next_to_normal: (Anya popcorn)
I am now finished season 5 and finding that I remember NONE OF THIS.

Read more... )
next_to_normal: Kate Bishop typing on a computer with two fingers (Computer Kate)
So, a couple weeks ago, I had lunch with [personal profile] angearia and [personal profile] gryfndor_godess and they both mentioned that they were watching (or rewatching, in Emmie's case) Gilmore Girls in anticipation of the new "season" (4 90-minute episodes) coming to Netflix in November. And because I absolutely have the free time for a 7-season binge and NOTHING ELSE TO WATCH (/sarcasm), I decided to do my own rewatch. I'm up to season 4, and had some thoughts that essentially are an extension of our lunch conversation but were too long for text messages, so they became a post, lol. 

Read more... )
next_to_normal: (Andrew cooking)
I've been sort of up and down, health-wise, since getting back from vacation, but when I am capable of eating real food, I've been trying to replicate some of the best food I ate in Italy, with quite a bit of success, actually, so have some recipes!

Peanut Butter Banana Cookies - I actually made these before I left, because I was looking for a way to use up some overripe bananas. I took them into work, where they got compliments all around. They're not especially sweet, which made for a good mid-morning snack, I guess.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip - One of my favorite lunches was rather unexpected. I ordered eggplant parmesan, expecting it to be like what you usually get - breaded and fried slices of eggplant, layered with tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese. But this was completely not that, instead all blended together more like a dip and eaten spread on delicious Italian bread. The recipe I found replicates it pretty well, although without the melted mozzarella and parmesan on top (though I have rarely found a meal that cannot be improved with more cheese, so).  

Linguini with Slow-Cooked Zucchini, Basil and Cream - Another very surprising favorite meal, since I typically don't like zucchini. I honestly don't know what made me order it - it was close to the end of the vacation, and I think the rest of the menu was stuff I'd had too much of by that point, so I just wanted to try something different. Also, I hadn't had a bad meal yet, so I sort of assumed that EVERYTHING I ate was going to be good (even chicken liver and cow intestines, yes I ate those things) so why not give it a try? Anyway, the secret, according to NPR, is to cook the zucchini slowly over low heat. Could also be the pancetta, though. Anything tastes better when you put bacon on it. 

Ricciarelli Almond Cookies - We had these cookies in Montalcino and my mom loved them so much, she basically demanded that I find a recipe to make them when we got home. So I did, and I made them for my mom's birthday, and she loved them, so I'm going to call it a success, even though I don't think they came out exactly like the ones we had - those were a little lighter and fluffier, while these came out a bit more dense. 

Peach Bread - This one has nothing to do with Italy. I just stumbled upon the recipe while looking for something else and it looked really good. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a major fail. There was far too much batter for a standard loaf pan, so it overflowed and made a mess of my oven. I didn't even use all five peaches that the recipe called for - I cut them all up, but probably only used about four, and I can't even imagine how much it would've overflowed if I'd put them all in. And even though I left the bread in the oven for 20 minutes longer than I was supposed to, the middle of it was still soggy and undercooked. It's possible it was too wet because my peaches were too ripe, but I ended up throwing out about half of it and just salvaging the fully baked parts as a peach cobbler-y type thing. It still tasted good, but did not look at all presentable, lol.
next_to_normal: Three-paneled close-up of Buffy in The Gift; text: Big Damn Hero (big damn hero)
Hi, y'all.

Sorry.

Where'd we leave off? Chicken pox, I believe. LOL so much epic shit has gone down since then

(I GOT SOMEONE FIRED)
(I HAD SURGERY)
(I WENT TO ITALY)

so let's just start with the catching up.

HOW I GOT SOMEONE FIRED )

HOW I HAD SURGERY )

HOW I WENT TO ITALY )

So that's what I've been up to, tl;dr.

The most recent health news - after Italy, I was doing really well for about a week, and then suddenly for no reason at all had a fever and chills and worse than usual pain - which had nothing to do with my surgery, but also we could find no outside cause other than "haha you have Crohn's," even though the study drug seemed to be working pretty well? But I had to go get a CT scan, which showed the inflammation was really, really bad and for like a minute, my doctor was talking about more surgery - intestinal, this time - but then the fever and stuff just kind of went away. So I am currently on antibiotics that make me want to puke, and anti-nausea medicine so I don't puke, but otherwise seem to be sort of okay and am approaching the end of the 12-week trial, at which point I will have my EIGHTH FUCKING COLONOSCOPY, and then who knows? I can stay on the study drug if I want to, if it's working, since they miraculously haven't kicked me out of the trial yet, despite having a gazillion complications and breaking all their rules, lol.

