WELL. We made it. Survived the entire year scraping by.
I wrote a lot of actual LETTERS last year. I took a photo of each envelope to make sure I replied to all of the letters I received plus I wanted to look back on all of the colorful envelopes I made.
Randy has been pushing me to keep creating too. It’s hard and discouraging.
Seems like people aren’t interested in writing letters anymore. It’s a ‘digital age’ and the younger folks are going to miss out.
I cannot imagine this. I’ll be writing letters to people I love and care about until I die whether or not I get a response. I always hope to of course.
Luckily 2018 had a friend that kept me from losing my mind working at a place that was paralyzing on happiness. I had to fake it most every single day just to make it to the end and throw my exhausted bones onto our tiny cheap couch hanging out with our dogs Zoey and Kona plus our cat Piper.
My husband and I sat down at the start of December in our new home to make a list of all of the great things about 2018. It was so fun to remember THOSE THINGS and write them down! It is never to late to reflect on a period of time and pick out the great stuff within it.
ANYWHO…we’re buzzing along here in freezing cold Colorado learning AGAIN how to start from scratch. By the end of our adventures (if not now) I think we can help someone else map out WHAT NOT TO DO! HA HA!!
I’ve put on a few LBs, managed to mess up my left hand (which makes is super fun to write, paint, type and use my mouse), last year in September I tore my rotator cuff during one of the grocery store case lot sales followed by a FIVE 12-PACKS of Coke Products/Pepsi Products for $10. This reduced my yoga participation by about 25% so I’ve been working on kettlebell and free weight 30 minute exercises.
I know that 80% of any body change battle starts with my food habits.
Randy and I wrote this baby and used it at our boot camp business for over a decade. It was tweaked and modified…updated and changed…all to make it more effective.
I’m putting a page here for you to download and use if you want to make some changes to any habits you are not happy with.
For me: I want to stick to a healthier food choice plan and get back to drinking the right amount of water…OH AND I WANT TO KEEP EXERCISING despite a -6 degree temperature outside.
Right now I’m staring out my back window as 8 deer are chomping away at whatever they can find. It’s butt ass cold out and in the last two months I’ve watched these deer (must be a family) roam through our backyard. Their fur is darker and the babies are growing up. One boy deer lost one antler (we hunted for it but no dice) so he’s wandering around with ONE antler. It doesn’t seem to be affecting him though and the lady-deer are just as irritated with him trying to insist on some hanky-panky time chasing them all through the trees.
For 2019 I plan to get my feet solid on the ground again.
I have things I want to accomplish. Not really RESOLUTIONS. More like accomplishments that I want to have on my list NEXT December.
OK gotta go.
I hope you download this food journal page if you need help. It’s free from Randy and I.
We are offering our entire food journal in electronic download too, if you are interested. We are pricing it at $12 (not $15). It WILL help you go 6 weeks straight, just like the old days at 805 Boot Camp.
I saw this book for the first time in the 1970’s and began reading it at age 8. Back then my mom was searching for answers and The Prophet (without annotations) was part of our lives as well as a bookshelf of other self-help and religious books.
Reading it then (my mom taught me to read very young) I scanned over the Chapters looking for one that piqued my interest. Every night, at dinner, we would read a meaningful passage before dinner.
It was just my mom, my little sister and myself.
I could not put the thoughts together to give them meaning. They were just words linked together randomly with titles I recognized
Love Family Friendship Time Good and Evil Pain Joy Sorrow
Those were some of them.
Today, 4 decades later, I finished the book understanding more than I ever could.
The annotations at the end of each chapter were very helpful. Gibran wrote plenty of books and it seems mountains of letters to two women, one of them he proposed to and was turned down. The bits and pieces of his life are covered and I appreciated getting an even deeper understanding of how he “thought” or even possibly came up with some of his writings.
His thoughts were epic.
The book was originally published in 1923. The depth of wisdom he gives is life changing if you really allow it.
In today’s world we are wrapped up in instant gratification and this book forces you to slow down and absorb the meaning of each word, sentence, page and chapter.
If you are searching for the meaning to basic questions, Kahlil Gibran might help you find them.
This is a book to own, not borrow.
To be able to underline and highlight what has impact on you and your life and thoughts.
Since none of us are the same it will have different meaning.
