Taste explosions


One thing I’m noticing about not eating carbs and sugar is that when I eat fresh food, it tastes AMAZING.

Like, I had some stir fried shramps* the other day and they were FUCKING INCREDIBLE. Like, I’m still thinking about them.

Maybe it was the marinade: so easy. A couple tablespoons of soy sauce, some ginger out of a tube, some fresh garlic run through the nifty 4-in-1 garlic press/nutcracker/bottle opener/cherry pitter that I picked up in Soviet Russia lo these many years ago, and a dash of rice wine vinegar. Stir fry that up with them dang shramps, some veg and GOOD LORD Y’ALL, DIG IN!

Buuuuuut like so many things, it turns out we aren’t supposed to have anything fried AT ALL. Not even responsibly sautéed in a little bit of olive oil. So I’m going to have to rethink that. Maybe a dash of olive oil pan spray? Is that loopholery? I don’t know. It feels like it’s not because it doesn’t really add any oil to the dish…

Similarly, we can eat all the non starchy vegetables we want, so salads are a huge part of my life. A salad made with tons of chopped up bell peppers (esp red or orange), radishes, tomatoes, and with the kind of dressing we can have (low or no fat, no sugar) — MY GOD, GET IN MY BOCA RIGHT NOW!

This is all pre-op. Post op, once you have gotten through the healing process and relearned how to eat, the rules are looser. But pre-op they are Not Screwing Around. You have your orders.

Do I miss cookies and cake and chips and all the things? Yes, yes I do, sometimes. But I’m trying not to focus on that because therein lies madness. I just try to turn that part of my brain off. (Like a light switch… you go “click”…)

*re: shramps — went to the meat/seafood counter of the store and bellied up to the case, told the guy I needed to buy some shramps. He said, “Some shramps? Sure!” and I was unreasonably excited by this. My life is good.

Protein shakes make me want to hurl


So it turns out that so far 3/3 protein shakes that I’ve tried have been barftastic.

It’s not that I don’t WANT to like them, because they often smell delicious, and I want to do this and do it right — but the mere thought of drinking one just gives me the willies and not in a good way. Something about the texture? The weird aftertaste? They way they make my stomach churn?

I’m trying the third variety now, they are definitely variations on a theme but eventually I hope to find one that doesn’t actually made me gag.

Meanwhile the sugar and carb cravings can get intense but today I feel much clearer in my brain (no more “brain fog”) and kind of more energetic and able to focus than I was last week, and somewhat less nauseated over the course of the day. So far, anyway…

Day Two of Being in Hell


So maybe it’s no secret to both of you, dear readers, that I have become a bit … plump over the past twenty years or so.

About 15 years ago there was a Something That Happened and it was hella stressful yo, and there were two things that got me through it: food, and World of Warcraft. My life was coming unraveled and I had a sweet precious one-year-old for whom I was suddenly the sole functioning parent, and I couldn’t lose my mind. So I made an actual conscious decision that whatever I could do to get through this that was a) legal and b) would not jeopardize my mental health, was fair game. And that included eating whatever I wanted, an any sufficient quantity, to dull the anxiety and emotional pain. I slept with the lights on, when I slept at all, and I had the TV going day and night, and I played WOW far into the night after the baby was in bed, and somehow we got through it all.

But, you know, not without a price.

Now I’ve shot past overweight and as any fat person can tell you, once you’ve put it on it’s really difficult to take it off. I’ve tried many approaches and it turns out that if the thing that keeps your brain from freaking the fuck out about literally everything is food, and lots of it, bad food with sugar and carbs all over the place, well, changing your relationship with food is going to be key and it’s also damn near impossible. I’d go into a bunch of different reasons/excuses/rationalizations but it’s on par with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. People with healthy relationships with food do not eat the way did.

Did I mention that I have anxiety? And then I found a medication that has been like a miracle, and while I still think a lot like an anxious person, the anxiety-brain part speaks a lot more quietly these days. So at least I have that going for me.

So a few weeks ago The Lovely Rhonda mentioned to me that she had decided that she was going to have weight loss surgery (WLS), namely a gastric sleeve procedure, and would I please go with her to Mexico for this? And I opened my mouth and what came out was, I’ll do it too.

