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Archive for July 2023

Monday night

July 31st, 2023 — 9:35pm

I read outdoors in the fresh air for hours and hours, until the light started to fail. Yes, it was a very good day. Though I guess it’s a little bit sad that feeling well-rested and having no stomach pain is such a rare state for me that it makes me jubilant. Oh well. Whatcha gonna do.

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Monday afternoon

July 31st, 2023 — 4:13pm

Just checking in again from the middle of Kara’s Amazing Very Good Day. It’s 4pm and I don’t even need a nap. And my stomach hasn’t hurt at all today for the first time in forever. I can eat without pain and regret! I just ate a whole thing of blackberries that Henry picked off our blackberry brambles yesterday. Lunch was polenta and ratatouille. Gonna have another helping for First Dinner pretty soon but first I’m going to go outdoors and sit topless in the shade on this gorgeous summer day and read my current library crime novel, Cruel Acts by Jane Casey, #8 in the Maeve Kerrigan series. Might munch on crackers and tzatziki while I read.

I’ve ordered a bunch more lacto-fermentation supplies. Oops. I’m determined to try making ginger ale and kefir, so I ordered both kinds of living active kefir grains. Ginger ale is just ginger root boiled in water for a few minutes and then fermented for a few days with “water kefir” grains, a starter culture. I can hardly WAIT. And milk kefir is just milk with “milk kefir” grains, another kind of starter culture. I drink kefir like it’s going out of style so I’m excited to make my own!

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Monday morning

July 31st, 2023 — 10:05am

Writing NOW because I woke up feeling good and I want to record it before I get worn out and tired. I almost didn’t recognize what “good” felt like, seriously. I feel clear-headed and well-rested, with a little bit of energy and ambition. Not sure why! I guess I slept fairly well, maybe slightly better than average, though I had icky night-sweats and was up several times to pee as usual. Whatever! I’m enjoying this feeling!

I just got back from Ace, where I bought more jars for pickling things. Must pickle things! Lol. Why? Why must I pickle things all of a sudden? Well, it’s easy and cheap and produces yummy nutritious food, I guess. Lacto-fermentation makes nutrients easier for the body to absorb. I think I read that somewhere. And it’s like magic. Veggies plus salt plus water plus time equals something new!

Oh, in the TMI department, my guts are finally back to normal after the hospital antibiotics destroyed all my internal flora and fauna. Back in MAY. Lord.

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July 30th, 2023 — 7:41pm

Still puffy despite metronidazole yesterday and endless peeing. Not a great sign. Sigh.

Rough night. Owen got OUT yesterday and wouldn’t come back in so he was outdoors all night and we were so worried about him. He has never been outdoors, and there are coyotes and cars and all sorts of dangers out there. Thank goodness he came home and was crying at the bathroom window this morning at 7, and he came right in when I opened the door for him. *whew* Also I had severe night sweats, and lots of nightmares, and had to pee a million times, and had a burning thirst all night, and woke up gasping for air a few times, and never went back to sleep after letting Owen in. (Usually if I get up to pee at 7 I can go back to sleep till 8 or 8:30.)

So today was nothingy. But Henry came over for a couple hours in the afternoon so that made it a much better day!

Oh, I actually did something in my garden! The morning was so beautiful. Sunny and clear, and warm but not hot. I sat on my upturned 5-gallon bucket and cultivated all my garden containers. I weeded them and fluffed up the top layer of soil to mix it with the decaying mulch, and added another thin layer of grass clipping mulch on top. I harvested one delicious strawberrie and one 6” cucumber, which we shared for dinner. Dave LOVES cucumbers. I don’t love cucumbers, but I had several slices anyway. I can’t wait till I can harvest enough at once to pickle them! Last summer I had so many cukes from just one plant so fingers crossed for this year too. My sauerkraut is coming along nicely and looks slightly different each day as the lacto-fermentation progresses. Can’t wait to taste it on Friday. I found a site full of recipes for fermented veggies (and other things). Gonna try pickled onions for Dave, and pickled ginger-carrots for me!

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July 29th, 2023 — 5:50pm

Full of fluid so it was a metronidazole day again, even though it has been less than a week since last time. It’s necessary more and more frequently. Sigh. Stomach hurt all day, not sure if medication side effect or discomfort from fluid buildup. Ugh. Really wanted to eat a lot today — food is appetizing and I have lots of lovely fruit and veggies to choose from — but it’s so difficult with this stomach pain.

Laundry this morning. Had run out of summer clothes and knickers. Nice clean pile now.

Tired day. Short of breath last night (fluid) so poor sleep. Read all day.

My sauerkraut has started to bubble a tiny bit. Go, fermentation microbes, go! I think I feel a Sudden Wild Enthusiasm coming on. Must be the Portland Effect. “Pickle it!”