So. That's me. How've you been?
next_to_normal: (Cordy WTF)
So that was the mildest case of chicken pox, possibly ever in the history of recorded medicine! I know I have a high tolerance for pain and illness, given the symptoms I deal with every day, but you guys, I barely even itched

I mean, I was expecting it to be pretty mild, given that I got the chicken pox FROM THE VACCINE so it was just a teeny, tiny dose. But I probably also have to give some credit to my unbelievably aggressive immune system, which I tend to forget can actually be useful since it spends most of its time viciously attacking my internal organs. But give it an actual disease to fight off - even while being handicapped by steroids - and it does a BANG-UP JOB, I TELL YOU. 

In fact, Crohn's-wise, last week was the best I've felt in AGES, presumably because my immune system was too preoccupied with battling the chicken pox to bother with its usual routine of acting like it's Donald Trump and my colon's full of Muslims. I should've injected myself with an infectious disease ages ago! Granted, it would've been a lot nicer if my feeling better hadn't had to coincide with my being literally QUARANTINED and unable to leave my apartment because I was contagious, but beggars cannot be choosers.

Though, let me tell you, if I had the choice between chicken pox and Crohn's? I WOULD ABSOLUTELY RATHER HAVE THE CHICKEN POX.

No, seriously, can I have them again? Please? As of yesterday, of course, my spots have mostly faded, I am no longer contagious, and I feel like crap again. I am contemplating going back to the vaccination place and seeing if I can get a yellow fever shot next, but somehow I don't think I would be that lucky twice.

It has occurred to me that, despite having been on immunosuppressants of various kinds pretty much constantly for the last seven years, I have never, in all that time, been sick with more than a mild cold (other than the obvious chronic illness, that is). That is... not normal. No wonder my poor colon is taking such a beating. My immune system is basically indestructible and Hulk-smashing every germ in its path. And that's not even enough to keep it busy! And I kid about the yellow fever (mostly), but maybe exposing myself to more germs is actually the key to keeping this monster at bay? At the very least, I'm thinking twice about next year's flu shot.
next_to_normal: (facepalm)
I swear to God, I am laughing hysterically at this, because if I don't, I will throw myself out a window.

So, in a previous post, I made brief reference to a chicken pox vaccine. Here's the full story: one of the requirements for the clinical trial I was trying to get into was verification of chicken pox antibodies in my blood. I don't know why, I guess just because of the risk of catching random diseases with a suppressed immune system? Anyway, I never had the chicken pox as a child, so when the vaccine first came out around age 11, I got it. 

Or thought I did. Apparently, it didn't take, because the blood test came back negative for the antibodies, meaning I had to get the vaccine again, and - way more annoyingly - repeat all the screening tests (including the colonoscopy) I had just done to qualify for the clinical trial. This was exactly 3 weeks ago, to the day.

NOW I HAVE THE FUCKING CHICKEN POX.

Yep. I got chicken pox FROM THE VACCINE. Because there wasn't already ENOUGH wrong with me, let's add CHICKEN POX to the mix. 

I'm actually not even surprised. Because of the Crohn's, I'm on steroids, which can somehow both make the vaccine less effective AND increase your risk of actually getting the disease from the vaccine, which they warned me about when I got the shot. But it's not like I really had a choice - I couldn't stop taking the steroids, or my Crohn's symptoms (which were already awful) would have gotten even worse. I couldn't wait until I was ~better, because my only hope of getting better is getting into this trial, which requires the vaccine. So I went ahead and got the first of two shots, and was supposed to go back for the second shot next week. I guess we can cancel THAT appointment. 

On Sunday night, I noticed a couple weird red spots, one of which happened to be on my arm, pretty near the spot where I got the shot. Then yesterday, there were more spots, so this morning I emailed my gastroenterologist to be like, "Uh, I think I might have the chicken pox?" He told me to come in, and then sent me to a dermatologist, who confirmed that it was, indeed, chicken pox. It's apparently (hopefully) a mild case, considering I got it from the vaccine, but still.

So I basically gave myself chicken pox. Not only that, I PAID SOMEONE MONEY to give me chicken pox, because my insurance didn't cover the shot. (I'm supposed to get reimbursed by the study, but it's the principle of the thing more than the actual money.)

OF COURSE I HAVE CHICKEN POX. OF COURSE. 

WHAT IS MY FUCKING LIFE. 

Oof...

Mar. 12th, 2016 03:37 pm
next_to_normal: (Annie scream)
Note to self: Next time, wait for the painkillers to kick in BEFORE clicking "post," maybe it will keep you from being quite so maudlin.

Everything is not ALL bad. My parents and I booked a trip to Italy for the end of June. My mother is significantly concerned about my health and particularly stamina re: sightseeing, but there is a FREE APARTMENT IN FLORENCE in the offing, so it was sort of a now-or-never proposition. I mostly just want to be okay enough to eat real food, because ITALY, but fortunately pasta is one of the six things I can actually eat? Albeit plain noodles without any sauce, but still, handmade-from-scratch plain pasta in Italy is probably better than just about anything I'd eat here.

