Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Classmates Become Family

Namaste!

As I write this, I am sitting in a hotel room in New Delhi, India while one of my classmates sleeps soundly. It is 11:30pm and in the rooms on either side of me and down the hall are more classmates. Somewhere in Chile there is a group of TCU MBA students planning what they will do this evening or where they will have dinner. Another group of Neeley MBAs are likely just wrapping up lunch in the Dominican Republic. One of my classmates is on his honeymoon, another classmate is enjoying his first Christmas with a new baby, another is celebrating a recent engagement, and many are spending time with family they unintentionally neglected this semester. For three weeks we are spread out all over the world, but we remain close. We are already family.

In August, as I arrived for the first day of pre-semester workshops, I never expected the next five months to go as they did. I was swapping a job for class, but other than that, nothing would change. I lived in DFW already. I had friends here. My family isn't too far away- just a quick drive to Austin.

The day before START workshop, my mother called me from the hospital. She was ill, but thought it was nothing. A few weeks later and still in the hospital, there were no answers. I continued to attend classed and had my mother moved to a hospital in Dallas where I could travel daily to stay with her. And so it was for months. Class, drive, hospital, drive, class, drive, hospital, drive... I found time to shower between classes and my classmates helped me stay on top of homework and reading.

While my family was hurting and my friends were working, my Neeley MBA classmates and faculty supported me. One by one, I came to rely on them for help with the square root rule when I was zoned out during supply chain; for a recap of which fashion case study went with which class when I couldn't keep them straight; for someone to laugh with for a few minutes before I got in the car to drive back to Dallas.

I studied finance and signed off on blood cultures. I read cases while my mom was having brain surgery. I explained the 9x rule to the doctor who was telling me about the new MRI they were considering. I chatted with my mom about Taryn Swan while we watched Nickelodeon. I pored through statistical analysis on my mother's symptoms. While I was doing my best to devote more time than I had to school and my mother, my mom just kept fighting... and she just kept getting worse.

My mother passed away on October 28th. The Neeley family- people I had only known a short time- kept me looking forward. Peggy, the Director of Graduate Admissions for the Neeley School, rushed to meet me at the hospital. Classmates surrounded me with love at my house. I had become so close to these people in such a short time.

TCU's Neeley MBA marketing materials tell us, "It's more than business. It's personal." We've all heard it from schools and employers before. But, at TCU, they mean it. I could not have asked to be surrounded by better people. I could never say enough to thank them for loving me.

Now it is 11:57pm in New Delhi. Tomorrow morning at 6:15am we depart for the Taj Mahal, a monument built out of love and mourning. I think of my TCU family with love and I thank them for helping me mourn. Visiting the the Taj Mahal with just a few of my TCU family seems the perfect end to an imperfect year and a perfect tribute to a more than perfect mom.


"Should the guilty seek asylum here,
Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin.
Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
All his past sins are to be washed away.
The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
In this world this edifice has been made;
To display thereby the creator's glory."
-Emperor Shah Jahan

Monday, December 27, 2010

Death Cab

It’s best to close your eyes if it’s your first time in a taxi… in India.

I arrived in Delhi around 11:45 this morning. Many flights today had been canceled due to poor weather conditions, but it is difficult to divert a flight from London that has already been in the air for 8 hours. As I made my way from the terminal to customs I began to wonder what India would actually be like beyond the confines of an international airport. India really starts to hit you the moment you walk through customs. Hundreds of families and friends are waiting on their loved ones. Wading through them to make my way to the prepaid taxis was intense for a girl used to the wide open expanses of Texas.

I paid 350 Rupees and hopped in a black taxi. It looked very similar to the one I took yesterday from Paddington Station to London Heathrow, so logically, it should be safe. No?

The lines intended to separate the road into four lanes heading toward Delhi city center were more of a suggestion. As taxis, motorbikes, bicycles, handcarts, horses, tuk-tuks, and people on foot created an ever-changing landscape of anywhere between five and seven lanes, I realized I was in for the ride of my life.

I didn’t want to miss any of the sites as we drove. The air smelled thick and the taxi seemed to be going in circles. Manu, the taxi driver, wanted me to feel at home, so the drive was accompanied by a soundtrack of the Vengaboys … strange.

The hotel was 8 miles from the airport. Two hours and a stop by a travel information shop, I finally arrived at the hotel. Did we nearly run over a cyclist? Yes.

Truthfully, keep your eyes open. I saw the President’s Estate, a military base, a variety of businesses, a few markets, some startling images, and a new kind of beauty.

More to come — happy holidays from India!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Flying with Meds

Happy Christmas from London!

As I sit in the airport for the 3rd time this holiday season, preparing to board a plane from the UK to India, I feel pretty well averse in the ways of airport security. So a few minor tips to help you on your own journey.

