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Lemon Chiffon Cake

May 20th, 2023 — 5:08pm

Oh god this is good. So light, so fluffy, so lemony. I tinkered with all the recipes until they were just right. You’ll need a lot of lemons and a chiffon cake pan, the kind with a tube in the middle and little feet to rest on when you flip it upside-down. I got mine at the Goodwill for like $3.

I did this in several stages because I’m tired. Cake one day, wrapped up well and waiting in the fridge. Lemon Goop the next day. The rest of the filling the next day. Then assembled on the fourth day.

Don’t be intimidated! Everything is easy. Just read it all very carefully before you begin.

First make the filling so it can chill:

Kara’s Lemon Cake Filling

Enough light yummy lemon filling for a big three-layer cake. Lighter than traditional cream cheese frosting; richer than plain whipped cream. You’ll need a lot of lemons! Tip: keep a bag of lemons in the freezer.


Lemon Goop
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/6 cup cornstarch
1 c combined lemon juice and water, half each, more or less. The more lemon, the better.

Whipped Cream/Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz cream cheese cold (1/2 block)
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c heavy whipping cream cold
pinch of salt


Lemon Goop
Whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan, adding liquid a little at a time to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Cool completely and refrigerate.

Whipped Cream/Cream Cheese Frosting
In stand mixer bowl, using paddle beater, beat cream cheese until soft. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat until thoroughly mixed. Use a scraper to scrape the bottom and make sure it all mixes together well. Work fast so it stays cold. Now switch to whisk attachment and add heavy cream by drizzling it down the side of the bowl while the machine is running. Beat until very stiff peaks form.

Now add the Lemon Goop in dollops while beating a little more. Don’t make butter!
Refrigerate until ready to use. Same day if possible.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 egg yolks
1/2 c lemon juice
1/4 c water
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup white sugar

One batch of Kara’s Lemon Cake Filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup sugar. Add oil, egg yolks, lemon juice, and water. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

In a small bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until peaks form. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, and beat until very stiff and shiny peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain. Turn batter into ungreased 10-inch tube pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 minutes (a little dry. try 47?) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert cake and cool completely in pan. When cool, loosen edges and shake pan to remove cake.

To Assemble Cake: Slice COLD cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Spread each layer with 1/3 of filling. Leave a half-inch margin so it doesn’t all squoosh out. Spread remaining filling on top.

Original recipe said to bake for 60 minutes but mine was well-done after 50. Your mileage may vary.

7 comments » | Blog, Recipes

Friday evening

May 19th, 2023 — 7:09pm

My beloved Uncle Scott flew out from Florida just to visit me! He came over at ten this morning and we shot the breeze for five and a half hours and it was awesome. I haven’t spent time with him since I was a child, when he was a hugely important part of my life, so I never realized how similar we are. We’re both happy with our own company and don’t care to be around other people too much. Both of us were a little nervous about visiting with each other — would we have anything to talk about? He wasn’t sure how sick I am; I wasn’t sure how red-state Jesus-y he is. But it couldn’t have been more wonderful. He’s a unix/linux guy, writes software etc., so he was pretty excited to find out that my favorite text editor is vi and that I still know my shell commands! :D

I honestly can’t believe we chatted so long and it didn’t exhaust me. That’s a vanishingly rare scenario. There are VERY few people I can spend time with, without getting the life force sucked out of me. Now I have one more for the list. And if I weren’t terminally ill, he wouldn’t have rushed out to see me (he’s my first visitor; he jumped on it as soon as he heard) and we might never have had that wonderful time together.

Tomorrow morning the Henry Tribe is coming over to meet Scott. Last night I made lemon pie filling (easy); tonight I made whipped cream/cream cheese frosting (easy) and folded the pie filling in. Light, fluffy, lemony. Tomorrow morning I’ll fill and frost the other half of my lemon chiffon cake to share with everyone. :)

And yes I’ll post the recipes if they turn out tasty!

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Friday morning

May 19th, 2023 — 10:08am

After lots of thought, we’ve decided to adopt a calm, loving, adult cat to be an emotional support for both of us, a furry friend, a companion for Dave when I’m gone. We’re very excited! Owen seems like our kind of guy, and his foster family thinks we’d be a good fit for each other.

