Monday, July 15, 2013

The Dentist, The Lasers, and The Chews

So, that stomach ache I mentioned in my last post is still happening.  But that's ok! I eat a lot of toast, and that helps.  Drinking water does not. But I'm really thirsty lately, so I do it anyway.

I had to get three fillings at the dentist the other day.  The assistant told me they would be using a laser, and my reaction was basically, "wait, what?"  I tried not to sound nervous because I don't want to be one of those people who is scared of the dentist.  I managed a comment about how that sounded old-school James Bond, in a tone that I hope sounded casual and not at all "I'm asking you if this is a torture device of some sort."  She and the dentist lauuughed, and then my dentist told me about the James Bond box set she got her husband for Christmas.  I admit it sounded cool.  But in all things, timing is everything.  I don't want to chat about movies, I want to know why you're using a laser and what the possibilities are that it could all go horribly wrong.  I saw Goldfinger, thank you very much.  I know what lasers can do.

But it went ok, as ok as fillings can go, although despite the lasers, I still had to deal with The Drill.  Then I came home and ate yogurt with banana for lunch, accidentally mushing half of it out of my mouth as I chewed.  That's why I chose to work from home that day.  Nobody wants to see yogurt and partially-chewed banana oozing out of somebody's mouth.  That's just gross.

Two of the fillings were actually re-dos of previous fillings that I'd managed to pull loose.  My dentist had warned me that eating sticky candy was the worst thing I could do for my fillings, to which I gave a vague, noncommittal "Oh, you don't say" kind of answer.  I'd be surprised if I didn't do the shifting eyes side-to-side thing much favored by fictional characters.  I love Reeds brand ginger chews, and of course, I had every intention of continuing to eat those chews so long as she did not expressly say, "You must stop eating stick candy."  No one could honestly deny that ginger chews are among the stickiest of sticky candies.  
But naturally, after I had to get these three fillings redone, I laid off of them.  I mean, for that day.  Nobody faces lasers and The Drill and then immediately signs up for more.  I waited a good twenty-four hours before I ate another one.  And I'm pretty sure I pulled one of the new fillings loose.  So I get to have more fun with lasers.  Yea!  Can't wait. 

In my defense, ginger chews help a lot with that stomach ache thing.  On the other hand, it's possible I'm slightly allergic to them.  But to paraphrase Louis C.K., you just gotta weigh that against how much you want your stomach not to hurt.  For now, I choose the chews. 

While we're discussing dentists, may I ask about your dentist's purchasing habits?  It seems like every single time I go to my dentist--and I go regularly, twice a year--she has some new gadget she's bought.  I can't help but think that this is why it costs so much to go to the dentist.  I really don't want to pay for lasers if something less expensive does just as well, especially since in the end, they just break out The Drill just as always. 

On the other hand, the hygienist did give me two toothbrushes, two tubes of toothpaste, and THREE containers of floss at my last cleaning.  I don't know if she's making up for the fact that I'm paying for a laser, or she just thinks I'm nice and she knows I like to floss.  Could go either way.  Or maybe she's grateful that during the trip before last, I told the office manager that they just needed to suck it up and upgrade to a new operating system because Microsoft wasn't soon going to stop updating XP.  I happen to know that the hygienist was tired of their old computer system.  Who knows? I have to say, there's something not right about an organization that's buying lasers but also still using XP.  I'm not sure what it says, but it's not a good sign.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's been too long since I posted, but at least I have nothing interesting to say.

Well, hello!  So, apparently I last blogged 4 months ago.  Tempus fugit, and all that.  Anywho, let's get down to it.

That alarm clock I bought? I love it.  No, I do not roll out of bed chipper and excited to start the day, all full of vim and vigor.  But I do wake up.  The bird chirping noise that it makes is extremely annoying, and therefore extremely effective, the only downside being that now when I hear actual birds chirping, I get a burst of anxiety in a Pavlovian response.  Alarm! No, just birds.  The daylight part of the alarm--the bulb that slowly increases in brightness until the time the alarm is set for--really does work to wake me up and to help me stay awake. Not only have I been getting to work on time, I've been getting there early.

