Thursday, February 24, 2011

Privacy Reasons

I've decided to go private for a whole multitude of reasons.  Privacy is the key one.  It's not that I want to hide away any helpful information I may post about Chiari or other medical conditions which go along with it, but there is a lot of information on the internet and most of mine is just reiterated from somewhere else.   And it's not because I want to slander or say mean and miserable things about people without repercussion.    It's just a personal decision that a few fellow bloggers have also come to recently.

My story is personal, and readers are interested in the personal experience, but those who are interested in reading have already read it.  
If you know of anyone who may benefit from my blog or be interested in what I have to say I will happily add them as a reader.  They may contact me at

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In Search of the Perfect Cookie

I love ginger snaps.  I would have to rate them as a favourite, if not my favourite cookie.  Walker's makes these divine little shortbreads with real ginger stem... luscious little cookies.  And the only place I've ever found them is at the Porter airlines lounge in Toronto.  It's customary for us to grab 2 packs and put them in my purse to savour when we get home!  
I was at the bulk store Friday and I found candied ginger pieces for baking cookies! (Instead of the huge chunks my mum likes to eat just by themselves)  So online I went to find the perfect cookie recipe to replicate those delectable Walker's creations....
These are good, a little different, but my first crack at baking with candied ginger stem.

Ginger Stem Cookies
6 TBSP butter
6 TBSP brown sugar
6 TBSP honey
4 TBSP molasses 

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add brown sugar, honey and molasses.  Warm and combine until creamy consistency.

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp ground ginger (more if you like even spicier cookies!)
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup of candied or bottled ginger stem - very finely chopped to chocolate chip size chunks.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F / 300F convection.  Line your pans with parchment paper.  (Believe me, invest in a roll or sheets.  Your cookies will not come off the pan otherwise.)

Sift dry ingredients into the pot mixture.  If you find it a little too thin, add more flour 1/4 cup at a time.  The dough will not be dry like other ginger snaps, but more of a glossy, but not sticky, mixture.  If you want to transfer the pot mixture to a stand mixer, it'd be a great idea.  Use your bread hook.  Otherwise you may need a strong-armed man (or a cement mixer!!)  in the kitchen to incorporate all that flour in the pot. 

Add the candied ginger and work out the Popeye muscles at little more to incorporate it.

Roll into teaspoon size balls. This dough rolls beautifully and doesn't stick to your hands.  Careful if you're having the little ones help as this dough is warm.  Place well spaced on the parchment lined cookie pan and flatten slightly with the heel of you hand.  This dough works nicely while it is still warm.  When it cools it gets hard to handle.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes at 350F / 300F convection until golden brown.

The first time I bake a new cookie I do a test bake before I throw the whole lot onto the pan.

My first test cookies didn't have enough flour and were baked too hot.  They were flatter than pancakes and once they cooled, were hard enough to chip teeth.  

The next test came out soft, golden, chewy and approved by the hubby in the taste test.

I'm bringing some to mum's tomorrow for Family Day dinner and I hope the rest of the family enjoys them too!!

Oh, and if you mix it all in the pot, soak that pot right away once it is empty or you'll need a chisel!!

Note to self... These cookies are hard on the arm...  There is a lot of stirring to incorporate the flour.  Plus, I started with a double batch... Silly me!!  Just saying it out loud so anyone fancying to try them out is aware, yes, definitely use the stand mixer!

Sorry there's no pic of all the ingredients together.  Forgot to snap the photo before I got going.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

If You Can't Say Anything Nice...

Thumber's right.

"If you can't say anything nice, don't say nothing at all."

I openly apologize to anyone and everyone for various posts in my blog that were inconsiderate to their feelings.  I said it myself, I need to think before I speak, and before I post.  

It is my sincerest wish not to hurt anyone's feelings.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1.  Appointment with my GP today to get the results of the EMG nerve study.  No significant findings.  No permanent nerve damage.  No carpal tunnel syndrome.  My radial nerve demonstrates some issues but as they are improving gradually there is hope the feeling in my thumb and two fingers will come back.  No answers.  So where do I go from here?  My GP has no idea... neither do I.

2.  The fishies are living and loving their new home!  I moved them over on Thursday and Friday last week.  I added two live plants on the weekend.  In a couple more weeks I will add some more fish.  I decided to wait a little longer than 2 weeks of cycling because I'd like to get some angelfish.  Reason one, the store I buy from is currently out of stock (a good sign - I'll get "fresh" fish!).  Reason two, angels are sensitive to water changes so I'm just being extra cautious.

