Tag Archives: life

Running to Catch Up


So I know I said this in my last post, but it’s worth repeating:

I’ve been really bad about blogging regularly.

There’s been so much going on lately and I’ve been spending much of my free time looking and applying for jobs in the Chicago area. I really want to move back there, but I simply cannot do it without definite employment. It’s just very time-consuming and a bit frustrating because I’m one of those people who actually takes the time to research the organizations to whom I’m sending my resume and I craft cover letters specifically suited to them. It takes forever, but I refuse to put my name on something I’m not proud of. I stand behind my cover letters and while the job search can be very frustrating (especially when employers don’t even take the time to send a mass email to all the losers like me who don’t get the job), I can at least feel comfortable knowing I’m putting my best foot forward 🙂

In other news, we’ve been crazy busy at the store. Wisconsin Quilt Expo is coming up in about two weeks and for those of you who don’t know, it’s kind of a big deal. Quilting related retailers from all over the country gather in Madison for a 3-day show and there are about 8 billion people who come (not really, obviously, but it’s something like 20,000, which is still a lot of people). We’re vending again this year and we are hoping to really feature my mom’s quilt designs and pattern line. She’s very talented (though she’d never admit it) and her patterns are quite popular with our clients, so we want to see how they go over with the larger Expo crowd. Anyway, it just means we’ve been busy finishing samples, packaging patterns, packing merchandise, and getting ready for the show. Oh, we also have a store to run. Oy vey.

In the middle of all that, I’ve also had one of my awesome, relentless sinus infections for… oh, 6+ months now. I’ve tried different antibiotics (found out I’m allergic to another one!), my neti pot, loading up on vitamins (Emergen-C makes me feel like I have super powers, but when it wears off I’m still sick), inhalers (nope), and antihistamines. I’ve also tried a gluten-free diet (TWICE! WORST THING EVER! (not really, but I just really, really, REALLY love my carb-y delicious bread and pasta)) to see if an allergy was causing the issues. I’ve done dairy-free before (also twice) and have come to the conclusion that it’s not a food allergy. I hate that nobody believes me because I’m just the patient and I don’t know anything (except my own health history and how I currently feel…). I did finally convince my doctor to refer me to an ENT and she did. I also convinced her to order the CT scan before my appointment with the ENT.

Let me back-track to explain something: I have already had 2 separate sinus surgeries: one the day before Thanksgiving 2004 (that was a fun holiday…) and one in August 2008 (please notice the 4-year gap between each of my previous episodes and my current one). The pattern has been the same each time: I start getting daily sinus headaches and I get a sinus infection that doesn’t go away with antibiotics. The doctors continue to prescribe antibiotics, trying different ones to find one that works (none of them work). Then they recommend allergy testing. Someone at some point will recommend a food allergy test so I go on some stupid diet that doesn’t change anything except to make my mood worse because I want my favorite foods, but I can’t have them. I eventually stop going to the doctor and just cope with the sinus infection and feel miserable for awhile. At some point, I convince someone to refer me to an ENT (or in the case of my first sinus surgery, I was just referred after they exhausted all other options). I have scans done and find out that surprise, surprise, my sinuses are effed up.

This time, I have to see a surgeon who specializes in revision septoplasties because I’ve already had 2, as well as a cyst removal from my left maxillary sinus cavity and widening of the opening to that cavity. The surgeon I’m going to see had his first available appointment on September 27. I scheduled my appointment on August 10. That’s 7 more weeks of living with this miserable sinus crap. Oh well, can’t do anything to change. Ah-ha, but I can do something to speed the process along! I knew that on September 27 I’d see the ENT, he’d feel my face and look in my nose and say that I should have a CT scan done. I’d get the scan and have a follow-up appointment some weeks after that (probably another 7). All-in-all, it would probably be 3-4 months (honestly, not exaggerating) before I got an answer. I just decided to skip ahead so I can have the scan in my hands when I see him next month, so I got my primary care doctor to order the scan. I had it done this morning and I asked them for a copy of it.

I got a call from my doctor late this afternoon telling me she received the results of my scan. She mumbles a lot and talks really fast, so I didn’t really catch everything she said, but I did hear “mucosal thickening” and I think something about narrowing of the airway. She said something else, too, but as I said… I didn’t hear everything.

