Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Migraines Past and Present

Last week I wrote about the events around my Moya Moya diagnosis and everything that happened during and afterwards.  Actually I started to write the Chapters in my Moya Moya book. I am planning on writing other books, but right now I am focusing on Moya Moya.  I believe I have a niche because I don't see any books written in regards of adults who have it.  I know that within this chapter will be a explanation what are migraines are in the medical field, but not today.  By the way my other books are going to talk about teaching in South Central, overseas, Palm Springs and our mishaps and blessings here and there.  My husband I will write them together. You are thinking have they started?  Hell no.  I need to get him motivated. Right now he is trying to survive teaching summer school. One thing at a time. 

First of all, migraines suck the big one. They truly do!  I can remember having horrible headaches starting at the age 12.  I thought everyone did.  I was wrong!  I know for me that stress and lack of sleep brings them on, plus much more. I was hoping after the brain surgeries they would be gone.  But no!  Maybe I should have told that to Dr. Martin. At that time I playing for surviving and not stroking out.  After the first brain surgery I did have a stroke, but I am here alive. What more can I ask for?  I will say that I would think with all of the hours of work in and on my brain it would have stopped my migraines, but alas no. I am not the poster child for the Moya Moya surgeries due to the stroke, but I am here!

Migraines are weekly occurrences.  When it starts with a bad headache with the nausea, I drink some more water and eat a little bit of protein, and see if that works.  If not I just take a half of  pill and lay down.   If the pain and nausea continue, I take the other half of the pill plus my evening medicines and sleep it off.  Usually sleep helps a lot.  I also need my bedroom to be very cold and dark.  I am out for the count on these days.  My husband Patrick has to take over.  Thank God he is a great guy and father.  I am very blessed to have him. This is one of the reasons I have my menu for the month planned and posted with everything bought for the week.  

For my own sanity I have to make jokes about them, as in the above.  I need to make fun of Moya Moya and my strokes in general.  If I didn't I would become them, but I am not them.  I have to live a happy life and be thankful because I am alive and able to take care of my family.

I have good and bad days and weeks.  I never know what the day will bring, and I have to be aware to not over do it.  That is my main problem -  I want to ignore the pain and do what I had planned.  But I can't.  If I try to do what I want, my brain says, "No way b*tch you are getting a bad one!!! Ha ha on you!"  I am down for the count a couple of days.  My neurologist Mr. Seymour Young I need to kill it the first day.  When they last for many days, I didn't murder it the first day.  I usually have a foggy day the next day so I don't do much. I feel so lazy on those days. I don't like feeling lazy but I am taking care of myself, plus I hate housework, dishes and laundry. I need a maid!  Ha ha!  Yeah right!

I am thankful for them being weekly. When I was teaching Kindergarten after the brain surgeries it was a daily event plus I had insomnia.  These two together made my life miserable, especially when I need to sleep off the migraine. I would go to bed at 8 and wake up at 3 unable to go back to sleep.  In mid-September 2006 I had my crash and burn. That will another chapter.  Medicine and laughter are the the best!  

This is a little longer than usual.  I could go on and on about the migraines, but I have dinner to plan.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I Hate Making Lunch

I have a confession to make I hate making lunch, especially being on this low carb diet.  I am allowed 20 carbs a day max. I miss having my sandwiches, fresh bagels and good bread. Ohhh the bread! When the kids were little they didn't eat much, so we always had leftovers.  Patrick would take some for lunch and I would eat the rest.  Not any more!  Teenagers eat a lot!  Rarely we have leftovers for both my husband and myself. Today I was looking through my Low Carb cookbooks and it suggested "Deviled Eggs" for a meal.  Man I make the best Deviled Eggs in my opinion, because I add curry. In my house Curry makes every thing taste better.  The best thing is there will be leftovers because my kids hate them!  Yeah Me!

Deviled Eggs
·         Peeled, Hard Boiled Eggs
·         Mayonnaise to taste
·         Dijon Mustard to taste
·         1 teaspoon Curry Powder
·         Salt & Pepper
·         2 teaspoons Paprika
Cut the eggs in half. 
Put the yolk in a bowl and the two halves on a plate.
When finished halving them, start mashing the yolks.
Add the mayo and mustard with the spices except the paprika.
Taste it, and add more ingredients as needed.
Using a small spoon, fill the eggs with the mixture.
Sprinkle paprika over them.

