Sunday, August 31, 2008

Plus side to having Surgery

I'm not a silver lining, glass is half full kinda person, but I have found the plus side to having had surgery and being incapacitated at home. What is it you ask? Well, it's the well-earned right to do absolutely nothing and spend days and days blogging, reading blogs, organizing blogs and posting blogs. Not to mention your mommy comes over every day and makes you breakfast and does your laundry for you :)

I know...I'm super spoiled. But hey, in my defense, I haven't had a vacation in over 10 years, except for the occasional couple of days off to attend out of town funerals! So I'm entitled am I not?

One of the blogs I've read and organized in my new little bookmarking tool, delicious is this one,

I am so in love with this blog and with Cathy, the creator and writer of this blog. She started posting a blog in January of 2008 and so far I've only read up to Mach of 2008 but I just read a post that is a story about a family of liqueur filled chocolate bottles, hopefully this link will get you to this story. I guarantee if you read this story you will be hooked on reading this blog every single day!

If you loved this story, you should check out her recipes. I don't usually read blogs and laugh out loud, but I did with this one.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Creative Mind

I posted a few days ago about how my energy is coming back and a few details about my surgery, which I still have to complete. But I noticed that it was getting harder and harder for me to blog as my mind was just a blank. I couldn't think of anything creative or interesting to blog about (not that all my prior blogs are all that interesting and

But the last few days I've had lots of thoughts pop into my mind about future blogs. Today I was checking out a website called and I remembered how when I bought my house I wanted to put a saying over the doorway from the living room into the kitchen, so I found some I like and that's what this post is about.'s not that creative or interesting...but it is to me :-)

These are not in any particular order. I was going to organize them into the ones I want in the doorway, the ones I want in my bedroom, the ones I want in the kitchen, but NAH...that's really too much work and I'm kind of half devoting my brain right now to watching The Ellen Show!
I like these two for my sister's laundry room more than I like it for mine because I don't do laundry very often since it's just me. She, on the other hand, has a big, sweaty husband and two smelly boys, so she does a TON of laundry! I mean like very day, a couple times a day! She only knows two rooms in her house, the laundry room and the kitchen!

Those were cute huh? And very appropriate for her. Ok, most of these are self explanatory, so I'll just roll with them and only comment on the ones I feel are too deep for you to comprehend :-)

Ok, I'll comment on this one because I think this one is a keeper for putting it over the entry door into my kitchen from the living room. This is me...I love being at home. There is no where else on earth I would rather be. I love my home. I love to just sit there and enjoy my home. Sometimes when I leave for work I stand at the door and just look back one more time and think to myself...I love my house!

I'll comment on this one also because I'm trying to do my kitchen in a grapey, wine type of theme. I don't really care for wine, but a lot of things you can buy for your kitchen that have grapes also have wine and vice versa. It would be much more appropriate for me if it said, "I like to cook with Corona and occasionally... I even put it in the food." Hmmmm, they can custom make these to say whatever you want. I think that's what I'm going to do! I know it doesn't go with the grapey, wine kind of theme, but it works better for me. I guess I'm just a little more ghetto.

These next ones are sooooooooooo cool! Because anyone who knows me knows I love shopping, and I love shoes!

I like this one for the wall in my bedroom because my sister gave me a soap dispenser for my birthday that says, "Sing like no one is listening". See...I love to sing and I think I even have a pretty decent voice, and God has given me the gift of remembering the lyrics to every song I hear. I don't ever remember the name of the song or the artist, but I remember the lyrics and I love to sing while I'm cooking or cleaning house. My kids though hate it. They hate when I sing in the car and even more so when I sing at home. I keep telling them that someday when I'm gone they're going to wish they could hear me sing just one more time (they don't see it that way).

This next one is one that kind of matches the one about singing above, but I really want to put this on the wall above my kichen sink. It pretty much tells my kids, na nee, na nee, naa naa! :-P

I'll comment on this one, because I would love to put this one on a wall in my living room between my two little black shelves that I place Knickknack's and pictures on. I love putting up pictures of family and friends and there are people that like that sort of stuff and think it's great and then there are those people that think it's just more crap to clean, dust catchers, chincherio! But this saying says exactly why I love to display photos!

