Sunday, May 30, 2010

Two Weddings and a Charlie Horse!

Why do I love "Law and Order" so much? It's such a creepy show. I think I love it because it's such a loyal companion, always there. Terence just dropped me and Amelia off at home, after getting called into work for the second time today. Barb had a BBQ today, and we didn't even get there till 6pm because of the first work emergency. And now at 10pm, the second emergency. Oh well. It was time for me to go home anyway, I am exhausted and was starting to cough. I felt bad for everyone else though, people were having a nice time, the fire-pit was going, and the dogs were calming down from a good three hours of intense play.

I can barely hear the "Law and Order" dialogue over Amelia gnawing on her rawhide.

My voice is coming back. YAY! I think the vocal therapy helped. The doctor gave me a "new way to breathe", it was very interesting. Anyway, the voice is not 100%, and now on top of it all I have acquired a nasty cold. I'm hacking up a lung. But at least I think there is hope for next weeks singing gig.

Still no feeling in my legs. Boo! They feel super strange, tingly, but painful, and yet numb at the same time. I can't figure out how to describe it. I do feel a bit unsteady, but so far they are still functional legs. Still don't have my medicine. Sigh.

I'm now going to brag for a moment about Amelia. Earlier today when Terence got called in to work, and we had to turn the car around, I started craving cookies. But I was definitely feeling fatigued, and was not too eager to drive to the store for cookie dough. So, for whatever reason I think baking from scratch is the less energy consuming option...until half-way through I realize I have no sugar. So, off to the store. I didn't want to have to put Amelia away in her crate for such a short trip, so when she though I was gonna take her for a walk, I gave her the "down-stay" command. I figured as soon as I closed the door behind me, she'd mosey over to the couch, or to her bed. I came home about 25 or 30 minutes later. Imagine my surprise when there she was, STILL in the down-stay position. She literally had not moved an inch! I was shocked! I gave her a treat, and she STILL didn't move. Of course! I forgot that we have a release word for a down-stay. She was waiting for me to tell her "all done!" When I finally realized that, and gave her the command, she glared at me, took a treat, and flopped down in her bed!

And to bring the story full-circle...the cookies turned out ok! Of course, the moment I was about to put them in the oven, Terence showed up and was ready to go. Typical timing! I threw the dough in a bowl, and brough it to the party. Then I realized I had forgotten to put in vanilla extract. WHY does that always happen? I always read the WHOLE recipe, and still somehow, I manage to leave out ONE damn ingredient. Usually it's something that's impossible to add after the other ingredients have been mixed. Luckily, adding vanilla wasn't too hard.

Have I mentioned today how lovely it is to be free of that god-awful Nordstrom job? It's awesome. I am convinced that place is responsible for this episode that's got me numb from the waist down. Since I quit, I've gotten a lot of new piano/voice students, started volunteering at the Accelerated Cure Project office, and gotten to actually see friends and socialize! Amazing. How was it possible for a measely 15 hour/week no-brainer retail job to be so detrimental to my entire LIFE?

Mom is being a busy bee back in Sweden. Since we made the decision to have a second wedding, she is going nuts with planning BOTH weddings. Here I was, thinking a nice traditional ceremony in the church, followed by a SIMPLE reception in the afternoon, in the community hall, or something. But no. Mom has already sent me links to "cakes", and is asking about the "band", and talking about possible "appropriate" reception halls. She seems to have a very set idea of what a wedding should be like. :-) Sometimes I think it's stressful, but then I remind myself that this is an exciting time for a mom. Our relationship has definitely improved recently. We talked today about how hard it is to find a good guy in this world. I am very, very lucky. I have great parents, and a great fiance. Great friends, and great pets. My health COULD be better, but all in all, I'm doing ok! So, cheers to that! Speaking of "Cheers", I am looking forward to our first glass of wine in over a month! I think we'll open up the Ridge 2005 Zinfandel, before it passes it's prime. Apparently the '07 Zins are what's hot. We better start catching up!

I'm signing off. I have a toe cramp! Goodnight!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Speed Limit As Posted

The following is an unpaid advertisement for "the Furminator".

We have been less than diligent these past few weeks, about brushing our cats. And by "weeks", I mean "years". I vaguely remember using a furminator once before...but I don't recall ever owning one. Terence bought one a few days ago, so today I tried it out on Littles. He immediately adored the attention, and the fur-removing sensation. And I swear, even after 30 minutes of brushing him, each brush stoke was delivering half a handfull of hair. There was enough fur to create at least 4 new cats. Littles now looks at least 4 lbs thinner!

