Updates and Such

So. Update: I’m doing okay!

I still have to wait a bit until I can go to the gym, and I’ll probably have troubles with fatty foods for a while or forever but I suppose there are worst things that could have happened. The scars on my stomach are minimal, and I actually kind of like them. I’m toying with the idea of getting my bellybutton pierced as a distraction point from the scars, or just as an excuse to get that done before I’m too old. I’m probably already too old…

Due to some post-surgery-retail-therapy, I now have a bunch more clothes (I know, I know… Need to stop that!), and a tripod for my camera. It’s been suggested that I have an okay fashion sense, and if there’s something I like just as much as cooking it’s fashion. I’ve never had much money to get anything super design-y, but I can occasionally pull together an outfit. I follow a number of fashion blogs and have been toying with the idea of turning this into something of a fashion blog.

Ideally, I’d love to just use this space to write essays and such, but that would mean my life has to be interesting. And, currently, it kind of isn’t. Interesting things will surely pop up soon, but for now my clothing combos will have to do.

Below are some outfits I put together with some of those retail-therapy finds. The red outfit was taken as an experiment with my tripod, and the owl shirt was taken at a recent cookout.

Also, if for whatever reason you aren’t following my cooking blog, you probably should. I update it far more often and it is way more interesting. Also, Like it on Facebook and I’ll consider baking you some cookies 😉

 

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Adventures in Losing Your Gallbladder

I tend to update this thing when I have interesting things to say. Lately, there hasn’t been many interesting things happening. We lost the apartment, and I’m back on track saving my pennies in order to move to Los Angeles. Woo.

My attractive hospital outfit and IV'd hand.

However, this past weekend something remotely interesting and intensely painful happened to me. So I thought I’d share it with you all, since I have no filter for TMI apparently. Also because I’m repeating the story a lot to friends and family and it’s just easier to direct them to this URL.

Friday night I had a random stomach issue–this happens to me a lot, and I always assumed I was just allergic to dairy or gluten or something and just didn’t have the motivation to figure it out. Usually I just take a pepto bismol and put on a heating pad and the feeling passes fairly quickly. I texted my friends I had plans with and assured them that though I’d be late, I’d still be able to meet up for drinks. After the pain got so bad that I vomited, I decided I probably wasn’t going anywhere that night. But I fell asleep, and the next day the pain was still there but very dull.

I assumed that my allergies, which had been making me cough uncontrollably for the two weeks prior, had just pulled a muscle in my abdomen and that’s the pain I was feeling. I was also fine on Sunday.

Monday I woke up at 2am with even worse pain than I had on Friday. I ran to the bathroom three times to throw up, even after my stomach was empty. I called my doctor’s office and they said to get me to the ER.

I got to the ER at 6am, and was not seen until 10am. In between vomiting and screaming in pain I took time to appreciate the attractiveness of the hospital intern who administered my morphine and took my blood samples. He was a cutie. I was in no situation to flirt, with my face wedged firmly into a barf bag, but he was nice to look at. I told him it was cool he was a student and getting such hands-on experience with his future career–seriously that’s cool, right?

Once I finally saw the doctor, he sent me to get an ultrasound. I was hoping they’d show me the picture and describe what they were seeing, or print it out so I could take it home and upload it to Facebook and make everyone think I was pregnant as a fun post-medical-emergency-prank, but I was in too much pain to really push the matter. When I got back to my room the doctor told me that not only was my gallbladder chock full of stones–one of which was blocking the bile distribution and thus making me vomit–it was inflamed. So the whole thing had to come out.

This was helpful. My pain went from a 9 pre-surgery to a 5 post-surgery. It's at like a 3 or 4 now.

I didn’t get into surgery until midnight that night. That means I couldn’t eat or drink all day, and I kept fantasizing about apple juice. All I wanted more than anything in the world was a sip of apple juice. But sadly, I was denied. No liquids or foods before surgery. Ugh. Apparently it was a very busy Monday for the hospital. I asked if I could keep the gallstones so that I could make jewelry and put them on Etsy–as my dream is to someday be featured on Regretsy. The anesthesiologist got a chuckle out of that one. He actually tried to save my organ for me so I could take it home but the nurse put the kibosh on that one. Also gallstones are not sturdy enough for jewelry making and are the consistency of cookie crumbs.

