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Friday, December 28, 2012

Tupac and a do rag

Hi friends, i hope your holiday was great. I made the most of it and i count my blessings every day. Being diagnosed with C feels like Christmas every day. Sounds strange because how is that possible?

I will tell you how. You appreciate every day, and then there is your family and friends. Man, you just feel the love.  It's a beautiful thing...

Most of my hair is gone with this second round of treatment. I never wear hats or scarves. It feels too frufru for me, but I have decided it's best to embraced it. Thank goodness I still have my eye brows. My daughter gifted me an eyebrow kit so I've been playing with the makeup.  You know, I was even inspired to wear a doo rag after watching Tupac Shakur, Resurrected. Man, i don't like rap but the guy was a poet. I was intrigued by his words/defense of his "thus life" attitude. He said he was merely diagnosing the problem in hopes to bring attention to the down-trodden and like Vietnam, hoped that by shedding lite on the matter, something would be done.  I find that thinking LOFTY but he went too far in his so called diagnosis... Anyways, what do I know... I just wore my scarf today like Tupac.  Does that make me cool?

In other news, I have been reading blogs and watching the news. Everyone seems to be doing a top 10 of 2012, so i think i will as too. But I want to do in an a collage format.  Like above.  So tell me,

Are you working on a similar post?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Playing the "glad" game...

Hi friends, how's your Thursday feeling?

I gotta say that today, I felt the most normal. I'm sure it's because I visited my office. I've been at my job for 23 years and it identifies me in so many ways.  I know that's probably not healthy but my law school is a special place and it's extended family in some ways.  My pride stung a bit when I realized I was replaceable....  I recognized immediately that pride is not useful and so I reminded self to be grateful and that many good things have come out of this C. The most special is that I can not hug and tell my kids "i love you" more freely. We are not lovey/dovey people--it's becoming easier for us.  The other is that I now have a "backup"and if I want, I can now take a real vacation.

I am also feeling much more confident wearing a hat or scarf.  Luckily, it's the cold months so I don't stand out so much....


Tomorrow is my second chemo and I wanted something in the freezer that I can eat that will nourish my body. So I looked at what I had and decided to roast a spaghetti squash.

My spaghetti squash was too hard to cut. I poked holes all around, and placed in the oven on a cookie sheet. I roasted for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Then, I pulled it out and sliced it in half. It was much easier to cut once it was cooked. I then seasoned  with salt and pepper.  This was by far the easiest method to cook the squash.

I then browned a package of Jennie-O Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey. This is the first time I bought this brand ,and I will definitely buy it again. I definitely liked the Italian seasonings.

 Once my meat was totally browned, I added the last of my chopped kale.

 And because I love EASY, I opened a can of traditional spaghetti sauce. I forget the brand, but it was whatever was on sale.

I then took a Corelle dish (I bought this dish at a yard sale. I think it's from the sixties.  It's chipped but it's still useful).  I layered the squash in the dish spreading with a fork.

Layered the turkey/kale/sauce mixture, then topped-off with Mozzarella cheese. I read on-line that cheese was not recommended with chemo. It's soooo hard to NOT eat cheese. I am quite the cheese whore.  But maybe a little won't hurt?

I then baked my casserole in the over for 30 minutes.  I am pretty sure these Corelle dishes can go from freezer to oven.

My spaghetti squash was huge, so I saved a little for today's lunch and dinner. I can easily eat the same thing all day.  I'm weird like that... See the specks of cheese from my grating?  I couldn't let the crumbs go to waste. LOL

Oh, and did you notice the Christmas table cloth? I picked it up from my office. I do not have a Christmas tree in my house, and I need to feel Christmas despite all that's going on at the moment. It's been a rough few months i.e., my surgery/chemo, my son-in-law's emergency appendectomy and my daughter's hysterectomy... I'm very proud of my family. They have all been such troopers. We are counting our blessing and are putting the Christ back in Christmas.

I've learned that there will always be trials and tribulations because that's life.  What really makes a difference is how we deal with them.... counting one's blessing and playing Pollyanna's glad game is so much beneficial.  You all remember Pollyanna, right?  She was take a bad event and find the good. You should rent her movie one day. I saw it as a kid and it has always stayed with me.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Kale, please!!

Hi friends, how's it going?  I had a few moments of "boo hoo hoo" but then I checked myself and decided enough!  I decided to pull out the Kale from Saturday's farmers market trip.

