Tuesday, September 12, 2017

FULL DAYS



Hello friends!  I hope all of you are doing well.  I know so many bloggers in Texas, Florida and Georgia, and my heart goes out to all of you.  In this house we have been following CNN and MSNBC relentlessly.  We are on edge.  I awake in the middle of the night and check news alerts on my cell phone, which I keep under my pillow.  I normally want to be available for family, but in this case, I felt the erratic path of Irma bothering me 24/7. 

 In my own small way I try to help.  As I do in December with the Salvation Army volunteers-who stand in the freezing cold- I keep a few dollars tucked in my wallet to give to these goodhearted souls.  In the last few days as I went from the grocery store, to the drugstore, to the gas station...any place with a check out, I saw donation buckets provided by the Red Cross.  I started to save up those dollar bills again in my wallet and pockets.  Not much, but if you shop like I do, it does make a little dent.  

I'm home from the lake for a week or so.  I was on Facebook recently and found a page for my lake with some really spectacular pictures.  I shared this one on Instagram.  See the island in the middle?  100 homes on that little paradise.  A ferry shuttles islanders and their cars back and forth.  It gives you a sense of scope as to how this is one of the very largest lakes in Southwest Michigan.  Our home is situated on a bay that would be in the upper left side of this photo going way into that narrow inlet.  We face north so I can stand on the balcony off of our bedroom and see this gorgeous sunset most summer evenings.  




We had a great group at the lake for Labor Day weekend.  Family.  Can't say enough.  We really missed those who couldn't make it.  That's always going to happen, but it leaves a little sense of longing that time passes so quickly and we need to grab these moments together.  Believe it or not, all of the family here were able to stay at the house-sometimes we've had to enlist accommodations from the nearest motel!  

We did the traditional burgers on the grill, a lot of boat rides, sitting on the beach, snacking on yummy apps on the patio, adventure rides on the wave runners, and serene paddling on the kayaks.   We recently scored paddle boards on sale.  They look like surf boards but you stand or kneel on them and use one paddle to maneuver your way about.  It's a totally intense balancing act with a lot of falls in the water (for the young and lithe), and a great core workout.  I've yet to find out, of course.  



The University of Notre Dame is about a half hour southwest of us (we are just over the Indiana/Michigan border, or Michiana).  It makes the home games a bit more exciting.  For some reason we watch the games in the Summerhouse (guest house) most times.  The open windows and ceiling fan make for a perfect spot.  Some cold brews and comfy chairs, and we are happy campers.  Miss Madelyn and her daddy Mike are true fans as you can see.  And we won this game!  Go Irish!



And speaking of family and grandchildren, here is Elsie today on her first day of school.  Doesn't she look all grown up?  And that precious little baby next to her is Patricia Mae, or Patsy, who arrived at the end of May in a whirlwind of pre-summer chaos.  As we get less busy, I'll try to get more pictures in whenever I can.  They are cuties! 




I have a guy fixing and tuck pointing our huge stone chimney(at the lake) on the roof.  I was waking up every morning at 7:00 a.m. to thuds and banging on the roof just over my bedroom.  I'd stagger outside in my PJ's, hair all over, eyes squinting in the morning sun, and grouchy as ever as I took the dogs out to do their thing.  Even with working in the hot sun on the roof for eight hours a day, he'd always called down, "Good morning!"  Ouch.  And he would bring tomatoes. My enthusiastic, "Thank-you", seemed to encourage more tomato offerings.  At one point I had twenty-one in all shapes and sizes.   

I couldn't bear to waste them.  Gardening, and I know from experience, is a matter of hard work, love and hope, and finally, gratefulness.  Knowing people enjoy the fruits of your labor is so, so gratifying.  

