Monday, January 22, 2007

Increasing allergy shot concentration

So my allergist upped the dosage of the allergy shot I get. I assume that means that I'm getting a more concentrated, more potent serum now. I had the first dose of it today...

Before today...whatever they've been injecting in my left arm (one shot) has left me with a mosquito bite size welt that itches for days. It's actually not out of the norm. My right arm (two shots) does not have this problem. So I must assume that my left arm must be getting the brunt of the trees and grasses.

Today, I get my shots with my more potent dosage. My left has the same reaction -- welts up and itches. I don't notice it much (the size of the welt, that is) since I'm at work all day. Tonight, I noticed that my welt was about a 2 inch in diameter round raised welt, itchy like crazy!!! It looks like I have a deformed extra muscle in there. Now have to ask the doc about that...I have been gobbing anti-itch cream on it, and it's not helping, either.

Currently, the meds I have in my purse are generic Claritin and Sudafed, Nasonex, and Proventil (asthma med) I'll be adding a tube of hydrocortizone cream to the list...

On the bright side, I'm glad that my dark skin hides all my prick marks...because there are so many of them now! Damn pricks!

Back on the tele - Uncommon Threads 1/24/07 Wed - HGTV

That's right, the second episode of Uncommon Threads that I shot in Burbank is going to be on 1/24 on HGTV...


Channel: HGTV

Dates: Jan 24, 2007 - Wed

Shows: Crafty Helpers (DUCT-217)

Time: Pacific and Eastern - 11:30am
Mountian - 9:30 am
Central - 10:30am

This show is mostly Caro and Jennifer's as well. I'm doing some 'modelling' of aprons and a craft bucket. Well, I get to nod my head, maybe do some ironing, and smile a lot on tv... :p

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thank goodness for health insurance!

Having visited various doctors for various reasons all of last year, I'm thankful to have health insurance. We got lucky since Sean was able to claim me as a 'domestic partner', since we're not married yet. I'm glad his company has that option.

I just got a year end bill from the allergist. If you don't recall, I have to have 3 serums mixed for 3 shots, which I receive 2 times a week (6 shots a week..ugh).

The total bill came out to $1680 -- for 3 serums mixed (my first set of vials) and 4 visits (yes, only 4 visits, which is 2 weeks worth of shots). Now here comes the good news!! With insurance, I only had to pay $95.20. A nice relief in the whole scheme of things. If this wasn't covered by insurance, I wouldn't be doing it at all...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Freeze - Day 3 (are you sick of reading about it?)

I called my boss early this morn, seeing what he had to say. He said that we were to report to work around noon...bah. I crawled back in bed for a while, then already restless, got back up. I had to chip away at my side of the driveway with a screwdriver so that I could leave. Luckily, I park my car in the garage, so I didn't have to do what many central Texans had to do (chip their way into their cars).

Ice pile from my side

While I had some time in the morning, I walked (crunched) around the house to survey everything. Our icicles had grown from the days before. The worst thing was that our little Magnolia tree we planted a while back ago (maybe even 2 years ago?) was bent over, heavy with ice, solid ice on its leaves. There's nothing we can do about it...just wait till it thaws and hope it recovers!

Regardless, I thought it was still pretty bad out there. If the news is warning you not to be out..I mean, hello, is there a jewelry emergency??? My boss called me back around 10 am to tell me that Mopac is fine, it's just wet. Um..well, he lives down south and I don't take Mopac. Living in the country means that it's a few degrees colder than in the city of Austin.

Before I left, Sean gave me every tip he could about driving in icy weather. He used to race his car, so knows how cars handle. And he used to live up north as well.

The drive was nasty. Leander and Cedar Park were icy/slushy. And 183 southbound from Leander all the way to Lamar Blvd (about 20 miles to work) was just dreadful. You don't realize how much of 183 is elevated until you have to do a drive like that. Fortunately, there were not many cars on the road. All overpasses had slush. You could follow the tire paths from previous cars, but there was no switching lanes on the overpasses. Some of the slush, even in between the tire paths, were up to the bottoms of cars. I felt my car bottoming out in the slush. And even in some spots where there were tire paths, parts of the tire paths were iced. Luckily, those spots were more rare than common. Points north of 360 were messy. I thought it would get better coming into town, but once I hit that long stretch of solid overpass just south of Burnet, all the way to Lamar...that was pure torture. In total, it took me about an hour to get to work with virtually no traffic (just a few cars out).

Morning - Cedar Park - 183 at New Hope

183 southbound at 360 exit

183 S on the long bridge stretch between Peyton Gin and Lamar exits

Still on the long bridge b/w Peyton Gin and Lamar

You may think..oh, you're such a wimp, that doesn't look bad. But what you don't realize is that Texans don't know how to drive in ice. Texans don't even know how to drive in can they drive in ice??? And heck, I don't know how to drive in ice either, since all I know is the south...I just go slow. But that doesn't mean everyone does. There were a fair share of idiots on the roads today, going too fast for these kind of conditions...and those are the people you have to be aware of.