And that's it. I just got a call from my sister and I guess we're going to do a "Friday Night" tonight. We haven't done one in a long time due to my surgery and the weather and a few other obligations that we have had. So I'm off to drink wine coolers and eat guacamole and we're going to watch Kevin Costner in "The Guardian"!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another great lunch idea from Rachael Ray

Great lunchbox idea. I bet this fondue is great for dipping all kinds of things in. And I think kids would really love it too. Last one though, but she has lots of great lunch ideas each week on her website

read more digg story

Pork Chops & Applesauce

Quick, simple and yummy dinner idea that won't eat up all your after work time so you have time to blog! This is the recipe that I can't wait til winter ends so I can turn my oven on again!

read more digg story

Lunchbox Chicken Tender Salad

Rachael Ray shows us a great, simple, fun idea in creating a lunch for kids or adults thats healthy, yum-o and easy!

read more digg story

I love Rachael Ray!

I used to love watching Rachael on the Food Network, but since buying my house, I've gotten rid of cable and so I don't get that channel anymore. I do get the Rachael Ray show on daytime tv, but since I'm at work at the time, I've never had a chance to watch. Well since I'm home recuperating from my surgery I've been watching a lot of daytime tv and I happened to catch a pretty decent Rachael Ray show today. I didn't like her decorating or hand-me-down segments, but the segments about packing school lunches and the quick dinner ones were great. I can't wait to feel better and for the weather to cool down so I can turn my oven on and make this great dinner!

Lunches first. I've been taking my lunch to work for almost a year now on a regular basis trying to stay within my budget since I bought my home. Usually I take leftovers from the dinner the night before, or I make a quick sandwich of turkey or bologna. But Rach had some pretty good ideas today.

The first recipe was for lunchbox chicken tender simple and it looked yum-o (as Rach loves to say). In the post above, you can actually see the show segment. The cool thing I thought was that Rachael packed all the plastic bags in a rectangular plastic box with a lid, then you just open all the separate bags and sprinkle into the plastic box, then the dressing, then you put the lid back on and shake the box to mix everything around!

Here are the ingredients, but watch the video on the post above this one.

Lunchbox Chicken Tender Salad
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 English cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into half moons
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
4 chicken tenders, breaded and baked, then cut into pieces on a bias
1/4 cup honey mustard dressing
1 cup baked corn chips, crumbled
Yields: 1 serving
Pack cherry tomatoes and cucumbers together in a re-sealable plastic bag. Pack remaining ingredients separately in your kids' lunchbox. At lunchtime, they can combine all the ingredients in a bowl to make a healthy chicken salad. Yum-O!

First Known Picture of Michael Phelps

I thought this was so cute and so appropriate considering Michael Phelp's great skills in swimming. I borrowed this off of a "Blog of Note"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is My Energy Level Back? (Part One)

I've noticed for the last few months that my energy level had just dwindled away to nothing. It was all I could do to get through the work day. The only thing I looked forward to was napping on the couch. My biggest joke was to tell family and friends that I had to get home in time to take a nap before going to bed. I know they all thought I was kidding, but I was totally serious.

I figured the reason for this dramatic drop in my energy level was old age, well...ok, not old old age, just being older. I turned 50 this year and when I first went to my doctor for a complete physical I kept telling her about all the aches and pains and tiredness and she pretty much just blamed it all on my age. But...covering her butt I'm sure, she ordered a ton of tests.

One test she performed in her office was a breast exam prior to sending me to get a mammogram. During the breast exam, she noticed that I had a lump in my throat on the left side and she felt it and then had me feel it. I had not noticed it and I don't normally make it a habit to exam my own body that thoroughly, so I while I was scared she had found it, I was also happy that she had as my mom and dad have both had nodules in their throats and my mom's actually turned out to be cancerous and she had to have her complete thyroid removed.

My doctor immediately sent me to get some blood work, but that all came back negative, so she sent me for an ultrasound. That was such a relaxing test. I laid in a bed in a dark room and the technician just massaged my neck over and over with the ultrasound thingy which looked like a computer mouse with wires and things attached to project images to the screen. It was like getting a massage on my whole neck. But unfortunately that test wasn't conclusive.

The next test was one that took two days. I had to go in the first day and they had me fill out some paperwork, I was fasting and they gave me some pills to take that contained some kind of radioactive iodine, then I went back to work and didn't eat until lunch time. The next day I went back and they did some kind of test where I laid under this big flat metal plate for a long, long time. I got scared thinking that if there was an earthquake this thing would squish me and everyone would run off and forget all about me and I would just lay there squished until I couldn't breath and I would die. I'm such an optimist aren't I?

