Banish your Bears

I recently dreamed of a bear. I was inside the trailer with Dave, and his stepmom, and we were playing cards or something on a sunny, summer day. I looked out the window and spotted three deer… no, TWO deer and one bear. He was kind of goofy looking, like he was a cartoon, but he looked mean, and he also looked directly back at me. 
I turned around and told my companions there was a bear, and he was going to be coming for us. But nobody else seemed concerned. “What should we do?” I asked, the panic setting in. For you see, I have a funny fear of bears. I’ve only seen them in the zoo, and yet, I’ve always had this little, gnawing fear of them, as if somehow, one day I’d be face to face with a bear and need to know what to do (even though I lived in the Bay Area for 28 years, and the odds of that are astronomically low). Nobody else was worried. They just looked at me calmly and shook their heads, as if to say, “I don’t know, but it doesn’t much matter.” 
I started screaming at Dave to pull the little hatch on the door closed, because if he didn’t the only thing standing between us, and what was obviously a deadly bear, was a piece of screen. Dave just stood there. I saw the bear running towards the trailer. Dave just stood there. I begged, I cried, I screamed. Finally, seeing how important it was to me, he started to slide the plastic hatch closed. 
But it was too late. The bear was at the door. And quickly working his way through that plastic hatch. I contemplated climbing out of the window as the bear was climbing in… I begged for answers, but nobody had any suggestions, and everyone else was calm. I knew that climbing out the window was futile, he’d just follow me. By now I knew, he was after me, specifically. I realized I couldn’t outrun him if he followed me. In came the bear, and I just stood there… Stunned and scared. 
Suddenly, a feeling welled up inside of me. That confident, fear-be-damned feeling. I threw myself between the bear and the door, swung it open, and quite literally just ushered him outside. He was a pretty obedient bear it turned out, and he just ran away to go do other bear things. 
When I woke up I was pretty exhausted. I felt drained. But then I realized the really special part of this dream. The meaning of it all. Why was everyone else so calm? Why could nobody else banish the bear but me? Because the bear was *my* fear. Dave tried to help by closing the hatch… but the bear still found a way in, because it was my bear to banish. Nobody else can get rid of your fears for you. Sometimes you just have to face them, and usher them out yourself. 
I’m facing a lot of fears lately. I know it seems funny that almost an entire year after my mom’s death, I’m just getting around to the fear part of living without her. There’s fear of this new disease, and living a life dependent on medication. There’s fear of real bears, now that I live in the mountains. There’s fear everywhere, and sometimes it presents itself as a panic attack, or anxiety, or bad dreams. But one thing I know for certain, is they are my fears, and I am the one who must let them go.

Mercury is Retrograding

It has just been one of those couple of weeks… The stress level is high. Communication has been on the fritz. Every time Mohawk and I speak it ends with one of us wishing the other had no vocal chords.

Then it all came to a crescendo last night. That was it. I had to look it up. And the answer was YES. yes this insane year is ending, quite literally, with Mercury in Retrograde. Poor 2016, it is like the ugly stepchild. 

Anyhow, I digress. Last night, we realized that we had no idea where Dave’s cell phone was, so we turned the entire house upside down searching, to NO avail. It is still MIA.

But in the fruitless search, more technology disaster struck…

I was getting ready to move the couch, when I felt and heard the ominous, unmistakable crunch of an LED screen. Yep, my Chromebook had ended up underfoot in the turning over of the living room. 

I would have taken photos, but my heart was just as crushed. So I did what any angry person on Keppra does, and used it as an excuse to toss it across the room. What? It was already a goner, might as well satisfy a bit of the angst. 

So, we march forward through the bitter cold, final hours of 2016, without a computer, and one less cell phone in tow. Mercury will grade, or whatever it is it does…and 2017 will begin. And in all likelihood a phone will mysteriously reappear. But this is certainly a year for the books!

Getting Ready

Here we go! Just a few days away from a new beginning. I know, I know, we don’t actually have to wait for the first of the year to set intentions, or roll out some goals and take action. And believe me, we don’t. But this year in particular, it is just going to be so symbolic and meaningful to begin the New Year.