LOST, the final episode, is on. I don't know what to think. It has been a phenomenon in ridiculousness, I'll give them that. And I suppose if they do manage to wrap this up in a non-stupid manner, I will be impressed. Oh, look... everyone who was dead, is now alive. And making out with each other. Wow.

I cleaned the guest bathroom today! Seems like a lame thing to be excited about, but seriously...the way I was feeling? It was a big deal. I feel like my left leg has a cement cast on it. I think today, for the first time in my life really, MS feels real. At one point this afternoon, I wanted to lie down, right on the carpet in the hallway, and just stay there, eyes closed. I feel slow, and my hands have been fumbling. I hope I can wake up tomorrow, and things will be better. Today was rough.

As Terence and I were driving to the airport to pick up Lauren and Travis today, I noticed this sign at the toll station. "Speed limit as posted." Why would that sign ever be necessary? Wouldn't it have been better to NOT have that stupid sign, and instead POST the speed limit? When is the speed limit NOT as posted?

So yes, Toby's parents came home today, and he is home. It was certainly an experience to have a little mini houseguest for a week! He was very sweet and loving, albeit, a barky guy at sleepy-time! I think he had a lot of fun, and Amelia did too! We practiced our agility stuff, snuggled on the couch, chased around on the grass...I am going to miss the little guy! Time to catch up on some sleep, haha!

Lauren and Travis brough us back this awesome cookbook! I can not wait to start making some of those dishes! It might have to wait a little bit, and I'll have to pace myself...the weight loss has been going well, but I could be better about it. I spend all my time being jealous of Terence because he is so diciplined. He does his work out every single day, as if his life depended on it...and I TRY to, but I have a hard time motivating myself when my leg is numb, and all these other things feel wrong with my body. I should just stop making excuses and do the best I can given the circumstances. Maybe I'll go back to Phase I again tomorrow. That should get rid of some extra pounds.

Wish me luck tomorrow! At 9am I have an appointment with a voice therapist, to try to salvage my singing voice. I need to remember to bring quarters, since my last trip resulted in a parking ticket.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Puffy Tacos"

I realized today that having a blog is not just fun and games. For me, it's apparently essential, if I want to remember what I did yesterday. The day before yesterday? Forget about it.

The weather is getting really nice here. Summer seems to have arrived, ready to blast me with some vitamin D.

Chloe just ate a lot of tape off of a packing box. Thankfully it took a whole 30 seconds for her body to reject it, and she hurled it back out in a lovely puddle of white foam.

The consulate called a few days ago to see if I could sing at a Swedish National Day event in SF on June 6th. I had a heck of a time deciding what to do for several reasons: 1) I can't sing at the moment, 2) I already had a trip booked for the following weekend, and 3) my students' recital is that very same day. But has all been worked out. Except for telling the boss lady that I won't be at the recital...I don't feel too bad about that since...neither can 75% of my students. And since she's only given me 4 students during the course of this whole year, I can't shake this feeling of entitlement!

In summarium... (is that word? It should be.) I will be singing at the Consulate event, provided my voice kicks back into gear. I was mainly worried about it being nodules on my vocal chords, or a hemmorage, but the kind doctor who shoved a camera down my throat by way of my nose showed me, in a personal little documentary on a screen, that my cords were indeed fine. At first I was relieved, that it wasn't nodes. But then I became UNrelieved, when he said it could be MS related. I had never heard of MS affecting the voice itself. I know it can screw up speaking, but I always assumed that would be a muscle disconnect in the face, keeping you from forming the words. He said that possibly a nerve could have been severed in the brain, that controls some part of the vocal registry. As I sang some notes for him, with the camera down the throat, it looked like I was clenching up at around a C. The space got visibly smaller, which is the exact opposite of what it is supposed to do for higher notes. He referred me to a voice therapist, and I'm going to go see her first thing Monday morning. I am really hoping she can impart some magic, so that this performance on the 6th of June won't be lame...I would be very very sad.

