Mellow Yellow Monday- Bananas

Yeasted Banana Bread.
bananas

Bananas are yellow and alone, I eat them as a snack. They don’t make me specifically joyful but many years ago when I started making banana bread, I made myself a hero. I’m not a great cook or a fabulous baker with a wide repertoire of things I know how to expertly make. I make a mean banana bread though. It got such rave reviews from my husband and son, my mother, sister, niece and nephew that it was now called “Aunt Laurie’s Banana Bread” and that made me proud. I don’t have many skills but when I start peeling those ripe bananas into the same glass bowl I always use, I know that in an hour, people will be clamoring for more. I don’t think I’ll ever get famous for “Aunt Laurie’s Banana Bread” but when I serve it,  I feel like a star.

My Favorite Summer Drink- A Mojito, A Plinky Prompt

 Mojito

Image by TheCulinaryGeek via Flickr

  • My Favorite Summer Drink
  • I don’t drink alcohol much at all, the tiniest bit gives me a headache….but, if I did drink and they halved the amount of alcohol in it, I know what I would have. Without a doubt, I would have a Mojito. I love the sound of it, I love the taste, the smell of crushed mint and fresh lime and sugar. It’s refreshing and I know that just holding a glass in my hand would make me feel cooler. It’s definitely a hot summer night drink, I can’t imagine drinking it in the winter at all. What dish makes the perfect complement to this drink? Home-made guacamole with blue tortilla chips, sharp white cheddar cheese with whole-grain crackers that have a touch of sweetness, raw vegetables like carrots and broccoli and cauliflower with a ranch dip, a filet mignon grilled on the barbeque and small roasted potatoes drizzled with olive oil, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Yeah, that too, playing on the CD, Simon and Garfunkel, the oldies collection. Let the night begin…

My Idea of Perfect Weather

Is this a flickr cliché?

Image by hufse via Flickr

Sun, Sugar And My Soul

Perfect weather: a bright blue sky with shiny puffs of cotton-candy shaped clouds, the sun warming my hair and no rain in sight. It’s a day where I sit outside in an old green lawn chair and watch the red cardinals and finches and funny birds with yellow mohawk haircuts visiting and eating from the bird feeder. I don’t chase the squirrels away, they eat the sprinkled food I leave on the ground for them. I laugh as they play and chase each other around always looking glassy-eyed and shocked. I love to see the bright yellow dandelions popping up amongst the green grass. I stare at the brightness of the yellow flower and the puffy, soft bristles that we blew in the wind when we were innocent children, making wishes, believing they would come true.

I would have a picnic outside with family and friends because we all know that everything tastes so much better if you eat it outdoors. Sandwiches on rye bread, thick with cheese and ham or cucumbers, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese on French bread with a drizzle of light green olive oil and a sprinkling of black pepper and pungent oregano. Art in a sandwich. We would drink home-made lemonade, sweet with sugar and the juice of many yellow, spongy lemons. There would be a variety of sugar cookies, spicy ginger snaps, chocolate chip brownies and my famous banana bread moist, rich with plump raisins and a dusting of brown sugar. Sunshine, sugar, sweetness, the essence of my soul; while these magical days don’t come often, we appreciate them more when they do appear, like a gift from the sky.

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Which Would I Give Up? Easter or Halloween Candy?

marshmallow-y rainbow-y, uh, goodness

Image by McBeth via Flickr

Be serious. There is no way I would give up either one, ever. How could one give up Halloween candy, with those miniature size chocolates that we know DON’T count for calories or carbs. They are fun-sized. The choice too, is endless: Whoppers, and 3 Musketeers and candy corn, and Hershey’s nuggets, not to mention Kit Kat bar, Almond Joy, Mounds or Twizzlers. No, these are not going anywhere. Easter candy? You don’t seem to understand that I wait for those Cadbury creme eggs all year-long. I wouldn’t be happy without those yellow peeps either. While I know now that they sell peeps all year round for every different occasion in every color…that doesn’t make me any happier. It’s the thrill of getting them once a year, the fight to find them that made them so very special. Every year, and I admit, I am 54, my mom still gives me 2 Cadbury creme eggs and a box of peeps. I buy them for my own two children. I have introduced people to peeps who (gasp) didn’t know what they were, I have written about Peeps and Cadbury creme eggs. I’m sorry, I can’t play this Plinky game, Easter and Halloween candy are here to stay. If you’re talking giving up spinach or cauliflower, that game I could play. Spinach, out.

