Archive for May, 2007

The Survey Says…

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

PET/CT scan was clear, so my oncologist is considering it normal. There was activity in one of my neck’s lymph nodes, but since the cancer wasn’t there, he thinks it’s from all the sinus and allergy issues I’ve been having lately. I took some blood tests to be sure, but I’m positive that everything will come out just fine.  All is good! My next scan/oncology appointment will be in August.

I can’t believe that it’s almost been two years since I’ve been diagnosed already! Tempus fugit. At least it’s been good.

The nurse who took my blood this morning had a bad case of the hiccups. So I told her she had blood all down the leg of her pants. She began to freak out, and I said, “No, you really don’t have blood on your pants. But your hiccups are gone, aren’t they?” And sure enough, they were. She was absolutely amazed.

The scare tactic was a trick I learned from my Aunt Rita, God rest her soul. I had the worst case of hiccups when I was about 10 years old. She came up to me and said, “Amanda, after you left last time you visited, I noticed my favorite gold bracelet was missing from my jewelry box. You were the only one in my bedroom before I noticed it missing.” I told her I didn’t touch her jewelry box, but she pressed on, saying that she knew I took the gold bracelet. I began to cry, then she laughed and said, “I know you didn’t take it, but your hiccups are gone, aren’t they?” And sure enough, they were. It’s the best trick to get rid of hiccups, but only works if the other person is not suspecting that you’re going to scare him.

Seek & Ye Shall Find (05/07)

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

I was just looking through my cpanel and came across some interesting search terms that people used before stumbling upon my site. I think I shall compile the amusing ones monthly:

  1. neighbor shooting squirrels – I’m baffled as to why someone would search for this.
  2. animals that come out at night – Yep, that would be me. Sleep with one eye open.
  3. barefoot contessa jingle – Uh, okay. It’s not a jingle, it’s a instrumental theme song. And it sucks. Why would you even want it?
  4. nicolock pavers problems – Do I look like a masonry help desk?
  5. lyrics found the peanut by noelle and john – Can’t say I know the song. But here’s another nutty one for you.
  6. how to get to long beach lirr – You may want to try MTA‘s website. Never been to Long Beach and would probably get you lost.
  7. chicken drowsy dizzy -pox -tylenol -drug -soul – No explanation for this one, but it sounds like it could be the next hit party song. Especially with pantomime.
  8. squirrel peanut butter jingle – What’s with people and songs about peanuts?
  9. where is amanda now? – Right here.
  10. lots of bookshelves – Try Ikea or Strand Bookstore.

Come On (Thumbs) Down

Monday, May 28th, 2007

My Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop has been overheating the past week – to the point it burns my skin – so I did an online chat with Dell tech support. Boy, was I in for a suprise – and no, it wasn’t the fact that the motherboard and fan need replacing – but the tech actually had an Indian name! Yes, no more Kevin from Kolkatta or Donna from Delhi. Dell is no longer denying the fact that it outsources. I was quite amused. So, now a technician has to come replace those parts and put on new rubber laptop feet. I’m just glad I don’t have to ship the laptop to Texas again. Although repair turnaround is quick, I hate not having the laptop in my presence. I must say, though – Dell has excellent warranties.

And speaking of fixing and putting together, I had to assemble the new patio set today – our first new set in 26 years! However, the placement of the bolts in the chairs were such that they were extremely hard to tighten – and I had to use both an allen wrench and this cheap stubby wrench at a very bad angle in order to do so. Since my left hand is not as strong as my right, it was difficult to manuever both wrenches at the same time, and I flared up the tendinitis in my right thumb. My cousin was having difficulty, too, and by the time it came to put together the table, I enlisted the help of my sister’s boyfriend. If it were Ikea furniture, I doubt it would have been as difficult. Ugh.

For the past two nights, I have been laughing so hard that I’ve almost bust a gut. Over what? “The Price Is Right” bloopers. Some of the good ones:

Thtuffy Nothe

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

Allergies have still not died down. Today was probably one of the worst – I was dizzy, felt sort of floaty and all I wanted to do was sleep. Every time I talk, my mom has to ask me to repeat myself because I’m all stuffed up and not speaking properly. Case in point, a phone conversation I had at work with a public relations guy in Florida:

Me: This is Amanda
PR: Oh, hi Amanda. I didn’t call to talk to you, even though I usually talk to you about Florida stories.
Me (confused, because I had called him 15 minutes earlier and left a message about a story I was writing): Oh? Who are you looking for then?
PR: Samantha
Me: Samantha?
PR: Yeah, Samantha left me a message about 15 minutes ago about some Florida story. I couldn’t understand what she was saying.
Me: Oh, that was me. And my allergies.
PR: That would explain it.

Allergies nonwithstanding, I’ve gotten Samantha quite a lot – in fact, ever since kindergarten. There was a girl named Michelle in my class who always called me Samantha. A nun in high school. And then there was always confusion when I worked in the health food store; someone would call and tell my boss, “I need to talk to Samantha about ordering something.” Then my boss would say, “No Samanthas work here,” and that person would hang up. I’ve seemed to cause all sorts of confusion in my life.

