It was a gorgeous fall weekend

…and I barely got to enjoy any of it. I drove home from my doctor’s office on Friday afternoon in the gorgeous sun. And then I sequestered myself in my office to write that paper. At 9:45, I decided that it didn’t really need to be proofread (checking the spelling was going to have to do), and uploaded it. I can’t remember the last time that I wanted until the very last minute to finish an assignment. I never do that. At least, not this time around in school. I totally did that in my undergrad, but I’m 12 years older now, and really can’t pull all-nighters. (For your information, I spent the hours from 6-9 on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights working on the paper, and 6-9 on Wednesday night in class, and 5-10 on Friday night, making that at least 14 hours spent on this silly paper, not including any time I might have spent during the workday organizing my thoughts. Ridiculous.)

Anyway.

When got home from his kickboxing class on Saturday morning, we tackled yard work. It was gorgeous weather to do this in. Truly lovely. Cool, but not cold. We took the lazy route and put the bagger on the lawn mower and mulched up all the leaves (instead of raking them). Even with the leaves chopped up, we had 10 bags. I think about 75% of the leaves have fallen, so we’re mostly done. We also met our new next-door neighbor, and learned that our property line might not be where we thought it was, and that he’s totally cool with us chopping down the ugly pine tree. I really should take a picture of it before they come and do that.

We went out for a late lunch / early dinner. I wanted to go to PF Chang’s, but trying to eat there at a normal time on a weekend is crazy – wait times of more than an hour. So we went at 2. No waiting (still crowded, but we were seated immediately). We had ice cream around 8 pm to tide us over.

After lunch/dinner, we stopped at Walgreens to pick up the prescriptions my doctor had sent over, and then to Home Depot. Bonus: my new prescription was free! Seriously. Two month supply cost: $0. Lovely.

Back at home, went to work on some more shelving for his office, and I was going to do homework. But first I decided to take the new drug my doctor gave me. This is where things started to fall apart. Let me back up a bit. I had my annual doctor’s appointment on Friday afternoon, to renew my prescriptions and make sure I don’t have cervical cancer (OK, maybe they’re trying to learn other things while they’re down there, but that’s the only thing I’ve ever learned from that particular part of the visit). I had included a couple of things I had questions about in my pre-visit questionnaire. One was about the risk breast cancer and early detection , and my doctor told me that the relations I have who had it are insignificant, as far as risk factors go. Don’t need to do anything until I’m 40. That was nice. I probably could have found this out by Googling, but I guess I never thought of doing it and didn’t want to freak myself out.

The other thing I wanted to talk to my doctor about was re-evaluating my Wellbutrin. I tried to do this last year, and she basically switched me from the twice a day to the once a day version, thinking that would help, and told me to try some lifestyle changes (she didn’t say what those changes might be, though – I assumed diet and exercise). I don’t think I pressed my case very well. This year I was more prepared. I also had more… evidence, to support me. It’s not just that I’m tired every single morning, regardless of how much sleep I get. It’s also that I don’t seem to care as much about things that I should care about. Like getting to work on time. Or what we watch on TV (I love TV). Or finishing projects. All things considered, compared to my pre-medication state, I’m waaaaay better. But I’m not as good as I was, say, 2 or 3 years ago. I know it can be better, but couldn’t get there on my own. I don’t have trouble sleeping, no anxiety, no thoughts of offing myself, just a general blah-ness. (A very different blah-ness than pre-medication, which was more of a flatline of everything in life. This was more like, if emotions were charted like waves, the crests weren’t as high as they used to be, but there were still waves. Does that make sense?)

Because the Wellbutrin has worked so well for me, she didn’t want to take me off of it. It works very well with the symptoms I have. The first year I was on anti-depressants, I took Prozac, and that was not good. It worked, but the side-effects were terrible. Also, the first week I was on it, the side-effects were crazy. It was the week before my sister’s wedding (over seven years ago!), I was on a mission trip in Chicago with several youth groups, and generally not a good time to be waking up at 4 am wide awake. Got a lot of Bible reading done. But I didn’t have any side-effects switching to Wellbutrin, and haven’t experienced any side-effects. Lovely. We decided to add a drug to the mix: Celexa. Now, Celexa is in the Prozac family, but supposedly works very well with Wellbutrin (they work on different aspects), and the Wellbutrin counter-acts traditional side-effects of Celexa (and Prozac). Celexa is supposed to be good for anxiety, too, but that is not really a problem for me.

She said she’d start me on a small dose, but after doing some research on the internet, I see there are basically only 2 different doses, the 20 mg and 40 mg (I’m on the 20). I read up on side-effects and notified since this would obviously affect him.

So, as I was saying, I took my first dose of Celexa around 4 on Saturday. I had a nice long chat with on the phone, then helped with some table saw work, and then went downstairs to do some homework. (It was dark by this point, so no more enjoying of fall weather.)

