Reminisce

Hope you don’t mind, but today I feel like looking back. As progressive and free thinking as I like to think of myself, I love tradition and nostalgia. I think its important to remember the past as we move forward. As I was walking the other morning (walking is the best thinking time for me) I was thinking about, of all things, Martha Stewart. I remember my mother watching the Martha Stewart show and then subscribing to those beautiful glossy magazines, Martha Stewart Living. The photography was amazing, the content and layout were always tastefully done. Martha could make folding laundry look good! I loved the calendars and the “do you know?” pages. Even the advertisements were beautiful. Oh and don’t get me started on the Halloween issues, I think I have collected every single one! I felt like I could just fall into one of those magazines and live there forever! She seemed so organized and well put together. Was there anything Martha couldn’t do? Martha came across as a stern and no nonsense kinda lady, so I think she got a bad wrap. But no matter what you think about Martha, snobby, classy, bitchy,  or scandalous. She kinda made being a housewife cool, maybe she made it a little more glamorous.

I have never liked that term, housewife. I am not married to my house. I don’t want to be thought of as so and so’s wife. The word made me cringe. It implies that you stay home toiling away at chores or sit on the couch eating bon bons and watching soap operas all day! Neither one sounds very good. It sounds like, “Oh so you don’t work?” Now a days everyone should be working, right? I am beginning to believe that spending time taking care of your family is one of the most important jobs you can have. My Mom was a housewife and she loved it. She enjoyed baking and cooking and creating marvelous holidays for us. I am a strong independent woman, I have always made my own way. I have always worked unconventional jobs, training horses, running a riding school, cooking, and painting, all heavily steeped in tradition. I am very passionate about the things that I do. As I am recovering from my cancer I am embracing being a bit of a housewife. I enjoy doing all those amazing things I saw Martha and my mother do. I love cooking and baking and gardening. I enjoy taking care of my pets and making sure everyone is happy and healthy. I like

making my house comfortable and welcoming to my family and all who may visit. I love sharing good food and creating wonderful memories. I am so grateful that I am allowed this time to stop and smell the roses, to really connect with nature. I am on a healing journey right now and I am enjoying my peaceful little place.  I’m pretty sure I will never be the home diva that Martha Stewart is but I am working on creating a little haven of my own!  So maybe, just maybe…it’s a good thing!

Feelin’ Froggie

IMG_2291We have been in a drought for quite some time but finally, we have been getting some much needed rain. Just wondering, do we have to get it all at once? This is frog weather! It is smoldering here and the rain just seems to make it worse, feels like a steam room. And this year it’s extra “special” because the estrogen blocker I am on gives me hot flashes. So now I’m hot on the inside as well as hot on the outside! Everything is moldy and damp including me! And since Tallulah, the puppy, will not allow any throw rugs in the house (she seems to think they are possessed and it is her job to destroy them) the floor is in a constant state of mud. The heat makes her drink a lot of water and her lovely beard holds about a gallon, and she likes to share it with everyone! It is true when they say “When it rains, it pours!”

We travel often for work. We live on a small farm and have some wonderful animals, they are family. Little Tallulah is doing great! We call her Lulu for short. She is growing so fast, I swear you can almost see her growing! It is like having a toddler in the house. She believes that everything and everyone is hers. She does not believe in rules. And she has lots and lots of energy! She plays ball and frisbee. We go on long walks and car rides. She loves toys. Right now I am obsessed with dog toys! Well she loves them, all kinds. And it seems like every time I go out I find another toy I just have to get her! She has so many, I have to rotate them. But I must say she does really seem to enjoy them all. Sometimes she will pile them up all around her in the middle of the living room floor!

I have been trying to socialize her, by getting her used to all kinds of stuff. It’s really kinda fun. The other night we sat out in the backyard with her while neighbors were shooting off fireworks. At first she was a little nervous but once she saw we liked them and the treats started coming she was fine with them. I had anticipated taking her everywhere with me for her socialization but of course, about two weeks after I got her this canine flu thing broke out. So I am doing what I can to expose her to as much stuff as possible right here on the farm. And believe me there’s plenty of crazy stuff she has already gotten used to. Tractors and horses and saws and thunder, lots of thunder! I am hoping she will be a very well adjusted dog.