I am sort of going stir-crazy because this most recent bout of pain and vomiting led to me working from home much of last week and all this week, so I have barely left the house. The one exception being Thursday, when I went to the ~theater to see Road Show, because I bought the tickets back in August and we already postponed once because of vomit and it's Sondheim - new(ish) Sondheim at that, so fuck it. I showered and put on a pretty dress that I haven't worn in, like, five years (because if everything is going to be terrible then at the goddamn fucking least I am going to reap the benefits of having lost 60 pounds, you know?). And by, like, an hour in, I was in significant discomfort, but fortunately it was one of those speedy, no-intermission shows. \o/ I just hope it didn't reflect on my face because I was in the FRONT ROW OMG so those poor actors were probably like, "Are we that bad? This woman looks like we are inflicting SUCH PAIN." Sorry, actors, you were very good! 

So, this is basically what we're doing now, taking lots of drugs and hoping for the best. Which, you'll recall, is how I ended up going to see Hamilton in a Zofran-induced haze (because you know it is impossible to get tickets and I WAS NOT THROWING AWAY MY SHOT), or taking that trip to Nashville on a shit-ton of steroids, or the most recent Percocet-fueled weekend I worked through for a conference. (Though, to be fair, I'm not entirely sure I survived that last one, since I did start throwing up immediately after. Granted, it could've also been a reaction to the chicken pox vaccine, that's still up in the air. Or it could be from going off the Prednisone.)

(My LIFE. There are just SO MANY REASONS for me to puke, we can't even narrow it down.)
next_to_normal: (Buffy sigh)
I stole that phrase from [personal profile] cleolinda because it's pretty darn accurate. Basically, I am alive, barely, and conserving energy for things like remaining in an upright position during work hours and not puking in inappropriate places.

Trying to get into a new clinical trial, but being delayed by some bullshit about a chicken pox vaccine, which I have now had to get twice. To be followed by my SEVENTH colonoscopy in as many years - no, you didn't miss one, I just skipped over talking about number six, because I'd barely finished it before they were telling me I needed another one. So, you know, fuck everything, basically.

Pretty much at the end of my emotional rope, honestly. Prone to randomly bursting into tears at the unfairness of life. Wishing my cat would stop jumping on my stomach because it really kind of hurts but she doesn't get it when I try to explain. Reduced to trying to explain painkiller woes to a cat.  

Turning 32 on Tuesday. What the fuck.

next_to_normal: (Andrew cooking)
This makes me look like I've been a cooking fiend, but I was saving up links until I had enough for a full post, so this is going back to since I got back from Christmas.

Shrimp and Scallops in Garlic Cream Sauce - Since Robert Irvine apparently only cooks for people the size of Robert Irvine, I had to cut this recipe way down - I only made 1 lb of scallops, left the shrimp out completely, and halved the sauce. I also made 1 lb of angel hair pasta, which was WAY, WAY too much, at which point I regretted cutting the sauce in half, lol. I actually made a second half-batch of the sauce for my leftovers. I was kind of skeptical when the recipe said to strain the sauce - I was like, but you're straining out all the good stuff! But it still tasted really flavorful, and I'm not gonna lie, I didn't mind making the sauce a second time since it went a lot faster when I was less careful with chopping and just throwing in whole sprigs of thyme, knowing I was going to strain it out anyway. 

Creamy Parmesan Mushroom and Spinach Tortellini Soup - I wanted a creamy tortellini and sausage soup, but I couldn't find the exact recipe I wanted, so I left out the mushrooms and added crumbled sweet Italian sausage to this. Not only is it delicious, it also reheats well. I ended up taking it for lunch a few days, and it survived the microwave just fine. 

I should also note that I ended up with this recipe because I bought all the ingredients for replicating a dish from my parents' favorite Italian restaurant, but then I chickened out because I didn't think my tummy could handle it. Anyway. it's called Vesuvio, and it's a breaded veal cutlet, topped with tomatoes and spinach, melted mozzarella cheese, and then tortellini alfredo on top. I did eventually make a couple attempts, and although I never quite got it exactly like Barone's, it's still a pretty stellar combination.

Pineapple Barbecue Sauce Glazed Meatballs - This was... disappointing. The sauce is fine, but good lord, this is a terrible recipe for meatballs. No breadcrumbs and too much onion (I dislike when recipes say things like "one small onion," because onions vary pretty widely in size, just tell me, like, 1 cup or whatever), and so the meatballs didn't really stay together in the pan. Also four tablespoons of butter? I never thought there was such a thing as too much butter, but the meatballs weren't browning so much as they were basically being poached. 

Pull-Apart Garlic Rolls - These looked AH-MAZING when they came out of the oven, but taste-wise, it was kinda meh. The refrigerated biscuit dough makes it easy, but I'm sure there are better garlic roll recipes out there.
next_to_normal: (what is this I don't even)
Hope everyone on the east coast survived snowzilla, or whatever we're calling it. Reports are that my area got somewhere between 17 and 24 inches (there is some hilarious ~scandal about the measuring techniques used at Reagan National Airport not being ~officially sanctioned by the National Weather Service, and therefore their 17.8" total is suspect and probably too low).

