Thursday, February 25, 2010

Grace Under Pressure

"They couldn't do the surgery," my friend J told me this afternoon. The pancreatic cancer had spread further than they thought and so J, whose husband passed away from the same cancer one year ago today, was told that surgery was not an option for her sister.

J's sister L is quite a bit older than she and I are. I believe the difference is something like 16 or 18 years. L and her husband D have been close to my heart since shortly after we moved here to Indian Land. L had breast cancer some years ago and was going through the same fatigue symptoms from her medication that I was going through at the beginning of my menopause journey. Often she and I would look at each other in church and just sigh, knowing that we each understood how the other felt and both too tired to really talk about it. Hubby D has been my de facto big brother, in almost every sense of the word. I know he would turn himself inside-out to protect me and he also likes to patronize me in the same way a real big brother can. He's always as quick with a hug and backrub as he is to tease me about my wine drinking.

We don't know what is in store for L. Ever the optimist, I'm told she is still positive tonight from her hospital bed. It's too soon for her to go, I'm thinkin', and I'm concerned for J, who has lost so much.

And yet, as J told me this news today, we hugged, she told me she loved me, and she asked me how I was. This is a very special family. A very grace-filled family.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Day That Could Only End with French Fries

I had a big bowl of french fries for supper. yup. me. I rarely do that, but today was that day. Since I have no guts and I'm heavily medicated, I can't really blame it on pms. I blame it on this realization I had today: I am quite certain that there is NO WAY that one person can get everything done that I need to get done by the time school is out.

When I realized this, at approximately 9 a.m. today, I stopped breathing. Well, I was actually breathing, but not really efficiently. Just sort of short, shallow breaths, and not very many of them. I'll need to pull out all the stops at home to keep body and soul together. Or rather to put body and soul back together. Because every weekday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. my body and soul will be sucked of all life.

I started back on my Qi Gong DVD today after work to see if that would help. I think it will. I hope to continue it every day for 21 days to establish the habit. I've never done the entire DVD, and I don't really plan to. I plan to do 20 minutes at a time until I learn all the movements. I then went to yoga.

It was after yoga that the french fry frenzy started. During which time we also watched Monday's "24" episode.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Just Call Him "Animal"

Riley stopped, panting, in the doorway of my room.
"Bob is an animal!" he said.

And then he proceeded to tell me about their cross-country run after work today. "I had to stop a couple of times," he said.

I told him about following Bob up Crowder's Mountain last fall. "I suggested once that he maybe just PRETEND he was breathing hard."

We are now eating sweet potato pancakes (The New Moosewood Cookbook," of course). And bacon. They are eating bacon. I tasted a bit the size of my fingernail. Nah. Not really appealing. They are testing various toppings for the pancakes. Like a science experiment. "I'm thinking butter and sugar," one says. "I don't know, I think the maple syrup is the best," another says. "Why not creole seasoning?" (this from Taylor, of course.)

Whatever. As long as they are happy. And they get to stand up while eating around the counter. Why do guys like to eat standing up?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Change: Inevitable, Embraceable

The Five Remembrances

I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.

I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

A version of the Buddha's Five Remembrances, offered by Thich Nhat Hanh in The Plum Village Chanting Book (Parallax Press, 1991).

To read more about change and dealing with it, take a look at this article in Yoga Journal.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lentil Walnut Burger

Lentil Walnut Burger
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Ever since my encounter with a Hempnut burger at the Laughing Seed Cafe in Asheville, I've wanted to make and have another one here at home. I'd done a little googling around and I've also looked around a bit for ingredients at Earth Fair. I did actually find Hempnuts there but they were about $6 for a bag of them! Yiikes!

But then I stumbled on this recipe in my New Moosewood Cookbook. You cook lentils in water for about 30 minutes until the water is gone and then mash them with a bit of cider vinegar.
Saute minced mushrooms, walnuts, onion, garlic, spinach (optional but I course I went for that), salt, pepper and dry mustard. Add all that to the lentils and then put in either 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs or wheat germ. I had wheat germ and am always looking for ways to use it so that went in.
Cool the mixture for an hour, shape patties and fry in a little oil or put under the broiler. The recipe says to make the patties 4 inches in diameter. Mine were a little bigger and I still got a lot more than the 4 to 6 servings they mention. I froze about 8 more patties and we ate three for supper.
A serving suggestion is to put a slice of ripe tomato on top along with some aoli. The aoli definitely would fit the flavor profile better than the onion, mustard and ketchup I used, but it was still delicious.
The guys loved them! Bob said he really like how full for flavor they were, with many different flavors coming through. He's right. I'll definitely make these again and I'll use the frozen ones when the guys want hamburgers.

When Taylor first saw them he said "I thought you said we were having HAMburgers!"
I corrected him. "No. Think about it," I said. "I said we were having BURGERS!"

Here's a link to the author's website with the recipe. They were a little time-consuming with all the mincing but you can get all that done and the sauteeing while the lentils cook.