Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lemon Sugar Cookies


1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tbsp. grated lemon peel
1/4 cup freshly squeeze lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and all the remaining ingredients until combine. If dough is not firm enough, chill 1 hour.

2. Place the 1/4 cup remaining sugar on a plate and set aside. Form the cookies into 1 inch balls, roll each in sugar and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

3. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool 2 minutes and remove from cookie sheet.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Animal Power

As our huntress loves the small furry ones, Here's some videos to help her smile.

There's a bunch of the tiger at different ages. All so cute!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Daily activities April 11-24

Got behind again on posting the daily activities, bah.

Spent a last few hours with Alys and Chris before taking them to airport - 20 XP
Rested and went to bed early - 15 XP

Six hours of doctor's appointments (not kidding) - 60 XP
Rested - 15 XP
Picked up dog from daycare - 2 XP

One hour doctor's appointment - 10 XP
Rested and watched Dexter (mission) - 30 XP

One hour doctor's appointment - 10 XP
Rested and watched Dexter (mission) - 30 XP
Blog post (mission) - 50 XP
Filed taxes - 15 XP

One hour doctor's appointment - 10 XP
Took a nap - 15 XP
Sought help from a friend to run errand/do chores - 15 XP
Gamed with friends (power up!) - 25 XP

Blog post (mission) - 50 XP
Thanked people for their support - 5 XP
Rested and watched recommended movies/TV shows (mission) - 30 XP

Went to a movie with a friend (power up!) - 25 XP
Ran errands - 15 XP
Watched movies at home and rested - 25 XP
Did dishes and cleaned up a little bit - 10 XP

Two hours of doctor's appointments - 20 XP
Took dog to daycare - 2 XP
Ran errands - 15 XP
Rested and watched Dexter (mission) - 30 XP
Played cello - 10 XP

Two hours of doctor's appointments - 20 XP
Spent time with Matt (power up!) - 25 XP
Went to Home Depot for our yearly ritual of plant buying - 25 XP
Rested and watched Dexter - 15 XP

Slept in and rested - 10 XP
Watched Dexter (mission) - 20 XP
Played Scrabble with Matt - 25 XP
Had a really good day - 25 XP

Good day

I still spent all day in my pajamas and didn't do much, but today was a really good day.

I felt good. I didn't have any pain.  I was alert and talkative and generally felt like myself, only touched with a little bit of tiredness.  Best of all, the surgeon told me yesterday that I could start working normal foods into my diet again, so I had cereal for breakfast and tasty French bread sandwiches for dinner.

Do you have any idea how long it's been since I've eaten cereal? This feels like a freaking epic victory!

It's all about those little things that make one start to feel like herself again.  Tomorrow, Matt's coming home early, and I'm really hoping to start walking or perhaps even a bike ride.  I also want to try some of the yoga exercises sent to me by the awesome @eowynridesagain.

I still need a lot of sleep and tire pretty easily, but I'm not going to let that overshadow how good I felt today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thoughts on limitations

Matt came home somewhat unexpectedly very early this morning (at like 4:30am)! This is great news for me, because I was really getting worn down trying to manage the daily household activities without him.  I have a really hard time just doing everyday things, like washing the dishes and cooking.  These simple activities exhaust me so much, and with having to go to the doctor nearly every damn day last week, I was quickly getting burnt out.  My new antibiotics have to infuse for 1.5-2 hours twice a day, which means during that time I'm attached to a flipping IV.  It's very frustrating for me, because it gets in the way of everything that I do.   For example, I was trying to load the dishwasher Sunday, and caught the IV tube on the corner of the oven door.  I ripped the foam tape that anchors the PICC line to my arm, but thankfully didn't pull the PICC out.  It didn't really hurt, but it frustrated me so much that I started crying, and then my dog was all like, "WHAT'S WRONG MOM?? BELLA FIX IT!!"

I'll admit the cuteness factor of the dog helped me pull myself together.

It's those little things - the limitations I face on activities I wouldn't give a second thought to prior to all this.  I bought kitty litter at Target, but had to have one of the employees put it in my car for me since I can't lift more than 10 lbs on my right arm, and I couldn't lift the 40 lb box with my left hand alone.  Then I got home and realized I had no way to get the litter out of the trunk of my car.

I had to ask a friend to help me empty my trash and to take me to buy Bella's dog food.

While I know my friends don't mind doing these things, I still find it intensely embarrassing to ask.  I mean, it's my house and my trash and my dog, why should someone else be doing these things for me? This is the part that I think most people without chronic illness find difficult to understand.  Healthy and able friends and family are happy to help, so why is it so embarrassing and hard to ask them for that assistance? I can't explain it myself, only that it sort of re-intensifies the illness.

Because you're sick, you can't take out your trash.

Because you're sick, you give a long and probably unnecessary explanation to the Target clerk about why you need help out to your car, because you know you look fine and you fear judgment.

Because you're sick, you wonder if people will ever get sick of you and your constant need for help.

