Make A Wish

Welcome, of my favorite months! Several reasons for this feeling come to mind:

1. It's Mr. T's birthday month...always a reason for joy! More on this in a minute.
2. It's Elmo's Gotcha Month! Our "baby boy" became a member of the Drool Gang in 2005, when we adopted him from Guardian Angel Basset Rescue (GABR) while we lived in O'Fallon, MO. Even though the GABR foster mom told Missy M that Elmo "needed" to be an only dog, we soon found out that was just not the case. Mr. E needed to be part of a pack...with a strong leader like Gus was.
3. If it's September, that means August (not one of my faves) is over for another year. And the hottest and most humid part of Summer is (typically) behind us. Hooray! 

Here are some pictures that connect with Reason #1...and the Man of the Month:

The first one is Mr. T's cake (as requested, chocolate with white icing), his birthday bouquet of flowers in bloom in the gardens on this day, and a few of his cards from friends and family. The second one is the Peel'em and Eat'em Shrimp with zippy Cocktail Sauce he wanted for Birthday Dinner (recipes below). And the third/last one is of his birthday present: a new Trex swing for the Kitchen Garden overlook in the Way Back Garden...being enjoyed by himself and Miss Abbie. (The "old" swing was wooden and only three years old when it began to fall apart...hence, the Trex choice.)

Of course, as do most things in our DIY world, the new swing arrived via UPS in a flat box, stamped with those three most-dreaded words: "some assembly required." And it was h-e-a-v-y to boot. Fortunately, Mr. T was able to scoot the box into the garage where he could assemble it on his workbench, and then slide it over onto the garden wagon for transport to its final destination. Still, the lifting, hoisting, and mounting on the chains was extremely difficult...given his current shoulder problems. No wonder he was happy to rest a bit when all was said and hung!

Shoulder problems, you say? Oh yes. Still with him. In spades. After the FP read the diagnosis of "chronic dislocated shoulder" produced by the X-ray of his right shoulder, the orthopedic surgeon ordered an MRI. Now, we are working on the assumption that, instead of a dislocated shoulder, Mr. T has a "torn rotator cuff aggravated by tendinitis." Good grief. As Daddy used to say, "well, they call it practicing medicine for a reason..."

Either way, another cortisone injection was in order. Gave him maybe 3-4 days relief, at most. He is trying to do the exercises the dr prescribed, but they are more painful with each day, making physical therapy a pipe dream at this point. And he still can't find a comfortable position to sleep. We've even tried switching sides on our bed to see if that would help...not much. So even with liberal use of a heating pad, he's still getting very little sleep, and even less restorative rest

He left this morning with an arsenal of supplies to help him get through another week on the road: usual meds, including Celebrex (anti inflammatory) and Tramadol (prescription pain med. which he can't take during work hours or while driving); a topical NSAID rub called Voltarin Gel, prescribed for me and my back by my pain management dr., and willingly shared; additional OTC pain relievers, in the form of Excedrin Extra Strength (aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine) as the FP has forbidden him to take ibuprofen in addition to the Celebrex for fear of causing stomach ulcers (although Dr. K would probably frown on Excedrin and Voltarin with equal negative reactions); BioFreeze, a roll-on cool-therapy analgesic, originally suggested by my physical therapist following back surgery; Icy-Hot patches, as he gets more relief from warmth than coolth, he says; and two zip-loc baggies to hold the bagged ice he'll apply after his long drive to MD: one for his shoulder, one for his knee. Oh yes, don't forget: he's still dealing with a painful left knee. Even with all of the above, he likely won't get much relief from his pain, er pains.

Sigh. It's evident he can't go on like this much longer.

So, you will understand that his birthday wish this year included "feel better soon." And if that involves surgery to repair the tear, then bring it on...he's way past ready!

Here's hoping this four-leaf clover I found near the swing helps him get his wish!


Recipes, as promised...


Peel'em and Eat'em Shrimp

1-2 cups cider vinegar or beer
2 cups water
2 tablespoons OLD BAY® Seasoning (see substitute below)
2 pounds large shrimp, fresh or frozen
Cocktail Sauce (recipe follows)


In a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket, mix beer or vinegar, water and seasoning. Bring to boil on medium heat (can do this on burner of outside grill). Gently add steamer basket of  shrimp, then cover.

Steam 2 to 3 minutes for fresh or 8-10 minutes for frozen, or just until shrimp turn pink, stirring as necessary to evenly steam all shrimp. Drain well.

Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Then, peel'em and eat'em...just like the name says. Best served with a zippy cocktail sauce, an ice-cold bottle of beer, and lively conversation. Enjoy!


Old Bay Seasoning Substitute


4-6 whole bay leaves
2 teaspoons celery salt
1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice


Combine all ingredients except whole bay leaves and mix thoroughly. Place in an airtight container, along with whole bay leaves, and store in a cool place. Use 2 tablespoons of mix and 2-3 bay leaves in liquid where the shrimp is to be boiled. Remove and discard bay leaves after boiling.


Cocktail Sauce

2 cups tomato catsup
2-4 tablespoons prepared horseradish (more=zippier!)
1-2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon celery seed


Mix all ingredients in a measuring cup. Pour in a jar and refrigerate for several hours. Use liberally with chilled shrimp. The longer the sauce rests, the hotter the taste from the pepper flakes! Enjoy!


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