2016 has been rough. We’ve lost some of the people closest to us. My mom, Dave’s best friend, and so very many more. It is going to be nice to have  a clean slate and move forward into this new year with their love and support behind us. We know they would want that for us.

The thing that I’ve realized about 2016 is that, while it has been sad and difficult to get through, it has been all about making room. Sometimes in order for change to happen, or for new flowers to bloom, you have to have an overhaul. You have to till the soil and start fresh if you want your new crops to be abundant. In order to ensure the access to water, air and nutrients as needed, it is important to till the soil every few years. So 2016 has been a tilling year. And we are the soil. It doesn’t feel fantastic, and it has required a great amount of strength and growth for us to adjust to new changes and the lack of so many wonderful people, but sometimes you must make room.

Sometimes, in order for a new light to shine, an old, bright light must dim. 2017 will be a year when many new people get to shine and light the way for the world. They will follow in the footsteps of the many wonderful people the world lost this year. They will pick up the torch and carry on. They will have the tools necessary, and they will shine.

Shine on you crazy diamond. Shine on.

Changes

We’ve been away again… we’re sorry! We miss writing for you all and staying connected, but lives have been busy, and we’ve been going through so many changes.

A new school year to say the least, has required a lot of adaptation! Early alarms buzzing, trying to balance working out and eating right (still haven’t gotten the workouts down yet!), and being present in our personal lives. Despite the fact that teaching middle school is a very natural fit for me, it is definitely a new beginning, which means a lot of learning!

We’re also just adjusting to life in a small town – it is so different living in a rural area, when both of of us have spent our entire lives living in the urban hubs of the Bay Area. When we first got here in April it wasn’t so obvious because we spent most of our time on Dave’s family’s land and exploring the natural wonders we are so lucky to live near. But now, we are integrated into the community, and it definitely comes with its own personality! I don’t think we’d ever go back, small town life is for us!

Adjusting to grief in its many forms has also been consuming. Time has definitely eased the pain, though everyday brings its own feelings and its own challenges. While time eases certain feelings, it also seems to dig a little deeper into my psyche in certain respects.

To further add to the many changes we have gone through, I’m currently dealing with a new medical venture. On my 29th birthday I experience my first grand mal seizure. I want to share this new adventure with you. It isn’t fun. It certainly was NOT how I planned to spend my birthday… but I think there are important stories to share in this. Perhaps lessons I can share, so you don’t have to learn the hard way. So stay posted – I’ll be sharing my journey through doctors visits, medical tests, and life after a seizure, soon!

Much love to our dear community. Thanks for all of your support in our ever changing ventures!

Choosing to be Gluten Free

Okay, I know already that I have a lot of skeptical friends. And that’s why I love you. You aren’t jumping on the bandwagon, and if everyone jumps off of a bridge, you won’t be right behind them (unless its to laugh and point).

And I know that many of you might be rolling your eyes and sighing, “Gluten Free? That fad? Hasn’t that died out yet?!”

But you love me, so I know you will at least hear me out, right? 😉

glutenfreepost

The “fad” is dying out a bit, but that’s because a lot of the people that choose to be gluten free for health purposes, have found the resources they need, and are just rocking and rolling along. And a lot of times, nobody is any the wiser. Did you know we’ve been gluten free for 2.5 years? That’s a while – half of our relationship now that I think about it! Whoa.

Neither of us are diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease, though neither of us were tested. My understanding is you have to have consumed wheat products within two weeks of testing, so I’m just going with, “No thanks!”

Okay, so the backstory: I decided to try going gluten free based on a conversation with a dear friend, who had done it for about a year. It helped her clear up a lot of issues, including some gut-related stuff, so I decided it was worth a shot. Dave decided to join me, I think mostly out of love and convenience.

At first, we didn’t really succeed at being gluten FREE. We were gluten REDUCED. And that just doesn’t cut it. So for about 6 months, we noticed nothing. Then we took a look at our diet, and realized just how many gluten products we were still consuming (namely beer). So we agreed that if we were going to take the Pepsi Challenge, we had to actually be all in. We buckled down. We became “label readers.” We discovered that gluten is snuck into so many products.