Some days my activities at the lake run the gamut of A to B.  I went to the grocery one day and bought onions, peppers, cilantro, and limes.  Chop, chop, chop.  I don't usually puree my salsa, I like it chunky and fresh.  You can definitely puree it in a blender or food processor but I'd check out a recipe for it.  Here's mine:

10 tomatoes, any type or size, chopped small
1 large green pepper, seeded and chopped small
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped very small
1 red onion, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 bunch green onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 bunch of cilantro, stems removed and chopped
1 T ground cumin
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice each tomato in half, scoop out the seeds, and let drain, cut side down on a paper towel while you prepare the other ingredients. Chop the tomatoes and combine all in a large bowl and taste for seasoning.  If you want the mixture more spicy, use the seeds of the jalapeño or add a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Let the salsa chill in your refrigerator for at least 4 hours.  Stir and strain off excess  liquid.  Adjust seasonings to taste. Store in jars or plastic containers for up to a week.  Once open, use within 3 days. 

You can add or delete a lot of things to this salsa.  My daughter likes corn kernels.  I like to add black beans.  And...some like it hot!  Salsa is very good but I also like to top my scrambled eggs with a few spoonfuls.  You can add some to a tossed salad, or make Bruschetta on thick bread.  Sauté it with fresh shrimp, or top your grilled fish with a scoop.  Maybe you just can't have enough tomatoes.  



We went to a party yesterday and I always try to volunteer an appetizer.  I stared into my fridge at the nine jars of salsa, and then I spied 2 large balls of fresh mozzarella, this was all going to go to waste.  I checked my best friend Google and I was inspired to use won ton wrappers to make cute little cups to hold the salsa (or anything else desired...chicken salad, chili topped with cheese, French onion dip topped with crushed potato chips.  Okay, the last one was my invention.  But really, the ideas are endless.  The best thing about the baked won ton wrappers is that they don't get soggy.  So...

Using a regular size muffin pan, press won ton wrappers in each to make a cup sort of shape.  Spray with vegetable oil and bake at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and let cool completely.  Add your salsa and a slice of fresh mozzarella.  I got fancy and sliced the cheese very thin.  I then used a teeny little cookie cutter to make little flowers shapes (or clouds as I envision), and placed them on top.  Voila, you have turned tomatoes into salsa; totally overdone, overused and hopefully not boring anymore.  



I specifically came home from the lake to see my dermatologist, Dr. Lio.  He had been treating me for over a year for an auto immune disease that has caused me to have severe atopic dermatitis, or eczema.  It's such a long story and I know most of you may have  forgotten the long road I've been on.  I'll abbreviate my recent treatment:  I started a new medication in June, which was just approved by the FDA in March.  I give myself injections every other week.  If you hate getting shots, try giving yourself one.  You can't close your eyes.  For some, the results and relief is immediate.  I'm plugging along, hoping my skin will heal or start to heal soon.  The side effects however, are something I always manage to experience; dry itchy eyes, rash-like hives around my mouth, and hair falling out like crazy.  When I saw my doctor on Friday, he was pretty shocked that I still had open sores on my arms and legs.  The worst area is below my knees on each leg.  He wrapped them up in gauze and then bandages after applying three topical medications.  I wore these for three days and I was feeling and looking a lot better Monday night.  I also started a two day per week dose of the  medication that caused me to be so physically ill last winter.  I have to be vigilant in staying away from anyone sick and contagious.  I'm really hoping taking it less will keep me from feeling so sick to my stomach as it did in the past.   





I usually go to my doctor appointments by myself, but The Husband was free and went with.  The best part was finding this restaurant right around the corner.  It had a great Northside vibe, bustling and loud, and the diner style menu had eclectic versions of our typical morning fare.  The Husband had the Donut French Toast, and I had the Morning After Tacos.  I now have a place to go after my appointments to cheer me up.  Do you ever eat in restaurants alone?  I don't have a problem.  I don't even hide behind a book or newspaper.  But maybe I'll bring my laptop-I can always use the time to catch up on writing.  