There were various types of Kale and I decided on this curly Kale since I've purchased this type at Trader Joes.  I chopped and removed the stems and then cleaned in my new salad spinner. I should have bought one of these years ago.

I added some olive oil to my pan.  Chopped 1/2 a white onion, two cloves of garlic and then crushed some toasted chile japones for some kick.

 Cooked onions, garlic and chili until tender.
 Added my kale.
 When Kale was nice and wilted, I added some diced tomatoes from a can. I always have a large can of diced tomatoes in my fridge.

I then cooked 1 cup of pasta. I used this type since it's what I had in my cup board.

I heated on some grilled chicken strips I bought at Sam's club and TADA!!!  Lunch and dinner was served.

I should have added more Kale to this recipe and of course, I needed some cheese but since I shouldn't be eating it at this time, I skipped it.

This dish was inspired by Giada from the Cooking Channel.  

Weight loss

The down side of all this is I cannot exercise.  Add to that my increase in carbs and well, I am gaining weight. The scale is staying at 176 lbs but I definitely see the extra weight in my pictures.

Damn, look at them guns?  My daughter bought me a wig yesterday.  I am so lucky to have such wonderful kids.  I know it's human nature to feel loss and sadness when you're going through it but it's important to remember all that you have.... Even this extra weight... I know it's temporary. It's just a matter of time I get back to my routine. I  return to work in January and I can't wait to focus on something other than C.

Routines are glorious, don't you think?

And so it begins

It's been a tough two days. Hair has been falling out. Showering was was a tad traumatic. I was at my daughters house and i am sad that she saw me cry. We want to be strong for our kids. Losing my hair is breaking me more than i thought. But i am reminded that hair falling out is a sign that chemo is working. I feel a little alone on this front. But i know i am not. My daughter despite her own medical issues bought me a wig. I a, incredibly blessed and that helped as i showered this morning and removed the hair from my hands.

And this too shall pass.

Make up, hat and ear rings help.

Daily Affirmation. God never gives us more than we can handle.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Becoming Desensitized

H friends, how's your day going? The weather in Sacramento is cold.  I want to head outside to run errands but my cold is lingering and I feel a little tired It's hard to pay attention to your body, especially since my need for activity is so great.  I tell self it's important to listen to my body... and so I decide to stay home and rest.

I cleaned the kitchen and then showered. I felt a little sorry for myself this morning and even had a few tears.  Don't you just feel terrible when you give into sadness?  I forgave myself because I'm human but at the same time, acknowledged it's realness.

Then, I was reminded how other people endure real tragedy and hardships. I turned the TV to a professor who visited a refuge in Tanzania who protect children with albinism and then of course the shooting where so many children's lives were taken and God immediately humbled me.

I also realized and felt ashamed as I watched the news coverage of the shooting. These incidents have become all too common and what's worse, I personally am not shocked. How sick that I've become desensitized to such events.  I never want to lose my humanity and yet when I hear these things on the news, I'm less affected and horrified.  Don't get me wrong, I feel terrible about the events. It's just the shock factor hits me less.

Sorry for the rant.. just trying to make sense.

Anywats,  I've got pinto beans cooking on the stove with garlic and onions.  Daniel's dinner with be Tostadas and my dinner will be Cauliflower/Potato puree with cheddar.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 12 12

12-12-12 was a great day for me. I woke up with lots of energy. Ran to Lale Day Spa to cancel my membership. Bummer, but it's just temporary.  Next to the spa, is the Sacramento River that runs up through these small river towns in the Delta.  It's quite  scenic.  I decided to enjoy the great Sacramento weather so off I go. .

Can I just say with chemo, I am not able to get my monthly manicure/pedicure, hot waxing and hair touch ups, thus the cancellation of my membership and hairy lip....jeje

But the scenery cheered me up.

The railroad sides to the side of the trail. I bent down to see if I could capture the curves of the bridge. I like the way this picture came out.

 As I walked further up the railroad tracks, I found this  lighted display of the North Pole. Must look amazing in the dark of night.

 On my way back towards the spa, I passed boats docked along the River front.  I recall my dad had a speed boat in our driveway when I was a kid.  I would  spend hours playing inside the boat while parked in the drive way. We would never get into the water even though we lived within walking distance of the River and boast launch. My mother was too scared for us to get near the water and so we never did. Shame we never took the boat out. My dad ended up moving to the Marina near our house.

After my walk, I headed to the Arden Fair Mall to Christmas shop. I must have spent 2-3 hours  walking. I felt pretty good that I got a decent amount of activity in from my day.

