Monday, January 31, 2011

A Different Road

Clint and I love to travel. Throughout our years together we made it a priority to explore as many places as we could. Our travels were a gift that presented us with so many varied experiences.

Early on we decided that we would have fun no matter what. When we walked out our front door we considered ourselves on an adventure. We chose not to get annoyed at delayed planes, lost luggage and any other thing that could bring a disruption of our laughter and fun.

One of the experiences that happened quite often is getting lost. We rented a car and drove around places without the knowledge of language or currency. We took the road less traveled and consequently got lost  a lot!!!!

On a trip to Portugal, we decided to visit Fatima. With a map in hand we drove the country roads of Portugal. We discovered that these roads were indeed less traveled without signs to point us in the right direction we drove on and on until we came to a dead end and a sign that pointed to the left that said "Fatima" and a sign that pointed to the right that said "Fatima".  Either way we were going to get to Fatima and we did just that. Laughing all the way!

In our travel over the years we often took a wrong turn that brought us to an unexpected beautiful little village or place we did not know existed. We had fun exploring the unknown. The wrong turns led us to wonderful discoveries and experiences we would have never had if we didn't take a different path.

Life is like this too. We go along with plans in our heads of where we are going and where we want to be. Often we get lost or life hands us a different path. Sometimes we have a choice to turn back and continue on the road we think is best but other times we don't have a choice. We find ourselves on an unexpected adventure, sometimes good and sometimes hard.

I made up my mind a long time ago to enjoy my life and whatever it brings me. So here I am on a unexpected journey. My life as I know it has changed drastically. The hopes and wishes for my future have taken  a different path. I can complain and lament all I want but it is what it is and I will embrace it. I will take this unexpected turn on the road and make the most out of it. I will be a better person and enjoy what life holds out to me. I will give thanks for what I do have and not waste time on what I think may be missing.

Know that we can't always control what happens to us but we sure have the control to accept and enjoy and look at each day as a gift no matter what is handed to us. This is not as easy as it sounds and maybe it doesn't even sound easy to you.  It didn't for me.

At one point I thought to myself that my life was on hold, that this Cancer put a stop to my life as I know it, but this is not true! I realize that I am still living my life everyday, I won't get back the days I don't feel well or the days that I am sad or mad. This is still my life, not on hold but on a different road.
So I will look at this unexpected journey with new eyes. I am on a trip and I will enjoy and savor each moment in time!

Enjoy the life you have and if you are not happy with it try to make some small changes daily. This is your life, each and every day. With the roads that we know and the ones that we don't ~life is an adventure to be enjoyed and savored!

I wish you twists and turns and love and laughter on your journey!!!!
Enjoy your life!!!! Have fun, smile, be kind and when you get to look back you will do so with a smile in your heart!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Addiction

I am addicted. I can't go a day without it. I am drawn to it every time. I am a hoarder, a collector, I have a growing need, daily for my fix.
I  can't be deterred and won't change my ways. I am hooked for life!!!

My addiction is quite harmless unless you take into consideration the space my addiction takes up in my life, in the corners of my home. Piles and piles. Stacked everywhere. No rhyme or reason to my addiction.
I became hooked early on in my life, probably in high school but it has grown over the years. I am helpless when it come to this!

Books books books~everywhere. I wander into book stores any place I go. I buy books from Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, from blog sites, cooking web sites, I especially love the independent book store~ Elliot Bay Book store in Seattle, the huge rambling book store Powel's in Portland, Oregon, the wonderful Chester County Bookstore.

When in the airport the first stop after Security is the bookstore. I love books. Cookbooks, novels, memoirs, books on Italy, books on mediation, self help, a better life, books books books... I love them can't be without a pile on my night table. Towers of books on the floor of my Voodoo room, cases overflowing- books piled in sideways tucked into corners. Books that I love kept in my closet so I can read them again.

It is a wonderful addiction! I love my novels and magazines and piles and piles of books. They comfort me, I love to be surrounded by stories, by others lives, by dreams, by inspiration.

Books have been a real comfort to me these past months. When I am in bed so long but still can't get up I turn to a book for company. I may have to read the sentence 2 or 3 times as chemo brain sometimes interferes with my reading but that's OK ... I love to read... even if it is the same sentence!

This time around with my chemo treatments has been a little different. The doctor took me off of a strong drug and I thought I would be dancing in the streets! but actually I am more tired these days immediately following the infusion. I am slowly coming out of that and feel better everyday. I am excited about the tremendous response to my cooking classes and I am very excited to put together new menus and ideas ! I feel like I have a little of my life back.

So I turn to my collection of cookbooks and food memoirs and they are keeping me good company on the beautiful snow day!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Catch your breath

Your breath is a constant in your life. It stays with you until you die. It has been with you since your birth. It is a way to live your life. It helps in time of need and is always there for you no matter what.

