Day Six: The Five Best Things This Year

This hasn’t been the best year, to be honest. It’s been a tough one and this topic was a struggle.

1. My grandpa recovered from a health scare. He was in the hospital and a nursing home for almost a month and we were all terrified. He’s home now and doing great.

2. Barley recovered from cancer. He came through surgery like a champ and the tumors have so far failed to return.

3. After two decades of swearing I’d never be with an alcoholic, I finally admitted I was with an alcoholic and made the difficult decision to get out. Alcoholics are selfish and neglectful, and I’m really trying to believe I deserve better.

4. This is a good thing that hasn’t happened yet, but I’m going zip-lining with my stepmom next month. I’m so darn excited. I’m a bit afraid of heights, but I’m doing it anyway. Betsy is the perfect partner for adventures. She’s so calm and collected, and she’s always willing to try new things. She’s so much fun.

5. I took on some new responsibilities at work. On my toes is where I most like to be.

This was my view from the top of Mt. Si on Sept. 2.

In unrelated news, I declared this the Summer of Si, meaning I would hike Mt. Si once a week through the end of August. I had planned to go today or tomorrow, but I killed my back doing dumbbell swings yesterday and I got no sleep last night. So, week one is feeling a little on hold. I may just go get new hiking shoes and start fresh with an Independence Day foray to the forest.

Day Five: Places I’d Like to Live

Wallace, Idaho

If you’ve ever been on a trip with me, you’ll hear two things repeated over and over, “Do you think this place has a soft serve machine?” and “I could live here.” I love so many places that it was hard to keep this list to five. (You’ll notice I sorta cheated.)

Day Five: Top Five Places You’d Like To Live

Western Montana Mountains

1. Western Montana – It’s no secret that I would move in a minute if it were possible to secure gainful employment anywhere between the Idaho-Montana border and Missoula. I love everything about Montana. It’s the only place I can breathe.

The Avenue of the Giant Boulders in Prospect, Ore.

2. Prospect, Oregon – Located just outside the Crater Lake National Park boundary, Prospect is a tiny town at the Rogue River gorge. It’s beautiful and quaint, and completely perfect in every way. Of course, there are no jobs. But, they do have pie.

3. Port Angeles/Amanda Park/Sequim, Washington – Again, perfect, but no jobs outside of worm farming. You know how I love vermiculture, though!

4. Snoqualmie/North Bend/Cle Elum, Washington – I’m trying to convince my boss that telecommuting is perfectly reasonable. He’s not buying it so far.

5. Wallace, Idaho –Wallace is so darn cute and Old West-y. I could hunker down and never leave. In fact, I may just go there now. Buffalo ranch, here I come!

Day Four: Five Best Things on the Internet (and a quick poop story)

For most of Sunday evening, Barley’s stomach was bloated, gurgly, and tender. He didn’t want to move around much and he was in some distress. I anticipated a night of diarrhea and colitis medicine, but, by Monday morning, he seemed fine. Nothing unusual came out the back end until this morning when that 26-pound dog took four gigantic poops of varying textures on our hour-long walk. Thank goodness I brought a grocery bag. This story has absolutely nothing to do with today’s blog, but I was a bit astounded and wanted to share. I wish I’d weighed the bag. So much poop!

Five Best Things on the Internet

1. WebMD’s Symptom Checker – This is also available as a mobile app, which is great when I’m away from home and am suddenly convinced I have hemochromatosis.

2. Dear Prudence on – I’m a sucker for advice columns and Prudie is my favorite. Her advice is really, really good. I want to be her friend.

3. – A cute puppy pic is posted fresh every day and you can click on how many biscuits each one gets. So darn cute.

4. Google’s image search – I use this primarily to scope out diseases and places I may want to visit or live. Use with caution. I still have nightmares about degloving injuries and coconut crab.

5. Blogs – I read a ton of blogs by people I know and some I don’t. I’m the nosiest person in the world. I should probably share my favorites, but then they’d know I was watching them and it makes me uncomfortable. Then again, I just carried a garbage bag full of dog poop for three miles, so maybe I shouldn’t be so sensitive.

Days Two and Three: Books and Names

Day Two: Favorite Books I Read in School

I was a book nut in high school and went into college convinced I would become an English professor and writer. (I wanted to be Anne Rice.) Unfortunately, nothing ruined that passion faster than having it forced down my throat for four straight years. Between Shakespeare and Milton and Plato and Jane Stinking Austen, I kinda lost it.

I came out of college and never wanted to read again. And, I pretty much didn’t read anything substantive for about a decade. Embarrassing, I realize, but that’s what college can do to a person. College (and work) can suck the soul out of anybody. Thankfully, I’m reading again and trying to reignite some of my teenage interests.

Here are my favorites from my school days:

1. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald – My favorite book of all time. Every time I read it, I get something different out of it. I reacted to it so differently when I was younger. It just gets better and sadder every time.

2. Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy – This is a heartbreaker. I had to read this twice in college and I cried like a baby both times. So, so good. All of Hardy’s novels are exceptional.

3. Sons and Lovers, D.H. Lawrence – I had a Lawrence class (all Lawrence, all the time) and, considering I went to a Catholic university, it was pretty risque. Lawrence chose words as much for their meanings as how they rolled in your mouth, creating a mood that isn’t limited to just the words themselves. Brilliant, beautiful stuff.

4. Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad – This is so different from anything I would choose myself, but I loved how it challenged ideas of heroism and morality…and how much each of us desperately wants a do-over. We rarely are who we think we are.

5. The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer – After my Chaucer class, I was convinced I would become a Middle English scholar and devote my life to Chaucer and the like. It wore off, but I sometimes wish it hadn’t. Such a different life I’d have.

