Thursday, June 30, 2011

thursday's bit of life ...

i woke up with a KILLER migraine this morning. to be honest, i knew it was coming while i was sleeping last night. for some reason, i could feel it snaking its way up my spine and into my neck and the back of my skull while i was trying desperately to stay in dreamland. when i finally convinced myself to attempt to open my eyes, and only one eye made it open, i knew it would be a stay-home day for me. in the meantime, my stubborn wife who is sofa-bed-bound for at least the rest of the week got her stubborn a$$ out of bed to hunt down my imitrex (seriously! better living through pharmaceutics!! that's the lesson i learned while working at pharmacy schools =) and nagging me to go back to sleep until the drugs kicked in. after calling in sick, a bit more sleep, a shot of caffeine, a hot shower and some granola with coconut milk (i seriously need to hit up THAT convo with y'all soon!) i was feeling more human and more able to spend some time working on my too-much-untouched thesis. after about an hour of being in my head and my journal articles, i looked up for more coffee and realized that the kitchen table had become overwhelmed with my mess. oh well! so, since this is where i am now, i'd thought i'd share a shot of my life right now ...

you can see panda's foot propped up in the background ... poor woman. we're soon headed out to take her to her 1st PT (physio for you aussies) session. which, to be honest, i don't get what they're going to do with her considering that she has 18 STAPLES in her leg. but, i guess that's why i'm not a PT.

and so our day continues on, i'm sitting with my coffee, books, articles and laptop (yes, i was taking a mind break and browsing through my favorite blogs!) all the while, hoping that the migraine will soon leave me alone. even if it doesn't, our bits of life are completely blissful.

here's to hoping that life is treating you to blissful bits as well!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

healing at home and comfort food

it's been an eventful week. besides an avalanche of "to-do" items at work and a never-ending laundry list of "get-done-now-or-never-get-done" items at home, panda underwent a major surgery last thursday to minimize the knee pain that she has been feeling for years. i have to back this story up a bit so that you can grasp the big-picture ... panda had 9 surgeries on her right knee up until this point. it started in her late teens with a soccer-induced knee injury (yep! healthy sports, huh??) and over the years, she's gone in fairly regularly to have work done on her knee so that she could keep ... well, walking, driving, moving ... you know, those daily functions that our knees help us accomplish. on her latest visit to her doc, there came a crystalline moment in which they agreed that these surgical "clean outs" just weren't cutting it (pun not intended) anymore and a more drastic measure needed to be taken. enter the idea of an osteotomy. to spare you the gross details, basically it is meant to help realign the knee allowing for less pressure in the most damaged knee area; it involves cutting a wedge of bone out of her femur and putting in some plates, screws ... you know, things that you find in a hardware store. so ~ after 3 hours of waiting, 4 hours of surgery, 18 staples in the incision, 2 nights in the hospital and a good number of doses of wonderful IV painkillers, panda finally made it home and is not installed on our comfy pull-out bed in the living room for a 1 -2 weeks of rest and recovery to be followed by 6 - 8 weeks of crutches and healing along with a unspecified amount of time of PT. ahhhh ... deep breath in and out ...

thankfully, my honey is home! safe, sound and sore ... but home. to say that we were both exhausted and emotionally wrung out upon our return to our cozy haven is an understatement. we both NEEDED to just curl up into balls on our respective couches (no more snuggling in for me --- after all, i AM a klutz!), zone out and take a few deep breaths knowing that we were home. it was time to find some comfort and get ready for the recovery and healing stages - neither of which are painless).

knowing that we would be home-bound for a while (no complaints on my part!), i had a fairly well-stocked fridge and pantry. it was time to dig in and make some yummy comfort food to nourish our bodies and our tired souls. now, if you know me, you probably know that recipes are suggestions to me (kind of like speed limits and traffic signs). i take the gist of the recipe and then do with it what i wish. we had a HUGE bag of broccoli sitting in our fridge, so i started on a search for a good & quick broccoli soup recipe ... and here's what i ended up creating:

Quick & YUMMY Soul-Soothing Broccoli Soup
~ one medium onion, chopped
~ one handful garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
~ generous touch of olive oil & one pat of butter
~ broccoli florets (as much as you like - i used approximately 3 heads of florets)
~ chicken or veggie stock
~ spices as you desire (i used tumeric, paprika, oregano, cumin, s&p, chopped ginger)
~ sour cream, yogurt or some other dairy product to make it creamy

