A Week In The Circus


Do you ever reach Sunday and feel so thankful that your week has come to an end? I don’t feel like that often, but this week has definitely been “one of those” weeks. Kind of felt like we were the ringmasters of a three-ring circus.


This morning’s breakfast was organic creamy buckwheat hot cereal. Buckwheat is actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel, not a grain like many people think. I added organic unsweetened almond milk, organic nectarine, organic cinnamon, organic walnuts, and a tad bit organic raw honey.

A few unsavory things transpired this week that we had to deal with, but the highlight of our delightful week?

My husband was let go from his new job along with over 100 other employees including his boss who had been with the company for 17 years. His boss was informed 20 minutes before my husband who had worked for that company for 3 months was informed. They brought in a new CEO and that person revamped the company’s sales force and gave three-quarters of them their walking papers. If you have any experience with the corporate world, you know unfortunately, this is not unusual. Business is business. And business in this day and age is not what business was like “in the good old days” where you devoted your expertise to one company who was equally loyal to you for your entire career. So now we begin a new journey (another one!), trusting that everything most certainly happens for a reason and for our good. Prayers for stress protection for both of us and employment opportunities for Tony would certainly be welcomed if you feel it in your heart to add us to your prayer list.

We chose a see through fence along the backside of the property as it is owned by the county and not allowed to be used for housing.

We chose a see through fence along the backside of the property as it is owned by the county and not allowed to be used for housing.

As you can see we’re still staring at a backyard full of dirt. We switched landscapers after getting a rather frightening quote from the first guy. We had to put off the landscaping for three weeks with guy #2 but the price was worth the wait and we didn’t have to set aside any landscaping ideas like we would have with guy #1.

Even with the dirt backyard, watching the sunrise and breakfasts on the deck are delightful. A peaceful blessing!

Even with the dirt backyard, watching the sunrise and breakfasts on the deck are delightful. A peaceful blessing!

Our experience with the fence company has been…problematic. They didn’t show up two days in a row when they said they would. I had to make a call in my serious mother voice in order to get them out here. Then, we had to have one of the posts removed so the landscapers would be able to get into the backyard with their equipment. When the fence people were removing it with a borrowed piece of machinery from the builders next door, they destroyed the post. Then when they were backing up…destroyed another one. I kind of had to chuckle after all of that. What’s left to do?

And of course, they were the more expensive gate posts. Prior to this happening, my husband came in from out of town and realized they had cracked our bran new driveway with their big truck when there was plenty of room for them to avoid the driveway all together. Not a good situation. Thankfully, the posts will be fixed (not on our dime), the driveway has been “patched” although not to my husband’s satisfaction, and fingers crossed, they’ll hang all the gates properly when the landscaping is finished.


They hung a temporary gate while our gate is being powder coated to keep the dogs from roaming. However, they left an 8 foot gap in the fence on the other side and didn’t hang anything temporary as discussed. At this point, I just had to shake my head. Such lack of attention to detail. Then I noticed several of the fence boards are dented and scratched. So I had to make another call in my serious mother voice and have them come out again to hang the orange temporary mesh and remove the posts they dug out of the holes and just left lying in the yard in the path of the landscapers. We were told to place painter’s tape on the damaged fence boards and they’ll be replaced.

We went with a 5 foot fence on this side of the house as no building will be permitted their either.

We went with a 5 foot fence on this side of the house as no building will be permitted there either.

Abigail is mortified that she has to pee in dirt. She stands in the middle of the “yard” and looks back at us like, “you want me to pee in THIS?”  Romeo is fine with it and has found it quite entertaining to jump around smacking his paws in the dirt and making huge dust clouds.

Abigail and I would never make it in the old west.  Dust…ugh. Notice the cat is on the inside of the screen. We hadn’t realized she was out the other night and spent the entire night outside and then the entire next day in a window well that she was too old to get herself out of. She’s typically a grumpy, snobby cat, but after that adventure, I noticed she was quite happy to see me and be back inside the comfort of a home full of self feeding cat dishes and kitty treats.


That’s what’s happening in our neck of the woods. Never a dull moment with us. Looking forward to an uneventful Sunday a peaceful week ahead, and wishing you the same!

Settling In


Good morning!

Have you tried Chia seeds? They’re on my list of  new favorite things. I put them in my morning smoothies or add them to dairy free yogurt. But really, you can add them to anything, even a water bottle. Just hop on to Pinterest, and you’ll find all kinds of neat uses for them.


They have a tiny crispness. They can gel with water for an egg substitute for baking. You can make jam with them and forgo the pectin. They make an interesting pudding, and best of all, they taste good…not gross and they’re extremely good for you.

My favorite dish as of late: stir fried broccoli and cauliflower with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. SO GOOD. You won’t believe it. Light and aldente, a tiny bit spicy, and perfectly, simply, easy. I have no idea why this picture is so small, I took it with my phone…but I promise it’s delicious.


The third thing on my new favorites list? Turmeric milk. Sounds gross, but is extremely good for the healing of your tummy and for inflammation. Super easy too. You can go here to Melissa Ramos’ website for the recipe. You’ll love her, she’s hilarious.


We are getting settled into the house now. What a relief! Everything is unpacked, put away in an organized fashion, and the house is mostly decorated. Minus curtains, but we do have blinds installed for privacy at night and sun protection during the day. Curtains always throw me for a loop. I never know if I like them or need them, or not.


We have beautiful molding around the windows, I’d hate to hide that. But they do seem to be missing that “something”. We’ll see.


This house has 5 bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms, yet is still smaller than the house we had in NH. I was hoping it would take me less time to clean it. Having construction going on around us makes for a lot of dust and it took me several hours to clean the house from top to bottom yesterday. I need to find a routine so I’m not spending one entire day of my week cleaning house. Maybe 1-800-Maids? Ha.

They installed the fence posts last week .


The rest of the fence was supposed to go up “yesterday…maybe today”.  I say supposed to because in the construction world, I’ve noticed time is relative.


