Sunday, December 30, 2007

Weekend Snapshot: Number 17

My weekend snapshot(s) will be Christmas week at my house (Monday the 24th through Saturday the 29th), inside as well as outside.
The shot of my daughter above was taken a few days after Christmas. Her making it home safely was the best present I could have gotten. She had minor travel delays but got to my house around midnight on the 22nd. The sky shot was also taken a few days after Christmas. The sky has been fabulous.Speaking of fabulous, our Christmas dinner turned out quite well, if I do say so myself.
The nandina berries above are getting more plentiful on the nandina domestica bushes, every day. The berries are not edible but they brighten up the winter landscape.The mixed lettuce in the salad course, of Christmas dinner, was out of my garden boxes. We've had days when the bird dishes were a solid block of ice but by covering the garden boxes early to trap the sun and leaving them shut during the coldest days, I managed to keep the crop going for my Christmas salad. We're having an unseasonably warm spell at the moment and my protected winter garden continues to do well.When my daughter and I were discussing the menu, in advance of Christmas, she mentioned that my stuffed mushrooms were always good. Therefore, stuffed mushrooms it was.
The squirrel above made me laugh. Actually there were 3 squirrels up to their antics on my deck this Friday but the others scattered, and I only managed to photograph the one.My daughter made an apricot compote which was delicious. The photograph above was taken Christmas eve since she had to chill it over night in the refrigerator.
Above is a closeup of the apricots and other ingredients simmering. Below is a shot of my daughter taking a break from cooking to play Christmas carols.
I love bare limbs in the winter when you can see individual branches. When they leaf out it's harder to see the structure of the tree.
I made up a recipe which turned out so well I'll have to do it again. My daughter is a vegetarian so aside from some delicious Christmas ham which Bill and I had, the rest of the meal was meatless. I found a recipe for pearl onions that looked good but it involved a chicken broth which wouldn't work for my daughter. So I decided to cook pearl onions, garlic, tiny potatoes, and rosemary, in white cooking wine. YUMMY.
The piece de resistance of our Christmas dinner was the dessert which my daughter made. It was sabayon with black raspberries in the bottom.
So that's it for 2007 at my house and on to the New Year. Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, and safe 2008 with some adventures that make life interesting.

Weekend Snapshot

Friday, December 28, 2007

Photohunt: Messy

The photohunt theme this week is messy, and that's an easy one for me. Since the new year will soon be here, this photohunt post will serve as a reminder of messy areas that I should straighten up.
As you can see above, I have a messy array of books on the floor beside the bedside table. The bedside table has plenty of books, date books, and journals on it or in the underneath part. Still I end up with this clutter spread out on the floor. My new year's resolution is either to straighten it up every day or assume there is no hope and it will always be messy. Not sure which I'll choose.
The shelves in my home office are up there in terms of being the messiest spot in my house. I sign on to my work network from home and rarely have to go to the office. Therefore, I have a lot of office supplies at home. No matter how often I straighten them up, they end up being messy again.The shelves beside my computer were so messy that instead of taking a picture of them I straightened them up. Therefore, my messy shelves are borderline neat in this shot. Anyone want to take bets on how long it will take for them to be messy again.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wild December Skies

I didn't get a white Christmas but I was able to enjoy some wild end of December skies. I took these photographs on the 23rd of December and I was so glad I thought to check the sky right before sunset.There never was a typical sunset. It went from these kind of wild clouds to pitch black in the space of about a half hour.
I've had a pleasant Christmas and good to have my daughter home for a few weeks. Wishing every one a happy end to 2007 and on to the new.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Dona Nobis Pacem on Christmas Eve, 2007

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. LUKE 2:13:14

When I read on Mimi's site that anyone who wanted to post a peace globe this Christmas eve should feel free to, I immediately had the idea of using a painting my Dad did of the angels waiting to troop in for the lessons and carols service at the Church where my Dad was the Rector. Although he painted the angels in color, I decided it worked better for the globe if I converted the globe and painting to black and white. I thought that I'd put peace on earth good will to all as the text on the peace globe, vaguely associating that with Christmas eve. I'll admit that I'm a bit foggy brained at this point in my life, and I'm also not a church goer, so I forget the exact words although some fragments are part of my permanent memory. The crazy thing was that after I made my peace globe, I decided to look at one of the Christmas cards I still have which were made using my father's painting as the cover artwork. The title of the painting is "Angels in Waiting" and on the inside of the cards is the full passage of what I put under my peace globe. I had no recollection of that passage being inside the Christmas cards, but I instinctively put my version on the peace globe. That was odd indeed.
The photograph above is of my father and a family friend who was also one of his parishioners, her son was the photographer who took the picture and gave it to my father. The photograph was taken fairly near the end of my father's life and is one I treasure.

