Monday, November 30, 2009

A Visit To A Padded Room

Mama Bird and I got back late afternoon Saturday from our new Thanksgiving tradition. We decided while we were there that it would become our new tradition. The cottage we stayed in was perfect. A full kitchen (while small, was still bigger than my own), a fireplace in the living room and cozy furniture. Well, most of it was cozy (some of the chairs were less than comfy). The living room was upholstered! There was fabric on the walls and someone took the time to put piping along every corner, the top and bottom edges of each wall and surrounding each window and door. There was even batting under that fabric, so the walls were lightly padded. The bathroom had a half sized tub, something I don't think I've ever seen before. It makes sense though, you don't really need a full tub to shower in. And the Inn has a heated indoor pool just down the road, so you could soak there if the mood struck you.
The only bad things I have to say about the room are these; the fireplace came without any instructions*, and neither did the weird locking system for the front door.** Other than that, things were peachy! They left us fresh orange juice in the fridge for the next morning, and that fridge was large enough to hold all the perishables we brought with us.
* Ok, you might think that lighting a fire in a fireplace is pretty easy. And for the most part it is. But really, not everybody has much experience doing so. Mama Bird and I are both fairly proficient at it, but we still had problems. For one thing the flue was shut, and we did not know that until the fire was lit. The WHOLE cottage filled with smoke and we had to call maintenance to come help us out. I was on the phone with them while Mama Bird tried to do something about the smoke. If there were an audio recording of the whole ordeal, it would have been comedy genius.
** Again, you would think that door locks are pretty easy to figure out. This door lock was ... interesting. The door was unlocked when we arrived, and that was no big deal, we figured that was on purpose. However, once inside, I noticed that the lock was only accessible from the inside. There was no keyhole on the outside of the front door. It was some kind of deadbolt that while it certainly locked the door, was a bit odd. It turned out that if you left your cottage, say to go walk around the town, or drive to the next one to buy provisions, you locked your front door from the inside, and returned through the back door. That doesn't seem so bad, but the path TO that back door was poorly lit after dark and required a flash light to navigate.
All that aside, we had a great time. Again for the most part***. For dinner the first night we had butternut squash filled ravioli served with sun dried tomatoes, basil, shaved parmasean, and roasted pumpkin seed oil. It was... perfection. Just a tiny bit of garlic (fresh) and some italian seasonings to give it that little touch. For Thanksgiving dinner we went to someone else's house and had a full traditional meal. Turkey, stuffing, and veggies. I brought the mashed sweet potatoes and walnut green beans and for dessert I brought Ry's pumpkin cheesecake. All of those recipes can be found somewhere in the archives, and the cheesecake in the comments of "I Was On A Boat 'Yall". Everybody loved everything!
*** Put me and Mama Bird in the same kitchen and eventually tempers will flare. It never fails. But the food always comes out great, and we always get over it. I still maintain that there is some kind of catharsis to it.

---Little Bird has a new tradition

Sunday, November 22, 2009


My computer conspires against me. That weird little last post? Wasn't supposed to post like that. It was a draft. One that I had to save and abandon the computer so my step-father could get on-line. I've been having computer problems lately. A sick, twisted part of me hopes he has too. If he has, maybe we can get the damned thing FIXED!
So yes, the stitches come out Monday (tomorrow) and Mama Bird and I go to southern Indiana for Thanksgiving later in the week.

We are bringing food to a dinner we have been invited to. Two sides and a desert. Mashed sweet potatoes (recipe from last year about this time) and Walnut green beans (recipe also somewhere on here) and pumpkin cheese cake. That last recipe is from the comment section of "I Was On A Boat Y'all" , a relatively recent post of mine. The recipe is from a FailBlog friend, and looks fantastic!
The trip to New Harmony looks to be pleasant. Nice and quiet. We're bringing all the food we need as we rented a cottage and it has a full kitchen. The part I'm looking forward to is the fireplace. Reading and playing Scrabble. And maybe some cross-stitch work.
I'm working on getting everyone's Christmas gifts in order. This is not exactly an easy undertaking. I've got Rooster's figured out (I won't list them as he reads this site) and my step-father's gifts are also figured out. Mama Bird's are not yet decided and the crazy family is getting nuts. Spicy roasted nuts. I figure it's appropriate. There are a few other friends to buy for, but for the most part, I've got their gifts all worked out.
Other than that, I have nothing to report.

--Little Bird tries to work with her computer

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Update: The stitches are healing fine. I guess. They itch. But they haven't popped open or torn or anything that fall into the realm of uh-oh.

