White peach & Cardamom preserves

This is but half of the equation.  The intent is to make a deliciously fragrant ice cream with the preserves, although there’s always the possibly of trying a Bellini with it as well.  Some of the remaining syrup was used to make a fig conserve, also for ice cream.  I added Grand Marnier to the figs for a little twang.  This frenzy was inspired by two lackluster desserts at an expensive (cash only) Mediterranean restaurant in Berkeley.  The dinner was also mediocre, which prompted me to devise a menu just to prove I could do better (for about 1/3 of the price).

This could be used for a crisp, crumble, or galette, but for intensity, I’m thinking a creme fraiche gelato as a base.  Trying to cut back on flour consumption (we’ll see how long that lasts).  On the other hand, a ginger shortbread cookie-peach ice cream sandwich doesn’t sound half bad, or maybe just a shard of pistachio brittle.

The peaches and figs are from my parents’ garden.  Each year we struggle to preserve a harvest that ripens all at once due to the blistering heat where they live.  It’s lovely, and every time I open a jar I think of them in the garden.  One might ask why a terminally ill person would spend an entire day preserving fruit.  Well, the jars of fruit may outlive me.  In the meantime, I get to ponder my parents and loved ones who might enjoy the food later (it never lasts that long but it’s a nice thought).

It’s also good for the appetite.  I’m off to plan a dazzling Mediterranean meal to welcome the Hubby home.  Let’s see if he’ll eat a fried squash blossom 😉


Autumn brings…thoughts of death

Earlier this year I wasn’t sleeping well and was fairly high on the pain scale.  The move and the new bed seems to have helped somewhat.  I had a few days where I felt pretty well, and fantasized the speedy release of new cancer therapies that not only pulled us back from the brink of death but pushed us firmly in the direction of meaningful survival (not just long enough to decide who gets whatever assets one might have).  By us I mean all the very much alive, late-stage lung cancer patients, maligned with the stigma of having a disease caused by smoking.  We’re all punished rather unfairly by that stigma, so get over it already, all you self-righteous “you did it to yourself”-ers.

I’ve been alive for so long (almost 4-1/2 years) with cancer that I sometimes fall onto that slippery slope that some call hope and others delusion.  I mustn’t entertain any fantasies of breakthroughs—I can hope and hold on as best as I can, but indulging the idea of living to old age is unrealistic and definitely unhelpful in terms of carrying out a plan as regards my passing.

So yes, I need to think, and talk, about death.  I feel sort of wheezy and the toxicity of treatment is getting to me today, so it’s as good a time as any.  I saw how quickly one could go from being the picture of health to becoming a spirit in the sky, and now I’m observing a harrowing decline by someone who has endured so much and by all accounts has a will of steel.  I’m  observing fear and uncertainty cross the mind of one who seems healthy but now finds things are not what they seem, even when and especially if you feel and look okay.  Every day I contemplate the strangeness of appearing “normal” yet knowing that my insides are a steaming cauldron of battle.  How to continue this fight, to continue a good quality of life, to decide how best to use this limted time.  I already feel ridiculous spending so much time doing this, using technology.  But I hope I leave a record that will help someone, at least my family, understand what I was going through.  Almost none of them read this, but perhaps they will once I pass.

It’s such a bore, getting one’s affairs in order.  But it must be done.  I don’t have much so it’s no big deal.  My biggest regret is being unable to care for my brother and parents because of my illness.  Chances are, they’ll outlive me.  But of course, deep down, my selfish regret is to not have the rest of my life with my husband.

By now I should have gone through all the different stages of dying (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), and it’s been suggested that those who don’t work through some sort of process have difficulty dying in a dignified manner.  “Dignified” sounds like when you finally accept things aren’t going to improve and you sort of will yourself to go, quietly.

There’s always the, “they died doing what they loved” thing.  Should I die in a hot air balloon, or on the London Eye, or on a cruise through the Norwegian fjords then?  Or should I die while making peach cardamom ice cream or skanking furiously to an 80’s ska band?  Do I care what dignified means?  Is anyone ever really ready?  What do people think about on their death bed?

Not really morbid thoughts, but it’s hot out today—a beautiful day, and I want to remember some of what I did this weekend.  I thought about death.  Now I can set it aside and move on to face the fact that I should’ve flown back east to see Naomi this week, regardless of logistics.  At this stage, one must follow their heart if the effort can be made.

I’m sad and hoping Boehringer Ingelheim releases the results of their Lux-Lung 1 study soon.  I’m hoping drug development suddenly gets a shot of adrenaline and makes like the dot com boom overnight.  I suppose it’s a fantasy, but it’s all we’ve got.

(I tried to find a pictorial depiction of “heaven” but couldn’t find one.  I don’t know if I’m going to such a place anyway, but I hope the waters are warm and clear so my spirit can swim freely to the depths of the collective unconscious.)

I can’t upload audio from my computer

WP says my files don’t meet the security guidelines.  WTF?  So not only did my audio not import, but neither did the comments.  And for the life of me I can’t determine how all the media is sorted.  There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the way it shows up in the gallery.  Not chronological or anything.  Help!

Edit, 3 hours later: I’ve been a blog repair junkie for three days now, trying to link video, retrieve comments from photos, and restore tags onto posts.  It’s exhausting and ridiculous.  Who has time for this?  Is it worth it?  I read somewhere that the Blog-into-book idea costs $300 or something.  Wow, really?

So if I’m going to be forced to learn all this stuff, then I suppose I need to consider a self-hosted blog.  It’s just that bad.  <frowning><drinking more coffee at 5:30 pm>

Kicking the dead Vox horse

I was strolling the ghost town that is Vox, watching the tumbleweeds blow by, hoping to find late-breaking revelations of another blogging Shangri-La, when I came upon this on Dewitte’s Vox.  Seems apropos, or maybe ironic.  I think the telling thing may be all her references to “narcissistic” and “I’m not that caring.”  So she profiles the uses of blogging, but admits she’s not about the people so much as she is about the phenomenon (read: business opportunity).  Anyway.