Because you're sick, you feel a loss of independence and self-sufficiency.

Running into these limitations makes the illness somehow worse, because you remember what it was like to not have to think about how to get kitty litter out of your trunk.  I feel like this post turned out more depressing than I planned, but this is probably the absolute worst part of illness for me.  I can deal with the pain and the nausea and the exhaustion and the turning of my counter into a small pharmacy.  It's harder to deal with feeling like I can't do things I want to do, or that I can't accomplish the small errands needed in my household.  I've battled against limitations since I was diagnosed with Crohn's in 2004, and I still refuse to let disease dictate my life - but it's getting harder and harder to do that.  That's also where SuperBetter helps me the most.  I don't feel guilty asking you to play a game, and people volunteer for missions, so I don't feel like I'm asking too much.  Many times, you all also see better than I do what I need to get better.  It helps me push back against those frustrations.

I watched this TED talk the day before I had surgery.  I found this statement to be the most powerful: "We have to stop letting disease divorce us from our dreams." I wholeheartedly believe this; now it's time for me to stop letting disease cause me such distress over little things as well.

Monday, April 18, 2011

New Week, New Missions

Right. Let's Do This.

Hope everyone is well and ready for another week of kicking ass (what with the bubble gum shortage, what other option is there?). Let's get into this week missions:

Batman has Robin, the Green Hornet has Kato. Who's beside you when you're out there fighting? Sidekicks don't always get the glory, but they make life a better place just by being there. Tell us about your sidekicks and what talents they have. 50 points per post. 500 points if you post a picture of your sidekick in their costume.

Was it Gross?
Remembering that we're looking for soft foods, offer a recipe and a review of that recipe. It doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't even have to be new - if you have a favorite comfort food and would like to share, please do. 50 points for each recipe, 150 points for each recipe that includes your review.

Additional Additions
I really liked the suggestion of adding a decent tasting protein powder to smoothies and I'd like to hear any other tips anyone has to make a meal or recipe more nutritious. The Huntress needs all the extra energy she can get. What do you suggest? 25 points per suggestion.

Seriously, People
We had some funny stuff posted last week, but I bet there might be one or two more items out there worth a look. This is the Internet people, and wasting time on funny stuff is what it's all about (well, it's what we're all about since this isn't one of those "You must be 18 years or older to enter" sites). 25 points per post.

Too Cute for Words
Spending time with the smaller members of the pack makes everyone feel better. It makes them feel special and it helps us get our minds off of our problems. Teach your little one a new trick this week. Could be basic obedience stuff like sit or stay, or maybe something a little flashier like shaking paws. If your pet's a little more advanced, now might be a good time to introduce Calculus. 15 points for every half hour spent learning a new task with your little one (doesn't have to be a furry, four legged little one, either). 25 points for a cute picture, 50 points if it's a cute picture of them performing the new task. 200 points for video of the new trick.

Huntress, we continue to need you to use the red phone and let us know what's going on in the world. Did you watch something you really liked? Tell us why and we'll try to find you more like it. Did you eat something that tasted yummy? What did you like about it? We'll try to get you similar recipes. If we find exercises for you, do they work? Did you do them? Please let us know what's helpful and what's working for you. I challenge you to post something here every day, even if it's just to check in and let us know how you're doing. 25 points per post.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Optimal Optimism: Addendum

I forgot to add one thing.

Although I'm not able to take Bella for long walks, I still try to take her for out for about 30 minutes a day, if I'm able.  This is good for her, and it's good for me - studies have shown that just getting outside for a few minutes can boost emotional health.  Today I walked her slowly up the street from my apartment, letting her sniff and explore.  It was the kind of day I love: early spring, comfortably cool, a slight breeze picking up the scent of blooming flowers.  The trees carried pink and white blossoms, the grass is greening, and I can feel spring and summer coming close, carrying all the things I love, like camping, biking, mountain adventures, and good times with friends.  It was a great pick-me-up, and I'm glad I walked slowly and let my senses take it all in, instead of pushing myself to walk fast and keep my heartrate up.  Sometimes it's nice to just walk, and really enjoy it, instead of worrying about what kind of cardio workout I'm getting.

Mission for Allies: Movement is Life

Prior to my scourge of illnesses, I exercised almost daily: biking, hiking, running, swimming.  I'm banned from some of those activities now, due to the PICC line, but the weather is starting to turn nice here, and I'd like to start gently restarting my exercise. 

I used to do yoga for 30 minutes every morning, centered primarily on repetitions of Sun Salutation.  I can no longer do this routine, since I cannot support my weight on my PICC arm (for those unfamiliar with Sun Salutation, certain parts require you to do a push-up like position, and that's a no-no.) 

Mission: Movement is Life: Help me find other yoga asanas (poses) and routines that can take the place of Sun Salutation.  I don't remember many other poses, so I need something to fill the gap.  Remember - I cannot support my body weight on my right arm, but any other kind of movement is fine.

