Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cold Asian Noodle Salad

I tried to make my version of a cold sesame noodle salad that I love from Whole Foods. My version is pretty tasty.

1 package of Organic Fine Udon noodles
3 small juice oranges - juiced
1/2 cup toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup Nama Shoyu
1/2 small red onion or green onions to taste
2 carrots
1/2 cucumber
red pepper flakes to taste
sesame seeds to taste
1 clove garlic or to taste

Cook the udon noodles according to the package directions. Drain & let cool. Use a vegetable slicer to slice the carrots & cucumber or chop them into small pieces. In a bowl mix the orange juice, nama shoyu, sesame oil, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes. Add the garlic, carrots and cucumber. Next add the noodles toss to coat the noodles in the sauce and chill in the fridge. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


This morning I woke up feeling inspired. I wrote a letter and heard my red bird singing outside.
I just listened and then went outside to leave and run errands. The singing got louder so I turned around and saw my red bird sitting on the power lines a few feet in front on me and over head. I started to hear another song being sung by another red bird. The first one, the male, flew closer to me and eventually into my neighbor's tree and the female appeared on the power lines. The male flew up next to her and they just sat together for awhile. He eventually flew off and she followed him. I watched them in total delight and realized that this is exactly what our life is. We found each other, spent time together and he went on ahead of me but I am following him in the way we chose to live our lives. He is my guide and my partner no matter where I am. Interestingly this afternoon I was cleaning out a closet that was full of old papers, folders, files, etc. and found a card my father had sent me when we lived in LA that had two red birds on the front. In the card he wrote about the many cardinals in his yard and how he thought of me when he saw them. Of course I am saving and framing this card. My dad and I were/are extremely close. To say I am a daddy's girl is almost an understatement. He passsed on last year. Before Paul passed on I used to think that the red bird was my dad coming to see me. Paul knew this and when I asked Paul for a sign that he was ok on the morning he passed on the red bird appeared and sang to me. Paul owed me a song we had talked about that in the hospital. That is why I believe the red bird is Paul. I love the circle of life. My belief in it gets me through. The connections we have to our world never die because our energies become like the elements making life possible. This belief I have brings beauty to the entire process of life which includes death. It makes it possible for me to get up everyday and get excited about whatever lies ahead. In T'ai Chi we honor the elements and the energies we share with the earth. It is a beautiful practice. I feel so strongly connected through my practices which is grounding, gives me confidence, peace, a sense of self, knowledge, faith and love. They allow me peace and comfort in the wake of Paul's passing on. I can smile everyday even with a tear rolling down my face. I can see & hear Paul in the red birds. I can see & hear myself when the female appears.
I encourage everyone to seek your path,one you truly feel connected too. It is such a gift. I am so grateful.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