So healthwise, things are a little rocky at the moment. I noticed at the doctors that my blood pressure was back up again. I've been taking the medication religiously, but I have also noticed that the headaches are back. It's so frustrating. Nobody knows the cause of the hypertension. I think I am definitely more scared of that issue, than I am of the MS. That said, it is undeniably frustrating also, feeling like my legs are doing strange things. For the past 3 days my left leg has made its way into total numbness, following a period of pins and needles. I can't explain it well at all, it's like the surface of my leg, from my toes, all the way up my back, is numb to the touch. But INSIDE my leg, I feel weakness, and pain. How weird is that!!? Today I have for the first time in my life felt like my balance is worse than normal. Again, I know I shouldn't freak out. It's hard not to when I think about how I've been off MS therapy for over two years...and we're about to start some dance lessons for our first dance... I try to tell myself that dancing or not dancing at ones wedding, ultimately isn't what is important. But somehow it would feel like a definite loss if I made it this far with full mobility, and I were to lose it right before my wedding. Call me superficial...Oh well. I have a "numb bum"!!

Along those lines, I ordered and paid for my Copaxone. Enough bullshit. Enough phone tag. I was on the phone for over 4 hours with Shared Solutions (the support company that sends out injection training nurses etc.) and Caremark (the Specialty Pharmacy that seems to man their phones with redneck imbiciles.) For over 6 months I've been trying to work out how to get financial aid from...well, anywhere. The obstacles are too many to count. I wanted to scream (and I kinda did...) when "Joe" told me "your co-pay is really high" (I know this.) and "we should look into getting you some financial aid" (We've tried that.) Literally every time I've tried to pay for the drugs, and get them shipped, I've been passed off to their Insurance Aid Department, where they have promised me a call back "in a few days". And each time, that call has informed me that for one reason or another, I am "ineligible in my state", or they need "more info" (usually info I've given at least 3 or 4 times...) ...then when I've called back the original number to pay, they've "closed my account" because it "took too long" for me to get back to them. And whose fault is that?!

Back to square one. There is an actual SINKHOLE developing in square one, that's how much time I've spent there now. Yesterday I told "Joe" that I could care less about being connected to the financial aid department that will just send me on a wild goose chase, then make me call back after I've been rejected, to find that my account has been deleted. No thanks. Take my credit card number and let us get this shit-show on the road. That'll be $972. Thanks, and goodbye. Now the "home injection shipping department" is supposed to call me on Monday to set up the first delivery. Then once I have the 30 shots, I have to call Shared Solutions back, and tell them to send out a nurse to tell me what the heck I'm supposed to do next, even though I think by now I can figure that out. And so we will begin the daily injections. Fighting MS - take II. I keep telling myself that it can not possibly be more difficult than taking that bloody Avonex intramuscular shot every week, and the 5 years of depression, pain, and trauma that followed.

I ordered a new phone last night. I was all excited about all the different options. I was let down when I realized it would be stupid to get anything other than another Blackberry, considering the sheer number of chargers we own for this particular phone. I got a black one to replace my red one, and I'm hoping I will note a considerable improvement in performance. Not based on the color, of course. But maybe, just maybe, it won't drop every single call I make, after two minutes. It has taken great self-control to not hurl that piece of crap into the windshield of my car. Last time I did that, it just bounced back and hit me in the face. Thank you, universe.

I'm hungry. Bobby Flay and this other chick, are making "puffy tacos". I really, really would like a puffy taco. I don't particularly care for the term "puffy", but I'll let it slide, in favor of deliciousness.

Terence is at a working interview down in some remote little MA town. Swampee? Swinsay? Swansee? Swimpee. Something like that. I am sure they will love him. Another clinic that first told him no, has now called back and may have an opening after all. That one is much closer to where we live, and it sounds like he would be happy there. I am sure one of the three that are currently on the table will work out, but I think we'd both be extra happy if it were the one nearby! Moving is a pain in the ass, and expensive as hell. But it would definitely be worth every cent and effort, if Terence can find a good work environment.

How do these blogs get so long? I'm not going to have any readers, if I don't start either being funnier...or at least quicker to the point.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Taxis & Night Terrors

I feel quite content. Terence is at his Tuesday meeting tonight, so I decided to indulge a bit. I ordered myself a hawaiian pizza, poured myself a coke, and cozied up on the couch to watch the Law & Order marathon. From the moment I was done eating, I've had a snuggly Toby on my lap. In fact, he is still there, hidden under a blanket, and it's hard to type like this! I tried moving him gently, and he would drag his sleepy head, blink a few times, and mosey right back to my lap. Adorable.