Additionally, if you run across any other exercise plans for those recovering from surgery or for the chronically ill, I'd love to see them! Right now my plan is just to start with modified versions of what I did before: shorter bike rides, walking instead of running, less vigorous hikes. 


Courtney's Mission: Optimal Optimism

I've been really remiss in posting and commenting here, but you Allies are doing such a fabulous job of keeping me upbeat! I truly appreciate all your help and support.

I also want to send a warm welcome to Alys, who has joined the game! Welcome, Alys, and thank you!

For Courtney's first mission, I was asked to do the following:

"You should let us know what all is keeping your spirits up, what has made you laugh, what is getting better and what you have been utilizing to maintain your spirit. Also let us know what has been hard, and what we or you can do to make it easier."

Really, my extremely wonderful friends have been keeping my spirits up.  It was a little tiring to have company right after my surgery, but I am also so incredibly glad that Alys and her beau Chris could come visit us.  It was a much needed break from the stress and strain of illness, and it's really impossible to feel badly when Alys is around, because she is so bubbly and funny.  Additionally, they brought horribly awesome movies (the kind that are so bad they're great), and I laughed so hard my damaged lungs either accelerated in healing to full expansion or were further traumatized, I'm not sure which.  

All the support messages I received has helped me to maintain my spirit as well, and just connecting with friends to talk about mundane stuff has made me feel like my life is getting back to normal.  As for what's getting better: my pain is greatly diminished, in both my arm and face; the swelling is almost gone; I'm able to eat progressively more human foods (I had pizza last night! Not the crust, but pizza nonetheless!); I feel less like I've been pummeled on by a professional boxer.  Some of the feeling is coming back to my face, which makes me very happy as well.  I'm still pretty tired, but I'm at a point where I don't know if that's because my body is recovering still or if I'm low energy due to lack of exercise.  When I start to feel bad emotionally, I reach out to my friends, I read posts on this blog, I read post on my Facebook wall and Twitter, and that reminds me that I am not alone, and I take encouragement from those words. 

The hardest thing has just been dealing with the everyday life stuff while Matt has been out of town.  It's really exhausting to me to keep up on laundry, dishes, walking the dog, taking care of the dog and cat, and cooking when he's not here (and makes me appreciate even more everything he does when he IS here, because Matt is my superhero.)  I feel guilty about not playing with the dog as much or taking her out for long walks like I used to do.  I feel bad because the house gets messy and I just don't have the stamina to clean.  Doug, who may also soon be joining the game, helped me take care of some household duties Friday, including taking out my trash and carrying Bella's dogfood into the house, since the PICC line prohibits me from lifting more than 10lbs on my right arm.  I felt embarrassed asking him to help, especially with the trash, because I feel like these are my responsibilities and I shouldn't be foisting them on other people.  That exemplifies the hardest thing for me: acknowledging that I am legitimately ill and injured and need help.  It's not that I think I can do everything by myself, but I just never feel like I'm so sick I should be asking people to do things like chores for me.  I have a constant fear of overextending my friends' goodwill or of asking too much, and that makes it really hard for me to reach out when I need help.  Similarly, it's hard for me to give myself permission to do nothing and rest.  Angela, the friend who originally linked me to SuperBetter, suggested making rest a goal, and I think that would work well for me.  My problem is, when I spend a day on the couch, I always have a voice in my head yelling at me for "wasting time" or being lazy -- even if I desperately need that rest.  It's like I always think I need to be doing something: cleaning, exercising, working on my designs or learning code, running errands, etc.  If I make it a goal, I'll instead feel like I'm accomplishing something instead of "doing nothing."

That's also why I really appreciated Courtney's other mission, to review movies and TV shows suggested to me last week.  It makes rest a mission and a goal - and Courtney knows me well enough to know this is how I have to approach it if I don't want to struggle with my Type A personality.  I couldn't find some of them on Netflix, but I did find Dexter, Pillars of the Earth, Penn & Teller, and a couple others.  I also found Tudors on streaming, which wasn't suggested to me but I have been wanting to watch.

Also, my cello teacher will be amused to know that the first question I asked the radiology team when they placed my PICC in my right arm is if I could still bow with it.  They said yes. :) I hope to start playing again soon, as my arm is finally not throbbing with pain.  I do feel like things are slowly but steadily improving, so let's just hope my bloodwork and films show the same thing on my bone.  I would like to start gently exercising next week, but for that, I need your help.  Mission for Allies in next post.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Boss Fight - Surviving the Surgery

I apologize for my silence, friends.  Last week, I prepared for a battle against a group of vampires.  I thought I was prepared - I'd armed myself, gathered my allies, and formed a strategy for attack.  But I didn't anticipate their numbers, or encountering a Master Vampire.  I'd only fought a Master once before, about six years ago, and he nearly destroyed me.  With the help of my allies, I managed to defeat those bastards and escape, if somewhat narrowly.  I spent three days recuperating, and I'm still not back to 100%.  In celebration of our victory, as soon as I was able to get on my feet, I took several days away with a few close allies.  We laughed and ate fine food, relishing our brief respite, for this battle may be won, but the war goes on...