She is potty trained but…last week she had a little tummy trouble. And had me up all night every two hours to take her out for about 4 nights. Ugh! We seem to have gotten all that under control now. She has been sleeping through the night again. I need my beauty rest! So this got me thinking… how in the heck am I gonna be able to go out of town? My plan was to board her when I was away until she got a little more settled. But now with this canine flu thing there is no way!  And I won’t leave her in a crate for that many hours. So…on to the next project. A beautiful little outdoor kennel. I will keep you posted!

Make It Good

What a difference a day makes. So funny how good news can cheer you up. There is waaay too much gripeing, complaining and negativity out there. We do it to ourselves. We are force fed it by the media. Our closest friends and relatives can push it on us. We must not give in! Our time on this earth is limited and precious and we need to start living and loving more. Sure bad stuff happens and we will certainly have bad days but it just seems that negativity and drama are so rampant in our society right now. I have decided to avoid the news for awhile. I want to focus on me and what makes me happy. That may sound selfish but I am not buying into all of this craziness. I have enough trouble just taking care of me right now!

It has taken a while, much longer than I thought, to get back to feeling like myself again. I have started painting again and walking more. I just ordered some Tai Chi DVD’s and I am trying to eat clean. I am going to start taking a supplement called Turkey Tail Mushrooms, it is supposed to help boost your immunity. A very trusted and knowledgable friend told me about this. I did some research and my doctor said it was okay, so I ordered some last night. I like taking care of myself, it is something I have always tried to do. Until this cancer thing tried to take me down, which makes you feel helpless and out of control. I am taking my control back! It is empowering to feel like you are helping, supporting your body to heal itself. It is amazing the abuse our bodies can take and if only given a chance they work so hard to repair the damage. I had a wonderful visit with my doctor yesterday. My PET Scan results were great! REMISSION! I do feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I was a little anxious leading up to the test results, everything seemed to be hurting a little more and I felt a bit more tired. I think it is a mental thing, you start worrying and your mind takes over and fills in the blanks!

My doctors visit yesterday proved what I really already knew, I am so much better. My tumor markers have gone from 145 at the beginning of my treatment to 30, which my doctor says is normal. My blood work looks great and I am getting stronger. I could focus on the negative. I am still not allowed to ride, bummer! I am getting Xgeeva shots because my bones are still fragile. I will never be considered cancer free. I still have lots of aches and pains. I have this annoying neuropathy in my thighs. Night sweats and hot flashes. But I don’t want to live like that! So I will put my attention into what is good and makes me happy. I am still here. I have so much more living to do. I am thankful everyday. I have an awesome husband and great friends. I have a wonderful place to live with amazing animals. I feel so lucky, life is what you make of it…make it good!

You Are Here

You are here. Here I am. Some days I am still puzzled, how did I get here? Where am I headed? How did this happen? Still learning to take things day by day. I know, I know you’re thinking, just get over it and move on already! Believe me I am trying! I always seem to get ahead of myself. So I make all these plans and appointments and then I wonder why? What were you thinking? Oh thats right, you think you can do everything. Think again! Ha! I have been crazy busy the last few weeks. Just this week alone I drove to Georgia to pick up my new pup, which is upending the whole routine around here! I did the Mothers day things for friends and family, took the puppy to the vets, my own doctors appointment for blood work and XGeeva shot, had my cello lesson, took my big dog to the vets for some minor surgery, and had a root canal! I honestly hope the root canal was the last horrible thing that I have to put my body and mind through for awhile. Enough is enough! It actually wasn’t that bad and I am happy to get it over with. This tooth has been bothering me for awhile. When I was getting my chemo treatments and my platelets were so low my oncologist said a dentist wouldn’t touch me. So I guess, in some weird way, I am happy to be able to get it taken care of. In fact this little old tooth could have been making me feel not so super good.

