Monthly Archives: March 2008

longing for the motherland

This time last year I was getting ready to jet off to England to visit friends in Leeds and spend a couple days in Edinburgh.  My next bonafide vacation isn’t till June – waiting a year to take some real time off (you can’t include visiting family – well, I can’t since visiting family means hanging out with children and the usual familial insanity) is stupid.  What a great trip that was…  I miss the British Bombshell and her Splendid Man.  In 2007 I learned that British academics come with an extra liver and set of kidneys.

So, I celebrated the magicalness of that trip to Ole Blighty by setting off for The Royal Mile Pub in that oh-so Scottish town of Wheaton, Maryland on Saturday.  Teh Smitten and I were in the mood for whisky, ale, and pub food, and this place delivers.  Of course, its also way the hell out of our way and Smit’s GPS unit totally took us the scenic route.

His Smitness had the Royal Mile sausage and mashed potatoes, which was mild but nice.  I had the fish and chips and it was excellent – very lightly breaded.  The bar even carries brown sauce but I went malt vinegar as a topper.  We also had a couple whiskies each (Bowmore, Glenmorangie Madeira cask, Caol Ila and Speyburn) and an ale each (Belhaven and Old Peculiar).  To top it off we have the home made trifle.  The drive home was exhausting.  Really wish that place was a bit closer.

On Sunday I went out and bought the stuff to scrapbook all my photos and other keepsakes from the trip.  Yes, I know scrapbooking is a soccer mom pastime but the last one I did was for the Italy trip and that was 6 years ago.    I even found the wee note book I bought so I could keep track of everything I saw, ate or drank.  My poor, poor liver.  How will I ever get it into shape for CA Central Coast wine country or the San Francisco absinthe maker?

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caution: nausea inducing

pipi le chick

Sooooo… Teh Smitten, at my pathetic urging, bought me this little toy for Easter. When you squeeze him he makes this adorable peeping noise. I have named him Pipi (he is French so the pronunciation is Pee-Pee). Pipi le Chick. Teh Smitten likes this name too since it sounds gross. Wait, he says, “Not gross. Funny,” as he is also inclined towards the scatological. Well, he thinks poop is funny. Personally, I prefer gas to poop. Generally less messy and way more entertaining.

We talk to Pipi and cuddle him regularly.  We comfort him when he peeps and find comfort in his “simple peeps of wisdom”.  (Those are Teh Smitten’s words.  I just think the sound is soft and sweet.)  Not always when we’ve been drinking either.  We’re not interested in having children but still need to express our maternal instincts in some meaningless way.

[Explanatory note] Did I mention that I’ve been drinking? I had my first bit of caffeine and alcohol in days today. Being an insomniac is a real bitch.

Tomorrow I’m giving massage a try over acupuncture. Acupuncture is interesting, but I haven’t seen any major results yet.

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maybe hostels aren’t right for me

So, TableauVivante asked a good question.  Am I crazy to consider staying in a hostel during our trip to CA?  Considering the fact that I keep getting more and more particular about cleanliness as I age, perhaps.  Oh, not to mention the fact that I hate noise when I’m trying to sleep.  Always have.  I must have been a miserable college roommate.

I stayed in a Roman hostel a few years back – it was called Fawlty Towers – and was decent.  The Alabama Slamma and I stayed in pensiones in both Florence and Venice, and they were wonderful.  However, Teh Smitten isn’t excited about having to wander down a hall in the middle of the night (he ain’t a fan of pj’s) or sharing a bath, and I don’t blame him.

So, we’re looking at other options – all more expensive.  There is a place along US 1 (Big Sur) called Ripplewood Resort or something that offers cabins.  It would be rustic, but the surrounding area would be beautiful.  A possibility.  Then, there’s the area around Paso Robles or San Luis Obispo – near wineries and other fun stuff.  I suppose we could try a chain in that area…

I might have to break down and call Carmencita since she’s from Carpinteria or San Peeeedro and such…

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search terms

Someone did a search for “blog whorebucket” and found me.  Hah!!!  Little do they know that I have a readership of approximately six people!  I am a “blog whorethimble” at best.

