Sick again (still)

March 3rd, 2015 — 12:14pm

Brutal sore throat. Started out of nowhere on Saturday night, wasn’t too bad though Sunday, and then Monday it got way worse all of a sudden. Like, it hurt so badly to swallow that it made me cry. Monday night was rough. Now, Tuesday morning, it’s slightly better. I can swallow, anyway.

Sigh. This has been a rough year so far.

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Arabic translation of Grammar-Land

February 24th, 2015 — 3:06pm

Hind, a young woman from Yemen, recently let me know that she had made a video translation of one of my Grammar-Land chapters into Arabic! When you watch the video, you hear my voice and can read along in Arabic. Pretty cool! :)

Hooray for Public Domain and the internet!

2 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

Return of the King, Book 2, Chapter 1

February 24th, 2015 — 12:23pm

Hooray! First chapter of Book 2! Sorry it took so long. I’m still not fully recovered from that flu. Or maybe this is as recovered as I’m ever gonna get, I don’t know.

Return of the King Bk 2: 01 The Tower of Cirith Ungol


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Return of the King, ch 10

February 1st, 2015 — 10:33am

The last chapter of Book 1! :)

Return of the King Bk 1: 10 The Black Gate Opens


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Return of the King, Ch 9!

January 30th, 2015 — 9:58am

Yay, a new chapter for you lovely people. :) This was my first recording of 2015, and the first since the flu knocked me flat eight weeks ago. I’m still not entirely well, but this morning I suddenly felt like I could manage a bit of recording!

Return of the King Bk 1: 09 The Last Debate


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still sick but getting better

January 4th, 2015 — 9:03am

I saw the doctor again a week ago and got antibiotic eyedrops for my sticky, gritty eyes. For everything else (cough, fatigue, etc.) she said to just keep resting. So I keep resting, resting, resting. Finally feeling well enough to play WoW so that helps pass the time.

On Friday, two days ago, I woke up with a goddamned sore throat again. Just about had a meltdown, wondering if the WHOLE THING was going to start all over… But the next day my throat wasn’t much worse and today it’s definitely a lot better, just feels tender still and a little scratchy. And I never started feeling really SICK again.

I’m sleeping well, about 10 hours a night, and eating well. The cough is a little better every day and the coughing fits are less dramatic.

The eyedrops helped immediately — my eyes stopped feeling gritty and itchy in the daytime. However, they’re still REALLY runny in the morning when I wake up. I don’t know if that’s typical or if it means that this antibiotic isn’t working properly.

I’ve been feeling well enough to knit, and have knit Henry and me each a pair of ridiculously thick and heavy socks out of some leftover rug yarn. They’re only 32 stitches around, lol. Ravelry link:

A friend came over on New Year’s Eve and helped me decorate our tree a little bit. We put on one string of lights and a few crocheted snowflakes and glass balls, and that’s it. I don’t want it to be a big intimidating job to take it all down again.

2015-01-03 18.22.43

2014-12-31 20.25.11

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still sick… I’ll be sick forever, it seems

December 27th, 2014 — 7:54am

Yep. All symptoms are much better, but I have deep exhaustion that I can’t shake. On Christmas Eve I had a bit of energy so I made a quick batch of gingerbread cookies and we ran out to get a little Christmas tree (luckily Home Depot still had a few) but then I was so exhausted that I had to go back to bed and didn’t manage to decorate it at all. It’s still sitting there in its stand, waiting…

On Christmas I stayed in bed all day, just completely exhausted. Yesterday I felt a little bit better but I stayed in bed all day anyway, just listing to podcasts and audiobooks and music with my eyes closed, mostly, and playing on my iPad a bit.

I’m tired of the cycle of feeling a bit better, getting up to do stuff, then having a bad relapse. I’m just going to stay in bed till I’m SURE that I’m a lot better.

I think that my throat finally feels completely normal this morning! So that was a 25-day sore throat. A world record?

Still coughing of course. But I slept straight through the night.

Here’s what I’ve been listening to:

DJ Riko’s Christmas Mixes. We love these SO MUCH. Some of my favs are 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2014 but they’re all good!