Some days I just feel overwhelmed and worn out. But when I think back to what I have been through I am so excited at all I am able to do now. So I just have to slow down a little and let my body catch up to my mind. I know I am not as physically fit as I once was. It is coming back slowly but I find if I push myself too much I am not a happy camper! I was thinking about a personal trainer to whip my butt into shape? Hmm, no way! I’m not ready yet. Right now this new puppy is wearing my a** out! So I will just have to take it slow. Slower than I want? Yes. But as long as I’m moving forward I can’t complain. So I guess I will just have to make the best of my situation. You know, bloom where you’re planted! Maybe I will write more.

 

Anticipation

It is occurring to me that I spend a lot of time anticipating. Good news, bad news it really doesn’t seem to matter. I have been anticipating how my hair will look when it grows back. Anticipating the arrival of my new puppy. Anticipating the results of my next PET Scan. It is spring and I am anticipating new prospects and new adventures.  What will this next year bring? I am happy to still be here and looking forward to what ever is left. The good and the bad, this is life. Spring is a time for looking forward, not back!

Dont ignore your gifts. Take care of yourself and share your gifts with the world. This is my new mantra. Some of the things I would like to do this summer are number one, continue to heal and get better. Share my love of art with some children at a summer art camp that I am putting together. Help and encourage my friends and loved ones with their struggles/dreams. Have some deep thoughts and meaningful conversations. I hope I can get a little traveling in and enjoy my new puppy! In other words take the time to really appreciate all that I have.

I have some cool info to share with you about neuropathy. This is some weird side effect you can get with your chemo treatment. I have tingling, burning, and numbness (feels like when your foot falls asleep) in my thighs and my doctor said it could take up to a year to go away and if its not gone by then it may be permanent. Ok I can deal with it, it’s not the end of the world but annoying for sure!  I have started taking a homeopathic called Lycopodium and it seems to be working! I can stand longer with no burning. It’s not gone, but it is much better. Every little bit helps!

So I am looking forward, with anticipation, to the wonderful new adventures this summer may bring. Don’t worry, I will keep you posted. In the mean time, I’m sending good vibes to all the mothers out there, know you are loved! Stay strong!

Mothering, Smothering, Idk?

Well here it comes again, mothers day. A wonderful time to really think about and appreciate all the things that mothers do. Sometimes you don’t realize all the ways your mother has influenced your life. Sometimes you wish your mother was here for advice, for comfort, for those little things that mean so much, that only mothers can do. Sometimes your not that close with your mother or don’t even know who she is. I have heard that before we are born we choose our parents. I don’t know if that is true but I was very close with my mother. My mom was larger than life! She was a free spirit and chose to do things her own way. Cooky at times but I loved her! I am certain I got some of my wild craziness from her! My love of animals and nature, my love of cooking and baking, my love of adventure too. I am grateful to my mom for all these things. I do miss her.

Sometimes I wonder if I was a good mom, I tried. Children don’t come with instruction manuals, so we all just do the best we can. Actually that is all we can do. I thought I did a pretty good job. Sometimes, even in the hardest of times, they turn out wonderful and sometimes, despite our best efforts, they travel a rocky road. My daughter is all grown up and following her own path.

I may be outta my mind! But I am going to be a mommy again…a puppy mommy! I can pick her up in two weeks, she is so cute! I am so excited! WAIT! Before you judge me. Let me just say that every pet I have ever had has been a rescue, and I have loved them all. And when I worked at the Bleu Biscuit we worked with the Humane Society and I found forever homes for 100’s of dogs and cats! In fact the dog I have now, McKenzie, was from there and I love her so much I wanted to find one just like her! She happens to be a Wire Haired Pointing Griffon, hard to find. I even looked up rescues and couldn’t find one.  The only breeders I found were way up north like in Idaho or Kansas. So after a year of looking and waiting for a rescue, a breeder from Georgia contacted me with a new litter of pups! So I had to do it, right!? I must be cray cray! I am heading to Georgia in a couple of weeks to bring home my new baby. Wish me luck!

Whatever I Want

I am pretty sure my doctor has no idea, but one of the best things she told me was to eat whatever I want. Of course I was happy with my latest test results, that the treatments were working, and that I wasn’t dying. But to someone that has struggled with their weight all their life, this was amazing! I have always been so strict, eat this, don’t eat that. Exercise, exercise exercise. Judging food all the time. I love food, I cook and bake and limit and control. A terrible life long battle where weight gain always seem to win! I was a vegetarian for five years, mostly because cows live on our road and they are beautiful, kind creatures and seeing them every day just made it hard for me to eat them. But also because it seemed healthy and I might, just might, lose some weight. Nope not me.