I wanted to share these pillows I just received from my favorite new Etsy shop, With Lavender And Grace.  I simply love the natural fabric, how well made they are, and the quotes.  You might remember me sharing ones that I bought for the lakehouse, Beach Shack and Simplify.  This is turning into an obsession!  But I wanted to share the link with all of you.

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And here I am.  We celebrated my nephew's birthday at a family party yesterday, and today I did mindless chores that could be done now or later; a car wash, trip to Petco for Milo's arthritis meds, some grocery shopping, pharmacy pickup, and some backyard clean up. 

No-I'm not a whirling dervish.  Tomorrow I may be totally unmotivated and sit in front of my laptop trying to find ideas for my columns.  I may take a looooong nap.  But sharing with you, my friends, makes me take a good look at my crazy but full life.  I endlessly try to come up with ways to better organize my time, set goals, get projects done, maybe go off on little vacation with The Husband.  Dividing my time between houses is so gratifying but I often feel like I'm stretched thin.  I think fall is going to be much more easy.  I think I'm going to have more moments to be in that moment.  If not, well, you'll know. ;-D

Jane x

43 comments:

Bluebird49 said...

My it has been busy for you! Are you glad to see fall ĉoming? I hope you enjoyed ßpending some summertime at the lake. It was nice to see the picture---upward and the left, I imagined you there, making salsa!

It's been an up and down summer---lot's of hot days.
Grandson David's Crohn's hasn't gone into remission yet, after 10 months. He's in the hospital tonight, after throwing up blood at school at 9a.m. They've finally admitted him, (after 12 hours in ER),, unable to eat or drink anything til 9p.m. tonight. Please keep him in your thoughts!
Love, Trudy

CJ said...

Lovely photos of your family, so nice that many of you managed to get together. A gorgeous shot of 'your' lake as well, it's nice to have an idea of the size of it, it's absolutely amazing. I'm happy eating on my own as well, I like to gaze around and think. Sorry you've had such a rough time with your skin, that must be miserable. I hope things improve for you now with the treatment. Like you, I'm always trying to find better ways to use my time. Unfortunately I'll have to spend this morning in the garden. There were high winds last night and there's a lot of clearing up to do. I did have writing plans, but they will have to wait. CJ xx

Vee said...

Jane, I am sorry that the medication did not work as you and your doctor hoped. Praying with you for good results with the new protocol. I have a friend who is so sensitive to medications that she insists taking only half of the prescribed dose. Sometimes her doctor is reluctant and sometimes she is proven wrong, but quite often, it works for her. So I was interested that your doc is going to try a lighter version of a former treatment.

Wonderful photo of so many people! That rarely happens.

The salsa looks and sounds great. Our growing season was so short this summer that it is difficult to find a locally grown ripe tomato.

baili said...

Beautiful post my friend.photos put more life to it .
thank God i could enlarge the photo and took close look of your beautiful happy family!!!

Madelyn is cute little angle!!! ,so adorable.
The other little girl look little tired as you said she went school for first time .

Two years back i inevitably start taking medicines for joints pain but i felt constantly dizzy and sleepy so i left the use .

now i think i should try it with less amount.

Alongwith you my heart is also praying for who are in path of storms ,may be they blessed with peace soon .

baili said...

Pillows are so pretty with light colors dear

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

I didn't know you were Notre Dame fans. My alma mater Michigan State vs. Notre Dame in 2 weeks!

Stacey said...

I hate that your autoimmune problems continue. Wouldn't it be wonderful if that would just go into remission? That happens, right? I'll cross my fingers and say a little prayer for you.

Your appetizer looks delish!! I love to hear you describe your days. :)

It's me said...

Like your pillows.....wowwww lovely.....so sweet the childs are.....love love love Ria x ❤️

Theresa said...

Keeping busy keep us young:) Hope the change in the medicine doses helps! Sweet little one and LOVE the group pic! Enjoy your evening dear friend, thanks for thinking of us in Irma's path! HUGS!

