25 December 2012

Non-Denominational Winter Holiday Type Post

As I sit here typing this, I can hear tree branches cracking and snapping off under the weight of ice and snow and it sounds like gunshots.  Ah, memories of growing up in SoCal :).

Not much to say about Christmas directly.  The SU and I really don't do anything.  We stopped decorating years ago since it's just us two now.  We don't make any big fancy meal (again, only us two = leftovers for *weeks*) and we don't buy each other any gifts.  (I just re-read that and, wow, we sound like Grinches!  But, really, we just don't see the point...).  Mostly we just hang out and be slovenly.  I spent today doing laundry and deep cleaning my kitchen.  Tomorrow is putting laundry away and cleaning out my pantry.  There is a sale on yarn at my yarn store but...with potentially four-five inches of snow by morning with almost a half-inch of ice underneath, I don't know that I'm all that up for death-defying driving in order to get 20 percent off the yarn I need for my next project!

The SU got drunk again on Friday night. He started off the evening telling me he was sober but didn't want to be.  As the night progressed, the usual signs started showing up.  I confronted him, he admitted he was drunk and I ended up leaving again.  Happy Holidays! :P  This time I stayed away until Sunday morning.  I just didn't want to see him on Saturday and didn't at all feel ready to come home and confront the starting over portion of the cycle again.  To be fair, he did only text me a couple of times during the day and then asked if I would rather be left alone.  My answer to that was yes, and he did leave me be.  I felt better about handling it on Sunday and came home then.

Sometimes it is really hard to have hope.  I told someone that he's like Gollum - holding on to the One True Ring of his anger and there are times I want to scream at him to just climb a ladder and get over himself.  While I know that some of his hurts are genuine, there are also some that I think he hangs on to because he's had them for so long that he wouldn't know what to do without them or what to replace them with.

But I keep digging for that hope because I had numerous years with him sober before he went back to the alcohol and I know who he is and who he can be when he is sober and also when he lets God have free rein.  Sometimes I'm not sure if the guy I married is in there anymore but then he will do or say something that makes me believe he is and I grab on to my hope again.  I definitely couldn't do it on my own, though, and am extremely grateful for the people God has gifted me with to provide support and friendship while the SU and I deal with this. 

So, no exciting posts about what I got this year or what the Christmas holiday means to me on a deep, internal level.  Just another day of putting one foot in front of the other.

11 December 2012

Albert Camus and Winston Churchill are my homeboys*

The semester is nearly over - have two more analytical essays to put to bed and then I can call it done.  At this point, I am just ready for the whole thing to be over.  I don't really even care about my grades (witnessed by my incredibly poor synopsis of health care currently staring at me from the other computer screen).

This semester has really sucked on the personal level.  Besides the SU's medical conditions and subsequent additional frequent flyer miles at the hospital, the alcohol abuse has continued and gotten worse.  Periods of sobriety are short.  There have been some really nasty comments flung my way, continued lying , increased drinking and always the cycle of "I'm sorry" and starting over.

After 15 years of sobriety, the downhill slide is painful and frightening to watch.  The ultimate event came two weeks ago when he lied about his sobriety and I ended up in the car with him.  That pretty much tore it as far as I was concerned - now we're talking about my physical safety in addition to emotional safety/health, et cetera.  I went and saw our counselor on my own to talk about that and other boundaries.  I don't know if I've stated it before but divorce is not an option for me.  I jokingly call myself a member of the "one and done" club but I firmly believe in the vows I took and that God put both me and the SU together and we are meant to be together. I know God has his hand in this and I am just hoping that something will happen to get the SU on the road to long-term sobriety before it's too late.

The solution the counselor and I came up with is that if I have concrete proof he is drinking/is drunk, then all I do is just pack some stuff and leave for the night.  I can go to a hotel or a friend's house (if they'll have me) and I stay until I feel like I can return - which doesn't necessarily mean when he sobers up.  It isn't meant to be punitive (hence the not leaving unless I have evidence) but...if he is going to leave me alone by being drunk, then he gets to be left alone when he is drunk.  I cannot watch over him, put him to bed, try to deal with his various medical issues because me being there as his mommy/nanny really doesn't give him any impetus to not drink; someone is always there to clean up after him.  The SU is aware of this new deal.

Last night I got my chance to put this into action.  Oh, this was a hard, hard thing to do.  I came home from my last night of class to find him passed out/asleep in the chair, the oven on and the food inside totally black - pretty much charcoal.  We had a conversation, he lied several times, and then admitted he was drunk.  I had to clamp my mouth shut on what I wanted to say and finally just managed to get out "Okay."  He said, "So you're leaving now."  I told him yes and his response was wow, that was a great reward for being honest.  I paused for a minute and managed to get out that this wasn't the time to talk about it but that we could talk about it later.

