Thursday, December 30, 2010


I spent almost 5 hours at the dentist today. I was supposed to get a night guard (since I grind my teeth at night) and get the prep work done for my new crown. I figured all in all it would take 1 hour, maybe 1 hour 15 minutes. Instead, nothing went right and I was there until after the place closed. The tooth that needs to be crowned was just not cooperating. First, the dentist insisted on taking out the filling the endodontist had put in and refilled it, all the while remarking, "Wow, they really filled this." Then dentist and his assistant (I do not know her proper title) prepped the tooth for the new crown and made the impression that would be sent to the lab which will make the permanent crown. Then they made a temporary crown, but it broke. Eventually, after making 4 temporary crowns, all of which either didn't fit or broke or both, they realized they would have to re-prep the tooth and start again.

The dentist had to change the size and shape of the tooth, which meant the entire impression for the permanent crown had to be done again. Then another temporary crown was made (number 5), but it would not come off the tooth (it has to be the right size for your bite, so it has to be drilled/sanded down to fit into your mouth correctly). The assistant eventually gave up in frustration and I had to wait for the dentist to come back (because, of course, my appointment was taking way too long and he had other patients to see, so he had to work around the other people also!). He got it off, but only by breaking it, so a sixth one had to be made. Of course, in order to make sure this one would come off, he had to do a whole lot of clean up and prep work to make sure the tooth was in proper shape. He did so and this time it worked! The temporary crown is properly seated on my tooth.

I arrived home almost 4 hours later than I thought I would, having completely missed a visit from some friends who came by for a couple of hours. But it was not all bad. The people taking care of me were very nice and determined to do a good job. I feel confident that my new permanent crown will be more comfortable than the last one and I hope that it won't come off all the time like the last one did!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Today, in between watching my son open presents and play with them, I made more cookies. Yesterday I made sugar cookies, which the captains decorated with sugar before they went in the oven. This afternoon I baked them, then glazed them (simple mixture of confectioner's sugar, milk, and vanilla extract), then dropped sugar and sprinkles on them. Well, actually Captain Adorable did most of the sugar sprinkling. It was easier to decorate this way; they came out just like I had hoped.

Later in the evening I made apricot-raspberry rugelach. Here's the dough before being refrigerated. I made it the day before yesterday (it has to refrigerate overnight but can be kept for a few days before being rolled out.

The filling: first spread on seedless raspberry preserves, then put on a mixture of chopped apricots,  walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon.

Once the filling is in place, cut round into 12 pieces (I cut into quarters, then cut those into 3 pieces each.) Roll up from the outside edge.

The little pastry all rolled up.  Pastries laid out on cookie sheet ready for the oven; here you can see that some have been brushed with milk and coated with a cinnamon-sugar mix.

The rugelach are on the cooling racks, fresh from the oven.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holidays With Friends

I have been blessed to be surrounded by old and new friends for the past two days and during the next week I will get to hang out with friends and family several times. Such fun to share these festivities together! So joyful to see our children grow, to share the now while sharing past moments. Ahhhhhh.

Mall traffic I can do without, however. :) I am not going there again till January!!!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I have been baking cookies. A lot of cookies. I've baked sugar cookies, hermits, currant-and-walnut rugelach, apricot-raspberry rugelach, and chewy molasses spice cookies. That's 19 dozen. And yet there are currently only 3 dozen in the house. Why? Well, there are 3 cookie monsters living in this house, plus I keep sending them off to be consumed by others. Captain Obvious took the first batch of rugelach (4 dozen of the currant-and-walnut) to his office; I gave away 2 dozen to Captain Adorable's preschool teachers, and sent a box with sugar cookies, hermits, and apricot-raspberry rugelach undisclosed location (they'll find out soon enough, won't they, why ruin the surprise?), so about 3 dozen in all. Let's not discuss where the other 7 dozen went...OMG we ate 7 dozen cookies??? I've got to stop baking...but I can't stop...not yet! My sweet MIL has requested some apricot-raspberry rugelach, so I have to make some for her and probably some more sugar cookies as well.

Captain Adorable has helped in the kitchen an awful lot! Of course, who can complain when helping means measuring ingredients, using power tools (power mixer yeah baby), and unrestricted access to sugar and more sugar?

Here are some pics. I can't add captions to the sugar cookie making pics, but you can see pretty easily what they are and hopefully they don't really need explanation.
Hermits just out of the oven.

Hermits cut and ready to send off!

Rolling out the sugar cookie dough.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Treatment Options

I have chosen to use many types of treatment options for my illnesses throughout my life. I've had great success with homeopathic and natural remedies. I've used acupuncture, Feldenkrais, and aromatherapy with positive results. In fact, for more run-of-the-mill illness I've had much more success with those treatments than with allopathic medicine. I also truly believe in the power of diet and exercise. (Though I have not always followed these beliefs, because, well, sometimes we're all hypocrites aren't we?)

