Saturday Fluff — Nontraditional holiday food

With another Thanksgiving over with, I find myself thinking of my different viewpoint of ‘holiday food’.  I never think that what I make is weird, until somebody brings it up.

Case in point would be the stuffing/dressing I made for Thanksgiving.  It was a wild and brown rice dressing, made with celery, onions, pecans and dried apricots.  When I brought the bag of rice home, my Mother-in-law had no clue what I was going to do with it.  The bag came with the wild and long grain brown rice already mixed (although I’ve even made both types and mixed them in the past, this did make for one less step).  While it said “wild and long grain brown rice” on the package, my MIL asked me, “What’s this?  Bird seed?” 

I laughed and said, “Well, in a way…” then went on to explain it was going to be the stuffing.  After telling me how to make the stuffing (which she’d never had nor heard of before) she then said she was glad she’d be going to her niece’s house for Thanksgiving where she’d get “normal” food. 

This started me thinking about how some of the things I make and eat aren’t quite normal.

My ideas of what is good to eat have expanded a bunch since joining my hobby 18 years ago (was it that long, where did the years go?).  I’ve had things I never thought I would eat, much less enjoy.   I’ve also had things I’m glad I had the opportunity to eat once, but probably wouldn’t ever want again.  Because of this, I’ve incorporated some ‘weird’ things into what I consider feasting or holiday food.

For appetisers, I either make hummus (a chickpea/garbanzo bean paste usually made with garlic and herbs, a little bit of olive oil) and veggies, or a cheese dip that is out of this world rich and oh so addictive with breads (have to have something to carry the dip to your mouth).  Dinners a lot of times are roast meats, but I usually add ‘weird spices’ or other things (like a glaze for a pork dinner I’m going to make for some friends in a couple weeks will be cherry based).  Deserts have things like a “small cake” (or cookie) recipe that is attributed as being put on a Pope’s table in the mid-1500’s.  I would make the rose cookie (attributed as being served to Queen Elizabeth I in the 1500’s) but I’m the only one in the family that likes the taste of rose. 

I realize that I make weird things, sometimes.  But then, my family usually likes the weirdness.  Like the time a year ago that I started experimenting with a lemon sauce for pork chops.  I was asked to make that again and again and again.

Do you have any ‘nontraditional’ (by the ideas of your culture) food you make for holidays?  If so, what are they?  And when you made them the first time, were they accepted right away, or was it something that had to grow on people.

Mom doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to be making my meat pie for Christmas soon.  It has lamb, pork, and beef in it, and is so good.  Hopefully, she won’t turn her nose up at it.  But if she does, that just means more for me! 🙂


A change of pace

I wrote this on my personal blog, but decided I wanted to write it here as well.  This is not about fat acceptance, so move along if you don’t want to read it.

Is a deeply discounted computer (or Wii or whatever) that they only have 2 of in EACH STORE worth somebody’sLIFE? A man is DEAD, trampled to death (to me, one of the worse ways to die) because people were so self-centered, so buying into the whole consumerism crap that this ‘season’ has become.

The corporate headquarters has responsibility in this (maybe not legally, I wouldn’t know from legal, but ethically). They’ve set up this system for quite a few years, having a very limited quantity of the “must have” gifts on hand (usually less than 10 per store) and advertising to distraction that doors open at whatever time, and once sold out, these prices are history. I know they are banking on people coming in, hoping to get that $200 computer or $10 food processor and continueing to shop for all the other stuff they need when they don’t get one of the few deeply discounted items. Yes, I understand that the retailers need people to buy (a lot) during this time of the year to try and make it out of the red, but is the almighty Dollar REALLY worth a man’s life?

Don’t think I’m letting the people who did this off lightly. What is worth a man’s life? Is that toy, that food processor, that thing really so damn important that they couldn’t stop to help a man off the floor? Is it really THAT important?  More important than a human being’s LIFE?

And this, the killing of a man, injuring of other employees who were trying to get to this person, this is in the name of what? The celebration of the birth of the man known as the “Prince of Peace”. Yeah. It seems like a LOT of people have a screwed up sense of priorities here.

