Friday, October 31, 2008

Apparently I am a slow learner...

Last night, I was making roasted potatoes, which involves boiling potatoes and then tossing them with onion and garlic and spices and baking them for a while...easy.

So I filled the pot with water and put it on the back burner. I grabbed the wooden cutting board (you will see in a second why it is a very good thing I use a WOODEN cutting board...) and set it on the front burner, so I could cut up the potatoes and toss them in the not-yet-boiling water. Yeah, I know it's not the best idea (really, I KNOW it's not the best idea) to put the cutting board on the burner, but the side of the stove with the big back burner is next to the corner of the counter and there's no room to work on that side.

Then I promptly turned on the front burner. Not on purpose, but just like the faucet in our shower, it's the opposite of our stove in Tucson. (I kept adjusting the water colder when I meant to make it hotter when we first got here. I got over that pretty quickly, because I shower every day. Apparently I do not use the stove every day.)

After a half a minute or so, I smelled burning...For a second, I thought one of the kids had once again spilled something on the back burner. Then I saw a tiny wisp of smoke curling up from under the cutting board, and I realized what I had done. AGAIN.

That's right. Two of my wooden cutting boards now have circular rings of scorching on one side.

You would think that I would either stop putting the cutting boards on the burners OR start being more careful about which burner I turn on...

You would be wrong.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This is my life...

Tess and Thor came in the house with some Halloween decorations. Tess made a sudden lunge at Thor with some sort of torch, and said she had set her brother on fire.

Thor of course fell to the floor screaming and writhing.

And my response: "Tess, not in the house."

**************** ******************

Also, I would like to report that there was a mouse in the house for hours earlier this week, and the dogs never noticed.

A leaf blows across the back yard, they are on high alert.

The UPS truck and the mail man's jeep make them bark like crazy. A dog walks down our street, they are gonna let the world know.

But the fox that ran right outside their backyard and the mouse in their house -- they were completely oblivious.

You know, Mojo is pretty smart for a dog. But really, that's not saying much.

Routine tests

Those routine tests last week that turned into a call back for more testing...

I had the more testing this morning. Turns out everything is swell. I will get a letter in a couple weeks telling me everything is fine, and no further action needs to happen.

Which is great! I am so relieved that I am not going to add yet another drug or test or procedure to my already too big list of them.

I will, however, have to have this particular routine test more often than regular people do.

So, it seems that I am taking after my Dad, who we call the 1% guy, since with any procedure, any surgery, any treatment, any drug, he seems to be in the tiny percentage who have some weird or funky or bad reaction or unexpected result.

Makes life more interesting, I guess.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It was a mouse...

Yesterday I was reading Veronica's post about not the spider that was in her cleavage ...

Apparently earlier there was a spider in her cleavage at some point. She lives in Tasmania. I guess things like that happen there.

So I was writing a comment about how I saw a fox run across the street, and how I would rather have a fox outside than a spider the size of my hand in my bedroom. (Tasmania has big ass spiders.)

Tess started yelling for me, because she saw something run across her room and into her closet. I went up there and poked around a little, but not too much, because I really didn't want to find anything. Finding a mouse is for when Mark is there to deal with it.

I went back downstairs, and a couple minutes later Tess yelled again. She again saw something black run across the room and behind the door. I didn't see anything then. Tess by this point is sitting on her bed with her feet up because there is something on the floor.

Later, I was going out to the garage, and I saw a mouse -- well, a black blur -- shoot away from the door to the mud room and under Mark's tool chest.

(Our garage has room for both vehicles -- I know anyone who saw my garage in Tucson is stunned -- but there is stuff in boxes all the way around. That mouse could disappear forever as long as he stuck to the walls.)

Damn it. We had mice in The Netherlands, and it was an enormous pain trying to get rid of them. So I was thinking I would have to go get traps and set them out and then deal with the traps and sigh. I hate mice.

Later, after supper, Tess saw the mouse again, downstairs in the kitchen. We have a sideboard with the coffee pot and the espresso machine and all the mugs and cups in the kitchen, and two fruit boxes from Costco, for the recycling. The bottom one is full of glass and cans, the top one has paper and cardboard. The mouse was under the sideboard and then disappeared into the recycling box.

Thor at this point was squatting down a couple feet from the sideboard. Unfortunately the mouse didn't break his way, because he would have jumped a mile, I bet.

Eventually the kids got bored, since the mouse was in hiding.

