Thursday, January 23, 2014

How Can I make a difference in the world?

I ponder that  question all the time.  I am always searching for a way to make my mark on the world.  What's wrong with me?

Yesterday, I had this thought about making a regular thing of delivering cookies to the chemo bar.   That's all.  I just want to make someone's day, and I know my cookies are good and can put a smile on someone's face.  Plus, it gives me an excuse to go visit and talk to everyone. But, then, I googled, "Cancer for Cookies" and "cookies for chemo".  I looked up other non-profits to see if there was anything local or if that name was available.  I suddenly in my head formed my own non-profit and visualized me baking cookies with others and delivering them all over the a growing superstar of a corporation, holding fundraisers, recruiting volunteers, even having a silent auction!  I can't just be simple. 

Then, this morning, it kinda became clear, as I was in the middle state where you are just waking up, but still remember what you dreamt about five minutes earlier.  It dawned on me, that its not about making your mark in the world.  Its about helping.  Do I want to be "known" or "popular" or do I want to help another?  High school and popularity has been over with for twenty years, Lisa, hasn't it?  I wasn't popular then, but I wanted it so badly.  I think that craving never left.  I'm scared that craving never left and that's why I do what I do half the time. 

I realized I need to put this in perspective:
I don't want any awards and I'm not looking for praise for making cookies.
I really like to bake.
I like to feel like I am doing good and helping someone.
I am going through cancer, and I know what chemo feels like and what it does to you.
I can relate.
It makes me feel better to bake.
My cookies are pretty good.
Cookies are pretty inexpensive and well appreciated when you are in chemo for 3-6 hours at a time.

So, I just re-wired my brain.  Just now.  Yes, Lisa, you can make a difference and help others.  You will feel awesome about yourself, just by seeing the smiles of the other cancer patients when you drop off cookies.  Its not about the recognition.

See, that's it:  Its not about the recognition.  I think a lot of people do things for the recognition.  A charity run or get this tshirt...a show off item, so you can get recognized.  I raised money for jump rope for heart when I was younger-- I did it so I could hang out with my friends after school and get neat (krappy) prizes.  I didn't do it to help those with heart disease or heart research.  Nowadays, I donate and do things for the humane society because I firmly believe they are a good organization.  Frank came from there, and I used to volunteer there (years ago before I got frank).  Now, I try to drop off treats, food, blankets, and paper towels and such when there is a good sale to try to help them out when I can.  I don't do it for the recognition.  I do it because I love the animals and I hate seeing these dogs and cats homeless and in cages.  I do it because I want those animals to have a good treat or toy or blankie all their own until they get a great home.

We all have something we care deeply about.  Everyone can make a difference in their own way.  Isn't that what social responsibility is?  Not just recycling and upcycling and being environmentally conscious, but also being morally uplifting?  I don't want to call it anything other than that.  Morally uplifting. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Homemade Hot Chai Tea

Gosh I miss Borders.  I used to go to Borders and get their hot chai tea all the time.  For years.  No other place made chai tea to my liking.  Since Borders has been closed for some time, it kinda hit me today to try my hand at making my own chai tea.
Here is how I made my own at home (very easy):

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I'm Hooked: Gavin & Stacey

Have you seen this BBC show, Gavin & Stacey? It only lasted three seasons, but I'm completely and utterly hooked. I've been watching it on Amazon Prime, and wish it was still on. Its like Modern Family meets Friends. I've wasted the entire morning watching episodes from season three.  The show revolves around Gavin and Stacey...a couple that met on the phone at their lives in Essex and the other in Barry Island, Wales.  It follows their relationship and its quite hilarious.  The writers of the show play the best friends of the two, respectively.
Part of why I like it is the fun cheekiness of the England and Welsh accents and slang. Its proper, truth be told!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Why do our insecurities and fears come out in our dreams?

Is this true with everyone, or just something I'm noticing of late due to all the drugs I'm on?  Last night I remember 2 very distinct dreams.  So vivid, I can't shake them (lately this has been how I spend part of every day).
In dream one, the zombies were after us.  BD, Frank, and I were living in a house where there were already some zombies, and BD found a way to cure the zombies.  He took vegetables, similar looking to celery, broke them open, and an oily substance poured out of them.  We covered ourselves in this oil, and it protected us from zombie bites or infections.  It also healed the zombies.  Who would have guessed vegetable oil?  It was a hectic dream with people living in small quarters, sharing rooms, lots of mad crazy fight for your life kinda stuff.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Rye Bread

Today, I am feeling a bit better so I tried my hand at Rye bread.  King Arthur Flour's website _ is wonderful and gave me the inspiration today.
Here is what the finished product looks like.

This bread was so good and yummy!  My best Rye bread yet to date!  I think it could have used more caraway seeds, but it was delicious nonetheless.
I am looking forward to a ham sandwich for lunch with this rye bread today.  I am also thinking I might make another loaf this weekend for my mom and dad.  It was hearty, easy to slice, and flavorful.  It was heavy, though.  Dense but stayed together.  French bread tends to have these beautiful, odd shaped large air bubbles throughout its loaf.  This rye didn't have that.  It was compact but perfect size for sandwiches.  Rose nicely, but I used a loaf pan.  The previous ryes I made I didn't use a loaf pan, I tried to make them more traditional, and it didn't work. They were hard on the outside, crumbly on the inside.
Oh I'm so happy and proud of this bread!!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I triple dog dare you to earn a free flight with me to Las Vegas this year!!

