Cheery Cherry Rainbow Cake Dreams

cherry rainbow cake  - coco cake land

cherry topped pink buttercream cake - coco cake land

I made this sour cherry topped rainbow cake yesterday. Just for the hell of it. Just to bake, to make something pretty, to exercise my frosting arm. Our lovely neighbors’ tree was filled with these bright, sweetly sour cherry bombs – I love it when fruit just bursts from a tree all of a sudden, speckled like shimmery red polka dots. The last time I baked a whole cake was way back in January, for my mom’s 70th birthday high tea party. The day before my mom’s big party, my family doctor phoned me, her voice hushed and strained with concern. She had called to tell me the results of the biopsy on the “weird growth” that had shown up on an ultrasound of my right breast. My worst fears were confirmed: it was “C.” Cancer. Me!! Breast cancer. I tried to remain calm as she told me the specific type of cancer it was and how she had made me an appointment with a surgeon. I scribbled down what she was telling me, but my body was in shock. I could hear Teddy playing in the other room. As soon as I heard him, the tears welled up and gushed out. I had breast cancer. I might die. I might have to leave my child. Teddy could be motherless. I had no idea what was going on in my body.

bright red sour cherries - coco cake land

It’s been almost 6 months now and my body has been through so much. IVF to save my eggs for hopefully future babies. The passing of my beloved grandma, the coolest old lady in town, who I miss very much. Surgery to remove a portion of my right breast (I call it a mini boob now – a mini version of my left boob. The little sister.) The loss of my lovely black hair. Chemo, which I hate so much and gives me great anxiety. And on many days, the loss of my self esteem, my energy and my creativity.

cherry topped pink buttercream cake - coco cake land

The first half of 2015? It’s had some shitty times, let’s just say! I’ve had horrible days of deep depression, confusion and frustration with my body, my brain. But through all the yucky stuff, there’s been plenty of good stuff. It’s the stuff I look for daily, the stuff I treasure and keep in my heart. For instance: I am pretty good at tying a big old scarf on my head. I am medium-ok (not really) at drawing on Charlie Chaplin style cartoon eyebrows. I have experienced soooo much goodness and kindness and incredible gestures from so many people, whether it’s been meals made for my family, big and little cheer-me-up gifts in the mail, hats knit with love, thoughtful messages, letters and so many offers of help. Presents for Teddy, snacks left at the door. Even Miffy spam musubi! Such an enormous amount of love and dammnit, I feel blessed. I am sooo in a deep treasuring state for all of my friends and family. For the new friends I’ve made, people who have reached out. For my friends all over the world who I’ve met through this blog and my Instagram. Other good things: my husband graduating from medical school! And Teddy practicing all of his “bad words” is pretty amusing too. Penis, pennis, bagina, poo, pee, diarrhea – the songs and giggles are endless. What can I do? Some days he tells me to put on my hair (my wig). Other times he tells me to take my wig off so he can see my “egghead.” All I can do is laugh.

pink cherry cake cuteness - coco cake land

I have one more chemo to go, on June 30th. Just seeing the words chemo makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t wait until it’s over. I’m ready to freak out for when it’s all done. Then I have a long-ish break before radiation starts in late August – so this Chinese bald eagle is gonna FLY! Not really. I’m going to hang out in my backyard and eat homemade snowcones and tons of snacks and read magazines and watch Teddy frolic around his kiddie swimming pool. Heck, I might even dunk my bald head in there if he hasn’t peed in the pool.

slice of cherry rainbow cuteness - coco cake land

cherry rainbow cake overhead - coco cake land

perfectly pink slice of cherry topped cake - coco cake land

slices of rainbow cake - coco cake land

rainbow cake insides

half a rainbow cake - coco cake land

half of a rainbow cake - coco cake land

This cake! Baking this cake gave me hope. I saw my cakey future again. To have ideas, and energy, and excitement again to work and create, to work on my cake book… to take my son to preschool, to run around with him without getting so tired. To cook, to celebrate, to hang out with friends, to travel, to go on a nice mini trip with my husband who has been so incredible throughout this… to see my hair grow back and not feel so low self-esteemy. This happy chappy pink cherry topped rainbow cake is my little beacon of hope on the horizon, that my life will be coming back to me. I can’t wait. Hoping you all get to do something fun this weekend – here’s to the second half of 2015 tearing the first half a new one! And thank you as always for reading! xo Lyndsay 

