an apple a day…

Red_delicious,_halfAn Apple a Day, keeps the Doctor away.  ~ as long as you throw it hard enough.    That was printed on a great thinking of you card, I recently received.

Earlier in the week, I took a huge, lime green gift bag full of sassy green apples to my surgeon.  I made a tag that said, “an apple a day……… know the rest”.  He laughed.  First time, we had laughed together in 92 days!  He got it and understood.  He said are you?  I said yes sir!  I eat a Red apple a day for a snack and I have one or two juiced apples somewhere in my daily juice.

Red Apples- the RED skin contains super antioxidant cell protection from quercitin as well as ursolic acid & fiber. Keeps the healthy cells healthy and the bad cells at bay.   I top, schmear, dip, slather (love that word)  on heavily with Almond Butter, fresh made weekly.  I have heard you can sprinkle with cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa, coconut, fresh mint or basil leaves.  I am still in the purist stage, taste testing apples first, then I will add some garnish. almond butter

So with all that good information, I had to find a red skinned apple that I liked.  I am not a fan.  period.  I have found totally red skinned apples to be mealy and not appealing.  Daughter in law number one, says, Red Delicious are for a staged production of Snow White.  They look good in the performance, but you don’t see the cast munching on them at intermission.

That said, I have begun my own research test.  I am well into test tasting and pricing.  It is almost amazing that I live in Washington state and we grow and ship apples all over the country. Hard to find a good selection and the price is not a cheap date.   I get my honey from a lady, who rents out her bees to different orchards and cranberry bogs.  We are in some deep trouble here folks.  Bees are dying because of pesticides, we are shipping in apples from other countries and do not get me started on bananas from Peru.  Here is a question:  Is a nice girl from Washington state as well as three or four generations back from Washington state or even further back from Northern Europe, really suppose to be eating bananas and mangos from the Caribbean?  Just more food for thought.

red applesBack to Apples:  Today is day six of trying a different RED apple.  I am certainly up for suggestions.  Please share.  I am still sampling, so far, this is where I stand.

Red Delicious ~ no thanks, we have already discussed the soft, mealy, mushy flesh, looks good in a fruit basket, or on a theater stage.

Pacific Rose ~ about  70 cents, it was crunchy, had a good snap, crisp…very little taste 😦

Fuji ~ about 75 cents, watery, juicy, little flavor, a bit soft, dull (yep, I actually wrote that on my research sheet, ha) who wants a dull apple?

Jazz ~ 70 cents, crisp, great apple flavor, snap, delicious, gold star good

Honey Crisp ~ $2.12 EACH!  tart, delicious, snap, crunch, juicy, great flavor  (not a completely red skin, pricey date, love the flavor)

Yesterday, was the frist time in my life that someone called me a name and I didn’t cringe.  The person said to Mr. Right,  isn’t your wife a health freak?    I heard it and then wanted to be upset and gasp and shudder.  The more I rolled it over on my tongue and through my brain, the more I sort of liked it.

This is one health freak who is going to sit on the deck, drink in some Vitamin D and eat a snack.

Here’s to being a health freak!  Sort of makes me set my shoulders back a little and lift up my chin a bit.  Health Freak, Health Freak, Health Freak, the more I say it, the more I live it, the more,  I like it.

Here’s to our good health!

What I’ve Learned

Miss Daleen is kind enough to let me once again have control of the keyboard and post a few thoughts.  I wanted to share what I’ve learned.

First, when it comes to dealing with cancer, you never really know for sure where you are.  No matter what “stage” you are in, no matter where along the path to recovery you are, there is always something else lurking.  Cancer is insidious, it’s pervasive and from a support person’s perspective it simply sucks.  I tried in vain to come up with a better term than cancer sucks, but sometimes a reaction from the gut speaks most eloquently.

