate's ABC Christmas, though there isn't much progress since I broke my finger, hence, no photo update. If the finger injury wasn't enough, this week I went to the doc to have the pain in my knee looked at. Initial thought is tendinitis in the (right) knee. I've been prescribed an anti-inflammatory, if there's no improvement by early in the week, then it's off to the orthopedist. Two years in a row I've been through the revolving door of doctor visits - here's hoping this won't require surgery!

No big plans for us this holiday season. We're looking at going into the city on Christmas Day and catching a Broadway show. I had a look to see what was playing and if I can get decent seats (meaning on the aisle), I think I might pick up tix for 'Jersey Boys.' Of course, growing up my mom's second husband had a passion for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. I couldn't stand the music back then. Now that I'm older, it's grown on me. Since I stated I wanted to see this show, all I've been doing is singing Frankie Valli songs in my head. "Oh what a night..."

The weather outside is frightful today - cold rain at the moment, though there's a possibility of snow after sunset tonight. I'm ready - even if it doesn't last. There's something magical about snow during the holiday season. However, depending on what forecast I look at our area is due for 1-3 inches of snow or a slushy mix. I hope it's the former -- slushy mix is simply gross.

While the dismal weather means that we can't take the girls to the beach for a frolic on the sand, it gives me a chance to throw a blanket over my lap and stitch to my heart's content. Maybe by next week I'll have this Christmas piece done and be able to head over to Joann's in search for fabric to make it into a wall hanging (or pillow).

26 November 2009

Giving Thanks

While I'm not particularly fond of Thanksgiving seeing as it's a food-centric holiday, I realize that even when I feel like the world is crashing down around me I have an awful lot to be grateful for.

To put it simply - friends and family.

Those who love me, cherish me, nuture me - I give thanks for them. Whether they're near or far, someone I talk to daily or just now and then, they all play an important part in my life. You know who you are - I love you all.

Today, I am especially grateful to have moM back on US soil and hearing her voice. Now I can't wait to hear all about the trip to China - and see pics.

24 November 2009

Etsy Goodness

These are a few of my favorite things - in no particular order and not necessarily for me. (But friends will know the things that are of interest to me.)

No, She is Not Dieting

Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

For whatever reason, Suki loves lettuce. (Her human mom does not.) During dinner, we can be feasting on chicken, fish or beef and giving her a plate of lettuce will shut her up and make her happy. Very happy.

I never said my dogs were normal.

22 November 2009

What a Week!

WIP: ABC Christmas (21-Nov-09)
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Despite the obstacles thrown at me this week, I managed to make a little more progress on LK's ABC Christmas. Most of this was accomplished prior to my injury, only on Saturday was I again able to manipulate a needle successfully again.

On Tuesday, I jammed my left ring finger while reaching for my shampoo in the shower. I didn't think much of it, despite the pain and the swelling. By evening, it was swollen up like a Vienna Sausage and was a beautiful shade of purple. I went to bed with the intention of going to the doctor on Wednesday morning if it wasn't better.

I didn't think my finger could have swelled up larger, but by Wednesday morning, it had. I went to the doctor and had to explain to both the doctor and nurse about 5 times that I hurt it in the shower -- I am not sure they didn't think someone did something to me. An x-ray revealed two hairline fractures so they taped me up and ordered me off work for FOUR days. With my dominant hand taped up I was pretty useless.

I spent the better part of the week reading -- to the point where I didn't want to pick up another book. I am making good progress through the Sookie Stackhouse books and enjoying them, though I wonder how many supes are going to have the hots for Sookie before this series ends.

Today was the first day that I didn't tape my finger and I've managed to do most things without too much discomfort. It still hurts if I move it just so -- but typing normally is possible for the first time in days. The swelling is gone and the bruises have faded, but I still baby it. I don't know how long it's gonna feel tender, but at least I'm able to do most everything I could do before the incident.

Now to get back to my stitching -- hoping to get this done before the end of the Thanksgiving weekend so I can start on a new project.

21 November 2009

Wall of Pink

Fall 2009
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

One of the things I managed to accomplish this weekend was hanging up the pix and artwork that I had to take off the wall when we had the house repainted - in August. (So it's taken me three months...)

This is my 'wall of pink' in the living room, in what's been my stitching corner. The piece on the left is Cherry Heart by Shepherd's Bush, the one on the right is Drawn Thread's Cloister Garden. The heart piece in the center is another Drawn Thread design, if I remember correctly but I can't remember the name of the design off the top of my head.

The floral arrangement I picked up at a craft show in Toms River a couple years ago. To me, it just adds a little something to this comfortable corner where I can pull out my needlework and stitch away to my hearts content.

16 November 2009

Another Week, Another Visit from the Frog

WIP: ABC Christmas (16-Nov-09)
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Although I've made some progress on LK's ABC Christmas, I had another visit from Senor Frog. Just when I think I'm on a roll, I notice a mistake -- and the perfectionist that I am just can't leave it there and has to rip it out.

I am still having fun working on this piece and figure with the football this weekend and Thanksgiving Day, I should be done with it before the end of the month. (Provided froggy doesn't come a courting again, uh huh.) I frogged during Sunday Night Football -- once I got tired, I made stupid counting mistakes. So considering it's past 9 PM here now, I've put the needlework away and am concentrating on emails and football (and blogging).

There's no news to report on Paradise Lost. I'm still looking for fabric - but not making a dedicated effort. I did a little window shopping at some online needlework shops. Yea, my list of things I 'need' has gotten a bit longer. Me thinks I should just go shopping in my stash before buying anything more.

15 November 2009

Suki's New Sweater

Suki's New Sweater
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Yep, I've become 'one of those people' who dresses her dog in a sweater.

La Petite Cujo got a haircut on Friday -- that evening and Saturday morning she was shivering, so Mark insisted that our little girl needed a sweater. An adventure at Petco ensued -- I tried a variety of garments on her, she tried to bite my hand. We ended up with this one - it's a little large for her, but it's easy to get on and get her 'arms' in the sleeves. Plus it's pink, so you know *I* like it.

Of course, the weather improved and she didn't need to wear it after Saturday. But considering she is shaved, I think she'll be grateful for the warmth once it cools off again.

12 November 2009

A Day at the Beach

Dog Beach - 11/08/09
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

We took the girls over to Manasquan on Sunday morning. Tara waded along the shoreline for a bit before settling down and watching the big(ger) dogs play in the surf.

More pics of the pups' adventure are in my Flickr album.

09 November 2009

Update: One Week

WIP: ABC Christmas (09-Nov-09)
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Thanks to football and the World Series, I managed to get quite a bit stitched up this past week. I actually had to frog a big section (lights - mistletoe AND ice skate - joy) because I was off two stitches. Ugh. But during the intense games, it was much easier to frog than to pay attention to what I was stitching.

It's been a lot of fun to stitch - despite the frogging - and I hope to have it competed before Thanksgiving. Since framing is outrageously expensive and I'd like to display this piece over the holidays, I'm thinking that it might just become a wall hanging providing I can find a fabric I like (and make the time to put it together).

Still haven't pulled or ordered fabric for Paradise Lost. Have the threads ready, so will probably do so on Friday (payday).

02 November 2009

With My Needle

WIP: ABC Christmas (01-Nov-09)
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Last night was like old times again -- baseball on the telly, needle in my hand.

