Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"... He kindly stopped for me ..." - Zoodles with ...

Without intending to be overly morbid, I have to admit that this poem has been floating around in my head these past two days. A poetic ear worm, courtesy of Emily Dickenson. 

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

It's not Death I've been thinking about, but his cousin Isolation. Always a loner, and mostly an introvert, I nonetheless enjoyed a world outside of the confines of my home. I have family and many friends, and we met on an irregular basis to share dinners, holidays, and simchas (happy occasions, celebrations), sufficient to qualify as a social life. Back when the boys were highly involved in taekwondo competition, we traveled regularly by car to out-of-state locations, meeting up with our ATA friends in places like Little Rock, Atlanta, Valdosta and Panama City Beach.

Most importantly, however, for my daily mental health, I went to work, every single day - I didn't even take too many sick days until the fibromyalgia shifted from annoying to debilitating. The people I worked with made up the fabric of my social life, and I was very happy.  Just the right amount of positive human contact to keep me grounded.

Things change, for various reasons, and I have fallen into a pattern of social isolation that can't be healthy. I am fortunate that I can make it to my tri-weekly tai chi classes, and it goes without saying that I meet with my therapist once a week, but beyond that, I am willingly confined to the house. At the beginning of this debacle, I made it a point to go out on my own a few days each week, whether it was to Publix or Walmart or even the office to see my peeps. I would take a walk with Horatio Cane, admiring the neighborhood gardening and architecture. Now, with increasing pain and decreasing cognitive ability, I hesitate to step outside the house unless I have to. It took me two days to work up the courage to make the drive to CVS for prescription pick-up.

To say that this sucks is a vast understatement. I've been a loner, yes, but not a hermit like my great-grandfather Charles Albert. I don't particularly like this, but I don't know what to do.

Enough of that. I did some cooking, but the results were less-than-stellar, so I can't recommend you try this. Needless to say this is absolutely the LAST time I try to use a bottled Alfredo sauce.  I had to add some pizza sauce and a few glugs of sherry to make it even close to palatable, and I'm still not happy. I made the meatballs from a pound each of ground chuck and ground Italian sausage, and then stuffed each meatball with mozzarella pearls, and they don't taste right to me either.  Could be my palate taking a fibromyalgia-funded vacation. Feh.

Speaking of My Friend Fibro, I finally made an appointment with a rheumatologist. First available was February 10, and I was okay with that, but then they called me back and asked if I wanted to come in tomorrow morning. Hell yeah!

My memory and word recall has been worse than ever these past few days. Scary that I couldn't "find" the word "shallots"to use in a conversation. I've had to ask Robert more than just a few times for help in recalling words. I don't feel good about the whole thing.

Turns out the meatballs and sauce are rather good, but this evening's winner is the spiralized zucchini, also known as zoodles. A really delicious substitute for spaghetti, especially with the sauce and some grated Parmesan cheese on top.

The zucchini was the size of a dachshund, so I only needed one. Once it was spiralized, I heated a couple of tablespoons of garlic-infused olive oil in a large deep skillet, and sprinkled on some black pepper and granulated garlic. NO SALT.  I cooked it over medium high until it was done to my liking, which is slightly underdone because I know it is going to be reheated. I used tongs to move it around in the pan, and then to remove it from the skillet, letting excess liquid drip off. Finally, I put it in a serving dish, spooned on some of the sauce from the meatballs, and sprinkled on some cheese. Right now, it's in a 350 degree oven, just to warm up and finish in the sauce. Serve with meatballs or anything else that goes well with spaghetti.  This was fun.

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