This Week Sucked

Pain wise, at least.  I pretty much hurt every where, all the time, this week at a fairly high level.  Doesn’t really inspire me to  post to the blog, when all I have to say is how much I hurt.  I haven’t been able to cook much, so we’ve been eating frozen stuff and leftovers most of the time.  I haven’t gained any weight back which I’m surprised and thrilled at.  I think giving up dairy has really helped in that vein.  I did make “Sloppy Steves” which is a vegetarian version of Sloppy Joes, and is Murphy’s favorite post-soccer practice meal.  It is pretty yummy!  I soak TVP in hot water with a touch of Kitchen Bouquet, add a ton of finely chopped spinach, grated carrots and whatever other vegetables I have around, chopped into really tiny pieces, add tomato sauce, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, a touch of chili powder, onion, etc. and simmer for a really long time.  Serve on whole wheat buns.  Add one of my husband’s famous fruit salad and presto!  Yumminess.

Yesterday I was feeling a bit better than I had been, and made it to Murphy’s Soccer game.  This year soccer has been a little off; he started on one team with too few kids, and after several weeks of trying to add kids from other teams without success, they finally disbanded the original team and farmed the kids out to other teams.  Murphy ended up on the Silver Bullets, which has a great coach.  They did lose their first game, but they played really well.  It was a fun game to watch.

I want to try to do some cooking today, but I don’t want to push it.  Sometimes it’s hard to find the line at which discomfort turns into Pain with  a capitol P.  We’ll see how it goes.

I had been starting to do some Yoga but had to stop because of the pain.  I’ll try again as soon as this cycle winds down.  ‘Cause it will, right?

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Happy Birthday!

September is a bountiful month for birthdays in my life.  My friend Doug and my brother Keith both were born on the second, my best friend’s husband the fifth, my son Murphy the seventh, my mother the tenth, my husband’s son Bill on the thirteenth.  As usual, I neglected to celebrate most of these special days in the way they deserved.  I’m sorry for that, and hope that telling you here how much I love you all and hope your day was wonderful makes up for it a bit.

We did try to do well by Murphy; he hit double digits this year, so it’s sort of a momentous day.  He asked for a few video games for his birthday, which he received, and we went to dinner at Carrow’s so he could have a “pancake pile up” for dinner.  The staff was really nice and sang happy birthday to him when they brought a sundae for his dessert unexpectedly.  Despite being a bit rushed for reasons we couldn’t change, it was a fun evening and he loved his presents.

The job hunt goes on.  I will be doing some fill in work for one of the consultants at my last job, so that will help some.  Mostly, I can’t wait to start school.  I’m getting more and more excited about it, and have really worked hard at arranging my home and my life so that I’ll be able to have space and time to study in peace.

Mmmmmm… I’m making West African Groundnut Stew for dinner, and the smell is starting to fill the house.  Delish!  Peru came home from school for lunch today, and I made us all falafel sandwiches for lunch.  With homemade hummus.  My recipe is getting better, but it’s still hard to get used to not having garlic in hummus.

I seem to be heading into a pain cycle again.  I did do a little bit of exercise yesterday (and when I say little, I mean LITTLE!) but ended up having pretty major pain all over from it late evening.  Made the stew and lunch today and had enough pain that I needed to sit and blog a bit before I could get up again.  It’s so hard to decide whether to just power through and hope my body gets stronger, or take it easy so that 10  minutes of exercise doesn’t hurt for two days.  My intuition says that the benefits of exercise on health, mind and spirit is worth it, in moderation, so that’s what I’m trying to do.

And my gardening!  It’s coming along.  I’ve killed one plant that was entirely my fault; three more have died that I think was animals (arugula and watercress), but everything else seems to be reasonably healthy.  I have four tiny tomatoes (two are cherry, two are not) that are growing and look healthy.  I have a squash and a cucumber that are thriving, but no flowers yet.  And a lot of potted herbs that are doing well.  Here are some pictures:

More Sadness

This has  been a year.

Our Yorkie terrier, Rocky, who is almost fifteen years old and has outlived his two original owners,  his younger sister, and our puppy, and who we thought would never die (too ornery!) yesterday started whimpering.  And then crying.  He was obviously in pain; it looked like he might have injured his front paw; but more than that, he seemed to be in severe internal pain as well.  We gave him some pain meds, which didn’t really seem to help except to sedate him, though he still cried in his sleep. We were up all night, stroking him,  reassuring him, trying to  help him be comfortable.  Nothing worked. He stopped eating.   So this morning, we took the long road to the Humane Society.

For the first time in twelve years, we are pet-less.  Not so much as a goldfish to keep us company.  We’ll adopt again, in a while, but we need a while to mourn (and clean up Rocky’s area!) before we take someone else in.  It’s very odd though, not to hear the bark or scratch or footpads of a tiny creature in the house.  No “feed me NOW!” barks.  Kind of lonely.

So how goes  the rest of life?  Muddling on.  I’m still job hunting, and it’s discouraging; I don’t even get the chance to be turned down now; most resumes I send out go completely unanswered.  I’m meeting with a lovely woman on Monday to see about helping her out; it sounds very informal, which is nice.  I’m looking into going back to school; a distance learning program where I can do it on my own time.  I’m still researching and figuring out how I can make it work.