This is Lizzie Kate's ABC Christmas and my progress through an afternoon of football and an evening of baseball. As I said in an earlier post, it's my first time working with the Crescent Color threads and I like them. (I knew Sharon through a stitching group online and remember when she first started dyeing her threads -- amazing to see what a successful business it turned out to be for her.)

I pulled my DMC threads for Paradise Lost - out of the bajillion needed, I only had 5. Glad I got that Michael's gift card from my stitch-n-bitch co-workers -- know what I'll be using it for. Also did the calculations - on 28 count fabric, it's gonna be 30 inches by 16 inches. Wowsa! Gotta figure out whether I am gonna use a Q-Snap or scroll bars for that project -- and hope I've got a big enough cut of appropriate fabric somewhere in my stash.

Now that the crafty bug has bitten, I wish that I could stay home and stitch all day. Unfortunately, work beckons.

01 November 2009

Treats for Me

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that I took a trip up north to Tawny's - aka the LNS - and added to my stash.

Lizzie Kate's ABC Christmas (pictured left) is one of the designs I picked up along with the required fabric. I started it last night while waiting for the trick-or-treaters to come and am making good progress (lights thru mistletoe is complete).

As I would like to have this compete in time for Christmas 2009 (since my poinsettia piece will not be done) I will continue to work on this throughout football this afternoon and Game 4 of the World Series tonight. Let's go Yankees!

It's actually a fairly quick stitch - as most Lizzie Kate pieces are. It came with the Crescent Colors required and it's my first time stitching with them. I like them - though I've gotten tangled a few times working with the long lengths. I think that's more of a personal problem than an issue with the threads themselves.

The other chart that I picked up was Paradise Lost by Plum Street Samplers (pictured right).

I originally saw this design on another stitcher's blog as a WIP (work in progress) and simply fell in love with it. After getting over sticker shock ($22 for the chart alone), I bought it, but didn't get the fabric. I have a stash of wonderful hand dyed fabrics at home and though I would pull the threads and decide which fabric to use.

It calls for NPI silks but also gives a DMC colorway. Since I don't have a collection of NPI silks in my stash, I think this thrifty gal is going to go with the DMC options. So either the next sunny day or Friday (my day off) I'll be pulling threads and fabric and making a decision. Then this one will be added to the rotation and I'll alternate working on it with the LK design.

I think this might be the little nudge I need to jumpstart my creativity. While I'm recreating someone else's design, it's still a crafty venture and I've missed that. I'm working on some goals/structure in my life and feel the need to nurture my crafty side. I think that I will focus on making time for creative expression as that's been missing for a while. Now to balance it with everything else...

31 October 2009

Trick or Treat

Tara - Halloween 2009
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

It's a been a busy day here.

This morning I ran up north to Tawny's (officially known as Where Victoria's Angels Stitch) for a little stash enhancement. I had seen someone stitching Plum Street Sampler's Paradise Lost on another blog and had to have it. Couldn't believe the price of the chart - $22. Sheesh. But I bought it anyhow. Also picked up Lizzie Kate's ABC Christmas and fabric as well.

Tara and I sat outside and handed out candy to the freeloaders - uh, trick-or-treaters, this afternoon. I am simply amazed at how many kids are 'grabby grabby' and the lack of manners. Mark and I got in a bit of an argument. I insist that the kids say 'trick or treat' - otherwise, I don't give them candy. I also don't like grabbers and will pull the bowl out of reach. He thinks I'm being 'mean and nasty' - I think, my house, my generosity, you play by my rules. Oh my God, I'm becoming the bitchy woman on the block. (Ok, that's not too much of a stretch.)

Chilling out watching Game 3 of the World Series now -- doesn't look too good for Yankees, but it's early still. I gotta believe.

21 October 2009

Lady Sings the Blues

Of late, I feel like my life is crashing down around me or at least that I'm teetering on the edge of an abyss.


About 18 months ago, I took a voluntary 'demotion' (plus pay cut) and had my job reclassified as an administrative position. The company was acquired by another last year and about a month ago we learned that our department was being absorbed into the corporate company. My job as it currently exists will cease to be and I will have some of the duties that I had before and felt I was underqualified/untrained to do adequately.

Along with this reclassification, I no longer report to the same person - instead, I am reporting to a colleague based in our UK office. I voiced my concerns to both my old manager and new manager and only hope that I can get the training I need to do what is expected of me. If not, then I'll have to explore other options either within the organization or outside. I like the company (and people) as a whole - I've been there 7+ years. I don't really want to have to find another job as I have a generous vacation allowance now which I wouldn't get anywhere else.

While this change won't happen overnight, I am already a bit nervous. The last thing I want to do is be looking for a new job in this current market.


On the home front, I feel as though I've neglected friends and family for too long. Money's tight to say the least and I've cut back on doing a lot things. I miss hanging out with my (sorority) sisters on a regular basis and need to re-involve myself in alumnae chapter happenings.

I argue with my husband way too much too -- and not because I'm simply a bitch, but just because I am frustrated. I know I shouldn't take things out on him, but sometimes I react without thinking. I am working on that, though it's hard to break old ingrained habits.


My creative mojo went walkabout earlier this year. I have a room full of craft supplies (more than just beads), but no inspiration. I had hoped summer would cure that but it didn't. Now autumn, my favorite season, is upon us and while I glory in the colors of nature, that mojo still is nowhere to be found.


Despite all these stresses, I am lucky to have friends and family who love me and are there for me when I need a little hand-holding (or a martini). Just taking it one day at a time -- and even then, sometimes it's just hour-by-hour for me to be able to hold it together. Things will get better, right? There's always tomorrow.

Baby's Got Blue Eyes

birthday scarf
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Today my stitch-n-bitch pals at work showered me with gifts during our lunch gathering. While I appreciated everything, I am in love with this hand-knit scarf.

Blue has been growing on me of late - every shade from ice blue to a rich cobalt. I was amazed at how this scarf made my eyes just pop. You bet that there's gonna be more blue in this gal's wardrobe from this point forward. Of course, red, pink, and black will continue to feature prominently as well.

Now if it would only cool off a bit so I could wear my scarf... Why is it 70 degrees in late October? I want my crisp, cool autumn days.

20 October 2009

Comforting Words

One of my EtsyNJ friends had this quote on her blog a few days ago and I liked it well enough that I appropriated it for myself to post here.

May today there be peace within.
May you use your gifts and pass them on.
May you be content with yourself just the way you are.
Let this knowledge setting into your bones
and allow yourself the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

As one who constantly beats myself up over doing or saying the wrong thing, I found these words a comfort. For most of my life I've felt I've never been good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, etc.

Yet over the past 18 months or so, along my weight loss journey, I have changed how I think of myself. There are days when I still feel like that insecure ugly duckling. It's those days that words such as these are needed to remind me that I am ok - just the way I am.

18 October 2009

Love Me, Love My Dog

Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

About a year or so ago, Tara, my 16 year old mini Eskie, was diagnosed with chronic bronchitis - COPD for dogs. It's not a death sentence, but it does make living with a wheezing, hacking dog a bit of a challenge.

This has been managed by meds, but lately the coughing fits have increased both in intensity and frequency. Couple that with recurring bouts of diarrhea, I'm beginning to think about the end. Granted, right now, I don't think that she's suffering badly. It's more inconvenient for me to have to get down on my hands and knees each night and scrub the floor. Just when I think I have her back to normal, it comes back with a vengeance.

