Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Birthday Month Part 2 - The Biological Clock

Posting about something that you logically know is ridiculous, but can't help how you feel anyway, is always conflicting. On the one hand, you don't want your most inner thoughts and feelings public. And on the other, you can't imagine going another minute without making sure that someone knows exactly how you are feeling. When you write on a blog, you make yourself vulnerable and open to others' judgments, their advice, and their criticisms.

Of course. I've always been one to lay it all out there, regardless of what someone else is going to say.

Which is why, when I was sitting in a team meeting the other day, and my coworker had finally had it about my complaints about my upcoming birthday and snapped at me, I shrugged and nothing changed. Despite his reassurances that I'm fine, and that I have nothing to worry about, I don't really believe him.

Despite the fact that most of my friends have hit this upcoming milestone, does nothing to assuage my own fears and anxiety about it.

I turn 30 soon. Less than two weeks away and I am freaking out.

I don't want to freak out. I would love to enter into my 30s gracefully. But instead, I feel like the reluctant cat being dragged into the bathwater. I'm trying to grab at anything that will give me more time, and Time just keeps pulling me right along and out of my 20s like it's no big deal.

That's what everyone would have me believe, anyway. That it's no big deal. That so far, their 30s have been THE BEST. Any maybe that's true for them. And maybe it'll be true for me. But I'm having a hard time accepting it. Especially when it comes from those who have married and started having their babies (or not having their babies, if that was their choice). Of course being 30 is no big deal when you have your partner in crime to be there with you.

The problem is that when I turned 24, then 25, 26, and then 27, I said to myself, "It doesn't matter that I'm not married. That I haven't started having kids. At least I'm not 30." Every year that things haven't happened the way that I wished them to, I've reassured myself that I have plenty of time. That I'm not 30, and therefore, it was OK to continue on. That somehow things would be different by the time I hit this particular date.

But nope.

I can't say that things are really much different at all.

And so I'm panicking. Because even though I could probably transfer all this dread and worry onto the age of 40. "At least I'm not 40!"

I worry. I worry because the last decade has gone by SO quickly. And if it has happened once, who is to say it won't happen again? And how can a decade blow by and nothing change?

“Today we tell girls to grow up to be or do whatever they want. But the cultural pressure to become a mother remains very strong; rare is she who doesn’t at least occasionally succumb to the nagging fear that if she remains childless, she’ll live to regret it.” —Kate Bolick 

I wonder if I were raised differently if it would matter so much. People are quick to accuse the fact that I've lived in Utah for the last 11 years, watching 19 year old girls marry; or that I've been raised Mormon where the emphasis on being a wife and mother and a part of a perfect little family unit; and that is why I am so hung up on all of this.

But I find that hard to believe as a full explanation. My earliest memories are of me mothering my younger siblings, writing stories about two lady bugs that fall in love and have babies. Playing house....

Being a wife and mother has always been something that was important to me.

I wish I could be content with the thought of not. I wish I could be strong enough to be OK with the idea that if it happens it happens and that is great. But if it doesn't happen, then that's great too.

I'm not though.

What happens if 40 comes, and everything is the same again? Then there is no hope. Even my doctor told me, "If you were turning 40, then I'd be crying with you." I just can't seem to leave the timeline of events alone. No matter what I do, I can't negotiate with Time to give me more. I don't want to go back to when I was younger and more naive. I don't want to have to relive the years where I wasn't quite sure of who I am, or remake some of those same mistakes. But I do not want to be 30. Not yet.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Birthday Month Part 1 - The List

Things that I thought I'd accomplish before the age of 30:

  • Graduate from college
  • Travel
  • Know who I am
  • Have my finances under control
  • Own a house
  • Kiss men
  • Fall in love
  • Have my heart broken
  • Fall in love again
  • Introduce my family to "the guy"
  • Go through the temple
  • Get married
  • Have a baby
  • or two babies
  • Have my own family traditions established
  • Drive a car that works
  • Move out of Utah
  • Live closer to my parents
  • Write something
  • Lose weight
  • Be important to someone
  • Have my health under control
  • Have lifelong friends
  • Feel content and ready to leavy my 20s behind
Things that I will have accomplished before the age of 30:

  • Graduate from college
  • Travel
    • Scotland
    • Hawaii
    • Japan
    • Canada
    • Utah
    • California
    • NYC
    • Florida
    • Idaho
  • Know who I am
  • Have my finances under control
  • Own a house
  • Kiss men
  • Fall in love
  • Have my heart broken
    • By a friend, not a boyfriend
  • Fall in love again
  • Introduce my family to "the guy"
  • Go through the temple
  • Get married
  • Have a baby
  • or two babies
  • Have my own family traditions established
  • Drive a car that works
    • Have my car totaled in a car accident
  • Move out of Utah
    • Fall in love with Utah
  • Live closer to my parents
  • Write something
  • Lose weight
  • Be important to someone
  • Have my health under control
    • Have surgery to remove an ovary
    • Go through cancer treatments
    • Lose my hair
    • Regrow my hair
  • Have family members go through cancer
  • Have lifelong friends
    • Watch lifelong friends move away
    • Have lifelong friends move back
  • Feel content and ready to leave my 20s behind

