Friday, July 31, 2009

Couch Explosions - TGIF!

HEE-larious. The slo-mo makes tears roll down my face from laughter.


(P.S. Eff-word alert for the little ones... or if your workplace is filled with jerks.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So Here I Sit

At the oncologist's office.

Lucky I only have to this once a year now, but still, I dread it.

It used to be I agonized over whether or not I'd get a call from a "0000" number asking me politely to "call them back." I've been lucky. In the seven years I've been coming here that's never happened.

Whenever I'd get the postcard in the mail with the boxes checked "normal" I'd do varying celebrations. High-fives. Nice dinners. Silent thank-yous to any god who might be listening. (I mean really, there's no way they're going to send you a postcard telling you have cancer again, right?)

But now the torture is the waiting room. I typically wait upwards of two hours to see my doctor. I know this going in, so I bring my computer, magazines and snacks. But still.

This morning she is stuck in surgery. It's now 11. My appointment was at 9:30. I would leave but I know if I do my mom will flip, and I don't really need that hassle.

My mom, even seven years after I was first diagnosed, still asks me during every phone conversation, "When do you see Dr. Bowling again?" Once a year, I keep telling her. But she wants dates, times and addresses, and I never have those details at hand.

My mom turned 67 on Monday. She told me all she wanted for her birthday was for my test to come back ok. (But I sent her a Michael Jackson CD anyway. I bet she's stoked!)

Upstairs from where I sit is the chemo infusion floor. I spent many hours in there. They once stuck me 9 times trying to get an IV in before they finally decided to do it under fluoroscopy. I cursed and cried and encouraged, hoping someone could get the damn thing in. Afterwards I demanded a plaque or recognition of some kind.

"Gina was here and got stuck 9 times - Top that!" I wanted it to say. Bastards never did get me that plaque. I was very "heroin chic" back then, only minus the chic - gaunt, covered in needle holes and wearing sweatpants.

Craig, who was a fantastic artist (though I imagine he still is) spent one day-long infusion sitting next to me drawing a picture of wildflowers. It was lovely. One of the nurses hung it on the wall of the little room we were in. I should clomp up there and see if it's still hanging. Probably not though.

According to my "vitals" I've lost seven pounds since I was last here in February 2008. (Don't tell my mom I waited over a year to come back, she'll nag me to death.) It's certainly not because I've been working out. I can only assume I'm hemorrhaging muscle mass. Great.

So it's almost noon. I've been here for two-and-a-half hours already.

I've written some work emails, updated my monthly progress report, written a blog post, snacked on some grapes, smiled politely at the woman next to me who told me to read Fox News' Website about the health care proposal.

Just once a year for this now. I am lucky. Very, very lucky.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What I've Been Reading

Mean but funny... and also lacking an apostrophe.

Well, it certainly hasn't been books.

After Marathon Woman I pulled a few books from my shelves only to be disappointed by each. Drag. And since the new and improved Gina (Gina 2.0) doesn't her waste her time on crappy books anymore, I put them back down rather than force myself to plod through them.

I have been reading Sedaris' When You Are Engulfed in Flames before bed, but those are just quick essays that you can't really sink your teeth in to.

What I have been reading though, are a few blogs I've recently added to my Blog roll.

My friend John (we go waaaaay back to high school) is sharing how he got back on that ever going-too-fast-for-me-to-really-catch-it fitness train. He has all his deets in there (including a before and after pic!) but also some really great info, funny photos and useful links.

This link to Bush Yoga slayed me. And omg, Hater Tots?! Hahahahaha!

My friend Lizz (we also go waaaaay back to high school - turns out the friends I made there were cool for life) has also flagged down the fitness train - and made it her beeyotch.

She's a mom of three and in addition to the tales of her daily life she's started writing a weekly post called Farewell to Fat.

I've always known Lizz to be one of the funniest, ballsiest chicks on the planet. From her first post:

I am at my all time highest weight EVER. This includes pregnancy weights. I am heavier now than when I had another human being crammed inside my innards. How did I get here? I took Oreo Street to Donut Drive. I turned onto Pizza Place and took a dip in Starbucks Lake before heading out to Big Mac Lane and finally hitting my destination: The State of Obesity.

