Training Hiking Pacific Crest Trail Appalachian Trail

Training for our Next Adventure! (Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail)

Last week, Aleesha asked me if I would consider doing the Appalachian Trail (AT), or at least a section of it with her. To be honest, I had never thought about it, I mean I am a west coast girl at heart transplanted to the Midwest, so Appalachia has never really been a place I thought to visit, let a long hike.

It was a couple of days later when I saw a video on Facebook–I had seen it floating around before, but for some reason, this time I watched it (watch video here). I was watching glimpses of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and when I recognized parts of Oregon near my home town, I thought–“I can do this”! After all, I grew up in those woods, it is not unfamiliar to me, I have family close by so what a great first goal!

Aleesha still wants to the AT, and I that is now in our list of goals.

If you have read pasts posts, you know that I have health issues that make me weak, but I am working on it. I am fat (no shame here, just stating the facts) and if I tried today, the PCT would kill me!

So, last night (Sunday May 7th) it began. Alee and Me are officially in training to become backcountry backpacking warriors!

We will do some small local hikes in preparation, but our goal is to hit the PCT in late July or August of next year. I know, it sounds like a long time, but we have a lot of preparing to do, and this summer would be difficult, and I would rather wait until most of the snow is melted, so next spring is out.

So the next 14-15 months, we will work to get ready for a 5-7 day section of the trail. Keep in mind, this does not only mean that we will be training our bodies and minds, but we will also be getting gear because we have to completely outfit two people! If you backpack, you know the cost of gear–and the budget in my house doesn’t have much wiggle room.

During these next months I am also going to practice dehydrating my own pack food because I don’t want the additives in the commercially packaged stuff, and I want to be able to enjoy it at least a little. After several hours on the trail, I want to be able to refuel quickly and relax while enjoying something “home-cooked”.

So there you have it, our next adventure! Watch out world, here we come!


Let’s get Physical (When you’re too weak to do much–do something)

Good afternoon! It is raining here in Minnesota, yet the birds are still are chirping, and keeping the finch feeders full is almost a full time job! I wanted to share some thoughts, ideas, etc… about physical activity (for some reason that sounds less threatening than exercise).

I might have shared it in past posts, I don’t know, but I suffer from extremely low testosterone. Yes, I know I’m a woman and that might sound odd, be we need testosterone too. My levels are so low, that when tested 6 months ago, the test could not find any. My tests read 0, none, nadda, zilch!

Now,  you might want to know why this is important, and I want to tell you! Testosterone is what we need to build and maintain muscle and it is also what gives us our sex drive. Well, for this post, I am focusing on the muscle aspect. You see, with my other autoimmune issues (such as fibromyalgia) I need all the help I can get, and I found myself so weak even folding the laundry became a task I had a hard time accomplishing.

I am told by my doctor that the normal range for testosterone in women is 30 to 95 (ng/dL) and that it is usually higher in post menopausal women. I am a woman who went through premature menopause and at 42 am post menopausal–yet my blood tests read 0 (ng/dL) for testosterone. Here is another wonderful catch–the FDA has not approved testosterone for use in women, so in order to supplement with it I have to buy this special made cream that is way out of my price range with zero insurance coverage. Yup–not gonna happen.

So, I looked up how to boost my testosterone naturally, and found that DHEA can help, so I take that, also sex and physical activity can increase it. Ok–remember that testosterone is responsible for sex drive??? So does this mean I hand my husband a note and say “it’s a perscription–engage in sexual activity 3-4 times per week or as needed to increase T-levels–and I need you to fill it”? HAHA–well, he would probably be okay with that, but you get my point.

The idea of increasing my T-levels with physical activity also seems sort of like I’m going in circles. I mean, I have gotten so weak that folding laundry makes my arms ache, but working out could increase in T-levels so I get stronger if only I wasn’t too weak to work out!! UGH!!!

So what do you do?

Like anything–Do what you can. Doing nothing will result in nothing! So, I pick up my little 5 lb dumbbells and I lift some weights. I walk, even short walks, when I can. I start parking further away in the parking lot when I go somewhere so I have to walk to just a little further. I dance when I can, even if I can’t finish the whole song.

My initial goal was to not get weaker–but now I am getting stronger. My energy is increasing with activity and healthier eating. Life is getting better. I started making changes to healthier eating months ago, but in the last few weeks have really cracked down–it has been 8 days since I was drowning in brain fog. It has been 9 days since I lay on the couch hurting so bad it took everything in me to move.

I know I’m not the only one struggling. Heck, I know I am so blessed because compared to some, I have no struggles at all! Still, I hope you are motivated to do what you can. Pass up those potato chips and grab some veggies. Instead of opening that pop, grab a water. And when everything in you is telling you stay down–get up!