Met with a new student today, and it went pretty well. I've been pretty impressed with the number of studets that this Music company has made available. It's strange to work for an "online" music school, but I have to say, it's working a hell of a lot better than the Academies I've signed contracts with. I am still baffled that music school in this state all seem to run on academic semester schedules. It doesn't make any sense to do private lessons that way- overly complicated. It's been ONE year since I got "hired" by the academy in Lexington. I have 4 students there. Total. And yet they expect me to keep "availability", in case more students come along? How about not hiring me, unless there are students to teach?? Then I got hired in Newton. But apparently, like the Lexington school, there won't be any students for me until fall. What on earth are these people expecting me to do in the meantime? Twiddle my thumbs, while making no money? Awesome.

Now I have another interview for a different school on Friday. I have kind of lost faith that this one will be "different"...but...I feel like I should at least check it out. The person running it is at least not Russian. I am discovering that Russian pianists who run music academies and I, don't necessarily get along. Cultural differences? Anyway, it's hard to know exactly how to proceed with getting more students, pending Terence's job situation. If we need to move, I don't necessarily want to drive an hour every single day, for just a student or two. I also don't want to (nor can I, by contract) abandon the students I have acquired thus far. Getting life, location, students, parents, traffic, and finances to all line up? Tricky, indeed.

I saw Laurin on Sunday! She is so much fun, seriously. We went with Terence to Thai food, but he got called in to work halfway though. We were counting on him not being gone very long, so he took the car to the clinic. After dinner, Laurin and I went to get some ice cream. (I was convinced that there is something wrong with my tastebuds. The butterscotch seriously tasted like RUM.) And here is where the night got odd. We eventually wanted to go home. Terence was still at work. (and as much as we like ice cream, they don't offer overnight accomodations at the ice cream parlor.) So we called a cab. The guy who picked up the phone sounded a little ... "off". He was mumbling unintelligibly, as I tried repeatedly to give him our pick-up address. Finally, he huffed that "it would be 20 minutes." At least that's what it sounded like.

40 minutes passed, and then the driver called. (Now, I am seriously suspecting that the guy on the phone and the driver were the same person, because they were both practically impossible to understand.) Either way, the driver says he is at "52 Massachusetts Avenue", and is wondering where we are. I tell him that we are at "1752". Not "52". He starts making a fuss and grumbling, tells me to "wait", that he is "on his way", and hangs up. Right then, Terence calls. He's done at work, and on his way home, offering to pick us up. At this point, both Laurin and I are a bit weirded out that a cab is taking forever, and getting lost. Plus we don't want to sit in the ice cream parlor anymore! So we tell Terence to come get us. Here is my FAVORITE PART of the night. I called the cab driver, and told him not to come. That it had simply taken too long, and that our original ride had finally shown up. I guess I was sort of expecting a "thanks for letting me know", since we technically are under no obligation to wait for a CAB that was busy getting lost. Instead, the guy starts yelling at me. He goes on about how it's not fair, that I wasted his gas money, and now he drove all this way for nothing. He got super hostile and kept repeating that he'll remember my number. He seemed to think I called to make other arrangements AFTER I spoke with him the first time, just to be an ass. I asked him "WHY would I CALL you to let you know, and save you the extra distance? I could have just left without telling you! All we know is that we called a Waltham cab, and we are in WALTHAM, and it's been close to an hour, and you've gotten lost. I didn't realize the ticker starts running the moment we place a call...and where the hell were you dispatched from? New York??" I was fuming. Great to know I can never call a cab in Waltham again. Ugh!

Breathe. Let it go. OK. Done.

Our cats are serious terrorists. I was wide awake between the hours of 1am and 5am this morning. Here is what happens.
11:30pm - Toby is not happy in his crate, so we move his crate next to Amelia's crate. His barking becomes reduced to whining. Amelia could care less. Terence is snoring. Cats are still.
12:07am - Toby is silent. Everything is silent. I fall asleep.
1:30am - Kosmo comes into bed and hurls his massive body weight onto us, purring at roughly the decibel volume of a circle-saw.
1:45am - Enter Little Man. Throws HIS massive body onto us, scaring off Kosmo in the process.
1:47am - Kosmo retaliates by scratching at some invisible thing over by Terence's nightstand. 1:50am - Chloe begins snoring really, really loudly.
2:30am - Kosmo steps on my head. Little Man falls off the bed.
3:10am - Little Man steps on my head. Kosmo falls off the bed. Chloe begins 15 minute litterbox dig. Repeat this particular sequence for the next 55 minutes.
4:05am - Cats wake up Toby. Toby begins crying. Amelia could care less. Cat acrobatics have not ceased, or even slowed.
4:06am - I sit up, and say something to the effect of "I can't take this anymore" and break into hyperventilation. Terence kicks all three cats out, one by one, closes bedroom door, and tells me to lie back down.
4:07am - I am convinced the guest bedroom is open and Little Man is going to eat everything fabric and plastic in that room. Terence goes to check. Terence returns, closes door.
4:08am - Kosmo begins loud meowing and clawing at closed door. Toby's crying escalates to barking.
4:30am - I open door to let feline guerrilas in. I feed them, in an attempt to buy their cooperation. I exit the room. I open the dog crates. Toby ejects himself like a bat out of hell. Amelia is still sleeping, doesn't get why we are up at 4:30am. I take them out to pee. Amelia is still asleep.
4:45am - Both dogs fall asleep on the couch. I watch infomercials.
5:30am - I fall asleep.
6:30am - Terence leaves for work. I sleepwalk back into the bedroom. Dogs in crates. Cats asleep in their beds.