Take a deep breath, notice how your body expands, how your lungs fill up, how you can calm yourself with just this simple act. Taking a deep breath, focus your mind on the moment of your breath as it travels through your body into your belly down in your gut. Your breath can soothe you in times of distress, it can comfort you in times of sadness.  It is always there for you no matter what.

Most often we are unaware of our breath.  It is just part of this body doing what it is supposed to do bringing oxygen and nutrients to our very cells.  I see the breath as more than that.  It is a way for me to remain clam during MRI's and CT scans, it is a way for me to relax, a way for me to center myself, get back to what really matters in my life.  I have even used my breath when I was on a roller coaster ride that I really didn't want to be on!!!  It helped me with the twists and turns and drops, I got through it with my breath!!!

My breath is my constant companion and one I sometimes take for granted.  When I am aware of my breath I feel so much better.  In the early morning light I try to focus JUST on my breath. I follow it's path as it enters my nose and mouth.  I hear the sound of it going down past my throat into my lungs, down to my belly.  I can even feel it in my toes if I concentrate hard enough.

It calms me.  If I am feeling nervous or upset, I focus on my breath.  If I feel pain, I breath into the place it hurts.  If I need to calm down or get my attention away from problems, issues and despair, I sit quietly and breath in hope and love and inspiration.

Sometimes I allow my breath to find me.  It is something my friend Sarah has said to me "Let your breath find you."

I do that by just being aware of my breath and then letting it come in shallow or sometimes big breaths and comfort me, calm me, soothe me, teach me that I am not alone.  I have this constant companion throughout my life that will help me, care for me and allow me to control (somewhat) my emotions, my fears, my hopes and dreams.

Take some time during each day to be aware of your breath.  It is your constant companion and is there for you whenever you need help or reassurance of this life that you are living.

Concentrating on your breath is a form of meditation.  It can be minutes or hours, but breathing consciously will set your mind at ease and allow you to see that you are in control of your feelings and the way you react to situations in your life.  It is something you can control, a way to make things better in an instant, in a breath.

We take breathing for granted.  Most of us are not even aware of the rise and fall of our chests. We are only aware of it if something goes wrong.  Our breath signals fear, anticipation, nervousness, anxiety, excitement, exertion.  It is a barometer for our feelings.

Take time to notice that YOU are in control of this. You can calm yourself, catch your breath, make it work for you. This is a gift.  One we have in our lives 24/7 as they say.  Don't take your breath for granted.  Be friends with it.  Use it to help you.  Cherish it.  Your breath will get you through your life with ease and hope and strength.

Breathe deeply and look at the world with hope.

You can change your life with your breath.

Make sure to use this gift daily and it will change your life.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Chemo Tuesday

Well it is that time again. We head down to JEFF tomorrow despite warning of the weather man and my urge to stay home. I can't believe it is Tuesday already~how fast time flies when you are feeling good!

This will be my 8th treatment in a series of 12. My oncologist has decided to take away one of the more potent drugs they are giving me in hopes that I will feel good enough to work.

We had a very long discussion last week about balancing treatment with life. I have to push the life part because lately it is all treatment and symptoms. I need a break, I need to work, I WANT to work. Funny how when you are working you long for a day off but now that I am not able to work, I long for work!!!!

The thought that I will feel good these next couple of weeks is so liberating and exciting. I can't wait to get back to my classes and seeing and talking to everyone about food and laughter and life!!!

I love what I do and it has become apparent to me that I am doing just what I am suppose to be doing~ sharing my recipes and love of family and food. Inspiring people to love their life now, in this moment.

This blog is as much for me as it is a way for everyone to keep in touch, It allows me to realize what is important to me and stay in the moment. As I read all my earlier posts I realize that I am getting through this no matter how hard it seems. The pain passes as well as the tears and what remains is my enthusiasm for life and cooking and people.

Look for the new classes to be posted within a day or two. I hope to see you in a class~ it will be healing for me and I intend to have a wonderful time with some great new and easy recipes that you will use over and over.

It will reawaken your love of cooking and life!

Please join me!!!!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Take time to wish upon a star!

One of the things I love most is a clear night with millions of stars shining brightly in the midnight blue sky.

We have lots of light around here but when it gets to be past midnight you can see the blanket of stars in the sky. I reminds me that we are not are not alone, in life, in our dreams and hopes for a good life, a happy life filled with love and all the successes we want and hope for.

When I look up into the vast sky above me I realize that we are just a small part of this universe, but yet I feel I can make a difference in my life and in others. What I do everyday, how I treat others, how I react to situations all have an impact on my life and others in this world.

It is easy just to go through each day, not thinking, just doing what we always do. A habit, living with a routine that we don't change because it is familiar to us. It is not always easy to make a change. The familiar is comforting, whether it is good or bad ~we are use to it, so we ignore the whispering in our soul. Going through each day, each minute the way we did the time before, not making any changes because we are scared of the outcome.

