Thursday, March 26, 2009

Going Green and Getting Crafty

I don't know if you know about Earth Hour, but I hope you participate no matter where you live. It involves making a "green" statement by turning off all the lights at 8:30p.m. for an hour this Saturday. I remember that my mom was ahead of the curve on this because when I grew up we would occasionally have Black Out Night (or maybe that was just having actual blackouts due to Colorado blizzards?). Anyway, I still like to do this every now and then at home. We just turn off the lights and enjoy our evening by candle light. Sometimes we cheat and watch a movie, but sometimes we play a game by the flickering flames. We haven't done this in a while, so I look forward to another Black Out Night this weekend. I'm sure plenty of children have been made during blackouts....but DON'T think that we are!! First of all, ain't no way that's even going to be discussed until Huz gets his Ph.D. and gets a JOB....plus it's unsafe for me to even try for a whole year due to the radiation that I swallowed a few weeks ago. Besides, we are quite busy with one toddler at the moment and I'm not entirely sure I want another. We'll see.


Following the green theme, I love the idea of reusing plastic bags to make things. As I don't own a sewing machine (which I'm thinking I need to change) I probably won't be doing it anytime soon. But I really like the idea. I especially like the Target octopus bag!

I like this idea since I have a ton of card envelopes from an office I used to work at. No, I didn't steal them. They were being thrown out so I saved them and have used them with handmade cards for seriously 5 years (that tells you how many envelopes I got and how little I have time to make handmade cards anymore). So turning them into gift bags? Genius.

I haven't been crafty since Claire was born (kids are a time and energy suck, don't you know?) but I used to make my own magnets for gifts. I love this fresh new version of handmade magnets or tacks. Must get my craft on again!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:19 AM

Monday, March 23, 2009

Radomness, Randomness. Also? Please comment somebody. I'm getting sad over here.

In an attempt to get Claire some more age-appropriate toys, namely ones where she can practice cause and effect, I recently bought one of these for $5 at a consignment sale. She immediately started playing with it and still does 2 weeks later. I gotta tell you, that's much more gratifying that buying toys for a cat and having them just sniff it and walk away.


This is Huz and I last Friday night. We celebrated our belated 14 month anniversary because, as you may recall, I was looking hot back in December after having surgery. Huz is proud of me when I don't hide my scar. He also likes it when I show some leg. Wee!


We went to our favorite Nashville restaurant and enjoyed a full bottle of wine (hiccup) and a lovely meal together. For the appetizer I had artisan pizza with lamb, feta and pesto; Huz had homemade sausage with apple and fennel slaw. For the main entree I had steak (medium rare) with wilted arugula, mushrooms, blue cheese and walnuts; Huz had grilled trout with a butter sauce and crispy polenta and sauteed vegetables. We shared a strawberry custard tarte and coffee for dessert. Yum to the max.

I'm still contemplating getting a tattoo. As you know, I've thought about it for years and now that I've (hopefully) survived cancer I feel the need for some sort of symbol of triumph to help me remember strength, health, vitality, life. I'm just hung up on what the symbol should be, what is meaningful to me, and what I won't get sick of or hate years down the road. I need to meet with a local tattoo artist to help me come up with an original design.

That's about it. Now somebody please say SOMETHING to me and make me smile. Thanks!

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 7:00 PM


A beautiful new post at Mothers of Invention really made me pause, reevaluate, and smile.

If you're a parent (and please read "mother" as "parent"), please read it.

As is common with me, I'm going through another identity crisis and asking myself the same questions: who am I? what's important to me? how does God fit into all of this? who is God? what does my cancer mean? do I have to label myself as a cancer survivor/victim now? what am I good at? why am I always in the same, boring admin jobs if I feel I can do so much more? am I a photographer or just some girl who snaps a decent picture once in a while? what is meaningful to me? what is my purpose?

I hate these unstable, scary, questionable times in my life, yet if I didn't have them, would my life be worth living? Probably not.


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:53 AM

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Recent Pics

Somebody likes (soy) chocolate pudding.



A nice little random smile that brightened my day.


Teaching how to do high-fives.


Playing in the wagon.




Daddy's little helper.


Startled by the noise.


Needing a hug.


My cutie.




Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:03 AM

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tacos, Fish-Laden and Fashion, 80s-Laden

Update: Fish tacos were another big success. The Smokin' Slaw was...smokin' good. Even Huz put a second scoop of it on his taco.

I was deep frying the fish in my new* leggings whilst barefoot, a very dangerous proposition. Thankfully I survived just fine.

