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DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Camping

I love the great outdoors. In limited doses. I like camping--the social parts and the hiking parts. But I could do without the peeing and pooping in the woods and the no showering.

My husband put in for an elk hunting tag with some others, except that they didn't put in for what they said they were going to so then he got his tag for this unit. Some others he knew also got tags there at that time for muzzle loader hunting, so he talked to them about coming along. We had them for dinner recently; Mick feels like he's really tagging along, so he offered to bring ribs. We ended up making ribs and a pulled pork for his trip. They have a week, and several people were going along for some camping too. They talked me into coming camping for the weekend.

Since he had already gone up to the campsite with his dad, I just had to pack for me and the dogs. It took me a lot longer than I expected and I got on the road later than I wanted. I had a terribly hard time trying to figure out what to take to eat. But I packed some food and drinks (water and coconut water--it's not good but it's good for you) and clothes. And stuff for the dogs. And pillows--he forgot pillows. And I finally got on the road.

I stopped in Camp Verde for gas and a bathroom stop for me and the dogs. I missed the exit for Williams and ended up in Flagstaff. It was getting dark. I got turned back around and made it through Williams. It was dark by the time I headed south so I stayed near the speed limit. Someone was right behind me when I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting 3 deer or elk. He got off my ass then and turned off soon after. I missed the turn for the campsite. I thought I misunderstood the directions he gave me so I kept going until he called. I had missed it by about 10 miles. Oops. I was so frustrated. I had to hit the brakes a total of 6 times for elk and/or deer in the road as well as twice because Cassi was trying to break down my barricade. She gets so stressed out in the car that she tries to come into the front. I finally made it to the turn where he was waiting to show me the rest of the way.

I won't bore you with ALL the gory details, but I spent 2 nights. The night I got in, I had a salad for dinner followed by some maple pecans. Mick and my FIL went out super early, like 3:30 am, and I had already been up with Cassi once. And then 3 more times before they got back. One of those times, I ate half my vanilla coconut milk yogurt with some Enjoy Life Mountain Mambo "granola." I read for a little until my head hurt and then went back to sleep. When they got back, I had an Enjoy Life sunbutter bar and half my OJ. They were eating cereal--Apple Jacks and Frosted Flakes. (Diabetic and pre-diabetic. Hmm.)

The group decided on a late lunch and snacked on Tomato Wheat Thins; I had Kettle Crinkle chips I brought. For lunch everyone pulled food out: ribs, enchiladas, posole, salad, chips. I had ribs and salad with dressing I brought. I wanted to have posole but she used chicken broth so I was not going to chance it. The ribs were fantastic, of course. Mick had purchased a Jose Cuervo margarita for me and I had it and hung out with the girls for a while chatting.

Can't. Wake. Up.
The hunters went out again for the evening hunt. I went to sleep before the sun went down. I heard them return and the campfire stories start but I was so groggy, I couldn't make myself get up. I woke up several times when Cassi had to go out but he took her out. They headed out later, maybe around 5 am. I got up with Cassi the next time. I had my yogurt and granola and did a little reading until my head hurt and went back to sleep. I decided not to feed the dogs, but gave Cassi a little of the yogurt, hoping it might help her with her diarrhea she had all day yesterday. (Like mother, like...?) I let Teka lick the container and she was so adorable with the little yogurt spots across the top of her nose.

When they got back, my FIL asked if I wanted the rest of his coffee. It was just black so I thanked him and added some coconut milk creamer that I brought. Then he asked if I wanted eggs. I thought, he's probably going to cook them in butter, so I said no. Seriously. That is totally what I thought. And then I remembered I can't eat eggs. I am allergic to eggs. But I'm thinking about how he's going to cook them. WTF is wrong with me? (Besides I'm allergic to eggs.) I had a peanut butter Larabar and the rest of my OJ. I had already started packing the car so we continued after he took some photos of the dogs in flowers. The group was starting lunch, all stuff I couldn't eat, so I had a salad with coconut water and chips and guacamole.

I had gone through about 6 Nalgene bottles of water, and I drank the last one on my way down the mountain. I'm not sure if I would do a repeat of this trip. I like the walking with the dogs part, but I felt gross pretty early on. I took a shower within half an hour of being home. I like the people he went with but I did get the feeling he was treated like a tag-along. That's alright I guess. I'm hoping that he'll get his elk, with or without their help, this week.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Relapse-ish

Last Monday, I had my quarterly Alemtuzamab trial visit with Dr. M the neurologist. When he tested my with the little pin pricks, I realized that the come-and-go numbness I have in my left leg was present. It was very obvious in both the outside of the foot and the calf.

A couple days later, I told my husband that it hadn't gone away as it usually does. A few days later, Mick asked when I was going to have to report it. Hmmm. So this week, I called Dr. G's, my neurologist, office, and they told me to call the research office. After some phone tag, L told me she was getting in touch with Dr. G's office. A little more phone tag and we scheduled an appointment for the time right before I'm heading out of town.

L and I were both late so I apologized to Dr. G for taking his lunch hour. He was very reassuring that he would always see me, something about my MS, blah, blah, blah. Then we discussed my symptoms. He can be very aggressive in his questioning; it seems like an interrogation where you've been caught lying. Gulp.

Then he did the exams, similar to what Dr. M had done the previous week. When he touched my legs, I really couldn't tell the difference. When he did the pin prick test, I thought I had more feeling than previously but the left was not as good as the right. He didn't agree--he jabbed the pin into my left foot--jab, jab, jab, jab, jab. Yep, I feel it.

He made his notes and told me that I *could* be having a relapse but it's not a relapse for the trial protocol. Yay, I don't have to have an infusion. But he wants to know if it gets worse. Which is why I waited so long to report it in the first place.

I saw L again before leaving. She explained that my EDDS score had actually gone down when I saw Dr. G and it was still about the same with Dr. G. Seriously, my score has improved while my foot and leg are numb. WTH.

I noticed that I could see the pinpricks in the top of my left foot--five holes in a little cluster. Wow, he really did jab me. "You will feel this, dammit!" Yep, I feel it burning.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

TMJ what?

