Category Archives: Food

Cookie Magic

Long ago, before I got sick and lost my hearing and vision, and perhaps even before that when I was swamped with college and work, I used to bake a lot of cookies. I was good at it, and people loved my cookies. Not any special or fancy kind of cookies, but plain old chocolate chip. I have my secret tricks for making them the perfect, delectable texture (crispy on the outside, soft and gooey in the middle). Of course when I lost so much function of two primary senses, hearing and sight, I lost my touch. I’ve since tried to make the perfect batch of cookies but every time they just don’t seem to come out the way I remember them. Until yesterday.

I was commissioned to contribute a snack for my daughter’s Halloween party at school so I offered to send cookies and carrot sticks. My son thought I was nuts to send carrot sticks and doesn’t think anyone will eat them, but I sent them anyway. You never know. If nothing else, the kids with allergies can eat them. Anyway, I baked these cookies just the same way I used to but this time… this time they turned out amazing and perfect and EXACTLY the way I remembered them! The problem was, I couldn’t EAT them! Because there were just enough for the kids in the class, with that one to spare for me to taste test.

It made me a little sad, but also kind of excited to think that maybe I got my cookie magic back. So now I am trying to think of all the people who will want to eat these cookies so I have a good reason to keep baking them. I will probably start by baking them for all the friends who drive me around on a regular basis, to offer my thanks. Now I just need to stock up on the supplies. I’m looking at you, Amazon Prime 😉

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Souper hobbies

I have recently discovered that I love making soup. Something about the slow pace of the process, and the room for creativity (i.e. mistakes) really appeals to me. And then the satisfaction after all that work and waiting, when you have a delicious meal to enjoy! And at my house, since no one will eat my icky vegetable soups, I get to enjoy the leftovers for days!

Last weekend my dad and stepmom were in town for my son’s football game and I invited them over afterwards for beef stew. I had most of the ingredients but still needed to prepare everything. They both love to cook so they helped me put together an amazing stew. It was so much fun to work together as a team. Not rushed, just chatting in between tasting and smelling. Soup-er fun.

So, it’s been ridiculously warm for October lately. Seriously, 80 degree temps is nuts, even for Michigan. However, it looks like the cold weather is finally moving in as of this morning. It is currently 39 degrees, right where it should be. I turned on the heat, of course. Earlier this week I had the a/c on. This makes me chuckle, a little. I made vegetable soup yesterday and so of course I’ll be eating the leftovers today. Cold days are perfect days for eating hot soup.

But! As excited I am to eat some hot soup and snuggle on the couch with my crocheting, I’m nervous about running a 10k race tomorrow. That’s right, the 10k is finally here! I decided on my 40th birthday in March that I wanted to run a 10k, and though for awhile I wasn’t sure if I could do it, I know now that I can. Training works! This cold weather has me a little nervous though. I had my race clothes all picked out but now I’m wondering if I need to wear something warmer. Will I need gloves? A hat? Will my headband keep my ears warm? See, I don’t have much experience running in cold weather because the cold weather hadn’t yet come. So maybe today I’ll go out for a trial run and see how it goes. Yes, that’s what I will do. Practice run, and then cuddle up on the couch with my hot soup.

 

Whatcha doin?

It’s been a week, and my fatigue is finally lifting. I’m back on the vegan diet, I’ve pushed through to get a couple good runs in this week, and I’ve been napping a lot. All of that, combined, seems to make a big difference. I also have my next Tysabri infusion on Monday so that should help as well. The fog is lifting! Hooray!

So, what have I been up to? I think I already mentioned I’m leading a Financial Peace University class at church. We are three weeks in and it’s going pretty well! Every one is really excited to be there and we have great discussions every week. I’m really hoping this class becomes a regular thing, because I know there are people who expressed interest in the class but weren’t able to sign up for this one.

