Tuesday, 29 June 2010

I Have Friends In High Places And I'm Upgraded Daily All My Wires Without Traces Hooked Into Machine

For the last 2 weeks I have slept with a breathing machine strapped to my face as part of the sleep study / respiratory therapy I'm involved in to try to sort out my sleep disorder. The breathing machine is a full-face mask that straps around my forehead and neck and has a long tube coming out the front that connects to a pump. Air is continuously pumped through my nose to prevent my upper-respiratory system from collapsing (the theory being that the structure of my upper-respiratory system collapses, I stop breathing, my blood loses oxygen, I have a seizure, I wake up, I start breathing again.)

For the last 2 weeks I have strapped myself in at bedtime and tried to lay as still as possible to not disturb the mask (if the mask shifts the seal breaks and the pressure drops, so the pump thinks that I've stopped breathing and starts pumping harder which increases the pressure in the mask and I feel like my face is going to explode. It is not pleasant.) I cannot roll over for a snuggle with my husband. Random midnight kisses are no longer a possibility. I lie as still as possible because I'm scared that if I move, I'll break the machine (it costs $3,000 and my insurance won't even look at my claim until I'm actually diagnosed so the machine is on loan to me to see if it helps me sleep better - ha!) Bedtime has become very clinical and very stressful (and frustrating as I've used the machine every night for the last two weeks and have still had two seizures, THANKS BREATHING MACHINE! YOU'VE BEEN VERY HELPFUL!)

So I'm not surprised that I've been sad and blue is what I'm saying. My unshakable funk is understandable. The good thing is that I'm halfway finished with my 30-day test. In two weeks I will be done and I will (hopefully) be able to return the (unbroken - fingers crossed!) breathing machine and life will return to normal. If my normal includes seizures when I sleep, well that's just something I will have to accept. Two weeks cannot come soon enough (just ask Shawn - poor guy has been sleeping next to Darth Vader for the last two weeks.)

Monday, 28 June 2010

Whatever This Is Oh Baby I've Had Enough

My attempt at a productive weekend was derailed by the giant bowl (I don't own a pitcher) of sangria I made Friday night. I'd not made sangria before; as it turns out, I make very yummy (very strong) sangria.

Sangria holds a special place in my family's history after one particular summer evening with a large amount of sangria-soaked fruit and my afraid-of-water mother and a midnight swimming experience. I should know better than to drink sangria during a weekend of Getting Things Accomplished is what I'm saying.

Friday night quickly morphed from earnest discussions with Shawn about the things we would get done and how to maximize our time, to earnest discussions about which cheese we should melt on top of the garlic bread we were having for dinner (not as a side dish, no. Garlic bread was the main, and only, course.)

And then it was Saturday morning and my head felt funny and my breath was stinky and my list had disappeared.

Without my list it was very easy to pretend that items like "scrub the little circle of rust off the bathroom tile" had actually been "make a giant batch of chocolate chip cookies" and "reduce the number of condiments on the fridge door by at least 50%" had been "eat an inappropriate number of chocolate chip cookies."

It was all fine until Sunday afternoon when I realized that, oh shit, I actually did have deadlines to meet and promises to fulfil. So I whipped out my textbook in an attempt to cross "finish Chapter 7 reading, lazyass!" off my list.

But Wolfgang's inability to see an empty lap without needing to fill it meant that my study time quickly became puppy nap time.

My weekend of epic productivity was more like a weekend of epic avoidance and denial (and chocolate chips.) I've got a 4-day weekend coming up (whoo Canada Day!) so hopefully the extra days will make my redo more successful.

Friday, 25 June 2010

So Walk Away And Act Tough When I Say Something To Make You Blush

It's been a tough week, lovelies. Life is getting a bit overwhelming and my coping skills are lacking at best. I'm going to run away for a little bit to try to get my priorities in order and hopefully find a little balance. Last night I hit the magic "mark all as read" button in my reader and the relief that followed was well worth the twinge of guilt I initially felt. Today I am a list-making machine. A get-my-life-in-order list-making machine. I am so excited to start checking items off my list.

To celebrate (or self-medicate?) I am treating myself to a weekend of bbq and summer cocktails. What is your favourite summer cocktail? No tequila, please. This weekend is about sorting myself out, not about taking my clothes off in inappropriate places.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Did You Ever Know That You're My Hero And Everything I Would Like To Be? I Can Fly Higher Than An Eagle

I am not a fan of chicken wings.

