Friday, February 29, 2008

early this morning

Last night I dreamed X stopped to talk with me but didn't really want to talk. Was considering not talking with me at all. As X was talking to me (about not talking to me) I could see X didn't have any teeth, that is, the jagged gaps where X's teeth used to be - as if they'd just been pulled, except X's mouth wasn't bloody.

I was thinking about this dream. Feeling bad, feeling I'd been unaccountably rude back some months ago, was it really that long ago?, when I thought what it meant that X didn't have any teeth: X's opinion/words/attitude didn't "have any teeth"; no bite; couldn't hurt me!

I had the most delicious feeling of relief and realized I'd hit on something undeniably true. I just smiled and smiled.

On an entirely different subject, really different, I got my first mammogram this morning.

A few months ago I switched doctors, and they (the doctor and the nurse-practitioner) recommended I get a mammogram, and scheduled the appointment for me at the local hospital. I'm forty-two, and since my family doesn't have a history of breast cancer it's ok I waited this long. But now, probably, I'm going to get one every year. Not that anything is wrong, but I want to know about it as soon as possible if anything does go wrong in the future. It's helpful that the health insurance I have covers one mammogram per year. I don't know how much it costs out of pocket, but probably more than I can afford...then again, maybe I can. I just looked it up and apparently it can cost between $50 - $150. Not anywhere near as bad as I thought. I was feeling pretty good about the insurance company covering it, but now I realize it's not much skin off their noses. Dang. Why they cover mammograms and not any kind of bloodwork that indicates other kind of preventable diseases, is a mystery (except bloodwork, as a preventative tool, is probably more expensive...and more frequently used than mammograms). Sigh. Whatever.

So I went up to the hospital at 7:45am, so I could be 30 minutes early for my 8:30am appointment. After checking in I ran into a woman I know, who was on her way out. Without thinking I said "how are you?" and got an iffy reply. She'd just gotten a mammogram! She told me it wasn't too bad, and if I relaxed my shoulders it would help. O-kay. I got into the waiting room and didn't even see the little changing rooms and went straight to the lavatory to change into the hospital gown. But I was used to gowns being wrong side around and went out to get help to snap it up in the back. A very nice woman in the waiting room told me the snaps go in the front for mammogram exams. Oh, yeah, that makes sense. I put my sweater on over the was something like -20 this morning...and waited my turn. I put my coat and tops in one of the lockers. I filled out the forms. Then, after the woman who'd turned on the TV left I turned it off and looked around. Lots of signage about where the gowns were and disclaimers about waiting times and payment plans, and the hospital not being responsible for lost or stolen items. But nothing about the changing rooms being changing rooms, how to put on the gowns, or what to do if you've never had a mammogram before. Oh, yeah, and this is the part I really hated: the cabinet that the mammogram exam gowns were kept was pink (nothing else in room was pink, and it didn't really "go" with the rest of the decor) and the cabinet was way too high on the wall for someone using a wheelchair. Actually, now that I think of it the changing rooms and lockers weren't remotely accessible to someone using a wheelchair, either. Does the hospital have separate accomodations? I'm going to call them and find out. It seems like an egregous oversight. I don't use a wheelchair, I just have a very strong belief in universal design. Anyway, even though it was clear the hospital had gone to some trouble to design this waiting room, they hadn't gone to nearly enough trouble.

Then I got the examination. The technician was a short white woman in her 50's or early 60's in a colorful hospital smock-jacket. She was friendly and warm and asked if I'd ever had a mammogram before. Since I hadn't she told me she'd tell what was happening every step of the way. She got me positioned into the x-ray machine, right and then left, and then left and right, four pictures in all. I was amazed how well she handled my breasts without feeling like she was handling my...breasts. It didn't feel like a loaded situation, it felt like she was positioning any other non-sexual part of my body. I'm guessing this must take practice, but it seemed to be normal for her, and she was completely comfortable in this very awkward situation. Thank goodness, because if she hadn't been comfortable it would have been just awful, because I was certainly not feeling super confident and at ease. So hats off to her for doing her job well! It took maybe twenty minutes. Amazing and normal and odd and uncomfortable and ok.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dr. Love back from the heart of space

The shuttle Atlantis toucheddown safely at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday morning at 9:07am. Whoo. So happy and honestly, relieved. Anything could have happened, but fortunately for everyone involved only the planned and predicted events took place.

