2016: The Year In Review

A lot has happened in this twelve-month period. We put our home on the market, after a mad rush to get it all painted and pretty – inside and out.

I started selling photos this year, it’s been a very slow climb but I think I’m gaining traction. I just pray that it continues growing in 2017 (and I hope for a new lens for my landscapes, just saying).

I also started blogging, and that means trying to find ways to monetize it. I’m finding that my health issues combined with my food and environmental allergies have a foot hold in the blogosphere I just need to learn more about how to grow it into a business which means reading more about it.

I can’t help but marvel at how most of my goals are centered on reading more. I often feel like I waste a lot of time reading, when in reality it is the center to my success. It’s official! I can be paid to read! #GOAL

 

2016 the year of stress… Between getting the house ready to sell, and my health issues “stress” is he only word that could apply to 2016.

Mother nature doing her best to keep our expectations in check… we had a huge hail storm in Southern Colorado and that left me unable to get a contractor out to paint our house until the last minute because so many homes were still unlivable that my house wasn’t a priority.

I had over a month wait with most contractors to get an estimate to get the house payment. And even then they couldn’t guarantee that they could get the house painted within the time frame I needed it done if we sold the house before 1 Nov. I was told this in August. We closed early October.
Thankfully I found a contractor who was able to fit me in, the outside of the house looked great when they were done, before we closed.

Every time we had weather move through I prayed it wouldn’t cause more damage anywhere in the city. I never realized just how stressful selling a house could be. I’ve watched HGTV you don’t see them freaking out on the shows about selling houses, but man! I sure did.

 

We finally sold the house, and we had a hiccup in moving into a rental; so we spent a month in a hotel. I can’t say it was a hardship. Having the room cleaned every day was a huge luxury I completely and thoroughly enjoyed. We had moved into a suite that had a small kitchenette so I could cook – somewhat – and so we could carry on as normal as possible.

Finally, as I was settling into a routine at the hotel, we got a rental. So every crazy bit spooled up again as we prepared to move into the house.

Thankfully we were able to space the signing of the papers and the actual move in so that we had time to clean the house, and buy carpets for the living areas that were hardwood. Everything went as smoothly as it could possibly go – well, other than the people who packed up our pods did so in a way that damaged most of our wooden furniture pieces. We are still trying to work out the paperwork for the moving company to fix everything. (See…stress.)

 

Thanksgiving rolled around, we were set up in our new home and all seemed to be calming down.   We had a wonderful Thanksgiving…then we set off on a journey to see my In-Laws. Two day in a car, one way, and then the actual visit. More stress… but this time with good coffee, good food, and a wonderful day with just Hubby, Chaz and I going and visiting the missions in and around San Antonio.

I have shared about the coffee…but I haven’t been able to get to the rest.  

Finally home, we got down to Christmas. Sadly Hubby’s travel schedule, and my poor health, meant that we didn’t get our decorations up. So we carried our Christmas spirit inside our hearts and let our home remain undecorated.

During this trip I started writing reviews for Yelp and TripAdvisor. I’m gaining a following there, so it will be fun to see where that takes me next year.

 

I hadn’t felt well for most of December, but I couldn’t figure out why. I had started Botox injection in the summer for my migraines and received my shots in December and that should have boosted my energy. Sadly it didn’t. My energy continued to be lagging until the week before Christmas when I realized why I felt so badly.

Kidney stones.

The very mention of them often brings people to a halt, with faces twisted in a sympathetic grimace. I had passed a couple without medications, but finally Hubby said no more and insisted I at least call the nurse to see what needed to be done. I called. Hubby was right (I’ve had to repeat that several times so Hubby can bask in the knowledge that he was right) the nurse said a visit to the ER was in order. So, I was taken to the ER and the CAT scan revealed I had three more stones to go. UGH! I left with meds and orders to see my doctor ASAP.

The next day I called my doctor and went into see him for some different meds that work better for me.   It was then that I found out I also had ovarian cysts, something any woman who has dealt with them will sympathize with me over. Since I had both at the same time, hurting is an understatement.
Finally Christmas Eve, I passed the last of them (or so I thought) and I am starting to feel better. I have more sleep that is needed to heal; thankfully my body has no problem in letting me know I’ve done too much.
So I’ve had to basically write off the end of 2016 as healing time, instead of doing a last big push to finish the year strong. I must admit that is a nice aspect to building your own business; you are the only one to suffer if you have to take time off. It’s also a great learning moment.

I’ve heard the saying that, “When you work for yourself, your boss can be a real jerk” Nathan Lowel [1], so this means that I have to remember to take care of my employees (myself) so they are healthy to produce quality work.

