Yummy Fava Beans

On February 28, 2009, in Yummy Goodness, by Wendy

Precooked Fava Beans
1 small roma tomato, chopped
1/2 Onion, chopped
Red pepper flakes
1/2 lemon, juiced
Garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter

Heat butter in pan and saute onion until soft, then add garlic. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin and red pepper flakes. Add fava beans and tomato, simmer until heated through.

Sorry folks, I’m guessing at the measurements. I just add stuff to a pan, taste it and add a little more if necessary.

Mitch really liked this one, so I’ll be making it again.

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Trader Joe’s is pretty awesome!

On February 28, 2009, in Family, Miscellany, Things I want, by Wendy

I love shopping at Trader Joe’s. Their offerings provide so many short cuts to decent nutritious meals. Some of my favorite things include:

  • Frozen organic brown rice
  • Vacuum sealed fava beans, lentils and beets
  • Frozen veggies

These items are generally single ingredient items–meaning the organic brown rice is only that. No preservatives; no added sodium. I stock my fridge and freezer with these items (and others) and dinner can be served in under 30 minutes.

It’s time to go shopping again. I’m looking forward to planning out my meals for the next couple of weeks and stocking up on my favorite items.


Where does the time go?

On February 23, 2009, in Family, Friends, Kid, Things I want, Things to do, by Wendy

Click image to enlarge. I’m pretty sure you can easily substitute “stay at home mom” with “stay at home dad.”


On the Merits of Clean Underwear

On February 20, 2009, in Family, Miscellany, by Wendy

I hadn’t been feeling well for a couple of months. I chalked up to being a new mom with a baby who refused to sleep through the night. Sleep deprivation can really take a toll, you know. Over the last few weeks, I started to call in sick to work more frequently. I thought it was because I was not feeling very inspired at work and I was using the most minor of excuses to not go in.

On Wednesday morning around 2:00 a.m., I woke up with a pinching pain on my right side. It felt like someone came in and pinched my intestine with all their might and then ran away. It really took my breath away. I struggled, but eventually fell back to sleep. I woke up again at 4:00 a.m., got out of bed and made it to the bathroom just in time. I’ll keep the events of the next 90 minutes to myself, thank you very much. I thought I had food poisoning (Misdiagnosis #1).

Since I didn’t get any sleep, I canceled my morning meetings to rest with plans of going in to the office in the afternoon. I just couldn’t do anything to feel better though so I decided to take my afternoon meetings by phone from home. I made it through the 1:00 Product Page Redesign kick off, and skipped the All Staff Meeting to take a nap. I planned to join the Site Redesign Kick Off at 3:00, but my body had other plans in store for me.

I woke up shortly after I fell asleep and was in excruciating pain. I was lying on the bed curled up in the fetal position, and all I could do was moan. I moaned so long that my face went numb. Mitch came in to check on me and asked if he could do anything.

Me: oooooohhh…….ooooooohhh………………

Mitch: Should I take you to the hospital?

Me: ooooooooooooooooooohhhhh……………..leave me alone……oooooooooohhhh

Mitch: I think I should take you to the hospital.

Me: Noooooooooo…………..I’m just constipated (Misdiagnosis #2).

He shook his head and left the room and I passed out again and slept for another hour and a half.

I woke up around 5:00 p.m. I realized I hadn’t eaten since the night before, but I wasn’t really hungry. I knew I had to force myself to eat something because if I don’t eat enough, it affects my milk production.

It took forever, but I eventually found the strength to make some soup for dinner and it took forever to choke it down. We got Izzy fed and put to bed and then the pain started again around 10:30 p.m. This time, I dropped to my knees and writhed on the foyer floor. I figured I was suffering from something more than just a bout of constipation. I asked Mitch to look up “Intestinal Blockage” on the internet and find out what we’re supposed to do to treat it (Misdiagnosis #3). The internet told us to go to the hospital.

