Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Transparently Invisible Illness - American Rice and Beans

In the world of cyberspace, many memes have arisen to remind us that not all disabilities are overtly apparent, and therefore, one should not leave snarky notes on cars parked in handicapped spots just because the driver did not appear to be suffering from a debilitating illness.  No doubt there is a certain amount of cheating that goes on, but given the invisible nature of many handicapping illnesses, it is better to err on the side of caution, and dare I say, compassion.

I was thinking of this while staring at my arms, which are bloodied, scarred, and roughened as a result of the terrible itching that often accompanies fibromyalgia.  Not so invisible, although I often wear long sleeves to cover them when they are particularly bad.  Yes, long sleeves, in Florida.  Of course the itching is not confined to my arms. You just can't see it.

I think I've passed the point where my disease is invisible.  Perhaps at one time, when the flares were infrequent and I might have days or weeks in between to recover, I could still fix my hair and put on my makeup and look pretty darn normal.  I did not even take a lot of sick days then, but oh geez, that changed dramatically as 2013 wound down, and so did I. I look sick, and I sound sick, and my limitations are pretty obvious even to strangers. Which causes me to wonder why state and Federal disability are giving me such a hard time, but then my own doctors are not helping in the least. Seriously, dudes, if you can't certify me back to work after all these months, what part of "permanent" don't you understand?  Do you think I am going to have a miraculous recovery? Throw away Horatio Cane and go dancing up the courthouse steps? Pick up a wheeled cart carrying 20 - six inch thick files and throw it casually onto the belt for the security scanner?  Do you think my brain is going to be able to clear its decks and make all words and facts readily available for my use? Idiots.

Now that I got that off my chest, let's switch gears. Today started off better than yesterday, but I still have just so many spoons, and I used most of them up on getting dressed, food shopping and putting things away.  There might be a demitasse spoon in the back of the drawer that will let me prepare a batch of cookies - especially now that I am seriously stocked up with cooking-baking ingredients - but I can't be sure.  My back hurts from my neck to my waist, and I am feeling a touch cranky. There's a home game tonight, Orlando Magic playing the Utah Jazz, and I may want to hang on to that demitasse so I can cheer on my boys, especially Victor Oladipo who won't be playing tonight because of a concussion.

Ah, hell, I blew that last spoon on cooking this rather whimsical version of rice and beans. Lo siento to all my Spanish friends.

American Arroz y Gandules (American Rice and Beans)

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound regular bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound hot country sausage (I used Tennessee Pride, but Jimmy Dean's and Publix are all good)
1 large sweet bell pepper, any color or combination of colors (I used about 1/3 each of green, red and yellow peppers)
1 cup of Uncle Ben's converted rice, prepared according to package directions, substituting 1 tablespoon of fat from the cooked meats in place of the butter called for in the directions.
1 - 28 oz. can KC Masterpiece Pulled Pork Baked Beans, undrained

Put the butter and bacon in a large deep pan, starting on high heat.  As the bacon renders, lower the heat to medium high. Add the onion, and season with salt, pepper, Raging River Five Pepper Blend, granulated garlic and sugar. Cook about 5 minutes, then add the sausage.  Break the sausage up with a wooden spoon, cook about 5 minutes, then add the bell peppers.  Cook 5 to 7 minutes, then take off the heat.  Drain off all of the remaining fat in a colander, then return the meat mixture to the pan.

Stir the cooked rice into the pan, and then stir in the beans. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover the pan and heat on medium low to warm all the way through. If you don't like spicy, you can certainly use mild sausage and eliminate the pepper blend.

HOLY SHIT - all hell just broke out in Paris.  Terror attack which one FOX commentator referred to as "France's 9/11".  Three locations confirmed, reports of three more.

God help the people of Paris and France. God help us all.

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