Yesterday was spent driving around Long Island. (more…)

Summer In The City

Friday, May 25th, 2007

So I decided to leave work early, hoping to beat the bulk of the Fire Island/Hampton/Montauk stupidity at Penn Station, and boy, was I wrong.

I went to catch the 2:35 p.m. Long Beach train (switch at Jamaica for Patchogue), which was on Track 16. As soon as they announced it, there was the mad rush with suitcases, yapping dogs and duffel bags in tow.

I knew I wasn’t going to get a seat on that train, so I decided to take the 2:30 p.m. to Babylon, which was on the opposite track, and have my mom pick me up there. That train was no better – apparently the conductor on this one didn’t know that the Long Beach train across the platform had a transfer to a Patchogue train, so he told a whole bunch of beachgoers to get on the Babylon train. What good was that going to do them? I told him that they could transfer to Patchogue on the other train, but he kept saying, “No, no, no, it’s a Long Beach train.”

So the beachgoers that got stuck on the Babylon train and stay on after Jamaica find out that the 2:35 passes us, and we won’t beat it to Babylon. Therefore, they’d have to wait an hour before the could catch another Montauk line train at Babylon. We were running late as is, but another conductor decided to see if the Patchogue train, which at that point, was about five minutes ahead of us, could wait at Babylon.

About halfway between Lindenhurst and Babylon, the conductor says that the Patchogue train would be held at Babylon and meet us there – but, we’d be arriving on the same track, so only two cars on my train would platform. Anyone wanting to get on that Patchogue train would have to go to the two front cars to exit. The train I was on had 12 cars – so a bunch of people had to schlep all their stuff from the back of the train to exit. After the Patchogue train left, the Babylon was able to pull in and open all doors. We were about 15 minutes late from the scheduled arrival time at that point.

Last year, there were no seats on one of the Montauk trains, and some Fire Island-bound lady had her poodle sitting in a seat (no muzzle, no carrier). I asked her if she could move her poodle so I could sit, and she gave me an attitude. I asked her if her poodle had a ticket, because I did, and I wanted the seat. Got the conductor’s attention and he made her move.

There also used to be a pissy conductor on the 4:04 p.m. out of Penn – he would make announcements like, “Will you very rude people with suitcases in the aisle please put them under your seats? Or I’m going to make you move to the vestibule.”

I discovered from last year that the best thing for me to do is stay late in the city and go to dinner with a friend or shop. Take a 8ish or 9ish train, and miss all of the stupidity.

Another thing I wonder – all I needed was one carry-on for a five-day trip to Alaska. Why does one person need two suitcases, a duffle bag and a pocketbook for two days at the beach?

Oooh, That Smell

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

I don’t know it it is some lasting effect from chemotherapy, but smells have been bothering me for quite a while, and it seems to be getting even worse. The worst offender seems to be female perfume, especially one with musky notes. Unfortuantely, it seems that fragrance is quite popular at both the office and on the LIRR. Anytime I smell this type of perfume, I automatically get sick to my stomach. My tolerence has been drastically reduced; a few days ago, I told my mom that her perfume was overkill, but she told me she just spritzed it once on her wrist. Some days it’s so bad on the train that I have to move seats.

On the other hand, my tolerence for soup smells seems to be getting better. That, I know, was a chemotherapy-related problem. It was so bad that nurses had to stop bringing me hot food trays when I was undergoing treatment. Even a year later, every time someone made soup at home or the office, I’d have to run outside for fresh air or else I’d get physically ill.


Home and Roam

Monday, May 21st, 2007

House is nearing completion; there is finally a shell in which I could walk around in. My bedroom is now significantly larger, and I welcome the fact that I will now have a double bed, bookshelves, and a desk. Obi has already claimed the room as her own. Perhaps I shall get her a doggie bed to sleep on, but she sure as heck ain’t sleeping on my bed. She’s a space hog and licks all the blankets.

This past weekend in the city was quite a nice one and someone knows why 🙂 Took the Q down to Coney Island and sauntered down the boardwalk for a bit. The area is quite a sad state of affairs with attractions and buildings beginning to close in anticipation of Thor Equities’ redevelopment. Eh, I’m just too damned nostalgic.

Then we met quite a few R-40 Slants at Stillwell, allowing for a nice view of the Sea Beach line. However, we were kicked out of the prime viewing spot by a five-year-old halfway through the trip back to Manhattan. Got off at 8th Street, stopped at my office (which was very creepy on a Saturday) and grabbed lunch/dinner (linner? dunch?) at Max Brenner’s Chocolate By The Bald Man. It was quite the kooky place, but heaven for a chocoholic like me. Day ended with a trip on the Staten Island Ferry, a quite empty Staten Island Railway train, walking through Tottenville in the pouring rain, and then back to Manhattan to catch my train home. It was the perfect start for many adventures to come :) On a side note, the San Francisco trip is less than two months away now, and has suddenly become more anticipated than ever.

