Friday, May 2, 2014

Living with Lactose Intolerance

Forgive me for writing another food related post, but they just keep a coming! This one is about me discovering that I was lactose intolerant.

Growing up I had a friend who was lactose intolerant and she would always complain about not being able to drink regular milk and so on. I was never worried about that because it wasn't a transferred disease or anything like that. I couldn't catch it. But I never knew a person could grow into it, until it happened to me. I had been drinking milk everyday at high school like a good girl but towards the end of sophomore year I noticed that I would get stomach aches after drinking milk or eating pizza. And it would stay constant because I drank milk at home as well. This went on for a few weeks and I didn't really think anything of it.

Then came the ice cream from McDonald's; the devil ice cream! My parents and I stopped by one on the way home from somewhere and I got a sundae to go. We got home and started eating our desserts. After the first few spoonfuls of mine I started to feel a horrible pain inside my stomach. I thought for sure my intestines were eating each other! The pain was so bad that I couldn't even finish my snack and I thought that I'd be done for.

When the pain finally stopped I was overjoyed! But my parents told me that they had given me an informal diagnosis of being lactose intolerant. What? No. I couldn't have that. It was impossible. So we decided to do a test. I wasn't allowed to drink milk, anywhere, for a whole week. I went through the experiment and my constant stomach ache went away.

So now that I've had this for a few years I've learned some things. I have to take pills with foods that are milk rich. So like actual milk, ice cream, and pizza. But normally I drink lactose free milk. Other cheeses are okay. If I eat some lactose laden food and I don't take a pill my stomach gets all rumbly. And every once in awhile I test myself by eating ice cream without a pill. Each result is the same, a rumbly stomach and a bit of pain. I also discovered that if I eat cheesecake without a pill I will regret it later. I don't know how long this will last because it's possible to grow back out of it too. So now I'm just taking my pills and hoping for a day when I don't have to take them anymore!

Also, these pills are my best friend. Always in my purse when I need them!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Memories of Childhood

My creative writing class has turned on the switch that made my creative juices flow again, a feeling that I haven't felt in a long time. Now that my first year of college is almost over, I've been thinking of some childhood memories and how I wish I could go back to those simpler times. So here are a few things that readers might find entertaining. But be warned, the order in which I write these events does not guarantee that it actually happened in that order.

One: I had a pretty vivid dream once. I still remember it to this very day. Now that I think about it, it should make me laugh but in all honesty, it freaks me out now just as it did back then. I was asleep in my own bed (where else would I be?) and instead of having a dream that occurred in some obscure land that only a sleeping brain can create, it happened in my very bedroom. In the dream I had rolled over and noticed a freaky looking fish swimming through my bookcase. I vaguely remember what happened after I was woken up by my mom but she told me that I was crying in my sleep and that she found me soaked with sweat. And I mean soaked. My pj's were disgustingly wet and so were the sheets. I suppose I went back to sleep but I can't remember. If I ever see that fish again it'll be too soon.

Two: I knocked myself unconscious in first or second grade. Me and my friend were on the playground at school one day and I wanted to see if I could jump to the first ring from the wooden platform that we were standing on. The rings that we had on the playground were sort of like the monkey bars but they could move. My friend could jump and I wanted to as well. So I did. And my god it was one of the worst mistakes I could've ever made! I missed the ring completely and I hit my low back on the platform that I was just standing on! I became hunched over and the distance between my face and the bark was growing both closer and blacker. I fainted. If some random kid hadn't of shaken my shoulder, I don't know how long I would've been laying there. And now because of my stupid mistake, it hurts every time I bend over to pick something up.

Three: I had the shingles. It's a relative of chicken pox. I had already gotten CP earlier and so I thought that getting its relative would've been a similar experience. I was dead wrong. It was itchy beyond anything that I've ever felt before. When I tried to sleep at night I couldn't because I didn't want any thing touching my bare skin. No sheets or covers or any other part of my body. I went to school anyway, although I probably wasn't supposed to, and I was exempt from recess the entire time. Having shingles as a second grader in grade school was such a horrible experience. Now doctors are saying that the elderly are at risk for getting shingles, and should get the vaccine. And every time I see those commercials I think try being seven!

