Books! They are my Glimpse into Other Worlds.

I love books! I really enjoy reading (or listening to the audio books) because it gives me a chance to escape reality. So today, I am rambling on about Books. Leave a comment with your favorite book or series so I can add it to my reading list.

I’ll admit it, I have an addiction to old books. I collect them and put them on display in my house. Why? Because I love their smell, the feel of them, the pages feel, and the hard cover with cloth on it. It feels authentic when I look at them. It’s like a nostalgia but, not really.

A real quick thank you to The Collector’s Addition – www.collectorsaddition.com for sponsoring this post! I searched for books and found a lot of cute collectibles AND a children’s book. There are so many different creative collections on there to browse. Thank you for the support!
I really appreciate that this sponsor allows me to write how I feel and doesn’t tell me what to write. The only request was that I keep it family friendly (which means no cussing). I can do that! I can edit!

Back to the blog post…

My favorite books are poetry type books. Dr Seuss and Shel Silverstein are my favorite children’s authors. I had One fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish memorized through about 1/4 of the book.

When my kids were little, I would tell them I could read with my eyes closed, hold the book over my head, and then recite the story on the page. They were blown away… until they learned to read. Then the gig was up.

And now…

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My books from Redditgifts Book Exchange.

 

My Favorite Series

My friend, Leslie, got my into The Earth’s Children series. After reading Clan of the cave Bear (affiliate link), I was hooked. This is an excellent series about a girl I got all the books on a Redditgifts book exchange. Here is the story description from Amazon:

A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly–she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.

The story is well written and really draws you in. I read that the author put a lot of research into writing the books too. They are amazing!

And now I pass it onto you… What is your favorite book or book series? Tell us in the comments below.

I’m Back! Did You Miss Me? I Did!

I have been slightly busy lately. I did get a job for a bit. I worked two weeks before I was fired. I can’t get anyone to hire me so I am considering the fact that, eventually, I may need to move. I dread this idea because Montana is perfect for me. I spent time thinking about it and deciding where to go but I am just not sure yet. 

I traveled to southern California to get away from the smoke of the wildfires raging in Montana. The trip was nice but made me realize how much I really love it in Montana. When I go back, I am going to double down on either making my own money or getting a job. I’m not really holding my breath on either though. In five years, I have not had any luck with either except for a spurt of income here or there.

I was thinking of starting YouTube back up but, I am working on the motivation… I figured, if I started blogging again, I would get motivated to do YouTube. Is it working? We’ll see.

The CV Axle, The Drive, and Why Does No One Listen To Me?

Ever since I started therapy years ago, my big complaint is that no one listens to me. I am not taken seriously. Let’s take this trip as an example.

No to CV – Part 1

Before we left, like a month or so before, my son took the car to a mechanic. He’s a good mechanic and I needed the CV axle changed out. We had the part and everything. He dropped the car off and left for So Cal. I got a call that it wasn’t the CV axle and it was the (forgot which part) instead. I asked if they could change the CV axle anyway and they insisted it didn’t need changed. It was fine. So they got the part, fixed it, even drove it to my apartment. But, they didn’t change the CV axle. Meh. Fine. Whatever.

I drive the car to a few out of town places and I can still hear the occasional sound of my car wanting the CV axle changed. It sounds… off. The wildfires start, the smoke rolls in, and we debate on leaving and heading south. The smoke was pretty thick. I mean, the state was on fire, it was bad.

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Screenshot of the map before we left… or the day we left… or something.

I have asthma but my youngest son has worse asthma than I do. I was starting to feel dizzy just walking through the apartment to use the bathroom. I forgot to screenshot the air quality map but it was pretty bad. It wasn’t the worst level, but it was really close.

We finally decided we did need to leave because we had the doors and windows shut and it was still hard to breathe. Plus, with the doors and windows shut, it was hot as hell in my apartment. So, we finally packed up and left.  I snapped this picture at one of our stops.

Smoke at a rest area
Smoke masks the mountains at a Montana rest stop.

There was so much smoke filtering the sun that I could walk around with no sleeves on and we could stare directly at the sun without solar viewing glasses. Each stop was a quick, “Get out, go pee, get back in, and let’s go.”

Starting to worry

I was starting to worry about the car around Missoula. I could really hear the metal on metal sound. I didn’t say anything to my ex or my older son in Cali because I didn’t want to worry them.

