Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Week & Weekend: The Abridged Version

Well, for starters, the above picture just about sums up my work week.  Due to the fact that I cannot currently sit for long periods of time without a great deal of pain, my employer has been kind enough to let me work from home.  I set up what I call my "Command Center" complete with 2 laptops and pillow paper holders.  It's pretty awesome.

There are some serious advantages to working from home.  Let's see, there's the 24-hour pajama marathon (which is, by far, the primo benefit), not wearing makeup, avoidance of work-place jerks, very short commute.  I could, most certainly, get used to this.  

So that was pretty much my week.  Let's breeze on into the weekend, shall we?

 Mr. L & I decided to have a few peeps over for a Mexican feast.  We spent Saturday prepping the grub, which included making homemade tortillas (super easy & really good--recipe here),

 jalapeno cheese corn muffins,

homemade salsa (which we canned, too)

and lemon cakes. 

 Everyone made soft tacos and headed out to our porch.  It was a great evening.  We even had a little entertainment when a black cat appeared in my driveway.  A black cat that looked exactly like the cute specimen in the photo below.  Turns out it was a false sweet little cat was inside.....jus' chillin'.

Our Sunday has been super mellow.  You know, stripping the beds, extracting the cat from the bedsheets, turning around for a second, re-extracting the cat from the bedsheets, etc.

We topped off the weekend with grilled pizza.  I saw the idea on, you guessed it, Pinterest, and decided to try it.  Don't laugh at me for the poor little triangle shaped pizzas...turns out, triangle shaped pizzas taste just as good as round ones.  Who knew?

Luckily for this little lady, I have a nerve block coming up on Thursday.  I am super, crazy excited about this one.  If successful, I can stop taking all of this crappy medication and return to my normal, pain-free life.  Though I will have to surrender my all-day pajama parties, I'm ready for my spinal nerves be friends with me again.  Keeping my fingers crossed...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Totally Baked

My Hip Oven -"The Flair"
I got totally baked this mean I got totally into baking this weekend. Mr. L was out of town, so I immersed myself into flour, sugar, and loud off-key singing. Baking has been my passion of late, so it was great fun to get lost in the process for a while.
Banana Chocolate Honey Mini Cupcakes
 These little guys above will be dressed up with a cream cheese honey frosting and served to my co-workers.  They are great because both the cupcake and the icing aren't teeth-achingly sweet.  Subtle, sophisticated and not severely guilt inducing.  You can get the recipe here at Baking Obsession.

Rustic Italian Bread
 Above are the loaves of rustic Italian bread, aka 28-hour bread.  Though it takes the better part of a decade to make, the chewy texture and delicious taste make it totally worth it.  Yum, yum, and yum.

Homemade Pita Bread
This is my first ever batch of homemade pita bread.  Soft, supple, and full of flavor, this bread will prevent me from ever buying that cardboard they sell in the grocery store.  It's really easy and would be a great project for beginning bakers.  I found this great recipe and tutorial here at The Fresh Loaf.

Well, now that I updated you on my carbohydrate filled weekend, I guess I will go and stuff my face with homemade deliciousness.  Peace.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Scenes From A Saturday Morning

one sleepy black cat on a quilt of pink and green...

resting near a bedside of fluid & caffeine...

pinning some pins on the web for a while...

then crafting with papers, stamps, tape and a smile...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I've Sprung A Leak

 (a view from my bed of my cat's fav-o-rite place to perch)

Well, I can check "getting a spinal headache" off of my to-do list.  When I left you last, I had the spinal tap myelogram. To prevent getting a spinal headache, I was instructed to go home, have a rest, drink lots of caffeine, and keep my head elevated.  Check, check, check, and check.  Despite all of my efforts, I did indeed develop a whopping head banger over the past few days.  It appears that I developed a slow leak of spinal fluid and my brain, which is supposed to be floating, was being pulled downwards from a lack of fluid.

Today, I was scheduled for a spinal nerve block to help with the back pain, but when I arrived at the surgery center with an ice pack on my head and tears running down my face, they knew I had a bigger fish to fry.  They scratched the nerve block and decided to do a blood patch to stop the headache instead.  Sounds lovely, doesn't it?  A blood patch...yech.  

 (ye old hospital bracelets)

The good news is that the patch worked and I now longer want to jump off of a bridge to end it all while simultaneously tossing my cookies.  The past few days have been horrible.  Lots of bed rest, but not the fun was more the miserable kind where you just don't want to exist.

The worst part is that they could have fixed this much earlier if I would have put two and two together,  I thought I was having a weird sinus-y migraine-ish headache.  Duh, I should have known better.

(the view I have been staring at for days and days...and days)

Anyway, we did find out that I don't have any hardware problems or any other disc issues in my back.  They don't really know why, but my nerve root is inflamed.  It could be infection, or a reaction to the titanium in the hardware, or some other mysterious inflammatory response.  

Regardless, the treatment is the same, a nerve block to stop inflammation and a prescription for Lyrica, which should make my nerves less sensitive.  (side note, every time I take my Lyrica, I imagine that a really mean lady drill sergeant named Lyrica Jones is traveling to my nerve roots and yelling things like "toughen up you sissy babies," and "hey nerves, I've met tougher 2-year-olds than you!" to make them less sensitive.  In my head, she kind of looks like Neicy Nash on Reno 911 or a female Mr. T.)