I called, got a place to stay and packed a few things.  I came back out and kissed him goodbye and told him I loved him and would see him later.  Then I cried all the way to my friend's house.  And cried when I got there.  And cried some more later on.

I also called my oldest (step)daughter to finally tell her what was going on (the counselor and I had talked about it and I finally decided he was right).  God gave me an excellent daughter in her.  I told her what had been going on and finally finished with why I was where I was last night.  Her response was basically, "All of us kids love you.  We know Dad will have made his own choices.  If something happens to him, no one will blame you at all.  You have to be safe and take care of yourself."  She has some really good insights into her dad and his emotional armor/being vulnerable (or not so much).  She agreed to tell her brother and sister for me since I didn't think I could go through this conversation two more times and then she prayed for me.

This is probably one of, if not the, hardest thing I have ever gone through.  I *know* I am not supposed to divorce him - and not just from a legalistic Biblical view.  I also know that separation is not an option.  It just lets us not deal with each other rather than working on the issue.  My hope and prayer is that with continued counseling and help from AA/his sponsor and the people who love us, the SU will seek after sobriety - and seek after it before this escalates into something more destructive.  My heart hurts for him and that has to be God keeping my heart soft because, wow, I could do bitter and angry like a diva at this point!  But it serves no purpose.  I know the good our marriage and relationship has been and I miss that.  I miss him.

So I keep hanging on like a pitbull and don't let go.  Hopefully all that stuff in James about perseverance is true :).  I'm trying to hold on to God but there are days where I just really can't do anything except say, "Hey, dude.  I got nothin' today.  You know what's going on.  I'm just exhausted."  I've been trying to find some stuff to read that might help me but nothing has really grabbed me yet.  Some days I manage to pray and talk and some days I just sit like a lump during my quiet time.  Writing this has made me feel really exposed but it also feels better to put all this down in some form or fashion, to feel like there is an order to my thoughts and elaborate on the reasons *why* I am hanging on even when people have told me no one would blame me if I did choose to divorce him.

I keep hanging on...and hope.

*  "In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer" - Albert Camus

*  "Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.  Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." - Winston Churchill

03 December 2012

One-Strand Knotted Openwork Stitch Prayer Shawl

This was from a Ravelry pattern (free download) that I made for Sara as a Christmas present out of Marble yarn.  (I'm not sure of the whole name but each ball was 341 yards and the color is a nicely variegated blue).  It was done on size 13 circular needles and is about six feet long in total and I *still* have some yarn left over.  (I'm going to have to find a project to do with all my remnant stash!).  It alternated rows of purled stitches with rows of knitted stitches, yarnovers, and slipping other stitches.

Anyway, here is Sara with the shawl:

And here is a close-up of the shawl itself:

I feel accomplished :).  Now back to my granddaughter's dress...

24 November 2012

Project 365 - Week 47

Have a few pictures from this week:

Not sure if this was a personal commentary re: her owner or just a candid shot...

This was a personal commentary.  Whenever I sit down in my chair, one or both of the cats jump up with this look in their eye that says, "Make the lap!".  When I don't (because my lap is full of knitting, for example), they get bent out of shape.

Not the Tax Time Pig but I saw it when walking to Burge's with one of my knitting friends on a break so I thought I would take a pic.

17 November 2012

Project 365: Week 46

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com

Well, it's been about three weeks since I last managed to post any pictures.  Had a lot going on schoolwise, healthwise, jobwise, marriagewise...actually it's been so "wise" around here that I'd really like to crawl under a rock!  More on that in another post should my brain decide it wants to come back online...

Here are some pictures:

On the good side, the diet has continued to work.  I hit 40 pounds gone this week (20 more to go).  In the interest of trying new things, this is tonight's vegetable of choice:

I am attempting to roast (and eat!) Brussels sprouts.  I have never had them before and seriously Googled "how do Brussels sprouts taste?".  Who knows?  Roasted Brussels sprouts could be my new best friend or they may be a disaster.  Tune in and find out!

Something that I know *has* to taste worse than Brussels sprouts ever could:

Yuck!  How may years has this stuff been around?  And why has no one ever thought to make it taste any better??  I have something trying to gain a foothold and I can't afford to miss work or class so I have been downing this stuff along with a steroid shot from my doc and a Z-pak.  All hail medicinal chemistry!!

