Monday, September 5, 2011

New Thing #18--31 Days of Fun, Days 22-31

Day 22-26:
You guessed it. Slacked, have no recollection or written account of what I did, probably did nothing cool. Wahwahwah, worst blogger ever. Moving on.

Day 27:
On this day we had our big August Birthday Bash! Three of our friends (plus me!) all have a birthday within a week of each other, so four-ish years ago we started having a big birthday party for all of us! Derrick is the best & really took the reins on this party & planned an awesome relay race that led into a photo scavenger hunt throughout the surrounding towns. My team came in third of four, but I got a kick-ass, creepy cat statue, so all is well in the world.

Highlights of the relay race & scavenger hunt--a friend puking up watermelon into our sink, flipping off a car full of friends as they tried to take a surveillance-type photo of us for points, taking a big group photo with strangers who were having some sort of party in front of their house & the series of ridiculous shots we took on the town beach. Yay!

After all that fun nonsense we all gathered in the cellar, which D had set up like a theater with rows of seats (adorable) & reviewed everyone's photos for point tallying. Then the night continued on as normal, with lots of food, laughs, drinks & gifts.

D made this delicious chocolate hazelnut cake--mmmm! This is one of the very few photos we took that night--whoops.

Day 28:
Due to the approaching hurricane (later downgraded to tropical storm)Irene, the day of the party was unfortunately quite dreary, which cancelled our plans of having the party outside with a fire, torches, badminton & the like.

The day after the party D & I woke (after 4 hours of sleep) to a loud bang. We never figured out what it was, but we were up. The rain & wind was picking up & after a short while we lost power. Luckily we have a gas stove, so I made pancakes & we basically lounged for the rest of the day. We worked on a puzzle that we last worked on probably about 2.5 years ago, we napped, we read, we ate, we listened to our battery powered radio, we napped some more.

At 7:30am D braved the outdoors to take in the mail we forgot to take in the previous day--we were worried the wind would make the mailbox fly open.

Some time around 6pm or so the weather had quieted down & we decided to go for a drive to get out of the house. I was lazy & chose to go out wearing what I had been wearing all day, which were essentially my pajamas. Normally I am anti-pajamas in public, but I figured they looked kinda sporty & it was a tropical storm, dude! Rules need not apply, amiright?

Our neighborhood fared pretty well, but just two roads away had some serious damage, mostly in the way of large branches or trees that were no longer standing. We moseyed on down to the beach & watched the crazy ocean for awhile. The big waves were coming fast & on a diagonal, leaving only about 10 feet of actual beach free of water (though it sometimes was covered by particularly big waves). Nuts!

On the way home we stopped to get some ice to pack our fridge & freezer & geez, it was eerie out. You don't realize how much noise & light is generated just by electricity & gadgets until it's gone. We got home, lit about 300 candles & went about making dinner & sorting out the fridge & ice situation. After some aggravation we finally sat down to watch an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on our charged laptop & not 5 minutes went by til the power came back! It was a slight bummer because it was nice being free of electrical distractions & sort of camping out in our house, but it was a relief to know that we'd have power the next day. Oh, roughing it!

My cutenesses! Lu enjoyed the stormy weather like any awesome cat would.

Days 29-30:
See days 22-26.

Day 31:
Something fun that I've never done before is turning 28! Holy crap, that's old. I donned my new polka dot dress & prepared for the day, feeling spunky & happy.

My birthday self-portrait for birthday #28. My hair still looked pretty good from my haircut the previous day, nice! (growing out my hair is on hold, as waiting for hair to grow is boring)

D was lovely enough to take the day off with me, & we finally went for breakfast on the patio at Crazy Burger. So. Freaking. Good. Zucchini latkes? A grilled cinnamon bun?? A GRILLED CINNAMON BUN!?! Good gravy, that was tasty.

We popped back home to gather some things & headed over to Beavertail for some relaxing time by the sea rock climbing,ridiculous photo shoots, sea glass hunting, basking in the sun & getting our clothes wet from playing in the gorgeous water too much.

Evidence of our silly photo shoot AND my new dress. Leggings were added at the beach as I didn't want to recreate the great butt flashing of birthday 2010.

One of the first things we did was head up my favorite rock, which forms a sort of platform & seating area. First I noticed this:

Seagull crab snacklings, I presume.

And then I noticed this:

Whaaaat?? It's like a seagull saw an owl's pellet, got jealous & decided to make one that was even more badass. Seriously, this was about the size of a golf ball, & while I didn't touch it (gross), it seemed to be made entirely of shell & bone. Crazy!! Up til my birthday I didn't even know seagulls made pellets; what a treat!

It was such a beautiful day; pretty ideal in every way, really. You can really see how the waves have carved out gentle ridges in the rock. Love!

Afterwards we had a few people over for a little family-feelin' cookout followed by s'mores around the fire. And I got presents!

