Tag Archives: Photography

Dr Gourmet

Just thought I’d share a great nutrition website that I discovered a few days ago.  I’m somewhat addicted to Sirius XM satellite radio – in particular I love their “Doctor Radio” station, and there’s a great nutrition program on each week – last week’s guest on the program was Dr Timothy Harlan.

Dr Tim is a chef and MD, & so far I’m loving checking out his website at http://www.drgourmet.com as well as his associated blog at http://blog.drgourmet.com

There’s so much great stuff on both sites. Apologies for not being able to link up to the sites directly, but I’m having ridiculous problems figuring out how to do this for external links with WordPress. Actually, I’m having lots of problems with WordPress in general – although I much prefer its cleaner, crisper appearance, it’s definitely given me way more technical problems than Blogger did….despite the fact that I switched over here because of the technical issues I was having at Blogger!  Hehe! I’m doomed…….I’ll have to employ an IT specialist full time, I think…….

 

D-Day

On this day in 1944, Allied Forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France marking what would become forever remembered as the D-Day invasion of World War II.

Exact statistics vary across different resources, but some 300,000+ Americans service members were killed during WWII, and an additional 671,000+ were wounded in action. Since September 11th, 2001, 5000+ service members have been killed, and more than 36,000 have been injured.

In the decades that have spanned the end of WWII and present times, significant advancements have not only been military, but also medical. In tribute to all who have served their countries in wars throughout the world, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has organized “Wounded in Action: An Art Exhibition of Orthopaedic Advancements“.

Currently on display at the Chicago Cultural Center, this exhibition honors the sacrifices made by injured military service members, and explores the emotional aspects of battle injury. Paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures are amongst the 107 pieces of work on display from 77 contributors. Contributing artists include military service members, family members and military surgeons who have cared for the wounded.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to visit this exhibition you’ll see work from Sergeant Pete Damon. Sergeant Damon is an Iraq War veteran who lost parts of both arms in 2003. His artwork is absolutely fantastic and I thoroughly recommend you to at least check out his work on his blog. I’ve seen quite a bit of it, he’s from here in Massachusetts where I live. His story and his talent are extremely inspirational……

…….To put it mildly.

Birthday Boy

I’m still having a hard time keeping up with additions here right now, although I haven’t forgotten it! My absence is mostly due to work commitments, combined with being away from home for best part of 3 days each week. And also partly due to my ability to procrastinate and maybe feel that I should “plan” my musings rather than just run with a new post by simply putting pen to paper.

But anyway, I thought I’d drop in and at least wish a very Happy Birthday to M for today! 

The Birthday Boy!

We had a fun weekend in NY, especially since the weather stayed unexpectedly dry for the most part. It’s been so horrendously wet here in New England this month, and across the northeast in general. Actually across many parts of the country, to be honest. I’ve heard lots of folk talking about how strangely wet their spring has been. It does all look beautifully green here though, I must admit. And I shouldn’t complain, because I fear we’ll go from this to “90 and humid” pretty much overnight sometime soon. And I dread that more than anything. The rain I can cope with.

Sunday afternoon was all about baking. I’d asked M: “Oreos or peanut butter?”, and I was given a long answer to a short question. Or actually, I really wasn’t given an answer at all! So I decided to hedge my bets and go for both. So I made a combination birthday cheesecake – half “chocolate and peanut butter”, and half “oreos”.

I’m not religious, but I did say a quiet prayer for my waistline upon completion of this creation! Later I cut it into the tiniest chunks for freezing too – that way we’re more likely to just grab a small piece for a treat, rather than be tempted to cut off and devour a slab the size of Rhode Island……..

Hope you are not too submerged this spring!

The Acid Test

A week ago I met up with a friend for lunch during the workday. We hit Legal Seafoods in Cambridge – one of my favorite places to eat. Even though I have a shellfish allergy, I love their fish dishes, & thankfully I can eat fish (just as long as they are not the shelled variety!). Bizarrely though, one of my favorite meals there is one of their salads – apple, avocado, tortilla & cheese. And I always ask for chicken with it. Anyway, the point is, I typically get this if I’m there for lunch, since it’s a light-ish meal to eat, & doesn’t tend to put me asleep for the rest of the day. So I’ve eaten this salad dozens of times, with no problems.

So imagine my surprise when about an hour later, I was sitting at my desk & was suddenly hit by a quite severe pain, right in the middle of my chest, behind my sternum. Since I’ve never suffered heartburn in my life, my first thought, seriously, was: “Am I having a heart attack?”. Somehow I managed to stay rational though, & decided that no, I probably wasn’t, and that since it was soon after eating, it was probably heartburn.