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Swedish Fish Are Mood Elevators

2.28.09

Image by absenthero via Flickr

Sometimes all we need is a change of attitude. Or a good night’s sleep or the morning light that makes evening’s horrific problems seem not so bad after all. It’s hard to wake up grumpy after nine hours of sleep. My back is a little better so that’s an improvement and I  hear the cardinals tweet their beautiful songs right outside my window. It’s raining but the light gray skies look hopeful, almost as if they were encouraging the sun to come out and play.

I found a diner that serves carrot cake by the slice but ever since I saw it I haven’t been back to buy it. Just knowing its available is good enough, well, until tomorrow when I go back, hand them my cash and run.

Writing about my narrow angled glaucoma last night made me feel relieved. It had never occurred to me to write about it before and I find that strange. I can post about Fibromyalgia but this horror, this reality, had subconsciously become my scary secret.  It’s as if before I had avoided a part of my own reality: I’m scared to death of going blind and the procedures themselves are excruciating. Help me. Please.

Tonight I will break apart the multi-grain French loaf that I bought at the store yesterday, warm it up and eat it with olive oil or butter and a chunk of sharp white cheddar cheese, and honey and that will be my dinner. I will drink diet vanilla Coke out of  a wine glass and celebrate being alive, celebrate yesterday being over.

My headache throbs incessantly and will not go away. Weather? Stress? Fibromyalgia? Life? These days I’m a single mother of two active and self-involved teenagers that dance around me. There is no real communication or help, because they are only concerned about themselves and their private worlds of friends.  I lost it today, saying I was not “their maid” and they need to help out. At 16 and a half and almost 18 and a half they should really know better but they don’t. Age appropriate? Probably. Annoying? Definitely.

I am looking forward to watching Modern Family tonight on television while eating Swedish Fish. Yesterday was the first time I ever had a Swedish fish, I took a few out of the bags I had bought my children and tried them. I now know why they love them. The texture is smooth, slimy, sugary sweet and strawberry? I eat them gingerly not wanting to tempt the pain of TMJ. Even so, Swedish Fish (and no, they are not paying me) truly are a delicacy, because other than ginger-lemon cookies, they are all I’ve got.  Sugar therapy. Works for me.

*I’m Talking Fruit Loops

Going Loopy

Image by terren in Virginia via Flickr

Earlier today I met my friend Sarah for lunch at our local coffee shop.  I nibbled on a small fresh (?) fruit salad and ate a few bites of an egg white omelette. I felt virtuous for about two hours, eating only healthy food and grazing. We talked about everything, our kids, our maladies and the current stomach bug that was circulating through town and through the high school.

Once home, couple of hours later, I felt faint and nauseous. Just hearing the stomach bug going around made me reach for the Saltines. Later that night, for dinner, I had some of my absolutely divine homemade chicken soup, a soft carrot or two floating around, a piece of a turnip and parsnip, ( I have no idea which is which), a couple of crackers crushed into the soup.  I’ve heard of so many people getting some virus or another, ’tis the season, I suspect. So, I decided I must have the stomach bug or I am ABOUT to get the bug because my appetite was teeny-tiny, no more than a red breasted robin would eat at one time.

Then I went upstairs and started listening and watching You Tube songs on my computer.  “In the Arms Of an Angel” by Sarah Mclaughlin, “Vincent,” by Don Mclean and a beautiful, touching song I had never heard before by Josh Groban called “To Where You Are.” I got fixated on this song I had never heard and I listened to it about 20 times, over and over again.  I started thinking about all the people who I have loved that passed away. Holidays do that to you, you know. My dad, a dear aunt, my friend Janine’s father and mother-in-law, all the people I have lost and people who my friends lost.  I started getting depressed.