I’ve learned that a lot of friends simply do not know what to say to a person afflicted with cancer.  Some give platitudes, some say “I’m there for you”, others offer prayer and positive energy and some demonstrate their care and concern.  Sadly, some cannot be friends anymore.  It’s as if by being close to a person with cancer they might themselves be afflicted.  Pity them, and teach them, for they need help at being better humans.  Miss Daleen has been inundated with flowers and gifts and even the gift of time.  Friends watched our furry friend Sweet Liberty while Daleen was in the hospital, something that eased our minds so we could focus on the task at hand.  Dear daughter in law came to our house while we were gone and left not only flowers and a treasure trove of gifts, but put up a string of photos of the grandgirlies, knowing the smiles it would bring.  Son 1 calls and visits and makes memories, son 2 calls or sends something to make his mom laugh every single day; God bless the internet.

I’ve learned that everyone has theories about how best to deal with cancer.  Some go headfirst into the fray, fully armed and ready for war; others retreat quietly and steel their resolve for the battles yet to be fought.

I’ve learned that some people in the medical profession really should consider alternative careers.  Yes, Doctor Z at Madigan, you are one of them.  To kick anyone while they are down is wrong, for a doctor to do it to a patient is despicable.  Shame on you and I pray you’ll take your skills elsewhere.  Empathy and compassion should be your watchwords, not vindictiveness and meanness.  On the other hand, I’ve learned that some doctors and yes I mean you Dr. B. are simply incredible.  Always positive, always willing to go the extra mile.  Were that there are more like you, we’d all be better off as a result.

I’ve learned that some believe the right thing to do is stay busy.  Bless the horse lady for her working therapy and Son 1 for the target shooting.  A friend in Indiana made a quilt; a friend in Washington who has many, many medical problems of her own made a painting to inspire Daleen to get better and go to the scene painted.   Others offer research they’ve discovered, others simply and importantly are there.  Miss Florida inspires us with her own battles and C&S in MosesLake keep us on track with sound advice and humour.  K&D continually remind us they are in our corner and others listen – when Miss Daleen says no pink, she means it!  A friend in Chicago offers unvarnished truth.  She knows that often the messenger is not well received when the news is bad, but we love her regardless.  People with who I work send gifts, cards, letters and some don’t even know Miss Daleen!  They do know the battle takes its toll on everyone, and if they can make the support person even just a wee bit happier, then that will translate into something better for Miss Daleen.  From a very personal perspective I’ve learned that there are folks in Vermont who will listen to me vent frustrations at any hour, even when they should be soundly asleep in their beds.  They listen and it helps more than I think they can imagine.

I’ve learned that the colour (yes, where I come from colour does indeed have the letter “u”) pink has been hijacked by the “Breast Cancer Awareness” movement.  If you have cancer, or you know someone that does, here’s a newsflash to the movement:  YOU ARE AWARE.  Buying a box of Jell-O does not support the cause!  Rather than enlisting thousands to “Support the Cause”, how about teaching the world what NOT to do so as to help keep cancer away?  Maybe even teach people that some foods actually are helping cancer along?  Sadly, they’d rather hand out pink ribbons.  Were I not a gentleman, I’d offer a suggestion as to where I think those ribbons should find a final resting place.

I’ve learned that, despite all attempts to the remain passive, when we’re driving and pass a car where the driver is female and smoking and eating anything from any fast food restaurant, I want to scream.  I want to tell them what I know; that cancer strikes indiscriminately and smoking cigarettes and eating garbage can hasten it to their doorstep.  I’ve also learned restraint, for after all it is their life, and they’d not listen anyway.

I’ve learned, perhaps learned anew is a better term, that no matter how much you love a person, no matter how much you try to protect that person, cancer can still find it’s slimy way to that person.  I am a guy.  Guys fix things.  I’ve learned I can’t fix this, but I’ve learned that the effort is worthwhile for perhaps it is true that the destination isn’t the important thing and after all is said and done, it’s the journey together.  Here’s to thousands more walks on the beach, here’s to millions more hugs from cute grandgirls and here’s to enjoying life to the fullest; each and every day remembering to laugh and to love.

I’ve learned that I’ve so much more to learn, but that I have so many people willing to teach.  Have I mentioned I’ve learned I’m blessed?

My tribute to Miss Daleen

I’m  painting you a picture of a place you  like to go.

In hopes that when you look at it your face fills with a glow,

with special thoughts and memories of times passed; and yet to come!

May this painting bring you happiness, a place where you will hum!

