Monday, April 22, 2013

Rock Garden Flowers and Buddha


We have a variety of Buddha statues in and around our home.  No, they are not art collections or expensive pieces.  Buddhism is our way of life.  Having Buddha throughout our home brings us peace and sends compassionate blessings to all that see him. 

You can find simple yet beautiful Buddha's in our home made of wood, stone, paper, ceramic, cloth, etc.  We don't need fancy or expensive - anything.  However, my son Jason did buy me a very nice Buddha several years ago that is gold plated with mantras inside.  It has very special meaning to me.

Whenever I see a Buddha for sale I always check it out.  That is how I came across our newest Buddha, who looks like he was made for our pool fountain!

Buddha on our rock fountain

Buddha now blesses us while we swim, as well as all the birds and creatures that visit our back yard.  Oh and our back yard looks quite barren right now.  Believe it or not, Arizona does get cold during our "winter" months.  Like this past one where we hit several days in a row of freezing temps - as in the mid to upper 20's and low 30's, which toasted just about all of our plants.  We look forward to when they start to regrow so we have a variety of color again back there.

Cactus lily flower blossoms!

This is my little rock garden wok out front.  I planted the cactus last year and only had a couple blossoms then.  About the past week or so I noticed all the little buds on it.  Every day I waited for them to grow and pop open.  And they did just the other day - so beautiful!

Beautiful cactus blossoms
Simple things make me smile. 

Whether it is a blooming cactus displaying gorgeous flowers, or Buddha sitting on our rock fountain.

Hope you have a buddhaful day!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Full Circle

Life has a funny way of teaching you things in a variety of ways.  For instance, from the time I was a young girl all I wanted was big boobs.  Why?  Maybe it's because society always portrays women as more attractive with big boobs, or boobs period.  I don't really remember why at such a young age I felt like that, but I always had negative body image issues.  

One day while playing cards with my family, my uncle asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  I told him "big boobs!" He and everyone else belly laughed so hard it made me cry.  I believe I was around 10 years old then.  I'm sure you're surprised too, but I did not wake up Christmas morning with big boobs.

During my teen years on up, I was teased with the name "Flatsy Patsy", both at school and home.  I hated it, but didn't speak out about it - just sucked it up and laughed with them.  I actually blamed my sister for me being so flat.  Even though I'm much older than her, I told her she got what I should have had and then some!  We called her "Dolly Parton" for good reason, until she got a breast reduction.  Apparently big boobs are a pain, but I still wanted them.

After having my boys and getting older I got a little bigger, but not like what I wanted.  I SO wished I could afford to have a boob job.  It seemed like every magazine I looked at there was a perfect model figure with big boobs staring at me.  Oh and don't even get me started on bathing suit models! 

Years go by and I still felt the same.  I used to tell Mark if we ever won the lottery that I was getting a boob job.  He would always tell me that I was perfect as is, would love me even if I had nothing, and that I didn't need to have surgery to change the person I was (gosh I love him to pieces!).  Even though I appreciated that, I hated my body and I dreamed of looking different.

So then last year I was hit with breast cancer and boy did that change things.  Puts a whole new perspective on what's important in life.  I'll skip everything else about that part as this post is about me wanting big boobs.  Like, FOREVER! 

A bilateral total mastectomy was immediately scheduled.  Back up... prior to the biopsy diagnosis, besides researching what we could online, Mark and I discussed every itty bitty detail about what was going to happen.  Even though the doc talked to me about it, there was not a single moment that I even considered breast reconstruction, for a variety of reasons.  Mark didn't want it done either and was happy with my decision.  I love that man!

Funny.  All those years of wanting and wishing for bigger boobs, life, in a mean way, gave me an opportunity (for lack of better wording).  I didn't take it.  I didn't want it.  I'm truly happy with my decision and have honestly never looked back.

