Almost Over

I’m not sure what I think about 2017. It was a tuff year for sure. It had it’s ups and downs for me. People just seem so tense and there is drama at every turn. I think I will be happy to leave it behind.

For some crazy reason I carry this dread around, I have cancer. And it makes me do strange things. I think that I put it out of my mind but, its always there lurking in the back of my thoughts.  Why is this hurting, what is that from? Will I ever get stronger? Will I just have to live with this pain in my back, thigh and shoulder? I think we all know that we are going to move on one day but when you have a diagnosis like cancer it brings it a little closer to home. Maybe I should pamper myself more? Maybe it doesn’t matter if I get back in shape? Maybe I shouldn’t  push myself too hard, I might hurt myself! Damaged goods, etc., etc., etc. NOT ANY MORE!!!

This December has been a a month of tests, medical as well as personal. I am coming to some conclusions. This month I had a Pet Scan, mammography, ultrasound, X-rays, blood work, more physical therapy, and a new medicine, zometa. The medical results are in, and I am happy to report that everything looks good! Weeks of test results coming back good, more and more reassuring! This week I went to an orthopedic oncologist, the last of the tests and consults for this year. Besides his findings that most of my aches and pains can be reversed, the most important thing this man said to me was, “Live your life, if you don’t, cancer wins.” Just like that! That was all I needed to hear! This was the icing on the cake! I came home feeling revitalized, like a new person! I am not a patient! I am not cancer!

That evening I got Liz back! I started really working out! I decided to quit physical therapy, although it helped, I can do the exercises and stretches at home without wasting so much time driving to PT. I am hiking with my dogs again! I am eating right! I even pulled the old mountain bike out! I feel like me again and its only been a few days! I am looking forward to kayaking and riding the trails again. The weather here has been amazing and I will be spending a good portion of my time outside, living my life!

An Anniversary to Forget?

IMG_2349Last year at this time I was in such poor health that I ended up in the hospital. Things were not looking good. My spleen was swollen. I was severely anemic. I was having trouble breathing and no interest in eating. I was so weak I could hardly roll over in bed. The doctors were puzzled, I was puzzled. What the heck was happening to me?… After a month of testing and a bunch of blood and platelet transfusions I got my diagnosis, stage 4 breast cancer. What a year it has been! Wow! Cancer sucks, it tests your limits in every way! I am so grateful to the doctors and all the people that took care of me, I owe them my life, I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for them.

Fast forward a year. The weather has been amazing. I have organized and am preparing for a little block party tomorrow. We live on a dirt road and we are getting together to work on it. Trimming branches, raking, picking up sticks, and dragging the road. I will be out there with my pitchfork and loping shears! As silly as it sounds, I am so excited and thankful that I can even participate! I know my neighbors were worried about me and I can’t wait to show them how well I am doing! Today I am making a huge pot of chicken and yellow rice to feed everyone after our work day. I might even make some cupcakes?

It has been a long hard journey, I’m not gonna lie, and I am still recovering. I have been going to physical therapy three times a week, for my shoulder. Oh it hurts so good! LOL I feel like I am getting fitter. My shoulder is getting better, slow but sure. I sometimes still get frustrated with my slow progress but it is progress non the less! I do have to remind myself about how bad I was just a year ago. I finally got to see the neurologist Tuesday and found out I have Meralgia Paresthetica in my thigh which I can work on with exercise, stretching, and losing some of this extra weight.  Which is just what I wanted to hear! My body lost so much last year, fitness, muscle, stamina. I was so weak. I lost all my core strength, which is very unnerving for a normally strong person. I felt like I was in someone else’s body and it couldn’t be trusted! Now with everything cleared I can really get going again, I love moving and being physically active! I am being careful, going slow but steady, everyday. I enjoy taking care of my body it makes me feel empowered. Working out with bands, walking, and calisthenics, eating healthy. Today I even unloaded a fifty pound bag of feed from my car! I kinda shocked myself! I didn’t think I could do it but I thought I would give it a try. It was a bit of a struggle but…I did it! Watch out world, I am going to be stronger than ever!

My Place

 

A dream of mine has always been to own a bed and breakfast. I love cooking, baking, entertaining, and meeting new people. I live on, what I think, is a pretty amazing piece of property. But I certainly don’t have the house to do anything like that. Idle Wild Farm has always been a special place to me. It has been in my family for over thirty years. It is covered with beautiful old oaks. There are wild untamed spots and thoughtfully designed spots. We live down an old dirt road which makes it seem like we are in the middle of nowhere but we are actually pretty close to everything. We live only minutes away from the greenway which offers hiking, biking, and trail riding all the way across the state. It still gets dark enough here that you can see the stars at night. We have horses, a wonderful little barn, and a nature covered (trees) arena. We have chickens for fresh eggs, our beloved dogs, and a pet rabbit. Oh, and I can’t forget our crazy little barn cat, Twyla.

