Friday, June 21, 2013

That's Amore' .... well, that's dinner.

Okay, so maybe calling it love is a little bit of an exaggeration.  But I do have a couple of new recipes that are definitely going into the normal rotation.  All thanks to Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.  I haven't read her blog too many times, yet.  I've only watched her show a couple of times - so far.  But, now that I've found her and tried one of her recipes, I want more! 

First, when you have fibro and you wake up and can stand even almost all the way up without stiffness and pain making you want to collapse back on the bed, you ... well, you don't know it's gonna be a great day, but you are pretty grateful and you appreciate the moment.  As it turned out, it was a pretty good day all around.  Yep, I will most definitely be giving thanks for that tonight!!! 

Next, attic update.  Not much further than yesterday.  My son woke up with all the lovely change of weather sinus pressure that is oh-so-common in the Ohio Valley region.  It's that lovely sludge we breathe.  Or, attempt to breathe.  Or, whatever.  Anyways.  Since he didn't feel up to climbing into the attic in already 80+ degree heat (and it was registering high 90's in the attic), we decided that we needed a day off.  Thankfully, though, he felt better after a bit and this evening, he and my husband did put several of the boxes I had decided to keep back up into the attic.  Thus, clearing the way for more to be brought down tomorrow. 

So, having established that I felt pretty good, we decided to go to the grocery store and a couple of local shops and such.  Didn't find a lot at the shops, some cargo shorts and a T-shirt for my son and some makeup and body spray and such for my daughter and myself.  Wheeee!  Are we livin' large or what??? 

The grocery store was another story.  I had come armed with a list of ingredients I needed to experiment with a new recipe from The Pioneer Woman's website (courtesy of a friend who shared it on facebook).  Of course, I can't walk in and only get a few items, I have to leave with a cart full, but that's just how we roll (am I with it or what?? Don't answer that, please).  But, I did roll, because even when having a great day, I can make it only about a third of the way through the store before my leg starts dragging, then I start stumbling and then the numbness starts ... well, you get the idea.  So, I leapt (hush) to my loyal grocery store scooter (!!!) and was off!  Well, after I stopped at the sanitizing station to use half a dozen wipes all over the surface and handles and controls of the thing so that I could psychologically make myself continue using it knowing that someone else had used it and not knowing who they were or where they had been.  Yes, I do have mild OCD and that's the most I'll admit to at this point.

But, I found what I needed, plus the extra stuff that I kinda-sorta needed and some lovely little eggplant that I realized I needed to buy to complete the evening meal.  Not really, but they looked great and were on sale, and so it goes. 

Back home, I realized I didn't know what I wanted to do with the eggplant, but they deserved better than just being diced up and sauteed with garlic and olive oil.  But what to do with them?  I found a great recipe for some Eggplant Fries with Marinara Dipping Sauce and decided on that.  It's baked, not fried, and has fresh grated Romano cheese and panko bread crumbs.  Oh, here is the link:  Easy decision.  Easy recipe.  But, messy, messy, messy to make.  So, I only made half tonight and I'll do more tomorrow, LOL.

Back to the whole reason I had to go to the grocery today.  The recipe from The Pioneer Woman.  Chicken Florentine Pasta.  This one: 
OH, yes.  It is as good as she says it is.  However, I will tell you now, that I added a few of my own touches (really, who doesn't).  Here are most of the ingredients (plus chicken & pasta).
So, I changed a few things.  First, I don't drink wine, therefore I don't have it at home and had no desire to buy any.  So, I used extra chicken broth.  Next, I love bell peppers with pasta and chicken so I diced up a few of the small yellow, orange and red little bitty ones.  Actually, my daughter chopped them up and did a beautiful job.  She also chopped up some baby portabello mushrooms to add.  And, we added garlic paste and italian herb paste as it was cooking, as well as some fresh basil.  It wasn't exactly bland without it - good flavor profiles - but, I just had a preconceived idea of what *I* wanted it to taste like, so we went there.  Also, I like Rotini pasta better than Penne (it's a textural thing).  And, here's what I ended up with:
And (drum roll, please), everyone loved it.  Even my very picky son, who won't even eat chili because there is too much stuff mixed together.  Yes, I did mention the other day that he's 19.  He's just picky.  But, he loved it!  Which is a really good thing, cause I made a ton of it.  We have a huge serving bowl of it in the fridge, which is going to help tomorrow since we'll be back to working on the attic. 
Oh, and the eggplant?  Here's how that turned out:

