Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bomb Pop

This morning I set off the bug bomb (aka "fogger") in my bedroom!  I'm so nervous and excited.  I hope when I get home that it didn't ruin any of my possessions and that I can feel like I'm actively taking action against my enemy.  Even if he's already dead, as he's been pretty quiet for awhile.  We will prevail!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This Does Not Bode Well

AND IN OTHER NEWS, yesterday I lost one of my favorite earrings AND the bracelet that Hike gave me for Christmas broke at one of the hinges.

(Note that's flipped on its side/underside, so not the pretty view.)  Can anybody recommend a good jewelry repair place, possibly in midtown? He bought it at Macy's on Long Island at the Roosevelt Field mall, and I called to see if there was any warranty business, but they were iffy. They suggested we bring it in with the receipt and they could maybe exchange it if they still have a similar one, but since it's not fine jewely (la ti da) and outside of the 30-day return window, we'd have to see. So I guess the first step is him trying to locate the receipt (it doesn't bode well) and then if not, I'll get it repaired, if that's even possible. If they have to just re-attach a clasp and I'd lose those two stones, that would work and still fit. But I'm sad! He's sad too, actually. Maybe I shouldn't have worn it everyday but I liked it! And I told him that this was why I can't have nice things, and he smiled and said he'd keep that in mind. Oops.


So I had my dermatologist appointment this morning, and there were highs & lows. 

First, as I don't have any insane bite reactions at the moment (knock on wood), I showed pictures of the last two and I showed the healing ones on my right wrist.  She said they looked like spider bites, and that I should call an exterminator.  I said we'd had one come by in early May, and she just sort of shrugged.  She did verify that they didn't look like bed bug bites, but other than that, she just prescribed some stronger topical cream for if I get another one.

Secondly, she looked at my body for moles/freckles, and said everything looked fine but that I should wear sunscreen in my moisturizer as I'm freckling a lot on my face, and I should also wear sunscreen when I wear tank tops, as my shoulders and upper back have a lot of freckles.  Now, I think they're cute, but fine.

And thirdly, we talked about my acne, which as you know, has been a constant struggle.  I'm off the Proactiv and using Dermalogica's MediBac line, which somehow feels more adult, but I still have a few zits.  She prescribed an oral medication that will give me more of an ingredient that's already in my Yasmin (I forget what it's called) and that I need to help control my hormonal breakouts.  She also gave me samples and a prescription for a topical acne cream, so I'll give it all a shot.  It'd be nice to have pretty skin!

I did like her, and she wants to see me in 6 weeks to check on the acne, though I'm not too eager to pay another $50 co-pay (my insurance sucks), but I feel like an adult now that I have a dermatologist.  You know how I love doctors.  (Maybe I can justify the co-pay since I won't be going to the gyno twice a year now?)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Smahty Pants

One of the best decisions I've ever made was to keep a pair of tweezers in my purse.  I don't know about you ladies, and I also don't know my ethnic origins (so I can't blame it on genes, dammit), but I get some random dark hairs in some decidedly unfeminine places (oh hello, goatee) and instead of trying unsucessfully to use my thumbnails to pull the occasional one out, I now can just take care of it immediately.  At my desk, of course, but sowhatwhocares?

Anyway, yes, the joys of womanhood.  But seriously, the joys of good planning!

Want another one?  If you're one of those suckers who buys that "Bikini Zone"-type shave gel for underarms or bikini-line shaving, as I used to be, just stop.  Buy a $.99 bottle of VO5 or Suave hair conditioner and use that instead.  It's miraculous and really helps with razor burn.  (Granted, nothing I do helps that 2nd/3rd day bikini-line stubble issue, so please share if you've figured that one out. Cheaply, that is.)

Keep granola bars in your purse, too.  Otherwise you'll get so hungry you'll end up eating mounds of food when some is finally available.

Use Mederma on acne scars.

If you're eyes don't stop making "sleep" crumbs until about an hour after you wake up, wait to put on eyeliner until you get to work.

Mom taught me to wrap rings that were too small with thread (underneath the finger) to make them fit.  They used to do this with their boyfriends' class rings, but now I have some that I love and lost too much weight to wear, so black thread ahoy!  Keep it smooth (literally) by putting some clear nail polish on top.