I want to sit down with each and every one of those people who participated in this tragedy and just say, “You helped kill a man because of your greed and selfishness. Was your toy really worth it?”

Stick a fork in me, cuz I’m done (for tonight).

Between yesterday and today, I have:

  1. Gone to the store 4 times (ugh).
  2. Made two homemade cheesecakes.
  3. Made two homemade pumpkin pies with homemade crusts.
  4. Cleaned house.
  5. Made dinner both nights.
  6. Boiled eggs to make deviled eggs.
  7. Taken my Mother-in-Law to her PT
  8. Gone to my own PT.

Tomorrow I still have to:

  1. Make the wild and brown rice dressing
  2. Cook the birds (cornish game hens, not turkeys)
  3. Make the veggie (not sure what it will be, either mixed veggies with a homemade cheese sauce or the ‘classic’ green bean casserole, depends on how my arm is feeling).
  4. ‘Make’ the rolls (frozen bread dough, all I have to do is let them rise and then bake them).
  5. Finish making the deviled eggs.
  6. Make gravy.
  7. Put the fresh veggies and dip onto a nice serving tray.

All in all, not too much left to do, considering dinner will be at 6pm.

Happy Thanksgiving to everybody who celebrates it!  May the day be filled with warmth, laughter, good food and good company!

This just boggles the mind

I am a regular blogger on LiveJournal.  It’s where I do updates for my friends and family, and am part of a few communities there.  One is a macro community.  (Macros are where you put captions on pictures, such as the cat macro site, I Can Has Cheezburger or the dog macro site I Has a Hotdog.  Caution if you go to those links, you might end up dying of “teh cutez”.)  On this macro community, they posted a macro that was derogatory of a fat person.  In the response, somebody suggested that they go to a community set up just for fat hate macros.

I thought I’d be okay to go there, and I pretty much was, and then saw the maintainer of that hate community also maintained another fat hate community, where I found this article:  Convict released early due to obesity.  In the article, it said a convict was released from prison early for reasons that included health, along with factors such as good behavior and the support of his wife and mother, but of course, the thing that was most concentrated on was the fact that this man was fat when he went into prison, and gained weight once in there.

That’s bad enough, but that’s not the worst of this article.  The last paragraph states: 

Convicts’ weight has also been an issue in the United States. In one case, a 500-pound New York man accused of selling knockoff guitars was arraigned in a pickup truck in a parking lot because he could not fit into the courthouse.

Really?  REALLY?  A man couldn’t be tried in a dignified way because, at 500 pounds he could not fit into the courthouse?  That must have been one damn small courthouse!  I mean it had to have been as small as a phone booth.  You’ve got to be kidding me!  
This is so outrageous all I’m doing is spluttering as I’m trying to type.  I REALLY want to know where this super small courthouse is that it doesn’t even have room for a 500 pound man.  And if it is too small for this man, how do they fit the judge, both lawyers, the court recorder, the bailiff?  I mean, all of them added together have to come up to more than 500 pounds (even if they are all perfect size 0 women and size small men).

Been a while…

But I’m back.  The last two weeks have been difficult for me, and I got news that made my brain shut down.  Well, not completely shut down, the brain gerbils kept spinning round and round on their exercise wheels, but only on one subject.

Two weeks ago, I had an MRI due to the migraines.  The next day on the phone, I learned from the nurse that I had a brain cyst, but “don’t worry about it”.  It must be nice if her mind works like that, but my mind doesn’t. 

I tried not to worry about it, really I did, but like I said, my mind doesn’t work like that.  Every time I sat down to write anything, I couldn’t.  I had started NaNoWriMo, and couldn’t do anything on my novel (next year, or maybe next month on my own).  I couldn’t write here.  I could barely keep up with email.

Today, I found out the cyst is a sublenticular cyst.  From what the doctor told me, it basically comes out to nothing.  Nothing else was found in my brain except that, no hydrocephalus, no fluid build up where it shouldn’t be, no anything else.  Except this one cyst.  So, we do periodic MRI’s to make sure it doesn’t do anything (like grow), and I’m fine.

