Monday, March 30, 2009


So, you know how you get invited to a BBQ or dinner party or some similar food/alcohol/socializing event and you're all "Uh, we need to bring about wine? Yeah, wine is good...but how many bottles? Do you know how many people are supposed to be there? How much should we spend per bottle?"

Maybe that's just me. I am more of a beer girl: I know what I like (read: lots and lots of hops and just when you think it's pretty good and hoppy, ad more hops).

That said, can you imagine how much of a hit of the party you would be if you brought wine in a paint can?! Of course there's the question of whether or not the wine's any good, but that's a risk I'm willing to take.

I'm such a sucker for clever packaging...


Making Good On Culinary Promises

I got it into my head a while ago that rather than depend on our local Thai establishment(s) as a source for the delicious Tom Kha Gai (or really Tom Kha Tofu) soup, I was going to take a field trip to the Asian grocer and make it myself.

Fast forward several months to yesterday, when I finally did make it out to the grocer and picked up all the ingredients (save the necessary peppers--they were all labeled "PEPPER" and that is definitely a thing you want to get right).

Oh MAN was it good, even though I started it way too early which may have muddied the flavors a bit and definitely wound up in it being less a soup and more of a curry-type thing, which we served over rice.

I'd post the recipe except that I kinda fused about four recipes I found, doing my usual "little of this, little of that" non-style of cooking despite it being my first time.

Basic ingredients include stock, coconut milk, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, chilies, fish sauce, lime juice, veggies and protein of choice. I also garnished with scallions, cilantro, and bean sprouts 'cause I'm nice like that.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Glad To Be 1,000 Miles From the Chesapeake Bay

One less thing I can't eat without a pound of guilt: Crabs Feel Pain.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This Just In

News anchor gravitas + self-aware self-assured self-mockery (see: SNL, Daily Show, and Sesame St.) = me tardy to the Brian Williams crush party.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I Am a Dog Walker Stalker

I have done my best to refrain from flogging myself here on the blog over our making the incredibly difficult decision to surrender our dog Cleo. She was troubled, she was broken, and she sincerely made it difficult for us to live our lives--social and otherwise--without a heaping pile of stress, but she was ours. She was mine.

As I've said before, giving her up was so hard, but I knew for as hard as that was, if Cleo ever did any harm to Violet, it would be like a knife to my heart.

And this is how I made my peace with our turning her over to a shelter. A kill shelter. Ok no, I still haven't really forgiven myself.

But she was picked up by the local rescue. And while that helped me sleep a little easier, I still continued to feel guilty, thus stalked her guiltily online, sending first the Christmas stocking my mom had made her, and then a donation to the rescue who saved her. Because the guilt, it keeps on coming.

That is, until today. Today the guilt subsides a little bit more because Cleo is no longer available: she's been adopted!!! Oh sweet St. Francis of Assisi, our dear Cleo has found a permanent home! I really, really hope that it's with the guy she's lounging on in the picture because he bears a passing resemblance to Jody, with whom she shared many a snuggle and nap, and I would think that that would make the transition a little easier on her.

Be well, little monkey. I still love and miss you terribly.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another One for the Water is Wet Files:

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

I love The Eff Word and make no apologies for it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Recipes of Relative Ease*

I'm wary of launching another ongoing installment over here at Sugarmouth on account of the infrequency with which I try new recipes, but I wanted to share the following with you, gentle reader: The Best Broccoli of Your Life.

I tried the recipe out tonight and not only is it tasty and fairly healthy, but it is wicked easy and doesn't require any exotic ingredients or cooking implements.

I made a test (ie small) batch in the toaster oven this evening and think I will cook it for longer than the 22:22 I did to up the crunch factor and use more Parmesan the next time as well.

Apologies to the blogger from whom I stole this link...I can't for the life of me remember where I came across it.

*A bit of a stretch, I know.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Sugarmouth Segment!

Hey y'all--I think it's time to launch a new recurring segment here on the ol' blog:

Things/People to Which/Whom I Would Sincerely Like to Dole Out a Most Unladylike Beatdown.

OMG, you guys, have you been getting those spam emails, hearing the radio commercials, or catching parts of the over-lengthy TV infomercials on colon cleansing? Because, did you know that you aren't overweight, you might actually have up to 30lbs of poop jammed up in there like "spackle or paste?" And that all you need is a good "detox" or to take a bunch of pills or get a colonic and poof! You're going to be a size six again? </sarcasm>

Holy fucking shit (pun intended), this nonsense positively makes me want to spit nails. Doctors have either have to use the threat of cancer or brute force to get their patients into the GI clinic, but from the preponderance of these damn commercials, it would seem that folks are lining up for these "cleansing" scams!

Hey quick-fixers! Do you want to "detox" your body? Drink more water, eat less processed crap, and get your heart rate over 120 for more than 20 minutes more than twice a week!

Ok, now I'm about to blow. Your. MIND. Wanna hear something really crazy? This "program" will also help you LOSE WEIGHT! Whatta coincidence, right? </sarcasm>

The other thing that makes me fucking nuts is these quacks tout claim to be "nutritionists," which ANY unqualified jackass can call themselves. I mean, who wouldn't trust their intestinal health to an evangelist and a "nutraceutical formulator "?

Of course, nowhere on their websites does it say where these HUGE douchebags got their college degree(s), which leads me to believe that they, in fact, have not matriculated from an accredited institution of higher learning.

But I could just be biased. I could be way too invested in the topic. I mean sure, doesn't this guy look like an expert on what's good for you and your colon?


Friday, March 6, 2009

The Worst 15 Minutes of the Last Year*

Yesterday I had my six-month follow-up CT scan. I hadn't been thinking much about it before the actual day, mostly because I knew that the only thing worrying would accomplish is steal precious sleep.

