Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Marathon Realness

My long run, with the L.A. Leggers, was 4 miles.  It's a "break" after last week's 5 miles before we kick up into the higher mileage.  I asked our pace group mentor how many marathons he has completed.

"25," was his confident and proud answer.
"Holy shit!" was my very eloquent response.




How does that even work?!

If I ran two marathons a year from this point forward, I would be 45 years old by the time I reached that goal.   




How does that even work?!

Then, I looked at our mentor again and figured . . . yeah, he could be early/mid forties (I'm a horrible judge of age, by the way).  He doesn't have muscles bulging from a tight shirt.  He's not loaded down with gadgets and gear.  He's running in baggy shorts and a t-shirt, some shoes that look like their fastest miles are behind them and a funky ball cap. 

As many people are, I am totally intimidated by the marathon.  It's because I picture marathon runners with tight tummies and muscular legs, long strides and the newest and spiffiest running shoes.  I picture the cover of Runner's World. 

Uh, that's not me.  I'm more Runners With Chub Rub and a Wicked Penchant for Cheese Sauce World.

This dissonance has kept from being really excited about completing a marathon, even doubtful that I could do it.  I'm certain that magic is the only thing getting my ass to 26.2.  However, running with the Leggers has been a huge help in starting to see myself as a marathon finisher.  Some of these people have completed multiple marathons and their bellies and thighs wobble just like mine.  The reason I couldn't picture myself as a finisher was because I wasn't picturing me.  I was picturing some weird collage of body parts--preferably, toned and barely glistening with sweat--crossing the finish line.  That's just not reality (so much more sweaty!), and a marathon is going to make some things really real, really quickly.

Must maintain MY marathon realness.

This is Alice B.'s marathon realness.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tabling the Matter

Here's my current view.

Flowers in the foreground.  Fruits, veggies and cookbooks in the background--my kind of landscape. 

My my, Sam, where can one find such a gorgeous view?

I'm so glad you asked.


I'm sure most of you over the age of 20 and not living in a dorm have a dining room table, so this may be a very LAME update for ya'll.  But for those of us--not naming names--that may have been living the last 7+ years without one, this is a game-changer.

When I lived in Chicago, alone, in a studio apartment, a formal dining table was not exactly a priority.  Friends coming over for dinner?  Ummm, how about we go out.  When I moved to Los Angeles, and mostly worked from home, a dining table was again not a priority because we needed the space for my office.  Meals were taken on the couch or the floor--keepin' it classy.  One of my favorite Thanksgiving dinners was had on that floor.  Who needs tables when you can have leg cramps and the danger of putting your heel in the gravy boat?

Then we moved into our bright, lovely, ocean-breeze-filled apartment and had to rethink some things.  We have more room, no need for a home office and a gaping space right off the kitchen.  What to do . . . what to do?  Being the budget-conscious duo we are, off to Craigslist we went to find the finest in second-hand furniture.

I found a few tables that were . . . fine, but not what I wanted.  The nifty twist was, I didn't really know what I wanted, and D.R.--of the As Long As I Can See the Broncos Playing school of thought--would've been happy with anything that stood upright.  It was a process of elimination: Nope, don't want that.  Nope, we don't need a table that seats 12.  Nope, Sonny Crockett called and he wants that smokey black glass table back.  Nope, I don't want a round table.  It's hard being picky while also lacking a goal.

I was walking through a furniture store to get some inspiration when I saw a dark wood, counter-height table.  Ya know, the kind they have in pubs and bars?  Winner!

Back to Craigslist . . .

A lovely woman, who is about two weeks away from giving birth to her second child, was selling one for a steal.  We hauled it away and promised to give it a good home.

We christened it with cookbooks, lunch and grocery lists.

By the way, I'm eating a California hotdog for lunch in this picture.  Get yourself some turkey dogs, nestle them into some whole wheat buns, slather them in Green Goddess dressing, and top with sprouts, carrots, cucumbers and Frank's hot sauce.  Hello deliciousness!

Growing up, my family was pretty strict about only eating in the kitchen/dining room, but I prefer the freedom to nibble and nosh in every room in the house.  Nachos on the balcony; dinner on the couch while I decide if I want to continue watching The Newsroom or not; donuts in bed; Coffee and bites of toast in the morning while I curl my hair in the bathroom; standing at the kitchen sink eating PB&J in a rolled tortilla with a glass of milk; wine at the desk while I watch yet another chunk of money fly out of my bank account for student loans.  See, all rooms in our home must be conducive to eating.  The irony does not escape me that the dining room was the last to join the party.