There's a new group of students. A couple of ladies were the students today. I mentioned that my right ear and jaw hurt when I woke up but it subsided and this happens occasionally. Dr. M did an adjustment on my face and said some kind of TMJ terminology to the student. Hmm.

I noticed that I didn't feel the adjuster tool as much on my left calf. He tried to tell me he only had it on one, but I felt it just fine on the right. Whatever.

Dr. M did his usual routine with the actual trigger points varying. He had one student put her finger on a point on my back and hold it for a while. Ow.
Serenity garden out front
I like the wall. Nice seating.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Agility class - visitor edition

Teka seemed to have a lot of fun tonight. The first exercise was distance. There is a line on the ground from the jump on the right straight back. Of course, Teka needed more support than that. We tried it two ways. First we lined up way out on the right so she could go over both front jumps to the weaves to the last jump. We also tried the first two jumps as a U turn, kind of a slingshot approach. I couldn't get the distance either way. She did pretty well on her weaves the first time but skipped random weaves each time through. I did not correct her, just clicked and praised for the ones she did and tried to keep it fun and upbeat.

Right jump toward tunnel but don't take the tunnel; take jump to weaves and jump on end.
Next we did an exercise that the previous class had done as a serpentine but we did it the harder way. So we headed left to right over the A-frame. There are three parallel jumps. She went over the one on the right, then between them, over the middle, between them and over the one on the right. (A serpentine version would look like a backward S.) Then the jump toward the front of the photo, but going around it and coming  back over it towards the parallel jumps. Then a U turn over the barely visible jump in the middle, the jump to the right background, into the tunnel, then RUUUUN so she takes the left jumps. She likes the RUUUUN.

Turns and twists and front turns....
From the other side

Last we did another focus exercise. We started at the far right jump, over the middle jump, over the front jump, over the first jump and the second jump, to the near side of the tunnel, over the winged jump on the left of the photo, and over the jump in the front again. It was basically a circle, a half circle. After the tunnel, I was able to use a front cross for Teka, but had to be careful that I didn't go all the way out as it isn't necessary. A distance practice. We need a lot of that!
Circle, half circle, tunnel, turns.
The starting jump on the left, second jump on right.
The course is fenced in but in a residential neighborhood. We  had a visitor tonight. The not-cat (small-dog, coincidentally) people shooed the cat away and she came back. Repeat. While we were doing our exercises, the cat came back and someone put it in a kennel for its safety. She was so friendly and social and awesome. I wanted to take her home but I'm not ready to get divorced AND I'm sure she belonged to someone. Yes, she had claws, and no, she did not use them. Teka was SOOOO excited about the kitty; I couldn't let her play long because she got vocal and it's in a residential neighborhood.

Soft Kitty, Pretty Kitty

Here and there and everywhere

I started the day with a trip to Labcorp to get my fasting thyroid labs. As a reward for my vampire visit, I went to Ground Control for an iced latte with almond milk. Except that after I paid, they had to refund me because they were out of almond milk. They offered me a muffin--so cute but not useful; then they gave me a freebie coupon--that's better. I should have just got a cup of coffee but decided to go home and make some instead.

I worked for a few hours and then got ready to take Cassi out. We met my friend J for lunch at one of my new favorite restaurants, Bombay Spice at Tatum and Shea. I thought I saw a dog on the patio when we were there recently so I called to confirm and they said yes, bring her. Our waiter brought a tin take out dish of water for her. J ordered lentil cakes which we had previously but apparently the Gluten-free Foodie Tour menu was customized to be non-dairy, so she ate them and we ordered lunch. I had a make your own combo with spinach sauce, extra veggies, chicken, and rice. And ice tea--very good ice tea.

I LOVE the dosa on the right side. I got extra to go with my leftovers.
J's lunch was yummy too.
We ended with dessert, as must be done. Wrap half or more of the meal up because dessert is a must. I had rice pudding again and J had the mango sorbet. As much as I love, love, love rice pudding, this mango sorbet is A-MAZING.

Do. Not. Skip. Dessert. When. You. Go. 
I took my leftovers and waddled away to take Cassi to the vet. She needed her rabies vaccine. She's nearly due for a list of other boosters but due to her age, they agreed that she could NOT have them. Yay!

Not at the vet--this is more fun but there's less cookies.
I am a little concerned that she is 50 pounds. Five-Oh. She used to routinely be around 60. But the vet said she has only lost a couple pounds in the last couple years, so that must have been a lot longer ago than I thought. I have a 50 pound Weimaraner. Wow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sweet Things

A guy, P, in my office likes to keep chocolate in other people's offices so he "doesn't eat so much" of it. Post-allergy, I told him he couldn't keep anything in my office I couldn't have. I didn't think it was fair to me and I would have to read labels all the time to make sure. The last chocolate bar he put in my desk was an orange flavor and it was fantastic. Between us, we polished it off pretty fast.

Salted Almond Dark
During my last Sunflower Market shopping trip, I thought I'd see if I could find something for the chocolate drawer. While most of the selection had soy and/or dairy, I found some Theo Chocolate bars that were gluten and soy free. (See "shared on equipment" disclaimer to make me paranoid; I'm disregarding for now.) And they were on sale 2 for $6. Yes, $3 each. And that is why I don't drown my sorrows in chocolate.

After looking through all of the possibilities, I chose 4. The first one I took to the office is gone as of yesterday. P claimed that he didn't really like it but he had several pieces. I thought it was very good. The salty almonds really came through the chocolate, and the chocolate was very good on it's own. Since they are $4 a piece on their website, I'll have to pick them up when they are on sale. Or give up sugar. But I curse enough already, don't I?

*****

I'm not a huge fan of caramels. They are so hard and sticky. But I do like them every once in a while, especially if they are softer. I picked up some caramels, I don't remember where. Goat cheese caramels. I had one. I wanted Mick to have one and tell me if they are really as good as I think or if I'm just deprived and delusional. For some reason, he never ate the one I gave him so I ate that one too. I think they are fantastic. I'll limit them since it is still technically dairy.

