Portal to New Life

I was scheduled to walk a portion of the El Camino de Santiago, the summer of 2019 with a close friend. During the overseas trip, we were going to visit additional European cities and I would also visit a dear friend and her family in Germany. In May 2019, I had an exam that revealed breast cancer. My summer vacation plans were discarded as I scrambled to find the best surgeon for me and determine next steps. In September 2019, as one birthday present, I bought tickets for Deidre and myself to attend a nutritional event composed of a panel of doctors (heart, general, radiologist, etc.). The program was about the benefits of eating plant vs animal protein, not eating refined grains (bread), nor sugar. The theme was to eat as many raw vegetables as one can.

As May knocked at my door saying I had breast cancer, I started scurrying about to figure out what I needed to do.  By mid-July, I had seen 4 surgeons, 2 radiologists, 3 oncologists, had a lumpectomy and had a prognostic gene signature assay to determine my likelihood of reoccurrence. The assay said I had a score of 62.  I was in the high risk category.  Additionally, the two lymph nodes that were removed indicated I had micro-metastatic carcinoma in both. I was faced with a decision of next steps: have radiation or a combination of radiation and chemotherapy or….

Study, discussion, paying attention to my intuition, realizing how chemotherapy wrecks the immune system, knowing radiation works well- but only for the area radiated, I needed to decide what treatment I would pursue. At my age, I questioned whether radiating the beast would offer much benefit. Also radiation would do little to reduce any stray cancer cell that might have already migrated from my lymph nodes. Fortunately only micro-metastatic, not macro-metastatic, cells were found. Again age was to my advantage. If I could find a way to reduce growth/maturity of cancerous cells, then I should be able to make it to my normal life span, before I had major problems. Hard to decide what to do — correct? Regardless it is evident that I needed to build my immune system and inhibit abnormal cell growth.

After the September nutritional plant based conference, I scheduled a radiologist doctor’s appointment with one of the speakers. During the discovery process of why me for no logical reason of which I could think, I found that fat and adrenals produce estrogen in women over a certain age. Being a solid 30-40 pounds overweight, I figured mine was due to fat.   

End result, I decided I needed to do things to support a healthy body that would inhibit abnormal cell growth, rather than use treatment that would add stress to my system. I decided no radiation, no chemotherapy and no pill to block estrogen. Instead of the anti-blocking pharmaceutical pill to block estrogen, I use rosemary.  Rosemary is associated with being a powerful antioxidant with anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory benefits with anti-microbial and direct benefits for breast and prostate health. It works by helping break down estrogen into the safer anti-cancer metabolites. My local oncologist was not happy with my choice of not following “normal” medical treatment.  Instead of normal medical treatment, I changed my diet and take vitamins and nutritional supplements.  After 14 months, I gradually dropped 35 pounds. Thus hopefully, no more estrogen due to fat cells. 

Because it is difficult to change one’s life style habits, I developed a support partnership with Deidre. The reason you see food pictures on the “Kindred Spirit blog” is to benefit whoever is interested in a healthy diet. The script and pictures provide examples of my diet plan, documenting visually food that helps reduce/control weight and that provide antioxidants to support immunity and healthy cell growth. I eat no refined sugars, avoid processed meats, eat as many raw vegetables and fruit as I can, try to restrict bread or use gluten free product, restrict the volume and control the quality of the meat I do eat. OK, I am not saying I am 100% diligent, but I achieve at least 80% on a regular basis.

Deidre is a Shaklee representative, so as part of my plan I ask her assistance in determining the vitamins and supplements (polyphenols and antioxidants) that I need to take to protect against oxidative stress with its associated pathologies of cancer, coronary heart disease and inflammation.  It is difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals we need from food alone, so the vitamins and supplements I take are adjusted for my particular case.

Each person has to decide for themselves what their approach should be when faced with major decisions that affect their spark of being- whether physical and mental. All choices have associated risks. Each choice leads down its own path. I believe for me, I made the best health choice particularly since COVID-19 followed with its implication of targeting weak immune systems. If you want to know more about products that can be useful to help strengthen your immune system or balance vitamins to support what you are hoping to achieve (e.g. more energy, reduced inflammation, bone health…) or even more info on my diet plan, contact Deidre at dtaylorlines@outlook.com.

My desire is that my story will provide hope and an additional source of information as needed.  As a photography acquaintance of mine says “Make it a great day, tomorrow isn’t promised.”

With “no promise for tomorrow,”  thrive and find pleasure in your daily interactions with people and our beautiful earth. Be grateful for all your precious moments. We are each given one life in this earthly time line; treat it as a precious jewel to be shared. Use it wisely.

