I am grateful for the surgeon, nurses, and the team who have the knowledge to fix these ol’ hips of mine that have hurt so badly from the time I was very,very little. Thank you, Dr. Clayton Conrad and his team at New Mexico Orthopaedics Associates here in Albuqueque, New Mexico.  There is much right now  – the day after “the election that should have been” – to be worried about and fearful of….but right now, for just a few minutes (before I fall alseep again!), I will give you a quick update on yesterday and today.

Operation Day, Tuesday, November 8, 2016:

Due to a genetic predisposition for Malignant Hyperthermia, I was first on the docket for Dr.Conrad’s surgery schedule at New Mexico Orhtopaedics Surgery Center. Before surgery we talked about pain medication options for after the surgery….I cannot take anything with codeine because I get horrific headaches, nausea and vomiting for several days after a dose….so, not oxy, no hydro for me. Usually I just muscle through with Tylenol but I was nervous about it with this surgery -fearing the intense pain. So, when he suggested Hydromorphone – a type of morphine – I said “okay”. 

Mistake. More on that later.

Surgery  went well – Arthroscopic Femoraplasty and Acetabuloplasty for impingement with Labral Tear Repair …..  about 3 hours to get in,  repair torn labrum, repair fracture in acetabulum (that was a surprise!), and resection the femoral head. As I explained to my students- fix the puzzle pieces so they all fit together smoothly without pain on every step. Knowing about the possibility of Malignant Hyperthermia helps the anesthesiologist give me better knock-out drugs – Tiva method of administering anesthesia instead of gas. Two surgeries now with this method and waking up has been so much better than past surgeries. (If it sounds like I’ve had a lot surgeries, you’re right – this was #12.) I woke up easily and without a headache, nausea, or dizziness. It was amazing. 

Generally, my waking up from surgery is a very long process and involves dizziness, passing out, throwing up, headaches. One time -years ago – it took so long to wake me up from a laparoscopic procedure for endometriosis that the staff sent me home before I was able to go to the bathroom…. I kept passing out and throwing up every time they tried to get me to the bathroom. Two hours later I was back in the emergency room and had to get a catheter so they could release my very full, very painful bladder. It was not pretty. 

Anyway, yesterday’s wake-up was much better. Yay!! I was even actually awake on the drive home and got into the house with little trouble. Before leaving the hospital, they gave me my first dose of hydromorphone. Within a few hours, the headache began. I just thought it was a normal anesthesia headache so when it was time for the second dose of Hydomorphone, I took it. 

Sigh. Mistake. Again.

By 4 pm, my headache was at a full-on “100” on a 10-point scale of pain. Horrifying, blinding, excruciating pain. And of course, with that pain comes the debilitating nausea. Until about 4 am, I was miserable – vomiting every hour…. Any vomiting is unpleasant, but repeatedly throwing up immediately following hip surgery is very, very, VERY unpleasant and quite uncomfortable.  All of this resulted in weakness, dizziness, and just being flat out miserable. I kept my face and head covered in a cold washcloth for hours. 

Oh! In all the misery, we learned a great trick from our neighbor Suzy, who is a PT with Rust Hospital. So glad she and her husband Steve stopped by to check on me. If you get frequent headaches, you know the value of cold wash cloth. You probably also know the pain of getting up from your bed and your sweet darkness to rinse the washcloth in cold water every hour or so. Well…. Did you know you can take the washcloth by the corner and swing it ’round and ’round and ’round and it will act like a swamp cooler and become cold again!?  It’s an awesome trick!! If you already knew – good for you. It was a wonderful and welcome revelation for Toby and I.  Suzy also suggested using their wheelchair for bathroom trips since two previous trips to the bathroom resulted in severe dizziness, nausea and more throwing up. Tell you what – later in the evening, we were very GRATEFUL for that wheelchair.

Finally, about 4 am my head seemed to start settling down. We had apparently figured out the right combination of meds to squelch the headache and dull the hip pain. And, I slept. For 2 straight hours. It was heaven. And when I woke – my head was not on fire. I slept again, for 2 more hours, and woke again with a weary head, but without the headache  and thankfully, with greatly reduced nausea. Phew! Thank goodness.

Of course, then I was reminded of the election results and the nausea returned. 

Post-Op Day 1:

After about 10 am, no headache at all. Woo!Hoo!

