Friday, September 10, 2010

Vanity

Well, I've decided to stop coloring my hair. I thought about it ... I've been coloring my hair more than half my life now. I think that's long enough. Besides, it's getting really, really expensive. There's about half an inch already grown out. See?

So, I'm on my way. And yea, I'm gonna be a skunk for Halloween.

And maybe Thanksgiving.

So what?

I've never had a problem telling people my age. And I always say I'm proud to be whatever age I'm at (right now that's 54). So I think it's time to put my money where my mouth is ... or, put my hair where my ... no wait, that's gross. Umm, put my ... no, keep my money in my bank account! Yea, that's it!

Okay, so I'm gonna go knit now.

Ta!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wow! I didn't realize it had been so long! Well, where to start ...

We've been in the new house about three weeks now. It certainly is an experiment in communal living. Some of the chores have logically fallen into place. For example, Michael and Marc mow the grass; Melinda and Katie do the grocery shopping. Melinda does just about all of the cooking, which is good because she is a damn good cook. The rest of us help clean up, do laundry, and we are still organizing and unpacking. I think that activity will probably be going on for a while.

What am I doing? I think what I'm doing is learning to live with people again. Not that I'm anti-social, I just enjoy being by myself. I enjoy quiet and solitude. Melinda and I have had our clashes, and I'm having to learn, once again, to pick my battles. Some things are just not worth it.

I do love-love-love having all the kiddos around me. I mean, what could be better than hearing little footsteps running up to greet you each day when you get home from work? It's awesome!

I'm starting to get my room the way I want it, surrounding myself with my books and little mementos. My Buddha candle holder makes a nice addition and adds to the ambience during meditation. I probably won't paint for a while; eventually we're going to be replacing the horsehair plaster with sheetrock. But I will hang some things on the walls.

The new job is going well. I really like it and I love the fact that I'm no longer a boss. The stress and time spent commuting was definitely not worth the extra money I was making. I can feel the difference in my body as well. Less pain is a good thing!

I've reinstituted my Reiki self-treatment and meditation practice. Every night before I go to sleep I do a self-treatment, and I try to meditate at least a couple of times a week.

The last thing I need to do is start my walking program. As soon as I get the okay from the doctor, I'll be walking every day! I can't wait.

I guess that's about it for now.

Peace to you all.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pain ...

Chronic physical pain ... if you've never had it, it's hard to imagine. I can't remember what it feels like to not be in pain, really. Except for the required bumps and bruises, I remember a childhood of not being aware of pain. I remember the emotional pain of being a teenager ... the first broken heart or the first time I was stood up. I remember being a young mother and wanting to take away my children's pain.

As a child I didn't know that my Dad was in chronic pain. Sometime around 1945 he was working as a garbage collector and, as he was jumping up on the running board of the garbage truck, he slipped and fell under it. The truck kept going, and crushed his legs. My grandmother was told that he'd probably never walk again, and medicine being what it was at the time, they did the best they could. After about a year, he did walk, but never again without pain.

My dad was not a complainer. Even when he was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer in 2006, I never once heard him say "Why me?" "It is what it is" he would say. That about sums it up.

I remember one day asking him about his knees ... "Daddy, do your knees hurt today?" "Honey they hurt every day. It's just worse some days than others." I think that's when I first became aware of chronic pain, the first time I knew that it existed. Before that moment, pain was something that came and went.

Except for a very few close friends, I don't like telling people about my pain. There are a myriad of reactions ... there's pity, "Oh you poor thing! My friend Gladys has .... " Then there's "But you don't look sick," or "You're probably just coming down with the flu," or, one of my personal favorites, "If you pray you'll feel better." Sometimes they don't say anything, but their facial expression says it all. "Yeah, right! That's just an excuse."

People can't understand that pain just happens for apparently no reason. But it does. There are days I can't hold a coffee cup. Vaccuumming the house is an olympic event. I was never known for using a lot of sick time, but now I only have 2 sick days left ... since August! I don't know if there's a correlation, but it seems that I catch every cold bug within a hundred yards of me.

