Wednesday, November 30

Spills, spasms and OJ

Today began ok. I got quite a lot done in the morning. Worked up four reactions. Purified 2 of them. Then around 245p, one of the solvent bottles in lab broke spontaneously and the solvent started spilling out of it. It was resting on a tray but the tray was quite shallow. The bottle is(was) 4L glass wrapped in plastic coating (supposedly to prevent breakage and to offer containment of glass if it did break). Anyhoo, I had the bright idea to try to move it to a large empty Rubbermaid container (which we use to store our dirty glassware) to try to contain it. Yeah, good thing I stepped back because the plastic broke open and the sh...uhh...solvent spilled everywhere. Luckily it didn't spill on me or my clothes. The last thing I need is to have to fill out a stupid incident report and also having exposure to this solvent. We had to leave the lab for a while though. Then our safety guys went in with special suits on to clean it up. Much drama and excitement that lasted 45 min. The best part was watching them get into those suits...hehe.

I so didn’t need that this afternoon. Had it all planned – the work I was going to get done before I left early at 4p to make it to my doc appt. So I ended up just doing less than I wanted. But tomorrow is another day, and the work will still be there waiting for me. The good news is that I got to work at 755am. Not the 730am I was shooting for but still good enough as I just got in my minimum 8h.

I went to my allergy/asthma doctor today for follow-up. I told him about the muscle spasms. He says it’s possible that I’m having a rare adverse reaction to the serevent which is in the Advair that I’m taking.
Advair contains 2 medicines: 1. Fluticasone propionate – corticosteroid, and 2. Serevent – long-acting bronchodilator. I’ve been on the Advair for ~2 months now. In the side effect leaflet that comes with serevent, the incident rate is 3 out of 341 for people who had muscle cramps and spasms with serevent and 1 out of 576 with the placebo. Apparently that’s considered rare. I don’t get it. Of course this is for patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) so maybe the numbers would be less for asthma patients.

So he told me to take Asmanex instead of the Advair for 2 weeks and see if the spasms go away. He gave me a 2wk supply and I’m to call him in a week or so and let him know if I notice a difference i.e no more spasms, then he’d write me an Rx. He thinks that might solve the problem. The dosage I have to take is quite high (2 puffs 2x day) but it only contains the corticosteroid so if I’m reacting to the serevent, then this should work. During his exam, he looked in my nose and he was like - you seem to be having all the side effects. Nose bleeds from the flonase. Tremors (in my hands, only notice when I have to do very detailed or fine work) from the albuterol. Rash/cold symptoms from singulair. And now, maybe muscle spasms from the serevent (another gem about serevent here...hopefully not me). He told me that he hopes that this is the simple answer. Otherwise, he said that I’ll probably be poked and prodded and then referred to a neurologist (thanks for tip doc). Then he made a joke which was kinda funny but not really. He said – you don’t want to be a case study for these people (with all my adverse reactions). And then I said – yeah I don’t want to end up in some medical journal. He told me that it could be affecting my potassium levels and then asked if I ate bananas or drank orange juice. To which I replied – rarely to the bananas and fairly often to the OJ. He said that I should drink plenty OJ. Not a hardship for me. I love OJ. As far as my asthma it finally seems to be under control. I only need the albuterol once every day or every other day. This doc is really cool. He and talked about all of the meds I'm taking and b/c I know quite a bit about them he went into some detail.

I've got to go research this Asmanex. Never heard of it before. Wacky inhaler too or twisthaler as its called. The counter on it is cool though. My regular albuterol has no counter so I have to keep a rough tally so I can tell when it needs to be replaced.

Tuesday, November 29

more spasms

Tried to get an appt yesterday, called the office and they put me on hold, then it went to message service..where they said I could leave a number for them to call me back. Right? Like they ever call back at the right number. So I tried again today and lo and behold, got an appt this week (Fri) with my regular doc. So I'll see. Going back to the allergist tomorrow. I really need lower doses of these drugs. I toy with the idea of just stopping them all. Fear. Fear keeps me taking them. Fear of ending up in the ER, dying, etc. God, I so tired of being sick. I'm tired of talking about it. Tired of taking medication.

Hand spasms still happening. Writing today felt kind of weird, had to stop between sentences from time to time. My hand felt like it was about to cramp up. So I stopped, relaxed and stretched it. I told my friend about it today. She asked me if I'd had a talk with my hand. So I said, a talk? like what? She goes - hand, you're all I've got, you need to get better, whatever is wrong, you need to fix it...or something to that effect. I told her that my conversation was more along the lines of...what is wrong with you, stop this, stop it, its freaking me out, relax...
Sometimes I get the feeling that most people don't think in quite the same way I do.

Have to get to work early tomorrow. I'm so out of control now.
Mon 845am...Today...840am...tomorrow (fingers crossed) 730am. My doc appt is at 430p so once I'm in early, then I won't have to make up hrs. Wish me luck. Maybe I don't need luck, but a swift kick up my you know what. My alarm didn't go off today or if it did, I didn't hear it at all. Woke up at 740am today. So not good enough. Must check my alarm now. Need to also set back-up alarm and turn on. Yeah sometimes I go to the trouble of setting both alarms on my alarm clock as well as my back-up alarm clock(travel clock) and then don't turn any of them on. Brilliant, I know.

