Earlier this week, one of my blog friends, Brigid, over at Home on the Range, wrote a heart wrenching post the day her beloved Black Lab, Barkley, died. I knew it was coming. Barkley had bone cancer. But there is always that hope. Maybe he really didn't have bone cancer. Maybe they could cure him. Maybe. . . The mind can justify anything.
I'm headed down that road right now myself. Molly, my 12 year old Lab, has cancer of the bladder. Sometimes I'm in denial. I will admit it. The vet could be wrong. Whoever ran the urine test could be wrong. . . Then there are the signs that I try to ignore. She spends more time in her cage than usual. She forgets her house training at times. Then there are the good signs. She still gets excited when I give her a raw bone. She loves to get attention. I took her for a walk this weekend. Okay, maybe she didn't go at her old pace, but I know she enjoyed getting out.
My hairdresser told me recently that she had a dog many years ago and when it died, after a long life, she swore she would never get another dog because she could not deal with the death of a dog again. You know the day you bring home a squirming-into-everything-puppy that someday you will have to say goodbye.
I've done it twice before now and each time it throws your mind and body into a turmoil for weeks or months. You never forget the feeling.
Molly has been a good dog. She knows my feelings. She knows when I've had a bad day. She knows I will take care of her. She has more intelligence and sensitivity than a lot of humans I have met. She has given me years of happy moments. Kids grow up and leave home and don't need you anymore. A dog needs you until the day it dies.
It is rare that I come out of Wegmans (our local grocery chain) with a smile and a tingle inside!
About six months ago, or more, I saw one of those "As Seen on TV" commercials for a stuffed hamburger press. . . you know the sales pitch, "BUT WAIT! Order in the next 30 minutes and we'll include a second absolutely free, just pay additional shipping and handling." I've always been hesitant to order through that venue. You are sending your credit or debit card information to a business that you know nothing about.
The idea of stuffed hamburgers was appealing to me. You can use just about anything to stuff the burgers - chopped bell pepper, spinach, chopped carrots - you are limited only by your imagination. A neat idea and a different way to get added nutrition out of a burger.
I kept looking in local stores but never saw them. . . until today! There they were hanging on a rack in the kitchen utensils section.
This has been a winter for the record books in the Northeast. The Great Lakes are almost all frozen over, something that rarely happens. The snow and cold just won't go away, it seems.
I find myself only venturing out when I have to. . . to go to work, to put gas in the car and get groceries or run the car through the car wash. I much prefer the warmth of my home and the company of my two Labs, Morgan and Molly, than to feel the brutal wind on my face.
I've always complained about the stores putting seasonal merchandise out far too soon. You know, back to school merchandise before the Fourth of July, Halloween items the end of August. . . But this year, walking into BJs on Sunday afternoon and seeing lawn hoses, fertilizer, and insect repellent instilled a sense of hope. . . a promise that warm weather really will come again.
It won't be long now before my annual trek down South to my cousins' reunion. This will be our sixth year and it is more fun each year. Days of t-shirts and sandals, sun hats and good times!
I hadn't eaten vegetables in the last two days so I knew that had to change. After my morning coffee and taking up time with the dogs, I needed to think about breakfast. So I opened the refrigerator and there was the almost empty bag of brussels sprouts I bought last week.
No, I don't want brussels sprouts for breakfast, no matter how good they are, or how many ways I have prepared them lately.
There was nothing in the fridge that excited me. Nothing in the pantry either. I wasn't in the mood for oatmeal or scrambled eggs. . .
I wonder how brussels sprouts would go with an omelette? Hhhmmm. . .
Amazingly, it turned out great!
I whisked the eggs with milk, tabasco sauce, allspice and a dash of nutmeg while the omelette pan was heating up. Next I grated cheddar into a small bowl. I took 4 brussels sprouts from the bag, washed them under water and sliced them very thin. I looked in the fridge to see if maybe there was a red bell pepper to add color variety. No luck there.
I placed the cheese and brussels sprouts on one side of the egg mixture in the cast iron omelette pan and let that cook for awhile. Then a flipped the other side over the cheese mixture.
What began as a last resort to ease my guilt at not getting enough vegetables, turned into a really tasty breakfast!
I appreciate the e-mails and phone calls I have gotten regarding Molly, my 12 year old Labrador Retriever who was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder in December. She is still with me, although she is in decline.
The medication she is on has helped give her somewhat of a quality of life.
She continues to show minimal joy in things like getting a bone to chew on or getting my undivided attention. When I let her and Morgan out back, Morgan will run and jump in the snow, even jumping over Molly at times. Molly will do her business and walk back inside from the frigid cold and deep snow.
All of you know how much I love dogs, especially the Lab. There is just something about the way a Lab looks at you with those loving and intuitive eyes that stays with you a lifetime and gets you through the bumps in the road of life. I have owned four Labs dating back to the mid-80s. Two of those have gone on to Doggy heaven. It is gut wrenching to drive a dog to the vet for the last time and put your arm around them as the vet takes away their life, or what is left of it.