Four: I split my lip. I was in swim lessons when it happened. You know how there are the things called 'bobs', where you grip the side of the pool and dunk your head in the water multiple times? Well on my way down I hung my head too far over the edge I was gripping and smack! My lower lip hit the edge and split wide open. All I could do was cry and my instructor lady got impatient and told me to "keep bobbing!" Jeez. My mom ran over and helped me to the lifeguards office. He was nervous as much as I was scared. I don't think he'd seen that before, because all throughout the info gathering he kept calling me "buddy". I went to school the next day with a new fashion trend I'm sure. I even have a scar.

There are many more memories for sure, but these four are the ones that stick out the most in my mind. And I also thought I'd post some photos. The first one is me when I was 3, the second when I turned 5, the third is my senior photo I put in the yearbook, and the fourth is of my high school graduation.



Monday, April 21, 2014

The Hunger Games: Not the Story that You Think

Remember how I said that I was going to write more food pieces because of my creative writing class? Well here's another one:

This is not the type of game where the government forced me to battle other kids to the death, as depicted in the books and their movie counterparts. No, it was a battle between my stomach and brain. A battle of "mind over matter".

It was in elementary school when it happened. My family and I had been eating a delicious dinner at The Ol' Spagetti Factory in the city where we live. In the restaurant they had an old train car fitted to have booths for diners. My parents and I were in that old train car eating dinner when it started to get really stuffy and hot. I ate too much food and combining a full stomach with an old stuffy train car did not have a good outcome.

I felt a twinge coming up my throat, my heart started beating wildly as if I'd just finished a marathon, and I ran to the bathroom thinking I'd be sick. As it turned out, that little episode was a panic attack. I'd had them before but I never knew what they were actually called. A week or so passed and nothing out of the ordinary happened.

Then I had another panic attack. I don't remember what caused it, but it was probably food related. After that second occurrence, I found that I couldn't eat anything for fear of another one. This went on for months on end; nearly lasted the whole school year. It got so bad that my mom had to buy me those Carnation Instant Breakfast drinks because I wouldn't eat a single thing.

My stomach was calling for food believe me, but I was too scared to oblige. I couldn't even eat the food at school and that prompted a concerned friends mom to call the school, who informed my mom my lack of eating.

I knew I should've tried, if not for me, then at least for my friend. But I couldn't. Then one day my mom told me it had gone on for long enough. She put a plate in front of me that contained a single buttered waffle and a small bowl of applesauce. And I ate it. Slowly but surely I ate it. After that moment I started eating again.

That span of time will forever be engrained in my mind. As much as I hate it, it's a part of me. So now whenever I don't feel good and don't eat lunch some day, people ask me if I'm anorexic. Really? You see not eat lunch for one day and you say I'm anorexic?

It doesn't matter. I'm my own person. Now that I'm older I think about that moment every once in awhile. And it caused me to have an aha! moment, an epiphany: I was afraid of the fear, not the food.

So that was my Hunger Games. And wow. I've only told a few people over the years and now here I am telling a secret to the world. It was one of the darkest parts of my life but now I can use it as a bright light for my future. And honestly, I'm glad to have gotten this story out there.

Friday, April 18, 2014

What is Family?: Opinion Piece Part 5

A dictionary definition of Family talks about social units with kids and it's called a group. And then we had the nuclear family. Father went out to work at his job. Mother stayed home and did the laundry, dishes, and blah blah blah. Son and Daughter might've been pesky, or perfect little angles.

Well that's an old-fashioned, and honestly, a real shitty definition of Family. That is not Family. To me, Family doesn't depend on how many people are in your little unit or what their names are. It depends on the amount of love, caring, trust, and responsibility is in that unit. If you live with your grandparents for whatever reason, that's your Family. If you have better relationship and feel safer with your friends rather than adults, that's your Family.

