Monday, March 31, 2014

March Monday Musings

There's sure signs that a scenario such as this one may be a possibility in the future.
I do declare that this has been the longest winter in the history of time.
It's been the kind of winter that wears your hopes thin.
The kind of winter that beats you down, and  the color green, or any color for that matter is but a faint memory.  You swear you saw it at one time, or maybe it was just all a dream.

Just in the last few days, my hope has been restored.
The cleansing rains are about to begin, and there is a real tangible feel to the air that I will indeed be able to enjoy life outside these four walls once again.

What my mind is most wrestling with now is balancing the excitement of the season without the dread of the physical work. 

 It gets to be a bit much, and if I'm not careful - it all seems like this giant mental boulder that must be picked up at once - instead of a pile of gravel that can be easily managed by one stone at a time.

May is an explosion of activity.
The chickens, the bees, the garden.
Oh. My.

But - it's still technically March - so why is my head in May?

Because May rocks..that's why.
God help me live in the moment.

God help me live in the March and the April, and not
 long for May, nor dread the work that May brings.

God help me be as happy today as I am in May.
God help me not worry about May in March.
God help me not to worry about May in May.

God help me find rest in the midst of the storm of activity.
God help me not miss the beauty of each Spring day.
God help me.
God help.

God help me and my dear blog friends as we struggle with life's uncertainties
God help me and my dear blog friends as we struggle thinking we need to be perfect in every way.

God give us strength as we -much like baby chicks are so fragile, and struggle to find our place in the pecking order.
God give us strength, as we - much like the bees - work so hard, strive so hard - and sometimes it seems that our colony collapses.
God give us strength, as we - much like the garden - work so hard to be beautiful and fruitful in the midst of drought, floods, storms, and the insects of life.

Thank you for the hope of Spring.
Thank you for the hope of fresh starts.
Thank you for do overs.
Thank you that it's never too late.

Thank you for the clean slate of a new season.
A new day.
A new hour.
A new moment.
A new breath.
Thank you.

And thank you blog readers for being here.
You are each such a gift to me.

It's a new dawn, it's a new day -
and I'm feelin' good. 


Monday, March 24, 2014

Don't Dick with the Curry

Good Mornin'!

I've not got a lick of business even being up on the computer.  I'm still in my pj's with rice baking in the oven, laundry going, and Emeril's Vegetarian Chili recipe simmering on the stove - and I only have about 2 hours before I have to get out of here for the day. 

Today is my Cooking Club - the theme is vegetarian, and honestly, I have no idea what, if anything I'm going to eat there.
Meat is ONE thing that I can have right now!

I really don't like that kind of attention drawn to m'self.
I really don't.

Anyhoo - it's been a super busy weekend, and it's going to be a really busy week.
I've got that 'stressed out' feel that I haven't felt in sometime.
I've got new bees coming next week, I have about 200 tomato plants under grow lights that need to be transplanted, and I've said 'yes' about 7 times too many lately to misc. things.
Don't tell anyone around here, cause they might hang me if I said this out loud - I'm a bit glad it's still bone cold out - it gives me more time to get things done inside that I need to do.
: -)
I have hopes of being this great blogger - responding to each and every comment, blogging in a coherent manner - I'm here to tell ya - I don't see that happening anytime soon.
I honestly don't know how people do it.

I just wanted to check in and let you know - 

Day 6-bring it.
I'm still Whole 30'n it.
Dashed are my hopes of taking photos of all my food - I really should have known better.
I've gotten myself way too busy again, and I can't imagine having the time to do something like that.

Here's someone that has though -

Yesterday was tough, and in fact - I needed reinforcements with me at the grocery story.
Glenco had to go with me to make sure I didn't rape the Easter candy aisle.
I felt weak yesterday - started another menstrual cycle.
I'm getting them every two weeks now - is that the way it gets near the end?

I kept thinking of how fabulous it would feel for sugar to bathe my brain.
Peeps would soothe my soul, and jelly beans would calm the anxiety.
If I had Cadbury eggs I could breeze through my to do list with a smile on my face.

I know some of y'all think I'm a bit off my noodle for doing this - that I just need to moderate, yadda yadda.

