Thursday, October 28, 2010

Friends - I Need Your Help Today

Please meet Connor.  Isn't he adorable?  Connor is 8 months old and was born with Downs Syndrome.  He also has some other medical issues and will be going in for surgery next week but he is a fighter!  Connor weighs in at 8 months old at just over 10 pounds and has a smile that melts everyone's heart.


This weekend is a walk to help Connor and all the other precious angels like him through Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona Buddy Walk - Connor's Team needs to raise $500 ... how can we say no? 

I am reaching out to all of my networks for Connor and his Aunt to see if we can't all work together to help them reach their goal.

Your help is greatly appreciated ... and it will make Connor smile and, WOW, the world lights up when Connor smiles.



Please help us make Connor smile!




UPDATE ... 4virtu.com has committed to donating $1 to Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona for every member that joins 4virtu for free via this widget ... Come on, Readers - this makes it easy to help! Thank you!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Hysterectomy - 10 Years Later

It is a weird anniversary to be sure but October 26 was the ten year anniversary of my hysterectomy.  The pain of not being able to have more children still crops up every now and then, a bit less that I am 41 but it still amazes me that the biological urge is such a sharp tug.




I am grateful every day for my son who is almost 14 and was truly a blessing as I had no idea that he would be the one and only.  And I get to have my brother's three kiddos as if they were my own.

Ten years ago, I had a lower left abdominal pain that came out of the blue and stayed ... and got worse.  Within 2 days, I was gray - literally - and on my way to the emergency room.  As a health care worker, we always believe we can diagnose ourselves so I waited for it to resolve.  So at 4am that morning, the pain became intolerable and to the hospital we went.


I went to the hospital where I worked so they zipped me into ultrasound.  I watched the tech's face as she went from a cheery smile to glancing at me nervously and backing out of the room, telling me she was getting the doctor.  Surgeon would have been the correct word.  I promptly turned the screen, as soon as she was out of the room and my jaw dropped.  The doctor walked in and confirmed - I had a tumor ... about the size of a small cantaloupe on my left ovary.  The tumor had caused the ovary to tortion which was causing the pain.  My only option was surgery ... immediately.

Once the procedure was explained - an oophrectomy (removal of an ovary) - I told the doctor to take out everything if they got in there and saw that it was not just the ovary.  I had one child and no plans to get pregnant.  So blithe.  And no one discussed options - harvesting my eggs or anything.  anything.

I came out of the surgery with half of my right ovary intact.  Half of a diseased ovary according to the pathology report.  Fighting through morphine, pain and being gutted from side to side - I flipped out.  Why had they left it?  The doctor explained I was too young and they wanted to give me a chance to get pregnant.  Get pregnant with a diseased HALF ovary??  Sometimes men and male surgeouns are idiots.

I recovered from that surgery just in time for the tumor to regenerate within 3 months.  I found a new surgeon and we scheduled a hysterectomy.  Hindsight is 20/20 and I wish now that I had discussed harvesting my eggs if indeed there were any viable ... but there must have been because I did have one final period, ironically the 3 days preceding the surgery.

That is the clinical story.  That is the easy part of the story.  The emotional ups and downs.  Fighting my own body that was thrown into surgical menopause because I did not want to take hormone replacement due to the high percentage of breast cancer in my family.  Explaining to my 4 year old that he could never have a brother or sister.  Feeling like I was not a woman anymore ... that I was broken.  Refusing to date because since I was in my very early 30's, new couples talk about things like having children.  Physical pain that turned into an emotional ache that always stays with me.

To complicate issues, I was diagnosed with lupus about 9 months after the surgery.  Apparently, the trauma of the surgeries triggered off the sleeping lupus.  I felt like I spent years in tailspin after tailspin.

Ten years later, I am here.  I am fine.  Life happens but my son is healthy and taller than me, my lupus is in remission and I have found a place that I love to live - Utah.  I have great friends and a business that I love and I am growing.  I never went on hormone replacement so, technically, I have to go through menopause AGAIN.  That does not seem fair but I am here.  and I will take it.