We slept at a rest area near Billings where the sky was clear. It was so nice to breathe again without feeling like I was snorkeling through Jell-O. We were still coughing up crap (and we still are to this day) but it was easier to breathe, we could stop for longer rest breaks, and Jack-Jack was able to run around a bit at the stops. 

We made it to Buffalo, Wyoming for a gas stop. When we were pulling into the gas station, I heard a sound that I am not sure what the hell it was but it wasn’t good. I pumped gas and then tried to drive off. It was horrible. The car was shaking when I tried to move. The only blessing is that we broke down right in front of a mechanic shop. 

No to CV – Part 2

I went over and they said it was the power steering pump, ordered the part, and let us hang out in their parking lot (because, like, where were we going to go?). One of the ladies came to the car and offered to buy us a hotel room for the night and watch our cat. I was really happy about that but we were fine car camping. They were great! I mean, they really went above and beyond… except they wouldn’t change out the CV axle.

At that point, I was just happy they changed out the power steering pump and still happy that they worked to get us in the day the part came in (usually it takes a week to get your car worked on. They were booked.) The next morning, they got the power steering pump changed out, and we got on our way.

We can still make it!

And that is when I really started to worry about the car. I was consistently hearing a clicking sound (for lack of a better description) and feeling the grinding every time I turned. I started having issues with it vibrating when I hit 65 mph so I started driving anything below that. 

We made it out of Wyoming and into Utah. I HAD to drive highway speed through Salt Lake City area (it was a little south of it, I think) because I didn’t feel like being run over. We made it out of the heavy traffic and by then, I was a nervous wreck. The car felt like shit, it was vibrating so bad I half expected to watch a tire run off from my car, and the grinding was worse.

I still didn’t say anything because I thought we’d be able to make it to the Lancaster area without having someone come rescue us. (I was wrong)

I can’t drive 55! No really. I can’t.

So, after Salt Lake City, I found a private/public rest area to take a nap in because my adrenaline rush wore off. They have nice rest areas! It’s at a Chevron station that has a HUGE parking lot. We parked in the back and I slept for a bit. Then we headed off to the next rest area once it was cooler outside. 

The ride there was slow. I could do about 55 mph without it shaking to pieces while I drove. So, to everyone in Utah driving on I-15 southbound… I am so sorry. I know I held up traffic and I apologize profusely… and thank you for not running me off the road.

After rest area #2 in Utah, we headed on with our trip and I knew I was going to have a hard time. I could only go 50 mph without it shaking to death.

We made it to the Moapa exit in Nevada. I slept for a bit because it’s really draining to drive a car that you aren’t sure is going to fall apart while you are driving it down the interstate. I was seriously worried I was going to end up killing someone when the car fell apart.

Then we headed out again. I was dreading driving through Las Vegas but we made it through. I drove at about 65 mph with the car shaking horribly the whole way. I white knuckled the steering wheel. I won’t lie… I was terrified. My chest hurt from the stress.

Once out of Las Vegas, I slowed back down to 50 mph. Then we hit the mountains coming into California.

You shall not pass!

Driving up the mountain pass this time was like trying to bike uphill. I was happy when I hit 35 mph. We made it almost up the mountain when the car overheated and I had to take an exit to let it cool down. We sat there for about an hour… maybe. And then headed to the rest area the was not too far from there. It had overheated by the time we got there.

By then, it was getting hot, we were miserable, and the car sounded like it chewing metal while we drove. We couldn’t go very fast at all. I was updating the guys in So Cal to how bad it really was at this point. I figured it was close enough for a rescue if I needed it.

Eff this! Come get me!

Back on the road, we made it to Barstow where we stopped in a park and parked under a tree for shade. I needed Benadryl from the extreme heat and I was starting to get a headache. I took my medicine and sent messages of how we were staying right there until it cooled down.

After chatting through text about how bad the car was doing, my older son decided to come get me with his friend… and I was totally cool with this idea because I didn’t feel like getting stranded in the desert with no cell signal!  I also mentioned that, oh yea, by the way, no one will change out the CV axle. He wasn’t happy.

They stopped to get some parts to help fix the car and then headed there. I slept for a bit enjoying the shade while we waited. 

And my car is toast

When they showed up, first thing they did was check the fluids. I had already checked all the fluids (except the transmission fluid) and they were good. When they checked, the coolant was low. WHAT?! I was so mad.

Then, I was like, “Hey, let me drive this so you can hear the grind.” Only when I drove it… no noise. I was so pissed at my car I could have spit fire. After a little bit of inspecting, they decided to test drive it. They didn’t make it out of the parking lot before stopping and saying, “Oh hell no! This is getting fixed here!”