Time for me is concrete and when someone says they’ll be here to install our fence on a certain day, shockingly, I expect them to be here on that day.  They didn’t show up yesterday of course. It’s 9:30 AM right now and supposed to be 101 degrees today. It will be interesting to see what time they do end up rolling in… If it were me, I would rather install a fence in the morning when it’s 70 degrees than in the afternoon when it’s 100 degrees. But what do I know.

We’ve gone from a HUGE backyard in NH to a more reasonable size. It’s nice and private though which makes it feel a bit bigger. All the land behind us and to the right of us has been deeded to the county for walking trails with the stipulation that no houses will be built. It’s a gorgeous, wide open view. We love it.

So far we’ve seen lots of deer including babies, hawks, doves,  and have heard coyotes close by at night. The coyotes drive the dogs crazy and have made for some restless nights for us. I’m hoping they’ll move on and get as annoyed with the dogs barking and growling as we have.


The landscaping for the back yard and side yard will start next week. Although the quote we received was astronomical as I had guessed it would be. Still made me gasp and shake my head in disbelief. Clearly, we’re in the wrong business. We had to move to plan B and set aside a couple of our more grandiose ideas for a later date. I’ll be SO thankful to be rid of the dirt. It’s been hot here, very hot. That makes the dirt fluffy and powdery and perfect for sticking to dogs and then to floors, and then to my feet which really grosses me out.

This is the beginning of the stormy sunset off the front porch the other night. I’ve missed the Washington sunsets.


I received my co-infections testing results the other day. Negative!  It can mean a couple of different things, but for now I’m looking at it as a major blessing. If I was infected years ago, which I believe I was around 2009, then it’s possible I was “lucky” enough to have been bitten by a tick that only had the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria and wasn’t infected with the numerous co-infection bacterias. The Borrelia is bad enough on its own, no need for extra problems. If I was infected in New Hampshire last year, then it is possible that I do have co-infections but my body has not had time to create anti-bodies and they aren’t showing up in my bloodwork yet. I choose to believe the first scenario until if and when, someone can prove me wrong.

Soon I’ll need to get down to brass tacks and seek out a Lyme Disease professional. We need to figure out why I’m still symptomatic and what to do about it. That’s where all the controversy begins of course. Should make for an interesting journey. Right now I’m able to keep my most uncomfortable symptoms at bay with the use of Vimovo. An anti-inflammatory prescription drug that is combined with something to protect the tummy and pretty close to a miracle worker. I’ve been able to drop the dose from 2 a day to 1 a day with the help of turmeric, cinnamon, chia seeds, medicinal honey, blueberries, and tart cherry juice. Sometimes I flare up and have to go back to taking 2 for a couple of days but overall, it’s being controlled to a point where I can function properly on most days.

I’m also doing a no grains trial. I hate to say Paleo, but I suppose that’s what it is in today’s language. Extremely low sugar, no grains, lots of veggies and healthy fruits. Coconut flour and almond meal in place of grain flours. It’s likely that because I’m already allergic to gluten and dairy that I have other allergens lurking that are causing joint issues along with the Lyme Disease.


Grains and sugar are both major inflammatories, so aren’t helpful when it comes to joint pain and swelling. We’ll see. I can’t see myself ever being 100% “Paleo”. But I am going to reduce the amount of inflammatory foods in my diet. I’d say 80/20 or 90/10 seems like a reasonable ratio.

I made this paleo banana bread day before yesterday. Quite tasty and extremely moist. Fluffier than the dense banana bread I’m used to, but delicious none the less. You can find the recipe here.

Today I’m making paleo mint chocolate chip ice cream. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it turned out.

That’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods. My goal is to blog more often and kick this once a month posting thing to the curb. I have tons of recipes planned for you and now that things are slowing down, I should be able to get back on track.

Have a great day and I’ll talk to you soon!

Did You Think I Had Gotten Lost?


I can hardly believe my last blog post was a month ago.

How time flies!

Father's Day desserts ready to go in the oven. Mixed fruit pies with streusel topping.

Father’s Day desserts ready to go in the oven. Mini Mixed fruit pies with streusel topping.

In case you missed the last couple of posts, we are back home in Washington state. I cannot even begin to explain how good it feels to be able to spend time with our son whenever we want!

A very, VERY, happy mama.

A very, VERY, happy mama.

How surreal it is to think that we spent the last almost two years in New Hampshire. I’m not sure why it feels surreal to me, but it does.

The dogs are equally happy to be back home with Brandon!

The dogs are equally happy to be back home with Brandon!

The cats at my mom's house however...not as happy to see the dogs as the dogs were to see them.

The cats at my mom’s house however…not as happy to see the dogs as the dogs were to see them.

The oddest thing I notice is that I only miss two things about New Hampshire. Our huge bathtub that was surrounded by windows, and my favorite restaurant in Boston that has an amazing gluten-free menu, Legal Seafood.

Seriously, I miss nothing else.


Strange because I loved so much about New England while we were there.


Now that we’re back home and I’m able to spend all the time I want with our son and my mom, enjoy a city and all it has to offer, and have the convenience of good organic grocery stores… I can’t quite believe I made it almost two years so far away from family and city life.

Mixed fruit salad with brown sugar and lime juice dressing.

Mixed fruit salad with brown sugar and lime juice dressing.

I suppose the good thing is, I proved to myself that I’m able to adapt. Because while I certainly am extremely happy being back in Washington around my family, I wasn’t unhappy in New Hampshire.  And, I survived living 2700 miles away from our only child.

Yay me…Ha!

Marinated chicken skewers and marinated steak and onion skewers.

Marinated chicken skewers and marinated steak and onion skewers.

But I will tell you, there would have to be some extreme or unusual life circumstances for me to ever agree to something like that again. Life is just too short to live so far from the people you love.

