Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Thanksgiving Contribution - Apples in a Blanket

I'm not up to doing a lot with Thanksgiving this year, but I've found a desert so easy even I can do it! I'm calling them Apples in a Blanket. I wasn't going off a recipe or anything so didn't use exact measurements but I used one apple (cut into 8 slices by an apple slicer), one thing of crescent rolls, one tablespoon of butter, about one tablespoon of brown sugar, and about half a tablespoon of cinnamon. 

Then I put it all in a microwave safe bowl and stuck it in the microwave for two minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so. The apples won't be in the oven long enough to cook so they need to get pretty soft first. I think next time I'll do three minutes because they were still a bit firm. 

Then I rolled out half the crescent rolls and spread the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon sauce on them. If you do all of them at the same time they'll be too gooey to roll up later. You can use a pastry brush if you want but I just used the back of my half tablespoon. 

Then stick an apple slice at the big end of each crescent roll.

Roll them up and then do the same thing to the other half of rolls.  Spread a little more of the sauce on the top of each one.

Cook them in the oven according to the crescent roll directions. I think mine were in the oven for 11 minutes. Give them a minute to cool and that's it, they're done! Easy peasy! 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone from me, Josh, Scotty, and Dobby!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Slowly Making Progress (Hopefully)

Before I get started with the updates I just wanted to let everyone know that Kohls has a coupon code (BLACKFRI) for 15% the already discounted Black Friday prices. I was able to get $213.63 worth of stuff for only $76.74! The coupon code saved me an additional $12.72. So if you plan on shopping there don't forget to use it yourself!

At some point since I posted last about the disability decision I went to see Dr. E. She gave me an exam and an internal ultrasound. I have some of the small cysts PCOS gets it's name from but no big ones that need to be dealt with. We talked about Lupron and she said it's supposed to be more like the surgery than the other treatments we've tried. I only need to take it 6 months and then I could have relief for up to five years. Of course we don't expect I'll be in that lucky group, but we won't know till we try it how long it will last or if it helps at all. I've been looking up stories online and it seems some people have it come back in less than a year. Plus AF comes back after the 6 months and I figure I'll still have pain from that even if the everyday pain is gone. I know after my lap I still had severe period pain.

During the six months I'll basically be in menopause with all the symptoms associated. I am not looking forward to that at all. The last few months on Clomid were terrible and I'm expecting this to be even worse. For the first few weeks the pain can worsen as well before it starts to get better. I'm feeling pretty miserable now so I don't even want to think about what that'll be like. Hopefully it will work and during the time I'm pain free we can do a donated embryo cycle and then just take everything out. Then even if the hysterectomy doesn't "cure" me I'll be in menopause anyway and doing Lupron again won't be as bad. If it doesn't work or the pain comes back too quickly I don't know what we'll do. We'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Of course there's still the problem with paying for it. While at the office I filled out some paperwork and they made copies of Josh's pay stubs and my disability denial to send with it. That should help prove that we can't just pay for it and we've tried to get help through other means first. They wanted me bring something saying we're ineligible for medicaid but I didn't have anything. Anyone without kids is ineligible in Florida so just saying that should be enough. They sent everything to the company but we really have no idea how long it will take to hear back. With it being the holiday season who knows!

I talked with her about what the lawyer is asking for and she agreed to write a letter for me. Not necessarily that I will never be able to work again, but that I can't work now and haven't been able to since 2011. I don't know if that will be good enough or not. She said they are going to mail it to me but I haven't gotten it yet so I'll call Monday and ask. After I get it and see what it says I'll start calling around to other lawyers if the other one still won't take me.

So yeah. That's where we are now. Not much progress, but some. Thank you everyone for all your loving comments and support. I apologize for not responding to everyone individually like I'd like to, but let's just say it's taken me all day to write this lol. I read them and appreciate them all even if I'm not up to writing a coherent response. <3

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Introducing Dobby

Dobby is our new four-ish year old probably shih tzu poodle mix. We weren't looking for another dog, in fact we didn't even want another dog, but he found us.

On Halloween I was outside taking some reference pictures for my nano story when I saw him in the empty lot across from our house. I think I've seen him once before, maybe a few weeks ago maybe a few months ago, my brain doesn't like to remember silly stuff like that. A woman from down the street and I tried to catch him then to hopefully return him to his family but he wouldn't get close to us. He wouldn't let me approach him on Halloween either, even when I tried to give him a treat. I brought Scotty outside on his leash to let them sniff each other and that let me get close enough to check for a collar. He had one but it didn't have a tag, was tight, looked pretty weathered, and I think was actually a cat collar. It didn't matter though because now I was close enough to see how messed up his fur was.