Got to stop, hands are fatigued. Elbow hurts. Probably b/c I wacked it into the towel rack last night while flat ironing my hair. Left hand is a bit sore b/c I've been typing mostly one-handed.

Finally saw an entire ep of 'Bones'. It was pretty good.

Saturday, November 26

weird moments

I've been having these weird moments where my right hand gets momentarily paralyzed. Its like a severe muscle spasm so bad that I have to stop whatever I was trying to do with my hand and try to move my fingers using my left hand. Takes a few moments before its comes out of its spasm. I was trying to put on my jacket in the car a couple nights ago, and after I'd just gotten my right arm through, my fingers just froze up in a curled position and it really hurt. I kept trying to pry open my fingers using my left hand and after about a minute it finally moved. This is the worst its been. The really scary thing is that it keeps happening and I just don't understand it. I was at dinner last at a friend's house and while eating, my figers froze and I had to remove the fork using my left hand until the spasm subsided. My friend sadi that it happens to her as well but usually only to one finger. She's on the same medications I'm on in addition to a few others. She's also 76. Hence my extreme concern. My hands hurts now.
Had more to say but I should probably stop now.

Thursday, November 24

Happy thanksgiving!

Yesterday, I left work early, my boss said I could leave at 4pm as it was Thanksgiving but I couldn't even wait that long. B 330pm I'd done evrything I could at work. Didn't want to set up any reactions but most need to be checked within 24-48hrs so 5 days would be too long. So I did what I could do, and left. Came home and was not in the mood to cook. Had snacks. Went to see the Harry Potter movie. Really enjoyed it.

I'd planned to go to the 730p show but I dithered and dithered around my apt and didn't get there until 5min before the 9pm show. So I decided to get a ticket for the 940p instead, that way I could choose where I sat and wouldn't miss any of the movie. So I went in at 910ish and chose a great seat 2nd row up in the middle. Perfect for viewing. I was settled in and waiting for the previews when about 4 college kids came in and asked if the seats next to me were free. I told them the ones on either side of me were free and even offered to move my coat so they could have the seat next to me. Can you believe one of the guys had the audacity to say, "would you think I'm mean if I asked you to move to the...?". I didn't let him finish. I said, "No, I can't move. The seats on either side of me are free." Then I returned to watching the screen and eating my chips. I think they were expecting 12 people. So...b/c I was not there with friends, I don't have rights, I should be ok with moving from the perfect seat I paid for and purposely got there early to they could sit together? I don't think so. The nerve of some people...if you know you have 12 people, get your ass there early enough, all of you get there so its not an issue. I was very proud of myself. Often, I just say ok when people are rude and inconsiderate like that and just go along even if its somewhat inconveient for me.

A couple of them next to me talked throughout the entire movie. So very annoying, at least they were whispering so most of what they said was lost to me. I hate when people talk talk talk all through. That's really annoys me. If you say one or two things during, fine but every scene. Wait for it on DVD and watch it at home. That's all I have to say about that.

Have to get ready soon for dinner at my friend's house. I also have a dinner invite for tomorrow. So 2 thanksgiving dinners, neither of which I have to do any prep, cooking, or dishes. I couldn't ask for more. Going to mostly ignore the diet today. Have started reintroducing dairy. I might have a small problem with dairy after all. Well, I kind of cheated b/c I'm supposed to introduce one group of foods at a time but with pasta (especially microwave pasta ;) its hard to get dairy without the tomato and vice-versa. I still haven't had nuts or chocolate yet. Depends on what deserts are available tonight. Thinking of getting a pie (pumpkin of course) from the grocery. yummy....

Gotta go. Hope you have a great holiday.

Monday, November 21

Final countdown for turkeys everywhere

When I got back from church/choir today, did major cleaning. Several loads of laundry including pillows/comforter as well as sheets,towels and jackets. Also wet-dusted my bedroom from top to bottom. Moved my bed and all the dust-collecting stuff from underneath, vacuumed every spot. Man, so many dust-bunnies on the side of the bed that was touching the wall. I moved my bed (no mean feat, its a queen with both head/foot boards) away from the wall so I could dust that side and vacuum around and under. Decided to leave it away from the wall to make cleaning less of a chore next time. Wiped windowsills thoughout my apt and doors and shelves and vanity table and jewelry boxes, you get the idea :). I even vacuumed the mattress.

Man, am I exhausted. Still too wired to sleep though. I'm also a little itchy, probably because I did all this major cleaning without a dust mask-I used a scarf for the really dusty areas but that probably wasn't good enough. Didn't want to leave to get dust mask from the store b/c I know myself and can never go and get just one thing-knew I wouldn't be in a cleaning mood if too much time went by. Only vacuumed half the living room - have several things to give to goodwill and they are taking up the space. Scared to take any antihistamine now as its after midnight and I have work tomorrow. Last time I took it this late, I slept till 9am...not good.

Also talked to my family today between the cleaning/laundry.

I'm so looking forward to having pumpkin pie. That's the highlight of turkey-day for me. The turkey's ok too and the other stuff but I'm all about the pumpkin pie. I'm not a big fan of any other kind of pie, not keen on apple or any other fruit-filled kind. But there's just something about the pumpkin. I could and often do eat it all year long. As long as its available in the store that is :) I'm not much of a baker.