Wives and Daughters — Elizabeth Klett’s solo version

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever — my recording, scroll down to December 2012

The Warden — Jessica Louise’s solo recording

A Christmas Carol — my solo recording

Plus random episodes of This American Life and of course The Archers every day.

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feeling a little better

December 18th, 2014 — 11:40am

I felt well enough to go to the doctor today. How stupid does that sound? But it’s true, I was too sick to go to the doctor until a few days ago. This is the 16th day of sore throat and cough, which is a little better every day but still very bothersome. She says it’s maybe the flu, or maybe not, but whatever it is hit me really hard because of all my other underlying health problems. She says to keep resting and I will get better eventually, and she gave me a prescription for a viscous lidocaine gargle which is disgusting but does numb my throat (and mouth) for a while.

I felt well enough to stop at the store for vodka so I could make my annual batch of cranberry liqueur, which I will write down here so I can quit googling the recipe every year.

750ml cheap-ass vodka
sack of fresh cranberries
2 c sugar
1 c water

Cook the water and sugar together into a syrup and cool. Grind the cranberries and vodka up in the blender. Pour everything into a bottle (one of those clear plastic “Simply Fresh” orange juice bottles is just the right size) and let it sit, shaking up the bottle every day, for (optimally) three weeks. I usually can’t wait three weeks, though. Then strain it through a cloth into pretty bottles.

My apartment is FILTHY. Argh. At least I’m well enough to care.

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The flu

December 14th, 2014 — 10:32am

Jeeze this has been a vicious flu. This is the twelfth day of it and I’m finally starting to feel a bit better (as in, I can sit up in bed and type). I’m going to write down the sequence of events here for my own future reference. This will be a boring post. Come back some other day.

Monday the 1st my knees were wobbly, which was odd. I didn’t think much of it at the time but now I realize it was probably a Harbinger of Doom. Tuesday I could tell I was coming down with something.

Wednesday the 3rd I woke up with a mild sore throat, a very bad cough, a headache, and feeling generally ill, so I sat on the sofa with Henry (who was recovering from his own bout of the flu) and watched movies all day.

Thursday it hit hard. Ferocious sore throat and cough, aches, weakness, chest congestion. I felt too ill to get out of bed, too ill to watch tv, too ill to listen to music. At this point I became unable to sleep because of the endless coughing and the horrific sore throat, so I pretty much sat up and coughed all day and all night for days on end. Friday was much the same. Saturday was the same plus a fever of 99-100.8. I managed to keep drinking because I was scared to get dehydrated, but eating was close to impossible. Managed a couple of yogurts and some toast, I think. Henry brought me water and broth, and checked on me every hour on the scary feverish days. Sunday was awful but the fever was better. Monday was awful and the fever came back. Tuesday, awful but no fever; Wednesday, awful plus fever.

Thursday the 11th the fever was gone, throat and cough were microscopically better. I think I was able to watch some netflix that day and listen to music. (That was the ninth day of the illness.) Friday, two days ago, I was able to go out to the living room and sit on the sofa and watch TV with Henry for a while. Throat and cough improving but far from well. Same yesterday. Everything a little better, but still feeling pretty wretched.

Slept much better last night. The coughing fits that wake me up are less frequent and less drastic. Throat still hurts but not as much — for a minute this morning it almost didn’t hurt at all. My thoughts feel clearer.

Ever since Friday I’ve been able to eat but not much at a time, so I’m trying to remember to eat a little something every hour or two. Over yesterday I ate almost two potatoes and some steamed broccoli and applesauce and yogurt and a pomegranate.

I feel like I will actually get better someday; I can imagine it, where I really couldn’t a few days ago.

Christmas will be late this year. I’ve done nothing. All our decorations are still in the closet. I haven’t been able to make or plan anything. Oh well.

In case you’re wondering — yes, I got a flu shot in October.