Okay, maybe I'm being dramatic here.  I have a goal to fly for free to Las Vegas this year.  I think everyone can make this their own goal, too.  How?  Simple...using Southwest's Rapid Rewards system.
Here is my goal: Earn at least one way free this year for my trip in October or November.  That gives me 10 months to earn a free one way flight. 
How do I plan on doing this?  

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 isn’t messing around!  We are looking at -15 degrees today with a windchill of 40 below.  Last night we were in a state of emergency, and I believe that is still in effect this morning.  No internet, so I am writing my blog entry the good old fashioned way.  It reminds me of the snow days when I was a child.  It’s so quiet out right now.  It stopped snowing (for now), but the sun is out and the foot of snow we got yesterday is sparkly and reflecting light everywhere.  But its so cold, Frank is boycotting outside pottys.  He is trying to hold it as long as possible, poor boy.  I wrapped him up really good, using an old sweater (I made for my dog when I was a child) as a scarf for the boy. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Homemade Tomato Flatbread Pizza

Making dinner for BD tonight, French bread and garlic shrimp pasta.  I took a bit of the bread dough and decided to make an appetizer with some garlic, olive oil, and heirloom tomatoes.  Voila!

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 Resolutions-- put in print, hey this is real!

2014 Resolutions
  • Get organized and stay organized
  • Self publish at least one short story on kindle
  • Lose Weight-- goal of 140 pounds

And on today's to do list...journal!

I can't shake my dreams last night.  Since I have been on the added meds for this nasty viral infection, I have been having the most vivid and crazy dreams ever.  I thought my dreams were awful when I was first diagnosed, but again, I was immediately put on tons of meds and was receiving blood transfusions almost daily. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

About Me

My name is Lisa.  I am 37 years old and living in Indiana, United States.  I was diagnosed with APL (Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia) early in 2013.  I am in remission, but undergoing maintenance therapy.  2013 was a year of warrior training.  I went through so much.  Cancer is awful, and even though I know I had it easy compared to most other cancer patients, I would not wish it upon my worst enemy.  My cancer wreaked havoc on my whole body, inside and out.  I felt so sick.  My teeth hurt, my body bruised by a simple touch, my stomach and digestive system acted like I had a stomach bug.  I had the heaviest period of my life (gross!).  Going through treatment wasn't easier...chemotherapy can make you very sick, and the pills (all the meds) can cause other issues.  I had my gallbladder removed, I came down with C-diff, I was always tired, I lost my taste buds and lost tons of weight.  After I started to feel better, I gained all my weight back plus an additional 25 pounds!  Now I'm dealing with obesity and trying to get my body healthy.  Your muscles atrophy and disappear.  I had to go to physical therapy for 6 weeks to get my strength back.  My mind is a bit shot.  I forget things, get lost easier, and ask people the same question over and over.  I'm hoping keeping my blogs will help my mind. 
Other than the cancer stuff, I am a substitute teacher and special education paraprofessional.  I am also a Realtor---two things I love doing but they are both very stressful.  I haven't gone back to work yet...but hopefully I will return part time very soon.  I need to get over my viral infection first and amp up my immune system. 
I have too many hobbies, I'm kinda a psychopath in this way.  I love to bake.  I mean really bake, not use box mixes and grow my own yeast kinda bake.  I just ordered a gnocchi board with the giftcard my boyfriend gave me for Christmas.  I can't wait to make homemade gnocchi!! 
I also love crafts of any sort.  I knit, sew, crochet, paint, draw, and design.  I have a weird sense of style, I try to dress classic preppy, but other stuff gets mixed in.  I have no concept of my age.  I don't feel 37, and I definitely don't look it.
My mom and dad raised me in a conservative manner.  My mother taught me to sew and always told me I could do anything I wanted.  I believed her and still do.  I try new stuff all the time...sometimes I love it and immerse my life in it and other times I don't.  But, I always try something that peaks my interest.
I was a vegetarian for 11 years-- when I was 18-29.  I don't know why I continued to eat meat when I started up again, and sometimes I feel guilty when I eat meat, but I still love veggie pizza and don't need to have meat in a meal.  I do love liver sausage, bologna, ham, and shrimp, though, more than I ever thought I could.
I don't have any children.  My boyfriend and I have been together for eight (I think) years.  I just moved in with him a couple months before the cancer.  I have a dog, his name is Frank.  He is from a local shelter, and they estimated his age around 2 years when I got him.  I have had him 3 years this past thanksgiving (we call it Franksgiving).  He is pug/beagle/mix  and hates strangers.  He really hates strangers.  He tolerates my niece, who is almost 2.  She is a ray of sunshine and I love seeing her.  She rarely calls me Aunt Lisa...mostly its Leesssaaaaahh!! 
Family is everything to me. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 here I come

Well, Frank is here, lying on the bed next to me.  Stretched out, it looks like he is sleeping sitting up.  This dog is something else!
Its a new year, and I don't want to focus on cancer so much...I want to focus on Living.  That's why I started this new blog.  More to be my daily journal, I want to keep track of my mountains and my achievements.  That should make anything possible, right?

This past week has been a tough one for me.  I went to two emergency rooms, saw my doctor, and have been fighting a nasty respiratory infection.  Today is the first day since December 12 that I actually felt 'better'.