Well this test was also inconclusive for cancer but it did let the doctor know that I had three nodules on my left side and one on the right (although no one told me about the one on the right until my meeting with the actual surgeon).

So the next test was a fine needle biopsy of the nodules, which the doctor didn't tell me much about, her office basically just made the appointment and I didn't ask very many questions. I'm of the opinion that what I don't know...can't hurt me. This really drove my sister Lisa crazy during this time as she was the only one that knew what I was going through and then I didn't even have the answers to all her questions. Thank God for the worldwide web. We did a lot of research.

We looked up fine needle biopsy and in this test, they numbed the area on my left side of my throat and the put a needle in my throat 3 times to draw out some tissue to have it tested. It didn't hurt, but the last needle was a little bit uncomfortable. I watched the whole thing on a screen and it kind of looked to me like when they do liposuction on people. The doctor just jabbed the needle roughly back and forth. I guess that was to loosen the tissue, I don't know.

Anyway, after this test I had the worst sore throat I have ever had in my life. I didn't know right away it would hurt as I was still numbed, so I went to work. But when it hit...OH MY, it hurt. Not so much that people at work noticed or that I had to go home, but then I'm a toughie. This pain lasted for more than a month, by the way.

Ok, so this last test was also inconclusive. The doctor who did the fine needle biopsy said he was almost positive that there was no cancer. My own doctor told me she didn't think there was any cancer, but that she wanted them out anyway due to the family history of thyroid cancer and the fact that the nodules continue to grow and they can block your airway. In my own research of all this, I found that another one of the symptoms was energy loss, tiredness. So I wasn't just old, I was sick!

I was referred to a surgeon who told me that he didn't think there was cancer, but that he was going to go ahead and remove the three nodules on the left side and also remove the left side of the thyroid. He also said that while I was still under, he was going to send a sample to pathology and if it looked like cancer then he was going to remove the nodule on the right side and the complete thyroid, but if not he would just remove the right side nodule. He scheduled surgery for August 21st, 2008.

At this point, I figured it was time to tell my family.
End of Part One...stay tuned for Part Two...the surgery.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Reflections from a Mother's Heart

When did you first go to church? What are you earliest memories of church?

I was raised a Roman Catholic, which I still am to this day. I'm sure I first went to church just a few weeks after birth. My mom has always been very devout. The church I attended from birth was the one my parents were married in and I was baptized made my 1st Holy Communion in, it was St Helen of the Cross Catholic Church in Eloy, Arizona. I remember most my 1st Comm because of the beautiful dress I wore and I remember feeling like a princess because all my aunts and uncles were in the church...just for me and I was a little princess.

Honestly I think the church needs to rethink the whole 1st Comm process because kids that age don't understand what they are doing. I certainly didn't. My whole reason for being there was to wear the pretty dress and feel special and have a party thrown in my honor. Taking the Body of Christ is a decision that should be made by an adult who has the proper understanding of what they are doing.

But getting off my soapbox now, the second part of this question is what are my earliest memories of church. I remember

  • My mom, sister and I wearing matching dresses that my mom had sewn for us.
  • Older girls sitting behind me smiling at me when I would turn around and look at them and feeling so flattered that these pretty, older girls would even notice me.
  • The priest that taught us Catechism at a church in Harquahala, Arizona who played a recording for us that taught us about the birds and the bees (sex) and after gathering up my friends in the front seat of my mom's car and explaining sex to them now that I knew all about it.
  • In high school, it seemed like the priest there could read my mind. All the things I had been thinking during that week and all the things I was thinking of doing the next week...especially the bad things; this priest would preach about it and really make me think of the things I was doing in my life.

The Catholic Church has always held a special place in my heart. I have always loved the church, but I haven't always agreed with it. I am now more or less a lapsed Catholic. I just find the Catholic church to be a bit cold towards all the things that are important to me in my life. But I still love the church and what it represents and all the beautiful symbols and celebrations of the church.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympics are over, Democratic Convention begins and I had surgery

It's so sad that the Olympics are over, but I really enjoyed them while they were here, although the closing ceremonies were anticlimactic, but how can you really top the opening ceremonies? I doubt seriously London will be able to. I was happy to see that so many people were into the Olympics this time around! Especially the people in my family who usually think I'm nuts for being so into the Olympics. It's funny that when the Olympics first start you really don't know the names of very many of the athletes, other than the gymnasts. But by the end I felt like I was best friends with Michael Phelps, Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh and Usain Bolt; they're win was my win and I felt their joy. I guess that's why I love the Olympics so much because I live vicariously through the athletes and through them, well heck...I won a bunch of medals!