About 2 1/2 hours after taking the Celexa, I started to feel nauseous, and had a headache coming on. I remembered reading something about not taking aspirin or ibuprofen, so did some Googling to see if it was safe to do so. One Advil and one spoonful of my favorite nausea-fighting OTC, and I set out to do homework. While those symptoms subsided, I started to feel drowsy and also a bit jittery (the kind of jittery I feel after taking Benadryl, like you can feel the blood coursing through your veins just a bit faster than usual). Those lasted through Sunday night (at least – the jury is still out on today’s symptoms). Also, my concentration was shot. It took me forever to do my readings. I made it about halfway through before calling it quits.

Sunday was fun too. I had a burst of energy in the morning and cleaned out two closets upstairs that had been disorganized for far too long. I did some cleaning in my office, too. I found I don’t notice the jittery feeling as much if I’m moving constantly. But that’s not sustainable. Homework, again, took way too long, as I couldn’t concentrate. Read one paragraph at least 4 times before giving up on it. It didn’t help that what I was reading was a lot of theoretical/philosophical stuff on how people think and learn – a little too lofty for my preferences when I’m in a normal state of mind. I took a nap but remained tired for the rest of the evening. I did absolutely nothing other than paint my toenails, heat up dinner (homemade lasagna that I’d frozen a few weeks ago), and play Words with Friends. Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy the weather at all, except when passing by the windows while cleaning.

Today is day 3, and I seem to be much better. Still feeling a bit jittery, and my concentration isn’t fabulous, but I’m awake and alert, which is good since I’m at work. I’m giving it 2 weeks for the side effects to go away, and 2 months for it to work.

This probably wasn’t the best time to start a new drug, with all the reading, paper-writing, and research I need to do in the next two weeks. Oh well. Was there going to be a good time? Probably not.

I’m hopeful that this will be the kick in the pants I need. Celexa isn’t necessarily be a long-term drug, as it can’t be taken when pregnant (unlike Wellbutrin), and apparently going off Celexa is no fun. But you know, in a year or two my life could be very different from what it is now (at least job-wise), and who knows how those changes will affect me and my energy levels. Best to just deal with the here and now.

That was a very long post about not very much, but I felt the need to share, and be open and honest. There is still so much stigma attached to depression, which is silly because it’s a biological thing, a chemical imbalance in the brain – it’s not like I did anything to cause that. It just is. I know it can make some people uncomfortable, but why should it be any different than talking about asthma or allergies? Just doing my part to help normalize it. I’m always willing to answer questions and discuss more, should there be any concerns or thoughts you have.

I’m feeling good today. I woke up early, though I think that can safely be attributed to the time change. I’ve got tutoring later this afternoon, and then hopefully will be able to concentrate enough to write a halfway decent reflection paper on those readings I spaced out on. 🙂

Let’s not do that again

My weekend was supposed to be filled with homework, visiting with , and watching the Vikings win (OK, so I don’t really care about that last bit, but I had to throw it in). Oh, and a lovely massage on Friday night. Boy, am I glad I got that massage. Saturday just as and I were finishing up recovering her chairs (she just needed to cut off the extra fabric and re-attach the seats), called to give me an update on the Big Thing That Changed The Weekend, and I had to rush off. See, Friday night started having stomach pains, and by Saturday morning they were so bad that she went to the emergency room. called at that point to let me know I might be needed later in the day. She took the boys, but had a wedding to officiate (can’t really get out of that) later in the day, and it looked like she might need surgery. As it turned out, she had appendicitis and they scheduled a laparoscopic surgery in the afternoon to remove it.

I remained very level headed about the whole thing (you can ask or if you doubt me), but there was a point while driving up to the hospital where I freaked out just a little bit, until I remembered that God is BIG and I didn’t need to worry. That calmed me down quite a bit. In the end, I did a lot of sitting in various waiting rooms. One of the nurses took great care of me though (gave me her number and told me to call her at certain times), and the doctor came out and explained everything to me (along with giving me a nice glossy photograph of the appendix). For all but 5 minutes of my 2 1/2 hours of waiting, I was the only person in the waiting room. Apparently weekends are slow days for surgery.

didn’t wake up until got back, which was fine – I sat and read my book for a half hour, looking up every few minutes to watch her breathe peacefully. She looked a little pale, but nothing more than you’d expect after surgery. When she did wake up, she was hilarious (“Am I spending the night here?”), and doesn’t remember any of the conversation we had. Yesterday she was feeling pretty good (except for the 3 incisions), and we talked on the phone for quite a while. She gets to go home sometime later today. Unfortunately, no lifting for 2-4 weeks, which is a bit of a problem with two active boys, including one that can’t walk yet. But, between and all of their friends (church and otherwise), I’m sure they’ll be fine. She’ll take a week or two off of work, since corralling kindergarteners isn’t exactly relaxing and stress-free.