The end.

Right now it's 9:45pm. I anticipate the circus is due to begin again soon. Speaking of, where the heck is my fiance?!

And another random question before my computer shuts down...why is there no power running through my laptop charger? The same thing was happening earlier, and I switched outlets. It worked for a bit, and now it's not working again. Very strange.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Who needs a calendar!?

I do. I'm a moron. (And no, I don't need anyone to chime in and back me up on that.) If I could just learn to read...

I went to PetSmart today. Why? Because I thought the Banfield Fundraiser was today. When I went back and checked the email from my friend, it was right there, clearly stated: SUNDAY. Apparently my subconscious deemed that to be a lie. Or, maybe it was just wishful thinking, since I didn't have anything on the agenda today? I still plan on going tomorrow, but seriously...would have been nice to have saved a trip. I felt like an idiot, because I convinced my friend April to come with me and Amelia, while her dog was being neutered. Oh well, it was still a productive trip. Amelia is very happy with her new stuffing-less fuzzy fox toy. She is LESS happy with her new "Gentle Leader" muzzle collar...but she's been pulling forward a lot lately, so this will hopefully help her walk better in public!

And now, some more medical madness brought to you by Hypochondriac Ann. (that's me, in case you hadn't noticed.) It's always something. Still don't have my voice back. It's not noticable when I speak, but I can't sing a clean note above a C. Had to turn down a gig at the Consulate yesterday, which was very sad for me. I am nervous that it's serious, because of all the horror stories I've heard about nodes on the cords...but have an appointment this coming Thursday to get it checked out. I'm trying to stay relatively calm, at least till then. I am wondering if MS can affect the voice. I haven't heard of any cases, but since MS is the stripping of the myelin around the nerves in the brain, and the brain is in charge of well, EVERYTHING...then there is no reason why the vocal cords would be immune to the same type of destruction that can affect memory, eyes, legs, skin...I'm still convinced that the itching was MS acting up, triggered by stress. It has now translated into almost complete numbness on the right side of my face. I am constantly checking that my facial muscles on that side still work, and they seem to. I just can't feel anything touching me on that side. It's a very odd...feeling? Lack thereof, rather. When I smile I feel like I'm only smiling on the left. When I apply eyeliner, it's kind of a crap shoot, because I can't feel what I'm doing anymore.

It may be more than just my face. My arm feels a bit strange too. And when I work out, my foot falls asleep completely after a few minutes.

I just want my medicine. I can't afford it. Having the meds would make me feel like I'm DOING something to prevent symptoms from becoming debilitating. I am scared. Not panicking, but scared. I become nervous that the wedding will be affected. Sounds a bit shallow, doesn't it...I know it's impossible to predict MS episodes, but I just hope that it will decide to leave me alone on my wedding day. The last thing I want to think about on that day, is MS. I know it's a part of our lives, just like anything else, and will be forever...but I want to FEEL that first kiss on my lips as husband and wife! (Although I guess if it's just the left side....that's still better than nothing!)

OK, gotta pull myself together. Enough whining for today. Hey, at least I don't work at Nordstrom anymore!

Tomorrow is TOBY day! We are babysitting Lauren and Travis' little weeeeenie pup for 10 days! I can't wait! Amelia is going to be so excited! The cats probably won't be as thrilled.... but they'll live.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Blondification Begins!

