Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another presentation done

What a glorious day! Jessica asked me to help her with presenting to a group of health care workers and we are very grateful that they gave us time out of their busy schedule. They were interested and attentive and asked pertinent questions. Each person was also given handouts that Jess had prepared, including CanLyme brochures, invitations to Dr. Murakami's presentation on September 18, an example of Isagenix text results, the Embers study report, and more.

My information board is a little battered after three years of being dragged to various locations as part of the visual material --- but it gets the job done!

Tomorrow I believe Kim is doing a presentation to a clinic in Orangeville. On Friday and Saturday there is the Wingfest in Brampton where I'll have a table and flyers, with the help of friends who give their time.

The word is really getting spread. As long as people hear and act on protecting themselves and their loved ones, we have succeeded.

On another level! Made and bottled some more ginger beer to hand out as gifts to friends. I should immediately get another batch brewing, perhaps. So good that people who give me their time, enjoy the things we make because there is no way I can pay them for their gifts of time, care and concern. What a blessing to be surrounded by such a network of care!

“Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them.”
~ Author Unknown

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tomato stew - lots of it!

We went to the farmers' market this morning and bought half a bushel of fresh tomatoes, a basket of onions and some button mushrooms. The following pictures were taken with the Blackberry as we went along, and the write-up was done in between.

Garlic peeler, grating dish and brush
We had fresh garlic from our back yard and a big zucchini (marrow) from a neighbour. We figured we might as well add more veggies in the stew while we're about it and while everything is fresh! As for a recipe - I've been making this for so many years that there is no real recipe to follow, but I'll try to give an idea at the end of this post for those who want to try. We usually make smaller batches, though.

Started off with chopped onions, add the garlic and soften. Then we peeled and chopped the zucchini, adding to the mixture. Added the chopped mushrooms at a later stage.

We've been chopping and peeling and stirring for a good two hours! The house smelled lovely with the addition of thyme, freshly grated nutmeg, white and black pepper. We only added a small amount of sea salt, and I always add some sugar or Xylitol, which I've been using with success since all sweeteners had to be cut out due to the strict medical food restrictions. More tomatoes were sliced and added to the pot, until it was as full as you will see in a later picture.

We haven't done this in ages! Read: pre-Lyme Disease.

The stew is to be bottled and some to be frozen. Mason jars (canning jars) are wonderful to use for freezing anything from leftover soup to meat or sauces and gravies. We use the tomato stew as the base for everything: meat or pasta dishes and casseroles, soups and chili, lasagna or spinach stew.

The picture with empty wine bottle is just to show the scale of the stock pot. It holds something like 12 or 14 litres and was almost full but we had to leave room for bubbling. Use a good wooden spoon to stir, and if needed, put a lid on the pot to stop splatters, but leave room for evaporation.

Other pics were taken during the whole process. Just a few are uploaded here.

Tasted the flavour and adjusted, although we always add flavouring later, depending on how we use the sauce in dishes. Scooped out batches into a smaller bowl and used an immersion blender to create a thick sauce before bottling.

We bottled 30 small jars of 250 ml (1 cup) as well as 5 larger jars of the sauce. What a joy to have for winter! For labels, I just printed some simple labels with our names and the month and year, as well as what to use the sauce for.

Fruit of our labour! Lots of jars of sauce
Best is knowing what is in the sauce, without any extra chemicals.

The basic stew just asks for onions and tomatoes. If possible, use Romano tomatoes since I find they have more flesh. 
  • Slice 3-4 medium sized onions and fry to soft and yellow in a bit of coconut oil, butter or olive oil
  • Slice fresh tomatoes and add to the onions until the mixture is more red than white, about 2 pounds (1 kg)
  • Add some fresh garlic if you like
  • Add salt, black pepper and a little bit of sugar / sweetener
  • Add herbs of your liking. We add nutmeg, thyme, rosemary. 
  • Stir and keep cooking until the stew thickens
  • Scoop into jars, baggies or bottles and freeze or keep in the fridge
 Additional ingredients or preparation:
Use the sauce as is or use a food processor or wand to create a smoother sauce before bottling.
Add any other sort of veggies you might have during the cooking process, like mushrooms, Swiss Chard, spinach, celery, etc. Fresh or dried herbs like basil might be added to some batches and label accordingly.

Have fun and hand out or take along as hostess gifts. 

Jam Hands

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Free Lyme info sessions in September!

