Friday, June 17, 2011

What to make for dinner?

When I got the list of organic produce in my box this past week, I wondered what in the heck I would do with baby bok-choy. Luckily, I have the internet :)

I found a recipe for Salmon with Hoisin, Orange, & Bok Choy that sounded tasty. I did make a departure from the recipe. First, I used Halibut instead (I don't care for Salmon). Second, I used Coriander, but omitted the Cilantro (Aaron doesn't care for Cilantro).

Here are my notes:

This method produces a light, moist, tender fish! However, the hoisin sauce overpowered the fish. The bok choy turned into this mushy crap in the bottom of the foil packet, but it tasted like mild steamed spinich. Neither one of us ate more than two bites of the bok choy (the texture turned us off more than the flavor). Aaron enjoyed the fish more than I did. I think I'll try this sauce (and method) over chicken sometime, but add some soy sauce and brown sugar or honey to make it more of a teriyaki sauce. That might hold up better to the combination of flavors. I'll just stick to broiling my halibut simply with salt and pepper and maybe a little garlic.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Over the river and through the woods...

One of the best reasons to live where I live is the beautiful hiking trails that are nearby to my house. Several trails in town are paved and my favorite one is on the other side of the Mendenhall River from where I live. There is a section of it that is unpaved and is called the "Horse Trail". Many residents walk their dogs on these trails, and I am no exception. While on the paved portion of the trail, you are required to keep your dog on-leash (but hardly anybody does... being a strict rule follower, I do). If you divert on to the horse trail about a quarter of a mile down the paved part, the dogs can go off-leash. Noni and Lijha love it. It is quite a good walk as it goes up and down hill a good portion of the hike. Once the trail merges back with the paved part, we cross the path and take the fishing access trails to go down to the river. Lijha loves playing in the water. Then we continue the loop back to the start of the horse trail (but on the river side) and head back to the car. It takes about an hour to do this hike and I've done it for 4 days in a row so far (yay me!).

I haven't really had time to fit this one-hour walk into my day, but I have made the time. Mostly as a weapon in my fight against fatigue. Getting myself moving helps my joints and keeps me active. I am very careful to not overdo it and completely exhaust myself. It is slow-going, but I have felt my over-all energy levels increasing day by day.

It doesn't hurt that the woods are amazing to walk in and the setting is so peaceful. There are hazards, such as bears, that I have to take into account. Bears have been spotted recently in the area of the hiking trail. However, I keep up a steady stream of conversation with my dogs (or if I happen to go with a friend, I talk to her, so I don't sound crazy). I've heard that constant noise alerts the bears to your presence and they generally stay out of your way. You have problems when the bear doesn't know that you are there and you take it by surprise. The dogs are also key because they can tell when wildlife are in the area. They haven't alerted to anything yet, so I think I'm safe.

Silver lining? Not only am I getting my exercise, but the walk tuckers out the puppies so I can focus on my homework after the walk without interruption. A tired puppy is a good puppy :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fighting Fatigue...

One of my many challenges in life is my Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was diagnosed when I was 17, after 4 years of constant knee pain and inflammation. As I have aged, my RA has started affecting other areas of my body. One thing that I have noticed about my RA, is that it focuses on areas that have been damaged in the past. The knee that started it all was severely bruised when I hit it on a rock while floating down the Yellowstone River the summer I was 13. When I was 20, I was in a car accident that damaged my C2 vertebrae (well, damaged isn't quite the "right" word for it, but it is constantly out of alignment, and only frequent chiropractic adjustments keep it in place). Other aches and pains of crept up throughout the years. I have problems with my left hip and my right ankle (I keep spraining it in my sleep, go figure)... You get the point. Whenever I have a flare-up, the pain is focused in these "damaged" joints throughout my body.

My flare-ups seem to be weather related. Anytime we have a long stretch of nice weather, my body gets used to it. As soon as the weather changes, the sudden increases and decreases in barometric pressure cause me great pain. I was "blessed" with this experience this past Saturday. I had to get out of bed to take care of my dogs, but as soon as they were out and fed, I went back to bed. Fatigue swept over me and I slept for most of the day. I had no energy and any movement would cause excruciating pain. Yeah, it was a lot of fun... The good thing about these types of flare-ups, is that they usually only last a day. The excruciating pain dissipates as I get used to the new barometric pressure. 

Not that this experience is new, but it is getting rather irritating. I have been researching options for increasing my energy levels to fight the fatigue that is an almost daily companion now, but it is difficult. It seems that the only answer is rest (and medication, which is another post altogether). As much as I know that rest is the best thing for me, it isn't a reality. I am the wife of a pilot. That means that I am basically "single" for half of my life while he is off flying somewhere. Not that I begrudge my husband his career, it's just a fact. I am forced to be completely self-reliant a good portion of my life. I have to take care of our dogs, I have to go to work... I am also enrolled in school and working on my Bachelor's Degree. My life is busy and I have little to no time to rest. I notice a difference in my health when I have a 3-day weekend. It seems to take about that long to recharge my batteries.

So, I am at a cross-roads... Do I keep going at the pace that I am going, knowing that when I get home I will be too tired to do anything (chores, homework, walk the dogs, exercise, cook)? Do I reduce my hours at work to allow my self to get enough rest at night and still feel like I have the energy to do everything else in my life? Do I quit my job to work for myself so I can dictate my hours as my energy levels fluctuate?

The only thing I know for sure is that I need more time to rest, either time to take a nap during the day or more time to sleep at night. Until then, I'll just raise my sword and shield (lightweight, of course) and battle my every-day fatigue.