Where I've Been

>> Friday, September 28, 2012

Hi. I sort of disappeared on you. I have more news in the ear saga . . . and I've now almost completely lost all faith in health care. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I went to the doctor on Monday with annoying excess ear wax. He told me to use drops (Debrox) and come back to get my ears cleaned on Friday.

On Tuesday night, I ended up going to the ER at 11 PM because each time had I used the drops, they wouldn't come out of my ear for 3 or 4 hours. They were starting to hurt. They made me dizzy. And I was having a slight panic attack because the combination of spins, not hearing, ringing, and sort of claustrophobic feeling was really getting to me.

The physician's assistant on duty was even worse than my doctor on Monday. Actually, she was the same one we were extremely unhappy with when Ada was sick and we had to go to urgent care a few months ago. At first, I only slightly recognized her, but as she continued "caring" for me, I soon remembered.

Anyway, she very harshly explained that I needed to get over it and just keep using the drops. She said it was perfectly normal for them to stay in for hours. She very rudely asked me "well, what do YOU think -- that they'd work if they just came out?" Well. The package says to tip your head so they will come out, so -- uh -- yeah, that's what I thought.

Furthermore, she couldn't clean out the wax because it was still too hard/impacted (ew). But there wasn't any infection, thankfully. Basically, I waited there for several hours to only be told to get over it, to ignore the discomfort, and go home.

Wednesday came. I decided to be brave and use the drops twice more as directed. They were stuck in my ears almost all day. They elicited more pain each time I used them. It was absolutely terrible. Stephen stayed home with me because caring for Ada is difficult when I can't hear out of one ear, when that ear hurts, and when I'm a combination of dizzy/nauseous.

It was a hellish day, but I decided enough was enough and that I'd go to a walk-in to get them cleaned out on Thursday. It would all be over soon, despite how I hate the idea of getting my ears cleaned out. I just wanted the whole thing to be over. I couldn't function all week.

So, Thursday. My parents came over to help me with babysitting, etc. My dad went with me (driving is hard when you're dizzy, too -- go figure!) and we waited an hour to get in. Finally I got a nice physician's assistant who immediately told me that there wasn't any wax in my ear. At all. Weird.

Oh, yeah. And . . . I now have an ear infection and a bad case of . . . swimmer's ear.

Hmmm. I wonder how THAT happened! Could it be that those drops staying in my ear for hours wasn't such a good thing after all? You know. The entire reason I went to the ER? Ugh.

So, I basically made myself sick this week while following doctor's orders. I haven't been on antibiotics in years and years. I can't even remember. Now I'm on a Z-pack and medicated ear drops (that thankfully come right out when I tip my head over). I freaked out a bit about breastfeeding, but my lactation consultant (SHE IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!) gave me the OK to continue. At least something went alright in this whole thing.

Have you ever had an extremely bad experience with your medical care?

While I was pregnant, I loved my midwives. They listened to my concerns. They validated the feelings I was experiencing. If something seemed off to me, they wouldn't shut it down with a "this can't happen" or another black and white response. They trusted that I was conveying things that had importance in the situation.

Now, I'm left feeling like I can't trust anyone, that no one listens to me, and that I will never find a care professional for myself (OR for the rest of my family, for that matter) that I can feel comfortable with again. I liked my PA at the walk-in, but he doesn't take regular patients. So frustrating!

I apologize if this seems like a huge rant. Well, forget that word "seems". It is a huge rant. I just can't believe that this could have been avoided somehow. I don't know exactly where in the chain it would have been made different, but obviously something went wrong.

Here's a new vocab word for you all:

i·at·ro·gen·ic: Adjective; Of or relating to illness caused by medical examination or treatment.

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Insta-Dessert: Plum Crisp

>> Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Have six plums ripening on your kitchen counter? I did. So, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees F. And this recipe seriously took me 5 minutes to prepare.

First, wash plums well.

Then slice into 1-inch pieces and place in a rimmed baking dish. I used a glass loaf pan.

Mix together a topping combining 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, and a pinch of salt.

Then toss the plums in 1 or 2 tablespoons of both whole wheat flour and brown sugar. Add a dash or three of cinnamon for good measure.

Make sure the fruit is spread evenly, then top with topping.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes -- until topping is browned and fruit is softened.

Enjoy right out of the oven or even cold from the fridge. I love fruit crisps. Actually, it's the only fruit dessert I enjoy. Apple crisp, specifically. I had never used plums before today -- but they worked beautifully.

What's your favorite fruit dessert?

Also, I'm going to start posting Insta-Desserts from time to time. Fast to prepare and bake desserts that I live-post on Instagram. If you aren't following already, please find us @neverhomemaker.

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Monday. Oh, Monday.

>> Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm had a terrible day. Before I get into it, I'm declaring this week mini-makeover week. There have been some things I've not written about in a while -- for example, my sugar addiction -- that need some attention. And some change. From head to toe. So, I'm focusing my real-life week on these items.

Why not blog about them, too?

Alright. Some weekend stuff. I dyed my hair. Well, attempted ombre highlights with an at-home kit (this one) -- and it worked pretty well!

We changed up Ada's nursery. Her tree mural fell down weeks ago, so we replaced it. I love the new look. You can see more on Writing Chapter Three.

I ran with my favorite running buddies on Sunday. Funny how last Monday's solo 9-miler was excruciating at a 9:16/mile pace. We ran yesterday's 11-miler at 8:45/mile and it felt great! The power of running with friends always amazes me. (PS: Just started week 9 of the 12 week half training plan!)

And after the awesome run, we went to our favorite kid's museum for some fun. Ada's a little young for a lot of the exhibits, but as the weather gets colder, it's going to be nice to have somewhere to go on a Sunday afternoon.

Cabin fever definitely sets in starting in, well, October.

Now why my day has been terrible. Have you ever had too much wax in one of your ears? If you haven't, you're lucky. If you have, it SUCKS, right? Well. More than that for me. My ears have always been sensitive. I had two sets of tubes placed from having too many ear infections as a baby. I never even put my head under water.

Anyway, I have too much wax in my right ear. Ick. This story could go on for ages. Basically, I went to the world's most insensitive doctor today. He gouged around with a sharp instrument, which I've had done before -- but never, ever this roughly, after I told him about my sensitivity issues . . . and then he almost scolded me for being timid and nervous while he dug.

He ultimately told me I needed to use ear drops for a while and come back to have them flushed. I won't be going back to him, by the way. He was seriously rolling his eyes and shaming me for feeling a little scared. Yeah. I am scared! Anyway, I used the drops this afternoon . . . and then they wouldn't come out of my ear! They were stuck in my ear for over an hour and hurt, making me super dizzy, etc.

The worst part is that I have to do it again tonight. So, after I finish dinner, I'm off for round two of this horrible ordeal. I understand that having the whole ear flushing thing isn't torture for most adults, but getting absolutely no understanding from the doctor made it 10,000 times worse. Obviously, I need to find a new one -- and fast!

Besides my ears, I'm pretty brave whenever I need medical procedures done. From needles to giving birth without drugs. But when it comes to my ears?! AHHHH! Do you have a weird quirk like this, too? I can't be the only one!

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Gooey Vegan PB-Chocolate Brownies

>> Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's been a while since I posted a chocolate dessert. I've haven't been baking much. (I have, though, been eating my share of chocolate.) These guys have a secret ingredient. And one that I don't intend to keep secret, of course. First, can you guess what it might be?

I'll give you a hint. Think about my fluffy scrambled eggs yesterday.

Yup. Vegan mayo. Just a tablespoon of it, but I know it makes a difference. These are my new favorite vegan brownies. No fussing with egg substitutes either!


What you'll need . . . 

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar 
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 cup olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (softened)
  • 1 cup water 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1 tablespoon (heaping) Vegenaise 
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Method . . .

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a 9" x 9" baking pan (I used a glass one) and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, peanut butter (heat it in the microwave for like 20 seconds so it's smoother), water, and vanilla.
  4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Then fold in the Vegenaise and chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into baking dish, even out, and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Check center of brownies to see if it's set by inserting/removing a toothpick. If not done enough, bake another 10 minutes -- mine were pretty gooey in the middle, but I like them that way.
Sad, but they're already gone. Stephen and I just fought over who got to eat the last piece. I'd make them again, but it's late and I have some photos to play with. That's how much I like editing. It's like play for me.

Check out Writing Chapter Three to see about a million self portraits and more about my new toy.

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Breakfast for Lunch

>> Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Our good days are really good. Our bad days are really bad. Ada certainly thrives on extremes. I was super productive on Monday. Yesterday? Well, yesterday was quite awful. I'm pretty sure Ada is getting 4 teeth in at once (again -- extremes!), so her naps have been preceded by an hour or more of crying.

Poor thing. Oh, and poor Ada, too! (Hahaha . . .)

So, though Ada is becoming an independent 10-month-old, exploring everything from climbing stairs to sorting through boxes, there are still days when I don't find time to grab breakfast until, well, 1 pm. Typing that out just made me feel like I'm losing this mom thing somehow.

I'm sure other moms can relate. Between nursing, nap wars, chasing around, solid foods, and comforting -- taking care of the baby can mean ignoring mom's needs. On days like this, I like to forget the house is a complete disaster.

Exhibit A.

Instead of dwelling on that laundry pile, I make a gigantic breakfast for lunch.

