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I found myself contemplating good and bad karma as I sat with an IV tube for
fluid rehydration hastily stuck in my arm by a religious nurse with a dirty wig.  I found her excessively poor beside manner a welcome distraction from the havoc
taking place in my gut.

 The evening before, something terrible went on in my system. It
forced nearly every ounce of fluid contained in my body to come out in one
undesirable way or another, and, sometimes, in unison. This is liver cancer, so I was told.

I would have at least considered weeping (for the hell of it) had it not been for the fact that I had already purged every ounce of body fluid available to me. And, of course, the nurse with the dirty wig had made it clear to me that I would not be released back into the wild until I could
take my bladder (along with my IV) to the public facilities and produce a urine sample for her (and all of the hair on her chiny-chin-chin). So, there I sat waiting, with cold saline slowly dripping into my left arm to bypass my knotted stomach. Looking to the air-conditioning vent above me, I pondering my situation and prayed that I would be healthy enough to get up and walk out of there, let alone get on with my life.

That was March 9th and I still have no health insurance as a consolation prize. In the aftermath, I have lost everything. My house, my money, my dignity…as I waited for Obama Care to kick in. Meanwhile, I sell my worldly goods to buy the drugs I need just for comfort.

I know this blog has gone dark. You don’t have to” not comment” to remind me. But for fuck’s sake, it’s my only means of any legacy at all at this point!! At least every post is indelible for all time. And so I bitch into eternity………

There will be no recipe tonight. I ordered Chinese food.

I love you

The coffee cup rings on my notebook smear the ink on the page, blurring one day into the next. My life has followed similar suit recently. One day I was the person that I thought I was. And then 5 years later, I am this unfamiliar person I have become. I sat in the tub for three hours and cried tonight. I’m not sure if it’s the relief of the finality I feel, or the unknown terror I now face. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I moved in the heat of the desert, 117 at it’s hottest point, and my body is reacting to the stress of the event. Whatever the culprit, it’s as if a giant fist swooped in and took an enormous chunk out of my belly, leaving me nothing but a gaping wound to contend with.

Macy is madly burying cookies in the sofa in order to make it home. She too, is feeling displaced. And I’m not much consolation to her tonight.

It’s the last night in my house. It’s the last night period. The calamity has been packed in brown wrapping paper and put away.

I’m stretched pretty thin with the to do list being monumental and the forbidden being tempting.

How did I get into this mad situation?

Tonight’s chore, to drain the pool. 15,000 gallons of it down the drain. I can’t responsibly leave that body of water behind. So today I put up a final ad on Craig’s list.. foreclosure Sale…last day. Will barter for services. And Brian answered that ad tonight.

He arrived at sundown as promised. Emptying swimming pools is NOT an HOA approved activity. So it’s generally done in the dark. Brian arrived curbside in a red Toyota of sorts that has seen better years. He scrambled out in a bumbling way, shy. But there was no need for that. He was 6 ft 2 with dirty ponytail hair, a chiseled face and lean body. OK, at the very least, this was going to be entertaining.

We introduced ourselves mid stride in the driveway as Brian began to set up shop. I asked him if he’d like to see the goods he was getting in trade prior to starting work. He said “no, I’ll earn my keep and we’ll take it from there.”

Creepy already. Keep in mind this guy is going to sink a pump to the bottom of my pool and monitor it’s emptying all night. All night. At which point in the instructions of this process I asked him, “can I just dive in at 2 AM to move the pump myself. I’ll text ya in the morning when it’s done.” He agreed to that. But that’s not what happened……………

As he was bending over to give me a plumber’s crack view I saw in the waistband of Brian’s pants, a gun. All I could see was the butt, both of them, but I was suddenly nervous…. Scared as shit actually. It was as if he had intentionally displayed it to threaten me because when I was staring at his ass earlier, there was no evidence. I calmly walked into the house to find my cell phone readying 911 for the inevitable call, really fearing for my life for a few minutes, and then wondering how it would all go down.

After breathing deep cause I was already in it, no matter what is was, I said to him, ” I can’t help but notice your gun. So if your intention is rape murder or pillage of my homestead, let’s just put our cards on the table. Cause frankly dude, I am surprised by nothing. I can roll with this too.

Brian laughed and then choked it back when he saw I meant it. He apologized all over himself like a new puppy and put the thing in his truck, and my mind at ease. So here I am 10:55 PM and under the cloak of night, emptying my pool with Brian hovering close in case I need him.

I have no idea how this is going to turn out so I’ll cross my fingers while fingering my rosary. Blind faith has always lead to blinding rewards.

And I know my turn is soon.. no one could doubt it.

While the summer rolls on as “the one when I got hit by a freight train” continues, my house is now officially headed toward a short sale. There’s no shame in it, I suppose, as I am one of the masses. However the angst of our departure in this way, is indelible on my soul.

After the process of selling all of my worldly goods on Craig’s List,  I looked around my life that used to be, and saw I was left with a pool table. A really nice one too. Never used, it was a space filler/laundry table in my home, that remained pristinely covered for years. But no one wanted it on the open market in this economy. I couldn’t GIVE it away. I LITERALLY couldn’t give it away because the charities that I called to donate it to were not able to come up with the funds to move it….

My epiphany came when my cable TV was finally turned off for non-payment, leaving me to watch foreign channels that I never dared try before! And I wandered onto a show called Barter Kings that became my Ah-ha moment, and this story.