Wanna come over for dinner?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday's Child

I like to think I've grown and matured over my 32 years, but there are a few things that have just stuck since I was a kid.

The perfect Saturday morning will always include cooking shows.  It started with The Frugal Gourmet (before those pesky sexual assault allegations), right up to my current favorite, Kelsey's Essentials.  It used to be me sitting cross-legged on the floor in the basement not wanting to get out of my nightgown. Now, it's coffee on the couch and not wanting to put on a bra. 

I also get excited when I find pretty things with my initials.  It's not like our house is covered in the alphabet, and I don't carry monogrammed luggage.  I like stumbling upon little surprise trinkets that quietly say hey, we belong together.

Couldn't pass that up.
Isn't there some saying about a key to life is keeping one's childlike innocence?  Am I making this up?  Oh well . . . it's working for me this morning.  Done and Done.

Oh, I also still really love puns of my last name.  If my blog title didn't already give that away.

Go forth and indulge your inner child today!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hidey Ho, There Is Glaze Everywhere

Well, hello there!

I apologize for the two-month radio silence, but I gotta tell ya, kids, life is pretty frickin' sweet right now.

D.R. and I moved to a new apartment closer to my work.  We've been moving all our stuff in and organizing, but mostly we've been sitting on our balcony with glasses of wine and the ocean breeze marveling at how damn grateful we are for the new digs.  It's amazing how much happiness comes from actually liking the apartment you live in.  And don't even get me started on the dishwasher.  The love I have for the GE Nautilus is real and abiding.

Getting to know our new neighborhood has been fun.  Today, we we visited this fine Los Angeles institution.  It's only taken us 6 years to get here.

D.R.:     Should we get four donuts, two each?

Me:     Sure.

D.R:     Oooo, I might want a cream filled one.  Let's do five.

Me:     Well, with that logic, we might as well get six.

Like I said, life is pretty sweet right now folks.

Take care and Happy 4th!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gaffes and Gratitudes: The NyQuil Edition

So, my "I'm not feeling great . . . " from last week took a violent turn into "can someone please get me a new set of lungs?  These are no longer functional."

I fought through a few days at work, but Friday morning found me hovering over the coffee pot at 6:03am, hunched and mouth breathing.  I took the morning off and went back to bed.  I rolled into the office on a breeze of Mentholatum and a prayer.

My body begged for green things, vitamin-packed things, healthy and nutritious things.  I took that to mean: consume almost an entire box of Trader Joe's knock-off Oreos and--hey, why not?--a Bloody Mary.  I figured the Tabasco sauce would help sweat out some of the gunk. 

I believe I am now on the come back trail and I am all for it.  


* Going through an entire box of Kleenex during ONE day at work. 

*On that note, I am so my father's daughter: not a delicate, quiet nose blower.  Somehow, our DNA was crossed with that of a tuba.  It's always classy.

*Furthermore, always carry Kleenex in your car.  When the situation gets desperate, you may or may not reach for a pantyliner.  I refuse to believe I am the only one who has had to do this.

*The hand sanitizer that traveled across my desk for an express meeting with my eyeball.

*Hair that has reached the Dog the Bounty Hunter stage.  Haircut on Saturday.

*Almost ruined an entire pot of coffee when I reached for the cumin instead of the cinnamon.  Reading is hard when you're sick.

*The vet admitting they overcharged us by almost $300.  Wahoo, and thank you for fixing our dog.

*The two days of yoga I eeked out before surrendering to the couch.

*NyQuil.  That distinct green goblin-ey harbinger of sleep and wellness.

*A walk on the beach in the sun with an old friend.  

*The medicinal powers of oatmeal, pho, and pinot noir.

*A friend recapping a conversation she had with a co-worker where she reminded him to "bloom where you're planted."  I've been thinking about that idea for the past few days since I'm usually more of a "hey, what's going on over there and how do I make myself a part of it?" 

*Turning in our official notice to vacate our apartment.  We haven't found an apartment yet, but there's nothing like the threat of homelessness to make one discerning.  Zoiks!

*When we come home, Alice is usually standing at the window, tail wagging.  There is a specific point we must cross in the courtyard before she will leave the window and go to the door to greet us.  I've tested her.  She will not move until she's determined we are in fact coming up the stairs to see her.  Makes me happy no matter what kind of day I've had.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gaffes and Gratitudes

I'm not feeling great this evening -- sore throat, stuffy nose, and that deep chest cough that makes me sound like a barking seal.  Traveling can sometimes do a bit of a number on me. 