Did you know you can make sour cream by mixing heavy cream with a couple spoonfuls of store-bought sour cream as a starter? Gonna try this asap. I adore sour cream.

My stomach pain eased up a little bit while I was writing this post and we have some excellent tomatoes and fresh bread so I was planning to have tomatoes and buttered bread for dinner, when my brother shared this recipe for panzanella, the bread and tomato salad that HE had for dinner!

Now, that’s a bit too much effort for me, but a couple of hours ago I made croutons by cubing some aging bread, tossing with plenty of olive oil and seasonings, and baking at 375° for 10 minutes. So I already had a facsimile of the “bread” part ready to go! Added a tomato cut in large chunks, a drizzle of my favorite Italian dressing, and presto! A knock-off panzanella salad that was totally delicious. I’ll be making this whenever I have good tomatoes.

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July 28th, 2023 — 8:22pm

A better day, thank goodness! Sweaty night and my pump woke me up a couple times but felt ok anyway. Went to New Seasons in the morning to take advantage of their 20% off produce sale. Bought blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, cabbage, a zucchini, two little eggplants, a bunch of beautiful carrots, a couple of red bell peppers, and some locally-grown tomatoes.

When I got home I made a pot of Kara-style ratatouille (onion, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, garlic, herbs) which will last me a couple of days. For dinner tonight I made a little pot of polenta to eat with it. Yum! Veggie goop!

After the shopping and cooking I was WORN OUT and fell asleep on the sofa. Slept for a couple hours and woke up refreshed instead of nap-groggy, so I felt good enough to start a batch of sauerkraut. It’s fermenting in a jar and will be ready to eat in a week or two! Very excited. I made a batch about 15 years ago and it was great and then I forgot all about it, but I recently remembered how easy it was and decided to make it again. There’s a lot more info online now so I’m certain that I’m doing it right and won’t poison anyone. It’s foolproof, really. There are many different recipes online but I like to go by weights so I did 800 grams of finely sliced cabbage to 16 grams of non-iodized salt. This will fill a big bowl and it seems impossible that it will fit into a jar, but it will! I used my stand mixer’s bowl and the dough hook (a tip I read online) to thrash it for a while, and it all fit neatly into a single quart-sized jar. Amazing. Another tip I read was to replace some of the cabbage with shredded carrot, so I’ll get another jar and try that too. Looking forward to fermented cucumber pickles when my garden gives me cukes!

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July 27th, 2023 — 8:45pm

Maybe tomorrow will be better

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Thursday morning

July 27th, 2023 — 9:03am

My stupid [insert string of salty sailor language here] medication pump woke me up six times last night with false alarms. Plus I woke up three times to pee as usual. So much for having two good days in a row. *angryface*

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July 26th, 2023 — 6:57pm

No night sweats at all last night. Not even a sweaty forehead. Oh my god the sweet relief of waking up DRY. Maybe it will happen again soon.

My stomach didn’t bother me at all today and I was able to ate a lot. Sorry I talk so much about what I do or don’t eat. I’m dreadfully, painfully underweight (96 lbs at 5’7”) and I have so many digestion and appetite problems that it’s rather a constant concern. Anyway today I was hungry, or at least interested in food.

Smoothie for breakfast — kefir, banana, pineapple, strawberries, protein powder. Then I read about how to turn a can of garbanzo beans into a crispy snack so I tried it and it worked and they were super-snacky and easy to eat without thinking about it! Here’s what I posted on Mastodon:

Snacky Garbanzo Beans

A can of garbanzos, rinsed, drained, patted very dry. Toss with olive oil, salt, herbs/spices. Roast on baking sheet at about 415° for 20-30 minutes, stirring partway through. Some get crunchy, some get dense and chewy. Delicious!

I used a little paprika. Would be great with onion or garlic powder, chili/lime seasoning, cayenne if you want ‘em spicy.

So I ate a whole can of garbanzos over a few hours, painlessly. So much good nutrition!

Then I ate a ton of tabbouleh, and then Dave brought me a little strawberry milkshake from Burgerville and I drank most of it, and ate a few of his onion rings, which are made of local sweet Walla Walla onions and were incredibly good.

Now I’ll finish my tabbouleh so I can make a fresh batch tomorrow, and maybe make a quesadilla too. Fruit, grains, beans, cheese and plenty of fat all in one day, yay me!

Definitely want more of those onion rings before the very short Walla Walla season ends…

Mom has gone home after a nice visit and the house is quiet again. I read for hours and hours and hours this afternoon, a really excellent book called “The Best of Everything” by Rona Jaffe. The Wikipedia page is disappointingly inadequate, so this blurb from the publisher will have to do:

For a novel published in 1958 (oh god that’s only 11 years before I was born) it is surprisingly frank and modern, and it feels like reading 466 pages of Mad Men’s cousin. I can’t recommend it highly enough, seriously.