So I decided to take him inside and clean him up. It's funny because just as I was opening the door Josh and my mom pulled up and saw me taking a random dog inside. I know they were thinking, "Oh my, Tasha's finally lost it..." I explained the situation though and they understood. He had so much crap stuck in his fur, it was ridiculous! Sandspurs, hitchhikers, and some kind of small, thin, pointy, black seeds that I don't know the name for. Not to mention the dirt and matted hair and how skinny he was. I immediately took him into the bathroom to give him a bath. Once he was wet my sister Sierra and I got to work picking all the stuff out. At this point I noticed he had some kind of sore on one of his ears and the end of his tail was broken.

After spending I don't know how much time doing that we gave up, the rest was too stuck in there to pick out. We dried him off and Josh came in with the scissors from his electric trimmer kit thing and started cutting out the rest. This whole thing took hours. While he was doing that I posted about finding him on Facebook and started searching for someone missing a dog of his description. Couldn't find anything so we decided to take him to the vet the next day to get him looked over and checked for a chip.  

Turns out he did have a chip. The registered owner lives several states away, but her daughter took him to Florida, and then her daughter (so original's granddaughter) was the one who lost him. We soon found out "lost" was not an accurate description. They only live one street over from us and were just neglecting him.


Since we knew who the owners were we couldn't legally just keep him but I wasn't going to give him back to them either. Animal Control said we had to bring him to them. I have never in my life surrendered a dog and this was very, very hard on me. My mom and Josh took him up Saturday morning (that's my mom's leg in the picture they later posted on their website) and they said if the owners didn't pick him up we could come back and get him on Wednesday. They would be investigating the owners to make sure they were fit to take him back.

Well Wednesday got here and Animal Control changed their mind. They were giving the original owners from several states away till Saturday to come get him. The sucky thing is they are closed on Sunday and Monday so we wouldn't be able to pick him up until Tuesday. I about had a nervous breakdown at this point thinking of him stuck in a cage not being loved the way he deserves for so long. They wouldn't let us get him on Tuesday either for some reason I can't remember, but finally on Wednesday the 13th we officially adopted him and took him home.

It's not easy living with him and I can tell it wasn't easy for the previous owners either. However almost if not all of his problems stem from not being fixed or groomed. He marks all the time and escaped out of our backyard (something Scotty's never done) to elope with a chihuahua down at the park. But that's not his fault. Instead of just getting exasperated and not taking care of him we've taken measures to make it easier for all of us. 

The first thing we did after adopting him was make an appointment to get him neutered. Unfortunately the first one the vet had available was December 2nd. In the meantime we got him some belly bands and are basically cloth diapering lol. I can tell you after this I really don't think cloth diapering is for me and will stick to disposables if we ever get our take home baby. We've tried to shore up the backyard so he won't be able to get out anymore, but until he gets fixed he doesn't go out without a leash just in case. Scotty was in need of a haircut anyway so they both went to the groomer. Now things won't be able to get stuck in his hair so easily. 

Scotty loves having another little dog to play with. We play with him as much as we can and he has toys but I guess it just doesn't compare to another dog. They both seem really happy to have each other. It didn't take long at all for them to become best friends.

Action shot as Dobby jumps on Scotty.

Originally he was going to be Sierra's dog since her dog Frito is getting on in years, but I don't think either of them would like to be separated.

He's so sweet and craves attention and cuddles. Scotty will cuddle with you sometimes, but he rarely seeks it out. Dobby needs to be held and loved on which makes me even more disgusted with his previous owners for treating him so poorly. For the first few days after we got him back he would whine anytime someone would leave the room because he wanted them there with him. Thankfully it seems like he knows he's part of the family and we'll always come back now so he doesn't do it as much. He appears extremely happy to be here with us and I love seeing the big smiles on his face.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

One Lovely Blog Award

Thanks to the lovely Teresa from Where the *bleep* is our stork? who has nominated me for the One Lovely Blog award! She's another PCOS and infertility blogger who has been through a lot over the last three years, but has managed to stay supportive. She's doing an ornament exchange and even created her own blog award!
Here are the rules:

1) Thank the one that nominated you.
2) Put up the picture for the One Lovely Blog Award.
3) Tell everyone seven things about yourself.
4) Nominate seven other people and tell them that you have nominated them.

Seven things about me:

1. I'm a picky eater. I've gotten slightly better over the years but there are still a lot of things I refuse to eat, like anything with mustard on it. Yuck! 

