Silver Lining Plating

A few months ago, before pandemic hadn’t been a possibility or pondered, I finally decided to try one of those meal-delivery options.

My buy-in took a bit because I don’t particularly mind eating the same lunch/dinner every day for a week. In the dark months of winter, the program became more appealing than spending every Saturday morning grocery shopping – if the weather allowed.

I endured the targeted pop-up ads  (after I curiously clicked) at least once every other day for a few months. Occasionally, I’d re-click and peruse. I made it as far as commitment a few times, but unsurely closed the browser.

The tipping point was an amazing special offer in the absolutely late hours after midnight: a tempting $2.99 a meal.

It was a good deal. It made sense. I did it. I love it.

The plan I signed up for features 3 entrees per week, each designed to feed 2. The variety is super-exploratory and exacting  portions beat my tendency to overcook into submission.

It’s plenty for at least 6 great dinners or lunches. Most times, I stretch 3 meals from  the presented double serving. Just depends on the cuisine and my stash of supplements.

I’m a somewhat avoider of starchy-stuff like rice and potatoes. So, for those recipes, splitting 2 servings into 3 is a good way to lower the carbs. Add a side salad or a piece of fresh fruit and I’m good.

Trying new recipes has been fun. It’s superbly budget friendly to not have to buy a bottle of Hoisin when a recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons.

Thus, eliminating the annoyance of a half bottle of Hoisin hanging out in the back of your fridge, taunting you to find another valid use for the remainder. That’ll go on for a month or so before it becomes suspect; and maybe even another month after that.

Having fresh herbs and spices in exactly the right amount entirely avoids vegetable-drawer bottom disintegration; see-through storage slime, too.

Like anything else in life, you might run into an interesting issue. You may receive the smallest zucchini you’ve ever seen in your life.  Or, one portion might be slightly smaller than the other. On the lucky-side of single, I don’t have to argue with anyone over who’s gonna get the bigger portion.

The good news is that they are super customer-service friendly and always willing to make it right. Even better news, they’re still delivering. Once in 10 weeks, my box was delayed by one day due to business adjustments for Michigan’s COVID-19 stay-home order.  *

I’ve made 33 different recipes, so far. And, have only really messed up one. Well, actually I really messed up two, because…

Quote for the Week;2020 04 14 in Cooking or in Life jakorte

* I’m now at week 11. Every Plate has regretfully stopped accepting new subscribers, in order to continue to serve existing customers. As disappointing as that seems, it was a rather logical decision. Overpromising/under-delivering is not good business practice.  I do appreciate that I continue to receive my subscription.

I’ve not been in a grocery store since March 7th. I’ve not seen the ravaging first hand, nor do I want to. As soon as notice is given, they will reinstate the free boxes of 6 meals I will be able to gift. But, just in case, my referral code is: vuodlbm 

 

Hope & Eilish

Hope arrived last night.

After 10 months.

I suspect it could take a year to explain, but I also suspect it could take three. History could repeat itself you know: a year of memories could take… umm…. 5… and counting. 😉

I didn’t get the target-specific drug because… insurance. It took 10 months of tests, two weeks after the last results, one more week and a few meltdowns, but I got the 2nd best-recommended antibiotic, instead. And I was damn happy about it because I was desperate.

For months I’ve been in pain and exhausted. No mere fatigue – physically, emotionally, mentally exhausted. I’ve been overwhelmed, confused, forgetful, unable to recall or say the correct word. I would pick up a pen and by the time I blinked, I had no idea what I was after.

Last week, I realized I’d forgotten to complete a crucial work task, had a mini melt-down, scrambled pre-holiday to make it right, only to discover I had not forgotten. I’d done it the previous week. Completely, correctly and with absolutely no recollection of doing so. But the proof was there with my name on it, and after 10 months I was suddenly scared.

Maybe I’d had a stroke? Daily for months, I’ve been teary. Some days, tears would trickle out. Some days, I cried. My balance was off, I stumbled into walls and desks and doors.  My ears constantly rang. I dropped things no matter how hard I tried not to, sometimes repeatedly.

I had a lot of tests, a lot of scans. The most ridiculous was the supposition of a fractured hip. I doubted I had a fractured hip, but I had enough non-answers and medically-induced doubt of my own knowledge of my body that I subjected myself. My self-diagnosis had been kidney stones. I was correct about that part.

I refused a good number of tests, as well. I declined two of the last three offerings, one of which was eating a radio-active egg so it could be tracked through my digestive system in real-time. I declined the other because we didn’t have a diagnosis, so what sense would seeing a specialist in that field make?

