Let’s get outta here!

Ok we are as prepared as we can be. Our flight leaves from Tampa at 7:30am. We will get up at 4:00am to catch our plane. We are packed, the alarm is set. We should be in Puerto Rico by noon! It is starting to sink in, we are going to Puerto Rico! 4:00am comes early. We put the dogs in their lovely kennel. I hope they appreciate all the time and attention we put into it. We put our suitcases in the truck. As we pull away from the house, I feel a sense of relief, we got it all done. I am starting to get excited about our trip!

It was a nice drive contemplating all we might do in Puerto Rico. Anticipating seeing Jerry for the first time in 6 weeks. We check the clock in the truck, all is well, we have plenty of time. We run into a little traffic in Tampa but it’s not a big deal. We have some trouble finding a long term parking spot. After searching 3 levels we go to the roof and park. We find our way to the terminal, it looks empty, but it is early in the morning. We get to the check in…our plane left 10 minutes ago…WHAT? WHAT did you say? Our plane left? We missed our flight? You must be wrong, check again!

Ok regroup. What the heck just happened? And what do we do now? The next flight to Puerto Rico is at 10:30, no not in three hours, it’s at 10:30 tonight. So…it is 7:30 am. I certainly don’t want to drive all the way back home just to turn around and drive back. What should we do? Where did the time go? How did we lose so much time? On further inspection we realized we were watching the clock in the truck which was almost exactly an hour behind! I fixed that right away. We are tired and maybe a little grumpy from the crazy busy week we had leading up to this. What are we gonna do now. Maybe we should just go home and forget about this trip. I call Jerry and he finds us a hotel close to the airport that we can check into. Maybe we can just relax, catch some TV, doze awhile until this evening when we go back to the airport. Sounds good.

Turns out it is a Super 8 Motel. Omg, it is really nasty! It looks rundown, the walls are dirty, it looks old. There are burn holes in the bed sheets, in a non smoking room! I am too tired to care. I have to lay down. At least the sheets smell clean. I don’t want to touch anything. I lay perfectly still and don’t let the sheets touch my face. I hope I don’t catch anything! I think I may have fallen asleep for a few minutes. The remote for the TV is nowhere to be found. Lets go find something to eat. I find a little Peruvian restaurant that has 5 stars. So we try it. Scott doesn’t like anything. I think it tastes pretty good. I have never eaten Peruvian food before. Apparently something did not agree with my stomach. So back to the motel we go.

Ok well what else can go wrong? So I use the bathroom…go to flush the toilet and…well…it overflows!

 

Hair!

IMG_2129I must say today I am grateful for hair. It’s a funny thing how people just don’t appreciate what they have until it is gone. So funny, I never really thought about my hair that much before. I never spent a whole lot of time primping and curling or straightening and perming. I pretty much kept it kinda short so I could wash it, put some product in and go! When it went away, I found myself looking a lot at peoples hair. I would notice things like all the nurses in the infusion center had gobs and gobs of hair. I mean lots. Weaves and wigs or whatever! But they all seemed to have a whole lotta hair! Maybe because they worked with hair challenged people all day they really went above and beyond with their own!

My hair is really starting to come back in now and it is so cool. The color looks just like my puppies coat, so right now I am sporting the Griff look! Down the road I may try some  color, blue or purple or maybe both! It is still really short but oh so thick and luxurious! Lol! It’s kinda like a new toy running my fingers through it, is so much fun! I was really surprised how much hair regulates your temperature. It really does help keep you warmer in cool weather and, I believe, cooler in warm weather. It is kinda cool seeing the changes and transformations it is going through. I’m just leaving it alone and seeing what its gonna do right now. Someone even gave me a compliment on my hair yesterday! One of the hardest things for me through my treatment was losing my eyelashes and brows. That was just weird and hard to pull off. But thanks to Wink, my eyelashes are coming back thicker and darker than before. My eyebrows are looking great, almost totally back! Thank you, Wink! I absolutely love this product and this company!

ALL my hair is coming back! Hair I didn’t even realize I lost, nose hair, arm hair. Its all coming back! I did enjoy the nice break from shaving my legs and arm pits but I’m not gonna complain! I was actually threatening to never shave again and just embrace ALL my hair! But on second thought, I just don’t think the Grizzly Adams look would work for me. It feels really good to be getting  back to normal even if that means shaving every night. It sure is nice to start recognizing the person in the mirror! Looking more like myself makes me feel more like myself and that makes me happy. Summer fun here I come!

Dog gone it!