I was given a lot of fantastic things for my birthday (funny t-shirts, pretty jewelry, books & a bunch of Lush stuff to name a few), but two took the prize. Derrick, being the mastermind that he is, not only got me an amazing banjo (which I have been pining over for quite some time--pictures to follow), but he also booked a trip for he & I to go to California! In three weeks!! We'll be visiting my friend & her boyfriend & going to a sing-a-long of the Sound of freakin' Music at the Hollywood Bowl (ohmygodicannoywait!), along with attending a taping of the Ellen show, hopefully getting a behind the scenes lot tour(Stars Hollow!), sticking my feet in the Pacific Ocean & eating a lot of good food! It's going to be soooo fun & I cannot wait. I've been kicking myself for all 3-4 years that my friend has lived out there for never actually making a visit happen, but now it is thanks to my leetle husband.

And as August & my birthday passes us by (it has always been so bittersweet), so does my sort of successful 31 Days of Fun Project. My posting record wasn't great, but it was better than it normally is. I hope you enjoyed my mundane fun times & I hope to wow you with a few better clam handles in the months to come.

If you'll excuse me, I have to go pretend to understand & study chemistry. Ugh. I am so screwed.

PS if you're good at chemistry, help!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Thing #18--31 Days of Fun, Days 20-21

Day 20:
We found out that the strike was over!!! D said he's never been so happy to go back to work, ever. It is definitely a relief, & here's hoping that they don't go back on strike if the company decides to suck again. So, yeah, awesome.

I then went to work, tried a $40 per pound cheese, headed home, called 911 because of an accident on 95, swung by Target & then went to work on catching up with these here blog entries. Not bad, not bad.

Day 21:
We went out to breakfast because, yay, no strike! We can do stuff again! We saw our favorite waitress & she informed us that she knows our friend Shannon. Oh, Rhode Island! Afterwards we did some errands, which included getting a delicious peach pie at Schartner Farms to share with Tristan & Laurel, as they were coming over so Tristan could hook up our outdoor speakers for us. It all looks & sounds great, so yay! Now we don't have to blast music from the parlor when we want to listen to music while we're outside. A plus, for sure.

While I waited for dinner to cook I tied up some of our cayenne peppers to dry on a string. We planted a cayenne pepper bush in our garden this year, & holy hell do we have a lot of cayenne peppers. What's cool is that once they're dry we'll be able to make our own cayenne powder. Cool! Behold my rudimentary cayenne bundle, which is currently hanging over our kitchen sink.

Disregard the overall crappiness of this picture, along with the window in need of a wash. Look at the peppers we grew!

What I didn't know & have learned is that cayenne peppers only turn red after you pick them & they start to dry. Huh! The plan is to add to this string as we pick peppers. It's gonna be huge, dudes. Huge.

New Thing #18--31 Days of Fun, Days 15-19

Day 15:
Not much happened. I went back to work (drag) & the second week of the strike & picketing started for D. Good times, good times. I do think, however, that we watched a bunch of Psych episodes while folding laundry. So there was that!

Day 16:
Rinse & repeat. Add excessive worrying about the strike & there you have it. Ick.

Day 17:
I was off this Wednesday & after D picketed we headed out to East Matunuck & met up with his aunt & "little" cousins. We spent some time in the water (it was super seaweed-y that day!) & caught up with the family. It was a much needed relaxing time in the sun by the ocean.

Also, we did something that was really hard. We resisted Crazy Burger. It was murdah! But we were good doobies & opted to save our pennies--not knowing how long we'd have them--& instead made super yummy falafel at home. Behold, thrift & control!

Day 18:
See days 15 & 16. I'm pretty sure I'm really boring. Maybe I said something crazy & hilarious to Lucy the cat, though. In fact, I'm sure of it.

Oh! I tried canary melon at work. It was pretty good! Really sweet & juicy. I've been on a bizarre melon kick the last few days. Bizarre because other than watermelon, I've never really like melon all that much. However, today I noticed that after my two slices of cantaloupe my throat felt kinda weird. Hmmmm...

Day 19:
After work, I swung by the library to pick up the book on qigong that I reserved. While there I perused the books-for-sale shelves & picked up a Roald Dahl children's book for myself & a Goosebumps by RL Stine book (holy nostalgia! they also had a Fear Street book) for D for a total of $.50. Nice! Additionally, I renewed my human-animal interaction/psychology book (super interesting so far!) & paid part of my ludicrous $5-6 late fees. Oops. Vacation makes you forget about due dates & stuff. Head hung in shame, I drove home.

After lounging around for a bit & nearly dozing off, the boy & I decided to head out to the beach. This time we went to Charlestown Beach, which was suggested to D by a co-picketer. We got there late so we luckily didn't have to pay to park, & the beach was populated but not overly crowded. The sand was super soft (compared to the coarse sand of East Matunuck that I love anyway) & there was quite a drop-off to get to the water. There is also a pretty epic view of Block Island, which looks deceptively close from the shore. We laid on our towels (forgot the blanket in the car because we were both space cadets yesterday) & read for awhile. Ate some cantaloupe. I fell asleep in my book & woke to D piling sand in the bend of my knee.

Mr. Husband chose to go in the water, but by this point it was about 5:30pm, the air had cooled & the water felt frigid to me, not refreshing (I really am getting old). So I people-watched while D swam around like a cute-cute (sorry).

Later, we headed home, showered the sunblock & saltwater off of ourselves, made a quick dinner & headed to a friend's to play some games. One game in, though, I was struck with my random lady plague, turned white as a sheet & had to be whisked home by my loving husband. Bummer! At least my team won the one game of Identity Crisis we got to play.

