Out of left field

Apparently I have celiac disease. 

I asked for the blood test because my grandpa has it, and I figured it was best to be thorough. When the doctor told me the results came back positive there was a moment where I thought that must mean the test said “yes, you don’t have it.” 

Going gluten free isn’t that daunting.  My partner is gluten intolerant and my grandpa got his diagnosis years ago, so I know the drill. I don’t have any symptoms, or at least not anything drastically noticeable, but that’s fairly common. 

I’m just still reeling from the fact that the test came back positive. Totally was not expecting that. 

Update: If I have to have an endoscopy to confirm, do you think they’d let me bring one of my kitties as a “therapy cat” to help keep me calm and avoid a panic attack before being sedated for the procedure?

A Month in Review: May 2017

Where did May go?

My birthday celebration went perfectly. I didn’t get one of the two things actually on my list (a food processor), but my partner’s mom gave me one that she just sort of had and wasn’t using. Actually, I’m not sure it’s ever been used. I’m so excited because now I can do more things in the kitchen!

Most importantly, now I can make smoothies. A blender would probably do that more efficiently but a food processor is more versatile. (This is very much me turning into my dad here, but when I find a grater disc for the food processor and can grate big blocks of cheese.) Both my partner and I went to the doctor a couple weeks ago and got some wakeup calls about our heath, so we’re making a big push to eat healthier. Brown rice instead of white rice, almond milk instead of regular milk. No more pizza, no more ice cream — with exceptions made if we go for a hike and earn a reward.

As far as writing goes, I didn’t do much in May compared to April. Even so, I hit my minimum goal of at least two short stories a month. I’ve also been allowing myself to get sucked into reading more short stories on TheProse.com.

One final note… Remember the cat garden I mentioned in my March review? The wheatgrass and thyme died. We need to start over and make sure the pot has better drainage.


 

Here’s what I am currently:

Writing

… In theory. One birthday gift I randomly received was an Amazon Echo Dot. (My mom works in the Silicon Valley and ended up with one, I guess because her company built a chip in it or something.) I set it up so it will give me prompts but, ironically, I keep forgetting the command that will get it to stop. Some of the ideas it’s popped out at me have been really cool… but a part of me still wants to get my Z story done. It’s the last thing I planned to write for the A to Z Challenge and dammit I want to tell that story. … Maybe it’s something I can do for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo.

Planning

… To finally find a new therapist this month. I really liked the one I was talking to before I moved up here, but I haven’t seen her in probably a year now and it’s really time. In May I finally found a new primary care doctor and got them to bump my anxiety prescription up a bit, so this is the next logical step.

Making

… A resolution to visit my grandparents more often once my aunt’s segment of the family moves to Michigan after Father’s Day. My grandma was so upset that my brother had to go back to Nevada after visiting for Memorial Day that she cried, and I’m going to be her nearest grandchild. Oldest granddaughter to the rescue!

Anticipating

… Finishing a big task at work very soon. Once that’s done I will have officially written all the content for an entire site! (I built the the cider website from scratch, but a lot of that copy was provided by my boss and I just protrude it up a bit.) Super excited to be able to have that on my resume. 

Reading

… The Newsflesh series by Mira Grant. I re-listened to the first two, and the end of book one made me cry again. The Thursday before Memorial Day I was driving down 101 to a store visit, openly grieving a character’s death. So I finally got around to putting a hold on the third at my local library. I’ve never checked out an eAudiobook before but I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to listen to it in my car, if not through my iPod then through my phone.

Watching

… Old seasons of the Amazing Race. We started at the most recent season on Hulu and are working our way backwards (with the exception of the second chances season), brainstorming our perfect honeymoon.

Feeling

… Tense. I don’t know why, but lately my jaw has been feeling tight again. Although I never technically got a confirmation that the problem was TMJ, but a few years ago I would have these periods of overwhelming anxiety that my mouth was going to get stuck shut, or stuck open, or just generally stuck, and I would do this weird compulsive popping thing until the feeling passed. Except doing that also reinforced the feeling… My dentist gave me a mouthguard to wear in my sleep, but I haven’t needed it for the past year. I think I’m just a little stressed about my job and my weight.

Needing

… More sleep. I’m not good about going to bed early, and in the morning I always push getting up to the last possible second before I have to roll out, get dressed, and go to work.

