Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sharing the Love

I couldn't let another day go by without checking in with you all.
I've gotten so many sweet emails, real - up in the mail paper Christmas cards and even a gift (thank you June!)
I'm astounded by the love, community and friendship that you all offer.
From the bottom of my heart - I thank you all - so very, very much.
I'm still not done talking about the trail - but I just thought I'd give you a photo journal of what I've been up to since I last wrote...
I apologize in advance for the photos.  I've gotten into a terrible habit of taking pictures with my phone exclusively.  They look great on the phone - on here - not so much.
Perhaps it would help if I actually stood still during the snapping of said photos, or pointed the camera at the subject.
It's been a homemade Christmas - the best kind.
I made a quilt out of all of the old Life is Good shirts and pajama pants I had that are now too big.
I gave it to the person that gave me all of the Life is Good shirts in the first place.
I love this blanket so much it makes my stomach hurt.  These rag quilts are fun to make.  I see many more in my future.
I've also been making these sculpted figures.  I made this one for a dear, dear friend that became a first time grandma.  She loves reading to her grandson.
I squealed when I finished it.  I just love it.
I think I'm addicted to glitter now.  I couldn't stop m'self.  I made this for my sister and her newish husband.
Of course, I had to represent the chickens -
this one is for the fabulous Janie Fox -
These pictures do not really do them justice - they are so cute - I may start making them and selling them.
Story of my life.
I've been busy in the kitchen as well.  I'm not sure it's a good thing - it brought back so many memories and emotions.  I still struggle with food addiction and well - I had to sample everything I made - a few times - and the evening ended with me worshipping at the porcelain throne.  My body is not used to those type of foods anymore at all. 
Maybe it was all the glitter that I swallowed - Glenco was always teasing me wondering how I got so much glitter around my mouth when I was working on the snowmen.
I still adore baking - I so enjoy the windows getting fogged, the sound of the stand mixer whirring, O Holy Night playing in the background - and just that feeling you get inside that all is calm, all is bright.
I really hope y'all aren't up in the kitchen trying to do your Christmas baking and cooking when you are all tied up in a knot of stress.  Wait until you are calm and happy - trust me - it's better that way.
It's been a long time since I've had this much butter up in the house.
Help me Jesus.
I added cinnamon to my caramel recipe this year - genius - it really made them uber delicious.
I remain the best fudge maker in the land.
 Glenco is of a Swedish descent - and early in December - we hosted a Swedish Christmas party here with his side of the family.  A pox upon me for only getting this photo.  A Swedish Almond Cake and a Swedish Chocolate Bundt cake.
I realize I don't talk about Glenco that much here on this ole blog - but rest assured he's here.  If he weren't - nor would I be - I'd be out among the English asking you if you wanted fries with that.
I laughed the other day thinking about how I speak of him so infrequently here you might think that our relationship is like that of Dolly Parton and her husband.  Oh, you didn't know Dolly was married?
There he is!  Jax is checking out what he's eating for supper.
Hard to believe in 8 short months Jax has gone from a fluff ball to the huge cat you see here before you.
The other day I had to stop myself from going to the shelter and adopting all the cats - bringing them home and making catnip mice for them and feeding them turkey dinners.
I'm aching for furry companions.
It's a good thing my mom isn't alive to see this photo.  Law!  Cats up on the table.  She'd be bleaching things so fast it would make your head spin.  I've taught my cat some terrible manners - and I don't care.  I'm a childless, perimenopausal woman and I can do whatever I want.  I promise not to feed you off of dishes the cat has licked.
As I type this - all of my gift baskets have been delivered - all of the gifts I made are done.  All Christmas dinner groceries are nestled in the fridge and I'm DONE.  That alone is a Christmas miracle!
Aaron arrived last night and is up putting a roller set in a dummy head.  The kid won't quit.  Added to the glitter, sugar and cat hair slurry on my kitchen island - I now have bleaching powder, hair clips and foils.
I've never been happier.
About ten days ago - I had to go to the school so that Aaron could use me for his Practical Test.
He passed with flying colors.
Four days ago he turned the ripe old age of 17.
Glenco and I drove down and had a quick lunch with him -
I brought four dozen cupcakes to his class.
We've been busy around here - and that's a true story.
I'm looking forward to a relaxing holiday now with family and friends.
I'm wishing you the same - a holiday filled with love, hope, peace and the assurance that the coming year will be filled with all the goodness life has to offer.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Trail - Part Two