I also think you have to have an open mind before reading this. Willing to see a different perspective.
To me, we are all The Prophet in our lives. We have answers to the same questions the villagers had of this man that stayed for 12 years.
We have people in our lives that want to know our thoughts on these topics before we leave.
I know I wish I knew my mother’s explanation of LOVE (to begin with).
So much life just distracts you. For me, sitting as quietly as possible in a room without anyone else and zero music playing…only dogs licking themselves off and on bothering me… it took me an HOUR.
I wanted to use what was IN my cupboards, fridge and freezer.
Here’s what I came up with.
I ran it by Randy to see if he wanted to make any changes. We had eggs so he decided to switch out breakfasts a few times.
I created my grocery shopping list and because I know what/where items are in the grocery store I organized it to be super efficient in that task. This is a bonus as a Vegan Chef – I know where the odd things are.
HERE IS MY PLAN FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS IN PDF FORM
Life began to happen and we almost fell off within 2 days.
I began baking and creating the dishes that we would have. The house smelled great. This was only possible because I am not working right now. REALITY CHECK.
Randy began to look for my beat up planning paper to ask what we’d be having for dinner which inspired me to stick to the plan.
Our grocery shopping for WEEK 1 was about $68. Again, I had resources in my kitchen but I was pretty stoked to only spend that much for a full week of meals ALL HOME COOKED, packed with flavor, low on salt and always enough for LEFTOVERS!
I also planned out my exercise and the pet’s meals (we are all dining on the ritz). The $68 INCLUDED their 7 days, 2 meals a day.
WHAT I LEARNED
You need TIME to plan and execute a meal plan.
It is important to have a dessert (in our house). You can make them with less junk in them – with lots of flavors.
It is cheaper to plan meals and cook.
Once we got rolling it was easier. It’s not EASY yet (and I’m going to be working again…which means a lot of cooking on days off). I’ve got Week 2 planned out and I’m excited to make that chocolate cake (vegan of course).
I know this because of how much we have been through TOGETHER and that’s when you discover the strengths within each other. If you know both of us (since we got married) you’ve seen that part of our life.
Before that we learned habits that we “bring to the table” on a regular basis. This one Randy brought is a REGULAR: using the clean dish drying towels to clean up spills on the floor.
This REALLY happened. Like 5 minutes before I sat down. I just laugh now (and plan when I’ll be using the family finances to purchase a better towel to replace the one that has been used to clean up anything other than drying a dish…THAT I HAVE SEEN.) Only one person on earth knows which towels have been used for anything other than drying a dish.
We have pared our stuff down to 1 1/2 10×6 U-Haul Trailers! Can you imagine that?
WHAT’S NEW THESE DAYS?
We have moved to a new place in Colorado and today it is 27 degrees outside as I walked our dogs and passed out my new Pet Care Service cards door to door.
Did you know I opened a Pet Care Service!? My sister helped me! A blog reader helped me! My amazing Husband Unit helped me!
Now to get some new clients here in my new town that I am LOVING!
🙂 Wish me luck before I freeze and wish Randy luck too (maybe he needs CLEANING RAGS from Santa this year).
I think it would be wise to include DO NOT EVER EVER USE MY DISH TOWELS FOR CLEANING UP SPILLS ANYWHERE EVER ON EARTH to wedding vows.
Also I would include NEVER EVER USE MY WOODEN SPOONS FOR STIRRING PAINT.
I think it would help a marriage. 🙂
Recipe FIRST then a quick story about my first experience (on the outside looking in) of the LDS Church’s “Conference”. I got home from work in time to watch the section that was specifically for the women. I normally pour myself a cocktail to watch Columbo but decided I was curious about what and why they split out the men and women and what message they give the guys and how it would be different from the gals.
I didn’t pour a cocktail because I felt sort of weird about watching a church thing drinking a cocktail. That’s just me… maybe the “new” me?
MY PANCAKE RECIPE, inspired by that LDS talk plus The Joy Of Cooking book my mom gave me.
Mixing bowl (large)
Whisk (or a fork)
Large Spatula (for flipping pancakes)
1 Cup flour (or *GF Oat Flour)
3/4t double acting baking powder
½ baking soda
1c almond milk
2T white vinegar
1T chia seeds
Spray oil unless using a non-stick surface to make your pancakes.