Take away your troubles and guide you without fear,

God has a special job for you to be my friend my dear.

It requires lots of patience, kindness and most of all,your love;

for our friendship means the world to me, remember turtle doves!

One without the other will find it hard to see, how life would be without you, please get well soon for me!

I hope you like my tribute, as Ms. Daleen as been standing in my corner for a number of years! Always ready with a word of encouragement, a note, an impeccable  handmade purse filled with goodies that made me feel loved and special, Christmas cards, gift ideas, recipes named after me and many more wonderful gifts including my most cherished, her gift of friendship. If you ever get the privilege to meet Ms. Daleen in person, consider yourself one lucky person.  She is truly a remarkable Woman, friend and gift to the world.  Thank you  for the opportunity to be your guest blogger! Love ya Girlie, Ann

Oregon Coast
Oregon Coast

Please note this is a work in progress! An Original Wax Encaustic painting by Ann Francine.  It will be signed, framed and delivered as soon as Ms. Daleen can receive visitors ~ Special thanks to Mr. Right aka Bruce for providing me with the photo!

Enjoying the View with Miss Daleen

kristy's blog picture 2Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls ♥:)…the most massive characters are seared with scars.~Kahlil Gibran
Many years ago I saw the movie “The Grand Canyon”.  I was very young and naive and I got upset by a scene where everything is going horribly wrong all at once.  In the scene the main characters, who are a husband and wife, are in the middle of a huge quarrel while preparing dinner. The  husband is chopping vegetables with a large knife when he slices through his hand. He grabs a towel and wraps his bleeding hand , still arguing adamantly with his wife. Then unbelievably there is a huge earthquake and the couple has to run outside, continuing to yell at each other embroiled in the heat of their fight. The whole neighborhood is panicked and gathering outside of their homes, when things go from bad to worse because one neighbor screams that her husband is having a heart attack…… right in the middle of the street. So the main character, played  by Kevin Klein, performs CPR on his neighbor while his  cut hand oozes blood all over the poor guy. “Call 911″,  He yells.  Somebody runs off to call, and then incredulously  the messenger breathlessly returns and says, ” All the phone lines are down because of the earthquake, so we can’t get an ambulance.” (Obviously, this was before cell phones existed.) So here is the intensity of this scene: Man in big fight with wife cuts huge slice in hand and is bleeding profusely all over while trying to perform CPR on neighbor who is having a heart attack in the middle of the street during an earthquake, and no paramedics are available because the phone lines are down. Now being  in my twenties at the time, I  almost walked out because I thought it was stupid.  “Life never happens with that much drama, stupid movies always over dramatize”, is what I said in my note to self.  Well I am fifty now, and I see through a vastly different wide-angle lens, and I know life can really slam us some times. Sometimes life happens exactly like that!
Keep reading…….I promise to reach a few more points.
In the beginning of this  movie Kevin Klein’s character gets off the freeway due to being lost and having car trouble, if I remember it right. It is dark, late at night, and in a bad neighborhood.  He doesn’t really realize he is in a terribly bad place right off the bat. Gangs roam the streets and he is accosted while in a pay phone calling for a tow truck.  The gang members realize Kevin’s character is driving a very nice car and start get more confrontational, headed towards violence with him. Well the  tow truck arrives just in time, driven by a character played by Danny Glover.  Danny’s character knows how to handle the tough gangsters, and saves Kevin’s character’s buttisimo.  So the rest of the movie expounds  the friendship that grows between these two men. Kevin’s character in particular has been  bumping along in his life, but he is awakened to live with more intention and purpose after meeting Danny’s character in that bad neighborhood that dark night. The two men share their lives and struggles with each other, and in doing so they learn more about themselves as individuals. And here is one of my main points in telling you about this movie…..the characters inspire and change each other’s future by their chance meeting in a dark alley.   Danny Glover’s character has always had a dream to go see the Grand Canyon.  Somehow Kevin’s character had never even considered  such a thing until meeting Danny’s character,  but as he gets more situated in his own life he realizes what a cool thing seeing the Grand Canyon with his friend would be.  Now of course there are lots more woven into the story that I haven’t time to tell on Miss Daleen’s blog.  By the end of the movie though, Kevin Klein’s character has reconciled with his wife, and found new inspiration and self-awareness and core values because of meeting Danny Glover’s character. And Danny Glover’s character had met the love of his life and new wife because of Kevin’s character.  They have all have decided to go see and appreciate the Grand Canyon with Danny Glover’s character….so of course that is the closing scene of the movie……all of the main characters standing in awe looking at one of nature’s most beautiful amazing feats.  Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon helps each one of them put their own life in perspective.
So now if I still have your attention let me finish up, and relate the messages in this movie to life.  What I know now is the movie had some very valid points……..sometimes all hell breaks loose.  Sometimes life gives us way more than we can handle, and when we think we can’t take anything else, it hands us something more.  Sometimes we find ourselves in dark scary places, lost in a world we don’t know how to navigate. Sometimes we know we are lost and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we get our bearings right away and help arrives in a timely manner, and sometimes help does not or cannot come.  But every once and awhile, if we are lucky and pay attention, someone simple, but magnificent shows up….and they change the course of our destiny for the better. They positively change our future.  They give us hope and inspiration….that there is a view that is worth seeing,  something that can bring our life meaning and wonder.  And if we can share it together… is that much more powerful.
I was lucky enough to reconnect with Daleen after being childhood friends, and we had been disconnected for quite a few years. We were blessed to find recently  there has been much power in sharing our stories, and in doing so we actually look back and appreciate  the view.  We can see the Grand Canyons of our own lives.  Thank you Miss Daleen…..the view is more beautiful with you sharing it with me, indeed! I look forward to the next Grand Canyon we can share ahead.  Xoxoxo

