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.
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
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.
Somethings you just don’t expect to see on Facebook and one of those such things happened today. i was taking a brain break at work and as I scrolled down my Facebook feed I found out that one of my friends had passed away overnight. Apparently a heart attack. It took me by such surprise. Here was a gentleman who was just 10 years older than me and…just like that…gone.
Tony was someone who wasn’t easy to forget. I will never forget the first time I met him. I had just moved to Grand Junction and had someone who was interested in hiring me in their insurance office as I had insurance experience. I walked into the office and was introduced to Tony. Tony was African American but what set him apart in this little Colorado town was the fact that he was TALL, like almost seven feet tall. I would later find out that he played professional basketball in Europe. I didn’t get the job and it was a long time until we crossed paths again.
In fact, it was almost six years later and I accepted a position with an insurance agency in Fruita, a town just outside of Grand Junction. Tony had become an insurance adjuster and was stationed out of the office I worked in. Had it not been for him, and his sidekick Jarred, I would have been even more miserable than I was. Those two made me laugh and I always told Tony that it took him a month to remember my name since he always would yell “hey, front desk lady!” if he needed to talk to me. The first week I was there, he offered to get me breakfast but, with his North Carolina drawl, it lost a few letters and became “brefas”. Oil became “ol”, kids became “keeds” and so on. He couldn’t carry a tun but sang at the top of his lungs and the song “Marry Me” never sounded so bad. Friday afternoons sometimes he would go get himself beer for a work happy hour and bring back a shot or two so I could have a cocktail under my boss’ nose (sorry, Troy!).
After I parted ways with the insurance company, we still got together for a cocktail now and then, to catch up and just have fun. I actually saw him in September and had I known that it would be the last time I would have made an effort to make time to see him.
We never know if tomorrow won’t come for someone we care about. Tony was an amazing person with the brightest smile in the room. Tony, you will be miss dearly. God bless you.
Yes, the great Northwest. If Chicago is for foodies, then the state of Washington is for those of you who like your food and adult beverages. My brother is a graphic designer and owns his own business, Fresh Bread Design. He works almost exclusively with distilleries and breweries in the area north of Seattle as well as some in Seattle. So I had the inside track on what was amazing to sip on while in Washington. And it was a fun time!
I love flying into Sea-Tac on a clear day, the views are amazing! I arrived at a good time in the morning and my dad and brother, Scott, picked me up just in time for lunch. Since we had plans on going to Ghostfish Brewing Company when they opened at 3pm, we had time to kill. Scott found a little fish and chips place that had a dedicated fryer for gluten free foods. I loved the fact that he did research ahead of time, read reviews and planned this for us. It meant so much!
The fish and chips place that we went to was called Emerald City Fish and Chips. It may not be the biggest place to eat but it packed a punch! It turns out that they only batter their items in a Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free batter so the only things that aren’t gluten-free are their sandwiches. It was awesome getting a great meal and knowing it was totally safe!
We then headed downtown-ish Seattle. We parked close to Ghostfish Brewing but Scott wanted to take us to Letterpress Distilling. It was a gorgeous, sunny fall day so we walked there. Letterpress is right around the corner from SafeCo Field, home of the Mariners and they currently make vodka and Limoncello. Their vodka is super smooth with a hint of vanilla at the end, very enjoyable. The Limoncello was smooth as well and lemon-y but not overpowering. More like a lemon drop without too much sweetness. We also got a tour of the facility which was really cool!
Ghostfish was a place I was DYING to go to. They brew only gluten-free beers and it was awesome to get to go to a brewery and drink a beer! Since I’d never been there, I had a flight and my brother and dad shared a flight with other flavors. I’d never had a saison before and fell in love with the light flavor with a hint of flowers. Just a beautiful blend! The other flavor, much to my surprise, that I loved, was the stout. I’d never been too much of a stout fan, it’s usually got too much of a coffee flavor for me, but this one is less coffee and more chocolate. Wow! Talk about a beer you can sip and savor! Needless to say, we took some beer home with us.
A couple of days later we ventured to Anacortes. If you have never been there, go visit. It’s a beautiful sea town with a marina and fresh sea air.
We ate breakfast at the Calico Cupboard. They have many gluten-free items including thick, fluffy pancakes for breakfast and carrot cake (my favorite!) and cookies to take home. I didn’t get a picture of the carrot cake the next day but it made for a great breakfast! On the way home, we stopped at a store and picked up a bottle of Ground Breaker Dark Ale. This was also a great beer with a full flavor. Not as deep as a stout, obviously, but had a great finish to it.
That Saturday was our “Tour day”. Scott took mom, dad and I out to see a couple more of his clients. Our first stop was Temple Distilling. Temple, for the time being, makes gin. Disclaimer: I’m not a gin drinker. I always think that someone put Lysol in my drink. Not Temple’s London Dry gin. Super smooth, no bite, it might make me a gin drinker. Put it into a gin and tonic and…wow. So good. You have to try it to believe it, really. They also just released a Navy Gin which is a bit more potent. (I’m also a photographer and the next day Scott and I did some publicity photos for Temple, they turned out so good! Sorry, a little self promotion).
After Temple we headed to Elemental Hard Cider. Elemental does all gluten-free hard ciders and MANY flavors. They also have lunch which is all gluten-free sandwiches. Whoa…lunch and cider and it’s all gluten-free? I’m in heaven! I decided to go with the classic grilled cheese and it was amazing. But the ciders…oh, the ciders! From a classic dry apple to cherry to spiced apple to spiced pumpkin to acai…these are just a few flavors. And they just introduced a root beer, not for the kiddos to try! All of them are so good but the acai was bottled and I took one home with me. The root beer was to be bottled a few days after I left so I may have some mailed to me. It really was hard to pick a fav but I loved the spiced apple or the spiced pumpkin. Two distinct flavors and perfect for fall!
It was an amazing trip and I had a great time visiting family too, it wasn’t all about the beverages. My family is super important to me and I got to surprise my 4 1/2-year-old niece and my 2-year-old nephew. Spending time chasing them around was so precious to me. Seeing my brother and sister-in-law and having time to hear about their future was amazing as well. It’s so hard being so far away…but the memories of this time helps get through to the next time.