Quote for September 16, 2014

Another fact for September’s Awareness Theme:

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Ice Cream with Eleanor

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Ice Cream with Eleanor

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The Big Gulp of Mountain Dew sat next to her stack of sketch pads and study guides.  Pens, charcoal pencils and twiggy stems, crimson and deep veined great leaves and a cluster of autumn flowers in hues of burnt orange and thick yellow lay strewn around the books. She was drawing the flowers onto a thick sheet of paper, taking time to shade in shadow as the light cast its hand across the page.  She wore a chunky sweater as colorful as the flora before her, the yarn woven into chains of bright red and cool blue. Her wavy thick gray hair cascaded over her shoulders. But what pulled my attention from across the room was her infectious smile that shone through her careworn face and the deep hearty laugh that invited others to join in. I immediately liked her.

Each class, I edged my seat closer to her until finally we met.  Her name was Eleanor and there wasn’t a concept she wouldn’t argue, ask for clarification about or add her years of experience. Eleanor added depth and dimension to our Monday morning bible study. We soon became friends.  During the week, I found  interesting specimens for Eleanor to draw; a shiny chesnut I picked up in the park,  an extra large variegated Maple leaf or fluted Gingko leaf. Eleanor learned I was a writer, and she encouraged my passion by asking to read anything I had written. She celebrated with me when I joined a writing class. We were friends and artists. It didn’t matter to either of us that she was 25 years my senior, learning from her was fun and gave me  a fresh perspective:  my life was just beginning and there was always time to learn.

The class no longer fit my schedule but our friendship did. Eleanor wanted to meet, so I suggested the usual coffee, lunch or dinner venues.  Eleanor had another idea.” Let’s go out for ice cream,” she said plainly. Most of my friends were watching their calories or didn’t mind drinking a glass or two of  their calories instead.  Openly celebrating 30 years of sobriety, Eleanor found the simple pleasure of ice cream a fantastic way to spend an afternoon with a friend.  I couldn’t argue.

Our first outing was at a frozen custard store in an artsy hip area in Seattle called  Capital Hill. Parking isn’t easy in that part of town so I arrived  early. I parked across the street from the frozen custard shop and spotted a store boasting a large sign with a bulldog wearing a large studded leather collar.  I thought to myself “Oh a dog store, I can go shop for my puggies before I meet Eleanor!”  One step into the store and I realized this place wasn’t a pet shop and the collars weren’t for pets.

“May I help you?” a man clad from leather from head to toe asked me suspiciously. “Um no, I’m fine,” I gulped and quickly exited the store. I ran right into Eleanor. Ashen faced she asked me, “Hi what’s wrong with you?” I told her in hushed tones what had happened to me trying to vaguely point. “Oh so that’s the gay S&M shop huh!” Eleanor nearly shouted.  “Shhh!” I whispered horrified realizing in her 70′s Eleanor didn’t worry about being politically correct or if anyone overheard. She also didn’t make fun of me, for which I was quite grateful.

Shortly thereafter, I was thankfully able to divert our attention to the amazingly complex menu of delicious treats at the frozen custard stand. I chose my favorite peanut butter and chocolate and she picked a vanilla and berries concoction. I’d never tried frozen custard and it had an amazing creamy thickness that wasn’t in ice cream nor a soft serve cone variety. After I started my new job, Eleanor met me after work at Baskin and Robbins.  She’d pile her bowl high with heaping scoops of vanilla meeting me with her sketch books in hand, having had been drawing for quite some time before I’d arrive.  She’d always be interested in what I’d have to say and tell me about her latest art class. I was always fascinated in her ability to continue to be so passionate about learning and growing her skills. She asked me what was new in my life and I beamed about just turning 50 and how I still felt so young even though I was nearly half a century. I looked across the table and forgot who I was talking to, my friend who was 76 years old. She smiled wistfully and said, “you are still so young, you have your entire life before you.”

When I moved to Everett, a city just north of Seattle, she insisted on driving up north to meet me for ice cream.  We had just sat down to our usual cups of  her vanilla ice cream and my peanut butter and chocolate when Eleanor said, “At my age your friends start to leave you, they die or just move on. We’ll still be friends wont we? I’ll come see you as long I can. I love a good road trip,” she spoke of the 30 mile drive up 1-5 from Mercer Island. I shook my head yes and reached for her hand. “There will come a time when I won’t be able to make this drive, ” Eleanor continued.  I swallowed  hard, trying not to imagine that day and jumped in to say “Then I will come and see you of course.” “Yes you will, of course,” she smiled.  Eleanor asked me about my latest class and graduate school updates. She loved to hear updates and talked about her fall art classes and bible studies.  We then  made plans to meet for our next ice cream date at Mukilteo Beach. She wanted to sketch the ferry boats and the waterfront.  “Of course they have great ice cream and it’s not too far from where you live,” she insisted.

Friday we met at Mukilteo beach.  The salt air hit my nose as I opened the car door, and I was instantly transported to my girlhood on Cape Cod.  I experienced the same tangy salty smell,  light chilly breeze and cry of seagulls overhead.  I had a few minutes to walk along the pier and gaze on the snow capped Mount Baker in the distance and the white sandy cliffs of Whidbey Island. I spied  Eleanor across the street standing by the ferry terminal. She was reading a newspaper and leaning on her cane.  Her cheerful purple tye dye shirt was as bright as her smile. I called over to her and soon we were wrapped in a warm hug! I pulled three thick slices of banana bread  from my purse, “Here these are for you,” I smiled and handed them to her. ”These look delicious,” Eleanor exclaimed.  It was so good to see her!  I then asked which ice cream shop, she’d like to visit as we had our choice of soft serve or hard. I should have known she’d pick the hard serve across the street.  After purchasing our bowls of vanilla with berries and peanut butter and chocolate, we took our ice cream to a park bench that faced the sound and sat watching the ferries. The sky was a brilliant blue overhead and the waves gently slapped on the shore. We looked at Whidbey Island across the water and spoke of family, being friends and our plans for the fall. It was comfortable and easy  talking together. We made plans for our next ice cream date, at the Everett waterfront next month.  It has a beautiful view, a pretty beach and a great little ice cream shop.