We found a parking lot that was flat so they could fix it. They started taking it apart and saw how bad it was and decided to call for a tow. Only, the AAA that we have, only covers seven miles for towing. You gotta be fucking kidding me. Who the hell needs a seven mile tow??? It was going to cost $780 something to tow it back to my ex’s place.

So we debate amongst ourselves on what to do. The meds were all fine by then and my headache was gone, so I said I could just drive the car while they followed. I mean, I drove it this far, right! Right? Hehe.

It’s like slowly driving the car into the ground

We started driving and Oh. My. GAWD. We could safely do about 40 mph… if you want to call it safe. The car was shaking to death. We would pull over to let people pass then pull back onto the highway. And then I hit a railroad track… I could feel the wheel shaking and it sounded like the car was coming apart at the seems. 

My older son had to take over after that. We were safely doing 25 to 35 mph the rest of the way back to his place. The front driver side tire looked slanted and you could see the shaking from the follow car at times.

My car is now parked in a garage awaiting repair. And guess what needs to be replaced…

The CV Axle! It’s the CV axle! It needs changed. Who’d of thunk it!? It was like a huge mystery that no one would have guessed! 

I am not mad at the second mechanic. They fixed the main problem of the moment and went out of their way to get us in ASAP to fix it. I thank them.

But the first mechanic… why didn’t you just change it out? We had the part! I was willing to pay for it.

I am over being pissed off but THIS is what I keep saying. No one will listen to me. It’s like I am yelling into a void. Is it because I am a woman? Cuz I will totally have a sex change if it means someone will finally fucking listen to me! 

Why won’t people listen to me? I want to know. 

Anyway, we are here now. I am making pizza today. I will be working on a YouTube video for my gluten-free flour recipe. We’ll be here for a least a couple of weeks. I’ll keep you updated. we’ll probably be here a couple of weeks. I miss home but this is okay for now because at least my CV axle will be changed out (and everything else we ruined by driving with a bad CV axle)

Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce (and it tastes like cheese!)

STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING! A miracle has occurred!

I found a VEGAN cheese sauce that I actually like! I can hear it now, “But Dotchi… Bacon and cheese isn’t vegan.”

I know! That’s why this recipe is so cool. It is vegan but it tastes like Bacon Cheddar spread you would buy for crackers, only it tastes better… and spicier. I should warn you: I like spices. You can adjust the intensity to your liking though.

First the recipe because it drives me nuts when I have to scroll through 40 pages of recipe tales to get to the actual recipe. I am adding links to the stuff I use. I get nothing for this (I wish) this is just to help new cooks and those unfamiliar with some of the ingredients.

Further down I will tell the story of how I got to this…

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Vegan mac and cheese

Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce

Ingredients List in order of use (don’t judge it by the ingredients)

Step 1 ingredients

  • 2 cups Sweet Potatoes (the white ones, not yams) peeled and cubed
    • You could use regular russet, red, or golden potatoes.
  • 1 cup Carrot, peeled and cubed
  • Water for boiling

Step 2 Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Canola oil or Olive Oil
    • Honestly, you can use whatever oil you have on hand. Soy, Corn, flaxseed, avocado… As long as it is an edible oil and not automotive oil or snake oil.
  • 1/2 Cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer
    • You can use whatever creamer you like or use Almond or soy milk. I prefer the creamer because it’s thicker… and it’s what I had at the moment.
    • Water works too if you are out of creamer or milk. It just tastes like it’s missing something.
  • 1 TBSP Honey or, for the strict vegan, Agave Nectar or Bee Free Honee
    • I know some vegans who allow honey and others that do not. Depending on how it was… raised?
    • This is easier to get out of the spoon if you add it after the oil – slides right out. You’re welcome.
  • 1 tsp Salt (I use Pink Himalayan Salt)
  • 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp Ground Chipotle or Paprika (I use chipotle for the spicy taste)
    • DO NOT spend that much on ground chipotle unless you have to. That is a ridiculous price! Hell, you can grind your own for cheaper than that!
    • Use less if you can’t handle spicy foods. Smoky paprika shouldn’t be spicy but will add a nice flavor to it.
  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar.
    • I use white vinegar because that’s what I have but you can use Apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or anything else you like. It will taste a little different. I’ve been known to use any wine I have lying around *cough*.
  • 1/3 C Nutritional Yeast. This is NOT Brewer’s yeast or yeast in the little packets!