Serve and Enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Italian Marinade

Hi!  We have been grilling a lot lately. First of all it is hot outside, and I don't want to heat the house.  We also have a lot of chicken thighs and they so yummy grilled. Here is the recipe I used last night. So yummy!

Italian Marinade

·        2 Tablespoons Mustard (I like Dijon)
·        3 Garlic cloves minced
·        1 teaspoon of dried herbs, oregano, or basil (I used dried herbs called Cantanzaro Herbs from The Savory Spice Shop)
·        1 Tablespoon sugar
·        1/3 cup white wine vinegar
·        1 cup olive oil
·        Salt and Pepper

Mix in a Ziploc bag and add the chicken and marinade it for more than two hours.  Occasionally turn the bag.  The longer it is marinated the better it tastes.
I used about 2 pounds of chicken thighs. You can use breasts too.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I Make Stuff

Hi!  This week I have been crafty as in I made Birthday cards.  I love sending and receiving Snail Mail.  I know it brings a smile on whoever face.  I now I even have a Pen Pal from Australia. Remember Pen Pals? They are back! Yes I do love snail mail.  In the past I have made many cards, calendars, wreaths, banners and more. For five years I was a Close To My Heart consultant, but I stopped two years ago. I got tired of selling stuff. I am not the best direct sales person around.

Here are the cards I made this week.  They are a Close To My Heart kit from two (?) years.

Enjoy!  That is it for today.  Stay cool!  It is only 109 F today. It is way better than 123 F on Monday. The weather in the desert sucks in the summer. Oh why am I here?  Why?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My Moya Moya Events

I have writer's block today.  Don't know why I just do.  I decided the write of the events preceding Moya Moya diagnosis and afterwards, aftermath as I call it.  These events will be blurbs not paragraphs. This shouldn't be that long - I promise.  These events mostly likely become the chapters of my book so bear with me.

  1. 1976 Migraines start and continue even now
  2. Patrick and I teaching here and overseas
  3. 2000 - Coming home
  4. 2000-2001 Jenan's pregnancy and birth
  5. 2003 Shane's pregnancy with a ton of problems and migraine city!
  6. Shane birth - December 5, 2003
  7. One hospital visit because of TIA's after his birth and before the stroke
  8. First Stroke on December 18, 2003
  9. A History of strokes in my family - my father's side
  10. January 17th to 19th - Hospital Stay
  11. Rehabilitation - Second Time
  12. February  - Released from Rehab and ready to go back to teaching
  13. March - Cerebral Angiogram and Moya Moya diagnosis
  14. Mid March - first visit with Dr. Neil Martin, my surgeon. Connecting with other patients who are waiting - truly amazing stories
  15. April 29th - bypass performed on the left side
  16. April 30th - second stroke - some time between midnight and 5 am
  17. Rehabilitation - First Time
  18. January 17, 2004 Grand Mal Seizure in the bathroom
  19. April 30 to May 9th - ICU for 10 days - serious speech issues 
  20. May 9th - Mother's Day out of ICU and a small TIA (my last one) affected my right hand
  21. May 11th - released from UCLA
  22. May 24th until July 29th - Rehab for the Third Time - so angry
  23. Early August - went on vacation to Oregon
  24. Late August - return to teaching Kindergarten
  25. September - Second surgery of the right side. Out of hospital in 5 days
  26. October to December 2004 - rested at home 
  27. January 2005 - return to work part time
  28. February, 2005 to June, 2006 - teaching Kindergarten with daily headaches and/or migraines and missing a lot of work
  29. June through August 2006 - trip to New Zealand and Australia with serious problems sleeping
  30. September 2006 - started my Master's in Education and dropped out quickly.
  31. Mid-September - my mental crash and burn. No more teaching for me.
  32. October to January - trying to find the right medicines for my brain and body
  33. December 2006 - Dad has Alzheimer's and moved him to Palm Springs
  34. January 2007 to now - Acceptance of being disabled and now retired per CalSTRS
  35. March 2015 - Bell's Palsy scare
  36. January 2016 to now - Working as a Substitute teacher for Palm Springs Unified 

I think I have a book.  An adult survivor and what happens after.  Now I need to start writing it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Chicken Carnitas Recipe

Hi!  Quick post today. I crafted most of the day yesterday, and I want to finish it.  I would like to share on Thursday.  I am looking at Blogging Planners and get a rhythm on writing and posting.  Tomorrow's subject is Moya Moya and every Wednesday in the future.