 

Quote for September 12, 2014

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Go Gold


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Quote for September 11, 2014

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In Memory of 9-11- 2001

Turkey Jam Sandwich

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Turkey Jam Sandwich

 

Here’s a new twist on the turkey and cranberry sandwich. My friend Tracy brought me a jar of delicious strawberry freezer jam,which I didn’t have a chance taste for breakfast. I was poking around the refrigerator trying to find a savory compliment to this sweet treat and decided to add it to turkey and cheese. I spread the delicious fruity jam over my sandwich thin, added grated parmesan cheese topped with sliced turkey and finished with a healthy layer of grated parrano cheese or you could use Asiago.  Toast for 5-6 minutes and Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon of strawberry freezer jam

2 pieces of bread, a bagel

1-2 ounces of grated Parmesan cheese

1-2 ounces of grated Parrano or Asiago cheese

4-5 slices of turkey breast

 

Quote for September 6th, 2014

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“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself,” Abraham Maslow

 A quote from one of my favorite Psychologists

Editing my Caregivers Book

Editing my Caregiver’s Book-Title Pending

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In 1997 my best friend was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Less than 9 months later she lost her battle to this dreadful disease.. 8 years later our son was diagnosed with stage 3 Ewings Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. I am proud and relieved to say that this year, Conner is 5 years NED, No Evidence of Disease! No matter what type of cancer you’re diagnosed with or whom you are, it is devastating news- to the patient and loved ones. I write this book for the people who stand in hospital rooms, waiting rooms, and  living rooms not knowing how to help or what to do. How can I help?, What can I do? Sometimes all you can do is listen, hold a hand, be a shoulder to cry on and at other times you can get busy making meals, cleaning a kitchen, bathroom or phoning for donations. But there is always something you can do especially when you feel powerless.

I’m working on my book edits now, but soon this book will be available for you to read and use as you see fit. I plan to donate part of the profits to the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation and other charities, because without the support of our community our son wouldn’t be here today. Thank you to everyone who has made this book possible. God bless you!

An excerpt from the first chapter:

Our teenage son, Conner, had been complaining of right arm pain for months. The trips to the doctors and area clinics provided no answers. After a harrowing night of explosive shoulder pain and another fruitless trip with him to the neighborhood clinic, I insisted on a visit to Seattle Children’s Hospital. There he underwent a two-day series of MRIs, blood work, and exams conducted by the head of the orthopedics department. Instead of his doctor giving us the results of these extensive tests, the following scenario occurred as Conner and I opened the door to the examining room.

Lemon Ginger Shrimp

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Lemon Ginger Shrimp

I made this delicious dish for my husband Paul this weekend. We had it with tacos and guacamole but it can easily be served over rice. It’s that versatile.

Ingredients:

6-8 medium shrimp

1 Tablespoons fresh diced ginger

2-3 cloves crushed garlic

2 Tablespoons butter

1 fresh lemon

1/4 cup white wine

1/4 cup diced onion

salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Melt butter over low heat. Add diced onion and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the crushed garlic cook until garlic is slightly browned but do not overcook butter, sprinkle in salt and pepper flakes. Add the ginger and shrimp and sauté for 5-10 minutes until shrimp is pink.  Squeeze fresh lemon over the shrimp and add the white wine. Serve with either tacos, guacamole or over rice. We decided to fry some fresh peppers in another pan with some olive oil to serve with our tacos-delicious!

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September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month

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Did you know?

  • More children die of cancer than any other disesase?
  • 1 in 320 kids in the US will be diagnosed with cancer
  • Less than 3% of funding goes to pediatric cancer research
  • 50 children die of cancer every week
  • 75% of children who survive cancer face a lifetime of health problems and handicaps from treatment
  • Treatment for cancers were developed 20-30 years ago
  • Some pediatric cancers are more curable than others
  • 80% of children’s cancers have metastasized upon diagnosis
  • At any given time there are 20,000 kids fighting cancer
  • We lose as many children to cancer every year as the number of people lost in 9/11 from  http://www.makenoise4kids.org/facts.php

My theme is Awareness In honor of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month S

Ripe Pear Trick

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Ripe Pear Trick

We love pears with our cheese and crackers. I was gathering some last minute groceries for our cabin trip and reached for the organic pears- rock hard. My heart sank, we wanted to have those over the weekend. I looked over at the produce manager who was deftly stacking a case of oranges and stated my dilemma. “Oh that’s easy, take a ripe banana and put it in a paper bag with your pears. The gases from the banana will help your pears ripen quickly sometimes in less than 24 hours,” he smiled.

I was skeptical but decided to give it a try.  The next afternoon I pulled out a green Bartlett pear that was tender enough to eat.  We’d have to have the Bosch pear the next day. I was excited that my experiment worked somewhat.  Before I would’ve tossed the pears in the refrigerator and waited weeks to no fruition.

That ripe banana is going in my smoothie this morning