Able to eat a bit more food – boring and bland,  but sustenance nonetheless – which is crucial to keeping the headaches at bay. Two bouts of dizziness and nausea before 2 pm but since then – smooth sailing with med, stomach, and head. Yay! 

Oh yeah…. My hip! Hahaha 

Yes… It hurts. But you know what? Other than a few movements, it doesn’t hurt any more than it has day in and day for years. I did some small range of movement exercises but today was mostly devoted to sleeping, getting in some calories, keeping my head calm, and making trips to the bathroom by myself. Tomorrow, I will start with the exercise routines my surgeon prescribed. All research points to movement being the key to a good recovery. 

Movement is key to so much, don’t you think?

Toby will return to work tomorrow – but will be home again on Friday as it is Veteran’s Day and there is no school. Maybe tomorrow I will find a new show on Netflix….. We’ve kept the tv off for most of the last two days. TV is not conducive to quieting headaches, and besides, most of the television last night and today was focused on the sad results of the election. Stunned and shocked enough on my own, I don’t really need to listen to the media going on and on about it…… seeing as how the media was pretty much responsible for creating “The Donald” and spreading his “good news” far and wide. 

Aargh…. Not gonna get started on that. Not now.

Thanks for checking in. Here’s to healthy hips!!! (And closer to getting back my yoga groove!)

 

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Her Smile.

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So, here’s the thing –
this picture was Valentine’s Day, last year. Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 in The Villages, Florida with my mom. It was a simple, beautiful, perfect day. “It’s a beautiful day in The Villages”…. as they say. We spent the entire day doing sweet, lovely normal things together. We woke up and shared yogurt on the front porch in awe of the hundreds of birds flocking and flying and munching on the berries in the front yard trees. I got her her Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and glazed stick – just like every other morning. We went for her last haircut with her favorite beautician at the barber shop where she and my dad had their hair cut for the past 18 years. We walked. A lot. She was literally pain free that day. It was beautiful. It was a gift. We ate on the patio at Panera twice that day – her favorite place. She had a blueberry scone each time. We spent time at the water and watched the birds. My mother loved birds. I remember all “her birds” that gathered in our yards – our yards in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas. Her yard in Florida. The sun was warm, bright, and the sky was so blue that day. We did an interview with the local reporter about my dad, and my mom told some stories I had never heard before. Imagine that – new stories, after all those years. New gifts. We shopped. We got her clothes for church on Sunday – my dad’s service. I remember the woman at Coldwater Creek who was simply amazing and patient and kind. We went to a movie and when we got home I rubbed her feet and we listened to her beloved Hadyn as she fell asleep. We were just 4 days away from leaving Florida. She was just a few days away from leaving her home. She was happy and peaceful and energetic. We were together. And, I remember every moment of that perfect, amazing day. While we were on the pier, I asked a woman to take our picture. She was an older woman, as well, and after I showed her how to use the camera on my phone and I noticed her tender, shaky hands, I remember thinking, “Oh well – it’ll be blurry but it will still be okay.” I asked her to take a few…just to be sure I had no idea my mother had closed her eyes. And, she was smiling. My mother almost never smiled in pictures. I have hundreds of photographs of her and she is almost never smiling. She’s smiling. That day, at that moment, she smiled. I look at this picture every day. I see her smile every day. I had hoped to have so many more perfect days like this with her. As I am writing this, I now realize I did have more perfect days with her – not as many as I had hoped, but each day was a perfect gift in its own rite.
I miss you, mom. Thank you for our perfect days. Thank you for smiling that day.

