Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry Bars with White Chocolate and Almonds

Delicious and easy!! If you are fan of chocolate and raspberry you will love these, but very rich!

2/3 C raspberry jam
1 box brownie mix
3 eggs
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/4 C water
3/4 C white chocolate chips, melted
(can adjust the amount, depending on how much you want)
1/2 C chopped salted almonds (unsalted works fine too)

Position a baking rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, blend together the brownie mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and water. Pour the batter into the prepare pan. In a small saucepan, stir the jam constantly over low heat until pourable. Spoon the jam over the top of the brownie batter. Bake for 27- 30 minutes or until a toothpick insterted about 1-inch from the edge of the pan comes out clean. Drizzle or spread the melted white chocolate and sprinkle with almonds. Cut into bars. Enjoy!! ♥

You Can't Look Fat in an X-ray

Ever since my surgery in June I have had an enormous amount of doctor's visits, new doctors, and procedures. Frequent visits to my orthopedic surgeon for my knee, an Endocrinologist, Gynecologist, Physical Therapist, Optometrist, and Acupuncturist; had way too many x-rays and MRIs within the past 9 1/2 months, blood draws, a 24-hour urine collection analysis (so much fun...NOT), an ultrasound, cortisone injections, bone density scan, various medications, and a manipulation to break up the scar tissue in my knee and force it to bend.

March 10th I had an appointment with my orthopedist to address my back and hip pain, and check the progress with my knee. Before the appointment radiology took somewhere between 15 and 20 x-rays - I lost count between being mesmerized by the fancy new x-ray machine and being told the position I was in was called the "frog lateral" as my knees were bent and pointed outward like a frog. As I waited in the room for the doctor, I looked at my films on the computer. The only thing I could think of was the episode of Friends where Rachel has to go to the ER for x-rays on her injured rib, and as Rachel and Ross came home from the hospital she says, "alright well you would tell me the truth right?" Ross: "Rachel, you cannot look fat in an x-ray!" I laughed as I tried to decipher anything I could from the pictures of my insides. The funny thing is that you can look fat in an x-ray in my opinion. The news: my knee was the same, unsure of the cause of back pain, and may have the osteonecrosis in my right hip.

For a month, I have been suffering from horrible lower back pain, with no explanation as to its source. Today I saw yet another doctor, a physiatrist specializing in the spine. A general exam revealed the possibility of either a herniated disk, or a problem with my facet joints (joints on each vertebra). The pain I have in the spine also causes the muscles in back to tense up and spasm, elevating the pain level.

Next up is another MRI on Monday, which will last an hour and a half! It will be that long because it is for my hip and back. But lying flat on a bed is painful - forget a metal table with a sheet on it! Yikes. In the meantime I have a muscle relaxer and anti-inflammatory, and go back to see my orthopedist and the phsyiatrist after the MRI.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I miss Kelly. Kelbear. Kelly Sue.

We look pretty funny with those headbands but I really like this picture. We both look so genuinely happy, and seeing her was one of the major highlights of my trip to San Francisco. Cheers friend! :)

Back to The City

The first of my friends from San Francisco got married March 7th. I flew north Thursday, March 5th and was there until Monday, March 9th. Brittany, Kelly, Kasey and April are the girls I met Freshman year at SFSU. We have been friends ever since, and this was the first time we have all been together in a few years. I stayed in the old apartment I lived for two years, on the same side of my old room, in a different bed with different stuff everywhere. The only familiar and comfortable part was Kelly sleeping on her side. It was a very weird feeling.

Thursday night around 10 pm Kelly, Monica and I were the only ones home, Kasey left to meet April at the airport, who was coming from NY. Someone started banging on the front door of the apartment building, which is directly below the living room. It continued for the next 10 minutes - a man yelling and screaming, which turned into crying, while relentlessly pounding on the door, then something hit the front window. The building has been broken into a few times (before we lived there) so we were too afraid to look out the window or ask who was down there. Monica called the police. After a few minutes of listening to him fight with them, calling them idiots and cussing them out we realized it was the crazy upstairs neighbor,
Zeo. Yes, Zeo...who has been arrested a few times, gets into domestic disputes with his boyfriend at crazy hours, and crashed his truck into the garage door while driving drunk (in the middle of the day), leading to the complete absence of a garage door for three days. They finally believed that he lived in the building and had locked himself out - and we did not feel bad about it.

Friday night we all went out to a bar in the mission district. My knee and back were killing me from walking all day, so I sat down at a table. I had my crutch with me and a guy I did not know came up to me and asked if I had a peg leg. I told him I was sorry to disappoint him, but that no, I did not. He said he had to make sure and proceeded to feel both my feet with his hands. I was so caught off guard that I just played along. Next, in response to asking why I had the crutch, I spun an elaborate lie about getting hit by a car downtown. It was not my intention for it to be such a long conversation, but he was insistent. This is the conversation that ensued: "GUY: where did it happen? ME: I can't remember. GUY: How do you not remember? Were you knocked unconscious? ME: Ya I was, but I think it was somewhere around 3rd or 4th and Market. GUY: 3rd or 4th and Market? Do you work down there? ME: No. GUY: What were you doing down there? ME: Shopping. GUY: How did it happen? ME: I was walking across the street and someone ran a red light and hit me. GUY: Oh so you totally had the right of was not your fault? ME: Ya it was the driver's fault. GUY: Did he hit anyone else? ME: No...there were other people in the crosswalk, but I was just the lucky one. GUY: Wow that is crazy!! Well, this is the most important question...did you leave a mark on the windshield?" Finally I got away from him and had a good laugh. But it was a pretty small bar and ran into him a few times. He would point me to me and say "Hey!! Be careful." I've become pretty skilled at fabricating lies in response to the "why are you on crutches" question.