We have lots of fruit trees, peach, plum, nectarine, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, persimmon, loquat, meyer lemon and lime. We have raspberry and blueberry bushes. I grow fresh organic herbs and vegetables on my deck. We have tons of wildlife here, butterflies and honey bees, raccoons, armadillos, hawks, woodpeckers. Gopher tortoises and every once in a while a snapping turtle comes through, heading to the neighbors pond. We have lots of squirrels and we once had a white tailed squirrel come to visit. We have bats, flying squirrels, and owls. Believe it or not, Jerry can actually call the owls in at night! We have our very own, resident, sandhill cranes that on some years grace us with their babies.

As you can see, we are blessed with an enchanted, special place that I gratefully get to call home. I have tried to create a peaceful little hideaway. Being here, surrounded by nature, makes me feel grounded and allows me to relax and unwind from the outside worlds hustle and bustle. I get to travel this path called life with the animals that call this place home, they are  gentle reminders to stay in the present and just be. I think there is a special energy here, a healing energy. I love to mindfully walk barefoot through the grass and find a lovely place to sit and contemplate the next garden or adventure…

Speaking of my next adventure! I want to share a little bit of this with others who would like a little shelter from the storms of this modern life. People that want to come out and reconnect with nature. We are almost done restoring our first little vintage camper, it is looking amazing! We are doing a total, down to the frame restoration. I am faux painting the walls and ceiling. I am decorating it to be cozy and comfortable. When it is all finished, I want to park it in a strategic place on my property and with landscaping, my goal is that you will feel privacy and peace. I want to rent this as a place to camp and relax for the weekend.

This will be a work in progress. My goal is to have 3 little spots to camp out on the peace and privacy my property. I want to have the camper and 2 tiny cabins, which we are building out of reclaimed materials. I want to do lots of landscaping to enhance whats already here. I want to build an outdoor kitchen to cook amazing, locally crafted meals in. I want to have paths for walking and benches for meditating or bird watching. I would love to make a zen garden or a labyrinth.  Of course, everything must fit in seamlessly with the nature that surrounds it.

Eventually, I would like to offer artists retreats, cooking or cake decorating weekends, horse back riding lessons, organic gardening classes, etc. of course on different weekends of the year. This is giving me the opportunity to to use my creativity and resources to their fullest potential! And also to have a way to make a living doing and sharing the things that I love! In the pictures above, the two cabins are what I want to build. If you have any old building materials, wood, metal, garden furniture, plants or resources that you think I could use, and you live relatively close to me, please let me know, it would be greatly appreciated!  Also, with this beautiful weather, if any one feels like coming out and giving us a hand with building, gardening, or painting please let us know. We can use all the help we can get, as we are doing this all by ourselves!

 

 

 

Puppy Power

Lets get a puppy, it will be fun! A cute cuddly little puppy. Who doesn’t love a puppy? Ah the joys of puppyhood. I do absolutely love my puppy! We have been going to beginner obedience class, she is so good. We are graduating next week! She is seven months old and she is a ball of fire! She has so much energy! She is either full speed ahead or fast asleep! I am so happy she is in my life. But she is a mess! She loves to play outside, she brings the outside in! Her wet muddy paws all over my floors. Stickers, leaves, and sand in my bed. Water, omg the water, she sticks her whole face in the bowl to drink! Then she shakes her wet mop face all over the place. Every water bowl in the house is full of sand. She is making so much extra work for me. She has just recently found the joys of digging so now I am raking and cleaning, and washing constantly! She loves toys and is an expert at tearing them apart all over my carpet! I must be crazy!

She has finally stopped getting car sick so now I can take her places without the fear of having to clean up my car when we get home! She chases my chickens and plays with sticks. She loves to play frisbee and swim in her pool. She loves tackling and wrestling with McKenzie, my poor older dog (she loves her too, most of the time)!  Who’s idea was this?!

She is getting so big. I bet she weighs 40 pounds by now. I know that because she likes to jump up on the bed in the morning and lay on my chest to wake me up! She eats socks and drinks out of the toilet. She chews up shoes, flip flops are her favorites! Her personality is huge, she is outgoing and gregarious. Tallulah Bleu, she is a handful! What was I thinking?! I love her and I can’t imagine life without her.

Dream On!

Finally the weather is beautiful! The air is crisp and clean, fall has finally arrived. It is so rejuvenating! I feel alive! I am so grateful! Breathing in the clean fresh air makes me want to run in a million different directions! I want to do this, I want to do that. I have so much lost time to make up for! There are not nearly enough hours in the day! Sometimes I get so frustrated with my body and feel like I am not making enough progress physically as I would like. I want to keep pushing and get back to normal again. Somedays my body just says NO! Slow down, take it easy. I have to keep reminding myself that last year at this time I was literally dying. I couldn’t even roll over in bed! I have been working out everyday to get back in shape. I have been going 3 times a week to physical therapy for my shoulder. Slowly, very slowly, there is progress. I have to keep reminding myself that these things take time. Next week I am finally getting in to see a neurologist about my thigh, I hope they can do something! The nerve pain in my thigh is annoying and hard to deal with.

