Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Do You Have Hip Pain?

Since 1995 I have been battling a constant pain deep in my left hip.  It's like a really bad toothache, and is present 24/7.  It doesn't cause me problems when I walk or do anything else active, but hurts the worst when I sit.  And wouldn't you know, I have a desk job....

Since 2000 I have been to 6 specialists, had 4 MRI's, a bone scan, injection directly into my hip joint, numerous x-rays and scores of other things.  I've been told the problem was in my back, and offered back surgery.  I've been told the problem is in my hip and there is nothing that can be done about it.  I have been offered injections into my back, I've been sent to a chiropractor. 

Two years ago I visited yet another specialist.  After two more MRI's I was sent home once again, with the assurance by my doctor that yes, there is something wrong, but he simply can't diagnose it.

The only good things about this all these years is that the pain is cut by nsaids - things like Tylenol, aspirin and Advil.  I generally take two per day, which, of couse, has now led to an ulcer. I'm very lucky, however, that I have never had to take anything stronger than an aspirin to help me get through the day.  There are so many addictions these days to prescription pain-killers that I vowed to never take even one.  And to their credit, none of the physicians that I visited offered prescriptions when I told them that nsaids did the trick.

A couple of months ago I decided to try the most well-respected sports injury/orthaepedic clinic in Oklahoma - thankfully it is only 15 minutes from my house.  This clinic has several locations in Oklahoma City and a very nice hospital in Edmond, and I don't know what took me so long to try it.  I did the usual x-ray and sat in the examining room to await the doctor.  He arrived, and after some pulling and prodding announced "I know what's wrong with you!"  I kind of thought it was a joke after 16 years, but - no!  He believes that I have a labral tear inside my hip joint.  This is a cuff of sorts inside the joint that, when it tears, will not heal. When a relatively young person has a hip problem, there is a good possibility that a labral tear could be involved.  It can tear by an injury or having an oddly-formed hip joint, and will cause major pain.  A few years ago doctors finally came up with a solution.  Even though this cuff can't heal, it can be put back together with pins, and if the problem was caused by an odd hip bone, the bone can be put right by a little shaving and texturing.  The surgery may be arthroscopic or not, depending on what needs to be done.  This is a relatively new surgery,  and I feel fortunate that I live very close to one of the few doctors that specialize in it.

I recently took the first step to do a final diagnosis - this was a steroid injection directly into the joint to see if there was any pain relief.  If so, the problem was definitely in the joint - if not, then a labral tear is not a possibility.  So far, so good - I received three days of 100% pain relief.  Now there will be an MRI, then the doctor and I will talk about what is needed. I'll keep you advised.

Here's what to remember - if you have chronic pain, please don't give up.  I can't guarantee that I will be pain free at some point, but at least now I have hope.  Sometimes it's just a matter of waiting and staying positive until the experts find a solution to your problem.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Monday Recipe Blog

How's your Monday going so far?  Here's a recipe to help it along!

This blog features Lois Elaine Mueller's recipes every Monday. Lois' heyday was in the 1950's and 1960's, and her children swear she was the best cook that ever lived. Many baby boomers will remember these mouth-watering recipes, and these dishes are just as tasty today as they were in the sixties.

This peppered steak recipe features sweet green peppers, which are readily available in the summertime, especially if you have a garden in your backyard. These green beauties are packed with healthy nutrients - we should all be eating more, and this recipe serves up a tasty way to get them on your table.

Lois Elaine's Peppered Steak:

1 1/2 lb. stew meat - cut in strips
garlic salt
black pepper
dash of soy sauce
1/2 of a large green pepper, cut in strips
1 c. celery, chopped
1 can beef consomme'
1 medium can mushrooms
1 onion

Brown meat and onion with garlic salt and a little black pepper.  When almost done, add mushrooms and brown a little more. Add consomme' and one can of water. Add a dash or two of soy sauce, to taste. Let simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Before serving, add the green pepper strips and celery.  Thicken a little. Don't overcook the greens.

This is great served over egg noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Friday Dog Blog

Hello and what a great Friday we're having!  Here is a dog for your enjoyment....

Well, actually, not a dog today.  To show that we don't discriminate, we are featuring Jim and Mary's pretty gray and white kitty on the Dog Blog.  The Dog Blog loves ALL animals!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Time To Visit Your Farmers' Market!

Yep, it's that time of the year again - Cities all over the country are featuring their Farmers' Markets.  In Oklahoma our Farmers' Markets are typically open every Wednesday and Saturday, from April to October.  Various farmer's sell their produce, normally picked that morning, from tables or the backs of pick-ups, generally in a big parking lot provided by the city.

