Sunday, January 29, 2012

Shopping for Shoes

Okay, first my fortune cookie said You will have many friends when you need them. I LOVE that. I could use more friends!

Today I went shoe shopping. I got up early for a Sunday and was out the door at 9:45. I drove down to public transportation. I took a train to the shopping area and first went to DSW. No shoes. Then I went to Merrell's. The salesperson had such attitude that I saw the shoe I liked and promptly walked out. I will not spend my money at a store where their employees are rude. I went to Macy's and had the nicest most kind customer service person. I found two pairs of shoes. First I found the espresso Born Margaret. They have the hard bottom that I have been looking for and need to wear once i get the boot off. Kind of like a Dansko. Unfortunately that Macy's store did not have my size.

Then I saw the Born Dorothea in brown. They are slip ons and quite comfortable. I purchased them.

I traveled back to my car and drove to another Macy's and bought the Margaret's. By that time I was exhausted. My foot hurt, my hips hurt, my leg hurt, I was cooked! I just wanted to go home and take a bath and eat some food. Chinese food.

But I have shoes to wear when the boot comes off! Yeah!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chinese Food

Did you ever have one of those days where you felt like eating Chinese food? You just want the greasiness of fried rice? Feel like opening a fortune cookie? Wanna eat with chopsticks?

Today was one of those days. After taking the pups to get pedicures and spending hours on the phone with my bro (thanks!) getting some much needed tech help, I just felt like fried tofu and fried rice. I know it is not the best thing to eat when you have Crohn's but some days you have to say "who cares?" and eat what you want. I wanted rice fried with veggies and tofu with some extra fried tofu on the side. It's not like I went out and had a triple layer ice cream Sunday or something!

I was so grateful to get the tech help with my new IPad. I can now print with my current printer. I can get email and I have set up my complicated calendar. We also did some other things while I had him on the phone. I no longer have the long list of annoyances that I can't fix myself. Yeah!

What is your favorite thing to eat just for the heck of it? Is it Chinese? Italian? Hungarian maybe?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Week Four Eat My Fruits And Veggies

This weeks Healthy Food Challenge has been easy for me. Being a vegetarian it is easy to eat lots of fruits and veggies. This week I had less of an assortment of fruits than I did of veggies. For fruits I only had bananas and apples. Also apple crumble, that counts as a fruit, right? As for veggies I made the slow cooker mushroom risotto that I ate all week. I finally got to cook with wheat berries! I also made sautéed spinache with pine nuts, grilled sweet potato, broccoli, sautéed squash with mushrooms, cole slaw, and salad.

I have often wondered what veggies people like the most and the least. For me I like broccoli a lot because it is easy to cook. At a restaurant I would order some sort of green bean or mushroom thing. Or something more exotic. My least favorite is edamame and eggplant. I just don't like when eggplant is mushy or seedy.

Only a few days left of the challenge!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bone Density Test Coming Soon

I spoke to my rheumatologist today and she seemed concerned about the two stress fractures in my foot. She agreed with all of you that I need a bone density test as soon as possible. You may recall I am in that wonderful time called "deductible" time. Until that $4,000 is paid, I want to put off another expensive test. A few weeks is not going to change anything. I also need to have some blood work done: vitamin D, calcium, and some other stuff I don't understand. I will let you know what happens at my doctors appointment next week.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Choosing a Good Book

I had my book club this week and I had a hard time reading the book. I hear a lot of folks like P.D. James books but I I did not. I tried reading The Private Patient. I read 70 pages before I gave up. I tried; I really did but I kept falling asleep. Then I decided to listen to the audiobook. I listened to it at night and those were my best nights of sleep. I slept like a baby.

As you can imagine I didn't know who killed who and how they were murdered. I didn't have much to discuss at book club.

During the meeting we had to choose a book for the next meeting. The question is, how to choose a good book for book club? We went through the list of the 100 top books of the century. Many of those books are too long (like War and Peace long) or not very good for a book discussion. I brought two books to vote on (we vote on our books selections) but no one was jazzed about them. After about 30 minutes of discussion and web surfing to find a good book, we settled on the Moviegoer. The next morning we changed our minds to Finding Nouf. Sounds like an interesting read. I love a good mystery.

Have you read any good books lately?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Best Laid Plans

When the year began I had a plan. 

         It was a good plan. 

