Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving 2022

Reposted from last year:

For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have so much to be thankful for it’s hard to know where to start. So I will start with you - the MOTI who gather here. We are like family whose members don’t always agree and some times  even squabble but are nevertheless connected by a deep common bond. Unlike real families our bond isn’t blood but rather the shared values and principles that our country was founded on and we learned to cherish. We are bound together by our Constitution, the guide to building an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.

I am thankful for the many other things I have to be grateful for: I’m grateful I was born on the cusp of the 50s, when America was great and nobody was ashamed of that.

dutch colonial searsA Sears-Roebuck Dutch colonial; ‘colonial’ - you could never list it that way today.

For having been born to a world where individual freedom, self-reliance and personal responsibility were core values of everyone who aspired to be a good citizen, and that was nearly everyone.

Where the freedom call of the open road was a siren’s song

road

beckoning us to explore the land and our place in it.

road into the mist

I’m grateful that I was born when America was seen as a melting pot - and that was a good thing, not bad. A time before ‘cultural appropriation’ was a thing and, if used at all, applied only to the Brits raiding Egyptian tombs.

manhattan mexican tacosTaco Tuesday wasn’t a thing and tacos weren’t racist

I’m grateful for having received an actual education focused on knowledge, critical thinking and how to think rather than indoctrination consisting of what to think about such things as ‘critical race theory’ and other ‘social justice’ issues.

I’m grateful that I was raised in a time when many people, black and white, worked to correct true civil rights in‘critical race theory’ justices. And  when “peaceful protests”

Selma-March-Alabama-March-1965

meant marches and sit-ins rather than riots and and the creation of fake victims to be exploited for political gain.

I’m grateful for having been young at a time when it wasn’t necessary to feel guilty about everything that I ate, drank, drove, bought or dreamed about for fear of being selfish and killing the planet.

red 59 chevy impalaJust because it was cool

For these, and much, much more, I’m truly grateful. I will wrap up this Thanksgiving post with my annual MOTI Thanksgiving prayer:

In addition to all the other blessings

you have conferred on my reflective frame

I wish to thank you, Lord,

for the companionship of steadfast comrades

whose wit and wisdom and strength

help steer me through these tempestuous seas

of flattery and lies churned to fury by the ill will of demagogues.

Amen.

A special thanks to all who visit here. I wish you a peaceful, happy Thanksgiving unmarred by strife. Because there is always something to be thankful for.

Update 2022: As you know this has been a difficult year vet even so, as I’ve noted in every Thanksgiving post I’ve done,  there’s always something to be grateful for.  This year is no different I’m ever grateful for all my doctors, nurses and techs who keep me going, for all of you and your continual prayers and the countless kindnesses you’ve sent my way. And of course I’m most grateful for Raj, my steadfast partner, best friend, soulmate, caretaker and cheerleader. I would go on, but unfortunately my eyesight is really bad right now and computer screens are not my friend. But that’s a story for another day, today I’m grateful that I can still see (sort of).

I hope you all enjoy Thanksgiving, and remember…there truly is always something to be grateful for.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Thank You. My Pretties

More pretties from my Pretties: how can I adequately thank you all for the joy they’ve brought to such a gray, gray month?

I know my photography doesn’t do this arrangement justice, the light isn’t right, nor are my eyes. But trust me, this is beyond stunning.

20221117_175651

Two shades of hydrangea: light and dark purple, deep purple pin flowers, deep, deep purple canna lilies, lovely pinkish purple amaranth along with some lovely little orange flowers that I’m not familiar with and more! Every angle reveals a new beautiful floral profile.

20221117_175841

 

20221117_175852

 

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I’m making Raj put them in the garage every night – which serves as a giant walk-in cooler this time of year = to make sure they still look as good on Thanksgiving.

So I thank you all once again for such a benevolent gift of beauty and joy. You’ve given us one more beautiful thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Oh, and happy Caturday.

kitty caterday

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Red Tide If By Day, Blue Tide If By Night

For those of you still wondering what happened to Tuesday’s expected red wave here’s the simplest explanation.

Red if by day:

red-tide

“Harmful algal blooms occur when colonies of algae—simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater—grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and birds.”

Blue if by night:

“During the day, the algae bloom can cause the ocean to appear with a red or brown tint, but at night, when agitated, it can create a blue bioluminescence.”

neon-waves-16x9-1-1_jpgOn September 28th, 2011, the "Red Tide" hit San Diego shores. The neon-blue waves are not digitally created or altered from their original form.

What-Is-Bioluminescence-_jpg

“While many people call these blooms 'red tides,' scientists prefer the term harmful algal bloom.”