(I'm one of her friends who would argue she is not fat, but I think her goal, like John's, is to return to the fabulous, fit person she once was.)

So after revealing she's bigger than she has ever been she proceeds to give the measurements of her "brick house," including her weight (GASP!) and body fat percentage (OMG, not that!).

Told ya, balls of steel. (I'm referring of course to her 43" inch bust. Some girls have all the luck.)

Their transparency is delightful. (I'd do this myself, see, except that I'm lazy. Sure I look thin and fit, but believe me, I'm like 37 percent pudding on the inside.)

While I'm on the topic of fitness and motivation, my dude's blog (Adam) is always a great source for such things. (Only he's really, really annoying because he's an uber-fast runner and is unfailingly motivated and doesn't even skip runs even though he works three-12s on the nightshift. Grrrr!)

But... I will tell you this. There is a before and after photo out there of my dude when he was overweight fat. The contrast is like night and day, and whenever I see it I crack the hell up. (I'm mean.)(But I am not immune to bribery if anyone really, really wants to see it.)

But that's what I've been reading lately.

Last week, thanks to Lizz's blog, I actually went to the gym for the first time since spring. (Ok I went only once, but still!) So thanks Lizz!

(Full disclosure since I'm talking smack about Adam and I know if I don't bring this up he will: There is a photo of me on the coffee table right now, circa 2000, where I have what I call a moon-pie face. When I showed the photo to my friend Michele she was like, "Holy shit you had a fat face!"

I'm sure the rest of me was fat too. I should scan it in and post it so you all can feel free to point and laugh, no bribes necessary. I am without shame. Sadly.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday Night With the Bad Veins

Shiv and Jessica.

Oops. Sorry I cut your head off fountain lady.

Gretchen and Dan.

Ronson and a bald guy.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rob and very adorable but very upset Henry.

Nothing says Fountain Square like purple neon.

What The?!

TGIF from the freakiest, weirdest, cutest rodent on the planet.

I want one!

I Asked for a Present From Vegas

And I got this bag of Fritos... from the airport.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hell on Wheels

Meet Noah, the most kick-ass scooter mechanic in all the land.

After a mere 24 hours with Stella Noah called to say the new muffler job was complete and she was purring like a kitten again.

"It was a pain in the ass," he said. But I could tell he meant it with love.

When I saw his garage (see photo below) I died of envy. Turns out his real passion isn't putting mufflers on old Honda Elites, it's restoring and rebuilding antique Vespas. (I know, you just died too.)

He noted that my Honda was the first time he'd had an Elite in his garage. He also added that he barely drove it.

I mean, sure he's got all of these super-cool Vespas all over all the place, but maybe he didn't notice that Stella is purple and all banged-up and the paint is corroding off and the plastic shield on the side flops off and the left turn signal is cracked. Hello? What's to be embarrassed about here, people?!

Obviously he doesn't see her potential like I do. (Potential = She runs.)

When I went to pick her up tonight he said I should "get a real scooter."

I should have kicked his ass right then and there. Because, you know, Noah looks like the type of dude you'd want to step-to.

Truly, he was a scooter-gift-from-heaven - thanks Dear Sweet Baby Jesus in the Manger! And he even humored me with the whole camera thing.

Now watch this video of me driving away from Noah's garage. I think I was really pulling off the bad-ass vibe until I enthusiastically waved. (Note to self: Scooter bad-asses don't wave.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just Another Day at the Office

On rough days Tom, the med student who sits behind me, sighs a lot.

This is how I know that the colorful squiggly lined slides that he stares at are getting the best of him.

A few weeks ago I asked him what he was puzzling over because all day he kept sighing these big deep sighs of resignation.

"Lay it on me, Tom. We can totally figure this out," I told him.

He's spending the summer doing research in Molecular Cardiovascular Biology, which is where I sit. So he told me that he's trying to figure out if this "aggregate" that collects in the heart forms because of heart disease, causes heart disease or is a byproduct of something else that happens in the body that may or may not be related to heart disease.

Well geez, why didn't you say so?!

"Ok, so is the aggregate good or bad," I ask him.

"It's not good. They think it's like Alzheimer's of the heart. Like how your brain develops this protein aggregate, so does your heart."

"No problem then, let's just make something that vacuums it out," I said.