We’re eager to do a virtual meet-and-greet with him soon!

2 comments » | Blog

Thursday night

May 18th, 2023 — 9:11pm

Henry brought Lulu over to visit with me after school and it was wonderful! We sat together for ages. I read to her, we played on our Nintendos, she brushed my hair, we chatted… it was just heavenly. And Henry whipped up a pizza for my dinner.

1 comment » | Blog


May 18th, 2023 — 2:59pm

Here’s a little thing that’s on my mind. It’s not a great big deal, but I need to get it off my chest.

There are a few of you, a very VERY few, who are coming at me with religious stuff. Obviously, you are people who appreciate my audiobooks but don’t know me at all, because if you did you’d know that the last thing I need is to be told that I can be “saved” if I read some bit of an old book or watch a video. Saved from what? Lol. I know you mean well, I really do, but those comments will never be posted and the emails are swiftly deleted.

You don’t need to ask permission to pray for me. I won’t know or care if you do or you don’t, and positive thoughts never hurt anyone! Knock yourselves out :)

I don’t believe in any kind of afterlife, and that kind of thing just makes me feel all squirmy and icky. I’ve had a full, excellent life. Soon I will take the Long Dreamless Sleep and my molecules will go back into the universe to be recycled. People will remember me for a long time and then eventually they won’t.

Before that, I have plenty of time to visit with my dear ones and take pleasure in the life that remains for me. What could be a better way to end a life on Planet Earth?

If your religion gives you comfort, hooray! My lack of religion gives me comfort, hooray! Let’s all just mind our own business <3

2 comments » | Blog

Wednesday evening

May 17th, 2023 — 7:25pm

I’ve had an excellent day. Henry worked from here all day, keeping me company and doing chores after work. Lovely hospice nurse Andrea came for my intake, gave us tons of helpful info. I ordered a ton of Japanese food via Ubereats — beef bento and veggie tempura for Henry and 32 California Rolls for me, to eat over the next few days. I need to graze, and they’re cool and light and nutritious. Spent too much money but oh well. :)

And then in the afternoon, Andrea called. Here’s what I just posted on mastodon:

Would you like to hear a story about american “healthcare”? 

Lovely hospice nurse came today to do my intake. Excellent visit, super helpful, excited about all the resources to help my family.

A few hours later she called. Turns out that when hospice gets involved, they become my insurance provider (somehow) and they won’t cover one of my specialty drugs because it is “life extending” and not just for comfort. It costs $30,000/month and they don’t want to eat it.

So my choice is: stop taking that drug and die in a month when my supply runs out, OR not sign up for hospice care. Guess which i chose?

So now we wait until we think I will die within the month and THEN sign on for hospice care, so i can get the drugs that will help me not feel like I’m suffocating, so my family has support, so i can get personal hygiene care, etc.

Nice, huh? It’s totally Kafka-esque.

So that was fun.

But! I just remembered I am already in the Palliative Care system! Wonderful Nurse Adam comes to check on me every couple months, and he hooked me up with physical therapy, and he keeps track of all my appointments and care plans and meds, etc. He texted earlier to say that I’d be unenrolled from Palliative now, but I just called him and told him the whole story and he’ll get me re-enrolled so he can continue caring for me, and then the Palliative Care team will be able to give me more and more care as I need it. Probably not grief counseling for my family and that kind of thing, but certainly help for me with comfort meds and personal hygiene etc. So it’s all good!

1 comment » | Blog

Wednesday early

May 17th, 2023 — 5:36am

Oh, to wake up after a comfortable night in my own bed with a wide-open window at my head and fresh summery air pouring in, listening to the millions of birds going bananas out there. Heaven. I’ll have my good frozen pancakes for breakfast in a few minutes.

