Itch!

My boss today told me that she was very itchy because she has some poison ivy. I told her what my doctor had told me once: that itching was the lowest form of pain, and she should take one acetaminophen (Tylenol) or one ibuprofen. It’d curb the itching, and save the pain of scabs later on. I thought this little bit of wisdom was a gem: it has always worked for me. I figured it’d be something interesting to blog about, until I did some research to prove it was true and allow my blog readers to decide for themselves. And I discovered it isn’t true-it’s not a form of pain at all! But, what I found is worth sharing.

I quote, from the article: “But how, exactly, itch works has been a puzzle. For most of medical history, scientists thought that itching was merely a weak form of pain. Then, in 1987, the German researcher H. O. Handwerker and his colleagues used mild electric pulses to drive histamine, an itch-producing substance that the body releases during allergic reactions, into the skin of volunteers. As the researchers increased the dose of histamine, they found that they were able to increase the intensity of itch the volunteers reported, from the barely appreciable to the “maximum imaginable.” Yet the volunteers never felt an increase in pain. The scientists concluded that itch and pain are entirely separate sensations, transmitted along different pathways.”

Here is a link. Who knew!

The Itch, by Atul Gawande

Monday morning, y'all.

It’s Monday morning out here on the West Coast, and it’s a special Real Estate edition.

Here’s what peeves me:

This weekend, Jeff and I looked at apartments. It was not our original weekend plan–he had a weekend off, and we were going to laze around and enjoy ourselves. But looking casually Friday night led to two full days of hunting. 8 apartments later, and I am a little disheartened. Of course, there were things we loved about each ones, and things that we hated. I think we whittled down a list, however, and finally know what we want:

*sunshine, and lots of it

*windows (to help with above said need)

*Air conditioning, because a year without it was NOT fun

*PARKING (This is one of the most important)

*more than a walk-in-closet sized kitchen

*bathroom that isn’t “old” or cracked or otherwise gross. (Jeff also is not keen on weirdly tiled sink, a commonplace in some places here)

*hardwood floors (I hate carpets, and Jeff also hates them from the dining area, and its seemingly all or nothing here)

*A landlord/manager ON SITE that speaks impeccable English. (We’ve have difficulties in the past.)

*something NOT on a hill, as Jeff DOES bike to work, and would be very appreciative if he could get to and from work in ease.

That being said, we’re looking mainly in the Los Feliz and Franklin Village areas, so we might not get lucky with the hill…We’ll see. Meanwhile, things we do not want:

*carpet

*a parking space that is exposed (Jeff worries about dings)

*A place that doesn’t pay water/trash (common place in LA, and some apartments we saw yesterday didn’t have the basics)

*a ground level apartment

*something too far from the 101

*A spot in an apartment complex with lots of children and/or college students

Also, we have created a “things that would be nice” column:

*A place that has an area to store a bicycle

*A pool

*An option for a second parking spot

*A bathtub and a shower without a door but rather a rod.

Any suggestions? Ideas for us? LA is a scary place to find an apartment, but I am confident it’s out there.

A Rant. A Rave.

In this election, there have been many moments that I have become so frustrated I have just wanted to pull my hair out. Because I am becoming my mother, I have been constantly posting articles onto my Facebook and forwarding message that contain the politic messages I believe to be valid and correct. I have received negative comments back from friends who I’ve always known to lean a different way than I do, but I’ll tell you, it doesn’t get much worse than this:

“I found out I can still vote for McCain. YAY. I found I can do an absentee ballot. lol I’m not voting for Obama he’s a socialist, and not to mention the anti-christ!”

How does one respond to such an email? How do you go about convincing someone who is so incredibly wrong of at least being AWARE that Obama in not only NOT a socialist, but also is a Christian who very much values the same values that McCain claims to believe in?

I have stuck through this election cycle, trying to make my own personal difference. I have tried not to let people get to me, and I tell myself that the smart people in this country will do the right thing. But, honestly, I am a little scared. I am scared by the people at Fox News, who have fully supported McCain and denied Obama a fair chance. I watched “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism” last night with J, and I can’t bring myself to feel anything but fear. There are people in the world who believe that Fox News is real. That McCain is a good guy. That our country would be worse under “that one” — a supposedly “Muslim” and “Arab.” Neither of those things should even matter, but in our racist country, they do. They matter to people who can’t realize that Arab-Americans are just as American as those who came over on the Mayflower. There are people in this world who can’t come to terms that Islam believes in one God, the same God that our “Christian” nation claims to be founded under.

Top reasons McCain’s presidential nomination offends me:

1. He cheated on his first wife with Cindy.

2. He claims that Barack Obama is elite, and then says Barack Obama “doesn’t understand.

3. His campaign ads are ALL negative.

4. He said Obama wasn’t ready to be president, and then picked someone who was vastly unqualified and unethical as his running mate.

5. He does not take threats against Obama seriously, and in this week’s debate lied multiple times.

I’m not saying that Obama is the shiny/happy candidate who will keep all his promises and will never do anything wrong.

But I am saying that McCain’s campaign has been dirty, and besides the dirty laundry he carries around with him–his wife being addicted to drugs and stealing money from charity to get them, his running mate already in trouble for unethical behavior as mentioned above, and his wife having the audacity to say that Obama didn’t support her son–something that is just not a fact–is horrific.

I am just hoping and praying that American will chose the right person, or else I may not be able to stay in this country much longer.

Veggies, veggies galore!

Alright. My first post is dedicated to finding out what veggies I can get Jeff, my “particular” boyfriend, to eat. I have decided that we both need more veg in our lives, and a good way to do that is sneak it into recipes that he likes already. Although, he’s caught onto this, so we’ll see how it goes. I’ve compiled a list of things we BOTH like, on account of the fact that some greens leave a unsavory taste in my mouth, too. (Like Cilantro. I can’t bring myself to like it.)

Carrots
Green Beans
Fresh Spinach
Peas
Lettuce
Tomatoes (in small sizes)
Peppers (also in small sizes)
Asparagus
Sugar snap peas
Edamame
Broccoli

In addition, I need to come up with a list of things we’ve yet to try for dinner. They include:

Squash
Artichoke
Beanshoots
Beets
Brussel sprouts
Cauliflower
Rhubarb

Tomorrow I am going to go to the farmer’s market and see what I can pick up in season. Wish me luck.

Fitting my life into lists

My friend K started a blog recently, and it really inspired me to start focusing on keeping my own blog (again.) It seems like every time I start a blog, I get distracted and can’t keep up. But now that I’ve returned from China, finished college, and started a 9-5 and am settling into my own little world in California, I have decided that I have time for a blog, indeed. K’s blog might be more interesting and focused, but mine is going to be full of the following:

1. Lists (starting right now. Sometimes they won’t be numbered, sometimes they’ll be lettered, sometimes they’ll be stream of consciousness, but they’ll be there.)

2. Things pertaining to cooking and baking

3. Rants/raves when I am frustrated with politics ( read = I can’t stand Sarah Palin OR John McCain)

4. Things pertaining to my friends back east/in the middle of the country

5. Notes about home life in general.

My goal, I think, is to entertain you and entertain me while gathering some life truths and some solid evidence of my progression through the world as a validated adult. I think that’s reasonable. Let’s begin.