Potato Patatta

My mom made one of my favorite breakfast dishes for me today. Well, it’s not really a breakfast food, but I made it one. It’s baked potato, mashed up with lemon juice, olive oil and salt & pepper. She made it for me a lot last year when I was sick and having difficulty eating almost anything. Last October, before I was diagnosed with FMF, I underwent surgery to have my gallbladder removed. After my surgery, I developed h-pylori, a bacterial infection in the stomach. For weeks, I could hardly eat anything without it upsetting my stomach, nor did I have an appetite (which is TOTALLY unlike me). During one of my many hospital visits, my mom came to Atlanta to take care of me. For a long time, all I could manage to eat was a plain baked potato. She added some garnishes which are typical of any Mediterranean meal…sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, marinated olives, and olive oil and zaatar (a mixture of spices) used for dipping with bread. Thankfully, today I enjoyed it in much better health.

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Mashed potato with Mediterranean garnishes

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Juicing

Today was a low-energy day for me. Sometimes I wake up, and I feel great. Other days I feel very tired and I have low energy. My doctor thinks it’s related to the inflammation levels in my body. I can recall feeling this way for years, and always wondering what the reason was. I’m trying to learn what triggers the inflammation and if there are any other factors that affect my energy levels day in and day out. For now, I enjoy the good days and do my best to get through the bad days.

Anyhow, my mom and dad bought a Nutribullet and I’m super excited! My mom is convinced that she can heal me “naturally”. (She’s conspiring to get to me off of my medicine.) If you ask her, there’s nothing that a mom’s love & cooking won’t cure. Her and my dad and I were watching TV one night last week and they saw an infomercial for the Nutribullet. As soon as the salesmen mentioned juicing and its ability to help fight illnesses, they were sold! They got all excited and starting shouting about how they needed to get one. It was hilarious. So, of course the next day we ventured out to find one, and here it is.. My dad made me a fruit juice today, and I must say, it was yummy. I’ll have to keep track and see if it helps the way I feel.

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Nutribullet

Today’s Tea

I looove my morning cup of coffee. But some days, I wake up and my stomach feels a little unsettled and I need a soothing cup of hot tea. Mmmm. I try to have a balanced amount of tea and coffee throughout the week. I found this box of tea tucked away in my mom’s kitchen closet and it’s a gem! It has lots of different flavors like ginger and lemon, raspberry and, earl grey. I had it with a few bites of a delicious (and sweet) pastry my mom makes, called heresa. I also had a few pieces of fresh fruit with it too. I’m getting spoiled here 🙂

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Sew Me Something

When I made the decision to leave CNN, I promised myself that I would use this time to try things that I always wanted to do. Today, I joined a sewing class. When the teacher asked me how I become interested in sewing, I gave her an honest answer. I woke up one day and thought to myself, I want to learn how to sew. After I was initially diagnosed, I had a desire to try a lot of new things. (Like going blonde!) I have a list of things I want to do this year, and yes, sewing is one of them.

I love the class so far. My teacher, Ms. Paula, is an adorable woman who has been teaching sewing for 43 years. She has a deep, southern accent, and when I asked her what she thought of my pattern, she said, “Well, darling that’s just fabulous!” And she meant it too. She’s kind, and patient and has a wicked sense of humor. She reminded me of how inspiring it feels to learn from a great teacher.

There are three other women in the class. A middle-aged woman who was sewing an quilt, an older woman that was sewing Saints pajamas for her grandson, and a younger woman in her early 20’s who is an aspiring designer. I enjoy the diversity of the class. I don’t know the first thing about sewing, and they didn’t make me feel awkward about it. I love that. It felt great to learn something new and fun, without pressure or expectations. I can’t wait for the next class!

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My new sewing supplies.

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Can you figure out what my first pattern is?

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…an apron!

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One of Ms. Paula’s many sewing machines.

A is for Arabic

I’ve wanted to learn how to read and write Arabic for a long time. Now that I have all this free time on my hands, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to finally do it. I’ve enlisted my dad as my private tutor 🙂 He is retired and often complains about how bored he is, so I thought this would be beneficial for the both of us. My personal goal is to be able to read some of the Quran in Arabic, because I’m told much of the meaning is lost in the English translation. This should be fun!

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My dad writing the Arabic alphabet.

The Gym & Me

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I’m a yoga girl, myself. I prefer workouts where you lay down and relax 🙂 But my dad, who is a gym lover, (and in better shape than I’ll ever be) convinced me to go to the gym with him today. I find them to be intimidating. All that wide open-space and the machines that I pretend to know how to use, make me nervous. I walked for 30 minutes at a slow, and comfortable pace (just the way I like it) and I lifted weights (the 5lb’ers) for a while. My chest started to irritate me , so I only did a light upper-body workout. It sometimes bothers me and my doctor believes it’s irritation from the inflammation. I hope to overcome that at some point, but for now I have to take it easy on my upper-body. I’m not crazy about the gym, but my dad said he would sponsor my gym membership, so how could I turn that offer down?! Afterall, I am here to get healthy. Thanks dad!

What’s my plan?

Today was a big day. I called my pharmacy to refill my prescription as I usually do, and I learned that my benefits through CNN were no longer valid. I knew this was coming, but that was a moment of realization for me. A huge  part of my decision to take a year off, was because I have the luxury of being under my parent’s healthcare coverage until I turn 26 (shout out to president Obama for that). I was insured through my job with CNN for the past three years, and last Monday was my last official day at work. With insurance, my medicine costs $15 each month. Without insurance, it costs nearly $700. Gulp! I had a moment of panic after my phone call with the pharmacy. In other words, today I officially became fully dependent on my parents. Deep breath!