1 comment » | Blog

so sick

December 5th, 2014 — 8:13am

Ugh I’m so sick. Horrible cough, HORRIBLE sore throat, headache, etc. Came down with it on Tuesday and I’m sure it’ll be weeks until I feel able to record again. I was hoping that I might be able to achieve my goal of finishing up Return of the King before 2015, but that would have required me to record a chapter every other day through December, and that’s not gonna happen now. Sigh.

Thanks for all the comments! :)

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Return of the King, chapter 8!

December 1st, 2014 — 11:17am

Finally! Thank you all SO much for the encouraging email and comments. You have no idea how much it means to me that there are so many listeners who wish me well and are eager for another chapter! :) :) :)

Return of the King Bk 1: 08 The Houses of Healing


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I am still here

November 20th, 2014 — 6:14pm

Hey guys, I had an episode of crippling depression for the last few weeks (feels like months but I guess it wasn’t). I’m feeling better now and catching up on things like laundry and eating. And soon, I hope, a little recording! Thanks for all the sweet “checking on you” emails. It means a lot.

This bout of depression was so horrific that Jeff-the-lovely-therapist suggested I see a psychiatrist about trying an antidepressant, which of course was far too difficult to manage while I was in my can’t-get-out-of-bed phase but I did see a great doctor once I started feeling a little better and am now trying a very low dose of Lexapro. Fingers crossed that it keeps me from sinking down as far again.

What else is new… Last week Henry and I saw David Sedaris perform live at the Balboa Theater downtown! Such a treat. He was so funny and sweet, and all the stories were new to us. We bought each other the tickets for our birthdays back in summer. Yes, we are super NPR nerds.

Which reminds me:

Also I saw “Nightcrawler” and was blown away! It was an old-fashioned suspense-thriller with a story and acting and characters and no CGI explosions and I enjoyed it tremendously. Plus it was not 100% predictable all the way through! Lol. I have a real problem with movies where after five minutes I know exactly how they’re going to end. This was not that kind of movie. Things happened that I did not expect!!

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Return of the King, Ch 7

October 21st, 2014 — 1:58pm

Another chapter!

Return of the King Bk 1: 07 The Pyre of Denethor


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Return of the King Ch. 6

October 17th, 2014 — 1:02pm

Good news, everyone! Here’s a new chapter of Return of the King for you – and it’s an exciting one! Stuff happens! Many thanks to everyone who emailed me some gentle reminders :) Those emails really help motivate me when I’m not feeling great.

“Great was the clash of their meeting.”

Return of the King Bk 1: 06 The Battle of the Pelennor Fields


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Neat stuff roundup

October 13th, 2014 — 5:13pm

Here’s a bunch of random stuff that I want to share:

Zenmate — a free browser extension which can mask your location and encrypt your traffic. Say, for instance, you lived in the US but you were addicted to UK tv shows. You could, in theory, install Zenmate, tell it you’re in London, and watch the BBC’s iPlayer until your eyeballs bled. If you got tired of non-commercial British TV, you could also watch the ITV player and 4 on Demand and enjoy the not-quite-American commercials and freaky reality shows. And Downton Abbey, which has definitely jumped the shark but has such lovely costumes…

Star Trek sound effects: A dizzying assortment just waiting to be made into ringtones and alarm sounds.

Fans of The Great British Bake Off — do you know about Stuck-In-A-Book’s hilarious snarky-but-affectionate episode recaps? Here’s a link to his recap for the finale of Series 5. Dig around and read all the others. They’re priceless. I got to the point where I look forward to reading his recaps almost as much as watching the show.

(And congratulations to our Nancy! Well done, you!)

If, like me, you get your TV shows from various sources (including but not limited to Netflix and HBOGO), you might sometimes find it hard to remember which episodes you’ve seen, which shows are about to start, what airs on Thursday, etc. It’s a lot more complicated than back when we had three networks and all shows started in the exact same week of Fall. Have I got an online tool for you!!!

TV Calendar:

Make an account. Click “Settings” and adjust the timezone (important). Click the “Shows A-Z” button. Add your favorite shows, or shows that you haven’t seen yet but want to be reminded about. Scroll to the bottom for shows that aren’t currently airing (very handy for if you’re doing a re-watch of some old show and want to keep track of where you are). Now the front page will show your personal TV Calendar! Tick the box after you watch an episode and it’ll go dim. Green is the first ep of a new season, red is the last.

