On the top shelf of my shoe rack, there is a row of high heels. A pearlescent beige, a velvet red, a deep maroon with grey straps, and several more. They have sat there, untouched, since we moved to this house a year ago. Truth be told, they sat untouched in our old home, too. They are the last remnant of someone I once was. Someone younger. Someone stronger. Someone much less broken.
The pain in my joints was strongest in my hands. Or perhaps merely most noticeable. I had twisted and wrenched my ankles multiple times over the years and I was used to them hurting. The pain in my hips and knees was avoidable. So long as I didn’t climb stairs or otherwise stress the joints, I did just fine. I could even wear high heels on occasion. I couldn’t walk very far in them, but I didn’t wear them much any ways, so it didn’t really matter. But my hands… The pain would come on like a burning heat deep inside the joints, curling them up and making them shake. I would plunge them into ice baths, press them onto massaging tools, and wore gloves to allow me to keep working through the pain. Eventually, the pain became a constant. Something that simply was. Background noise to everything else that was going wrong with my body.
I turned my ankle again one day and realized that was going to have to be the end of it. I wasn’t even wearing high heels, but a coworker pointed out how much worse it could have been if I had. So I put all of my heels aside and switched to ballet flats alone. Heels would only be for special occasions. Over time, those special occasions grew fewer and fewer, and the collection in my closet grew smaller and smaller. Until the day I looked up at them and realized that I hadn’t worn them in a very long time. And now, probably never would again.
It was inevitable, I suppose, that my feet would get in on the act. I joked that every joint from the hips down was damaged, but in reality, my feet were mostly fine. An occasional twinge in the metatarsal a doctor once described as “not quite broken.” The joy and thrill of my smallest two toes popping out of joint if I flexed them wrong. Pain if I stood or walked for too long. But “too long” meant “a couple of hours,” so it wasn’t like my mobility was all that limited. I adjusted, adapted, and kept moving.
The pain started in the middle of the ball of my foot. Not on top, not on the bottom, but somewhere deep inside. It was razor sharp and only hurt when I walked. I rested and tried to wait the pain out. Sharp pains in various joints is not an uncommon occurrence, so I wasn’t too worried. But the pain didn’t go away. So off to the doctor I went.
For now, the diagnosis is “probably two metatarsals rubbing together.” I’m to stay off my feet for two weeks as much as possible, increase my daily dose of pain medication, and change my foot gear habits for the duration. No more ballet shoes. No more flip flops. And no more walking barefoot on hard surfaces.
That last one is pretty inconvenient. I like being barefoot, most of our house is hard surfaces, and while I like my house slippers for when my feet are cold, it’s only been a couple of days and I’m already tired of wearing them. All of which is minor compared to the inconvenience of staying off of my feet.
When I was on bedrest with P’khan, the enforced rest was difficult, but easier to bear because the exhaustion from getting up was immediate. Now I find myself most frustrated by the fact that I could be on my feet if I really wanted to. I could get up and clean the kitchen. I could put away the toys. I could make dinner. I could be doing those things. I just can’t do all of them.
Right now, my feet have their own personal set of spoons. Every trip to the bathroom, every diaper change, every chase after a mischevious toddler… every single one costs a spoon. I can rest and restore a spoon or two, but those spoons are stolen from the rest of my body. By the end of the day, I am exhausted, despite spending most of the day sitting on the couch. And everything I wanted to do is still left undone.
I have a follow up appointment this afternoon. I stubbornly refused prescription pain medication the first time and the over the counter stuff is just not doing the job. Not only is the sharp pain still there, all of my usual pains have decided to pile on. Sitting too long has started to hurt my hips, and my hands have apparently been feeling left out of the party. Moose and I have also decided I need to have someone come in for a few hours each day to lend a hand. Hopefully with a little extra medicine and a little more rest, I’ll be back on my feet. If not… well, I suppose I can always get a snazzy flag for my scooter.
Moose suggested I have a shot at making a version of Penne Rustica. It was super tasty and multiple friends asked that I share the recipe. This is an approximation, so hopefully I didn’t forget anything important.
