One Lovely Blog Award!

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I have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award! Thank you to Fae, FaesTwistandTango.wordpress.com, for nominating me. I love to read Fae’s blog and you probably will too. 

AWARD CRITERIA

To receive this award, the blogger must share the following with their readers:

  1. Thank the person who honored them with this award and post their links;
  2. Nominate 15 other blogs for this honor; and
  3. Tell readers seven things about themselves.

SEVEN THINGS ABOUT ME!

1. When I was a teenager and into college, I worked on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. My job started out as Writer’s Assistant and after many years transitioned into production staff. It was a fun job, but I quit to move to Denver, Colorado… to follow a boy.

2. Cher used to babysit me and my sister when we were little girls so my parents could go on “date night.” One evening Cher brought over her new Cher Doll which was like a Barbie. My sister split the legs of my doll until one broke off. Cher gave me a new one at the studio a few days later. I’m now missing the new doll, but recently found the original broken leg. Yes, I have apparently had the broken gam for 40 years, but I am not a pack-rat.

3. I collect decorative eggs and trinket boxes. When I have a little treasure and don’t know where to put it, I stash it in one of the gazillion trinket boxes I have. One lady’s junk is another lady’s treasure.

4. The smell and feel of books is comforting. I am an avid book collector and refuse to transition to an e-reader.

5. Antiques Roadshow was in Denver one year. I took an old, hand-decorated trinket box to have it appraised. It came from India from my mom’s aunt who worked for the State Department in the 1940s until the early 1970s. I was so sure it was going to have a high dollar value. This little box is just a gorgeous, fabulous piece of history. Or so I thought. The appraiser said, “Hello dear. This is certainly beautiful. However, some things carry a sentimental value. This is a hand-made, decoupage box from the U.S. It is worth plenty in your heart.” WHAT!!?? I waited five hours in line to find out my grandma’s friend had made the box in a craft class back in Ohio in 1955. Shhhh, don’t tell. Everyone else thinks it’s worth a mint!

6. I took the MENSA test once. About 20 years ago. Passed. Received my membership card. Oddly, it expired. So I took the test again recently and I failed. No card arrived in the mail. I thought we got smarter with age. What does that mean exactly?

7. My mantra is LIFE IS SHORT. LIVE IT AND LOVE IT. The age of Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years. I maybe have 80-100 good years of life which translates to less than a microsecond compared to the age of Earth. Most of my time is spent only doing things I enjoy. My dad died young. In his lengthy illness he instilled in me some strong belief that whilst we need to be responsible humans, we need to live our short lives to the fullest enjoyment possible because you never know what tomorrow brings. He encouraged me to let my soul, let my heart, guide me. Connection to the Mother Earth will be strengthened. In the end, that is what will make me rest peacefully. That was ten years ago and that is exactly how I live today and I always have a good day.

AWARD NOMINEES

Here are my nominations for the One Lovely Blog Award,

Adventures in Life, Health & Fitness http://4mylifefitness.wordpress.com/

The Berlin Lunchbox http://berlinlunchbox.wordpress.com/

Maggie’s One Butt Kitchen http://maggiesonebuttkitchen.wordpress.com/about/

The Occasional Traveller http://theoccasionaltraveller.com/where-i-have-been/

The Best Travel Photos http://besttravelphotos.wordpress.com/

The Vegan Weight Watcher  http://theveganweightwatcher.wordpress.com/

Wayward Traveller  http://waywardtraveller.com/

My Funny Eye     http://myfunnyeye.blogspot.com/

The Snot Rocket  http://drevets.com/the-snot-rocket/

KC Leighton   http://kcleighton.com/

A Little Yoga, A Little Health, A Lotta Love  http://alittleyoga.wordpress.com/

Daily Cup of Yoga  http://dailycupofyoga.com/

Best Hikes  http://besthike.wordpress.com/

California Canoe and Kayak  http://calkayak.wordpress.com/

Joe Round Britain http://joeroundbritain.wordpress.com/

Channel Islands Outfitters  http://channelislandsoutfitters.wordpress.com/

LOVE THEM ALL!