We hit the ground running when we arrived in our hometown. We looked at numerous houses that all got the thumbs down, and right when I thought there was no hope of finding anything close to what we were looking for, we finally settled on something we could both agree on. All papers should be signed and sealed and we’ll be moved in (fingers crossed) by the end of this month. It’s new construction so after the move in, we’ll focus on fencing and landscaping. One of my favorite things in the world to do is fiddle around in the yard and garden. I’m hoping I can get my hands dirty at least a little bit before we run out of summer.


Life has been crazy and we keep waiting for it to slow down, but of course that will probably never happen, and it hasn’t all been work.

There’s been lots of visiting and hanging out, enjoyable meals with friends and family, walking the dogs on their old stomping grounds, eating at our favorite restaurants, and basically just enjoying being back home. Tony has started working again and I’ve been promised that his travel schedule will not be nearly as demanding as it was in New Hampshire. We’ll see…

A family friend recently had a baby. We arrived in town just in time to get sweet new baby cuddles.

A family friend recently had a baby. We arrived in town just in time to get sweet new baby cuddles.

The other day I went to our storage unit where our entire house is stored and dragged out all of my jewelry making supplies.


It’s been years since I’ve made any jewelry and I spent one entire day last week fiddling around with it and watching movies.

Incredibly relaxing!



I tested positive on my second Lyme test in NH after 2 waves of antibiotic treatment, did a third wave after we left NH, and am supposed to be resting to “boost” my immune system. Rest does make a major difference in how I feel, but as with anything, it’s easier said than done. But I’m working on it! Oh yes, and low stress is key also. I just have to laugh at that one. I’m not feeling fantastic, but things could be much worse, so I choose to focus on the now and worry about the later, later. I should be getting the test results for the Lyme co-infections testing soon. I’ll worry about that and finding a specialist when the time comes.

Until we move into the house we’re staying in our 25 foot camping trailer.


Some people gasp and shake their heads when they hear that. As if camping is a punishment!


It’s a lovely trailer, and has made the last month and a half feel like a perpetual vacation. It’s incredibly relaxing and I have to admit, I’m thankful to not have to clean that huge house in New Hampshire any longer!

Romeo feels quite at home.

Romeo feels quite at home.

In fact, both dogs seem perfectly comfortable.

In fact, both dogs seem perfectly comfortable.

We’re camping at a Gun Club and it has been so peaceful. A lovely, dog friendly, place to stay. This weekend there’s a giant shin dig with tons of people, but typically several days a week we have the place all to ourselves.


Once we’re settled in the new house, I promise, promise, I’ll get back to posting regular recipes for you! My diet will be changing to boost my immune system, so you can look forward to experimenting with me and trying new things.

We’ll talk soon, and until then, many blessing to you from Gluten Free Zen!

The Road Home


After weeks of packing and the anticipation of moving back to our home town, we finally headed out of New Hampshire on May 1st. I have to say, that even though New Hampshire is beautiful, the people are wonderful, and we enjoyed our stay there over the past almost two years, I had absolutely no regrets leaving. Not even a sprig of emotion.

We had a couple of neat stops on our 6 day trek back to Washington State. We’re in our home town now and boy does it feel wonderful. Crazy, and busy, and surreal, but amazingly wonderful. It even smells like home. I didn’t realize until we returned, that nothing in NH was familiar. Even the smells. And I didn’t realize how nice familiar is. A wonderful feeling!

Niagara Falls, NY


Yes, that’s ice floating in the water. The east coast had what seemed to be, a never-ending winter. It was 38 degrees when we left on May 1st.


This is looking over at the Canada side and below is a big iceberg.



Getting closer to the wide open spaces we missed so much!





This was our 4th trip across country by car, and the three prior trips were all done on the same route. This time I wanted to make sure we visited Niagara Falls before leaving the east coast and then we decided to head toward Wyoming and drive through Yellowstone through the east entrance. In the east entrance and out the west entrance.

It was not a disappointment, but Yellowstone never is.


Yellowstone Lake, still frozen solid in May. In many areas around the east entrance there was still 5 feet of snow.


A little thermal pool off to the side. I kept thinking how wonderful it would feel to slip right in there and soak for a while. However, thermal pools in Yellowstone have a very unpleasant sulfur smell. Not to mention that many of them will burn your skin off. They have warnings that tell of stories where children were walking where they shouldn’t have been, fell through the crusty layer and were burned to death.


There were more Bison in the park than any other time I’ve visited. They are HUGE. Just their heads alone are an incredible sight.


This time of year they are grazing and wandering around with their babies, very relaxed. Evidently come Fall, it’s rutting season and they are not pleasant to be around. One of the park officials told us, “that’s when people get gored”. Eek.

This little sweet thing was looking right at me.



A geyser I can’t remember the name of.


Our selfie while we waited freezing for Old Faithful to faithfully blow.


It blew, we watched, we took pictures…then we raced back to the car to the heater and the dogs.


Surprisingly, the park had only been open a few days, and there were still a lot more people than I would have guessed. It was fun to listen for accents and languages and try to guess where everyone was from while we tried to ignore the cold.


This guy looked like he had a rough winter.


You would not believe how close people were standing to this Grizzly.


The park rangers say stay away 100 yards, but people were being people and it sure looked to me like they were a lot closer than that. Bears can sprint at over 30 miles an hour people, remember that. Yellowstone is not a zoo.


I stood on the seat of our truck and stuck my head out the sunroof.  I’m fully aware of the fact that I can’t run anywhere near 30 miles an hour.


This Bison looked at me so intently it made me a little nervous. But I took the majority of our pictures through the safety of the sunroof.  This time of year they meander and they could care less that the road is full of cars and people are taking pictures. But like I said, Fall may be a different story. Not only that, but if you visit in the Fall and have young ones, you may be explaining the birds and bees a little sooner than anticipated.



We creeped along for at least 15 minutes.


This family crossed the river. They were very cautious and slow and I was impressed that the one in front was clearly their leader and they trusted him.


It took them about 10 minutes to cross. A neat thing to watch while we were waiting for Buffalo to make their way down the road.


This is Earthquake Lake, located in Southwestern Montana. In the 50’s there was an earthquake and then a huge landslide that did not turn out well for many campers.