I would barter my pool table by God!! I launched my ad on Craig’s list with a goal of getting a Nikon D-90 or better in trade, no matter how many steps it took to get there. My offers ranged from an Elvis collection of stuff, four samurai swords, a quad (which I almost went for) until I heard from a guy named Sam who was offering and array of techie items like a WI, a 16 GB Tablet, and several nice things. Part of his offer was an old school Nintendo which I would love to have had for myself!

Wendy & I met Sam in the parking lot of Cabella’s. He had good wares and Wendy had installed that bar code thing on my phone so we could look items up right there in the hot parking lot to get their value. I’ll never again figure out how to use that damn bar code thingie!

I agreed I’d like to talk deal and Sam pushed to come over to my house, follow me home actually to see the table. His insistence made me uncomfortable but I agreed. He loved the table right away, showing all of his cards. Sam then called several family members over and they all loved it. We agreed to deal…

This shit went back and forth for a good two hours. I turned him down twice, closed the door on him and yet he still returned, agreed to my terms and then demanded I find shipping THAT DAY. He began to make me uneasy so I asked him to leave while I worked on a shipper. I would let him know what I’d decided later in the day.

What was either appropriate second thoughts or a gentle nudge by an angel, I cancelled the deal via text. It wasn’t cowardly. It was the only way this guy would communicate. He was furious!! I apologized. He was LIVID!! I became matter of fact and then he threatened me with some gangsta’ speak and I never heard from him again. But that was a long night of sleeping with one eye open.

The next day… the VERY NEXT DAY, Jason texts me and says “I have your Nikon. I want your pool table.” Little music went off in my head as I read that. I texted him back right away, “then we should meet.” And we did, that very afternoon he showed up at my house. He was a very talkative young guy.  He looked over the pool table, told me the unabridged version of his life which took over an hour while he measured and knocked and speculated about things. And then said, “do you want to see your camera?” I nearly cried.

( If you’re an old reader and you have found me again, welcome!! Here I am, more uncensored than before. You also know I lost my camera in a tragic accident a bit ago. That story too, will be in the “freight train” series.)

He then proceeds to produce a camera bag. A really NICE professional and expensive camera bag. Ceremoniously, he lovingly lays it on his pool table and tells me the story of the bag, which I won’t repeat, but he purchased it in Iraq last year under much duress. The camera itself is a one year old Nikon D-90, used seven times. Jason is a wedding photographer. He was having a hard time parting with it, I could tell. But he showed me every exquisite detail, unbelievably producing a telephoto lens and accessories galore that were all an assumed part of the deal, exquisitely packaged together with the original receipts, all of the paperwork down to the last nuance of his ownership.

We shook on it and then Jason told me the pool table was going to a bar he’s been building in Gilbert. It’s called the NOT A DIME bar because every item from the concrete up is being bartered for, and he has not spent a dime. He’s all the way up to finishing details and with this trade, my pool table will become a big part of his project and a tiny bit of my legacy.

Jason finally prepared to leave. He walked over and placed the fully loaded camera bag on my mantle and said “Enjoy it.” I was flabbergasted. “You mean your going to just leave it here tonight? Do you trust me?” He didn’t even flinch when he said “It was obviously meant for you.” And that little thing restored some hard fought faith. Because Jason touched my life.     Oh… and he arranged his own shipping

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The Best Juice for Your Immune System
 
Sip on this to stay well all year! “Broccoli is very high in vitamin C, which increases the production of infection-fighting white blood cells,” Wignall says. “Garlic contains sulfur-containing compounds that have powerful immune-boosting antimicrobial properties.”
Ingredients:
1 small beet
 8 stalks celery
 1 stalk broccoli
2 cloves garlic

Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe

This recipe makes 2 loaves; you can easily divide the recipe in half to make just one loaf.  The recipe calls for 4 cups of grated zucchini, which will yield particularly moist loaves.  I’ve made it with 3 cups, which was also very good, just not as sublime as with 4 cups.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups grated zucchini (from about a pound and a half of zucchini)
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (use natural unsweetened cocoa, NOT Dutch processed)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (12 Tbsp or 1 1/2 sticks), melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 Place the freshly grated zucchini in a sieve over a bowl to catch any excess moisture as it drains, while you work on prepping the other ingredients and preparing the recipe.

2 Preheat oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle. Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans with baking spray or butter.

3 Vigorously whisk together the flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk until there are no more clumps and the ingredients are well combined.

4In a separate large bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs until smooth, about a minute.  You can do this with an electric mixer on medium speed, or by hand with a wooden spoon. (I’m lazy and use a mixer but it’s easy enough to do by hand.) Add the melted butter, instant coffee granules, and almond extract and beat until smooth.

5 Mix the shredded zucchini into the sugar egg mixture.  Add the flour to the zucchini mixture in 3 additions, stirring to combine after each addition.

6  Work quickly, and divide the batter between the two prepared loaf pans.  (Work quickly because once the dry ingredients have mixed with the wet ingredients, the leavening has begun.) Place into the oven.  Bake for 50 minutes at 350°F, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and easily. Remove to a rack. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then run a blunt knife around the edges to separate the bread from the pan. Remove from the loaf pans and let cool completely on a rack.

Note that if you try to slice the chocolate zucchini bread before it has completely cooled, it will be rather crumbly.  It’s also easiest to slice with a bread knife.