Friday, January 28, 2011

Be gentle, it's my first time

When I do something, I do it hardcore.

I got it in my head that I was going to finally do my first blood donation in honor of someone that might have cancer and finds out next week. When a close friend heard us, he got us scheduled right away for a drive today. Ahh shit.

I was scared and against this for a while, even though I only had a week of warning. So I started prepping right away. I started drinking more water. I researched iron-rich foods like it was my motherfucking JOB. I decided to take a few days off from being vegetarian and learn to cook a steak. I ate half a pound of raisins in a day. Which mostly made me fart a lot. I ate a shitload of almonds and drank buckets of water. I ate so much red meat in the last 48 hours. See, the problem is, this ended up being period week (hello, internet). I've never been diagnosed as anemic during that time, but I wasn't about to take the chance. So I started an "Iron Woman" campaign to get my hemoglobin rockin'.

The appointment was at 1:45 today. I worked all morning until 1, and then Paul took me out so he could support me through my first donation. I did feel much safer having him there. I brought a million things to distract me, as if there was some way in hell I could knit a scarf during this. So we got out to the movie theater it was being held at, and oh shit, it was on.

My time came, and I was pumped. I got to answer all these weird questions about my history with drugs, people that use drugs, time spent as a prostitute, if I’ve ever had diseases I’ve never heard of (obeiosis? The fuck is that?), or if I’ve ever slept with someone from Africa. I passed, surprisingly. Then came the finger prick. Which was totally the worst part. Couldn’t look. So now I wait and see if my iron-loading was successful.

2 full points over the cutoff. I fucking win.

Of course, then it sets in, I’m really doing this.

The nice, fairly attractive young guy who did my preliminary stuff gets me set up for my donation. I was turned away when he was drawing the dot on my arm, because I’m an idiot and thought that was the needle. I was also a little concerned by the massive swath of skin he disinfected, wondering how much of a target he needed (I know, gotta make sure nothing can get in). So he warned me not to look while he put the needle in, and before I knew it, it was in!

I did so great. I played checkers on my phone the whole time. Then he said I was already halfway there, and of course, that’s when I started getting lightheaded. But he just put my feet up a little and I came right back. I was NOT going to pass out. And before long, I was done! I think maybe 7 minutes, max. Paul was taking pics of me and sending them to me the whole time. I was listening to all the nurses tease each other. I had to sit for a little while, and then I was approved to go sit in the cookie and juice section. I was feeling a little hot and blurry, so I just held the cold can until I felt better, and then I was great, scarfed down two cans of juice and some Oreos, and played Bejeweled on my phone to kill time. I felt great! Not tired, not dizzy, great!

I took myself out to a huge late lunch to celebrate, as the best way to up one's fluids is with a milkshake full of chocolate cake and cherries. I'm so proud of myself. I'm going to do it as soon as I can again.

For anyone interested, I’ve linked pics of the experience. Fair warning, I do look dead in one pic because I have no makeup on, it was the end of the donation, and I was still coming back from the lightheadedness. But I wanted to get a pic of the bag of blood, because I’m a grim bitch, so Paul snuck it for me. Thought anyone who’s thinking about their first donation might be interested in seeing some of the process.

Me in the chair - no blood content
My arm with the tube taking the last of the donation - blood content
At the very end - bag of blood and corpsey looking jenna content

Monday, January 10, 2011

Who the hell gets a cold without leaving the house?

But you know what's good for a cold?

Raw honey.

I think I've been set up.

I started sneezing and having a really stuffy nose last night while a friend was over. I thought it was a pretty inconvenient time for my perpetual sniffles to come on. And then today it's definitely a cold. HONESTLY. Two days back in the shelter and my immune system freaks out. So I did nothing today, although to be fair I would have done nothing either way, and watched the mound of tissues on the floor slowly build up. My tea cup now permanently tastes of the honey that I keep adding to it. Which I've been eating straight out of the jar and enjoying its waxy goodness. Of course, with the shape of that bottle and the fact that it's completely solid, it's sort of impossible to use. I couldn't spread it on my toast, so I had to put chunks of it all over the bread and then microwave it into submission. Perhaps then making it into regular honey. Still good, though. I suppose eating honey straight out of the jar as a snack means I'm turning into Pooh Bear. I'm okay with that.

I get to work at Frannie Peabody again on Wednesday. Then I paid-work at the restaurant. I get to go out to Indian food on Thursday. Maybe Friday I'll get to knit with friends, although it looks like I could be used at the shelter for my first full overnight. That might be nice - I like the two regular staff that are on Friday overnights. I'm planning a cupcake party for the 22nd, with a pre-party for 2 friends that want to bake with me. Things are going very nicely for me. So I earn a lot less money for a month. It's time to just be happy for a while instead.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

What in the sweet hell am I going to do with a pound of honey?

I can be talked into anything (hello, fellas). As my friend Kate once described her shopping habits, "is that a sparkly bag of NOTHING? $50? I'll take 2!" This is the real reason I don't go shopping. It's not that I just don't feel a need. It's that I know I'll just buy a sparkly bag of nothing.