Finally, I have new (smaller size!) sleep pants.  The SU bought them.  Think he was trying to make a commentary?

Update:  Roasted Brussels sprouts are...actually pretty good!

27 October 2012

Project 365: Week 43

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com

I only have one picture this week and it's a repeat of last week:

Yup.  We ended up here AGAIN.  He was resting over the weekend, played in church Sunday against my better judgment, and then kept telling me how tired he was on the ride home.  He called me at work on Monday and told me he was having the same symptoms again and we needed to go to the ER.  So I took him there, he was re-admitted and had another stent put in on Tuesday.  This makes six in all (collect the set!).  He is back home and resting again.  Had one bad low blood pressure episode where he literally FELL ON HIS FACE but he seems to be doing much better now.  Ever seen a 275 lb man drop like a stone?  That'll get your heart rate going...

(He had the first two stents in 2000 and 2002 on our anniversary.  Now, it's my birthday.  I gave him the hairy eyeball and told him if there was a message in there, I'd really just prefer if he said it rather than trying to make me guess through charades :P.  Seriously, dude, let me teach you how to knit or something instead, okay?)

Now that we are hopefully past the medical version of Groundhog Day, I'm back at work and concentrating on school assignments.  I will hopefully be able to take more pictures and, you know, COMMENT on other people's pics since y'all have been kind enough to comment on mine.  Ah, normality (or as close as I can get)!  How I crave thee!

Oh...and proof that Munchkin is still alive despite dropping the SU's Bluetooth into the kitty water bowl last week:

20 October 2012

Project 365 - Week 42

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com

Well, I was going to post last week but the Cyber Hermit household had a bit of an emergency so I am posting more of a highlights reel:

Background:  one of the instructors where the SU works knows the bass player for Journey.  The SU let him and several of the crew come in and fly the simulators last Monday.  As a thank you, we got tickets and backstage meet and greet passes for the Journey/Pat Benatar/Loverboy concert.  The seats were very good - 5 rows up from the stage.

Loverboy was the opening act and, wow, they suck.  You know if a band is doing their big song 30 minutes after they hit the stage that there is a reason they are the opening act.  If any of y'all remember Mike Reno, he still wears the stupid bandanna on his head.  He also has gained some weight and came out wearing something that I *swear* was jeggings.  The whole half-hour was like watching Spinal Tap: The Live Show! The only thing they needed was a "Hello, Cleveland!"  At the end of their set, Reno dramatically whipped off his bandanna, *wrung out the sweat* and then tossed into the audience.  Ewwwwwwww...

Pat Benatar can still sing like nobody's business.  Unlike Loverboy and their "never met an 80's cliche I didn't like" ethos, she has aged very gracefully but still puts on a great show.  She did a lot of her big hits and also tossed in some others such as an interesting rendition of "Ring of Fire" which I liked a lot.  Her husband and guitar player is extremely talented and has a wonderful sense of what is just right for a song.  Unlike...

Neal Schon - also known as Captain Meedley  Holy crap, that guy never met an overdone guitar solo he didn't like and he had a lot of them.  The guy who took over from Steve Perry (Arnel Pineda) is very good.  Close your eyes and you'd think it was Steve Perry.  But, man, the dude is snack-size!  Seriously, if he tops out much over five feet, I'd be surprised.  He's got a lot of energy, though, and really works the crowd.  It was fun to watch him.

So that was the good in our week.

This was the not-so-good (and how sad is it that I found this pic under a website of things to do in my town!).  The Spousal Unit looked at me Saturday night and said, "I think we need to go to the hospital."  Long story short, the man had new blockages that were about eighty percent closed and added three shiny new stents to his previous collection of two.  Way to be an overachiever, hon! :P

He is home and has been resting since Tuesday.  He's supposed to go back to work on Monday but has cautioned people he is not feeling like he can just jump in and arm wrestle the government the way he usually does.  (I've told him to tell people I will hurt them if they try to push him.  Grrr...).

Small notes:  diet is still going well.  I'm just shy of 30 pounds down as of Friday.  The only bummer is that I seem to be having some weird acne issues that I haven't had in a long time.  Bleah.  I have some stuff from the doctor that I am hoping will clear it up.  I did also get to buy some new clothes (the SU's birthday present to me) which I hope to post some pictures of soon.  I have gone from 18/20 or 20/22 to 16's and 14/16.  So, yay me :).

Now, back to writing the draft of my policy paper...

Oh, wait!