1. Remember that epi-pens and inhalers rarely have a prescription sticker on the container. While inhalers don't pose a huge problem, your epi-pen might. Pharmacies in the US will reprint an extra label for your prescriptions that you can affix to the case. Check TSA regulations for the US and with your local airports. Some locations prefer that you declare the pen prior to going through security since there is a needle involved.

2. Bring an extra. Whatever it is that you need and whether you are traveling abroad or stateside, pack one inhaler in your carry on and an extra in your checked bag. Refills can be difficult when you aren't at home or aren't familiar with the area.

3. Pack all essentials in your carry on bag. Don't trust that your checked bag will arrive at the same time and place as you. If you need it, keep it with you.

4. When traveling internationally, get to the airport early on return flights. Don't take it personally, you will be in a foreign country and sometimes security can be a mess if you don't have a local address.

Happy travels and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Angel

God welcomed Donna with open arms early this afternoon. She will be missed so much, but she will forever be with us.

Thank you so much for your many prayers.

Memorial information will follow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jellybeans

For some reason, I have a song from what seems like another lifetime stuck in my head. So I sang to my mom and kissed her goodnight. She can't open her eyes without a lot of struggle. She can't speak without pain. But she still returns a kiss with the same love she has always given. Thank God for mom kisses.

I wish you a jellybean to chew upon,
I wish you a hatpin to keep your hat on,
I wish you love your whole life through,
God bless you, and keep you,
Just because you’re you.

I wish you grass to tickle your toes.
I wish you sunshine to freckle your nose.
I wish you love your whole life through,
God bless you, and keep you,
Just because you’re you.

I want to be there when God takes your hand
And leads you to the promised land.
I want to be there when He says to you,
“I’ll bless you and keep you, just because you’re you.”

Transfer of Care

I've just finished the paperwork to bring on Community Hospice of Texas (CHOT) as the provider of inpatient hospice care for Donna. This was the best option as they will be providing care at St Paul where were already are. The same nurses, techs, and doctors will still be on board, but they will be supplemented with additional support from CHOT. Also, we will not need to transport Donna, which can be very uncomfortable.

Donna is still refusing to take oral medications or drink any water. We are looking at adding continuous flow pain medication to help regulate the peaks and valleys in pain management. Donna is not talking today, but still seems to be listening occasionally. I know she is still in there, she's just too tired to talk. She is resting well. There have been moments of anxiety on her face, but they quickly melt back into calmness.

This afternoon we read poetry and listened to baroque music. Rhea came to visit late afternoon and talk with Donna and I. We had a nice visit. Her presence has been an immense support.

Please keep Donna in your thoughts and help us surround her with love.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Strength

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
-2 Timothy 1:7

It is difficult not to be afraid.

I am a mess. I've never loved anyone more than I love my mom. I've never had a better friend or a stronger ally. I've never second guessed myself so much or played the what if game so intensely. I've never considered that she would not be here, which is my mistake.

Donna has had a lot of visitors over the past few days. It means a lot to me that so many people have been able to get here.

We are going to stop IV fluids today. We have stopped the antibiotics and the medications she was taking prior to all this. We are giving her pain medications and some steroids to prevent some of the swelling. We are evaluating where to go from here. Days, weeks... no one can really say what we have, but she is very sad today. My heart is breaking for her... and for my family... and for myself. I want so badly for her to feel calm and loved.

Keep her in your thoughts. I want only the best for her and every voice or prayer on her side must help in some way.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Has Been... Ugh

But thankfully, there has been a lot of company to keep everyone's mind busy.

This morning, Donna was very drowsy and difficult to wake. They feared she had a stroke during the night. They took her down to CT, but there was no evidence of a stroke/bleed/etc. There are flares on the scan though that show a further progression of the lymphoma. She still has the infection that the doctors identified a few days ago as well.

The option to do CHOP chemotherapy has been taken off the table due to the change in her status. We are going to come together as a team on Monday and reevaluate the situation. Everything about this cancer is more aggressive than any of our doctors have ever seen. They all seem as surprised as us with the rate at which it has and is progressing.

We have such a great medical team in our corner. The internists, neurologists, hematology-oncologists, gastroenterologists, nurses, techs, etc have all been so great. Please add Donna's tech Tonja to your list of thanks yous when you pray. She treats Donna with such care and love. She tears up when she does things that are painful to Donna and spends time talking with her about school, families, work, and life in general. She is amazingly strong and compassionate.

We had another lovely visit today with Rhea and Robert. They brought Donna some more peanut brittle (and didn't skimp- they brought her some pecan brittle too). Donna's mom, brothers, and sisters are on their way here tonight and should be here soon.

I will do my best to keep everyone updated as much as possible.

Friday, October 22, 2010

CHOP Chemotherapy

With the diagnosis of ALCL ALK-, we have decided on a course of action. ALCL ALK- is a very aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It has manifested in her abdomen, lungs, and brain which makes this a very difficult battle.

