Oh, do you know the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man..

muffinsAll of you who saw the beautiful pic on FB yesterday are wondering just where the recipe is, well, here it is!

Organic Vegan Gluten-Free, Soy-free, Rice-free Banana-BlueBerry Muffins

First off, use muffin papers or if you, like me, you are really into the re-use bit use the reusable thingies. These muffins climb when they raise and greased metal muffin pans except preheated cast iron, don’t support the climb and make for thick doughy muffins. Also when frozen and reheated they are waaaaay yummy but without the cups you will need a fork and bowl, which defeats the finger fun goodness of muffins.

Second, you do not have to use Organic, but try at least for the blueberries as the tastes and chemical content of non-organic blueberries is very, very different, in a bad way.

Third for those who have access to organic, free range eggs I have included that substitution also. I go back and forth. Am against cruelty to chickens so if a good source of eggs is not available I use Ener-G egg substitute. But in my interest in having a world for my grandchildren I will use eggs first if cruelty free are readily available and save the world from the processing and packaging. I am not expecting anyone else to support my line of reasoning, but I present it as a way to hopefully get some of you thinking about what you put in your mouth and body. Not just the Mc-Hipster version of things on a black and white website sponsored by Whole Paycheck or a Debby Downer’s Doomsday noms that is its antithesis showing science is the way. Gather information so meal by meal you can support whatever your own personal ethic is.

I feel more strongly about everyone thinking, than any particular personal thought. Also feel free to share at the end of this recipe blog, your own thoughts on organic, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, or down home comfort foods. More information is always wonderful and I am open to others journeys. You can even leave a link if you like. I do however, approve all comments so don’t worry if it doesn’t magically appear.

Now to the recipe portion of this program.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and drop a dozen little papers in a clean muffin tin

then start with a Blender (or a bowel, a wooden spoon, and a butt-load of elbow grease)

Throw in 2 Tablespoon Maple Syrup (the real stuff and I do grade B for more vitamins), 5 Tablespoons of warm-to-the-touch water, 5 teaspoons of Ener-G egg replacer, [if using real eggs 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup, 3 eggs] and 3 medium or 2 large over ripe bananas, 2 T coconut oil (hence the warm water 🙂 and blend till smooth. Let sit at least ten minutes if using egg replacer.

In large bowel mix 3 cups blanched almond flour (aside on what I have learned here, my blender is better at making almond butter than almond flour so I buy it in small amounts and use it quickly. But if you have great equipment make your own with fresh blanched almonds. Almond flour goes rancid (bitter) and picks up odors that change food taste quicker than anything else) [for a lighter muffin make it 2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, 1 cup almond flour] with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1.5 teaspoons baking soda (1.5 equals one and a half) and once thoroughly mixed make a well.

Pour in liquid, stir until just blended, stir in 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Spoon in to muffin cups and bake 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

VERY VERY VERY IMPORTANT Let them cool at least 30 minutes.

High fat content food, yes its nut flour, it’s good fats but still high fat, taste better the longer they sit. For these to taste as yummy as they smell, let them cool. No butter needed, trust me. Because of this they are perfect take-a-long muffins.

They also freeze well.

Happy Baking!

Who wants to be right as rain….

In light of my recent close encounter of the crazy kind, the Adele lyrics that popped up in my cover song have a whole new meaning. I know I explained my whole Ipod augury fairly recently so I won’t explain again.

The good news is that however drama, drama, drama my cover song is; my cross song is “Sunrise” by John E Jaan. I have a few Renaissance artist CD’s that are in constant rotation besides the illustrious Owen Phyfe’s and the drummer from Tartanic showing off his other instrumental and composing skills is one of them. The CD is called “Invocation,” and is a musical prayer that can turn my day around. I purchased mine at the AZRF, can’t find it on CD Baby but I believe he is still with Tartanic, and he is on FB so you can probably purchase one anywhere Tartanic is performing, or maybe him personally. You will thank me if you do, it is beyond lovely.