A couple minutes later I heard this enormous noise of rattling glass and metal, and heard a couple tea bottles hit the floor. The noise repeated...

It was Mark, kicking the bottom recycling box into the wall. Twice. Because the mouse was behind the box. Then he -- and boy did this gross Tess out -- reached down AND PICKED THE MOUSE UP BY THE TAIL.

He thought it was dead, but the little feet were moving rather feebly. I dove for the back door and Mark swung and let the mouse fly over the back fence.

He felt kinda bad about that, knocking the mouse senseless and then tossing it into the cold. I, on the other hand, treated him as a hero.

Okay, well, I said "My hero." I didn't bake him a cake or sleep with him or anything. I didn't buy him a card.

He went to bed a couple minutes before me. When I climbed in next to him, he said "I slayed a mouse."

I laughed and reminded him that mice are nasty vermin. And that he is my hero.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


So I had the gastric emptying scan, the CT of my (empty) head, and an abdominal ultrasound. I have a anti-nausea med that works without sedating the hell out of me. I will be seeing my GI doc next week, to go over all the test results. And the nausea seems to be resolving itself for now. It flares some, but it's much better than it was. Hopefully it will be a while before I have to see the GI doc again.

Unfortunately, my diastolic blood pressure (that's the second number in a blood pressure reading) is a teeny bit high. So I am on a new drug to deal with that, before it becomes an issue. I have to see the doc around Christmastime, to see how my blood pressure is reacting to the drug.

Unfortunately I also have a horrible cold that turned into sinusitis and a great hacking cough, bad enough that I went to the doctor today. He gave me a bottle of Robitussin DM (one of the great things about military pharmacies is that they hand out those over-the-counter meds instead of making us go buy it ourselves. I love that.) The doc was also very happy that I didn't want an antibiotic.

I am not a big fan of taking antibiotics unless there is a real clear reason to do so. Sinusitis will clear up a day or two earlier maybe with antibiotics. That makes it definitely not worth taking to me, especially as antibiotics always always always give me a (warning! warning! TMI ahead! ) yeast infection. (I warned you. You could have jumped down to the next paragraph...)

I am not really loving the idea that this cough could hang on for six to eight weeks, which is coincidentally about how long it could take for the bp drug's side effect to kick in -- coughing and congestion. Woo. How thrilling is it that I could go from a hacking sick cough to a hacking allergy cough. I love my lungs.

The doctor also suggested today that I should talk to my GI doc about getting the pneumonia vaccine. Which is usually given to people 65 and older. (I will not be 65 for 21 years.) But I have a screwed up immune system. So, apparently, that means I have to take drugs like it's 2029.

And if that is not enough, I have to go in for further screening on a routine test. I am trying very hard not to freak out about it but I am a little freaked around the edges. Out of all the tests and labs and xrays and CT scans and radioactive egg sandwiches, this was the one test I thought was a formality. One of those tests you get to check that block and forget about it for a couple years. One of those things were I have no family history, no symptoms, no nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Everything's rosy.

Except I got the call back.

So Thursday morning I go in for more tests, and then everything will be fine. (fingers crossed.)

Monday, October 27, 2008


In August I flew down to Tucson for Zeke's freshman orientation at the U of A. On the flights back, I wrote the following bit o' fiction...

She stood in the skyway tram watching a plane lift off.

"Fall out of the sky," she thought. "Drop like a rock. Now."

The plane continued on it's steep trajectory, seemingly impervious to her command.

"Perhaps," she thought, "I don't want that plane to crash. If I crash a plane here, waiting for my own flight, I will be stuck here while they clean up the mess. I don't want that."

How tedious it would be to be stuck with this cross section of humanity: Those women of an earlier generation who wore their hair in curly helmets and mad one think of words like "twin set" and "cocktail hour".

Businessmen who droned endlessly and self-imprtantly of paradigms and globalization and made tedious barking phone calls to their wives and softer illicit calls to their assistants. The trekkers and adventurers, striding across the terminal in their smug hiking boots and thick socks as if they were still searching for the elusive yeti and great deals on new and exciting hallucinogens.

The people who dressed as if they were dining out at some upscale restaurant, celebrating Ed and Myrtle's 27th, and the ones dressed as if they were on a 2 am run to Taco Bell.

Screaming brats, college students prowling for cheap beer and cheaper sex. Grandparents steeling themselves for a week of too close contact with the fruit of their loins.