2. I am in the top 1% of Sims 3 players on Raptr (which is based solely on hours played). I have played 477 hours since I signed up in January 2012. I even have a separate blog all about the sims. 

3. I don't care about girly stuff like purses and shoes and makeup or fashion in general. I usually wear leggings with a long shirt or a scrub top (for the pockets!) because it's comfy and I've been using the free backpack purse I got from Carnival. I don't wear makeup at all and usually have one pair of shoes I wear at a time, either flip-flops or flats. 

4. I have to put lotion on after I wash my hands or otherwise get them wet. I just can't deal with the way they feel if I don't. Probably has something to do with my eczema. 

5. My favorite pizza is chicken and jalapenos with barbecue sauce, but I always pick the jalapenos off! I love the flavor they add but I'm not so fond of the texture. 

6. I get very car sick unless I'm driving, which I haven't been able to do for quite a while due to my medications. Listening to music helps but listening to talking (audiobooks, podcasts, other passengers if no music is on) makes it quite a bit worse.

7. I am a night owl through and through and get super cranky if I have to wake up in the morning. I hardly ever go to sleep before 2 or 3 am.

I'm going to skip the nominations this time as I'm not really feeling up to doing anything else right now. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Cartographer of No Man's Land.... again

It took me a while to finish this, not because the book is tiresome but due to my own recent troubles. I almost didn't sign up for it through From Left to Write as I intended to participate in NaNoWriMo this month but I'm glad I was persuaded to do so. I've already posted my thoughts inspired by the book, but after finishing it I wanted to do more of a proper review as well.

Description: From a hardscrabble fishing village in Nova Scotia to the collapsing trenches of France, a richly atmospheric debut novel about a family divided by World War I.

When adventurous Ebbin goes missing at the front in 1916, Angus defies his pacifist upbringing to join the war and search for his beloved brother-in-law. With his navigation experience, Angus is assured a position as a cartographer in London. But upon arriving overseas he is instead sent directly into the trenches, where he experiences the visceral shock of battle. Meanwhile, at home, his perceptive son Simon Peter must navigate escalating hostility in a fishing village torn by grief and a rising suspicion of anyone expressing less than patriotic enthusiasm for the war.

With the intimacy of
The Song of Achilles and the epic scope of The Invisible Bridge, The Cartographer of No Man’s Land offers a lyrical and lasting portrayal of World War I and the lives that were forever changed by it, both on the battlefield and at home.

This is historical fiction at it's finest. The characters may not be real, but it's easy to believe they could have been. It's refreshing to read an account of The Great War from a Canadian perspective, we Americans can tend to be a bit ethnocentric. I loved the parallels between Angus and Paul oversees and Mr. Heist and Simon Peter back home. I'm amazed that even though the premise was Angus going to look for his brother-in-law, in the end it seemed as if the book wasn't about that. His search and what he found seemed almost a side story to the realities of war. I would recommend to anyone to enjoys historical fiction, and possibly even to those who don't.

I did received a copy of this book for review purposes, but all thoughts are my own. You can get your own copy here through Amazon.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Update on Disability

So I talked to a lawyer, not sure if it was the same one I talked to several months ago since there are four at the firm. It didn't go well. She said that endometriosis is not a disability and I would need a letter from my doctor saying I would never be able to work again for them to take my case. I tried explaining why that was unreasonable, how the requirements say you just have to prove you have been or will be out of work for a year, but she didn't care. I was so upset I hung up on her.

I don't know why a doctor would ever sign something like that unless you were brain dead or low functioning autistic or another severe mental disability. I'm 25 years old which means there are 40+ years for a miracle to happen that lets me work. I love my doctor but she's not a psychic and doesn't know what the future holds. All we know is I can't work now, I haven't worked since spring 2011, I really shouldn't have been working before then (and I think I could get a statement saying so from at least one previous employer), and I'm not expected to recover enough to work anytime soon. That should be enough. I am seeing her on Wednesday so I'll ask her but I'll be very surprised if she agrees.

So what now? What can I do? Not much. We are hoping we can get 6 months worth of Lupron for a reasonable price through the manufacturer but that's not a long time. My DH doesn't graduate until more than six months from now and who knows how long it will take him to get a job paying enough for me to get insurance. Even if the Lupron does work and I started looking for a job the moment I started improving it would take me more than six months to find a job that would get me insurance. My work history is atrocious, I don't have any references since everyone knows I shouldn't be working, and it's hard enough to find a full time job as it is when you don't have any qualifications.