I will be asleep shortly, but not before . . .


*Chewing off my manicure and, later, finding little pink specs in my teeth.  Festive.

*Wrestling to reload a giant stapler at work for 45 DAMN MINUTES only to find it's as simple as dropping the staples in the back end.  Over thinking and small machinery do not a love connection make.

*Ending up with my phone in the bathroom with me, no pocket to put it in and requiring the use of both hands.  If you think you could just tuck it into your bra without it falling out and shimmying all the way down your dress and almost falling in the toilet, you'd be wrong.

*Forgetting to put my veggie burger in the fridge at work . . . and eating it anyway.  How rancid can a veggie burger get?

*Attempting to Google Dr. Pornshei's contact information for one of my doctors -- Dr. PORN-shei.  So many boobs.  I had to give up.

*Somehow having "Promiscuous Girl", Katy Perry's "Part of Me" and "On the Wings of Love" on rotation in my head for a good 4 days.

*Wearing cotton pants for a Spin class.  Unsightly sweat marks is an understatement.  Thank God my sister had a sweatshirt I could wrap around my waist.

*Having my vacation include a trip to the dump.  If ever you are feeling really good and inspired about your life, go to the dump.  It will cure that right quick.


*A Colorado night sky.  I forget there are that many stars.

*Sweet smelling alfalfa on my clothes.

*The culinary perfection that is Taco Bell's chili cheese burrito. 

*The rogue packet of Emergen-C in my purse.  Sweet ambrosia when one is not feeling well.

*Alice B.'s wiggly bum and wonky ears greeting me at the airport.  She has recovered nicely from her glitchy pancreas.

*The Valentine's Day balloon D.R. got me that's still floating in our living room.  It's flying high.  It's flying high on the wings of love.

*My 86-year-old grandmother's face and hands.  I held them a bit longer this trip, know what I mean?

*She gave me one of her mother's rings.  Isn't it beautiful?


*Returning home.  Returning to work.  Returning to L.A. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Springtime for Isla

OK, I've been taking pictures for my April Photo a Day, but they have all been promptly overshadowed by my niece, Isla.  She and I have been playing on my mom's ranch. 

Changing the water for the horses.

Making sure the fences are in good shape.

Making tumbleweed declarations from the porch swing.

Giving love and pep talks to the horses.

Making sure those trees are sturdy.

Taking giggle breaks.

Contemplating life . . . and tulips.

Fitting things inside of other things.

And the hardest part of the morning . . .

 . . . moving the wood pile.

See, 2-year olds are very handy on ranches.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gaffes & Gratitudes: Birthday Edition

It's my birthday, folks.  I have continued the tradition of traveling for my birthday that I started when I was 30.  This year, I am with my family in Colorado.

Tonight we had wine, pasta, roasted broccoli, salad and Boston cream pie.  Never been a big fan of Boston cream pie, but it looked delicious in the bakery case with the inch of fudgey chocolate frosting on top.  I was not wrong.  It will make a delicious breakfast tomorrow.

While the gaffes have been plentiful over the last couple of weeks, I feel that I should revel in the gratitudes today.  Some days I feel so much older than I really am -- that too much "life" has been packed into these three measly decades.  But, I am grateful for the perspective and the wisdom, and I know they will serve me and hold me up as I continue to walk this life.


