Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Busy days and update...

I've been trying to get some yard work done. With all the rain lately the weeds have grown like crazy. I spent a good chunk of today mowing, edging and cleaning up the yard a little. I really need to get some bushes trimmed, and I'd love to add some mulch, but we'll see how that goes. I'm really running out of steam here.

Reid had his appointment down at MD Anderson on Monday. He first saw the Physician's Assistant and she was asking him if his shortness of breath had gotten worse, but he said it was the same. Then she mentioned that the latest scan showed scar tissue on his lungs from the radiation and that's why she was asking.  She also confirmed that the biopsy showed no malignancy which was good news.

The stem cell doctor said that they will continue to watch that lymph node and if it increases in size on the next scan they will do another biopsy and take a larger chunk. They've already scheduled him for a CT scan and a PET scan on May 29th. This will be the longest he'll have gone between scans since being diagnosed with Hodgkin's in 2009, so we're thinking that's a positive.

Meanwhile, Jim is noticing some changes and we all decided he should send an E-mail to his oncologist since his next appointment isn't for a while. We'll see what he says.

No time for Alphabe-Thursday this week. Between the yard work and trying to get my genealogy files organized I just haven't had the time. (We won't even talk about the house being a mess!)  And I made some mistakes with the Family Tree Maker program when I entered my information and I have no idea how to fix them. That's one of those things that will probably take me hours to figure out...if ever!  I'm starting to think I liked my old manila folder system from the 1980's better.  That's what I get for trying to bring my genealogy information into the modern age.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Is the drought ending???

I read in the newspaper that today they might declare our year long drought over.  I forget who makes the declaration, but someone in the know decides.

We've had quite a bit of rain lately.  Yesterday, I looked out in the backyard and thought I saw an animal back by the tree stump.  I thought it might be an armadillo, but they normally don't come out during the day.

Blackie came to help me investigate.
Everything is bigger in Texas.  Even ugly wild mushrooms!  (Please excuse my naughty gnome.)

Can you grow mushrooms like this where you live?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Alphabe-Thursday..."N" as in NOODLE

 It's time again for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent." This week we are studying the letter "N" as in NOODLE Kugel.  I decided this would be the perfect time to try the Killer Kugel recipe by Kathy Levine from the How To Cook Like A Jewish Grandmother Cookbook that I received from Ann in the Secret Santa Swap.

I ran out to the store this morning and bought the ingredients just so I could make it for you.  It's still hot from the oven as I type.

I would serve this Kugel as either a side dish or a dessert.  It's obviously very good for you because it calls for just a little bit of nonstick cooking spray. :)  I would never want to use a lot and make this dish unhealthy for you.

Killer Kugel

1 lb. fine egg noodles
1 lb. cottage cheese
1/2 lb. cream cheese, softened
1 quart milk
6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 stick butter, melted
Nonstick cooking spray
Graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sugar

Boil noodles al dente and drain. In a large bowl mix cheeses and milk.  Add noodles, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and raisins.  Stir well, then add butter and stir again.  (I didn't have a big enough bowl, so I used a large pot to mix everything together.)

Pour into nonstick pan with a touch of nonstick cooking spray in it.  Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until golden bubbly, but firm to the cut.  Let cool a bit before cutting into squares and serving.  Serve hot or cold.  If there is too much for one pan, bake the extra in muffin tins, but remember to adjust the cooking time down to only 15-20 minutes for them.  Serves 4-6.  (It's so rich...I would say it serves 10.)

Note:  I put mine in a 9 x 13 inch glass pan.  I didn't have a non-stick one.  There was enough left over for a small casserole dish too.  I cooked the small one for about 20 minutes and the large one for 50 minutes.  I stuck a steak knife in the middle and when it came out clean I considered it done.

In the interest of science I immediately ate the small one. was very rich and very good!

Here's the large one.  The picture is a little blurry...sorry.

Now head over to Ms. Jenny's so you can visit some more Alphabe-Thursday posts!

Monday, February 20, 2012

I think we can exhale now...

Reid had a needle biopsy today and the radiologist told him that they did not see any malignancy and he thought the lymph node had actually gotten smaller.

Meanwhile, Reid's appointment with his doctor has been changed from Wednesday to next Monday. So, we'll wait and see what he has to say then.

Meanwhile, we're going to exhale.

If you've ever had to deal with cancer you probably already know that it's an up and down journey.  Thank you for traveling along with us.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Google/Blogger/gmail, etc.

I'm sure you've all noticed that Google is changing their privacy statement. They say it's to make everything uniform across all their services. I understand they're in business to make money and ads generate revenue for them. Their services are free for us to use.

I was concerned when I first started using gmail and saw ads appear on my screen that had something to do with subjects covered in E-mails I had sent or received. At that time I read their policy and learned that no humans at Google ever read my E-mails. Google software just picks up key words and then puts up ads that "might interest me." I thought it was a little intrusive, but decided I could live with it.

Lately, I've received E-mails from a couple of people and their full names with street address have appeared on my screen. I'm assuming these people shared the information with Google at one time. I did not have their information anywhere on my computer or gmail address book. In fact, it was the first time I ever communicated with the one person. Has anyone else noticed this happening?