The ones with the faintest whiff of desperation, traveling to distant ports where they hope for the fountain of youth in the forms of dubious drugs, treatments of mud, seaweed or mammalian bodily fluids, and the attentions of rather scary plastic surgeons.

"Actually," she mused, " considering the caliber of passenger on most aircraft, I would be doing humanity a service in knocking a few planes outta the sky."

But then, she was hungry, and she fancied being hungry made her cranky in a low-blood sugary kind of way.

"Iit would be too inconvienent if I caused the plane to drop before i got out of this hellhole myself. Maybe I should just decide that's a plane full of future oncology patients obliviously flying off for one last glorious week at Disneyland," she scoffed to herself.

She found that a more satisfactory result -- her own cancer cluster that no researcher would or could ever trace, the only connection this group of unfortunates shared was crossing her line of sight while she was cranky, the only common cause for their doomed futures of tumors and radiation and chemo and pain was being the target of her ill will.

She was momentarily saddened by the realization she had no way to reassure herself that she had in fact cursed that plane full of people, but recovered when she glowered at a businessman who moments later spilled his soy latte down his pants leg.

Perhaps one would think she might have a twinge of guilt for condemning an entire planeload of strangers to painful death. One would be wrong. She in fact felt she was doing the world a favor, since she tought that humanity could benefit from a little thinning of the herd. There was always the off-chance the next Einstein or Elvis Costello could be thinned, but she thought the reduction of the human race by far outweighed that small risk.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another meme. A questionaire.

I found this in a draft. If I remember correctly, you must answer each question with a one word answer. So I did that. Then I answered some of them with the real answer.

1.Where is your mobile phone? counter
What it is, annoying, horrible, old.

2.Your significant other?

3.Your hair?
ugh, meh, desperate need of cutting

4.Your mother? amazing

5.Your father?

6.Your favorite thing?

7.Your dream last night?
Really. The dreams I remember are always weird or lame or not for public consumption.

8.Your favorite drink? water
Because right now I shouldn't drink coffee, pop is bad for you, diet pop is horrible for you, carbonated beverages make me nauseated, juice has lots of sugar, milk is not great for Crohn's patients. That leaves water and iced tea. Except tea has caffeine. So. Water it is.

9.Your dream/goal?
A huge shed with water, washer and dryer for dyeing fabric, a room for paper crafting like scrapbooking and rubber stamping, a room for my sewing machine and all my fabrics, computer and a super printer for photography. And a big lock for privacy.

10.The room you’re in?

11.Your ex?
What more is there to say?

12.Your fear?
More specifically, clowns will eat me. I don't know. I don't have fears really. My kids choking. Global warming. POTUS Sarah Palin.

13.Where do you want to be in 6 years? dunno
I don't know where I will be in six days or six months, much less six years. In six hours, however, I will be asleep.

14.Where were you last night? bed

15.What you’re not?

16.Muffins? poppyseed

17.One of your wish list items?

18.Where you grew up? town

19.The last thing you did? breathed

20.What are you wearing?
A cosy old sweatshirt that has holes in the cuffs. I put my thumbs through the holes to pull my sleeves down over my hands.

21.Your TV?
The TV show. That's what we are watching. Lots of the time I have MSNBC or CNN on.

22.Your pets?
Two dogs, Mojo and Abe. We adore them, except when I walk them, at which time they are a pain in the ass.

23.Your computer? annoying

24.Your life?

25.Your mood?

26.Missing someone?

27.Your car?
Old. Beat up. Red. I love my 'Burb.

28.Something you’re not wearing?

29.Favorite Store?

30.Your summer?
Third coldest summer ever in Anchorage. Gray. Gloomy. Cold.
31.Like someone?

32.Your favorite color?
Orange. Blue.

33.When is the last time you laughed?

34.Last time you cried? dunno

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Weekly Winners...

Yay! I am getting my computer bugs worked out, which means I can get at my photos with my new and not insanely slow computer! Which means it's time once again for those weekly winners!!!

Weekly Winners is the fevered brainchild of Lotus. ! ! !
There are many more fabulous Weekly Winners to be found HERE!

I know I am cheating here, but I haven't been able to post any Weekly Winners for quite a while. So I am catching up...some of these have been trapped in the old computer, and some of them are ones I took a while ago, and altered with Photoshop this week!

As always, the dogs:

Abe likes to swipe cardboard boxes from the recycling bin.

Mojo and Abe playing in the backyard. Before it started snowing.