It’s the ho-h0-ho of the holiday season and many of us just can’t rejoice like we used to. There are so many factors: the economy, high unemployment, the kids are older, loved ones have passed and the world can be a scary place. I decided I needed something, I needed comforting, I needed…..cereal.

In the last two days by children decided that they loved cereal, not having bothered with it for about 5 years. I saw cereal, thought of cereal, bought cereal and had cereal on my mind. I crept downstairs to have two bowls of cereal. The first was a mixture of Honey Nut Cheerios, Grape Nuts (or as I call them Gravel Nuts) and two or three pieces of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It wasn’t enough. I then came upon an individual box ( and we know those don’t count) of utterly charming, amazingly beautiful sugary Fruit Loops. I didn’t bother with the Mini Shredded Wheat with Bran, or the Flax seed cereal, or the Multi-Grain Mix. Nope, no way. I went straight to the hard stuff. Nothing talks mood elevator like Fruit Loops! How can you be weary and sad after looking at those darling purple, red, yellow, green morsels of edible jewelery.

All of a sudden I felt happier and of course fully distracted from my depressing thoughts and sad memories.  The Fruit Loops were the delightful high of my evening and not only that, I was cured. I was cured physically and emotionally and I felt happier. Cure of all ills, thy name is sugar. Amen.

*This post is not approved by Weight Watchers

Listen to the Josh Groban song, you can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uIQp9Dqcrw

We’re Allowed To Have A Horrible Day …..Or Two

dark and stormy

Image by lilli2de via Flickr

When I spoke to my friend on-line I told her I was thinking of writing a blog with the title “Losing Hope.”  I’ve learned to wait a little while and see how I feel later on. Granted, passion fruit sorbet and coconut sorbet helped a little. It was probably a combination of the sugar and the unique sorbet flavors that worked so well together.

The morning started with a phone call my husband made to a hiring manager. The good news? He is definitely the candidate that they want! The bad news? They don’t have the funding for the job.  This is the second time this has happened to my husband. He’s been unemployed for a year now. (Anyone know of a Software Engineer job?)  I see his sadness and as hard as I try to boost his spirits today I just sunk lower with him. I’ve been good and supportive but today was too much, so we acknowledged we were blue and then went out for an inexpensive Latin dinner (with a coupon) where he had tilapia (fish)with mole sauce and I had a quesadilla filled with spinach, mushrooms, cheese and horrors of all horrors, green peppers. After I finessed the green peppers to the side, I was happy.

We took our dog out for a short walk after dinner and as much as my joints hurt, and my knee locked, my fatigue overwhelming me, at least I did it. It was one of those perfect, beautiful, warm, dry evenings. It was also something my husband wanted to do and he does not ask for much. So, our 8-year-old mutt, Callie was in heaven, my husband was smiling and after giving myself a tiny push, I felt better too.

There were some “family” issues which bothered me but I got over it with helpful prompting from my husband as in “what do you expect? They always do that….”  Enough said. My mother warned me about not eating too much food on the free cruise and the chubby girl resurfaced and I felt my body inflate and swell.

It’s hard to be sensitive, I can be very empathic but also hurt easily. It doesn’t seem to be a lesson I’ve learned or accepted. I try to “not care as much” but it’s a skill I lack and don’t think I will learn it anytime soon. At least  I’ve learned to get over something quickly which in the past could have been long and drawn out.

I’m vulnerable, to diseases, to emotions, to temperature; we all are.  After trying to fight the knowledge of a cranky,  “snarky” day, I’ve learned (most of the time ) to just give in to it and ride the waves until everything calms down. You never know, maybe the next day will be filled with sunshine,  honey and bright blue skies; it’s possible. Allow yourself to have a bad day or more when you need it and don’t feel guilty about it; we deserve it.