Unfortunately, these things sound familiar to me from the last operation I had. Of course, I need to wait to see what the ENT says and I plan to ask him if I have any other options because frankly, I don’t feel like having sinus surgery every 4 years. I don’t want to another sinus surgery at all even if he has some magical fairy dust he can sprinkle while he’s in there. It’s expensive and PAINFUL and it blows (except your nose, ’cause you’re not allowed to blow it for like 2 weeks after the surgery). It’s seriously the most painful thing I’ve ever endured. The first night after my first surgery, I was sleeping in a chair because I was supposed to be sitting up and I woke up in the middle of the night, screaming because I was in so much pain. My face hurt so bad I couldn’t walk. Yeah. How are those two things related? I ended up crawling up the stairs, bawling for my mom (I was 17, gimme a break), who came running out of her room to try to console me. I had already maxed out the puny pain meds they’d given me (I think it was something insulting like Tylox). Eventually my mom dragged out the narcotics my dad had and she gave me half of one. I slept for like 12 hours. Anyway, my point is that it effing hurts. A LOT. And I don’t want to have another one.

Again, I may be jumping the gun, but I’m pretty nervous that I’m going to be needing another operation :-\ Good vibes for me?

Alrighty, well this has really turned into me complaining about my current health problem. Didn’t mean for it to turn into that, but there ya go. We have been enjoying our CSA box each week. We’ve gotten some sweet corn that, considering the extreme drought we’re in, we didn’t think we’d get this year. I’m not a corn-on-the-cob fan (not really a corn fan at all), but this sweet corn is SO GOOD. We’re also drowning in heirloom tomatoes from our own garden. So. Many. Tomatoes. They’re delicious, but I think my brother’s insane when he says he wants to double the crop for next year.

Alright, I’ll leave it there. Hope everyone’s doing well and… uh, yeah.



Bladders can apparently hold a lot of water


So I had my ultrasound this morning to check out my ovaries since there’s the new-found family history of ovarian cancer and I have this weird pain on my lower right side (though I now know that it’s not in the area of my ovary). We’ve recently found out that not only did my grandmother die at age 50 from ovarian cancer, but my great great grandmother died at age 50, though we don’t know the cause of death. There’s also another female relative somewhere a few generations back who died in her 40’s. I’m glad we found my mom’s biological family!

Luckily, they told me this morning that everything looks good and there are no abnormalities, so that’s good! My mom just had her physical and got a referral to genetics so we can get tested for the BRCA gene mutation. Let me take a moment to brag about my mom. She’s lost about 40 lbs over the last 2 years. She’s done it without fad-dieting, she’s just eaten less and been eating better. She was taken off one medication and had another medication cut in half at her appointment because her bloodwork is so good and she’s so much healthier now! Yay, Mom!

Okay, enough bragging…

We received a special package in the mail yesterday. My mom ordered a DNA paternity test. We think we can get my grandmother’s ex-husband (1 of 2 men who may be my mom’s father). She still hasn’t met him and won’t until we get the results.

We have some of Mom’s family coming over tomorrow to cook out and enjoy Monticello’s fireworks. I’m enjoying building relationships with them, though it is a little weird, because we’ve missed out on so much time. Oh well, we’ll just have to make good use of the time we have now! 🙂

Weekend of Excellence


So we’ve been eating a lot of salad lately. At least I have been. I actually had a really delicious salad today for lunch. I made a Thai peanut dressing and put it on some Romaine (CSA), shredded carrots and edamame. It tasted a lot like the Thai Chopped Chicken salad from Panera. I plan to make it again… maybe for dinner tomorrow since we STILL have most of a head of Romaine left from the CSA 🙂

In less successful news, I used this recipe from Whole Foods to make a Mediterranean salad the other day. Not good. Won’t be making it again. I’m not sure what happened, but it just was. not. good.

Mediterranean Crunch Salad of ickiness. I added feta to it and it was still awful. And we all know that feta can fix anything.

