Monthly Archives: December 2011

RIP, Nepenthe.

There’s a poem waiting to be written, but for now, there’s just this.

Nepenthe (a.k.a. Neppie Butt, the Nepinator, Neppie the Clothes Slayer, Eternal Kitten)

July 6, 1997 – December 30, 2011

Onward to 2012.

Everything thought to be old will be new again in 2012.

Reclaiming a name and relocating to the original time zone.

Both of those will take time and effort to execute, the first dominating the early part of the year and the second taking up much of the later part.


What does relocation mean to someone with multiple chronic health conditions? It means more than searching for a new job, a new place to live, and moving. It means added emotional and physical stress from all that job searching, apartment hunting, not to mention packing boxes and setting up utilities.

It means leaving behind a team of spectacular health care professionals who have carried me through the past several years… and finding new ones who must fill big shoes.

It is overwhelming enough to make me want to stay right where I am.


Where I am is not in a good place. Deep down, I know that.

Being closer to family, being closer to friends? That is a better place to heal from all the mess of the past couple years, despite the small support system I do have here. So all the scary stuff about moving several hundred miles and finding new doctors? All the stress will be worth it, if at the end of 2012, I find myself in a good place.

Santa is a stalker.

Santa is always watching...

…and that kind of creeps me out.

Happy Holidays to all…and a very Merry New Year, too!


Savory butternut squash? Really?

Been awhile since I posted a recipe! This one is vegetarian-friendly.

Butternut Squash with Wilted Spinach and Blue Cheese (serves 4 for side dish – or 2 for main dish; courtesy Whole Foods, but as usual I’ve made comments where I adjusted the ingredients or method used)

1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (forgot this at Whole Foods, used white onion already at home)
1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach (guesstimation is fine here if you have bought 9-oz bags…)
4 cups cubed and roasted butternut squash roasted previously frozen butternut squash tossed in light olive oil for twenty minutes at 375 degrees, as it is just so much easier to do than butcher a “live” butternut squash).

Use fork to mash together blue cheese and lemon juice in a large (or small!) bowl to make a dressing. Season with salt and pepper; set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and cook, tossing often, until slightly wilted and warm, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add squash to warm. Transfer contents of skillet to bowl with dressing and toss to combine.

Nutrition per serving: 220 calories (70 from fat), 7g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 740mg sodium, 33g total carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 5g protein

The rambly fifteen, #7.

Fifteen minutes straight writing…begin…right…now.

Monday night football. Or maybe not if the power keeps going out at Candlestick.

Not to say there isn’t any crying, not to say there aren’t any sad days, but I’m doing markably better than most years considering the time of year. It must be the promise of spending Christmas with family, it must be knowing that things are getting settled, it must be the plans I’m making to be closer to family sooner rather than later, it must be all the sleep I’m getting.

Be careful what you wish for. Sometimes when you’ve had months of insomnia, you suddenly get hit with the ability to sleep well in long stretches. So much so that you can barely wake up to the alarm. So much so that you go to bed before 9pm most evenings, even on weekends. This is reality for two weeks.

Be careful what you wish for. Sometimes when you’ve been less than busy at work, you suddenly get slammed with a ton of stuff to do with no end in sight. So much so that you worry just a little about being away for a few days, even though you know you need that time with family.

So much so that you are finally sleeping well (too well) after so many months of struggling.

So much so that you can’t get stuff in order in your personal life because it’s all work and sleep. So much that the only time you write is once or twice a week instead of nearly every day.

And yet, there is little feeling of being overwhelmed. A little frantic, a little frustration, but this must be what “normal” minds feel like under stress. What it feels like to be busy under stress, BUT with enough sleep and enough self-care that sheer panic and anxiety don’t happen.

Or maybe I’m just getting older, wiser, and more willing to care about the big things instead of the small stuff.

Full of forget.

Hectic is the word to describe life right now. Without a calendar and task lists and spreadsheets, I am a little lost lamb.

Totally prepared to go see the endocrinologist next week, I went ahead with blood work this weekend as prescribed last time around. Only when I got home, I looked at the calendar and realized I had rescheduled the appointment (for the second time) to the end of January.