It’s beautiful now, but still kind of eerie.



That area with the snow and no trees is the site of the landslide.


Once we hit Montana, it was starting to feel more and more like home. Abigail couldn’t wait to get out of the car and run through the wide open spaces. In case you don’t know, New Hampshire is very dense and in the spring and summer it’s like a jungle. There are mountains, but people from the west coast would call them tall hills. Even the dogs were happy to see the mountains and get a fresh breath of wide open spaces.


Always excited to sniff around.


And finally, back in our home town, reunited with our favorite kid in the world.


The dogs were elated to be back on their old stomping grounds.


Happy, happy, happy.


My Corner Of The World


Spring is finally showing itself in New Hampshire.


For some reason, it feels like this has been the longest winter on record. Thankfully, New Hampshire gets a fair amount of sunshine all winter long. Just when you think you can’t stand another snowflake, the sun peeks out and blue skies are visible enabling you to endure just one more crazy New England storm.


Today we’re promised sunny skies and 60 degrees. I’ll be sure to take a break and soak up some of that sun.


We’ve been very busy packing, getting things ready, and trying to prepare for a future that still has quite a few unanswered questions. I like to be in the know, have a plan, have all the details locked up tight. If you need something organized, I’m your gal! You know, typical Type A. This is turning out to be a very big lesson in faith, patience, and letting go.  Add the ups and downs of crazed menopause hormones to that, and well…life can sometimes feel like a three-ring circus.

To de-stress, we’ve been squeezing in some beach time with the dogs before the leash laws begin, watching movies in the evening together, reading, taking walks, and trying to keep our minds occupied on anything other than the “what, how, when” scenarios us humans are so fond of torturing ourselves with.


I also love to take breaks throughout the day and see who’s visiting in the backyard.

I’ve been trying to get a photo of our female Cardinal for a year. She must be feeling brave!


They’re very skittish. She usually chooses to eat at the back of the feeder and peeks around at me. And if I move even a fraction of an inch, she makes a quick escape.


 We will certainly miss the quiet of the country and all of our furry and feathered friends. And the lightning bugs! I’m so happy I was finally able to see them. There are certain things we won’t miss though. The summer humidity brings a lot of bugs. And I mean a lot. Like the jungle. Mosquitoes, black flies, spiders, and all kinds of flying things I didn’t even know were in existence prior to moving to New Hampshire.

And then the ticks. Unbelievable quantities.


Speaking of ticks, a few days ago I went to the doctor and had more blood drawn for an extensive Lyme Disease test. I won’t be satisfied until someone can prove to me that the two waves of antibiotics worked and we caught it fast enough. Then, there’s the unsettling worry that I’ve had it for quite some time, and this was just a flare up.  This particular test is supposed to be the absolute gold standard test amongst Lyme Disease Professionals. It needs to be taken when symptomatic, which I am. They will grow it for 8 weeks. If it’s negative at 8 weeks, they will grow it for another 8 weeks.  As we’ve talked about in my Lyme Disease series, the bacteria has the ability to cloak itself, so we have to be patient and make sure we’ve given them every chance to come out of hiding. A negative after 16 weeks should be good news.


The DNA test was negative, which you would think would be a good thing, but there’s a yes and no to that answer. The Lyme bacteria do not like to stay in the blood. Not long after you’re infected it moves from the blood and settles into muscle tissue, joints, and the nervous system. So if you get a positive on the DNA test, then it’s definitive. You definitely still have the Lyme Disease bacteria in your body. If it’s negative, all that means is maybe  you don’t have the Lyme bacteria or it may mean that you didn’t catch it quickly enough and it’s moved out of the blood stream.


It’s important to keep track of symptoms because many people think the infection is gone, when in fact, it’s just dormant. Unfortunately, many of my symptoms have returned along with an ugly dose of some type of arthritis after a hiatus from the antibiotics . The doctor thinks I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, but the tests are coming up negative. However, 1/3 of people who have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis test negative. It’ can feel like a never ending guessing game. There’s also Lyme Arthritis. And then, studies show that you can  have Lyme symptoms off and on 6 months to 1 year after treatment . So even the symptoms aren’t definitive! Lyme Disease diagnosis and treatment can be very confusing and frustrating.

So for now, we wait.


We visited our favorite Sugar House last weekend. Once you’ve had pure New Hampshire Maple Syrup…there’s no going back to that Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin Syrup. So we stocked up. Ten jugs of Grade A Medium maple syrup for pancakes and waffles, and 3 bottles of Grade A Dark for baking.

You can go here to see our first visit to a local Sugar House last spring. It was so much fun!


I hope the beginning of spring is treating you well! Forgive me for being so behind on all of my blog visits. Don’t give up on me, I’m counting on the fact that life will slow down, if even just a bit, over the next few weeks.


There’s a Mourning Dove nestled in there. I wondered why he chose to take a nap out in the rain.


So much for the “squirrel proof” feeder.


The Red Tail Squirrels are very creative. The Gray Squirrels are curious and act like they’d like to come into the house for a look-see.


They also like to tease the dogs. And although the dogs have never caught one, it doesn’t stop them from plotting.


Well, it’s getting to be that time when the house starts to stir and things begin to get busy. Until next time, have a lovely rest of your week and a relaxing weekend!

This Crazy Thing Called Life


I have big news.


We’re moving back to the west coast.

Those of you who are new to the blog may not realize, we moved clear across the country from Washington state to New Hampshire 16 months ago. It was a huge move. A major life decision that we did not take lightly, and an amazing adventure.

Sometimes life pushes you in a direction that really makes you look at things. Makes you ask all the hard questions. In fact, the last three years actually have come with a lot of change. Relationships reshaped and redefined, lessons learned, new paths taken, new adventures explored, and our fair share of stress and challenges.

