Monday, October 31, 2011

A Haunting We Will Go...

Tonight's the night. They are so excited. They've been planning it for months.  They even learned the Monster Mash and Thriller in class. Crossing our fingers it doesn't rain on their zombie parade.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Knee Bone's Connected to the What Bone?

I know better than to let my fears get the best of me. I know better than to jump on Google when it comes to medical issues. I. know. better. So why do I still do it?

I've been trying to figure this one out. Trying to figure out how I went from not thinking much about that ultrasound one minute to believing the worst the next. I usually go into routine health screenings feeling invincible. Usually. Not so in this case.

Based on our discussion, I was under the impression my doctor scheduled the ultrasound as a precaution because my dad had pancreatic cancer. I thought we were looking for signs of that disease. So when the tech was scanning the outside of my abdomen I may have asked incredulously if she could see my pancreas with it. When she laughed and told me my pancreas was actually "wayyyy up here" (practically under by my boob), I was quite confused as to why I was laying on a chair with jelly on my belly. And then, when she told me she was going to use Mr. Wand to check around inside, I was even more perplexed. What the heck is she going to learn about my pancreas in there!??! 

So when I saw that little folder next to fibroids on the monitor. And remembered later that night that my mom's whole disease started with fibroids. I freaked.


Thank God.

Yes. The nurse called me this morning to say the ultrasound look fine. When I asked about fibroids she said there was nothing on the report about that. At all.

So here I sit. Still perplexed about what that test was really for. But grateful for the outcome. And my new sunglasses. They went really well with my outfit today.

Don't worry. I didn't even look at the monitor this time. I was too busy wincing from the vice attached to my boobs. But this time I promise to stay away from Google.

What Am I Going to be When I Grow Up?
  1. ultrasound tech
  2. radiologist
  3. anatomy teacher

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Nothing Says I Love You Better Than Apple Bundt Cake Recipe

Sorry to be such a drama mama. I hesitated to even post yesterday, but when something is on my mind I need to get it out. Writing has always been a way to heal for me. I don't like to actually talk about these things. "Oh, by the way, here's my bad news..." Just doesn't feel right. The words get stuck in my throat. And with BSD still gone (along with his single suitcase), and accessible only intermittently via email, it didn't seem fair to dump these thoughts on him either.

So, a great big thank you to those who took the time to comment or sent a positive thought my way. I appreciated every single one of them. You were right. I needed to pull my head out of it. And out of Google. I'm still waiting to hear, but in the meantime, it will be no news is good news. I wish I could have each of you over for a drink, a cup of tea, a Diet Coke. Or how about some cake? Cake always makes me feel better.

But since that's not possible, I'll share the recipe instead. It's a winner. *pinky promise* Even the ballerinas and their friends loved it. Kids who were expecting chocolate cake with white icing out of the can when I said cake. Not apple cake. "ewwww..."

Seriously, it couldn't be more moist. More comforting. More Fall. Make it for someone you love.

Nothing Says I Love You Better Than Apple Bundt Cake
Serves 10-12
For the cake:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (or sub 1/2 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups diced raw peeled cooking apples (about 5 small/med apples)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional, I didn't use them.)
2 eggs, lightly beaten

For the glaze:
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar (original recipe called for 1 cup. I cut it way down.)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Peel and dice apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Into a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and soda. Add remaining cake ingredients and stir together until well-blended. Spread into a greased* and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 350F for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. (Only took 55 minutes in my oven.)

For the topping, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the remaining ingredients, stirring constantly, cooking for about a minute. When cake comes out of the oven, pour topping over hot cake, make sure it drizzle down the sides. Don't let it just pool on top. (I only used about half of the glaze on mine.) Let rest in pan for 30 minutes to one hour before removing from pan.

Note...The cake batter will be crazy thick and lumpy, but it will cook. Promise. I used a non-stick pan. Just dusted with flour. Came out pretty well. A few small chunks popped off when flipping it, but not enough to warrant adding extra grease.

Friday, October 21, 2011

$25,000 Sunglasses

It's been an emotional week. Had my yearly gyn appointment. Brought up the fact that both of my parents died of cancer. Wonderful, caring, diligent doctor scheduled me for an ultrasound because of this. I didn't think much of it.