SPEAKING OF THE AIRPORT, I shouldn't even BE here right now. I should be in sunny, snow-free Florida. Cut for complaining )

On another note, I totally #wontheblizzard, because it was so windy, there is actually no snow on my car? I guess I got the low end of the drift. Since I live in an apartment building, there really is no "digging out" necessary - they shovel all the walkways and plow the parking lot, so all there ever is to do is clear snow off my car, and that's... negligible. I wouldn't park at Dulles anyway, so my plan was to take a shuttle to the airport and hope it all melts by the time I get back, but I probably COULD drive my car if I wanted to. (I do not want to.) 

There has been a sort of entertaining "will I run out of food?" thing happening, as well. Unlike everyone else who went nutso stocking up at the grocery store, I didn't want a lot of food in the house because I knew I was leaving. But because of the canceled flight, I ended up being home - and needing to eat - for an extra day and a half longer than expected. WHOOPS. Turned out I was fine, but if the storm had been worse, and I hadn't been able to make the trip at all, I'd probably be a little concerned about the coming week, lol. On Thursday, one of my coworkers was like, "Just order five days' worth of Chinese food tonight and keep it in your freezer, just in case," and at one point on Friday night, I did wonder if it was too late to order a pizza, lol. 

7:54 PM UPDATE: MY CONFERENCE JUST GOT CANCELED. HOW SOON AFTER A BLIZZARD CAN ONE REASONABLY ORDER DELIVERY?

 (j/k I am fine, I will not starve, but I will be super-sad not to be in Florida)
next_to_normal: Cordy praying, Willow watching; text: ask for some aspirin (Ask for some aspirin)
Hi y'all. Still alive over here. Sometimes I feel like maybe it's time to close the figurative doors on this place, since all I seem to do is use it to reassure people that I remain among the living, and to detail my body's ongoing efforts to the contrary. Mostly, I wish I had more to SAY, but I just don't have the energy to, like, think about things, lol. Which sounds lame and stupid, because it seems like dealing with physical pain shouldn't impact my ability to review television shows or make icons or whatever else I used to do, but... it does. 

I'm still doing about the same - lots of pain, lots of Percocet, no progress on the Entyvio. I'm starting another new clinical trial, but have to taper off the Prednisone first (which I am happy to do, goodbye hairy moon-face!) so it'll be about a month before I get the new drug. At least it's open label, so I know for sure I'm getting real medicine and not placebo.

Anyway. It also seems ridiculous to post holiday pictures now that it's MID-JANUARY, but whatever, here's Chelsea wearing a fancy bow for Christmas:

Read more... )
I meant to do the end of the year meme, if only to help myself keep track of all the TV I watched, but... meh. I also contemplated doing the hair meme that was going around, but then I remembered I'm allergic to selfies and so I don't actually have any good photos of my hair to post. Not that my hair is really interesting enough for a meme, anyway.

Uh, bad news for some of you: I FINALLY got around to watching Mad Max: Fury Road, and I found it pretty meh? Like, it was fine as an action movie, but I don't get all the wild love for it? I can see why the prominence of female characters in this kind of movie would make a lot of people excited, but, like, is that it? It seemed like there was a ton of backstory that was just... not explained (like why any of this was happening, lol) and it kind of surprised me that people who, on the whole, tend to place a high priority on STORY loved it so much when it's basically 2 hours of non-stop action with the barest minimum of plot to justify it. Maybe it's just not my genre, or I had too high expectations because it seemed like the entire internet flipped their shit over it. (I will say this: flaming guitar guy was as hilariously weird and fantastic as I'd been led to believe.) So, tell me what I'm missing, Internet!

I watched MM:FR as part of my Oscar movie challenge - my friends and I are attempting to see all the Best Picture nominees. So far, I've seen 3, the other two being Spotlight and The Martian. I LOOOOVED The Martian. It probably shouldn't have been in the Comedy category for the Golden Globes, but it WAS pretty hilarious, and Matt Damon is fantastic. We as a society really ought to stop leaving him in dangerous places, though. It's costing an awful lot in money, effort, and lives to keep retrieving him.
next_to_normal: (Christmas Chelsea)
And all Chelsea wants is her two front teeth back. We make quite a pair.

No, actually, Chelsea is doing just fine. Her stitches have healed up, she's eating regular food again, and as far as we can tell, she remains flea- and tapeworm-free. \o/ I, on the other hand, am having worse pain and diarrhea, so we're back to having the dietary diversity of a five-year-old (grilled cheese, goldfish crackers, and plain buttered noodles). Went to the doctor yesterday, and he added another steroid to my daily regimen, so we'll see if that helps. Needless to say, the Entyvio still has not kicked in, and, like, I want to give it time to do its thing (because if we ditch this one, I don't have many other options to try), but I also don't want to be in pain for another three months. 

Before I stopped eating real food again, I did try out one new recipe. I wanted to use up that goat cheese (I clearly bought too much goat cheese), and I found this Pecan and Goat Cheese Pasta, which appealed because goat cheese, pecans, and dried cranberries are a combo I really like in salads, but would never have thought to put in pasta. 