Cat!  Sleeping cat!  Snoring cat!  Soon-to-be-dead cat because:

Can't tell what this is?  Move in a little closer:

It's the Spousal Unit's bluetooth headset that he has been searching for - and now playing the part of a submarine at the bottom of the cats' water bowl.  Yeah...someone is a dead cat.

08 October 2012

Issues. We all got 'em. (Some of us even have subscriptions)

It's nice and quiet in the office right now.  That will probably end in the next few minutes *g* but I thought I would take a few moments and try to update since my goal is to become semi-regular at this blog thing!

The Spousal Unit and I continue to move forward, stumbling sometimes but still together.  I received a very polite slap upside the head from a good friend about setting up an initial counseling appointment.  I keep meaning to do so, however, I will admit that I have let work and school continually push that task down the line into the "do later" column.  I have promised I will call the two provided names this week and figure out who I want to set up the appointment with.  The only requirement the SU has put forth is whichever one we use has to be okay with cursing (you can take the man out of the Navy, but...).

The SU agreeing to go is good.  It's agreement more on the side of "if you want to go/think we need to go, I'll go" but I'll take it.  It's better than outright refusal.  The only thing I really wonder about is how open and honest he will be.  When I've asked him that, I get a variety of answers.  Most of them seem to revolve around some convoluted version of "I'll try"; his walls have walls by this point.  He has said some things to me that have just broken my heart because I know that is not how other me, God or our friends see him.  But to hear him talk about how he sees himself...is just heart-wrenchingly painful.  My hope is that with working his sobriety and continued pastoral and other counseling, he will be able to start being honest about the things that truly, truly bother him or that are hard to deal with for him; that he'll be able to start putting that stuff in the garbage pile and rebuild his self-image the way God sees him.  And rebuild his relationship with God while he is at it.

Yeah...nothing too big :P.

I see my first new advisee today and then the appointments slowly start ramping up (please see pics of boxes o'students in Project 365 post below :)).  I've advised in the past - some planned, some impromptu - so I should be okay with it and will learn more of the ins and outs of this particular program as I go.  Having things to do is good, yes?

My main thought at this point is I'm almost halfway through the semester.  This semester continues to feel like an albatross around my neck for some reason.  It might be because I'm having to deal with a finance course and that is not my bailiwick.  At all.  When the instructor asked us to introduce ourselves and what we wanted to get out of this course, I said that finance was like a foreign language to me and I wanted to become more proficient than being able to ask where the bathroom is :). 

I think I'm grasping enough and I was able to create my annotated bibliography for my literature review and pull out necessary threads to make a coherent paper but it *feels* harder than other semesters have - even the semester I took Research Methods.  I spent three hours Saturday (8am-11am) and three hours Sunday (6am-9am) working on the lit review so I can try and have the rough done by this week and start on the policy paper.  Both are not due until the week of Thanksgiving but there are several analytic essays *also* coming down the pike and it makes me all Kermit the Frog:

And, finally:

Dear Providers of My Doctor's Office Supplement/Diet Program  -

I would like to make a suggestion.  When confronted by the first supplement of the day, perhaps one should not have to look at a drink that is the color of a urine sample that bodes no good for the donor.

Just a thought...

06 October 2012

Project 365 - Week 40

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com

Well, unfortunately, I only have one day's worth of pictures this week.  However, when you look at them, you may understand why:

As part of my new and improved job duties, I am now the proud owner of 250 advisees with more to follow in the future.  Between *that*, the blast e-mail that went out telling all these folk to contact me to set up advising appointments, trying to write a comprehensive (and *good*) analytical essay on the failing economy of Detroit, and now working on a lit review and a policy paper, I think I'm pretty lucky I've remembered my name by today!

(and I didn't get any chance to knit, either!  Suuuuuuuck!)

27 September 2012

Why, yes.

One of the ROTC guys came into the office to ask some questions about something-or-other and started perusing the shelves above my desk. He pointed to my action figures and asked, "Who are those people?"

Me: "They're characters from Stargate Atlantis."

Him: "Wow, you really are a nerd, aren't you?"

Me: "In the words of TV's Frank: let your freak flag fly."

Hmmm...still need to get a Todd the Wraith figure.

22 September 2012

Project 365: Week 38

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com

Thank you to everyone who commented on the pictures or said it was nice to see me again :).  Getting comments in my inbox really helps alleviate the work/school mix I find myself in (I still say it's a circle of Hell that Dante didn't write about...). 

So, this week I have some more pictures:


The hallway I wish I was walking down since it leads to the parking lot and my car.  Alas, it was a school night.


