Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Summary of 2013

So, I keep a daily pen-and-paper journal, and I don't know if anyone will ever want to read all of that. I've summarized this last year mostly for my records, and you can read it if you like. Throughout the year I practiced organ, studied kanji on WaniKani, and tried to get exercise (usually with yoga or DDR). I helped my sister a little bit with her upcoming relationship-sim called Personal Space.

January: I had every intention to learn how to ski, but all my plans fell through, although we did go cross-country skiing. I watched the anime GOSICK. I visited Portland with Adam and enjoyed the Japanese garden, science museum, and Powell's.

February: We played lots of Ni no Kuni, helped Adam's sister build her computer, and played some board games (like The New Science and Pandemic). I felt sorry for myself for not getting pregnant. We visited Adam's friend and his family in Austin, TX, where we had some excellent BBQ and enjoyed the sunshine.

March: We got called as cub scout leaders in our ward. Adam gave me a blessing that said I needed to learn patience (re: having kids thing). I suffered from sinus pain and baked a lot. I hosted a party for some of my online friends, which was fun. My gallbladder pain started, so I spent the last half of the month on pain medication and watched lots of Downtown Abbey and played lots of videogames.

April: I had my gallbladder removed. During my recovery I watched Kino no Tabi and probably a lot of other TVWhen I made it back to church "everyone kept asking me how I was and I was tired and didn't want to deal with it" (my journal). I came to appreciate how easy it is to ask people about and assist with their physical health (versus asking people and helping with their emotional health). I really did love how much support I had from my ward and family after my operation. At the end of the month I found out that my uterus is normal.

I bought The Modernist Cookbook: Home Cooking for Adam's birthday, which has greatly influenced our culinary lives, including inciting us to buy a sous vide cooker. We had my grandparents and cousins over for a big dinner where we cooked sous vide steaks for everyone, which was a bit stressful but turned out well.

I got to play some multiplayer DS games with my sister-in-law, including Diamond Trust of London (I'd had the game for a while, but hadn't had a chance to play it with someone--it's cutthroat!). We rode the Heber Creeper on their "chocolate lover's" night--the chocolate was okay, and going with our friends and my in-laws was pretty fun too. Going up the Salt Lake's Japan festival was also fun. I decided not to write for a videogames site because it didn't pay very well.

May: I started taking walks with my neighbor and got to know her better. Adam bought a gas grill, which he loves. We had a cub scout BBQ where we let the kids dress their own burgers and pour their own soda, which might have been a mistake, but hopefully they learned a little about how much ketchup they like.

I bought some Icehouse pyramids and became fascinated with teaching myself games from reading the rules and how to write clear instructions for games. My breadmaker died and I became interested in sourdough bread starters and eventually managed to make my own. I decided to stop reading so many games blogs and stopped following Twitter for a while. We had various people over for BBQ, which was delicious. I visited a sinus doctor who said I should have sinus surgery, but I decided not to get surgery. I got tested for allergies too (I'm allergic to shellfish, but not other kinds of fish). I did some hiking with Koko, supposedly in search of wild mushrooms.

June: Adam went on a business trip, and I hiked Squaw peak while he was gone. I read an issue of Real Simple, which "has lovely pictures but it doesn't really explain how to do anything." I felt self-conscious about not working or being much help to people outside my house. I interviewed for a part-time job at the library, which included tests in spelling and shelving, which was a little more intense than I anticipated (I didn't get the job).

We looked at some houses in Provo, potentially to buy them, but I didn't really like how all of them seemed ginormous and had two kitchens, so we decided to buy land and build on it instead. We hosted a dinner for Adam's family for Father's Day. I bought a Bosch mixer to help with baking bread. I went to Colorado with my cousins for my other cousin's wedding, and it was fun to hang out with family. I started to play Animal Crossing because peer pressure. I visited my parents in California, which was fun, except my temporary crown fell out and I had to go to the hospital for an ulcer I had. But I treasure the memories of biking around the bay and eating Mom-cooked food.

