30 Days of Paleo

Can it be the right choice?

Can it be the right choice?

I am of an age where what I eat seems to stay with me, forever! It seems to be harder to get rid of the weight and it also seems to bunch up in strange places. Trying items like the Fitbit, logging everything I ate and recording all my steps helped but not to the extent I wanted. Next I started counting calories, way too much work. Thinking next I might try eating frozen Weight Watchers or Lean Cuisines, but really the content in frozen meals worry me.
So I set out to eat only whole foods, nothing with additives, just clean foods with very little ingredients just food. Easy enough, right? It is if your cooking, but with my job I eat out with clients so often that I started to wonder, so what’s in the food they cook for me? Eating really is tough, losing weight tougher.
My weight goes up and down but only by a few pounds, I am bloated nothing is fitting but I still weigh the same. Of course, in my mind I have a beast growing inside of me, extending my stomach causing me to swell up but not gain weight….is it water gain, is it a tumor? All I know at this point is I am sick of carrying this around with me. My jogging isn’t helping, I find myself not eating anything and then eating whatever is in front of me, candy, bagels, doughnuts, cookies… the list is endless.
One day while at Sprouts Market, I see a magazine with the beautiful picture of grilled salmon on the cover, with husband coming to visit that weekend I purchase the magazine to make him a great new meal. You see all our vacations, weekends and visits all seem to base themselves around food. I even have the TV Foods Map App on my phone to make sure we try all the restaurants in the area wherever we are. We are Foodies! The magazine is entitled Paleo, I give it no attention really just so excited about cooking the salmon or the chicken recipe for the grill.
The magazine turns out to be for individuals that have discovered eating as our ancestors did in primal times. It seems this lifestyle is about nourishing our bodies with real food, grown and raised as intended by nature, not manufactured. It is a lifestyle of unplugging from our fast past technology driven days, giving our bodies and minds a chance to rest, getting enough sleep, bonding face to face, enjoying the out of doors, allowing yourself the chance to thrive in the manner we evolved. Seems like a great idea to me!
Eliminating from our diets the following foods, dairy, grains, legumes, processed foods, soy, refined sugars and industrial seed oils. It seem healthy, and easy as I think telling me what not to eat versus what to eat is much easier for me to follow. Plus red wine is not on this list… this I can do.
So here I am 24 hours into my new diet/life style and I am going to document my 30 day trial. I have weighed myself, placed my need to get back into clothes at one end of the closest awaiting my weekly test to see if inches are falling off. I have filled my refrigerator full of fresh approved items and ready for my weight to fall off.
So day one, started with a breakfast meeting in a restaurant, my menu choice, a bowl of fresh fruit and a cup of green tea with honey to sweeten, easy! Lunch yet again a meeting, my menu choice, grilled chicken upon a bed of lettuce with a slice of tomato, side dish was fresh fruit, truly resisting the sweet potato French fries was not easy. Not bad for day one with client meetings. My evening is busy with a trip to the ranch to visit Forrest, my horse, and I am home late in the evening so I warm up a piece of chicken we had grilled that weekend…. I am satisfied with my daily choices, not hungry, ready to relax and get ready for bed. I awoke this morning to no breakfast meetings and ate a banana for breakfast which really wasn’t to satisfying. For lunch we had an office meeting, with take out from a local restaurant, my choice was a summer salad with no cheese and balsamic dressing. It came with a slice of French bread and a freshly baked cookie… which I gave both away, begrudgingly. This evenings dinner was left over steak with avocado and tomato slices atop a coconut meal wrap… good but the wrap was a bit sweet, not like my favored flour tortillas.
I feel fine, not robbed of energy and I do believe I am a bit less bloated. I slept great last night and had a clear minded day. Tomorrow is my early morning jog with Dizzy dog, as the summer is in full swing right now, the days are long and hot with just as warm nights… we will see just how much energy I have in the morning. I miss my bread, and while walking past the fresh bagels in the office this morning I longed for a cinnamon raisin bagel, toasted with cream cheese. I pray my cravings of all things grain pass soon, this truly is my weakness.