  • "The Humpty Dance" in my car on a sunny morning drive to work.  Digital Underground may not have stood the test of time, but you can't deny it's a damn catchy tune.
  • The perfect bag of oranges from Trader Joe's.  Seriously, every orange was delicious.
  •  The return of Joan Holloway, her amazing dresses and the hips that fill them out.  Go on, girl!
  • Real cookbooks, with bent pages and cooking splatters.  Just not the same on a Kindle.
  • Salads that don't have the tough, yucky lettuce stems in them; it's rabbit food.  Keep it out of my Caesar.
  • My first Orange Bang.   I think I had diabetes for 10 minutes after consumption, but it tasted like an orange creamsicle and laughter.
  • Walton Goggins on Justified.  Don't think I'll ever root for a backwoods, religiously conservative, neo-Natzy, criminal mind the way I do for him.  
  • The note from our neighbor admitting she hit our car as she pulled into the parking garage.  Bonus for being honest and forthcoming.  Double bonus that our car is so beat up, we couldn't tell where the damage was.
  • Finally figuring out what's been up with Alice B.'s belly this past week (pancreatitis) and having pet insurance to make sure she gets the treatment she needs.  Without it, there may have ceased being a Beefus.
  • That D.R. was a rock when the vet explained how a dog is treated for pancreatitits while I just sobbed.  I don't do well when animals are in pain. 
  • An evening of (too much) wine and early birthday presents around a familiar and loving dining room table after a tough week.  New baking dishes will always set you right again.  Is that just me?  Weird.
  • The mountains of Colorado.  Every time I come back, my soul is stirred a bit.  I love California, but I am tied to this land, for sure.  
  • The familiar and comforting feeling of driving a large dirty truck with mud on the tires and utility gloves on the dash.  You can take the girl out of the 4x4 . . .  
  • This sweet little sleeping face.  Kinda want to smooch those rosy cheeks all day long. 
A rare moment of stillness to snap a quick iPhone pic. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cancer Cardboard

More blood tests.

Every three months, for a year, I've got a date with a needle.  Last time was more drama than I thought I could handle.  But, the results were well worth it.

Last Monday, I saw my surgeon again.  When I had my first surgery, my surgeon (different dude) followed up with me one time to make sure my incision was healing well then passed my care over to an endocrinologist; I never saw him again.  My current surgeon does not operate--(heh heh, BOOM!)--this way.  I saw him a couple weeks after surgery so he could admire his handy work (he graciously cleaned up and straightened out my scar a bit), then he said he wanted to see me again in three months because he wants to be accountable for the work he's done.   

Accountability?  What?  Could you repeat that into my good ear? 

So, he gazed at me for about 45 seconds, palpated my scar and my neck, and asked how I was feeling on my new hormone dosage.  I told him I was feeling well, minus the intermittent pain I am experiencing on the right side of my neck.  He said it was normal to feel some pain and discomfort within the first year as the scar tissue settles and resettles.  I was relieved because some of the pains knock my logic straight into Sweet Jesus, I'm Dying! territory.  Pain is never a welcome thing, even less so when all I want to hear for the next 9 months is "your blood tests are normal" and "your scans are clean".  Settling scar tissue I can handle; a third recurrence and I will wreck some shit.

All in all, he was pleased with my progress and noted that January was my last round of blood tests.  Ugh, I knew what was coming.  I took his orders to the lab downstairs and winced as the lab tech stuck me with as much finesse as a drunken second grader.  OUCH!

Then, a week of waiting.

These waiting weeks always make me feel a bit off.  I feel like a child wearing a costume made of a large cardboard box, like a robot.  Remember those?  It's not a heavy feeling, but a hollow lightness that fits awkwardly.  I feel like I'm rattling and bumbling about, and I have to pause and pivot my whole body before starting in a different direction.  I feel like I lose the fluidity of motion, of thought.  I feel like I'm running after the much cooler kids in much cooler costumes yelling, "Wait up, guys!  I'll be there just as soon as I figure out how to maneuver this!"

Maneuver worry.

Maneuver cancer.

Maneuver life.

Aren't we all trying to figure that one out?

Thank the 8-pound baby Jesus, the results did come back in a week.  Thyroglobulin is still undetectable and my TSH level is down where we need it to be.  All good news, kids.  Wahoo!

So, my shoulders are straighter, my steps a bit more fluid, and the cancer cardboard box has been put away for another three months.  My birthday is next Monday, and I am once again excited and grateful that I have earned the year.  As Oriah, the author of The Invitation, says, "I don't want to know how old you are.  Your age tells me how long you have lasted but not what you have made of the precious time you have been given.  Lasting, enduring, is not enough."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Photo A Day, Week #1

Ugh, to apartment hunting.  Ugh, I say!  

That's what we've been doing for most of the week.  When we're not apartment hunting, I'm pestering D.R. with hypotheticals and What If's about moving and finances.  I'm weighing pros and cons and figuring out bus schedules to UCLA.  What's D.R. doing?  Saying things like, "I will be happy where ever you are happy."

Awwwwwwwwwwwww.  Luuuurve.

But seriously, dishwasher or central air?

You think about it while looking at my photo results from last week.  

Colour:  bushes outside my office.  California really does know how to do the color green.  

Mail:  weekly reminder of all the things I want to steal from Sur La Table.