In the end, my presence was barely needed, but had anything gone differently, I’m glad I went. I did a quick mental inventory during the moment of almost panic, and knew that she knew how much I love her and there were no regrets. If there’s anything I learned in the past two years, it’s that you should make the time to be with the ones you love and make sure they know what’s in your heart, because life is always shorter than we wish it was.

Sunday I did more homework and then watched the Vikings almost win the game. At least we didn’t embarrass ourselves like we did in Arizona. Ahem.

This week is a bit stressful at work, since the feds are in town. I’m trying to figure out how to discuss the laptop issue with my Tuesday night professor in a non-offensive way. So far, all I’ve come up with is, “help me understand why you don’t want students to use laptops,” followed by “because it seems so contrary to the goals of this program and such an antiquated point of view.” I don’t think the antiquated part would go over well. And really, I’m trying to be respectful, but it’s hard when she doesn’t respect me enough to allow me this one small freedom. I certainly don’t want to call her out on that, but it’s on the tip of my tongue. I really don’t do confrontation well, but this is kind of a big deal, and we’re only three weeks into the semester. I’d rather clear it up sooner than later. Any advice?

Not a debate on health care

The NYTimes had an article recently (which I just found in some roundabout way that I don’t even remember) about generic versus name brand prescriptions [link removed] (go ahead, pop over and read it). I was only half-interested until I got halfway down the first page and saw that my name brand / generic (in the exact dosage) was specifically  mentioned as one that people complain about.

I’ve switched back and forth between the generic budeprioin/bupropion and the name brand Wellbutrin, as well as trying out different dosages and the one-a-day versus multiple doses a day over the last five or six years. The glory days back when we could mail-order name brands from Canada for free, but those days are long gone. I had no worries about switching from the name brand to the generic because I figured they were the same (and they are, if you put quotes around same). However, a while after the switch (depression medications take an incredibly long time to work properly, 6 weeks to 6 months – the brain is an amazing thing, but easily changeable it is not), I noticed that I was more tired than I used to be. It took me quite some time to trace it back to the switch to generic, but I did.

I was pretty certain that this wasn’t just a mind game, since I hadn’t thought there would be a difference between the two. But, doubt had crept in a bit about this. So imagine the feeling of validation I got when I got to this section:

Yet, after hundreds of consumers posted messages about problems with the generic drug Budeprion XL 300 on the People’s Pharmacy Web site, Mr. Graedon worked with an independent laboratory, ConsumerLab.com, to test the drug, which in other generic versions is typically known as bupropion.

The lab found that Budeprion XL 300 released the active drug at a different rate than the brand name Wellbutrin XL 300.

I’m not the only one! Well, of course I wasn’t, but I don’t have anyone to compare notes with. My doctor and I did figure out a decent solution (switching to the two a day instead of timed-release), but I have to say it’s still not as good as the name brand. Sigh. (As a sidenote, I take 150 2x a day, compared to 300 once a day. I’ve tried doing the 150 3x a day, and I actually end up more tired, because I sleep so lightly on that dosage that I don’t get a decent night’s sleep. Bummer.) However, it works well enough to not be tempted to pay the out-of-pocket price for name brand (which is… ouch! painful).

I’m super-cool with generics on most things. I like to be cheap. (I almost wrote that I like to save money, but I don’t think that’s as accurate a statement.) Some name brand items are preferred simply because that’s what I’m familiar with (like Frosted Mini Wheats), or it’s what works best (like Advil Liqui-Gels).

The NYTimes article ended rather abruptly, and awkwardly, just like this post will (most likely because in both instances, the author couldn’t figure out how to wrap things up nicely).

Ah, the complications of life

This winter, I’ve discovered several inconvenient facts of life that, taken alone, are fine, but when put together, make me a bit unhappy. For instance…

…winter is the best time to knit. However, winter is also when I have the most homework, and don’t have room in my bookbag to carry large knitting projects around with me.

…knitting is fun. However, knitting aggravates my tendinitis. Bummer.

…I’d like to bake bread in the winter. Can’t really find the time to do that between all the homework and… homework.

I’m also starting to crave outdoor time (more than just a quick walk to the mailbox), sunlight (it comes and goes around here, but we’ve had more recently, which is nice), sandals, and green grass. A vacation would be nice too, a little travel, but is out of the question until May (unless we take a quick trip over Spring Break). I’m just not that into winter sports and activities.

