Halo-halo literally means ‘mix mix’ in English. In reality it is one of my favorite Filipino desserts, see there’s me, a couple of years ago, eating one. But that’s what this post will be. . . no, not a dessert but a ‘mix mix’ or hodgepodge of items. I received some inquiries concerning a few things so instead of answering individually, I’ll do it here. It’s just easier, that’s why.
First off, I think I scared some people with my Mental Drivel post. Believe me, that was not my intention. That post was me venting about my muscular dystrophy, which I deal with on a day-to-day basis but at this time, do not have an outlet for all that pent-up frustration. I almost feel the need to apologize. . . almost. One of the great things about blogging is that you can disclose as much or as little about yourself as you wish. I chose not to talk about my disease from the start of this blog. I mean, if I really wanted to, I could make this entire blog about nothing but me and my MD. This condition literally provides enough fodder for an entire blog. That may be therapeutic for me but damn, that would be very depressing for the reader. Come on, I’m funny. I can crack a joke on just about anything but even my sense of humor suffers. . . sometimes, and that’s when I rant and curse more than I should.
Muscular dystrophy is an umbrella term used for neuromuscular disorders. Some of you either did your research (The historian in me says kudos to you!) or as others mentioned, they are familiar with MD and they asked some more personal questions. Once a topic is out there, I’m pretty much an open book so I will answer your questions honestly and as thoroughly as I can.
I have Myotonic Muscular Disorder (MMD) or Myotonic Dystrophy or Steinert’s Disease. Even more specifically, I have MMD1. My Dad also has it and my sister is a ‘carrier,’ meaning she has the disease in her genes but she does not show signs or symptoms. My uncle, on my Dad’s side, died several years ago at the age of 54, I believe. He was born with a congenital form of MMD. My Dad is 65 years old and is the oldest living person ever in our family with MD. MMD1 resides on Chromosome 19. I had a simple blood test done where they count the number of repeats of CTG strands on the DMPK (muscle protein kinase) gene. I think I read somewhere that a healthy person, meaning one without MMD, has a range of 5 – 35 CTG repeats. Mine was around 350. I can’t remember the exact number. I know it started with three hundred and had a five in it. If you want to read more about the disease, here’s the link to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
I do thank you all for your concern. And yes, if you do not see or hear from me for a few days, it usually has something to do with my health. A simple cold or flu can set me back several days. As I get older, it takes me longer to get over things. I realize part of that is the aging process but not all. Most often times it’s just normal, everyday stuff that sets me back. Not to get too personal, but I don’t know anyone who is more excited to reach menopause than I am. I can not wait! One of the best things about my MMD is early menopause. . . okay, I’m ready, hit me now! I tried to give away my uterus in my early twenties but I could not find a taker, not one. Oh, they liked my sales pitch (“Never used, not even played with.”) but I could never close the deal. Now, every month I lose four to five days simply because I’m in too much pain. Believe me, there is not enough ibuprofen in the world that can take care of the charley horse that resides in my uterus at that time. Did you know you can overdose on ibuprofen!?! Well, I do now. I think there is a little leeway in the dosage limit because according to the bottle, I should have check out years ago for taking too many. Any way. . . so that was me the past few days. Tossing back some ibuprofen and trying to sleep so I wouldn’t feel the pain.
Okay, enough of that emotional, cry baby, poor me crap. Onward to our next topic. Did anyone else just break out into “Onward Christian Soldiers”, or was that just me? But I don’t know all the words so now it’s just the melody rolling along.
Sorry, easily distracted. . . food. Food is the next topic. As some of you may know, the gal pal and I were on a spanish food kick, especially around the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday earlier this month. We finally emptied the refrigerator a couple of weeks ago. See that picture to the right, that is what you get to eat at our house when I’m cleaning out one food group and gearing up for another.
We are now in the midst of a Cajun/southern/soul food extravaganza. Do you know what is more frustrating than trying to find grits in Canada, or at least in our area of the country? Nothing! I scoured every grocery store around here, not one grit. I even went to the “fancy” store, the one that has a section for just about every population known to humankind: kosher, southeast asian, greek, Portugal. I even asked a young male employee if the store had grits. He proceeded to inform me that they are more of an american dish. Gee, thanks a lot, Opie. I didn’t ask for a classification, I asked if you had any for sale! That’s what I screamed in my head as I smiled and politely said, “I was afraid of that.” I didn’t let that deter me, nope. If anything, I have perseverance!
That spirit stayed with me for about a week. I gave up on grits after going to a countless number of stores in three towns. And that’s when it hit me, polenta! If I can’t make cheesy grits, I can make cheesy polenta. I know my Tito Cain probably rolled over in his grave when I cried this out in a somewhat triumphant manner. As a good southern boy from Georgia, he enjoyed his shrimp and grits. But as I explained to him (Yes, I talk to my dead relatives. . . not all the time!) while I was stirring the polenta, I had to make do with what I have. Hey, “When in Rome. . .” So, that is how the Old Charleston Style Shrimp and Grits recipe became R’s Style Shrimp and Polenta. I also made Cajun Shrimp Orecchiette.
On the upcoming menu, we might (I haven’t quite completely decided) be dining on: Red Beans and Rice, Hoppin’ John, Biscuits and Gravy, Muffuletta, Black-Eyed Pea Salad, Southern Green Beans and maybe a chicken dish of some sort. We’ll see.
Fun, yes, my gal pal, sk, and I do get to have some fun. Sk just realized last week that not all apples are made alike. So to further her education along, I took her to a local apple orchard, Myers Apple Farm, where we got an array of apples to try. So far the Royal Gala, Fuji and Braeburn are our favorites. I have a feeling we’ll be heading back there shortly.
After the apple farm, we headed to one of the all-year farmer’s markets,Dyment’s Market & Bakery, where we promptly bought an apple pie. . .yes, I see the irony. And yes, they had apple pies at the apple farm but I was able to resist them there. I’ve eaten apple pie from Dyment’s on several occasions so I know how good it is. I couldn’t resist. Pie is my downfall. If I get to have a last meal before I die, just give me pie. So as we were walking out with our pie. . . and bacon. Come on, it’s not like we have bacon very often. Just once in a while to keep our insides all greased up and working properly. Anyway, that’s when we saw this huge pumpkin patch. Sadly, that’s when we realised Halloween was so close upon us and that leads to November and then smack, there’s Christmas and New Year’s. . . another year gone.
It also means fun times for the kids. I really like how our town makes an effort to stage events or festivals not only for adults but for the children as well. Last Saturday happened to be the Halloween event where children dress in their Halloween costumes and get candy from the downtown business. A variety of scarecrows welcomed trick-or-treaters into the store fronts. The town offered wagon rides and a lady had a stage where she sang songs that would make the Teletubbies proud. The rain held off and everyone enjoyed themselves. I’ve included some pictures of the event below.
We try to plan some outing each weekend, something that we look forward to all week. Other times though, we just go with the flow and see where life takes us that day. Like last Saturday, life took us to pie. What a great day!