(Backstory: she’s been thinking about this for years and I was not interested last time we talked about it, and then fast forward several years: we are both still struggling, and a friend of ours went to a very nice place in Mexico and for a very reasonable price got her procedure done, and now has dropped a significant amount of weight and is feeling great and off most medications. I am knocking on the door of diabetes and have been on blood pressure and cholesterol medications for some time now, and it’s all due to my weight and eating habits. Also: our medical insurance does not cover bariatric surgery and to do this in the US would cost at least five times as much.)

So we got in touch with the clinic in Mexico and went through the screening process and now we’re both scheduled to have this surgery on March 14th which is less than three weeks away.

I’m likening this whole thing with having a baby. You can read all about it, you can watch videos and documentaries, you can talk to friends and watch what it’s like. But until you have a baby yourself, you don’t really know shit about it. There’s no way to experience it ahead of time. It’s all encompassing and your entire life will change.

Preoperatively they have you go on this diet that is designed to shrink your liver down to normal size, because if you’re fat your liver is most likely fat as well. They have to go up behind your liver to get to your stomach so they want it to be as unobtrusive as possible. This diet is no fun. It’s basically no sugar, no carbs, no fatty foods. It’s lean meat (chicken, fish, or turkey), it’s non-starchy vegetables (so no potatoes, peas, corn, etc). It’s gallons of soup and mountains of fresh vegetables, all you can eat, and sugar free jello and popsicles, all you could want, and two or three protein drinks per day. Low carb protein drinks. So not like hey make a milkshake and add protein! And no fruit. Oh man, fruit is my friend. I love fruit. But no. Not now.

At my BMI I’m supposed to do this diet for two weeks before the surgery, but we decided to go with about three weeks. You do tend to lose some weight on the diet and why not make sure the liver is really in great shape? It’s not an unreasonable diet in terms of nutrition, no worse than your basic keto although more restrictive (no fatty steaks or bacon etc).

But now I have regrets, do you hear me? REGRETS.

I went to the grocery store this morning to pick up some odds and ends — pro tip, you can use a vanilla protein drink in place of that delicious sugary vanilla creamer you usually use in your coffee and it will almost but not quite fail to suck — and literally every single aisle I went down, and all the end caps and seasonal displays, were loaded with sugar and carbs. LOADED. And I’m not saying I was unaware of this before, because this is not my first go-round with quitting sugar, but hey is it ever thrown into sharp relief just now. It’s that pre-Easter time where they have all these Easter themed candy items in the seasonal aisle, that you are totally buying for the kids’ Easter baskets weeks in advance because you’re just that well organized and definitely not to furtively eat in the car or your office, and I walked through that aisle like it I was a death row prisoner, taking that last walk through the general population on my way to the electric chair.

Okay, probably some of my detached-weirdness about it was probably due to the keto brain fog that happens when you quit sugar. My entire body is screaming for sugar in all forms, and carbs in any form, and this is making me irritable and foggy. And headachey.

Once we get through the pre-op, which comes to a delightful head of three days of clear liquids only (and a laxative!), we will have surgery and receive sleek new stomachs that hate us, so it’ll be more clear liquids, followed by tiny dabs of pureed foods, and endless oceans of protein shakes until eventually we eat more or less like a normal person, i.e. in modest amounts and of nutritious foods, until death which at this point feels like it can’t come soon enough.

Yellowstone is pretty big, yo


So we drove through part of Yellowstone the first day and saw gorgeous things, like so:

We spent another day driving through other parts of the park and still didn’t see it all, because it turns out that this park is rather larger than The Lovely Rhonda initially thought. So it goes!

Final score: 10/10, highly recommend.

Desperately Seeking Carwash


So once we made our way out of beautiful Kellogg, Idaho, home of the shittiest motel rooms very little money can buy, we made our way to Bozeman, Montana.

“Why Bozeman?” you may wonder. I did also wonder that myself, but it turned out that we needed to visit the Museum of the Rockies. It’s quite a nice museum there at the university and it features a lot of dinosaur fossils. And one of the sprogs is way into paleontology.