On the bright side, though my old doctor accidentally halved my dosage of Wellbutrin right after I got married, and the Canada program (by which I could get brand-name drugs for free) has been discontinued as of the end of 2008, my new doctor has agreed to give me a new prescription for the original dosage (generic, of course). I have roughly 10 days left of the old prescription, and then I’ll be taking the higher dosage. So basically, in less than 8 weeks, I’ll have much more energy and be much less tired. Coincidentally, there are 10 weeks until the end of the semester. Of course. (If you’re looking for the silver lining, it is that this summer, I will have almost 4 months of no homework and will have been fully restored to a proper chemical balance in my brain, thus allowing me to fully enjoy every single minute of homework-free time that I have.)

Ode

Confession: I love carbs. Adore them. They make me happy. I think the sugar types are my favorite, but grains in cracker form are right up there too. And bread, oh, bread, how wonderful you are. I’m quite fond of a few veggies too, like carrots and corn. Potatoes and white rice, while being nutritionally lacking, are delicious, and very, very filling if you are hungry.

Does it seem odd to you that, out of the blue, I would wax poetically about carbs? Well, it’s not so out of the blue, really. That whole thing about my pants not fitting? Well, buying new pants technically fixed the problem, but not really. And since realistically I won’t be spending much (if any) time at the gym until the semester is over (and even if I was, diet and exercise are supposed to go together), I really should be more careful about what I eat.  And for various reasons, I’m pretty sure a high-protein low-carb diet would be beneficial for me to try (including that it would better regulate blood sugar and therefore be more effective at getting rid of the extra smooshiness I have at my waist due to PCOS).

But it doesn’t really matter how many times I figure out that it would be a good thing for me to try, how many studies or examples or whatever I come across, because I truly adore carbs. On a blog I read, the author was talking about her love of carbs and her PCOS, and her switch to a high-protein low-carb diet. Her motivation, despite her love, is that she desperately wants another child and thinks that better regulating her body will help with her infertility. Now, if I had motivation like that, I can see giving up carbs (or cutting back, actually, since carbs still are the energy of life). But, I don’t. I have no desire to have a kid right now. And let me tell you, it’s hard to be motivated by a single pant size when sugary snacks and crackers are oh-so-yummy.

So can someone please convince me that carbs are not delicious? Or that protein is? I’d love some good ways to eat cold protein in my lunch at work (because tuna fish and cold chicken salad can only go so far, and I am not going near those microwaves here at work, regardless of what you say). Shouldn’t there be a delicious way to eat legumes in a salad of sorts?

Unfair

In many aspects of life, you can over-expose yourself to something and build up a tolerance to it. It is apparently a good way to treat phobias, and the reason we need to lay off anti-biotics.

I think it’s totally unfair that allergies are the opposite of that. The more you expose yourself to something, the more aggravating it is.

I have a winter hat I made last year (it honestly took less than two hours, and I love it) out of some Lion Brand chunky yarn with a 25% wool content. Let’s preface this by saying that I’ve never been allergic to wool until recently. I have a 36+ year old wool sweater (yes, it’s older than me) that has never bothered me. My winter coat is wool, and there used to not be problems with that.

But, in the last… several months, I’ve noticed that wool makes me itchy. Well, the coat issue (a very small part of the neck is the only part unlined) is easily fixed with a scarf. The wool sweater can be combated with a turtleneck. But the hat? No solutions for that.

And the more I wear it, the more itchy it makes me. And a blotchy forehead. I’m working as fast as I can to knit a new one out of a non-wool yarn, but knitting aggravates my tendinitis, so there’s a limit to my speed.

I just think it’s totally unfair that I can’t build up a tolerance to what I’m allergic to, since the list seems to be growing all the time.

I can’t be good at everything

I’m quite handy if you’re having a basic computer problem (why is your typing overwriting your existing text? Because overwrite/insert is on, and just hit that handy “insert” key to turn it off). I seem to pick up crafts easily with little or no instruction. Want to know if those green towels match the green in the bathroom – no, they don’t, but these do. Need a complete listing of the books in the New Testament? No problem.

However, not complaining about certain things seems to escape me. Or, spin it positively, I’m quite good at complaining.

I’ve really been trying not to, but to let this space be more positive. Call it a goal of mine, to be more positive-minded. I’m not very good at it. Plus, the universe is conspiring against me.

I itch. A lot. All over, in random places. A small spot on my left bicep. A slightly larger spot just above my hip. Both thighs and calves. My neck, on and off (which is good, because it’s entirely visible to the world and gets quite red and blotchy at the slightest provocation). My eyelids. My armpits (that’s an awkward one, for sure).

It’s as if my Zyrtec has been replaced by a placebo, and it’s driving me crazy. I don’t know what it is. My lotion, baby oil, and soap are all new, but also all on the approved list. Today I didn’t put lotion on, because I didn’t want to aggravate the situation if that was the cause, but now my skin is dry and therefore itchy. I can’t win.

So, if things get a little quiet, it’s because I’m over here, silently itching, trying to think of something more positive to post.

Damn you, Spandex/Lycra!