I have an appointment with the V-E-T on Friday (for her and Stanley, our last cat from Brooklyn) and hope that we'll be able to find a cause and get her back on track. The thought of having to say good-bye to my velcro dog fills me with tears. I know we won't have forever together, but I don't want to let her go sooner than necessary.

So, for my animal lover friends out there, please keep me and my precious Tara in your prayers. I am hoping this is something simple to cure and that she'll be on the rebound in no time. And if it's something serious, I hope that I'll have the strength to do the right thing.

06 October 2009

Happy Adoption Day, Mac

img 235
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

One year ago, Mac (aka Scaredy Cat) joined our household.

While he's slowly coming out of his shell, he still prefers the company of cats to the humans in this house. When he's not hiding under the bed, he can usually be found cuddled with Stanley.

18 August 2009

The Last Room

Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Finally! The paint job at the house is done and my studio, formerly yellow, is now a soothing blue. It's still utter chaos - nothing has been put away and I need to reorganize, but that's what the weekend is for.

The rest of the house looks just as fabulous - there's some before/after pics in my Flickr album. I am just starting to rehang stuff on the walls and deciding whether to put it in the same place or elsewhere.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the paint job. Some switch plates are missing or put in the wrong room which annoyed me, but I love the colors. I didn't realize until the weekend that my family room is cream and crimson -- I'm a true IU gal afterall.

17 August 2009

Fabulous Weekend

I've been in a downbeat mood for the past week, dealing with headaches, painters and my house in chaos, and a sick dog (Tara). My whirlwind trip was a welcomed getaway and needless to say it didn't disappoint.

When I planned this trip, I didn't realize it would coincide with the 2 year anniversary of my (step)dad's death/burial. I made the trip to Louisville to see my BBF yesterday -- who I haven't seen for two years to the day @ Homer's funeral. The reunion was wonderful, and bittersweet. I got to meet the wonder child, see the new house, and enjoy Graeter's ice cream. There are days like this when I have so much fun just 'hanging out', talking and laughing that I truly regret the distance between us. If only we lived closer together and could have these moments more frequently. At the very least, I vow not to let two years go by until we see each other again -- be it that I make a trip out to Kentucky for the weekend or convince her to bring the wonder child to the Jersey Shore.

It was also wonderful to see my mother again and spend time with her doing mother-daughter things - like shopping. Yes, I have become my mother and have awoken my inner passion for trolling through the clearance racks at Macy's in search of bargains. I found me a couple really awesome dresses - originally $159 each, on clearance for a whopping $16 each. Score! The only thing I didn't look for was shoes -- but honestly, my suitcase was stuffed coming home, I don't know if I could have fit in anything more.

It's Monday morning and I'm sitting here at the Columbus (OH) airport -- my 9:30 AM flight back to Philly has been delayed. I have no clue when it's supposed to take off - the plane isn't even here yet. Thank goodness for laptops and wireless internet. Otherwise, I'd be bored out of my gourd as I've finished all my books and fashion mags aren't really my cuppa. Book choices at the airport are limited - usually to dreck that I'm not even remotely interested in.

I'm anxious to get home, to see my husband, marvel in the new paint job, evaluate Tara and see if she needs that appointment with the V-E-T tonight, and get some much needed sleep in MY bed. As much as I love visiting, there's nothing better than you're own bed. I've slept fitfully the past two nights -- maybe the comforts of my home, my cats and my dogs will be the panacea I need.

14 August 2009

Homeward Bound

I'm sitting in the Philly airport, waiting for my plane to come in and board. In about an hour, I'll be winging my way back to Ohio and a visit 'home' -- if I can call Ohio home anymore. After a decade-plus on the east coast, I no longer feel like a midwesterner, but the moment I open my mouth, the midwestern gal is revealed.

It's a short trip this time around - I am flying back on Monday. But I get to visit with my mother and take a trip to Louisville to see my BFF and finally meet the wonder child. I'm quite giddy with excitement - just to be out here and spend time with some of my favorite people is exhilarating.

Of course, no trip back to Cincinnati would be complete without a trip to Skyline for a 3-way and Graeter's for ice cream. I'm salivating just thinking about it already.

13 August 2009

Color My World

family room
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

After three days of utter chaos in the house, the paint job is almost finished. One more room (my studio) remains to be painted in the morning, but overall I'm pleased.

This is the red wall in our family room -- Moroccan Red (or amongst certain friends, Mo Rocca Red). Apparently even Miss Suki approves. More pics of the other rooms, including some before and after shots, are in my Flickr album.

I'm exhausted -- I've been moving furniture all night on top of doing laundry and packing for my trip to Cincinnati tomorrow. Still have a lot to go before I leave in the morning - so little time.

19 July 2009

Blast From the Past

Alex & Me
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

While digging through pics online, I found this shot from my stint on Jeopardy! in June 2000.

My first thought - OMG! I need a hair cut! Yet at the time I was so proud of my long hair. LOL. I think both Alex and I look different today - and for the better.

For those who don't know - yes, I am a Jeopardy! champion. Details on my appearance can be found here and here.

And please, whatever you do, don't mention Ken Jennings to me. He's Satan's Spawn.

11 July 2009

Have You Seen Me?

self portrait - 6/28/09
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

I've been neglecting my blog, my friends, my craft for too long.

I've been caught up in a whirlwind of social activity since returning home from Alaska the Friday prior to Memorial Day and now it's mid July and I've got nothing to show but an awesome tan and a handful of self-portraits taken under the influence with the cell phone or my new digital camera. Beach-going, bar hopping and Bantrying seem to have become my life.

I've been stressed more than usual and trying to work things through. I think that perhaps I am going through that mid-life crisis -- does a 41 year old woman really need a cute little Miata? (Oh yea, especially for beach days! But I didn't get it.)

The new me is still coming to terms with being called "sexy", "beautiful", "gorgeous." It makes me laugh at times but at the same time it gives me such an ego boost. I know I should be content and confident with myself and not relish the complements from others, but after so many years of being the 'ugly ducking' this swan is basking in the attention.

We've pretty much reached the mid-point of the summer season here in Jersey. I've been enjoying beach time with Mark and friends whenever possible. I'm tanner than I've been in years - contrary to popular belief, this Irish lassie can tan (with a bit of help from Hollywood Tans). Tomorrow we're bound for the beach - weather permitting. I can't wait - books and iPod in hand, I can hunker down for hours.

Hoping to corral my mojo once again and get back to making jewelry. Stay tuned for updates on my blog and in my etsy shop.

31 May 2009

Celebration and Affirmation

If you've been around here long enough, you know that the past year I've worked hard to lose weight. I'm still hovering around the 50 lbs lost total, trying to lose another 15-20 to reach my ultimate goal; however, that's been a battle since my surgery in January.

Today, I went back to WW after being away for two weeks. I hesitated going last week because according the the scale on the ship, I was up several pounds. I didn't want another gain my book, so I held off and worked out diligently this week to ensure that I'd have a loss - hoping for all that I gained, plus some. Whatever I did worked as I was down 2.6 pounds this week - that's just shy of 51 pounds total. Next goal: 55 lbs!

Since starting this weight loss journey, I've become more physically active. I still don't love going to the gym and working out, but I've managed to find activities that interest me and get me there - one of them being yoga. There's a 7:30 AM yoga class each Sunday which I love attending - provided I'm not hurting from the night before. It had been several weeks since I made it out of bed and to the gym in time for this session, but I got there in plenty of time today.