Thank you, everyone, for the literally DOZENS of loving comments, emails, and texts. It’s overwhelming to see how much my quiet little life has touched the world and made things better. I wish I could give each of you the long, heartfelt reply that you deserve. Please know how much your words, and yourselves, mean to me <3

4 comments » | Blog

Tuesday night

May 16th, 2023 — 6:18pm


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Tuesday midday

May 16th, 2023 — 11:48am

I’m going HOME! My ride is scheduled for noon. Hospice is taking me home in an ambulance, which is nice as I’m quite weak and I won’t need to climb up our three front steps. Henry, Dave, Jayla, and the baby are waiting for me there. My wonderful nurse Evan and his student Brennan have just taken off all my monitors and removed all my IV ports. I’ll be home in an hour, probably!

I will have a BATH, the longest deepest bath ever. I will sit on my own sofa and drink from my own water bottle. I can do my embroidery. CLEAN FRESH CLOTHES. I can squeeze the baby and watch her run around naked in the yard on this hot day. Thinking of getting UberEats to bring us Japanese food for lunch in celebration — California rolls are light and cool and not too salty, and everyone else can enjoy ramen or teriyaki or whatever. I’ve gotta watch the salt, boo. I love salt. But I hate being full of fluid so it’s ok.

Is there anything better than going home to the people who love you? Sixteen days in the hospital. Man. But that’s it. Never again, never again.

3 comments » | Blog

Monday afternoon

May 15th, 2023 — 3:13pm

Ach, tough news. Docs predict I have mere weeks to live. I thought it would be a few months, but such is life. So. That’s how it is. It was hard to hear, but honestly after I had a good weep or two my mood changed and I feel really cheerful. I’m gonna go home tomorrow because there’s no point in staying in the hospital any more. I’m lining up a Home Hospice company.

I’m ready to stop struggling to stay alive. It has gotten so difficult. I feel bad for my loved ones of course. I’ll be having the Long Dreamless Sleep but they will miss me so much. Everyone has plenty of handmade keepsakes and quilts and my homemade audiobooks to remember me by. I can read to them FOREVER, how great is that? And there are my clever, beautiful granddaughters, one of whom has my lanky body while the other has my exact wavy red hair :D

I’ve ordered a big salad for lunch because I no longer need to worry about maximizing calories. So there.

Henry has purchased me a copy of Tears of the Kingdom so I can get stuck in right away!

16 comments » | Blog

Monday morning

May 15th, 2023 — 9:30am

Writing early before my Stamina meter goes empty.

Pretty good sleep. Done with antibiotics thank goodness. The nausea should be back to normal levels. Hoping gut flora will grow back soon, ugh. Sipping my hospital prescription kefir — 56 billion probiotics!

I’m still full of fluid. Not only abdomen but legs too, this time. It was really bad a couple days ago but I had big doses of IV diuretics yesterday and I’m down a whole liter! But I still weigh nearly ten pounds more than normal so we’ve got a while to go.

Good news, Dave’s angiogram went well. They found a big blockage and put in a stent. Sounds like he’s feeling much better. He says they’re talking about sending him home soon which, if he is basically self-sufficient, will make everything so much easier, care-wise. I’ve had to get care-givers on deck in case I went home before him, or we were both home but in bad shape. We shall see what the coming days bring… can’t make concrete plans yet in any case.

As soon as he gets home and can bring in packages, I’m gonna order myself a physical copy of the new Zelda game, Tears of the Kingdom. I’m hearing rave reviews and it sounds like it will be fun for those of us who aren’t into combat so much. Very excited to have this to play while i rest and heal.

Eager to feel well enough to get back to my blackwork embroidery, too. Not there yet, but maybe in a few days.

I think the plan for today is to rest and get rid of more fluids.

1 comment » | Blog

Sunday morning

May 14th, 2023 — 10:32am

I got some sleep and am feeling so much better today. My heart and lungs are behaving. Sinus rhythm, home levels of o2. I sat up in a CHAIR for a couple hours, reading. First time I’ve been able to read in two weeks. I am, however, still retaining fluid like crazy. Big fat puffy legs and feet. Yuck. So we’re upping my dose of diuretics today, by a lot, which should help.