It’s cold and rainy and I haven’t showered or changed my clothes and I do not want to go anywhere! And then I was gripped by the pain again. I told Mitch to call Shelly and get her over here. Decide who will stay with baby and who will take me to the hospital.

Shelly opted for baby watch and Mitch was going to take me to the hospital. He hailed a cab instead of driving because we thought it would be easier. I swear, the driver was trying to kill me. With every slam of the brakes, and hitting of the gas pedal, I screamed louder and that asshole driver drove mach speed over ever single pot hole in San Francisco before finally depositing me at the emergency room. He is so lucky I was out of my mind with pain that I wouldn’t recognize him to hunt him down later and cause him grievous bodily harm. I did, however, curse his entire family with a Pox and I am certain they are suffering for it now.

Once inside the emergency room, Mitch went to the window to get me checked in. I couldn’t get comfortable in the chair so I asked Mitch to get me a blanket so I can lie on the floor. I writhed in pain on the floor for about 10 or 15 minutes before they called me in. If I was in my right mind, I would have asked Mitch to take a photograph of me. It would be in the hands of the CPMC Board of Directors as well as the staff at SFGate.com, Chronicle, 7 on Your Side and every other local media I could find. Deplorable, I tell you.

I was called into a room for further admittance questions and sent back out to the waiting room floor. Another not brief enough wait passed and someone came out with a wheel chair for me. I crawled in and he started to wheel me backwards with my feet dragging on the floor to the examination room. Then without warning he quickly flipped me around and shoved me forward all the while my feet were still on the floor. We stopped short when the soles of my shoes grabbed the floor, and I pitched forward and nearly fell out of the chair. I screamed, “F*ck!” because that is what I do when I am in pain. Then the asshat ran in front of the chair and grabbed my legs, lifted them up higher than my hips and then roughly placed them in the leg holders. That really hurt, and I hissed, “What the f*ck is wrong with you? Can’t you see I’m in pain?” He got me into the examination room and tried to help me on to the table. I turned to him and screamed, “you touch me one more time mother f*cker, and I WILL kill you.” His family, they too, have now been cursed with a Pox.

A nurse came in right away and hooked me up to an IV and gave me a shot of morphine. Finally a moment of peace on a comfortable bed. Please keep in mind I’m comparing this to a filthy ER floor, and also the morphine kicked in within a matter of minutes. I was in Shangri-La for all I knew.

Mitch was by my side during this ordeal. I’ll never forget the look of fear and horror on his face as I was lying on the bed. I felt bad for him because it’s now after midnight, and if I have to stay at the hospital, I know it’s going to be rough going for him to fly solo with Izzy.

Oh, and the lady across the room from us was a total nut-ball, and not in a good way. She kept screaming for the nurses to adjust her pillow and then proceeded to brag about how great she felt. I hated her. Her family? Yes, they now have the Pox.

The doctor came in and told us the game plan: continue the morphine (yay!) until they can get me in for an CT Scan of my innards, oh and also they were going to do a pelvic exam. A pelvic exam! Did I mention I hadn’t showered or changed my underwear since the day before! Oh god, that horrible mantra, always wear clean underwear in case of an emergency. I always thought, if there’s an emergency who the hell cares what state your underwear is in? Well, now I know. I care, dammit. I’ve learned my lesson now, thank you very much. I will change my underwear five times a day just to be sure that they will always be clean in the event I need another emergency pelvic exam.

Once we knew what was going to happen in the short term, I sent Mitch home. No need for him to sit in an uncomfortable hospital chair watching me nod out on my morphine high until they can do the scan.

The CT Scan showed something wrong with my appendix, but it wasn’t a normal looking appendicitis. They transferred me to a hospital room upstairs around 4:00 a.m. and told me they would resume investigation in the morning.

That first night in the hospital was a barrel of laughs! I was lying there in the dark in an unfamiliar room listening to the person in the bed next to me snore. I was racked with the most horrible empty feeling as I realized this was my first night away from Isadora ever, and the first night in many years that I was separated from Mitch. The chasm of despair and loneliness was so deep that I laid there sobbing uncontrollably. The nurse came in and asked me what was wrong. I think she was expecting me to say I was scared or I had pain, and seemed really surprised when I told her I missed my family.

