Wednesday, January 1, 2014

You Can't Stop The Signal

But you can interrupt it.

Blogpeeps, I know it's been six months since I have created a post for your reading pleasure.

Here is what I have learned in six months:

Recovering from major surgery is hard.

It's even harder when that surgery affects your brain.

And while I remember all the arcane tax law I need to keep my accounting practice running, the part of my brain that can translate the creative thoughts in my head to words typed on a keyboard has ceased to function.

This is not stopping me from continuing my New Year's Day ritual with my family.  Notice this year's addition to the BIG DUMB FUN! category-Pacific Rim.

So all I can do is leave you with this message on the first day of this new year..  I will be back.

Until then:

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Drink L'chaim, To Life!

Hi Blogpeeps!

Well, it's finally time.  Tomorrow I fly back to the East Coast.  Santa Barbara has treated me kindly and I'm as close to physically ready as I am going to get to make the endless journey home.

Did I mention packing sucks?

I know I owe my fellow jaw surgery patients some blogs about food, but before I can do that, my focus needs more focus.  My mind wanders off at a moment's notice.  One minute I'm trying to write a food blog and the next minute....Oh look! Candy Crush Saga!

So for now, I want to take a moment and talk with you about liquid refreshment.  (Non-alcoholic liquid refreshment.)  

My son enjoys a good cup of tea, and has turned me on to visiting tea houses whenever we travel.

In fact, I am fortunate to live in a place that hosts one of the best tea houses in the country.  My son and I have spent many hours enjoying their hot and cold teas.  

If you ever visit Burlington, Vermont and like tea, you owe it to yourself to pay a visit.

Our favorite cold tea is called Staroborshov.  It is served in a tall beer glass and let me tell you, there is nothing better on a hot summer day that sitting at one of Dobra's outdoor tables holding a cold frosty glass in your hand and people watching...

I am the nectar of the Gods.

As we were getting ready for our trip out, we researched tea houses in Santa Barbara.  Sadly, there aren't any.

So, I packed some tea.

Do you think I brought enough for 6 weeks?

When I first had the surgery, I was kicking myself for packing so much.  After the operation, I could not taste or smell anything.  In addition, I was not allowed to have anything hot.  This was because I had no sense of temperature and could have burned myself.  In addition, the roof of my mouth is very vulnerable due to the rebuilding of my upper jaw.

But as the days progressed, I regained my sense of smell, taste and temperature.  (In fact, thanks to Dr. Gunson, my sense of smell improved.)  I was able to warm the tea enough that it made me happy without giving me pizza palate.  It has been a great comfort to me to make a cup of one of my favorite teas and sip it while looking out the window of our cottage at the mountains.  

This view does not suck.

And folks who have never been to this part of the country?  I now understand the meaning of the lyrics "Purple Mountains Majesty."  (Which leads me to one of my favorite rants-why isn't "America The Beautiful" our National Anthem?)

As I got stronger and started going on some outings, I had a lot of hesitation about going to restaurants with other people and watching them eat.  But then I had a brain storm.  Why not plan some outings that were beverage centered?

So for those of you having jaw surgery with Dr. Gunson in Santa Barbara, here are three enjoyable outings that will allow you to experience some of the attractions of the area without feeling deprived.  In addition, they are very inexpensive.  That's a huge plus given the cost of temporary housing while recovering from surgery.

Outing #1:

High Tea at the 4 Seasons 

If you are going stir crazy, this is the place for you.  First of all, this is your view while you sip your tea:

Secondly, the tea is presented beautifully.  Witness this lovely tea pot:

I want to take this home with me but it won't fit in my purse.

And tea cup:

Citron Green Delight.

And shhhhhhhh!!!! I'm going to share a little secret with you.  Make your reservation for High Tea and plan to arrive early.  When you get there, the helpful staff will valet park your vehicle.  Then, you can walk across the way to experience the beauty of Butterfly Beach without worrying about finding a parking space.  And/or, you can enjoy exploring the beautiful grounds of the resort.  Not a bad deal.

Jaw peeps, is the one time I will share pictures of food you will not get to eat.  Because you will want to splurge for the $35 (instead of $6 for your pot of tea) it takes to provide the loved one taking care of your every need after your jaw surgery with the entire High Tea experience.

So they can eat this:

And then have this for dessert:

I ate this with my camera.

Outing #2:

Chocolate Maya

Oh My Oh Maya!

I have always wanted to try Mexican Hot Chocolate, but I have never found a gluten free version in Vermont.  I scored big at Chocolate Maya!

This is the sign that greets you as you walk in to the small but goodie-packed store:

The store is filled with funky art:

They have gorgeous handmade chocolates, pictures of which I will not be posting here because they will make jaw surgery patients cry.

They also have amazing chocolate bars.  This was my favorite:

They warned you!

It's made with something called Ghost Chile.  I assume it's called that because you die after eating it.

The back of the bar lists the ingredients.  They are as follows:   Organic dark chocolate, organic milk chocolate, spices, pain.

There are two types of hot chocolate at Chocolate Maya:

The nice lady behind the counter let me try a sip of "The Sacrifice."  Oh. My. Tasty. Goodness.  

My lips were still a little too swollen to handle all that heat at once, so she kindly offered to mix it half and half with the Eurococoa.  Mmmmmmm....

By the end of my stay, I had graduated to a full cup of Sacrifice.

I am all that is good and right in this world.