So recent past song on todays “random” is Rascal Flatts and “When the Sand Runs Out” and that pretty much sums up how most bad things happen, both the times when I let fear surround and the fact that sometimes when I am out on that limb it just snaps right off.

So health update. I have bad days and good days. The good days are getting good enough I am trying a few shifts this week. Okay, one tomorrow, then two in the middle of the week. When we see how that goes I will make more decisions about the week after that. No green bananas, but thats okay, overripe bananas make great banana muffins.

As to my financial situation, it is also improving slowly but surely. And crossing my fingers that I have found just the right place to live in Tempe. I will be renting a room from a friend but get to not live alone, help her out with finances and keep the dogs so all around win.

LOL, song for “self” is Citadel by Anna Nalick, some auguries are so spot on its scary. My relationship with others is the song written by Terry Melcher for his mother (Doris Day) “Bring Back Happy Endings” and this is my song as much as “Over the Rainbow” or “Rainbow Connection” I hum and sing it a lot, but no one really recognizes it. Take a listen, especially if you know his story. My hopes and fears is Sammy Davis, Jr singing “What Kind of Fool Am I,” and the final outcome is “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

So if you really want to know how I am doing, listen to the music the universe picked for me, and you will pretty much have it in a nutshell.

And have a great week-end, I am headed back to Nanowrimo!

To Everything Turn, Turn, Turn…..

Some nitty gritty details, may be better to read this later, read now only if you are dying to ask me questions.

Some questions are put to me with honest concern, and those I have appreciated. Thinking of you Pat and Sara, I also have appreciated reminders of important things I might forget. Mostly because they were done truly out of love and concern for me. Stress adds to my already sketchy memory, and certain questions do need answers.Even though I don’t resent them, answering them over and over keeps me focused on the worst possible outcome. What we feed, grows stronger.

I am a dandelion, I am the old guy from The Milagro Beanfield Wars, I am hard to get rid of, I just come back.

So, to prevent having to answer them again,

Yes, I have filed for disability

Yes, I have a will.

Yes, I have a Directive and Power of Attorney on file at the VA.

And yes, I do trust Rick, my son who holds that power, to respect my final wishes. We may not be as close as I would like, but I trust and love all my sons and know they love me. I want to be alert as long as possible, but if I am no longer alert, I want no interventions except oxygen, and control of pain and anxiety, and they know that. However, don’t get in their grill if they make decisions you don’t like. If we get to the point where I am not making my own decisions, my sons are about to lose their Mom, and they have to live with that for the rest of their lives so love them the way I love, openly and unjudgemental.

When I am dead:

No, I really do not want a funeral. But if someone needs one for their own closure, they can host a get together of friends they know and have a memorial party with music, boardgames and beverages; or they can go to Disneyland and ride through “Its a Small World” singing all the way, or volunteer somewhere.

Just remember the whole me and laugh some. I do want to be cremated as cheaply as possible, as a Veteran there is money to cover that, the I hope as I go back to work here shortly to not only pay off my debts but get this detail payed as well.

And maybe, if you can, a tree planted down south.

But most importantly, Be Excellent To Each Other!

Paperback writer…

Taking a break from my Nanowrimo writing to blog…

So here is my health update and a wish list and a really general but heartfelt thank-you.

But not in that order.
First and most important is the thank-you. Name mentions would take up a whole page from donations of money, time, and love to the actual back breaking work of moving me (Yup, those ones get named, Thank you Sara, Jennifer, Pat, Regina, Anne, Amie and Bob, packing and moving me yet again is honorable above all honors, the purple heart of friendship is yours.)

Thank you for reading this. When I see you have clicked or commented I feel seen for a moment as a person, not just as a disease, or a role, or an obligation, just a person you are listening to via your eyes, for the few minutes it takes to read this. We are losing that ability to pay attention, so I appreciate it even more and strive very hard to give my attention back in kind, not just to those who see and hear me, but to the ones who don’t as well.

Now a wish list because the first two things out of everyone’s mouth are “How are you,” and “What can I do?”

