Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: sickness

Health on my mind

leave me alone.
Go away.

I’m better. I’m worse. I’m both at the same time. I don’t have a cold any longer. How do I know? Because I’m sleeping six hours a night again if that. When I’m sick, I sleep seven to eight hours, and when I’m really sick, nine. That’s extremely rare, however, and it’s not something I want. Why? Because when I sleep that much, I feel like absolute shit. Or rather, I sleep that much because I feel like absolute shit. It’s the bare minimum my body can do to remain somewhat upright. The fact that I’m back to six hours a night means that I’m no longer sick.

Side note: I fucking hate that being better means less sleep. There is so much evidence that getting at least seven hours of sleep a night is optimal, nay, necessary, and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s taken me twenty years to build up my sleep from four hours a night to six hours, and I don’t know if I have twenty more years in me to add another two. In addition, there is some evidence that we sleep better in chunks rather than one full slate of eight hours. Much like eating. It’s better to eat several times throughout the day than to have three big meals. Sometimes, I think of how different my life would be if I could actually be refreshed upon waking up. Alas, it is not meant to be.

My left ear has cleared up as well, so that’s good. Just yesterday, I was wondering if I was ever going to be able to hear in my left ear again, and now I can. It’s not fully cleared, but it’s about 90%, which I’ll gladly take. Those are the two positives, which I’m recounting in part to remind myself that my health isn’t all shit. It’s just mostly shit.

Side note II: I had a hankering for a burger last week. There’s a Culver’s near me, and they have a gluten-free bun. It’s ten minutes away. It’s not difficult to go and grab a burger and fries. At least that’s what I told myself, but minutes passed by, and I wasn’t actually getting off the couch. I was just sitting there like a dumbass, bitching on Twitter about how I wanted a burger. This has been a problem for me since I was much younger. Even when I wanted to do something, the effort to actually get up and do it was immense. I knew I would enjoy the event once I got there (or enjoy the burger in this case), but it still seemed too much for my brain to force myself to do it without arguing for twenty minutes. I know it’s a part of my depression, but it’s one of the most irritating parts.

I finally hauled myself off the couch, changed into something presentable, and hopped in my car. Just as I was about two blocks from the Culver’s, the road was closed. Shit. I forgot it was construction season in Minnesota. I had to detour, and it’s not something I’m good at. Even though it’s my neighborhood, I never go on the side roads. I probably could have looked it up on my phone, but I adhere to the ‘keep driving around it with the destination in mind, and you’ll get there some day’ mentality, which probably isn’t helpful. Why? Because I have spatial issues, and I’m horrible at directions.

Continue Reading

Not down with the sickness

I am sick. Still. And very pissy about it. I am the worst when I’m sick because it offends me. I can’t be equanimous about it because, well, I don’t know why exactly. I think it’s because I do so little that exposes me to other people, but that doesn’t mean I’m totally isolated. I also have a shitty immune system which means that it’s much easier for me to catch shit than it is for other people. Let’s be frank. I’m not the best at taking care of myself, either. I’m a slob. I don’t eat well. I do taiji every day, but that’s about it. I sit too much. I smoke two cigarettes a day. By the way, I am thinking about giving up the last, but there’s a part of me that rebels because it’s the only vice I have. I don’t drink or do drugs. I’m not having sex. I don’t eat extravagantly or travel that much. So, it’s the cigarettes that give me that little boost of rebellion every day. In addition, it’s a contemplative time when I sit on my back porch (stand) and get a bit of sun. Yes, I could go outside without the cigarette, but I’m not going to do it. I know myself. I know how I work. That’s not something I’m going to do. Of course, the argument is whether it’s better to go out five or six times a day and smoke (I smoke a quarter of a cigarette at a time, a half in the morning) or not go out at all. Probably the latter, but I can make a good argument for the former. Which I do. So, yeah, the two cigarettes a day aren’t the end of the world, but because I have so many sinus/bronchial issues, it would help to give them up.