On Being A Patient, Again

I never stopped being a patient, not since my thyroid went out of wack 3 years ago, not since I was told I had Fibromyalgia (and then told it was a “lazy diagnosis”)  Not since the prednisone, the hospitalization for eppiglottitis the 24/7 cough that would not go away, not since I was sent to the Pulmonologist, the ENT  the addition of 5-7 different medications. Not since my stint in the packed emergency room with an overnight stay in the hospital with the worst pain I have ever had in my life.

Here I am again, world! Stuck and pissed off with yet another chapter to my ever-so-boring and relentless saga of pain, chronic pain, auto-immune diseases, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, lack of energy and tonight,  a really bad, horrible, disgusted and angry, almost-in-tears mood.

The latest is that my Synthroid level ( TSH) is very, very low, too low said the doctors.  To those in the Club of Thyroid Disorders out there, (COTD- I made it up but it works) I know you will understand. The T4 is perfect. One doctor, the evil endocrinologist (lower case on purpose) sent a prescription (albeit the wrong prescription) in the mail telling me (no, writing me) he was surprised with my numbers but I should reduce the Synthroid medication (buzz word) to 50 mcg. First I was at 88, then 75, now 50???   That’s like telling someone who has the flu, to get up out of bed and do somersaults while standing on their heads, backwards.  I’m down enough people, now this? It makes no sense.

I wrote to my Guru Dr. in the City who handles the type of Autoimmune Disease (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) as in***THYROID DISEASE  to tell him. He suggested that my” Endocrinologist” do a simple TRF blood test and he guessed I might have something called Secondary Hypothyroidism ( I know, I could so be on Gray’s Anatomy with the amount I’ve had to learn and remember.)

Here’s the problem. The nasty, dull, mean-spirited endocrinologist (lower case on purpose again) who I am going to DUMP as soon as I find a new one, refuses to talk to me on the phone. Just for a couple of questions. “No, come in”,  he said. “I just want to ask him a question” I pleaded to his nurses “No, come in.”  I’m seething. First of all I have never heard of a doctor that won’t take a phone call for a question (I wasn’t demanding to speak to him at that moment) and that absolutely refuses to return a phone call from a patient. Second, he knows about my Guru Doctor in the city since I have copied him on everything. (Do you think this could be a terrritorial thing?)  Third, he did not believe that I had, indeed, a note from my Guru Dr. to suggesting he test me for TRF (whatever it is). No. What? You heard me. No. No phone call, no question, no way, no how. “It is too difficult to explain on the phone” the nurse parroted. Are you kidding me? I had one question about the blood (yes, in the lab in the office) test and a simple thought: wouldn’t it make sense to test the TRF level FIRST (as my Guru Doctor said) then to start on a regimen of a new medicine that could take 4-6 weeks to kick in? Isn’t that throwing the donkey in front of the carrots? (or whatever that stupid expression is.) Not to mention, I do not want to go back to a doctor that treats me with such disrespect (and he always has). I know he doesn’t know that the fifty dollar co-payment would be hard for our unemployed selves. I understand that, but, a 30 second phone call?

Well, you know what the answer is I’m sure. “No”. So here I am, calling new Endocrinologists (one is on vacation until the 20th, the other does not return phone calls) waiting to make an appointment. Oh dear Lordy, Lordy, it’s July and the doctors (at least the ones I’m trying to reach) are on vacation, and of course you cannot leave a message.

I have that creepy, queasy, angst-ridden feeling in my stomach. What now, I ask? I can’t reach any doctor AND short of sending an “I BEG of you” message to my Guru Doctor (which I will do anyway in the early a.m.) I will be sitting home in a flurry of frustration and anxiety. I will be sitting on my bed, fed up, confused and furious and yes, a little scared too. A little courtesy, perhaps DOCTORS?? Yeah, right.

I feel totally helpless and demeaned. I feel anxious and confused and ignored. Does anyone understand this?  Is this the time for an out and out binge on sugar- laden treats?  Can I run and hide from my anxiety for a few minutes with cookies and chocolate,  and that sweet powerful surge in energy? This doctor says Yes. Absolutely. Starting Now.