Massage helps, but it's expensive and not covered by insurance. Accupuncture does too, but again is cost prohibitive.

Why am I even writing this? Who knows. I guess it's therapeutic. I don't want people to feel sorry for me, I'm not looking for pity. I guess I just want people to know that it's real. It's not something I'm making up to get out of going to that wedding on Saturday, or an excuse for why the floor isn't washed or the windows don't sparkle. I just hurt. It's that simple. It is what it is.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Children and lovers ...

They don't mix. No matter what anyone says about blended families and diversity. It doesn't matter if your kids are 3 or 33. They won't ever completely approve.

At least that's how it feels to me.

Can we really help who we fall in love with? Life would be easier if we could be sure to fall for the stable, dependable, sober, and faithful guy (or girl), rather than the one who didn't grow up until sometime after hitting 40. But then, is life supposed to be easy? Okay, that's another whole essay. But, would loving someone be really worth it, would it mean as much and fill you up as much if it were easy? I don't know. I've never taken the easy route.

I'm caught between a rock and a hard place ... well, that's not completely true. There's tension, and I think there always will be tension. It's the acceptance that's hard. I know my kids won't ever completely trust him to not hurt me again. And I can understand their position ... after all, they watched me fall apart over him. They were witness to the way I was treated. They don't completely understand why I'm willing to give him another chance. However, they do accept it.

Two of the three will socialize and talk and treat him like part of the family. (He's been around in one way or another for almost 15 years.) One refuses. He wants to talk with her ... clear the air, so to speak. She won't. And I won't try to force it. You can't force that. You can't. He needs to accept that.

And I'm in the middle, the buffer between these two people I love so much.

But ... in the end, one of them is my child.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Today's experiment ...

What are we cooking today? How about Veggie Fried Rice. It's based on this recipe by Melinda Daniel from allrecipes.com, but I was missing some of the ingredients, so I improvised. Here's what I did.

2 cups uncooked white rice (I used Minute Rice)
5 large eggs
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 bunch of celery, roughly chopped
2 handfuls of snow peas
garlic
ginger powder
onion powder
soy sauce
toasted sesame oil

Cook the rice according to package directions, then place in the fridge to chill. Mix the eggs as if you were making scrambled eggs, minus the milk. Add a teaspoon or two of soy sauce to the egg mixture, along with one clove of minced garlic, onion and ginger powder to taste. Cook the eggs in a large wok or fry pan in heated toasted sesame oil. When they're firm, set them aside and, using the same wok or fry pan, quickly saute the veggies until tender crisp. Then add the eggs and rice and mix the whole thing up. Keep adding the spices and soy sauce until you're satisfied with the taste. That's it.

I tend not to use salt and pepper; consequently my food isn't too spicy. That's how I like it. So, spice yours up if you like. I also didn't have any fresh ginger root or an onion, so I used the powders. I'll put it in containers to take to work for lunch. If I had some firm tofu, I'd have added it, but alas, I'm tofu-less! Poor me.





So, that's today's cooking! Gonna go eat now! Ta!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Food continued ...

It took me longer than expected to acquire some of the ingredients I needed, but I got them today at a little Asian market in Nashua, NH. It's called Lanna Asian Market, and they have just about everything you might need for Asian cooking. I needed miso paste, preferably organic, hon-dashi, and soy sauce. The sales girl was very helpful and even offered me recipes.  I would highly recommend them.

So, here's what I made today. I had almost 2 lbs. of fresh mushrooms to use before they spoiled. Since I'd rather not throw money away, I decided to look for a recipe for mushroom soup that did not use cream. I'm trying to maintain as close to a vegan diet as I can. I do feel much better since eliminating animal products, especially beef and dairy. Now I just have to work on the sugar intake, but that's another entry for another day.