I have to wonder why the nurse even told me what little she did on the phone.  It’s not like I asked what the results were (I was expecting to get the results at today’s appointment).  Because of what she told me, I had two weeks of fear, trying to look up “brain cysts” on google, and getting frustrated because there was so much information on the web, and so little knowledge I had to even research things properly. 

The thing is, today when I went, my husband made a remark to the doctor about my having tried to do research.  The neurologist said that he always has to laugh when people come having done research because they always scare themselves silly.  I didn’t say anything at the time but two things occured to me:

1)  If people do this a LOT because of what you are doing, isn’t it maybe time to STOP doing this?  If you normally see people who’ve come in, after being told only that they have a brain cyst “but don’t worry about it”, who’ve tried to research with insufficient data and are scared silly, WHY do you keep doing it?  It doesn’t make any sense!

2)  I know you don’t think of things like this, but I’ve had to research my problems so many times, it’s a natural thing to me.   I’ve had doctors misdiagnose me so much, or worse, do as this doctor’s office did and give me a tiny bit of information but not much (just to get me to do the follow up appointment after exploratory surgery that finally diagnosed my PCOS*). 

I’ve had to be my strongest advocate for getting treatment that will treat my illness, rather than being told I’m fat and to lose weight and all my problems will be gone.  It’s become a habit for me, nowadays, to go to the doctor and say, “I have these symptoms.  I’ve done some research/had this before and think it’s this problem.”   Yes, people will say that I’m being disrespectful to a doctor, but honestly, when I go to a hospital for a broken toe (second toe on my left foot) and the nurse in the ER looks at the fifth toe on my right foot and says “it don’t look broken to me”, well, they don’t deserve the respect they demand from the outset).

I will be going to get a second opinion, just to be safe.  After all, this is my brain we are talking about.  This thing may very well be perfectly safe, but I want to be on the safe side.

*At the time I was diagnosed with PCOS, the idea was that PCOS was a benign, painless illness (if one can call infertility, hirsuitism, obesity, insulin resistance, and other things “benign”).  I went to the emergency room with a fast onset high fever (went from 99 to 104 in 1/2 hour), nausea and extreme pain in my left abdominal area.  In the ER examining room, they figured the pain to be coming from my left ovary area, but couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  They finally admitted me, did exploratory surgery, found nothing but cysts covering both ovaries, and sewed me back up.  Three days later, they released me, still hurting (partly from the surgery by then) but still with a fever of 101.  The nurse told me that I was “lucky” that I got the ‘flu’ with this unexplained pain, if I’d not had that, I wouldn’t have been admitted.  (This “flu” was totally asymptomatic, as it only had the high fever.  Later, doing research on the web, I diagnosed myself as having typical symptoms of an internal cyst bursting.)  I was given an appointment with the doctor for a month later for a follow up and sent home.

About 2 weeks later, I went home to visit my grandparents.  “Home” was four states away.  While I was at my grandparents, the doctor’s office called my home in NC and scared my roommates that it was OMG URGENT! that they were given my grandparents phone number.  At that point, the doctor called my grandparents house to scare me into keeping my follow up appointment.  The doctor herself called me to tell me I had hyperplasia.  When I asked what that was, she told me that it was VERY important that I come to the follow up appointment to find out.  WTF?  (This was before the days of HIPPA.)

I was planning on leaving for home in NC the next day (the appointment was three days later) but had to find out what hyperplasia was.  I went to the library and spent 5 hours looking up ‘hyperplasia’ in all the medical journals, and online (there was no google in 1998), trying to figure out just what the heck it was.  The best I could understand was that it was a pre-pre-cancerous condition.  I wrote a ton of questions to ask the doctor.

I got home (in time) and went to the follow up visit.  Asked the doctor all the questions I had, and had her get snarky on me because I dared to come prepared.  Basically, the hyperplasia was due to my ammenoreah (due to the PCOS).  It was easily taken care of with a birth control prescription.   That’s when the doctor told me I had PCOS.  Her exact words were (and yes, I still remember them):  You have polycystic ovarian syndrome.  It’s also called Stein-Leventhol Disease.  Here, let me write that down for you so you can “research” it, since you like doing it so much!  After that bitchy comment, she wouldn’t answer any of my questions about what it was, except to tell me to research it, because I liked research so much.