Someone who makes you happy:  Ina Garten.  Just once I'd love to see her hairstyle change--maybe just part it on the other side?--but this woman's kitchen is my holy ground.
Tiny:  Eiffel Tower necklace from my mother-out-law.  Look, it even shimmers like the real thing does at night.

Lunch:  Oh, it looks so healthy, doesn't it?  Especially with that bag of cherry tomatoes on the left.  You should know that the bag of oatmeal cookies is not in this picture because I had eaten them prior to this lunch. 
Shadow:  my favorite photo of the week. 
Inside your wallet:  All the bits and slips of paper I've collected over the years:  quotations, pictures, love notes, my dad's business card.  They even have that funky wallet smell. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gaffes and Gratitudes

Still cultivating that gratitude . . . with the gaffes right on my tail.

  • Buying a tub of Trader Joe's peanut butter cups for "special treats" and "to share" and "to use for baking".  Then, D.R. and I blacked out.  We woke up with fistfuls of pleated brown wrappers.  You can prove nothing. 
  • Being of the age when the number of glasses of wine consumed directly correlates to the number of hours napped.
  • Having my boss call me out on a word I've been misusing for--oh, about a decade.  I tried arguing my logic . . . with my boss . . . the M.D. with a matching Ph.D.  I lost.  Proud of my college education that day.
  • Failing to wash my face or brush my teeth for three nights in a row.  Not great for my skin or teeth, but at least D.R. had a vision to wake up to. 
  • The moment I realize my contribution to the conversation ended about 7.5 seconds ago.  Now I'm hovering . . . j u u u u u u u u s t  hovering.  It happens more times than I'd like to admit. 
  • My pantyhose waistband rolling down and violently unleashing the Belly Beast.  It's never not sexy.

  • The rainy early morning run that filled me with peace and accomplishment and left no room for frustration in my day.
  • The lovely friend that challenges me and makes me ask myself Is that all you can do?  As Gina Barreca says, "Lorelei Lee got it wrong in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: It's not diamonds that are a girl's best friend, but your best friends who are your diamonds.  It's your best friends who are supremely resilient, made under pressure, and of astonishing value.  They're everlasting; they can cut glass."   
  • When I can extend my washed hair 2-3 days.  It may be funky but those up-dos hold really well.
  • Seeing my "site visits" number go up.  Thanks for reading, peeps!
  • D.R. bringing me flowers . . . because it's Tuesday.
  • Having two different conversations with married men who spoke so highly of their wives -- as partners, as professionals, as mothers.  We need more of these men in the world.  We need our daughters around these men so they know what a real man looks and sounds like.  
  • That my dad still finds ways to show he's hanging out with me . . . watching over me.
  • Fence hunting at the dog park. 
    Puppy butts.

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

    A Project To Save This April's Fool

    As if the Unemployment/Cancer combo wasn't enough in 2011, I also had to pay taxes this year.





    I've drowned my sorrows in a giant cupcake and a giant bubble bath.  I'm now in a pruney sugar-crashed state of relaxation.

    I have two choices:  descend into dark twisty pity spiral of anguish, or find a distraction.


    What to do . . . what to do?

    May I have another cupcake, please?

    I went looking for a project on Pinterest and found this simple but effective idea.  I have no idea who this woman is, but I like the look of her blog and I'm a terrible photographer.  Let the fun begin!

    Love that our bathroom's beige walls look green, helps bring out those luscious bags under my eyes.  That scowl is all I can muster for the IRS.


    Friday, March 30, 2012

    Creepy Beefus

    What is a Beefus?

    It is the evolution of Alice B.'s name over the 3 years we've had her.  My family is actually kinda famous for this.

    One starts out with their given name (Alice B. Pinto -- because we're terribly clever giving our dog a surname and middle initial), and through a series of substitutions ("The Bean"), applicable movie characters, song lyrics, or topical figures (LaBoeuf from True Grit resulted in "The Beef".  Downton Abbey resulted in "Lady Beantham"), prefixes or suffixes ("Beeficus"), additions or subtractions, we arrive at the current alias.

    The Beefus.

    My father was really the king of this nickname evolution.  It is the reason my sister is known as "Boonzie" and I am known as "Bimpsy" around our family.  A number of our high school friends were also honored with a nickname, some of which have stuck to this day.  That's how you know we really like you.

    Along with her strange nickname, Alice manages to be uber-creepy in photos.  Oh, we've attempted cute and cuddly photos, but that's just not how she rolls.  I am also a shoddy-at-best photographer, which only adds to her mystique.  
    This is her Clint Eastwood face.