This week has been better than last week. Things are going good. Ask, believe, receive is so coming true this week. That is manifestation. Last night I sat in my backyard in the rain in my swimsuit to get relief from the scorching heat of August. It reminded me that in each drop of rain is a cloud and I was being surrounded by a big beautiful cloud. That image made me feel good and reminded me also that Paul is a part of it all.
This morning I was on my way to work with some time to spare and a thought popped into my head to go to the coffeehouse down the street and get an iced green tea for work. So I did this and as I ordered I noticed an acrylic box with a photo of a young couple and little girl on it. I read the sign and it was asking for donations for the couple because the young husband had been recently diagnosed with cancer, had no health insurance and if I remember was now unemployed. I made a small contribution to the box and asked a few questions to the girl getting my tea. I ended up giving her a list of information to pass along to the couple. As I walked to my car I said to Paul "I guess you wanted me to go in there and see that today huh? I guess I was meant to go get tea this morning." When I looked at that photo I saw a cute, artsy very young looking couple with an adorable child and thought "they never could have dreamed this would happen to them." I know that feeling and so did Paul but it did. It happens everyday to people regardless of age or anything else. I remember how those first few days, weeks and months went. We were scared out of our minds and just wanted to run away. I felt like that 5 weeks ago and some days I still want to run away but I am not scared. I believe in myself. I know what I am capable of accomplishing and I know I have a lot of that still to do. Paul taught me well by example. I still cry everyday. I found some of his old driver's licenses and school id and cut them up all but the little photos and those are in my wallet. It never really goes away the shock and trauma of diagnosis (reality) and death. It becomes a part of who you are and what you have to share with the world. We can choose to dwell in the sadness and negativity or look for the positives and beauty. I am doing my very best to do the later and most days I am successful with a little help from my husband and God. I say it a lot I know but live like you mean it and find happiness and joy in the little things...simple pleasures. We never know what tomorrow holds and we can only have faith in ourselves and our source.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Today before T'ai Chi class I was talking to the man next to me and he inspired me. I saw him 2 weeks ago for the first time. He has terminal lymphoma I found out today but he has had it for 10 years he told me. He was very open and told me about the treatments he has received the side effects he suffers from and how he was told that the lump under his arm was terminal cancer. It reminded me of a woman in the last writing class I took a few weeks ago. She was one of three in the group that had a stage IV cancer diagnosis. Hers is uterine...6 years ago. That's right 6 years ago, stage IV and terminal 10 years out from diagnosis. I am telling you this because these people were told they were dying and they are still here. We don't read about them in the papers or see them on tv but they are real people and they do exist.
Now I do not have close relationships with either of them so I do not know about their lifestyles but what I do know from personal experience is how important it is to take care of ourselves body,mind and spirit. There are a lot of excuses "why not to" floating around out there and let me ask you how are they working out for you? Sure sometimes there really is an obstacle in the way of change but obstacles can be worked around or eliminated. Life is too short not to live like we mean it. Ask anyone diagnosed stage IV or terminal cancer. Fact is nobody knows when their time on earth will end. For some it is tomorrow and for some it is not for many years. Don't wait to have fun like a kid again, take that dream vacation, fall in love (real deep love), swim in the ocean, tell your friends you appreciate them, tell the same thing to yourself, etc.
Be inspired by someone as often as you is the best motivator and reason for getting up each day. I have several inspiring people in my life. The biggest is of course my husband who continues to do so everyday. He still makes me laugh and his singing voice still puts me at ease. We still have conversations and he tells me what to do about certain things. I seek him and the others out. I invite them to be part of my life even if it only for an hour. That is the kind of life I want to live. I want a healthy body,mind and spirit. I appriceate my life. I aspire to inspire.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

2 yum recipes

This is an easy vegan pizza. I made it up yummy! I like to use a pizza crust I get at my local organic farmer's market. So if you are in my city it is the Spelt pizza crust by Bread of Life. Many store bought crusts contain sugar.

One spelt pizza crust
one small can organic no sugar added tomato paste
oregano to taste
3 to 4 cloves garlic chopped or sliced thin
3 to 4 marinated artichoke hearts sliced
2 green onions chopped
black olives
cherry tomatoes sliced to taste
sietan pieces to taste
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
black truffle oil to taste

Assemble ingredients and bake in oven at 450 for 11 minutes or until crust starts to get crispy. Drizzle the truffle oil on at about 5 minutes left. Mushrooms would be a great addition. I did not have any. Lots of things are "to taste" out of individual preference. A pesto sauce would also be good and make the truffle oil unnecessary. Sietan or wheat meat is made from gluten so if you are avoiding gluten leave this off.

Another great summer salad that I only recently was introduced to at a dinner party is watermelon,cucumber, mint with a little balsamic vinegr to cut the sweetness of the watermelon. So good.
Cut up pieces of watermelon & cucumber pretty small and add some fresh, cut up mint leaves. Toss it together and add a small amount of balsamic vinegar to taste. I start with maybe 1 tbs. for a smallish bowl for one or 2 people b/c you can always add more to your liking. Chill then serve. If you are like me and love watermelon but can't handle it when they are too sweet this is perfect. This is also high glycemic FYI.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I am so happy that I found my spiritual path and that it is in Zen Buddhism. The Sangha I belong to is such a gift. Tonight I needed my meditation time and the positive energies of the Sangha. I was telling them that since Paul's passing I have felt a strong sense of connection to everything. I am so grateful for my life. I realize that Paul is always connected to me, not just because we were married but because he was alive and I am alive. Life connects us. He is part of me. He is part of this world. He is part of Mother Earth and Father Sky. In honoring, respecting and thanking them I also honor, respect and thank Paul. It is beautiful to realize this.
I am also able to see that I have the choice to be sad and angry or to relese those feelings and replace them. I know it seems impossible to do that but I also know it is possible. It might only last for a few moments but that is ok. Over the weekend negativity and anger crept in and as I asked Paul for guidance and help with it a calm came over me and I was able to replace it with laughter and happiness spending time with my family at lunch Sunday. I wanted to release it and Paul and God helped me do that. It did come back again but it did not last.

