Thursday, September 30, 2010

The one where Heidi goes under the knife

As I mentioned previously, I decided to have a small benign lump on my arm removed. Mostly, I thought it looked funny and I didn't want to have a weird-looking pink thing on my alabaster arm anymore. Monday was the magic day, and I marched bravely into the procedure room at Naval Hospital Lemoore's family practice clinic full of proclamations about not being worried and it being no big deal.

Apparently my vagus nerve didn't get the memo, because as soon as the doctor injected my arm with lidocaine I blacked out--a classic vasovagal response. When I came to 10 seconds later I wasn't surprised at all that it had happened--this has been happening to me since I was 13. It's inconvenient, to say the least. I've taken to warning all of my doctors, nurses, lab techs, dentists--whomever--that this happens to me just so they don't think that I'm a huge spaz. I can't help it!
Since some of my episodes in the past have included seizures, I've been taking anti-convulsants since I was 19. I don't know if they do much to prevent me from blacking out, but I'll do whatever I can to prevent having any more seizures, which are a bit more dangerous than a few moments of sleepy time in the doctor's office.

We went ahead with the procedure despite the brain delay, and I'm now minus one lump and plus a set of stitches and a giant bruise. I'm getting the stitches out on Monday and hoping to retain consciousness while I do. Wish me luck!

While this procedure was elective, I don't really consider it full-fledged cosmetic surgery. Bumps and lumps can go years before becoming problematic, and I didn't want to leave anything to chance.

Don't worry, though, I'm not about to get all Heidi Montag on you guys any time soon. I won't rule out minor upkeep in the future, but I've seen enough to know that drastic plastic is not for me. After seeing Bev's post on List of the Day the other day, I know that I would never have lip injections. A little lift for my droopy Ds someday? Maybe. But at 28 years old, I know that hopping on the Stairmaster is a far better solution than the surgeon's table for most of my perceived flaws.

What's your philosophy on cosmetic surgery?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

nursery rhyme time

Little Miss Lola sat on the dresser, looking down upon her domain

When along came Jacob to hog the prime vantage point...

...his offers of friendship in vain.

Monday, September 27, 2010

too bad we didn't meet any bears

Part two of my mom and stepdad's visit began when they came to stay with us last Wednesday. We spent two days close to home, just showing them the base and what life is like at NAS Lemoore. Jason even showed us around his shop.

On Saturday morning we met up with my stepsister and her fiancé and caravanned to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, which we got into for free because September 25 was Public Lands Day. We stopped the cars at lots of scenic viewpoints to gaze out at the peaks of the Sierra Nevadas, squeal at the adorable chipmunks, and walk about craning our necks to look at the giant trees, including the Generals Sherman and Grant (all the while swatting away the ever-present flies--funny how they don't mention fly hordes on the tourism websites).

My mom and I climbed the 400 steps to the top of Moro Rock even though she was coming down with the plague:

Homegirl wore 70 SPF sunblock and still got sunburned on her pasty shoulders.

Jason was a good sport and let me take his picture a lot, so I did the forbidden dance to entertain him:

Seriously, no dancing like that. Can't you see the sign?

Sequoia is gorgeous and completely doable as a day trip, or if you are so inclined there are areas to set up a tent and camp out overnight. I even found vegan cookies, meatless jerky snacks, and nondairy chocolate bars at the campers' convenience store!

Look how beautiful:

It was a great day, and we were both sad to see my parents leave the next day to go to Yosemite without us. I had to fight back the tears as we said our goodbyes in the driveway.

Now that we've had our first California houseguests, I want more visitors! Who wants to come see me while Jason's deployed?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

dry pants are good

Greetings from California, indeed.

We rolled out of Lemoore at 5:30 on Sunday morning and traveled 4 hours down I5 to Anaheim, where some of my favorite folks were waiting for us at Disneyland.

The last time I saw my mom, stepdad, and stepsister was when I was home for Christmas last year, so I was long overdue to see them. Jason hadn't seen my mom and stepdad since she moved from Massachusetts back to Michigan two years ago, and he had never met my stepsister. We also got to meet my stepsister's fiancé for the first time.

We hit all of the major Disneyland attractions, including Splash Mountain, which resulted in me walking around soaking wet for a good part of the day despite the sun and 80-degree heat. My advice: go on the water rides last or bring a change of clothes.