Fruit topping, if you like!
In this order:
Place all ingredients and tools on counter.
In a small bowl (I use my 2-cup liquid measuring glass), blend Almond Milk and vinegar, with a fork swirl around and set aside. Give it at least 5 minutes to curdle the “milk”.
In a separate small bowl, blend chia and water, stir with a fork then set aside. Give it at least 5 minutes for the chia to begin absorbing the water.
In large mixing bowl use a whisk and blend the dry ingredients. Set aside.
Blend wet ingredients together (I put the chia into the almond “milk”). With a fork stir a bit to really get everything well mixed. If you have a few minutes, let it all stand and become blended.
Add the wet to the dry, using a spatula to fold in. Don’t whip it up, FOLD IT. This keeps the air bubbles in tact (which is what will help make it fluffy).
Heat griddle to HIGH.
Spray cooking oil LIGHTLY.
Pour mixed ingredients onto HOT HOT griddle making a 4” circle (or use a ⅓ cup).
Wait for bubbles to appear through your pancake to flip it (normally 3-4 minutes). This is how you know it is cooking through but not burning.
Flip cakes on griddle for another minute or two (you can peek to see the desired browning).
Serve up and enjoy topped with vegan butter, apple butter, fruit…syrup.
MY EXPERIENCE YESTERDAY – WILD
Saturday October 6th, 2018
I work at a grocery store in an extremely religious town. 88% (according to the last Association of Religion Data Archives). Most of the people I see come through my check stand are students. This is the “future” of the LDS church (obviously) and a very dedicated group.
The thing I love about these young people is that they are pretty nice, ethical and not confrontational at all. So, for example, if the person behind them in line (non-LDS) is making snarky comments about some sort of religious thing it does not seem to break their stride or belief. Also, once they establish that the person in front of them or behind them in line is part of their church they have SO MUCH to talk about and chances are they are related somehow. These conversations are always cheerful and happy.
So, by the stats alone, 20% of the people visiting me are not part of the LDS church and they are mostly visiting the store on Sunday when no good Mormon would be shopping (especially in Provo). Most of them roll their eyes toward any effusive connection they are witnessing between the students (which makes me mad…as though I’m part of that behavior AND I AM NOT).
The point today is to fill you in, from a stranger’s view, on what Conference means or meant to most every single person that went through my line.
The Structure Of My Day (Conference Day Included)
This is important.
My shift began at 9:00am. I arrived 15 minutes early to talk to my boss about a meeting I am expected to be at for one hour. We are not allowed to work overtime and I try hard to follow the rules.
The store was busy! Similar to the hours before Superbowl would be in a big city. None of the employees were smiling. It looked like HAIR ON FIRE mode.
I did not understand the tone and volume. It was quite different than every other Saturday I’d worked. I asked one of my bosses what in the world was happening!? “Conference” I was told. “What is that?” “Big gathering of all of the members to hear the people at the top of the church speak.” “It looks like the day before Thanksgiving!” “I guess it sort of is like that for a lot of them.”
I’d heard this word earlier in the week but had not paid attention.
One lady got TICKETS to be on the stage. (?) She was famous for this and got hugs and pats on the back for the accomplishment. It was extremely honorable I guess.
Our store is close to downtown Provo where there are loads of meetings, conferences, workshops…you name it…at the Convention Center. I expected that was what would be happening.
That is NOT what was happening or even close.
Our lines were 6-8 people deep. We had ALL of our check stands open. The Self Check-Out line stretched through the store about 40 yards back.
Everyone was hurrying “to buy food for Conference”. Actually, I think I’m saying it wrong. When Randy gets back in from changing out his tail light I’ll ask him what the right terminology is.
I got my nerve up to ask a friendly family of eight (Grandma, Mom, Dad and kids) where Conference was. “We’re watching it at home.”
“It’s televised at your house? What channel?”
“So everyone here is buying food for this conference?”
“Yes, I’d guess so.” I think it was the dad and he looked around smiling at the hundreds of people standing in line IN GOOD SPIRITS.
“How long does it last?”
“Wait, two hours?” I blurted this out as I thought to myself, “that doesn’t seem like a lot of time to plan this much food!”
“Well the first part is two hours then there is a break and another conference for two more hours.”
