• Queer. Femme. Foodie. Formerly Goth. Beauty Junkie. Corporate. Outspoken. Coffee Snob. Liberal. Feminist. Fashionista. Person with a Disability. West Seattle-ite. Redhead.

    There are a lot of labels that fit me. None of them defines me. I'm a complex and complicated person. Take a minute to get to know me. You may be surprised when your stereotypes are smashed.
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Happy Holidays

Today after work, husband and I went to Target with a long wish list from a local womens shelter.

We got a minimum of one (and as many as 6) of each and every thing on the list. They’ll be able to make multiple gift bags for multiple women from our $100 shopping.

Here is the list we were given as a wish list:
Gift or phone cards ($5 or $10)
Bus tickets
Collapsible umbrellas
Night eye masks and ear plugs to make shelter living easier
Fun pieces of jewelry
Toiletry items (deodorant, disposable razor, hair products (African American hair products always requested) tissues, chapstick)
Puzzle books with a pen or pencil(crossword puzzles, Sudoku)
Daily planners or pocket calendars, inspirational books or quotes
Hot tea, cider, or hot chocolate packets
Microwaveable popcorn, granola bars, or small bags of snacks
Throw Blankets

So many of these items are $1 at places like Target. It made it exceptionally easy.

Those of us who are lucky enough to have gifts to give and receive should all consider giving the equivalent of one extra gift (in cash or goods) to someone in need. Youth shelters need MASSIVE help right now. So do food banks. Don’t forget pet food for the animal shelters too. And if you have no money, give an hour of your time to help sort others’ donations. I promise you will be glad you did.

The ultimate gift to me would be for my whole family to spend a few hours together, helping to make someone else’s day a bit better. I think I’ll suggest it! Who’s joining me?

Better late than never

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I’ve written here.

2010 has been a very difficult year, and I’m fairly glad to see it on its way out. It’s mostly been health issues – one on top of the next – that have made it so tough.

The good news is that Dad is still with us. He beat Pancreatic Cancer.

Wait. Let me say that bigger and louder. MY DAD SURVIVED PANCREATIC CANCER. He has NO evidence of the disease, and is in the “1% Club.” Someday it will come back, but at this time, he is cancer free. That’s the best you can ever hope for with PanCan.

The treatment was horrendous, and he ended up in the hospital a couple of times, but he fought and he won. He officially got a clean bill of health in about September after a 6-week intensive course of 24/7 chemo via a pump, plus daily radiation, plus weekly “big” chemo. This was after an entire year of weekly chemo. He was beaten down, they took him to within inches of death, and brought him back.

What was equally amazing were the number of people who helped. I put out a message on a local news site and asked for volunteer drivers to help him to get to/from treatment daily (30 minutes from home for a 5 minute radiation appt!) and we had dozens of volunteers. Had to weed out a few weirdos, but not too many.

And now, he’s just gotten his first haircut. He’s almost good as new – still has to limit certain types of foods, as his stomach can no longer digest them. He’s got a bit of digestive damage from all the treatment, but it’s better than the alternative. So we’re very thankful.

I’m just now getting over the worst stomach bug of my life. 7 days of nonstop vomiting and diarrhea that only stopped for a few hours at a time when I went in to the ER or to see my doctor and got injections and IV fluids. It began much like a foodborne illness: Severe GI pain up high in my stomach (under the ribs) and then nonstop vomiting with diarrhea. The number of times I couldn’t deal with both ends at the same time were absolutely humiliating. By the end I simply wanted to die. I finally started to pray as I was throwing up one of the last times “Please make this go away – I can’t live through another day or more of it.” Something worked, because it finally stopped on Thursday afternoon. I had to wait 48 hours to eat, meaning it had been well over 2 weeks of nothing but pedialyte and jello when I began to try solids again. Holy COW I was hungry. I lost 20+ pounds in that week, and I’m just lucky I had it to lose.

Anyway, that’s all the health stuff. Tomorrow is my first day back to work after being so sick, and I’m hoping I have the strength to make it through the day. I’m still physically very weak and can’t walk super far. But I’ll manage. :)

More updates on everything else later.If I still have any readers left. Sorry I abandoned you all. I didn’t mean to — life just went sideways for a bit. I’m back now, though, and will get to writing again shortly.

xoxo

Aim

 

Tortellini Casserole

Here’s a super quick and easy casserole-style dish you can make on the weekend and then divide up single-servings for lunches or dinners the following week.