Afterwards, I headed to  La Esperanza Mexican market.  This is the only place I buy masa to make tamales.  Actually, everyone knows about this place since there is always a huge line this time of year.

If you wait to buy your masa on Christmas eve, you have to arrive early in the morning and wait at least an hour or two before being served. The line usually curves out the store and around the bend.

I prepared my pork the night before so I was ready to start assembling my tamales.  I want to make sure my kids have tamales on Christmas eve and if I wait, I might not have the energy or stomach for making them.

I was exhausted by 4:30  pm. and I called my daughter asking for help. She came to my rescue and we finished up.  We decided to have dinner at Tokyo Fros.

/We both wanted Sushi so bad.  She could not partake because her husband is allergic to shell fish and me, well, I am under doctor's orders to NOT eat sushi.  I am not even suppose to eat salads or veggies unless they are  scrubbed and prepared by yours truly.  It's been a challenge to eat fresh and unprocessed lately.  I've been relying on frozen veggies and eating way too many carbs.  I am determined to eat more whole foods. I'll just need to be careful and take the extra time to clean and prepare them properly.

Yes, today was a very good day.  I wish I could say I did not think about C or tomorrow.  For the most part, I'm very positive but you know how thoughts creep in. I'm getting very good at turning those thoughts around.

It's odd how C doesn't consume my every thought like it did initially. It's there but it's not if that makes sense.  I take greater joy in everything around me.  I guess C does that to you. It makes you look and appreciate life and people around you just that much more.  There is so much I want to do and most of all, I hope I can be a blessing to others. I don't know how, but I hope God reveals it to me. If that's his plan.

Many of my closest friends do not know about my treatment... A few co-workers, yes.  And of course family. But that's it.  It's hard to be open about C but I'm thinking maybe I should share more about it.  Maybe my experience can help someone else.  It totally helps me to come here  spew forth my thoughts.  For that reason, I'm debating being more open about it. 

My circle  not wide but I do have a few  friends whom I rely on and of course, there are my blog buddies. There are a few of you who have been with me since the beginning of PWC and I appreciate your emails and comments.  You all are the best.  Thank you reading my self-indulgent thoughts....


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

my afternoon in pics

Can I just shout out again how great it was to hit the American River Bike trail yesterday with my son and my camera. We headed out about 3 pm. and returned just as the sun was setting. I got some great pictures with my new camera. I'm a little bum that my lense was smudged but the pictures still show the beautiful American River. I've said it below, I'm very lucky to live within walking distance of this natural habitat.

Just as we were crossing the walk way towards Highway 50
Just under the walkway near the bike trail
This picture is my favorite by far. I just love the red berries against the yellow/green/browns

We walked off the bike path and walked near the river bank

This is the water plan and man, the colors were spectacular.  I wanted to capture the yellows coming in from the windows and the misty color in the background.  I'm just sorry the smudge is in the corner of my camera.

And this is what my camera caught as the sun was going down. Absolutely lovely.  Look at each blade of grass. I have lots to learn about photography and I'm grateful for the extra down time to take pictures and enjoy nature.
This afternoon, I spent my time doing prep work for tamales. I thought I'd make a few dozens for Christmas eve just in case I don't feel so well after my second chemo appointment.  Today I watched Giuliana Rancic's True Hollywood story and I cannot tell you how much her comment of "getting sick felt like I let my parents down" resonated with me.  That is exactly how I felt when I told my kids about my diagnosis.  I am suppose to be strong for them and well, that is exactly how I felt. Like I had failed them.

Interesting how life is, isn't it?

Well guys, I hope you're having an amazing day.  Even though my day did not include activity. I did eat some healthy eats. And I stayed completely away from the cookies. That's a good day indeed.

Have a great evening. I think I might take zumba class tomorrow. I'm excited.  Later, gators.

Monday, December 10, 2012

cookies and brussells

Hola friends, how was your weekend? I was feeling pretty good and did some shopping. Bought me an amazing pair of boots. Went totally outside my comfort zone.

Started my morning off to another baking session.  Geez, I just can't get pumpkin cookie recipe right.  Just as well, I don't need the extra calories.  But I do need something to occupy my time so I pureed this here pumpkin.

Searched "pumpkin cookies" and used this recipe.

 They don't look as pretty as the recipe picture but oh well. At least I have cookies for the grands.

Breakfast was two bowls of honey bunches of o's and a cup of almond/coconut milk.  Love this product btw.