Outing #3:

Virgin Mojitos at The Boathouse

Straw removed for the safety of jaw surgery patients.

The Boathouse serves something called a "Honeycomb Mojito" because they use honeycomb to make their simple syrup.  All I know is that it wasn't cloyingly sweet like most simple syrup and it was incredibly refreshing.  They made no fuss when I asked for one without the alcohol (or for the three extra limes.)  

Since the temperature where we are staying has been too hot for my comfort as June progresses, we've escaped to the Boathouse a few times-it's located right on the beach, and there are plenty of umbrellas to shelter those of us who wilt under the sun.

And also?  This is your view:

So is this:

Things could be worse.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Bad Poem About Candy Crush Saga

Well blogpeeps, I've been in Santa Barbara, California recovering from my May 22nd jaw surgery and I've been doing a lot of resting.  So, I finally gave into the game that seems to be the obsession of all my facebook buddies and started playing Candy Crush Saga. 

I had better beat this game before I return to my regularly scheduled life or I am doomed.  I am currently stuck on level 37.

And so I offer you this horrible poem I wrote in between attempts:

I have no resistance against Candy Crush;
This stupid game makes me play too much.
And when I do not clear the jelly;
There's a sinking feeling in my belly.

The end.

(Unless someone wants to send me some extra moves...)

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Nerve of my Face!

Well blogpeeps, I ran into a bump in the road in my quest to fill you in on my jaw journey.

In preparation for my surgery, I learned about the fact that my nerves would be damaged during the reconstruction of my jaw.  I was told about the risks involved, such as having some permanent numbness in my face.  I was told that the worst part of the immediate post surgery experience was the feeling of pressure, which was true.

After the surgery, my face was truly numb.  In fact, I was told by my nurses (I have NO recollection of this) that in the first few days after the surgery, I kept touching my nose and asking "WHAT IS THIS?"  

So I was delighted when about a week after the surgery, my face started tingling.  It was actually a pleasant sensation.  By the end of two weeks, I could feel my cheeks and chin when I touched them, with only one clearly numb spot on the left side of the bottom of my chin.

Jump to day 21 after the surgery.  You know that spot on the left side of the bottom of my chin that I couldn't feel?  I started feeling ALL THE FEELS!

I'm not going to lie to you blogpeeps.  When nerves regenerate, it f**king hurts.  The good news is that it means I am regaining all the sensation in my face.  The bad news is that around 4pm each day since June 11th, I have wanted to crawl under the bed in my lovely recuperation cottage with a bottle of tequila and cry.

And of course I can't.  Well, of course I can cry, but I can't have the tequila.  I CAN have Tramadol in limited quantities.  It dulls the pain, but does not make it go away.

So, I have not felt up to writing any blogs that talk about the time leading up the surgery, or the surgery itself, or my wonderful doctors who are helping me through this journey.

Instead, I am going to spend some time talking to you about food.

For the first two weeks after the surgery, I was on a liquid diet.  Ever single thing I drank had to be blended and then strained.  Even broth.

Blogpeeps, here is a very sad truth about this phase of my recovery.  On the 10th day on the liquid diet, I actually salivated when watching a dog food commercial.  

Also, I may the only jaw surgery patient in the history of jaw surgery that spent the entire time I was on the liquid diet watching the Food Network.

So at my two week appointment, when my doctor told me I could switch to a blended diet, I actually clapped my hands like a seal.

I then did what my nurses tell me every single patient does after they get this welcome news.  I made a beeline to a decent grocery store and threw anything that looked good into my cart.  Anything.  Because anything can be blended in a Vitamix.

I love my Vitamix.  I want to marry it.

Why is a Vitamix the only blender you will want to purchase if you are going to have jaw surgery?  To find out, you must watch this:

Are you done?  Good.  Thank you for following instructions.  Now you will understand this analogy.  A regular blender is the switchblade the guy pulls on Mick Dundee.  And the Vitamix?  It's the machete Mick pulls out in response.

My Vitamix and I have had some adventures trying to satisfy my finicky palate until the day I can move to the next phase of my recovery.  (That would be the "soft chew.")  

And since I am recovering in the fruit and vegetable paradise that is Santa Barbara California, this has involved some food adventures for this east coast girl.

Stay tuned blog peeps!  If you are interested in learning how to turn every single food group into a bisque, you are in the right place.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Ballad Of Judy's Jaw-Or, the Surgical Expedition of 2013

Hello Blogpeeps, long time no see...

But, I have a good excuse.  In fact, I have a doctor's note.

I had surgery.

A long planned, complex, life-altering surgery.

And since I'm on medical leave and finally have my sense of humor back, you are going to get to hear all about it.

It starts with a picture...

My airway

See the little black shape?   That was my airway.  And it was not supposed to look like that.  

And until May 22nd, I did not know what it was like to take a normal breath, or sleep without fear.

It's why I've spent the last three years preparing for a surgery that required a leap of faith and a trip from Vermont to California so I could be in the hands of the right surgeon.

So stay tuned for my journey.  And if you know of anyone with sleep apnea, point them my way.  Because I can breathe now.  And nothing will ever be the same.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

An Angry Poem about Cancer

Fuck you Cancer, fuck you hard;
You've dealt my friends a shitty card.
I hate you with my every breath;
It's you that should be facing death.

That's all I have to say.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Bad Poem About Trees

I'm driving home, the trees are bare;            
The leaves have fallen down.                        
I see the kites stuck up in the the limbs;       
I think of Charlie Brown.