Saturday, October 28, 2023

Long Live the Delete Key by Liz Flaherty

I just wrote an entire post in one sitting on Friday morning. I researched what I was writing, gave good quotes to prove my point, thought about what pictures I'd use, and went in to eat my breakfast. (Egg sandwich, in case you're looking for ideas. I love them with a little Dijon mustard.)

I came out an hour or so later, a faint mustard-colored spot on the front of my tee shirt, and deleted the whole post. 

Because sometimes that's just the right thing to do. Like everyone else, I have opinions, and I'm lucky enough that here on this blog, I also have a platform on which to present them. Occasionally, though, stating opinions crosses a line into pontification (another great word--I love words!) and the writer gets to believing what she says is more important than it is. I crossed that line and I then crossed it all out. You're welcome.  

I hope you've had a wonderful week. That you've enjoyed the beautiful colors of autumn and the warm days that have slipped in as an extra little something from October. 

Mary Morgan
Since I have virtually nothing new to say today, here is a cookie recipe I stole borrowed from Mary Morgan. I haven't made them yet, but I've been salivating ever since I read it. 
Apple Spice Cookies


3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup of nuts (your preference and optional)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

 2 eggs

 1 cup brown sugar

½ cup molasses
¼ cup apple cider or apple juice


1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and nuts, if using.

2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until combined.

3. Beat in the molasses and apple cider.

4. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth.

5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

7. Place parchment paper on two baking pans.

8. Drop one heaping tablespoon of dough onto the baking pans.

9. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove onto wire racks to cool.

Makes approximately 35 cookies.

I sincerely love cookies. They are just one of the most satisfying things in the world. Actually, they are synonymous with grandchildren. They're sweet, with rich flavors and differences. They always make you feel better, but time with them goes so fast. You're left with an empty plate and memories of just the best times--as well as the hope of having more soon.

Have a great week. It is the time of year of great music, delicious fundraiser dinners for local causes, orchard visits, and craft shows (Nancy Masten and I'll be at the fairgrounds on November 4 from 9 to 3--I hope to see you there.) Get out and about if you're able--friends and neighbors are wonderful gifts. Not quite as good as grandkids, but you get my drift. 

Be nice to somebody.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

A Crooked Line by Liz Flaherty

I was relieved, when I fell and hurt my face and my arm and inconvenienced virtually everyone I know, that it was my left wrist that was compromised. I am, after all, right-handed. Actually, I think I'm right-bodied--everything dominant is on my right side. It will be, I thought, a piece of cake to deal with wearing a splint for four weeks. Easy. 

I can be such an idiot.

When I began this, it was with the intent of it being funny, because--for me--it kind of is. I've gone from being so-so clumsy to being so clumsy because the splint and the inability to use my left hand throws off not only my physical balance but all my other balances, too. 

I can't walk in a straight line; I either list in the direction of the splint or overcompensate in the opposite way. Getting into a car, closing the door, and fastening the seatbelt could easily be a how-to reel on ineptitude. 

As in, I don't use my left thumb on the keyboard spacebar--due to learning keyboarding in the olden, golden days of typewriters and the touch system; I use my right one. Always. Except for when I'm wearing a splint that makes my left thumb smack the bar often. Very often. 

Everyone who knows me knows I'm completely unable to eat neatly. I only hold kitchen utensils with my right hand, but since I have a splint, I now throw toast on the floor, spray coffee grounds on the counter, and am unable to cut a sandwich in half. 

I can dress myself, almost, although sleeves are quite a challenge. I've only worn slip-on shoes. When my feet were cold, I wore socks, and Duane had to help me put them on. 

I have taken whining to a whole new level, and I wasn't half-bad at it before. And I've gained a whole new understanding of walking a crooked line. 

And now I'm at the hard part. 

While I have always admired people who overcome physical limitations to succeed and exceed in so many ways and places, that admiration has increased a lot in recent days. It's also made me notice a few things about myself. 

While I offer to help get things down from shelves I can reach and customers on scooters can't, usually they've managed just fine without me. I walk around them in the grocery, stifling a sigh because they've slowed me down. I am righteously annoyed when someone parks in the paint-striped space reserved for getting out of a van in a wheelchair, but when it's raining, I envy handicapped drivers those good spaces. 

