Summer in Iowa


How do you know it’s summer in Iowa?  Well, I just spent 30 minutes cutting up kale, zucchini, summer squash, potatoes, onions, and watermelon.  Tim is grilling the potatoes and onions (check me out on Instagram for picture proof), and the rest of the menagerie is going into the fridge for eatin’ later on.  We joined a CSA this summer, and several batches of wilted greens and shriveled squash has taught me that if I don’t cut up the veggies IMMEDIATELY, they are a lost cause.

It’s amazing that I am actually accomplishing anything today.  We returned home from Fort Collins, Co last night around 8:30PM, so today is our recup day. Does everyone need a recup day after vacation, or is that just me?  Regardless, I did some Heather self-care today to prepare myself for my strenuous one-day work week tomorrow.  Self-care for me looks like rolling out my abdominals with the Corgeous ball, taking an epsom salt bath, and listening to the Design of the Body podcast whilst walking along Duck Creek.  Oh, and shopping online.:)  We didn’t get to do much shopping in Ft Collins, so I made up for it once I got home.

If you are like me, you are always interested in what other people are buying, so I will fill you in on the details.  For the past several months I have been looking for a wristlet that will fit the essentials – cards, ID, phone, chapstick, pen, and keys.  My sister-in-law introduced to me to Haiku. I really like their designs and their philosophy, so I ordered the Stride wristlet. I will let you know what I think once I receive it and put it through its paces. I know you are on pins and needles.

I’m going to another Yoga Tune Up® class next week – Breath and Bliss, taught by Jill Miller.  We are supposed to bring our own yoga mats, but I don’t want to travel with my full size Manduka (although I totally love it), so I bought the travel version. It’s so light and thin that you can fold it up!  Hopefully it works well.

I also bought 3 different versions of wire-free bras. I love underwires, but some experts say they can cause a variety of issues, so I am widening my horizons and checking out some wire-free bras from Wacoal.  You can find a TON of wire-free options at Kohl’s and Target, but I tried on TEN different ones today, and they all gave me wide, pointy boobs.  Boo to wide, pointy boobs.  Wacoal bras are pricey, but they last forever, and they give a great shape.  Hopefully that hold true for their non-underwire versions.

That is my day back.  Riveting, isn’t it!?

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Hey-O!


How is that for a descriptive title??

I don’t have much to say, or more to the point, I don’t have time to say much right at this moment (I usually have plenty to say given enough time!); however, I wanted to pop in and say hello.  I’ve made some changes to the site and changed the domain name of this blog to HeatherLongoria.com.  I wanted to make a post and make sure everything works as it should and that people who signed up for email alerts when I make a post still get those and that everything works correctly.  So let me know if you do get the email! If I hear from no one, I will assume I have broken everything, and  I will beg my husband to fix it post haste.

I hope you have a lovely 4th of July weekend, and thanks for tuning in to HeatherLongoria.com!  I promise to write more often and to write about super interesting stuff shortly.

Take care my beautiful friends!

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My First Trip to Kripalu


I am 5 days returned from my first trip to Kripalu.  My purpose of going there was two-fold.  Firstly, my friend Angela said it’s an amazing place, and anyone I have talked to who has gone there has echoed that sentiment.  Secondly, of late I have become enamored with Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls, and I discovered that the creator of the balls was going to be teaching a seven-day certification class.  I didn’t really know much about Yoga Tune Up (outside of what I had learned via their blogs and the weekly YouTube videos), but I figured it would be a good chance to check out Kripalu whilst also increasing my yoga knowledge. I assumed (erringly I found out) that since the class was going to be held at a retreat center, it would be a relaxing experience with plenty o’ time for reflection, massages, energy treatments, and just general relaxation.

I was disabused of this notion the first evening of class, during which we were provided with the manual for the class, along with the homework assignments.  Yes! Homework.  And AssignmentSSS not just Assignment.  We are told that we would be expected to do 1-2 hours of homework each night.  All of us looked at each other with wide-eyed confusion.  What were we in for??