1 pound chicken thighs, diced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound thick sliced prosciutto, diced
1 pound bow tie or penne pasta
4 TB olive oil
2 TB minced garlic
1/4 cup marsala wine
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
8 ounces herb goat cheese
1/2 cup goat milk
1 cup grated manchego
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add the olive oil and garlic to a sauce pan over medium heat. If using fresh garlic, allow it to sweat for a few minutes. Add marsala wine, salt, and pepper.
Add the diced chicken to the sauce pan. Saute until just cooked, then remove chicken from pan, leaving the juice.
Saute the shrimp in the broth until just cooked and then remove shrimp from pan.
Cut small chunks of the goat cheese into the broth and whisk the chunks until smooth. Add the goat milk and prosciutto. Reduce to low heat and allow to simmer.
Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain. Stir in sauce and blend until coated. Add chicken and shrimp.
Pour mixture into a 5L casserole dish. Cover with grated manchego cheese. Cook in oven 15 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.
So, Pokemon Go has come out. And it’s popular. Like, super popular. A lot of people are running around trying to Catch ‘Em All, and some of y’all are going to catch some serious injury in the process. As a former Ingress player (the game that Pokemon Go is based on), allow me to pass on some of the important things I learned while playing.
Pack For The Journey
If you’re not used to long walks in the park, you’ll need to plan ahead. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes. Bring water, a couple of snacks, and SUNSCREEN. Seriously. If you haven’t spent a whole lot of time in the sun, lather up. Especially if you decline to wear a hat and are one of those people who shave their head. Scalp sunburn sucks. If you don’t like water, there are a variety of water flavorings you can pick up which are both portable and tasty. Some are even caffeinated for your convenience. Headphones will help you stay in touch with the game without bothering those around you. And consider investing in a portable power pack or solar charger. If you’re going to be out and about, you might as well maximize your play time.
Do Not Drive and Play
If you decide you need to get around a little faster than walking will allow, biking, skating, and skate boarding are all awesome ways to speed up your travels. Whatever you do, DO NOT play while driving. Playing in a car requires a two person team. One to drive, and one to navigate/poke the phone. Yes, this does mean that occasionally the navigator might miss a score because they were trying to poke two phones at once. Trade off. And for fuck’s sake, don’t stop the car in the middle of the road to snag a drop. Pull off to the side. Park. Play. Move on.
Do Not Play in Traffic
There is NOTHING worth running into traffic for. I don’t care how rare the drop is, it’s not worth it. The range of your toon is more than far enough to stand off to the side and pick up whatever it is.
DO NOT TRESPASS
Stay out of private property. Be mindful of curfews. Don’t climb over walls, don’t sneak into buildings, don’t go anywhere that you’ll have to have a conversation that starts with “Well, you see officer…” Yes, most police departments in the country are fully aware of the insane game everyone is currently playing. But “I was just trying to catch Pikachu” is not going to fly as a defense.
Situational Awareness. Get You Some.
Are you a lone adult male hanging around a playground full of small children? Are you in a cemetery while a funeral is going on? Are you some place where you should be observing respectfully instead of playing with your damn phone? Stop. Think. Don’t be an asshole.
No matter what, remember that it’s just a game. A little friendly competition is all well and good, but don’t mistake a hit in the virtual world as a blow in the real world. The other players are people, too. Treat them with the respect that they deserve. Even if they did choose the wrong team.
A salmon croquette is kind of like a crab cake. Normally they’re fried, but baking makes them much less greasy. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can add all sorts of herbs and spices to the mix.
1 5 oz bag of chicharrones, crushed 
3 2.5 oz packages of salmon or 1 6 oz can of salmon (not in water)
1 Tbs Pecan oil
1 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs minced garlic
3.5 oz goat cheese 
1 Tbs cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste 
Pre-heat oven to 375
Lightly spray the bottom of a glass dish with oil or cooking spray. Use a 8×8 pan for large patties, or a 11×17 pan for smaller patties.