Donna is not strong enough right now to undergo the most aggressive treatment, but she is still ready to fight. We have decided to start CHOP Chemotherapy to begin fighting the lymphoma in her body while we work up her strength to battle the lymphoma in her brain. The less aggressive treatment that Donna can handle right now is not strong enough to cross the blood-brain barrier so we will continue to monitor changes in the brain and spinal fluid closely. I believe we will be starting CHOP as early as tomorrow since the sense of urgency is quite high.

Today, we have started another round of IV antibiotics. Donna has an infection from a combination of all the blood work, open wounds, compromised immune system, and time in the hospital. The physician's feel confident that the antibiotics should begin working late today.

Cy's visit yesterday evening really lifted Donna's spirits. Michel is here today to help me with decisions and a course of action. He arrived last night and it has been welcome support. Jerry will be here in a few hours as well.

We need to surround Donna with as much support as possible right now. Mentally, we need to keep her as strong and positive as possible for the battle ahead.

Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma

There is finally a name to go with what Donna has been experiencing, ALK-negative anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

We met with the hematology-oncology team today and we have a lot to think about. We will sit down with them tomorrow and decide on a plan.

Michel (Donna's son) is on his way to Dallas now and Jerry (Donna's ex-husband) should be here tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 67

Hard to believe... it's been 67 days since Donna first went to the emergency room in Lampasas. It's been a long journey so far, but I have a renewed determination and I'm dragging Donna along whether she likes it or not. I got that trait from her anyway, so she should understand.

Donna is running a low grade fever and has been all day. Her blood pressure has dropped to levels we had no seen since just after the laparoscopic biopsies done by the urology team. They did an upper GI this morning to see if they could identify what was causing the pain in her stomach, but were not able to find anything. They did another MRI or her head as well. It is clear that she is in pain, but unclear as to how to remedy the situation.

This evening, we haven't been able to get ahead of the pain. She has a fresh bruise by her left ear and a swollen mass that has formed on the left side of her neck just below the ear. There is not any pain associated with the mass, but I pointed it out to the nurse just in case. The hospitalist came in within ten minutes and now we are waiting for the rad techs to take Donna down to have an emergency CT of the head and neck. They have given Donna some anti-nausea meds to help with the effects of the contrast for the CT scan.

It has been a long day. Thankfully with all the activity, Donna should sleep very well tonight.

I will let everyone know what we find out about the new mass as soon as we have word.

One last thing- say a little prayer of thanks for Marlon Cortez. He is Donna's nurse tonight (and last night). He really takes good care of her. He is kind and respectful- one of the best we've had throughout all of this.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sorry for the Delay

So much seems to have happened, but when I try to sum it all up with the one thing we are looking for, I can't.

Donna's friends Rhea and MJ stopped by to see her this weekend. It was a nice break and really lifted her spirits. So far as company is concerned, right now- the more the merrier. If that changes, I will let you know. Until then,please feel free to come by and say hello.

The incision the runs from ear to ear like a headband is healing nicely. If she let's me I'll post a picture (proof that she looks better than some of the updates let on). Occupational therapy and speech therapy are still working with Donna to get her up and running.

This weekend they did another round of CTs and plain film x-rays. They have identified something in her chest, but again, they do not know what they are looking at. The new internist/hospitalist thinks we may be looking at lymphoma. With the number of specialist who have ruled out cancer, I'm not sure how to take the latest news.

Since I have another midterm tomorrow and cannot miss class, I have requested a call from the doctor. The nurses let me know he would call tomorrow while he is making rounds. I have a number of questions for him. The biggest question, if he thinks it is lymphoma, what has he seen that no one else did. Next question, what are we going to do moving forward...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Hospital

I came to the hospital late tonight because I had a final for stats and meeting at school. When I called Judy to check in on her and mom, she let me know that they had moved to St. Paul's Hospital, just a block up the road from Zale-Lipshy. Donna is still in the UT Southwestern system, just in a different facility.

The team of specialists working with my mom did not feel the surgical oncology/urology consults that had been discussed with us yesterday by infectious disease were necessary. They took Donna for another ultrasound to look for any other blood clots.

After the ultrasound, there was not much word from the doctors... until the news that Donna was being transferred.

Donna arrived at St. Paul under a new admitting physician (a nephrologist) with a new primary on the case (a hospitalist). Donna did not have any of her pain meds and the hospitalist was no where to be found.

Sometime after 7pm, the admitting physician came in to go over some things with Donna. Same questions we've answered at every other hospital. The nephrologist said that he would be meeting with the doctors from Zale tomorrow to go over her case. Then he called her unique.

I'm over it. Please stop referring to her as "unique" and "an interesting case." She is my mom and my best friend, not an interesting case to get someone published in a medical journal.

