Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The best part

...of a party in the neighborhood is having each neighbor hug you and say how happy they are to see (me) doing so well, andofcourse the other best part would be not thinking about Certain Things for an entire evening, except for occasional mentions of my fond hope that 2010 fades swiftly in my rear view mirror.

Happy new year, y'all.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Yeah, THAT mess

Someone? Shovel this off? Please? But don't touch those cookies.

A fine mess

It's been a while since I worked at my art table, what with birthdays in our family being stacked in September, October, and November.

If you're familiar with Tim Holtz, who designs for Ranger (a company that sells stamps, inks and other products), this is a variation on his 12 tags of Christmas project. The trees are wood but the main tag is made of Tim's "grunge paper" - it doesn't tear, and it takes things like acrylic or crackle paint, ink, and mod podge glue and doesn't just crumble.

Now I have to clean up the mess...


Well it's Christmas afternoon, and I must say it's weird not to have 500 things to do.

I'm working at my art table. These need a lot more but I'm having fun. Except I really don't think I stirred my crackle paint enough. Oopsie.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

I have been busy, but it's manageable chaos right now. My gifts are wrapped, cookies are baked, and I braved the supermarket for what I need for brunch on Saturday.

I have the next five days off and there will be lots of family, food, and basketball. And at least a little wine.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the phone call from the doctor who had done my first biopsy. Not happy memories. After googling "invasive lobular carcinoma" that day, I read a phrase something like "x percent of patients live five years" and sobbed. It's not long enough. I wouldn't be able to see my kids graduate from college or get married or have THEIR kids, if that's all I had. So I crumbled, alone in my house. A whole state away, my sister woke from a sound sleep after her night shift and called me.

Last Christmas eve I cried while I sang at mass. I was frightened and I could see people I know holding their new grandson down below me in the pews, which broke my heart. I was trying to keep anyone from noticing me because I didn't want to ruin anyone else's holiday, which seems silly but how do you answer "merry Christmas" with "I have cancer" ?

While I was sick my children grew taller but also much more independent. Cooking. Arranging rides to their sports and other activities. So much has changed over the past year, and it's almost like some of it happened to somebody else. I try to shake the ghosts of last December off, and I do pretty well, except for at lunchtime yesterday when I was telling a couple of people I eat with now about the whole phone call and the days that followed.

I'm kind of exhausted right now, so I am going to finish up this post, but let me assure you that I will be SO happy to hang a new calendar on the wall.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

C is for

This picture only shows half of what we accomplished; it doesn't show the gluten free cookie I invented for my brother in law based on the recipe he USED to expect every year at our tree trimming party. We call them Scotchies, and they have butterscotch and white chips, pecans, and...scotch whiskey. The GFree bisquick mix has some potential- I need to tweak the recipe though. It was a little bit too far off in consistency but still tasty. It's the least I could do for one of the best brother in laws around (he got me in with the awesome medical team that managed my surgery/ chemo/ rad.)

The photo also doesn't show the two kinds of fudge I made (chocolate and a chocolate/ white combo with candy cane bits mixed in) or the almond flavored dough that is still sitting in my fridge waiting for time in the oven.

It also doesn't show the hours I spent *not* thinking about that "other c-word", cancer. Like, hours and hours - (easily the longest stretch in a year) of pure normal. I was delightfully distracted, and just baking and being in the moment with our friends and all the kids (we ended up with six kids PLUS my own two) and spending time on a Skype call with Suzy to admire her growing baby belly.

C *is* for cookie (say it with me), that's good enough for me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

NOW it feels like Christmas

The first batch of cookie dough I make every year is always this recipe. Butter, flour, sugar and walnuts. A splash of vanilla. Simple and delicious.

I don't eat many cookies during the year but my Danish recipes come out every December. Margarine just WILL NOT DO. Real butter, unsalted, to make extra sweet cookies. The best part about this particular batch is that since it contains no egg, I can sneak over to the refrigerator and break some off. Nom nom nom.

This time last year my own personal atom bomb was creeping up on me. The day I received my cancer diagnosis I had other cookie dough started; it would go from fridge to freezer to garbage can over a period of about 2-3 weeks.

I feel a little bit overwhelmed by the thought of making cookies this year. I'm not sure why; maybe a little bit of it is the extra time and effort - I still get tired fairly easily. But I know that I'm also still feeling the echoes of last year's sucker punch.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I love NY

Dear Blog, I miss having time after school waiting for the kids to get off the bus, to post to you.
I'm extra busy what with a new Tim Holtz tag every day and a new level of Angry Birds open and photo assignments I am not keeping up with (but I am keeping all the emails). I mean, I am busy with Christmas errands. Yeah right. Although I did buy a beautiful bracelet for the woman who took care of me this year, shaving my head when the chemo kicked in, and then working with it as it grew back(gray). I got kind of choked up telling the sweet sales clerk who it was for and we had a nice moment because she has had BC issues too.
Monday was a quick trip to NYC chaperoning a field trip put together by my son's awesome choir teacher. I love Times Square. We got dropped off by our cowboy hat wearing bus driver at Bryant Park. The three kids my friend and were assigned to watch went ice skating briefly at Bryant Park. Then I put on Missy's skates (you're not really supposed to do that...oops.) My karma caught up with me quickly - I took two steps out onto the ice and fell right on my butt. It was pretty funny though. I skated a little bit after that, and got a few photos of me and the kids. I was pretty camerahappy all day. Can I just tell you I hate being on a bus with a kid's movie blaring? Kthanks.
We walked towards Times Square after we skated, and some guy named AJ (Calloway?) was filming a promo for Extra. He was not bad on the eyes, I must say. They were grabbing passerby's and so two of our kids are in the crowd around him, if you saw that bit. Something about Where all the stars come out, yada yada.  He said "Nobody does it better than we do" or something like that 50x because he kept laughing. A true TWSS fan, clearly.
The primary reason for the trip was the Radio City Music Hall show and if you've never seen it, put that in your bucket list. I loved the 3D part where Santa flies around Manhattan, and the part where the Rockettes "ride a Gray Line" bus around some of the best scenes in the city. But the toy soldier routine (where the cannon fires and they fall like a line of Dominoes) is my absolute favorite.
I love you, Manhattan, I will be back soon.

Friday, December 03, 2010

At least

Now I have something to look forward to when insomnia hits...