Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Still Alive

I'm here--barely! The past week or so has been crazy busy and I've got 2-ish weeks left (I really don't know anymore...I'm taking it week by week now or I'll punch someone).

Between work and school and going to Cardinals games and our house-hunting adventures (which mostly involves looking at places we can't afford on Craigslist), I'm a little stressed. I honestly have no idea how I'm getting any of it done. But apparently I'm doing pretty well in both of my classes, at least for now. There are still quite a few things to turn in before the end of the semester which could change things drastically. I did get an A on my research exam though so I was super happy about that.

But there's a light at the end of the tunnel (2-ish weeks from now). And then I get a month-long break from school before my online summer class starts (which is also only a month-ish long).

Summer will be fantastic though, simply because it means I'll be getting off work at 4 every day, I won't have homework to do every weekend, and I get to go to lots more Cards games. And I'm kind of hoping we find a place to move to and we can move over the summer. That'd be nice. And I'd really like to be in a neighborhood with sidewalks so I can run and take Copper for walks.

So if any of you happen to know of any houses (or townhomes--basically anything with a fenced yard) for rent in the Arnold or Imperial areas, pass them along!

In the mean time I'm going to get back to my busy schedule (which is now written in a planner, on a calendar on my phone, and on post-its--so I don't forget!) so I'll see you all again sometime in May!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Sorry I've been M.I.A. for over a week now. I've got three weeks of school left (yay!) and a lot to get done in that short amount of time (boo!). So you may not hear from me again until after finals.

Aside from school (which isn't going too badly, just lots and lots of work), things are going pretty well lately. We had a good weekend.

Oh and last Tuesday was day 30 of being gluten-free, and also the last. Chris talked me into going to Buffalo Wild Wings that night, so I got the pepperjack steak wrap and had a beer. I didn't eat most of it--we had an appetizer too so I got full pretty quick (and I wanted to finish my beer since you can't take those to-go lol).

I've been eating foods with gluten in them since then and I haven't noticed a big difference, except that I'm definitely not eating as healthy (which makes Chris happy). I talked to my mom over the weekend and she agreed with what I had said previously--that most people who have a gluten allergy and go gluten-free notice major differences almost immediately. And it made me feel better that she's heard that too and I didn't just imagine it!

My next step is to try fiber pills I think. Apparently fiber just kinda works in whatever way your body needs it to. So I'm gonna give those a shot for a while and see how that goes. I really can't afford to go to the doctor right now anyway, so I'll just keep experimenting and see what happens.

Chris and I are house-hunting again. We probably won't be moving until after our lease is up in October, but we're starting to look anyway, just in case we find something really great. We're looking to rent a house (or townhouse) in the Arnold area mainly so Copper has a fenced-in yard. Arnold will only add five or ten more minutes to my drive depending on how far away from the highway we are and I can stay on one main highway the entire way. Highway 32 sucks, especially at night when the weather is bad (like it was last week).

Copper got some new toys this weekend and she destroyed a couple others including her tennis ball :(

We got her a tire/rope and she really likes it :)

You can see the tire/rope better, but she has
crazy eyes in this one lol. RIP tennis ball.

And this is a random picture of the cat that's
always outside my office--I like to text Chris
pictures of it and tell him I'm going to bring it
home because Copper needs a friend hehe :)
Most of my free time over the next couple weeks will be spent on homework, so you may not hear from me again until May! I'll try to post again soon though :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Grad School Crises

So I've had a few freak outs since starting grad school last semester. Although I think all of them have occurred this semester.

1. Trying to figure out what to do for my thesis. Not a terrible one, but it was stressful for a while.

2. Trying to figure out what to do for my thesis intro for my research class. I'm still not 100% sure what it is I'm doing, but I started it...and I'm still stressed.

3. Registering for my classes for next year. First, I thought my only other option besides the required Advanced Publishing class on Wed. nights was a Brit Lit. class offered by the same teacher who teaches the research class I'm currently in. So my schedule for next semester would have pretty much been identical to this semester. And I have never hated having two night classes in a row so much in my life. It sucks.
After I talked to my boss, she told me there were two classes offered during the day that I could take because neither interfered with her teaching schedule.
I want to take both.
The problem? They're only offered in the spring of odd years. So they aren't offered again until Spring 2015. Which leads me to number 4.

4. Far too many of the graduate courses are only offered every other year or whatever which makes it so hard to plan your schedule and makes it even more difficult to take classes you might actually enjoy for your electives.

5. I eventually made my decision based on whether I wanted to take a morning or afternoon class. And I went with the afternoon class.

6. Trying to figure out what I need to take to graduate and when I can possibly/hopefully graduate.
I'm still not 100% on this, but I'm signed up for a class to take this summer. Then I'll have two classes each semester next year, and an independent study that summer. I should only need one or two classes in the Fall of 2014 and then I can graduate! (I'm trying really hard to avoid staying until 2015 because I'd only need 1 class that spring semester.)

7. Aside from the constant worry/stress over homework assignments, tests, my thesis, and trying to make sure I have my schedule planned out correctly so that I meet all the requirements, I think that's about it. No pressure.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gluten-Free Day 23

So I've been doing this whole gluten-free thing for almost a month now. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing a huge difference.

I've read that cross-contamination can be a big problem for some people, and I haven't be overly careful about that, so that could be part of the problem.

Or it could be that I don't have a gluten allergy (at least not a severe one anyway). I don't know. I'm going to stick it out until the end of the month (since I started it, not to the end of April), and then go see a doctor.