About six years ago I was told I had a thyroid issue. Yes, finally a reason why I don’t lose weight! I was prescribed some medication. I took it for a year. I didn’t lose a pound! I joke with my friends that if there was ever an apocalypse or food shortage my horse and I would be the last ones standing, she has a weight issue too, that poor girl lives on air!

When I got diagnosed with cancer, friends and family and books on cancer were telling me to eat this, don’t eat that. No sugar, lots of meat, no meat, limit the carbs, watch out for salt. Apricot kernels and alkaline water, thats what you need! Sounds wonderful! Not so much! I was still reeling from the whole diagnosis thing and what I faced. I was angry that I had tried to eat healthy, and take care of myself all my life and I still got cancer! The last thing I wanted to do was have an even stricter food regimen, I just didn’t have the energy! At the time I had no appetite. I was not very interested in food for the first time in my life. I had lost 12 pounds. And my doctor said, eat whatever you want, live a little.

What? You mean its ok to eat a cupcake? A hamburger? Some mac and cheese? It was so liberating! My body took a huge involuntary inhale/exhale and relaxed thankful for the permission, for the first time in my life, to not worry about food. Just eat what you want when you want it. Wow I have never done that, I don’t even know what I want! Cupcakes! I think I ate three cupcakes the first week and believe it or not I was still alive and I didn’t want anymore cupcakes!  I had some mac n cheese, it was all I had for dinner one night and low and behold, I didn’t want any more mac n cheese! I also had a few Mountain Dews, real sugar of course, but after just a few days of allowing myself this treat, I wanted no more!  These were things I would just not allow myself to eat before, I almost felt naughty! As time went on and I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted, and listened to my body, I realized I wanted and craved healthy food, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy smoothies, nuts and small amounts of lean meat. You are what you eat, and thank goodness I don’t want processed, fake, junk food.  Maybe just a little, once in a while!

Just a little rant

img_1496Wow, this summer has been exhausting! I don’t like to complain but…it was super hot again. Sometimes you just want to hide in the house with a huge container of iced tea! As a little side note, I am amazed at how hard it is to find a sweet tea outside of Florida and Georgia, it’s a mainstay around here, every restaurant has it!

Lots of stuff has been going on here at the farm, writing not so much. I have started playing the cello, I know, WHAT? But it is something I have always wanted to do and I had this amazing opportunity so why not give it a try. I will have to keep you posted, I love it and so far the dogs are not howling when I practice! We lost a barn cat and two chickens, so sad but we do struggle with coyotes at times. We have a new horse, Wizard, a big sweet goofy guy! And my 88 year old Father passed away. Even though he lived a good long life it’s something you are never prepared for, things will never be the same. I don’t have a large extended family, so it is a strange emptiness when both your parents are gone.

So I’m trying. Going with the flow, trying to find the positive. I mean life still goes on and the farm doesn’t stop for anything or anyone. It is grounding in a way, the routine of it can be comforting when everything else seems out of control.

Went to Cincinnati for a week of work and play, we had a blast. But I had this ache in my mid back that just wouldn’t go away. I just figured it was from riding in the uhaul and age, we are all getting older! It seemed to hurt in my ribs which made any strenuous breathing difficult. When we got back, I saw on CBS Sunday Morning that the best thing for back issues is acupuncture and yoga. Great! I already do yoga and I made an appointment with an acupuncturist I had seen years ago. Went for three weeks, there was some improvement and I loved the massage. Things were going well until the pain came back more severe now in my left hip. My breathing was getting worse, at this point I could hardly bring my horses in from the field without getting winded. Figured I should probably get an X-ray and see what’s going on. So I went to a highly recommended chiropractor, got some X-rays, got some adjustments. The X-rays looked pretty tame considering the pain I was having, I thought there should be a zig zag in my spine or something! After about a week, I started to get a dry wheezy cough which , of course aggravated my back even more. Then came the fever and chills. So off to the primary care Doctor I went. Antibiotics. After much research I believe I have been nursing a kidney infection and I think it is causing me to become a bit anemic hence the difficulty  breathing. I honestly don’t get sick often, and I try to take pretty good care of myself so this is all new territory for me. I literally felt like I was dying for about two weeks fatigue, weakness, just wanted to sleep, no appetite, fevers chills, shortness of breath, heavy feeling in my legs, sharp pain in my back and hip that takes my breath away, YUCK!  Not to mention it’s my favorite time of the year and there’s tons of stuff to do and cook and the weather is beautiful! But let me just say I am so grateful to Jerry and Scott for helping me around here, I don’t know what I would have done without them! Today I am starting to feel like myself again so hopefully that means I am on the road to recovery!