My practice teaches me even more to live like I mean it. That is the motto Paul and I had adopted. That is how I intend to live.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Music shops

Today in Lawrence I drove past Mass Street Music and looked at the building with some sadness. Nobody was in the car telling me to turn in..."I'll only be 10 minutes...I promise". I am not sure how I can walk past any music store anywhere without going in out of habit with Paul. It makes me sad to think about it. It did not matter if we were in LA or a small midwestern town we had to stop in to the music shop and see what they had. Luckily for me there is always a stool in the guitar area for people to sit on while trying out a guitar. Those stools were my posts on these visits. Ten minutes usually meant one hour at least. I knew that. At least I had been educated on what everything was and the pros & cons of one brand over another so if I had to I could intelligently talk to someone about such things. I would even spot stuff sometimes before Paul that I knew he would like and point it out to him. He always liked that.
Now what do I do with that information? These are the times that make me appriciate just how intertwined we were/are.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

No title

Today is a tough day because one month ago the love of my life passed away. It seems like one year and one hour ago at the same time. I have and continue to ride the roller coaster of emotions. The highs, the lows, the long sudden drops, the upside downs and the curves. What I am so keenly aware of is how important it is to live my life like I mean it in a positive way. I had the ultimate inspirational teacher in Paul. It would be disrespectful to him if I did not do this and push on. It is what he wants for me and what I want for myself. I have had a beautiful life so far and it is not over. I will continue to have a beautiful life. It has had a lot of unexpected twists and turns but I have grown from them in so many ways. Paul played an enormous role in this and for him I will always be grateful. His presence in my life then and now is of pure joy, strength, creativity, honesty, support, love and openness. Our dear friend Dana said the most profound words to me a few days after Paul passed while I was crying and grieving hard. She said you know Keri the situation could have been reversed three years ago when you were sick and how would you have wanted Paul to handle this because that is what he wants for you. I actually never had thought about that and I think about it everyday now. I am still learning lessons. Today complete exhaustion has set in. I have never felt so tired and foggy. This morning I could not remember my phone number for about 5 minutes. I have thought about it and in three years I have gone from being seriously sick myself, having brain surgery, almost dying, all kinds of therapies, another surgery and recovery to Paul getting diagnosed with stage IV inoperable, metastatic, pancreatic cancer, processing that, figuring out what the in the hell to do, researching, researching, researching, taking nutrition classes, learning to cook, learning to be the best possible advocate, caretaker, nondegreed doctor possible, changing my lifestyle with Paul, making unbelievably great memories, writing like a mad woman, Paul actually getting sick,being in the hospital, complete organ failure, Paul passing, planning a memorial for my husband (something I never thought I would have to time soon anyway), starting to deal with all of the paperwork crap that has to be dealt with, shock wearing off, realizing it is not a nightmare it is real, crying uncontrollably everyday, acceptance (yeah right but there is no other choice), burn out. Three years is a long time and it will make you tired. I must allow myself time to rest. I know this. It is crazy because in times like this it is easy to ignore the things you know just so you can make it through another day. Deep breath.
Some very great things have happened this week too. The one I am most happy about is the fact that I found Paul's wedding ring or it found me. I had looked and looked for it since the day he passed away with no luck. Dana even looked for me. It was making me crazy not to find it. He had to stop wearing it when he was doing chemo because he lost so much weight (from cancer and chemo combined) that it slid right off his finger. So Thursday night I was in our dressing room and looked up at a built in cabinet that I never really pay attention to and notice two flat boxes on top. I knew what these were and decided to get them down to take to a friend I would be seeing later that evening. Just before I started to take them down I said out loud "ok sir, I really need to find your ring. Please Paul help me find it." Then I stood on my tip toes and tried to wrestle these boxes off the shelf. A little box fell from on top of them. I looked at it and it was the box Paul's wedding band came in so I opened it and there it was. I just started crying because I had finally found it and there was no doubt that he was listening to me. No doubt at all. So if you have ever wondered if those that have passed on here you talking to them just remember this story. They absolutely do.
There is beauty in all of this and I try hard to pick it out and focus on it. It is the circle of life happening and in reality I have never felt so connected as I have this past month and now. I already kew how precious life was because I almost lost it but wow! know I am super aware of it and I so appriciate mine.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Well, today makes 4 weeks since Paul passed away. That just seems crazy! I have listened to his music more in these 4 weeks than ever before except, of course, for when he was recording it. Then it was not a choice and there was no escape. I loved it always though. In listening to the songs something has struck me as ironic. Some of the songs on this latest cd from 2008 were written much earlier and a few were new. Some of them almost seem to foreshadow what played out in Paul's life. I know that this is not that unusual considering we usually write from our experiences but that doesn't usually foreshadow events it recalls them. I don't know what to make of it if anything I just think it is a testament to the power we all have in our lives to intuitively know that the universe is always listening to us and giving us messages. Maybe it is just because my week has been uber immersed in Paul's music stuff in all kinds of ways so I am more in tune to it and to the situation. If you have the Airline Bungalow cd I especially find this true of the song Ready to Go. Anyway, I just miss my honey singing and playing The Beatles or David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust for me. I also seriously miss watching HGTV's ColorSplash ,really, That Metal Show, Gene Simmons Family Jewels and The Office with him. Those were the only shows we watched regularly.
Okay I am listening to that song again and I remember him writing this song. I think I know what it was about but it is so weird how it seems to eerily fit the last 21/2 years. Ok time to move on. I have to say he ROCKED the guitar!!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010


