Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy happy, Joy joy

Recently I've felt wholesomely well- physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Finally my spirits are overall positive. At first I thought it was an epiphany. While I don't want to disregard that completely, I had a realization yesterday that perhaps it's due to a combination of occurrences. Perhaps the prescription Vitamin D and the once a week 6 minute tanning sessions have restored my body to its required amount of said vitamin. Also my husband started his new job this week which he's enjoying immensely. In addition, I've been abstaining from alcohol since the past 11 days. Combine all of those practices, hanging around with some pretty darn good folks including my clients who've been so inspiring, reading daily meditations and some self reflecting literature, and BLAMMO... Happiness is achieved.

Most of my dreaming has been crazy too. Besides the other night when I woke myself and my husband up from growling, I've had some pretty spiritual and meaningful ones. This includes last night. It inspires me to begin a dream journal. Note to self: read positive writings before bed because it seems to induce pleasant dreams.

The only thing missing from my life is exercise. I won't go into any excuses except one. I don't have time, which is true if I don't make the time. Hubby gifted me with some "fitness pole" classes recently. Now I must make the time to go. This could possibly make my life complete. (Insert some sarcasm here)

I'm grateful for everyone in my life right now. It's astounding how many genuinely amazing and real folks I've been coming into contact with. Without getting too cheesy I'm going to carry on with my day. Talk to you all soon.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Seitan Pot Roast

Many vegetarians I know don't enjoy this wonderful wheat meat as much as they should. It's versatile and extremely easy to make home made. Not to mention that it's way cheaper to make it then to buy it at the store. You can use it in stir fries, burritos, tacos, fajitas, "meat" sauce, sandwiches, and on and on. A favorite All American Vegan recipe book of mine is calledVegan Vittles. I suggest this book as a staple for anyone interested in learning some great, healthy alternatives to common recipes. You can get Vital Wheat Gluten at most grocery stores these days. It's in the natural and organic section usually in the baking section. Another ingredient is food grade Nutritional Yeast. This product might sound gross to many, but it's a yellow flaky substance that is packed with B vitamins. While some vegetarians have a difficult time ingesting B vitamins because they're packed in meat products. It can be used as a seasoning since it's slightly salty. You can use it in many things including home made seitan. In saying that, I wanted to share this Seitan Pot Roast.

Seitan :
Dry ingredients-
1 box of Vital Wheat Gluten or approx 2 cups
1/3 cup of Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder or roasted minced garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder

Liquid Ingredients-
1 1/3 cup water
4 tabls Tamari or soy sauce

1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
4 0z baby bella mushrooms, sliced (optional)

Cooking Broth
1 box of all natural tomato soup or 3 cups of broth and tomato paste (I used Wholefoods 365 brand since we had it on hand)
2 tblsp red wine vinegar
2 tblsp of soy sauce
1/2 tsp fresh or dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp Liquid Hickory Smoke
1 bay leaf

EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) for sauteing

1. Place the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, and stir them together.
2. Mix the liquid ingredients in a small bowl, and then pour them into the flour mixture. Mix well. If it appears to be too dry, you can add one or two tablespoons of water. This spongy mass is called gluten.
3. Knead the mixture in the mixing bowl for about a minute. Make a loaf on a surface, and then return it to the mixing bowl to rest.
4. Heat up a Dutch Oven on med/high heat with a couple tblsp of olive oil. When it's hot, add the loaf to brown it on all sides making sure that it doesn't stick to the sides or bottom of the pan. Transfer it back to the mixing bowl.
5. Add another teaspoon of olive oil, and add the onions. Brown them until almost carmelized then add the carrots and saute 5 more minutes. Add the mushrooms.
6. Mix the broth ingredients into the Dutch Oven. Bring to a boil, lower heat to low. Add the gluten loaf.
7. Simmer for an hour and a half making sure that you flip the loaf every thirty minutes.
8. Remove the loaf to a slicing board.
9. Make a pureed gravy using a blender or better yet an immersion blender directly in the pot.
10. Slice the "pot roast" and serve with the gravy.

I didn't accompany this with anything because I think it's perfect as a meal by itself, however rice or smashed potatoes would be a lovely accompaniment to this delectable Vegan dish. The leftovers are just as delicious, and you could always make a sandwich with or without an open face.

Monday, January 24, 2011

With the good, there is bad

Such is life. It's never all good or all bad thankfully, but a little mixed in here and there. Sometimes the balance is heavier on one side or the other, and sometimes it seems like things are fully one way or the other. The balance is seemingly in the middle after teetering in the lowest of lows.

Talon is sick... again. It seems like he's been catching viruses since late December. He was sick with something around Christmas, and then a week or so later. Now he has a rash all over his face that the doctor says is viral. Although the other day her husband, also a pediatrician, said that it was folliculitis. We made the second visit today after yesterday when he acquired a fever that went up and down like a see saw. The rash seemed to spread throughout his face. My husband and I are sefl proclaimed Web MD's, and we didn't agree that it was folliculitis. Today she decided it was something viral and highly contagious since the antibiotic ointment wasn't working. So here I am at home with my son. We couldn't have my MIL come since we didn't want to expose her to the germs. She sits several young family members, and she also volunteers at her church's day care. I can't wait for this to pass so we can join the world of play dates again.