1 package mushroom tortellini
1/2 cup dried mushrooms, chopped
1 can cannelini beans (or 2 c cooked white beans of any variety)
4 small tomatoes, seeded
1 head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 handsful frozen peas
1/2 cup cooked chicken, diced
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T butter
2 T flour, sifted
2 cups milk
6 oz cheese, cubed and divided into 3oz portions (use whatever cheese variety you have on hand)

Cook tortellini according to package directions.
While pasta is cooking, reconstitute mushrooms in warm water, and saute onion and garlic in butter until lightly browned. Sift flour over onion mixture and continue to cook on low-medium heat until flour has coated onions and begins to brown. Add milk, stirring frequently until mixture begins to thicken and then add half of the cheese mixture and allow to melt and incorporate entirely while stirring to make a thick cheese sauce.
Pour beans into oiled casserole dish with vegetables and chicken. Puree tomatoes in a blender or food processor and pour over bean and vegetable mixture.
Add tortellini once cooked, pour cheese sauce overtop, and fold ingredients together.
Sprinkle remaining cheese over top, and bake 30-45 min at 375.

This will be a fairly dry casserole. If you prefer it to be more saucy, throw in a can of cream of mushroom soup, or double the sauce recipe.

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Ammonia-Laced Pink Slime

Would You Like Ammonia-Laced Pink Slime with That Burger?

Too bad. You don’t really get a choice. Is the beef industry trying to turn its customers into vegetarians? From the NY Times:

Eight years ago, federal officials were struggling to remove potentially deadly E. coli from hamburgers when an entrepreneurial company from South Dakota came up with a novel idea: injecting beef with ammonia.

Please read the rest of the article here: http://scienceblogs.com/mikethemadbiologist/2010/01/would_you_like_ammonia-laced_p.php

I don’t know about you, but I’m disgusted. I knew the meat industry was corrupt and profit-driven, but naively thought they wouldn’t stoop THIS low.

Will you commit to reducing your meat intake by one meal a week? More? Will you commit to buying only organic meats, or meats directly from local farmers/ranchers? What are you willing to change in order to stop these guys? If we didn’t buy the meat, if it weren’t profitable to poison people, they wouldn’t do it.

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It’s the little things

My dad was able to get himself upstairs last night and sleep in his own bed. He was also strong enough to stand long enough for a shower.

He’s still recovering from the recent complications, and his legs are really weak. But he’s improving a little each day.

The little things are all that matters.

Grief

Grief is an odd process.

The concept of “stages of grief” was introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

What is interesting is the anger. It’s not just the obvious anger at the loss, the world, etc.

I’ve been experiencing a totally different anger. It comes out when well-meaning friends say things like, “I totally know how you feel because my <parent/friend/relation/favorite barista/whatever> had chemo for <insert type of cancer here that’s got a near-100% cure rate>.” I find myself shutting down, because my first inclination is to scream in their faces, “NO, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”

Pancreatic Cancer is such a different animal from most other cancers. Unlike most cancers, there’s really not much hope of beating it. There is about a 99% chance that it will kill my dad. It’s just a matter of how long we have left with him. If I try to talk about how it feels to be on limited time, people say, “think positive, don’t say that!” It feels like they’re encouraging me to be in denial for THEIR comfort. It feels like most people don’t want to understand. It’s too scary to think of our mortality.

I know people mean well. I know they don’t really know what to say. Sometimes, the best thing to say is “how are you doing?” But only if you mean it, and are willing to hear the answer. Just STFU and just listen. No need to say you’re sorry, or try to comfort. Just asking is enough.

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Overheard at the hospital

While visiting my dad on Christmas, we overheard a conversation that had us all giggling.

There was a 92-year-old man in the next bed. Poor guy wanted sourdough toast, and nobody would bring him any because it wasn’t on his approved list. After the guy asked for toast for about the 12th time, Dad said, “Jesus! The guy is 92 years old and has about 2 weeks to live – bring him some fucking toast!” This is one of the reasons I love my dad.

A little later, the older man’s family was visiting him.

The sons (I assume they were his sons) were bantering a bit, and one said he was working on getting “back in shape.”

The older man said “when have you ever been in shape?”

The son replied, “Round is a shape!”

We all covered our mouths and tried to hold back the guffaws.

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