Berries and spider webs

Autumn reflected in the Eagle River

Birch forest in the fall

My flowers before the complete lack of sunshine stunted them. (These are a this week Winner, because I did the impressionist brush altering to the photo this week! The plants are a memory, though, all dead from the frosts weeks ago. Sigh.)

The first snowfall and the reason my flowers are dead. This was a couple weeks ago. I think our first snowfall in here Anchorage this fall was the first week of October. Really really different from Tucson.

Sunshine on the Chugach Mountains after the first snowfall. This is the view from our back yard. We really like the view.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Photoshop Elements.

I am loving playing around with Elements. I can take a snapshot, a decent shot but one where the background is too busy, or the whole thing is in focus instead of just the subject, or one that is cute but not fab, and whammo!

Suddenly the busy background is gone, the focus is on the subject, not the stuff behind them, and that cute snap is a great framable shot.

Like these:

Downtown Anchorage has salmon sculptures. I really like this one:

But it's on a busy street and there is no good background. So I did this...

A little weird, but the focus is definitely on the fish sculpture. When I have some more time I am going to experiment with photos and images of water and photoshop the sculpture onto them.

I like this picture of Tess, but it's a too dark and gloomy, and when I tried to lighten it up, Tess' red shirt got way too bright for the rest of the photo.

I messed around with it for a while, and managed to dull down just a bit her red shirt, while brightening her face (I am not thrilled with the dodge and burn tools, because they don't seem to work the same way twice. I am sure that is me, not the program...).

I also sharpened it to give it a grainy feel. I didn't originally plan to make it that grainy and sharp, but I really like the way it turned out.

There are also some really awesome tools that completely change a photo. I have this shot of a path through the woods. Nice shot...

I used the Posterize filter and the result is kinda fun, the birch tree trunk is suddenly turquoisy:

Then I noticed the impressionist brush tool. My new favorite toy!

I am sure you will see more of landscapes altered with that impressionist brush, because it's so much fun to play with.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


It was a lovely sunny fall afternoon, and we were driving around the gravel roads near and accidentally on the firing ranges of Fort Richardson.

I took dozens of photos. I wanted this photo:

So my guy...

when I said, "hey, there's one," slammed on the brakes, threw the Suburban into reverse, and destroyed the right rear tire.

Mark got busy with the jack and the spare tire and all that...

I took a couple more photos of the unexploded ordinance sign, and some other photos...

Several people drove by (we were rather out in the middle of nowhere). Most of them stopped to see if we need help -- "nope, just a flat." (If you are going to have problems, having problems on or near a military installation is the way to go. Those are some seriously helpful people.)

He really really destroyed that tire.

Lucky for us we got to the auto repair near our house just before it closed, so we could drop off the tire and see if anything was salvagable (nope. We ended up buying four new rims and tires -- the rims and tires were wider than normal, and hard to find here. It worked out okay, because we got studded snow tires a couple hours before it started to snow for the first time. People ended up waiting hours to get their snow tires installed a couple days later, when it got slippery for the first time.)

The guy at the service station laughed when he saw our tire.

We were parked behind the building, the north side of the building. I noticed this moss

growing on the side of the building below a drainpipe.

It was a good couple of hours, even with the destruction. I think this may be Denali, the highest peak in North America.

Even with getting lost and destroying a tire, we still managed to find our way back to civilization and Costco. I love that -- I am out away from people and cars and noise and everything, and then half an hour later I am at Costco. Peace and quiet and giant economy-size bags of rice. And somebody to change my tire.

What more could a girl need?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Before and After.

I used to be here...

Now I am here.

You just never know, you know?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

No one who knows me would be surprised...

to see the results of this poll. The only surprise to me is the 25% conservative in the defense and crime category.

Your Political Profile:

Overall: 5% Conservative, 95% Liberal

Social Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Glad it wasn't me...

The other day, a couple of teenagers that live across the playground from me were snowboarding down a little hill in their back yard. (You can see the slope between the houses in this photo. Also note the picket fences around our backyards. They are made of PVC.)

They had some sort of bar or table or something that they were sliding across at the bottom.

I glanced out the kitchen window and saw one of the kids slide down the hill, across the little bar or table or whatever, and then fall over backwards and knock one of the pickets out with his head.

Some days you just have to take your giggles where you can find them...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Breast Cake.

It was Thor's birthday last weekend.

