Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7



Monday, October 20, 2014

Menu Monday


I lieu of actual writing, today I am posting my Menu on Monday with Mary Ellen Barrett. Well, I guess I'll link to Mary Ellen when she gets hers up.



I'm trying a few new recipes this week and trying something different tonight for Doug and Noah while Faith is at dance, and I am waiting on her. She and I will probably eat soup or something simple when we get home.

Monday: homemade Big Don Subs for the menfolk

Tuesday: Chilaquiles, black beans, fruit salad

Wednesday: Shredded beef, Sweet Potato pancakes, green beans with bacon

Thursday: Tomato soup and Grilled Cheese

Friday: Baked Bean and Steamed Brown Bread

Saturday: pizza

Sunday: Birthday party for my 25 year old! (boy does that make me old!) He hasn't chosen his menu yet.


PS Anyone who thought that Lidia's chicken from last week's menu sounded good (hint, hint, Barb) was right. It was very good! And there's a story there also, but I'll have to tell it tomorrow.




Friday, October 17, 2014

Catching up, week 2


It seems I am just not very good at time management as I can't seem to get to the computer between Monday and Friday.

Or maybe I just choose other activities in my spare time (knitting...reading). I guess those other activities are better for my frayed nerves than blogging. sorry.

I thought I'd give a quick update, health-wise, even though it's all rather boring, even to me.

Remember the spinal injection I was going to have? Postponed twice, finally done the third time scheduled...weirdest feeling ever, and I mean weird (that is after the pain of the injection). You know that feeling you get in your lip when you've been to the dentist and had Novocain -- where you can't make it move? My whole leg, from toe to hip felt that way. I tried to stand up after the procedure and almost fell right over. Luckily there was a wall to grab onto. I could bear absolutely no weight...very, very weird. And, unfortunately the injection did not work. Very disappointing. Can't wait to get the bill.

The spine doctor referred me to a neurosurgeon (I've already seen two other neurosurgeons) who he thinks can cut the nerve. He really had to talk me into the referral -- "just see what he has to say." But, I'm inclined to make this the end of the road and just live with the pain. How do you decide when you are just supposed to suffer? You know, suffer for spiritual reasons? There are risks that the nerve damage could get worse with surgery and that other nerves could be damaged, so even though this doctor says he is the only surgeon he would let operate on him, I think I'm just going to listen and then decline.

In the meantime, my anxiety is a little calmer (although my daughter might not agree). Maybe the progesterone is working, maybe not. I went to my gyn to get a second opinion on the whole hormone/menopause thing and she did more blood work. From those results it appears I am in menopause, and should be having fewer symptoms. Unfortunately, the results also showed my adrenal hormones are low. The nurse would only go so far in revealing what the results mean and I have an appointment with the gyn next week. I have thought for a while (years) that I have some form of adrenal exhaustion, but when I went to a doctor about it he poo-poo'd me. I have a lot of the symptoms, so I am adjusting my diet (no sugar and very little white flour, lots of veggies and protein, and adding some vitamins and minerals) to help (hopefully). I'm on my fourth UTI in about three months, and recurring infections is a classic symptom. Thyroid issues are also a symptom, as is anxiety, hypoglycemia, and low blood pressure. I'm praying I don't have adrenal insufficiency or fatigue, but at least it would be an answer.

~~~~~

Ok, onto happier topics -- knitting. I finished the first garter stitch shawl I was working on and I love it. With my gray hair I have to be careful how I wear a shawl so I don't look like a little old lady.








The other day I wore it tied in the front like if I had thrown a sweater over my shoulders. It looked ok. I can't deal with heavy, bunchy stuff around my neck, so I am limited in my fashion statements. I cast on another this week in solid gray, to wear with more colorful clothes. It's nice to just throw on to run to dance or even in the house if it's chilly.

~~~~~

Another happy topic -- food. I baked this on Sunday before I had blood test results, so I enjoyed a piece. This week (after test results and subsequent research), I made a pan of Snickerdoodle bars for the kids and my mom brought over my very favorite iced butter cookies. I resisted. And I have been eating protein and vegetables for breakfast (aren't you proud of me, Sara?) which is really hard for me. I really want cream of wheat with sugar and milk, but I'm trying.




Apple Galette


Recipe found here, but I used the classic Crisco crust instead of Zoe's. The filling was delish, however, and easy. Way easier than pie.