In the winter, use saline nasal spray.  I'm afraid of Neti pots, but the regular drug store saline spray keeps me cold & flu free all season -- for at least three years now.  Seriously.

For some aromatherapy (or bug prevention, like me), you can buy some natural oils and dilute them in a small spray bottle with water and a dash of dishwashing soap, shake it all up, and spray around your bed before sleep.  I've been relaxing with lavendar & citronella (a high note and a middle note, for those who know fragrance), and while it may be doing jack shit about the bugs, I feel like I'm doing something plus it smells lovely (even with the citronella!)

On my dresser, my picture frames double as earring racks.  Granted, I can't always see those faces so clearly in the photos, but it keeps things organized.

Buy giant sale bottles of detergent and then one small one to keep refilling and carrying with you to the laundromat.  So much cheaper.

And I'll stop, but please feel free to share tips with me!  I love tips.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Something Black & Blue

First of all, I'd like to thank Kelly for her comment on my last post -- you really helped calm me down in the midst of a bed bug-panic attack!  And the more I think about it, the more I think you're right.  So I appreciate the chiming in!  And since according to history, the next bite explosion will happen today or tomorrow, I'm on the edge of my seat and also planning on continuing to wear long sleeves to bed as well as stick with the closed-window/AC plan.  I also have that dermatologist appointment on Wednesday, so I can discuss it with her and show her pictures, even if I have no new evidence (knock on wood.)

Weekends!  How were they?  Mine was a lot of fun but today I'm just wiped out.  Friday I found out at the last minute that Hike's high school friend (who now lives in Texas) was in town for the weekend, so we drove out to Huntington to meet up with a whole crew for a few beers.  I enjoyed the divey bar with the juke box and we even got in a game of pool, but man, I was so tired and would've rather spent the night at home.  (Of course I ended up having fun and getting a little buzzed, but it was not my ideal evening.)  Then Saturday we were up earlyish to get ready for our brief trip to the Poconos!

So his brother picks us up from my house, where we then drive back into Manhattan to pick up his brother's wife, since his brother decided he'd have to go back that way anyway?  It was all confusing and we ended up waiting for forever and I was grumpy about it, but we finally got on the road and then up to the Shawnee Resort, after a stop for lunch at Holy Guacamole, of course.  The wedding was romantic and we got drunk and silly and danced a lot (I may have taken a knee while trying to limbo?)  The place was nice, and the ceremony was outside on the banks of the river (but hot and buggy! don't worry, I used bug spray) and then the cocktail hour was on the veranda and the reception/dinner was in the ballroom, so it was cooler.  But we got sweaty dancing anyway!  And his friends are all so fun, and it's very comfortable now, so I had a great time.  I also loved the view of the river and the foothills beyond -- oh, nature.

Sunday morning we were up early and hungover after about 3 hours of sleep, and we get the hotel's all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet (biscuits and gravy! bacon!) and then hit the road back to the city.  Once we finally made it, Hike and I immediately put on PJs (at like 1 pm) and climbed into bed to watch movies and nap the rest of the afternoon.  It was a tough weekend, energy-wise.

Then last night I took sleeping pills since I was worried that after the napping I wouldn't fall asleep, and this morning I was a tired mess -- I still feel like I could fall asleep at any minute!  I had a ton of crazy dreams last night, too -- a big, long one was about a bed bug infestation and in my dream they looked different than they do in real life, and I had to go through the whole bagging of clothes and everything, and then I woke up and went to the bathroom and the rest of my dreams remembered that one, like I couldn't tell in the dream (or even this morning when I woke up) if it had really happened.  Ugh, my biggest fear.

Anyway, I'm exhausted but had a lovely time at the wedding, and am equal parts excited and totally money-worried about my own!  Happy almost-summer, friends!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jet Sweating

I bought my tickets to London/Scotland for Britch's wedding!  I leave on a Thursday night at 11 pm from JFK, land in London at 11 am, try to recover for the afternoon and then it's the Hen Party aka Bachelorette Party.  We're in London (all staying at Britch's apartment, maybe?) until Sunday, when we take the train to Glasgow and all stay in a hotel.  Monday we go to the castle and move into our lodges (as in, I'm staying in a lodge with my good high school friends who are now married) (in separate bedrooms) and then the wedding is Wednesday and on Friday morning I'll take a bus down to Edinburgh to catch my flight home (through Amsterdam), landing at JFK at about 7:20 EST.