I'm so confused about the whey allergy. I was told by my original students that I can have goat cheese, so I have goat cheese sometimes. I don't think I've had adverse effects but I'm not certain. So I limit how often I eat it, but I still have it on occasion. I hope I'm not totally wrong.

I've heard somewhere that I can have sheep's milk cheese also. I saw some at the market and seriously considered getting some. But I really couldn't find anything at all online that made me feel that I could maybe have it. Not that anything said I couldn't either. The information about allergies to diary are focused on casein or lactose, not whey. For now, I'll skip it. And have the occasional goat cheese. Goat cheese caramels.

*****

We went to Costco very quickly on Saturday after picking up dog food at Pet Stop. I got some organic salad as well as organic spinach and another bag of organic frozen berries for smoothies. The lines were pretty long so I ran to see if they had anything else I "needed" and I found a new variety pack of Larabars. They were my favorite two--peanut butter and cashew--and blueberry muffin. No one but Target seems to carry the Uber roasted nut roll bars--aka Payday bars--in bulk. Target's box of four is actually a better price than anywhere else has on sale.

I also got the Sahale Maple Pecans. It's a little expensive but it's a big bag and it's like a dessert but with some nutritional value. I got the package for our camping trip but I've already opened it. For a taste, of course!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Garden update - onions are fun to dig edition

The guys have planted the "farm" plot with the 2 Kabocha squash and 2 winter pumpkins I picked up at Baker Nursery, along with some of the seeds I bought for beans, black eyed peas, cucumbers and okra. They also planted sunflowers and maybe some zucchini.

My FIL started my seeds for the leeks and celery and then planted them in the strawberry patch. So I have a couple of empty squares in my newly planted garden box. I checked it out this morning (sorry, no photos) and stuff is coming up! That is so exciting. I wonder if I will be this excited every time I plant a new garden. Hopefully I don't get as sunburnt every time. My back is starting to peel but I didn't get burnt on the front. The "tan" lines are going to be awesome. If by awesome, you mean freakishly odd.

My stomach dropped when I saw a mushroom. Aww, shit. They were so difficult to get rid of in the first box. But when I started to pick it, I realized it wasn't a mushroom. It was an onion. I looked over to the onion squares and one had a couple of holes dug. Another onion set was flung across the box. I replanted the two set I saw. I'm sure there were more that got dug out.

I'm not sure if Cassi, the digger, or Teka, the garden pooper, dug up my onion sets. But I'm trying to be slow to judge since they did run out in that direction going completely crazy barking yesterday. There is a small chance that something else got into my garden. Small. Like miniscule. Cassi, I'm looking at you.
Hmm. We'll see.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fingers and Toes

Head, shoulder, knees, and toes. These kids don't have ears so I don't know why they think they are putting their hands by their heads at that part.

On Monday, when I saw Dr. M the neurologist, he documented the numbness in my left foot and lower leg. I thought it might have spread a tiny bit, but there hasn't been any substantial change. Now, that might sound like a good thing, but there is a small issue. It hasn't gone away.

Generally, a relapse or exacerbation occurs when a new (or recurring) symptom happens for more than 48 hours. I have numbness come and go, come and go, so I just figured this is the same--it just happened to come when I had this appointment.

I get numbness in my fingers sometimes and rarely think too much about it. This morning, my husband Mick and I needed to pull the pork he had smoked. We use "medical" gloves that aren't coated but they also aren't heat resistant. When we were done, I thought I burnt my fingers. But underneath it, I thought they might actually be numb. Since I burnt them, I probably won't be able to tell for a couple days.

When I have an exacerbation, I'm supposed to call my neurologist, Dr. G. I have not called yet. I'm not sure if I'm waiting for it to get worse or if I'm waiting for it to get better or I'm just ignoring it. But I think I'm in denial. A weird sort of denial. I've told my husband. I'm telling you. But I haven't picked up the phone yet. Maybe this will snap me out of it.

*****

I hate complain about my back. So many people have back pain, and I've been dealing with it for so long you would think that I wouldn't even notice anymore. Well, some of it from my back injuries is like that. But late last week, I had a pain in my right side, and a kind of dull ache started in my back. I actually had trouble sleeping because I got the hiccups, I think from breathing shallow from the pain.

Often, my back pain will subside somewhat after sleeping, but the next day was the same. And the next. It might be less today, but it's still there. I can't wait to be tortured by my chiropractor, it hurt so much, and now it doesn't seem so urgent.

We went bowling this morning, and I bowled left handed part of the time and right handed part of the time so I wouldn't make it any worse. We went to our house for lunch. Then the girls went for pedicures and I got a broken massage chair. Boo. We played Mario Smash Brothers on the Wii back at my house. After the girls left, I decided to do a little Wii Fit. I'm not sure when the last time was that I checked in but it said I'm 143 now and I lost 51.1 pounds. Hot damn, that's awesome!

I did about a half an hour of various things but spent the most time on yoga. The stretches killed, but afterwards, I did feel that my back pain was less. We'll see. I should really get back to doing that on a regular basis. But...housework, garden, dogs, agility, life...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Agility is it's own reward

Our local Weimaraner club has perpetual trophies. Each year, a name can be added; the next year, it can go to another person. Although we have a club member who has agility titles that beat mine, she doesn't put her application in, so for the third year in a row, Cassi and I got the agility trophy. This is her last since we didn't title at all in 2012. Several trophies had no applicants and I'm guessing that is what will happen until next year when another agility person will have her new dog in trials possibly.

Our awards banquet was at Garcia's--the original one, kind of (the actual original is across the parking lot). I talked with the waitress and she assured me that the chips are corn and fried separately. We had a limited menu but she let me order a taco, tostada, enchilada plate and substitute so I actually got 3 chicken tacos with no cheese. She thought I might be able to have the tostada; I told her to check. She told me they use lard in the beans and the rice is just vegetables and spices so they were both safe as long as the beans were not topped with cheese.