“Are you not allowed to eat during it?” as I stared at the bags of snacks I was scanning.
The process was done…I’d learned a tiny bit there in that few moments of time.
At 10:05am it was SILENT in the store. Like library quiet. Obviously, everyone was in Conference.
Then the next wave hit. Just as large as the last one. I was manning a smaller check stand for “About 15 items” which seemed to be what everyone was getting.
This time I saw a dad and three kids coming through. 4 doughnuts, ice cream and corn dogs.
SIDE NOTE: Diet DP (that’s what it is called by the students) seems to be the #1 drink of choice today. DP (not diet) is #2. Dr Pepper.
“Everyone is in a great mood it seems.”
“You betcha they are! We just got out of Conference!”
“That’s cool. What did they say?”
“WE ONLY HAVE TO ATTEND CHURCH TWO HOURS INSTEAD OF THREE!!!!” he exclaimed – seriously elated.
I don’t know how things run – so I asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Normally we have to attend 3 hours. The first hour is ______ (I forget what he said) then the next hour is _____ (again, forget) and the last hour is split out with men and women (or something like that) in private meetings.”
He saw my confused look. I am guessing he assumed I still did not understand what he just said. He’s partially correct. What I was confused about was that this seemed to be the best news since sliced bread. I didn’t quite understand what or why these folks (who I assumed were super duper dedicated to their beliefs and structure) would not see how odd it was to “get an hour off” of their religion.
“It’s to spend more time with our families.”
“Well that’s always going to be a good idea.”
I am still digesting what I’d heard so far and putting it together as quickly as my old brain would process.
“We’re gonna celebrate together with our doughnuts!”
Off he went, walking a little taller like we all do when we’re filled with good thoughts.
The remainder of that two-hour drive had the same excitement: “TWO HOURS!” “ONLY TWO HOURS!” “AN HOUR OFF! Yipeeeee!!!!”
I continued to process it all.
Just before the end of that second blast I asked a young couple – super cute and they got along like Randy and myself – what the NEXT conference was going to be about.
“Well, we’ll be splitting into the men and the women conferences.”
“How do you do that at your house?”
Cute young wife, “I’ll be going into the church with the other women to watch it together.”
Handsome young husband, “I actually think I’ll stream it online. I’m not sure where I’ll watch it.”
“What will the men be told that the women can’t know about?”
They looked at each other in a way that I felt I’d stepped a LITTLE TOO CLOSE for comfort…crap…oooops.
“I mean, what will the women talk about?”
They looked at each other again before speaking, wide WIDE eyes.
“It’s about how we can be better wives, sisters, mothers mostly,” she said quickly and I think she was blushing a little, “so we hear what inspiration the Prophets have to guide us.”
“Oh, ok cool. Are there girl Prophets?”
Time to go…didn’t get that answer. They had to jet and I wished them a great day and to come visit again.
They waved me a cheery goodbye, giggled with each other arm and arm and happily (they were sincerely smitten with each other) walked out into the cloudy and sunny chilly day.
I thought about this whole experience the remainder of my shift which was about an hour and a half.
BYU TV. I was pretty sure we got that channel. I decided I was going to tune in to this “Women’s Conference” to see what they had to say.
5:00pm could not arrive fast enough. I zipped over to the State Liquor store for some Tito’s Vodka, Corralejo and Odell Brewing Co beer (7% ABV). The store parking lot was PACKED and I had to park down the street!
After I fed the dogs I settled in on our new warm comfy couch and aimed the remote toward the TV sans a cocktail. First I made sure I was recording Columbo and then switched to BYU TV. There was a man, pretty old, speaking from a teleprompter.
The room was packed with women (I am guessing only women).
The speaker made some mistakes while reading and the speech was stuttered and difficult to understand.
I recollected the cute wife’s explanation, “better wife, better sister, better mother.”
I got a little bothered about this while listening.
How is a guy (this guy) qualified to tell a gal how to be a better wife, sister or mother?
How is ANYONE deciding what is “better” or even worse, what is “bad” behavior as another human being?
Maybe I needed that cocktail.
I forced myself to listen to this man go on and on – making more mistakes reading his teleprompter until I couldn’t watch any more. PETER FALK!!!! I found my favorite detective and started watching.