Step 1 of Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce

  1. Put the potato pieces and carrot pieces in a pot with enough water for boiling.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat for about 20 minutes or until the food pieces are fork tender. Fork tender means it’s really super easy to stab it with a fork. 
  3. Once tender, drain the veggies and place them in a food processor (or blender. I’ve done both. Either works just fine)

Step 2 of Spicy Bacon Cheese Sauce

  1. Add all the other ingredients into the food processor or blender.
  2. Turn on your food processor or blender and run it until everything is blended and all smooth and creamy like.
  3. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides in between running it. Sometimes I do. Sometimes it cooperates.

It will look like this:

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Serve this over veggies, pasta, potatoes… I really loved it on broccoli!

How I discovered Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce

Okay, now for the rambling chatty part.

My friend, Java, is allergic to milk and cheese. One of the things we’ve been trying to find is a cheese substitute. We ran into a few problems… 

1. Some “non-dairy” cheeses have casein, a milk derivative, in them.

  • To me, that is as stupid as putting peanut oil on cashews (even when they aren’t salted!) or putting soy lecithin in almond milk and then declaring it a safe alternative to soy (I think they all switched to sunflower lecithin – another allergen of mine but not as unreasonable as soy lecithin).

2. Daiya has xanthum gum, which isn’t very kind on the digestive system. And I didn’t really care for the taste. It’s been awhile and I haven’t retried it. It didn’t win me over though.

3. Some are impossible to find in the areas we live. I live in NW Montana and shop in Montana, Idaho, and Washington. Java lives on the east coast in a southern state.

4. We needed to avoid Cashew because of dietary restrictions on Java’s end plus, it’s impossible to find it not drenched in peanut oil. 

What we’ve tried…

I tried various alternatives I found, like a box of Macaroni and Chreese. It was gluten-free, dairy-free, and supposed to taste like regular macaroni and cheese. I know what regular macaroni and cheese tastes like. It wasn’t even in the same ball park. It was like macaroni and dirt vomit. 

I tried a few others and they just flat sucked. They didn’t even have a hint of cheese flavor. They either tasted like dirt, vomit, bitter lemons, or something like that. They just were not good.

We also tried whatever store brand we could actually eat. But none of them had a good flavor. 

Mouth feel – It’s not really a criteria, but it does help.

And I haven’t even touched on mouth feel yet! (<- Hahaha, see what I did there!)

I am not a huge “mouth feel” kind of person. I survived on puree mush for quite a while. If it just has the flavor I am mostly happy. Hell, I drank pizza that wasn’t too bad!

BUT, mouth feel does compliment or destroy a food. If it’s supposed to be “melty and delicious” but comes out tasting like ass and having the consistency of curdled milk… nope nope nope!

Alternatively, if it’s supposed to be like pancakes, soft and fluffy, but comes out kind of flat and dense but tastes pretty okay, I can handle that.

But it takes a LOT to make “mouth feel” make or break something for me.

SQUIRREL ALERT! 

A.D.D. is easy as 1-2- OH EM GEE! A SQUIRREL!
Hey Sparky!

My worst mouth-feel story was vegan chocolate pudding. It had maple syrup, avocado, and cocoa powder. I like maple syrup. I like avocados. I like chocolate. So I didn’t think it would be too bad. I thought it might taste a little weird with the avocado.

But, meh, I made it anyway. I have never gagged so hard on something before in my life. It coated my mouth with a goo that felt like snot, acted like glue, and clung to my uvula for dear life. Luckily, the stomach acid helped clean it off as it went rushing by. It was absolutely horrible! 

Vegan Cheese Google Search

The other day, I was surfing around Google looking for something not food related when I found this link… 

Life-Changing Vegan Cheese Sauce

It’s gluten-free. It’s vegan. It’s cheese-ish. It looks like cheese sauce. It’s freaking orange!

She created hers from another recipe. You can find it here. It’s a nut-free, yeast-free, dairy-free, vegan, cheese-like sauce.

I looked at both and noticed that I would not be eating those because they call for soy sauce or coconut aminos. I can’t have soy. The coconut aminos are too expensive for me. Also, I can’t have lemon or paprika. Almond milk is out for us but I could use coconut milk. I altered the recipes to suit my needs and started cooking.

I made the first batch with the substitutions and it was pretty okay. Was it cheese-like? No. Was it a good substitute? Yes. I think it was.

