It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

February is a fun month.  Last week was an amazing week.  I am a part of the Grand Junction Lions Club and we hold one fundraiser a year.  It is not only the biggest fundraiser among the community groups in Grand Junction, it is the biggest one time fundraiser in Lions Club International.  We are kinda a big deal.

We do a raffle (six-seven weeks of selling raffle tickets) and then do a parade and carnival to finish it off.  The carnival is old timey:  a quarter a paddle and you can win different things like soda, bacon and eggs, candy, flowers and so much more.  We have been doing this for 86 years and it’s a staple in the community and several generations of people have attended.  Each year there is a theme:  this year was Colorado Wild and we did it up right, on a boat!

Me and Shawna (as Katy Perry)

Me and Shawna (as Katy Perry)

"I'm on a boat" crew

“I’m on a boat” crew

Me as a mermaid

Me as a mermaid


Yup, we have a good time and do a lot to raise money for the community.  This year we have pledged to give $125,000 to 10 organizations in Grand Junction.  Not too shabby.

Not only was a carnival but it was 10 years since I arrived in Grand Junction.  I’ve never lived anywhere for 10 years so this is huge.  I felt like I was celebrating with my Lions family (although most of them had no idea, but I pretended it was all about me anyway).  It’s a huge accomplishment in my life.

And then there was the worst of times.  Sunday night my cat, Punky, was incontinent not once, but twice.  She is 18 1/2, has been a diabetic for over six years and I know that this is a red flag.  She had been incontinent about a month ago but wrote it off as sleeping really hard, not a big deal.  I should have paid more attention.  So, I took her to the vet on Monday and Dr. Aimee Johnson put her on an antibiotic immediately.  We got the test results back yesterday (bladder infection) but at her age, this is much more than just that.  The incontinence hasn’t gone away, she seems to have a feline dementia (yes, there is such a thing) and…she’s my fur baby.

I’m facing the truth that I may have to make one of the hardest decisions that I’ve ever had to make and that is putting her to sleep.  I have to start looking past my desire to have my fur baby with me and to look at what is best for her.  Whether I should let her live with not knowing who I am (I am starting to look into eyes that sometimes have no idea who I am) or letting her go before she doesn’t even know when or how to eat.  I have to look past my desire to not want to make a hard decision or make a decision that keeps her from pain and suffering.  I have to look past ME.  And this isn’t easy.  I have spent the past two nights crying, hugging her, letting her sleep on my lap and just wondering:  is it time.  I have spent the past two days at work talking to my co worker and boss (who have and are going through the same thing as me) and listening to their advice.  I am fortunate to have a boss that says “when it’s time, take a day”.

And I have a feeling that the day will come soon…and I don’t want to have to make a decision but she is a faithful animal, a kind soul and won’t go…unless I make that decision for her.  That is my gut feeling.

So I had an amazing week last week…and now face an adult decision.  I don’t want to be an adult in this decision.  I want to make a fort, hide and play dolls in it…and forget that hard decisions exist.


Only the lonely

Sometimes we all feel lonely. Having a disease/intolerance/allergy will do that to you. I mean, people have bouts of loneliness as it as but having a condition can make that worse.

Let me preface this by saying that my friends are family are amazing!

But sometimes you feel deep down alone. Everyone else is talking Ho-Hos and Nutter Butters and you are thinking “can I make that gluten free?” Because not being able to grab those items makes you different. You can’t just go through the drive through because they have nothing you can eat. You can’t just go to a restaurant without calling ahead and you always have a bunch of food along with you “just in case”.

Let’s face it, being different is ok but constantly saying “I can’t have that” or “I can’t eat that” gets old.

It leaves you feeling lonely. So lonely.

What do you do about it? I love the fact that my friends and family watch out for me but how do you feel with that feeling of being different?

I’m a traveling woman…

I typically don’t travel much and when I do, it’s pretty much to the same locations over and over.  Recently, our company was taken over and that means traveling for trainings.  I’m excited about this possibility since I’m getting to go to a few places I haven’t been before and a few that I haven’t been to in a while.

Last week my travel took me to Reno, NV.  I have never been to Reno so I was excited to go there.  We were staying at the Grand Sierra Resort and it looked like a nice place but I am always a little hesitant eating in cities that I’m not familiar with.

My manager and I flew in on Monday and, after quickly unpacking, headed straight to In N Out Burger.  I’m in LOVE with In N Out as I know the fries are straight from the potato and the protein style burger is safe to eat.  It was everything I’d dreamed of…and believe me, I was dreaming of In N Out Burger.



That night we had our first gathering with the new company at Charlie Palmer’s, inside of the Grand Sierra.  I spoke with the server and explained my need to be gluten free.  He was knowledgeable and was able to tell me what was safe to eat from the salads and appetizers to the dessert and everything in between.  He even made the whole table have the creamed spinach without bread crumbs so that I would be able to eat it.

Two nights later I was on my own as my manager had flown home.  I had posted on Twitter that I was looking for places to eat in Reno.  I got a few suggestions from the Reno/Tahoe Visitor’s Bureau and other people in the Twitter-sphere but got a suggestion from one of my co workers that proved to be a gem.  She told me to check out Great Full Gardens and it was amazing.  They are all organic and used to a gluten free lifestyle so it came as no surprise to me that they would be able to accommodate my needs.  I had the best grilled cheese sandwich and amazing homemade tomato soup.  I could have eaten that the rest of my life, I think.

