Monday, April 6, 2009

Rotten Day!

So yes, I know I am behind and have not yet posted my last day in Taiwan. Will do that when Jeremy gets a moment to post pictures. In the interim...this past week was slightly challenging as I got pretty sick with a sinus infection and bronchitis and had to go back on a bunch more meds. Story of my life...Medications.

This morning was Rotten. Most of you who follow my blog know my big "secret", that I have been and am still in process of being approved for the bariatric gastric bypass surgery. Medically for me its been a tough year. Vertigo since the day we came home from our honeymoon, Sinuplasty this past September, many many sinus infections after surgery as everything finally drained from who knows how long ago?, and my gall bladder surgery 6 weeks ago. Not to mention the giant allergies I have been dealing with since i moved here as well as the month spent going to therapy for the vertigo, chiropractor visits, and several other unmentionables. Needless to say, there are days when I seriously question The Lord. It has been not the most ideal start to my married life.

Which brings me again to this morning. I started this plan in June when i was officially diagnosed with Diabetes. I did everything I was supposed to do. I changed my eating habits, spent time with nutritionists and a diabetic nurse, I consult with a diabetic nurse practitioner every month, I went in every month to be weighed and have my a1c taken as well as my blood sugars checked. I have lost weight and been on a medication management plan. I went in for a sleep study. I have exhausted everything I have to do on my end. I have been dealing with my insurance since December and they continue to "lose" the paperwork my doctors fax in.

And again to this morning...hahaha. So finally after having done everything, attended the orientation and chosen my surgeon, made sure the surgeon was in my network, and turned in all of the paperwork to the hospital, I finally heard back this morning. Filled with Joy I called the nurse back as she indicated in the message they were ready to start scheduling my appointments. We spoke and as the conversation continued I heard the dreaded words "out of network". I assured the gal that indeed that one of the locations my chosen surgeon worked was "in network". I had made sure of this prior to beginning. There was a moment of silence before she gave me a number and told me to call crystal and talk to her. A bit confused, i made the phone call only to be told that somewhere in the 2 months since i had gone to the information meeting and turned in my paperwork, the surgeon had decided to abandon doing surgeries at my in network location. Fighting back tears I asked her what this meant for me.

Option A: pay my 30 percent to the tune of 30 percent of 35,000 dollars= 10,000
Option B: Fax all of my paperwork to the alternate location and use one of their surgeons
Option C: A whole new start to hospital, new surgeon, new beginning of the process.

Obviously I chose option B. So I spent some good time on the phone with Cathy, chatted about everything i needed to still do and she assured me she would make every effort to make this transition as smooth as possible. Now Jeremy and i have to attend another information session to meet these surgeons, and my insurance has to be dealt with all over again. More time more wait more this more that. Its so discouraging and so frustrating. I just want to get the surgery and get it over with and get on with my life. I so tired of this. its been 10 months since i started and still i see no pot at the end of the rainbow. put it in perspective, i spent so much time on the phone with nurses and insurance that by 1pm my phone was dead. i began the morning at 9:15 and none of those calls were joy calls except the 20 minute call to Jeremy on his lunch telling him of my woes.

When all was said and antidote: Sleep! Took a nap.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 6, March 26

Today was fantastic! We began our morning with a trip to a local Buddhist temple. It was very fascinating. I think the most interesting thing was seeing how many of them brought food and drink sacrifices. They offered incense offerings and stood in line for a monk's blessing. I had never been to a temple before so it was very very interesting. On the way to the bus station we passed a mortuary in the center of the city. Very odd. Also, next to the mortuary the city block was lined with stores selling caskets and urns. Even more odd.
We then took a taxi ride to a place called the Taipei tea promotion center. One of the goals of this week was to see a tea plantation and try some of the local tea varieties. Our taxi driver was so sweet and nice. Normally there is a Gondola that takes you from the Taipei Zoo to the tea plantations but last year a typhoon hit and damaged it. The taxi driver had never driven there before so it was an experience for all of us.

The tea promotion center was very lame. We decided its entire purpose was a city tax deduction. We walked along the road until we found a restaurant where we stopped to eat. Unbeknownst to us it turned it the eatery was exactly the place we had been hoping to find. In the same travel show about Taiwan that included the bee restaurant, it also included this one. The chef made up all of his own recipes and creations and cooked the food in tea and tea oil. It was sooooo good. We had a variety of foods. The chef was so sweet. Today was just a day of really awesome people.