When the lunches came, I was tallying votes for the photo contest. Mick had apparently told them that the meal they put in my place wasn't mine--it had cheese. He noticed and spoke up. Wow. Neat.

I was surprised when I got my meal that the tacos were the fried kind, not soft tacos. But she assured me they were okay. They tasted very good with the addition of the salsa. I was also surprised that mine didn't come with beans and rice. I noticed someone else with "my plate" without the substitutions and she did not have beans and rice either.

The person who made gift bags for the attendees also made baggies of dog cookies. She put them on the little plates on the table that people used for their chips and salsa. I didn't use my little plate. She also put candy in the bags--it was like Halloween come early--Reese's cups and Whoppers and more, oh my. Well, Mick will enjoy them anyway. And the calendar is very good although only one of Cassi's photos made it.

Attempting "bulk" cooking

Last night, I put two cups of sunflower seeds in water to soak. And I covered black beans with water in the jar they were in.

This morning, I strained the sunflower seeds and roasted them. I completely forgot about them while I was eating breakfast. So I didn't shake the pan or stir the seeds at all. Mick says they are totally overcooked. Again. Grr. He didn't like them last time because, besides being overcooked, I had used a recipe that said oil and season, and he didn't like how that turned out. So I "dry roasted" them today and he thought they should be seasoned. Sigh.
courtesy Buddy the Elf via FB
After the overnight soak, I read the recipe I wanted to follow for the beans and realized that the author said you should throw out any beans over a year old. Hmm. I'm sure these are, but I already soaked them, so I sorted them, tossing out the cracked beans and keeping the good looking ones. Then I put them in the crockpot with a container of vegetable broth, a cup and a half of water, 2 tablespoons of dried cilantro and a tablespoon of garlic. I set it to low and left it. My plan is to use part for soup and part for refried beans. I'm trying to figure out what Chino Bandido does or adds to their black beans--they are the best EVER.

Mick is smoking a couple pork butts so he can take at least one for his hunting trip. It involves a lot of steps over a few days. The first day, he trims it, rubs with mustard, then seasons it with a rub we put together. He wraps them and the next day, unwraps and gets them in the Green Egg smoker. When they come off (nearly a day later) he wraps them for an hour or two. Then they get shredded and stored for eating. Yummo.

Update: the prevailing opinion is that the sunflower seeds are terrible because they are too small. I don't really know what to do about that. I guess we're growing them for the birds.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Nioxin part 2

I'm using the Nioxin shampoo even though I got this response:

Thank you for contacting Procter and Gamble Professional Care Exclusive Lines.

Some of the Nioxin products contain hydrolysed Wheat protein, and are labeled accordingly (check the ingredients list).  We do not intentionally add gluten to our products, but products containing wheat protein may have been in contact with gluten in common raw material supplies.

All of our ingredients can be found using the MSDS on our website, www.nioxin.com. If you scroll to the bottom of the page and click MSDS, a list of our products will pop up. You can then click on the product(s) that you are interested in and go to section 3 of the MSDS to view the ingredients list.

Have a nice day!


Grr. Have a nice day, my arse.

I have several issues with this reply. The word wheat never appears in the ingredient list. I have no idea what MSDS is. I have been on nioxin.com and have yet to find ingredient lists for any product. I'm guessing it's hidden in the MSDS that I'm not seeing. I did find that your products are gluten-free in another country; I'm continually amazed that everyone else gets better products than Americans. (they don't allow all those unnecessary colors either.) Thanks for trying anyway.

W. T. H.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Agility Class - Course Night

We started at a jump, in the forefront below, to a jump out of frame to the right, to the jump half shown on the right, around to the tunnel (I front crossed so I ran on the other side of the tunnel), over the triple jump shown on the left and the broad jump behind it....
Start jump
In the back of this photo, there is a serpentine parallel to the weaves, then another jump before going into the weaves. Coming out of the weaves is four jumps in a wide turn, then switch to a tunnel, and out to three jumps--almost a serpentine but a straighter line.
Finish jump in forefront
Teka did really well and had fun. I did not make her repeat weaves that she missed but she did them all the first time and just missed the middle the second time. Not bad.
course map
The instructor discussed focus games and recommended we all try using two identical toys and switching the attention from the one in one hand to the other.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hunger Games - the book

After watching the movie, The Hunger Games, twice, I decided to read the book so I got the audiobook from the library. It was close enough to the movie that I could follow along but far enough from the movie that I noticed. Even after watching the movie, I found the book engaging and the audio was well done.

I have reserved book 2 but I'm 60 on the list. Six. Zero. I didn't even have to wait for the first one! Unbelievable...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Let there be pizza!

So many people have been disappointed. They tell me about a place they went or drove past that offers gluten-free pizza. Yay, gluten-free pizza. But I can't have gluten-free pizza. It still has yeast and/or eggs. But a while ago, I found a mix at Sunflower Market or Whole Foods--I haven't seen it anywhere else. A pizza mix that has no wheat, eggs, soy, yeast, dairy--can it be? Yes, Namaste Foods Pizza Crust mix is safe for me!

[When I was looking for the link, I saw the mix listed on Walmart and Walgreens websites. Really?!]

It was actually super easy. I forgot to grease my pizza pan like it instructed but it didn't stick so I'll skip that step. Measure the mix (the package makes about 2 crusts), add a little oil (I used Spectrum Canola) and water; mix for 3 minutes with the electric hand mixer. Spread onto pizza pan and bake. Add the toppings and bake some more.

Topped and in the oven--lowest rack
I used eggplant, red and green peppers, and basil, all from my garden, on top of Classico pizza sauce [that I found at Walmart]. I shredded some goat cheese mozarella to add on top. It's a little too sticky so it actually clumped and ended up looking like the mozarella used on margherita pizzas.

Veggie pizza (cause I didn't plan ahead and get sausage)
I thought it was really good. But I haven't had pizza in a year. And I was craving it. If you don't have to eat like me, I probably wouldn't recommend this product. But it is a completely acceptable thin crust pizza crust. And the sauce and veggies made it very, very good.