Bumps in the Road

During the CT scan yesterday, the doctors felt that Donna has some tissue deterioration. Upon closer look, they found a blood clot as well. This morning they corrected he PICC line (the old one had become blocked) and attempted to insert a filter endovascularly to block the clot from her lungs, heart, and brain. Due to the size of the mass in her abdomen, the filter would not open properly.

Donna is experiencing more intense pain in her abdomen. The intensifying pain is a definite concern for the family as well as the doctors.

Teams from infectious disease and neurosurgery have been by this evening to talk with us about how she is healing from the brain surgery, how the medications are working in regard to the mass(es), and what our next steps are.

Neurosurgery feels positive about the progress Donna is making. We are hopeful that she will continue to heal and regain her strength. She was very lucid today and able to move her left arm and leg with little effort. Please keep Drs. Mickey, Lee, Beshay, and Flores in your thoughts. They are an amazing team and we have become very fond of them. They not only have amazing skills as physicians, but they are amazing men with obvious concern for their patients (and the families).

Infectious disease has requested that radiology do a comparison study using the CT scan from yesterday and the CT scan from our original admission into Zale-Lipshy. There is some concern about the abdominal mass(es) and whether the medication we have been using is having a positive impact on the mass(es). The ID team will be consulting with urology and surgical oncology tomorrow after the results of the CT comparison are in hand. We hope to have some sort of plan tomorrow morning, but we are learning to be more patient as time goes by. Thankfully, we are very familiar with the urology team... and more importantly, they are very familiar with Donna.

MJ- Thank you for sending the letters from the students, mom really enjoyed the ones we read tonight.

Sara- Thank you for the lovely goodie basket. Mom has eaten some orange slices today and said they were the best tasting thing she has had in a while.

All- Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers. Your support has helped us all stay strong.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Busy Day

There has been a steady stream of people in the room today... a stream that started at 6am (thanks Dr. Flores). Neurosurgery, infectious disease, internal medicine, nutrition, physical therapy, speech therapy, radiology... even maintenance stopped by to make sure her lights, doors, and plumbing was all in order.

They were able to get Donna in the shower which was tiring, but helped relax her a bit and allowed her to get some sleep.

She does not have much of an appetite, but Judy and I are working with her to get some Ensure in her system.

It looks like we will be here for another week or so before we move onto a rehabilitation floor. Donna is learning to use her left arm and leg again, but is making great progress!

We will get there slowly but surely.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Patience

"...strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience..."
-Colossians 1:11

Donna is having some frustration tonight. She is very tired from a long day of working on speech and physical therapy. She is making such amazing progress, but cannot see the forest for the trees right now. It is very overwhelming at times, but she keeps moving forward. I'm lucky she is such a strong woman.

We have moved rooms again, but are still on the same floor. They felt it would be better to have Donna by the nurses station so she could be more closely monitored this evening. I am staying the night with her tonight and Judy's husband has come to help her with the shoulder and give her a break from the hospital.

Please continue to send your thoughts and prayers our direction. The next few days will not be easy ones for Donna or the family, but thanks to the doctors, hopefully the hard part is over. We will find out more after the CT scan (which was moved to tomorrow morning).

Out of ICU!

Donna moved out of ICU this afternoon. We are on the neurology floor at Zale-Lipshy now, so Donna is able to have visitors and flowers- she would love to see or here from you all!

Last night, Judy dislocated her shoulder and we got to see the inner workings of Parkland ER (so for those people keeping track, that's at least 7 hospitals for this bunch in the last 8 weeks!). She is doing well today- she is a total trooper!

Donna was able to eat a little for breakfast and lunch and is about to have another shake full of contrast for another CT scan. She has had speech therapy and physical therapy already today as well.

Things are still looking up and we just keep plugging along.

Keep Donna (and Judy) in your thoughts- they are tough ladies, but they can always use a little love.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Flying Solo

Take of the training wheels kids, I’m finally on a solo dinner date with Gingerneer. I said I would be late, then I was early, then he was on time… mostly. He was actually 2 minutes late. I would never have noticed, but he pointed it out and apologized. Consistently courteous. Check!

We met at Taco Diner near our offices. It worked well since we live in different directions. The central location gives us more time to hang out and doesn’t give anyone home court advantage. Surprisingly, he had never been to Taco Diner (he grew up in DFW- so this is a strange realization)… but he won brownie points when I asked him where he usually ate Tex-Mex. Chuy’s. Ay dios mio! Yo amo Chuy’s! It’s my favorite too. I feel like the stars have aligned in this very moment.

We talked for hours about all sorts of things, but the most memorable part of the conversation caused a break in my plan. Yes, I had a plan. There was a kiss involved in my plan. But the best laid plans…

Earlier this week, I got a fortune cookie from the Thai place by the bike shop. Two of my favorite places side by side equal obvious cosmic balance. “An unexpected event will soon make your life more exciting.” I taped the fortune to my monitor at work and took a deep breath. I’m not big on surprises. If I’m going to kiss him, I’m going to be ready, and he’s going to think I’m amazing.