The proceeds from the "Angels in Waiting" cards were donated to, FIGS, a group which provided "food, clothing, shelter, heat and medical supplies" to those in need in the area where I grew up and still live. A theme which cropped up on several of the November peace globes I visited was that until people are not impoverished or oppressed, there will be no true peace. There are some great quotes that make that point better than I can. I also think for true peace, the people of the world have to find ways to celebrate both their differences and their commonality whether it be religion, culture, gender, or race. One of the many aspects of my father's work as a minister that I admired was that he worked with people from a variety of faiths, as well as people without any religious affiliation, for organizations helping those in need. I don't begin to have the answers for what it will take to find a true peace in the world but I believe the road will have to include people realizing that we have to work together and not use our different faiths or cultures as barriers which separate us. Those are the thoughts which keep coming back to me on this Christmas eve of 2007.
My father and my daughter dancing around 1991

There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they grow up in peace.
-- Kofi Annan

I want to thank Mimi for coming up with the peace globe idea. You hear so much about the negative aspects of the internet that it's refreshing to see positive ideas, like the bloggers for peace, crop up. At the bottom of this post are links to technorati sites which have the various peace globe bloggers posts. You can also click on Mimi's name to see her site. I don't have the answers, but I think it's good to focus positive energy outward.
May the days you honor, whatever they may be, be blessed with peace and joy. Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate Christmas. Would that all days were blessed and hopeful, with a touch of magic thrown in for good measure. I'll admit that there's a child's side of me that likes the lights and dazzle and magic of Christmas. I am very fortunate to have the luxury of such times and days.

Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.
-- Hafsat Abiola

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Weekend Snapshot: Number 16

For my pre-Christmas Weekend snapshot, I thought I'd use some Christmas shots taken not too far from where I live. A few of these photos were taken this week. However, I'm also including shots I've been taking all month for my special Christmas, in my part of town, WS edition.

First, a shot of the area in the market where I took photographs o
f orchids for a prior WS. During the December holiday season, the orchids are pushed back in corners and the poinsettias are front and center.Just in case someone didn't catch on to the fact that Christmas is coming up, the same market has a decorated tree and the checkout areas are also decorated.
Although the next shot isn't Christmas decorations, during the season, I always check out the bargain book racks outside bookstores for gift possibilities.
The hardware store is in on the Christmas action, not only selling tools but also selling Christmas trees, bikes, and an appealing rocker, complete with bow.
Then we have a temporary ice skating rink at North Hills Shopping center for the skaters.When the skaters are weary, they can take a break and listen to the carolers. I'll leave you with a large Christmas tree at the same shopping center as the skaters and carolers. I took the Christmas tree shot on the last day of November which is obvious to me since a few fall leaves reflected in the building were still hanging on. At this point, the trees are all bare. I probably should have taken a picture of that tree this week but frankly, the traffic is murder, and parking is worse. May your days be merry and bright. To those of you who celebrate Christmas, Christmas Gift. Whoever says that first on Christmas morning, in my family, was supposed to get an extra gift. I don't recall getting an extra gift even when I said it first, but it was still fun to greet each other with Christmas gift on Christmas morning. May the days you honor, whatever they may be, be blessed and happy, and all the other days too for that matter. You can go to Weekend Snapshot to find out how to join WS, and to find other partipants. You can also find WS participants on technoarati at Monday is the official post date but some are early like me.

On another topic, I'll be posting a Christmas eve peace globe tomorrow (the 24th) which will be my last post until after Christmas. I know this is a busy time but if anyone is interested in posting their own Christmas eve peace globe, you can go to Mimi Writes to read about it.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Photohunt: Light

The photohunt theme this week is light. An individual damp leaf is very light.
I prefer raking the light leaves when they are slightly damp because they don't fly off as freely or irritate my sinuses as bad.
The problem is that once you get a whole bunch of light damp leaves raked up, and put in a container to move them where you can chop the leaves for mulch, they are no longer very light.
That's it for my light post which turned into a heavy post at the end.