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July 25th, 2023 — 8:17pm

Nice average day. Didn’t feel great, didn’t feel terrible. Good enough. Helped mom with her iPad stuff for a long time and made another batch of tzatziki. Omg that stuff is good. Pretty good appetite so I made myself a couple of Kara burritos for lunch. I’ve figured out how to make them so they’re good enough to scratch the Mexican Take-out itch, with much much less salt, I imagine. And significantly cheaper! Rosarita refried beans, minced tomato and onion, finely shredded iceberg lettuce, pre-shredded Mexican cheese blend and (this is vital) a GENEROUS drizzle of lime juice. I keep squeezy bottles of lemon and lime juice in the fridge for just this sort of purpose. Sour cream is good too but I haven’t had any lately.

Gonna have a big bowl of tabbouleh and a nectarine for dinner now, read for a while, and go to sleep.

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July 24th, 2023 — 5:37pm

Better day, yay! Felt well enough to to make fishcakes and tabbouleh this morning. My tabbouleh recipe is here somewhere if you use the search bar in the right margin, and fishcakes couldn’t be easier too.


Amounts don’t really matter here. Use your own judgement. Mix leftover mashed potatoes, a can of UNDRAINED tuna in water (I bet tinned salmon would also be good), some finely-minced onion, an egg, salt, pepper, and enough flour to make a stiff paste. Herbs or spices, as you wish. I put some dill in this batch. Heat up a good lump of butter in your skillet, drop in a big blob of paste (it should sizzle), and pat it down to maybe a scant half-inch thick. Cook on medium-low till golden-brown on one side, flip, cook till golden-brown on the other side. Drain on paper towels. Add more butter to the skillet for each cake. So good! I’m always happy when I end up with a little portion of leftover mashed potatoes AND there’s a can of tuna in the pantry.

Mom was incredibly helpful in organizing my horrible pile of fabric today. I had the mental energy to guide her, and she did all the work. We ended up with two boxes of garbage-scraps, two boxes of scraps big enough for Jayla to make things with, a bundle of goodwill stuff, and two shelves of nicely-folded yardage for me to use in case I ever feel well enough to sew something. I do really want to make a doll for Freyja to grow into, like the one I made for Lulu, and if possible a small quilt for Freyja too. She missed out on 2019, The Year of Keepsake Quilts. I absolutely cannot wrangle large pieces of fabric and I don’t want to piece anything together, but I could hand-quilt the individual 10” squares of the one layer cake I have remaining, which is luckily a very cheerful, colorful set of prints but not babyish, and then join the squares together after the quilting. Maybe. Oof. Sounds ambitious.

Maybe I’ll make polenta for dinner. It’s so much fun cooking for Mom now that her food requirements are so much more flexible, and I think she might eat polenta.

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July 23rd, 2023 — 8:58pm

So much fatigue. Did nothing all day. Bah. Sadface. Feeling short of breath at night and full of fluid so it was a metronidazole day. Ate vast quantities of my homemade tzatziki for dinner, at first spread on bites of bread and then just by the spoonful. So zingy. I have ingredients for tabbouleh, too. Another summertime favorite. Maybe tomorrow.

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July 22nd, 2023 — 4:59pm

Pretty good day. Went to the good store for barley and bulgur wheat, for soup and tabbouleh. Stopped at the fancy bakery for a slice of lemon-coconut cake, yum yum. I can only eat a few bites at a time so it will last me several days ha. First time I’ve gone to the store in ages and boy am I weak. Ugh.

Mom went to hang out with Henry today so I had a much-needed day of quiet. Played a ton of Zelda. I didn’t think any Zelda game could take the place of Wind Waker in my heart but… wow. Tears of the Kingdom is pretty darn perfect. The world is so beautiful and open, and there’s so much exploring to do, and seemingly hundreds of side quests and little tasks. I love helping Addison with his signposts. It feels like there’s exactly the right distance between one town or stable and the next — worth taking your horse so you can gallop down the road (tremendous fun), but not far enough to be tedious (cough WoW cough). My current goal is to get to Hateno Village to upgrade my little tablet. I haven’t even paid any attention to the main quest line yet and I’ve played for well over 30 hours.

Worn out now (that little shopping trip is to blame) so I’m just resting and listening to an audiobook about the importance of codfish to human history.

Update: stopped listening to the cod book because there used to be a billion cod in the sea and now there are none and humans suck and I can’t handle it. So listening to “The Restaurant: A History of Eating Out” instead.