Never fear, the office sent the results to be discussed in clinic along with the usual physical checks of the feet and thyroid. Cholesterol numbers look better, and A1C is holding steady at 5.9%.


For a few moments tonight (much thanks to the iCal reminder), I did stop and smell the…hair product?

The rambly fifteen, #6.

Fifteen minutes straight writing…begin…right…now.

Knock on wood, awesome sleep has found me for the better part of two weeks. Sure, the Vicodin the night of my minor oral surgery helped, but ever since then, it’s been totally on my own. No anti-anxiety medication needed to get to sleep and stay asleep. Who knows why, I will certainly take it. I-can’t-get-enough-sleep is so much better than I-can’t-sleep.

Work is crazy-busy. So much going on that needs to be finalized, like, last week. Yesterday was the stereotypical shitty Monday, though at the end of the day, I received some good news I was not expecting. Not with last week’s drama, anyways. At my six-month review, I received a small raise and only a month later, I learn of a small year-end bonus. I cried happy tears afterwards, instead of the sad ones I hide in the bathroom.

Instead of using that towards practical stuff like groceries or cat litter or anti-depressants, it will go towards pampering. Things that have not happened in ages – (1) a real haircut at a real salon instead of going to one of those cheap chain places (or even worse, cutting my own hair) and (2) a massage, the first in over two years.

Before I even knew of the bonus, I splurged and picked up a small beef filet the other day to have for dinner last night. I managed to cook it perfectly, pink throughout the middle with a nice char on the outside. Coupled with asparagus, for a few moments, it felt like spring.

Of course, it’s not. The snow from a week and a half ago is lingering on the ground, something that rarely happens around here. It just hasn’t warmed up long enough for it to melt completely. And yet, even with cold in the air and snow on the ground, I still remain firmly entrenched in Christmas spirit instead of SAD.

Eleven days until Christmas Eve…and the next trip to Wisconsin :)



Sunday cat blogging.

Sometimes the Kari-cat just looks so old and worn…

…but I’m grateful for the moments she still runs around like a maniac, even if they happen less and less often.

Peace, hope, love.

Peace, hope, and love – those words just sound so much better than anger, despair, and hate.


It is possible to achieve. Sometimes it comes slowly, that acceptance of new realities, but it is totally possible.


It is possible to do. Sometimes it comes with difficulty, with fear that nothing will ever change, but it is totally possible.


It is possible to feel. Sometimes it comes when the world seems the opposite of peaceful, when all hope is lost, but it is totally possible.

Peace, hope, and love – that is what I am filled with this holiday season.

So much has happened the past two years, and I cannot fight off finding some peace any longer. Being unhappy, being unable to accept reality – it has worn thin. Instead, I see the light at the end of the darkest of tunnels, beginning to see hope in what the future might bring. Instead, I see the love with which I am surrounded, not only from family and the closest of friends, but even from those who have only known me a short time.

Peace, hope, and love - I wish everyone who has been there for me in the midst of all the chaos, even with the smallest of gestures or the simplest of words, these three things as well.

The rambly fifteen, #5.

Fifteen minutes straight writing…begin…right…now.

The minor oral surgery went well, some pain on Friday afternoon and evening, exhaustion on Saturday, but feeling normal by Sunday. Well, as normal as it gets when you have a new “tooth” to feel your tongue around and try to chew around. (Long story short, baby canine tooth was extracted, implant and temporary crown placed.)

It’s a little ironical that the dental work will cost about the same amount out of pocket than either of those open abdominal surgeries I had in Dec ’09 and Apr ’10. Excellent health insurance, dental insurance is just a joke.

So, yeah. Two years ago today was the choice between ICU or exploratory surgery to deal with the 10-cm mystery abscess. I thought I left all the tough days behind me in the hospitals. Ha.

Work has become difficult. Navigating office politics has never been my strong suit. I just want to go in, do my job, do it well.

I spent Thanksgiving alone. “At least now you’ll be spending Christmas with us,” my mom comforted me the other day. I know she hurts from not being here with me two years ago in the immediate aftermath of the mess, but I had support here then. Now that’s gone, now is when I need my family, now is when I need to be with my family.

I need each and every one of them, even when they frustrate me.

Just like the freaking Chicago Bears. The season isn’t completely written off, but I don’t have much hope. Always next year?


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