Blend all ingredients into a bowl. Your hands work best for this process.
Form into 4 large patties or 8 smaller patties. Large patties should be no more than an inch thick.
20 minutes for large patties
10 minutes for smaller patties
Patties should be lightly crispy on the outside and still moist on the inside. Serve with a nice dark green veg like spinach or broccoli for a filling keto meal.
 Minus the half dozen or so the toddler begged.
 I like to get goat cheese crumbles, as they’re easier to blend.
 Bear in mind that chicharrones are pretty salty to begin with,
Moose made mac and cheese for Acorn while I was napping, so I figured this would be a good time to try the mac and cheese Wit recommended. The grocery store closest to our new place has a pretty extensive selection of dairy free and gluten free products, which is exciting. I’ve been trying all the frozen stuff for quick lunches with the kiddos, but this is the first time I’ve had an opportunity to do some actual cooking. So without further ado…
(As of this writing, the Daiya website appears to be non-functional, so here’s a link to Amazon in the meantime.)
On the left, Daiya Cheezy Mac, Deluxe Cheddar Flavor (with added bacon). On the right, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Original Flavor (with added ground beef).
This is a somewhat unfair face off to begin with, since the Kraft is a powdered cheese sauce, while Daiya is a liquid cheese pouch. There is a noticeable difference in the texture of the cheese sauce. It would probably be a fairer comparison to use a more expensive macaroni and cheese products, such as Velveeta, but Kraft is what I tend to keep in stock for Moose and Acorn, so Kraft it is. The noodles are also very different in quality, again probably due to how much more expensive Daiya is.
The Moose Taste Test was a pleasantly surprised “Huh. It’s oddly smokey.” He attributed this to the added bacon, but I pointed out that the cheese itself is kind of smokey, and he said that might be what he was tasting. When I asked if he would have guessed the Daiya was a gluten free, dairy free product, he took a moment and decided “Probably not. Especially not with bacon in it.”
As for me, I’ll definitely be getting more of this. It’s been years since I’ve eaten mac and cheese that I didn’t prepare from scratch. It was nice to make a quick, easy lunch that didn’t taste like a substitute. It’s certainly not going to completely replace Kraft on our shopping list. The price difference alone means it’s too expensive to feed the notoriously picky toddler. Besides, it was very tasty and I didn’t want to share.
We went for a walk this morning. Well, I went for a walk. Acorn went for a ride in the stroller and P’khan dangled from the Baby Bjorn. I should probably get a double stroller soon if we make this a regular thing. It’s getting too hot to wear him for long periods. Although he does make a great exercise weight.
We made it about halfway to the park (3/4 of a mile or so) before I decided we should probably turn back. My current post baby exercise goal is to be able to walk to the park with my kids. Eventually I want to be able to ride my bike with the kids in a tow trailer, but walking is pretty much my highest speed at the moment.
I probably shouldn’t have gone quite that far, since I almost didn’t make it back, but I felt really proud of myself just for making it to that distant corner. I stopped more frequently on the way back, but used the time to point out birds and flowers and butterflies for Acorn. She was pretty hot and cranky by that point, so she was unimpressed.
We didn’t actually make it to the park. If Moose had been home, I probably could have pushed on and just had him come rescue us. But we did get out for a bit into the world outside of our back yard. Which I call a win. And then we came home and all took 2 hour naps. Which is also kind of a win.
– Whatever side of the door she’s on is the wrong one.
– Has accidentally closed herself in the bathroom more than once.
– The red dot is both fascinating and scary. It must be caught.
– No roll of toilet paper is safe.
– Knows the exact spot in the foyer where piteous wails will echo through the whole house.
– Will cheerfully ignore both Mommy and Daddy’s request for cuddles, but the moment there’s food involved, it’s all smiles and sweetness.
– Mommy and/or Daddy must be watching before things can be knocked over.
– Has a sixth sense for when Mommy or Daddy will need to get up soon, so that she may plop down in our lap.
– Likes to lick plastic.