The optimist in me is grateful for the large tumor that crushed my ovary and caused the pain.  It could have been ovarian cancer and spread through my abdomen and this could be a very different story.  So I am grateful ... always.

And now I get my baby fix :) - living in the wonderfully fertile land of Utah means that there are lots of pregnant women and lots of babies and munchkins. 

Which is a Joy and a 10 year Circle that means Healing to me.        





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Monday, October 25, 2010

Buffalo Stalking on Antelope Island

This past weekend was supposed to be a cool trip to Arches Park and Moab but due to the weather reports of snow at high elevations and the lack of a 4 wheel drive, we decided to stay local.  Antelope Island was the destination and I have a new hobby - Buffalo Stalking!




Although the day was cloudy and a bit rainy, there were enough peeks of sunshine and blue skies that we thought we would make the trek to Antelope Island.  From Provo, it is about 85 miles.  The clouds made for great backdrops of the scape of the island which is extremely primitive and natural.

 
The lady at the gate before we crossed the 7 mile, 2 lane road to the island advised us to head to the ranch to see the wildlife if they were out and about.  Wildlife includes 550-700 bison that roam free, pronghorn and bighorn sheep, mule deer and antelope.  We only saw buffalo but we saw a good number of the herd.





We spent about 4 hours driving and exploring the island.  We stopped to admire the buffalo and, if they were close enough, we did get out on the trails to get some pictures ...  slowly.  carefully.  and not getting toooooo close because they are HUGE.  HUGE.  and they can run fast.  really really fast.



So when I say Buffalo Stalking, I mean because the buffalo let me.  for which I am eternally grateful because they are awesome!  There is something breathtaking and iconic about seeing them in the distance and up close.


We witnessed some sparring along the side of the road and no one really had the urge to hurry the buffalo off the road.  A buffalo traffic jam ensued which was highly entertaining!


Everyone enjoyed the day - we took tons of pics - and we spent some time in the Visitor Center watching the movie and checking out the exhibits.

The Beehive Blog nominates Antelope Island as the BEE's KNEES!  and my new completely favorite place in Utah.









For more pictures - I will be adding to my Flickr:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/shaktiwomyn/

What is your favorite place in Utah?             
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tweetup at The Golden Door Spa in Park City

In the season of tricks or treats, this is definitely a TREAT!
Beehive Blog tweets with the Golden Door Spa in Park City and they have some lovely treats going on this Thursday, October 21at a very special (and uber relaxing) tweetup. No costumes needed, although I am sure they have fluffy robes for dress up!


Golden Door Spa Park City is having a Winter Housecleaning 50% Off Sale Tweetup (Twitter meetup, Twitter account not required to attend)! They're cleaning house to make room for new products for the winter season and offering 50% off select Golden Door, Tara Spa Therapy, Ling Skincare and SpaRitual products. Plus, Golden Door Spa therapists will offer complimentary neck/shoulder & hand/foot mini massages, and will be serving passed wine, cheese and crackers.

Where?
Golden Door Spa at the Waldorf Astoria Park City
2100 West Frostwood Drive
Park City, UT 84098
Phone: 435-647-5555
Website: http://www.parkcitywaldorfastoria.com/golden-door-spa/

When?
Thursday, October 21
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Why?
Fabulous luxury spa products for a great deal (holiday gift ideas!); Meeting and mingling with your fellow Park City Tweeps; and Complimentary snacks and mini massages at the luxurious Golden Door Spa.  Does it get better than this?  Only if it is a whole spa day!