                     A clear plan. 

                                A well thought out plan. 

                                             An easy to follow plan. 

                                                        Then one glitch after another happened. 

What do they say about the best laid plans?

I have a $4,000 deductible for my medical plan.  Here was the plan: First, I was going to fill all my prescriptions at the very end of December. Then I was going to get my Enbrel sent to me the first week in January. The copay would be covered by Enbrel Assist so I would have to pay a small copay of the $1,700.  Then I was not going to schedule any doctors appointments but the necessary ones.  Then the first week in February I was going to order my second Enbrel order with the Enbrel Assist.  That would cover the $4,000 deductible.

Well, it all went to hell.  I couldn't order all my prescriptions at the end of December so I had to get them in the first week of January.  I didn't order my Enbel until the second week of January, which means I can't order the second order until the second week in February.  That means that I will probably pay my deductible out of pocket before my second order of Enbrel pays for it with the Enbrel Assist.  I went to the foot doctor and then had a $1,000 MRI.  Of course this means I will get to my deductible faster but I was hoping to not pay the bulk of it and have the Enbrel Assist pay for most of it.  Now I may have to get a bone density test.  I can't imagine how much that costs.  I guess I will meet that $4,000 deductible in 1.5 months. 

As I said best laid plans...

Monday, January 23, 2012


Well, my foot is STRESSED!  Seems that I have not one, but two stress fractures in my foot.  Yup, you heard me right.  Two stress fractures!  So, everyone was right that I should have an MRI.  Turns out I have a stress fracture at my third toe; that is where it has been hurting.  But I also have a stress fracture at my big toe.  Hmmmmm.....  That is where months ago I told my doctor that my toe was hurting and he said it was from some blah, blah, bad feet, blah.  I told him it really hurt bad and he said we need you to see a foot guy to get orthoodics. You know those things to put in your shoes.  I got them and my big toe still hurts occasionally.  But I have learned to live with it.  As my foot doctor says, you folks with RA learn to live with the pain because your pain scale is so off the charts you have no concept of what "normal" pain is. 

Seems I have been walking around for almost two months with stress fractures in my foot.  I am scared to have them do an MRI on my other foot!  Ha Ha.  It also makes me think that my ankle injury last April, when I wanted to get an MRI and the doctor wouldn't do it, might also have a stress fracture.  

Here is the part that isn't fun: why?  Why do I have two stress fractures in my foot when I haven't done anything?  I don't run (obviously!)  I can hardly walk.  I don't do extreme sports. I don't remember falling down.  I haven't had any major injuries that I remember.  I don't remember dropping anything on my foot.  Hey, I get knocked around when I do things and I end up with bruises.  I am not the most elegant person.  Okay, I am trying to say I am a klutz some times and end up with bruises and such.  But I don't remember hitting my foot so hard it would fracture it twice.  I know I have CRS and that makes it hard to recall certain things but I think I would remember whacking my foot really hard. 

That leaves the question: why do I have stress fractures in my foot?  Is it a vitamin deficiency?  Is it the medications I take?  Are my bones getting brittle?  Am I turning into The Thing.  He is a fictional character and a founding member of the superhero team, The Fantastic Four.  He looks like a rock.  No, not Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. 
The Fantastic Four

Frankly, I would rather turn into Susan "Sue" Storm Richards (also known as Invisible Woman) and played by Jessica Alba. But who wouldn't. Getting off topic just a bit.

Well, I am in the boot for two more weeks and then I have to wear "hard soled shoes". Like Danskos. Then I go back to see the doctor. Meanwhile, I have made peace with the boot. Not friends just yet but we have made peace.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Healthy Food Challenge and Crohn's

I started the Healthy Food Challenge during the month of January to start the year eating well. The first week I ate a nutritious breakfast everyday. Then the second week I ate grains during the week. Week three's instructions were to eat at home. I made ribolati (soup) that lasted all week.

But then I had a Crohn's flare. When I have a Crohn's flare I am not able to eat many foods. The main food I can eat is mashed potatoes and iced fruit pops. This week for many days I could not eat much more than potatoes and ice pops. I ate all my meals at home except one when a client took me to lunch. Hey, I didn't have to pay for it! Eating at home is healthier and saves money.

I have been cooking so much my freezer is full with soup, polenta vegetable casserole, and now risotto. No more slow cooking until I eat some of the food in the freezer!