I always make them cakes. I usually wait too late, and then am scrambling to finish the dang things and sometimes that makes things interesting.

Thor really likes this game Spore. In Spore, you start as a teeeny tiny single cell creature, and as you grow a brain, you evolve and get to design your creature.

It is awesomely fun to design creatures in Spore.

You can also play online, and send your creature to other peoples' universes...Somebody discovered that you can make creatures that look like a penis. So people create penis creatures and send them to other peoples' universes.

So I thought I would make a Spore creature for Thor's birthday cake. Thor likes to put lots of eyes on his creatures, and eyes are pretty easy to make, so it was gonna be a six-eyed Spore Creature cake.

You know what else is easy to make with cupcakes? Breasts.

Yup. Thor's birthday cake didn't look like a six-eyed Spore Creature, it looked like a six-boobed Spore Creature.

Now it was his 16th birthday, and there is a certain rightness about having a boob birthday cake when you are a 16 year old boy.

Unless of course YOUR MOM MADE THE CAKE. Then it is just disturbing. And wrong.

So I scraped the nipples off, and redid the cupcakes so they looked like alien boobs eyes.

On the other hand, now I know exactly what to make for Mark's next birthday cake.

A Spore Penis Creature cake, of course.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Things I Didn't Know Before I Moved to Alaska.

Alaska really is a different place. I had no idea.

See that bright orange thing under Mojo's chin? That's a bear bell.
A BEAR bell.
You strap it to yourself when walking through the woods, so that the bears hear you coming and wander away.

Personally I think it's a better idea to just wait for all the bears to go down for their long winter naps, but my husband doesn't think walking past every store on each floor at the mall is a hike.

So instead we wander the woods, near salmon streams, and depend on $2.95 worth of metal and velcro to save us from the bears.

Apparently Alaska saps IQ points.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Random Photos.

I have been trying to organize my photos on my new computer.

I got Photoshop Elements 6 for Christmas this year (yes, I am fully aware that it is not Christmas yet. That's right, Marilyn, not only did I open a present early, I opened it three months early.)

So it found somewhere around 15,000 photos on my external hard drive and cataloged them all into one big pile. Didn't import the folders or the tags or any of that stuff. Ugh.

So to be able to find the photos I want, I have to once again go through and sort them all. 15,000 photos. I have done a couple hundred.

Because instead of sorting photos continuously, I keep stopping to play with them.

The results of my playtime:

Abe thinks the recycling bin is his toy bin. Any box or plastic bottle that hits the bin is fair game for him.

Wild flowers.

Amazingly enough, when I yelled "dance!" to the kids when I was taking pictures, they danced. I cut them out of the photo (Thor was tough to cut out. He ended up in pieces on several layers). Then I used motion blur on another copy of the photo, and dropped the cut out kids on top of it.

I was trying to do the same thing with a photo of Mojo. But the first time I cut him out of the photo, for some reason I accidentally left his tongue behind...

So I started over, and ended up with this photo...

I still hadn't figured out the selection tool, so I couldn't cut out Moj without taking some of the rocks with him. But I like how Moj and the rocks he is standing on are the only things in focus in the photo. I really like the way the motion blur echoes the "grain" of the rocks.

If you click on the photos, you can see them big. Because I take really big photos...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Moving in.

I know I moved in a while ago, but I was digging through my photos and found these...

I have no idea why this box is labeled "cowherd". It's not from this move, because Mark's rank is listed as O4, and he's an O5 these days, so I think it's from when we moved from Fort Lewis to the Netherlands. It's from the kitchen, and I think I had rather a plethora of cows in my kitchen in Lewis, so perhaps it's just a joke by the guy who packed up my kitchen...The world will never know.

I was rather unhappy to find that several vital parts of my espresso machine were not packed with the rest of it. My kids are now in love with it because I use it to steam milk for their hot chocolate. Tess really appreciates the hot chocolate after that chilly walk home from school.

This summer we explored a little up in Arctic Valley -- there's a ski slope there, so I am sure we will be spending plenty of time there this winter. It was a cloudy day -- no surprise there, it was cloudy all freakin' summer -- you can tell from the grayish feel to the photos. The dogs got to run around without leashes. That's a huge treat for Abe, because he is completely untrustworthy and never gets to be off the leash.

A burrow of some kind.

We are so very happy to no longer live in the desert...

Thor poking around in the snow. Yup, there were small patches of snow up in the Chugach Mountains this summer. It was a very cold summer.