The socially appropriate part of me wants to answer in my Pollyanna Personna, “Oh I am really great, considering everything!” and follow, “Oh, I got this.”

The somewhat angrier part of me wants to say, “Actually I am in pain most of the time, tired half the time, and pretty much numb, laughing or crying all the time while I reboot to my new normal; but you don’t want to know that, so tell me which do you prefer a smiling recital of gossip worthy juicy details of how my life is falling apart and where I am to blame or a tearful recital of how I am a victim? Which would help you manage how you are feeling about what is happening in my life better so you don’t feel any guilt or need to inconvenience yourself in any way?”

Yup, my angry woman is not real nice, honest in a mean way.

Except pure mean is not really honest either, and the thing is I have made choices that helped and choices that hurt my situation as I will continue to do till I am dead, and the one choice I can make is how I respond.

So I thank everyone for their concern. And here is how I really feel, I am in pain a lot, and a lot more than I have ever been before and since it is in my back and around my heart my activity has been limited, but I am working with a physical therapist and some none traditional methods, including eliminating many foods that increase inflammation still in my diet (like tomatoes and strawberries! Sad Face!) so I can achieve some remaining goals. I look very round when you see me I know! Go inactivity, emotional eating, antidepressants for the stress and steroids! I have an MRI scheduled as well as other things to plan a palliative track for myself. I know that everyone, myself included would love a little calendar of when each stage will happen but all I can tell you is we are all dying, so stop looking for my expiration date, its already passed, LOL, just enjoy the fact I am still here.

What do I need from you, mostly to invite me to do things and offer to drive and pay or if that’s not possible walk the dogs with me and play a board game or two with me. I need all the movement I can get, and the human company however I am not working so recreational spending is out of the question, and often driving itself makes me worse and prevents me from using some of the pain relief I have available. But I am not dead yet, and living is where its at!

If it is hard to fit personal time into your schedule and you have financial wiggle room, Feel Free to Donate here or in other ways. I have had balances paid anonymously at the VA and in rent, I have had people make surprise Costco runs for me, I have also received gift cards for Harkins, Trader Joe’s, Kohls, Hobby Lobby and Target that have fed, clothed and kept me clean. All of this was greatly appreciated. For my storage unit information feel free to coordinate with Jennifer Morrow or Sara Rebennack and rent there is very needed, my guess is at least a couple more months worth.

But what I need most is for you to talk to me, not about me; realize as hard as all this is for you to deal with, I am living it 24/7 and right this moment I just don’t have the ability to comfort you about me, however nothing makes me happier than being of service, so please let me listen to things about your life. And please forgive my shorter temper and way shorter memory, and be patient as I work on moving into the new norm, I know I am pretty self-absorbed right now, I am working on it.

Things I don’t need from you.
Don’t judge me if you see me spend time or money on something you don’t deem important, or if you do keep it to yourself. I dare you to go through my 2014 and do better than I have.
Don’t ask how long or tell me cancer stories. Please.
Don’t tell me how to fix this unless I specifically ask your advice on something I feel you have expertise that I don’t, I have an amazing team, and too much information already in my head, with lots of things I can’t control and too many decisions to make and a long history of PTSD. So when you start telling me how I should do this, or shouldn’t do that, you add to my stress level immensely.

Feel free to laugh with me, a lot. Things are pretty funny still, all the time.

And hey, I am a dandelion, so I could still beat this. 😉

No song lyric, just my curd recipe.

Here is the regular and vegan versions of my most requested recipe!

As always, please read the whole recipe before starting or suffer the catastrophic kitchen consequences.

