Friday, September 16, 2016

Zombie Bites and What's For Dinner

First of all, thank you for your happy responses to the swim school post. Whether I've met you or not, you all are my family, and it was wonderful to share good news with you. We're so thrilled the school is back up and running and as I reflected from my couch this afternoon, half-listening to James talk to parents and potential clients on the phone all day, he is SO GOOD at this. So knowledgeable and enthusiastic, it was really fun to get a window into his customer interactions. Cora started back with her lessons last night and as a picky former swim parent, I was very pleased.

Cora was pleased too. If the big kids are doing it, she wants in. So in she went.

We ended our evening by driving to Gloria's because they have the best margaritas (after Yucatan Taco Stand, of course) and their happy hour is all day on Thursday and my skin was SO FULL OF FIRE I needed frozen tequila to make it bearable. Then I came home and had a mexican martini because no one has ever bought me a frozen margarita machine and sometimes you have to make do.

Before meeting the kids at the pool for their swim class and lesson I had been sent home from work by my staff accountant who found me with my head on my desk, silently and invisibly weeping. She'd checked on me throughout the day, noting that "usually there's such happy high energy coming out of your office. Today... it's just sad." Sadness and oozing. On her third or fourth check-in, she brought me flowers and told me to go home. So I did, clutching my beautiful rainbow flowers with one hand and holding my shirt away from my zombie bite with the other.

In questionably good news, I realized last night that I'm allergic to latex and that's at least 50% of the reason this treatment has been so hellish. My bandaids were trying to kill me. It was confusing because the doctor told me the medicine would make cancerous and precancerous skin "red and oozy," so I just thought my god, I have SO MUCH CANCER. But it turns out, I have a medium amount of cancer and a lot of latex allergy, and suddenly the fact I would pull off chunks of skin anytime I removed a bandaid AND my constant urge to itch my raw oozy skin makes a lot more sense.

Making sense does not actually make it better, but thanks to a trip to Walgreens, it will at least not get worse. And I only have one more dose of cream left -- tonight is dose 20 of 20 and THANK THE LITTLE BABY JEBUS we are done because my self-medicating techniques were getting calorically and financially very expensive. James even ran out for Stir Crazy Baked Goods for me on Wednesday night without me actually asking. It was like I was pregnant again, except this time, with cancer.

I took a sick day from work today. It finally occurred to me that "sick" can be "badly wounded and can't put on a shirt," so I've spent the entire day in a low cut tank, half a cardigan, and my favorite summer pj pants watching episode after episode of The Great British Baking Show. Why did you all not tell me about this? It is GLORIOUS. I love all of these people. I love their weird combinations of meats and fruits that they bake into pies and cover in nuts. I love their good old British can do attitude and cheeky cheer. I love that they always have tea. I love that the Baked Alaska challenge was the most tense and stressful thing I've watched on television and I've survived all existing seasons of Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and The Fall. I love that they all seem so normal and friendly and they want each other to do well. It soothes my soul if not my skin. It actually hurts my feelings that I didn't know it existed until now.

Does this cookie make my cancer look smaller?

Moving on to other random news of the week. I decided Landon's bedding was too "big kid" and I needed to seize any remaining "little boy" moments that I still can. So I stored his teen bedding plastic, to be pulled out when he is actually a teen, and bought him this bright and adorable and perfect quilt from Pottery Barn Kids. I LOVE it. I love it so much. And it actually goes better with how colorful his room ended up being.

He likes it too.

Claire also got a new comforter, since she'd had hers since she was 3 and no amount of washing can disguise the fact the girl likes to nest and raise her body temperature 10 degrees just so she can sweat out her body weight every night.

And Cora got to pick out new sheets to go with her new purple comforter because now that she is potty trained we're taking off the side of her crib to make a little bed just like she's real people.

Ponies. PURPLE ponies, obvi.

And finally - dinners! I never posted this week's menu, so some of this is retroactive but everything was delicious.

Monday: Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce, garlic bread
Tuesday: Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup (I needed soothing and this was a great recipe! highly recommend)
Wednesday: Mexican rice (recipe below)
Thursday: Out (unplanned, but medically necessary)
Friday: Quartino night (all the meats and cheeses with crackers, french bread, oils and vinegars, olives, and fruits - I make a big fun spread in fancy serving dishes on the table and we all dish up; the kids love it)
Saturday: Crockpot Creamy Chicken Enchilada Chili (I've made this before and it's so good)
Sunday: Homemade Veggie Lasagna
Monday: Beef and bean burritos
Tuesday: leftover lasagna
Wednesday: Tamales, scrambled eggs, refried black beans, avocado
Thursday: Out because my sister, brother-in-law, and tiny baby NIECE are visiting! Somewhere with margaritas, I'm sure.
Friday: Homemade pizza

Mexican Rice
(my grandma got this recipe from a neighbor in Spain when they were stationed there; so simple, so yummy, it's always a crowd favorite)

1 lb. ground beef
diced onion
1 small can tomato paste
1 regular can tomato sauce (+ 1 can water)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. sugar
1 cup cooked rice
toppings: grated cheese, diced tomato, black olives, shredded lettuce, avocado, fritos

1. Brown beef in garlic and onion, drain fat.
2. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT rice
3. Simmer and stir (at least 10 mins? I often let it go quite a while, adding more water if necessary, this is an inexact science)
4. Add rice, heat through, serve with fritos and toppings

~ ~ ~

And now it's back to The Great British Baking Show and photo booking. I'm 5 books behind (ughhh; right now I'm doing a page on James's birthday when he turned 33. He will be 35 in 4 weeks.), but I think I just have to get going and let the addiction start up again. I do so love them when they are done, I just might need to take the next month off work to make it happen...