And then tonite, I'm all ready for a night of re-run tv of some of my fav shows and what the heck is on??? The Democratic Convention! Now it's not just that I am a Republican that upsets me, it's just the fact that I really don't care about the conventions. I know I should, but I really don't, not this election anyway. I guess I've just been too busy struggling to get through each day to really care. And I know what you're thinking...that's why I need to care so that I don't have to struggle so hard to get through each day. But you know what? I'm resigned to the fact that every day will always be a struggle. So this time it's high gas prices, high unemployment rates, millions of homes in foreclosure, etc, etc. But we shall over come! Or this too shall pass! I have faith that I will make it through and that things will be okay because God loves little Mexican children!

And, honestly...I've been close to meeting the Grim Reaper and I've seen that there are more important things than the elections. Wow, how dramatic huh? Ok, so I wasn't even close to the Grim Reaper, in fact, the Grim Reaper wasn't even notified that I exist. But I did have surgery on Thursday, August 21st. I had a partial thyroid lobectomy. I wanted to post a picture, but I've been too groggy from the pain medication to take any. But all is well, for now. They did take out some nodules/tumors, whatever you want to call them and the doctor said he thought they were all benign, but he did send some samples to pathology just to be sure it isn't cancer. I have a god-awful scar and it hurts quite a bit, but I think all in all I'm doing ok and hope to go back to work on Thursday.

All I can say is I never want to have surgery again. Even though the people at the hospital were great and my family has been super in taking care of me, it's just not a walk in the park and if I never have surgery will be too soon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Starbucks Wisdom

Not only do the have the greatest coffee, but they have awesome and insightful wisdom on their cups. I read this one today and it really applies to things going on in my life right now.

The way we get to live forever is through memories stored in the hearts and souls of those whose lives we touch. That’s our soul print. It’s our comfort, our emotional nourishment at the end of the day and the end of a life.
How wonderful that they are called up at will and savored randomly. It seems to me we should spend our lives in a conscious state of creating these meaningful moments that live on. Memories matter.

--Leeza Gibbons

Friday, August 8, 2008

8-8-08 Olympic Fever Beijing, China

I started this post right as the Olympic opening ceremonies were beginning and I never wrote a word except the title above. I never came back to finish this post on 8-8-08 and I never came back on 08-09, 08-10, 08-11, or 08-12. I got so wrapped up in watching the Olympics I had no time for anything else.

I really love the Olympics, always have. I guess I live vicariously through them, always having wanted to do something skillful or talented. That's why I also love American Idol because I've always wanted to be able to sing. But I don't envy them, I just enjoy watching and sharing in their joy.

I feel so patriotic and American watching the American team and cheering for them. I wish all the political stuff didn't get all involved in the Olympics, but I guess I can understand why they do. They're such a great platform for so many different views and opinions.

But anyway, I guess until the Olympics are over I won't be posting much even though lots of things are going on.

1. My sis is now working in Bakersfield and I finally have someone to have lunch with and chat with on the way to and from work! I'm so thrilled she's working there.
2. My niece Alicia had an 18th birthday party and I have pictures to post later.
3. My other niece Sarena had her 18th birthday today.
4. I'm going to have surgery next week

But for now, I'm going to go take a nap so I can stay up later to watch the Olympics.

Gooooooooooooooo Michael Phelps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Egg in a Hole from Pioneer Woman Cooks

OMgosh!! It took me almost two hours to do the previous post because for some reason, when I had the text right, you couldn't see the pictures...and when I did the pictures right, you couldn't see the text! I was ready to cry. I meant to do two more posts tonight, but I may have to settle with doing just this one unless it too goes completely wrong!

Ok, well anyway, this post is about cooking. I wanted to show the world my cooking talents, well my copying other people cooking talents I mean. I have a blog I read faithfully called Pioneer Women Cooks you can read it here I've posted other of her recipes before but I kept meaning to try her "Egg in a Hole" pictured below.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm, doesn't that look super yummy? And it's super easy too. You just take a slice of bread and using a cookie cutter, or a drinking glass as I did you cut a hole in the middle of the bread. In a frying pan you put lots of butter, at least 3 tablespoons then put the bread in. You crack an egg into the middle where the hole is, add salt and pepper, turn to the other side and let that brown...and Voila! Egg in a hole, version below.