When we left Washington my husband’s travel schedule was supposed to be much, much, lighter. And it was for the first couple of months we were here. But then it grew and grew and pretty soon, we were only seeing each other 8 days a month if we were lucky. And then those 8 days a month were spent getting things done that I can’t do by myself, rushing to spend time together, and trying to squeeze in quick sight-seeing days. Everything here is new to us, so we had hoped to soak in as much as possible.

But time is a peculiar thing and there’s never enough of it.


Finally, we realized that although we love so many things about New England, our new home, and our town…some major pieces of our life puzzle are missing. Like quality time spent with each other and neither one of us are happy living 2,700 miles away from our only child. We had to ask ourselves some tough questions, the main one being, “What is the goal? Is this massive job stress and being away from each other and our son worth it? What happened to that work/life balance that we have always fought for?”

The bottom line and conclusion that we came to was this:

Life is short; how do we want to spend our remaining time?

In order to be truly happy, you have to try your hardest to make sure that all the pieces of your life puzzle fit properly. When we sat down and discussed all of the things we love about New England (what’s not to love?) and then the things we were feeling uneasy about, the missing pieces were big puzzle pieces. Not simple little things we all think about like, “I wish we had a hot tub that overlooked the ocean” or “I wish we had a fireplace in our bedroom”.


I’m talking about big things like, “life is too short to only see your spouse less than 8 days a month and your kid 3 times a year”. Because unfortunately, as we all know, people get sick, hurt, life changes quickly. One minute you’re wishing you had more time to spend with the people you love, and the next minute something happens and that option is taken off the table. If you have the ability to spend more quality time with the people you truly love, you should do it.

So, we had several hard discussions. We looked at every option and tossed around every idea we could think of. We discussed what worried us, our needs, and what was missing from this seemingly fantastic life in New England. And we made some tough decisions. No matter how much you love the area you live in, the comfortable paycheck, the gorgeous house, when the major things that are important to you are out of balance, it only takes a short time to realize absolutely nothing can make up for those things.

We’re downsizing. My husband is looking for a new job with less travel and less stress, the house is sold (thank you God!), the moving company comes at the end of April, and we’re heading back west to be closer to our son and families.


Where in the west we’re not sure. We don’t know where our permanent home will be just yet. There’s still lots of unanswered questions and things to consider and think about. And if you’re not careful you can just think everything absolutely to death. (I’m a pro at that.)

For now, we’ve done the most important part. Taken action and steps in the right direction.

We’ve made the tough decisions.  And I must say, although making another major life change in less than 2 years is extremely and shockingly stressful, I’m SO thankful that we had the cojones to face the tough decisions. 

We’ve learned a little something in our last 26 years together. We’ve worked hard to be a team. And we’re incredibly thankful that together, we have enough courage to say, “stop” and then take the difficult leap into the unknown to have a more fulfilling life.


Isn’t it interesting, that sometimes the toughest choices are just simply about making the conscious decision to live with less so you can experience more.

So, strap in tight, we’re headed on another adventure!


Be Aware of Lyme Disease ~ Part III


This is the third installment of my series, “Be Aware of Lyme Disease”. In Part I we learned about what Lyme Disease is and its many symptoms, including mine.


In Part II we discussed testing for Lyme Disease and the differences between the CDC, Lyme Literate doctors, and non-literate physicians.


Part III is a gathering of all the research I’ve done on Lyme Disease, diagnosis, treatment, etc. There’s conventional information as well as natural treatments and non-conventional ideas, information, and discoveries. I’ve tried to categorize them as much as possible…it’s an overwhelming list of information, I know.

My goal is to save you a bit of research time if you need, or someone you know needs to educate themselves on Lyme Disease and all that goes with that very unsettling diagnosis. Don’t just rely on your family physician and the CDC to make testing and treatment decisions for you. The treatments and thought process behind this bacterial infection vary greatly and finding the right doctor will make all the difference for you.

I finished my second wave of antibiotics on February 1st. Many of the symptoms returned 30 days later but with less severtity…ringing in the ears, joint pain, tingling in the hands and feet. Right now I’m waiting to receive the DNA test results. If their positive, then it means the Lyme bacteria is not gone, if they’re negative, well, that’ a hard one. The bacteria only like to stay in the blood for a short time. Then, they leave and rest in the nervous system, muscles, and bones. So if you’re lucky enough to catch it while it’s in the blood then the test is a 100% positive. If it comes back negative and you still have symptoms, further testing will need to be done. I’ll keep you posted!

What Is It, What Are The Symptoms 

http://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/could-you-have-lyme-disease-lyme-disease-causes-lyme-disease-symptoms/~ Could You Have Lyme Disease?

http://www.lymeresearchalliance.org/signs-symptom-list.html ~ Signs & Symptoms

http://www.ilads.org/lyme_research/lyme_articles6.html ~ More Research

http://www.tickencounter.org/tick_identification ~ Tick Identification

http://textbookofbacteriology.net/Lyme.html ~ The Lyme Disease Bacteria

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/08/an-update-from-the-frontline-of-the-lyme-wars.html ~ New Numbers on Lyme Disease

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2001/07/25/lyme-disease-part-two.aspx ~ The Unknown Epidemic

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/stages-of-lyme-disease-topic-overview ~ Stages of Lyme Disease

http://www.egodevelopment.com/5-important-neurological-complications-of-lyme-disease-to-be-aware-of/ ~ Neurological Complications

http://www.lymeneteurope.org/info/the-complexities-of-lyme-disease ~ The Complexities of Lyme Disease

http://www.lyme-aware.org/blogs/my-blog/1039-lyme-disease-great-imitator-of-over-300-conditions.html ~ The Great Imitator

http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/transmission/ ~ CDC Lyme Disease Transmission

http://www.igenex.com/psychological_effects.htm~ Psychological Effects of Lyme Disease

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8tESJVvM88~  Dr. Alan MacDonald,The Biology of Lyme Disease Part 1 – video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RATCS-3v9Q~  Dr. Alan MacDonald, Part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEjNMlNM3l8~ Dr. Alan MacDonald, Part 3

