A Chocolate Eclair About as Big as Your Head

At the beginning of this year, after spending nearly all of 2017 immobilized, I tore off my cumbrous fracture boot, went back to normal footwear, and vowed to kick off our plan to eat healthier and workout more, which had been delayed because my body broke mid-March of last year. My foot was still damaged, but when I put the boot on one morning and saw a spider scurry across the top of my foot, that was the end of that. I am not scared of spiders, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy them crawling on me.

After months of wearing a boot that completely restricts foot and ankle movements, I found walking difficult. I wasn’t able to properly bend my foot, so my gait was stiff and flat. I encountered the same issue a few weeks later when I attempted to use the elliptical. Without my foot bending, I couldn’t properly cycle through the motions. Afraid of potentially hurting yet another part of my body, I decided to wait on exercising. However, nothing was stopping me from changing my diet.

We had, prior to my injuries, always eaten fairly well. We didn’t consume many highly-processed foods, we made a lot of our own things, and we only had takeout once a week. After my legs were hurt, that all changed. Brian was responsible for everything and with work, shopping, the dogs, and cleaning up around the house, he didn’t really have time to make dinner as well. There was a lot of bad food consumed, which my body began to reject. For instance, I can no longer tolerate the smell of fries; actually, I cannot consume any significant amount of potatoes at all. Other than chicken and seafood, I couldn’t stomach a lot of meat; in fact, even the word or a picture of bacon made me queasy for a long time.

There’s really no other motivational kick in the pants like involuntarily vomiting your dinners. That’s where my focus has been. Not only have we switched back to healthy foods, we’ve increased our fruit and raw vegetable intake, reduced the number of cooked meals, and significantly reduced our portion sizes. I keep meaning to do a “What I Eat in a Day” post, but I’m constantly forgetting to photograph my food. Sore-ee. In the spirit of that though, here’s a written version of an average day.

Note: Links included here are not sponsored products or even affiliate links, I’m simply sharing in case you’d like to look them up or try something specific yourself. Items that aren’t linked are likely local bulk items or items that don’t have an obvious brand, such as cantaloupes or grapes.

Breakfast: …is often Cascadian Farm Organic cereal (my favorite is Ancient Grains Granola) or Kashi’s Whole Wheat Biscuits in Organic Autumn Wheat. There is also a banana and/or strawberries and/or blueberries and/or whatever other fruit I feel like grabbing. There are times when it’s just fruit as well.

Lunch: …is usually a yogurt bowl: Noosa (my favorites are honey, coconut, and lemon), Wallaby (in Vanilla Bean) or, recently, Smári (no particular favorite just yet), with more fruit, sometimes fresh, sometimes dried, sometimes both, the type varies depending on the flavor of yogurt, and Back to Nature granola in Classic. One of my favorite combinations recently has been lemon Noosa, sunflower seeds, dried blueberries, and granola. If I’m not in the mood for yogurt, I will sometimes have fresh fruit and a piece of Franz bread, though I love Rudi’s too, it’s just not available around here anymore, topped with a smear of Dubliner cheese and Crofter’s fruit spread (currently on hand: Superfruit and Seedless Raspberry).

Dinner: …will vary. Regardless of whatever we’re having, salad usually accompanies the main dish. If we’re eating on a plate, about half the plate will be covered with a salad, leaving very little room for whatever else is being served, helping to keep the portion sizes of anything “bad” to a minimum. An example of a dinner item would be smoked fish, grilled chicken (thighs), zucchini lasagna, tofu curry, or crawfish/alligator/shrimp jambalaya (on the menu for this week, actually). Our salads also vary. Our go-tos are Organic Girl baby spring mix with Farm Hand Organic Simply Beets, pecans, sunflower seeds, Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts, and a parmesan vinaigrette whose brand escapes me, or a more standard salad of Organic Girl romaine heart leaves with English cucumbers, sweet peppers, baby heirloom tomatoes, spicy alfalfa-radish sprouts, sugar snap peas, and naturSource Organic Salad Topper Smart Life, topped with whatever dressing is in the refrigerator. We’ve also started making our own dressing using tahini, coconut aminos, garlic powder, black pepper, honey, and ginger, which is fantastic.

These are not rigid menu plans. I can’t stand eating the same thing over and over again, but it gives you a basic idea.

Soon after buying the Vitamix, our smoothie consumption skyrocketed, though you’ll notice there wasn’t one listed in my average day. While I still enjoy a smoothie once every three months or so, I find I prefer distinct flavors rather than amalgamations. I also pointed out, back when we first started making smoothies, that I liked mine a little on the runnier side. With that in mind, I’ve been toying with the idea of a juicer. While it would still often be a combination of ingredients, I wouldn’t be stuffing powders (spirulina, carob, wheatgrass, barley grass, etc.) into the concrete-esque mixture. I’m especially interested in recreating some of the Kauai Juice Co. flavors, specifically the Mintacolada, which I’ve made using the Vitamix, but not by proper cold-pressed means.

Abrupt ending? Check.

