February 8th, 2008

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Good news, bad news

I'm happy to report that my nose feels GREAT. It's clear in a way it's never been before, and it seems to have almost no "junk" in it. The bad news? I still feel awful in the morning when I wake up. I'm not waking up unable to breathe, like in the past, but apparently something about sleeping makes me feel like I've been hit by a truck or crushed by a steamroller. Also, I remain generally very tired and could sleep all day, any day, no problem, morning, noon or night. I can fall asleep right after an espresso, in broad daylight, with the TV on.

Writer's Block: Cooking Lessons

Who taught you how to cook?

Mostly my mother, but also my grandmother and sisters, via osmosis. And I guess Dad, too, since he did all the day-to-day cooking for most of the time I was growing up.

Mom taught to me cook and prep food for myself early, because no doubt she was aware by that point that she wasn't the most reliable mom as far as always being there to do breakfast, make up school lunches, etc. The first thing she showed me how to cook was scrambled eggs. I still cook them the same way: heat up the pan, toss some salt in it, mixed up eggs and a bit of milk, scramble with a fork. I was tall enough to do that by the time I was four or five so I did. I was regularly asked to help around the kitchen and I remember breading cutlets, taking the ends of string beans, making the orange juice, etc. I was packing my own lunches by the time I was 6 or 7. I used to make peanut butter and jelly on rye a lot.

Mom is much more of a baker than a cook so I grew up watching her bake special treats for holidays and parties. I never really was taught to bake, but just started doing it, using cookbooks and asking for advice from mom. I started getting really into baking in my early teens and by freshman year in high school, I was making apple strudel, chocolate cake and meringues regularly. I still love to bake and while I use cookbooks, I do ask Mom for advice and recipes when I need them. I still have never made a Sandtorte (German poundcake) but I've made other Mom favorites, like cranberry bread, molasses cookies and butter cake.

Oma was one of those grandmothers who was always doing something in the kitchen, always from scratch, and my early years were full of delicious German food, like rouladen, potato pancakes, plum cake, anise cookies, etc. I would help a bit with these things but mostly I learned how to make these things by getting good cookbooks and asking Mom for advice and bits of recipes. Mom still uses Oma's ancient cookbook, which is 100 years old and written in the old German Gothic script. It doesn't use any "measures" but gives in ingredients and says to add a pinch, handful, mug, or as much as seems OK. We don't always get it right but it's a good enough guide.

From my dad I learned the basics of an English dinner, which isn't a whole lot since you just need a meat, veg and potatoes of some kind. I almost never eat a meal like that but if pressed I could do it: pork chops, cauliflower with white sauce and mashed potatoes, yay.
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Name the Price

So yesterday I got the hospital bill for my septoplasty. This is the bill for the entire set of services, before insurance kicks in the cash. It's about what I thought it would be. Care to take a stab at the rough dollar figure? Figure include pre-op, medications, anesthesia, surgery and post-op. Person who comes in closest... gets a pic of me taken after surgery! LOL. My insurance has been unbelievably good to me *knock on wood* so hopefully the luck holds.