Because what I need is a *new* knitting project.  This is a cowl being knitted in the round.  I think the yarn is something like Heritage Silk?  (Have to check my Ravelry account).

This, believe it or not, is my jury summons (first one I've ever gotten in my life).  It was so mangled and torn that I couldn't even tell when I was supposed to report - hence the multiple pictures I took in case I'd already missed my date!  The clerk at the court was most helpful...after she stopped laughing.


On this diet, I get no dairy so...*sniff*...no more lattes.  They did tell me, however, I can use a minimal amount of sugar-free syrups which is great since I'm not too much of a fan of just black coffee.  Note my new best friends :).


The evening's vegetable selection waiting to be roasted in the oven:  mushroom, bell pepper, asparagus tips and Anaheim chile pepper.


OK...these are some before and after shots (well, during, since I'm not done yet).  I had taken some pictures of myself in the gym previously while at my heaviest and thought I would take more pics wearing the same clothes to see if I noticed a change.  As of this day, after a month on this diet, I weigh 17.5 pounds less than I did.



And there you have it.  Please excuse the hair.  I just run a brush through it before I head down to the gym so the "Yeah, I slept on it" hills and valleys are still present :).

15 September 2012

Project 365: Week 37

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com

So, to recap:  not participating as much because...well, I work, I go to school at night to finish my Master's.  I work, I go to school at night to finish my Master's.  I work, I go to school at night to finish my Master's...ad nauseum.  I just can't really find many pictures that would be anything different other than the view from my desk or a page out of a textbook.  And believe you me, I don't want to inflict a tome on tax policy on anyone else!

(Bug, I have your book.  Life has been a little insane.  I will try to get it in the mail this week.  I think I still have the address...)

However, I have a few pics that I thought I would put up and share:

I finished a scarf I was working on and blocked it this week.  It's four colors of yarn and a combination of garter and stockinette stitch.  It was the first time I'd worked on circular needles with two balls of yarn at the same time.  Scarf is almost 6' long.

My youngest granddaughter, Emery.  Way too cute :).

I was on my way into Drug Emporium when I saw this license plate and had to take a picture.  I swear, the first voice in my head was Apu from The Simpsons:  "Mr. Simpson, please to not be feeding my god a peanut."
While waiting to check out in Drug Emporium, I saw this by the register.  The cashier looked at me a little oddly for putting down my purchases and grabbing my phone but, seriously, how could I resist?  It's LIP BALM, people!  Doesn't the name just make you want to grab up a couple?  (please note, they swear at the bottom that chicken poop is not an ingredient....uh huh.)
Otherwise, just trying to work my way through this semester.  The amount of weekly reading for this semester's courses is astonishing.  I'm studying again tomorrow so I can try to maintain being a week ahead.  That means I'm not cramming to finish the reading so I can write the homework memos on the weekend.  Really wanting some time to knit but not getting much.  I have in progress:
1.  Dress for Rylie
2.  Cowl
3.  Linen stitch scarf (I *swear* I am going to get that finished)
4.  Hat for Monkey
Maybe tomorrow.  I will go study for a few hours, go with the Spousal Unit to take his rental back to Hertz, and hopefully get some time to just sit without having to do anything after that except knit...read...maybe take a nap.  Ohhhhhhh, a nap.
The diet progresses.  I have lost 14 pounds in three weeks at last check-in.  And although I have been ordered to not let dairy cross my lips minus the one ounce of milk I can have in coffee (there went my lattes, too. Grrrrr...), I have been given permission to use - within reason (darn!) - sugar free DaVinci syrups.  Yay!  'Cause I hate black coffee. 
I'm really not missing much else, though.  The supplements are pretty decent tasting and I haven't had any desire to run screaming through a store and cramming carbs in my mouth like there was no tomorrow.  The only thing I really want is a nice, big bowl of buttered popcorn.  Oh well, maybe in three months or so...

Slideshow...boring. Losing...consciousness

(Quote from The Tick - see below)

Dear God,

Please make the last thirty pages of my text on tax policy disappear.  I'll be your best friend!


04 September 2012

And thus and so...

So, week one of the diet is complete.  I lost five pounds which I am happy with for a first week result.  Below is a picture of the meal I actually get to chew each day:

That's eight ounces of protein (chicken in this case) and 2 cups of vegetables.  I also get two cups of vegetables for lunch along with whatever packet I've snagged before I left the house in the morning.  I'm having to look up more ways to cook vegetables or think of new ones to try because I don't want to get bored over the potential months I will be doing this.  I just don't want to buy a new vegetable, hate it, and then have to eat it because, you know, I spent money on the thing :P.