On the illness front, things are better in that I no longer have the flu, which is what it turns out I had when I thought it was a cold.  Since then, my asthma has been pretty bad, bad enough that I now have a nebulizer to use if things go south at a time when I can't get in to see my doctor, like at night or on the weekend.  This is because I am allergic to All The Things.  If it grows in nature, I am allergic to it.  And although now that nature is dying off for the summer (yea, Texas summers!), I would normally be able to taper down my prescribed inhaler dosage, my allergist told me last week, basically, "Yeah, for you, not so much."  But things should be better, if not great, until fall, when the weeds start to bloom. 

I also developed and recovered from a sinus infection.  This happened right before I went to a conference, of course, because the version of Murphy's Law that applies to my life is that if I have to get on an airplane, I will develop some sort of physical ailment that makes travel, or even movement, extra difficult.   But fortunately, if there can be a fortunately to having a sinus infection, this infection was bacterial, so antiobiotics could help. 

Before the sinus infection, I developed a stomach ache that didn't go away for a week, and after I left a message for my gastroenterologist about it, he just put me on ulcer medication.  It's not ulcers, but hey, why not.  It's helping, or the passage of time is, because now I only have a stomach ache sometimes.  The worst part of the medication is that it means that I have to go three hours without eating in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening, which for me is a big deal.  Or it was.  I seriously didn't think I could do it because I am a grazer.  I don't usually eat big meals, but I eat all day long.  But now I know that I can, so that's good.  I've also been cutting down on my coffee intake quite a bit, so you can imagine how much my coworkers have enjoyed being around me lately.

Work is the same: I'm behind on my work load, some of my coworkers are great, some seem to have some sort of a personality disorder.

We went to Portland around our birthday this year to visit our friend.  It was fun!  We ate a lot of unhealthy foods.  We found a bakery that actually makes stuff we can eat.  We bought boxes of stuff.  And also we discovered that the chocolate shop we like there has a branch across the street from the hotel we stayed at.  And they have drinking chocolate.  Much money was spent in that store.  That we didn't discover that fact on the first day made me both glad (for my health and bank account) and sad (obviously).  We only took our friend there once, crossing our fingers that the guy behind the counter wouldn't say something like, "Oh, back already, eh?"  He did not.  Our secret was safe.

We also went to Salt Lake for a conference (see above).  I'd never been there before.  The conference was interesting.  What was also interesting in a "no comprende" kind of way was the fact that although it was between 60F and 70F everyday during the day, every place we went had the central heating running.  Why, Salt Lake, why?  

Yes, it got down to the high 40s at night, but that was at night.  During the day, it was perfectly comfortable, even to us Texans, and we don't like the cold.  We roasted. It was muy uncomfortable. 

This past weekend, we went to one round of the Van Cliburn finals. It was exhilarating.  Hearing classical music played on a CD or mp3 is lovely, but hearing it live in a concert hall is on another level. It transports you. It's thrilling.  It had been so long since I've been to the symphony that I forgot how much I loved it.  It was totally worth staying up past my bedtime. 

You can watch the performances here.  It won't be as exciting as being there, but you can still enjoy some good music. We sat next to a guy who had to give us his critique of every performance, which we didn't care for.  He was nice and funny, but I don't want someone tearing down the performance I just enjoyed.  I don't care if you think that Fei-Fei's Beethoven wasn't Beethoven-y enough.  She made me feel excited by a Beethoven performance, and that's never happened before, so stuff it.  But all in all, we really enjoyed the experience. 

So that's all the news for now.  I have more work place minor drama to report, but that will have to wait for another time.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

In which I implement yet another strategy for becoming an early riser, which will probably fail like all the rest

I've thought for awhile now that I should order a daylight alarm clock (a/k/a sunrise alarm clock).  I am not a morning person. I love sleeping. I do not wake up refreshed and ready to start the day.  I wish I could afford to pay someone to come into my house every morning and physically roll me out of bed.  It would have to be a stranger because if anyone I knew did this to me I would never forgive that person, even though it had been done at my request. The first feeling I feel upon waking up in the morning is an intense anger that you could probably accurately describe as "rage." 

