Cath update

Audrey knitting

Dear Readers

We are so sorry things have gone a little quiet here the last few weeks.

As you know from previous posts, Cath got an infection after her endometriosis surgery at the beginning of the month. She is still at home recuperating and sloughing through the last week of her heavy-duty antibiotics.

I’ve been skyping her daily. Sometimes she feels good enough to sit up and chat and other days she’s too nauseated to even look at the screen when we talk. It’s been a long, hard month for her, to say the least.

But she is on the mend. And every day I know she’s getting closer to that moment when she can feel healthy and whole again.

Once we’ve all gotten a bit more rest, we’ll both be back here blogging as much as we can. In the meantime know that your kind comments mean the world to both Cath and myself.

Much Love,

Lar (and Cath)

p.s. The pic above of Audrey Hepburn knitting is from Cath’s Pinterest account — she just pinned it! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that she feels good enough to do that! It might sound silly if you haven’t been ill for a long while, but feeling good enough to do that is a HUGE baby step forward. Huzzah!


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Today I …

Dear Cath

I know how miserable you feel at this moment. Those antibiotics feel like they are not only killing all the bacteria in your body but you as well. I know how exhausted your body is from fighting first the surgery and then the infection and now the drugs. I know it feels never-ending and that even watching “Poirot” for seven hours straight doesn’t take all of that away.

So I hope a little distraction might help.

This will be the most mundane post to anyone reading this (sorry!). I’m going to take you to Glasgow with me. On a work trip. Nothing fancy. It’s what I did today — this Tuesday in January.

I took a train and then sat in a seminar all day and then took another train home. But I’m going to take you with me because while I was taking photos of myself sitting in a Pret A Manger and on the train, it felt like I spending the day with you. Or at least I imagined I was.

I hate not being home with you right now. And because I can’t be there, I want you to see exactly what I’m doing while you are waiting to put all this pain and the hospital visits and the nausea behind you. I want you to feel like you were with me and not having to think about when you need to take the next round of antibiotics and worrying about your temperature.

So without further ado, today I …

Woke up at 6:30 am and dragged myself out of bed — cold mornings are the worst. By 7:30 am I was out the door and heading down Princes Street to the train station (first by bus and then by legs). The sun was still an hour from cresting some distant horizon, so the sky was a dark blue with a turquoise blush around the edges:

lothian bus

How many daily commutes have a castle in them? I shouldn’t take it for granted, but I do — daily:

edinburghdawn

So we’ve past the Castle mound and now we’re almost to the train station. It’s just before the Balmoral clock tower and just after the spires of the Walter Scott monument (blurry photo poof of intense pace of walking — or partial awakeness — or just bad photog skillz):

princes street

Mmmm train station! I love trains and train stations even on a weekday morning. They have the same buzz of excitement as an airport without the intensity of airport security and, you know, being in the air. Trains are anti-faff. You’re on the platform and then you’re in the train in minutes:

waverly

Oh I almost forgot! My favorite part of train travel — snackies! There’s usually a mini M&S at most larger stations in the UK and it’s fun to get nuts or chocolates or entire picnic lunch avec some mini wiiine! I just got these guys today as it was 8 am and I had already consumed a large bowl of muesli:

m&s

So back to the train. The trip from Edinburgh to Glasgow is nice because you go from city to city but in between are these stretches of rolling hills and picturesque pastures (today they were dusted in confectioner’s snow):

snowy hills

But the train was cold so I stayed bundled (and sleepy looking):

sleepy

About 55 minutes later and we’re in Glasgow, Edinburgh’s larger, less expensive, more relaxed cousin:

glasgow moma

I got to Glasgow ahead of schedule so I thought I would stop into Pret. I wasn’t really hungry as I had already had breakie number one at home, but the porridge looked so good and piping hot:

porridge

And this is where I spent my day, the Teacher building — home to many-a-seminar:

glasgow teacher building

Seven hours after learning about the intricacies of print, I was back out on Glasgow’s shopping street (remember you stood by David Tennant’s Dr Who’s TARDIS there just 14 months ago?):

buchanan street

By the time I hopped back on the train and walked home I was cold and tired. Back in the flat looking …

tired

And then Matt came home and we ate a pile of (gluten-free, quinoa and rye) toast. As you do after Tuesday Train Travels.

I hope you felt like you were there, Cath! Every heart-pounding intense porridge moment!

I so, so wish I could speed up this process for you and make it so much less painful and exhausting. Just know that you can get through this and it will be over soon, even though it doesn’t feel like it. You see in the photo above I still wear the “lucky charm” necklace all the time –nearly daily. That will work its magic soon if nothing else will.

