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I’ve made it to the end of the week, thank goodness. At times, it felt like it would never come, but now it’s here, there are fun plans (and some not so fun) for the weekend, and there was football last night.

Now, I’m not a huge football fan. It can be fun, but it can also be boring. It also requires a much longer attention span than I’m willing to give to sports at times. Basketball is pretty much over and down with in around 2 hours. Football? 3-4 hours.

Last night, Stanford had their season opener against Oregon St. It was, at times, a battle to see who could win, but also at times, to see who could lose. I saw the first safety I’ve seen in person–for us, thankfully–as well as some pretty spectacular screw-ups by the Oregon St boys. Oh, and my complete lack of faith in undergrads being human has thankfully been restored by the girl behind me who screamed profanities for 4 hours, punctuated with “!$!%$^, BABY!” in a Dickie V way of talking. I hate Dickie V. And I wasn’t real fond of her by the end of the evening.

But the game was good, the beer beforehand was free, the company was good (Rhiannon, Sam, Amelia, various classmates and co-workers), and we did win the game. I suppose that means we’re currently atop the rankings for the Pac10. Let’s see how long that stays in place…

Also, I went and bought my and John’s All-Access passes today, which should allow us into all Stanford sporting events, especially basketball. And they only charged me $100. Total. Instead of $136 for him and $75 for me. Whoo-eeee! Of course, I turned right around and bought a parking permit for $282…

So I guess this week is picking up a bit. We are going to the funeral tomorrow, which should be bundles of fun. We didn’t know this kid all that well, but we did know him, and his sister is our good friend. But then there’s camping and maybe diving and lots of football and relaxation.

Hope you all have a fun Labor Day weekend!

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For the fourth straight day, I have a headache. And trying to plan out the next four months worth of work with a headache is not going well. I kind of just want to put my head down on my desk and either cry or sleep. I wonder which one would scare my lab manager more. He always gets nervous when girls are girly.

The funeral is Saturday for our friend’s little brother. I wish, somehow, I could take all the pain away from my friend, but not only can I not do that, I can’t even really relate. I don’t know what it’s like to lose a sibling, and I hope I don’t find out for a very, very, very long time.

It seems so unfair that he was only in his early 20s, was a good kid, stopped to help someone, and suddenly is gone. I suppose life is like that–unfair in the extreme at times, but at other times, you get so damn lucky you don’t know what hit you, like with my mother having pretty much fully responded to the chemo.

And the big boss is doing okay. Apparently the problem was a combination of his body rejecting the heart stent (happens rarely, but sometimes) along with some minor blockage in the area of the stent, all combining to cause a heart attack. At least he recognized it and called the paramedics. He’s got a small son and a wife to support–hopefully this will be the (second) kick in the pants he needs to really start taking care of himself better.

Both of these things have driven home how important it is to live life they way you want to. With something like cancer, you have time to say goodbye. With either of these? Not so much. Gotta tell the people you love that you love them whenever you get the chance, I suppose.

Life’s a bit of a downer right now, sorry.

One of John’s co-workers got to work on time this morning, but was immediately followed by her aunt and fiance. Apparently her brother was killed late last night/early this morning when he stopped on a road near Reno to help a guy change his tire, and then was hit by an oncoming car. The brother was an ex-shop employee. I can only hope the end was swift and painless.

And the big boss is no where to be seen. The only info John or anyone else has is that when the aunt stopped by his house to let him know (the big boss and the co-worker’s family are friends), no one was home and a neighbor told the aunt that the big boss had been taken away in an ambulance early this morning. No one can reach him or his wife, and the manager boss is currently calling all the hospitals in the area.

It’s not safe to be a former/current employee there today, apparently.

There had better not be a plane crash on the way to Cozumel today, or we’ll be 3 for 6 of the people who are the full-time or close to full-time employees.

Drive home safe, love.

