It’s been a crazy week and few days and I’m sorry I haven’t written. I have some blog posts ready to go but these last few weeks have been something else… I love cats and most recently (April 2016) adopted … Continue reading
It’s been a while since I’ve written. The last couple of months have been crazy. I went into sales in June and I’ve been concentrating on building my book of business and have been running on all cylinders. I’ve spent quite a few days out of town as well. Things are going well but it’s a crazy, crazy time.
I also moved to 2nd Vice President in Lions last month which means new responsibilities and learning more there.
It’s a lot of change at one time and while I embrace change, this week things have caught up to me.
You see, there have been a lot of changes in my personal life and my friend’s lives. I have done a little “housekeeping” when it came to friends and have decided to weed out those that have wronged me or that use me. It’s felt good to surround myself with positive people.
While I’ve been overwhelmed with what’s going on in my life, the worst thing is when I can’t help my friends. I know that when things are crazy in my life I have a good cry and the weight is lifted. But when I see my friends hurting, it overwhelms me in a different way. There aren’t enough words or hugs or cards that can make things better. Only time. But all I want to do is fix things, make them right again and make sure everyone is happy.
The reality is that not all times are happy. In fact, Ecclesiastes 3 says:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
We take the good with the bad, we laugh and cry…and in these times of being overwhelmed I pray.
There are times in life when we are forced to slow down. This was one of those weeks.
Monday I woke up, didn’t feel great and took my temp: 102. I called in sick to work, a friend recommended that I go to the doc and by the time I got to the doctor, my temp was over 103. The flu. Whee!
So I was down and out for three full days. My temp would go down during the day and then I’d wake up with a temp, Wednesday was the worst with 104. Thursday my temp was gone when I woke up, I was on the mend.
I went to work on Friday and lasted half a day. My body is spent from fighting this thing. It was such a nice afternoon on Friday that I got a chair outside in my backyard and sat in the sun, breathing in fresh air. I just sat. I listened. I closed my eyes and soaked the sun in. I was forced to take time. My body was forcing me to slow down, take a breather and remember that I’m not invincible and that taking it slow isn’t a bad thing.
You see, we are always in such a hurry, always scurrying from one place to another, one thing to another, filling every minute of our day. Because if we aren’t filling it, what are we missing? Did I forget something? That’s always my fear. And it shouldn’t be something feared, it should be something that makes us happy, to have time.
Time to stop, wash some windows, trim a shrub and then sit and watch the world go by.
This has been a tough week in our community. Early this week a Sheriff’s Deputy was killed in the line of duty, the first time this has happened in Mesa County in over 100 years.
We don’t have things like that happen here. We are a close knit community where everyone knows everyone. Sometimes this is a bad thing but when things like this happen, we REALLY band together.
It was a sad situation. A 17 year old who has been on the run and had a warrant out for his arrest. When Deputy Geer attempted to detain him, this 17 year old shot him. Deputy Geer leaves behind a wife and two children who will grow up without a father. A wife who, in a few seconds, was left a widow. He was strong in the community, so many people had known him for years, his dedication to his country and his community are being commended.
I didn’t know Deputy Geer but I know people who did. Again, it’s thrown out community out of sorts, as it should. People are showing support by putting blue lines on their cars, flying flags at half mast and more. Monday we will line our streets as Deputy Geer’s body is taken to Canyon View Vineyard Church for a memorial. Then we will line again as he is taken to his final resting place.
It is sad, it has struck me more than I thought. It makes me sad that such evil and misguided people are out there. This week nearly 10 police were killed and I wonder how those with loved ones in those positions handle situations like this.
I pray for those who are on the streets protecting us, I pray for the responders and for those defending our country.
For those of you who aren’t Celiac, gluten intolerant or have a wheat allergy, you are probably saying “what is glutened”?
It’s a term that means that we were, essentially, poisoned. We accidently ingested something with gluten and have exited the building. If you are anything like me, it leaves you curled up in a ball with pain like someone has taken your intestines and just yanked on them. A lot. Hard. You can’t stand up straight and it’s PAINFUL.
I hadn’t been glutened, at least to this degree, for a long time but it happened on New Year’s Eve. Yup, way to bring in the new year. Glutened. Anyway, before I went to the party where I was to spend the rest of the evening, I stopped to have a beer with two of my friends: Don and Craig.
Now, I hang out with those two guys a lot. We talk politics, sports and anything else. So, when I walked in, Craig orders himself a Bud Light and me an Angry Orchard. Gotta love friends who know what you drink! The server brings the beer and typically I take a sniff because Angry Orchard has a sweet smell to it. This was the one time I didn’t do that. I was deep in conversation or distracted or something but all I know is that I took a sip. ONE sip. It wasn’t Angry Orchard. It was Bud Light.
Two thoughts ran through my head: 1. Oh crap. 2. How did I used to drink this stuff?
I put the beer down, said “This is NOT Angry Orchard”. Craig got a hold of the server, told her that it wasn’t the drink I ordered and she brought me my correct drink. Don recognized that it was an issue and I was grateful for an opportunity to tell him what happens when I’m glutened. I should have spoken to the server and/or manager but it was so busy and…I missed an opportunity. An opportunity to educate, to help someone realize that it wasn’t just a simple mistake.