Once home I crawled into bed & watched about 7 minutes of Corner Gas (we are huge fans of this odd & entertaining Canadian show) until I fell asleep & stayed asleep 'til 10am this morning. Aaaaaaaah :)

More coming soon, I swear!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New Thing #18--31 Days of Fun, Days 8-14

Holy crap, can you say "worst project do-er ever"?!? Shameful. Tsk, tsk, tsk. I'm so behind on posting that I don't even remember what I did on certain days (because I also managed to forget to write stuff down). Also, some of these are kinda lame. Ok, without further ado, let's go!

Day 8:
I made refrigerator pickles with our own garden-grown cucumbers!

Behold my fancy crinkle-cut knife in the foreground. First time using it for pickles. It made me stupidly happy.

Unfortunately, I wasn't totally into these pickles this time around. I thought they tasted weird. Their taste bummed me out, despite the cuteness of their crinkles. D liked them though, but maybe he was just being a darling husband, because there's still a metric buttload in the fridge. It's totally possible he was, because that's what he is all the time, anyway. *smush*

Also, while watering the plants in our backyard I noticed that the bird's nest on the crook of our gutter that had been vacant since after the spring birdies left is once again occupied with red-breasted robins. Yay! So cute.

We have tons of these in our backyard. I chose this photo (not my own!) because the bird looks hilariously indignant.

Day 9:
Had our monthly girls' night at my friend Crystal's house. (Hi, Crystal!) It was nice eating mostly bad-for-us food, drinking wine & catching up on happenings & gossip with the ladies. We had missed the prior month's gathering & a good night was had by all! There was also the added fun of colorful conversation & quotes regarding pregnancy, labor & all sorts of other lady business. Here, here!

Day 10:
This day was spent working & coming home to clean & pack for our weekend trip with friends to Vermont. Ayup.

Day 11:
D & I were Vermont-bound on this day. Neither of us had ever been to Vermont before! Isn't that nuts?

We were staying just over the New Hampshire border & drove through Franconia Notch to get to our destination, which was our friend's uncle's winter mobile home on a country road. I hadn't been through the White Mountains since I was about 13, and it was really nice to make the drive as an adult. Holy crap, is it gorgeous. It's nice to be able to appreciate it now.

Here's a through-the-window-of-a-moving-car shot I took as we were nearing the park.

While on the road you pass the historic site of what was once the Old Man in the Mountain. RIP Old Man, RIP.

Once we arrived at "camp," we got settled, mingled, relaxed & tore through some trails with the ATV. Oh yes, the ATV. It was my first time ever on one, & let me tell you, it's pretty frightening at first.

Here I am on my first ATV ride with Tristan. Photo by Kyle.

It's also really, really fun. It's startling because you feel really high up on the vehicle, in addition to feeling fairly unsafe while zipping down a narrow, bumpy as hell dirt "road" lined with large trees, ditches, rocks, puddles & not-super-far-away hilly cliff-like things. All of those things also make it exhilarating.

I drove it a couple times too, & holy crap is that fun. I took it out onto the main road shortly after the above photo was taken (& by taking it out on the main road, I mean I missed the turn off trail back to our plot of land) & brought it up to almost 40MPH uphill. Good times!

Also, ATVs turn Derrick into a little, maniacal boy. Also fun!

Day 12:
It was Friday morning, & we woke smelling of the prior night's campfire. After spending some time in the woodsy Vermont air, drowsily reading by the still-smoldering fire, Derrick & I made a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon & toast for everyone. Afterwards, we took our morning constitutional to become one with nature & aid digestion.

On this!

We also had a golf cart to play around in! It's pretty funny how driving vehicles that are not actual cars is still super fun as a "grown up." We all had a blast using this thing, & it came in handy for the multiple golf cart vs ATV races/apple battles that were held in the yard.

D & I were saying how much we'd love to have a golf cart someday, but how it would probably get out of hand & we'd use it to make the 60-foot trip to the mailbox.

Also on this day we went to Littleton, NH to go to a big candy store & get lunch at the Littleton Diner. It's been featured on the Food Network's 50 Best Breakfasts. It was so cool inside (I forgot to take a picture like a ninny) & I had a locally stone-ground buckwheat pancake, which was featured on the show, because hey, it's supposed to be really good! And it was delicious. Nutty, a little chewy & smothered in VT maple syrup. Please sir, may I have some more?

Day 13:
After spending the entire morning & a couple hours of the afternoon lazing about & reading under the apple trees after a breakfast of pancakes, some of us got antsy. So most of us piled into a car & headed to nearby NH Forest Lake. After a whirlwind of a trip, which included me in the most uncomfortable "bitch seat" in a car ever & getting "lost" on a steep, winding dirt road in the middle of the woods we finally got to our destination.


Oh, right. The view.
Right?? Also, that dog was adorable.

Agent Cooper, is that you?

The day was pleasantly warm but not hot, so despite having my bathing suit with me I wasn't planning to swim. But after sticking my feet in the cool, amazingly clear water I decided that I just had to go in. I was only in for about 10 minutes (which was enough, it was cold!), but it was lovely & I'm glad I made the effort of getting & changing into my suit & all that business. Beauteous!