It's possible that Adam Dachis made this image to describe my reaction to someone waking me up.
 It's not something I'm proud of.

So I thought that a daylight alarm clock would be worth a shot because it might work and it couldn't make me less likely to get up in the morning.  But I'm cheap, so I kept putting it off.  But the other day, I broke down and ordered one.  It should be delivered today.  I'm super excited.  

I can't wait to try it out.  Of course, I'm still feeling under the weather, and I have mucho sick time to burn, so I will probably stay home tomorrow, obviating the need for the alarm.  Then again, I could set my alarm and see how I'm feeling in the morning.  That wouldn't be the best test of my new alarm clock, because if it didn't work or just made me wake up angry (like every other alarm clock ever), I wouldn't know if it was because the alarm clock doesn't work well for me or because I'm cranky from not feeling well.

But I'll probably try it anyway because I cannot resist new gadgets. 

On a different note, I'm so grateful for Anipang.  It turns out that when you can't get to sleep because your head hurts and your throat is killing you but you are too exhausted to even watch t.v., you can still play Anipang to pass the time. I wish I could say that my scores have improved these past few days, but alas, not so much.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I'm siiiiiiiick

I seem to have developed a cold.  I can tell that I really don't feel well because it's noon and I'm still wearing my pajamas.  Usually I can't stand staying in the pajamas I slept in for any real amount of time after I get up in the morning.  Sometimes I want to lounge around in pjs, but in that case, I change in to a different set of pajamas, or just some yoga pants and a t-shirt.  Never the same pjs that I slept in.  So when I don't mind not changing clothes, I know I don't feel well.

I would rather have a cold than a stomach virus or strep throat, but of course having a cold isn't exactly fun, either.  I'm grossing myself out with the coughing and the phlegm, and then of course there's "the smell."  Whenever I have a sinus infection or similar trouble in my sinuses, I can smell this smell, and all I can think is that I'm smelling phlegm.  Disgusting, right?  That's why I shared.  I don't want to be the only one grossed out.  I'm selfish like that.

Now that I've shared that with you, I guess I should go take another nap.  I've been awake for two whole hours, and I think that's long enough to earn another nap.

I will leave you with a link to a post from two years ago, when I also had a cold and had to purchase new tired for my car, which I think is way worse.  It kinda puts having this cold in perspective.  But back then I was also in the middle of my running phase, so I was in better shape overall.  I guess I should start exercising again.  But not now.  Now, I nap.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy New Year!

Greetings, all! I hope the new year is treating you well so far.

I don't make new year's resolutions because if you think that you need to make a change, you should just go ahead and do it.  But this year, the timing worked out that the break I was taking on a few projects came to its self-imposed end point right around the end of the year.  That means that although I don't exactly call them resolutions, I have re-started some projects that I took a vacation from after Thanksgiving. 

Unfortunately, I'm having my usual overkill problem on new projects.  Whenever I pick back up a project after a break, I'm excited about what I am going to accomplish now that I'm rested and newly invigorated. I overestimate how much spare time I'll have, as well as how much energy I have, and I underestimate how much time I'll have to give to those unplanned activities that pop up and can't be put off.  So then I start taking on even more projects.  I have perhaps too much on my plate right now. 

But I'm actually learning from past mistakes!  Last night I decided that, while I can still do those new projects, I can't start on them until March, when I expect to have wrapped up some of the other things I've got going on. It's possible by then that I won't even still won't to do the Brand New Great Idea Of Thing For Me To Learn by then, and then I'll just have some free time. That would be really nice.

So, sadly, reading a textbook on immunology, learning to code, and catching up on all the latest updates to federal tax law will have to wait.

