Monday, January 8, 2018

Recovery from foot and ankle surgery

Well, tomorrow marks two weeks since the doctor did surgery on my foot (tendon) and ankle (ligament). Pain wise, I'm okay. Didn't really need to take any pain meds other than Tylenol, I think. In fact, the pain med I took made my heart race, and between that and doing far more than I should have been doing, I ended up in the hospital with Prinzmetal's angina. It was diagnosed several years ago, and it is certainly not life threatening - nitroglycerine tablets provide immediate relief - but I went from having three or four a YEAR to having four in two days, and they were extreme.

So now, when I'm on a mission to do things, I rest frequently. Get up, wash up (or shower every third day or so), then SIT. Go down the stairs backwards on my knees with bag of stuff (yarrow oil for my dry lips, Kindle, cell phone, etc.), then SIT. Feed the dogs, then SIT. You get the picture.

My attitude towards life is, "If you can, then DO." So if I can find a way to get it done (such as doing a load of laundry, requiring 36 stair steps total and pushing the clothes to the machine with a crutch), then I do it. Not anymore. That is what precipitated the fourth and worst attack of Prinzmetal's, and it was bad enough to scare me.

I imagined this whole ordeal would be bad, and the anticipation of a bad time didn't make the outcome one damned bit different. Nope. In fact, it is even worse than anything I imagined. No driving, no walking, no working at market, NOTHING. Depending on someone else to do every little thing, like delivering an internet order to the PO, picking up a few groceries, and of course, doing my laundry.

The best thing now is that I actually have less pain than I did before the surgery. Doctor's appointment a week from Wednesday, at which time I will find out next steps - and oh, how I hope it includes STEPS! Depending on healing, worst case is five more weeks in cast, best case is cast off, boot on and very minimal walking. We will see. I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

I ordered a love-seat recliner, hoping I could sleep downstairs. It got here late due to fires in CA and snowstorms in IN, but my son uncrated it and put together the few little things that had to be done. Here is a pic of the two of us when it was finally up. Yes, I'm napping in it - it's very comfy - but I still want to be in my bed at night.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Tashi's eating problem - SOLVED!!

I have written extensively about the trials and tribulations of getting Tashi to eat. In case you haven't read the last post, in which I said she was better - sort of, here is the link so you can read, or perhaps review:  A tale of two dogs and their diets

Since I wrote this, I finally got around to putting their personal diffusers on their collars. These are cute little clip-on pendants that can be infused with essential oils. I got them several months ago but hadn't yet done the research on what I might put on them. I found that coriander was good for appetite normalization. I noticed that it didn't say that it would encourage eating, but just that it would normalize the appetite. Tashi definitely has not had a normal appetite since this whole thing started in 2014.

Coriander - that's what I should use. So I did, for Tashi. For Fred, I tried spearmint, which is supposed to help for overweight dogs.

Bingo! Immediately after hanging the coriander essential oil-infused pendant around Tashi's neck, she started eating with no encouragement. In fact, she chased Fred away from her bowl the other night, and she comes to the kitchen begging. The problems with any kind of grain seem to have disappeared, and she is eating kibble for the first time in years - about a cup a day.

I'm taking her to the vet along with Fred today. It's Fred's annual physical, so I might as well take Tashi along and get her weighed in. Right before I put the coriander EO around her neck, she weighed in at 48.1, which is within her normal range (48 to 54). That is a first since the weight started to plunge in 2014.

I'll finish this post when I get home from the vet. Fingers crossed that her weight is holding or up a little more.

Tashi's weight - 48.8! Brava, Tashi!

The gym in my basement

Over the years, I've acquired a good bit of equipment that has just been sitting since I moved here. I have used the stationary bike a few times, but the rest of it wasn't even completely put together after I moved.

I tore a ligament in my right ankle as a child. I am quite certain I know when. Second grade, we had some old playground equipment that was brought in from the country schools when they were consolidated into the town school.

One sad piece of equipment the town school inherited was a sliding board with no slide. But they set it up anyway, and we loved to pretend we were firemen. We would climb the stairs and then slide down the bars. I went down a bar one day and just simply crushed my ankle! I couldn't walk, even missed a couple of days of school. After that, sprains became a familiar experience. One of the more dramatic incidents occurred in London, when I stepped off a curb and fell flat on my face. The next thing I knew, my husband and a stranger were pulling me back up and out of the path of a speeding taxi.

In my freezer, I have three difference ice wraps for the ankle. In my closet, I have two different support boots. In the garage, a set of crutches resides. In my purse, I carry an elastic bandage. You just never know when you'll need some help, right?