Today I cooked most the whole day. Tomorrow is book club and I am hosting. Since it is Chinese Lunar New Year and our book selection is based in Britain, I made Chinese Almond cookies and Three-Apple Crumble. Then I made Slow Cooker Risotto. I didn't expect the risotto to come out so well. If you want to try it, don't be afraid. Just know it makes a lot. I was afraid when I first put in the cooker but four hours later...mushroom risotto! Yum!

Shout out to my nephew who broke his ankle this weekend playing basketball. Poor thing! He is a teenager and it is hard to miss all his activities at that age.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Glowing in the Dark

Today I went for my MRI. I actually love MRIs. I fall asleep in them. They are like a REALLY expensive vibrating bed. Remember vibrating beds? I used to love those as a kid in motels when we traveled. I would beg my mom for a quarter to make the bed rumble. Of course I didn't know what it was really used for...

While I was in the machine, I tried to count the number of MRIs and CAT scans I have had. I could remember 20 of them. That means I probably had somewhere between 25-30 MRIs and CAT scans combined figuring I have such a bad memory. So when do you think I will begin to glow? I should radiate a glow by now.

I will find out on Tuesday what the results are. Keep your fingers crossed. No cast or surgery.

Yesterday I went to my nutritionist. I see him about once every three months. I had been dropping weight before I had all these problems with my ankle and foot. I have put most of it back on. Yesterday he showed me the chart he keeps and I actually weight a little less today than I did the same time last year. That is progress. Little progress but progress just the same.

He is a great nutritionist. He is also a vegetarian which helps. He really understands Crohn's Disease and gives great tips.

This weekend is football playoffs. I also have to make a dessert for book club. It will be weekend at home. With this crappy weather, it is just as well!

Best to you!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Opposing SOPA and PIPA

What is SOPA, you ask? Isn't PIPA that girl in England?  If you are asking this, you must not be using the internet.  All day Tuesday many websites went black or had notices on them protesting SOPA and PIPA. 

SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261.  The bill, if it became law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.  That sounds good right?  No, it doesn't.  It would also allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement.  This could include barring online advertisers and payment facilitators from doing business with alleged sites, barring search engines from linking to those sites and requiring internet service providers to block access to such sites.  Many opponents believe this violates the First Amendment and is internet censorship.  Today was a day of action by many websites including Wikipedia, Google and Boing Boing. Google has a petition for folks to sign.

The other part of the protest is Protect IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 or PIPA) also known as Senate Bill 968.  It is a law with the  stated goal of giving the US government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to "rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods", especially those registered outside the U.S.  Trademark and copyright holders who have been harmed by the activities of a website dedicated to infringing activities would be able to apply for a court injunction against the domain name to compel financial transaction providers and Internet advertising services to stop processing transactions to and placing ads on the website but would not be able to obtain the domain name remedies available to the Attorney General.  Basically, this means any private corporation can shut down unauthorized sites especially from outside the US and the unauthorized site can be sued.  It can block access to infringing domain names and cut off funds to infringing websites.    This could include anywhere people express themselves such as social media sites, Youtube and blogs.  Do you trust the government to make decisions about what is acceptable for you to be able to see and read?

If these potential laws rub you the wrong way, sign a petition, call your Representative.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Update On My Foot

I went to the foot doctor today and had her check out my foot. Even though it feels better it is not 100% yet. The doctor poked and prodded and determined that I need a MRI. She wants to see if I have a stress fracture. So once the paperwork goes through I get an MRI. Then we find out what is going on. Yay!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Lots of activities and events are going on around the country. Parades, trains to freedom, and community clean ups.

I found a quote to write about that brings together MLK and RA.

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.

 I understand this quote to mean that when this country spends more money on defense and less money on things like education and health it is a spiritual desert.  I so agree.  There are so many "programs of social uplift" that would make this country and it's people so much stronger and exceptional.

Do you have a favorite MLK quote you would like to share?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wrap Up Week Two Healthy Every Week Challenge

This past week I did okay with the Healthy Every Week Challenge.  At the beginning of the week I made a quinoa dish that lasted all week.  It was quinoa with black beans and corn.  I made so much that I ate it all week long. 

In retrospect, I would not have made so much.  By the end of the week I was sick of the dish.  I could not look at another meal of quinoa with black beans and corn!  It is much better to make smaller amounts of a dish and then make two or three dishes during the week.  I just got so sick of eating the same thing over and over!