Sweet + Easy: Strawberry Buttermilk Popsicles Recipe

strawberry buttermilk popsicles recipe - coco cake land

strawberry buttermilk popsicle recipe - coco cake land

How many photographs of pretty pink strawberry buttermilk popsicles does one post need? Heh heh. I feel proud of my photos in this post – because these light and bright babies are the first photos I’ve taken in months with my fancy camera. I’ve been lazy cancer iPhone-ing it and my poor camera has been sitting there, like baby in a corner. My hands were shaky for real (damn chemo!) and for styling, I pretty much just lightly sprinkled some things down on my white table, pretty summer morning light streaming in through my sheer white curtains and I snap snap snapped. These popsicles are so sweet alone from local strawberries and tangy from the buttermilk and yogurt – summer in a chilly bite!

easy strawberry popsicle recipe

The freezer is full of strawberries from local summer berry picking and the sun’s been beating down. I’ve been feeling like eating very cold things – crisp, sweet cubes of cold-from-the-fridge watermelon, mostly – so popsicles felt like the right thing to do! These are so painfully easy – making popsicles is like making smoothies – take what you want, blend the ingredients and pour into molds – then you’re done like frozen dinner.

strawberry buttermilk popsicle recipe - coco cake land

Strawberry Buttermilk Popsicles

10 popsicles

For The Popsicles

  • 1 pound of washed and hulled strawberries, preferably local summer fruit
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • ½ cup full fat Greek vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • pinch of salt

Make It!

1. In a medium bowl, blend all of the ingredients together using an immersion blender. (Or, use a conventional blender!)

2. Pour mixture into a spouted liquid measuring cup.

3. Using the spouted measuring cup, carefully pour the popsicle mixture into your popsicle mold.

4. Freeze for a minimum of four hours or overnight until firm.

5. To remove pops from mold, run the popsicles under very warm water for 15-20 seconds to dislodge.

strawberry buttermilk popsicle recipe - coco cake land

strawberry buttermilk popsicle recipe - coco cake land

pink flower and popsicle stick!

PS – any berry is interchangeable in this recipe! Blackberries or raspberries would be perfect too!

Summer pops! More popsicles recipes on Coco Cake Land:

Milky Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles. These ones are ridicks delicious.

Farmer’s Market (aren’t I cool?) red currant tart and tangy popsicles! 

And if you’re feeling wacky tobacky - earl grey milky tea popsicles with grass jelly!

Also: this is not popsicle related but WATERMELON CARVINGS! Maybe I need to put “make a watermelon carving” on my summer bucket list.

Happy popsicle making, my friends! xo Lyndsay 

Sugar Crush: Molly Yeh!

citrus confetti cake molly yeh interview

When I think of Molly of My Name Is Yeh, I think of this song by Ex Hex, for its whimsy, guitar sounds, fun party lady times. Like a party with Molly would just turn out like this – chuckles galore, gorging on food, deviled eggs, cake, cocktails, sweet guitar vibes and crushing on life. Molly World!! As with many of us old timer bloggers, Molly has been around these interweb parts before, blogging since 2009 in fact…

courtesan au chocolat by molly yeh

But there is a reason Molly has stuck around, and become a huge part of the food blogosphere as we know it today –  Molly is HEE-larious, her personality is infectious, her photographs are bonkbonks and she is an all around treasure trove of coolness and cuteness. She is like a dreamcatcher, ladling up delightful snacks and new friendships and blasting out delicious, off-kilter recipes in her sweet sweet spell. As I wrote about her before, which I still profess to now: “Molly brightens the internet like a half Chinese half Jewish, percussion-playing gorgeous firecracker blasting through the milky way!” Truth.

mousse moose cake molly yeh

Molly’s marzipan moose mousse cake. Hehe!

molly-yeh-interview-11

Love this sparkly gal so much I even got to make a PIE for her wedding.

courtesan au chocolat by molly yeh

(Also, last year, Molly, Renee and I triple teamed up to make courtesan au chocolat, a la Grand Budapest Hotel … it was FUN!)

molly-yeh-interview-10

And here is Molly and Nick, cutting into the eggiest cake that could ever be at their wedding last year. So here you go: I’m sugar crushing on my buddy today – Molly Yeh! Go Yeh Go! (say that five times fast)… 

Molly! Using your favourite ingredients, walk us through making us a cake from start to finish! 