Day 14:
On this day we headed home. You know how it is heading home from a vacation? No matter how short of long it is, ugh. Just ugh. You're sad to be leaving & you aren't looking forward to the voyage home. You just want to BE there! Luckily, the trip back to RI wasn't too bad (I was helped by candy & a brief nap), & singing Mumford & Sons on the winding highway through the mountains didn't hurt either. Once we got home we made a quick dinner & vegged, all the while trying to get our cat to not hate us for leaving.

Though, before we left VT we took a drive down the road from the campsite, to a farm that had a sign boasting their own maple syrup & belted galloway cows, one of my favorites. We drove around their property looking for a sugar shack, cows, a farm stand or any sign of life, really. We found only a cute piece of property where no one was home but a slightly-too-skinny horse (grumble) & a lovely li'l donkey. No one was home & no syrup was to be had, boohoo!

Stay tuned...

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Thing #18--31 Days of Fun, Days 3-7

I'm backed up already, oi vey! I'm the worst. Ok, fun(ish) attack starting now!

Day 3:
On this day I FINALLY signed up for my Chemistry class *grooooooooooooan*
I need to manage a C for these credits to transfer over to URI & then I will officially get my degree & slap it up on the wall next to D's. Also, this was my first venture over to the Knight campus of CCRI & it is the ugliest building on the planet. Take a look!

This is from the Wikipedia page.

A friend told me it is supposed to be a boat? All I know is that it is horrendous & imposing as you drive up the road & the inside is dank, dreary & outdated. Hopefully it houses easy Chemistry classes!

Afterwards I made a Spinach Orzo, a recipe of my Mom's that she used to make a lot when we were kids. So good & heartwarming, & D loves it too!

Day 4:
Um, I worked. It was a crappy day. Afterwards I got a nice hug from D though!

Day 5:
I worked all night, came home & made a bowl of homemade kettle corn. This time around I remembered to use my Dad's technique & voila! Best batch I've made in a long I ate it all. D came home late from a friend's house & he was all hopped up on blue Mountain Dew. I chased him around the house at midnight while he laughed like a maniac. Aw, love! How am I supposed to resist a goofy guy as cute as this, anyway?

Day 6:
After talking/obsessing about our cats for a couple hours, I randomly sang this song at work, much to the amusement of my co-worker: "Stick it in yer butthole, fart it on out!"

Later, we went out to Mexican with friends, where we spoke of in-utero babies & made a plan to bring lots of stuff to make mojitos when we go camping. I also made my requisite Polish comments. Or jokes. Good-natured jokes!

Day 7:
Yesterday was D's first day of picketing for the strike at work. Of course it poured buckets on the poor masses & he came home soaking wet & exhausted. Being close to anyone on strike is a first for me, & when it is this close to home it is scary. Hopefully it gets resolved quickly & favorably. If you are a customer of Verizon, get the facts & make your opinions known to the company. Any little bit helps.

In brighter, less heart palpitation-inducing tidbits, I took the pouring rain as an opportunity to don my plaid galoshes & splash in puddles as I ran a couple errands. It is strange how fun that can be!

Friday, August 5, 2011

New Thing #18--31 Days of Fun, Day 2

Day 2 of Fun was all in all a great day (minus the $95 "speeding" ticket I got in front of my grandparents' house), but the main awesomeness was a trip to the zoo with my cousin Marissa.

After having a brief conversation about sloths, we decided we both wanted to go to the zoo. So we did! It was nice spending time with Maris (especially because I missed her birthday) & it was lovely seeing my animal friends at the zoo. Great day!

I also came home with a new pet. Meet Lucy's new best friend!

The remainder of my day was filled with small but lovely visits with other family members & friends, & buying a $70 jacket & $40 skirt for a grand total of $36. Score!

Til next time!

New Thing #18--31 Days of Fun, Day 1

On August 1st I managed to convince my boss to let me leave work two hours early!

It was dead as a doornail in there, & it was making my brain leak out of my ear. I got home & got to spend even more time with my husband, yaaaay! We had dinner, followed by a few episodes of Dollhouse while folding a month's worth of laundry. Still preferable!

New Thing #18--31 Days of Fun!

Oh my, I haven't posted in almost two months! For shame.
My latest "new thing" will be 31 Days of Fun, for which I was inspired by Mighty Girl, a blog I peak at once in awhile. She's in the middle of 30 Days of Fun & I think it's a great idea so I'm adapting it (or basically stealing it). August 31st is my birthday, so this little posting project will hopefully keep me in a time-for-fun frame of mind leading up to my birthday, get me posting more regularly & will hopefully help me be a little more positive on days when I've pretty much only worked,bummed around the house or am in a crabby mood. 'Cause life is beautiful, guys!

Basically, I will be posting daily(ish) with a fun thing I did that day. My daily fun-isms may not always be spectacular (or even close to spectacular!), but the point is to call out the fun I've had, or when all else fails, make my own fun.

Keep checking back for my fun-of-the-day posts, & even better, why don't you become a followed of my blog? Gosh, that would be swell!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Thing # 17--Get acupuncture!

As those who know me probably know, I have psoriatic arthritis, which stems from the chronic skin disease psoriasis, (which I don‘t like to advertise because it‘s kinda icky, but there you have it) which I obviously also have. They are both auto-immune diseases & they both suck.