*It took me a long, long time to come around to buying leggings, y'all. I mean, I still remember them from the 80s when I was a kid, so it was hard going back. But, I have to admit, they look pretty awesome on my shapley** legs underneath my new colorful tunic/dress (that I bought from the JUNIORS section at Macy's - am I the only over 30-something who does this!?).

**It's mostly genetics that gives me nice legs. The Winters family did go on the first run of the season together last night, though, and I was keenly aware of extra baggage flapping around on my backside, so working out is looooong overdue. Get in shape girl! (Talk about 80s, huh?)

The End.

p.s. You CAN add me to your Google Reader - you just have to click on the top-left of my page where is says "Subscribe to Posts." I tried it and it worked. Just be sure to click on over every once and a while and comment, okay?

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:08 AM

Monday, March 16, 2009

Smitten, All Over Again

Claire Bear,

Even though you have been experiencing heavy emotions lately and can arch your back and scream like nobody's business, you are also my lovely little one and I adore you. We all went out for dinner last night because Mommy was too lazy to make fish tacos (you can't have them anyway, so no loss to you, right?) and as we packed up to leave the restaurant you made me fall in love with you all over again. You blew kisses to the waitress and then waved and said your breathy little "bye" to everyone we passed on the way out. You are precious and adorable and I LOVE YOU!




Posted by Bird On A Line @ 2:03 PM

Friday, March 13, 2009

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

I lurv these tacos so much, it's not even funny.

From Chevys & Rio Bravo Fresh Mex Cookbook

(Serves 4)

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup Fuego Spice Mix*
1 TBS salt
12 oz. Mexican beer
2 cups rice flour
canola oil, for frying
3/4 lb sea bass, halibut, swordfish or yellowfin tuna, cut into 4 inch-long strips
8 small flour tortillas
Chipotle Sour Cream**
Smokin' Chipotle 'Slaw***
Pico de Gallo****

To batter fish:
Combine flour, spice mix and salt in shallow bowl. In separate bowl, combine the beer and rice flour. Dredge fish fillets in flour mixture and then dip into beer mixture.

Line a platter with paper towels. Fill a heavy-bottomed skillet with 3 inches of oil. Heat over high heat until oil is 350 degrees. Drop 1-2 fillets at a time into oil and fry for about 2 minutes, turning once. Remove with strainer and transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with all fish.

To serve:
Place 2 tortillas on each plate and fill with fish, sour cream, slaw and pico. Garnish with cilantro.

*Fuego Spice Mix
(I make this in large batches and always have some on hand so I don't have to take the time making it each time. Having said that, it's not really necessary for the meal - you could just use chili powder or something.)

1/4 cup paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 TBS salt
2 TBS white pepper
2 TBS black pepper
2 TBS dried garlic
2 TBS oregano

Combine all ingredients; store in airtight container for up to 6 months.

**Chipotle Sour Cream
(This absolutely MAKES this meal, so don't skip out on this part!!)

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp chipotle puree (from canned chipotle peppers - use the sauce the peppers are in)
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS freshly squeezed lime juice

Combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth.

***Smokin' Chipotle 'Slaw
(I have never actually made this because Huz loathes cabbage. At least he always has, but it seems he's coming around, so I'll try it when I make these Sunday.)

3 cups finely shredded white cabbage
3 cups finely shredded red cabbage
3/4 cup Sweet Chipotle Dressing*****

Combine cabbage and toss with dressing.

*****Sweet Chipotle Dressing
1 TBS diced yellow onion
1 TBS chopped garlic
2 TBS Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
2 TBS chopped cilantro
2/3 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 TBS honey
2 TBS Chipotle Puree (from canned chipotle peppers)
1/2 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients, except oil, in blender and blend until smooth. Slowly add oil while blender is on until completely emulsified. Can keep for 3-5 days in air-tight container.

****Pico de Gallo
(I've made this several times and while not necessary for the tacos, it really does give a nice, fresh taste on top so I recommend it.)

2 cups tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup white onions, chopped
2 TBS chopped cilantro
1 1/2 TBS stemmed, seeded and minced jalepeno
2 tsp freshly squeezed lime jice
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients. Serve chilled.

I usually serve these tacos with Mexican red rice. It's super yummy and people will be amazed by the lovely beer flavored fish and the Chipotle Sour Cream. Make it and let me know what you think!

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 7:25 PM

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Random Things

1. I'm afraid to be too happy about the whole cancer thing. I know the scan was good news because it didn't show that I have any metastases, but I guess I feel like this has been such a huge crisis for me - one that has only been known about since November - and that I've been such a victim to it that it's too soon for me to breathe a sigh of relief and put it to bed never worrying about it again. I fear that the Big C will creep it's ugly head back out again and I won't be mentally prepared for it if I just celebrate and think I'm in the clear. Not that I want to walk around on eggshells for the rest of my life, but it's just too soon for me to feel free right now. Maybe after I get another clear scan in 9 months I can breathe easier.