Dead Sea Sole Water

Sole Water

I drink a lot of water. Long before I started my “healthier me” journey, I drank water. Friends and family will tell you the one thing I will never say no to is a glass of water. On a slow day, I drink a gallon (not counting coffee or tea).

I know, that’s great right? Yes, and no. One issue with drinking so much water is that it can flush too much out of my system. This means that I have been known to test for low sodium. This is where I learned about Sole Water (pronounced Sol-ay in case you wondering).

Sole Water is pretty simple–Take filtered water and add real salt (not the table salt junk). I use Himalayan Pink Salt. When I say add salt, I don’t mean a few tea spoons–I mean, fill a jar about 1/3 full of salt then add water to it and shake it all up. Wait a day, and add a little more salt and let it dissolve. Then, keep adding salt a little salt until it won’t dissolve anymore and you have reached supersaturation–where the water can dissolve absolutely not more salt.

Sounds tasty, right??? Well, drinking a tsp of Sole Water with 8-32 oz of water in the morning on an empty stomach helps to replace my lost salt–bonus, I found that it also helps to kill off the candida over growth I have! I was told to mix a tsp of sole water in a MINIMUM of 8 oz of water, but I can’t do it. I can not drink the salt flavored water, so what I do (and it works for me) is I take the Sole Water like medicine then immediately follow it with a water bottle full of fresh water. DO NOT WAIT TO DRINK THE WATER if you do it this way though! Within 30 seconds, my stomach will be on fire if I don’t gulp water right away–but if you are not a baby like me, mix it–it is probably better that way.

Side effects:

Within a week of this, I noticed improved skin (a healthier diet has helped my skin even more).

I used to get yeast rashes under my breasts but I don’t anymore.

My sodium levels are where they should be.

I feel more hydrated.

I have not had thrush since I started.

My bowel movements are more productive.

If you Google about it, you will find a lot of articles with tons of information. I just wanted to share my experience because it has been positive for me. I am not a health professional, and it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor before trying any of this stuff!

Let me know if you have tried Sole Water and what you think!


Pleased, boring, vanilla

Pleased–not really

Pleased sounds like such a vanilla term to me (which is odd to say because I love vanilla and don’t find it boring at all). I am not even sure how to write about it. I am a rather extreme gal–I’m pissed or I’m ecstatic–I don’t know if I’ve ever been “pleased”. In fact hearing the word makes me think of Ben Stein in Farris Bueller’s Day Off repeating “Bueller, Bueller…” during roll call.

Honestly, if I wrote you a thank you note saying “I am quite pleased with the gift you gave me”, I am probably being polite, your gift sucked and I will never use it. Pleased is just not part of my vocabulary.

I even tried to think about the word in a sexual context, and again… pleased is just too vanilla. I mean, if I told my hubby I was “pleased” he would know in an instant I was trying to be nice and not hurt his feeling while secretly feeling unsatisfied.

The only time I might use it would be “Pleased to meet you”, and even that would only be because it sort of what people say, even when they are trying to get away as fast as they can.

So I can’t say I’m pleased. I am amazed at this awesome rainy day, giving life to the spring flowers and grass. I am ecstatic my daughter just made me a cup of coffee. I am devastated that my friend is terminally ill and I will never get to see her come home.

Yup–I’m just too extreme to ever really be pleased.

via Daily Prompt: Pleased

paleo whole 30 healthy eating fish market

Alee and Me go Whole 30 This Month

On April 10th, Aleesha and I will embark on Whole 30. With Aleesha having to change her diet over the past year due to food allergies, she really wants to make the change to a whole diet. When it comes to sugar foods, she is doing good but wants to do better.

My autoimmune issues have been acting up, and I find I’ve been allowing myself some things that are on my “no-no” list.

We decided to do Whole 30 so we could reboot. Getting ready, we will be working on menus and making shopping lists.

We will upload photos and individual statistics in the beginning, middle, and end of our challenge. We will share our impressions of the food we eat and update on our progress regularly.

Stay tuned!

pulchra spatium temporis time sand earth beautiful pause in time

Pulchra Spatium Temporis

Once, I blinked and year had gone.

Soon ten and then twenty.

Now I find myself at Forty-two and wanting time to stop.

Not forever, but just to enjoy pulchra spatium temporis, or a beautiful pause in time.

A pause to look into my daughters’ faces and make sure they know how much I love them–how to me, they are everything.

A pause to look into my husband’s face and make sure he knows how much he is loved and appreciated–how he is what makes me whole.

A pause to look into my parents’ faces and make sure they know how much I love them–how much they taught me, and how I am who I am because of them.

A pause, to fall to me knees and praise God for this life–the one so graciously given to me. This life that might be humble and meager is filled with blessings and love so great.

A pause . . .

In time.