Twitter post April 5: Battle time. My allies are gathered, & I even have a soundtrack.

Last Tuesday, April 5, was my surgery.  The plan was to go in and remove any unhealthy bone - as my surgeon described it, if the bone didn't bleed right, he was going to cut it out.  This was because both the surgeon and the infectious disease doctor believed the necrotic and diseased bone prevented the antibiotics from being delivered to the infected site, since there was no healthy bloodflow to those areas.  By removing anything that appeared unhealthy, we hope that this time the antibiotics can more easily reach the affected areas.  He removed a significant portion of my upper mandible, and another big part of my lower mandible.  I lost another tooth (bringing the total to four now) because there wasn't enough bone underneath it to hold it in place.  The jaw part of the surgery went well, but because I'm me, and can't do anything simply, there were other complications.

Soon after the anesthesiologist put me under, my lungs started having problems.  My oxygen levels dropped really low, and I went into tachycardia - the medical term for increased heart rate.  This happens when the heart is under distress, and can sometimes indicate imminent heart failure.  I didn't flatline or anything, but I significantly scared the surgeon and the anesthesiologist that they almost stopped the surgery.  They were able to stabilize me, and the surgeon made the decision to go ahead and operate and just try to get me out from under the anesthesia as quickly as possible.  When I woke up, I told them that my right arm hurt (which had nothing but an IV in it) and that I couldn't breathe.  Fearing that I had thrown another clot and was suffering a pulmonary embolism again, the surgeon and the OR team rushed me to have a CT of my chest.  The scan showed no embolism, but rather a condition called atelectasis - basically, my lungs had partially collapsed.  So I was placed on oxygen, and there was talk of putting me in the ICU.  In the end, they put me in the progressive care unit, which is for patients who are slightly better than those in the ICU but still in need of considerable monitoring and care.

As my dad said in response to me telling him all this, apparently I don't do anything halfway.  Including scaring the bejeesus out of my surgeon.  I'm told I'm medically famous now, as doctors warn each other about me and the weird stuff that seems to always happen to me.

I went through Tuesday night on pressurized oxygen, with my heart hooked up to a portable EKG, a pulseox monitor on my hand to monitor my oxygen levels, compression machines on my legs to mitigate the risk of further blood clots, and a new IV in my left arm - they had to pull the one in the right due to what we later discovered was, you guessed it, more blood clots.  Needless to say, it wasn't a very restful or comfortable night.  My throat was also really sore from the intubation tube.  The doctors came into tell me that my bloodwork showed low dispersion of oxygen in my blood and an elevated level of troponin, a protein secreted by the heart when it is under stress.  My levels weren't crazy high - I think the said the upper threshold of normal was like 5 or something, and people who are having a heart attack are at 20 or 30.  So it wasn't super severe, but given that I had no known heart conditions, the hospital wanted to keep me until they could ascertain that the distress in my heart and lungs was caused by the anesthesia and not something else.  Which I appreciate, because if I went home and felt sick, that's one thing, but if they sent me home with an underlying cardiac or pulmonary problem, well, that could end not so well for me.

Five million tests later (I'm sure this is an exaggeration, but this is what it felt like), including an ultrasound of both my arms before placing a PICC line to ensure there were no major clots in my large veins, I was told the doctors were satisfied with the test results and would be letting me go.  I did have another PICC placed, as I'm back on a super ridiculous IV "antibiotic of last resort" called vancomycin, which had to be placed in my right arm.  The brachial vein in my right arm is apparently FAR larger than the one in my left - this means that it was much, much easier to place the PICC this time, and a lot less painful.  It also means that I can't lift anything heavier than 10lbs with my right hand, which is my dominant side, which is kind of inconvenient and annoying, but c'est la vie.

The doctors discharged me late Thursday afternoon, after which I accompanied Matt, while doped up on liquid Vicodin (it tastes like 99 Bananas, I swear - and as Matt said, that's not a good way to discourage drug addiction, haha), to the airport to pick up two friends who were visiting.  I was really anxious about not being able to be a good hostess and show them a good time due to being Swelly McSurgeryFace, but the weekend went extremely well.  I had a ton of fun, and probably wore myself out a little too much, but it was well worth it.  I'm still off work for a few weeks, so I can catch up on rest during that time - being with friends is incredibly energizing for me, even when it tires me out.  It makes me feel hopeful and strong and unconquerable, because I have such a large number of fantastic people pulling for me.  The posts on my Facebook wall and Twitter, the texts, the emails sent to me by so many people -- I honestly feel like I wouldn't have come out of that surgery as well as I did without all these wonderful people from across the world spending a few moments to send prayers, good vibes, and meditative thoughts my way.