I’ve had the feeling for quite a while now that I might be allergic to Spandex/Lycra. My legs get itchy whenever I wear nylons, though it’s not that bad. It’s been so cold here (both outside temperature and inside my office) that it hasn’t been an issue, since long underwear and pants have been required. Well, I got tired of wearing the same pair of long underwear 5 days a week, and finally bought some tights so I could wear a skirt (and some Cuddle Duds “thermal wear” so I can rotate my stock – unfortunately, the pants I bought are ridiculously too small, but the shirt is delightful). I wore a skirt yesterday, with my new brown tights, and was fine at work. But, when I got home, I itched. I think it was just too cold at work (bundled up in my lap quilt) to be itchy. I put my steroid cream on my legs last night and this morning, and I still itch. So much for my plan to be able to wear a skirt every other day. Maybe every three days? Once a week?

Plus, my sports bra makes me itch. Darn it if that isn’t uncomfortable. Of course, I only wear it for about an hour, so by bedtime I wasn’t itchy anymore, and definitely no steroid cream needed.

This is definitely annoying. I’m pretty sure it’s not possible to find nylons or tights or sports bras without at least some Spandex/Lycra in them.

In happier news, is on vacation this week, so I didn’t have to go grocery shopping on Sunday night. He went yesterday and bought a ton of stuff (we were trying to get to the $100 mark so we could use our $10 coupon that we got in the mail), which was wonderful. We are fully stocked in our kitchen, that’s for sure. And, I don’t have to make the bed all week, which is also nice.

I finally bought a space heater for my cube last night at Target. They’re totally contraband at work, in case you were wondering. I don’t care. I’m standing by my justification, that if they would actually heat the area I work in, that if I hadn’t been completely freezing for the last two and a half weeks, I wouldn’t have to break the rules. But I’m tired of wearing long underwear, wool sweaters, long pants, wool socks, and fleece jackets just to be moderately comfortable. The one I bought has some temperature control, so I can set it and it turns itself on and off when necessary. It’s not that loud, either, at least not when there are people in the office moving about, talking, etc. Of course, now my skin is going to be even drier (our humidity here registers somewhere around 15% according to local readings by my co-worker), but that’s a small price to pay to avoid frostbite.

2009

I’m not really into the whole “New Year’s Resolution” thing – if you check my archives, you should be able to see that I haven’t made one since 199x (sometime in college), when I decided that I needed to stop air guitaring once and for all. I stuck by that one, which I’m pretty sure everyone I know is glad about. (To clarify, it’s not like I did it a lot, but let’s be honest, it’s almost never a good idea to air guitar.)

2008 was a pretty good year for me, and I’m going to start my planning for 2009 with a summary of my major accomplishments / things I’m proud of / what made me particularly happy, in no particular order:

Continue reading “2009”

3?!?

It’s practically obscene, my writing 3 posts in one day (well, only if you count Unconscious Mutterings).

Here’s the thing. I’d like to write my paper, really I would. But, you see, my legs are quite jumpy right now (which won’t change whether or not I write the paper), and my pantyhose are dreadfully uncomfortable (what was the chance that out of the 2 clean pair, I’d grab the most uncomfortable one that I’d worn most recently? Pretty good, apparently), and I’m slightly itchy.

There was a major (for me) allergy flare-up this weekend. I ran out of Zyrtec on Thursday, but I figured I could go a few days without it, until I remembered to pick some up (why not? I can go several days without Wellbutrin, and that’s a bigger deal to me, or at least I thought it was, until the soon-to-be-mentioned incident, which has me contemplating which one I’d rather give up, if I had to, and I think I might keep Zyrtec). So, I continued on my merry life Thursday, Friday…. I was having some itching on my legs, but that happens periodically and I didn’t think anything of it (there was an actual rash-like spot that showed up before I ran out of the Z, so it’s unrelated). Saturday morning, I woke up terribly congested, thought that odd, but then continued with my life, totally unaware that I was still without Zyrtec.

Until Saturday night, when I was upstairs trying to fix that pair of pajama pants for . I was standing at the ironing board, trying to measure things, and kept getting interrupted by the constant need to scratch my eyes. They were watering, and then I realized that I’d been sniffly for quite a while, and then I realized I was out of Zyrtec and quite possibly could I be having an allergy attack? Quickly looking at the clock, I determined CVS was open, popped on shoes, pulled out the door (OK, not so much), and skedaddled down the street to get me some drugs. Also, I found some wonderful eye drops for allergies that put the kabosh on my itchy eyes right away (after much tearing up, of course). I am so thankful that the OTC allergy medication that happens to work for me also happens to be the one that is fast-acting (according to their commercials, 2 hours faster than Claritin, which did absolutely nothing for my itchiness). I finally stopped needing to blow my nose and randomly scratch by bedtime.