The anonymous (middle) child takes a medication that has been upsetting her stomach. This, along with a tendency to get carsick, and further combined with a proclivity to have her face buried in her phone, led to an unfortunate incident the occurred as we made our way East, an incident that we shall call: The Pukening.

So if anyone needed an explanation of why the passenger side exterior of the Rental Minivan of Justice suddenly featured a plume of chunder all down the length of it, there you go.

Naturally we sprang into action, largely motivated by self preservation as we drove with all our heads out the window — except the poor unfortunate youngest child, who was trapped in the back seat of the RMoJ. The windows back there do not open. And she was downwind.

I’m pretty sure we defied the laws of physics getting into the nearest gas station where Barfy was able to go wash up and the rest of us dealt with the aftermath. Well, some of us did. Some of us scrubbed vomit off the side of the car with the window washing squeegee while others pumped gas into the car. But some of us aren’t bitter.

(Narrator: some of us are bitter.)

After some comprehensive scrubbing of the inside of the van door with disinfecting wipes, we motored cautiously on, and in due time we arrived in Bozeman where we stayed at a really perfectly adequate Comfort Inn.

Road Trip!


So TLR and I packed up the young’uns into a rental minivan and took this show on the road yesterday morning. TLR has been in a frenzy of repressed plannage owing to the pandemic and the pressure has been intense, so one might have thought that everything would have been meticulously arranged down to the minutest of details, but we decided to take a different tack this time. So we really only know what we’re doing up to the day after tomorrow, and after that we have barely an inkling of what could happen.

We departed The Swamp a mere 25 minutes later than the ridiculously insane 8am that TLR demanded we leave. We first observed the traditions of our people and bought enormous lattes so that we’d have to stop at least hourly, thus fulfilling the recommendation that we stretch our legs frequently while traveling. It’s science!

Eventually after about seventeen million hours of driving (narrator: probably four hours) punctuated by at least two pit stops we reached Snoqualmie Falls, which as you might guess is a waterfall. We watched the river plunge majestically over the cliff for about thirty seconds and then we all had to pee again, so after a visit to the Little Road Trippers’ Room we forged on.

We made a pit stop in Spokane during which we had dinner with my dad at a newly opened Texas Roadhouse Restaurant. There we watched some deeply unpleasant people come unglued because their giant party could not all be seated together, in accordance with current regulations. We then drove on to the first of our painstakingly chosen accommodations, the T-rail M-otel.

Friends. You know that saying, “you get what you pay for”? Please take that saying to heart, because if you’re referring to a certain motel in Kellogg, Idaho, you’re going to want to remember it.

As an example, take a look at the highly technical and expertly installed television setup that greeted us:

State of the art home theater!

From here we move on to the luxurious sitting area, featuring a minimalist theme so authentic they have eschewed even the plebeian constructs of electrical outlet covers. Daring!

Fashionably austere!

Of course what’s a high end suite without a richly appointed bath?

The grunge look has come back in.

The view from the w.c. was inspiring as well.


The room also featured an art installation of taxidermied local wildlife.

Pretty sure this is a Chihuly.

Crooked = Bohemian

Also see that notice about “smoke free room”? It’s so accurate! Our rooms didn’t smoke at all! … the dudes next door did though.

And boy did we feel safe! Especially after we saw the three police officers patrolling the parking lot.

Up next: why we urgently need to find a car wash in Bozeman, Montana.

Flopsy Redux


So the kids are getting to be A Certain Age, which is to say old enough to have experienced the joys of taking Human Growth and Development in school at least once, if not several times.  Additionally, the eldest of these children is in her freshman year at a fancy biosciences high school and evidently they have really revved the ol’ sex ed classes up compared to what we suffered through in our tender years, oh so many years ago.

A couple of weeks ago this eldest, once-painfully-shy child came home and made a gleefully sardonic remark about ANAL, ORAL, AND VAGINAL SEX!  And then said that her Human Development teacher, who is apparently the epitome of cool, told them that IF YOU SHOULD EVER FIND A PENIS IN YOUR MOUTH, you should use a condom so as to not get diseases.  She found great hilarity in this phrase IF YOU SHOULD EVER FIND A PENIS IN YOUR MOUTH and occasionally repeats it to tremendous humorous effect.