NN

Trash and Treasure

The tourists are here in full force, so Monday morning is beach cleanup time. We walked from Caddy’s on Sunset Beach up to the Bilmar and back and collected 3 grocery bags of detritus, plastic bottles and toys, beer cans, masks and wipes. Some were thoughtful to put their rubbish in a neat pile.

Once in a while, we find something useful, today it was a little Velcro strap, perfect for securing an umbrella in an RV.

A treasure in the sand

We’re happy to do some community service in exchange for a nice walk on the beach, but it would actually work better if everyone picked up after themselves.

Sine

I watched the cut above teal table-top blue grow more sore

beckoned by darkness and tidal roar

and sat small and lone below the firmament.

Immaterial to passers-by skirting the water line

wondering how easily swept away from time

under surf flesh and regret might slip interred

or as easily by the wave that both crushes and rises

be abetted and spit back,

a buoyant spark not yet ready to be sand.

Sunday pleasures and treasures

Fortified with Dave’s raisin bread French toast, vegan sausage, fresh Florida strawberries and an orange juice banana protein shake, we headed south to Sarasota for a lazy afternoon at Cafe in the Park. We made the same trek this time last year to listen to one of our favorite local bands, Passerine. It’s the first time they’ve played in public since then and they sound better than ever.

We got rhythm

Passerine lead vocalist and guitar player Carmela Pedicini describes their style of music as Americana, a unique blend of bluegrass, country, folk, rock and roll and blues. Sara Moone brings the classic Bill Monroe tunes to life with her fiddle and vocals. David Brain plays a dobro, a resonator slide guitar and Doug Conroy is on the upright bass.

See their website: http://Passerine music.net. By the way, if you’re curious about the name, Passerine is an order of birds that includes over 140 families of songbirds.

A snippet from Passerine live in the park
Chillin

As we crossed the Skyway coming home, We diverted to the Pinellas Bayway to catch the sunset at Pass aGrille.

Pelican diner

Picked up a few shells at the southern tip of Passagrille. Had to return my favorite, a perfect little lightning whelk because a hermit crab was squatting in it.

Shelling down by the jetty

After indulging at Cafe in the Park with a delicious pressed Cuban and chicken salad on a croissant (more bread!), a crunchy salad for supper was the perfect antidote.

Antidote

Kids in a candy shop

Saturday morning market

We meant to go to an art fair in downtown St. Pete but ended up at the Saturday morning market.

Just pretty stones?

First we stopped at the booth named St. Pete Rocks. I bought Mookalite, a form of jasper from Australia that is meant to impart deep calm when faced with new experiences, points out all possibilities and assists with choosing the best one. Nancy chose Rhyolite, which is purported to ignite the potential and creativity of the soul, potentiates change and assists in fulfilling quests. Also Bloodstone a grounding and protective stone, known for its properties to revitalize the mind and dispel confusion, and a sharks tooth just for fun.

Life Farms

We only meant to buy a few tomatoes but kids in a candy shop that we are, couldn’t resist organic red tipped lettuce, watermelon radishes and baby carrots from Life Farms in Clearwater, organic heirloom tomatoes from Little Pond Farm in Bushnell, more organic tomatoes, cucumbers, baby bok choy, green beans, beets and dandelion greens from Worden Farms in Punta Gorda.

We rushed home with our colorful bounty intent on a juicy tomato sandwich and a big salad with our dinner.

It’s not Jersey fresh, but we are grateful for a sunny February day abounding with life from the Earth.

Owls of Dunedin

Mama and Papa owl with two in the nest

One of the pleasures of living in Florida is the variety of beautiful birds in our shared environment. I’m always surprised to see owls and am pleased to share a sweet owl family posted by Carla Royal. Appropriate because she is as wise as an owl. In addition to being a great photographer, as a licensed psychotherapist, she helps her clients reconnect with their own wisdom. Check her out on Carlaroyal.com

Watch out mice

What’s for dinner-Italian Wedding Soup

From my ex-husband’s cousin’s brother-in-law’s website:

http://www.lavillacucina.com/La_Villa_Cucina_Culinary_Travel_&Cooking_School_Vacations/Daniel_Rosatis_La_Villa_Cucina~Culinary_Travel&_Cooking_School_Vacations.html

Minestra Maritata
Italian-American “Wedding” Soup

¼ cup olive oil
2 Spanish onions, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 garlic cloves, passed through a garlic press
2 quarts rich chicken broth
2 bunches escarole, washed very well, then torn into small pieces

In a 8 quart pot, warm the oil over low heat…add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic…cook covered until onions are tender…add broth, bring to a simmer…season well with salt and pepper…add escarole…simmer uncovered until escarole is tender…while escarole is cooking prepare meatballs.

