Thursday, December 24, 2015

A warm Christmas?

I know this may sound outrageous to other New Englanders, especially after our never-ending snowstorms of 2014.....but I think it's too warm here for Christmas.

It just doesn't seem right.

Yes, I had had enough of snow last year, and yes, I like to keep my heating bill low, and yes, I like wearing regular shoes, rather than snow boots.

But here in Massachusetts we've been having temps in the mid 60s and no sign of snow in sight.
What's wrong with this picture?

I've been in Florida in reminds me of that.   Something is wrong here.
Santa can't deliver all of those presents in his sleigh with this kind of weather.  It's ridiculous to think that he would actually use a helicopter or some other form of transportation!

So....go ahead, have Christmas dinner with a kitchen window open.  Go for a walk with the family to prevent the extra pounds.

I'll be right here, gazing out my window -- and waiting.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Decorating for Christmas

This is the First Baptist Church of Dighton, and we were getting out all of the Christmas decorations last night and putting candles in the windows, etc... so I took a picture while we were working.

Out of the past....1970 to be exact

 I dug out these two pictures this past week; because my maid of honor's son, age 31, was up on my house roof, working on a chimney repair.  I hadn't seen him since he was 3 years old, and just re-met him because of needing work to be done.  I showed him the picture of his mother when she was young.

Saturday, November 28, 2015



Cut plastic wrap off turkey in kitchen sink, as it will be drippy.
Legs will sometimes be held together with a flap of skin or a metal clip.  Work one leg out of the clip.
Reach into one cavity and remove the dreaded neck.
Reach into the other cavity and remove the disgusting little bag of “giblets”.

Pour salt into each cavity and then rinse out under cool water.
Shake salt all over the outside of the bird and rub lightly with your hands, then rinse.
This is where you might see a couple of random feathers.  Pluck them out, and be happy you weren’t brought up in the old country where you would have to grab a chicken out in the yard and break its neck. 

If you are NOT stuffing the bird, simply hook the leg back in to the clip or skin flap and place the turkey in a roasting pan, breast side up. You can rub olive oil over it, or put your hand in a sandwich baggie and rub all over with margarine or softened butter.

Use a roasting pan OR use two foil pans together for support. (And, if you’re like me, you might poke a hole in a single foil pan and have a leak.)
Most people suggest using a “tent” of foil over the bird, to protect it from drying out.  I usually wrap a part of the tent onto the ends of the pan, to secure it.

Place in pre-heated 325 degree oven and plan on about 15 min. for each pound. 
325 degrees is so low, that I usually roast a large turkey (18-20 lbs.) for 5.5 to 6 hours.
Now the FUN part!  If you like, every hour you can use a turkey baster to gather up the juices in the bottom of the pan and squirt them over the top of the bird.
You can remove the foil tent for the last hour or so of roasting to get a golden brown color.
If you use a “roasting bag” just remember that the cooking takes about half the time.

Oven Roasted Turkey | Sara Snow
If stuffing the turkey:
After the salt and rinsing for cleaning the bird, put the turkey into the roasting pan at 400 degrees for about 10 to 15 min. to kill bacteria on the inside of the cavity.  Then remove it from the oven, and put the temp. back down to 325 while you are working on the stuffing.  You will see that if you take the bird (use pot holders as it’s HOT) and tilt it, bloody fluid will run out of the cavity. Most people don’t do this, but it runs into the stuffing during cooking. (gag)  Vampires can skip this part.

Then, make your stuffing according to package directions. Stuff both cavities of the turkey, firmly, but don’t pack it it too tightly.   If you have leftover stuffing, you can always pop that in the oven during the latter part of the cooking process in an oven safe dish or even in foil.
Gravy? Why would I try to make that? It comes in jars at the grocery store! 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Thinking of Amos Stafford.......