Products on Sale *while supplies last*
Golden Door products including Botanical body moisturizer and oil, Confidante Cleanser and Toner, Hydrating Gel, Imbue Antioxidant Moisturizer, Imbue Milky Cleanser, Oily Skin Treatment cleansers, and more.
Tara Spa Therapy products including, Balancing Bath & Diffuser Oil, Balancing Aromas, Bindi Body Oil, Rejuvenation Travel Kit, Finding Balance Gift Box, Herbal Face Serum, Jet Lag Recovery Travel Kit, Kapha Facial, Loving Aroma sets, Loving Bath & Diffuser Oil, Muscle Soother aroma, bath and gift boxes, Chai neck pillow, Pitta Facial, Rehydrator Lotion, Sleep Gift Box, Stress Relieving Gift Box, Sun Therapy Kit and Skin-Cell Regenerator Complex.


Ling Skincare products including Clearlight lotion, Facial Refining Tonic for Dry Skin, Freeze Serum, Moisturizing Facial Masque, Oxygen Plasma Potion and Pure Squalane.

SpaRitual products including bath salts with wildcrafted Indian frankincense, Affirming Scrub Masque, Instinctual Organic Bath Salts with ginger essential oil, multiple shades of nail polish and cuticle softner/remover.


ahhhhhh ... what a brilliant idea for a tweetup!
Time to pamper ourselves before the holidays carry us away!

Golden Door Spa Park City - @GoldenDoorSpaPC on twitter & on Facebook

Waldorf Astoria Park City - @WaldorfParkCity on twitter & on Facebook 

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Monday, October 11, 2010

October is ....

I am running a bit late with my "October is" post but since we have had a lovely shift in weather for the cooler and I have been digging out some of my fall/winter clothes and observing the leaves, I am ready!
Autumn has always been my favorite time of year and after living in South Florida for so many years, I have a renewed love and appreciation for the seasonal cycle.

October is ...

Crisp ... crisp apples, crisp breezes & crisp, baked bread with a fluffy center ...

Last of the dragonflies in Utah ... thank you to my little dragonfly who posed so prettily for me with the autumn leaves ...


shorter days ... longer nights ...twinkly stars and seeing your breath at night ...

pumpkin!  pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, and jack-o-lanterns ...


snow on the Timpanogos peaks ... what a surprise and a lovely one!

ghosts, ghouls and goblins ... trick or treats ... candy sacks overflowing ...


forests and mountains painted with brushes of red, orange and yellow ... piles of leaves to jump in ...


warm soup ... fuzzy socks ... hot chocolate with a side of ginger snaps ...

PINK for the cure ... time to spread awareness to the women you love & get the facts on breast cancer!


 What is October to you?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Communal Restaurant in Provo - Foodie Paradise & Then Some

While Provo (Utah, that is) has some decent eating establishments, many are chains and since moving here, I had yet to find a Foodie experience that I admire as can be found in the Salt Lake offerings.  Well, that dry spell ended tonight under the deft hands of the staff of Communal, Sous Chef Luke and Co-Owners and Co-Chefs Joseph McRae & Colten Soelberg.


 We traveled all of 8 blocks to reach the warm and inviting atmosphere of Communal - beautiful lighting and decor all centered around an open kitchen made for an upscale casual feel.  Our server, Megan, was delightful from the first "hello" and we lacked for nothing.  My dining companions were my Mom (a gourmet foodie for as long as I can remember) and my 13 year old son and 12 year old nephew; a challenging group.

We began our journey with a shared starter that included:  meat from Caputo's, caramelized onions, tomato jam, house made pickles, crostini, melon and a tomato & goat cheese bread pudding.  First impression ... YUM.  and then YUM again.  Each bite was an individual journey on its own and received thumbs up from the whole group.  The favorite of the platter was definitively the tomato & goat cheese bread pudding.


The main entrees were next - hanger steak with bordelaise sauce, salmon with a tomato bacon vinaigrette, and the daily pasta preparation which was fettucine with an heirloom tomato sauce.  Initially, both boys got the pasta but when it was not quite to taste for my kiddo, Megan scooped it up and insisted he order something else to try.  And he did - the christiansen farms berkshire pork belly with a cherry sauce ... and he loved it - so much that we all barely snuck in a bite.  We ordered the boulangerie potatoes as a starch and it came in a crock - red potatoes baked with onions and bacon and I was again reduced to noises and a WOW. WOW. WOW!