Unfortunately the downside of today was that I was finally forced to either use a squat pot or wet my pants. I opted for the squat...very tramautizing. What a total pain. And then to add insult to injury when i came out of the GIRLS bathroom there was a man in the stall next to me with the door open zipping up his pants. He turned to look at me and I swear he acted like I was the freak. Hello....clearly the toilet next door had a Urinal. Good grief.

Later on after resting at home we left and had dinner at a very famous dumpling place. It too was fantastic. I know I will definitely miss the food here. Another interesting bathroom experience. This restaurant had toilets with automated bidets. You pushed the first button and it washed "inside"...then you pushed the second button and sprayed your outer bum off and the third button dried your bum. If that was'nt enough, the toilet had a music player on it for your listening pleasure as you did your business. :o)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Days 4 and 5, March 24-25

Wow...Time goes so fast. Can't believe we are already more than half way through our week here. Today we saw some of the gorgeous spots here in Taiwan.

This morning we hoofed and MRT'd (subway) it to a tourist trap called Dongshue. There was lots of street vendors at the day market. It is basically what we americans know as china town in the US. We tried little desserts and shopped. Am so excited, I got a very cute tea set that is green and replicates a lot of the sets we saw at the museum. After getting back to the house we left for an overnight holiday in a town called Wulai. It was beautiful. So green and luscious. We stayed in a family owned bed and breakfast. Wulai is known for its hot springs so we had a giant stone hot tub and a cold water tub in our bathroom. It was lovely. We alternated hot and cold about 4 times before getting out.

Tuesday night we ate at a local restaurant that Jeremy and I had seen on a food network TV show. We ate local delicacies including 2 week aged salted pork and Ostrich. The greens here are so good. Many kinds we dont eat in the US. The next day we went back to the restaurant and ate more rice that is cooked in bamboo and we ate fried bees. yes...bees with eyes and wings. They were really good. Very crunchy although it was weird looking at their eyes and sometimes i got wings stuck in my teeth.

We did some more local shopping, got some pineapple cakes. Yum. And headed home to relax and stay in for the evening. A wonderful holiday...just what we needed.

pics: Wulai Falls, Wulai Day Market, Aboriginal lady hand weaving. Plate of bees, Me eating bee, rice cooked in bamboo and plate of bees.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 3, March 23

Today is a special day, it is my dad's birthday and Ezrela and Kokloong's 6th anniversary. So.. happy birthday to my dad and happy anniversary to Ezrela and Kokloong.

Today we were truly tourists. First off we went to Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. Very cool. They have a changing of the guard there every hour to honour the founder of the Chinese Republic, Sun Yat-Sen.

Next we went to the building called Taipai 101. It is amazing. The design of the building is based on the appearance of a bamboo. Right now it is the tallest building in the world and has the fastest elevator to the top. 89 floors in 32 seconds. Our ears popped on the way up and down because of the speed. The picture of the ball is the most incredible part of the building. It is a damper ball that prevents the building from moving as much as it otherwise would. There are 200 strands of wire in each of the ropes.

Later that evening we went out to eat at a really good Japanese buffet. Most of the food they made fresh to order. I tried to eat sushi since sushi here is different from the US in that they don't hard freeze the fish in order to kill the parasites. Thus it is extremely fresh. But i still didn't dig it. I suppose I am just not sophisticated enough.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 2, March 22

Today we woke up to a lovely day THICK with humidity and very warm. Jeremy and I really don't deal well with humidity. We are just too warm and my hair goes in crazy curly directions. light of said weather conditions we decided to go to the National Palace Museum.

I was so bummed out that we weren't allowed to take photos inside of the museum. It is filled with amazing artifacts that were packed up and removed from the Forbidden City in Beijing. Apparently the items were packed and then moved around for the next 40 years until they were unpacked and displayed. The claim is that not one piece was broken during the 40 years.

The museum was pretty packed and we spent a lot of time running from the tour groups. One thing i have learned about the people here is they just shove right in front of you. The lack of consideration is crazy to me. However...being that I am about a foot taller than most of the people this wasn't that big of a problem. I could see over them. :o)

After the museum we went to a hot pot restaurant. I had never had hot pot so def a new experience for me. It was good but I ended up switching my order a bit since the soup base I ordered was basically a straight Kelp. Not a fan of seaweed...but, once the herbs were infused it was much better.