It was the most spectacular session - ever. Not so much for what my body did - I definitely recognized the fact that I hadn't been going regularly for a bit and wasn't as flexible as I had been previously. But, my body responded to most everything and even when I wanted to give up, I was able to push myself a little more and get deeper into the pose.

This particular instructor has (for lack of a better term) 'affirmation cards' that she asks a student to draw one at the end of each session and then she reads it. Yours truly was the lucky one today. The card said (and I'm parapharsing)... "It's never too late to change your body. Diet and exercise will aid you in this journey. Don't let what you eat cause conflict in your life." I was completely relaxed and one with the world after class, but when she read the card I had drawn, it was if a lightning bolt was hurled from the heavens and struck me. If there's anyone who needed that 'reminder' - it was me.

Yesterday, we had lunch at a favorite place - a burger joint. I agreed to go there because they had a grilled chicken wrap that I loved. When we got there, the chicken wrap was no longer on the menu because "not enough people ordered it" and it couldn't be made special. So there I was faced with a choice of burger, burger, or burger. Arrgh! I went with the least harmful option and enjoyed every bite of it, all the while thinking "I sure hope this doesn't screw up my efforts this week." Fortunately, it didn't - I lost, but I still think I might have lost more if I hadn't had that burger.

I've been obsessing with food lately - should I eat this? are there too many carbs in that? is this going to sabotage my efforts?, etc. This affirmation was a message to me that it's okay to let go. Don't let it become a burden to carry. With that in mind, I enjoyed my lunch this afternoon and am ready to face the week ahead.

Nearly 12 hours later, I'm still feeling on top of the world and hoping that this positive train of thought will carry me through the week.

24 May 2009

Alaska Splendor

Ice, Ice Baby
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Just another shot of me on the Alaska cruise - Sawyer Glacier in the background.

We cruised the Tracy Arm fjord and got within 1/4 mile of the glacier before turning around. I took tons of scenic pics, but that's the beauty of a digital camera. Now I have to sort through them to find my favorite.

Oh - I found the most wonderful shop in Victoria: www.artinas.com. It's full of wonderful jewelry goodness made by Canadian or First Nations artists. I could have spent several hours (and dollars) in there, but held out and only bought one piece from The Rave 'N' Iron -- who happens to have a shop on Etsy. Check 'em out and prepare to be dazzled.

23 May 2009

Who Says You Can't Go Home?

Skagway Street Walker
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

I'm back! After seven days at sea (6 wonderful, 1 where I curled up in bed and prayed I wouldn't get sick), I've seen Juneau and Skagway, Alaska and Victoria, BC.

Alaska is so hard to describe - majestic, beautiful, vast, stunning, remote... I'm so glad I got a chance to see part of our 49th State. (Corrected because a smarter friend reminded me Hawaii is the 50th state. So much for being a smart Jeopardy champion.) It's hard to believe that this last frontier is actually a part of our nation. One feels like they're in another world - it doesn't quite feel like it's America, except the money is the same and the stars and stripes fly over government buildings.

I'm happy to be home in Jersey though. As much as I liked seeing the small bit of Alaska that I did, I don't want to live there. Seriously - a place that gets 90+ inches of snow per year? Nope - give me the beach here in Jersey and I'm a happy gal.

I'm slowly uploading 500+ plus pics (mostly scenic shots) to my Flickr account today. The first 200+ are there now, more will be coming later. The sun is out, it's a gorgeous day and somewhere the sand along the Jersey Shore is screaming for me.

13 May 2009

All my bags are packed...

I think I'm ready to head out in the morning. Just need to finalize/confirm my ride to the airport and then it's Seattle/Alaska - here I come!

I'm due back the evening of the 22nd - just in time to hit all the Memorial Day weekend traffic down the Parkway. (Gotta love them Bennies!) With the time difference, I'll probably be wide awake and ready to kick off the holiday weekend, but who knows. Worst case scenario is that I'll crash hard on Friday night and be fully rested for the remainder of the weekend.

Not sure if I'll have internet access while I'm away - if I can post photos in the interim, I will, otherwise be looking for them sometime late on the 22nd or early on the 23rd. I'm one who usually uploads them while I'm sleeping -- considering I took 350+ on my Jamaica trip, there's bound to be at least that many from Alaska.

10 May 2009

Mother's Day Ranting

Manasquan Dog Beach - 5/9/09
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

I've been in a pissy mood for most of the day - Mother's Day annoys me to no end for a variety of reasons, the main one being that I'm not a mother except to my 'girls' here.

I've slowly come to terms with being child-free and recently realized just how much I like it. I'm able to pick up and go on vacation whenever I want, do whatever I want to do without having to work around a child's schedule, etc. Maybe that's a bit self-centered, but considering I'll be 42 in the fall, I'm okay with it.

At one time I desperately wanted children, but a series of events pretty much erased my chances. At this point, I don't feel like trying to have a baby, let alone adopt one. I'm too old and settled in my lifestyle to have a child cramp my style. Oh granted, one makes sacrifices, but I'm not willing to make them at this time. I like the life I have now and don't want to change a thing.

Today, Mother's Day, I've been thinking about the 'what ifs' too much rather than focusing on the good things in my life and it's put me in a shitty mood. I have a lovely house, a charming husband, and a wonderful menagerie of dogs and cats. I have a charmed life, even without children. But still, I wonder if the choices I made earlier in my life would have made me feel differently.

While moms across the country are being showered with cards/gifts and being wined and dined today, I'm sitting here having a pity party for myself. Why? I've got a charmed life - maybe not perfect, but it's good. Wondering if I'm not just a wee bit jealous?

03 May 2009

Inked Again

Lotus Tattoo - May 2009
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

After 10 years with no new ink, I've gone under the needle twice within 6 days.

While I love my tricolor shamrock, I'm totally enamored of this piece. It's quite large, covering a significant portion of my upper shoulder and I love catching a glimpse of it in the mirror as I'm primping in the mornings. I've gotten several positive comments on it from friends and strangers over the past two days. I wish that I could see it myself, but just knowing it's there puts a big smile on my face.

What's next? Well, nothing in the immediate future. I'm going to have an old tattoo on my right shoulder covered up eventually - most likely a rose in the spot, about the same size as the lotus. However, if another flower (i.e. chrysanthemum or peony) would do the job, I'd rather go that route. We'll see. I'm not in any rush to get more ink -- but I figure I'll have it done before the end of the year.

27 April 2009

50 Down, 16 To Go

Manasquan Dog Beach - April 2009
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Just thirteen months after starting my Weight Watchers journey, I'm down 50.4 pounds and looking at another 16 to reach goal.

For those who don't remember me before (and honestly, I really don't want to), you can find photos of me along my journey here. It's not been easy and at times I wanted to throw in the towel, but I've come a long way and I'm bound to see it through to the end. The pictures are motivation for me - this one was shot on Saturday at the dog beach in Manasquan.

Hoping that my new bathing suit arrives today -- I went crazy and ordered not one, but two bikinis for the summer. From a gal who used to wear big baggy stuff to cover everything up, I'm ready to bare almost everything. I just need to keep working on those abs and my arms now.

Have a great Monday wherever you are. The Jersey Shore is still in the throes of a summer-like heatwave (in April!) and I'm dressed lightly. I've got a feeling the office is going to be a sweat box today. Ugh. (But on a positive note, I'll lose weight by sweating?)

26 April 2009

Celebratory Ink

New Ink - April 2009
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

To celebrate losing 50 pounds, I went out and got a new tattoo. In reality, it was something I had been wanting a while, but it just coordinated with the timing of me losing 50 pounds and the annual WW fashion show.

