Wednesday, February 28, 2007

back pain

i'm about to give up on the chiropractor experiment. following my session last week i felt a marked improvement in my back and left leg. but for some reason i could not get him to do what he did (basically it was sort of like a deep tissue massage around my lower back) in this week's session. and guess what? the pain in my back has returned... with a vengence! with that returns a numbness in my left leg and foot, awkward limping and severe limitations of movement. after nearly four months of this nonsense, i'm about to lose my mind!

but i'm thinking what i need is either a really good massage therapist or a surgeon.

tonight is a judy branch night, and i'm spending it under an afghan on the couch working on a grant proposal and watching UK play in the SEC tournament. all the critters are napping nearby. i think bella misses her new best friend, justin (see picture above).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sticking around the Old Homeplace

With all the traveling that I'm having to do these days, the time I have at Judy Branch has become even more valuable. After my week of hosting the Chocolate Drops, I jumped right back into my new fellowship schedule, which has me driving to and from Berea twice a week. I was so glad to get back home on Friday and enjoy the quiet comfort of my home.

Some strategic planning on my part allowed me to stay home all weekend, even though I hosted a meeting on Saturday morning. Instead of meeting at my workplace, I suggested they all come out to Judy Branch. It was so cozy, sitting around the kitchen table, driking coffee and snacking on cream cheese danishes while we made plans and caught up on each others' lives. While sitting there, I got to thinking about how some aspects of my job really don't feel like work, mainly because of the people I get to spend time with. I feel really fortunate that I get to spend a great deal of my time in the company of people who inspire me with the lives they lead, warm my soul with the stories they tell and humble me with the love that they send my way. I didn't really do much culinary preparation for my guests, but they were pleased nonetheless.

I made a really simple cream cheese danish (at least I think it's a danish!). All you do is put a pack or two of cream cheese & some sugar (1/4-1/2 cup) in a mixer and cream together. In the meantime you melt 1/2 a stick (or less) of butter or margarine. You take one tube of crescent rolls and lay the entire "sheet" of dough flat across a baking sheet, not pressing it flat or doing anything to it at all. You spread the cream cheese mixture on top and then pop open another tube of crescent rolls and lay it across the top, lightly pinching the edges of the bottom & top together. Pour melted butter across the top, sprinkle some cinnamon & sugar over it and pop it in the oven @ 350 for about 10-15 minutes, maybe more. It's done when the dough is cooked and a little brown around the edges.

For lunch we had leftovers I had made from the ingredients I never got around to using during my previous house guests:
A mix of sweet potato and black beans with spices and Kentucky-Creole eggplant pudding (a baked pudding, more like a custard or casserole) over a bed of spinach served with salsa, fresh cilantro and tortilla chips. Pretty yummy for a random combination pulled out of the frige!

While the wood stove kept us nice and warm for our meeting, the weather on Judy Branch became almost balmy by afternoon. To my disappointment, the ground was too moist to plant snap peas. Even so, I got in some garden time pulling up old milkweed skeletons and clearing out the remains of last year's garden.

The weekend was capped off with my Sunday session with Lee. This week I brought a visitor, my fellow Appalachian music fellow. I think Lee & Opal like having company as much as I do. Opal cooked us up a big dinner of green beans she had canned, cabbage, mashed potatoes and cornbread. I love Opal's cooking just about as much as I love Lee's banjo playing!