July: I started taking ulcer medication, and my self-consciousness about my usefulness as a person continued: "I wish I could confidently and competently perform some valuable task for others." I had a root canal (part of the reason I got an ulcer was because I was taking a bit too much ibuprofen for my tooth pain). We went to Jackson, Wyoming for a vacation with Adam's family. I went horseback writing and whitewater rafting, and we played lots of fun games together. I got to see Belle & Sebastian live in Salt Lake. My extended family had a reunion at a lodge by Aspen grove, and Adam and I were in charge of food (although lots of relatives helped). It was a little overwhelming, because my extended family is pretty big, but I think no one got food poisoning or went hungry. I played Magic: The Gathering with cousins, as well as other games with other people.

August: Our church time changed to 11, which made attending church less miserable. I went to a weeklong organ workshop where I learned a fair bit about organ technique and playing, and also got motivated enough to take private lessons. Also I learned that Richard Elliot is the angel of the organ. We went to some friends' houses for dinner. I dealt with more stomach and tooth pain. We dogsat two dogs for a week, which was sometimes fun and sometimes a little overwhelming.

September: An EGD found that I didn't have an ulcer, so I decided it had healed and I would stop worrying about it. I made 100% rye sourdough, which was a disappointment. We went to SLC Comic Con, which was fun but also super crowded. We had a fertility consult with a doctor in Sandy (the other fertility center wasn't completely covered by our insurance). I edited some fiction for two people I know. I played some dating sim games on my Vita (research!).

October: I found out that I was pregnant, but I didn't want to get too excited yet. I was really tired most of the month, so I played lots of videogames like Pokemon and watched lots of TV. I built a lego haunted house for Halloween. We saw Richard Eliot play the Poulenc concerto up in Alpine, which was amazing. My dad visited for a weekend. I felt pretty (morning) sick on my birthday, so Adam did his best to make it fun. I stopped taking organ lessons. I craved sour things, like borsch and lemon bars.

November: I started taking Zofran for my nausea (along with unisom and vitamin B6), which helped me throw up less. I wrote, "I feel so discouraged when I read about my pregnant friends actually getting stuff done."  I ordered a cheese pizza one afternoon and ate it the rest of the week. I watched Adam play Skyward Sword. I read a bit of research on evidence-based birth practices and started doing some prenatal yoga. We announced my pregnancy to our families/friends, and lots of people were happy for us. I started watching lots of Bones.

December: I started listening to the Book of Mormon while doing jigsaw puzzles, and then Adam and I did some jigsaw puzzles. Adam likes to look at the box and pick up a piece to find exactly where it goes, whereas I like to find a piece that fits into a particular gap. I'm still pregnant, so I guess I should plan on having a baby next year? I've been researching things like breastfeeding and cloth diapering. We're looking forward to Christmas and spending time with Adam's family, and visiting my sister and my family afterwards.

Analysis: I've learned a bit about baking and cooking, and I kept practicing organ and studying kanji all year. My goal for my life right now is to have a healthy pregnancy and baby, as much as I can influence that. I've also been thinking about how I can get overly attached to my own opinions, and I'm trying to be less attached to my opinions (it's kind of hard). I should also probably try to be more social, although with getting pregnant I think my hermit tendencies have been amplified. I almost feel like I have no idea what my life will be like after I have a baby (assuming all goes well), so I don't want to disappoint myself into making goals I might not be able to reach. I'm pretty happy with my life the way it is now though.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Pregnancy becomes a way of life

I'm pregnant, starting my second trimester, and I feel like I am starting a new lifestyle (which I guess is true). It's a little like when I started wearing glasses or after we got a dog. I'm now a member of the people-who-have-been-pregnant club. At first I was really excited to be pregnant, and I relished my body's changes. Now I'm not as excited about it and it feels more like a semi-chronic condition that I have to work around.

None of my jeans fit anymore. In some ways I feel like "yay!" but I also feel like my own body image has to shift. I never felt like the ads revolving around being skinny affected me, probably because I was/kind of am skinny. I haven't even gained that much actual weight yet, but my uterus is ballooning up. When I was looking at sweat pants the other day I almost felt like explaining why I wasn't buying a small, and then I was like, seriously? Who gives a crap! I used to wear pants that were a bit too big because I liked baggy pants, but then I went through this "my clothes should fit me" phase but the downside is that I grew used to my body looking a certain way, and now that I know it's changing, I just have to get used to it again. I feel like I can't buy anything that fits anymore though, because I'm just going to grow out of it.