It took about an hour to completely disappear, although it did dissipate gradually, thankfully. Then later that evening, after dinner, I experienced some more discomfort. Bummer. Looks like it wasn’t just a one-off. Same thing happened again the following day, mostly after feeding. So it was time to bust out the antacid medication.

Strangely though, a few days worth of antacids didn’t really help. Then a friend told me that she’d had a similar experience years ago, and it had turned out to be her gall bladder.

Next evening, I did get woken up overnight by some burning-type pain, so did a bit of research & it seemed that gall bladder issues were probably more likely than acid issues. Quite interesting. I’m not exactly a text-book candidate for gall bladder issues either, since they typically are people eating poor diets –  high cholesterol/high fat diets – and are often overweight, 40s/50s age group, fair-skinned, Europeans……my lipid panel is consistently just about perfect, and I eat a low-fat/high fiber diet, and I’m not overweight. But I guess I fit the “40s, fair, & European” bits! So I shouldn’t grumble, and also, as a veterinarian, I’m aware that not every patient reads the textbooks!

So, I stopped the antacids & started some painkillers instead. And when I hit the supermarket, I went for an even lower fat party than usual. I’m not a big fan of totally “fat free”, especially for my dairy stuff, since I find much of the foods tasteless when they are zero-fat. But I have to do whatever I have to do.

So the good news is, that after the painkillers and “multiple small meals of minimal fat” feeding habits all week, I’ve been much more comfortable, and I’m now off painkillers. I know a few folk who’ve had their gallbladder removed, and although they are fine, I do know that these days, surgeons prefer not to remove gallbladders because this carries a subsequent increased risk of colon cancer development. This fact, combined with me being a veterinarian, pretty much means that my gastrointestinal tract will probably have to be jumping out of my abdomen before I venture to see a doctor. So in the meantime, I’ll do the self-medicating thing that doctors hate their vets doing!  Hehe!

The good news too though, is that I even managed to enjoy my Easter package from England 🙂

                 White Toblerone – my favorite chocolate!

Hope you had a fun Easter weekend too!

And please do chime in if you’ve ever had any gallbladder issues! Or any other problems where you wondered if you were having a heart attack!

Emergence

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last posted anything. I’ve been through an exceptionally busy time at work, with lots of deadlines in quick succession. Combine this with some Exam Committee work that I do (that also has most of its deadlines for exam material submissions between March & May) & I have been left spending all my personal downtime trying to keep up on work-related projects, and just generally gasping for air – especially since my usual life routine of having 7 days a week to myself has been turned upside by spending  my weekends in another state! Not that I’m complaining about having someone nice in my life…..but I’m a creature of habit, & when my habits get knocked out of line, I’m not as quick as some to reach a new equilibrium!

But the good news is that I’ve survived my two busy months of deadlines, & I’m now trying to gradually restore some form of order & routine.

The other good news is that there’s a (seemingly) recovered hoarder in Watertown, NY! You may remember the original scene of carnage that faced me when M’s belongings arrived after his relocation.

The original crime scene - or part of it!

Well after many busy weekends of a constant cycle of “unpack, box up, itemize, donate”, we seem to have made great headway. I have to give M so much credit for how he has been willing to deal with his excess baggage. I must admit that in the beginning I had been devastated by the extent of the belongings he owned – mostly because of the “multiples” of everything that he owned, and the message that it all left me with. I thought I was going to be up against an uphill struggle for sure. But gradually, once he began to see that he didn’t really need multiples, or even much of the single stuff that he had….and when he began to see the benefit of donating (and receiving some tax benefit from it too)…..his mood lifted a lot, and he was extremely receptive to filtering everything. So much so that we’re now really only left with a small pile in the corner to sift through.

The last few stragglers….

So now we’re fortunate enough to be able to have more quality time together at the weekends, instead of just doing Box Patrol. And it’s really nice that our emergence from deadlines & boxes seems to be coinciding nicely with spring’s emergence too.

Last weekend as I drove into Watertown, I caught a glimpse of the Black River & did a double-take. It was the first time I’d seen that particular stretch without any covering of either snow or ice!

The Black River - minus the white!

Despite being overcast on Friday evening, we awoke Saturday to a beautiful blue sky with bright sunshine. And amazingly, no wind! It was too good to be true, and we decided to take full advantage of it, so after a leisurely late breakfast we took a drive into the Adirondacks region. Without the typical winds that we’ve become accustomed to up there, the water in all the lakes was scarily still, and the reflections were just beautiful.

The beauty of the Adirondacks region

M even put his cooking skills to use too – even though he’ll often organize breakfasts or lunches, usually I’m in charge of dinner.  So it was wonderful to have dinner cooked for me for a change! And it was delicious too.

