Thursday 15 September 2022

Findings and Treatments and Other Stuff

 Yesterday, I had my first consult appointment with the surgeon. I felt very good about her (I know that's not necessary, but it helps me and how I feel about things). I found out that I am stage 1 (early stage) and the procedure will be a lumpectomy, followed after healing with radiation. I will then take hormone replacement therapy. Because I only spoke with the surgeon yesterday, I don't know anything about the radiation or the hormone replacement, as those are dealt with by other doctors. 

I feel very positive about what I was told and I know it could have been much, much worse. My heart goes out to all women who have had to hear less positive information from their surgeons.

The one thing I am most concerned about is the painful procedure that involves injecting radioactive solution into the breast to prepare for the sentinel lymph node biopsy. The hospital paperwork even says it is a painful procedure. They do not freeze you. I don't know why, but they don't. The only suggestion is topical numbing cream. I'm just so tired of pain (previous stuff that I don't talk about here) in hospital settings and just so tired of women having to tough it out. I made the mistake of looking online at first hand accounts of the procedure and scared the living daylights out of myself. Ughhh. 

Regardless, the rest of the news is good and my surgery date is set for only two weeks from now, so that's excellent. If I can figure out a way to sleep without worrying about the other thing, then I'm golden.

Other stuff: Tomatoes continue to ripen. I used up most of my jars canning just plain, diced tomatoes. I guess I'll do some freezing now. 

I booked myself in for a half day of supply teaching tomorrow afternoon just so I can do something and get distracted. 

It is feeling much more "fallish" here, as some leaves are changing colour and the night time temperatures are dropping. 

I'm back to not being able to concentrate enough to read and remember what the heck I've been reading (crucial when you are into murder mysteries - must keep all the clues and details straight).

I'm looking forward to the new season of "Island of Brian" which will start on October 2. There's not a whole lot on tv that I'm really into right now. Watched the Netflix two part series, I think it was called, "I Killed My Father". Interesting. 

Bluejays are loud. 

Friday 9 September 2022

Friday, September 9, 2022 - Let's Salsa!

 Of course, the foremost in minds in Canada is the death of the Queen. Although we are not surprised given her remarkable age, it is still a momentous event. My daughter’s boyfriend proudly displays a picture of the Queen ( updated- not the age old framed picture that always hung in our schools as children) in his office ( he works in municipal government). There has always been a connection to the monarchy in Canada. We will watch to see how Charles steps in and hopefully leads with the same grace as his mother.

On a different, yet repetitive, note, my tomatoes continue to ripen and my canning marches forward. 

I’ve already made seasoned tomato sauce and my mother’s chili sauce. 

Today I embarked on a friend’s salsa recipe.

Time to get all the paraphernalia ready - not like it was stored away since the last round of canning... I just noticed that picture is out of place - I wasn't boiling the water in the blancher quite yet at that stage. 

Lots of chopping ensued.

There were onions from my garden.

Lovely green peppers from my garden (a good year for them), and...

although you can't really tell, there are three jalapeno peppers chopped up (minus the seeds) on top of the mix. They were NOT from my garden.

Next came garlic... I made sure to find Ontario garlic. The two gigantic bulbs beside the package came from garlic that a dear friend grew and shared with me. 

I minced up all those cloves.

I washed and cut out the stem ends of a combination of Roma and "regular" tomatoes. For future reference, that amount, after blanching, peeling, and seeding came to about five cups of chopped tomatoes. I needed about nine to ten cups in total.

I set the mixture (also includes a bit of cilantro, salt, sugar, apple cider vinegar, some cumin and two small cans of tomato paste to thicken it) on the stove to come to a boil and bubble away for about 20 minutes.

It was then time to put it into jars, lid them, and then...

boiling water processing time! 

This final picture is for Joanne - yes, your tea towels continue to live on - still look great, not a thread out of place!! 

So this little adventure took about five hours or so out of my life, but well worth it. 

Now what the heck do I do with all the other tomatoes?!? One can only eat so many toasted tomato sandwiches! 

Have a wonderful weekend, all!

Sunday 4 September 2022

Planning on Canning

 This year I had a very successful tomato crop. They are now ripening beautifully. I planted some Roma (plum) tomatoes as well as regular kinds like beefsteak and an early one (??). 

I’m am getting myself ready to do some canning tomorrow which fittingly enough is labour day here in Canada. 

Of course for the past thirty years or so I would have been in full on “ get ready to start teaching again “ mode, would have already been back in the classroom for at least a week, dragging furniture around, creating bulletin boards, planning, labelling, photocopying and so on. As well when the kids were younger, there would have been shopping for clothes, assessing the state of lunch containers, renewing school supplies, and all the other things that went along with getting them ready to return to class. Or perhaps loading up two vehicles to move them away from home for university or college. 

The timing of ripe tomatoes and the task of turning them into chili sauce, salsa, or just canned tomatoes always coincided with an incredibly busy, exhausting time of year. But I still managed to do it. Obviously I had more “gumption “ in those days!

Alas, I have the time now. This is what my countertop looks like at the moment:

There are more tomatoes still on the vine that need to ripen but this is a great haul so far. 

I’ve dug out my old trusted and true Bernardin canning book.

This book is older than my daughter! I’m planning on making seasoned tomato sauce. I’ve made it before but maybe only once or twice and of course, I’ve added my own handy notes.

I’ve checked the canning supplies and should go out today to buy more sealing lids. I have jars, retrieved from the basement, in the dishwasher. I have my own onions from the garden and plan on adding my own basil to the recipe. I have garlic that a friend grew herself. I’m looking forward to this! 

I’m contemplating mustard pickles later in the week…