I have a very particular order to things when I make a cake. Very particular. Dry ingredients always come first, that way you can reuse the measuring cups without washing and drying them. And the retired mathlete in me always tries to find a common denominator in my measurements, like do I need 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of flour? Great, I can get away with only dirtying up the 1/4 cup. Once I have my dry ingredients mixed together, then I mix the wet ingredients in this order: eggs, extracts, oil, other add-ins like nut butters or tahini, milk, and then if it’s a chocolate cake (hopefully it’s a chocolate cake), boiling water. Eggs come first because that way if something unexpected happens like there’s a double yolk or there’s some blood in it or if I get a shit ton of eggshell in the bowl, it’s easier to fix, whereas if I cracked an egg into a whole bowl of batter, it would be a great deal harder to fix. After eggs come extract, if I’m feeling nostalgic it’s clear imitation vanilla, and then hopefully a bit of almond as well. I love almond. Oil comes next, and I try to think ahead so that if I need to measure out peanut butter or some other sticky substance like molasses or honey, I can use the same measuring cup because whatever oil is left in the measuring cup will help the sticky stuff slide right out. And then dairy, usually buttermilk. Whisk up the wet ingredients, add it to the dry ingredients, whisk in the boiling water, pour it into cake pans, and bake! When those are done and cooled, I level them, freeze them, and then hopefully by then I have some sort of idea in mind for how I’ll decorate them. Marzipan shapes are my go-to. And sprinkles! Of course. Many many sprinkles.

sprinkles cake molly yeh

Using your least favourite ingredients, walk us through making us a cake from start to finish!

First I put a gas mask on so that I don’t have to smell any of this. I mash up bananas, add mushrooms, decorate it with olives and then ship it off to anyone that I have beef with at the moment. My second to last Uber driver! I’d send it to him.

molly yeh cake

You’re basically (and well-deservedly!!) the It Girl of the blog world – cute, stylish, aspirational, creative, hyper-talented and hilarious – What has been your greatest bloggy related accomplishment, small or big? 

If no one read my blog, and if I didn’t make one cent off of it, I would still do it. And being able to say that about my job is what I consider to be my greatest accomplishment.

strawberry hi hat cupcakes

You have a beautifully minimalist modern meets casual country vibe to your photos – what are some of your favourite photography, lighting or styling tips? 

Wait til a storm’s a comin, and then snap away. “Deliciously cloudy,” I call it.

snail cake molly yeh

What are your top three favourite songs or albums, and why? 

I wasn’t a complete person until I heard Sufjan’s latest album. I’m not a lyrics person, I just let his sounds wash over me like a hot sauna. Son Lux and Punch Brothers and Lorde’s music tend to get into my bones like that too.

painted striped cake molly yeh

Your favourite piece of music?

Mahler 2 and Philip Glass’ Satyagraha. Oh! And Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht. And if you don’t know them, listen to them in that order. Get a little bit drunk for Satyagraha.

What are you favourite movies? 

The Back to the Future trilogy.

cute smile molly yeh interview

Do you ever wish you still lived in NYC? Do you see a greater movement of people returning to slower, rootsier lifestyles? 

NO. I wish I still had access to Breads Bakery and Hummus Place and all that pizza and my friends and the music scene. But no, day to day life, having to use that subway system, living in an apartment with a small kitchen, I do not miss that.

confetti cake molly yeh interview

How do you deal with blogger burn-out?  Sometimes it feels so rat-racey to me … like I can’t bear to look at another DIY or recipe and it’s rare to find a new blog (food or otherwise) that isn’t trying to be a template of one that already exists … food styling, recipes, everything’s repeating itself – who do you find to be innovative, or fresh, funny or interesting to read these days? 

