Spring is happening

I’m kinda in a not brilliant place yet. It’s partly what I’ve been going through over the last few months with the meds and partly a normal slump in function I seem to have every spring. Why I get worse in spring time I have no idea but it is like clockwork, every year. Could be my allergies, they seem to be extra potent this year.

vår

I’m having some problems stringing longer thoughts and sentences together, and I’m keeping pretty quiet on social media in fear of saying the wrong thing now that my head isn’t all there. I want to take part but I keep worrying I’ll say something that will be taken all wrong. Tone is hard online isn’t it? Especially when you write in a language that isn’t your first and your brain is a tiny little bit scrambled.

I’ve upped the frequency of my infusions a bit, so my pain is sort of under control. At first we increased my gabapentin intake which worked but the major side effect I got was insatiable hunger and well, overeating is a very old “friend” of mine and I kind of had hoped never to see that guy again so that had to stop. Fast. I gained a metric shitton of weight in two months on top of what I already have so my doc has prescribed Topamax for me so we’ll see if it helps a bit. I’ve stopped taking gabapentin and lo and behold the food intake stopped on a dime.

My pain doc is just amazing, I’m not sure I’ve dealt with anyone else taking all of my history so seriously and making sure all of me is doing the best I can. Yes, I know how lucky I am to have him on my team.

 

Sunday update from bed

It’s slow going here for me. The med tapering has gone pretty well, but my pain levels are off the hook right now. I’m seeing my pain doc on tuesday so hopefully I’ll feel a little better after that and can get started on new meds. I’m getting an infusion and probably a block in my neck again so that will help I think.  I really didn’t remember what it was like to not be constantly on opioids and have had a really hard time staying positive the last few weeks.

I’ve been watching a lot of bad action and monster movies to distract myself and I might have seen all of Jason Statham’s back catalogue over the last week or so. He mostly plays the same guys (cop or assassin) over and over again, so I can drift a bit in between fight scenes.

200

Why do the hair and makeup people always put Jason in really bad wigs tho? I mean, there is actual footage of the man with his own hair so finding out where his hairline should go is not impossible.

 

Short update – on meds and sharks and pain

I’ve had some hard weeks after Christmas. That’s mostly normal, but I also have the added burden of tapering my pain meds this month. I’ve been on Tramadol for a long time, and they are no longer effective so it had to be done. I’m being careful about it but it is kinda hard and I’m hurting a lot. The last two days have been particularly bad, and last night I had one of those spikes that reached the 8-9 on the pain scale.

Btw, I use Hyperbole and a Half‘s excellent pain scale. Go read the thing , there are very good descriptions.

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.no/2010/02/boyfriend-doesnt-have-ebola-probably.html

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.no/2010/02/boyfriend-doesnt-have-ebola-probably.html
Hyperbole and a half

I’m having trouble paying attention, and things are going way too fast for me on social media and the like so if you are wondering why I’m not quite with it this is why. I’m just gonna stay in bed and drink some more cocoa and possibly watch another monster movie. I watched a very bad one called Ice Sharks earlier and that was the best choice I could make today. Sharks, very smart sharks, eating everyone on the ice. Brilliant!

 

 

This year is taking it’s toll

Yesterday Carrie Fisher died following her heart attack on friday. It hit me harder than I thought it would and I had a lot of tears coming last night. The culmination of the loss of the wonderful people who made up a lot of my childhood and adolescence has made this year harder than others, and this week with the death of George Michael and Carrie Fisher harder still. My friend IAmElenaFerrante has written a lovely blogpost on how she felt when George Michael died here, and it’s well worth a read.

Carrie obviously meant a lot to me. She was a person that was unapologetically herself and wouldn’t let anyone change that. She was smart, very funny and  apparently great to everyone who met her. I wasn’t a massive Star Wars fan, I liked it but didn’t feel the need to involve myself in that particular fandom in my younger years. I appreciate it much more now, and love the new one a lot.

My feelings about Carrie matured as well over the last few years when her visibility increased again. Pretty much any appearance or interview she did is worth watching, but one of my absolute favourites is her QI participation:

It’s also worth it finding her writing. She had a way with words, and it’s not surprising she was a brilliant script doctor. All the stories written about her over the last day makes me wish I could have met her even more than I already did. As a lasting tribute I’ll include the cause of death she wanted: She died drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.

Christmas 2016

Christmas is upon us and here in Norway we start the celebration on Christmas Eve. Actually most of us start on December 23rd which is the day the last details are supposed to be put in place. I can’t manage three days in a row now so my Lille Julaften (Little Christmas Eve) was spent resting, taking a shower and making the Norwegian version of sauerkraut.


