Ruth's musings

I have been dealing with breast cancer for a while, and have been sharing my journey with friends, family, and prayer partners. This blog brings all my updates together in one place, and leaves me free to muse on other parts of my life. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A crochet extravaganza

For those of you who have absolutely no interest in crochet, aw heck, read this anyway!

I tend to crochet really practical things. For instance, here we have a bathmat. It is made from

double worsted cotton yarn from Elmore Pisgah It makes a cushy bath mat that is appreciated by the people in our house. And the cats. If you are interested in making the same thing, I used the second pattern found here: Five Textured Dishcloths It is a sturdy stitch, but also ridged. It feels really nice on bare feet.

I can't take any credit for the pattern that showed up in part of the mat, but I thought it was pretty cool. Now, if it were only in pink!

Here we see a close-up of the bathmat, along with another one, made with the same stitch, only in worsted weight cotton yarn. Also a nice bathmat, but not quite as cushy.

Freya likes both of them, at least when they are laid out on my bed!

I have also found that if you hold two strands of yarn together and use a big hook, you can indeed make a scarf in two evenings. I made this for Matt to wear to school on the day that everybody was wearing Maroon and Orange in honor of the victims at Virginia Tech.

I am really proud of this pattern, since I developed it myself. Both the bags you see here are the same size, but the one with the twelve cans of soda in it has been stretched by the load, and the other one has yet to be used. These are the first bags that I made with the bag in one color and the handles in another. Great in the colors of Matt's school, don't you think?

Now, to get off my duff and try to sell the pattern to a publisher. It might not happen, and you may well find it here! I guess I could sell it on line myself.

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Memorial Day Weekend

Our weekend was pretty quiet. We didn't go to New York, but Matt went to the Cappies Gala on Sunday. Since he was not personally nominated, we decided not to attend. It helped that he got a free ticket as a member of the board of the school's theatre troupe. Since we only have one car at the moment, as the other is getting a new engine, I drove him to the Metro. This is the first time he went on the Metro by himself, but he had no problem. I had gone with him on that route before, so it wasn't new to him. He is 18, after all! Graduating on June 13th. Also, our "Hamlet" got the Cappie for best lead actor in a play.

After I took Matt to the Metro, I took my shopping list to Wegman's. Of course, I got some additional stuff while there. I believe this is the first time my grocery cart went over $200. And I even skipped the fancy part of the store! I did, however, buy some fresh cherries and a cherry "stoner," which I would call a pitter. Matt is picturing little whacked out cherries. "Man, I am soooo stoned!"The main reason I bought the cherry stoner was to make a clafouti from a recipe I got on another list in 2002. (Recipe follows) Okay, so it takes me a while to get things done. I made the clafouti while getting dinner ready on Monday. We grilled some hamburgers. I put Matt in charge of the fire, and he was surprised. "When did I get assigned this job?" Mom: "About five minutes ago." They came out a little under done, but what the heck (please don't give me a food safety lecture). Back to the clafouti, I loved it! I could have eaten the whole thing! Paul, however, doesn't like cherries. Matt doesn't like custard. Timmy doesn't like either one. Sigh. And the recipe is so easy! So I took the rest of it to work with me this morning. The preschool ladies loved it! Pastor Andy is allergic to cherries and most other fruit. Dang. I will try it with other fruit or berries in the future. I did, however, get to eat Timmy's and Pastor Andy's pieces, so it was not a total loss

Then, this morning, I woke up a bit earlier than I usually do. Paul was taking his shower, so I had to use the potty downstairs. Now, when I wake up in the morning, I am a bit stiff. I know this, so I don't usually go downstairs until I have had my shower and moved around a bit. Couldn't do that this morning. I took the stairs carefully -- clung to the hand rail, took the stairs like a toddler, with each foot landing on each step. I still managed to slip and bounce down several stairs on my bum, crying "Ow, Ow, Ow!" on the way down. I was really impressed at the speed at which the shower was turned off and the door slammed open. I am amazed that Paul managed to get a towel on! Bless his heart. I am fine. The stairs are carpeted and my bum is well-padded. I am stiff and sore, though. Have a bruise on my heel (see Genesis 3:15), and I shudder to think what my bum looks like. Can't even blame the cats.The week has to get better, right?


Here is the recipe I promised. The notes are from the person who originally posted it to the other list.

The recipe I'm using now is from Joy of Cooking (the new one). I did a blind tasting; made one from this recipe, and a second one from the recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. We all liked this recipe better.

Almost Classic Cherry Clafouti

This custard-like dessert comes from the Limousin region of France. Classically made with unstoned black cherries on the theory that the cherry pits add flavor to the cake, this version is called "almost classic" because you have the option of using pitted cherries, a blessing to the unsuspecting. The mixture for a clafouti resembles a thick pancake or crepe batter and for this reason, according to Larousse Gastronomique, the Academie Francaise defined the clafouti as a "sort of fruit flan." Under protests from the residents of Limousin, the definition was changed to a "cake with black cherries" even though other types of cherries and even other fruits are used.