I had wanted to make a dish with wheatberries but that didn't happen.  I have to go to a specialty store to buy them and the one day that I went the parking lot was packed and I didn't have time wait.  Maybe this week I will try to buy the wheatberries.

Next week is the challenge of eating at home.  That will be easy for me since today I made a super ribolita soup that will last for days.  I also froze some.  I got this recipe from a friend more than a year ago but always put it off because I thought it was hard to make.  It was SO easy.  The hardest thing was finding savoy cabbage in the supermarket!  Anyway, if you want to make a hearty soup that will last a long time, this is a great soup to make.  I have to figure out what to make with the leftover savoy cabbage!  I guess coleslaw?!

So far this challenge has been fairly easy to abide by.  It helps that it is January and we are hunkered down after the holidays.  It also helps that we are trying to keep to a budget and are not going out to eat.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Like I Was Under Water

Yesterday I had a horrible migraine. If you have ever had one, it felt like a train ran through my head. You know I am not feeling well when I am in bed at 10 pm. I forced myself to finish watching Grimm, one of my favorite shows, then I crawled into bed. I took some oral medication and about 20 minutes later I was asleep.

Two hours later I was wide awake in agony. I lay there for what seemed like hours but was probably 15 minutes then I got up and gave myself a shot. It is always surreal giving myself an injection with a migraine. The closest way I can describe it is trying to tighten a screw under water. You can't see the screw well if at all, everything is, well, wet and slippery, and everything moves in slow motion. If you have never done it, it is really difficult. So is giving myself a shot when my brain is in a migraine fog. Even though I have given myself the shot many times before, I have to look at the directions each time. Today when I am fine I don't need the directions but last night I was lost without them.

I woke up six hours later migraine free! Yay!

Today I went shoe shopping! I got a pair of sneakers! A pair of New Balance sneakers made for people with foot issues. I looked for a store with Merrells shoes but could not find a pair of business type shoes, only hiking shoes. So the search continues. I will probably go online.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Eyes My Eyes

I went to the eye doctor's today.  One of the highlights of taking the drug Plaquenil (HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE) is that I get to have my eyes dilated twice a year.  Not just the regular once a year but two times a year.  It is really funny to me because when I was a kid up until I was diagnosed, I never had my eyes dilated.  Not one time!  I always talked my way out of it.  I missed those years when they shot a puff of air into your eyes.  The whole process scared me.  So, now I think karma is got me and is making up for those years by making me get dilated twice a year!  

The eye test came out okay but I am almost at that point where I need "boosters" on my glasses so I can read a book.  I can read a book okay if I take my glasses off or if I hold the book in my lap with a lamp on. But in low light I have a problem seeing the words.  I am not at that point yet where I can't see at all so I may put it off for a bit more.  

While I was on my way to the eye doctor's office, I stopped by the foot doctor.  I spoke to the assistant and she thinks I should see the doctor if I am still wearing the boot since 12/1.  So I will be back at the doctor's office on Tuesday to see what is what.  The foot is better but each morning when I wake up I get a twinge and then through the day sometimes it gets sore and right now it hurts when I scrunch my toes.  I know: then don't scrunch your toes!  Ha!  

I made this great Tofu Parmigiana.  It tasted so good.  If you didn't know it was Tofu, you wouldn't know it was tofu.  Tasty!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blood Test for Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis

I was reading the news today and came across an article about a new test that diagnoses Rheumatoid Arthritis earlier.  That is good for RA sufferers.  Early detection means early treatment and hopefully slowing down the progression.  My early detection and treatment has slowed down the progression and deterioration of my joints. 

The new blood test is called Anti-cyclic Citrullinated Peptide (anti-CCP).  According to the article, New Blood Test Diagnoses Rheumatoid Arthritis, by Denise Dador, many people will show a positive test result years before symptoms begin to show.  The blood test is correct 86 percent of the time.  There is some concern that the blood test results can be confused for the results for other diseases such as lupus, psoriasis or some viral infections. 

Overall the new test could be a good way for doctors to get a jump on treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Update on my foot: Just when I thought it was getting better...I went out to run some errands and now the capsulitis seems to be acting up again.  I guess it will take longer than I thought.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Posted on Food Network Website!

