Charting life's circuitous path

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A sketch made clean.


Waking with grey skies across dull eyes,
Blanket weighs heavily on weak limbs.
Coffee mugs scattered across cluttered surfaces.
One after another, brown rings overlapping into moons.
But no moon rises for a new day to begin.
I’m feeling low.

A silhouette that’s fading around the edges.
Dark smudges, opaque with fears, sadness and loathing.
Sugar highs pass like brief sunbursts through weeping clouds.
Floods soon follow and loathing roars with triumph.
Rainbows are for the morning. A hope held between limp hands.
The clock ticks down the hours.

Shake the grains loose one more time.

Begin again.

cupI woke up this morning and I instantly knew it was going to be a bad day.  A heavy day filled with all of the doubts, fears, anger and self-loathing I could muster.

And I hadn’t even hit the alarm yet.  :/

I had a very bad night with little rest and the grey skies today aren’t helping me bounce back.  I know that waiting it out and getting back to a routine will help me, but it’s so hard sometimes to just get through the day.  My brain knows one thing but my emotions are saying another and it’s hard to shut them off.

So I’m having a lot of tea and coffee and trying to stop the sugar binge from destroying my self-esteem.  I wish there was a way to just “get over it” all, but that way lies deception.  Accepting where I am and feeling it for the moment as what I am makes me stronger.  There’s always tomorrow.

And if not that, another.

Cup of tea, that is. 😉


Going Gluten and Dairy Free – Quinoa Pilaf with Kale and Corn

On a cool, sunny day last week, I let go of my therapist.


I walked in, like previous sessions, with a heavy mind and a full heart.  But this time, I left her gray couch feeling lighter.  I’m not sure if giving up therapy was the right choice, but I do believe giving up my therapist was the best choice.

I would arrive frayed around the edges with worry about what to talk about.  After an hour, I’d leave a complete wreck.  It wasn’t like I was being bullied by my therapist.  I think I was just being ignored.

My worries and issues were laid bare and I was hoping for some kind of relief.  I knew that she wasn’t going to solve my problems for me, but I had hoped for some direction.  A way to see myself differently so that I could pick up those sad pieces and wash the stains out a bit and reclaim them.  But they were left sitting in dirty, unorganized lumps on the table between us.  Embarrassed, I would pack them away after each hour and go home where I would fall apart in my hubby’s arms.

“While you do have some real worries, most of what you worry about isn’t really all that bad.” – therapist


In other words, I was over-thinking things and making them out to be a lot worse than they really were.  Fair enough.  Perhaps my own worries about not having friends or a career were relatively small on the scale of traumas, but they were my worries.  These were things that could bring me low in one fell swoop.  To be told to just “ignore the bad things” wasn’t making the agonizing trip to the office worth it.

So, we parted amicably and I’m now seeing how things go. Lately, I’ve been a lot better.  The claustrophobic cloud from earlier in the year is now just a faint mist from time to time and most days are relatively happy and cloud free.  If the storm gathers, I can always search for another therapist.  Now I feel more in control of my own therapy.

Starting this month, the hubby and I are on a different sort of adventure.  One filled with a lot of veggies and zero gluten and dairy.


The hubby suffers from migraines and after exhaustive rounds of medications and top headache doctor’s visits, we’re trying food allergies.  According to the literature, gluten and dairy are the top suspects when it comes to allergies, headaches, bad moods and all sorts of things.  His allergist gave him a long list of histamine producing foods that made my heart sink.  Everything from pickles to eggplants to whole grains were on the list and I saw very little we could actually eat.

In the end, it took a great purge in my pantry where I gave away all of my flours, cereals and other gluten items (it’s frightening just how much gluten is hidden in food) and replaced them with gluten free varieties that were expensive, yet surprisingly tasty.  Sure, Canyon Bakehouse white loaf isn’t a slice of fluffy white bread, but it is very nice.  Especially with a slathering of marmalade or peanut butter.  🙂

The key to going gluten free is to see it as something different.  Not the same as wheat, not the same as pasta or bread, but different.  This can be very hard to do.  Like when I want a really good chocolate chip cookie but it comes out a bit, well, off.  Still soft, nice and rather yummy, but just not quite right.  In fact, it’s a whole new thing.  Same goes for vegan dairy replacements.  Seriously, as wonderful it is to have Daiya as a cheese alternative, it doesn’t hold a candle to a good aged cheddar.  What it does give you, though, is something healthier and far gentler on the system than the cheese.

So, I made a gluten and dairy free strawberry birthday cake with Pamela’s vanilla cake mix and my own strawberry frosting.  It was delicious right down to the last crumb.  I made gluten and dairy free entrees such as the quinoa pilaf with kale and corn or the filling lentil shepherd’s pie topped with vegan mashed potatoes or my gluten free stir fry.  Everything we’ve tried this week has been both delicious and surprisingly filling.  Where we thought we’d want more, we actually found ourselves stopping, satisfied.


We’ve only been doing this for a week and a half, but already we’re sleeping better and my allergy symptoms are gone.  Whereas before I was going through a box of tissues a week, now I’m hardly a sniffle!  It’s been very good once we got over the headaches and fuzzy head of the first week.  We still have a few more months to go, but we’re adjusting and doing our best.  Now, if we can only figure out what to do when eating out . . . :/

Quinoa Pilaf with Kale and Corn

(Note: Original recipe from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas.  I’ve halved the recipe and it still makes a large amount of salad.  We simply stored some in the fridge and freezer.)


  • 3/4 cups quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube (I used the originally called for whole cube rather than halving it)
  • a big handful of kale leaves (she notes 8oz, but I just chopped without measuring)
  • non-stick spray
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup corn, thawed
  • 4 – 5 sun-dried tomatoes, diced (or 1 jar roasted red peppers)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine quinoa, water and bouillon in a medium pan.  Bring to boil, then turn down to simmer with lid on until tender (about 15 minutes).  Set aside.
  2. Strip kale leaves of stems and cut into strips.  Add to large skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray set on med-low heat.  Cook until wilted.  Add the garlic and cook a minute or two before adding the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Saute for about 5 minutes until warmed through.


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Caramel latte memories

coffeeWhen thoughts slowly swirl like caramel in frothed milk
Thick, dense, and dark against the white cream.
They dissipate, blending as the milk turns latte brown.
I sip carefully as it scorches the edge of my memories.
Friends walking away without goodbyes, disappearing.
Family silently watching each other, distrustful but full of smiles.
Memories, both real and imaginary swirl together
trapping each other in a tangle. No longer separate.
Earlier, the clean porcelain mug sat on the counter.
Alone, it waited patiently, safe in its knowledge of utility.
Shaking hands, unsteady, unsure grasp the smooth handle.
The steady porcelain never wavers, holding the hot liquid
Giving the lost hands something to do.
The caramel swirl mirroring the dark thoughts threatening to spill
A mind teetering on the edge of the mug.
For the briefest sip, my breath stutters out of my lungs.
Now warm.