Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Hope it's absolutely SPOOKtacular!

                                       (image source)

For a wonderful exploration of the history and culture behind both Halloween and the Day of the Dead, go visit Hootin' Anni's Chronicles, you'll be glad you did!

And for a little mood music:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Where Are We Now, part II

   Besides being in autumnal Indiana of course...

   My left side continues to improve, and unless I'm very tired there is very little difference in how the two sides 'perform'. There are new meds to take, and some old ones discontinued... but there are more questions now than at the beginning of this wee adventure, mostly about what caused me to have a stroke in the first place. More questions, of course, means more tests. Chemical stress tests, a 30 day heart monitor, a CT scan which will require strapping my head in place, and that means more Xanax-induced belligerence for my darling to endure... Don't feel too sorry for the Great Scot though, I still consider it payback for the terrible mistake my sweetheart made, which I documented here. ( You didn't really think I'd forgotten, did you darling??) I've also discovered that I have a couple of hereditary - genetic - conditions which may be contributing; which brings me to share this: my mother will be having the same kind of tests I have to look forward to, starting next week. Not, however, for the same reasons. Please keep her in your thoughts.

   I am making quite a few changes in order to prevent another stroke: drinking a lot more water, 32-48 oz. a day on average, and I've seriously cut back on sodium in my diet; trying to keep my total daily intake around 1,500 m.g. The salt shaker is still on the table for the kidling and the Great Scot, but I use very little in cooking and don't add any to my own food at the table. Fortunately, I've never liked my food to taste briny so it isn't a big sacrifice for me. Having discovered the hard way that yoga isn't for me (yet) by bouncing off the floor, I've reached the conclusion tai chi may be the better part of valour for the time being, lol. Along with doing stairs... 10 times so far tonight, lol... I'm trying to work more walking in. Losing weight, (7 lbs. thus far!) and better nutrition play their parts as well.

   The biggest help of all? The support and encouragement I've received from many sources, including YOU. Enjoy this lovely cover of Falling Slowly.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Who Knew?

...that this blog would reach 500 posts? Really, it's just a wee bit unbelievable to me; I've never been one for diaries or journals, so I expected this blog to just fade after a few months, at most. Begun on July 4, 2011 as a way to record recipes, it's become a way to maintain contact with friends and family around the world...

   Who knew I would meet so many wonderful people via this blog, and come to treasure our online friendships so much? From downhome tales to sophisticate's stories from across the waters; from gentle humour to outright snark... I've learned so much from you, laughed so much, and cried right along with you. We've taken turns encouraging one another, grieving together for friends who have gone before us, and wishing well those who have moved on to other endeavours.

   I've learned that support can come from the unlikeliest places, that my wee tales can make others laugh, and that even my oddest and most serious thoughts are appreciated and respected. You've taught me this, and I thank you; hopefully you know that I return the sentiment fully.

Having nothing whatever to do with this post, still, I had to share these photos of Buddha and Abby kipping out on the couch:

   Buddha obviously doesn't want to be disturbed, but Abby? She's too relaxed to care!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

If You Give A Mouse A Bowl...

   Why yes, this is yet another tale about a mouse in a house; not a recent tale, however. It's one my mother reminded me of after my last blog post. It is not about a cute little mouse like this one: (image source)

   Rather, it is about a dead mouse who had a rather, erm, 'enlivening' effect on the living, but before we proceed just let me point out that my Mother is very, very small... just about 5 foot nothin'... whilst Pop is a foot taller, see?

   It was a dark and stormy night... okay, okay, I'll stop!
It was the middle of the night and I was thirsty, so I went to the kitchen for a drink and found an extremely large, non-cute, and very dead mouse laying in the middle of the floor. Being youngish, maybe 12, and not terribly fond of dead mice, I felt an allergy to picking it up coming on. 

  Just let me take a moment to point out that my Mom has a terrible fear of - did I say fear? I meant indescribable horror - of rodents, which I was aware of even at that young age.

   So, 12... dead mouse... allergy to dead mouse... terrified Mother; what's a girl to do?

                                        (image source)

   Eureka! Take one large, brightly-coloured plastic bowl and cover the dead mouse, still in the middle of the kitchen floor, with it. Anyone seeing it would know to use extreme caution in lifting it, right? Right? Hopeful that I'd saved Mom from a terrible fate, I traipsed off to bed feeling quite heroic. Uh huh...

   A few hours later, in the darkness which looms over all things on a winter morning before daylight, I was levitated from my bed by the loudest (and most terrifying) shriek it has been my misfortune to hear. Creeping down the hallway from my room, I peered into the kitchen only to see my tiny Mother attempting to climb Pop whilst simultaneously pounding on his chest and sobbing incoherently. It's probably a good thing I didn't understand what she was saying... Even so, I immediately burst into tears myself but did manage to blurt out: " I didn't want you to get scared!" before running for my room as fast I could.

   Poor Mom; she'd gotten up to fix Pop's breakfast before he left for work, and did what you would naturally do when finding a bowl laying in the middle of the floor.... Me? I'm just grateful she allowed me to live. (And learned to pick up dead mice myself, allergy or no!)

