Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Earlier this month, we embarked on a two week long road trip. Never before in my life have I been able to be away from work for that many days in a row.  Boy howdy am I enjoying my new life! 

I hope your summer has been filled with adventures as well~

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Cilantro Pasta Salad

Hot summer days need light and chilled pasta salads for dinner. 
This one is perfect and the fun part is  that the recipe came from a book.  A fun and light read called Meet Your Baker by Portland author, Ellie Alexander.
Meet Your Baker is set in a bakeshop in Ashland, Oregon, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  Juliet has a broken heart and arrives back in her hometown to help her mom out at the family bakeshop.  Murder and mayhem take place. It's a super fun, light read that has some great recipe's in the back!

Summer Cilantro Pasta Salad sounded delicious so I whipped it up today.  I modified it a bit and also used gluten-free noodles since gluten hates me.  My version also has a couple of drops of certified pure therapeutic grade Dill essential oil in it.  Yummy!   Here is the recipe, the way I made it:

Summer Cilantro Pasta Salad 

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 Walla Walla Sweet Onion, minced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped to 1/2 inch dice
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
2 precooked chicken breasts, chopped
1 small bag frozen sweet corn
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons almond milk
1 box Barilla Gluten-free Penne Pasta
2 drops certified pure therapeutic grade Dill essential oil

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Melt butter over medium heat in a large frying pan.  
Saute' onions for 5 minutes or until translucent.
Add tomatoes and saute' another 5 minutes.
Add chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.
When boiling, add corn and 1/2 the cilantro.
Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Add Almond Milk and Dill essential oil.
Pour over prepared pasta.
Add chopped chicken and the rest of the cilantro.
Chill for at least an hour.
Serve and Smile.

Tastes best with good company and a bottle of wine.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Have Patience

Sometimes there are things that tug at our hearts. Things that we want to do, or see, or become.  Many times, we put a little bit of time and effort in and don't immediately see the results we wanted, or it's hard work, so we give up. Way too soon.  I have to remind myself all the time to have patience. Push forward. Work hard. 
Don't give up. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Turn the Page...Tuesday

It's Turn the Page...Tuesday, an online reading group that Adrienne at Some of a Kind has been hosting forever.  Read what you want and then tell us about it on the first Tuesday of each month. Couldn't be easier!  Today I'm going to tell you about two of the eight books I finished in May.

~ Mary Doria Russell

'He began to die when he was twenty-one, but tuberculosis is slow and sly and subtle.  The disease took fifteen years to hollow out his lungs so completely they could no longer keep him alive. In all that time, he was allowed a single season of something like happiness.'

This is the first paragraph from the novel Doc.  This was a real fantastic read about the life of John Henry "Doc" Holliday before the O.K. Corral shootout.  It takes place for the most part in Dodge City, Kansas where Doc lived out a few years of his life as he struggled to live with his disease, and struggled to live with Kate.  Doc Holliday was a young man and not the wild killer that so many stories have made him out to be. He was a soft-spoken Georgian gentleman who had bad flares of temper, would rather practice dentistry than gamble, loved to play the piano, had a biting tongue, and was quick with a gun.  

 The author did an incredible job with research and writing a novel that tells us so much more of who Doc was then any of the other countless stories and movies that have been written about him.  That being said, I love the movie Tombstone and read every single word uttered by Doc in Val Kilmer's "Doc voice". It made it all the more fun! 

This was a great book.  I really enjoyed it and am now putting it on the Caveman's nightstand because I think he should read it too!

From Goodreads:
Born to the life of a Southern gentleman, Dr. John Henry Holliday arrives on the Texas frontier hoping that the dry air and sunshine of the West will restore him to health. Soon, with few job prospects, Doc Holliday is gambling professionally with his partner, M├íria Katarina Harony, a high-strung, classically educated Hungarian whore. In search of high-stakes poker, the couple hits the saloons of Dodge City. And that is where the unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and a fearless lawman named Wyatt Earp begins--before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral links their names forever in American frontier mythology when neither man wanted fame or deserved notoriety. 