Monday, October 26, 2015

One Year

I passed the year mark of my surgery on September 19. Tomorrow will be the one-year mark from the day that I went in and discussed my chemotherapy just before I started treatments. (And then bawled in my car for a good 30 minutes before I could call my mom. FYI: NO ONE should go to those appointments alone. They are the worst.) As I hit these little anniversaries, I've been trying to be really introspective about it all.

What have I learned in this past year? What have I really experienced? Am I as strong as everyone keeps claiming I am, or have I just been really successful in deceiving them all?

The truth is, I feel like I'm a failure of a cancer survivor.

I'm only introspective because other people keep bringing it up. I don't feel like I've learned any major life lessons. I haven't developed lasting, supportive relationships with the women I worked out with for 12 weeks in a study up at Huntsman, or with the doctors and nurses who treated me. I tried really hard not to need anyone during the whole ordeal.

I saw some friends that I hadn't seen in probably a year, and they asked how I was feeling. People ask me that all the time. Not in a "hey, how are you?" question that everyone asks everyone. But a "So. How are you feeling?" I know exactly what they mean, of course. But my health is never high on my list of concerns and so I don't think about it. Ever. Until someone asks, and then I don't want to think about it because I'm feeling fine. I'm tired because I didn't go to bed until 2 a.m. I'm lonely. I'm stressed because of work. But I'm not anything because of cancer.

I'm done with all of that. (Minus the millions of worthless follow-up appointments.)

I don't like being associated with cancer unless it is to my advantage. (Yeah, so what? I still try to play the cancer card when it suits me. Never mind that it hasn't worked for me much.)

For something that can be so earth-shattering and life-changing for some, has been a relative nothing for me. If it weren't for the fact that my hair is still the bane of my existence that I have to deal with every single morning, I think that I would literally forget that any of this happened a year ago. It would be on the radar the same as when I crushed my hand in a falling window. Or that time I checked in the hospital for bleeding to death. (A precursor to everything else I've dealt with turns out.) Something that sucked while I was going through it, but aside from the medical bills and follow-up appointments, has nothing to do with my day-to-day.

Every reason that I've come with as to why I had to go through all of this has been shot down as the year progressed. Did it fix any of the medical things I was dealing with before? No. Did it exempt my family from having to deal with cancer? No. So perhaps there is no reason, except that life sometimes sucks, and that we have to go through sucky things.

And then we're done with them. And they are a blip on the radar of life. Here, and then gone in a year. And in its wake leaving a path of insecurities, debts, and not a whole lot more. Something that you would totally forget, if others did.

Even when I was going through treatments, it was not always the highest on the list of woes in my life. When listing out the trials of my life, it usually landed on spot number two or three or four. (The exception being the second or third day after treatments, when I'd forgotten to take my Dex. Those days truly did suck.) Unlike so many true survivors, I never thought of myself as in a battle or as if I were fighting off cancer. I hate being grouped in with those who have had it so much worse. Who have tried treatment after treatment, only to find that their cancer morphed into something different and had to switch up their meds or add treatments. I lost an ovary. But the physical evidence is limited to a scar that no one will likely ever see, and the scar left behind by my port.

I also hate how much I care about my stupid hair. I'm obsessed with it. I talk about it all the time, but I hate whenever anyone else does. I hate what I see when I look in the mirror. I obsessively look at pictures from a year ago when I had long, blonde hair and cry over the fact that I'll be 32 before it looks anything close to that again. I hate that it matters. I want to want to embrace my short hair, and instead, I just get angry about it all.

So have I learned anything in the past year? Am I a better person? Have I grown? Am I really that strong? I think no. I remain me. Unchanged. Unhinged. Shorter hair.

Nova Scotia

At the beginning of the month, the FTC flew into Halifax, Canada, and explored for our annual birthday trip.

It was beautiful, and fun, and I let those two reprobates take all the good pictures of the three of us.

I was super stoked to find this delicious treat in Canada! I lived off of this stuff in high school, because it has a good amount of sugar to make me act like a total drunkard.

The Green Gables

We managed to avoid four moose on the Skyline trail. They made us only slightly nervous when we stumbled upon them right in the middle of our trail.

The worst part of Nova Scotia is the food. Pizza everywhere--both good and bad. And French fries. And literally, not much else. We had the worst luck.