    This is not her Clint Eastwood face.
    The Lohan.
    Wielding her Sith powers over the broccoli.

    The house elf.
    Google Tasmanian tiger and tell me there isn't some DNA crossover.

    Waiting for the Precious

    Straight chillin'.

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    Gaffes and Gratitudes

    A lot of stuff I am reading these days centers around cultivating gratitude--actively seeking and recognizing moments and interactions that make the day worth it.  Sometimes, I reeeaaaallly have to dig for the gratitude in my day.  But, I usually find it mixed up with my cynicism, unmet expectations, flakiness and tendency to embarrass easily. 

    It's there. 

    Under my humanness. 


    • Deciding to wear a fabric belt from a dress as a bracelet.  A fashion risk everyone should take.  In 1994.
    • Conversation with a patient over the phone:
              ME:  Ma'am, am I correct that your first name is spelled Y-V-O-N-N-E?
              Patient: No, it's spelled E-L-O-N, and it's 'mister', actually.

    • Reaching the age where foot powder is necessary.  All the better if it's "cooling and refreshing".
    • Watching an interview with Dave Grohl and realizing he and I have pretty much the same hair style.
    • Walking Alice in a ratty sweatshirt, funky scarf, sweaty post-run hair, major VPL under my running tights, and a cup--not a travel mug, but the ceramic cup--of coffee.  Serving up some 6am hot realness.
    • Whatever I am doing in this photograph.  In bowling shoes, no less.


    • D.R. recognizing that a couple hours of organizing and cleaning will set me right again when the world seems to want nothing more than to keep me off kilter.
    • A conversation with one of my doctors that was longer than all of our previous conversations combined.  We covered his childhood, how he met his wife, his thoughts on the current state of medicine and World War II.  I'm always honored to hear other people's stories.
    • George Jones.  Anytime.  If my toe ain't tappin' to "Honky Tonk Song", then I know I am way too far in my head.
    • Taking note from D.R.'s sister who--out of nowhere, and very genuinely--told me I was beautiful.  We need more random and genuine compliments.  They lift so high with such little effort. 
    • First day of spring in California.   
    • Discovering maple syrup makes a great sweetener for coffee.  Just ask Buddy the Elf.
    • Any opportunity to say, "This ain't my first rodeo."

    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Favorite Thing I Ate This Week

    D.R.'s little sister spent a week with us in Los Angeles.  For a final send-off dinner, we took her to one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, Mexico City.  I once saw most of the cast of Parenthood here, including a very tipsy Peter Krause.  They also make a perfect margarita (generous with the tequila, on the rocks with a lightly salted rim), and bring TWO different salsas with their free homemade tortilla chips.  They also usually have some delectable special that I end up ordering.  The latest special I ordered is called . . .

    Umm, Chiles de Neg-something?

    Pablano de Neg-thingy?

    Wow--please hire me to advertise for your establishment.  Fail!

    I know there was a chile involved and there was a "de" in the title.  Does that narrow it down at all? 

    Anyway, this is what showed up.

    It kinda looks like dessert, doesn't it?  

    It's a chile stuffed with beef and pork, mixed with raisins, apples, pears, peaches and cinnamon, as well as garlic and thyme.  They roast that chile with all the goodness inside and then smother it in a walnut cream sauce (who knew walnuts were so creamy?) and sprinkle with walnuts and pomegranate seeds.  It's spicy and fresh, savory and warm, crunchy and juicy all at the same time.  It was a bit baffling for my taste buds, and at some point they gave up trying to make sense of it. 

    Here's the strange thing:  I don't think I would ever order this again.  It wasn't bad by any means.  With all those flavors going on, it was quite good.  But I found myself studying it more than I was eating it.  Does that make sense?  It was like watching a really good movie that is so intense and twisty and involved that I'm exhausted afterwards.  A movie that is so good that I will recommend it to everyone I know but probably only see it once--like, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

    That's what this dish is.  And I will recommend it to you . . . as soon as I remember what it's called.

    I guess you'll just have to come visit.

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

    Thwarted Saturday

    Ahhhh, a three day weekend.  Gobs and gobs of time.

    Today, D.R. and I planned to take Alice to the dog park, then drive around looking for apartments.   We would run her about and she would fall exhausted, and adorable, on the back seat of the car to sleep away the afternoon.  See how adorable and well-behaved our dog is, Mr. Apartment Manger.  Please give us the apartment with central air and dishwasher.  We will strumpet our dog if it will just bring a GD dishwasher!