Decided i was going to run to the bathroom while my hot pot got to boiling. Door number 1...something weird on the floor. Door number 2...another weird floor "toilet". Fled back to table with something akin to fear and confusion. Described said contraption. Apparently a "squat toilet". However...had I looked behind door number 3 I would have encountered an American Toilet. Oh...another tidbit. Toilet paper is called Tissue..and Tissue is to be thrown away in garbage...not flushed. Hmmm. Am getting used to this sort of.... :o)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Day 1, March 21

We lost a day. We flew from daylight to daylight. Saturday morning we woke up and decided to just chill. So we did. We spent all day playing with Maou, Ezrela and Kokloong's funny kitty. She is hillarious. :o) We talked and caught up. It was so wonderful to just relax and unwind from the plane ride. I woke up in the middle of the night with a big cramp in my calf...a product of 15 hours in the plane. We slept on a very very firm mattress but didn't even notice because we were so tired.

Our lovely friends got us bakery treats for breakfast, and french pressed us coffee. Then they made us dumplings and cut up a fantastic bowl of fresh fruit. Sweet Papaya is now one of my fav's. Will have to be eating much more during the week.

Tonight we went to dinner at a yummy Thai restaurant. It was really really good. We checked out 7 eleven across from the apartment and...went back to sleep.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Flight...

I dreaded the flight...i grumped and grouched about the flight for months before our trip. However...I made it all in one piece.

I watched 4 movies: The Changeling, Four Christmases, Man on Fire and Nights in Rodanthe. Conveniently we each had our own tv panel in front with lots of movie and game selections that were complimentary. I felt like a child in a mini van with a movie screen. Very thankful for the passing of hours.

We ended up in a flight pattern in Tokyo for about an hour waiting for the wind to die down so we could land safely. We got off the plane, went through security yet again...(what do they think, that we sharpened our plastic knives as a weapon while on the 11 hour flight??). They searched our carry-ons. The whole security issue makes so little sense. You go through security in Portland, get on a plane, get off a plane in Tokyo, walk about 100 yards to another security station...(what possibly could have changed between portland and tokyo while sitting on said plane??) Anyhow, we spend a half hour standing in line to get through the security line. Get to our gate and have exactly ten minutes to relax before we board yet again.

On the very small 757 we go. Jeremy and I have a trick now with seats. we both like aisles. We sit in aisle seats across from each other in hopes for an empty middle seat. Not to be. Our flights were both overbooked. Argh. We found out later this is Fashion Week in Taipei. I'm seated by a tiny Chinese guy that carries a man bag and makes me feel like a behemoth. hehe In fact, Jeremy and I feel like Giant White People. We are big...tall and very very white. In Taiwan the people are very tiny and definitely not blonde and white.

By hour 13 im pretty tired and trying hard to bite my tongue. I proclaim to Jeremy that we are no longer flying anywhere outside of the United fact, I no longer want to fly. I am so tired. My head is hanging and each time i start to fall asleep my head boinks down to my chest and wakes me up. We land...Finally. Customs and security...Car service to Ezrela and Kokloong's apartment...Yay! Okay, so maybe ill fly again...Maybe like this saturday?? :o)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New and Fun!

We have a couple of new additions to our house and I am so thrilled. We decided to get a pot rack in hopes of creating additional space in our slightly small kitchen. Jeremy hung it tonight and I am so happy and excited. Even though our pots and pans don't look like the food network all clad sets. I am okay with that. I like our smattering of pampered chef, calphalon, and Costco brand...heheh.
I also purchased a new slow cooker...but that will be its own post later on because its just so fantastic.

And...we got a new bed. Either our bed has been causing us aches and pains or our old age; not sure which but probably a bit of both. Anyhow, we have been groaning every morning with our back pain and our hips and knees have been popping and cracking so we decided we had had enough.
Interestingly we did not intend to buy our new bed the day we shopped. We had eaten breakfast out with friends the week before my gall bladder surgery...and as usual, my tummy was presenting some problems so as we walked about in the mall i saw the Select Comfort bed store and made a bee line. I figured heck...i would just lay down on the beds until my stomach felt better. hee hee. :o) well after trying out about 6 different beds we began to realize how much better we both felt just in the few minutes of laying on them.

We were hooked! We left the store and went right home to take a look at our financial spreadsheet. Needed to make sure we could afford said bed. After getting an affirmative answer...we called up the store and ordered the bed. Today it arrived and we CANNOT wait to try it out tonight. Both of us are expecting miracles! Haha j/k.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

5 things I have learned about surgery

As most of you know, I had my gall bladder removed this past wednesday. It is a very interesting process....especially for me.

1. Don't try to tell the nurses what to do regarding your own body. They will only tell you you are wrong and then try desperately to hit your vein for an IV only to fail 2x in 2 different areas and when you are asleep they will do what you originally said to do, hit it in the right spot, once, with little bruising. I think they thought i was an iv drug user since my veins were not productive.