Whew!  I'm much more excited now that I booked it (and that it was about $200 less than the price I'd been seeing.)  We were really disappointed that Hike couldn't join me, but now I'm seeing the silver lining there, too -- I would be more worried about his comfort when bunking 6 people in an apartment or while doing girl stuff (Hen Party, bridesmaid duties) and also I'd feel guilty making him miss the first week of grad school, since I know he'll be anxious about that.  So I think it's worked out rather well, and it'll be some great time to spend with my two best friends from the ol' high school days, and I'll try to look at it as my last great traveling alone adventure.  (I mean, I hope...) 

I also discovered that I already have shoes I can wear with my bmaid dress, so I'll save a bit there, and I'm just going to enjoy this trip and try not to stress about money so much.  I hate money and how I worry about it all the time.

So, in other news, remember all my optimism about the bites?  Well, yesterday two little red itchy bumps showed up on the back of my right wrist, and I honestly thought they might just be random mosquite bites, but now the insane itchiness and some swelling is making me think my nighttime vampire friend came back.  Maybe he couldn't get up my arm to the sweet stuff (due to my long sleeves) so he bit where he could?  I mean, they don't have those red streaks or anything, but the itching is really intense like before, so I'm not sure.  I am very upset that it happened again, in the once-a-week timeframe, too -- so I still haven't solved this mystery.  SO ANNOYING.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday the 13th: No New Blood

Wow, I had to go on Wikipedia to look at all the Friday movie titles for that joke, so I'm pretty sure NO ONE will get it.  I barely do.

So today marks eight months since my first date with Hike, and it's a sweet feeling.  Of course I'll be celebrating by having happy hour drinks with my Harpies, since I mean, we spent all weekend together already, but it's a nice milestone!

The weekend was nice and relaxing for the most part.  Friday night I went home, talked to Britch for a bit, hit the gym, then picked up around the house, made a yummy dinner (TJ's butternut squash triangioli with a squash/walnut/apple sauce I invented) and watched Netflix stuff until Hike was done with his all-boys steakhouse night and came home to me.  He was a bit tipsy after some martinis, and it was fun to see him like that since he only rarely drinks that much. 

Saturday we woke up and watched The Green Hornet with breakfast in bed, and then somehow the whole day moved quickly while we were being lazy, until we split up for two hours to get cleaned up.  Then he picked me up for a Bareburger dinner and to see The Hangover.  It was really funny!  I know everyone says it's no different than the first one, but who cares, it's still amusing.  We got into a stupid argument that started when he didn't put the armrest down to cuddle and I said something pointed and it just sort of went downhill from there.  It was stupid, but we talked about it later when we got home and it did enable us to have a very honest and good conversation about some sensitive issues.  Then we played our video game for awhile, then went to sleep. 

Of course in the morning, I woke up swinging, as he was up before me and decided to put on some UFC fight he'd DVRed and I woke up (unhappily) to that noise.  I threw a mini-fit because I just wanted more SLEEP, but whatever, it was fine after awhile.  Then we played more of our video game, then I napped while he watched the Mets, and then we headed out to try Five Guys' Burgers (yum!) and do a Trader Joe's run.  He'd never really shopped in one, and I was nervous (like when your friend meets your boyfriend, you know?) because I love it so much, and it was really crowded but he liked the food options (he's a health nut) and we got a good cartful of stuff.  It's fun since almost half of what I buy is for both of us anyway, so it was nice to have his opinion, too. 

And I was home at 6 for a night of settling in at home and watching A Bronx Tale (which was my homework assigment from my Italian Stallion).  I talked to my mom for awhile, too, and it was a very relaxing end to the weekend.