On Saturday we went to a friend's party and the theme was tacos.  We were in charge of beans, rice and guacamole.  Well we made way too much, so I had to find a recipe for the meat filling.  Here is my new recipe for Crock Pot Chicken Carnitas that we tried yesterday. It is a keeper - another one for my binder.

It has beer in it and I used Corona. Patrick says, "How can you go wrong with beer as an ingredient."  Got to love that man!

See you tomorrow.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Cajun Pecans and The Savory Spice Shop

Cajun Pecans

From The Low-Carb Diabetes Solution Cookbook

8 servings of 1/4 cup serving size

2 Tablespoons of coconut oil 
1 Cups of halved pecans
1 Tablespoon of Creole seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While it is heating, put the coconut oil in a roasting pan, and stick it in the oven for a few minutes to melt.

When the oil is melted, dump your pecans into the pan, and stir until they're all coated. Now spread evenly, and put them back in the oven. Give them 10 minutes.

Pull them out of the oven, stir the Creole seasoning, and let them cool. Store in an airtight container.

I made these pecans on Father's Day, and they are so good.  I didn't use the Creole seasoning. I used a different spice blend that I got from my friend Gene Ware.  He is works at my favorite spice shop called The Savory Spice Shop in Palm Desert. It is the only shop on El Paseo that I frequent. For you who don't know about El Paseo, it is on par with Rodeo Drive in Hollywood. Too rich for me!

I love their spices. First all you get the taste every one. You find one that interests you, and take the tester and put a little of it on your palm.  Using your clean finger you taste the spice from your hand, and you push it off on the floor when finished. How cool is that?  They are many varieties, and the staff is very knowledgeable. Jenan and I were tasting all of the varieties of cinnamon, and we  found one that we loved and others that tasted not the best.  What I love most is that I can choose how much of the spice I need from 1 ounce to pounds of a spice or blends. At Christmas time I bake my dad's Christmas Tree bread and it calls for cardamon. I don't use it during the year, just at Christmas time. I buy an ounce and I am good.  I am slowly switching all of my spices to The Savory Spice Shop's brand.  No more store brands for me!  Store brands taste very bland and Savory Spice is far from bland! Such an intense flavor. There is no going back!

The Savory Spice shops are in many states. Here is their website I highly recommend visiting them.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Chicken Shish Kebab Recipe

On Wednesday Shane and I decided that we wanted Shish Kebab and broccoli for dinner.  In the morning I started marinating the chicken using the following recipe. It has been in my family since I was little. I love anything curry and I am happy that it is a main ingredient. Try it and will thank me later. On that night we didn't kebab it, we just grilled the thighs whole.  We made it with lamb for Easter and again Jenan's birthday in May.  I go to Jensen's market to buy it, and the butcher will cut it into chunks for the kebabs.  This is makes so much easier to marinate and assemble it later. It is so worth the extra money. One of the butcher cranks me up, because he called it "sexy lamb" just for me.  Funny! Enjoy!

Shish Kebab Recipe
by Paula Cameranesi
Adapted from Mom Pearce

2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts. Thighs are best.
·         Cut up into medium pieces so they don’ dry out when BBQ-ing.   Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag.

½ cup of white wine (or substitute lemon juice) 
½ cup olive oil
4 Tablespoons chopped onion – small pieces
½ teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons powdered ginger
2 cloves or more of garlic
4 teaspoon curry
3 teaspoon salt
Various Vegetables – cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, red onion, zucchini, bell peppers to name a few
·         Mix in a bowl.
·         Add the marinade to the meat and marinate for a least 2 hours. I marinate overnight for maximum flavor.
·         Skewer the meat with veggies.
·         BBQ over a grill or boil in the oven

My mom used lamb which is tasty too!