My Favorite Things


I am filling in for Daleen today and it is my pleasure to do so. My blog is called Katherine’s Daughter and even though Daleen and I live on opposite coasts, we have become dear friends!

In honor of her, I would like to share some of my favorite things. I love to look for Grace in every day life and these are some of the things that help me feel closer to the God.

DSC_0008I love flowers. It doesn’t matter what type. Lillies, roses, baby’s breath, lilacs, you name it. I am so lucky because I have many beautiful flowers blooming one after another in my yard. The lilacs should be along any day now! Flowers have the magical quality of lifting my spirits when I am feeling a bit down. All I have to do is pick a bunch and bring them inside. I collect vases and have several beautiful ones including clear glass and solid color ones. I love to arrange by not arranging; that is, I love to just lightly drop the stems into a vase and let them land where they may. My favorite birthday or anniversary gift from my husband is a bouquet of roses or whatever flowers are in season. If I lived in Washington state, near Daleen, I would bring her the biggest bunch of beautiful flowers that I could find!

DSC_0002I love rainbows. Maybe I am still looking for a pot of gold but I think rainbows are one of God’s greatest masterpieces. When there is a gentle summer or spring rain and the sun is shining through, I will run outside with my umbrella to look for rainbows. This picture was taken less than a mile from my house and I pulled my car over purposely to snap a few pictures. Can you see the double rainbow? It was magnificent! I pray that God sends a rainbow to Daleen to brighten her day!

DSC_0684I love animals. My favorite is my yellow lab mix, Ms. Jordan. She loves me no matter what and this reminds me of God’s great love for us all. Jordan is very protective of her yard and us, her family. We have eight fancy chickens and Jordan diligently keeps an eye on them. For her reward, she receives a fresh egg which helps keep her coat lovely and shiny. We have had numerous pets over the years- hamsters, cats, dogs, even cockatiels- and we have loved them all. Ms. Jordan is a member of our family, no doubt about it. If Daleen was here with me, Jordan would give her a very wet kiss, I am sure!

It has been a treat to share this moment with you. I hope you have a wonderful day and please keep Ms. Daleen in your thoughts and prayers. Maybe we will meet again some day! Until then….Blessings! xoxo Joanne

Tell me one of your favorite things! I’d love to hear from you!


I have a question…have you ever been speechless? Hi, I am one of Daleen’s friends from California. I am the mom of six. Yep, six children ages  30y, 28y, 23y, 17y, 10y, and 6y by the end of this year.