Scrambled eggs, potatoes, avocado, and freshly squeezed orange juice. You don't need a recipe for this meal. Obviously. But did you know that mayo (or, in this case, fake mayo) can make your scrambled eggs over-the-top delicious?


Just add a heaping tablespoon per 2 eggs, along with a splash or two of milk or almond milk like you usually do. Oh, and eat with lots of ketchup. I know that's a love or hate thing, but I LOVE ketchup with scrambled eggs!

My favorite oranges for making orange juice are Valencias. I have this simple hand juicer and usually three oranges does the trick.

Nothing like fresh juice to get a fresh perspective on a bad day. It's nutritive and nurturing, really.

Unfortunately, today has been another challenging day. (I just wish those teeth would come in already! So far, we're only 1 for 4.) So, I need to take advantage of the silence while I still have it and get a few things done.

Do you have any meals or specific foods/drinks that are particularly healing for you? Either mentally or physically. Fresh juice has got to be one of my favorites for this purpose. It's a rare treat, too.

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Crash and Burn

>> Monday, September 17, 2012

Mondays are always for catching up. Especially after having visitors over the weekend. The to-do list was seriously three pages long. And today, I was ready for it.

The day started off strong with . . .

  • 2 loads of dishes 
  • 2 loads of laundry
  • 1 hour of playtime
  • 2 hours of work
  • 2 photo sessions booked 
It's amazing how dirty dishes and laundry pile up -- especially with a baby. I feel like I use that as an excuse, but she goes through clothes like crazy. Add to that diaper laundry. Well, let's just say the water company must be loving us this year. We try our best to conserve, but it's difficult.

When Ada woke from her first nap, I got to cooking:

  • 4 cups of walnut basil pesto for freezing
  • 2 gigantic spaghetti squashes -- 1/2 for freezing, 1/2 for the week
  • 1 tasty dinner using some of the squash and leftover mushrooms 
  • Lunch pasta and eggs, for both of us 
I haven't roasted spaghetti squash in quite some time. I didn't remember how hard it is to cut the darned then in half. So, I roasted it whole -- the oven on 400 degrees F. Just put the squash on a rimmed baking sheet, prodded a few times with a sharp knife for ventilation, and baked for 60 to 90 minutes.

THEN I cut it in half after it cooled a bit. Worked great! I'll probably just do it this way from now on to avoid random trips to the ER. (Seriously: knives + me = trouble.)

After Ada's second nap:

  • 1 nursery rearranged for better access to chalkboard wall
  • 1 batch of peanut butter oatmeal cookies
  • 2 visitors (my parents)
  • Quick cleanup of ground floor (for plumber -- estimates for kitchen/furnace projects)
Very exciting news is that initial rough estimates are looking good for kitchen project 2012. I'll have more news on this in like a week once we get some firmer numbers. However, Stephen's "check engine" light is on (again) . . . who knows what that might mean!

One huge task remained: I had to run 11 miles. My long run from yesterday -- the longest of the training cycle so far. I postponed it so we could enjoy some Sunday activities with Stephen's parents (including going to our favorite brewery for lunch, above).

But with all the kicking butt and taking names, I got distracted.

Nowhere in the above lists do you see glasses of water. I also didn't include the 4 draining nursing sessions. Yeah -- not so smart. I got about 5 miles from home at a much, much slower pace than usual, and realized I was incredibly dehydrated. It felt like I had cotton balls in my mouth. Though I was running beside a river, there wasn't a drop of drinkable water in sight.

So, I settled with running 9 miles (took a shortcut home) and feel pretty good about it training-wise. I've dropped to Hal Higdon's intermediate half plan because I've had a hard time committing to the long runs. Not because I have a baby. I just have more stuff I've wanted to do on weekends that has taken precedence.

Let this be a reminder to drink a glass of water -- right now. I'm pounding 'em like it's my job. Which, it is. If I'm not hydrated, I can't feed Ada what she needs. When I worked a desk job, I drank water like crazy. It was a good excuses to get up and walk around. Now? I admit it's more difficult to remember.

Have you ever crashed and burned with a dehydration issue? How do you remember to drink your H20?

And today on Writing Chapter Three, I have a gazillion weaning/nursing-related questions. Ada's eating like a champ -- here she is munching on some spaghetti squash. Anyway, if you can help, I'd appreciate it!

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Where Our Food Comes From . . .

>> Sunday, September 16, 2012

(These photos are loading slowly for some reason.)

We piled in the car with Stephen's parents yesterday and trekked to our CSA farm (Hemlock Creek) for a visit and garden tour. It was so cool to see exactly where our food comes from, to meet animals, to chat with our awesome farmers, and to meet other members.

And talk about a perfect day to go there. The leaves are just starting to turn and the temps were perfect for snugly baby-wearing. I love fall.

I cannot get enough of these cow photos.

Have a happy Sunday!

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