Mojo loves hikes.

Mojo was behind me on the path, running flat out. Unfortunately I happened to be walking past a mud puddle just as he went tearing past...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

It's snowing again!

I am still having issues with photos and computers and being able to upload very tedious.

But I did manage to get these two photos from a couple days ago -- this is our first snowfall of the season. Tess made a little snowman (she also smashed it with a shovel, but I didn't get a photo of the carnage.).

The other is what made ME happy -- after the snow, the skies cleared and we had a little sunshine. That's the view out of Zach's window. (I know Zach lives in Tucson, but when he is here that's his room. And it's where his shoes are...I think one pair of shoes is about all he has here at the moment.)

Monday, October 06, 2008


I am a great cook and I love to cook. Especially since I decided to stop catering to my kids' tastes -- like when I make a honey/balsamic vinaigrette pasta with peppers and broccoli and onion and olives and mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes and fresh tomatoes, I figure they can pick around the veggies they don't like. Although if I am feeling especially benevolent, I might heat up some tomato-based sauce for them instead of forcing them to eat my much better stuff.

My newest recipe, and one I made up (based on but very different from something I saw Gordon Ramsay do)...It's insanely fussy. The last time I made it it took me an hour and a half, but damn it is worth it. (When I have my son and his girlfriend in the kitchen, it goes much more quickly.)

Chicken stuffed with mushrooms with a honey/balsamic glaze.

Butterfly and flatten 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (Ikea has a great meat tenderizer that is really cheap. Otherwise cover the chicken with waxed paper and whack it with something til it's pretty flat.)

the filling: sliced fresh white mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh chopped parsley, fresh grated Parmesan cheese, and a couple cloves of garlic run through a garlic press.

Here's where it gets a little complicated. Take a sheet of aluminum foil (maybe 16"?) and lay 4 slices of bacon (not thick sliced) on it, with the long edges of the bacon touching. Put some of the filling on the flattened chicken, roll the chicken up around the filling, and place it in the middle of the bacon. Wrap the bacon around the chicken roll, and then wrap the whole thing in foil. Wrap it tight and seal the edges.

notes: make sure the bacon covers the whole thing. don't worry about the bacon overlapping. use plenty of filling. roll the chicken up as tight as you can, but don't worry. the parboiling really cooks the whole thing together, so when you slice it later, it stays in rolls. although last time I used thick sliced bacon and it didn't work as well. I told you, this is an insanely complicated recipe...

Drop the foil package in boiling water for 20 to 25 minutes. That fully cooks the food, but the bacon is pale and floppy, not good and crispy.

So you have to unwrap them (carefully, the little suckers are hot) and slice the rolls. Probably an inch and a half wide slices. Now you have little bacon-wrapped chicken pinwheels. Brown them in a frying pan to crisp up the bacon.

Except I am going to try broiling them next time I make it, since that way you can do all the slices at once and perhaps lose some of the fat.

Whew. Now the chicken is done, but while you are doing the chicken, you must also make the pasta side and the honey balsamic glaze...

I use farfalle or rotini whole wheat pasta. Boil it while the chicken is finishing up. I never manage to get the pasta and glaze and veggies and chicken done all at exactly the same time. Nobody's perfect.

Saute in olive oil peppers (I use the mini sweet vine peppers from Costco, or bell peppers) and onions. This is kind of a timing thing, the leftover mushroom filling, fresh tomato -- I use grape tomatoes sliced in half -- chopped up broccoli, black and/or green olives, whatever other veggie I have laying around, get tossed into the pan with the sauted onions and peppers just long enough to heat them up (I hate overcooked broccoli). Then I add balsamic vinegar, a little honey, a dash of soy sauce, and a tablespoon or so of brown sugar to the sauted vegetables. This is a taste thing, if you add too much honey or brown sugar, it gets a little too sweet.

I know I am annoying, because I never measure anything when I am cooking. Ever.

Toss the vegetables with the pasta. Make an extra bit of the glaze with the vinegar, honey, soy sauce and brown sugar to pour over the chicken slices, or make the vegetables without the glaze and make the glaze separately.

Serve with garlic bread and a decent wine. Maybe a spinach salad. And sit back and wait for the raves.

(Obviously, the honey/balsamic vinaigrette pasta with peppers and broccoli and onion and olives and mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes and fresh tomatoes is the recipe above without all the chicken fuss.)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Ironic...And waaaay TMI. I suggest you don't read it.

