Monday, July 21, 2008

getting older and moving on

First, an update: as per advice from a reader, I called FAAN. Yep, they can arrange for testing of the product that caused an allergic reaction, but you have to have some left. FAAN can't get more from that same batch from the company. Dang.

FAAN did offer lots of empathy (thanks, guys) and suggest that I report this to the FDA. I did, the FDA offered more empathy (um) and said not to call them, they wouldn't be calling me. And there it rests. The bigfamousallergydoc people in NY are stumped, and the local children's hospital allergy team (not so much slouches themselves) are at a loss. So, the kid nearly stopped breathing over what? dunno. Sigh. Time to get out the bubble and stick the kid in.

More: the farm that feared the child, is taking him. I have checked out some details (animal feed: contains "bakery products" and "miscellaneous protein sources" - according to Fast Food Nation and my own experience, these are probably either allergenic or just plain gross). We've got an Eldest-specific first aid kit worked out, and I've signed something that says that, if the camp's standard safety precautions are followed *and* the IHP is followed, I promise not to sue. My thanks to the legal brain who helped - another reader found that brain, married it (and the ancillary bits) and put it/him in my path.

I happily updated the IHP to include a bit on safe activities, and made sure that it really is as anal as I thought it was. As it happens, I expect fear and trembling from my IHPs - a good Individual Health Plan is something to make camp directors shudder and ER docs nod wisely - while heading to the phone to call the specialists.

So, then, camp!

For the farm folks who rather wanted the bubble until they saw the Eldest, scratched and filthy at the end of a first, delighted day, I offer this. It's as close as we're getting, guys.

It's a reminder, also, for the bit of me that rather wishes that I could find a bubble for the Toddles, too. No bubbles. No magical protections, no Fantastic Four-style super stretchy mama who can encase her endangered kids protectively. Nope. No way. No how.

But sometimes, it feels like it would be nice.


I stumbled across this grump over the AARP. Apparently, I'm not the only one to be sent a membership card and invitation to contact my senator about issues of interest to the elderly.

Hmm. Maybe the AARP has mistaken staying home with the kids for retirement? if so, I'm incredibly amused. And temped to take advantage of the low, low auto insurance rates and deals on motels. Not that I ever go to motels (or hotels, for that matter), but hey! if I did, I could get a deal.

At the moment, I feel far from retired, although I am doing a splendid witchy impression. With a swollen, infected foot, I'm hobbling around and hissing at my children for committing the standard crimes of childhood, up to and including ticking me off. All I need now is a really impressive mole on my nose, and I'll be all set.

When the Man came home yesterday, he muttered blackly about being overwhelmed by demands. Today, he refused to meet my eye in the morning as I lay, blankly trying to figure out how to manage a day with one good foot and two splendidly energetic boys. This evening, he walked in the door and took one look at me and - unexpectedly - sat down and listened. I wailed at him enthusiastically; not about the foot, the mole or the hissing, but about the menu. The boys and I had made this week's menu together, choosing recipes and balancing meals, we'd shopped and now all of that lovely produce was going to waste.

The Man, who is no happy cook - but a lovely, patient baker - made dinner. Using my menu. And the Eldest's chosen recipe. I admired the purpling-red, white and green of the salad, and then started stuffing it into my mouth. The textures crunched and melted in my mouth, while the flavors chirped at me, soothed and sparkled. At the head of the table, the Man licked his plate with pleasure. Ah.

Grilled Chicken and Plum Salad
serves 4-6

grilled chicken (I had about three boneless chicken breasts, plus a bit of boneless thigh)
6 plums, halved and pitted
2 star anise (whole)
1 stick of cinnamon
1/3rd c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 smashed and chopped clove of garlic
1 pinch chili powder
2-3 Tb vegetable oil
1 Tb lime juice
2 cups Thai basil (more peppery than the regular basil) and mint
3-4 spring onions, sliced
2 Tb roasted peanuts/sunflower seeds (this is a nice crunch - obviously, we used sunflower seeds, but the point is a nice bit of roasted crunchiness. You decide what works - I suspect lo mein noodles would do well, too.)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a covered baking dish (tinfoil on top of a pan works fine, too), combine plums, star anise, cinnamon, sugar and water. Roast for 25 minutes, then set aside to cool. Once the plums are cool, you can peel them.

Add garlic, chili powder, oil, lime juice, chicken, herbs, scallions and seeds/nuts. Toss, seasoning with salt and pepper. Eat, enjoying the mix of sweet plum and smoky grilled chicken, balanced by the sharpness of the herbs. Consider how best to drag out the sore foot gig for another meal like this.


J. G. "Cord En Bleu" Fellow said...

Great photo!

All Adither said...

Me? A grump?

I know what you mean about the bubble though. I'm fairly nervous about the Kindergarten/food allergy combo this fall.

Julia said...

Nice pic. Jealous of that camp, a bit.
Sorry about the foot. It sounds no fun at all. But the recipe? Yum!

mama o' the matrices said...

J.G., yes. You rock. I worship at your shrine, safe in the knowledge that you are glad not to have to cook again tonight.

all adither, nope. You aren't a grump. But you offered up a very reasonable, grumpable offense by the AARP. In the tradition of rants, this was mild, irked but not irate - thus, a grump. Clear as mud?

julia, hey. It's just a foot. And the danged thing went and got better on me. Sigh. How's the uterus?