1 Cup sugar or sugar substitute

6T unsalted organic butter

8 T fresh citrus juice

3 T citrus zest

1/4 tsp cardamom, ginger or mace (at festival it is either cardamom with lime or lemon; and occasionally ginger with lemon)

The following equipment is critical to create a perfect curd: a double boiler, a whisk, small grater, a juicer, and a 1 cup size wire mesh strainer, a second person to hold strainer while you whisk and pour. The recipe and process are simple, but like much simple science the timing, temperature and methods are very exact. The uncurling and binding of the protein chains of the white’s in the egg will occur to quickly in relation to the emulsion of the lemon and butter by the yolks and the consistency will not be pleasing nor the flavor correct if the eggs are not first whipped just till frothy and then poured through the strainer. Also fresh zest must be used as the pectin in the peel is another critical element of the consistency of curd, especially it artificial sugars such as Splenda or Truvia (the ones that say “good for baking” cup for cup only please) are used. Also butter must be unsalted; and organic is better in all ingredients but not necessary to make the recipe work.

Put water in the bottom and place double boiler on to begin heating. Measure out 1 cup sugar or sugar substitute and juice 8 T of fresh citrus juice-lime, lemon or orange or any combination of the three. Orange is too sweet for my palate if used alone, I find that orange does well halved with lemon juice.

Whisk 3 eggs in a pourable container just until a slightly frothy yellow color and whites are thoroughly mixed.

Place 6 T (a bit less than one stick) of unsalted, organic butter in top of double boiler and let it begin melting.

Scrape just the colored portion of rind from either lemon, lime or orange to make 3 T (do not pack it down). (After many skinned knuckles I highly recommend Pampered Chef’s Microplane Adjustable Grater for all your grating needs) Add to pan once butter is almost melted along with juice, spice and sugar.

Stir until all sugar and spice is dissolved. Whisk briskly while pouring egg through strainer. Keep whisking until it starts to thicken and switch back to a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until you can make “roads” with the wooden spoon. Pour immediately into glass canning jars pre-heated to avoid shock. (to preheat a jar, fill with hot water and dump it all out just before filling). Add cap and let cool in fridge. Voila, perfect curd!

This can also be made with EnerG in place of eggs, and to make it vegan.

Here is that recipe

1/4 cup EnerG egg replacer
1 cup organic sugar (anykind will do)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cups filtered water
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan sticks or 1/2 cup coconut oil or 1/2 cup water

bring all this to a boil on the top of the double boiler and when all sugar is melted and mixture is clear, add 1/3 cup citrus juice and 3 T zest and cook until thick.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away

I do believe in yesterday, yesterday is the place where seeds were planted for today’s harvest, where mistakes were made for today’s lessons, where choices and promises were made that I honor, I do believe in yesterday. I learn from yesterday, I cherish yesterday; I do not regret yesterday.

I also believe in tomorrow; tomorrow is the place where adventure still waits, hope often dances and dreams do come true. I believe in tomorrow, I do not fear tomorrow.

I live here in today. In this moment, the past cannot be changed, and the future is the flower of today’s tilling, planting and fertilizer. So today I will dig until my back aches, throw all the seeds of compassion and gratitude I can, laugh heartily, love easily, forgive even quicker and if I find today is a little more full of shit than other days, I am going to work it into the flower beds thanking the cycles of life that produced it.

So has anyone noticed that I still let you know what I am listening to when I write my blog? I do this sort of augury where I ask the universe what I need to know today and then pick an artist, genre, etc, and hit random. Today is brought to you by the Beatles.

Cover Song (what colors my life) today was “Yesterday” and the cross (what helps or challenges me) is “Let It Be”, my foundation is “Eight Days a Week”, more recent past “Get Back”, my future is “Love Me Do,” and far future is “All You Need is Love”; for self I have “Paperback Writer,” and my relationships is “Penny Lane,” for hope and fears I have “We Can Work it Out,” and final outcome is “From Me to You.”

