Thursday, August 19, 2010

Eyesight Ramblings

Ah, another post from me about doctor-related things. I suppose the only reason I've been to see various specialists about seemingly small issues I would have otherwise left to fend for and fix themselves (had I been back in the States) is because, wait for it,


This, of course, provided you have a decently-to-well paying job and can afford the odd $20 of chest X-rays and what-have-yous necessary for work permits or general curiosity. If you're old and have a crap pension plan, it's a whole other story, and in that case you're probably a bit up shit creek with getting by overall. Which is wrong and unfair. This, of course, also considering that consultations aren't all that cheap, but that most prescription medicines (inhalers, for you fellow asthmatics) and vaccinations and X-rays really are cheaper than a week's worth of red meat. Which, if you're like me and don't eat read meat anyway, is great because why wouldn't you want four identical X-rays of your chest cavity to turn into modern art in your home?

But I digress. Anyway, I've done a bit more research on whether or not it would be worth my time and money to make an appointment with an eye doctor again, as I believe the papillary conjunctivitis (re: rusty screw feeling under my left eyelid) has returned. I apparently took care of it once, medicated the peepers for two weeks, then disregarded the doctor's instruction to consult a contact lens specialist and just started using the contacts again. And lo! Problems! 1:0, doctors. Fair play.

Where all this is going is that I have reason to believe that it is the specific brand/make of contact that is causing problems. This I believe because I wore contacts in high school and throughout college without any problems - and I wore contacts the first ~1+ year in Latvia without any issues. After some article searching and reading I've come to the potential conclusion that the specific type of contact I've been buying and using in Latvia has slowly built up an allergic reaction in my eye. Damn you, fatherland optometry!

I'm reluctant to go back to a doctor, as I know what I have and would just rather have the prescription for the same fiery eye-drops of last time instead of paying someone close to $40 to tell me what I already know. Oh, wait, sounds like America!

It also seems that nothing is covered by the health insurance I've paid for through work. The clinic I've been going to for the past two years isn't covered by my programme or company, and nowhere else nearby either takes my insurance, or has any openings before next Wednesday, by which time I will be back in the States and hugging a $2 alarm clock and cotton bath towel set from IKEA.

However, on a certain level, I feel that if I do nothing about the eye I could be sporting an eye-patch sooner than and much later after Halloween.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Heat Wave

Even cats have a rough time dealing with the heat. Mine can't even stand to sleep on his stomach.

Saturdays and Eggs

I'm working through another weekend evening to try and ensure that I will be done by tomorrow and in time to go toss my cousin's kids around in the Gauja River. It was around 30ºC in Latvia today and will probably be the same tomorrow. Great swimming weather.

Though I'm supposed to be translating right now (I feel most of whatever I write or do at otherwise inappropriate times comes about when procrastinating), I can't stop thinking about the omelet I had for breakfast and the egg situation in Latvia.

Oh yes, we have a situation. About eggs.

Although life in Germany gave me the choice of buying brown or white eggs, life in Latvia generally greets you ONLY with brown eggs. White eggs only show up around Easter, right in time for them to be bought out and used for traditional egg colouring. (Truth be told, they might be available year-round somewhere else, but I'm used to not expecting to see them anymore.) So, brown eggs it is. And that's cool. I'm down with brown eggs; I have been since Germany.

The thing I'm not so down with is the fact that, when living in Latvia, you are reminded on an egg-by-egg basis just exactly where that egg came from. Almost every single carton of eggs is filled with individual reminders that, even if Egg did come first, this one definitely came from Chicken. Specifically, from the internal, body-juice, feathery nether regions of Chicken.

Eggs in Latvia are, as could be surmised, not cleaned very well or at all before being packed into cartons and shipped off to grocery stores for shelving. Standard cooking procedures at home have also changed. Gone are the days of carefree egg cracking straight into the bowl. Now everything is prefaced by wrinkled noses and gasps of disgust as eggs are turned over to reveal bits of feathers, bits of other egg and even blood before attempting to wash it with several cleaning fluids before use.

Granted, you can always opt for the plastic six-pack of eggs of non-specific origin, wrapped in a thin, black carton slip sporting a picture of a glistening body builder, but as these eggs neither come with miniature tricep and bicep bulges, nor do they make you strong enough to challenge strongman Raimonds Bermanis, the extra four santims don't really seem worth it.

Now, instead of popping the lid off the carton at the store just to check for cracked shells, I also check for the carton that has the least amount of carnage still attached to it. The day I find a tiny chicken beak or underdeveloped wing tip in a carton is the day I go ovo-vegetarian.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ze donats/The Donuts

First – I wrote this somewhere else a while ago, but it is once again relevant because I may be grabbing handfuls of breakfast there tomorrow if a) I get enough work done tonight/early tomorrow morning (such are my Friday nights, boo hoo), b) if I wake up in time to not miss three consecutive trains out to Riga (it happens, life moves on) and c) the Ze donats is open early enough for the pending feeding to be considered breakfast. (And d) who am I kidding? Breakfast is clearly an any-time applicable meal concept.)

Second - DOUGHNUTS. For some reason these pop-culture type re-spellings of words (also: drive thru) really, really bother me.

Third - oh my HOLY BUTLERS OF AMSTERDAM*. I'm not a fan of cake doughnuts, but these circles of perfection are a nice middle ground between cake and raised types. They also cost only LVL 0.25 a piece (unless you go for filled, which run 5-15 santims higher) and come in all kinds of flavours with exciting names, like "Džons lemons" (John Lemon). That's right, they're clever, too. The people, not the doughnuts.

Ze donats/The Donuts is located on Kr. Valdemāra Street in riga, between Dzirnavu and Lačuplēšu Streets (closer to the corner of Dzirnavu Street). The staff are extremely nice, the place itself is really unassuming and comfortable and the eats, well... Let's just say "two's company, three's a crowd" does NOT apply to this as a Sunday morning breakfast item.

This place used to be a slight problem (reference name's days, birthdays, last-day-of-work-on-contract days, random days) as I used to live a half block from it. The only benefits were that it wasn't open late (thus eliminating any post-office day depression fixing via sugary carbohydrates) and that I tended to quickly forget that there was anything in this country similar to a "good doughnut". Now that I live outside Riga, temptation has dropped considerably. This lack of temptation, however, makes taking the 30 minute train ride and 15 minute walk from the station to the cafe all that more important because, dammit, if I came all this way I'm going to go there and eat WHATEVER I WANT.

I also just discovered their website is up and running and full of annoying sounds. Just wish it had opening hours available!Hours of operation are found under the "Kontakti" section.

*I don't get it, either. That's how I roll.