SPRING BREAK GOES SOUTH

And I don’t mean to the beach!  Last week I planned to stay at my home in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  It had been close to three months since I’d been able to spend any time there due to the crazy winter weather and some sinus surgery (what?).  A concert scheduled for Friday night, happy hour with the best friend, Chicago the musical, time to focus on some new business ventures and a LOT of relaxation were in order.   Unfortunately, the day before we were to leave my 94-year-old father-in-law fell and broke his leg.  My husband immediately left Dallas to be with his dad in NE Arkansas at the hospital and I planned to go ahead and make the trip to NWA (Northwest Arkansas), where he would meet up with me early in the week.  So.we.thought, here is where it went south.  When my husband arrived he found out that his dad would not only need leg surgery but he required heart surgery too.  For most people those two surgeries would be fairly routine procedures but when the patient is 94 there is obviously greater risk.  I made the only decent decision to be made, my spring break in Fayetteville would have to wait and I flew out Friday a week a go to meet up with my husband and his dad.

The good news is dad made it through both surgeries just fine, in fact better than what we expected.  I wont go in to all the details but the short of the long is after the hospital stay we were able to move him in to the nursing facility where his wife resides so that he can start therapy, have a watchful eye over him and live out the rest of his life next to his bride.  I cannot even begin to tell you all the funny, sad, and unbelievable things that we experienced during the week at the hospital, assisted living and the nursing home.  Despite the circumstances we are thankful that we could be there for dad, that he is still here with us and what a blessing the week turned out to be.  The concerts, musicals, meeting with friends and work can all be had another day but the time and memory with mom and dad is priceless.

Gloria & Sy Mendenhall

Gloria & Sy

On another note…did I mention we were in RURAL NE Arkansas?  The farmhouse where my husband grew up is a good 20 to 25 minutes to town where fast food chains rule.  Typically I have to pack up and bring my own food but this trip was unplanned and I didn’t have time.  My only option would be to hit up the super Wal-Mart.  I don’t want to sound spoiled rotten or snotty but in Dallas I have access to a Whole Foods within walking distance to my house.  I wasn’t looking forward to making a week worth of meals from limited sources.  Surprisingly, I discovered Wal-Mart has a small organic section in the produce aisle.  I was able to pick up some organic mixed greens, radishes, local cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.  They also have a small section of vegetarian items where I snatched some organic, non-GMO tofu.  Add in an avocado, silvered unsalted almonds and a bottle of Annie’s Natural and Organic Shitake & Sesame Dressing and dinner was in the works.  Here is a picture of the final product, super delicious.

Tofu #2

My take away was no matter what options you have available in your area for grocery shopping, picking and choosing healthy ingredients and pulling them together to make a whole plant-based meal can still be managed.   Do the best with what you have, a lot of our meals last week consisted of a can of black beans over rice or a good ole bowl of Amy’s vegan canned soup with some carrots and hummus.  We survived.

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