Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Capture life in a snow globe!

I have to write today because a wonderful thing happened!

I woke up at 5 am thinking to myself...enough already!!! I've been in bed off and on since Friday!!!

I made a pot of coffee and I went into my"Voodoo Room", took out my pad of paper and started writing... what did I write? well I wrote a promise for today~that I would turn things around, that I would enjoy each and every second, that today is a DAY in my life, sick or not.. still living my life!

I made a commitment to me! (easy when I start to feel better) but you know what? we can wallow in our not feeling good, bad day sort of stuff, thinking why~ why ~why did this happen? and I DO think that way believe me, not often ~thank goodness!!!

I took some quiet time, to meditate, to think or really NOT to think .. just be and notice what is happening and take control!

I just wanted to have a day where I can do the ordinary things that we all take for granted... clean the bathroom, do wash, empty the dishwasher, vacuum... just day to day stuff we all do without thinking.

To be in the moment you need to think about everything you do .. even the boring mundane chores we all do automatically and without thinking. This disease brings to the forefront that each task, each minute of our lives is important~I missed doing the ordinary stuff.

So today was about capturing my life in a snow globe... sparkles surrounding me as I just went through my house and did housework... I loved every minute.

Clint took me out for lunch at one of our favorite places and I put on my headband to control what is left of my hairs (not a mis-spelling but what I call what is on my head now~hairs!)

It is a cloudy day but a Magnificent one for me!

I wish you all the joy of life.. being in the moment, take control!! you are the star of your own movie.. your life!!! don't give away your control or your life... it is yours .. each and every day! and I bless this day and all of you who are reading this!

Sending everyone white light, love and positive energy as you go through your day!!!

Give THANKS every day ... count your blessings the the end of every day.. it will make you realize what you HAVE  ... can't sleep at night... count your blessings instead of sheep!!!!
You have everything you need!!!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunny Sunday Morning

I have been in bed for 48 hours, give or take a few hours. I mean Sleeping!! really sleeping.. I can't believe it .. almost hard for me to comprehend I can sleep that much!
The visiting nurse came to take off my chemo pump. They send me home with a pump to give me the 5FU( great name for a chemo drug~think about it~5 F U !!!!) for 2 days. She comes on Friday afternoon to take down the chemo and de-access the port. I stand by the door to await her arrival!!!

Within an hour of her visit, I am in bed. Down for the count. Tired, nauseous, not feeling good.. just sick. My mouth is tender because the big blisters are on their way. My sinuses are bleeding, my fingers are numb and tingly. Enough about about this good stuff!!!
I am served dinner in bed by Clint. He whipped up my favorite meal from Thanksgiving left-overs. Hot turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce on a piece of "American bread" with hot turkey gravy! for dessert we had pie and a glass of milk. I feel like I am at the GAP dinner in Lancaster!

You have to understand that this meal was not something I ate as a child. My Thanksgiving meal was a true Italian feast. Scripple soup, antipasto, manicotti, gravy meats: meatballs, brociole, sausage. When we were all done THEN we had a turkey dinner with Italian stuffing and vegetables. Too much to eat, but my absolute favorite part was the turkey with stuffing and mashed potatoes. Very American as we say. It is still a meal I will order out at any Diner we visit, or little country deli. It is a meal of comfort and that is what Clint brought up to me in bed last night! I ate and went right back to bed.

I woke up to a Sunny Sunday morning. Still feeling tired but not too bad. I did some Christmas shopping online.... the best way to shop!!! and now I am headed to bed once again. I have to listen to my body and it is screaming SLEEP. So I will listen and sleep. Hopefully this week will bring some relief to this fatigue, but from what my doctor tells me ... it is not likely. He told me to be prepared for a week of general fatigue along with all the other fun symptoms I have.

To tell you the truth, the symptoms other than the fatigue are just bothersome. I can take it. It is the tiredness that gets to me. A busy, list making person, who runs up and down the steps and multitasks like nobodies business, this is the hardest for me to tolerate, but I have to go through this so I guess I will be in bed for a few more days!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with good food, laughter, family and friends. It is a very special holiday to get together!
Bring on Christmas!!! Hopefully I won't sleep through it!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Take a few minutes today.. to Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I woke up early today with words to this blog twirling around in my head.

I wanted to wish you a wonderful day but I also wanted to urge you to take a few minutes for yourself today.

Now I know you are probably saying~Wow she must have chemo brain if she thinks I can spare a few minutes on one of the busiest days of the year!

But I am serious. I know first hand how crazy and stressful this day can be .. so much to do and so little time and oven space!
Whether you are cooking the whole dinner and having everyone over or maybe making a few dishes or being the guest, it is still a day filled with stress. I wish that stress away for you and suggest that you stop a few times today if only for a minute or two.