Now that it’s all over, I can look back on the initial days philosophically, but at the time, I was, to put it bluntly, rather pissed and overwhelmed.  Each night we needed to read and post on 3 blogs and write 3 context grids for poses we learned that day (the grids consisted of breaking down the pose into what it does, how it does it (using muscle names/direction of movements/actions, etc.), what other poses it’s good for, and what it’s good for in daily life).  Later in the week we also needed to prepare 4 to 10 minute sequences and present them to the other students and teachers of the class.  It was overwhelming.

BUT.  But, while it was very overwhelming and stressful and not at all what I was expecting, it was also a really unusual, amazing, edifying experience. I learned SO MUCH in those 7 days.  I learned actual anatomy! I learned that I still stick out my ribs and jut my head forward although I am ALWAYS trying to not do that!  I learned that I use a ton of repeat words in my teaching.  I learned that it’s important to have fellow teachers watch you teach and provide feedback.  I learned that sitting in a sauna for 10 minutes with conditioner in your hair makes your hair look amazing.  I learned that I’m scared of Jill Miller. I learned that everyone is riddled by FEAR, including myself (but I already knew that last part).  I learned that I don’t like to be gone from Tim for 10 days.

I learned that I’m a bit of a loner.  Several of the other students paired up and worked on homework together, but I preferred to blaze through it, hazarding guesses instead of spending time talking through it with fellow students and/or the teacher’s assistants.  I just wanted to get it done and go to bed.  Looking back, I realized that I could have learned so much more by being more patient and open-minded.  I’m always in a rush to get to the NEXT THING even if the current thing is pretty great.  Now that I am friends with most of my fellow students on Facebook and Instagram, I’ve learned more about them and have come to realize what amazing and experienced people they are!  I wish I had taken more time to discover that while I was with them in person.

On a positive note, however, I tried hard to live up to my sankalpa for the week:  I am serenely fearless.  I spoke up in class more than I wanted to. I went skinny dipping in 50 degree water.  I befriended a beautiful yogi at the airport (I assumed she was on her way to Kripalu, and she was).  I took walks by myself around the beautiful grounds of Kripalu.  I taught 3 short sequences in front of professional yogis.  I touched a friend when he broke down.  I sent Reiki energy to the people around me who broke down in tears in class (which happened every morning).

It was a very intense week – emotionally, mentally, and physically.  It was not what I was expecting, but I am so happy that I did it. I’m still processing the experience and trying to figure out how to move forward – trying to figure out how what I learned fits into what I want to teach and how I want to teach and if I should teach and if so, where and how.  The week may have brought up more questions than it answered, but I think it moved me down the path closer to discovering why I am here and what gifts I have to share with this world while I am here. Even if I eventually realize that I am not meant to teach, at least that is another discovery that I have made – one more stone that I over-turned.

Now I want to return to Kripalu for a TRUE yoga retreat. I want to wake up whenever my eyes naturally float open, walk down to the lake, take a dip (clothing optional!), sit in the sauna to warm up, go to yoga, eat a delicious breakfast in a silent room, sit outside and stare at the mountains and imagine riding the mists, eat some more good food, do some more yoga, get my energy body re-situated, attend a seminar taught by an enlightened soul, do some more yoga, chat with amazing interesting people, and then go to bed for a blissful sleep.

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New Website!


Hola!  This is note to the 7 peeps who actually read my blog.  The Timbits has set up a new website for me using my very own real name. You can now find me posting at http://heatherlongoria.com.  Please go over and check out the site and subscribe to the email updates.  I’m going to start posting more in the future, so you can look forward to more regular witty witticisms from me.

Thanks for reading!!

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Grumpiness and Not Following Your Own Advice


I don’t know why.  I don’t know if it’s the season or work or life or my ego or my diet or my exercise regime or my supplements, or my decrease in caffeine, but for some reason I’ve been feeling rather “meh” lately.  I will have days where I feel happy and motivated, but lately I have more days where I feel lost and don’t know where to begin.  I have things that I *think* I want to do, such as read one of the books on my  mammoth book list, practice meditation, go to yoga class, research vacation options, color in an adult coloring book, start the Great American Novel, paint a picture of Lucent, figure out a great material with which to make the BEST YOGA TANKS EVER, plan a retreat at Kripalu, input all my yoga income and expenses, move to Boulder, start a yoga book/video club, etc.  However, when I have a free hour or two, instead I find myself sitting on the couch in my pajamas and watching Seinfeld or Community.