I can live with them auto-suggesting when I do a google search, or putting up ads on my E-mail screen, but I don't want them sharing my full name and street address.

Should I be concerned...or am I a little paranoid? 
Edited:  I decided to go back and look at both E-mails again.  They do not use gmail, but they both use the same Internet Service Provider for their E-mail. Now I'm thinking they must have willingly shared this information with their provider and it's not gmail doing it.  I am going to start paying closer attention to see if any other addresses appear.  I only noticed this for the first time a week or so ago.  Please let me know if you've ever noticed this too?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Another bump in the road...

It will soon be a year since Reid had the stem cell transplant to cure his Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Everything had been going well until his last PET scan about six or eight weeks ago. At that time a lymph node under his arm lit up on the scan. The doctor told us that it's not unusual and can happen with a cold, sore throat, or even a scratch on the arm. However, because of his history of Hodgkin's it would have to be watched. He said normally Hodgkin's will reappear where it's been before and it was not in this lymph node in the past. Based on that he said there was probably an 80% chance it was not the cancer.

However, Reid found out on Wednesday that the last CT scan showed that the lymph node had increased in size and they now want to biopsy it. We're kind of assuming it will probably be done next week, but so far it hasn't shown up on his online schedule.

Around the hospital are signs that say, "Cancer Changes Everything" and it really does. You just can't ignore anything anymore and you pretty much live from scan to scan. I've said before that I try and stay in the moment. If I dare to let my mind race ahead imagining all sorts of scenarios that may or may not happen I can't enjoy the moment. That's what Reid tells me he does too. He tries not to worry until he knows for sure there is something to worry about.

So for now we're going to try and stay in the moment until we know more for sure.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Alphabe-Thursday..."M" as in Meatballs

It's time again for Ms. Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday and this week we are studying the letter "M" as in MEATBALL MINESTRONE Soup.

I know I've posted this recipe before, but it's so quick and easy and one of my favorites when the weather gets cold. Some years back I was sitting under a hair dryer when I spotted this recipe in a magazine and quickly jotted it down on a piece of scrap paper. I no longer remember what magazine I was reading at the time, but this soup has become very popular with the entire family (except for Keith who hates beans).

Here's a picture of the soup, but it doesn't look too good because I took the picture when the soup was ice cold. As usual I had forgotten to take a picture and had to get the leftovers out of the refrigerator for this shot.

Meatball Minestrone

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. olive oil
3 (15 oz.) cans Cannellini beans, undrained,divided
1 (32 oz.) box chicken broth
1 (1.4 oz) package vegetable soup mix (I useKnorr vegetable soup mix.)
60-64 frozen cooked meatballs (I use Italianmeatballs)
1 (14 ½ oz.) can diced tomatoes with basil,garlic, oregano
½ t. dried, crushed red pepper
8 oz. Uncooked rotini pasta
1 (10 oz.) bag, fresh spinach, torn
Garnishes: Parmesan cheese, chopped freshparsley

Saute garlic in hot oil in stock pot overmedium high heat one minute; stir in two cans beans and chicken broth. Bring toboil.

Stir in vegetable soup mix until dissolved. Addmeatballs, tomatoes, and red pepper. Return to boil. Add rotini and cook,stirring often for 15 minutes.

Stir in remaining can of beans and spinach.Cook five more minutes. Garnish if desired. Yield: 4 quarts; Prep: 10 minutes;Cook: 30 minutes

Now head over to Ms. Jenny's blog so you can visit some more Alphabe-Thursday posts.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Alphabe-Thursday..."L" as in LASAGNA

Today we are studying the letter "L" for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny over at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  In our house "L" stands for LASAGNA!

My son makes a delicious lasagna and he graciously agreed to help me out this week by preparing the dish yesterday so I could take pictures.  Everyone in our family loves this lasagna.  He found the recipe on and it's appropriately named World's Best Lasagna.

It takes a bit of time to prepare, but it's well worth the effort.

Reid even agreed to pose with the masterpiece.

And here's a close up.

The recipe got very good reviews on the site.  Rather than typing out the whole recipe I'll let you go here where you can easily print it out.

Now head over to Ms. Jenny's site for a list of this week's participants and more "L" posts.

I give up.  Everytime I do a preview there are huge spaces between some of the pictures.  I did not put them in there and they don't appear on the compose screen.  Hopefully, when I publish this they'll be gone.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Alphabe-Thursday..."K" as in Kid's Recipe

It's time again for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny over at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent. Today we are studying the letter "K" as in KID's recipe.

Yes, today I'm going to share with you my KID'S recipe. Reid brought this recipe home from school when he was in the 2nd grade (he's 36 now). The page is pretty yellowed and spotted with who knows what, but I've saved it all these years. It's for a drink similar to Orange Julius.

There are no other directions given, but as I recall you put it all in a blender. You can click on the recipe to enlarge it.

Now head over to Ms. Jenny's blog for a list of other participants and for information on how you can join in the fun.

(And I hope this post looks right when it's published. On my last post there were all sorts of spaces between the pictures that I never put in there and never showed up on the preview. I guess I shouldn't complain since I've seen a couple of blogs lately where people have had the pictures go in sideways.)