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a time to celebrate

so, here’s the thing:
it was a year ago late this afternoon my father died in florida. i still miss him every day. i miss our talks, his laugh, his takes on life, his shaggy dog tales, and his advice. i miss him calling me “sport”. i miss him. he was not perfect – none of us are. he loved me the very best he knew how to. i still get very sad. i still find myself mad that he is gone.
but today during yoga, it came to me to also celebrate today. celebrate him. celebrate all that has happened since he died a little before 5pm in florida on feb. 1, 2014.
i celebrate that i was there. with him, holding him, touching him, loving him. i celebrate his courage in knowing it was time for him to go.
i celebrate the trust he had in me to tell me it was time. i celebrate that i was able to give him such comfort in his final days. he trusted me to care for his precious and beloved wife. i celebrate his courage to confess his sins before leaving and cleanse his soul before his journey. i celebrate those last two kisses; his last words to me: “i want a kiss”. i celebrate that tear he shed as he passed – i celebrate that his heaven was so beautiful that it brought him to tears.
i celebrate the faith i felt as he left us ; that he was now safe and pain-free and happy, and loved.
i celebrate the time i got to spend with my mom before her passing. priceless. i celebrate being present and making her my priority. i celebrate that i was there with her. i washed her, fed her, held her, kept her safe. i celebrate that gift. i celebrate the privilege of being present as she left this world. she was there as i greeted this world and i was there as she left. i celebrate that circle.
i celebrate gary and don and our new, better, closer and more trusting relationship. they came to florida. they showed up for the hard stuff. i celebrate our connection. I celebrate the trust they showed in me to care for our mother.
i celebrate spending time with the only two cousins i have – mark and eric… my daddy loved them so much and I am so grateful for the time we have spent over the past year making some room for each other in our lives.
I celebrate rekindled relationships and a few newly discovered “cousins”. wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

i celebrate my parents’ friends in florida – they truly adored my parents and they were so kind to me and were there for my mom and i last feb. and stay in touch still.
i celebrate my monte vista family for their kindness, compassion and support through all my journeys over that past 12 years, but especially this most difficult one.
i celebrate denise and melanie for guiding me ever so gently and lovingly… allowing me space and to find my breath again.
i celebrate my yoga practice – which has grown so full as a result of these losses. i have found the breath to fill those empty spaces.
i celebrate veronica and sylvia for sharing their pain with me to help ease mine. For knowing.
i celebrate yo and scot for their love and for sharing San Diego with us – helping us all begin some healing.
i celebrate jeff and keri, and her jeff, for the laughter…. there were days i never thought i’d laugh again – and there they were…. cracking me up. reminding me how – and why.
i celebrate stella for being there that day and for bringing me back to myself. for her knowledge and skill and compassion and kindness.
i celebrate our albuquerque friends – “family” – who have shared a gentle and attentive love.
i celebrate returning to california and soaking in the ocean, the sand, the air.

i celebrate the hummingbird and monarch butterfly that came to me almost every morning from april through october.
i celebrate the time i took to be present in our garden.
i celebrate all i have learned about real estate, wills, dementia, hospitals, hospice, cancer and dying. i have more tools in my toolbox now.
i celebrate my previous therapist for knowing i needed more, for being smarter than me. and i celebrate my therapist who has walked this painful journey with me every week since june.
i celebrate sean for his patience, his attention, his words, and his hugs. i felt so bad being away from him for so long – but, guess what? he still loves me.
i celebrate katie for coming home to be with toby and sean. for coming home that first weekend my mom was here with us. for coming home a few weeks later when she was on her way out. for answering my calls and listening to me cry. for loving me even though i was messy.

and, i celebrate my love, toby. for loving my mother and father. for missing them right alongside me. for everything he did to make our home safe and comfortable for mom. for being so damned good with her those last few weeks. for holding me every single time i come apart at the seams. for loving me no matter how ugly the grief gets. for being my soft spot to land when the world throws me around.
these past 12 months have been harder than anything i have ever experienced. i celebrate those 12 months, every moment of them.

don’t get me wrong – i am still sad and miss them both dearly, but i am reminded of all i have to celebrate.

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grateful for easy comfort food

i have been having a tough few days – it’s another paxil decrease week and everything is hurting – body and soul. completely selfishly speaking, i REALLY needed and wanted our conference days this week – but since we have an administration that cannot stick to their initial plans – no conference days. wah! wah! oh well…. someone call the wambulance i’m whining.  (again, i guess.)

anyway – tonight should have been katie’s night for cooking dinner, but she has such a huge pile of homework (as usual this junior year) so i came home to the task. i forced myself to take a walk – glad i did even though everything hurt with every step.  glad i did but i could have just as easily fallen into my cuddly chair with my blankets and my puppy.  i needed quick, easy, not too unhealthy, and comforting.

grilled cheese & tomato soup.

that’s it. ’nuff said. NOW it’s time to wrap up and cuddle in my chair.

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… Been cooking lately…. grateful for yummy, fresh food!