I made homemade granola bars the other day, for the first time ever in my life, and I was really surprised at how good they turned out! I have a couple ideas to tweak the recipe, but nothing major. I didn’t measure anything as I was just going from memory of a recipe I had read earlier in the day. Oatmeal, peanut butter, honey, and chocolate chips. I was surprised at how easy they were to make and how many bars it yielded. So much cheaper than the store bought ones, by far. I’ll have to remember this and make another batch soon. Aside from the honey, these are all ingredients I almost always have on hand, so it would be nice to be able to throw a batch together to have snacks to feed the family for when we are running around and don’t have time for proper meals.

I’ve also been doing this weekly Bible study and we are currently reading the book of Joshua. The Old Testament has always been a bit difficult for me and while it’s a challenge, it’s nice to be able to tackle that challenge with other ladies who are usually equally confused. I’m learning a lot and that’s always a good thing.

Alright, now I’ve typed a bunch of things and I still feel like I’m forgetting something. I’ll go back to my crocheting, or my Farmville, and maybe it will come to me. Or not.

Rainy days

It’s raining today. Storming, actually. It’s been awhile since we had a thunderstorm during the day like this. We’ve had a couple overnight, but those are no fun because I can’t hear the thunder. I don’t wear my cochlear implants overnight. Usually my daughter tells me all about the storms the next day because though she usually sleeps soundly, she is sensitive to the noise. That and she worries about lightning striking and all that. So it makes for rough nights for her, while I secretly envy that she can hear the thunder.

So. Today’s storm is nice. It’s dark and cloudy though, which makes me want to go back to bed (which I did) and stay in my pajamas all day (which I am). I’m also roasting a butternut squash to make soup, so the house smells like autumn. My sister and I have our annual retreat to the monastery this weekend, and this year we decided against planning an elaborate menu and instead are each bringing a homemade soup. We think between soup, salad, and snacks, we should be set for the weekend.

My plan for this year’s retreat is to get a big head start on my book. I want to read through the past five years of journals in order to get an outline or map of sorts of what I’m going to say. That’s a giant task and not something I feel like I can do sufficiently while I’m here at home. Distractions and all. I am very easily distracted.

I still feel like I have this nagging voice that tells me I can’t write a book, not one worth publishing anyhow. That voice I need to just keep telling to shut up. Lots of people less qualified than me have written books so I have no reason to believe that voice.

What else is going on? I started leading Financial Peace University this week for my church. We have a small group but it happens to be very diverse. People from every walk of life. Newlyweds, single, married with kids, empty nesters. It should make for some really interesting discussions as the weeks go on. I’m very excited to be doing this class. For one thing, I needed the refresher, for sure. But also it just feels good to be able to give back and serve God in an area I feel like He’s given me a passion for. I was a ball of nerves this first week, because my vision loss and difficulty hearing still give me great social anxiety, but everyone was extremely understanding and gracious. I’m confident it’s going to be a life-changing class for everyone.

Speaking of social anxiety, I’m also in a women’s weekly Bible study and yesterday was my first time going. I attended last year and loved it so much, I’m doing it again. However, I had a lot of trouble hearing people in the discussions as well as reading the materials they hand out every week. There’s not a whole lot I can do about the discussion because you can’t expect to completely retrain people to speak a different way just for that one hour a week, so I’m learning this is an area I have to accept not being able to hear everything. I just have to accept and be thankful for the words I CAN hear.

As for the lesson handouts, I had been scanning them into pdfs every week so that I could read them in high contrast on my computer or tablet. That was kind of a pain, but it worked well. It only occurred to me after the class had ended that I should have been scanning my answers to the questions as well, because every week I would get to class and struggle to read my answers during the class discussion. This year I am super excited because they offer the lessons and questions in pdf format, so I don’t have to do all the scanning! It may be hard for others to understand my level of joy here, because until you’re faced with the daily difficulty in seeing and hearing things, you just can’t imagine it. I know it’s something I took for granted, for sure. If you are reading this and you have fully functioning eyes and ears, will you please just take a moment to thank the Lord? Because not everybody has that luxury. It’s so hard, people. Not impossible, just hard.