Back to the dinner conversation. We were discussing how interesting it is when people meet at the bar and sleep together a few hours later. Whatever floats your boat. But at 30, it seems a lot more inappropriate than it is in college. Again, I’m not saying it’s wrong and I’m not condoning it, it’s just what we happened to be talking about. So he says something to the effect of “first you have the one arm hug, then a full hug, then a kiss on the cheek, then a peck on the lips…” Then I quit listening.

One arm hug? We skipped that. Full on, though awkward hug was had in lieu of the one arm job.

Full hug? We’ve done that. More than once. I like his hugs but they make me think inappropriate things. REALLY inappropriate things.

Kiss on the cheek? Oh my. That hasn’t happened. Wrench in the plans. Danger! Danger!

This is the unexpected event. Exciting is not how I would describe this. This is a mess. Now I know there is no kiss in my future this evening. Sad face.

The evening goes on and he is so great that I forget about the kiss situation, resign myself to another full frontal hug.

Nearly three hours later, I decide it’s time to face the hug. Resign myself to the friend zone. Embrace my the lack of lip locking. Commit myself to a life of celibacy. No big deal. I’ll be a spinster. Sigh…

We walked toward our cars and the awkward dance began.

Do I hug him?

Will he hug me?

Will I still get butterflies if this hugging keeps occurring?

Will I have another inappropriate thought?

Oh just hug him Lacey.

Take your cheek kiss and be thankful he had dinner with you.

Accept it Hammons.

Then he kissed me. On the mouth. Ohmygodiwassonervousthatifunmbledmywaythroughitanddartedintomycarasfastaspossibletogetawayfromhimbeforeistartedcryingorturnedthecolorofaclownnosecrapcrapcrapcrapcrap.

I bolted. I am such a wuss.

Gingerneer = great kisser

Lacey = horrible, nervous kisser

Ack…

Saturday, June 12, 2010

One-and-Two, Three-and-Four, Five-and-Six, Gin-Ger-Neer

If the Gingerneer ever decides to quit his job, he could totally teach at a pre-school. He is SO patient and has amazing skills with repetitive counting. What preschoolers couldn't use that kind of a teacher. Although, then I would have to contend with single moms... and I'm not really down with that.



AggieTri, AT's BF, Gingerneer, Lunchtime Sex, a coworker of mine, my brother, and I went to a dance seminar/pot luck at Gilley's today. They offered progressive double two step, three step, waltz, cha cha, salsa, line dancing, etc. Since we all know how coordinated I am on land, there is no way this wasn't going to go well.



Despite my need to have someone gently kick my toes to remind me to move my feet... or count aloud as I move... or make up silly phrases to remind me what to do... I had so much fun!



Barn dance- greatness. Should I ever get married, we're doing it.



But, that is not the purpose of this post. The purpose is to say that my sweaty palms and butterfly insides might have hindered my dancing, but they did not stop the Gingerneer from being his usual charming self. And again, I'm all smiles.



Gingerneer had to leave early to head out to a bachelor party but offered the possibility of a drunk text later in the day. I would love one... always curious as to what people text when they've been drinking.



One the other hand, drunk texting spelled the absolute end for PtCtA...



Flashback to December 5, 2009, 12:40am:



“Hey what are you up to?”

“In bed”

“Aww I am just getting out of the bar. You sound like you could use some company hah”

“I have to be up at 4am”

“Even a better reason to pull the old school all niter. Sorry for the drunken text then”



I really do not enjoy receiving drunk texts after midnight from people I barely know. I really do not enjoy the implication that I would be someone who would want to be texted for a late night romp by someone who I have yet to hug with both arms who (in case anyone forgot) wrecked my bike last time I saw him. I think I am pretty straight forward. If I want to see you in little to no clothing, I’ll let you know. Otherwise, after these sorts of texts, I’ll just categorize you in the creeper file and cross you off the list of people I take phone calls from.




Yep... there it is. The last post I made about texting and a guy.



Dear Santa, I know it's June, but please help Gingerneer send the right text.



*Sigh*



He thinks my hair looked pretty today.



He had fun dancing with me today.



He wants to see me again before he heads out of town next weekend.



He wished me luck on the half marathon tomorrow morning.



He did it all at a respectable hour.



Thanks, Santa. I've got it from here. I'm going to keep enjoying the patient man (who I will learn to dance with eventually) who sends nice texts even from bachelor parties.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Gingerneer- Lesbian Band and Close Face

Last night, we met up at Jack’s Backyard for a benefit concert (small outdoor patio bar with a lesbian rock group raising money to benefit Wounded Warrior Project). There were other people there that we knew, but we sat at a table alone, listened to the band, and talked for a few hours... Crazy. He’s so cute.



And so nice.



And so funny.