Crossfit really hasn't helped it any. And mowing my very bumpy half acre yard with a regular lawnmower (no riding for me - it's exercise, you know!) has contributed bigly to the pain in my foot and ankle.

I finally bit the bullet after being on crutches again for a few days and saw my doctor. He held my heel and wiggled my foot. He said, "Call South Bend Orthopedics. You need surgery." I did, I do, December 26 it will be repaired. MRI showed not only a torn ligament, but also a torn tendon. Surgeon says that the tendon got overworked because the torn ligament couldn't stabilize my ankle. Voila - a mess!!!

I have continued to work out at the Crossfit box. Finally the pain was bad enough that I called it a day, hence the dusting off of the equipment in the basement. I can go at my own pace, stay away from anything that puts pressure on the ankle, and stay in reasonable shape prior to the surgery. I'll be laid up for a month after surgery, can do upper body stuff, but no weight on foot at all. I can't even drive.

In the meantime, I FINALLY have my gym set up in the basement. Alarm still goes off at 5 am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I back the car out of the garage on jump-rope days, 50 jumps, then head downstairs to Nordic Track, stationary bike and weights. Have to keep this creaky old body in shape!

My home gym - it will do the job for now.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A tale of two dogs and their diets . . .

Well, here's the latest in the feeding of Tashi saga. She seems to want to eat only once a day. Today, she finally dug in about 4:30 pm. She is on her third bowl of food, so in the end she gets enough to eat. My test is feeling her ribs, don't even want to bother with weighing her. I get so depressed if she has dropped even a few ounces. Her ribs feel fine, nothing like the xylophone she was at the worst of her illness.

As for Fred, he is getting so fat he can barely jump on the bed. He is getting a third of a cup of kibble twice a day. And that's it! I won't even let him lick the bowl when Tashi is finally finished. He is not wild about these meals. I sometimes have to put a bit of broth on his kibble, but then it disappears in less than a minute. He's been pacing in the kitchen beside me while I write, looking in his bowl with optimism, then walking away. LOL

When I am having trouble feeding Tashi, Fred goes in his cage any time her food is on the floor. No more stolen meals. I know that is his weight problem - I walk away from Tashi's dish to get something from the garage or basement, and the next thing I know he is up to his neck in her dog food. He is quick!

Well, they are both satisfied now. Tashi has cleaned up all of her precooked food. Chicken gizzards and hearts are cooking on the stove for tomorrow, or maybe a late night snack. A huge package of thighs and some old stew meat I found when cleaning freezers are thawing out for her next big batch.

She is a good old dog. Nearly totally deaf (but her head stills comes up when I shout, "Want to go for a walk?"), cataracts, arthritis. Hard to see these things getting worse when we have finally conquered the eating issues (sort of), but she has given me 12 beautiful years, and who knows, maybe a couple more are to come. I heart Tashi and Fred.

Friday, November 3, 2017

My granddaughter's wedding

My third grandchild, Abby, got married a couple of weeks ago. It was a lovely weekend. She was married in St. Louis, where she is living while she is completing her residency at Washington University hospital. She is a radiologist. A radiant radiologist!

She was absolutely beautiful. I was waiting to write this blog until I had some official pictures, and I may write another one when I get those. But in the meantime, here are some of the favorites I took, and some stories to go with each of them.

Yes, there was a dog of honor at the wedding!

The bridal party learning their parts

Lumi with the dog sitter, granddaughter-in-law, grandson, and the flower girl

Grandma kissing a nearby horse

The minister, about to perform wedding number 1,045.

Chairs were decorated with herbs

Grandma Susie in her wedding duds

The family - Katie, Joe, Kate, Abby, Tim, Jim, Christine, Bethany, Natalie & Bob

The bride and groom cutting the cake

Natty ditched the party clothes fast!

Mr. and Dr. Erickson's first dance

Monday, October 30, 2017

Gearing up for the holidays

I have been so busy! We are gearing up for the holidays at the booth. People are already asking for holiday soap.