I was thrilled to relive part of my childhood at the Captain EO Tribute, but I had to wonder if those 3D glasses have been around since 1986 when the original Captain EO debuted.

The one major thing we didn't get to do at Disneyland was Star Tours, which is closed for refurbishment and reopening next year. I was really bummed about it, because I know Jason would have loved it. I can't be too sad, though, because it gives us a reason to go back to Disneyland next year when Jason gets home from his long cruise. If we do make it back, I'm hoping that Indiana Jason will reappear.

On Monday we went to California Adventure, which is right next to Disneyland (and where that first picture was taken). I managed to not get wet, which was a huge improvement over the previous day. California Adventure's rides are not as tame as Disneyland's, so Jason and I were happy. Even my mom liked it--she spent a day and a half freaking out about riding the Tower of Terror, but after keeping her eyes shut and screaming "oh shit" over and over on the first ride, she wanted to go on it again immediately.

I did well food-wise on this trip, but I didn't manage to take any pictures. We had lunch at Café Orleans in Disneyland, where Jason and I shared a salad, French fries, and Creole ratatouille. All three are easily veganized simply by leaving the various cheese garnishes off. The ratatouille comes with cornbread which is almost definitely not vegan, but they could probably substitute something else for people who are strict. It was very good, but I probably would have enjoyed it more if my pants hadn't been soaked through.

At California Adventure, we had dinner at Wine Country Trattoria, which offers a most excellent vegan pasta option (with broccolini!) and where I discovered the best wine I have ever tasted--Snap Dragon riesling.

Look how happy it made me!

I found out it's distributed locally, so I think we're going to have to invest in a corkscrew.

We got home Tuesday afternoon and my mom and stepdad arrived in Lemoore yesterday evening. Jason welcomed them with a home-cooked steak dinner--even I was impressed. I pitched in with mashed potatoes, green beans, and my favorite kale and mango salad.

They'll be here for a few more days--we relaxed today, but weekend plans include hiking in Sequoia and Yosemite national parks. If I can stay dry over the course of those trips, I'll consider them a success.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Jason spent last night installing and uninstalling and reinstalling a new wireless router. He did the whole process again this morning when the first router turned out to be a dud and he had to go get another one, so I was in a bloggy time out for the past 24 hours. I took the opportunity to (mostly) catch up on the DVR and to get my fill of college football. Victory for MSU! And with a sweet trick play, too:

We also got a new scale this week--a fancy one that measures your body fat percentage by shooting an electrical current up through your feet. This purchase both intrigues and angers me. It intrigues me because every time I step on it I imagine it zapping through my feet, and I can't help but whisper "BZZZZT" to myself. It angers me because it weighs me two whole pounds heavier than our old scale, which had lost all of its feet and was probably weighing incorrectly because it was improperly balanced. It also angers me because now I know what my body fat percentage is... yikes!

Speaking of body fat percentage, go meet my new friend Annie the pot cat over at List of the Day. I'll wait.


Seriously, I never tire of watching silly cat videos (while my own cats are acting insane in the background).

Tomorrow we'll be getting up at the crack of dawn to drive down to Anaheim and meet my mom, stepdad, stepsister, and her fiancé at...


We're wicked excited. You'd think we were 8 years old, rather than 28.

I'll be taking my camera and my laptop, so I might check in at some point. If not, we'll be home on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

one pants and map of Kentucky

At some point between this decade and the last, I missed the trend that calls for the waistband of one's gym shorts to be rolled down upon itself. I do not understand this. From my point of view, it creates a muffin top where there might not previously have been one. It certainly doesn't make your shorts stay put any better, and it puts you one step closer to exposing your buttcrack--or more--to everyone when you have to pull your shorts up even more than usual because you've rolled the waistband down. Is exposing yourself the goal? Have I become a dinosaur-ish prude before the age of 30? What is GOING ON HERE?

Despite my misgivings, when I saw a cute pair of gray yoga pants with a fold-over waistband at the NEX a couple of weeks ago, I had to have them. Why? Because they have pink bunnies on them, just like the hoodies my sister and I wore on my wedding day. They're from the same designer.