The area's stunning, natural beauty made us gasp and squeal with glee. And I'm sure that the few people we encountered probably thought we were total idiots. We had trouble with the tolls. We swooned over the pretty bills. (I now understand why Canadians make fun of our money all the time.) And we kept getting caught by older couples in the middle of our totally inappropriate, albeit hilarious, conversations.

It really was a beautiful trip, and despite the fact that the customs agents all thought we were crazy for going somewhere "so remote" and seemed genuinely confused as to why we would vacation there at all, (Probably because it was way off-season, and the few people we did encounter were older than us by at least 40 years, everywhere we went.) I would totally go back again.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Last week, Meghan and I alternated whose turn it was to cook dinner each night, and the result was that we both ate really well for several days in a row. Or, as my dad would say, we were eating like kings!

It was such a delightful experience. I don't cook. At least, not often. I don't really enjoy it. Except, when you're cooking for someone that is as willing to try anything as you are, doesn't complain about the ingredients that you are using, or the time it is taking to make it; when you're cooking for someone who also helps clean up. . . well, I guess it isn't so bad. It was a fun reminder that even though I don't necessarily enjoy cooking, I actually can do it.

The recipes we used are definite keepers, so here they are: 

Crispy Black Bean Quinoa Burritos

from: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/crispy-black-bean-quinoa-burritos/
Yield: 10 burritos
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 (15 oz) can Libby's Organic Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup Libby's Organic Sweet Corn, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Cilantro Lime Quinoa
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
10 burrito-sized flour tortillas
Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dip, for serving (THIS IS A MUST--it was soooo good!)


1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the peppers, black beans, corn, chili powder, cumin, and cilantro. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the fresh lime juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
2. Place a few spoonfuls of cilantro lime quinoa in the center of a tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edges, then add the shredded cheese, and bean/corn mixture down the center of the quinoa. Roll burritos, by folding over the ends and rolling up. Continue making the rest of the burritos.
3. Heat a large non-stick skillet or griddle pan over medium heat. Arrange burritos, seam-side down, in pan or griddle and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Serve warm with Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dip.
Note: You don't want to fill the burritos too full or they will be hard to roll up. You can also use Cilantro Lime Rice, instead of the quinoa.

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles For Two


Servings: 2 • Size: scant 2 cups • Old Points: 6 pts • Points+: 7 pts
Calories: 277 • Fat: 12 g • Protein: 24 g • Carb: 21 g • Fiber: 4 g • Sugar: 9 g
Sodium: 725 mg (without salt) • Cholesterol: 62 mg


  • 2 medium zucchini, about 8 oz each, ends trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed or canola oil
  • 6 oz skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp crushed dry roasted peanuts
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced scallions along diagonal
For the sauce:
  • 1 1/2 tbsp reduced soy sauce (tamari for gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tbsp Sambal Oelek Red Chili Paste (or more to taste)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
Using a spiralizer fitted with a shredder blade (this makes a thicker noodle), or a mandolin fitted with a julienne blade, cut the zucchini into long spaghetti-like strips. If using a spiralizer, use kitchen scissors to cut the strands into pieces that are about 8 inches long so they’re easier to eat.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, balsamic, hoisin, water, red chili paste, sugar and cornstarch; set aside.

Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat oil in a large, deep nonstick pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
Reduce heat to medium, add sesame oil, garlic and ginger to the skillet and cook until fragrant, about  30 seconds. Add the bell pepper, stir in soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened and bubbling, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in zucchini noodles and cook, mixing for about two minutes until just tender and mixed with the sauce. If it seems dry, don't worry the zucchini will release moisture which helps create a sauce. Once cooked, mix in chicken and divide between 2 bowls (about 2 cups each) and top with peanuts and scallions.

Panko Crusted Chicken Piccatta


Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves,
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons capers
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice + A few slices of lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

  • Instructions
  1. Place the flour, eggs, and panko in three separate shallow bowls.
  2. Butterfly the chicken so each piece is half as thick as it was to begin with. Lay the chicken out on a cutting board, cover with wax paper, then use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound it to a ¼ inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dredge the chicken breasts in flour, shake off the excess, then dip in the eggs, and coat with breadcrumbs. Add half the dredged chicken breasts to the skillet and fry for 3-5 minutes or a side or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove to a plate.
  4. Add the other half of the oil to the skillet and repeat with remaining chicken breast.
  5. When the chicken has been removed, add the butter to the skillet and use a spatula to scrape up any brown bits (that's where the flavor is!). Let the butter cook until sizzling and just starting to brown. Stir in the capers, lemon juice, and lemon slices.
  6. To serve, plate the chicken then spoon the lemon butter sauce over top. Top with lemon slices and fresh parsley.

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