Loving

… How well our families get along with each other. My partner is my rock, and it’s so great for both of us to feel accepted by each other’s parents and extended family. I’m actually engaged in an epic Words With Friends saga with my future aunt-in-law right now, and when I won my first game against her and texted my partner’s mom about it she replied, “Yea!!!! Good for you!!! Smack her down!!” It was hilarious.

Hating

… That the US is pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement. My only consolation is that at least one key person in my state’s legislature is saying that California will technically stay in. I think it’ll happen. I have hope for that much, at least. The rest, I just don’t know.

Hoping

… That there are no family dramas this month. 

Friendsecurity

via Photo Challenge: Friend

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Since this is a writing blog, the first thing I have to say about my best and most cuddly friends is that they do not help me write.

In fact, they do everything in their power to keep me from writing. They walk between me and my screen — often directly on the keyboard, making their own contributions to my stories. They knock things over, like the potted plant that no longer lives on top of the fireplace. They meow and fuss because they need food, water, the litter box to be scooped, back scratches, head scratches, ear rubs, chin rubs, cuddles, reassurance, help catching a bug, the window open so they can listen to something…

And that’s not even counting the times they need to be removed from the kitchen counters or, for some reason, the bathroom sink. They can be brats and/or weirdos sometimes… but then again, so can I. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

The Healing Power of Cat PurrsFor one thing, half of my exercise consists of chasing Louie and Noodle off of the no-kitty areas or getting up to give Frankie food kisses while she eats. (Not that I’ll admit to having a favorite or anything. Frankie is just a really well-trained cat!)

For another, few things are more calming than a cat sprawling on top of you and starting to purr. This literally has therapeutic affects, and has been known to lower both stress and blood pressure.

These little creatures are some of the best friends I have ever had. Frankie, our first cat (far right in the picture), stole my heart away when she was two months old. I was working part time from home back then, and she was napping on my chest while I tried to type with my laptop propped up on my bent knees. Then she woke up, crawled a little higher, and started licking my face with her rough little tongue as if to say, “Hi Mommy. I love you.” I haven’t begrudged her my heart for the past two years, but I do wish she would stop yelling to remind me all the time.

Louie, full name Lucifer (far left in the picture, and yes, these are all female cats), is more attached to my partner, but she appreciates the fact that I put out the food and water for her. When one of us is busy, the other is Louie’s personal distracter — with cat toys, empty boxes, pieces of tissue paper or ribbon, anything that works basically. She thinks she’s queen of the house and she’s a handful. But she’s also got the thickest, softest, silkiest hair, and she’ll sit contentedly in your arms, looking around at everything with great interest, for quite a while before squirming to be let down. When we have company over she is the most social of the three. She totally hams it up for extra attention and pets, and as much as she can be a pain in the butt at times she can also get me laughing like none other. For example, when first meeting my grandpa, she tried to stick her face up his pant leg. What a weirdo. ❤️

The third is Noodle (the little black munchkin in the middle). She loves headscratches above all other kinds of petting and will actively chase my  hand when I try to stop. Where Louie hams it up and Frankie hangs out under the bed when guests come over, Noodle is somewhere in the middle. She’s got a play style like Frankie’s, but Louie’s energy level. Most importantly she always comes up on the bed to sleep with us, or at least comes up to snuggle and purr with us in the morning. 

These three are always there for us. At the same time we are wholly responsible for them. Some days I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t rub my cheek on their warm fur and just breathe in just to stay grounded. It’s the best gift I could ever ask for from any friend. 

IWSG Post #08

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JUNE QUESTION: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

(Who has two thumbs and hasn’t answered an IWSG question since February? And also totally forgot to post this a couple weeks ago? This girl.)

I don’t think I’ve ever walked away from writing as a whole.

There are plenty of drafts I’ve walked away from though. I walked away from one story in high school because it just read too much like Grapes of Wrath, a book I did not particularly enjoy but happened to be reading for lit class at the time. I walked away from my first NaNoWriMo attempt, also in high school, before finishing because it was just not good, haha.

I walked away from a couple of writing communities over the years, all fanfic related. One was all but inactive by the time I joined anyway. Another one was a little bit full of drama and many fans who were… let’s call them blunt. Plus, I got sick for a bit and got behind watching the show, took a break to avoid spoilers, and just sorta never jumped back in. The third was less fic writing and more rp based (role play, meaning I was writing as my chucaracter and pantsing it the hole way along with everyone else), and moving away from that one was more a combo of having less time to devote to keeping up and a bunch of my rp friends drifting away from it too.