Are you hungry yet?

The doctors assured me I’ll be bikini-ready in no time, since the scars will be hardly visible. They actually pulled the gallbladder out through my bellybutton. Sadly this means my stupid human trick of pulling my bellybutton inside out probably won’t work anymore, but it’s a small price to pay for not having a huge scar across my middle. I am grateful for that.

Anyway, the surgery went well, I didn’t get nervous until I was actually on the table and they started to prepare to put me under. When I woke up was the scariest thing, because I began to freak the hell out. I thought I couldn’t breathe. They showed me the screen that showed I was breathing perfectly fine, but since I still had the tube down my throat I thought I was suffocating and would not be calmed. “Ashley, you can cough, if you can cough it means you’re breathing”–this also did not help. They sedated me again, since I was unconsolable. When I woke up from THAT I could breathe just fine and I started crying because I was embarrassed that I’d freaked out so badly.

Later that night when I attempted to use the bathroom for the first time–NOTHING works after you get surgery apparently, it was the most frustrating thing–the nurse brought me apple juice. It was fantastic. Breakfast was chicken broth and it was the most delicious thing I’d ever eaten.

Chicken broth, grape juice, crackers, and Hawaiian Ice, breakfast of champions.

I was sent home at 7pm last night. I am on painkillers, and stuck in bed for the most part. I’m still in a moderate amount of pain, but nothing compared to what my gallbladder was doing to me on Monday. I’m out of work for the rest of the week, but should be back by next week. My plan for the next few days is to sleep a lot, try to walk around as much as I can, and slowly get back to eating real food.

You have no idea how much I’m craving french fries right now.

Thank you everyone for your love and support these past few days. I really appreciated all the calls, texts, emails, and Facebook comments. It’s nice to know I have so many people who care 🙂

I got a smoothie on the way home from the hospital. It was delicious.

My New Tattoo!

This tattoo is half a re-design of my mom’s tattoo and half a re-design of a random butterfly temporary tattoo I got in a machine when I was 12 that I loved too much to use. My artist friend combined the two into a design for me and after four years of carrying it around in my purse and looking at it every day it was finally time.

This gorgeous butterfly will live on my shoulder forevermore.

It was supposed to be my first tattoo, at age 21, but I didn’t get around to it and ended up getting my puzzle piece on my wrist first.

I have plans for at least three more but having gotten two tattoos in one year, I think I’ll wait a bit for the next 🙂

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Modeling in a bridal show for my friend's shop, a few days after I got the tattoo. It was in its peely stage but still beautiful 🙂

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Right after I got it. Note the blood spots.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here’s my Facebook status, it about sums up how I feel:

“I don’t think I’ve ever actually HATED Valentine’s Day. I’ve been lonely and sad, or disappointed, or a tad cynical at the utter fabrication of a corporate holiday, but I’ve never been like “ARGH! THIS DAY SUCKS!!” Usually I’m knee-deep in construction paper and glitter, making ten times the amount of cards I’ll ever get in return. I guess under all the red and pink and promises of chocolate, it’s just a little reminder to tell the people you care about that you’re thinking of them. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Whether you’re in love, longing for love, or wondering if it even exists at all, you deserve a hug today. And chocolate, lots of it. (HALF PRICE CANDY DAY TOMORROW OH GAWD AM I EXCITED!!)”

Yep. Sadly I didn’t have the time to make handmade cards this year, due to the play I’m in (Treasure Island) taking up ALL of my free time. I’m Anne Bonny, the famous lady pirate. I’m also Job O’Brien, a smaller role but I get to die a bloody death. It’s pretty neat. See picture below for me as Anne:

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But I tried to send out virtual messages the best I could.

Really wish I could celebrate at my favorite sushi restaurant tonight… alas, it is not to be.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Go hug those you love. Get excited to buy all sorts of delicious candy for half price tomorrow, and 75% off by the weekend, if there’s any good stuff left.

Oh and if you’re not busy the next two weekends… come see this show!

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A Week Without Makeup (Where I Complain About My Looks a Bit, Beware.)