The only thing that gets me through that awful experience is the knowledge that I gave that dog a happy home for as long as I had them in my life. . . from the day I brought them home as a puppy and endured their constant crying those first few nights, through the fun times of walks and playing fetch, to making them happy with words like "ride," "treat," to the times the doorbell rang and the race to the front door began.
Fifty years ago today, the Beatles stepped off a plane in New York City. I remember it well. Here were four "mop top" boys that would change the music world forever! Back then, their hair seemed incredibly long! It really did!
Every teenage girl in America fell in love with them, especially Ringo! I remember their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. My how times change and those days seem so antiquated.
What are your memories of the Beatles? And did you ever think they would still be a part of the music scene today?
Okay, I admit it. There was a time, many years ago, that I didn't like brussels sprouts. Now I love them!
Someone who reads my blog regularly, posted on facebook recently that she had really tried to like brussels sprouts but just couldn't. I suspect her reason for not liking them is similar to my reasons years ago. I remember trying a new brussels sprouts recipe that I found decades ago. . . back when my sons were little. It was awful and I got ugly looks from my family at dinner that night. John and Michael were experts at poking their lower lip out when something didn't go there way. "Dad, do we really have to eat this stuff?" one of them asked. . . Notice how I was left out of that decision.
Years went by before I ever ventured into brussels sprouts territory again. I remember it well. I was in the produce section at Wegmans. I witnessed a woman filling a bag full of brussels sprouts. She saw my strange way of looking at her! "You don't like brussels sprouts?" she asked me.
"Uh, well, NO!" I sheepishly replied. "What do you do with them?"
She enthusiastically began telling me several ways to prepare them.
It was quite awhile after that when I decided to give them a try. When no one was looking, I did a search on the internet of brussels sprouts recipes. Now I buy a bag full of them myself!
There is my recipe I posted here recently, several posts down - or find it in the side bar under January 2014. Then there is the way I prepared them tonight:
Cut the bottom stem off, tear off any darkened leaves. Slice them into thin strips.
Saute in a hot frying pan for several minutes in a sauce of olive oil, fresh lime juice, and salt. When you put them on your plate, sprinkle lightly with parmesan cheese.
My cousins down South are excited that they may get up to two inches of snow this week. And if I never see another snowflake in my life, I wouldn't be upset.
This has been an unusually harsh winter in upstate New York. . . oh, for those not from New York!. . . "Upstate New York" means anything north of New York City.
I keep my LLBean duck shoes that I wear outside working in the yard in the three season room, which is not heated. One pre-dawn morning this week, I slipped my feet into them to take the dogs out. They were frozen to the floor.
In order to cut down on winter accidents, the roads are coated with salt. This melts the snow and ice on the road but is also not good for your car. So I run my car through the car wash at least once a week in these conditions.
I miss being outside as often as in other seasons. There is something wonderful about just going for a walk and clearing your brain of the worries and cares of the day. Or riding my bike out in the hills of Mendon with its distant views and cornfields and barns.
I live for the day when winter becomes a thing of the past for another year and sunshine and warmth take over once again.
Yesterday, another woman lost a long battle with breast cancer. Joan (not her real name) was a sister-in-law of one of my best friends. I don't recall how many years since she developed this dreaded disease, but it was many years. Less than a month ago, she was told she was in remission. Over the last five or so years, (I lose track of time!) she has been up and down. There were times she seemed almost cancer free. Other times she was down. Then they would try a new treatment on her. . . and on and on.
Recently, a faculty member in the department I work in at URMC, learned she had breast cancer. Not that I would wish this disease on anyone, but Mary (not her real name) is just one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. Unlike many of the clinical and research faculty at the Medical Center, she not only is a brilliant clinician and researcher, but most importantly, she has a life outside of work. In other words, she's a down to earth person. It really isn't fair. In her case, it appears they caught it early as she is Stage 1.
I'm no different than most every other educated woman. I do all the right things, eat right, get preventive medical care. I beat heart disease in its tracks. Yet cancer can cast it's evil spell on anyone. . . anyone.
Is it the environment we live in? The chemicals in the food we eat? Stress of everyday living? The air we breathe?
This country has made great strides in so many areas. Why can't we make cancer a thing of the past, like polio, tuberculosis and all those other diseases from yesteryear?
Born and raised in Pensacola, Florida (Escambia High Class of '66), I have lived in Rochester, NY since 1974. Throughout my blog, in pictures and words, I will share my journey through life. I am a person with many interests, traveling, bicycling, kayaking and canoeing, sporting clays, target shooting, spending time with family, friends, and my Black Labs, Molly and Morgan, to name just a few. I am a Conservative Republican and a strong believer in Second Amendment Rights. Feel free to stop by often and leave a comment. I enjoy hearing from those who find their way to my blog and through blogging, I've made friends all over the world.