I'm not going to eat 'this way' forever - but I'm just ding dong determined to eat this way for 30 days.
I highly doubt I'll go back to grains or dairy - maybe on occassion - and I'll be putting honey in my tea, and I'm hoping against hope that after 30 days somehow my brain and my relationship with food is reset in a way that I CAN just let intuition be my guide when it comes to food.

Right now my intuition is held hostage by sugar, much like Captain Phillips was on the Maersk Alabama.

Honestly - I'm getting mighty tired of it even being an issue in my life.
30 days.
I can do this.

Here's a recipe for you today - it's been a favorite of mine for a while - and it's Whole30 compliant - everyone that I've served this loves it!

~taco bowl

I'll leave you with this - a Facebook status from Thursday when I picked up Aaron from the airport.
(there's talk around the homestead of him moving to Houston by year's end - I don't want to talk about it)

Have a wonderful day - and please let me know if you are still Whole30'n it.  I'm sorry I can't be more present at the moment - but rest assured I think of you all as I fight through the cravings.  Truly, knowing you are doing the same, gives me strength.

Working on not letting things ruffle me - but staying in a state of peace at all times. 

Today - when I dumped a gallon sized Ziploc of frozen blueberries on the kitchen floor minutes before I needed to leave - I kept my peace.

As I cleaned them up with a gimp arm, and they were - I kept my peace.

When I was approached by a policeman with his sirens on at O'Hare Airport for being parked where I shouldn't be - I kept my peace.

When I couldn't find my nephew at said airport - I kept my peace.

When I accidentally took I 90 from the airport because I was distracted talking to said nephew - and snaked all.the.way through Chicago going 6 miles an hour - I kept my peace (for the most part)

When I came home ravenous and realized I didn't have the diced tomatoes for the recipe I was making - I kept my peace.

When I opened my spice drawers and found that someone was dicking around and misfiled the curry - I no longer kept my peace.

There's only so much a girl can take in one day. : -)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Choose Your Hard

Just a quick check in for today - I have quite a few things to do before my day is done today.
Aaron's been in Houston for a few days and I have to leave soon to pick him up from the airport - and my shoulder bursitis/tendonitis flared up again (interesting, isn't it?  It hadn't given me a BIT of grief when I ate clean, and now - doing nothing out of the ordinary - I had a terrible flare up) and I literally haven't been able to move my arm - and have even needed assistance in the potty.  This morning - it's 50% better so the last thing I feel like doing at the moment is being on the computer.  I can move my arm again!

I have to say - after the last couple of blogs - I've felt so vulnerable and just wanted to crawl in the corner and hide.  My finger hovered over 'delete blog' a few times.  
But naked I came into the world, and naked I'll go out - so I might as well remain naked while I'm here.

Day 1.
Who's still with me?

I had three slices of local bacon, two eggs scrambled with some peppers, onion and spinach - and a cup of black tea for breakfast.  I put a touch of coconut milk in my tea - and well - I'm not sure what I think of that.

Dinner tonight will be the Pakistani Kima that I rave about all the time, and lunch is going to be a grilled chicken salad.  

I needed to keep today easy.

What are you having?

Have you gotten the book yet?
Have you been on the Whole 30 website?
The Whole 30 Facebook page?
All great resources.

We can do this.
Here's a timeline of what to expect.
: -)

Photo: #Whole30'er @finallyaliveafter25 finds motivation in the most often-quoted line of the entire program.

As my Coach David Greenwalt always said - 'Choose Your Hard' - ya, this is kinda tough - especially at first - but you know what else is tough?  Feeling miserable.  Not living up to your potential.  
I'm choosing my hard.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

On Failing Version 2.0

Mercy sakes alive.
I love you guys.

I've gotten so many wonderful emails - and just now I got off the phone with my dearest friend reading me the riot act - she just read the blog.

I read all of your comments several times over.
I gots some clarifyin' to do.

Before I go any further though - I do want to say that the Whole 30 is on like donkey kong.
Tomorrow is the first day of Spring, and I'm determined to make it at least 23 days - thus improving on my best score to date of 22 days.  
: -)

I do hope that you will check in here everyday and leave comments of your struggles and victories, and we can support each other.  
So - please be ready to roll as of tomorrow morning, and please don't have your 'Last Supper' tonight.

Ok..the clarification.

Do I consider myself a failure?