But, they barely made it to dinner.  Here's one of the reasons:
So, dinner was a success.  Which is always a good thing.  There are altogether too many times that either my husband has to pick up dinner for us or my son has to cook (he makes killer chicken stir-fry) or even my sweet, eggplant-munching daughter will cook.  They never complain, and they are always helpful, but I always prefer to fix it for them.  Mama likes to nurture, ya know!
Well, enjoy the good days when you have 'em.  When they are limited, they become very precious, indeed.  G'night and God bless!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Give your best ...

So, my house is for sale.  It's not sold yet.  YET.  But, I am in the process of cleaning out the attic - so I'll be ready.  Finished day 4 and am only about half-way done.  I miss the days when I could accomplish so much more in only a fraction of the time.  And, still have energy to do other stuff.  Today, I feel grateful that I am making it as far as I am each day, and still able to do. 

Yesterday was  huge success.  I got through about 48 boxes/bags of a variety of clothing, school supplies, housewares, linens and what felt like a never ending number of toys.  Oh, the toys!  But came to terms with it and got it done.  I feel really good about our change of direction for all the 'stuff' we were getting rid of, too.  Originally, I planned on taking quite a bit of it to a local consignment store.  Why not make back a little of what it all cost, right?  But, as I started going through it, I realized that there was an awful lot.  So, I started dividing it up into throw out, donate and sell.  Makes sense, right? 

Except, I started thinking about my criteria for selling it.  Normally, it's easy.  I pick through and choose the best of the best and drop it off, pick up some bucks a few weeks later and all is well.  The donate pile is still pretty good stuff, but not 'the best'.  And, it hit me, why not?  Okay, maybe because I'm not independently wealthy.  I usually use the money to buy more stuff for the kids or house.  Cool.  And, I am sure I will again.  But, for some reason this time, I needed to stop and do it differently.  Why?  Simple.  It just hit me that the stuff I was going to sell, needed to go to people who needed it, wanted it, whatever, but maybe weren't able to pay quite as much.  And, don't they deserve the best of what I have to offer?  Not the second best?  It just felt very necessary that I needed to bless others, joyfully and without holding back, and not expect any gain from it. 

I realized that I already have been blessed by being able to buy it.  In fact, by being able to buy more than I really need.  Enough that I end up with all of it piled up in my attic, in fact.  So, I need it to bless someone else.  Does that make sense?  It feels right.  (Don't you love that phrase??  ugh).  And, hubs agreed completely!  In fact, after the first 13 bags I took on Tuesday, he took 18 more plus a few boxes today.  He said it absolutely felt right to him.

So, that part of yesterday went well.  I'm greatly at peace about it, and that helps.  The less stress, the less drama, the less worry, the better the day.  Hm... seems I've read something about that before ....

Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Ahh, yes!  Or as Corrie Ten Boom put it: "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength."

So, the worry is gone.  Gladly, much of the pain is, as well.  Got through about 35 boxes today, had some papers and photos to go through.  Found some I thought I had lost, etc.  So, not so much in volume, but so many memories found and shared with the kids and hubs. 

Chills and such are a thing of the past, for now, too.  I sincerely hope that that particular symptom doesn't make itself common.  That was intense coldness and very difficult to work through.  Today was the normal pains, stiffness, locking up of joints (though not as bad as it could have been), and restless legs.  Must remember to walk around more tomorrow!!  After a long soak in the whirlpool tub and a chance to relax tonight, I do feel better.  Normal dosages of Aleve today, no doubling up.  And, although I'm very tired and moderately sore all over, it's manageble. 

That rates as a successful day!!! 

Flowers in the Attic ... and clothes, and dishes, and toys...

Started cleaning out the attic yesterday. It's needed done for a while. But, I've had a difficult weekend and knew I had to take it easy. So, Stuart and Craig brought boxes and bags down from the attic so that I could sort through them in the garage in relative comfort. I had the fan set up (supposed to be 82 again) and some favorite gospel music playing.

I got a slow start yesterday. Only about 10 boxes done. Then the oddest thing. First, I had sat for much too long in a hard chair. So, when I tried to stand up, my joints were pretty much stiffened up.