The crummy iPhone picture up there was tonight’s dinner: NUCO coconut wraps, grilled chicken (definitely could have used more), Thai Kitchen red curry paste, carrots, sweet peppers, white onions, and English cucumbers. I would have put sprouts or lettuce, but I forgot the lettuce, and we’re out of sprouts. Out of view is a bowl of black grapes.

Title From:
It’s Better Than That
by Lou & Peter Berryman

All the Lights Are on the Tree

Right now there is a moth the size of a toddler’s pinkie nail in the office with me. Every time it lands on my screen I am legitimately startled, and I physically jump. One itty bitty moth and suddenly I’m sobbing in the corner, waving a back scratcher wildly in the air.

Muggabee hasn’t been around for at least two months. I just heard you say, “Shut up about your cats!” Rude.

Oh my goodness, it almost touched me.

Christmas is right around the corner, as it often is this time of year. We were late buying gifts. We’re usually finished by Thanksgiving, but luckily they’re all finally here. Fortunately, I still have about a week of wrapping procrastination left before I absolutely have to cut the paper just an inch too short and find every possible way to rip the fragile corners. I used to admire my aunt’s wrapping abilities. She worked for a local candy store, and they’d gift wrap chocolates around the holidays. She’d crease the edges and line up the pattern, twist a ribbon around it all and use scissors to curl the ends. I cut my purlicue once while snipping bacon with kitchen shears, so I’ll call any present wrapping a success if I’ve at least covered the picture on the box and haven’t made myself bleed.

Our tree is up. We bought it the Saturday after Thanksgiving from the Knights of Columbus, who had them chopped down a week before they even started selling them. The last year we bought a tree they were all dry, and the needles started falling off in the first week. This one isn’t quite as bad, but they really should stop cutting them so early. We had to buy it when we did because last year we waited a week after Thanksgiving, and everyone was sold out. Everyone. Every. One. So, for fun, we bought a sparkly tinsel tree with pastel lights that couldn’t hold any of our ornaments. I don’t know yet how the ornaments will fare on this one since we’ve only gotten as far as the lights and the topper.

I think I just saw fluttering out of the corner of my eye.

My poinsettia, Phyllis, was struggling for a while. Brian suggested I just throw her away and get a new plant, but I couldn’t. I’ve named this plant. I’ve talked to this plant. However, because she was doing so poorly, I didn’t hesitate to close the blinds on her window for a few days for extra privacy. I knew you could put poinsettias in darkness to develop their red color, so I wasn’t concerned about her being denied sunlight. Unexpectedly, there was a huge improvement in all her leaves in a very short time. She isn’t back to her previously gorgeous state, but she’s not nearly as twiggy and dead. I have hope.

If we’re being honest with each other, the likelihood of me posting again before 2018 is roughly the same as me befriending this baby-sized moth of terror. So, have a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, a joyous Kwanzaa, a beautiful December, and a safe New Year.

Title From:
Why I Love Christmas
by The Robertsons

I Got Blood on My Hands

Wicket was spayed Monday morning. I understand this is a common practice for most people, but our dogs have never been fixed.

I’m about to go against Blogger Rule #1: Express No Opinion.

The following comments are strictly related to indoor pets. This is not an opinion that necessarily applies to dogs often kept or used outdoors where unmonitored situations may occur.

I do not believe the anatomy of an animal should be altered for the sake of my convenience. I believe their bodies are their own, and it’s selfish to want to rip away what is natural because you may not want to watch them closely or deal with a “mess” every six months or so. I cannot believe the removal of important parts, especially while young, can be the healthiest choice for them. That being said, I’m aware a lot of people can’t watch their animals 100% of every day, especially in homes where there are animals of the opposite sex. In that case, I feel the male should be fixed since it’s a much less invasive procedure. I’m also aware that there are procedures that don’t require the removal of organs, but we live in 1825 and those procedures haven’t reached us yet.

With only two female dogs in our home, Wicket being spayed was a heavy discussion that lasted for months. Neither of us wanted to put her through the pain of surgery or give her a life that could possibly be less than she deserves because of our interference, but ultimately we had to do what was best for her personality and our sanity.

Neither of our dogs is ever left alone outside. Not. Ever. There have only been three times anyone’s been left alone inside. The first time, I had my gallbladder removed and was home the same day. The second time, I nearly broke my leg and had to go on my first ambulance ride, and I was home in a few hours. The last time, I went to the hospital because I had a terrible chest cold and woke up unable to breathe properly. I felt so guilty for Levee being left home alone that we ended up walking out of the hospital after two hours of waiting without being seen. That’s every moment any of our dogs have ever been without the company of one of us. So, an unwanted pregnancy has never been a concern.

The mess is easily handled with washable diapers and disposable pads. I’m not going to say it’s not disgusting because it is, but it’s a tolerable inconvenience.