Michael and IThanks for asking, yes, they all have the same mom, me and yes, the same dad, him. Yep, life takes crazy turns some times, and then here we are.

Daleen asked me to stop by and share a bit. Be forewarned, I have never written a blog post before but I have read a lot of them, hopefully that will help all of us today.

Back to being speechless. One would have to think as a mother of six, I would/should/could have much to say. But today, I am speechless about the violence that has taken place this week. I mean, what has the senseless attack accomplished? Nothing!! It has accomplished nothing at all. Ask any mom of more than one child and she will tell you that violence begets violence, end of story. “Tommy, why did you hit your brother?” “He hit me first.” Do you hear the whine of that last word? Excuses and no sense of responsibility, when will we ever learn?  Would you please join me in praying for our country, praying for our children, and praying for each other? Life should be surrounded by Love and not violence. It is time for us to allow Love to accomplish His great purpose.

Ok, enough said about that…now onto more savory things. Remember, Daleen just celebrated her 500th post. (Congratulations my friend on  your great blog-land accomplishment. You have done an outstanding job!!)

Well, today I want to take you back to post number 400. If you don’t remember what that post was about, here is the link:

Go, check it out and then head on back over here.

Welcome back…remember what you read? I am pretty sure you found a recipe for “Loaded Baked Potato Soup.” Now when I first read it, way back when, I was transported back to a steaming, creamy, decadent, bowl of potato goodness, garnished with lots of cheddar cheese, bacon (real) and sour cream. Maybe a sprinkle of chopped chives, but nothing else that could have been considered good for a person’s health, and I am not sure chives can even be considered a health food.

That soup was oh so delicious. Well, for good reasons, we have left that land behind. Except for the few slip ups or on purpose jumping into the old ways, we have been venturing into the land of healthy eating. And then there came blog post number 400. “Loaded Baked Potato Soup,” made with cauliflower. OH GAG!! Whoever came up with that idea? Don’t get me wrong, as an adult I will eat what is set before me. But cauliflower? YUCK!!

I have only had a few times when I really enjoyed it, and that would have been when it was slathered with so much cheese sauce that I couldn’t taste the cauliflower. Oh, yes, I have also eaten it raw, which wasn’t too bad. But to overtake a delicious soup that needs little help, I don’t know if that is such a good idea.

Daleen invited me to give it a try. I said I would and then I put it off. Oh yuck, really, what happens if it is NASTY? There would go my good memories of a delicious, creamy, decadent, potato soup. Now I have to tell you something here…Daleen has never shared a nasty recipe with me ever, no, not ever. Everything she has ever shared has been rockin’ good!! So, today, I have decided to set myself and my tastes aside. Today I have decided to honor my friendship with Daleen, by making “Loaded Baked Potato Soup” with CAULIFLOWER. So off I go. I don’t want to bore you with all the details of making it. I will be back to let you know what I think. Go ahead; find a quiet corner, a good book, maybe a good cup of coffee. I’ll be back in a bit.


Ok, I did it. I made it. What was I ever thinking? “Loaded Baked Potato Soup” made with CAULIFLOWER is out of this world FANTASTIC. Being a taster myself, I tried the pureed mixture of potato, cauliflower, onion, and vegetable broth. That was good in itself. But then I added the almond milk. Tasted again, oh my goodness…it doesn’t even need the cheese, or the “sour” cream. WE LOVE IT!! My six year old gave me a thumbs up. My sixteen year old said we needed to go right back to the store to buy more cauliflower. Guess what, I agreed with him.


Thank you, Daleen, for giving me the opportunity to enjoy cauliflower in a brand new way. I just might have to try it roasted now.

April 15, 2013 Thoughts from Sunny Ms. Florida

I received a gift from a dear friend: I was asked to be a guest blogger on her site. What a privilege! What a compliment! To have someone think I have something worthwhile to say! Thank you, Sparkles. Love, Ms. Florida.


I’m standing in my front yard, pondering the plants I’ve helped to grow. Here’s my flower garden, a little neglected, but still lovely. There’s the dragonfly habitat I put in last fall, with the horsetail grass and Medusa grass that makes me smile when I look at it because it reminds me of the plants I played with when I was a little girl in Michigan.


