Sunday, September 26, 2010


In a minor burst of insanity I offered to make a cake for a woman I know. I have sung with her for a few years in my choir, and we now work in the same company. This little guy will be on her baby shower cake, along with a fire truck. The cake will be a book shape, and also have a Tonka fire truck character named Chuck. (J is responsible for project work on some of the firefighter training units)

He needs a face. I need a cake board. And a box. And I need to not volunteer quite so much, perhaps.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I'll be sitting on my porch tomorrow... with streamers falling all round.

The party's over

Yipeeeee!!! Waaaaay too much pizza. Whatever.

Let them eat pizza

I have three large 24 cut pizzas and about a dozen teenagers here. I believe more of them are coming after the soccer game, but don't care much either way.

The cake is done; the colors are completely accidental but she likes them. The B-1-6 was Suzy's idea for B's sixteenth.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Another reason I love my job

Every day I empty this candy dish and they always fill it right back up. I love candy corn. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I be makin' brownies for me lad's birthday in the morn.

Yep. I've finally snapped.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cleverly disguised

I went from salt and pepper hair to blonde, a couple of weeks ago. I didn't really like the washed out way my "it came back gray" hair made me look.

I'm kind of mourning the girl I used to be. She had spiky straight-ish reddish brown hair that people would compliment every so often (random strangers would tell me they loved my hair) and she never left the house in glasses. She had a salaried job, with five weeks paid vacation. She hated the job, but really. Five weeks. Bank holidays too. That's a post for some other insomnia party.

A consistent minefield (of course minefields are the most unpredictable thing... So is 'consistent minefield' an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp?) for me since the chemo took my hair lies in not recognizing myself in the mirror.

The wig was pretty. But it didn't look quite like my hair used to. Kinda longer, different shade, I had skipped a hair appointment. But I didn't see myself in it all that much. Because when I was home, I was so much more comfortable (in the physical sense) without anything on my head.

But it's jarring to see yourself with no hair and think "that's me... I don't recognize me..." so that was four months worth of angst. And that was just the bald days, which were followed by Stubble Summer.

The blonde was an attempt to ease my way back in the direction I want to "head" ( hey, sorry for the puns, it's three something a.m.)

Which brings me to this week, with two school open houses. And me bumping into two sets of friends from those two school communities, 80% of whom didn't really know I was sick.

I have to mention, it has been wonderful getting hugs from loving friends - especially from the 20%, who knew what was going on, and are delighted to see me out and about and consistently say I look great. And I feel like I resemble a healthy person again.

But people don't recognize me. Especially from behind. I have short soft downy blonde curls. And glasses. Beautiful kate spade glasses, dramatic brown frames that most people have never seen me in.

So several times over at both schools I had to do the "yes, it's me... I know, the glasses... And my hair is finally growing back from the chemo...." (elaboration varies depending on face in front of me and includes some level of "I'm Fine" reporting as well, especially for people new to this topic)

This often is followed by the other person finding it nearly impossible not to stroke my soft blonde curls. Oddly enough I'm ok with that, and even slightly tilt my head, which is all the encouragement some people need.

So that helps, because I can laugh about some of this madness.

I want to see ME in the mirror and photos. Not this pleasant stranger with the shell shocked look in her eyes that I seem to see in every photo, no matter how many I take of myself.

I just want to feel like me again.

Monday, September 20, 2010

And if the elevator tries to break you down

Please enjoy my Top Ten Things I am Tired Of,  while I listen to Prince talking about getting through this thing called Life...

My damn nose that won't stop bleeding once a day. Bloody

Opening every drawer, cabinet, closet, etc and finding things that don't belong there, that got stashed while I was sick. Clutter.

My nails breaking off due to chemo. Still. They're about 80% grown out and sooo close but it's making me nuts. My big stupid big toe has been hurting for 3 days now. Split, Peel, and Crack is not just a rock band. Nails.

Feeling too tired to run. Not having time to run. Being embarrassed that I"m not really going to do the Komen run when I said I would. Feeling like a flop even though I'm just not physically up to it. So, running.