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art and rant

Last night, Teh Smitten and I were treated to complimentary tickets to see The Kiss of the Spider Woman at Signature Theatre.  A talented friend – who won a Helen Hayes Award last year for his role in Assassins – is playing one of the sadistic guards.  The musical isn’t run that often, and I haven’t yet seen the movie.  It is now in our Netflix queue.  Said friend also has a spooky amount in common with Teh Smitten; I’ll have to get those two together to share their thoughts on music, books and movies.  Tomorrow we’re seeing Teller’s Macbeth at Folger Shakespeare Library.  It has had great reviews.  Maybe not the most romantic play for our tenmonthaversary, but I’m excited.

Political rant:  I’m no fan of Michael Moore.  He irritates me.  But you’re doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t rent Sicko during this election year.  This country should be a better place and it is each person’s responsibility to go out and vote.   Watching this movie will make you envy the enfranchised citizens of Canada, the UK and France.  Having aging parents – both with health problems – as well as having had some health problems myself the past couple months makes the health care (and the associated dearth of time-off in this country) makes this issue very personal.  Yeah, the French are yellow-bellied surrender monkeys but their standard of living is still superior.  The average poor British citizen lives longer than the average wealthy American.  We’re working longer hours than ever, our economy is in the crapper, Iraq was so unbelievably wrong-headed…  Teh Smitten makes a really good point about election day not being a national holiday – there’s something wrong with a system that will not allow hard-working people the luxury of voting without worrying about losing a day’s pay.

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San Francisco, San Jose, and the Central Coast

Teh Smitten and I will be out west in June for the Manic Bride’s wedding.  We’re taking about a week off and plan to do a little wandering around prior to the wedding on the 13th.  I’ve heard good things about the wineries and towns along US 101 and would love to do a bit of the Highway 1 drive south of Monterey…  Teh Smitten is not quite sold on the concept of driving three hours or so south of San Francisco for wine drinking, thinking that the area around Santa Cruz, Monterey and Carmel might suffice.  I don’t know enough about Paso Robles or San Luis Obispo (and points between San Jose and San Luis Obispo) to persuade him…

This is what I’m thinking:  we’ll stay a night or two in SFO since we arrive late-ish on the 7th, then head out to see other places on Monday the 9th.  We might need to be back in San Jose  on the 11th to pick up some other friends coming in for the wedding, and definitely need to be back on the 12th for rehearsal dinner.  So, does anyone have any recommendations?  Should we head out of SFO on the 8th?  What would be a good itinerary that would be relaxing?  Is the redwood forest south of SFO worth it?  I think we may visit the Winchester House on the 12th or 13th, and then we will spend the night in SFO before heading back on the morning of the 15th.  (The rehearsal is on the 12th and the wedding is on the 13th.)

I’m also hoping to keep lodging costs at or under $100 a night, so suggestions would be very welcome.  I have a couple tour books – Fodor’s Northern CA and Lonely Planet’s SFO, and they are helpful.  Are there any restaurants we should visit?  Wineries?  Breweries?  Again, we would love to keep costs down, so moderately priced suggestions would be appreciated.

Carmen?  Felicia?  Anyone?

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pin cushion

My acupuncturist tells me that I am making some improvement.  He knows this by the color of my tongue.  A pale tongue indicates poor circulation and stuff.  He can also tell that I’m having tummy trouble by checking my pulse on both wrists.  I don’t know if he’s a charlatan or the real deal,  but I totally dozed off during my session (it is that relaxing) on Wednesday and I am feeling better.  That could also be a function of the thyroid medication (it takes about two weeks to take effect) and having slept better since Tuesday night (thank you, Benadryl!).  Man, Monday and Tuesday were very rough days for me, leaving me more than a little worried about the state of my health.  I was secondarily worried that Teh Smitten might be inclined to R-U-N-N-O-F-T as a result of what had become my chronic crankiness.

