spring steps . . .

by mulberryshoots

my granddaughter's shoes . . .

my granddaughter’s shoes . . .

Sometimes, it feels like time stands still and progress is impeded. Or worse, something happens that stalls or detours what we’d like to see happen. Yesterday or the day before, I was cooking in the kitchen and twice ran the big toe of my injured foot into something–the stove or the fridge as I swiveled around in my wheelchair. So much for my naivete, thinking I could safely get around by myself!

The result was an angry looking, red, swollen joint on my big toe the next day which I gingerly iced for ten minutes at a time. I was also miffed at myself for being careless and not putting on the right side Teva sandal to protect the foot which protrudes beyond the footrest of the wheelchair. Anyhow, it’s better today and so I decided to venture into the pantry adjacent to our kitchen to sort and cull out canned goods for a U.S. Postal food drive scheduled for this Saturday. The only thing is, there’s a step down from our kitchen to get into the pantry.

Normally, we wouldn’t even notice such things that we take for granted. So in order to get in the pantry, the wheelchair footrests had to come off. Then, I pulled the wheelchair gingerly into the pantry, reattached the footrests and sat down in it, pulling things out like lentil soup and chick peas that I didn’t think we’d use. I also put G.’s cans of Coke into the small fridge that we use for drinks so as to free up space in the big fridge we use in the kitchen.

Sounds good, right? Except for the near-fall that I took when I tripped, getting the wheelchair into the pantry, breaking a china cannister that was in the way. I managed to pick up the broken pieces with my handy grabber, proud of myself that I was able to get most of the broken pieces into a double layered plastic grocery bag. I’ll ask G. to sweep up the rest of it up once he’s back home since I don’t want to push my luck any further.

In looking through the foodstuffs, I discovered I had plenty of dried tree ear, shitake mushrooms, dried bean curd skin, tiger lily root and cellophane noodles. When soaked in a bowl of hot water before ready to use, they are then rinsed, and cut up and then cooked with some napa cabbage, resulting in one of my favorite dishes, Buddha’s Delight. I remembered there was a small container of marinated ground pork and shrimp left over from making wontons last week which I’ll defrost and add to our buddha dish, slightly departing from the recipe’s vegetarian origins. No matter, I thought, it will still taste good. So, that’s how tonight’s dinner got decided.

"buddha's delight" for dinner . . .

“buddha’s delight” for dinner . . .

Afterwards, I pulled myself onto the couch and looked outside at the beautiful, sunny, early Spring day. Somehow, it reminded me of Beethoven’s “Archduke Trio” which I saved into a playlist from my library on I-Tunes and emailed to my daughters, M. and C. to see if they could download it and enjoy the wonderful piece themselves where they are, working so hard today to study for exams and preparing students for theirs too.

So simple: clean things out; try not to fall (too badly); use what I already have to make supper; look out the window at the beautiful Spring Day, listen to Beethoven; share it with the kids.

That works for me! At least for today.

Postscript: Happy to report the next day, I was shown by a physical therapist how to use crutches to go up and down the steps (bad foot down first; good foot up first.)

We live on the third floor of a large Queen Anne Victorian house so there are lots of steps, and also thankfully, lots of landings on which to rest. Having gotten over my reticence to try it out, I figured I’m going to be on crutches a lot longer while the ankle strengthens and becomes more limber, so going up and down the stairs with crutches (rather than sitting and sliding on my backside) is a logical next step to take.

A supper of mustard/rosemary/garlic marinated lamb loin chops and fresh asparagus made it all worthwhile!