Vel Criste said...

Dear Jane, I hope your skin issue gets sorted out, it really sucks that you have to take injections, but with your complicated case, it might be for the best getting it this way. Anyhow, I admire your tenacity for life and all it offers for you! Love how you savor every moment with your family and friends and I love knowing about your family and seeing your gks grow up! We do have a lot to be thankful for especially with this devastation left and right, being busy is being blessed I always say, so as long as you do not forget some rest and recharge, be it for your body or mind, FOR YOU! Take care dear! XO, Vel

Kim said...

Oh Jane, those side effects sounds absolutely horrible. I really had hoped that you were getting some relief. I will continue to send good thoughts. I saw your appetizer go by on Instagram and I couldn't wait to come by and check it out. Looks yummy! Be well...

Sarah said...

Jane, you are a very active individual, but that's a good thing. You get a lot done and obviously focus on others. Kudos to you!
Love seeing the snaps and reading the updates. Thanks for sharing the post!

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

I cringed when I read your hair falls out. You have such gorgeous hair!!

I so hope your disease takes a hike and soon. It's not fair you have to suffer so much :(.

I saw that photo of your lake on IG and my jaw dropped. So lovely, and it's nice to see you don't take it for granted.

xxx

Brenda Pruitt said...

I will visit the Etsy shop. I have been on an MSNBC and CNN binge watching the storm coverage too. Feel so bad for those folks!
Brenda

Barbara F. said...

I have an autoimmune disease and the eczema on my calves is driving me crazy. Nothing topical works and after seeing three dermatologists, I gave up. I tried dietary changes and it seems to help. But fall off the wagon and it comes back with a vengeance! Your baby grands are so sweet and adorable. Your home looks as lovely as ever, too.

Barbara F. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Donna said...

I too have been glued to CNN watching the hurricane coverage. I can't imagine what those people are dealing with. The Keys and Virgin Islands look awful, so sad. And I am heartbroken hearing about the nursing home residents who have died.

What a pretty lake your cottage is on. Nothing like watching the sunset over the water. Love your appetizer idea! I have some won ton wrappers in the freezer that I've been wanting to use, thanks for the inspiration! I love fresh mozzarella:)

Lynne said...

You write such a delightful post.
Family, friends, recipes, doctor visits, auto immune,
wonderful spirit, optimistic . . .
Lake views. . . tiny inlet . . .
Liked thinking of you sleeping and hearing
the tap, tap, tap on the roof top . . .
I so hope the meds help, that you aren't as ill . . .
very sad that you have had to endure . . .
I was reminded the other evening, having dinner with friends
of an appetizer I haven't had in a long time. . .
Cream cheese with raspberry jam . . . herb cracker . . . easy, light, refreshing . . .

A Quiet Corner said...

Jane, all that you and hubby did and accomplished is amazing...company, cooking, making salsa and creating that delicious looking appetizer!!! As always sending you healing thoughts as I know bout auto immune diseases somewhat...not me personally, but rather relatives. Reactions to meds can be scary so be sure you do avoid anyone with an illness (although don't you get so annoyed at those that are sick and insist on saying they're not?!?!)...:)JP

Rita C. said...

Jane, I loved seeing that aerial view of your lake and your location! What wonderful family photos of the summer fun y'all are having too. Your little won ton cups look delish, and so does the salsa. Your comment of the gardener and gratitude for his gifts was very sweet, and so true.
So how long will you be going back and forth to the lake? You shut it up for winter, right? So sorry to hear your regimen for eczema is not giving the timely results you'd like. I hope this latest round will make an impact. Sounds scary strong, those meds!
Take care,
XO

Maggie said...

Dear Jane, so lovely to catch up with your news, love the photo of you all gathered together at the lake and the salsa appetisers look yummy.
I can't believe that Elsie has started big school, I remember when she was born as if it was yesterday!
I hope that you are getting some relief from the exema, you've been suffering with those side effects for far too long.
Thanks for stopping by Normandy Life earlier this week, your comments are always kind and always very appreciated by me.
M.

