Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Zucchini chips! Totally worth the effort...

So a little while ago, I wrote about how Leo and I had tried a restaurant down in Leawood called NoRTH, and how I'd instantaneously fallen in love with an appetizer they have there that is basically little fried zucchini chips of goodness.

Such magical goodness!

Anyway, I was bound and determined to try making these things at home. In my oven. Since I'm not the frying type, generally.

The Twin reminded me of this little plan I had to try making them at home when she lamented not trying the chips when she was in town for a visit a couple of weeks ago. Twin, try this instead of flying back out to visit again. (a) It's a little cheaper, and (b) it's EASY!!! :D

So I looked up recipes online for "baked zucchini chips" and was hard-pressed to find a recipe that didn't involve breading the darned things before baking them. They shouldn't have breading. They're just zucchini, oil, and salt, dammit! So I finally found a recipe, but I can't remember where it came from. So here's a decent substitute. Anyway, the idea was to buy small zucchinis...not any of those mutant crazy huge guys. And then to slice them thin (I used my mandoline. Of course, it totally bit me, which is kind of par for the course when it comes to me and the mandoline...), and cook them in a very low oven temp for a long period of time.

I set my oven to 250 degrees, and then sliced my zucchini. I tossed them well in olive oil, and then painstakingly laid them all out in rows on foil-lined baking sheets. I think I'll use parchment paper next time, but the foil worked all right. Then I sprinkled them liberally with sea salt. And then popped them in the oven for 1 hour.

After an hour, I took them out to see how they were doing. Some of the chip had stuck to the foil, but only around 3 or 4 of them. I then turned every last one of those slices of zucchini, because I'm crazy. They might not've needed turning. But I felt it was necessary. So I did it. A lot of water will evaporate during the "drying" process in the low temp oven, so I felt turning them would give the slices a better chance of crisping up, and getting unfloppy. Floppy zucchini chips are still better than NO zucchini chips, but still. I like 'em crispy, if I can manage it.

I put them back in the oven for another 30 minutes. And then I checked them and one pan was golden brown and absolutely completely done, while the other pan needed a little more time. Popped them back in for about 10 minutes. And then voila! Zucchini chips!

So, sooo good. It was hard not to eat the entire plate of them, but I only had a couple, and then I put the rest away into a tupperware container. (That was the sum total of 4 small zucchini, by the way. The chips shrink up a lot when you bake them.)

I'll probably devour them all tonight. Leo will help. YUM!

For the record, it's probably much less time consuming to just fry these things. But I still liked the challenge of baking them down. They're still covered in oil, so they can't be all that healthy, I suppose. Maybe I'll try making them without the oil next time, and see what happens...

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's true what they say about colonoscopies...

I made it through. Somehow, I didn't wind up killing anything/anybody during the prep day, and I didn't die myself, although at times, it certainly felt like death would have been a welcome change for a bit!

I came through unscathed. And learned a little about my willpower levels, too. Wednesday, I ate a box of chicken broth, half of a pan of orange jello, 1 popsicle, a can of V8 Fusion juice, and then 64 ounces of Gatorade mixed with Miralax powder, which took me the better part of 3 hours to complete.

You'd be hard pressed to have any kind of appetite after that kind of process.

I thought about recording myself as I mixed the Gatorade and Miralax, and then some more as I drank it, but my brain wasn't working properly at that point in the day. (I had to start drinking it at 5 p.m.) So after I initially thought about recording myself, I also wondered if the product of the mixture would turn to some sort of gelatinous goo as it sat waiting for me to drink it. And should I put it in the fridge? But then I'd have to go up and down the stairs to get more every 15 minutes, and that didn't sound like a good idea as I'd already almost fallen down the stairs twice because my hair was throwing off my balance.

You heard me right...I said my HAIR threw off my balance. I don't know how either, but there ya go.

So I wound up losing track of the plans to record it all. I thought about it again a couple of times during the 6 o'clock hour, but then I started spending my free time in the loo, and I realized that doing anything other than sitting and then running to the bathroom would be highly unadvisable.

I went to bed at 10. I had a headache, and I was feeling pretty empty and hungry and nauseous at the same time, so I read for a bit, and then passed out.