And so smart.



And so considerate.



I’m not used to being around guys that are this nice to me... consistently.



It’s all so new and I’m all jittery nervous still… I feel like I’m in high school.



So around 11 something (way past my bedtime), we all head out to our cars. Unfortunately, we immediately have company from our friends who were in the bar. This thwarts any physical... physicalness... physicality... physica- So we awkwardly hug and have a moment of close face before we both retreat. Horrible.



Why so horrible, you ask? Well, after the doubts about him were put in my head on Saturday, I had a moment of what-if-I-don’t-really-even-like-him? Then, later that night, my brain, in a subconscious reconciliation of feelings, produced a very inappropriate dream about him. I’m embarrassed as I type this.



Shame.



Shame.



Shame.



When he hugged me, it was firm.



And intense.



More so than he intended I think.



And I turned super red.



Because I was totally thinking about the dream.



I’m going to hell (one of the lesser circles, but still, I’m mortified at my own behavior and thought process).



So, then I’m on my way home and I’m talking to the Cruise Dirctor with my crazy Lacey faces and wild hand gestures only to realize he is totally next to me in his car. I was MORTIFIED! Ugh! Embarassing because I was telling the Cruise Director about the dream and the hug situation. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I know he couldn’t hear me, but at that moment, I became convinced on some level that he knew exactly what I was thinking. Like some crazy Jedi mind trick he heard me tell her through the noise of downtown Dallas and two car windows.



To recap: went out, had fun, laughed a lot, hugged awkwardly, had an inapporpriate thought- again, was seen sharing said thought with friend.



We’re going out again this weekend. And if you haven’t gathered yet, I really like him.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Gingerneer: Concert in the Garden

Well… This last night went well until we left. Cosmic Brownie (the Cruise Director’s friend) said Gingerneer was a douche* (which he certainly isn’t)... then the Cruise Director said she wasn't sure she liked him either (which she has asked me to forget she ever said, so I've already let it go, but it's very important to understand everything that has transpired). Since they barely spoke to him, what made them think that? And am I just so ready to be in a relationship that I am overlooking something that everyone else sees?



The statement that clears both of these things up is that, either way, I don’t care. I think he’s very nice. He’s considerate, smart, and funny. He didn’t brush me off for days, but checked in today to see how my nana was doing and to say he enjoyed my cheesecake and the company. Sigh...



We comfortably talked about family, school, religion, work, hobbies, etc. There weren’t awkward pauses or uncomfortable moments. When we discovered we worked so close to each other, he immediately suggested lunch sometime... not in that forced way that men sometimes suggest something. In a comfortable, just a thought kind of way.



With group outings though, how will I ever know if he like-likes me or just likes me. It’s going at a nice slow pace, but I don’t want it to go so slow that nothing ever happens... or so slow that I get stuck in the... dare I say it... friend zone.



So to sum up what we know so far…



• Ginger – woohoo!

• Paler than me- I look so tan!

• Likes to run- maybe that will encourage me to get better!

• Likes to cycle- woohoo!

• Engineer- Love nerdy boys!

• Snarky sense of humor- fabulous!

• Impeccable teeth- we all know I’ve always had a thing for nice teeth!

• Oldest of three- not a crazy only child and will understand my sibling angst

• In my age bracket- so very grown up of me

• Gainfully employed- woohoo!

• Likes camping (without electricity)- I’ll bring enough sparks for both of us... hehe.. kidding... or not... if he's into it ;)

• Was in band- One step down in the social hierarchy from orchestra, but I’m not a snob...

• Went to A&M- Athena (in a good way) will like him ;)

• Listens when I talk- yes, I know, I talk a lot so this is a HUGE plus… speaking of huge…

• His hands are massive- You know what they say about big hands… Kidding- Usually I feel like a tranny when I hold hands with someone because my finger are crazy long… this will not be a problem with him

• He likes 80s music- How can you go wrong there?

• He eats fresh fruit and veggies without complaining- woohoo! Our dietary habits shouldn't be too big of a conflicting mess



I think that’s it for now. Feel free to weigh in on the Gingerneer saga at your leisure.



*On a side note, Lunchtime Sex totally had my back on this. Woot.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Gingerneer- The Update

Okay... here we go... the update...



So we’ve been emailing back and forth. Nothing too exciting. He wants to go cycling and dancing sometime. I finally got up the nerve to ask him if he wanted to go with a small group of us to one of the Fort Worth Symphony Concerts in the Garden this weekend. There is some 80s tribute band playing on Saturday. It’s a wine/cheese/picnic/fireworks type event with families, couples, singles, pretty much an even sampling up the middle class and up in Fort Worth.



So... he totally said yes. Like, oh my God. I’m seriously excited. This is going to be awesome to the max.



Well, not really.