Every so often I give my skin and hair a little bit of a break and put my usual daily beauty regimen on hold. I’m nearing the end of one of those such weeks and instead of some enlightening epiphany about society’s assumptions of beauty and a burst of self confidence and I DON’T NEED MAKEUP TO MAKE ME FEEL PRETTY… I’m actually looking forward to pulling out my makeup bag and flat iron again. I have visions of never letting them go, ever.

This week was determined by the fact that I was stress-acne-ing so badly that putting makeup on top of it just made the bumps more noticeable and gross, so my taking the week off so to speak was more forced than voluntary.

I think at least twice this week someone asked me if I was sick. True, it’s cold season, but still.

Un-tamed, my hair is a frizzy mess. I know I should accept my wild curls and find comfort in the fact that my limp-locked peers envy the body my hair has–but I just can’t. I don’t look GOOD when my hair is not done. I look unkempt, messy, and unprofessional. When straight-haired girls think of the curls they crave, it is not the ones on my head. Yes, some days I’m able to slather on enough hair product to find the perfect medium between dry frizz and slick grease and my curls are calmed into happy waves, but these days are few and far between. These are the days my friends remember when they tell me “you’re sooo lucky! I WISH I had your hair!” …nope, you wish you had my hair during the 3% of the time it’s tolerable. You don’t want it the way it is.

Without at least some foundation, my skin is splotchy and pale. Pale works for some people–I’ve even found myself envying a Snow White-esque friend of mine for how flawlessly ivory her skin looks. However, to my freckle-spotted face that turns red at the smallest sign of ANYTHING, pale just accentuates the issues I have. I much prefer my skin in the summer, when it has a bit of color to even out the harsh brown of the freckles, and I do find myself wearing less makeup during the warm months, but for winter, I need my makeup.

Not going to get into my various issues with my body itself, except that, as a friend so nicely pointed out to me last night I could “stand to lose a few pounds.” heh. Aside from her, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who sees myself as anything but “slender yet curvy” except I remember when I was even more slender (despite longing for more curve) and I wish to return somewhat to those days. Moving on.

Basically, I know my “break from the makeup” weeks are good for my skin and my hair–they deserve it for the torment I put them through–but I accepted long ago that I’ll just never be one of those people who accepts their appearance at, ahem, face value. I’ll always need my makeup bag and my flat iron and you know what? I’m pretty sure that’s okay.

Confidence is the most attractive thing you can have. And if a few magic potions in the form of eyeliner and foundation and hair products can help me obtain that, then that’s what I’m going to do.

 

Entirely unsure where I was going with this. But yeah…

Yep It’s Another List

I promise I’ll make a real, cohesive post sometime in the near future. Until then, you’ll have to deal with the lists.

-A word to the wise: check and double-check your bank account number when filing your tax return online. Thanks to my butterfingers adding an extra number to my account, I now have to wait an additional three weeks to get my return. I hate when I plan on having money and then I don’t end up actually having it… arg.

-I am inspired by my blog idols Andie (Can You Stay for Dinner) and Alida (The Frenemy) who now have book deals from their blogs, to try and write more. By “inspired” I mean “endlessly jealous.” I’ve found that a good stepping stone to getting your name out there is to write a column for a local newspaper. What the hell would I write a column about, you ask? Being 20-something and in a Quarter Life Crisis (clearly my new favorite term) in the lovely Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts of course! We have the five colleges in the Amherst area and a handful of others in the general vicinity, and a good number of students tend to stick around the area. That means lots of little young professionals like me feeling lost and confused. No idea how to even go about marketing myself as a columnist, but I figure writing some sample columns and query letters to the local papers is a start. Will let you know how that goes.

-I get my second tattoo this coming Saturday. I am endlessly excited. It’s a design I’ve been carrying around in my purse for about four years now, and soon it will be on my back forevermore. It’s a redesign of the butterfly my mom has on her leg, and I’ll be getting it on my shoulder blade. My lovely artist friend designed it for me, and I love it. I suck at pain though, so I’m mostly excited with a dash of crippling fear…

-My search for a new gym is coming up empty. My motivation to exercise on my own is none. Oy.

-I’m more and more convinced the teenager-esque breakout on my face is a bad reaction to the communal makeup I used during my play two weekends ago. I’ve decided for the next few days I will give both my face and my hair a break and do absolutely nothing to either. So if you see a crazy-haired freckle-faced troll wandering the streets of Western Massachusetts it’s likely you’re seeing me in my natural state sans makeup and flatiron. 