2. Claire is only 16 months but I think we've entered the Terrible Two's with her. She just has these huge temper tantrums if she doesn't get what she wants (or for no apparent reason at all) and arches her back and screams at decibels that cause dogs to go deaf. I have no patience for her when she's like this and I instantly have Mom Guilt, thinking I'm a sucky mother because she drives me crazy so fast. I should be patient and serene and Mary-like, but I'm not. In many ways (all ways, really) Huz and I enjoy her so much more at this stage then when she was just a cute, immobile lump of baby goodness, but this is also a very, very hard stage too. And I'm admitting it.

3. I've been good at being budget-friendly in the kitchen this week (as opposed to ignoring the fact that we need to eat and not preparing anything which inevitably leads to eating out and spending too much money). On Monday I made clam chowder and last night I made Moroccan chicken pot pie. Tonight Huz is making potato latkes and lentil soup on Friday. On Saturday I'm making beer-battered fish tacos. Yum.

4. I've had yet another Synthroid dosage change as my Doctor is still trying to get my TSH levels acceptably low. I find this very frustrating, being on my 4th dosage change since December, but also know it's par for the course. I just want things to be normal again.

5. I have decided that I hate Google Reader. I just started using it but now I see why nobody leaves me comments anymore. I find it very impersonal when I merely scroll down everyone's posts on some boring white screen, ignoring all the work they (I'm talking about me now, people) put into creating their html template and nice header photos, and Netflix rental photos, and what they are reading photos, etc. It's like looking through the windows of someone's home instead of walking in the door. I don't like it.

That is all for now.

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 2:07 PM

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Whole Body Scan and Home to My Babies

I don't consider myself a nervous person - a worrier, yes, but not nervous. Turns out I am. I'm also like a little yippy dog (the kind I was so annoyed by during my 7 days of isolation) who piddles when they're nervous. I only drank one cup of tea for breakfast and I think I seriously peed a dozen times before my scan at 10:00 yesterday morning. I have no idea where all the water was coming from.

I don't consider myself a claustrophobic person, but I think I am a bit. I laid down on the body scan table and it sucked me in underneath a plate that was seriously so close to my face that I could feel my own breath slap me back in the face making me hotter than I already was because of being nervous and claustrophobic. The plate stayed like that - practically bending my nose hairs - for five minutes as it took pictures of radioactive material in my head and neck, then it moved down for 5 minutes of my chest, then down for another 5 minutes of my stomach area. Another 5 minutes of pictures of my head and neck and I was finally free of the machine. Oh, during all of this I couldn't move a muscle and I was literally strapped in like I was in a loony bin, complete with leg straps and an "arm sling" that was very straight jacket like.

My Doctor emailed last night to tell me that the scan showed uptake of radiation only in the neck area which is great news. It means that the only thyroid tissue (i.e., cancer) left in my body appears to be in my thyroid bed (neck) which is being ablated by the radiation. There weren't any hot spots elsewhere in my body (like my lungs or armpit, like I was worried about). The next step is a blood test and then another scan (without the 152.2 millicuries of radiation and isolation) in 9 months. After that I hope to only be followed once a year with an ultrasound that says, in no uncertain terms, NO MORE CANCER. That's my hope and prayer!

Thanks for all of your warm thoughts and prayers through last week's isolation. Needless to say, it was a joy coming home to Huz and my beautiful angel-faced Claire. I can't believe how much she's grown in a week! And my Huz. What can I say? A week away makes for a great reunion ifyouknowwhatImean. Also? Turns out an ice cream turtle pie makes a fine welcome home present.


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 4:16 PM

Friday, March 6, 2009

Today's The Day

I just laughed out loud when I checked my email and saw that the Photo Friday challenge today is "isolation." Ha! Surely nobody knows better than me about isolation right about now. But! Today is day 8 and after my whole body scan which, prayerfully, will show that there are no metasteses I GET TO GO HOME! We'll see how long I can wait for Huz to go pick up Claire from daycare before I go crazy. I can't wait to hug that little girl and to kiss her cheeks. I still have to be careful around her for another week (no excessive holding and hugging - not to exceed 30 minutes a day) but I can see her and hug her and touch her. I just hope she's as excited to see me as I am to see her!

Wish me luck today!

