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Summer Resolutions and Recipes
Aug 12th, 2016 by Dr Karma

Summer is my time of resolutions and new beginnings–the academic calendar warps the mind this way. Since I live in an academic town, though, we’re all warped.

I’ve been trying to take advantage of the significant schedule shift that summer gives me–I’m still teaching, of course, but the hours are different–to do three things:

1. I’m walking every day in the purposeful way (as opposed to the I’m on my way to class way). Unfortunately, my body doesn’t like this, so I can’t go as far as I’d like, but I’m doing it anyway.

2. I’m writing every day in the purposeful way (as opposed to the I have a bunch of emails to answer and papers to grade way). You may notice that you’re getting blog posts more often, and my academic writing is on track.

3. I’m trying new recipes every week (I want to use parallelism here, but of course trying a new recipe is purposeful). Here are our favorites:

Hot Honey Shrimp, which I just served with Pan Roasted Okra and Corn.

Meltingly Tender Chicken with Miso, Ginger, and Carrots: soooo tender, sooo good.

What else would you do with the miso? Try Pancetta Miso Pasta.

Pancetta Miso Pasta and Soy Chicken over Arugula

Pancetta Miso Pasta and Soy Chicken over Arugula

Crock Pot Carnitas: I turned them into tacos, stew, and enchiladas.

Pork in Magic Green Sauce: the sauce also worked well on chicken and shrimp.

Soy Ginger Chicken over Argugula.

Indian-spiced Corn Stew: I used half water and half coconut milk, and I added okra and some leftover cooked chicken.

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The Year So Far (February edition)
Feb 24th, 2014 by Dr Karma

I haven’t been in the kind of contact that I want to be with most of you. Part of it is that I’m busy. Part of it is that I don’t necessarily want to talk about how I am.

I was really hoping that this year would be better than last. Last year was busy (no surprise), but also difficult due to my gall bladder, an amazing cervical spine headache that started in summer, and a car accident, which resulted in hours of physical therapy each week (it’s only ended last week).

This year hasn’t been easier so far. I’ve already written about my grandmother dying last month. What I haven’t said yet is that, while she was sick, this particular time of death didn’t have to be. What I haven’t said yet is that I’m angry about some of my mother’s decisions and angrier about her refusal to acknowledge them.

Next month, I will return home during Spring Break. My family is waiting to put the ashes in the ground until I get back. I need to try to have a calm conversation in which I explain to my mother that she can’t change my grandfather’s medicines, etc. without notifying the doctor. But she’s going to get defensive, and we’re going to have a fight, and I’m stressing about it.

The other thing I haven’t said is that it really sucks to be the only woman in the world with the middle name Jewreen. Before, there were two of us.

As for myself, three things are going on physically. Today I have a tube going from my stomach, out of my nose, and to a recorder. It’s testing the ph of my acid reflux and also checking to see if some of the reflux ix actually bile, now that we know I have some bile in my stomach. I am very uncomfortable, doubting I’ll be able to sleep tonight, and looking forward to getting it out after my classes tomorrow. Some of what we’ll learn will determine if the doctor thinks I need surgery for the hernia in my esophagus.

My inclination is not to have surgery; however, the drugs I’m on haven’t been controlling my reflux symptoms like they used to. And I’m on the highest dose of things.

I was finally able to see someone at the pain clinic for this cervical spine headache in December. We are looking at doing a nerve burn in my neck–pain medication isn’t doing anything, nor are the non-invasive things like massage, etc. Friday, I had a nerve block, a sort of test to see if the nerve burn would work. The very temporary block had wonderful effects, although I’m sore and swollen from the procedure. My insurance company wants me to have another test block done before they approve the burn, which would be longer lasting.

Lastly, one of the drugs I need, xolair, is expensive and weird. When my insurance changed at the start of the year, I had to try to get reauthorized for it. It’s now almost the end of Feb–I’ve been off my drug for almost two months. Both my nurse and I have spent hours on the phone with insurance and hours on the phone with the specialty pharmacy. It looks like I might finally be able to get back on the drug next week, though my copay will be lots higher. And then the insurance company wants to reevaluate in June. Every dose they can prevent me from having saves them thousands of dollars.

The other big news is that my aunt Mindy is not doing well. She is now basically too disabled to work. She has been living with my cousin for the past few months. My cousin’s husband, however, is getting transferred to Guam. My aunt has been unsuccessful so far in getting insurance, etc. (The Southern States have not expanded medicaid to poor adults.)

The short version of this is that Mindy will be coming to live with me at the end of Spring. It will be a bit tight–I don’t have the money right now to move us to a three bedroom. But I at least should be able to get her the care she so desperately needs.

Work is fine. The students are understanding about papers coming back two days late the week Gma died. They are understanding and sympathetic about the awkwardness of a tube coming out of my face today. My stand-up class is a joy.

I gave a smart and amazingly attended presentation at a Writing Teacher’s Conference in January. Had a good MLA. I’ve applied to be the coordinator for the Upper Division Comp exam. I’ve got a paper coming out on (a)sexuality in Sherlock. The Prized Writing Ceremony went swimmingly–the Chancellor was there for the first time, and she enjoyed it so much that we’ve already scheduled next year’s so she can be there. I’ll present at pca/aca in April (no more conferences for the year, though–too broke). The Margaret Atwood journal is going online. I’ve been contracted by Cambridge for an Atwood collection. The authors are writing now. Denise and I are putting together a Simpsons collection. Melissa and I are putting together a collection of best comp paper assignments. There are and will be plays and movies and, in April, Willie Nelson. Book group still gathers here for food, wine, and cats. When HBO or BBC is doing something good, there are weekly movie nights too. The boyfriend cooks for me and distracts me and pleases me. Alexander is generally in good spirits. He doesn’t love all of his classes. (His classes are part of me being broke.) But we get along well.

Just today, he reminded me that I wasn’t allowed to use the microwave (due to the weird machine I’m wearing). Then, when I thoughtlessly went to the microwave half an hour later, I got the same tone from him that the cats do when they jump on the counter.

My friends are lovely. I miss you and love you all.

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