-Next week is already tech week for the next play I’m in, Treasure Island. Very excited to be a swashbuckling pirate in this play. I am really loving this theater group and I hope I can do more shows with them in the future.

That’s all for now, folks. Tune in next time when maybe I can organize my thoughts enough for a decent blog post.

Things I Think to Share With You On My Lunch Break

I use the list form when I’m too lazy to work everything into one cohesive storyline. And this post is only because I’m bored on my lunch break and figured I needed a bit of an update over here. So here are some things I’m thinking of.

-I’ve been missing Europe a lot lately. I need to get back. I also need a travel partner… Wanderlust has got its claws in me deep and if I don’t go somewhere new in the next few months or so I’m going to start crawling out of my skin… Places I’d like to go to include: LA (again), Paris (again), London (again), Venice (never been), Singapore (never been), China (one of those all inclusive tour things, also never been), Vegas (again), San Francisco (never been).

-I GOT AN APARTMENT!!! …well, kinda. My roommate and I found a decently priced apartment in one of the complexes that is all-inclusive, allows pets, is only a 15 minute drive to either of our jobs, and has a pool. That’s enough checks off my list, methinks. However, we haven’t been able to actually SEE the apartment yet, since people are still living in it. We’ve seen a sample apartment and our friend lives on site and showed us her apartment and it impressed us a lot. So, when the current tenants move out March 1st, we can view the actual space. Until then, we have a deposit on it. REJOICE.

-Not sure if I should start furniture/apartment shopping NOW or wait until we have the place. Either I have more time to look but potentially don’t have a place if the apartment itself ends up being crap, or I have very little time if we wait until March. Hmm…

-The play went well, and I’m getting more and more excited for the next one coming up. Treasure Island = Pirates. It’s going to be fun 🙂

-My gym closed. So now I’m looking for a new one, yet again. Helloooo again, bubble butt, what’s up?

-I should be getting my tax refund any day now and it’s making me antsy that it’s supposedly been deposited, yet there is no extra money in my account. Though it’s a small refund, I already have it all figured out. 3/5ths is going into savings (how long it will actually STAY there is anyone’s guess), 1/5th will go to my credit card payment, and the last 5th will be combined with a gift card I have for a little shopping spree. There are some boots I got my eye on…

-Somehow I’m having an epic acne breakout circa 2003. Oy vey. Thankfully I’ve never been much of a pizza face, but when I do break out it’s big gross red welts. It’s lovely. I feel quite pretty indeed.

-Since my accident in December (falling down the stairs and busting my ankle, leaving me immobile for a few days and limping for more), I haven’t been wearing heels much. As a fairly short person who wishes to be tall, I usually wear heels almost daily. But for sake of my continued desire to walk normally, I have been mostly confined to wearing my Uggs and various flat shoes I own. Today, I decided to pull out the ankle boots. The result? I apparently have forgotten how to walk in heels. I feel like a drunk baby Bambi taking his first steps.

-I am seriously addicted to Showtime’s Shameless. I don’t even remember where I heard about it, but I started watching the first season three nights ago and am already almost done with it. It’s just such a perfect ensemble drama, with just the right amount of comedy. I am completely floored at how well William H. Macy and Joan Cusak play their characters!–though I do suppose it IS easier to play weirdos than “normal” people, but still! And all of the kids in it are fantastic. I can’t decide if I want to write for this show or BE IN IT (I usually have one of those two reactions when watching a show I love). I know, I know, it’s a remake of a British one, but still! And I fully intend on watching the British one when I’m done with this, promise.

-I’ve been feeling really nostalgic lately. There’s a lot of people I miss from my past I guess. Trying not to let it get to me, and I’m not entirely sure why I’m suddenly feeling sad about it when I’ve been pretty good lately. Facebook maybe? Sure, let’s blame Facebook. I should just get over my phone fear and make some phone calls and lunch dates. Or something. Or once I move into my new apartment offer old friends free dinner if they come over for catching up. I do have quite a lot of recipes to try out…

Baked mac and cheese with the ritz cracker crust and three layer peanutbutter brownies for you if you visit me, promise.