--I was able to visit with a great blogging friend and her family.
We had only met once before, at a wedding reception. This time, it was at a Regency ball. I was leader of the dances and Carpebanana and her family were dancing for the first time.
She is a good friend with a lot of wise thoughts and thoughtfulness. We were shy with each other--sometimes it's easier to talk through email than in person--but I was super thrilled, and I'm sure she was too!
I am officially done with cancer treatment! It hasn't "sunk in" yet, as the next months still contain many many medical tests and appointments (physical therapy, cardiologist, orthopedist, etc. etc.). But at least driving every day for radiation therapy is finished.
Years ago when my husband and I lived in Buffalo, New York, there was (and still is) a big Polish Catholic tradition of purchasing butter in the shape of a lamb for your Easter celebration.
I don't ban the bunnies, but I feel a lot happier with a few lambs and crosses around my house, especially at this time of the year. Those sorts of things are getting more difficult to find nowadays on account of having to make store shelf room for the camouflage plastic eggs and the Barbie tin pails that someone out there feels is a MUST-HAVE for your modern egg hunt (I have to admit that those little rubber duckies they have this year are adorable!).
So when we lived in Buffalo, I joyously bought my butter lamb every year. When we left Buffalo, I was very sad to have no more. So I make my own now.
Some people make a "wooly" lamb by making the butter all squiggly through a garlic press, but I just use a plastic mold that you might buy for making chocolate lambs. I have 2 kinds: one has a front and a back that makes a whole lamb, and the other is for chocolate lollipops--the front of a lamb without a back.
You can purchase a whole lamb mold at a baking supplies shop or at the Polish Art Center.
Here's how to make a butter lamb!
1. Using clean hands or the tip of a table knife, press semi-firm butter into the molds. Keep looking on the front-side as you're pressing, to make sure you get the air bubbles out.
2. Scrape the back-sides level, wipe off the excess around the edges, and attach the two sides together.
3. Put in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
4. Carefully take the lamb out of the mold. Using a knife and/or paper towel, trim the excess off the seams.
5. Traditionally, peppercorns are used for the eyes; I melt a few chocolate chips and use a toothpick to paint the eyes.
6. Traditionally, the lamb has a bow or sash, and a toothpick flag with a red cross is placed in his back. I usually put a red or purple ribbon bow on mine, using melted chocolate to attach it.
May you have a blessed Easter, Friends!
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." ~~Isaiah 53:6
I just spent 5 unexpected days in the hospital, having gone to the local emergency room with chest pains and shortness of breath. Because I am a cancer patient, I was transferred by ambulance to Magee Hospital in Pittsburgh, where I got such excellent care, had millions of tests, and was determined to have either pleurisy or pericarditis--or both (inflammation of the lining of the lungs and/or heart). I am home now, but will have continued issues for a week or so.
I had to stop radiation therapy for while; when I start next week, it will be a little past the deadline for when protocol says I should have radiation therapy.
It is very disappointing. But I continually come back to the understanding that God is a loving God who has a loving plan for each of us, even if we don't understand it right now.
I have a semi-quote stuck to the computer from a radio preacher who was talking about Joshua and Jericho, and how totally unnerving it would be to do a helpless thing like march around the city, blowing trumpets--when they all knew the Jericho folks were powerful and strong and scary, and who knows what they were planning to do to the Israelites? But the preacher said God's perspective was totally different:
Meanwhile, let me try to share a funny story from the hospital. It might be one of those "you had to be there" to see the humor in it:
On the second day, they needed to do a lot of testing on my heart, which required no food or drink--a very silly thing for a sick hospital patient, let me tell you. So starting at midnight, I did not have anything but pain medications through my IV. And as hospitals go, my turn at the heart center became later and later.... I asked and received pain medication at the right time, but it wasn't enough, and as I went through the testing, the pain built and built until I was in a very bad way indeed.
When I was returned to my room at 3 PM, I could barely speak, but with tears running down my face, I managed to gasp "Acute.....pain" to my nurse.
She was so good. She whipped out pain meds, hot packs, put me on IV, called the cafeteria for food, and got me all set within minutes. Oh, the relief! Oh, the happiness! Of course, it was so strong I literally couldn't see correctly and hardly knew my name, but who cared? I had suffered strongly and come out of it. Nothing could have been worse, but it was over now.
My food came. I was very content. I began to eat.....and was now going to vomit!!
When the nurse came walking by, she expected to see a calmed patient happily eating a meal; instead, she found a wild-eyed woman holding a wash basin gasping for control! The look on her face was priceless. Now she whipped out anti-nausea meds and damp washcloths and got everything calmed down again.
This was the place where we both laughed: just when you think the worst is over, it goes downhill even more. Apparently there is always room for "worst."
Update: Because of my "triple negative" breast cancer diagnosis, I will need radiation therapy even though I've already done chemo and mastectomy. Radiation should start in a week or so, continuing every day till May.
Tomorrow I'm going to church, for the first time in a very long time. This morning I began to be worried about remembering who sent me a card (that I might thank them when we meet), but then I realized that every single family sent me a card or a gift or a meal. Everyone.
Isn't. That. Amazing.
And how incredibly encouraging, overwhelming, and encouraging that is, too.
I've kept every card.
The WORDS on the outside & inside are what counts. Things like:
* Thinking of you and lifting you up to our loving Father. * I think about you a lot. * Hugs. * I am sitting here thinking of you today. * Your testimony of peace and trust in Our Loving Savior is a blessing to all of us. * I know God is with you every step of your cancer journey. * "I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." ~Isaiah 49
* You're in my prayers. You're in my prayers. You're in my prayers.
* Thinking of you. Thinking of you. Thinking of you.
But cousin Adele REALLY kissed a moose antler, and it wasn't pretty.
When we left Anchorage to start our land tour, we boarded the Wilderness Express train to go north.
Our cruise company (Celebrity, owned by Royal Carribbean) had private cars with a restaurant on the lower deck and huge windows on the upper. It allowed us to walk during the trip, to look for moose and bear, and to learn a lot of info about Alaska from our tour guide.
Tom & his wife Rita
Our firststop was in the small town of Talkeetna. It's often advertised as being like the town of Cicely in television's Northern Exposure. Broad streets, quaint buildings, VERY low-profile and quiet.
Although 50 miles from Denali, it is the starting place for climbers, who fly in to Base Camp. Talkeetna has a small museum that talks about the history of climbing...and also a cemetery that honors some of those who have lost their lives. At least six men have died on the mountain this year.
The shuttle bus dropped us off at the town, and we were off! The very veryfirst tourist shop had a cute decorative garden of gravel, flowers, and several moose antlers laying there, and when Adele walked past this lovely decor, she slipped and fell! FLAT ON HER FACE, wham! Down!
Of all the impossible things to happen, her face hit a moose antler, and the point of the antler went INSIDE her mouth and punctured the inside of her cheek!
Did you ever hear of such a thing?!
It was large enough to be concerned about, and so a doctor was consulted, but they decided to leave it untouched. The whole side of her face was bruised for the rest of the trip.
But you have to admit, there's a lot of humor to be found in it too. Of course we were concerned about her, but it was hard not to laugh as well. I imagine the doctor did--and went off to add it to the book he's going to write some day, called My Crazy Adventure with Tourists in Alaska. Meanwhile, Adele got a lot of "ribbing" about moose every day.