I haven’t been writing many thank you notes lately – but over the past few weeks, I have cooked up some yummy home-cooked meals.  And I’ve actually been taking the time to write up the recipes – or edit the recipes I’ve adapted from foodnetwork.com.

so – here goes:

Super Bowl Sunday Yumminess

Bean-n-Veggie Quesadillas  (Vegetarian)

  • 1 lg yellow onion; chopped
  • Garlic, 5 to 6 cloves; peeled, mashed, chopped
  • Lots  of carrots; grated in chopper – about 2 cups
  • Squash; finely chopped/grated – about 1 cup
  • Green bell pepper; finely chopped/grated – about 1 cup
  • Yellow bell pepper; finely chopped/grated – about 1 cup
  • 4-6  med-lg mushrooms; finely chopped – about 1 cup
  • About ¼-c of green onions; finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 can vegetarian refried beans
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • Several tortillas
  • Grated cheese – your choice, Colby is good; I like the mixed yellow/white “fiesta blend”.
  • Cumin
  • Pepper
  • Butter – or more olive oil
  • Guacamole, salsa, sour cream; if wanted

1.         Heat olive oil in large skillet; add chopped onion and cook until transparent.

2.         Add all other chopped veggies (not beans), add a little more oil; and cook covered               until veggies  are soft.

3.         In a separate large bowl, combine refried beans and black beans – mix well.

4.         Add bean mixture to veggie mix.  Add cumin, pepper.  Mix well and heat                                thoroughly.

5.         Heat griddle.

6.         Lightly butter or brush olive oil on one side of tortilla, place butter side down on                 griddle.

7.         Sprinkle cheese on heating tortilla, then add big dollop of veggie-n-bean mixture,               and then more cheese on top.

8.         Lightly butter or brush olive oil on one side of a second tortilla, place butter side                 up on bean mixture – press down with spatula.

9.        Grill quesadilla until browned (I like my crunchy brown – some people like them a             softer brown); flip and grill the other side.

10.       Place grilled quesadilla on a cooling rack and let cool before slicing.

11.       Dip with salsa, guacamole or sour cream; if desired.

Bean and Veggie filling for the quesadillas - so good, and so good for you!

Quesadillas and Guacamole; the guac on the right was Holly's (quite yummy) and the guac at the top was mine (also delicious!)

Quick “Cheater” Guacamole

  • 6 Ripe medium-size avocadoes; peeled and mashed
  • 1 cup Salsa (to start with – you might want to add more as you mix and taste-test)
  • ½ – 1 cup Ranch dressing (I prefer Newman’s Own Ranch – no MSG, fewer ingredients, profits to charity!)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼  – ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped  (if you have some)
  • Salt, to taste
  1. Combine avocadoes,  salsa and ranch dressing; mix well.
  2. Add lemon juice and chopped cilantro; mix.
  3. Taste test and add salt, more salsa, more ranch to your taste.

Thick Potato-Veggie Soup (vegetarian)

  • Water
  • Reduced sodium Vegetable broth Fresh thyme, bunch
  • Fresh parsley, bunch
  • Fresh Rosemary, bunch
  • Fresh basil, long stem              Herb Bundle
  • Several bay leaves
  • Cooking twine
  • 1 lg yellow onion; chopped
  • Garlic;  peeled, mashed, chopped
  • 5 – 7 large potatoes; semi-peeled, quarter-chopped, some very small chopped so they cook up completely to help thicken the soup
  • Lots of carrots; chopped
  • 4 – 5 stalks of celery; chopped large-to-medium
  • Green bell pepper; chopped
  • Red bell pepper; chopped
  • Yellow bell pepper; chopped
  • 4 lg squash, peeled and quarter-chopped
  • Green beans; stripped and snapped (Or 2 cans of reduced sodium cut green beans)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans; rinsed well
  • 1 can kidney bean; rinsed well
  • 2 cans reduced sodium cut green beans, rinsed well (or fresh green beans)
  • 1 can reduced sodium corn, rinsed well
  • Pepper
  • Kosher Salt
  • ground sage
  • “Simply Organic” all-purpose seasoning

(Remember – when I cook soup, I cook a HUGE amount of soup! Modify amounts to your needs.)

