Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Now that you're here please read this post and if you do,
there's a reward waiting for you.
Mom: First the good news: Mom's Pet scan showed that her cancer has gone cold. This means it is no longer growing and the radiation and chemo treatments are working. Mom resumed her chemo today after time off while hospitalized and rebuilding her strength. She has another 3 treatments to go and in all likelihood will then begin a chemo maintenance program. Surgery at her age is too risky.

As for me, my trip to Mt Sinai last week answered several questions about my liver. I don't have Hep C which I told them since I tested neg over 4 years ago so the only way I could have gotten it was by transfusion. Yes, it has been that long. I do however have Cirrhosis of the liver. They don't know why I have it yet (I don't really drink) but am having an endoscopy tomorrow (Tuesday) and need to schedule a biopsy. I do have an increased risk of liver cancer and will need regular scans every 6 months.

Thanksgiving in bullet points:
  • It was extremely important to me that this Thanksgiving be everything my Mom would have made it. A normal Thanksgiving at her home with her family and good food. I did it all for her. I think that's where I got all the extra energy I needed to succeed and succeed I did.  

  • Monday I steam cleaned the stairs, living room, dining room, den and 3 bedrooms. I cleaned the kitchen and all the pots and dishes I'd be using. Mom and I went food shopping and got the turkey breasts and most everything else we needed.

  • Tuesday I went to Mt Sinai in NYC and pigged out on street cart hot dogs and pretzels and did some window shopping. I started reading 11/22/1963 by Stephen King. It's about a guy who goes back in time and stops the Kennedy assassination and how it changes the future. It is also likely the date of my conception since I was born 9 months later on 8/26/1964.

  • Wednesday I ran a few am errands and waited for the fire place repairman who was running very late and I started cooking for Thanksgiving at 2pm. I made the following:
    1. Spinach and Artichoke Dip by Paula Dean - so easy and amazing!
    2. Smashed Sweet Potatoes by The Barefoot Contessa for the 1st time and it was a huge hit!
    3. Homemade Gravy by The Barefoot Contessa for the 1st time - quick and easy (like I used to be) and not a drop left. It did take more time then stated and make sure you use low sodium broth.
    4. Cranberry Fruit Conserve by The Barefoot Contessa for the 1st time - what the hell is a conserve? It looked like a cranberry sauce (I made the canned kind too) but with apples, spices and orange and lemon juice and zest. It came out too tart but was still good and will be better next time.
    5. Turnips by my Mom - also known as rutabagas and my favorite, hard to peel but so worth it.
    6. Butternut Squash and Apple Soup by The Barefoot Contessa for the 1st time. If you like butternut squash you'll enjoy this soup - lots of chopping.
    7. Hollywood Two Tone Cheese Cake by me. It's a sorta stolen recipe that I've been making for over 30 years. Pics and recipe to be posted Thursday.

  • Thanks to two major delays - no sugar and Mom getting a severe chill, I didn't finish until 1am.
  • The big day started off with a clogged kitchen sink! I plunged and when that didn't work - it's a double sink with a disposal - I ran to the store for Draino. I know it never works but I had to try. It didn't work so a call was put into our hunky plumber, Jorge, and amazingly he was fixing the clog by 9:30 and finished by 10:30. He only charged $85 dollars!!! We gave him $100 and when he realized this he called saying we paid him too much. We were expecting $200 or more but you can't cook without a sink. We have him doing some more work soon and I'll try to sneak a pic.

  • I was now several hours behind and still had to:
    1. Clean and dress the turkey breasts and get them in the oven by 12:30 - they were perfect.
    2. Peel, cook and whip 10 lbs of yukon golds.
    3. Make the stuffing by Mom.
    4. Make two kinds of cauliflower - creamed and with sharp cheddar cheese and bread crumbs.
    5. Blanch and peel the pearl onions - I really hate doing these.
    6. Make the cream sauce for the cauliflower and onions.
    7. Start heating up the dishes I made on Wednesday.
    8. Clean the bathrooms and take a shower
    9. Take down the centerpiece (it was very complex and big this year), add 2 leafs to the table, bring the extra chairs up from the basement and then set the table. Mom likes it all done before guests arrive which went from 9 to 15 with no one telling me!
    10. Carve the turkeys, set out the food and bake the crescent rolls.
The meal turned out to be one of the best cooked Thanksgiving meals we've had in years. Over the years I have helped more and more but this year it was me 100%. Looking back, I don't know how my mom did it. I know my Grandpa (Mom's Dad) would cook the holiday meals but he had 11 slaves...children to assist him in cooking for 25 or more!. He would then go to the Knights of Columbus and cook there.

We finished with desserts of apple and cherry pies and my cheese cake and some Bailey's. I got everyone to help clear and clean because I was spent. 


  1. Would it be too rude if I invited myself to your house next year?

    I'll bring two palate cleanser to soothe your tiredness!

  2. We gad a thanksgiving we will never forget. My partner's sister who lives with us began having labor pains during our thanksgiving dinner and got up from the table to have the baby.
    I think that was unique and special. Savannah Jean was born at 7:11, weighed in at 7lbs 11oz and they stopped at the 7-1 on the way to the hospital...although she wasn't born there...(relief)
    I hope all is well with you and that your health holds up.

  3. I need a nap after just reading all that!!

    Good news about you and your Mom, though. Gotta love that!

  4. I'm glad to hear the good news about your Mom. I hope you're doing better soon as well.

    My Thanksgiving wasn't nearly as involved. I missed mine and visited my father the following evening.

  5. "A normal Thanksgiving at her home with her family and good food."

    What a Mensch! The gift of time with people she loves (despite your own obstacles).

    "...quick and easy (like I used to be)." In the interests of science, I am willing to conduct the necessary experiments with you to verify this hypothesis.

    The doggies send lots and lots of beaglekisses to help your healing.

  6. thats a large load of crap to cope with matey
    best wishes eh?

  7. Your Thanksgiving meal sounds AH-MAAAAY-ZING!!! I can't believe you did all that yourself. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to you and your mom. HUGS!!

  8. Excellent news about Mom, Sean! Yay!

  9. Sounds like a great holiday, you have much to be thankful for. I am loving the new SK book, only 200 more pages.

  10. I'm glad you're both feeling better. And that they check on you further.

    BTW, I could use a live-in cook!

  11. Sean,
    Love your blog. Get tested for iron in your blood. Too much can cause liver problems. 1 in 9 people especially men have this issue in the us. Simple blood test.
    Good luck to you and your mom.

  12. Damn. I bet you were spent. You're a good son to do all of that. I'm glad it all went so well. I'm equally glad of your mom's news and hope you continue to do well.

  13. My Thanksgiving was so much easier:
    Drive to restaurant.
    Drive home.
    The downside is no leftovers for further gorging.

  14. Great news about your mom. Now, take care of yourself!

  15. Glad to hear your mom is doing better. Don't forget to take care of yourself during the craziness of the holidays!

  16. FYI, turnips and rutabagas are two separate root veggies. Rutas have an almost waxy yellow orange outer skin and 'nips are white and puce. They taste nothing alike, 'nips are sweet-ish and Rutas are more winter squash-like/savory.

    (I stumbled upon this blog yesterday when I was looking for snaps of Don Grady who passed....and have scrolled this far, thus far)

    Hope you have a bang of an Independence day!
    ; )


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