    

The hanger steak was cooked perfectly - I like it mooing and doing a dance and it did dance ... all the way to my mouth!  The sauce was rich but did not overpower the meat at all.  This dish also received 4 thumbs up.


Mom said the salmon was divine and FRESH ... and cooked just right.  My bite confirmed the freshness and it was excellent.  Even though I am not a salmon fan, the freshness and preparation were evident.  Another four thumbs up.
My nephew enjoyed the pasta (judging from the empty bowl) - the serving was large with a hearty sauce.  My son exchanged his pasta for the pork belly which had all of us mumbling unintelligible happy noises ...  tender, moist, divine ... and with a side of the best mashed potatoes in the universe ...  there were eight thumbs up.

 

Since the pork dish was an addition, the boys bellied up to the bar and chatted with Sous Chef Luke and Damian, the cook.  Yet another example of the warm and friendly atmosphere at Communal ... it certainly made a wonderful impression on the boys who are ready to schedule another dinner!


Head Chef and Co-Owner Joseph stopped by the table and chatted for a few minutes and I could see where the gracious foundation of the staff came from - he made a point to talk to everyone in the dining room.

Our lovely meal was topped off with ... well, I would say dessert but it was more like ... Nirvana.  We shared two desserts - the first was the amano's chocolate smore and the second was the cornmeal cake with strawberries.  A pot of french press coffee and real cream and I was ready to pack my bags and move in to eat for the rest of my days!


Local, sustainable products ... a warm & caring staff ... a beautiful & inviting atmosphere ... creative and delicious food is what makes Communal.  We will just call it our new favorite restaurant and be thrilled that it is in the neighborhood!  Kudos ... truly well done and we can't wait to return!

We did not eat at the communal table - we did call ahead and make a reservation for a private table.  The option is open to sit at the bar as well and chat with the Chefs!  Starters range from $9 - $12, Entrees from $12 - $16, sides from $5 - $7 and desserts are $7.50.  The menu does change, as well as include daily preparations, and the starter we had and the side were all portioned to be shared. 

There is also a new blog - www.heirloomrestaurantgroup.com/blog - Pizzeria Seven Twelve in Orem is owned by the same group.  My Mom and nephew are visiting for a few more weeks and before we were even done dinner, Mom said - "We have to come back before I leave!  and add the other restaurant to our list."  

To Communal - THANK YOU for a wonderful journey and we can't wait to see you again!

 

Day Trip to Park City

Sometimes it feels like I am running at 500 miles per hour ... and still in the same place.  Family visits are joyful but stressful and there have been some challenges :) - was that PC?  The best part is getting out and about, doing day trips and indulging our rabid little foodie palates.  And indulge we have!

on the way to Park City
We had a lovely day in Park City - although I admit to liking it better in the snow :) and Empire Pass is still the place I would love to live and run my little Bloggy Kingdom ... the Montage at Deer Valley is coming along nicely and still targeting December 2010 for opening ... 35K foot spa ... HELLO!



 Lunch was cheesy goodness on the balcony of the Red Banjo - Park City's oldest restaurant and we were waited on by the current owner who is third generation.  We munched on pizza with chicken and artichokes and meatball sandwiches, sipped our black cherry vanilla and bubblegum sodas and Apricot Hefeweizen beer (which was SO good, we got some for home!) all while admiring the view down main street.  The food at Red Banjo was good and the prices were reasonable and very family friendly. 



 
It was Viper Day in Park City ... as in cars ... a bit too much on fumes and testosterone for me but the boys loved it.


And what would a day in Park City be without a visit to our favorite Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory?  Thankfully, Main Street is perfect for walking off a sugar high!


The day wrapped up with a drive home via Salt Lake, a visit into the Park City Nursery to visit their pumpkin patch and some lovely views along the way.



 All in all - Park City is a great day trip from Provo ... our next day trip is the Alpine Loop and Sundance Resort!
       
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