Do I consider myself unacceptable because I ingested a Starbucks beverage?
Do I consider myself a failure if I eat something that's not healthy?
Do I consider myself a loser cause I'm 20lbs overweight?
Do I think I'm unattractive?


I really don't.  I really do think I'm all of that and a bag of  baked sweet potato chips.
I really do.
I think I have great qualities, and that I'm not half bad looking.
If I could be anyone in the world - I'd choose me.
The truth is I try really hard to live my best life, and I get really frustrated with myself when I make choices that are not in that best interest.

I know I'll never be perfect, and really it's not what I strive for.  I just strive to be 'my' best.
I strive to let behaviors go that do not serve me well.
I had to declutter the house because I couldn't live my best life in a mess.
I decluttered my body because I couldn't live my best life at 250lbs.

This is the deal - and I hope I explain myself correctly - because I'm still feeling the affects of eating off - because let's be honest - it didn't stop with Starbucks - Starbucks turned into pizza, turned into Dairy Queen, turned into Hersheys - you get the drift.

Do I think that there is anything wrong with those foods?
No - I don't.
I think they are all delicious and have a place in life.
I don't see a thing wrong at all in having them.
In fact - if you were to eat them exclusively - and if you could tell me with no reservations that you felt that you were living your best life while eating them, and feared no consequence of health ramifications in the future - I'd say 'lucky you!'.

It's really not that I'm a few pounds overweight that I'm scolding myself over - 
what I feel that I'm scolding myself over is this:

I cannot live my best life eating those foods - and yet, I eat them.

Now - for some of you - you can have moderation.  You can say 'well - wasn't that pizza delicious?' and go on about your life as if nothing has happened.

For me?

I can have that pizza - and then for about a week - I'm bloated and feel like I'm digesting gravel.
If that was all that happened, I'd say - "Heck!  Pizza once in a while is so delicious that it's worth feeling like that!'

But for me - pizza, ice cream, cake - anything refined, with sugar, dairy, flour or any chemicals of any kind - artificial flavors or colors causes this:

Confusion. Depression. ADHD.  Chronic pain. No impulse control. 
I get paranoid and think that no one likes me.  
It takes every ounce of mental energy I have to make it through the day.
Basically - I cannot function.
Glen comes home and I look like a homeless bum, the bed isn't made, I have no clue what I'm having for supper, the cats are hungry and basically I've been binge watching Netflix or I've been on Pinterest all day.

When I eat clean for long periods of time, and then 'treat' myself - it's even more pronounced.
Basically - when you feel like crap ALL of the time - you get rather used to it.
But - when you feel REALLY great for a long time - and THEN feel like crap - well - it's a bit unbearable.

Since my weekend 'treats' - I've not been very functional this week.
I'm so scatterbrained I cannot function well during the day - and find myself just a frustrated, distracted mess.
I literally can't finish anything.  The bed hasn't been made in two days.
Now - ya'll know me - that's just not me.
Is it OK?
Ya - it's not going to end the world - and I'm not saying that there is anything WRONG with not making the bed...but it snowballs into other things.  The next thing you know - you haven't showered in three days, and you are forgetting things, and your brain is screaming 'just give me more Starbucks and I can function!'.

It's a vicious cycle.  

THAT'S what I'm scolding myself over.
I know FULL well when I sit down with a grilled cheese sandwich - that I've basically scheduled some 'me time' on the calendar for a few days of being unable to function.

Who in their right mind would do such a thing?

When will I just settle down into acceptance over this?

Surely - you wouldn't tell an alcoholic that they could drink in moderation.
Surely - you wouldn't tell a gambling addict to 'stay away from the boats - just play the scratch and win tickets once in a while'.

Yet - food addictions, intolerances - or whatever it is you want to call it are real - and no one wants to admit it - acknowledge it - or believe it.

I do believe in the future - the NEAR future - it's going to explode on the scene as the 'newest thing'.  I think people are finally starting to wake up and realize that what they eat directly affects their moods, thoughts, actions, and all in all - the quality of their life.

So that's why I get so frustrated with myself.
I cannot tolerate something outside of myself having control over me.
Does that make more sense to you now?
I hope so.

The good news is that I'm 93.5% better than I was when I first started this journey.
And for that - I acknowledge how far I've come, and how persistent I am.