The reason we finally decided to have her spayed was due to her personality and habits. She is a hyperactive ball of crazy, and she likes to eat things. So far in her short life, she’s eaten part of the following: two organic cotton blankets, two three fluffy winter blankets, every single flat sheet we own, one rug, two three throw pillows, three dog beds, our bedroom baseboards, an uncountable number of toys, and our broom. If we were to put diapers and pads on her, she’d end up with a blockage and surgery to remove velcro from her small intestines. It wasn’t something we wanted to deal with, so we made the decision.

I feel so incredibly bad about this, but I also believe it was the only way to keep her safe. Not having to change an extra cycle’s worth of pads and diapers is simply a bonus I will not fail to appreciate.

Note: If you’d like to see the aforementioned “nearly broke my leg” incident, you can click the warning below.


Title From:
I’m A Wanted Man
by Royal Deluxe

Into the Calm and the Quiet

I love October; it’s the start of the holiday season for me. Cool days and frozen evenings mean the smell of woodstoves and fireplaces start to fill the air. You’d think after a summer of toxic air quality and wildfires raging through the state, we’d be sick of smoke, but there’s something different and comforting about the smell of a cozy hearth. Trees that can begin the slide toward yellow, orange, and red. Many trees around here are cottonwood, which turn a beautiful gold. Some of the leaves have already started to fall. The first day of autumn brought a light dusting of snow, and more is in the forecast for tonight.

Inevitably, pumpkin spice everything will be arriving if it hasn’t already. I can’t get behind that craze. I love pumpkin pie, but when that flavor is put into another form, I find it slightly disturbing, like if I were to give you a meatloaf lollipop or a chicken noodle soup ice cream. Not long ago we decided to buy a Vitamix, and one of the first smoothies I made was a pumpkin, graham cracker, plus some other things smoothie with pumpkin pie spice. It was…no. But if you like pumpkin spice lattes, smoothies, coffees, or soda, that’s great. (By the way, there is such a thing as pumpkin spice soda as well as butter, chips, gum, and hummus, to name a few others.)

Of course, the best part of October is Halloween. I’ve been counting down the days since May or June. We have our Halloween decorations ready to be put up next weekend. This year we decided to hang a few things outside, but they’re all very light, and we have tremendous winds here, so I hope they don’t fly away. Tommy will be making an appearance this year, after being forgotten in the closet last Halloween. It’ll be interesting to see how Wicket reacts to him; she’s quite a nervous dog.

Now, I’m off to paint my nails in another Halloween theme, tie some flies, and partake in a very non-autumnal 8:30 pm coffee.

Title From:
Come Little Children
Movie: Hocus Pocus

Go and Sing to the Moon

Random picture (Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site, Wyoming) to match the complete randomness to follow.

I finally broke down and purchased a fracture boot. I reinjured the stress fractures when I was cleaning the bathroom. FYI, it’s not a terribly bright idea to stand on your tiptoes with cracks in your metatarsals. The boot is cumbersome, but I can walk without canes now, and I’ve been able to start making dinner again, which I’m very excited about. Take-out here is basically burgers or pizza or pizza or pizza. I am not someone who enjoys the same flavors over and over again, and we’ve had to have take-out since I first injured my legs back in March. Now we’re back to dinners of Peruvian shrimp with rice and kale, spelt spaghetti with anchovies and olives, emu stew, pad kee mao, and smoked salmon with rainbow chard.

The ranch behind our home was sold to the man who was using the property for his cattle. Sadly, that means Pickwick has moved away with the previous owner. He was spending most of his time in her home these days anyway, so we rarely saw him. I’ll miss him. I won’t so much miss being bitten. Should that ever change there’s always Muggabee, who still hisses at me, as well as the cat we’ve named Foosball, because he’s “the debbil” and picks on Muggabee.

The new owner has brought chickens. We wanted to turn our shed into a coop two years ago, but we need the storage for the tools we purchased to fix up the shed and make it into a coop. He’s already given us one and a half dozen fresh eggs. They’re a beautiful variety of sizes and colors. I’ll take a picture tomorrow if you remind me to charge my camera battery. Nevermind, we’ve eaten them since I began writing this post almost a week ago. They were delicious, by the way. The chickens have already made their way into our pasture and yard. They’ll be a great help with the earwigs and grasshoppers. The dogs have mostly ignored them, though Wicket did herd them back onto their side of the fence one morning. It was interesting to watch, but I’m not sure the chickens would agree.

Wildfire season has been rough this year. Over one million acres of Montana has burned. Not only are the fires here bringing horrendous amounts of smoke to the entire state, we’re getting smoke from fires farther west as well. It’s been hard breathing recently, though the poor folks deep in the mountains have it far worse, and I can’t complain about a bit of bad air when others have lost much more than the ability to open windows. If I could rain dance right now, I would.

If you’d like to donate to the fire relief, you can check out a couple links below. You can also do some searching of your own, but be wary of anything coming from a suspicious source.

💓 Seeley Lake / Rice Ridge Fire Fund
💓 Lolo Peak Fire Fund
💓 Garfield County Fire Foundation Relief Fund

Title From:
Sing To The Mountain
by Elephant Revival