Saturday, September 22, 2012


What a week!  Catching JOY all over the place.  Despite the b*tching I do, my life is blessed and this week proves it over and over again.

Last Friday, my besties and I drove up to a cabin in the Adirondak Mountains in New York state.  Is anyone familiar with that indescribable feeling?  The one where you climb in the car and the second the door closes, you never look back?  You decompress and enter that "in the moment" state all in the same breath.  That's where I lived the whole weekend.

The blend of personalities of us besties is so amazing.  Everyone is low key.  No one is in control freak mode.  (Although at least 3 of us live in that category most of the time.)  AND we all love FOOD!!!!!!  First words out of my mouth when I found out a few months back that we had secured the weekend?  I'm ON the food!  Oh the places we went in food land!  We each took 2 meals - I had a dinner and a breakfast.  Could it be any easier????  I felt like I didn't stop eating for 3 days straight!

Seriously - we DID do other things.   We climbed 3579 feet to the top of Pillsbury Mountain (should I tell you about the BEAR hunter we ran into up there?  Eeeeek - who knew it was opening day of BEAR season!!!)  and canoed for 3 hours on Lake Pleasant.  

We lollygagged (I looked it up.  It's a real word!) in front of a blazing fire and we kicked each other's butts in cards (well - I didn't do any kicking but...) till the wee hours of the morning.  Hmmm - what else did we do?  Ummmmmm - hmmmmm, I know  Nope.  That's all we did...LAUGH OUT LOUD!!  Yup.  That's it, folks!!!

Can you catch anymore JOY than that??  Well actually you can - stay tuned!

I also came home to these.  Actually, on Sat. morning I received this text from my better half:

Then I came home to these...


Alas - reality bites and the routine starts all over again.  But somehow - even though I hit the ground running, there's a spring in my step and I bask in the crisp, sunny fall days and cool, sleeping weather nights.  My absolute favorite time of year.  New beginnings abound as we head-on to the holidays.

My oldest son made the middle school cross country team and his first meet was Wednesday afternoon.  Yet another JOYful afternoon watching my boy run his first race - completely untrained - and finish in the top third.  It is so bitter-sweet to see my beautiful boy follow in my running steps.  When did he get old enough to run on a x-country team?  How could he possibly be a teenager in exactly 3 weeks?  Weren't we just packing him up in the car, taking him home from the hospital and looking at each other saying, "How could they send us home so soon???  We have no idea what we are doing!" 

But then - he asks me this morning if I wanted to go for a run with him.  There was no decision.  My boy wanted me at his side.  No greater JOY than that.  My beautiful boy wants me by his side...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Oh Happy Day!

So I taught a class this morning and then came down to spend hours spend a few minutes with my computer before beginning my Saturday.  I have a specific order of what I view:  First I read and possibly respond to emails.  Then I pop into Facebook and read the new posts, do my "likes", post smartass responses, blah, blah, blah...then I head to a few blogs I like.  And then to another few that I like.  And another.  Catch my drift?  Hence - hours?

Anyway - this was my facebook JOY this morning!  BE STILL MY BEATING HEART!

Seriously?  Need I say more? MARRY ME, THOMAS!!!!!

So here's a quick overJOY!!!

As you know - I'm the carbless girl now.  I mean - I eat a few grains throughout the week but essentially - no carbs except veggies and no sugar/treats and no alcohol.  (Welllll - some alcohol...but I am usually VERY good.)

The one thing I miss is a really good sandwich.  Peanut butter and jelly, egg salad, salami and cheese with lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, BLT...   I've been praying for someone to come along with a carbless bread recipe.  I've done gluten-free and that's all good for a cheat, but expensive and not THAT satisfying because I want more than 2 pieces because they are small.  

Two nights ago, my prayers were answered.


Ingredients (makes 1 8.5×4.5 loaf)
1 cup extra smooth raw cashew butter at room temperature (I use Artisana Organic)
4 large eggs, separated (mine weighed about 9 ounces in their shells)
1/2 to 2 tablespoons honey (use 2tbl if you plan to use if for sweeter dishes like french toast)  SERIOUSLY??????  FRENCH TOAST!!!!!!
2.5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
Line the bottom of an 8.5×4.5 glass loaf pan with parchment paper, then spread a very thin coating of coconut oil on the sides of the pan.
Beat the cashew butter with the egg yolks, then add the honey, vinegar, and milk. I’ve done this with both electric hand beaters and a stand mixer and both seem to work equally as well. I would not try to make this by hand due to the stickiness of the butter.
Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until peaks form. I used an electric hand mixer, but if you want a bicep workout, you can also do it by hand.
Combine the dry ingredients in another small bowl. Sorry for all of the dishes!
Make sure your oven is completely preheated before adding the egg whites and the dry ingredients to the cashew butter mixture. You don’t want your whites to fall, and the baking soda will activate once it hits the eggs and vinegar.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and beat until combined. This will result in more of a wet batter than a dough. Make sure to get all of the sticky butter mixture off of the bottom of the bowl so you don’t end up with clumps.
Pour the beaten egg whites into the cashew butter mixture, beating again until just combined. You don’t have to be gentle with this, but don’t over mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, then immediately put it into the oven.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door anytime before 40 minutes, as this will allow the steam to escape and you will not get a properly risen loaf.
Remove from the oven, then let cool for 15-20 minutes. Use a knife to free the sides from the loaf pan, then flip it upside down and release the loaf onto a cooling rack. Cool right-side up for an hour before serving.

