Had to have an MRI this week for a neck injury I’ve been dealing with. Apparently getting on the rowing machine at the gym before I got my shape in shape wasn’t a stellar idea. Would have been nice if someone actually employed by the gym had brought this to my attention. Guess they were too busy walking around looking perfect to think of mentioning it. Funny, I would have thought many of the other machines of torture would have taken me down before rowing. Perhaps it’s because of all of the miserable contraptions available at my local gym I found rowing the most comforting and did it more often. There you go. Exercise can be bad for you. Secretly I’ve always believed this to be true.
With all the advances made in technology over the past few decades you’d think someone would have come up with an MRI technique that does not sound like you’re standing next to a jet preparing for take off. First they put your head in a vice. Next they push you inside a tube. Once you are in there, for twenty minutes they bombard your senses with a variety of noises equal to or at times surpassing a jack hammer tearing at a block of cement. Before I went in they asked me if I was claustrophobic. I pointed to the “x” I’d placed next to yes to that question on the form I’d filled out. Satisfied with my answer, I disappeared into the great abyss with the question remaining on my mind, “why did they ask me that in the first place, if I still find myself in here?”. Picture yourself as a bullet being chambered, then pull the trigger and you can virtually experience this with me as I write.
I did not open my eyes. Should you have to have this procedure and suffer from any form of claustrophobia or panic attacks might I encourage you take them up on the offer of a Valium prior to the procedure or at the very least accept the sleep mask when suggested. Being of a “tough it out” nature myself, both ideas were something I regretted passing on about half way through the imaging. When feeling a bit panicky, I revisited my trip to Paris with Rick in 2002. For ten minutes we strolled through the glorious gardens near Rick’s mother’s home inhaling the intoxicating mingling of aromas from the prolific flowers planted everywhere you rested your eyes. Done with my walk in the park, I revisited Versailles recalling clearly in my mind’s eye the huge expanse of grass and water leading up towards the ornate castle resting atop the hill. Leaving France regretfully, I then sat alone on a deserted beach. Digging my toes into the damp sand the soft rush of waves washing close to my feet brought calm and peace to my tortured mind. Overhead gulls circled calling loudly to one another as they searched for a meal. Salt air and rotting seaweed smells filled my nostrils. Lovely how the mind can take you on a journey you’ve taken before with so little effort and no long lines or endless plane rides. Abruptly the session along with the incessant banging ended and I was ejected like a clown shooting out of a circus cannon back into the real world.
Rick, bless his heart, got up with the chickens to go with me to my very early appointment. Being a creature of the night, he finds the early morning hours a brutal place to spend any amount of time in with your eyes open. I left him in the waiting room while I took my test and returned to find him doing a jigsaw puzzle with another man waiting for somebody or other. We couldn’t leave until Rick finished the tail on the cat. Really? Standing up he nearly collapsed on the floor. Seated in an awkward position for a half an hour his legs had decided to take a siesta and were as useless as a wooden spoon at a bonfire. Again we sat, and Rick completed the body of the cat before we got up and went out the door. Another challenge met and answered. Life is good.
To continue along the hospital vein (sorry for the pun), I got news from my prescription coverage my inhaler was now going to cost me $164.00 a month after the insurance company’s contribution. Good Lord. If my asthma wasn’t already in place that would be enough to keep me from taking a breath. I asked if there was an equitable substitution that was less money. The women I was speaking to suggested I get a recommendation from my doctor. Being obedient, I placed a call to my primary care doctor. While on the phone with her she informed me she is retiring at sixty-two. Frustrated with insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession in general she feels she can no longer provide needed health care for her patients. Hello? Wishing her well I asked if she might have a solution to my inhaler situation. She suggested I call my insurance company and ask them for a suitable replacement. Thank you for that sageiant advice. Sigh.
My days, to say least are always interesting. It’s not that I’m doing anything wildly interesting in particular, but whatever I’m doing always seem to take on a life of its own. Perhaps its the writer in me that I tend to observe all the nuances of my day, but somehow I find something to write about as evident by this blog several times a week. You’re probably shaking your heads and thinking, “Susie this really is not that interesting.” Thanks anyway for continuing to show up and sign on. Writing and cooking are my passions so it is nice to have a venue to share them with other people with like passions or interests.
Before we owned the restaurant I worked for a newspaper. During the three years I worked there my job was not writing. Ironically, however, when in the restaurant business I wrote a weekly column in the same newspaper with recipes and stories that continued on three years after I no longer worked in the office. I guess I’ll always write. If you’re reading this I’m glad to see you here. Thanks for continuing to show up and sign on as I meander about this and that. I hope you enjoy the recipes I post. For me being in the kitchen is therapy for my soul.
I love pears. Bags have them are disappearing from our fruit bowl as we get deeper into fall. This salad so beautiful on the table is refreshingly delicious.
Pear and Golden Beet Salad with Pear Vinaigrette
2 pears, halved and sliced thin
2 golden beets, cooked and sliced
3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
4 large mushrooms, sliced thin
Goat cheese (optional)
Beginning with your greens plate salad attractively. Serve with vinaigrette.
For the Beets
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Wash beets well. Trim off ends. Wrap loosely in tin foil. Place on cookie sheet and bake until tender, about 60 mins. Allow to cool slightly and use knife to remove skin. Slice and serve.
For the candied pecans
1 3/4 cups pecan halves
1/4 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. butter
salt (to taste)
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
To caramelize pecans:
Melt butter in non-stick skillet. Add sugar, pecans, cayenne, and garlic powder. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, on med-low until sugar begins to melt and stick to bottom of the pan (4-5 mins).
Lower heat to low and continue stirring constantly until sugar liquifies and pecans are fully coated – 3-4 mins.
Remove immediately from heat and spread on foil lined cookie sheet to cool. Sprinkle with salt as desired.
1 large ripe pear, peeled and cored and cut in chunks
Juice of one small lemon
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup pear vinegar
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place pear and lemon juice in blender and puree until smooth. Add sugar, salt and pepper. Add vinegar and blend well. With the blender running, drizzle in the oils until you have a nice, thick well blended dressing.
Shake well before using.