At 12:30, I woke up feeling like hell. I had a headache that rivaled my usual clusters. And I knew the only way to get rid of it would be to eat something. But I couldn't eat anything. I was also so nauseous that I couldn't manage to get to sleep again.

I finally thought that maybe a popsicle would help. So I ate one in the dark of the living room, willing it to hit my belly like it was the cheeseburger my body was craving! It worked, a little. The nausea went away, but the headache was still there. I was still able to get myself to go back to sleep, though.

I woke a couple of times to let the dogs out, and also to deal with the aftermath of the popsicle, and then I slept until 8:15 or so, trying to avoid smelling Leo's breakfast as he cooked it.

The last thing I remember saying as they put me under was, "Wow, this does work fast!" to the nurse/anesthesiologist that had administered my propofol, and then I was waking up after a nice dream that I can't really remember. I felt loopy. They gave me apple juice to drink, and I tried not to down it in one gulp. The doctor came by to tell me what he'd found (nothing cancerous, but I DO have a fissure...and he sent some things that he collected so they could be tested to confirm what my intestinal issues are and if they go beyond IBS), and then I was allowed to get dressed and head home.

Colonoscopies are not hard. People who tell you this are not lying. And even the prep for it all...yeah, drinking Gatorade mixed with Miralax isn't my new favorite drink, or anything, but it wasn't THAT bad. Way too sweet for my liking, and downing over 64 oz of the stuff in 3 hours was not easy, but meh. Just keep yourself near a toilet that can handle the aftermath, and it'll all be over relatively quickly.

I'm so glad I can eat sandwiches again! But I'm also glad to know my limits when it comes to an empty stomach. I can still function relatively well when I've only eaten (haha! DRANK, really) 500 calories in one day. I can even hold a decent conversation with people, and notice weird, small details (like that the anesthesiology company that provided the propofol for my procedure was called "GasGas, LLC") after almost 24 hours of eating barely anything.

I don't wanna do it again anytime soon, mind you. But if I have to, I won't go kicking and screaming into the process.

If you need to have one, and have been putting it off for any reason, don't put it off anymore. It's not that bad. Promise!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Today is the day I lose 5 pounds *magically*

(Except, not so much with the magic...)

(And knowing me? I probably will somehow GAIN 4 pounds instead. ::sigh::)

Tomorrow is my colonoscopy.

So today, I was allowed to start off my day with a light breakfast (I ate the delivery meal that came today...so 2 pieces of turkey bacon, 2 small healthy mini-muffins, and 1 "deviled" egg), but the rest of the day is just clear liquid things. I'm drinking an iced tea. My lunch and dinner will be broth and jello - carefully chosen so as to not include any red or blue dye in any way, so only the apricot and the generic orange versions will work, it seems!

And then at 3 p.m., I get to begin the fun cycle that includes a hellofalot of laxatives.

I'm so looking forward to the aftermath of THAT.

It's 9:30 a.m., and I already cannot stop thinking of food. This is usually a snack time for me, and even though I asked Leo to please make me jello last night while I was at the hairdressers making myself pretty (for HIM, dammit!) (ok, not really...for me. All for me. If he likes it, too? That's nice.), and he didn't realize that I had asked him to make me jello, so...no jello. He's making it this morning while I'm at work. And I bet he'll make my broth for lunch taste yummy and fabulous and absolutely full of flavor and all that good stuff!

So I suppose I'll forgive him. ;)

Anyway, I'm trying to not think of food. I think I'll head out to Google to find images of spiders eating bugs, and stuff like that. Maybe that'll do the trick. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 22, 2011

This blows.

I have a cold. It's monumentally bad, because I can't take anything to help with the sinus issues aside from Sudafed, and I haven't had a chance to get any yet. Why didn't I pick some up when we were out shopping yesterday? WHHYYYYY?

Anyway, I'm sad. A very good friend of the family passed away last week. He killed himself, actually. And he was one of the last people on this earth that I would ever expect to do such a thing. He was one of my dad's best friends, and we've known their family for years and years and years...and to not be able to go to the funeral to support the loss is really disappointing to me.