I do not like to nibble meat off the bone. I do not eat chicken skin. I cannot tolerate blue cheese. (No really, the taste of blue cheese makes me retch; the smell of blue cheese makes me shudder; the sight of blue cheese with all its spindly veiny veins makes me gag. Blue cheese gives cheese a bad name.) The only thing I like about chicken wings is the hot sauce.

So when Jennie mentioned buffalo chicken pizza last week, I didn't exactly salivate. I did think that Shawn would really like a buffalo chicken pizza though, so after a particularly trying work week for him, I surprised him with buffalo chicken pizza and beer. It was ... just alright. It's my fault - I didn't have time to make my usual pizza crust so I tried a new recipe and it turned out bland and cardboardy and I thought that substituting goat cheese for the blue cheese would be adequate but it was ... lacking. It was a pizza coated in hot sauce and yet it needed more taste.

However. I ended up defrosting way too much chicken so we had leftover hot sauce-coated chicken bits and no motivation to make another pizza. I made salad (baby spinach, pink grapefruit, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, cucumber, orange pepper, dried cranberries, sunflowers seeds, and goat cheese) for dinner last night and threw the leftover chicken on top and it was heavenly. Sure it felt a bit counterintuitive to top a salad of lovely fresh veggies with aggressively orange-coloured chicken but the gorgeous flavour helped us get over the weirdness. If loving aggressively orange-coloured chicken is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Monday, 21 June 2010

In Your Secret Garden There Is No One Who Gets The Key To Your Heart

My weekend started with a power outage that had me stuck on the train for an extra half hour, followed by a seizure that wiped out my plans of having a productive Saturday by leaving me with a day-long headache. It was a grim start to what turned out to be an excellent weekend of

drooling over my rockstar husband:
spreading the mooooooosetash love:

and chasing naughty pups out of my mom's raspberry patch:

Being bad is exhausting, yo.

It had its rough patches, sure, but I'm still calling this weekend a win. I mean, after Shawn's show we went for poutine. That alone makes my weekend awesome.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Give Me Little Bits Of More Than I Can Take

Someone came home from band practice very late last night and someone else thought it was an intruder coming into the bedroom very late last night and let's just say that I am not so much a fan of Shawn and Wolfgang today.

So! Random sleepy thoughts it is.

* * * * *
I need new running shoes. My running shoe purchases have always been determined by which running shoes were on sale. I have made it my summer goal to get back into running but first I need new shoes (my current running shoes are about three years old and are puppy-chewed around the edges.) Which running shoes should I buy? I overpronate like a motherfucker and have narrow-ish feet. Also, I am unwilling to spend more than $200 on running shoes.

* * * * *
Shawn is playing a show this Saturday at the Shark Club. If you're in Vancouver you should come and say hi. I will be the drunk one. Shawn will be the one who looks like this:


* * * * *
When I lived in England, two very lovely ladies went out of their way to befriend me and make England feel like home. We don't see each other often enough (May 2007 was the last time I saw them) but I love them to bits. One was due with her second child last Saturday and the other is due with her second child this Saturday and I am pretty much busting with excitement and joy. I hope (fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that jazz) to be able to munch on their wee babies' cheeks sometime next year.

(Speaking of babies, sweet Nilsa has some happy baby news!)

* * * * *
I recently purchased the Camera+ app for my iPhone. I'm in love. If you take photos with your iPhone, you need this app. I often miss the pups being cute because by the time I get my camera they've morphed back into little monsters. My iPhone lets me capture the cuteness and Camera+ helps me edit the pictures. Love it.

love her

him? not so much

* * * * *
After being bounced from doctor to neurologist to sleep specialist, I am seeing a respiratory therapist tomorrow to try to figure out my seizure thing. I'd like to say that I'm optimistic but the truth is that I've been grumbly and blue all week. I've decided that I am going to reward myself for going to the appointment (like a grownup *sigh*) with a new cookbook. I don't know which cookbook, though, so I need some suggestions. Do you have a cookbook that rocks your world with its awesomeness?

Monday, 14 June 2010

And There's My Girlfriend Arm In Arm With The Captain Of The Other Team

I have awesome friends. Hilarious, brilliant friends who can look at a stinky old van and not instantly think "hmm ... bad things have happened in there," but instead think "hey, we can make that look like the A-Team van." And then do it.