Need to try to get some sleep now.

Saturday, November 19

Eating, drinking, and being very merry

My elimination diet is up on sun, but I kind of started my re-introduction of dairy on Fri. Went to Wendy's for lunch and got a grilled chicken sandwich without tomato b/c I was pretty sure that the dressing on the sandwich contained dairy. I got it on the side and put a small amt of it on my sandwich = delicious.

Went for my yearly eye exam and got those dilating drops in my eye. Headlights, brake lights and street lights were beacons on my drive home. I put on my sunglasses to reduce the shock to eyes - felt silly wearing them since it was pretty dark by then. On my way home, I had a weird craving for Popeye's actually was more in the mood for KFC but the closest KFC place involved way more maneuvering than I was capable of considering the way my eyes felt. So I went to Popeye's since it was in a strip-mall and much easier to get into and out of. So good, had 3-piece+biscuit. So good, skipped the ketchup though. Needed tums afterwards but so worth it. Trying not to go too crazy.

Went to a friend's b'day party and drove past the street into their development a couple times. Its kind of in the boonies and there aren't many lights along the road. Still, I've been there more than a dozen times before so I guess my eyes were still having trouble adjusting. I spent the night there because I had several drinks. I lost several times at air-hockey :(
Sang kareoke until I was hoarse, often ad-libbing at the end of songs that seemed neverending. When I'm in the mood, I can really entertain. Also did some "back-up dancing" for a few friends while they were singing (much to the amusement of all). And no, they didn't request my back-up dancing skills but that didn't stop me. Stopped drinking after 5 or 6 and had 3 glasses of water before I eventually slept. Woke up feeling pretty good except for general tiredness and slight queasiness which passed after a hot cup o'tea. Pretty fun night.

Did nothing today except sleep and watch tv. Might try for an early night.

Not travelling for Thankgiving which is the first time in years that I'm not flying someplace. It's so good, I'll actually be able to enjoy my extra day (we have fri off as well). I told my cousin that I wasn't flying there this year, just not in the mood to deal with all the crowds. Plus, I'd have lost 2 days with getting to airport early, waiting for connecting flights, etc. Plus, she's working Fri so I'd be stuck on my own for a day. Her only response to this was - so what am I going to do? I was like - I don't know what you are going to do, but I'm going to enjoy my days and if no one invites me over on the turkey day, Boston Market makes a darn fine turkey. Such a relief. Most times I let myself get talked into traveling even though I'd rather just enjoy the time off from work. I did get an invitation a friend's house on thurs so I will get a great meal. They always have great food.

yellow or purple

Was watching local news on tv. In response to recent complaints of racism by parents/students, this school official was saying that they have a lot of diversity at their school and he didn't think it was a problem. My problem with this is how he worded his comment...we have lot of diversity here, black, white, yellow, Jewish, Muslim...I'm very proud of our diversity. Yellow? I mean what group of people are yellow? One might of course argue that white and black aren't exactly descriptive either, yet for some reason, these seem more acceptable to me, more so than say yellow or purple even. And what about people who don't exactly fall into any of those categories? I think it'd be better to say that they have a racially and ethnically diverse community. But what do I know?

I don't identify with the African American label that's the only box on many of these stupid forms here that I can check. I usu end up checking that box b/c I don't like the 'other' tag either. I'm not exactly African or American as my passport/visa can attest. I think of myself as black and/or West Indian. Mostly though, I don't think of myself as any particular thing. I don't know if this is partly due to the fact that many black West Indians, myself included, have 2 or more different ancestries in our families within the last 2-3 generations that we know of. I don't disclose that to most because I'm mostly black and I look black so why not. Life is confusing enough, right? It is kind of cool to know your ancestry though.

A friend of mine who's white once said that she was glad for her Caucasian ancestry b/c then she doesn't have to do anything with her hair. I have mine relaxed every 2-3 months b/c I prefer it straight and slick as opposed to my natural curly and frizzy. I did respond by saying that if I could choose, I wouldn't want Caucasian hair, which seemed to surprise her. I have seen many people with hair that is so dry and unconditioned and unhealthy-looking. I certainly don't want their hair. Also, many people change their hair regardless of race, if its straight-you want it curly, curly-you want it straight, then there's the whole range of color options that people take advantage of. I don't see why you shouldn't change such things if you want, not like its invasive cosmetic surgery. I'm all for people making their own decisions about such things even the cosmetic surgery though I don't really understand why poeple would want to have surgery that's not medically necessary. To each his own.

There are times of course when I'm more aware of being black than at other times like when I'm bored in meetings and I'm just looking around. Then I sometimes count, #women, #Ph.Ds, #B.S., # non-white, #black, #asian and so forth. Living in an area that is predominantly white, sometimes you can't help but notice the numbers. I grew up in a predominantly black/east indian mix and now I'm living in the flip version of this.

I wonder if people who fall into the yellow or purple category are as offended by those terms as I am or are they not bothered as I am not bothered about being referred to as black.

Thursday, November 17

Reading and writing

I've been reading a lot about cognitive biases - through a link I got from Ann's blog about the Barnum effect. A lot of it kind of goes over my head but I keep reading hoping to be able retain some of it. It's all so fascinating. Most fasinating to me because it's so true (of me anyway) is the fundamental attribution error. Don't you just love Wikipedia-the free encyclopedia?

