Deal-breaker.

She was tiny then. Owly had bearly anything to her but fluffy long hair and a gentle nature. She had been found as a kitten in Chicago by herself with no mom. The cat shelter owner, my sister in law, was concerned that she wouldn’t be adoptable because she was so shy of humans. My husband held her and Owly exposed her belly to him to pet her. She chose him. Now, I was looking at the doorway watching this tiny baby cat. She opened her mouth to let out a squeak. Then another. Then another. Then she finally formed a meow. It was past midnight and I fell asleep to her practicing talking. Memories like these are why you own a cat.

I looked at my husband and said “It’s a deal-breaker if I can’t take my cats.”  He looked at me worried. Moving to Norway would be difficult for a cat he explained. The traveling would take at least 18 hours in a cage and then adjusting to the new environment. Then the airline would have to approve them coming along.

Change of plans. The worst happened. Owly and Taco-Ravioli cannot come along. Just my black cat, Stoney, can. The airplane trips have room for only one cat.

It’s not a deal-breaker. I am just really upset. I’m leaving so much already. Now I have to give up my pets? Bullshit. Like, I am asking myself why I am doing this again? I am reassuring myself this is the right thing to do. My two cats will be taken care off.

I will really miss having my little family together.

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Why did I choose Stoney? Stoney was my first cat and a gift from my hubby, Kim. Stoney or “Stoner” has a super relaxed personality fit for transitioning, being handled and a plane ride. He loves humans, eating chicken and catnip. I remember a period that Kim was gone. I think it was due to some government rule. . . . And I slept for the first time in our apartment at night alone. Stoner came into bed with me and slept on Kim’s side all night. Some of the fondest memories of our early marriage was playing with Stoner.  We both loved watching him jump in the air and teaching him the command “kiss kiss” for nose kisses.

My life is a little ball of stress right now, but I am hopeful it’s all worth it.

 

Packing Theme Music

Packing all by yourself alone in an apartment is pretty boring. My cats are entertaining, playing with the wrapping paper and boxes but it’s not quite enough. I often say “Oh heck with it!” and quit. BUT I found a way to deal with it.

I play lots and lots of music. Here is some of what I play:

 

 

 

You can probably see a bit of a pattern here. I like beautiful vocals, dark lyrics and electronica.  Do you have a recommendation for new music?

 

(I do not own the rights to any of the music videos)

I Eat All The Time

Diabetes Type 1 has friends that often come along for the ride. One of the for me is my recent diagnosis of diabetic gastroparesis. This means my stomach is paralyzed. My vagus nerve has been damaged, causing my stomach to empty too slowly.  Once again, my eating habits have to change.

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The following is a list of how I have to eat my meals. I eat 6-8 times a day, every 2-3 hours and in small amounts. I have to follow the “Low Residue Diet” or eat food that is not hard to digest. FODMAP Diet is another diet many people follow who have gastroparesis but I have been instructed by a doctor not to.

No:

  • Soy
  • Limited garlic and onions
  • Uncooked fruits
  • Uncooked vegetables
  • Potatoes with skin
  • High protein
  • High fat
  • Fried food
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grain breads and cereals like wheat bread and brown rice
  • Coconut
  • Dried food like raisins
  • Beans, lentils
  • Tofu
  • Certain cooked vegetables, including peas, broccoli, winter squash, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, corn (and cornbread), onions, cauliflower, potatoes with skin, and baked beans
  • Pickles, olives, relish, sauerkraut, and horseradish
  • Popcorn
  • Tough meats with gristle

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Yes:

  • Gluten okay
  • Lactose okay, cow’s milk
  • White bread
  • Plain crackers
  • Cooked/Hot cereal
  • Cold cereal (with milk)
  • White rice
  • Regular pasta
  • Cooked fresh vegetables
  • Canned vegetables without seeds
  • Tomato sauce without seeds
  • Ripe bananas
  • Soft cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Canned or cooked fruits without seeds or skin, like applesauce or canned pears
  • Avocado
  • All meats but sausage, and they must be tender and soft
  • Vegetable and fruit juice without pulp
  • Limited caffeine such as soda and coffee

 

Liquefied, mashed, pureed, blended or soupy food is best to have, especially if I have a flare-up. So food like smoothies, shakes, mashed potatoes, juices and soup are all good for me to have. Luckily, I like all of the above. I still can have solid foods, just with some of these super soft foods too.

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In a perfect world, I would be having some help. So far eating so often is a pain in the butt. I keep having to brain storm what I can eat for my meals and I feel I keep eating too big of portions. If I was able to see a reputable dietician I might have been able to transition to eating this way a bit easier. Why bother seeing a dietician when I am moving to a different country with a different way of eating?