Lord have mercy on my soul.
There is something I will never be able to understand.
How you guys with small children can have a cohesive, lovely blog.
I'm up here with an empty nest - and I still can't find the time to blog.
If I wore a hat, it would be off to you.
Seems like lately I'm lucky I have on clothes and a brassiere, let alone a hat.
I've been suffering from some pretty severe headaches - bad enough to make me feel like I'm having an out of the body experience at times.
I'm assuming they are hormonal, and it's not an impending aneurysm.
near the cabin in TN - photo by my friend Kim - (I still feel like life may be incomplete without a canine companion)
It's noon thirty in the afternoon and I haven't brushed my teeth yet.  I have a front yard full of freshly cut greens so that I can do my containers and decorate in the house - and those greens happen to be laying next to the corn shocks, pumpkins and mummified mums.  My bed isn't made yet, and I haven't yet a clue what I'm doing for Christmas gifts.  I just looked at my calendar for next week and I don't have a free day after today until Dec. 16th.
I really need to talk to the person responsible for my schedule.
Another thing that I know - menopause and Christmas decorating doesn't go well together.  I've been indulging in a bit of dairy again - thinking that maybe my body can tolerate it - and don't ya know I'm gassy as the day is long, and the hot flashes started right up again.
You don't want to have a hot flash when you are precariously balanced up on a counter stool trying to put Christmas lights up in the kitchen. 
 I do declare that yesterday I would have shot and killed Bing Crosby if I heard him sing 'where the tree tops glisten' one more time.
I began to resent how he treated Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas and decided he was much too old for her anyway.
Christmas was almost done and cancelled up in here due to raging menopausal hormones.
For the love of God.
Maybe no one will admit acting a fool like this - but I have a feeling I'm not alone.
near the cabin in TN - fabulous photo by my friend Kim
All is right as rain today as my hormonal roller coaster comes screeching to a halt along with my obsessive Chobani yogurt ingestion.
This IS a blog post about the Appalachian Trail - you'll see.
Aaron when he was 3 or 4 - help me - where did the time go?
But first - I can't even begin to say thanks to all of you that have ordered Caper Bags! 
The Selfish Punk is going to Vegas baby!  Not only is he going, but we've sold enough to help his roommate go as well - he was short a few bags.
Aaron has been asked to be a model for the 'curl segment' of the deal - and well - I'm not sure the BoyChild's head will fit in this old farmhouse when next he visits.
He's doing great and sounds so happy.
Thank you.  I'm humbled by your kindness!
(Hedy King - I have tried to email you a couple of times, but it keeps bouncing back....)
OK, where the heck did I leave off at the trail?
I believe I was pantless and we'd just arrived in Tennessee.
The funny thing about this trip - I was 'so along for the ride' which seems indicative of my life in general - a bit clueless, but happy nonetheless -
I wasn't even sure where we were going - friends would say - 'oh, where are you going?' and I'd reply 'North Carolina I think - but they keep talking about Tennessee' - so as you see, I wasn't sure where we were going.  I knew it was a cabin in the South.
Good enough. 
I'm in.
Let me tell you a little more about the trip down there - as I said, my friend Melissa is a Road Warrior extraordinaire. 
One of my fondest memories was driving through Kentucky - and I told her that we must decorate the cabin for fall - so if she saw a farm stand selling mums and pumpkins to pull over...she was more than happy to oblige.
I really wanted to take photographs of the place we stopped, but I didn't,  so let me paint a picture with words.
We pulled up to this shack type structure - and when we disembarked the vehicle - there was this loud booming sound coming from the aforementioned shack. - It was kind of hellfire and brimstone preaching that I haven't heard since I was last in these parts.  I fully expected a man full of the Spirit to come out of the shack with poisonous snakes.
The proprietor of said shack was a woman of short stature - stereotypically missing a few teeth, and smoking cigarettes.  There was a cobbled up cardboard sign that read, and I quote:
 'Ice cold Mountain Dew - 60 cents a can'

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.
I really wanted to take a picture of that lady and that sign, but felt that it would have been in some way demeaning to her - so I didn't.
We got a mum and a few gourds, and we were off again.
I couldn't bear the thought of being in a cabin in the woods without a pumpkin and some fall decor - it could downright spoil the trip.
Melissa and I were first to arrive at the cabin - it wasn't luxury accommodations - but it was fabulous - very homey.  We poked around in every room - this cabin could sleep about 15, had a full kitchen, a couple of bathrooms, and a large living room with a big fireplace, wood burning stove and plenty of cozy places to hunker down for the night.
It was at this moment that I realized that for some reason I hadn't packed enough clothes, pants mainly - luckily they had a washer and dryer in the cabin, and I'm used to wearing the same clothes for days since I'm a seasoned hobo camper - but there is a very exciting twist to my pantless story which I will tell you about when next I write.
I'd go back to this cabin in a heartbeat. 
It's come to my attention that the month of October is not nearly long enough.
Oh that October would last about three months - surely that much time is needed to do everything that one would like to do with October.
one of my favorite activities - wandering woods and picking things