    D.R. took Alice out front to let her pee, and I headed to the garage loaded down with my purse, water bottles and mail to be sent off . . . and no keys--whoops.  D.R. didn't have any either and our apartment manager wasn't home to let us in.  Can't get into the locked car.  Can't get into our locked apartment.  Nothing to do but walk to the post office then find a place to spend the afternoon.  We ended up here with a carafe of wine and some things to nibble.  OK, maybe there were two carafes of wine.

    Tipsy and windblown.
    Our apartment manager called about an hour and half later to let us know he was back.  We strolled leisurely back home and made important decisions that can only be made on a day such as this:

    1.  While he has shown no desire up until this point, D.R. has until the age of 37 to be a skateboarder.  After that it's lame.

    2.  I have to give away the skirt I'm wearing.  "It's very industrial," D.R. says, "and you're not industrial."  I'm going to consider that a compliment.

    Thwarted, but certainly not a wasted day.

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    And Just Like That . . .

    The Universe (and Quest Diagnostics) must've known I was on the verge of busting something because it came through for me at 4:50pm yesterday.  I emailed my doctor to request a new order for my repeat blood test.  Her response: 

    Just got the's negative!!


    Since I was still at work, unable to contain my excitement, my office mate, Hope (how fitting is that?) was the first to hear the news.  I said, "We're gonna need to hug this out!"  She was more than happy to comply.  She also closed the door on her way out of the office so I could have a moment.  Grateful to her for that.

    I put my head on my desk and cried.  I felt a weight lift off me, leaving my shoulders all tingly.

    I'm not completely out of the woods yet.  I have to keep watch on my levels for the next year before I am considered in remission.  There will be more needles, more scans, more days of waiting.  But this was a big step, kids.  My TG levels haven't dropped since--well, never.  They've been elevated since after my first surgery in 2011.  This is an indication that I am on the right path in the maze of How To Live With Cancer.  The operative word there is "live".

    Initially, I wanted to go out and celebrate with D.R.  I believe my exact words were, "Put your party pants on, Edmonds!"  But, it was also Friday night in Los Angeles and fighting with crowds and drunk girls in 7-inch platforms didn't sound very celebratory.  So, our party pants were replaced by pajama pants and catching up on the DVR.   

    We had some wine and apps.

    Alice B. requested I share.

    So I did.

     Onwards and upwards we go. 

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Blood Test

    OK, so I'm not doing well with number 3 of the resolutions.  But, I am happy to report that number 6 is coming right along.  Seriously, Frank, where have you been all my life?

    In other news, I have been waiting . . . for stupid blood test to tell me whether or not I can resume my life!! 

    A month after surgery, blood tests were done to check my levels--thyroglobulin (TG) , thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroglobulin (TG) antibodies.  The non-medical, quick and dirty version is, we want these numbers to go down.  If they're going down, that means the cancer is gone and, more importantly, I won't have to do radiation again.  Both my surgeon and endocrinologist are thinking a second round of radiation is not going to be necessary since the first round clearly didn't do what it was supposed to do.  But, they're waiting on the blood tests to inform the final decision.  I gave blood on January 17th and was told it would take 5-6 days for results.  All I had to do was wait 5-6 days for the answer, then we could start making some plans for the  year.  Travel, vacations, moving to a new apartment . . .

    It's now been 3 weeks with no definitive answer. 

    A few days later, the TSH levels came back a little high.  Easy enough--upped my hormone dosage and went on my merry way. 

    The TG levels came back lower than before I went into surgery.  Wahoo!  As long as it's dropping--and stays dropped--I'm good.

    Here's the pickle:  the TG antibody can cause falsely low TG.  To be sure the TG really is dropping, they have to test the antibody on its own.  Evidently it's a process that prolongs the results of the test.  So, I've been very patient.

    Ho ho HO! . . . have I been patient.

    I've sent my doctor breezy, clever emails to check in every week.  No worries.  I'm fine.  By the way, what's up with that cancer thing we were discussing?  I've been running in the morning (number 5, baby!).  I've cleaned my desk.  I've made lemon bars.  Alice has frequented dog parks all over Los Angeles.  We visited the Paramount Ranch.  Busy, busy, busy.

    For three weeks, I have kept my crazy under wraps.  This week, my doctor tells me the results still aren't in (something to do with the testing facility), and asked if I'm willing to give another sample if the results aren't in by Friday.