I’ve had psoriasis since I was like 8. It took trying about a million medicines to get it under control & one memorable goo was a special, disgusting mixture that my crazy, Frank Sinatra-singing, Albert Einstein-looking dermatologist concocted. It came in a large tub & its base substance was petroleum jelly that somehow managed to get runnier & chunkier with the addition of medication. My poor parents had to slather this crap on my poor back two times a day. Oh, puberty. You sucked for this reason & many other related reasons. Luckily my psoriasis is much, much better than it used to be. Additionally, I have had psoriatic arthritis since December of 2006. Fun tidbit, I actually first noticed the beginning signs while riding the Metro in Paris! I believe we were on our way to Sacre Couer. I remember looking down at my hands (because a certain awesome guy proposed to me the night before!) & noticing that my right index finger looked swollen & felt slightly painful. After about two years of blood tests, wrong guesses, half-assed diagnoses, spreading inflammation, pain & wonkifying I asked my doctor if maybe I had psoriatic arthritis. I was right. Yaaay, self diagnosis. It was a relief to know what was wrong with me, though. At my worst I had trouble walking, could barely bend my hand enough to hold a pen or slice an onion without wanting to cry from the pain. Not good times.

I’ve been on a pretty intense medication for about 2 years or so & I hate taking it. But it’s the only thing that helps, so I do. I’ve been growing increasingly “done” with my medication for numerous reasons & have been researching alternative treatments for awhile. The other day I decided to FINALLY stop just thinking about those alternatives, so I went ahead & made an acupuncture appointment. And that appointment was today.

I met with the nice Doctor of Acupuncture in a little side room & he (clad in a Hawaiian shirt) looked over the medical sheet I had filled out & asked me questions for clarification while Chinese instrumental music played in the background. As I had heard before, he told me that the diseases I have are “hot.” In Chinese medicine things are classified as either “yin” or “yang.” I have too much yang in my body. Yang things are heat, sunshine, movement & brightness & yin things, as I’m sure you gather by now, are the opposite. (Obviously I am not in expert in such things, but this my understanding from brief research & my appointment today, so be gentle!) So in simple terms my body needs to be cooled down & the yin & yang must be realigned.

In the middle of this consultation we moved to the treatment room, as he had to remove needles from another patient. The cool thing about the place I went is that it is a community facility, which makes it a little cozier & a lot cheaper. Anyway, so he attended to the other patient & a few minutes later we continued our chat. I was asked more probing questions, such as the types of drinks I like, the color of my urine, the physicality of my poop & other such things. There’s nothing like talking to a man you hardly know about your feces & menstrual blood, that’s for sure.

Next, he took my hand in one of his hands, palm-to-palm, & took my pulse in my wrist with his other hand. He made a few confused noises & faces & moved to my other wrist. More confused faces.
“Here we go,” I thought.
“Hmm,” he said. “May I see your tongue?”

So I stuck my tongue out & he took a look. Then he started probing acupressure points on my knees & ankles, asking if anything was tender. When I told him no, nothing was tender at all, he said, “Well, maybe I’m wrong.”

At this point I thought, “Oh, great. I’m a freak of Chinese medicine.”

Turns out that both my pulse & the look of my tongue don’t jive with having too much yang in my blood. He pressed on my knees & ankles thinking that maybe I have more of a dampness problem which I guess can bring about similar symptoms, but nope. If I had dampness issues the acupressure points in my knees & ankles would have been sensitive. After he explained this to me in a slightly perplexed way the Doctor decided to give me a general balancing acupuncture treatment to start. He told me that he would do some more research on my diseases & would come up with a more comprehensive treatment for my next appointment.

Yes!! I can stump anyone in the medical field!

Finally it was time to get some needles jammed up in this piece.

After he showed me the needles he would use & explained their sterility & usage to me, the chair I was sitting in was put into a reclining position. He cleaned with alcohol the spots on my body in which he would insert needles (at which point I thought, “Geez Louise I’m going to look like a porcupine”) & then it was time to go!

Of course the first one inserted went directly between my eyes. It actually wasn’t bad; a pinch, then warmth, a tiny bit of tingliness & then I felt almost nothing (for a few minutes, at least). He continued to place needles along my body. I barely felt most of them as they were being inserted--many felt like the tiniest of pinpricks, but a few of them were a little more painful--particularly in my left hand. I almost felt something like a pop, followed by intense warmth that then dulled to a sort of droning, if that makes any sense.

After he was done placing needles in my hands, forearms, knees, calves, feet & toes (& don’t forget that forehead needle!), I was draped in sheer shawls, the lights were dimmed & I was left to relax for maybe twenty to thirty minutes(which is probably the number of needles I had in me). A few times I opened my eyes & let me tell you, that was strange! The best way to describe it is to say that when I opened my eyes I saw slight waves, almost like the heat waves that you see coming off the pavement on a hot summer day. Or those waves that you would see when watching Wayne's World & they go, "Do-do-do-do,do-do-do-do."(Bueller?) About this time is when the needle in my forehead started to form a dull & localized headache. Which I still have, by the way.