There are two points where I get stuck most often in the blogging process: the photo styling and the writing. Styling is challenging for me because while I love looking at photos that use beautiful props and effortlessly scattered ingredients, every time I go to do it myself, the logical part of me (which is a big part of me) is like, no, none of this makes sense. So that really results in a minimalistic vibe, but that can feel too minimalistic to me at times, so when that happens I’ll just like stare at Cynthia and Linda Lomelino‘s photos and even try to replicate their styling as an exercise. Once Cynthia and I did a shoot together and I couldn’t believe the styling magic that she was doing before my very eyes. When I hit a writing rut, my first line of defense is usually to go read Nico Muhly’s blog. He doesn’t write often enough, I guess he’s busy writing operas, but his use of the English language makes things like the entryway in a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Indiana sound fascinating. I want to make the entryway in a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Indiana sound fascinating. Other people I love are Graham Blackall, Josh Scherer, and this new-to-me blogger called Beau (Probably Baking). They say it like it is and they’re not a-holes! It’s great.

marzipan cake molly yeh

What are some of your favourite cookbooks, and why?

Jerusalem and Janna Gur’s Book of New Israeli Cuisine because I could eat Israeli food every single day, three meals a day, if I had the produce for it. Rose Bakery’s Breakfast, Lunch, and Tea has the photography that got me into food photography. A stack of my mother in law’s church cookbooks has taught me so much about my new home. And then Food52 Genius Recipes is exactly genius. And Tara O’Brady’s book… heavens, her photography takes no prisoners. You’re gonna have to stop me because I could go on and on about this, I have a large stack of cookbooks that I sit with on the couch and cuddle with on a regular basis, I’m still working my way through.

strawberry hi hat cupcakes molly yeh

What would be your last meal on Earth? 

Mac and cheese.

Any last words of inspiration for the readers out there??

“When life gives you lemons, squeeze them on a schnitzel!”

Go Yeh Go! This should be a tshirt, I believe. Thanks so much Molly! Check out more of Molly’s wonderful insanity over at My Name Is Yeh, or glomp onto her Instagram feed, because everyone is possibly painfully addicted to Instagram!

Sungday Morning

ice cream sandwich ice cream cone party!

These sunshiney ice cream treats look like toys to me! Nope, they’re 100% real and I ate them all. Muffin top is like a voracious amoeba and must smorgasbord on treats when feeling like it. Because blogging on a Sunday is blogging on a Sunday. Because the blog rules don’t apply to me anymore because I am a bald eagled Vietnamese pot bellied pig head who finally air guitared to the Ramones with her son this morning. Saturday morning I woke up without the immediate barfs, the chemical metallic taste almost faded from my mouth. The sun streaked into our kitchen, a breeze blew through the room, the morning was lit with hope and Cheerios with almond milk and banana slices. Hey ho! Let’s go! We followed up our morning rocking out with a gentle walk around the neighborhood. We admired trees and flowers. We talked about gardening and fences in the sun. I was timid, I was scared. I didn’t want the chemo gods to think I was getting greedy with my day. But so far it’s worked out ok. I have one more chemo to go at the end of the month.

green manicure

On Monday I thought I was cool as all heck with my modern, muted green manicure colour – D’OH! Same colour as the chemo chairs. Just looking at this photo makes me feel ill. I think the word chemo will forever make me shudder.

chocolate donuts banquet atelier tea towel

I was so pleased with myself with these donuts. Because … I didn’t make them! I’ve been getting way more into styling for the fun of styling lately with my zero percent energy to do much in the way of baking. One of my favourite things is to style and photograph the baked goods after creating … so my new jam is BUYING stuff and making it look how I want it to! These glistening chocolate glazed donuts I bought from an uber popular chain store around the corner from my house. I think the donuts were 90 cents… I styled them with sprinkles and jibby jabby things around the house and they became MINE. Not the freshest donuts, I must add – but not horrible to eat for less than a buck… yes of course I ate them… I’m no fool…

mint green ice cream cone on pink wall

CONEHEAD! I am cheers-ing the world in this picture. Cheers, world!

pink malt ball topped vanilla cupcake

And then I did bake! (a few weeks ago, in between chemo rounds)… I made these furry buttercream vanilla cupcakes for a new friend. I feel like I want to bake a million cakes for all of the beautiful and kind people who have come out of the wordwork. It’s incredible the friendships that can form out of shitty times. Forever grateful for all of the kindness in my life.

pink sprinkled homer simpson style donut

Two takes on national donut day (those crafty donut purveyors, coming up with their own day and hashtag! National Beef Tendon Day is not quite so popular). Homer Simpson donut above, because don’t have a cow man. And Katherine Sabbath style drippy meringue donut below!