I left work an hour early to give me 2 hours of daylight to work with, just in case the commute was bad. Luckily, traffic was light. It still took me 50 minutes to get home with very light traffic.

183 Northbound at Spicewood Springs exit

I was glad to get home when I did. I walked around the house to see that the icicles had grown even more, and that our poor Magnolia was now touching the ground due to the weight of the ice.

Tomorrow, the weather is supposed to get above freezing, so all of this should be melting soon...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Day 2 of the freeze in central Texas, and I can't complain =) I stayed home from work today, again with good reason. I think last night, Austin got the brunt of the precipitation, so things seem far worse in Austin than in Leander. I haven't ventured about town to know. But our driveway and yards were frozen, so that was indication enough for me that it would be a mess on the roads.

Today, I got more adventurous with the ice. I mean, there's only so much you can do, so you might as well test the limits, right?

Well, today, I got on the frozen trampoline very carefully. I stayed low, then both Bonnie and Shadow jumped up on it. I thought..well, if these dogs can get up here, then it should be okay. Shadow slipped a few times, which was quite comical. I jumped on the trampoline and ended up breaking all of the ice into pieces. The pups loved it, because they love eating ice. It was like a buffet to them. It was hard to make them leave the ice buffet.

I wanted to play, so I grabbed the handle and practiced switch 360 spins. At first, I was a bit leary with all of the ice on the tramp...but then realized that since it was all broken up, it wasn't too big of a deal.

Home Depot bucket revisited

Being stuck at home with nowhere to go will make you either go crazy or go play outside. For me, I played outside. I got the wakeskate out and put it to the test on ice (wakeskating on ice? wackyboarding? what would you call this 'sport'?). First, being the chicken that I am, I did it in our sideyard. Sean soon came out and had a run on the driveway.

We had three scenarios going on -- a quick jaunt down our neighbor's hill that goes to our side yard with a bomb drop (run with the board, drop it, jump on it); sliding on the frozen hose; and sliding down the driveway with a few shove-its (you spin the board as you jump, then land on the board) and even a few body varials (you spin, board stays in place, you land on it) as well. It was really fun and wore us out pretty well. It proved to be a harder workout than expected. I think the neighbor kids were jealous since all they had was a piece of cardboard and a large tupperware lid...

Sean wanted to dress up in his finest wakeboard gear...

My first run on the driveway -- kinda scary, but I got better with practice

Using the frozen hose as a slider

Down the neighbor's hill

Bomb drop

We started on the driveway by a small jog and jump onto the board


Another shove

Starting line


Uncommon Threads - Mad About Aprons viewing

Yesterday I had the day off due to an ice day. It was quite nice. I had already TiVo'd the Mad About Aprons episode for the day. I waited to watch after it had completely recorded. For one, I was waiting to see what the weather did and if I would have to go into work...

It was a bit weird seeing myself on TV at first. But then it was no problem. I noticed that I tend to smile a lot (even in normal life, people tell me I smile all the time). And on camera, because my skin is so dark, it makes my teeth and eyeballs glow white. It's kind of crazy...sometimes creepy because my teeth are *SO* white!!! It reminded me of that Friends episode where Ross gets his teeth whitened, but they're glaring white, then he goes on the date with that chick, ends up at her place, they turn off the lights except for that she has blacklights..which make his teeth glow even more...

Overall, I think we all did well. I'm not so nervous about seeing the other episodes now ;)

Here are some pictures from on TV...

Discussing the apron I'm wearing

Jennifer and me -- I'm getting ready to sew

My sewing skills

Caro, me, Allison, Jennifer

Caro and name on the big screen!

Allison and Jennifer putting on their matching craft aprons

Monday, January 15, 2007

First freeze of the year

Well today, we had our first freeze of the year. I woke up to a phone call at 7am from my boss. He said that he would wait till 11 am to make the verdict. I crawled back in bed after the call.

I woke up around 10 am and had a look outside. There were small icicles on the trees. The driveway and street were wet, but not frozen. The backyard is where I saw the most evidence of the freeze. The orange Home Depot bucket that had collected rain water over the past few days had a thin layer of ice on top of it. The lawnmower, trash can, and roof had icicles growing from them. The BBQ grill and the trampoline were completely frozen. I was so tempted to get up on the trampoline and slide around..but being that it's only a 6 ft need to break my back, huh?

The coldest I saw the temperature gauge was 27.3 degrees (we're actually two towns north of Austin in the country, so it gets colder up here). The highest I saw was at 30 degrees, while Austin city was a good 3-5 degrees warmer.

There were a few multi-car accidents on 183 due to the ice this morning. That told me...hell, I'm not going to work. So I called my boss after 11am and told him that I wasn't coming in. One of my coworkers had made it. My boss sounded upset, abrupt, but hey, I'm not risking my life for my job. I mean, there should be no 'jewelry emergency' that warrants risking people's safety...