By the way, the pie at that pie crust link is a winner too. Can't go wrong. And it's sweet potatoes -- healthy, right?

Well, I'm off to put on a nightgown, get a movie set up and knit all evening long. Until my eyes just close. That's the plan anyway. 



PS Thanks for all the kind words and prayers about Noah's accident. The car is totaled (I think I told you) and Nationwide is being really slow in settling, but I think we all learned a lesson that needs learned every once in a while -- life is short and it can change drastically at any moment. 

PPS Keep your eyes open for a rosary giveaway. I have some new twine colors and I think there might be a few of you who need a new knotted bedtime rosary (my Mary security blanket).


And I'm leaving you with a photo of our pretty Maggie pup. Her summer cut is growing out and she looks cute. Unfortunately she has been diagnosed with thyroid issues and has to be on medication, so I guess it's true what they say about dogs and their owners.



photo by Noah





Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Menu Monday




Well, I started a post yesterday, to put my menu up and link to Mary Ellen's post, but then when I had time to get back to it, it was 8:30 when the dinner dishes were done (dance goes until 7:30 on Monday evenings -- our only weekly scheduled evening) and I was in no shape to think or type. It makes me feel rather old and frail to find myself so wiped out from some of my days -- Monday especially. By the time I walk in the door after dance, and Faith and I still have to eat a supper kept warm in the oven (but prepared earlier for Doug and the boys) I am completely worn out and feeling fragile. Like I could just have someone put me to bed and call it a day. But, no. There are dinner dishes to do and laundry to finish and a child to prompt (still -- at age 12!) to brush her teeth, clean up her mess, get in bed (again, and again, and again!).

Not that any of that is any different from your day, except I think I am older, and thus feeling the frazzledness (not a word, I'm certain) more. A lot more.

(As a side note, I don't know why I insist on cooking on dance night, but I do. As if I should feel guilty for getting take out or ordering pizza, like half the country does on any night. Call me stubborn, and rather stupid.)

Now that my rant, or whatever that was, is over, my menu (a day late):





Dinner menu:

Monday: Bacon Cheeseburger Pie with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and pickles; mixed vegetables

Tuesday: Roast Chicken with vegetables, pretzels rolls

Wednesday and feast of St. Teresa of Avila: Lidia's Meatloaf, polenta, green beans, Flan for St. Teresa

Thursday: Yankee pot Roast, mashed potatoes

Friday: pancakes and eggs

Saturday: Noah's Homecoming Dance -- probably get carry out

Sunday: Lidia's Breast of Chicken in Light Lemon Herb sauce, mashed potatoes, asparagus





Saturday, October 11, 2014

Catching up





All week I tried to get back here. It was a week not to be forgotten any time soon.

The week-not-soon-to-be-forgotten started on Saturday night when Noah, driving Doug's car, was broadsided out in the country on a state route in the pitch black night. Airbags deployed, but he and his girlfriend were both wearing seat belts and no one was injured, thank you God, and their Guardian Angels. If the young girl driving the other car had run the stop sign 5 seconds sooner, I fear there could have been very serious injuries. Noah was not cited, it was entirely her fault, and she failed the field sobriety test. Doug got to the scene before the highway patrolman and so he was able to view the test. She couldn't put one foot in front of the other. The carful of people she was driving were coming from her mother's wedding reception and she admitted to drinking. But once she had handcuffs on and was in the backseat of the cruiser, her mother said she wanted EMS called because her daughter could have low blood sugar. Of course by the time the officer arrived at the scene, 50 minutes had passed, and by the time EMS arrived it had been 90 minutes. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital and by the time she got there she passed the blood alcohol test and had blood sugar low enough for her defense. In other words, she got off. Whether she was drunk or not is between her and God, but she was impaired enough, in one way or another, to run a stop sign and roll out into a state route with cars speeding by at 55 mph. We are furious that she walked away with just a ticket. Low blood sugar is apparently a common drunken driving defense (first I ever heard of it) so we feel justice was not done. But we need to get over it and forgive. Unfortunately, the car is totaled and the process is taking a long time.

I'm trying not to stress about it, but Monday was a wash, with phone calls to insurance agents (another thing -- she had no proof of insurance -- a law in Ohio, and she was from out-of-state and not driving her own car), rental car agencies, tow truck drivers, body shops, etc. Hopefully the accident taught Noah a lesson about the danger of driving, not to mention drinking and driving. He was quite shaken up since the car was spun around and ended up off the road headed the wrong direction.