Watching Long Island Medium on TLC and seeing all these people connect with their loved ones through Theresa Caputo has gotten me thinking about family lately and what it means to me. And this is what I've learned:

I have a small family. That is something I've always known. Me, my parents, two half-brothers, a sister-in-law, a fiancĂ©, two pairs of aunts/uncles, and a gramma all live in the same state. That is my Family and I wouldn't change a thing about it.

But when I think of all the long long dead ancestors that I have, especially the Italian ones on my dad's side, I realize that I don't really know how big my family is after all. They are the ones I want to know about.

Just because I want to know about them doesn't mean they're a huge part of my Family. No. They're a small part, a very small part. Not because they are dead, but because learning about them and who they were wouldn't add to what I am today. Because who and what I am today was shaped by the people actually living in my life right now.

So to answer the title's question...this is Family.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Things that Don't get Finished

You know how there are types of people that work on several projects at a time and none of them ever get finished? There are crafting people, people that work in the garage for their projects so I'm assuming it's a dude with his cars and/or motorcycles, or the people that have random tinkerings that they call their 'inventions' laying around in various parts of the house.

For me it can be crafting things, sometimes, a very small sometimes. Mostly it's stories though. I have a story that is multiple pages long but I haven't worked on it in ages. There's another story that I only have an introduction to and I haven't added anything new to it since December. And finally I have another story that's just an idea. The idea is written down but anything that consists of a plot and defining characters is missing.

The longer story I can come back to anytime because it's not as important as the one with only an introduction. That one is a fan fiction. It's a type of fiction writing where fans of TV shows, movies, and video games make up their own story while using characters from those different media avenues. Or something like that. I'd never done a fan fiction before so I wanted to try it out. I knew the show that I wanted to write on, BBC's Doctor Who. But I've been lacking inspiration since I've written the intro and that was four months ago.

I'm afraid that it's going to end up in my pile of Things that Don't get Finished. Many items have landed there over the years and it's a bit sad sometimes. But I will post the intro...

Doctor Who Fan Fic Intro:


I spent the first twenty years of my life wondering if there was more out there in the world, in the universe; wondering if the human race wasn't alone; wondering because all I'd known in my first twenty years of living was the small coastal Oregon town that I lived in. It had a post office, a bank, shops and hotels for tourists, delicious restaurants, and a drugstore. If you wanted to go shopping at a regular store, you'd be driving awhile. I loved that town more than anything because it was my home but I had been getting restless. Some days I felt like leaving forever whereas on other days I knew I could never leave. But on my twenty first birthday, everything changed. My life was turned upside down and I learned so many things about love, loss, friendship, and courage. All because I met a man.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

No Lunch is Ever Free

For Spring quarter at my college one of my classes is Creative Writing. One of our free write activities one day was to write about food, but school lunches in particular. So I wrote about an embarrassing time in middle school. Then I realized I had more food stories to tell, so those will come later in this blog. Here is my first one:

I remember hearing in my Economics class senior year of high school that there was "no such thing as a free lunch". It was meant to explain that a lot of things had to go through production to make just one meal and production cost money.

Well, that's how I view my lunch experience growing up. For public school each year your parents fill out a sheet for your lunch to see how much it'll cost you. It was all based on your parent's income. So from first grade to seventh, I had free lunch.

Then one day in seventh grade, or the beginning of eighth (I don't remember), I went through the lunch line like normal and expected my lunch to be free. The lady in charge of the line asked if I had 40 cents. I got a very panicky deer-in-the-headlights look and finally said that I didn't have any. Apparently my family's income changed just enough so that I needed to start paying for lunch everyday. But since I was not informed ahead of time, the lady took my lunch away! In front of the whole line and other portions of the cafeteria!

My replacement was a pack of crackers that came with fake spreadable cheese and a plastic red stick to spread that fake cheese. That is a snack. Not lunch. I barely made it to the table before I started crying. After that embarrassing day I continued to pay for lunch everyday. When I got to my high school I still had to pay but it had a better selection of food so it was worth it.

And because I lived right across the street from my high school and we had open campus, I was able to go home every once in awhile to eat there.

I will never forget that day in middle school, mostly because it was mortifying, but also because I learned that even my free costing lunch wasn't free of cost.