I'd been researching tattoo artists here on the Jersey Shore for a bit - trying to find someone to do the work. A week or so ago, Mark and I were at Kelly's for dinner and I asked our waiter where he was inked. He gave me a card for a guy up in the Highlands and I put it in my pocket. On Friday night, we were back at Kelly's, on the patio, and I noticed a guy across the bar and thought it was Jay - the artist whose card I had in my bag. Turned out it was and I had a nice conversation with him, showing him a photo of what I wanted. He told me he could do it and to give him a call.

On Saturday, I phoned the shop and he said he could do the work about 5 PM. So I went up to the Highlands (what a schlepp from my home) and after filling out the paperwork, I sat down in the chair and let him go to work. About 25-30 minutes - and a horrific reggae version of Hotel California - later it was done.

This photo was taken about 26 hours after -- I'm quite happy with how it came out. The original pic I had was a solid green shamrock, but I wanted the colors of the Irish flag instead. I'm most likely going to go back to Jay for some more work -- I want to have the tattoo on my shoulder covered up with something new. That will probably be the next work I have done. After that, who knows. Mark wants me to stop, but like potato chips, you can't just have one.

As of today, I've lost 50.4 pounds in just over 13 months. I've gone from a size 18/20 to a 10/12. I have 16 more pounds to go to reach Weight Watchers goal -- hoping that I'll make it by July 4th. But if I don't, it's okay. I've had a few roadblocks and detours already, so I'll get there eventually. I think I'd actually like to lose another 25 pounds but we'll see what I feel like when I lose the next 16. I'm wearing sizes that I haven't worn since before I was married and it feels great.

16 April 2009

A is for Attitude

Jamaica 2009
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Over the past year, I've successfully lost nearly 50 pounds. Actually, I was at that magic number in March, but gained a bit of it back before Easter/Passover and have been working hard to get back to that milestone. Today, I'm down another 4.6 pounds - back to a total of 47 pounds in all.

A few weeks ago, a friend gave me a picture of myself from 2004. When I first looked at it, I didn't recognize myself. Who was that girl with the round face and chubby arms? When I realized it was me, I was horrified. I really was F-A-T. Five years later and 40+ pounds less, I am proud of who I am and how far I've come on my journey. I never quite believed that Weight Watchers would work for me. I tried it prior to my wedding in 1999 and lost about 15 pounds before giving up.

My one year WW anniversary was March 15th. I celebrated with my group, even though I had a slight gain that week. I am so appreciative of their support and encouragement. I couldn't have made this journey without them to hold me while I struggled, pick me up and put me back on the path when I stumble, and most of all for sharing their Sunday mornings with me.

This past week I had an epiphany of sorts. I decided it was time for the old, self-loathing Marci to finally pack her bags and go. It was time for Marci to realize that she is beautiful, she is sexy, and she has a lot to offer the world. It was time to put Marci first. I invested in some new, sexy unmentionables, went to Brazil (if you get my drift) and had my nails done. It's time to show off my assets - and not hide under baggy, frumpy clothes.

My new mantra is "nothing tastes as good as being sexy feels" and even though I've got another 25 pounds or so until I reach my goal, I've decided that I am sexy as I am. I believe is more than just a physical state, but a mental state as well. I'm working that attitude - and will continue to do so until I reach my ultimate goal.

30 March 2009

Happy Adoption Day, Tara!

img 062
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

One year ago, this (r)Eskie gal came into our lives. Although it's only been a year, it seems like she's been a part of lives forever and I can't really remember life without her.

Thanks to the wonderful volunteers at Eskie Rescuers United for approving my adoption and coordinating her trip along the Eskie Railroad all the way from Florida. This Southern Belle has adapted nicely and is becoming a true Jersey Girl. She's not fond of snow, but she loves strolling along the beach -- good thing summer's just around the corner.

26 March 2009

Yea Mon - We're Home!

Jamaica 2009
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

We arrived home from Jamaica last night - we had five wonderful nights and six days of fun in Mo Bay.

When we left last Friday (3/20), it was snowing on the way to EWR. After temps flirting with 70F earlier in the week, it was nice to have some icky weather to get away from. Our flight was overbooked and they were offering $750 per person and an upgrade to first class to go through Miami on a later flight, but since that wouldn't get up there until 8 PM, we opted not to take that offer.

We arrived in Montego Bay about 2 PM (Jamaica time) -- an hour later than we should have. Going through immigration and customs was annoying - not enough agents to process the passengers. I think every plane bound for Mo Bay landed around the same time. Once we managed to get through those lines, we were on the bus an on the way to our resort.

For the next few days, we called the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort our home. I have mixed feelings about the place, but for what we paid, it was worth it. The location (only 10-15 minutes from the airport) was right - it was a good jumping off point for our excursions around the island; the room was large and clean and we had plenty of hot water; the rum drinks flowed freely. The not-so-great things were the quality of the food (breakfast was the best meal of the day); the long lines at the bar (resort seemed to be severely understaffed); and that that pools/hot tubs closed at 6 PM and there was very little to do (for adults) after dinner. Although I would have been quite content to lay on the beach with my book and iPod, I'm glad that we opted to take a few excursions around the island.

On Saturday, we took a cab into Montego Bay to visit the hip strip. In the middle of a Saturday afternoon it was rather dead. Margaritaville was empty, the shops were full of typical souvenirs, but we found a good place for lunch - The Pork Pit. Mark had read about this place in a travel guide and we found it and enjoyed some great jerk along with rice and peas. (Why they call red beans peas, I don't know.) After lunch we made it to The Twisted Kilt -- yes, Mark found an Irish pub in Jamaica. He enjoyed a couple pints of Guinness; brewed in Jamaica he said it tasted a little different than at home.

Sunday morning we were scheduled to go on a rafting trip on the Martha Brae river. We gathering in the lobby to wait for our bus; a tour guide looked at our reservation slip and told us to get on the bus. After a few stops to pick up more tourists, we discovered the bus we were on was going to Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios. We just went along for the ride, grateful we had on our bathing suits and towels in our bags.

Climbing the falls was a lot of fun! Yes, it's touristy, but we are glad we did it. I only wish that I had a waterproof camera so I could have taken pics during the climb. The falls start at the sea and you climb up about 600 feet via a human daisy chain to the top of the falls. You most definitely get wet.

On Monday, we took a taxi over to Rose Hall, not more than 10 minutes from our resort. Rose Hall was home to Annie Palmer, the White Witch, who murdered three husbands, several slaves, and in turn was murdered by her lover. Her spirit is said to haunt the house still. Annie Palmer died in 1831 and the house was empty for many years before being purchased by an American couple and restored in the 1960s. It's absolutely gorgeous - both the furnishings in the house as well as the grounds. At one time the estate spread far and wide -- the ground that our resort and several others sits on was once part of the great Rose Hall Estate. Johnny Cash's Jamaica home (Cinnamon Hill) was also once part of the estate as well.

Our last full day (Tuesday) in Jamaica we took an all day tour to Appleton Estate, Black River Safari and YS Falls. Although it's not a long distance to the opposite side of the island, it was a 2.5 - 3 hour drive over twisty, narrow roads up and over the mountain. I'm glad we did it, but it'll be a long time before I complain about Jersey roads and/or drivers!