My Beloved World
~Sonia Sotomayor

'I was barely awake, and my mother was already screaming.  I knew Papi would start yelling in a second.  That much was routine, but the substance of their argument was new, and it etched that morning into my memory.'

And so begins My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor. This first paragraph is pretty powerful and epitomizes the strength this woman possesses.  She was only six years old, newly diagnosed with diabetes when she wakes up to hear her parents fighting about who had to give her her insulin shot.  Sonia realized that if it was such a hard thing, then she would never again be able to go spend the night at her grandmother's house, so she got up, walked into the kitchen and begin to boil the water herself to sterilize her needle so she could give the shot to herself. She knew that it was going to have to be up the her to take control. Pretty sad at six years old. 

I read this book as the May read for the book club that I'm in. It is not a book I would have picked for myself and I even thought, "Ugh! A political memoir. Shoot me know." , but in all honesty, it was really good.  Sonia Sotomayor was the 3rd woman and the very first Hispanic to be appointed to the US Supreme court. She tells her story from childhood to the time of the appointment in a voice that is not self-pitying and is there to tell a story and give hope to others.  I have all the admiration in the world for this strong, resilient woman who has given back simply by telling her own story.   

Highly recommended!

From Goodreads:
The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.

Here is the story of a precarious childhood, with an alcoholic father (who would die when she was nine) and a devoted but overburdened mother, and of the refuge a little girl took from the turmoil at home with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. But it was when she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes that the precocious Sonia recognized she must ultimately depend on herself.  She would learn to give herself the insulin shots she needed to survive and soon imagined a path to a different life. With only television characters for her professional role models, and little understanding of what was involved, she determined to become a lawyer, a dream that would sustain her on an unlikely course, from valedictorian of her high school class to the highest honors at Princeton, Yale Law School, the New York County District Attorney’s office, private practice, and appointment to the Federal District Court before the age of forty. Along the way we see how she was shaped by her invaluable mentors, a failed marriage, and the modern version of extended family she has created from cherished friends and their children. Through her still-astonished eyes, America’s infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book, destined to become a classic of self-invention and self-discovery.

What have you been reading lately?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

These Boots are Made for Walking

And that's just what they'll do.  One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you...

Not really. Just joshin'. But they will go for a walk again. Probably one of these days soon.

Memorial day weekend around here is treacherous in the fact that we live on the coast and everyone wants to be here, rain or shine, on a holiday weekend. For most of us who live here full time, we avoid the roads and the beach like it's the plague.   We really wanted to get out and take the dogs on a good walk where they could run, so we headed up to a logging area known as California Barrel.  As you can see, it was completely overcrowded! 
This guy had a ton of friends.  They were partying it up poolside. Well, a lot of them were swimming and frolicking. I think this guy, we'll call him Buddy, jumped out to sunbathe for a bit. I didn't have the heart to tell him that sun was not on the forecast. 
Maybe he really just got out of the pool to console his friend, Slug. It seems that Slug was pouting, feeling left out and a bit like a wallflower.  Nice of Buddy to notice and make time for a chat. 
(By the way, notice Buddy's nice orange color. His underside is way brighter and this little fellow is toxic. He's a Western Newt and you shouldn't eat him if you are in the woods and hungry. That's not nice anyway.)
There is so much pretty vegetation in our woods.  One of my favorites is Oregon Oxalis, otherwise known as Wood Sorrel.  It's bright green, looks like 3-leaf clover and covers the forest floor. Really pretty. I think there may have been a gnome or two hiding under there but they are way to fast for me.
Riff cut several loads of firewood up here this fall.  He was explaining to me where the good pile was and the intricate nature of pulling the logs out to cut. It's what he does. He's a 'xplaner.  
(I was listening intently, of course.)
The Pacific Northwest is very lush and grows super quick. Don't lose your car int he woods, because you may never find it again with all the vines, ferns and moss that will quickly take it over. 
This stump is what is known as a Nurse Stump.  Tree died for whatever reason, was logged, fell over in a "wind event", whatever the case, and that old stump becomes a nurse to new vegetation. You can see that new tree growing right out of it along with some ferns and stuff.  Don't stand still too long.  It'll grow right over you too. 
When this handsome boy was just a puppy, we named him Gustav but decided to call him Gus until he became more dignified and grew in to his royal name. Scratch that. See that brown, (or possibly green), crap on his shoulder. Yep. Serious crap. Elk poop to be exact.  He will never be Gustav but will forever remain merely Gus. 
(Can you blame him?  Look who raised him, after all. Riff is legally Richard, but nope, that's never going to happen either. Merely Riff. At least he doesn't roll in elk poop.)
Walk is over for the day. Loading up to head home to that hose in the backyard and some shampoo to wash off Gus' very fragrant cologne. 

