Category Archives: Buster

Notes on the Week

Happy Friday the 13th! It was a pretty a good week around these parts. I love waking up every day and for the most part feeling better than I did the day before. I’m going on my FOURTH chemo free week. For the first time since before I started chemo six months ago! It’s weird, fun, and frustrating all at once.

Anyways, here’s some bloggable highlights from the week!

1. Chicken and Waffles.

First, can we discuss where this combo originated? Was it in the Southern U.S.? For all the times I’ve eaten waffles, I’ve never had this combo. Healthified since I was making it at home. I started by slicing a small pre-baked chicken breast, dipping the pieces in egg whites, then coating them in a mix of coconut flour and ground flax seed. I then stuck them in the toaster oven until they browned.

For the waffle, in a bowl I mixed:

  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • almond milk until desired consistency (thicker for waffles than pancakes. sorry! I never measure it!)

I’m not quite sure what people put on chicken and waffles, so I drizzled syrup on top and it was GOOD! Chicken is so bland that the sweetness worked nice, and the coconut coating was the perfect flavour to add. Traditionally, the chicken is battered and deep fried. I will have to try that version another day!

2. Homemade pasta.

My friend Becca has an Italian cookbook filled with humorous notes from an Italian on how to make the recipes authentic (such as “no!” to garlic in tomato sauce). Half of the book is pasta recipes and we decided we needed to attempt the homemade noodles in there since neither of us had done it before.

It was actually incredibly easy. For two servings, mix 1 cup flour (durum preferably, but we used all purpose with a splash of water) and two eggs. Roll it out paper thin and hang to dry for 20 minutes. For fettuccine, we rolled up the sheet of dough then made  <1cm slices all the way down it. Unravel, then drop in a pot of boiling water for a minute. The hardest part was flattening out the dough with a beer glass.

We agreed on a lighter sauce to let the noodles shine. Becca whipped up a basil walnut pesto with roasted garlic. Everything was DIVINE. I want homemade pasta again tomorrow, and the next day.

3. I got an elliptical!

Fancy, eh? I cancelled my gym membership when I was in the hospital and have been working out at home because of my weakened immune system. Instead of rejoining the gym, I decided to slowly get a home gym going instead. For a long time I planned on getting a treadmill, but I like running and walking outdoors when I can. I thought the elliptical would be something different for my muscles and good for crappy days outside. I’m ridiculously excited about it.

4. Buster had surgery!

Okay, so he just got fixed like every other dog out there, but I still worried about him! Above is a photo the vet snapped when he was waking up from the anesthesia. Look at his tongue hanging out! My poor baby.

He was really groggy when I first brought him home, but the next morning he had better control of his tongue and was bounding around like normal.

As well as playing with his doggie relatives. It’s a full house whenever I bring Buster around my mom’s house with the addition of the new puppy. All dogs fighting to be on one lap at a time.

5. Tunes.

Because we all need some good tunes to go into the weekend with.

Inhaler by Miles Kane

Mayday by PUJOL

Cause A Rockslide by Badly Drawn Boy

The Bad In Each Other by Feist

Walk Away by Tom Waits

That’s all she wrote! Have a great weekend!

Holiday Highlights

Hellohello! I am checking in after a week off from blogging. Hope everyone had a good Christmas! I am finally starting to come through the other side after getting chemo last Wednesday. I also stopped taking Prednisone last Friday, so between the chemo side effects and withdrawals, I’ve been feeling pretty crappy. Here are some of the holiday highlights though!

Finally got my Christmas picture of Buster! He got so spoiled this year. All of my family members bought him gifts (a coat, booties, treats, and toys), not to mention nonstop love and cuddles from all the people in the house.

Archie however, kind of hated this Christmas. I think that cute spaniel ruined it for him. Poor poodle.

We had snow for Christmas! It’s all melted by now, but I hope it comes back soon. As much as I love warmth, I love my seasons. Cold and snowy ones included.

My dad bought the third-last Christmas tree in Moncton on Dec 23rd. It is so ugly. It looks even wider decorated!

My middle sister (I have two older sisters) came home from Quebec! I love having all of us girls together. Until we start drinking at arguing that is (joking!) (mostly!).

My oldest sister who used to live in Ottawa lives at home with me now. I keep her well fed, she keeps the house clean, ha.

We played games on Christmas Eve. I won, thanks to the help of my little teammate. Buster mostly just tried to catch and eat the dice.

For Christmas brunch we had baked French toast with sugared pecans. Usually we do a ham, egg, and cheese casserole thingy, but I can’t eat ham or cheese this year because of the drugs I’m on. Don’t even get me started on how lame it was to have food restrictions over Christmas…

And of course, on Christmas morning we opened gifts! Packed in reused gift bags over the years.

How sweet of Buster to get me something. Ha!

My step-siblings stopped by in their Christmas peejays. I’ve got five teenage step-siblings – three on my mom’s side and two on my dad’s side. It’s kind of ridiculous, but I also love being part of a big family.

