I Cried Because I Had No Shoes…

Till I met a man that who no feet–Wally Lamb

I was lying in bed the other morning feeling sorry for myself because I suffer from corneal edema in my left eye. When I wake in the morning the vision in my left eye is blurred. What began several years ago as a minor annoyance, over the years  has gotten progressively worse to the point that it adversely affects my ability to drive and do other things especially before noon. But as I was lying there, it suddenly struck me that there are many people who would give anything to be able to see what I see out of that eye. I may not be able to read anything or see anything clearly, I can still make out my loved ones’ faces and can see to navigate safely (well, mostly) through my house. My neighbor watched her mother-in-law gradually go blind in both eyes. This woman, at eighty years, had to learn how to live all over again. So when I am feeling sorry for myself I remind myself that that are many, many people dealing with worse problems.

I wake in the morning and the vision in my left eye is as though I were looking through murky water (which is sorta what it really is). With corneal edema, the natural absorption of moisture in the cornea which occurs during sleep does not dissipate rapidly as it should. This causes the blurriness and as the day progresses, the blurriness diminishes. Some people even use a hair dryer to blow air onto the cornea to help the moisture evaporation. I’ve been dealing with Ophthalmologists for this problem for several years now and with each doctor I see, I get another treatment, another round of drops, another opinion. I’ve heard words like Fuchs Dystrophy, guttata, corneal edema, etc., most of which words I had to Google to find the definition. It’s funny, though, by the time I finally decided to see a doctor about my left eye blurriness, the internet had helped me self-diagnose my problem as corneal edema and I had been using over the counter medication for it. (I know doctors hate it when you tell them what you read on the internet)

Red EyeAs I said, I’ve been dealing with this problem for about five years now and unfortunately, it is getting continually worse. Now, to add to that problem, about a month ago, the whites of both my eyes turned beet red and I have developed large swollen bags under my eyes. I was diagnosed as having severe “dry eyes” (it’s a disease, that’s serious; just listen to the Restasis commercials). I have never used any type of artificial tears or lubricants that is until I saw the doctor about two months ago. At that time he put me on a regimen of four different eye drops and fish oil. And, of course, one of those eye drops was Restasis. I have a hard time using a medication that touts “You can tell it’s working when you don’t have to use eye lubricants as much”. So how do I tell its working if I never used lubricants before?

 
When I saw the eye doctor yesterday, he used three different color drops in my eyes yellow, red (that made me believe my eyes were bleeding–yuk!) and lastly blue. He said the blue dye in my eye indicated that damage done to my eye due to my dry eyes. One of his suggestions was tear duct plugs. Tear duct plugs are exactly what they sound like. Little plugs that are placed into the tear ducts in the corner of the eye to block the drainage of tears to the sinus cavities with the hope that more tears will stay in the eye. He did tell me ahead of time that I might experience “some” leakage from my eyes (after all, where do the tears–which I supposedly don’t have–go, if they can’t go down the tear ducts?) He put them in and I do feel them and have to remind myself not to scratch the offending little buggers out of the corner of my eye. As is often the case when you listen to disclaimers on television medication ads, it seems as if each treatment comes with an additional problem. The “some” leakage he told me I might experience–is basically a continual leakage so I am constantly wiping my eyes. I had a court deposition yesterday and having to continually wipe my eyes during this deposition, made me think they probably thought I was crying (and I certainly don’t care enough about a three and a half year old criminal case from my previous life to cry over it). The doctor also suggested the use of a dry eye ointment several times a day. The problem with treatment is that unless it is nap time, I can’t see after I put the ointment in my eye.

 
I won’t even go into the side effects from the fish oil he prescribed.

So I am trying to be patient and am hoping for the best and I keep reminding myself, “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.”

 

 

Rackety Boom by Betty Ren Wright

This was my most beloved children’s book. It originally belonged to one of my brothers and I kept it and read it to my sons. After forty-some years, it finally wore out and I lost some of its pages. Fortunately, I was able to find the book at an antique bookseller. I won’t tell you how much I paid for it (my husband was dumb-founded when I told him). Another blog post asked if you would rather see a video of yourself or listen to your voice, and the answer to that is a no-brainer for me. I would much rather listen to my voice then see myself in a video, but I’m not really fond of my voice either. But, here is my favorite children’s book, narrated by me.