You know how experienced cooks are always like, "I just made up this recipe by throwing together whatever I had in the fridge"? I cannot do that. Whenever I have an ingredient or two I want to use up, I have to google what I have and try to find a recipe that uses it AND ALSO does not require me to buy more things. I don't know how to get good at the "throw in whatever's lying around" style of cooking, except to practice and watch a lot of Chopped, I guess? Anyway, I did get slightly adventurous and add sauteed shallots and garlic to the recipe, since I HAD THEM LYING AROUND, lol, and while it all tasted good, the goat cheese never really melted into a sauce the way I hoped, so it was a little dry.

I am totally done with my Christmas shopping - I actually finished early (for me) this year, i.e. a whole week before Christmas. \o/ Usually I am last-minute ordering stuff online and then freaking out because it has not arrived by the time I have to leave to drive to New Jersey. Which... has happened again this year, but ironically the one thing that hasn't been delivered yet is the VERY FIRST GIFT I BOUGHT way back on December 8th! It's not like they're shipping it from India or something, either, just Fredericksburg. I'm starting to think it got lost in the mail. (And yes, I emailed them, and they were like, "USPS says 1-2 weeks is the average this time of year..." They offered to resend if I don't get it by today, but that does not help with getting it in time for Christmas.) Even the last-minute gift for my dad that I bought off eBay on Saturday that wasn't supposed to be delivered until the 26th managed to get here early, but not the one that had two leisurely weeks to make it to me from 5 miles away.

ANYWHO. Here are photos of my Christmas tree and Chelsea helping/eating the decorations:

Read more... )
I opted not to torture Chelsea this year by making her wear her Christmas outfit. YET - there is still time, but really, the poor thing has been through a lot lately.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and all the other holidays to you all. Chelsea and I are off to the 'rents tomorrow, for a whole week, which I am hoping will give me a chance to rest up and feel less terrible in 2016! 
next_to_normal: (Chris perplexed face)
Remember when I took Chelsea to the vet and they told me she needed dental work? Well, a week or so after that, one of her teeth fell out, so I went ahead and scheduled the darn thing, which was yesterday. And all the dental stuff went as expected, but the vet ALSO was like, "Oh, by the way, Chelsea has fleas and a tapeworm."

AAARRRRGGGGHHHH

My immediate thought was to blame my parents and the literal COLONY of stray cats they are feeding - seriously, there are like NINE of them now - since I took Chelsea home with me for Thanksgiving. I mean, she's NEVER had fleas before, she didn't have fleas in the beginning of November when she went to the vet the first time, and now, conveniently, after a trip home, she does? She didn't directly interact with the stray cats, but a couple of them will let my mom pet them, and they'll rub against her leg and will come inside, even if they don't come in further than the welcome mat at the door. That's still enough to bring fleas into the house where they could've jumped on Chelsea. 

So they treated her with Capstar while she was at the vet and also gave her something for the tapeworm, and I spent all friggin' day today washing and vacuuming everything in my apartment. 

But then I started thinking? And I'm starting to wonder, like, did they possibly MIX UP THE CATS or something, because Chelsea does not seem to have fleas! I know "indoor cat flea denial" is a whole thing, but stick with me here...

For one thing, from reading online, it seems like when your pet has fleas, it's fairly noticeable? But there's been NOTHING to suggest it here. If I hadn't taken Chelsea to the vet, I would NEVER have guessed she had fleas. She hadn't been scratching, and I wasn't specifically looking for fleas or flea dirt, but I didn't notice anything on her, nor had I seen any bugs in the apartment that might've been fleas or any evidence of them, like flea dirt on the blankets where she spends a lot of time. (Granted, she is a mostly black cat, which makes it harder to spot, but my comforter is white, her favorite blanket is pale blue, and my sofa is beige, so you'd think I'd spot something there, right?)

Anyway, if that were it, I'd probably accept it. Maybe she just didn't have the fleas long enough for it to be noticeable. If she DID get them from the strays at Thanksgiving, it would've been less than a week. But then there's also what the vet said to me. He called me three times on Friday - the first during the procedure, because I asked them to call before they extracted any teeth. We discussed the dental stuff, and not a word about the fleas. I suppose it's possible at that point they hadn't spotted them yet?

The vet called me a second time after the procedure was over to let me know how everything went. Again, all talk about the dental. THEN he called a third time to be like, "Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention she has fleas." Unfortunately, at that point I'd stepped away from my desk, so he left a voice mail, otherwise I might've thought of these questions sooner. 

But in the voice mail, he said they noticed flea dirt on her, then saw a live flea. Later, when I picked her up, the vet tech told me that after they gave her Capstar, they combed dead fleas off her. I really wish I had thought to ask HOW MANY fleas they combed off. I don't need an exact number or anything, but like, is this a mild case, or were there a lot? The vet tech kind of made it sound like there were a lot, which doesn't really fit with my not noticing ANYTHING, so it would be another sign to me that they were looking at a different cat, lol.