I was thinking today about my blog and how I never seem to wrap things up here. I detail problems and issues, both major and minor, yet don't often write about how or if they were resolved. I was wondering if I should do that more. I don't consider myself a writer, 2 of my sisters are more fit than I am to have such a title as writer.

I was thinking that a true writer would probably want to have the whole story rather than just excerpts. Then I thought that maybe my blog is more like a collection of short stories. I don't really like collections of short stories because I always want to know what came before the story starts or what comes after. I find this kind of annoying, this not knowing. So I usually read full books instead so I avoid this frustration. I suppose if people are curious about missing pieces they'll ask.

Wednesday, November 16

Taking things personally

I was thinking about 'taking things personally'. Partly from reading a comment on my blog. I take too many things personally. I know this but can't seem to do otherwise. This reminds me of some great lines by Meg Ryan's character Kathleen in 'You've Got Mail' (love that movie) when Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) tells her that 'putting her out of business wasn't personal'. And then she goes off on a rant about how it was personal to her. I can totally relate to that. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go watch the movie (my post'll still be here when you get back).

II have a tendency to tune people out sometimes, intentionally and unintentionally. I have a gift(curse?) for remembering conversations verbatim when I do pay attention. People's words remain with me a long time. Sometimes, this gift is great and I use it in conjunction with my other talent for mimicry, mostly to entertain my family. I'm a great storyteller and I've been told that my retelling of actual events/family jokes are even funnier sometimes than when they occurred. I do several impressions of different family members. Actually, all of us do this. I go a little further than most cause I change my voice depending on whom I'm impersonating. It's really funny even if I do say so myself. My family tends to be very sarcastic generally and no one is safe. Usually we wait until the person isn't there before doing an impression of them but not always. Been thinking about what our family motto would be if we had one. Have several ideas. None succinct enough yet. Have you thought about what your family motto would be, if you had one? or do you have one? if you do, do tell.

My sisters and I have been promising (threatening?) for years to write a book(s) about our family. Billed as fiction of course. It'd be very entertaining and would probably sell really well. Some of the stories I have/know, unbelievable but funny. We haven't done much more than talk about doing this. Maybe I'll get us a few cool notebooks so we can start. Our initial idea was to devote chapter(s) to individual family members. Several would probably require more than one chapter. So then we thought about getting notebooks and just jotting down our memories of each person, whether it was based around an event or just a particular saying of that person that we remembered, etc. Then we'd exchange notebooks and add our impressions of those same events b/c everyone's perspective is slightly different.

Reading about NaNoWriMo from other people's blogs has brought this to my mind again. Going to my sis for Christmas so maybe we can actually start doing what we've talked about doing for years.

Not allergic to...

I was tellng my friend E about my allergy results and she wanted to know what I wasn't allergic to. I'm not allergic to cats or dogs, that's about it. So she exclaims - now you can get a cat! I don't think so. I've never had a pet (other than fish) and don't want the sole responsibility. I like cats and dogs too but in small doses. Like belonging to other people. Kind of like how I like other people's kids ;) Fun for short periods of time but at the end of the day, they go home or I do.

Today she was telling me that I should get a turtle. The turtle thing is partly my fault. A co-worker was giving us a ride back from a function and he had to stop at his house to let his dogs out. So we went and they have 20 turtles. And they were so different and cute, some small, some large. There's one who escapes from his tank on a weekly basis-he just goes awol and eventually turns up on the stairs or behind a lamp. I never thought about how cool turtles could be, that they have personalities even. And one in particular, I was kind of taken with. His name, Splashy, how cute is that? And unlike most of the others who were trying to bite off my finger through the tank, Splashy just followed my finger around. I must have spent at least 5 min playing. Since then, E has been making the suggestion of my getting a turtle. The guy (with the turtles) has even offered to give me one of his. I briefly considered getting a turtle (for 10sec =)but then I came to my senses. I really don't want to have to clean up after it. And you can't leave their tanks dirty. Maybe I'm just too lazy and have hard enough time motivating myself to clean my place furthermore to have living things dependent on me for that. I guess if I did have a pet I would do it. Right now its all still hypothetical to me. So, I'm probably not going to get a cat or a dog anytime soon, even if my apt allowed them .

Tuesday, November 15

More stuff on my mind

Sometimes I feel the need to censor myself. I really like having a blog though. A lot of what I say here, I find it hard to talk about or think that no one cares so why tell them. But it's great to get it out though. The silly things, the mundane, the profound (at least imho :)
If people aren't interested, they can always leave without reading much and I won't know or be hurt by their disinterest. Whereas friends will try to be polite and pretend they care about what you have to say even if they don't.

I was thinking about my doctor's visit yesterday. The nurse asked me about the medications that I was taking, so I listed them all out - albuterol, advair (500/50), flonase and yasmin birth control pills. It makes me feel a little weird. I'm not sure if the weirdness is b/c I'm Catholic and birth control is one of the big no-no's. That may be part of it. Or maybe talking about birth control b/c I'm not taking them for birth control. Or if its b/c its makes me seem more normal. I'm taking them for the horribly painful periods I have. They have been helping. The awful pain which would start the day before and last 3 days. Cramps so bad the only position that's not unbearable is the fetal position. These have been reduced to just one day and b/c my cycle is regulated now i.e. predictable, the pain usu occurs on a fri, usu in the evening. So at least I'm at home and don't have to be at work or have to miss work b/c of it. The wonders of modern medicine.