Plus endo isn't my only health problem just the worst and longest lasting. My arthritis would keep me from doing the things I've done before (retail, food service, daycare) because you are required to lift and carry things I cannot. My chronic chest pain is controlled through medication but only if I remain basically sedentary. My memory has been getting worse and worse, I think partly due to my conditions and partly due to medication side effects. Sometimes I don't even remember I let the dogs out until an hour or two later when they start barking and scratching at the door. I can't tell you how many loads of laundry I've had to rewash (sometimes more than once) because I forgot I started them and never put them in the dryer. So I think that would be an issue.

In any event I don't have any hope that the Lupron would be a permanent fix anyhow. I don't know the success rate but the medication I'm on now is supposed to work for like 85% of those with endo. At this point I think there's a very good chance even a hysterectomy won't work for me. I know the aygestin is doing it's job of keeping the hormones low that are responsible for thickening the uterine lining. I've had some bleeding on and off over the last few weeks but it's always very, very light, usually just spotting. Even during my worst cramps where normally I'd be going through an ultra tampon and a pad in half an hour or less at most it could be described as a light flow. 10% of those who have a hysterectomy still suffer pain and I believe I will be in that 10%.

Of course we won't know until I get one. The thought of getting a hysterectomy before at least trying donated embryos is devastating, but it would be worth it if I was pain free and "cured". But to go through that, give up hope of having a child, and still be just as broken afterword is too painful to even think about. The lawyer said it would help my case if I did get one, of course. Other than the emotional trauma involved one problem with that is we still couldn't afford it. The reason I want to get on disability is so I can get the medical care I need. The actually money you get would be nice, and I won't say we don't need it since once you discount DH's financial aid we are below the poverty level, but I don't really care about that. If I had insurance or medicaid I probably wouldn't have even applied again. So even if a hysterectomy would help we can't afford to get one.

So after the six months of lupron are up (if I can even get it, we still don't even know that) I think our only real option is to move. I don't like Florida and have wanted to leave anyway but moving isn't as easy as I'd like it to be. We have a support network here. My mom helps us a LOT and things would be much harder without her. She would move too but she's stuck here until my sister gets older because our dad would have to give the okay. I'd have to find a new doctor and I doubt I'd find one that helps as much as mine since we have a ten year relationship. The closest state that is expanding medicaid is over 500 miles away but we'd probably move even farther since it's just not a place we want to live. Then I could get treatment for all my issues that are going untreated now, I could get lupron without spending $850, I could get a hysterectomy, I could get laparoscopies every year if I need to, medical services and prescriptions wouldn't be our second biggest expense category after the catch-all "merchandise".

But I don't know if we'd even be able to move. Moving still takes money we don't have. So really I'm just looking at being in pain and medicated for the foreseeable future. I just feel so depressed and hopeless. I really should go see someone about that but again, can't afford it. I'm not suicidal but I do feel like I'm being told my existence is worthless and actually a negative, since I haven't furthered the human race through reproduction nor am I a productive member of society. I don't deserve help because I just take and have nothing to give. When looking at the big picture it would be better for everyone if I just wasn't here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

From Left to Write: The Cartographer of No Man's Land by P.S. Duffy

This book feels quite timely considering Veteran's/Remembrance Day was just a few days ago. I normally don't consider myself a lucky or fortunate person considering the present state of my existence, but I know in one way I am. I have never had a close friend or family member die in the line of duty. In fact, no one I'm close to has even gone to war while I was alive.

My maternal grandpa was in WWII but that was obviously well before I was alive. I think he was a cook or something. He's missing a few of his fingers but that was actually an on the job accident not related to the service. No one really talks about his time in the military but from what I understand he was never hurt or anything.

I have a cousin who is in the National Guard but I don't think he's ever been deployed. I have a step-cousin who is in the Marines (I think) and I don't really know what her situation is. Josh's brother was in the Navy but according to him, "he was just hanging out on carriers and stuff". My sister almost joined the Air Force during an off period with her on-and-off husband but she didn't, thank god. A few friends have husbands in the military but as far as I know none of them have left the states. Thinking about it I'm surprised I don't know more people who are/were in the military, since there are two bases in my county.

I am thankful I've never had to wait with bated breath for a letter from a loved one. I've never worried about someone showing up at my door with bad news. I've never seen a casualty report on the news and wondered if my friend or family member was okay. I've never had someone go missing. I never have to go months without seeing my husband. In this I am lucky.

This post was inspired by The Cartographer of No Man's Land: A Novel by P.S. Duffy. Angus enlists in the Nova Scotia WWI regiment and travels Europe to search for his missing in action best friend and brother-in-law. Along the way Angus discovers more than he ever wanted to know.Join From Left to Write on November 14 as we discuss The Cartographer of No Man’s Land. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.