I brought this home and it dried nicely - it's in a basket now - such a sweet memory
The photos I've shared today are some photos from around the cabin - one of the most awesome features about this cabin is that you could actually walk to a portion of the Appalachian Trail from the cabin.
I'll end this blog today with some photos of that leg of the trip - up next - Aaron smashes his leg at gymnastics whilst I'm 700 miles away - and we go ziplining.
fresh cut up fruit with a dollop of Greek yogurt and raw almonds

the infamous CoopKeeper turkey sausage - did you know it's going in Dr. Mark Hyman's new cookbook?  They sent me some release form to sign - so I guess it is - I submitted it - I have to put a link to the recipe in my sidebar - I get a ton of requests for this recipe!

we found an old abandoned log cabin - I was in heaven!

I wanted to fix this place up and live in it - I do hope to live in a one room log cabin one day

the whole time I was taking pictures, I was mentally decorating the place :-)

we found an old cemetery out in the middle of no where

I found some turkey feathers on the trail.  I think they suit me, don't you?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Aaron Needs Your Help!

I trust that your turkeys were moist, and your family gathering had a minimum of dysfunction.
We had a lovely Thanksgiving.  I can't get over how exciting it was to get Aaron back in the house.
I drove up to Chicago the Wednesday before Thanksgiving - normally just over an hours drive - this time it took nearly three hours. I was to get my hair cut, colored and highlighted at the school - I was afraid I wouldn't have any hair left by the time I got there!

I know this blog is supposed to be Part 2 of the Appalachian Trail - and I'm sorry.  The weekend after Thanksgiving I had some unexpected company that just left this morning.  I'm running a bit behind on things.  I've gotten a couple of emails about my turkey sausage recipe, I will answer those hopefully tonight!
Aaron informed me about Caper 2013 - a huge educational extravaganza that he has an opportunity to go to - and I really wanted to share it with you - and we need your help in making his dreams come true!
This is an email that I sent out to my friends - I'm just cutting it and pasting it here for time's sake.  If you would consider helping Aaron - we'd be forever in your debt!
I think most of you know – that my beloved nephew Aaron is now living in Chicago – pursuing his dream career in the hair industry. He started Paul Mitchell – The School on November 6th of this year. He’s living in dorms at the UIC campus – and really loving and thriving in the city! They have to kick him out of the school everyday at 5 – otherwise I do think he’d live there. : –) I just had my hair done there last week – it’s a great, high energy, positive environment.
He has a great opportunity to go to Las Vegas this coming January – but in order to do so he needs to sell 40 ‘Caper Bags’ by December 15th. Most of the students that are going had the advantage of starting school much earlier and have sold their bags. Caper 2013 is a huge educational extravaganza held in Las Vegas. He’ll be meeting the founders of Paul Mitchell, as well as other celebrity hairstylists. It’s a 2 day – all expenses paid trip, heavily chaperoned. Frankly, I don’t want him to miss this opportunity. You can’t buy your way into it – you have to sell the bags.  The cut off to sell the bags is December 15th, but there are only 29 spots left to fill for the trip, and it's first come, first serve - so this is of the utmost urgency!
That’s where all of you wonderful friends come in. : –) Because I really don’t want a lifetime supply of shampoo, conditioner and body care at this moment – I’m asking you to consider purchasing a Caper bag to help the boy out. They range in prices from $29 up to $159. (For each $159 bag he sells, it equals 5 bags!) They are really great products, and a great price too.
If you’ll click on this link – it will give you information on the Caper 2013, and at the end of the page, it lists all the different bags. There are bags for color treated hair, dry hair, etc – even a body care bag and a dog shampoo set! I think these would make great Christmas gifts!
You don’t have to pay now – just send me back an email ( with your order – there is tax involved, and for those of you that I can’t deliver to personally – I need to charge $5 to cover some of the shipping. We’ll hammer all of that out later.
I’ve kept you long enough – thank you SO much for your consideration of this – and if you do order – I will be forever in your debt!
Next blog will be more about the Appalachian Trail - cross my heart - hope to die - stick a needle in my eye.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Trail of all Trails - Part 1


I've been on a lot of trails in my life - even before losing weight, hiking was always one of my favorite activities.
I'll be dad gummed if this 'Apple a'chin' Trail wasn't something special.