My achy breaky neck from my suddenly craptastic feather pillow, my aching shoulder blades from lifting 75 cans of soda, my aching shoulder from piping 500 blades of grass on my kid's birthday cake.  Achy

My stomach that is wonky from gall bladder removal adhesions and chemo and tamoxifen. Belly
Dancing with the Stars is starting... but with that stupid Palin kid and The Situation.   Sweet Monkey shit, tell me when both of them are gone.  Dance

My glasses that I can't see with , can't see without, don't sit straight on my face anymore... aaaagh! Going to eye doctor tomorrow so I can SEE.   Sea?

My fridge's icemaker decided to get stuck on "open faucet" yesterday... I opened the door and WAVES of water came out at me... four beach towels full. Thank god I wanted a cold drink just then.   Waves.

CYO basketball is also starting... which means Carly home alone every weekend trying to do all the housework/laundry/groceries ... this is the last year... this is the last year... serenity now.

So to review, bloody clutter nails running achy belly dance sea waves. Serenity now.

Or,    Go Crazy. Punch a higher floor.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall fell

It's 50*. Time for hot tea, heated car seats, fall colors on the trees and on my nails, crisp bright blue skies... Can't we keep this, and forget winter?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sweet time

Waiting to feel normal again is hard.

Going blonde helped me emotionally, I was so discouraged whenever I saw a mirror and looked at my washed out, gray reflection. I don't quite recognize Blondie as me, but she is better than Granny. I kind of feel now that I don't look "sick" anymore to someone who doesn't really know me. I don't notice being stared at when I am in public anymore.

But little things like I can't lift a carton of soda cans without seriously trying hard... The daily nosebleeds, still, and the heartburn from tamoxifen...

They Suck. Poetic but true.

It is very hard to wait for your body to do what you want it to. I'm not running regularly because walking makes me winded and gives me leg cramps. So fabulous. But I keep trying; hopefully I will build up some strength.

All in good time.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Quitting time

This is really it. Sorry about my bloggoreah tonight. I made a little makeup case that may or may not make it on the cake...


In a post below, you will find two pictures ... I swear I  had all this text in it!!!

The cake  is obviously professionally made (it's by and I saw it on the Cake Wrecks blog). 

It did inspire me to do something along the same lines for my daughter. The second photo is my work from this afternoon and I am happy to say it's going pretty well. 

I really need Suzy for the piping that will make these pieces truly look like makeup - she will do a much better job on the lettering. I can't wait to see her - she's coming to visit soon. 

Tonight I plan to make a few brushes and maybe a makeup bag. We will see how ambitious I get. 

(I should post the mess on my kitchen table too....)

Almost done

Getting tired; made a couple of lipsticks that need a little bit of refinement.

Brusha brusha

(This photo was taken on my iPhone with ProCamera, which lets me adjust for my nonexistent flash...)

Here are the brushes for the cake. I started everything with two boxes of Wilton ready to use fondant. One is "natural colors" - light &dark brown, peach and black. The other was the pastel multipack with pink, blue, yellow & green. I marbled gel color into the blue (delphinium blue from the garden colors). I also have a bunch of pearl dust powders that I use to add some of the deeper colors on the pink/ blue / green etc, and some silver and a pearl one for shimmer.

By the way, rolled fondant tastes like crap. It's a weird sugary dough but not in a good sense. Just being honest. (Although my friend Poly makes her own, I believe, and I'm sure that tastes much better.) It's great fun to play with though.

Sunday art - sweet sixteen prep

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Love, not hate

When I saw this picture on my friend's blog I felt the familiar wistful sadness. It's 9/11...

But this image was before all of the terror and chaos, and the immediate aftermath of the towers falling - the deathly silence with nothing but chirping locator alarms of hundreds of firefighters, seen in the movie documentary of that day, filmed by two terrified French photographers/ brothers who started the morning with a completely different project. Before Rudy's press conference statement that 'we will take care of all of the children whose parents don't come home tonight' which finally brought me from silent shock to sobbing, in front of my children no less.

On the day of this photo, people went to work and went home. Home to lovers or elderly parents or loneliness, home to make plans for exciting vacations or to worry about paying the bills. To doctors, to have prenatal care or cancer treatments or root canals. To church, to bars, to schools to prepare for a future they didn't have.

Nine years ago, but it seems like a lifetime.

All because of hate. If only the people of this world would stop hating each other for who we are, what we believe, how we live and love, and what kind of god we do or don't believe in.