katherine sabbath style donut with meringues

Color blast! I love those crispy freeze dried raspberries. So textural and tangy and flavourful.

crushed colourful meringue kisses

A pretty mess of meringues! Learn how to make these swiss meringue kisses! They really are like eating wispy clouds of crispy marshmallows.

spam with cheese

I do, I do – I do love SPAM. My amazing friend Steph gifted me this can of Spam with CHEESE, no less! Oh fried Spam. I’m getting disturbingly good at caramelizing brown sugar/soy sauce with the fat of Spam into a crisp sugary crust of porky deliciousness… how are Spam slices, fried, so much like meat pillows? There is a lightness, almost like it’s whipped, in the fatness – it’s so confounding. Gad it’s gross when it slides out of its can though. It does resemble dog food. BUT… quickly scuttle past that realization and FRY IT UP and you won’t regret it. Better than bacon. Last year I wrote about how to make spam musubi – I know, I’m a weirdo. Fried Spam with rice and soft boiled egg was the first thing I felt like eating out of my latest chemo fog. Chemo screws up your tastebuds – every thing tastes SERIOUSLY GROSS and sweet and sickly… and all of a sudden you’re craving salty pork from a can … Hehe. Happy Sunday, my friends – hoping you are well! xo Lyndsay 

Berry Good Summer Times – Strawberry Picking Vancouver

strawberry ice cream cone

red strawberry upick

Growing up pretty urban-y in Vancouver, I don’t ever remember going to pick strawberries in the summer! (MOM!?? Wuh happened!?) It could have also been because my dad worked in the produce industry selling fruits and vegetables all day long – so our house was always a cornucopia of fresh fruit through the seasons and the last thing my dad probably felt like doing was adding MORE fruit to his days?? Rich and I finally added berry picking to our lives over the last few years, first when discovering hordes of blackberry bushes through the Vancouver Gulf Islands on past sailing trips, glistening berries like dark caviar which we’d pack carefully into tupperware and turn into blackberry pancakes or even blackberry pie, made in a tiny sailboat galley! I was so proud of my buttery crust made by (floury goop covered) hand, rolled out with a wine bottle and messily pressed into a aluminum pie pan I found at an island provision store. No temperature dials on the mini galley oven either – just a single flame and a slow watchful eye, bobbing at anchor.

basket of local strawberries upick vancouver

Just outside of Vancouver lies a heaven of strawberry patches for big and little hands to pluck away at! Sometimes it’s serious business, women in straw hats pulling wagons packed to the brim with bright, perfectly ripe berries – jars of winter jam await, and pies galore. We did a double whammy of strawberry picking Vancouver this past weekend – I was determined to powerblast summer while I could – what if I missed strawberry season because of stupid old chemo making me feel like a grey potato??? Never!!

two little boys picking strawberries

We first headed out to Langley to Krause Berry Farms, meeting up with my good pal Becky and her two freaking adorable kiddos. Teddy and Mo crouching low to pick berries… Krause Berry is super fun for “the whole family” as they say – a sandy play pit with toys and a giant play tractor with slides, plus they have a takeout stand featuring strawberry milkshakes, pie and baked goods, a huge market full of bakery items, ice cream buckets to go and anything strawberry you can think of. Wear sunscreen and a hat! It’s MEGA hot. We picked with the kids for about 20 minutes Then off to get milkshakes… Teddy kept picking the green ones or “tasting” them as he went … our basket was a scattering of half-bitten berries.. oops. Krause Berry Farms is about 45 minutes from Vancouver but it’s a fun destination for sure! It would be a cute place to go on a first date, hint hint, to anyone who’s looking to charm a future boyfriend or girlfriend! ^__^ Then you can bring the berries home and make a pie together! This would be a great test of compatibility, don’t you think?

emma lea farms strawberries upick

On Saturday we met up with another good friend Tara and her daughters and went to Emma Lea Farms- a lovely, more mellow joint out in the cutest town of Ladner, which doggoneit – was not very far from Vancouver – we zipped along the freeway and arrived in just over 20 minutes! So a closer strawberry picking drive if you happen to live in Vancouver. Emma Lea was so cute too, they have a mini playground and a sandpit for the kiddos, plus SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM which is a crucial purchase for a conehead like me. I topped mine with a mini strawberry… ha.