Trying something else

When I go to True Food, I know that the turkey bolognese, no cheese, is safe. The chicken panang is safe. The soup of the day is often safe. The gelato is usually safe. The green ice tea is fantastic. So I don't have much reason to go through the exhausting exercise of asking about ingredients in other dishes.

Today I was in a funk so I went for a safe meal. I decided to ask about the Shirataki gluten-free noodles. The waiter wasn't sure and had the chef come to talk to me. He brought a binder with him and said he wasn't sure about the sauce but I could have the panang sauce on the dish. The panang page had soy with a yellow area but apparently that is because it can be served with tofu.

I liked all the veggies and nuts but it didn't taste panang-y and it didn't have any meat either so it is probably not going on my rotation.

"What's the downside of throwing away your fear?" --the Love Guru

Left Eye


It's been three months, so I had my monthly visit for the drug extension trial as well as a visit to the neurologist, Dr. M. First, he starts with the eye test. I start with my right eye and slowly read the bottom line. Then switch to my left eye. Wow, that's blurry. But I can see--it's just blurry. I decide to skip the bottom line and take the next one up. I focus on the letter and see it clearly, move to the next now-blurry letter, focus and it becomes clear. I make it through the line in that manner.

In the exam room, we go through many of the same tests we do each time. When he gets to the little pin pricks, yes, I feel it, yes, the same on the other side--my face, upper and lower back, and so on. Until he gets to my feet. No, I don't feel that on the left side of my left foot. It's okay on the right foot. I barely feel that on the back of my left calf. It's okay on the right. He retests me on my arms and back. Hmmm. He asks about my balance, which I haven't noticed any issues with. But I am walking around on a half numb foot and partially numb leg.

It's amazing to me that I walk around like this and don't even notice some of these changes because I'm so used to them gradually coming and going. And when I touch my leg, I don't really notice the lack of sensation as noticeably as when he pinpricks me.

When we are done, I go to the research office which is at a new location across the parking lot from the doctor. I don't like the new location but maybe they are still working out the kinks. It seems like they are just using space in a pain center office. There is no equipment for taking vitals in the room we go into. We go into another part of the building so she can take my weight. And the urine cup is weird, more of a snap top attached instead of the screw on lid.

Maybe it's not their fault, but I am annoyed. Why is there no hook for a purse or sweater in any of these bathrooms in doctors' offices? Don't they know how germy bathrooms are? So in this bathroom, there was a shelf. It was covered with stuff. Deodorizer, Kleenex, whatever. But no room for my purse.

(TLC featuring T-Boz, Left-Eye and Chilli)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Garden Update

What's left in Box 1: eggplant gone wild; herbs; bell peppers
My FIL added compost and adjusted the water lines in my second garden box yesterday. I had already dusted with diatomaceous earth and I added the coffee grounds that I got at Starbucks last week. There were a couple of green things coming up where I had planted spinach but never got any. Upon closer inspection, I realized they were nightshades. I recently did some research since we've had them around the garden and in other areas of the back yard for a while. They have a runner underground so they have to be dug up--they can't just be pulled. Grr. Now that I've seen a few in my garden box, I'm feeling deflated. How will I ever control them? I tried to dig them out but they broke off about a foot down.

ready to plant
On top of that, when I found other roots of what I assume were those, I pulled them out and saw a lot of ant activity. Shit. That sucks. I pulled a couple earwigs out too. They are so f-ing gross. It's overwhelmingly disheartening to have no control over this. I found several ant hills outside the garden box but in the vicinity so I put Andro down. It actually looked like the ants were stacking it outside the hole instead of taking it in but I think maybe there were different ants taking it in. I'm totally disgusted.

I brought out a tape measure and found that I do not have a true 12x8 box. Each box is 48 inches one direction and 2 or 3 inches shy the other direction. I think that's close enough for square foot gardening, right? So I planted 3 squares each of (all seeds): parsley, scallions, kale, brussels sprouts, swiss chard, cilantro, collard greens, cauliflower, spinach, mustard greens, beets, and leaf lettuce. I used 6 squares for a combination of carrots and radishes. I used one square for white onions, 2 for red onions, 1 for an asparagus transplant I picked up at Baker Nursery, and saved 2 for the leeks and celery my FIL is starting for me.
Planted and labeled with popsicle sticks
My husband thinks it looks to crowded. I'm hoping things will come in waves. And that those M-F-ing ants and earwigs will die. Die, MFers, die!

crispy rosemary and ant infested oregano
The Open box: strawberries, one artichoke, and plants for the farm

They are starting the "farm" so my FIL already added the compost after cleaning out all the grass. There are a few watermelons left that survived the summer (and no additional water, just rain). I dusted with diatomaceous earth yesterday. Mick and his dad will roto-till today and then the planting will begin.

almost ready--leftover watermelon
walnut tree
pecan, ahem, "tree"
Citrus: lemon, lime, orange
Fruit: apple, fig (netted), pomegranate

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Progressive Cityscape Night

We met our friends, M and H, and R and one of his girlfriends A, and his friend T for dinner at Arrogant Butcher. I had a very good experience last time we went there. We were in a separate room this time--maybe they were warned about the rowdies! We told some great stories since the new girl was there. I couldn't believe that H still has the super short and small shorts she bought for me when I got wasted and let it out all over myself at Kings House. She wore them for an eighties party! Hahahaha.

I had a glass of wine. The waitress was fantastic about checking things for me. I had some of the meat appetizers. I ordered seabass and asparagus, and a beet salad to start. R also got the beet salad. It comes with manchego, one of my favorite cheeses, but I got mine without. Well, I ordered mine without. The salads came together and looked identical--covered in cheese. Mick was concerned about me making a scene after the recent Red Robin fiasco so I patiently waited for the waitress to return. And then R was gone, and came back, soon followed by the waitress with a new salad for me. She gave the wrong salad to the rest of the table. R loves that places mess up my order so everyone else gets freebies. The dinner was very good and we headed out.

We went to Lucky Strike and there was Patron all around. I had one and then cut myself off for the night. The birthday boy got 5 strikes in a row.