Horse Hunting

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I am trying to recall a time in my life where I went searching for a horse, and truly I cant. My horses always found me, always.
Are horses and humans predestined for each other? Is there someplace in the Universe that we are connected and then put in front of each other? Are they just waiting for us to come and find them?
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I am not sure, but my hunt to find a horse has been quite the adventure. With the loss of Boogie and my being in another state without my circle of horse friends horse hunting has been almost a chore, something that I would have thought would have been exciting and fun.
Maybe it was too soon to start hunting, or was my horse just not ready for me to find him yet?

I start my search on Dream Horse, a website where sellers advertise their horses for sale. http://www.dreamhorse.com/
Here you can search by location, breed, disciplines, bloodlines a great spot to start to find you new best friend, so I thought. I found horses here for sale in my area, the age I was looking for and according to the ads they should be just right for me.
The first horse I visit is a large warm blood paint, she is 17 hands, 8 years old very attractive, but there is this strange cannon bone lump, never seen by its owner before…I’ll pass.
Next up gelding, buckskin 8 years old, lump above hock, I’ll pass.
Next up, Paint mare, 5 years old, straight legs, no bend, I’ll pass.
Next up, quarter mare,8 years old, says 15 hands, might be 14 and a bit more, I pass but pause she is beautiful and calm, a great horse, an honest owner, something I had yet to see.
Next up a beautiful paint mare not really for sale but my online story of my loss tugs at the owners heart and she is willing to sell her if I like her, she never contacts me again to make the long trip to see her. I am sure she had a second thoughts.
Then I realize I know a wonderful horse trainer here in AZ that just might be able to help me… she thinks she might have a candidate right in her barn! Hope springs and I am excited for the days to pass to go see this young gelding in her barn.

When I arrive I am informed that I already know this horse, we had met 2 years prior. He is the young horse Brandi was riding at her clinic that I had the pleasure of attending.

Calm 2 year old

Calm 2 year old


Hoof stuck in mounting block

Hoof stuck in mounting block

No reaction

No reaction


So strange how life circles back around, this young gelding had impressed me so much by his calm demeanor, I had remarked to Cooled, my next horse is going to be calm like this one, which of course brought this comment “it would cost us an small fortune and you might just want Brandi to work with Boogie”…this was our plan when we left.
I would have never imagined then that in less than a year I would have moved to AZ or even have thought that this gelding could ever be mine. I love the strangeness of life.

Maybe they do find us.

The Kiss

The Kiss

A Horse Named Boogie

Only Once

Only Once

Its different this time, not just discomfort it’s pain, disabling pain his body is tense his eyes dark I am terrified. Hang in Boogie, help is coming, relief on its way. He was down, thrashing, sweating and obviously in pain, the vet cant come soon enough, hurry Doc he needs you.

Boogie by the Bey, is his registered name, Boogie Boy to me. My love, so much more than a horse, he is my escape my muse. We came about so differently than any other horse I owned, we didn’t pick each other, more like a desperate time for us both, thrown together out of need.

I had lost my horse of 10 years, Mr. Man, an unnamed gelding that found me when I ,finally, was able to have horses in my life again. It was sudden, he had suffered a heart attack and taken away in a minute. I was without a horse for the first time in years. Boogie belonged to my husband, Danny, who several months prior had lost interest in riding him as he was such work, always, and months prior we purchased a large quarter horse named Hank for Danny, a silly head down no fuss gentle giant.

Boogie without a rider and me without a ride, thrown together out of need, not choice. I was really quite terrified of him, his reputation was one of “everyone has been thrown by him at least once”, yuck not what I wanted in a horse. I had watched my husband ride him for months, and each time I marveled at his ability to stay on that horse. My time with Boogie was to groom, feed and lead about our small ranch. I did enjoy him on the ground so sweet and beautiful, his tail high and proud he was stunning to watch, but still I feared him under saddle.

I can recall the day I decided to ride him, my dear friend Val was wanting to head to our local hills to enjoy the day and said “lets take him out, I think its the way Danny rides him that makes him so spirited, he will be different for you”. I agreed but in my head the story being told was more like, sure he will… today is the day I die. Danny assures me that Boogie posses no mean bones in his body, just sit in the saddle with pockets and heals down, be ready for his spin, “ride ready girl”. Does my husband want to get rid of me? Really, I was terrified… but what else was I do to, buy another horse and let this beautiful creature sit? Off to the hills we headed….