Preheat the oven to 375. Butter a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan.

Beat until frothy, about two minutes:
..4 large eggs
..3/4 cup sugar

Add and beat until smooth:
..1 cup milk (I tried both whole and skim and tasted no difference)
..1 Tablespoon Myers's Dark Rum (Ruth used Bacardi)
..2 teaspoons vanilla

Stir in :
..3/4 cup all purpose flour
..Pinch of salt

Distribute over the bottom of the pie pan:
..1 pound sweet cherries, pitted or not (frozen cherries, thawed and patted dry, or canned cherries, drained and dried, can be used)

Pour the batter over the cherries and place the pie pan on a baking sheet. (note; I don't do this, but I have a deep pie pan.) Bake the clafouti for 10 minutes; reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake until the top has puffed (it will sink on cooling) and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about thirty-five minutes more. (I just look at how high it's risen, and short of shake it to see if the center looks set. I have never had it cook as quickly as 45 minutes; it is usually almost an hour.)

Transfer to a rack and cool for about 20 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve in wedges.

Keeps well in the fridge for several days. I microwave for about 15 seconds to take the chill off; it is supposed to be served warm but not hot.

YIELD: 1 pie - 6 to 8 servings
SOURCE: Joy of Cooking , 1997


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

He's Home!

Matt made it home from the hospital today. He may or may not be in school tomorrow, but has a prescription for an antibiotic for a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, Timmy is home, too. Got sent home from school with the trots. Which is very unusual for him.

Paul is at home with them, and I should be working. I went home to get Timmy settled and to start some laundry. I had fallen behind. Gee, I wonder why! Now, I have come back to work and will stay until I get tired and go home.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Matt in the hospital

I have decided to post updates for Matt's condition here so that I don't bother those who don't want to hear about it in their e-mail.

Matt has an e.coli infection of his bladder. Tests show it did not make it to his kidneys, for which we are grateful. He is in good spirits, and is feeling much better than he did all weekend. He is eating normally, and asking for internet access. Unfortunately, he still has a fever, and they won't let him go until he conquers the bug. He is getting IV antibiotics. The good news is that the strain of bug he has is susceptible to lots of antibiotics.

We had hoped he would come home this evening, but he spiked a fever again, so gets to stay another day. The good news is he was moved to a room in the adolescent unit at Fairfax Hospital. All the rooms there are private and wired. He has access to the 'net, so will be able to at least e-mail and post to his blog.

Since it is so unusual for a male to get a bladder infection, be will be doing some kind of follow up with urology to see what is up with him anyway. I have had three doctors chase me out of the room in the last two days to quiz him about stuff he wouldn't want to talk about in front of Mom. I think I am grateful.




Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ruth and Matt update, May 2, 2007

Dear Friends, Relatives, and prayer partners,

First of all, Matt opens as Horatio in Hamlet tomorrow. If you want to attend, it looks like the best way to get tickets is at the door. Online ticket sales are no longer available due to some administrative rules at Lake Braddock Secondary School, which is where the performances are. (9200 Burke Lake Road, Burke, VA 22015) So, showtimes are 7:30 pm tomorrow, May 3; 8:00 PM on Friday, May 4; and 2:00 and 7:00 PM on Saturday, May 5th. If you could attend the Saturday evening performance, that would be best, as that is the night the Cappies Critics will be there, but it shouldn't really make any difference for your enjoyment of the play. Matt is also the makeup designer of this show.

Now, for me.

I had the ultrasound of my left breast on Tuesday. The radiologist found what seemed to show up on the mammogram. It is his opinion that it is a benign lymph node. Yay! I will have a PET scan on May 12th, and that would hopefully show if there is any problem. That's the good news.

The bad news is that my oncologist's office is closing. It appears to me that after they moved into new digs, after I finished my first round of chemotherapy , their rent went up. Then, one of the three partners left the practice and took most of his patients with him, and the remaining two partners cannot meet expenses with the reimbursements they were getting from insurance companies. Anyway, that is who they seem to blame. I will see Dr. Broome for the last time in that practice on May 14th. Actually, if this has to happen, now is a good time, since I am in remission and not having active treatment. The people who were having active chemotherapy are already getting it at another practice. I will probably be picked up by my HMO's oncology department. The reason I have not been going there is that when I first needed an oncologist, the HMO did not have room for me. I am just glad they let me stay where I was. I like Dr. Broome, and will miss her. It would be great if she joined my HMO, but I am not going to hold my breath for that.

Thanks for your continued prayers.

Get your mammograms. Do your self-exams.


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