And I say "wow" only because, this being a blog and all, I need to type something. The truth is, I've been sitting here staring at this blank, white screen for waaay longer than I'd like to admit. There are simply no words. So I hope you'll bear with me as I try to express a fraction of my gratitude.
If, last August, someone had gazed into a crystal ball and revealed to me what the following year would bring, news of three brain surgeries would have shaken me to the core. But even more shocking, I think, would have been the part about the hundreds - dare I say, thousands? - of people I have never met who would be waiting for me on the other side of it all, sending love and cheering me on. I never would have believed it.
All I can say is thank you. Really, thank you. You all just blow me away.
When I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and released that last, terrifying post into the world, I thought you might look away. I wouldn't have blamed you. But instead, you stepped closer. You let me hear your sweet voices, some of you for the very first time. You turned on your ovens, and your warm wishes sailed in on banana-scented breezes. My family members were the first to benefit from your generosity. They sat in the waiting room nibbling banana bread, and read your kind notes as they drifted in. Later that evening, Eli pulled up a chair by my bed and read your words aloud. This tiny sliver of virtual space, my little Sweet Amandine, was bursting at the seams. It's a wonder she didn't explode. Throughout the ups and downs of the last few weeks, I have turned to your voices again and again. Every word of every comment lifts me up. You have no idea.
This year, it has been easy to count my lucky stars. You know how it is with stars: The darker the sky, the brighter they shine. I count all of you among them, dear, shimmering readers. The sky above me is aglow with your twinkling.
Hey, I just realized that I've left out something very important, which is that I'm feeling great. It sure is nice having my head back in one piece. Forehead, I missed you. Seriously.
Last Wednesday, August 19th, marked one year since the aneurysm ruptured. My "aneurversary," as I like to call it. (How many people get to have one of those?) I celebrated by going for a short, slow run with Eli. It was more like a shuffle-jog, actually, but no matter. I felt like I was flying. Afterwards, I made the same fruit smoothie that I've slurped every day since returning home from the hospital. It tasted especially good post-"workout." I know that you don't really need a recipe for a thing like this, but I didn't want to show up today empty-handed. After this whole ordeal, you deserve a special treat, one with layers, and loads of frosting, and a cherry on top. Then again, given the heat, something cold, fruity, and sip-able might just hit the spot. (Dictionary.com wonders if I mean "skippable" or "rippable," but I assure you that I do, indeed, mean "sip-able," whether or not it is a real word.)
In any case, here you go.
And now, onward! Let's get Sweet Amandine back to her regularly scheduled programming, shall we? Yes, oh yes, we shall.
[p.s. Before signing off, I want to take a moment to thank Elisa, Jory, and Lisa over at BlogHer for voting me "BlogHer of the Week." I am honored and humbled to be in the company of such talented bloggers. Lisa, I owe you a special thank you for writing so beautifully and sensitively about Sweet Amandine. I was truly moved by your words. And to the reader who nominated Sweet Amandine for this distinct honor - whoever you are - many thanks to you. You are so good to me. All of you.]
1 medium banana (best if a little overripe)
1 c. frozen wild blueberries
1/2 c. frozen raspberries
1-2 T. ground flaxseeds (optional)
1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk (I like the Pacific Natural Foods brand.)
The short version of this recipe is as follows: Dump all of the ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth.
But of course, I just have to add my two cents. I find that piling the ingredients banana first (broken into chunks), then berries, then ground flaxseeds, and then pouring the almond milk over top, results in the most efficient and enjoyable blending experience. The bananas around the blade quickly turn to mush, which allows for some much-needed blending action around the hard, frozen berries. After about twenty seconds, if the spinning blade doesn't seem to be making progress, I turn off the machine, remove the pitcher, and give it a shake or two. Then, I blend until smooth.
Yield: 1 tall glass, plus a few extra slurps.