Rocki - the new and improved Flatsy Patsy!
So here I am today.  Full circle.  Back to being flat as a board (flatter actually) and you know what?  I am happy being me in my own skin. I don't need boobs to define me as a woman.  It's who I am inside that portrays who I am on the outside.  I am more confident and adventurous now than I have ever been in my entire life!  I wear what I want, do not hide from the world and, respectfully, I don't care what people think.  It is my body, not theirs.

Even though I used to want big boobs, I've always HATED bras and only wore them when I had to.  Now I don't have to mess with them ever again.  Oddly enough, I feel free to be me.  That's one of the many things breast cancer has taught me.

While this was my decision, I understand that not all women feel the same and that is obviously okay.  Every woman has the right to choose what is best for her, no matter what it is, and I salute them.

Peace and love,

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Super Size Me!

Big Strawberry!
Last week was a big week.  Seriously, it was.  I mean, check out this strawberry, it is the size of my palm!  Bonus - cool heart shape.

I buy most of my fruits and veggies in bulk because of how much we go through in a week.  Well, there was a big sale on strawberries, so I bought a big batch.  Some I freeze for our green smoothies and other yummies, and the rest we eat fresh.

So I text Mark the pic of the strawberry and told him I wasn't going to eat it.  I lied.  We ate it that night when I made a raw vegan banana split.

It was delicious.

Big Medjool Date!
We always have dates on hand, mainly Medjool and Honey.  I use them in my homemade almond milk and a variety of recipes from dressings, main meals to desserts.  They are natures candy and whenever I want a little sweet I just pop one in my mouth and enjoy.

Yes, I text this to Mark also with the caption: "I don't know what I'm shocked about more, the size of this huge date or how it blends with the wrinkles in my hand."  His reply: "no comment ;)"  If anything ages me faster, it is my hands.

Anyway, this was the first time I've come across a Medjool date THIS big!  Just like the strawberry, it fit in the palm of my hand and was a hefty little dude... I mean big.  I thought maybe I should put it up on ebay or call David Letterman, but it looked too darn tasty to go through all that (kidding of course).

So I ate it. 

And it was delicious.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Clothes Shopping Weekend - scored big time!

Ready to go shopping in one of my favorite tops, come along!
This weekend we went clothes shopping at two of our favorite stores: Goodwill and Savers.  In fact, we do most of our clothes shopping there, except for undergarments, etc.  Mark scored BIG time with a weeks worth of clothes for both home and work, plus a home office chair.  He needed new clothes since he's now down 2 pant sizes and has one more to go.  I'm so proud of him!

One of the toughest things to do when you're flat as a board (due to bilateral mastectomy for those who do not know) and don't wear a prosthetic or any type of bra, is clothes shopping for tops - and especially dresses.  Let me just say here that darts are not my friend.

Cute multicolor tank and capris - $7
Because I am who I am and wear whatever I want and feel comfortable in...well, make that almost anything.  There are some clothes that just don't work when you're flat, no matter what.  Like tops/dresses with darts.  And tube tops (gasp!, I tried one on yesterday - ha, never again!).  Let's just say anything that has extra material for even the littlest boob - it just doesn't work.

Cool top with adjustable straps
While I have found some awesome tops while being flat for the past 7 1/2 months, it is still a major treasure hunt.  Please don't think that I just walk in, grab a top and go.  Um, nope!  Sometimes I leave empty handed and bummed.  This is not just because it is a second hand clothes store - it is HARD finding something that fits my flat chest without looking totally freaky.

Casual blues and browns top - $3.99
In the beginning I looked for clothes for my flat as a board chest to not be so noticeable to others.  NOT because I was embarrassed or anything, it was mainly to not freak them out.  Yes I get stares of all kinds and I admit that there have a been a few times that the very rude ones got to me.  BUT, if you know me or have read some of my posts, I have a very healthy attitude, am completely comfortable in my own skin and will NOT hide who I am.