Well, my squash is roasted so I need to go saute some shallots and garlic and get the soup assembled. After that perhaps I’ll do some crocheting. I’m on my third of thirteen afghans for each of the nieces and nephews. A perfect rainy day activity, wouldn’t you say?

Another random, lame update

It’s Wednesday. I had a great visit with my neurologist this morning. It was nice to be able to tell her about all of the positive changes I’ve been making and my lack of MS symptoms. However, I did bring up my concerns with brain fog. A friend shared a really great article the other day about this, and it very eloquently listed what people with chronic illness experience. Sadly, it’s not just limited to people with MS. I am walking great, I have no fatigue, no pain (unless you count the occasional headache), and I’m overall feeling really fantastic. However, every day, throughout the days, I have issues with short term memory loss and cognitive function. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked up the stairs and forgotten why I was there. I will often use a wrong word or name when talking with people, and not realize it. Sometimes even, I’ll forget what I’m talking about mid-sentence. And friends and family will encourage me that this is just a normal part of aging and that they experience it too. Which is nice, and appreciated for sure, but I really don’t believe that they experience this phenomenon with the frequency I do. So I told my neurologist about this and she said it may or not be MS, but there are ways to check, starting with testing my blood to see if some of my levels are out of whack. If that’s the case, I suppose it’s a simple fix with supplements. If not, there is always the option of memory testing and exercises. I had no idea that sort of thing existed, so it gave me some hope that this is a problem that has been addressed by the medical community, and I’m not coming in with some sort of weird cognitive mystery.

In other news, I slacked on laundry for one measly day and it magically piled up and threatened to take over my bedroom. I folded (and put away!) five loads of laundry today and now I would love to nap but I need to stay awake so I can answer questions for my grocery shopper, and then be up when she delivers my groceries. I LOVE grocery delivery, people. Love it.

So I think I’m going to make a glass of sweet tea and read a book or do some crocheting while I wait.

What’s Going On?!?!

So, sooo much you guys. It feels like it’s all going a little too fast for me and I can’t believe I’m keeping up. Am I keeping up? I guess I am. I mean, I’m still here, aren’t I? Let’s break this down for my right brain, okay?

  1. The son is in baseball. The hubby is coaching the baseball. Sometimes the girls go and watch. I love the game of baseball. I used to really love watching. I’m learning to enjoy it differently now. I can’t see the plays, but I can share in the cheering and I get to converse with the other parents when I ask what happened, or who did what on the field.
  2. The girl was in a dance. Ballet, to be more specific. She performed in a recital and she nailed it. She was stunning and graceful and she brought some people to tears. And when I picked her up afterwards she ran to me, beaming with pride. I had not seen that level of joy coming from her in quite awhile. It was truly magical.
  3. And then she got sick. She woke up the next day with a super high temperature, that just wouldn’t go away. We took her to the doctor, received a semi-firm diagnosis and a prescription for antibiotics, and now it’s just the waiting game. She has little energy which is fine because her body needs the rest in order to heal and fight, and I’m happy to be waiting on her hand and foot. Because after all, she will always be my baby girl.
  4. I’ve been running. A lot. And apparently I’m becoming one who loves to run. Seriously. I woke up this morning at 5:30, couldn’t fall back asleep. All I could think about was getting outside and running while the sun rose. So guess what? I did! And it was wonderful. A bit of a chill still left in the air, birds chirping to greet the day, and the sunrise. Oh how I love a good sunrise. It was a really great way to start the day.
  5. I’m still seeing a therapist. I tried to get out of going by pretending all was fine already, but she reminded me of a few comments I had made that made it pretty clear I could still use the help. The depression is gone, and I am grateful for that. The anxiety, however, is a bit more challenging. Challenging, but not impossible to overcome. The therapist is giving me tools and I’m using them, and it’s helping. I still think everyone should see a therapist at least once in their life. It’s just been extremely USEFUL.
  6. I’ve been working at developing daily habits. Intentionally. As in, deciding what I want to be sure to do every day, and then keeping track to be sure I’m doing it. There are so many awesome apps for my phone for stuff like this, it took a few days to decide on just one. My list of daily habits is currently: taking medicine, devotional, prayer, meditation, exercise, and laundry. Because laundry always needs to be done, but in taking a different approach to it, I find I dread it less. It’s just become something I do every day, so it doesn’t build up, and if I miss a day, I just pick up the next day where I left off. This seems so trivial to be blogging about laundry but it feels like a huge victory in my little world, so there. I’m trying to work this mindshift magic with vacuuming but it hasn’t quite worked yet.
  7. I’m doing a lot of crocheting. I finished an afghan for my oldest nephew and started one for my oldest niece. I’m going to make one for each of the nieces and nephews, oldest to youngest. There are twelve total, assuming my youngest sister is done having babies. So, one down, eleven to go. The blanket I make is a very relaxing pattern and works up really nice. I just hope the cousins appreciate having something warm and cozy and handmade with love by their Aunt Mindy.
  8. Food. I still eat it, I just don’t think about it constantly. I think this is a positive development for me. I’m finding so many other things to focus my time and energy on, and in between I eat yummy food. So there. Life is good.