Saturday was the wedding, the ceremony at a church in Dublin and reception in a Veteran's Memorial Hall in Pleasanton. We left San Francisco on time, but got completely lost. Apparently there are two streets with the same name near each other and we of course took the wrong one, ending up in a residential area 10 miles west. April and I both quell the initial panic with "oh no problem... no need to worry, we can just use our phones to find the way." This however did nothing more than to make snobs out of us. The overconfidence in our (I'll say it) toys only getting us more confused as we both barked out conflicting directions. Meanwhile, 20 minutes remained until the start time and the stress level in the car was palpable. We pulled over asking people if they knew where the church was located, no one could help. April called 411 for directions, which were also wrong - The agent told us to make a right instead of left off the freeway, costing us even more time. We finally arrived at 2:00 - the ceremony was supposed to start at 1:30 and we were sure we missed the entire thing. They all ran from the car to the church with me trying to quickly hobble behind. Luckily it started late and we missed the first 5 or 10 minutes, not seeing them walk down the aisle or hearing his vows.

Kasey, Kelly, Brittany, me, April
Sunday morning we went to my favorite brunch place in San Francisco, Mama's. It is right in the heart of North Beach next to Washington Square, down the hill from Coit Tower. It is so popular and so small that you have to wait in line to get inside. After an hour (pretty standard), we finally got in and it was worth every minute of standing in line. Incredible omelets, homemade jams and baked goods, the best French toast I have ever had, friendly staff, with a warm and cheery ambiance. Below is the chocolate French toast with fresh berries. It was a gorgeous day and there was even an art show in Washington Square Park. It was an exhausting but fun weekend, and visiting San Francisco is like seeing an old friend, welcoming me with open arms, my home away from home.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I have always loved that each leaf of the shamrock is shaped like a heart. I remember being taught to draw a four-leaf clover in elementary school, drawing four connecting hearts with a stem. They grew like crazy on and near the playgrounds, and my friends and I would frequently search for the lucky four-leaf version.

When I was in third or fourth grade, my friend Hillary and I decided to go leprachaun hunting on St. Patrick's Day. We each carried a Trader Joe's shopping bag and wandered around the neighborhood looking in bushes and behind trees. We were determined to find one, bag him up, and force him to hand over his pot of gold.

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Let's laugh

Waking up in the recovery room after my knee surgeries, everything foggy, barely able to move, barely able to formulate thoughts due to the drugs and the anesthesia wearing off, barely able to formulate words after the breathing tube down my throat, nursing staff bustling around, medical equipment making annoying noises, trying to open my eyes long enough to see which family member is there to comfort me. One of the first requests I can remember making besides more pain medication, is asking the nurses to tell me a joke. I always crave a distraction, something to make me laugh and smile even if only for a brief moment. Some nurses would be completely unoblidging, but I actually had one who called her boyfriend on the phone just to ask him for a few jokes, and then wrote them down for me to keep in my hospital room.

As a kid, anytime I would get upset and cry in front of my mom, she always knew how to make me smile, no matter how upset I was. She would hug me and say "you are getting your eye water on me." Without fail, this would always make me laugh.

The last few days have been miserable due to this new back pain. Nothing makes it better, I have not been getting only a few hours of sleep per night, and I am worried about leaving for San Francisco this weekend while I am still in so much pain. I was watching Two and a Half Men tonight and Jake told this joke:

"If girls with big boobs work at hooters, where do girls with only one leg work?

So, in the spirit of making light of dark situations, the next time you are having a bad day, or you need to be cheered up, or you are in pain, ask someone to tell you a joke. No matter how cheesy it is, I promise it will make you smile.

P.S. does anyone know any jokes? Post some on my comments :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Show Me Your Bones

My mind is going crazy...overflowing really. I am not capable of writing out a full post, so here is what I'm thinking about el segundo dia del marzo:

  • My back is causing me excruciating pain. Starting last week my lower back has been absolutely killing me. Nothing makes it feel, TENS unit, any position, walking, sitting, driving, and lately pain pills make me so sick it is not worth it.
  • If you have not heard of Kina Grannis you should check her out. I can't get enough of this song My Time With You, but I love all her other songs as well. "Message From Your Heart" is the song she got recognized with, and instantly reminds me of San Francisco...where I heard it first, and oddly enough it was during the time I was taking anatomy.
  • Fun fact: today is the birthday of Theodore Geisel, or Dr. Seuss. He would be 105 today.
  • Even though I am not leaving for San Francisco until Thursday, I am feeling really anxious and totally unprepared about the trip.
  • Can I mention my back again? That is pretty much dominating my thoughts.
  • I made fish tacos last night and they turned out great...very easy to make. I got the recipe from Real Simple, but added a few things. I added fresh cilantro, hot sauce, and mango-papaya salsa.
  • I can't wait for the season finale of The Bachelor tonight. One of my guilty pleasures.
  • Saturday Brent and I had brunch with his friends in Long Beach at a crepe restaurant. I have not had one in a long time but forgot how delicious they are!

I can't think anymore. That's all for now...hope it was a tolerable Monday.

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