You get only produce that is in season and won't find food imported from other states or countries.  That's a good thing.  You can buy a lot of in-season fruit, go home and can jelly or jam, or just can the fresh fruit to use in the middle of the winter. 

I find the prices to be very comparable to grocery store prices, and the quality is much, much better.   You might find a worm or two in the fresh corn, but you won't normally find pesticides.  I consider the worm to be a trade-off that's well worth it.

Become a locavore - buy your vegetables locally from farmers that are invested in your community.  You will taste the difference!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Monday Recipe Blog

What a great Monday it's going to be!  Here's a recipe to start it off....

This blog features Lois Elaine Mueller's recipes every Monday. Lois' heyday was in the 1950's and 1960's, and her children swear she was the best cook that ever lived. Many baby boomers will remember these mouth-watering recipes, and these dishes are just as tasty today as they were in the sixties.

If you're going to eat cookies, they may as well be loaded with healthy oatmeal, right?  For those of us who can't stand the taste and texture of a bowl of breakfast oatmeal, it may be the only way to ingest this essential grain.  Oatmeal cookies are timeless - just as popular now as they were back in Lois Elaine's day.  This recipe card notes that it came from Wava, who was a favorite friend of Lois Elaine's, in 1980.

Lois Elaine's Oatmeal Drop Cookies:

2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
2 c. "quick" oatmeal
1 c. shortening or butter, softened (Note: for soft cookies, use only 3/4 c.)
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1/2 t. vanilla
1/3 c. milk
1 c. raisins
3/4 c. chopped nuts

Combine butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Cream for 2 minutes. Add milk.  Mix together flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon, then add that mixture to the butter mixture. Add oatmeal and blend well. Add raisins and nuts. Drop by teaspoonful onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until brown.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Friday Dog Blog

Hello and happy Friday again!  Here's a pooch for you!

Sofi the Talking Schnauzer is still fighting that pink balloon. Despite having teeth like a shark, she just can't get that darn thing popped!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Time to Apply The Sunscreen

It's starting to get hot out there!  Don't forget your sunscreen - your health may depend on it.  In Oklahoma we can have pretty hot days in the summer, although nothing like some other states.  It doesn't really matter, though, you can get skin cancer from the sun anywhere in the world.  We all need the sun, but not too much of it.  Since we get outside during the summer, we have sunscreen to protect our vunerable skin.

I like waterproof sunscreen.  It seems to last forever, and I don't have to worry about reapplying if my kayak tips over and I take an unexpected dip.  But if I take a nice, long swim I have to reapply. 

You should choose at least an SPF-15 sunscreen.  The higher the SPF number, the more protection you have against UV-B cancer-causing rays.  I have blue eyes and light hair, so I use an SPF-30.  There are also sunscreens available for people with sensitive skin or oily skin.

Choose a sunscreen that blocks both UV-A and UV-B rays.  UV-A rays cause wrinkles and UV-B rays cause cancer.  You want to steer close of both of those!

And please be smart and never use artificial tanning beds....

So lather on the sunscreen, get out there and have some fun in the sun!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Monday Recipe Blog

Time for another Lois Elaine recipe!

This blog features Lois Elaine Mueller's recipes every Monday. Lois' heyday was in the 1950's and 1960's, and her children swear she was the best cook that ever lived. Many baby boomers will remember these mouth-watering recipes, and these dishes are just as tasty today as they were in the sixties.

Joyce was Lois Elaine's much-loved daughter-in-law.  I don't know the story behind the recipe for Joyce's Cake, but we can assume that this recipe came from her...

Lois Elaine's Joyce's Cake:

1 pkg plus 4 graham crackers, crumbled
1 can condensed milk
1 6 oz pkg chocolate chips
1/2 c. nuts, any kind

Mix together the crackers and milk, then mix in the chocolate chips and nuts. Put in a greased 8x8 pan and spread out with fingers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Friday Dog Blog

Time for the Friday Dog Blog again!

The 10 foot tall poodle from Poteau, Princess Leia, loves to sleep in the sun.  At work, the Princess uses her 15 minute breaks to get in her beauty sleep.  She's always careful not to disturb the bow in her hair, though....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Blind Men and The Elephant

Hello....Today we have an ancient Chinese parable, Three Blind Men and an Elephant.  This little story drives home the importance of knowing the entire situation before you make a judgment...