Some of the things that surprised us, or at the very least snuck up on us:

  • licorice/Red Vines/other gummy type candies
  • soy sauce/teriyaki sauces
  • mustards
  • lots of canned foods, like chili and soup (soup is less surprising)
  • lots of foods that have soy sauce as a part of their ingredient list, which you may not realize at first
  • probiotic yogurt smoothie drinks

I could continue, but it’d require more thinking than I feel like doing at the moment. It’s a warm day. Brain needs breaks.

Ultimately, once we actually checked all of our labels, and really had extended periods of time without gluten in our diets, we discovered we were feeling a lot better in a myriad of ways:

  • No more nightly antacids to attempt to alleviate the heartburn. I mean, this was so bad I thought I had an ulcer once! Now, I really only need to reach for Tums when I’ve cheated and eaten a bagel.
  • Reduced odor flatulence. No joke. I mean, we still fart. They just don’t make the cats leave the room.
  • No more injured wrist and back. I have arthritis in my wrists from old injuries. I used to need a wrist brace one or two weeks out of every month. Now, I’m not even sure where my wrist brace is. And Dave injured his back in car accidents back in the day, had to have surgery, and since then has had a sensitive back – to the point where it could go out just lifting a basket of laundry, and he’d be laid up in bed for a few days. Guess who doesn’t have a valid excuse to laze about anymore? 😉

We also see side effects when we sneak, knowingly or unknowingly, gluten into our diet:

  • Diarrhea. A couple of days.
  • Heart Burn. Almost instantly for me, but Dave gets it sometimes.
  • STINKY gas. I mean. EW.
  • Lethargy and Irritability, and a severe penchant for snapping at each other.
  • Bloating, massive huge belly bloat. Can you say uncomfortable?

See, gluten is a great thickening, binding agent, so it gets used in a lot of things as filler, or as a binder, or a thickener. It’s also an inflammatory. I don’t expect these products to change to meet my needs, but there are so many available products that naturally don’t utilize this cheap ingredient, so we just go with those. We avoid buying products that are processed specifically to be gluten free, but occasionally treat ourselves to some pasta, bread, crackers and the like. We’re only human. But honestly, for the most part, we just switched up our diet to include other sources of carbs, including more veggies. Actually, that’s recent. At first, we just switched up our diet to include ‘TATOS. Tons and tons of potatoes. I’m Irish ya’ll. That wasn’t that great for its own reasons. Like, 50 pounds worth of reasons, HA! Anyway, here’s some of the products we do dig, and might even eat if we weren’t gluten free. They’re THAT good:

  • Van’s Gluten Free Waffles
  • Tamari Soy Sauce
  • Koop’s Mustard
  • Annie’s Gluten Free Bunny Cookies
  • Mary’s crackers
  • Breton GF crackers
  • Glutino’s (lots of stuff, some better than others, but overall good)
  • Udi’s frozen thin pizza CRUST (they changed their recipe for their pizza and now it’s too soggy)
  • California Pizza Kitchen GF frozen pizzas

So if you are contemplating giving gluten free a go, I hope these resources are helpful. If you are experiencing IBS, heartburn, inflammation issues, it might be worth a shot. Give it a good two months before you discount it, and again you have to be diligent. But I see no turning back in our future. When you find something that alleviates so many symptoms that you have put up with for so long, you stick with it!

 

 

Meet the Crew

Welcome to our humble abode online! We are so glad you found us. Here we will give you tons of information about our foray into a new lifestyle built around health, happiness and homesteading (in the hipstery-est sense obvi). But first, let us introduce ourselves:

Mohawk Dave is a rebellious, hardened, punk from the early 90’s, back when that word still meant something. (In reality he is a teddy bear, but do NOT tell him I said so!)

M.E. is the one that brings out the hippy in everyone. She loves to garden, secretly wishes birds would land on her shoulder when she sang, and really loves slam poetry.

Together we have a combined 100 pounds to lose. We also share a passion for gelato. You can see where our problem begins! We have both gone gluten free due to inflammatory issues, and we both love bread. More problems! But together, we have resolved to resolve this nonsense: shed the weight, fulfill our daydreams of homesteading, and live a genuinely happier life.

These are our fur babies, who are always reminding us we should live a life of love and laughter. Never a dull moment!