I don’t understand why it is so difficult to do the things that I think I want to do!  Maybe I am just getting overwhelmed with options – too many things to do in too little time means I just resign myself to doing nothing.  Or maybe work is stressing me out, and so in my downtime, I elect to just vegetate.  Or maybe I’m just lazy and scared and don’t want to attempt to create anything because it means I cannot fail.

What is really odd is that this period of despondency is punctuated with periods of lucidity.  For a few days, I was waking up at 4:30 AM, drinking some warm lemon water, and then meditating with this  for 20 minutes.  I was starting to notice that I was becoming more aware of the present moment, which was very interesting, and I liked it.  But then I would be attacked by another bad mood where I really didn’t want to go into work. I hated everyone and just wanted to lay in bed and watch Gilmore Girls all day.  Why can’t I sustain the good stuff?

I also have been eating gluten with almost abandon.  I don’t know what it is. I know it’s not good for me, and that it makes me emotional and weird, but I keep eating it.  I just feel a little off kilter. Maybe it’s just the change in seasons. Maybe it’s a stressful fall with lots of changes.  Maybe it’s just a natural ebb in the waves of life.  I feel as if I know what I need to do to make myself feel better, I just need to figure out how to make myself do it!!

On a positive note, I leveraged my emotional wobbliness into a really good yoga class!  Since I’ve been feeling moody lately, I did a little research and found a Yoga to Balance Your Mood sequence in one of my YTT books. I used it during my Gentle Hatha class on Saturday, and everyone loved it.  I heard at least 1 audible sigh of relaxation at the end of the class. I wove in some of my own stuff too. I began the class with a seated meditation and asked the students to note how they felt in the meditation.  Then I told them that we would do another meditation at the end of the class and asked them to compare the two. I told them that the whole purpose of yoga is to calm the body enough that it can sit quietly in meditation, so I wanted to test out that theory.  Everyone said that their meditation was easier at the end, and they felt more focused.  I just absolutely love it when people are happy, relaxed, and excited when they leave my class.

So now I need to take some of my own medicine and do the sequence.  I just have a really hard time finding a good quite, solitary place to practice at home. I guess it means we need to buy a new house. Maybe that would make me happy.😉

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And the light gets brighter and bigger


I had what I would consider an adventure Thursday night.  One of my fellow YTTers (yoga teacher trainees) messaged me and asked if I could cover her 6PM Pre-Teen Yoga class.  Well, if you don’t know me, then you do not know precisely how far out of my comfort zone this request fell. I was never a kid who liked babysitting or who liked playing with younger kids. I babysat exactly 3 times that I can remember, and it was always for my cousins who really didn’t need a sitter anyway.  I had dolls, and I loved playing with them – dressing them up and taking them on marvelous adventurous through mazes (aka our front yard).  But I never loved real babies.  Even now, I can appreciate some of their cuteness from a distance, but I have no desire to get up close and personal unless I think it will offend someone if I don’t.

BUT I figured that maybe, just maybe, I could handle pre-teens. I kind of remember being in 5th and 6th grade.  I remember having a monstrous crush on Corey Schatz.  I remember our teacher handing out Woofies. I remember playing Boys Chase Girls at recess.  I remember smack-talking my mom and having her chase me around the outside of the house a few times.  I outlasted her, but when I finally came back inside, all my dolls were gone – hidden away until I behaved.  I remember how a harsh word from a teacher would devastate me and make me quiet for days.  I remember how noisy everyone was at lunch-time and how upset that would make the teachers.  Perhaps I could connect to these girls.

So, while I really wanted to say, “No, I’m super sorry, but I’m busy tonight,” instead I told my friend, “Sure.  What is your class usually like?”  Oh boy.  Her answer made me even more trepidatious than I already was!  Evidently class consists of partner work, some yoga dance, some student-led sun salutations, and all sorts of fun-ness.  Well, I’m used to teaching stressed out adults with sore backs and necks.  I wasn’t sure ANYTHING in my toolbox would translate over, but I figured, how bad can it be.