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Me Today

I have those days, and today is one of them. I had coffee with a great friend and we went grocery shopping. Now I am home thinking. I am not upset and I feel fine.  I just have a lot on my mind thinking about writing the Moya Moya book and getting the blogging subjects sorted to one day of the week. For example I know that Wednesdays will be the Moya Moya day. Recipes will be Fridays or Mondays. Food/meal plan?  Crafting Projects? And the rest in my head?  No clue.  So today you get Kermit the frog cursing at you.  Have a great day!  Talk to you manana.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Moya Moya Disease

Moya Moya Brain Scan

Normal Brain Scan

In my biography I stated that I am "Moya Moya" survivor.  What is that? Basically my two carotid arteries, the main blood source to the brain, are closed up. At 39 I had two strokes plus more. Moya Moya is the reason I had my first stroke. My second one happened after my first by-pass surgery.  It affects children more than adults, but I have it.  The brain scans above show a Moya Moya versus a normal brain. I don't have mine - bummer! I know that I had them but they are lost.  I would love to show you mine. There are very few books written about Moya Moya. Using Amazon as my source, the books out there are textbooks; studies for the medical community; written in Japanese; and one for parents whose children have it.  There are no books written by an adult who has it.

Here is a definition of Moya Moya Disease from Boston's Children Hospital:

  • Moyamoya disease, which is also known as Moyamoya syndrome, is a rare but very serious condition in which the walls of the internal carotid arteries—the vessels that supply blood to important areas of the brain—become thickened and narrowed. This causes the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the child's brain to gradually slow down, and makes it more likely that a blood clot will form.
  • This reduced blood and formation of blood clots are major risk factors for either a transient ischemic attack (TIA) also called a “mini-stroke,”or a full-fledged stroke.
  • ·         “Moyamoya” means “puff of smoke” in Japanese. The disease gets its name from the wispy, tangled appearance of the new blood vessels that emerge in the brain (as the body attempts to compensate for the inadequate blood supply).
  • ·         Moyamoya disease is a progressive condition, meaning that symptoms worsen over time and the child's chances of suffering a stroke increases.
  • ·         The only proven treatment for is surgery to create a healthy, adequate new supply of blood for the impacted

It occurs in the children more than adults. That is why the above is for children.  It sucks for all of us who have it.

It is very rare disease - 1 in 12 million have it. Some reports say 1 in 119,00. It is still very rare!  I would rather won the lottery over having it. When I was diagnosed in 2004 my previous neurologist and my other doctors had to look it up. The only reason that my doctor who performed the cerebral angiogram at Eisenhower in Rancho Mirage, CA knew what he was seeing is, because he studied under Dr. Neil Martin from UCLA. Dr. Neil Martin was my doctor who performs my two bypasses and my savior. 

To put is mildly that was a life changer for me and my family.  This is one of the reasons I blogging more. I am hoping to write a book about Moya Moya and how it affects us. This is my story (and my book)!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cheese Crisps - A Low Carb Snack

Cheese Crisps

  • Slices of Sargento Ultra Thin Cheese 
  • Quarter them and place on parchment paper on your baking sheet. You cannot forget this step. The parchment paper allows you to easily to take them of the baking sheet and plate them. If no parchment paper you will have a huge mess and no crackers.
  • Preheat oven to 275 F and bake them for 35 minutes.
  • Place cooked crackers on a couple of paper towels to soak up the extra oil.
  • Eat them!

I love crackers and am on high protein, very low carb diet. Crackers are definitely not on my menu any more. OMG it is so hard at times.  Pinterest is my favorite friend right now.  I have been looking up Low Carb recipes. I saw this easy recipe and decided to try them yesterday before going to Bunco. They turned out great!  I used both Swiss and Sharp Cheddar slices.  The Sharp Cheddar tasted the best of the two.  Next time I will try the Pepper Jack slices for a bit of spice.  I do like my spice!  


Monday, June 13, 2016

Planning The Meals

Planning For The Month

My plan is to post Monday through Friday and take the weekends off.

On Facebook when I post that planned the meals for a month, friends can't believe it! Actually they are amazed that I plan at all especially for a week.  A couple of years ago we decided to use cash all of the time. Dave Ramsey and the Money Saving Mom recommended the cash only part. We are not perfect, but we use cash 90% of the time.  At times it totally sucks, especially when we don't have money for unplanned trip to the movies or a Daily Queen visit. The other times I love knowing that we have money for gas and groceries.  Since we only get paid once a month, planning the bills and money on a monthly basis made sense.