I'm still worried that I could miscarry again. I guess I feel like I'm trying to be a little detached so that just in case things don't work out, I won't be devastated. I do feel like I have put a significant amount of effort into this fetus though, even if it is in the form of extra hours of sleep, throwing up, and sitting around not feeling great. I don't want to buy any baby stuff too soon though, even though I'm probably most fit for putting a crib together now rather than later. If I miscarry, all that stuff I bought for the baby will just hang around reminding me of my loss (I haven't actually bought anything yet). I'm kind of excited for when the fetus is developed enough to hear though :-).

I don't want to end like this because I'm not actually feeling sad and body dysmorphic all day; it's just something I've been thinking about from time to time. I've been doing this prenatal yoga routine 3-5 times a week and I love it. I love the part where the narrator says "let your inner goddess shine." That's part of my religion too! There's also a Bollywood song where one of the lines is "I see my god in you." We're spirit children of our Heavenly Father and Mother, so I think seeing spiritual parents in another person is within LDS doctrine, and a good way to try to love others.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Sailor Moon's Theology

I recently finished reading the Sailor Moon manga. It's ridiculous magical girl stuff everywhere. I felt like the first ten volumes were TOO MUCH action and not enough character development (thank goodness for SuperS). But I did find the theology (lore?) of Sailor Moon to be really kind of interesting. Spoilers ahead!

Tenets of Sailor Moon lore:
-Sailor Moon is the savior of the world in an epic struggle against evil
-She and Tuxedo Mask are like... the protectors of our universe?
-Evil/chaos must exist if good exists, like light existing means darkness exists
-Every planet has a guardian who has a special sailor scout crystal (is she always a woman?)
-Everyone has crystals that are like their souls, which exist outside the physical body

Okay, I'm not sure where I was going with this. I think the part I liked about Sailor Moon was that she learned how to become a semi-divine being, and that in the end she had to do it not just out of love for her friends, but a love of peace.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Japanese Ghost Stories

I know you are wondering what other media you can consume to prepare for Halloween. If you want some short and scary cartoons, try Yamishibai. Some of them I didn't think were scary at first, and then I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about them. But I think the scariest to watch was "Hair," because it was about a little thing that went wrong with something completely normal. Let me know if you watch/like them!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Halloween movie suggestion: ParaNorman

I'm excited that it's October! I think one of the reasons I like Halloween is because it's a holiday centered around the supernatural, so it's a good excuse to read horrifying fairy tales and watch movies about ghosts. Today I watched ParaNorman, which is a really cute claymation movie about a boy who can see ghosts. I liked the art style, which gave characters unique silhouettes (something anime struggles with), wardrobes, and speaking styles. The attention to detail was awesome, from the ambient TV lighting to the bully's bowl cut. There were a lot of moments where I thought "kids would love this!" but enough spots where I found it amusing that I wasn't bored. I was happy that many of the characters who seemed like stereotypical teenagers had a little more depth. In short, I recommend it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The pain of worry

I'm pretty sure I had an ulcer a few months ago. It was waking me up at night, and at once point I vomited up some blood. I went on a bunch of acid-reducing medication and swore to never take ibuprofen without proper precautions. The pain was persistent so I had an EGD (scope down the throat) last week. The results were that everything looked perfectly normal. This has happened before, so I wasn't too surprised, but I was pretty annoyed at... my body? my perception of pain?

So I bought a book on IBS and functional dyspepsia (basically having GI pain with no discernible medical reason). The book's advice was to become a "non-patient" and accept some level of pain as normal, and maybe try some other things that studies have shown help (like yoga, cardio workouts, finding trigger foods, etc.). I stopped taking all my stomach medication and decided to just forget about it, and to try not to go to the doctor for every little thing, which is hard, because there have been times were I didn't go to the doctor and it made my health much worse.

I wanted to write about it though, because while it's humiliating, annoying, and frustrating to have unexplained pain, it's also really common! So if you ever need to talk to someone about it, I'll hear you.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

in which I tell you my health plans, because I know it is so interesting

I know you are all intensely interested in my health problems! Which is why I am telling you that I don't plan to get sinus surgery right now. I saw an allergist and he suggested that I try addressing my allergies first, which I am a fan of because it doesn't involve cutting my face up and ruining my summer. So, I'm taking some oral steroids now to see if that can help the sinus swelling. If it keeps being a problem I can do the allergy shot thing (yeah, it takes like two years... but almost cures allergies!), and after that if it is still a big issue, look at surgery. I'm kind of tired of delaying my fertility treatment though, so I'd like to start my IUI next cycle (I had to stop this time because I didn't want to get pregnant and then decide I wanted surgery). Here's hoping that I can get the swelling down and keep it down and not have to do crazy things.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Redwood mushrooms

Last year while I was visiting my family for Christmas we went hiking around Muir woods, a redwood forest. I took pictures of a lot of mushrooms because I think they look cool. It had rained almost the whole day the day before, so there were tons of them everywhere! 