I have no idea how to kill off the deadly dinoflagellate population explosion although I suspect closing the borders might help. Or perhaps we ought not agitate them so:

“…but at night, when agitated, it can create a blue bioluminescence.”

 

Note: not much new on the medical front, still have good days and bad. Will have new scans at the end of the month to determine the effectiveness of ongoing treatment. I have developed another issue which is primarily caused by old age but accelerated by the metabolic disturbances created by cancer and chemo. I have had total vitreous detachments in both eyes. While this usually creates floaters that the brain can adjust to my brain has already been “challenged”  and the floaters in the left eye appeared before my brain had any chance  to “adjust.”  Both eyes have quite large, dense web-like floaters in the line of vision which  seriously compromise my eyesight in that it is both dimmed and blurred so screen time is irritating and difficult. So I will continue infrequent appearances so thank you for your understanding if I don’t respond to comments and thank you for all the ongoing prayers as well as good thoughts and cheer. I’m told the brain usually adjusts to this in 6 months time or so. So we will see (hopefully).

Sunday, November 6, 2022

DST

Time is a funny thing to begin with, seemingly ambivalent yet unequivocally inflexible.

clock works

Clocks on the other hand are dictators, either benign or tyrannical but dictators nonetheless. They divide your life into 60 minute slices, 24 hour intervals and 365 day segments. How we choose to use our time is a different issue altogether and fairly autonomous. As individuals we’re free to squander it, attempt to make the most of it or simply ignore it; for the most part it’s ours to use or abuse. How we choose to spend our time is one of the few individual rights we seem to have retained in the Democrats’ march to social justice and woke capitalism.

Perhaps that partially explains my semi-annual reflexive opposition to Daylight Saving Time, regardless of the direction it takes.  The government mandated arbitrary “change” of time via our clocks (most of which are now digital and update themselves without even our reluctant participation) is an infringement on my right to waste time as I choose. 

As a protest I’ve chosen to use this clock and this clock alone. It’s the only one that is consistently accurate and in the final analysis the only one that actually matters.

daylight saving onlt time that counts

It may be a hazy shade of winter now but look around - soon the grass will be high again.

Hang on to your hopes, my friend
That's an easy thing to say
But if your hopes should pass away
Simply pretend that you can build them again

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Halloween Week

Tomorrow is Halloween and I would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that you should remain skeptical of everything, including things you are skeptical of.

during the day I don't believe in ghosts halloween

Also, I would like to predict that this year’s most popular costume will be ‘drag queen’ – with absolutely no outcry from the left regarding how demeaning the appropriation of their gender is to women…and clowns.

lil-miss-hot-mess-the drag queen

Sunday, October 23, 2022

A Non-Crafter’s Guide To Crafting

I found this a while back on somebody’s Tumblr. I know it’s not even Halloween yet but let’s face it, because of the lead time required the official Christmas Crafting season has already begun.  I know many of you are artful crafters but I suspect just as many, or more, might identify with the (unknown) author’s affliction: Craftophobia, which is closely related to Linonophobia: Fear of String. 

knit-purl_thumb_thumb[9]

With that in mind, I pass along one woman’s analysis and ranking of crafts and crafters:

“Grandma” crafts ranked by how afraid I am of them, ranked least to most.

·      Knitting – I watched a woman painstakingly knit her own wedding dress on Instagram. The only reason I am not viscerally terrified of knitting is that I can knit and therefore have accepted the horror into my heart: 4/10 for effort

 

·      Crochet – THERE IS ONLY ONE HOOK. HOW. HOW DO YOU DO THAT!? But again, I can single chain enough to seam my knitting, so we’re relatively cool with this: 6/10.

 

·      Embroidery – It’s so little and so detailed??? Literally you do that with a tiny needle and it looks like it could walk off the fabric. You’re a witch, I don’t make the rules. I mean, we’re all witches but you especially: 9/10

 

·      Spinning/weaving – Literally you are making something out of primordial fluff. This by definition makes you a god, I’m pretty sure. Y’all are incredible. I am in awe: 10/10

 

·      Tatting or handmaking lace by other methods that aren’t knitting or crocheting. Part of me is always going to be convinced you’re a spider god but in a cool way. Definitely the most intricate products, and the fact that I can’t parse how they come into being is why I fear and respect you: 11/10, you incredible terrors

 

·      Cross stitching – THIS IS FORBIDDEN MAGIC. WHAT ARE YOU? ALL THE SQUARES???? 1000/10

For the rest of you, let’s get going on those crafts! Time’s a wasting.

sheep

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Autumn Bloemen

autumn george elliot2

Look at the lovelies that arrived from the bloemen shop Friday afternoon:

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So graceful, joyful and filled with love you can feel it; in closeup you can practically smell it.