I splurged on the pants while Jason was gone because I met a goal: getting my weight under 200 pounds. While it has since gone back over that line (thanks, cupcakes and pizza), we've started going to the gym together and I think I'm a workout or two away from being back in the 100s zone. My workout today went well; I did a mile on the elliptical in 10:05, and my two-mile pace was only slightly higher. I know I can do better than that, so I definitely have a non-weight goal to work toward.

I'll leave you with what Jason said to me in the car on the way to the gym this afternoon, when I asked him about hooking up my headphones to the TV receivers on the machines:

"You just have to keep sticking it in the holes until you find the right one."


(Here's an explanation of TWSS jokes for those who aren't in the know.)

(And if anybody else remembers that commercial in the subject line in which a man with an accent says "I come to this country with one pants and map of Kentucky," please speak up, because I can't remember what the ad was for but it made me laugh every time.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Foodie Friday: Two recipes I made up

It's Foodie Friday! Foodie Friday is my weekly feature that gives you a window into my kitchen. I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to read cookbooks, and I love to inspire people to give vegan food a chance. Thus, Foodie Friday was whipped up and baked to perfection.
I made a couple of things this week that were good enough to share.

Sun-dried Tomato and Olive Strozzapreti

17.6 oz. package strozzapreti pasta
8.5 oz. jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
5 oz. sliced black olives
Victoria Taylor's Sicilian seasoning to taste
black pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. Dump in the sun-dried tomatoes and all of the oil in the jar. Drain olives and add to pot. Add seasonings to taste and mix, mix, mix. Tastes good hot or cold.

Spinach and Mushroom Pastry Pie

olive oil spray (use a Misto!)
1 lb. frozen spinach
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 8 oz. package white mushrooms, chopped
3 tsp. (6 cloves) chopped garlic
1 package Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Prepare frozen spinach according to package directions. Drain thoroughly and squeeze out excess moisture using cheesecloth or an old kitchen towel. You want it to look dry, as pictured--any moisture will make the pastry gooey later on.

Spray a large pan with olive oil. Sautée onion and garlic until translucent. Add chopped mushrooms and continue cooking. Spray on more olive oil if needed. When mushrooms are tender, stir in spinach until mixture is thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spray a glass pie dish with a light coating of olive oil. Drape one pastry sheet over the pie dish and press it down so it fits into the bottom. Spoon vegetable ingredient mixture into the pie dish. Fold the second pastry sheet over the filled pie plate and fold the edges of both pastry sheets over the top of the pie.

Bake until pastry is golden, 35-40 minutes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ding Belle

I often say that I never, ever want to be old. For the most part, I stick to that proclamation.

However, if I have to get old, I want to do it like my Great Grandma Belle, who lived in her own home with her birds and her dog, cooking giant meals for whomever happened to stop by that day, until she was 101. She had two freezers packed so full of delicious sweet breads and other goodies that if you didn't open the door just so, you were sure to cause a bread avalanche.

When she turned 100 in 2008, my family threw a giant party at my cousin's house, grandchildren flew in from all over the country, and it seemed like half the town stopped by. She even got a letter of congratulations from President Bush.

Although she celebrated birthday #102 from a care facility last month, she was no less of a spitfire than she was at 100, and she still didn't look a day over 80.

Great Grandma passed away on Saturday night, and her memorial service was held today back home in Michigan. Her obituary is here.

It's always sad to see a loved one go, but you have to celebrate anybody who makes it to 102.

Here's to you, Grandma.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Quotes from the Boat, Volume 2

My husband says funny things. Funny things that often become even funnier in the voiceless environment of e-mails sent amidst the chaos of deployment on an aircraft carrier. In my Quotes from the Boat series, I'll be sharing select gems plucked straight from my e-mail correspondence with the king of the cruise himself. From funny, to touching, to just plain weird, these are Jason's musings from aboard the "big metal city."

Man, I could really go for a beer.

It's too bad that I forgot my calculator.

Good job on your homework!

I love it when he sits next to us on the couch!

The AC on the boat isn't too overbearing.

Very poor planning was obviously involved.

I bet the bus will be tiny too. That way there we can all squeeze in it with our huge bags and annoy each other.

These racks don't exactly do wonders for your back.


Jason has now been home for a few days, and returned to work today. At lunchtime he told me that a coworker commented that he looks older. I don't know about that, but transitioning from boat brain to home brain is always an adjustment, so I was glad that we had the long weekend to spend together before he had to launch back into his regular schedule.