I got sick. It was more gradual than it had been in the past. Usually it takes about 15 minutes to an hour and then, BAM!, you won’t see me for a while. This time it took a few hours, I kept getting more and more bloated and ended up going home late that night. I slept all night but the next day I just sat on the couch. I was tired, lethargic and didn’t want to do anything.
I guess the moral of the story is that when things like this happen, when I KNOW that a mistake has been made, to educate. To use the opportunity.
Last year was a wild and crazy ride. What a year! I started a new job with a new company…kind of. As my office was absorbed by another company, I learned a new role with my promotion. This meant that … Continue reading
Five years ago we lost a great man: my grandpa. I wrote this the evening that we found out he passed away and I found it appropriate to post it here as I have been thinking about him a lot lately:
Memories of Grandpa
The last week has been one of remembering, little things will happen and trigger a thought, beautiful memory.
I was remembering how, as a child, there was always a hot cocoa jar. I don’t know where they got the hot cocoa but on cold winter days we would always have some after playing in the snow. It was “different” hot cocoa, probably because it was at Grandpa and Grandma’s. It was always there and Grandpa was always willing to make it for us.
Fishing. It was what Grandpa did all summer and when we would visit, we would go fish. I remember learning how to put a bobber on the line, how to put a minnow on (he used mostly minnows) and then catching the fish: sunfish, blue gills and crappies. It was SO exciting catching those little fish and we would always take them along. I’m sure they were too small for anything but Grandpa made sure we took them along, no matter what.
Grandpa always had heart issues and had lots of surgeries: open hearts, bypasses, etc. I remember a specific time we were up there visiting after one of his surgery’s. We went for a walk and it was so special, just me and Grandpa. I don’t remember what we talked about or how far we went but it was a special time for me. Those one on one moments with him.
And Grandpa LOVED his garden. Not just the veggies he grew but especially the flowers. He made his own flower boxes to set in the front yard, always had a little flower bed around the birdbath and had other flowers everywhere in the yard. He took time picking the flowers: petunias, marigold, zinnias, etc. and made sure that they were colorful. He would spend so much time in the garden weeding it and making the plants grow to their best. Grandpa was always a farmer at heart and carried his love for growing into his garden in town. He also did a lot of woodworking, making vases, flower boxes and toy animals. I remember helping him by painting some of the things he made. We would spend time in the basement painting and cutting things out of wood.
The one thing that was always close to his heart was his love of this country. Grandpa fought in WWII, one of the brave Army souls that marched across Europe and lived in foxholes. I always knew that Grandpa had been in the Army and served in the war because he went to a lot of Army reunions and kept in touch with his Army buddies but it wasn’t until I was in college that I really knew what Grandpa had done. That’s when I learned that Grandpa had seen some horrible things in Europe. He helped liberate both Dachau and Auschwitz and had seen what the Nazi army had done to the Jews. He lived with the horrors he had seen and didn’t talk about them for decades. He told us stories of friends dying for their country, of nearly freezing their feet and hands off and then telling stories about the people he met along the way, like the German family who took him in for a Christmas. He still kept in touch with that family, all these years later. Grandpa was a proud Army soldier and was a part of the Turtle Lake Legion from the time he returned from war until his dying day. What he did for our country was of utmost importance to him and I’m proud of his dedication.
And Grandpa loved his family. He loved his kids, his grandkids and the time he got to spend with them. He loved visiting his kids that were spread throughout the US, seeing the different areas. Time he could spend telling stories, playing games or just being with them were cherished by him…and by me. I was just telling Dad that Grandpa was down here six years ago for Christmas, it was the Christmas before I moved. I remember taking the trip to Gateway and his amazement at the geography and then his disappointment of the little town of Gateway (this was before Gateway Canyons was built). I remember him telling stories, stories I had probably heard a million times before…but I listened. Each word was important, because it was Grandpa.
And now he is gone. He has no more pain, will no longer have a weak heart and has his final wish of being with Grandma, who was the love of his life. We are happy because he no longer has pain but mourn because he is no longer with us. I miss you Grandpa and love you…
When it comes to holidays, we don’t do much tradition for meals. Yes, for Thanksgiving we have turkey and stuffing but then it kind of varies. For Christmas we don’t do ham or turkey (or rarely do turkey), we do things like shrimp scampi or steak or something like that. For Christmas Eve this year we ordered in pizza from Chicago’s Pizza in, where else, Chicago. I can’t even tell you how excited I am about that!
So when it comes to dessert, I usually take it on. I LOVE baking and for a holiday is no different. I want to do something that is unusual, last year for Thanksgiving I did tiramisu. This year I found a recipe that will remain close to my heart: Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake. Anytime you have whiskey in the title, you have my attention. The only issue was that this wasn’t a gluten free recipe and, if you have tried converting recipes in the past, sometimes you have luck and sometimes you just throw it away. This one turned out SO good! I have to share and, maybe for Christmas, this will be your dessert. Also, I found this recipe at www.loveandoil.com, I want to give credit where it’s due!
Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake with Whiskey Caramel Sauce
Yield: 12 servings
Total Time: 2 hours
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups gluten free flour
- 3/4 cup dark or dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup decent quality Tennessee whiskey or bourbon (I used Pendleton)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- pinch cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2/3 cup heavy cream (I ended up using light cream, that’s what I get for shopping the night before Thanksgiving)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Generously butter a standard (12-cup) bundt pan. Dust with 1 tablespoon each flour and cocoa powder, and tap and turn until pan is completely coated. Dump out excess.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, whisking until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and mix with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until dry ingredients are almost incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add warm water and whiskey and mix until just combined and no dry ingredients remain (do not overmix). Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the deepest part of the pan comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then gently invert onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
- To prepare caramel, place sugar and cream of tartar in a medium, high-sided saucepan set over medium-high heat. Pour water around edges. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook for 2 minutes (the steam buildup will help dissolve any stray sugar crystals on the sides). Remove cover and continue to boil, without stirring, until sugar caramelizes to a light amber color, about 5 to 7 minutes. Watch it carefully, as it can go from golden brown to burnt in no time if left unattended.
- Remove from heat and quickly whisk in cream and butter (mixture bubbles a lot, this is normal), then return to low heat and whisk until completely smooth. It may seem like it is seizing, but keep whisking and most of the hard caramel chunks should dissolve. I had a few left and strained them out. Remove from heat and let cool for about 2 minutes, then stir in whiskey. Transfer to a heat-proof container and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour, or until thickened yet still pourable.
- Pour about half of the caramel over the top of cake, letting it drip down the edges and pool at the base. Slice and serve and drizzle with additional caramel as desired. Cake will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
When I meet someone else who has Celiac Disease, I feel an instant connection. I instantly feel less alone and feel free to talk about my life with my autoimmune disease.
It’s similar when I meet someone else with an autoimmune disease of any type. You can talk about struggles and get to know what other people struggle with, help educate others about their disease and spread the word for awareness.
One such person is the daughter of my best friend, Shawna. Her name is Courtney and Courtney has cystic fibrosis or CF. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system…But in people with cystic fibrosis, a defective gene causes the secretions to become thick and sticky. Instead of acting as a lubricant, the secretions plug up tubes, ducts and passageways, especially in the lungs and pancreas.” In short, this disease makes it hard to breathe, breathing is necessary for life so this is a disease that can be life threatening, if not handled correctly.
Ever since I’ve known Courtney, she has tackled this disease head on. She’s always had a smile on her face and had been an advocate for those that have CF and has been vocal about what the disease is and is always educating people. Yes, she’s been in the hospital a few times in the past year and a half for “tune ups”, to get her lung function back where it needs to be. She plays guitar and sings and doesn’t let this disease stop her from doing things she loves.
Courtney turns 16 tomorrow. This is key because there are several people with CF that don’t make it into their 20’s. Even less into their 30’s and, well, you get the picture. Yes, treatments and, now, experimental drugs are helping life expectancy but with CF, the simplest things can trigger shortness of breath. As a teenager, Courtney loves going to haunted houses. This year I went with her and Shawna and the fog machines started affecting her ability to breathe. Things that I wouldn’t think about if it wasn’t for Courtney. And, as an advocate, she isn’t afraid to stand up for herself in cases like the haunted house or to make sure that a restaurant doesn’t allow smoking, and many other instances that I wouldn’t think about.
Speaking of experimental drugs, Courtney was one of the fortunate ones to be able to take this drug that is meant to keep her lung function where it’s at, giving her a longer life with the lungs she has and, hopefully, to not have to have a lung transplant for a long time or ever.
Why am I writing about another disease? Because Courtney and I not only have autoimmune diseases (and both agree that they suck) but we also share a birthmonth. Poor Shawna, having to deal with both of us and our birthday talk all December.
Two things as I end: 1) The more we understand about other autoimmune diseases (Shawna and Courtney, please forgive me if I got info wrong!), the more we can help others and they can help us educate and advocate for Celiac Disease. 2) I want to wish Courtney a very happy Sweet 16th birthday! Here’s to many more, dear!
Today is Thanksgiving. For some people it means a days of stuffing your face full of food or prepping for Black Friday (which has turned into Black Thanksgiving Day but I digress), but for me it means what I think it should mean: a day with family and friends.
You see, I’ve always thought “what if you take away the food, football, shopping, etc…what do you have?” It’s the people around you! As a Celiac, so much emphasis is put on food. Don’t get me wrong, I love stuffing as much (or more) than the next person but if I couldn’t have it but was surrounded by people I love…Thanksgiving is perfect.
I’m so incredibly thankful for so many people in my life. My parents are amazing people who jump in to whatever adventure I start on. My brother and sister in law support me from afar and my niece and nephew are amazing little wide eyed children. I have a fantastic group of friends who make me laugh and have hearts of gold and a bestie who is always there for me. What more could I need?
This Thanksgiving, count your blessings. I bet the list is longer than you think.