Monday, December 26, 2016

The Home Stretch...

or Part 4 of my Literary Challenge....


#38 . The Aeneid by Virgil

I have a bit of a confession on this one, I scanned some sections.  I am on my third variation of the Trojan War this year with The Odyssey and The Iliad already completed.  I started it and then recognized a weird underlying theme....so I did some research into the Aeneid and found that one of its criticisms is that it is a not so veiled pro Augustus, the Roman emperor, tale.  I then realized why I was not enjoying it...we are having our current political season shoved down our throats and I can take no more.  I may put this on my reading list in the future when I can read it without the two other poems so fresh in my mind and also without the politics so fresh in my mind....

#46 . Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

As you may remember, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is one of my least favorite books EVER!  So I approached Jane Eyre with trepidation and very quickly found that having a different Bronte sister as the author makes a world of difference.  I LOVED this book!  The descriptive words, the gentle, yet never boring, pace, and tale of knowing your own worth, even when others do not, and standing by your principles.  I cannot recommend this book enough!!!


#11. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There are books that even though you really didn't enjoy or like reading, you can appreciate what the author is doing, 'The Brothers Karamazov' falls into this camp for me.  As much as my reading challenge has taught me that I love French authors, I am realizing that Russian authors are not my favorites.  I found this book to be rambling and overly dramatic at times.  It poses a valid questions of how to balance religious and a secular life.   I have friends, whose opinions and preferences I respect and generally agree with, that have this and other Dostoyevsky novels as their all time favorites.  I now can say I have read him and appreciated the experience, but have no plan to do it again.


#42 . The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

I have started the first Tale multiple times due to the fact that the version I am reading is in Middle English and it has taken me a bit to get used to it.   Once you get past the language, it flies and is quite entertaining with humor and lessons abounding (even women's rights)...the best tip I received, read it aloud.  It helps you find the rhythm and helps with the comprehension too.


#49 . The Complete Stories of Franz Kafka by Franz Kafka

I have read more short stories this year than I have in my entire life this year due to this challenge.  As with the other collections I have read this year, some stick out and some you just read and leave.  The surprise of this collection was the unexpected humor, granted a bit dark and sarcastic at times, but humor none the less.....

#39 . David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Well, I read it...and it was good, but I wasn't wowed by it.  David Copperfield is believed to be an a thinly veiled autobiography story of Dicken's life.   It is his most popular book, but it isn't mine.  It's going to end up one of those books that I read, but don't really remember.......

#50 . Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne

We all have someone in our life that when telling a story gets sidetracked at the slightest distraction and as a result you often don't always get the whole story from them but it is generally entertaining.  Tristram Shandy is like that person, it is supposed to be his life story, but when you haven't even gotten to his birth over a third of the way thru the book, you know you're in for an adventure.  It is laugh out loud funny and quite the satire with profound wisdom scattered throughout.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable way to end this year's challenge.

Still reading...
Melissa



Monday, December 12, 2016

An Unexpected Crime.....


I was robbed the other day.....
not of a material possession or money, but of time.

I had 36 hours stolen from me.

As I have mentioned here before, I periodically get migraine headaches.  They are nasty, not fun, and painful, so as a result,  I have learned my triggers to avoid them.

My biggest triggers and the cause of my most painful migraines are the result of nuts, with cashews, almonds, and walnuts being the worst culprits.  I can eat pecans in small portions and have no issues with peanuts, but there is a chemical compound in the others that trigger my migraines.  

As a result of this knowledge, I ask about ingredients when presented with food.  In restaurants, I don't order items with my triggers.  When I eat at someone's home, if they ask beforehand, I tell them and if they don't, I ask at serving and then just avoid the food with nuts.  I truly appreciate when alterations are made to recipes to allow me to eat them, but at the same time, I get embarrassed that one person is altering a recipe.  I have no problem or issue just not eating the items with nuts...

I do have a problem when I ask and someone doesn't think it's a big deal that there are nuts in something and either lies or forgets, which is forgivable, but frustrating!