The vet also said in the voice mail that they apparently diagnosed the tapeworm based on a fecal test, and THAT'S the part where I get really skeptical. Because they never charged me for a fecal test. There's no reason for them to have done a fecal test for a dental procedure. I suppose it's possible she just happened to poop while she was there, and maybe if she happened to poop after they found the fleas, they decided to check for tapeworms, but I'm SURE they wouldn't test it for free

Anyway, after a pretty thorough cleaning of the house, I STILL didn't find any evidence of fleas (neither did my parents, btw). And now I'm starting to wonder, like, are we sure it was Chelsea they found the fleas on, and not some other cat who was in for a procedure, and maybe they got the records mixed up? The afterthought phone call, the mystery fecal test... I don't know, it just seems bizarre, especially combined with zero sign of fleas. Or am I just in denial?

They did say that she'll poop out the tapeworm, so I guess I'll see it if she really had one? Otherwise, the only thing to do is wait and see if I didn't clean thoroughly enough and some fleas actually show up. 

(I should note that I am also somewhat sensitive to vet mix-ups, given that once my mother took Patches to the vet, and when she went to pick her up, they tried to give her THE WRONG CAT, and my mom looked in the carrier and was like, "UM THAT IS NOT PATCHES."  So we were actually joking about "make sure you check that it's really Chelsea before you leave!" Plus, the first time the vet called me, he was mixed-up enough that he thought MY NAME was Chelsea, not the cat, so...)

So what do you think, people who have experience with cats? Which is more likely? Is it possible for a cat to have enough fleas that it's noticeable to a vet who is looking at her for a completely different medical issue, but I as the cat's owner didn't notice a thing, and still can't find anything even when specifically looking for fleas? If I can't find any evidence whatsoever of fleas, does that mean we're clean, or should I be anticipating an outbreak in a few weeks or months or whatever?
next_to_normal: (VM exasperated)
1. I have decided to get myself a TV streaming stick, either a Roku or Amazon Fire. I am leaning toward Roku based on internet comparisons, but I do have Amazon Prime and a Kindle Fire, so I'm open to being persuaded in that direction. (Also, I have a suspicion that as soon as I buy a Roku, they will announce that they're coming out with a newer model, whereas Amazon already did.) Anyone have a recommendation or preference? (Obviously the best time to purchase such a thing is AFTER I spent the weekend binge-watching not one, but TWO TV series - Jessica Jones and The Man in the High Castle - on my laptop. Both shows are highly recommended, FYI.)

2. I really want to email this to my mother and be like, "Do you think maybe we could try this for a change?" I might possibly be cranky after a phone call this weekend in which I mentioned having a lot of pain this week, and her response being, 'Well, you have been doing a lot of cooking lately and eating more than usual." Like, SORRY MY BAD for trying to eat relatively balanced meals and maintain a healthy weight. Maybe I should go back to eating nothing but grilled cheese. I get that she just wants to be able to make me better and critiquing everything I ingest is her trying to ~solve my Crohn's but CROHN'S DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY and just once I would like to say, "Hey, I'm in a lot of pain," and hear, "I'm sorry, honey, that sucks," instead of, essentially, "Well, that's what you get for eating FOOD." 

3. Speaking of food, I made butternut squash soup this weekend. I'm not even going to bother linking the recipe because the proportions were way off and I ended up having to add more than twice as much chicken stock as the recipe called for in order to get the right consistency, so I'll be looking for a different recipe the next time I make it. My parents have one, but it makes about eight gallons of soup, so I figured I'd just look for a smaller batch recipe online, but this one was not a winner. Tasted fine, though, once I made it not mashed potatoes-esque. 
next_to_normal: (Andrew cooking)
Look at me go!

Rosemary Olive Oil Crock Pot Bread - YOU GUYS I BAKED BREAD IN A CROCK POT. I don't know why I am so excited about this achievement in particular, considering I've done a fair amount of cooking and this was ridiculously easy, but something about the novelty of baking bread in the crock pot makes me want to brag to everyone I know. The bread is delicious, btw. I have eaten it every day since I made it, and I have some epic plans for grilled cheese if I can stop myself from just eating it slathered in olive oil (definitely try it with the olive oil herb dip included at the same link). There will be more soon enough, though, because my mother has already demanded that I make it again when I come home for Thanksgiving.

French Onion Beef Stroganoff - This is another recipe from the same blogger, and it's another winner, so I'm thinking I need to just work my way through the entire site. I am not usually big on beef stroganoff, since I don't really like mushrooms - I actually left them out when I made this one - but I loooooove french onion soup, so adding beef and noodles couldn't really go wrong. I also didn't bother with the red wine, since I don't drink it; I wasn't about to open a whole bottle just for 1/4 cup to cook with. I added extra broth instead, though I probably didn't need to, as the sauce was very liquidy and needed longer to reduce than the recipe said. But hey - I've got delicious bread to sop it up!