Today is my final day of antibiotics. Food tastes nice again. Kind of tired now from sitting up so I’m back in bed listening to podcasts and doing the crossword. I am hanging in there. Dave is having an angiogram right now to see what’s wrong with him…

2 comments » | Blog


May 13th, 2023 — 7:31pm

Still alive, exhausted and suffering from antibiotics but generally doing better

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Friday night

May 12th, 2023 — 10:50pm

I’m in a real room again! Today was diuretics and antibiotics. Same plan for tomorrow and Sunday. Feeling much more human.

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Friday Morning

May 12th, 2023 — 10:37am

I am down to home levels of oxygen! My heart is in sinus rhythm! I’m sitting up in a chair! My legs are swollen bigly with fluid, so I’m looking at a few more days of IV diuretics, but I get to move to a normal room as soon as one opens up, YAY!

This is still, ya know, my final hospital visit, and it will be home hospice before too long. But my docs are thrilled by how I’ve bounced back. They can’t believe how tough I am. So maybe there’s a bit more time before hospice care.

Dave is in the ICU now too with fluid around his heart and I don’t know what else because he doesn’t have a phone charger. Different hospital, argh! We are QUITE A PAIR.

Thank you for all the messages of love. Yes, my time here is growing short but I’ve had YEARS more than anyone ever expected and they have been interesting years! Lol. I feel like the previous two years or so have been the best yet. Great mental health. Comfortable, quiet, calm life. Amazing stable loving relationship. And now I have a little extra precious time to spend with my loved ones (and reading, and crafting, and sitting in the sun, and listening to the rain).

A wonderful palliative care team stopped by yesterday to hear all about everything and find out how they could help. I asked if they could set me up with a home hospice who’d bring a therapy pet for visits. I wish so much for someone furry or feathered to spend time with. And I explained a tricky family dynamic, and they agreed with me that I don’t need to manage anyone else’s feelings! Not. My. Problem.

2 comments » | Blog

Wednesday evening

May 11th, 2023 — 8:48pm

Heart seems to be in sinus rhythm as near as they can tell. No cardioversion planned! More antibiotics, more diuretics, more observation, then eventually home maybe Sunday or Monday.

We’re out of treatment options. I spoke to the palliative care team and told them I don’t want to come back to the hospital. There’s just no point anymore. Visits are more frequent, of longer duration, more torturous, and of less efficacy. It’s time to call it a day. They’ll set me up with a hospice team whom I can call instead of 911 next time this happens, and they’ll come over and make me comfy at home.

Not sure how much time I have. Does anyone? I should think a few months, with luck. Plenty of time to spend quiet time with family, goof around online, do some knitting and embroidery, bake a few cakes, read some great books… all the things I love to do :D

3 comments » | Blog

Wednesday morning

May 11th, 2023 — 6:59am

Slept ok. Thank science for my Foley Catheter. It’s my best friend. Never need to get up to pee!

Yesterday they discovered a little pneumonia, so I’m on IV antibiotics for that. Good. It’s fixable. Also on IV iron for anaemia. Also a fixable problem. Other than that we watch and wait and wean down the oxygen. Not sure if my heart is in sinus rhythm or not. If not, maybe one more try at cardioversion tomorrow. Other than that we’re out of options. That’s ok though. They’ll let me go home anyway, once my o2 requirements are better, with Big Anti-Arrythmia Drugs, to spend some more quiet time with my family. :)

Had Ativan yesterday for antibiotic nausea and it knocked me flat! I still feel it. That’s the good stuff, damn. My nurse only gave me 1mg. Today we‘ll try .25mg lol.

Nearly every nurse says, “I have that eye mask! It’s the best!”

Also nearly every nurse, doc, and technician whom I see regularly tells me I have an amazing character/attitude. It’s so nice to hear. My respiratory therapist said “don’t ever change” :)

Still waiting for a Therapy Pet to show up. My nurse is going to check on that.

11 comments » | Blog

Tuesday morning

May 9th, 2023 — 10:12am

Yeah that was a very bad few days. Back in the ICU with low low oxygen. But it’s a bit better now, if far from my norm, and I feel less crappy and more perky. Got some decent sleep last night. I just stood up for a little while.

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May 8th, 2023 — 4:54pm

Too much

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May 7th, 2023 — 6:40pm


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