 After some house work, I decided to repurpose the Steak Chicana I made the other day.  I added a can of mexican style tomatoes and brussell sprouts.  OMG.... this was a delicious soup.  Don't you just love it with you're able to repurpose left overs and give it a new face?

I spent the remainder of my morning researching venues and churches for my niece's 18th birthday party.  I'm glad she asked for my help. It totally gives me something to do while I heal.

Well gators, I'm gonna run. Literally. My son is here and we're going to hit the American bike trail for some walking/jogging. Okay, maybe not so much as jogging but it won't hurt if I run at least a yard.  We shall see. Hope your day is going well.  I really can't complain....

Friday, December 7, 2012


Today, i felt pretty. Never under estimate the power of new makeup.

Showering is even getting easier. I am opening my eyes. Telling self this is the new normal. Really, i can accept the loss because there is so much to look forward too. Today, i even decided to make future plans, maybe Hawaii for my 51st.

Yes, today is a very good day.

New makeup helps one's outlook but what really made the difference today was the sun and a nice walk.

These views made me smile.

a local church near my house

The sun shining making the leaves on this tree look brilliantly bright. Love the colors on the grass. Major smile fest here.

The driveway to this home... with brilliant color as you reach the door
So happy with my Cannon Power Shot.  Yes, good day indeed.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Morning all, how's your day?

My morning has been quite productive despite not being able to sleep last night. I was up until 2 a.m. trying to bake pumpkin cookies. While these cookies are easy enough, they're a fail because I used baking sticks instead of butter.  Geez, now they taste like lard cookies.  I've been saving these empty Cafe Bustelo coffee cans for a few reasons. One, to use for cookies and second, my daughter thought they would be colorful for holding flowers for a summer party/fiesta.

I am not giving up on these cookies.  I'm going to the store to purchase real butter and I think with icing instead of powder sugar, they'll be pretty good.  I still have  a pumpkin and I hope to roast it later today.

After cleaning my house, I looked in the fridge to see what I had.  My Daniel will be home very late tonight and so I wanted him to have something hardy after eating fast food for a week.

I pulled out the crock pot. Diced onion, garlic and pasilla peppers and added pinto beans and water.

 Then, I looked in the fridge and found a pound of Natural Ground Pork and Longaniza.  Longaniza is like chorizo but it's not I guess.  I wish I had a better explanation of the difference. Just know that Daniel loves this stuff.

Do you see a little powder sugar on my table?  Last night's mess.

I browned the the pork and longaniza. Added chili powder, salt and crushed japones peppers for a kick.

After it was browned, I added them to the crock pot along with a can of stewed tomatoes and more salt.

I could have cooked the meat a little more but figured it will cook up more in the crock pot.

Geez, I wish I had zuchinni to dice up into this chile batch. It would have given me an opportunity to sneak some veggies into Daniel.

Thank goodness for cooking. It does help me feel productive. Now, only if I could cook something a little healthier. I do miss my salads.  I am off to Smart and Final. Hopefully, I can find some sort of solution to clean my veggies good so that I can eat them without fear.

Certainly restaurants use a cleaning solution to clean greens, right?  If you can recommend a way to clean my veggies, I'd sure appreciate it.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

creative in the cocina

Eating bland is difficult.  But you know me, always one to rise to the occasion.  I had left over flank steak cooked with red and green peppers simmered in a fresh tomato sauce.  This was a tad spicy for me but what is a girl gonna do when you just need FLAVAH?

Left over Chicana (flank steak, onions, garlic, red and green peppers simmered in a tomato broth)
 I toasted 1 cup of Jasmin rice in a sauce pan.

Pulled a container of sofrito I had stored in the refrigerator. Every latin culture has their own version of sofrito.  My basic recipe is below but you could definitely add tomatoes and red peppers for an added layer of flavor.

2 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of cilantro
1 pasilla pepper
1 green pepper.
1 onion
1 quart of chicken stock all blended together and stored in freezer.

Once my rice was browned, and sofrito and chicken stock added to the pan, I let come to a boil and then lowered to a simmer until nice and flaky.

Tada!!!  My breakfast/lunch of arroz verde and steak Chicana.  I'm so lucky that I was able to keep this wonderful meal down....

I am trying to think of creative things to do with my time home and I thought maybe I could bake.  I do NOT KNOW HOW TO BAKE so maybe this is an opportunity.  I have a pumpkin and I was thinking cookies. What do you think? Too ambitious?