The acupuncture is pretty cool and I’m a little sad that insurance limits me to 24 sessions a year as I could see going once a week to help with everything from stress to serious back pain.  Its even supposed to help women get pregnant if they’re having problems.  No – not worried about that at the moment.  I had a hard time understanding the acupuncturist at first, but his accented English is becoming clearer.  During my second session he inserted a needle to the left of my navel and said, with a polite smile, “This one help with weight control.”  I was tempted to tell him to super size that needle.

Teh Smitten has the first few seasons of Ab Fab on VHS and we’ve been watching them intermittently.  It has helped with the very cranky days.  One of the first episodes has Eddy going to the hospital for some sort of toe problem.  She has private insurance which entitles her to a virtual smorgasborg of valium and Bolle champagne.  The doctor ends up fishing out an acupuncture needle from her big toe, leaving Eddy to exclaim, “But I’ve only ever had cranial acupuncture…  God knows what organs it speared as it made its way south!”  Teh Smitten asked me if I keep track of the needles as they are inserted and removed, and I can’t.  I try to but then find myself lulled into this dreamy relaxed state and lose count.  Maybe those needles are dipped in sedatives first?

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The doctor has prescribed a low-level dose of synthroid as it seems my thyroid levels are a bit low.  While the note and prescription didn’t say what my levels are, it could explain a lot (anxiety, pulse, digestive problems, inability to lose weight, etc).  I started taking the synthroid today, and hope it doesn’t make the fast pulse situation much worse.

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not funny ha-ha

Seven years of insomnia and a wicked pace of work has slowly been turning into anxiety.  Do. Not.  Want.

As related previously, the insomnia has gotten worse.  What I haven’t told you is that my pulse rate has gone up and stayed up.  During the work-week I am constantly on high-alert, nerve-wise.  My blood pressure is normal, but, as Teh Smitten puts it, I’ve got a bad case of hamster heart.   Either something is wrong physically or chemically, but I do know that sustained periods of high stress can result in continuous, chronic stress.  My sister is dealing with similar issues, so perhaps it runs in the family.

Last week I went back to the doctor to chat about my situation.  Blood was drawn.  Sleep aids were changed.  An anti-depressant that is supposed to help with anxiety was proffered.  Said anti-depressant can cause more anxiety or agitation.  Doesn’t that seem funny to you?  Well, it wasn’t so funny to me last Friday when I came damn close to a panic attack.  I’ve gotten used to mild anxiety but not full-on agitation.  It was pretty unpleasant. It took all weekend for me to return to normal.  More xanax, please.

At the same time, I’m also trying a holistic approach.  On Saturday I went for my first acupuncture appointment.  I can barely understand the acupuncturist, but he’s Chinese so he must know what he is doing.  Right? I nod and smile at him when he speaks, as he seems to expect it and I figure that no matter where he sticks those needles I’m bound to benefit.  The thing about acupuncture is that the effect is cumulative, so I will need to give it at least a month before seeing definite results.  I’m am going to go twice a week for the next four weeks to try and get myself back on track.  The first round was pretty interesting – I was in this tiny room with another person, separated only by a curtain.  Wasn’t used to that but read that it is common practice.  They put 15-20 needles in my back and two just below my ears first.  After about 15 minutes, they removed them and had me flip over.  Then they put four in my abdomen, three on each wrist, one on each knee, three or so on each foot/ankle, one between my eyes and one on the top of my head. I definitely felt relaxed right afterwards and did not bruise or mark.  Best part is that it didn’t hurt and I just bled a little from one spot.  Can’t wait till Wednesday!

Teh Smitten is being all heroic and gorgeous.  He has wondered, however, if I need a hobby.   I used to have a couple hobbies:  shopping and watching telenovelas.  Then I got a boyfriend and he was much more fun than either of those.  If anyone can teach me to cast on, I’d be glad to take up knitting, but a hobby would just be another thing that I might neglect and worry over.  I don’t keep up with allezoop as it is, books are lying unread, and I have a trip to CA to plan (for a friend’s wedding and vacation for Smitsy and me).

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