 I swear you could just sense it as you stepped on the soil for the first time.
Truly - it was an experience.
Maybe I was just hyping it up in my mind, but I don't think so.  It seems that we all had the same experience.
Awe, a sense of humility and wonder.  You could feel the history of the trail, sense all of those that had walked it before - you knew it was a place where dreams were born, and many of those dreams realized.
In true Jayme fashion, after spending an afternoon on the trail I decided that I wanted to hike the trail in its entirety before I die!
(can someone help me out here?  Its/It's confuses the heck out of me.  It's is a contraction for it is - right?  I keep thinking I need a ' in its cause it's showing possession of the trail.  ??)

Logic, reason and my bank account has tempered me in the past month, and now my goal is to just hike a portion of it in each state.  That alone will be a great feat given my 'squirrel!' personality.
It's hard to believe that this trip was well over a month ago.  Where do I begin?  Do I just show you pictures?  Do I drag you through every minute detail?
I think I need to drivel.

Let's begin.
First - let me say that Aaron is fabulous.  I get texts daily like 'I love school!'  'I'm at Whole Foods!'  'I love living in the city!' and the sort.
I am going to the school on Wednesday afternoon to have my hair done by a student and pick up the Selfish Punk for the Thanksgiving weekend.
I'm going all out!  This is so fun - having him come home.
I vow to be sportin' a bra and not to cry when he leaves.  I do.

The Pilgrims will most certainly be illuminated!

 OK - here we go.  Empty your bladders and fill your coffee cups.  I feel a Part 2, 3 4and possible coming up.

The cast of characters

From left to right - Kelly B, Melissa W, and Kim B (Kim is responsible for 99.9% of the fabulous photos you will see in this post)
These are some terrific people - as in - you ain't gone find no betta.
I met them all on the Internet!  Can ya believe it?  My mom is probably rolling in her grave.
Kelly has lost 65lbs, Melissa 50lbs, and Kim 50lbs.
They are fabulous.

The trip all started with Melissa - who is a blog reader of mine - inspired to lose weight.
She realized how she gave up her dreams of hiking the Appalachian Trail because of her weight issues.  Kim and Kelly caught wind of her dream to hike the trail and arranged this trip.
See?  That is the kind of people they are.
Cream of the crop.
And you don't know the half of it.

When I was invited to go on this trip - I really had hoped and planned that I would get to.
A root canal, cracked molar, and property taxes later - I was broke, busted - but never disgusted.

Kim and Kelly insisted I still come - saying the cabin would cost the same with me or without me.
Melissa drove from Minnesota and picked me up here in Indiana and wouldn't let me give her a dime for gas, stating she'd be driving right through Indiana anyhow.
So basically - I was a mooch and a hobo.
: -)
Life is grand.

Let's not forget this terrific specimen of a dog - Chance.
I never spoke of it here on the blog - but as my heart was preparing for Aaron's departure, I just about had myself (but not Glenco) talked into a canine companion to fill the void that Aaron would leave in my soul.  I wanted a German Shepard. A big, sturdy, active dog that would protect me, love me unconditionally, and keep me so occupied vacuuming hair up that I'd never miss Aaron.  I was over the moon that Chance was coming because I was in desperate need for canine attention.  Normally, dogs love me - adore even - but Chance was indifferent.  I even brought him gifts.  I think he sensed my need.
I think it scares guys off.  : -)

As usual, I was super busy right before leaving for the AT, and threw some things in a suitcase, only to get there and realize I only packed two pairs of pants.  Whatev.

Melissa is a road warrior.  We talked so much on the way that my throat was sore.  I don't think there was a moment of silence the entire time. 
She's absolutely terrific.

It's nice hanging out with people that like to eat like you eat.  Makes it simple.  We planned and packed our food for the trip.  You can't leave good nutrition to chance!

I like bringing things from home when I go gallivanting around the country - my own blanket - electric skillet - food - dishes, etc.

Isn't this blanket fantastic?  My dear dear friend Renee made it for me for my 50th birthday.  It's flannel!  Gah!  I love it so!

Remember - Melissa drove from Minnesota - so she was ready to stop by the time we got to Lexington, Kentucky.

We finally stopped chatting and had a good nights sleep.  (Should nights have an apostrophe!?  It's been too long since I home schooled Aaron!)

The next morning I made my famous turkey sausage in the hotel room.

These were seriously the biggest Honeycrisp apples I had ever seen.  I think they were close to a pound each.

Melissa approved.  Isn't that a lovely breakfast?
Much better than the bagels the hotel had to offer.
Look how tiny this gal is.
Size 2!
Don't hate!

We loaded up her truck, hit the Starbucks and away we went.
Tennessee or bust. 
My mom is from Tennessee, so it was extra sweet to be there.

 Part 2 is up  - the next time I can sit still long enough to blog
We arrive at the cabin in the woods - Aaron gets hurt at gymnastics - and I have no pants.

Y'all be happy.
Cause I said so.