Today, I had my 12th-ish PET/CT scan. This time, it was in Stony Brook Medical Center’s new cancer center. Despite all the newness and less crowding, the scan took longer than usual, which didn’t make me very happy. My appointment was at 9:30. I didn’t get injected with the radioactive glucose until 10:30, and didn’t get in the machine until 12:15. By the time I finished, it was almost 1:00. I was in pain from having my arms over my head and staying completely still during that time, and my blood sugar had taken a nose dive from fasting since 9:00 the night before.  Oh well, so is life – but sure beats having cancer. I have my follow-up appointment with my oncologist next week, but I’m sure the results are going to be just fine.

Burning the Midnight Oil

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

So I’m working late on an article yet again this week. This time, it wasn’t due to my own slackoffiness, but rather to the incompetance of my company’s IT department. I never realized how dependant I was on the Internet and network connectivity until I lost it for five hours today. I had to revert back to running around the office with a borrowed flash drive, which reminded me of my college newspaper days (oh, the horror!)

It’s like the one day I forgot to bring my cell phone with me to work. I felt so lost without it. It was a rainy day, and I had to call Mom to tell her to pick me at Babylon, rather than Islip. My only option at that point was calling from a quickly-disappearing species – the pay phone.  I fished out a quarter from my pocketbook, only to discover that pay-phone calls were now 50 cents. I didn’t have another quarter, so I had to call collect or risk missing my train.

It’s amazing. I used to go to New York City without a cell phone all the time.  Makes me wonder how I’d ever survive on a deserted island. I should take a vacation from technology for a week and see how well I fare.

Amanda Vs. The World Pt. II

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007
  1. Amanda vs. Bad Underground Music (2-0) – Seems like my complaining indirectly worked. I’ve seen no Peruvian pipers this week, and I was treated to the sounds of two different doo-wop/Motown a capella groups in the past three days. So, whichever group hopped on my downtown R train at Canal St.  around 5 p.m. yesterday and sang The Temptations’ “My Girl,” thank you. If I had a dollar or two on me, I would have dropped it in your paper bag. I owe you one.
  2. Amanda vs. Her LG VX5300 Cell Phone (0-50) – After being a faithful Nokia owner since I began using a cell phone in 2001, I decided to go with an LG when my contract allowed me to get a new phone this year. It was only $10, and much more durable than any Nokia I have owned (it even survived a 20-concrete-step drop). However, it lacks an archive for text messages, which I learned this week. And now I can only store 50 messages before I have to go play the delete game. I have no other way to save them except e-mail them to myself, but that’s a pain in the ass.
  3. Amanda vs. the Long Island Rail Road’s Lost & Found (0-Infinity) – I’ve yet to locate my Tupperware and electric toothbrushes. I give up. At least some conductor will have have nice, shiny teeth and a non-soggy salad for lunch.

And an additional match-up:

  • R-40 vs. R-46 (1-0) – My mean distance between failures (145,045 miles) is better than your mean distance between failures (140,098 miles), so take your shiny, bucket-seated trains and go elsewhere, Yuri. I win this year!

Well, judging from my scorecards so far, I have some advice for you all: if I come back as a racing horse in my next life, don’t bet on me.

Just Another Manic Tuesday

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Two more days and I hopefully get to breathe easier. As you can probably tell in my lag of posting an entry, I’ve been pretty busy. Mostly, it’s work. These have probably the busiest two issues I’ve worked on. Luckily for July and August, we go from bi-weekly to monthly. That takes a little stress of my writing portion, at least. I have two conference to prepare for, but they should be a piece of cake now that I really have the coverage experience. I’ve also graduated to writing about finance. It’s a hard subject, especially when it’s hard enough for me to juggle my own!

May through July is also time for graduations, parties, barbeques and other events. It started over a week ago with one of my little cousins’ First Communion. It was there I learned “Chicken Noodle Soup,” (which apparently is quite popular, but I have been blissfully aware of it thusfar) and how to do the Charlie Brown move to “Cha-Cha Slide.” (I couldn’t find a shorter YouTube example, but in my search, I  found the quite amusing “Hey Ya, Charlie Brown!“). Of course, there were the ancient classics of “The Twist,” “The Electric Slide,” “Celebration” and “Hands Up” – the bad staples of any catered and dee-jayed party. As untolerable as those old songs are, at least they’re not as cringe-inducing as some of the new songs out there. It seems that if you’re able to string some random phrases along with pantomime, you’ve got yourself a hit party song.

House is coming along. Today the contractor framed the front, so now I can see exactly how big my new bedroom is going to be. I think the most exciting part will be hitting Ikea for some new furniture. I need lots and lots of bookshelves! Probably going to for a classic, less modern-looking decor. Besides the house, there are a lot of other things to look forward to, but that will come in time  😉