With each of those I walked away with more than I’d started with. I learned so much from my three fandoms before moving on: how to work with betas, how to share my writing regularly with other people, how to write quickly and be able to post quickly to keep up with the pace of rp threads. There’s a fair amount of my writing still on the internet that I’m not necessarily proud of, quality-wise, but I’m proud of the fact that I did it. I’m also never going to read it again, because I don’t have to and I don’t wanna.

For the most part, my breaks from writing have been due to a lull in mood and energy. I take a break to focus on getting through the daily grind, and when I get back to a place where I have energy to spare again I wrote.

Bewitching Hour — musingtopieces

I had the pleasure of being a beta reader for this story, both as it was being written part by part in response to different word-limit challenges and in this final, 1906 word incarnation.

Read it if you enjoy horror stories where getting out alive isn’t a when but an if. And please, give it a like on TheProse if you can! The top 50 stories submitted will be considered by Simon & Schuster. I think views count, but likes and shares are gold.


 

Head on over to Prose and check out my spooky story Bewitching Hour. I’ve entered it in the Simon

via Bewitching Hour — musingtopieces

Baking with Leftovers

Who else has heard about this rude richsplaining of why avocado toast is the reason millennials can’t afford down payments on houses?

While that is patently ridiculous, at the core of this terribly, terribly expressed thought is at least one grain of truth: food can be expensive. Not necessarily avocados… or toast… (Seriously, why?) But once any food gains enough momentum to be considered “trending” there’s this unspoken expectation that begins to come with it. If you rushed to get a Unicorn Frap before Starbucks took it off the menu, that’s the kind of thing I mean — and that’s just at the novelty end of the spectrum.

This post by Nimue Brown goes more into the economics of affording (or not) all the organic, non-GMO foods on the market these days, or even just the wares at your local farmers market. Essentially, not everyone can afford it. Not even just the food itself, but the gas to go the extra miles to the nearest Whole Foods. Nimue also raises points about the relative greenness of driving to buy organic produce vs. biking to buy non-organic.

Side note, I feel like there’s at least one country out there where it’s actually illegal for a car commercial to imply that just because a car is a hybrid, it’s “good” for the environment, because it’s not. It’s better, but it’s not good. American commercials tend to gloss over the part where it still produces pollutants, just arguably fewer. If anyone reading this lives in a place where there are laws on the books about this, please comment on driving vs biking to get groceries and if there’s any difference in attitudes towards that.

So there’s all that.

And here’s what I actually wanted to write a post about, before I got carried away: food can be expensive, so don’t let it go to waste. Actual statistics on food waste can be found here, but to be honest I only skimmed it before linking. I’m talking about letting your leftovers, or even unopened products or unused ingredients quietly going bad in a corner somewhere in your kitchen.

My reasons for caring are, admittedly, kind of small and petty. I spend money and time on food, I was looking forward to it, and suddenly I (a) don’t get to eat it, (b) have to worry about how much of the trash has to wait until next week to go out, and (c) if it’s fruit then there are going to be fruit flies. These small and petty reasons are my motivations for doing something about food waste in my own home, or even think about the larger problems of food waste by association, so don’t knock ’em.

Because I enjoy baking, I’ve recently started experimenting with using my leftovers and miscellaneous extras to test out recipes I’ve found online. (Following, among other things, this inspiring example.) Usually I have to do some scaling down or substitutions based on the ingredients I have on hand. The rule, I believe, is that if you change at least three of the ingredients and/or proportions then it’s no longer copying.


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Faux-Plum (Actually Apple) Crumble

I had two apples, a partly empty container of blueberries, and a gluten free partner who really likes stone fruit. Unintentionally, I made a crumble that worked with all of those conditions.

Serves: 2-4, depending on how you feel about portions Continue reading “Baking with Leftovers”

#AtoZChallenge — Y is for Youth

This is another fragment from my ghost story, Presence. I don’t quite know where it fits in, though… I suppose it’s at the end, after the ghost’s unfinished business with her ex is all wrapped up. This is Ariel’s “one last thing” before she moves on.