Oh, and since I did not bring my camera with me in order to avoid getting it all radioactive and shit, you'll just have to read my experience with isolation to get a picture.


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 7:52 AM

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Last Day of Isolation

I'm so sick of being in this house and I definitely do NOT feel like working so I'm surfing the web instead.

Here's some cool things I've stumbled upon.

Just in time for Easter, Amazing Egg Craft.

A cute idea for when Claire upgrades to a big girl bed.

This cool headboard.

The design of this nursery.

I love this bird mobile.

And this, personalized, for Claire.


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 10:31 AM

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Dog Days of Isolation

This is getting to be a long, long time and I miss my home. I miss Claire's puffy soft cheek against my lips when I kiss her lovely face. I miss petting her soft hair. I miss her back-patting hugs. I miss her "ma-MA" calling. I miss the embrace of my husband. I miss the cuddles on the couch at night after Claire is down and our dinner is digesting in or stomachs. This is day 6 and it feels like week 6.

A recap.

Day 4:

My host saw the telltale signs of the dreaded Cabin Fever (the twitching and drooling at the view of The Outside through the windows) and decided that it was safe enough for us to leave the house to go out to an early dinner (she's a Dr. so I'll trust her on this). We went to a deserted Persian restaurant which was pretty good, but the highlight was definitely the ice cream (I hadn't had any in 3 weeks) with saffron and pistachio nuts. I retired to my room afterward and watched the last of the four movies I rented, Smart People. It was pretty good, but by this time the romantic comedy plot is pretty rote.

Day 5:

Yesterday's highlight was definitely having a lunch date with Huz. I met him at 1:00 thinking the lunch crowd would be gone, but it wasn't so I sat myself in a chair right by the door so as to be as far away from other people as possible. I enjoyed fish tacos (first fish in a month) and guacamole very much. It was wonderful to get a hug from Huz and to see him in 3D. I see that he's tired and weary after 6 days of single parenting and I look forward to going back home to help. Having said that, they are doing great and I wonder how much they actually need me because they are doing so well together.

Later in the afternoon I went out for a soy chai latte from Starbucks. It was a nice treat to myself and I'm toying with the idea of getting a much needed pedicure tomorrow - my last day of isolation. Lord knows I could use one - winter dryness is always an issue, not to mention the nail polish that is still clinging on since the last pedicure from a few months ago, which means there's a good 1/2 inch of bare nail at the base. Hotness.


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 10:51 AM

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Oh how I wish I could have been one of the unsuspecting commuters during this. I LOVE THIS.


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 11:35 AM

Monday, March 2, 2009

RAI Isolation

So, I'm day 4 now and really miss my family. I'm sitting in an empty house, except for a very barky, spoiled mini daschund always nearby. I'm getting to sleep in, yes, but I'd rather go back home. I video chat with Huz and Claire every night which helps tremendously but virtual kisses and hugs just aren't the same as the real thing.

Yesterday I had salty salivary glands - it's the iodine they took up that I'm tasting. My mouth has tasted like the ocean for two days. Not exactly pleasant but not awful. I've had a distant pain in one of my armpits and I'm freaked out that I now have armpit cancer but hopefully it's a fluke and not at all related to the radiation actively killing thyroid cells in my body.

It's still weird to think that I'm radioactive and have to be all cautious around people. I'm still flushing twice, washing my clothes and dishes separately, and trying to maintain 3 feet distance between my hosts. I'm actually going out in public tomorrow as I'm meeting Huz for lunch (before the lunch crowd gets there) and plan to take any plastic utensils I use home with me to wash and dispose of so that I don't expose anyone to a "hot" fork. I'm looking forward to seeing him, though from a distance, and to Mexican food. Oh yeah! The pizza the other night was good, but boy is Papa John's stingy with the peperoncini peppers! ONE pepper for a large pizza? I need ONE per slice, thankyouverymuch! Still, it was nice to get my cheese on again.

I continue to watch a movie each night as I retire early in my room. The second movie was No Reservations with Catherine Zeta-Jones. It was a cute love story very much in line with all the food-related reading I've been doing lately. Oh yeah, I finished Julie and Julia and am now reading Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. Sense a theme here? Last night I watched Lars and the Real Girl and it was quite good in a slow, quiet, slightly disturbing way. I genuinely liked it though.

Today I feel completely normal, other than a wave of ocean in my mouth every now and then, and am working from "home" helping course directors with three different courses at once. I'm busy but am also bored since I'm in an empty house - an OLD empty house. Note to self: when I turn 60 or 70 I will never own a yippy dog or a clock that chirps different bird songs every hour. Both are equally annoying.

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 12:21 PM

My Food Blog

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