Really exiting news is that the LDAO, the Lyme Disease Association of Ontario, arranged for information sessions so that people could ask questions, meet others and get support when they or their loved ones are dealing with Lyme Disease. We hope that health care workers, pharmacists and physicians will also attend some of the sessions if they can.

Dr. Ernie Murakami is a man I've met personally and you can read more about those meetings by searching his name in this blog. I have immense respect for him and his knowledge about the disease, his tireless education and the time he spends to help others. If you can attend any of the sessions, please do. You won't be sorry!

thumbnail of the datesDon't click on the thumbnail to download; find the link at the end of this paragraph. It will be in mid-September, on the 14th in Fort Erie, the 15th in Burlington, the 17th in London and the 18th in Brampton.
Download information sheet from HERE, or go to the LDAO website to download from there. 

Book online for Brampton
I'm especially involved in the Brampton event and have created an online invitation for people to "book a seat" so to speak. There are no assigned seats; it will be first come, first served, but the venue has excellent acoustics. It is free to attend any of the sessions, but we hope to receive some donations either online or at the door to help offset travel costs. You can refer family or friends to the online invitation as well. When registering, the seat count will adjust and you can also invite others from there. Whatever is easy for you! Online registration for Brampton only HERE

Brampton Flyer

Don't click on the graphic to download, it just shows what the flyer looks like.
The green thumbnail graphic shows a flyer created to help promote the Brampton event, if you wish to invite friends or contacts or put up posters at your doctor's office, health care workers, clinic or pharmacy. Remember to ask permission first!

The flyer is in PDF format and should open on most computers, as well as print on most printers.

Please share this information or blog post with others, on Facebook, Twitter or wherever you might have connections who might be interested. Even if you can't attend, perhaps you want to donate a few dollars, wherever you are. The money will all be paid over to dr. Murakami's foundation, to be used for education about Lyme Disease.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Music in the park and missing pants

No, the one has nothing to do with the other ---- they just happened on the same day!

Tonight Joe and I had a table sharing Lyme info at Gage park, during the Inspirational Music in the Park program. It was a great evening!

After all the rain of today, it turned out to be a perfect, green, balmy summer night. The squirrels were running and being amusing, people wandered around, children danced to the music and we could sing along with some familiar tunes.

We had the petition there, and collected 20 signatures from people who were interested and concerned, realizing that anyone is vulnerable to the devastation of Lyme Disease and need to know what to look out for. We shared hints and flyers about how to protect ourselves and loved ones. We are so grateful to Phyllis for inviting us to set up our table, and to Lesley for graciously granting us permission!

Inspirational Music in the Park is the brainchild of Lesley Morgan, and is in its 12th year. More info on
Every Tuesday during the summer, join various groups and people for a relaxing couple of hours in the park.

Now, the question of the missing pants ....
Well, the truth is that I misplaced my pants this morning. Really. No, I wasn't in them at the time. But I've noticed (or was told) the last week or so that the old brain wasn't up to speed. The Lyme bugs must be having a grand old time up there again or something. I've been struggling with this for months now, but it seemed to have been slightly better for a while.

The last three weeks, more and more chunks of time went missing in my mind. I could not recall what happened even an hour ago, and couldn't retrace steps to find things I had in my hands or usually handle with a strict form of routine. After we got rained on on Saturday, the deep body chill took hours to go away, and I was missing a chunk of time until after I'd started to warm up again in bed with soup, hot chocolate and an electric blanket. My keys are still missing from then - hopefully they will be found! But it did mean I vacuumed the bedroom properly in the search for them, so not all lost.

Oh yes, the pants. Last night I was doing some laundry, and planned what to wear for today. Clean laundry was put away. When I wanted to get dressed this morning, the specific pair of pants were nowhere to be found. Told long-suffering hubby who had no ideas to offer. I looked everywhere. Of course we had lots of jokes to share about the Case of the Missing Pants!

Yes we found them eventually, hanging innocently over the banister, nicely folded. How on earth did they get there instead of in the closet? No idea. I was sure I put them away. No recollection of folding them on the banister instead.

You might say we all do things like this. Sure, we do. Misplace keys, a sweater or handbag or a pair of glasses.  But it keeps happening more and more, unable to retrace steps and sometimes completely unaware that I've put something where they're not supposed to be until someone tells me.

It is mind-boggling, and more than a little scary - because the more I try to be methodical and in control, the more tiny parts of my mind are slipping through my grasp like little slippery fish.