I must be a glutton for punishment. Just when things were starting to get better and I was slowly getting back to my routine…I go and bring a new puppy into the house! Omg would somebody slap me! I must be outta my mind! Late nights up walking the puppy, early mornings up walking the puppy, aggravating my back with all the bending over! Cuts and scrapes all over my arms from her tiny needle teeth. Toys scattered all over the floor to trip over or step on. She is a little ball of energy. And she believes she is the queen of everything right now! Everything in the house is hers to knaw on and play with, including me! Her little needle sharp teeth are testing my blood platelets for sure! I’m afraid she is going to think her name is NO! or OUCH!

The whole house is in an upheaval right now. Puppy proofing the house, everything is up out of her reach sometimes mine too. We crawled around on our hands and knees looking for things she might get into. I hope the neighbors weren’t watching! Of course she still finds little bits and pieces that we missed, proudly marching over to me gumming up a small bit of paper or whatever. My other dogs literally roll their eyes when they see her coming. Giving me looks like, What have you done? And if you want, We could take care of her! Everything was so peaceful, why? Why have you brought this hairy piranha into our house? Nothing is safe! She has everyone riled up. She is a pointer and at seven weeks old she is pointing and stalking my little old dog, Oliver. He hates her and I really don’t blame him. She thinks its funny to sneak up on him, bite him on the butt, and run off like a lunatic! My other dog McKenzie is trying to tolerate her for my sake, I can tell. She’s all like, if you say so. They think she is a devil dog! I prefer calling her Tallula, and I love her.  She is full of shenanigans and mischief and I’m pretty sure thats why they made puppies so cute, so you can tolerate all their nonsense! I gotta go, she is eating the carpet right now!

Puppy Power!

I brought home my new puppy last Saturday, she is so cool, I love her! She is a Wire Haired Pointing Griffon. She is seven and a half weeks old and I named her Tallulah Bleu. I have a feeling she is going to whip my butt into shape! She is already wearing me out, I think it’s a good thing. She keeps me busy thats for sure! It’s been a long time since I’ve had a baby in the house.  Puppy proofing and crate training. New routines and lots of walking! I do feel a little worn out and my back is sore from all the bending and picking her up. But it’s all good, Tallulah is giving me that gentle push to get out and play more! I needed that!

I used to have fun riding and working my horses. Right now my doctor says, “No riding. Wait a little longer for your bones to get stronger. “I can’t wait to get back in the saddle again. But I guess I need to give it a little more time. Got my XGeeva shot today, come on strong bones! My blood work looks great, the best it has since I got sick. My hair is getting longer and thicker every day. I actually have eyebrows and eyelashes now! When I look in the mirror I am starting to recognize this person! So I know I will be back to full strength soon. Tallulah is a hunting dog, not that I hunt, but she points and retrieves. So I am thinking, when she gets older, I might try doing field trials with her. She is already showing some skills at stalking her toys. Too cute!

Any kind of baby is a big commitment. And I am so happy to say I am ready for this one. I couldn’t have done it a few months ago but I am having fun with her and enjoying every minute! Well…maybe not the late night walks.

Well…part 8

Chemotherapy is not fun. Being bald is not beautiful (for me anyway) and I am sick and tired of being sick and tired! I have almost never been sick a day in my life before all this and I am finding out I am not a patient, patient. I vow to burn the couch when this is over! I am so tired of sitting on the couch! You would think I could catch up on some reading. You would think I could paint or draw, I am an artist. You would think I could practice my cello. Not so much, this whole cancer thing, diagnosis, treatment, etc. permeates your mind and weakens your body. It really makes it hard to do much of anything. I have always been strong and active and right now I feel like I am 105, taking my last breath! I have always been a list maker and my favorite part of making a to do list is marking off all the things I accomplished in a day. I read somewhere that when you are going through cancer treatment to go ahead and write your list and be happy if you get to mark off one or two things. I thought, “Not me!” but it’s true.

I am learning tolerance and patience. I am learning to let the small stuff go. I am learning that what doesn’t get done today will still be there tomorrow. I am learning to ask for help. I am learning to love myself, with all my imperfections. I am learning whats really important to me. This is all very, very hard for me. I am learning that people are scared for me and I am finding out what true friends I have. I am so grateful for the people in my life. I don’t have a large family, my Mom and Dad are both gone. So I have really had a lot of support from some amazing friends. Since I am unable to do much, something I have really enjoyed doing is having people over for dinner and visiting. Jerry, Scott and I whip up something easy and delicious and invite someone to dinner, almost every week. It has been a life saver for me!

I am finding as chemo goes on that there seems to be a pattern. Tuesday I spend half the day getting my treatment come home and chill. Wednesday I am a wild woman, due to the steroids, clean the house, groom the horses, etc. Thursday I crash! My sinuses are swollen, my cheeks puff up, I can’t breath, everything hurts. I’m in a terrible mood. I am just basically miserable! I pretty much just lay on the couch and watch Americas Next Top Model marathons, don’t judge! Friday a little better, mentally anyway. Saturday I am starting to feel human, still pretty weak. Sunday I’m getting stronger! Monday I feel great! Just in time for Tuesday and we start over.