The only thing cheering me slightly when I think about it is to imagine that he and dad are back together again. Causing trouble and hanging out with my mom on the other side.

There really isn't much more to be said aside from that. Hope everyone had a great weekend, and is having a better Monday than I am!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Being productive...

I work for 3 different executives now. I used to work for just one. It was nice.

And then another one was added on at the end of last year. No biggy. Dude is cool...we get along well. It was working out swimmingly.

Then they (the VP team) asked if I could handle another. I said sure. The other person they asked has two much higher maintenance executives than mine, and I figured I could handle it.

Not so much.

Given, it's only been 2 weeks. I'm sure that 2 weeks is not enough time to get used to all this influx.

It doesn't help that it's been the hardest 2 weeks for me that I've physically had to face ever, either. But hopefully I'll have that figured out relatively soon.

I've scheduled the colonoscopy for next Thursday.

So we'll see! Hopefully, it's a simple solution, because sitting? It is a big part of this here admin job.

Anybody ever had a colonoscopy? Tell me that it's like playing with unicorns and not horribly terrible in any way, will ya? I do know that they'll knock me out for the procedure, so that's nice. But GAH. It's all a little terrifying, is all...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

One last update about my mover saga...

Anyone wanna hear what wound up happening with the mover? When I last talked about him, I had this story, and this story to tell. And then I decided to stop talking about it. My blood pressure couldn't handle it anymore!

But it definitely didn't end there. I stopped communicating with "Joeb" any way other than through email. I collected all the emails I had and saved them to my computer, and deleted them from my inbox, so I didn't have to have them junking it up anymore. But I needed to save them in case things didn't get resolved at all.

And every once in a while, I'd send him a new email, asking him if he'd had any luck finding our missing items. He said he hadn't, but he'd keep looking. I sent him pictures of some of them to help out in his search. He thanked me for the photo assistance.

He never responded to the Better Business Bureaus requests for communication about the issue. I stayed in contact with them, and finally followed up yesterday to confirm that they still hadn't heard anything from him, and that ever since the previous owner - who had been a BBB member in good standing for 4 years, I think it was - had sold the business to Joeb, they had had many, many complaints.

I told them about something that happened a couple of weeks ago that kind of confirmed that I'm not alone in this mess. My real estate agent texted me to ask if Leo and I were missing any golf clubs? And I said no, we don't golf. And she replied, "[Joeb] delivered 3 sets of clubs to another client of mine and they are not hers. My other client thinks he is on drugs..."

I told her that didn't surprise me at all.

So when I told the BBB rep that I spoke to about that issue, he said, "And how do you know about this information?" I told him that my real estate agent who had referred the jackass to us in the first place knew that we were missing a bunch of stuff. So she was checking to see if anything that he'd tried to deliver elsewhere might be something we were trying to find. "Oh...that makes sense," he said.

We finished the call with him saying that he wasn't sure what was going to happen at this point, but they'd look into it. I said that the very least they could do was downgrade the rating on the company. Because if I was looking into a business on their site and saw that they were in A- standing, I wouldn't think twice about using them, really. And this dude DEFINITELY doesn't deserve that A-. He doesn't even deserve a C!

Well, today I got an email from them that informed me that my complaint was officially closed.

"The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has made attempts to contact the business regarding the above referenced complaint. We regret to inform you that we have not received a response from the company.

Your complaint is against a company that is not a member of the BBB, and therefore has not agreed to work with the Bureau in order to resolve complaints.

This complaint case has now been closed as an UNANSWERED complaint in their file."

Soooo, I guess that means that the business is no longer a member of the BBB. Shocking! And now it's time to take them to small claims, because it seems like he's just never going to find our stuff, no matter what.

I don't mind the things that are replaceable, so much. I mean, it sucks, but it's something I can deal with.

But the dude lost two paintings that the Twin made in high school/college that I've been hanging on my walls ever since. I loved those paintings! I'm so pissed they're gone!

So small claims it is. ::sigh:: I hate going to court!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Do you eat convenience store food?

