Sharing is caring!

I wanted to take a minute and share my other blog detailing my account of the wonderful man in my life’s journey through a stem cell transplant to cure his Leukemia.  He is quite the fighter ❤  Below is the link to the site.

https://cancerdotcalm.wordpress.com/

us

Advertisements

“Whatever I’m doing, I’m in that moment and I’m doing it. The rest of the world’s lost. If I’m cooking some food or making soup, I want it to be lovely. If not, what’s the point of doing it?” ~Sade Adu

French Onion Soup

soup

Coupled with a Caesar Salad…then of course wine!

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

6-7 onions, sliced (I used 4 HUGE yellow sweet slicing onions)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 bay leaves

2 fresh thyme sprigs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup red wine, I used chianti

3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 quarts beef broth (College Inn)

2 tsps Better Than Bouillion + 2 cups water

Croutons (Homemade or store bought, any kind you like)

Sliced Swiss and sliced provolone
Directions

Melt the stick of butter with the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn’t burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Now add the beef broth, bouillion and water and bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

When you’re ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Ladle the soup into oven proof bowls or crocks and float several of the croutons on top. Cover with slices of Swiss and provolone.  Put in oven on middle rack and watch closely as it will brown very fast and may burn if you aren’t right on top of it.

This will serve 6-8 depending on your size crock/bowl.  I always make extra to share or freeze. It takes about 1 1/2 hrs from start to table.  This was adapted from the Tyler Florence recipe on the Food Network.  Add a salad and enjoy!

Thanksgiving 2014: Please Let’s Not Make This a Tradition!

(Taken from my facebook post on Thanksgiving Day, 2014…slightly revised)

I am often told that my life and family should be documented as a sitcom. Today it was proven. Thanksgiving memory of 2014 that I assure you not ONE person on the face of the earth can share???

My Tween daughter comes in from shoveling the end of our driveway…holding a blue contraption in her hand…odd look on her face.

“I found this in the snow when I was shoveling”

I look at her…and the blue thing…at her….at the blue thing. She’s doing the same to me…and to it…and to me. …More than a minute went by, I am sure.

I struggled for the right words. She is twelve. We are very open and matter of fact about things. ALL things.

The rolodex of descriptive words was spinning through my head. What do we call this? Vibrator…Dildo…Massager…and so on.

“I think it’s a sex toy” I finally said.

“Me, too”.

My first thought was how the heck does she know this…It really wasn’t phallic looking and it took me a second to process what it was…but anyway.

Let’s add more of a twist to this very awkward scenario? It is marked with writing…”property of…” somebody we know. Who does not live in our neighborhood. A peer’s parent. One of her best friend’s Mom. Really???

This leaves many thoughts and questions running around an inquisitive mind. Why? The insignia…A vendetta and “planting” of it?…being pushed around, driveway to driveway…where might it land…? Or maybe from a communal area it mysteriously escaped from?…WHERE WOULD YOU NEED TO PERSONALIZE IT??!!

It made for some interesting conversations I wasn’t expecting on having that day…and for many days that followed.

Happy Holidays.

And Grief trickles in…

Grief trickles in. Yes, it does.

Unexpectedly, I have a night alone with Brayden. Jamie (my oldest) invited DJ (my next oldest) to his home for the night…and Mackenzie (my only daughter)was invited over a friend’s house for the evening. There go my sitters for my tentative plans…and here goes a night home, just me and my littlest.

Cool. We will do dinner and a movie. Done. Bedtime lasted about two hours longer than the norm…but he’s sound asleep…finally.

My goal, after Bray’s bedtime, was to put in a movie and pour a glass of wine. The chick flick I planned on was more of a “get your tissues ready and have a good cry” kinda flick.

Grief trickled in. I have been so worried and consumed with what is going on with Matt and his battle with cancer, I’ve allowed no time for worrying about anything else. It felt good to let it go. I actually forgot the grief was there. It’s there, it always is, bubbling at the surface and it unexpectedly started boiling over without warning.

When you lose someone you truly love, the grief is always there…I am learning it just comes out differently and at different times. I am happy I am with someone who is willing to stand by me with that bit of instability as a part of who I now am. Who shows no fear or jealousy of that past love.

Thanks, Matt, for getting me through when it “trickles” in. Now, off to find a happier chick flick…

It’s that time again…

It’s September 9th, 2014.  Two years ago on September 9th it was the last time I had a conversation with Mike. It was a Sunday morning and I had just pulled into the driveway after going to church.  The kids all got out of the car, except Brayden…he stayed in his car seat until I let him escape after my phone call.  The conversation went pretty much the same as they all did at that point.

Him: “Wendy, I want to come home”, “Why are you doing this to us”, “The kids want me there”, “I love you”.

Me: “No”, “YOU did this”, “Course they want you here, they love you”, “I love you, too”….”Get sober and you can come home…like a year sober”.

Sometimes it ended there.  That Sunday it got a little heated, not yelling and screaming heated, but I was angry.  He wasn’t visiting.  He wasn’t paying any support.

My last words?  “If I wasn’t around, Brayden would just die in his crib, you are doing nothing to care for or support your son”. (Yes, pretty extreme, I know.)

His response? “I love you, Wendy”.

He hung up.

That was it.