Susie said...

Blondie, Sweet girl, you do keep busy. Beautiful family pictures. Your grands are growing so quickly. I love the little cheerleader. LOL. I hope you get some good results on your skin treatment. I got a new cream for my eczema from the dermatologist I saw in August. I go back in October. It's better but not gone. More needs to be done on skin aliments. Blessings to you my friend, xoxo, Susie
p.s. The hurricanes have worn my nerves to a frazzle, what with my granddaughter living in Tampa. She did ok. She was brave too.

Scribbler said...

As always I enjoyed your post -- it is always like a good visit with a friend. I listened to your voice on your IG video, and it was fun to put a voice with the face. I haven't tried that yet, because I always think I sound weird.

I am so sorry your meds are not the magic bullet yet, but maybe this new version will help. Don't give up!

What a clever woman you are to think of using wontons that way! I am going to look for some when I shop next. Do you eat them, or are they just the holder?

I am sad to see the last of the summer tomatoes around here. The farmer's markets seem to be folding their tents and going home till next spring. I am saving your instructions for salsa because it looks very fresh and good.

The arial view of your lake area is so beautiful!

Dewena said...

Your lake house is in an amazing place, Jane. I subscribed to Midwest Living for decades and was very much in love with all the lake regions. I bet fall is gorgeous there. I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with this dermatitis problem. I do hope what you're doing now will help greatly.

Your salsa sounds delicious! And your appetizer is beautiful. Tomatoes and eggs go together so I'd sure be adding your salsa to mine for breakfast!

I hope your weekend is as lovely as you are, sweet Jane,
Dewena

Kathleen George said...

You have the most adorable Grandchildren:). Why does the meds that suppose to help have crappy side effects? You take of yourself this Fall and enjoy your salsa, suppose to be good for us, yum! Cuddle with your doggies and explore around town with your wonderful husband:).
Kathleen in Az

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Love all of your wonderful photos...we enjoy our lakehouse best when it is full of family, too! Hope the meds side effects are under control soon...no fun.

FrenchGardenHouse said...

Jane, what a beautiful family you have! So special to be able to gather together at your lake house, that's such a blessing. You've had a busy time. I'm so very sorry about the auto-immune disease affecting your skin so badly, praying that it will finally clear up, sweet friend.

Your posts always bring us right o to your life and heart, thank you for sharing your life with us. Xoxo Lidy

podso said...

I too was fixated on Irma since we have family right in its path. It actually felt like a stressful week and I wasn't even in its path. Well it was predicted to possibly come visit here but we just got a whopper of a storm. We ended up having two parts of our families come up to shelter here in tandem. All is well with their homes and the power is back on, things are getting back to normal and our house is quiet again.

Lorrie said...

Another lovely chatty post. Thank you, Jane. Your family time at the lake sounds wonderful. The tale of the worker bringing unending tomatoes made me laugh. I can just imagine your polite smile and gratitude while you are thinking "What will I do with these?" The little appies are a great solution.
I do hope you find relief for your excema.

Karen Ann said...

The summer has gone by so darn fast! We have so enjoyed our cottage time down at the shore too... I love having extended family enjoy it with us - and I snap way too many pictures, but they will be grateful some day.. lol..

I hope the meds work for you without awful side effects -

Debbie said...

Hi Jane....it's been so long since I've blogged. I enjoyed your post today. Love lake life, too. Your babies are getting so big, and so cute!! The leaves here are turning already. Sorry about your excema. I have a similar condition, and just hate it!!! Caused from the Crohns Disease....from the Auto Immune Disease.
Have a great fall, my friend.
Love to you.
Debbie
xoxo

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Hi Jane. Love seeing the little one on her first day of school and that is a beautiful family portrait. The salsa cups look wonderful and I'm copying down your recipe. I love to make and eat salsa!..Hope the new meds will make you feel better..Take care..xxoJudy

Carla from The River said...