Another problem is that I have severe allergies, which I griped about in last week’s post. That makes it difficult for me to know what is allergies and what is an actual sickness. There is a lot of crossover, so it’s hard to tell what is because of what. Anyway, I’ve mostly been extremely exhausted and flushed. Once in a while, freezing cold, but that’s not as often as being insufferably hot. I’ve slept eight to ten hours a night which is how I know I’m sick (average is six), and I’m tired all day long. Today, I woke up with my sinuses going haywire. My left ear is plugged. My nose feels as if there are a million little needles pricking at it constantly.

Side Note: I recently learned that sinus issues can be related to migraines. I hadn’t known that before, and it’s fascinating to me. Just as fascinating as the fact that you can have a migraine without the headache. Which leads me to wonder, why are all these things called migraines? I kinda like migraines being restricted to severe headaches, but that’s just me.


Continue Reading

Fuck you, spring!

mainlining the tea.
All. The. Tea.

I hate spring. I hate summer more, but spring is almost as bad because everything is coming to life, and I’m allergic to all the green things. In addition, I’m still visiting Ian in upstate New York, so there is a bunch of native flora that doesn’t live in Minnesota. This is my long-winded way of saying that my allergies are on high. At least I hope it’s allergies. I think it is. My eyes are itchy and my throat is tickling. There is a drainage situation that is coagulating in the back of my throat. I’m feeling logy, even more so than usual.

The reason I’m hoping it’s allergies? Because the alternative is that I have a cold. Again. Or sinus issues. Again. Or any of half a dozen things that are worse than allergies. Allergies are a low-level energy drain. Sinus infection? That’s a massive hit in the gut. I also have a medium-grade headache that really intensifies right before I go to bed. I’ve taken two Excedrin Migraine (generic) almost every night I’ve been here which keeps the headache at bay, but it’s not something I want to do too often.

I have zero motivation when I’m sick/allergy-stuffed as well. I know I have shit I need to do, but I just can’t make myself do anything. Writing this post feels unbearable, and I’m just writing nonsense. I know I’m not, but that’s how it feels. I woke up about an hour ago, and I want a nap. That’s what makes me think I’m on the cusp of getting sick and not just suffering allergies. Allergies are annoying, but not soul-sapping the way getting sick is.

I’m flying back tomorrow, and I really would rather not have to do it while being sick. I’m sure the other people on the plane would be happier without me spreading the sickness as well.

Side note: Delta has this thing where if the flight is full, they’ll have you bid on your seat, meaning saying how much it would take for you to change your flight. Ideally, everyone would ask for the highest bid so someone will get that amount. Gamification theory indicates, however, that someone will lowball everyone so they will at least get something.

Continue Reading

Snow, my cold, and conflicting emotions

let it snow!
My happy place.

The snow, it is real. It’s been a steady accumulation over the last few days, and it’s making me a very happy camper. Indoor camper.

Side rant: I love snow. I always have. Ever since I was a little kid and played in the snow as I was bundled up so only my nose was showing. I’d go sledding (which I loved) until my fingers and toes were numb, and then I’d drink hot chocolate. Snowmen were a thing, too.

Winter was great because I loved the cold and because my allergies were mostly dead. I’ve been very open about my love of snow and cold, which for the most part has been fine. However, whenever I post about it or tweet about it, there’s inevitably one person who has to say how much they hate it. Or remind me that it’s a bitch to drive in. Or shovel. It’s gotten to the point where I preempt it by mentioning my gratitude in not having to drive in it when I talk about it in hopes I can be allowed to enjoy my snow somewhat unimpeded.

Snow is one thing that gives me pure joy. Can I please have that? It’s good to be aware of other people’s issues and whatnot, but at some point, I just want to revel in the fluffy white goodness.

Side note to the side rant: It’s different when I’m talking to friends who have to struggle with the snow affecting their commute or income (having clients cancel because of weather). I can empathize with them and their frustrations. It’s more the people who feel the need to tell me unprompted that snow is a problem for people. I’m not stupid or ignorant. I know this. And yet, it’s a bit too ‘there are starving children in Africa’ for me. There is nothing that doesn’t cause problems for SOMEONE. Does that mean always having to qualify one’s own pleasures/enjoyment/happiness?