Our sauerkraut is not fermented like the german version is. It’s delicious tho and is perfect with the pork based feast we traditionally eat on Christmas Eve. To make it you need:

  • 1 cabbage
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar/apple cider vinegar (maybe a little more if it needs it)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 l Stock (I use chicken)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I cut the cabbage into wedges and then into strips in the food processor. Cut the apple into smallish cubes (it will dissolve when cooked). Put all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil, simmer for about two hours until it looks like this:

img_0062
Surkål – directly translates to sour cabbage

Heat before eating.

My mom and I have spent a couple of hours tonight with me in my new Christmas PJs. That is a new tradition that we started after I got worse again. She left me while I still had some energy left and has gone up to my uncle to spend the rest of the night there with some more of our family. She’s picking me up tomorrow to go to hers for christmas breakfast (traditionally it lasts all day here but I probably only have about two hours in me).

We’ve eaten our pork belly, pork meatballs and pork roast and had cloudberry cream for dessert. We’ve opened a few presents and toasted in non alcoholic beverages. I do miss having a little Aquavit to drink but that seems like an incredibly bad idea right now when just a little alcohol makes me very hung over and this particular drink has a lot.

Would you like some more pork?

I wish you all a very merry holiday and hope to come back with more in Romjula (day 1-5 of Christmas).

 

GOD JUL!

 

Planning a “Party”

Two of my oldest and dearest friends are coming to see me before christmas for as long as I can manage that day. I’m trying my hardest to curb the impulse to clean all the things and cook up a storm like I normally would. Yes, I tended to go all out when people came over. I haven’t seen them face to face for a long long time, and I would love to be the bestest hostess ever when I do (I do know they are coming to see me and not to judge my hostess skills. Really.).

200

Weeks in advance and I’m already stressed out, mostly because I’ve missed them a lot and want to show that by giving them everything I can. I’m trying to think of something really simple to serve them that won’t take much prep and I can do the day before. My mom is coming in to clean for me. I’ll shower the day before, and then someone should really sit on me so I don’t get up to do “stuff”.

2001
Now you stay in there and I’m out here. Much better!

Rest – The Bane of My Existence

When I was better I managed to take rest periods on the days I worked from home, and I’d take a break or two to regroup when I was at the office, and when I came home. This meant I had absolutely no social life at all and I had no energy to do anything else than basic stuff. After I my big crash last year my baseline has been difficult to find. I still do way too much on the days I feel a bit better. I’m semi mobile and manage to feed myself and keep myself and my place in ok shape but I just want to do everything. I’ve finally accepted that I need help and my mom comes in and does the heavy stuff, but still…

Resting is very hard for me. My brain starts working on high gear almost immediately after laying down, and before you know it I have analyzed Jurassic World and worked myself into a little bit of a furious state. Yes she is their aunt, but for fucks sake she is running a multi million dollar business that requires her attention and is not a convenient babysitter service for sisters who are getting divorced without telling their kids first.

giphy2
See! I can run in from dinosaurs in stiletto heels while you stand there being a completely charmless know it all Chris Pratt!

(How did this movie happen btw? You must have a pretty bad script and a really bad director to manage to get this calibre of actors to be this bland. Omar Sy is in this mess for fucks sake, and Pratt should manage to be funny if you just let him do his thing. Bryce Dallas Howard has nothing to work with here, you can see the struggle if you look.)

Sometimes I design my dream house in what is supposed to be rest, and end up in trouble when I eventually have to look up if whatever it is I want is possible. I don’t want a large house just a fantastic one.  I’m thinking I need a view like this and a house with large windows facing the right way.

66_561749851

I’m trying the guided meditations on youtube and I think I need to try to stick to a set schedule so I’m being a bit more proactive here with my rest. I’m so bored these days I’m doing the boom and bust thing and as a result spending even more time in bed and that is not good.

So this was all rambly and possibly a bit incoherent but hopefully you get the gist?

 

It’s my birthday!

I’m 42 years old today. Though my body feels like it’s a hundred and ten I feel like I’m still 27 1/2 inside. I would like a puppy, a puppy, a puppy and everything in the Apple store for my birthday please. And a puppy

giphy1
Puppies!

PS. My mommy got me a new iPad so I don’t need that from the Apple Store any more. I cried. My old iPad might have been the oldest one still in a semblance of working order but the new one is the bestest thing ever. I love my mommy.

Soup 3 – Soup of the Red

The Soupening continues here in the hellish landscape of Oslo, Norway. How we manage to do anything here is beyond me. We are closing in fast on Halloween now so a bit of gore is to be expected – therefore todays theme is Blood Red Tomato Soup. Oh, mmmm tasty and an excellent substitute for fake blood if you are in need of that, just remember to let it cool down first. Or not if you are using it on someone else, mwaha hahahahaaa haa a. Ok then, let’s get to the:

giphy4
Cooking!