I am so excited!  My post about the Food Challenge was posted on the Food Network website!  Wow!  Okay, so all the bloggers who posted blogs about the Food Challenge were posted on the Food Network website but it is still exciting.  You Don't Look Sick-Living With RA is BIG!  Like Bobby Flay big. Like Rachel Ray big.  Okay, maybe I am getting ahead of myself.  But I am excited.  This week is the eat grain week.

Last night I made a great quinoa recipe.  It is super easy.  One of those throw together when you don't really feel like cooking recipes.  It included all those things I usually have laying around.  Quinoa, black beans, and corn. I was supposed to add cilantro but didn't have it and I survived.  What?! You don't know what quinoa is?  Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of the grass family like spinach, Swiss chard, beets and tumbleweeds. It is a recently rediscovered ancient "grain" once considered "the gold of the Incas." You can use it instead of rice as a side dish.

Then I made a lima bean side dish that is one of my favorites.  Savory Lemon Limas, another quick dish that you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen, that is if you like Lima Beans.  I love me a lima bean. 

Tonight I am thinking Tofu Parmesan sandwiches.  That is if I get to the store to buy bread.  I have plenty of leftover quinoa to have on the side to fulfill my grain challenge.

Report on my foot: It feels better!  I am a little anxious to admit it.  I feel like I am going to jinx it.  I have not been outside much, cause I work from home most days, so I have not been able to test it.  I am going to go out today with the boot and see how it goes.  Today is Tuesday and I have not been outside since Saturday.  Well, I have been outside just not in the car and doing errands, that type of outside.  I have been out on the deck and taking my dogs out back.  I have seen sunshine.  I am not a vampire or anything.  Not that there is anything wrong with being a vampire... to each his/her own.  Live and let live.  I do not want to upset the vampire population. 

Anyway, the foot is better!  Yay!  Now I have to go buy shoes and sneakers that are good to wear with my messed up feet.  Merrills I hear are good and look pretty decent, not like nurse shoes.  Any other ideas, please chime in.  I know I asked this before but any other ideas are always welcome!

Here are the other blog posts for last week's Breakfast Healthy Every Week Challenge.  You can get some ideas of healthy things to eat for breakfast.  Check out the Creamy Chevre, Pistachio and Fig Breakfast Sandwich, sounds decadent!

Picky Eater Blog: Chocolate Brownie Oatmeal
Family Fresh Cooking: Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
Healthy Eating Starts at Home: Eating Breakfast Daily
Carlene’s Figments: Bits of Nutrition: Eat Breakfast Daily and Avoid Common Excuses
Simple Food, Healthy Life: Week 1 Comes to a Close + Healthy Breakfast Recipes
JBR Nutrition: Be a Breakfast Eater
Ramblings of a Pittsburgh Dad: Healthy Every Week Challenge, Week 1
Meghan’s Kitchen: Ham and Cheddar Hash-brown Bake
Don’t Be (Too) Timid and Squeamish: Maple Macadamia Nut Butter and Back to School Oatmeal
Eat. Enjoy. Live: Healthy Every Week Challenge Week 1 + a Recipe for Oat-y Pancakes
City Life Eats: Breakfast Bias
Boys ‘n’ Berry: Week 1: Oatmeal
Netlycka’s Distracting Confusion: Eat Breakfast Every Day
You Don’t Look Sick: Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis: First Week of Healthy Breakfasts
Deep Thoughts and Amusing Musings: Food Network’s January Challenge
Healthy Kitschy Vegan: Guess What I Ate Last Night? Peanut Butter and Banana Oat Bran Mess
An Uneducated Palate: Creamy Chevre, Pistachio and Fig Breakfast Sandwich
Healthy Plates: Avocado Egg Sandwich
Essentials of Nutrition: The Most Important Meal of the Day
Pursuit of Healthiness: Healthy Every Week Challenge, Breakfast Edition
Chick Bike: January Challenge, Week 1
Nutritious Daily: Breakfast Every Day
Cookin’ in my Kitchen: No-Butter Baked Apples
Hungry Jenny: Breakfast All the Way + an Easy Granola Recipe

Monday, January 9, 2012

Got An IPad

I finally broke down and bought a tablet. I got an IPad 2. I wanted something easier to write on and something to use for cooking. I am putting my recipes online for easier access. It makes it easier to look up my recipes. It took me a little while to figure out how to insert photos on the blog.