Yesterday, as I drove back to work from a lunch appointment down in Stanley with Leo, I brought up a fun post I read on The Lunch Blog earlier in the day. Shaw had posted about a new roller food that QuikTrip released recently called the Loaded Potato Roller. We had a short discussion about how much food we had eaten at convenience stores, and I can’t remember a time when I’ve ever had a hot dog or a burger or even a breakfast sandwich from a place like that. I’ll sooner grab a bag of Gardetto’s snacks to go with my beverage than anything else. When we were little, we got things like hot dogs/corn dogs from a place called Der Weinerschnitzel, and so I guess I just never experienced the need to eat at a gas station, really.

Leo said it was something he used to do all the time. But it HAD been a while.

Anyway, this morning, he joined me at the gym when I went to meet my trainer. And when we were done, we headed up the street to QT for our reward of caffeine in large quantities.

While we were grabbing our drinks, Leo said, “I’m going to get one of those things. I worked out…I deserve it!” (The dude is a stick figure at this point, anyway. He can eat whatever he wants, really!) I was all, “No. C’mon, man! Roller food???”

(Yes, I’m a bit of a prude when it comes to the roller food. I admit it!)

I reminded him, “The guy who reviewed it said it really needs a sauce to go with it, though. And it’s all garlicy, and shit.” Leo was undeterred. He was going to try it, and I could not change his mind!

So we got in the car, and he started eating his weird-ass tube of mashed potatoes covered in bread crumbs, and seemed to enjoy it enough. He said it was somewhat over-garliced, but not too bad. It did get dry after a few bites, but then it was gone, and all was quiet again.

Until an hour later, when it hit his bowels! Hahahahahaha!

Yeah, roller food is not a good idea, dammit.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Dining out in the new neighborhood...

Leo and I are getting used to being in a more southern part of Johnson County, now that we've moved. It's not as convenient as it used to be to hop in the car and head over to Friends on 39th, or to Brookside for our favorite flatbread at Blue Grotto, for example. It's not out of the question, by any means. But for convenience's sake, we're trying out some new places down here, and seeing how they can substitute for the old favorites in a pinch.

Sushi House is our go-to replacement for Friends. Totally different environment, of course, but the sushi is delicious, and we much prefer it to Ra. Nothing against Ra! But...well, they haven't been all that awesome the times we've gone there, so we gave up on them entirely.

Now if Sushi House could just do a $1 sushi promo once a week like Friends does, we'd be in the pink! :D

Anyway, I'd read about NoRTH a while back, and then we watched a No Reservations episode that took place in the northern part of Italy, and I told Leo, "We gotta check that place out!" So we headed there for lunch a couple of Saturdays ago, and really enjoyed our food!

It was also nice to see an old familiar face in the kitchen. An old coworker of Leo's that I also knew from the Blue Moose in PV works on the line. Cool! (It's always nice to run into people on the line that Leo didn't treat like dirt, and that he had a good relationship with. A couple of places we've gone to, he's seen a guy or two that he had to fire when he was managing them, and all I could hope was that they either didn't see us sitting in their restaurant, or they didn't remember him at all. Because, AUGH!)

Anyway, the flatbread was fine. The grilled artichoke was yummy.

But they have these things called "zucca chips" that are amaaaazziiinnng. Just thinly sliced zucchini, fried up and seasoned to perfection. So simple. So original.

So fucking good that I wanna eat them every day!!!

I want to try to replicate them, somewhat, by thinly slicing a zucchini on my mandolin and baking off the "chips" in the oven. But I wonder if it will work. Has anyone tried it yet? I know I'm not the only one in town that thinks that those chips are the fucking bomb...so tell me, have you recreated them at home with any success? If so, HOW? I must know!

I don't have a fryer, and I'm not all that big on frying stuff up, anyway. Which is why I wanted to try the oven baked method. But is it a waste of time?

In the meantime, I'm trying my best to not go to NoRTH every day to order the damned things. But I can only hold off for so long, people...

Friday, August 05, 2011

It must be this screen I hide behind.

I don't know why I feel like talking about my ass with all of you out here on my blog. I think it must be like the whole Katie Couric thing, and how she was all gung-ho about people getting colonoscopies after she lost her husband to colon cancer. It's a matter of talking about something that, yeah, can be embarrassing. But it's for the greater good.