Love you more than all the train snackies in the world (times infinity),

Lar

 


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We are totally identical

twopeas3

Dear Readers

Cath is back in the hospital for another few days because she developed an infection post-surgery. This is rare. Our surgeon told us this happens to 1% of his patients.

I also had an infection after my endometriosis surgery.

Rare, you say?

This is what I think:

1) We’re totally ruining our doctor’s percentages. (Now he has to tell patients, “it’s less than 1% likely you’ll have to come back — unless, of course, you count this set of twins I operated on — but they’re an anomaly already so don’t count them!”)

2) We are totalllllly identical. In all things apparently. Lucky duckies!

Getting an infection is no fun. Nobody wants to spend more time in a hospital than they need to. It’s scary to have to run tests and go under anesthesia again for them to drain an abscess and then to be put on the Hulk of antibiotics.

At the moment Cath is feeling pretty miserable because the antibiotics make her nauseated all the time, but the pain meds help her to doze on and off, which is good. She’ll be on these mega-antibiotics for a couple more weeks post-hospital stay. And though she’ll feel pretty miserable, her body will be healing. It will feel like eternity to her, but by Valentine’s Day she’ll be swilling champagne and chocolate to her hearts content. I’ll make sure of it!

Well, that’s the other thing. It’s sucky to be identical because I know what she is going through and I’m absolutely no help because I’m 5,000 miles across an ocean. We’ve Face-timed and texted but it is not the same as sitting with her all night and holding her hand. When she feels so terrible and tired and scared, I wish so very badly I could be there to cool her forehead and murmur that everything will be okay and this too shall end. And that everything she feels (all the things she doesn’t want to feel but has to) is normal. And it’s all okay even when it doesn’t feel okay and feels interminable.

In the near future I won’t live quite so far away from Cath and then we can be identical together together, not just together via the great interwebs. I’ll swig bubbly with her and we can reminisce about how we used to live in separate countries. Separate continents even.

(If you’re in between bouts of nausea and can read this, Cath, love you so so so much and can’t wait until we’re on the same land mass again)

 


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Happy Birthday, Cath!!!

31-birthday

 

Dear Cath,

I wish more than anything that we could be together today. You’ll be at work (and then class!) and I’ll be on a train from London to Edinburgh. All is not right with the world, but I feel the world will make amends when we are together in August. Rain check for birthday bash (aka twin time) until then?

Love you like icing loves cake,

Lar


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In a Land Far Far Away

AsianCajuns-cath-lar

Missing this lady (to the right)!

I left Atlanta two weeks ago and have belly-flopped back into Edinburgh life, splashing around trying to distract myself from missing Cath. So sorry for leaving you guys in a Lar lurch. Recovering from surgery and then jet lag and then a cold while heading back to work hasn’t made February my favorite month, but it has kept me busy enough to trick myself into thinking Cath is just right down the street. Not across an OCEAN. Damn you, Atlantic! When you get so big?!

To combat my twin blues, I’ll post some piccies of Cath and I together in Seattle way back in mid-January. Ahhhh bliss!

AsianCajuns-seattle Walrus-carpenter-seattle

Oh wait! There’s also some photos of Edinburgh to combat the angsty twin mumblings. A hodge-podge of a post this is!

The following photos are from my trampings around Edinburgh (the top one is of Edinburgh Castle on a rainy day — i.e. almost all days). It really is such a wonderful place to visit. Don’t let my lack-of-a-twin-sister moaning put you off. Look at all the nice things you can do here: ogle old buildings and storefronts, sniff flowers on rain-soaked (everything here is rain-soaked) pavements, have lunch in old church crypts by the window, eat delicious carrot cake whilst you gulp your tea. It’s a heavenly story really. It’s just missing one or two (or 20) key players.

Edinburgh-castle-march

trotters-edinburgh

edinburgh-flowers

hendersons-st-john

hendersons-vegetarian

carrot-cake

 

—–

Dear Cath,

I really am sorry my blogging has ground to a halt. Like you (but less successfully and ambitiously), I’ve tried to keep busy so I don’t have to think about our distance. Not only has this not gotten easier… it’s gotten harder! Two main things that make me feel less like myself here in Scotland: 1) not having you around and 2) lack of vitamin D. In that order. But see with #2 I’m thinking about just going to the tanning salon down the street (I know bad, but you know what this constant dirge of grey is like) — voila UV light in my eyeballs, tricking me to believe I live in southern Spain. But how, oh how, do I find a place that has Cath holograms. I need one of those shops on my block. Sometimes I’ll glance really fast past a mirror and think it’s you or see someone from behind that looks like you (and me too?) — and that’s all the more crushing.

Ha-RUMPH.

At least I get to see you on skype today!

