Still here

So I had surgery for my parathyroids. Three are gone for good and the one remaining is slowly getting up to speed remembering it’s function. While everything is normalising, I need weekly blood tests to measure calcium levels and take a supplement from which they will gradually wean me. The problem is that I’ve got tingles that are driving me batty and the doctors just shrug because my numbers look good. I basically feel electrically charged, vibrational, and then my arm or leg will suddenly be overcome with that sensation like it’s about to fall asleep, intensely so. It’s not painful, it’s just, well, disrupting. And the last two days it’s been particularly active.

This afternoon I started going a bit stir crazy. I needed to literally make some sweeping gestures, larger than my Wacom tablet would afford. I needed to move and I needed to MAKE SOMETHING. There was no paper in the house large enough to do this on, so I took A3 sheets and taped them together for my palette. I discovered I have no charcoal, only a piece of white chalk, but then found a tube of black paint and some brushes. It didn’t have to be pretty, it just had to be the act of putting brush to paper and moving my arm. It didn’t help in the physical sense, but it still felt really good.

Limited palate

This evening while walking past one of the worst Asian take out restaurants I have ever had the disappointment from which to order, I saw two young boys around 10 years old and their father about to partake in a meal served in styrofoam.

“Dim sums. I wonder what they taste like,” said one boy to the other.

I held my breath while passing them and around the corner said to myself, “sadly, you’ll never know.”

I imagine he will either love them due to their artificial taste, to which he may now be very accustomed, or he will hate them and never want to try them again.

This leads to memories of my own food predilections* when growing up. Despite my mother’s assertions that I ate broccoli as a child (little trees!), my only memory is a strong dislike of the vegetable which became Supreme Commander of all Green Foodstuffs approximately 20 years ago. My junior year at university I was eating out with friends at an Asian dive similar to the one I mentioned. Having ordered my favorite ‘moo goo gai pan,’ my friend Emily B chastised me for eating only the chicken and pushing all the broccoli aside. On a dare I ate the broccoli, had a massive epiphany that this stuff was so good even in its most degraded form, and lo, the angels rolled their eyes into their heads and said, “finally.” I love broccoli so much I have been known to eat if for dessert.

Mmm, dessert. I have had a massive sweet tooth my entire life (which only really saw satisfaction once I hit Switzerland, but that’s another story.) Chocolate cake for breakfast? Well, shucks, that’s what my daddy taught me was best thing day after your birthday. I had the sweets down pat, but broccoli was my gateway vegetable, hell, it was the destruction of every belief of what I liked and didn’t like. Had I ever in my life eaten tuna? I damned it because it was fish and said never, but when I lived at a commune and my teacher said, “if I told you tuna would make you enlightened, would you eat it?” I answered, “hell no.”** Ashamed, I went and got a plate and downed it in front of her realizing to my dismay, it wasn’t that bad. What else had I been missing!?! Oh dear universe, I like tuna, what’s next!?!

Next came a host of other greens and reds and more greens. To this day, however, I hold out on fennel. Anything that tastes like licorice/aniseed is of the devil, sambuca also be damned. Sorry, Elsa. I’m also sorry for not feeding you properly for the brief period of time when you lived with me in Austin. I think our basic diet consisted of apples, frozen crumbed-chicken patties, and probably spaghetti. I have many regrets of not being more adventurous sooner. However I’m not sorry that I was teased for avoiding sour cream onion potato chips and root beer in high school, and that I never tried pepperoni pizza until my 20s. Also, I am staunchly proud of the fact that the only time I ever ate WHITE chocolate, I threw up. As it should be.

*One of my father’s favorite words. He also uses “proclivity” quite fondly. Searching the thesaurus I see quite a few wonderful synonyms for appetite.

**Another long story for another time.

Getting around to it

Um, hi. Remember me, Elli? What’s it been, a year? Well, it feels like it. Yes, I will admit to procrastinating a fair bit here and in other areas which can lead to a violent overcompensation. Be ye forewarned.

