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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Master Bedroom Suite

I’m picking up a headboard and two end tables which will be utilized as night stands. I did some shopping on eBay to find the perfect mid-century furniture that matches the teak & cane high-boy inherited from my father-in-law, Connie. This will change our master bedroom into my bedroom, two years after Paul died in that room.
I never thought I would be one of those women. The lady that sits in the same pew every Sunday. Pale blue suit purchased in the previous century.  Life dances in her eyes and every song sung without a hymnal as each is memorized from a lifetime of worship. Her wedding band still on her left ring finger.
A woman like Grandma Dwyer that attended church, kept her house, praised God and the good man who died decades ago. Did not drink, fool around, date, swear, or be anything other than a lady.  Grandma passed away in her nineties with her husband still in her heart and on her lips.
No. I never thought I would be one of those—a widow that remained true to a memory.   
Today’s Menu:
Breakfast: ½ c Rasin Bran w/ blackberries and almond milk.  Coffee with agave syrup and almond milk.
Snack: Homemade trail mix with tons of raw nuts, dried cranberries, and candied ginger.
Lunch: Wonderful Portabella mushroom sandwich at Cornerstone Restaurant, J Street Sacramento.
Snack: Fresh blackberries and peanut butter.

Dinner: Pho noodles with left over Tofu skin, sprouted mung beans & flax seeds 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Paul's Stuff

Saturday I started the epic task of going through my-dearly-departed husband’s stuff. A good chunk went to family and friends already. Clothes donated to the Salvation Army. The remaining stuff consisted of things he squirreled away over his lifetime. Most of it I had packed and repacked in our five moves and not yet unpacked from the last.
Two boxes hold every stuffed animal he received since birth to high school graduation. The collection of plush Moose (his nickname) decorates the bookcases in the outbuilding called the dungeon. Five Christmas ornament boxes hold every plastic model airplane, he ever glued. Books, model kits, magazines, thousands of photographs mostly of race cars, souvenirs, every letter anyone ever sent him, disks—computer and music, machine oil, craft paints, brushes drafting pens, slide rules, helmet, sunglasses, and stuff.
The room also holds my books, Champagne glasses from our wedding, and his father’s stuff. I open a letter and read Paul’s moment in time. Hold a book and remember he read aloud a paragraph to me. Many things came from his pre-Pam past but that was only eighteen years. The rest represents our life together.
This is the reason it took me two years to start this process.
There are little piles of stuff all over my kitchen. A pile for his brother, one for his sister, his uncle, my nephew, charity, and a category I like to call I-just-don’t-know. The two recycle bins are full as well as the garbage can.
Mom stopped by and was forced to take a load of books.
Today’s Menu:
Sunday I went to church then took Mom to her Art Reception in Placerville. On the way back, we ate diner food that is not on my diet. Lemon Meringue Pie finished the calorie orgy.  

I should feel bad about the splurge but I don’t.  There are no calories on Sunday. That’s the truth. It’s in the Bible—Genesis, I think.