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And Raj tells me that you also sent a gift certificate for gourmet meals, delivered! Everything from shrimp pasta to beef Bourguignon. You MOTI are the most kind, caring and generous group of people I have ever had the pleasure of being associated with and I feel blessed to know you all.

My oncologist is encouraging regarding my progress to date and I’m currently off one of the chemo drugs but scheduled for the rest of the infusions through December. I will have new scans then and we’ll go from there. So the report is “as good as can be expected” and I hope to stay on that path with your continued prayers. And while I absolutely adore the flowers, you’ve done way, way too much already. All I can do to express my gratitude is a sincere thank you, for both the beautiful arrangements and your continued prayers and good thoughts.

On another note, Raj and I celebrated our 50th anniversary on the 13th, well “celebrate” might be a bit of an overstatement as we spent most of the day at U of M hospital getting an infusion. We’ll celebrate in a day or so as I generally am not at my best for several days after. We did have a little pre-anniversary celebration last weekend but will have another when I feel better. I think 50 years – which went by in a flash – is worthy of at least two celebrations. We were going to take a trip but will defer that part of the celebration until next year.

October remains my favorite month although it can be fickle. When I was young I never thought about how quickly on its heels winter arrived. Now that I’m older I think about that probably too much. I remind myself often that after the leaves fall and the wind blows them about there comes a necessary dormancy that allows  the world, and us, to rest. Perhaps even compost a bit of the detritus cluttering our lives and store it as  energy for a glorious spring renewal. In the meanwhile:

Andrew Wyeth autumn corn stalkAndrew Wyeth, Cornstalk

Bless you all.   

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Autumn Leaves

What autumn leaves, raked, look like just about anywhere in the world:

raked pile of leaves

What raked autumn leaves look like in Japan:

japanese fall raked images4japanese fall raked images

As Gerard would ask: “The Japanese: Nuked Too Much or Not Enough?”

And now for a brief health update:

patience  tested

I won’t lie, it’s been kind of a rough few weeks. Eye, jaw and stomach issues accompanied by - most likely - stress induced migraines for which I can no longer take Imitrex. For what it’s worth, Fioracet, essentially the same med I took 30 years ago before Imitrex existed, works no better now than it did then. These issues are most likely chemo/immuno related and may or may not resolve when the treatment is done. While “Immunotherapies” sound better than “chemo” they both, in fact, list nearly identical side effects. 

But the good news: none of these new afflictions appear to be dangerous. So according to my Doc I’m still doing well. I have another round of oral chemo and an Immuno infusion this week and I’m hoping for no new symptoms. Poor Raj, I’m afraid I’ve become a full time job and yet he never, ever complains.

Anyway, again I thank everyone for the prayers prayed, the notes mailed and emailed and the good wishes sent. Apologies to all, I’ve meant to get back with everyone and hopefully I will eventually.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Only 29 Days Till Halloween

Only 29 days till Halloween. Time to get those decorations up.

well played big orange house on the cornerWell played big orange house at the end of the block, well played.

and bake those Halloween goodies.

pumpkin sourdough loaf

If neither decorating or baking are your thing you might want to consider dying your hair a nice shade of pumpkin pie spice. Shown here: Ginger.

beautiful mass of ginger hair

So let’s get going, time’s a wasting.

P.S. I’m doing OK; will provide a more detailed “systems update” later this week.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

All The Lives We’ve Ever Lived…

All the lives we’ve ever lived

and all the lives to be

are full of trees and changing leaves.

Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse.

autumn leaves

 

The Autumn Equinox arrives at 9:04 p.m. EDT today:12 hours of day, 12 hours of night, earth in balance, if only briefly.

 

lempire-des-lumi_C3_A8res_jpgL'Empire des Lumières - Magritte

 

The greens of summer acquiesce to autumn’s exuberance. Flowers stop blooming, trees drop their leaves and then everything falls into a deep slumber until reawakened come spring.

 

bridge to autumn

“Notice that Autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Autumn is a marker of the inevitable change and loss that are essential for renewal. Indeed:

 

All the lives we’ve ever lived

and all the lives to be

are full of trees and changing leaves.