Butternut Squash Casserole - So this is the casserole recipe I was going to make last time, except I forgot to buy squash. On a related shopping note, I happened to do my grocery shopping on Saturday with [personal profile] angearia and [personal profile] gryfndor_godess and they must be good luck charms or something, because all my recipes turned out awesome this week! (And I managed to get all the correct ingredients, lol.)

Anyway, this recipe kind of ticked me off - or rather, the lack thereof ticked me off. I don't remember how I stumbled upon this link - I get daily emails from recipe.com, but I also may have been searching for something - but reading through the post, I was super excited about the goat cheese + parmesan combo, and then I clicked on the link for the recipe, and it turned out it was the ORIGINAL recipe, pre-modifications, which is completely not what the post's author described. My parents may be of the "exact measurements are for losers" school of cooking, but I prefer specific instructions. So, if you are like me, and you're all, "Okay, but HOW MUCH goat cheese did you use? What is the ratio of goat cheese to parmesan? And goat cheese is a totally different consistency than cheddar! Will it melt the same?" I went with 2 cloves of garlic tossed with the squash and olive oil before roasting (which took more like 40 minutes to get to tender). I used 1 cup of goat cheese and 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan to make the cheese sauce, and then another 1/2 cup of parmesan sprinkled on top. I also added 1 tsp each of fresh rosemary and thyme, since I had it left over from the bread and stroganoff recipes. I do like the combo of sage and butternut squash, so I might try that if I made this again, but you definitely have to add something, as without any herbs or spices at all, it'd be pretty bland.
next_to_normal: Spike and Dawn looking thoughtful; text: are you pondering what i'm pondering? (Spike/Dawn pondering)
Is anyone else watching The Affair? The plot is... pretty self-explanatory. It's about two people who are married, not to each other, and having an affair. The initial hook was that each episode was divided into two parts, telling the story from each main character's POV, sometimes repeating the same events but with contradictions or inconsistencies that suggested intriguing things about memory and unreliable narrators. Except by the end of the season, the versions were sometimes SO different that you couldn't tell what actually happened, like, from a basic plot perspective, which ended up just being distracting.

So I wasn't even sure I was going to watch season 2, but then I did, and weirdly found myself most concerned with a totally minor thread in which the main character's teenage son is having stomach aches - like, up until this week's episode, it is not even mentioned often enough to be a legitimate subplot, it literally is just a vague thing happening in the background of the story. To the point that I was seriously questioning myself, like, is the show that boring or am I just that obsessed with digestive problems that I will latch onto any character experiencing them, no matter how minor?

AND THEN THE KID GOES TO THE HOSPITAL WITH A PERFORATED BOWEL AND IT TURNS OUT HE HAS CROHN'S DISEASE AND I'M LIKE, "LOL OMG MY INSTINCTS ARE FLAWLESS."

But then that got me thinking that this is probably the first TV character I have ever seen with Crohn's disease, and in general how rarely we see ANY kind of chronic illness on television that isn't cancer. I mean. other than President Bartlet's MS on The West Wing and Michael J. Fox on The Good Wife (and his short-lived sitcom, where his character also had Parkinson's), can you name any? I sincerely doubt this "kid with Crohn's" plotline is going to become a huge part of The Affair - if it comes up again at all, it'll undoubtedly be only in the context of how his parents handle it, since they're the show's main characters.

Maybe that's because living with chronic illness doesn't fit neatly into a plotline. I mean, cancer has a well-defined arc - it's a character-strengthening battle you either win (yay happy ending!) or lose (tragic death). But most chronic illnesses just go on and on and maybe there are ups and downs, but there's no END (granted, some illnesses are irreversibly degenerative, but it's usually a long-term thing that won't kill you nearly quick enough to be dramatically relevant). The best you can hope for is managing your symptoms, and in general you just live with it every day and it sucks and probably is kind of boring and nothing anyone would want to watch for entertainment. 
next_to_normal: (choose your weapon)
Well, it figures that as soon as I post that I'm doing okay enough to eat real food again, I start feeling worse again. FFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUU

Anyway, I did manage to start cooking again long enough to put a post together. Except I totally had an ingredients fail with TWO out of the three recipes I had planned. First, I had the idea to make shrimp scampi to use up some shrimp I've had in the freezer for FOREVER. Except, of course, I didn't bother to check the shrimp before I went shopping and as I'm about to start cooking, I open the bag and discover it is freezer-burned all to HELL and too gross to look at, let alone eat. So, cancel the shrimp scampi.

Then, I realized that I went grocery shopping totally planning to make a butternut squash casserole and somehow bought all the ingredients EXCEPT THE SQUASH. I wasn't about to go back to the store, so this is what I made instead:

Peanut Butter Snickers Pie - Or "how to use up your leftover Halloween candy," lol. I was actually looking for a recipe that would replicate this amazing peanut butter pie served at a restaurant near me, and alas, this is not it, but it's still pretty good. It got thumbs up all around from my coworkers when I brought it into work. I definitely took the "stronger peanut butter flavor" option and added the extra 1/2 cup of peanut butter. I also used chunky peanut butter, which probably wasn't necessary, since the candy made it chunky enough, and Snickers already has peanuts in it.