Lovingly,

Your far far away sister Lar

 


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My Spring Reading List

Use Grammarly for proofreading because, it’s like a little (comma) splice of heaven.*

reading list

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about books on AsianCajuns. Lar and I have always been big readers, but since I’ve been going to graduate school while working full time, my reading has tapered off a little bit in the past few years. Lately, I’ve been trying to take more time to read, even if it’s just a few minutes before bed. Here’s what I’ve been reading/planning on reading these past few months:

Stitches by Anne Lamott – My mom saw Anne Lamott give a talk at our local library and immediately bought a copy Stitches for herself, me and Lar. It’s about dealing with loss and catastrophic events. It sounds dark and self-help-y, but it’s not. I like reading little snippets of it throughout the week.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – This is one of those books that I’m planning on reading. Eric from Mosey bought it for me when Troy and I got to hang out with him in Decatur a few months ago because he said it was one of the best books he’s read in while. I know fellow blogger, Laura, just finished it and loved it. I’ve been holding off reading it until I have a free weekend, but that’s never going to happen and I’m really looking forward to it, so I might start it this week – can’t wait!

Financially Fearless by Alexa Von Tobel – Alexa is the founder of LearnVest.com, which I use to keep my finances in order and occasionally “meet” my online financial advisor. It’s a great book (and website) for anyone needing to up the ante on their personal finances. I haven’t read the entire book, but I know I’ll use it continually as a reference.

Hot Rum Cow – The company that Lar works for in Scotland publishes this independent magazine about beers, wines and spirits. Every time I visit Lar in Scotland or when she comes home for a visit, she brings me the latest issue and I love it. I’ve kept all of the issues she’s given me and have even reread some of the articles. It has everything I love: great writing, awesome design, and a focus on booze!

reading list

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – A Beautiful Mess started an online book club this year and The Interestings was the January book. I bought it in January with every intention of participating in the online discussion, but have yet to finish it. Whoops! Luckily I got my friend, Alison, and Lar to read it with me so we’re going to have our own little book club chat via Skype soon.

A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman – As much as I love instagramming and taking photos for the blog, I sometimes feel uninspired and “meh” about my photos. I use this book when I need some inspiration and a little pick-me-up.

Brother – I bought this journal at Octane in Grant Park for Lar since she loves independent publications. I was going to wait to read it after her, but I couldn’t help myself and read it before giving it to her. This particular issue was about oysters in Charleston, SC. I read it from cover to cover (it’s not a big publication) and immediately went to the Kimball House to eat some oysters after. I can’t wait for the next issue.

 * Blogger disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Grammarly. All thoughts and views expressed are my own. 


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Acrylic Tray DIY

the easiest DIY ever

A couple of months ago I reorganized my vanity and realized I needed a tray to corral all of my stuff. I started searching all over online for an affordable tray. When I say “affordable,” I mean like $15 or less. It doesn’t exist. $26 was the cheapest I could find.

Then I remembered my friend, Katie, telling me about using acrylic frames as a tray. Brilliant! Even better? I had one laying around my house. One brand new tray for $0!!! If you don’t already own one, you can purchase an 8″ x 10″ frame for $5 on Amazon.

Not that it’s really necessary, but here’s how you turn an acrylic frame into an acrylic tray:

step one tray diy

Step two tray diy

Boom. Done.

acrylic diy tray

Easiest. DIY. Ever.

___________________

Dearest Lar,

Remember how we used to do crafts all the time? I loved creating stuff: a bunny pin cushion, magazines, paper dolls, necklaces, and a bunch of other stuff. When did we get too busy to have craft time?! I suppose creating a tray from a frame isn’t the most crafty thing in the world, but I still felt a sense of accomplishment when I was done (in five seconds).

Next time we’re together, let’s have a crafternoon. Deal?

xoxo, Cath


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AsianCajuns in Seattle

AsianCajuns-Wallingford-Seattle

Cath and I got to spend five lovely days together in the beautiful, piney, hilly city of Seattle! We hope that while we nibbled nigiri, picked fruit and veg at Pike Place and did some thrift shopping, you guys stayed warm and toasty.

Cath and Troy had a maddening leisurely nine hours at Sea Tac before they could fly home to icy Atlanta last night on the red eye. And I know that’s the least of the crazy ice stories from the south east.

We’ll have some delectable posts coming up soon on our Seattle-ness (what a wonderful city you have, Seattlites!). I feel so very lucky that even though this past year has been a struggle health-wise it’s more than made up for it in the number of times I’ve been able to see my twinie! Next up? We’ll be in Atlanta together again for about 2.5 weeks while I have surgery #2 (for my endo) and recovery. Silver linings abound.

—–

Dear Cath,

Oy, I can’t believe you guys had to do that nine hour waiting game yesterday. I know you must still feel the greasies and the sleepies, that special combination only obtained by long hours cattled in an airport and long flight.