2. Fight for a big room. Rant and rave so your family can sit in a comfortable chair for the hours they are stuck with you rather than a teeny room with what amounts to a folding chair. Even if the nurse gets really grouchy at you and thinks you are acting like a princess.

3. Don't bother with your pre-op appt because as soon as you get to the day surgery center the nurse will spend a half hour asking you the exact same questions she did a week ago. and its really annoying. esp when you are hungry and thirsty. Not to mention that my pre-op nurse told me not to take my nexium the night before surgery and the day nurse said i should have taken it the night before as well as the morning before to aid with anesthesia.

4. Fight for your underwear. I was forced to strip down to my nothings...and my lowest incision is my belly button. Give me a break.

5. Listen to the nurses when they tell you about the smile pain chart. The whole keeping ahead of the pain is really important. I felt so good the first day that I didn't think i needed any pain meds. Come midnight I was screaming because the air bubble in my belly hit my shoulder and between the belly and shoulder pain, i could hardly breathe.

Anyhow...there's a little piece of my first day of surgery. I am feeling better now but am still so tired and my belly is still filled with air. Now not only am i fat...but I look like one of those fat pregnant people with my belly protruding. Its not very exciting.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Blues

I have a terrible headache. It's just one of those days where I feel overwhelmed. My house isn't pristine, I can't find my sunglasses, and above all I haven't slept good for over a week. I had to stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs a week ago and I so rely on them to help me sleep through my aches and pains. Tylenol is not cutting it.

I have laundry to do and I haven't shopped for this week yet...well, normally I shop on Mondays so I will go later. And the thing is...I know so much of this panic mode has to do with the fact I am having my gall bladder removed on Wednesday morning. I am concerned about getting everything done before my mom gets here. She is coming for the week to take care of me and I don't want her to feel like she has to take care of my house and laundry etc. I have planned meals through Wednesday so she will only need to cook Thursday...arrrgh.

It is just one of those days where it seems there is not enough time in the day. last night I freaked out at 1am because I was obsessing about my sunglasses...and then i unloaded on Jeremy because he squashed things together on the counter to make my new slow cooker fit...and i HATE clutter and I can't stand things feeling small and tight...again...It is just one of THOSE days.

And through this all I am supposed to be working through financial peace and having my life more organized. And right now I am just venting. I have too many things and not enough space. I continuously have to juggle things into boxes and what not...I want a bigger house but I am trying to be content with where I am. What is contentment? Truly...does anyone ever really achieve contentedness?? Besides the Duggar mom of 18 kids...who always looks like she's happy with no cares in the world.

How can i love The Lord so much but yet still struggle so badly with stress and anxiety and obsessive compulsions? Isn't putting my faith and trust in God supposed to alleviate these things? Can they walk hand in hand? I certainly hope so because if they can't....then I am just outta luck!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Valentine's Weekend

This past weekend we went away from 3 nights to a lovely B&B in Arlington, WA called River Rock Inn. It is beautiful and the weekend was fantastic. Just what we needed.

Valentine's day used to be my day of dread. It was the LOVE day...the day that simply screamed at me...SINGLE. But now that I am married I have a new appreciation for Valentine's day. It is not a romance day only but a day that tells everyone you love, that you do. I wish I would have not scorned it so much before but honestly I am really glad that on the off days...the non valentine's family and friends have known in many ways how much I love them. I love to love on people. It is a blessing to bless others.

But this husband blessed me. He blessed me by loving me even though I hurled insults at him when our train got all messed up and our rental car wasn't waiting and no one could figure out where our reservations were. He blessed me by letting me vent and not getting angry as I continued to rail about our 8 hour journey that was supposed to be much shorter because of taking a train and renting a car. He blessed me by still taking me to dinner and loving me even though i was knotted up and tightly wound. And then he blessed me by opening the door to my room and showing me what was waiting. Jeremy had arranged to send a beautiful gift for me with an even more treasured card to go with it. He had also arranged a lovely bouquet of roses.

As I sat down and read the card I was truly humbled. Humbled by a husband that knew what awaited me as I ranted and didn't throw it in my face. A husband who had so carefully planned this amazing weekend and as I shouted at him that I just wanted to go home, he sat patiently, only asking me if I could try to get past his mistakes and love him anyway. A husband who wrote the most poignant words that I NEEDED to hear. I sat there stunned and began to cry. On this holiday weekend of love I had already said the most unloving things to my husband and I was deeply ashamed. All I could say was forgive me, I love you, and Thank you.

