Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Weekend (a Bondi Rescue Marathon)

The Man and I celebrated Memorial Day Weekend by getting out and seeing people, shopping, hiking, and plenty of relaxing.  We went up to Woodburn to visit some cemeteries and visit the Columbia store where we both scored big time.  We also just happened to stop at a Roth's bakery for our annual maple bar deliciousness.  *sigh*  After that, we hopped down to visit my parents and help with a small construction project in the backyard.  Mom made an amazing dinner and dessert for us.

Sunday was quiet.  We mostly stayed near home and watched TV or played video games.  On Monday, we got up relatively early and went to Alsea Falls for a long hike.  We didn't get back until mid-afternoon and promptly landed back in front of flickering screens.

In defense of flickering screens, I finished watching all seven seasons of Bondi Rescue.  Talk about learning about different cultures and jobs!  Oh, yeah, and the hot lifeguards... :)  Think Baywatch meets Rescue 911 as a reality show with Australian accents.  It is a really good show, surprisingly, and sucked me in so fast.  If only we got it in this country!

Two-hour Deadliest Catch special on tonight.  Then I'm off the TV until the weekend.  I'm teaching myself some moderation.  Okay, mostly I'm punishing myself for falling so far behind on my quilt.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Gift that Keeps On Itching

If going to the dentist twice in two weeks wasn't bad enough, I got another healthy dose of pain today.  Last weekend, when we went hiking at Suttle Lake, I must have stepped into the wrong swarm of hungry mosquitoes or something as I ended up with ten nice welted bites on my arms below the elbows.  Eight of them were on my right arm.  I guess it just tasted better.

The bites itched quite a bit for the first three days, but they never went away or decreased their intensity.  Last night, as I was watching TV, I noticed I was itching the three bites on the back of my right hand more than ever.  One toward the outside edge between my pinky and wrist was quite painful.  It didn't just itch, it really hurt.  The bites had all turned bright pink and looked angry.  I accidentally scratched the top off the one bad bite, and it started to weep both pus and blood.  Out comes the Neosporin.

The pain was annoying, but the bites weren't hot and had stopped oozing, so I went to bed around 11pm.  I awoke around 2am to pain shooting from my pinky nail up to my elbow.  The worst bites were all very angry and demanding attention.  Hydrocortizone cream had done absolutely nothing to help all week, but I gave it another shot.  Nothing still.  I crawled out of bed to call the nurse advice hotline provided by my insurance company.  The nurse didn't seem concerned at all and basically brushed me off saying to make an appointment in the morning.

I've had my share of mosquito bites in the past, and they've always healed within just a couple days.  These were large and still very itchy seven days later, so I knew they were either infected or contained something my body didn't like much.  I tried to calm myself down and get some rest, convincing myself that losing a hand wouldn't be so bad, thinking anything just to sleep a few minutes at a time.

Needless to say, I was wide awake early enough to be one of the first people to the clinic this morning.  They whisked me back to the exam room, but they must have forgotten about me for an hour since I waited and waited.  When the doctor first came in, she seemed to brush me off like the nurse had done.  When she saw the bites and realized it had been a week with no recovery in sight, she acted surprised.  I knew something wasn't right, and she confirmed it.

I'm allergic to mosquito venom.  Or at least the proteins the buggers injected into me when they decided to feast upon my blood.  My bite on the outside edge of my hand is swollen enough to put pressure on the nerve that runs down to my pinky, thus all the pain and aching joints.  No signs of infection, just a lot of angry bites.

Toss some Benadryl down me, right?  Wrong.  I am already taking two different antihistamines for seasonal allergies.  There's so much in my body already that giving me more would just make me a zombie (antihistamines like Benadryl are also often prescribed as sleep aides).  I have to be very allergic to anything right now to even notice it, so the fact that these bites are causing issues means I'm very allergic to them.  The doctor wrote me a prescription for a topical corticosteriod (like Hydrocortizone but much, much stronger) that should help with the pain and swelling.  I've noticed the pinkness has disappeared quite a bit already, and the itching on the lesser bites is almost gone.  I should be much better as the weekend goes on.