And is there anything more awesome than grocery shopping? I live alone, and I'm rarely home, but I have the kitchen of a professional chef trying to feed the Duggars. I will grocery shop like there's an apocalypse coming and I'm the only one that knows, so I better buy all the food now. Realizing this, I try to at least hold back on the fresh vegetables I'll probably never eat. I also have food rules, like "nothing goes in the crisper." The crisper drawer, while seemingly a good idea, is where food goes to die in my house. If I can't see it, I have no recollection that it was ever there. And that is when I learn science lessons like "lettuce, left to its own devices, can become a liquid."

I spent Summer and Fall working across the street from a farmer's market. Every Wednesday, I can go buy BERRIES! Oh, and you know what, why don't I get some lettuce. Maybe I'll try this squash. Oh, pears. Wow, you can grow hot peppers here? I should get some. Oh shit, they have the farmer's market on Monday now, too? And there's ANOTHER one down the street on Saturdays?!

So when I discovered the "winter farmer's market" was about to be starting, I knew I was fucked.

I debated dragging myself out of bed for this on Saturday, as 1), I am astoundingly lazy, and 2), I knew exactly how this was going to go down. But having not showered or changed my clothes in 3 days, I thought it might be nice to get out of the house. I still didn't shower or change my clothes, but at least we both got a chance to air out a bit.

The farmer's market had a lot of gourds and squash, mostly, and while that was tempting, I had to remind myself, I am never going to learn how to cook that. There was also a table with big jars of Dilly Beans for $5, so that was a given that they were coming home with me, but they also had a lot of honey. Some of it looked like honey. And some of it looked like a giant jar of beeswax. Hooray, wax! Because my life is a 4th grade field trip, I asked about why some honey looked different. Apparently that was "raw" honey. What the hell is raw honey, you ask? So did I. That's honey that's unpasteurized (that already sounds appealing and not dangerous) and unfiltered, so it looks thick because of the chunks of beeswax still in it.

Well sign me right up!

As I'm going back to my car, I'm excited, since I have dilly beans for the first time in a long time, and they come in a mason jar, so I can FINALLY join the hipster scene here and drink out of a mason jar. I still don't understand why the hell that's any better than a travel mug, but apparently I'm just so bourgeois with my cup that doesn't splash hot liquid all over me. And the honey comes in a pretty neat bottle too, and I have a friend whose wife melts bottles in her kiln (it looks awesome) so I bet she'd love it.

Of course, I still haven't solved the problem of what to do with a pound of unpasteurized beeswax. Apparently this is better for you, as all gross-looking things are. So, I'm going to chronicle what I've managed to do with this stuff, so watch for the tag "raw honey." I don't even really like honey, but, as stated, I will buy anything. Today's experiment was on French Toast. And it was fucking awesome. So, honey. I think this might work out just fine.

Other ideas:
  • I used to make this sandwich in college I saw on TV once, called "The Flying Elvis." Peanut butter, banana, and honey, warmed up and pressed flat in a panini grill. There's an alternate version where you spread peanut butter inside a hot dog bun, plop a banana in the bun, and drizzle honey over it, but you look like an idiot eating it.
  • I bought a new cupcake book, and want to make everything in it. Honey might make a good topper.
  • I realize honey can be used as a sweetener in baking. But I want to take this a little more hardcore first.
I should stop going to the farmer's market on an empty stomach.

Friday, January 07, 2011

It Hungers!

Let me begin this story with some scene-setting. I am 5'2", 117 pounds. I am not someone that you look at and think, I bet she can pack away the food. Today, however, I was Takeru Kobayashi.

We're pretty much the same person.

So, I'm not working at all this week. I've had the opportunity to do so, but I just said fuck it and decided to call my life "vacation" instead. Which means every day I hang out with friends and either go out to lunch or dinner. I've managed to spend more when I'm not working than when I am. I also had some grand plans for the week (visiting friends out of state, power levelling on WoW, finishing the godforsaken curtains) that never came to fruition, as I chose instead to be incapable of getting out of bed, reading there for a while, falling back asleep, and eventually getting up when I was too hungry or had to go to the bathroom too much to ignore. Then, it's time to move to the couch. For 6 hours. Where I experience such wonders as staring at Facebook, watching Intervention on Netflix, knitting and then frogging a sweater sleeve, and texting furiously to plan human interaction. Strangely, this has been amazingly satisfying. The sheer fact that I can do something before 9:30 pm, or have 15 minutes to walk to the bank (not that I actually did) is an amazing and liberating change.

Last night, while watching Big Fan on Netflix, I became consumed with needing Chinese food. I wasn't actually hungry, though, and it was like 8:30 pm. I opted to table the desire. But soon, it would be on.

I have to work 6-11 tonight, so getting people together for dinner was out. I could try for tomorrow. But fuck it. I want food now. So I walked up to Pom's Thai Taste, which is not Chinese food, but whatever.