Upon writing this I have discovered I have one more stone to go, my right kidney is not happy but hopefully the end is near.

2017 – are you still with me???

I’ve never been one to set outrageous goals for myself. However, since I passed a milestone in 2016 – the age of 35 was given to me as a goal to reach by my allergist, a healthy dose of paranoia got me here and now I’m ready to spread my wings and reach for the stars.

So my plan for 2017 is several things that I have no way of prioritizing.

  • Make money from my blog
  • Make money by writing
  • Make money by editing
  • Make money from selling my photos

Are you sensing a pattern here?

So here the plan… I need to move out of Colorado. When you are allergic to the sun living at high altitude is not a good idea.   In order to move we have to be able to find jobs in the new location, or have a mobile income to take with us. This is where my blogging, writing, editing, and photography come into play. All of these can be done from the road or a new location, so there you have it.

Look for new posts, areas that are allergy friendly, and maybe even recipes…haven’t decided yet.

New health goals…

  • Avoid dairy, and thus kidney stones, at all costs
  • Continue to fight my anaphylaxis
  • Continue avoiding soy at all costs (had to mark a restaurant off my OK list)

Here’s to a brighter and successful new year…2017!!!

To endless horizons in the New Year!

[1] Nathan Lowell (2014) Owner’s Share (Trader’s Tales From The Golden Age Of The Solar Clipper) (Volume 6)

 

 

A Day In The Life: Another Opening, Another Show

What’s a dog to do when momma is leaving and taking him with her?…Why he hangs on tight and enjoys the ride of course.

Chaz has had quite a few interesting days in the last few weeks, and this week is proving to be more challenging than either of us thought.   I have not only moved things around on him, again, but we are going it alone this week while my husband is on travel.

So not only am I stressed all ready, but now I’m in hyper drive trying to get my To Do list done everyday, I also have to get us out of here on time when I need to for a showing, which doesn’t help his tummy troubles.

At this point even cottage cheese isn’t a guarantee for him to eat.  You know he’s stressed when even cottage cheese can’t tempt him.

Chaz and I as we headed out to Garden of the Gods. Doesn't he look enthused?
Chaz and I as we headed out to the Garden of the Gods. Doesn’t he look enthused?

So when we left for one of our showings we headed out, not to a store with lots of people and carts (stress for both of us), but to the great outdoors.  We drove to Garden of the Gods.  A wonderful tourist attraction here in Colorado Springs.

Thankfully it was partly cloudy so I got a little bit of a break from the sun. Sadly the place was packed for a Monday, no parking to be found near the famous rocks.  So I settled for a spot in lot 12, and we headed out into the great unknown…for him, I’ve been there many times.

Garden of the Gods is a huge tourist attraction here in the Springs.  Large looming rocks, red in color, that seem to come from no where. If you look closely you can see distinct shapes with in the rocks, like kissing camels. While there are many legends attached to them, they are a great place to get out and walk around, rock climb, or just take a slow drive through.  I had intended to park in the first lot, but it was at capacity, so we did the slow drive for a bit.

Once I found a spot to park, Chaz got antsy to get out and walk.

Chaz ready to get going on our walk.
Chaz ready to get going on our walk.

So I sprayed him to protect against ticks, and off we went.  It was a nice walk to a little path, that we took for a little bit.  Chaz took the walk like a champ, he got a little nervous when other people would join our path, but otherwise he just trotted along happily sniffing all the different smells we came across.

On to the red path, sniffing his way along
On to the red path, sniffing his way up the incline.

I was very thankful that the people looking at the house didn’t linger, because the sun came out and even more people began appearing on the trail.  We turned around quickly and headed home. It was a nice time out of the house, but it reminded me of just how stressful being outdoors can be. Especially at popular touristy places.

I can, thankfully, keep track of when the doors in the house are open and closed thanks to an app that works with our home alarm system.  So when I saw the people looking had arrived at the house we didn’t hang around for too long, which turned out to be a good thing as several smokers drove past immediately after we had gotten in the car to return home.

a collage of the photos I took on our walk. It is surprisingly hard to get 'good' photos when a dog is pulling on the leash.
a collage of the photos I took on our walk. It is surprisingly hard to get ‘good’ photos when a dog is pulling on the leash, even if its only a five pound dog.

I honestly don’t know which are worse the early morning showings or the early evening showings – but there is one good thing about the early morning showings…I have a good excuse to go get coffee.  You are shocked to read that, I know.

For one particularly early showing I found the grit to get out of bed, and out the door…Nemo’s!