One of the hardest things of all this is how little control you seem to have. I have always taken care of myself and my family and now strangers are telling me, you have to do this and don’t do that, it is all so overwhelming!  I have found some things to do for myself that make me feel better, like I am taking care of myself in some small ways. To counteract some of the side effects of chemo I drink lots of filtered water and dry brush my skin every evening, to prevent skin problems and to help lymphatic drainage. I try and do some yoga every morning, to keep the muscle soreness to a minimum. I am using only unscented organic body washes and shampoo, and avoiding chemical perfumes. I put almond oil on my nails, I drink healthy superfood smoothies for breakfast, I oil pull with coconut oil and tea tree oil to prevent mouth sores. And I try to get out in nature every day it is very grounding for me and feeling the fresh air on my skin revives me! I am not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV but these things helped me! To be continued

 

Summertime Makes Me Feel Fine

I don’t know if I am crazy but…I always have stuff going on! So far this year it has been a slow travel year. But that doesn’t mean I have not been busy. The farm is in full summer mode right now. We had a pretty mild winter and a wonderfully long spring but summer has come on full force! Heat and humidity. Constant grass cutting. Everything is wilting by noon! We had an amazing bunch of delicious peaches and raspberries this year. Grew a few heirloom tomatoes but other than that this is a pretty harsh time of year to keep much of anything growing (except the grass!) The herbs that are on my deck seem to pull through and hang in there, I have had my sage plant for years. MacKenzie, our dog, prefers the ac. this time of the year. The horses are sweating just standing in the field, I have to get up pretty early in the morning to work the horses before the full heat settles in.

We have had a pair of Sandhill cranes raising their family in our yard this year. This is the first time we have ever had them here and I feel privileged that they chose our farm as their sanctuary! It is so much fun watching the babies grow, and I love the little purring noise the grown ups make, it is so peaceful to be in their presence.

Just this morning I watched a family of Kites flying above the trees, looked like the parents were giving the youngsters flying lessons! It is nice to be here. I am very grateful for the peace and serenity we have in our own backyard.

So my mind shifts elsewhere…I have been painting a lot and designing some cool furniture. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a nice little vintage trailer to take to art shows and what not? Like a traveling boutique, you know, to sell art and furniture out of…

I FOUND ONE!

Synchronicities

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My Muse

Part of my blogging was supposed to be a journal of sorts to capture the grand journeys and adventures of my life. A funny thing I have noticed is that I am inspired to write about the little things, the day to day things, the mundane. The interesting little moments of my life. Maybe they are less intimidating or maybe it is the little things that matter most,  I’m not sure? But I do believe that my travels are amazing and I am so grateful for the opportunities that I have been given. Travel has enriched my life so much and in ways I’m sure I don’t fully understand yet. If you ever have the opportunity to travel, please take it! It has a way of making you appreciate the little everyday things even more!

Last summer when we where in LA, Scott and I took a little walk from the Santa Monica pier to Venice  Beach. We were just strolling along people watching and taking in the views and atmosphere of this interesting place. Pacific Ocean to our right with its balmy sea breezes and sandy beaches and shops and vendors to our left with all kinds of cool and interesting items to entice. I bought a really cool backpack and an awesome hat oh, and a great little sketchbook too!

Food trucks everywhere! People everywhere! Walking, running, eating, biking, sitting, napping, swimming, so much activity! There is every kind of food imaginable there. You wouldn’t have to eat at the same place twice in a year, maybe longer, if you didn’t want to! We have a very limited number of good restaurants where we live and frequent the same few time and time again, not so many choices.

As we approached Venice Beach we got to walk on the very spot they filmed the opening scene for Threes Company, while singing the song of course! We met an amazing artist and she told us how they welcome artists at the beach, they don’t even charge them a fee to set up and sell their wares? This is amazing to me! She gets to sit on the beach everyday painting and selling her art! She told me if I come back, to bring some art with me and she will make space for me! Wow, where I am from it costs more to show your art than you could ever hope to make by selling it! Even though I only spoke to her for a few minutes she touched my life. I bought a painting from her that day and it inspires me every day and has taken my art career in a whole new direction! It is interesting how these synchronicities happen, I hope to see her again one day so I can thank her in person!

 

California here we come!