It's always slightly nerve-inducing to eat alone at a restaurant, but it's more annoying to try to coerce a friend into finding a mutually agreeable time to go out to eat, coordinate where and when and how to get there, make conversation, and then go through the "oh, I only brought a card and you only brought a $50 bill" check splitting nonsense, when you just want to eat. And eat I did.

The first order of business was seaweed salad. Anytime I'm at any sort of vaguely Japanese restaurant, I must eat a seaweed salad. It's such a given that I don't really factor it into the final total or the amount of food I'll eat. I'm here, I'm eating a seaweed salad, these are the facts. Of course, there's also nothing more terrifying than an Asian restaurant menu, particularly if they have a sushi bar, because there are FOUR HUNDRED THINGS on the menu. And you don't want to stick to your comfort zone, what with the four hundred things and all, but you also need a week and a half to read through it all. And because I am the personification of an anxiety disorder, I can't make decisions. If someone suggests a restaurant I haven't been to, I have to sneakily get online and look for their menu. I don't even know why. I just have to. So at least the seaweed salad is a given. Now I just need to form a meal.

Okay. Sushi restaurant. I need sushi. Spicy crunchy tuna is always a given. But there's so much sushi here. I need to expand. I could try this. Or that. Or this. There's all these noodle dishes, too. And appetizers. I could skip the sushi. But I really want sushi. But 6 pieces of sushi and a seaweed salad isn't much of a lunch.

I know.

Seaweed salad.
"Godzilla roll," which, disappointingly, did not contain Godzilla.
Sesame noodle dish, with chicken and "shrimps."

In the words of Jay-Z, you are now tuned into the motherfuckin' greatest.

The waiter comes to take my order. I tell him I'll start with a seaweed salad, which at this point, Portland Asian restaurants should just start readying when they see me. And then I tell him I'll have the Godzilla roll. At which point he says very good and takes my menu away.


I wasn't done.

I start to wonder... perhaps this is enough food. This is lunchtime, after all. When normal people eat less. And I'm not dying of starvation. But I came here to gorge. And gorge I shall.

I caught the waiter's attention when he came around again and asked him for the sesame noodle. For here? Yes, for here. Because I'm about to go all Man Vs. Food on this place.

Usually, when you order a seaweed salad, it's the size of a coaster, just enough to get you started, not enough to be a legitimate appetizer on its own. Instead, I received a bucket of seaweed. This was when I began to suspect I may be in over my head. The waiter again asks if I want the noodles for here. In for a penny, in for a pound. Hell yes, for here.

My bucket of seaweed was excellent, and as an added bonus, very confusing to the old women sitting near me. "WHAT are you eating?" The ocean, bitches.

The Godzilla roll arrived soon after. And this is when I realized why my menu was taken away. All the sushi I've eaten lately is from grocery stores and each roll is the size of a quarter. Of course I can put away 6 of those in a minute. Any asshole can. But restaurant sushi is different. According to Pom's menu, the Godzilla roll is "White fish, and yellow tail roll (Seaweed outside), lightly Tempura style. Topped with crab stick salad and hot sauce." They don't mention the tiny orange balls. And that is for a reason. But the sushi is delicious. Oh holy crap. I chose wisely. But between all this sushi and seaweed, I could probably be comfortable and good. But there is still sesame noodle. YES FOR HERE. Bring it the fuck on.

At this point, my table is covered in plates and tiny dishes and sauces, to the point that there's no way I'm going to fit ROUND THREE on the table. I manage to condense down to one plate, only slightly covering myself in a variety of things from the ocean. I goddamn inhale the sushi. And I get to thinking. Tiny unidentified orange balls on top of my raw fish in an Asian restaurant. I am eating fish eggs. Strangely, this does not bother me, it merely enhances the experience. Hell yeah, I'm eating a fish egg. Why the hell not.

Sesame Noodle arrives. At this point, the staff is coming by to make bizarre comments like "you skip breakfast!" It is at this point that I begin to realize... I have terrified this restaurant with my gargantuan hunger. For I am a beast, a beast that demands the ocean be drained to satiate my mighty, mighty appetite. Yes, I could have stopped before this. But I demand to see things through to completion. And I shall complete this meal.

A woman arrives with a paper bag and a take out box. "I know you need this." Oh hell lady. Now it's a challenge. Now I have to eat all this, because I'm one of those assholes that when they're told they can't do something, must. And then I think about it rationally. I could stop. I could bring this to work tonight. I could have a nice dinner. There's a box already here for me. But oh my God, it's such a tiny box. How will I ever fit all these noodles in it? What the hell am I supposed to do with such a tiny box? And why would I crap out with such a tiny little amount of food left? Now the pressure's on. This tiny box is just here as a taunt.

I finally brought this afternoon to its inevitable conclusion and opted for "only a moderate amount of pain and a nice dinner" instead of "unspeakable pain to prove a point and leftover soup from 2 days ago for dinner." I left a $7 tip on a $25 check because of the terror I wrought upon the kitchen. She is but one tiny girl... but wants food for three people?! Alert the authorities; there is a monster afoot.

In the words of Ice Cube, today was a good day.