It is easier to hold and it is much lighter than my laptop. I love it when cooking. I can have two recipes open at once. I can send a shopping list to my phone so I can stop at the store on my way home.

Overall, I am pleased so far. What do you use to write your blog?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Downton Abbey and RA

Today I watched Downton Abbey. The whole first part of the mini-series in one sitting. Part two starts tonight on PBS. I started thinking about what Downton Abbey and RA have on common.

Downton Abbey is a mini- series about a family back in the late Edwardian era. It begins right after the sinking of the Titanic. Back in the day before women had the vote and when women of status married for money or for a title. Women were unable to have much control over their lives. There was no birth control and women had no rights over their own bodies. They were married to produce male heirs. The large mansions have many servants. Those servants had no life of their own to speak of.

It made me think of how I felt when I was diagnosed like I had lost control of my life. Suddenly I no longer had the free time I once had because I had so many medical appointments to attend. I no longer had control over my body; I was tired all the time, I had aches and pains and I had a hard time concentrating. It was like going back in time to when people had little control over their lives.

It was interesting in Downton Abbey how the characters adapted to their situation. Whether they were rich or poor, everyone has problems. Whether the problem is who to marry to keep your family mansion afloat or how to become a secretary when you are a housemaid. Choosing the right husband who will be wealthy enough to keep your family in the way they have become accustomed. Getting a better job to make yourself happy. Making sure you have a baby boy to be the next heir. They have no control over their lives but do what they can to make their lives better. Improving their circumstances.

I thought about how I adapted to my situation. I developed Crohn's so I changed my relationship with food. I stopped eating packaged food and now I eat better, fresher. I was tired from my crazy job so I started working for myself and keep hours that are more healthy for me. Medical appointments were killing me at my job but by working for myself I can work my appointments around my schedule.

Tonight is the beginning of the second season of Downton Abbey and I can't wait to record it and watch it. I like to watch these mini-series as marathons on the weekends. If you have Netflix, you can watch season one on streaming or rent the DVDs. Worth the watch!

This week begins the week of eating grains for the weekly challenge. I ate couscous for dinner. I am going to make something with wheat berries this week.

Friday, January 6, 2012

First Week of Healthy Breakfasts

Healthy Food Challenge: I ate granola with cherry soy yogurt and a banana for breakfast.  

So far this challenge has not been very difficult for me.  Typically, I eat very healthy and I almost always eat breakfast.  I made an extra effort this week to have super healthy breakfast stuff on hand.  I ate either oatmeal and fruit or granola with soy yogurt and fruit.  Okay, I did have pancakes at the beginning of the week but I had them with fruit!  It was New Year Day, I deserved a break.  I drink a lot of water with my breakfast and no sugary juice or caffeinated coffee. 

I am looking forward to next weeks challenge of eating more whole grains.  I love quinoa, polenta, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and popcorn (yes, I have been told it is a grain!)  So this challenge should be a snap.  I really want to try wheat berries.  I ate them once and loved them.  I am on a search for a wheat berry recipe that I like.  Tonight I had a great slow cooker vegetable casserole that had polenta, beans, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms.  It was really good.  If you want to try polenta and are afraid, this is a good way to give polenta a try without being hit over the head with it. 

So one more day of eating a healthy breakfast before adding on whole grains.  I am ready for the challenge!  Any vegetarian wheat berry recipes, send them my way!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Took Down The Christmas Tree

Healthy Food Challenge: I ate granola with blueberry soy yogurt and a banana for breakfast.  Practically a gourmet meal! 

It is always sad to take down the Christmas tree each year.  The Christmas trees look so dreary as I peel off the layers.  First, the angel comes down off the top.  Then the ornaments come off; one by one.  Then the garland gets unwound; round and round.  Then finally the lights get taken off.  String by string they come.  The strings that work get wound up and labeled "Working".  The stupid string that died half way through the holiday, went straight into the trash!  Then all that was left was the naked tree.  Just standing there so strong and still so green and lush.

We took it out of the stand and carried it downstairs and put it on the curb.  Tomorrow the recyclers will come and take it to the place where they give our tree it's second life.  But first our tree will lay on the curb where neighborhood dogs will stop by to sniff and possibly pee on it.  This will be our trees' first cold night since we brought it home where it has been warm and comfortable.  It will have nothing to keep it warm out on the cold concrete. 