Yes, really. 

My wrist will heal. In a few weeks, the splint will come off and I'll be able to open car doors and fasten my own bra. And I'll know enough to never, ever say I know just how you feel to someone whose healing won't be physical, who's made compensate into an amazing way of life, who doesn't need me to get something off a shelf that's over their head because they've figured it out on their own. 

Like I said, my admiration has increased. 

I've written this because I have an old and dear friend who recently underwent an amputation of her leg. She is strong and brave, and I have no doubt that at some point in the future, she'll find the funny in her situation. She'll be part of the lunch bunch sometimes and she will be just as loving and hilarious with one leg as she has always been with two. 

Hugs to you, Deb. Praying for your healing and the faith and humor that have always sustained you. See you soon. - Signed, your friend the idiot, Liz. 

Have a good week. Be nice to somebody.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

"Peace That Was Meant to Be..." by Liz Flaherty

Although I am a Christian, I admit to not knowing Israel's history well. Or Palestine's. Or why the Gaza Strip is so worth dying for. I definitely don't understand what is there that is worth killing for. Those people seem to hurt each other's children at will. Some of them hate women because they're...wait for it...women. Powerful people there want more power, more money, more land, more resources. And they don't care who they hurt. They proliferate untruths at a rate unimagined by the most dedicated proponents of "free speech" (as long as it's convenient) and users of artificial intelligence, which is--naysayers aside--still artificial. 

What makes me profoundly sad about this is that it's not that much different from what happens here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. The land where many of its citizens want that power, money, land, and resources reserved for and confined your own religion, your own race, your own gender, your own ethnicity. While the border problem is a real problem, how many Americans don't even care about the children whose parents are looking for a better life? And how many of them drag their religion into their not caring.

At a gathering this week, I heard the comment that "nowadays," teachers are "just there for the paycheck." I didn't know the person who said it, nor why. The remark fell into a conversation about how things used to be. Frankly, I don't remember everything being as wonderful as others did, but that's okay. I don't begrudge them their memories. But I'm still upset that someone thought needing paychecks (I thought most people did) apparently precluded teachers being dedicated, available, and...there.  

Driving to Kentucky last week, it was hard to find a road without a detour sign on it, offering better things to come for highway drivers so that they will have more opportunities to wave at least one finger out their windows and urge non-locals confused by myriad traffic circles and gulp-worthy speeds to learn to f----- drive!

I have a broken wrist. I got it because I wasn't being careful enough, fell on a porch, and as I've said before, I don't bounce well. I have good insurance, family and friends who take me to the myriad appointments that accompany stitches on my face and a splint on my lower arm. My mouth hurts, but I've had prayers, cards, flowers, excellent care, and both sympathy and empathy. My sister-in-law Lynn sent me a collapsible purple cane with bling and a light on it and made my day. She hasn't stopped laughing yet, but...well...Lynn. I love her to pieces.

I have been to four medical facilities since I fell. I have been well and kindly treated, have laughed with virtually everyone. I've mastered pulling out my insurance cards without having to rummage through my entire purse.

Here at home, I can look out any window and see the trappings of autumn. Fields emptying of their bounty, leaves in colors that even past their peak lend vitality to every view. The deer are well-fed, but increasingly vulnerable. I'm thankful for the quiet, punctuated by the rhythmic sounds of farm equipment and grain trucks. I love seeing church signs that promise harvest dinners and soup suppers coming soon. 

We are so blessed here, in so many ways, aren't we? Most of us can still have opinions and memories and be as kind or as hateful as it suits us to be. We can worship--or not--at will, patronize whatever retailers and services we choose. I'm not so sure it's the same for everyone. I'm white; there are things I'll never understand. 

There are times I wish I were more articulate, and this is certainly one of them. Why can't we look at the horrors happening and still not see seeds of those horrors taking root around us? And, even if we can, what can we do about it? I wish I knew. More importantly, I wish those in power knew. Or cared. 

Have a good week. Be nice to somebody. 


by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson
Copyright © 1955, Renewed 1983 by Jan-Lee Music, (ASCAP
All Rights Reserved. International copyright secured.