Reflecting: all of this experience today felt familiar. TOO FAMILIAR.
My decades of being part of the church of scientology came rushing back. Forced EVERYTHING. Told and taught, “If it isn’t true for you it isn’t true” while being sent to hard labor for wanting to leave and be with my mom instead of participate.
The scientology group is following the map that the Mormon church has created. I respect the Mormon church for the stories of what they had to go through in order TO SURVIVE as a human race traveling across the USA. To me, that fortified the fabric within them even more. That, to me, deserves respect.
Scientology attempts to feed its flock lies upon lies about how their struggle to survive should inspire members to donate to their war chest (built to fight mental health advocates, ALL psychiatry, ALL psychology and any/every person that speaks out against them).
FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY
I will always respect that someone has a different point of view. I am in awe of people that have experienced so much and have actual and factual accounts that they share with me.
It is difficult to understand why so many people cannot see the irony of being told they get 1 hour back in their lives.
We get to choose our lives, our words, our belief… which is where I think dedicating your LIFE to something that you are happy to be free of (for that hour) doesn’t quite make sense to me.
A belief system that DICTATES your thinking (in any way) is wrong.
I enjoyed Columbo, relaxing with my feet on my chocolate lab’s warm belly and my cat by my head.
I got up this morning early and whipped up healthy-ish pancakes for my husband which made me a better wife (he sure was happy).
Basically, I just want humans to be kind to each other (and the planet and animals) no matter what God they claim or belief system they follow.
I haven’t actually POSTED on my blog in almost two months. I have a few blogs half-baked (like my July 5th one entitled “Blowing Shit Up” which was a recap of what it must be the only outlet the “community” here can embrace that let’s your inner frustrations out to air and RELAX a bit: JULY 4TH FIREWORKS and that was eclipsed by Pioneer Day a week later. Not a lot of alcohol sold but tank loads of pop and candy did! It’s WILD how different things are here compared to pretty much every other place I’ve lived.
What’s with my SUCCESS?
It’s about my body and a little challenge I embarked on alone. Pilates and Yoga.
My mid section had taken on extra inch-age and I was feeling way too plump.
My job keeps me behind a counter which is why no one asked me “where’s the flood?”. I do not like looking in the mirror to begin with but now that I’m “working for the man” I have to check my appearance before going to work to make sure I’m neat, tidy and professional which is where I began noticing the extra muffin top!
My success is: without changing my diet much at all (including having cocktails) I put myself through 4 Pilates Classes and 4 Power Yoga Classes in the last ten days (July 24th to be exact) and today when I put on my jean shorts and belt in it’s usual hole IT WAS LOOSE! I’ve shrunk my torso/hip area as well as my thighs!
I’ve managed to tighten my body up and that’s what I wanted to do…no idea where the extra “body” went but it’s gone. Only lost 1 lb overall.
So, today I’d like to encourage you to find something exercise-like and privately set out to do it for “____” (insert number of days). Not a huge goal – just a calm one you can stick to. If it has to do with changing your body, use your clothing and how it fits as a guide NOT THE SCALE!
I am stronger in my core. I can hold Boat Pose and drop down to Low Boat and hold it for the counts. My down-dog is more flexible and actually feels GOOD (my wrists would get so tired I had to stop). I did a LITTLE at a time as well.
Pilates has been insanely helpful. SLOW movements, core strength, few reps.
I hope you give it a try!
Power Yoga, Provo Recreation Center, Chenea Duerden Class on Tuesday 6am and Saturday 6:30am
Raisin Bran, Coconut Hemp Granola using non-sweetened almond milk or my home-made museli (sunflower seeds, oats, coconut, chia, cranberries with ripe raw fruit on top) using unsweetened OJ as my “milk”.
Giant vegan veggie wraps every day for lunch (like a 5 cup salad squeezed into a wrap). Always using Randy’s Hummus. We use our food processor to make shredded celery, radish, zucchini, carrots then store them in small containers. I add 1/3c of rinsed beans, 1/4 avocado (when we had them), lettuce and hot sauce. Two days I baked a potato and sliced it length-wise and put 1/4 of it in the center of my wrap then the hot sauce on it to soak in while I worked).
Corn tortilla chips or celery/carrots dipped in hummus when I got home from work as a snack.