I accepted the seemingly innocuous Hydrogen Breath Test, and it completely wrecked me. I wasn’t expecting side-affects from spending three hours breathing into bags. My symptoms got worse; way worse. Meltdown I-have-no-idea-what’s-going-on, spontaneously-bursting-into-tears worse.

The day after Christmas meltdown was due to a recorded message from my pharmacy informing me that they could not fill my prescription because… insurance. I went home, napped, cuddled Blu and cried.

Friday morning, I went to Meijer, where I did happily run into someone I adore who shared some much appreciated yet sad information. I had my third meltdown of the week after dropping a jar of tomato sauce, splattering shards of glass and globs of red goop all over the woman in front of me. She tried to wipe her white cable-knit boots off and ended up with slivers in her fingers. Phrases like ‘pay for this,’ ‘liability insurance,’ and ‘I’m sorry,’ flew back and forth between us. Things changed when I burst into tears. She and her friend hugged me. She told me not to worry, that it could have just as easily been her because she drops things all the time.

I cried all the way to the car, went home, napped, cuddled Blu and cried some more.

Friday afternoon, I received a robo-call that my antibiotic was ready for pick-up. At that point, I knew I wasn’t getting the other one, hadn’t expected to get anything until after the holidays, so I ecstatically accepted what I could get.

I decided chicken wings would help – no sauce, of course. Only salt & vinegar, carrots, celery and blue cheese. I took my to-go order home, and following in the theme of the day, sadly discovered I had no blue cheese. I did have someone else’s smooshed chocolate cake, lumped into a bowl. It was gross, so I threw it away and moved on.

Dose 1 of the Augmentin horse-pill made me more nauseous than I already was.

Dose 2 induced 24 non-stop hours of volcanic belching and prolonged gassing, alternately terrifying and offending HBlu.

At dose 3, it sounded like I’d swallowed the MGM lion and he really wanted out of my internal mess.

By day 3 (dose 4 & 5), the expected antibiotic effects kicked in, the lion was still protesting and it occurred to me that not as much liquid was coming out as I was forcing in. I gave myself a pass. Recliner and mindless phone games all day.

Day 4. I could… think. I thought about my ambitious list created pre-holiday time off. I thought, figures. Major projects thwarted, again. My biggest achievement was taking out the garbage and sleeping in 4-hour segments.

Yesterday, I did some minimal straightening up. Which after months of not doing any straightening up was monumental for me.

I put away my Christmas-themed socks to make room for 6 pairs of Christmas-gifted socks. I took a shower.

I read the provided one-sheet on SIBO diagnosis. It had been explained to me and was easy to understand. Bacteria is a normal part of large colon health. It is not normal in the small intestine. The small intestine bacteria eat your food, then excrete hydrogen and methane. You’re being robbed of nutrients and energy and infused with gasses.

Small intestine bacterial overgrowth symptoms: abdominal bloating/distension, GI issues, nausea, vomiting, body aches, malabsorption, malnourishment, brain fog, mental confusion, poor short-term memory, difficulty concentrating, exhaustion, severe fatigue, slurred speech, gait disturbances.

That’s when Hope showed up.

It might as well have been a physical flick of a lighter in a cave. I got it. I suddenly got it all, connected the dots. Low food absorption – low absorption – of everything. Low absorption of the extra vitamin D and iron and ibuprofen I’d been taking to help combat symptoms. Low absorption of allergy medications, fibromyalgia medications.

10 days from now, treatment for this bacterial monster will be complete. Realistically, it may take another dosing, it may take months until my body’s re-absorbed optimal levels of nutrients. That’s not ok.

I’m already impatient with Hope, so I will go one step further.

Lord, I ask you for healing with faith that it will come.

So, here’s to reasonable medical explanations, modified diets, and a healthier 2020 than 2019.

Oh, Billie Eilish, right?  Day 5, partial re-possession of brain, getting lost in hours of video, interviews, raw music, concert footage, fanzines, endless articles. Oh, and Bellyache, yeah.

Quote for the week: 2019 12 31 popular theory clusterfuck jakorte

ps. rock painting by paula pruitt

 

 

An Anniversary, An Eggplant Plan

After the phone calls, after dinner, we settled into our comfortable spots.

During a commercial, we started talking about where we’d go for our 5th anniversary dinner. There was no contest, really. Sal’s Italian Restaurant in Tecumseh. Close to our almost-in-town townhouse, it had been a great favorite Friday night, take-away spot for us.

It was the first place outside of New York, I’d ever had a good Italian Wedding soup. The garlic bread was perfectly garlick-y, beautifully buttery and sublimely sprinkled with parm. The red sauce was perfectly saucy, from an East Coast perspective.

Sal’s eggplant parmesan was wonderfully and deliciously authentic, too.