Edit at 3:30pm: Apparently, rumor on the street is that big boss’s body started to reject the heart stent that he had put in a year or so ago. Or possibly there was blockage around the heart stent? In either case, if the ambulance had taken him to the hospital he ASKED TO BE TAKEN TO, he’d be dead right now, because it was 10 minutes further away. Let that be a lesson–listen to your ambulance driver, dammit! And take care of your body, dammit!

It’s a good idea to make sure the restaurant you plan to meet at is actually open for dessert on Sundays.

At least this was discovered with enough time to fix the plans!

Well, you were all right. My friend and I spent a decent amount of time catching up, with very few lags in the conversation. It was nice to hear how she’s been doing, and what she’s up to now, as well as to catch up on some mutual friends.

We had a lovely lunch, and then I took her by Elizabeth’s place. Elizabeth was actually home, since her class was cancelled, and they invited me to stay and hang out, but I had to throw together social hour for my department. It was my lab’s turn, and no one in my lab cares much, so I always end up doing. It’s not a big deal–that way I get to pick the beer and food (found a lovely apricot ale) AND I get to take home all the opened food that won’t last two weeks until the next social hour. It has it’s own rewards, most of which I took to John’s work place to feed his staff, as they’re having a sale weekend and were running around like crazy.

I actually ended up spending almost the whole of my Saturday at his work place, helping out for free but also getting to gossip with friends who stopped by and schmooze with the reps who came by. It was pretty productive, and the sale was good. I did run home for a few hours to write a character reference for James F, who’s going to be looking for substitute teaching jobs shortly, but that was it.

Right after work, John and I met up with James and Cara and headed to that all-american restaurant, Hooters.

Let me just say, I’ve never been to Hooters before, and it was both better and worse than I imagined. It was Cara’s birthday, and she wanted to go somewhere friendly that served beer and wings. I’m not sure why Hooters came up, but we even managed to talk James into going. Nate and Shelly came, as did the other James and Greg, so we had a nice little scuba gang to hang out with in among all of Cara’s work friends and non-scuba friends. Everyone mixed fairly well, but in the end we all sort of gravitated to the people we knew, so Cara spent a lot of time running between groups.

They did have very good beer and wings, as well as shrimp and onion rings, although their garlic fries left something to be desired. Cara’s parents even picked up the entire tab, as well as ordered 3×50 wings for about 20 people. That was way more than we could eat, but was super generous of them.

Cara had a blast–the tequila shots saw to that–and James managed to get the Hooters girls to sing to her and the other birthday people there. They did the Hooter Pokey (or some such thing)–it appeared to the rest of us as an excuse to wiggle and hopefully improve tips. All I can say is that I hope those girls want to be working there. I wouldn’t, but if they do, good for them.

I haven’t talked to Cara yet today to see how she’s doing, but she was a pretty happy girl when we got back to her place, and James finally put her to bed not to long after. The rest of us continued to celebrate for her in Guitar Hero-style for an hour or so, then went our separate ways.

John’s back at work today, and doesn’t get a day off until next weekend, at which point he gets a 5. day. break. I’d like to take some time off there, too, but I’m waiting to see how radiation goes for my mom this week. If it goes well, I don’t think there’s much reason for me to go home to help, so in that case, I may take a day or two off with him. We’re going camping on Friday and Saturday, then diving Monday. I may need Tuesday to recover, frankly.

And while I’m sure my boss would give me the time to go, I don’t want to abuse that trust and take a week off unless I’m really needed at home. I’ll probably save the time and use it to go to the wedding in October if I can find plane tickets that are cheap enough–my friend who’s getting married will understand the “poor student who can’t afford plane tickets” reason for not coming to her wedding, but if I can make it there, I’d really like to.

The other alternative is to go visit Amy after she moves to Boston, especially if she’s having a hard time settling in. She’s been working in a cooking store, so she has more than enough kitchen gadgets to choke a horse (but thanks for the idea, Renn!), but I’m thinking that a funny care package will be good for just after she gets there, followed possibly by a visit from a friendly face.

At least gas prices are coming down a bit. Now if only plane ticket prices would, too.