Clean Drinking Water – Rachel Beckwith

Altruism.

A beautiful child born with such a selfless nature. Born to love, share, and give. The young lady is inspirational. Her parents should be praised and respected for raising such a compassionate, lovely, benevolent child.

 

It’s bewildering how our universe, our mother nature, god, superior forces work. This single human being, this one child’s life, changed so many other people’s lives, other children’s lives.

The people around the world who donated money simply astound me. It restores my belief that people are inherently kind and maybe we just forget about our fellow man sometimes because we get wrapped up in our own lives. We look down at the pavement too much, for too long, in our concrete jungles. Maybe we should be looking around and making eye contact with each other. Smiling instead of scowling. Giving a wave instead of giving the finger. Looking around and holding the door instead of allowing it to swing closed on the next person. I don’t know. But following the lead of this nine year old seems like a good place to start.

Learning How to Stay Focused

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I really need to learn how to focus on the task at hand. Lately I have become so forgetful! Kept forgetting to grab my camera. Example: Recently I wrapped up a health and fitness expo I have been working on out of town. I spent six months planning for one weekend of all things health and fitness related. Organized, interactive demonstrations, contests, and exhibitors came under one roof to share their knowledge, expertise, and goods. Exercise knowledge, healthy eating and cooking demos, MMA and Jiu Jitsu tournaments, Strongman competitions (think MET-Rx’s World’s Strongest Man events), meditation information, vitamin companies, equipment and clothing companies, different branches of the military came out to demonstrate using your own body as your own gym, aerobics classes, we had all kinds of cool stuff. And the only photos I had time and remembered to take were of the city from my hotel room, and a crowd shot of Tito Ortiz making a surprise visit to the show at his clothing line’s booth. (And you can’t even see him in the photo.)

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So, is it the MS medication making me suddenly forgetful?

Or is it me just not remembering to do things, like take photos of my own event? Bummer. It was a cool weekend.

Vitamins. They all have a purpose.

What’s going to keep me healthy?

Medication?

One multivitamin?

Different vitamins throughout the day?

Everyone has an opinion. Even the many health enthusiasts and experts in the industry I work in and highly regard. Jack LaLanne, for example, said you can’t go wrong under the guidance of your physician, taking a multivitamin or additional Folic Acid, Vitamin C, or Calcium if needed. I take each of my supplements at a few different times during the day for absorption purposes. I’m not a weirdo about it, but I aim to keep my tummy happy, vitamins distributed evenly, and well you get the idea.

What do you do? Take one for the day? Take a mess like I do? Throughout the day or all at once? Any at all?

I’m thinking the following:

Fish oil keeps my heart healthy. It would be nice to get off of the heart medication I take. My symptoms of thickening have reversed over a seven year period. Maybe it’s the fish oil. Maybe it is from the beta-blocker.

Iron gives me energy. For some reason I tend to have a lower iron count on occasion. A little booster makes up for what I’m not getting in my diet. Blood work appears normal when I’m on the supplement.

Vitamin C has kept two colds at bay (I would like to believe.) Two sickies at my office have coughed and sputtered past me over the last two weeks. So far, knock on wood, for the first time in ages I do not feel even a tickle in my throat. Or is it the Lysol I have sprayed at them as they walk by my door?

B12 has kept the numbness and tingling to a minimum and kept my levels at a nice 900 since I’ve been a vegetarian. That 900 was in the lowly 100s before I started enjoying the melt-in-your-mouth B12 each day. And the greens everyday don’t hurt either.

Vitamin D3 makes up for the days I actually have to work and not be a beach bum. Yes, those days are rare, but they do come up and I must go indoors and miss the sun. And since you can only get Vitamin D from meat (not an option), mushrooms (gag me with anything handy), or the sun, I’ll pop one when I can’t get to the ocean.

Folic Acid is the one who is always left behind. Aside from childbearing years, folic acid should be taken by people on anti-seizure medications and/or medications for inflammatory diseases.