I hope the dragonflies discover this and make it their home. They will especially like the tall horsetail to land on, according to the man at the nursery.

There’s the magnolia tree that I didn’t plant, but have enjoyed since it was a sapling, and look forward every spring to its blossoms. There is the border grass that I planted and trim each fall. There are the blueberry bushes that I keep relocating to different places in the yard, hoping and hoping that they will be happy and bountiful where I plant them, and that I will beat the mockingbird to at least a handful of their berries. I have spent many Saturday mornings—early before it gets too hot to work—on my knees weeding that garden. I have watered it, worried about frost killing it, and picked blossoms to enjoy in a vase inside. One time, when the Milkweed was in bloom, I stood beside it and watered, wearing a floral-print jacket—I hadn’t yet changed from work. A butterfly fluttered around the milkweed, and then got a little distracted by my jacket, and alit on me!  I ponder all those plants now, and I am deeply satisfied by what I see. I look forward to getting back into the yard and onto my knees to prune back the dead parts so that the new growth can spring up strong. It is deeply satisfying to enjoy the flowers of my labor. Where does this sense of satisfaction come from? I think it’s from the labor that went into making something beautiful.

It was Flowery Girl who told me four years ago, when we had been in our house for a couple of years, that I needed to start gardening again. What do you mean? I asked. She said, ‘You always plant flowers in the yard, and it makes you happy.’ She was right; I had been working too hard, and losing sight of joy. So I started planting flowers. …………………………

…………Just now, about an hour ago, I said good-bye my soon-to-be-22-year-old-daughter, Flowery Girl. We grocery shopped together for her birthday meal, then she and I headed our separate ways: her to her apartment, and me to this yard. She will come over tomorrow and cook with me, and we will eat together when her friends get here. It is deeply satisfying to study the flowers that I’ve planted in my yard, but it is ever-more-deeply-satisfying to look at that lovely young woman and see the independent, gracious, happy person that she has become. I did not plant her, but I did weed her a bit, I have watered her at the beach or in our yard on hot summer afternoons; in fact I have a favorite picture of her at 4 years old, playing in the sprinkler. She with her floral print bathing suit on, straddling the sprinkler with her hands on her hips as if to say, ‘I’ve conquered this one!’ And now I am enjoying the blossoms of her daily calls to me; I let her words flow over me as she expounds the details of her day. I have worried about her—the frost that will come to her as it comes to every person makes me sad. She is a young sapling, but she is strong. The hurricane-force winds of divorce have blown her around, and nearly knocked her down, but she is strong, and she is standing straight and smiling beautifully.


And I have loved her! I still savor the days of holding her infant body close to me, and putting her as a toddler on my lap as I read to her, putting her in the bathtub with oatmeal when she broke out with hives and couldn’t bear the itching, teaching her to read on the front porch while waiting for her Kindergarten bus to pick her up, buying her pretty dresses, buying her a laptop for a high school graduation gift, and driving her to college. Most of the time, I stood back and watched as she made decisions and went forth with bravado. You see, I tried to give her the gift that my parents gave to me: the gift of being a parent who does not meddle. I wouldn’t dare say that I was perfect at it—you see, I’m a worrier, and so I have to meddle just a touch. Without my permission, words slip out of my mouth such as, ‘Are you sure about that?’ ‘Do you really think that’s a good idea?’ ‘ I think you should…….’ But I tried my best to pass on that gift to her and to her siblings—the gift that says ‘You are perfectly suited to make your own decisions according to your judgment for your 5-year-oldness, or your 22-year-oldness, without my help.’ As I said, I tried with a limited amount of success. But let me tell you what: it is the best to see my kids have become Frickin Fabulous Young Adults in spite of my parenting. So I can’t say I’m proud of myself at all. I’m proud of them!!! And I am amazed by them. So, Flowery Girl, on the eve of your 22nd birthday, let me just say that you have made my life more beautiful by breathing yourself into it.


You and I will continue to sing the song that moms and their daughters have sung for a very long time. Sometimes the tune is jazzy, and sometimes it’s rap. But the harmony that you and I make together is more sonorous than you or I could have created separately. Here’s to many more years of enjoying each other in our garden of music!