Eating of the things, talking about politics, etc.

First, let’s celebrate that I have no pain today.

Second, let’s celebrate that it’s sun-shining gorgeous out.

Third, let’s celebrate that that damn race between Dr. Oz and John Fetterman is over. Talk about two bad choices.

But it sure was exciting to take my freshly-minted 18-year-old to vote and even more exciting to hear her rant about international politics after she took my out to dinner.

M and I took her to Paris, Moscow and Kazan the summer she turned 12… and while it was a whirlwind visit, she had the brain-expanding experience I hoped she would have.

Because she knows how little of the world she’s seen, but also knows how little she can trust depictions of other cultures perpetuated by the mainstream.

I often wish I could see Russia how she sees Russia. I imagine it’s similar to my view, but also very different because I have seen parts of North and East Africa and even Yemen. But just that little pop of Russia six years ago altered her perceptions forever.

If you want to read more about that trip, click here to start in the middle.

The beginning of the trip is here.

So, last night, The Teenager took me out to dinner— at Applebee’s, she loves the fiesta lime chicken— and we tried the Cheetos cheese curds and the slamming reindeer drink.

The cheese curds were strange, super greasy and very addictive.

Other foods I have taste-tested recently include the cookie butter doughnut at Dunkin which I mention here and some new flavors of delicious Blue Diamond almonds which we bought at QuickChek, video here.

I ended up calling out sick from work today— in part because of my hip and in part because I didn’t get to sleep until 3.

I see my specialist today, and my body is definitely stiff and angled but I’m not in pain. What a thing to say— but I wanted to be in pain to explain how I feel to the doctor.

I’m trying to motivate myself to give up sugar and do a 30 day elimination diet via Whole30 as I think reducing food-related inflammation in my body could go a long way. And there are others who would like to see me try medical marijuana.

Margaritas and cat noses

I might be pushing too hard.

I did (I think) 105% on Sunday at work, 105% yesterday and woke up stiff and with my right quad tight and spasms in my calf. I only did 93% today, but I feel better now. And the dip in numbers had more to do with some chaos in the warehouse versus my cerebral palsy issues.

Regardless, I must admit I was a little relieved yesterday when my fitness coach Andrew from Apex Training postponed my workout.

The teenager proposed going to Applebee’s for dinner, her treat, as she didn’t feel like cooking. She also demanded I order a cocktail as I think she wanted to make sure I drifted off to bed as early as possible. (8 p.m.)

The teenager loves Applebee’s— for a child raised in all sorts of Mom & Pop restaurants where we often knew the owners, she certainly loves her boring old franchise Applebee’s.

I realized that if you took any item with chicken tenders away from the menu, you’d lose more than half the meals available. And if you didn’t want bacon on your hamburger, you had three choices: the quesadilla burger (which we got), the plain old burger and the Beyond veggie burger (which was $14 and came with nothing but lettuce, tomato and pickle).

Boring.

The quesadilla burger was a mish-mash delight (I chose my margarita for the artificial Latin theme) but had to be eaten with a knife and fork.

When I arrived home, Opie and Fog (two of our personal cats) joined Khloe and Louise (foster cats) and Nala (Goffin’s cockatoo) and Yo-yo (parakeet) in my room for the night. Fog tries so hard to be Louise’s friend— and she is slowly (after more than a year) getting braver and more confident.

Louise (left) and Fog (bottom right)

Finally, for those that are wondering… I ruptured my tendon in my ring finger April 15 and had “mallet finger” and a cast for nine weeks. My specialist released me July 25 and expressed his disappointment that my finger was still a little off.

My finger after a ten hour shift August 15 — four full months after my accident.

I use my hands so much at work, so I still splint at night. I must say it feels like and looks like the finger is getting stronger and straighter every day.

Sunday morning babbling

Nala is chattering away on my chest as I recline in bed with a cup of coffee at 7:30 a.m. The wind howls and rain patters sporadically. It’s freakishly warm for an East Coast winter morning. The budgies fly and play freely as Saturday and Sunday are free bird days.

We got up at 6:30. Nala once again plucked a feather and squealed when I didn’t come get her as soon as I woke. I don’t know if it’s out of fear, hearing a rustle in the dark and not knowing if it is me, a cat or an unknown predator or if she’s a brat and wants my immediate attention.

Life with birds. Speaking of life with birds, I notice that people with larger birds often have a bird room and bedtime rituals so the birds can sleep undisturbed. I wonder if I will eventually move Nala so she can get her rest undisturbed. I need to start putting her to bed around 6:30 since I’m an early riser. My evening routines need to change.

This morning, I had planned on opening Nala’s cage and going down to make coffee and feed the cats. Nala jumped on my hand and decided to come for the ride. I didn’t even offer.

But she’s a moody little Goffin and refused to do anything but sit on my shoulder and bite at me if I tried to move her. (I was offering her her morning tea which she wanted, but she wanted to drink it from my shoulder. I tried to ignore her, and leave her on my shoulder but then she would fly off my shoulder and stand in front of the cat. Luckily, she did this with Oz who has no idea what she is and merely sees her as something over which he displays jealousy versus Opie who clearly sees her as dinner.)

I was trying to be patient but then she starting picking apart the shoulder seam of one of my favorite work-appropriate dresses so I put her back in her cage. She didn’t like that. I have tiny bloody beak nips on my fingers now, but once she saw I was putting her in her cage she settled.

Five minutes later I came back to my room with my coffee and fresh romaine and fruit for everyone. I opened Nala’s cage door, put her fruit in, and let her hang out on her cage while I gave the budgies their romaine.

Then she rejoined me. Much less moody now. And she said two more phrases this morning. One almost sounded like a greeting and another that seemed like “hi, Nala.” She said it when I slipped out of the room to use the bathroom. If my attempt at reading the context is correct, it seemed like she was requesting to come with me.

Nala met some new people yesterday. She met my neighbor, mother of the Maltese/Yorky mix who visits here and spends her vacations with me. Nala didn’t know what to make of such a strange dog but she did like my neighbor’s very pretty nails and jewelry. I hope Nala learns to trust my neighbor as she is one potential caretaker should Nala need a sitter.

Then Nala met my dad and stepmom. Nala jumped right on my dad’s shoulder. Immediate connection. She refused to come down. My stepmom reached out and asked Nala to step up but Nala wasn’t interested. My stepmom had a cockatoo thirty years ago so I wondered how she would react to them. I have never seen an animal or a person not take to my dad.

I also bought Nala a new toy and treats. She liked neither.

On a personal level, I did a five-minute workout yesterday three sets of 10, shoulder press, with a 15-pound dumbbell on each arm. I’m still lazy but at least I did something.

My weight though is up three pounds but I know that is because my only meal was at Applebee’s. I invited my dad and his wife to join the teenager and I at Applebee’s because I received this email:

I love food. I love real food. I love fancy food. I love plain food. But I also love junk food. And for some reason I kept dreaming of boneless wings all week. And the teenager loves shrimp.

And while Applebee’s is not fine dining… I wanted company and I hadn’t seen my dad since Christmas. We all got the all-you-can-eat. Here’s the part I didn’t know; it’s mix-and-match. So you can get either boneless wings OR double crunch shrimp OR riblets AND get a different one every time.

I ate two plates of wings. So there’s soooooooooooo much sodium in my body right now.

I’ve spent an hour drafting this. I need to sort out laundry, wash the floors and hopefully get to the gym today. I did some grocery shopping last night. Spent $40 at the Grocery Outlet and hope to do my meal plan for this week.

It’s going to be another stressful one.