Anyway, I practically live in summer attire as that is what I'm most comfortable in.  So, I had decided a few months back that I will forever dress for ME alone.  Well, I do ask Mark's for his opinion ;)

Let me say here that how I feel does not mean that everyone else in my situation feels the same.  My fellow sisters have a right to dress how they want, wear prosthetics, bras, etc.  We're all individuals and I completely respect that - as should everyone.

I LOVE this dress!!!
So guess what I found at Goodwill?  A FABULOUS dress... that fits!  The photos came out rather dark, but it is actually a chocolate brown and the material is a soft polyester spandex blend.  I looked at it on the rack and my first thought was "riiiight, that will not fit and will not work for me."  So I continued on down the rack.  Then I kept looking back at it and thought what the heck, just try it on Rocki!  And so I did.  And then I pinched myself.  Over and over.

Love the back of this dress too!
It fit me like a glove and I couldn't stop smiling!  I would never have worn something like this, or some of the other slinky tops I now own back when I had boobs.  In fact, I'm more comfortable now wearing some of the tops I find than I was before.  I'm even more adventurous!

Can't believe I found this at Goodwill - and for only $9.99!
The breast area of the dress is puckered/gathered which makes it look like I sort of have teensy weensy boobs.  Now my dress isn't that slinky, but think about some of the models and actresses that are considered flat or barely have any boobs and they wear beautiful gowns and slinky dresses that show off their breast area and they look gorgeous!

Just one more pic of this sexy dress - before I pinch myself again.
Of all the clothes I got this weekend (which will be another post down the road) my favorite is this dress!  I just had to put in on one more time at home.  I can't believe that I finally found a beautiful dress that fits like it was made for me.  Now I have something decent to wear on our next Arizona Broadway Theater day.  Or to a nice dinner out or...  Hey honey!

Peace and love,

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


"Fattie" the squirrel.  Adorable pic taken by Jason - my awesome son.

My son Jason and daughter-in-law Jen live in Portland, Oregon - as does my oldest son Jeremy - along with all my little grand-critters.  Yep, I'm a grandma to Sass (Jas & Jen's cat child) and to Thomas (Jeremy's cat child).  I love all my little grand-critters (especially since I don't have to change any diapers when I visit) and truly enjoy receiving pictures of them. 

As you can see above, that is not a cat.  That is one of my grand-critter squirrels that frequent Jas & Jen's home that they lovingly call "Fattie" and the other squirrel they call "the other one" - lol!  Jas sent that pic last night and I just have to share it with you all, along with a few others.

A couple years ago when I was there I so enjoyed watching the squirrels.  They even came right up to the patio door and ate from our hands!  Jas & Jen keep a container of food by the door and I do believe the critters have a special knock to let them know when they are hungry.

"Table for Two" - picture taken by my awesome son Jason :)
Guess the guy on the fence is making sure the food is worth the trip down. 

close up pic of the adorable squirrels
 Looks pretty tasty.  If he doesn't hurry up, his date might just eat it all up.

my awesome son Jason feeding his critter child
Yep, that's my awesome son Jason.  Well, the back of him anyway.  Both he and Jen feed the critters right from their hands and I think that is so sweet!  Awe I so miss all of my critters - inluding the ones with two feet.

Hope you enjoyed a little peak into Jas & Jen's backyard that is home to my relatives.  Squirrels.  You know, like Rocky & Bullwinkle.  I'm "Rocki"... spelled different, and has a different meaning...

Okay I'll stop.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Raw Vegan Chewy Fruit Bars

Raw Vegan Chewy Fruit Bars
I made a second batch of my yummy fruit bars and this time I measured as I went (pats self on back).  I have a bad habit of not measuring while preparing food.  I'm a "add a little of this, a little of that..." type of person, but trying very hard to remember to write it down as I go.

So today I thought I would share my simple and easy recipe for my healthy Raw Vegan Chewy Fruit Bars.  You really can't go wrong with these delicious little bites.  In fact, you could change some of the dried fruit ingredients to your liking, if you so wish.  The entire recipe is at the end.