Anyway. Back to snow. We’ve gotten 10 inches to a foot, and it’s lightly snowing now. It’s the fluffy and light snow, which is my favorite to frolic in. There will be no midnight nekkid snow dancing, however, because I’m still having sinus issues. The cough has diminished, but the congestion has increased. The needles pricking my nostrils feeling has come back again. When I woke up, my forehead was hot. I popped two (generic) Migraine Excedrin, and I’m hoping that will do the trick. I also have a raspy voice, which, while sexy, may be a harbinger of more congestion.

I’ve been incredibly crabby over being sick, but at the same time, really happy about the snow. It’s a weird mix of feelings that keeps whiplashing back and forth.

*a thousand needles prick my nose*

I hate having a cold!

*looks out the window at the gently-falling snow*

Oooooh, so pretty!

We’ve gotten between 10-12 inches over the last few days and are supposed to get a few more inches. Maybe this is my consolation prize for this cold dragging on. Either way, I’m enjoying it–just not as fully as I would if I weren’t sick.

Still. It reminds me of what I love about Minnesota winters, which have sadly become more tame over the years. Thank you, climate change. No, really, thank you for fucking up my favorite season. Trying not to be bitter because it seems a bit ungrateful as we’re in the middle of ALL THE SNOW, but I’m greedy. I want so much more.

Side note II to side rant: I want to say that if people want to bitch about how much they hate snow on their own FB walls/tweet about it–have at it. I know most people don’t feel the same way about snow that I do, and that’s fine. I’m used to being in the minority about–well, pretty much everything. Except loving chocolate. I think I’m in the majority there. So, yeah, I’m used to biting my tongue when certain subjects come up. When other Minnesotans grumble about the snow and talk about wanting spring, I just nod and smile. Or, if I’m in a feisty mood, I’ll say I like winter, but I understand how they feel.*

So on my own FB wall or Twitter TL, just fucking let me have this, ok? To hell with it. I may actually do nekkid midnight snow dancing tonight, my cold be damned.

 

 

*I don’t, but it’s a social nicety that keeps things moving.

Just fuck everything, but snow?!?

To no one’s surprise, I have a fucking cold. Warning: I will be fucking sweary in this post because I am so fucking sick and tired of being, well, sick and tired. A deep hacking cough, a stuffed nose that simultaneously feels as if it has pine needles jabbing into it from time to time. Add chest congestion to that, and you can understand why I’m irritated. Not just irritated, but downright pissed off. I have been sick on and off for the past few months, and every time I feel better, something else happens to me. It’s not as if I’m in the public all the time, a lot, or much at all. So why the hell am I getting sick? It’s a question for my doc the next time I go, which will be soon because I have to get my annual thyroid check for my meds.

Speaking of docs….Every year, I have to deal with my insurance, and I thought I set it last year so I wouldn’t have to do it again this year. I got a notice saying my insurance would end because I hadn’t re-enrolled, and I found an earlier letter with the re-enrollment form. I filled it out and sent it in with a brief explanation of what happened. I sent it in before the end of the month, and then this week, I got a notice that my insurance had ended last month. I thought about checking my mail today before I called the insurance office, but I didn’t because I’m lazy. I called, resigned to wait for over an hour as I had to do the other times I called them (this is a governmental office, so you know how that goes), but I got someone within five minutes. She told me there was nothing wrong with my insurance, and I had her double check and read it to me exactly to make sure. Afterwards, I went to check the mail because I was going out, anyway, and sure enough, there was my health plan letter. I had to laugh, but I’m relieved that it ended well.


Continue Reading

My life is one long Groundhog Day

The night before the new classes, I was hit with a migraine. I didn’t catch it in time, which I think is a shorter window these days. I’m also not sure my Excedrin Migraine (generic) pills are enough any longer. That would be a shame as it used to be I could pop two if I caught it in time, suffer through a low-level headache for an hour (and maybe some nausea), then I was fine. For the last three instances (in two weeks!), I didn’t catch two in time, and the one I did, it the pills didn’t have the same effect. It took longer to work, and the pain was more intense.