First thing tomorrow morning the giant truck will come and pick up all the trees in our neighborhood and put them in a truck.  The truck will take all the trees to the giant wood chipper.  Our tree will start it's second life and become wood chips that are used in our city parks.  Our tree could be the wood chips where we take Happi and Lucky to the dog park.   The evolution of a Christmas tree.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Found: One IPAD

Healthy Food Challenge: I ate oatmeal with sliced apples for breakfast.  Delicious! 

 The other day my partner found an Ipad.  Yup, just found an Ipad.  She was walking down the street and on top of a garbage can there was an Ipad.  No one was around and she looked.  It was a really busy intersection that usually had many people walking by.  She picked the Ipad up and turned it on.  It came on and had information on it.  She brought it home.

We had a discussion about what to do with it.  I immediately said we should contact the person and let them know we have his Ipad.  So, we poked around on the Ipad and found the person's email address.  I sent him an email telling him that we found his Ipad.  Then we discussed what to do if the person didn't get back to us.  Do we a) take it to the police department or b) keep it?  I thought we should take it to the police department and make sure it wasn't stolen.  I have been told that if you turn something into the police and it isn't claimed, 30 days later it is returned to you.  It became a bigger discussion the longer it took the person to contact us.  Was the person robbed?  Do he just not have internet access and couldn't check email?  Did he know he dropped it?  Should we trust the police if we turn it over to them?  Should we take our neighbor up on his $200 offer for it if the person didn't contact us?

Well, it all became moot last night at 11pm when the phone rang and the person called to say he was over the moon that we found his Ipad.  He had no internet access until last night and called the minute he got our email.   Tomorrow he and Brenda will meet to exchange the Ipad. 

All this Ipad talk has me thinking about buying a tablet.  I will confess that I road tested his Ipad while it was in our possession.  I didn't send emails or anything.  I just tried typing and checked out the applications.  To be honest, I told him that I had to go into his Ipad to figure out how to contact him because it didn't have his name and phone number anywhere like a phone does. He said as long as he got the Ipad back he didn't care if I poked around on it. 

Well, that made this new year quite exciting!  So, what would you do if you found an Ipad and no one was around? 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Goals For 2012?

Healthy Food Challenge: I ate a granola and yogurt breakfast.  Yum!  

Each year I hear folks talk about resolutions and goals for the new year.  A long time ago I stopped making resolutions and goals on New Year's Eve.  It is so much smarter to make a plan and set a goal.  Just making some random goal on New Year's Eve when the alcohol is flowing and it is a late night, doesn't sound like a recipe for greatness.  I am going to quickly reiterate a my story from New Year's Eve for those just joining.

This year for New Year's Eve I was at a party and the folks at the party were asked to write down something they wanted to toss out with 2011.  Once it was written down, we went to a fire pit and threw it in the fire.  Some folks read what they had written down and others chose not to.  Then we were asked to write down on a piece of paper on the wall what we want for the year 2012. (The best was "For common sense to become common.")  

Now, if you know me, I am not really a sharer.  I am not the person who enjoys holding hands in a circle on camping trips and singing Kumbaya.  I am not the first to share my wishes and thoughts.  You might find this funny since I write a blog.  The difference being, unless you are a family member or friend, you don't know who I am.  I am a faceless blogger who tells you stories and shares her experiences!  For all you know Adrienne may not be my real name!  Ha, just joking, it is my real name.

Returning back to the story, I did share but I said goodbye to wearing boots.  Meaning the medical boots on my feet.  I then wished that in 2012 I would be wearing no more boots.

I started thinking about this practice of making resolutions and goals.  I understand that folks feel like New Year's is a new start but why not make the resolution or goal on January 3rd or in February when it is not such an emotional time.  How about a fiscal year resolution in June?  I started thinking about how many companies make their budgets and work plans in January and how many of those goals have to be adjusted throughout the year.

A year is a long time and who can figure out what will happen during the year that will keep you on track or throw you way off track from your goal.  For years I have tried to lose weight.  I have been on Prednisone for so long that I find it difficult to lose the weight I want to lose.  That means that exercise is key.  Well, in 2011 exercise was basically impossible between boots and foot problems.  Each time I lost 20 pounds, I got injured and it all came back.

