Saturday, March 17, 2012

In a nutshell

I have a confession to make. Well, not really a confession, more like an admission. For the last 5 months or so, I've been eating pretty much plant based, or vegan (no meat, fish or dairy). Ok well, not entirely. Remember, I have those 8 hens that keep dropping eggs out faster than you can say "wait, I'm a vegan!"? So, I have been eating my girls' eggs, but in my defense, they are orangey yellow, fresh as you can get, and I know exactly what they're eating. So, who could blame me for fudging just a little? Right?

Anyways, it hasn't been a challenge to eat my veggies, at all! Matter of fact, it's been easy. And it's been fun to come up with new ways of thinking about food. And, no more stressing out about what to eat at restaurants. Usually, there're only a couple of options for me. Maybe a salad, a side of veggies, or even chips and guacamole. All good in my book.

When a friend suggested we meet at the Zinc Cafe and Market, to catch up and have a bite to eat, I was thrilled. They have an extensive vegetarian menu, and plenty to choose from for me, too.

Of course I ordered up my all time fave, roasted veggies. It's an amazing combination of beets, brussel sprouts and carrots. I have tried and tried to duplicate this at home, but it never comes out quite like theirs. Go figure!

My friend got the mushroom, nut loaf with marinara sauce. Mm-mm, I told you it was amazing, didn't I? A. maze. ing.

There you have it, in a nutshell. Ha, get it?! Ok, whatever.

Oh, check out my friends' boots. Aren't these the cutest things, ever?

Cute, cute! Here's the link.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Celebrating women

Today is International Womens' Day, and I didn't want to miss this opportunity to pay homage to just a few of us. We are the foundation of our families, we are the avid supporters of our friends, and we are the backbone of our jobs. A mothers knowing touch, a laugh with girlfriends, a meal prepared for a husband, are the subtle and sometimes unrecognized gifts that women give to those around them. There are many champions among us. Even the most average woman has dealt with her own humble heroics. But here are some women who, in my opinion, have overcome oppression and passionately and peacefully shown how to be true heroes.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkol Karman

2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Green Belt Movement

Gloria Steinem

Michelle Obama

Laura Pollan,  founder of Cuba's Ladies in White
Mother and child by: Franz Lanting
Celebrate the women in your life today. It doesn't have to be anything extraordinary, just a smile, a touch, a phone call, just some kind of recognition of her generous spirit.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A new normal

My world has gotten very simple. October 14th started like any other day, with my usual routine. Wake up, feed the chickens, feed the family... and then it happened. I suddenly had excruciating pain in my lower back. So much pain in fact, that I could barely breathe. I was pretty panicked, but still tried to take deep breaths.

I then had to get to the bathroom. I don't remember if I crawled, or hugged the wall to get myself there. I plunked down on the toilet, and just like the touch of a fairy godmothers wand, ping, the pain vanished. But, at the same instant I found my left leg, from the bottom of my butt, to the back of my knee, numb. I foolishly thought it was temporary, but it is still numb nearly 5 months later.

This event put me on a trajectory of doctor visits. Not only regarding my back, but because of insurance issues, I decided it was time to take care of other check-ups that had been long overdue. Last November and December were dedicated to catching up on dermatology visits, colonoscopy, gyn and mammograms.

I remember every nuance of the moment when I received my melanoma diagnosis. I was in the parking lot getting ready for my second mammogram, which, all they had told me is "that we found something concerning...". Already anxiety stricken, I actually laughed out loud at the diagnosis. I mean it was the classic Murphy's law scenario! Btw, after 3 plus hours getting my follow-up mammogram, all checked out ok, just very cystic.

Come to find out, it was very early stage 1, on my right nostil, with no roots, and hadn't gotten into my bloodstream. If you are going to be diagnosed with melanoma, this is definitely what you want to hear. I had my surgery in early January, and have been healing physically, emotionally and spiritually ever since. It's been a long journey, and one that shook me right to my core. They had to take a pretty good chunk out of my nose, and a skin graft from beside my ear. I probably had at least 30 stitches, most likely more. My nose is a little disfigured now, but I'm really trying to put things in perspective and think about how lucky I am. I am not going to die from melanoma. And that, my friends, is all that matters.

So, my life has gotten a lot more simple. I continue to heal, and I'm trying to find my way back to normal. But there is now some light where there hadn't been. And a new normal is slowly emerging.