Well, I might keep doing it until I actually go see the doctor. I don't know. I guess it will depend on how soon I can go. I don't even know where to start as far as looking for a doc goes and stuff. I definitely want to see a gastrointerologist if I can.

If any of you have a good doctor or know someone who does, let me know. I could use some help!

In the mean time, I'll keep doing this gluten-free stuff and see how it goes. Going gluten-free sucks. Gluten-free things are more expensive in general, and you have fewer options to what you can eat overall. I think my biggest issue with it is that I'm still not seeing a big improvement in how I feel.

From my research and talking to other people I know who are gluten-free, most people noticed pretty significant improvements in the first few days and the first week. Here's a few I've read/heard:
Improved digestion (almost immediately)
Improved complexion (fewer pimples/breakouts/etc.)
Improved mood (less depressed, overwhelmed, etc.)
Improved sleep (more restful, not waking up more than once during the night)
Increased energy levels (less fatigue)

There's probably more, but those are the ones that stood out to me.

My digestion has changed since I've started this diet, but I wouldn't say it has improved. I get more pimples now than I ever did as a teenager. I haven't seen any change in my mood, except that maybe it's worse sometimes (which could be from not getting to eat what I want and the stress of buying gluten-free foods). I haven't seen any change in my sleep habits. I don't have increased energy. In fact, I think I feel more tired now.

There are plenty of other explanations for most of these that could be the reason I haven't seen any changes--stress from school and work effects just about every one of those areas where people have seen improvements and I'm not. Obviously there's not much I can do to make either of those less stressful. As far as the fatigue goes, that could be from stress as well, but I've noticed that it's becoming more difficult to get myself to go the gym on my lunch breaks. I've even been skipping a few days here and there, or taking it easy at the gym because I'm so exhausted.

Maybe I'm not seeing a lot of improvement in my digestive health because I haven't been super diligent about the whole cross contamination thing (seriously, some people suggest not even using the same pots, pans, utensils, etc.--even after they're washed--because that could potentially cause problems. I don't know about those people, but I can't afford to replace everything in my kitchen that may or may not have come in contact with something that contained gluten). And some people can be affected by the most minuscule amounts of gluten (even some products that are labeled "gluten-free" can still contain trace amounts of gluten in them; and there's always the possibility of cross-contamination before you even buy your food from the store).

It's really hard to tell what's causing what here. Maybe gluten is the problem, but with all these other factors, I'm not seeing a huge improvement like other people have. Or maybe I'm not allergic to gluten at all so cutting it out is making zero difference on my overall health.

I guess I really won't know anything until I see a doctor. Even then, I seriously doubt I'll get a straight answer as to what's causing all of my digestive problems. But maybe I'll at least have a better idea of what's going on so I can make some changes that will actually help.

Any tips, suggestions, doc recommendations, etc. would be greatly appreciated!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Weekend Recap

While everyone was leaving Thursday to start off their Easter holiday early, I was stuck in class. Lame. My teacher brought in (what looked like) some delicious brie though (I obviously couldn't have any), so I guess that makes up for it. Sort of.

I got home and we had jalapeno turkey burgers for dinner. I thought they were really good, Chris thought they were okay. Maybe it just tasted better to me because I was so hungry. :(

I had a nice wake up call on Friday (my day off) as I heard a lot of racket coming from next door. Apparently they were installing carpet and new appliances and whatnot. At 7:30am. So much for sleeping in.

I managed to get some homework done and get started on my thesis (better late than never I suppose). I also did some laundry. And I really don't remember what else. It was kind of a long and boring day off. Eventually I gave up and started watching SVU. I have problems.

Saturday I got to sleep in a little bit later. I did some more work on my thesis and then did some shopping at JC Penney since I still had a gift card for there from Christmas. I bought a really cute white sweater...which I managed to get grape juice on when I wore it on Sunday. Fail.

When Chris got home, we went to Applebee's for dinner. I swear we somehow always have terrible food and service in some way or another at every restaurant we go to in Farmington. Every time. And we generally order the same few things from Applebee's. And they taste different every single time. Chris got the quesadilla burger, which he said was terrible. I ordered the oriental salad with grilled chicken and it was really good. I ordered it without the noodles on it, but I really couldn't tell if there were any there or not. The way my stomach felt when I got home tells me there were :(

We watched the last Saw movie (finally!) and then went to bed. I drove up to St. Louis the next day. Hung out at my parents' house in the morning and my sister did my hair for me and gave me my new Paul Mitchell flat iron! I'm so excited about it :)

You can't really see my hair in this, but it's a tad shorter
and I've got bangs now. Not pictured: grape juice stain
on my new sweater. :/

After that we headed over to my aunt and uncle's for a late lunch/early dinner thingy. I ate a lot of fruits and veggies and then had one chicken breast (which was surprisingly good since chicken isn't my favorite). My mom made me a gluten-free chocolate cake and that was delicious. Unfortunately, almost immediately after that, my stomach was in knots. Not fun. So I left after that.

Chris texted me right before I left to say that Copper chipped her tooth and her mouth was bleeding :(
Turns out, her whole tooth came out. I asked my cousin if we needed to take her to the vet or anything and she said just to watch her and make sure it doesn't get infected. She was hyper all night last night though, so I think she's fine :p And she got some new toys (which I'm sure will be ripped to pieces by the end of the week).

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend and got to enjoy some of the nice weather!