After walking/hobbling around the garage for a while, I made it up the 3 stairs into the house. Where I took a couple of Excedrin (I was out of Aleve), got a glass of tea and sat down. Within 10 minutes I was shivering from head to toe and ached painfully all over. Went to bed, turned on the heated mattress pad and tried to warm up. That didn’t happen. So, I went in to soak in the whirlpool, but the sensation of the jets touching my skin felt like I was on fire. I got out (thank you, Craig) and was in tears trying to dry off. Eventually, I took more meds, piled on blankets and went to bed.

Today, I started out with about 25-30 boxes. Set up the garage, but I thought the chair may have been part of the issue, so I sat in my wheelchair. I usually only need it if I’ll be out all day (i.e. vacations @ Disney or State Fair, Zoo, Mall, etc.). That did help with my legs not going as numb and my back not hurting so badly. But, by noon, I had to come inside. It was 80 degrees and I was shaking from head to toe and felt like I’d been locked in a deepfreeze. Took some meds (Craig went and picked up some Aleve for me) and went to bed. It took 2 hours, but I finally warmed up. Granted, it was now 83 outside, I was using the heated mattress pad again, on high, three quilts and a snuggly Egyptian cotton blanket, flannel sheets, a sweater, alpaca mittens and socks. But, eventually the goose bumps went away and I warmed up some.

I went back out and finished the boxes I had set out this a.m. The Aleve helped a lot, but I’ve had to take more only 4 hours after taking the first. Since you aren’t supposed to do that, I’m going to have to talk to my doctor about what to do. I also need some more Biofreeze, as I’m out right now. And, let me tell you, that stuff is amazing.

But, I’m noticing residual pain in my arms, shoulders, wrists, back and hips tonight and my legs are very weak. I was seriously tempted to use the wheelchair in the house tonight, but that’s not something I let myself do at this point.

So, my goal this week was to finish the attic, but I won’t make it. Realistically speaking, I won’t make it. But, I’m going to try to clear out another 30-40 tomorrow. I’m going to have to start taking stuff to the Goodwill soon, the DAV is just too far away and I won’t be able to make that drive. So far, I have 15 boxes/bags to drop off. And have several I’m throwing out. Why do I keep some of the stuff I do? Oh, well. It’ll be gone soon.

So, I research a little and find that it is indeed a common symptom with fibro. The chills and such preceding a flare. I’m fighting it at this point, not wanting to let it get the better of me. Yes, I can be stubborn. Not stupid (well, not too often), but stubborn.

Wish me luck on getting the attic cleaned out. If I can do that, it will make moving (when we sell the house) much easier. Anyone else deal with fibromyalgia and the dreaded chilling? I call it fibro-freeze. It’s not nice.


I’m 48, I've have been married for 28 years to a wonderful man, have a son (19) and a daughter (10). My husband works for a large corporation, but we’re very blessed that he works from a home office. Also, we homeschooled our kids, although our son has now graduated and is going to a local university.

There are many things I want to write about, but I want to focus on fibromyalgia and how it’s affected my life – my daily fibro journey. I was officially diagnosed about 5 years ago after much frustration, incorrect diagnoses and years of pain and deteriorating health.

On top of the fibro, I have diabetes (type 2 insulin dependent), mild heart condition since childhood (mitral & tricuspid valve regurgitation), degenerative disc disorder and degenerative joint disease, as well as a couple of different types of arthritis. So, while some of it is irritating, I feel blessed that it isn’t worse and that my load is lighter than many people.

When I can, I enjoy knitting, some crochet, quilting and costume design.

I have thought about this blog for a long time. I’ve put it off, because it seemed overwhelming. But, I am hoping to use this to share, vent and encourage others with fibromyalgia without constantly bringing attention to it in my ‘real’ life. A lot of people who have never heard of fibro and don’t know anyone IRL with it, don’t understand it. Trust me, it’s been a learning process for me and my family. But, it’s hard to explain. I don’t want to focus on it all the time, yet am forced to a lot of the time. So, maybe by writing about it, I can let it go and move on whenever possible.

This is my daily fibro journey (even if I don’t write it daily, LOL).  Also, I started to write it elsewhere and it just didn't feel right.  Too fidgety.  So, I'm moving it here.