Also had to do all the medical stuff I couldn't do at my first appointment because there was someone else with me and HIPPA frowns on trading medical details like bubblegum cards :).  The last thing I had to do that day was...get measured (gasp!  oh, the horror!).  I still am proportional (47-42-49) but would like those measurements to go down just a wee bit.  Ah well, if this gets my pancreas to (a) stop giving me the middle finger and (b) start giving up insulin instead of hoarding it like it's preparing for a bomb shelter for World War Z, that will be worth it.  Plus, the need to no longer stab myself in the stomach every day with needles would be pretty awesome, too.

I am knitting, knitting, knitting.  I finished the first cable hat and sent it to my favorite girl-child-who-is-not-one-of-my-granddaughters, Beanie:

She was very happy with it per Mom.  What is on her shoulders is the shirt I also sent her:  Bambi (she's allllll into Disney right now).

I also started work on this dress (model picture):

I am about a third of the way through the back skirt portion of the dress and feeling rather ambitious since this is the first piece of clothing I am making so I'm learning about decreasing stitches for clothes as well as how to sew together the pieces (when I get there).

The linen stitch scarf got put to the side for the moment because I wanted to get the hat finished (check), get started on the dress (check) since I have hopes of finishing it in time for Christmas, and I am pretty close to getting this scarf done:

I've got about eight more sets of the thin stripes to complete and then around 100 more rows of solid block knitting using the gray color first and then the white (or I may use one of the blues again, who knows?).  BTW, please excuse the crappy picture - it was taken on my desk at work.

Still kind of writing off and on.  It's a relaxing thing like knitting.  I've been working on an SGA/Chuck crossover for a while and I have various scenes written but I think I need to start trying to stitch them together and really nail down my timeline between the shows.  There is some difference and if I go one way, I need to use the Legacy series SGA books as canon and the last one won't be out until November.  Not a problem one way since (a) I write at a glacial pace these days and (b) this will probably never see the light of day to an archive or anything like that.  But I can see another way I want to go and I'm not sure I can get the timelines to mesh as well as I would like.  Oh well, at least I'm writing!  Now if that SGA/X-Files plot bunny would leave me alone...(I'm skeered of Chris Carter's ever fraying grasp on his own series canon.  That's a migraine waiting to happen!).

BTW, if anyone has a good idea for a topic I can write about for Public Finance Administration, sing out!  I have my Public Policy topic but Finance eludes me.

28 August 2012

Rating the food so far...

Wildberry Yogurt flavor - not bad but little berry-like things floating around in said flavor are a little disconcerting...the mouth feel is bizarre.

Tomato-Basil soup. - not only no, but hell no.  First, tomato soup should not be pink like a strawberry milkshake.  Second, it should not have a texture like dirt suspended in water.  Finally, they may want to look into adding some flavor.  I did eat it but it was akin to holding my nose and swallowing it down in one gulp.

Chocolate drink - Good.  To paraphrase eBay:  "A+.  Would drink again."

Lemon and Butterscotch pudding (no, not together) - not bad.  Would be able to eat without grimacing.

Vanilla pudding - doable.  Looks a little...phlegmy.

2 cups of roasted kale is a lot of kale to get through.

I thankfully did not kill anyone during class last night even with the combination of this pancreatic trip through the Nine Circles of Food Hell and a Michael Moore movie (Roger and Me).  Tonight is the first night of my Public Policy class.  It's another Michael Moore film.

Help me.

27 August 2012

What Fresh Hell Is This?

Alrighty, then.  So, in a last ditch effort to stop my pancreas from giving me the middle finger, my doctor had me go see a rep for an FDA-approved diet that has had some good results for people with issues like mine.  Saw the rep on Friday and started the diet Saturday (because every condemned man or woman needs a good last meal!).

To say I am a wee bit cranky might be an understatement :).

The diet consists of some packets of particular foods they manufacture (organic, soy, yadda).  I also (twice a day) add two cups of vegetables, take several vitamins that would choke a horse and get 8 oz of protein for my dinner along with the aforementioned vegetables.  However, there is no soda which means there goes my occasional Pepsi Max to help me through three hours of class.  No alcohol which...not so bad.  I don't really drink that much.  No bread *sobs briefly*.  However, there is also no fruit and no dairy.  But I do get unlimited lettuce!

