I don’t know what to think; I haven’t blogged too much due to illness, so I’m not sure what to do if Xanga should go away (besides feel sad). I’ve made some great friends here, that’s for sure, and I don’t want to lose track of them.

If the worst happens, I suppose I will go to Blogger:  http://thechickadeefeeder.blogspot

Awfully hard to teach a dog new tricks, though.




This past weekend, I had a


–I was able to visit with a great blogging friend and her family.

We had only met once before, at a wedding reception.  This time, it was at a Regency ball.  I was leader of the dances and Carpebanana and her family were dancing for the first time.

She is a good friend with a lot of wise thoughts and thoughtfulness.  We were shy with each other–sometimes it’s easier to talk through email than in person–but I was super thrilled, and I’m sure she was too!




I am officially done with cancer treatment!  It hasn’t “sunk in” yet, as the next months still contain many many medical tests and appointments (physical therapy, cardiologist, orthopedist, etc. etc.).  But at least driving every day for radiation therapy is finished.

It has been a year.

May 2012

 July 2012


July 2012


October 2012


December 2012


December 2012


January 2012


March 18, 2013





reposting from a few years ago…


Years ago when my husband and I lived in Buffalo, New York, there was (and still is) a big Polish Catholic tradition of purchasing butter in the shape of a lamb for your Easter celebration.

I don’t ban the bunnies, but I feel a lot happier with a few lambs and crosses around my house, especially at this time of the year.  Those sorts of things are getting more difficult to find nowadays on account of having to make store shelf room for the camouflage plastic eggs and the Barbie tin pails that someone out there feels is a MUST-HAVE for your modern egg hunt (I have to admit that those little rubber duckies they have this year are adorable!).

So when we lived in Buffalo, I joyously bought my butter lamb every year. When we left Buffalo, I was very sad to have no more.  So I make my own now.

Some people make a “wooly” lamb by making the butter all squiggly through a garlic press, but I just use a plastic mold that you might buy for making chocolate lambs.   I have 2 kinds:  one has a front and a back that makes a whole lamb, and the other is for chocolate lollipops–the front of a lamb without a back.

You can purchase a whole lamb mold at a baking supplies shop or at the Polish Art Center.

Here’s how to make a butter lamb!

1.  Using clean hands or the tip of a table knife, press semi-firm butter into the molds.  Keep looking on the front-side as you’re pressing, to make sure you get the air bubbles out.

2.  Scrape the back-sides level, wipe off the excess around the edges, and attach the two sides together.

3.  Put in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

4.  Carefully take the lamb out of the mold.  Using a knife and/or paper towel, trim the excess off the seams.

5.  Traditionally, peppercorns are used for the eyes; I melt a few chocolate chips and use a toothpick to paint the eyes.

6.  Traditionally, the lamb has a bow or sash, and a toothpick flag with a red cross is placed in his back.  I usually put a red or purple ribbon bow on mine, using melted chocolate to attach it.

May you have a blessed Easter, Friends!

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  ~~Isaiah 53:6




This morning may look like this:

But yesterday this happened:

Big Red, the hawk, laid her first egg–in Cornell, New York.
Watch her and husband Ezra on the live-cam here.

And this happened too:

The turkey vultures returned to Hinkley, Ohio, right on time.
They arrived only 30 minutes later than last year.
Read all about Hinkley, Ohio’s buzzards here.




I just spent 5 unexpected days in the hospital, having gone to the local emergency room with chest pains and shortness of breath.  Because I am a cancer patient, I was transferred by ambulance to Magee Hospital in Pittsburgh, where I got such excellent care, had millions of tests, and was determined to have either pleurisy or pericarditis–or both (inflammation of the lining of the lungs and/or heart).  I am home now, but will have continued issues for a week or so.

I had to stop radiation therapy for while; when I start next week, it will be a little past the deadline for when protocol says I should have radiation therapy.
It is very disappointing.  But I continually come back to the understanding that God is a loving God who has a loving plan for each of us, even if we don’t understand it right now.
I have a semi-quote stuck to the computer from a radio preacher who was talking about Joshua and Jericho, and how totally unnerving it would be to do a helpless thing like march around the city, blowing trumpets–when they all knew the Jericho folks were powerful and strong and scary, and who knows what they were planning to do to the Israelites?  But the preacher said God’s perspective was totally different:
That wall doesn’t mean NOTHIN’ to Him.
He can see right over it.
HE knows what they’re doin’ over there.
Meanwhile, let me try to share a funny story from the hospital.  It might be one of those “you had to be there” to see the humor in it:
On the second day, they needed to do a lot of testing on my heart, which required no food or drink–a very silly thing for a sick hospital patient, let me tell you.  So starting at midnight, I did not have anything but pain medications through my IV.  And as hospitals go, my turn at the heart center became later and later….  I asked and received pain medication at the right time, but it wasn’t enough, and as I went through the testing, the pain built and built until I was in a very bad way indeed.
When I was returned to my room at 3 PM, I could barely speak, but with tears running down my face, I managed to gasp “Acute…..pain” to my nurse.
She was so good.  She whipped out pain meds, hot packs, put me on IV, called the cafeteria for food, and got me all set within minutes.  Oh, the relief!  Oh, the happiness! Of course, it was so strong I literally couldn’t see correctly and hardly knew my name, but who cared?  I had suffered strongly and come out of it.  Nothing could have been worse, but it was over now.
My food came.  I was very content.  I began to eat…..and was now going to vomit!!
When the nurse came walking by, she expected to see a calmed patient happily eating a meal; instead, she found a wild-eyed woman holding a wash basin gasping for control!  The look on her face was priceless.  Now she whipped out anti-nausea meds and damp washcloths and got everything calmed down again. 
This was the place where we both laughed:  just when you think the worst is over, it goes downhill even more.  Apparently there is always room for “worst.”        


Certainly one of the best cards that I have EVER received was one from a girl in our church congregation.


She also gave me some chocolates, and knowing that I like pigs, I received an online interactive little animal.


(I do not have a picture of the chocolates.)