I peeked at the monitor as the tech marked certain areas. And appeared to be measuring them. I may have even joked about letting me know if she finds a heartbeat while she's wanding around in there. I didn't think much of it.

As I was putting on my clothes I studied the computer screen. I tried to figure out if there was anything on there. I noticed the little folder icons next to certain words. And the absence of folders next to others. There was a folder next to "fibroids." I didn't think much of it.

I went to my book club meeting immediately after. We talked about the art of the apology. I brought up a painful situation that happened with the LB back in Kindergarten. Talking about it. In front of a group of women I barely knew. Reduced me to tears. I didn't think much of it.

That night I got on the computer. I started googling fibroids. And that's when I found it. And remembered.

About 50% of women have fibroids. Fibroids are benign tumors in almost all women. But in a very few cases they are really leiomyosarcomas. A rare form of cancer. The cancer that just took my mom's life in January.

I haven't heard anything from my doctor yet. I have no idea if I do indeed have fibroids. Or if it's LMS. But in case I do I am prepared.

I bought myself a pair of sunglasses. Even though I already have a perfectly good pair. I've never had more than one pair of sunglasses at a time. It never even crossed my mind to have more than one pair. Until I got a glimpse into Camille Grammar and Rachel Zoe's closets.

I figured if the news is bad. I could use a few extra pair of sunnies to cheer me up. And to hide the tears.

$25,000 sunglasses? Not exactly. More like $25 sunglasses. But today. They are priceless.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pink Hearts

It's getting to be that time again. People are starting to think about their Christmas cards. People OTHER than me, that is. I'm more of a last minute kind of girl.

So for the past two Sundays I've had the chance to play photographer with my friends' families. Shooting my own family is one thing. But shooting someone else's adds a whole new level of stress. Will they like it? Does my vision match their vision? And how can I get them to do what I want when I can't yell at them like I can my own peeps?

I'll update you with the details after I've shared all the photos with the families. But I just have to share these two now. Not exactly Christmas card pictures, but umm....the pink hearts? LOVE!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Queen Bees and Wannabes...

Many of you asked me about the book I'm reading.  Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman.

I have to chuckle.  Here's why...

9am Thursday, October 6th. Phone call with my friend, "M" ends with...

M: Hey, I'm going to book club today at 11am. Would you like to come? We're reading Queen Bees & Wannabes. Have you heard of it?

Me: Oh yeah! I think I've seen that one! A book club? How fun! But I haven't read the book.

M: That's OK. We're only reading two chapters at a time. We're only on the 3rd and 4th chapters. 

Me: hmm...oh. Wow. I've never heard of a book club that meets AS you read the book. So do you pick a new book each month? 

M: Well...we haven't gotten that far yet. We're really just reading this one. 

Me: Oh. This sounds interesting. I've always wanted to be part of a book club. (visions of women and cocktails and snacks dancing around in my head) How great that you meet during the day. (Wow! These women really know how to live it up while their kids are at school!) I'm in!

And that is how I found myself reading a book subtitled "Helping your daughter survive cliques, boyfriends, and the new reality of Girl World" before I go to sleep at night. And facing sticky situations that are surely headed my way. Without the help of cocktails. Or snacks. To wash it down with. 

From the little I've read so far. And the discussions I've now sat in on. I need help. I am not ready. I need to pull my head out of the sand. I need the remedial group to read this book with. To discuss these topics with. To hold my hand. The one without the cocktail in it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ten on Ten: October 2011

Oh, Ten on Ten. How I love thee. I'm always pleasantly surprised at the end of the day when I look back over my photos. My Ten on Ten days are usually very routine. Very ordinary. But this challenge forces me to pay attention to the little details. Something I wish I was more in tune with every day.

Typical Monday here. With the exception of a sick visit to the doctor. Luckily, it was just a virus. And the doctor said it's A-OK to send your kid to school with a fever. Just so long as it's under 100.5. Whoohooo!

Ten on Ten. Ten pictures. Over ten hours. On the tenth of the month.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Boo-Ya! 2011...

We were a little late getting our Boo on this October. But it's done. And it was fun. Mostly for the Big Ballerina. Cake decorating is really her thing. Me not so much.