Pasta with Prosciutto and Melon - Watching The Sopranos has me all craving cured meats, so I bought prosciutto on a whim and then needed to come up with ways to use it. I was kind of skeptical about a pasta sauce made out of cantaloupe, but it actually tasted really good! The cantaloupe cooks down into a kind of goo, so it's not like you're eating fruit salad with pasta in it or anything, and really the strongest flavor is the lemon, so the cantaloupe is more of just a vague sweetness.

French Pork with Apple Cream Sauce - I was originally looking for a base recipe I could fiddle with, because I wanted to use the goat cheese I bought for the squash casserole. (I was going to maybe combine it with this one or this one.) But then I decided not to use the goat cheese (it'll keep longer if I don't open the package), so I mostly followed the recipe as is. Except I didn't have any cider, hard or otherwise, so I used vegetable stock instead. Also, by that point, I'd looked at about a dozen recipes involving some combination of pork, apples, goat cheese, and heavy cream, and I think every single one of them used different herbs, so... I decided to add all of them? I didn't have any fresh thyme anyway, so I just browned the pork without it, and then added 1 teaspoon of dried thyme to the sauce, along with 1 teaspoon each of sage and rosemary and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Came out pretty delicious, so I stand by my "all of the above" strategy.
next_to_normal: (Miss Kitty Fantastico)
So I have not updated in forever. I blame it on the drugs. I am still on Percocet, my mother is worried I will become an addict, but my doctor said, "If it hurts, take as much as you need," so I am all, "YES THANKS TAKING ALL THE DRUGS" because I still have a lot of pain for some reason? Like, the nausea is (mostly) gone, way less diarrhea, and I am basically eating food like a normal human again. (It doesn't seem to matter what I eat, so I figure I might as well eat normally if it's going to hurt like hell anyway.) So, I mean, other than the DAILY BOUTS OF EXCRUCIATING PAIN, I'm kind of feeling better? I guess?

Poop and travel and weight loss and cat teeth )
next_to_normal: (Miss Kitty Fantastico)
Before we get into the latest health debacle, here is a public service announcement: NPR is streaming the cast album of the new musical Hamilton for free before it's available to buy (Friday on iTunes). And you should totally go listen to it, because it's Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alexander Hamilton and hip-hop founding fathers, which totally should not work, but it's fantastic and frankly would have been worth puking my way through New York to go see it a few weeks ago (though fortunately I did not have to, because it was during my 10-day non-puking window, more on that later). 

Hamilton is the most talked-about musical of the year, and it's totally going to win all the Tonys, and it's sold out for months, so back in July when my theater buddy Christi suggested we get literally the last two available tickets for Labor Day weekend, I figured hey, why not? Maybe I'll be better by then. Which was foolishly optimistic, but again, no puking so it all worked out, I guess, and I'm really glad I got to see it.

So go listen and be jealous that I've seen it.

And now the health )
next_to_normal: (Cordy WTF)
Rather than do another whole "yes I'm still basically dying" update, I will just let you assume that everything is still terrible (it is) and instead copy and paste the following g-chat exchange between myself and [personal profile] per_aspera_ad_astra :

Kelly: here, watch whine about it
i'm sure you have a co-worker or two like this

Me:
god the bathroom thing
which is exponentially worse in my condition

Kelly: i can't even imagine
his rant about reply all was pretty emotional, haha

Me: the worst is when you run into them right outside the door
and you can't like, suddenly change direction like you were going to go somewhere else
so you HAVE to go in with them
and then they start talking to you
and keep talking when you go in the stall
and it's already going to be blatantly obvious that you're taking a lot longer than them because you are clearly sitting there waiting for them to leave so that you can poop
but then it's like, they don't want to leave without you b/c you're ~having a conversation
and it's like JUST GTFO
I AM GOING TO BE AWHILE
YOU DON'T WANT TO LISTEN
meanwhile my ass is turning purple from the strain of ~holding it in

Kelly: you have really stupid co-workers

Me: yeah
I mean, I don't mind exchanging a "hey how are you" if you're just there to pee and you run into each other at the sink
but for god's sake, you know I have a digestive condition, go away so I can poop
maybe people don't realize that I am ALWAYS there to poop?
I am never not pooping
actually, i take that back
sometimes I'm there to vomit
in which case, I DEFINITELY DO NOT WANT TO CHAT
once, a coworker stopped me on the way into the bathroom to chat and in the middle of the conversation I literally gagged and clapped my hand over my mouth and ran inside

Kelly: omg
yes, your coworkers have got to learn better bathroom etiquette

Me: to be fair, the same coworker was nice enough to offer to drive me home afterward so I didn't puke on the metro
still
don't be stopping a girl on her way to puke or you might get puked ON

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