The Best Gift

Lately I seem to be surrounded by a fair number of people who have found happy romantic relationships the second, third, even fourth time around. Everywhere I look people are showing wedding photos, talking about just-the-two-of-us vacations and date nights, while I hang out with the two furry loves of my life, Gandalf and Pippin.

My phone is filled with photos of Pippin doing cat yoga and the three of us going for walks.

advanced cat yoga


Gandalf, Pippin and me on a walk

cat yoga







Not that I am bored or unhappy or want to start dating again, mind you. I didn’t like dating the first time around and am even less enthusiastic about it now. I have been almost asked out twice in the last couple of years and I basically hyperventilated and fled on each occasion.

Let’s just say I have trust issues.

So maybe it was also because Spring was in the air that I found myself in a Princess Bride state of mind, wondering: Is there really Twoo Wuv? Is there truly someone for everyone? And if so, how many frogs does one have to kiss, for Pete’s sake??

Whatever the reason, I was feeling a teensy bit sorry for myself and my moodiness increased as the day wore on. Night came and as nothing looks good when I’m tired we turned in: Pippin to his apartment on the patio, Gandalf to the cool tile floor and me to bed.

Ten hours later, it seems that all I needed was a good sleep. The cloud of pity from the day before had dissipated as I slept and I made plans for the day over coffee. Gandalf and I headed out for our morning walk and stepping through the front door I nearly threw a hip out attempting to avoid the tiny inert body on my door mat.

Dead mouse, courtesy of Pippin.

I stuck the landing (scored a 9.5), collected my chapstick and keys which had gone flying and stood there in the sun, overcome with wonder. Not at the mouse, but by what it represented.


Not just from Pippin, who was weaving around my legs and meowing with pride, or from Gandalf, waiting patiently.

But from...everywhere and everything.

I was not only loved, I was beloved, and I belonged in this house, this time, this life.

I was home, I was good, I was…keeping Gandalf and Pippin waiting.

Am I overly sentimental?


Am I one of the luckiest people in the world?



Gandalf and Pippin snoozing together

Wholam Clinical Trial update

I am learning more every day, the newest lesson being “how wi-fi works at 30,000 feet”…….I was flying to Virginia to visit William, Kate and my dad and had this post almost done. I thought it would be so cool to publish from cruising altitude and hit a key; all my words instantly flew off into the sky. I am still not sure what happened but now the “save draft” button is my very best friend. I was initially bereft but found that publishing this post later rather than sooner has allowed me to add links to local food producers in Virginia and some fun photos; in between tropical storm Andrea’s downpours William, Kate and I shopped at farmer’s markets, picked up their CSA at Five Points Community Farm and visited the farm cat while buying the week’s share of eggs and milk at Full Quiver Farm. So just for you…..a second ago I held my breath and pushed “publish”. Whew. We’re still here. Enjoy!

Here we are, five months into Paleo-ish and finally spring; we did have frost last night which confirms that here, the naming of seasons is like “the pirate code”…..mostly guidelines. Now it is gorgeous, green, the trees are blooming and I love it.

Anyway, I had to have a physical for my health insurance and the dreaded lipids were to be measured. I had not planned on having them drawn for another month but it was time to pony up and see what was up, or down, as the case may be.

I have struggled with a rising cholesterol for about 6 years. Both my parents have been on meds for elevated lipids for years and while we do not have the genetic high cholesterol problem I wondered if it was just going to be the way it was for me, too. My doc at the time wanted me to go on meds and I didn’t. I modified my diet even further: (low fat everything, extra veggies; olive oil), began supplementing with Red Yeast Rice (a naturally occurring statin) and Co-Q10, continued my exercise routine and plugged along. I achieved an acceptable ratio and my triglycerides were OK so my doc and I called a truce and life went on.

Full Quiver Farm

Full Quiver Farm


Farm cat

Farm cat


Full Quiver Farm

Full Quiver Farm

Here are my lipid panel numbers. And remember, Paleo-ish is what is working for us; you will have to find what works for you. 

