Why I Said Yes to Breast Thermography

Last Spring I developed an odd pain in my left breast that made it uncomfortable to even wear a bra. At first I thought I strained a pectoral muscle, but a month later I still had no relief. I’m a healthy twenty-nine year old woman with no family history of breast cancer. The odds were pretty low but the fear kept creeping in. As a result I had two doctors - my American homeopathic doctor and my Irish/Moldovan doctor/godmother - give me a physical breast exam. They both agreed: everything seemed normal. Why I was In So Much Pain My husband and I theorized that it was maybe caused by my desk job, so I hoped that once we took off for our seven week vacation it would all go away. It didn’t. The dull, sometimes stabbing pain in my left breast was there all the time no matter how [...]

December 13th, 2015|Categories: Healthy Lifestyle|Tags: , |2 Comments

Easy Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

"Can you make us dessert tonight?", my husband begs me as I sip my chamomile tea, reading my book on feminine psychology. I roll my eyes. I want dessert just as much as he does. but I'm not a fan of sugar and we are on a pretty tight budget at the moment. "Honestly, babe, we don't have anything in the fridge besides dinner leftovers, a jar of peanut butter, and eggs." He sighs and goes back to working on his computer. I take a deep breath, walk in the kitchen, and open the fridge. Yep, I was right. Just that, oh, and salami slices. Not exactly dessert material. Hmmm. I hate seeing my beloved's disappointed face, even if its due to something as small as wanting homemade cookies. Love does strange things to humans. Finally, I have an idea. I pull out the peanut butter and eggs, and raid my [...]

December 12th, 2015|Categories: Recipes|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

A Moldovan In Romania

We take a train and arrive at Schiphol Airport four hours before our flight, to be on the safe side. Although I’m mentally calm my body doesn’t seem to respond well to being dragged through another airport so soon. The airport fiasco from only three days ago is too fresh on my palate. A security officer waves me down for additional screening. After five minutes of being patting me down, removing every item in my backpack, and throwing away Clayton’s travel size contact solution, they let us go. The Romanian plane is small and the seats are uncomfortable. Drinks are being served quickly and efficiently. A cup filled to the brim with free red wine is placed on my husband’s tray table. “Welcome to Eastern Europe.” I respond to my husband’s incredulous look. The three hour flight is peaceful. My native tongue hums happily all around me. I’m eavesdropping on [...]

November 22nd, 2015|Categories: Diana|Tags: , , |1 Comment

An Afternoon in Amsterdam

Read part one, Traveling is Easy, Life is Hard, first. It’s been more than six hours since takeoff. Clayton and I are intently watching the sleeping guy sitting next to me, chin touching his chest, gingerly balancing a plastic cup of Coke on his lap. “He is going to drop it now.” I whisper, chuckling. The cup tips over for a second but then straightens back up as soon as he inhales. Although we are amused by our neighbor's beverage acrobatics we are mostly jealous and impressed by his ability to sleep through the ten hour flight. Absolutely all of it. We both sigh. I am not sure what to expect once we land in Amsterdam. Due to missing our trans-Atlantic flight, we get only half a day, instead of a three day visit, before we have to catch a flight to Romania. An hour later, my neighbor is apologizing [...]

November 9th, 2015|Categories: Travel|Tags: , |1 Comment

Traveling is Easy; Life is Hard

“Why did we stop?” I try to sound casual. “Just more heavy traffic ahead, but you guys have another hour; we’ll get you to your plane; don’t worry.” My friend’s voice is reassuring but her nervous tap on the wheel while trying to smile at me through the rearview mirror betrays a similar emotion to mine. I chase away the idea of losing our flight by looking out the wet window. Early this morning we finished packing our last belongings - a springboard, a mattress, four pillows and two old blankets - all packed up and stored on the cold cement floor of the musty Gutenberg College basement. The rest of our possessions, jailed up in variously sized brown boxes, are keeping our modest bed company. For three years we volunteered as resident managers for the small liberal arts college in Eugene Oregon, our alma mater. My husband and I [...]