In (hopefully) more successful news, I just jarred this Red Currant Rhubarb Jam (both CSA items) and it’s sitting on the counter cooling. I’m VERY excited for this and I really hope it turns out. Not going to lie, I was a bit depressed last week when my mom made my grandmother’s famous rhubarb jam last week using our CSA rhubarb. I grew up eating and LOVING the stuff, but it uses jell-o (which has gelatin) and I’m vegetarian now. Most people probably wouldn’t think about jell-o and vegetarianism, but guess what! Jell-o is not vegetarian. Gelatin is made up of the collagen found in pig and cow skin and bones. No bueno por son vegetarianos. SO no delicious, delicious rhubarb jam for Hilary 😦

BUT! I was looking online for a recipe to use both our rhubarb and red currants and stumbled upon the recipe I linked above. It’s 4 ingredients (I’m all about knowing how to pronounce my ingredients!): red currants, rhubarb, water, and sugar. That’s it! I’m not exactly sure how it will be jam-y, but I’m hoping there’s enough fruit pectin in the currants and rhubarb to make it work. It’s still a bit liquid-y, but I need to let it rest for another 22 hours or so, so I’m hoping it sets over that time and I’m left with delicious, fresh, vegetarian red currant rhubarb jam 🙂

Red currant rhubarb jam just chillin’ on the counter (ha!)

So those are the updates on the food front here at our house. We’re just about out of our CSA produce for this week, which is good! In unrelated news, Mom and I wanted to do something normal that’s not related to the shop, so we went to see Brave last night. Guys, it’s pretty fantastic. You should all see it. I totally wish I had Merida’s hair. Pretty jealous.

And today was the last day of the shop hop meaning we can go back to having my mom only work 6 days a week instead of 7! Yay! Mom might call her sister (!!) tomorrow to see if she and her daughter (that’d be my cousin, whom I haven’t met yet) want to get lunch with us next Sunday since we finally have a day we’re both not working. We’ll see what we can arrange.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend! We sure could use some rain around here, so if you’ve got any to spare, send it our way!

CSA – Week 2 (also: life happens)


So, CSA week 2! Yay! Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture this week 😦 Our fridge died yesterday, so we had to move everything to the fridge in the basement. With all the craziness going on surrounding that, a photo just didn’t get taken. But that’s okay! Our loot this week (if I remember it all…):

  • Eggs
  • Rhubarb
  • Garlic scapes
  • Bibb lettuce
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Green onions
  • Strawberries
  • Swiss chard

(I think I remembered it all…) Anyway, I’m still super pumped about our CSA. I really want to try to use everything we get and keep the composting to a minimum. Unfortunately, we did end up composting some of the radishes from last week as well as a decent chunk (but not too much) of the Bibb lettuce. The radishes were washed and cut and just weren’t stored properly (and they may have been a victim of the fridge dying) and the lettuce was washed, but not dried properly before storage, so some of it went bad.

Overall, we had fun with things last week. I did try to make a radish green pesto and it was horrible. Maybe I wasn’t doing it right, maybe the radish greens weren’t right (I read later that you’re supposed to remove the radish greens from the radishes soon after harvesting and store them separately. We didn’t do that). Whatever happened, it was awful and bitter and ended up in the trash. Might try it again someday, but… blegh.

We haven’t made our meal plan yet for this week, but tonight we made potato hash with red onion, wilted spinach, bell pepper and zucchini. We fried up some eggs and tossed those on top and it was delicious. We’ll have to see what we come up with this week, but I’m fairly certain that a rhubarb custard crisp is in store for us.

In other news, I’m a mess lately. I reintroduced gluten to my diet about a week ago, after deciding it wasn’t causing any issues. I also finished my last dose of my antibiotic for the sinus infection on Saturday. Since about Monday, I’ve been scratching my head and face non-stop. It’s so bad that I had my mom look through my hair yesterday to make sure I don’t have lice. She said it looked fine and I haven’t noticed my skin being any drier than normal or anything. Then, the last day or so, I’ve started to notice my hands and fingers being really achy and my joints turn red and swell and I’m itchy in some of my “hot spots” (you know – arm pits, under the boobs, back of the knees…). I’m wondering if I might be having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic. I don’t think I’ve ever taken this kind before, but it was prescribed because I’m allergic to penicillins and Z-packs don’t really seem to help so much. So they wanted me to try a sulfa drug. We’ll see what happens overnight, but I took some Benydryl and plan to call the doctor in the morning. In the meantime, I’ve decided to eliminate gluten from my diet again to see if that might be what’s causing this. I sincerely doubt that it is, but I just want to explore all of the options.

So this is a fun post about nothing in particular, but that’s okay, and that’s how it’s going to end because works been crazy lately and as I mentioned, I took 2 Benydryl an hour ago, so I’m exhausted. I’m really hoping to be better about updating more regularly and keeping the posts on-topic and not have them ramble on about 18 different things like this one. Oh well, deal with it! 🙂