This link takes me to an excerpt from a book, called Reminiscences of Saratoga and Ballston, by William L. Stone.  It is dated 1880.
The story relates how Amos Stafford, an ancestor on my father's side (my maiden name is Stafford) escaped from the Wyoming (Penn.)  Massacre to Saratoga, NY.
From there, I have found that the Staffords settled in Saratoga, lived and died, and that there is a Stafford Bridge there, too.
Amos and his father, died in the 1800s.
But the story as it is related by Mr. William L. Stone, who knew Amos the son, tells of his escape from gunfire, running from the Native Americans and seeking cover in an old log for a hiding place, without being discovered as some Indians as they were called, passed right by him.
" The second and third nights found him ensconced in the hollow trunk of a fallen tree. The woods were alive with the savages; and once, while thus concealed, two or three Indians came along and seated themselves upon the log in consultation. He heard the bullets rattle loosely in their pouches. They actually looked into the hollow log, suspecting he might be there; but the examination must have been slight, as they discovered no traces of his presence. The object of their search, however, in after-life, attributed his escape to the labors of a busy spider, which, after he crawled into the log, had been industriously engaged in weaving a web over the entrance. Perceiving this, the savages supposed, as a matter of course, that the fugitive could not have entered there."
I go for my radiation treatments each weekday in Fairhaven, MA at the Southcoast Cancer Center.
When they call my name, I enter a large room with a huge machine in the rear of the room, and a table waiting for me in front of that.
I lie on my back, placing my arms above my head, and wear goggles, which allow me to see a computerized screen, tracking my deep breaths.(which help to move the heart out of the way a bit.)  When the technicians speak to me from a hallway and a room away, I inhale and hold my breath, as they send beams of radiation into my body to sterilize any random cancer cells that might remain after my surgery.   I do this about 6 times during each treatment, and most of the time is spent just getting set up, getting into exact measured position, adjusting the depth of the table, etc...and waiting for their directions from the speaker in my treatment room.
The large radiation equipment comes robotically over to my side, then changes position after a few times of beaming its rays into me, and then another one comes over with a similar action.   After they are done, the original large rounded mechanism comes back into place above me and the table is lowered and the staff comes in to end my treatment, taking my goggles, chatting and handing me my locker key, my digital access card to enter the area and my glasses.
I must say that this is a painless experience, and the whole time I am watching the equipment, although I cannot move a bit, just like Amos in that hollowed-out tree.  So my mind does all of the traveling.   One large piece of equipment that comes near me gives me time to study it as they are sending commands via computer. (I can see where their cursor is clicking and selecting icons on the screen, through my goggles.) I look up at this and it has a glass front to it.  I see metal parts moving into position before directing the radiation beam, and I chuckle to myself, as it reminds me somewhat of the scanner at the supermarket.
A lot of things go through your mind when you're going through some new experience.
Now, of course, I am familiar with the very calculated and swift treatment, and recognize all of the different technicians who have worked with me.
So, yesterday, I laid on the table, and thought of Amos Stafford, who was born in the 1700s.
What a different world he lived in!!
He lived in a world of harsh conditions, hunting, looking over his shoulder for "Indians" and experienced a life of mostly the "great outdoors". 
I wondered what Amos would think if he could see his descendant, just a few generations further from him, lying on a table, with this computerized equipment gliding around me?
I was saying in my mind, "Amos, you just wouldn't believe this!"
And as amazed as I feel about the inventions we have now, and the strides made constantly in modern medicine...I wonder what my grandchildren will experience as they age. I'm sure they will look back and think that what we have now is quite primitive.
It's really mind-boggling!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Southcoast Cancer Center, Fairhaven, MA

 As you can see, this is a beautiful country setting for cancer patients to get their treatments.
 I go daily for my radiation treatments.  This is where I use my card to check in. When my card is scanned, it lets the staff know who I am and all of my relevant info.  It lets them know I am there for my appointment.
 This is the area where I change and wait until I am called for the radiation therapy.  So far, I am doing just fine.  The total time of the treatment, with setting up accurately for the beams of radiation, comes out to about 20 minutes.
 This is so nice compared to going to a hospital in the city.
The little cafe and tables overlook this scene.
The entrance

Friday, August 14, 2015

It was GOOD news!

In reference to my previous post, I went back to Dana Farber to have my sutures removed by my surgeon, and was told that no cancer cells were found in the tissue removed during that second surgery.
Thank you, Lord!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

