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?

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: (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: (Buffy sigh)
Haven't had much to say, sadly. Health continues to be a clusterfuck. I did get anti-nausea medicine that helped for a while (until it didn't), and I went on vacation, which was fun and relaxing (except when it wasn't), and now everything is terrible.

Read more... )
next_to_normal: (Heidi thinky)
I'm back from my brief sojourn to Vermont. (TOO brief - if you're going to be in a car for 18 hours, you really need more than a 3-day weekend.) But I got to see Heidi in Next to Normal, and she was just as wonderful in it as I imagined she'd be. The funny thing about Next to Normal, though, is that my theater buddy Christi and I both use it as a barometer of our mental health, and we don't listen to it as obsessively as we used to - which should be a good thing (when you find yourself listening to N2N and nothing else, it's time to up the depression meds, lol), but seeing the show reminded me of how much I loved it and missed it..

Anyway, the rest of the cast was good, too, especially the girl who played Natalie. We chatted with Heidi afterwards (she's such a sweetie), and then went back into the theater for a bonus cabaret thing, which was weird but silly and fun.

And of course by the time we came out, there was a crazy thunderstorm and the power was out at our hotel. Christi and I were like, "THIS IS HOW HORROR MOVIES START. WE ARE SO GOING TO DIE." I mean, we're in the mountains in this little middle-of-nowhere town and literally there is NOTHING BUT WOODS outside our window and I'm just sitting there expecting the lightning to flash and light up some strange face peering in the window or something creepy. Fortunately, the power came back on around midnight, and no one tried to murder us, so yay!

The longest linkspam in the history of the internet is coming up, with all the news from Comic-Con, once I get through it all. Until then, how was your weekend? Did I miss anything exciting?

next_to_normal: Walt in his tighty whiteys, facing away, looking down the road (Walter White)
So, I seem to have disappeared for a while there? Mostly because I was on vacation, and I meant to make a post explaining my upcoming absence, but I was busy and never got around to it, and here we are on the other side, and now I'm just trying to catch up.

My mom and I went to San Francisco and points slightly south, all of which were lovely and wonderful and I want to live there and also be on vacation all the time. There were streets with stairs and drag queens and indoor thunderstorms and humpback whales and ice cream sundaes with Ghirardelli chocolate. Oh, and that time the cable car broke down and started rolling backwards down the hill and they had to call a tow truck to push us up over the hill. AND THEN THE TRUCK WASN'T BIG ENOUGH SO THEY HAD TO CALL A BIGGER ONE.

Basic itinerary:

Saturday - Tuesday: San Francisco, Alcatraz
Wednesday: Big Basin, Monterey
Thursday: Carmel, Point Lobos
Friday: 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach
Saturday: Whale watching
Sunday: Half Moon Bay

The flight home was a redeye and it was torturous and we shall speak of it no more. Pictures may happen, we'll see.

I'm not even going to attempt to linkspam everything that happened while I was gone. But a few links I did think were worth mentioning:

* A Smash post-mortem from one of the show's composers, which is hilariously honest and says a LOT about what was going on behind the scenes if you read between the lines, lol.

* Really cool set of maps that shows the differences between geographical dialects in the U.S.

Now it's your turn - how are you? What'd I miss?

next_to_normal: (internet forever)
Haven't posted in a while because I am at my parents' house. The original plan was for them to come visit me for Easter, since I would have to go to work today, and the 3 hour drive home would kind of mess up dinner plans. But we handily solved that problem by me getting laid off a week ago!

Fortunately, my unemployment only lasted a few days, as I got a job offer on Thursday (which I'd applied for well before I knew I'd be losing my job). End result: I got three weeks off and severance pay from the old job, which I wouldn't have gotten if they'd just waited a week and let me quit. \o/ This pleases me, since the old job sucked and the people were dicks and I'm glad to be rid of them, and the new job pays a lot more. And since I don't have to work this week, I came home to spend a few days with the new kitten my parents. (The new kitten is SO CUTE. But still a little afraid of me.)

Also? BEST WEEK TO BE UNEMPLOYED, because I watched SO much TV courtesy of Watchathon Week. I've actually made an index post to keep track of all my TV shows. Feel free to leave recs in the comments or just boggle at the size of the list. As you can see, I've now completely caught up on Game of Thrones, and I started in on Girls, both of which I enjoy but don't really feel the need to get all meta about them? Nevertheless, if you have ~feels, let me know. (I have not and do not intend to read the books, so please restrain yourselves and keep any GoT talk to what's aired so far. I'm not super-concerned about spoilers, but it'd be nice to avoid them.)