Quotes from the Boat will return in a couple of months when Jason goes back out to sea. In the meantime, I'm sure he'll pepper us with plenty of pithy punchlines from right here on shore.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Foodie Friday: Late-Breaking Edition (now with more cupcakes!)

It's Foodie Friday! Foodie Friday is my weekly feature that gives you a window into my kitchen. I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to read cookbooks, and I love to inspire people to give vegan food a chance. Thus, Foodie Friday was whipped up and baked to perfection.
Jason got home Friday night, and he's been enjoying the comforts of home with gusto, including stuffing his face with delicious vegan food. Compared to last week's boat food report, what I have to offer is worth a few Michelin stars:

Last night, dinner was really pathetic. I had a slab of beef and a piece of cake. That was ALL they had. I had to buy a small bag of fritos corn chips just so I could have something with the beef. I could go for some Indian food or food from the Vietnamese restaurant. I could go for food that is properly cooked in general. Lately, the meat has been cold. Bleh. Sometimes I feel guilty complaining about the food on the ship, because the rations (MRE) that soldiers in the Army or Marines get are even worse. All in all, though, shitty food is shitty food.
I guess I'll be sending a lot of care packages when he goes back out to sea in November.

Earlier this week, before Jason was back, I was still on the deployment diet, which, as you might recall, consists mostly of one-food-group meals. I had made all of the asparagus recipes from 1,000 Vegan Recipes but one, and it was finally asparagus dijon's turn. My verdict: delicious when cut into bite-sized pieces and tossed with some sautéed Morningstar Farms Chik'n strips, but I don't recommend eating it as shown because you miss out on all of the tasty dijon mustard sauce.

Now on to the good stuff: as promised, I made Jason Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes as a homecoming surprise. Rather than topping them with vegan marshmallows like the recipe calls for, I made the chocolate ganache from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. I might never use any other kind of chocolate frosting ever again. It's so good you could skip the cupcake part and eat it with a spoon. I added a chili mango heart as a finishing touch.

They were well-received.

For a quick late-night dinner, I picked up a plain sauce and cheese take-and-bake pizza from Papa Murphy's and topped it myself.

He got the message.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Daily Navy Wife, Volume 2

While Jason is out to sea, I frequently e-mail him pictures of home. More specifically, I send him pictures of myself. I want him to have a daily reminder that I love him, that I think about him every day, and that he is my reason to smile.

It will be a few more months before I do another one of these posts, because Jason will be home tomorrow!

Also, go check out my very first post over on List Of The Day. I promise there aren't any pictures of me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

This would only happen to my cat.

The last time we talked about Jasper, he was a zombie-face kitty. That mishap is healed and his fur is growing back in. But, since he can't go two weeks without needing some sort of medical attention, today we were back at the vet, getting the good doctor just a little bit closer to a wealthy retirement.

This week, the diagnosis is sunburn. Apparently Jasper has been spending too much time sitting in the window, because the skin on his poor little ears is cracking and peeling and scabbing, causing all of the fur to come off with the scabs (the picture was taken pre-sunburn). We shot him up with some antibiotics, and I have to rub sunscreen--yes, the people kind--on his ears twice a day and bring him back next week for a check-up.

Of course, it's possible that it's not just sunburn. The vet listed a few other far more unpleasant guesses, but for now we're treating the most straightforward choice.

As for me, I got to go re-do my blood draw and pee in a cup today, because my labs from last week came back all wonky and my blood tested like an elderly man's. Now I have a junkie bruise on my arm and I've had to suffer the humiliation of giving my pee cup to a hot sailor all over again. If you haven't been to the Naval Hospital Lemoore lab, two words: man candy.

Remember last year when a magazine article convinced me that I had a squamous cell carcinoma on my arm? I'm getting that little growth removed at the end of the month. The doctor was 99 percent sure from looking at it that it's nothing, but I decided to have them take it off for cosmetic reasons (and also because such things are free while Jason's in the Navy--hooray Tricare!). It's a simple outpatient procedure that only takes a few minutes. I'm kind of excited for it, actually.

What excites me the most, though, is that Jason will be home in 48 hours! I wish I could just go to sleep and skip forward two days.