If only some of these so called religious people filling the news nowadays truly WERE religious and acted out of love, not hate, so many things could be different. But so many people learned nothing at all on 9/11.

Today, show love, not hate, in all that you do.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


The cooking demo tonight was Mediterranean cooking - the polenta with gorgonzola cheese was my hands down favorite. (I swear I considered stealing seconds...) It was served with a salad that had fennel and lemon; there was also a lamb stew, chicken with vegetables cooked in parchment, zuchini, and then peach crisp... Yum. I don't know if I will sleep tonight. But worth it. And it almost makes up for those four rounds of chemo when I ate chicken soup, and chicken soup, and chicken soup.

The guy next to me has been to Eric Ripert's restaurant in NYC and had the tasting menu. As he was describing it, that went on my "bucket list".

As I was saying

Before I was so rudely interrupted by work (software installed much quicker than I thought it would) I was going to mention that tonight I'm headed to a cooking class / demo. I can't remember WHAT kind of cooking(all hail, chemo brain) but I remember thinking it sounded delicious when my sister in law invited me. Film at 11, as they say.

I have taken great pains not to over- volunteer at my son's school this year, so I should have time to work on my own projects. Those would include a cookie book my daughter got at a culinary school she visited this summer (with the same sister in law, while I was sick). B and I are going to try new cookie recipes on a hopefully regular basis. I am working on slowly teaching my kids to cook.

It's a new school year here in upstate NY. What are your goals for something you'd like to learn in the coming months?

Back to school

Feeling excited about life again. Art, cooking, singing.

I was bummed out over the weekend about summer being over, but now today I feel very different. I'm excited for the big chunk of free time I have this weekend to sit at my art table and listen to whatever music I want.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Sentiment and lobsters

I had to buy the lobster rubber stamp in Hyannis. Yes I did. Ok, I did not. But it came in handy for the thank you note that goes with the picture frame gift I created the other day.

I used one of my favorite pictures from the trip on the front of the card. The strip of burlap across the bottom of the card is perhaps random but looks better in hand than in this photo

Inside I thanked her and tried to convey what I blogged about with the photo of the beach/waves - that this trip helped me to stop thinking about doctors 24/7 and feel more 'normal' again.

(I know - "C, you were never normal")

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sunday art

This is for the woman who loaned us her cottage for a few days last month in a lovely quiet part of Cape Cod.

I cleaned off my art table last night - we are having a family party today. My daughter has cleaned so much this week that she was wondering if she had wicked stepsisters that he didn't know about. I believe I actually sang "the prince is giving a ball" to her at one point.

My delightful neighbors (the ones who had a mattress against the back of their house one whole winter) we screaming and shouting at each other yesterday. You're an effing moron and your an effing a-h..... Really nice. At one point he bellowed "I don't care if the neighbors hear me!". You're right dipstick, we already dislike you, it doesn't matter. Please move.

At any rate cleaning up for OUR party allowed me to also have room on my desk to get this done. I am so horribly far behind on scrapbooking. Most of my photos for the second half of 2009 are not even printed.... Oh well. Plenty to do this winter. Plus I have paint and beads and plenty of other stuff to do on my nice clean desk.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A little secret

I bought a Keurig single serving coffee maker and we like it. It's fun. My son has been making iced coffees - future barista in college??

But it's crazy. Those fancy little plastic K-cups must be full of gourmet coffee grounds right? Full of instant coffee. Or tea. But with this you can use real coffee grinds or loose tea leaves...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Can't do it

One of the things cancer gave me was a knock on the head while it said "stop trying to do everything yourself and quit nitpicking how other people do things".

It started early on, after my first surgery when I could barely move my arms because of the lymph node biopsies. Someone sent us tons of great food and so we had friends over to help us eat so that it wouldn't go to waste. (Seriously, SO much food.) Later, one guy loaded the dishwasher - not in the prissy neat way I favored, with plates sorted out into tidy, neatly aligned zones.

He crammed so much stuff into that dishwasher, I thought he might have to nail it shut.

I quietly died, sitting there watching. Made mental notes to rewash things the next day. Except...

Of course everything was spotless.

I am reminded of that day because I am letting my kids do more for me these days. I'm trying to let them keep being the capable helpers they were while I was sick. Letting go and letting them grow up... So not easy.