Last night I went to see the A-Team movie. We drove to the theatre in the A-Team van. I cannot even tell you how bad it smells inside that van but the olfactory assault was worth all the giggles it provided.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

This Isn't How I Am I Have Become Comfortably Numb

So remember that time I filleted my finger? What I failed to mention was that I fixed my finger myself. As in, once the crying and hyperventilating stopped, I washed it with water, slapped on some antibiotic ointment, and wrapped it in a bandage. I had a few reasons for my DIY finger fix - it was a Sunday so the only place to get medical attention was the emergency room (and the emergency room is a stabby place to be); I was home alone so I would have to take a cab (I hate taking cabs); I wasn't wearing any clothes (before I started chopping the potatoes I was painting the bedroom and I don't own any grungy painting clothes so I paint naked. What?) Plus, I have a visceral fear of needles. Like, I tear up when I see a needle. I don't even want to see a picture of a needle. The word needle makes my stomach clenchy.

Yesterday marked the tenth day since my fingertipectomy and my wound was still bleeding. Not a lot, mind you, just a constant ooze to remind me to never sharpen my knives again (and to prevent me from having to wash any dishes - whee!) So I spent my lunch break in a walk-in clinic where I was treated to the music of Star Wars in the waiting room (so random) and a stern lecture from the doctor about wounds and bacteria and going to the emergency room even though emergency rooms are full of bacteria and shouty people and needles. (*shudder*)

It wasn't a horrible visit. My tetanus vaccination is up to date - thanks Stella! - so there were no needles involved. The doctor just made sure I wasn't oozing any pus and then stuck on a bandage that acts as an artificial stitch (note to self: if you cut yourself again, don't go to the doctor until the 6-hour window of being able to get traditional stitches has passed - artificial stitches are needle-free!)

I still cuss when I accidentally use my finger (left index finger, if you're wondering) but now that it's actually healing, the pain isn't so bad. Which means that I will probably have to start washing dishes again soon. *sigh*

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Makes Me Want To Be A Little Stronger Still I See Monsters

The monster on the left has a penchant for shoes - the more expensive the better, while the monster on the right prefers cotton sheets for his chewing enjoyment.

Girl monster is happiest when rolling in the smelliest, dirtiest thing she can find (spoilt milk, dead worms, stinky beach sand.) Boy monster is happiest when curled up in your lap, whether your lap is available for cuddling or not (this is a dog that routinely jumps up onto unsuspecting sitting-on-the-toilet laps.) (Because you can't close the bathroom door if you're the only human home - he gets too lonely and whines and cries and sticks his little puppy paws under the door to try to reach you and one day his little puppy paws will get stuck under the door and then what will you do?)
Stinky likes to curl up under the covers and rest her head on cold toes. Winky can only handle about five minutes under the covers before he reaches his boiling point and claws his way out, gasping for air, and dramatically flops on his side and sighs.
They love snacking on carrots, apples, peppers, cheese and berries but cucumbers are their favourite. They will cut you for cucumbers.

They bark at animals on the tv. I know I should discourage this behaviour but it's ridiculous and hilarious to see them all riled up and shouty at the Telus hippopotamus.

They are not baby substitutes; I do not have an aching maternal void that I attempt to fill with furry ears and belly rubs and snuffly noses. They are my crazy, adorable, monsterpups. I probably like them more than I like most people. I'm not sorry.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

You Might Know This But You've Never Been This See If I Ate Spinach Then I'd Be Called Spinach D

I have eaten a ridiculous amount of spinach this week. I don't even know who I am anymore.

I had an insatiable spinach craving again today so I decided to play with the garlic spinach recipe to turn it into a meal.

First I boiled the water for my pasta (I used fresh linguine.) Then I made the sauce - I started with a healthy splash of olive oil and a snob of butter in a hot saute pan. I added a red onion and cooked over medium/high heat until transparent. Then I added about 10 cloves of (minced) garlic (what? I really like garlic) and the zest of one lemon. After that cooked for a while, I added 1 can of (rinsed) white kidney beans and a handful of (quartered) cherry tomatoes and let that cook for a while. My water was boiling by this point so I added my noodles. Once they were done, I scooped about 1/3 cup of pasta water into my sauce and then drained my noodles. The pasta water helped me scrape up all the yummy bits that were sticking to the bottom of my pan. Then I piled the spinach on top of the bean mixture, covered the pan, and let everything steam for 2 minutes or so. When the spinach was nice and hot and thoroughly wilted, I added the juice of one lemon and a largish pinch of salt. I mixed in the pasta and let heat through.

I topped mine with finely grated asiago cheese.

So tasty. It wasn't perfect - I think next time I'll add some white wine or chicken stock (maybe half a cup) after the spinach to create more of a sauce - it was pretty dry. I'll probably add some red pepper flakes too for a little heat. And I will probably use the whole box of spinach next time instead of just half the box because it renders down so much. But still - so tasty.

