Monday, December 05, 2016

Brief Update, And Mostly Useless Recipe

Ear status: better than it was, but not great.  I don't want to die any more!  But I could really go for some nice narcotics.  (Yes, I have other drugs; no, nothing is as good as narcotics.  Except maybe FIXING MY !@#$ EAR.)

Recipe: Because I live in the middle of nowhere, we are amply supplied with nature, mountains, fresh eggs, livestock, and local vegetables.  We are not amply supplied with stores.  It is not possible to buy fake-butter for baking without driving for hours. Hence: my version, made from what I can get locally or order from the internet (ALL HAIL).

Fake Butter-Flavored Earth Balance Baking Sticks Shortening (non-hydrogenated, vegan)

110 g cold water
2 T pea protein 
2 T soy lecithin

2-3 t salt

500 g unrefined coconut oil (such as Lou-Ana, Kroger brand, or whatever is handy - the kind that melts at 72 F, not 90 F)
350 g palm shortening
150 g canola oil
Optional: 1/2 dram Lor-ann artifical butter flavor or the flavoring of your choice

Mix the water with the protein and lecithin and let sit at least an hour until the lecithin is fully dissolved. Add the salt.

Melt the solid oils in the microwave or on the stove until they are at least 90% liquid.  Mix with a hand mixer or stand mixer until fully blended.  Add butter flavor if desired (it contains no dairy). While beating, pour in the water mixture slowly.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.  This shortening is soft at room temperature, mostly solid in the refrigerator, and melts a lot like butter.  Good for cookies, where pure coconut oil gives structural failure and pure palm oil gives a strange waxy taste.

Any neutral-flavored liquid oil can sub for canola. I don't recommend olive oil; it gives a very strong flavor.
You could probably use soy or rice protein.  I haven't tried either.
Many co-op/organic type stores will sell soy lecithin by the ounce if you don't want a whole pound.  You can put the extra in bread dough a tablespoon or two at a time.  Sunflower or egg lecithin would also work.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


You know what sends one's ear-related nerves and muscles back into a spiral of pain and WOE?  A fucking ear infection.  An antibiotic-resistant ear infection.

But on the BRIGHT side I have now reached my out of pocket maximum until June 30th.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Yes, Well, Plus State of Self

Here. And a sincere FUCK YOU VERY MUCH to all (edit: that is, the subset of) the white dudes and straight white Christian ladies who are convinced everything will be fine through the next four years.  People of color, religious minorities, immigrants, queer people... even some straight white Christian friends in town with black children?  We're all terrified. (Along with anyone who has sense.)

Now that we've gotten that over with.

I am in... less pain!  I have not achieved No Pain since June.  However, I have a lot of drugs now and a very expensive round of physical therapy.  It's getting better.  I feel like one day I might be Mostly Better.  Huzzah.

Today I did my first round of Terrifying Antibody Thing.  It was enlivened by a brief round of intense itching.  Friends, itching is not good when you have been injected with antibodies. However, it mostly went away.  My kind neighbor watched Sweetpea for two and a half hours while I sat about knitting, trying to not go into anaphylactic shock. Good times for all.

Next semester I have been roped into teaching something I don't really want to teach.  For Reasons.  (If I say no now, it's no forever; it pays fairly well for fairly little effort; it's actually the Science Thing I know and like the best; there is the possibility for more interesting work in the future; I know and like the person who offered me the job and therefore I have a reasonable expectation it will be okay.)  I'm a bit afraid I'm going to end up teaching forever because I'm lazy.  Yes, yes, I know: I don't have to do it if I don't want to.  But if the choices are This, Nothing, or Move, then This wins.  Is this better than nothing?  Sure, fine. 

My assortment of part-time babysitters is working out pretty well.  The kids love them, Sweetpea runs up and demands "Lap! Read book!", and everyone is in one piece when I get home.

I continue to apply for Other Jobs. (They never write, they never call.) 

I am taking an (online) class in databases from Mountain State University - it's surprisingly good, taught by someone with a deep and abiding love of the database- and predictably, writing code is the only part of it I'm actually good at.

Between my students and the election, I have a terrible headache, so I'm taking to my bed and trying again tomorrow....

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

FMB: Holding Pattern

1. Hi, it's me.  Well!  Those four months of stabbing pain were very unpleasant! I'd like to never do that again!  Allergy shots, a little humanized antibody, about nine prescriptions, and a lot of misery later... I feel like I've been ill for months.