My new roommate sucked, but in a completely different way than the last one. This new roommate had night terrors and would scream-talk in her sleep every 20-30 minutes. It scared the shit out of me and got me screaming too. Fun times, our little night time opera. I think we should put a band together and take our act on the road.

In the morning, I find out that the roommate also does not speak English and the doctors and nurses do not speak Italian. Did you know that the best way to communicate with someone who does not speak your language is to yell at them in your native tongue? It’s true. It works every time I tell you.

When the nurses shuffled in to attend to the neighbor lady, I would hear muffled voices, then louder and louder voices, then a lot of scuffling. The shouts of, “it’s for the pain Mrs. Rossi! It’s for the pain,” would ensue. Things would get knocked over and clatter to the ground. The cacophony would soon settle down and I was left with the comforting sounds of a scared, old woman weeping alone in bed.

Long story short: I asked to be moved.

My new room was paradise. I had unlimited morphine, no roommate, a closed door and a gorgeous view of the eastern part of the city. They still don’t know what’s wrong with me, but do I care? Hells to the no.

A new doctor came in to tell me that he looked at my CT Scan, and he’s convinced it is an appendicitis (Misdiagnosis #4) and I will be scheduled for surgery for some time on Friday. Oh, and I can’t eat or drink anything. Did you know I was already coming up on 36 hours of no food at this point and I was facing another 12 to 18 hours of hunger? (Side note: I did lose 6 pounds during this ordeal. Awesome!)

A resident came in a few hours later and looked at my chart, then poked my in the guts and said that the doctor was wrong. I don’t have an appendicitis, I have ovarian cysts (Misdiagnosis #5).

I’m thinking great, the rookie is telling me, with an air of authority, that her attending physician is wrong and she is all knowing. That freaked me out and I demanded to speak to the attending. When I had him on the phone, I told him I didn’t give a shit what was actually wrong with me, but he better keep his resident in line and that the two of them should sit together in a conference room somewhere and get aligned on what was actually wrong with me and NEVER come into my room disagreeing on the diagnosis again.

I was given a new resident.

I liked Dr. Ramin right away. He was a good looking man with a kind voice and dark eyes. He reminded me of a friend of mine. He still wasn’t sure what was wrong with me because some of my symptoms were typical of appendicitis, and others were typical for ovarian cysts–part of the reason why the first resident and attending physician were disagreeing on the diagnosis. Dr. Ramin told me he was going to perform a laparoscopy to figure out what was wrong and then take care of business when he truly understood what was happening.

I was finally scheduled for surgery on Friday at 5:00 p.m. When the time came, I was introduced to the surgical team. All men, and very jocky. I imagined they were probably football players in high school. They were friendly and nice and were blaring Pearl Jam in the operating room. I liked them.

On my way in to surgery

The laparoscopy requires a few incisions, one of which is in the belly button. My belly button! I love my belly button and now it’s going to get mangled for this surgery! The horror. I joked with Dr. Ramin, and said, yeah do what ever you have to do to my innards to stop the pain, but please, for the love of god, do not ruin my perfectly round belly button!

I don’t know how long I was out, but I woke up to my handsome husband’s face and that made me so happy!

So here’s the part you’ve all been waiting for. What was it? An appendicitis or ovarian cysts?

As it turns out, I did indeed have ovarian cysts. Some of which were inflamed and turned into an abscess. That abscess grew down to my fallopian tube and then it ate, yes ATE, my otherwise healthy appendix. Crazy, I know! Right? The offending bits and appendix were removed and the lady parts remained.

The next morning Dr. Ramin came to check on me. He brought his medical students with him to meet me. They were going to watch the surgery, but when they thought it was going to be just a boring old appendectomy, they opted out. I heard Dr. Ramin explaining to them what actually happened while they were outside my room. You should have heard the ooohs and aaahs coming from the students. They were very impressed and truly disappointed to miss out on the experience.