So glad you guys got home okay. Did you have to sled on your suitcases to get from MARTA to your house? Can’t wait to see you Sunday — sooo sooooon!

Love you like rain loves the PNW,

Lar

 

 


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Recap: Our Four Simple Goals

asiancajuns-goals

Remember when Lar and I wrote out our four simple goals in November here and here? Well, here’s how we did.

Cath’s Goals:

1. Make something pretty and fun for the home:
Done! I made a fall wreath for my front door. I created a bunch of felt flowers and glued them to a plain grapevine wreath I found on sale at Michael’s. It ended up being incredibly lopsided, but I was still pleased with the outcome. I also made a lot of my Christmas gifts this year, which I think kind of counts towards this goal.

2. Don’t shop for myself when I’m shopping for gifts this season:
Pretty much achieved. In past years I would almost always buy myself a little something for myself when I was shopping for others. The only time I did that this year was when I was bought Lar’s presents at Sephora. I bought her two Josie Maran make-up gift sets and then ended up buying myself the Argan Beautiful Eyes eyeshadow compact. That’s it. I swear! I did get some clothes (see #3) during the holidays, but they were in no way related to holiday gifts and all but one item was purchased with a gift card.

3. Streamline my style:
In progress. I definitely worked on this during the holiday season. I went through my closet in November and gave away items that are no longer my style. I purchased a few items of clothing on Shopbop.com (Funktional sweatshirt, Jeffrey Campbell boots, Madewell pants) and a sweater at COS in Glasgow and they all go along with the simplified style I’m working towards.

4. Make oatmeal or green juice every morning:
Slight fail. I probably achieved this about 30% of the time. December got so hectic with finals, work, and gift shopping that grocery shopping didn’t really happen – and you have to do a lot of food shopping if you’re juicing on a consistent basis! So, this is one of my goals that I’m bringing over into 2014.

Lar’s Goals:

1. Random acts of kindness:
Argh! Nooo. I actually forgot this one. But I think in some ways it was the most important. Harumph. I’m not gonna feel guilty, but I do want to make a concerted effort to do as many random acts of kindness that I can this year.

2. Stay calm and centered during the holidays:
Yes! I felt fairly calm and that has never happened before. Perhaps it was the fact that Matt and I flew home on Christmas day so maybe we missed the inevitable holiday hullabaloo. Highly recommend making this goal every year.

3. Move mah body!
I did actually do this! Maybe it was just three times and it happened in the space of the last week and half. But that’s a step in the right direction, right? Right?

4. Draw/Sketch:
Shucks. Nope. Did diddly.

5. (Bonus round) Don’t feel guilty about not doing all the goals.
I actually kind of stuck with this one. I’d really like to do more random acts of kindness, but I’m not wasting the energy kicking myself for not doing them — I’ll put that energy into planning some good kindness tidbits for the near future.

In conclusion, we’re not perfect, dagnabbit! But in all seriousness, I really loved this experience. Working towards four achievable goals even during the craziness of the holidays helped keep me focused and sane. Thank you to MichelleK, Mia, Diane, and Christina for sharing your goals! How did ya’ll do?

Also, Mia pointed out the 4 Simple Goals concept is very similar to the “Every Damn Day” list from Yes and Yes. I love this idea and am thinking of starting it this month. Have you tried it?


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Happy 2014!!

heres to a brilliant new year

via

We hope you are as excited as us to ring in the new year. With Lar’s hospitalization and surgery in August, 2013 wasn’t an easy year. We’re looking forward to a healthier, happier year – woohoo! But 2013 wasn’t all bad. Check out some of our highlights:

• Lar got a job!

• We got our own AsianCajuns nail polish color.

• I spent Valentine’s Day with Obama.

• Lar and Matt visited friends in Munich.

• On the same weekend, Lar went to Bordeaux and I went to Denver.

• I won a freakin’ Phillip Lim Bag from Keep.com!

• Lar and Matt became members of the Scottish Malt Whisky Society.

• I got to attend a Southern Blog Society brunch, meet some fabulous bloggers, and felt like a million bucks in my Rent the Runway Opening Ceremony dress.

• Lar attended a vintage car rally – so British!

• I showed off my “Dirty Ego” in a photography exhibit and got to work with the talented Leah Roth and Corey Bertrand.

• Lar and Matt rented a Scottish cottage for a long, cozy weekend.

• Toyota gave me a Corolla for an amazing weekend trip in Blue Ridge, GA

• Lar and I spent Thanksgiving together at a beautiful Scottish manor house with a group of wonderful friends.

We’ll be back to regular blogging early next week. Thank you, dear readers, for another wonderful year of AsianCajuns.com!

 

 


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