Not a happy ending to a week of torture.  I am off to sleep, finally, hopefully that good deep sleep.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Drilled, Filled, and Thrilled (not)

After returning home from a very relaxing vacation over the weekend, I found myself strapped into a dentist's chair for a grueling session of pain, torture, and general unpleasantness.  Yay.

I have been putting off having this work done for over three years, so now that The Man has dental insurance to double-cover me, I figured it was the right time to go for it.  My chompers are worth it.  My nerves, on the other hand, weren't as happy about the plan.  Four of the fillings were replacing old silver fillings with new tooth-colored ones.  The other two fillings were mostly polishing the biting surface and very tiny fillings that I've had for many years and never bothered with until now.  I also got some sealant replaced on one tooth. $55 not covered by insurance, but "it will really help!" Glad I could help buy one more gizmo for your kids.

I arrived to the dentist a bit early and got situated in the "quiet room" they have cordoned off from the rest of the exam areas.  This quiet area makes for a better experience for everyone except the person getting holes drilled in their head.  They checked my blood pressure and pulse, both much higher than normal for me (but still within low-to-normal ranges).  The assistant shoved two cotton logs in my mouth that had been coated in a topical analgesic.  It tasted like rotten mayonnaise.  Without so much as a hi, hello, how do you do, my dentist raked my lips back and started pumping my cheeks full of Novocaine.  He pricked my cheeks a good two dozen times to numb up both the upper and lower bits of my mouth.  Apparently the whiteness of my knuckles around the arms of his chair alerted him to the fact that what he was doing hurt and that I was in pain.  "Let go of my chair.  Let go.  You need to let go..." Imma let go of something else if you aren't careful, bucko.

Without so much as a pause, he set down his Needle of Doom and picked up the Drill from Hell.  I was finally completely numb by the time he got around to drilling on my second tooth.  He didn't give me much of a break between the first two teeth and the next four, so I wasn't breathing very well.  The pressure from drilling and having to keep my mouth open (I refused the bite block, as usual) had me in a full-body cold sweat, tears streaming back to my ears, and a wicked shivver.  My jaw ached.  "You doing okay?" If "okay" is the word for wanting to take that drill and run it between your ears for half an hour and have you experience this kind of torture, then yes, I am perfectly fine.

He packed my teeth full of fillings, cured the curable stuff, and convinced me that he'd done an amazing job restoring order where formerly there was disease, chaos, and strife.  All of this in forty-five minutes.  Remarkable.  Hero? Not the choice word I'm feeling right now.

I staggered home mostly still numb and unhappy.  By dinnertime, I was able to mash french fries with the good side of my mouth and not crunch on my tongue or cheek too badly.  A couple hours later, I was feeling much better.  When my dentist called me later in the evening to find out how I was managing, he asked if everyone had treated me well that day.  I told him yes, I suppose I had been treated well.  Aside from the jerk that stuck me with a needle enough to turn my cheeks into hamburger, went gold mining in my head with a spinning pickax, and filled my teeth with enough crap that my bite changed permanently, then yeah, I had a fantastic day.

At least I only have two teeth left in my head that have any sort of work needing to be done: one is a filling, one is a crown.  Want to know how excited I am about getting that work done?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vacation to Sisters, Oregon

I had a very long post written detailing the adventures of our recent vacation to Sisters, Oregon, but unforeseen technical difficulties are preventing me from retrieving that text.  I will attempt to give you the highlights in sixty seconds or less:

The Man and I spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday vacationing in Sisters with his parents and brother.  We stayed in a vacation house owned by other people who were not present.  On Friday, we visited the High Desert Museum (my second trip there).  We ate out that night at the Three Creeks Brewery (terrible service, not good food).  On Saturday morning, we hiked around Suttle Lake and found a geocache not far from the lake's edge.  We picnicked there after our hike, then went back to our vacation house for a quiet afternoon of games, shopping in town, and cooking dinner.  Saturday night included some overpriced ice cream (sorry, it wasn't that good) and two more geocaches.  On Sunday, we popped out to get some pretty decent donuts before driving out to the Head of the Metolius River (water coming out of a crevasse underneath some bushes).  We left around noon for home.