*cue sound of record scratching*

Yeaaaaaaah.  The no fruit is killing me because I *love* fruit.  I eat a lot of it.  The rule about dairy means no cheese at all and my weekly latte is gone.  I am welcome to have some black coffee with one ounce of skim milk and Splenda once a day.  I also cannot exercise for the first week to two weeks because of the massive reduction in carbs that my body is not yet used to.  Once it starts digging down into the emergency supplies, so to speak, then I can go back to exercising.  I really miss my exercising.

I'm also supposed to be keeping a food diary to show my rep each week.  While I'm dutifully writing down everything I'm (not!) eating, in my head, the diary goes more like this:

Day 1 - Really?  Seriously?
Day 2 - Haven't killed anyone yet.
Day 3 - As God is my witness, I will kill the barista if they do not open in the next two minutes.  The guy that killed Harvey Milk had the Twinkie defense.  I will use...oh wait, I can't have Twinkies.

If my pancreas will stop giving me the finger and come out to join the Internal Organ Party, I may only be four months on this thing before I hit the attempt to wean me off and introduce some more real food back into my life.  *looks back over timeline*  Y'know, it's a good thing that (a) the SU and I do not do any type of Thanksgiving or Christmas celebrations and (b) don't live close enough to any of our relatives who do.

If this works?  Fantastic!  If it doesn't, then I continue with my mindset of celebrating what I got and working it :).  In the meantime, there may be a few more food-centric entries :).

In the meantime, here are some pictures:

I just finished Beanie's, well, beanie this week.  It is the first knitted cabling I've ever done:

The next two are of Munchkin who, as I may have mentioned before, has certain fetishes.  One of those is the grocery bags under the sink.  She loves to open the cabinet door, crawl in there and sleep there for hours.  She did that yesterday while the SU and I were sitting and reading.  We heard the cabinet door squeak open, announcing Her Majesty's nap was complete, and then heard a *lot* of rustling.  When we turned to look, this is what we saw:

Don't ask me how but she managed to loop two grocery bags over her head while she was in there and walked out like this was completely normal.  I mean, look at the expression on her face.  It clearly says, "I don't know why *you* find this all so funny."

20 August 2012


So, remember when I said my mother had sniffed the QVC crack again?  Apparently it was to the tune of $3,000.  My brother and I are undecided whether she just doesn't get how to handle money or just really doesn't care.  What we have tried to impress upon her is that if she blows through all her money, neither he nor I have the wherewithal to pay $3,500 a month to keep her in her new home.  Additionally, neither of us have the resources to have her move in with us.  Her task this week is to get all the QVC crap packaged back up and out to the post office.

*bangs head on desk*

15 August 2012

Favorite wrong word usage of the day: Once bitten, twice shy

I was reading a story where the Marines in said story were described as "handbitten".  Um, no.  The Marines would be "hardbitten".  Otherwise, you have someone going around biting the hands of the USMC's finest and that's just...weird.

I mean, really.  Raise your right hand, take your oath, and then stick your hand out in front of you.  Don't mind the little guy coming around.  He never breaks the skin...

14 August 2012

The Truth is not on QVC

I talked to my mom last night.  She started off the conversation with telling me there was something she had to confess.

Me:  "You buried Jimmy Hoffa?  You're really D.B. Cooper?  You are the Lindenburgh baby?"  Wow, looking back at these examples makes me realize I must be reallllly old...

Turns out Mom has been hitting the QVC crack again, has five packages in her room at the independent living place and hid the bill from my brother when he came down to help her pay her bills for the month.  I think part of the reason she "confessed" was because she bought me something and knew I'd ask her about watching QVC when it got there.  (OK, it's a toaster oven that is also a convection oven which is *really cool* but...yeah, not the point.  I digress.).  Both my brother and I have told her that she can't be in independent living, hang on to the house, and have a QVC bill each month that requires commas.  The house would have to be sold a whole lot faster if she chose to keep that up.

I've been talking to her just about every night since my dad died and, over the past five years, she's started to be a little more open in sharing her feelings with me which is a huge leap forward.  My mom's people are very stoic.  There is seriously a shot of two of my great-great-somethings out in the middle of Nebraska in front of some shack, holding a pitchfork and glowering.  They are Amish with electricity.  They could be sitting there with blood spurting out of a major artery and talk about the weather.  To borrow from the X-Files:  deceive, inveigle, obfuscate.  Above all, dear God, do not talk about your feelings.

