Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Getting Fun, Food, and More, All in a Week!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

OLA: Getting Fun, Food, and More, All in a Week!

yes...yellow roses!
Devin in his first varsity match, with the Flatirons as background
Dean readying his tennis rackets for the Sectionals
We decided to extend our stay in Denver with the Happy Harpers for a couple of days. And, so of course, we had fun, except mostly for Cassie who had an early start in her Middle School. On Monday we learned that Devin made it to the Varsity Tennis Team, the only freshman to do so, at the Fairview High School, known for academics and sports, particularly their tennis team. He also beat Suzanne, Cassie, Bill and me in poker but in the rematch, I had the chance to beat him! Dean had to fly to Salt Lake City on Thursday because his tennis team advanced to the Sectional Finals where they got the silver medal! During the weekend, we all trooped to the Elvis Cinemas (second-run theater for only $2.50 per person) to watch the highly entertaining Monsters University.

our celebration of Devin's accomplishment at Jason's
baked creamy orzo
The week was also spent trying out new recipes for the family since Cassie has turned completely vegetarian after she researched (for a project in school) about animals being used for product testing. She now will not eat anything with a face! So, for her I made baked creamy orzo with green onions, parsley, parmesan, butter, and milk. When I made fresh lumpia, I reserved some for her before adding shrimps; same thing with the pancit bijon and the chop suey. Suzanne made a winner lemony quinoa salad.  Quinoa is now being billed as the food of the future. It is like a cereal or grain but is not a member of the true grass family but more closely related to species such as beetroots and goosefoot. It contains protein.

lemony quinoa salad!

short ribs poutine
We also ate out a lot. The Old Neighborhood Restaurant and Lounge was just remodeled and reinvented by the famous chef, Gordon Ramsey.  The menu is new and lean but I absolutely loved that they had yellow roses all around. We also tried a burger place that we had not been to before: Five Guys. You get single or double fresh beef patties and can choose whatever stuff you want to put on your burger. I had caramelized onions, grilled mushrooms, cheddar cheese, and lots of lettuce! For the first time, I really loved my burger! Free roasted, unsalted peanuts are also served free! Suzanne and Dean also treated us to good Syrian food with beef, lamb, and chicken shawarma, hummus and pita bread, and, of course, near Dean’s office.

Five Guys! (that''s the name of the burger place)
Syrian Food
But we also had a scare. Last Tuesday Bill and I started going back to Bally’s (only Colorado did not sell out to LA Fitness). That afternoon Bill felt a painful knot behind his left knee so he did not go with me to the gym the following day. On Wednesday he ventured to go with me but only did upper body work and soaked in the hot tub instead. By Friday, his whole left leg, from the hip on to his foot, was feeling numb, tight, and painful. We went to the urgent care center and were quickly dispatched to the emergency room of the hospital nearby.

the ultrasound said it all
What we feared became reality. They found several blood clots on his left leg. They conducted more blood tests and he was given injections to break down the clots and tablets to thin out his blood. We were also instructed, if he was not to stay overnight at the hospital, to see a family clinic they referred early in the morning of the following day. We did and his INR (international Numerical ratio) was still 1.1. For some who have a high risk of clot formation, the number needs to be higher - about 2.5 to 3.5. So we were instructed to come back on Tuesday. Again, although there was some, improvement it still read 1.7. Therefore, we have to go back Thursday. Hopefully, we will be able to resume out trek to Arizona. As expected, I had a mild flare-up of hives. It is true, stress is the primary cause of my condition.

depending on who was reporting, maximum number of 600,000
And then I got involved. From 10,000 miles away, Facebook connected me to a series of issues in Manila. On Monday, August 26, National Heroes Day in the Philippines, there was a Million People March against pork barrel, a system of funding local projects through senators and congressmen. The Commission on Audit,however, revealed that a lot of them were coursing their allotments to ghost NGOs. On the heels of a controversial automated elections and the aftermath of a killer hurricane, my countrymen had been using social media to express indignation and disgust along with cries for reform and better use of taxpayer money for a better life. My body may not have been there, but my mind and spirit certainly were, for I left the Philippines for the very same reasons!

Thus, the week that was supposed to be simple and easy turned out to be much more. Our traveling lives will soon change to a more settled place and payback.