High point: hiking around the lake
Low point: mosquito bites incurred while hiking around the lake (ten bites on my two arms, all below the elbows--the gift that keeps on itching for days)

Best food: taco dinner we made at home
Worst food: juniper sauce chicken at the brewery which tasted like a cross between cat litter and blue raspberry tabasco sauce on cardboard chicken slabs (at least that's how I'd imagine cat litter tasting)

Happiest thought: The Man and I made it through the entire vacation including packing and unpacking without bickering, scolding each other, or any meanness whatsoever.  Not that we're usually mean to each other, but for some reason packing and unpacking are frequently contentious moments for us.

I took lots of pictures which can be viewed on my Picasa Web Album.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Non-Stop Go Go Go

My week started off with a dentist appointment.  Not exactly my happiest moment of the week.  But they didn't find any new cavities or problems, so that's good.  Doesn't make up for the fact that I still have to go back next week and get some old fillings replaced and some more not-covered-by-insurance stuff done.  Yay.

We went to Portland last weekend to go shopping and out to lunch with my parents.  It was a nice trip up and back.  Thankfully we missed the worst of the traffic.  I bought my most-expensive-ever eyeshadow, a whopping $18 for one color *cough, choke, gasp,* but it is so incredibly pigmented that it will probably last at least ten years.  I researched the color online quite a bit before I decided to go get it, and the reviews were stellar.  Urban Decay's Roach eyeshadow is the perfect color on my porcelain skin.  It matches my freckles and gives my hazel eyes the pop I can't achieve with any other color.  I don't need to wear highlighters and smokey colors and eye liner or anything else with this color.  I know, it's a lot of money.  But I promise this is the only shadow I'm buying at that price, and it is seriously gorgeous.

I read a book in under twenty-four hours this weekend as well.  I snagged Escape by Carolyn Jessop on my Kindle and could not put it down.  Want a gut-punch about the reality of polygamy?  She shares her incredible story that is beyond what my mind can understand.  I had to keep reminding myself that she doesn't come from another time or place, she's alive now and her kids are younger than I am.  Talk about survival!

My evenings this week have been filled with preparations for a short vacation this coming weekend.  We're headed out of town for a couple nights, so I definitely won't post anything then.  Sorry for a complete lack of posts recently, but I have been burning the candle at both ends.

Allow me to put it this way: I made a double-batch of homemade tortillas last night in forty minutes.  It usually takes me an hour or more for that amount.  Yeah.  I was crankin'.  My whole life has been like that lately.  Glad to be getting out of the house for a few days!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Stress, Stress, Go Away

The Man and I have been busy busy lately!

I had my website go live at work this week, and it had some seriously issues at first.  My network administrator and I have been working at a breakneck pace to get it fixed and functioning correctly.  It still isn't there yet.  Hopefully the site will be acting properly by the weekend.  Only sixteen months later than I anticipated... ugh!  A labor of love, kind of, and yet so incredibly frustrating!

In addition to other work things that are stressful, The Man and I have formally begun our house hunt.  We're working with a realtor, have been pre-qualified by more than one bank, and have researched our mortgage options.  We took some home-buying classes last fall, and we've diligently been saving for a down-payment for many months.  Unfortunately we don't think we'll be able to find a house in our town in our price range (ugh, Corvallis officially sucks for being more expensive than Portland!).  And we've had to face some very hard truths when it comes to finances and what we can afford when we have children.