A few years ago while following conventional dietary guidelines:

  • Total cholesterol 242 (125-200)
  • HDL 76 (>40)
  • LDL 117 (<100)
  • Triglycerides 85 (<150)
  • ratio  3.2 (<5)

After five months of Paleo-ish

  • Total cholesterol 227 (<200)
  • HDL >100 (>50)
  • LDL Too low to measure on their device (<100)
  • Triglycerides <45 (<150)
  • ratio <2  (<4.0)

    Five Points Community Farm Market

    Five Points Community Farm Market

I have lost a couple of pounds and a couple of inches. While I still have the perpetual pants-shopping problem of the waist being too big when the rear fits, I now struggle with this issue one-half to one size smaller. I swear I can see muscles in my upper arms and some nights after work I have the energy to go for long Gandalf walks or short non-Gandalf runs. Most mornings I wake up a bit before the alarm goes off and I no longer take the supplements.

Rebecca is wearing pants she hasn’t worn for four or five years and rarely naps during the day. She has the motivation to take herself out running a few days a week and recently ran a ten minute mile with one of her staff members! Her sibs agree she is clearer mentally and I am positive that this clarity contributed to her keeping her cool when she was taken two months ago.

I love the recipes and the simplified shopping of Paleo-ish. I have signed up for local produce through a CSA program and I am going to investigate the Nourishmat for my home garden. I am going to buy a food dryer in anticipation of preserving this wonderful bounty for Rebecca and myself; we have a freezer and will get to savor the summer when the snow flies again. I will close my eyes and remember this trip and the growing goodness. I hope you can do the same!

See the Nourishmat? Five Points Farm Market

Check it out in your area!

Buy Fresh Buy Local Check it out in your area!


Wishing all my “peeps” Happy Easter and greetings of the season!

It really doesn’t matter to me if you are some version of Christian (or other mainstream religion), Pagan, Wiccan or profess no religion at all; thank you for reading my posts and know I wish that “goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life”.

Act with integrity, remember to breathe and try to be the kind of human your dog thinks you are.

We all know there is plenty of badness out there; so be safe, be strong, be a force for good.

And eat Peeps!

I prefer mine fresh, and only at Easter. How do you like yours? Fresh, aged or not at all?

Spring is not for sissies

We have lost a lot of snow these bright and hopeful days that are now frequently above freezing and I bought flower seeds and garden edging in celebration of things to come. I am going to make some raised-bed gardens in a warm spot in my back yard and I was dreaming of this when I woke up:

My daughter-in-law Kate sent me this pic from Williams-Sonoma Plant-A-Gram and I am thinking of signing up for these tips and hints. I have not previously done a garden like this so can use all the help I can get.

I could hear birds singing as I shuffled out to the kitchen for coffee and when I opened the blinds this is what greeted me:

Oh, poo.

Welcome to spring in high-altitude country.

St. Brigid of Ireland

Tile made by

You can tell it’s coming if you know what to look for; in February there is a slight change in the quality of the sunlight and atmosphere. I am not sure if I see it or sense it but it is there like a little life-preserver Mother Nature throws out to let us know we really don’t live in Narnia. St Brigid’s Day, February 1, is considered the first day of spring in Ireland and that always makes me smile because here it is still snowboot and earmuff weather.

A few weeks after the light changes, the birds start returning; I heard a blackbird three weeks ago and last week saw a robin down in the city. The Sandhill cranes should come home later this month, and they usually arrive in a blizzard. Do you think they wonder about the timing? I have seen them sitting covered with snow, patiently keeping their eggs warm. Well, they look patient. Maybe they are really grumping about the lousy weather and wishing they were in Miami.

I have developed a strong affection for most birds (Starlings don’t count) and another item on the Questions For God After I Die list is “How do ducks swim in ice-cold water then get out and walk on the snow without their feet falling off?” If you are looking for a miracle, that’s one for sure.

But I digress.

The sure sign of spring is that during blizzards this time of year, the birds sing. Blackbirds and chickadees sit in the snow-covered branches and give it all they’ve got. The birds here have to be tough to survive a season that in Virginia is as close to heaven as one can get in this life.

Snow flying, wind blowing, they sing the winter away and I am reminded of Emily Dickinson’s words:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –


I am always ready for each new season and while I am looking forward to warmer weather, today I will make a fire in the fireplace, have a pot of tea, plan my garden.

And feed the birds.