ALSO, my last two bites have shown up at the beginning of the past two weeks (first on Tuesday after Labor Day, the next last Monday) so my new theories are that I either got them at Hike's (after a 36-hour delay period) or they were on the little sweaters I wear to work that are all stored in the same drawer at home.  So I slept in long sleeves all weekend, I sprayed my natural oil sprays on the beds, and I didn't wear a little sweater today (though I brought one in case I got really cold.)  So far, no bite.  I HOPE HOPE HOPE we've cracked this case, friends.  If I can go another week without one, I'll start laying off the precautions one by one to try to determine the cause.  And no, that doctor's office never called me about setting up an appointment but my arm started clearing up really well with the Benedryl spray last week and is now totally fine, with just some residual discoloration.

Otherwise, I ate rather well this weekend (two burgers, I know, but one was bison, I didn't have fries with them and they were both topped with healthy things), I felt better about my body after going to the gym twice last week plus walking four miles to softball on Wednesday, and I feel good about my relationship and its future, if we could just stop this damn bickering.  Does everyone do this?  Help.

OHHH and I forgot the big news -- Hike heard on Friday that he was accepted into grad school for his MBA!  Just when I was bugging him to fill out the application for a safety school.  So that is good news for him and us and the future, but it'll be a tough four (?) years as far as time management, since he'll work full-time (at least for now) and have school two nights a week.  But I want to support him and make it easier for him, and I hope I can be patient.  This means we'll be able to better figure out how and when our relationship will grow over the next few years.  It also means he won't be able to come to Scotland with me for Britch's wedding, but I knew that was a possibility.  I'm disappointed in the short-term, but it's for the best.  And it'll be cheaper if only one of us is going, too -- only $2,000 instead of more.  So it's good news!  Also scary, but good, right?

Happy Sleepy Mondays, everyone.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Oh, Right, and I'm Clean

Oh, so I called for the results of my HIV test today, and the nice man who answered tried to help but then told me that no one but the doctor is allowed to tell me those results, and he was like "but this is true for negative results, too" and then later was like "she'll call you next week but let me just say, don't worry" so basically I love this man for his risky law-breaking behavior.  He made it clear that I can rest easy.  Why aren't more medical professionals able to talk me down so nicely?

Right, so all clear!  I wasn't really worried, but it's still good news!

Lady's Night

I actually have NO PLANS tonight, and while I tried (and failed) to connect with some grrlfriends that I haven't seen recently, I'm sort of happy it worked out this way.  It's been way too long since I've had a weekend-night-date with myself.  Hike has a boys' steakhouse dinner at Peter Luger's to (again) celebrate his brother's birthday with a different group of friends, so I'm planning on heading home, hitting the gym again (I went last night!) and then running some small errands on my block before showering and climbing into bed to watch True Blood Season 3 on my laptop.  Could there be a better home-alone plan?  I think not.  OH and I will make TJ's Butternut Squash Triangoli for dinner with a squash/herb sauce that I'll invent (and walnuts.)  PERFECT.

And then, if all goes according to plan, my prodigal boyfriend will return to me so that I don't have to sleep alone, since I think he might be a spider repellent.  (That or I'm getting bitten at his house...tbd.)

I'm very excited.  I've also been a bit neurotic with him lately, admittedly, so I probably could use some me time.

Right, and on the gym topic, I am really sick of feeling so heavy and guilty for gaining weight again, so mama needs to get back on some serious track with my exercise and diet.  It's going to be hard to eat out and make wise decisions, but I'm trying (and eating lots of fish. That is not a euphemism.)  But I have been off the smokes for a couple of weeks now again, and it's not so bad as long as I remember my lozenges.  And my broken-out chin is clearing up again.  I went back on the Proactiv out of desperation, and I'm using up what I have until it's gone, and then I'll use this Dermologica MediBac stuff that my last facialist recommended.  She also gave me samples, and it seemed to help right away, so I feel good about the switch.  Hopefully I will no longer need a product that is endorsed on MTV every morning for preteens.

So that is the status, folks.  Happy weekends!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Woman's Prerogative

Hike still wants me to see a doctor.  (Should I respond with the list I just made for you?)  So...I called a dermatologist and the office person on the phone (with a British accent! so authoritative!) said it sounded like I shouldn't wait for a normal calendar appointment (in July) so she took my number and they'll call when they get a cancellation.  While it's probably a waste of time, at least I can also get a skin scan, which I've never had.  That is the upside.