A mutual high-school friend is coming to visit Elizabeth this weekend, and I’m picking her up at the airport tomorrow morning, then she and I are going to lunch while Elizabeth finishes up at work.

I haven’t seen this girl in at least 4, if not 8 years. I haven’t talked to her in that long. We’ve Facebooked each other, but that’s about it.

I’m hoping there’s enough “what have you been up to in 8 years” there to keep us in delightful conversation throughout lunch.

We were pretty close in high school, and I’m just crap at keeping in touch with people. I’m a bit nervous that it’s going to awkward, but it will also hopefully be fun.

In the meantime, it’s dinner with Rhiannon and Sam to repay them for taking care of our cats ages ago, and then massive amounts of cookie baking since John’s work is having a sale this weekend and I always take it upon myself to keep their blood sugar high.

Snickerdoodle and oatmeal raisin are the requests.

I suppose if my friend and I lose track of things to talk about, I can always take her to my place and put her to work packing cookies, eh?

I am, quite clearly, living for the weekend these days. And this was a pretty kick-ass weekend.

To start off, John worked late Friday, so I got to spend some time at home by myself. The grand plan was to make cookies as a house warming present, but did my brain remember this? No. So I loafed around and enjoyed some time by myself.

Saturday, after a brief couple hours at work, John and I went off to run errands–joy of joys–but its been fun to spend time with him on all his weekends off. We also discovered a German bakery, where we bought Nate and Shelly their house warming present–an assortment of pastries for breakfast the next morning so they wouldn’t have to worry about that post-party. And some champagne, just for good measure. Because we love them, crazy Brits that they are.

I tried to convince John to buy a cheap-ass bottle so we could get Shelly to break it on the house and christen it like they do with ships, but he thought they’d enjoy drinking the stuff more. He’s no fun, is he?

We headed south after running errands, swinging by his work place, then on to James F and Cara’s place for an hour or so. We all debated the fact that Nate and Shelly wouldn’t likely notice if we gave them only 4 pastries instead of 6, but managed to keep our salivating thoughts to ourselves. Then it was on to the party.

About 3-4 months ago, Nate and Shelly bought a house. They then had a huge series of house guests from the Motherland (England, where they don’t speak properly!). Finally, with the house back to themselves, their realtor threw them a housewarming party. She catered it, and had plenty of good food and wine and port.

And their house? Makes me wish John and I could go back and buy a house when we were talking about it. Because their place is perfect. Not that we could EVER have afforded it, but perfect. 3 bedrooms, two living rooms, 4 bathrooms (including one with a steam shower and an inappropriately height-ed window and another one with a jacuzzi tub), a climate-controlled wine closet, and best of all, an entire shed for their scuba stuff. Next to the 2-car garage. And this place not only has it all, but is beautifully decorated. The paint colors are nice, there’s a fire place, there’s marble countertops, there’s stained glass windows and stained glass lighting.

*sigh*

I think they need to adopt me. Or at least rent one of the bedrooms to John and me.

There were a ton of people that stopped by, and we got to sit and chat with quite a few people as the evening wore on. There was Olympic marathon-ing in the background as we all waited with baited breath for Michael Phelp’s eighth race (WHOOHOO!!!!!!). And there were lots of oohs and ahhs about the house itself. All in all, a fabulous party, and we all have a new party hangout.

I even tried to oblige Cara, who wanted to see me drunk because she thought I’d be an amusing drunk, but the evening went so long that my drinking just kind of kept pace. There was a lot of giggling, though. Fun times.

Sunday, after work, John and I met up with Elizabeth and Mark and went on a bike ride out and around, with plenty of miles behind us but also plenty of breaks for some hilarious conversation. We were supposed to do dinner with them afterwards, but they ended up having to (get this…) be interviewed for some prize they’d won in the local paper!!! So no date for us, sadly. But we can claim to have (sort of) famous friends!

Instead, we headed south again to James and Cara’s place, to the old stand-by of BBQ. Cara likes to experiment with new dishes and make us try them out.