Sharing the cheesy joy – the substitutions

Then I wanted to make it and share it with my older son and that’s when I ran into problems. He can’t have garlic, onion, lemon, or mustard. Also, I can’t have paprika. So there went a lot of flavor.

I substituted paprika for chipotle because I didn’t have any cayenne or mild pepper. I felt ground jalapeno would be too much.  

I added honey instead of lemon (a common substitution for me) because vinegar went in for mustard. I figured the lemon was probably for smoothing out the taste which is why I picked honey and not lime juice (which I am out of).

I think the mustard added zing to it so when I substituted it to share I just added vinegar since mustard is just mustard seed ground and LOTS of vinegar.

I skipped substituting the garlic and onion since chipotle is so much stronger than paprika.

I used sweet potatoes because I don’t react to them like russet potatoes (which is a rather painful reaction I would like to avoid).

I tinkered with the recipe a couple of times. I tossed one batch because it was too… something. It just wasn’t tasty. FINALLY, I came up with the recipe you see above but not with as much nutritional yeast. 

I liked it okay but I decided to add just a LITTLE bit more nutritional yeast. Fun fact: The nutritional yeast lid has two sides. One for sprinkling nutritional yeast and one for accidentally dumping too much into the blender. Whoops.

I decided it couldn’t be worse than some of the other concoctions I have come up with so, I blended it in.  

Vegan Spicy Bacon Cheese Sauce was born!

Then I tasted it. I couldn’t place the flavor at first. Cut me some slack… I haven’t had bacon, real or fake, since August 25, 2010. I had my son try it and I said, “Does it taste cheddary to you too?” He replied with, “It tastes like cheddar bacon spread you put on crackers.”

That’s when it clicked in my head! OMG! He was right! That was the flavor! I made cheddar bacon cheese sauce. Wait! No… I made VEGAN cheddar bacon cheese sauce. I also added too much chipotle. It was setting my face on fire.

I cut back on the chipotle, took out the black pepper I had added to my first batch, and carefully measured the nutritional yeast to see how much got to the “bacon cheddar” flavor. (1/4 cup for mild flavor, 1/3 cup for awesomeness)

We ate it by itself. I ate it with half the nutritional yeast which I think has a less bacon flavor but I like it. We also ate it on rice noodles. Today we ate it on broccoli and that is honestly my favorite way. It tastes so much like cheddar when on top of broccoli that I kind of impressed myself.

I finally dubbed it “Not-Cheese” and added it to the family recipe book.

I am more excited now about trying other recipes of homemade non-dairy cheeses and I’ll let you know when I try them.

My question to you is… 

How do you feel about mouth feel?

 

 

Cabinet Peaks Medical Center – My how You Have Improved!

I didn’t post this week because of this. I thought I would share why.

Back Story – Before the ER Trip

I was having a blast with friends when I cross contaminated the pan I was using but didn’t realize it.

I figured it out a lot later. The oil brush I was using to coat the pan was the same one I used to coat the pan when I made pork for the boys. I made two batches of pork. I brushed the pan with oil between batches. The brush ended up with pork juices on it… and then I forgot to put it in the contamination sink OOPS!

So I am cooking, talking, and having a grand old time. My first tortilla gets done, the egg gets done (so that’s two things I have cooked in pork oil on both sides). I take a bite and swallow. I went to say something and as soon as I opened my mouth, I couldn’t breathe. At first I thought, “Must be something in my throat…” (why is that always my first thought???) and went for the sink to spit out everything in my mouth when I realized, DUH, I swallowed my food. I could feel that “marble stuck in my throat” feeling and I knew my throat was swelling… and it itched SO BAD!

AND Epi-pen to the leg!

At this point, my friend comes over and is cracking jokes about the Heimlich maneuver. When she sees me turning purple and asks in a serious tone, “Are you okay?” I managed to squeak out, “Epi”, and she went to get it. Of course, this is the one time I didn’t have my Epi-Pen on me in the kitchen.

I got the pen and stabbed myself in the leg and screw counting to ten. I just held it there until I could gasp for air in large quantities. Once I could breathe again, I did a quick count to ten then massaged the spot on my leg where I injected. My friend went to get my son and he helped me by getting the Benadryl. That’s when I noticed I was out of ranitidine (I found the back up bottle this morning. I have just enough to last until shopping day). I thought, “Meh. It’ll be fine.” and just took the Benadryl.

After 15 minutes (ish), I was still breathing okay. But, my throat still itched pretty bad (just not as bad as earlier). I was having waves of nausea so bad I was sure I was going to throw up any second.