I hope you enjoyed your walk with us today.  
Where have you been walking lately?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Grab Me A Toothpick! Cinnamon Please!

Did you know that the toothpick predates modern man?  Yep, according to Wikipedia and we KNOW everything there is correct and completely accurate!  The skulls of Neanderthals show clear signs of having had their teeth picked with a tool.  

The Neanderthal, I mean husband, that lives at my house is always in search of a good toothpick.  Don't you love it when you are in a restaurant and they have cinnamon or mint toothpicks?  The best!  Today I decided to make a batch of cinnamon.  I think my caveman will like them!

Super easy!  First gather up your supplies ~
1 small glass jar
1 box of wooden toothpicks
1 bottle of certified pure Cinnamon essential oil
1 bottle of fractionated coconut oil (or any carrier oil you want to use; olive, grapeseed, etc.)

Cover the bottom of the jar with your carrier oil.  Don't put to much, just enough to cover it. 
Now add that delicious, yummy Cinnamon Bark oil.  15 to 20 drops will do it.
( Make sure you are using a good, 100% pure, unadulterated, therapeutic grade oil.  These are toothpicks. They will be in your mouth so you want to make sure you know what's in the oil you are using.)
Toss those toothpicks in!  Well, be gentle. You want them standing up and not just all willy-nilly in there.
Put the lid on.
Leave it on for about 8 hours. 
After the loooong 8 hours have passed, pour them out onto something flat. 
They should be in one layer on the plate. I know. Do what I say, not what I do. You want them to dry. 
It might take up to 24 hours.  I know. So stinking hard to wait.

When the sand has finally made it's way to the bottom, your toothpicks are finally ready. Yay!
Stick 'em in a tin, maybe a recycled Altoids tin, and enjoy!  

Seriously, is it okay to eat wood?  Sorry Caveman. These are mine!

(p.s. To get your own certified pure essential oils, contact me for more information.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Woodland in Bloom

On a morning in early May, bright with sunshine and unseasonably warm, Riff and I decided to take a drive and visit the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland, Washington.  The gardens are a wonderful, serene place to visit in this busy little town on the I-5 corridor. Birds are always chirping, bee's buzzing, and from tine to time, little spring peepers are singing their froggy songs.  We've been there a handful of times and enjoy the visit every time. 

This particular early May visit was once upon a time, but not very long ago. Just this past Saturday in fact.  Mother's Day weekend is a fantastic time to visit.  It is during the couple of weeks known as Lilac Days.  During this festive time is the only time the little farmhouse is open for tours and also the only time that you can purchase starts of so many of the wonderful varieties of lilacs that are grown here. Hulda was a pioneer in propagating so many new varieties of lilacs.  You can read about our first visit and more of Hulda's fascinating story here. 

With the early spring and unseasonably warm weather we've been having, the lilacs were all done blooming for the most part by this past weekend. The gardens were still beautiful.  