But she's better at it than she used to be.  So we talked about how she kind of hopes she will be able to return home but knows she really can't, that she's lonely and getting packages is a nice thing to have happen when you're lonely, that she (like me) is more of an introvert and we tend to have a few close friends unlike my dad and my brother who tend to make friends easily and in copious amounts.  She tries to call herself stupid and hopeless so I have to yank her up short on that and remind her that she isn't and I don't want to hear that kind of talk about my mom.  She was very sheltered by her family and then my dad and I've talked to her about that and reminded her that she's faced a lot of new challenges since Dad died and I've seen her tackle every one of them, and nobody "stupid" or "hopeless" could do that.  She also had a suprising moment of self-reflection when she admitted she'd like to just be able to spend the money and throw up her hands at me and my brother, telling us it just doesn't matter before saying she knows she can't do that.

Between Mom and the SU, I really feel like I'm getting an emotional workout lately!  Mom and I decided she needs to eat more meals at her new place rather than just breakfast and disappearing back to the house for the day, maybe join in on the scandalous penny-and-dime domino games :), and go to a few more of the Happy Hours where she enjoyed sipping on her O'Doul's and actually talking to people.  Of course, it's up to her if she does any of this but I'm hoping she will realize she doesn't have to be head cheerleader for the place, she just has to accept what they are offering and remember that new things aren't necessarily bad.

13 August 2012

Posting twice in one month...where's my handbasket?

The Spousal Unit and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises Saturday.  It was a good end to Nolan's version of Batman although probably not the best of the three.  That honor, IMO, goes to The Dark Knight.  While Batman Begins started off Nolan's version of Batman in a credible way, it still has Katie Holmes (pre-Crazy Tom Cruise) and nothing can overcome the black hole that is Katie Holmes attempting to act.

The only thing I really didn't care for was the way the sound was mixed.  Tom Hardy (Bane) is already acting with a handicap since he has a mask over the majority of his face that electronically distorts his voice.  That alone made some lines hard to understand.  It was worse when the soundtrack came booming in.  Now, I loves me some Hans Zimmer but Hans also loves his percussion for the Batman movies, and the sound mixer constantly left the soundtrack at levels above the speaking/looped voices of the actors, leading to unprecendented levels of "What did he just say?" looks between the Spousal Unit and me.  Still, it was not nearly the nausea-inducing experience that seeing The Avengers in IMAX *and* 3D was.  Gah.  Never, ever doing that again.

After the movie, we re-created our second date ever when we went grocery shopping :).

The SU is doing all right.  He's maintaining at this point and I have give him the room and the grace to make his own decisions - although that doesn't mean I don't search his usual hidey-holes.  I did go to a support group on Friday night but I don't think it's a format/group that is going to work for me.  The church that is running it is obviously doing something right based on the number of people there but there were some drawbacks to my experience:

1.  It took me three calls over two days just to get someone to verify that the support groups still met there and the groups weren't simply issue-centric (e.g. AA versus Al-Anon).  I understand the guy who is in charge and his assistant were in a conference at the church over those two days but nobody I talked to on the phone seemed to know anything and that was a little disheartening and not very welcoming.

2.  The small group I was in was *very* small - as in I was the only other person besides the leader for about the first five minutes.  The leader also didn't seem to be very good at facilitating. I understand about crosstalk, etc., but if no one had anything to say, we just sat there...in silence.  *singsong voice* Awkward! *end singsong voice*

I may look at some other, similar groups to try them out or I may look at one or two other avenues as far as support and confidentiality.

On other topics:

Question for anyone that has a Kindle.  Do you buy books that you already have paper copies of and, if so, are you keeping the paper copies?  I buy a mix of both new-to-me books and books I already have.  I have been giving away some of them and keeping those that are out of print or hard to find but I'm debating not keeping those, either.  We live in an apartment and it is a small apartment.  What does anyone else do?

(Oh, and Bug, I found one more Mary Russell hiding in the back of my bookcase that apparently missed being sent in the first batch.  If you want it, send me your address again...)

Went to the doctor Friday and the low dose of the meds wasn't working at all.  No change.  At this point, it's starting to come down to the Hail Mary pass (thank you, John Sheppard) because nothing really seems to be getting the point across to my pancreas that it is not on an indefinite vacation, thankyouverymuch.  So, I talked with my doc who apologized for being just about out of ideas, and I'm going to do the medicine one more month at the high level to see if it will at least jump start the stupid organ like it did the first time I used it.  Then, I'm going to attempt a particular diet plan that is supposed to help restore pancreatic function.  If that doesn't work, then I will just consider myself beautiful at whatever size I remain. 

Reason #487,592,293 why I don't use Bing as a search engine:  it keeps trying to suggest that I am somehow interested in Jennifer Aniston.  Um, no.

And I am ridiculously addicted to this game:

$140 million and rising...