Lyme Disease Tests, They’re Not Created Equal

http://www.lymeinducedautism.com/images/LIATesting_handout_FINAL.pdf ~ A Complete Guide To Testing

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080219102415.htm ~ The Lyme Invisibility Cloak

http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2011/04/27/how-some-bacteria-hide-from-antibiotics ~ How Lyme Hides

http://www.anapsid.org/lyme/wb.html ~ Western Blot Test

http://lymediseaseguide.org/elisa-test-lyme ~ ELISA Test

http://www.dnalymetest.com/ ~ A New Affordable Lyme Disease DNA Test

http://www.anapsid.org/lyme/lymeseroneg.html ~ Reasons For False Negative Test Results

http://www.advanced-lab.com/~ Advanced Laboratory Services

http://www.igenex.com/Website/# ~ IGeneX

http://lymedisease.org/lyme101/coinfections/coinfection.html ~ Lyme Disease Co-Infection List

http://lymeproject.com/lyme_news/have-you-been-tested-for-lyme-disease-co-infections/~ Have You Been Tested For Co-Infections?


http://mylymediseasetreatment.com/lyme-disease-general/how-to-find-a-lyme-literate-doctor-llmd-in-your-area/~ How To Find A Lyme Literate Doctor

http://tbdalliance.org/diagnosing-tbds/find-a-medical-professional~ Find A Medical Professional

 http://www.lymediseaseassociation.org/index.php/doctors ~ Lyme Literate Doctor Referral System

http://www.treatlyme.net/ ~Step By Step Treatment Plan by Two LL Docs

http://www.ilads.org/lyme_disease/B_guidelines_12_17_08.pdf~ Treatment Guidlines ILADS

http://www.wellsphere.com/lyme-disease-article/female-hormones-and-lyme/919069 ~ Lyme & Women’s Hormones

http://www.ilads.org/lyme_disease/treatment_guidelines_clearing_idsa.html~ IDSA Guidelines for Lyme Disease

http://lymediseaseguide.org/lyme-disease-treatment-symptoms-herxing~ Treatment Detox Symptoms/Herxing

Legislation, News, and Things To Think About

http://truth-out.org/news/item/21206-from-aids-to-lyme-will-we-let-history-repeat-itself ~ The Epidemic

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr611#overview ~ Research Act 2013

http://vtdigger.org/2013/05/12/lyme-disease-the-silent-epidemic-house-health-committee-sends-directive-to-department-of-health/ ~ The Silent Epidemic

http://cumberlink.com/news/health/health-officials-lyme-disease-an-epidemic-as-big-as-aids/article_77bead1e-0f7d-11e3-b9a3-0019bb2963f4.html ~ Aids and Lyme Disease

http://www.projectcensored.org/21-lyme-disease-an-emerging-epidemic/ ~ An Emerging Epidemic

http://ticktalklyme.wordpress.com/~ News & Views in The Battle Against Lyme Disease

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/health/Task-Force-Takes-Lyme-Disease-Fight-to-Loudoun-County-124824524.html ~ Raising Awareness

http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2013/12/13/three-deaths-reported-from-heart-inflammation-caused-lyme-disease/tA55TpWGXEjFKqnev6bB8N/story.html ~ Deaths Tied To Lyme Disease

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/09/27/doctors-find-link-between-lyme-disease-autism/~ A Link Between Lyme Disease & Autism

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/113734.php~ The Connection Between Autism & Lyme Disease

http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/chartstables/reportedcases_statelocality.html~ Lyme Disease Cases per 100,000 Population By State

http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/index.html?utm_source=publish2&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=www.kpbs.org ~ CDC Statistics

 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/health/research/new-tick-borne-heartland-virus-has-scientists-puzzled.html?ref=denisegrady ~ A New Tick Virus Discovered

http://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dvbd/heartland/~ CDC Heartland Virus

http://www.lymediseaseassociation.org/~ Lyme Disease Association

Late Stage Lyme Disease

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/lyme/lyme.htm – Neurological Complications

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/08/when-lyme-disease-lasts-and-lasts/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1 ~ When Lyme Disease Lasts & Lasts

http://www.lyme-disease-testing.com/lyme_chronic.html ~ Late Stage Treatment

http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/lyme-disease/possible-complications.html~ Possible Complications of Late Stage Lyme Disease

 Personal Experience with Lyme Disease

http://southriversource.com/2013/06/23/blog-my-eight-year-mystery-illness-it-was-lyme-disease/ ~ The Eight Year Mystery Illness

http://www.crazylyme.com/p/my-lyme-journey.html ~ A Mom’s Struggle

http://lymediseaseresource.com/wordpress/about/ ~ All Kinds of Information

http://lymediseaseresource.com/wordpress/about/ ~ Personal Stories

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/29/health/lyme-disease-missed-symptoms/ ~ 2 Years of Hell

http://julieslymediseasefight.blogspot.com/2012/07/joint-pain-lyme-or-damage.html ~ The Fight Against Lyme Disease

http://www.citylifemagazine.ca/health/lyme-disease-tick-talk/5717 ~ A Very Complicated Illness

http://inthelymefight.blogspot.com/p/my-lyme-fight-round-1-diagnosis.html~ In The Lyme Fight

http://www.livingwithlymedisease.org/living-with-lyme-disease.html ~ Living With Lyme Disease

Foods, Natural Remedies, To Help with Lyme Symptoms

http://coconutoilrecipes.weebly.com/how-i-use-coconut-oil-for-lyme-disease.html ~ Coconut Oil

http://www.faithfulwellness.org/lyme/ ~ Essential Oil Protocol

http://coilingforlyme.com/2011/03/06/women-and-lyme-disease/~ Hormones & Coiling

http://beyondessential.com/lyme-disease-essential-oils/~ Lyme Disease & Essential Oils

http://www.cindeegardner.com/articles/9545617127/treating-lyme-disease-naturally ~ Treating Lyme Disease Naturally

https://vitalplan.com/late-stage-lyme-disease-treatment ~ Natural Help

http://fiveelementhealing.net/in-depth-healing-strategies-for-lyme-disease-new/~ Varying Types of Treatment

Everything In Its Place ~ My Corner Of The World


Good morning!