When I wish upon a star, I am making a change in how I want my life to be, I am offering up hope and love and wishes for for a better life. The next step is doing something about it~everyday. A little notion on how I want my life to be better or a prayer for someone who is going through a tough time, or a call for help, coming from deep inside us. These moments take quiet time. We need to have the silence so our hearts and soul can speak to us, letting us know it is OK. We are not alone, we can make a difference in our own life and in others too.

Take time to wish upon a star, let your hopes and dreams fill your heart and soul. Take some quiet time for you, so that you can hear the reassurances that you can make a difference in your life. One step at a time, one moment at a time, one wish at a time.

Take time to wish upon a star and your dreams will come true! With a little help fro YOU of course!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A New Day a New Perspective

I am coming out of that terrible funk of last week. It took me a while and also a few liters of fluids to feel better. Looking back I think it was dehydration again. As soon as the liquids were in my body I started to feel like myself again. I have to keep a closer watch on this. I do not want to feel like this again!

I spoke in length with the Doctor on Tuesday asking him for a break in treatment so I could work for a few months.

He decided that he would continue treatment but eliminate the biggest drug of all which is causing most of these side effects. He talked about balancing life with treatment, I totally agree. I had no life... outside of my bedroom. I am thrilled with his decision because I really do miss my classes and it is a very hard thing to be self employed with a disease like Cancer. It takes away all your options when you don't feel well and can't work.

So I am looking forward to posting some cooking classes on my web site in about a week or so. I will have a few months to feel better and do some classes~ YEA!!!!!

Thanks so much to all of you who send me prayers and love everyday... I feel them and they do help.

I hope to see you in a class this winter, it will be good to laugh and cook again!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chemo Tears

The American Cancer society just sent me a jumbo pack of pamphlets and booklets... all about Cancer. I didn't open it for a while, it sat on my desk, an ominous package containing what I didn't want to know. I have read a lot about this disease and sometimes I just don't want to know any more. I am LIVING this day after day and I try my best to go on without thinking "I have Cancer", all I have to do is look in the mirror and it says it all. My hair is not hair- it is a jumble of fuzz, sticking out all over, somewhat like a crazy person. On good mornings it actually makes me laugh out loud but the days I feel sick, a glance in the mirror will confirm what I feel.

I think it may be the single most devastating thing that has happened to me~ not because I don't have my hair but because it makes me look sick and thus I feel sick. Silly I know but true.

One day this past week I did open up that big package of information. Most of it was helpful. They let you know what to expect, not always how to deal with it but at least I know what I am feeling is the Chemo~ not me.

I wondered just how long these drugs stay in your system. It seems that the chemo is released from your system by bodily fluids, tears being one of the outlets.

This past week was an OK one for me, I did sleep alot, did not have much of an appetite though and I was very weepy.

Now those of you who know me know that I try to stay as upbeat as possible, concentrating on the good in life, and I do have so much to be thankful for. This week is wasn't working. I would cry in the shower so Clint wouldn't see me, I would cry in bed with the ears silently dripping from my eyes, I would cry if someone came to visit me or call to see how I was. I was a weepy mess, still am for the most part.

I couldn't understand what was happening to me. The Cancer seemed like a snake in my body, slithering it's way through my organs seeing what to get at next. I know this is an awful visual but it is what I was feeling and I just couldn't make it go away.

My feeling of sick sick sick continues and I talked to my doctor last night, he could tell by my voice that things weren't good and asked me to come in to the office today. It was my regularly scheduled Chemo day but according to the numbers and how I was feeling he thought it was a good idea NOT to get infused today, and I wholeheartedly agreed with him . He did give me some fluids while I was there, I lost a record 11 lbs in just two weeks!

I was comforted by the chemo nurse and also by my oncologist, he is a very compassionate man and I am so happy to have him as a doctor.  I will go back next Tuesday and he will reevaluate my chemo and try to balance My LIFE with my treatment.

As I was driving home today I realized that all the tears I have been shedding are CHEMO TEARS, caused by the chemo, trying to escape my body and showing me that I am normal and this is a very scary thing and as much as I want to will it gone and away it will happen in its own time. There is no rushing a cure for this~that is a a fact. So the tears will flow and it is OK for me to feel like this.

I appreciate everyone being my cheering section, God knows I need it now. I just came home from JEFF, beat the snowstorm, so I am happy abut that and now to bed I go!

I will shed my tears and hopefully I will realize that this is all part of getting better.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

On Hold

Many times in our life we are "On Hold."

We want to wait to lose 10 lbs before we put on a bathing suit, we want to get our kids through school before we take a vacation, we wait until our house is spotless before we invite anyone to dinner.