So his response is super funny and he seems excited and willing to drive from Dallas to Fort Worth to see me. That has to be good. He even says he might wear jams and Nike basketball shoes to bring the 80s back full force (though I’m certain he’s kidding). But... there is the issue of the single ladies who were a problem last time... dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnn.



This weekend at CapTex (which was mismarked, so I swam an extra 300m and limped an extra .4mi), I finally get up the nerve to say something to the Dutchess of Velo about what happened at the bar. But as usual- I am Polly Passive.



“So, remember that guy from the Red River?”



“Yep. Steve.”



“No. Gingerneer.”



“No, his name was Steve.”



“Well, his email says Gingerneer. I’ve been talking to him.”



“REALLY!?! He is SOOO not your type.”



“Well, I’m just getting to know him. It’s no big deal.”



“I talked to him a lot and he is really passive and boring. He doesn’t even have any hobbies outside of work, which I still don’t even know what he does.”



“He’s a computer engineer.”



“Well, he’s still boring.”



“Oh... well, he likes running, camping, cycling, reading, country dancing, a lot of different kinds of music...”



So, I feel like I’m defending him. This exchange goes on for a few minutes. Then she says that her and her friend were being really aggressive with him to see what he would do. She said they like to do that to quiet guys when they are together. She thinks he’s weak because he didn’t stand up to them. I said he was being polite. Either way, it turns out they were intentionally trying to get all over him and then intentionally trying to make him react. Blah.



So... Velo and her friend are coming on Saturday too. That’s the bad news.



The good news is that AggieTri, her boyfriend, the Cruise Director, Lunchtime Sex, and the Swimmer have vowed to fend them off. And Velo knows that I'm actually interested in him and she's a good friend. I'm sure she'll pass along the "be nice" instructions to her partner in crime.



We’ll see.



Le coup de maitre: I am in charge of bringing desserts for the group since I’m off the alcohol completely. What guy could resist that when coupled with my obvious charm? ;)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Okay, Time for Girl Talk

Brace yourself it’s a long one…

So here is the gist of this past Friday’s events, the few hitches leading up to it, and the subsequent emails.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, AggieTri wanted to set me up with her nerdy, pale, ginger, computer engineer friend- so with all that said- yum! Gingerneer... Just my type.

The plan was to go dancing or to dinner, just a few people, so we could meet in a non threatening setting… then it turned into a larger group going dancing… then it turned into a larger group with a lot of solo ladies. Drat. We all know I don't like competing for a man that I don't even know. (Haha... I said "man")

So, I get to Cowboys Red River (yes, ladies, I met him at a country dance hall) and The Duchess of Velo is dancing with her friend (who doesn't deserve a name at this point...), AggieTri is with her boyfriend, AggieTri’s coworker is with her boyfriend, Another single woman- who happens to be from OKC and knows a lot of the swimmers that I know, even though she’s 40 is hanging solo, and Gingerneer isn’t there yet. A few more couples joined the group and brought along a seriously creepy single guy.

So when Gingerneer shows up, Velo's friend is immediately all over him. It’s like watching a giraffe on ice skates. Awkward. On top of that the pungent odor of desperate single females starts to rise off the single ladies' man hungry bodies.

Ugh.

I don’t have the energy or the desire to duke it out for a guy I’ve not even met, so I just go about my evening.

A few times, I considered talking to him, but other single ladies were glued to him. I was starting to wonder if he was the last single, gainfully employed man in the metro and I had somehow missed the memo. I shook off the feeling of frustration and reminded myself that I looked too cute to be bummed (red button up, white skirt, boots- quite the visual). I danced with a few random men and a few times with AggieTri’s boyfriend. I considered riding the mechanical bull, but the skirt and my better judgment kicked in. I drank my water and did the Cupid Shuffle. Very busy evening.

After the other ladies had fully monopolized Gingerneer and rubbed their scent all over him with constant excuses to touch him (the chest touch when they laughed, the arm touch during conversation, the arm around his waist for no freaking reason at all, the getting him to dance with them), Velo and her friend bailed around 10:45pm.

2 single ladies down, 1 to go.

AggieTri and her boyfriend stayed for a bit chatting with us, one of the other couples was still around for a while until the girl looked like she might puke. Then everyone left except me, OKC40, and Gingerneer.

Since there were three of us left at the end, no one really danced (horrible to leave one person alone, and it's not like I'm a stellar dancer... in fact it's just plain awful). We just chatted and what not for a while. Around 1, I said I need to go and the consensus was that everyone was leaving (not just us- the place was dead quiet by then… maybe 4 couples dancing and a handful standing around). We went outside and I paused to talk to Gingerneer. I thought for half a second he might walk me to my car, but then OKC40 said, “I thought you were parked by me.”

Instantly, we were a threesome again. I felt like I was competing with EVERYONE for 5 minutes to actually talk to him. So… we stood outside and talked for ages until finally OKC40 looked like she was going to fall asleep/pass out and she headed for her car. Finally… mission accomplished. Alone.

