December 31, 2015

Happy New Year's Eve!


The chaos of the holidays AND work is nothing short of insanity.  Hmmmm...I think there are books written about that.  Perhaps I should read one of them!?!

But tonight is something altogether different, an annual event not to be missed.  An evening with dear friends, eating, playing games, laughing, and laying on the couch (that would be me) is all good for the soul.  Sir Bradley has the honor of cleaning and prepping, so I'm free and clear!  Woohoo!

To all my blogging friends, enjoy tonight and stay safe and warm. 2016 promises to be a fine year!

December 21, 2015

Preserved Lemons

What a brilliant idea...preserved lemons!  Apparently they taste unbelievably wonderful in Moroccan food.  Which I don't cook.  But I know several who might be willing to try, and perhaps they will let me taste test??

It is really quite easy...salt, lemons, more salt, more salt, and some added lemon juice.  Just don't believe those Moroccan women when they tell you to quarter the lemons so they flower out. Cut them all the way, because they DO NOT fit in the jar like they do in those fancy internet pictures no matter how hard you pry and maneuver them.  There is no kitchen tool to make it work, and trust me, I tried all of them.

This Christmas, the wedge method rules!  

December 18, 2015

International Symposium - In the Sun!

The 26th ALS/MND Symposium was an incredible experience, learning and sharing together with researchers and practitioners from all over the world to try and solve the mysteries of ALS and other neurological diseases.  

As I shared with my friends on Facebook, after sitting through "Characterization of C9orf72 expression in pathological cohort uncovers new clinical associations with specific C9orf72 transcripts,"  a little pool therapy was in order!!  Nothing like a little sunshine to set things straight.

It was just a LITTLE weird to hear "White Christmas" streaming through the speakers...

December 16, 2015

The Circle of Life

It was a hard day going into work to learn a favorite patient passed away.  Because we are human, after all, it is sometimes hard for us to separate our emotions from our work, and patients squeeze their way into our hearts.  Today we lost a great man who will not be forgotten.  A newer team member called me and sobbed, asking me over and over how we do it, how we face death so much, especially with people we know and care about.  I did not have easy answers for her.

And just now I learned of a dear family member who is at the end of life, ready to go any day.

My heart is heavy and yet so thankful for these two who have allowed me to walk the journey with them. Christmas will be a quieter celebration this year, but still a celebration - as they both would have wanted.

December 8, 2015

Monday's Commute

Normally a day of rainstorms, flooding, detours, and a lengthy commute wouldn't belong on this's hard to come up with anything extraordinarily wonderful about being parked on the freeway!  (DO YOU SEE THAT SPEEDOMETER?) But my car time became a mental exercise in mindfulness.

I was thankful for a car with no leaks - no duct tape anywhere, and good tires.  And it's paid for - how good is that?! And Rain-X.  Love the stuff.

And I shot up a million prayers for friends who are struggling with kids, cancer, financial issues, life... my commute issues suddenly became smaller.  Funny how a little gratitude can change things!

December 7, 2015

New Neighbors

After many years, the house on the corner sold.  It looks like a nice family with young kids moved in. Treats are ready for delivery if I can catch them at home!

December 4, 2015

Pumpkin Pie

So I had to share this pumpkin pie with you - after breaking up the seasonal color scheme.  Too many days of brown.  =)

So this pie was made using the custard recipe, with the addition of 1 Tbsp. corn starch.  The pumpkin part was absolutely fabulous!!! The crust, however, was just pretty awful.  It promised to be light a flaky going into the oven, but came out kind of like leather.  Tough leather.

It's always neat to hear people exclaim, "How wonderful!" and then watch them every so quietly scrape all of the pumpkin off and leave the crust on their plates. I'm thinking it was the ultimate test of love... and  I won by continuing to smile and love them... and they LOST OUT on, well...something.  An opportunity to build character?? Ha!

December 3, 2015

More Color

Ah, more color!  A quick trip to the fields to try and find some rose hips lead us by this patch of red twig dogwood.

December 2, 2015

Downy Woodpecker

Ever wonder where the days go?  Our lives have been so busy it's been hard to catch our breath.

The other day I was looking out the window for any color whatsoever.  Everything is a shade of brown it seems.  What a delight to see a downy woodpecker come to the suet feeder.  That little spot of red was the most beautiful thing ever!  He happily shared the feeder with a friendly chestnut-backed chickadee.  This brief brush with beauty spoke to my soul.

Without a telephoto lens, a digital close-up will have to do. =)