I did not, however, have a chance to watch this weekend's Doctor Who or the premiere of Orphan Black, but I will get to those this week, I'm sure.

Mini linkspam:

* Clark Gregg talks about resurrecting Agent Coulson for S.H.I.E.L.D.

* David Tennant and Billie Piper are slated to return for Doctor Who's 50th anniversary special. Interesting.

* Natalie Dormer discusses her role in Game of Thrones. I get a very Anne Boleyn-ish vibe off Margaery, but I can't tell if it's the character or just Natalie's Tudors history.

* Every Jurassic Park dinosaur, in order from worst to best. Guess who gets the top spot.



(Related: Why do I not have more Jurassic Park gifs.)
next_to_normal: (original musical)
Happy Monday, boys and girls. I'm back from my weekend at home/in NYC, which kinda wore me out. My mom and I got up at 5am in order to take the train to NY and get there in time to hit the TKTS booth for half-price theater tickets. I've become a TKTS pro, so we were able to time it just right - I hate to give away my secrets, lol, but if you get there at about 8:55, you will JUST beat the huge crowd that shows up shortly after 9, and you'll only have to stand in line for about an hour. We were out of there by 10:05 with tickets to The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which was my first choice (my mom's was Cinderella, but weekend matinees probably always sell out. We saw SO MANY little girls dressed as Cinderella coming out of the theater after the show).

After TKTS, we went over to Rockefeller Center and did the NBC Studio tour, which I'd never done before. It's kind of cool. We saw Brian Williams' studio, the Dr. Oz Show set, the control room, and - most exciting - the SNL studio, where they were rehearsing for that night's show. We saw Jay Pharoah prepping the Obama press conference cold open and Kenan Thompson standing around with a giant stuffed horse, which made us desperately want to watch the show that night to find out what the freakin' horse was for. (As it turned out, the actual sketch was quite a letdown after our wild speculation.)

The Mystery of Edwin Drood
was a fun little show. All I really knew about it prior to seeing it was that it was a murder mystery based on Charles Dickens' final unfinished novel, since he had the audacity to die before completing it. There's no indication of whom Dickens intended the murderer to be, so the show allows for audience participation to vote on several plot points and determine the ending. (Fandom would be proud - we voted on the couple who should get together at the end and our audience chose, of all the possible options, the twin brother and sister. LOL we <3 incest.) This is one of those shows that you see for the experience and the humor, not the music, since the songs are pretty forgettable, but not everything can be Les Mis, right? Everyone in the cast did an incredible job - a cast that included Stephanie J. Block, Will Chase (most recently hated in season 1 of Smash, this time intentionally playing a villain), and Chita Rivera, who was a total hoot.

While I was home, my mom and I also started planning our trip to San Francisco. We're going the last week in May. \o/ I was supposed to go to San Fran three and a half years ago, but ended up canceling because I was starting a new job and moving to a new city right before the trip. My parents, being callous and unsympathetic people, went without me. But my mommy is lovely and is taking me this time. :) We're planning to spend four days in the city and then renting a car and driving down to Monterey and doing some stops along the way (Big Basin, Santa Cruz). On the last trip, my parents did something similar, except they went north to Sonoma and Napa and drank a lot of wine. I'm not big on wineries, and I didn't want my mom to have to duplicate her entire trip, so we're going south instead. In terms of planning, Mom has San Francisco pretty well covered, but the rest of the trip is quite open, so if anyone has any suggestions of things to see and do, I'd love to hear them.

So that's my weekend. How was yours?

Home again

Dec. 31st, 2012 01:19 pm
next_to_normal: My cat, black and white tuxedo, on a grey background (Chelsea)
I finally decided to stop torturing Chelsea yesterday, and we left my parents' house (and Patches) behind. This was the longest I've stayed at their house since acquiring Chelsea, because I couldn't leave her alone for more than a few days at a time. It was nice to be able to spend a whole week at home for once. I actually quite enjoy spending time with my parents, even if we sometimes get on each others' nerves. But being at home feels like a vacation from being a grown-up, you know? It's a relief not having to worry about everything yourself. And the kitty experiment went better than I'd hoped, so we'll try it again, I'm sure.