Disclaimer: If you have to use your Epi-pen, call 911 and go to the hospital immediately. I have dealt with allergies since I was 9 years old. I know my body quite well. If I was responsible, I would go to the ER right away. But I deal with them often enough that I am not going to the ER every single time (even though I know I should). 

“But Dotchi, how is this different from your regular nausea?”

With my regular nausea, it’s the nausea where you think, “Man. I feel sick to my stomach and if I could only puke, I would feel better.” It’s rather mild. This nausea felt stronger and I was getting the “bubble under the tongue” I get seconds before I puke. Then it would dissipate and I would feel okay, only to have it happen a minute or later.

So I decided to call 911 at with my son’s encouragement (read as: “Seriously mom! Just go to the hospital!”). I hate going to the hospital because of the fear that it’s going to be that one doctor. I have an extreme fear that the man is going to kill me one of these days. Let me rephrase that: I HAD an extreme fear…

The ambulance showed up and I felt better seeing faces of people that have taken care of me before. I have to say, when I see a nurse that is at the clinic I go to, it made me feel so much better (not physically – just mentally). I got my little puke bag JUST in case, and we headed to the ER.

At Cabinet Peaks Medical Center ER

When we arrived my throat was still itching, just not as bad, and I was still having waves of nausea. I already knew everyone there by name because of my other trips to the ER and they were all nurses I like. YEAH! I was just hoping it wasn’t that one doctor who I fear the most.

The doctor was THAT doctor. So I was expecting hell and a complaint form afterwards. Instead I got …. a top-notch experience. 

Wait. What?

Yes! A good experience! He listened. He didn’t ignore what I was saying. He acknowledged my allergic reaction. He treated my reaction like I was expecting. He even came back in the room to make sure one of the medications was one I could have. It has dextrose in it (the non-dissolvable one does not but at the ER they have the dissolving tabs). Sometimes I have to pick my battles. I will take some pain and swelling over extreme nausea any day! 

For those of you asking why I didn’t just smoke some medical marijuana for my nausea. I don’t take marijuana and Benadryl together. I don’t feel it is safe.

The whole experience went well. I got checked in by the nurse/ EMT. My youngest son met everyone during this process. I got hooked up to the EKG. My vitals were still good when checked. I saw the doctor. I got meds. I played 20 questions with my son. I felt better. I got released. There were NO ISSUES

I… I am having conflicting emotions here. I am not sure what to think. I am so happy the doctor did a good job. I am cautiously optimistic that this is a good sign. I am going to check my records in a few days though. But… I am confused about this whole thing. He did good. He was polite. I am not sure how to react. I’ve spent the week thinking about it. I am just flabbergasted. 

Anyway, back to the post…

“How are you now?”

The next day, the abdominal cramps hit and I was poofy like I expected. I stayed on Benadryl, Ranitidine, and Ibuprofen for the day. My liquefied insides fell out by the end of day two also. I felt like a truck ran my over. I felt HORRIBLE but, at the same time, better also. (That’s hard to explain) And my leg was tender where I injected my Epi-pen. 

It’s been a few days since then. It happened on the 7th, I think… I lost track of days. Anywhoodles, over the next few days I recovered with no problems. I am now doing fine although I am a little rash here and there. Not sure what that is from. I think the two are unrelated? I can never tell with rashes.

But I had to share the good experience I had at Cabinet Peaks Medical Center’s Emergency Room. Plus, share the experience with the doctor because I am pleased with the experience.

New Year Resolutions? No thank you.

I have been thinking about this a lot this month. I want to do resolutions but I usually never stick to them because they are unrealistic. INSTEAD, I have decided on picking 12 goals (one for each month).

I won’t be doing the goals in that specific month though. Each month will have a theme and I am making a goal for that theme. Then my goal will be to get everything done by the end of the year.

If that makes sense… Here is what I have come up with so far.