What did you have for breakfast? I’m always curious about what kinds of foods people start their days off with. I prefer dinner leftovers, but since I put the remainder of the lasagna I made in the freezer, I had to settle with oatmeal.

Oatmeal is not my favorite by any means. A favorite breakfast would consist of a slice of cherry pie, or a big slice of chocolate cake, or even leftover spaghetti and garlic bread. Now that’s a breakfast. I did have dried cherries in my oatmeal though. Not that dried cherries even come close to pretending I’m eating cherry pie for breakfast. I also added dates, pecans, almond milk, and a Tablespoon of coconut oil…in case you were wondering. My teacup has organic green tea and a nice sized dollop of Manuka honey.

Also, what do you do while eating breakfast? Read the paper, a book, watch the news, sit in silence, chat with your family, eat standing up and multi-task, or maybe you don’t eat breakfast at all? If Tony is out of town I usually read my book or check email, FB, and Pinterest. If he’s here, we chat with each other about current events, what he’s read in the local paper, life in general.


Today is cleaning day, but I spent most of yesterday organizing some of our closets. This house has an abundance of closets and we seem to have filled all of them to the brim…and not in an organized fashion. I was so excited when we moved out of the other house because I felt like we really got rid of a lot of “stuff”.  So how could we possibly fill 8 closets to the brim?

There’s only two of us in this house. This is only 3 of 8 closets.

Here are several before pictures.

Now don’t judge.



So I tackled them. One by one, went through everything and managed 3 bags for Goodwill and even had to throw away a few expired food items. We recently switched to all natural laundry supplies and cleaners, so I managed to get rid of a large bag of cleaners and an impressive amount of laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets to a young neighbor.


By the way, that floor steamer/cleaner you see in there? LOVE it. Cannot say enough good things about it and it makes my life so much easier.  Works on tile, wood, and I believe it also works on Pergo. You can see it here. We found it on sale at Bed Bath & Beyond and saved $30. It is worth every penny. We have a lot of tile and wood floors and it has cut my cleaning time by over an hour!


I found the idea for using these shoe holders as extra storage and organization on Pinterest. They do work well for that, but after having them clank around every time we open the closet doors, I’ve had enough. We’ll have to utilize them for other things.


For a house with a gazillion closets…the coat closet is tiny. We had to install a second rod under the upper one to store the winter coats. There’s lot’s of “weather” in New Hampshire. The extra rod doesn’t do much for a tidy look though.


And here are the after pictures.

Now, when I open each one of the doors, there’s no need for groaning and dreaded disorganization.



In fact, several times last night, I went over and opened each closet door and peered in, just so I could actually experience the effects of “tidy environment, peaceful mind”.



And I’m not going to lie.


It felt good, really good. 

Even if it did take me all day and I didn’t make it out of my pajamas until I crawled into bed with a fresh pair.

Be Aware of Lyme Disease ~ Part I


Lyme disease is a bacterial illness caused by a bacterium called a “spirochete” and it is a bacteria and an illness that can wreak havoc in your life.


photo courtesy of WebMD

In the United States, the actual name of the bacterium is Borrelia burgdorferi. In Europe, another bacterium, Borrelia afzelii, also causes Lyme disease. Certain ticks found on deer harbor the bacterium in their stomachs. Lyme disease is spread by these ticks when they bite the skin, which permits the bacterium to infect the body. Lyme disease is not contagious from an affected person to someone else. Lyme disease can cause abnormalities in the skin, joints, heart, and nervous system. (medicinenet.com)


photo courtesy of WebMD

A few posts ago I shared with you that I am being treated for Lyme disease. I have finished my first wave of antibiotics and am extremely happy to tell you that I am feeling SO much better. Many of my symptoms have disappeared and the symptoms that remain have decreased by about 85%. I had a visit with my Doc yesterday. I started another 21 day round of antibiotics this morning in hopes that we can tackle the remaining symptoms.

If you think Lyme Disease doesn’t concern you, think again. Lyme Disease is at epidemic proportions in the eastern United States and thousands of people are being diagnosed in every single state in the US.


I had no idea Lyme Disease was a bacterial infection. I thought it was a virus. Did you know that the bacteria, Borrelia Burgdorferi, is hard to detect and kill because it has the ability to cloak itself and go dormant? This enables it to hide from diagnostic blood tests and antibiotic treatment.

Did you know that you could have Lyme Disease and not even know it? That it doesn’t always come with that bulls eye rash we all hear about?


photo courtesy of Wikipedia 

Did you know that once the tick bites and feeds, then transmits the bacteria, it falls off? That means if it’s tiny and in your hair and stuck to your scalp or in a crease on your body, you may never even know it was there.


photo courtesy of Fairfax County


photo courtesy of Connecticut Audubon Society

Did you know that Lyme Disease mimics 300 diseases? Including MS, Alzheimer’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Epilepsy, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Influenza, Lupis, Migraines,and Parkinson’s…just to name a few….making it even more difficult to sort out the symptoms and be diagnosed? Did you know that scientists have found that the Lyme disease bacteria can live in blood that is stored for donation although there have not been any proven cases where someone has been infected by a blood transfusion?

Did you know that you can have been bitten years ago and continue to have “flare ups” that can be triggered by stress? Only to have them go away eventually because the bug has gone dormant again? Meaning that you can be infected and not be symptomatic in between flare ups. This makes it very difficult to diagnose and treat. Did you know that the bacteria multiplies? And that the longer you have the infection, the more dangerous and difficult it is to get rid of?


photo courtesy of citylifemagazine.ca

Did you know that the bacteria attaches to the cell first, and then enters the cell? Once it attaches to the cell, it causes the cell to release a digestive enzyme that dissolves the cell and allows the bacteria to go from your bloodstream to wherever it pleases… like your brain, eyes, joints, skin, spleen, liver, GI tract, bladder, and other organs.


photo courtesy of Julieslymediseasefight.blogspot.com

The most important piece to this is that I would have never even thought of asking my doctor about Lyme disease had I not been in contact with my husband’s cousin’s wife, Amanda who has Late Stage Lyme Disease. (ha, try to keep track of that family tree) When I became ill in October and the symptoms were mounting weekly, I had talked to her daily. She said, “April, you have almost ALL of my symptoms, you need to talk to your doctor and have them test you for Lyme disease!” Had she not shared her symptoms with me and urged me to talk to my doctor, I fear where my health would be today.

