Cautiously Optimistic

I feel better.  Make that "much better."  "Much, much better," even!  Of course, I'm comparing how I feel today to how I felt a couple-three weeks ago, when I couldn't get out of bed without major meds...and I couldn't function because of the fuzzy-head feeling from said meds.

Since then, I have had excellent results from a nerve block, and I'm pleased-as-punch with our new FIRM mattress set, which was delivered last week.  I now get up and get going with just a couple of Bayer Back and Body capsules these days...slap on a LidoDerm Patch, and I'm good to go!

Mr. T has returned to his regular work/travel schedule, after sticking close to home to be here for me during the worst of it. When he left for the funeral services for his manager (held in New York), Bro T was here from KY to be with me.  I have had such wonderful care!

So, of course, this makes me think I can resume life as caution flag.  Tote that laundry bag, lift that hound dog! Hop a train and go for a trip!! I'm such an optimist...:)  

No, I'm not all the way back to normal (whatever...or wherever that may be...:), and I find being at the half-way mark a treacherous place to be.  My brain says "now, remember the Dr.'s orders to take it easy," but the siren call of the garden is bypassing my cranium altogether and going directly for my soul. Things to do...places to go...people to see...!

Looking out our back door...around midnight
The deck in snow, 2/19/12
Bird feeders are empty...for the moment

Thank goodness, we had our first winter snowfall last night...a record-breaker for this day, with a little over an inch (see photos, above), thus giving my back another brief reprieve.  At least I won't feel frustrated at having to "take it easy" for the next few days of chilly temps.  I have NO problem staying inside by the fire when the thermometer stalls in the forties, and the snow turns to sloppy, slush. And, when I have fun activities to keep me occupied, such as:

  • knitting...I'm making steady progress on my Ana Banana cardigan in Berroco's Weekend Peruvian cotton-blend yarn, having almost finished the back section; 
  • reading...I've just downloaded Philippa Gregory's The Lady of the Rivers...the third in the Cousins' War my iPad...; 
  • playing Words With Friends online...I've got 20 games going with friends far and near...and just received a message that I couldn't start any new games until I finished one...I'm apparently at the limit!;
  • watching the Downton Abbey Season 2 Marathon on PBS; and 
  • participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count...which I completed earlier today from my easy chair in the Morning Room, cuppa coffee in hand.  
I also had just enough energy left to make a 7-Up Pound first "real" baking since Christmas (recipe below)...and then, while the oven was hot, I switched it over to the Timed Clean setting.  Ahhh....I think I see Normal, there in the distance...just over the horizon...

But, look out:  possible problem ahead:  our Weather Wonk is predicting upper 60's for later this week.  Will I be able to "take it easy" with all that temperate temptation?  Maybe we should padlock the garden shed door, no?

I know I must keep the bit in and the breaks least until after March 5th.  I'm scheduled for an epidural steroid injection (ESI #1...of  3 or 4) that morning.  No, I'm NOT looking forward to the procedure, because it involves three of my least-favorite things:  needles, IV insertion, and pain. But, I'm practically salivating over the prospect of good results! [I had these done in Missouri in 2007-8...and probably wrote more about them then than you wanted to know...:)]

I will also hear Dr. Ford's report of my recent MRI...preferably before they give me an extra large dollop of the stuff in my IV to make me relax and "feel no pain."  If only...

No, none of it sounds like a walk in the park...but, as Missy M says:  "it'll make a walk in the park a much nicer experience."

Amen, my dear daughter.  Amen!


7-Up Pound Cake

1 cup butter (two sticks, at room temperature)
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
1 T. lemon juice
1 vanilla extract
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
7 ounces 7-Up (Do NOT use diet; can use Sierra Mist)

Glaze (optional):
1-1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, more or less
2 tablespoons milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare a large Bundt pan (I use a spray like Baker's Joy).

In a large bowl (I use my Cuisinart), beat butter, shortening, and sugar until fluffy and well-mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat again until blended in. Alternately, add in the flour and the 7-Up. Mix until smooth and creamy.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees; lower oven temperature to 300, and bake for one hour, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  If the top starts browning too much, tent lightly with foil for protection.

IMPORTANT: remove cake from oven and let it sit for thirty minutes before turning out. I invert mine directly onto the cake plate as soon as I remove it from the oven, but I do NOT attempt to remove the pan before it has rested for 1/2 hour.

Combine all glaze ingredients and stir until smooth. Add more milk if too thick, more confectioner's sugar if too thin. Pour over cooled cake.


[This cake brings back such fond memories of my freshman and sophomore year at Mississippi University for Women. My suite-mate...and fellow Rosette...KD's sweet mom would send one of these yummy cakes to her.  And we would devour it!  I later discovered the recipe in the Southern Living recipe book and began making them myself.  It became Missy M's favorite pound cake, and she once wrote a report on making it...and got an A+!  Ah yes, fond memories, indeed...and tasty, too!]


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