  • January is something new. So learning Russian. I will be start the course over and doing it! 
  • February is something I love. Get all of my poems together and publish them. That’s the first thing I thought of. The second thing I thought of was to make a blanket for my children. But I am not sure I will be able to do that in a year. 
  • March is Spring and I usually do spring cleaning then. But this year, I want to get rid of a lot of stuff so I can work towards my plan of being homeless… or Home FREE. Now that I can drive again, it’s getting more real! I am super excited about that!
  • April – eh… What is there besides April Fools? Flowers? Rain? I am working on it. Sing in the rain? Make flowers? Grow a plant without killing it? I don’t know.
  • May – hmmm… What happens in May? Oh It’s National Bike Month! I will bike more? I need to find a way to carry my service dog while I bike. Any ideas?
  • June gloom – for this, I want to get a better hold of my depression and actually work on it and not pretend it doesn’t exist. Basically, focus on making myself healthier mentally.
  • July is independence! My goal for this is to get employed (working on it still… 4 years. Eventually someone will hire me), work on my writing seriously, and hopefully one of those will let me be closer to financial independence. Also, I am working on getting the van ready to live in and maybe figure out where I am going to park my RV.
  • August is my birthday month. Focusing on my health, I need to be more active. I know I can’t during summer but my goal will be to set goals in Google Fit and work towards them seriously instead of glancing at it, going “Welp, failed today too. Meh.” This time, I am going to actively work on it!
  • September is back to school. I am going to take the photography course here on reddit. I am stoked about this!
  • October is Leslie. She got me into the Earth’s Children Series which I got as my Reddit gift this year. I will read through all the books this year.
  • November is Thanksgiving. I want to try writing down things I am thankful for/ grateful for every day/ week. I did this years ago and really liked it. I drew a picture to represent every day and then I wrote what I was appreciated.
  • December, to my family, is about gifts. Every month, I want to find something I can give/ give back. A charity. Donations. A give away on my blog. Thanksgiving box for a needy family. Donate to Christmas is for Kids (a local charity). Donate to the food bank. Things like that. And just give back to my community.

Now to work on the missing month. Any thoughts on April?

Weight Loss and Food

I was thinking about this today and thought I would post about it – so this is going to ramble a bit.

At my largest weight, I weighed 300+ pounds. I say “300+” because I had stopped weighing myself when the scale said 301. My pants were size 28…. and then those didn’t fit. I bought elastic waist pants because I didn’t want to see the waist number growing. For awhile, I wore a denim pink dress and a couple other tent-like outfits because I could not fit in my clothes anymore. Honestly, I hated myself at this point.

Then I stopped birth control (depoprevara – I gained 60 pounds in 2 months) and the weight SLOWLY started coming off. I remember when I could fit in my size 28 pants again. I was thrilled. I never thought I would be thrilled to be a size 28. LOL

And over the years my weight went up and down. In 2010, I found out all the foods I am allergic to and stopped eating them. I dropped the weight – like it fell off!

I ended up getting down to 193.6 before the jerk doctor in K-town decided to give me steroid shots. I BALLOONED! I hit 250 (or 257 – I can’t remember) and I cried. I had worked so hard to better myself only to have one asshole totally erase that in one poor decision backed by bureaucracy. I hate work comp and that doctor for that to this day.

Now, the weight is coming off again. My only struggle now is that I am never hungry. I even waited until I got hungry to eat. After DAYS, the dizziness set in and I ate even though I wasn’t hungry. I still haven’t felt hunger. I have to remember to eat. I forget some days. I stick to my old dietitian’s and nutritionist’s standards for calories.

My first thing is – get over 1000 calories a day (I was getting 548 cal a day avg when I saw her)! Or at least try. After that, I aim for between 1200 and 2000 a day. They wanted us to try for between 1500-1800 as a generic but, I would be fucking thrilled to hit 1000 calories a day for a month straight.

As for my weight, according to one place, my recommended weight is between 125 and 169. If I was at the lower end of that, I would look anorexic. MY goal (and most doctors are cool with this) is to get somewhere between 150 and 170.

When I weighed 173, I was quite happy with how I looked, how I felt, my body, etc. I wasn’t SKINNY but I wasn’t fat either. I was just right and I want to get to that again.

It will happen. I know it will. I just have to be patient and diligent… and remember to eat.

Free or Cheap Hobbies. We Need Them.

Remember how I sometimes say, “Get a hobby!” in my posts? Like this post where I talk about rumors about me. Java reminded me about the hobbies list I am supposed to be making. Did I ever mention how forgetful I am?

Here are four hobbies for you to explore. I picked free or cheap hobbies ($20 or less) since most of my friends have limited resources. I will make more hobby posts later and add them to this post. The prices I am listing are the cheapest I can find here.

Feel free to add to the list by sending me a message. I’ll add it to the post. I’ll add your name if you want too.

I’ll assume that you have limited access to stores and no Wal-Mart nearby. So I will be using the stores in my small town or Amazon.com as pricing guides.