He was tall, long and lean, beautiful, really he was stunning, the prettiest horse I ever sat. His tail held high, his legs would step high his head high and proud, a picture of strength and beauty, I was proud to ride him, but terrified.

Mounting him was tough, he would not hold still it was step up, throw your leg, sit, ride… Ready set go, my heart pounding and my friend Val encouraging me all the way. We were off, he was at the front and I had no idea what I was doing…. just sitting pockets down, heels down, eyes huge, teeth grinding, my heart pounding along with his hoofs. In my head I chant I can do this, it’s a horse you’ve ridden for years, its horse, you’ve ridden for years….

My ride was so elating, such a high, I rode in alert the entire time but it was like a drug that brought joy and power, I was hooked. That day was to change my life forever.

In his prior ownership, as we were his second, he was a show horse, dressage was his life. He was familiar with the arena and loved to show off. Trail riding was new to him and everything scared him, rocks, dead trees, water, wind you name it, it terrified him. We never knew what would make him spook and jump ten feet sideways. Horses are herd animals, they find their strength in herds. If one spooks they most often all spook and the rodeo is on. As you can imagine friends really didn’t enjoy riding with us. Only Val and Pie would be the ones who would understand Boogie and his fears, my friendship with Val would just grow even deeper, and our horses would develop a love between them, yet another gift of this horse.

Each ride with Boogie was different than the last, most often we were in the front and circling to slow down and stay with our group. We spent much of our time alone, together, our ride was always intense and as one. We rode many hours together, at many different places, different terrain, different horses, and it never changed, he was terrified. I learned to read him, ready for his sideways jump, I was not terrified any longer just wanting him to enjoy our rides, not sure we ever really accomplished this.

Boogie never showed hesitation to go with me, he would load in the trailer with out thought and look out the window with wonder, off to the next destination. When we arrived, he would unload with grace and respect looking around to see just where I had brought him now. I would tie him to the trailer, groom him with the same thought, what will our day be like? Will we survive? Will I be asking too much of him today? Will we endanger our group? It was always with trepidation that I would take my boy out, in nine years that ever changed. It was step up, throw leg, sit and go, pray…always.

I have heard it all, it’s you, it’s dangerous, get him training, there is not trust between you, he feels your fear, this breed is not for trails, on and on. It really wasn’t any of this, I was not fearful of him, there was trust between us, he had years of training, and who is to say a breed isn’t for trail riding, aren’t they all different. I understood their desires to help, but really I didn’t want or need it. Boogie was never mean, he never showed his power, quite the opposite, he showed his fear and trust with a soft, but spirited side. I never wanted to break his child like spirit it was harmless and I so enjoyed the ride. So soon there were few who would ride with us, I didn’t really care and I learned to issue my disclaimer before the ride.

Mosquitoes, need I say more?

Mosquito...

Mosquito…

This year AZ received Monsoons like none other. We had our 100 year flood with 6 inches within hours in many communities, cars were destroyed, homes flooded and with the water comes new pests, Mosquitoes.

Fall is here and the evenings are cool, and we have endured a long hot summer with 100 degree nights. Being outside in the cool evenings is a joy, but not with these pests. Last count I had 37 bites and now look like I have chicken pox.

I am not a fan of chemical bug spray’s, so turning to Pinterest I found many natural chemical free alternatives.
I found this one at www.livingwellspendingless.com. Great for your sensitive skin, and it smells so much better than chemical bug spray. Witch Hazel is a great replacement to alcohol in your spray and a natural astringent. I choose Humphrey’s a bit more expensive but it is all natural. Witch Hazel isn’t drying like alcohol and has creates a natural moisture balance. Baby Oil I purchased at the Dollar Store..
I choice the following essential oils
Lemongrass by Now
Lavender by Now
Cinnamon Cassis by Now
Eucalyptus by Now
Peppermint by Young Living

Bug Spray

Additionally you will need Vanilla Extract, with no added sugar, I always use Spice Islands as it has no sugar additives at all, and whole cloves.

Measure in a 2 cup measuring glass 2/3 cup of Witch Hazel
Add Baby oil to make 1 cup of liquid

Bug Spray Mixing

Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Add essential oils I used 8 drops of each
Add whole cloves, I used 6

Lemon, Lavender and Eucalyptus are found to be natural deterrents to mosquitoes

Stir all ingredients

Bug Spray all mixed

I let mine sit for a bit allowing the cloves to release a bit of their smell into the liquid.