I received a card 2 weeks ago that I love because it did not have the word sympathy on the front of it. It said "What a beautiful difference one single life made." It is from our therapist whom we love and who knows us very well. I keep this card next to a photo of Paul.
It is true Paul made a beautiful difference in this world. He did it for me, friends, family and strangers and in that I find comfort. He lives on as the cloud does in the rain. Because he was so he shall always be. We are connected in this world in reality and we do not just cease to be. When I talk about my red bird I am serious. Paul is that bird singing to me just as I am a being seeing the bird and hearing him sing. The circle of life does not stop. With this belief I find peace and comfort. I also have a deep respect for all life. I was raised to have this respect. It is part of who I am.
There have been times when Paul would call me out on this. The most recent was over black ants that found refuge in my kitchen a few months ago. We do everything possible in this house not to kill anything unless we have too. The ants were out of control. I felt I had no choice. The little buggers are hard to catch & release. So I just finally started killing them. Paul saw me doing this and heard me complaing about them and stood next to me and said I guess we all need a home and something to eat. I stopped and looked at him kind of annoyed because how do I get rid of them the right way and pretty proud of him and happy that he said that to me.
Imagine...we all have an impact on each other and the world in which we this way we are one with each other. The possibilities that exist in this belief are amazing and bring peace. I am grateful for this insight, for Paul & I being part of each other's lives and for the connections I have realized.

Miracle Man

My tears are falling because this week it has been one whole month since Paul passed. Just a few minutes ago I realized that last June he stopped chemo which meant that for one year he lived with stage IV, inoperable , metastic pancreatic cancer with no conventional treatment. That is so absolutely amazing and unheard of. I called Paul my Miracle Man and wow, was I right! Let this be an inspiration to you cancer or not. We do have some control and we need to own it. Live like you mean it!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
and sings the tune without words,
And never stops at all." Emily Dickinson

This is one of my favorite quotes and ironically or not my niece sent us a card with this quote on it that I received the day after Paul passed away. She did not know that I love that quote.
Anyway I want to tell you about some things that put hope back into my life. It only left me briefly because I Paul & I lived hopeful lives. I don't feel like I ever lost hope completely but losing Paul sure did strip some things down. The realization that it is not a terrible dream, it is the situation and my life goes on is a heavy one. A difficult one like a burden really. But a burden full of possibilities.
Going to meditation not only reminds me that I am indeed present but also allows me the relaxation time I desperately need.
Remembering...what at first brings pain becomes an alli in dealing with grief. Those memory lane trips are some of the best ever now.
Wearing something of Paul's everyday helps me feel close to him.
Listening to his music and appreciating the fact that whenever I want to hear him I just have to pop in a cd and I can always hear him play guitar this way too. Maybe not the songs I want to hear him play for me but like Roberta Flack sang "strumming my pain with his fingers" is what I need.
Spending time with amazing friends even if that means being on the phone, long distance for hours.
Going back to T'ai Chi class at Turning Point and talking with the people who spent lots of time with Paul for 2 1/2 years and who get it because they are going through it, have been through it, whatever, and did it with us. Those bonds are deep and healing.
Not avoiding places we went but maybe going with a good friend now or with the knowledge that if I ask Paul will be there with me.
Not denying my feelings no matter what they are.
Talking about him when I feel like it. Talking to him when I feel like it and not feeling crazy when I hear him talking back.
Not dwelling on the paperwork everyone wants from me or the money issues. Letting them be distractions only.
Looking forward to future plans but with no set "have to's" attached to them now.
Reading a book I have had for years but did not have time to get lost in.

"Because we loved,
there will be tears.
Because we laughed,
there will be memories.
Because they lived,
there will still be joy."

"One day at a time let the love you shared carry you through." These quotes are from a card I received and love.