He seemed skeptical. "Riiight... like a vacuum."

"Yes." Then I made a vacuum-y sounding noise while I pretended to vacuum out "aggregate" from my own heart.

"Or, maybe we could invent some sort of pill that the aggregate sticks to, or that breaks it down, and then you just pee it out, like extra calcium, only its aggregate."

"Or!" (and this is where I started to get really excited), "we'll create two kinds of mice. One will be the baseline aggregate mouse and the other one we'll give things to that we think might stop the aggregate, like coffee. Doesn't coffee help prevent Alzheimer's? And crosswords? Don't crosswords supposedly help brain function? We'll invent some sort of crossword puzzle for the heart."

Tom pretended to be on board with all of this. It's testament to his patience and why he will someday be an excellent physician - he'll be well practiced at humoring simpleminded patients.

"Yes... these are good ideas," he said. (Then he said something about how it's good to talk to people outside of what he's doing because sometimes "simple" things help you find your answer, but I'm just going to pretend he didn't mention that whole "simple" thing because all of this was pretty complex if you ask me. I mean, it's not like this stuff just comes to me, I had to think about it for a few minutes.) (Ok, it totally just came to me, but still.)

"Stick with me Tom. I'll make it rain in here. How long are you here? What's our time frame for this?"

"Eight weeks."

"Eight weeks. No problem. I think we can do it."

"You know, the Boss Man has spent much of his career on this." (Except he didn't say Boss Man.)

"Yeah, that seems excessive. No reason we can't wrap this up by the end of the summer, Tom. Just think how jealous your med-school classmates will be when this gets published!"

(Then in my head Tom thanked me during his speech at a some super fancy honorary dinner when he wins the laureate prize for his research, and he gets me a new scooter with the massive amounts of dough he'll rake in from his discovery. Wait, why just a scooter, Tom? Why not a big fancy house or something? You would have never thought of a heart vacuum without me. Ingrate.)

Anyway, I can only assume when Tom goes off to the lab now he's working on our aggregate vacuum/pill-where-you-pee-out-aggregate/coffee drinking mouse.

I'll keep you all posted on what's sure to be the scientific breakthrough of the summer.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Reporter's Life, and The Real Bottom Line

My friend Matt got me A Reporter's Life for college graduation. I know this because he inscribed the book with a nice little sentiment about me starting my own life as a reporter.

I read it while I lived in Virginia at my first newspaper job. I hardly knew who Walter Cronkite was at the time, but I knew he was the revered anchorman who Johnson was reported to have said, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America," in reference to Cronkite's criticism of the Vietnam War.

I don't remember much about the book now other than I loved it. I might have been too young to remember him on the CBS Evening News, but it gave me an appreciation of this legendary older man and what he had seen in his life.

I remember his tone was thoughtful and seasoned, and the book was peppered with adages about journalism that seem from a bygone era now. And I underlined everyone one of them.

That's what I do with books, see. I underline, write in the margins, make notes and criticisms on the back pages. It's why I have such a hard time letting them go; I make them mine.

So tonight when I learned that he'd died at 92 I picked up A Reporters Life for the first time in years and flipped through to see what I had noted back then. I saw the inscription and smiled (I had forgotten the book was a gift) and then on page 374 I saw that I had outlined this paragraph:

To play the downsizing game, the boards and their executives deny to their news managers enough funding to pay for the minimum coverage necessary to serve their consumers well. They reduce the amount of expensive newsprint available until editors do no have enough space for the news they need to cover. Good reporters, writers and editors are spread so thin that they cannot spend the necessary time developing the stories that the public needs and deserves. A more responsible press depends not upon individual journalists but upon more responsible owners. That is the real bottom line.

More responsible owners indeed.

So goodnight Mr. Cronkite.

Nothing says fancy like a beer flute.

It's Friday?! IT'S FRIDAY!

So the week kinda got a away from me and I had nothing planned for today's video festivities. Not to worry though! I have a very special guest this week... drum roll!

Sam The Eagle presents something never before seen on the Internet - culture, morality, and patriotism.

And Animal!!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Blue Angel Was Violated!

This morning when I opened the door to my sweet, innocent Blue Angel I saw that the contents of the glove compartment and console was scattered all over the floor board.