Additionally, this game really helped too.  The mission from Erin to list positive outcomes from the surgery helped me to not be so anxious and worried during pre-op.  I brought up the list on my Blackberry and just kept looking at it when I would start to think bad thoughts.  I told the nurses about SuperBetter, and they all thought it was a fabulous idea.  Several commented that they thought it could really help other patients.  Maybe when I'm well, I can try to set up some kind of program for patients at the hospital.

The missions from last week and this week, the achievements - all of these help me to not feel alone, to find ways to defeat my "bad guys" (some of which I am still discovering), and to not feel like a lazy bum when my Type A side starts wailing that I'm not being active enough.  I am so incredibly glad to have had this in place before the surgery, and to help me with my recovery.

Overall, I'm okay.  My face is still partially numb, because the surgeon had to move my nerve to operate on the bone and thus bruised it slightly.  The numbness should be temporary, and I already am feeling pins and needles in the area.  I'm mostly just really exhausted.  I'm working on giving myself permission to do nothing and rest without feeling guilty or like I'm "wasting time." This is also why I appreciate Courtney's mission to watch the movies and TV shows you all suggested - it makes me feel like I'm still doing something (I'm questing!) while sitting on the couch.  My right arm is feeling better - the clots had made it super, super sore over the weekend.  I also randomly burst a vein or something in my side, reaching down for a water bottle on the floor.  I am awesome.

My breathing is better, my heart seems to be fine, and my jaw looks like it's healing well.  Let's keep our fingers cross that this surgery and the new antibiotic will kick this thing for good.  Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who wished me well and sent healing thoughts to me this last week.  I am stronger because of you!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Laughter Continues with Colbert

Best version of this song ever:

Gettin' All Involved and Stuff

This weekend I got to participate in my community's biggest fund-raiser and awareness campaign against vampires, "Take Back the Jugular." I like to think of it as my opportunity to fight with the best weapon I've got - my big mouth. I talked people into buying over-priced plastic "wooden stakes" that lit up, silver foil covered chocolate bullets, and t-shirts that said "Vampires Can Bite Me." All the money went to help the effort against the foul creatures. And while we didn't actually kill any vamps that night, it felt good to know that there were so many of us united against the Abiding Evils. I got to shake the hands of people who'd survived the most vicious and deadly of attacks, and I got to hear them tell their stories of epic battles and how they'd killed their attackers. It made me think of The Huntress and her fight, of how I hope she knows she's not alone, either.


As of 8:00AM Saturday morning when the event was over, the Texas Bay Area Relay for Life had raised over $770,000 for the American Cancer Society. My feet and throat hurt when it was all over, but it felt really good to help fight against something that has taken so many people from me. I know it's not the same disease (and I swear, if there's a campaign against Crohn's in my area, I'll get out there and sell t-shirts with the best of them), but the event really helped crystallize the game for me - "Screw the disease, we're going to keep living well and beating the crap out of it until it's gone!"

I really hope you're doing OK, Jess. Please post if you feel up to it.

Cardamom-Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles

OK, OK, OK, I know these are supposed to be healthy recipes, but I saw this recipe and I had to share:

Make 'em, don't make 'em... I'm just happy knowing that they exist somewhere in the world.

Little Political Laughter

Not that our huntress is political at all.

"Prop 8 - The Musical" starring Jack Black, John C. Reilly, and many more... from Jack Black

And because my favorite president always makes me smile and it has to do with my last video.

Lampooning Laughter Mission: Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis

Most of my Internet time is spent looking up food porn, but if the mission calls for funny Internet videos, I think you have to head over to Funny or Die and check out a few episodes of "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Missions

Good Evening, Allies and Huntress,

This week looks like a fine one to continue kicking evil ass and taking names. As such, I would like to discuss this weeks missions.

Huntress, I have a couple of important missions for you.

Optimal Optimism: You are on the road to recovery from you latest outstanding and heroic battle against the vampires and beasts, with the occasional demon sent by the Evils to shake things up. As your allies, we cannot rally to you unless we know. I want you to post to this blog at least 4 times this week. You will receive 50XP for each update. You should let us know what all is keeping your spirits up, what has made you laugh, what is getting better and what you have been utilizing to maintain your spirit. Also let us know what has been hard, and what we or you can do to make it easier.

Lampooning Laughter: There is nothing worse to these evil bastard than being laughed at. As you recover, you have been offered a variety of diversionary tactics in the form of movies and shows. I want you to let us know which you have used and play critic for us and write it up. Let us know by the end of the week what your thoughts were on each piece (and that means, yes, you must sit back, relax and take in a variety of shows. This is why you are payed the big prestige, huntress.) You can also do this with the many recipes that have been sent your way. Be our movie and food critic. 25XP per critique

Allies, I am calling upon you this week as well.

Sending Satire: We have made suggestions of humorous heroics for our huntress to watch to fight back the evils. However, beyond the television diversions, our huntress loves vids from this blasted internet. I want you to either this post, to your own post or to her book of faces, post short diversionary internet vids to keep the huntress's spirits up and let her know that you care and are thinking of her. 25XP per vid.

