Saturday, October 22, 2016

Music Therapy and Lemon Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli

During the past spring and summer, while I was in my cancer treatment  -- what I fondly refer to as as my "confinement" -- I spent a lot of time in quiet activity, when I wasn't sleeping, that is.

I did a little bit of gardening, watched some TV (mindless stuff, like Law and Order reruns and sentimental Hallmark movies), read quite a few books (the whole Millenium series, all 1500+ pages), colored a bit and played too much a lot of Words with Friends.

But one of the things that gave me the most pleasure was music. Music kept me company, energized me, soothed me, made me smile -- all the good things.

I love all kinds of music (although I really haven't warmed up to hip-hop too much) but I tend to drift to listening to my favorite classic rock picks.  My sister and brother-in-law put together a couple of playlists for me that introduced me to new stuff.

This collection of theirs has everything -- the familiar, the classic, a little jazz, a little country, a quite eclectic collection. And they put all 150 songs on an Ipod Shuffle, complete with ear pods. I also got the music on two CDs, labeled "Rosie I" and "Rosie II."

As the songs played randomly, I'd be listening to the Beatles, then U2, then Bonnie Raitt, then Pink Floyd, back to the Beatles, then Fleetwood Mac, Coldplay, or Michael Jackson.  And I met new (to me) artists -- Good Old War, You+Me, Patty Griffin, Liz Longley, Jimmy Eat World, Allen Stone, and many more.

On a good day . . . my music had me dancing.--forgive the reflection of my phone in my sunglasses--

On my especially good days, that music had me dancing as I went for walk or tended to my flower beds.

My favorite new song on the collection was a song called "I Feel Good",  by Thomas Rhett. Like the Pharrell Williams "Happy" song, it's impossible not to feel good, or dance, while listening to the song.

I feel good, today
can't nobody bring me down
I just got paid, and I think I'm gonna hit the town
Yeah my problems can wait til tomorrow, 
cause I feel good today yeah,
can't nobody bring me down...

Give it a listen and you'll see what I mean.

Music therapy was a part of  my cancer center treatment, too. During chemo days, when I wasn't listening to my own music or reading or making new friends with the other patients, we were treated to music played by a volunteer, a certified music therapist, who played her harp while we happily ate lunch.  

Phyllis played a variety of music; I recognized some classical music, but I also heard "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and a couple religious hymns, a nice variety. 

I got to chatting with Phyllis one day and learned that she got her certification through an online course. (I also had asked her what she called her little harp, thinking it must have a unique name. She told me, "It's a harp, although I call it my baby.")
Another therapy I relished was shopping therapy. One day, my sister Lynn was gracious enough to drive me to one of my many doctor appointments, and, of course, there was lunch and shopping to make the most of the  190+ mile round trip to Pittsburgh. A must stop (in addition to Home Goods) was Trader Joe's

I'm a little kid in Trader Joe's.  I want to thow everything into my cart.  I try and restrain myself but end up buying more than I should planned on.

My best purchase that day was a package of lemon pepper papardelle.

I love the wide pasta, but the flavoring of this was simply outstanding.  Sometimes, flavored pastas are more colored than they are flavored.  This pasta was definitely lemony, not overpowering, just obvious.  And the pepper was the perfect complement.

This was a "no recipe" night:

  1. Put water on to boil for the pasta.  Cook (undercook!) according to package directions.
  2. Cook a half head of fresh chopped broccoli with 2 tablespoons of water in the microwave for about 4 minutes. Drain.
  3. Brown 1 pound of the loose, fresh sweet Italian sauage in a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat.
  4. When no longer pink,turn down the heat to low.
  5. Add the cooked pasta and cooked broccoli to the pan.
  6. Add about 1/2 cup half-and-half and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Toss gently and serve.
  8. Wait for compliments.