I’ve written before that I’m relatively lucky when it comes to migraines because I can still do work even though I’m not as productive as long as I take plenty of breaks. I think it’s because I have a very high pain tolerance, but whatever the reason, I’ll take it. On the other hand, it’s possible if I completely rested while I had the migraine, it might not last over twenty-four hours.

I just went to the grocery store, and I knew in an instant my migraine wasn’t over. It’s a gray and gloomy day, but there is sun. I winced as it hit my eyes*, and the bright lights in the grocery store made me nausea. I had to press my lips together several times even though I don’t throw up in general,** and I got out of there as quickly as possible. I hate nausea and dizziness. I would much rather have a backache or even a headache rather than nausea and dizziness–or my eyes hurting. It’s the weirdest feeling. It’s like the lenses of my eyes aren’t even there, and the sun rays are boring into my pupils.

Anyway, migraines suck. I don’t know why they’re popping more lately, but I need to figure it out. I hate having a whole day and a half (or two or more) wiped out because of them, and I haven’t had a full migraine in quite some time. I experience many of the triggers for migraines. Lack of sleep, stress, and depression are on the list. Also, certain smells, foods, and even sunlight can be triggers as well. That’s basically my whole life right there. The only one I am mostly clear of is the food trigger. I don’t consume caffeine any longer (which has been hellish, let me tell you); I don’t drink; and I don’t eat cheese any longer, either. Those are the biggest migraine triggers food-wise.

Veering wildly to another topic. The one YouTube series I watch consistently is the Prepare to Try lads. Well, it used to be. They were a group of three lads from IGN who started this as a lark. Apparently, Krupa (Daniel Krupa, who loves the Soulsborne series) floated the idea before the release of Dark Souls III of having a newbie (Rory Powers) play through the original Dark Souls with him, Krupa, as the guide/loremaster. Gav (Gavin Murphy) was along for the bants (banter. He drives the banter bus). I found it way after they did it, and I gobbled up the whole thing. I bingewatched the original series plus the Dark Souls III series.  They’ve done a bunch of one-offs as well as Bloodborne, and I was excited when they finally announced they were doing Dark Souls II (which Krupa hates. I think it’s a very good game, though not a great Souls game). This was in November of last year, then they said it was being put off until February of this year because reasons.


Continue Reading

Getting older and not necessarily wiser

taiwanese tai chi sculpture!
I don’t want to be made of stone.

I woke up yesterday to an incipient migraine and immediately popped two Excedrin Migraine (generic) in hopes to stave it off. It didn’t pop into a full migraine for the rest of the day, but it also didn’t dissipate after an hour as it normally does. I am still dealing with it now, but at a very low level. This is new to me. In the past, either I caught it and it went away in an hour or I didn’t. I mentioned it to my taiji teacher yesterday, and she said that unfortunately, our bodies get brittler as we get older. This is true. When I was in college, I could get by (barely) on three to four hours of sleep. In my late twenties, I could go out all night and bounce back (mostly) after four hours of sleep. Now, I could go out all night, but it would take me three days to return to normal.

Speaking of sleep. I used to get four hours a night. On the regular. Thanks to taiji, I’ve slowly added to that. Now, I’m up to six hours on average a night. That’s epic for me. I keep hearing how terrible it is if you don’t get eight hours a night, and I always want to shout, “Yeah, I know, but what the fuck do I do about it?” They never talk about that, do they? They only talk about how important eight hours of sleep is, and by the way, people used to sleep in four-hour chunks rather than one stretch of eight. That seems way more reasonable to me than sleeping eight hours in one stretch.

The only time I can sleep for eight hours (or even seven-and-a-half) is when I’m sick. Which has been a lot in the past few years. It makes me wonder if my body gets sick for the sole purpose of getting more sleep. I know I’m really sick if I actually manage to get nine hours. One time, I got ten hours! TEN HOURS. I can’t even with that. That’s like, luxury. I hear from friends who get eight to nine hours regularly and who love sleep, and I’m so envious. I don’t know what it’s like, and I can’t even imagine it. I wrote a whole novel about confronting Morpheus, for fuck’s sake.