Don’t tell my boss, but I spent a few pockets of time that afternoon at work, jotting down notes for a class.  During YTT, Abby showed us some partner poses and some Thai massage moves. I figured the girls would think that was fun, so I wrote those down.  Then I tried to think of other fun postures that would challenge girls  whose bones are the consistency of rubber – wheel, bow, etc.

Armed with my list, I walked into Indigo.  I only had 4 girls show up (thank God it was an even number!!), but I knew I was in trouble when the first girl paid me for the class, and I could tell she had more sass and confidence than I EVER will.

When the clock rolled around t0 6, I corralled all the girls, and we tromped, skipped, and flipped into the center of the room, where they proceeded to tell me what to do for the next hour.  It was both horrifying and hilarious. I now have a VASTLY greater appreciation for what teachers do every day.  I was exhausted after an hour of trying to figure out how much authority I had and when I should use it.

The girls were great – they ran the gamut from super boisterous and energetic to shy and reserved (which WAS something I could actually identify with), to somewhere in the middle. One of the girls, I swear, was a 40-year-old in a 5th grader’s body.  During the Thai massage work, she was sighing as if she just got done with a 12 hour shift writing briefs for the Supreme Court justices.  It was awesome.

So, while I can’t say I really *enjoyed* the experience, I am very glad to have done it once. Each time I get out of my comfort zone and do something that I’ve never done before, I see my worldview brighten and my circle of understanding broaden.  My empathy for others’ increases, and my appreciation of the fact that we are all good at different things deepens. If everyone was like me, no one would be teaching these girls yoga, and they obviously LOVE it.  That would be very sad.

I was also pleased to observe a different attitude within myself.  For years, when I have not done something well, I typically felt as if it was because I had no aptitude for it and no chance of getting better.  I don’t know if it’s yoga or 4 years of reading about happiness research, but this time was different.  Afterwards I reflected on my experience and saw mistakes I had made and things I could do better, but it was with an understanding that this was my first time dealing with kids since I WAS a kid.  It was a learning experience – one I could use to improve my skills for next time.  I was so happy with myself for not seeing myself as a failure at this task.  I think I’m growing. Or something.

All that being said, I don’t know if I WOULD volunteer to teach that class again. I pretty much used up all my material on Thursday.  But if I got coerced into doing it for some reason, I’m confident that I would do a better job.

This whole experience just solidified my belief that I need to start trying more things out of my comfort zone.  Another one of my fellow YTTers gave me that advice over the weekend when we were discussing finding our purpose/passion.  It’s sage advice, and even if I try something new and fail miserably, now I am confident that I will learn A LOT from the experience.  I will get a more clear view of humanity and how things work and a better appreciation of the shades of gray that fuzz the rigid definitions of Right and Wrong and Good and Bad.

What challenges have you faced that helped you realize what you are capable of? What “failures” have taught you valuable lessons?

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On Figuring out What you Want


Last night was my first night NOT teaching yoga on a Monday night since 7/1.  When I was fresh out of yoga teacher training, I was super jazzed and driven to teach.  I talked to the owners of the studio where I did YTT, and they agreed to let me teach 2 regular classes – a 75-minute beginner’s level vinyasa class on Monday night and an all-levels 60 minute vinyasa class on Wednesday mornings.

Within a couple of weeks of teaching the class, I noticed that I truly loved my 5:30AM class. I had a good energy, a good connection with my students, and I could get teaching in and done for the day bright and early.  It just felt right.

My Monday night class, however, was a different story.  I was tired from being at work, and I missed being at home.  It made  for a really long day too. I would wake up at 4:30AM, do my normal morning routine, go to work, come home, scarf down supper, head to Moline, teach, and then get home around 8:15PM.  I think I have an invisible power cord, and the only plug-in is my house.  I just NEED to be home quite a bit to feel relaxed and calm.

I noticed this difference in the classes almost immediately, but I powered through for a few months, continuing to teach the class. But it seemed as if life just kept getting busier and a little bit more out of control.  A whole week would go by, and I wouldn’t see Tim in the evenings until Thursday or Friday.  I also stopped exercising outside (running/walking), and I stopped reading and writing as much.  While I had picked up a new thing that I thought I would love, I lost other things that I loved as much if not more.