“I’ll know you’re my real friend if you try the potatoes!”

We even went to see the Star Wars Clone Wars movie. It was actually surprisingly entertaining. Perhaps because the guys each had light sabers (green for James and red for John–apparently we’re a Sith family), I got a little-kid-sized double light saber (seriously, about 18 inches long, it was hilarious), and Cara wore Princess Leia hair buns and carried a blaster gun. We amused ourselves greatly. And a little 3-4-year old at the theater who couldn’t stop following around James and saying “He has a light saber!” Although I’m not sure his mother probably appreciated the effect…

The real gem of the evening was that James wasn’t disappointed by the movie. It wasn’t great, but it was good, and the friends made it worth the time. He only found 2 errors, geek that he is–apparently one of the bounty hunter droids that makes an appearance wasn’t invented at the time, and also the storm troopers that fly are supposed to have different helmets from the ones on the ground. Who knew??

All in all, a pretty good weekend. And my batteries are recharged. But it would sometimes to have a 5-day weekend and a 2-day work week.

Ok, I’ll jump on the bandwagon.

7 golds. 7 Olympic records. 6 world records.

Boy, don’t break my heart. I’ll be rooting for #8.

Love,
Sarah

So after my mom’s oncologist told me to start bothering my doctors about getting mammogram screening, I did so. Back in January? February?

Student Health referred me to the Breast Cancer Clinic here at the hospital. Their genetic counselor called me up and we chatted for awhile, and finally, last week (August, please note), I had my appointment.

The basic take-home message was that they don’t recommend screening until I’m 35, but at that point, I’d have a very low threshold for testing beyond a digital mammogram. This is good news. I’ve passed it on to Amy.

Even better news: Based on my family history and the fact that the two people who’ve been tested are negative for the BRCA mutations, I’ve got a 15% chance of developing breast cancer over my lifetime. Normal risk is 10-12%. So 15%? A damn good number. A number I can live with.

****

My mom’s meeting with the surgeon today, and the radiologist tomorrow. She’s got a month of daily radiation ahead of her. I need some airline to magically offer me a free ticket to go home again, and a rational to give to my boss about another week off. I hate not being there.

****

Elizabeth and I met up for coffee for the first time in a couple months. We’re going riding this weekend and then dinner with the boys, which I’m looking forward to a lot. Also, a mutual friend from high school is coming to visit her, and we’ll all get together for dessert or coffee or something. It’ll be good times.

****

Nate and Shelly are having a house warming party this weekend. They keep insisting they don’t need anything to “warm their house”. I feel the need to take something. I’ll make them cookies, but I’d also like to get them something wacky and gag-gift-ish. The first thing that comes to mind is TP. Anyone else have any thoughts?

****

Getting back into work after being gone for most of July is pretty hard. But things are finally ramping up. I’m not sure this is good, but it does mean I have stuff to do instead of stalking Facebook and blogs. However, I’m more convinced than ever that I just don’t want to do this. It isn’t making me happy. Anyone wanna pay me to be a scuba bum?

****

Speaking of Facebook, we found the diver chick from this past weekend, who we’ll hopefully be going diving with soon in an attempt to convince her we’re the cooler people to dive with. She seems pretty awesome, and we had fun talking with her Saturday for the hour or so we were all in the hot tub, so this shouldn’t be too hard.

****

Amy’s birthday is in two weeks. I need to get her a present. I have two ideas, but she’s also moving to Boston for school, so I’d like to get her something to help make the transition smooth. What do you need to move into your first apartment ever? With roommates you don’t know? In a town you don’t know? If only I had money for a plane ticket.

****

My best friend from childhood is getting married in October, right after John and I get home from our vacation. He can’t get the weekend off, and I don’t want to go by myself, as I’m not likely to know ANYONE but her. I either need to suck it up and go, or find a good excuse not to. Though money itself is likely to be a damn good excuse, as flying there Saturday and coming home Sunday will cost me at least $500 when you throw in the hotel and car. Again with the money for a plane ticket…

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