I did leave out calcium which I do take every day with my lunch. I take it because my shin bones, my sternum, and my hip bones hurt. They are always tender like if you touch them, they might break and crumble into dust. (so don’t ever touch them.) But really… I couldn’t fit the bottle in the photo and it felt a little ridiculous to try to squish it in there. I mean really. It’s already a little embarrassing, all those bottles.

How about YOU? Do you take individual supplements like that? Or do you take one multivitamin and be done with it?

Mango Strawberry Smoothie

Thank you to one of my new-found favorite foodie sites for this refreshing treat and allowing me to share the recipe here!

Check out other delights http://berlinlunchbox.wordpress.com

This smoothie is delectable especially in the warm summer that has suddenly roared into town. I hope you’ll give it a try!

The Recipe

Mango Strawberry Smoothie

1 very ripe mango

1 handful of strawberries, stems cut off and washed

2 bananas

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup of oat milk (I tried almond milk and it was great!)

Dash of good quality vanilla (extract or from the pod)

1/2 cup of ice cubes (or about 4-5 large ice cubes)

Mix the fruit and the oat milk in the blender until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla, a little bit at a time to taste. Add the ice and smooth until the pieces of ice are too small to see.

Pour into a glass and serve with a strawberry!

Citrus and Avocado Salad

I am not a fan of Brussels sprouts (or is it Brussel sprouts — no s on the end?) Either way, with this delicious salad I have gone to the dark side, and like with asparagus, I now enjoy this once-forbidden food. Also, keenly noted the B is capitalized in my spell-checker. Anyway, on to the recipe!

Delightful recipe and mouthwatering photo from SELF Magazine.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 blood orange
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 heaping handfuls arugula
  • 2 avocados, cut into cubes
  • 1 1/2 blood oranges, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup tamari almonds (found at Whole Foods Market), chopped

PREPARATION

  1. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Blanch Brussels sprouts 30 seconds; drain and rinse with cold water; let cool; grate. In a sealable jar, combine oil, vinegar and citrus juices; seal; shake dressing. In a bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with arugula, avocado, orange pieces and dressing; season with salt and pepper. Divide among 6 bowls; garnish with almonds.

The skinny

232 calories, 17 g fat (2 g saturated), 18 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 6 g protein

 

Marinade Recipes for Vegetable Kabobs

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Time for summer BBQ grilling!! Dinner outdoors is wonderful and delicious. Try one of these marinades to liven up your vegetable kabobs!

Polynesian style:

1 can of crushed pineapple

4 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses

1/8 teaspoon of red-pepper flakes (or to taste – hot, hot, hot!)

Mix all ingredients together in a bag and refrigerate for approximately 2 to 4 hours.

Another good marinade for grilling or oven is:

Lebanese Style:

Ingredients for Marinade:

1/3 cup of wine vinegar

2/3 cup of olive oil

1/3 cup of lemon juice

2 teaspoons of thyme

1 teaspoon of black pepper

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon salt

3 cloves of crushed garlic

Mix ingredients in a large ziplock bag or bowl with a lid and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Add vegetables for another 2 hours and place on skewers. Drizzle leftover marinade over veggies for grilling.

I enjoy a mixture of veggies on my Kabobs: multi-colored peppers, purple onions, Cipollini onions, mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes.

Enjoy!

Multiple Sclerosis & Syringomyelia in My Body!

Here is the short version of my M.S. & Syrinx story. I’ll call it Part 1.

I had tingling, leg spasms, weak muscles, vertigo, and severe fatigue off and on for about 12 years or so. Probably other symptoms I can’t think of right now…OH, oh, like Costochondritis, blurry vision, creepy crawly skin, electric shock in my feet and torso, and some other stuff. I’m very active I never really followed-up with the symptoms on a serious level. I figured I had the flu every couple of months for about four to six weeks each bout.