Friday, October 24, 2014

If You Give A Mouse A Bucket...

  You get a great big puzzle... (click on photo to embiggen)

   After my nap this evening I came downstairs (following a trail of dimes?)  to four very excited dogs. They were all sniffing around a green 5 gallon bucket the Great Scot had left in the living room a few days ago; growling and barking. Setting aside the dime conundrum for the nonce, I turned on the overhead light and cautiously peeked in the big green bucket only to find a mouse had invaded my house, the louse!

   I have no idea how he got in the bucket, or why, but he will stay right there until my darling gets home... just as the dimes will sit on my desk... as proof that I ain't making this up! As for the dimes: one was on the stairs, one at the bottom, and another on the floor by my desk; they weren't there before my nap!

   It's getting close to Halloween, mayhap we have a ghost with a juvenile sense of humour? *Insert goofy Halloween music here.*

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Changing Things Up + An El Recipe

   Went to see my primary care person this morning and received a boatload of information which included phrases like Fibromuscular Dysplasia and Right Choroidal Plexus Cyst. We (the Great Scot and I) also found out that Dr. Bear was a little confused yesterday when he said the lesion caused by the stroke was a small one, it's actually almost an inch which is pretty significant. (* In Dr. Bear's defence, he didn't receive the reports until we were getting ready to leave.) In fact my PA, whom I'll call 'Angel' on the blog... because she totally is one... remarked on how fortunate I was not to have much more significant damage and she was very pleased I've shown so much improvement in such a short time. On Monday next I see a cardiologist, in the meantime I'm just trying to process all this information and trying to find out as much as I can about what it all means. I admit to being a bit unnerved at discovering there is a rather sizeable cyst (not a tumour!) in my brain, even larger than the lesion.... not uncommon except for the size. The upshot? Trying to plan what to do is on hold in most areas as it would be a tad premature. 

   So anyway... my sister-in-law, El, has shared another of her recipes with us! It's called tablet and is a wonderful Scottish candy, try it... you'll love it! Thanks El! (Her picture, which I totally stole, lol.)

Tablet Recipe

As promised tablet:
125g salted butter
1kg sugar
250ml milk
400g condensed milk 
1 tsp vanilla 
Tray big enough I just guess lol
Melt the butter over low heat
Add sugar and milk
Stir til sugar has dissolved 
Pour in condensed milk and turn heat up to bring to a boil slowly
When it's starts boiling turns heat down slightly and simmer for 20mins
Stir occasionally 
After 20 mins drop some in a cold cup of water it should be soft and you should be able to roll into a ball when ready
If not keep boiling til ready
When ready take pan off heat and add vanilla
Beat solidly for 10 mins as it cools

Pour into tray! 

Go visit Jean at Delightful Repast, her handy conversion table will be a huge help if you decide to try making tablet yourself, and you should, it's great!

Watch this incredibly touching and uplifting video:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Where We Are

   So to continue with 'stroke stuff', let's take a look at how things are going right now. First, it helps to know about the types of stroke: (image taken from the CDC website, click on picture to enlarge)

   The most common type is the ischemic stroke; as I found out today, this is the kind of stroke I had. Often they are caused by a clot blocking the artery to the brain, and account for roughly 85% of strokes. Hemorrhagic stroke is far less common and results from bleeding in the brain. The third type is called Trans Ischemic Attack; (TIA or mini-stroke) like an ischemic stroke, a TIA is caused by a blockage which is 5 minutes or less in duration. Don't be fooled however, a 'mini-stroke' is still a medical emergency, and often leads to more - and more severe - strokes.

   I went to the neurologist today and found him very likeable, informative, and passionate about what he does; I'll call him Dr. Bear since he is somewhat round and bearded, lol. (He also talks really, really fast!) Dr. Bear told me the actual lesion was very small, about the size of a pencil lead, and located on the right side of the brain... strokes located on the right side of the brain affect the left side of the body, and vice versa... in the part of the brain which controls sensory perception, and is located very close to the areas which control emotional response. Here, let me show you: ( image source )

   This is why my left side is weaker and feels 'off'. Even now, although I can use it and know intellectually it's mine, my left arm doesn't feel as though it belongs to me... it's difficult to explain so I'll just leave it at that... and it feels as though it's fallen asleep. Not numb, precisely, but not all the normal sensation is there and, through simple tests done by Dr. Bear in his office, he found the same is true all over my left side... just a slight, but noticeable, difference in the quality of sensation. The slight tingle of the left arm is called paresthesia and refers to a tickling, stinging, burning, or pins and needles sensation with no physical effect. The location of the lesion also explains my runaway emotions, and is known as lability, (fortunately this seems to be wearing off):

 What is emotional lability? 
Emotional lability refers to rapid, often 
exaggerated changes in mood, where strong 
emotions or feelings (uncontrollable laughing 
or crying, or heightened irritability or temper)
occur. These very strong emotions are 
sometimes expressed in a way that is not related 
to the person’s emotional state. ( ABIOS website )

   So this is where we are; tomorrow:where do we go from here AND my sister-in-law El's recipe for tablet, a lovely Scottish sweet!