I searched to ensure that my "valuables" were still there:

• iPhone charger. Check.

• MP3 tape adapter. Check. (what? don't hate)

Then I scurried to the trunk to make sure these vicious thieves didn't take my beach chairs - those things were nearly impossible to find.

Whew. All present and accounted for.

As I slowly put the contents of the Blue Angel's purse back into their various compartments and surveyed the crime scene I realized, Those rat bastards stole my Thriller CD!!!

Not Thriller! Not my go-to for gettin' down.

Buuuut they didn't steal Madonna's Hard Candy. Ouch. (Ok, it's no Thriller, but it's still damn good.)

Anyway, be warned... there are some thieves running around Hyde Park stealing Michael Jackson CDs. (Ok, so maybe they wouldn't steal Dangerous.)

I should also note that none of my windows were broken out and I always lock my car, so they must have used one of those jimmy things or a coat hanger or whatever. A-holes.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More Like "Marathon Bad-Ass"

I recently finished devoured Kathrine Switzer's autobiography
Marathon Woman. Next to Katharine Graham's Personal History, it's one of the best autobiographies I've ever read. (Maybe it's a Kathrine/Katharine thing.)

Marathon Woman is a must read, whether you're a runner or not. It's absorbing, inspirational and wonderfully written. I enjoyed every page of it.

Switzer takes us from her first infamous Boston Marathon to the first women's Olympic Marathon in 1984 with stories of her relationship struggles and career trajectory weaved in along the way. And what a great story her life has been.

There is little doubt that without her there would have been no 1984 Women's Olympic Marathon. (Let that sink in... 1984. 19.84. I am always dumbfounded when I think about that.)

And also thanks to Kathrine we can take for granted race "comforts" such as Port-O-Lets. Can you imagine a time when there was no toilet at races? Holy lord, people. That's cruel and unusual.

She's also delightfully candid in the book.

During the 1967 incident she admits she was terrified and wet her pants a bit during the scuffle. And the boyfriend who seemed like such a hero for body checking the race director, he turns out to be miserable jerk, not to mention he bitched and whined at her the rest of the race convinced she was going to get him in trouble with the AAU.

So much for him being the best boyfriend ever.

Prior to reading Marathon Woman I thought she was more symbol than anything. Simply the woman who was famously chased down in 1967 for trying to run the Boston Marathon.

My apologies to Ms. Switzer for thinking her impact ended with few iconic images.

Kathrine, you knock my dry-wicking socks off.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Video Salute to CiN

It's been a rough week for many of my former colleagues at the Enquirer, and even worse for all of them at CiN.

It's a bittersweet Friday. But hopefully this video of better days will make it a bit more sweet. (Maybe? No? Ok, damn.)

I'm heading to the Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp show in Dayton shortly, and I thought this Willie song kinda nailed it. Hurry and watch before YouTube cuts off the audio for copyright infringement!


P.S. Julie, it picked the thumbnail automatically. I changed it but it will take a little while. Sorry!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


To CiN Weekly and the staff, who were all laid-off today.

So weird this enthusiastic story in the Enquirer doesn't mention the 14-some people who lost their jobs today.

It's truly stunning. Some of my fondest memories are of my days at CiN.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Sunday, July 05, 2009

I Ain't No Joke

It was inaugural weekend for me and my sweet new Trek bike here. Together we rode 14 miles, hand-in-hand, er... grip and hand.

Now that I roll on a Trek I'm pretty much on par with Lance Armstrong now. It's only a matter of time until he asks to draft off me in the Tour. At least that was my daydream today on Little Miami Bike trail after spending the morning watching Tour de France coverage on Versus. (Who knew I had Versus?!)

My "new" bike here is actually about 10 years old. I'd been surfing around on Craigslist for a hybrid when a cycling enthusiast colleague of mine sent me the link to this dream machine.

It's about 40 pounds lighter than my old Target mountain bike, the gears don't grind when you shift them, the tires aren't fat and knobby, it has a drink holder(!!!), and the seat is awesomely big and cushy. Oh yeah, and it practically rides itself.

We're lucky to have found each other in this big, bicycling world.

Friday, July 03, 2009

TGIF Video Is Observing the Holiday

Please check back next week for your regularly scheduled Friday entertainment.

Happy Fourth!