So I finally took an uncomfortable step and asked the studio if someone else could take over the class or if they could cancel it. I felt super bad doing that because they had gone out on a limb with me, a new teacher, and had set up a brand new class for me.  Abby was very understanding, however, and they decided to just cancel the class since attendance was not great anyway and they need another night for workshops.

Last night was my first night at home.  It was bittersweet, of course, because I cannot ever just be happy or sad about anything. I must feel multiple ways about the same thing!  I was happy because I came home and took a 45-minute walk in the gathering darkness along the bike path.  It is warm here in Iowa for November – about 72, but I could feel winter coming in random icy breezes that blew across my face.  It was so calm and beautiful on the lonely bike path.  Over the past few busy months, I forgot how important to your physical and mental health it is to GET OUTSIDE and MOVE.

After the walk I came home and ate supper with Tim.  He made homemade chicken & rice soup with homemade chicken stock.  It was super tasty.  Then we watched one episode of Seinfeld, and then I did the dishes, and then I laid down in bed to listen to this body scan meditation.  I really love it, but I almost always fall asleep to it, and last night was no exception.

That probably sounds like a pretty boring evening to a lot of people, but honestly that is my idea of a perfect night – exercise, good food, time to tidy up, and then someone to talk me to sleep.

Yet I was still a little melancholy about NOT teaching. I felt bad not living up to my commitment.  Also one of my students in my biweekly Saturday morning class told me she was sad to see the Monday night class go because she really enjoys my classes, and that one fit with her schedule.  I am sorry to disappoint my students too!

But I made the right call, I know.  I have to take time to take care of myself. I very very easily get overwhelmed, even when it is with positive stuff that I love to do.  We’ll see how this simplified schedule goes and then take it from there. I think what I really need to do is get my boss to let me work 32 hours/week so that I have more time for all my interests and hobbies and learning.:)

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Kefir Fail


Pride goeth before a fall.  I wrote a nice, long post about how amazing my kefir was and then guess what I did.  Well, I was trying to do a double ferment on a batch of kefir, so I had 1 quart jar full of the first ferment and 1 quart jar full of the second ferment.  When I got up in the morning, one of the jars had completely separated into curds and whey and the other one was just slightly separated.  I stirred both jars to recombine the milk, but the kefir in one of the jars seemed really thin.  I’ve noticed that when I put the grains in the fridge (so I can take a break from fermenting), the first batch that comes from those refrigerated grains does not have the normal thick consistency, and the kefir is not very tangy.

So I decided to toss what I thought was the second ferment. As I poured it into our very unsanitary kitchen sink, my heart sank when I saw I just dumped out the first ferment – grains and all.  My beautiful kefir grains were just laying there in the bottom of the sink.

I kind of view the kefir grains as living beings, so I always try to treat them gently and kindly.  Not only was I upset that I just ended my ability to make kefir, but I felt really sad that I just killed the grains.  What did they ever do to me except make delicious, healthy kefir???

To salvage what I could, I scooped the grains out of the sink and added them to our compost bin.  At least our compost will get a healthy dose of probiotics.  The worms will probably love it.

I ordered another batch of grains from Amazon, and they should arrive today.  I will be more careful with this set!  $6.99 down the drain – literally.  Boo!!!

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Adventures in Kefir


If you read any articles or blogs about the paleo or primal lifestyle, you no doubt have read about the benefits of fermented foods.  They are the bees knees for the gut and therefore for the brain.  In an effort to get more of these beneficial probiotics into my system, over the past year I have experimented with jun, water kefir and milk kefir.

I received a jun scoby from a YTT friend of mine.  It looked very alien – an amorphous, white blob with floating tendrils.  I made some green tea, added some honey, and the blob went to work. It produced a lightly sweet, mostly tangy, slightly fizzy concoction.  The flavor of it was good, especially initially. However, the scoby grew faster than the size of my container.  Pretty soon the scoby was fermenting the jun so quickly that by the time I got around to drinking it, it was VERY tart and tasted more like apple cider vinegar than green tea with honey.