Totally fits, too. There is a shadow hanging over me, yup, in all this I am also mourning the fact I met someone who I fell head over heels with who was anything but right for me, my Maurine, and I miss them. But it is more than that, I have some serious medical, emotional, professional and financial decisions to make. And I want to have control over the things I do not have control over, I want to feel safe. Everytime I turn my phone on now it tells my I am 28 minutes from Home. I haven’t updated my address in the phone yet, because I want to believe there is an external home for me, somewhere. But I know better. Then comes my help and my challenge;

Let it Be. Call her Mother Mary, Quan Yin, God or Gaiea, I have used all these and others at different times in my life, but the energy is the same. It is the same love I felt from Connie Urbanawiz, Louse Aten. It is the love I see in the eyes of the mothers whose babies I have nursed (even the big adult babies). I am surrounded and warmed by the very pure love I feel towards my children and friends, all of them. I know that everything will be alright. However it looks, it will BE alright.

So many miracles around me, so much love, so many opportunities to make lives better around me, in that, the service of others and the creation of art, is all my real happiness.

Namaste my friends.

Get your freedom now boy,

“I looked at God, he winked at me, I made this mess myself….”

I love “Full Circle” by Creed almost as much as I love “Crossroads” by Don McLean, they pretty much say it for me, whatever “It” is.

Which only segues into my post today by way of my own tangential approach to everything.

About 5 years ago I changed jobs, against people’s, even friends, recommendations to retire and take disability, I looked for a new way to make lives better.

I decided to complete a triathlon because focusing on what I could achieve with work was better than focusing on pain, shortness of breath and the very real potential of death. Yup, she (Death, I’m a Gaiman fan, get over it) and I are old friends.

My life came together, I was told I was Cancer free, I was doing a job I loved, and then……

So life fell apart completely again this year,

Up until Thursday night I was feeling so completely defeated I cannot even begin to describe it. I wondered why I had even fought my way back to health 5 years ago, I was so tired of being sick and tired and poor that I was trying very hard to talk myself into going against my inside voices and just saying F*** I*. I could become just one more of my generation hanging out taking what the world “owed” us, walk away from my stuff, my responsibilities because I didn’t believe that my last five years had mattered, take disability, or better yet blow off all the medical appointments and just be a nomad again.I haven’t been liking myself much.

Mostly because I kept trying to figure out where I had gone wrong, trying to pull this piece of the tapestry or that one. I wasn’t looking for how I could take the current threads and weave a better picture, I was looking for the one thread to blame. I wanted to angrily rip up the fabric, forgetting that none of them can come away without destroying a pretty amazing picture, ignoring the amazing picture, calling the texture flaws.

Even as my amazing and incredibly unselfish friends swooped in and rescued me yet again, I was honestly feeling very sorry for myself.

Like so many others I was stuck on that third note of the scale again…you know, ME ME ME ME ME ME…..

Then thursday night I was extremely pleasantly knocked from my “why why why whine” and “me me meme” by receiving the Above and Beyond Award at my work inservice. 18 babies, I have helped 18 children and their families as well as a couple adults maximize the quality of their lives and achieve greater quantity in most cases.

This chance to really matter would not have happened if someone I cared for deeply had not totally betrayed and terrified me I would not have left my hospice job (he worked there, above me) And the three most meaningful patient relationships came directly from me moving outside my financial comfort zone to San Tan Valley.

I do not know what my regrowth after the current firestorm will look like, I just was given a much needed retrospective on just how important it was to keep doing my best to be the best me I can be.

Thank you to everyone who has loved, supported and been patient with me; you are the ones who deserve this award. Eighteen plus patients, and their families, and well, me are tremendously better off for your choices.

Love you all, and this week, kind of loving me again.

In other news, NANOWRIMO!!!!!!

It’s a New Day, Badadew Day, it’s a new day today.

So this is just an update. No surgery yesterday. Fluid taken off means I have more breathability again today and in some ways feel much better anyway.

I had more tests to try and determine what a whole bunch of new swollen glands in my lower abdomen mean. I have a meeting with my PCP, my oncologist and my counselor on Tuesday.

Does this mean I will have clear answers and a definite plan then, well no. As anybody who has ever dealt with modern medicine in more than a cursory way knows, nothing is ever simple.

Thanks you all for helping and loving me and supporting me through 2014. I will get back to happier stuff again soon, one way or another.