The reason why I'm home and not my husband is because it's his first day back to work. He suited up in his finest white collar attire and headed out just a little bit ago. I sent him off with a lunch box with snacks, dinner, and a little note of encouragement. It's his birthday tomorrow. I'm sure that this is one of the best gifts he can get.

Even before my so called "epiphany", there have been some amazing people surrounding me these days. Now that I've reconnected with spirituality, my eyes are open to this. It's amazing that Im actually beginning to believe that:

"Everything happens for a reason."

I always believed that was so trite, however, it's making sense presently. I"m starting to believe that the Universe really is in the hands of God, Buddha, Allah, the Goddess's, whatever name you use for the higher power that ties us all together. I've been using my mantras every day, and I've even downloaded a prayer and meditation book to my Sony Reader. Maybe I'll even start doing yoga again. I really need to get my act in gear here. I've been so stuck in my head for so long, and I want to shut it off. A huge burden has been lifted. It's apparent a new chapter in my family's life has begun. I can finally breath a sigh of relief.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


In retrospect, today was spiritually motivating. However, it didn't exactly start off that way. Anger consumed me before work and on the drive over to Philadelphia. Somehow when I stepped into the shop, this all changed.

My shift began at 10am. I had two consults to start off the work day which went very well, and the pieces are exciting. My second client, a pastor and a caterer, brought my family and I a huge box filled with her culinary creations. She'd mentioned that after finding and reading this blog, she felt compelled to cook for us since we were having some difficult times and loved food. Admittedly, I got teary eyed when she walked in with the gift. She hooked us up big time. I can't wait to get to tattoo her and get to know more about her. Next I worked on a guy that reminded me that I needed to work on myself spiritually. We had a lot in common, both of us have been through some pretty rough turf. We listened to a song that I've heard a thousand times, but he broke it down and analyzed it in a way that I'd never thought. It inspired me that I've got some work to do on myself. The 5 o clock commute back home was calm and complacent.

Tonight I actually went to church. Although I have some qualms about religion, I do have beliefs. I'm a Unitarian Universalist, and I believe in the acknowledgment and respect of all religion. Anyway the experience I had in the church was uplifting. I walked out feeling confident that I can make it through these difficult times. Negativity has been bogging me down, but I felt a heavy weight lift off of my shoulder's after some prayer and meditation. It was a reminder how important it is to repeat my mantras on a regular basis, and it's ok to ask for help from a higher power. This is the tough part because I'm such a passionate person. My emotions tend to win me over. Presently on this pink cloud, I'll relish in the refreshing feelings of relief. Maybe a new tattoo to remind me of this should be etched into my skin.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tonight on the Food Network at 10pm

Check out Robert Irvine's premier of Restaurant Impossible . You might be seeing our family on there. One of my mommy meetup groups was invited to participate. Earlier in the day we met for a play date at a local park where we were stormed by the crew with some samples of food. They did some interviews. Then later that night the parents got together for a night out. We were lucky to get reservations. It was chaos at it's best and sometimes worst.

What a crazy yet fun experience. Although our table got served somewhat in a reasonable time frame, our other group didn't get any food until two hours after ordering. It was insane. I won't go into too much detail so that I won't spoil the show. I'm curious to see how they portray the experience. The company was great, but the food was not worth the hefty prices they charged. Regardless I couldn't stop laughing because our table was on a roll. It was a great night that I'll never forget.

I hope you get to catch the show. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My son has skills. We went to Chinatown last night for dinner after getting our hair cut. He's not even 2 and a half yet, and insisted on using chop sticks. That's better than my husband who's in his late thirties. He's also potty trained fully now for a month or so. We started before he was 2 with the pee pee, and gradually worked his way into always wearing underwear or pull ups. However he's been pull up free except for night time and some naps. While he's still having accidents during sleep times, he's been refusing to wear the diaper. I don't blame him. However, the mess isn't that fun.

Today I got sucked into covering for a coworker of mine. I was already coming in for an appointment, but otherwise it's been dead. I've been drawing since early this morning, and I still have plenty more to do. It's crazy how much time I spend on drawing these elaborate custom pieces. Some are easier than others. For instance, I've been putting together some organic/ biomechanical art for my client on Saturday. I can't tell you how many times I've redrawn it. It has to be perfect! Not to mention that there are several cover ups in the sleeve so it makes it more complicated. I suppose the more I draw it, the better it'll get. An artists mind is rarely completely satisfied with the outcome. We can always look back and see what we'd do differently. I suppose that's bittersweet. Here's what I've refined today, but the drawing will be refined yet again due to a coworker's critique. It's all good!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


The inclement weather and my family have persuaded me to cancel the trip up to the more frozen tundra that is Beverly, MA. They've urged me that my deficiency of Vitamin D should be telling me to take it easy and rejuvenate. Not to mention my car completely sucks in the snow white and black ice. Coupling the traffic conditions, 6 plus hour car ride there, fatigue,muscle, and bone pain, it was an easy decision. I just hope I don't ruin anyone's day. It would be easy if I have to work here in NJ. I can sleep on my bed at night, stretch, and exercise in the comfort of my own home. Then go to work the next day. On the road this is difficult to manage.