I’m not a huge fan of Starbucks coffee, it will work in a pinch but if I have another option I will gladly go out of my way to get my morning coffee.  Nemo’s is my favorite go to spot for coffee outside of my kitchen.  They have organic coffee, coconut milk (they have other milk alternative if you require them), caramel (a must for me on hectic days, don’t judge), and on a day like this when I have the dog… a drive through and one of Chaz’s favorite dog biscuits.  Everything we need to have a successful start to our day.

Though I’m not sure how much of Chaz’s love for their dog biscuits is the biscuit and how much of it is all the attention he gets when he gets the biscuit.  Sometimes I really wish I could read his mind to figure these questions out.

Chaz is content after consuming his dog biscuit, and I have my coffee (with caramel a real treat for me).
Chaz is content after consuming his dog biscuit, and I have my coffee (with caramel a real treat for me). Check them out 2114 East Pikes Peak Ave, tell them I sent you.

Inside their mismatched tables and chairs make for a relaxed atmosphere where anyone, no matter your height, can find a comfortable place to sit and enjoy their coffee. They also boast bookshelves filled with books of every genre. Something that is very important to book worms like me.  If you aren’t like me…someone who takes books with her every where she goes – and is very thankful that someone invented the e-reader because her back is much happier when she isn’t carrying real books with her everywhere she goes… then Nemo’s is the place to be, a good book a great cup of coffee…what more could a person ask for?  Plus they have lots of goodies and most of them are made in house.

Hubby would recommend the sausage breakfast burrito, it’s his favorite regardless of the time of day. As for me I would recommend their caramel swirl coffee, I like it iced or hot with coconut milk.  It’s so incredibly wonderful!

Their motto, and it is so true their coffee with power you through anything.
Their motto, and it is so true, turtle power will get you through anything!

So with my turtle power in my system I feel just about ready for anything…provided it isn’t too out there. Ha!  Our life is so hectic right now, it’s hard to think about adding too much more to our plates.   However, our getting out there and seeing the area means I’ll have more adorable stories about Chaz’s adventures for you.

Hatch Green Chile Grilled Cheese, Oh My!

In my quest to be as yeast free and dairy free as possible, I have found one flaw…Hatch green chile grilled cheese. (No I didn’t misspell chile.)

Oh. My. Word.

If you love the flavor of hatch green chile, and you love grilled cheese...this is the combo for you!
If you love the flavor of hatch green chile, and you love grilled cheese…this is the combo for you!

I am originally from New Mexico, and there is nothing that marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall more distinctly than the smell of roasting green chiles.  If they could put that smell into a candle I would be one happy woman.

And while I can find them in Colorado (they are nice enough to truck them up here), in New Mexico every Walmart, grocery store chain, and even some of the auto parts stores, have a station set up to sell and roast Hatch green chile.

However, if you love chile, and have never tried Hatch green chile, click the link above and look at their products.   If you like a lot of heat with your chile, don’t get your hopes up where this cheese is concerned. However, this cheese is packed with the most flavorful – if heat lacking – chile ever.

When we first found the Hatch green chile cheese at  Whole Foods we couldn’t help but buy it. From there it was a small jump to grilled cheese. Perfectly golden brown bread and melted cheddar cheese infused with real hatch green chile… It is an ooey gooey  bite straight out of what I imagine food will be like in heaven.

They are so good, and so worth the side effects…stuffy nose from the dairy, which means I have to be uber conscious of my surrounds for a few days since it makes my anaphylaxis reactions more severe; and the possible stomach upset from the yeast.

As for the yeast, I’m so glad I found organic sourdough bread (I prefer Rudi’s or 365 brands). The basic reason as to why I can have sourdough over, say, white bread is simple; as far as I’m able to deduce.

Dry yeast vs. Yeast culture.

While I’m still working through the whole dry yeast theory, I’ve found that when it comes to yeast cultures I do a lot better when I eat breads made from the cultures as opposed to most dry yeast products. It’s a work in progress because sometimes I can eat breads made from dry yeast without a problem. From what I’ve experienced thus far, organic is the key word for dry yeast.

Though I still have more testing to do before I can claim this theory, something I’m not working to hard to disprove, I’m sticking with eating what I don’t react to right now.

So when it comes to my yearly vice, yearly because the cheese is only available late summer – till its gone – I feel no guilt. (I’ve only ever found it at Whole Foods Market – FYI.)

I’ll take a Sudafed for the stuffy nose, and be more vigilant where my anaphylaxis is concerned. Believe me if you love chile, and grilled cheese, this is the best of both worlds.

The morale of this story is…sometimes it’s OK to eat what isn’t good for you so long as you are smart about it.

Cheers!!!