After Monday, we tried to forget about it and just deal with the calls and decisions as they came.



This photo is from Saturday before dinner. It is a Poor Man's Cake, a recipe from my grandma†,
but we enjoy it on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi as St. Francis' Tonsure Cake.





I also made Leila's Ginger cookies, and they were a huge hit.





I took photos on Wednesday for Yarn Along, but just didn't get it together for a post. I am glad I had this shawl to work on this week. Nice even rows of knitting therapy were necessary. The yarn is Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend in purple rain. I love this yarn. It's so soft and nice to work with, and the fact that it was hand dyed by a woman in Uruguay makes it that much more dear.




Pictured is the the center of the shawl. The pattern is very simple, with only a yarn over at each end and two in the center, there is not much to remember. I have, however, messed up the rows which have the garter stitch on the right side. It's supposed to be rows 8, 12, 14, and 16. I started that way and then three patterns in I switched to 6, 12, 14, and 16. I did it that way for six patterns and then switched back to the 8th row because I forgot it on the 6th. Oh, well. I think the yarn is busy enough to forgive the mistakes. And I'm the only one who will know. 

I bought some yarn to make another in solid gray, and I'll have to pay closer attention to my rows.




My afternoon tea, without which I'm not sure I could make it through dinner. It's decaf, but so tasty and unique. It tastes like cinnamon fire balls without the heat. Yum.





I planted a variety of mums this year and they are all just now starting to bloom. It's rather chilly out and the leaves are turning and falling. We are most definitely having autumn in central Ohio.





I didn't mention my current read in my Yarn Along pics. It's actually Faith's school read, Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff, but one I am thoroughly enjoying and actually only allowing myself a chapter a day. It is the kind of book I would have gobbled up at Faith's age. Not being a reader, she reads the assigned pages. Sigh. 

Though it is a worldly book in some aspects, it is not risqué. Faith did not know what a foster home was, so that was an education of sorts, as foster homes can be good or bad. The book doesn't get into much detail, just that Hollis' life has not been easy. 



I guess this was not a brief catch-up post, but then I have never been accused of being brief. I am praying that the week ahead is very dull, and not news-worthy at all.

Praying you have a week full of gorgeous blue October skies, brief chilly breezes, and stunningly colorful leaves to crunch below your feet...and possibly some Ginger Cookies.








Thursday, October 02, 2014

{10/2}...streaming


Happy feast of the Guardian Angels! Thank you Guardian Angels, for keeping us safe and helping us remain on the path of righteousness.


"For he commands his angels with regard to you,
to guard you wherever you go.
With their hands they shall support you,
lest you strike your foot against a stone." Psalms 91:11-12 

~~~


So what's happening with you today? Anything special?

Right now there's a whole lot of nothing special going on, but I actually prefer things that way. I catered lunch for the teachers at the dance studio today and that was enough of something special to last until next week. Now I'd like to sit down and knit a while, but it's really time to make supper. So, I'm blogging. What the heck.


~~~~


Well, I'm back. I had to make dinner. We had potato cheddar soup, which, because it's soup is not a family favorite, but I love soup and it's cheap and easy. This recipe was good, if your family will eat celery and onions. I admit  I made a roux with 3 tablespoons of butter and used nothing low-fat. I also added a couple dashes of Tabasco. Yum.

I think I mentioned the other day that I bought a tortilla press, and we had some leftover from Tuesday's dinner. They were delicious -- much better than store bought. The flour tortillas (I used that recipe), however, don't get quite thin enough in the press. They initially get thin, but then the dough shrinks back and they thicken, so I had to roll them a little after I pressed them.

It's been a busy week in the kitchen, but I planned it that way on purpose. Last night I made homemade pasta, and baked cupcakes for St. Therese. Today I catered the dance teacher lunch (I really just made ham and egg salad and bought a meat and cheese tray, bread, chips, and fruit). 

I have been "testing" the nerve pain in my leg because I had the spinal injection two weeks ago and the doctor said in two weeks I would know if it worked. Unfortunately, the nerve pain is the same, so after all that nothing has changed. It was my last choice of treatment, so I guess from now on the poor souls in purgatory will get my sacrifice.