We headed to a club next and there was dancing on the roof. The music was a little to electronic and boring for me but it was okay. Except for the guys that thought they had to dance like it was a mild mosh pit. Grr.

We went to Hanny's next; it's an interesting place with a really, really weird downstairs. The people who were still drinking got a round and then it was last call. At 1:15. The drunks were not happy. We left to go to an Irish pub that has last call at 1:45. We couldn't find it but my (unusually outgoing) husband approached guys on the street who were carrying a case of beer and talked them into giving him and T a beer each for the price of a high five. Seriously, drunk people are so entertaining. We called it a night shortly after that. Mick is so hung over. I like being the designated driver with this crowd. And R has accepted that 2 is my limit since I know that I have impaired judgement at 3.

I'm a winner. But you knew that.

I can eat almost all of it!
Ken aka Rock a Healthy Lifestyle planned a Gluten-Free Foodie Tour event at Bombay Spice. I've never been there but it's on a corner that I sometimes go a little out of my way to go to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. I asked him if he could check to make sure I could eat there; when he said he could, I gave him my list and he got back to me that I would definitely be able to eat. So I invited my girl J and we decided to meet there.

lentil cake (tofu in back--not for me!)
I misread the starting time somewhere and J did too so everyone had just started eating when I arrived, about 10 minutes after she did. She had asked about ingredients for me and we confirmed with the waiter. I was able to eat the lentil cakes, the chickpea ceviche, and crackers. The waiter brought a mimosa for me also. The owner or manager came over and told me that he was bringing an extra appetizer for me since I couldn't eat the wings or the tofu. Wow, really? That wasn't necessary but totally cool. He brought the eggplant (with plum sauce I think) that is pictured in the banner on their website. I shared it with the people around us.

Dosa love with tikka masala
For the entree, I had the chicken tikka masala. The waiter said the vindaloo is for people who enjoy (not tolerate) habaneros. The chicken came with dosa as well; it was a soft bread, kind of like injera, but crispy on the edge. It was fantastic. Really, really tasty. Maybe I was more in love because I have had bread-like products so rarely. But I heard murmurings from other people--it was yummy. And safe!

For dessert, they were serving rice pudding. I LOVE rice pudding and haven't had it in so long. Most recipes have either dairy or eggs or both. This was rice, coconut milk, cardamom, and pistachios. It. was. stunning. I was full but I had to eat it all. I couldn't stop until it was gone. It was so fantastic. I may dream about it....

my new glasses and rice pudding
There were prizes and my name was drawn first. Oh, yeah, you heard me. My. Name. Was. Drawn. First. I'm a winner! I got two glasses. (Besides mimosas, Crispin and New Planet beverages were being served.) In addition, there were some extra T-shirts so I got one for my husband. Maybe he'll let me get rid of one of those grungy "yard work" T-shirts that he changes into after he does yard work in his work clothes.

Besides talking with our table neighbors, a quick visit with Ken who told us the restaurant is 95% g/f, and a quick chat with Celiac and the Beast and her boyfriend, I had a chance to talk to both the waiter and the owner or manager for a few minutes each. The waiter gave J and I each a card to get a discount every time we eat there for the rest of the year. He also gave me some more dosa to take home with me since I had wrapped what I had left in a napkin to take. I'm telling you--winner!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Nioxin

Since my diagnosis of food allergies, I've spent some (extra) money on personal care products such as shampoo and conditioner, makeup, lotions. I primarily have to watch for wheat/gluten and soy. Now, there seems to be two ways people look at this: either they think that the products you use but don't eat do not have to be free of allergy items, or they think that the products you use need to be free of allergens since they  are touching your largest organ.

At first, I was with the first group but then I realized I was still feeling bad (but better!) So I gave more weight to the second group. And started replacing products as I ran out. It's been difficult, but seems to be getting easier. That probably means I don't know what I'm doing. Ha-ha.

Over the past few months, I have lost quite a bit of hair. I have fine hair, not a lot of hair to start with. It used to be very straight, just a little wave that was easily combed straight, and it was pretty smooth except for these curly short strands I always have around my face. They exist to keep me from looking polished and put together, I guess. But now my hair is just this odd frizzball. I've taken to putting in rollers and trying to leave it "curly" as long as possible, then wrapping it in a loose ponytail with the ends tucked in. It looks sloppy either way.

My friend B went through chemo a couple years ago and lost all her hair. It grew back after she was done with her treatments. But she wore a wig (or a bandanna) for a while. When I told her about the conversation with my hairdresser, who basically said that I need to fix my thyroid to fix my hair, she agreed. Then she added, you need to be using Nioxin so you keep what hair you have left. Um, what? My hairdresser confirmed that was worth trying; she doesn't sell it but told me to go to Ulta.

It comes in different formulas which are numbered. I picked the "noticeably thinning; chemically treated" version. And then I spent half an hour looking at ingredients on all the packaging. I couldn't determine if there were any wheat/wheat derived ingredients. Online (Celiac) sources said that it won't absorb but we touch our hair all the time, causing issues with non-gluten-free hair products. [Interestingly, their New Zealand site says the products are gluten-free.]

Because the shampoos and conditioners have yeast extract, I changed my mind about buying them about a dozen times. There was also a scalp treatment they recommend after the shampoo and conditioner. The one for my version included sunscreen and was a leave in treatment, which made me even more nervous about the yeast extract. I couldn't tell if the other versions were also leave-in treatments.

They were having a "buy 2, get 1 free" deal, so I decided to get one each of the smallest shampoo and conditioner and a spray gel (which did not have yeast extract). I'll try it and if there isn't any noticeable reaction, I will go back and get the largest size before the sale ends.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Living Without

My SIL gave me a subscription to Living Without magazine. I just got my first copy. I'm so excited--there are several holiday recipes I want to make!

I also saw Dr. M, the naturopathic chiropractor today for my torture. Oooh, pretty pictures of pumpkin pie....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Agility class

Now that Cassi is retired from agility, I just have Teka. I decided, since Mick is driving the truck, I would take my car to class--better gas mileage and I won't have the dog with car anxiety to worry about. I tried putting a kennel in the car but the ones I have are a tad too tall to fit. Teka was fine on the ride.