The weekend was wonderful but the biggest lesson I took was what it felt like to be so humbled and truly having an understanding of what real love looks like. It isn't "stuff". It is respect, time, words...all of the things that no money can buy and what can't be returned or taken back. Oh that I could take back my words and those lost moments of time...but now I can take those words and that lost time and remember it the next time I want to be angry and don't want to control it. My husband taught me the best lesson of love. it is having self control and loving without condition. God is so good. I used to pray that God would truly show himself to me and now I think he does. Through my husband. And the love my husband has for me is just a small example of how infinite My Father's love is. I am so truly blessed that God saw fit to send me a prince and allow me to be "discovered". In my single days a friend said that to me and it stuck. When i asked her why she was single she simply answered that she hadn't been discovered yet. :o)

Monday, February 2, 2009

My first time skiing

So this past Sunday we went skiing. Jeremy is a really good skier and used to be a ski instructor. I used to snowboard and I was really not successful so I felt sure I HAD to be better on skis. Jeremy and I have an "adopted" niece and nephew. Joni and Justin are the kids of one of my former co-workers and we totally dig spending time with them. Joni was up for the weekend so much of this ski trip also had to do with her since she totally wanted to ski.

Due to inclement weather on Saturday, I became a SACRIFICIAL LAMB and gave up one of THE most important days of the year...Superbowl Sunday. We got up early in the AM and set off to Mount Hood Meadows where Joni and I were signed up for a ski lesson and rentals. Admittedly i was little crabby on the way up, as visions of snowboard falls were filling my head.

On my boots were on and I was told to carry my skis and poles. A little challenging while trying to navigate the snow but made it to the bunny hill. After moving around on one ski for a bit and then trying to climb up the "hill" using sidestepping, we were finally on our way to the magic carpet. A Terrible terrible machine. It was basically a moving floor (like those in airports), contained in a tubular structure with no handles to hold onto. I scooted my way up to the rubber and just as I thought I was on...I was SOOOO NOT. I fell with this giant line of people behind me. As i lay there I hear my instructor tell everyone else, "oh, i forgot, you need to bend your knees a little forward as you get on". hmmm. Nice information to know BEFORE this.

Anyway...i gave up from my lesson a little early because i was so thirsty and wanted to sit down. After a bit we all headed to buttercup where we were to begin the afternoon round. My first time down I bit it, Hard. I got my ski pole caught under the front of my ski and flipped backward and landed hard on the center of my back. The wind was knocked out. That was end of my ski day. I hurt and was tired and a nice warm lodge with a superbowl on tv sounded better. I went in, had myself a pint of Pipeline Porter, put my comfy smartwool socks on and had myself a fine old time. And did i mention that Joni is a total pro?? figures. Hehehe.

In the pics Joni the pro is the ski girl and obviously I am the stander. look at my fake smile. underneath those goggles I had been crying me eyes out for about 15 minutes, all the way from the mountain to the lodge I say...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cannon Beach

Jeremy and I went to cannon beach last weekend. It was just a spur of the month thing. I got a great special offer in my email for lodging so off we went. Cannon Beach is a place full of memories for me. While Jeremy and i have gone there before a few times, this was our first time we actually stayed for a weekend and were alone. The other couple of times we were with friends or family.

It was such fun showing Jeremy about all my old haunts. We went to the Cannon Beach Conference center where oddly enough the women's retreat from my church I attended in Salem happened to be there. Saw a few old friends I had not seen in quite some time. We went through the grounds and I showed him all of the places I used to hang...albeit they are much nicer now. I showed him the chapel of memories where I was so disappointed to see that the back where we all used to hang, sing and crochet appears to now be a storage area.

We meandered to the Coach House and had a really good tall triple breve latte (my fav drink), made by an Ecola student then made reservations for a marriage conference in April where I instructed the lady registering us that I needed to stay in the only lodge I had not cleaned bathrooms in while doing work study at Ecola.

We went to Pig n Pancake, the newer cannon beach location. We went to Bruce's candy kitchen and then sat down on couches at Bella espresso and enjoyed more coffee before meeting up with old friends from Ecola for lunch. i should also point out that Bella Espresso has changed dramatically. As has everything else.

It's always nostalgic going to special places and then being able to make more memories. Cannon Beach will always be one of those places I hold dear. It is where I made friends for a lifetime. Even though I don't always see these friends I know they will always share a part of my heart. And now my husband too gets to share a part of that memory as well, as we build on the old and begin the new.