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July 21st, 2023 — 6:09pm

Slightly better day. Stomach hurt less, fatigue less extreme. Taught mom to make soup. Helped her with Procreate. Worn out now, audiobook and bed. And a nectarine and a slice of bread thickly spread with tzatziki.

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Friday morning

July 21st, 2023 — 10:25am

Better night. Mild sweats, up twice to pee, one quick little tachycardia event. Feeling a little better today. Stomach not hurting much yet. (Ate a peach so it hurts a little) I think I have just about one spoon, which I will use to make veggie-barley soup for Mom. She had to go to the Apple Store this morning because her iPad wasn’t turning on but it’s fine now, so I’ll start the barley simmering, then rest until she gets home and have her help me chop veggies and stuff.

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July 20th, 2023 — 6:22pm

Today was an “everything I eat makes my stomach hurt” kind of day. Why, why, why. Gotta eat anyway. Mom let me eat her perfect peach and is steaming me a potato for dinner. I’ll put cheese on it for some protein and plenty of butter of course for extra calories.

Just lay on the sofa all day. So fatigued, so puffy and full of fluid. This isn’t fun.

The tip of her Apple Pencil fell off and the couch swallowed it. This couch is hungry for Apple products. But Best Buy had replacements so she zipped over there and now she can draw again.

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Wednesday morning

July 19th, 2023 — 7:12am

Better night. Rather wakeful, but my new audiobook is good so that passed the time. Heart still uneven and jumpy but not thumpy or racing, oxygen good enough at 85-87% on ten liters. Mild night sweats. Feeling quite fragile, but maybe I can get up today. We shall see.

Mom will be here in a few hours to visit for a week! Great timing, she can do my little chores for me, and fetch and carry for us, and we can sit quietly and draw on our iPads. Really looking forward to teaching her more about Procreate!

I’ll make her a Pencil tether if she wants one. I’d better crank out a few more feet of lucet cord. It’s so handy to have around. Everyone should have a lucet. If you didn’t hit my Wikipedia link and are wondering what a lucet is, imagine one of those knitting spools with four prongs that every kid has. Used to have. In my childhood. Anyway, a lucet operates on the same principle but with only two prongs, so the resulting cord is narrower and faster to create. It is strong, with a little give, and it won’t unravel when cut. I use it all the time when I need a bit of sturdy cord. Useful for replacing drawstrings and shoelaces too.

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July 18th, 2023 — 4:20pm

Had to stay in bed all day. Palpitations started up again, scary to walk around. Not as bad as overnight, but not fun. Drew, played a little Zelda, listened to audiobooks. Watched history of mac-n-cheese. Was hoping to make tzatziki but that plan has been postponed. Sigh.

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Tuesday morning

July 18th, 2023 — 7:13am

Ugh ugh really bad night, kept waking up with a RACING heart like I’d just run up a flight of stairs and low oxygen. Each episode only lasted a few minutes but so scary. My heart rhythm is all over the map and my o2 is lower than expected. Feels like it’s about to happen again… so I just took my morphine for the first time. They said it should help when this happens. I’m super freaked out about taking it so i only took half a dose. What happens next? Will I wake up in an opium den? Will i go back to sleep for a while and wake up feeling sturdier? Will I panic and puke like that time they gave me hydrocodone for wisdom teeth extraction? WHO KNOWS? (Tasted horrible btw)

Answer: absolutely violent dry heaves, but stomach empty so nothing came up. Good times.

But a few minutes later, actually feeling more stable. Numbers are good and “normal” at 109bpm and 87% o2. I feel like drawing.

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July 17th, 2023 — 6:13pm

The power went out this morning, ugh, but it was only gone for an hour and a half and I survived without using my emergency oxygen tanks. Just stayed quiet and rested.

I sort of stayed mostly in bed for the rest of the day but somehow I did a bunch of stuff too. How did that happen? Finished my latest drawing. Froze a punnet of strawberries that were about to spoil, first hulling them, then spreading them on a tray to freeze, then popping them into a ziplock once they were frozen. And I babysat the Roomba while it did its work. The living room is a Roomba Puzzle. Poor stupid robot. If there is a bit of string anywhere, the Roomba will find it and choke on it. Also it does a fairly bad job on cat hair. Some gets sucked up but a lot gets rolled up into little cat-hair sausages. On the carpet, that is. It does a fine job on all the hard floors. Anyway I went around afterwards with the little handheld vacuum with a long snout and got rid of the sausages.

Made soup for dinner, not quite as good as the soup from a few days ago because I ran out of carrots and threw in some mushrooms instead, but I forgot that I don’t really like mushrooms in a chicken-based soup so I’m gonna pick them out.

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