I've spent my life feeling different, yet trying to fit in or at least to appear to fit in. I was watching mass on EWTN and during his sermon, the priest said, "we are called, as Catholics, not to fit in, but to stand out". I think this can apply to anyone though. I saw this 2-3wks ago and it made me stop and think and I've been thinking about it a lot. When you spend your life trying to fit in or rather pretending that you fit in, and then someone says you don't have to, even that you're not supposed to. It kinda blows my mind in a way. The idea of it.

Sometimes, you talk to your friends and they casually say things that they probably don't even remember. Things that are hurtful to you. For me, a friend asked me why I go to church, then her bf chimed in that he couldn't understand it either. They kept going on about this for 10 minutes (we were driving to a game). At the end of this conversation, I said, "you act like my wanting to go to church is some kind of disease". And they said - "well isn't it". I felt then that they had very little respect for me as a person. That may have been a slight overreaction on my part. I freely admit that I tend to see the most dramatic reason for things rather than what might be most obvious.

Personally, I like going to church often, I get a lot out of the mass itself. Plus I go to choir and I really enjoy singing and there's a sense of comunity that I feel. For other people, these things aren't important. Which is fine, I don't believe that everyone has to have the same feelings as I do or that we should all be Catholic or all go to church. I do believe that we are called by the same God in many different faiths, paths and ways. I think belief in a higher power above our human existence is what's really important whether you call it God or Yahweh or Buddha or Allah or Vishnu or have no name for it but you know it exists. For them, they didn't understand where I'm coming from even though I don't push my faith on others and I don't judge my friends based on it, it seemed like they were judging me based on mine. This is probably partly true. But we can't really know what's behind other people's words unless we ask for clarification. And sometimes, not even then. So I just have to make of it what I will. And deal with it and accept it and them. And move on from there.

This happened maybe 3 or 4 months ago. I repress things a lot. When stuff like that happens, I tend to lock it away in my mind, I don't deal, can't deal sometimes. Most of it bubbles to the surface eventually. This came to me today b/c I had a long conversation with this friend, she was having some issues and later on today she told me that talking to me about it helped. That's when I remembered.

Sometimes, I feel like such a weirdo. And I'm not entirely sure if that's ok or not. Or if I'm ok with it. Most of the time, I like the idea of being different, not ordinary.

The Avril Lavigne song "anything but ordinary" says it all

....sometimes I get so weird, I even freak myself out...

Allergy Testing & other stuff

I went for allergy testing yesterday. It hurts a bit when they do it, cause they just pierce the skin with the initial test on the forearms and when they do the upper arms, they go under the skin and that really hurts. I drew a little diagram(on the left), they drew "+" marks on my arms and they applied tiny pointy things that pierced my skin on each "+" on my forearms first. Then when they measured each one that showed a reaction, they wiped my arms off with alcohol. It was quite something to see and feel. Then they did my upper arms, they started describing it to me, they put the needle under your skin, and bubble...At this point I asked them to stop telling me about it, I really didn't need the details.
And the results - I'm allergic to tree pollen (ash, birch, poplar, maple, oak, and a couple others I don't recall), grass pollen, ragweed, mold, and both kinds of dust mites. Tree pollens are present from mid-March until early June. The welts on my arms from oak, poplar and maple were huge. Grass pollens start in early May, peak in June. Ragweed pollen from mid-August to Sept. Mold present year-round and dust mites(eeewww) so gross, so disgusting, feasting on my bed. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about them. I don't like to think of them on my bed but they're there. I'll spare you all the huge magnified pictures of dust mites on several of the handouts they gave me.

They suggested I get dust-mite proof zippered covers for mattress, box spring and all pillows. I have 2 of my pillows covered already but not anything else. Going to have to take care of that this weekend. They also suggested that I should keep my windows closed at home and in the car when driving, especially during spring, summer and early fall.

Basically, they think I should get immunotherapy = allergy shots often for a long time. The handout says that patients typically (that typically could mean anything) receive injections weekly for 6-9mths, progressing to bi-weekly, then every 4wks. Most people complete the series of allergy injections in 3-5yrs. I don't have a problem getting shots when I need to, as long as I look away from the needle or don't see it at all (in the case of dental injections), I'm fine. Still, I'm a bit apprehensive about getting shots so often. I'm worry about having permanent holes all over my arms. I have to check my insurance and make sure its covered before I make a decision about this. The doc gave me $40 worth of free samples, sounds like a lot but is only 2 medicines. Still is a big help. Got another appt with him in 2 wks.

Last night, I was very, very, sick, some kind of food poisoning I think, I will spare you all the details. I'll only say that it was awful and I'm trying not to think about it too much. Better today though.

I watch Smallville sometimes. I just love the whole Clark/Lana thing. Sometimes they just look at each other. Even with all the angst and things left unsaid between them, they have this bond. I know, I know, its just tv.
Sometimes I worry that I'll never find that someone, soulmate, whatever. I try to remain optimistic about this but somedays are harder than others.
Off to watch 'Commander in Chief".