Never again will we forget which Only Connects and Colbert Reports we’ve seen! And we’ve been doing a re-watch of Boardwalk Empire from the beginning (well, re-watch for me, first time for Henry), so I’m ticking off the episodes as we go. Every show’s page has a complete list of episodes and, as you tick them off, it will even tell you how many hours of your life you’ve wasted watching that particular show. Sigh.

(Only Connect wasn’t in the list when I made my account, but I requested it via the twitter account and the guy added it! :)

I’ve been reading a German translation of Marian Keyes’s “Last Chance Saloon” (in German it’s “Pusteblume” (Dandelion) for some reason) on my Paperwhite Kindle. I installed a German-English dictionary a long time ago, but I just realized that if I press an unknown word my Kindle will look it up for me! Astonishingly helpful. After I’ve looked up a word, I highlight it — so I can glance back through later and see if I remember the new words. Some words are too slangy for the dictionary, so if I’m really mystified I highlight the whole sentence and hit “translate” — and google (I assume) figures it out for me — if not WELL, at least to the point where I know what on earth is going on. Remarkable.

2 comments » | Blog, Tech

pasta salad

October 6th, 2014 — 12:54pm

I just realized that I’ve never posted my excellent pasta salad recipe. Here ya go:

ingredients from Trader Joe’s:

about 1 1/2 lbs pasta
1 can black olives (I cut them in half)
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 bag sun-dried tomatoes
1 chopped fresh tomato (or two if they’re small, or a bunch of cherry tomatoes)
1/2 bag frozen peas
1/2 bag “melange a trois” frozen red, yellow, and green pepper strips, or a chopped fresh pepper
1 bottle Tuscan Italian Dressing

Rinse the frozen veggies in warm water to melt off any ice. Cook the pasta, drain, rinse, combine with everything in an enormous bowl. It probably tastes best if you let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours before you eat it but I can never wait that long.

You could probably add some fresh herbs if you have any, or pine nuts, or green olives, or anything that sounds good. Cold cooked greenbeans or asparagus might be nice. This was the first time I put in the artichoke hearts and peas. Those little marinated fresh mozzarella balls would probably be amazing.

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Return of the King, Chapter 5

September 23rd, 2014 — 8:20pm

Chapter five, yay!

Return of the King Bk 1: 05 The Ride of the Rohirrim


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Return of the King, Ch 3 and 4!

September 22nd, 2014 — 7:25pm

I finally recorded Chapter 4 today, and also noticed that I never posted Chapter 3. So you get two at once!

Also, today is Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday.

Return of the King Bk 1: 03 The Muster of Rohan

Return of the King Bk 1: 04-1 The Siege of Gondor, part 1

Return of the King Bk 1: 04-2 The Siege of Gondor, part 2


And thank you to everyone who sent me kind messages while I was feeling down. I’m doing a bit better now.

2 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

“But I Like You” — chords & lyrics!

August 31st, 2014 — 12:38pm

Henry and I have transcribed my little Ernie and Bert song! (See previous post)

It was a lot of work, but we did it. I re-wrote the lyrics to be all from Bert’s point of view ’cause I’ll be playing it on my ukulele and singing it solo and I am much more of a Bert than an Ernie. Paperclips! Lentil soup! Yeah!

Click to download in .rtf format: But I Like You, chords and lyrics


Kudos to Henry for figuring out the Bb to Bbm business and the nifty Bb-Db-F-D7 sequence near the end.

You can play a Dm7 on “go and see the big hippopotamus” if you want — it sounds a bit better but it’s hard for me to reach on the uke.

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“But I Like You”

August 13th, 2014 — 11:12am

Babysitting my little niece and watching a lot of classic Sesame Street. Today we watched an episode from 1983 (I was 14 in 1983, so it was after I stopped watching) and I saw an Ernie and Bert song that I’d never heard before! It’s so sweet.

“But I Like You”

If I can figure out the chords I’ll try to learn this on the uke.

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