Sleep is something that I’ve given up trying to improve consciously because I’ve poured so much energy into it for no benefit. I’ve tried ::deep breath:: melatonin, hot beverages, hot baths, valerian, lavender (found out I was allergic to it while taking a bath in it. Not a good way to find out), sleep deprivation, sleeping pills (can’t wake up from them, even if I only take a fourth of a pill), dream catchers, and other things I can’t remember. None of it worked, and it only left me more frustrated than ever. Taiji is the only thing that has helped, and it’s taken a long time. An added two hours of sleep over ten years of taiji. That means I should reach eight hours a night in another ten years!

Continue Reading

A new year and a newer me

look at my toofs!
So tired. Must sleep.

It’s the end of the year, so inevitably, thoughts turn to the next year and how I’m going to do things differently. Even though I am not a bit believer in holidays or ritualistic endeavors, there is something about the end of the year that makes me somber about time passing. Not as somber as my birthday, but somber nonetheless. This year has kinda sucked for me, mostly because of my own depression. There are external factors as well, but I do not want to go into those for this post. For now, I want to focus on my health, especially since it’s been so bad this year. A couple months sick, a few weeks not sick, then back to being sick. All of it lasting the past four months or so.

I have come to the conclusion that much of it is probably allergies. From my research, I have learned that allergy symptoms can seem a lot like cold symptoms. In addition, when one has as bad allergies as I do, it exhausts the immune system, thereby making it easier to catch colds. Right now, I’m still coughing and my nose is alternating between stuffy and runny. My ears are crusted over, and my throat is scratchy from time to time. I also have gobs of goo in my throat that make it hard to swallow.

This post is about the ways I’m going to try to better my health in the new year. First, a doctor’s appointment to get everything tested. Allergies because I haven’t had it done in a while (because the testing is so unpleasant. All those pricks swelling up and me feeling as if I can’t breathe. It is no fun at all). If that doesn’t bring up anything, then other testing. Maybe a sleep test because, yeah, me and sleep still aren’t friends.

I was listening to NPR, and they had Matthew Walker on again. He is a sleep scientist and a professor in neurology and psychology. He’s an enthusiastic proponent of sleep (and he has a lovely British accent. He talks about the negatives of sleep deprivation and the positives of getting enough sleep (at least eight hours a night). Which is fine and dandy, but what he doesn’t say is how to get eight hours of sleep a night. It’s frustrating as hell because I have tried almost everything under the sun, and the only time I’m able to get eight hours a night is when I’m sick.

I’ve written before how I existed on four hours of sleep a night for many years. Decades, even. And, yeah, I know that driving while sleep-deprived is worse than driving while drunk, but if I only drove when I was fully rested, I wouldn’t drive at all. With the help of taiji, I am currently up to six/six-and-a-half hours of sleep a night. Sometimes five, but mostly six. I would love for the dear doctor to tell me how the hell I’m supposed to get the other two to three hours.

Continue Reading

Sleeping and sickness

So, this is me right now:

Except, I’m not a furry alien, I don’t have a box of tissues or hideous pajamas, and I forgot to pick up cough syrup/cough drops when I was at the grocery store yesterday.

Speaking of, they’ve started the Christmas music this last weekend, and hearing it immediately sets my teeth on edge. It didn’t help that they played ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ while I was there because I’m sick of the controversy. Is it a rape song? Is it a girl-power song? I don’t know, nor do I particularly care. It’s a BAD song is my main issue. It’s fucking insipid, and even without the controversy, it’s worthy of being banned on triteness alone. Yes, yes, yes, different time, different context, blah, blah, blah. I don’t give a shit. It’s an irritatingly syrupy song, and I would be too happy never to hear it again.

Let’s be real, though. I would be happy not to hear any Christmas song ever again, except, of course, ‘O Holy Night’, and even for that, I don’t have much enthusiasm this year.  But! I will include a glorious version by Mariah Carey.