I just got back from my first real vacation in three years. It was cheaper and quicker to fly to Bali than the other side of Australia, thus making our decision quite easy. Neither JM or I had ever been there, nor are we likely to go again, however we did have a pleasant enough time. The area surrounding our village reminded me somewhat of New York — the smells, the many taxis, the honking, the street hawkers who don’t shout, but rather fall in step along side and try to sweep you into their stores every few hundred feet. I felt most comfortable tucked away in our villa where I spent the majority of the time either swimming in the private pool or in a comfy chair reading a book. I could pretty much do that at home though (especially if I had a pool.) We also attended a cooking class, but most of the work was done by an efficient team of Balinese women, which can take the fun and the harm right out of it. So my only injury was a slight sunburn on the back of my neck from the harsh equatorial sun on day one when we went out exploring on foot and I almost got run over by one or two of the millions of scooterists. No really, I had fun.

Now we’re back and I’m faced with the usual onslaught of thoughts including should I or shouldn’t I finally have that parathyroidectomy? When you read the words “end stage organ failure” in a doctor’s report it really makes you think. Sure, he’s merely referring to the fact that I have osteoporosis of the wrist, but it’s dramatic enough to make me think, hey, this isn’t getting any better is it? And worrying about the potential falls I could have had on the myriad of stairs in Bali really made me muse some more. So there’s a phone call I’ll be making tomorrow to my surgeon for an appointment.

Ah, now I need another day to recover from all this vacationing which is just what the procrastinator ordered…

Future medical mystery solved

At the endocrinologist’s office while he studies a bone density report on me:

Dr F: Do you have any shooting pains down your legs?
Me: No.
Dr F: Maybe down the back. They would be strong, shooting pains.
Me: Um, no.
Dr F: Well, if you ever do, give this to your GP and he’ll know why.
Me: Great.
Dr F: But it’s completely unrelated to your condition.
Me: Ah.

Run, Elli, Run

I admit it, I love exercising. You wouldn’t be able to tell this by looking at me, but… Wait, actually I don’t like exercising at all and often want to quit while I’m doing it, but I feel so good afterwards that it makes the exertion worthwhile. About 12 years ago I started running in a group and loved it. We ran a long, hilly loop and the faster runners would encourage the slower (me) as they passed time and time again. And when I actually passed someone else, wow, what a feeling. So here I am about to embark on a solo campaign. Over the last 25 years I’ve attempted to start running on multiple occasions and failed miserably. Now I have an iPhone, so I’m totally certain I’ll succeed. The only problem I foresee is wanting to stop to take photos.

Last year JM bought one of those Nike+ sensors that goes into a running shoe to track runs. He had started a program only to be waylaid by injury. Too much, too soon. Earlier this week I decided to do the Couch Potato to 5k and even downloaded a handy application for the iPhone which gives me voice prompts when to walk and when to run. The first day went great. Yes, I was tired and ready to be done after 30, no, 15 minutes, but I stuck it out the entire time. Then I went home and uploaded my run to the Nike site with the ease of my iTunes account. It even showed me a little graph of how tired I got at minute 15 and how my workout declined thereafter. Joy.

Today was my second excursion and, hello, suddenly it’s summer in Perth and I was miserable. I rallied around the 15 minute mark again and then it all went downhill, figuratively mind you. I would like to add blame to the music because who can run to the Dave Matthews Band? Certainly not I. Or me. Whatever.

I came home all aflutter to upload my workout again and see the graph showing my steady decline, but lo and behold, the whole Nike+ site had changed (but, yes, the graph was there as well). Now they offered me their own 12 week ‘walk to run’ training program which really pleased the couch potato in me. I’m ditching the 9 week Couch to 5k program for Nike’s even though I don’t have voice prompts. Hmm, I may reconsider this in the morning. That’s the one drawback to Nike’s program–they haven’t updated the iPhone software to include these new coaching programs which means I’ll have to keep pulling the iPhone out of my bra to look at what time it is. This may not work for me at all, however at the moment I am undeterred. Check back in another week…

Mac happy

I got my copy of Snow Leopard* this afternoon and installed it immediately. I haven’t noticed a huge difference except one that makes it all worthwhile and if you’re a photo bug, you might like as well: when in icon view in the finder you can now resize your thumbnails up to 512 x 512 which is wonderful beyond belief. Of course it helps having a 30-inch monitor.

* It’s the new operating system for Mac just in case you haven’t heard… There might be two of you and now you know. My good deed for the day is done.

What is this? Miami Beach? Not hardly.

To explain to you the depths of cold inside my house, my house without heating (Australia, WTF?), if I want an ice-cold can of Coke Zero all I have to do is go to the kitchen and grab one from the box sitting next to the refrigerator. Not inside, but right next to it.

“It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be gray, and it’s gonna last you the rest of your life.” That’s where I’m at.