Monday, March 24, 2014

How Technology for the Masses became Personalized for Everyone

Our world today is filled with technology. The world twenty years ago was filled with technology as well, but it wasn't as...smart. From smartphones, Wi-Fi, iPads, iPods, and IBM's Watson to smart watches. Watches. Really? What's next? We might even become like Josh Holloway's character Gabriel Vaughn on CBS's Intelligence and get super computer microchips put in our brains. The TV show is pretty good with its storyline but I wouldn't want a chip in my brain, not in the least.

Our techno world right now is ever growing and people are starting to buy one techno gadget after another and I myself am guilty as charged. I have a silver 4th or 5th generation iPod, a blue iPod chromatic with video capabilities, an iPod Touch, and an LG Dare for my current phone. All of those things are great but the most practical and convenient use of technology for me is my laptop.

I got my laptop brand new, albeit on sale, while I was still a senior in high school and I was really excited to have one for myself. I had always used Windows XP or 7 but this one had Windows 8. It took me awhile to get used to it but after I did, using it and all the different types of apps was a breeze.

I use my laptop for everything from school to social-networking to games. For school I use Apache OpenOffice to create word documents and power-points for projects or papers. And I also use the Internet. Without that, I couldn't do anything. But what my laptop doesn't have is the Office Suite. So for one of my winter quarter classes I had to download software that would let me log on to a campus computer virtually through my own PC so I could do my homework. For social-networking I have a Facebook and my blog. And for games, I either play the solitaire or mahjong that came with the laptop or I get free ones from the Microsoft store. But I also use my laptop to watch movies and TV shows with Netflix and HBOGO. Or catch up on current airings of shows by watching them on their networks' website the next day.

Being a freshman in college and living in the dorms is such a new experience for me that I still keep in touch with my family through e-mail or Facebook messaging because it makes me feel more comfortable, even though my house is forty minutes away from the college's campus.

Another reason why my laptop is perfect for me is the way it's designed. I love how crisp the screen is and how well all the colors seem to work together. That comes in handy whenever it involves my hobby of digital photography. Without a beautiful screen, I wouldn't be able to see whether or not a photo needs editing. If it doesn't need editing, I still make all my photo's smaller so that it's easier to upload them to my Facebook or blog.

I love my laptop for everything it has and does, but what I really love about it is that it has both sides of a coin in one machine. It's both professional and personal; professional for school and personal for everything else that I do. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, February 21, 2014

I am an Introvert: Opinion Piece Part 4

Beginning Note: My pictures have minds of their own...I apologize.

According to Dictionary.com, there are nine different synonyms for the word Introvert:
• Solitary
• Egotist
• Loner
• Egoist
• Narcissist
• Wallflower
• Brooder
• Autist
• Self-Observer

I am not ashamed to say that I am an Introvert, but I can also tell you that I am not any of those synonyms. I am me. But what are Introverts really? Well this photo spamming of pictures I found on Google should clear things up:


Important rules to think of


This one just made me laugh


Apparently a shirt from American Apparel...I want it!



Cute little drawing.


This is so me!
























I really want to read this book.


Seriously though. What are Introverts? The simplest answer is that we are quiet people that think before acting and like to be alone. The truth is that each Introvert has their own idea about what makes them an Introvert and that's totally okay. There is never a correct answer to this question. But if you want a powerful message as stated by Susan Cain at a TED talk, then you need to click on this link. Do it! She also wrote the book whose jacket cover is pictured above that I'm quite interested in reading.

If you want cute little drawings showing how to interact with Introverts, then go here.

If you want myths about Introverts in general or at the workplace, I suggest you go here or here.

I know I'm an Introvert. There's no denying it. I embrace it. And so should other Introverts. And the Extroverts should embrace us too, just as we need to learn how to embrace them.

This post is to inform society that most Introverts aren't the stereotypical people that the world thinks we are. We are just the same as everyone else, we just show it in a different way. And it's not a 24/7 thing either. Introverts can go out and have some fun just as Extroverts sometimes like to stay in and relax. I've been light and airy through out this post but I seriously hope that there are readers out there that realize that Introverts are regular people who deserve to be treated with respect; we're not just some...thing that's living.