Her voice gives me chills. I know it’s fashionable to slag on her for her diva ways and her crazy life, but she can flat-out sing. Also, I don’t like the fact that I think some of the criticism of her is gendered in a ‘bitches be cray’ sort of way. At any rate, I could listen to this version of ‘O Holy Night’ twenty times in a row and not get sick of it.

So. I’m back to bronchial shit this time (with a dash of sinus thrown in). My nose is alternating between runny and stuffy. My throat is sore. I’m coughing, which doesn’t help the sore throat. I get the chills, which just makes me angry. I don’t get cold, so having that as an indication of sickness feels like a kick to the face. I’m also getting hot flashes (not that kind, though those, too). I’m not getting more sleep, though, which is how I know it’s not the flu-like crap I’ve been getting recently. My ears are crusted over (first one then the other), and I’m parked on my couch with Shadow warming my legs.

I’ve been doing my taiji morning routine, and it’s probably the only thing that’s keeping me from getting even sicker. I have to say that the stretches I’ve been including have worked miracles on my back, so I’m thankful for that. I have almost no back pain, and the pain in my right thigh (numbness alternating with flashes of searing pain) has slowly become ameliorated with my diligence. I’m trying not to rush through them just to do them, but it’s hard not to just do them by rote.

I’m also having menstrual frustrations. Quick backstory. I’m used to getting my period three or four times a year. Yes, I checked with my doctor, and as long as I get it twice a year, it’s fine. I get it for one light day, followed by one relatively heavy day, then one light day and maybe one day of spotting. I didn’t like never knowing when I was going to get my period, but other than that, I had no complaints. The only time I had a regular period was when I was consistently having sex (for obvious reasons). In the past year or so, as I near menopause (I’m in peri-menopause), my period has become more regular, in a sense. I started getting it more often (boo), but with the same heaviness (yay), and in the past six months or so, it’s gone from once every forty-five days to once every thirty days to once every twenty-five days. This month, however, it’s back to at least thirty-five days (still haven’t gotten it yet). When I’m sick, the last thing I need to do is worry about when I’m going to bleed.

You know the other sucky part about being sick? How much mind space it consumes. It’s hard not to think about it when I’m coughing up a lung until my chest hurts and my throat is raw, when my nose is bleeding from all the blowing, and when I’m fretfully picking at the scabs in my ears. It’s the worst when I’m out and about, and I start hacking. I want to reassure people I’m not contagious (though I don’t know for sure. I’m just assuming. My bronchial crap is never contagious). I’m pretty sure I look miserable and haggard as well. Though, funny story. I went to SA to buy a pack of cigs (and, yes, I’m aware of the irony), and the cashier said, “Bear with me, but I need to see your ID because of a recent policy change.” I asked what the policy change was, not in a nasty way, but just because I was curious. I’d never had to show ID for cigarettes before. She said that they were carding anyone who looked under forty, which tickled me. I looked like shit in my sweats and sweatshirt, hair pulled back in a sloppy bun, and she still subtracted nearly a decade from my age!

I don’t do NY’s resolutions, but I have three goals for next year.

One: not burn myself with tea in a particularly stupid way. I have a travel mug I love that by bestie gave to me one Christmas. It says, “YOU CAN NOT IMAGINE THE IMMENSITY OF THE FUCK I DO NOT GIVE’ on it in all caps, and she knows me too well. Anyway, I fill it with boiling tea, then I put it in the spot on my couch where the cushions all meet (there’s kind of a divot there), and for the most part, I secure it firmly. Three times this past year, however, it’s fallen over and spilled tea onto me. I’ve done this twice, and I’ve spilled it on my arm a third time (other arm) because I was trying to hold the traveling mug in the crook of my left arm. Since I drink boiling hot water, I got second-degree burns each time. NO, MINNA, NO! BAD MINNA!

Two: find out what the fuck is wrong with my immune system. I can’t do this much longer. I feel as if I’m sick more often than not, and while I would hate if this was me for the rest of my life, I would rather know than not. Then I could deal with it (or not) rather than just wondering what the fuck is wrong with me. There’s a healthy amount of shame involved as well because I keep thinking it’s probably in my head. I mean, it literally is in my head (sinus, bronchial issues), but I’m not making it up. The next time I go in for my annual checkup (have to do it for my thyroid issues), I’m going to ask for an allergy workup. I think some of this might be allergies since I’m allergic to everything.