Tonight's class was muggy, hot, and the ground was kind of wet, like maybe it had rained, but it felt like it was going to rain too. Blech.

Our first exercise was distance. We did either end of the tunnel, over the jump, U turn to the teeter and then over the jump. The distance increased each time through. Teka is great with the teeter at distance but she did jump off once when I stopped looking at her. Otherwise, she did fantastic.


Distance exercise
The second exercise was a circle of jumps at different angles and a tunnel in the middle. The first three jumps were similar to a serpentine. Then we had to front cross into the tunnel. Coming out the other end, I sent her over the double jump, "out" to the next couple jumps, then another front cross to put her in the tunnel--so I was on the outside (or far side) of the tunnel. The last jump was to the left of the tunnel exit--it was also the first jump--and required a pivot turn to go out and around the jump and come over it (instead of go over it). We did well as long as I looked at the jump wing instead of her.
Start jump lower right, jumps (4) around the back of the tunnel, into tunnel
out of tunnel, 3 jumps back into tunnel, around to starting jump
The last exercise was a set of 12 weaves with 3 jumps in a half circle at each end. Our directions were really just to go over a jump, weave, do the jumps at the other end, weave, do the jumps at the first end. I used the clicker for her weaves and she did pretty well but progressively slowed down every time she went through. Even with the promise of the bully stick, she didn't want to do it the last time we tried. But she did pretty well given how much trouble she has with weaves. She got it correct 4 times through (2 times in each direction) so I'm pleased.
Weave exercise
A bully stick reward

Beneficial my arse

Warning: if bugs give you the heebie-jeebies, you might want to skip this one.

Last night, I stopped at Southwest Gardener. It wasn't at all what I was expecting--it's no garden center in the traditional sense. I wasn't going to pick up dirt and compost there (although I gather they generally do carry some, but probably not in quantities I would be looking to purchase). It was mostly "pretty" things for the garden. I liked the metal quail families of course.

The lady working there chatted with me, recommended a book and some classes. When I told her about my ant problem, she said something to the effect of "there is no such thing as an ant problem--they're beneficial." Well, she hasn't seen my damn ants. In my opinion (obviously just MY opinion, since Mick doesn't think it's a problem either) swarming ants is a problem. When I can't stand in one place long enough to pull weeds because I'm being bit, it's a problem. It's no longer beneficial--it's a p-r-o-b-l-e-m.

My Truly Nolen guy came today. He does the inside first. Yes, I make a huge exception to the non-toxic rules in my house when it comes to bugs. I don't want them in my house. I don't want to be bit or stung while I'm walking barefoot in my house. So spray that shit in my house. And around my house. Just not in the edibles garden.

I told him about the ants under the curbing that goes around the plastic grass in the front yard. While he was spraying, quite heavily around the fountains, I went to pull a couple weeds. He mentioned they have a service  to take care of weeds that I could consider for the front yard. Eh, maybe. He was standing at the base of the tree that had the meandering root under the curbing. He told me that the tree was either planted improperly or watered improperly (I believe he meant watered improperly when it was younger--this tree is probably about 7 years old--it predates our living here). He says there is a big pocket he felt, and he was spraying into a hole going to this pocket in the rock right there near the base of the tree. And roaches were swarming out. Ew. Ew. Ew. Blech.

He made some recommendations to reduce scorpions and associated bugs by shaving the palm trees and cutting the ground cover back and "over" watering it so that it would grow up instead of out. He also hates our decking in the front. It's not sealed and anything and everything can be underneath it. I don't particularly like it either--the way it's installed makes it seem like an afterthought, not well designed, but it's alright.

In the back, he found a stash of scorpions (okay, "only" 2), roaches, earwigs, and crickets under a large rubber bin we keep the dog agility equipment in.

Ewwwww.
He did some other spraying, then said he was going to mix something else and come back to the garden. I went to dig up some weeds until I was too hot. I showed him some of the problem areas and he sprayed this "non-synthetic" spray, said it's okay for gardens like this, and I let him. And before you judge me, here's the thing. He's spraying and these bugs--silverfish, earwigs, ants, roaches--they are coming. More are coming out. There's males and females and babies. It's fucking gross. I can't stick my hand in the garden like that. Well, I can't even stand there because I'm getting eat up by ants.

We moved on, check out the rest of the garden. He drowns some ant hills. He moves the flower pots and kills an earwig family after moving the earthworms to the safety of the garden box. We see a "field spider" that he names as such since he gave me a lesson about spiders while we were inside. I'm supposed to look at the fiddle on the back to determine if a spider is a bad one, but you know I'm not getting that close!

What do you mean, you can't see the ants?
Then we go to the oregano. I told him I was pulling a weed and the ants started swarming. He looks and says "fire ants" so they aren't all the same everywhere in the yard. They're mad. We can't find "the" place they are coming from but he thinks they are in the roots. He sprays but either the plant has to come out or I'll have to keep putting stuff in there till they are gone. He wants me to look for granular instead of powder diatomaceous earth but says the DE I have will work, just not as well. He agrees that ants are beneficial if the numbers can be controlled. But fire ants--not beneficial. Earthworms, beneficial. Ladybugs, beneficial. Roaches--disease carriers, wash all produce that comes into the house. I have the heebie jeebies.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Garden planning

I don't know what I'm doing, but it is apparently time to plant the garden. Or it's too late to plant the garden. I feel like I'm getting different information, advice, opinions from every direction. I' too worried about organic. I'm not organic enough. I planted too much. I should plant more.

I'm getting great tips and tricks and ideas from Pinterest, Suset, Phoenix Home and Garden. Too many ideas.

The man (and the helper, I'm sure) has his own ideas. He thinks I did too much last time. (with his help!) I kind of think so too, but I had issues more on the harvesting side than the planting side. I've been researching square foot gardens and trying to understand staggering the plantings. I'm sure I'll do more wrong stuff, but I'm trying, and having some success too, along with my failures.