I was given the green light to go home in the afternoon, and I didn’t wait around for them to change their mind. Mitch was at the hospital to pick me up as soon as he could and I was safely home by 3:30 on Saturday.

During this time, people kept calling Mitch to see how I was doing (I’m fine folks–I’m a fighter. You know that). Here he is: his wife in the hospital and he’s home alone, servicing clients, taking care of the household and a nine month old baby on his own 24/7. No one ever asked him how he was doing.

My husband is a wonderful man who managed to find the strength to make it through this ordeal on his own. He talked to me and several of you on the phone many times a day, wrote me email and text messages and cared for our daughter. He successfully weaned her off of her nighttime feeding and was able to train her to sleep through the night. She’s now sleeping in her own crib and we plan to move her out of our room next week.

Next time you see him, pat him on the back and tell him you’re proud of him. I know I am.

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We signed up for a rewards program that helps us save money for Isadora’s college education. It’s through a company called uPromise and there’s a few ways you can help us save money.

1) If you shop online, click this link forIsadora’s uPromise account and then find the online retailer you want to shop with. Click their link and shop like you normally would. Isadora’s account will earn a percentage from your total sale, usually 1% to 3%. Examples include: Target.com earns 2% of your total purchase, and drugstore.com earns a whopping 5%! Sometimes you can even find discount codes for free shipping or a few dollars off your total purchase.

2) You can also register as “Friends and Family.” If you enter your credit card numbers (totaly safe and legit, I swear!), participating retailers will deposit money in to Isadora’s account based on your purchases. For example, I bought Nestle Chocolate Chips using our Master Card at Cala Foods a couple of weeks ago. Nestle deposited six cents in to her account. I know six cents sounds paltry, but really, every penny counts.

It really is a cool program and I registered all most of our credit cards. So far, I’ve earned $10 in just a couple of months. Again, I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it is really awesome to earn $10 for doing what I would have done anyway–shop online for things we need.

Oh, and it’s totally free!

If this all sounds too weird and scary to you, give me a call and I’ll talk you through the process. uPromise is a stand up company and they partner with my employer on a 529 plan, which I will be opening soon, and another way you can contribute to Izzy’s college savings!

The most important meal of the day

On February 15, 2009, in Yummy Goodness, by Wendy

I love breakfast. I’m pretty sure I love breakfast because my mom was a strong proponent of the most important meal of the day. I don’t think there was ever a day where my mom was too late or too busy or too tired to make sure I had something to eat in the morning. The late, tired or busy may have dictated how complicated breakfast may have been. For example, there were a few mornings were I would have a glass of Instant Breakfast because it was quick and filling. I may have even asked for that type of breakfast on many occasions. I also remember another quick one: toast and hot chocolate. There were others though, long cooked oatmeal, eggs and hashbrowns, omelets, pancakes or french toast. Long story short, I have my mom to thank for my breakfast habit. I never leave the house without breakfast. It could be something quick like a bowl of cereal (although less likely since the diabetes incident) or a cup of yogurt with some granola to long cooked oatmeal (a favorite) or scrambled eggs and veggie sausages.

Mitch isn’t much of a breakfast eater. He’ll get up and go for hours before finally making himself something to eat. Fortunately, he is not perpetuating this terrible habit with Izzy. She usually nurses with me before I get out of bed and then will go back and snooze a bit more. Once up for the day, she’ll be hungry within the hour and Mitch is ready with a bowl of rice cereal and a jar of fruit.