  1. 1) Belated congratulations on the swim school pool!!!!

    2) I have a latex allergy too and it is MISERABLE. Thankfully I haven't had to deal with flesh-eating cancer cream, but it's so dry here, wounds (even scratches) take a ridiculous amount of time to heal if they're not covered, but then I get a nice itchy red rectangle of rash around whatever I'm trying to heal. So frustrating!

    3) If you like the Great British Baking Show (which is amazing), look for the Great British Sewing Bee - same formula but with sewing! It is so much fun.

    Hope your red ooziness clears up soon!

    1. 1) Thanks!

      2) Have you tried 3M's Nexcare latex free bandages? I have one on right now and as far as I can tell it's acting like a regular bandage and not something that is trying to eat my flesh.

      3) WHAT?!?!?! My whole life has been leading to this moment. The only thing I love more than watching people cook is watching people sew. I'm bereft I didn't know about this sooner, but thrilled I have more delightful British shows to watch while I photobook for the new few months!

  2. I second the recommendation for Great British Sewing Bee.

    Also I like the education BBC reality shows that focus on an era: Victorian Farm, Wartime Farm, etc. At least one of the participants is usually a historian to make sure that things are done "correctly."

    Aren't Stir Crazy's snickerdoodles the best? They aren't too sweet like so many others.

    1. One of my fave things about TGBBS so far is how many insane new desserts I've been introduced to that I'd never heard of before. I mean, I don't actually want to eat very many of them, but it's fascinating to learn about! I'm excited to hear the Sewing Bee is similar!

      And YES! They are. Their peanut butter oatmeal might be my very favorite, but the snickerdoodles and rainbow sugar are close seconds. I'm also obsessed with their oatmeal cream pies; they don't have them often, but when they do, you should buy every single one.

  3. I am a HUGE fan of the Great British Baking Show but had also never heard about the Great British Sewing Bee. As a sewist, I know I would love it. It looks like you can only buy the videos now, though. Is it on Netflix or available to view (for free) somewhere else? Anyone know? Thanks.

    1. I haven't been able to find it either - maybe someone else knows the magic?

  4. Latex Allergy here, too! Highly recommend's like $10 a bandaid or more, but 10,000% better than paper tape and gauze. You can buy it in large sheets and cut what you need to cover. I used it post cancer treatment to cover the port extraction site. Oh! Wait...there's your silver lining...zombie bites can be treated with skin dissolving cream and you don't need a port!!

    1. I will definitely look that up, and yes, not needing a port is DEFINITELY a silver lining!

  5. I also have a latex allergy and agree that it is miserable. I chose to have a wide area excision to remove the cancer on my chest and was supposed to keep the stitches covered for 2 weeks. I think I lasted 2 days before I just couldn't do it. For some reason my chest is much more sensitive to latex than the rest of my body. I tried paper tape, tegederm (pretty much anything I could find) and it seemed like everything just further irritated the area. I used benadryl cream and that helped with the itching. Eventually my doctor said to just leave the stitches uncovered because the rash was so bad.

    1. YES. I bought the latext free bandages on Friday and while they didn't burn while they were on like the others, they were hell when I got them off- my skin looked the worst it EVER has during this whole debacle. I don't know if I'm allergic to that adhesive too or if the whole area is just so irritated and inflamed from the meds and 21 days of latex bandaids, but now I'm just leaving it uncovered. It literally looks like a zombie bite, but it's slowly starting to dry out and look less... fresh of a bite. I'm not sure what I'll do about work tomorrow, but I don't think covering it is an option. I guess I'll just be oozing onto my work clothes? Turning into a zombie is so glamorous...

    2. Maybe you can fashion something like the bib you wear at the dentist and just wear that under your shirt.

      Golf towels usually have one grommeted hole. Maybe you could do something with that or a wash cloth or piece of flannel.

  6. I JUST watched the TGBBS for the first time last week, too! And then heard it was moving/losing its hostesses or whatever, and became sad. Because it is very fun television!

    Good call taking the day off. Your poor skin. I hope you heal soon.

  7. The recipe looks delicious! What kind of rice do you use?

    1. You can use any kind, but honestly, a simple white really is best. I just buy the frozen bags at Trader Joe's- you just pop a bag in the microwave for 3 mins and it's perfect to add. I generally let the tomato mix simmer for about 30 mins and then add the rice 10 mins before I want to serve, but those times are all very flexible. It's great with leftover rice too!