Sunday, August 14, 2011

Blog-tastic!

The past two months have made me seriously think abot what is, and what isn't...blog-worthy. I should maybe grab a giant piece of cake to help me make the final decision, now that I'm sitting here staring at the little blog-box.
That was good cake. My best gluten-free creation so far. It was the Volcano Cake that I made on Friday for the "Iceland Sucks Party". That party was a lot of fun. I decided to throw this party, because I was drowning in hatred for Iceland Air. And when you're drowning in hatred, you need to come up for air. This party was my oxygen. Iceland Air WILL be dealt with, but I've gotta have a clear head to do so effectively. Nothing like Blue Lagoon vodka shots, some Bjork tunes, and a volcano chocolate cake, to remind us that sometimes you just need to make fun of what it is that's bothering you. (Maybe not always PUBLICLY, but in this case, I felt it was OK!)
It's hard to know how to organize this post, considering how eventful and dramatic the past two months have been. I'll just jump right in, and see what happens. I'm sure at some point I'll get totally distracted, and write about whatever comes to mine...like...how THE most disgusting flavor combination HAS to be smoked salmon + cranberry juice. I guess I should have been able to predict how gross it would be, but I wasn't thinking. But now I know. Don't make the same mistake I did.
I had an incredible Swedish wedding back in July. It was simply perfect- the wedding of my dreams unfolded on a beautiful summer day, surrounded by a lot of amazing people who have known me all my life. All the things I love about tradition, came together to make the day flawless. It was stress free, and lovely from beginning to end!
A few days after the wedding, I woke up in our hotel in Gothemburg vomiting uncontrolably... and realized I couldn't stand up because the room was spinning in circles. I literally didn't know what was up and what was down, or what the hell was happening to me. It didn't feel quite like an MS exacerbation, and I was certainly not drunk....the feeling was indescribable. Sounds stupid...but I thought for sure- "this is the end". I wish I could write that without it seeming like a silly exaggeration...but I figured I had a brain aneurysm, or a stroke....it was the worst thing I have ever experienced. Acute vestibular neuritis. How very, very, very random.
The weeks that followed I had to learn how to walk again. I finally stopped vomiting a thousand times a day, at which point I was able to slowly begin sleeping horizontally again. I'd literally been sleeping sitting up, because when I'd lay down, the vertigo would take over, and the puking would start again. I think I was actually afraid of sleeping for a while, because of that intial way I woke up at the onset. I don't ever want to wake up that way again.
The whole "learning to walk again" thing, was not super-fun. On one of the first walks I was able to take outside with the dog...she freaked out and got startled by something. It all happened so fast, but she consequently dragged me into the street, in traffic. I fell forward right in front of a car. The man slammed on his brakes as I lay there, covering Amelia with my body...he managed to stop a couple of feet before running us over. We are incredibly lucky, because that could have ended very badly. There was blood and scratches, and I think my elbow is either severely bruised or hairline fractured, but....we are both still here!
Without going into detailed experiences at this time-I have learned some important lessons this summer. The most important one is: It is OK to remove yourself from a situation. It does NOT always mean you're "giving up", or "accepting defeat." It means you are picking which battles are going to ultimately contribute to your growth as a person, and which battles are going to land you in the hospital. There are things in life are simply not worth absorbing, at least not for any extended period of time. Unfortunately it took a summer session at the Vestibular Neuritis Academy to realize how profound the effect of negative stress can be. So, whether this means turning a deaf ear to people who are hurtful/negative/mean, or quitting a job where the thought of going to work nauseates you, or even something as simple as taking a breather when the negativity becomes overwhelming...this is important. And at this point in my life, I feel entitled to be giving this type of advice. I think I am turning the corner from "WHY is this HAPPENING", to "This has to stop happening." And let me tell you, the difference is enormous.
And this is the point where I insert a random, distraction induced musing. Why do people have super tiny fences in their front yards? Like, around their mailboxes. Are they designed to keep something out? Or in? Because they look ridiculous, and can't possibly serve a purpose.
I'm going to the doctor tomorrow. I have a lot to tell her, haha! I stopped my MS medication, my blood pressure medication, and everything else, when things came to a screeching halt about a month ago. I was prescribed a ton of anti-nausea and vertigo pills, as well as 50mg of prednisolone a day, and just felt like it was all....too much. I've had a nagging suspicion that Copaxone hasn't been working for me anyway, but I gotta figure out what to do next. I certainly haven't missed the daily injections, but I do worry about what the future holds, should I NOT find a functional medication. Gluten-free diet has made a different, of course, but more in terms of energy and general wellness...I don't know about disease progression.
They are about to announce the Next Food Network Star. I think it's dreadful how the network has brought in all the eliminated contestants to judge the last two finalists. That bitch Penny doesn't like women, so obviously she will be unfair in her judging. It irks me that she gets so much airtime, just 'cause she is difficult. But that's life. The annoying people will often get more "airtime". It's awesome though, that the two finalists ARE actually nice people. PS. Giadia's dress is hideous. PPS. Jeff just won. The "Sandwich King". I like him, but hate Sandwiches.
That leads me to the concept of ...HUMILITY. I've been wanting to write about humility for a long time now. It's already 10pm, and I have so much to say about this...I better save it for another day. That, and Amelia's dental appointments, her experience in Sweden, and how she hates all the small dogs that live in our complex. And the fact that my hair is now "eggplant" in color. (not a bad thing!) And our upcoming MAINE VACATION! And Swedish Sunsets...And, some fascinating, indepth analysis of human behavior. Hee hee. With awesome case studies. Watch out!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oatmeal Riot