After processing
Above is after processing all the ingredients into little crumbles and bits. 

Pressed down into dish
I used a 6x8 glass dish lined with plastic wrap, which makes it much easier to remove and cut into bites.  I meant to take a pic after putting the mixture into the dish to show how full to the brim it was before I pressed it down, but I was eager to get it into the fridge and take a bite...or two. 

Little bites of yummy goodness
I've been experimenting with food a lot lately and enjoying every minute of it.  I still look for inspiration and enjoy other raw recipes, but am super happy when I create something myself!  And I'm quite pleased with how my own recipe for these satisfying treats turned out.

Raw Vegan Chewy Fruit Bars

1 cup raw cashews
1 1/4 cup variety of dates, stones removed (I used Medjool and Honey Dates)
3-4 dried figs, stem removed
1 cup dried apricots (a very full rounded cup)
1/2 rounded cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup Hemp Seed
1 Tbsp Agave

Put all ingredients in order into a food processor - it will be full.  Pulse a few times to get it going and then process until mixture is crumbly bits.  You may need to stop and start a few times to scrape down the sides or move it around.  The mixture will be crumbly.  Take a little bit of it into your hand and form it into a ball.  If it holds together, you're good to go.  Now pop that little ball into your mouth and enjoy!

Line an 6x8 glass dish, or size pan of your choice, with plastic wrap.  I leave plenty of overhang to cover it back up when done and to lift out.  Put the mixture into the dish - it will be very full.  Use your hands with plastic wrap and press down firmly on the mixture.  Resist the temptation to devour at that moment.  Lick the processor bowl if you must.  Cover the dish and put it in the fridge for about an hour or two.

Remove from fridge.  With the overhanging plastic wrap, lift the soon to be bars out of the dish and place onto a cutting board.  I use a pizza cutter because it's quick and easy, but use whatever you want to cut it into chunky bite size pieces or into larger bars.  Store remaining bars in the fridge.  I'm not sure how long they will keep as they aren't in our fridge very long ;)  They can also be stored in an air tight container in the freezer for longer storage.

Raw Rocki :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie - The Raw Vegan Way

Raw Vegan "Chocolate" Smoothie
Each morning Mark & I have a big green smoothie for breakfast that fills us up until lunch.  It is a very satisfying, delicious, healthy and nutritious way to start our day.  We LOVE our green smoothies!

Sometimes I need my chocolate fix. So for an afternoon snack I'll make my Raw "Chocolate" Smoothie, which is made with raw organic cacao powder.  A healthy superfood that is filled with antioxidants and an abundance of magnesium and iron. And yes, it is gluten-free too.

Here's what you need to make this satisfying and guilt-free smoothie.  This makes 1 very large smoothie to hold you over until dinner - or you can share... if you want:

1 1/4 cup water
2 big handfuls fresh baby spinach (3 oz.)
1 Tbsp cacao powder
1 Tbsp Hemp Hearts/Seeds
1 Date, stone removed (I use Medjool)
*1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (no sugar added)
*1 frozen banana

Place all ingredients in order into a high power blender (I use a Vitamix - awesomely powerful machine!) and blend on high until you have a yummy smoothie consistency.  In the Vitamix, that's about 30-45 seconds. More water *may* need to be added, but you'll have to be the judge while blending.

*Note: if you don't have frozen berries or banana, fresh is perfectly fine.  Just add about 1 cup of ice for the last ingredient to help give it a thick consistency.  Also, if you don't have Hemp heart seeds, either omit or replace them with ground flaxmeal.

Okay, now pour this delicious dark chocolately mixture into a big tall glass (well, unless you're sharing), stick a straw in it and take a sip.  Isn't that awesome?!  You wouldn't even know it is a healthy green drink! 

Now, sit back and enjoy the rest of this yummy smoothie until you make that noise with the straw like you did as a kid and was told not to do.  I do.