This year for Thanksgiving, Mama Bird and I are traveling to New Harmony, Indiana. As someone from FailBlog put it, it's about as close to not being in Indiana as you can get, and still be in Indiana. It's right on the boarder near the southern end.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nick/ Cut

So, today I had the little tumor-thing cut off my back. I named it Nick, after one of the Backstreet Boys. Subsequent tumor-things removed from my back will be named after the other band members. The doctor was very pleasant, and quite kind. He played music, I think to keep me from hearing what he was doing. Regardless, I heard the "snip" when he cut away the bulk of Nick. It was a bit disconcerting. Not nearly as disconcerting as seeing Nick, held between thumb and index finger four feet away from my body.
I have a few stitches that have to come out next week, and a few rules to follow in the meantime. Put polysporin on it, change the bandage, don't get it wet for twenty four hours, those sorts of rules. It twinges a little, and if it really starts to hurt I can take tylenol (I think it's weird that spellchecker has no problem with the word tylenol, but Avis is flagged). The only thing that worries me is when I sleep. See, I move around when I sleep. A lot. I don't want to aggravate the stitches anymore than they already are.
I do not have health insurance. So every time I need to have a tumor removed (or just a plain old check up) it costs a lot of money. Out of pocket. Most of my doctors have been really cool about it, offering some sort of price reduction to help out. This visit cost less than it could have, thanks to the doctor for understanding that no insurance and no job means parental payment. We still had to pay a lot though. Plus there was an additional $200 pathologist fee, to have someone look at it to see if it has anything to do with the dreaded "C" word.
Neurofibromatosis is a "pre-existing condition" that precludes me from most insurance. The places that WILL cover me want an arm and a leg in monthly fees and a HUGE deductable. It costs less to not have those fees. But, if any of my tumors (I have well over 40) should turn cancerous, I'm screwed.
Why does health care have to cost so much? Why isn't there a better system in place to help people who can't cover those costs?
I would like to encourage everyone who reads this (all four of you) to go to and learn more about neurofibromatosis. The site explains things far better than I could. If you have any questions pertaining to my specific case, I'll answer as best I can.

--Little Bird is now Nickless

Friday, November 6, 2009


Sometimes I disturb myself. Like with this little tidbit of personal information. I have several tumors, and when one has to be removed, it gets a name. A regular sort of name. The one that was above and slightly behind my right ear was Ralph. The one on the underside of my chin was Harry, because of the one lone hair it occasionally sprouted. The annoying one on my neck was Herman, and that's what my dad used to call me when he wanted to get under my skin. The group that was removed when I was 21 (discussed in an earlier post) we can call the Brothers Grim. And lastly the one on my face, right side, I've dubbed Arnold. Arnold wasn't really a tumor (hence the name... "It's not a toomah") but a cyst that abscessed and had to come out ASAP.
But the naming all started with Ralph. You see, years ago, when I was 22, I dated this guy. And his mother had a tumor in the exact same place. She had named it Ralph, because it had been with her for so long. So I named my matching one Ralph too. It was the only one to get a name before it had to be removed. So far all the names are masculine, and have some meaning behind them. So. What do I call the one on my back that is coming off on the 16th? I'm having difficulty thinking up an appropriate name for him.
I just remembered that I did name one other one that hasn't been removed yet, and not only that, it has a feminine name. Rosey. She's on my forehead. I also feel I should point out that all of these tumors are really small. Mole sized, but not moles. And they get removed when they start to act up.
Should I talk about food now?
No? Too soon?
Sometimes other people disturb me. Like what my crazy relative told me yesterday. She lives in Texas (I know, I could stop there and you would still understand). She and I were discussing the incident at the military base not too far from her. The one in the news. The one where the officer lost his marbles and started shooting up a theatre. She informed me that the gunman was muslim, and that was why he did it. She went on to tell me that there has been talk of rounding up all the muslims in the U.S. and deporting them. That's right. She said it like this was a good thing. It worries me sometimes that crazy appears to run in my family.
I pointed out to her that we (as a country) can't really do that as we have laws about that sort of thing. You know, you can't discriminate against some one for their race, color, or creed. Civil rights. Basic rights at that. I also pointed out that this country was founded on freedom of religion (among other things). She seemed to think that it was perfectly alright to ship 'em all out because, you know, they all want to kill us. Forgetting that nearly every group has extremists and you can't judge an entire group of people by the actions of a few. She said it was part of their religion to try to kill us all. And by "us" she meant everyone who isn't muslim. THEN she went on to say that the saddest part of it all was that those people (and by "those people" she meant everyone who isn't christian - her brand of it at that) were all going to hell. Did I mention that she kinda scares me sometimes? I'm RELATED to this person! I share genetic traits with her. Luckily, that's about all I share with her.