Amazing from Great Full Gardens!

Amazing from Great Full Gardens!

As I was waiting for my taxi, I wondered around the area and found a cupcakery two doors down.  This place was super special as Batch Cupcakery bakes only gluten free, paleo and organic cupcakes.  Oh, be still my beating heart!  I LOVE cupcakes.  Sometimes more than I love eggrolls.  So I couldn’t help but walk in there and figure out which of their four, yes four, types of cupcakes I wanted to take back to the the hotel with me. They had lavender, pumpkin, red velvet and one other kind.  I took the red velvet and headed back to the hotel to go for a run so I could earn the deliciousness that I was about to have.  It was as amazing as I imagined!

Red Velvet deliciousness from Batch Cupcakery!

Red Velvet deliciousness from Batch Cupcakery!

The last night I opted to go to PF Chang’s as they have a great gluten free menu and I rarely get to have Chinese fare anymore.  Their lettuce wraps were amazing as usual but I opted to try their GF Chang’s Spicy Chicken with brown rice.  It was so good and had amazing flavor.  I went home fat and happy!

The next day I left Reno after having an amazing experience.  I am looking forward to going there again in the future.

Oh, on my way home through Salt Lake City, I ran across this sign in the B Concourse:

Salt Lake City Airport

Salt Lake City Airport

Awesome!  I didn’t get to eat there on the way back but next time I’m in that airport, you bet I’ll be looking to see where I can eat!

Thanks Reno for a great experience!

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This is dedicated to the ones I love

There have been a lot of thoughts going through my mind the last two days. My brother found out that another of his friends took his life this week. My heart hurts for him as he’s had to deal with death so much in his life, almost always people around his age.

Something he wrote on Facebook got me thinking. First, we wear masks. I know a lot of times I “fake it til I make it”. We cover up the fact that we are going through trying times, put on a happy face and make it through the day only to collapse at home. It happens. But having people you can go to is a key.

Second, we need to tell people we love them. The worst feelings in the world are feeling lonely and unloved. Speak it, tell people you love them and show them by giving your time or a simple hug.

Last, be kind. This is one of my favorite sayings:


Sometimes we speak and it comes out badly, we all have those moments. I know I’m guilty of that. But be kind, speak kindly and approach everyone as if it’s the worst day of their life. What’s the worst that could happen?

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who had their lives touched by this gentleman. RIP.


The Road to Health

January 1, 2013 was my changing point.  The week before I had looked in the mirror and was not happy with the person I saw.  I was as heavy as I was when I moved to Colorado in 2005, was making bad food choices and, although I was working out from time to time, I didn’t have a set plan.  With many bad health conditions running in my family, from heart disease to diabetes and so much more, I decided that I wanted to control as much of my health as possible.  I decided to take control of my health and do what I could.

So January 1st, 2013, I took a picture of myself so I could track my progress.  I recommend doing this if you are going to start a weight loss journey, it’s very motivating.  My goal was to work out five times a week and have a certain caloric intake everyday.  I think I drove my parents crazy counting calories.  I also cut out alcohol for the first month, retraining my body.  I kept to my goals and did a workout five times a week, stayed within my calories.

The weight started coming off, slowly, which is the way I prefer it. Every month for the first year, I took a picture and could see the difference which was so very encouraging.  Last year I didn’t take as many pictures, once to show what a difference a year made and that was about it.  I had a few more pounds to lose and did that by doing an Arbonne Detox Bootcamp with which I had huge success.

This morning, for some reason, I decided to take another picture and did a comparison from two year ago.  Totally crazy…I am actually sharing it because I’m pretty proud of where I came from.

The story here is don’t quit.  It’s easy to give in and go back.  It’s easy to say “I’m at a plateau and can’t keep going”  It’s hard to stay the course and keep moving even though it’s tough.  So keep going, move through the tough parts to the parts that will be the huge reward!



Fighting the good fight

A lot of what I do is education:  education on eating gluten free, education on what Celiac disease is and education on why it’s important for me to remain gluten free.  There have been many people lately that have taken stabs at those eating gluten free (one of my earlier blogs speaks to the ignorant Joy Behar) and the most recent is NBC.

As a news agency, along with an entertainment portion, they have done stories on eating gluten free, on Celiac disease and why the sudden boom in the gluten free food industry.  They have done studies on why the importance and, as someone who once worked for the local NBC affiliate, I was embarrassed and saddened when this Super Bowl ad made an appearance online.

Luckily, a fellow blogger by the name GlutenFreeDude took matters into his own hands and started circulating a petition that would remove this ad from TV.  Kudos to him for doing this as it caused a ruckus and the ad was edited.

For all the education I try to do in my community, it’s things like this that seem to be a set back…or is it?  Maybe, in some weird way it’s actually bringing the topic, the reality, to light and gives me a platform to be able to talk to people about WHY it’s important to be gluten free.  Why it’s not a funny topic, just like other medical condition aren’t.  You wouldn’t joke about cancer so why joke about this?  Celiac disease can be deadly, ask my dad who nearly died before being diagnosed.

As frustrated as I was when I first saw the ad, and as frustrated as I was today reading how those who reacted to the ad were “pansies” among other verbiage, I see an opportunity to give reality to what some people think is “all in my head”.

So I will continue with what I feel has been given to me, a torch to carry.  And I will continue helping people through struggles…this is how I feel, this is only the beginning, just one battle.