  1. Put water and whole container of reduced sodium veggie broth into large stock pot.
  2. Add all chopped, FRESH veggies (not canned ones).
  3. The well cooked potatoes and squash help thicken the soup.  Make sure some of the potatoes are chopped smaller so they break apart as they cook.
  4. Tie thyme, parsley and bay leaves together with cooking twine and add to the soup. (“Herb Bundle”)
  5. Add some kosher salt – approx. 1 tablespoon.
  6. Boil, cook on high until onion is clear and soft and veggies are soft. Approx 60 – 90 min.    herb Bundles will be cooked and boiled-looking, too.
  7. Once veggies are cooked and soft, add canned beans and veggies.
  8. Let cook for another 15-20 min. on medium to low.
  9. Add salt, pepper and all-purpose seasoning to taste.
  10. Let simmer on low for 10 – 15 more minutes.
  11. Remove herb bundle and let cool a bit before serving.

ENJOY!

To Make Thicker:  Scoop out approx. 1 to 2 cups of cooked veggies and some broth and blend in food processor. Add back to soup and stir well.

Needless to say, we were all rather full on Super Bowl Sunday! I’d love to say we barely had room for the Flying Star Cherry Pie Greg brought over – but then I’d be lying.  Yep! We finished off the pie, as well! (And a few bags of chips, bowl of rice and fantastic red beans Holly made.)

Some pictures of the fun that Sunday….. so grateful for “super” friends to share “super” food with!

Katie, Toby, Greg, Leia and Bob on Super Bowl Sunday

Glen - thanks for hanging out!

Ian and Scott: football, rice, cool commercials and bunny ears!

Susy, and Scott - sorry the Steelers aren't champs, Susy!

Super Friends on Super Sunday

Holly and Katie and the space heater - very important for our chilly living room that cold weekend!

Some Other Delicious Meals from the Past Few Weeks:

Tilapia Filets - forgot to take a photo BEFORE we started eating!

Lightly Fried Tilpia Fillets

Foodnetwork.com and tweaked a bit by me!

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons  oregano
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Garlic powder
  • Mrs. Dash No-Salt Original Seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 6-ounce tilapia fillets
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or 3 T. olive oil)

Directions

Combine the flour, oregano, parsley, garlic powder and Mrs Dash in a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Lay the fish in the flour mixture and coat top and bottom with dry mix. Melt 3 tablespoons butter (or olive oil) in the skillet, then add fillets and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 5-6 minutes. Flip carefully and cook through, 2 to 4 more minutes, depending on thickness of filets.  Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 fillets.

Herbed Quinoa - my first attempt at quinoa. It was yummy! Too lemony for Katie, but everyone else loved it!

Herbed Quinoa

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis; foodnetwork.com (with lil’ tweaks by me)

Directions

Quinoa:

Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves OR 3 T. chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves OR 1-1/2 T. thyme
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the quinoa: In a medium saucepan, add the chicken stock, lemon juice and quinoa. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 25 minutes.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the dressing over the quinoa and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl, and serve.

Salmon Patties - these are the ones that kinda' fell apart - still tasted yummy! The ones that looked good were eaten first!

Salmon Patties

Recipe courtesy Chef Darrell Dodd, Ground Zero Blues Club, Clarksdale, MS; AND tweaked a bit by me, of course!

Ingredients

  • 3 (15-ounce) cans salmon (bones removed)
  • 2 green bell peppers, finely diced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1-1/2 c of finely grated carrots
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk  (can use regular milk, too)
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs, plus more to coat
  • Mrs Dash No-Salt Original Seasoning
  • 2 T. chopped dry basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Olive oil or butter,  for frying

Directions

Combine salmon, bell peppers, onion, carrots, parsley, milk and bread crumbs in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper. Shape by hand into patties, as you would a hamburger. In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs, flour, Mrs. Dash, basil, pepper.  Place salmon patties in the flour mixture and coat all sides well.

Heat olive oil or butter in a large, heavy skillet. Carefully place patties, in batches as necessary, in the skillet and fry each side on med/high until deep, golden brown.  Try not to flip too soon as patties will fall apart.  If they fall apart, they are still tasty – just not as pretty!  Drain patties on paper towels.

Sweet Potatoes with a KICK! (OMG!! So incredibly delicious! Must be the 2 cups of brown sugar in the water!)

Sweet Potatoes with a Kick!

From Paula Deen, foodnetwork.com (with little tweaks by me… duh!)