I found a recipe on allrecipes.com for mushroom soup that I modified just a little bit. Here's what I did:
  • 3 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce (I used the low sodium kind)
  • 1/2 package extra firm tofu sliced into cubes
  • about 4 cups fresh mushrooms sliced
  • 1 cup carrots sliced
  • 1 cup celery sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 3 cans vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a stock pot, I sauteed the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and onion until tender. Then I added the vegetable broth, soy sauce, and spices and let it simmer to allow the tofu to absorb the flavor. After about 15 minutes, I transferred about 2/3 of the vegetables and tofu into the blender and blended until fairly smooth. Then I put it back into the soup. This is what makes it thicker and heartier than a clear broth soup. After everything is back in the pot, add the barley, simmer and season to taste. That's it! Of course, I had to try some, so I had a bowl for supper. Yummmmmmmmmm ...



I also made a pot of Japanese Miso Soup. Again, I got the recipe from allrecipes.com, and it was extremely easy and quick to make. Here is the recipe:
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp. hon-dashi granules
  • 3 tbs. miso paste (I used red miso)
  • 4 oz. extra firm tofu, diced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cps. mushrooms, sliced
In a saucepan, bring the water and the hon-dashi granules to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and whisk in the miso paste. I used red miso because it has a heartier flavor than the white. Add the tofu, the mushrooms, and the green onions. Let it simmer for a few minutes before serving so that the tofu can absorb the flavors. That's all there is to it. And it is delicious! I didn't feel the need to add any salt or pepper, but I imagine some people do.





So that pretty much was my day today. Now, since it's after 11:00 p.m. I'm going to think about going to bed. I think the next dish I want to try making is an edamame salad that can be either eaten as is or added to al-dente pasta for a nice pasta salad.

Another culinary quote ...

"…the key dietary messages are stunningly simple:
Eat less, move more, eat more fruits and vegetables,
and don't eat too much junk food.
It's no more complicated than that."


~Marion Nestle~

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thoughts on food ...

Again, it's been a while since I wrote. I've finally gotten a clean bill of health in terms of the pneumonia. My last x-ray was clear. Yay!

Now, I'm playing with my diet to try and improve my overall health, lose weight, and hopefully, decrease the pain I'm in every day. I've gone back to being a vegetarian, but I'm taking it a step further ... going vegan. I've eliminated meat, dairy, and eggs. But, it's not enough. I need to eliminate sugar too. At least most of it. I don't know if I'll ever be able to give up my Coffee Mate.

Part of doing this is going to be learning to cook for myself again, to make and have ready foods and snacks that are healthful. Tomorrow when I go food shopping I'm going to Trader Joe's to look for a few things ... raw nuts, organic fruits and veggies, red miso paste, extra-firm tofu. There's a recipe from VegWeb.com for Easy Miso Soup that I want to try.

There are a couple of websites that I've been frequenting in this culinary quest of mine. One is ChooseVeg.com. One of my favorites is Mushroom Barley Soup. It's easy, quick, and very yummy. There's another reason, though, that I like this website. Not only do they have recipes, they have good information as well. Going vegan is not only good for animals (obviously), it's good for us, and it's good for the earth. It takes much less energy to produce an acre of veggies or grain than it does to grow and slaughter an animal. They have information to help make the switch from carnivore to vegetarian/vegan, and you can even request a free Vegetarian Starter Kit.

I also have an Excalibur Food Dehydrator and I love it! It can be noisy, so I recommend putting it in a room where you can close the door, or if you have a basement, that would work too. I'm completely addicted to making my own raisins. They are so much plumper and juicier than the store-bought ones. I've also done watermelon, canteloupe, kiwi, and bananas. Nature's candy! When mushrooms are on sale, I stock up and dry them for use in soups and stews.

So, tomorrow I'll be back with the results of my cooking experiments.

I leave you with "food" for thought:

Nothing will benefit human health
and increase chances for survival of life on Earth
as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.  
~Albert Einstein~