Saturday, October 7, 2023

Pink Is Not a Cure! by Nancy Stordahl

I am so pleased to have Nancy Stordahl here today. Because my mother had breast cancer and because virtually all of our lives are touched by it in one way or another, I tend to think the more we know about it, the better. I hope you'll not only read this post, but follow Nancy's blog and check out her books as well. My apologies for the fonts being kind of weird; Blogger and I are fighting again, and it always wins. Thanks for reading. Have a good week. Be nice to somebody. - Liz

It’s October again, and you know what that meanspink and pink ribbons start popping up everywhere. Yep. Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) is upon us again, or as some refer to itand not in an endearing sort of wayPinktober.

Do you ever wonder why some people can’t seem to get enough of pink and pink ribbon paraphernalia and others cringe at all things pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Do you ever feel confused by the controversy and wonder if you’re supposed to pick a side?

All this “pinking” is a good thing, you might be thinking. The more pink and the more pink ribbons the better, right? 

Doesn’t all this pinking mean more awareness? 

Isn’t any kind of awareness a good thing?

Maybe. But maybe not.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the color pink. Pink is just a color. It’s actually one of my favorites, just not so much during October. There is nothing wrong with ribbons; they’re just ribbons. Pink ribbons are okay toountil they’re not.

Somewhere along the line, pink ribbons morphed into a successful marketing tool. In fact, pink ribbons turned into a marketing goldmine used to increase not only profits but a company’s image as well. Talk about bang for your buck—I mean ribbon.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, another gizmo, gadget, or product adorned in pink comes down the pike. You realize you were wrong and that there’s even more where that came from.

If you can eat it, drink it, play with it, wear it, hammer with it, bake with it, travel in it, or even put your trash in it; there’s probably a pink version of whatever it is available and waiting for your purchase at one of your friendly local retailers.

Somehow, breast cancer and shopping became intertwined, or maybe more aptly put, tangled up.

I’ve been asking the same question for years now: Why is breast cancer the shopping disease anyway?

We aren’t shopping to cure prostate cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, are we?

So, again, why is breast cancer the shopping disease?

I don’t have the definitive answer, but I think it might have something to do with a certain part of the female anatomy by which it is easy to grab attention, and then, access to people’s wallets. 

Which leads us to the next problem some, including me, have with much of the pink nonsensesexualization and trivialization of a still too often deadly disease.  

Call me a wet blanket (I’ve been called worse), but I don’t find it amusing when I see photos of dogs wearing balloon breasts, bras strung across yards, or rocks painted to look like breasts. And don’t get me started on saving the tatas, boozing it up for boobs, grabbing a feel, saving ‘em all - big and small, and the list goes on and on. 

Nothing about breast cancer is pink, pretty, or party-like. Period.

Some say, well, you have to lighten things up to get people’s attention. To that, I say, uh-uh, no you don’t, and I also ask, why should we?

People deserve better. And, they deserve complete, honest messaging.

Breast cancer remains a still too often deadly disease. This year roughly 42,000 women AND men are expected to die from metastatic breast cancer. It might surprise you to hear that this is a number that hasn’t changed much over the last decade+. 

Metastatic breast cancer has, in fact, too often been swept under the rug during all the pink hoopla of BCAM and not talked about much, if at all. Think about it. How many times have you heard about stage 4 breast cancer during BCAM? Not that many, right? No, usually, the focus is on pink fluff. 

Thankfully, this is changing, but ever so slowly. 

We must ask, what took so long?

And that, Readers, brings us to the third problem with all this pinkingthe messaging during BCAM has been too simplified as well. Many people think breast cancer isn’t so bad these days. I kid you not, it’s still often referred to as the “good cancer.”

Believe me, even if you’re “lucky” and never experience metastasis, breast cancer is still a life-altering disease. It is not an over and done deal. If only…

Another message that has, for the most part, failed to get out is that men can, and sometimes do, get breast cancer too. How do you think men with breast cancer feel during Pinktober? I’d dare to say, many feel left out.