2. My Very Mild Job Discontent continues.  It's boring.  They pay me.  It's convenient.  The end.

3.  Boredom is exacerbated by being too ill to do much.  (I did read through all of Shadow Unit!  Warning: this is a very disturbing paranormal horror series; it was preferable to the amount of pain I was in, which was an actual nightmare, but... it's very disturbing.)

4.  Tatoe is five this week.

5.  My youngest sister came to the US for a week. I didn't see her.  This is the one who came by to say BYEEE the day before she moved out of the country, then nothing for the last 15 months. In the meanwhile, she summoned up the energy to find a dude to screw and move in with.  Of course, I didn't bother to do a lot of reaching out either; my three months of that before she left (met with crickets), I think, reached my capacity.  I don't know if I'm just in a permanent sulk about the whole thing, or acknowledging the reality that this relationship is broken beyond my capacity to want it to be better.  Or... both.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Summer of My Discontent, State of the Self, Etc.

WORK:  Hey, my job is... boring.  Easy, but also boring.  By the third time around with the same lab, I am really a little tired of it.

I continue to look for Another Job.  There continue to not be Other Jobs here.

The downsides of adjuncting - the unpredictability has been much improved by New Chair - are that it never changes, and there's nowhere to go, professionally speaking.  How many years in a row do I want to do Intro Chem Lab?

(Although the biology department wants me too and there is room for something different, eventually. Still.)

SELF: I have had a headache for 106 of the last 110 days.  It's maybe getting better.  I think.  Maybe not.  Here, let me make you a chronic pain scale:

0: Feel like a normal human being.  Stabbing chronic pain?  What's that?  Also puppies, kittens, unicorns.
1: It hurts like I whanged my elbow on something, or stubbed all my toes.  But not quite all the time.
2: It hurts all the time.  I can ignore it for multiple hours at a time!  Possibly I can sleep!  (With drugs.)
3: I can ignore the pain for an hour at a time.  The laundry mountain is growing and the kids are eating Cheese on Bread two meals a day.
4: I cannot ignore the pain at all, and the spiders are taking over the basement.  Getting the mail is a challenge.  It hurts to move.
5: At least 2 hours/day of laying in bed, considering sticking myself in the head with a small knife. I cry when the children touch me.
6: Considering a larger knife.  I scream when the children touch me.
7: Seriously considering throwing self under the next passing large truck.
8: Would throw self under truck, but it hurts too much to get out of bed.
9: Would like to die imminently.
10: Can only lay in bed weeping.  Can barely get up to go to the bathroom.  No quality of life, would prefer to be dead RIGHT NOW.

It's at least a 4 or 5 every day.

(I am not actively suicidal.  But also, is my pain adequately controlled?  AH HA HA HA NO.  My otherwise-excellent PCP suggested that I might be at risk of opioid addition*.  I take 2.5 mg of opioid per DAY.  No.  Though partly I take that little because I fear that doctors will not prescribe me enough adequate pain relief NO REASON.)

I've run out of ETC.  Happy Friday!

 "Rates of opioid abuse or dependence diagnosis ranged from 0.7% with lower-dose (≤36 MME) chronic therapy to 6.1% with higher-dose (≥120 MME) chronic therapy..."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Recipe: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (GF, Dairy-free)

Adapted from Oct 2016 Cook's Illustrated

4 T Spectrum palm shortening
5 t blackstrap molasses
1 1/4 c raw sugar
3/4 t salt
2 T coconut milk
1 T water

1/2 c raisins

1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t cinnamon
1/2 c oil
2 medium eggs
1-1.5 t butter-vanilla emulsion
3 c old fashioned oats
3/4 c rice flour
1/4 c potato flour

Put the shortening, molasses, sugar, salt, coconut milk and water in a saucepan.  Boil for a few minutes, until most of the sugar is dissolved.  Add the raisins, stir, turn off heat.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together, then stir in the hot oil/sugar mixture.

Divide into 20 balls. Flatten onto parchment paper.  Bake at 350 or 375 F for 8-10 minutes.

(CI version has 4 T browned butter, no coconut milk or water, and regular wheat flour. Also, 1 lg egg + 1 yolk.)

NOTE: Almost all of these ingredients can also be found at Walmart.  Yes, butter-vanilla emulsion is tastier than just vanilla; no, it does not have any actual dairy ingredients in it.  Yes, you can substitute ingredients, but it probably will turn out different.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Oh the Irony

I currently have three departments discussing my teaching availability for next semester. You know, teaching: the thing I decided was never going to happen and so I went off and worked for industry.