We find that we end up discussing these kinds of things at the dinner table, and yeah, it turns out that all that crap everybody says about the dinner table being a great place to connect with your family is really true because I don’t think we’d do the same over slices of pizza on the sofa with a tv show going.  Anyway, the youngest child was talking with her mouth full despite roughly ten years of being told not to, and The Lovely Rhonda asked her HAVE YOU GOT A PENIS IN YOUR MOUTH?  And we all died of the laughter, including the youngest.  So we have begun to threaten them with saying this to them if they talk with their mouths full even out amongst the unsuspecting public.  This is no idle threat and they know it. We are exactly the sort of people who would totally do this, i.e. terribly uncouth and/or super cool.

Tonight the eldest regaled us with a tale of successfully answering a question in class about ERECTION AND EJACULATION.  This led to the youngest asking what an erection is.  With predictable results.

First TLR had to explain that a penis in its resting state is flaccid.

Youngest kid: What does “flaccid” mean?

TLR: Well, uh, soft and squishy, you know, limp, dangling…

I could not stop myself.

Me: Hey guys, remember that one car we had when you were really little and it had the antenna that drooped (*describing an arc in the air with my hand*) and the car’s name was Flopsy?


And then we all laughed until we cried and said PENIS like fifty more times and now the kids are clearing the table and life is good.




Full blown potato


Today I’m at work and in my job as the Head Bossy Pants of Stuff I occasionally get to purchase embarrassing personal hygiene supplies of various types.  And nicotine replacements, and ice cream sandwiches, and sometimes specialty medical items.  It’s a rich life I lead.

Today I was tasked with getting pregnancy tests because sometimes we get patients who might need a test even though they just got one down at the ED before they came here.  Timing is a thing.  Also if you happen to be a touch delusional or psychotic or maybe all of the above, or even maybe just kind of paranoid, you might just *think* you could be preggo even if it’s scientifically impossible due to your age/gender/lack of sexual activity/general hygiene level.  Although you’d be surprised how unconcerned a lot of folks can be about that last item.

So I’m on Amazon and I end up reading reviews on one of the many options and here it is for you to enjoy because you probably need a laugh.

PG test review


Saturday when you have a surprise


Sadly not the good kind of surprise, although not really bad either: when you are expecting a kid-free interlude, as you normally have every other weekend, and two days before you are informed that no, you will have kids.  If you are the sort of extroverted introvert that I am, this is not great news in that all the glorious alone time you were anticipating suddenly winks out of existence, but only a truly churlish and selfish person will do more than mourn for a few minutes and move on.  Like, you know, I’m trying to.

So far it’s been a pretty productive day overall.  I have done many laundries.  I have had the oil changed in the car.  I shall now travel to the musical instrument purveyor to have the youngest child’s rental trumpet inspected for some kind of mysterious malfunction.  I have put away some things and failed to put away other things and really, really come to grips with the several things that I need to spend tomorrow doing, such as swilling out the office.  The youngest child, by some miracle, has managed to actually make headway in the cleaning of her room.  (Pointing out that even her less-well-organized sister’s room is in better shape may have helped in this regard.)

Tomorrow I’ll be cleaning the office, and then researching a project that I held out in front of myself throughout the long, tedious slog through the master’s degree: the building of an astromech droid.  From scratch.  By me.  I’ll have to learn a few new skills: working with wood, styrene, electronic components.  But I am really looking forward to it, and now anyone wanting to know what I would like for any gifting holiday will get the same answer: “… uh, let me just send you a link to my wish list on GoogleDrive…”

In other news, the children are all doing well, the wife is trudging wearily through nurse practitioner school, and the chickens are laying eggs.  Well, one is molting and looks a fright, but everybody else is laying eggs.  And a little bird is hopping around on the back porch looking for bugs.

Also my back patio slider really needs a good cleaning.  Ugh.