Summertime Blues

The best laid plans… I said I’d be writing more regularly last time, but the week after my post I was in the hospital again with stroke symptoms, arrhythmia, and shortness of breath.  Sigh, just when I thought I was out of the woods.

I spent a few days there, having every conceivable test known to modern mankind, including checking for Covid-19, which may have been the worst one!  I’ve been neurotically careful;  mask and physical distancing when I must go out, so, of course it was negative.

The results: they think I’ve been having TIAs, perhaps because my blood pressure isn’t controlled enough by the meds I’m on. Perhaps because of one of my meds. Perhaps because some things are just unknowable. Bottom line: they don’t know what’s going on, so I was told to get off my hormone replacement therapy. Without the hormones I’m afraid I will feel like… well, Dorian Gray’s portrait hidden up in the attic.

 I’ve always joked that you’d have to pry my hormone supplements out of my cold, dead hand… but sometimes it’s wise to stop and think, “Is this really the hill I want to die on?”

Speaking of old, I had the funniest conversation with my youngest sister, Elizabeth. I have a lovely silk spaghetti-strap top I bought last year and never wore. Now, I can’t see myself ever wearing it. I knew it would look great on her, so I sent a pic and asked if she liked it, telling her I’d feel like mutton dressed as lamb in it. Her response:

I’m sure most of this is in my head, because so far, I don’t feel bad at all except that I’m not sleeping. To counter this I’m maximizing foods that feed my brain and help handle depression, anxiety, insomnia and treat menopausal symptoms.

Like what? A Mediterranean-style diet, primarily of fruits, veggies, extra-virgin olive oil, real yogurt and cheese, legumes, nuts, Omega-rich seafood, whole grains, small portions of red meat, lean chicken and pork. The variety in this real-food diet provides our brain the nutrition it needs, regulates our inflammatory response, and supports the good bacteria in our gut.

Very often, what’s eating us… may be what we are, or aren’t,  eating!

Speaking of good eats, our dear neighbor, Rich, loves to cook and brought me over a container of fresh Gazpacho. (I used to make Ina Garten’s recipe, but haven’t in years since my sweetie won’t eat cold soups.)  It was absolutely delicious, and motivated me to make Anthony Bourdain’s Vichysoise to share, since I now had a fellow cold-soup enthusiast.

As a “thank you”, he gifted me one of Bourdain’s cookbooks given to him by a coworker he dislikes so much that just seeing the book on his shelf aggravated him. I’m still laughing over my good fortune!

I don’t know about the weather where you live, but it’s been hot as Hades here in Texas, so last night I made a batch of my creamy, cool zucchini soup.  It’s easy as all get-out, delicious,  and perfect for these inferno-like temps. I have been making this chilled soup every summer for at least 25 years. Try it, I know you’ll love it too.

Recipe:  Three (3) medium-sized zucchini, sliced, and one (1) medium white or yellow onion, diced. Put in a sauce pan with three (3) cups of natural chicken broth and simmer about 10-15 minutes till nice and tender. Let cool 10 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt to the pan and stir. (I use whole milk yogurt for the richness, but use what you have). In two batches, whir in blender till smooth and creamy. Pour into large container and chill. Garnish with chives, parsley, a bit of fresh dill, spinach leaves, or some fresh black pepper. Bon apetit!

XO Donna


11 thoughts on “Summertime Blues

  1. carol

    Hi Donna! So happy to see your post today but dismayed that you are/were having health issues. Bummer! With your upbeat attitude I know you will prevail and conquer. SO many friends are ill now it makes my head spin. My sis just got a very hard diagnosis we did not see coming.
    I will add you to my prayer list. That soup sounds divine and I am making it as soon as I get my hands on some zucchini. The texts with your sister were so FUNNY! Stay well and Cool……carol oxo

    • Donna O'Klock

      Thank you so much for your prayers and vote of confidence, Carol. I hope your sister gets everything she needs to heal and recover! If you love zucchini, I’m pretty sure the soup will get you hooked. Do let me know what you think.

  2. Laurie S Mahaffey

    I am so sorry you are having health challenges again! Hang in there! Love your posts. I am retiring later this year. More time for reading! Hugs!

    • Donna O'Klock

      Thank you so much, Laurie. Wow, retirement – congratulations! Free time for reading is so delicious, you’ll love it. Very happy for you!

  3. Leisa

    Hi Donna! So sorry to hear you were not well and in the hospital. Your zucchini soup sounds delicious. For a variation, try adding some white wine. Maybe sauté the veggies with it. It’s delicious hot (for the tall handsome one) or chilled to beat the summer heat.

    • Donna O'Klock

      Now you’ve got me thinking outside the box… I could probably handle a bit of Pinot Grigio and sun-dried tomatoes, add some pine nuts and basil on it – never thought about it before. Thank you, dear Leisa!

  4. carol

    Hi Donna,
    I made your zucchini soup! YUM!!! VERY DELICIOUS! It will be a standard cold soup for us every summer! Thanks for posting! ~ carol

  5. Jean

    Hi Donna, I have been reading ,and enjoying your blog for sometime and recently decided to stop “lurking” and subscribe. So surprised to find that the first post to land in my email box is about your recent health scare! I know I’m not the first reader to wish you well. I do hope you are feeling better. You have always impressed me as being spunky and full of energy! Just a word of encouragement about going off HRT…. I had to do the same thing several years ago and have not had any ill effects from stopping that kind of medication. The benefits, at least for me, did not outweigh the risks. Wishing you well and looking forward to your next post. Jean T.

    Sent from my iPad


    • Well, I secretly love lurkers…rebels, all! I appreciate you subscribing, and especially appreciate your well wishes.I’m doing my best to stay full of energy – there’s so much good life to be lived! Thanks for sharing your HRT info, my Dr. and I are still tweaking doses with benefits, and no negatives ,and I think we may have struck a balance. Fingers crossed! Thank you for being here, I appreciate you! XO

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