We found a great house on our very first trip out searching, but it was just too good to be true.  Even though we could afford it, and the house was absolutely amazing, it was actually too nice.  The house isn't even finished being built yet, and it is "nicer" than what our parents own (if you like those upgrades, which I could give or take).  The fact that the house is quite a ways from town didn't sit well.  We are also looking at selling any house we buy at some point, and the house had some oddities that we didn't mind, but those things make selling the house later a potential headache.  Mostly hunting for houses hurts my head.

So we keep looking.

Friday, May 04, 2012

La Mission: Review

I have had my eyes on a particular movie for several months now, and I finally got it from Netflix this week.  My Benjamin Bratt kick from earlier this year waned so when I got this movie I didn't exactly sprint to the TV. I slogged through a full week before I stuffed the disc into our player and sat down for a movie that wasn't calling to me very hard.

The synopsis from IMDB: Growing up in the Mission district of San Francisco, Che Rivera (Benjamin Bratt) has always had to be tough to survive. He's a powerful man respected throughout the Mission barrio for his masculinity and his strength, as well as for his hobby building beautiful lowrider cars. A reformed inmate and recovering alcoholic, Che has worked hard to redeem his life and do right by his pride and joy: his only son, Jes, whom he has raised on his own after the death of his wife. Che's path to redemption is tested, however, when he discovers Jes is gay. To survive his neighborhood, Che has always lived with his fists. To survive as a complete man, he'll have to embrace a side of himself he's never shown.

To get a few things out of the way straight off, the setting and imagery are absolutely stunning.  I'm not exaggerating one bit.  The low-rider cars, while not anything like I would own, are eccentric and beautiful.  Che's costuming is perfect.  The city backdrop couldn't be better.  The music plays a major role in the movie and doesn't disappoint one beat.

What struck me about the movie--aside from how pretty it was and how wow Benjamin Bratt is--was the genuineness.  Too often I watch movies that are compelling or acted well, and then I walk out of the theater and go, "wow, the acting was great!" and go about my day just like always.  La Mission is different: the acting isn't as much acting as living.  I didn't think, "oh, Bratt really convinced me he was Che," I thought, "holy cow, Che really exists!"  The story, the characters, the setting, the struggle, they all come to life so vividly and honestly.  I haven't seen that before.

Even if you're not a fan of Benjamin Bratt, give this movie a shot.  It stuck with me most of the day after I watched it, and I would watch it again any day.  I give it an 8/10.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

I Shouldn't Argue with Stupid People

Okay, first you need to go watch this clip about Pig Newtons by Louis CK.  He's a comedian, generally hilarious, and rather profane.  This clip will help you understand my rant.  Don't like swearing?  Sorry.

So recently I've found myself arguing with stupid people.  It pains me to go home at the end of a work day and explain to my husband how I--yet again--beat my head against a wall of stupid.  He humors me and helps me understand where I should exercise patience or click my brain-to-mouth filter back into place.  Slowly, ever so slowly, he's helping learn I shouldn't argue with stupid people:

"Jaggy, we're out of labels to run through the typewriter.  Can you order me some more?" should not have been followed by, "You know you can print labels using a label printer, right?" but should have been replied to with, "Yes, of course I will get you more labels that you can hammer away on using a typewriter from the stone age.  I'd be delighted to place an order from Bedrock Labels.  Would you like a papyrus and quill pen set also?"

"Jaggy, can you take some pictures of some people with my camera?" should not have been followed by, "Um, no, see my cell phone has a better camera than that thing, so maybe we'll use it instead." but should have been replied to with, "Absolutely, I'd love to use your 1.2 megapixel first-generation "digital" camera to capture pixelated images of some people.  We can even use this "flash" to create spectacular red-eye effects and blow out all color in the foreground!"

"Jaggy, here's a check, I think we need to deposit it.  I don't know who it is from, what it is for, or where it should go.  But I successfully deposited one exactly like this last month." should not have been followed by a blank stare.  That's all I could do.

Maybe I am learning not to argue...