Beverly Hills Hotel

Beverly Hills Hotel

Last week we headed out to California! It was the first time for all of us. Well Jerry has been there since April, Scott and I where flying out to meet him. We flew SouthWest it was a long flight. We had a 3 hour layover in San Antonio and by the time we got there all the little airport shops were closing. Seems like they should stay opened when people are coming and going, what to do for three hours??? We made it! When we got off the plane we almost didn’t recognize Jerry, he had lost quite a bit of weight and had grown out his beard! I saw him first and even though I pointed him out Scott didn’t see him! We had made a pact to try and lose some weight and get in shape, it was working! So happy to see him!

The weather in LA was amazing! We had just come from hot humid Florida. Florida in August is almost unbearable, I like the heat but…I don’t like opening my door at 6:30 in the morning and getting a wet slap of humidity first thing! At this time of the year everything is struggling, even the plants, horses are sweaty, bugs are bad, there is a never ending load of laundry to do because you have to change out of your damp clothes so often! So it was quite a nice surprise to step out into 70 degrees with a light breeze and NO humidity! Ahh heaven.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

We were going to be in LA for ten days and what a ten days it turned out to be! We were staying at a cute little inn in Brentwood. The first day we ventured out to a place for breakfast called Bru’s Wiffle a Waffle House and we had chicken and waffles, delish! Jerry was our tour guide and showed us all around. We walked on Santa Monica beach, went to the pier, took a quick dip in the Pacific, went to the Pallisades. Tried to get our bearings. Growing up on the east coast it’s funny when you are in California because you feel like your always going in the wrong direction, the ocean is now to the west! I am a fan of interesting architecture and LA will not disappoint. You can tell it must be an architects dream to work in California. I don’t think there are two houses the same in any neighborhood. I loved the uniqueness of each place. Lots and lots of plants and interesting trees I am not familiar with. We got to tour a celebrities house and imagine how the rich and famous live. It was beautiful. So much fun, so much to see!

One of the most striking things to us was all the people. Now we are not from a big city, but there were people everywhere! And the traffic, omg the traffic! And parking…forget about it! To be continued…

Surprise!

We just celebrated Easter, what a cool weekend it turned out to be! We travel quite a bit with our jobs and my husband Jerry was in Ohio. Our daughter was in the process of moving to her new house and she was exhausted. Everyone just seemed too busy. I am a chef and I enjoy cooking but if no one is gonna be here to eat…it was just gonna be my friend Scott and I. I was actually trying to talk myself into taking the day off and going out to eat, I have never done this on a holiday but I thought it might be fun…well different anyway.

Easter peeps!

Easter peeps!

With all this spring fever going on around here I decided to get some chicks, thought it might take my mind off no Easter cooking, I got 5. They are so cute, little fuzzy egg shaped critters running around! I went out and got all their special food and equipment. I ordered a cute chicken coop that will be here Friday. I was always interested in having my own free range chickens and eggs. If you have never had a real fresh, free range egg for breakfast you don’t know what you are missing! They are so different from anything I have ever bought in a store, beautiful bright orange fluffy yolks that stand up tall in the pan and they are so tasty! And from what I understand they have more healthy nutrients in them too.  I got chickens that lay blue green eggs called Ameraucana. They should start laying around August, I can’t wait! So I was considering sitting around all weekend playing with the new babies!

Jerry told me he was sending me some package and to not worry about buying any food for Easter. Late Thursday night he called to ask if I had recieved the package yet and that it was supposed to have been delivered on the back porch. I said “No, no package had been delivered” I had been outside with the little peeps all afternoon, and he said, just go check, it should be on the porch. So I walk out and there he is!!! I was so surprised! I honestly had no idea! I was so happy to see him. Now it was on! We shopped and cleaned, and cooked and everyone came over for a wonderful Easter dinner. I made ham, roasted asparagus, baked beans, carrot salad, potato salad, and a cannoli cake. Everything turned out fine…good food, good company, and good laughs!

Who Will You Feed?

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one” Mother Teresa

Cooking, baking, creating what a wonderful thing. Feeding people is such a basic human necessity. It is a rewarding feeling when you have been prepping and cooking all day long and finally, finally, everyone is seated and enjoying the meal you prepared. There is a quiet satisfaction in the hush that comes over a room when everyone is eating.

Who do you feed? Family? Friends? Clients? Pets? Do you feed yourself well?

When we are home we have a big dinner every Sunday night. It started out as a way to stay in touch and connect at least once a week with family. But it has grown into so much more. Always an open invitation, friends we haven’t seen in a while or neighbors sometimes stop by. If the weather is nice we sit outside and watch the hummingbirds or bats. Its an opportunity to slow down and connect with nature and loved ones. I greatly enjoy these times especially in todays hectic and very busy lives.

If, like me, you enjoy making delicious, healthy meals you might want to check out http://www.cookingmatters.org where you can share your knowledge and connect with a network of people who share your passion for healthy food and community.

We are getting ready to celebrate  Easter this Sunday. Who will you feed?