The Day Three challenge is kind of a turkey, so I’m putting it here as a bit of an afterthought. Does anyone really care what their name is? I suppose if my name was Seymour Butts, I’d care more. But, my name is common enough to be rarely mispronounced, but not so common that I get lost in a sea of other, lesser Amandas.

Top Five Names I Wish Were Mine

1. Amanda Huggankiss

2. Amanda Lynn

3. Samantha (When I was a kid, I desperately wanted to be a Samantha. It was my go-to pretend name.)

4. Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty (Looking back, I realize how awful Aurora is for a name. It needs more vowels.)

5. There’s no way I can get to five. Who cares about names?

Time for a new challenge…Day One

A quick hello from the boys, the happy hikers!

My blogging mojo has been on the fritz. I’ve started several posts, only to can ’em and wonder if it’s not time to pack it in. My life is very boring most of the time. However, I’m a sucker for lists and when I saw this blog challenge, it sounded like a great way to bury my funk. The full list is at the end of this post. I’m going to start right now with the first day.

Top Five Favorite Excuses I’ve Actually Used

1. I had ice cream earlier so I’m in for the night. (Used for getting out of social events. Because I’m such an honesty nut, I actually eat ice cream deliberately because I feel I should be punished for skipping out on something I should do. Of course, ice cream is also delicious, so there’s that.)

2. I’m sorry, I can’t. I have diabetes. (I use this one with the Girl Scouts and Campfire Girls. This one is not true, but it works really well.)

3. I forgot. I didn’t write it on a sticky note. (Always the truth. I am dependent on sticky notes to keep my life running.)

4. I’d love to stay, but my stomach is…you don’t want to know. (Usually true.)

5. I just don’t want to. (Some people have a hard time saying no. I am not one of them. This excuse is usually followed by an apology for sounding rude. It tends to roll out when I’m cornered by someone really pushy.)

30 Day Top Five Challenge

Day One: Top Five Favorite Excuses

Day Two: Top Five Favorite Books You’ve Read For School

Day Three: Top Five Names You Wish Were Yours

Day Four: Top Five Favorite Things About The Internet

Day Five: Top Five Places You’d Like To Live

Day Six: Top Five Things That Happened To You This Past Year

Day Seven: Top Five Favorite Historical Figures

Day Eight: Top Five Biggest Fictional Crushes

Day Nine: Top Five People You’d Like To Punch in the Jejunum

Day Ten: Top Five Reasons You Feel The Way You Do Right Now

Day Eleven: Top Five Languages You Wish You Were Fluent In

Day Twelve: Top Five Trends/Styles You Abhor

Day Thirteen: Top Five Dream Jobs

Day Fourteen: Top Five Things You’d Do If You Had Magical Abilities

Day Fifteen: Top Five Favorite Beverages

Day Sixteen: Top Five Things In Life You’d Like An Explanation For

Day Seventeen: Top Five Favorite Things To Do Where You Live

Day Eighteen: Top Five Favorite Sporting Events

Day Nineteen: Top Five Favorite Sandwiches

Day Twenty: Top Five Most Annoying Celebrities

Day Twenty-One: Top Five Movies You Quote Constantly

Day Twenty-Two: Top Five Sexiest People Ever (Dead Or Alive)

Day Twenty-Three: Top Five Worst Teachers You’ve Ever Had

Day Twenty-Four: Top Five Things You Do During “Me-Time”

Day Twenty-Five: Top Five Products You Most Desire

Day Twenty-Six: Top Five Most Useful Inventions

Day Twenty-Seven: Top Five Most Annoying Things About Yourself

Day Twenty-Eight: Top Five Favorite TV Shows

Day Twenty-Nine: Top Five Biggest Guilty Pleasures

Day Thirty: Top Five Favorite Song Lyrics

Disease is always interesting, especially on the radio

Today is the last day of my free satellite radio preview. Again, I’m sad to see it go, most especially because of Doctor Radio, a 24-hour, mostly call-in station hosted by doctors at NYU. There are shows on plastic surgery, gynecology, men’s health, children, and, my favorite, gastroenterology. In the space of one week, I learned about hernias, prostate cancer treatment and butthole damage, liposuction, breast reduction surgery and milk production, osteoporosis from heartburn medication…so much crazy goodness. I’ve been in heaven. I love knowing about diseases, even ones I have no chance of getting.

The best bit came this morning, when a man called in about a wasp sting on his wrist. This may be obvious, but if a radio doctor tells you “don’t eff- around, get to an emergency room,” you should just go to the damn emergency room. Suggesting instead that you email him a photo of your problem will only result in the doctor shouting, “This is not an email situation!” It makes for great radio, but you really have to wonder about a guy who hears the words “amputation and possible death” and suggests an email.  I also now know that if you get a bite or sting and there are red streaks in your skin around the puncture, go to an emergency room right away. You have a lymph node situation.

Perhaps I should cancel my cable TV (after Mad Men is over, of course) in favor of Doctor Radio in my house and car. I could literally hear about people’s illnesses all day and never get bored. The human body is so interesting. And, it cracks me up when people talk about their strange physical problems in so public a way. I know it’s anonymous, but I can’t even imagine telling an audience of thousands that I’m a “high methane producer” (yes, a woman actually said that). It’s fantastic.

I’m sure Jo is cringing right now reading this. She hates when people talk about their illnesses. However, I consider this a disease-friendly space, so feel free to share. And, if you want me to research a particular disease or condition, let me know. I love that stuff! It gives me a chance to learn about something new and potentially disgusting. In my next life, I hope I come back as a radio doctor.