My cousin-in-law, Dr. Stan Love, was one of the mission specialists who just re-entered the known world. I watched the events unfold in real time on the SpaceflightNow site via text (I didn't have a subscription for the live video feed, silly me).

Then I was all in a dither about sending flowers to Stan to welcome him back. First I went to a internet florist sight, and had almost completed the transaction when I realized I wasn't sure how long Stan would be in Florida, or if I even had the right address. So I quit that and decided to send them to his home address in Houston, and went downtown to pick out an arrangement from a local florist. But when I started to fill out the address information I realized I didn't know when there would be somebody home to get the flowers, as I realized my cousin, Jancy, and their kids would probably all be in Florida. Ahhhggg!

I went home and called my Dad. Although he didn't have a ready answer for me, while I was on the phone with him I realized I had a contact phone number from the launch invitation. I decided to try that number and see where it took me. A lovely woman answered the call and was able to direct me to a local florist in Houston (although at first I thought I was talking with someone in Florida!!!) who would deliver the flowers in a timely fashion. The woman said Stan would be back in Houston either Thursday or Friday, and the flowers would definetly get delivered to him whichever day he got back.

So I called the florist, who was as nice as could be, and helped me figure out what kind of an arrangement to order. In the end he assured me it would be a nice MASCULINE bouquet. I let that hard to fathom idea remain a mystery and thanked him for his thoughtfulness, signing the card "Welcome Home Stan - From Your Proud Cousin-In-Law, Eva".

P.S. Here's an autograph I received from Stan recently. In case you can't read it, he's saying how nice it was I sent the sweet.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Snow, Love and Posting Update

Thing A Day has totally inspired me. I have a friend in New York City (one of my oldest friends because her mother and my mother met when they were in undergraduate school together) who is also an artist and she's participating in the thing-a-day thingy linked above. I just talked with her last night and was noting how I haven't been posting very much the last few weeks, partly because I feel like very very few people come to the site, and even fewer post comments. It's kind of discouraging, but after going to thing-a-day I feel a lot better and I'm ready to post my heart out once again!

Above is a photograph I just took of my back porch (the chair is for scale) to illustrate how much snow we've got around here. Too crazy. I've reached my AAA limit in free service calls (until August or something) so now it's $45 everytime I need to get dug out of my own parking space. Really frustrating and I'm counting the days until I can park with impunity again. Or, I should say, get out of my parking space with impunity.

Meanwhile, Valentine's Day came and went, without any genuine activity here in Eva's Icons land. But wait, I have to show you this "dark" valentine I got as a consolation prize (from a friend, Rachel Rice, who makes art that's dispensed from an old cigarette machine now known as the GLAD-iator).

Nice, eh?

Oh, I almost forgot. Dr. Love did have a space walk (read all about it here), but not on Feb. 14th. Everything, it appears, is subject to rescheduling when it comes to outer space.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dr. Love scheduled for space walk Feb. 14th

It's true! This web site Spaceflight Now has the whole space shuttle Atlantis story including Dr. Stan Love's planned space walk (with another mission specialist, of course) on February 14th. Stan is my cousin-in-law. Stan Love is married to my one and only first cousin, Jancy McPhee. Jancy also works for NASA, but she's trained as a microbiologist, and is not an astronaut. Anyway, they are both awesome.

I was so excited on Thursday when I heard the news (that the shuttle had successfully launched into space) on the radio, I went out to the formery and told all my co-workers (I was in the back putting labels on bread bags when I heard the news on NPR). During my break I looked up the mission update and saw the (not-a-joke-at-all) post about Stan's schedule on Feb. 14th. Over the next hour I told whoever wasn't in the formery at the time what the big news of the day was: Stan Love's in outer space, and guess when his space walk is scheduled?! Nearly everyone guessed correctly. SO CORNY! I LOVE IT!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Guerrilla Girls homage

Here's a couple of political cartoons I've done with a friend. My friend's the idea person, and I get paid for illustrating them. Pretty cool, eh? We're both still developing the ideas and style of the cartoon, including the title and characters. But the one thing that's a given is the theme: economics.