You're reading it. I wash my hands of it being TMI. You were warned...

Yesterday I willingly ate a radioactive sandwich.

Yesterday afternoon it suddenly occurred to me that I take 6 pills a day to reduce my chances of getting colon cancer -- people with Crohn's have a much higher risk of getting it, I guess because instead of smooth healthy happy shiny cells lining our intestinal tracts we have cranky irritable damaged ucky cells lining our intestinal tracts, and those suckers are much more likely to go mutant.

(Yeah. I have a truly scientific mind, no?)

So suddenly it occurs to me that I have radioactive poo working it's way down my colon. And in my truly scientific mind, radioactive egg + cranky colon = cancer.

Not really. I know it was a very weakly radioactive bit of egg, and that the risks of this test are small.

But in my non-rational part of the brain, I am thinking "I need to poo. I need to poo."

And true to my uncooperative digestive tract, I didn't have to poo. Not as soon as I would have liked, at least.

Good news, though, the new anti-nausea drug seems to work, without sedating the hell out of me. Woot!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Radioactive Egg Sandwich done!

Tedious, mostly. I had to eat a sandwich made from microwaved and radioactive egg white and dry toast, with half a glass of water. It was a little hard to swallow, since it was pretty dang dry. Because they need a solids study, not a liquids study. Apparently we don't care how fast my gut processes liquids.

Then I had to lay still for 90 minutes while the machine that was 4 inches from my nose watched that egg travel from my stomach into my small and then large intestines. That was a little unnerving at first, having this big box right over me. I was very grateful it wasn't completely over my face.

I am thinking I do not have a problem with my stomach emptying too slowly, since the sandwich made it to my large intestine in 50 minutes.

(Were I to work in the Nuclear Medicine Element, I would want to have two patients take this test at the same time and place bets on whose sandwich moves through the fastest.)

Laying on my back on a narrow bed without moving for 90 minutes sucks. Things itch, my body doesn't like lying flat without moving so muscles start to hurt. And my sleeves were bugging me -- I had to pull them up to eat the sandwich (don't want to drag your sleeves through your radioactive breakfast) and I forgot to pull them down again. It's a new sweatshirt and they were a little tight around my forearms.

Fortunately I had my IPod, and fortunately I had almost exactly 90 minutes of battery power...I think it would have died in another couple minutes. I listened to a podcast of NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me radio show, which was great but also hard because it's funny and I had to try not to laugh or laugh without moving. (It's a great current events quiz show. Very funny. The podcasts are available on ITunes for free.)

Also, laying on my back is about the only position where I tend not to feel nauseated. So I hardly at all felt like I was going to throw up (nice change from the other time I was in Nuclear Medicine having a scan of my lungs done to make sure I didn't have a pulmonary embolism. That time I threw up in their garbage cans three times, including one time right after I had spent 10 minutes filling my lungs with radioactive dust, so that they had to treat that particular garbage can's contents as radioactive. For a couple of weeks, the hospital had a garbage bag with my radioactive vomit in their lead-lined vault. Woo.)

In a couple weeks I have the ultrasound of my gut. I also have a new drug -- Zofran -- to try for the nausea. I haven't tried it yet -- I didn't want to take one the night before the gastric emptying scan in case it's another one of those drugs that knocks me on my ass. I think I will try it tonight, depending of course on whether or not I am feeling nauseated.

Thus my medical adventures continue...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Okay, Why?

I was just on my gmail account, and there was an ad for a recipe site...

The recipe they were using to lure me to visit them?

Spam quiche.

That is just wrong.

On the other hand, is this a sign of how bad the economy has become, that even the elite are forced to eat Spam?

As a Minnesotan, I would like to apologize on behalf of the entire state and tell you we are truly sorry for foisting Spam on the rest of the world.

But if you happen to be in Austin, Minnesota, you can visit the Spam Museum. It's FREE!

(I just spent like two minutes on the Spam website, until the nausea drove me away. At least this time there's a reason for my nausea...)

How did I not see this coming?

Donna commented on my head CT yesterday...

Oh, and since you have a good sense of humor... your head CT showed nothing there, huh? That explains a lot. :)

Funny, Donna.

I think one thing that did not come across yesterday is that I do feel fortunate, the Remicade treatments are keeping the Crohn's under control, other than the nausea. And chronic nausea is preferable to some of the things other people with Crohn's suffer. I just get cranky about it sometimes. :)