Lots of cat talk )

Anyway, the highlights of my Christmas:
* Most hilarious moment - My grandmother unintentionally propositioning my cousin's father-in-law: "Here's my keys, you wanna go to my place?" (His response: "Well, only if my wife says it's okay...")
* Most WTF moment - My mom asking if I should freeze some of my eggs, in case I ever change my mind and decide I want children. Me: "No." (Bonus WTF moment: "Hey, I didn't want to have kids, either." Me: "......." Mom: "....but it's different when they're yours.")
* Best Christmas present - New car! Well, new to me, at least. It's my grandmother's 2003 Hyundai Sonata, which she is no longer allowed to drive, because she is 87 and kinda crazy. But it was free and everything works, so it's an improvement over my old car.

How was everyone else's holiday?
next_to_normal: (Damon squinty)
Haha, well, I guess it's obvious that my new power cord arrived in the mail, and I clearly have priorities (POST AVENGERS ICONS!). Gotta have something to dull the pain of going back to work after a week-long vacation (more of a staycation, really, since much of it was spent at the pool).

Read more... )

So that's what's going on with me. What's new with you?
next_to_normal: (Carrie/Brody shots)
I am not going anywhere, because broke. But I have a week off, and my mother is here, and we will hopefully do fun things.

Things we have done thus far: volunteered at an animal shelter, where I almost got my eye clawed out by a cat (don't worry, I am fine), and attended my building's pool party. On the agenda for tomorrow: get my car inspected. But later in the week, there may be a day trip to Annapolis! What an exciting life I lead, eh?

This is basically to say that I may not be around much this week. See y'all on the flip side.

TV linkspam

Jul. 2nd, 2012 11:57 am
next_to_normal: (working)
I expect to be VERY BORED this week, since it's a holiday week, Congress is not in session, my boss is on vacation, and I have zero work to do. (Had fortune been in my favor, I'd have been on vacation, too. Then again, all of Colorado is basically on fire, so maybe that wasn't such a great plan anyway? Still. Epically bored.)

* The Dwight spin-off is starting to take shape. I still don't know why anyone thinks this is a good idea.

* JJ Abrams' new series Revolution just got more interesting: Elizabeth Mitchell is now starring in it. Thankfully, they've abandoned the bafflingly impossible "all forms of energy have mysteriously disappeared" description in favor of the slightly more sense-making "all electronic technology has ceased to exist."

* Breaking Bad fans can now tour the set via the ABQ Trolley. This clearly needs to be factored into my (totally hypothetical and not very likely to happen this year) vacation plans.

* Has anyone else watched Jane Espenson's web series Husbands? I just zipped through all of season 1 this morning. The episodes are only 1-2 minutes long, and it's pretty hilarious. Plus, a bunch of Whedon alums are set to guest star in season 2.
next_to_normal: (Annie scream)
Ugh, I have had an unbelievably shitty week, mainly work-related. I have zero interest in rehashing the details, but suffice to say that I am looking for a new job even harder than I was before.

Also, remember how I was talking about a vacation? Well, I managed to find super-cheap airfare to Denver ($250 round-trip!) and my mom and I were planning a trip that involved a few days in the city and then driving around to the national parks and other fun stuff. I was excited! I ordered travel books from Amazon! But before they'd even arrived at my house, our entire plan had to be scrapped (part of the work-related shittiness of this week). So now we are back to square one and I am depressed.

If anyone is still paying attention to The Newsroom, have some links.

Also-also, meme. Snagged from [personal profile] aerintine:

Tell me which two fictional characters you think are my parents.
next_to_normal: (tardis)
Parents were here again this weekend, and my mom and I started talking about where to go for a summer vacation (Dad of course has no interest). She has 23 vacation days that she has to use this year or she loses them, and I desperately need a vacation before I snap and stab my boss with a pencil or something. However, since I am in the "close to broke" tax bracket, we need something kinda cheap.

My mom suggested we drive somewhere, but having spent my entire life driving up and down the East Coast, I feel like we've sort of done everything within a reasonable distance? We could always go back to Virginia Beach or the Outer Banks, but I'd be going just to go somewhere, not because I really want to go to the beach.

It's possible we could get cheap airfare somewhere and expand our radius, but then I'm overwhelmed with choices, lol. Well, international airfare is still pretty expensive, so that at least narrows it down.