Pour into spray bottles or even in a small bottle as this mixture is very easily rubbed on as a lotion.
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This mixture not only smells wonderful but it works fantastic, I was able to sit outside for the first time in weeks, with out a BITE! Woot Woot…

On the Road to Chama New Mexico

Painted Desert

Painted Desert


Along Hwy 40, headed to Chama we saw a sign for the Petrified Forest, so we hung a right and took the 28 mile drive. This photo is of the painted desert, it took millions of years to create this beauty, formed from wind and rain, against the blue skies of Arizona it is truly a sight to see.
Painted Desert

Painted Desert


Yet another view of the beautiful desert.
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Paleontologists have studied fossils in the park since the 1920’s, finding skeletons of the Phytosaur which is one of North American’s earliest dinosaur fossils and also found was a skeleton of the aetosaur Stagonolepis. These fossil finds are important to finding out what the world was like over 200 million years ago.

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

The Petrified Forest is like a land lost, trees felled laying for millions of years to be covered with a mix of silt, mud and volcanic ash from distant volcanoes to create what we viewed today, petrified wood. The minerals from the silica-saturated water, iron, carbon and manganese created patterns with blended colors of yellow, red, black, blue, brown, white, and pink. These chucks of petrified wood are surprisingly heavy weighing up to 200 pounds per cubic foot.

Colors of the petrified trees

Colors of the petrified trees

They appear to be wood

They appear to be wood

We travel long the 28 mile drive and come across a natural bridge named Agate Bridge, a fallen tree petrified. Centuries of scouring floodwaters formed this gully beneath the fallen tree, forming the bridge. In 1906 visitors form a group to save this bridge, in 1911 they formed piers to assist in sustaining the bridge and then in 1917 placed the concrete span. If discovered today, the parks would have let it erode naturally.

Agate Bridge

Agate Bridge

Agate Bridge showing how the water flooding underneath created the bridge we see today.

Agate Bridge showing how the water flooding underneath created the bridge we see today.

Rocks around the bridge

Rocks around the bridge


The area around the bridge shows the signs of many years of water swirling and flooding to create beautiful rock formations, in what I believe to be sandstone. This formation was begging to be photographed.

Newspaper rock

Newspaper rock

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Along the drive we find Petroglyphs carved into the stones, they call this area Newspaper Rock, you can clearly see why when you view these rocks with messages carved into them. What do they say? I am fascinated with these carvings, such history that survives the elements. Love the man with the large private parts… who was he and why did they feel compelled to share this story?

More drawings

More drawings

Kachina Point

Kachina Point

The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest is a place of great wonder, beauty and history. If you happen along Hwy 40 and see the road sign, hang a left or right and take the tour, well worth the time and delay in arriving at your destination. It took us about 2 hours and we really could have wondered for many hours longer. Bring your camera, water and some hiking shoes.

38 Foot Life

We hook up the 5th wheel and move my new “home” to Mesa Az, all 38 feet of it! How do you feel leaving behind, a daughter, a mom, a very special 15 year neighbor who became a sister, my best buddy Boogie, my 4 dogs and of course my wonderful husband of just 3 years….scared. Lots of tears and so many goodbyes, I have never left my hometown, thought about it often, but I guess the comfort of knowing your hometown kept me there. I’ll come home every 2 weeks, until we find our place to settle in AZ, its only 5 hours away… not so bad.

Its a Saturday the first week of November, and our travel day is uneventful, which is great. We pull into my new community in Mesa… the resort is packed with other RV’ers most from out of state. We back in to our spot to unhook the 5th wheel, and the thingies that come down to hold up the front end wont come down… oops. I walk around looking for the advertised general store to see if they have fuses, and find out there is no general store, but the friendly guy I stopped has a crap load, go figure. We meet our first friends, John and Jimbo…. After a few hours of McGivering the rig is unhooked, level and I am in nesting mode.

So having such a small place you cant really have stuff, just necessities, that’s all the room you have. We have purchased nothing for the rig, as it was new to us before I had the great idea to live in it. So our first night we are exhausted from the travel and the entire front end thingy. We go to dinner, buy sheets, beer for the nice new neighbors and detergent as there is no way I am sleeping in unwashed sheets, yuck all the people who touch them the make them and to sleep in them unwashed, NO!