And that, ladies, gentlemen, and trolls who think I treat doctors disrespectfully so of course they would treat me disrespectfully, was the last time I ever accorded a doctor any kind of increased respect just because s/he was a doctor.  Treat me with respect, and get respect back.  Treat me like crap, and get treated the same, plus have a formal complaint put in against you with the AMA, as well as have me not pay you for your crappy, misdiagnosing service.

Cross Posted from LJ

I am a part of a social organization in my spare time.  My “hobby”, if you will.  (Although, when it takes up more than 40 hours in a week, does it stop being a hobby?)   Through this hobby, I get to meet up with some really interesting people.

The lady I’m linking to I know only vicariously through our shared love of the middle ages and reading her Live Journal blog.  She has a wonderful mind, and can say things so much better than I can even dream of.  This post is about how long fat hate has been around, as she’s just found a book (called Eat and Grow Thin) which was first published in 1914.  From her post:

What do we really learn from this?  Well, I have repeatedly been shown one valuable lesson, and I have taken it to heart:

 Diet authors are stupid.  Ignore everything they say, they just hate fat people and are trying to kill them with insane and often disgusting diets.

Love your body – all of it.  The fat bits are you, too, and if you hate it, you will just be sad. 

Please go to the Attack Laurel’s blog to read her whole post.  I think you’ll be glad you did!

Saturday Fluff — Not so Fluffy

This week has been hellacious for me.  Too many appointments, not enough time to breath, it felt like.

The Physical Therapist (whom I adore, by the way, he took such good care of me after my knee surgery) has refused to let me out of the arm sling.  He gives two reasons:  1) my arm is still hurting enough that I need it, and 2) it’ll help keep my mother-in-law from trying to ‘use’ me too hard.  Now, it’s not like my mother-in-law is a bad person, but we did move here to help her.  She’s gotten very used to me doing things for her, and doesn’t think about how her getting me to move this heavy object or cut that other thing might hurt an arm that’s already hurting.  The PT thinks that keeping my arm in a sling will help her to not ask for something unless it’s really important.

The PT also said he thinks I did some minor nerve damage to my arm too.  Minor as in definitely treatable, but still there. 

The only thing I have to say about all this is that I need to be out of the sling the week before the US Thanksgiving.  The whole family is getting together, and my portion of the food to bring is going to be two cheesecakes and two pumpkin pies.  And I always make everything by scratch (including the pie crusts).  If I’m still in a sling, I won’t be able to roll the pie crust, mix the pumpkin or cream cheese filling, or anything.   Yeah, I know, if I’m using the sling at that time, I’ll do as the PT says and buy the cheesecakes and pumpkin pies.  But it just won’t be the same.

Then there were other tests for both my mother-in-law and me.  The test for me came back, and now there’s more questions than answers.  Side note:  Why do doctors offices tell you bad news on the phone, and say “don’t worry”?  Or tell you “you have x” but don’t tell you anything more, and leave you wondering what it all means until your next appointment?  My next appointment is in a week and a half.  I’ve done some googling on the issue, and don’t like what I’ve seen.  But since I don’t know which specific category this thing is in (because the nurse just said you have x), I can’t even figure out the intelligent questions to ask when I go see the doctor again.  I’m thinking of calling the doctor’s office back on Monday and asking which category of x I have, so I can then concentrate my research on that one thing.

And to top it all off, yesterday I had another migraine.  The good thing is that I was able to take one of the new medicines the doctor gave me, and can tell how it worked.  The bad news is, well, I had a migraine.  I hate migraines with a passion.  They usually make me lose an entire day, between the migraine itself and the after migraine headache and recovery time.  Yesterday, due to the medicine I took, I at least didn’t have the after migraine headache, so when the migraine was gone (four hours, which also is shortest time a migraine has lasted), I was able to get up and do stuff.  That’s improvement.

Today I will post the Friday Series post that should have gone up yesterday.  

And hopefully, my world will get back into order and I’ll be back on track.