Ingredients

  • 3 large sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

In a large pot, combine the potatoes, sugar, cinnamon, and whole cloves. Add enough water to just barely cover the potatoes. Partially cover the pot and bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and add the potatoes to a large bowl. Discard the whole cloves.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the ground cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and ground cloves. Pour the mixture over the potatoes and mash to the desired consistency. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot.

Now – this soup I made today (you know me and soup – can never have too much!). But I had a really rough root canal yesterday and could not chew anything today and was soooo sick of yogurt, juice and banana smoothies. Other than the veggie patty and turkey sausage pieces (which I chopped very small and cooked long so they would be mushy), it was all very smooth and easy for me to eat. YAY me! AND SO DELICIOUS!  And, in the use-our-leftovers stream, I add some of the Herbed Quinoa from the other night and a lot of the Sweet Potatoes with a KICK! form last night. Although, Toby and the kids are still not too keen on my sweet potato kick – so I blended them with cooking broth before adding them to the soup.  No one was any the wiser and Katie (not a “fan” of the sweet potato) LOVED the soup! HA! HA! Gotcha’!

Sweet Potato, Veggie, Bean & Quinoa Cream Soup... with a KICK!

Sweet Potato, Veggie, Bean & Quinoa Cream Soup … with a KICK!

Ingredients

  • Water
  • Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
  • Bay leaves (5-7 leaves)
  • ½ c Mung Beans
  • ½ c Adzuki Beans
  • salt
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 med – to – lg zucchini, chopped
  • 3 cups of small chopped carrots
  • 2 cups of celery, chopped
  • 3 cups of mashed “Sweet Potatoes with a Kick”
  • 2 cups already prepared “Herbed Quinoa”
  • 4 patties, Morning Star Garden Veggie Patties; microwaved and chopped into small chunks
  • Turkey Smoked Sausage; cooked and chopped into small chunks
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Oregano
  • Thyme

Directions

  1. In a large pot, add water, chicken broth (or veggie), bay leaves, and Mung and Adzuki beans; bring to a boil and boil rapidly for at least 60 – 75 min or until beans are soft.
  2. Add salt, and all chopped veggies and continue to cook on med/high until all veggies are soft.
  3. Place “Sweet Potatoes with a Kick!” into food processor or blender, along with approx. 2 cups of soup from large pot.  Blend until very smooth; add to soup pot and stir in.
  4. Add “Herbed Quinoa” – more or less than suggested depending on your tastes.
  5. Add chopped veggie patties and turkey sausage.
  6. Add seasonings to taste.
  7. Cook additional 10-15 min on med/low before serving to soften the veggie patties and sausage.

Well – try some of them (or all) if you like. If you do, let me know how they turned out and/or how YOU adapted them.  I can never follow a straight recipe – well, almost never.  I think it’s the creative part of me – or maybe I just don’t have the right ingredients! Ha! whatever – it usually turns out pretty good!

Eat well!

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getting started … again.

getting started – always interesting starting something new. or starting something old, in a new way.

i’ve been looking for something that is QUICK and EASY to use for tracking calories, fat, protein, etc. and my caloric intake. i think i finally found it.      myfitnesspal.com

i know it might be insane doing two “physical” things at once – (not counting my “365 thank you notes” challenge this year) – de-toxing off of the paxil (which is harder than i ever imagined on my body and my soul) AND losing weight – but i think it might be good for a few reasons: 1) it’ll give me something else to focus on instead of constantly feeling like crap; 2) if nothing else, i”ll get better at judging portion sizes and calorie counts.  i may not lose any weight yet – but if i get more disciplined at what i am actually putting into my mouth – that’ll be good. and then, when i am FINALLY off the paxil, i can get more serious about losing weight and will be better prepared to do so.

my biggest stumblling block is my self-esteem. i was always flexible, agile and active, never heavy, and never really had issues gaining weight until i hit a major depression about 8 years ago and started the paxil; and then again, 4 years ago when i started getting sick with a couple autoimmune disorders and  then with a cascade of medical conditions. which brought an onslaught of medicines (including mega-doses of steroids)… which brought a MAJOR onslaught of weight.  everything became hard to do. everything became too much work.  stopped riding my bike. i stopped camping and hiking.  it was just all too much.  it’s been so difficult and i have not been very kind to myself.  in the 8+ years i have been on the paxil, i have gained 40+ poounds.  25 of those pounds were put on in only a few months when i was on the steroids and slightly bed-ridden off and on for 2 years.