Not so long before Jeff brought me to Sal’s, I made this dish for him. We’d been dating about a month, and it was supposed to be our first stay-in, dinner-in, at my Okemos apartment.

It was awful. Bitter and mushy; with raised forks, we watched each other watching gooey, grayish globs weeping through the tines.

He asked me how long I’d salted it before cooking. I accompanied my dumbfounded look with the teary explanation that I had just winged it. “Gotta salt it,” Jeff sagely advised. “Even then, it’s not so great, sometimes.” We went out for Mexican.

I was so enthralled by Sal’s version, that Jeff happily tried a bite. Even though he’d been down that road before. Even though he wasn’t fond of that particular nightshade. Even if it had been salted, fried and layered with cheese, his aversion to eggplant rivalled my aversion to cauliflower, even if it had been salted, fried and smothered in cheese.

Sitting in Sal’s, I watched Jeff contemplatively chew for a bit, and laughed when he decisively summarized, “I’d rather have the chicken.”

Jeff mentioned Evans Street Station as an alternative. Because we’d already be dressed up for our church photo, I considered that. It was so sweet of him to mention the fanciest restaurant in town. A few years after opening, it was still on our to-do list. We just hadn’t made it there, yet.

“Maybe, some other time,” I smiled. “I’m really missing Sal’s. It’s the first place we ever went to dinner in town. So, that kind of makes it ‘our place’, too.”

“You won’t get any arguments from me!” Jeff grinned.

Quote for the Week: 2019 07 16 The best celebrations aren’t always the most expensive jakorte

 

Better Late

I’d expected a card first thing in the morning, as we got ready for church. I’d waited  through the service and through our late, diner breakfast.

I was impatient, but decided not to spoil the fun. I’d over-eagerly done that, before. Most notably, by ruining Jeff’s engagement plan and proposal.

I figured there would be a surprise when we got home. Only, there wasn’t one.

Halfway through Sunday, July 23rd, 2006, I finally said it. “It’s my birthday, you know.”

“I know,” he replied casually. “I didn’t have time to get you a present.”

“You didn’t have time?” I asked.

“Besides,” he tacked on, “I could never surprise you, anyway, ‘cause you see all the bills.”

“That’s true,” I laughed. “Did you get me a card?” I was still hopeful.

Jeff’s flat answer was, “No.” Then, a half-hearted, “I never made it out.”

“Well, why didn’t you make me a card?” I wanted to know. “You used to always make me cards.”

Jeff sighed, “I was gonna bake a cake later.”

“Oh, ok.” I understood. Going out and getting around was getting more difficult, so that made sense to me. “You could have wished me a happy birthday, though.” I stressed.

“Yep.” he acknowledged, with a nod. “I probably should have.”

Just about dinner time, Jeff got up, and said he was going to go make my cake. I told him he didn’t have to, and that I’d be just as happy ordering Chinese food.

So, that’s what we did, complete with my favorite almond cookies and ritual fortune cookies. As usual, Jeff wanted to know what my fortune said. I read it to him, to which he responded the same way he had every time since we’d first met. “Mine,” he’d wiggle his substantial eyebrows and the tiny little paper slip, “Says – ‘Lucky Number –  69!’”

Three days later, I came home to a colorful Happy Birthday sign in our home-office window. Strategically hung facing the driveway, so I’d immediately see it when I pulled in.

Waiting for me inside, was a stellar dinner. Jeff made a special meatloaf concoction of ground beef, sausage and salsa baked under a cloak of ketchup and garlic. Accoutrements: hand-smashed, garlic red-potatoes with butter, Brussels sprouts drenched in butter and dinner croissants… with butter.

The butter-use was a nod to the occasion. Our frugal budget and our smidgen of health-consciousness meant margarine, in tubs. When planning special dinners, or upon getting good celebratory news, Jeff would roar, “This calls for Butter!”

After dinner, Jeff told me to close my eyes.  I opened them to a cake and a card. The double-chocolate cake was covered in neon yellow frosting and featured a black-piped beak plus google eyes to which he’d added eye-lashes using more black piping.

The card was a comic one. Amusing and strange, with an extra bit of Jeff’s handwritten humor. “Better late, than never.”

We went to bed full of cake topped with canned cherries and vanilla ice cream, holding hands, and giggling. I loved that chicken cake, and my husband, completely.

Jeff had managed to surprise me on a day I wasn’t expecting anything. I like to compare this birthday to the way I consistently and erroneously surprised him the day before his birthday; every year.

That card, though.

It was the last one.

Jeff had, unwittingly, been philosophically correct. I would gladly take always late, instead of never again.

Quote for the Week: 2019 03 05 late is always better than never again jakorte

2019 03 05 better late than never card jakorte