Last week we got to enjoy a wonderful Halloween Party. We dressed as Day of the Dead characters. It was so much fun! I did Jerry and Scotts makeup as well as my own. Probably took around three hours to get everyone dressed and ready to go. I also made appetizers, mummy meat loafs and jackolantern bites. I couldn’t have done all this last year! And then actually enjoy the party! Then on Sunday we took my jeep to Jeeptoberfest, a fun jeep event where you get to drive over all these cool obstacles and just jeep out! I haven’t driven my jeep for a year so this was very exciting!

The next chapter. As I was telling you in my last post, I have a new business that I am creating. I am designing a sacred space for people to come to unwind, heal, and relax in the beauty of nature. I am so excited to get this going! This is a healing journey for me as well.

I Am a Dreamer

Autumn, this has always been my favorite time of year. I absolutely love it! Last year I kinda missed it, so I am enjoying it even more this year. It is still unreasonably hot and humid here. The horses are already getting their winter coats. The grass is growing much slower, everything seems to be slowing down and getting ready for winter. This time of year there is so much to do, harvest festivals, haunted houses, Oktoberfest, art shows, pumpkin carving foods and drinks! But it is also a time to slow down a little, and get cozy. I hope I can pull out a few sweaters and a warm fuzzy blanket or two this year. I don’t care for super cold but I love a little chill in the air. A lovely cool evening listening to the owls and watching the bats fly overhead. A crisp morning of hiking, drinking hot chocolate and not sweating. Sitting around a fire and telling scary stories! It is all just so enchanting to me, ahh!

Now on to real business! As a reader of my blog you know I had some really bad health issues last year. Actually November is the one year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. It is something I would love to forget! But I’m not sure that is possible, I have daily reminders (aches and pains) and lots and lots of bills! My health insurance alone costs me a small fortune. This is not good because I am not working right now, yikes! I want to work but some days it is all I can do to take care of all the farm chores. I still don’t have all my strength and stamina back. I have neuropathy in my thigh which prevents me from standing for any length of time, very annoying! I am going to physical therapy 3 times a week. So…I’m trying to figure out what to do. I want to do something meaningful and fulfilling. I want to be creative. I have lots of skills to use and I want to share with other people. You know, be useful in some way!  They say, “Do what you love and the rest will follow.” I have been struggling with this.

Then one day it hit me!!! Something I have always dreamed about was owning a bed and breakfast. I love to cook and bake, I love entertaining, I love sharing my talents with others. But I live in a small house and there was no way for me to do that. There’s hardly enough room for us, let alone any guests, we would be tripping over each other at every turn! I had this idea about ten years ago, it has evolved, but what I want to do is offer camping at my farm! I am so excited! It is going to be great! And I want to invite you to be involved. Details to follow!

What A Year

This has certainly been an interesting year. Some of it is still a blur. I have definitely had some interesting, although not always wanted, adventures. It was right around this time last year that my health was really declining at an alarming rate. I am VERY grateful to still be alive. Every morning I wake up and take a deep breath and offer thanks that I am still here, breathing. Every day is truly a gift! Not that I want to sound morbid or whiney but when you have a scare, like stage 4 breast cancer, it really drives home the fact that you really don’t know how much longer you will be around, not that any of us do. I don’t plan on going anywhere very soon but, I am going to live whatever life I have left!

I am trying to really notice and appreciate everything I have, friends, love, laughter. Lots of things have changed. Things that used to seem so important to me are not quite as meaningful as they once were. I had given most of my life to horses, something that I will never regret, I lived and breathed horses as far back as I can remember, but right now they are just my companions. No more rigorous training and wishful ambitions of fame and fortune. I have spent decades in the saddle and I cherish every moment. The sounds and smells at the barn are intoxicating and fill me with joy. Horses softly nickering or munching on hay. The sound of hoofbeats and snorting. The sweet smell of fresh feed, new shavings, and leather. The barn has always been a place where I find solace, my happy place. Riding, training, the discipline and physical labor involved in horsemanship is a form of meditation. I have spent many years in my boots and breeches. It is something I will never leave but it is different now.

Art. I am an artist. Everything I do is with an artists touch. I can’t help it, it is who I am. I have struggled for many years trying to make a living as an artist. It is not for the faint of heart! I love creating art, however I do not enjoy trying to market and sell my art. I have been wildly successful at times and I have failed miserably at other times. There is never any steadiness to it. You often end up feeling like a ship tossed about on the sea! “Oh we absolutely love your art, but no we don’t want to actually pay you for it!” UGH! Or “We would love to have you pay us to hang it in our shop.” REALLY? Part of creating art is wanting to share it with others, but at what cost? It is not fulfilling to me to create art and store it in my closet. I enjoy the creative process but I would still like to share it with others and have people care or appreciate what I do enough that I could make a living doing it, but alas this alludes me! Art is sometimes like speaking without words. It can also be like working without pay.

So, after a year of pain and struggling with my health I have no desire, at this time, to continue to struggle with these things, or much else for that matter. I just want to enjoy them. However the bills keep coming and I am not making any money right now. So, whats a girl to do?