From there I started planning our meals on a weekly basis, two weeks, and finally a monthly calendar.  Later we started buying items in bulk - our chicken from Zaycon, ground beef chubs at Costco and everything else on sale from the Tuesday or Wednesday circulars.  That helps because I take stock of everything in the freezer and plan the meals around the items we have.  I write on the calendar when I won't be there or we have plans with friends.  For instance, I have Bunco tonight and Book Club on the 28th (it isn't listed on the calendar - oops!).

I shared June meals for you to look over.  The calendar is basic not cutesy at all. Of course we don't always followed it. I will say we didn't resort to eating out, because that would be a waste of the food that we have in our freezers.  Yes, you read that correctly we have more that one freezer.  We have three and they are backed with food - meat mostly.  At the end of the month I will put checks on the days that we ate that meal. It might not be on that day, but we ate it.

Now you are probably thinking how does she plan for a month?  I have many cookbooks, cooking magazines and binders of recipes that we tried and liked. Along with the "tried and true" meals I  also try to fix a new recipe at least once or twice a week. Sometimes they turn out great, but other times they are horrible.   I will share the marked off the meals in July, plus tell you when meals are duds.  I will be honest in that respect, plus I will share the good recipes with their links plus my changes. I always change them!

Honestly not all of my meals are gourmet. I am not the kind of cook. My mom was but I am not. I label myself as a home cook and baker focusing on the word "Home".  I can't make yeast breads, stews or pot roasts to save my life. I have tried and they bombed!  I now let Patrick made those.  My husband is a great cook and we enjoy trying out new recipes together.   He would like us to perfect our vegetable recipes. So you might see more and more veggie recipes.  I posted My Greek Salad yesterday. If you missed it, it is there.

Most of my recipes don't have a ton of ingredients and easy to put together.  A lot of them are Crockpot recipes or grilled on the BBQ. Easy peasy!  I have a new toy - a pressure cooker.  Of course I haven't used it yet - yet is the key word. In the coming months I will share those recipes too. On the calendar I have leftovers listed in the month plus hamburgers and brauts nights too. The calendar is on the refrigerator so that everyone can reference it. The calendar is to help me and Patrick not hurt us.  Of course sometimes we don't follow it at all. That happens and we still try to make it easy on us.

I didn't mean to write this much.  I am trying to make them short and sweet. Just like me. I know some of my friends are laughing right now.  Talk to you tomorrow.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Greek Salad

Happy Sunday!

I meant to post a recipe on Friday but the last couple of days got busy. I finally got a moment to post this recipe that we are making tonight.  My family loves Greek food - gyros, lamb, everything. Tonight sadly we are not having Greek food except the salad below. 

I am trying to include a salad every day. Sometimes it is just a simple salad with tomatoes and Parmesan cheese or just sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper.  Last week I made a yummy Caprese Salad that I will share the recipe later.  Occasionally I have a salad bar for the meal itself.  Shane is not a salad lover, but he likes part of it mostly the meat.  He does loves carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus tips, so we try to include one of those vegetables. 

Tonight we are having Gorgonzola burgers for the main course. At least that is what Patrick and I are having; the kids just BBQ burgers. A very easy Sunday meal.  This is it for today since I want to relax for the afternoon. Tomorrow is a start of a new week.  

If you want me to include anything special to this blog please comment below. It is a work in progress like everything around me. 

Greek Salad By Me

  • Salad Greens (I like Romaine)
  • Cucumbers - Peeled and Cut into Chunks
  • 1/2 of a Red Onion cut into half rings
  • Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • Kalamata Olives 
  • Italian Dress or Greek Dressing
Place Greens and everything into a bowl and toss.  I allow everyone to add the dressing on their plate.  If there are any leftovers I would want them the next day. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Hello!  I am back - I swear!  It has been a long time since posting in February 2015.  Of course life has changed and overall got better and more focused. I plan on posting more often. That is easy since it has been a year and half since I wrote last. The focus on my blogs is going to be cooking and recipes; daily life with teenagers, hubby and two dogs; Moya Moya Disease and my life dealing with it; and finally teaching adventures both past and present.

I think that is it for today. I need to hit the shower and start getting the kids from school. Shane is middle school and they get out at 11:40 and Jenan who is in high school at 12:40.  Patrick needs to stay at school to finish grades and get ready for summer school.  We have only one car and it is a challenge sometimes especially when I don't want to get into the shower and get dressed. Yes, I am still in my jammies. Oh well!  Shower time for me.