Friday, August 23, 2013


I caught ten minutes of Dr. Oz today, looking for the weather.  He had some dude named Chris Powell on the show. Mr. Powell said one should take his or her current weight and multiply that number by twelve. The product or total is the number of calories that you can eat per day and maintain your weight. More calories you eat above that number the more you gain. The less you lose. By my calculations, I can eat a Twinkie before each meal and still lose weight. Yeah, I’m that fat and skeptical.
I flipped to the news before that particular fairytale took hold of my diet-racked brain. I do have empirical evidence that Mr. Powell is off the mark by +/- 800 calories.
Does anyone watch Dr. Oz? I am not a good judge of what is popular on television. I am limited in my genre—Antiques Roadshow, any movies rated G, old Brit films, Sunday CNN (madly in love with Fareed Zakaria’s brain), The Daily Show, and Jewelry TV.
Dr. Oz seems (to me) to be a snake oil salesman. The kind of person that sells a product based on the revenue generated rather than the actual merits of the product. I could be mistaken about Dr. Oz. I doubt if I have ever seen more than fifteen minutes of his show. For those who like him, my apologies.
My husband watched the show when he was heavily medicated along with Ghost Hunters and Shark Week. Every time I walked into the living room, Dr. Oz’s show touted the best diet along with the author of that program. If every day the show presents a great diet program and its been on air since 2009, how many great diets would that be? Seventy? One Hundred? More? Then shouldn’t any old diet do?
I find that kind of help not helpful.
Today’s Menu:
Breakfast: ½ c Rasin Bran w/ Banana and almond milk.  I made my coffee but forgot to pour it into a cup.
Mid-morning Meltdown: Emergency stop at Starbucks for a Grande Soy Vanilla (2 pump) Latte. Whew! They say anything that is addicting will allow the sellers to put long product labels on it. Then people will ask for it by name and wait in long lines to get it. Like Camel Non-filters Box, Godiva Pineapple Hummingbird Truffle, and In & Out Lemontini.  It’s a human thing.
Lunch: Picked up Chinese food at Ranch 99 Market, Franklin Boulevard. Shared it with Mom, her dog, and mine.  Chow Mein, Chicken Legs (Mom), Pork Ribs (dogs), Mixed Veg, and Tofu skin.
BTW all that was $17. That place is cheap and good.
Snack: Fresh strawberries blended with Almond milk.
Dinner: Stir fry mix of leftover tofu skin & mix veg, with garlic, ginger, mini corn, fresh mushrooms, sprouted mung beans, and oyster sauce.
Blog snack: figs, pecans, and candied ginger.
I skipped the Twinkies.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I have naturally curly hair.  Yesterday I didn’t and today I do.
Rewind a year ago, I sat in a conference room with eight other women in various stages of cancer. All of us meeting for the first and last time to listen to a nurse explain what we will face as a cancer patient.  The patter stayed lively and bright as each PowerPoint slide depicted the possible treatments with inevitable side affects we would face. Skin lesions, vomiting, death, surgery, diarrhea, fractures, and so on, covered in some detail. We looked at the floor or the walls to avoid eye contact with anyone. This was personal…until she mentioned hair.
A collective gasp echoed through the group. One lady asked over and over and over whether her hair would fall out. The not-so-patient nurse explained that it depended on which of the chemo combinations you were given. A woman that wore the tell-tale knit cap said that this would be her third fight with cancer.  Each time her hair fell out. The nurse quickly stated that not all would have the same results. The oldest woman in the room leaned in and said, “Why wouldn’t you just shave your head?” More gasps. I thought her solution brilliant.
I waited till after my first chemo. The next morning, I showered and a clump of hair came off in my hand. Sicken by the sight—I quickly threw up, dressed, and drove down to Super Cuts. There I spent ten minutes arguing with the young Asian hair dresser that I really wanted my head shaved. Finally a man in the next chair, told her to just do it. She listened to the man.
That was a year ago.  Throughout the process, the medical professionals said my hair would probably come back darker, thicker and curly.  The opposite had been true until this morning.
I dried my hair after a shower and soft curls appeared all over my head.  Yesterday no curls. Today curls. Does that make sense to anyone? Like everything else in the cancer process, accept and move forward. Amen.
Today’s Menu:
Breakfast: Coffee with Agave nectar and almond milk. ½ c Rasin Bran w/ Blueberries and almond milk.
Lunch: All you can eat buffet at Tokyo on Greenback. Fish egg sushi, Seaweed salad, marinated mushrooms, banana, watermelon, sponge cake, apple slice, and an upset tummy.
Snack: 8 red vines. More upset tummy. Save me from buffets. I was full with the plate of Seaweed.
Dinner: Homemade sprouted mung beans, sprouted golden flax seed, ½ c noodles, red marinara sauce, warmed and combined.

Blog snack: raw carrots

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Today's Menu

Of course I’m on a diet. I’m an American woman. After a long spell of comfort food to offset the trauma of chemotherapy and to humor my collection of cancer specific medical providers, I am trying to get back to my raw vegan diet. This diet is also recommended by the post-cancer nutritionist. My cancer, though stress created, finds its roots in our SAD Standard America Diet—full of animal proteins—the link to breast cancer in the USA. 
I’m not having much luck sticking with the diet as I no longer have my husband as my reason, inspiration, or life coach. The chance of not getting cancer again by sticking with the diet, does not seem to motive me. It should but doesn't.  I am sporadic at best, trending toward fits of chocolate and French fries. Not really off the diet but not getting the weight off.
So here is today’s transgressions:
Breakfast: Coffee with Agave nectar and almond milk.
Church Social: Prunes, 3 Ritz crackers, Decaf with milk
Lunch: Jack-in-the-Box Southwest Chicken Salad—NO Croutons and the chicken went to Dex my dog.
Snack: Figs I picked up off the ground at Church, a tomato, a plum
Dinner: Homemade sprouted bean soup, soy bean crackers, an apple
            Actually that doesn't look so bad. I did eat 3 cups of bean soup when one would have done.  Notice the milk and coffee are still sneaking into the diet. Both have got to go. 

Oh I just remembered the French fries with ketchup.  Here I was feeling pretty proud of myself.

Wedding day February 12, 1994

You and I are two small remnants of the same
Old soul
Shredded by God for the eighth day 
Today we share the differences that make 
Our flesh
Settle now for passion, a glimpse
Of ecstasy
Tomorrow we gather all lost fragments and

Written for our wedding day. I read it to Paul at our reception.
Kept it hidden until now.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I float inside my
Grief-colored bubble
I read Mark 10
Cannot pray

Sing Dante’s Prayer
And remember you
Bubble grows small
Will not weep

This night you come back
Your fingers touch mine
With God all is
At last—sleep

This poem was published in 2012 in Inspire Christian Writers Anthology.