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jackieI went to the Community Unity meeting this morning, and my friend Jackie was there.

Jackie is one of my many friends duking it out with breast cancer. Jackie was wearing her fetching pink chapeau, but removed it to show us a sight that had us cheering–FUZZ ON HER HEAD!


She’s finished with chemo–they removed her chemo port and everything!

Now she starts radiation–6 weeks of going every weekday–and then we pray for clean scans.

Yay, Jackie! She brought juice and sparkling water and mixed us “cocktails” to celebrate. And we did. 🙂


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My friend Ardis and I want to go to a soup and sandwich place in Lanesville for supper, but I didn’t know if would be open late enough or if it was only a lunch place. I couldn’t find it in the phone book. What could I do? Well, I called the business next door to it, Zabel’s Hardware, and he gave me the number. So we’re going.


Writing prompt: What’s the happiest sight you’ve seen so far this month? Why was it so happy? If you haven’t seen anything happy this month (bless your sweet heart), what’s the closest thing to it?

Click on The Breast Cancer Site. To help you remember, I’ve added a link to my sidebar and there’s one at the end of this post.

2008 was my year for friends with breast cancer. Three dear friends–THREE–went into battle with BC and, I’m happy to report, whipped its butt. By clicking on a button at The Breast Cancer Site, you go to a page where there are ads which you can look at, use, or ignore; you also contribute a little toward paying for free mammograms for women who couldn’t otherwise afford them. Sometimes the ads are actually for something you want!

The same site has tabs for reducing world hunger, promoting child literacy, pet rescue, rain forest conservation… I forget what all. It was through the ads on the World Hunger page that I found my beloved World Wide Recipes, so you never know where the adventure might lead!

Writing prompt: Write a character who finds out she has breast cancer. How does she react over the course of a week? How do her friends feel and react? How do people who dislike her feel and react? Or you could make the character a man–men get “breast” cancer, too, did you know that?

We went to the Community Unity Christmas party and I took Alu Mattar. This is the dish I posted about where I started with making ghee, then grated the ginger and garlic to make the curry…. I’m not usually so painstaking; I can’t think what got into me.

Anyway, here’s the recipe, and it’s really quite easy. It must be, or I wouldn’t have made it.

Curried Potatoes and Peas (Alu Mattar)

1/4 cup (60 ml) ghee (see recipe below)
1 Tbs (15 ml) finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbs (15 ml) finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped onion or shallots
Salt to taste
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
1/2 tsp (2 ml) turmeric
1/4 tsp (1 ml) cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2 10-ounce (280 g each) packages frozen green peas
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes
1 cup (250 ml) water
3 Tbs (45 ml) finely chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)
1/2 tsp (2 ml) garam masala (see recipe below)

Heat the ghee in a heavy pot over moderate heat until it is very hot.
Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion and
salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and golden
brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, and cayenne,
followed by the tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of
the liquid has evaporated and the mixture forms a thick paste, about 5
minutes. Add the peas and tomatoes and stir to coat them with the
tomato mixture. Stir in the water and bring to a boil, stirring
frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes, until
the potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and garam
masala and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Our dear friend Jackie was there. She’s undergoing chemo and all her hair has fallen out, so she brought a bag of Christmas bows and invited us to give her some holiday hair. Here she is, all festived up.



Then, on Friday, I went to lunch in Louisville. We were going to Bourbon’s Bistro, but they’re only open for dinner, so boo-hoo for us. We went to Crave, instead, which we LOVE anyway.


They have the BEST home made soups and sandwiches! Jane got a cheesy broccoli soup and a Creole sandwich called something like Bamm, I’m Good. I got cream of chicken and rice soup and a veggie sandwich–just a few raw vegetables on sourdough bread with Benedictine spread, but it was SO GOOD! This is on Frankfort Avenue, across the street from Bourbon’s, Java Brewing coffee shop and my beloved Irish Rover.

While we were waiting to cross the street, I met these ladies who claim they were doing a tree survey. If you ask me, they were casing the joints, but they say they were surveying trees. huh! I’ve never had a tree answer so much as ONE QUESTION I’ve ever asked, and they want me to believe they’re getting trees to take whole surveys? I don’t think so.


Anyway, on Saturday, Mom and I worked the Friends of the Library Book Box book sale and then Southern Indiana Writers had a book signing. Most members were sick and only three of us showed up, but we had a great time, as always, and sold some books. Here are Jeannine Baumgartle, Joy Brown Kirchgessner, self and The Mysterious Mr. B, who said, “You’re not going to put this on the internet or anything, are you?” I assured him I was, but you never know when somebody might be on the lam, so I blurred his face for his own protection. Of course, it might just be that he didn’t want to be seen in our company…. Nah!


Writing prompt: What questions would you ask a tree?

I had a booksigning at the Harrison County Library and I’m MOST pleased! I know 10 copies doesn’t sound like a lot to sell, but some of the people who bought copies don’t even know me! So I’m happy, even if I didn’t get one single word written for NaNoWriMo.

signingReading from left to right: mug that looks like it’s a brick wall with HAPPY HOLIDAYS spray-painted on it, which I had a drawing to give away. JACKIE–CONGRATULATIONS! sheet for people to sign up to be notified of future signings. Stand-up poster of cover with price written on side. books. Christmas candy to give away and paper bag for wrappers. Behind the desk–Me, dressed to match the cover so people would instantly associate me with the book.

Mom asked me to take her laptop this morning, when we worked at the Friends of Harrison County Book Box. I expected to download her updates and then get some writing done, but then she needed a virus and spyware scan and they needed to be cleaned up, and then something else and something else so I ended up not getting any writing done.

Then the signing was great. Samantha came in and stayed the whole time, and it was WONDERFUL to get the chance to visit with her–there never seems to be time, and we had a good long visit. Jackie came in, with the cutest brown wool hat covering her chemo-bald head. Bless her heart, she is such a sweetie. Jeremiah came in with his bride Lorna–SUCH a pretty woman! Carol came in, and she and Samantha and I talked NaNoWriMo a little, since we’re all trying it this year. A woman who’s writing a children’s book that sounds like a sure winner came in, and a little girl came up to talk to “the writer” because she says she wants to be a writer–she says she makes up stories all the time and her mother writes down the words. Her first name is Danielle, and I’ve already forgotten her last name. I should have written it down. Maybe it’ll come to me. If it does, I’ll post it, and we can all watch for her in the future!


Writing prompt: Who is your main character’s favorite living author? Invent one, if you like. If your character were walking past a bookstore and saw that author doing a signing, would he/she go to it? What would he/she say?

Yet another of my friends has won a bout with breast cancer. Lumpectomy, mastestectomy, bilateral and double mastectomies…. One had total reconstruction, others have not. One stuffed the empty cup of her bra with a colorful scarf and let the end hang out like a flag of victory. They all faced their choices with deliberation and courage. They’re amazing Amazons.

I don’t let a day go by without clicking on The Breast Cancer Site, which donates free mammograms to women who couldn’t otherwise afford them.

I also highly recommend Sheri L. Wright’s wonderful book of poetry, NUNS SHOOTING GUNS, especially her celebration of breast cancer survival, “Cut Flowers”. I bought my copy the other day at Destinations Booksellers in New Albany, Indiana. They have an online purchase site, too, which is cool.

Here’s to you, ladies.


Writing prompt: Someone you care for faces breast cancer.


Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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