i am an elementary school physical education teacher and often feel like a total fraud – talking to my students about healthy choices, balancing food intake and movement; and then there i am in the evening, wrapped up in blankets on my couch watching netflix.  moving used to come so naturally to me.  being active was just me – i didn’t have to work at it or think about it – it was just who i was. but now everything hurts so badly – probably because i don’t move all the time like i used to. i now find myself in that infamous “vicious cycle”.  i’ve had some good weeks and months where i felt ilke i was heading in the right direction and doing all the right things.  but, like so many of us, something always knocked me upside down and backwards.

so – let’s see if this helps. i am such a visual/kinesthetic person: i love check lists, i love journaling, i love keeping track of stuff.  i have to DO things to learn them.  so maybe now since i have found something that makes it very easy to keep track of i will actually stick with it and LEARN from it and maybe, just maybe – lose a little weight, start moving, stop hurting and being a bit more kind to myself.

getting started…..

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365 Thank You Notes: #34, 35, 36 ~ Some (more) People I Have Met Along My Way

Feb 9, 2011

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you for working with Suzanne 5 years ago to create The Monte Vista Wellness Council.  Thank you for putting so much of your time and energy and knowledge into creating the best, most active and effective wellness council in Albuquerque. Thank you for caring about our community, and putting yourself to work creating educational and healthy initiatives for the students, staff and families of Monte Vista.  Thank you for coaching me and empowering me…. so I can keep it running some day when you finally leave Monte Vista.  (boo! hoo!)  I am so glad Gus still has 3-1/2 years to go at Monte Vista – not only because I enjoy his uber-coolness, but because I hope you’ll keep working with me!

Thank you also for sharing your 3 fantastic children with me the past 8 years.  I have really loved getting to know each of them and their own unique and incredible personalities…each of them have kept me smiling and laughing… you’ve done a beautiful job parenting and guiding each of those kiddos.  Thank you also for always supporting me as a teacher…. Helping out and being there for all the fun events to keep me from going crazy!  Thanks  ♥ Paula

Feb 9, 2011

Dear Cathy,

You are an amazing educator, and I am a better teacher myself because I get to work alongside you.  Thank you for caring so deeply for each and every one of your students.  You take each child into your hear the first day you meet that little person and you never let them go.  Thank you for being such a strong piece of what makes Monte Vista the unique community it is.   And, thank you for checking in with me on how I am doing and feeling.  You always have a kind and compassionate greeting for me and when you ask, “How are you, today?” ~ you really seem to mean it and you honestly seem to care.  That means o much to me.  Lately, I feel like I ma hanging on by a thread, but every time you see me and “check in”, I feel a tad bit brighter.  Thank you for being such a fantastic you… I’m better for having you in my life.   ♥ Paula

Feb 9, 2011

Dear Lisa,

Thank you so much for becoming involved with our Monte Vista Wellness Council a few years ago. Your energy, effort, input, enthusiasm and knowledge have been invaluable.  I am so glad Jacob still has 2-1/2 years at Monte Vista!  I can’t wait to find out what the next few years will bring to our Wellness Council.   Thank you also for becoming a friend… for being someone I am enjoying getting to know… learning more about you and sharing more of my life.  I am so grateful for your kindness and compassion that Monday at JUMP! Club when Katie’s teammate had been injured so badly at practice.  Thank you for being “my eyes” and mainly, for your hugs and open listening.  And, thank you for sharing your amazing son with me.  I have enjoyed getting to know him the past 3-1/2 years… he keeps me on my toes; and he keeps me laughing!  He is a beautiful “gift” and I am grateful to you for sharing him with me.  Here’s to new friendships… and to our fantastic Monte Vista Wellness Council!   ♥ Paula

Lisa, her husband and her son in Grecian garb! They all 3 walk and walk and walk every Wednesday at our school's Miler's Club. It's a family "date" and they are favorites for other students to walk with. Between the 3 of them, they have walked close to 300 miles in 3 years at Wednesday's Monte Vista Miler's Club!!

ps…. How could I forget Miler’s Club??!!  Thank you for faithfully being there every Wednesday… setting an extraordinary example for every child and family at Monte Vista!  You rock… I mean, “walk”!!


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