So, I laid back & relaxed for a bit, drifting on the edge of sleep. Soon enough the Doctor came back in & removed the needles. I’ve gotta say, I was surprisingly out of whack. The doctor asked how I felt & when I answered with, “Kinda….” & shook my hands all around he filled in with “spacey?” which absolutely fit the bill. I was told I would feel spacey & a little tired today, but would probably feel more slight affects from the acupuncture tomorrow. In addition to my spaciness, I’ve got that lovely lingering headache & my left arm is a little…sore, I guess you could say. Holy Energy, Batman!

There you have it! I’m glad I’ve finally tried acupuncture & I’m really curious as to how I’ll feel tomorrow. Cool things, dudes. And I’m looking forward to my next appointment in a week!

Oh, & guys? As in, hey, male readers? I discovered while looking at the acupuncture posters on the walls that there is a very special acupuncture point located directly on your grundle. Just thought you should know.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Thing #16--Graduate from College!

After more years than I'd like to admit(though not consecutive or all full-time), on Sunday I attended the 125th Commencement Ceremony at the University of Rhode Island where I finally received my Bachelor's of Science in Animal Science & Technology. It was a long time coming & I am so happy & relieved that all my hard work & sheep bruises finally led to something--a degree!

An awkward shot of me during our impromptu photo shoot in the restaurant parking lot. Behold!

The day started like any other day.
Wait, not really.
I ironed not one but TWO items of clothing that morning, so that was pretty monumental in & of itself, nevermind this whole graduating business. Otherwise, it was a normal day. We got up, got ready & headed to school. We parked & as I was gathering my things my phone rang. A quick peek showed a number I did not recognize at all, so I ignored it until my phone chimed, letting me know that I had a voicemail. At this point D reported that my Mom had texted him; they had locked themselves out of their house & had to wait for my Grandma to swing by to let them back in & thus, they were running late. Ok.

We started our walk uphill towards the Quadrangle as I listened to my voicemail, only to find out that the bank was calling to let me know of suspicious activity on my card. UGH! I never thought I would be dealing with bank fraud on my graduation day, but there you have it. That was a little extra stress that I was not anticipating dealing with, but all seems to be straightened out now thank goodness.

That yuckiness aside, the day was actually really great. The main ceremony was outside (thank you, weather!!) & really nice. Not too long, & the speaker, Cory Booker, was quite good. After the main ceremony all 15,000 people exploded off of the Quad & dispersed to various places around campus for the individual college diploma ceremonies. By 4:30 I was a newly gradge-e-ated gal! Afterwards D & I slipped away via back roads to Red Stripe, where we met up with my flower-and-funny-balloon-bearing parents & all gorged ourselves on delicious food.

Now, if you'll excuse me. I have to find something to do with this degree! (after I take one more chemistry course :/ )

Friday, April 29, 2011

New Things #12-15!


So, here are some "new" things that I've had on the back burner for awhile now. A couple I started to write, but gave up, feeling uninspired to write one big ol' thing on that certain topic. Here I shall unleash them in all of their new, kinda concise glory!

New Thing #12-Go on a Vegan Diet
A little bit before Halloween Derrick & I decided that on November 1st we would shun any & all animal product until Thanksgiving. In many ways my eating habits tend to swing a bit towards the vegetarian (or the poultry-only, haha) camp anyway, but I never ate or cooked vegan for veganhood's sake. There were many reasons to this diet. One, I have a couple vegan/vegetarian cookbooks that I love, but never utilize to their fullest. Two, it would be fun to try something new & break free of our old standbys. Three, we had been eating far too much crap. Four, it was supposed to be sort of a stepping stone to me going on a more rigid anti-inflammatory diet (oops).

Obviously, this experiment was months ago, but I do remember enjoying it! It was a great chance to try new ways of cooking & using new ingredients (particularly those that I could never get D to try). I for one felt as though I had more energy, but maybe that was the fermented soy going to my head.

We've definitely integrated some recipes into our normal repertoire, & I would like to do the whole vegan diet thang again. Tempeh as a sausage replacement in pasta sauce? Yes please! Now I need to find a tomato substitute, as those are verboten from the anti-inflammatory diet. Tomatooooes, noooooooooooooooo!

New Thing #13--Go to a Naked Play
As in, the actors & actresses in this play are mostly not wearing any clothes.

Oh, & P.S.--One of your friends is in it. One of your friends who also happened to be the guy that married you to your husband. Yup, I've now seen his twig & berries.

Well then!
In all honesty, the entire experience was far less awkward than I thought it would be. I thought I was likely to giggle like a clown in church (huh?), but I remained composed & inappropriate-giggle-free. It helped that the play was well done, & that there wasn't an elevated stage on which junk & the like was displayed.

Afterward we all went out for Cuban food & it was like it never happened...or like it happened, but wasn't a big deal whatsoever (for some of us, ahem!).
Yay theata!

New Thing #14--Perform Various Farm Management Techniques
One of my classes that is winding to a close as I type is a hands-on class in which we learn & perform tasks that one would do on a farm. Some things I've done previously, but a fair amount I had not. Here they are!