As you can imagine, I am a lot of fun at parties. I tell myself that I don't get invited to a lot of parties anymore because of my food allergies, but it's probably more about how quickly I make the other guests leave.

I don't have a lot else going on. I took a break from working weekends during the holidays, but I'm going to have to start doing that again.  I really wish I could talk about work on this blog, but the people I'd most want to talk about do not have a sense of humor.  If by any chance they found this blog, there would be so much of The Drama.  But you guys are missing out.  It's like "The Office" in there most days. I really, really want to talk about our Halloween party, for example, but the fallout would be too great.  I'm not exaggerating--NO sense of humor.

In other news, I seem to be allergic to everything now.  I have tried doing a rotation diet to figure out what it is that I'm reacting to, but I can't pin it down.  I even tried cutting out coffee for a few days.  My conclusion: if I can't figure out what the problem is, there's no reason to cut out either coffee or chocolate. 

In pop culture news, I'm mundo excited about the new episodes of "Arrested Development." 

Anyway, best of luck to everyone on their plans for the new year!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

I was so over the Christmas baking, not so much the Christmas eating.

This year I decided to give baked goods as Christmas presents to most of the people on my list.  It's kind of a long story about why we're going this route, but part of it has to do with the money and stress that all of our family members tend to put into buying each other gifts. We figure that baked goods are something pleasant to receive and also that eventually our family members will realize that they really aren't ever getting a new shop vac out of us, they'll stop trying to buy presents for us. Hopefully, this will be our year because we already warned them that if they wanted to buy us presents, they could, but we wouldn't give them a wish list, and all they were getting was cookies. 

So this led to a lot of baking. I'm inordinately fond of eating, but I don't enjoy kitchen time at all. Because of my bright baked-goods-as-gifts idea, however, I spent a whole lotta time in there last month, with mixed results.  The first round was making peanut butter cookies and chocolate cookies for our friend JK, who always gives us homemade toffee at Christmas.  The chocolate cookies spread into lace cookies for some reason, so that was kind of a bust. Then one batch of the peanut butter cookies was cooling on the cooling rack when, for no apparent reason, it just fell off the counter and onto the floor.  RR and I gave some serious thought to eating them anyway, but we were able to restrain ourselves.  But oh, what a waste of cookie.  That did not give us confidence about the our baking mojo and made us think we'd entered "a phase," something that happens with us on occasion, when for some reason or other everything we make turns out terribly.  I immediately began warning all of my friends that their Christmas cookies might be not so great.

The next round, fortunately, turned out much better.  Expensive, but better.  We may have saved ourselves the trouble of figuring out what to give people, but we did not saving money at all when you add up what we spent on ingredients.  But after the first disappointing round, everything we made turned out fantastic.  

One round of peanut butter cookies we made at our parents' house.  We suggested coming over and making cookies together while watching a Christmas movie, and they said that sounded fun.  But then when we got there, my dad didn't want to watch a Christmas movie because he's already watched all the ones we like because they'd been playing on cable non-stop.  And then the extent of their helping with the cookies was in that they did some taste testing for us.  So that was not as much fun as we'd hoped it would be. 

We had one more go-round the next weekend, making stuff for our family. I didn't even care at that point if they liked what we made them because I know how much effort I'll be putting in to make the stuff. It took forever.  But we made pecan bars that were so good I briefly thought about eating them myself, as well as peanut butter cookies, billionaires, and pralines.

It's no wonder that I put on weight in December.  You have to sample as you bake because you have to make sure that you aren't giving away food that looks nice but tastes awful.  And so even though we gave away far, far more than we ate, we still got pretty tired of chocolate, or really anything sweet. That would have been fine except that we bought a lot of chocolate to eat on the day after Christmas, when we thought it would be fun to sit around reading, drinking coffee, and eating an inexcusable amount of chocolate.  By the time Christmas rolled around, that plan didn't seem so fun. I hope that chocolate freezes well because into the freezer it went when we reached the breaking point.

Now we've moved on to eating too much cheese.