St. Therese cupcakes -- the little yellow roses are butter mints from a local candy shop. They may or may not have been the only thing Faith and I picked up from there.



~~~~~


I mentioned last week that we painted the family room in anticipation of a new sofa. The sofa did arrive on Saturday -- yay! And I love it because it's nice and firm, and the kids don't like it because it's nice and firm, which means it might last a little longer. 

The walls are now a pretty blue (not the blue I really wanted but a blue they are staying) and Doug put up crown molding. The end tables are new and the sofa is new. It's really the same color as the former sofa, and I realized today that our homes say a lot about us. One might think I like things plain, but I actually like things calm. Too much pattern makes too much stimulation for me.
















The lovely print in this photo is by Kim Fry. It's the side door of Notre Dame. The handsome stein belonged to my husband's grandfather.


A lot of the decisions I made about the room have to do with the quilt on the back of the sofa. This quilt was made for my father-in-law when he was being treated for and succumbing to cancer. You probably can't see the photo above the sofa but it's the last family photo taken. We all wore different colors for the photo and they just happen to be the same colors in the quilt. And my mother-in-law just happened to know I would treasure that quilt.


My red and blue pillows look nice with it, and the Sacred Heart painting over the fireplace looks so nice with the blue and red. It's so nice to have a fresh new room.






~~~~

I had a mad knitting project going a few weeks ago. I was a test knitter for this darling sweater, called Sister Wren, and it's available now for purchase (the pattern). It was a really quick knit and I like it heaps. My yarn notes, etc. are here. I think I'll knit it again in the next size up.