-Draw blood from the jugular vein of a sheep.
-Flip a pregnant sheep over to trim her hooves & trim the wool around the teats & udder in preparation of lambing.
-Vaccinate & draw blood from cows in various places.
-Swab the gullet of a chicken.
-Draw blood from the wing vein of a chicken.
-Witness a pig give birth.
-Process newborn pigs--clip needle teeth, dock tail, administer iron shot.
-Visit the farm at night to watch for sheep in labor or that have given birth.
-Process newborn lambs--trim & dip umbilical cord, weight & record stats, paint number on side that corresponds to mother, make sure it is eating & walking.
-Bottle feed a lamb.
-Witness the trimming of a boar's tusks (gross).
-Visit the farm in the morning to feed all of the animals. Avoid the pig barn at all costs.
-Tag goat's ears.
-Talk self out of stealing a goat kid, because they are pretty much the best things ever.
-Try out shearing a sheep.
-Herd & wrassle many cute things.
-Inject a mastitis-preventative directly into sheeps' teats.
-Hug, snuggle & talk to many a lovely creature.

Is this it? I'm probably missing some stuff.

One thing that I witnessed & was supposed to do but didn't get to do was practice artificial insemination on a cow. After standing on a freezing cold cow pie-covered paddock in the drizzly rain for almost 3 hours, it was finally almost my turn. At first I had really, really not wanted to do this at all.

Why, you ask?

Artificially inseminating a cow requires sticking your left arm into the rectum of the poor cow & working your way through the peristaltic waves to the cervix. Here you lift up the cervix & guide the insemination gun with your right hand through the vagina & towards your left hand. Long story short, many people got covered in crap that day. Also, I felt really bad for the cows & just was not looking forward to the upcoming task.

But, after standing out in the dismal weather for far longer than I wanted to, I had worked myself up & I WAS going to do this, be awesome at it, learn from it & hopefully never have to do it again. Unfortunately (& I have decided that it really was unfortunate) though, the cow was NOT having it & began kicking her leg like a wild woman, almost severely injuring herself, let alone the rest of us. Poor crazy thing.

My professor apologized & told us that we were calling it quits for the day & that he would try to get the AI specialist to come back so we could give it a shot. However, this didn't happen.

Overall, this class was great, I learned a lot from it & I'm actually quite sad that it is ending. I will miss being around livestock on a regular basis.

One of my friends!

New Thing #15--Try a New Food
And what was this new food, you wonder?
Beef heart, to be precise.

This is kind of horrible yet appropriate placement, considering the above new thing, isn't it?

One thing you should know about me is that I am not huge on ingesting most mammals with any regularity, particularly beef. It's a combination of things for me. It's just not a taste that I relish or ever really want, save for the summertime fresh-off-the-grill burger. Even then, I usually prefer a turkey burger. Beef is just usually not even on my radar as something that I want to eat. Lately it's been even further off my radar, mainly because of my farm class. Cows are lovely & I don't agree with the way they are raised/handled/slaughtered in most cases. Without getting into a huge scientific, animal science-geek, political conversation, it just bums me out, ok?

So I've been avoiding it even more so for the last 5 months.

One of my long-emerging beliefs (but by no means a new belief anywhere) is that if you are going to kill an animal to eat it, you should use as much of it as possible & waste minimal, minimal amounts of it. Including the organs. Which incidentally taste pretty good when prepared properly.

While on our honeymoon in Dublin I tried black pudding and white pudding. (One of my other "rules" is that especially when traveling I will try pretty much anything in the spirit of living. By the way, frog legs are rich & have the texture of chicken. They also beg to be wearing tuxedo pants.). These types of puddings are more like sausages, but with barley in them, which gives them a nice nutty flavor & chewy texture. The black pudding was black because it contained blood, & the white contained no blood but DID have brains.
I tried them to try them, but let me tell you HOLY CRAP BLACK PUDDING IS DELICIOUS!
Especially the one we had at Gallagher's Boxty House. I never though I would actually crave black pudding. Seriously. Delicious.

Ok, back on track. Eating heart.

For Derrick's (& other April-born men) birthday dinner with his Mom we went to a Bolivian & Peruvian joint called Los Andes. You should go there, it is really good. D ordered the beef heart appetizer & despite not having a bite of beef in probably over 6 months, I decided I would try it.
It was sliced into thin pieces, rubbed with one of their awesome spice rubs, skewered & grilled. It came to us smelling aromatic & lightly drizzled with a creamy mint sauce.

I took a small piece, cut it, dolloped some mint sauce (so good!) on it & popped it in my mouth.
Hmm....a little chewy, as you'd expect a muscle like the heart to be, but not as chewy as I anticipated. Actually, it felt & tasted very much like a steak tip.

I deemed it yummy!

But I also deemed myself done & a bit guilty-feeling, because of my whole aforementioned beef thing. But I tried it, it was good & there you go.

Thus concludes this mega Clam Handle post. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Thing #11--Get a Tattoo

That's right folks, after years of saying & thinking, "Oh, some day I'd like to get a tattoo," I finally did it.

A few months ago I randomly thought of a kinda funny yet fitting sibling tattoo my brother & I could get. I half-jokingly told my brother, Marc, my idea & he loved it. I decided that I wanted to get it sooner than later, partly because I wanted it healed for summer fun, & partly so I wouldn't push it to the way-back burner. And seeing that Marc is leaving for tour again, time, she was a'wastin'!

So last weekend we went to McInnis Tattoo in Providence to make an appointment with Nate, who is a friend of Marc's & an old school pal of Derrick's.

Some of their wall art.

And yesterday was the day for our--duh-duh-duuuuuuuuuuuuh!--salt shakers!