I s'pose. :/

The thing is, I am intensely private about my bizness in the bathroom. The fight that Leo and I had the other night? It turned out that he was mad because he thought I was yelling at him for even stepping foot into the master bath (sink area is outside of the toilet/shower area), when what I was upset about was that I had just gone to the bathroom, and I thought he was watching tv for a while longer, but he came in earlier than I expected to take a shower. And I was sure he had gone into the toilet/shower area after knowing that I'd just been in there.

Turns out that he had NOT gone in there. He was respecting my space, as usual, and was just brushing his teeth.

Anyway, I'm sensitive about it. Ok? That's my point. It's a barrier that I have up, and it's one of the few barriers, really, and I think it's a fine barrier for ALL people to have, so it's gonna stay right where it is, thanks.

But that doesn't mean that I feel uncomfy talking about what's going on with my asshole right now. Whatever it is. It's like that commercial for the Midwest Hemmerhoid Treatment Center..."Don't suffer in silence" is their motto. And I have to say that I agree. Maybe this isn't something I'll bring up around the table at the next dinner party or meet up that I attend, but I will discuss it here, in writing.

As I mentioned briefly in my post yesterday, I was beyond being able to handle the pain and discomfort anymore by the time a few hours had gone by at work. So I called the health center that we're lucky enough to have at our disposal here in my office and asked if they had an appointment opening, because I needed help. And the receptionist and I chatted a bit about what was wrong, with me on the verge of tears, and she said, "Why don't you just come on over here right now? We can at least see if it's something we can help with." So I did.

And when I filled out the paperwork for the walk-in appointment, I didn't know what to put down for the reason for my visit. It would have been the first time I put it in writing, and I certainly couldn't say "my asshole is being a DICK!" Or maybe I should've. I dunno.

Anyway, when the nurse called me back, we were walking to the room where they take blood pressure and temperature, and she said, "So is it both arms that are hurting?"

And I said, "I'm sorry? What? My arms are fine."

And she said, "So you don't have pain in your arms?" And then she asked me to take a seat, which was on a cushioned chair, so I eased onto it slowly, and I said, "No. That's not what it says." And I was quiet, and I looked around as she stared harder at the paperwork, and she was quiet, and I started to cry. And she said, "OH. Oh, I see...it's ok, I see what it says." (It said, "Pain/discomfort in my anus." NOT arms. HA! I wish!!!)

And so we discussed it a little bit more, and my blood pressure was RIDICULOUS (as well it should be, I was just so, sooo mortified and sad and in pain, and dammit I would be a robot if my blood pressure was normal under all those conditions!), so she took it a second time. And then we went into a room where I calmed down a bit, and explained the situation more behind a closed door.

And then she went to get the NP. And I cried with her, too. And then I had an exam, and she was very nice, and we discussed what she found (basically nothing. Which is frustrating and a bit more terrifying, because OMGWHATTHEFUCKISWRONGWITHME???), and she prescribed something that should help until I get to see the GI on the 15th. And if it doesn't, then I can go back to them and we can talk about pain meds.

The way I see it, having dealt with the IBS for the past several years, it's almost like I'm a bulimic with the problem on the opposite end. That's how I explain it to doctors that I see...I must be doing some sort of damage with the way my intake is, um...output. On some days, anyway. It's not every day, but there are times when it happens for several days at a time, and then there are times when I'm fine for 3 or 4 days, and, actually...to be honest, that hasn't happened in a while. I thought I was doing well this week, aside from the amount of pain I'm in, and then last night and this morning happened, and no. No I am not.

So that's where I stand right now. And hopefully I'm helping someone by being this open about my issues. I wish I could have normal problems, like my personal trainer who gets hit with softballs, or slides into a base and gets an infection in the wound, and has to wear an ace bandage around 3 months out of every year. And people say things like, "Did something happen when you were playing softball again?" And we all laugh because, yeah...it did.