Danger - Men At Work!

So there we are folks……emerging into a new routine in time for the spring! And I must admit that I’m loving the longer daylight hours we have now – although I don’t mind the winter and dark days, I am definitely more productive during the daylight, so I always get more accomplished when the days are longer.

How are you guys all enjoying the emerging spring?

My New Pad

Thanks for following me from my old place – I’ve been having a lot of issues with my old Blogger template & its formatting, & every new post seemed to take 3 times as long as expected to get it even vaguely presentable.

I’m not the most tech-savvy person, but I don’t think all the issues were operator-associated! So I’ve made the move over to WordPress in the hope that it’ll give me even a little less grief.  I’ve spend a ridiculous amount of time today trying to import things, & now I’m enjoying a celebratory glass of wine!

And to those of you who also use WordPress, please feel free to send any advice my way!

A Ray Of Sunshine

Well I’m still alive folks! I’ve been completely swamped under work and committee deadlines for the past couple of weeks, so all things non-priority have pretty much taken a back-burner in the meantime. Thankfully for my sanity I am emerging slowly from the ashes – the deadlines have all been successfully met, & I am beginning to see the light again. Hopefully I can resume blogging over the weekend.

I just came across this list of “74 Simple Things You Can Do To Brighten Your Spouse’s Dayat www.engagedmarriage.com. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it often shares some interesting relationship posts.

It never hurts for any of us to even just be reminded to say something positive to our partner. What other things do you guys do to spread the love with your partner?

Those aeroplane pretzels ARE good for something after all!





The NZ Lowdown 6: Fiordland (Part II)

The Spectacular Milford Sound

Our day was off to an early start. Actually, earlier than necessary, because a small pattern had begun to emerge. Like many men, M has a TV addiction. And the remote control serves as an accessory appendage for him. By now, each morning has begun earlier than required, with some cricket on TV. And likewise no bedtime had swung around without cricket highlights from the day. This was all quite bewildering to me due to his acute revelation on Day 1 of our trip!

But anyway, the real purpose of our early start for the day was a guided day tour – the major focus being a cruise on Milford Sound. Our guide Andrew (oddly, a Welshman!) collected us at our hotel & a small group of us made the drive up from Te Anau to Milford Sound, stopping off occasionally at a few locations en-route for photo opportunities.

Milford Sound forms part of the Fiordland National Park (a World Heritage Site), and is reportedly the most famous tourist destination in NZ, in spite of its remote location on the southwest side of the South Island – literally at least 1-2 hours from anywhere. It is really something else to witness – Rudyard Kipling even described it as “The Eighth Wonder Of The World”. It’s actually a fiord, although was originally, wrongly named a sound by Captain Cook when he charted the area back in the 1770s.

In spite of the gorgeous weather the day before, our Milford Sound day was characteristically wet – the Fiordland National Park region experiences tremendous annual rainfalls, apparently on about 200 days or more of each year!  Nevertheless though, the scenery was spectacular, & I imagine it wouldn’t matter what kind of weather you visited this region in – each would bring its own, special mood to the region. I found the low clouds very mysterious during our cruise – very moody indeed.


Moody Milford Sound

We also saw plenty of wildlife during the trip – especially colonies of NZ fur seals on the rocks at the side of the water. They were thankfully completely unimpressed by the numerous boats cruising up and down the sound.

Basking NZ fur seals
Mitre Peak is one of the most photographed mountains in the country – typically you’ll see photos of it on clear blue sky days when it is reflected brilliantly in the water below. Our weather didn’t allow us this privilege, but it still looked formidable, rising almost a mile out of the water into the clouds.

The famous Mitre Peak
M stole my small camera. A few hundred photos later……
The Lesser-Spotted Brit!
We cruised along the sound for a couple of hours – it’s about 16km long & opens out into the Tasman Sea – and on our moody weather day, you can imagine how rocky the sea was when we reached it. Quite a ride, let me tell you! But one of the benefits of the area’s terrific rainfalls is that they really accentuate the waterfalls that fall from the sheer cliff faces rising either side of the sound.

The waterfalls were especially spectacular due to the day’s rainfall
After a bit of lunch and some coffee on the boat, we finished our cruise & met up again with our tour guide, & our small group drove south back toward Te Anau, with a few more stops en-route for yet more photo opportunities.