--Little Bird is soon to be carved

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Train Stations

The train station in St. Louis is pretty new. And fantastic when compared with the last two they had. Oh, yes, St. Louis has a Union Station. But they turned that into a mall and a hotel. About 20 years or more ago. When the mall was new, it was really cool. Now that mall only has crap. And the hotel doesn't see half the business it used to. So while St. Louis had a great new mall, they still needed a downtown train stop. So they purchased and assembled one of those "temporary" buildings. The ones that on a smaller scale are often used as garden sheds. It was drafty and cold in the winter, and overly warm in the summer. It was referred to by locals as the "Amshack". So someone decided to build a new station stop. Same kind of building, only this was about 20 yards east and faced with bricks. It was still called an "Amshack". Finally someone (I assume someone else this time) realized that this stop is the first impression that many people have of the city. And rolling up to a tiny metal shed doesn't send the right message. Also, the station(s) were/are right near the new ballpark and the hockey arena, gotta keep up appearances! So now the station is bright, clean and has actual food vendors instead of vending machines. And the bathrooms aren't scary at the new place (I honestly don't know what the restrooms in the older places looked like, I could never bring myself to enter them). The new station is nice! The new station makes it easier to tell the difference between the normal people and the crazies.
To explain, the old place was a dump, and anyone can look crazy in a dump and everybody sort of blends in there for some reason. But in the new place, the crazies stand out. There was this guy there Monday. When he wasn't constantly moving from seat to seat, he could have looked normal. Except then he got up to wander around and a security guard turned around and the guy (let's call him Mr. Green) made a mad dash for the nearest available seat. It turns out that he'd been there awhile and been something of a problem. We watched this charade play out a few times until finally the guard told him (and his brother who did nothing to control Mr. Green) that he had to stay seated. In ONE seat. That's when we noticed that Mr. Green was a wee bit... twitchy. I was a bit worried that he would be on our train, but luckily he was taking the bus (Greyhound also uses the station). Other than that, the train experiences this trip were entirely uneventful.
The turducken has arrived!!! A ten pound hunk of birds within birds, along with some creole stuffing. The company that assembles them also sent along a canister of creole seasoning for any other dishes you might be making go go along with the bird(s). So this weekend it's off to get the rest of the necessary items. Green beans (in a can, ick) for the green bean casserole (also ick) and the other stuff for it. The stuff for the mashed potatoes and the mashed sweet potatoes and a few foil pans to cook and transport the food from my place to the staff lunch room. Here's hoping my cold is gone by then and I don't infect the entirety of my building maintenance staff!
Other than that, I have nothing new to report. Unless you want an update on the state of my cold. Which I strongly suggest that you don't.

--Little Bird will soon be cooking a big one

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'mmm Baaaaaack

So, the trip to St. Louis went well! The costumes were great! Whirly Bird went as FLO from the Progressive commercials, and totally looked the part. My Julia Child costume looked eerily accurate (when I was standing next to the 5 foot 2 inch Whirly Bird that is). Rooster's revolutionary war british officer was fantastic. And Whirly Bird's beau went as an OB-GYN, with an offer of a free exam, that night only advertised on the back of his lab coat.
The night was cut a bit short by the cold that Whirly Bird and her beau both had. But we still made it out to some parties and bars. It wasn't too cold, but it was cold enough that we needed jackets.
We got to stop by a few neat shops the next day, and catch up with some of my old friends. I also got to pick up some of my favorite St. Louis foods. Red Hot Ripplets (Old Vienna) and Pasta Crunchers from a local restaurant.
Whirly Bird is a kind a generous hostess, she shared her home, her food AND her cold with us! I've been teasing her about that for the past two days. It's not her fault, I'd have gotten a cold anyway. It's how it works.
We did get to introduce Rooster to some only-in-St.-Louis delicacies. Like Imo's Pizza. With the cheese that sticks to your teeth. The cheese that (legend has it) was invented in St. Louis. Also the super thin cracker style of pizza the town is known for. Some local beers, and Steak n' Shake. I know, Steak n' Shake isn't St. Louis only, but I don't know where any are near me, so I only get to go to one when I'm there. Next time we'll take him out for toasted ravioli and find some gooey butter cake. And Vess soda.
Today I am all about the not doing anything. I am popping Advil cold and sinus like candy (every 4 hours or so). And drinking gatorade right now, trying to keep hydrated. I want to sleep. All day. Rooster wasn't too keen on that idea, but suffered through it for a while. But he had to get back to his place before the buses get packed. Poor thing has to go to work tomorrow. Yes, Rooster got the cold too. I can't even begin to tell him how sorry I am about that.
We took the train there and back, and it was an uneventful ride. No real delays (ten minutes doesn't count). We had plenty of food both ways (we picked up lunchables for the way home). There were no screaming children, nor creepy neighbors (on the train at least, the station is another story for tomorrow).

--Little Bird is staying in the nest today