Lyme Disease can be debilitating and in rare cases, even deadly when left untreated.


photo courtesy of lymepeople.com

So before I completely overload you with information, to end Part 1, I will simply share my symptoms with you as they started and as they progressed. It could possibly make all the difference in your health or the health of someone you know and love. Sharing and awareness is of utmost importance, as the symptoms are different for many people, and as I said above, mimic many other medical issues.

Week 1: Flu/vomiting

Week 2: Fluish symptoms remain/ woke with vertigo – Doctor prescribed Meclizine for dizziness, didn’t help.

Week 3: Symptoms remain, physical therapy for vertigo, didn’t help. Blood pressure extremely high. Added symptoms: feel dehydrated regardless of what I drink, ringing in ears, severe morning nausea and diarrhea, major muscle fatigue, severe heart burn, heart palpitations, anxiousness, ongoing headache, numbness in toes, high pulse.  – Doctor prescribed blood pressure medicine and alprazolam for anxiousness. Alpraz didn’t work, stopped taking it.

Week 4: Symptoms remain. Continuing physical therapy for dizziness…although it did nothing. BP still very high. Added symptoms: 4 Migraines. – Doctor did EKG, it was fine.

Week 5: All symptoms remain, but BP meds are kicking in and BP is back to a normal level. Added symptoms: Herpes Simplex outbreak on back of left thigh. Deep chills where I need to take a bath to warm up. Sweating but cold. Anxious feeling improved. – Doctor prescribed acute Valtrex dose for breakout.

Week 6: Most symptoms remain, dizziness has subsided. Started natural antiviral and antibacterial ( for 4 days). Added symptoms: Horrible joint and bone pain all over body but especially in hands and legs, feet. Ribs on left side feel extremely sore. Blisters on roof of mouth. – 1 part of first Lyme Disease test comes back positive. Doctor advises we test again.

Week 7: All symptoms remain. Added symptoms: Cold sore on lip, incredibly fatigued. Can no longer go on regular walks and hikes, exhausting to walk up the stairs in the house. Can only accomplish a few tasks a day. (completely different from my all day active lifestyle) Migraines and headaches are worse. Neck and shoulders are stiff and painful. – 2nd Lyme test comes back negative, yet all Lyme symptoms remain.

Week 8: All symptoms remain, but with less nausea. Splitting daily tasks up and resting works better. – Doctor prescribes treatment for Lyme Disease. 21 days on antibiotic, Doxycycline. Prescribes a higher dose of alprazolam for neck pain to be taken at night to determine if the headaches are tension headaches,didn’t do a thing! Took it for 2 nights and stopped.

Week 9: First week on antibiotic and all symptoms remain. Added symptoms: Hands are hot and red. Feet tingling more in feet. Heartburn increased.

Week 10 and 11: A big energy difference on week 2 of the antibiotic. Still headachey and have joint issues, but all symptoms have decreased in intensity. At the end of week 3 when antibiotic was finished, a huge improvement. Can go up and down the stairs without major fatigue, nausea is gone, dizziness is gone, rib pain gone, migraines gone, chills and sweating gone, heartburn gone.

Week 12: Symptoms that remain: daily headache, mild joint pain, neck and shoulder pain, mild tingling in hands and feet, mild numbness in toes. – Doctor prescribed 2nd 21 day round of Doxycycline.

So as you can see, had I not shared my symptoms with Amanda, and she not shared hers with me, I would be swimming in a world of hurt right now. It would have never occurred to me to discuss Lyme Disease with my doctor.

Reading and Informational Resources:

Lyme Research Alliance Symptom List

Lyme Disease Transmission

Could You Have Lyme Disease?

CDC Cases of Lyme Disease By State  – per 100,000 population

A Very Merry Christmas


I have such good news!

And I’m not even going to save the best for last.


We are going home for Christmas!


Now don’t get me wrong, we love New Hampshire.


But home for me is where my mom and Brandon are.

(Not there of course, that is our shed.)


So, we are packing up the dogs and driving 2,701 wintry miles home for Christmas.


Spending time with my mom and our son, hugging him repeatedly and just being together…sounds like just about the perfect Christmas to me!


Going home for Christmas makes me extremely happy, but there’s even more good news. I am now being treated for Lyme Disease.

It might seem kind of weird that I’m excited about this.


Of course, Lyme Disease itself is not good news but the treatment of it can be.

So the goal is to feel better after 21 days on the antibiotic my doctor gave me. The results are kind of sketchy depending on how quickly you catch the infection. If it’s a new infection, then the antibiotic should handle it.

(This is our 11 ft Charlie Brown tree.)


If it’s an infection from the past that we didn’t know about and I’m having a flare up, that can be a challenge to deal with. If I’m still ill at the end of the 21 days, then there will be other tests for other things as well.

But we aren’t dwelling on that right now.


Each day is different as far as how I feel, so I’m learning to take each one as it comes.


And although I have irritating symptoms and my body feels like that of an old lady on most days, I count any progress that I feel, as a major step in the right direction. If I’m not having a progressive day, then I think of it as just being in a holding pattern… there’s no going backward!


 The past 8 weeks have been a lesson in patience and rest. I’m learning that baby steps are OK.

 And going home to see your mommy when you don’t feel well is a Christmas blessing to look forward to.


So in case we don’t chat over the next couple of weeks, I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a New Year full to the brim of blessings, a heart full of happiness, and a healthy body and mind.

See you soon!

~ April