I went about my day.  Went to the grocery store just before dinner time.  Upon leaving the grocery store…at the lights in front of what is now Domino’s…my phone rang.  It was Alyssa.  I answered and had to tell her to slow down because I couldn’t understand her.  “Daddy’s at the hospital, he wasn’t breathing when they got there” she was finally able to get out enough for me to comprehend.  She was referring to the ambulance and paramedics. That’s all I really recall of the conversation.  I am sure I comforted her and said I’d be right there.

That sentence “Daddy’s at the hospital, he wasn’t breathing when they got there” was a chant that I heard over and over and over.  All the way home.  While I was home getting care for the kids.  All the way to the hospital.

545995_4518932410441_345965999_n

The rest of September 9th, 2012 was spent at the ICU…as well as the 10th…and we said goodbye on the 11th.

This is the second time I am recognizing this anniversary of the 9th, our last conversation.  A hard pill to swallow when they are words like that.

It’s not easy, but it’s definitely easier.  I am so thankful that I am in a much better place in my healing.  I thank the person responsible for that on a regular basis.

We miss him and it hurts to know he can’t experience everything I get to about the kids growing and see all that they are doing.  It’s hard know they won’t experience his goofiness or sense of humor anymore.  We will just keep doing what we are doing and that’s continue to re-tell his funny stories and antics, keeping his spirit alive. That always brings smiles and laughter.  Peace, Mike.

 

Clearing the Blog Fog…

us

I sit here with all sorts of thoughts running through my head (which if you know me…is pretty typical) and not sure what direction to go in for a blog. I just knew it was time to write.

I re-read my “about me” section this morning and over the past few weeks have visited some of my older posts. It’s fun (and a little scary) to look back and see where my head was at on those days and at those times. I’m glad I get to see my journey and growth through grief and dating dilemmas sprinkled with who I am at the core, a Mommy…with a passion for cooking.

I am happy to say (ok, more like ecstatic) that my dating is now not a dilemma…and my grief and pain is being lessened and eased. This man who was right under my nose has unexpectedly put his arms around me and made me feel, for the first time in my adult life, that I have someone to lean on. Lean on and not fall flat on my face. Safe. Effortlessly he is healing wounds that I thought were just a part of who I was and learned to just carry on with. There is no possible way I can fully describe how that feels.

Our relationship is still new. Filled with butterflies in the tummy and goodnight kisses that last hours.  Filled with laughter.  Lots of laughter.  Filled with learning what each other likes and dislikes, wants and needs. Funny, we spent the early weeks after our first tequila tainted kiss getting to know each other by texting question after question. We wanted to know everything about each other. How do you like your eggs? Steak? Coffee? Movie type? Beach or lake? Mayo or mustard? Hours and hours of this. I think we know more about each other than many people dating years.

Our relationship is also mature. We have been catapulted into squeezing as much as we can into the times that we have. Between chemo treatments and obvious side effects and looking at a date in September that is going to drastically change things for a time. We are left with a seriousness and a fast track in our bonding. Again, effortlessly. It’s allowing me to see how this sweetest and sincerest man I know can handle such adversity…and it’s pretty impressive. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the softness and strength that exists at the same time within the same person.

This September date coming up will be a Stem Cell Transplant. The Cure. Buh-bye Leukemia. I knew nothing about this procedure before…and it’s still something I am gathering information about as I go. I also realize that there are not a whole lot of blogs about it and what’s out there is a lot of medical mumbo-jumbo that an inexperienced person like me doesn’t fully understand (Wheels spinning… cancerdotcalm.com?). I am happy I will be joining him to the next big visits so I can understand a little better…both what he will go through and what to expect.

So, I guess where my blog was going is that I found a love I didn’t know existed in a man that already existed in my life. He is doing incredible things for me and has incredible things to go through. Our love story isn’t perfect, but it’s perfectly okay (I’ll say this a million times).  He’s got this. We’ve got this.

The Beginning of a Love Story

28Life gaurdLifegaurd (Love) Shack, Short Sands, York, ME

I know with that headline in my blog…those reading are probably expecting a sarcastic little article here or think I am referring to one of my children.  However, (clearing my throat) I actually did meet a guy.  Well, technically, I have known him for years.  And technically again, I have met a lot of guys.  This guy, though, has not sent me running for the hills in a panic nor has he left me scratching my head wondering what the hell just happened as he darts off to a tropical location with his girlfriend and/or wife (Yes, two different guys, same experience…I never got to blog about. I assure you that both men were “unattached”, or so they said, when an interest was sparked). Anyway, back to the Love Story.

It’s only been a short time.  A very short time. But something’s different here.  And I mean different in the absolute best possible way imaginable.  And I also mean different in the absolute worst possible way imaginable.

Today he is in his hospital room at what we call the “Hotel” Mass General in Boston.  He and round three of chemo in one corner, Leukemia in the other.  He is fighting one hell of a fight.  The big “C” doesn’t stand a chance.

The beginning of our Love Story isn’t perfect, but that’s perfectly fine.  I am not sure if this is just going to be a summer romance that fizzles out, a love story turns horror story…or if it will be our Happily Ever After.  We both have broken roads that led us to where we are today…because of that we cherish every minute and don’t sweat the small stuff.  Pretty good combination if you ask me.

The following is a glimpse into the very Beginning of a Love Story.  Ours.