However, to be graphic about the Lyme stuff, I've not been too well before the wedding and it got worse. Nothing to do with stress, but I was feeling more and more sick, couldn't face food, and would not be able to keep down what I managed to eat. That meant I was also not getting all the meds, since some would be eliminated along with food. Weird rashes would spread all over my body, getting worse with every episode. Turning interesting colours added to the adventures!

The Sunday before our son's wedding was the worst episode yet and I was violently sick. On the Monday I contacted the Lyme doctor in the States, who wrote back to drop all meds until after the wedding and then to start slowly back again.

So, that means for about 3 weeks now I have been off meds, and Arno thought more of the Lyme symptoms were coming back. Especially the malaria-type symptoms are making me crazy with chills, sweats, fatigue, muscle ache and trouble to get to sleep despite using a low dose of Melatonin.The most worrying one is the recurring issue with bigger chunks of missing time. Arno has already taken over sorting out my meds every ten days. His help, patience and support mean more than I could ever say.

Interesting journey! Every day brings something different. But in putting up a booth at these community events, and talking to more and more people who always thank us for sharing the information, handing out pamphlets and being concerned for their welfare, make it all worth while. If even one person listens at each of these events, it means one family who might be able to protect themselves or ask for help if they should need it.

Recommended reading: "Still Alice", by Lisa Genova (or see Goodreads info)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Brampton Farmer's Market

Posted from the market via Blackberry
Come on down!
The Farmer's market is where you can get fresh veg, fruit, flowers, herbs, treats and conversation; live music, community groups and just be outside for a bit.

Yes, it is drizzling or raining, but everything is fresh and clean, the heat is broken and people are out to enjoy!

We have the Lyme mobile at our booth, we have flyers, we have the petition, (see top tab on this blog), and we're ready to share information with anyone who asks or needs it.

See you at the market!
Picture above: Joe, Arno and I are here in our green shirts.

Update from home: It was a great day, probably our most successful outreach and sharing of information! We handed out lots of brochures, answered many questions, talked to concerned people who were bitten this summer, gave information to people who have had known tick bites, and filled pages of signatures for the petition re getting a National Lyme Strategy in place.

We also made contact with several people who invited us to set up a booth at different community events this summer. We have dates into October at this point! Might have to try and buy our own canopy or tent, rather than always borrow one from a kind friend.

More pictures of our booth at the Brampton Farmer's Market can be seen on this link, also showing other pictures of our booths at various events: Our Lyme efforts, 2012

Councillor John Sanderson is one of our supporters
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Wedding whirlwind

My apologies for not posting much lately! We have houseguests from South Africa who came over for our son's wedding on August 4th. It all went well and now we can try to get back to normal!
Our new family member, Jenni

On August 6, friends Joe, Pam and Renie manned a booth about Lyme disease at the Terra Cotta cycle race, and got several more signatures for the Petition.

This coming Saturday, August 11, we'll have a booth at the popular Brampton Farmer's Market. Come see us if you can, buy some fresh fruit, veg or flowers, and enjoy the outdoors, the music, the colours and the people!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Lyme booth at a large youth event

We had another successful day at Le Tour de Terra Cotta, billed as Ontario's largest Youth Event for cyclists. Thanks to Pam, Renie and Joe who manned our Lyme tent on Aug 6th. Also thanks to Kim for arranging to have the Lyme Mobile available to be parked in the parking lot for added attraction.

We talked to a few people that had friends with Lyme disease and they are going to email that info to us. Some thanked us for being there to inform people about the disease and ways to prevent it. Another gentleman said that his daughter (who was in the event today ) was very sick a few months ago and the docotors had tested her for Lyme disease but it was negative. It proved to be something else and she was treated successfully. We handed out lots of brochures and 17 people sign the petition. Thanks to Marlene and Arno that came in near the end of the event and was able to return the borrowed tent we use. It was a great relaxing day in Terra Cotta down near the river.

Pam, Joe and Renie
Thanks all for your help, the hours you give and the information you share. We are a great team!

Our next dates and places to talk about Lyme Disease:
  • Brampton Farmer's Market - August 11;
  • Inspirational Music in the Park - August 14 (tbc);
  • Brampton's Wingfest - August 31/Sept 1 (tbc);
  • Canada's Outdoor Farm Show - Sept 11-13 (tbc);
  • Brampton Fall Fair - Sept 13-16

Other stories to read:

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