OK, NOW pissed. I had a perfectly good blog entry. I made sure it was auto-saving. I clicked "publish".

Where IS it??????

I can't take this anymore. What do I need to DO to my &*^%#^&-ing computer to get it to NOT SUCK SO BAD??? I keep doing things, and losing them!

I guess the universe didn't think my oatmeal rant was important enough.

I am eating oatmeal. How did we come to this???
I am not ok with eating something that looks like it's already been eaten at least once.

I've been trying to figure out why I don't write in my blog when I don't feel good. I guess maybe I don't want to carry on about un-funny things? I don't know. I feel better now. The bizarre symptoms are still there, but I do FEEL better. The steroids did affect me a bit more this time, in terms of me being a crazy person. And thank you for the 13lb weight gain. Just as I had found the motivation to do a fitness challenge at the gym. I guess "obstacles" are supposed to "make us stronger", but really they are just making me mad.

I don't want to diet. Maybe if I call it a "riot" instead, I'll be more inclined to follow through. Things that involve conflict usually hold my attention better. (Look, anonymous commentor person! I'm self-reflecting!!) "No, I can't eat that...I'm on a riot".

I'm overwhelmed again. By the suckiness of my laptop. I better go before I lose this entry too, and end up hurling the router and the laptop into the garbage disposal.

And to you "problem - solvers" out there? Yes, I have adopted the practice of typing my blog entries elsewhere (like in a document), just so I don't permanently lose them in case of "error". Doesn't do much good when auto-recovery doesn't recover.

And now the oatmeal is cold.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sad Face/Sad Arm


I just bought Amelia a snow suit! Hopefully this is antidote to those pesky arm-pit snowballs she gets. She loves the snow so much, but can't stay in it too long because of it latching on to her longish fur. She may feel and look like a deep-sea diver...but she will be unstoppable!!!


My healthy spell, I fear, has come to an abrupt end. It was a good few weeks while it lasted, and man, I miss the feeling of being "normal" already. :-(
I have discovered a diagnostic problem with having a numb hand/arm. Everything you touch...feels numb. It took me a while today to figure out what exactly was happening, but I think I've nailed it down. Yesterday my thumb was numb. As fun as that rhyme is, the sensation is really not fun. Imagine my dissappointment as today went on, and the numbness spread to my whole arm, down my side, and now most notably, the left side of my face. At first I thought it was because I was touching the left side of my face with my already numb left hand, but alas. Upon closer examination...I can't feel anything. :-(


I am frustrated with my doctors. I have had high bloodpressure for YEARS now. It's 153/100 today. Given those factors - Is it so insane to worry when suddenly your left arm and face go to sleep, accompanied by an odd headache? I hesitated to even contact a doctor, because I have MS. When I emailed my primary care physician, she replied exactly as I had expected - "I'd be more worried about MS being the culprit". How about you let my neurologist deal with THAT, and YOU address me as a 31 year old female with inexplicable stage II hypertension, experiencing sudden numbness? Seriously. I am paranoid that because MS can be "anything", they are going to miss something "non-MS", that's actually dangerous. I hate having a "blanket-disease". How am I supposed to get doctors to pay attention to me, without being a hypocondriac? You'd think, that with a disease as complex and undefineable as MS, they wouldn't be so quick to shove you into a box.