soft serve ice cream emma lea farms

emma lea farms

Here’s Teddy doing some “picking” of his own. Oops. I can’t get him to stop picking his nose for the life of me so I just let it be. Hopefully he’s not still picking his nose in college.

strawberry sundaes

Our freezer is loaded! I think I will make jam, scones, ice cream, popsicles … ! Strawberry picking Vancouver 2015! Inspiration Nook had a “summer food bucket list” idea which I thought was way more do-able than listing off a lifetime bucket list. Strawberry picking was on my summer bucket list. Still oodles of berries to be picked – do it! What is on your summer bucket list? xo Lyndsay 

Sungshine: It Was A Good Week

pretty pink donuts

How many puns can I make on my own name? If you have your own blog, I say why the hell not. But yes – it was a good week. It was my goal to feel healthy and energetic for this past week – a very special week because my husband graduated from medical school! Holy shnikey. It feels so surreal that he is a certified MD. Prescription pads flying, meds for everyone! Er… not quite. My poor husband has had a crash course in fertility preservation, breast cancer treatment and chemo these past four months… while still managing to power-study and pass his exams with flying colours (plus… taking care of me, and our son). I am so insanely proud of him. Here we are right after his graduation:

UBC med school graduation

My sweet friend Sunja Link, a fashion designer and cool mama, made me the black linen head scarf. I must admit I get a lot of looks wearing the head scarves because I like them piled high and dramatic – they feel less cancer-y to me this way. Sikh men double take with mild confusion, and others think: religious garb? Fashion turban? Rastafarian? Ballsy fashionista? Or… ohhhhh…. chemo! Look away! Look away!

mini doogie howser

COMEDY! Rich dressed Teddy up in his graduation cap and gown. The tiniest half Chinese Doogie Howser MD.

med ball UBC couple

On his graduation night, there was his med school ball – kind of like a teen prom. We were definitely the oldest people there. My sister helped me go shopping for my week of events, and I am super into this silk polka dot top/lacey skirt/black wedge look… plus… I wore my wig!! At the last minute I decided to throw ‘er on. I ripped open the wig box, flung it out of it’s netting and pulled it on my head. I figured, if drag queens can work a tight itchy wig, fancy dresses and high heels AND sing, dance and perform under hot lights, this lil breast cancer patient could give it a try too!! After a while I was used to wearing it, and I looked and felt so much like my old self – how I remember myself looking – that I felt great. Incognito, comfortable in myself, happy – pretty, even. Walking in to the med ball was like Andie and Duckie walking into the prom at the end of Pretty In Pink. Awkward as hell… late 30s oldies amongst the teen excitement vibe of young party animals … but we eased into it… and ended up having a great time!

sala thai restaurant vancouver

We also celebrated with a dinner party at our fave Thai restaurant in Vancouver! Gotta love it when your kid only eats a bowl of coconut rice and a tall cool glass of milky.

whistle and flute tshirt

Ice cream guy! This little trooper. My heart and soul. He loves ice cream as much as I do.

hand drawn cartoon menu

Teddy and I have really been getting into playing “restaurant!” I drew two menus and I am pretty stoked on them. Drawing was all I did when I was a kid… so it was fun to doodle and colour some menu snacks… and charge 1980s era prices… I’m thinking of drawing up some cute images and printing them on kiddo tshirts to sell in my online shop! Why the heck not.

angel dear owl blanket

Owlie in the wild … Teddy’s favourite security blanket thingie came with us on a nature walk in Lynn Valley…

dad and son lynn valley hike

Teddy’s pretty huge for the hiking backpack yet he’s too little to go on his own just yet … so we mix it up, carry him for a bit and let him run around too… burning off his seemingly endless energy. It felt SO nice to get out into nature. I breathed the air deep into my lungs and took in all of the beauty.

liberty bakery vancouver cookie

I even got to go for tea with two good pals. Couldn’t resist this giant teal blue iced sugar cookie in a big old circle! So cute, from Liberty Bakery – a lovely, artful cafe here in Vancouver. Tomorrow I start my “new” chemo – after my last round, my oncologist decided to take me off of one of the demonic chemo drugs and try me on a new “cocktail.” So I’m starting six rounds, once a week, of a lower dosage of a different drug – fingers, toes and butt cheeks crossed that I get through it without too much pain! Can’t believe it’s almost June. Hoping to do some light camping and mini getaways this summer with my little family once this is all over! Thank you as always for the sweet support. Hope all my cake pals, blog friends and readers out there are doing well! And a special shout out to my mother-in-law for staying with us for two weeks during a particularly rough time. xo Lyndsay