Now that I'm getting more into mushroom identification, I wish I could have spent more time examining these mushrooms. Most little brown mushrooms (LBMs) are difficult to tell apart and not really worth trying to identify, at least for a novice. Here's some photos.

little brown mushrooms

whatever this is, it looked like melted cheese

maybe a brown cap

shelflike fungi on trees are usually Polyphores, which decay wood

perhaps some sort of puffball

Monday, April 29, 2013

if energy is a tank that we can fill and empty, then these are the ways I can manipulate it

The other day at Costco I saw a yoga workout DVD and I was like "this actually looks kind of good!" and then I asked Adam to talk me out of it, because um, impulse buy. He was like "how long is the workout?" and then "okay, if you use it for an hour then it'll be worth it." So in order to follow up on that I did one of the "workouts." I like to think of it more as stretching and relaxing because workout sounds so exhausting. There was a guided relaxation at the end and it helped me feel so energized! Then I was reading this post about things that make us feel drained vs. things that energize us, and I thought it would be good for me to think about it (drains aren't necessarily bad or anything, they just need some balance).

Things that drain my energy:
-reading Twitter drama is actually kind of stressful, even though I find it highly entertaining sometimes
-thinking about chores I have to do and not doing them or making a plan to do them
-when I feel like everyone on Facebook is doing fun things except me (my theory is that many people just post when they are doing something awesome, so you are comparing your normal life to many people's most awesome moments of the day/month/year, which duh, isn't going to be as awesome).
-doing kanji reviews and failing a lot of them
-not knowing what to cook
-thinking about having to drive somewhere (I know this is pathetic)
-worrying about what other people think about how I don't care what they think (some obvious problems there)
-cub scouts

Things that energize me:
-Doing yoga in the morning, I guess?
-dance parties with myself (need more of this in my life)
-going outside
-sleeping (duh)
-playing certain games for under an hour can get my adrenaline going, but it's like, stressful at the same time? and most of the time I play games it's more to zone out because I'm tired.
-meditating and taking some time in the day to identify thoughts that drain me (above) and then self-talking myself into not spazing about things
-learning fun facts/studying something, marked by some sort of accomplishment like finishing a book
-actually organizing things and tidying makes me feel productive, but most of the time I don't like doing it U_U
-planning to do something and then doing it! Nothing like good plans. This includes making a planned dinner, going on planned errands, or writing a blog post. Maybe I'm getting "feeling good about myself" confused with "energized"? Oh well, I'm just brainstorming here.
-feeling happy for someone on Facebook, or feeling validated when I read about how I have Mormon feminist friends

So yeah, I should plan more and worry less and Twitter less, and hang out with people who think exactly the same as I do! >_> well, some of that might happen.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

It's Infertility Awareness Week

And you should have the opportunity to read more about it so you can be an educated and sensitive person!

I finally started seeing a fertility specialist so I have a lot of great hormone pills and procedures to go through starting next month (we're going to try IUI!). I probably will get my hopes up and not get pregnant right away, and I might not want to talk about it either, but if I act weirdly I will have a good excuse.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sympathy for dieters

As I've mentioned I've been having terrible gallbladder pain. I'm having the darn thing removed tomorrow. To alleviate the pain I've been eating fat-free meals, which has given me a lot of sympathy for people who are trying to diet or who eat diary- or gluten-free.

The first night all I wanted to eat was sugar butter. I craved everything fatty, from bacon to chocolate to sweet rolls. Afterwards my cravings weren't as strong, since most fats made me nauseous. But yesterday I had some olive oil and vinegar with bread and I felt like my life was complete again.