But no. I have to have a problem with my ASS. Of course I do. And I have to try not to walk funny, in case people notice and ask if I sprained something. Because, I don't think that's what's happening here, no. And if I take a day off work, like I did on Wednesday, I have to try not to think about what to say when people ask, "Are you feeling better?" Because nuh-uh. The answer is NO. I just can't stay home for the next 2 weeks, is all! So I'm here, pushing through the day and trying not to burst into tears. But I tell them that yes...I'm feeling better, thanks! Must have just been one of those 24 hour things I had.

I so wish it was.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Oh, is that the way the universe wants to play this week?

So far this week...

...I have stepped in gum as I got out of my car at the chiropractor/acupuncture doc office.

...I found a deep, long scratch/dent on the driver side of my car that is RED, and UGLY, and fuheihrjhdsgbatluweryuilthbJCFK>ghkadgtrila!!!!

(Both of those two things basically make me hate people all over again, if I ever stopped doing so. Srsly, how hard is it to NOT throw your gum out of your mouth when you are IN A FUCKING PARKING LOT??? Same question, sort of, for the car scratch. Why is it so. fucking. hard. for some people to avoid hitting the cars around them when they're parked next to them? RESPECT, MUTHERFUCKERS! Jeee-eee-eezY!)

...I was mistaken for being pregnant again by the same coworker who assumed it a week or so ago.

...My butt has only gotten worse, even though I took Wednesday off to lie down and take Advil all day long in hopes of making it happier. Didn't work.

...While I was home, I discovered a leak in our sprinkler line that was sending a cascade of water down the street for half the day before we found it, and for another 2 hours after while we waited for the water company to come shut it off for us. (Shutting off the main supply in the house didn't do the trick. Had to shut it off at the meter...)

...I got in a mysteriously-origined fight with Leo, prompting him to sleep in the guest room last night. Awesome. ::sigh::

...I had to give in and go to the urgent care center for help with my butt, because crying constantly at my desk was bound to send up some red flags. (I have an appointment with an official GI doc on the 15th, but I couldn't deal with this until then...I just couldn't.)

It's the end of the day almost. I'm banging out my work list really well, and that makes me feel good, so yay.

Leo apologized for being mad at me last night, blaming the "bad day" that generally happened for both of us.

The urgent care nurse practitioner was very nice and understanding, through all my tears and embarrassment, and helped me as much as she could.

And the leak in the sprinkler was an easy, not-too-expensive fix once the water was shut off.

So I'm trying to look at the bright side of it all.

But goddammit people...find a trash can for your gum, and stop opening your car doors into the cars around you!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

I guess I still just want to belong.

Does anyone else answer poll questions, and then get slightly let down when they see the results, and their response isn't the majority answer?

Is it weird that I do that? Or is that a normal response, I wonder?

Monday, August 01, 2011

I feel like this should be approached as a more sensitive subject...

My asshole hurts.

What if I have asshole cancer? A guy at my work had it. It was something that his manager shared with us once during a staff meeting. I dunno how many other people knew about it, but I can honestly say now that if I have it? I don't really want people to know. I think I'd rather disappear mysteriously.

Where'd Faith go? Did she quit?

Not sure. She's like Amelia Earhart, or something!

That'd be my ideal way for the news to spread about me being gone, anyway.

Not that I'd be GONE-gone. The dude who had asshole cancer here at work was old, smoked heavily, was really skinny, and he survived treatment. So I'm imagining that if I do, indeed, have cancer of the asshole variety, I'll survive it.

Not that I'll want to. Because, oooowwwwwwww!

I have a call in to a gastrointerologist, finally. I've been dealing with this...issue, for lack of a better term...for well over 6 months now. It's my own damned fault that the doctor recommended to me is not available to see new patients until October, right? So I'm taking my chances with another doc in the same practice.

I'm sharing this information with you all because I know you can handle it. (Well, except the Twin. She probably stopped reading at about the point I said that my asshole hurts, I'd guess, and then commented about what a jerk I am for writing about this topic.) And talking about it makes me feel better, believe it or not.

Well, mentally, anyway. You guys are awesome, and I wish you could magically make my posterior feel like a happy place again, but I don't think you have that ability.

If you do? And you're holding out on me, for some reason? Karma, dude. I'd watch out for it.