The original parable originated in China sometime during the Han dynasty (202 BC-220 AD) and goes as follows:

"Three Blind Men and an Elephant"

One day, three blind men happened to meet each other and gossiped a long time about many things. Suddenly one of them recalled, " I heard that an elephant is a queer animal. Too bad we're blind and can't see it."

"Ah, yes, truly too bad we don't have the good fortune to see the strange animal," another one sighed.

The third one, quite annoyed, joined in and said, "See? Forget it! Just to feel it would be great."

"Well, that's true. If only there were some way of touching the elephant, we'd be able to know," they all agreed.

It so happened that a merchant with a herd of elephants was passing, and overheard their conversation. "You fellows, do you really want to feel an elephant? Then follow me; I will show you," he said.

The three men were surprised and happy. Taking one another's hand, they quickly formed a line and followed while the merchant led the way. Each one began to contemplate how he would feel the animal, and tried to figure how he would form an image.

After reaching their destination, the merchant asked them to sit on the ground to wait. In a few minutes he led the first blind man to feel the elephant. With outstretched hand, he touched first the left foreleg and then the right. After that he felt the two legs from the top to the bottom, and with a beaming face, turned to say, "So, the queer animal is just like that." Then he slowly returned to the group.

Thereupon the second blind man was led to the rear of the elephant. He touched the tail which wagged a few times, and he exclaimed with satisfaction, "Ha! Truly a queer animal! Truly odd! I know now. I know." He hurriedly stepped aside.

The third blind man's turn came, and he touched the elephant's trunk which moved back and forth turning and twisting and he thought, "That's it! I've learned."

The three blind men thanked the merchant and went their way. Each one was secretly excited over the experience and had a lot to say, yet all walked rapidly without saying a word.

"Let's sit down and have a discussion about this queer animal," the second blind man said, breaking the silence.

"A very good idea. Very good." the other two agreed for they also had this in mind.

Without waiting for anyone to be properly seated, the second one blurted out, "This queer animal is like our straw fans swinging back and forth to give us a breeze. However, it's not so big or well made. The main portion is rather wispy."

"No, no!" the first blind man shouted in disagreement. "This queer animal resembles two big trees without any branches."

"You're both wrong." the third man replied. "This queer animal is similar to a snake; it's long and round, and very strong."

How they argued! Each one insisted that he alone was correct. Of course, there was no conclusion for not one had thoroughly examined the whole elephant. How can anyone describe the whole until he has learned the total of the parts?


Kuo, Louise and Kuo, Yuan-Hsi (1976), "Chinese Folk Tales," Celestial Arts: 231 Adrian Road, Millbrae, CA 94030, pp. 83-85.

Picture:  Michelle Meiklejohn

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Monday Recipe Blog

Hello and happy Monday everyone!  How about another recipe to start your week?

This blog features Lois Elaine Mueller's recipes every Monday. Lois' heyday was in the 1950's and 1960's, and her children swear she was the best cook that ever lived. Many baby boomers will remember these mouth-watering recipes, and these dishes are just as tasty today as they were in the sixties.

There were some inventive recipes in the 1960's, and today's recipe is an example of that.  Grape Nuts Ham Loaf uses the ubiquitous cereal as a tasty filler for this yummy meat dish.

Lois Elaine's Grape Nuts Ham Loaf:

2/3 c. Grape Nuts
3 1/2 c. (about a pound) ground cooked ham
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 T. finely chopped onion
1 t. dry mustard 1 can (8 1/4 oz) crushed pineapple

Combine cereal, pineapple and pineapple juice. Set aside. Mix remaining ingredients together; stir in cereal mixture. Shape into a loaf. Place in greased shallow baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  Makes about 6 servings.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Friday Dog Blog

Hello and happy Friday everyone!  Here is another pooch to start off the weekend right....

Cindy's Charlie is a hard-working guy.  On guard at all times - even when sprawled out on the floor!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thank you, Thunder!

Well, the basketball season is finally over for our great, youthful, exhuberant team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Whether or not you are a professional basketball fan, you have to love this bunch of kids.  They are quite different from most NBA teams - they don't have long rap sheets (or any rap sheets, for that matter), you won't see many tattoos or fistfights, and no one, at least that we know of, has beaten up a child, a wife or a pet.  The Thunder took some heat this year, particularly during the Denver series, for being "boy scouts" and not "tough enough", but they dispatched Denver quickly enough, then Memphis, and finally met their match in an outstanding Dallas Maverick team.  Our guys were simply too young and inexperienced to prevail against a much older and wily Dallas team.