1) saute onion and garlic in olive oil & butter til translucent or carmelized (as you like it)
2) add in desired spices and cook to toast spices and develop flavor
3) add in 1 box chicken or veggie stock (approximately 4 - 6 cups. depends on the soup consistency you like)
4) add in broccoli and let simmer for 6 - 8 minutes until cooked through
5) take pot off heat and blend (i used immersion blender, but you can use traditional blender but i suggest you blend in batches to minimize mess)
5) when you reach desired consistency, taste and adjust spices as needed. if too runny, put pot back on heat and simmer to thicken
6) take pot off heat when reached desired consistency and add in sour cream or yogurt. let soup rest a few minutes so that everything melds together

i've got to tell you ... that was some YUMMY soup! a couple of days later, I used it as the base for a pasta casserole that i made with leftover kalua beef, corn, beans and cheese.

as tired as i've been ~ partially because i don't sleep well when my family isn't at home, partially because there's a part of me that stays alert listening out for panda since she's still feeling some crazy pain and discomfort, partially because, well, i'm a bit stressed ~ it is comforting to retreat to my kitchen and make food with love. there's a soothing rhythm that i fall into as i chop, season, stir and ponder in front of my stove. and so as the healing continues so will the food creations.

we're wishing you all comfort and love in your homes ...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

checking in ...

arghhh!!! life goes TOO quickly ... the days are zooming by and keeping up with them is never easy. but i wanted to check in ... just because. i know that few people read my random thoughts here, but there's something about putting my words, thoughts, ideas out into the universe that grounds me and makes me feel connected to the "big whole". i'm still trying to figure out what the "big whole" is ... but, for my purposes right here, right now, it works.

panda is going in for a major surgery on thursday. i'm getting nervous and jittery which makes me pushy and bitchy and a bit distant. shortstack comes home in 3 weeks, which makes me anxious and even more jittery ... not quite a state that i would suggest for anyone ~ especially myself. and so, this afternoon i'm off to a massage ... self-care! well, that's what i tell myself. more likely, a self-indulgence.

i hope that this post finds you all in a smooth-sailing state of mind and maybe you can send some of those smooth-sailing vibes my way ... seems like i can use 'em right about now!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sleep or awake ...

i love my sleep. i really, REALLY do. i think that sleep is a necessity, a luxury, a treat, a god-given right ... you get the picture. well, my love of sleep has been greatly impacted by several factors over the years ... first of all, i got a "real" job which meant that i had to regularly get up at a "normal" time (which is seriously ABNORMAL!!) and so my internal clock does not know how to obey the internal snooze button anymore; i had a kid which meant that the whole concept of sleep should be thrown off the building from the top of the empire state building (in reality, i don't know how tall the empire state building is, but b/c peeps use it as a common point of reference, i will too); i got older which - apparently - means that i don't enjoy sleep the way i used; and i've fallen in love with a woman who just doesn't sleep as much as she needs to.

last night was one of those nights where sleep was going to be elusive for both of us. unfortunately parent stress, work stress, life stress all got wound up on one horrendous monday and we both knew - even before we crawled into bed - that sleep was not going to come easily or for long. and we were both correct. what made me smile though, was the knowledge that there is someone who will be there to keep me company - and i, her - when sleep ain't going to happen, sheep counting is not going to work and late night/early morning prowling through the house is inevitable. i'm starting to think that we should include an acknowledgement of that dedication in our wedding vows ... after all, dedication to each other in a sleep-deprived state is love at a deeper level.

so, baby, just for you ... i promise to take you for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer ( i really think that that is a horrible word), in sickness and in health, and with sleep or sleep-deprived ... you're stuck with me baby! just a head's up ... i may be a bit grumpy after our sleepless nights ... coffee may do the trick ... if not, well ... remember that you're promising for better or for worse too!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

yes! you heard correctly ... no thank-you, i don't want a drink ...

well, i never thought that i'd see the day ... i would rather not have a drink at this point in time than suffer from the digestive rebellion that my body throws my way if i do pick up a glass filled with liquid bliss. but, that day has come! you see, it seems that this wonderful meal modification plan that panda and i are on has tweaked my system a bit. no longer does a refreshing mojito sound appealing when i think about the digestive vengeance that my body reeks (pun not intended but quite appropriate) on me and the extended amount of time that i spend on the think tank awaiting release from my body's temper tantrum.

it has only been a week of our meal modification plan (yes, i truly hate the word "diet"). we are conscientious of what we eat and our exercise during the week and have allowed ourselves food and movement freedom during the weekend (seriously - let's be realistic. i'm not one to change my life in extremes; i enjoy eating, cooking and sleeping far too much to become an overbearing health freak!). i am definitely seeing some improvements, but i simply was not prepared for the unexpected side effect of my body violently disliking the reintroduction of alcoholic beverages into the mix.