I think it is so important today to NOTICE, notice the people around you, the bright day, the last of the autumn leaves, the smell of a roasting turkey, the creaminess of your mashed potatoes, the brown sugar in your sweet potatoes, the smile on the childrens' faces, the conversations going on around you.

Wherever you are, in the kitchen, in the car, around the table. Just stop, take a deep breath and notice everything around you. As you do this bless this day you have in your life. It is really about this day, not yesterday or tomorrow but TODAY... it is the present and also a gift to you.

Notice what you have and who you have in your life, it may not be perfect, none of us are perfect! What fun would that be!!!
I love the madness of family and friends. The challenge of getting together and sometimes it is a challenge. I think we all live in dysfunctional families but I really don't like that word. We are all trying to do our best~hopefully!!! Sometimes it works and sometimes not, if that is the case let it go, get rid of all those negative thoughts swirling around, send them up to the universe in a bubble... get rid of them and come back to what you are thankful for .. I am sure you will have a long list.

Be thankful and notice today the cool Autumn air, the bare trees waiting for winter, the table set for this sumptuous meal, your family and friends gathered around you, your health, your dreams, your laughter, your smile and the smiles you see all day. Be thankful for all the food and I am sure it is abundant in every way, not necessarily quantity but the love that each dish brings to the table.

Don't worry if a recipe does not turn out the way you expected. As a caterer I know this happens but don't dwell on the negative, if you want to know the truth most people won't know a thing (unless you tell them!!!). ... just sit and enjoy the bounty we have in our lives.

I have so much going on in my life but I try to stay in the moment and notice all the wonderful and happiness I DO have.
I am most Thankful this year to all of you!
What a unexpected and much appreciated feeling I have in my heart for all of you who send me notes and cards and encouragement. I couldn't and wouldn't want to be on this journey without your prayers and thoughts and enthusiasm for me getting better... THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH and I wish you health happiness and a wonderful day.
NOTICE, if only for a minute the sights and sounds and aromas that are swirling around you today. Take a minute,you will be so happy you did!
Happy Thanksgiving to all and I am sending light and love and a delicious day!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Spectacular Seattle

It has been 16 years of coming to Seattle. It is a city both Clint and I fell in love with on our first trip here. There is not one thing that I love about Seattle... there are hundreds of things I love!

It is a city filled with energy, wonderful people, outstanding food, fabulous fresh tasting oysters.

Pike's Market is a place that offers everything you can imagine in produce and seafood as well as artisans selling there crafts and musicians playing to the crowd.Your head will spin a thousand ways as you stroll through this lively market. Fresh, huge bouquets of flowers, some with small heads of ornamental cabbages as the centerpiece to fall and winter flower, fresh garlands and wreaths crafted from Northwest greenery, beautiful scarfs and hats knitted in colorful yarns to keep you nice and toasty in the winter air. Honey, jams, cheese, chocolates, tiny doughnuts sold by the dozen and believe me you can eat a dozen of these tiny doughnuts in a second~ the place is called "the daily dozen".
A magic shop filled with fun things to bring home to the grand kids, Bookstores filled with local authors and books on this magical area.
Wonderful little eateries serving up warming filling bowls of chowder, fried oyster sandwiches, smoked salmon, halibut cheeks, crepes made to order. Lowell's, the restaurant featured in "Sleepless in Seattle."
Our favorite places to eat are any Tom Douglas's restaurants, Etta's at the market, a new place he just opened called "Seatown" featuring home cured meats, rotisserie roasts, fresh seafood and a multitude of locally brewed beers and local wines. Not to forget, Dahlia's or Serious Pie for the best pizza of your life. We go to Palace Kitchen if we wake up from a afternoon nap that lingered into evening for grilled sardines and a salad made from 3 kinds of cucumbers along with fabulous cocktails. Lola's for Greek inspired fare. If we want a doughnut as big as a small cake with a cup of coffee that looks like it is serve in a bucket we head to Top Pot.
The food here is inventive, freshly made and oh so delicious. A true food lovers paradise!

My enthusiasm for Seattle has not waned...I dream of coming to Seattle.

For the past few weeks, I lay in bed and put myself in a waterfront room at the Seattle Waterfront Marriott looking out to Puget Sound, watching the ferries glide across the water, the freight boats being tugged into the harbour, the light arches of Sea-Tac stadium, the sea planes floating in the sky, the tiny marina that sits in front of the hotel, filled with locally owned private motor yachts decorated for the holidays with strings of Christmas lights draped across their decks. I dreamed and wished and prayed to be in Seattle.
I read a book not that long ago called "Pave it Forward" It was a book that allowed you to dream and also know that you can create your life, one day at a time, each morning waking up and knowing that you are in charge of your happiness and your reaction to your life.