The Thunder were one of the four NBA teams (out of 30) still standing.  Now there are only two and the Thunder has come home to their cheering crowd.  Watch out next year, NBA...

I was going to write a tribute to our team of boy scouts, but one of our celebrities here in OKC, Jenifer Reynolds beat me to the punch.  Her tribute was much better than mine would have been, so I am re-posting it right here.  Jenifer Reynolds was one of our best news anchors ever in OKC and retired from news much too early.  She now hosts a popular Oklahoma program on our PBS channels.

Here is Jenifer's tribute to the Thunder:

Dear Thunder:

I know by now you must be asking yourselves, what's the deal with these people in Oklahoma City? Can they not do math? Have they not figured out the rules? Did they not notice we threw away a fourth quarter lead in two consecutive games to lose the series 4 - 1? Should we tell them, or hope they never figure it out???

The truth is we couldn’t love you any more than we do now even if you had won the title. I wanted you to know that, so you'll stop thinking you let us down.

It's odd that I would be writing this letter, since I don't even like NBA basketball, or at least I didn't before. By this time each year, my husband would be watching with the sound down because the endless squeak of basketball shoes during the interminable months of the pro season would have been driving me mad.

But not this year. Throughout the playoffs, we were stitched to the set through every game we could watch, screeching and howling like breeding cats over every basket you hit, every one you missed, every bad call, every win and every loss.

And while we would have loved for you to win the title, here's what you have to understand - we wanted it for YOU, not for us.

Why is that? Because you’ve helped us show the world who we are.

You guys never give up and we don't either. We didn't quit after the Dust Bowl or the oil busts or the Murrah Bombing or the tornadoes that plowed through the heart of our community a decade ago. We never looked up and said who's going to fix this? Who's going to bring us trailers to live in or send our kids to college? We just rolled up our sleeves and went to work.

What you see downtown - Oklahomans did that. Our leaders dreamed it up and we paid for it. That building you play in? We built that, too. The names of the big energy companies may spin around the light board inside, but it was the sweat of ten thousand roughnecks that helped put their money in the bank. We know how to work hard and we respect that ethic in others.

After April 19, 1995 people kept asking us, "Will you ever be the same?" And I always thought, "Of course not! The real question is, whether we'll be better or worse." WE decided we'd be better, and we are. In fact, sometimes when I look at all we've done since then, it's hard for me to believe - and I saw it all happen! But no matter what we do, we have a hard time convincing the rest of America we're not just a hump on the back of Texas.

You’re helping us change that, and we’d sure love it if eventually you’d beat those guys. But we’re willing to wait.

Just like you, Oklahoma is a little on the young side – the fifth youngest state in the Union. In a way, we're still trying to create our place in America and we face some pretty heavy stereotypes. We're the state (along with the Dakotas) that Rand McNally once left out of its portable atlas to save space. We're the state that gets dismissed by national sports writers and coaches as a backwater or a "small town". That backhanded dis-not-so-cleverly-disguised-as-a-compliment by Nuggets Coach George Karl who called us the “Green Bay of the NBA” is just par on our course. Actually, I really don't mind being compared to the Cheeseheads, because most people in America don’t get them either. WE do. They’re working people just like us who know how to support a team!

We're the people who set what is now called "The Oklahoma Standard" for community response to disaster. We're the people who taught the world how to grieve in a public and positive way, how to turn disaster into opportunity.

We don't always win here, but nobody cares more, tries harder, or stays truer than Oklahomans. There's something strange and special about this place, but you have to stay here for a while to understand it.

Today when somebody drove by with his Thunder flag still flying, while we were listening to Native Son Bryan White sing “Dust Bowl Dreams” about how Oklahomans “push on and persevere” I realized exactly why it is we love you guys: In some odd way that defies explanation you GET us.

You get who we are and you've been able to give us a voice in the world by the way you play, by the way you persevere. All of us Native Okies are here because somebody decided to stick it out through the bad times and keep working for better times. When we watch you play, we see those beliefs rewarded. For us, whether you win or lose really is less important than how you play the game.

And that's why the crowd was still chanting "OKC! OKC!" even as you set a dubious new NBA record for a blown lead. That's why they were waiting for you at oh-dark-30 this morning, chanting, "Thank you, Thunder!" While you may think you owe US something, we know in our hearts that we really owe YOU.

So don’t hang your heads. Just get ready for next year, because as Bryan White sings, “Quitting is something Okies just don’t do.”

Keep rolling, Thunder. We’re behind you all the way.