I suppose your body does tell you when to slow down, but I have a difficult time listening. For some time now, my schedule has been pedal to the metal so I thought the pains, aches, and low morale were reactions to a busy schedule. However, the pain has become more consistent as time passes. I've recently had so much discomfort in my back that I had to take a few days off. I had a difficult time walking, sitting, or laying down. Then last week I experienced a new hip pain after waking up. Then the lower side back pain came back. I feel like I need to be stretched and snapped back into place. I knew at that time, I was just off. My mind was saying "something is wrong with you". Finally I went for almost year overdue blood work, and I got the bad news.

Granted if the therapies will work, I'll be able to achieve super hero status once again. I'm just hoping it's not a problem with my body absorbing the vitamin. Then someone scared the crap out of me today and said her father ended up in the hospital for four months because he actually had a tumor on his thyroid. The bloodwork has also been showing antibodies determined to destroy the thyroid at some point. Now I want to frantically call my Dr and get some more tests done. I'm kind of freaking out, and this isn't helping my anxiety. Let's just hope that it was a fluke, and there's no other malady inside of me.

Perhaps I can learn a little lesson from this. The main person I should be worrying about is me. If I don't take care of my own needs, then I won't be able to do things for other people. Making people happy is what I live for. Balance in life can be difficult especially with financial burden I've been hit with in these tough economical times. I've been trying to make up for the discrepancy's and in return have become unhealthy and unhappy overall.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Vitamin D deficiency

Yesterday I got the awaited call from my doctor about some blood tests. My thyroid is still raging and building up antibodies to someday attack, but that's no surprise. I was shocked to hear that I have a scarily low amount of Vitamin D in my body so action needs to be taken.

This is the plan. For the next month, I'll be on taking 50,000 mg of Vitamin D once a week in pill form. Then I'll be tapering it off to 3000 mg a day for another two months. Then the testing will be done again to see if my body is absorbing the huge amounts of the vitamin. I've been a huge advocate against tanning, however, I'm considering this option to up the anti. I have almost half of the minimum requirement in my body, and this must change. The symptoms must be obliterated - fatigue, bone and muscle pain, weight gain, and depression. It also doesn't help my thyroid either. Or my heart. There's also potential of stroke too. Let's fix this.

Perhaps I need to go somewhere I can sunbathe nude. That's certainly not here for another few months at the very least. I'll be guesting in Florida in March or April, but in the meantime artificial sun might be the option. How's that for irony, folks. I'll be tanning very soon. Just let me know if I start looking like an Oompa Lompa.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jan 4, 2011

Yesterday was the first day without a binky for my 29 month old son. It's been way overdue. Hubby was supposed to attempt the battle during my guest spot in Orlando, however they both got sick. After a couple of days of tremendous tantrums, we've had it! It's supposed to pacify his moods, and now he was freaking out for it.

Day one was tough especially in the morning. It seemed our son broke the world record for the longest tantrum. The day went by with what we thought no nap until finally I rocked him to sleep. Unfortunately the nap only lasted barely an hour with him soaking the bed. With every good comes something bad or however that goes, but we're praying that his nap isn't obliterated yet. Nap time is precious whether or not we nap with him from exhaustion or have some time cleaning or simply to ourselves. Last night he didn't fall asleep until about 9:30pm which is in an hour past his usual bedtime. However there wasn't much fuss or crying for the binky. On the other hand, he did wake p several times last night. Certainly there are two people who are going to live the day as zombies. Although I know my husband is sleeping in bed while Talon watches one of his fave movies, Astro Boy. My plan was to not give the paci at all until a nurse at the hospital said that he'd suck his thumb and screw up his teeth. It seems like his teeth have a significant space in the middle of it, but we'll never know if it's caused by the sucker or genetics. I still wish we never gave it to him at all.

Today is going to be rough. Early this morning at 7am, I had to go and get some blood work done especially to check my thyroid. I'm kind of screwed genetically in that department since my father and mother's gene pool both include different types of thyroid disease. Unfortunately, I seem to be predisposed to the under active thyroid causing me to gain weight. Over a year ago, I showed an antibody that could possibly attack my thyroid causing it not to work. I also slacked on getting it retested until now, a mere 9 months overdue and after some significant weight gain. Then I'm scheduled to work at Body Graphics in Pennsauken, NJ from 12 - 10pm. Worry is settling over me since there are no appointments in my book today. I might not make any money since this shop isn't especially known to be a hight traffic walk in shop. However, I'll bring plenty to do including some drawings for upcoming tattoos. I know some of my clients are on their toes waiting for drawing previews so I should be able to appease them after some QT drawing. Besides tomorrow off, I have a pretty busy work week.