A Quick Update..Beef Bourguignon laced with Harry Potter and Julia Child
July 31, 2009

 Sorry about no bloggy-mac-blog-blog this week….I’ve been a bad girl. A loyal reader wrote in saying(ok, complaining)…” Please tell Donna to update her Hamilton’s Habitat. Nothing has been posted since 7/24.” Hey, I know that, and I’ve felt guilty every single day, ok? But here’s a quick update…it’s almost news time!

I’m back on another round of antibiotics…no, not for a communicable disease, but for some recurring symptoms of Lyme Disease. But I’m hopeful this will take care of things. I’ll keep you posted.

My daughter was called for her first ever jury duty yesterday. She asked me the night before what time she had to be there….”8:15 am“, I told her. Horrified, she said, “8:15? How on earth do people go to work by then???” Ahhhh, grasshopper…..I told her lots and lots and lots and lots of people, including her Dad, have to be at work  by then…and lots more get to go in even earlier. The fact did not console her… at all. But she made it to the courthouse on time….did get called, but not selected as a juror(SHOCKER)….much relief on her part.

Making seafood paella

Making seafood paella

Let’s see, what else? I made a paella last weekend….found some wild caught shrimp that were really nice at the Supermarket….that were $7.99 a pound! Not bad for shrimp….and I keep a little jar of saffron(the most expensive spice in the world) in the frig, for just such an occasion, because it’s really not easy to find on the fly. I now order it off the internet.

Mmmmm, let’s see…went to yoga class and got my butt kicked Tuesday night…sometimes that instructor seems a little mean, but in a good way. I really felt it the next day, which means it’s a good workout.

And my daughter called this morning…you know, the one who plops roasts into the over without a pan underneath because I didn’t say use a pan…and asked, where one gets “stew meat”. “In the grocery store at the meat counter“, I say levelly.

Does it say stew meat?”

It might but it’s just cut up chunks of beef….why do you need stew meat?

Will ours look like this?

Will ours look like this?

I’m cooking dinner for you! Julia Child’s Beef Bo-erg-ooee-gon!” She’s delighted by the idea. And it is very, very sweet. “Do you mean beef bourguignon?” She does indeed. She has been inspired by the new movie coming out about la Julia, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking was one of the first serious cookbooks I used. I have made the above recipe many, many times. It is excellent…but there are many steps…perhaps too many for my girl? We shall see…the bacon has already been deleted I hear. But it will probably still be delicious….I’ll let you know how it went, but it is an ambitious recipe, as are many of Julia’s recipes. 

And today is J.K. Rowling’s birthday! Maybe we will celebrate by seeing the latest Harry Potter movie on the IMAX, at the Maryland Science Center…that really should rock. And for those of you discouraged about life or your job, or lack of one, remember that J.K. was an unemployed single mom, at rock bottom, which she said she found freeing….because there she was, but still standing. Her Harry Potter series became one of the best selling book series( and movies) of all time. Goes to show you, you just never know, and should never give up. A single idea can turn into great things. Or maybe just a very good beef stew. And tonight, that’s just fine with me. Have a lovely weekend, play nice, and come home safe…we miss you.

The controversy over Lyme Disease update….a gathering storm?
July 8, 2009

Theres no medicine for someone like you...

There's no medicine for someone like you...

I wanted to thank all of you who wrote responses to my blog entry about contracting Lyme Disease…the more I’ve read about this disease, and it is scary, let me tell you…the more I realize how fortunate I am to have 1. developed a rash, and 2. gotten treatment right away. I was so happy when I recently took my last dose of Doryx!!( And it was expensive…$150 even with prescription coverage..the lady at Giant Pharmacy said “whew” when she rang it up-I soon found out why.) These are just a few comments I’ve received….from Lucy:

Dear Donna,

Thank you for your anticipated upcoming effort to educate others concerning Lyme and tick borne diseases.I am happy to hear you got the rash so it could alert you to the fact you had a problem. I am also happy to hear and that you saw the rash and acted promptly (approximately 50 percent of those infected don’t get the rash in Maryland- and less than 10 percent of children get a rash).I am thankful that your doctor was able to recognise the rash and you were treated promptly. (This isn’t always the case and the rash is often misdiagnosed as a spider bite or ring worm or some other malady.)”

And oddly enough, before I saw my doctor, I thought maybe it was a spider bite too!