So, to sum things up, the three problems, as I see it anyway, with Pinktober that have continued for decades now are: marketing misuse and/or misrepresentation, trivialization and sexualization, and incomplete messaging.

What can YOU do to make a difference?

We can’t just throw our hands up and think, what’s the use, or what can I do?

Each of us can make a difference. YOU can make a difference.

But how? 

Here are a few ideas:

  1. First of all, get informed about breast cancer reality. Learn the facts, and talk about metastatic disease too. After all, awareness without mets awareness isn’t awareness at all.

  2. Share what you learn whenever the opportunity arises. Start a conversation.

  3. Speak up when something looks phony, offensive, or gimmicky.

  4. Before you buy something pink or with pink ribbons, ask these questions: (Source Breast Cancer Action:)

  • Does any money from this purchase go to support breast cancer programs? How much?

  • What organization will get the money? What will they do with the funds, and how do these programs turn the tide of the breast cancer epidemic?

  • Is there a “cap” on the amount the company will donate? Has this maximum donation already been met? Can you tell?

  • Does this purchase put you or someone you love at risk for exposure to toxins linked to breast cancer? (pinkwashing)

  1. Perhaps one of the easiest things to do is to give a donation to your favorite breast cancer charity—hopefully, one dedicated to research and a focus on metastatic disease. Doing this is a win-win for everyone, well, except maybe for those businesses trying to rake in extra cash without doing much, if anything, in return that actually makes a difference.

All this is not to say, don’t buy something with a pink ribbon on it, but rather, don’t buy something just because it has one. Big difference. And buy it after you’ve asked the above questions, too, of course.

After all, pink is not a cure. 

A cure, or at least better, less harsh treatments and better survival odds for those with metastatic disease, will only come through researchnot ribbons.

I’ll close with a favorite advocacy quote from the late Barbara Brenner:

“If breast cancer could be cured by shopping, it would be cured by now.”

Amen to that.

Nancy Stordahl is a former educator. She’s been writing candidly about breast cancer, pink ribbon shenanigans, hereditary cancer, loss and grief, pets, and family for over a decade on her popular blog Stop by and browse around.

Nancy is the author of the new book, Emerging: Stories from the Other Side of a Cancer Diagnosis, Loss, and a Pandemic. Find it on Amazon and other online booksellers.

Her other books are: Getting Past the Fear: A Guide to Help You Mentally Prepare for Chemotherapy and Cancer Was Not a Gift & It Didn’t Make Me a Better Person. Both are available on Amazon.

Follow Nancy’s Point on Facebook, X, Instagram, and TikTok.


Once again, refusing to jump onto the “everything happens for a reason" bandwagon, Nancy Stordahl tackles tough topics like cancer, loss, and the COVID-19 pandemic with unflinching honesty while dismantling the back to normal myth. As readers of "Nancy's Point" and her memoir, Cancer Was Not a Gift & It Didn't Make Me a Better Person, have come to expect, she crafts a poignant, personal narrative while weaving in validation, comfort, and encouragement to readers who are coping with their own challenges, whatever those might be.

Never one to sugarcoat the breast cancer experience, Stordahl examines words such as mastectomy and lumpectomy, calling them out as inadequate and minimizing. She shares candidly about reconstruction decisions and why she opted for DIEP flap surgery at ten years post diagnosis, highlighting the on-going experience that breast cancer is. She sheds light on judging that still goes on regarding choices women make and why survivor guilt is so common in Cancer Land.

Stordahl asks hard questions that many grapple with such as: Why do we avoid talking about death and grief, and why do we hesitate to even use the "D" words? What does it feel like to become parentless? Why does saying goodbye to our beloved pets hurt so much? And, why are we so often expected to just move on from hard things?

Emerging also touches on the universal themes of aging, making tough decisions, resiliency, and self-acceptance. Advice offered is realistic, straight-forward, and helpful. Stordahl reminds us we needn't pressure ourselves to emerge from any life challenge as new and improved versions of our former selves. Instead, she shines light on a kinder, gentler path to recovery and self-acceptance.

Emerging is a refreshing, encouraging read for anyone who has struggled, or is struggling, with one of life's challenges - a book you'll want to keep handy to read again and again.