The Black River Safari was fun -- we took a boat ride up the river and our tour guide called the crocodiles to the boat where the brave shook 'hands' with the crocs and our guide kissed them. (The crocs, not the tourists who shook hands with the crocs.) Due to a layer of peat moss on the river bottom, the water looks black, but when you scoop up a cupful of river water, it's crystal clear. I've NEVER seen water that clear. Never.

Our next stop was YS Falls -- a smaller waterfall in St Elizabeth parish. We climbed the staircase to the top of the falls where our photo was taken. Mark then took a couple swings on the rope swing while I had a 'water massage' closer to the base of the falls. Unfortunately, we didn't have a lot of time to relax and unwind at the falls since we had to get to the Appleton Estate before the tours ended for the day.

We arrived at the Appleton Estate just before 3 PM. While we were enjoying a complementary cup of rum punch (or rather Mark was since the smell nearly knocked me off my feet), the skies opened up. So with the help of a few umbrellas, we set off around the grounds to learn about rum making. We got to taste some wet sugar -- which tastes about as good as a it looks. (I suppose if you like molasses, you'd like this wet sugar stuff, but neither of us likes molasses.) We also saw the stills - no photography permitted - and the ageing house. After the tour, we were invited to sample a variety of the products made by Appleton and their parent company, Wray & Nephew -- including Overproof Rum and my new personal favorite, Rum Cream.

I'm a huge fan of Bailey's and the like and had been eying the bottle of rum cream at the resort for several days. I didn't try it though -- and I'm glad that I waited until my last day in Jamaica to try it. It's even better than Bailey's -- it has a very nice caramel flavor. Mmm, caramel. We bought two bottles of it to bring home, even though we're told it's available in the US. I've never seen it, but then I've never looked for it before either.

After the long ride back to our resort, we had dinner, packed for our Wednesday departure and called it a night. I think the all day tour wore me out more than anything else during the trip, although the copious amounts of rum and sunshine had me in bed early most nights as well. (For the record, I was up with the sun during the entire trip.)

The trip home was pretty uneventful -- we managed to get through immigration in Jamaica quickly. We did a little shopping in the duty free shops in the airport - including purchasing some Blue Mountain coffee for friends/family. We landed in Newark and cleared immigration and customs without a hassle -- wondering if I could have brought back more liquor since we didn't even have our bags searched.

All in all, it was a great getaway and I'm glad we went. I'm not sure that we'll go back to Jamaica any time soon, and most likely we won't stay at the same resort. I think I'd like to try a place in Negril if we were to go back, but the long ride from the airport is sort of a turnoff. Already we're looking at other Caribbean destinations - although probably not for a while still.

18 March 2009

Blog 'n Run

Caribbean Sunset
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

It's been some time since I blogged regularly - life is just, well, crazy. So many things to do, so little time, yet I feel like I'm barely making a dent in the ever growing list of things to do.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that Mark and I are leaving for Montego Bay on Friday. I'm quite excited to get away and not worry about anything. Give me sun, sand and surf along with my iPod, a book, and a potent potable and I'm good to go. We fly out on Friday AM, direct from Newark to Montego Bay and barring any delays, we should be at our resort and on the beach by 3 PM.

On the weight loss front, I've hit a plateau. The first 45-50 pounds were fairly easy to lose, but I've been losing and gaining the same 5 pounds since Thanksgiving. My surgery kept me out of the gym for about 4 weeks and prior to surgery I hadn't been too active either. I'm getting back into a routine -- trying new things (pilates, Zumba, treadmill) in an attempt to kick start losing again. While this mini vacation is an interruption, I'm hoping that I'll find plenty to do to keep me active.

We've been busy celebrating the St Patricks season since the Belmar Parade on the 1st. I've had my share of corned beef, Bailey's and bagpipes. I've had a blast hanging with the band and with a bit of luck - and practice - Mark will soon be an official member of the band. I've kind of given up practicing with my chanter and am content being a 'band wife' for now.

On the creative front, I'm struggling to find my mojo again. I haven't had the urge to buy more beads and really haven't found the time to sit down and create. However, as was the theme at my WW meeting on Sunday, you'll never FIND time, you have to MAKE time. So a priority when I get home from our trip is to make time for myself to be creative.

Another two sleeps, one more day of work and then we're Jamaica-bound. I'll be out-of-touch for a few days, but once we're home I'll post photos and recap our Caribbean vacation.

02 March 2009

Snow Dogs

Snow Dogs
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

This afternoon, after we shoveled the drive and the plows came through, I took the girls out for their daily constitutional.

The sidewalks in the neighborhood were not completely cleared so we walked along the road until the homestretch, when I let the girls bound through the snow. We had approximately a foot of snow which came up to the dogs' chests.

Tara (our Eskie, front) is a southern gal -- she came up to New Jersey from Florida last year via the Eskie railroad. We aren't sure how much snow she's seen in her life; she's not been too fond of the little bit we've had so far this winter. I was excited to put her out in significant snow today. She was a trooper, bounding through it to get to a 'dry' spot.

Suki (PomX, rear) doesn't really like to go out in the snow either, but once she gets there, she'll plop down in a drift and start grooming. She was more reserved on the walk -- taking her time through the snow as compared to Tara.

Both dogs were glad to get on dry ground once again and into the warm house. They're both zonked out on the sofa near me now -- I guess the walk around the block was more tiring than usual.

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let it Snow!

Snow - March 2009
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

The snow started falling around 7 PM last night here in our part of Central Jersey -- when I woke up around 5 AM this morning, there was a good 8 inches on the ground.

We had a brief window where I started to shovel the drive and took the dogs out for a walk and contemplated going into work. About 30-45 minutes ago it started up again and by 8 AM it was coming down hard. So I'm taking it easy here at home today...

I've been wanting a significant snowfall all winter - finally got it. Yea! Now to find my boots and take the dogs out for a walk so I can snap some shots of them in the chest deep snow. (To see them attempt to bound through chest high snow was quite funny. I'm easily amused though.) I'll wait until this tapers off -- wouldn't do to get lost in a snowdrift.

27 February 2009

Dog Days... of Painting!

img 008
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

I 'met' this wonderful artist, Terry Stanley, via one of my Twitter followers and am really excited about her upcoming project, The Dog Days of Painting.

As of today, she's still accepting submissions, so if you have photos of your dogs that you'd like to see immortalized in paint, email them to her! (See her blog for specifics.) I've submitted pics of Suki, Tara, and Henry -- so I'll be watching over the next year to see if they are lucky enough to be a chosen subject. I'd love to see all three of them painted, but in all honestly, it's Henry's portrait I'd love the most. It's 7+ months since we said good-bye to him and I still miss him.

Anyhow, if you're a dog lover or know a dog lover - spread the word. I can't wait to see all the dogs Terry is going to paint.

16 February 2009

Let's Get Physical

Sorry if you've got Olivia Newton John's song running through your head now... I actually heard it on the radio the other day and groaned. I used to like ONJ, but some of her later stuff was c-r-a-p.

Anyhow, after 4 weeks of inactivity, I went back to the gym today. Initially I though I'd go early this morning to the Centergy class, but I was a slacker and didn't get out the door until early evening, making a yoga class. It was fabulous to get back. I was a bit worried about being 'out of shape' and not able to twist and move my body in some of the yoga poses, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well I did. Some poses were easy-peasy and others were challenging, but not impossible. Even the balancing poses weren't difficult -- but then it wasn't a difficult pose to begin with.