My hope and belief is that this Whole30 will heal my gut and help me heal my food issues.
The goofy thing is - I really enjoy my healthy food.
I'm not suffering in any way!
The healthy fruit smoothie I make tastes way better than a Dairy Queen Blizzard to me.
So I'm just trying to figure the heck out why I would basically eat something that doesn't even taste good and causes me such distress in every way.

I know this might sound dramatic - but I honestly believe that stumbling over this same issue - over and flipping over - is robbing me of my destiny.
I feel that there are good and important things for me to do in the world.
The thought of some 'food' robbing of that?
Well - that really pisses me off.

Monday, March 17, 2014

On Failing

Cat blogging has always been popular.

It's Monday morning - and it's also the only day this week I have home.
It's sunny and about 20 degrees.
It's so danged quiet here right now the ringing in my ears is deafening.
I'm slumped in the corner of my couch - covered in a quilt - still in my pj's - belly growling - cat purring.
My 'to do today' list is manageable.


I ate sugar.


I'd like to say that I had a really, really good reason to eat it - and perhaps I did.
I listened to the voice in my head that told me that I couldn't live another moment without a vanilla latte.
It was really a disappointment - I didn't even finish it.

I'm going to just be really honest here, because I really don't know how to be otherwise - I'm all mixed up in the head.  More and more I'm realizing that I have food and body image issues.  I suppose it's only normal to have them after I've spent the better part of 40 years of my life fighting blubber.

Am I a failure?
I don't know.
I don't think so.  I don't want to believe so.
When I step out of my body and look at myself - I question my sanity that I'm even talking about being a failure because I had a grande vanilla latte - and half of it at that.

I could go on and on - but I'm not.  I am actually starting to worry about what I say here about this subject because the last thing I want to do to any of you is confuse you or mislead you in anyway that 'I have the answer'.  I don't.  I'm in the trenches with you.

I put rules on myself, and then I change them.  I say 'never' a lot when it comes to food - and then feel like a complete and utter failure when that 'never' becomes 'always'.

I've tried every program under the sun - and the only one that has ever worked for me has been the Leanness Lifestyle
I still think that's the best program out there.

The reason that I'm not active there 'right now' (I know I will be again) is that I've formed a very unhealthy relationship with the scale, and tracking my food daily.
I know that many people would disagree with me - but for right now - I just need not to weigh myself and I need to not have any goals in place for weight loss.

It truly has changed my life, and instead of messing around with 100lbs to lose - I really have learned to manage my weight, truly eat right and what I'm dealing with now is just about 20lbs.

I feel like I look like King Kong though - I find myself wanting to hide - embarrassed to make eye contact with people.  Ashamed.  I beat myself up a lot.  I scold myself all the time.  I'm so hard on myself.  
If anyone ever treated me the way I am treating myself - I'd consider them abusive
 and not want them in my life.
And yet I continue - internally - to abuse myself.
I'm literally mentally exhausted.

It boils down to this.
I feel better without sugar.
As in - none.
I feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.

It's the being out of control of myself that I think bothers me the most.

One of my favorite writers Leo Babauta penned this on failure:

Here’s what I do:
  • I take a breath. It’s not the end of the world to fail. I just need some space, some distance. I need to see the problem in perspective. When I do, I realize that the failure is pretty minor in the grand scheme of my life, in the grand scheme of the world of lives around me.
  • I reframe the failure. Someone once said there isn’t failure, only feedback. That means the failure is just a point of information, a part of the learning process. I like to say, it’s not a failure of me as a person, just a failure of my method. Which means I need to change my method.
  • I change the method. If the way I was doing it didn’t work, I need to find a new way. What can I do differently? In some of the cases above, I added some accountability, asked people for help, or looked for inspiration. In some of the other cases, I haven’t changed the method yet, to be honest.
  • I take the first step. The problem can be overwhelming, because quite frankly we can’t solve any of this stuff overnight, or even in a few days. We can, however, take one step, right now. One tiny step. And that’s all that matters.

I'm going to stop talking now - because I could just go on and on, and that's not what I want to do.

What I wanted to do - and I'm doing it with great reservation - cause we all know how well the DeClutter Me panned out (sorry!)  I am starting this 'program' for lack of a better word - I'm going to start it this Thursday.  Now, that's not to say that I'm just going to be on a quest to clean all the candy out of Lake County until then - but I chose Thursday to give you time to see if you'd like to join me.
And - it's the first day of Spring and that just seems symbolic to me.