Not only is the booth busier, but a lot of what we are selling is stuff we make in the soap room here in Mishawaka. Bath Bombs are back. I haven't made them for a couple of years, but with Christina helping out in the soap room, I put them back on the schedule. We made three of the scents last week - Patchouli & Jasmine, Herbal Medley (clary sage & lemon eucalyptus), and Applejack & Orange Peel, my personal favorite. You can order bath bombs at my new web site. Not all sizes and shapes are available at all times, but we are happy to send you a list of what is in inventory. They are on my new web site. I have included a modest shipping cost in the price of all my items, so there are no surprises at checkout. The price you see is the price you will pay, delivery included. Here is my new web site address:

I started making shampoo bars for a friend of mine who brought me a recipe and asked if I could do it. Yes, I could. Since I am used to making goat milk soap, there was a bit of a learning curve, but I think I've got it. The formula works in my 3-D molds, too. These aren't up on my site yet, but I'm working on it! Adding new items every day.

My new order of men's shaving brushes and brush stands went to the wrong address, not once but twice. Las Vegas warehouse to Walkerton, back to Las Vegas ware house, and BACK TO WALKERTON! I have purged that address from their system. They have sent me at least two orders to the correct address since I moved, but . . .  So I am down to one shaving brush and no stands. Sale of men's products has been pretty good since we moved things around on the booth. Christina came in to the market and we worked together to increase visibility of the skin care products. Sales have increased as a result. :)

Much as I love this time of year (I'm a fall and winter person), it gets a little hectic, so back to work.

3-D bars and shampoo bars

Last of the bath bombs waiting to be wrapped

The BIG BAR mold for shampoo bars - ready to go

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Starting things - and finishing things

My counter top is full of projects. A week ago, I started a new batch of fermented mustard pickles. They can be jarred this Friday. Same day, I started a jar of sauerkraut. Forgot to put in juniper berries, but I will do that with my next batch. I'm eating my last quart from last year right now, so this is perfect timing, although sauerkraut just keeps tasting better with time. But even "new" kraut is better than the store bought stuff.

Fermenting kraut and mustard pickles
My two bowls of poolish are doing their thing - flour, water and a pinch of yeast. It will sit until this evening. I give it 12 hours, by which time I'll see lots of bubbles and it will smell divine! Then it will get mixed into my bread dough. The dough will do a slow rise in fridge until I take it out at 5:00 tomorrow morning to make 15 baguettes for Garden Patch Market.

By tonight, it will be spongy and full of bubbles.
I made buckwheat pancakes for breakfast this morning and realized the jar of homemade sprouted buckwheat flour is getting kind of low. So more buckwheat was soaked this morning, then will be rinsed and drained daily until I see plenty of sprouts. Then it goes into the dehydrator for a few hours and is ground into flour for my beloved buckwheat pancakes. I mix it half and half with my low carb baking mix. Sprouting the grain gets rid of a few carbs, so my diet can tolerate a plate of buckwheat pancakes once every week or two, especially after a really intense workout at the gym.

Buckwheat groats soaked and set to sprout
I make kefir for a couple of people and have a delivery tomorrow, so the milk is sitting on the counter, with kefir grains added. By tonight it should be just right. I'll bottle it and take with me to market tomorrow.

By tomorrow morning, it will be thick, creamy kefir made with A2 milk - high nutrients
One of my customers loves my sourdough rye bread (only leavening in the bread dough is yeast that I caught in my kitchen when I moved here three years ago), and the jar of sourdough came out of the fridge for a hefty feeding so that I will have enough to do a recipe for two loaves tomorrow and Friday. Yes, that's right - it takes at least two days to make my sourdough rye bread, but it's worth the wait. He will be at market Saturday to pick up his loaf, and there will be two half loaves for sale along side the French baguettes. Those two breads are at the opposite ends of the bread spectrum, let me tell you, but both mighty fine.

I can already see some bubbles forming!
Last but not least, I'm making Easy Slow Cooker Lemon Custard, a low carb recipe with liquid stevia, fresh lemon juice and rind, egg yolks and heavy cream. It is in my slow cooker in a water bath for three hours. First time I've made it. Hope it turns out well.

Organic lemons, organic egg yolks, heavy cream, a little stevia for sweetening. 
Once a month, my minister and I have dinner here together and talk over church business.  I'm president of the board this year, and we seem to accumulate a few knotty issues that need some extra attention each month. Tonight's the night. He will just have to put up with my low carb stuff - although he is bringing the appetizers, his choice. Menu: Rev. Chip's appetizers, sweet red peppers stuffed with cauli-rice smothered in meat and tomato sauce, sautéed beans with garlic and cherry tomato cream sauce, and the lemon custards for dessert.

Well, back to work. Christina will be here to work in the soap room in an hour, and I have to get the work schedule together, get labels printed, jars set out, etc. so that we make the best use of our time today. In three hours, we put out a LOT of product!