April 30

What shall we talk about today, friends?

Baseball season has begun for my son and husband (he is a coach for the team). Their first tournament was last weekend and the girls didn’t go because it was ridiculous cold and windy and we are wimps about that. So we stayed home and my daughter watched YouTube for 38 hours while I played around in the kitchen making delicious vegan food.

Dance is in full swing for my daughter as they prepare for their recital in June. I received an information packet about all that is required for the recital and OH EM GEE am I overwhelmed! There is a dress rehearsal and requirements for hair and makeup and this is so out of my comfort zone. I was never in dance and I don’t wear makeup (much). I don’t own eyeliner or lipstick, so how am I gonna know how to put it on my daughter?? I don’t know, but I definitely plan to enlist some help on this one.

I have to mention that lately I am obsessed with this vegan cashew “mozzarella”. It is so easy to make and super duper yummy. I add it to everything I can think of, but my favorite use for it is grilled cheese sammiches! My husband will tell you I make the best grilled cheese sandwiches, and I won’t deny his assessment. I make a lot of them, and I’m always really sad that I can’t eat them, because YUM. But now, with this cheese? I’m in sandwich heaven! I also bought little mini pizza crusts and sauce so I can make my own little veggie pizzas at home. With cheese! So that’s what’s on the menu for today and my tummy is growling just telling you about it.

I’ve been running, sporadically. I have a 5k I’m running with my son Friday night so I had to be sure I’m prepared for it. I don’t think I’ll beat prior years’ times, but I’ll be happy if I can finish in under 40 minutes. I ran a full 3 miles today and dang, why is that 3rd mile so much harder than the first two? But I didn’t fall. My left foot was dropping a little, but not nearly as bad as it’s done in the past. I did have nerve pain in my feet but thankfully I didn’t notice it until I was finished with the run.

I always have some anxiety at these races because strangers don’t know that I’m disabled. So if people are trying to get my attention by yelling or waving, it’s not gonna work. I’ve been bumped around during races because people assume I can see to get out of their way, or hear them coming to move aside. So I bought a reflective running vest that says “Deaf Blind”. It’s really bright and in big block letters so there’s no way I won’t be noticed. I feel a little weird about wearing it at the race but I have to convince myself that it WILL make me feel safer, and that’s all that matters. Maybe I’ll even run a little faster, knowing that I’m safer. I guess we’ll see.

Anyhoo, I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting but I’ll leave it here for now. I’m gonna go make me some vegan pizza! 🙂