Personal facts about my Introvertness:
1) I don't really like small talk. Unless it's a quick 'hi' going down the hallway
2) I don't really like working in groups. If I'm with people I like or if they're working just as hard as me, it's okay. The minute they start bs-ing their way through, I prefer to work alone. I get more done.
3) I am quiet a lot. Not because I don't know what to say (although that is the case sometimes), it's because I just don't want to talk. Have no need for it.
4) I can be qualified as shy and sometimes I feel that it gets in the way of me doing things
5) I love to read and be outdoors; nothing is talking.
6) I don't like public speaking at all

There are honestly a bunch more that I could put down but it would be too long of a list and I don't want to bore you.

And finally, if you want to know which side of the spectrum you are, or to know more about Susan Cain and her book, click this. You'll like the URL title too.

One last note: Introverts Unite!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Religion Spectrum: Where in the World do I fit In?

Most blog posts I just sit at my computer and start spewing information and somehow it comes out sounding coherent. But my usual way of doing posts wouldn't have worked very well with this one. With this one I needed to think long and hard about it before I just started writing randomly. And now, I think I'm ready.

In the world today there are several religions, as stated on this 2002 map (all the different colors are different religions), and I don't have any qualms about any of them; except maybe when a person uses their religion to start a war or something. I don't know if that's happened before but if so, I wouldn't like it. I have no problem with people believing what they want to believe. You can call the creator of the world God, Allah, the Almighty, or even the big guy upstairs. Or you can not believe in Him at all, I don't care. I am an open minded person when it comes to religion, but it's also the one subject that's really touchy for me; it makes me uncomfortable.

And this is why: I have no idea what I believe in. I mean I believe in same sex marriage and going green among other things but that's not the type of belief I'm talking about. I'm talking about the religion belief; the belief that something greater out there in the universe created us. Do I believe in that? That God, or what have you created all the humans on the planet? Whenever I think of this question I start squirming because I'm always worried that if anyone asked it, I would blurt out how I really feel and then they'd give me a disapproving look as if I'd given the wrong answer. They probably wouldn't but that's how I see it in my head.

And the Bible. That's another thing. I don't read it. Don't even know if I believe that either. I've opened one and heard stories from my pastor at church but I've never read it. I suppose there are many others out there that don't. But there are many out there that do read it; they enjoy reading it. Again, no qualms.

I'm different from many of my friends and kids my own age; sometimes I feel like I'm different from every kid on the planet. Whenever kids in my class ask me what religion I am I hesitate only slightly. Just a small enough one where I notice it and they don't. I give them the answer I give anyone else who asks. I say I'm Christian. But I don't know if I am really. And given this pie chart whose numbers are ones of which I'm not sure are up to date, I know which religions I'm not. These are the powerhouses. And yet, I'm not sure if I qualify to be under the non-religious category either.

As a kid I didn't worry about this at all. All I cared about was whether or not I had new Crayola markers and crayons or if there was a new episode of SpongeBob Squarepants on TV. But now that I'm older, I'm starting to think about this religion aspect more and how I really wish there was a name for how I think about the world. Maybe there are other people in the world like me. That would be cool; then I wouldn't be alone.

Since I can't come up with my own name, I'll give this analogy instead. I believe religion is like jello. It's a bit wobbly, but essentially it's a mold and has its own sets of rules and values. Each religion is like that. But with me, the way I think, I'm not like jello. I can't be confined to a mold. Instead, I'm like something that flows out of lines. Something that's free.

Friday, January 10, 2014

I am SuperWhoLock(ed): Opinion Piece Part 3

Popular design on a T-shirt...this came from Google...
In this electronic filled society with works of Twitter, Facebook, and even Tumblr, the word 'fandom' has got to be on the radar of many people. If you don't know what 'fandom' means you most certainly have been living under a rock. A 'fandom', according to my own brain, is a group of people who are avid fans of something, mostly a TV show or a movie. And some of those fandoms give names to the fans in them: Potterhead for Harry Potter, Tribute for The Hunger Games, or Demigod for Percy Jackson. Some other popular ones that don't have names for fans include The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Big Bang Theory, Adventure Time, My Little Pony (why this one I have no idea), Game of Thrones (never seen it before), and probably more that I just don't know about.