I went ahead and contacted my original Boston Neurologist. I like my current one, but fact is, I only went to her because I couldn't get a hold of the other guy. His secretary really dropped the ball when I was having a major episode. Now I'm having second thoughts. I feel like at this new hospital, I'm not being taken seriously. (I never actually put that feeling into words before. I am now realizing that is exactly what's going on.) They did help me regain my legs, etc....but they aren't doing much to make me feel comfortable with the medication, or entertaining my ideas for disease management. So now we'll see if my original guy will indulge my request for a second opinion appointment.


Enough about my sad arm, and my sad half-face!


The blizzard was awesome, and really relaxing! It was so beautiful to watch the snow falling, and amazing to think how powerful these sweet little innocent flakes can be, when they group together!


Oh my god. I just realized that my Copaxone injections were due to arrive today. They didn't. (We did get a giant and fabulous Calphalon 7-quart pan, which in my book is 10 times better than a box full of needles.) It's a bit scary to think about where the meds are at this very moment...on a truck? In a warehouse?


In other news, I now have MA plates! And I must say that going to the Registry of Motor Vehicles here, was a breeze. My wait time to register my car was "3 minutes", and my wait time for getting a MA license was "0 min". I had set aside 3 hours, based on previous adventures at the DMV back in CA. In what seemed like 5 minutes I was out the door, and getting a lovely pedicure. It had been a long time since the last one, I realized, as the woman removed the last tiny little line of peachy pink from my WEDDING pedicure. :-)


Tomorrow, if I have time, which I probably won't...I want to discuss with myself why it is that things are not funny unless they are negative in some way. I don't mean ill-spirited, or brutal. But undeniably, humor comes from conflict, doesn't it?


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Esophageal Incineration

My laptop is overheating. Perhaps it is just THAT excited to be the chosen vehicle to deliver yet another consecutive blog entry to a hungry (an humor starved) world? Either way, I better make this quick, or I'll have third degree burns on my thighs.

Lots of things got checked off the to-do list today. Granted, lots of things were also ADDED, but all in all, I think I came out ahead. I emailed 75% of the people I set out to email. Not bad! Terence and I have insured our motor vehicles in the state of MA. Progress! I cancelled my United Airlines flight. HUGE.

I should tell you a bit about how that last phone call went. I tried everything I could to avoid having to actually CALL, since every phone call to date has been an exercise in futility. From the moment the internet message popped up on my screen telling me that "award point reservations can only be changed by calling 1-888-blablabla....", I prepared myself for the worst. I felt like I had taken a crabby pill...fast-acting.

The United Airlines phone system is very sensitive. The automatic man that was reciting the menu options kept mistaking my earring hitting the phone for a REPLY. At one point I made the mistake of closing a door. United Airlines Automated Man thought I was giving him my last name. I hung up and started over a grand total of three times, until I had finally removed all noise-making jewelry, locked myself in the silent guest room, and laid any relevant papers containing account numbers etc, flat on the table in front of me. (I had laid them side by side to eliminate the need for any "shuffling of papers" that would doubtlessly be perceived as "an attempt to reach a live person." God forbid.)

After I had (with painstaking clarity) recited my full name, confirmation code, and answered "yes" and "no" to some random questions, I was actually connected to....Patty! And...she cancelled my reservation! She told me I could use the points at a later date, within a year. She did NOT mention a fee of any kind. I didn't want to ruin the moment, by letting on how shocked I was, or how I felt like maybe there was some mistake.... She gave me a long string of numbers "for reference", and wished me a good night. I have a nagging suspicion that I'll never see my 29000 airline points again, but good riddance! I was happy enough that I was able to understand the woman!