Well, that was a shocker, that since I’ve been taking Zyrtec for 4 months straight now, that I practically need it at least every other day to exist peacefully within my own body.

Man, I need to get my paper-writing groove on. I do not want to spend the entire night doing homework.

Elbow (and other random stuff) Update

Several weeks ago, I reached a point where I was tired of my elbow hurting almost daily, and frequently wearing my brace and taking Advil. Well, there’s not really much one can do for tendinitis besides bracing and taking pain killers and avoiding aggravating the injury if possible, right? I mean, Wikipedia clearly states:

tendons and ligaments are very slow to heal if injured, and rarely regain their original strength. Partial tears heal by the rapid production of disorganized type-III collagen, which is weaker than normal tendon. Recurrence of injury in the damaged region of tendon is common.

Now, WebMD tells me not to worry and I’ll get better all on my own, or I’ll need surgery.

The internet, however, gave me hope for other options. I started taking Flaxseed Oil, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C (I had a few other supplements earmarked, but I couldn’t find them in the right strengths at Walgreens and was too lazy to order them from GNC), as they have anti-inflammatory properties (which is what tendinitis is, an inflammation). You know what? It worked! I haven’t worn my elbow brace in… two weeks, maybe longer? It’s exciting.

In other exciting Kelly-is-weird medical news, I seem to have found a magical combination of bar soap, body wash, and lotion (along with Zyrtec, which I’m still taking daily) that don’t make me itch. It’s joyous.

And, and, I got my test results back from this week’s doctor’s appointment, which clearly state that 1) I don’t have cervical cancer, and 2) my cholesterol test was “within acceptable limits.” Now that second part I’m a little unclear on, since it said the range was supposed to be 0-200 and I scored 219. But whatever. My doctor didn’t call me back for a fasting cholesterol test, so if she’s not worried, I’m not. I may do some more research to figure out what that means, but that’s it.

In other news, I have an early, quick review of the Teecchino: it’s tolerable. 3/5 stars. More details later.

And as far as being decaffeinated, I’m not doing so well. I mean, I am, in that I’ve got much less caffeine in my life, but I am seriously dragging these days. I sleep on the bus on the way to and home from work. I’m about to fall asleep here at my desk. I had a headache this morning (which was thankfully averted with Advil). I’m not terribly cranky at the moment, but I may just be too tired to be cranky.

This weekend’s plans include: homework, homework for quilting class, visiting , more homework, a little bit of sleep, more homework, and probably some cleaning or laundry. Exciting, I know.

Very Exciting

After much frustration last night while tried to fix my plugins that were broken and only being half-successful (the stupid Flickr plugin still won’t work), this morning I (again) disabled it and deleted it from the server, and then went in search of a new plugin. Well, don’tcha know it, there was a different plugin that did basiclly the same thing, only it does it better! And faster! And slicker! So, now I have it installed, and we’re just moving along at light speed, posting pictures here and there.

And so, I present to you, two recipes from this weekend:

  • Hot and Sour Soup
  • Spring Risotto with Zucchini and Peas

They’re linked in the sidebar over there (–>) under recipes.

I had some cute pictures to share with you about our anniversary celebration, but left the memory stick for the camera at home. Silly me.

Have I mentioned I’m trying to cut back on caffeine? Way back, actually – my ultimate goal is to be basically caffeine free, but I’m not sure how successful that will actually be or if it’s reasonable (or even desirable), so at the moment, I’m focusing on “less.” This means I’ve been drinking a lot of tea, and I’ve only had one headache so far (and it was on Sunday, and I often get headaches on Sunday, so maybe that doesn’t count?). Orange Spice black tea in the morning (two cups seems to mean I don’t get a headache, and I’m trying one cup today), and some chai (decaf, which means it has much less caffeine, but is not actually caffeine free) in the afternoon, and then caffeine-free tea at night. I remember a while back when gave up meat for 3 months and I gave up colored sodas how difficult that was, because there are so very few options at that point. And I know that when we go out for dinner (and I can’t have caffeine after 5-ish already, or I’m up all night), my caffeine-free options are pretty limited and it is sad. But, I am armed with the knowledge that reducing the caffeine in my life may very well make me a happier person, or at least help with some medical issues (since caffeine is bad if you have inflammation, like my tendonitis, which I am trying to get control of, and getting rid of all the muscle tension in my back), and reducing your caffeine intake is supposed to help with weight loss as well.

To that end, a product called Teecchino is coming to my house on Thursday (or at least that’s what UPS promises me). I promise to do a review of it, especially since I spent nearly $40 on the sampler set (with shipping and all). So, look for that in the next week or two.

The homework frenzy starts Friday – first book up? Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America, by Mae M Ngai. It’s for The Color of Public Policy, a cross-discipline class for both Political Science and Ethnic Studies (I’m taking it for the Ethnic Studies aspect, a requirement for the Urban Teacher Program).