I finished that big project and have yet to block it, but I'm glad I finished it as quickly as I did. Now I'm onto a shawl for myself. Another easy knit -- with nice neat rows of knitting. It's too dark to get a photo now but I have lots more rows left to knit.






~~~~~


This project has been finished for a while, but I didn't want to reveal it until the recipient had received it. This quilt is for baby Felicity, who you may remember is waiting in China for her new mama and daddy to come and get her. I chose the colors hoping that they would be cheerful and happy and the quilt would be a help for Felicity to bond with her new family. She will be wrapped in the love of our Church's extended family.





Well, I know I had lots more to say, but it's past 9 p.m. and my thoughts are all gone. If I think of them, I'll try to remember them for another day.









Monday, September 29, 2014

Menu Monday





I am so glad Mary Ellen started Menu Monday. Two Mondays in a row now I have been inclined to just wing it all week. Unfortunately, winging it usually results in buying prepared food and that's just wasteful. I'd rather save those times for when I'm not well or for special occasions. But, thanks to Mary Ellen, I have been inspired to pull together a menu for the second week in a row.

This week is actually an extra special week in our Church -- a wonderful line-up of fantastic saints to celebrate. That also means more dessert than usual, but hey, you only live once, and as long as it's only once in a while, dessert every night won't kill you.

As with last week, we have no formal plans for breakfast or lunch. Breakfast is usually hot cereal, eggs, granola, or sometimes cornflakes or Cheerios. Lunch is sandwiches, a smoothie, soup or for Faith and I -- leftovers.

Monday -- Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael
Sandwiches made with rotisserie chicken and the rosemary brioche and pretzel buns my brother made and were leftover from last night, salad and Blackberry Cobbler -- traditional St. Michael dessert (the recipe at the link is made with peaches but you can use any fruit)

Tuesday 
Chicken Tortilla Cake (I bought a tortilla press I'm dying to try, also will use leftover chicken), salsa and shredded cabbage

Wednesday -- Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus 
Spaghetti and meatballs, green beans, St. Therese cupcakes

Thursday -- Feast of the Guardian Angels
Cheddar Potato Chowder, tortillas, Angel Food Cake

Friday
Fish and chips

Saturday
Pizza and salad, Poor Man's Cake

Sunday -- Feast of St. Faustina
Poor Boy Steak, Beefy rice, roast carrots, Polish Kremówka Papieska






Thursday, September 25, 2014

Daybook



In the garden...
...it's dry as a bone. We're in the middle of a drought and it hasn't rained in almost a month (you know how sad that makes me). I don't think there is any in the long term forecast either. All the plants are brown, except for the new mums I put on the porch. I can only hope the dry weather is at least helpful for the farmers.





I'm thinking about...

...not stressing over school, but it haven't risen above it yet. Thinking about Sarah's ongoing message and Margaret's message yesterday. As Faith gets closer to high school years and we still haven't decided if she'll go to school, I stress about gaps, and areas in which she just doesn't naturally succeed. Sometimes that means she has days that are more tough than others. I waffle between wanting these last days of her childhood (soon she'll be a teen) to be carefree, and pushing her harder to make sure she's ready for what is ahead. She is naturally inclined toward play. In fact, she is naturally inclined toward anything but work. I am often green with envy when I read about children who are naturally inclined to work hard and who are perfectionists. I think it all depends on what motivates a child. Faith is definitely not motivated by my praise, but she is also not motivated by pride in her work either. I think she's a lot like my oldest who was always motivated by praise from others -- teachers -- as I see Faith perform at dance for her teachers. She pushes herself harder for them. Of course dance isn't math either, is it?


I am wearing...

...a khaki knit skirt, a blue v-neck, a sweater, and blue suede loafers. It will get pretty warm later, but for now it's still cool.


I am reading....

..The Birth House by Ami McKay. I finished Now I see You and though some of the language was a but rough, it was a very good book.


I am creating...

..I am binding off that secret knit I was working on, and am waiting for yarn for a Garter Stitch shawl. I have an order for ten scapulars that need to be done ASAP, so I guess the kitting will wait.


At the school table...

...all the usual. Faith finished her first book already, which she enjoyed (Ella Enchanted) and now we're onto another tomorrow (today is dance day with a minimum of school).


Plans for the rest of the week...

...I am hoping my sofa will be delivered as it never was on Monday. I bought it from Kittles and it will be my last purchase there. Three times they have given me a date of when it left the manufacturer and twice it's been a lie. The manager couldn't even be certain it would really arrive this Friday as he was promised by the trucking company, as his contact wasn't very convincing, in his words. If they didn't have my deposit I'd cancel the order. I've been waiting for ten weeks.

The boys have Friday night football so Faith and I have girls night, and then Saturday night the Buckeyes play and I'll hide out in my bedroom.


A few of my favorite things....

..mums and gourds
...cinnamon tea
...fresh apples and recipes made with fresh apples (see below)


Prayers sent heavenward...

...for my husband and children to do God's will
...for a friend from the dance studio -- a sister in anxiety if you will
...for all the priests and religious
...for all the babies whose mothers are contemplating abortion this week, for a change of heart


Quote of the day...

...From St. Therese and the Roses, spoken by Zelie Martin after Therese's sister left the door open and little Therese escaped in the rain.
"'You did very well, dear,' she said, 'for while it was careless not to close the door, still you were trying to help someone who was in need -- someone who had called to you for help. Sometimes in life, it happens that way. Sometimes there are two who need us at the same moment, and it is not always easy to know which one must come first. But if we do our best, God understands, even if we make mistakes.'"


Apple Pan Dowdy




This dish was a hit with the entire family. It's much like an apple pie with a double crust, made in a square pan, but the pie is very juicy and after it come out of the oven and rests for a few minutes, you break up the crust so that it soaks up the juice. Delish! Recipe modified slightly from King Arthur Flour website.


1 recipe pie crust for double-crust 9-inch pie (I use the classic Crisco recipe)
7 or 8 large apples
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup molasses or maple syrup (I used maple syrup)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons butter, cut into bits

Divide pie dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Roll out larger piece to fit into bottom and up sides of a casserole dish (a 9 x 9-inch pan, or equivalent, is the right size). Peel, core and slice apples into 1/4-inch slices, and toss them with sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spoon apples into pie crust.

Mix water and molasses (or maple syrup), and pour over apples. Dot with butter.