Three: stop smoking. I smoke between 1 and 2 cigarettes a day (half a cig in the morning, a fourth of a cig every now and again throughout the day), and while my own doctor told me it was no big deal (this was two docs ago, and my current doc gave me the obligatory ‘you could quit easily, you know’), it’s definitely not something that is good for me or my bronchial system–which already sucks. I’ve been trying to cut down, but it’s been slow-going. It’s become such a habit for me. I think it might be easier for me to quit cold turkey because once I make a decision like that, I stick to it (as I’ve said, the plus side to OCD). We shall see. I’ll try cutting down for now, and if that doesn’t work–cutting it out completely. I’m already sick, cranky, irritable, and miserable, so why not just do it?

The crud, the instapot, and other life adventures

I’m sick. Again. I kinda feel like we could take that as the de facto homeostasis, which doesn’t make me happy at all. This time, it’s bronchial crud, which, while I hate it, I’m very used to as I detailed in my last post griping about my health. I have a hacking cough, a runny nose (with unidentifiable crud in it), a sore throat, and total exhaustion. It’s making my already-double alto voice sound like Barry White, which ain’t a bad thing.

I will croon for you if you like. Forgive me for being loopy, but it’s the result of endless crap and crud. It’s been two months on and off, and more on than off. It’s like two weeks on and one day off, then on, on, on, and of—–onnnnnn. I hate my life right now. I hate that I have to wonder if this is my new norm. I hate that I feel as if I’m making excuses when I can’t get the fuck out of my house. It doesn’t help that I tend to cocoon in general, anyway, so am I just being weak?

In instapot news, I decided to do the pork shoulder recipe. It was basically throw four pounds of meat in the instapot, so how hard could that be? Well, I should have read the recipe itself and not just the ingredients because there was this thing called browning that included oil, which was not listed as an ingredient. I mean, I get it’s not an ingredient, but I didn’t have oil. I don’t cook, so why would I have it? But wait! I bought some for another recipe I was going to try, didn’t I? I looked for it and couldn’t find it. Damn it. I had already opened the meat and cut it into two pieces (two-and-a-half pounds rather than four), so I shoved it in the fridge and got ready to go to the store. I was sure I had bought it, though, because I distinctly remembered musing over vegetable versus olive oil. I opened another cabinet, and there it was.

I followed the directions on the instapot to brown the meat, but after I heated it up and opened it to put half the meat in (now cut in four pieces instead of two because it seemed smarter), I had a dilemma. If I was browning it on all side, should I just keep the lid off? Would it still work with the lid off? I put the lid on, then decided to take it off again. I had to manually decompress, and then the instapot wouldn’t turn back on. What the fuck? I decided to do the rest of the browning in a skillet (which was actually easier than doing it in the instapot, tbh), and that worked out fine. Except, I wasn’t quite sure how brown it was supposed to get. Anyway, I put the meat in the instapot with the water, the Liquid Smoke, and the salt/pepper, then pressed the pressure cooker button. Nothing. I was getting frustrated at this point (this was supposed to be soooooo easy), and I checked the cord. It had somehow loosened itself and wasn’t completely plugged into the instapot. I pushed it in firmly, then it worked. I cooked it for 90 minutes, which was actually too long given that I’d cut the recipe almost in half.

When the ninety minutes were up, I approached the instapot with trepidation. Was it going to work? In short, yes. It was juicy and tender (though some parts were overcooked because of my mistake with the timing), and Shadow, my cat, loved it, too. I would try it again (with the proper amount of time), but I really wish I had known that you still need to know how to cook to use them.

I’ve been playing a lot of solitaire this past week. It’s easy to do when I want to game but don’t have the wherewithal for MHW or DS II. Sigh. I’ve been up for an hour and a half and want to go back to bed. It doesn’t help that it’s Christmas 24/7 now. Ho frigging ho.