Friday, 4 June 2010

My Words Don't Travel Far They Tangle In My Hair And Tend To Go Nowhere They Grow Right Back Inside Right Past My Brain And Eyes Into My Stomach Juice

My May resolutions (to embrace meal planning, drink no pop, eat no fast food, and spend no money on prepared coffee) were a huge failure. May was such a bitch that I ignored my resolutions and just tried to get through the month without completely losing my mind. It turns out that my survival mode includes a lot of french fries and $4 coffee shop lattes. Mid month it became very easy to ignore my resolutions because I had already failed so spectacularly. Why bother trying to salvage my resolutions when french fries are so tasty and prepared coffee is so easy? I'm not proud of my defeatist attitude but it is what it is. May is over and June is set to be my bitch.

June is going to be the month of meal planning. Shawn is going to become more involved in our kitchen (totally against his will, I should point out) and I am going to focus on learning new ways to prepare healthy food. To keep the momentum going, I am resolving to learn two new recipes per week. They don't need to be elaborate or fancy - just two new ways of preparing healthy food. This week I made this spinach and it was glorious.*

I'm excited about this month's resolution. The farmers' markets have started opening and local, fresh produce is becoming available. It's my favourite time of year (just wait til the local strawberries are available - you won't be able to shut me up.)

* Spinach is on my list of food that tastes like dirt (spinach, beets, mangoes, walnuts - don't ask me why, they just all taste like dirt to me) so it was extremely bizarre to be eating it and actually enjoying the taste. The only change to the recipe I made was to add a finely diced red onion to the hot oil and let it brown up nicely before adding the garlic. I don't have the patience for cleaning spinach and I have an aversion to grit in my food, so I used the baby spinach that comes in a box (says that lady who was just gushing about farmers' markets and connecting to local food.) You'll feel like you're using a lot of spinach (I used the whole box) but it renders down significantly as it cooks and you're left with a tiny, fragrant pile of bliss that you'll want to keep all for yourself but you can't because the whole kitchen smells of garlic and lemon and loveliness and your husband will be all "you have to share! What's yours is mine and what's mine is yours. It's called marriage!" and you will shoot him the stink eye but he will ignore it. And then he will eat half of your lovely spinach and you will store the "what's yours is mine and what's mine is yours" argument away in the spiteful part of your brain for the next time he is eating chocolate.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

It's Gonna Be A Glorious Day I Feel My Luck Could Change

We're only one day into the month and already June is way more awesome than May. You see, I was feeling very mopey and unlucky after the finger-vs-knife incident and then last night happened.

Last night my parents came over for dinner and we decided to walk the dogs. I was holding Stella's leash and my dad had Wolfgang's leash, when the puppies spotted another dog a few blocks ahead of us. When Stella encounters another dog, she gets a bit excited and wants to sniff and play. When Wolfgang encounters another dog, he gets territorial and protective of me. He's not aggressive at all but he does bark quite a bit. As soon as the other dog is within sniffing distance, Wolfgang turns into the perfect gentleman and wags his tail and is quite happy to play with the other dog, it's just the initial encounter that makes him unsure and shouty.

So. Last night the dogs spot the other dog and Wolfgang got all barky and loud so we stopped walking. My dad bent down to shush Wolfgang and Wolfgang got all squirmy and somehow the combination of a taut leash and a twisty puppy resulted in Wolfgang managing to ninja his way out of his harness. He didn't even hesitate; he took off running (across 4 lanes of traffic) after the other dog, who by this time was long gone. My brain was still processing what happened when my dad took off running (across 4 lanes of traffic) after him.

Here's the thing, I know what you're supposed to do in this situation. I know that running away from your dog prompts your dog to chase you, so if you run away from the danger the theory is that your dog will follow you to safety. But last night, in the heat of the moment, my thought process was pretty much this: "Puppy. In traffic. Dad. In traffic." And repeat.

So I stood there, frozen, until Wolfgang realized that I wasn't following him (his territorial / protective nature means that he doesn't want to be too far from me - no really, this is a dog that will whine at the bathroom door until I open it) and stopped. And then ran back towards me (across 4 lanes of traffic.) I managed to grab him as he ran past me and the whole thing was over in under a minute.

I feel so lucky. My dad, bless his heart, didn't even look before running into the street and Wolfgang still looks like this:

instead of, you know, flatter. I feel very lucky, indeed.