Here Comes The Sung

ranunculus ice cream cone

Give peace to my body. Give peace a chance – flower cone power. A peace offering.

totoro cookie liberty bakery

This is my face. Skeptical guy. Totoro cookie like a magic eightball.

chemo patient head scarf

This was me one week after my second round of chemo. The sun was out, Spring was calling outside. We decided to walk around the block, take it easy. Many friends had delivered to me some great scarves for some more soft and scarf-y ladylike cancer looks. I was feeling pretty ok, like I could tolerate some social activity and walk the neighborhood. So I tied up this lovely cotton scarf up into my best Amy Winehouse and smoothed on some lipstick. I looked in the mirror and thought, “well gee this hasn’t been so bad.” I asked Rich to take a photo of me in front of this urban looking wall in our neighborhood. I had an Amy Winehouse joke I wanted to make. I was feeling like I could eat something. I was holding Teddy’s hand. I had my arm around my husband while Teddy rode on top of his shoulders. We looked at the trees and flowers. We looked for neighborhood cats. I felt happy.

That’s when the chemo demons heard me. They said “Woh. This lady is getting off too easy this round. Let’s f*ck with her.”

ranunculus ice cream cone

So they took me down. The next day I broke out in hives all over my body. My head was covered in red itchy welts. My eyes swelled up. Then I started getting a fever and the chills, a dangerous sign of infection for a person who’s blood cells were annihilated. I ended up at the emergency room, weak as a slug, hives broken out all over my body – even my crotch – and my hands were ballooning up to cartoonish proportions, like someone had injected them with air. I was treated for a kidney infection, then sent home – only to come back the next morning because my ring finger, tightened to purple knuckles from my wedding band, was swelling like a jumbo sausage and I had to get my wedding ring sawed off. Nothing would work on the hives – dose after dose of Benadryl and I was still in agony. So my oncologist said I could try half a steroid, a powerful anti inflammatory, although it would also further weaken my immune system. I was desperate. Each night I prayed I would feel better tomorrow. I had to feel better tomorrow???

pretty donuts

The steroids worked – except they gave me burning pain in my stomach, chest and throat, and the most awful searing pain in my forearms, so much so that I could not move. As long as I stayed still they didn’t hurt. So on Sunday, I laid in bed on Mother’s Day, frozen in time, crying most of the day, tears trickling into my bald head and pooling on my pillow. I watched The Princess Bride. I watched The Mindy Project. I prayed for time to pass and for the pain to pass. By Monday when I woke up, the pain had mostly dissipated in my arms. I swallowed, and the burning had mostly gone away. I sat up in awe, in fear of what might be next. Each day I trepadatiously awoke, fearful of any itch, pain, weirdness. But now it’s Friday and while I am very tired, I think I made it through.

little boy in headscarf

Me and my boo. Dude looks like a lady and he’s perfectly happy to be “just like mom” – scarf guy! If my T wants to dress like a lady now or in the future that is fine by me. I will accept and love him no matter who he becomes.

kids superman costume

In his Superman costume from his Auntie Shelley – I don’t remember Superman having baggy-ass pants?? He was so excited to wear it. No morning is complete without a little stick bass jamming. All week Teddy was asking me if I was feeling better. He told me he missed me. My heart broke, as I laid in bed, missing out on his days. I want to savour each one of his little sweet and funny days. He’s growing so fast, talking so much, saying so much hilarious stuff that I want to record forever. I’m happy I’m finally feeling better and I can play with him once again. We mostly pretend we’re driving cars and motorbikes and stopping at various drive-thrus and restaurants for “hamgunbars and chocolate milk.” Hehe. PS this is nice – I was nominated as one of Vancouver’s top mom bloggers. Sending you all love and wishes for sunny happy days. xo Lyndsay