Eaten Alive

So I come to you with my most crazy-making problem this spring: ITCHY SKIN.  Mainly spider bites, I believe, though my skin seems to be reacting to any possible irritant so it's hard to tell. 
  1. Awhile ago (around Mother's Day) it started with two bites on my lower back about five inches apart, and one on my right thigh -- these got pretty big and welty and were very itchy, and the one on my leg had a purplish hue after a day or so, then they went away. 
  2. Then another couple of weeks later, my left forearm itched and I absentmindely scratched it, only to see three hives/welts come up with large red, swollen circles around them, so that my whole forearm was rather enflamed and very itchy/irritated.  I went to my doctor (my general practitioner) who was stumped, but determined it was definitely not bed bug bites (which was my greatest nightmare) but some sort of skin allergy.  She called it Contact Dermatitis and prescribed steroid cream for the itching.  She said if it didn't improve in a day or two that I should see a dermatologist.  Well, it improved slowly and I figured the cream fixed it, and I also took a break from wearing synthetic materials in case they bothered my skin.  This particular problem happened the morning after I shaved my forearm (which I've since stopped doing), applied self-tanner, and then wore a new, tight-sleeved cardigan with acrylic materials in it.
  3. Then last Thursday, June 2, a red irritated circle with a tail extending downward appeared on the underside of my right upper arm.  It itched like hell, and I used the steroid cream.  Finally after a day or two I could see the bite in the center, and I determined it was possibly a spider bite or a really bad reaction to an otherwise unknown bug bite.  It went away in about three days, and the cream helped a bit, as did taking Benedryl at night.  (Once that wears off, the itch wakes me up.)
  4. And again, this past Monday evening, I realize I have an itch on the same arm, but on the underside of my elbow.  I saw a small bump/bite with a red tail and put the steroid cream on it right away, which seemed to reduce the size of the welt and help the itching.  I thought I'd conquered it!  And then yesterday morning, it was big and red and angry and so, so itchy and irritating.  I still think spider bite, and I did some more internet research -- I saw a photo of a similar-looking bite and the guy said his red trail grew longer and was the poision going towards his blood stream.  His moved quickly so he went to the ER, and they stopped the spreading, but my "red trail" isn't growing or anything.  I used the steroid cream again all day yesterday and took Benedryl last night, then today consulted with Britch, my pre-med/biology expert, aka personal physician.  She advised me to use Benedryl cream (or spray) as it sounds like part of the red welting is my allergic reaction to the bite/venom, so something to help reduce itching plus stop allergens would be better.  I bought some around 11 this morning and it seems to feel a bit better, plus the main center of the bite isn't as red and angry-looking.  That said, there is a red halo forming around the outside (don't worry, this is not Lyme disease!) that I think is the irritation/infection dissipating, but my co-workers are all encouraging me to go to a dermatologist. 
Here is how it looked this morning:
    And here's how it looks now:
    Slightly better?
5.     And finally, the reasons to NOT seek medical attention are the following:
    1. According to my research, the danger would come when red streaks are spreading outward, which mine are not -- they've stayed at the same place since they first appeared.
    2. I don't currently have a dermatologist, so I would be attempting to be a new patient for one, and it's highly unlikely they could see me right away.
    3. My co-pay is $50 for a specialty appointment.
    4. Also according to my research, the doctor would only treat the symptoms, probably prescribing antiobiotics if an infection were possible, but what looks like an infection is more likely just the allergic reaction.  And if I take antibiotics, it will mess with my birth control. 
    5. I think things are improving, not getting worse, judging by the amount of discomfort/irritation, and if I have a minor infection, I think I can recover just fine.  I may have a slight fever, but it's hard to tell in this heat wave.  My forehead is only a little clammy.
If anyone has any knowledge or wisdom to share, please do so.  I'm also investigating ways to repel spiders while I sleep.  I read that they don't like natural oils, so I diluted some lavender and citronella oils in water and sprayed all around my bed last night, and I intend to keep doing so -- plus give the room another good vacuuming.  Otherwise, I'm at a loss, and these are highly disruptive bites.  Help, please.