Over the past two weeks I've been amazed at how limited I felt by fat free. I went out to eat and was constantly worried about if the food would make me sick (thankfully, non-diary fat isn't as bad). We played games with friends and I brought my own snacks since I didn't want them to feel bad I couldn't eat their snacks. I don't really want to subject everyone to a nonfat diet, but I found it interesting how the difference in what I ate made me feel separate and a little lonely. I hadn't realized how much eating the same things makes me feel at home with other people.

So, I guess I'm writing this here so I can remember what it's like to be on a diet of sorts and how, unless your body makes you miserable for eating certain foods, it's really hard to resist the cravings. Also, I wanted to list some fat-free foods in case other people have to go through this:

  • dried fruit (apples, apricots, and figs were my favorites).
  • fresh fruit
  • canned fruit (especially good on oatmeal)
  • oatmeal (made with water)
  • popcorn (with just salt)
  • fat-free bread
  • peeps
  • rice
  • fruit smoothies
  • raw vegetables are also fat-free but I never found a way to prepare them I found appealing and fat-free, besides pita sandwiches, which I admit I had with some hummus that had tahini oil in it. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

chronic pain is the worst

I have been sitting around rather uselessly for over a week because of abdominal pain around my gallbladder. I don't have gallstones, and I'm going in for some radioactiving tracing testing tomorrow. I may get to have my gallbladder removed.

I hate feeling like this. I'm constantly looking forward to the time I can take my next pain pill and trying to distract myself from the pain (which honestly isn't too bad when the meds are working). I'm crabby and ill-tempered. I'm missing out on things I was looking forward to. Small chores like unloading the dishwasher or folding a load of laundry are major accomplishments. Is this how old people feel? I hope it doesn't last much longer. Thanks for listening to my whining.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Longboarding tips from an amateur

1. Start out on flat roads until you can stay on your board. Then learn how to push with at least one foot. Pushing just means keeping one foot on the board and pushing off with the other one.

2. Experiment with pumping/slaloming. It's a way of gyrating your body to keep you and the longboard moving. This guy shows several different techniques and is kind of intense but you get the idea. Basically start trying to shift your weight around until you find that you're moving forward a bit longer. I think it actually works better on smaller boards, but it's something fun to try while you're still learning your balance and pushing.

3. Find a helmet before attempting to go downhill. Start out with the slightest of downhills, and try carving. Carving and pumping look similar; in both, the board is travelling in an S shape because you're shifting your weight around. However, carving is meant to slow you down. It usually covers a wider area laterally than pumping (see this video around minute 2 to see a good example). This is why it is a stupid idea to try to longboard down a sidewalk--it's not wide enough for you to properly slow yourself down by carving. Make sure you understand this principle before attempting to go down steeper hills.

4. After you've managed not to fall off on a slight incline, look for a steeper hill. Then start at the bottom of the hill. Basically, you want to be able to practice controlling the longboard at gradually higher and higher speeds. If you start at the top or middle of a steep hill, it's likely that you'll lose control of your board.

5. If you need an emergency stop, jump off your board. You are more important than your board. If you are going very fast you will have to run to slow yourself down to a stop (after you jump off the board). Hopefully you can find a spot where a car won't destroy your board if you have to let it fly for several hundred feet.If you're keeping balanced on your board and your board starts fishtailing, slow it down by carving (and you might need to buy a better board or adjust your current one). I haven't learned to slide-stop yet but this is obviously a skill every longboarder should learn.

While I was writing this I found's guide, which I think is new. It's kind of hard to find how-to resources for longboarding because most people learn from other longboarders in person. I also found this article that explains why skateboarders hate longboarders. Basically, longboards are a poor substitute for bikes in urban traffic and make skateboarders look bad. For long distances, bikes are hard to beat. But biking on roads isn't as thrilling as longboarding down a hill. And just cruising on a longboard is fine, I think, as long as riders can stop themselves.

Do you have any other good longboarding tips? I was experimenting with going down a steeper hill today and it was thrilling. I didn't fall, but I had a few close calls (and don't worry Mom, I was wearing knee pads).

Monday, January 21, 2013

In which I visit Portland

In Portland they have bike roads. With signage.
Japanese gardens
It was overcast most of the time. My feet got cold.
Zen garden from a distance
Just a little flavor of Portland culture (last line)
in California, most of the Native American art is woven baskets, which I feel pretty meh about . This Native American art is easier for me to relate to. 
Nocturne by Richard Huntington Davis (1955)
We went x-country skiing today... actually pretty fun and not too hard to learn!