First things first.
This past week we learned some great news about David.
Turns out the chemo and radiation were hugely successful for David. Tests revealed recently that while cancerous cells are still found in his esophagus, the tumor looks to be largely eliminated, leaving mostly ulcerative tissue and burns in its place.
Only one-fifth of patients who’ve had the same treatments experience this (they call it a total pathological response), and the fact that the treatments were able to push back the tumor so decisively greatly enhances David’s chances to survive this cancer in the long term.
Here he is celebrating with Oliver and Daniel, his wonderful first son who’s an EMT with the SFFD.
David still needs to undergo this perilous and drastic surgery mid July but we really couldn’t have asked for better news right now.
Yes, he’s still in pain and developed a new hernia which will involve yet another surgery (later, though) but so far he’s maintaining his weight (thanks to my killer Haagen-Dazs milkshakes) and he’s feeling a little stronger and less foggy with each day (plus he kept his hair!).
We feel so lucky.
One of the best things about this news — other than the obvious of improved survival rates– is the fact that we’ve all been granted a little breathing space and hope for the future.
Let me tell you, it’s been a rough couple months so to be able to smile and do normal things is such a relief.
Oliver was able to graduate without the heaviest of burdens on his shoulders.
I know it’s so cliched but it just does not seem possible that he’s graduated already.
We all love him so much and we are going to miss him like crazy.
We’ve been really holding each other tight, enjoying nice meals together outside
and we’ve talked about things other than college and cancer– our two main conversation pieces since March.
With Oliver going off into the world, I finally got him to acquiesce to a couple casual cooking classes.
It’s been fun doing something as normal as cooking together, and we’ve practiced making some of his favorite snacks like grilled Gouda sandwiches with tomato soup
and pesto cheddar turkey burgers.
It’s fun to see his confidence grow as he tackles making simple dishes
and I can’t wait until he feels confident to make other dishes well enough that he’ll be inspired to share them with friends or a roommate.
Having a break from a steady onslaught of doctor appointments (and the constant worry of imminent news) means that we’ve finally been out to eat a few meals, too.
David’s very good friends from New York, Danny and Julie, came to visit us last week and we had the most wonderful time with them catching up and enjoying a terrific spread from Pollo Bravo at Pine Street Market.
Portlanders, have you been there?
So many of the dishes that you love from Toro Bravo are still offered here in this affordable, delicious off-shoot — including that spectacular radicchio salad.
For the first time in months I’ve felt the desire to relax and the appetite to enjoy food out, so I went out with a few of my friends for a belated birthday brunch at Tusk, too.
The place is so gorgeous inside; it features an airy room with high ceilings with an adjoining luxurious covered patio.
Everything about this place is perfection.
There’s that crisp dining room and stunning bar
with something gorgeous to look at in every direction.
The drinks are stellar.
And the food looks like it was designed just for Instagram
but as you can see by the menu, the ingredients are so thoughtfully combined.
And the food is so well-executed.
We had pita sandwiches with zaatar fries.
We also had eggs in a spicy tomato sauce and a grain bowl with roasted vegs.
We loved every bite and I can’t wait to return.
And last but not least, having a little breathing room and some worry-free hours to myself means that I’ve done indulging in another hobby.
I’ve popped into Goodwill Outlets a few times over the last couple weeks, and while I haven’t gotten tons of new things, I’ve loved the things I’ve brought home.
There were more vintage ornaments for an upcoming Fourth of July wall.
I uncovered a charming/goofy old children’s book that I’ll leave next to my hammock, if for no other reason because it’s cute and it matches the color scheme of all the things on my porch.
I also found a mini-rug and a vintage quilt now used on Porter’s dog bed.
I got a pretty (if sadly, empty) Tiffany & Co. hinged box that now holds the wood cross from Notre Dame in Paris (thanks again, Hedi!) and a rosary from Stephanie.
Additionally, for two dollars and change I picked up a brand new cookbook I’d been looking at a bookstore just a few weeks ago.
I wasn’t familiar with her before I stumbled upon this book but I love her easy recipes and of course the styling is right up my alley.
And on one magical afternoon at the Bins, I found a bevy of tiny vintage holiday items.
Judging by the colors and styles
and little tags and labels (some are ornamental and a few have a “Japan” stamp on them), I think they are all from the 1940’s-50’s.
As you can probably tell, they’re really small — maybe three inches tall?– and a little banged up but adorable.
I couldn’t believe that I was able to find all these tiny things amidst a mountain of loose items, some of it bulky and most of it really junky.
And how’s this for my last find?
These vintage mugs were all loose in the bin and yet miraculously intact, with its obvious paper holder one bin over.
So there you have it. Graduations. Meals out. Cooking lessons. Vintage hunting. Relaxing, sort of.
Yes, we’ve got a long and perilous road ahead without guarantees but for now, there’s just good eats and a sigh of momentary relief.
Looks like the perfect time to get our summer mojo going.