I’m looking forward to mornings where we can eat breakfast together, when Izzy is a little more self-sufficient and can feed herself. I will continue the tradition my mom started with me and instill the habit of breakfast. I think I will tend to the higher protein, lower carb, no sugar breakfasts for us such as scrambled eggs or oatmeal. On special occasions such as birthdays or Christmas morning, I’ll splurge just a little with pancakes or french toast. I found a fabulous Special Occasion breakfast recipe today when I was flipping through the March 2009 issue of Ladies Home Journal

French Toast Fondue

2 tbsp sugar
1 cup milk
3 large eggs
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp cinnamon
8 1-inch think slices soft French bread cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tbsp orange juice

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together sugar, milk, eggs, 3 tbsp butter and cinnamon. Gently toss bread in mixture until coated well. Spread remaining butter on rimmed baking sheet. Add bread cubes in a single layer and bake 12 to 15 minutes. Use a spatula to remove baked cubes from pan and serve immediately with dipping sauce and toppings. To make apricot dipping sauce, combine jam and orange juice and microwave 1 minute; stir to smooth. Use chopped nuts, fruit and coconut for toppings.

This recipe sounds like the final result will be a little messy, but a lot of fun. I love the idea of a “fondue.” This may be the start of a new Christmas tradition. :-)

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Tricky Treats

On February 15, 2009, in Yummy Goodness, by Wendy

I hear that kids can turn in to picky eaters in the early years, and the battle over eating veggies can drag on for years. I wouldn’t know anything about that now, would I? 😉 I found an intriguing recipe that claims to be fail-proof in getting kids to eat spinach. It sounds pretty good and I was thinking of making these snacks for myself. It does kind of cheat though, anything with a stick of butter in it and some cheese is going to taste good. Whatever. I’m still going to add this to the archives for future reference with Isadora.

Spinach Balls | Makes 50

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
4 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cups Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing Mix
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons melted butter (1 stick, plus 2 tablespoons)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Squeeze the water out of the spinach. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then dump spinach and the rest of the ingredients in and mix. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until the mixture holds together, about an hour. Shape into roughly 1-inch balls and bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet until just browned and crispy, 30 to 35 minutes.

(Source: Wondertime Magazine, March 2009. Page 54.)

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Kirby loves the brush!

On February 15, 2009, in Kitties, by Wendy

Kirby normally HATES being brushed, but he really seems to dig the dish brush I’m using here. Many thanks to Kavita and her mom for giving us this brush which proved to also work on Conan who also disliked many a brush before meeting this style. Conan and Kirby have similar mannerisms and markings. Conan is a bit younger than Kirby, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if we were able to track down their lineage that they’re closely related.

Those strange utterances in the background are Shelly and Izzy playing around.

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On February 8, 2009, in Family, Kid, Things I want, Things to do, by Wendy

I’m looking forward to the day when Izzy is big enough to ride a bike. We’ll probably start with a Kettler Tricycle. I like the Kettler Air Navigator. It features a parent control handle bar for guidance when the kids are younger. It can be removed later when riding skills are a bit more refined. I especially love the rear basket for carrying stuff. The trike grows with the kidlet and is appropriate for ages 18 months to 5 years.
Air Navigator

When she gets a little older and is ready for a big girl bike, and can ride along with me, I’m going to get myself an Electra Bike.

Behold the Balloon 3i:

Electra Bike Town Balloon 3i

and the Holiday 3i:

Electra Bike Holiday 3i

I LOVE the color of the Balloon 3i, but I’m leaning towards the Holiday 3i because of the front rack.

We’ll pick up the Original 3i from their Amsterdam collection for Mitch. I’m pretty sure he’ll like this model.


I can just picture us now, loading our bikes up on the rack on the Prius and driving out to Golden Gate Park to ride bikes. We’ll bring a picnic lunch with us and peddle until we find a nice little meadow to hang out and eat. We’ll swing by the lakes and feed day old bread to the water fowl before peddling back to the car and head for home.

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This can’t be good for her developing brains.

On February 7, 2009, in Kid, by Wendy

Izzy just figured out how to spin in her doorway jumper thingy. She’s getting really good and sometimes going a little too fast, so she’ll need help to stop. Once she stops spinning, her little head wobbles around and she can’t focus her eyes for a moment. It’s hilarious!

I hope she channels this ability to spin so well, and she grows up to be an Olympic Ice Skater or a Prima Ballerina. My worry is that she’ll love being dizzy so much, she’ll become a huffer.

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