Oh, and I am ruling out bed bugs.  Don't make me crazier, people.  The bites are spaced out in time and on my body, and they're huge reactions, and the bed is fully zipped up and we've investigated it for any evidence, finding none, plus my parents slept in my bed a few weeks ago, as has Hike, and nobody else has any issues.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm Getting Too Old for this Sh*t

Interlovers!  Hello!  How are we on this sunny Monday?  I hear it's gorgeous outside...and it seems that way from my window.  (I don't go outside, especially since I'm re-quitting smoking after a short relapse.)

Well, this was a weekend.  I mostly love sharing a social life with Hike, as we get to do all sorts of fun things and we're integrating our lives pretty well, but lately it's been very busy with his side of plans and I need a rest.  Yes, I like resting more than the average 29-year-old, but so what, who cares?  Anyway, here's what happened.

Friday I had a lady-doc appointment at 1 pm in Astoria, so after waiting for 90 minutes and then waiting another 30 for a blood test (I figured it was time to get tested for HIV.  So fun, right?  I have no reason to worry, but I don't remember the last time I was checked.  I like to be sure of these things.), I went home and immediately started in on the three large loads of laundry that had been waiting around for washing (all the sheets and towels from the parental visit plus my stuff), and then fixed the broken medicine cabinet (which had collapsed on Hike when he was peeing at 4 am last Wednesday, poor thing), did a half-manicure on myself, then got showered and dressed up to head into the city at 7:30 for Hike's brother's 30th birthday party.  We had a big crew of the boys' high school friends (many of whom I'd met before), and then after our butter-soaked dinner, we went to Hudson Terrace.  And guess what?  His sister-in-law had decided to commit to bottle service, since that's the only way they'd give us a reservation -- but she didn't tell any of the party guests.  Whatever, we made the most of it and drank a lot alot ALOT of vodka.  And shouted at each other since we could barely hear anything.  And Hike and I danced a bit, which was very fun.  It ended up being really enjoyable (especially dancing with the open-roof, so under the night sky!) but I don't remember getting home very well.  And Saturday was a day of puking and napping, of course.  I was so dead. 

So Saturday night I manage to get dressed again without falling over (barely) and we go to Hike's mom's and then out to dinner in Huntington with the whole crew (Franny, mom, bf, bro, sis-in-law, us) and the restaurant was LOVELY.  I felt better after eating something, too.  After dinner, we put in our appearance at his best friend's girlfriend's suprise birthday party at that restaurant's bar.  We nursed one drink each (it was an open bar that we sadly could not take advantage of) and then said our goodbye's, got some Ralph's Italian Ices, sat on a bench to eat them, and then headed back to his house to play some more of our video game and crash.

Sunday was up with an alarm so we could be all cleaned up in time to go back out to LI for a fancy brunch buffet with his bro and sis-in-law again and his father and stepmother and the sis-in-law's parents.  It was to celebrate the boys' birthdays, as both were recently, and we went back for plate after plate (raw bar! omelette station! cream puffs!)  Then it was back to Dad & step-mom's house for chatting and presents.  We got back to Astoria around 7 pm, worn out and sleepy.  (Plus I was half-teary all day as I'd started my period.) 

Anyway, lots of good family time, of course, but lots of diamond-ring comparing on Sunday and wedding-picture looking and talk of MONEY and man, I feel poor around these people, but I also feel pressure.  Like, I'm mostly fine that I want my whole wedding situation to be more affordable (so we can buy a house someday, of course), but these ladies make me feel pretty intimidated.  It's going to be tough, I think, to make everyone happy, but I shouldn't be worrying about that now.  Still, a day like that is psychically challenging.  Otherwise it was a nice weekend, and I had lots of silly fun with Hike throughout, but I'm looking forward to some more alone time and down time next weekend (before a wedding trip the following one.)

Tomorrow we're going to see Bridesmaids, too, and I can't wait!  Then Wednesday is softball (and it's supposed to be HOTTT) and Thursday he'll probably just come over for dinner, then phew, it's Friday again.

And tonight.  I finally have a chance to get a pedicure and wax and stuff, so it's time for that.  Of course I keep putting on weight from all this social eating, but when will I exercise?  No idea.  I have to figure out a better plan.

Wellll thanks for listening, pals.  Until next time.