Roll out second piece of dough, and fit it over apple mixture. Seal it to bottom crust. Brush top crust with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar, if desired (this will make a brown, sugary crust).

Bake on the lowest rack of a preheated 425°F oven for 45 minutes, then decrease heat to 325° and continue to bake until crust is well browned and apples are done (poke with a knife through the crust).

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, take a knife and slash, in a random pattern, all the way through the pan dowdy. With a fork and spoon, gently lift pieces of crust from the bottom, and submerge pieces of the top crust; in effect, you're just really messing this whole thing up. Don't get carried away; crust pieces should remain in fairly large (2-inch-square) chunks. Let the dish cool to warm before serving; it you serve it too hot, it will be very runny.






Monday, September 22, 2014

Menu Monday (and some chatter)








Autumn


I love everything about it, including its name.

I woke up today to a fresh, cool, windy day. Yesterday was hot, muggy and miserable. But, today, this first day of autumn, is glorious.

There is one definition of the word "autumn" that most people don't use, but even it makes me smile:
a time of full maturity, especially the late stages of full maturity

I think I fit that definition, in some ways (in other ways, I am still a teenager). But the wisdom that you hear about that mellows you as you age -- I'm starting to feel it. 

I must be feeling a little more energetic as this weekend I painted the family room. I thought Doug was going to help me, but his "help" ended up being repairing the nicks in the walls and then leaving for Home Depot. His mission: crown molding for the freshly painted walls. I ended up painting the walls myself, but the next day I was really no worse for the wear. Tomorrow my new sofa is being delivered so I'll take some pictures when everything is back in its place.

I was not feeling terribly energetic when I rolled out of bed this morning, and frankly could have sat on my duff all day, but I had an appointment and once I got out of the house and breathed that cool, crisp air, I had a little energy. When I came home, I made my menu and went to the grocery. It is such a good feeling knowing you don't have to think about meal planning go grocery shopping for a whole week.

So now I'll join up with Mary Ellen Barrett for Menu Monday.





I really only plan dinner, as it's just Faith and I for lunch. Noah packs and I always have deli meat for his sandwiches, and I always have soup, or smoothie ingredients, or leftovers for Faith and me.


Monday: BBQ Pulled Pork on Outback rolls (I love the name of that blog!), cabbage slaw, twice baked potatoes

Tuesday: BLT&C Salad, leftoer Outback rolls

Wednesday: hamburgers, baked potatoes, peas and carrots

Thursday: Pioneer Woman's Shells and Cheese, applesauce

Friday: Spaghetti with prawns and creamy tomato sauce, crusty bread

Saturday: Mama Stein's homemade pizza, salad

Sunday: dinner with my mother and brother for his birthday --#49!



I pray you are having a glorious day wherever you are. Be sure to look for all those blessings that come your way -- God sent them just for you.



Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.
 From The Catholic Prayer Book

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

{9/17}...streaming



I was planning to take a break from blogging, until these anxiety issues resolve themselves. I thought you must be tired of listening to me go on about it in every post. But, on Monday, I ran into another mom at the dance studio and we started talking about how we were both going through anxiety issues, both having a sudden onset. We had so much in common as we go through this, I thought surely there must be other people out there who are going through, if not anxiety, other medical or psychiatric issues related to peri-menopause or menopause. If even one person can know she is not alone in her struggles, it's worth writing about. I apologize if this subject bores most of you. Maybe some day you will remember this time in my life and know you are not alone.

It's really such a strange time of life. It's only recently that I have realized it has always been called "the change." I never gave much mind to what was going to change, but it is a change, and it's not just fertility that is changing. This mishmash of hormones causes the craziest symptoms. I can't even stand the smell of coffee any more -- it's like being pregnant, but with no sweet baby at the end.

Anyway, I thought I'd mention a few things that have helped me as I go through this -- just the anxiety aspect.

First, prayer. How would I get through this if I didn't know my suffering was worth something? I wouldn't. How would I get through it if I didn't know that God was at my side, and my Blessed Mother was praying for me? I breathe "In Mary, out Jesus." Deep, slow breathing for 15 minutes. It does help.

My doctor also put me on a low dose of progesterone. I know a lot of people go on medications for anxiety and depression, but I wanted to fix what was wrong, if it is hormones, not mask it in my brain. I can't say I won't ever go on anxiety medication, but I want to try to remedy what's causing it. Next week I see my gyn to talk about the different kinds of progesterone. My family doctor is not a hormone specialist, so she just gave me a low dose pill, and I'm currently taking half of it. I want to talk to the gyn about using bioidentical cream -- apparently the pill works better for some women and the cream for other women.

I have increased my fluid intake -- mostly just cool water, but I have noticed that the more I drink the better I feel. I also gave up all caffeine. I've tried some teas -- chamomile seems to work to relax me, but it also stuffs me up -- I think chamomile is related to ragweed, which I'm allergic to. Because of my coumadin, I have to be cautious about the other herbs I use.

I knit -- nice even, orderly stitches. And I try to distract my brain with something soothing. I'm watching Downton again. It's the only thing that holds my attention and doesn't rev me up.

Anxiety is not something most people think about, not unless you're dealing with it. And it's hard for others to understand what it feels like. Last week I really debated about calling my doctor's office to say, "Who do I call when I just can't do it anymore? What number do I dial to get the men in the white jackets?" Mental health is just not something people talk about like they do other health issues.

Right now I feel close to normal again, but every once in a while throughout the day, I get back right on the edge of feeling like I could lose it. I don't want to scare my kids, but I have a really short fuse right now and they have definitely noticed.

Tomorrow I am scheduled to go in and have that spinal injection -- if my blood is thick enough. I am praying now, and not shy to ask for your prayers, that I get through the procedure without dropping my basket.

And if you have anything to offer, in terms of dealing with peri-menopause or menopause, or how your mother dealt with the symptoms, please, please write a comment. I guarantee there is someone who would benefit. Anyone had any good results using stones? I used to think "stone magic," if you will, was a bunch of hogwash, but I recently came to the conclusion that God created stones, and why not for our benefit? I know there are stones that are supposed to provide calming energy and I wondered if anyone reading had used them.