She has so much patience for this. Me? One cake pop falls over and I'm ready to throw the whole project in the trash. But BB could do it all day. Who cares if she knows the difference between a Pueblo, a Sioux or an Iroquois? I don't think Cake Boss uses that info on a daily basis.

The Little Ballerina, on the other hand, is more like me. She gets excited by the idea of the project. Starts off strong.

Starts eating more of the ingredients than using them. Watches for a while.

And then moves on to more interesting activities.

Finally, after three rounds of Eddie Veder's Ukulele Songs, the eyeballs...

and the ear wax was finally done.

We were worried it would be too gross to eat. So we asked LB to test one out for us. She took one bite.

And before we could finish asking her how it was. Poof!

I just hope the recipients are as fearless as she is.

What about you? Do you Boo? Want to start? Check out more ideas here.

What Am I Going to be When I Grow Up?
17. Cake Decorator

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Big Red Pot: Probably Not A Blue Ribbon Chili Recipe. But a good one.

There's something about this time of the year. All I want to do is eat. I think it's the weather. My body goes into some kind of self-preservation mode. My brain starts sending out the signal to make blubber. "Keep a layer of fat. You need to survive the winter that's headed your way." Maybe I'm part Inuit?

The problem? BSD is not here. I have nobody to feed me. I wasn't kidding when I said I could eat cereal for dinner if I wanted to. I can. And I do. But mostly it's because I'm too lazy to cook for myself. So after a week of eating crap...

It was time to drag out The Big Red Pot. 

I tried a new chili recipe. It's good. It has some unusual ingredients like cinnamon sticks and cloves. Is it THE BEST ever? No. But it's good. And with a few extra spices it could probably be REALLY good. For now I'm just grateful I have a fridge full of real food to eat for the next week. Sorry. I have no photos. But I will include the recipe. Because really. It is good. And it's easy.

We're supposed to have a Chili Cook-off with our neighbors. I can play around with this recipe, but I'm kind of hoping maybe one of you out there has a killer chili recipe to share? I'll give you full credit if I win. Pinky promise.

Probably Not A Blue Ribbon Chili Recipe. But a good one.
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 chile pepper, chopped (this may be why mine isn't prize-winning? I omitted this.)
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped (I used a 28oz. can ground peeled tomatoes plus a can of diced tomatoes.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 40oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  1. In your big red pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute onion, chile pepper and garlic until soft. Add ground beef: cook and stir until meat is browned.
  2. Pour in tomatoes with liquid, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika, cinnamon stick and cloves*. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. 
  3. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves. Stir in kidney beans, and cook another 15 minutes. Serve. I like mine over cornbread or brown rice.
* I put the cinnamon stick and cloves in a little tea ball to keep them from getting lost. I was really hesitant about these ingredients so I wanted to be able to take them out easily and quickly if I thought they tasted yuck. I actually liked the flavor, but I did take them out before adding the beans rather than leaving them in til the end as the original recipe was written.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Surf Chicks

I know it's October, but there are still those two summer events that I have yet to document. I really need to get them posted before I can move onto pumpkins and sweaters and boots. If you're completely over swimsuits and sunshine, I apologize upfront for this annoying reminder.

This summer BSD resurrected his surf camp. When the neighborhood kids were all younger, BSD took them out in pairs and taught them all to surf.  This was the group in 2005. Just to give you a bit of perspective, the boy directly behind BSD holding the board is now a senior in high school. Boy, how time flies!

The boys above are now all very proficient surfers. So this year surf camp was just BB and her friend, S.

Surf camp always starts off early in the morning with a nutritious breakfast.

So that campers are strong enough to carry their own board.

They learn to survey the ocean to decide if it's safe to go out.

Some days the waves just don't cooperate.

And some days they do.

This year the girls were able to paddle into their own waves without help from BSD. 

So now there can be more days like this.

Yes. Both BB and her friend, S earned their diplomas. They are officially "Surf Chicks" now. And to celebrate we ended the week with a sunset dinner on the beach.

The Big Ballerina may have earned her diploma. But we still have one more ballerina to go. Somehow I don't think it will be long now though.