Saturday, May 20, 2023

Good Lamentations

Good morning my lovelies.

And another huge thank you for yet another gift delivery of another fine lovelies:

20230519_122532The gray ghost in the mirror is me. 

They arrived on a cool, damp, dreary day and immediately injected warmth and happiness into an otherwise not so much that kind of place. Lemon yellow snaps, pink peonies, orange roses, pinky-orange parrot tulips and lime hydrangeas all enhanced with spring greens. You would smile too if you received them.

closeup 1

Unfortunately I have a bit of setback news that I’ve been reluctant to report. It seems that after repeated and more frequent MRIs that all 3 of my oncologists (chemo/immuno/radiation/neurosurgeon) agree that the brain ‘inflammation’ that continues to grow larger with each image is most likely new cancer growth combined with effects of the prior radiation therapy. I am experiencing concerning balance/coordination problems again and have a return of the Frankenstein feet seemingly detached from the brain. I’m taking steroids to reduce the swelling but they don’t seem to be helping with the balance issue much. They have greatly improved my TJM situation and have made chewing more feasible than it’s been for the last year, so there’s that. 

As I haven’t all the details yet I will make this brief and somewhat clinical and report back later when things are more set. We’ve met with the radiation oncologist and the neurosurgeon to discuss treatment risks and side effects, which are significant with either strategy due to the location of the tumor in a rather ‘non-rehabilitatable’ portion of the brain. So, scary, but all seem in agreement that neurosurgery to remove as much as possible is the best route at this time.

So I’m waiting to hear back from the surgeon to discuss scheduling and follow up care. I have a most excellent team of docs and couldn’t ask for any better, still…we wait, but are fine. So please, send nothing other than your prayers, exhortations,


incantations,celtic prayers

and lamentations - always, always, lamentations! The more the better.


And extra butter and jam wouldn’t hurt either.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

On The Potentially of Wings, Feathers and Croissants As Big As A House

Today’s post is a Wings and Feather Day post only in so far as an egg had the potential, at a certain point, of developing wings and feathers. It’s really about imprudent buying and consumption, a thing I’ve done much of in my life, frequently at Costco.

Ninja blenders that require more time and effort to set up and decommission than a nuclear plant, enough tissue and TP to stock a half-way house for 2 years. And of course the Costco cheesecakes, key lime pies and pecan pies large enough for a family of 20. Sure, you can portion and freeze them for future use but still…we are but 2. But one thing I’ve resisted until now, for decades, is purchasing a dozen Costco croissants. Not because I didn’t want to: the thought of a re-crisped croissant in the oven and served at breakfast with even more butter and jam appeals to my higher sense of culinary delight more than you might imagine. Which is precisely why I’ve never indulged until now when I came across this decadent masterpiece from David Leite’s Culinaria.


When Costco Gives You Croissants, Make Croque Monsieur Casserole

So yes, I finally did it. I have litte energy or stamina these days but I can still wrap baked goods for freezing and make sandwiches. Raj helped with the rest.

First I made 3 ham (Costco) and baby swiss sandwiches with a dab of mustard; Raj favors Taylor’s hot English which for some reason is no longer available anywhere in this country but as he is a great hoarder we have on hand an imported supply that will last us at least 2 lifetimes, possibly 4. I heated one sandwich in the oven and we split it for lunch; you can do that the croissants are as large as Big Foot’s slippers. It was quite good.

The other three I put in the frig for the next day at which point I sort of made David’s casserole only smaller. I cut my sandwiches in fourths placed them in 2 smallish ramekins, and covered them to soak a couple hours with a custard made with 2 eggs and about 3/4 milk. B├ęchamel? Two tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, cook, add I cup warm milk a flick of nutmeg and salt and whisk till smooth and cooked for 2 minutes. Throw in a generous handful of grated Gruyere cheese and mix. When cool, spoon over top of your casseroles and add more grated cheese. Place on foil lined baking pan or you will be sorry. Bake for about 50 minutes until golden brown and puffed.

2 mini croque monsieursMy mini-monsieurs

Were they good? What sort of a question is that? Of course, decadently so. Too rich for human consumption but so what?  Neither of us could eat more than a half of one but leftovers beacon for lunch, possibly with a bit of warm maple syrup this time. If feeding a crowd, use David’s recipe.

And with that I put to rest to the parable of imprudent purchasing. Simply be more prudent regarding that which you purchase imprudently. Leave the nuclear Ninjas: take the croissants.


Sunday, May 14, 2023

Because Life Doesn’t Come With a Guidebook; It Comes With a Mom

"Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall

window reflections

 A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.”


Mother’s Day already? The years tick by at an alarming rate, the universe may or may not be expanding but I know for a fact that time is accelerating. My Mom passed away shortly after Mother’s Day 14 years ago. It seems a trick, as I remember her being here – what - like yesterday?

My mother was wiser than her young strong-willed daughter once thought she was. Much wiser. And as I grew in that wisdom I realized that she remained far wiser than me for all her years. As she approached 90 she determined how she wished to deal with her modest estate – without any counsel other than her own as far as I could tell. Who was I to disagree with a woman who had navigated her life and her family of six children through an early widowhood? Did she do it perfectly? Of course not, we are but human: prone to foibles, faults and failures. Nobody gets it all right. But she did her best and hindsight would indicate she did it well. Six kids, 8 Grands, 9 Great Grands.

So thanks Mom, I pray to be as lucid, focused and wise at the end of my life as you were. And if I am, I owe it in no small part to you.

iris and sweet rocketBecause life doesn’t come with a guidebook. It comes with a Mom.