Pulchra spatium temporis.

via Daily Prompt: Pause

Leave the Dishes

Leave the Dishes for Later

I remember my mom saying “Let’s get the dishes done so we can relax.” For the most part, I agree. There are few things that compare to relaxing in a clean house, knowing your chores are done for the day.

But . . .

Sometimes, there are chores that are far more important. Those things that can’t wait.

“Mommy, come read to me”

“Honey, let’s go for a walk”

“I haven’t seen you in years, let’s talk”

No, you can’t put off things like the dishes for ever, and I’m not saying to neglect them.

But . . .

One day, that child will no longer be there to ask.

One day your husband or wife will not be able to take that walk.

One day, that friend won’t be able to come over to talk.

Guess what? The dishes will still be there.

So give yourself permission every once in awhile to leave the dishes for later. Enjoy the moments that make life worth living. Who knows, maybe you will have someone to help you finish them later!

via Daily Prompt: Later

handicapped dachshund rescue dog

Are You Fortunate? Am I?

Fortune as a noun means chance or luck, good or bad, but change to the adjective fortunate and suddenly it is related to good. What’s good?


All and none.

What do they mean to you?

Does the size of your bank account define your wealth, or is it defined by whether you’ve ever gone hungry? Wealthy, to me, will have a different meaning than to you.

Is it defined by your career, or how many followers you have on your blog? Is it defined by reaching all your goals, or never giving up even when you fail?

Are you unlucky because you never win raffles, or are you lucky because you are loved?

Is it unfortunate we’ve gotten so much rain, or fortunate the snow has melted? Is it fortunate you have a mop to clean up all the mud being tracked into the house you are fortunate enough to have?

Are you happy, healthy, blessed . . . ?

Perspective. That is the key here.

Where do you set the bar?

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” Matthew 6:21

I. Am. Fortunate.

handicapped dachshund rescue dog
My Handicapped Dachshund, Sadie. She’s 11 now. We rescued her when she was 3. She had spent her life up to that point in cage at a puppy mill. It is listed that she had bore 7 litters of puppies by the time we found her. She had a stroke about a year after we got her, and now she has “crazy legs” She doesn’t care. She loves her life. She is my hero. Photo-Sharlene

via Daily Prompt: Fortune

Miniature Pinscher Jethro

Marking His Territory

“Mine. Wait, that’s mine too! Hold up, MINE!”

That is my dog, Jethro’s thinking when it comes to everything.

Opening the door to let him out, he runs in a circle, making sure enough of his scent is dripping to mark the yard before he gets down to business. Afterwords, the scratching and grunts that follow are another show of him claiming “MINE”.

Go for a walk, “MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE”, it never seems to leave his thought that his territory must be claimed.

New toy or blanket, “MINE!!!” he exclaims as he rubs himself all over it before dragging it to his kennel for safe keeping.

Bring the ferrets out to play, “OH, THEY ARE MINE! MINE! BEST FRIENDS OF MINE!!” as he hugs them and rubs on them before playing with toys together.

We opened our home and hearts to this little fur baby (and his fur sisters), and we are his (theirs). He loves fiercely, and plays wildly. Our little territory is so much better, because it is his.

Miniature Pinscher Jethro
Aleesha and Jethro going for a ride. He loves rides! (Dirty eyes though!) Photo-Aleesha
Miniature Pin
Look at that face! He thinks he owns me for sure! Photo-Aleesha

Elixir at a Mixer, Life’s Little Fixer

When I hear the word elixir, I am automatically drawn to my teen years, watching Madeline Ashton (played by Merl Streep) drink the glowing “Elixir of Life” she purchased from Lisle Von Rhuman (played by Isabella Rossellini) in Death Becomes Her.

Back then, that movie was funny and quirky and I laughed so hard in the end when they lie shattered at the bottom of the stairs following Ernest’s funeral (played by Bruce Willis). Now, I think that movie had a lot to teach us beyond the humor. At least I see it differently. The fix to life can be found at some mixer or social event.

Life’s true elixir is not some drink or potion, but something we all have if we decide to find it. It is in the joy we feel seeing a sunset or watching a baby smile. It is in the sadness and despair when we loose someone we love. It is in our every day choices, and our long term goals. It is in our past and future. It is with our family and friends.

The elixir we need is not to find outer beauty or longevity but to cherish each moment we are in. To know that life is a gift and to take care of that gift. To work toward being healthy, physically and mentally. On those days that we just don’t quite get there, do your best to make tomorrow better.

I’m 42 and I forget all the time that I am not in my 20’s. Not because I look young, or even because my body feels young, but my joy for life is still young. My excitement for the little things keep me going even if the big things try to get me down. I’m happy. I love my life. As imperfect as it is, I thank God he gave me the tools to find my own “Elixir of Life” by just living it.

via Daily Prompt: Elixir