Floating Along

beta 5 creampuffs vancouver

The days are really blurring together. My mind is but a facsimile of what it once was – I reminisce about my old brain. A friend emailed me asking me if chemo brain was anything like mama brain – she is a new expectant mom – and I thought, shite, no. For me, mama brain came from the sleep deprived zombie nights, nursing Teddy at all hours and keeping him happy and non-crying. Chemo brain comes from having your brain fried up like offal cuts on poison drugs! But what a difference a cream puff can make, right?! My dear sis brought me a box of my fave Vancouver cream puffs the night before my second round of chemo. I chowed down through those creamy crispy crumbly textures and flavours. Closed my eyes and ate through the anxiety.

bc cancer agency

Oh how I miss my artful bowl cut, as seen above, during my very first chemo treatment in April… At the time I was so sad to chop my long black hair into the short little ‘do six weeks ago but now I am a solid believer in the short cut. Casual times, no muss, no fuss, no hair drying and no products! But now… NOW I am so sad that my little bowl cut is gone. Because this happened: 

chemo shaved head

My hair was starting to float down like dog-shedding snowflakes, raining hard on my bowl cut parade. Then it began pulling out in huge chunks. And I couldn’t stop pulling at it because I was so fascinated/disturbed. So the time came to shave it off like a teen lawnmower. I was trying to stay thrice removed from the head shave, just mentally floating above, peeking in… I asked Rich to crank some metal and I was trying to stay tough. I was doing ok, laughing even, mostly in shock, until we cut off my bangs – my precious bangs! I’ve had my black bangs for TWO DECADES. A friend once described them to me as my signature look so I glomped onto that idea. When they floated away to the floor in a shaved off heap the tears started pouring down my face.

unnamed-1

Looks. Playing with my newfound looks – thug fisherman meets Ian Mackaye. I walked in behind a woman and her two children going into the Ladies Washroom wearing this and I got a freaked out double take. It was so disconcerting and bizarre that I had frightened her – I had forgotten that I wasn’t a long haired lady-looking woman anymore…

chemo head scarf

This is me right before my second chemo. Chiquita Banana meets Rosie the Riveter, perfect since I am yellowy Chinese AND a feminist. The scarf is light as a feather and colourful and made me feel a little less thug life man-about-town. My red lipstick always helps.

chemo wig hat toque

THIS look – this is my wig! It looks exactly like my old hair … it’s so bizarre though, holding it up, it feels like I’ve scalped someone – wigs are creepy. And SOOOO hot. This wig, with the cotton toque on top, it feels like I’m walking around with a bonfire on my head.

ice cream lamp

I have been the recipient of so many incredible acts of kindness and love. It gives me hope in humanity and makes me count every blessing and friendship and family member. My sweet little boo holding the soft serve ice cream lamp a group of friends gave to me to cheer me up. LOVE it. So silly and fun and perfect because I am a maximum conehead.

kitchen culinaire pie

This incredible spread … including the gorgeous flowers … from my neighbor – chef and mama Julie of Kitchen Culinaire, who also happens to have an incredible Instagram and blog… Her work makes me want to be a better cook…

candy letter cake - coco cake land

Cake. It’s always on my mind, Willie Nelson style. My forever love affair. Making lists of new cake ideas, but listless in my energy and abilities… which makes me upset, anxious, depressed … I know my shitty energy and feelings of chemo-syrup-head won’t last forever. But it’s depressing to me to not have the ability to create at the moment …

cat bus cake - coco cake land

Like this happy chappy catbus cake. Sometimes I just have to go back in time and look at the work I’ve made and know that I’ll get back there soon.

fish birthday cake tutorial - coco cake land

Right now I’m just floating along. Like this silly fish cake. Glub glub. I feel like a fish face, round and puffy, maybe a fish trapped in a tank at a Chinese restaurant. Lying in bed, watching Mind Of A Chef, surfing Instagram and posting little things and interacting a bit, impulse shopping and being a general idiot. My Brillo pad hair rough against my pillow, headphones in, drifting in and out of sleep, snacking on crackers and warm water. I’ve been trying to listen to Just Kids by Patti Smith but her voice is so soothing I’m out like a light and have slept through several chapters. Hoping to get out of this fuzzy phase of chemo round 2 and come out into the sunshine, maybe turn the oven on, bake something, take a few pics… ambitious, but possible. I’m still happy though … I have so much amazingness in my life… but can’t help but feel down sometimes still… Thanks as always for the kind words – I am hoping you are all doing well! xo Lyndsay