However, I kept drinking it, convinced by everything that I’ve read that I was doing my body good.  Then I started to notice that I was getting rough, dry patches on my upper lips.  At first I thought it was just dry skin, but then I noticed it was EXACTLY in the place where a glass meets my lips. I tossed my ancient Sigg bottle, assuming that the lining had failed and was aggravating my lips.  Nothing changed.  I bought some Abreva, thinking maybe I was getting cold sores.  Nothing changed.  Finally I stopped drinking the jun.  Problem solved!

In my unscientific experiment of n = 1, here is what I think happened.  The jun was SO vinegary that it was burning my lips!  I can only imagine what it was doing to my stomach. I ended up giving my monster jun scoby away and moved on to something more familiar  – water kefir.

A couple of years ago, I had experimented with water kefir grains from Cultures for Health.  I guess I should back up.  To make water kefir, you take filtered water, add sugar, add water kefir grains, and a day or two later, you have a fermented water beverage.  You can then add some juice to that fermentation (after you filter out the grains) to make an even fizzier second fermentation.

My first experiment with water kefir was frustrating and did not consistently produce tasty water kefir.  However, after my jun experience, I decided to try again.  This time I bought grains from Amazon, a reseller for poseymom.com.

These grains were amazing!  In the beginning I followed the instructions on poseymom’s website and added A LOT of black strap molasses to the water. The grains loved the minerals and doubled in size with every batch. However, even though the grains were healthy, neither Tim nor I were huge fans of the molasses flavor in the kefir.  So I cut down the molasses to about 1/2.  The grains still did well, but the taste was much more mild.  I started to produce super fizzy, very delicious water kefir.

After several months of creating water kefir, I ran out of my Brer Rabbit Blackstrap Molasses and could not find any bottles anywhere, so I bought a different brand.  I *think* that is what caused my issue, but I’m not sure. The grains started to fall apart and change color.  They were not fermenting like they used to. I didn’t like the smell, so I tossed them, intending to buy a fresh batch.

However, I soon noticed that within a few days of not drinking water kefir, I lost about 3 stubborn pounds.  Despite eating the same way I have for the past 3.5 years, I had put on a few pounds. I had attributed it to getting older and maybe allowing more non-paleo cheats.  But once that weight came off, my second very unscientific conclusion is that the water kefir must have still had quite a bit of sugar/carbs in it, and that’s what was pushing my weight up.  I did some research on the internet, and it sounds as if water kefir can drive up yeast in the body.  So not all people react well to it.  Some women even reported getting more yeast infections when they drank water kefir.

So I decided to move on to milk kefir.  I had also tried making that several years ago with powdered grains from Greatest Grains.  It did not turn out AT ALL.  So I went back to poseymom.com, since I had such good results from her grains.

When I got the little pouch (6.99 from Amazon), I was a little disappointed in the tiny amount of grains in the package.  But I followed the instructions on the website and added them to about 2 cups of cheap milk.  After 12 hours, I poured the milk out and put the grains in a fresh batch.  I did this maybe one or 2 more times before putting the grains in some whole fat organic milk. I set the jar on a seeding mat to speed up the fermentation process.

Every 12 hours now I have a batch of tangy, slightly fizzy, thick milk kefir.  It is super delicious and filling.  Our only complaint is, is it so thick that you waste a lot of product on the inside of the jar and glass.

The process is incredibly easy.  Every 12 hours, I get out a clean glass jar and add 2 cups of whole milk. I then get the fermented milk off the seeding mat and give it a good stir with a plastic chop stick (you can’t use metal with milk kefir).  The kefir needs to be stirred because it starts to separate into curds and whey when it ferments.

Then I get out a plastic strainer and strain the milk kefir into a clean, empty jar.  The kefir is quite thick, so I use the chop stick to stir the milk in the strainer, being careful to not break up the kefir grains.  I then dump the grains into the fresh milk.  I have a pretty small strainer, so I have to repeat this process 3 or 4 times to process all the kefir.

I then use a rubber band to attach a coffee filter to the top of the jar with the new milk and grains in it, and set it on the seeding mat.  I give the kefir in the other jar a good stir, cap it with a plastic lid, and put it in the fridge.