I didn't do much today, just computer stuff, play with the dogs, watch TV...the weather is supposed to make a turn for the worse tonight with temperatures dipping down to 24 in Leander (27 in Austin) -- with some more sleet and maybe snow. I don't mind though, the last snow we had was Valentine's day 2004, so it's about time again...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm going to be on TV -- tune into HGTV - Jan 15 and Jan 24!

That's right, two of the three shows that we filmed in Burbank last August are finally airing! See me in my full dorkitude on the new season of Uncommon Threads a sewing and needlecraft show on HGTV (old season is airing on DIY network). Set your VCRs, DVRs, TiVos, or whatever you may have!

We'll be sewing up some aprons and crafty goods. See me model an apron and a craft bucket!'s okay to laugh, cause I'll probably laugh at myself, too! =D


Channel: HGTV

Dates: Jan 15; Jan 24

Shows: Mad About Aprons (DUCT-210); Crafty Helpers (DUCT-217)

Time: Pacific and Eastern - 11:30am

Mountian - 9:30 am

Central - 10:30am

Me, Jennifer, Caro (photo by Jennifer)

At work on the set (photo from Caro)

Make up was for the TV...hope I don't look too scary! (Photo by Jennifer

Monday, January 08, 2007

Language overload

I bought the Pimpsleur audio CD's for learning Thai. I also used Pimsleur's Swahili CD's over a year ago to learn Swahili. Ironically enough, I haven't used Swahili in about a year now, and I still know quite a bit of it. So now I'm starting with the Thai CD's. I'm currently on lesson 4...

My first language (speaking) is English. My second language is Spanish. And as far as fluency goes, my third is Swahili. Then French, Norwegian...I grew up listening to Thai, but responding in English. I've lost a lot of the listening comprehension, so it is kind of like starting over, but not really -- kind of like remedial Thai. But I never spoke it before, and that is harder than it seems...

When trying to speak a language other than English or Spanish, if I don't know a word, I default to saying it in Spanish and catch myself. So naturally, I would expect that if I don't know something in Thai, I will probably say it in Spanish.

I listen to the Thai CD's in my car, on my commute to and from work. A lot of times, they pause and you respond to a question or saying. A lot of times, I have to think...what's that word? And sometimes I just blurt it out...and blurt it out in another language. That other language I'm blurting out is Swahili.

The mind is such an interesting thing. I feel like I do have a knack for learning languages. It's not natural, it comes with a lot of hard work, but I do seem to pick up and retain languages pretty well. But it does get confusing, and I'm at that confusing point. I have about 2 months and a week to learn Thai before I go to Thailand, so still have time. But I feel like I have to shut out everything I know in every other foreign language...something that is difficult to do. Just need to focus...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I've got the Cedar fever blues...

Every year that I live in Leander...every just pure misery, hell on earth for about 2 months. I'm highly allergic to the cedar trees (juniper asheii) that densely populate the land behind my backyard and the land all around. If only I had known that I was this allergic to cedar *before* moving to cedar land...litterally, I'm a town away from "Cedar Park".

So lately, it's been bad. The pollen count today...well, there are two pollen counts that I look at. One is read in Georgetown, which moreso reflects the kind of landscape I live in -- country, lots of cedar trees, on limestone, etc. And then there's the Austin reading. I don't know where the read it, probably around downtown or south. Cedar trees are much less down there.

Today's count...(per cubic meter)

And it was damn windy, too, which means all those damn pollens are blowing around everywhere. What did I do today? I didn't even leave the house. I didn't even step outside.

Austin's reading was about 2800, which is still damn high. I start having reactions when the pollen is in the low count, but damn...

Since I was officially diagnosed with having asthma (allergy induced and exercise induced) this year, I've started taking puffs from my inhaler. I held off until cedar season. But I've taken a few puffs these past few days. It's amazing, it works pretty quickly. It doesn't help with my allergy symptoms themselves, but it helps me breath, meaning after I take the puff, I'm not as short of breath for a while (with allergies, I feel like I'm breathing at 13,000 ft).

This just sucks...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My 15 minutes of fame..coming to television near you!!

So I just found out that the second (new) season of Uncommon Threads is starting on the HGTV channel. I looks like they've started as of yesterday. And if all the shows go in order...I'm guessing that I may be on the following days...

- Jan 15th - DUCT 210 - Mad About Aprons

- Jan 24th - DUCT 217 - Crafty Helpers

- Mar 6th -DUCT 246 - Old Cover New Tricks

Well, once I actually know for sure, I'll post another blog. But it's kind of exciting, kind of nervewracking. I feel like I'm going to look like a total tool on TV...every one else was about a foot or more taller than me ;) But hey..who cares..I got a free trip out to Burbank plus wracked up a few frequent flier miles as well. It was a great experience overall. But now I have to watch!