So, why have I chosen to use strictly allopathic medicine to treat my cancer? Well, maybe I am just not educated about the success rates of non-allopathic medicine for cancer treatment, or maybe I am jaded, having heard about the various theories about evil companies who want you to be sick so that they can make money off your illness for years, or maybe, well, maybe because I believe in science and scientific method.

Here's a comic that explains what I mean.

I love xkcd.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Just A Tap

I had quite a busy morning. First I had to get Capt. Adorable and myself dressed and fed and out the door in time to drop him off at school. Once I dropped him off I had to rush to get to my next appointment (more about that in another blog post). I was eager to get there because I was looking forward to seeing a friend there. I had to leave 15 minutes early, though, because I had to rush off to an endodontist appointment for a root canal re-do. The endodontist visit was pretty painless and the happy dentist amused me by humming and even singing along to the carols on the radio in the office. It was also quick; I arrived at the office at 10:02 and walked out at 10:44. It was much quicker than I expected, so I suddenly had some time to fill. I decided to go to the mall (just across the street) and read my book over coffee. Then I realised I couldn't drink coffee with my numb face, plus I had a lot of time, so I decided to try on some jeans. It was pretty fun.

By the time I left the mall at 11:30, there was snow covering the parking lot. In fact, there was already a fender bender there in the mall parking lot. I knew it was slippery and decided to drive carefully. It was indeed quite slippery and I heard and felt the anti-lock brakes come on a couple of times while driving to the preschool. On the way home, again driving slowly and cautiously, I had to stop at the bottom of a little hill where there was already a car stopped at a red light. I slowed down, then cautiously applied the brakes. The anti-lock came on but the car did not stop. I felt panic rising in my body. I could not stop and there was no where to go. I knew that I was going to hit the car in front of me. And then I did.

Fortunately it was just a tap. Captain Adorable was perfectly fine of course. The driver pulled up a little and we both got out. There was not even a mark on either car. I said I was sorry, that I could not stop and just slid down the hill. He said not to worry about it, that there was no damage and that he had done the same thing. We got back in our cars and when the light turned green we drove off.

I drove extra carefully all the way home and saw several other bump along the way (we're talking 5-6 miles total). We saw 3 snow plow/sand trucks on our way home, thank goodness. I considered stopping at the grocery store but did not because, well, I was scared of the trouble I could find in the parking lot and eager to get myself and my child out of danger. Tomorrow is my usual grocery day so I hope the roads get cleared tonight. Thank you, snow plow drivers!

Then at home I had to somehow shovel the driveway. I had no idea what to do because I know I cannot. Maybe over the course of several days, but that kinda defeats the point, no? Fortunately the snow was all powder and there was only about 2 inches (or less) on the ground. Captain Obvious advised me (by phone from San Francisco) to use the leaf blower. Thank goodness Capt. Adorable knew where everything was and helped me get set up. Once I was ready to start I noticed a neighbor down the street doing the exact same thing. It took a long time but the job got done!

Christmas Tree

I grew up celebrating Hanukkah, and Captain Obvious grew up celebrating Christmas (though neither of us considers her/himself a member of any major religion). So, you saw the photos from our Hanukkah celebration this year and now it is time for photos of our Christmas tree.

I'll give you two of decorating the tree and two that Captain Adorable took.

Several times a day, Capt. Adorable will sit back and declare "the tree is so beautiful." He is clearly enjoying it quite a bit and I love to see him appreciate and enjoy. It is quite nice: more elaborate than we've ever done before. Captain Adorable also enjoys the task of watering the tree every morning and faithfully reminds me each day. It has snowed twice at our house so far this winter (the second time being today) and Capt. Adorable gets very excited about the snow, because it is snow, and also because he thinks snow means it is Christmas (I guess I've let him watch that Barney Christmas special a time or two too many!). Usually he says, "Mommy! It is snowing! Is it Christmas Eve?"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cooking At Preschool

Today I went to preschool with Captain Adorable. It was wonderful. I was really pleased with the peaceful, calm atmosphere, the loving, kind, encouraging teacher, and the explorations of the children. My child was feeling happy and confident and that made me more happy than anything but that kind of goes without saying, n'est pas? He was truly pleased to have me at school with him.

I cooked the Carrot Pennies recipe published in Pretend Soup by Mollie Katzen. The kids seemed to have fun adding the ingredients to the pan and then went off to play while it cooked (really just making the sauce in the pan because the carrots were pre-steamed at home the night before). When the dish was ready (carrot slices, butter, brown sugar, a little lemon, a little salt, and a little water) I served it to an enthusiastic crowd. Unfortunately they didn't all like it! They all tried it and a couple of them ate it all up (including one little darling who stayed at the table behind all the others to finish her plate). Of course one of the haters was my child. Ah well. I'm going to sign up to go to school again and next time I'll make muffins. :D

Monday, December 13, 2010

Preschool Tomorrow!