    F   U   C   K!
    Sure, why not?  It's not like I have anything going on.

    Would you pass those lemon bars, please?

    Saturday, January 21, 2012


    Running saves me. 

    It's a little life jacket that folds itself into my body. 

    And waits. 

    It waits for me to be anxious and unsettled.  It waits for me to be afraid and lacking focus.  It waits for me to start wondering What am I missing?  Who am I missing?  

    And I feel it start to inflate slowly.  With grace and purpose.  With answers and meaning. 

    It wraps itself around my body and I stop flailing and struggling. 

    I settle into the run.

    Into my life jacket.

    Into my life.

    And it saves me.

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Life on the iPhone

     There are 4 photos that remain on my iPhone at all times.

    A beautiful raspberry meringue cakey sandwichey thing I had at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas.  That is a sugared rose petal on top, and check out the sugar dew drops.  I don't have the patience or the passion to create these lovely and delicious works of art, but I am grateful there are people who do.  This always reminds me that food can bring happiness, and art can be delicious.

    My niece Isla.  Tell me that is not the face of a little girl who knows how to unlock and bend the world to her will.

    The favoritest Alice B.  I love smelling her paws.  They smell like mud and salt and plants and metal.
    My Sweet.  He reminds me that I don't have to love someone, I get to love someone.

    I like smelling him too.

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    Dunnshine's Resolutions, 2012

    D.R. and I stayed in Los Angeles for Christmas this year.  I wasn't too keen on boarding flying incubus tubes after just having surgery (emergen-C can only do so much), and considering the year we've had, we both decided that 11 days at home sounded just about perfect.

    We saw movies.  We ate food.  I discovered the Best Cinnamon Roll Recipe Ever.  We drank wine.  And vodka.  And whiskey. And peppermint hot chocolate spiked with whiskey.  We cooked and dismantled whole dungeness crabs.  We dipped that delicious crab in infarction juice butter until we all rolled onto the floor and begged for mercy.  We saw more movies.  We spent afternoons being slobbered and jumped on at dog parks.  We read books.  We napped on the couch.  We ate food.  We said what we were grateful for before we went to sleep on Christmas Eve.  We saw old friends.  We talked to family.  We missed family.  We watched football.  We ate apples and brie cheese drizzled with caramel.  We kissed each other at midnight on New Year's Eve. 

    And then my bra started squeaking.

    This happens when my back fat starts seeping into my tummy wobble which starts seeping into that weird little chub pocket between my armpit and my boobs.  It's all held together by a few eye hooks and sorcery.  The squeaking is a warning that everything could come tumbling out in a moment's notice if steps are not taken.  When I hear the squeaking, I know the holidays are over and I can no longer rationalize a breakfast of coffee and Oreos.

    So, while my bra rested and regained some elasticity, I aligned my goals for the coming year.  If all goes to plan, 2012 could be a mighty fine trip around the sun.

    1. I will do my own manicures and pedicures at home.  I can paint my own nails.  I'm just lazy and I really love having my feet and hands massaged.  But, I'd like to reign in some of my "luxury spending" and put it to better use.  Like pajama jeans.
    2. I will read one book a month.  D.R. got me a Kindle Fire for Christmas and getting books is just so zippy and neat.  I really have no excuse.
    3. I will blog once a week.  Yikes!  My track record with blogging has been spotty and inconsistent, at best.  I know the only way to remedy that is to write more and get used to the feeling.  My hope is that reading more will inspire more writing.  My hope is that I will be able to empty my head here when I need to.  My hope is that I can hone this as a way of expressing myself well.  Then again, I may just write the cooking directions for that random box of rice pilaf sitting in my cupboard and call it good.  
    4. We will move to a new apartment.  It's time.  It is SO time.  I'm picturing a dishwasher and air conditioning.  I'm picturing a landlord that is not drunk at 2pm and unwilling to fix our plumbing.  I'm picturing walls that will contain sound instead of sending every conversation into the air like a friggin' amphitheater.  I'm picturing . . .
    5. Run a marathon.  I took a break from running knowing full well that I would eventually return.  Something about new shoes, fresh air, sweat-wicking clothes and the opportunity for greatness will always keep me coming back.  I have no idea what ME . . . and 26.2 miles is going to look like.  It's a blurry, nebulous image that will take shape with each step and mile.  Hopefully my hair looks decent.
    6. Put Frank's hot sauce on more food items.  'Cause that's just good sense.

    Happy New Year, everyone!