The laptop has now reached an external temperature of 763 degrees, and my jeans are charred. But speaking of hot things...Terence tried his Christmas present tonight: Dave's Insanity Hot Sauce. I've never seen the man cry until tonight. I got him a glass of milk. For the next two hours, he had a considerable fever, and kept complaining that his esophagus was being incinerated. It was all very, very interesting (and emotional?) dinner!

And now...a white russian for my face. And ice packs for my lap.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Tree Hospice!


Any publicity is good publicity right? And that's all I have to say about that...PS. Has anyone seen the new Planet Fitness commercial? Very funny. Those writers probably read my blog.


Work was good today, until a student's younger brother tripped and hit his head on the piano bench. Scary! I was so afraid he had smashed his glasses...but luckily he seemed ok. His mom was rocking him back and forth, and I did the only think that made sense to me...asked him about trains. He quickly forgot about crying. :-)


Our Christmas Tree is looking sad. I think Terence is trying to murder Christmas. He keeps telling me that he's watered the tree, but I am not sure he is being 100% honest. It's definitely not doing well. I think I'll take it in tomorrow, and maybe run some tests?

Someone parked in our new spot, outside our garage today, so that not only could we not use that spot, but we also could not get into our garage. I considered leaving a bouquet of flowers and a gift certificate to Chili's. Because I'm nice. But instead, I took a few deep breaths, hunted down a crap parking stop that we obviously AREN'T paying good money for, and parked. I smiled at the delinquent car as passed it on my way inside. The license plate said Texas, and that's all I'm going to say about that.


I forgot to take my MS injection today! Wah! At least I THINK I forgot. But I'm not sure....crap. Is it better to take one today, or wait till tomorrow? I don't know what might happen if I take too much of this stuff....! Better wait till tomorrow. I guess this is what the journal is for...but, hello...how am I going to remember to use the journal?? Hopeless!


I'm going to bed. Here is a picture of Littles in a Box. It's my nod to Saturday night live...get it? Of course you do.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Introducing ..."Slammy McJerkerton"

Well, today wasn't nearly as productive as I had hoped. It's been a "throw-money-away" kind of day. I returned the rental car that I ended up NOT using this past weekend. Then in a fumbled attempt at changing a reservation on Virgin America I ended up having to pay cancellation fees, on what was originally a FREE flight, with award points. Which reminds me, I still have to cancel the United flight that I have booked for this month. I keep moving it, cause I don't WANT to fly United. And still, I don't want to lose the free reward miles. Ugh! Crap-tastic.

The rest of the day was spent teaching, and investigating car insurance. It's down to the wire now, because my CA registration expires in like...4 seconds. So before those 4 seconds are up we need to get MA insurance, and get some kind of inspection. (How about granting me a "I-just-paid-$3000-for-repairs-so-this-car-sure-as-hell-better-pass-inspection" certificate waiver?) And then register. Before the 12th of January. Sigh.

And THEN...in order to renew my Swedish Passport, I apparently have to either go to New York, or Washington, or Sweden....in person. I guess I should be thankful I'm at least on the East Coast now. It would be extra-annoying to have to make that trip from the West Coast. I also noticed that it's $260 to renew in the United States. However, if I throw down money for an airline ticket to SWEDEN...then it will only cost me $40. Makes no sense. Oh, and before I can do any of that...I have to apply to have my name changed with the Swedish Government Census department.

I still haven't changed my last name with the US Social Security Administration. Not unlike the United flight, I keep putting it off due to low priority/interest. I just know when I finally do make that call, I will either be pummled with a billion forms to fill out...OR, in the case of calling United Airlines, I will be stuck in an incomprehensible mumbo-jumbologue where the thickest Indian accent in the world will repeat over and over the phrase "Sorrynotpossible", in response to any and all questions/statements/requests I have.

Let's see what else I haven't done...I haven't taken my final exam from NDNU! Truth is, I can't find the study guide. Second time it's dissappeared here, somewhere in this house. It's been YEARS since graduation, and I keep meaning to get it done, but honestly - real life has started, and between being sick, and teaching 38 students, and getting married, and moving across the country...let's be serious. If I can't even find the time to call United Airlines, how am I supposed to find time to study for a 3 hour exam?? Plus, I am of the underlying opinion that because the exam was not MENTIONED at the time of graduation...why should I be punished? Not MY fault, right??