I'm going to preschool tomorrow! I'm very excited to join my little love at his school for part of the morning. I am going to go outside with the class for their morning play, then come inside and lead them in a cooking project (found a nice recipe in Pretend Soup). He's so excited about it that he was still awake at 9:30 this evening, which is when I finally became aware he was out of bed and hiding in the hall when he should have been in bed, sigh.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ice Skating

Captain Adorable went ice skating for the first time on Dec. 8, 2010. His Oma and Opa took him. Captain Obvious and I were at the hospital or else we would have been there too. I got to go with him soon after. I certainly don't skate fast but it is fun to glide around on the ice! Especially because I see it through my son's eyes; all exciting and new. He uses one of those skating supports that children can hang on to and push around the ice while learning to skate and runs across the ice (dangerous since he goes fast but does not really know what he is doing). My mom said that the first day he went around the perimeter, holding on to the wall with one hand and a grandparent with the other and I got him to do that with me as well, which I liked because it was nice and slow. Such fun!


While my parents were visiting Captain Obvious and I took advantage of my dad's carrying powers and my mom's distraction powers (to help little man stay out of the proceedings) and rearranged some furniture. We had discussed several little changes and one series of big changes several times, and we got to put them all into existence in the same afternoon. Big change! Makes me happy because it opens up a room so much and makes the house feel a big bigger.

Now I have to decide if I want to attempt painting 2 small breakfronts (hutch plus cabinet) or just going with the current honey oak/maple look they've currently got going. Once that's decided, I can move those cabinets into place and bring the bookcases (currently in the dining room) out to the family room. And then I can finally unpack books. I have missed my books over the past year; I am eager to get them back for good. Nice how rearranging things makes such a big impact.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Photos From Hanukkah

Here are a few photos from this year's Hanukkah. Maybe next year we will get to celebrate with more family members (love to you sweeties in Spain and New Zealand!). Hope your Hanukkahs were wonderful too.
Candles burning on the sixth night. Baked butternut squash and fruit juice dressed up in a fancy glass in the background.

The side of the dreidel everybody wants with Hanukkah gelt (chocolate coins).

First potato latke of the evening! Mmmmmm...latkes...

The very last candle of Hanukkah 2010 is about to go out.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Good News

Yes indeed, good news. The CT scan was clear. I had a lovely night celebrating Hanukkah with my family and am now having a glass of champagne with my parents and husband. Life is so beautiful.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CT Scan Tomorrow (Wednesday)

The fact that there has been barely mention of this over the weeks leading up to now makes me think that I've been nervous for a while. I have a CT Scan tomorrow. I have not been sleeping well for 4-5 nights. I woke up Captain Obvious with my tossing and turning last night. I am nervous. And now I'm on steroids, which makes me jittery and nervous and hyper and talkative.  I take prednisone to prevent an allergic reaction since I am allergic to IV iodine, which is the dye I get injected with in addition to the one I drink for the CT scan.

This afternoon I was stuck in a traffic jam. Seeing as I was trying to get home to cook dinner for my parents, son, and husband, I was rather unhappy. This was just at the beginning of sunset, so the sky is darkening and I see such beautiful colors reflected on the clouds. The moon was out too. A bright sliver of a crescent with the full circle just visible because it was a bit more luminous than the dark sky behind it. I found myself admiring the moon and sky and thinking that the darkness of the sky

Sure am glad my parents are here. Sure am glad Captain Obvious is taking the day off to go with me. Sure am glad there is another night of Hanukkah to celebrate tomorrow night.

Good Memory

Lately I've noticed several examples of Capt. Adorable's excellent memory. Or, to think of it another way, my very bad memory. (I know that chemo affected my memory while I was on it and I am convinced that I am still not back to the way I was before chemo.)

If you ask Captain Adorable to remind you of something, he will actually remind you! Or he may remember something you told him that you have forgotten (like my earlier post about the egg nog). Yesterday he really surprised me. I considered making butternut squash galette for dinner last night but decided not to after looking at the recipe and realizing that I did not have any lemon juice, nor did I feel like going to buy some. Instead I decided to just bake a squash. When Capt. Adorable asked about the galette I told him that I'd decided to wait till the next night, when Oma and Opa would be there. In the late afternoon he asked me if I needed that special juice. I had no idea what he was talking about. After a few questions I realised he was reminding me about the lemon juice I had mentioned that morning!