Now it gets… interesting?

So Gingerneer is telling me that he was supposed to be meeting one of AggieTri's friends… Velo… but he felt cornered by her and her friend… then they were having awkward conversation and they were making him guess what Velo did for a living, but he already knew so he had to play along. He said he’s not used to getting some much attention from women, so he went with it, but he wished they hadn’t monopolized so much of his time. I was a trooper and avoided the urge to ask him what he thought of her or to say, “oh, I thought you were here to meet me…”

So… moving forward… we discussed facebook stalking each other and that we should both work on our dance skills, but that we had fun talking. We hugged (awkwardly as two nerdy people would, though I’m certain the stars aligned as our pasty skin met) and headed our separate ways. I was kicking myself a bit for not embracing my 19 year old self and just kissing him and seeing what happened, but I’m just not that person anymore… or that perpetually drunk.

So I call the Cruise Director and wake her up for a pep talk. This gives me the nerve to message him and the strength to wait until Saturday. I said that I had fun and would like to hang out with him sometime, perhaps go dancing (I promised to practice), and get to know each other. Completely non committal in regard to what capacity I meant friends/dating/hit it and quit it/none of the above/all of the above… Which I will deduct a point from my awesomeness because of… but not entirely, because next time I see him will be after CapTex and perhaps I’ll have half a glass of wine and go CRAZY- clearly I’m a total light weight. Either way, he wrote me back (huge sigh of relief as that is the first step to overcoming the uncomfortable feeling that he will never speak to me again). He said he enjoyed chatting, will work on his single-chicks-other-than-Lacey evading skills, was sorry we only danced together once, and wants to dance with me again.

And thus… I have a very mini crush. The kind you get after meeting someone once… kinda wishing you had the nerve to kiss them just to see what it’s like, probably okay if you never saw them again since you barely know them, but amused with their smart sense of humor, digging their pale skin and impeccable teeth, and completely turned on by the computer engineering/processor speak… if he starts into calc/diffy-q/physics speak, I would certainly be the easiest lay… ever.

Feedback from AggieTri- This is like being on that VH1 show, Tough Love, where they review the tape of your dates and critique them and give you feedback. So, my social anxiety came in handy. Because I didn’t try to make my presence known in an aggressive way like some others, it worked in my favor... if only he could read this bit of neurotic writing... quickest way to scare any man off? Give him my blog address.

We are getting together for another group function after this weekend. Perhaps after that I will have the nerve to go solo dating. We’ll see.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Coming Out of Hibernation

Where has the time gone!?!

After so many horrible (and ill conceived) dates last year, I guess I just needed a break. A looooooooooooooooooong break.

Now I'm back. But taking a very different approach to dating than the whirlwind of 2009. Let's be honest, something about going on multiple dates with multiple people each week leaves you wanting more. And it's acceptable for a drunk girl in her 20s. Now that I'm a sober thirty, it seems a little trashier. Yes, you're right. It was trashy last year too. But the kind of girl who throws up at a professional sporting event, doesn't concern herself with these sorts of things.

A few weeks back, AggieTri mentioned that she had a friend she wanted me to meet. This came up in the midst of discussing last year's dating shenanigans, so I honestly didn't take it too seriously. Whatever. I'll meet the Gingerneer.

Go ahead set it up. After PtCtA wrecking my cruiser, how bad could it be?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Coach Joe

Joe was one of my three "formitave" swim coaches. If my life has a most influential category, Joe makes the cut for sure!

Joe Stocker was a Level 4 ASCA certified coach with nearly 35 years of experience coaching novice to Olympic Trial competition. He coached both high school and USA club swimming. He swam for the University of Nebraska and was a NCAA qualifier in 1962 in breaststroke. In 1973, Joe placed in the top 6 at the Masters World Championships. He was appointed to the Governor's Council on Physical Education for the State of Oklahoma in 1986 and charged with the responsibility to revise the physical education program for 9th graders. He has written and published articles in The Research Journal for Physical Education, Health and Recreation. His article titled "Performance Ladder", a program approach to teaching water skills to all levels was presented at the state convention for Physical Education. He won national triathlon titles (Trifed) in 1987, 88 and 89 and was 6th at Leon's in 1990 in the US National Amateur Trials to determine the US Team that was to compete in the World Championships. He has won 4 USTS titles and was a triathlete All-American.

Joe’s swim teams have won USA state championships with many individuals winning state titles in both USA and high school swimming. He has coached many All-American swimmers, over 50 Top 10 and 16 swimmers, several Junior National champions, three Olympic Trial candidates, and many junior & senior national qualifiers. He was high school coach of the year in the OKC Metro area several times and coached the 1998 All State Swim Team. Joe was named USA Age Group Coach of the year in 2002. Joe loved the sport of swimming; coaching individuals to achieve their best was his life's passion.