(the ridiculous number of prescriptions that make me feel like a geriatric) 

 Anyway, I have 24+ more hours of bed rest to make sure I don't mess up this blood patch.  At least this bed rest won't be filled with ice packs on my head and moaning from pain.  I can't believe I would even complain about bed rest, because I am a lover of both bed and rest, but I guess too much of even the good stuff gets burdensome after awhile.

I hope that my posts next week do not include the following words: pain, vomiting, migraine-ish, headache, tears, or blood.  I'm not making any promises, but I remain tirelessly optimistic.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Day at St. V's

So, my day started out with a spinal tap.  And you thought your Monday morning was bad...

Actually, the spinal tap/myelogram/CT scan were all a breeze.  I was a little anxious beforehand, but this wasn't my first rodeo, so my nerves weren't too frazzled.  The spinal tap portion is the scariest, but it wasn't all that bad after they inject the numbing medicine.  After that, they insert a catheter and inject the contrast dye.  The worst part was when the doctor said, "You might feel some spinal fluid dripping on your back...AND I DID.  Double gross out!!

The best part was that the doctor called my "skinny" and "tiny."  Score!  I've worked pretty hard the past few months to shed the post-surgery-yes-I'll-have-another-cupcake weight, so it was music to my ears to be called small. 

 (Mr. L patiently waiting...)

The bestest, bestest part is that I was instructed to go home, get in bed, and not to get out of bed unless I need to go to the bathroom.  Not a problem, doc, I've got this covered.  My plan for the day includes: 1) wearing super comfy jam jams all day, 2) watching True Blood (thanks Davio & Al!), 3) eating snacks located conveniently at my bedside, and 4) spending time with a super cuddly kitty cat.  Done & done.

(me waiting patiently and reading about making French baguettes)

We'll find out the results of the tests tomorrow, and I am hoping that they can find the problem and tell me what the (hopefully super-easy) fix is.  I just hope they find something; my biggest fear is that they don't see anything.  Though I don't wish for problems, you can't fix something you can't find.  I pray it's just a little loose screw and they can go in and remove it.  I'll be heartbroken if it's something that would require re-fusing or something impossible to fix.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, please.  Prayers are welcome, too.

I'll post an update tomorrow, but now I must get back to's orders.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Did Someone Say Rosemary Focaccia Bread?

As stated in my last post, I have been super inspired to bake these days. Yesterday, I hit the baking jackpot with this amazing focaccia bread recipe.  What's the secret to great focaccia bread?  Adding riced potato to the dough!  I know, who would have thunk it???

In the interest of sharing great secrets, I'll reveal the source of all of my baking secrets/the best book ever written (The Bible being one notable exclusion):

This book has lead me to the baking promise land.  Amazing pizza dough, a wonderful Italian rustic bread, and now this great focaccia bread have all been turned out from my humble kitchen thanks to this book.  If you love to bake and you're curious about the science of baking (but not interested in totally geeking out) you need this book.  So, slap it on your Christmas list, friends; it's a keeper.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


 "I feel like doing something fun and creative-ish"

 "But what could I do?"

"Wait a's coming to me..."

 "By jove, I think I've got it! I'll start blogging again!"

Maybe it's the massive painkillers I'm taking right now or maybe the cosmic alignment is at fault, but I am inspired to blog.  Jeepers, it's been a while.  (Notice, no apologies are being made for my absence.  I ain't sorry 'bout nothin)

When I left the blogosophere many moons ago, I was about to have spine surgery.  I did undergo a spinal fusion in late October, and while the recovery was about as fun-filled as getting a pap smear, the results have been incredible.  After 3 months of recovery time, I had 3 months of pain-free bliss.  I suffered back pain for 8 years (EIGHT YEARS!!!!) prior to the surgery, so being without pain was like being released from prison.

We've hit a slight bump in the road and I've been having some nerve pain over the past couple of weeks (hence the painkiller reference above--no, I am not "using" for fun).  I've been to see the neurosurgeon that performed my fusion and he promised me that we will get to the bottom of this.  I am undergoing a spinal tap myelogram on Monday so he can see what's happening in my spine. I am remaining optimistic and I feel like I will be tip top in the near future.

Anyways, other than the back stuff, life is really, really, really great.  Mr. L & I celebrated our first anniversary (we got kicked out of a public park and had a terrible gas station slurpee--story for another post), we grew an herb garden, jobs are good, our kitty cat is still adorable.  Oh, and my once flourishing cookie business flourished a little too much, so we had to close up shop for a while.  It was a little too tough to work full time and bake full time, but we may bring it back to life someday.

 (Our herb garden)

Lately, I've been really into baking for fun, so I'm sure I'll share a few baking adventures with my blog.  In fact, my rosemary focaccia bread is almost finished rising, so I'll close for now.  Glad to be back, blog.

p.s. painkillers + typing/focusing on coherent writing = possible bad idea