Friday, September 16, 2022

TGIF

And time to thank the MOTI, again, for your kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity. This unbelievable flower arrangement arrived Tuesday to brighten my week. And it has surely done that.

last sept flowers

As you can see it is filled with botanicals that fairly shout “autumn is coming” - leaves of bronze and cordovan, coral and orange tinged roses and dahlias and purple Queen Ann’s lace. I’ve run out of words to describe their beautiful countenance and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

This week and next was/is filled with a lot of appointments and procedures that wear me out so they are especially appreciated. I also greatly appreciate all the lovely cards and notes you’ve sent to cheer me on. So please, carry on the conversation in these insane times.

where insane people go

And may God bless and keep you all.

Friday, September 9, 2022

The Last of the Greatest Generation’s Leaders Checks Out

Despite the fact that royalty is an anachronism, Elizabeth was a remarkable Queen for 70 years.

paddington and queen elizabeth

RIP Ma’am. Your work is done and it’s time to head home. Your son’s turn to try to save the world, and good luck with that you Green Weenie. “The Queen is dead, long live The King!” Or not, as the Good Lord sees fit.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Summer’s Last Hurrah

beach stairs

Embrace it and let it sustain you through the winter.

Of course workers aren’t what they used to be… 

pizza staff shortages

Nor is Labor Day. It is now just a holiday that marks the end of summer and back-to-school with parades, picnics, barbecues and fireworks. Big Labor ‘representatives’ hauling down big salaries will still give big speeches tomorrow in support of their Democrat advocates while giving lip service to the working man. But they no longer represent their interests of employees, having managed to exploit the working man to their benefit as effectively as any robber baron ever could.

May you enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend.

Friday, August 26, 2022

A Post-Birthday Bonus Post

hammock at sunset

"I never see the dawn...that I don't say to myself perhaps...perhaps today." – John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer

Thank you, everyone. I am still sorting through all of yesterday’s posted birthday wishes and prayers as well as the stack of birthday cards and gifts that arrived via snail mail. I am overwhelmed but appreciative of such an outpouring of good will and wishes on the occasion of my 73rd anniversary of life.

I enjoyed a quiet, reflective day at home. An early morning physical therapy session left me a bit more drained than usual so I napped and opted to postpone a planned dinner outing in favor of a simpler repast of leftovers on the deck, as the threatened rain failed to make a showing. It was relaxing and comforting and a great way to wrap up a lovely day. Raj made me a confetti birthday cake which we enjoyed while noting that the days have indeed grown shorter and summer, as always, is a fleeting pleasure to be embraced and relished.

I awoke feeling much more energetic this morning. So perhaps we’ll go out for an early bird dinner celebration tonight.

peaceful sunset sailboat

Every sunset promises that everything will be alright when next we wake; every sunrise offers hope that is the case. 

Again, sincere thanks to all for brightening my day yesterday, it is both appreciated and treasured.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Got Blueberries?

Blueberries are in high season around here. And since my PT is helping with my mobility Raj and I went to the farmer’s market this week and got some (a lot) blueberries. So after blueberry pancakes and blueberry compote, what to do with the rest? How about this snacking cake, it’s delicious and quite easy: I made it myself (well ok, Raj gathered all the ingredients and did the cleanup; but almost myself).

easy-mixed-berry-snacking-cake

Recipe link

You can use any type of berry or fruit. I’m partial to straight blueberries but you do you. Since peaches are also in high season I might try them this week.

Easy Mixed Berry Snacking Cake

Ingredients 
  • Cooking spray or butter for the pan
  • 2/3 cup mild olive oil or mild vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed (I used half light/half dark as my light was pale as White Privilege
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cups buttermilk or whole milk (I used whole)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup of your favorite fresh berries (halved if using larger berries such as strawberries) dried with a paper towel ( I used more berries – at least a cup and a half, maybe 2, in order to cover the entire top with them; baking might take a few minutes longer with the extra berries)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar for sprinkling (I used  demerara sugar  which I happened to have  but I think a light sprinkling of brown or even white sugar would suffice)
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving optional
Directions 
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).

  • Spray an 8-by-8-by-2-inch (20-by-20-by-5-cm) cake pan with non-stick cooking spray or coat with softened butter. Line with parchment paper. (I used a 9-by-9 and skipped the parchment)    

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugars, and vanilla. Add the egg, and then the yolk, whisking after each. Whisk in the buttermilk.

  • Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of parchment (a bowl works just fine), and using the parchment as a funnel, add the dry ingredients to the wet in three installments, folding with a flexible spatula after each, just to incorporate. Don't overmix.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

  • Sprinkle the top of the cake with the berries and then with the turbinado sugar.