I made it yesterday.  It was a bit laborious and I was swearing muttering that it better be worth it.  

IT WAS AMAZING.  I am sooooooo happy.  I have been spreading the Grain-free Bread JOY since the first bite hit my tongue.  

French toast?  Back in my life!!!!  

Now THAT'S JOY!  enJOY, my friends!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


There are all kinds of JOY to catch in this world.  As we have discussed, they tend to be fleeting moments rather than long extended periods.  This weekend - definitely had extended ones!  Now who's better than ME?!

Friday afternoon, Pam, my very best friend of FIFTY YEARS and I - yes, I said FIFTY - jumped in the car and headed up to New Hampshire to climb Mount Washington.   

The below photo is us, half way up.  You can see Mount Washington behind us.

She had climbed Mount Washington before.  I, on the other hand, had run marathons and triathlons and even walked for 19 hours straight at a Relay For Life event - but NEVER had climbed such a high mountain.  I mean - I've done my share of hiking but this is definitely in a category all it's own. 

I got it in my brain earlier this summer that I wanted to do it when I saw Pam's daughter's pix from her trek up there earlier this summer.  I was very interested in doing this.  But alas, we never set a date and the idea kind of just dropped into a black hole.

Around the 3rd week of August, it dawned on me that if I didn't want to wait until next year, I needed to climb that sucker SOON!  Mid to late Fall is NOT the time to climb a mountain that:

At 6,288 feet, is only one third the size of Mount McKinley, North America's highest peak.  But Mount Washington sticks up like a big toe at a point where storms from the north, south and west collide.  As a result, it has some of the most ferocious weather on earth, with snow and ice even in the summer.

Ummmm - had I been aware of that little fact or for that matter known how quickly weather can turn on a dime up there (above the tree line especially!), I'm pretty sure I would not have been the innocent, excited and determined little mountain climber that started out Saturday morning ready to take on the highest peak in the northeast! 

At any rate - we briefly talked about Labor Day Sat. and everything slowly but surely fell into place.

Now - when you have been a "sister" for 50 years, you know each other pretty darn well.  The problem with knowing someone that long is that you are at least FIFTY years old and you are losing your mind and you never remember EVERYTHING you need to share with that person as you don't talk to them every day.  Trust me - I have forgotten more things to tell her in the last 20 years than I have remembered.

But Thelma and Louise together for 6 hours in a car?  Priceless!!!  

It was a non-stop blab session, brain dump that made it a totally JOY filled ride.  Seriously?  Who else do I tell about my middle child's new under arm hair?  Or that my baby girl is flat as a board and her best friend is NOT FLAT AS A BOARD anymore...oy!!!

The thing with "us" is, we move like a smoothly oiled machine.  Let's take a ride and check out the base lodge.  Let's eat dinner here.  Yes - lets go there for breakfast.  Let's get to the base by 7am.  It just flows.

So, we set out shortly after 7am on Saturday and reached the tree line in about 2 hours with 3 to go.  

This is a photo of the woods ending and the "above the tree line" hike beginning.  

It was an exhilarating climb - exactly the kind of "workout" I love.  Using my body, the heart is pounding for hours on end,  I'm breathing reallllyyyy heavy the whole climb, very few breaks except to take 5 million pictures - but the point being - I know I'm fit enough to do this AND almost "easily".   LAUGH OUT LOUD!!!

The weather was amazing.  We actually talked to someone who has climbed this mountain every Labor Day weekend for the last 10 years and had only had one other weather day this good.  Really????  What the hell were the other 8 years like?  Ummmmm - am I really thinking I will climb this again???

Anyway - the climb was uneventful but it was such a JOY to be doing it with my dearest friend at my side.

And then we started our descent.  EEEKKKK!  Who knew?  

Let's just say that the JOY ballon was a bit deflated 5 hours later!

OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!  I mean - the first 2-3 descending hours were fine.  Perfect.  No problem.  JOYFUL still.  

It went down hill fast - NO PUN INTENDED!!!!!

Long story short?  I STILL can barely walk because my quads (that would be the front of your thighs, for those not in the know) are soooooo sore.  I can't even TOUCH them - and it's day 3 out from Saturday!!!!  

(I have to say - alcohol helps...yea, seriously.  Thanks Sandra, Mark, Glenn and Chumpy...)

But in retrospect - I was living in the moment, in a cocoon of JOY for almost that whole day.  Would I have changed a few things?  Yes.  I would have trained my body a bit better for that descent - for ONE thing!!!!  I would have planned a 2nd night after the climb rather than drive the 6 plus hours home.  

But the JOY?  It was worth every frustrated tear during that last 2 hours down.  

Oh and did I mention the barbecue JOY we chowed down on the way home...

Yea - that big ole pig brought us some JOY!!!