Click's called Whole 30

I read the book, and
Really good.
This is what I did - and I made it 22 days.  So danged close.

I won't say anymore - just leave me a comment and let me know you are with me.
I'm doing it either way.

30 days.
Then - if you make it the 30 days - I think you should get yourself one of the Alex and Ani bracelets and we can wear them together and be our own little society.

What say ye?
Carefully consider this.

I'm not even thinking about losing weight right now - I just want to feel that I am the boss of me.  So I'm taking that step that Leo encourages me to do.

And to be further transparent here on the Webernet - I'm going to go as far as to say - I might need therapy to get to the bottom of my body image issues.
It's not fitting that I'm so hard on myself.
I think that maybe my failures are just feedback that something's not right.
I really need to get to the bottom of it, and perhaps change my method....

Vulnerably yours,

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Like I Tried to Tell Ya

Believe it or not, this post is going to be about chickens.

I am so doing this to my new chicks!

I'm half tempted to change the name of the blog - since it seems that I talk about everything but.

Anyhoo - 

We are selling eggs like hotcakes.
We're not getting rich quick or anything, in fact - we are just breaking even - so - at least my addiction is sustainable, and I'm not eating eggs at every meal.

Today - as we got four dozen ready for a gal to pick up, Glenco mentions -
 'maybe we need more chickens'.


This coming from the man that told me we had too many?
This coming from the man thought I was fencing off too much of a run?



He's caught the 'bug'.
He wants more beehives, and thinks we need to double the chicken run to give the birds more room to range and cut down on feed costs, and consider adding more to the flock.
Gosh - maybe one day he'll hanker for goats.

I really must say, I love having a partner in crime.
: -)

Mornings with the hens- best way to start your day!

You know how you have those sayings between yourselves - things that make no sense to anyone else, but always brings a smile to you and your spouse?

For us - one of those is ' I tried to tell ya' said in a thick Southern accent.

I said that as we were crating eggs today.
He cracked a smile and said 'we have our work cut out for us'.

Amen and indeed.

All the photos in today's post were found on Pinterest - this photo in particular I find hauntingly beautiful.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Story of Mother Wilma

Good afternoon dear friends!

My darling Aunt Jean

Just in from a decluttering and deep cleaning job.
Oh my - I live for this stuff - I swear.
It's my most favorite thing to see a mess get cleaned up, organized, and have the homeowner happy.
And don't even get me started on how much I love throwing things away.

I know what an incredible feeling it is to feel that you've got things 'under control' in the house.
I want to share the love.
: -)

Today I awoke to feathers lying about.
My heart is heavy, and the general tone of the coop today is one of bereavement.
Two fallen hens.
I suppose the blasted varmits are stirring again now that the temps have risen.
It's been a while since I've had a loss, but I never get used to it, or take it lightly.
It just upset me so, that the poor gals endured the Epic Winter of 2013/14 only to be slaughtered when the weather finally started changing.
Life is just too freaking cruel at times.

I'm not entirely sure - but I would suppose that the pecking order may need to be re-established somewhat. I did notice Lord Grantham being a bit skittish this morning.
They are all on edge.

In other news - I'm still clean of the demon sugar.

Anyhow - today I wanted to tell you the story of Mother Wilma.

Mother Wilma Note Cards - Set of 4

My mother Irene had four sisters.  They were all very close - Gladys, Jean, Pauline and Fran.
After my mother's passing, I became extremely close with my Aunt Jean.  Wilma Imogene, to be precise.

Aunt Jean and Aunt Gladys
I adored my Aunt Jean, and regretted that I didn't become close to her sooner - I was a little carbon copy of her.  We both loved to cook, bake, garden, knit, sew - you name it - she loved it.  She was also the type of person that just seemed that she had all the time in the world.  No matter when you'd visit or call - she was just very present with you.  You never felt rushed - you never felt that you were an imposition - it was as if she had been waiting for you all along - and you were her sole focus.

May I learn that lesson.