Any thoughts on good off-season destinations for July, oh flist?
next_to_normal: (tardis)
Another question from [personal profile] fuelforflight (seriously, people! Ask me things!): If you had the time and resources to take a Grand Tour, what countries and cities would you choose to visit?

Ohhhh man. First, a disclaimer: this would be the longest trip EVER. I have an extensive list, and I'd want to spend at least a month in each country, and probably some cities would get a month all to themselves. That said...

epic itinerary is epic )
next_to_normal: (original musical)
Whenever I go away for a few days and don't post for a while, it always seems like an effort to start up again. I don't know if it's because I'm overwhelmed with too much to say from the intervening time or what. Does this happen to anyone else?

Anyway, my spontaneous New York trip was fun, even though I didn't get any sleep, and as a result have been barely functional the last two days (when, of course, there was a big advocacy event happening with work, so I had to, like, be coherent in front of strangers, lol). The New York thing seems to have become a semi-irregular tradition with Christi and me - basically, we use her dad's Marriott points to stay in a hotel for free and go to see as many Broadway shows as possible in one weekend. :)

I took a Greyhound bus for this trip, which was about a zillion times better than the Bolt bus debacle from last time (i.e. it only took the advertised four hours to get there instead of six, and I managed to actually use the tickets I'd bought going both ways, lol). We only squeezed in two shows, though, since Christi had to work Friday. We'd gotten Saturday night tickets in advance to Now. Here. This., which is from the same folks who did [title of show]. Our plan was to get Sunday matinee tickets for Newsies, but we were foiled by the fact that it wasn't at the TKTS booth! (It was there last week! I don't understand!) Since we came all that way, we figured we'd rather pay full-price for Newsies, which we really, really wanted to see, than half-price for something we didn't like as much. So while I saved our place in line and tried to decide which show would be our consolation prize, Christi ran over to the box office to see if they had any tickets left. And they did! And we got box seats, for almost half off! (We're not sure if it's because it was the day of, and they wanted to unload the seats at any price, or if Christi was just so pathetic that the ticket agent gave her a discount.)

I'm planning to do full review posts for both, but the short version is: we loved them. We wanted to stay and see them again. I went home and immediately bought the Newsies OBC soundtrack. EVEN THOUGH I ALREADY OWN THE MOVIE SOUNDTRACK. I'd have bought Now. Here. This. too, but they haven't put out a soundtrack yet.
next_to_normal: (Juliet)
But this is not that week.

If you noticed I've been absent lately, it's because I was out of town visiting the 'rents for Easter (which was a four-day weekend for me). And this upcoming weekend, I'm going to NYC with my friend Christi for another of our Broadway overdoses. In between, I applied for lots more jobs and had a promising interview today (yay!). Also, I have a date tonight (eek!) and a big work thing next week.

All of which means you may not see much of me for a while. Try not to miss me too much...
next_to_normal: (River Song)
Hiya, folks. I took a week off from work and my mom treated me to a lovely and relaxing vacation in Williamsburg for my birthday, which is why I've been MIA lately.

Pre-emptive thank yous for the birthday wishes! I know I saw a few, but I have a zillion tabs open so it may be a while before I get around to them individually. (I'm considering it a stress test for Firefox. How many tabs can I open before it crashes? And how many of those tabs can be gif-laden FMM posts before my computer curls up and dies?)

(Speaking of which, I am SO SAD that I was away for FMM. I did manage to get online a few times and voting was one of my top priorities, lol, but I am now trolling through comments and snagging ALL THE GIFS. Also, LESLIE KNOPE FTW. MAKE IT HAPPEN, YOU GUYS.)

SO. Tell me what you've been up to! Oh, but no spoilers! I have not seen any TV since last week (including tonight's TVD), so shhhhh.
next_to_normal: (snowman)
Now with even more bruising and three times the mucus!

Well, I had to do something to top the Thanksgiving table mishap, right?

Anyway, happy new year! Hope everyone had a lovely seasonal and/or religious holiday of your choice. I'm delighted to come back and see so many people now crossposting from DW (I like to think it was my persuasive post that convinced y'all), and I've had SO MUCH to catch up on that I've been reading/commenting sporadically, but I definitely welcome recs if I missed something devastatingly interesting.

Read more... )

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