So we put off our life, our dreams, our wants and needs until... until what??? life passes by everyday. We only have a certain amount of time, the amount a mystery. A definite is that we all die, can't get away from that truth.

This thought came to me as I sat on the phone for most of the day yesterday... on hold. Agitating music playing over and over again in my ear... put on hold for 20 minutes at a time and then disconnected and put on hold again. It was a very frustrating experience but one I take a lesson from. I began to zone out during my time on hold, attached to the phone but without  a sense that the situation would change.
I felt the day the time wasted as I sat waiting for someone to help me, give me an answer, just get on the phone to talk to me!

I realized yesterday that we sometimes, most times put our life on hold too, waiting for something to change, waiting for what we want to fall into our laps, not really doing anything that would help it along. We wait, as life passes us by.

I bought myself a really beautiful designer handbag some years ago. It came with its own bag to store it in all wrapped up in tissue, just beautiful to look at. That is just what I did... look at it. I put it away in my closet for a "Special Occasion" and there it stayed wrapped and not used for a few years until one day I thought to myself.. everyday is a special occasion what am I waiting for, why is that beautiful bag in the closet on hold???? What am I waiting for? I realized then what I realize now. Everyday is a gift of life, a new chance, a new beginning. Every day is special. Don't wait, don't put your life on hold... go after it now, do it today. Make small changes everyday toward how you want your life to be. Now is the time.

Life passes you by if you are on HOLD!!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


''It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult undertaking which, more than anything else, will determine its successful outcome. ''William James

Try not to worry. Try to look at what you're going through as a challenge rather than an obstacle, a time to develop patience. To achieve more objectivity, detach yourself from the struggle. Have confidence in yourself, and realize that you can change your attitude even if you can't change the circumstances.

Look closely at your troubles. Don't let them cause you to give up.

Befriend them and learn from them. Feel them lose their power over you. Allow them to teach you what you want to know and move on..Try not to be afraid.

You're a survivor. You're going to handle this.You're going to find strength you didn't know you had and grace to deal with what ever comes along. Pretty soon, you'll be on the other side, and it's just  a matter of time until you will look back on this time in your life and draw strength from the knowledge that even though the road was rocky, you persevered and carried on.

These are not my words but something I found and thought it was just perfect.
Attitude is everything in life. You can chose your reaction to circumstance even if you can not chose your circumstance.

Think about it~ everyday you are given another chance to make your life better. To look at life as a gift. To know that this is your life and you don't get another chance.

Take some time in the morning as you wake up to a new day to know that you are blessed and you are exactly where you are suppose to be!
Through good times and bad, you CAN do it!
Make your life as happy as you can. It is much more fun to laugh than to cry!~ I know that from experience!!!!

Much love to you this year. I wish you joy and happiness and laughter and family and friends and good food!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Here is to 2011! I know I've had some challenges on 2010 but I take with me into this new year all my experiences from last year. They are shaping me now and allowing me to be brave and look forward knowing it will all be OK and I can handle what life holds for me.

I am sitting in my voodoo room looking out the window to a pink tinged sky, this early morning, trees stripped of their leaves waiting for the next season to arrive. That is what I feel like~ I am waiting for the next season of my life. I have been given a new day and new chance to see things in a different way, to appreciate what I already have and a chance to make my life a better one this upcoming year.

My wishes this year are simple. I wish for the strength to get me through this health issue I am facing. I know I will and I ask that I be a better person after this is all said and done. I ask for laughter in my life, it is so important to me to smile and laugh at all that life throws at you!

I ask for the wisdom to know that I am in charge of my life and my feelings and my reaction to whatever comes my way, I ask for the wisdom to handle it all. I ask for kindness, for others and for me, for all the people in my life, kindness to get me through life without anger and sorrow and tears.

I ask for courage, to keep me strong, to keep me believing I CAN do this, I can go through what life has to offer me and be a better person in the end.

Most of all I give thanks for all that I do have, for the person I am today, for the resilience to bounce back after tears and fatigue. For the ability to accept all the goodness and kindness and love and prayers that have come my way this past year. I give thanks to everyone in my life who has supported me emotionally, with a hug or a quart of soup, a warm scarf a tray of cookies, a phone call or email. These acts of kindness and love are what kept me going in 2010 and I hope and pray that you all will be with me in 2011... you are my cheering section, you are my love and support and I made it through to this year because of YOU!

I wish you all the love and hope and smiles that life has to offer, and I hope and pray that everyone takes care of themselves. Your health is so important and you really don't realize this until something happens to change it. Please be kind and good to yourselves this year. Smile, laugh, enjoy the company you are in. Live your life each day as it comes to you, treat others as you wish to be treated, keep an open mind and an open heart to all that life offers.

Have a wonderful New Year and I LOVE you all!