Mastering Meditation: Our huntress needs our support now more than ever, and many of us cannot be there in person. I ask that on a piece of paper or the like, you draw her symbol of power and put it up where you will see it each day. I ask that when you can spend time meditating on that symbol and connecting to our huntress and her power mark through it. Keep it up for at least this full week. 50XP for the whole week.

I look forward to the updates this week.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Savory Smoothies" or "My Kingdom for Something that Isn't Sweet"

Just in case you're getting tired of all the sweet stuff, here are some savory smoothies to break up the monotony. As always, combine and blend until smooth. All recipes are from "Smoothies and Juices: simple and delicious easy-to-make recipes."

*Red Bell Pepper Booster*
1 cup Carrot Juice
1 cup Tomato Juice
2 large Red Bell Peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 Tbs Lemon Juice

*Ginger Crush*
1 cup carrot Juice
4 Tomatoes, skinned, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
1 oz (25g) fresh Parsley
1 Tbs grated Fresh Gingerroot
6 Ice Cubes
1/2 cup Water

*Celery Surprise*
1/2 cup Carrot Juice
1 lb, 2 oz (500g) Tomatoes, skinned, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
4 Celery Stalks, trimmed and sliced
4 Scallions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 oz (25g) fresh Parsley
1 oz (25g) fresh Mint

*Curried Crush*
1 cup Carrot Juice
4 Tomatoes, skinned, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
2 Celery Stalks, trimmed and sliced
1 Romaine Lettuce
1 clove Garlic, chopped
1 oz (25g) fresh Parsley
1 tsp. Curry Powder
6 Ice Cubes
1/2 cup Water

*Watercress Float*
2 cups Carrot Juice
1 oz (25g) Watercress or Arugula
1 Tbs Lemon Juice

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Achievement Herald Checking In

I have to run to class in a minute, but I wanted to herald some achievements really quickly.

Huntress, you get the Pollyanna Achievement for completing the exercise to look on the bright side! - 150 XP

And let's not forget the Exorcising a Demon Achievement for going through your operation successfully. I would really like to give you a million XP for this, but I think I'll have to settle for giving you 300 XP.

I also want to give Matt the Martyr to the Cause Achievement for being an awesome supportive husband - 150 XP

More to come!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's More Fun If You Make the Slurping Noise!

Smoothies! OK, so there's not a lot of crunch, but hopefully you'll get a lot of flavor and vitamins. This post is sweet smoothies, next one will be savory. The directions are all pretty much the same - combine ingredients and blend until smooth. So here's a listing of ingredients from recipes in "Smoothies and Juices: simple and delicious easy-to-make recipes."

*Melon Medley*
1 cup plain yogurt
3 1/2 oz (100g) Galia Melon, cut into chunks
3 1/2 oz (100g) Cantaloupe, cut into chunks
3 1/2 oz (100g) Watermelon, cut into chunks

*Cranberry Energizer*
1 1/4 cups Cranberry Juice
1/2 cup Orange Juice
5 1/2 oz (150g) Raspberries
1 Tbs Lemon Juice

*Nectarine Melt*
1 cup Milk
12 oz (350g) Lemon Sherbet
1 ripe Mango, pitted and diced
2 ripe Nectarines

*Berry Cream*
1 1/2 cups Orange Juice
1 Banana, sliced and frozen
1 lb (450g) frozen Berries, such as Blueberries, Raspberries and Blackberries

*Banana and Blueberry Smoothie*
3/4 cup Apple Juice
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
1 Banana, sliced and frozen
6 oz (175g) frozen Blueberries

*Banana and Apple Booster*
1 cup Apple Juice
1/2 tsp Powdered Cinnamon
2 tsp. grated fresh Gingerroot
2 Bananas, sliced and frozen

*Strawberry and Orange Smoothie*
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
3/4 cup Strawberry Yogurt
3/4 cup Orange Juice
6 oz (175g) frozen Strawberries
1 Banana, sliced and frozen

*Summer & Citrus Fruit Punch*
4 Tbs Orange Juice
1 tsp. Lime Juice
1/2 cup Sparkling Water
12 oz (350g) frozen Fruits, such as Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, and Strawberries)

*Strawberry & Peach Smoothie*
3/4 cup Milk
8 oz (225g) frozen Peach Slices
2 fresh Apricots, chopped
14 oz (400g) fresh Strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 Bananas, sliced and frozen

*Fruit Rapture*
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Peach Yogurt
6 Tbs Orange Juice
8 oz (225g) frozen Peach Slices
6 Ice Cubes

*Peach & Pineapple Smoothie*
1/2 cup Pineapple Juice
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 cup Water
3/4 cup Plain Yogurt
8 oz (225g) frozen Peach Slices
3 1/2 oz (100g) frozen Pineapple Chunks

Monday, April 4, 2011

Erin's mission - Positive thinking

I'm being attacked by an insidious demon that wants me to only think of all the scary, bad outcomes of surgery.  So Mad (Erin) challenged me to beat this demon by listing all of the positive outcomes.  Here they are:

NO MORE PAIN in my jaw and face
Infection will stop destroying my bone
I won't feel so exhausted and awful all the time
I will get to go back to work full time
I will get to do activities like hiking and biking again
I won't have to go to doctors so much
I won't have to worry about how to beat this thing
I won't spend day after day in drug-induced haze
I won't have to have multiple surgeries again
I won't have to have a PICC line again (once this current one comes out)
I will (eventually) be able to eat normal food again
I will be on the path to recovery instead of just battling this one infection over and over
I will be much happier
I won't feel so beaten up and beaten down
I won't have to feel so worried and scared
I will feel an EPIC WIN for having triumphed over this infection
I will be able to do more with my husband
I will get to put an end to a 14-month plus nightmare
I will get to feel like myself again
I will have one less health problem to fight
I will feel better
I will get to take my dog for long walks again
I will get to go camping and jeeping and backpacking and beer-festing with friends this summer
I will get to spend money on fun stuff instead of prescriptions and medical bills
I will possibly develop super powers because I will be partially bionic once they do the bone graft (just kidding)

Between this and John's energy routine mission, I actually feel quite a bit better. :) Thanks guys!

Daily activities, April 4-10, 2011

30 minutes yoga and stretching - 5 XP
Cleaned house off and on during the day - 15 XP
Watched a bunch of TED talks - 5 XP
Pre-surgery energy routine - 15 XP
30 minutes cello - 5 XP
Erin's tasty food mission (mango, nom nom nom) - 25 XP
Erin's mission to do something I won't be able to do for next few days (yoga & cleaning) - 50 XP
Erin's mission to think of POSITIVE outcomes of surgery instead of negative - 25 XP

Total: 145 XP, a personal best by a LOT, who hooo!

Cleaned house a little bit - 10 XP
Erin's missions: took a hot shower (instead of bath, wanted to wash my hair), had the surgery, and followed after care instructions - 100 XP
Managed to not die on operating table (this is actually an achievement, see health update) - 25 XP

Total: 135 XP

I was in the hospital, so not able to do much.
Had PICC line put in - 25 XP
Erin's mission: colored in the coloring books Matt brought to me - 25 XP
24 hours in hospital - 240 XP (I used the same calculation as hours at doctor's appointments - I spent all day getting tested, examined, poked, prodded, and ultra-sounded.)

Total: 290 XP - New Personal Best! Whoo hoo!!

Level Up! Reached 2000 XP

Hospital again.
Determined I do not have serious lung or heart damage - 25 XP
Another 24 hours in hospital - 240 XP
Got discharged and was able to pick up Alys and Chris from airport - 25 XP

Total: 290 XP

Doctor's appointment - 10 XP
Went to Tattered Cover (power up!) - 10 XP
Hanging out with friends, including those I haven't seen in forever and met new people (power up!) - 40 XP
Watched hilarious movie (laughter = power up!) - 20 XP

Total: 80 XP

Went to Boulder to visit Celestial Seasonings and Redstone Meadery - 25 XP
Successfully navigated a bad health day - 25 XP
More hanging out with friends and hilarious movies - 80 XP

Total: 130 XP

Alys's birthday!
Managed to go to an awesome birthday brunch with my awesome friends - 25 XP
Successfully navigated a bad health day - 25 XP
Fixed a few house problems - 20 XP
More movies and hanging out, met new people - 50 XP

Total: 120 XP

Weekly total: 1190 XP - EXTREMLY High score!
Overall total: 2503 XP
Total minus subtractions for rewards: 2478 XP

Recovery Entertainment

In response to the call, I submit some television shows that I enjoy. In no particular order and with descriptions blatantly stolen from, here are some suggestions which I hope will help you pass the time as you get on with the important business of healing:

- Although a recent graduate of Brown University, Jaye Tyler decides to ignore her degree, live in a trailer and work at a tourist gift shop in Niagara Falls called Wonderfalls—-much to the despair of her well-to-do family. But Jaye’s aimless life takes a startling turn after a lion figurine begins talking to her. Her family calls it an "episode," but Jaye knows better. Fearing for her sanity, Jaye nevertheless starts doing exactly what an increasing number of inanimate objects tell her to do and is amazed when her outrageous actions begin changing people’s lives in unexpected ways.

- Self-proclaimed pit-bulls of truth, Penn & Teller use their trademark humor, knowledge of carnival tricks, and hidden cameras to blow the lid off popular notions about second hand smoke ,self help products, diet claims, creationism, TV psychics, Feng Shui, bottled water and more!!!!

Pushing Daisies
- Pushing Daisies is many things at once: detective show, romantic comedy, whimsical fantasy and above all, a story about a guy who bakes pies and has the ability to bring dead people back to life. Somehow all of these things come together to make one of the most enjoyable, funny and bittersweet shows to come along in a long time.