The woman could turn out a biscuit that would literally hover over the bread basket.  So light - so tender.  All without a recipe, just by feel.
When she fried chicken, you were in for a treat.  She'd literally put a chair in front of the stove and tend that bird - turning it over and over - putting the lid on - taking the lid off.  I never tasted anything like it.
Her pie crusts?  Ridiculous.

She gardened her heart out - and she was utterly heartbroken to finally have to give it up in her later years.

My love for her ran deep - and she was in Missouri, so I traveled there just as often as life would allow.  We became very close and I loved that I could see traces of my mother in her eyes, her hands and her smile.  What a comfort it was.  

I wanted to call her mom - but felt that well - maybe that was TOO much - and honestly - I do have such a tendency to be TOO much - so I called her jokingly 'Mother Wilma'.
She absolutely hated it - but it stuck!

I think it has a great ring to it, and I'm smiling now as I type this - remembering her beautiful spirit.
  She laughed with her whole body.
  The day she passed, I literally was on the road to Missouri within an hour.  I told my manager that if I had a job when I got back I'd appreciate it, but if I didn't - I would understand.
I did by the way.

As my beloved cousin Jim and I were going through things, we came across a little notebook where she had written down how many eggs she'd gotten each day from her chickens.

Oh how I loved her.

So - when I first drew my cartoon chicken, it just seemed fitting to name her Mother Wilma.
You might not be able to see it on here - but there is a little "W" brooch on her collar.

If you'd like to purchase some Mother Wilma cards - click here
I hope to have some new designs out soon - birthday cards and the like. 

And lest ye think I forgot...the winner of the serum and a packet of Mother Wilma cards is....

Comment #8
Congrats Mari!

Y'all come back now, ya hear?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

White Knuckling It

Today's been tough so far.
I'm ready to gnaw the bark off of a tree.

I'm not hungry - don't get me wrong - I'm craving - something sweet.
Why?  Well cause.
Cause I'm frustrated.

Cause my little VW that was running great yesterday is not running great today.

Cause I need waders to tend the chickens.

Cause all of my tomato seeds have germinated and I didn't get the grow light situation set up in time, and now I worry that they are too spindly, and won't recover.

Cause my printer is giving me fits.

Cause I have my period.

Cause people won't act like I want them to.


So, nothing would calm the ole CoopKeeper's nerves like a nice Pecan Mudslide, or perhaps a few pounds of Bridge Mix.

I made a cup of tea today and thought 'screw it, I'm putting honey in it."
I put a teaspoon of honey in it - and then promptly went to the sink and dumped it all, rinsed the cup and started over.

I got out the BBQ sauce to put on my pork roast.
Then put it back in the fridge.


I'm determined to make it 30 days without any sugar.

I even bought myself a gift to celebrate my milestone of 30 days sober.

I can't wear it for 12 more days.
I can't live a happy life with sugar.

I LOVE these Alex and Ani bracelets.
A blog reader got me turned on to them when she (thanks Nancy!) sent me one for my birthday.

The three values that the bracelet I ordered myself are 'courage' 'appreciation' and 'choice'.

I thought seemed appropriate.
I plan on getting one for every milestone - one month, six months, one year.  

You might wonder why I'm torturing myself - well - it's just that I flat out can't stand the thought of something controlling me - of me not being able to control myself.
It's utter nonsense.

I'm reaping wonderful benefits of being sugar free.
My mind is sharp.
The bloating is gone.
I'm dropping pounds.
I'm calmer.
And most importantly - I feel like I'm the boss of me.

I loved what Anne Lamott said in her last Facebook post - 
The way I get off sugar is to stop eating it! I eat lots of protein, fats, veggies, salad with delicious dressings, an apple, pear, some berries. The first 3 days are hard. The willingness comes from the pain: if you have made yourself sufficiently sick and full of shame on sugar, well--who know? You may be ready...or getting there. 

Before I close for today, I just wanted to show you yet another awesome birthday gift I received from a reader - Pam in GA.  

Would you look at that purse!?
It's fantastic!
I adore it.
Thank you so much.
There was also so many other sweet things tucked in the box with that purse. 
Pam braved a snowstorm in Atlanta to get it to me too.
: -)
Thank you.

Don't forget to add your name to the hat for the giveaway.
I'll announce the winner on Monday.

I feel better now that I've blogged.
: -)
I know you are all rooting for me - so I shan't darken the door at DQ today.