The robbery of my 36 hours came when someone was trying out a recipe for Thanksgiving and asked me to try it.  Knowing the baker and her dietary preferences, I asked specifically if there were nuts in it and was told no......

but there was.  Almond flour used in place of oat flour.  1 cup worth.  Half of the flour used was almond flour.  For the record, nut flours count as NUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!   There was going to be no stopping this migraine. 

For the next day and a half, it felt like there was an ice pick in my right eye.  My vision was blurry and had auras.  Sensitivity to sound was unbearable.  Nausea was my constant companion.  I don't sleep all that well due to the pain, so even after the migraine ends, I feel wiped out.

It has taken a while but my Doctor and I have figured out a medication plan that works.  First to be tried is a homeopathic remedy that works for 95% of my migraine and has no side effects.  This time, nothing.....  Next is a prescription medication that is a lower level migraine drug.  I prefer it to the next option.  NADA....  Finally is a pill form of a drug, that I prefer in a shot form, but my insurance doesn't like to cover, so a pill it is.  If I get to this level and it doesn't work with in a hour, I am to go to the ER for what will be a couple of days stay due to the side effects of the injection I will receive.  It took 45 minutes for it to kick in and start to help, so I at least avoided the ER, but now I had to deal with the side effects of this drug.  UGH.

I say this next sentence with a plea....

PLEASE RESPECT SOMEONE WHEN THEY TELL YOU THEY HAVE AN ISSUE WITH FOOD!  IT IS NOT A JOKE!  

When someone asks, it can be life threatening.  My migraines, while annoying and painful, for the most part are not life threatening, but other allergies and triggers can be.  

As a result of this episode, I have been having some interesting conversations about allergies, triggers and issues with food with different people.  It's not an easy thing to deal with on multiple levels...  As someone hosting or preparing food, it can sometimes feel like a mine field of things you can not serve.  As a someone with issues, you feel like a bit of a troublemaker.....

I am writing this blog at this time of year with food being the focus of some celebrations for awareness and acceptance....

If I turn down your food, that you prepared with love, it isn't because I don't appreciate it, it's because it's not worth the pain it will cause if there are nuts in it.   I desperately wish that I could partake and I do not want you to go out of your way to accommodate the needs of one.

Not so nutty,
Melissa










Thursday, December 8, 2016

How I ended up cleaning the kitchen at Midnight.......



As I was going to bed, the other night,  I glanced down at my toes, which just a few weeks earlier had been pampered with a pedicure, were now looking a bit scruffy and needing to have the polish removed.

No big deal, right?
Simple, right?
In theory, yes...  Reality proved much more complicated.

Here's how it went down....
I got out the cotton balls, swabs and the remover.

It started easy enough with the cotton balls.  I got the majority of the polish off and then realized I needed the cotton swabs to clean them the rest of the way.  I dipped the first swab in the bottle of remover and lost my grip and in it went........

So now I have a cotton swab floating in my nail polish remover.  Problem #1

I tried angling the bottle to get it out and no go.
The liquid was going to have to leave the bottle to get the swab out.  A new plan was quickly devised..

Since nail polish remover isn't the most edible liquid ever, I decided to triple up 2 plastic cups and pour it in to them.  I then went to the kitchen sink and proceeded to shake out the cotton swab.  Success!  And then I heard a muffled pop...

The nail polish remover had eaten thru one of the plastic cups and now the remover was going all over the counter and onto the floor.  I immediately run over to the other one and in not one of my smarter moments pick up the 2nd cup and the bottom falls out and remover splashes all over the place.

Here's a fun fact for you....nail polish remover upon running into plastic, say a bread bag, immediately starts to destroy it.

Food had to be rescued and put in new containers, nail polish remover wiped up and then counters, floor and cabinets had to be sanitized.

And that is how I ended up cleaning the kitchen at Midnight the other night...

Facepalm....
Melissa