Spaghetti squash with home made veggie-packed red sauce, baked potato topped with hummus and salsa, garden burger packed with lettuce on a bun, home made pizza with veggie toppings LOADED, tangy corn and mashed potatoes.
Cocktails: Vodka shot with cranberry juice, fresh margarita or a Stella Artois beer. I did have one cocktail almost every day (don’t judge me!) because, well I LOVE THEM!?! Plus: I didn’t have any alcohol for the entire month of June and GAINED 5 LBS.
OTHER NEWS AND UPDATES
AN ACTUAL VACATION
We had time off and went to Arizona where I discovered they must have moved it closer to the sun. IT WAS SO HOT.
We drove through two thunder and lightening storms as well as a haboob (see video above). I also discovered Flagstaff and if I could, I’d move there in a minute IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL with green and trees (didn’t see if there was water).
Our pets stayed home with an incredible house sitter. I have to show you a pic she sent me of her little sister giving Zoey love. My heart was so relieved and happy! Finding someone that you trust to take care of your pets is tough and we found a gem. She is a nursing student (pediatric is her goal) and just graduated…she works full time at the hospital AND works at the place I work at and she is a bad ass there (knows how to do EVERY job you need).
We also saw THREE car crashes along the way – I wish I knew how the people were that were involved. Crossing my fingers they are OK. I was taking pics during two crashes as we passed.
We have 12 forest fires plus 7 controlled burns happening here in Utah as of today.
The Air Quality is TERRIBLE.
Three fires are blowing smoke here into Provo.
I’m watching the news about California where 25 of them were reported last night!
It has been over 100 regularly but the mornings are in the 60’s (which is AWESOME) but it is dark (NOT AWESOME) and not safe enough (IMO) to be out running the streets or trails.
SUNDANCE MOUNTAIN (RESORT AND TRAILS)
We FINALLY got it together on a day we both had off to ride the lift to Red’s at Sundance! The smoke gave limited visibility but it was still spectacular.
We got to the top and hike into areas that were untouched. It reminded me of our trail running/hiking experiences in Simi Valley California. Each step through the weeds pricked on my legs and at first I was irritated. That’s when I realized HOW MUCH I LOVE BEING OUT IN THE WILDERNESS AND MISS IT. So, I walked intentionally through brush and weeds just for the feeling of “nature touching me“. Mel, if you ever read this…I put that there just for you.
On our descent (WHICH WAS EXTREMELY STEEP) we landed at a Funk Jazz Concert by the Christian Mills Band where brews and food were in abundance as well as dogs and kids. It was Sunday so I’m guessing nobody was LDS (?) plus pretty much every group had beer.
FAMILY GOOD NEWS
Life is never perfect and our family has had plenty of ups and downs.
Between all of the noise of surviving on this planet there is one thing we (Randy and I) care about more than ANYTHING: our kids accomplishing their goals as well as being a good and positive member of society.
Morgan our youngest daughter is about to begin the Fall Football Season as a BYU Cheerleader! We plan on attending the BYU vs Cal game (which team should we root for!?). Claire graduated Cal and Morg is at BYU. I love OSU and Randy USC. Hmmmm…
Our daughter Claire appeared in Forbes Magazine! Her company, Next Energy, is making the planet a better place. We are so proud of her accomplishments in the field of science. Pretty soon Neil DeGrasse Tyson will be asking her for info about science stuff… I can feel it!
Our son Jordan earned his Associates and has been immersed in Native American History. He also has filled me in on what is happening and has happened in Congo.
I finally graduated High School!
OK that’s all for now.
I have some letters to wrap up and get sent!
A few more pics, in case you are curious…
Some good memories here.
My bee and butterfly garden is blossoming
The Concert in Sundance.
Piper. Still rules here.
Dinner with family!
This is where they spend every evening after work.
Off the chair lift on the trail…in street shoes (DUH).
Haven’t seen this in almost a year. It worked! I was happy right away.
I think it still has beauty.
Working on youthful skin (you get what you pay for)
It pains me to see this knowing our food either helps or harms.
One of my dinners, plated.
Rolled up to the crib the other day and everything was alright again.
Prickly and awesome!
Let’s ride! At noon. 100 degrees. Uphill from Nunn’s to Big Springs!