Inspiration and some good news (and a boring weekend update)

[Editor’s note: Sorry, pictures are a little weird right now, because my Flickr plugin for WordPress isn’t working, and I’m not sure why. Hopefully I’ll get it fixed and things will return to normal soon.]

I’ve really been digging this photo (seen on Apartment Therapy).

I’m wondering what I could possibly do in our relatively small bathroom (OK, it’s normal sized, but there’s just really not much one can do with a normal sized bathroom, is there? Every bit of space is utilized to the max!) that is similar, and I just can’t think of anything.

In related news, just got a call and we have a house showing tomorrow night! After a month of nothing (and contemplating what it is we need to do next, do we drop the price, etc), and one weekend of getting a bunch of little (but extremely painful and tedious) fix-ups done, this came at just the right time. Over the weekend, I cleaned the wall behind the kitchen sink and touched up paint in the kitchen, and touched up paint in the garage as well. finished the baseboard in the bathroom, which was a huge project. I also spent a long time Sunday morning cleaning the fridge (so very gross), and worked on our network, which involved moving computers and lots of cables and… stuff. So tonight, we’ll do a little more clean up, will fix the spot on the bathroom ceiling (don’t ask), and I’ll patch the bit of paint by the baseboard in the bathroom. And then tomorrow someone will come and fall in love with our house and offer us our asking price and life will be grand! OK, that may be pie in the sky dreams, but it could happen.

New sewing machine cover

Also, I am still sick, so while I was relatively productive this weekend, I did not get everything done that I’d hoped. I did make it to JoAnn and the thrift store on Friday night. I came away with some awesome calico that I then used to make a sewing machine cover and a new ironing board cover (check the Flickr photostream for pics) from the thrift store, and the notions (bias tape, really) that I needed from JoAnns, as well as plenty of fabric I probably didn’t need (but oh so cute!). The drive home was a little sketchy, as I’d taken a full dose of Alka-Seltzer Cold & Sinus earlier and it had fully kicked in. After showing off my purchases to (who is so wonderful as to always seem interested), I went to bed and slept for 12 hours.

Then there was the cleaning and house projects the rest of the weekend, as discussed earlier, as well as fixing up some loose ends on sewing projects. I have a few pictures to show you today, and a few more tomorrow, as the pictures we took yesterday need to be re-taken (what was I thinking, wearing that grey ratty tank top in pictures, or out in public?).

New pants
New skirt

And we got our wedding quilt, which arrived on Thursday, put on the bed and photos taken (to send back to the creator, my aunt, and also to , who wanted to see).

Wedding quilt received
Wedding quilt backing, quilting, binding, and label – perfection!

I also discovered that my steroid cream (for the itching) does wonders for red, painful sunburn. My legs have returned to a normal color and stopped itching completely. Yay for steroids! Just kidding. Kids, use them responsibly. If I didn’t, I’d have no more skin left on my legs at some point (because topical steroids thin the skin, and that is just no good, so you have to be very, very careful and use sparingly).

I think that’s it.

I’m fed up to here [gesturing]

Last night I had look at my sewing machine to see if he saw what I was seeing, where the thread is getting caught, if there was a way to fix that, etc. Basically we came up with a whole lotta nothin’. The end result is that tonight I am going to attempt, again, to re-thread the machine and check the tension in all possible places of error, and then when that doesn’t fix it (because I’m quite sure it won’t), I will call Singer on Friday morning and complain about the piece of crap they sold me. I am well after my 30 days for their return policy, but I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned they need to do something about this situation. Ideally we can get them to take it back and we’ll just buy a different brand entirely. For that, I will go to the place that fixed my machine and get some good advice, and then buy from them (because their warranty will be different and separate and they’ll care a lot more about making me happy).

Ugh!

All I wanted was a simple machine to make some clothes and pillows with. Forward and reverse stitching. I don’t even actually need it to be able to do fancy stuff, though button-holes would be nice. Why is this so hard? I’ve got even more clothes cut out and waiting now, and more fabric that I could cut out and prep. At least I have interfacing now, so I can do that small part of the projects.

My back doesn’t itch that much today, so that probably means I only have a few sensitivities and no actual allergies. Oh well. It’ll still give me something to go on and maybe I can find some soaps and lotions that don’t irritate me. I am looking forward to my shower this afternoon when I get home. Actually, I’m going to start making dinner first (because it’s a bread thing and the dough has to rise for 60 seconds), so I’ll have to wait a bit. It’s a better plan than showering first, then cooking, and then taking a nap while the dough rises, because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t wake up from the timer and then dinner would somehow end up ruined. That’s no good.

I did get some good sleep last night, which only served to point out exactly how little sleep I’d gotten the previous two nights. So I’m still quite tired.