I feel that living with RA and Crohn's makes it too difficult to set year long goals.  Life keeps throwing curve balls.  I think living the life I have been living filled with good healthy food, as much exercise as I can, having a positive attitude and keeping a sense of humor is the key to a good year!

What do you think about resolutions and goals for the New Year?  Am I way off track?  Did you make a resolution or a goal for 2012?  Did you make it public or is it a private goal?  Should goals be made in January? Or another time of the year?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Made a Great Dinner

My foot seems to be feeling better.  I don't think it is my imagination anymore.  It really does feel better.  Keep your fingers crossed it will continue to get better!

Today I cooked a Vegetarian Cassoulet in my new slow cooker.  It was really good.  It made enough for a few meals. It has navy beans, carrots, potatoes and broth.  Yum.

I also had another pancake breakfast with apple slices.  I made so many pancakes yesterday, I had leftovers today.  Pretty good.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Challenge!

Happy New Year!  It is the year 2012, can you believe it?!  I spent my New Year's Eve with friends.  First, a friend took us out for our annual New Year's Eve dinner.  The food was delicious but I was not feeling too well and my stomach was a little upset.  It is really embarrassing to be SO excited to eat at a restaurant and then when I arrive, my Crohn's acts up and I suddenly don't feel well.  I wanted to like the butternut squash soup but it was tasteless and I couldn't finish it.  Then I could only eat 1/2 of the crispy polenta with sauteed spinach and mushrooms.  I took the rest home and ate it tonight for dinner.   YUM!  Love me some leftovers.  Our friend insisted we order dessert so I made Brenda order what she wanted and then I ate one bite.  After dinner we went home and I took some medicine and a few hours later, I felt well enough to go to our neighbor's annual DANCE PARTY!  I didn't dance that much but once again I was drafted to teach the hustle.  Yes, you heard it right, the hustle.  Do the Hustle!  When I was younger, my step-mother taught me all the disco dances and for some reason  I remember the Hustle.  She also taught me the 50's and 60's dances: mashed potato, twist, etc.  We used to have dance contests in their little apartment. 

I digress.  At the dance party there was also this exercise where we all wrote down something that we wanted to say goodbye to in 2011 and then we threw it in the fire pit.  Then we wrote down something that we wanted for 2012.  Can you guess what I wanted to say goodbye to?  Boots.  Boots on my feet.  I have been wearing boots for 4 months this year.  Not horseback riding boots, cowboy boots or swanky Real Housewives type boots. But the horrible boots the doctor puts on your foot when you injure it.  The clunky, ugly boot that makes you walk funny.  I want to be boot free this year.  I am not asking too much, am I? 

At the party I did dance but I spent a lot of time sitting down because any time I tried to do anything more than sway, I almost tripped myself and I didn't want to fall down.  How embarrassing would that would be? 

This morning I woke up to my new Challenge.  I thought a challenge would keep me motivated.  I joined the Healthy January Challenge on the Food Network website.  They are also calling it the Healthy Every Week Challenge.  It is a month of healthy eating.  Now many of you will say, Adrienne you already eat very healthy.  I agree but I could always eat healthier.  I also equate healthy eating to healthy feeling.  I want to feel good this winter.

The first step is to Make a Goal.  I don't think I will make a weight goal because of my foot.  I find it hard to lose weight when I can't walk very far.  Most exercise is out of the question.  I can't limit my food intake because then I get migraines.  So I have to be careful what I eat.  My Goal will be to follow this plan for one month and be more careful what I eat.

The second step is to Get Support.  I have good support at home.  But I also feel that I have support with all of you.  When I know that I have to be accountable to folks, I am much better.

The Schedule for the Challenge:
Week 1: Eat Breakfast
Week 2: Eat More Whole Grains
Week3: Cook at Home
Week 4: Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Week 5: Stay On Track

This morning I got up and made pancakes with apples slices.  Okay, maybe not a dietician's dream but it was a good tasting breakfast.  I usually eat such good breakfasts that I wanted to have a good hearty breakfast for New Year's Day. 

I am soaking beans tonight to make a vegetarian cassoulet.  I will let you know how it turns out.

If anyone else is interested in checking out the Healthy January Challenge, click on the picture above.  It seems fairly straightforward.  The site gives you recipes and ideas.  Let me know what you think about this challenge.

Happy New Year!

i want to wish everyone a healthy and prosperous new year.