~~~~~


On a different note, I can't believe it's been six years since we lost our Jill. She is still missed desperately. If you've been a reader that long, you prayed with us as our Jill struggled with an awful rare cancer.

On Monday, we followed one of Faith's dance teacher's, also a Jill, into the dance studio parking lot and I noticed she drove the same kind of Jeep as our Jill did. I mentioned it to Faith and she said, "I really miss my Godmother." A girl really needs her Godmother, and we often talk to Jill in heaven.

This weekend is a walk in Cincinnati for a scholarship at Jill's high school. I am hoping the spinal injection will not create complications, and I can go.


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Last week, clicking around to see the projects posted at Ginny's Yarn along, I came upon the blog of a woman who was asking for volunteers to test a young girls' sweater pattern. On a whim (so unlike me) I decided to do it, even though I was anxious that starting an unknown would create more anxiety. Fortunately, it has not, and I am pleased with the sweater, thus far. It is knit from the bottom up, something I have never before done, so I am learning something knew. I just this morning got to the point where the sleeves are knit and then later attached. I guess I am unsure why anyone would knit a sweater this way when it is so easy to knit from the top down, but I'll finish before I make any firm conclusions. The yarn is pretty and soft -- it's Knitpicks Chroma in weathervane.




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On the food front has been apples. Faith and I picked one day several weeks ago, and we went back yesterday and bought Honeycrisps from the orchard's market. They are so dear in price, but a favorite around here. They didn't have many pecks left, but I'll be back in a few weekends to pick Jonagolds -- my favorite.

This wonderful, wonderful dish was created with golden supreme apples, a slightly tart, yellow, crisp apple. They are not my favorite to eat, but they make a great dessert. This is an apple fritter cake, and it really, truly tasted like a fresh apple fritter. Yum, yum, yum. Everyone enjoyed it. I modified the recipe a little to cut back on sugar, but here is where I found it. Below is the recipe as I made it, with a little less sugar. I would make it again in a heartbeat, but then I would be so tempted to eat most of it, I won't. Once a year is good and I'll be looking forward to it next year. It was best the first day, but stayed fresh several days.







Apple Fritter Cake


1 heaping cup of sliced apples
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
small pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water (I needed more to keep apples from stocking, but it probably depends on the variety used)

1/2 cup brown sugar (I used a 1/4 cup each of dark and light)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup greek yogurt (you could use plain yogurt as well or sour cream)

For Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoons milk

Instructions:
For filling: 
Make your filling by combining apples, sugar, water, cinnamon and cornstarch in a small saucepan.  Cook on low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and the apples are a bit soft (I didn't really have sauce -- it was pretty much sticky apples).  Set aside to cool.  In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together until well combined and set aside.

For Cake: 
Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease and flour a 9×13 baking dish.  Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add applesauce and vanilla and mix till combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift the dry ingredients together.  Add the dry ingredients to the batter in three parts alternating with the yogurt in two parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat until just combined.

Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan.  Spoon the cooled apple mixture over the batter carefully and spread as evenly as possible.  Sprinkle 2/3 of brown sugar cinnamon mixture over apples and cover with the rest of the batter.  Sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar cinnamon mixture over the top.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

For Glaze: 
While the cake is baking, make the glaze.  In a bowl, mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until the glaze is desired consistency.  When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately but carefully pour onto hot cake.  Try to pour as evenly as possible.  You might have to pick up the cake and tilt it to spread the glaze evenly.  Let the cake sit for awhile for the glaze to set.