Coconut Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

Coconut Cream Cheese Sheet Cake
I love coconut. I know I’ve said that before in my previous blogs for Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies and Coconut Oatmeal Cookies. I’ve only baked with shredded coconut, so when this recipe for Coconut Cream cheese Sheet Cake called for coconut milk, I was ready to give it a try.

20140629_164426 smaller

The can says “coconut milk, first pressing.” I just assumed it would pour out like sweetened condensed milk  so I used the old fashioned triangular can opener. Wrong. It didn’t pour at all so I opened the top with can opener and I definitely wasn’t prepared for the heavy pudding like substance inside. Not knowing what else to do,  I just spooned it out and used it that way. I was also surprised that it did not have a sweet taste. Of course, I had to google “first pressing” to see what that meant. According to what I read here on the ultimate guide to everything, i.e., the internet, “first pressing” means  pieces of the meat that are grated, soaked in warm water and then strained to produce thick coconut milk.

The recipe I used came from the “Just A Pinch” :

Ingredients:

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
6 oz. cream cheese softened
6 eggs
2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cake flour
1/4 coconut milk or cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan with non stick cooking spray. Cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar.
Beat in eggs one at a time, vanilla and then mix in flour. Spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Frosting:

1/4 c butter softened
4 oz cream cheese softened
1/2 tsp vanilla or coconut extract
1 1/2 c confectioners sugar
1/2 c coconut for toasting

Directions:

Beat together butter, cheese, vanilla and add sugar. Mix until well blended. Toast coconut either in the oven on in the skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, flipping continuously. Spread icing on cooled cake and top with toasted coconut.

I used the skillet method for toasting my coconut and found it to be much easier then having to pull the pan repeatedly out of the oven. I used coconut extract instead of vanilla and found it to give the icing a wonderful light flavor.

20140629_191304 smaller

I wish I could say I found this cake as good as the icing, but I did not. The texture is very heavy and the taste is not very sweet. After tasting this cake, I found it very similar to Cream Cheese Pound Cake which I have made before and really enjoyed.  Ironically scrolling through my Facebook page today, I found the article “13 Ways to Ruin a Pound Cake”  from Southern Living.  I have to admit, I am guilty of doing at least several of these and maybe that is why this cake did not turn out like I would have liked. If you like pound cake, and I do, it’s worth it to take the time to read this article.

Polymer Clay Pendant–First Attempt

I’ve wanted to try working with polymer clay for a while. This is my first try at a stand-alone pendant.
Polymer Clay Pendant
It’s definitely a learn as you go curve. What started out as a three color pendant with green leaves and a blue rope, ended up being all gold when I used a rub. I thought the rub would be more transparent. I used Sculpey clay and rubber molds and small earrings I bought three for $1.50. I made the holes for the earrings before I baked the clay and then added just a bit of E6000 glue to the posts before I put them in after they were baked.

Sights of St. Louis–Rich in History

The Old Courthouse built between 1839 and 1862 is the site where an enslaved husband and wife, Dred and Harriet Scott, sued for their freedom.

buggy Ride at Old courthouse

The story behind the history:

Dred Scott was a slave who was taken by his master, an officer in the U.S. Army, from the slave state of Missouri to the free state of Illinois and then to the free territory of Wisconsin. He lived on free soil for a long period of time.

When the Army ordered his master to go back to Missouri, he took Scott with him back to that slave state, where his master died. In 1846, Scott was helped by Abolitionist lawyers to sue for his freedom in court, claiming he should be free since he had lived on free soil for a long time. Although in 1850 in a trial held in the “Old Courthouse”, Dred Scott and his wife were granted their freedom, this verdict was appealed by their master’s widow. In 1852 this decision was overturned by the Missouri Supreme court in a hearing also held in St. Louis. The Scotts then filed a case in Federal Court which ultimately resulted in a ruling that declared:

1. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, African-Americans were not considered to be citizens, thus Dred Scott had no right to sue in court.

2. Residence in Wisconsin Territory had no effect on Dred Scott’s status because the Missouri Compromise was invalid. Congress had no power to pass laws that limited slavery, because the right of property in a slave was guaranteed by the Constitution.

Scott and his wife were later given back to his original owner who granted them their freedom in 1857. Dred Scott died a year later from tuberculosis.