I spend SIX hours at the salon today. Six HOURS. That's how long it took them to start me on the road from darkness to light. I was paranoid the whole time that once the rinse finally happened, I'd be orange. I kept telling myself that if that happened, at least it would be Giants fan friendly. Either way, we're halfway there, and I'll be going back in 3 weeks for another head of foils that will hopefully bring us to the blonde I've been envisioning.

We got the "agility kit" for Amelia today, and sadly, it was kind of lame. I thought it would be sturdier that it is. The tube for her to run through is, well, a nothing majorly wrong with that, but the high jump is flimsy. The poles are thin and flail around. Oh well, we can still make it work I think. We also got about 30 grapefruits from Terence's grandmother. 30 is a lot of anything, but when you are looking at grapefruits, it's really overwhelming. I don't know what to do with them.

Apparently, the drama is continuing at work following my departure. It's quite amusing to hear about it, knowing that I will never be going back there. It's the most incredible feeling.

Little Man ate my shoestring yesterday. I am usually very vigilant about keeping the apartment Littles-proof, so I don't know exactly what caused my lapse. But I haven't been able to relax since then. I am checking the litter boxes, scanning the carpet for shoestring-puke...nothing yet. We are just hoping it doesn't get stuck anywhere in his indiscriminating digestive system! He truly is a miracle cat.

I went to IKEA yesterday, with Mariel. I was really looking forward to the meatballs at the cafeteria, but I'll be honest, I was let down. They tasted...mass produced. I know that sounds stupid- it's not like I'm under the impression that a little Swedish gnome is in the back, hand rolling meatballs at every IKEA...but still. I feel like there has been a steady decline in quality over the past few years. Maybe it's the service...I don't know. Something is off. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that my diet has been working though. Before the diet, I'd polish off that entire plate of meatballs, at all costs. Potatoes too. And yesterday, I just couldn't do it. I'm not eating like every meal is my last anymore. I gotta say, I never would have predicted that. Yay! I've managed to take the "panic" out of food consumption! There is hope for me! I shouldn't have bought that nifty little wicker kitty cottage though...the cats have ZERO interest in it. Boo.

OK, back to watching TV. Terence was doing 30 minutes of step aerobics on the Wii while we were watching Flashforward. Yes, the clicking sound that marks the steps is annoying, BUT, I really admire his dedication. I know I couldn't have lost ANY weight without his cheerleading, so I really am grateful that he is around to keep me at least somewhat well behaved.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Crap Cakes!

OK, what just happened...? I just spent 20 minutes trying to log in to this blog. First I was told I had the wrong password (strange!). So I tried a whole bunch of times, still pretty sure that I knew my password since I type it in every day (right?). Then I got redirected to another email address (what?), and then when I managed to change the password, I somehow got logged in as a follower of my own blog (huh?).

I made crabcakes today. They weren't awful, but I was a bit thrown off by the distinct lack of mayonnaise. (I was just as confident about the presence of mayonnaise, as I was about the password to this blog... strike two...) Then to make matters worse, I made the rookie mistake of not reading the directions all the way through before dumping all the ingredients in a bowl. In went the breadcrumbs. Then I read "form the mixture into patties and roll in the breadcrumbs". I was at a loss as to what "additional" breadcrumbs the recipe was talking about. Damn it. I suppose it could have been worse. A few extra breadcrumbs never killed anyone. But I'll admit, with all those internal breadcrumbs, the patties were a bit resistant to also being covered in breadcrumbs. Alas, I barreled onward, making this weird sauce out of NOT mayonnaise. I combined sour cream, buttermilk, ketchup, mustard, lemon juice, and some random spices. Not very good, but could at least visually pass for "sauce appropriate for the likes of crab cakes."

I feel like I am leaving something out...something culinary. What else did I make today? Oh yes- how could I forget...this morning's craptastic buckwheat pancakes. The only thing that made them worthy of the title "pancakes" was the fact that they were made in a pan. The appearance of the batter was "wet sand". The texture of the finished pancakes made me think maybe I could maybe pitch it to NASA, as shuttle engine insulation. The only salvation? I threw in some semi-sweet chocolate chips. Terence however, seemed to have no major problem with my NASA Chocolate Insulation Cakes. I think he is just happy that I am showing interest in cooking again! But seriously, lesson learned. Buckwheat went out of style in the 50's because it's disgusting. End of story.