I was a little on edge yesterday since I had to fast prior to the scan and I am not one to skip meals. Ever. The first appointment was 9am labs, which went relatively ok, except for the fact that the IV needle that the tech left in wasn't exactly comfy, but then hell, it's pointy metal and it's not supposed to feel good, right?

After pounding three large cups of contrast for the scan (which I tolerated a little more than usual since I was so dehydrated and am not one to deviate from the NO FOOD OR DRINK FOUR HOURS PRIOR TO SCAN directions, even if it is water), they brought me into the CT room.

As soon as I laid on the table, I started to panic mildly. This was it. This test would determine the path of my life for the next six months. Clear, and I would get to keep chugging along until the next scan. Not clear, well...I could only assume that meant chemo and surgery.

They hooked the IV up to the needle sticking out of my arm. Once the contrast started to flow, my arm started to BURN with an incredibly SHARP PAIN. "OW, it HURTS!" I cried, kicking one leg wildly. I knew that getting contrast through my port was relatively painless, but I'd had contrast via IV before and it never hurt anything like this.

One of the nurses checked my arm (or something--I was to busy motionlessly writhing in pain to notice) and she said very apologetically that the vein wasn't infiltrated and that the contrast was going to where it was supposed to, so they kept going. The initial pain eventually subsided, but the damage was already done, or rather the dam had broken.

As fat tears rolled out the corners of my eyes, the nurses apologized repeatedly for something which wasn't remotely their fault. I tried to brush it off as no big deal, but they kept on: "I'm so sorry, it's not supposed to hurt like that, I'm so sorry..."

I tried to get myself together in a bathroom, but immediately lost it, heaving sobs at the import of what had just happened. The scan was no longer a question mark on the horizon--it was happening. It had happened.

I beelined down the the caf for some much needed grub, which made me feel a bit better, then turned right around for my 11:30 acupuncture appt. There, the tiniest needle stick set off the waterworks again. I soon realized yesterday that while I can tolerate stress and tolerate pain, I can't do both at once, with one intensifying the other in a vicious cycle of tears.

I met up with Jody in the onc waiting room and proceeded to do just that for a half hour since either I or the clinic got my appointment time wrong. We were eventually whisked into an exam room, I answered the usual litany of questions, and we waited for the onc.

My onc's right hand man (who is also fantastic, by the way) had me feeling good with his positive demeanor but then delivered the news: the scan results were inconclusively troubling. Apparently, there was a dark spot on the scan that had gotten bigger since the last one.

Just then, the darkness got a whole lot bigger.

The doc said that it was very unusual for it a recurrence to happen in that area and since it was adjacent to a surgical staple or clip, it could very well be nothing more than irritation from that staple/clip.

None of that helped. I was a total fucking wreck and was on my second kleenex before he even finished his sentence.

The doc then said that he was going to confer with my onc and then try to get either an answer or plan of attack when they both came back.

Jody, universe bless him, was ever his logical, I-will-base-my-response-on-the-information-I-have-been-given self while I, on the other hand, was Missus Disaster Brain.

I was sick. Again. I had ten miles of bad chemo road ahead of me, and possibly surgeries, just to keep things interesting. They wouldn't be able to put me back on FOLFOX on account of my neuropathy, so they would try something new. Something worse. Something that would knock me down, wipe me out. I would lose my hair. Jody would lose sleep. Violet might lose her mother. Oh God fucking NO.

After a fifteen minute eternity, my oncologist walked in, with his right hand man right behind. It was ok. They had an explaination. The dark spot they had been watching, the one adjacent to the clip? Was my ovary. And this was not a bad thing, because ovaries in all pre-menopausal women change with a woman's cycle.

Holy shit, they had been looking at my beloved, transposed to a new location, thusfar functioning ovary.

And this is why my emotional fuse had been thisshort. Well, partly, anyhow. Because despite all lab results to the contrary, I was still cycling.

My hair is still a wreck. Jody's sleep is spotty at best. But Violet? Not losing her mom any time soon.

*Not counting my bowel issues, natch.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I'm Back!

Ok, so I've been back, just a little, um...busy? Sort of?

So, I know I owe you all a report on our trip to Puerto Rico (short version: the Ritz has crap coffee and is across the street from the cockfights. I wish I were kidding) and I've got something else of import coming up in a few days but I wanted to post a quick note pertaining to a subject very close to my heart.

Well, not so much my heart as it is my butt. Yes, we're going there.

We are now in the month of ides, Guinness, lions and lambs but also awareness. March is coloRECTAL (sing it!) cancer awareness month. You all know my story by now, so I will spare a rerun, but it is my duty (or is that doody?) to deliver the following PSA as a CRC veteran.

Colorectal cancer--and all cancers, really--does not discriminate, nor is it logical. I am proof of the fact that you can be so low risk as to be practically risk-free and still get The Cancer. It is critical that you remain ever vigilant and tuned into the ebbs and flows of your body.

It is up to you to inform your doctor of any irregularities, whether it be unexplained weight loss, weakness, bleeding, changes in bowel habits (translation: they look different, happen more/less frequently, etc).

If things have been amok for a while and are not improving, be the squeaky wheel. You must be your own advocate. And if your doc tries to pass them off as hemmorrhoids, have him/her give me a call. You know I love a good excuse to read someone the riot act.

Spread the word, and if symptoms warrant, spread your cheeks. I've said it before, but I'll say it again:

If your doody is red, get your pooper inspected!

Oh and PS, contrary to what you've heard, the prep is the second worst part of a colonoscopy. The worst worst part is being told you have cancer.