Hobby #1: Making paper beads

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A bowl of paper beads. All made by me!

Price range to start: Free to about $15

You will need

  • Scissors $1
  • Elmer’s glue $1
  • Round toothpicks (not flat or square) $1.59 or a paper bead roller (I don’t have one because they are about $10)
  • A small piece of cardboard or Styrofoam to stick the toothpicks in while the beads dry (I am going to guess you can find this for $1 – I use what I have)
  • Colorful paper, newspaper, magazine pages, or any piece of paper you have lying around the house
  • Optional: Sharpies or other markers to color white paper so you can make patterns – Sharpies can be pricey but I suggest those to off brand markers since they don’t run when use you run glue over them. I have found Sharpies for about $5 for a basic pack
  • Optional: Judikins Diamond Glaze ($5) to make them shiny. Modge Podge is horrible on the beads as far as long-term goes. While this is optional, I highly suggest it. I’ve also used shellac before. It lasts a lot longer, not that it matters! A bottle of Judikins lasted me a year.

The hobby

Cut strips of paper into triangles (or other shapes), then wrap it around a toothpick and glue the end down, then coat with Elmer’s glue to create beads. You can finish them off with Judikins Diamond Glaze. I suggest this product over Modge Podge as it works in any climate or humidity. I found Modge Podge remains sticky forever when I lived in Tennessee. 

Resources

This YouTube tutorial shows you how to make basic and fancy beads. The thing I like about this video is she shows you all the neat things you can buy to make paper beads and also explains some of the issues you could run into (like not enough glue). The only thing I do differently is that I leave my bead on the stick for a minute for it to dry while I am making another bead. I leave them on the stick until I glaze them. 

In the video above, the basic bead tutorial starts here. If you already know how to make basic beads, shaped paper beads tutorial starts here where she shows tube beads, pointy end beads, ball beads, saucer beads, triangle (or cone) bead, and a double bead.

Section 3 of the video has ideas for decorating your beads and shows all the optional things you can do to your beads. The only thing I disagree with is putting water in your glaze. I don’t like the way it looks or how it lasts. I put on the glaze like I do the glue. This is the section that makes the paper bead hobby get expensive!

I will try to get my shit together long enough this week to make a video on how I make my beads. Or a post. But jennibellie does a much better job than I ever could.

Variation? Plastic Bottle Beads! I am going to try this but it’ll cost a little more if you don’t have nail polish (can get it at the Dollar Store). I am sure you can get creative though!

Hobby #2: Coloring or Drawing

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“Scaredy Cat” By Dotchi Latham

Price range: $1 to $10 to start. 

You will need

  • Crayons, color pencils, or markers ($1)
  • Coloring book or Paper ($1)

Adult coloring books are a lot of fun and run from cheap to OMG! If you have a printer, you can print out pictures to color instead of buying a book.

For drawing, you can use any piece of paper you can find lying around the house. I use printer paper (which was about $3 for the whole pack). You can find drawing tutorials with a quick Google search. You may not be Picasso when you start but keep going! It’s fun to try and it takes my mind off of stress.

Coloring is good for stress and quite therapeutic. Thought I would throw that out there.

Hobby #3: Crochet or Knitting

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A scarf I made!

Price range to start: Starts at $8 but probably closer to $20

This one can get pricey. But it’s a fun hobby and you can use what you make.

You will need

  • A crochet hook or knitting needles (about $5)
  • Yarn ($3 a skein)
  • A pattern. (I would start with something easy like a scarf or a dishcloth)

A lot of the pattern websites will ask you to join the site to see the pattern. I tend to stick with Ravelry as some of the other sites spam the crap out of my email.

While this hobby can be expensive, I can find yarn and crochet hooks at the thrift store for almost nothing. So, while it CAN be expensive, you can definitely make it a lot cheaper by looking for deals and not hoarding yarn. This is the part that actually takes more practice than actually crocheting.

The best part of this hobby is that you can crochet hats, scarfs, and slippers for charities to help out others. Don’t think you can? There was an 86-year-old man who learned to knit so he could make hats for preemies.

Hobby #4: Hiking or Walking

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Price range: FREE! But you can buy things for it if you want.

This is another hobby that can be expensive if you let it. But really, all you need is someplace to walk to, a drink (stay hydrated!), and some time to enjoy it. 

You can drive to a rural area to hike and explore or try out some urban hiking.

You can combine this with photography (use your phone or a cheap camera) or keep a journal or blog about your hiking adventures.

What is your Hobby?