  • Transfer the cake to the oven and bake, rotating the pan after 20 minutes, until a tester inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs, 40 to 50 minutes. (With the extra berries I think mine took most of the 50 minutes)

  • Let the cake cool to room temperature before dusting with confectioners’ sugar and serving right from the pan. Add a dollop of freshly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired. The cake will keep wrapped in plastic wrap for three days on the counter - and some claim it gets better with age.

I didn’t bother with confectioner’s sugar, whipped cream or ice cream.  It really doesn’t need it but I’m sure they would all be good.

So get yourselves some berries. I am led to believe they are as good for you as they are good.

blackberries-blueberries-farmers-market-29088248

Also, from this time last year, I’m again you try something crazy like this Blueberry Corn (also in high season) Salad from Market Madness because it’s easy and quite delicious. Makes an interesting side dish. Recipe here.

blueberry corn salad

I sincerely hope you all have a glorious week, filled with sunshine and fresh produce.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

You Can Always Refill

Good Morning Mighty Warriors.

Once again I thank you for yesterday’s delivery of beautiful flowers, compliments of the MOTI.

Screenshot 2022-08-14 flowers zon Cloud

This batch features the same gorgeous orange roses that were in the last arrangement. I think they may be the ‘Tahitian Sunset’ variety – or a close relative – featured in last week’s post. This time they’re teamed with orange and red zinnias to make a truly lovely Tahitian punch. The pictures don’t do the arrangement justice.

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But trust me, they’re stunningly beautiful, as always.

On the health front: appointment with the oncologist last week. Cleared me to resume the chemo/immuno-therapies (yay and boo) so I had another infusion on Thursday and am still dragging a bit. He seemed pleased with the MRI (showed significant shrinkage of tumors) and scan results (no new suspicious spots) so treatment  continues as planned.

I’ve tried to retire my little-miss-‘the-glass-is-half-empty’ proclivity for something a bit more optimistic at the behest of Raj.

glass half full

Why rely on your perhaps mistaken perception when objective reality serves you better? Besides, you can always refill the glass.

refill2

If not with water, then with air. It’s all good.

Thank you all, again, for the support and prayers; and may you have a wonderful week.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

In The Infamous Words Of Rosana Rosana Dana, “It’s Always Something”

A perfect rose

Last week didn’t start off on a  rosy note. I received a call from my oncologist’s office Monday morning telling me that I needed to go the emergency room, stat. They had found a pulmonary embolism in my lung on a routine  CT scan I’d had on Friday to evaluate the chemo/cancer progress. Not good, as I know many of you know from first hand experience. Scary and dangerous.   

Normally they would start a blood thinner immediately but due to my brain bleeds/tumors they needed a MRI before doing so. Even in the hospital system which operates their MRI machine 24/7 you have to wait for such things due to the high number of potential stroke victims presenting in the ER (I eventually got mine Tuesday at 2:30 am). I did get another scan to compare to Friday’s, and EKG as heart damage is common with this condition and an ultrasound of my legs. Each trip to radiology revealed more and more people lying on gurneys in the hall waiting for either an ER room or a hospital room admission.

Until the ultrasound results came back the docs and my oncology team were discussing alternate treatments as they thought blood thinners may prove to be too dangerous.  However the ultrasound indicated multiple DVTs in my legs so they admitted me and started a Heparin IV drip before the MRI results as the threat of additional blood clots breaking off and migrating to a much more dangerous area was a greater threat at the moment. I was admitted at 11:00 pm Monday, 12 hours after arriving at the ER, dripped until Wednesday evening at which time I was determined to have reached a “therapeutic” level of blood thinner. I was released and sent home with oral blood thinners which will be a permanent addition to my drug protocol. I was happy to relinquish my room to some poor soul still lying on a stretcher in a hallway somewhere .     

I was initially told that the clot could have caused heart damage due to the excess pressure it placed on the heart, but they seem to have determined that was not the case, thankfully. Once again, I owe a huge thank you to everyone here who has been soliciting the Good Lord on my behalf. I am truly grateful, thankful and blessed for your continuing prayers.

grateful thankful blessed

I will be meeting with my oncologist team this week, to review all test results and hopefully be cleared to resume my chemo therapy which was suspended due to the blood clot – although I’ll admit I don’t mind the respite.

So with last week’s sunset finally in the rearview mirror

sunset in rear view mirror

although the atmosphere retains a degree of turbulence

sun in the waves

      but the landscape is assuredly a bit rosier at the start of this new week.

rose (Rosa 'Tahitian Sunset')

That’s all the news from Lake Woebegone for now. I apologize for being out of the loop but at this point have neither the energy or desire to stay on top of all that is happening in the world at large. Thank you again for your loyal support, caring wishes and prayers.