We walk down street G, which latter becomes more commonly known as party street, to give our rescuers our thank you beer. We are introduced to the G Street Gang, Jimbo’s wife Fiz, Tracie wife of John, Gail and her husband, name still escapes me, Mary and Stan, Tom and Donna… the G Street gang.

I think I will be okay….

Living Small

Just about 8 months ago I packed up, well just a small bit of packing, and left my home of many decades. My company offered a position in the state of Arizona that I had desired since I started my career, so many years ago.
This new journey has many rewards and many so difficult times, so I have decided to share them here… oh lucky you.

So when the offer came in I needed a place to stay, of course. We looked all over Maricopa County and well how do you know where you want to live when you really don’t know where to live? Each time I was in AZ I would stay in different areas hoping to find the community that I would enjoy. Well I enjoyed them all. It was just like on vacation, you stay long enough to know you love it there but live there? Not sure.

Because I am so resourceful I decide to live in our 5th wheel until we decide where I should live. Eight months later I am still in the 5th wheel and well I am enjoying it… completely.

This is my story of leaving a small ranch in CA with my 4 horses, 4 dogs and one completely wonderful and supportive husband, to a 5th wheel in the middle of Maricopa County with only myself and my dreams of a new and wonderful life.

It's a new and wonderful world in my new little home.... Dust Storms and all.

It’s a new and wonderful world in my new little home…. Dust Storms and all.

Dust Storm 2014

The dust is coming

The dust is coming

This was my first dust storm that I was able to really watch roll in while not having to work. So this guy started down south in Pinal County and rolled up gathering power, wind and of course dust. They look so far away but before you know it they are on top of you.

It grows

It grows


This shot is within minutes of the last and as you can see the sky is filling and the dust is growing. At this time I can feel the grit blowing in my face and eyes, the wind is strong and the air is hard to inhale.
Thick air

Thick air


So it is hard for me to capture the air…. I can only describe it as thick, fog like and dirty, brown fog best says it. Breathing is like when we run the horses in the sand at the river bottom and you are behind the other 30 horses.
It lasts about 20 minutes once upon me, but the sun sets and the night is dark and I really cant tell if the dirt is gone or not. Often these are followed by thunder storms and rains….
These storms are during the monsoon seasons in AZ, which I am told are marked for beginning July 4th, well this one was right on target, as it rolled in July 3rd.
Living in a new State is exciting and what is a nuisance to those who have lived here for a long time, is just exciting to me. I so enjoyed the entire experience and look forward to the next.

National Ice Cream Day

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We seem to have so many “National” Days, Grandparents Day, Assistant’s Day, Bosses Day…well I am sure you get it. But today, July 20th is National Ice Cream Day, Yummo! Ronald Regan signed the 3rd Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day 30 years ago, see he liked more sweets then just jelly beans.

Just saying Ice Cream makes me smile, hot fudge sundaes oh my! I can recall on our patio in the heat of summer Mom getting out the ice cream machine and us kids turning the handle til we thought our arms were falling off. Home made ice cream is the best. Fresh peaches off the tree and a drizzle of honey….

I am sure there are many local places having Ice Cream specials today…Baskin and Robin is giving free waffle cones with your purchase and McDonald’s has their soft serve cone at .49.

Or maybe you get out that old fashion ice cream maker and create some memories.

Enjoy!
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I Cant Wait for Summer!

I cant wait for summer

The desert is beautiful


June 21st the first day of Summer according to the world almanac, someone should have informed AZ.

Since the last week of May temps have not dipped below 100 degrees and on June 2nd they tied a record of 110 degrees, truth be told I would have enjoyed the record being in the other direction and the lowest temperature of this June Day.

I started encouraging myself daily in early April with my new mantra of ” I cant wait for Summer” hoping to convince myself that indeed summer would be great. Foolish thought.

So here I am in the second real week of heat or what I am calling pre-summer heat wave and already thinking, really how long will this last? I ask myself and anyone listening why doesn’t it cool down at night? Well according to my online research the sun radiates heat down all day then at night the earth without the benefit of any moisture radiates the heat back up… makes sense. Makes long days of summer, hey I used to wonder what that saying meant!

Well if this is any sign of what to come… I better Cowgirl up and get myself in a AZ state of mind.

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