You know, I do make good pancakes. And after today, I've concluded that if you are doing a diet, like we are, don't try to mess with the things you love. In a way it's like make up. If you're gonna spend money, spend it on foundation. If you wear cheap foundation, it's bad for your skin, looks crappy in photos, and starts smudging after 5 to 6 hours. But spend 60 bucks at Chanel or Dior, and it will most likely feel and look great. Eyeliner, however? 99 cents at the drug store. Nobody will ever know the difference. Now back to the diet. Use lean meat. Make mashed potatoes out of cauliflower, use splenda...but when it comes to pancakes, cookies, and desserts? Chanel, all the way.

Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there! I tried to hint to Terence this whole week that Amelia, Littles, Chloe and Kosmo might "need some help" preparing for Mother's Day, since they have no thumbs, and don't really have any money for hallmark cards or anything. Plus, they are terrible spellers. But it's 8pm, and I think my hinting fell on deaf ears. Sadness. Hrmph! Maybe next year I'll just have to start hinting earlier, maybe around Easter. Or maybe I should give 'em all a second chance, as Swedish Mother's Day isn't till the end of the month...are you reading this Terence??

Amelia smells. It's bath time. We played outside today, doing more jumping. She is so awesome. Hopefully the agility kit will arrive tomorrow, so I don't have to lug the wine racks outside everytime we want to practice...

Last night we went to our buddy Travis' New Music Concert at Brandeis. I must say, it was awesome! I have so much respect for composers. Travis' piece was very intricate, yet excellently tied together, showing true compositional talent. "New Music" can be very challenging to listen to, and on occassion can end up sounding like it was just a bunch of sounds thrown together. The true mark of genius to me, is making unconventional ideas work together to still sounds like something. Yesterday's concert was all around great, but Travis' work was particularly memorable. Lauren's cake was memorable too! It looked like a real snare drum! It was crazy! She is so talented! People literally didn't dare touch it, it looked so good!

Talked to Mom today. She had been to visit her aging aunt in the old folks home. This is the aunt who is convinced that I've given birth to twins, sometime in the past year. Mom set her straight last time she visited, but today, she was at it again - asking how they were doing. Geesh. Maybe I should have mom bring her aunt a photo of Amelia and Little Man, and next time she asks about the her how hairy and adorable they are.

I think I've decided to blondify myself again. Scary. But better to do it now right? As opposed to a week before the wedding?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Freedom! Sweet, sweet freedom!!

I finally did it! I quit "that-company-I-can't-mention-by-name-as-they-have-forbidden-employees-to-have-negative-opinions-in-a-gross-effort-to-supress-free-speech". (Hint: This company claims to be one of the top three companies in America to work for. Google it?) After an enormous fiasco where I was treated pretty badly by both a co-worker and a terrible manager, I took the evening to contemplate. It was definitely time. In a little chat on Thursday, the manager told me that I needed to make like a trillion dollars per hour in order to be "safe", in spite of my "improvements". So in short, the false accusations plus the worthless schedule, plus the threat of termination...quitting was a pretty good option, right? I feel amazingly free. I highly recommend this feeling for anybody who is considering leaving a bad situation where you are not appreciated. I did feel bad because I liked most my coworkers, and I just met some wonderful customers. I know I provided excellent customer service but sadly that doesn't really seem to matter in that department. I called our assistant manager to tell her that I will miss her and that she is doing a great job. She is really a wonderful leader and motivator, and a stark contrast to our largely incompetent and manic-depressive manager.

I called HR in the morning, and was pretty emotional. They listened to what I had to say which was nice. I am still contemplating sending a letter to higher management in hopes that it can alert the right people that our store is falling significantly short of their vision for a "great company to work for". Ultimately, I'd like to think that I was just unlucky in terms of which store/department I ended up in. I have heard from others, not every place is like this, which is a small comfort.

Just to make the situation hilarious, as I was talking to my coworker while in the grocery store...guess who turns the corner. Yep, the manager. She lives in my apartment complex, but I've never seen her there, OR in the grocery store. But of course, the day I quit, there she is, like the ghost of employment past...I quickly shoved my head into napkin section on the nearest shelf. Not exactly the first person I'd want to see under the given circumstances. Thank god for those napkins. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

It's great to have to not go in for my shift today. It would have been 2:30pm to 10:30pm. Instead I am home with my wonderful fiance, and all our animals. Had a great night's sleep, and was awakened by an awesome thunder and lightning storm, which was very cool. Then I made us some South Beach Diet approved Asparagus and Ham omlettes with spinach and goat cheese. They were good, but I have a hard time eating savory stuff for breakfast. Although overall, I am getting a good handle on my usual cravings...all I wanted today was a Nutella and Strawberry Waffle with whipped cream. But hey, two weeks ago I would have thought it the end of the world, and been really upset that I couldn't have it. Now at least I don't feel so dramatically about the matter. And that is perhaps the most important change this diet has brought.