I went to Jackrabbit Nursery and was told it is too late to plant pumpkin. My husband doesn't believe that anything gets plant during the summer. But the watermelon he wanted to pull out seems to be coming back. We'll see about the other vines that were also not getting water the past couple months except for the unusually high amount of rain.

Jackrabbit didn't have anything for transplant so I got a bunch of seed packets. I'm surprised really that they aren't going to have transplants for a couple more weeks. Their cats are awesome though. The black cat followed me around like a cat I used to have a long time ago did.

He also thought I was overreacting to the ant issue, but swarms of ants in my garden is not acceptable! I got my diatomaceous earth and found an old peanut can. After explaining what I want to do, he drilled holes in the lid so I have a shaker. The pest control guy is coming this week so I want to coordinate the attack against the ants. They should go TO the Andro bait and away from the Diatomaceous earth.

I drew 4 by 4 boxes and made lists and checked the seed packets for spacing and came up with some tentative plans.

I didn't get a couple things I hoped for at Jackrabbit, so I went to Baker. The lady told me I was too late for pumpkin but they had some if I wanted to try a transplant. Yes, thank you, I believe we will try. I also picked up a pot of 2 Kabocha squashes with my pot of 2 "winter luxury" pumpkins. I also got a pot of asparagus and seed packets of spinach and French Breakfast radishes. I know, there is a packet of some other radishes at my house but I didn't buy them and I really liked the French Breakfast radishes with their milder taste.

She also told me that it's the wrong time for black eye peas. They are on more than one list saying to plant now, so I'm a little confused. I might try some now and save the rest for later, the "right" time.

I was very tempted to get more herbs but decided to wait. They were pretty picked over; it sounds or Mondays are the worst day to go. But I might go back if I find a spare pot or square.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Paranoid

I make taco meat every week or two. My husband Mick likes it and he can have a couple of burritos with cheese while I have mine with salad or chips or corn tortillas. Tonight, I made mine with a rice tortilla from Trader Joe's and some guacamole and extra salsa.

He hadn't come downstairs yet, so I started eating. When he came down, I went to help him although he said I showed him last time and he can roll them up now. As I was wrapping the first one, he was putting the meat on the second tortilla. He put some in the middle and then dropped some on the edge. He used the spatula to move the meat to the center, scraping the tortilla as he did.

As he returned the spatula to the pan, I stopped him and asked him to put the spatula somewhere else. After explaining what I saw, he told me I'm not that sensitive and I'm being paranoid. I really don't know how sensitive I am. I'm pretty sure my bathroom reports (if I reported all my bathroom visits) would not be called "normal" most of the time. Is it food sensitivities, environmental, medicinal, random? Who knows? But I guess I am paranoid.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chocolate pudding


mixing--the avocados should have been another day riper
I tried chocolate pudding made with avocados. Hmm, that was interesting. It's more like frosting than pudding. I'm not sure if I did something wrong so I think I'll try it again and maybe try another recipe I found at the same time...
that does *not* look as good as it tasted.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Is coconut water good, and other things.

After spending some time gardening, I thought I'd have some coconut water, which I heard was a substitute for Gatorade. I had one that also had pineapple. It wasn't terrible. It wasn't great either. My husband had a sip and thought it was okay. I think that's the verdict. It's okay.

I was going to redo my nail polish on my toes and brought out the cotton balls and polish remover to get started. Of course, that was last night. Mid-day, I realize that the cotton balls are missing. I'm pretty sure Teka ate them. She has been chewing up a LOT of paper products. [When I got home from the TJ's run--see below--she had shredded a coupon binder. Nothing is safe anymore.]

Mick and I met his friend A for lunch at Red Robin. It's not the one nearest my house. I asked my usual questions. The waiter made me nervous--he said all the fries were gluten-free; when I pressed, he said the other stuff is fried separately. I ordered the guacamole burger with no cheese and no bun, protein style (yes, I do say both although it's redundant--people are idiots, as I'm about to explain), no seasoning, and fries with no seasoning.

When my meal came, I opened up my "sandwich" to add ketchup. And at the bottom of my burger was a piece of melted cheese (not even the kind that comes on that burger?!) I. Freaked. Out. It's probably the worst or second worst I've behaved about my allergies. I picked up my basket, trying not to shake, I was so upset, and walked towards the kitchen. The waiter tried to intercept me but I brushed him off, saying that I wanted to talk to THE person who would be preparing my food.

A man was coming out of the serving/kitchen area and stopped me to ask if he could help. I restated that I only wanted to talk to the person who would be preparing my food. He said he would so I explained that I am *allergic* to wheat and diary and I cannot eat a burger that had cheese on it and I don't appreciate someone trying to hide their mistake and could he make me a completely different one. So he did.

Soybean oil
When he brought it out, he was shaking. My husband was pretty mortified I think. The friend was with us at the other restaurant where I behaved poorly--in their opinions, not mine. I think that I have every fucking right to be a bitch when you put crap on my food and then "fix" it without giving me the option to NOT. Get. Sick.

Malt (barley)
We left and went to the Apple store for A. What a freaking zoo. Then we went to AMC to see the Expendables 2. By then I was feeling gurgly. Was it just stress? Or did I actually get contaminated? Oh, at AMC, they charge for their little membership card now. Since we rarely go to the movies and I don't need their coupons since I can't eat or drink anything there, I can't see any reason to pay for it. The movie was, well, good for the guys. It wasn't terrible.

Autolyzed yeast extract
I've mentioned that almost all broth in cans and cartons contains yeast extract. I've had several people tell me that I should get it at Trader Joe's, but I remember looking and deciding I couldn't have it. After finding the beef broth at Walmart recently, someone else told me that TJ's broth was safe. So I checked it out.

Natural chicken flavor?
I wish I was wrong, but I wouldn't consider any of these safe. So now, for some things, I am a Walmart shopper. But I'm not going to dress like one.

Sheldon Copper to Penny: "When I correct people, I am raising them up. You should know--I do it for you more than anyone."