There is a variety of lilac grown in this garden called Belle de Nancy. The first year we visited, Nancy wasn't a start that was available to purchase but I vowed to haunt the gardens every year until we could bring Nancy home. This was the year!  I'm so excited to have not one, but TWO baby Belle de Nancy's to nourish and grow!  Yay!!
Here is what here blossoms look like on a full-grown bush.  Light lavender and white double blooms. Absolutely breathtaking!  It will be some time before our baby Nancy's produce blooms like this. I can hardly wait!
Meet our little babies. Aren't the twins adorable?!

May you all be blessed with a magical purple day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Turn the Page...Tuesday

It's time!  Time for Turn the Page...Tuesday hosted by the fantabulous Adrienne over at Some of a Kind  ~
Adrienne has been hosting this monthly book party for awhile now but some of us, me, have taken an unplanned blogging break. I'm so excited to join back in and see what everyone else have been reading!  
(pop over to Adrienne's place and join in the fun!)

I went through my April reads and picked my two favorite of the month.  Ready? Here we go!

The Hound of the Baskervilles
~ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I read this one for the April read of my in-real-life book club at Lucy's Books here in town.   This was actually my pick and voted on by the other members of the group.  I had realized one day that I had never read a Sherlock Holmes so I threw my suggestion in the hat with the others and it was picked! Yay!

I can't believe it took me 47 years to read a Sherlock Holmes book. Crazy. I enjoyed it too no end. Such fun characters and the mystery was super fun as well.  I thought I had it figured out but my hunch was just a hunch and I was wrong...wahoo!  (I like to be wrong in instances like this!)  I will be reading the other Sherlock stories soon!

From Goodreads:
Holmes and Watson are faced with their most terrifying case yet. The legend of the devil-beast that haunts the moors around the Baskerville families home warns the descendants of that ancient clan never to venture out in those dark hours when the power of evil is exalted. Now, the most recent Baskerville, Sir Charles, is dead and the footprints of a giant hound have been found near his body. Will the new heir meet the same fate?

The Lace Reader
~by Brunonia Barry

My sister sent me this book awhile back and it's been hanging around on my to-be-read shelves all that time.  It's not that I wasn't interested, I really really was, but my stacks are so big!  Full of fabulous reading material that is calling me. It's so hard to choose!    The Lace Reader finally made it's way to the top of the stack and I loved it!!

This is another one where I absolutely didn't see the ending coming. I was really confused for a few minutes at some conversations that happened close to the end of the book.  Usually I have a inkling of what is going on but this one totally took me by surprise. (again, I like that!  Really makes for a good book when the twist isn't so predictable!).  

This book is set in Salem, Massachusetts.  Towner Whitney has been gone for many years and has returned when her adored aunt has disappeared. When she comes back into town, before reaching the house, the author does a wonderful job of describing the sites and sounds. It is clear that the protagonist is returning home, instead of just a description of a town that doesn't hold in memories or emotions for her.  What was also more than cool, is the fact that my husbands 9th Great-Grandfather, Roger Conant, was the founder of Salem.  The statue of him that stands in the town square was mentioned several times. (Funny too!  The author puts a disclaimer in the back that Roger was never in peril of being removed from his podium due to lewd behavior! You have to read that book to know what I'm talking about. Very funny!)
Roger Conant ~ 1592 to 1679

Anyway, back to where we were going.   I really liked Towner and could see that we would be friends. She was unreliable, troubled, strange, and had a bit of supernatural abilities.  I would hang out with her. 

Towner came back to Salem to help find her aunt and in the process uncovered all kinds of family secrets.  Good story.  Goodreads can tell you better.  Here's what they have to say:

Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator of The Lace Reader, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns in lace, and who have guarded a history of secrets going back generations, but the disappearance of two women brings Towner home to Salem and the truth about the death of her twin sister to light.

The Lace Reader is a mesmerizing tale that spirals into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths in which the reader quickly finds it's nearly impossible to separate fact from fiction, but as Towner Whitney points out early on in the novel, "There are no accidents."