Simple (and quick or slow) Tomato Soup:

  • 1 Onion (I used a red one but any onion works)
  • 2 Celery stalks
  • 1 Carrot
  • a bit of olive oil (about two table spoons)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • Two tins of tomatoes (I like the cherry tomato ones but use what you have and like)
  • Water
  • Chicken fond (2 tablespoons, optional) or a stock cube (also optional)
  • A handful of chopped Oregano (fresh) or a palm full if dry
  • A handful of chopped Basil (fresh) same as above with dry
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • a pinch of sugar
  • You can also add any kind of spicier stuff you like with your soup. Chili flakes or smoked paprika is tasty.

Chop the vegetables as fine as you can. Try to make them semi even, but dont worry too much. They cook a bit quicker if they are fine, but it really doesn’t matter as long as you don’t burn anything. The reason chefs make everything roughly the same size is that it cooks evenly, and the smaller it is the shorter it takes to cook it. If you have a food processor you can use it to chop up vegetables for you if using a knife is difficult. I use mine for any bulk project, like the massive amount of sauerkraut I made the other week that took me all of  four minutes to do all together. Crush the garlic cloves and slice roughly (just smack them with something or use a garlic press).

Pro tip: Unless you have very large or very small hands the palm of your hand holds just about a table spoon of any dry ingredient (like herbs). Very useful and time and dishes saving 🙂

Pour a bit of oil in the soup skillet, toss in the vegetables and let them simmer on a medium heat until they soften. This takes a couple of minutes and you have to stir occasionally so they don’t burn. Sit on something if you get tired or shaky. I have a little step ladder that is far to low but I use it anyway. Put in a tablespoon or two of tomato puree and let it simmer for a minute or two to get the rawness out- then pour in the tinned tomatoes and add the herbs. Add some water as well, I usually rinse out the tomato cans to get the leftover tomato juice so about half a tin each? A bit of salt and pepper- and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down low and let the soup simmer under a lid as long as you like.

Pro tip: Sugar, like black pepper is a flavour enhancer in smaller amounts. If your tomato dish needs something its usually a pinch or two of sugar. You don’t need much,  don’t overdo it or you’ll end up with tomato jam.

Tomatoes tend to get sweeter and meatier the longer they cook, although the rawness and freshness of letting it cook around 10-20 minutes can also be good. I like them both. Do what your stomach tells you to. You can go sit down and let the soup cook itself so set a timer on your phone if you are liable to forget you have something on the stove.

giphy5
I have no memory of this soup Gandalf, never mind where we are!

Now its time to put the soup in the food processor, blender or use a handheld mixer if you want it smooth, or just smash up the tomatoes a bit more with a fork or whatever (potato mashers work) and eat it lumpy. Remember to taste after smashing to see if you need more salt and pepper or something. It will probably need a bit more salt.

Todays soup took me just about five minutes to put together and that included taking pictures. I managed to make coffee in my french press while I sauteed the vegetables and cleaned up the little mess I made. So, very quick to make.

It’s also versatile. The soup is fairly thick and can easily be used as a tomato base when you are making any kind of tomato sauce for pasta dishes. You might have noticed there are three tins of tomatoes in the picture (and no tomato pure ’cause I forgot to take it out for picture day). That’s because I’m making a large lasagne next week and need tomato sauce for it.

I can’t eat Parmesan because it’s cow’s milk, but if you have leftover old Parmesan that has been sitting a while in your fridge getting hard around the edges put it in the leftover soup (in bits, hard edges and all) and let it melt. It takes a while to melt but becomes delicious pasta sauce and is great served with meatballs for instance. I use Manchego (sheeps milk) cheese as a substitute which tastes great but doesn’t get quite the right texture. Freeze in portions and you have instant pasta sauce whenever you want.

Serving suggestions:

  • Add some macaroni. Not too much though, if you still want it to be soup and not sauce. For us spoonies its probably best if you cook the pasta separately and chuck it in just before you eat so it doesn’t end up sticking to the bottom of the soup skillet when you can’t manage to stir it any more. Happened to me you ask?
  • You can put some cream in your soup, or serve with a dollop of sour cream.
  • Us Norwegians serve some soups like tomato and spinach with wedges of semi-hardboiled eggs. Try it, it’s tasty.
  • A little drizzle of good olive oil on top and some fresh bread.
  • Heat it up with the chili/hot sauce/mexican spices of your choice and serve with avocado and tortilla chips.
  • What you like in or with your soup, I’m not a dictator. Unfortunately. I think I’d be brilliant at it.
tomatsuppe
Soup of the Red!

Next time I think I’m gonna do something with meat or fish in it, the soups up til now have all been possible to make fully vegetarian/vegan so it’s time to do something a bit more proteinous.