Tuesday, May 26, 2009

birthday fallout

Curses, spoiled again!

More flowers...

Enough chocolate to last at least a week...

Can you tell I'm a bittersweet kind of girl?

And new gardening clogs! (Old ones just celebrated their 13th birthday - sheesh)

This colour makes me smile while I'm digging in the dirt.


Monday, May 25, 2009

any excuse to eat cake

In case you've been keeping track, I turned 46 today. And not a moment too soon - 45 was getting pretty old. I was ready for a change. To take my mind off of being so very ancient, I made cake. Lots of cake. Which will be eaten by eager family members later on this evening after a simple barbeque on the deck.

It's a beautiful day, I've been sitting outside in the garden enjoying the weather and contemplating both middle age and my aging middle. I've decided that being fairly well preserved and pleasingly plump is not the worst thing that could happen to a girl.

My morning started with some perfectly lovely roses from my better half

It's too hot for chocolate cake and we're all too flabby to dive into the whipped cream so I went for something fruity. Fruit has vitamins, right? Just for today, we'll pretend that cake is one of the four major food groups.

Strawberry Cheesecake

Lemon Tea Loaf

Rhubarb Matrimonial Squares (as they are called in Western Canada)

Must go now. The mother-in-law will be here any minute bearing gifts. Lucky me.

P.S. The link to the Lemon Tea Loaf recipe was broken. I've fixed it now!

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Monday, May 18, 2009

they don't call a danish a danish in Denmark

Once again, Denmark did not disappoint. This was our second time in Ebeltoft, a small market town in a sheltered bay on the Baltic Sea.

I don't want to repeat myself too much, so here are some links to my 2007 Ebeltoft posts.

mellow yellow - Danish edition

Ebeltoft - how do you like them apples?

water water everywhere

fish and ships, language learning on the sly, and any flavour you like as long as it's licorice

This was our humbe abode for two weeks, pretty standard for this area of Denmark.

Once again we rented from a company called DanCenter and were very pleased with their service. They offer holiday homes (most of them privately owned, I believe) in Scandinavia and several other European countries and their website is user friendly, letting you choose exactly the kind of accomodation you're looking for. This house, like many Danish holiday homes, came equipped with a pool, whirlpool and sauna. We enjoyed these optional features in 2007 and decided to get them again this time. Electricity is expensive in Denmark so we also brought our own (recycled and clean-burning!) sawdust briquettes to use in the wood buring stove. Nothing like a nice cozy fire at the beginning and end of each day.

At about nine o'clock every morning this guy and his lovely wife came by looking for snails and juicy vegetation on the lawn. Mrs. Mallard wasn't with him on the day I took this photo but they seemed to be a devoted couple.

The Danish word for duck is and, quite similar to the German Ente. But while Donald Duck is still Donald Duck in German, the Danes call Donald Anders And. Go figure.

It's a seven hour drive from Hannover to Ebeltoft so by the time we got there on Saturday afternoon we were pretty tired and didn't have much more in mind than unpacking our stuff, having a simple dinner and falling into bed.

But on Sunday we went shopping! Yes, that's right. You can shop on Sundays in Denmark. I don't know if it's a country-wide thing or if it's just because Ebeltoft is a touristy area, but all the supermarkets and many of the smaller shops are open on Sundays year-round.

We found the older part of the little town just as charming as last time with its bright colours and cobblestone streets.

Lots of ornaments and curliques...

...and lovely flower shops ready for spring.

See this bicycle?

I doubt that it's in use any more, but we saw quite a few people riding newer models with a crate on the front to haul stuff around. Our neighbour even hauled his kids around in his.

Cafes, museums, antique shops, Ebeltoft has it all...

...including some wonderful bakeries with a huge selection of gorgeous pastries. So you're coming over all peckish and feel in need of a little something. What do you say? If you ask, "Hvordan siger du 'danish pastry' på dansk?" - "How do you say danish pastry in Danish?", the Danes will tell you it's called wienerbrød - literally Viennese bread. That's because danish pastries were originally brought to Denmark by the Austrians, and we all know how well they do desserts.

We ate our way through some mighty fine treats - kanel snegle (cinnamon "snails" aka buns), Dagmartærte, and something called a wiener trekant - a huge, huge, huge pastry triangle with a vanilla cream filling and a dark chocolate glaze, just to name a few. Yum.

Walks on the beach burned off all those calories. More on that in my next post.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

watch me do the happy dance

I know, I know, I owe y'all a whole bunch of interesting posts with pretty pictures. But before I get to that I need to tell you why I'm dancing.

I spent some time in the doctor's office today discussing the results of my colonoscopy and guess what? It's official, I DO have a form of colitis, but it is NOT (NOT!) ulcerative colitis, meaning that it's not a chronic condition and that I will most likely continue to improve (as I have been doing) until I am symptom free. Yay.

Not that you're really that interested, but the results of the endoscopic exam showed a slight inflammation of the entire colon (that's the large intestine) right down to the appendix, but nothing in the ileum, the end of the small intestine. That pretty much rules out Crohn's Disease which usually presents in a different pattern. While the histological report (that's the stuff they do under the microscope after taking tissue samples) also indicated an inflammation with yucky patches of this and that, various lymphocyte thingies and microcrypt doo dads, they feel that it isn't ulcerative colitis but rather something know as infectious colitis brought on by the 10-day course of antibiotics I took for a throat infection waaay back in mid-January before I went in for my hysterectomy. Who knew? I mean of course I know that antiobiotics can play havoc with your digestive system, killing the good bacteria along with the bad, but this thing appearing more than a month after I stopped taking the pills and giving me the German version of Montezuma's Revenge (minus the holiday!) for a whole ten weeks IS pretty weird. I have a feeling my entire system was weakened by the operation and just decided to take a little break without telling me. Losing those pesky tend pounds without even trying was great and I hope I can keep it off, but it wasn't really the right way to go about it now, was it?

I HAVE been feeling a whole lot better these past couple of weeks, though, and my doctor believes that this will indeed go away on its own with the help of probiotics to build up and maintain the intestinal flora. Just today I was reading that non-chronic colitis can take up to three months to heal (Thursday will be exactly three months since this thing reared its ugly head) and six months to really get back to normal. The only caveat they had for me was that sometimes, just sometimes, a first- time bout of ulcerative colitis can masquerade as a self-limiting colitis and that if my symptoms persist or reoccur, that I MUST go and get evaluated again.

I'll be on the lookout, but I really feel that I'm in the clear and ready to get on with it, already. Enough with the sick, I've got a life to live!


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

where I've been

Oh, hi. Just came by to dust off my blog.

I've been wearing my "if it's not one thing it's another" t-shirt for the past few weeks. Yep, I WAS recovering well and then suddenly got hit with a new complaint that may or may not be related to all the other stuff. Let's just say I've been having, um, digestive irregularities since mid-February. Things have gotten much better, but they are still not quite right. Every had a colonoscopy? I had one for the first time last Tuesday. Tons of fun, I tell you. I find out the results next week and I'm thinking there could be two possible outcomes: 1) something harmless that will eventually go away by itself, or 2) ulcerative colitis. Ugh. Which one would you choose?

Anyway, I'm not feeling that bad, but I'm also not feeling that good energy-wise. I do have some nice pictures of Denmark to show you so I'll be getting to that later on today, OK?


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