Another example: I was taking a shower yesterday afternoon while Capt. Adorable watched television (Dinosaur Train) downstairs in the family room. While in the shower, I heard the bathroom door open. Capt. Adorable came in and asked me for gum. I told him that we "ate it all up" already, that we had the last pieces the other day. He said no, there was still some of that gum we had on the plane. Now, the gum he was talking about was what we had on the plane on the way to Florida for Thanksgiving on November 21. I repeated aloud that it was all gone...but then remembered that yes indeed there were a couple of pieces left but I had no idea where they were and that he'd have to wait for me to get out of the shower and find them. He left. I finished my shower and was drying myself off when he reappeared, hauling my heavy purse with him. A light bulb went off in my head--oh yeah, that cinnamon gum package was in the outer pocket of my purse! He was very pleased to get the gum and carried the purse away. It was back exactly where I left it when I came down.

I wonder if he will remind me to look for a CD of wolves howling and/or a DVD of a baby wolf next time we are the library. He's into wolves lately.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Hannukah!

Tonight is the fifth night of Hanukkah. So far our Hanukkah has been fraught with problems. Among the cooking trouble I've had, on the second night I started the latkes too late and then made it all worse by mistakenly thinking my food processor was broken which required me to grate the potatoes and onions by hand because I had no time to waste, seeing as I was already late getting started. The other two dishes were over cooked by the time the first batch of latkes was ready. It was a bit of a pitiful dinner, with only one parent at the table at a time. Captain Obvious cooked 90% of them and then I cooked the last few. His were better. (For an Irish boy he makes a mean latke. Oh, and falafels, too. And a great grilled pizza. Could he have been blessed with a recessive Mediteranean-cooking gene from somewhere a few generations back?)

At first, Captain Adorable was not been digging his presents. Look, there are 8 nights, so that's a lot of presents. We do one small one per night with maybe one bigger one on one night, usually towards the end. He's been expecting the stars and the moon and been getting little toys. If you know what I mean. :) He likes the gifts and has played , but is disappointed by them at the time he receives them, although he does play with them later. Ah, well. I finally decided to just tell him pretty much what the present was in store for that evening. I was trepidacious (not sure that's a word, sorry) about dropping the surprise element, but it is better this way because his expectations are more realistic and his appreciation of the gifts has become much greater.

But I have been enjoying Hanukkah with my son. I've learned some things while teaching him. Plus we've had a great time watching The Maccabeats sing Candlelight on youtube. I have a feeling I will know the thing by heart soon. 6 times today (all I would allow)! I love watching him pick out the candles for the menorah by himself. Last year I got some really beautiful candles on sale (similar to these if you are curious) and he enjoys being the one to pick out the colors and put the candles in the menorah prior to lighting them. I used be the one to pick out the candles and I loved doing that so of course I love to see my son loving the same thing.

My parents are coming on Tuesday and I am really looking forward to seeing them. I am planing two types of latkes (potato and apple) and contemplating a third (carrot latkes). I also look forward to their help in the kitchen and celebrating Hanukkah with them. Too bad we missed Sinterklaas. Next year.

By the way, I was thinking about something: in one week I called my son Shug (short for sugar of course), spoke Dutch to him, and celebrated Hanukkah. Am I just communicating my personal experience growing up the American South  with a Dutch mom and a Jewish dad? Or am I a mish-mash poseur?

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I was never all that keen on snorkeling (which I did for the first time when I was 23 or 24). I have only been a few times, both in the Florida Keys long ago and in Hawaii more recently. In Hawaii I got scared because I was so breathless and felt panicky about my ability to swim back to shore. I never went for long.

However, my dear little son, at the age of 3, not quite able to float on top of the water by himself yet, has just learned to snorkel. That life vest we bought for the boat was key for this experience. His father and his great-uncle taught him while we were in Florida celebrating Thanksgiving. Check it out!
November 24, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Egg Nod

In the grocery store this afternoon, Captain Adorable stands by the dairy case insisting that I stop shopping and listen to him. He says I promised to buy him "that stuff with sugar in it." I have no idea what he is talking about. I certainly did not promise to buy him anything with sugar. Then I remember, oh, perhaps he's talking about chocolate milk...but no, he isn't (and we just opened a container of it this morning). Then I suggest he means the low sugar juice drink I get him (not sweetened with sugar, but it is a sweet drink) but no, that's not it either and he's getting upset now. He is calmed by the fact that I am talking to him about what he wants but he is disturbed because I am turning the cart down the aisle in the other direction and he's still tugging on the handle of the dairy case.

Finally I realise that the only thing he could mean (being simultaneously sweet, located in the dairy case and not chocolate milk) is egg nog. Ah yes, now I remember that I did promise to buy egg nog! Once I suggest this, he happily agrees, "yes," nods emphatically and says, "egg nod." I put it in the cart.