Last but not least, my contribution to Christmas dinner, a pumpkin trifle! Recipe found here. I would definitely recommend this as a recipe to try, it was a fun way to change up our usual fruit trifle. Usually I make closer to half of the Christmas dishes, but this year I was just too sick and fatigued. The cooking is my favourite part so I was bummed to miss out on it!

Overall, this Christmas gets a solid “okay.” One of my grandmothers went into the hospital Christmas Eve after falling at home. She is fine, nothing is broken, but she is quite shaken up. I of course was sick from chemo and drug withdrawals. I usually take a lot more photos but didn’t feel inclined to do so this year, as I honestly don’t really care to remember the Christmas I was sick, bald, and had a swollen face.

Most of all, I am looking forward to the New Year. To put 2011 and all of its crappiness behind me. To start fresh chemo-free. The worst of my last chemo is behind me and I’ve got nothing but new days ahead of me to feel better and better. Four weeks until the PET scan to see if there’s any signs of remaining cancer. Please start crossing your fingers now!

Tidbits

1. I finally felt well enough to make holiday cookies!

It feels like a while since I last baked, which is all kinds of wrong seeing as Christmas is so near. I’ve been taking chemo pills every day since last week which really drag me down, but I knew I had to get my hands in some butter before chemo #12 this week.

Donned one of my favourite aprons made by Tanya! It’s to protect me from the icing sugar that was flying around the kitchen as I whipped together some shortbread cookies. If you haven’t made all your cookies yet, you MUST make these. They melt in your mouth.

Recipe comes from the back of a Canada Corn Starch box:

  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup softened butter

Sift together corn starch, icing sugar, and flour. Blend in the butter with a wooden spoon or mixer until a soft crumbly dough forms. Shape dough into 1 – 1 1/2 inch balls, place on greased pan, and gently flatten with a fork. Place in fridge for 30-60 minutes then bake in a 300F oven for 15 minutes. Makes about 20 cookies.

I topped my cookies with a regular buttercream frosting made thicker with extra icing sugar and half a maraschino cherry.

For real, make these.

2. Archie is going to live!

My mom’s poodle is going to be 15 years old in February. He’s got lumps on his body and has been coughing a lot lately. My mom brought him to the vet yesterday, and he believes the lumps are benign fatty tumours and the coughing is a partially collapsed trachea. Neither of which are currently life threatening. Vet said he could live for another couple years!! Hopefully he learns to like Buster in that time. Archie is the, ahem, jealous type.

3. I’m playing guitar again.

I’ve been playing guitar on and off for 12 years now, but could no longer do it when I broke my elbow last February. The break prevented me from twisting my left wrist so my palm could face the ceiling, or enough to wrap my hand around the neck of a guitar. But over the past several months, I’ve slowly gotten that range of motion back. It still hurts to twist my wrist for long periods of time, so practice sessions are still short. I’m also horribly out of practice. It will give me something new to work on.

5. This is just a really cute picture. 

My Baby Bear sleeping with his bear. I love when he smiles in his sleep <3

6. Hamburgers are the official food of chemo.

My food sensitivity was particularly bad after my last chemo. Even toast and almond butter sounded gross. But hamburgers ALWAYS sound good. I could eat hamburgers for Canada by now. For you Moncton folk, the above comes from Bridges in Riverview. Come to the dark side, come to Albert County for your burgers.

7. TODAY IS MY LAST CHEMO.

Maybe. I still haven’t had a PET scan to see if there’s any active cancer left. It’s just the last chemo on my original treatment plan. But I’m elated to think this may be the last time I have to go through this. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

8. I’m lucky in some ways. 

Because I kept my eyelashes and eyebrows. Sorry for the creepy eye shot. Both have definitely thinned, but both were thick to begin with. Volume mascara and a little eyebrow pencil make me look normal. It would be so cool if this was my last chemo and I got away with keeping my eyelashes and eyebrows.

The hair on my head is already a goner though.

9. I’m going to get better!

As in, getting better is not such a long term thing any more. If today is indeed my last chemo, then my recovery time will just go on and on until I feel like my “normal” self again. No more chemo sessions to bring me down again. I know that is a simplistic and obvious notion, but at this point it kind of blows my mind.

I foresee more sessions on my recumbent bike, more weight training, outdoor activities, and yoga!

I still won’t ever be able to do downward dog because of my bum arm though. I’ll leave that to Buster.

10. Santa tried to throttle my dog.

Yes, I realize getting my dog to pose with Santa has me edging closer to the crazy dog lady line – but I couldn’t help myself! I thought it would be so cute and not very harmful. Except, somehow my Santa shot looks like Santa is pulling a Homer Simpson on my Bart Simpson. “Why you little…!!”

I tried to take some cute Chrismassy photos of my little bear at home, but he was playing aloof.

And with that, I am off! “The Great Balancing Act” is on official Christmas holidays, to return sometime next week. Besides recovering from what may be my LAST chemo, I’ve got out-of-town family to see, cookies to eat, gifts to wrap and unwrap, and a puppydog to keep out of the poinsettias. Have a great holiday!! xoxo

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