To find other Saturday photohunters, and to learn about the hunt, you can go to, . You can also find photohunters at technorati

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Last Scheduled doc of the year, wooohooo

I'm back from my last scheduled doctor's appointment of the year which is so good to have behind me. I don't want to tempt fate by saying it's the last doctor's appointment of the year because there is always the slim chance of an unexpected truck with my name on it. However, I'm glad that barring the unexpected I have gone to my last doctor's appointment of 2007. I saw the medical oncologist who follows me for melanoma and it went well. He thinks I'm doing well enough to extend when I see him. I still see the surgical oncologist too but hopefully I'm close to where those appointments will be extended too.
He thinks I should follow up with the oral surgeon that I have a January appointment with for the tongue lesion biopsy and also for the abscessed tooth. However, he went ahead and gave me a prescription to put on my tongue in the meantime because he thinks I may have thrush . Apparently I have more than one lesion now. That would be great if it cleared up with the medicine and I don't need a biopsy. From the cancer angle, I am doing well. No recurrences so far, and since I'm coming up on three years, that is great. He also said that at some point I should stop getting scans. He's going to schedule the full body PET/CT for March because I mentioned that my surgical oncologist asked if I'd do it at the medical ONCs hospital or at UNC where I see the surgical ONC. He mentioned that one problem with asymptomatic scans is that things can show up that aren't cancer and alarm me unnecessarily. I told him I knew that having been through a possible recurrence that went away on repeat scans but that I wanted the three year one, and maybe after that I'd be ready to stop. I also need to see what the surgical ONC thinks on that score since his follow up protocol may require the scans up to 5 years. I never asked the surgical ONC about when I would stop scans.
He also discussed how I've done everything that I can do and I will need to try and put it behind me because if heaven forbid I recur, knowing a few months earlier due to a scan probably won't make that big of a difference. He said he knew if I did have a recurrence that I was strong and would fight it and that there were new treatments that would probably be available. He mentioned CTLA-4 , and I was glad of that since the work there is among treatments I would consider. It ended on the note that making it this far I probably wouldn't recur and that what I am dealing with is the aftermath. Sounds good to me. I am ready for a nice long break from doctor's appointments. About 10 years would suit me at this point. Every time I say that, I am aware that I should qualify it with the caveat that I know how lucky I am to have health insurance and the level of care that I get.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thank you, Blogger Awards, Blogger Tags

This is going to be a group thank you for awards and tags I haven't posted about because I've been slack. They are in no particular order although the first one is the most recent that I received. I want to thank Ascender Rises Above for passing on the True Blue Blogging Award to me. This award is for ‘blogging friends, for people who stick by you in blogland and make it fun to blog, creating a community of communication and friends.’ I appreciate it so much and Ascender is certainly deserving of that award for she is a very supportive blogging friend. I am glad to have gotten to know her, her visual art, her photography, and the narrative she includes in her posts. Sometimes poetry, sometimes essay, sometimes others words, sometimes her own words, but always spot on. I am afraid that of late I have dropped the ball in terms of tags and awards but rather than wait until I figure a way to pass it on, I'm posting about this and other awards and tags. So many of my blogging friends make it fun for me to be in this community. I have started a blog roll of sorts which includes people whose blogs I read regularly, my attempt at a blog roll for the photo memes I participate in, and I thought I'd link that here.
Some time back Trinity at Rooms of my Heart gave me the Friendship Badge which I have not posted about yet. Trinity is a photohunter and I appreciated her kindness so much. I've had trouble fitting in my regular posts and the photo memes and posts about awards and tags lately which is why I'm so slow acknowledging Trinity's thoughtful award. I also received the Friendship Award from Everything and then Some who is another blogger I've enjoyed getting to know through the photo memes. I appreciate her thinking of me.
Next I want to mention the tags. I appreciate people thinking of me for the tags, and I have done them in the past. However, lately I've been so slow about it I want to go ahead and thank the bloggers who have mentioned me in tags.Thanks to Kat's Krackerbox Weblog for the Seven Random Things about me tag. Next, thanks to Unrelenting Ambiguity for the 7 Things about me Meme. Also, thanks to Sandy Carlson at Writing in Faith for the Seven Things about me. Thank you to Castleruins for thinking of me for the 5 Christmas Wishes tag. I was also mentioned by Gbex for a Christmas tag and I appreciate that. Liza at Moms . . . Check nyo mentioned me for a Christmas Tree Tag which was very thoughtful of her. Dom from Tales From the Cenobite tagged me for the What Christmas Means to Me meme and I appreciated him thinking of me. I was tagged by Work of the Poet for Flavor of the Month and appreciated her thinking of me.
If I don't get around to the tags or pass on the awards, it's not that I don't appreciate my blogger friends for thinking of me. I appreciate it a great deal. I may eventually hit a blogging point where I will go back and participate in some of the tags and I would really like to do better at passing on awards. It's not that there aren't many, many bloggers I've gotten to know that deserve recognition. My problem is so many deserve recognition. I value this community a great deal even when I'm not great at showing it.