What sent me to the doctor was this weird sunburn like feeling between my shoulder-blades that has just gotten to be completely unbearable over the last three months. I decided to go see my mother’s Alzheimer’s neurologist because he is the head of a department at a swanky hospital here in my city. (And you know, swanky must mean he is good, right? I jest 😉 ) I offer him my symptoms and straight away he said, “M.S. for sure is my thinking, but please have an MRI as a formality.” In the MRI results not only does he find M.S., he finds this Syrinx that extends from T1 down to my Lumbar area. The MS is a pain in the budinsky just by itself. The Syrinx is now completely inconvenient because it is so long and full/thick in most places, that it might actually be causing additional pain, numbness, and vertigo. And in addition to that I am told I can’t kayak, do a lot of strenuous yoga positions, or swim vigorously. What?? Holy mother of… I’ll be a fatty in no time.

A syrinx is a sack of fluid, a cyst rather, that in my case has resulted from either a trauma or meningitis or a tumor, and over the years I have continuously damaged my back to the point where the Syrinx has grown larger and longer inside the spinal cord. It will continue to grow and fill with fluid until there is no more room for it which supposedly may cause the loss of the use of my arms or legs possibly. That could require a risky surgery. Apparently doctors dissuade surgery until the patient is almost at that paralysis point. So I’m just hanging tight with M.S. and the Syrinx for now.

P.S. I am 41 years old. How long could it take to be close to immobile? Can’t they just pull some CSF from around the cord to relive some pressure? I had a lumbar puncture last week and that little amount of fluid drainage made me feel AMAZING for about one week. The sunburn feeling was gone. Now it is back.

Million Dollar Quartet

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For the first time in a couple of years I was able to sit in a theatre without leg spasms, random kicking, or freakish body movements. Is this actually due to Gabapentin? Nobody around me was bothered. It was incredible. I had such a wonderful time. I LOVE GABAPENTIN. DISREGARD ANYTHING I SAID EARLIER ABOUT NOT LIKING IT!

About this musical I saw this evening… Million Dollar Quartet at the Pantages Theatre. It was fabulous. An incredible show with a superb cast.

“Million Dollar Quartet” is the name given to the impromptu recordings made by Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins on Tuesday, December 4, 1956 in the Sun Records studio in Memphis Tennessee.

The history of the humble beginnings of these four careers is extremely interesting. Not to mention the fascinating details offered about Sam Phillips, the man who gave them all an ear and an incredible start to amazing careers.

Hopefully it will be in a city near you soon!

http://www.milliondollarquartetlive.com/tour-creative.html

Vegetarian Side Dish – Tasty Carrot & Snap Pea Medley

Photo courtesy of Food.com

I made a light, refreshing side dish for lunch yesterday that was quick and easy. The recipe came from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook, by Murdoch – Bay Books. I stumbled upon the book at a small eclectic bookstore in my town and so glad I found it.

4 oz carrots

4 oz sugar snap peas

2 oz butter (vegan substitute: veggie spread or vegetable oil)

2 cloves garlic, crushed (or a tsp. or crushed from jar)

1 tablespoon lime juice (and rind from one lime to make zest for garnish)

1/2 teaspoon soft brown sugar

1. Peel the carrots and slice into thin diagonal slices. Wash and string the sugar snap peas. Heat the butter in a large frying pan. Add the garlic, cook over low heat for 1 minute. Add the lime juice and sugar. Cook, stirring over low heat, until the sugar has dissolved.

2. Add the carrots and peas and cook over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes or until just cooked. Serve hot. Garnish with lime zest.

3. To make the lime zest, peel lime rind into long strips using a vegetable peeler. Remove all white pith. Cut into long strips with a sharp knife.

NOTE: Snow peas or green beans are a great substitute for snap peas. Baby carrots also make an attractive addition to this recipe. Leave a portion of the green tops on if limes are unavailable. This dish can be adapted to make a light salad – replace butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cook according to recipe. Cool to room temperature and sprinkle with finely chopped cashews or toasted pine nuts.

NEXT UP: POTATO CURRY WITH SESAME SEEDS

STAY TUNED!