Hi,
Oh my, so sweet. Thank you for sharing your family with us.
And you know I love your recipes.
Sending hugs to you.
xx oo
Carla

Kit said...

Hello my friend! Great photos of the family and of you! And your doggie. :) Glad you are having a good summer. I wish your weather had been better. I wish I could have traded with you. I love hearing how you and your family are doing. Your posts always make me smile. Hope you are feeling better soon. Keep working on it. :) Kit

Melanie said...

Lovely family photo from Labor Day weekend. I didn't know that Elsie now has a sister! I like your appetizer idea of using wonton wrappers as little cups, and the fresh mozzarella on top of the salsa is a great idea. I know how much you've suffered with your eczema...I hope this new regimen of the injections plus taking the other meds twice/week help. Yes, giving yourself shots is awful. I had to do that every day in my stomach when I had a blood clot after surgery about 16 years ago. Thank goodness, I didn't have to do it too long.

Carol Stebner said...

I always love seeing families spending time together, but it does get harder as the grandchildren get older....enjoy your little ones! Sounds like you might be as happy to see Fall coming as much as I am...well, probably not quite as excited as I am! Good luck with your ongoing autoimmune problems. I have a couple of friends who are constantly dealing with those challenges.

Hope you have a great week, Jane!
Hugs, Carol

Kathy Moreland said...

Beautiful babies!! Looks like fun for Labor Day. We made no plans. I still have trouble climbing stairs, and staying on my feet causes them to swell. I go to my new hematologist on Tuesday. I'm anxious to get her take on TTP. Then in October I go to a new PCP. So still busy seeing the docs!

Sounds like you've been busy as always. Wishing you the best with the skin problem. I hope it clears up right away.

Fall is just around the corner. Have you done any decorating?

Have a lovely week!

Decor To Adore said...

Jane, I love your idea of giving to the Salvation Army. Stealing it!
Your salsa looks so good. I will have to give it a go.
Love seeing your photos of family. That sweet cutie. Keep 'em coming.
Have a beautiful week!

Linda said...

I have been thinking about you so I looked you up on my blog list and popped over for a visit. We are still in the country and the Interest is on the slow and slower to sparse but I see I have it now so I'm taking advantage of it!
Love catching up with you and I'm happy you are having more success with your eczema. My oldest son has that condition and it is is pretty bad. He has spent years perfecting treatment and just like you - sometomes you have to adjust the medications.
Love all your photos! Happy FALL!!!!

Linda said...

Hi Jane...
Love that family photo...and those sweet granddaughters!!!
Hope you are well at the lake...home now for me...back on Thursday...
Plus...
We are thinking of moving!!!!!!!
YIKES!!
Cheers!
Linda :o)

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Jane, your posts are always like reading a chapter in a really good book - I enjoy them so! Glad you had a nice Labor Day weekend. The tomato recipes look yummy, and I must give the wonton wrappers a try. Don't know why I've always been intimidated by them. Your family is beautiful, especially those sweet grandchildren! Hope by now you gotten some relief, and that the medication is being kind to you.

Katie Clooney said...

Jane... you have been one busy bee. First of all, you have a great looking family and they looked like they had a grand old time at your lake home. A roofer and a tomato man? How lucky can you get? Sorry about your skin problem - that does not sound fun. At least you have a good doctor that you can trust. I've got to get moving now because rumor has it that Jose is on his way. Enjoy your week.

Terra Hangen said...

This post has so much in it, but first, thank you for your recommendation of A Year By the Sea, I will go to Amazon today and probably buy a copy. I am praying your health condition with your skin heals fully, it sounds like you have some promising treatments. I want to make the won ton salsa holders, you are so clever, with the little mozzarella flowers on top.