I did learn that my favorite Friday morning yoga instructor has left. The women who told me weren't sure if it was a permanent thing or if she would be back in due time. So I tried tonight's class and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the instructor. The class was quite crowded, but I'll work this class into my routine. Plus, the Sunday morning yoga class is back -- I enjoyed that one as well, so I'll check out the new instructor this Sunday and determine if I will work that into my workout schedule as well.

I put on 4+ pounds this past week - I was not being honest with myself about what I was eating. I'm back on the wagon again and tracking everything. Even today, I made a few not-so-great choices, but I accounted for them. (No more boxes of Girl Scout cookies, no matter how good they taste.) I will be packing a 'for later' bag to take with me to the office which I hope will keep me from searching out less healthy choices to snack on.

Between eating smartly and getting back to the gym on a regular basis, I hope to reverse this weight gain. We leave for Jamaica in four weeks -- I'd love to be down another 5-10 lbs by then, or at the very least, not gain anymore. I'm ready to get away from the cold -- looking forward to sun and surf.

13 February 2009

Crown Me

I've always hated going to the dentist -- for me, having someone poke around my mouth with their instruments of torture is the last thing I want to do. Honestly, I think I'd rather have a gallbladder attack again.

I've been through the revolving door of dentists -- when I find one I like, our insurance changes and s/he isn't on new plan. *sigh* So I ended up with a local dentist who Mark went to and let him torture me in 1001 different ways.

In August/September 2007, I had an old crown removed and replaced with a new one. The old one had been there for 15+ years but had to come off because it had cracked. I went through the whole process - scrape, scrape, drill, drill, make the mold, put on the temporary crown, wait for the permanent crown come in, remove temp crown, scrape, scrape, drill, drill, put on the permanent crown. This whole process took about 4 weeks and even though I had insurance, the damn thing still cost me nearly $600 when all was said and done.

Fast forward to early September 2008 and while I'm eating lunch, I feel a strange sensation - like a tooth was completely exposed. I spit out my crown - realizing it's the one that was put on about a year ago. I call up the dentist and explain the situation (as well as the fact that I no longer have dental insurance) and am told to come in that evening. I go in, the crown is re-cemented and I'm charged out the ying-yang for what took all of 5 minutes (10 tops). I didn't expect to pay the amount I did; especially as the dentist had put that crown on only a year ago. Even the hygienist/receptionist was somewhat appalled at the charge. This wasn't my first unpleasant experience with this dentist and I told her right then and there that neither me or my husband would be back.

Now we're in 2009 - we have dental insurance again thanks to my husband. As I'm eating lunch yesterday (pancakes, if you must know) I feel that strange sensation again. I spit into my palm and what do I see - the damn crown. Again. At this point I know I'm not going back to the original dentist, but I haven't been to a new one since. I have an appointment for next Friday with a new dentist, so I give their office a call. I'm told to call on Friday (today) morning to see if they can squeeze me in.

I called this morning and I'm told to come in at 10:30 AM. I'm greeted warmly by the receptionist and fill out the necessary paperwork. I wait for a short period and am called back. The hygienist is warm and bubbly and we talk about the incident. I was able to pop the crown back in place, but it's loose and neither of us can get it off. The dentist comes in and with a little bit of effort the crown comes off and he gets a look at my tooth. First thing he says, "not a lot of tooth left there..." so he orders some x-rays of the tooth. While it's not affecting the nerve (yet!), he checks to make sure there's no decay (scrape, scrape, drill, drill) and all's well. Yea!

He re-affixes the crown and tells me that they're going to submit to the insurance company to find out if they'll pay for a new crown since this is less than 5 years old. However, if I do need a new crown, I'm gonna have to go for a crown lengthening procedure. I had this done about 5 years ago for a crown on the other side of my mouth -- it's basically reshaping the gum line to expose more tooth so a crown has more to grab on to. It's not exactly fun, but I've not had a single issue with that crown. (Different dentist than the one who put this wonky one on...)

To say I don't like dentists is an understatement, but I think I've got a bit of a crush on this one. He's got a great chairside manner -- very reassuring (which is good for a gal like me who gets pretty worked up over even a cleaning) -- and he's pretty easy on the eyes. The office staff was wonderful too -- I think I might like this practice very much.

So now I wait to see if the insurance will pay for a new crown (if needed) and/or root canal (if needed). But if this crown stays on he won't do anything as long as there's no decay underneath and as long as I have no pain. As of today, it's good. I go back next Friday for a cleaning and full set of x-rays. Honestly, I've had my share of doctors/dentists/x-rays/lab work in the past two months to last me a lifetime.

I'm still quite upset about the shoddy work that the first dentist did -- even he noted there wasn't much tooth but never did he mention a crown lenghtening. In hindsight, I wonder if I had had that done if this crown would have been secure? But I guess there's no use in wondering about it now. I'll wait and see if this holds this time around - if not, we'll see what it'll cost me to have a new one put on. Glad I tossed a nice chunk of money into my Flex Spending Account -- between surgery and a crown, I might wipe it out before the end of March.

03 February 2009

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

A group of ‘historical fiction buffs and I have made a reading challenge for 2009. Each participant will read a book that fit into each of the categories below.

I’ve put my (tentative) book selection below the description if I’ve made one, but there’s a few that remain TBD. If anyone has any suggestions (baring in mind that I’m a historical fiction junkie and have read a lot of HF novels), leave a comment for me.

  1. Read a book of Historical Fiction that is written about a "new to you" time period, person, or location.
    Daughter of the Sun - Barbara Wood
    (FINISHED 28 Jan 2009)

  2. Read a book of Historical Fiction set in your region.
    City of God Beverly Swerling
    (FINISHED 19 Jan 2009)

  3. Read a book of Historical Fiction that has been on your shelf for at least a year. If you don't have a year-old book, read one of the books you have had the longest.
    TBD - most likely some Plaidy book that Ive had forever.

  4. Read a book of Historical Fiction from a "new to you" author.
    The Dark Lantern - Gerri Brightwell
    (FINISHED 02 Mar 2009)

  5. Read a book of Historical Fiction with the word "murder" in the title.
    Murder in Montparnasse - Kerry Greenwood
    (FINISHED 10 Jan 2009)

  6. Solve a crime! Read one Historical Mystery.
    Mark of the Lion - Suzanne Arruda
    (FINISHED 26 Jan 2009)

  7. Be a patron of the arts! Read one book about a famous work of art, music, or the theatre.
    With Violets - Elizabeth Robards
    (FINISHED - 02 Mar 2009)

  8. Viva La Revolution! Read one Historical Fiction book about a revolution, set in the location of your choice.
    The Kitchen Boy - Robert Alexander
    (FINISHED - 16 Feb 2009)

  9. Off with her head! Read one book of Historical Fiction that has a headless lady on the cover.
    To Hold the Crown
    Jean Plaidy
    (FINISHED 03 Feb 2009)

  10. Feed your brain! Read one non-fiction history book. The topic is up to you.
    TBD - am considering The Lost, but I've got some reservations about reading that thanks to a certain friend's review. If that fails, there's some non-fiction books about Anne Boleyn that I've not read yet.
I'm halfway through the challenge of reading 10 books and it's only the beginning of February. I don't suppose being laid up for 10 days post-surgery had anything to do with that, eh? (Honestly, probably not -- I read about the same amount I would have if I didn't have surgery.)

21 January 2009

One week, a gallbladder, and 1.4 pounds later

Yes, I'm alive and well - surviving my surgery and the aftermath.