WebMD wanted me to know that one of the reasons I may have gained weight is that I’m not getting enough sleep [link removed]. Or I’m going through menopause [link removed]. I vote on the first one. I do get significantly less sleep than I used to (you know, back when I was single and lived 2 miles from work and was a slacker when it came to morning work schedules). They also want me to eat yogurt, but that’s not related to weight gain.

So basically, while I haven’t finished reading all my books yet on insulin resistance and PCOS and so forth, what I’ve come up with so far is that 1) my diet needs to change, though I’m not exactly sure in what ways yet, 2) I need to exercise regularly or I’ll die, and 3) I need to find some willpower, somehow, because I don’t want to do either #1 or #2 and I’m pretty sure it’ll be hard to accomplish them without any willpower.

Oh, and I’ve switched hairdressers. Sad, I know, because I’d just started going back to Kerry, but it’s not exactly convenient for me to get to the Midway and really hard to get an appointment with her these days. So I walked into the Salon that’s in the mall where the Transit Center is and they got me an appointment for Monday (could have gotten one for tonight, but I didn’t want to cut into date night, even if we don’t have plans) for a cut and style, and for a pedicure (birthday present to myself). Problem solved. Now that my hair is long, I don’t need a stylist to be all that talented, seeing as how there’s only so much damage she can do (unless she cuts it too short, in which case that will be the last I see of her).

And… I’m bored at work. And sleepy. Not as sleepy as yesterday, when I could have actually put my head on on the desk and fallen asleep, soundly.

Birthday dinner with is finally all scheduled and planned. What a hassle. I will remember this and demand to do nothing next year, because seriously, more than I wanted to deal with. On the menu is BBQ chicken and asparagus on the grill, strawberry shortcake for desert, and whatever is bringing as a salad and to drink and . And everyone is bringing presents for me! That’s always exciting. I’ve already gotten birthday cards from my two aunts (OK, I have 3, but the last one almost always forgets to send a card and when she does remember, she sends it on my sister’s birthday and then forgets hers instead). I was briefly sad last night when I realized that I wasn’t going to be getting another birthday card from my Aunt Shirley. Perhaps Uncle Bob will remember to send a card, but maybe not.

I may be staying home tomorrow just to get some sleep. I haven’t gotten much work done this week, and while part of it has been there hasn’t been much to do, another part is that I’ve found it hard to motivate myself because I’m so tired. It might be healthy for me to spend a day at home relaxing. I definitely have the sick leave available.

Countdown to 2:30

I itch. My back, that is. From the patch testing. Specifically, from the tape that is holding the patches on my back. I will be very happy to get that off. The patches themselves don’t itch much, and would be much less irritating. I might not even notice them, were it not for the tape. Seriously, who thought this plan up? I hope that I get some quality sleep tonight since the tape will be removed (today at 2:30). However, it’s possible that removing the tape and patches and exposing the chemicals to air will only anger them (I presume that’s why this is done – I have to sit in a room for half an hour without a shirt on letting the patched spots get air), and I won’t get any good sleep. Who knows.

Last night I told that a bad sunburn is worse than this patch testing. Sunburns hurt, and while (especially on your back and shoulders) they immobilize you quite the same way that the patch testing does, they are not annoying. They hurt and you take pain medication and put on aloe and if you find someone really nice they’ll get you a cool soft washcloth to soothe your pain. And eventually it goes away. This patch testing, however much less painful, is definitely annoying. Probably because I know that if I really needed to, I could remove the stupid tape and patches and be done with it (unlike sunburns, which you just have to patiently wait out). So I am anxious for it to be over, but I should stop complaining because it’s definitely not the worst thing I have ever experienced.

The problem is that I’m friggin’ tired. If I get a bad grade on my test today (who planned this week, anyways? emergency vet visit and Realtor on Monday, patch testing Monday through Thursday, test today, and on top of everything it’s that time of the month), I’m blaming it on lack of sleep. Because I studied from 7 to 10 last night, and then again while giving blood this morning. (They were only alarmed temporarily about the patch testing, until they decided they didn’t care.)

Tonight I would like to fix my sewing machine (which I have determined may involve trying to sand down one of the parts so it fits better, or giving the machine back to the repair shop, which I just don’t think I can handle right now), do some sewing, and most importantly get some sleep. In the hour I have left at work, I’d like to make the hotel reservations (that I’ve been putting off making for over a week now, because I hate doing it) and start setting up the PO system for 2009 (because 2009 starts in 22 days, if you’re on a state fiscal year that is). My life is so exciting, I know. is stuck working at home today since I needed my car. The estimated return of his car is next Wednesday, so we continue to be a one-car household. At least we’re saving on gas, right?

Oh, and for those of you who were wondering, is definitely back to his old self and completely healthy. Weird and scary what happened, but all over and back to normal now.