What have you been reading?  Good stuff I hope!  

Here I am on Goodreads if you would like to see what else I'm reading.
Have a great day!

Friday, May 1, 2015

I Just Can't Help Myself

It's possible that I may have accidentally gone to Goodwill today.  It's also possible that the only reason I generally go to Goodwill is to feed my book habit. 

I don't have nearly enough books and I can prove it. 
There are only a few in the bookcase in the living room...
and the hallway...
and in my nightstand, (what a cool nightstand with shelves, right?!)...
and not many at all on the Classics shelf. Not at all.

I'm sure there aren't any laying around in random piles or shelves that I didn't share with you.

I do not have a problem.  

Alright, so maybe just a little one. 
I might possibly be whore. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Joyful Abandon

I love to watch our dogs running through the surf at the beach. Talk about joyful abandon.  Not a care in the world. Just running for the sheer joy of running and splashing. Maybe chase a sandpiper or two. 

Wouldn't you like to be a dog, just for an afternoon at the beach?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Natural Solutions

Hello!  Oh my gosh I've been gone so long. It's funny how I never made a conscious decision to stop blogging, it just happened.

Sometimes things happen in our lives gradually until all of a sudden there it is.  I've been dealing with an illness like that. Gradually getting sicker, not knowing why, until suddenly I was really sick. Almost thirty years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and on a replacement hormone to keep my levels regulated.  Over the last four or five years, those levels have swung wildly all over the place from super hyperactive to the next month completely underactive. Every time, my med's would just be adjusted up or down to deal with the new swing. At one point I had asked my doctor if I needed to see a specialist because I was feeling horrible and it's not right to have those wild swings.  "Oh no", she said. "We just need to get you regulated."  Hmmm...ok.  But I didn't know the right questions to ask.

Fast forward to this past fall.  Like I said, I had been gradually getting sicker and then we went on a trip to spend Thanksgiving with family in Wyoming. By the time we got back home, I was so sick with what I thought was the flu that I couldn't get off the couch for almost the entire month of December. Along with that I started to experience some incredible pain in my hands, to the point that my husband had to cut up my food because I couldn't do it. Extreme fatigue. Headaches. Fevers. All over body ache. Terrible.

During this time, I decided that I was going to switch doctors. I just wasn't happy with the non-answers I was getting. Something had to change.  I called a Naturalpath in town that I had heard good things about and waited until late January for my first appointment. By then, I had rallied a bit but things were still not good.   I took her a list of all of my symptoms, never suspecting that they could all be tied to that thyroid issue. She looked at my list, asked a lot of questions and said that from what I had told her she highly suspected something autoimmune.  I went right over to the lab for some blood tests and two days later my new, and wonderful, doctor called me to let me know that my TSH level, (thyroid stimulating hormone), was off the charts. She had never seen one so high. Also my autoimmune markers were extremely high.  Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. An autoimmune disease that, over time, attacks and destroys your thyroid.  That guy, Hashimoto's, has most likely been with me since I was a teenager, doing his dirty work behind the scenes, and no other doctor in all those years ever looked for it.

Now I have a wonderful doctor, which is key, who has me on a protocol that is mostly natural and is making me feel so much better. This is an autoimmune disease so flares can and will happen, but knowing what I'm dealing with and how to treat it is HUGE!!   A natural thyroid hormone, a gluten-free diet, enough rest, Vitamin D, E Omega's, and an herbal protocol are really making a difference.  My doctor knows that I use certified pure Essential Oils and has given me her blessing to use these oils instead of the other herbs that she would have given me.  She had told me, optimistically, that it would be 6 months to a year before I really saw a difference. I am 2-1/2 months in to my diagnosis and the difference already is significant.  Like I said, flares will happen, and I am not back to 100% yet, but I have faith that I will get there.

If you would like to learn more about the use of essential oils, please contact me for more information.  I'm more than happy to share what I have learned and what is working for me!