3.  I can't take it anymore and I booked a haircut for tomorrow.  Growing my hair back out is driving me CRAZY!  It's all shaggy, and really, in the morning I look like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.  So then it's wet, moussed, blow-dried, styled, sprayed... like 20 to 25 minutes of my life spent on my hair - ARGHHHHHH!!!!!  I'm a low maintenance girl.  This is ridiculous.  So I'm hoping my stylist can give me a style out of this mess and not take too much of the length off.  If not I may resort to wearing babushkas.

4.  I'm happy to have the help at work as I'm feeling absolutely overwhelmed and almost lost it today. 

5.  Hubby and I are watching a Bones marathon.  He bought me season 1 and 2 on DVD for Christmas.  We're into season 2 now.  Soooo in love with David Boreanez.  Always have been... since he played Angel at least.  I wouldn't kick him out for eating cookies in bed.   

6.  My occipital bone is aching tonight... I do some yoga and stretches every night to help the neck, shoulder, arm and my back.  Guess I'll find the Tylonel before bed... Don't need a headache tomorrow.

7.  More news from the GP today.  He says he has no idea what POTS is.  Yet he mentioned it to me at my last visit.  So in order to find out why I'm having the dizzy spells and grey outs, he is going to speak to one of the cardiologists and ask how we should proceed.  So more waiting for more tests...  

8.  Mum and Papa are making stollen (German Christmas bread) tomorrow.  Due to limited space in all of our freezers over Christmas, we didn't get to make the second batch - a batch makes 13 or 14 loaves.  Wish I could be there to help, however I work all morning and by the time I would be free, they'll already be baking.  So not a lot of help to give by that point.  But I get to reap the rewards of contributing the candied peel and raisins :)

9.  I really need to get motivated and get back into doing some type of structured activity.  Whether I go to the pool for aquabics or try to go back to yoga, I've gotta get off my butt.  I haven't even been walking much.  Just 2 nights a week with hubby.  I'm in a rut.  And I might need some help (or possibly motivation with a stick of dynamite) getting out of it.

10.  Have you seen Despicable Me?  If you haven't you should!! The minions are adorable!  Hubby and I have watched it a couple of times now.  It's a cute story.  Wonder where I can get me a minion...   Go, check out the trailer here.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rest in Peace

I'm at the age where I know more people in the obituaries than in the birth announcements.  And it makes me sad.
I had a very close relationship with my grandma.  She passed away last May.  When I was young I remember her reading the paper from back to front.  She joked she wanted to make sure she wasn't in the obits.  As she got older she stopped reading the in memorium and obituaries because she knew too many people.  I understand that now.  I didn't as a teen.  

Over the weekend I read the funeral notices for a former boyfriend's father and a neighbour from the street where I grew up.  The father was 65 and had cancer off and on for 20+ years.  It took my breath away when I saw his picture.  His death renewed the ache in my own heart from the loss of my father-in-law and grandma.  He was even in my dream last night.  I saw him in a department store.  His wife was farther in the background, sorta hazy.  
I approached him and said "I'm sorry, I just heard about your passing."  
He gave me one of his wonderful smiles and replied "yes".  He lowered his eyes.  
I asked "was it peaceful? You didn't suffer?"
"No" he replied, "it was very peaceful. I didn't suffer."  
I felt him grow warmer, almost glow brighter.  And I woke up.  
I hope that the family knows he is at peace.  Mr. L, rest in peace.

My old neighbour was a wonderful young lady of 98.  I hadn't seen her in 8 or 9 years, and frankly I didn't realize that she was even alive any longer.  She lived across the street until I was in my teens.  She babysat me from time to time. She was an avid gardener. I remember a friend and I sitting on the wall by the garden opening the buds of the poppies she grew to see what colour they were going to be and making the snap-dragons talk.  Amy, rest in peace.

To top it all off, this week marks 3 years since my dear high school friend's mom and best friends untimely passing in a car crash.  S was also in the car and was severely injured.  She spent 2 weeks in a coma, broken wrists, ribs and internal injuries.  She is an amazing woman who is working to overcome a huge tragedy.  I'm proud to call her my friend.  But it still saddens me to see how much S hurts when February comes around each year.  K and C, rest in peace.

I'm pensive and sad over the losses this week.  But I'm very grateful to have my health, husband, family and friends.  After all, I'm still shiny side up.

And I still read the paper back to front, for now.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fill In the Blanks

I went lurking over at Linny's Vault and decided to play along with this one. Want to play along too? Copy the blanks, fill in your answers on your blog & link up at The Little Thing We Do so others can check you out. It's lots of fun!

  • If my house was on fire and I could only grab 3 things, I would grab my laptop, my purse and the cross stitch project I'm working on right now (these things take YEARS to complete sometimes - I'm not starting over).  And I'm assuming my hubby will get his own a$s out of the house

  • A smell I really like is homemade bread baking... yummy!