We’ve been drinking the kefir for 2 or 3 weeks now, and so far I have not noticed any weight, skin, or stomach issues.  Tim and I both really love the taste and consistency.  We will see how long these grains last before I end up accidentally killing them.  Oh!  And one more thing I should mention.  If you need to go out-of-town, or if you are just producing more kefir than you can handle, you can put the grains in milk in the fridge, and the grains will basically hibernate.  When you return home, give the milk a stir, set the jar on the seeding mat, and 12 hours later you will be back in business.

I may get adventurous and make a little video showing the process because I know that would have been helpful to me.

Hope you have a fabulous Monday!! If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.:)

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On Death of Dogs and Friends


It’s been a long time since I’ve written. I legitimately have a good excuse this time, however.  It’s literally been an insane month.  On 9/8 we had to put our pet chihuahua, Lucent, to sleep.  He was 18 years old, so he had a good, long life.  But that doesn’t make it any easier to let him go.  It was the Thursday or Friday before Labor Day weekend that we noticed that he wasn’t feeling good. He threw up some eggs I gave him, and then after that he basically stopped eating.  We couldn’t get him to even eat bacon, which was one of his favorite things EVER (next to Tim).  His back legs started collapsing, so Tim had to hold up his back end so he could use the bathroom.

But Lucent has had rough spells before, and after a few days, he would start to pull through.  But this was different.  He just kept getting weaker and weaker.  He slept with us Sunday night, and each time that I rolled over, I felt him to make sure he was still breathing.  On Monday we cuddled him all day and made a cozy nest for him on Monday night in our living room.  We covered his bed with my childhood blanket that he loved, and surrounded his bed with pee pads just in case.

We woke up Tuesday morning, and he was still with us, but we knew that meant we had to make a decision. I emailed my coworkers and told them that I was staying home that day.   I spent the morning crying with Lucent laying on my chest. Tim’s work is super short-staffed, so he did his short morning shift, and then we took Lucent to the vet.

They told us what we already knew.  Lucent was ready to move on.  It was time.

I’ve lost all my grandparents and some close friends, but I have never been as sad as I was that day, in that room.  I was surprised because I thought I was ready. I thought I was ready to move on. Lucent and I had had a long, long relationship. I thought I had come to terms with him moving on to puppy heaven.  But I hadn’t.  He was a third of our family for 18+ years, and it was a lot harder to let go than I thought.

And it was even harder for Tim. He and Lucent were soul mates – almost literally attached for the past several years.  Lucent was just happiest tucked into Tim’s arm, or on Tim’s lap, or under Tim’s shirt.  They were inseparable.  Seeing Tim in so much pain was almost as hard as losing Lucent.

We had several good, long years with Lucent, and I am very grateful for them.  As with any death though, after it happens, you are riddled with guilt. I wish I would have pet him more, held him more, been more patient with him being under my feet EVERY time I was cooking, gave him more bacon, let him HAVE my child hood blanket (I stole it back a few times).  I wish I would have done so much more to make his final months and years super happy and pleasant and loving.  I know he had a really good life and was a very happy, content puppy until the very end, but I still wish I would have done more and been less selfish.  I was looking forward to being dog-free and to the freedom and flexibility that would offer, but it ended up being a bitter reward in the end.

If you know anyone who has lost a pet, please don’t underestimate the pain that person is experiencing. I know I ALWAYS have up until this point. Now I understand.  Every card and call and hug means so much at a time like that.

So that happened.  And then 3 days after that a friend & coworker attempted suicide. And then a week after that, he attempted again and succeeded.  I didn’t cry for him like I did for Lucent. I think I was/am still a little numb and spent.  We went to his funeral today, and now I am tired and feel like shopping. I think my brain is craving the endorphin rush from buying things.

So that’s been my month. I am SO craving getting back to normality.  We are also starting another primal challenge, and I’m looking forward to getting my nutrition/exercise/sleep back in line.  Because of the craziness we haven’t been eating or drinking right, and my anxiety is starting to pop back up again. I need a re-set.

Hope your month has been happier than mine, and here is to fresh starts and happier times!

 

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