Sunday, November 13

fake margarine

For those of you interested in what fake margarine looks like, here are a few pics.

This one is Non-hydrogenated Spectrum Natural Spread and it looked really gross when I opened it but tasted ok. I tried to mix it up but that only made it worse as you can see. The oils were separating out, ewww! It tasted like butter as it claimed but I couldn't bear to look at it.

The "Whipped" one (above) is great, but the "Natural" variety of this same brand tastes weird. Should have guessed that the Whipped would be better, after all, whipped cream cheese is so much better than regular, imho.

Friday, November 11

What Would Mulder Do?

Finally, finally, I've found a great tasting non-dairy margarine. After buying four different tubs, this one is great, perfect texture(butterlike and homogeneous) and taste pretty good considering that it only has soy, no milk.

It that TOM again. Went in a bit late today, wasn't sure if I was going in, got up and felt horrible and thought I'd just stay in bed till I felt I could move. Then nature called so I had to get out of bed and felt a little better then. Took my midol and went to work. Was ok until about 4pm, took another midol. Went out for a curry lunch with the guys today. Cheated on my diet, had 2 wonderfully warm pieces of naan. Naan's made with ghee so counts as dairy. Planned to be good and only have rice with the curry but the naan was fresh, just brought out. Plus, I had to attempt to keep up with the guys right ;) They had 12-14 pieces between the 3 of them. Had 2 plates, not heaping plates but still, it was too much. Only just had some toast(with the yummy fake marg) and its 11pm now.

Just took another midol. It hurts when I...cough...stand...sit down...walk around. If I stand in one spot for a while, its ok and after I've been sitting a while, its ok. Only hurts when I move.

Got a worrisome call from my sis tonight. Hopefully she'll be ok. She's very allergic to shellifish/molluscs/etc. and she told them that at the restaurant and DQ ordered a shrimp dish. She thinks maybe they prepared them near or in the same pan b/c she started having a bad reaction - trouble breathing/heavy congestion. She called me (from Spain, yeah the country) b/c she forgot to take her epi-pin with her and she didn't have any regular anti-histamines. She has an epi pin due to the severity of her last exposure to shellfish. She took her zyrtec though and her emergency inhaler as well but was still very congested. And she told me she was kind of itchy all over. Added to this, the main-drama-queen-in-our-family(DQ) is there visiting and she's drunk as a skunk. Apparently, she was drinking the sangria like it was water. She's not a great drunk to be around for long, no control whatsoever and her usual drama-queen-tendencies escalate to the point where you almost want to knock her out. I've seen her drunk and its funny for like 5 min. After that, its annoying as hell. So I'm really feeling for my sis tonight. Plus DQ doesn't have allergies and has never had an allergic reaction so she has no idea how serious a situation this could be and that my sis has a right to be concerned. She keeps making fun (I could hear her in the background) in between bouts of crying and hysteria and singing out loud how she's call for the hospital if necessary. In case you're wondering how I know all this, I could hear her singing "hoss-pital, Hosss-pital, HOSSS-PITAL" in a high-pitched wail.

I know its a bit mean of me but I kind of hope she's really ill tomorrow and takes better care next time not to drink as much. I guess it takes a while for that lesson to be learnt. She didn't drink in her teens or at college at all so she's probably trying to make up for lost time now. Kind of like I did. Except I started in college but I didn't go to college until I was 23. We're 6mths apart. And she's more like a sister to us than a cousin. We love her but sometimes it hard. Family is like that, messy, sometimes difficult, sometimes annoying, but...still family.

What can you do? Or as a fellow x-phile at work said to me today...What Would Mulder Do? I thought that was so funny and cool. I want to make a bumper sticker of that. Except that I think many bumper stickers are dumb/dorky and don't want to fall into either category. He's one of the IT guys and I was telling him about my computer woes. Not the home woes but work ones. My computer at work died. Weird error on a blue screen during startup and then nothing. It's been 'dead' since Mon morning. Sent a help request to IT. Wed, they came and took the hard drive(the whole tower thingy), told me it seemed to be dead and that they would check it out. Good thing I didn't have to work on reports this week.

My writing area is now full again. My friend (chinese buffet buddy) moved back to his old spot next to me and 2 other people moved opposite to us. Its ok but I kind of miss the alone time. One of them talks a lot. Even when I was working on my report she wouldn't shut up and let me do it. Couldn't she see I was busy and had a deadline. I told her about it. So she knew. Eventually, I just kept saying 'ah huh', to everything she said while I kept looking at my screen. Everyone else has their own computers b/c they brought theirs with them when they moved. So now that mine is dead (which other people used as well), its very inconvenient. I have to wait till one is free. Can't exactly ask someone to move out of their seat so I can check my email or the internet/intranet for stuff? So I have had to go without.

Projects end from time to time and new ones begin, so people move around from area to area and sometimes building to building (we have 2 sites here in town and you can be assigned to just about any project in any one of the buildings at our sites - the site I'm at has 2 buildings assigned to scientists and people often move back and forth). I've been lucky so far - although my projects and groups have changed, I'm still in the same building I started in. This is kind of unusual, most people who have been here for as long as I have have worked in at least 2 or more buildings and/or sites. When you move you usually have to move your lab equipment as well as files/stuff from writing areas. It takes time and is a bit of a hassle but you do what you got to do.