  • Something you might not know about me is  I can speak 3 other languages.  2 of them fluently.  Italian, French and some Finnish

  • Some of my favorite websites to putter about on are FB (yes, sorry, I'm addicted...) EMS cross stitch board (yes, I'm addicted to crafts too) and plain ol' Yahoo!

  • This weekend I will hopefully accomplish something - maybe some housework or baking, or I'll end up going into work... another hearing starts Monday.

  • Nothing makes me happier than knowing how lucky I am to have what I have - my family, my husband, my home, my job and my improving health

  • A bad habit I have is speaking before I think.  My resolution when I returned to work after surgery was to think carefully before I opened my mouth
  • Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Ten on Tuesday

    1.  The firm has hired a young lady to help me out at work with the administrative tasks like filing, photocopying, and taking the phone calls in the afternoon.  Today is day two.  So far so good.  I hope I have enough stuff to keep her busy!

    2.  The new aquarium is set up!! Hurray!! Hubby had the day off on Sunday (finally!) and we dragged his brother over to help move furniture and set everything up.  It is cycling now, I hope to have fishies in it next week.  

    3.  Grrr... I hate misleading sales people.  When I bought my truck I bought the extended warranty.  This is the super platinum warranty, "everything under the sun is covered."   Well, not quite everything.  The battery for one, and the cost to check the battery for another.  And my truck needs a block heater cord - remember the -50F we had last Sunday??  At least it's covered under the extended warranty, after I pay the $100 deductible.  I guess in hind-sight I probably opted for the deductible so the warranty didn't cost a small fortune....  But darn it anyways!  Have to shell out the cash tomorrow when the truck gets fixed.  

    4.  I need new menu ideas.  I keep watching the cooking show at 3pm and trying to get new stuff when I pick up groceries.  But I'm just so tired of chicken.  I can only eat chicken and shellfish.  And with hubby on a calorie counter, we eat chicken almost every day of the week.  I wish it was a little warmer, I could barbecue in the afternoon before it gets dark...  I'm just stuck in a chicken rut...  Bahk bahk!!!

    5.  Moving the furniture around to accommodate the new aquarium has given hubby ideas... new book shelf, media / tv centre, sofa, love seat and chair...  It will be beautiful when it's all done.  But it's not going to be cheap.

    6.  I want to go on a holiday.  Even if it is only for a weekend away in Duluth or Minneapolis... The trips I've gone on in the last year have all been to Toronto for doctor's appointments or my surgery.  I want to go away and relax.

    7.  I entered a contest on a Canadian tv show for a kitchen make-over.  I would really love to win it.  When we bought our house in 2002 we tore out a wall between the kitchen and living room.  There was a 2" difference in the flooring heights so we had to tear out all the flooring too...  And the kick-plates from the cabinets.  And the casing trim and baseboard.  We did, or rather, I did repaint the kitchen so it was fresh, however, we haven't been able to afford to redo the rest of the kitchen.  Cabinets, counters, flooring... all the big $$ items.  The contest asked for a picture and why you deserve to win.  Cross your fingers for me - I'd love to have flooring instead of plywood and scatter rugs!

    8.  I've watched what coverage I can of the events in Egypt.  I find it very upsetting.  I also find it hard to  comprehend the difficulties in the political system.  Yes, I understand that Egypt is a dictatorship and does not have free elections.  I understand the people are frustrated and that change is required. However, I don't understand how rioting and looting helps the situation.  When I read they broke into the Cairo museum and destroyed 2 mummies and the ticket office I was heart-broken.  This is their history.  Yes, the mummies were placed in the museum by a dictator, and the country is still under dictator rule, but the mummies were put there 100 years ago... Please honour history.  Don't destroy it.

    9.  Wow - I went political for a Ten on Tuesday item!  Something I don't usually get involved with.  You know, the two things to never discuss... Politics and religion.  I'm not a religious fanatic.  I don't follow politics in other countries very much.   I couldn't tell you the difference between right and left and democratic and conservative.  I know for whom I vote at election times and I'm content with that.  I'm not content with the political practices in Canada, but I don't think there is any country where every citizen is completely happy with how things are run.

    10.  I'm staring at a very blank wall above the television and decided we definitely need some art above the tv.  In it's old location we have 3 small pictures hanging up.  Now it's a large, 20 ft. long grey blank canvas begging for some colour.  Time to go shopping!

    11.  BONUS!  I was invited to join a few people from work at one of two fitness activities... everyone knows how active I used to be before my Chiari diagnosis and surgery.  One is a circuit class and the other is hot yoga.  But I can't get back into the gym or yoga yet.  I'm happy they asked though.  It was nice to be included.