But there is a trifecta of three TV shows out there that give fans an extraordinary fandom name to become a part of: SuperWhoLock. The three shows are Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Sherlock. And I am not ashamed to say that I am one of these fans. If you like Supernatural, you are called a Hunter because that's the type of profession that the two main characters do. But not your typical hunting either. If you like Doctor Who, you are called a Whovian. If you like Sherlock, I'm not sure what you are called, other than a fan but some sites say Sherlockian. But liking all three earns you of being part of the fandom, SuperWhoLock.

Let's start with Supernatural. Here's the basics: It airs on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. on the CW network and it will have episode ten of the ninth season airing January 14th. It's a story about the Winchesters, older brother Dean and younger brother Sam. The two of them end up "following in their father's footsteps as 'hunters', fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth" (imdb). Sam and Dean also get help from Castiel the angel and fellow hunter Bobby and later in the series Kevin the prophet. The group make quite the team in hunting things because as Dean always says, it's the "family business". And it's not just about hunting things, it's about family and the 1967 black four-door Chevrolet Impala that the boys ride around in calling each other bitch and jerk.

Now for Doctor Who. It first aired in the 60's as a black and white half hour show for kids and then a movie in '96 and finally a revamp in 2005. So all in all it's been on for fifty years, as of 2013. Doctor Who is described as "The further adventures of the time traveling alien adventurer and his companions" (imdb). Doctor Who is about the about an alien who's name is the Doctor. That's all he goes by; no one knows his real name. He's a Time Lord, has two hearts, complains about other species when he's upset, flies around in a blue London police box called the TARDIS, and is very lonely. The first actor to play the Doctor was William Hartnell back in 1963. And now for season eight set to come out later in 2014, the actor is Peter Capaldi. You see, the Doctor doesn't really die, he regenerates. And each time he does that, they bring in a new actor. So Peter makes the 12th. Matt Smith was the 11th, David Tennant the 10th, and Christopher Eccleston the 9th, back when it was revamped in 2005. He battles Daleks, Weeping Angles, Cybermen, and anything and everything that threatens to destroy planets. He feels the need to do this because of what happened to his own planet, Gallifrey.

And now for Sherlock. The story of Sherlock Holmes and his friend and partner John Watson are familiar characters because of Arthur Conan Doyle's creations. The character Sherlock has been leant to modern day actors: Robert Downey Jr. in his two movies, Jonny Lee Miller for Elementary, and now to Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC's Sherlock. I'm familiar with the two Robert movies and with Jonny's Elementary but not with BBC's production. So I binged on the first two seasons of it on Netflix; there's only three episodes per season. It's more of  "A modern update finds the famous sleuth and his doctor partner solving crime in 21st century London" (imdb). Benedict's acting in this series is incredible; his character of Sherlock is very quick with his findings and regularly gets in trouble or makes people upset because of his ego and bluntness. I feel too that he is also lonely, just like the Doctor, but uses his brilliant mind to cover up his loneliness.

So far this post has been about facts: names of characters, premiere dates, and such, but not much for opinion. Well here's the opinion.

Many people who don't watch these shows say that "it's just a TV show". That is a cardinal sin for those people to commit, especially if said to a person that watches these three shows. It is much, MUCH more than just a TV show! It's about friends and family, love and loss, trust, humor, the occasional 'bromance', and any other adjective you could possibly imagine. Long after these three shows are gone I will remember them because of the messages they gave and of the brilliant words spoken. “This is one corner…of one country, in one continent, on one planet that’s a corner of a galaxy that’s a corner of a universe that is forever growing and shrinking and creating and destroying and never remaining the same for a single millisecond. And there is so much, so much to see.” This is a Doctor Who quote, but it fits for all three shows. So don't stand there and tell me that they're "only TV shows".