Norway has less fast food, better quality food and fresher food. Many chemicals used in the United States in food are banded in Norway. Obviously the brands are also all different. Like I have mentioned before, eggs are orange and not yellow in the middle. Orange yolk means it’s a fresher egg. Everyday bread is like what we would label artisan bread in the US. They eat less processed, fried and fatty food. All these things are great and healthy!

 

 

 

Thank You Note 3

Thank you,

My lovely parent-in-laws

for taking in my cats

because they care about me.

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One of my kitties, Taco-Ravioli. 

 

Proud Finns: Independence and HIM

If you thought I didn’t know about 100 years of Finnish Independence from Sweden and Russia you’d be very wrong. How could I not know? So many of the facebook pages, blogs and websites I follow announced it joyously.

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Also with this post I want to say goodbye to HIM, one of Finland’s most well known bands. They retire early next year.

I remember the first time I really saw HIM on MTV. Their shirts and merchandise were on all the boys. I thought it was just Bam Margera crap. Then I actually saw a music video by them. I remember it vividly because it was the beginning of something wonderful for me- the beginning of being in love with Finland.

I have many memories of HIM. They were forbidden by my parents and liking them made me a rebellious teenager. I had them all over the place: my locker, my computer and really anywhere I could hide them. My first love even looked like Ville Valo with a replica of his famous “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell” jacket. He would send me promiscous pictures of Ville to flirt and burned every album from Finland he owned. I then watched every VIVA LA BAM episode hoping to see Ville Valo and got into gothic music.

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HIM was a band I feel I connect with, artistically helps me flourish and helped me to understand love. Love is one of the greatest emotions to feel but it can make you suffer and hurt. It can toy with you, it can be a beast. It can seem evil. This is HIM.

Congratulations, Finland. You’ve had one hell of a year.

Oh found it!

I have had tummy problems since my teens. I would eat steak or sausage. Later that night, I’d lay on the bathroom floor in pain until I would finally throw up. I went non-red meat vegetarian, and had as many no meat meals as possible to make the pain stop. It worked for awhile until other things started to make me ill too. It just became a part of my life and it became the norm. I saw a doctor and had some tests. IBS was what it was labelled and I followed the complicated as hell FODMAP diet. It did nothing.

Now we have a name for it- diabetic gastroparesis. My stomach empties too slowly causing wierd blood sugar readings, nausea, vomiting, fullness…. this is caused by a dead nerve that cannot do it’s job anymore due to diabetes. The nurse said it on the phone so nonchalant as though it was no big deal. I knew it was because I had scared myself the day before watching youtube videos about it. I saw people with feeding tubes and more machines that would make me even more cyborg enhanced. I got scared but I haven’t cried. I choked up but I didn’t, couldn’t, let myself cry.

This is the diagnosis to end the high blood sugar war ravaging my body. I was knew something was wrong in my gut (haha get it? Bad one, moving on.) and I finally found it after mannnnnnyyyyy tests later. So here I go. I’m reading about it, watching youtube and reading credited websites all about GP. I even found a blog, A Heart For Humanity, that explains life with GP.

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Thoughts to Let Simmer

I wish you could smell this. The garlic, the sweet tomatoes, the meatballs, the sauted onion in olive oil. . . . .it’s the smell of my childhood in the air.

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Everything my grandparents had was copper. I remember the giant spaghetti pot being copper and filled with water for pasta. Another giant pot with spaghetti sauce and meatballs next to it. “Don’t touch the stove!” My grandmother would tell me as a baby. Their entire little house would smell. You knew when grandma and grandpa were cooking. One hand for bread and the other, a twirled fork full of pasta. That is how my grandfather ate.

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Angeline and Vincent R. , my grandparents in 1955

My grandfather was actually a deacon of the Roman Catholic church and an exorcist. Catholicism is very much part of my background. I remember a room filled with rays of light from the windows. On the wall shown massive statues and pictures. They were placed all along the wall. This was a homemade altar to God handed down from my great grandmother. One statue in particular stood out to me and became my favorite- the Infant of Prague. He was magnificent in His robes holding that little blue globe. I have memories about Catholicism that I feel strongly link me to my own culture and who I am other than being a subcategory of religion. The mysticism is beautiful. I now have my own home altar.

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A home altar, modest in comparison to my grandfather’s

I take with me my own culture to Norway, as I am too stubborn to completely leave it. I will become some sort of hybrid in fitting in with the local culture. I already know that my Norwegian family has interest in what I grew up with. The home altar in the eyes of my husband is creepy and strange to him. As for food, well, they want to eat whatever I make. They say they will try whatever I make and typically have seconds. “Can I have this recipe?” “Um. . . .I can’t. Family won’t allow it.” I got special permission to teach food to my Norwegian relatives since it’s been handed down by family for generations.

I ask my readers: What traditions do you have that others may find foreign?