It was a good day indeed, yesterday. Following my resignation from NoNamestrom, I hung out with Mariel on the lawn for at least 2 hours, and Bella and Amelia got some serious outdoor time. The weather was amazing, and I soaked up some Vitamin D, which I know would please my doctors. I showed Mariel, and our darling 85 year old upstairs neighbour lady sitting on her balcony, what Amelia has been doing in Puppy Agility Class. I set up a hurdle with a broom and an empty wine nerdy am I... but it was fun! Both Bella and Amelia were such good dogs! (And yes, after we came inside, I did order the Agility Starter Kit for Amelia...)

Last night we saw Bill Burr in Boston, and it was a riot. I am a sceptic when it comes to comedy shows. There has to be brains behind the jokes for me to have a good time. But last night was great! Sure, there were some drunk-ass losers there who didn't hear the jokes because they were roaring like buffalos for no reason...but Bill Burr was funny as hell! Even the guy who opened for him was awesome! I had never heard of either of them, so thank you Terence for a great evening!

And now...? Back to my cozy rainy Saturday. I'll get some reading done. If Chloe will get off the bookstack. Catch up on some television. We've got a great line-up: Rules of Engagement, a movie or two, Modern Family, Grey's Anatomy, LOST...snuggling with the kitties and the Muffin...maybe I'll bake some chocolate cookies later. To give away of course.... ;-)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Manic Monday!

I'm not feeling too chatty today...But that is not a bad thing! I wasn't feeling so hot yesterday and the day before, so today is an improvement. I wasn't at work yesterday, and whoa, did that do wonders for the psyche! I feel refreshed, detoxified, and what-have-you. I now realize more than ever that I simply can't torture myself by staying at that job any longer.

And there is something else that has cheered me up! Although I didn't realize this, the wedding planning was really getting me down. I have always had a vision of what my wedding would entail, and there was just a lot of "not possible", and "well, compromise" happening. Too much in fact. Well, now I've found my compromise. We will have a joyous grand party in the fall, and we'll be wed before friends and family...and then next summer, we'll do it all again, in a little white swedish church, as I've dreamed. It will be as swedish as can be, and I won't feel like I had to give up who I am, in order to have a functional wedding. And another dream of mine? Taking adorable wedding photos on a yellow tandem bike on Hven, as we cruise through the fields beneath the bluest sky in the world! And to top it all off, all this, while marrying the most wonderful man in the world! I mean SERIOUSLY, what guy do you know that would take such care to cook delicious meals, in support of our diet? Clean the bathroom, do the laundry, FOLD the laundry?? Walk the dog when I don't feel well? He is one of a kind, that's for sure. (OK, enough bragging!)

Easy day today. Playing with Amelia, snuggling with the cats, trying not to eat things NOT on the diet, teaching a lesson in half an hour, then a quick bite with upstairs neighbour, before puppy agility class! I don't know why I'm so cheery today...I sound manic! I am really just envisioning my life without a certain dreadful, torturous job...and it's making me giggle like a schoolgirl!

I had a break in my insurance troubles today! I got a reply from my tax guy, who told me he is going to give me the papers I requested tomorrow. That will be the last puzzle piece (hopefully) in getting some financial aid for the outrageously expensive MS meds. And hopefully I can get started with those in the somewhat near future.

How long are we going to have to boil our water? And why are there so many mixed messages about the "water emergency"? Some people are saying it doesn't affect our town...but then why would every store be sold out of bottled water? This makes no sense.

Sharks won again last night! Libby and Barb came over for dinner, which is always a good time! I can't wait to try out some new recipes on them in the coming weeks! Haha! Ooo, I should see if they are interested in the Boston Water Taxi Doggie tour! Apparently this boat takes dogs and their owners to this uninhabited island where the dogs can play, and we can picnic etc. Sounds amazingly fun to get a group together!

I feel like an ass for missing dad's birthday yesterday. I had the time difference wrong between here and Malaysia. I thought they were behind us, twelve hours, but turns out they guessed it! Twelve hours ahead. Ugh. To add to my incompetence, I sent the birthday cards kind of late...oh well. I miss my dad. :-(