And yes, the bit in the middle will eventually be written and posted here. I’m not sure how long it will take, in terms of both writing it and how much time passes within the story. But I do know the gist, and no, I’m not telling.

499 words. Inspired by this prompt on The Prose: “Write an extremely short story with these three prompts. -time is looped -chocolate is good -main character isn’t human.”

Continue reading “#AtoZChallenge — Y is for Youth”

A Month in Review: April 2017

$_58I know that I started my March review saying it was a very busy month, but April was crazy busy! Recently I acquired a Boynton Wild Ones 2017 pocket calendar and the month of April is decorated with flying pigs. This is fitting, because I started doing store visits in April and, if you’d asked me a few years ago, the phrase “when pigs fly” would have been connected with this sort of thing. Plus, my parents came up one weekend for a visit, so we had to clean the apartment. Plus, our friends came up the weekend after that and actually slept on our couch, so we super had to clean the apartment.

So that was all wild. But the store visits mean bigger reimbursement checks, more exercise, and less stressful office time, and the apartment has never looked better.

Here are some of my other March highlights:

  • I wrote 23 short stories in 30 days!!! When I went through and counted likes/comments/views, both here and on TheProse.com where I was also posting these almost daily, the top six were:
  • All of the comments I received were wonderful. Thank you so much for reading!
  • My partner is the best for reading through all those stories on such short deadline. I am the luckiest writer in the world.
  • This past weekend, when our friends came up to visit, we did a two-day wine and food tasting event and it was so much fun! I don’t remember the different wines so much as the different foods, especially towards the end of the days, but we had a blast. Would do again, and I feel like we got our money’s worth.18095201_1879429792308282_3893139896772067328_n
  • The cat’s out of the bag… We got a third cat and told both our parents over Easter. She’s a little all-black kitty with yellow eyes and her name is Noodle.

And here’s what I am currently:

Writing

… Stories for X, Y, and Z. I didn’t get to them for the April challenge, but I still have ideas for them and will get the stories written eventually.

Planning

… To bake more often. I saw a post on Instagram that gave me the idea of keeping dough in the fridge at all times and using it to make pies out of leftovers. Also, we got some gluten free noodles that I’m excited about, including some lasagna noodles. For lack of a better pan, I am eventually going to attempt a lasagna in a pie dish, haha.

Making

… A new habit, or trying to anyway. I’m gradually trying to work abdominal crunches into my daily routine.

Anticipating

… My birthday! 29 isn’t a landmark year, unless you look at it as my last birthday in my twenties. I haven’t decided how to feel about this yet, but I’m looking forward to everyone coming up here for a birthday dinner rather than me and my partner having to drive down to the South Bay.

Reading

… Through a bunch of blog posts from the A to Z Challenge.

Watching

… The Great British Baking Show. My partner and I have watched a lot of cooking shows, but they always seem so stressful. This one is by far more relaxing, and based more on technical and fundamental skills than throwing stuff at the contestants and see how they do off the top of their heads. In this show, the contestants alternate between some challenges they can prepare and practice for and some that they can’t. I like it a lot.

Feeling

… Tired. The past two months have been non-stop… I have my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to slow down a little bit. Not one of my strengths but I am trying.

Needing

… Anew primary care doctor. I need to get my anti-anxiety prescription renewed, and I’ve made an appointment but I’m going to run out before that. Today I managed to start the process of getting a one-shot refill that’ll tide me over, so fingers crossed. I’m also hoping to get the dosage bumped up a little when I have the actual appointment.

Loving

… My partner and our cats, even though someone in this house gave me ringworm (and I literally have no idea and no way of ever knowing who). This is another reason I have a doctor visit this month.

Hating

… How hot it is. I know, I know… Summer is coming, and I was getting really tired of all the rain and flooding. But this is such a sudden change that I’m getting whiplash here!

Hoping

… My partner gets a job soon. There have been a lot of interviews lately, we’re really hopeful!

#AtoZChallenge — W is for Watch

WA small note: not all weres are necessarily werewolves. In Sunshine by Robin McKinley there are mentions of weresquirrels, wererats, and even werechickens… and it’s implied that the latter are probably the most embarrassed.

465 words. Fantasy, the same monster hunters from J is for Journey, and things that go bump in the night! Please leave a comment if you like what you read. 😊  Continue reading “#AtoZChallenge — W is for Watch”