And starting this Friday night, July 10th, at The Senator Theatre on York Road, an award winning documentary about Lyme Disease called Under Our Skin-the Untold Story of Lyme Disease will be showing for a week(click here if you want to see the film trailer-wow)….I plan to see the film with my family, and I hope you do too. Being unaware of Lyme Disease and its dangers , is a risky ignorance. I hope you’ll see it. Linda Brace, the mother of a young woman featured in the documentary wrote me this:

Dear Ms. Hamilton:  I am the mother of Mandy Hughes, who is featured in the documentary “Under Our Skin” and frequently the spokesperson at events and screenings related to the documentary.

As a parent, I had/have all the hopes that my vibrant, healthy and intelligent child would grow up and thrive. Going from a dream of working in the profession of her choice, to within a few short years, wheelchair bound and in extreme pain, which you have seen in the documentary, cripples an entire family.

What is not seen are the personal struggles/tolls taken on families both emotionally and financially seeking out treatments that the Healthcare community refuses to acknowledge in hopes that this will all “just go away”. The fact is that it will not go away and neither can we.”

And don’t forget, it’s not just humans who get Lyme Disease…your pets can also be victims…perhaps more easily than you.

Adventures in Lyme Disease….and the Big Apple…
July 7, 2009

Waitin for the big blowout on the Hudson...

Waitin' for the big blowout on the Hudson...

I was going to blog today simply about my weekend in New York for the 4th… but this morning…. I saw it…a promo on our air, about my recent bout with Lyme Disease, which airs tomorrow night. Knowing the story was airing pretty soon, I hadn’t written about it here. But now that the promo is gonna be seen…maybe a lot…I just want to tell readers I am OK!  I was happy to do the story, because I thought it would help other people, but the thing I dreaded about it was the immediate large number of friends and neighbors and co-workers, who I never told about it(I mean what do you say? Oh, I have Lyme Disease, by the way) who will now say, “How are you? I had no idea!”

Funny sign and pig nose in a costume shop..

Funny sign and pig nose in a costume shop..

And what is it about New York and Lyme Disease?? That’s where I was…in NYC for my son’s wedding… when I discovered the odd looking rash…the very morning of the wedding, so I really didn’t have any time to cogitate it at all. But I did know I needed to see a doctor as soon as I got home. And I did. My dermatologist, Dr. Eva Simmons-Obrien took one look at it and said, “Lyme Disease.” And it was right after I got home from this weekend’s  trip to NYC that I saw the promo, which kind of brought it all back. Film at 11, as they say.

It was lovely in the Big Apple this weekend, just like it was here in  Baltie….cool at night, warm breezy days. The fireworks over the Hudson were spectacular, though we were about 10 blocks south of where the six barges on the Hudson River actually began. I could see three of the six…and when I saw the video the next day on tv from television’s always privileged advantage point…they looked even more fabulous. But it was nice being at the waterfront with thousands of other people who just wanted to see it for themselves. Everyone was in a good mood, and friendly…lots of families, romantic couples, all ages and descriptions…New York.

Chocolate milkshake at Sweetiepie!

Chocolate milkshake at Sweetiepie!

And the city was quiet, except for that night. Lots of residents beat feet out of town I suppose, leaving the tranquil streets for the rest of us to enjoy. I engaged in a lot of walking around….my favorite thing there…each trip I go I learn that huge beast of a city a little bit better. Going to New York used to be something I rather dreaded, because…I just didn’t know where to start. Know what I mean? You know everything you can imagine is there, but you’re not sure where it is or how to get there. I’m much better now. And we had some great grub…though a lunch at the much talked about Sweetiepie Restaurant in Greenwich Village, was kind of a disaster(though the food was pretty good). And I knew it was gonna be rough the moment we stepped throught  the door. Filled with screaming small children and mommies…it was a cruel thing to do to the hubby…and he got a nosebleed(how perfect is that?) right at the end of lunch. Blood pouring…so he leaves my daughter and I to pay up…only we cannot for the life of us  get the check. So I head to the marble ice cream counter where a beleaguered waiter is making(and spilling) two Bloody Marys for some parents that needed something to soothe their jagged nerves. A woman marches up to the counter and demands those drinks…”We’ve been waiting for those Bloody Marys for a half hour. That’s ridiculous!!”  Yeah, I hear you lady, but I want my check first…I need to blow this joint and fast.  Eating was uphill from there….El Charro in the village for a fabulous paella and sangria….The Spotted Pig for some, well… pig …the next night, and we actually got a table within 30 minutes!

We Megabused up and back…traffic made it a little longer on the return, but hey, it’s all good.