I’m still seeing Nathan for acupuncture and herbs.   A little less often, due to the lack of job thing.  He’s very patient and understanding about my situation.  It does seem to be helping.  I do need to start working a little harder on the exercise though.  I would like to do some yoga to strengthen my back, so this week’s mission is to clear a spot in my room where I can do yoga along with the TV.

The diet is still very trying.  I haven’t gained any weight back, which is a miracle considering I eat when I’m stressed, and right now I’m about as stressed as I’ve ever been. I haven’t really lost any in a while though either.  Exercise will help.  While I’m not actually bingeing, as I normally do when stressed, I am eating more junk food than I should, even if it is healthier junk food than what I used to eat.  I’m still finding it very hard to do the no onion and garlic thing.  Some recipes do okay without them, some not so much.  I guess this part is a process of training my tastes, so eventually I’ll do better, but really, it is the hardest diet modification I’ve ever tried to make.

My little pots of green are mostly doing ok; I have a few little tiny green tomatoes growing, and my squash and cucumber look good.  The leafy veggies (watercress, arugula) not so much, but they’re hanging in.  I will try REALLY hard to get pictures tomorrow of my little babies. I need to repot the basil, and soon!

The good news of the month is that our freezer is finally fixed.  It hadn’t been working well for a long time, and we’d had the repair guy out a couple of times to fix it.  Wasn’t looking good.  But finally, it seems to be working completely well.   So I can start batch cooking again.  At least, I can once the current heat wave ends.

Today it was ONE HUNDRED AND NINE DEGREES.  First day of soccer; poor Murph looked so wilted and bedraggled at half time!  I was sweating profusely just sitting down watching; the sun was so overbearing.  The team Mom took pity on me and invited me to sit under their umbrella.  She was very kind as I had been preoccupied with Rocky and lack of sleep and had not packed for a day in the sun, simply bringing one water bottle for Murph (no sunscreen, no drink for me, no snacks, no shelter from the sun, etc.)  Next week I’ll be a little better prepared (and hopefully, it won’t be triple digits!)

Next up?  The Murphster’s birthday is in three days, as he has been announcing countdown daily for over a week. I wonder what bounty that event may bring?

Exercise today!

So, after making the big commitment to document just what vegans eat, I copped out for a couple of days.  Sunday was a really pain filled day and I found it extremely hard to not eat to distract myself.  I did eat too much; but luckily, I did stick to eating relatively healthy foods.  Weighing in on Monday, I was sure I had gained back a few pounds, but somehow, I managed to lose a couple more.  Monday I ate:

  • B – Rice Chex with Blueberries and Vanilla soymilk
  • L – Oat Lavash bread, 3 Dolmas, cucumber, yellow pepper, grape tomatoes, carrots, green drink, peach
  • D – Due to a kitchen malfunction that necessitated the Beloved working under the sink for hours, I took him to dinner at Sea Fresh.  I exercised my “no more than once a month” pescatarian rule and had seared ahi, with onion rings.
  • S – Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Chocolate Obsession.  Yum.)

I am aware that eating fish, even occasionally, might invalidate my vegan credentials.  I may someday choose to eliminate even the once a month rule, but for now, I have set my boundaries and limits and I feel comfortable with them.

For today:

  • B – Whole Wheat English muffins with tofutti cream cheese.  Green drink
  • L – Lavash bread.  3 Dolmas.    Veggie Straws snack.
  • S –   Fruit smoothie (banana, peach, blueberries, blackberries, So Delicious vanilla yogurt)  and a peach
  • D – English muffin, homemade veggie burger (TVP), Veggie Slices Cheddar cheese, asparagus.

Too much bread today, probably, but I didn’t sleep much last night because of the pain, so breakfast was at 4 am, and at least they were all whole grain. Also, the kitchen was still in too much disarray to even attempt chopping veggies or anything.  (The plumber came and fixed the kitchen, blessings on him, and my sainted husband cleaned up two days worth of kitchen mess, bless his heart.)

I even managed to get some exercise today.  In defiance of pain, Murphy and I walked to Bart’s Books, and I spent way too much money on books.  I was very proud of myself for making myself do it. It felt good to get out in the sun.  My knees are rather cursing me right now, but I’m not talking to them anyway.

So here’s a picture of tonight’s dinner.  A simple burger made from TVP, oats and spices.  Even Murphy liked it.  (In case you can’t tell, he’s becoming my barometer for what “normal” people might like.) I had to get Spidey in the picture.  I’m using the old diet tip of eating off of smaller plates, so that you have the illusion there’s more food.  Not that I needed to; I was plenty full after dinner.  Was too hungry to get the picture before eating, so when I’d scarfed down half, I managed to stop long enough to get the camera.  Can I tell you how much I love asparagus?  Baby stalks, cooked just enough so they’re still crisp but tender; just delicious.  I wish the season was longer.  I know you can get them year round, but so often they’re tough and woody, and just not the same.

Oh!  and I forgot kale chips in my list above.  I made kale chips yesterday and nosh on them occasionally.  So easy to make, and so delicious.  Almost as addictive as potato chips.  Here’s how you make them:  Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a cookie sheet with non stick spray (preferably olive oil).  Wash kale carefully, dry thoroughly.  Remove stems, leaving just the curly leaf.  Place on cookie sheet, spreading the leaves open as much as you can.  Spray the leaves with more non stick spray.  Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in oven until the leaves become crisp, 10-15 minutes or so but don’t go by my time, as my oven is not reliable.  Store in an airtight container.  Delish!