Mad Men
- Welcome to a world where Monday has a three drink minimum. Mad Men exists here and it's a fabulous place to visit, back before Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique really made much of an impact and before the Surgeon General put warning labels on cigarettes. It was an America on the brink of social explosion and Mad Men, which tells the story of a group of Madison Avenue advertising executives in the early 1960s, captures that surface stillness perfectly, complete with the growing tension barely contained below the surface.

- Carnivàle doesn't waste any time making its--wildly ambitious--aims clear. As carnival manager Samson (Michael J. Anderson, Twin Peaks' diminutive backwards-talker) notes in pilot episode "Milfay," directed by Rodrigo García (son of Gabriel García Marquez), "To each generation [is] born a creature of light and a creature of darkness." With that the story begins. The year is 1934, the setting the Oklahoma dustbowl. In short order, Ben Hawkins (In the Bedroom's Nick Stahl) loses his mother and his home. He's poor, he's alone--he needs a job. So he joins Samson's carnival, en route to the West. Hawkins, naturally, is the good guy. Waiting for him in California is the not so good Brother Justin Crowe (Clancy Brown, The Shawshank Redemption), a fire and brimstone preacher with supernatural powers and a fiercely loyal sister (Amy Madigan). Hawkins, as it turns out, has similar powers...

Chef! (it is really important that you only watch seasons 1 and 2 - trust me)
- Hungry for a laugh? The BBC serves up more than a few chuckles in this engaging sitcom about imperious chef Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), a stern taskmaster who runs his kitchen with an iron fist, a lightning tongue, and a silver palate. The show combines some of the best elements of episodic drama and zany comedy, generously seasoned with sensual splashes of fine French cuisine. (Picture Julia Child crossed with Fawlty Towers' John Cleese following a script by the creators of thirtysomething and you get the general idea.) Blackstock is a brilliant, egotistical black chef running an all-white kitchen--until, that is, his wife maneuvers him into hiring an old school chum. Challenges mount as the restaurant faces bankruptcy and Blackstock decides to risk everything to buy it. Could fulfilling his dream wind up costing the king of the kitchen his home and savings?

Party Down
- Party Down is a Starz original series about a group of struggling dreamers who are stuck working for tips while waiting for their big break. As employees of the L.A. catering company “Party Down,” these misfits mingle with guests at everything from sweet sixteen parties to the most lavish Hollywood soirees. Follow these engaging wannabes as they wait on guests while waiting on something better to come along.

- Meet Andy Millman, Actor. Never forgets his lines because he never gets any. Andy (Ricky Gervais) is a desperate man. He's been an actor for five years but thanks to his useless agent (Stephen Merchant), he's never done any real acting. Instead, he's a lowly film extra, making his mark in the background while the stars do their work. His partner in arms is the pitiable Maggie, a fellow extra and a hopeless romantic. Andy may be an extra, but he's a star in his own right. Too bad nobody else agrees.

Daily Missions

Jessi will be receiving daily missions which I will be appending to this post each day.

Daily Mission 4/4/2011

Jessi, your mission today is to eat something delicious and to do something you won't be able to do for the next few days due to the surgery.

XP: 25 for each

Daily Mission 4/5/2011

Today's mission is to have a nice calming bath and meditate for 20 minutes before your surgery. Then to have the surgery itself. Afterwards, you are to follow all doctor's instructions. This last part will probably require Matt's help.

XP: 100 (25 for pre surgery, 50 for surgery, 25 for post surgery)

Daily Mission 4/8/2011 - 4/9/2011

Due to our huntress being in the hospital, these daily missions were on hiatus. But we are back! Now the mission is for her to rest in her sexy pajamas. I heard that the demons and vamps HATE sexy pajamas.

Part 2 of this mission involves getting creative. Jessi, you are to color in some coloring books with crayons. Maybe you can share your artwork :P

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mission Mistress Time

Week of April 4-10

I'm going to post two recurring type missions for this week. By that I mean they can be completed at any point and as many times as you wish. I will try to post small mini-missions each day as well. I reserve the right to add as genius comes to me :P

Mission 1: Our huntress is going to be in the hospital this week. So I think it's really important that we concentrate on sending her good healing thoughts. So every day this week spend just a few minutes (or longer) thinking about her and how the surgery will go super well and how awesome her recovery will be. This can take the form of prayer, meditation, reiki, energy medicine, running outside and shouting it to the world, whatever works for you.

XP: 25 each time

Mission 2: As I said, Jessi is going to be having surgery. So let's all think of a movie or TV series that we really like that we can share that she can watch during her recovery. She is going to have a lot of downtime and she will probably sleep a lot. But in case she is just sitting there bored I want to have some suggestions for her to cure boredom with.

XP: 25 for each

Optional: My previous suggested storytime mission. I haven't posted my story yet because I've been kicking a demon in the ass an it's been rough. Now that I've got a handle on this demon I can go ahead and post mine this week. This mission is purely optional because it is up to all of us how little or how much we wish to make public.

XP: 50