And so each day I thought of Seattle and how I would love to go back, at a time when I need it most. A break from this Cancer that follows me around like a errant child, reminding me daily that I am sick and that I have a fight to fight.
We have gone to Seattle for the past 16 years this time of year. I couldn't bear not to be here. I needed to get away, knowing that I will be starting another 2 months worth of chemo. I needed strength and I know I could find what I needed in Seattle.
So with a little magic and a lot of wishing and praying and some negotiating with my Doctor, saved frequent flyer miles and hotel rewards and some help from my mom, we made it to Seattle. My dream came true.
We are in the same room we always get with windows on both side of the room, giving us a magnificent view of Puget sound, within walking distance of Pike's Market and I am sitting in my dream, just as I imagined it, wished for this, and prayed that it would be true!

We are here only for a few days but it will be the jolt and give me the strength I need for the upcoming months. It was sunny when we arrived but a late night rain came in as we were walking from our stroll through the market. Rain never spoils our day... we LOVE the rain here.. we wish for rain.. it is all part of the magic of this place.
My head is always cold and here I can wear silly hats and fit in! I am bundled up and have some energy~ from that giant cup of Starbucks coffee that Clint brought me this morning, so we are off, to explore, to walk and wander through this special city filled with lights and energy and good honest food!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is usually such a very busy time for me. Last year I cooked over 30 dinners for my clients as well as my own Thanksgiving dinner! It was quite a week of cooking and to tell you the truth I just wanted a glass of wine and a peanut butter sandwich.

This year will be quite different to be sure!

We are still having dinner at my house(can't let go of that!!!) but everyone else is cooking and bringing something to eat.. I will be relaxed for the first time in about 20 years!!! (there are some good sides to this sickness!)
Usually I also do a cooking class with some really good and easy recipes for Thanksgiving so I decided  to post some of my favorite recipes for you to try... if anyone has any questions just email me and I will be happy to answer.
So here they are from my home to yours!
Happy Thanksgiving to all and much love!!

Thanksgiving Recipes

Double Cranberry Sauce
1/4 cup orange liqueur (triple sec)
1 cup orange juice
2 bags whole fresh cranberries
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
2 cups sugar
~ combine all ingredients in a saucepan, cook on low till thick,  about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Can be made one week ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Sweet Potato Souffle

2~40 oz cans sweet potatoes drained, rinsed smashed
1/2 cup butter melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
salt~ pepper
3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
~combine above ingredients, pour into a oven proof casserole dish.

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup melted butter
~combine in a bowl , mix until crumbly, sprinkle on top of sweet potatoes and bake uncovered in 350 oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until set.  Can be made a day ahead and reheated @ 350 uncovered for 20 minutes.

Maple Turkey Glaze
8 oz. butter melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chicken broth
salt & pepper
~combine in saucepan and cook on low for 10 minutes. Brush on turkey last 30 minutes of cooking for a crispy delicious flavor.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Birthday Celebration

                                           Mom, Dominick & Carrie
                                          Mom & Dom
                                          Finn, Gavin,Christopher, Brandon

                                           Carrie & Dominick
                                         Dad, Christopher, Susan
                                          Dad & me
                                            Dad, John & cousin Al

                                       Carrie, Mom Clint & cousin Nancy
                                                  1940's Tina
                                           Dom & Tina
                                      nephew Vinnie & niece Amanda

                                           my sister Grace

                                          Rick & Carrie
                                         The love of my life!!!



                                    Brandon & Finn
                                                    cousin Al


 who's coming in the back door?????

 Still didn't get the face right!!!

As I promised I am posting pictures of my Pizza and cake birthday celebration with my family.
It was was wonderful night filled with love and laughter and family, all that is really important. We had an old fashioned birthday celebration with party hats and lots of fun.
I loved it!
Earlier that day my daughter Tina had 1940's Pin up pictures so she is in full makeup and looked so very beautiful... her younger son Brandon especially loved the red lips!!!! I tried to do a pose with her but I looked like someone was sneaking in the back door!!! too funny!
Thanks for all the birthday wishes, my birthday this year was truly special, I realized what is important.. it is not what you have in the bank or how your house is decorated it is the people, the family the friends that make life so very precious. I have a glorious life with so many people behind me in this journey and I thank each and every one of you! enjoy the family pictures.. we are a normal and crazy family and I love being part of it!