I am sore from working out at the gym yesterday. Which means I should go back. Maybe I should try for a mid-day visit tomorrow. There is this HUGE shit-tumbler of a guy who seems to always be there when I'm there. I seriously do NOT like him, and I want him to go away. He doesn't even wear work-out clothes. He wears black pants with a million useless pockets, a disgusting, dirty, off-white tank top, with straps so small that they practically dissappear between his bulging, steroidal muscles. It's so gross. And WHY does he have a flannel long sleeved button-up shirt tied around his waist? And that's just his OUTFIT.

His behavior makes me angry. Here we are, in a large spacious, three story gym. Everyone is working out. And what is he doing? He is on the same machine every time, with the pull-down bar. He has it set to a trillion bagillion pounds, because even with his roid-lumpy arms, he sometimes only does one or two pulls, before grunting, and letting the weight SLAM. Very disruptive and stupid. That's not even the strangest part. The strangest part is that he then will jump up and quickly walk in a little semi-circle to the left, and come back and do it again.

Actually, I take that back. The strangest thing is NOT his little fantic post-slam stroll...it's his HAIR. It's very black, parted down the center, comes down to right below his ears, and looks rigid from too much SOMETHING (dirt? gel? mayonnaise? a combination of all three?). THAT is the strangest part. A giant meatball wearing clothes from a "21 Jump Street" garage sale, making lots of terrible gym-noises...with that gross hair. And just to confirm that I am not a MEAN person...I would probably not be so critical of his fashion and hair style if he weren't complete devoid of gym etiquette. If he keeps showing up with his army of testosterone, I might have to start a new blog, exclusively for this guy.

Little Man has still not pooped out any major plastic particles, which worries me. He seems ok, but I am still unable to relax about the whole thing.

Why is it so hard for me to drink WATER? Does anyone else have this problem? It's good for me, and I should drink LOTS of water. And what should I call this blog post? What will grab your attention?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Que (Petit) Syrah, Syrah?

Happy New Year, friends and enemies! I am not sure why I have felt the need to include my enemies in my various dialogues recently. Maybe because in my experience, the people who don't like you are inevitably the ones who have an interest in what you're up to? Maybe I'm simply feeling that "inclusion" is a concept often lacking in people's social behavior, and therefor it is a concept that I intend to push in 2011. At the end of last year, I reached out to two people who were dear to me, but for reasons largely inexplicable, we fell out of mutual favor. To me, those things happen, and given the time that has passed, I genuinely see no reason to not reconnect. I haven't heard back from either, and would of course understand if I no longer have a place in their lives. I can respect that.

I made pizza again today. Sweet turkey sausage with onion, mushroom, bell pepper...I am getting better at it, but I'll be honest...I still haven't mastered the pizza stone. At a blazing 500 degrees, how am I supposed to get the thin rolled out dough ONTO the hot stone? I ended up ordering a "pizza peel" (aka. paddle) from Amazon today. Hopefully that will elevate my home pizzas to a new level, and eliminate any residual sogginess resulting from my inexperience.

Terence and I started a puzzle last night. I was inspired to do something that didn't involve the television or the cell phone, that have undeniably taken over our lives. I really liked it, and it felt good to exercise the brain, so to speak. It's 500 pieces, an animated map of Boston. I had forgotten the exciting sensation that comes from finding that one piece, after an entire evening of searching, and attaching it to another for the perfect fit.

In other news, I just spent $3000 to have my car fixed. That made me sad. Moving on.

Tomorrow, after a nice Christmas break, it's back to work. I really do feel very good these days, which is a nice change from the past couple of months. I am going to make sure I do everything I can to bring consistent relaxation into the next year. I'm going to enjoy cooking with all our new fantastic kitchen elements; I'm going to enjoy, or at least pretend to enjoy, working out at a very nice gym. I'm going to drink more water, take some dance lessons at my earliest convenience, enjoy directing the Swedish Women's Choir here in Boston, bring musical enjoyment to my students, hang out with friends, and plan 2 awesome concerts. And last but not least, there are some exciting trips and travels that my wonderful hubby and I have to look forward to this year.

And I suppose it should be mentioned that I'm getting back on the Sommelier training horse! Cheers! (In this case, with my new favorite wine: San Juliette - a 2008 Petit Syrah from Paso Robles.)