Wednesday, November 9

Random Thoughts

Saw this weird ad on TV for some prescription cream that is "clinically proven to remove unwanted facial hair". For some reason, I found this kinda funny. Odd that they didn't have any before/after pictures. That would really be funny but probably not the quite the feeling they're going for.

My computer gave me the stupid blue screen again, so it must not be a simple memory thing b/c there's hardly anything on it now. It created an error report that said the error was probably due to problems(overheating) with one/more of the computer components like the RAM/syetem board/CPU/power supply. What all that really means to me is nothing. I have to call Dell. Jus tnot in the mood to be on the phone though. Really tired tonight.

I've done a good bit of cooking this week. Made chicken stir-fry with chow-mein noodles Sun, it was really good. Got 3 meals (lunch/dinner) out of it. On Mon, I cooked a dish from home, pelau, which is chicken/rice/pigeon peas/carrots all cooked together in one pot. Froze some of it in portions because I can only make it in big batches, like 5-7 servings. Made lamb stew tonight, smells wonderful but I've already eaten (pelau) so I don't really have room to have it. Maybe I'll have just a taste. I don't normally taste the food when I cook. Most times, it works out fine and the food is very good. Occasionally, it may be too salty or not salty enough. I always marinate meats before cooking (usu overnight) and sometimes use veggie/chicken cubes to make stock to add to it. And then I forget that the stock has salt in it and add more salt to the dish while its cooking. Then it comes out too salty but usu still edible.

Really craving ice cream tonight. And chocolate. Trying not to open the fridge - too much temptation. Life has lost all meaning. Well not really but it has lost some of its luster since I went on this elimination diet. Tried buying sweets like twizzlers/sour patch kids/gummies to eat instead of all the good stuff I can't have now. They don't measure up and I'm really noticing it today. Going to the allergist Mon. Once I get the test done, I'm hoping it'll give me a few quick answers for stuff I should avoid. I miss butter or margarine rather. Kind of broke the diet inadvertently last Fri, at the movies. My friend got popcorn and without thinking I just ate. Normally, I don't buy popcorn and only eat a few when my friends get it. But for some reason I ate most of it, it was a small bag though. Still, it was covered in butter. Didn't think about that until after I'd consumed most of it. Oh well. FYI - my stomach made grumbling sounds for several hrs after, didn't hurt though. Maybe butter affects me more than I realized. My stomach hasn't made sounds in ages. It normally only sounds like that when I eat pizza or milk or stuff that contains milk, even after chewing 4 lactiad/tums. Without lactaid/tums, eating pizza makes me really ill. My stomach still makes really loud noises but doesn't hurt as much as it would if I didn't take anything. If I make it myself at home and I use colby jack instead of the usu pizza cheeses, its not as bad. Probably one of the foods I should give up permanently.

'Mind of Mencia' = hilarious. He cracks me up. Getting into 'Gray's Anatomy' again. I like 'Bones' as well but never remember its on and usu only see the last 15-20min. I also like 'Commander in Chief'.

Bought myself an early christmas pressie...a digital camera, cute Canon a510. Came today. So excited. Pity, most of the trees here are now past their peak but its alright. Still so cool. Can't wait to get out and get some pics. Planning to make some paintings of them. Big plans.

Almost made it to work before 8am today, almost (got in at 810am, not too bad). Was walking out to my car in a light jacket and short sleeve tees underneath. Got halfway to it and thought that it must be about 35°, not short sleeve/light jacket weather. So started the car and after less than a min I was chilled. So I went back in for more layers and a hat. I guess its offically Nov now :( We've been having unseasonably warm weather for this time of year. It was bound to end at some point.

It took me 30 min to drive home tonight, twicw as long as usual, and it was raining heavily the entire time. Its hard to see the lane demarcations. I just stay in the far right lane, then I can at least follow the curb. My friends today were talking about that - how hard it to see the lines, and that they should have reflective paint or reflectors on the roads. One of them said that the reflectors would just be uprooted by the ploughs once it really snowed. I don't like driving in the rain, even with my wipers on the fastest setting, visibility still very poor. Those are the times when I wish my car had rear wipers. No disrepect to my "Baby"-love my corolla. Still, rear wipers would be nice.

Had to make corrections on the report, our boss put together all our sections of the report and found many errors. He wanted us to check and correct them today, he suggested that I start first sine most of the errors were mine - no shit Sherlock, at least half of the report is of my work. He made it easy though, cause he highlighted exactly what data we were missing or which was inconsistent and only wanted us to correct on the printed master copy ans he's going to enter it all in. I must confess that I'm not surprised that I had errors since I didn't exactly proof read it. I figured that I wouldn't catch most of the mistakes then anyway since I had been staring at all that data and those numbers for so long. Took me about 4hrs today. Hopefully, that's the end of it, for now anyway.

Need to get some sleep. Have a good novel and am going in early enough so I can read a bit and still get decent sleep hrs in. Nite.

Monday, November 7

feeling better

Feeling better now that I've got all that off my chest.

Surfing the net, found this site which talks about the next ice age. This author expects it to happen during our lifetime. Scary thought that. Not the most comforting reading but interesting all the same.

