Cancerboy Chronicles: No Drama Edition

timwbeerA couple of weeks ago marked a year since I got my cancer diagnosis. I didn’t mention it for a few reasons. First it’s not something to celebrate. Second, it’s meaningless knowing I’d been carrying these tumors around for who-knows-how-long. But most importantly I didn’t mention it because I didn’t want to elevate that day to star status. Besides, the original diagnosis proved to be wrong. (For those those still think I have the 1st diag. No, I don’t have pancreatic cancer. I have pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor. It’s a different disease, but no less deadly, ultimately. Just ask Steve Jobs.) If I did have the first, I’d most likely be dead now.

The point of this drivel is to thank you all for a year’s worth of support, lunch invites and your friendship. I means a lot to me. Sometimes even Mr. Sarcasm/snarkface/a-hole/ I wish he’d stop posting about the Rangers Dude (that’s me) gets bewildered and down. You always pick me up. You’re like Cher slapping me and saying, “Snap out of it!”

Brief status report: I am doing OK. If you saw me in person you’d think (to yourselves I trust), “What a fat load!” It’s true. For some reason* I have been gaining weight through this whole thing. *reasons are mostly likely a result of the chemo and , oh yeah, I like to eat. They ask about your appetite every time you go in for chemo. My stock answer is “voracious!” Go figure. [knock wood]

Plan B seems to be going as planned (hoped). They have taken me off one of the two drugs I was getting. Still on one drug, Irinotecan, which still makes me pretty nauseous at times. (Gods bless certain non-approved medicinal remedies for nausea.)

Make biggest practical problem is fatigue. I tell people that I get exhausted tying my shoes. They smile, but I’m being deadly serious. (Yes I have loafers and sandals.) Golf is a tease when I pass my home course. I have all this time, but couldn’t walk to the first tee without having to sit a spell. It’s frustrating that I can only do limited yard work. I have to ask Sue to do some of the things I did.

OK enough whining…. gotta go plan dinner. Thanks for your support this year. I’ll shoot for writing another This-Isn’t-An-Anniversary-Note note same time next year. ??? TF

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Coming up on a Year…


Almost a year since I’ve posted anything here. I’m not surprised. I question the value of a blog if you don’t have a specific topic to keep hammering at. Regardless, I enter this post anyway in order to blow the dust off this thing.

The Hawk pictured above was my test subject for a lens that had just been returned from Canon repair.  Most likely an immature Cooper’s hawk.  Whatever it is it took off after a sparrow right after this frame.  A bird’s gotta eat.


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Misc photos…

20130329-melo1 B57V0009 robin1

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Cottage cheese soufflé pancakes…

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Cottage cheese pancakes & friends at Chez Tim. Cottage cheese, a little flour, egg yolks, walnuts, some salt some sugar and egg whites beat until stiff folded in. It makes for very light and fluffy pancakes. The opposite of belly busters.


Cottage Cheese Soufflé Pancakes

Makes enough for two people

¼ cup cottage cheese (small curd or creamy)
3 tbsp flour
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
splash vanilla extract
lotsa walnuts and/or pecans
3 tbsp* milk
2 egg whites

1. Vigorously mix all the ingredients EXCEPT the milk and egg whites.
2. *Add the milk sparingly to loosen the batter enough to accommodate folding in the egg whites.
3. Whip egg white to soft peaks.
4. Fold the egg whites into the batter. Do not over mix. A little visible egg white is OK.
5. Cook on a hot (350-400°), well greased (I like butter) griddle or frying pan until golden in color, about 3-4 minutes a side. Serve immediately!

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Chicken Soup…

SLUG FARRELLIn all the years I’ve puttered around in the kitchen I’d never made chicken soup, until today.  I had some left over uncooked chicken part in the ‘fridge that I was not sure what to do with, so I went for simplicity.  Simplicity – plus the fact that I felt the need to check chicken soup off my list of things I need to make.

My reasons for never making it was simple; I thought it too plain.  I have made simple vegetable soups before, so why not the most basic soup of all?  I’ll chalk it up to arrogance and the snobbishness of youth.  Surely bisques and multi faceted concoctions were more worthy of my attention than this lowly, humble cure-all for the common cold.  I was wrong.  The good part about getting older is one starts to appreciate simple things.

This soup is basic, save for one flourish I added… Thyme.  It’s simply chicken, water, carrots, onion, celery and a little salt.  Oh yes – and the thyme, because I coudn’t help myself.  One thing I did was I strained the broth three times, twice through a sieve and once with a sieve covered with cheesecloth.  It worked wonders for keeping all the little yucky bits out.

Epilog:  It really didn’t need the thyme.  Like I said, simple is better.

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Brandied “Pumpkin” Pie…

I have longed for the taste of pumpkin pie, but all those recipes, made with the usual suspects like canned pumpkin, condensed milk, etc., never did it for me.  This recipe, made from roasted butternut squash, is exactly what I was looking for.  Not overly sweet and spiced just right.  I did it with a plain (blind baked) pie crust made from flour, butter and a wee bit of salt.  My search is over.  And I don’t feel the need to try and tinker with it to perfection – which usually leads to disaster.  Enjoy.

Brandied “Pumpkin” Pie

1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon salt
1 cups heavy cream
3 eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons good brandy, I used Cognac
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg*
Pinch ground cloves*

*Be careful with the nutmeg and the cloves.  A little goes a long way

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss pumpkin with butter and salt. Arrange on a baking sheet. Roast, turning occasionally, until caramelized and very soft, about 40 minutes. Let cool (this can be done a couple of days ahead).

2.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Purée pumpkin in a food processor, food mill or blender. In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cup purée with 1 cup cream. (You can save leftover purée for another day. You can freeze it . Combine all the remaining ingredients. Whisk in pumpkin mixture.

3.  Bake at 325 for about an hour. The center will still wiggle a little when you jiggle it. jiggle=wiggle=you’re done!

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St. Louis cut pork ribs


St. Louis cut (chine bone removed) with my own spice rub and BBQ sauce, doctored concoctions based on the basic ones described in Steve Raichlen’s “How to Grill” (2001 Workman Publishing). I like more vinegar in my sauce, I add a little coffee to the rub… Stuff like that. Contrary to what the barbecue purists say, there are no rules!

Barbecue snobs need not apply.

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The hot dog eating contest is NOT America

At the risk of sounding un-American… I wish we’d stop glorifying that hideous tribute to gluttony, the hot dog eating contest. How about a contest to see who can feed the most hungry people?

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Sourdough toast…

My buddy John is a pilot who regularly stops in San Francisco. He brought me some cheddar, jalopeno sourdough bread from Boudin Bakery. Perfect for toast with my eggs.


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Photo links are busted

Sorry that my photos are not showing up from the last couple of posts. I’ll have to call IT. Wait! I am the IT guy.

UPDATE: It took a while, the photos are back up.

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