October 19th, 2015|Categories: Diana|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

Moldovan Home Remedies: Traditional Wisdom or Snake Oil?

Although I've lived in the US for over ten years, only recently have I been more open about what makes my country of birth different from the country I currently share with my husband. As an 18 year old, I quickly picked up on the fact that talking about slaughtering chickens, using an outhouse, or the absence of running water made people look at me differently. When you are trying to make friends and fit in, it's the last thing you want. So I put my background behind me and began the assimilation process.  I was a precocious young woman, so I learned quickly what sorts of topics to discuss, how to carry myself, and what would make me more likeable. I don't regret choosing to assimilate into American culture. Some of that was necessary to really grasp and appreciate the culture I have chosen to live in. Yet, since getting married, I have began sharing my stories and the world [...]

March 31st, 2015|Categories: Nutrition|Tags: , , , , , |6 Comments

Whose Team are You on?

"So what are we going to fight about in our counseling session today?" Clayton asks as I tap my knee nervously, sitting in our marriage counselor's waiting room. "Huh?" "Come on sweetie. I know you've been pretty upset with me this last week. What are we going to tackle today? The chores? My emotional distance? You always think of something. I just want to be prepared." He said it jokingly, but he seemed tired and overwhelmed. My usual come back would have been something sarcastic about how I like to keep him on his toes, but not this time. Instead I heard myself saying that I wasn't planning to fight with him at all. He smiled, unconvinced. I fell deeper into my chair and suddenly felt sad. My husband had been driving me crazy for the last two weeks. I was disappointed in his behavior and I felt like he could stand [...]

February 22nd, 2015|Categories: Diana, Healthy Lifestyle|Tags: , |7 Comments

Grieving for A Loved One

About a month ago one of my dearest uncles passed away. I was not home. I was at work when I got the call.  For the first five minutes my feet and hands felt numb and I had a hard time breathing. As my mama explained more and talked to me I was able to gain control over my body again. Grief is an odd thing. I discovered fairly quickly that during those first few days I was sinking under its weight. It's difficult to mourn for a family member when you are away from them and your family. It feels strange and surreal. It makes the grief sharper and one struggles to understand how to say goodbye. I've been less present for the last few weeks. I've been compartmentalizing work, marriage, school, and death so that I can function. I allowed myself to sit with my grief some evenings but then some [...]

February 6th, 2015|Categories: Diana|0 Comments

Probiotic Sauerkraut & Kielbasa Potato Soup

First off, I apologize for my less than stellar photo for this recipe. This was my third bowl and I snapped it with my phone hurriedly because I couldn't wait to slurp up the sour broth and chow down on the meat and potatoes. Reasons I make this soup and you should to: It's cheap. It's nourishing and warm, great for cold weather. You can make it in 30 min. It will make your gut happy because its full of probiotics and broth Of course, I made it for about twenty people so I was working with a big pot. And when someone my size works in a commercial kitchen and has to stir a big pot of soup, this happens. If you want to know more about my living arrangements you can read them here. Don't worry, I reduced the quantities for you so this recipe will only make about 8 servings! Ingredients 1lb of smoked [...]

February 5th, 2015|Categories: Recipes|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Owning Your Birth

Attribution The idea for this post came during my sister-in-law's baby shower, when some of the women in my life shared their experience with birth. While I am not an expecting mamma, I found the stories and the information fascinating. Afterwards, I asked my mother-in-law if she could write down her story and some of her advice to future mothers. Grace has been an RN for over 30 years, has given birth to four babies at home, and has attended about 30 other births, some as midwife, some as doula, and some as friend, in both the home and hospital setting. My Story I started my journey of motherhood in 1976, when I was expecting my first baby. I was 21, and had no idea about the mysteries of birth. Birth was a well-hidden and taboo subject in my home of origin, so I pretty much assumed it must just be too [...]

January 7th, 2015|Categories: Healthy Lifestyle|Tags: , , |0 Comments
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