Going to bed. Had 1/2 bag of marshmellows, one of the few treats I can still have on my no dairy-no nuts-no chocolate-diet. 1/2 bag was probably too much ;) Ok, definitely too much, feeling a little sick. Took 3 out of the bag, closed it, walked back to the computer. Repeated this several times and next thing I know, half the bag is gone. Definitely time to quit. Kind of wired, probably b/c of all the sugar =)

So Angry I Could Spit

I got in late Fri night so I had to park in the boonies...on the main street off from where my apts are. Usually when this happens I move my car closer sometime during the day on Sat. This Sat I was feeling particularly antisocial and stayed in my apt all day (didn't even go out to get my mail).

Anyhoo, 930am Sun, I walk out to my car and find that it has been plastered in what looks like shaving cream. At least that's what I think it was. It was everywhere. Some deliquent punk who has absolutely no regard for the property of others and obviously have not been given sufficient responsibilities by their parents. Why else would they do shit like that? As a teen I had so much to do that I would never have thought of much less had the time to do something stupid like this. Plus my mom has instilled in me a healthy respect for private property.

I had to get to choir so I couldn't take care of it then. Luckily my wipers took care of my front windshield, mostly, so I could at least see to drive. After choir/church, got home at 1230pm. Was starving, so I had to go in to eat something before I could even think of taking care of hte mess on my car. Then my sis called, so talked to family for an hour. Finally I drove to a touchless car wash but that doesn't take care of it all. There was still all this white shit in the front grille as well as random spots all over my car. I tried wiping at certain spots after spraying with water and have found over 10 places where my paint has thinned or come off completely.

I'm thinking of telling the landlord about this but I don't think it'd make a difference. Plus they'll probably say they are not responsible for damage to vehicles. I can see that such a conversation would just make me madder than I am already. This sucks. I was out there tonight and my fingers were freezing by the time I was done - spraying and gently wiping. Got most of the crap off except that I can't reach the roof of my car. I would really like to meet, and have a few choice words with, the shit-for-brain-punks who did this.

Saturday, November 5

Suprisingly, I miss tomato

This whole elimination diet I'm on...there were things I knew I would miss like baci, ferrero rocher (but I haven't eaten these since the middle of Sept so I'm almost used to it, don't crave them as much - usu avoid chocolate whenever I have asthma flareups b/c chocolate tends to make me more congested). I thought I'd miss ice-cream and I do but not terribly. I didn't think I'd miss tomato. maybe I just didn't consider how many easy-meals I would have to avoid by cutting out both dairy and tomato. No baked beans, no decent pasta sauce (ground beef without tomato-interestingly bad), no salsa :( for tostidos or other chips. Plus most deli-style meats (for sandwiches) are cured with sodium lactate (read milk product).

I'm going to have to do some major cooking this weekend. I'm sick of cereal and freakin salad. Many of the dishes from home don't require tomato so I'll make a couple of those and be able to have decent meals this week for lunch and dinner. Did find one cured ham product that doesn't contain milk products so that's good.

Saw my doctor and she agreed with me about the singulair and said I should stop it - of course I had already :). Good news is that my lungs were clear when she checked, peak flow reading normal. Still have to stay on the 500/50 advair at least until I'm not using my albuterol everyday. I'm down to 1-2 times/day from 5-6times/day (back in Sep/early Oct) so I'm definitely improving, slowly but surely. She thinks I should get allergy testing done so they're going to set up a referral for me. Oh and I got my flu shot. I signed up at work to get my flu shot but wasn't sure when that would be b/c they haven't given us a date for it yet. Didn't plan to get it then but as I was there, my doc thought I should just get it done. My upper arm is still a little sore from it. Some idiot at the movies last night brushed past me really hard and that didn't help at all.

Was at a coffee shop last night and they left the door open and all the cigarette smoke was filtering in. Very annoying. No matter where I sat I could smell it. The cashier spent almost the entire night outside smoking only going in reluctantly when people needed something. At first I didn't even realize she was the cashier. I was waiting for almost 2 min, looking around for someone so I could get a soy chai. And she gets paid to do that. Imagine. My friend tried to get them to keep the door closed so the smoke wouldn't come right in. They were right in front of the door. But the cashier kept it open. She didn't even make my soy chai drink right, it was too sweet, don't what she did to it. I've had it there 3 times before, with a different cashier (who didn't need nicotine by IV) and it was great. Plus she didn't let my friend bring her drink in(from another place). That cashier was a real winner. When I got home my outer jacket and shirt both reaked of smoke. And I just washed that jacket too. Crap! Don't think I'm going back to that place anytime soon. In New York State, no smoking is allowed inside public places. With the door open, they might as well have been smoking inside. So annoying. I don't care if people want to smoke. I'm all about freedom of choice but I do care when it affects me directly. I'm extra sensitive to it lately as I'm dependant on my inhaler. Had to take it as soon as I got home.

Had to wipe my computer, so most of my music files and cool fav settings are gone. Been having memory trouble and since I couldn't uninstall many of the troublesome files, the service guy at Dell recommended that I do a system restore. :( So now I have to save all my CDs on it again. Sigh.

Finished my long report (48pages) on Tues morning finally (it was due then and my boss came and asked for it an hr before I finished so I was glad to have it done at last). Finally that monkey is off my back. I got back to lab on Tues and walked over to my hood, saying "hi bench, hi hood, I missed you." Made the guys in my lab laugh.