I adore my mom. We just celebrated her 67 birthday this past weekend. On March 20, 2000 she informed my brother and I that she had been diagnosed with Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Upon hearing that news I sobbed uncontrollably for days and wept for weeks. It remains the most devastating information that I have ever received. I find it hard to think of a world without her. I have friends who have lost their parents, and the older I become the more commonplace this will be. I simply don't know how I'll survive it when it happens, but in my heart I know I will because she raised me to be strong.

If you know my mom, it's easy to see that she has something special. She is hard not to like. She is perhaps the most kind, generous, and loving person I know. She is also very positive which is something I admire greatly. There is simply too much complaining in this world. I find our society is a breeding ground for people to grumble about even the smallest inconvenience. People seem to forget that we are one of the most privileged societies in the world. Everyone seems to want more, yet lack the ability to appreciate what they already have.

My mom has had a challenging life, yet still has a great attitude. Years ago, she and her long term partner broke up and she was forced to declare bankruptcy. The bank seized our house and she had to move into a basement apartment. It was a low point in her life and I asked her how she was coping. At the time she was an Oncology nurse, and she felt like she didn't have it too bad. She said "Everyday I go to work and people are dying. I have a patient who is 26 with three kids and she won't live to see next week. It puts it in perspective. At least I've got my health." After her diagnosis, I reminded her of our conversation years earlier, and asked how that had changed her outlook. Again she amazed me with her response. "I am almost 60 years old, and I have two wonderful children. Not everyone gets to have those things. I have nothing to complain about." When ever I'm ready to complain about life I remember those conversations with my mom and it allows me to see all the joy and love that surrounds and fulfills me. And I am grateful.

My mom was told she had 5 to 7 years to live. After several rounds of chemo, a stem cell replacement and some radiation she is still going strong ten years later. In yo face cancer!
We celebrated with a meal of stirfried beef and green beans, basmati rice, steamed baby bok choy, and dumplings with peanut sauce, and of course some cake. I'll pass along my peanut sauce since I've been asked for it many times. This sauce tastes good with anything. It comes from the Fresh at Home cookbook.

Peanut Sauce

3 tbsp olive oil
1 cooking onion, diced
6 tbsp minced fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/3 vegetable stock
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
2 cups smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup tamari
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup sunflower oil

Heat oil in a pot, and add onion, ginger and garlic. Cook until onion is soft.
Add curry powder, and cayenne pepper, cook 2 minutes and then remove from heat.
Add remaining ingredients, and let cool. Blend until smooth. Before serving heat gently over low heat.


  1. Happy Birthday, Aunt Jane!

  2. What a beautiful tribute to one of our favorite people: selfless, cheerful, caring, and fun. Your Mom is a great lady! Hi, Jane.

  3. Linda CulbertsonMay 7, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    I have such wonderful memories of Aunt Jane. At a very young age, I was immensely impressed that she made homemade bread...not just as a once-in-a-while treat, but as a normal staple. Never had better bread since! Her easy laugh, playfulness and warm, wonderful hugs left a lasting impression. Seeing her in '08 was such a treat. You and Brynly are so blessed, as is everyone who knows her!