on saturday, i indulged in a new-found favorite - raspberry ale (i swear, it tastes like raspberry soda ... lynne, i think we found a winner for you!) and an interesting and complex chocolate stout. you see, we had some time on our hands since shortstack isn't here and indulged ourselves with a browsing trip to one of our favorite stores, Tamura's Fine Wine & Liquors. when we have shortstack with us, it's a bit difficult to take our time exploring the aisles of fun and exciting alcohol indulgence, so we spent a nice part of saturday morning walking through previously zipped-through aisles finding some fun new liquid treats to try. and try i did! and payment from that exciting tasty adventure was demanded not that long after indulgence. best i can tell, my body has been taking advantage of the meal modification plan and really taking care of itself ... i'm not sure how great an idea this is if, every time i enjoy myself a tasty beverage, i have to suffer painful and malodorous consequences. oh well ... for now, we're continuing with our meal modification plan and hoping that the big-picture benefits will outweigh the indulgent consequences.

as for the blissful bits of our life that i love to share ... i have some awesomely cute pix that i am wanting to post, but i have to find all the tech hardware that is necessary to - you know - download said pix from the handy-dandy camera onto the ever-present and running laptop. sooner or later i'll get to it ... in the meantime, there's an unbelievably precious pic of shortstack with our favorite kinder teacher, mrs. riddick ... if i figure out how to link it, i'll get it up here for y'all to enjoy ...

update ... ooooh! i think i got the pic where i want it ... let's find out, shall we?

now ... if that picture don't make you smile, nothing will!

enjoy your day!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

maybe i should become a tornado chaser ...?

you know those days when you think, "maybe - just maybe - i was supposed to have a TOTALLY different career ... like, maybe i should be a tornado chaser??!!"

well, that's the thought that i have right now. ugh! it's a wednesday! YAY!! sometimes short weeks are wonderful, and sometimes they simply throw you off and you never quite get into the right rhythm. this week, the short holiday week thing is working well ... but, the weekend still can't come quick enough.

shortstack left for his dad's house last week - 6 weeks in the hot AZ desert - and we've been busy every day since the hand off. well, we first had to catch up on a bit of sleep; panda and i passed out on the couch from pure exhaustion. we had been crazily busy in the week before kaleo's departure as we tried to get in all his visits with his friends, aunties and uncles before leaving, wrapping up with his school year, getting in some super-quality family time and the normal sleeplessness that panda and i face whenever shortstack heads off to the mainland. after waking up with a bit more lucidity, panda and i hit the ground running ... we volunteered our time and selves to special olympics via aunty reech, we celebrated a friend's milestone birthday, visited with an aussie-land pal, started exercising and modifying our diet (MUCH more on this one later!), jumped full-force into our work commitments and duties that have been a bit below our radar these past few weeks, did a surface-only tidy-up of the house, spent some time reading and being with each other. so, to say the least, things have been crazy ... and i'm feeling crazy inside as well. i'm looking forward to a weekend of being at home, cooking up some crazy concoctions and just being. but, doubtful that it'll be that simple.

oh! the exercise thing. so ... i need to get my big butt into shape ... no, i lie, i need to get my body to a healthier place. of course, a nice side effect of getting healthier is fitting smaller-sized clothing ... but mainly, i want my body to feel stronger and steadier. i want energy and i want to sleep well at night without muscle relaxants or other Rx's ... so, panda and i have started walking in the AMs. here i thought, "wow! with shortstack gone, i can sleep in on weekday AMs and take the start of my day slowly." well, for those of you who know me, you know that AMs are not the easiest. but, NOPE! we are still waking up at the evil time (5:30 AM) and have been walking around our neighborhood. now, walking ... you would think ... not so bad! we all walk - should be do-able. well, you see ... we have an EVIL hill near our house ... i mean, it is horrendous ... and we've done it twice so far. =) yep! twice. yes ... i know that twice is not much ... but since i didn't think i could do it the first time, being able to say that we've done it twice is pretty impressive!! i can't say that i feel the benefits yet (yes! i know it's only been 3 days!!) but i do know that i slept fairly well last night and getting up to walk this AM was not as horrendous as it was yesterday. i think that's progress!! maybe i'll soon be fit enough to chase a tornado ... or a shortstack ... sometimes, they're one and the same. =)