On my journey at Dana Farber--Counting it all joy

So, I eat mostly veggies and fruits, don't drink or smoke.
But in May of 2015 I noticed a lump in my breast.  It felt like a small marble.  The doctor ordered a mammogram and biopsy right away.   Yes, it was cancer.    Something I never expected.
I remember hearing of a book years ago, written by a woman who got this news.  It was entitled "First You Cry".   I didn't cry.  It was shocking news to be sure....but it was OK.
Right away, I leaned on my strong faith in God for support.  Of course, my family and friends have been very supportive as well.
So, on May 21st I had the biopsy.
By June 16th I was in surgery at Dana Farber, which is a fantastic cancer hospital in the Boston area.
The next week, while taking out my sutures, the doctor explained that it was advisable to schedule another surgery.
She had taken the lump out, and also 5 lymph nodes nearby.  Only one of those showed cancer cells when examined, and years ago they would have taken lots and lots of those out.  Now, they take the closest to the lump and also go by the dye that is inserted prior to the surgery.  If the nodes light up, they are removed.
She said that the pathology dept. felt that the cancer cells were closer to the borders of the tissue removed than seemed safe.
So, here I am today, just returning from the second surgery.
The surgeon went in to the area where the lump had been removed, and removed more tissue---as a precaution, and I am praying that that will be sufficient.
I guess I'll find out next week.
However, I feel that I will willingly accept whatever comes my way during this life; and I can find joy in all situations.   Many people are praying for me, and I really appreciate that.
God is in charge, and He provides the comfort as we face difficult situations.
After this heals up, I will go for radiation treatments for maybe 7 weeks.  Every day, for just minutes.  The oncologist explained that if there are any stray cancer cells, the radiation will sterilize those cells.
I'll do what they suggest, and in the meantime, continue with a healthy lifestyle, including lots of fruits and veggies, no junk food, and some exercise, too.
The first surgery last month was done under general anesthesia.  When I woke up in the recovery room, I was aware that I had the most soothing, wonderful, peaceful dreams while I was under.
Having the lymph nodes under the arm removed was painful; but it got better each day.
Today, I elected to have local anesthesia.
I really was interested in what takes place in the OR.
Well, they started off with these small drapes, covering my whole face.   Hmmm....kind of like having cloth napkins completely cover your face for a few minutes.
When they were done with putting up the drape that is like a screen, separating my head from what they were doing, they moved the small drapes off my face.
The surgeon said the novocaine would be the worst part.  After that was injected, the operation began.  I'm pretty hardy about pain....but I could feel way too much for comfort.  Yes, it would be likened to when you are having some difficult dental treatment done, and you're trying your best to hold on and get through it.
I asked for more novocaine, and she gave me that right away.   Still, I felt that being injected, and felt pushing against my chest wall with fingers, some pulling, and the coldness of being cleaned up with their antiseptic wash.
Thankfully, I was in the operating room about only 45 minutes.  That counts getting prepared and being wheeled out.
They say the time in and time out and record that.
The bonus is going back to the room, getting your snack and leaving as soon as you want to.
When you have the general anesthesia, it's important to go to the recovery area first, then even upon leaving the hospital, they wheel you out in a wheelchair and some people feel a bit tired or wobbly from the anesthesia.
So, yes, it's a bit achy, but that's OK.  Everything is OK if the final result is a good one, I guess.
Truth be told, everyone at Dana  Farber is great and they make things easier on the patient.
Could I easily go through it again?  Sure.
I hope not to, though.  I am praying for no other cancer anywhere else in my body.
Still, my trust is in the Lord.
James 1: 2--8
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The break-up

OK, Snow, I'm really breaking up with you this time.   It's the last day of February, 2015.

In the past month, I have slipped on black ice on my driveway, going flat on my face, (thankfully having only a small bruise on one knee) I have shoveled, raked my roof while standing in 3 feet of snow, and taken to smacking the icicles from the edge of the roof daily.

My boots seem continuously to be damp on the inside, so I am hanging them upside down in my toasty warm furnace room, near my laundry area.   I put them right-side up with I am going out again, and use double socks.

We have bought all available ice-melt, and of course, have to be careful to get the calcium chloride beads to sprinkle on the front step and walk because the rock salt will dissolve away chunks of concrete.

I have repeatedly brushed off the vehicles and scraped the windows.   This allows me to get to the end of the driveway, where I am surrounded by mountains of snow which are left from my husband snow-blowing the stuff from the driveway.  Yes, I am referring to 4 or 5 foot mountains at the end of the driveway. And of course, he has to clear a car length near the mail box or the postal service will refuse to leave our mail.

The other night I had to go out and it was after dark.  These days I am cautiously backing into the driveway, so I can nose my way out onto the street, rather than backing out.
I got to the end of the driveway, and while inching the front of the car out, I thought the coast was clear.   Suddenly, I spied a reflection of headlights on the snow mounds across the street, signaling that another car was coming along, soon to be passing the end of my driveway.

I waited and sure enough, a car passed.  I continued to inch along and got out onto the street.
Oh, yes, the streets in our neighborhood..  Right in front of my house, the street is pretty good.
But further down the street, because of frost heaves (which I am told will level out later) the street appears to be a ribbon of sorts.  parts of the pavement almost seem like speed bumps.  I'm really not exaggerating here.  There are deep gullies and elevated bumps that surely will damage someone's car if they travel that route.  I avoid that part of the road in our development.

Snow, you make the yard look so beautiful and enchanted when you first arrive.  There's nothing like seeing you cling to the trees in my yard and you look like you're out of a dream.
Now, I'm ready for the nightmare to end, Snow.   There is nothing between us that needs to continue, if you know what I mean.

I am dreaming of working in my vegetable garden, and you are in my way.

Yes, I heard another report of another few inches of snow coming, as we hear about every week this winter, and I am just tuning the reports out now.  We're on our last bit of snow melt, our muscles are sore, my boots have just about had it this year, and I've gone through many pairs of gloves while struggling to clear the car and yard.

The cat wants to go out!

There's no other way to say it, Snow--you are no longer welcome here!