Moms Day

I always seem to approach Mothers Day with mixed emotions. It’s hard when your Mom is not with you any longer. But then I remember, my Mom is who influenced me the most and she is the reason I am the person that I am today. Wether you want to admit it or not the person that raised you formed most of your early ideals. My Mom and I were very close, oh yes she was crazy, funny, annoying, all those things a mother can be! Of course we had our ups and downs, we all do. I always thought of myself as an independent soul, setting out on new paths and unchartered territories, I thought I was so different and innovative.  But as I get older I am finding out to my great surprise that I am from a long line of very interesting women, my tribe! Unfortunetly there is no one left on my Moms side of the family. I wish I had understood these things earlier, but I guess everything has its own time to reveal itself.

I have recently found out that my Great Grandma, Viola Sherlock, was an amazing women. This was my Moms fathers mother. Now I knew her, but I was very young and she was very old. She and her three sisters were in show business, they used to dance and perform in The Follies. I have found amazing pictures of them in their costumes and one of the sisters had a beautiful white horse that also performed. I found out one of the sisters was an artist and have some of her amazing sketches. Check out the artwork on the menus. Viola was one of the first women to have played tennis at Wimbledon. They used to talk about this little place they had called The Pepper Pot, in Greenwich Village. Well I have come to find out this was quite the place, Viola and her husband Doc owned and ran it. Apparently it was one of the only places at the time, 1929, that got away, most of the time, with selling alcohol during the prohibition. This was a crazy place, it was a jazz dance hall, a party house. Attracting lots of celebrities and sport stars apparently a place to see and be seen! A true center of the bohemian lifestyle of the village back in the day. I have found numerous articles of them being hauled off to jail! For disturbing the peace and what not! The menu was amazing and pretty pricey for the day.

This all is so amazing to me because I am a bit of all of these things, a chef, an artist, a horse trainer! A free spirit! My tribe, my blood! WOW\MOM

image0

image1

 

 

Are You What You Eat?

IMG_0725As long as I can remember I have always been a “health nut” call it what you like, but I have always been health conscience. I think its because I grew up with a very sick Mom, she was always in and out of the hospital, she had 36 major operations. I have seen her in ICU, I have heard how she died on the operating table for 3 minutes, I have seen her hooked up to all those machines, pretty scary stuff for a little kid! As I got older I witnessed many mistakes and wrong doings at the hospitals, even misdiagnosis of major things. I do think it was the doctors that finally did her in, but all that is for another story. However I believe it really influenced my health choices. One of my favorite memories of my Mom is going to the health food store with her. Now back in the day these were always little cozy places tucked away from the mainstream with strange smells and all kinds of interesting bottles and potions. Delicious things like honey and bee pollen, ginseng tea, granola, herbs and spices from far away places.The people there always seemed a bit different, very friendly and wise. It was like no where else I had ever been. A tiny place that you could wander around in for hours and not see everything! Now remember there where no Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s back then, so this was a special place! After we bought our vitamins and some new exotic spices I was always allowed to get something, usually a honey filled bit of candy. Very fond memories!

And so it began… my life long goal of taking care of myself, treating my body with some respect, and trying to make good food choices, since before it was mainstream and cool. My Mom was a wonderful cook, you could find her at the grocery store on her way home from a hospital stay, preparing for the next delish thing she was going to feed us! Don’t get me wrong, I am not a strict fanatic. I enjoy a good burger just like the next guy, but I think it’s really important to eat good food, made with love. It’s what I was raised on!