More moody mountainous terrain on the drive back to Te Anau
Another stunning waterfall captured on the way home, off Milford Sound Highway

More scenes from the journey home.
Still moody, but a little sunshine tried to break through by early afternoon
After we dried off back at the hotel, we decided to take a drive over to the Te Anau Wildlife Centre – a great little place to visit. We were lucky enough to see a rare, flightless takahe – a chunky bird that looks like a big blue chicken with a stout red beak. These fellas were thought to be extinct for the longest time, until a few pairs of them were spotted in the mid 1900s on the Murchison Mountains. They look a bit like bigger versions of the not-so-rare pukeko – and birds like this are thought to have been ancestors of the takahe.

A pukeko (left) and a takahe (right)
Afterwards we were feeling pretty exhausted to be honest, it had been a long day, although great fun and eventful. I should say that in addition to his cricket habit, M had begun to develop quite a taste for fast food “Commonwealth style” –  pasties, meat pies, and fish & chips had become something he’d beg for each day!  So for dinner I gave in to his addiction & we headed out so he could get his fish & chip fix for the day!


He was also quite taken by the newspaper wrapping!

In spite of the day’s amazing scenery, I think this was the bit of the day that he treasured the most.

Here’s To Bacchus

Eat, Drink & Be Merry

It’s been a stressful time recently since M has not only had to relocate his life to upstate New York in the past couple of weeks, but he’s also been awaiting his final divorce settlement. The latter finally happened this past week, so it’s been a big relief to both of us. Even though it obviously wasn’t me going through it, I have been amazed at how it affected me emotionally too, just as the bystander. I don’t think I’ve ever personally known anyone going through a divorce before. Anyway, it was quite draining on me even, so I’m not only relieved for him that it’s over now & he can move on to the next chapter in his life, but also that I can kind of move on too.

I picked him up at the airport on Friday & we enjoyed some quiet time celebrating at home that evening.

 

We didn’t do anything of any real excitement on Saturday, but we did celebrate our first Valentine’s Day together – two days early, I know, but we won’t get to see each other then, so we fast-forwarded a little!

We’d talked about going out since M wanted to take me out for dinner, but then I suggested staying home & cooking, & eventually we decided on a fondue night. I haven’t done any fondue-ing for quite some time – I think the last time I had fondue was about 3 years ago for a birthday celebration. And I certainly haven’t played fondue-chef myself for maybe a couple of decades!


For Starters

We had a merry old time anyway – we started out with a wine-based, cheese & avocado fondue. I used Gruyere, Emmentaler & Comte cheeses, & that turned out delicious. If anyone is interested in trying it out, this was my simplified version of a few that I came across online:

– Mix 2 mashed avocadoes, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1/4 cup of sour cream
– Warm 1/2 cup of dry white wine, gradually add 1lb grated cheese, & keep stirring
– Gradually transfer in the avocado mix & continue stirring

Other herbs/spices can obviously also be added according to preference – garlic, black pepper etc. And you also add extra wine or cheese to the mix if you need it to be thinned or thickened. For dippers, we had beef, crusty bread & veggies, but naturally “anything goes” with fondue!

For Dessert:

When it came to dessert, I couldn’t resist a recipe that was shared recently by Mommie Cooks on her fabulous site. I love all things chocolate, & you just can’t beat Toblerone! Our dessert dippers included chunks of pineapple, melon & muffin! Delicious…..

We had a lot of leftovers since we were just a twosome for dinner, but I can assure you there will be no waste!


Bottling It Up

I’ve been having a minor grump this evening – you could call it a culmination of “bottled-up” frustrations of quite some time.

The Crux Of The Matter?
My apartment complex has no recycling station (well, except for a trash can for cardboard), so even though it’s easy enough to stay green & throw the occasional bottle into a recycling can when I’m on the move, my attempts to help preserve the environment have been somewhat hindered on the home front.

I’m trying hard to make a huge concerted effort to recycle, but it’s insane how difficult this town makes it! Since the start of the year I’ve been separating my recycling & just collecting it in my (miniscule) kitchen, while trying to locate public recycling opportunities. I’ve been checking out options online, but so far, my only realistic options are either to take a shovel-load of stuff to a large company & pay to have it taken off my hands…..or take my stuff in dribs & drabs to work maybe & offload bottles, cans, paper etc  in the public recycling bins.

So currently the trunk of my car is literally filled with recycling, & my kitchen floor is also continuing to get a bit crowded too!

It seems bizarre to me in this day & age that an apartment community wouldn’t offer some streamlined recycling station at least. I’m getting really frustrated because I’m becoming the crazy lady who collects “empties”, & I’m also frustrated that my apartment complex has no recycling facility – my town apparently “mandates” recycling, so it’s odd that the complex can get away without offering recycling.

I’ll continue collecting cans in the meantime (I suppose it’s better than collecting cats), but I’m very interested in hearing any potential resolutions that you guys can offer, especially if you’ve also encountered any similar obstacles in the past!