Turkey Meatballs:

2 pounds ground dark meat turkey
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, passed through a garlic press
20 sprigs Italian parsley, leaves only, chopped
½ cup grated parmigiano
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg

Combine above ingredients in a medium size bowl, blend well with a wooden spoon…line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper…preheat oven to 400 degrees…form meatball mixture into small rounds using a tablespoon as measure…place on parchment lined pan…bake for 15 minutes or until firm, add to soup, continue to cook for 20 minutes more.

Serve soup in bowls with a generous spoonful of parmigiano.

Mt Dora Art Studio

Pj Svejda & German Lemus
Studio Art Farm.
” Bringing People Together Through Art”

Deciding to delay leaving town to avoid heavy rain on our journey home, we decided to explore town on foot. And as one does, when exploring, we ran across delightful people.

PJ & Lemus are an exuberant young couple with an art studio “Studio Art Farm” located at 120 East 4th Ave Mount Dora, FL. They touched our hearts with their mission – see below. Check them out on Instagram and if you want to take a class go to their web page http://www.studioartfarm.com.

Looking at some of PJs students work.

Studio Art Farm’s Mission

“The dream is to build a community of artists who are eager to learn and live in a peaceful planet. My goal as an artist is to tell stories and raise awareness. I challenge humanity and urge compassion, respect, and coexisting for all with the understanding that that mentality begins with happiness of the self. As a teacher, my goal is to help people not only achieve their fundamental and technical goals but to facilitate a healthy state of mind where you have the tools to express your subconscious voice and do so through the journey of creating.

Art is the voice of the subconscious.”

Half Moon over Leafy Green

Half moon rising in the East

Today was sparkling clear with the crisp chill of a Northeast autumn, our version of a winter day. We set out for downtown St. Petersburg with high hopes for a parking space and outdoor seating on the sidewalk in front of our favorite raw food restaurant, Leafy Greens.

And the Gods were smiling upon us. Two of the three outdoor tables were up against the wall and we dragged them out in the sun. We had a northeast wind of up to 20 mph, so several of us ordered the delicious fresh tomato basil soup. I recommend their raw tacos housed in romaine boats with walnut, crunchy veggies and hummus filling and a spicy sauce. Helen ordered the red lentil curry which she enjoyed but suggested they kick up the seasoning a bit. The avocado toast has the most delicious bread. Anthony was our chef and waiter and balanced his tasks with grace. We all felt like old friends before we left.

We’ve lived in this city long enough to know better, but we blithely headed to our next destination: Williams Park for Localtopia. We had the good sense to avoid the long lines for the food trucks, and were not expecting a line down three city blocks to get into the park. There were two issues, the bottleneck at the gate for COVID screening and the capacity limit for the venue. When we realized that the people waiting were waiting for spots that would only open up if people left, we abandoned our plans for the afternoon. We were disappointed to miss the headliner, Ariella. Maybe we’ll catch her later at the Blue Rooster in Sarasota or the Clearwater Jazz Festival at the end of February.

We consoled ourselves with a walk in the park at Seminole Lake. This was the spot where I saw my first roseate spoonbill and I was hoping to see another but none were about. There were the usual variety of shore birds and a sweet duck couple.

Ladies first

Finally we stopped at Sprouts in search of evaporated coconut milk, which my hairdresser says is the best coffee creamer. We stocked up on their brand of coconut cream as well. Lots of yummy coconut for healthy brains! Of course, foodies that we are, we couldn’t resist the BOGO gluten-free crackers and Lilly’s stevia sweetened chocolate. And Plant City strawberries 3 for $5!

Our favorite band

Nick and Ari

This is my all time favorite musical group. They were called Ari and the Alibis, but they are now going by Ariella, whether it’s the full band or just Ari and her husband guitarist Nicholas Kraster. Ariella McManus leads the band with vocals, many her original songs. The following story of love and redemption is one of my favorites, Don’t be Afraid from the Home album.

Don’t be afraid

The group is based in Sarasota, but play all around the Bay Area. The photo above was taken at the Hideaway in St. Petersburg by Lenore Duensing, a brilliant photographer that was nice enough to share her front row table with us. I’ve also caught them at Caddies, both Gulfport and Sunset Beach locations and the Ale and the Witch in St. Petersburg.

Check them out at Ariellamusic.com