Friday, May 17, 2013


Last month, we traveled as a family to Guatemala City for a week of meetings with other MCC reps from the Latin American and Caribbean region. Despite being sick most of the time, and despite the kids eating next to nothing, it was a really good time. Aside from regular business, we also had a series of workshops on the theme of resilience.

It was a great theme. We talked about self-care, about work/life balance, about reframing how we think about things to maintain long-term perspective. We talked about the importance of spirituality and strong social support.

I keep thinking how since moving here I feel like I'm in "survival mode" much of the time. One of the things that has taken bottom-level priority has been cooking. We eat out for lunch every day (fixed-menu restaurants for about $3), then the other two meals I'm mostly thinking about what the kids are going to eat, and I eat the leftovers or something. We get take-out rotisserie chicken or order in pizza because it's fast and easy. We've been getting cold after cold, and I've been thinking that if we ate better (which we did to a certain extent when the two pairs of grandparents were here helping out!) we wouldn't get sick so much.
Anyway, we got back and I went to the doctor and confirmed that I had bronchitis. Just when I was finishing up my antibiotic treatment and beginning to feel a little better, I developed a crippling headache that didn't quit. Terry was traveling with some visiting project funders, and I was solo parenting and covering for both of us at the office. At the end of the second day, when sleep and Advil did absolutely nothing to touch the headache, I asked a couple team members to watch the kids for me and went to a walk-in clinic where I learned that my blood pressure was 170/120.

So now I'm on a beta blocker and no-sodium diet, and I feel soooooooo much better! It took about 12 hours before the headache abated, and my BP is still around 140/110, but I have my energy and happiness back. I've had to be creative figuring what to eat that has no salt in it. I'm not even supposed to have bread. This morning Terry made me pancakes with no salt and they tasted great! I don't really mind the taste aspect of it, it's the work of preparing food that is a little daunting. But yesterday afternoon I was home with the kids and enjoyed cooking some dishes I used to make before Valerie was born, just without adding salt!

Three Roots of Life Tomato Sauce
- Chop up a large onion and sautee in olive oil with cumin to taste
- as it browns, add chopped up garlic (to taste) and about 1/4 cup grated carrot
- add 3 big chopped up tomatoes
- and diced fresh ginger root and simmer until the tomatoes are soft
- pile on spinach leaves torn into small pieces
- when spinach is wilted, EAT!

I'm gathering a cornucopia of fresh produce into the house. Change is coming.

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