I went to same day surgery at 1 PM late Tuesday; starvin' marvin because I had an attack on Monday night and everything I ate for dinner came up. Of course, the OR got backed up, so while I was scheduled for surgery at 3:30 PM, I didn't go up to the holding area until 4 PM and was actually wheeled into surgery about 5:15 PM (that's the last thing I remember).

My surgeon came down and talked to Mark and my mom once she was done -- apparently my gallbladder was quite inflamed and full of stones. It was a good thing we got it out. When she came to say hello pre-surgery I told her I had an attack the night before and she told me she was really worried that I wouldn't make it to the surgery date. I'm a trooper!

I was in recovery by about 7:30 PM and taken to a room by 8 PM - just in time to watch the premiere of American Idol. I was up and about and discharged by 10:30 PM and home by 11 PM. Of course the ride home wasn't without a bit of drama... less than 2 miles from home, I screamed for mom to pull over and I projectile vomited along the side of the road. After that, I felt better.

I slept most of Wednesday (the day after) but was pretty much able to get around without too much assistance. As the week progressed, I was able to get around more and took a couple rides in the car to "blow the stink off" as my Mom likes to say. I didn't feel too much discomfort from the gas escaping, most of the discomfort was from the incisions, particularly the one directly above my navel.

Mom drove me to my Weight Watchers meeting on Sunday - I was determined to go, even if it tired me out for the rest of the day. I was a bit concerned that I wasn't going to lose anything since I was still a bit bloated that morning, but was pleasantly pleased that I was down another 1.4 pounds this week. (Considering that I didn't eat much of anything from noon Monday until dinnertime Wednesday, I hoped that I would lose.) So now I'm this much closer to my goal weight - yippee!

On Monday, I went in for my post-op checkup. My surgeon removed the steri-strips that hadn't fallen off and cleaned up the incisions. The one above my navel she applied another set of steri-strips and said by the time they fall off, it should be feeling better.
She told me that's the one most people complain about.Two days later and it's still tender, but it looks to be the largest of all the incisions.

I've been given the green light to drive, I can return to work next Monday (Jan 26th) and the gym on Feb 1st. I still can't do heavy lifting (although I am permitted to pick up my 18 lb dogs) and have to lay off the housekeeping (vacuuming) for another week. Mark asked what I was going to do for the next couple days while I'm home alone -- in all honestly, probably not much. I'm going to relax and try to get my energy back. I still tired easily. My surgeon recommended me taking the full 10 days post-surgery to recover -- I think I'll be glad for that once I go back to work.

Having my Mom here was quite a blessing -- she made dinner several nights and was there to shuttle me around as needed. I don't know what I would have done without her. She left yesterday and I'm feeling a bit lonely this morning.

Three more days of sick leave then I'm back to reality. While it's cold out and I want nothing more than to grab the dogs, a book and a pile of blankets and crawl back into bed, I think I should at least try to do something productive while I'm feeling a surge of energy. Then again, I don't want to overexert myself either.

The pile of library books to be read is getting smaller while the pile to be returned is growing larger. I think I'll try to finish another today and return a stack later this afternoon.

P.S. For the record, I forgot to ask the surgeon how much the gallbladder and gallstones weighed (nor did I get to keep the stones).

20 January 2009

It Is Finished

LK - Finished
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

While I was recuperating from my surgery, I finished off my Lizzie Kate piece -- here's the final piece in all it's glory.

For those interested - the particulars are as follows:

Designer: Lizzie Kate
Fabric: 28 ct Lambswool linen
Threads: Weeks Dye Works and Sampler Threads (as called for)

In all, it took me about four weeks to stitch this piece from start to finish. There are more than a few errors on it, but I'll live with them.

I am debating what to do with it -- frame it (which'll cost a small fortune), make it into a bellpull (not totally enamored of that idea) or find some fabric and make it into a wall hanging. For now it's rolled up and will be added to the pile of other finished unframed projects.

08 January 2009

New Year, New Adventures

For the past several months, I've been having some unpleasant moments - nausea, vomiting, etc. - which I'd dismissed as a bug of some sort. On Black Friday (after I was successful at scoring some bargains at the mall), I had the worst experience ever -- nausea, vomiting, pain in my abdomen that had me doubled over. I spent a good 6 hours huddled around the toilet, yakking and moaning. I initially wrote it off as food poisoning - but when these attacks increased in frequency and intensity, it was obvious that something else was going on.

On December 17th, I finally went to my primary physician who promptly did bloodwork and based on those results sent me for an abdominal ultrasound. On January 3rd, I discovered that I had gallstones -- and was sent to consult with a surgeon. That consultation was yesterday and I'm scheduled for gallbladder surgery (okay - for my geeky friends, a cholecystectomy) on January 13th.

I fell in love with the surgeon -- great tableside manner and she was wearing some pretty awesome jewelry. They were gorgeous blue stones in both her necklace and earrings -- I wanted to pet them. She went through all my symptoms and looked over my charts and decided she wanted to operate quickly. At one point she asked if I wanted it out that evening -- I wasn't quite ready for that.

Due to my bloodwork results I had to go for an MRI (actually an MRC -- magnetic resonance cholangiogram, which is done in the MRI tube) yesterday to ensure there were no stones in my bile duct. That was rather fun... I was a bit claustrophobic when they first slid me into the tube, but if I tilted my head back a wee bit, I could see outside the tube and I was okay. After that I just closed my eyes and practiced some relaxation breathing techniques. (All that yoga is finally paying off!) Even the technician commented on how perfect the 'normal breathing' portion of the procedure went. He said I was the best he's ever had; most patients try to do deep breathing and I was a relaxed, but fast, breather. (Go me!)

I'm waiting for the surgeon's office to call me once they have the results. Today I'm scheduled to go to the hospital for my pre-op testing -- of course, I have to fast for this. Two days in a row, I'm not going to be able to eat until sometime in the afternoon. Ugh. It goes to figure that I'm starvin' Marvin on those days when I cannot eat.

I'm scheduled for a laparoscopic procedure -- but there's always the slight chance that it will become an open procedure. If the laparoscopic procedure goes perfectly, I'll be home the next day and will only be off work 7-10 days.

My Mom's flying out on Sunday to be with me -- Mark will take the day of surgery off, but Mom will be here to help out around the house and with the dogs. I don't care that I'm 40+ years old now, but when one's sick, it's always nice to have some Mommy TLC. Obviously, my trip back to Ohio on the 16th wil have to be rescheduled. I'm kind of disappointed about that as I was looking forward to seeing some friends, but given the circumstances...

I managed to go to the library earlier this week and pick up several books -- if I'm going to laid up for a few days, at least I've got something to read. In the meantime, I'm hoping to get through the next five days without incident. Not to mention I'm looking forward to FOOD after this testing is completed today. The Fiber One bars are calling my name! (I think I'll toss one in my bag for a quick fix when I'm given the green light to eat.)

03 January 2009

WIP: Living With Charm (Lizzie Kate)

WIP: Week 2
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

After 2 weeks, I've about finished 8 of 12 motifs on this piece - I'm moving right along.

Football has helped quite a bit -- it's nice to sit and stitch while listening to the game in the background. Now if only the right teams had won...

01 January 2009

Happy New Year!

img 008
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

We survived the NYE celebrations at the Shillelagh's -- as I told one band member, 'If this is just a warm-up to Savannah, I'm scared!' A fun night, with friends and band mates, and a cheap night to boot!

More pics are in my Flickr album.