I took the middle part and fried that in the pan as well. It was so good that we had it for breakfast both Saturday and Sunday. My son Jim at 3 or them yesterday and today he ate only one because I made some maple flavored sausages to got with the Egg in a Hole. Big thanks to you...Pioneer Woman!

Yard Work Sucks!

Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration. ~Lou Erickson

I have a pretty nice garden in my new house, and the best thing about it is that the lady who used to own the house loved to garden and she planted lots of plants and bushes and bulbs and trees, so very little was left to me except the maintenance of all of this...which sucks.

I've always loved gardening and growing things and up to buying this house, since I didn't have a garden, I grew indoor plants which I love and talk to all the time. In the past when I've lived in apartments and such, I would plant roses and azaleas and bougainvillea and night blooming jasmine only to have to leave it all when it came time to move. So I told myself I wasn't going to plant anything else outdoors until I was in my own house and I knew I would never have to leave it.

And now, now that I have my own house, my own land...I'm too darn tired to want to mess much with the yard and it's all I can do just to maintain it. Luckily my son does the lawn, mowing it and weed eating and edging and such, so at least that much I don't have to do. But yesterday I did work a lot in the back yard, but I accomplished a lot, just look!

Ok, first of all, this is a picture of a barrel in the backyard that was taken in June of this year. Pretty isn't it? The lady who used to live here had planted some pretty, white, dainty flowers, which were cute...but I wanted some color. My mom planted the ones with purple flowers...I have no idea what they are, but they blossom that pretty, sweet little flower and the next day the flower drops off. But more keep coming back. I planted the little yellow marigolds.

This is the same barrel a month and a half later. As you can see my mom has a pretty good green thumb, me...not so much as you can barely see the marigolds. I think this plant would have grown a lot more if it had had more direct sunlight, but the big tree blocks in afternoon sun and the patio blocks the morning sun. I'm going to try moving it to another part of the patio next spring...but it weighs a ton!

This next picture is of my one and only tree. It's in the backyard, as in the front I have nothing! I desperately want a tree in the front, but my sister has convinced me I don't need one due to all he plumbing problems the roots would create.

Isn't he a beauty? I don't think there is a more beautiful tree in all of Shafter. This winter I have a surprise for my son! When the tree crops all its leaves, he's getting the ladder out and trimming back the branches, otherwise next summer the branches are going to be on top of the patio.

The next picture is such a pretty flower, but it doesn't grow on a bush or directly from the ground, its part of a small tree by the back fence in my yard.

This is a really pretty tree, and the flowers kind of look like when cherry or almond trees bloom, so it must be one of those trees but it just doesn't bear fruit.

This next picture is the tree that blossom came from. It looks a lot better now because I trimmed all the branches that were growing willy-nilly from the trunk of the tree and I raked up all the dead blossoms which made the ground look as thought the tree was surrounded by pink carpet.

Part of the rest of the yard work I did was weeding. I didn't quite get to the rose garden along the back fence, so that won't be pictured, but I did do the weeding around the side garden.

See! Pretty and no weeds. The problem area here is that for some reason the lady who lived here planted a palm tree right there. As you can see soon it's going to block our way to the back gate and I don't think it will grow upwards because my big beautiful tree hangs directly over it. I want to remove it, but I've been told the roots will be really hard to dig up. I do have a perfect spot for it along the back fence line to the south of the roses.

Speaking of the roses, they aren't blooming as much as I would like. Driving around the neighborhood, I see other houses that have tons of blooms, so I know I'm doing something wrong, probably not deadheading enough or not feeding them correctly, or better yet...not feeding the at all, which I'm not. I just need to find the time to do some research online on rose care.

Or maybe it's just too hot because this rose looks great, but you can tell the heat has given it a bad sunburn!

These next three pictures are of a gift from my boss at work. For my birthday she made me this awesomely delicious cheesecake and she also gave me from her own garden an aloe vera plant and a basil plant. And I'm eating some of the basil that I put into a soup I made that I will post about next. I never knew how delicious basil was.

Part of what I did yesterday was re-pot the basil into a bigger pot. I hope he's going to be happy there, we shall see.

My boss said that her basil plant was really growing, then she put it into a bigger pot and it got unhappy. Come to think of it, he does look a bit droopy doesn't he?

And even though I love these pictures and I love going out into my backyard...I still think gardening sucks!