A bit of explanation. When we were kids Marc was OBSESSED (ok, I liked it a lot too) with Batman, the one starring Michael Keaton. There's a scene where Bruce Wayne & Vicki Vale are sitting at opposite ends of a ludicrously long table having dinner. Vicki is asked how the soup is & asks for the salt. Bruce can't hear her because they're too far away from each other, so she repeats herself. Bruce gets up, walks a solid 20 seconds to the other side of the table & hands her the salt. Weeeeell, whenever we were at the table eating lunch, we would sit across from each other & Marc would make me play the salt game, often much to my chagrin :) Though it did always end in giggles, so though I groaned it was a fun, corny time.

The tattoo is fairly simple, just a salt shaker in grey scale. I wasn't nervous at all, probably because of a combination of excitement to finally be doing this, sleepiness & being in the company of two dudes with tons of tattoo experience. Also, I spent the summer getting huge needles jabbed into my spine & nerves, so a bunch of tiny needles going into my skin at warp speed couldn't be too bad, right?

And it wasn't. It definitely didn't feel good, but it was tolerable, especially seeing that I only had to sit for about 20 minutes or so. I did have one moment that caused an "Ow!" but that quickly passed. I've heard people say that the shading hurts more than the outline, but I think they're basically liars.

Me being a lady straddling the chair in a skirt.

Unfortunately (I assume) for you guys I do believe I'm going to wait to post a photo until it's healed & I have one part of it fixed/added. Sooooorryyyyy!

Edit: I changed my mind.
Here is a bloody, swollen, brandy-new & the-ink-hasn't-settled-yet photo! I want to have vertical lines added to the floating geometric shape (the salt level) so it looks more...full of salt & purposeful, I guess. It didn't occur to me til later, oops!

Marc, thanks for being game for this tattoo, & for a fun afternoon of schlangin' & Apsara!

His hand wasn't fast enough to block this one in the Fang Island van on the way to nime chow heaven.

Also, here's a picture of Lucy being super cute:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Thing #10--Start the New Year off with a bang…err, a plunge!

We had a New Year’s Eve party Friday night. Bunch of friends in fancy-dress, tons of food & drink, & loud, good times were had by all.

See? Schmancy!

I dragged my exhausted, kinda drunk arse across my filthy, disgusting, shame-of-a-kitchen-floor at about 4am. Brushed my teeth (having to change toothbrushes in the middle due to a toothbrush flinging accident), peeled off my insanely torn tights & passed the hell out, pausing ever-so-briefly to think of the thing I would be doing the next da--well, no. In the next 9 hours.

Yesterday afternoon we woke to a balmy 65. Friday night it was in the 30s. Hello, Rhode Island! I changed out of my pajamas into a bathing suit, a sweatshirt, yoga pants & my Birkenstocks. We stumbled outside, grasping our towels, camera & a couple clementines. Once in the car, I laughed, thinking of how hard it was to decide what to wear on a 65-degree first of January, particularly when you’ll be jumping into the ocean in a matter of minutes.

That’s right--we did the North Kingstown Polar Bear Plunge! Which means that I get to post pictures of myself in my bathing suit. Yay! :/

Unfortunately the time on the website was wrong, so when we arrived at the beach at 1:40 we were actually 10 minutes late, not 20 minutes early. People were wet, wrapped in towels or bathrobes, dressed in crazy outfits. And not a soul was in the water. Crap!! But we were there & we had told a few people that we were doing it, so sonavabitch, we were doing it.

The benefit to being late was that we could have someone take pictures for us. I should have showed him how to use the zoom, but the fact that he was kind enough to document the event for us was great enough. Thank you, stranger dude, for taking the following photos!

Stripped of our sweats & ready to make the dash.

My feet were so cold & I started to trip. I thought of catching myself but decided to let myself go down, as the tide was out & as we ran the water just was not getting deep enough. I couldn't do it anymore! Luckily stranger-dude got this shot of me going under!

D kept going & finally went under as I was starting to make my quick retreat back to the shore. It should be noted that I wasn't wearing my contacts or glasses at this point so not only was I disoriented by the cold & laughter, I couldn't see a damn thing!

An awful picture of me immediately post-plunge.

A much better shot of D post-plunge.

I took all upcoming shots.

A couple groups of people went in after we did. This guy just made his girlfriend go under, which was pretty funny. "You didn't do it unless you go under!" I liked their hats.

D being a reluctant interviewee for the local newspaper.

Snow on the beach!

We did it!

As someone who often has trouble getting into the water on a hot summer day, I was dreading the water temperature. But it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Freezing & startling, yes. My feet were instantly numb, & my knees down were pretty numb for about 15 minutes afterwards, but all in all it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The fact that the air was so warm really helped matters. And while the cold seawater did wonders for the headache that was starting to sprout it made me really tired, which is strange. D was AWAKE & I could have used a nap. And a coffee, which I got & drank the heck outta.

It was a fun, crazy way to kick off the New Year with Derrick, & a great way to reaffirm my clam handling ways. But damn, were we spoiled with the temperature. I’m sure next year’s Polar Bear Plunge will punish us.

Thanks to my lovely Derrick for being my eternal fun-stuff wingman!

Happy New Year! Here's to a lovely 2011!